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Cannabinoids are a group of chemicals that lie in the cannabis plant (cannabis sativa) and are proven to have medicinal properties. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the constituents of cannabis and is said to have an antitumour effect on animal cells.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive constituent of marijuana, is responsible for apoptosis (healthy cell death) in tumoral cells. This paper will see how THC and a synthetic cannabinoid agonist (WIN-55,212-2) can regress malignant gliomas in Wistar rats and in mice.
Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.
It seems that cannabinoids did not produce any strange neurotoxic side effect when they were induced in the rats. Glioma cells in the rats show that cannabinoids have caused cell death by using cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoid receptors are a place located in the endocannabinoid system which allow cannabinoids to bind to and work.
The cannabinoids here were shown to sustain ceramide accumulation and Raf1/extracellular signal-regulated kinase activation. This can only mean that cannabinoids can potentially be used as pain relief for people with for malignant glioma.
Evidence from the results show that cannabinoids have an apoptotic effect in transformed but not in cells that haven’t been transformed. The cannabinoids administered didn’t produce any necrotic brain damage or behavioural changes in the rats. Cannabinoids seem to protect neurons from glutamate-induced excitotoxicity.
Cannabinoids also seem to prevent hydroperoxide-induced oxidative damage because they have antioxidant properties. Current research is looking at how cannabinoids can be used as antiproliferative agents.