Christina Sanchez, a molecular biologist from Compultense University in Madrid, first reported in 1998 that TetraHydroCannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of cannabis, induces tumor cell suicide while leaving healthy non-tumor cells alone.
She discovered that when exposed to THC, tumor cells not only ceased to multiply and proliferate but also destroyed themselves, both in lab tests and animal trials.
Cells can die in different ways, and after cannabinoid treatment, they were dying in the clean way – they were committing suicide. One of the advantages of cannabinoids is that they target, specifically, the tumor cells. They don’t have any toxic effect on normal, non-tumor cells. And this is an advantage with respect to standard chemotherapy, which targets basically everything. I cannot understand why in the US cannabis is under Schedule I, because it is pretty obvious, not only from our work, but from the work of many other researchers, that the plant has very wide therapeutic potential.