Objective: In this review, we discuss the emerging evidence for the effectiveness of cannabinoids in the treatment of cancer and inflammation. The remarkable effects of this study will help in supporting the traditional evidence for their successful application in the treatment of pain and cancer-related side effects.
Methods: We searched Pub Med (132 articles) and Google scholar (9 articles) databases and gathered the clinical (4 articles), and preclinical (28 articles) studies, reports on cell culture models (30 articles), and other original and review articles (78 articles) related to inflammation, cancer, and cannabinoids.
Results: Cannabinoids are described in three different forms, comprising endo- phyto- and synthetic compounds that exert biological effects. The molecular and cellular pathways of endogenous cannabinoids in the maintenance of homeostasis are well documented. In addition to classical cannabinoid receptors type 1 and 2, Vanilloid receptors and G protein-coupled receptor 55 were identified as common receptors. Subsequently, the effectiveness of phyto- and synthetic cannabinoids mediated by cannabinoid receptors has been demonstrated in the treatment of inflammatory diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases as well as gastrointestinal and respiratory inflammations. Another accepted property of cannabinoids is their anti-cancer effects. Cannabinoids were found to be effective in the treatment of lung, colorectal, prostate, breast, pancreas, and hepatic cancers. The anti-cancer effects of cannabinoids were characterized by their anti-proliferative property, inhibition of cancer cell migration, suppression of vascularization, and induction of apoptosis.
Conclusion: The current review provides an overview of the role of the endocannabinoid system in the mediation of physiological functions and the type and expression of cannabinoids receptors under physiological and pathological conditions. In addition, the molecular pathways involved in the effects of cannabinoids and the effectiveness of cannabinoids in the treatment of inflammations and cancers are highlighted.