Drugs of abuse and parkinson’s disease.

“The term “drug of abuse” is highly contextual. What constitutes a drug of abuse for one population of patients does not for another. It is therefore important to examine the needs of the patient population to properly assess the status of drugs of abuse. The focus of this article is on the bidirectional relationship between patients and drug abuse. In this paper we will introduce the dopaminergic systems of the brain in Parkinson’s and the influence of antiparkinsonian drugs upon them before discussing this synergy of condition and medication as fertile ground for drug abuse. We will then examine the relationship between drugs of abuse and Parkinson’s, both beneficial and deleterious. In summary we will draw the different strands together and speculate on the future merit of current drugs of abuse as treatments for Parkinson’s disease.”



Self-reported efficacy of cannabis and other complementary medicine modalities by Parkinson’s disease patients in colorado.

“Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is frequently used by Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients. We sought to provide information on CAM use and efficacy in PD patients in the Denver metro area with particular attention to cannabis use given its recent change in legal status.

Self-reported improvement related to the use of CAM was highest for massage, art therapy, music therapy, and cannabis.

While only 4.3% of our survey responders reported use of cannabis, it ranked among the most effective CAM therapies.

Conclusions. Overall, our cross-sectional study was notable for a high rate of CAM utilization amongst PD patients and high rates of self-reported efficacy across most CAM modalities.

Cannabis was rarely used in our population but users reported high efficacy, mainly for nonmotor symptoms.”




New Approaches in the Design and Development of Cannabinoid Receptor Ligands: Multifunctional and Bivalent Compounds.

“Since the identification of the endocannabinoid system, two G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) of this complex system were identified and characterized: cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1R) and type 2 (CB2R).

In addition to orthosteric and subsequently allosteric ligands, new strategies have been used to target CBRs.

Bivalent ligands and multifunctional ligands acting at diverse biological targets have been designed, synthesized, and characterized for both CBRs. Due to their altered receptor binding and pharmacological profiles, they are interesting tools to explore CBR functions and their interactions with other physiological systems.

Moreover, this approach may bear therapeutic advantages in the therapy of CBR-related disorders, especially multifactorial diseases.

Promising prospects include anorectics with fewer side effects, analgesics with decreased tolerance, and therapeutics with multiple pharmacological activities for the treatment of cancer, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.”


Changes in the endocannabinoid signaling system in CNS structures of TDP-43 transgenic mice: relevance for a neuroprotective therapy in TDP-43-related disorders.

“Because of their neuroprotective properties, cannabinoids are being investigated in neurodegenerative disorders, mainly in preclinical studies. These disorders also include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative disease produced by the damage of the upper and lower motor neurons leading to muscle denervation, atrophy and paralysis.

The studies with cannabinoids in ALS have been conducted exclusively in a transgenic mouse model bearing mutated forms of human superoxide dismutase-1, the first gene that was identified in relation with ALS.

The present study represents the first attempt to investigate the endocannabinoid system in an alternative model, the transgenic mouse model of TAR-DNA binding protein-43 (TDP-43), a protein related to ALS and also to frontotemporal dementia…

In conclusion, our data support the idea that the endocannabinoid signaling system, in particular the CB2 receptor, may serve for the development of a neuroprotective therapy in TDP-43-related disorders. We are presently engaged in pharmacological experiments to investigate this possibility.”



Cannabinoid agonist rescues learning and memory after a traumatic brain injury.

“Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause persistent challenges including problems with learning and memory.

Previous studies suggest that the activation of the cannabinoid 1 receptor after a traumatic brain injury could be beneficial.

We tested the hypothesis that posttraumatic brain injury administration of a cannabinoid 1 receptor agonist can rescue deficits in learning and memory.

Young adult male rats were subjected to a moderately severe controlled cortical impact brain injury, with a subset given postinjury i.p. injections of a cannabinoid receptor agonist.

Utilizing novel object recognition and the morris water task, we found that the brain-injured animals treated with the agonist showed a marked recovery.”


“Taken together, this study shows that the administration of a CB1R agonist after a TBI rescues deficits in learning and memory.”  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/acn3.163/full


2-AG promotes the expression of conditioned fear via cannabinoid receptor type 1 on GABAergic neurons.

“The contribution of two major endocannabinoids, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide (AEA), in the regulation of fear expression is still unknown. We analyzed the role of different players of the endocannabinoid system on the expression of a strong auditory-cued fear memory in male mice by pharmacological means…

Our findings suggest that increased AEA levels mediate acute fear relief, whereas increased 2-AG levels promote the expression of conditioned fear primarily via CB1 on GABAergic neurons.”



Cannabinoids to treat spinal cord injury.

“Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is a devastating condition for which there is no standard treatment beyond rehabilitation strategies. In this review, we discuss the current knowledge on the use of cannabinoids to treat this condition.

The endocannabinoid system is expressed in the intact spinal cord, and it is dramatically upregulated after lesion. Endogenous activation of this system counteracts secondary damage following SCI, and treatments with endocannabinoids or synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists promote a better functional outcome in experimental models.

The use of cannabinoids in SCI is a new research field and many questions remain open. Here, we discuss caveats and suggest some future directions that may help to understand the role of cannabinoids in SCI and how to take advantage of this system to regain functions after spinal cord damage.”



Further human evidence for striatal dopamine release induced by administration of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): selectivity to limbic striatum.

“In the largest data set of healthy participants so far, we provide evidence for a modest increase in human striatal dopamine transmission after administration of THC compared to other drugs of abuse.

This finding suggests limited involvement of the endocannabinoid system in regulating human striatal dopamine release and thereby challenges the hypothesis that an increase in striatal dopamine levels after cannabis use is the primary biological mechanism underlying the associated higher risk of schizophrenia.”



Association of single nucleotide polymorphisms in catechol-O-methyltransferase and serine-threonine protein kinase genes in the Pakistani schizophrenic population: a study with special emphasis on cannabis and smokeless tobacco.

“Schizophrenia is a neuropsychiatric disorder in which abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex lead to impaired synthesis of dopamine. It is associated with hallucination, psychosis and hearing impairments. Many susceptible genes have been identified in schizophrenia such as catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) and serine/threonine kinase (AKT1).

Moreover, a study based on a single family showed COMT Met allele inheritance in schizophrenic offspring. This suggested that COMT allele alteration influences susceptibility to at least some forms of psychosis…

Interestingly, according to our socio-economic survey, COMT genotype has no association with cannabis but it is strongly associated with tobacco.”




The Medicinal Chemistry of Cannabinoids.

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) comprises the two well characterized Gi/o -protein coupled receptors (CB1, CB2), their endogenous lipid ligands and the enzymes involved in their biosynthesis and biotransformation.

Drug discovery efforts relating to the ECS have been focused mainly on the two cannabinoid receptors and the two endocannabinoid deactivating enzymes fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MGL).

This review provides an overview of cannabinergic agents used in drug research and those being explored clinically.”