Cannabis Extracts on Glioblastoma Cell Lines: Chemical Composition and Pharmacologic Insights


Ashraf Duzan, BPharm, MSc, PhD Candidate, Mufeed M. Basti, PhD, Waldemar Debinski, MD, PhD


October 31, 2023


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), also called grade IV astrocytoma, is an aggressive, malignant brain tumor with a low treatment success rate, particularly in patients with immune checkpoint-active tumors. These types of tumors are associated with a 5-year survival rate of <3%. Targeted treatments specifically designed for GBM are urgently needed. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of chemovar-specific cannabis extractions (CSCEs) in patients with GBM using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS).

The CSCEs were obtained with polar solvents and analyzed using LC-MS in patients with GBM. The complex nature of cannabis compounds has hindered the personalization of standard cannabis medicines for GBM due to the unknown synergistic effects of multiple compounds. To address this challenge, the present study focused on exposing U570 brain tumor cells to chemovar fractions extracted using polar (upper layer) and nonpolar (lower layer) solvents.

Our approach permitted the isolation of a broader spectrum of constituents present in the cannabis extract. Using LC-MS in conjunction with nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, we identified and quantified 11 cannabinoid compounds present in the polar CSCE that individually exhibit significant efficacy in inducing cell death in GBM tumor cells. Conversely, the polar fraction in our experiment did not demonstrate efficacy against U570 cells.

The ability to quantify individual compounds within a cannabis extract that selectively induces cell death in brain tumors holds promise for future research and the potential development of standardized therapy for patients with GBM.



Basti, M. M., & Debinski, W. Cannabis Extracts on Glioblastoma Cell Lines: Chemical Composition and Pharmacologic Insights.