Two Australians, a naturopath and a neurosurgeon, have teamed up to conduct the first clinical trial in the world aimed at finding out whether cannabis can be used to treat glioblastoma, one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer.
This type of cancer affects at least 1,000 individuals in Australia alone each year. Sadly, the majority of the patients diagnosed with glioblastoma die within one year and only 5 percent survive for five years after diagnosis.
Dr. Janet Schloss, a naturopath based in Brisbane, and Prof. Charlie Teo, a famous neurosurgeon, have teamed up to explore how patients can have better chances of surviving this cancer if medical cannabis is used alongside the conventional cancer treatments (chemo, radiotherapy and surgery).
The Australian researchers aren’t starting from zero. They have accessed studies conducted in Spain to the effect that medical cannabis inhibits the regrowth of brain tumors in animals. Some human studies have also shown that cannabis may help brain cancer patients to survive for longer.
This research only became possible after Australia made legal changes that permitted the use of some forms of cannabis for medical purposes in 2017. This legal step meant that researchers could now shift from just looking into the side-effects of cannabis consumption to studying how cannabis could be used as a medicine.
Dr. Schloss revealed that she was inspired to do this research after Spanish researchers used cannabis injections to reduce the size of brain tumors. Their research will focus on preventing the regrowth of the brain tumors because patients normally succumb to the condition when suppressed tumors regrow rapidly and cause the death of the patient.
For now, the researchers are recruiting study participants. This stage will be followed by a clinical trial lasting three months in which patients will consume 2ml of cannabis oil each night. The oil was carefully formulated by BioCeuticals to contain as little THC as possible in order to prevent the patients from waking up groggy, or affecting their sleep.
The researchers will document the extent to which cannabis supports the conventional treatments used to treat glioblastoma. The research is being conducted at the Endeavour College of Natural Health, and the New South Wales Ministry of Health has approved the clinical trial. The researchers hope that their findings will increase the options available to the patients who desperately need help in fighting this serious type of cancer. The cannabis community, including companies like Phivida Holdings Inc. (CSE: VIDA) (OTCQX: PHVAF) and Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS), are waiting with bated breath for the outcome of this groundbreaking research.
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