Study Finds Marijuana Extracts With Equal Parts THC and CBD Could Potentially Treat Melanoma

The use of cannabis-derived extracts containing equal amounts of THC and CBD is a potential treatment option for those with melanoma, finds a study published by the journal Anticancer Research.

Malignant melanoma is an aggressive skin cancer, accounting for the majority of skin cancer deaths. The study notes that prognosis is often poor and finding effective treatment remains a challenge. In this study researchers “aimed to perform gene expression analysis of human melanoma A375 cells following stimulation with C. sativa extracts.”

For the study, which was conducted by researchers at Mae Fah Luang University, the Ministry of Public Health, the Government Pharmaceutical Organization, Mahidol University and the Institute of Medical Research and Technology Assessment, all in Thailand, “Gene expression profiles of A375 human melanoma and Vero (control) cell lines were evaluated by RNA sequencing and quantitative real-time PCR.”

“Flow cytometry showed that the THC+CBD cannabis fractions induced apoptosis [cell death] on A375 cells”, states the study. “Treatment of A375 cells with the THC+CBD fraction inhibited the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 signaling pathway, which regulates melanoma cell proliferation. We showed that the THC+CBD combination disrupted melanoma cell migration.”

The study concludes by stating that “Use of C. sativa-derived extracts containing equal amounts of THC and CBD is proposed as a potential treatment of melanoma.”

The study’s full abstract can be found below.

Abstract

Background/aim: Malignant melanoma is an aggressive skin cancer, accounting for the majority of skin cancer deaths. Prognosis is often poor and finding effective treatment remains a challenge. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are main bioactive components of Cannabis sativa plant extracts that have been shown to exert anti-tumor effects. In this study, we aimed to perform gene expression analysis of human melanoma A375 cells following stimulation with C. sativa extracts.

Materials and methods: Gene expression profiles of A375 human melanoma and Vero (control) cell lines were evaluated by RNA sequencing and quantitative real-time PCR.

Results: Flow cytometry showed that the THC+CBD cannabis fractions induced apoptosis on A375 cells. Induction of apoptosis was accompanied by a notable up-regulation of DNA damage inducible transcript 3 (DDIT), nerve growth factor receptor (NGFR), colony-stimulating factor 2 (CSF2), growth arrest and DNA damage inducible beta (GADD45B), and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) genes and down-regulation of aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator 2 (ARNT2), cyclin E2 (CCNE2), integrin subunit alpha 9 (ITGA9), proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and E2F transcription factor 1 (E2F1) genes. Treatment of A375 cells with the THC+CBD fraction inhibited the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 signaling pathway, which regulates melanoma cell proliferation. We showed that the THC+CBD combination disrupted melanoma cell migration.

Conclusion: Use of C. sativa-derived extracts containing equal amounts of THC and CBD is proposed as a potential treatment of melanoma.