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Differential effects of Cannabidiol: Mechanism(s) of Action and Implications in Cancer

   Department of Oncology and Metabolism

About the Project

Increasing social acceptance of the ‘non-intoxicating’ cannabidiol (CBD) – one of the major bioactive and non-psychoactive cannabinoids in cannabis sativa – have accelerated its availability and on-/off-label use around the globe. Topical, inhalation and oral delivery formulations are the most preferred methods for CBD administration among users, and our unpublished in vitro functional and mechanistic studies using skin, oral and lung cancer cells revealed previously unknown bidirectional and biphasic effects of CBD on the ability of macrophages to influence both healthy and tumour cell behaviour under inflammatory conditions. These findings implicate CBD in both tumour initiation and progression.

The present project will build on these studies, and our group previous work on the role of the cannabinoid system in cancer, and will evaluate if (and how) frequency and/or duration of exposure to different concentrations/doses of CBD (A) influence epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of healthy cells under inflammatory conditions, and (B) affect the ability of malignant cells to grow, migrate, invade and influence the lineage commitment/function of macrophages in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo.

If successful, the findings of this project will have translational potential in identifying if (and how) recreational and medicinal CBD use is of value in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Guided by these preclinical studies, we wish to conduct clinical trials to test the effects of different CBD treatment regimes in cancer patients (in collaboration with Sarah J Danson, professor and Consultant of Medical Oncology, University of Sheffield). Collectively, the basic and early clinical research described in this project will further our understanding of the pharmacodynamics of CBD.

Entry Requirements:

Candidates must have a first or upper second class honors degree or significant research experience. A relevant MSc is highly desirable.


Dr Aymen Idris, , 00441142159051

How to apply:

Please complete a University Postgraduate Research Application form available here: www.shef.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/apply

Please clearly state the prospective main supervisor in the respective box and select 'Oncology & Metabolism' as the department.

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