The Lambert Initiative has reported positive results from a study of the effect of cannabinoids on mesothelioma, a treatment-resistant cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
The research team found a panel of 13 phytocannabinoids inhibited growth of human and rat mesothelioma cells in vitro, with CBD and CBG the most potent compounds.
CBD and CBG also inhibited mesothelioma cell migration and invasion while gene expression analysis highlighted signalling pathways that play a role in how the compounds may exert their anti-cancer effects.
While the cannabinoids were unable to increase survival in a rat model, the team said this may be due to limitations in the drug delivery method.
They added: “Our data shows that cannabinoids have anti-cancer effects on mesothelioma cells in vitro and alternatives of drug delivery may be needed to enhance their effects in vivo.”
Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer with a median survival rate of just 12 months. It kills more than 38,000 people each year, with rates in Australia among the highest in the world.
The study was published in the journal Cancers.