Based on medical knowledge, inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are caused by uncontrolled inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Clinically, patients with inflammatory bowel diseases carry higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.
In the quest for treatment of this, a recent study shows that treatment with Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – an anti-inflammatory agent present in the cannabis plant – impeded the development of colon cancers in mice. The study is published in iScience carried out by researchers at the University of South Carolina. The study revealed THC suppressed inflammation in the colon, thereby preventing the onset of cancers caused by a carcinogen.
THC in Cannabis Plant to be beneficial for High Risk Patients
Globally, the incidence of inflammatory bowel diseases is increasing. This suggests risk of cancers related to inflammatory bowel diseases are also going to increase. According to published data, in the U.S., the risk of rectal cancers and colon cancers is increasing at an alarming rate among young and middle-aged adults and the cause remains unknown. Thus, it is crucial to understand the mechanism of inflammatory bowel diseases and development of effective drugs for IBD and associated cancers.
“Because treatment with THC impedes inflammation in the colon and inhibits the development of colon cancer at the same time, it supports the notion that inflammation in the colon and colon cancer are closely related. Thus, for patients with higher risk of forming colon cancer, THC or other anti-inflammatory agents may serve to be beneficial,” said one of the researchers.
Meanwhile, the Nagarkattis duo who carried out the study are world-renowned for their work on anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids. The study suggests cannabinoids act through two receptors known as CB2 and CB1.