Cannabinoids and Cancer

cancers-logo“Cannabinoids, active components of the plant Cannabis sativa, had been used for centuries in ancient medicine as therapeutic remedies for a variety of conditions, before becoming stigmatized due to their psychoactive effects.

In the second half of the 19th century, phyto-cannabinoids have been re-evaluated after the discovery of the chemical structure and isolation of different substances, and the subsequent development of cannabinoid-based drugs that have been FDA approved mainly to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea, insomnia and appetite, epilepsy, spasticity, and pain management.

Then, the elucidation of the endocannabinoid system, from the initial type 1 and type 2 (CB1 and CB2) cannabinoid receptors and their endogenous ligands (especially N-arachidonoylethanolamine, or anandamide, and 2-arachidonoylglycerol) to the emerging complexity of a wider system made up of additional putative receptors, ligands and enzymes, altogether termed endocannabinoidome, has further boosted research into the therapeutic potential of phyto-, endo- and even syntho-(synthetic) cannabinoids, cancer treatment included.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34503268/

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/13/17/4458/htm

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Localisation of Cannabinoid and Cannabinoid-Related Receptors in the Horse Ileum

Journal of Equine Veterinary Science“Colic is a common digestive disorder in horses and one of the most urgent problems in equine medicine. A growing body of literature has indicated that the activation of cannabinoid receptors could exert beneficial effects on gastrointestinal inflammation and visceral hypersensitivity.

The localisation of cannabinoid and cannabinoid-related receptors in the intestine of the horse has not yet been investigated. The purpose of this study was to immunohistochemically localise the cellular distribution of canonical and putative cannabinoid receptors in the ileum of healthy horses.

Distal ileum specimens were collected from six horses at the slaughterhouse. The tissues were fixed and processed to obtain cryosections which were used to investigate the immunoreactivity of canonical cannabinoid receptors 1 (CB1R) and 2 (CB2R), and three putative cannabinoid-related receptors: nuclear peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPARα), transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 and serotonin 5-HT1a receptor (5-HT1aR).

Cannabinoid and cannabinoid-related receptors showed a wide distribution in the ileum of the horse.

The epithelial cells showed immunoreactivity for CB1R, CB2R and 5-HT1aR. Lamina propria inflammatory cells showed immunoreactivity for CB2R and 5-HT1aR. The enteric neurons showed immunoreactivity for CB1R, transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 and PPARα. The enteric glial cells showed immunoreactivity for CB1R and PPARα. The smooth muscle cells of the tunica muscularis and the blood vessels showed immunoreactivity for PPARα.

The present study represents a histological basis which could support additional studies regarding the distribution of cannabinoid receptors during gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases as well as studies assessing the effects of non-psychotic cannabis-derived molecules in horses for the management of intestinal diseases.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34416995/

“Horses are often affected by gastrointestinal pathologies. Researchers are searching for new therapies for equine gastrointestinal diseases. New products with cannabinoid receptor agonists have been produced for horses. Cannabinoid receptors showed a wide distribution in the ileum of the horse. Activation of cannabinoids receptors could attenuate intestinal inflammation.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S073708062100318X?via%3Dihub

 

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Cannabis sativa L. as a Natural Drug Meeting the Criteria of a Multitarget Approach to Treatment

ijms-logo“Cannabis sativa L. turned out to be a valuable source of chemical compounds of various structures, showing pharmacological activity. The most important groups of compounds include phytocannabinoids and terpenes.

The pharmacological activity of Cannabis (in epilepsy, sclerosis multiplex (SM), vomiting and nausea, pain, appetite loss, inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, schizophrenia, glaucoma, and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)), which has been proven so far, results from the affinity of these compounds predominantly for the receptors of the endocannabinoid system (the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1), type two (CB2), and the G protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55)) but, also, for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR), glycine receptors, serotonin receptors (5-HT), transient receptor potential channels (TRP), and GPR, opioid receptors.

The synergism of action of phytochemicals present in Cannabis sp. raw material is also expressed in their increased bioavailability and penetration through the blood-brain barrier. This review provides an overview of phytochemistry and pharmacology of compounds present in Cannabis extracts in the context of the current knowledge about their synergistic actions and the implications of clinical use in the treatment of selected diseases.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33466734/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/2/778

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Therapeutic Attributes of Endocannabinoid System against Neuro-Inflammatory Autoimmune Disorders

molecules-logo“In humans, various sites like cannabinoid receptors (CBR) having a binding affinity with cannabinoids are distributed on the surface of different cell types, where endocannabinoids (ECs) and derivatives of fatty acid can bind. The binding of these substance(s) triggers the activation of specific receptors required for various physiological functions, including pain sensation, memory, and appetite.

The ECs and CBR perform multiple functions via the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1); cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2), having a key effect in restraining neurotransmitters and the arrangement of cytokines. The role of cannabinoids in the immune system is illustrated because of their immunosuppressive characteristics. These characteristics include inhibition of leucocyte proliferation, T cells apoptosis, and induction of macrophages along with reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines secretion.

The review seeks to discuss the functional relationship between the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and anti-tumor characteristics of cannabinoids in various cancers.

The therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for cancer-both in vivo and in vitro clinical trials-has also been highlighted and reported to be effective in mice models in arthritis for the inflammation reduction, neuropathic pain, positive effect in multiple sclerosis and type-1 diabetes mellitus, and found beneficial for treating in various cancers.

In human models, such studies are limited; thereby, further research is indispensable in this field to get a conclusive outcome. Therefore, in autoimmune disorders, therapeutic cannabinoids can serve as promising immunosuppressive and anti-fibrotic agents.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34205169/

https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/26/11/3389

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Cancer Initiation, Progression and Resistance: Are Phytocannabinoids from Cannabis sativa L. Promising Compounds?

molecules-logo“Cannabis sativa L. is a source of over 150 active compounds known as phytocannabinoids that are receiving renewed interest due to their diverse pharmacologic activities. Indeed, phytocannabinoids mimic the endogenous bioactive endocannabinoids effects through activation of CB1 and CB2 receptors widely described in the central nervous system and peripheral tissues.

All phytocannabinoids have been studied for their protective actions towards different biological mechanisms, including inflammation, immune response, oxidative stress that, altogether, result in an inhibitory activity against the carcinogenesis.

The role of the endocannabinoid system is not yet completely clear in cancer, but several studies indicate that cannabinoid receptors and endogenous ligands are overexpressed in different tumor tissues.

Recently, in vitro and in vivo evidence support the effectiveness of phytocannabinoids against various cancer types, in terms of proliferation, metastasis, and angiogenesis, actions partially due to their ability to regulate signaling pathways critical for cell growth and survival.

The aim of this review was to report the current knowledge about the action of phytocannabinoids from Cannabis sativa L. against cancer initiation and progression with a specific regard to brain, breast, colorectal, and lung cancer as well as their possible use in the therapies. We will also report the known molecular mechanisms responsible for such positive effects.

Finally, we will describe the actual therapeutic options for Cannabis sativa L. and the ongoing clinical trials.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34063214/

https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/26/9/2668

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The Interplay between the Immune and the Endocannabinoid Systems in Cancer

cells-logo“The therapeutic potential of Cannabis sativa has been recognized since ancient times. Phytocannabinoids, endocannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids activate two major G protein-coupled receptors, subtype 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2). Cannabinoids (CBs) modulate several aspects of cancer cells, such as apoptosis, autophagy, proliferation, migration, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and stemness. Moreover, agonists of CB1 and CB2 receptors inhibit angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Low-grade inflammation is a hallmark of cancer in the tumor microenvironment (TME), which contains a plethora of innate and adaptive immune cells. These cells play a central role in tumor initiation and growth and the formation of metastasis. CB2 and, to a lesser extent, CB1 receptors are expressed on a variety of immune cells present in TME (e.g., T cells, macrophages, mast cells, neutrophils, NK cells, dendritic cells, monocytes, eosinophils). The activation of CB receptors modulates a variety of biological effects on cells of the adaptive and innate immune system. The expression of CB2 and CB1 on different subsets of immune cells in TME and hence in tumor development is incompletely characterized. The recent characterization of the human cannabinoid receptor CB2-Gi signaling complex will likely aid to design potent and specific CB2/CB1 ligands with therapeutic potential in cancer.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34064197/

https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4409/10/6/1282

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The Molecular targets of Cannabinoids in the treatment of Cancer and Inflammation

In this review we discuss the emerging evidence for the effectiveness of cannabinoids in the treatment of cancer and inflammation. The remarkable effects complete the traditional evidence for their successful application in the treatment of pain and cancer-related side effects.

Results: Cannabinoids are described in three different forms, comprising endo- phyto- and synthetic compounds that exert biological effects. The molecular and cellular pathways of endogenous cannabinoids in the maintenance of homeostasis are well documented. In addition to classical cannabinoid receptors type 1 and 2, Vanilloid receptors and G protein-coupled receptor 55 were identified as common receptors. Subsequently, the effectiveness of phyto- and synthetic cannabinoids mediated by cannabinoid receptors has been demonstrated in the treatment of inflammatory diseases including neurodegenerative diseases as well as gastrointestinal and respiratory inflammations.

Another accepted property of cannabinoids is their anti-cancer effects. Cannabinoids were found to be effective in the treatment of lung, colorectal, prostate, breast, pancreas and hepatic cancers. The anticancer effects of cannabinoids were characterized by their anti-proliferative property, inhibition of cancer cells migration, suppression of vascularization and induction of apoptosis.

Conclusion: The current review provides and overview the role of endocannabinoid system in the mediation of physiological functions, the type and expression of cannabinoids receptors under physiological and pathological conditions. In additions, the molecular pathways involved in the effects of cannabinoids and the effectiveness of cannabinoids in the treatment of inflammations and cancers are highlighted.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33902407/

https://www.eurekaselect.com/193013/article

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THC Reduces Ki67-Immunoreactive Cells Derived from Human Primary Glioblastoma in a GPR55-Dependent Manner

cancers-logo

“Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most frequent malignant tumor of the central nervous system in humans with a median survival time of less than 15 months.

9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the best-characterized components of Cannabis sativa plants with modulating effects on cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) and on orphan receptors such as GPR18 or GPR55. Previous studies have demonstrated anti-tumorigenic effects of THC and CBD in several tumor entities including GBM, mostly mediated via CB1 or CB2.

In this study, we investigated the non-CB1/CB2 effects of THC on the cell cycle of GBM cells isolated from human tumor samples.

Cell cycle entry was measured after 24 h upon exposure by immunocytochemical analysis of Ki67 as proliferation marker. The Ki67-reducing effect of THC was abolished in the presence of CBD, whereas CBD alone did not cause any changes. To identify the responsible receptor for THC effects, we first characterized the cells regarding their expression of different cannabinoid receptors: CB1, CB2, GPR18, and GPR55. Secondly, the receptors were pharmacologically blocked by application of their selective antagonists AM281, AM630, O-1918, and CID16020046 (CID), respectively. All examined cells expressed the receptors, but only in presence of the GPR55 antagonist CID was the THC effect diminished. Stimulation with the GPR55 agonist lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI) revealed similar effects as obtained for THC. The LPI effects were also inhibited by CBD and CID, confirming a participation of GPR55 and suggesting its involvement in modifying the cell cycle of patient-derived GBM cells.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33802282/

“Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most frequent primary brain tumor entity with poor prognosis and resistance to current standard therapies. Cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are discussed as promising compounds for individualized treatment, as they exert anti-tumor effects by binding to cannabinoid-specific receptors. However, their pharmacology is highly diverse and complex. The present study was designed to verify (1) whether cannabinoids show even any effect in GBM cells derived from primary human tumor samples and (2) to identify the receptor responsible for those effects. Our findings revealed that THC reduces the number of Ki67 immunoreactive nuclei, a cell cycle marker through the orphan cannabinoid receptor GPR55. The data suggest a therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in those GBM with functional and responsive GPR55.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/13/5/1064

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Emerging role of cannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoid receptor 1/cannabinoid receptor 2 receptor agonists in cancer treatment and chemotherapy-associated cancer management

 Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics“Cannabis was extensively utilized for its medicinal properties till the 19th century. A steep decline in its medicinal usage was observed later due to its emergence as an illegal recreational drug. Advances in technology and scientific findings led to the discovery of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound of cannabis, that further led to the discovery of endogenous cannabinoids system consisting of G-protein-coupled receptors – cannabinoid receptor 1 and cannabinoid receptor 2 along with their ligands, mainly anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol. Endocannabinoid (EC) is shown to be a modulator not only for physiological functions but also for the immune system, endocrine network, and central nervous system. Medicinal research and meta-data analysis over the last few decades have shown a significant potential for both THC and cannabidiol (CBD) to exert palliative effects. People suffering from many forms of advanced stages of cancers undergo chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting followed by severe and chronic neuropathic pain and weight loss. THC and CBD exhibit effective analgesic, anxiolytic, and appetite-stimulating effect on patients suffering from cancer. Drugs currently available in the market to treat such chemotherapy-induced cancer-related ailments are Sativex (GW Pharmaceutical), Dronabinol (Unimed Pharmaceuticals), and Nabilone (Valeant Pharmaceuticals). Apart from exerting palliative effects, THC also shows promising role in the treatment of cancer growth, neurodegenerative diseases (multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease), and alcohol addiction and hence should be exploited for potential benefits. The current review discusses the nature and role of CB receptors, specific applications of cannabinoids, and major studies that have assessed the role of cannabinoids in cancer management.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33723124/

“Specific targeting of cannabinoid receptors can be used to manage severe side effects during chemotherapy, palliative care, and overall cancer management. Furthermore, research evidences on cannabinoids have suggested tumor inhibiting and suppressing properties which warrant reconsidering legality of the substance. Studies on CB1 and CB2 receptors, in case of cancers, have demonstrated the psychoactive constituents of cannabinoids to be potent against tumor growth. Interestingly, studies have also shown that activation of CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors by their respective synthetic agonists tends to limit human cancer cell growth, suggesting the role of the endocannabinoid system as a novel target for treatment of cancers.”

https://www.cancerjournal.net/article.asp?issn=0973-1482;year=2021;volume=17;issue=1;spage=1;epage=9;aulast=Shah

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Synthetic Cannabinoids Induce Autophagy and Mitochondrial Apoptotic Pathways in Human Glioblastoma Cells Independently of Deficiency in TP53 or PTEN Tumor Suppressors

cancers-logo“Glioblastomas (GBMs) are aggressive brain tumors with frequent genetic alterations in TP53 and PTEN tumor suppressor genes rendering resistance to standard chemotherapeutics. Cannabinoid type 1 and 2 (CB1/CB2) receptor expression in GBMs and antitumor activity of cannabinoids in glioma cells and animal models, raised promises for a targeted treatment of these tumors. The susceptibility of human glioma cells to CB2-agonists and their mechanism of action are not fully elucidated. We determined CB1 and CB2 expression in 14 low-grade and 21 high-grade tumor biopsies, GBM-derived primary cultures and established cell lines. The non-selective CB receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 (but not its inactive enantiomer) or the CB2-selective agonist JWH133 induced apoptosis in patient-derived glioma cultures and five established glioma cell lines despite p53 and/or PTEN deficiency. Growth inhibitory efficacy of cannabinoids correlated with CB1/CB2 expression (EC50 WIN55,212-2: 7.36-15.70 µM, JWH133: 12.15-143.20 µM). Treatment with WIN55,212-2 or JWH133 led to activation of the apoptotic mitochondrial pathway and DNA fragmentation. Synthetic cannabinoid action was associated with the induction of autophagy and knockdown of autophagy genes augmented cannabinoid-induced apoptotic cell death. The high susceptibility of human glioblastoma cells to synthetic cannabinoids, despite genetic defects contributing to apoptosis resistance, makes cannabinoids promising anti-glioma therapeutics.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33499365/

“Glioblastomas (GBMs) are aggressive brain tumors with frequent genetic defects in TP53 and PTEN tumor suppressor genes, which render tumors refractory to standard chemotherapeutics.

Natural and synthetic cannabinoids showed antitumor activity in glioma cells and animal glioma models.

Due to differences in the expression of cannabinoid type 2 receptors (CB2), which are abundant in GBMs but absent from a healthy brain, we tested synthetic cannabinoids for their ability to kill numerous glioma cells. We performed multiple biochemical analyses to determine which cell death pathways are activated in human glioma cells. We demonstrate high susceptibility of human glioblastoma cells to synthetic cannabinoids, despite genetic defects contributing to apoptosis resistance, which makes cannabinoids promising anti-glioma therapeutics.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/13/3/419

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