The main chemical component of cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD), has been shown to have antitumor properties. The present study examined the in vitro effects of CBD on human gastric cancer SGC-7901 cells. We found that CBD significantly inhibited the proliferation and colony formation of SGC-7901 cells. Further investigation showed that CBD significantly upregulated ataxia telangiectasia-mutated gene (ATM) and p53 protein expression and downregulated p21 protein expression in SGC-7901 cells, which subsequently inhibited the levels of CDK2 and cyclin E, thereby resulting in cell cycle arrest at the G0-G1 phase. In addition, CBD significantly increased Bax expression levels, decreased Bcl-2 expression levels and mitochondrial membrane potential, and then upregulated the levels of cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved caspase-9, thereby inducing apoptosis in SGC-7901 cells. Finally, we found that intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) increased after CBD treatment. These results indicated that CBD could induce G0-G1 phase cell cycle arrest and apoptosis by increasing ROS production, leading to the inhibition of SGC-7901 cell proliferation, thereby suggesting that CBD may have therapeutic effects on gastric cancer.
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