Cancer Combatant

New research suggests cannabinoids may inhibit the growth of colon cancer.
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Doctor holding cannabinoids

Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute, with more than 50,000 deaths caused by the disease in 2018. A recent study led by researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine has found 10 new compounds in cannabinoids that can inhibit and further prevent the growth of this type of cancer. Of the 100 unique compounds in cannabinoids, THC and CBD are the most commonly referred to when speaking about cannabinoids, yet these single chemicals proved to be ineffective or much less powerful at preventing tumor growth compared with the 10 newly isolated compounds. “Now that we’ve identified the compounds that we think have this activity, we can take these compounds and start trying to alter them to make them more potent against cancer cells,” says Kent Vrana, chair of the Department of Pharmacology and researcher on this study. “And then eventually, we can explore the potential for using these compounds to develop drugs for treating cancer.”