Characterization of the Antitumor Potential of Extracts of Cannabis sativa Strains with High CBD Content in Human Neuroblastoma


“Cannabis has been used for decades as a palliative therapy in the treatment of cancer. This is because of its beneficial effects on the pain and nausea that patients can experience as a result of chemo/radiotherapy. Tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol are the main compounds present in Cannabis sativa, and both exert their actions through a receptor-mediated mechanism and through a non-receptor-mediated mechanism, which modulates the formation of reactive oxygen species. These oxidative stress conditions might trigger lipidic changes, which would compromise cell membrane stability and viability.

In this sense, numerous pieces of evidence describe a potential antitumor effect of cannabinoid compounds in different types of cancer, although controversial results limit their implementation. In order to further investigate the possible mechanism involved in the antitumoral effects of cannabinoids, three extracts isolated from Cannabis sativa strains with high cannabidiol content were analyzed. Cell mortality, cytochrome c oxidase activity and the lipid composition of SH-SY5Y cells were determined in the absence and presence of specific cannabinoid ligands, with and without antioxidant pre-treatment.

The cell mortality induced by the extracts in this study appeared to be related to the inhibition of the cytochrome c oxidase activity and to the THC concentration. This effect on cell viability was similar to that observed with the cannabinoid agonist WIN55,212-2. The effect was partially blocked by the selective CB1 antagonist AM281, and the antioxidant α-tocopherol. Moreover, certain membrane lipids were affected by the extracts, which demonstrated the importance of oxidative stress in the potential antitumoral effects of cannabinoids.”

“In conclusion, cannabinoid extracts from high-CBD strains exhibit differential antitumor effects in human neuroblastoma cells by interfering with mitochondrial respiration and increasing ROS production, lipid peroxidation, and cell apoptosis in such a way that appears to correlate with THC content. However, the contributions of other compounds cannot be excluded. This action of the Cannabis sativa plant extracts used in our study was not only mediated by the cannabinoid receptor’s activity, but also by its effect on the mETC complexes, among others, which promote oxidative stress. Moreover, the use of plant extracts has demonstrated higher antitumoral effects than cannabinoids by themselves.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *