A New Study Suggests Cannabis Could Treat Cervical Cancer

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“A new study suggests that cannabis might be useful in treating cervical cancer.

Through in vitro, or test tube/petri dish, analysis, researchers from the biochemistry department at North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa found that the non-psychotropic cannabinoid, or chemical compound, CBD (cannabidiol), taken from a Cannabis sativa extract, could hold anticarcinogenic properties. They pointed out that cannabis acted on the cancerous cells through apoptosis, or a process of cell death, causing only the cancerous cells to kill themselves, and inhibiting their growth.

Cervical cancer is no longer a leading cause of death as much as it used to be in the United States, thanks in large part to the widespread use of pap smears, but it’s still a widespread threat. And in Sub-Saharan Africa, it kills 250,000 women every year. “This makes it the most lethal cancer amongst black women and calls for urgent therapeutic strategies,” the study’s authors wrote in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal. “In this study we compare the anti-proliferative effects of crude extract of Cannabis sativa and its main compound cannabidiol on different cervical cancer cell lines.”

It will take much more research before cannabis can be integrated into official cervical cancer treatments in sub-Saharan Africa. But earlier studies also shows that cannabis has been useful in treating not only the symptoms of cancer and chemotherapy, but also the cancer itself.

One study from the journal of Current Clinical Pharmacology found that cannabis served as a preventative agent, reducing inflammation, which researchers also said was useful in reducing the likelihood of cancer. Another study from Oncology Hematology also noted cannabis’ anti-cancer effects, explaining how the plant’s cannabinoids inhibited tumor growth in vitro, such as in a petri dish or test tube, and in vivo, or a living organism.

A handful of other studies have also looked into cannabis as a treatment specifically for cervical cancer. Another from the University Hospital in Geneva, Switzerland, found that the cannabinoids, including the body’s own endocannabinoids, offered “attractive opportunities for the development of novel potent anticancer drugs.”

With that said, often medical marijuana is ingested via capsules, tinctures, vaporizable oils, and other non-smokeable, more pharmaceutical-style forms. Should cannabis eventually become approved for cervical cancer treatment in Africa, it may be up for debate whether whole plant therapy (in which all the cannabinoids work synergistically through the “entourage effect”) or specific cannabinoid therapy is best.”

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/a-new-study-suggests-cannabis-could-treat-cervical-cancer

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Cannabinoids Inhibit Glioma Cell Invasion by Down-regulating Matrix Metalloproteinase-2 Expression

Cancer Research: 68 (6)

“Cannabinoids, the active components of Cannabis sativa L. and their derivatives, inhibit tumor growth in laboratory animals by inducing apoptosis of tumor cells and impairing tumor angiogenesis.

It has also been reported that these compounds inhibit tumor cell spreading.

Here, we evaluated the effect of cannabinoids on matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) expression and its effect on tumor cell invasion.

Local administration of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major active ingredient of cannabis, down-regulated MMP-2 expression in gliomas generated in mice.

This cannabinoid-induced inhibition of MMP-2 expression in gliomas.

As MMP-2 up-regulation is associated with high progression and poor prognosis of gliomas and many other tumors, MMP-2 down-regulation constitutes a new hallmark of cannabinoid antitumoral activity.

As selective CB2 receptor activation to mice has been shown to inhibit the growth and angiogenesis of gliomas, skin carcinomas and melanomas, our observations further support the possibility of finding cannabinoid-based antitumoral strategies devoid of nondesired psychotropic side effects.”

http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/68/6/1945

 

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Phytocannabinoids: a unified critical inventory.

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“Cannabis sativa L. is a prolific, but not exclusive, producer of a diverse group of isoprenylated resorcinyl polyketides collectively known as phytocannabinoids.

The modular nature of the pathways that merge into the phytocannabinoid chemotype translates in differences in the nature of the resorcinyl side-chain and the degree of oligomerization of the isoprenyl residue, making the definition of phytocannabinoid elusive from a structural standpoint.

A biogenetic definition is therefore proposed, splitting the phytocannabinoid chemotype into an alkyl- and a β-aralklyl version, and discussing the relationships between phytocannabinoids from different sources (higher plants, liverworts, fungi).

The startling diversity of cannabis phytocannabinoids might be, at least in part, the result of non-enzymatic transformations induced by heat, light, and atmospheric oxygen on a limited set of major constituents (CBG, CBD, Δ9-THC and CBC and their corresponding acidic versions), whose degradation is detailed to emphasize this possibility.

The diversity of metabotropic (cannabinoid receptors), ionotropic (thermos-TRPs), and transcription factors (PPARs) targeted by phytocannabinoids is discussed. The integrated inventory of these compounds and their biological macromolecular end-points highlights the opportunities that phytocannabinoids offer to access desirable drug-like space beyond the one associated to the narcotic target CB1.”

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Cannabis: A Treasure Trove or Pandora’s Box?

 

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“Cannabis is one of the earliest cultivated plants.

Cannabis of industrial utility and culinary value is generally termed as hemp.

Conversely, cannabis that is bred for medical, spiritual and recreational purposes is called marijuana.

The female marijuana plant produces a significant quantity of bio- and psychoactive phytocannabinoids, which regained the spotlight with the discovery of the endocannabinoid system of the animals in the early 90’s.

Nevertheless, marijuana is surrounded by controversies, debates and misconceptions related to its taxonomic classification, forensic identification, medical potential, legalization and its long-term health consequences.

In the first part, we provide an in-depth review of the botany and taxonomy of Cannabis. We then overview the biosynthesis of phytocannabinoids within the glandular trichomes with emphasis on the role of peculiar plastids in the production of the secreted material. We also compile the analytical methods used to determine the phytocannabinoid composition of glandular trichomes.

In the second part, we revisit the psychobiology and molecular medicine of marijuana. We summarize our current knowledge on the recreational use of cannabis with respect to the modes of consumption, short-term effects, chronic health consequences and cannabis use disorder.

Next, we overview the molecular targets of a dozen major and minor bioactive cannabinoids in the body. This helps us introduce the endocannabinoid system in an unprecedented detail: its up-to-date molecular biology, pharmacology, physiology and medical significance, and beyond.

In conclusion, we offer an unbiased survey about cannabis to help better weigh its medical value versus the associated risks.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27719666

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Effect of medical cannabis on thermal quantitative measurements of pain in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

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“Cannabis can alleviate pain of various etiologies.

This study assessed the effect of cannabis on motor symptoms and pain parameters in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

CONCLUSIONS:

Cannabis improved motor scores and pain symptoms in PD patients, together with a dissociate effect on heat and cold pain thresholds. Peripheral and central pathways are probably modulated by cannabis.

SIGNIFICANCE:

Quantitative sensory test results are significantly altered following cannabis consumption in patients with PD. Cannabis probably acts on pain in PD via peripheral and central pathways.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27723182

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Therapeutic Potential of Non-Psychotropic Cannabidiol in Ischemic Stroke.

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“Cannabis contains the psychoactive component delta⁸-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta⁸-THC), and the non-psychoactive components cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol, and cannabigerol.

It is well-known that delta⁸-THC and other cannabinoid CB₁ receptor agonists are neuroprotective during global and focal ischemic injury.

Additionally, delta⁸-THC also mediates psychological effects through the activation of the CB₁ receptor in the central nervous system.

In addition to the CB₁ receptor agonists, cannabis also contains therapeutically active components which are CB₁ receptor independent.

Of the CB₁ receptor-independent cannabis, the most important is CBD.

In the past five years, an increasing number of publications have focused on the discovery of the anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and neuroprotective effects of CBD.

In particular, CBD exerts positive pharmacological effects in ischemic stroke and other chronic diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

The cerebroprotective action of CBD is CB₁ receptor-independent, long-lasting, and has potent anti-oxidant activity. Importantly, CBD use does not lead to tolerance.

In this review, we will discuss the therapeutic possibility of CBD as a cerebroprotective agent, highlighting recent pharmacological advances, novel mechanisms, and therapeutic time window of CBD in ischemic stroke.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27713349

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Tissue Engineering of Cartilage; Can Cannabinoids Help?

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“This review discusses the role of the cannabinoid system in cartilage tissue and endeavors to establish if targeting the cannabinoid system has potential in mesenchymal stem cell based tissue-engineered cartilage repair strategies.

The review discusses the potential of cannabinoids to protect against the degradation of cartilage in inflamed arthritic joints and the influence of cannabinoids on the chondrocyte precursors, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).

We provide experimental evidence to show that activation of the cannabinoid system enhances the survival, migration and chondrogenic differentiation of MSCs, which are three major tenets behind the success of a cell-based tissue-engineered cartilage repair strategy.

These findings highlight the potential for cannabinoids to provide a dual function by acting as anti-inflammatory agents as well as regulators of MSC biology in order to enhance tissue engineering strategies aimed at cartilage repair.”

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Mechanisms of Broad-Spectrum Antiemetic Efficacy of Cannabinoids against Chemotherapy-Induced Acute and Delayed Vomiting.

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“Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) is a complex pathophysiological condition and consists of two phases.

The conventional CINV neurotransmitter hypothesis suggests that the immediate phase is mainly due to release of serotonin (5-HT) from the enterochromaffin cells in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), while the delayed phase is a consequence of release of substance P (SP) in the brainstem. However, more recent findings argue against this simplistic neurotransmitter and anatomical view of CINV.

Revision of the hypothesis advocates a more complex, differential and overlapping involvement of several emetic neurotransmitters/modulators (e.g. dopamine, serotonin, substance P, prostaglandins and related arachidonic acid derived metabolites) in both phases of emesis occurring concomitantly in the brainstem and in the GIT enteric nervous system (ENS).

No single antiemetic is currently available to completely prevent both phases of CINV.

The standard antiemetic regimens include a 5-HT₃ antagonist plus dexamethasone for the prevention of acute emetic phase, combined with an NK1 receptor antagonist (e.g. aprepitant) for the delayed phase. Although NK1 antagonists behave in animals as broad-spectrum antiemetics against different emetogens including cisplatin-induced acute and delayed vomiting, by themselves they are not very effective against CINV in cancer patients.

Cannabinoids such as D⁸-THC also behave as broad-spectrum antiemetics against diverse emetic stimuli as well as being effective against both phases of CINV in animals and patients.

Potential side effects may limit the clinical utility of direct-acting cannabinoid agonists which could be avoided by the use of corresponding indirect-acting agonists.

Cannabinoids (both phyto-derived and synthetic) behave as agonist antiemetics via the activation of cannabinoid CB₁ receptors in both the brainstem and the ENS emetic loci.

An endocannabinoid antiemetic tone may exist since inverse CB₁ agonists (but not the corresponding silent antagonists) cause nausea and vomiting.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27713384

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Dendritic Cell Regulation by Cannabinoid-Based Drugs.

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“Cannabinoid pharmacology has made important advances in recent years after the cannabinoid system was discovered.

Studies in experimental models and in humans have produced promising results using cannabinoid-based drugs for the treatment of obesity and cancer, as well as neuroinflammatory and chronic inflammatory diseases.

Moreover, as we discuss here, additional studies also indicates that these drugs have immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties including modulation of immune cell function.

Thus, manipulation of the endocannabinoid system in vivo may provide novel therapeutic strategies against inflammatory disorders.

At least two types of cannabinoid receptors, cannabinoid 1 and cannabinoid 2 receptors are expressed on immune cells such as dendritic cells (DC). Dendritic cells are recognized for their critical role in initiating and maintaining immune responses.

Therefore, DC are potential targets for cannabinoid-mediated modulation.

Here, we review the effects of cannabinoids on DC and provide some perspective concerning the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for the treatment of human diseases involving aberrant inflammatory processes.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27713374

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Cannabinoids and Dementia: A Review of Clinical and Preclinical Data.

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“The endocannabinoid system has been shown to be associated with neurodegenerative diseases and dementia.

We review the preclinical and clinical data on cannabinoids and four neurodegenerative diseases: Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Huntington’s disease (HD), Parkinson’s disease (PD) and vascular dementia (VD).

Numerous studies have demonstrated an involvement of the cannabinoid system in neurotransmission, neuropathology and neurobiology of dementias. In addition, several candidate compounds have demonstrated efficacy in vitro.

However, some of the substances produced inconclusive results in vivo. Therefore, only few trials have aimed to replicate the effects seen in animal studies in patients. Indeed, the literature on cannabinoid administration in patients is scarce.

While preclinical findings suggest causal treatment strategies involving cannabinoids, clinical trials have only assessed the suitability of cannabinoid receptor agonists, antagonists and cannabidiol for the symptomatic treatment of dementia.

Further research is needed, including in vivo models of dementia and human studies.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27713372

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