L-Theanine Prevents Long-Term Affective and Cognitive Side-Effects of Adolescent Δ-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Exposure and Blocks Associated Molecular and Neuronal Abnormalities in the Mesocorticolimbic Circuitry

Journal of Neuroscience“Chronic adolescent exposure to Δ-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is linked to elevated neuropsychiatric risk and induces neuronal, molecular and behavioural abnormalities resembling neuropsychiatric endophenotypes. Previous evidence has revealed that the mesocorticolimbic circuitry, including the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and mesolimbic dopamine (DA) pathway are particularly susceptible to THC-induced pathological alterations, including dysregulation of DAergic activity states, loss of PFC GABAergic inhibitory control and affective and cognitive abnormalities. There are currently limited pharmacological intervention strategies capable of preventing THC-induced neuropathological adaptations.

L-theanine is an amino acid analogue of L-glutamate and L-glutamine derived from various plant sources, including green tea leaves. L-theanine has previously been shown to modulate levels of GABA, DA and glutamate in various neural regions and to possess neuroprotective properties.

Using a pre-clinical model of adolescent THC exposure in male rats, we report that L-theanine pre-treatment prior to adolescent THC exposure is capable of preventing long-term, THC-induced dysregulation of both PFC and VTA DAergic activity states, a neuroprotective effect which persists into adulthood. In addition, pre-treatment with L-theanine blocked THC-induced downregulation of local GSK-3 and Akt signaling pathways directly in the PFC, two biomarkers previously associated with cannabis-related psychiatric risk and sub-cortical DAergic dysregulation.

Finally, L-theanine powerfully blocked the development of both affective and cognitive abnormalities commonly associated with adolescent THC exposure, further demonstrating functional and long-term neuroprotective effects of L-theanine in the mesocorticolimbic system.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT With the increasing trend of cannabis legalization and consumption during adolescence, it is essential to expand knowledge on the potential effects of adolescent cannabis exposure on brain development and identify potential pharmacological strategies to minimize THC-induced neuropathology. Previous evidence demonstrates that adolescent THC exposure induces long-lasting affective and cognitive abnormalities, mesocorticolimbic dysregulation and schizophrenia-like molecular biomarkers that persist into adulthood.

We demonstrate for the first time that L-theanine, an amino acid analogue of L-glutamate and L-glutamine, is capable of preventing long-term THC side-effects. L-theanine prevented development of THC-induced behavioral aberrations, blocked cortical downregulation of local GSK-3 and Akt signaling pathways and normalized dysregulation of both PFC and VTA DAergic activity, demonstrating powerful and functional neuroprotective effects against THC-induced developmental neuropathology.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33268546/

https://www.jneurosci.org/content/early/2020/11/24/JNEUROSCI.1050-20.2020

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Medicinal Applications of Cannabinoids Extracted from Cannabis sativa (L.): A new Route to Fight against COVID-19?

 “Cannabis sativa is a well-known plant which has been of benefit since ancient times in several medicinal systems, including Chinese, Indian, Greek and Egyptian ones.

Although C. sativa is one of the most investigated medicinal plants in the world, it faces the most controversial of issues for its legalization as a medication. C. sativa contains several hundreds of phytoconstituents including the infamous «cannabinoid.” It is necessary to properly understand the medicinal importance of these phytochemicals and spread awareness among the countries where it’s still facing legal complexities.

The current review is focusing on most recent literature pertaining to the various applications of cannabinoids with a special focus on medicinal aspect of the phytochemicals. Peer reviewed articles focusing on the importance of cannabis and cannabinoids were the target of this review. Articles were selected based on the relevance to the general scope of the work i.e. application of cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids can truly be regarded as wonder drug keeping their immense diversity of usage but unfortunately, many of the mares never researched biologically or pharmacologically due to their low yield in the plant. However, the approval of some cannabinoids by the FDA (along with other recognized national medical health systems) has opened the horizons for the explicit use of these natural drugs in medicines such as Epidiolex® (cannabidiol used for the treatment of severe forms of epilepsy) and Sativex®(‘Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol’ used for the treatment of spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis, aka: MS.)

Many pharmacological properties of C. sativa are attributed to cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component, along with Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9 -THC), a psychoactive component. This review addresses the most important application or current utilization of cannabinoids in a variety of treatments such as: chronic pain, cancer, emesis, anorexia, irritable bowel syndrome, communicative diseases, glaucoma and central nervous system disorders. The biosynthetic pathway of cannabinoids is also discussed. In short, this plant has a myriad of bioactive compounds which have the potential to increase the list of approved cannabinoids suitable for therapy.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33267756/

https://www.eurekaselect.com/188617/article

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Short-Term Medical Cannabis Treatment Regimens Produced Beneficial Effects among Palliative Cancer Patients

pharmaceuticals-logo“In the last decade the use of medical cannabis (MC) for palliative cancer treatment has risen. However, the choice between products is arbitrary and most patients are using Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-dominant cannabis products.

In this study, we aimed to assess the short-term outcomes of MC treatment prescribed by oncologists in relation to the type of cannabis they receive.

A comparative analysis was used to assess the differences in treatment effectiveness and safety between THC-dominant (n = 56, 52%), cannabidiol (CBD)-dominant (n = 19, 18%), and mixed (n = 33, 30%) MC treatments. Oncology patients (n = 108) reported on multiple symptoms in baseline questionnaires, initiated MC treatment, and completed a one-month follow-up.

Most parameters improved significantly from baseline, including pain intensity, affective and sensory pain, sleep quality and duration, cancer distress, and both physical and psychological symptom burden. There was no significant difference between the three MC treatments in the MC-related safety profile. Generally, there were no differences between the three MC treatments in pain intensity and in most secondary outcomes.

Unexpectedly, CBD-dominant oil treatments were similar to THC-dominant treatments in their beneficial effects for most secondary outcomes. THC-dominant treatments showed significant superiority in their beneficial effect only in sleep duration compared to CBD-dominant treatments.

This work provides evidence that, though patients usually consume THC-dominant products, caregivers should also consider CBD-dominant products as a useful treatment for cancer-related symptoms.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33265945/

https://www.mdpi.com/1424-8247/13/12/435

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Perioperative Cannabis as a Potential Solution for Reducing Opioid and Benzodiazepine Dependence

See the source image“Cannabis is increasingly being used for medicinal purposes but remains outside Western medical practice. Data on perioperative use and outcomes are scarce. Few surgeons receive training regarding legal endorsement, reported medicinal benefits, and potential risks, making it difficult to advise patients. Guidelines and additional research are needed.

Observations: It is legal to recommend cannabis, which can be obtained in states with medical cannabis programs. There are many methods of consumption, oral being the safest. Activity is primarily through Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) via cannabinoid receptors, which may be potentiated when taken together in the plant or plant extract. The known effects of cannabis on inflammation and malignancy are largely limited to laboratory experiments. However, there are higher-quality data to support adjunctive use of cannabis for relief of pain, nausea, and insomnia, which may be useful postoperatively and could potentially decrease reliance on opiates and benzodiazepines. There are prospective trials in surgical patients, but no reported data regarding surgical complications or other surgical outcomes. Currently, cannabis is regulated differently than other controlled substances, and there are issues with purity/homogeneity, making it difficult for surgeons to accept or significantly explore its medical benefits.

Conclusions and relevance: Recommendations are made for surgeons advising patients who use cannabis based on the limited existing data. While cannabis likely has some therapeutic benefits, it must be treated as other medical controlled substances to truly elucidate its role in surgical patient care.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33263719/

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamasurgery/article-abstract/2773526

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Natural Salicylates and Their Roles in Human Health

ijms-logo“Salicylic acid (SA) is a plant hormone which plays a crucial role in the plant defense against various pathogens and abiotic stresses. Increasing reports suggest that this phenolic compound and its derivatives, collectively termed salicylates, not only regulate plant defense but also have beneficial effects on human health. Both natural and synthetic salicylates are known to have multiple targets in humans, thereby exhibiting various appreciating pharmacological roles, including anti-inflammatory, anticancer, neuroprotective, antidiabetic effects, and so on. The role of some salicylates, such as acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), 5-aminosalicylic acid (mesalazine), and amorfrutins in human diseases has been well studied in vitro. However, their clinical significance in different diseases is largely unknown. Based on recent studies, five natural salicylates, including amorfrutin, ginkgolic acid, grifolic acid, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, and cannabidiolic acid, showed potential roles in different challenging human diseases. This review summarizes together some of the recent information on multitarget regulatory activities of these natural salicylates and their pharmacological roles in human health.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33260759/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/23/9049

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Changes in Lipid Profile of Keratinocytes from Rat Skin Exposed to Chronic UVA or UVB Radiation and Topical Application of Cannabidiol

antioxidants-logo“UV radiation is a well-established environmental risk factor known to cause oxidative stress and disrupt the metabolism of keratinocyte phospholipids. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

In this study, we examined changes in the keratinocyte phospholipid profile from nude rat skin exposed to UVA and UVB radiation that was also treated topically with CBD.

UVA and UVB radiation promoted up-regulation of phosphatidylcholines (PC), lysophosphatidylcholines (LPC), phosphatidylethanolamines (PE) and down-regulation of sphingomyelin (SM) levels and enhanced the activity of phospholipase A2 (PLA2) and sphingomyelinase (SMase).

Application of CBD to the skin of control rats led to down-regulation of SM and up-regulation of SMase activity. After CBD treatment of rats irradiated with UVA or UVB, SM was up-regulated and down-regulated, respectively, while ceramide (CER) levels and SMase activity were down-regulated and up-regulated, respectively. CBD applied to the skin of UV-irradiated rats down-regulated LPC, up-regulated PE and phosphatidylserines (PS) and reduced PLA2 activity.

In conclusion, up-regulation of PS may suggest that CBD inhibits their oxidative modification, while changes in the content of PE and SM may indicate a role of CBD in promoting autophagy and improving the status of the transepidermal barrier.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33255796/

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3921/9/12/1178

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The Immune Endocannabinoid System of the Tumor Microenvironment

ijms-logo“Leukocytes are part of the tumor microenvironment (TME) and are critical determinants of tumor progression. Because of the immunoregulatory properties of cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) may have an important role in shaping the TME.

Members of the ECS, an entity that consists of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids and their synthesizing/degrading enzymes, have been associated with both tumor growth and rejection. Immune cells express cannabinoid receptors and produce endocannabinoids, thereby forming an “immune endocannabinoid system”. Although in vitro effects of exogenous cannabinoids on immune cells are well described, the role of the ECS in the TME, and hence in tumor development and immunotherapy, is still elusive.

This review/opinion discusses the possibility that the “immune endocannabinoid system” can fundamentally influence tumor progression. The widespread influence of cannabinoids on immune cell functions makes the members of the ECS an interesting target that could support immunotherapy.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33255584/

“Anti-tumour actions of cannabinoids.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30019449

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/23/8929

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Bisphenol A Deranges the Endocannabinoid System of Primary Sertoli Cells with an Impact on Inhibin B Production

ijms-logo“Bisphenol A (BPA) is an endocrine disruptor that negatively affects spermatogenesis, a process where Sertoli cells play a central role. Thus, in the present study we sought to ascertain whether BPA could modulate the endocannabinoid (eCB) system in exposed mouse primary Sertoli cells.

Under our experimental conditions, BPA turned out to be cytotoxic to Sertoli cells with an half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of ~6.0 µM. Exposure to a non-cytotoxic dose of BPA (i.e., 0.5 μM for 48 h) increased the expression levels of specific components of the eCB system, namely: type-1 cannabinoid (CB1) receptor and diacylglycerol lipase-α (DAGL-α), at mRNA level, type-2 cannabinoid (CB2) receptor, transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) receptors, and DAGL-β, at protein level. Interestingly, BPA also increased the production of inhibin B, but not that of transferrin, and blockade of either CB2 receptor or TRPV1 receptor further enhanced the BPA effect.

Altogether, our study provides unprecedented evidence that BPA deranges the eCB system of Sertoli cells towards CB2– and TRPV1-dependent signal transduction, both receptors being engaged in modulating BPA effects on inhibin B production. These findings add CB2 and TRPV1 receptors, and hence the eCB signaling, to the other molecular targets of BPA already known in mammalian cells.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33256105/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/23/8986

“Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics have many applications including use in some food and drink packaging, e.g., water and infant bottles, compact discs, impact-resistant safety equipment, and medical devices. Epoxy resins are used as lacquers to coat metal products such as food cans, bottle tops, and water supply pipes. Some dental sealants and composites may also contribute to BPA exposure.” https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/sya-bpa/index.cfm

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Use of Medical Cannabis to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury

View details for Journal of Neurotrauma cover image“There is not a single pharmacological agent with demonstrated therapeutic efficacy for traumatic brain injury (TBI). With recent legalization efforts and the growing popularity of medical cannabis, patients with TBI will inevitably consider medical cannabis as a treatment option.

Preclinical TBI research suggests cannabinoids have neuroprotective and psychotherapeutic properties.

Our review identified a paucity of high-quality studies examining the beneficial and adverse effects of medical cannabis on traumatic brain injury, with only a single Phase III randomized control trial. However, observational studies demonstrate that TBI patients are using medical and recreational cannabis to treat their symptoms, highlighting inconsistencies between public policy, perception of potential efficacy, and the dearth of empirical evidence.

We conclude that randomized controlled trials and prospective studies with appropriate control groups are necessary to fully understand the efficacy and potential adverse effects of medical cannabis for TBI.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33256496/

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/neu.2020.7148

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Multi-Target Effects of the Cannabinoid CP55940 on Familial Alzheimer’s Disease PSEN1 E280A Cholinergic-Like Neurons: Role of CB1 Receptor

Get IOS Press NewsAlzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by structural damage, death, and functional disruption of cholinergic neurons (ChNs) as a result of intracellular amyloid-β (Aβ) aggregation, extracellular neuritic plaques, and hyperphosphorylation of protein tau (p-Tau) overtime.

Objective: To evaluate the effect of the synthetic cannabinoid CP55940 (CP) on PSEN1 E280A cholinergic-like nerve cells (PSEN1 ChLNs)-a natural model of familial AD.

Results: CP in the presence of both inverse agonists (hereafter SR) almost completely inhibits the aggregation of intracellular sAβPPβf and p-Tau, increases ΔΨm, decreases oxidation of DJ-1Cys106-SH residue, and blocks the activation of c-Jun, p53, PUMA, and caspase-3 independently of CB1Rs signaling in mutant ChLNs. CP also inhibits the generation of reactive oxygen species partially dependent on CB1Rs. Although CP reduced extracellular Aβ 42, it was unable to reverse the Ca2 + influx dysregulation as a response to acetylcholine stimuli in mutant ChLNs. Exposure to anti-Aβ antibody 6E10 (1:300) in the absence or presence of SR plus CP completely recovered transient [Ca2 +]i signal as a response to acetylcholine in mutant ChLNs.

Conclusion: Taken together our findings suggest that the combination of cannabinoids, CB1Rs inverse agonists, and anti-Aβ antibodies might be a promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of familial AD.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33252082/

“It is therefore proposed that combinations of cannabinoids, anti-Aβ 42 antibodies (e.g., crenezumab), and CB1 inverse agonists might be a promising multi-target drugs for therapy in the early treatment of FAD PSEN 1 E280A ChLNs neurodegeneration.”

https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad201045

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