Is Cannabidiol a Promising Substance for New Drug Development? A Review of its Potential Therapeutic Applications.

Critical Reviews™ in Eukaryotic Gene Expression

“The pharmacological importance of cannabidiol (CBD) has been in study for several years.

CBD is the major nonpsychoactive constituent of plant Cannabis sativa and its administration is associated with reduced side effects.

Currently, CBD is undergoing a lot of research which suggests that it has no addictive effects, good safety profile and has exhibited powerful therapeutic potential in several vital areas.

It has wide spectrum of action because it acts through endocannabinoid receptors; CB1 and CB2 and it also acts on other receptors, such as GPR18, GPR55, GPR 119, 5HT1A, and TRPV2.

This indicates its therapeutic value for numerous medical conditions because of its neuroprotective and immunomodulatory properties.

Potential therapeutic applications of CBD include, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, anti-arthritic, anti-depressant, anti-Alzheimer disease, anti-ischemic, neuroprotective, and anti-fibrotic.

More promising areas appear to include diabetes and cancer where CBD exhibits lesser side effects and more therapeutic benefits as compared to recent available medical therapies.

Hence, CBD is a promising substance for the development of new drug. However further research and clinical studies are required to explore its complete potential.”

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Larger Gray Matter Volume in the Basal Ganglia of Heavy Cannabis Users Detected by Voxel-Based Morphometry and Subcortical Volumetric Analysis.

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“Structural imaging studies of cannabis users have found evidence of both cortical and subcortical volume reductions, especially in cannabinoid receptor-rich regions such as the hippocampus and amygdala. However, the findings have not been consistent. In the present study, we examined a sample of adult heavy cannabis users without other substance abuse to determine whether long-term use is associated with brain structural changes, especially in the subcortical regions.

Method: We compared the gray matter volume of 14 long-term, heavy cannabis users with non-using controls. To provide robust findings, we conducted two separate studies using two different MRI techniques. Each study used the same sample of cannabis users and a different control group, respectively. Both control groups were independent of each other. First, whole-brain voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was used to compare the cannabis users against 28 matched controls (HC1 group). Second, a volumetric analysis of subcortical regions was performed to assess differences between the cannabis users and a sample of 100 matched controls (HC2 group) obtained from a local database of healthy volunteers.

Results: The VBM study revealed that, compared to the control group HC1, the cannabis users did not show cortical differences nor smaller volume in any subcortical structure but showed a cluster (p < 0.001) of larger GM volume in the basal ganglia, involving the caudate, putamen, pallidum, and nucleus accumbens, bilaterally. The subcortical volumetric analysis revealed that, compared to the control group HC2, the cannabis users showed significantly larger volumes in the putamen (p= 0.001) and pallidum (p = 0.0015). Subtle trends, only significant at the uncorrected level, were also found in the caudate (p = 0.05) and nucleus accumbens (p = 0.047).

Conclusions: This study does not support previous findings of hippocampal and/or amygdala structural changes in long-term, heavy cannabis users. It does, however, provide evidence of basal ganglia volume increases.”

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Endogenous systems involved in exercise-induced analgesia.

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“Exercise-induced analgesia is a phenomenon discussed worldwide. This effect began to be investigated in the early 1970s in healthy individuals and rodents during and after an acute or chronic session of running or swimming. Thereafter, studies found this effect was also induced by resistance exercises. Over the years, many studies have demonstrated the importance of exercise-induced analgesia in relieving pain caused by different conditions, such as fibromyalgia, low back pain, neuropathy, and osteoarthritis. This review aims to provide the reader with an in-depth description of the main endogenous systems, substances, neurotransmitters, receptors and enzymes that are thought to be involved in the analgesic effect induced by exercise. Many hypotheses have been proposed to elucidate the mechanisms responsible for exercise-induced analgesia. One of the most accepted hypotheses has been the activation of several endogenous systems described as analgesics. Studies have demonstrated that during and after exercise different endogenous systems are activated, which release substances or neurotransmitters, such as opioids, nitric oxide, serotonin, catecholamines and endocannabinoids, that may modulate the pain perception.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29769416

http://www.jpp.krakow.pl/journal/archive/02_18/pdf/jpp.2018.1.01.pdf

“Exercise activates the endocannabinoid system.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14625449

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The endocannabinoid-alcohol crosstalk: recent advances on a bi-faceted target.

Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology banner

“Increasing evidence focuses on the endocannabinoid system as a relevant player in the induction of aberrant synaptic plasticity and related addictive phenotype following chronic excessive alcohol drinking.

Besides, the endocannabinoid system is implicated in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver disease.

Interestingly, whereas the involvement of CB1 cannabinoid receptors in alcohol rewarding properties is established, the central and peripheral action of CB2 cannabinoid signalling is still to be elucidated.

This review aims at giving the input to deepen knowledge on the role of the endocannabinoid system, highlighting the advancing evidence that suggests that CB1 and CB2 receptors may play opposite roles in the regulation of both the reinforcing properties of alcohol in the brain and the mechanisms responsible for cell injury and inflammation in the hepatic tissue.

The manipulation of the endocannabinoid system could represent a bi-faceted strategy to counteract alcohol-related dysfunction in central transmission and liver structural and functional disarrangement.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29770478

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1440-1681.12967

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Review of the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids.

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“Numerous physical, psychological, and emotional benefits have been attributed to marijuana since its first reported use in 2,600 BC in a Chinese pharmacopoeia. The phytocannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD), and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) are the most studied extracts from cannabis sativa subspecies hemp and marijuana. CBD and Δ9-THC interact uniquely with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Through direct and indirect actions, intrinsic endocannabinoids and plant-based phytocannabinoids modulate and influence a variety of physiological systems influenced by the ECS.

METHODS:

In 1980, Cunha et al. reported anticonvulsant benefits in 7/8 subjects with medically uncontrolled epilepsy using marijuana extracts in a phase I clinical trial. Since then neurological applications have been the major focus of renewed research using medical marijuana and phytocannabinoid extracts.

RESULTS:

Recent neurological uses include adjunctive treatment for malignant brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain, and the childhood seizure disorders Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes. In addition, psychiatric and mood disorders, such as schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, addiction, postconcussion syndrome, and posttraumatic stress disorders are being studied using phytocannabinoids.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this review we will provide animal and human research data on the current clinical neurological uses for CBD individually and in combination with Δ9-THC. We will emphasize the neuroprotective, antiinflammatory, and immunomodulatory benefits of phytocannabinoids and their applications in various clinical syndromes.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29770251

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5938896/

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Cannabinoid signalling in embryonic and adult neurogenesis: possible implications for psychiatric and neurological disorders.

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“Cannabinoid signalling modulates several aspects of brain function, including the generation and survival of neurons during embryonic and adult periods.

The present review intended to summarise evidence supporting a role for the endocannabinoid system on the control of neurogenesis and neurogenesis-dependent functions.

An understanding of the mechanisms by which cannabinoid signalling influences developmental and adult neurogenesis will help foster the development of new therapeutic strategies for neurodevelopmental, psychiatric and neurological disorders.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29764526

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/acta-neuropsychiatrica/article/cannabinoid-signalling-in-embryonic-and-adult-neurogenesis-possible-implications-for-psychiatric-and-neurological-disorders/E9DE9116DC604D976C9C7B0D2D254674

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Medical Cannabis for Pediatric Moderate to Severe Complex Motor Disorders.

SAGE Journals

“A complex motor disorder is a combination of various types of abnormal movements that are associated with impaired quality of life (QOL). Current therapeutic options are limited. We studied the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of medical cannabis in children with complex motor disorder. This pilot study was approved by the institutional ethics committee.

Two products of cannabidiol (CBD) enriched 5% oil formulation of cannabis were compared: one with 0.25% δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) 20:1 group, the other with 0.83% THC 6:1 group. Patients aged 1 to 17 years (n = 25) with complex motor disorder were enrolled. The assigned medication was administered for 5 months.

Significant improvement in spasticity and dystonia, sleep difficulties, pain severity, and QOL was observed in the total study cohort, regardless of treatment assignment. Adverse effects were rare and included worsening of seizures in 2 patients, behavioral changes in 2 and somnolence in 1.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29766748

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0883073818773028?journalCode=jcna

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Effects of CB2 and TRPV1 receptors’ stimulation in pediatric acute T-lymphoblastic leukemia

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“T-Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (T-ALL) is less frequent than B-ALL, but it has poorer outcome. For this reason new therapeutic approaches are needed to treat this malignancy.

The Endocannabinoid/Endovanilloid (EC/EV) system has been proposed as possible target to treat several malignancies, including lymphoblastic diseases. The EC/EV system is composed of two G-Protein Coupled Receptors (CB1 and CB2), the Transient Potential Vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channel, their endogenous and exogenous ligands and enzymes. CB1 is expressed mainly in central nervous system while CB2 predominantly on immune and peripheral cells, therefore we chose to selectively stimulate CB2 and TRPV1.

We treated T-ALL lymphoblasts derived from 4 patients and Jurkat cells with a selective agonist at CB2 receptor: JWH-133 [100 nM] and an agonist at TRPV1 calcium channel: RTX [5 uM] at 6, 12 and 24 hours. We analyzed the effect on apoptosis and Cell Cycle Progression by a cytofluorimetric assays and evaluated the expression level of several target genes (Caspase 3, Bax, Bcl-2, AKT, ERK, PTEN, Notch-1, CDK2, p53) involved in cell survival and apoptosis, by Real-Time PCR and Western Blotting.

We observed a pro-apoptotic, anti-proliferative effect of these compounds in both primary lymphoblasts obtained from patients with T-ALL and in Jurkat cell line. Our results show that both CB2 stimulation and TRPV1 activation, can increase the apoptosis in vitro, interfere with cell cycle progression and reduce cell proliferation, indicating that a new therapeutic approach to T-cell ALL might be possible by modulating CB2 and TRPV1 receptors.”

http://www.oncotarget.com/index.php?journal=oncotarget&page=article&op=view&path%5B%5D=25052

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Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol induces endocannabinoid accumulation in mouse hepatocytes: antagonism by Fabp1 gene ablation.

The Journal of Lipid Research “Phytocannabinoids, such as Δ9tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), bind and activate cannabinoid (CB) receptors, thereby “piggy-backing” on the same pathway’s endogenous endocannabinoids (ECs).

The recent discovery that liver fatty acid binding protein-1 (FABP1) is the major cytosolic “chaperone” protein with high affinity for both Δ9-THC and ECs suggests that Δ9-THC may alter hepatic EC levels.

Therefore, the impact of Δ9-THC or EC treatment on the levels of endogenous ECs, such as N-arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), was examined in cultured primary mouse hepatocytes from WT and Fabp1 gene-ablated (LKO) mice. Δ9-THC alone or 2-AG alone significantly increased AEA and especially 2-AG levels in WT hepatocytes. LKO alone markedly increased AEA and 2-AG levels. However, LKO blocked/diminished the ability of Δ9-THC to further increase both AEA and 2-AG. In contrast, LKO potentiated the ability of exogenous 2-AG to increase the hepatocyte level of AEA and 2-AG.

These and other data suggest that Δ9-THC increases hepatocyte EC levels, at least in part, by upregulating endogenous AEA and 2-AG levels.

This may arise from Δ9-THC competing with AEA and 2-AG binding to FABP1, thereby decreasing targeting of bound AEA and 2-AG to the degradative enzymes, fatty acid amide hydrolase and monoacylglyceride lipase, to decrease hydrolysis within hepatocytes.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29414765

http://www.jlr.org/content/59/4/646

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Anandamide and endocannabinoid system: an attractive therapeutic approach for cardiovascular disease.

SAGE Journals

“Cardiovascular disease is currently not adequately managed and has become one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Current therapies are inadequate in terms of preventing its progression. There are several limitations, such as poor oral bioavailability, side effects, low adherence to treatment, and high dosage frequency of formulations due to the short half-life of the active ingredients used, among others.

This review aims to highlight the most relevant aspects of the relationship between the cardiovascular system and the endocannabinoid system, with special attention to the possible translational effect of the use of anandamide in cardiovascular health. The deep and detailed knowledge of this interaction, not always beneficial, and that for years has gone unnoticed, is essential for the development of new therapies.

We discuss the most recent and representative results obtained in the field of basic research, referring to the aforementioned subject, emphasizing fundamentally the main role of nitric oxide, renal physiology and its deregulation in pathological processes.”

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