A pilot clinical study of D9-tetrahydrocannabinol in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme.

The purpose of this study was to determine the safety of intracranial THC administration and the anti-tumor effects. This study wanted to determine the length of survival on various tumor cells (glioblastoma type cancer) in people with active, malignant (spreading) brain tumors, whom were given a terminal diagnosis.  

This was the first human glioblastoma clinical trial and consisted of 9 patients (4 men, 5 women). All patients had previously tried standard therapies with minimal success, including surgeries, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.  Patients underwent physical, neurological, and biochemical examinations and frequent FMRI and other brain scans for the detection of toxicity (i.e., hemorrhaging, injury, tumor progression).  Patients underwent surgery to create a cavity in the brain tumor for the intracranial administration. 

Biopsies were taken to confirm Glioblastoma diagnosis of the 9 patients.  A period of 3 to 6 days after the biopsy surgery patients started receiving daily THC ethanol-saline solution through a syringe directly into the tumor/brain cavity (created for the biopsy) for a total of anywhere between 10 to 30 days. Overall, the initial dose of THC administered to the patients was 20–40 mg at day 1, increasing progressively for 2–5 days up to 80–180 mg per day.


This study concluded that THC delivery through intracranial administration was safe and could be achieved without overt psychoactive effects. Different patients had different results, however, overall the study found that THC had tumor growth-inhibiting action and anti-tumor-cell proliferation.  In several patients, THC also decreased tumor vascularization/blood flow to a degree.

Article Authors: M Guzman, MJ Duarte, C Blazquez, J Ravina, MC Rosa, I Galve-Roperh, C Sanchez, G Velasco and L Gonzalez-Feria

Article Link: http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v95/n2/pdf/6603236a.pdf