Characterization of the Antitumor Potential of Extracts of Cannabis sativa Strains with High CBD Content in Human Neuroblastoma

Laura Sánchez-Sánchez, Javier García, Roberto Fernández, Ekaterina Noskova, June Egiguren-Ortiz, Marina Gulak, Eneko Ochoa, Antonio Laso, Mikel Oiarbide, José Ignacio Santos, María Fe Andrés, Azucena González-Coloma, Albert Adell, Egoitz Astigarraga, Gabriel Barreda-Gómez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cannabis has been used for decades as a palliative therapy in the treatment of cancer. This is because of its beneficial effects on the pain and nausea that patients can experience as a result of chemo/radiotherapy. Tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol are the main compounds present in Cannabis sativa, and both exert their actions through a receptor-mediated mechanism and through a non-receptor-mediated mechanism, which modulates the formation of reactive oxygen species. These oxidative stress conditions might trigger lipidic changes, which would compromise cell membrane stability and viability. In this sense, numerous pieces of evidence describe a potential antitumor effect of cannabinoid compounds in different types of cancer, although controversial results limit their implementation. In order to further investigate the possible mechanism involved in the antitumoral effects of cannabinoids, three extracts isolated from Cannabis sativa strains with high cannabidiol content were analyzed. Cell mortality, cytochrome c oxidase activity and the lipid composition of SH-SY5Y cells were determined in the absence and presence of specific cannabinoid ligands, with and without antioxidant pre-treatment. The cell mortality induced by the extracts in this study appeared to be related to the inhibition of the cytochrome c oxidase activity and to the THC concentration. This effect on cell viability was similar to that observed with the cannabinoid agonist WIN55,212-2. The effect was partially blocked by the selective CB1 antagonist AM281, and the antioxidant α-tocopherol. Moreover, certain membrane lipids were affected by the extracts, which demonstrated the importance of oxidative stress in the potential antitumoral effects of cannabinoids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3837
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • antitumor
  • cannabis
  • extracts
  • neuroblastoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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