INSIGHT ON THE IMPACT OF ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM IN CANCER: A REVIEW.

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“In the last decades, the endocannabinoid system has attracted a great interest in medicine and cancer disease is probably one of its most promising therapeutic areas.

On the one hand, endocannabinoid system expression has been found altered in numerous types of tumours compared to healthy tissue, and this aberrant expression has been related to cancer prognosis and disease outcome, suggesting a role of this system in tumour growth and progression that depends on cancer type.

On the other hand, it has been reported that cannabinoids exert an anticancer activity by inhibiting the proliferation, migration and/or invasion of cancer cells; and also tumour angiogenesis.

The endocannabinoid system may be considered as a new therapeutic target, although further studies to fully establish the effect of cannabinoids on tumour progression remain necessary.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29663308

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The use of cannabis in supportive care and treatment of brain tumor

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“Anticancer Effects of Cannabinoids may be able to Prolong Life.

Cannabinoids are multitarget substances. Currently available are dronabinol (synthetic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, THC), synthetic cannabidiol (CBD) the respective substances isolated and purified from cannabis, a refined extract, nabiximols (THC:CBD = 1.08:1.00); and nabilone, which is also synthetic and has properties that are very similar to those of THC.

Cannabinoids have a role in the treatment of cancer as palliative interventions against nausea, vomiting, pain, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. THC and nabilone are also used for anorexia and weight loss, whereas CBD has no orexigenic effect. The psychotropic effects of THC and nabilone, although often undesirable, can improve mood when administered in low doses. CBD has no psychotropic effects; it is anxiolytic and antidepressive.

Of particular interest are glioma studies in animals where relatively high doses of CBD and THC demonstrated significant regression of tumor volumes (approximately 50% to 95% and even complete eradication in rare cases). Concomitant treatment with X-rays or temozolomide enhanced activity further. Similarly, a combination of THC with CBD showed synergistic effects. Although many questions, such as on optimized treatment schedules, are still unresolved, today’s scientific results suggest that cannabinoids could play an important role in palliative care of brain tumor patients.

THC, a partial CB1, CB2 agonist, has the stigma of psychotropic effects that are mediated by CB1 stimulation. However, CB1 stimulation is necessary for improving mood and appetite and many other effects. At present, it is hard to imagine a better approach than adjusting THC doses individually to balance wanted versus unwanted effects. Generally, higher doses are needed to achieve analgesic and antiemetic effects. Even much higher, supraphysiologic oral doses would be needed to combat tumors.

Combinations were synergistic under many circumstances such as in pain and antitumor studies. Cannabinoids differ in their antitumor activities and probably in their mechanisms and targets, which is a rationale for combinations. However, for many pharmacological effects (except against tumors) roughly 10-times higher daily doses are needed for CBD compared to THC.

In summary, the endocannabinoid system is likely playing a crucial role in palliative care. The future will show whether an optimized treatment strategy with cannabinoids can also prolong life of brain tumor patients by their virtue to combat cancer cells.”

https://academic.oup.com/nop/article/4/3/151/2918616

“Cannabinoid Drug Prolongs the Life of Brain Tumor Patients in Phase II Trials”  https://labiotech.eu/gw-pharmaceuticals-brain-tumor/

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CBD Enhances the Anticancer Effects of THC

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“Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and other cannabinoids can act as direct anticancer agents in multiple types of cancer in culture and in vivo.
Cannabidiol Enhances the Inhibitory Effects of  Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol on Human GlioblastomaCell Proliferation and Survival.
Δ9-THC and Cannabidiol Inhibit the Growth of Multiple Glioblastoma Cell Lines.
Cannabidiol Enhances the Inhibitory Effects of Δ9-THC on Glioblastoma Cell Growth.
Combination treatments with cannabinoids may improve overall efficacy”

“Cannabidiol Enhances the Inhibitory Effects of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol on Human Glioblastoma Cell Proliferation and Survival”   http://mct.aacrjournals.org/content/9/1/180.full

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Hypoxia-induced inhibition of the endocannabinoid system in glioblastoma cells.

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“The endocannabinoid system plays an important role in the regulation of physiological and pathological conditions, including inflammation and cancer.

Hypoxia is a fundamental phenomenon for the establishment and maintenance of the microenvironments in various physiological and pathological conditions. However, the influence of hypoxia on the endocannabinoid system is not fully understood. In the present study, we investigated the effects of hypoxia on the endocannabinoid system in malignant brain tumors.

Although cannabinoid receptor (CB) engagement induces cell death in U-87 MG cells in normoxic conditions, CB agonist-induced death was attenuated in hypoxic conditions. These results suggest that hypoxia modifies the endocannabinoid system in glioblastoma cells.

Hypoxia-induced inhibition of the endocannabinoid system may aid the development of glioblastoma.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29130103

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A Review of the Therapeutic Antitumor Potential of Cannabinoids.

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“The aim of this review is to discuss cannabinoids from a preclinical and clinical oncological perspective and provide the audience with a concise, retrospective overview of the most significant findings concerning the potential use of cannabinoids in cancer treatment.

RESULTS:

Cannabis sativa is a plant rich in more than 100 types of cannabinoids. Besides exogenous plant cannabinoids, mammalian endocannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoid analogues have been identified. Cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) and type 2 (CB2) have been isolated and characterized from mammalian cells. Through cannabinoid receptor and non-receptor signaling pathways, cannabinoids show specific cytotoxicity against tumor cells, while protecting healthy tissue from apoptosis. The dual antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects of cannabinoids and associated signaling pathways have been investigated on a large panel of cancer cell lines. Cannabinoids also display potent anticancer activity against tumor xenografts, including tumors that express high resistance to standard chemotherapeutics. Few studies have investigated the possible synergistic effects of cannabinoids with standard oncology therapies, and are based on the preclinically confirmed concept of “cannabinoid sensitizers.” Also, clinical trials aimed to confirm the antineoplastic activity of cannabinoids have only been evaluated on a small number of subjects, with no consensus conclusions regarding their effectiveness.

CONCLUSIONS:

A large number of cannabinoid compounds have been discovered, developed, and used to study the effects of cannabinoids on cancers in model systems. However, few clinical trials have been conducted on the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of cancers in humans. Further studies require extensive monitoring of the effects of cannabinoids alone or in combination with standard anticancer strategies. With such knowledge, cannabinoids could become a therapy of choice in contemporary oncology.”

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Regulation of human glioblastoma cell death by combined treatment of cannabidiol, γ-radiation and small molecule inhibitors of cell signaling pathways.

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“Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common primary malignant brain tumor in adults. The challenging problem in cancer treatment is to find a way to upregulate radiosensitivity of GBM while protecting neurons and neural stem/progenitor cells in the brain. The goal of the present study was upregulation of the cytotoxic effect of γ-irradiation in GBM by non-psychotropic and non-toxic cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD).

We emphasized three main aspects of signaling mechanisms induced by CBD treatment (alone or in combination with γ-irradiation) in human GBM that govern cell death: 1) CBD significantly upregulated the active (phosphorylated) JNK1/2 and MAPK p38 levels with the subsequent downregulation of the active phospho-ERK1/2 and phospho-AKT1 levels. MAPK p38 was one of the main drivers of CBD-induced cell death, while death levels after combined treatment of CBD and radiation were dependent on both MAPK p38 and JNK. Both MAPK p38 and JNK regulate the endogenous TRAIL expression. 2) NF-κB p65-P(Ser536) was not the main target of CBD treatment and this transcription factor was found at high levels in CBD-treated GBM cells. Additional suppression of p65-P(Ser536) levels using specific small molecule inhibitors significantly increased CBD-induced apoptosis. 3) CBD treatment substantially upregulated TNF/TNFR1 and TRAIL/TRAIL-R2 signaling by modulation of both ligand and receptor levels followed by apoptosis.

Our results demonstrate that radiation-induced death in GBM could be enhanced by CBD-mediated signaling in concert with its marginal effects for neural stem/progenitor cells and astrocytes. It will allow selecting efficient targets for sensitization of GBM and overcoming cancer therapy-induced severe adverse sequelae.”

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Pharmacogenetics of Cannabinoids.

 European Journal of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics

“Although the application of medical marijuana and cannabinoid drugs is controversial, it is a part of modern-day medicine.

The list of diseases in which cannabinoids are promoted as a treatment is constantly expanding. Cases of significant improvement in patients with a very poor prognosis of glioma or epilepsy have already been described. However, the occurrence of side effects is still difficult to estimate, and the current knowledge of the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids is still insufficient.

In our opinion, the answers to many questions and concerns regarding the medical use of cannabis can be provided by pharmacogenetics. Knowledge based on proteins and molecules involved in the transport, action, and metabolism of cannabinoids in the human organism leads us to predict candidate genes which variations are responsible for the presence of the therapeutic and side effects of medical marijuana and cannabinoid-based drugs.

We can divide them into: receptor genes-CNR1, CNR2, TRPV1, and GPR55, transporters-ABCB1, ABCG2, SLC6A, biotransformation, biosynthesis, and bioactivation proteins encoded by CYP3A4, CYP2C19, CYP2C9, CYP2A6, CYP1A1, COMT, FAAH, COX2, ABHD6, ABHD12 genes, and also MAPK14. This review organizes the current knowledge in the context of cannabinoids pharmacogenetics according to individualized medicine and cannabinoid drugs therapy.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28534260

“There is a feeling that the next milestone, after legal acceptance of medical marijuana, will be intensive pharmacogenetic-oriented study of individual populations, which hopefully explain the previous contradictory results and identify in the future genetic markers to personalize cannabinoids treatment.” https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13318-017-0416-z

 

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Cannabinoids as Modulators of Cell Death: Clinical Applications and Future Directions.

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“Endocannabinoids are bioactive lipids that modulate various physiological processes through G-protein-coupled receptors (CB1 and CB2) and other putative targets. By sharing the activation of the same receptors, some phytocannabinoids and a multitude of synthetic cannabinoids mimic the effects of endocannabinoids.

In recent years, a growing interest has been dedicated to the study of cannabinoids properties for their analgesic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. In addition to these well-recognized effects, various studies suggest that cannabinoids may affect cell survival, cell proliferation or cell death. These observations indicate that cannabinoids may play an important role in the regulation of cellular homeostasis and, thus, may contribute to tissue remodelling and cancer treatment.

For a long time, the study of cannabinoid receptor signalling has been focused on the classical adenylyl cyclase/cyclic AMP/protein kinase A (PKA) pathway. However, this pathway does not totally explain the wide array of biological responses to cannabinoids. In addition, the diversity of receptors and signalling pathways that endocannabinoids modulate offers an interesting opportunity for the development of specific molecules to disturb selectively the endogenous system.

Moreover, emerging evidences suggest that cannabinoids ability to limit cell proliferation and to induce tumour-selective cell death may offer a novel strategy in cancer treatment.

This review describes the main properties of cannabinoids in cell death and attempts to clarify the different pathways triggered by these compounds that may help to understand the complexity of respective molecular mechanisms and explore the potential clinical benefit of cannabinoids use in cancer therapies.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28425013

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Can Marijuana Cure Cancer? Pharmaceutical Company Developing Cannabis Medicine To Treat Brain Cancer

“Can Marijuana Cure Cancer? Pharmaceutical Company Developing Cannabis Medicine To Treat Brain Cancer” http://www.ibtimes.com/can-marijuana-cure-cancer-pharmaceutical-company-developing-cannabis-medicine-treat-2489282

“GW Pharmaceuticals Achieves Positive Results in Phase 2 Proof of Concept Study in Glioma” http://ir.gwpharm.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=1010672
 
“Cannabinoid Drug Prolongs the Life of Brain Tumor Patients in Phase II Trials” http://labiotech.eu/gw-pharmaceuticals-brain-tumor/
“Drug Company Claims to Have Marijuana Treatment That Could Increase Lifespan of Brain Cancer Patients” http://www.complex.com/life/2017/02/gw-pharmaceuticals-claims-to-have-treatment-that-could-increase-lifespan-of-brain-cancer-patients
 “GW Pharma’s cannabis-derived combo med helps brain cancer patients” http://www.fiercebiotech.com/biotech/gw-pharma-s-cannabis-derived-combo-med-helps-brain-cancer-patients
“GW pharmaceuticals to develop oncology portfolio after cannabis medication shows promising results” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/02/07/gw-pharmaceuticals-develop-oncology-portfolio-cannabis-medication/
“GW Pharma is touting claims that a combination of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) produced positive survival benefits in a small study of 21 patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme, a common form of brain cancer.” https://endpts.com/gw-touts-positive-survival-benefit-in-small-brain-cancer-study-ablynx-files-for-ultra-rare-disease-drug-ok/

“GW Pharmaceuticals Is Set to Benefit as Cannabis Takes on Cancer”  https://www.thestreet.com/story/13996559/1/gw-pharmaceuticals-is-set-to-benefit-as-cannabis-takes-on-cancer.html

“GW Pharmaceuticals Achieves Positive Results In Phase 2 Proof Of Concept Study In Glioma” https://www.clinicalleader.com/doc/gw-pharmaceuticals-phase-proof-of-concept-study-in-glioma-0001

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A Science Based Evaluation of Cannabis and Cancer

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“The irritant properties of all smoke will naturally tend to promote a pro-inflammatory immune response with the corresponding production of potentially carcinogenic free radicals. However, cannabis promotes immune deviation to an anti-inflammatory Th2 response via immune-system specific CB2 receptors. Thus, the natural pharmacological properties of marijuana’s cannabinoids, that are not present in tobacco smoke, would minimize potential irritant initiated carcinogenesis. In contrast, the pharmacological activities of tobacco smoke would tend to amplify its carcinogenic potential by inhibiting the death of genetically damaged cells. Together these observations support the epidemiological study of the Kaiser Foundation that did not find cannabis smoking to be associated with cancer incidence. Additionally, the demonstrated cancer killing activities of cannabinoids has been ignored. Cannabinoids have been shown to kill some leukemia and lymphoma, breast and prostate, pheochromocytoma, glioma and skin cancer cells in cell culture and in animals.” http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/10/29/science-based-evaluation-cannabis-and-cancer

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