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2023 Study: Cannabis for Head & Neck Cancer

Updated: Nov 25, 2023

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A cancer doctor examines tissue scans
A cancer doctor examines tissue scans

Cannabis for Head & Neck Cancer Study

Cannabis for Head & Neck Cancer Study. A 2023 study entitled "The Effect of Cannabis Plant Extracts on Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma and the Quest for Cannabis-Based Personalized Therapy" that was published in the journal Cancers explored the potential medical efficacy of extracts made from cannabis plants on particular types of cancer.


"We tested the effect of various cannabis extracts on head and neck squamous cell cancer cells, characterized the chemical profile of those extracts with anti-tumoral activity."

"In this research, we tested the effect of various cannabis extracts on head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cells, characterized the chemical profile of those extracts with anti-tumoral activity, determined their anti-tumoral mode of action, tested their impact on non-cancerous cells, and examined endocannabinoid receptors involvement," reported the scientists.

A tray of test tubes and a purple liquid being poured into one in a laboratory.
Do cannabis extracts combat cancer cells?

Cannabis for Head & Neck Cancer Study Conclusions

The study concluded that cannabis extracts, particularly those rich in cannabidiol (CBD), may be effective in fighting cancer and even killing cancer cells. The researchers stressed that their data is preliminary and that considerable additional research is necessary to better understand this potential and to determine critical elements of patient therapy, including dosing and potential adverse effects.


The Conclusions section of the study appears below:


"This research suggests using whole cannabis extracts, which are decarboxylated CBD-rich, to induce cancer cell death. In recent years many cancer patients have been treated with cannabis extracts as a palliative treatment. Based on this research, these chemovars can provide additional anti-cancer properties in addition to the palliative effects that cancer patients can benefit from. Furthermore, we recommend enriching extracts with CBC to reach a CBD to CBC ratio of (2:1) to maximize the cytotoxic effect on HNSCC.


"Further research is mandatory on ex-vivo cancer models of HNSCC and in-vivo studies to compare the local and systemic effects of decarboxylated CBD-rich cannabis extract to a single cannabinoid combination of CBD CBC. Developing a topical mucoadhesive formula for the future application of cannabis extracts and single cannabinoids to the oral mucosal cancer lesion is still in its early stages."


View the original study.

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