Lebanese Cannabis Oil as a Potential Treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukemia: In Vitro and In Vivo Evaluations

J Ethnopharmacol. 2024 Jul 2:118512. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2024.118512. Online ahead of print.


ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: The Cannabis sativa L. ssp. indica (Lam.) plant has been historically utilized as a natural herbal remedy for the treatment of several ailments. In Lebanon, cannabis extracts have long been traditionally used to treat arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.

AIM OF THE STUDY: The current study aims to investigate the anti-cancer properties of Lebanese cannabis oil extract (COE) on acute myeloid leukemia using WEHI-3 cells, and a WEHI-3-induced leukemia mouse model.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: WEHI-3 cells were treated with increasing concentrations of COE to determine the IC50 after 24, 48 and 72-h post treatment. Flow cytometry was utilized to identify the mode of cell death. Western blot assay was performed to assess apoptotic marker proteins. In vivo model was established by inoculating WEHI-3 cells in BALB/c mice, and treatment commencing 10 days post-inoculation and continued for a duration of 3 weeks.

RESULTS: COE exhibited significant cytotoxicity with IC50 of 7.76, 3.82, and 3.34 μg/mL at 24, 48, and 72 h respectively post-treatment. COE treatment caused an induction of apoptosis through an inhibition of the MAPK/ERK pathway and triggering a caspase-dependent apoptosis via the extrinsic and intrinsic modes independent of ROS production. Animals treated with COE exhibited a significantly higher survival rate, reduction in spleen weight as well as white blood cells count.

CONCLUSION: COE exhibited a potent anti-cancer activity against AML cells, both in vitro and in vivo. These findings emphasize the potential application of COE as a chemotherapeutic adjuvant in treatment of acute myeloid leukemia.

PMID:38964627 | DOI:10.1016/j.jep.2024.118512