THC Gives Cancer Cells the Munchies Too : The Scientific Activist
Through the results of widespread experimentation of the… well… let’s say “non-scientific” variety, it’s pretty well known that marijuana has the side effect of making the user very hungry. This is one of the many physiological effects of the active ingredient THC (?9-tetrahydrocannabinol). More relevantly, however, THC and other cannabinoids are actively being investigated for various useful clinical purposes, including the treatment of cancer through the inhibition of tumor growth. A new study by Salazar et al. in The Journal of Clinical Investigation demonstrates that THC causes tumor cells to begin to degrade themselves from the inside (a process called autophagy, i.e. “self-eating”). Despite the imagery that the title of this post (and maybe even casual experience) may imply, it’s not that THC causes cancer cells to ravenously and indiscriminately destroy themselves. Mostly, this is interesting (to me) more for the big picture aspect and the implications for clinical medicine.
Related: Medical Cannabis Review