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Cancer Researchers Develop Micro-Delivery System For THC

By on August 5, 2013
Polycaprolactone is a biodegradable polymer that researchers are using to create 100 micrometer (μm) capsules for delivering THC.

Polycaprolactone is a biodegradable polymer that researchers are using to create 100 micrometer (μm) capsules for delivering THC to tumor sites. – The evidence is clear: Marijuana has an unique potential to fight cancer. And while patients anxiously wait for human trials to be conducted, researchers out of Spain are already working on better ways to administer the treatment.

The problem with chemicals in marijuana like THC and CBD is the fact that they are highly insoluble in water. So far, this has mostly restricted patients to smoking or eating the plant, which makes it difficult to target tumor cells without affecting other parts of the body as well.

However, using tiny particles of polycaprolactone (a biodegradable polymer) to encapsulate THC, researchers say they’ve developed a novel delivery system for THC that can be used to fight cancer. Writing in the Journal of Drug Targeting, the Spanish group explained how the microparticles make THC easier to work with.

“Δ9-THC is an oily viscous resin that is very sticky at ambient conditions making it difficult to handle and to accurately weight small amounts and prepare suspensions for injection.”

Interestingly, the microparticles were actually better at inhibiting cancer growth in cell cultures compared with THC by itself. The outer layer of the microparticle allows THC to slowly diffuse through, resulting in a sustained release that lasted for at least 2 weeks in the study.

While more research is required, the group believes this delivery system could “reduce dosing frequency and enhance patient compliance” and even be used together with other cancer treatments.

“In the future, these systems might be used in combination with other anticancer drugs or conventional therapies in order to increase therapeutic efficacy.”

Alternative delivery systems for marijuana-based treatments seem to be a popular focus of studies. Besides pills like Marinol and oral sprays like Sativex that have already been approved by certain countries, researchers have experimented with inhalers, skin patches and even rectal suppositories.

On the other hand, encapsulating THC in microparticles happens to be a first in this promising field of cancer research.

The study was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and Complutense University.

  • Norman Gates

    … Yerba Buena …

  • claygooding

    Ahhh,,so we should wait on the pharmaceutical companies to “manufacture” a stronger more efficient source of cannabinoids than the cannabis pant can produce,,I think I will take the “natural” medicine and prevent and treat cancer with what I got while they continue trying to make a better medicine,,and I bet their new medicine when it is developed has “possible death” in it’s side effects.
    The pharmaceutical companies have been trying to do what you are attempting in one form or aanother for over 4 decades and you can see that their best efforts so far suck.

    • claygooding

      After 4 decades of trying to copy cannabis with synthetic compounds and gave up,,that is why they turned to Sativex,,a hash oil tincture similar to the ones sold in MMJ dispensaries in states that allow it,,G&W may “balance” the thc with the cbd’s and have their own strain of cannabis for it’s production but it is still a hash oil tincture as described in 3000 year old Chinese medical scrolls,,hardly new and not their invention.