Preclinical evidence on the anticancer properties of phytocannabinoids

Image result for CROSBI“Phytocannabinoids are unique terpenophenolic compounds predominantly produced in the glandular trichomes of the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa L.). The delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main active constituent responsible for the plant’s psychoactive effect and, together with the non- psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD), the most investigated naturally occurring cannabinoid.

The first report on the antitumor properties of cannabis compounds appeared more than forty years ago, but the potential of targeting the endocannabinoid system in cancer has recently attracted increasing interest. Our study aimed to review the last decade’s findings on the anticancer potential of plant- derived cannabinoids and the possible mechanisms of their activity.

A large body of in vitro data has been accumulated demonstrating that phytocannabinoids affect a wide spectrum of tumor cells, including gliomas, neuroblastomas, hepatocarcinoma as well as skin, prostate, breast, cervical, colon, pancreatic, lung and hematological cancer.

It has been found that they can stop the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells through the cell-cycle arrest, inhibition of cell proliferation and induction of autophagy and apoptosis. They can also block all the steps of tumor progression, including tumor cell migration, adhesion and invasion as well as angiogenesis. The observed effects are mainly mediated by the cannabinoid CB1 and/or CB2 receptors, although some other receptors and mechanisms unrelated to receptor stimulation may also be involved.

The majority of available animal studies confirmed that phytocannabinoids are capable of effectively decreasing cancer growth and metastasis in vivo. THC was found to be effective against experimental glioma, liver, pancreatic, breast and lung cancer while CBD showed activity against glioma and neuroblastoma, melanoma, colon, breast, prostate and lung cancer. Further in vitro and in vivo studies also greatly support their use in combination with traditional chemotherapy or radiotherapy, which results in improved efficiency, attenuated toxicity or reduced drug resistance.

Taken together most of available preclinical results emphasize the extensive therapeutic potential of THC and CBD in various types of cancers. The potential clinical interest of cannabinoids is additionally suggested by their selectivity for tumor cells as well as their good tolerance and the absence of normal tissue toxicity, which are still the major limitations of most conventional drugs. The accumulated preclinical evidence strongly suggests the need for clinical testing of cannabinoids in cancer patients.”

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Olivia Newton John says medicinal cannabis is key to her cancer recovery

“Olivia Newton-John says medicinal marijuana is a key part of her treatment for stage four cancer. In an exclusive interview with 60 Minutes reporter Liz Hayes, Newton-John says that not only has cannabis assisted with her pain management, sleep and anxiety – but it’s having affects on her physical health too. “I’m incredibly pro cannabis,” she told Liz Hayes. “If I don’t take the cannabis, I can feel the pain so I know it’s working.”

 “Newton-John is maintaining her health with a combination of conventional and alternative medicines and remedies. But her husband of ten years, John Easterling, says he’s confident medicinal cannabis is contributing significantly to maintaining her health.
Easterling, who spent years cultivating herbs from the Amazon, has long held a strong belief in the medicinal power of plants. In a greenhouse at the Santa Barbara ranch the couple share in California, he grows various strains of cannabis that he uses to help treat his wife. “Cannabis can be used for so many things,” he told Hayes. “I don’t use the word cure…. but I’m confident. We had MRIs showing a lesser number of tumours, and the majority of the other ones are shrinking.”
 “Now a cannabis convert, Newton-John is joining the fight for medicinal cannabis to be legalised. She and Easterling want Australians to have greater access to the plant, like they do in their home state of California – where both medicinal and recreational cannabis is legal.  She’s also hoping to break down the stigma surrounding cannabis use.
“It’s not a drug, it’s a herb and a plant,” she told Hayes. “I think when people use the word drug, it’s a misconception as to what it is and it gets people thinking, ‘oh it’s just another drug’, but it’s not.” Doctors at the Olivia Newton-John Research Institute will conduct a clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis later this year.”
 
 “EXCLUSIVE: Olivia Newton-John and Chloe Lattanzi emotional interview | 60 Minutes Australia” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJtPgpedcFo&feature=share

“Olivia Newton-John: ‘Medicinal cannabis enhanced my quality of life’.  For this special 60 Minutes report, Olivia Newton-John tells Liz Hayes that despite her latest diagnosis she was “getting strong again” and that her quality of life had been greatly enhanced by medicinal cannabis, grown for her by her husband John. Olivia and John are strong believers in the power of plants particularly cannabis. “I really believe the cannabis has made a huge difference,” says Olivia. “I’m confident,” John concurs. Olivia, John and Chloe are now cannabis converts, and now want medicinal cannabis legalised as an alternative treatment in Australia.” https://www.9news.com.au/national/olivia-newton-john-60-minutes-medical-cannabis-advocate-after-cancer-treatment-news/da315271-7387-47e0-a14e-c7fbb9a4b18b

“I have to credit again my wonderful husband because he gives me Cannabis oil that he makes for me, grows the plants here. We’re so lucky in California that we can grow our own, and so he’s made me these incredible tinctures that help with my pain and with sleep, and everything.” https://www.today.com/video/watch-olivia-newton-john-s-full-interview-with-natalie-morales-1455610947796

 Olivia Newton-John: “The choices of your treatment is a very personal thing. I can’t tell anyone else what they should do. I’d like to tell you all something that I did that people should know about. I’ve mixed traditional medicine and herbal medicine and homoeopathic medicine and a lot of mind-body spiritual focus. Staying positive and believing I can get well is really important. I’m very fortunate that I have a husband who’s a plant medicine man who helps me with herbs and medicinal cannabis, it’s been a huge part of my journey. I weaned myself off morphine with cannabis and I just want people to know that that is possible and it’s not going to kill you. If we can start teaching people that cannabis can help keep the pain away and not kill you, that’s an important message to get out there. I want to see an end to cancer in my lifetime. I’ve had three bouts with cancer. I am living with it well, and I think I’m going to see an end of it. And that’s my dream, that it will be gone.” https://www.image.ie/life/olivia-newton-john-shares-her-advice-for-women-with-cancer-154470
 “”I want to see an end to cancer in my lifetime. And if it could be through cannabis, or helping people with cannabis, the patients, particularly who are in pain, that’s my goal. I want everyone to have access to this amazing plant”” https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=269501097009373
 ““I truly believe medicinal cannabis will play a huge part in defeating cancer.”“I absolutely believe all patients should have the right to try. It is a matter of common-sense and it is a compassionate thing to do for people,” she said,” https://starinvesting.com.au/medicinal-cannabis-to-play-huge-role-in-beating-cancer-olivia-newton-john/
Olivia Newton-John reveals she’s using marijuana grown by her husband to fight cancer – and says reports she was on death’s door hurt her deeply. Australian singing sensation Olivia Newton-John says she has been using marijuana grown by her husband to help her through her cancer battle. ‘I really believe the cannabis has made a huge difference,'”
“‘It Has Helped Incredibly’. It’s an amazing plant, a maligned plant, but it’s helping so many people.”” https://www.inquisitr.com/5330159/home-grown-cannabis-is-helping-olivia-newton-john-amid-cancer-battle-it-has-helped-incredibly/
“Olivia Newton-John says she uses cannabis to treat her stage 4 breast cancer… and her husband grows it at home” https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-6782847/Olivia-Newton-John-uses-cannabis-treat-stage-4-breast-cancer.html
““I’m Living With Cancer and It’s Going Away!” Olivia Newton John Declares That Her Body is “Winning” Against Stage 4 Cancer” https://www.survivornet.com/articles/im-living-with-cancer-and-its-going-away-olivia-newton-john-declares-that-her-body-is-winning-against-stage-4-cancer/
“Mainstream media has reported that the cannabis tincture she takes helps with pain, but Amazon John Easterling eagerly expounds on its many healing properties, including the potential to cause cancer cell death. “Cannabis initiates a number of healing responses that can result in apoptosis, cancer cell death—while healing and strengthening the body,” he detailed. His focus is on the plant as chemovar, a more scientific approach to looking at the many compounds, via terpene and cannabinoid extraction from the whole plant to treat the cancer and the entire body, building the immune system so it can aid in fighting the disease.“ https://culturemagazine.com/olivia-newton-john-and-john-easterling/
“Medicinal cannabis is a big part of my recovery. I’m living proof that it works. It’s a healing herb.” https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1580591005362546
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The heterogeneity and complexity of Cannabis extracts as antitumor agents

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“The Cannabis plant contains over 100 phytocannabinoids and hundreds of other components. The biological effects and interplay of these Cannabis compounds are not fully understood and yet influence the plant’s therapeutic effects.

Here we assessed the antitumor effects of whole Cannabis extracts, which contained significant amounts of differing phytocannabinoids, on different cancer lines from various tumor origins.

Our results show that specific Cannabis extracts impaired the survival and proliferation of cancer cell lines as well as induced apoptosis.

Our findings showed that pure (-)-Δ9trans-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) did not produce the same effects on these cell lines as the whole Cannabis extracts. Furthermore, Cannabis extracts with similar amounts of Δ9-THC produced significantly different effects on the survival of specific cancer cells.

In addition, we demonstrated that specific Cannabis extracts may selectively and differentially affect cancer cells and differing cancer cell lines from the same organ origin. We also found that cannabimimetic receptors were differentially expressed among various cancer cell lines and suggest that this receptor diversity may contribute to the heterogeneous effects produced by the differing Cannabis extracts on each cell line.

Our overall findings indicate that the effect of a Cannabis extract on a specific cancer cell line relies on the extract’s composition as well as on certain characteristics of the targeted cells.”

http://www.oncotarget.com/index.php?journal=oncotarget&page=article&op=view&path[]=26983

“Many previous reports highlight and demonstrate the anti-tumor effects of cannabinoids. In the last decade, accumulating evidence has indicated that phytocannabinoids might have antitumor properties. A number of in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated the effects of phytocannabinoids on tumor progression by interrupting several characteristic features of cancer. These studies suggest that specific cannabinoids such as Δ9-THC and CBD induce apoptosis and inhibit proliferation in various cancer cell lines.”

http://www.oncotarget.com/index.php?journal=oncotarget&page=article&op=view&path%5B%5D=26983&path%5B%5D=85698

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Antitumor Cannabinoid Chemotypes: Structural Insights.

Image result for frontiers in pharmacology“Cannabis has long been known to limit or prevent nausea and vomiting, lack of appetite, and pain. For this reason, cannabinoids have been successfully used in the treatment of some of the unwanted side effects caused by cancer chemotherapy.

Besides their palliative effects, research from the past two decades has demonstrated their promising potential as antitumor agents in a wide variety of tumors.

Cannabinoids of endogenous, phytogenic, and synthetic nature have been shown to impact the proliferation of cancer through the modulation of different proteins involved in the endocannabinoid system such as the G protein-coupled receptors CB1, CB2, and GRP55, the ionotropic receptor TRPV1, or the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH).

In this article, we aim to structurally classify the antitumor cannabinoid chemotypes described so far according to their targets and types of cancer. In a drug discovery approach, their in silico pharmacokinetic profile has been evaluated in order to identify appropriate drug-like profiles, which should be taken into account for further progress toward the clinic.

This analysis may provide structural insights into the selection of specific cannabinoid scaffolds for the development of antitumor drugs for the treatment of particular types of cancer.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31214034

“The first report on the antitumor activity of phytocannabinoids was published over four decades ago. During these last years, significant research has been focused on the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids to manage palliative effects in cancer patients. Besides such palliative applications, some cannabinoids have shown anticancer properties. Since inflammation is a common risk factor for cancer, and some cannabinoids have shown anti-inflammatory properties, they could play a role in chemoprevention.” https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2019.00621/full
“Antitumor effects of THC.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11097557
“Antitumor effects of cannabidiol” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14617682
“Anti-tumour actions of cannabinoids.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30019449
“Extensive preclinical research has demonstrated that cannabinoids, the active ingredients of Cannabis sativa, trigger antitumor responses in different models of cancer.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29940172
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Should Oncologists Recommend Cannabis?

“Cannabis is a useful botanical with a wide range of therapeutic potential. Global prohibition over the past century has impeded the ability to study the plant as medicine. However, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been developed as a stand-alone pharmaceutical initially approved for the treatment of chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting in 1986. The indication was expanded in 1992 to include treatment of anorexia in patients with the AIDS wasting syndrome. Hence, if the dominant cannabinoid is available as a schedule III prescription medication, it would seem logical that the parent botanical would likely have similar therapeutic benefits. The system of cannabinoid receptors and endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) has likely developed to help us modulate our response to noxious stimuli. Phytocannabinoids also complex with these receptors, and the analgesic effects of cannabis are perhaps the best supported by clinical evidence. Cannabis and its constituents have also been reported to be useful in assisting with sleep, mood, and anxiety. Despite significant in vitro and animal model evidence supporting the anti-cancer activity of individual cannabinoids-particularly THC and cannabidiol (CBD)-clinical evidence is absent. A single intervention that can assist with nausea, appetite, pain, mood, and sleep is certainly a valuable addition to the palliative care armamentarium. Although many healthcare providers advise against the inhalation of a botanical as a twenty-first century drug-delivery system, evidence for serious harmful effects of cannabis inhalation is scant and a variety of other methods of ingestion are currently available from dispensaries in locales where patients have access to medicinal cannabis. Oncologists and palliative care providers should recommend this botanical remedy to their patients to gain first-hand evidence of its therapeutic potential despite the paucity of results from randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials to appreciate that it is both safe and effective and really does not require a package insert.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31161270

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11864-019-0659-9

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Modulation of the Endocannabinoid System as a Potential Anticancer Strategy.

 Image result for frontiers in pharmacology“Currently, the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in cancer development and possible options for a cancer-regressive effect of cannabinoids are controversially discussed. In recent decades, a number of preclinical studies have shown that cannabinoids have an anticarcinogenic potential. Therefore, especially against the background of several legal simplifications with regard to the clinical application of cannabinoid-based drugs, an extended basic knowledge about the complex network of the individual components of the endocannabinoid system is required. The canonical endocannabinoid system consists of the endocannabinoids N-arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol as well as the Gi/o protein-coupled transmembrane cannabinoidreceptors CB1 and CB2. As a result of extensive studies on the broader effect of these factors, other fatty acid derivatives, transmembrane and intracellular receptors, enzymes and lipid transporters have been identified that contribute to the effect of endocannabinoids when defined in the broad sense as “extended endocannabinoid system.” Among these additional components, the endocannabinoid-degrading enzymes fatty acid amide hydrolase and monoacylglycerol lipase, lipid transport proteins of the fatty acid-binding protein family, additional cannabinoid-activated G protein-coupled receptors such as GPR55, members of the transient receptor family, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors were identified as targets for possible strategies to combat cancer progression. Other endocannabinoid-related fatty acids such as 2-arachidonoyl glyceryl ether, O-arachidonoylethanolamine, N-arachidonoyldopamine and oleic acid amide showed an effect via cannabinoid receptors, while other compounds such as endocannabinoid-like substances exert a permissive action on endocannabinoid effects and act via alternative intracellular target structures. This review gives an overview of the modulation of the extended endocannabinoid system using the example of anticancer cannabinoid effects, which have been described in detail in preclinical studies.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31143113

“In addition to the palliative effects of cannabinoid compounds in cancer treatment, the endocannabinoid system provides several targets for systemic anticancer treatment. Accordingly, preclinical studies suggest cannabinoids inhibit cancer progression via inhibition of cancer cell proliferation, neovascularization, invasion and chemoresistance, as well as induction of apoptosis, autophagy and increase of tumor immune surveillance.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2019.00430/full

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Future Aspects for Cannabinoids in Breast Cancer Therapy.

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“Cannabinoids (CBs) from Cannabis sativa provide relief for tumor-associated symptoms (including nausea, anorexia, and neuropathic pain) in the palliative treatment of cancer patients.

Additionally, they may decelerate tumor progression in breast cancer patients.

Indeed, the psychoactive delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) and other CBs inhibited disease progression in breast cancer models.

The effects of CBs on signaling pathways in cancer cells are conferred via G-protein coupled CB-receptors (CB-Rs), CB1-R and CB2-R, but also via other receptors, and in a receptor-independent way.

THC is a partial agonist for CB1-R and CB2-R; CBD is an inverse agonist for both.

In breast cancer, CB1-R expression is moderate, but CB2-R expression is high, which is related to tumor aggressiveness. CBs block cell cycle progression and cell growth and induce cancer cell apoptosis by inhibiting constitutive active pro-oncogenic signaling pathways, such as the extracellular-signal-regulated kinase pathway.

They reduce angiogenesis and tumor metastasis in animal breast cancer models. CBs are not only active against estrogen receptor-positive, but also against estrogen-resistant breast cancer cells. In human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive and triple-negative breast cancer cells, blocking protein kinase B- and cyclooxygenase-2 signaling via CB2-R prevents tumor progression and metastasis.

Furthermore, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), including tamoxifen, bind to CB-Rs; this process may contribute to the growth inhibitory effect of SERMs in cancer cells lacking the estrogen receptor.

In summary, CBs are already administered to breast cancer patients at advanced stages of the disease, but they might also be effective at earlier stages to decelerate tumor progression.”

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The onus of cannabinoids in interrupting the molecular odyssey of breast cancer: A critical perspective on UPRER and beyond.

Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal

“Cannabinoids, commonly used for medicinal and recreational purposes, consist of various complex hydrophobic molecules obtained from Cannabis sativa L. Acting as an inhibitory molecule; they have been investigated for their antineoplastic effect in various breast tumor models. Lately, it was found that cannabinoid treatment not only stimulates autophagy-mediated apoptotic death of tumor cells through unfolded protein response (UPRER) activated downstream effectors, but also imposes cell cycle arrest. The exploitation of UPRER tumors as such is believed to be a major molecular event and is therefore employed in understanding the development and progression of breast tumor. Simultaneously, the data on clinical trials following administration of cannabinoid is currently being explored to find its role not only in palliation but also in the treatment of breast cancer. The present study summarizes new achievements in understanding the extent of therapeutic progress and highlights recent developments in cannabinoid biology towards achieving a better cure of breast cancer through the exploitation of different cannabinoids.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30976189

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319016419300064?via%3Dihub

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Characterization of Cancer-Induced Nociception in a Murine Model of Breast Carcinoma.

“Severe and poorly treated pain often accompanies breast cancer. Thus, novel mechanisms involved in breast cancer-induced pain should be investigated. Then, it is necessary to characterize animal models that are reliable with the symptoms and progression of the disease as observed in humans. Explaining cancer-induced nociception in a murine model of breast carcinoma was the aim of this study. 4T1 (104) lineage cells were inoculated in the right fourth mammary fat pad of female BALB/c mice; after this, mechanical and cold allodynia, or mouse grimace scale (MGS) were observed for 30 days. To determine the presence of bone metastasis, we performed the metastatic clonogenic test and measure calcium serum levels. At 20 days after tumor induction, the antinociceptive effect of analgesics used to relieve pain in cancer patients (acetaminophen, naproxen, codeine or morphine) or a cannabinoid agonist (WIN 55,212-2) was tested. Mice inoculated with 4T1 cells developed mechanical and cold allodynia and increased MGS. Bone metastasis was confirmed using the clonogenic assay, and hypercalcemia was observed 20 days after cells inoculation. All analgesic drugs reduced the mechanical and cold allodynia, while the MGS was decreased only by the administration of naproxen, codeine, or morphine. Also, WIN 55,212-2 improved all nociceptive measures. This pain model could be a reliable form to observe the mechanisms of breast cancer-induced pain or to observe the efficacy of novel analgesic compounds.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30850915

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10571-019-00666-8

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Therapeutic targeting of HER2-CB2R heteromers in HER2-positive breast cancer.

 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: 116 (6)

“Although human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-targeted therapies have dramatically improved the clinical outcome of HER2-positive breast cancer patients, innate and acquired resistance remains an important clinical challenge. New therapeutic approaches and diagnostic tools for identification, stratification, and treatment of patients at higher risk of resistance and recurrence are therefore warranted.

Here, we unveil a mechanism controlling the oncogenic activity of HER2: heteromerization with the cannabinoid receptor CB2R. We show that HER2 physically interacts with CB2R in breast cancer cells, and that the expression of these heteromers correlates with poor patient prognosis.

The cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) disrupts HER2-CB2R complexes by selectively binding to CB2R, which leads to (i) the inactivation of HER2 through disruption of HER2-HER2 homodimers, and (ii) the subsequent degradation of HER2 by the proteasome via the E3 ligase c-CBL. This in turn triggers antitumor responses in vitro and in vivo. Selective targeting of CB2R transmembrane region 5 mimicked THC effects.

Together, these findings define HER2-CB2R heteromers as new potential targets for antitumor therapies and biomarkers with prognostic value in HER2-positive breast cancer.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30733293

https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/02/06/1815034116

“Pharmacological activation of cannabinoid receptors elicits antitumoral responses in different cancer models. Our findings reveal an unprecedented role of CB2 as a pivotal regulator of HER2 pro-oncogenic signaling in breast cancer” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25855725
“Extensive preclinical research has demonstrated that cannabinoids, the active ingredients of Cannabis sativa, trigger antitumor responses in different models of cancer. Together, our results suggest that standardized cannabis drug preparations, rather than pure cannabinoids, could be considered as part of the therapeutic armamentarium to manage breast cancer.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29940172
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