Cannabinoid-based Anti-cancer Strategies: Slowly Approaching the Bedside
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Modulation of the endocannabinoid system has emerged as a potential
therapeutic strategy for the treatment of diverse types of cancer and related pathologies.
Thus far, the use of specific cannabinoids has been primarily approved for the
management of chemotherapy-induced side effects. Palliative actions of cannabinoids
include the control of nausea and vomiting, pain alleviation and appetite stimulation.
Moreover, a growing body of research has exposed the anticarcinogenic potential of
cannabinoids. In vitro and in vivo studies have shown that endogenous, plant-derived
and synthetic cannabinoids can effectively modulate tumor growth in diverse cancer
models. Although this has not yet reached the bedside, ongoing clinical trials and
research efforts may approach cannabinoid-based antitumor therapies to cancer patients
in the near future.
So far, studies on cannabinoids as antitumor agents have been mainly focused on
understanding the mechanism of action of well-known phytocannabinoids such as
Δ9-THC or CBD. However, novel cannabinoids with antitumor properties are also
emerging in the literature. In this chapter, we aim to provide an updated overview of
the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in cancer. We will comprehensively
summarize the diverse cannabinoid structures exerting antitumor properties analyzing
the molecular basis of these actions. Recent and ongoing clinical trials will be
considered to provide a deeper insight into the current scenario of cannabinoids in
Apoptosis, Cancer, Cannabinoids, CB1R, CB2R, Chemotherapy,
Clinical trials, Endocannabinoid system, GPR55, Palliative effects.