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.”

Role of the endocannabinoidome in human and mouse atherosclerosis.

“The Endocannabinoid (eCB) system and its role in many physiological and pathological conditions is well described and accepted, and includes cardiovascular disorders. However, the eCB system has been expanded to an “-ome”; the endocannabinoidome (eCBome) that includes endocannabinoid-related mediators, their protein targets and metabolic enzymes, many of which significantly impact upon cardiometabolic health. These recent discoveries are here summarized with a special focus on their potential involvement in atherosclerosis. We described the role of classical components of the eCB system (eCBs, CB1 and CB2 receptors) and eCB-related lipids, their regulatory enzymes and molecular targets in atherosclerosis. Furthermore, since increasing evidence points to significant cross-talk between the eCBome and the gut microbiome and the gut microbiome and atherosclerosis, we explore the possibility that a gut microbiome – eCBome axis has potential implications in atherosclerosis.”

“Oral cannabinoid therapy reduces progression of atherosclerosis”

“The active ingredient in marijuana that produces changes in brain messages appears to fight atherosclerosis — a hardening of the arteries.”

The Important Role of the Endocannabinoid System and the Endocannabinoidome in Gut Health.

Image result for Altern Ther Health Med journal “The endocannabinoid system is an endogenous pathway comprised of the cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2), their endogenous ligands known as endocannabinoids, and the enzymes responsible for their synthesis and degradation. The endocannabinoidome extends this system to include other receptors such as TRPV1, PPARα, GPR55 and 5-HT1A. An extensive amount of research is now linking the endocannabinoidome to intestinal health through fascinating mechanisms that include endocannabinoid receptor expression in the gut and interplay with the intestinal microbiota. A dysregulated endocannabinoid system may lead to inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer.”

The relationship of endocannabinoidome lipid mediators with pain and psychological stress in women with fibromyalgia – a case control study.

“Characterized by chronic widespread pain, generalized hyperalgesia, and psychological stress fibromyalgia (FM) is difficult to diagnose and lacks effective treatments.

The endocannabinoids – arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA), 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), and the related oleoylethanolamide (OEA), palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), and stearoylethanolamide (SEA) – are endogenous lipid mediators with analgesic and anti-inflammatory characteristics, in company with psychological modulating properties (e.g., stress and anxiety), and are included in a new emerging “ome”, the endocannabinoidome.

This case -control study compared the concentration differences of AEA, OEA, PEA, SEA, and 2-AG in 104 women with FM and 116 healthy controls (CON). All participants OEArated their pain, anxiety, depression, and current health status. The relationships between the lipid concentrations and the clinical assessments were investigated using powerful multivariate data analysis and traditional bivariate statistics. The concentrations of OEA, PEA, SEA, and 2-AG were significantly higher in FM than in CON; significance remained for OEA and SEA after controlling for BMI and age. 2-AG correlated positively with FM duration and BMI, and to some extent negatively with pain, anxiety, depression, and health status. In FM, AEA correlated positively with depression ratings.

The elevated circulating levels of endocannabinoidome lipids suggest that these lipids play a role in the complex pathophysiology of FM and might be signs of ongoing low-grade inflammation in FM. Although the investigated lipids are significantly altered in FM their biological roles are uncertain with respect to the clinical manifestations of FM. Thus, plasma lipids alone are not good biomarkers for FM.


This study reports about elevated plasma levels of endocannabinoidome lipid mediators in FM. The lipids suitability to work as biomarkers for FM in the clinic were low, however their altered levels indicate that a metabolic asymmetry is ongoing in FM, which could serve as basis during explorative FM pain management.”

Fatty acids, endocannabinoids and inflammation.

“From their phylogenetic and pharmacological classification it might be inferred that cannabinoid receptors and their endogenous ligands constitute a rather specialised and biologically distinct signalling system.

However, the opposite is true and accumulating data underline how much the endocannabinoid system is intertwined with other lipid and non-lipid signalling systems.

Endocannabinoids per se have many structural congeners, and these molecules exist in dynamic equilibria with different other lipid-derived mediators, including eicosanoids and prostamides.

With multiple crossroads and shared targets, this creates a versatile system involved in fine-tuning different physiological and metabolic processes, including inflammation.

A key feature of this ‘expanded’ endocannabinoid system, or ‘endocannabinoidome’, is its subtle orchestration based on interactions between a relatively small number of receptors and multiple ligands with different but partly overlapping activities.

Following an update on the role of the ‘endocannabinoidome’ in inflammatory processes, this review continues with possible targets for intervention at the level of receptors or enzymes involved in formation or breakdown of endocannabinoids and their congeners.

Although its pleiotropic character poses scientific challenges, the ‘expanded’ endocannabinoid system offers several opportunities for prevention and therapy of chronic diseases.

In this respect, successes are more likely to come from ‘multiple-target’ than from ‘single-target’ strategies.”

Endocannabinoids: a unique opportunity to develop multitarget analgesics.

“After 4 millennia of more or less documented history of cannabis use, the identification of cannabinoids, and of Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol in particular, occurred only during the early 1960s, and the cloning of cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors, as well as the discovery of endocannabinoids and their metabolic enzymes, in the 1990s.

Despite this initial relatively slow progress of cannabinoid research, the turn of the century marked an incredible acceleration in discoveries on the “endocannabinoid signaling system,” its role in physiological and pathological conditions, and pain in particular, its pharmacological targeting with selective agonists, antagonists, and inhibitors of metabolism, and its previously unsuspected complexity.

The way researchers look at this system has thus rapidly evolved towards the idea of the “endocannabinoidome,” that is, a complex system including also several endocannabinoid-like mediators and their often redundant metabolic enzymes and “promiscuous” molecular targets.

These peculiar complications of endocannabinoid signaling have not discouraged efforts aiming at its pharmacological manipulation, which, nevertheless, now seems to require the development of multitarget drugs, or the re-visitation of naturally occurring compounds with more than one mechanism of action.

In fact, these molecules, as compared to “magic bullets,” seem to offer the advantage of modulating the “endocannabinoidome” in a safer and more therapeutically efficacious way.

This approach has provided so far promising preclinical results potentially useful for the future efficacious and safe treatment of chronic pain and inflammation.”