A new study published in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology has found that cannabidiol – a compound of cannabis – may protect the heart from the dangerous side effects associated with the popular cancer drug doxorubicin.
For the study, the “potential protective effect of cannabidiol, the major non-psychotropic Cannabis constituent, was investigated against doxorubicin cardiotoxicity in rats.”
Researchers found that when rats were given doses of cannabidiol along with doses of doxorubicin, they showed no noticeable heart problems associated with the doxorubicin. However, rats which were exposed to doxorubicin, but not cannabidiol, displayed significant damage done by the drug.
Cannabidiol significantly reduced the elevations of serum creatine kinase-MB and troponin T, and cardiac malondialdehyde, tumor necrosis factor-α, nitric oxide and calcium ion levels, and attenuated the decreases in cardiac reduced glutathione, selenium and zinc ions. Histopathological examination showed that cannabidiol ameliorated doxorubicin-induced cardiac injury. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that cannabidiol significantly reduced the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase, nuclear factor-κB, Fas ligand and caspase-3, and increased the expression of survivin in cardiac tissue of doxorubicin-treated rats. These results indicate that cannabidiol represents a potential protective agent against doxorubicin cardiac injury.