On Tuesday, UK-based GW Pharmaceuticals announced "positive top-line results" from Phase 2 of their clinical study where they combined THC and CBD in an entourage effect to treat patients with Glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. The disease is extremely difficult to defeat, with most patients living up to 15 months after chemo and radiation therapy.
GW Pharmaceuticals combined cannabis' two main compounds in the study and found the treatment to be very successful. The clinical study focused on 21 patients who were administered THC, CBD along with a chemotherapy drug called Temozolomide. Those patients saw an 83% survival rate whereas patients who didn't receive the cannabis treatment only had a 53% survival rate. Those in the cannabis-treated group also lived well beyond 18 months on average compared to the placebo group who averaged living only 12 months.
MRI showing a patient with Glioblastoma
Principal investigator and Professor of Oncology, Susan Short, Ph.D. said in a statement, "Moreover, the cannabinoid medicine was generally well tolerated. These promising results are of particular interest as the pharmacology of the THC:CBD product appears to be distinct from existing oncology medications and may offer a unique and possibly synergistic option for future glioma treatment."
GW Pharmaceutical CEO Justin Gover said in a public announcement the results reinforce "the potential role of cannabinoids in the field of oncology and will serve as a catalyst for the acceleration of GW's oncology research interests over the coming months."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration assigned an 'Orphan Drug Designation', a status assigned to drugs intended to be effective treatments for specific conditions that also come with tax reductions. The DEA has opened the door for researchers who want to conducts clinical trials with cannabis.
The company has been working on various research projects since 2007 involving the treatment of cancer with different cannabinoids, which led to the discovery of their epilepsy drug called Epidiolex. Currently, the FDA has not approved cannabis for use in treating cancer despite the American Cancer Society and cancer.gov reporting small studies have shown cannabis can cause the death of certain types of cancer.
For more on treating cancer with cannabis, watch what our resident medical expert Dr. Rachel Knox had to say in a recent Facebook Live chat: