“The use of different natural and/or synthetic preparations of Cannabis sativa is associated with therapeutic strategies for many diseases. Indeed, thanks to the widespread diffusion of the cannabinoidergic system in the brain and in the peripheral districts, its stimulation, or inhibition, regulates many pathophysiological phenomena.
In particular, central activation of the cannabinoidergic system modulates the limbic and mesolimbic response which leads to food craving.
Moreover, cannabinoid agonists are able to reduce inflammatory response.
In this review a brief history of cannabinoids and the protagonists of the endocannabinoidergic system, i.e. synthesis and degradation enzymes and main receptors, will be described. Furthermore, the pharmacological effects of cannabinoids will be outlined. An overview of the involvement of the endocannabinoidergic system in neuroinflammatory and metabolic pathologies will be made.
Finally, particular attention will also be given to the new pharmacological entities acting on the two main receptors, cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2), with particular focus on the neuroinflammatory and metabolic mechanisms involved.”
“Research on the antiepileptic effects of (endo-)cannabinoids has remarkably progressed in the years following the discovery of fundamental role of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system in controlling neural excitability. Moreover, an increasing number of well-documented cases of epilepsy patients exhibiting multi-drug resistance report beneficial effects of cannabis use.
Pre-clinical and clinical research has increasingly focused on the antiepileptic effectiveness of exogenous administration of cannabinoids and/or pharmacologically induced increase of eCBs such as anandamide (also known as arachidonoylethanolamide [AEA]). Concomitant research has uncovered the contribution of neuroinflammatory processes and peripheral immunity to the onset and progression of epilepsy.
Accordingly, modulation of inflammatory pathways such as cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) was pursued as alternative therapeutic strategy for epilepsy. Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is an endogenous fatty acid amide related to the centrally and peripherally present eCB AEA, and is a naturally occurring nutrient that has long been recognized for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Neuroprotective and anti-hyperalgesic properties of PEA were evidenced in neurodegenerative diseases, and antiepileptic effects in pentylenetetrazol (PTZ), maximal electroshock (MES) and amygdaloid kindling models of epileptic seizures. Moreover, numerous clinical trials in chronic pain revealed that PEA treatment is devoid of addiction potential, dose limiting side effects and psychoactive effects, rendering PEA an appealing candidate as antiepileptic compound or adjuvant.
In the present study, we aimed at assessing antiepileptic properties of PEA in a mouse model of acute epileptic seizures induced by systemic administration of kainic acid (KA).
Here, we demonstrate that subchronic administration of PEA significantly alleviates seizure intensity, promotes neuroprotection and induces modulation of the plasma and hippocampal eCB and eiC levels in systemic KA-injected mice.”
“Cannabidivarin (CBDV) and cannabidiol (CBD) have recently emerged among cannabinoids for their potential antiepileptic properties, as shown in several animal models.
We report the case of a patient affected by symptomatic partial epilepsy who used cannabis as self-medication after the failure of countless pharmacological/surgical treatments.
After cannabis administration, a dramatic clinical improvement, in terms of both decrease in seizure frequency and recovery of cognitive functions, was observed, which might parallel high CBDV plasma concentrations.
Our patient’s electroclinical improvement supports the hypothesis that cannabis could actually represent an effective, well-tolerated antiepileptic drug.
Moreover, the experimental data suggest that CBDV may greatly contribute to cannabis anticonvulsant effect through its possible GABAergic action.”
“White adipose tissue (WAT) stores excess energy as triglycerides, and brown adipose tissue (BAT) is specialized in dissipating energy as heat. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is involved in a broad range of physiological processes and is increasingly recognized as a key player in adipose tissue metabolism. High ECS tonus in the fed state is associated with a disadvantageous metabolic phenotype, and this has led to a search for pharmacological strategies to inhibit the ECS. In this review we present recent developments that cast light on the regulation of adipose tissue metabolism by the ECS, and we discuss novel treatment options including the modulation of endocannabinoid synthesis and breakdown enzymes.”
“Chronic pain is a major therapeutic problem in kidney transplant patients owing to nephrotoxicity associated with nonsteroidal antiiflammatory drugs.
Benefits in chronic pain treatment with cannabidiol (CBD) have been reported.
This study assesses the effect, safety, and possible drug interactions in kidney transplant patients treated with CBD for chronic pain.
We assessed 7 patients with a mean age of 64.5 years (range, 58-75 years). CBD initial dose was 100 mg/d, CBD dose reduction to 50 mg/d has been done on day 4 to patient 1 for persistent nausea. Tacrolimus dose reduction in patient 3 was undertaken on days 4, 7, and 21 owing to persisting elevated levels (even before CBD) and itching, and on day 21 in patient 5. Tacrolimus levels decreased in patient 2 but were normal in the control 1 week later. Patients on cyclosporine were stable. Adverse effects were nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, drowsiness, and intermittent episodes of heat. CBD dose decrease was required in 2 patients. Two patients had total pain improvement, 4 had a partial response in the first 15 days, and in 1 there was no change.
During this follow-up, CBD was well-tolerated, and there were no severe adverse effects. Plasma levels of tacrolimus were variable. Therefore, longer follow-up is required.”
“Previous findings showed that inhibitors of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), degrading enzymes of anandamide (2-AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), reduced the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced gastric lesions.
The present study aimed to investigate: i./whether central or peripheral mechanism play a major role in the gastroprotective effect of inhibitors of FAAH, MAGL and AEA uptake, ii./which peripheral mechanism(s) may play a role in mucosal protective effect of FAAH, MAGL and uptake inhibitors.
Gastric mucosal damage was induced by acidified ethanol.
Elevation of central endocannabinoid levels by blocking their degradation or uptake via stimulation of mucosal defensive mechanisms resulted in gastroprotective action against ethanol-induced mucosal injury. These findings might suggest that central endocannabinoidsystem may play a role in gastric mucosal defense and maintenance of mucosal integrity.”
“Early-life stress (ELS) creates life-long vulnerability to stress-related anxiety disorders through altering stress and fear systems in the brain.
The endocannabinoidsystem has emerged as an important regulator of the stress response through a crosstalk with the glucocorticoid system, yet whether it plays a role in the persistent effects of ELS remains unanswered. By combining, behavioral, pharmacological and biochemical approaches in adult male rats, we examined the impact of ELS on the regulation of endocannabinoid function by stress and glucocorticoids.
These findings suggest that ELS results in an uncoupling of glucocorticoid-endocannabinoid signaling in the hippocampus, which, in turn, relates to alterations in stress regulation of memory recall. These data provide compelling evidence that ELS-induced deficits in the glucocorticoid-endocannabinoidcoupling following stress could predispose susceptibility to stress-related psychopathology.”
“The endocannabinoid (EC) system possesses anti-inflammatory properties and seems to be altered in trauma-exposed individuals.
In an intergenerational approach, this study investigated the link between childhood maltreatment (CM) experiences and alterations in the EC system.
Findings indicate altered EC levels during the last trimester of pregnancy in mothers with CM and their developing fetus, highlighting potential intergenerational effects from one generation to the other.”
“Long term exposure to stress has been demonstrated to cause neuroinflammation through a sustained overproduction of free radicals, including nitric oxide, via an increased inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) activity.
Similar to nitric oxide, endocannabinoids are synthesised on demand, with preclinical observations suggesting that cannabinoid receptor agonists and endocannabinoid enhancers inhibit nitrergic activity.
The results demonstrate that pre-treatment with PF-3845 rapidly ameliorates plasma corticosterone release at 60 minutes of stress. An increase in endocannabinoid signalling also induces an overall attenuation in iNOS, tumor necrosis factor-alpha convertase, interleukin-6, cyclooxygenase-2, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma mRNA, and the transactivation potential of NF-κB in the hippocampus.
These results suggest that enhanced endocannabinoid levels in the dorsal hippocampus have an overall anti-nitrosative and anti-inflammatory effect following acute stress exposure.”
“Inhibition of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) potentiates endocannabinoid activity and is hypothesized to have therapeutic potential for mood and anxiety disorders and pain” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29575526
“We examined the effects of essential oil from legal (THC <0.2% w/v) hemp variety on the nervous system in 5 healthy volunteers. GC/EIMS and GC/FID analysis of the EO showed that the main components were myrcene and β-caryophyllene.
The experiment consisted of measuring autonomic nervous system (ANS) parameters; evaluations of the mood state; and electroencephalography (EEG) recording before treatment, during treatment, and after hemp inhalation periods as compared with control conditions. The results revealed decreased diastolic blood pressure, increased heart rate, and significant increased skin temperature.
The subjects described themselves as more energetic, relaxed, and calm.
The analysis EEG showed a significant increase in the mean frequency of alpha (8-13 Hz) and significant decreased mean frequency and relative power of beta 2 (18,5-30 Hz) waves. Moreover, an increased power, relative power, and amplitude of theta (4-8 Hz) and alpha brain waves activities and an increment in the delta wave (0,5-4 Hz) power and relative power was recorded in the posterior region of the brain.
These results suggest that the brain wave activity and ANS are affected by the inhalation of the EO of Cannabis sativa suggesting a neuromodular activity in cases of stress, depression, and anxiety.”