Structure of primary cannabinoid receptor is revealed

“Findings give insight into designing safe and effective cannabinoid medications.”

Illustration of the CB1 receptor.

“New research is providing a more detailed view into the structure of the human cannabinoid (CB1) receptor. These findings provide key insights into how natural and synthetic cannabinoids including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—a primary chemical in marijuana—bind at the CB1 receptor to produce their effects. The research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.”

“‘Marijuana receptor’ uncovered in new study”

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Cannabidiol is a partial agonist at dopamine D2High receptors, predicting its antipsychotic clinical dose.

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“Although all current antipsychotics act by interfering with the action of dopamine at dopamine D2 receptors, two recent reports showed that 800 to 1000 mg of cannabidiol per day alleviated the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia, although cannabidiol is not known to act on dopamine receptors. Because these recent clinical findings may indicate an important exception to the general rule that all antipsychotics interfere with dopamine at dopamine D2 receptors, the present study examined whether cannabidiol acted directly on D2 receptors, using tritiated domperidone to label rat brain striatal D2 receptors. It was found that cannabidiol inhibited the binding of radio-domperidone with dissociation constants of 11 nm at dopamine D2High receptors and 2800 nm at dopamine D2Low receptors, in the same biphasic manner as a dopamine partial agonist antipsychotic drug such as aripiprazole. The clinical doses of cannabidiol are sufficient to occupy the functional D2High sites. it is concluded that the dopamine partial agonist action of cannabidiol may account for its clinical antipsychotic effects.”

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Cannabis as Secondary Drug Is Not Associated With a Greater Risk of Death in Patients With Opiate, Cocaine, or Alcohol Dependence.

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“To assess the impact of cannabis use as secondary drug on mortality of patients with other major substance use disorders.

Positive urinary cannabis did not confer an increased risk of death in patients with severe opiate, cocaine or alcohol dependence.”

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Δ9-THC Intoxication by Cannabidiol-Enriched Cannabis Extract in Two Children with Refractory Epilepsy: Full Remission after Switching to Purified Cannabidiol.

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“Animal studies and preliminary clinical trials have shown that cannabidiol (CBD)-enriched extracts may have beneficial effects for children with treatment-resistant epilepsy.

We describe the cases of two children with treatment-resistant epilepsy (Case A with left frontal dysplasia and Case B with Dravet Syndrome) with initial symptom improvement after the introduction of CBD extracts followed by seizure worsening after a short time.

The children presented typical signs of intoxication by Δ9-THC (inappropriate laughter, ataxia, reduced attention, and eye redness) after using a CBD-enriched extract.

The extract was replaced by the same dose of purified CBD with no Δ9-THC in both cases, which led to improvement in intoxication signs and seizure remission.

These cases support pre-clinical and preliminary clinical evidence suggesting that CBD may be effective for some patients with epilepsy.

Moreover, the cases highlight the need for randomized clinical trials using high-quality and reliable substances to ascertain the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids as medicines.”

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N-Oleoylethanolamine Reduces Inflammatory Cytokines and Adhesion Molecules in TNF-α-induced Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells by Activating CB2 and PPAR-α.

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“Inflammation plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.

Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPAR-α) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) crucially impact the modulation of inflammation.

N-Oleoylethanolamine (OEA), a natural agonist of PPAR-α, can also up-regulate the expression of CB2 in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and further shows an antiatherosclerotic effect.

Our study was designed to determinate whether OEA could inhibit inflammation in HUVECs induced by tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and to identify the mechanism of OEA function.

These results suggest that OEA exerts anti-inflammatory and anti-adhesive effects on HUVECs.”

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Chronic stress leads to epigenetic dysregulation of neuropeptide-Y and cannabinoid CB1 receptor in the mouse cingulate cortex.

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“Persistent stress triggers a variety of mechanisms, which may ultimately lead to the occurrence of anxiety- and depression-related disorders.

Epigenetic modifications represent a mechanism by which chronic stress mediates long-term effects. Here, we analyzed brain tissue from mice exposed to chronic unpredictable stress (CUS), which induced impaired emotional and nociceptive behaviors.

As endocannabinoid (eCB) and neuropeptide-Y (Npy) systems modulate emotional processes, we hypothesized that CUS may affect these systems through epigenetic mechanisms.

We found reduced Npy expression and Npy type 1 receptor (Npy1r) signaling, and decreased expression of the cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1) in the cingulate cortex of CUS mice specifically in low CB1-expressing neurons.

Our findings suggest that epigenetic alterations in the Npy and CB1 genes represent one of the potential mechanisms contributing to the emotional imbalance induced by CUS in mice, and that the Npy and eCB systems may represent therapeutic targets for the treatment of psychopathologies associated with or triggered by chronic stress states.”

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Pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic influence of N-palmitoylethanolamine, arachidonyl-2′-chloroethylamide and WIN 55,212-2 on the anticonvulsant activity of antiepileptic drugs against audiogenic seizures in DBA/2 mice.

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“We evaluated the effects of ACEA (selective cannabinoid (CB)1 receptor agonist), WIN 55,212-2 mesylate (WIN; non-selective CB1and CB2 receptor agonist) and N-palmitoylethanolamine (PEA; an endogenous fatty acid of ethanolamide) in DBA/2 mice, a genetic model of reflex audiogenic epilepsy.

PEA, ACEA or WIN intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration decreased the severity of tonic-clonic seizures.

PEA has anticonvulsant features in DBA/2 mice mainly through PPAR-α and likely indirectly on CB1 receptors, whereas ACEA and WIN act through CB1 receptors.

In conclusion, PEA, ACEA and WIN show anticonvulsant effects in DBA/2 mice and potentiate the effects several AEDs suggesting a possible therapeutic relevance of these drugs and their mechanisms of action.”

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Palmitoylethanolamide reduces inflammation and itch in a mouse model of contact allergic dermatitis.

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“In mice, 2,4-dinitrofluorobenzene (DNFB) induces contact allergic dermatitis (CAD), which, in a late phase, is characterized by mast cell (MC) infiltration and angiogenesis.

Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), an endogenous anti-inflammatory molecule, acts by down-modulating MCs following activation of the cannabinoid CB2 receptor and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α (PPAR-α).

We have previously reported the anti-inflammatory effect of PEA in the early stage of CAD.

Here, we examined whether PEA reduces the features of the late stage of CAD including MC activation, angiogenesis and itching.

PEA, by reducing the features of late stage CAD in mice, may be beneficial in this pathological condition.”

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Revealing the role of the endocannabinoid system modulators, SR141716A, URB597 and VDM-11, in sleep homeostasis.


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“The endocannabinoid system comprises receptors (CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors), enzymes (Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase [FAAH], which synthesizes the endocannabinoid anandamide), as well as the anandamide membrane transporter (AMT).

Importantly, previous experiments have demonstrated that the endocannabinoid system modulates multiple neurobiological functions, including sleep.

For instance, SR141716A (the CB1 cannabinoid receptor antagonist) as well as URB597 (the FAAH inhibitor) increase waking in rats whereas VDM-11 (the blocker of the AMT) enhances sleep in rodents. However, no further evidence is available regarding the neurobiological role of the endocannabinoid system in the homeostatic control of sleep.

Therefore, the aim of the current experiment was to test if SR141716A, URB597 or VDM-11 would modulate the sleep rebound after sleep deprivation. Thus, these compounds were systemically injected (5, 10, 20mg/Kg; ip; separately each one) to rats after prolonged waking. We found that SR141716A and URB597 blocked in dose-dependent fashion the sleep rebound whereas animals treated with VDM-11 displayed sleep rebound during the recovery period.

Complementary, injection after sleep deprivation of either SR141716A or URB597 enhanced dose-dependently the extracellular levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, serotonin, as well as adenosine while VDM-11 caused a decline in contents of these molecules.

These findings suggest that SR141716A or URB597 behave as a potent stimulants since they suppressed the sleep recovery period after prolonged waking.

It can be concluded that elements of the endocannabinoid system, such as the CB1 cannabinoid receptor, FAAH and AMT, modulate the sleep homeostasis after prolonged waking.”

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Hemopressin peptides as modulators of the endocannabinoid system and their potential applications as therapeutic tools.

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“The endocannabinoid system is activated by the binding of natural arachidonic acid derivatives (endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids) as lipophilic messengers to cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2.

The endocannabinoid system comprises also many hydrolytic enzymes responsible for the endocannabinoids cleavage, such as FAAH and MAGL. These two enzymes are possible therapeutic targets for the development of new drugs as indirect cannabinoid agonists.

Recently a new family of endocannabinoid modulators was discovered; the lead of this family is the nonapeptide hemopressin produced from enzymatic cleavage of the α-chain of hemoglobin and acting as negative allosteric modulator of CB1. Hemopressin shows several physiological effects, e.g. antinociception, hypophagy, and hypotension.  It is still matter of debate whether this peptide, isolated from the brain of rats is a real neuromodulator of the endocannabinoid system.

Recent evidence indicates that hemopressin could be a by-product formed by chemical degradation of a longer peptide RVD-hemopressin during the extraction from the brain homolysate. Indeed, RVD-hemopressin is more active than hemopressin in certain biological tests and may bind to the same subsite as Rimonabant, which is an inverse agonist for the CB1 receptor and a μ-opioid receptor antagonist.

These findings have stimulated several studies to verify this hypothesis and to evaluate possible therapeutic applications of hemopressin, its peptidic derivatives and synthetic analogues, opening new perspectives to the development of novel cannabinoid drugs.”

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