A cannabinoid is one of a collection of complex chemical compounds that operates on cannabinoid receptors in cells that fluxuates neurotransmitter release in the brain. Cannabinoids for these receptors include the endocannabinoids, that are made naturally in the body by animals, the phytocannabinoids in cannabis and some other plants, and synthetic cannabinoids. The main cannabinoid is the phytocannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive chemical in cannabis. Cannabidiol (CBD) is another main constituent of the plant and produces a non psychotic effect. This paper will look at how THC can induce cell death in malignant glioma cells.
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THC induces apoptosis in glioma cells
THC, the main active part of marijuana, induced apoptosis in glioma cells, as deemed by DNA fragmentation and loss of plasma membrane asymmetry. ‘THC triggered sphingomyelin hydrolysis in glioma cells’. This means that THC induced cell death in numerous transformed neural cells but not in major neurons. Although glioma cells described the CB1 cannabinoid receptor, neither THC‐induced cell death nor THC‐induced sphingomyelin breakdown were stopped by the cannabinoid SR141716, a selective antagonist of that receptor. Conclusions thus display that THC‐induced death in glioma cells may depend on a CB1 receptor‐independent boost of sphingomyelin breakdown.
THC can have a therapeutic effect
An abundance of research is currently focused on possible therapeutic applications of cannabinoids such as a therapeutic effect in glaucoma. Cannabinoids are also being experimented on as analgesic drugs in the curing of neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. The antiproliferative impact of THC expressed in the present study might provide the basis for a fresh therapeutic use of cannabinoids, most likely since main neurons are resistant to the apoptotic method of THC. More so, this data indicates that the challenge of glioma cells to cannabinoids might be an applicable model to study the molecular methods involved in apoptosis in cells of glial beginnings.