It has been difficult thinking of how to write this post, which a large part of me, for many reasons, want’s not to write, so I’ll start with a bit of background.
When it became clear, over three years ago, that The Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre in Nottingham wouldn’t consider carrying out research on William’s tumour type (ependymoma) and the cannabinoid THC in the UK we looked elsewhere and found out that there was a research centre in Australia which was already looking into another childhood brain tumour type and the effect of cannabinoids, including THC. By introducing them to the team at Nottingham, who have expertise in ependymoma, it was possible to have William’s tumour type included in the study which has now been published…
We were aware all along that “following the science” wouldn’t necessarily give us the answers we “wanted” but at the same time we just wanted to understand the truth behind whether cannabinoids “work” on childhood brain tumours – you can read the full article by clicking here.
From this research it does not appear that cannabinoids have any anti-cancer effects on childhood brain cancers. But the research was only tested on high risk types of medulloblastoma and ependymoma, identified by the expression of specific genes – without doing the research it’s not possible to say what the effect of cannabinoids would be on other genetic sub-types.
There is, however, strong evidence to suggest that cannabinoids have some effect against adult glioblastoma cells so clinical trials in these types of brain cancers should still take place.
We have long-suspected, though, that it’s a combination of cannabinoids as well as the ketogenic diet, or even just the diet, which have helped William, perhaps alongside conventional treatments. If anything we hope that this research emphasises the fact that cannabinoids are well tolerated, in particular alongside conventional therapies although one cannot completely rule out the potential psychological side effects, particularly in children, as identified in this article.
We also hope that parents will consider diet more in terms of it playing a potentially important role in combating tumours. After all, a research study has already demonstrated a link between ependymoma and anti-cancer effects of the diet – click here to see the article.