Cannabinoids contain anti-inflammatory properties that could make them useful in the treatment of a wide-range of skin diseases, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
New research has confirmed that cannabinoids – the active chemicals in cannabis – are effective in killing leukaemia cells, particularly when used in combination with chemotherapy treatments.
A natural signaling molecule that activates cannabinoid receptors in the brain plays a critical role in stress-resilience—the ability to adapt to repeated and acute exposures to traumatic stress, according to researchers
A small human pilot study, along with a number of animal studies, are revealing that cannabinoids, extracts of cannabis legally sold as medical marijuana, could reduce cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms in heroin users
A multidisciplinary team including researchers from the Montreal Neurological Institute has improved our understanding of how cannabinoids, the active agent in marijuana, affect vision in vertebrates
In a research report appearing in the April 2016 issue of The FASEB Journal, scientists show that a cannabinoid receptor, called “CB2,” helps regulate the creation of sperm.
Cannabis reverses aging processes in the brain
The hormone oxytocin, which has been associated with interpersonal bonding, may enhance the pleasure of social interactions by stimulating production of marijuana-like neurotransmitters in the brain
Here’s another discovery to bolster the case for medical marijuana: New research in mice suggests that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, may delay the rejection of incompatible organs.
Scientists at the University of East Anglia have shown how the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis could reduce tumor growth in cancer patients
(Medical Xpress)—Chemical compounds found in cannabis may help to reduce brain damage following a stroke, new research has revealed.
A new study lead by the Neuroscience Institute of Alicante reveals how manipulating the endocannabinoid system can modulate high levels of impulsivity. This is the main problem in psychiatric illnesses such a schizophrenia
Marijuana administered in a timely fashion could block the development of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in rats, a new study conducted at Haifa University has found
Cannabis can reduce spasticity in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. A systematic review, published in the open access journal BMC Neurology, found that five out six randomized controlled trials reported a reduction in spasticity
The main chemical in marijuana appears to aid in the destruction of brain cancer cells, offering hope for future anti-cancer therapies, researchers in Spain wrote in a study
Amyloid proteotoxicity initiates an inflammatory response blocked by cannabinoids.
The beta amyloid (Aβ) and other aggregating proteins in the brain increase with age and are frequently found within neurons. The mechanistic relationship between intracellular amyloid, aging and neurodegeneration is not, however, well understood. We use a proteotoxicity model based upon the inducible expression of Aβ in a human central nervous system nerve cell line to characterize a distinct form of nerve cell death caused by intracellular Aβ. It is shown that intracellular Aβ initiates a toxic inflammatory response leading to the cell’s demise. Aβ induces the expression of multiple proinflammatory genes and an increase in both arachidonic acid and eicosanoids, including prostaglandins that are neuroprotective and leukotrienes that potentiate death. Cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol stimulate the removal of intraneuronal Aβ, block the inflammatory response, and are protective. Altogether these data show that there is a complex and likely autocatalytic inflammatory response within nerve cells caused by the accumulation of intracellular Aβ, and that this early form of proteotoxicity can be blocked by the activation of cannabinoid receptors.
Deletion of Type-2 Cannabinoid Receptor Induces Alzheimer’s Disease-Like Tau Pathology and Memory Impairment Through AMPK/GSK3β Pathway.
Although several studies have shown that type-2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2R) is involved in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology, the effects of CB2R on AD-like tau abnormal phosphorylation and its underlying mechanism remain unclear. Herein, we employed the CB2R-/- mice as the animal model to explore roles of CB2R in regulating tau phosphorylation and brain function. We found that CB2R-/- mice display AD-like tau hyperphosphorylation, hippocampus-dependent memory impairment, increase of GSK3β activity, decrease of AMPK and Sirt1 activity and mitochondria dysfunction. Interestingly, AICAR or resveratrol (AMPK agonist) could efficiently rescue most alternations caused by solo deletion of CB2R in CB2R-/- mice. Moreover, JWH133, a selective agonist of CB2R, reduces phosphorylation of tau and GSK3β activity in HEK293 tau cells, but the effects of JWH133 on phosphorylation of tau and GSK3β disappeared while blocking AMPK activity with compound C or Prkaa2-RNAi. Taken together, our study indicated that deletion of CB2R induces behavior damage and AD-like pathological alternation via AMPK/GSK3β pathway. These findings proved that CB2R/AMPK/GSK3β pathway can be a promising new drug target for AD.
Highly selective CB2 receptor agonist A836339 has gastroprotective effect on experimentally induced gastric ulcers in mice.
Cannabinoid type 2 (CB2) receptors are distributed in central and peripheral tissues, including immunocytes and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, suggesting that CB2 receptor agonists represent potential therapeutics in GI inflammatory states. In this study, we investigated the effect of highly selective CB2 agonist, A836339, on the development of gastric lesions. We used two models of gastric ulcer (GU) induced by ethanol (EtOH) and diclofenac. To confirm the involvement of CB2 receptors, a selective CB2 antagonist, AM630 was used. Clinical parameters for gastroprotection were assessed based on inhibition of the gastric lesion area. To investigate the anti-inflammatory effect of A836339, the expression of TNF-α and IL-1β was assessed. To establish the mechanism of gastroprotective action, catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and H2O2 and glutathione (GSH) levels were measured. Moreover, expression of CB2 and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) was characterized using immunohistochemistry (IHC). A836339 reduced ulcer index in a dose-dependent manner in both EtOH- and diclofenac-induced GU models. This effect was reversed by the CB2 antagonist AM630. Administration of A836339 reduced TNF-α and IL-1β levels in gastric tissue. Furthermore, A836339 exhibited potent anti-oxidant activity, as demonstrated by reduced H2O2 levels and increased CAT and SOD activities. IHC studies revealed a co-localization of CB2 receptors and COX-2 in the gastric tissue. Activation of CB2 receptors exhibited gastroprotective effect through enhancement of anti-oxidative pathways in the stomach. Activation of CB2 receptors may thus become a novel therapeutic approach in the treatment of GU.
Medical use of cannabis in Switzerland: analysis of approved exceptional licences.
AIMS OF THE STUDY:
In recent years, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) granted exceptional licenses for the medical use of cannabinoids, typically for 6 months with possible extensions. A systematic review of cannabinoids for medical use commissioned by the FOPH supports the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic pain and spasticity. However, little is known about the patients treated with cannabinoids. We aimed to study medical uses of cannabinoids as part of the FOPH’s programme of exceptional licenses.
We examined all requests for medical use of cannabinoids sent to FOPH in 2013 and 2014. A standardised data sheet was developed to extract data from the files of approved requests. We extracted the duration of the licence, the year it was granted, and the payer of the therapy. At the level of the patient we collected the date of birth, sex, region of residence, diagnosis and the indication. Ethical approval was granted by the Ethics Committee of the Canton of Bern.
We analysed 1193 patients licenced for cannabinoid treatment in 2013 or 2014. During 2013, 542 patients were treated under the exceptional licencing programme (332 requesting physicians) compared with 825 in 2014 (446 physicians). Over half of patients (685; 57%) were women. The mean age was 57 years (standard deviation 15.0), chronic pain (49%) and spasticity (40%) were the most common symptoms, and co-medication was reported for 39% of patients. Seventy-eight different diagnoses were recorded, including multiple sclerosis (257 patients, 22%), soft tissue disorders (119, 10%), dorsalgia (97, 8.1%), spinal muscular atrophy (65, 5.5%) and paraplegia/tetraplegia (62, 5.2%). Licence extensions were granted to 143 patients (26.4%) in 2013 and 324 patients (39.3%) in 2014. There were substantial regional variations of the rates of patients treated with cannabinoids. On average, eight patients per 100 000 residents received an exceptional licence. Most patients (1083, 91%) paid out of pocket.
Exceptional licences for medical use of cannabinoids have increased substantially in Switzerland, with the programme including patients with a wide range of conditions.
In Vivo Cannabidiol Treatment Improves Endothelium-Dependent Vasorelaxation in Mesenteric Arteries of Zucker Diabetic Fatty Rats.
Background and purpose: We have shown that in vitro treatment with cannabidiol (CBD, 2 h) enhances endothelial function in arteries from Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats, partly due to a cyclooxygenase (COX)-mediated mechanism. The aim of the present study was to determine whether treatment with CBD in vivo would also enhance endothelial function. Experimental approach: Male ZDF rats, or ZDF Lean rats, were treated for 7 days (daily i.p. injection) with either 10mg/kg CBD or vehicle (n = 6 per group). Sections of mesenteric resistance arteries, femoral arteries and thoracic aortae were mounted on a wire myograph, and cumulative concentration-response curves to endothelium-dependent (acetylcholine, ACh, 1 nM-100 μM) or endothelium-independent (sodium nitroprusside, SNP, 1 nM-100 μM) agents were constructed. Multiplex analysis was used to measure serum metabolic and cardiovascular biomarkers. Key results: Vasorelaxation to ACh was significantly enhanced in mesenteric arteries from CBD-treated ZDF rats, but not ZDF Lean rats. The enhanced vasorelaxation in ZDF mesenteric arteries was no longer observed after COX inhibition using indomethacin or nitric oxide (NO) inhibition using L-NAME. Increased levels of serum c-peptide, insulin and intracellular adhesion molecule-1 observed in the ZDF compared to ZDF Lean rats were no longer significant after 7 days CBD treatment. Conclusion and implications: Short-term in vivo treatment with CBD improves ex vivo endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation in mesenteric arteries from ZDF rats due to COX- or NO-mediated mechanisms, and leads to improvements in serum biomarkers.
Endocannabinod Signal Dysregulation in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Correlation Link between Inflammatory State and Neuro-Immune Alterations.
Several studies highlight a key involvement of endocannabinoid (EC) system in autism pathophysiology. The EC system is a complex network of lipid signaling pathways comprised of arachidonic acid-derived compounds (anandamide, AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG), their G-protein-coupled receptors (cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2) and the associated enzymes. In addition to autism, the EC system is also involved in several other psychiatric disorders (i.e., anxiety, major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia). This system is a key regulator of metabolic and cellular pathways involved in autism, such as food intake, energy metabolism and immune system control. Early studies in autism animal models have demonstrated alterations in the brain’s EC system. Autism is also characterized by immune system dysregulation. This alteration includes differential monocyte and macrophage responses, and abnormal cytokine and T cell levels. EC system dysfunction in a monocyte and macrophagic cellular model of autism has been demonstrated by showing that the mRNA and protein for CB2 receptor and EC enzymes were significantly dysregulated, further indicating the involvement of the EC system in autism-associated immunological disruptions. Taken together, these new findings offer a novel perspective in autism research and indicate that the EC system could represent a novel target option for autism pharmacotherapy.
Cannabinoids prevent the differential long-term effects of exposure to severe stress on hippocampal- and amygdala-dependent memory and plasticity.
Exposure to excessive or uncontrolled stress is a major factor associated with various diseases including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The consequences of exposure to trauma are affected not only by aspects of the event itself, but also by the frequency and severity of trauma reminders. It was suggested that in PTSD, hippocampal-dependent memory is compromised while amygdala-dependent memory is strengthened. Several lines of evidence support the role of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system as a modulator of the stress response. In this study we aimed to examine cannabinoids
Pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis of cannabinoids: A critical review.
Cannabis products have recently regained much attention due to the high pharmacological potential of their cannabinoid content. In this review, the most widely used sample preparation strategies for the extraction of cannabinoids are described for the specific application to either plant materials or biological matrices. Several analytical techniques are described pointing out their respective advantages and drawbacks. In particular, chromatographic methods, such as TLC, GC and HPLC, are discussed and compared in terms of selectivity and sensitivity. Various detection methods are also presented based on the specific aim of the cannabinoids analysis. Lastly, critical considerations are mentioned with the aim to deliver useful suggestions for the selection of the optimal and most suitable method of analysis of cannabinoids in either biomedical or cannabis derived samples.
The cannabinoid ligand LH-21 reduces anxiety and improves glucose handling in diet-induced obese pre-diabetic mice.
LH-21 is a triazol derivative that has been described as a low-permeant neutral CB1 antagonist, though its pharmacology is still unclear. It has been associated with anti-obesity actions in obese rats. However, its role in preventing type 2 diabetes (T2D) onset have not been studied yet. Given CB1 receptors remain as potential pharmacological targets to fight against obesity and T2D, we wanted to explore the metabolic impact of this compound in an animal model of obesity and pre-diabetes as well as the lack of relevant actions in related central processes such as anxiety. C57BL/6J mice were rendered obese and pre-diabetic by feeding a high-fat diet for 15 weeks and then treated with LH-21 or vehicle for two weeks. Food intake, body weight and glucose handling were assessed, together with other relevant parameters. Behavioural performance was evaluated by the open field test and the elevated plus maze. LH-21 did not affect food intake nor body weight but it improved glucose handling, displaying tissue-specific beneficial actions. Unexpectedly, LH-21 induced anxiolysis and reverted obesity-induced anxiety, apparently through GPR55 receptor. These results suggest that LH-21 can be a new candidate to fight against diabetes onset. Indeed, this compound shows potential in counteracting obesity-related anxiety.
Is cannabis treatment for anxiety, mood, and related disorders ready for prime time?
Anxiety and related disorders are the most common mental conditions affecting the North American population. Despite their established efficacy, first-line antidepressant treatments are associated with significant side effects, leading many afflicted individuals to seek alternative treatments. Cannabis is commonly viewed as a natural alternative for a variety of medical and mental health conditions. Currently, anxiety ranks among the top five medical symptoms for which North Americans report using medical marijuana. However, upon careful review of the extant treatment literature, the anxiolytic effects of cannabis in clinical populations are surprisingly not well-documented. The effects of cannabis on anxiety and mood symptoms have been examined in healthy populations and in several small studies of synthetic cannabinoidagents but there are currently no studies which have examined the effects of the cannabis plant on anxiety and related disorders. In light of the rapidly shifting landscape regarding the legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, it is important to highlight the significant disconnect between the scientific literature, public opinion, and related policies. The aim of this article is to provide a comprehensive review of the current cannabis treatment literature, and to identify the potential for cannabis to be used as a therapeutic intervention for anxiety, mood, and related disorders. Searches of five electronic databases were conducted (PubMed, MEDLINE, Web of Science, PsychINFO, and Google Scholar), with the most recent in February 2017. The effects of cannabis on healthy populations and clinical psychiatric samples will be discussed, focusing primarily on anxiety and mood disorders.
Cannabidiol upregulates melanogenesis through CB1 dependent pathway by activating p38 MAPK and p42/44 MAPK.
Melanogenesis plays a critical role in the protection of skin against external stresses such as ultraviolet irradiation and oxidative stressors. This study was aimed to investigate the effects of cannabidiol on melanogenesis and its mechanisms of action in human epidermal melanocytes. We found that cannabidiol increased both melanin content and tyrosinase activity. The mRNA levels of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF), tyrosinase, tyrosinase-related protein (TRP) 1, and TRP2 were increased following cannabidiol treatment. Likewise, cannabidiol increased the protein levels of MITF, TRP 1, TRP 2, and tyrosinase. Mechanistically, we found that cannabidiol regulated melanogenesis by upregulating MITF through phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and p42/44 MAPK, independent of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-protein kinase A (PKA) signaling. In addition, the melanogenic effect of cannabidiol was found to be mediated by cannabinoid CB1 receptor, not by CB2 receptor. Taken together, these findings indicate that cannabidiol-induced melanogenesis is cannabinoid CB1 receptor-
Plastic and Neuroprotective Mechanisms Involved in the Therapeutic Effects of Cannabidiol in Psychiatric Disorders.
Beneficial effects of cannabidiol (CBD) have been described for a wide range of psychiatric disorders, including anxiety, psychosis, and depression. The mechanisms responsible for these effects, however, are still poorly understood. Similar to clinical antidepressant or atypical antipsychotic drugs, recent findings clearly indicate that CBD, either acutely or repeatedly administered, induces plastic changes. For example, CBD attenuates the decrease in hippocampal neurogenesis and dendrite spines density induced by chronic stress and prevents microglia activation and the decrease in the number of parvalbumin-positive GABA neurons in a pharmacological model of schizophrenia. More recently, it was found that CBD modulates cell fate regulatory pathways such as autophagy and others critical pathways for neuronal survival in neurodegenerative experimental models, suggesting the potential benefit of CBD treatment for psychiatric/cognitive symptoms associated with neurodegeneration. These changes and their possible association with CBD beneficial effects in psychiatric disorders are reviewed here.
Anticancer effects of phytocannabinoids used with chemotherapy in leukaemia cells can be improved by altering the sequence of their administration.
Phytocannabinoids possess anticancer activity when used alone, and a number have also been shown to combine favourably with each other in vitro in leukaemia cells to generate improved activity. We have investigated the effect of pairing cannabinoids and assessed their anticancer activity in cell line models. Those most effective were then used with the common anti-leukaemia drugs cytarabine and vincristine, and the effects of this combination therapy on cell death studied in vitro. Results show a number of cannabinoids could be paired together to generate an effect superior to that achieved if the components were used individually. For example, in HL60 cells, the IC50 values at 48 h for cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) when used alone were 8 and 13 µM, respectively; however, if used together, it was 4 µM. Median-effect analysis confirmed the benefit of using cannabinoids in pairs, with calculated combination indices being <1 in a number of cases. The most efficacious cannabinoid-pairs subsequently synergised further when combined with the chemotherapy agents, and were also able to sensitise leukaemia cells to their cytotoxic effects. The sequence of administration of these drugs was important though; using cannabinoids after chemotherapy resulted in greater induction of apoptosis, whilst this was the opposite when the schedule of administration was reversed. Our results suggest that when certain cannabinoids are paired together, the resulting product can be combined synergistically with common anti-leukaemia drugs allowing the dose of the cytotoxic agents to be dramatically reduced yet still remain efficacious. Nevertheless, the sequence of drug administration is crucial to the success of these triple combinations and should be considered when planning such treatments.
Endocannabinoids modulate apoptosis in endometriosis and adenomyosis.
Adenomyosis that is a form of endometriosis is the growth of ectopic endometrial tissue within the muscular wall of the uterus (myometrium), which may cause dysmenorrhea and infertility. Endocannabinoid mediated apoptotic mechanisms of endometriosis and adenomyosis are not known. We hypothesized that the down regulation of endocannabinoid receptors and/or alteration in their regulatory enzymes may have a direct role in the pathogenesis of endometriosis and adenomyosis through apoptosis. Endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, their synthesizing and catabolizing enzymes (FAAH, NAPE-PLD, DAGL, MAGL) and the apoptotic indexes were immunohistochemically assessed in endometriotic and adenomyotic tissues. Findings were compared to normal endometrium and myometrium. Endometrial adenocarcinoma (Ishikawa) and ovarian endometriosis cyst wall stromal (CRL-7566) cell lines were furthermore cultured with or without cannabinoid receptor agonists. The IC50 value for CB1 and CB2 receptor agonists was quantified. Cannabinoid
Activation of cannabinoid receptor type II by AM1241 protects adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells from oxidative damage and enhances their therapeutic efficacy in myocardial infarction mice via Stat3 activation.
The poor survival of cells in ischemic sites diminishes the therapeutic efficacy of stem cell therapy. Previously we and others have reported that Cannabinoid receptor type II (CB2) is protective during heart ischemic injury for its anti-oxidative activity. However, whether CB2 activation could improve the survival and therapeutic efficacy of stem cells in ischemic myocardium and the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we showed evidence that CB2 agonist AM1241 treatment could improve the functional survival of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AD-MSCs) in vitro as well as in vivo. Moreover, AD-MSCs adjuvant with AM1241 improved cardiac function, and inhibited cardiac oxidative stress, apoptosis and fibrosis. To unveil possible mechanisms, AD-MSCs were exposed to hydrogen peroxide/serum deprivation to simulate the ischemic environmentin myocardium. Results delineated that AM1241 blocked the apoptosis, oxidative damage and promoted the paracrine effects of AD-MSCs. Mechanistically, AM1241 activated signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (Stat3) through the phosphorylation of Akt and ERK1/2. Moreover, the administration of AM630, LY294002, U0126 and AG490 (inhibitors for CB2, Akt, ERK1/2 and Stat3, respectively) could abolish the beneficial actions of AM1241. Our result support the promise of CB2 activation as an effective strategy to optimize stem cell-based therapy possibly through Stat3 activation.