Therapeutic Potential of Cannnabinoids in Treating Cancer | cannabisMD

Therapeutic Potential of Cannnabinoids in Treating Cancer

Therapeutic Potential of Cannnabinoids in Treating Cancer; Oncotarget


Cannabinoids are a group of chemical compounds naturally occurring cannabis plant (cannabis sativa). Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of these chemicals and research has shown that it has anti inflammatory properties to heal animals with nervous system disorders. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another one of these compounds in the marijuana plant that wields a psychoactive effect in animals. Major cannabinoid receptors in the brain (CB1 and CB2) are found in the endogenous cannabinoid system and allow cannabinoids to bind and do their job in the body. This paper will focus on a broad range of cannabinoids, their receptor dependent and receptor independent functional roles against various cancer types with respect to growth, metastasis, energy metabolism, immune environment, and future outlooks in exploring new possible therapeutic opportunities.

Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.

Main Points

  • Cannabinoids promote healthy cell growth
  • Cannabinoids could reduce tumors

Cannabinoids promote healthy cell growth

The pharmacological importance of cannabinoids has been in study for several years. Cannabinoids consist of the active compounds of the Cannabis sativa plant, endogenous as well as synthetic cannabinoids. Though cannabinoids are clinically used for anti-palliative effects, recent research has showed promising potential as anti-cancer agents. They have been shown to possess anti-proliferative and anti-angiogenic effects in a range of cancer models. Cannabinoids promote good cell regulation by mediating factors such as invasion, angiogenesis, metastasis, etc. There is more focus on CB1 and CB2, the two cannabinoid receptors which are triggered by most of the cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids could reduce tumors

Cannabinoids promote a direct anti-proliferative impact on tumors of different origin in the endocannabinoid system. They have been seen to be anti-migratory and anti-invasive in cancerous cells. Also, cannabinoids change other major processes in our body like energy metabolism and inflammation. These data occur not only from cell culture systems but also from more complex and clinically relevant animal models. Data presented in this paper points at that cannabis products mediate differently signaling pathways, change different tumor cell types and host the physiological system. It is detrimental to understand which of the cannabinoid receptors are expressed and triggered in different tumors as each receptor follows a different signaling mechanism. Furthermore, endocannabinoids- AEA and 2-AG are broken down to enhance tumor growth and metastasis in diverse cancer types. Understanding the right signaling by which cannabinoids work will soon lead to targeted clinical approach.


Moreover, cannabinoids are more particular to cancer cells than normal cells. The administration of single cannabinoids might promote limited pain alleviation compared to the administration of crude extract of plant withholding numerous cannabinoids, terpenes and flavanoids. Thus, a mixture of cannabinoids with other chemotherapeutic drugs might give a potent clinical outcome, reduce toxicity, increase specificity and overcome drug resistance complications.

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