Acta Universitatis Lodziensis, Folia Biologica et Oecologica


Cannabinoids impact human body by binding to cannabinoids receptors (CB1 and CB2). The two main phytocannabinoids are Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC interacts with CB1 receptors occurring in central nervous system and is responsible for psychoactive properties of marijuana. CBD has low affinity to CB1 receptor, has no psychoactive characteristics and its medical applications can be wider. CB receptors are part of a complex machinery involved in regulation of many physiological processes – endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoids have found some applications in palliative medicine, but there are many reports concerning their anticancer affects. Agonists of CB1 receptors stimulate accumulation of ceramides in cancer cells, stress of endoplasmic reticulum (ER stress) and, in turn, apoptosis. Effects of cannabinoids showing low affinity to CB receptors is mediated probably by induction of reactive oxygen species production. Knowledge of antitumor activity of cannabinoids is still based only on preclinical studies and there is a necessity to conduct more experiments to assess the real potential of these compounds.

Polish Abstract

Kannabinoidy oddziałują na organizm ludzki wiążąc się z receptorami kannabinoidowymi (CB1 oraz CB2). Dwoma głównymi kannabinoidami roślinnymi są Δ9-tetrahydrokannabinol (THC) i kannabidiol (CBD). THC wiąże się z receptorami CB1 obecnymi w obrębie centralnego układu nerwowego, co powoduje psychoaktywne właściwości marihuany. CBD posiada niskie powinowactwo do receptorów CB1, nie posiada właściwości psychoaktywnych, co sprawia, że jego medyczne zastosowanie może być znacznie szersze. Receptory CB są częścią złożonego mechanizmu zaangażowanego w regulację wielu procesów fizjologicznych – układu endokannabinoidowego. Kannabinoidy znalazły pewne zastosowanie w medycynie paliatywnej, lecz istnieje wiele badań dowodzących ich antynowotworowych właściwości. Agoniści receptorów CB1 powodują akumulację związków z grupy ceramidów w komórkach nowotworowych, stres retikulum endoplazmatycznego i w konsekwencji apoptozę. W efektach wywoływanych przez kannabinoidy posiadając niskie powinowactwo do receptorów CB pośredniczy najprawdopodobniej indukcja produkcji reaktywnych form tlenu. Dotychczasowa wiedza dotycząca przeciwnowotworowych właściwości kannabinoidów opiera się tylko na badaniach przedklinicznych. Istnieje potrzeba przeprowadzania kolejnych badań, które umożliwiłyby oszacowanie rzeczywistego potencjału tych związków.


cannabinoids, cancer, tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, cannabidiol, CBD


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