Compounds derived from marijuana can kill cancerous cells in patients with leukemia, according to a recent study.
The study, published in the Anticancer Research journal, was partially funded by GW Pharmaceuticals. which already produces a cannabis-derived drug to help people with multiple sclerosis. Dr. Wai Liu studied six different non-psychoactive cannabinoids (compounds derived from marijuana that don’t get the user high like its THC component does). He found that certain non-psychoactive cannabinoids “resulted in dramatic reductions in cell viability” and “caused a simultaneous arrest at all phases of the cell cycle,” according to the study summary posted online.
Leukemia will take the lives of an estimated 23,720 people this year.
This isn’t the first time marijuana has been linked to deterring cancer: In 2012, researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco found that CBD — a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in cannabis — can stop metastasis in some kinds of aggressive cancer. Liu told the Huffington Post that smoking cannabis is unlikely to have the same cancer-inhibiting effect.