The development and progression of cancer are associated with the dysregulation of multiple pathways involved in cell proliferation and survival, as well as dysfunction in redox balance, immune response, and inflammation. The master antioxidant pathway, known as the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) pathway, regulates the cellular defense against oxidative stress and inflammation, making it a promising cancer prevention and treatment target. Cannabinoids have demonstrated anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties, affecting signaling pathways, including Nrf2. Increased oxidative stress following exposure to anti-cancer therapy prompts cancer cells to activate antioxidant mechanisms. This indicates the dual effect of Nrf2 in cancer cells—influencing proliferation and apoptotic processes and protecting against the toxicity of anti-cancer therapy. Therefore, understanding the complex role of cannabinoids in modulating Nrf2 might shed light on its potential implementation as an anti-cancer support.
Prostate cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in men, responsible for over 375,000 deaths in 2020. Novel therapeutic strategies are needed to improve outcomes. Cannabinoids, chemical components of the cannabis plant, are a possible solution. Preclinical evidence demonstrates that cannabinoids can modulate several cancer hallmarks of many tumor types. However, the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in prostate cancer has not yet been fully explored. The aim of this study was to investigate the antiproliferative and anti-invasive properties of cannabidiol (CBD) in prostate cancer cells in vitro. CBD inhibited cell viability and proliferation, accompanied by reduced expression of key cell cycle proteins, specifically cyclin D3 and cyclin-dependent kinases CDK2, CDK4, and CDK1, and inhibition of AKT phosphorylation. The effects of CBD on cell viability were not blocked by cannabinoid receptor antagonists, a transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channel blocker, or an agonist of the G-protein-coupled receptor GPR55, suggesting that CBD acts independently of these targets in prostate cancer cells. Furthermore, CBD reduced the invasiveness of highly metastatic PC-3 cells and increased protein expression of E-cadherin. The ability of CBD to inhibit prostate cancer cell proliferation and invasiveness suggests that CBD may have potential as a future chemotherapeutic agent.
Cachexia-anorexia cancer syndrome remains an unmet clinical need with a dearth of treatment and no standard of care. Acting through the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids are one potential cancer cachexia treatment. Herein the potential mechanisms for cannabinoids for cancer cachexia are discussed as are previous and ongoing clinical trials.
The current standard-of-care treatment regimens for cancer frequently have serious and irreversible adverse effects. Ideally, therapeutic modalities should help control symptoms and improve the patient’s quality of life while causing minimal or no toxic effects. In this regard, it is worth examining cannabidiol (CBD) for its potential anticancer properties. CBD may possess antitumor activity through several mechanisms, including regulating reactive oxygen species, endoplasmic reticulum stress, inflammation, and immune modulation. In addition, pre-clinical studies indicate that CBD is a potential modulator of growth factors and induces apoptosis in tumor cells. This review summarizes the evidence regarding the effects of CBD as a non-toxic adjuvant in cancer care.
Abnormal energy metabolism, as one of the important hallmarks of cancer, was induced by multiple carcinogenic factors and tumor-specific microenvironments. It comprises aerobic glycolysis, de novo lipid biosynthesis, and glutamine-dependent anaplerosis. Considering that metabolic reprogramming provides various nutrients for tumor survival and development, it has been considered a potential target for cancer therapy. Cannabinoids have been shown to exhibit a variety of anticancer activities by unclear mechanisms. This paper first reviews the recent progress of related signaling pathways (reactive oxygen species (ROS), AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK), phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha (HIF-1α), and p53) mediating the reprogramming of cancer metabolism (including glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism, and amino acid metabolism). Then we comprehensively explore the latest discoveries and possible mechanisms of the anticancer effects of cannabinoids through the regulation of the above-mentioned related signaling pathways, to provide new targets and insights for cancer prevention and treatment.
Given the myriad of negative sequalae associated with cancer and its treatment, the palliative use of cannabis by cancer patients is increasingly of special interest. This research sought to explore associations of acute and sustained use of legal market edible cannabis products on pain, cognition, and quality of life in a group of cancer patients. In this observational study, cancer patients completed a baseline appointment, a two-week ad libitum cannabis use period, and an acute administration appointment that included assessments before cannabis use, one-hour post-use, and two-hour post-use. Participants completed self-report questionnaires related to the primary outcomes and the Stroop task as a measure of objective cognitive function.
The phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) is receiving increasing attention due to its pharmacological properties. Although CBD is extracted from Cannabis sativa, it lacks the psychoactive effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and has become an attractive compound for pharmacological uses due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticonvulsant, and anxiolytic potential. The molecular mechanisms involved in CBD’s biological effects are not limited to its interaction with classical cannabinoid receptors, exerting anti-inflammatory or pain-relief effects. Several pieces of evidence demonstrate that CBD interacts with other receptors and cellular signaling cascades, which further support CBD’s therapeutic potential beyond pain management. In this review, we take a closer look at the molecular mechanisms of CBD and its potential therapeutic application in the context of cancer, neurodegeneration, and autoimmune diseases.
The survival rate of head and neck cancer has only improved slightly over the last quarter century, raising the need for novel therapies to better treat this disease. This research examined the anti-tumor effects of 24 different types of cannabis extracts on head and neck cancer cells. Type III decarboxylated extracts with high levels of Cannabidiol (CBD) were the most effective in killing cancer cells. From these extracts, the specific active molecules were recognized. Combining CBD with Cannabichromene (CBC) in a 2:1 ratio made the effect even stronger. These findings can help doctors match cannabis extracts to treat head and neck cancer. CBD extracts enriched with the non-psychoactive CBC can offer patients more effective treatment. Further research is needed to develop new topical treatments from such extracts.
Medical cannabis is a rapidly growing area of medicine. In this sense, due to the numerous benefits associated with its use, it has been increasingly proposed for patients in palliative care, in which the improvement of debilitating symptoms is directly associated with better quality of life. However, due to the complexity of treatments for these individuals, further studies are needed to determine the best possible prescription for them.
Although vaping has recently increased as a mode of inhaling marijuana and has been associated with numerous and sometimes fatal cases of acute severe lung injury, smoking remains the most common method of inhaling marijuana and has been studied more extensively. Smoking marijuana has been shown to produce modest but significant short-term bronchodilation both in healthy subjects and in those with asthma. Long-term effects of habitual marijuana smoking include the following: (1) symptoms of chronic bronchitis (increased cough, sputum production, and wheezing); (2) modest effects on lung function in cross-sectional studies (no significant decrease in FEV1 but mild reductions in FEV1/forced vital capacity ratio, an increase in forced vital capacity and other lung volumes, reductions in specific airway conductance, and variable effects of maximal midexpiratory flow rates and diffusing capacity); and (3) variable effects on age-related decline in FEV1 in longitudinal studies. Most cohort and case-control studies have failed to show that marijuana smoking is a significant risk factor for lung cancer despite the presence of procarcinogenic components in marijuana smoke, although further study is warranted. The question whether marijuana smoking is associated with asthma is unclear and requires further investigation.
Cannabis sativa has long been known to affect numerous biological activities. Although plant extracts, purified cannabinoids, or synthetic cannabinoid analogs have shown therapeutic potential in pain, inflammation, seizure disorders, appetite stimulation, muscle spasticity, and treatment of nausea/vomiting, the underlying mechanisms of action remain ill-defined.
Some patients diagnosed with cancer use medical cannabis to self-manage undesirable symptoms, including nausea and pain. To improve patient safety and oncological care quality, the routes of administration for use of medical cannabis, patients’ reasons, and prescribed indications must be better understood.