The Endocannabinoid System: A Potential Target for the Treatment of Various Diseases

ijms-logo“The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is primarily responsible for maintaining homeostasis, a balance in internal environment (temperature, mood, and immune system) and energy input and output in living, biological systems.

In addition to regulating physiological processes, the ECS directly influences anxiety, feeding behaviour/appetite, emotional behaviour, depression, nervous functions, neurogenesis, neuroprotection, reward, cognition, learning, memory, pain sensation, fertility, pregnancy, and pre-and post-natal development.

The ECS is also involved in several pathophysiological diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. In recent years, genetic and pharmacological manipulation of the ECS has gained significant interest in medicine, research, and drug discovery and development.

The distribution of the components of the ECS system throughout the body, and the physiological/pathophysiological role of the ECS-signalling pathways in many diseases, all offer promising opportunities for the development of novel cannabinergic, cannabimimetic, and cannabinoid-based therapeutic drugs that genetically or pharmacologically modulate the ECS via inhibition of metabolic pathways and/or agonism or antagonism of the receptors of the ECS. This modulation results in the differential expression/activity of the components of the ECS that may be beneficial in the treatment of a number of diseases.

This manuscript in-depth review will investigate the potential of the ECS in the treatment of various diseases, and to put forth the suggestion that many of these secondary metabolites of Cannabis sativa L. (hereafter referred to as “C. sativa L.” or “medical cannabis”), may also have potential as lead compounds in the development of cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals for a variety of diseases.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34502379/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/17/9472

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Medical marijuana utilization in gynecologic cancer patients

Gynecologic Oncology Reports“Medical marijuana (MM) use is common among cancer patients, but relatively little is known about the usage patterns and efficacy of MM used by gynecologic cancer patients.

Methods: Demographic and clinical data were collected for gynecologic cancer patients prescribed MM between May 2016 and February 2019. The electronic medical record was used to query formulation prescribed, usage patterns, length of use, symptom relief, and side effect profile. Descriptive statistics were calculated.

Results: Of 45 gynecologic cancer patients prescribed MM, 89% were receiving chemotherapy; 56% were undergoing primary treatment. MM was used for a median of 5.2 months (range 0.6-25.4). Over 70% of patients reported improvement in nausea/vomiting, compared to 36% of patients using MM for pain relief (p = 0.02). Of 41 patients with follow-up information, 71% found MM improved at least one symptom.

Conclusions: Among a small sample of gynecologic cancer patients prescribed MM for symptom management, self-reported follow-up indicated symptom relief for the majority of patients and minimal therapy-related side effects. This data can prove useful for counseling gynecologic cancer patients on the efficacy and side effects of MM.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34258360/

“Among a small cohort of gynecologic cancer patients prescribed MM for symptom management, the majority reported improvement in at least one disease or treatment-related symptom and reported minimal side effects. Further larger prospective studies are needed to investigate specific formulations and indications in this patient population, but our data indicate that it is a safe and useful adjunct for symptom management among a diverse cohort of women with gynecologic cancer.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352578921001247?via%3Dihub

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(Endo)Cannabinoids and Gynaecological Cancers

cancers-logo“Gynaecological cancers can be primary neoplasms, originating either from the reproductive tract or the products of conception, or secondary neoplasms, representative of metastatic disease. For some of these cancers, the exact causes are unknown; however, it is recognised that the precise aetiopathogeneses for most are multifactorial and include exogenous (such as diet) and endogenous factors (such as genetic predisposition), which mutually interact in a complex manner.

One factor that has been recognised to be involved in the pathogenesis and progression of gynaecological cancers is the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS consists of endocannabinoids (bioactive lipids), their receptors, and metabolic enzymes responsible for their synthesis and degradation. In this review, the impact of plant-derived (Cannabis species) cannabinoids and endocannabinoids on gynaecological cancers will be discussed within the context of the complexity of the proteins that bind, transport, and metabolise these compounds in reproductive and other tissues. In particular, the potential of endocannabinoids, their receptors, and metabolic enzymes as biomarkers of specific cancers, such as those of the endometrium, will be addressed. Additionally, the therapeutic potential of targeting selected elements of the ECS as new action points for the development of innovative drugs will be presented.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33375539/

“Cancers of the female reproductive system are common and are responsible for a large number of deaths in women. The exact reasons why some of these cancers occur are unknown. It is, however, known that for most of these cancers, several factors interact for them to happen. These interactions involve factors external and internal to the woman. An understanding of some of the internal factors involved in how these cancers arise will not only help drive preventive strategies, but will speed the development of new treatment approaches.

The endocannabinoid system is a family including chemicals (known as endocannabinoids) produced in the body that are similar to those derived from the cannabis plant. This system, which is widely distributed in the body, has been shown to be involved in various functions. Its disruption has been shown to lead to various diseases, one of which is cancer. In this review, we summarise current knowledge of this system, its various constituents, and how they are involved in reproductive events and their pathologies, especially cancers. Furthermore, we discuss the role of the endocannabinoid system in these cancers and how targeting it could lead to new approaches to diagnosis and treatment of cancers of the female reproductive system.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/13/1/37

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Cannabis and its Constituents for Cancer: History, Biogenesis, Chemistry and Pharmacological Activities

Pharmacological Research “Cannabis has long been used for healing and recreation in several regions of the world. Over 400 bioactive constituents, including more than 100 phytocannabinoids, have been isolated from this plant. The non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) and the psychoactive Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) are the major and widely studied constituents from this plant.

Cannabinoids exert their effects through the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that comprises cannabinoid receptors (CB1, CB2), endogenous ligands, and metabolizing enzymes. Several preclinical studies have demonstrated the potential of cannabinoids against leukemia, lymphoma, glioblastoma, and cancers of the breast, colorectum, pancreas, cervix and prostate.

Cannabis and its constituents can modulate multiple cancer related pathways such as PKB, AMPK, CAMKK-β, mTOR, PDHK, HIF-1α, and PPAR-γ. Cannabinoids can block cell growth, progression of cell cycle and induce apoptosis selectively in tumour cells. Cannabinoids can also enhance the efficacy of cancer therapeutics. These compounds have been used for the management of anorexia, queasiness, and pain in cancer patients.

Cannabinoid based products such as dronabinol, nabilone, nabiximols, and epidyolex are now approved for medical use in cancer patients. Cannabinoids are reported to produce a favourable safety profile. However, psychoactive properties and poor bioavailability limit the use of some cannabinoids. The Academic Institutions across the globe are offering training courses on cannabis. How cannabis and its constituents exert anticancer activities is discussed in this article. We also discuss areas that require attention and more extensive research.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33246167/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1043661820316108?via%3Dihub

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Prescribed medical cannabis in women with gynecologic malignancies: A single-institution survey-based study

Gynecologic Oncology Reports “Research within a gynecologic oncology population has lagged behind the uptake in use of medical cannabis for symptom control. This study seeks to evaluate patient experience with prescribed medical cannabis obtained through licensed dispensaries in women with gynecologic malignancies.

A 43-item survey exploring patient experience with medical cannabis was administered to women with gynecologic malignancies who used medical cannabis prescribed by a gynecologic oncologist. Thirty-six eligible patients were approached for consent, and 31 patients returned completed surveys (86%). Ninety-three percent had advanced or recurrent disease; 74% were receiving chemotherapy or immunotherapy.

Eighty-three percent reported medical cannabis provided relief from cancer or treatment-related symptoms including decreased appetite (41%), insomnia (41%), neuropathy (41%), anxiety (35%), nausea (29%), joint pain (29%), bone pain (29%), abdominal pain (25%), and depression (19%). Eighty percent of patients reported medical cannabis worked the same or better than other traditional medications for management of their cancer or treatment-related symptoms, and 83% reported medical cannabis had an equivalent or better side effect profile.

Of the subset of patients using medical cannabis for pain, 63% reported a reduction in opioid use. Patients perceive that medical cannabis was useful for relief of cancer and treatment-related symptoms, suggesting medical cannabis may be a reasonable alternative or adjunct therapy. Medical cannabis was well tolerated and may have the potential to improve neuropathic pain and decrease opioid use.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33204797/

“Patients with gynecologic malignancies perceive medical cannabis relieves multiple cancer-related symptoms. Medical cannabis is well-tolerated and perceived to have a favorable side effect profile. Patients using medical cannabis for pain control report an associated reduction in opioid use.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352578920301338?via%3Dihub

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Education and communication are critical to effectively incorporating cannabis into cancer treatment

“Providers need to be better equipped to discuss medical cannabis with patients even if they are not willing to prescribe it. The oncology community would be well served to ensure that providers are aware of existing cannabis research and are able to incorporate it into their communications with patients instead of leaving patients to figure out medical cannabis on their own.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32986251/

https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.33204

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Cancer patients’ experiences with medicinal cannabis-related care

 “Background: Little is known about medical cannabis (MC)-related care for patients with cancer using MC.

Methods: Semistructured telephone interviews were conducted in a convenience sample of individuals (n = 24) with physician-confirmed oncologic diagnoses and state/district authorization to use MC (Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon, New York, and Washington, DC) from April 2017 to March 2019. Standard qualitative techniques were used to assess the degree of MC-related health care oversight, MC practices, and key information sources.

Results: Among 24 participants (median age, 57 years; range, 30-71 years; 16 women [67%]), MC certifications were typically issued by a professional new to a patient’s care after a brief, perfunctory consultation. Patients disclosed MCuse to their established medical teams but received little medical advice about whether and how to use MC. Patients with cancer used MC products as multipurpose symptom management and as cancer-directed therapy, sometimes in lieu of standard-of-care treatments. Personal experimentation, including methodical self-monitoring, was an important source of MC know-how. Absent formal advice from medical professionals, patients relied on nonmedical sources for MC information.

Conclusions: Patients with cancer used MC with minimal medical oversight. Most received MC certifications through brief meetings with unfamiliar professionals. Participants desired but were often unable to access high-quality clinical information about MC from their established medical teams. Because many patients are committed to using MC, a product sustained by a growing industry, medical providers should familiarize themselves with the existing data for MM and its limitations to address a poorly met clinical need.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32986266/

“Notably, oncology patients reported using medical cannabis (MC) for symptom management and as cancer‐directed therapy, sometimes instead of traditional treatments.”

https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.33202

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Anti-Cancer Potential of Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Flavonoids Present in Cannabis

cancers-logo“In recent years, and even more since its legalization in several jurisdictions, cannabis and the endocannabinoid system have received an increasing amount of interest related to their potential exploitation in clinical settings. Cannabinoids have been suggested and shown to be effective in the treatment of various conditions. In cancer, the endocannabinoid system is altered in numerous types of tumours and can relate to cancer prognosis and disease outcome. Additionally, cannabinoids display anticancer effects in several models by suppressing the proliferation, migration and/or invasion of cancer cells, as well as tumour angiogenesis. However, the therapeutic use of cannabinoids is currently limited to the treatment of symptoms and pain associated with chemotherapy, while their potential use as cytotoxic drugs in chemotherapy still requires validation in patients. Along with cannabinoids, cannabis contains several other compounds that have also been shown to exert anti-tumorigenic actions. The potential anti-cancer effects of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, present in cannabis, are explored in this literature review.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32708138/

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/12/7/1985

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Cannabinoids as anticancer therapeutic agents.

Cell Cycle Journal are Co-Sponsoring #ACCM15 – The Cell Division Lab “The recent announcement of marijuana legalization in Canada spiked many discussions about potential health benefits of Cannabis sativaCannabinoids are active chemical compounds produced by cannabis, and their numerous effects on the human body are primarily exerted through interactions with cannabinoid receptor types 1 (CB1) and 2 (CB2). Cannabinoids are broadly classified as endo-, phyto-, and synthetic cannabinoids. In this review, we will describe the activity of cannabinoids on the cellular level, comprehensively summarize the activity of all groups of cannabinoids on various cancers and propose several potential mechanisms of action of cannabinoids on cancer cells.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32249682

“Endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids can be used for cancer therapy. Cannabis extracts have stronger anti-tumor capacity than single cannabinoids. Combination of several cannabinoids may have more potent effect on cancer.”

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15384101.2020.1742952?journalCode=kccy20

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The Endocannabinoid System: A Target for Cancer Treatment.

ijms-logo“In recent years, the endocannabinoid system has received great interest as a potential therapeutic target in numerous pathological conditions.

Cannabinoids have shown an anticancer potential by modulating several pathways involved in cell growth, differentiation, migration, and angiogenesis.

However, the therapeutic efficacy of cannabinoids is limited to the treatment of chemotherapy-induced symptoms or cancer pain, but their use as anticancer drugs in chemotherapeutic protocols requires further investigation.

In this paper, we reviewed the role of cannabinoids in the modulation of signaling mechanisms implicated in tumor progression.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31979368

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/3/747

“In addition to the symptomatic therapy of cancer patients, the antitumor effects of cannabinoids (whether in monotherapy or in combination with other cancer therapies) have promising potential in the treatment of cancer patients.”   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31950844
“In addition to the well-known palliative effects of cannabinoids on some cancer-associated symptoms, a large body of evidence shows that these molecules can decrease tumour growth in animal models of cancer. In addition, cannabinoids inhibit angiogenesis and decrease metastasis in various tumour types in laboratory animals. Thus, numerous studies have provided evidence that thc and other cannabinoids exhibit antitumour effects in a wide array of animal models of cancer.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4791144/


“Antitumour actions of cannabinoids.”   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30019449 

“The endocannabinoid system as a target for the development of new drugs for cancer therapy” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12723496

“Cannabinoids as Anticancer Drugs.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28826542

http://www.thctotalhealthcare.com/category/cancer/

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