Japanese researchers suggest cannabinoids hinder tumor growth

A recent study, conducted by commencing tumor growth in mice and treating it with synthetic cannabinoids, has shown that cannabinoids are beneficial in battling cancerous tumors. This was discovered by Japanese scientists and researchers and published in the August edition of the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology.

Synthetic cannabinoids were used rather than phytocannabinoids (found in plants, such as marijuana) because the former are full agonists, unlike e.g. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is only partial agonist. The fact that agonists and partial agonists react very differently in the human body was crucial for the choice.


Substances can mimic natural agonists – they can bind to the receptor, activate it and create an effect. One synthetic cannabinoid is JWH – 018, a full agonist of the CB1 receptor, was invented by John W. Huffman who synthesized molecules similar to THC to create JWH – 018 and its relatives.

As the dosage of full agonists increases, the involvement and activation of receptors is higher, thus, releasing more of the specific neurotransmitters (endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, etc.) in the brain.

Unlike the full agonists, the partial agonists’ effect in producing neurotransmitters is to a lesser extent, meaning that the larger the dosage of partial agonists does not increase the creation of neurotransmitters.

However, full agonists have their downside as well. It is much more likely to abuse a full agonist rather than a partial one, also full agonists have great rate of dependency, contrary to partial agonists.

Cannabinoids’ battle with cancer: How it was discovered


A process named Carcinogenesis was used to cause cancer in mice. Researchers injected the mice with 7, 12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA), in order to initiate the growth of the tumor. 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) is a substance that causes inflammation and hastens the tumor growth.

Synthetic cannabinoids (JWH-018, JWH-122, JWH-210) showed a surprising ability to prevent skin cancer growth provoked by TPA. They also proved  their “exhibited superior inhibitory effects” against the inflammation.

The study is all about the role of cannabinoid in the fight against cancer, its prevention and treatment. Though the study is focused on synthetic cannabinoids, they are considered unsafe. Therefore, it must be clear that a research on the effectiveness of Cannabis – derived Cannabinoids would be beneficial. For, as we all know,

Phytocannabinoids derived from Cannabis are typically more effective than Synthetic Cannabinoids in clinical trials for medical treatment. 

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