Public Release: 

Can cannabinoids be used to treat cancer?

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

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Credit: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

New Rochelle, NY, Nov. 6, 2017-When cannabinoids activate signaling pathways in cancer cells they can stimulate a cell death mechanism called apoptosis, unleashing a potent anti-tumor effect. Yet cannabinoids, which have also shown strong activity against human tumor tissue grown in animal models, have undergone minimal testing in patients. Their potential use as antitumor drugs and/or to boost the effectiveness of conventional cancer therapies is examined in an article published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (JACM), a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on JACM website.

In "A Review of the Therapeutic Antitumor Potential of Cannabinoids," coauthors Višnja Bogdanovi? and Jasminka Mrdjanovi?, Oncology Institute of Vojvodina (Sremska Kamenica, Serbia), and Ivana Borišev, University of Novi Sad (Serbia) present the results of a detailed survey of the medical and scientific literature focused on the effects of cannabinoids on signaling pathways involved in tumor cell proliferation and death. The researchers review the mechanisms of anticancer activity of cannabinoids, discuss the similarities and differences between exogenous (plant-derived) and endogenous cannabinoids, report on the clinical studies conducted to date to assess the anti-tumor effects of these compounds, and consider the possible adjuvant properties of cannabinoids in cancer treatment.

"Although medical cannabis is well-supported in the literature for symptom reduction from cancer treatment or the disease itself, there are many claims that cannabis can treat cancer itself," says Leslie Mendoza Temple, MD, ABOIM, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and Medical Director, Integrative Medicine Program. "So far, this is based on only a handful of small human studies, anecdote, or laboratory research. This article nicely summarizes some of the work done in the lab for an understanding of cannabis' potential anti-cancer mechanisms, while pointing to the paucity of human trials." Dr. Temple adds, "Federal rescheduling of cannabis is critical so we can study its effects in humans and determine cannabis' direct or indirect effects on cancer cells."

"The value of the review from Bogdanovi?, Mrdjanovi?, and Borišev is describing the evidence landscape that is generating claims for this very political herb," says JACM Editor-in-Chief John Weeks, johnweeks-integrator.com, Seattle, WA. He adds: "The evidence supports freeing researchers to provide us with more answers."

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For interview requests, please contact author Leslie Mendoza Temple, (lmendoza@northshore.org) University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

About the Journal

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (JACM) is a monthly peer-reviewed journal published online with open access options and in print. Led by John Weeks (johnweeks-integrator.com), the Co-founder and past Executive Director of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health, JACM provides observational, clinical, and scientific reports and commentary intended to help healthcare professionals, delivery organization leaders, and scientists evaluate and integrate therapies into patient care protocols and research strategies. Complete tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on JACM website.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Alternative and Complementary Therapies, Medical Acupuncture, and Journal of Medicinal Food. Its biotechnology trade magazine, GEN (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 80 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

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