How Cannabis Extracts and Compounds Affect Human Nerve Cell Health and Activity

Jenn Hoskins
28th May, 2024

How Cannabis Extracts and Compounds Affect Human Nerve Cell Health and Activity

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Universidad de Valparaíso studied the effects of phytocannabinoids on SHSY-5Y neuroblastoma cells
  • Certain phytocannabinoids significantly reduced the viability of these neuroblastoma cells
  • The study suggests that these compounds could be developed into new treatments for refractory neuroblastoma
Neuroblastoma, a cancer that arises from immature nerve cells, remains a significant medical challenge, particularly in pediatric patients. Despite advancements in biological and immune treatments, refractory neuroblastoma continues to demand novel therapeutic approaches. Recent research conducted by the Universidad de Valparaíso has investigated the potential of phytocannabinoids and their hemisynthetic derivatives in reducing the viability of SHSY-5Y neuroblastoma cell lines[1]. Phytocannabinoids, compounds derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, have garnered attention for their diverse therapeutic properties, including anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities. Among these compounds, cannabidiol (CBD) has been extensively studied for its nonpsychoactive nature and its ability to interact with specific receptor proteins in the body, such as CB1 and CB2, to modulate various physiological processes[2]. Previous research has demonstrated CBD's potential in inhibiting the progression of several cancer types, including breast cancer, through mechanisms such as increasing apoptosis (programmed cell death) and inhibiting cell proliferation[2][3]. In the current study, researchers aimed to explore the effects of phytocannabinoids and hemisynthetic cannabinoids on the viability of neuroblastoma cells. The SHSY-5Y cell line, a human-derived neuroblastoma cell model, was used to assess the anticancer potential of these compounds. The findings revealed that certain phytocannabinoids significantly reduced the viability of SHSY-5Y cells, suggesting a promising avenue for the development of new treatments for refractory neuroblastoma. The study's methodology involved treating the SHSY-5Y cell lines with various concentrations of phytocannabinoids and hemisynthetic cannabinoids and then measuring cell viability. The results indicated a dose-dependent reduction in cell viability, with higher concentrations of the compounds leading to greater decreases in the number of viable cancer cells. This aligns with previous findings that demonstrated CBD's ability to inhibit the proliferation and invasive nature of cancer cells through the down-regulation of key regulatory proteins such as Id-1[3]. Moreover, the study highlights the potential of minor cannabinoids, such as cannabinol (CBN), which have been less studied compared to the "big four" cannabinoids (Δ9-THC, CBD, CBG, and CBC) but show promising pharmacological potential[4]. The inclusion of these minor cannabinoids in the research expands the understanding of the "cannabinome" and its diverse bioactive properties. The implications of this study are significant, as it provides a foundation for further research into the use of phytocannabinoids as a treatment for neuroblastoma. The ability of these compounds to reduce cancer cell viability through mechanisms such as apoptosis and inhibition of cell proliferation offers a potential therapeutic strategy that could complement existing treatments. Additionally, the low-toxicity profile of CBD and other nonpsychoactive cannabinoids presents an advantage in developing treatments that are both effective and safe for pediatric patients[3]. In summary, the research conducted by the Universidad de Valparaíso underscores the anticancer potential of phytocannabinoids and their hemisynthetic derivatives in treating neuroblastoma. By demonstrating their ability to reduce the viability of neuroblastoma cells, this study paves the way for future clinical trials and the development of novel cannabinoid-based therapies for refractory pediatric neuroblastoma. The findings build upon previous research highlighting the diverse therapeutic properties of cannabinoids and their potential role in cancer treatment[2][3][4].



Main Study

1) Effect of Cannabis sativa L. extracts, phytocannabinoids and their acetylated derivates on the SHSY-5Y neuroblastoma cells’ viability and caspases 3/7 activation

Published 27th May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Cannabis sativa L. and Nonpsychoactive Cannabinoids: Their Chemistry and Role against Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, and Cancer.

3) Cannabidiol as a novel inhibitor of Id-1 gene expression in aggressive breast cancer cells.

Journal: Molecular cancer therapeutics, Issue: Vol 6, Issue 11, Nov 2007

4) Cannabinol: History, Syntheses, and Biological Profile of the Greatest "Minor" Cannabinoid.

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