A Review of the Therapeutic Antitumor Potential of Cannabinoids.

:Image result for J Altern Complement Med.

“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.


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.


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.”

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

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

 Image result for Rev Physiol Biochem Pharmacol.

“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.”


Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Inhibition of autophagy and enhancement of endoplasmic reticulum stress increase sensitivity of osteosarcoma Saos-2 cells to cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN55,212-2.

“WIN55,212-2, a cannabinoid receptor agonist, can activate cannabinoid receptors, which has proven anti-tumour effects in several tumour types. Studies showed that WIN can inhibit tumour cell proliferation and induce apoptosis in diverse cancers.

However, the role and mechanism of WIN in osteosarcoma are still unclear. In this study, we examined the effect of WIN55,212-2 on osteosarcoma cell line Saos-2 in terms of cell viability and apoptosis. Meanwhile, we further explored the role of endoplasmic reticulum stress and autophagy in apoptosis induced by WIN55,212-2.

Our results showed that the cell proliferation of Saos-2 was inhibited by WIN55,212-2 in a dose-dependent and time-dependent manner. WIN55,212-2-induced Saos-2 apoptosis through mitochondrial apoptosis pathway. Meanwhile, WIN55,212-2 can induce endoplasmic reticulum stress and autophagy in Saos-2 cells. Inhibition of autophagy and enhancement of endoplasmic reticulum stress increased apoptosis induced by WIN55,212-2 in Saos-2 cells.

These findings indicated that WIN55,212-2 in combination with autophagic inhibitor or endoplasmic reticulum stress activator may shed new light on osteosarcoma treatment.”


Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM: A multi-facet therapeutic target.

Image result for Curr Clin Pharmacol.

“Cannabis sativa is also popularly known as marijuana. It is being cultivated and used by man for recreational and medicinal purposes from many centuries.

Study of cannabinoids was at bay for very long time and its therapeutic value could not be adequately harnessed due to its legal status as proscribed drug in most of the countries.

The research of drugs acting on endocannabinoid system has seen many ups and down in recent past. Presently, it is known that endocannabinoids has role in pathology of many disorders and they also serve “protective role” in many medical conditions.

Several diseases like emesis, pain, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, anorexia, epilepsy, glaucoma, schizophrenia, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, obesity, metabolic syndrome related diseases, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Tourette’s syndrome could possibly be treated by drugs modulating endocannabinoid system.

Presently, cannabinoid receptor agonists like nabilone and dronabinol are used for reducing the chemotherapy induced vomiting. Sativex (cannabidiol and THC combination) is approved in the UK, Spain and New Zealand to treat spasticity due to multiple sclerosis. In US it is under investigation for cancer pain, another drug Epidiolex (cannabidiol) is also under investigation in US for childhood seizures. Rimonabant, CB1 receptor antagonist appeared as a promising anti-obesity drug during clinical trials but it also exhibited remarkable psychiatric side effect profile. Due to which the US Food and Drug Administration did not approve Rimonabant in US. It sale was also suspended across the EU in 2008.

Recent discontinuation of clinical trial related to FAAH inhibitor due to occurrence of serious adverse events in the participating subjects could be discouraging for the research fraternity. Despite of some mishaps in clinical trials related to drugs acting on endocannabinoid system, still lot of research is being carried out to explore and establish the therapeutic targets for both cannabinoid receptor agonists and antagonists.

One challenge is to develop drugs that target only cannabinoid receptors in a particular tissue and another is to invent drugs that acts selectively on cannabinoid receptors located outside the blood brain barrier. Besides this, development of the suitable dosage forms with maximum efficacy and minimum adverse effects is also warranted.

Another angle to be introspected for therapeutic abilities of this group of drugs is non-CB1 and non-CB2 receptor targets for cannabinoids.

In order to successfully exploit the therapeutic potential of endocannabinoid system, it is imperative to further characterize the endocannabinoid system in terms of identification of the exact cellular location of cannabinoid receptors and their role as “protective” and “disease inducing substance”, time-dependent changes in the expression of cannabinoid receptors.”


Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Cannabinoid pharmacology in cancer research: A new hope for cancer patients?

Image result for Eur J Pharmacol.

“Cannabinoids have been used for many centuries to ease pain and in the past decade, the endocannabinoid system has been implicated in a number of pathophysiological conditions, such as mood and anxiety disorders, movement disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, stroke, hypertension, glaucoma, obesity, and osteoporosis.

Several studies have demonstrated that cannabinoids also have anti-cancer activity and as cannabinoids are usually well tolerated and do not produce the typical toxic effects of conventional chemotherapies, there is considerable merit in the development of cannabinoids as potential anticancer therapies.

Whilst the presence of psychoactive effects of cannabinoids could prevent any progress in this field, recent studies have shown the value of the non-psychoactive components of cannabinoids in activating apoptotic pathways, inducing anti-proliferative and anti-angiogenic effects.

The aforementioned effects are suggested to be through pathways such as ERK, Akt, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways, phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathways and hypoxia inducible factor 1 (HIF1), all of which are important contributors to the hallmarks of cancer.

Many important questions still remain unanswered or are poorly addressed thus necessitating further research at basic pre-clinical and clinical levels. In this review, we address these issues with a view to identifying the key challenges that future research needs to address.”



Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Ligands for cannabinoid receptors, promising anticancer agents.

Image result for Life Sci.

“Cannabinoid compounds are unique to cannabis and provide some interesting biological properties.

These compounds along with endocannabinoids, a group of neuromodulator compounds in the body especially in brain, express their effects by activation of G-protein-coupled cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2.

There are several physiological properties attributed to the endocannabinoids including pain relief, enhancement of appetite, blood pressure lowering during shock, embryonic development, and blocking of working memory.

On the other hand, activation of endocannabinoid system may be suppresses evolution and progression of several types of cancer.

According to the results of recent studies, CB receptors are over-expressed in cancer cell lines and application of multiple cannabinoid or cannabis-derived compounds reduce tumor size through decrease of cell proliferation or induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis along with desirable effect on decrease of tumor-evoked pain.

Therefore, modulation of endocannabinoid system by inhibition of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), the enzyme, which metabolized endocannabinoids, or application of multiple cannabinoid or cannabis-derived compounds, may be appropriate for the treatment of several cancer subtypes. This review focuses on how cannabinoid affect different types of cancers.”



Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Anandamide-induced Ca2+ elevation leading to p38 MAPK phosphorylation and subsequent cell death via apoptosis in human osteosarcoma cells.

“The effect of anandamide on human osteoblasts is unclear. This study examined the effect of anandamide on viability, apoptosis, mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and Ca2+ levels in MG63 osteosarcoma cells. Anandamide at 50-200 microM decreased cell viability via apoptosis as demonstrated by propidium iodide staining and activation of caspase-3. Immunoblotting suggested that anandamide induced expression of ERK, JNK and p38 MAPK. Anandamide-induced cell death and apoptosis were reversed by SB203580, but not by PD98059 and SP600125, suggesting that anandamide’s action was via p38 MAPK, but not via ERK and JNK. Anandamide at 1-100 microM induced [Ca2+]i increases. Removal of extracellular Ca2+ decreased the anandamide response, indicating that anandamide induced Ca2+ influx and Ca2+ release. Chelation of intracellular Ca2+ with BAPTA reversed anandamide-induced cell death and p38 MAPK phosphorylation. Collectively, in MG63 cells, anandamide induced [Ca2+]i increases which evoked p38 MAPK phosphorylation. This p38 MAPK phosphorylation subsequently activated caspase-3 leading to apoptosis.”


Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Involvement of PAR-4 in cannabinoid-dependent sensitization of osteosarcoma cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis.

Logo of ijbiosci

“Osteosarcoma is the most common malignant bone tumor in childhood and adolescence.

Cannabinoids (CBs), the active constituents of Cannabis sativa, are known to exert a wide range of central and peripheral effects.

Recently, numerous studies evidenced the role of cannabinoids in the regulation of cell death and survival, focusing the anti-proliferative effects of these compounds in various tumours… cannabinoids can also activate autophagic process…

The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects induced by cannabinoids in osteosarcoma cells and the molecular pathway…

The synthetic cannabinoid WIN 55,212-2 is a potent cannabinoid receptor agonist with anticancer potential.

Moreover, we indicate that a key role in WIN action is played by the tumor suppressor protein PAR-4.”



Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Potentiation of the antitumor activity of adriamycin against osteosarcoma by cannabinoid WIN-55,212-2

Logo of onclett

“Osteosarcoma is the most frequent primary malignant bone tumor that occurs in children and adolescents. Osteosarcoma is a bone malignancy that predominantly affects children and adolescents, and exhibits high invasion and metastasis rates.

Although adriamycin (ADM) is an effective benchmark agent for the management of osteosarcoma, it also results in harmful side-effects including toxicity and chemoresistance that substantially affect the quality of life of patients. Therefore, novel therapeutic approaches and drugs must be sought for the treatment of osteosarcoma.

Natural products which have potential antitumor activities have become a focus of attention for study in previous years. Cannabinoids, the active components naturally derived from the marijuana plant Cannabis sativa L., have been reported as potential antitumor drugs based on their ability to limit inflammation, cell proliferation and cell survival.

To date, several cannabinoids have been identified and characterized, including Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol, cannabinol (CBN) and anandamide, as well as synthetic cannabinoids, including WIN-55,212-2, JWH-133 and (R)-methanandamide.

In the early 1970s, THC and CBN were shown to inhibit tumor growth in Lewis lung carcinoma. Subsequently, cannabinoids were found to induce apoptosis and inhibit the proliferation of various cancer cells, including those of glioma and lymphoma, and prostate, breast, skin and pancreatic cancer…

In conclusion, the present study indicated that cannabinoid WIN-55,212-2 is antiproliferative, antimetastatic and antiangiogenic against MG-63 cells in vitro, and presented evidence that cannabinoid WIN-55,212-2 may result in synergistic antitumor action in combination with ADM against osteosarcoma.

These findings may offer a novel strategy for the treatment of osteosarcoma.”


Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Bone cell-autonomous contribution of type 2 cannabinoid receptor to breast cancer induced osteolysis.

“The cannabinoid type 2 receptor (CB2) has previously been implicated as a regulator of tumour growth, bone remodelling and bone pain.

However, very little is known about the role of the skeletal CB2 receptor in the regulation of osteoblasts and osteoclasts changes associated with breast cancer. Here, we found that the CB2 selective agonists HU308 and JWH133 reduced the viability of a variety of parental and bone-tropic human and mouse breast cancer cells at high micro-molar concentrations…

When combined with published work, these findings suggest that breast cancer and bone cells exhibit differential responses to treatment with CB2 ligands, depending upon cell type and concentration used.

We therefore conclude that both, CB2 selective activation and antagonism have potential efficacy in cancer associated bone disease but further studies are warranted and ongoing.”

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous