- In the first peer-reviewed paper of its kind, scientists have found clues that cannabis and psychedelic medicines hold benefits in the treatment of breast cancer.
- The authors have studied the self-administered use of both psychedelic mushrooms and cannabis with THC and CBD content (often referred to as ‘whole-plant’ cannabis.) These drugs were used by a 49-year-old female patient in the U.S. with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer,
- In the paper published today, data suggests that this approach has improved the effectiveness of widely used breast cancer treatments such as Herceptin, Perjeta and Taxotere.
- It also suggests a link between the use of cannabis and psychedelics with a reduced level inflammation in the body, improved tumor management and better mental health.
- Also in this instance, the data suggests that stopping these adjuvant therapies coincided with a destabilizing of the patient’s condition and a re-emergence of rapidly multiplying cancer cells within her body. Her health improved by reintroducing the psychedelic and cannabinoid substances.
Could Cannabis and Psychedelic Drugs Make Breast Cancer Treatments More Effective?
A new study from Grace Health & Wellness suggests they could.
Weston, CT, September 30, 2022… In September 2018, when Nicole DiMonda was diagnosed with breast cancer, she underwent the regimen of widely prescribed medications, but also incorporated psilocybin and whole-plant edible cannabis in her therapy. This alternative medicine has intrigued scientists, as they improved the effectiveness of her treatments. More compelling is that her husband, an accomplished Endocannabinologist named Jaime Brambila, the Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer of Grace Health + Wellness, administered the holistic remedies.
Mr. Brambila, said, “We are thrilled by Nicole’s response to both her conventional and experimental treatments. We hope that future breast cancer patients will complement their pharmaceutical treatments with cannabis medicine and any encouraging pre-clinical signals may pave the way for wider use.”
Dr. Mikael Sodergran, Senior Clinical Lecturer, Imperial College London and Consultant Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgeon at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said, “Nicole has had such a fantastic response. Whilst we cannot draw any conclusions regarding the efficacy of cannabis-based medicinal products for the treatment of breast cancer based on this report, it is promising. We at the Imperial College Medical Cannabis Research Group are studying how individual cannabinoids may have anti-neoplastic effects.”
Dr. Dustin Sulak, one of Nicole’s physicians, a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, an Integrative Medicine Specialist, medical cannabis expert, and the Founder of Integr8 Health, says, “We are collaborating clinically with cancer patients intervening using cannabis and psilocybin. They are invaluable and witnessing their impact has been profound because they can improve the patient’s quality of life, relieve pain, depression, and anxiety while promoting psychological adaptation to a challenging diagnosis and prognosis. They may also enhance our innate anti-cancer mechanisms and work additively or synergistically with conventional treatments.”
Dr. Sulak continues, “Based on my clinical experience, all patients with cancer can significantly benefit in some way from the appropriate use of cannabis and psilocybin. In the future, including these will be the standard of care; they both have safety profiles. While the research community is focused on the therapeutic effects in treating psychiatric conditions, Nicole’s case shows they impact physical conditions like cancer.”
This is the first time a breast cancer patient’s use of these therapies has been reported scientifically. The ground-breaking paper suggests that cancer-combatting treatments including Herceptin, Perjeta and Taxotere have been improved by Ms. DiMonda’s use of cannabinoids and psychedelics.
“Caution is absolutely key,” Rayyan Zafar from the Department of Brain Sciences, Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London. “Our team has not established any links between Nicole’s health and the treatment, but we are optimistic about new, safe, effective treatments. Clinical trials with psychedelic and cannabis medicines in late-stage cancer could help get them approved as legal therapies and it could well be a revolution in cancer treatment,” he says.
Jaime Brambila said, “Nicole's case study exemplifies a strategic polypharmaceutical approach to cancer. Cannabis is the quintessential example of a multipurpose integrative tool that stimulates a range of physiological functions,” he confirms.
“This therapeutic effect has potential in interventions for chronic disease. The anti-neoplastic effects of cannabinoids are stimulated when these compounds synergistically activate chemical receptors. The endocannabinoid system, discovered in the nineties, creates homeostatic balance,” said Dr. Dustin Sulak.
The researchers have agreed that one of the obstacles in working in this science area is the stigma around cannabis and psilocybin. These natural compounds are Schedule I substances that governments worldwide have designated as illegal. Fortunately, this is changing.
Mr. Brambila states that, “Our conclusions are based on Nicole's overwhelming outcome. We have identified our mission to bring these alternatives to everyone without restriction, and to do so, we must go through the appropriate channels of the drug approval route. We still do not have a way to accurately target this physiological system. However, patients cannot wait for the approval. We see the therapeutic potential for patients deciding to safely explore by themselves and sometimes in partnership with their physicians,” he said.
“The good news is that nature may hold the key to the combination of compounds we need to heal, modernizing a new era of better healthcare,” Mr. Brambila imagines.
To see the timeline for the study, Click here:
Nicole Di Monda, the patient studied in today’s paper says: “Cannabis and psilocybin saved my life as I was able to eat, sleep and function, and my nausea became almost non-existent. The beneficial effects gave me a way to recover with dignity and empowerment, which are everything. Understanding my options was the game changer because I was no longer a slave to my disease. Plant medicines gave me hope.”
The cannabis formulations used by Nicole were supplied by Grace Health & Wellness, Connecticut, who are now initiating a series of preclinical and clinical trials in the US to further investigate the drugs’ potential in treating breast cancer.
- In August 2018, 49-year-old Nicole DiMonda was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Following this diagnosis, a regimen of cannabis-based medicinal products was used to supplement her standardized chemotherapy and targeted therapy regimen, which involved the use of the drugs Herceptin, Perjeta and Taxotere.
- This course of treatment was successful and led to a reduction in her breast tumor mass of 50% by October 2018.
- After the patient’s cannabinoid regimen resumed, the psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy was introduced. This involved Nicole taking both micro (small, regular) and macro (large, less regular) doses of Psilocybin.
- By January 2019, there was no evidence of residual or recurrent disease as determined with an FDG-PET/CT scan, highlighting the possibility (in this first phase of treatment) that both psychedelics and cannabinoids were having a therapeutic adjunctive effect in the treatment of Nicole’s breast cancer.
- From January to September 2019, her doses of chemotherapy were halted, and cannabinoid and psychedelic-assisted therapy were sustained.
- No evidence of residual or recurrent disease were confirmed in September 2019 with a CT scan.
- Moving forward, the amount of cannabis being used by Nicole was reduced (being titrated back to 56% of the initial targeted dose) and her psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy was stopped.
- Then in June 2020, when there was evidence of recurrent disease, the team considered the possibility that withdrawal of cannabinoid and psychedelic therapies may have contributed to the return of Nicole’s cancer.
- Following this evidence of recurrent disease, both cannabis and psychedelics were reintroduced gradually beginning in June 2020. By October 2021, a new stabilization in Nicole’s condition was recorded.
- Both pre-clinical and observational research studies have further supported the disease-modifying capabilities of psychedelics and cannabinoids in therapeutically targeting breast cancer as well as other cancers.
- In addition, there are several lines of evidence to support the pharmacological effects of such compounds in preventing angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels), cell-proliferation and promote necessary apoptosis (natural cell-death) that could provide an understanding for the molecular mechanism by which these drugs fight cancer.
- These compounds have also shown considerable efficacy in controlled clinical research for a range of neuropsychiatric symptoms which often accompany a cancer diagnosis. These, in combination with potential disease-modifying activity, could provide additional therapeutic value to patients.
MEDIA INQUIRIES: For additional information or to schedule an interview with Jaime Brambila or Nicole DiMonda, please contact Amy Levy Public Relations or firstname.lastname@example.org or call (310) 444-5250.