Treat brain cancer (glioma) with medical cannabis – Shop Ganja Store Mississauga Canada

Herb Approach

Medical cannabis is used for conditions and diseases such as chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, or nausea and vomiting. But … today we want to address if use could be used to treat people with brain cancer, also known as glioma.

Glioma: Is brain cancer more aggressive?

Glioma is an aggressive primary tumor of the central nervous system. Tumors arise from glial cells that provide protection, support and a dynamic state of equilibrium. Gliomas are classified by cell type, location and grade. Thus, glial cells include astrocytes and oligodentrocytes and comprise more than 90% of the brain.

Glioma is the most malignant brain tumor. Common symptoms include headache, vomiting, nausea and seizures. Depending on the grade of the tumor, treatment includes resection, chemoradiation and glucocorticoids, among others. Cannabinoid therapies could be an additional medication with great potential to control the improvement of these symptoms.

Cannabinoids and glioma

Cannabinoids act in the human body by mimicking the biological substances that activate cell receptors, cannabinoid receptors type 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2).

CB1 is widely found in the brain, while CB2 is expressed in the immune system. Both receptors are present in glial cells and gliomas, and the activation of these receptors is involved in the regulation of cell differentiation, function and cell viability.

Preclinical studies recommend a possible medical cannabis therapy through the inhibition of invasiveness, the induction of the death of tumor cells (apoptosis) and the inhibition of tumor proliferation and angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels around a tissue).

Medical cannabis and glioma: new tests

This 2019, a clinical study in patients with glioma has been carried out in a comprehensive cancer center in Florida to study the use of medical cannabis in this disease. Patients were under treatment for non-recurrent primary malignant glioma.

In general, users reported pain relief, nausea relief, appetite stimulation, relief through relaxation, ability to cope with emotions, sleep aids and a decrease in seizures. Only a few patients claimed to use medical cannabis to control tumor growth. However, there is not enough scientific evidence to state that tumor growth control works in humans. Therefore, more observational research and randomized trials are needed[1].

In 2011, a preclinical study observed the effect of combined administration of temozolomide, the first-line chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of glioblastoma, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. In this article, the researchers reported a strong anti-tumor action on glioma cells by activating autophagy, a process through which cells degrade damaged components. In addition, a THC and cannabidiol (CBD) treatment, another cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant, also induces the death of glioma cells and reduces tumor growth. The findings support that the combined management of cannabinoids and temozolomide could be a viable option to treat this disease.[2]

THC and glioma: studies in humans

In 2003, a clinical trial was conducted in which nine patients diagnosed with recurrent glioma in active growth were treated with THC intratumorally (intracanial). These patients had previously failed in standard management (radiotherapy and surgery) and had evidence of tumor progression.

After 15 days of administration, THC decreased the proliferation of tumor cells and increased their apoptosis. A good safety profile was also observed for THC.

Molecular mechanisms of medicinal cannabis in brain cancer

Cannabinoid receptors modulate several pathways that are involved in the control of tumor cell proliferation through the reduction of tumor angiogenesis, the induction of tumor cell death and the inhibition of the migration / invasiveness of tumor cells.

  1. Induction of the death of tumor cells

Cannabinoids activate cannabinoid receptors and induce apoptosis of glioma cells through the activation of an endoplasmic pathway related to stress and the accumulation of ceramide. The stress-regulated protein p8 plays an important role in this action by controlling the expression of ATF-4, CHOP and TRB3. This cascade of events triggers the activation of the mitochondrial intrinsic apoptotic pathway through a mechanism that is not yet known.

In resistant glioma tumors, the administration of cannabinoids together with endoplasmic reticulum stress inducing medications may be beneficial. In addition, cannabinoids promote the survival of oligodendrocytes, neurons and astrocyte cells, suggesting that the antiproliferative action of cannabinoids is selective for brain tumor cells.

  1. Reduction of tumor angiogenesis

In order to grow, tumors need to generate a new vascular supply for the purpose of waste disposal, cell nutrition and gas exchange, and therefore, blocking this process is one of the most important antitumor approaches currently available. Cannabinoids also decrease the presence of several tumor progression molecules such as Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) by glioma cells.

  1. Diffusion and invasion of tumor cells

The metalloproteinase-2 matrix (MMP2) is a protein that allows the decomposition and remodeling of tissues during the formation of new blood vessels and metastases[3]. Local administration of THC decreases the activity and expression of MMP2 in gliomas generated in mice[4].

  1. Inhibition of cell cycle progression

The cell contains two proteins that promote the cell division cycle: E2F1 and Cyclin A. It has been shown that THC decreases these proteins, affecting the survival of glioma cells (in vitro)[5].

In general, the important antiproliferative action of cannabinoids, together with their low toxicity, compared to other chemotherapeutic drugs, suggests that treatment with cannabinoids could be an additional new therapy to control brain cancer (glioma). However, more studies on this subject should be carried out to investigate the complete molecular mechanisms of action.

Did you like this post? Make an assessment. This post has been made based on existing research until the date of publication of the article. Due to the increase in studies on medical cannabis, the information presented may vary over time and we will inform in subsequent writings.

[1] Reblin M, et alt. Medical Cannabis Use in Glioma Patients Treated at a Comprehensive Cancer Center in Florida. 2019. Journal of Palliative Medicine [Internet].

[2] Torres, S., et alt. A Combined Preclinical Therapy of Cannabinoids and Temozolomide against Glioma. (2011). Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 10 (1), 90–103. doi: 10.1158 / 1535-7163.mct-10-0688

[3] Velasco, G., et alt. Cannabinoids and Gliomas. Molecular Neurobiology (2007), 36 (1), 60–67. doi: 10.1007 / s12035-007-0002-5

[4] Blazquez, C., et alt. Cannabinoids Inhibit Glioma Cell Invasion by Down-regulating Matrix Metalloproteinase-2 Expression. (2008) Cancer Research, 68 (6), 1945–1952. doi: 10.1158 / 0008-5472.can-07-5176

[5] Galanti, G., et alt. Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol inhibits cell cycle progression by downregulation of E2F1 in human glioblastoma multiforme cells. . (2008). Acta Oncologica, 47 (6), 1062–1070.doi: 10.1080 / 02841860701678787

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