MAR 15, 2024 5:00 AM PDT

Cannabis Extract PHEC-66 Induces Cell Death Mechanism in Melanoma

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Charron

A study published in Cells highlights the potential of using cannabinoid-derived compounds to hinder melanoma cell development.

Researchers from Charles Darwin University (CDU) and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology conducted an in-vitro study to investigate the binding activity mechanism of cannabis extract. They discovered that the cannabis extract PHEC-66 can induce apoptosis or cell death activity in melanoma cells. The study found that the extract binds to receptor sites on melanoma cells. This action controls cell growth at two pivotal phases. 

To assess the anti-cancer properties of cannabis extract, the research team evaluated real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), assays to determine the inhibition of CB1 and CB2 receptors, measurement of reactive oxygen species (ROS), apoptosis assays, and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). The study’s findings suggest that PHEC-66 triggers cell death in melanoma by increasing the expression of pro-apoptotic markers (BAX mRNA) and decreasing the expression of anti-apoptotic markers (Bcl-2 mRNA). PHEC-66 cannabis extract promotes DNA fragmentation. This effect hinders cell progression at the G1 cell cycle checkpoint and elevates intracellular ROS levels. 

Cannabis extract treatments can improve the symptoms associated with various health disorders in addition to affecting apoptosis. Study author Dr. Nazim Nassar explained, “Clinical uses of cannabis extracts include treatment for anxiety, cancer-related symptoms, epilepsy, and chronic pain. Intensive research into its potential for killing0 melanoma cells is only the start as we investigate how this knowledge can be applied to treating different types of cancers.” The study provides valuable insights into mechanisms, and the team plans to continue investigating the safety and efficacy of PHEC-66 as a potential adjuvant cancer therapy over extended periods of time.

Sources: Cells, Charles Darwin University


About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kerry Charron writes about medical cannabis research. She has experience working in a Florida cultivation center and has participated in advocacy efforts for medical cannabis.
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