Cannabinoids are a group of compounds synthesized exclusively by the Cannabis sativa plant, commonly known as marijuana. In 1990, the first cannabinoid-specific membrane (CB1) was characterized and cloned (Matsuda, Lolait, Brownstein, Young, & Bonner, 1990), which catapulted biomedical research on these unique compounds. Cannabinoids refer to both marijuana-derived compounds with the active ingredient of 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and also the synthetic molecules that activate the same primary targets as THC. Therapeutic properties of marijuana have been well established; however, the clinical use of either plant-sourced or pure cannabinoids remains limited. The anticachexia properties of cannabinoids are found in tetrahydrocannabinol (oral capsules of synthetically generated THC) and are used to manage weight loss, wasting syndrome, and nausea and vomiting associated with cancer treatment.
Caffarel, M. M., Andradas, C., Mira, E., Pérez-Gómez, E., Cerutti, C., Moreno-Bueno, G., … Sánchez, C. (2010). Molecular Cancer, 9, 196. doi:10.1186/1476-4598-9-196
Caffarel, M. M., Andradas, C., Pérez-Gómez, E., Guzmán, M., & Sánchez, C. (2012). Cannabinoids: A new hope for breast cancer therapy? Cancer Treatment Reviews, 38, 911-918. doi:10.1016/j.ctrv.2012.06.005
DeSantis, C., Siegel, R., Bandi, P., & Jemal, A. (2011). Breast cancer statistics, 2011. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 61, 409-418. doi:10.3322/caac.20134
Matsuda, L. A., Lolait, S. J., Brownstein, M. J., Young, A. C., & Bonner, T. I. (1990). Structure of a cannabinoid receptor and functional expression of the cloned cDNA. Nature, 346, 561-564.
Velasco, G., Sánchez, C., & Guzmán, M. (2012). Towards the use of cannabinoids as antitumour agents. Nature Reviews. Cancer, 12, 436-444.
Kirchhoff, A. C., Lyles, C. R., Fluchel, M., Wright, J., & Leisenring, W. (2012). Limitations in health care access and utilization among long-term survivors of adolescent and young adult cancer. Cancer, 118, 5964-5972. doi:10.1002/cncr.27537