Cannabis Biomolecule Effects on Cancer Cells and Cancer Stem Cells: Cytotoxic, Anti-Proliferative, and Anti-Migratory Activities

Cancer is a complex family of diseases affecting millions of people worldwide. Gliomas are primary brain tumors that account for ~80% of all malignant brain tumors. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common, invasive, and lethal subtype of glioma. Therapy resistance and intra-GBM tumoral heterogeneity are promoted by subpopulations of glioma stem cells (GSCs). Cannabis sativa produces hundreds of secondary metabolites, such as flavonoids, terpenes, and phytocannabinoids. Around 160 phytocannabinoids have been identified in C. sativa. Cannabis is commonly used to treat various medical conditions, and it is used in the palliative care of cancer patients. The anti-cancer properties of cannabis compounds include cytotoxic, anti-proliferative, and anti-migratory activities on cancer cells and cancer stem cells. The endocannabinoids system is widely distributed in the body, and its dysregulation is associated with different diseases, including various types of cancer. Anti-cancer activities of phytocannabinoids are mediated in glioma cells, at least partially, by the endocannabinoid receptors, triggering various cellular signaling pathways, including the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress pathway. Specific combinations of multiple phytocannabinoids act synergistically against cancer cells and may trigger different anti-cancer signaling pathways. Yet, due to scarcity of clinical trials, there remains no solid basis for the anti-cancer therapeutic potential of cannabis compounds.

Major Phytocannabinoids and Their Related Compounds: Should We Only Search for Drugs That Act on Cannabinoid Receptors?

The most important discoveries in pharmacology, such as certain classes of analgesics or chemotherapeutics, started from natural extracts which have been found to have effects in traditional medicine. Cannabis, traditionally used in Asia for the treatment of pain, nausea, spasms, sleep, depression, and low appetite, is still a good candidate for the development of new compounds. If initially all attention was directed to the endocannabinoid system, recent studies suggest that many of the clinically proven effects are based on an intrinsic chain of mechanisms that do not necessarily involve only cannabinoid receptors.

Cannabinoids in the landscape of cancer

Cannabinoids are a group of terpenophenolic compounds derived from the Cannabis sativa L. plant. There is a growing body of evidence from cell culture and animal studies in support of cannabinoids possessing anticancer properties.

Therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in combination cancer therapy

SCC member Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli identifies a coherent nomenclature for cannabis products (whether derived from Cannabis sativa L. or not). The paper was published in Drug Science, Policy and Law in December of 2020.

Cannabinoid-2 receptor limits inflammation, oxidative/nitrosative stress, and cell death in nephropathy

Authors: Partha Mukhopadhyaya, Mohanraj Rajesha, Hao Pan, Vivek Patel, Bani Mukhopadhyaya, Sándor Bátkai, Bin Gao, György Haskóc, Pál Pachera Published in Journal of Pain and Symptom Management February 2010 Abstract Cisplatin is an important chemotherapeutic agent; however, its nephrotoxicity limits its clinical use. Enhanced inflammatory response and oxidative/nitrosative stress seem to play a key role in…