A novel mechanism of cannabidiol in suppressing ovarian cancer through LAIR-1 mediated mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid compound. It has been shown that CBD can inhibit the proliferation of ovarian cancer cells, but the underlying specific mechanism is unclear.

We previously presented the first evidence for the expression of leukocyte-associated immunoglobulin-like receptor 1 (LAIR-1), a member of the immunosuppressive receptor family, in ovarian cancer cells. In the present study, we investigated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits the growth of SKOV3 and CAOV3 ovarian cancer cells, and we sought to understand the concurrent role of LAIR-1.

In addition to inducing ovarian cancer cell cycle arrest and promoting cell apoptosis, CBD treatment significantly affected the expression of LAIR-1 and inhibited the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling axis and mitochondrial respiration in ovarian cancer cells. These changes were accompanied by an increase in ROS, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, and suppression of mitochondrial respiration and aerobic glycolysis, thereby inducing abnormal or disturbed metabolism and reducing ATP production. A combined treatment with N-acetyl-l-cysteine and CBD indicated that a reduction in ROS production would restore PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway signaling and ovarian cancer cell proliferation. We subsequently confirmed that the inhibitory effect of CBD on the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signal axis and mitochondrial bioenergy metabolism was attenuated by knockdown of LAIR-1. Our animal studies further support the in vivo anti-tumor activity of CBD and suggest its mechanism of action.

In summary, the present findings confirm that CBD inhibits ovarian cancer cell growth by disrupting the LAIR-1-mediated interference with mitochondrial bioenergy metabolism and the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway. These results provide a new experimental basis for research into ovarian cancer treatment based on targeting LAIR-1 with CBD.”



Treatment of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome in a Mouse Model by Cannabidiol, an Angiogenesis Pathway Inhibitor


“Studies suggest that ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) can be treated by reducing the level of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). However, due to the side effects of commercially available VEGF-reducing drugs, they can be ruled out as a suitable treatment for OHSS; therefore, researchers are looking for new medications to treat OHSS.

This study is aimed at investigating the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in an OHSS model and to evaluate its efficacy in modulating the angiogenesis pathway and VEGF gene expression.

For this purpose, 32 female mice were randomly divided into four groups (eight mice per group): control group, group 2 with OHSS induction, group 3 receiving 32 nmol of dimethyl sulfoxide after OHSS induction, and group 4 receiving 30 mg/kg of CBD after OHSS induction. The animals’ body weight, ovarian weight, vascular permeability (VP), and ovarian follicle count were measured, and the levels of VEGF gene and protein expression in the peritoneal fluid were assessed.

Based on the results, CBD decreased the body and ovarian weights, VP, and corpus luteum number compared to the OHSS group (p < 0.05). The peritoneal VEGF gene and protein expression levels reduced in the CBD group compared to the OHSS group (p < 0.05). Also, CBD caused OHSS alleviation by suppressing VEGF expression and VP. Overall, CBD downregulated VEGF gene expression and improved VP in OHSS.”


“Based on the present findings, CBD exerts potent antiangiogenic effects by influencing many associated pathways. It led to the alleviation of OHSS by suppressing VEGF gene expression and VP. Also, CBD downregulated VEGF expression and improved VP in OHSS. It is hoped that the current results can help reduce the symptoms and complications of OHSS and prevent the cancellation of IVF cycles.”


Phytocannabinoid Compositions from Cannabis Act Synergistically with PARP1 Inhibitor against Ovarian Cancer Cells In Vitro and Affect the Wnt Signaling Pathway


“Ovarian cancer (OC) is the single most lethal gynecologic malignancy. Cannabis sativa is used to treat various medical conditions, and is cytotoxic to a variety of cancer types. We sought to examine the effectiveness of different combinations of cannabis compounds against OC. Cytotoxic activity was determined by XTT assay on HTB75 and HTB161 cell lines. Apoptosis was determined by flow cytometry. Gene expression was determined by quantitative PCR and protein localization by confocal microscopy. The two most active fractions, F5 and F7, from a high Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis strain extract, and their standard mix (SM), showed cytotoxic activity against OC cells and induced cell apoptosis. The most effective phytocannabinoid combination was THC+cannabichromene (CBC)+cannabigerol (CBG). These fractions acted in synergy with niraparib, a PARP inhibitor, and were ~50-fold more cytotoxic to OC cells than to normal keratinocytes. The F7 and/or niraparib treatments altered Wnt pathway-related gene expression, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype and β-catenin cellular localization. The niraparib+F7 treatment was also effective on an OC patient’s cells. Given the fact that combinations of cannabis compounds and niraparib act in synergy and alter the Wnt signaling pathway, these phytocannabinoids should be examined as effective OC treatments in further pre-clinical studies and clinical trials.”


“We suggest that cannabis might be regarded as a complementary and effective anti-cancer treatment for OC. Given the favorable safety profile of phytocannabinoids, compared to standard pharmacotherapies, we propose that clinical trials with cannabis-based products are desperately needed for OC patients.”


Anti-Cancer Activity of Cannabis sativa Phytocannabinoids: Molecular Mechanisms and Potential in the Fight against Ovarian Cancer and Stem Cells


“Ovarian cancer (OC) is the most lethal gynecological malignancy, with about 70% of cases diagnosed only at an advanced stage.

Cannabis sativa, which produces more than 150 phytocannabinoids, is used worldwide to alleviate numerous symptoms associated with various medical conditions. Recently, studies across a range of cancer types have demonstrated that the phytocannabinoids Δ9-trans-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) have anti-cancer activity in vitro and in vivo, but also the potential to increase other drugs’ adverse effects.

THC and CBD act via several different biological and signaling pathways, including receptor-dependent and receptor-independent pathways. However, very few studies have examined the effectiveness of cannabis compounds against OC. Moreover, little is known about the effectiveness of cannabis compounds against cancer stem cells (CSCs) in general and OC stem cells (OCSCs) in particular. CSCs have been implicated in tumor initiation, progression, and invasion, as well as tumor recurrence, metastasis, and drug resistance. Several hallmarks and concepts describe CSCs. OCSCs, too, are characterized by several markers and specific drug-resistance mechanisms.

While there is no peer-reviewed information regarding the effect of cannabis and cannabis compounds on OCSC viability or development, cannabis compounds have been shown to affect genetic pathways and biological processes related to CSCs and OCSCs. Based on evidence from other cancer-type studies, the use of phytocannabinoid-based treatments to disrupt CSC homeostasis is suggested as a potential intervention to prevent chemotherapy resistance. The potential benefits of the combination of chemotherapy with phytocannabinoid treatment should be examined in ovarian cancer patients.”


“Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological malignancy. Cancer stem cells have been implicated in tumor initiation, progression, and invasion, as well as tumor recurrence, metastasis, and drug resistance. Cannabis is used worldwide to alleviate numerous symptoms associated with various medical conditions. Phytocannabinoids, produced by cannabis, were shown to have anti-cancer activity in cell lines and animal models, but also the potential to increase other drugs’ adverse effects. Yet, very few studies have examined the effectiveness of cannabis compounds against ovarian cancer. Cannabis compounds have been shown to affect genetic pathways and biological processes related to development of ovarian cancer stem cells. Phytocannabinoid-based treatments might be used to disrupt cancer stem cell homeostasis and thereby to prevent chemotherapy resistance. The potential benefits of the combination of chemotherapy with phytocannabinoid treatment could be examined in ovarian cancer patients.”


The Effectiveness and Safety of Medical Cannabis for Treating Cancer Related Symptoms in Oncology Patients

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“The use of medical cannabis (MC) to treat cancer-related symptoms is rising. However, there is a lack of long-term trials to assess the benefits and safety of MC treatment in this population. In this work, we followed up prospectively and longitudinally on the effectiveness and safety of MC treatment.

Oncology patients reported on multiple symptoms before and after MC treatment initiation at one-, three-, and 6-month follow-ups. Oncologists reported on the patients’ disease characteristics. Intention-to-treat models were used to assess changes in outcomes from baseline. MC treatment was initiated by 324 patients and 212, 158 and 126 reported at follow-ups.

Most outcome measures improved significantly during MC treatment for most patients (p < 0.005). Specifically, at 6 months, total cancer symptoms burden declined from baseline by a median of 18%, from 122 (82–157) at baseline to 89 (45–138) at endpoint (−18.98; 95%CI= −26.95 to −11.00; p < 0.001). Reported adverse effects were common but mostly non-serious and remained stable during MC treatment.

The results of this study suggest that MC treatment is generally safe for oncology patients and can potentially reduce the burden of associated symptoms with no serious MC-related adverse effects.

The main finding of the current study is that most cancer comorbid symptoms improved significantly during 6 months of MC treatment.

Additionally, we found that MC treatment in cancer patients was well tolerated and safe.”



“Cancer Pain Treatment Using Marijuana Safe and Effective, Large Study Finds”


The Role of Cannabidiol (CBD) in a Cisplatin-Induced Model of Chronic Neuropathic Pain

“Cannabinoid-based therapies offer a safer, non-opioid alternative for the management of chronic pain. While most studies focus on the analgesic potential of the main psychoactive component of marijuana, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, fewer studies have investigated the role of the non-psychoactive component, cannabidiol (CBD). CBD has been purported to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, and anxiolytic effects. In addition to having actions at both cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2 ), CBD has been shown to interact with both the transient receptor potential vanilloid-1 (TRPV1) and serotonergic (5-HT) receptors. Clinically, CBD’s lack of psychoactivity and decreased abuse liability make it an appealing pharmacotherapeutic for the management of chronic pain. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to determine whether CBD sex- or dose-dependently reverses antinociception in an acute model of thermal pain and/or mechanical allodynia in a model of cisplatin-induced chronic neuropathic pain. Furthermore, we observed the degree to which CB1 , CB2 , 5-HT, and TRPV1 receptors may be mediating these anti-allodynic responses. Male and female wild-type mice were assessed for either the anti-allodynic effects of 0, 1, 3, 10, and 30 mg/kg CBD in a cisplatin-induced model of neuropathic pain or the antinociceptive effects of 0, 1, 3, 10, 30, and 100 mg/kg CBD in a model of acute thermal (tail-flick) pain 60 minutes following CBD administration. To determine the relative contributions of each receptor subtype in mediating the anti-allodynic effects of CBD, male and female mice were pretreated with either: vehicle, the CB1 inverse agonist SR141716A (10 mg/kg), the CB2 antagonist SR144528 (10 mg/kg), the TRPV1 antagonist capsazepine (10 mg/kg), or the 5-HT2 antagonist methysergide (4 mg/kg) 30 minutes prior to treatment with CBD. Mice were assessed for the effects of the pretreatment alone and in combination with CBD. CBD at a dose of 3 mg/kg was able to partially reverse cisplatin-induced allodynia in male and female mice, while doses of 10 and 30 mg/kg resulted in nearly complete reversal. Our preliminary findings showed that the anti-allodynic effects of 30 mg/kg CBD were completely blocked following pretreatment with SR141716A and SR144528, and partially blocked by capsazepine in both male and female mice. Interestingly, pretreatment with methysergide partially attenuated the anti-allodynic effects of CBD in females alone. In contrast, CBD (0-100 mg/kg) failed to induce antinociception on the tail-flick assay. CBD did induce mild hypothermia with males showing a greater degree of CBD-mediated hypothermia than female mice. Taken together, these findings suggest that CBD may be a more effective treatment option for the management of chronic pain. This study highlights the therapeutic potential of CBD in a model of neuropathic pain and suggests that these effects may have clinical implications for the use of cannabinoids in chronic pain management.”



The Endocannabinoid System as a Pharmacological Target for New Cancer Therapies

“Despite the long history of cannabinoid use for medicinal and ritual purposes, an endogenous system of cannabinoid-controlled receptors, as well as their ligands and the enzymes that synthesise and degrade them, was only discovered in the 1990s. Since then, the endocannabinoid system has attracted widespread scientific interest regarding new pharmacological targets in cancer treatment among other reasons.

Meanwhile, extensive preclinical studies have shown that cannabinoids have an inhibitory effect on tumour cell proliferation, tumour invasion, metastasis, angiogenesis, chemoresistance and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and induce tumour cell apoptosis and autophagy as well as immune response. Appropriate cannabinoid compounds could moreover be useful for cancer patients as potential combination partners with other chemotherapeutic agents to increase their efficacy while reducing unwanted side effects.

In addition to the direct activation of cannabinoid receptors through the exogenous application of corresponding agonists, another strategy is to activate these receptors by increasing the endocannabinoid levels at the corresponding pathological hotspots. Indeed, a number of studies accordingly showed an inhibitory effect of blockers of the endocannabinoid-degrading enzymes fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) on tumour development and spread.

This review summarises the relevant preclinical studies with FAAH and MAGL inhibitors compared to studies with cannabinoids and provides an overview of the regulation of the endocannabinoid system in cancer.”


“Cannabinoids have been shown to suppress tumour cell proliferation, tumour invasion, metastasis, angiogenesis, chemoresistance and epithelial-mesenchymal transition and to induce tumour cell apoptosis, autophagy and immune response. This review focuses on the current status of investigations on the impact of inhibitors of endocannabinoid-degrading enzymes on tumour growth and spread in preclinical oncology research.”


Plant-derived cannabinoids as anticancer agents

“Substantial preclinical evidence demonstrates the antiproliferative, cytotoxic, and antimetastatic properties of plant-derived cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) such as cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol. The cumulative body of research into the intracellular mechanisms and phenotypic effects of these compounds supports a logical, judicious progression to large-scale phase II/III clinical trials in certain cancer types to truly assess the efficacy of phytocannabinoids as anticancer agents.”


Cannabinoids as anticancer drugs: current status of preclinical research

“Drugs that target the endocannabinoid system are of interest as pharmacological options to combat cancer and to improve the life quality of cancer patients. From this perspective, cannabinoid compounds have been successfully tested as a systemic therapeutic option in a number of preclinical models over the past decades. As a result of these efforts, a large body of data suggests that the anticancer effects of cannabinoids are exerted at multiple levels of tumour progression via different signal transduction mechanisms. Accordingly, there is considerable evidence for cannabinoid-mediated inhibition of tumour cell proliferation, tumour invasion and metastasis, angiogenesis and chemoresistance, as well as induction of apoptosis and autophagy. Further studies showed that cannabinoids could be potential combination partners for established chemotherapeutic agents or other therapeutic interventions in cancer treatment. Research in recent years has yielded several compounds that exert promising effects on tumour cells and tissues in addition to the psychoactive Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, such as the non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid cannabidiol and inhibitors of endocannabinoid degradation. This review provides an up-to-date overview of the potential of cannabinoids as inhibitors of tumour growth and spread as demonstrated in preclinical studies.”


Cannabidiol and Other Phytocannabinoids as Cancer Therapeutics

“Preclinical models provided ample evidence that cannabinoids are cytotoxic against cancer cells. Among the best studied phytocannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD) is most promising for the treatment of cancer as it lacks the psychotomimetic properties of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In vitro studies and animal experiments point to a concentration- (dose-)dependent anticancer effect. The effectiveness of pure compounds versus extracts is the subject of an ongoing debate. Actual results demonstrate that CBD-rich hemp extracts must be distinguished from THC-rich cannabis preparations. Whereas pure CBD was superior to CBD-rich extracts in most in vitro experiments, the opposite was observed for pure THC and THC-rich extracts, although exceptions were noted. The cytotoxic effects of CBD, THC and extracts seem to depend not only on the nature of cannabinoids and the presence of other phytochemicals but also largely on the nature of cell lines and test conditions. Neither CBD nor THC are universally efficacious in reducing cancer cell viability. The combination of pure cannabinoids may have advantages over single agents, although the optimal ratio seems to depend on the nature of cancer cells; the existence of a ‘one size fits all’ ratio is very unlikely. As cannabinoids interfere with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a better understanding of the circadian rhythmicity of the ECS, particularly endocannabinoids and receptors, as well as of the rhythmicity of biological processes related to the growth of cancer cells, could enhance the efficacy of a therapy with cannabinoids by optimization of the timing of the administration, as has already been reported for some of the canonical chemotherapeutics. Theoretically, a CBD dose administered at noon could increase the peak of anandamide and therefore the effects triggered by this agent. Despite the abundance of preclinical articles published over the last 2 decades, well-designed controlled clinical trials on CBD in cancer are still missing. The number of observations in cancer patients, paired with the anticancer activity repeatedly reported in preclinical in vitro and in vivo studies warrants serious scientific exploration moving forward.”