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J Drug Target. 2013 Sep;21(8):710-8. doi: 10.3109/1061186X.2013.809089. Epub 2013 Jun 18.

Preparation and characterization of Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol-loaded biodegradable polymeric microparticles and their antitumoral efficacy on cancer cell lines.

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Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain.


Cannabinoids present an interesting therapeutic potential as antiemetics, appetite stimulants in debilitating diseases (cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis), analgesics, and in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and cancer, among other conditions. However, despite their high clinical potential, only few dosage forms are available to date. In this paper, the development of Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) biodegradable microspheres as an alternative delivery system for cannabinoid parenteral administration is proposed. Tetrahydrocannabinol was encapsulated into biodegradable microspheres by the oil-in-water (o/w) emulsion solvent evaporation method. Several formulations were prepared using different drug:polymer ratios. The influence of antioxidant (α-tocopherol acetate) concentration on the release of THC from the microparticles was studied. Elevated process yield and entrapment efficiencies were achieved. The in vitro drug release studies showed that the encapsulated drug was released over a two week period. As THC has shown therapeutic potential as anticancer drug, the efficacy of the microspheres was tested on different cancer cell lines. Interestingly, the microspheres were able to inhibit cancer cell proliferation during the nine-day study period. All the above results suggest that the use of biodegradable microspheres would be a suitable alternative delivery system for THC administration.

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