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Cannabinoids and Cancer 

Cannabinoids and Cancer
Chapter:
Cannabinoids and Cancer
Author(s):

Donald I. Abrams

and Manuel Guzman

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199329724.003.0008
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date: 19 October 2019

Chapter 8 discusses cannabinoids and cancer, including the use of cannabis in medicine for thousands of years prior to its current status as an illicit substance, that cannabinoids, the active components of Cannabis sativa, mimic the effects of the endogenous cannabinoids, how Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main bioactive cannabinoid in the plant, has been available as a prescription medication approved for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and treatment of anorexia associated with the AIDS wasting syndrome, that cannabinoids may be of benefit in the treatment of cancer-related pain, possibly in a synergistic fashion with opioid analgesics, that cannabinoids have a favorable drug safety profile, medical use predominantly limited by their psychoactive effects and their limited bioavailability, the lack of conclusive evidence that chronic cannabis use leads to the development of any malignancies, that cannabinoids inhibit tumor growth in laboratory animal models by modulation of key cell-signaling pathways, inducing direct growth arrest and tumor cell death, as well as by inhibiting tumor angiogenesis and metastasis, that cannabinoids appear to be selective antitumor compounds because they kill tumor cells without affecting their nontransformed counterparts, and the need for further research on the role of cannabinoids in palliative cancer care and as potential anti-cancer agents.

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