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Cannabinoids For Cancer Treatment: Progress And Promise

What is CBD- Cannabidiol

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the second most prevalent active component in marijuana. You can directly extract CBD from the Cannabis sativa L. hemp plant. Cannabis sativa L.is a unique versatile plant and a significant herbaceous species native to Central Asia. It is traditional medicine and also a source of textile fabric throughout ancient times. CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol) are two active chemicals present in the hemp plant Cannabis sativa L. for therapeutic purposes. CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-intoxicating chemical component of marijuana that, as per clinical trials, may help with conditions like chemotherapy-induced nausea and anorexia, as well as symptomatic alleviation of multiple sclerosis. According to the World Health Organization’s report, “CBD has no effects in humans that suggest it could be abused or addictive… There has been no indication of public health issues linked to the usage of pure CBD to yet.”

The Cannabis sativa plant contains over 80 chemicals known as cannabinoids. The most well-known component of cannabis is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, hemp-derived CBD, a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant, contains only trace amounts of THC. CBD appears to have effects on some brain chemicals, but these are markedly different from THC’s effects.

According to studies, cannabinoids tend to have several medicinal substances with anticancer potential. These substances can to reduce inflammation, cell proliferation, and cell survival. Emerging research also suggests that cannabinoid receptor chemicals expressed by tumour cells might pave a path for unique cancer treatment methods. 

Cannabinoids for cancer treatment – The Progress

Cancer is a disease when the cells divide uncontrollably and can spread to other parts. This unregulated growth will damage DNA which leads to mutations, cell cycle abnormalities, and apoptotic mechanisms, resulting in uncontrolled proliferation. The process of programmed cell death is known as apoptosis. Apoptosis removes undesirable cells during early development. Agents that modify apoptosis in order to maintain a steady cell population may thus be effective for cancer-targeted therapy. The need for new chemicals and mechanism-based agents for cancer treatment thus became very important in the pharmaceutical field.   Considerable development in the use of cannabinoids in cancer treatment has opened up the possibility of these substances being used to target and kill tumours. 

In a 1970 study, cannabinoids were discovered to decrease tumour growth and extend the lives of mice with Lewis lung adenocarcinoma. In later studies, the molecular mechanisms for these effects were the focus. They showed that cannabinoids hindered tumour cell growth and induced apoptosis in various cancer cells such as glioblastoma multiforme, lymphoma, prostate, breast, lung, skin, and pancreatic cancer cells by modulating different cell signalling pathways.

Several studies show encouraging evidence on the inhibition of tumour growth by cannabinoid receptor agonists in several animal tumour models. Despite their tumour-killing abilities, studies have proven that several cannabinoids can stimulate cancer cell proliferation in vitro at minimal dosages.  Although the effects of cannabis are complex and sometimes contradictory, there is overwhelming evidence to use them as chemotherapeutic agents.

The promise: Cannabinoids for cancer treatment

Cannabinoids, the active components of the hemp plant, as well as its other natural and synthetic active components, could be effective naturally occurring substances in cancer treatments. They could aid with nausea, vomiting, discomfort, and appetite stimulation in conventional chemotherapy regimens. We think that they produce the effects through random interactions with cell membranes before the discovery of cannabinoid systems and receptors with therapeutic qualities.

Cannabinoids’ interaction with human cells has gained attention because they target cancer cells while sparing healthy cells. Variation in expression levels of CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors could be the reason why cannabis has diverse effects in different cell lines and tumour models. Cannabinoids might be useful in eliminating tumours. This is because of the suppression of the antitumor immune response and the overexpression of cannabinoid receptors. Whereas low or no expression of these receptors may lead to cell proliferation and metastasis. As per recent research, low doses of cannabis treatment might to promote cancer cell growth rather than induce apoptosis, contributing to cancer development.

The bottom line on Cannabinoids’ progress and promise in cancer treatment

Cannabinoids’ mechanisms and actions are largely unknown at this time. So, we need more research to unravel the specific mechanism of cannabinoid action in cancer cells. This will help to comprehend its efficiency in cancer treatments. According to research, delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)administration is safe. A dose-escalation strategy has shown that cannabinoid delivery is safe without explicit psychotropic effects. Although research shows favourable safety profile of most cannabinoids, as well as their antiproliferative effect on tumour cells, clinical trials can help to determine whether we can use cannabinoids to inhibit tumour growth in a clinical setting. If we can prove this, it will become possible to develop cannabinoids as novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of cancer.



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