Melanoma is the fourth most common type of cancer diagnosed in Australians after breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers. While there has been substantial progress in the treatment of cancer in general, malignant melanoma, in particular, is resistant to existing medical therapies requiring an urgent need to develop effective treatments with lesser side effects. Several studies have shown that “cannabinoids”, the major compounds of the Cannabis sativaL.
plant, can reduce cell proliferation and induce apoptosis in melanoma cells. Despite prohibited use of Cannabis
in most parts of the world, in recent years there have been renewed interests in exploiting the beneficial health effects of the Cannabis
plant-derived compounds. Therefore, the aim of this study was in the first instance to review the evidence from in vivo studies on the effects of cannabinoids on melanoma. Systematic searches were carried out in PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and ProQuest Central databases for relevant articles published from inception. From a total of 622 potential studies, six in vivo studies assessing the use of cannabinoids for treatment of melanoma were deemed eligible for the final analysis. The findings revealed cannabinoids, individually or combined, reduced tumor growth and promoted apoptosis and autophagy in melanoma cells. Further preclinical and animal studies are required to determine the underlying mechanisms of cannabinoids-mediated inhibition of cancer-signaling pathways. Well-structured, randomized clinical studies on cannabinoid use in melanoma patients would also be required prior to cannabinoids becoming a viable and recognized therapeutic option for melanoma treatment in patients.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited