Edit 2: Thanks all for continuing to leave comments and questions. I will answer a select few over the next few days, and if there is enough interest, I will with the ICVI do this again!

Edit: Thanks everyone for all the questions. That's me signing out.

I am Wai Liu, a British cancer researcher at St George's University of London. I am funded by a small charity www.icvi.org.uk. I have over twenty years of experience in cancer research, and one of my specialisms is the use of cannabinoids to treat cancer. I am a key opinion leader on cannabinoid research and am regularly contacted by the media for my opinions on the subject. Ask me anything!

Proof: https://imgur.com/a/g5Yb8xk

Comments: 355 • Responses: 21  • Date: 

Dinozavri164 karma

well, is there?

DrWaiLiu152 karma


Dinozavri-102 karma

if you still can't answer than in 20 years, what's the point of your research? possibly yes, possibly no?

DrWaiLiu57 karma

True. However, it's not a simple yes or no question - these chemical may not defeat cancer on their own, but useful to enhance the actions of other drugs.

rockinghamnapier76 karma

How does cannabis target cancer?

DrWaiLiu172 karma

There are certain ingredients in cannabis that can influence the way cancer cells grow and develop by impacting proteins that drive these processes. There is increasing data to show cannabinoids are capable of disrupting some of these that drive cancer, as well as boosting others that are required to elicit an anticancer effect.

Sturdy_legs3 karma

What are these pathways and can they be achieved by natural remedies like a diet that reduces inflammation or exercise which is known to active the endocannabinoid system?

DrWaiLiu6 karma

The main pathways that have been shown to be impacted by cannabinoids are the MAPK and PI3K/AKT cascades. Depending on which cells are affected, results can differ; for example, hitting these in certain cancer cells can result in them becoming more likely to die following chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

There are some natural agents that affect these pathways, but the complexoty is that these cascades have many parts. The difficulty is ensuring the right ones are affected.

Johnlycettgreen666_34 karma

What is the "endo cannabinoid system" and what role does that play in immune responses and creating environment for apoptosis?

DrWaiLiu54 karma

The endocannabonoid system is a series of receptors and chemicals within the body that is involved with a variety of processes including pain relief, stress response etc. There are links between them and immunity and apoptosis. This is the reason why there may be a link between phytocannabinoids/cannabis and immunity, which means they can impact certain diseases.

minnesotamoon15 karma

Why do you think our bodies have an entire cannabinoid system when most people aren’t even exposed to them. Also, does it seem that many other benefits have been discovered outside of cancer, in recent years?

DrWaiLiu29 karma

Good point. It is actually a case that the chemicals in plants (more precise term should be phytocannabinoids) mimic the endocannabinoids in the body. So the reason why plant-cannabionoids have an effect in the body is because they happen to look like the human-cannabinoid.

Carbeechbaby13 karma

What is the difference between cannabis and cannabinoids?

DrWaiLiu27 karma

That is a good question. Cannabinoids are a group of chemicals that have been extracted from plants such as cannabis and hemp. Some have biological activity such as CBD and CBG. Whilst cannabis is the the plant that contains a variety of chemicals, including cannabinoids.

prinnydewd611 karma

Can smoking weed give you lung cancer..?

DrWaiLiu9 karma

Possibly - when people smoke cannabis they mix it with tobacco and unfiltered. This would not be ideal. But I suppose irritation of the lungs may also cause issues, especially those predisposed to cancer.

Johnlycettgreen666_10 karma

Have you found "Whole plant" extracts more beneficial at causing apoptosis then isolated cannabinoids?

DrWaiLiu30 karma

Hi John, insightful question! Whole plant extracts contain more chemicals than individual cannabinoids, and so would more likely have a bigger range of effects. Some of these chemicals are known to interact with each other and by doing so generate stronger effects. The flip would be these chemicals could interfere with each other, which is why I have focused on examining the effects individually first. But as for a specific effect on apoptosis - the process by which some cancer cells can die - I and others have shown mixing different cannabinoids may result in a greater effect compared to using them individually.

Nitemarex6 karma

Is there a role for cannabinoids in the treatment of cancer?

DrWaiLiu14 karma

Great potential I believe - it can cause certain cancer cells to undergo death, and it is also able to make cancer cells more sensitive to other treatments.

Clinical trials once and for all to prove one way of the other?

kretek906 karma

What exactly is CBG and why does it seem like it’s all the rage at the weed shops lately?

DrWaiLiu5 karma

CBG is an example of another chemical that can be extracted from the cannabis plant. The latest idea is that they have biological activity that may be useful therapeutically. People are beginning to see this and so has attracted the attention of as you have said "cannabis establishments"

Gl4ssjaw6 karma

With your extensive knowledge of the research what are the risks of using cannabis longterm ?

DrWaiLiu14 karma

Slightly out of my area of expertise; I am work mainly with the individual cannabinoids. Cannabis the plant has a variety of chemicals, the effects of some are unknown. How they interact with the body long-term is unclear. Sorry I cannot be more helpful.

According_Set_68233 karma

Hi, what is your view on the use of canniboids for pain relief for cancer sufferers?

DrWaiLiu5 karma

I feel that in some cases if cannabinoids work for a person suffering pain, I will not be one to preach they should not be using it. I would only say care is needed if other drugs are used at the same time, as the cannabinoid may interfere with it.

There was a study I recall reading a study that reviewed a number of trials, which suggested cannabinoids had no significant effect on pain relief.

Dubba_V3 karma

which strain do you get your cannabinoids from?

thank you for your time, doctor !

DrWaiLiu8 karma

The cannabinoids I use are purified. Their principal source can vary and have been from hemp and also from cannabis. I am unaware of the specific strain of cannabis though.

thedudeintx822 karma

Are there any particular cancers your research is focusing on? My wife has stage IV breast cancer and would like to hear if you're research could potentially help her out.

Thanks for doing this and for your research.

DrWaiLiu2 karma

Most of the work has focused on cancers of the brain and leukaemias/ This is possibly because these cancers express proteins on their surfaces to which cannabinoids can bind and work.

There have been lots of reports of activity with breast cancer, and work has also proceeded down this route. Please feel free to contact me directly. My email address will be found on the St George's University of London website. Alternatively, please reach out via the ICVI charity.

Johnlycettgreen666_2 karma

If the full plant profile of a cannabis plant cannot be made into identical doses each time, how do you see the introduction of cannabis oils into the UK pharmacy?

DrWaiLiu7 karma

Cannabis oils from plants and the different breeds will have "unique" mixtures of chemicals that you have rightly said will be difficult to replicate. If the aim is to produce an oil that can be used as a therapy, I guess the safety profile would need to be established. As part of this, would you want to know how safe every chemical was? Probably, in which case it would be difficult to assess a complex cannabis oil.

lmfj37371 karma

What is your opinion on consuming cannabinoids raw? As in juicing all plant parts using a a manual juicer not electric as to avoid heat damage.

DrWaiLiu3 karma

Cannabis plants that are juiced and damaged in a variety of ways can alter the chemicals within the plant. It can be difficult to know what is being taken in to the body. I suppose this is why I am keen initially to study the individual chemicals.

rockinghamnapier1 karma

What is the point in pursuing the use of any cannabis based treatments when the BMA and doctors in general do not accept its use in other medical conditions where it has been demonstrated to be effective?

DrWaiLiu7 karma

The pre-clinical data suggests some value, and it is this "blue sky research" that generates new treatments. The issue with cannabis-based treatments is the association with the recreational drug. If a chemical was discovered that was shown to induce cell death in cancer cells, able to enhance the action of other chemotherapy drugs, and also able to boost immunity, would there be a clamour to study it in more depth? I think so. However, if I said it was extracted from cannabis, how would people feel then? That is the problem, separating out two interlinked issues. Very difficult...

ob3s1 karma

is it possible to combine the mrna vaccine with cannabinoids to treat cancer? as far as i know, cancer treatment was the initial goal of these vaccines but how about combine it with cannabinoids...


DrWaiLiu9 karma

Hi, for vaccines to generate an immune response and virus memory, as collection of cells needs to be communicating with each other effectively. Cannabinoids have been known to improve the immune system and so there could be a benefit. However, the effect the cannabinoids have on mRNA vaccines specifically assessed.

heephap1 karma

As a regular cannabis user, would this confer me some kind of protection against cancer?

DrWaiLiu17 karma

Cannabinoids seems to work by targeting tumour cells directly or by modifying the immune system to make the body more likely to target cancer. In both cases, using cannabinoids/cannabis as a preventative would have little effect, as there would be nothing there to target. There is also the issue of chronic use of cannabis that could cause other issues to consider.

bangoslam2 karma

Perhaps there is nothing to target because the regular usage immediately stops any tumor cells that do emerge from multiplying and therefore tumor cells are never detected because they were eliminated so quickly?

DrWaiLiu5 karma

Possibly, but the danger is the long-term use may stimulate the immune system chronically, which is a way that cancers can develop. Difficult one.