Cannabis and a lower BMI in psychosis: What is the role of AKT1?

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“Cannabis use has been associated with favorable outcomes on metabolic risk factors.

In this study we investigated whether this effect is mediated by the AKT1 gene, as activation of the related enzyme by cannabis may cause metabolic changes.

In conclusion, cannabis use is likely to be associated with a lower BMI in patients with a psychotic disorder.

Moreover, AKT1 risk alleles may increase the incidence of cannabis use in patients with a psychotic disorder, but AKT1 does not appear to mediate the effect of cannabis on BMI.”

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Targeting the endocannabinoid system: future therapeutic strategies.

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“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is involved in many physiological regulation pathways in the human body, which makes this system the target of many drugs and therapies. In this review, we highlight the latest studies regarding the role of the ECS and the drugs that target it, with a particular focus on the basis for the discovery of new cannabinoid-based drugs. In addition, we propose some key steps, such as the creation of a cannabinoid-receptor interaction matrix (CRIM) and the use of metabolomics, towards the development of improved and more specific drugs for each relevant disease.”

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Cannabinoids and post-traumatic stress disorder: clinical and preclinical evidence for treatment and prevention.

“There is substantial evidence from studies in humans and animal models for a role of the endocannabinoid system in the control of emotional states. Several studies have shown an association between exposure to trauma and substance use. Specifically, it has been shown that there is increased prevalence of cannabis use in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients and vice versa.

Clinical studies suggest that PTSD patients may cope with their symptoms by using cannabis. This treatment-seeking strategy may explain the high prevalence of cannabis use among individuals with PTSD.

Preliminary studies in humans also suggest that treatment with cannabinoids may decrease PTSD symptoms including sleep quality, frequency of nightmares, and hyperarousal.

Studies in animal models have shown that cannabinoids can prevent the effects of stress on emotional function and memory processes, facilitate fear extinction, and have an anti-anxiety-like effect in a variety of tasks.

Moreover, cannabinoids administered shortly after exposure to a traumatic event were found to prevent the development of PTSD-like phenotype.

In this article, we review the existing literature on the use of cannabinoids for treating and preventing PTSD in humans and animal models.

There is a need for large-scale clinical trials examining the potential decrease in PTSD symptomatology with the use of cannabis.

In animal models, there is a need for a better understanding of the mechanism of action and efficacy of cannabis. Nevertheless, the end result of the current clinical and preclinical data is that cannabinoid agents may offer therapeutic benefits for PTSD.”

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Cannabinoid type 1 receptor antagonism ameliorates harmaline-induced essential tremor in rat.

“Essential tremor (ET) is a neurological disorder with unknown etiology. Its symptoms include cerebellar motor disturbances, cognitive and personality changes, hearing and olfactory deficits. Excitotoxic cerebellar climbing fibre hyperactivity may underlie essential tremor and has been emulated in rodents by systemic harmaline administration.

Cannabinoid receptor agonists can cause motor disturbances although there are also anecdotal reports of therapeutic benefits of cannabis in motor disorders. We set out to establish the effects of cannabinoid type 1 receptor agonism and antagonism in an established rodent model of ET using a battery of accepted behaviour assays in order to determine risk and therapeutic potential of endocannabinoid system modulation in ET.

Overall, harmaline induced robust tremor that was typically worsened across the measured behavioural domains by CB type 1 (CB1 ) receptor agonism but ameliorated by cannabinoid type 1 receptor antagonism.


These results provide the first evidence of effects of endocannabinoid system modulation on motor function in the harmaline model of essential tremor and suggest that CB1 receptor manipulation warrants clinical investigation as a therapeutic approach to protection against behavioural disturbances associated with essential tremor.”

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Anandamide reverses depressive-like behavior, neurochemical abnormalities and oxidative-stress parameters in streptozotocin-diabetic rats: Role of CB1 receptors.

“The pathophysiology associated with increased prevalence of depression in diabetics is not completely understood, although studies have pointed the endocannabinoid system as a possible target. Then, we aimed to investigate the role of this system in the pathophysiology of depression associated with diabetes.

Together, our data suggest that in depression associated with diabetes, the endocannabinoid anandamide has a potential to induce neuroadaptative changes able to improve the depressive-like response by its action as a CB1 receptor agonist.”

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Orchestrated activation of mGluR5 and CB1 promotes neuroprotection.

“The metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) and the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) exhibit a functional interaction, as CB1 regulates pre-synaptic glutamate release and mGluR5 activation increases endocannabinoid synthesis at the post-synaptic site. Since both mGluR5 and CB1promote neuroprotection, we delineated experiments to investigate a possible link between CB1 and mGluR5 activation in the induction of neuroprotection using primary cultured corticostriatal neurons. We find that either the pharmacological blockade or the genetic ablation of either mGluR5 or CB1 can abrogate both CB1– and mGluR5-mediated neuroprotection against glutamate insult. Interestingly, decreased glutamate release and diminished intracellular Ca2+ do not appear to play a role in CB1 and mGluR5-mediated neuroprotection. Rather, these two receptors work cooperatively to trigger the activation of cell signaling pathways to promote neuronal survival, which involves MEK/ERK1/2 and PI3K/AKT activation. Interestingly, although mGluR5 activation protects postsynaptic terminals and CB1 the presynaptic site, intact signaling of both receptors is required to effectively promote neuronal survival. In conclusion, mGluR5 and CB1 act in concert to activate neuroprotective cell signaling pathways and promote neuronal survival.”

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Cannabinoids and the gut: new developments and emerging concepts.

“Cannabis has been used to treat gastrointestinal (GI) conditions that range from enteric infections and inflammatory conditions to disorders of motility, emesis and abdominal pain. The mechanistic basis of these treatments emerged after the discovery of Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol as the major constituent of Cannabis. Further progress was made when the receptors for Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol were identified as part of an endocannabinoid system, that consists of specific cannabinoid receptors, endogenous ligands and their biosynthetic and degradative enzymes. Anatomical, physiological and pharmacological studies have shown that the endocannabinoid system is widely distributed throughout the gut, with regional variation and organ-specific actions. It is involved in the regulation of food intake, nausea and emesis, gastric secretion and gastroprotection, GI motility, ion transport, visceral sensation, intestinal inflammation and cell proliferation in the gut. Cellular targets have been defined that include the enteric nervous system, epithelial and immune cells. Molecular targets of the endocannabinoid system include, in addition to the cannabinoid receptors, transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 receptors, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha receptors and the orphan G-protein coupled receptors, GPR55 and GPR119. Pharmacological agents that act on these targets have been shown in preclinical models to have therapeutic potential. Here, we discuss cannabinoid receptors and their localization in the gut, the proteins involved in endocannabinoid synthesis and degradation and the presence of endocannabinoids in the gut in health and disease. We focus on the pharmacological actions of cannabinoids in relation to GI disorders, highlighting recent data on genetic mutations in the endocannabinoid system in GI disease.”

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Endocannabinoids in the gut.

“The endocannabinoid system mainly consists of endogenously produced cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) and two G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2). This system also includes enzymes responsible for the synthesis and degradation of endocannabinoids and molecules required for the uptake and transport of endocannabinoids. In addition, endocannabinoid-related lipid mediators and other putative endocannabinoid receptors, such as transient receptor potential channels and other GPCRs have been identified. Accumulating evidence indicates that the endocannabinoid system is a key modulator of gastrointestinal physiology, influencing satiety, emesis, immune function, mucosal integrity, motility, secretion, and visceral sensation. In light of therapeutic benefits of herbal and synthetic cannabinoids, the vast potential of the endocannabinoid system for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases has been demonstrated. This review focuses on the role of the endocannabinoid system in gut homeostasis and in the pathogenesis of intestinal disorders associated with intestinal motility, inflammation and cancer. Finally, links between gut microorganisms and the endocannabinoid system are briefly discussed.”

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An analgesia circuit activated by cannabinoids.

“Although many anecdotal reports indicate that marijuana and its active constituent, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC), may reduce pain sensation, studies of humans have produced inconsistent results. In animal studies, the apparent pain-suppressing effects of delta-9-THC and other cannabinoid drugs are confounded by motor deficits. Here we show that a brainstem circuit that contributes to the pain-suppressing effects of morphine is also required for the analgesic effects of cannabinoids. Inactivation of the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) prevents the analgesia but not the motor deficits produced by systemically administered cannabinoids. Furthermore, cannabinoids produce analgesia by modulating RVM neuronal activity in a manner similar to, but pharmacologically dissociable from, that of morphine. We also show that endogenous cannabinoids tonically regulate pain thresholds in part through the modulation of RVM neuronal activity. These results show that analgesia produced by cannabinoids and opioids involves similar brainstem circuitry and that cannabinoids are indeed centrally acting analgesics with a new mechanism of action.”

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CB2 receptor activation prevents glial-derived neurotoxic mediator production, BBB leakage and peripheral immune cell infiltration and rescues dopamine neurons in the MPTP model of Parkinson’s disease.

“The cannabinoid (CB2) receptor type 2 has been proposed to prevent the degeneration of dopamine neurons in 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-treated mice.

Our results suggest that targeting the cannabinoid system may be beneficial for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as PD, that are associated with glial activation, BBB disruption and peripheral immune cell infiltration.”

“The cannabinoid type two receptors (CB2), an important component of the endocannabinoid system, have recently emerged as neuromodulators and therapeutic targets for neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s disease (PD).”

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