Burkhard Hinz, Robert Ramer

Published in British Journal of Pharmacology

May 2019



The endocannabinoid system has emerged as an important target for the treatment of many diverse diseases. In addition to the well-established palliative effects of cannabinoids in cancer therapy, phytocannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoid compounds and inhibitors of endocannabinoid degradation have attracted attention as possible systemic anticancer drugs. Results emerging from preclinical studies suggest cannabinoids elicit effects at different levels of cancer progression, including inhibition of proliferation, neovascularization, invasion and chemoresistance, induction of apoptosis and autophagy as well as enhancement of tumour immune surveillance. Although the clinical use of cannabinoid receptor ligands is limited by their psychoactivity, non-psychoactive compounds, such as cannabidiol, have gained attention due to preclinically established anticancer properties and a favourable risk-to-benefit profile. Thus, cannabinoids may complement the currently used collection of chemotherapeutic agents, as a broadly diversified option for cancer treatment, while counteracting some of their severe side effects.


DOI: 10.1111/bph.14426

This article has a delayed release (embargo) and will be available in PMC on May 1, 2020.


Hinz B, Ramer R. Anti-tumour actions of cannabinoids. Br J Pharmacol. 2019;176(10):1384-1394. doi:10.1111/bph.14426