Photodynamic Therapy Efficacy of Novel Zinc Phthalocyanine Tetra Sodium 2-Mercaptoacetate Combined with Cannabidiol on Metastatic Melanoma


“This work reports for the first time on the synthesis, characterization, and photodynamic therapy effect of a novel water-soluble zinc (II) 2(3), 9(10), 16(17), 23(24)-tetrakis-(sodium 2-mercaptoacetate) phthalocyanine (ZnPcTS41), on metastatic melanoma cells (A375) combined with cannabidiol (CBD). The ZnPcTS41 structure was confirmed using FTIR, NMR, MS, and elemental analysis while the electronic absorption spectrum was studied using UV-VIS. The study reports further on the dose-dependent effects of ZnPcTS41 (1-8 µM) and CBD alone (0.3-1.1 µM) at 636 nm with 10 J/cm2 on cellular morphology and viability. The IC50 concentrations of ZnPcTS41 and CBD were found to be 5.3 µM and 0.63 µM, respectively. The cytotoxicity effects of the ZnPcTS41 enhanced with CBD on A375 cells were assessed using MTT cell viability assay, ATP cellular proliferation and inverted light microscopy. Cell death induction was also determined via Annexin V-FITC-PI. The combination of CBD- and ZnPcTS41-mediated PDT resulted in a significant reduction in cell viability (15%***) and an increase in the late apoptotic cell population (25%*). These findings suggest that enhancing PDT with anticancer agents such as CBD could possibly obliterate cancer cells and inhibit tumor recurrence.”

The Synthetic Cannabinoid URB447 Exerts Antitumor and Antimetastatic Effect in Melanoma and Colon Cancer


“The endocannabinoid system is widespread through the body and carries out a wide variety of functions. However, its involvement in other pathologies, such as cancer, still needs further attention. We aim to investigate the role of CB2 receptor during melanoma and colorectal cancer (CRC) aggressiveness and metastatic growth in the liver. We used the synthetic cannabinoid URB447, a known CB2 agonist and CB1 antagonist drug, and studied prometastatic ability of mouse B16 melanoma and MCA38 CRC cells, by means of proliferation, apoptosis, cell cycle, migration and matrix degradation in vitro upon URB447 treatment. We reported a dose-dependent viability decrease in both tumor types. This result is partly mediated by apoptotic cell death and cell cycle arrest in G1/G0 phase, as observed through flow cytometry. Melanoma and CRC cell migration was affected in a dose-dependent fashion as observed through scratch assay, whereas the secretion of matrix degrading proteins metalloprotease 2 (MMP2) and 9 (MMP9) in tumor cells did not significantly change. Moreover, daily treatment of tumor bearing mice with URB447 decreased the development of liver metastasis in a melanoma model in vivo. This proof of concept study points out to the synthetic cannabinoid URB447 as a potential candidate for deeper studies to confirm its potential as antitumor therapy and liver metastasis treatment for CRC and melanoma.”

Photoprotective Effects of Cannabidiol against Ultraviolet-B-Induced DNA Damage and Autophagy in Human Keratinocyte Cells and Mouse Skin Tissue


“Cannabidiol (CBD) has emerged as a phytocannabinoid with various beneficial effects for the skin, including anti-photoaging effects, but its mechanisms of action are not fully elucidated. The study assessed CBD’s photoprotective effects against acute ultraviolet B (UVB)-induced damage in HaCaT human keratinocyte cells and murine skin tissue. CBD (8 μM) alleviated UVB-induced cytotoxicity, apoptosis, and G2/M cell cycle arrest in HaCaT cells. The contents of γH2AX and cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers were decreased after CBD treatment. CBD reduced the production of reactive oxygen species and modulated the expression of antioxidant-related proteins such as nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 in UVB-stimulated HaCaT cells. Furthermore, CBD mitigated the UVB-induced cytotoxicity by activating autophagy. In addition, a cream containing 5% CBD showed effectiveness against UVB-induced photodamage in a murine model. The CBD cream improved the skin’s condition by lowering the photodamage scores, reducing abnormal skin proliferation, and decreasing expression of the inflammation-related protein cyclooxygenase-2 in UVB-irradiated skin tissue. These findings indicate that CBD might be beneficial in alleviating UVB-induced skin damage in humans. The photoprotective effects of CBD might be attributed to its modulatory effects on redox homeostasis and autophagy.”

“These findings, along with evidence reported from other studies, suggest that CBD is a phytocannabinoid with promising beneficial effects for the skin against UV-induced photodamage.”

Cannabidiol Interacts Antagonistically with Cisplatin and Additively with Mitoxantrone in Various Melanoma Cell Lines-An Isobolographic Analysis


“The medical application of cannabidiol (CBD) has been gathering increasing attention in recent years. This non-psychotropic cannabis-derived compound possesses antiepileptic, antipsychotic, anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic properties. Recent studies report that it also exerts antineoplastic effects in multiple types of cancers, including melanoma.

In this in vitro study we tried to reveal the anticancer properties of CBD in malignant melanoma cell lines (SK-MEL 28, A375, FM55P and FM55M2) administered alone, as well as in combination with mitoxantrone (MTX) or cisplatin (CDDP).

The effects of CBD on the viability of melanoma cells were measured by the MTT assay; cytotoxicity was determined in the LDH test and proliferation in the BrdU test. Moreover, the safety of CBD was tested in human keratinocytes (HaCaT) in LDH and MTT tests.

Results indicate that CBD reduces the viability and proliferation of melanoma-malignant cells and exerts additive interactions with MTX. Unfortunately, CBD produced antagonistic interaction when combined with CDDP. CBD does not cause significant cytotoxicity in HaCaT cell line.

In conclusion, CBD may be considered as a part of melanoma multi-drug therapy when combined with MTX. A special attention should be paid to the combination of CBD with CDDP due to the antagonistic interaction observed in the studied malignant melanoma cell lines.”

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”

Cannabis sativa and Skin Health: Dissecting the Role of Phytocannabinoids

“The use of Cannabis sativa is currently recognized to ease certain types of chronic pain, reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea, and improve anxiety. Nevertheless, few studies highlighted the therapeutic potential of C. sativa extracts and related phytocannabinoids for a variety of widespread skin disorders including acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, pruritus, and pain. This review summarized the current evidence on the effects of phytocannabinoids at the cutaneous level through the collection of in vitro, in vivo, and clinical studies published on PubMed, Scopus, Embase, and Web of Science until October 2020.

Phytocannabinoids have demonstrated potential anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-aging, and anti-acne properties by various mechanisms involving either CB1/2-dependent and independent pathways.

Not only classical immune cells, but also several skin-specific actors, such as keratinocytes, fibroblasts, melanocytes, and sebocytes, may represent a target for phytocannabinoids. Cannabidiol, the most investigated compound, revealed photoprotective, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory mechanisms at the cutaneous level, while the possible impact on cell differentiation, especially in the case of psoriasis, would require further investigation. Animal models and pilot clinical studies supported the application of cannabidiol in inflammatory-based skin diseases. Also, one of the most promising applications of non-psychotropic phytocannabinoids is the treatment of seborrheic disorders, especially acne. In conclusion, the incomplete knowledge of the role of the endocannabinoid system in skin disorders emerged as an important limit for pharmacological investigations. Moreover, the limited studies conducted on C. sativa extracts suggested a higher potency than single phytocannabinoids, thus stimulating new research on phytocannabinoid interaction.”

Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Lichen Simplex Chronicus Successfully Treated with Topical Cannabinoid Oil: A Case Report and Summary of Cannabinoids in Dermatology

“Cannabidiol is a member of the cannabinoids, consisting of a diverse class of compounds derived from Cannabis sativa. There are three types of cannabinoids based on origin: endocannabinoids (endogenous), phytocannabinoids (plant-derived), and synthetic cannabinoids (synthesized). The endocannabinoid system plays a key role in skin homeostasis, such as proliferation, differentiation, and inflammatory signaling. A 64-year-old woman with a history of multiple squamous cell carcinomas who presented with skin lesions on her bilateral dorsal hands is reported. Her skin biopsies showed lichen simplex chronicus on her left hand and squamous cell carcinoma on her right hand; both lesions resolved with topical application of 20% cannabidiol. Cutaneous adverse events associated with cannabinoid use and potential therapeutic uses of cannabinoids in inflammatory skin diseases and skin cancer are also summarized.”

“Cannabinoids are a class of drugs that are found in animals, humans, and plants; they are also synthesized. They are useful in the management of several systemic diseases. Indeed, cannabinoids have also been observed to be potentially effective in the treatment of cosmetic skin conditions and cutaneous diseases. In addition, they may be therapeutic in the management of not only non-melanoma skin cancer, such as squamous cell carcinoma, but also melanoma and Kaposi sarcoma. Our patient had successful treatment of a benign skin condition (lichen simplex chronicus); in addition, she had complete regression of several biopsy-confirmed squamous cell carcinomas. Therefore, the possibility of treating non-melanoma skin cancer, such as squamous cell carcinoma, with topical cannabinoids may warrant further investigation.”

Cannabis-Based Products for the Treatment of Skin Inflammatory Diseases: A Timely Review

“The use of natural products in dermatology is increasingly being pursued due to sustainability and ecological issues, and as a possible way to improve the therapeutic outcome of chronic skin diseases, relieving the burden for both patients and healthcare systems. The legalization of cannabis by a growing number of countries has opened the way for researching the use of cannabinoids in therapeutic topical formulations. Cannabinoids are a diverse class of pharmacologically active compounds produced by Cannabis sativa (phytocannabinoids) and similar molecules (endocannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids). Humans possess an endocannabinoid system involved in the regulation of several physiological processes, which includes naturally-produced endocannabinoids, and proteins involved in their transport, synthesis and degradation. The modulation of the endocannabinoid system is a promising therapeutic target for multiple diseases, including vascular, mental and neurodegenerative disorders. However, due to the complex nature of this system and its crosstalk with other biological systems, the development of novel target drugs is an ongoing challenging task. The discovery of a skin endocannabinoid system and its role in maintaining skin homeostasis, alongside the anti-inflammatory actions of cannabinoids, has raised interest in their use for the treatment of skin inflammatory diseases, which is the focus of this review. Oral treatments are only effective at high doses, having considerable adverse effects; thus, research into plant-based or synthetic cannabinoids that can be incorporated into high-quality, safe topical products for the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions is timely. Previous studies revealed that such products are usually well tolerated and showed promising results for example in the treatment of atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis. However, further controlled human clinical trials are needed to fully unravel the potential of these compounds, and the possible side effects associated with their topical use.”

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.”

Impact of Cannabinoid Compounds on Skin Cancer

“Drugs targeting the endocannabinoid system are of interest as potential systemic chemotherapeutic treatments and for palliative care in cancer.

In this context, cannabinoid compounds have been successfully tested as a systemic therapeutic option in preclinical models over the past decades. Recent findings have suggested an essential function of the endocannabinoid system in the homeostasis of various skin functions and indicated that cannabinoids could also be considered for the treatment and prophylaxis of tumour diseases of the skin.

Cannabinoids have been shown to exert their anticarcinogenic effects at different levels of skin cancer progression, such as inhibition of tumour growth, proliferation, invasion and angiogenesis, as well as inducing apoptosis and autophagy. This review provides an insight into the current literature on cannabinoid compounds as potential pharmaceuticals for the treatment of melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma.”

“Recent research has suggested that the endocannabinoid system offers several pharmacotherapeutic targets for drug administration as new options for the treatment and prophylaxis of skin cancer. This review focused on the anticarcinogenic mechanisms of cannabinoids at the different levels of skin cancer progression, such as inhibition of tumour growth, proliferation, invasion and angiogenesis, as well as inducing apoptosis and autophagy.”