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Studies have shown that cannabis contains a non-toxic, non-psychoactive compound that may block the progress of metastatic breast cancer.

Researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco say the compound, called cannabidiol (CBD), was used in lab tests to inhibit activity in the gene believed to be responsible for driving the growth of cancer cells.

That gene, Id-1, helps drive embryonic growth in humans, but after birth it is only found in metastatic cancer cells, said lead researcher Sean D. McAllister, an associate scientist at the center. The group has been searching for a way to “turn them off,” McAllister said, and according to the results of their study — which was published in the November 2007 issue of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, CBD does exactly that.

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