Thailand Hub of Talents in Cancer Immunotherapy (TTCI Thailand)
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A groundbreaking study has delved into the potential interactions between cannabidiol (CBD) and CD19-chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy, a promising approach in cancer immunotherapy. The study aimed to explore the direct effects of CBD on the functionality of CD19-CAR T cells against hematologic malignancies.

Materials and Methods:
The study utilized the WST-1 assay to measure the cytotoxic effects of CBD.
CD19-CAR T cells, created through retroviral transduction, were treated with CBD at a non-toxic dose.
The researchers employed flow cytometry to analyze changes in immune characteristics, including transgene expression, T cell subsets, and memory phenotypes.
Standard methods were used to examine cell proliferation, apoptosis, and cell cycle distribution.
The study also evaluated the cytotoxic function and antitumor activity of CD19-CAR T cells exposed to CBD.

CBD’s half-maximum inhibitory concentration (IC50) on NALM6, Raji, and T cells ranged between 16 and 22 μM.
The maximum non-toxic dose of CBD, which maintained cell viability at approximately 100%, was determined to be 8 μM.
CBD treatment did not alter the surface expression or immune characteristics, such as T cell subsets and memory phenotypes, of CD19-CAR T cells.
Notably, CBD was found to suppress the proliferation of CD19-CAR T cells by inducing apoptosis, marked by an increased proportion of cells in the Sub-G1 phase, indicating cell cycle arrest.
However, the antitumor activity and cytokine secretion of the CD19-CAR T cells were not affected by CBD exposure.

This study reveals that while a non-toxic dose of CBD can affect the proliferation of CD19-CAR T cells, it does not alter their immune characteristics or cytotoxic functions. These findings offer valuable insights into the potential impact of CBD on CD19-CAR T cell therapy, a crucial area in the advancement of cancer treatment options. This research opens the door to further investigations into the compatibility and efficacy of combining CBD with CAR T cell therapies in cancer treatment.


This Research is funded by Thailand Science research and Innovation Fund Chulalongkorn University (HEA663300010), The National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT), and H.M. the King Bhumibhol Adulyadej’s 72nd Birthday Anniversary Scholarship, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Original Paper

Title of original paper: Effects of Cannabidiol on the Functions of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells in Hematologic Malignancies
Journal: Cannabis Cannabinoid Res
DOI: 10.1089/can.2023.0108