Preliminary results from a pilot study examining brain structure in older adult cannabis users and nonusers.

Cover image Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging

“Exploring associations among cannabis use, brain structure, and cognitive function in older adults offers an opportunity to observe potential harm or benefit of cannabis.

This pilot study assessed structural magnetic resonance imaging in older adults who were either current cannabis users (n = 28; mean age 69.8 years, 36% female) or nonusers (n = 28; mean age 66.8 years, 61% female).

Users and nonusers did not differ in terms of total gray or white matter volumes controlling for age and depression symptoms, but users showed greater regional volume of left putamen, lingual cortex, and rostral middle frontal cortex.

No significant differences between groups were observed in performance on a brief computerized cognitive battery.

These results suggest that cannabis use likely does not have a widespread impact on overall cortical volume while controlling for age.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30785022

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925492718302683?via%3Dihub

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Cannabis use in youth is associated with limited alterations in brain structure

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“There were no significant differences by cannabis group in global or regional brain volumes, cortical thickness, or gray matter density, and no significant group by age interactions were found. Follow-up analyses indicated that values of structural neuroimaging measures by cannabis group were similar across regions, and any differences among groups were likely of a small magnitude. In sum, structural brain metrics were largely similar among adolescent and young adult cannabis users and non-users. Our data converge with prior large-scale studies suggesting small or limited associations between cannabis use and structural brain measures in youth.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30780151

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41386-019-0347-2

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Activation of ATP-sensitive K-channel promotes the anticonvulsant properties of cannabinoid receptor agonist through mitochondrial ATP level reduction.

“Cannabinoid receptor (CBR) agonist could act as a protective agent against seizure susceptibility in animal models of epilepsy.

Studies have shown that potassium channels could play a key role in ameliorating neuronal excitability.

In this study, we attempted to evaluate how CBRs and Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP)-sensitive potassium channels collaborate to affect seizure susceptibility by changing the clonic seizure threshold (CST).

In conclusion, CB1 agonist accomplishes at least a part of its anticonvulsant actions through ATP-sensitive potassium channels, probably by decreasing the mitochondrial ATP level to open the potassium channel to induce its anticonvulsant effect.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30776677

https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1525505018308503

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WIN55,212-2 induces caspase-independent apoptosis on human glioblastoma cells by regulating HSP70, p53 and Cathepsin D.

Toxicology in Vitro

“Despite the standard approaches to treat the highly aggressive and invasive glioblastoma (GBM), it remains incurable.

In this sense, cannabinoids highlight as a promising tool, because this tumor overexpresses CB1 and/or CB2 receptors and being, therefore, can be susceptible to cannabinoids treatment.

Thus, this work investigated the action of the cannabinoid agonist WIN55-212-2 on GBM cell lines and non-malignant cell lines, in vitro and in vivo. WIN was selectively cytotoxic to GBM cells. These presented blebbing and nuclear alterations in addition to cell shrinkage and chromatin condensation. WIN also significantly inhibited the migration of GAMG and U251 cells.

Finally, the data also showed that the antitumor effects of WIN are exerted, at least to some extent, by the expression of p53 and increased cathepsin D in addition to the decreased expression of HSP70.This data can indicate caspase-independent cell death mechanism. In addition, WIN decreased tumoral perimeter as well as caused a reduction the blood vessels in this area, without causing lysis, hemorrhage or blood clotting.

So, the findings herein presented reinforce the usefulness of cannabinoids as a candidate for further evaluation in treatment in glioblastoma treatment.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30776504

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0887233318307537?via%3Dihub

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New Insights in Cannabinoid Receptor Structure and Signaling.

“Cannabinoid has long been used for medicinal purposes. Cannabinoid signaling has been considered the therapeutic targets for treating pain, addiction, obesity, inflammation, and other diseases. Recent studies have suggested that in addition to CB1 and CB2, there are non-CB1 and non-CB2 cannabinoid-related orphan GPCRs including GPR18, GPR55, and GPR119. In addition, CB1 and CB2 display allosteric binding and biased signaling, revealing correlations between biased signaling and functional outcomes. Interestingly, new investigations have indicated that CB1 is functionally present within mitochondria of striated and heart muscles directly regulating intramitochondrial signaling and respiration.

CONCLUSION:

In this review, we summarize the recent progress in cannabinoid-related orphan GPCRs, CB1/CB2 structure, Gi/Gs coupling, allosteric ligands and biased signaling, and mitochondria-localized CB1, and discuss the future promise of this research.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30767756

http://www.eurekaselect.com/170011/article

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Spontaneous, anecdotal, retrospective, open-label study on the efficacy, safety and tolerability of cannabis galenical preparation (Bedrocan).

International Journal of Pharmacy Practice banner

“Our main aim was to investigate the short-term therapeutic effects, safety/tolerability and potential side effects of the cannabis galenical preparation (Bedrocan) in patients with a range of chronic conditions unresponsive to other treatments.

METHODS:

In this retrospective, ‘compassionate use’, observational, open-label study, 20 patients (age 18-80 years) who had appealed to our ‘Second Opinion Medical Consulting Network’ (Modena, Italy), were instructed to take sublingually the galenical oil twice a day for 3 months of treatment. The usual starting dose was low (0.5 ml/day) and gradually titrated upward to the highest recommended dose (1 ml/day). Tolerability and adverse effects were assessed at baseline and monthly thereafter during the treatment period through direct contact (email or telephone) or visit if required. Patients’ quality of life was evaluated at baseline and 3 months using the medical outcome short-form health survey questionnaire (SF-36).

KEY FINDINGS:

From baseline to 6 months post-treatment, SF-36 scores showed: reductions in total pain (P < 0.03); improvements in the physical component (P < 0.02); vitality (P < 0.03); social role functioning (P < 0.02); and general health state (P < 0.02). No changes in role limitations (P = 0.02) due to emotional state (e.g. panic, depression, mood alteration) were reported. Monthly reports of psychoactive adverse effects showed significant insomnia reduction (P < 0.03) and improvement in mood (P < 0.03) and concentration (P < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

These data suggest that a cannabis galenical preparation may be therapeutically effective and safe for the symptomatic treatment of some chronic diseases. Further studies on the efficacy of cannabis as well as cannabinoid system involvement in the pathophysiology are warranted.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30768819

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ijpp.12514

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Cannabis for refractory epilepsy in children: A review focusing on CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder.

Epilepsy Research

“Severe paediatric epilepsies such as CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder (CDD) are extremely debilitating, largely due to the early-onset and refractory nature of the seizures. Existing treatment options are often ineffective and associated with a host of adverse effects, causing those that are affected to seek alternative treatments.

Cannabis based products have attracted significant attention over recent years, primarily driven by reports of miraculous cures and a renewed public preference for ‘natural’ therapies, thus placing intense pressure on health professionals and the government for regulatory change.

This study provides a comprehensive overview of the potential role for cannabis in the treatment of CDD. Key areas discussed include the history, mechanism of action, efficacy and safety of cannabis based preparations as well as the burden related to CDD.

The evidence supports the use of cannabinoids, especially cannabidiol, in similar forms of refractory epilepsy including Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes. Evidence for cannabinoids specifically in CDD is limited but growing, with multiple anecdotal reports and an open-label trial showing cannabidiol to be associated with a significant reduction in seizure activity.

This review provides the first comprehensive overview of the potential role for cannabis based preparations in the treatment of CDD and provides justification for further clinical and observational research.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30771550

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0920121118306107?via%3Dihub

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Dronabinol for the Treatment of Paraneoplastic Night Sweats in Cancer Patients: A Report of Five Cases.

 View details for Journal of Palliative Medicine cover image“Night sweats significantly impact the quality of life for cancer patients and are often resistant to treatment.

Cannabinoids have been shown to modulate cytokine activity and produce hypothermia in animal models, suggesting that they may be a promising candidate for palliation of night sweats in patients with oncologic disease.

A retrospective record search identified five cancer patients who had tried oral dronabinol for palliation of their night sweats between 2013 and 2016 and subjectively reported on its efficacy.

 

RESULTS:

Treatment of five patients with advanced cancer with synthetic orally administered dronabinol resulted in the successful management of persistent symptomatic paraneoplastic night sweats.

CONCLUSION:

Dronabinol and/or medicinal cannabis are promising therapies for palliation of night sweats in cancer patients.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30759037

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jpm.2018.0551

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On the influence of cannabinoids on cell morphology and motility of glioblastoma cells.

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“The mechanisms behind the anti-tumoral effects of cannabinoids by impacting the migratory activity of tumor cells are only partially understood. Previous studies demonstrated that cannabinoids altered the organization of the actin cytoskeleton in various cell types.

As actin is one of the main contributors to cell motility and is postulated to be linked to tumor invasion, we tested the following hypothesizes: 1) Can cannabinoids alter cell motility in a cannabinoid receptor dependent manner? 2) Are these alterations associated with reorganizations in the actin cytoskeleton? 3) If so, what are the underlying molecular mechanisms?

Three different glioblastoma cell lines were treated with specific cannabinoid receptor 1 and 2 agonists and antagonists. Afterwards, we measured changes in cell motility using live cell imaging and alterations of the actin structure in fixed cells. Additionally, the protein amount of phosphorylated p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), focal adhesion kinases (FAK) and phosphorylated FAK (pFAK) over time were measured.

Cannabinoids induced changes in cell motility, morphology and actin organization in a receptor and cell line dependent manner. No significant changes were observed in the analyzed signaling molecules. Cannabinoids can principally induce changes in the actin cytoskeleton and motility of glioblastoma cell lines. Additionally, single cell motility of glioblastoma is independent of their morphology. Furthermore, the observed effects seem to be independent of p44/42 MAPK and pFAK pathways.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30753211

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0212037

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miRNA expression profiles and molecular networks in resting and LPS-activated BV-2 microglia-Effect of cannabinoids.

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“Mammalian microRNAs (miRNAs) play a critical role in modulating the response of immune cells to stimuli.

Cannabinoids are known to exert beneficial actions such as neuroprotection and immunosuppressive activities. However, the underlying mechanisms which contribute to these effects are not fully understood.

We previously reported that the psychoactive cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) differ in their anti-inflammatory signaling pathways.

Using lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to stimulate BV-2 microglial cells, we examined the role of cannabinoids on the expression of miRNAs. Expression was analyzed by performing deep sequencing, followed by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis to describe networks and intracellular pathways.

miRNA sequencing analysis revealed that 31 miRNAs were differentially modulated by LPS and by cannabinoids treatments. In addition, we found that at the concentration tested, CBD has a greater effect than THC on the expression of most of the studied miRNAs.

The results clearly link the effects of both LPS and cannabinoids to inflammatory signaling pathways. LPS upregulated the expression of pro-inflammatory miRNAs associated to Toll-like receptor (TLR) and NF-κB signaling, including miR-21, miR-146a and miR-155, whereas CBD inhibited LPS-stimulated expression of miR-146a and miR-155. In addition, CBD upregulated miR-34a, known to be involved in several pathways including Rb/E2f cell cycle and Notch-Dll1 signaling.

Our results show that both CBD and THC reduced the LPS-upregulated Notch ligand Dll1 expression. MiR-155 and miR-34a are considered to be redox sensitive miRNAs, which regulate Nrf2-driven gene expression. Accordingly, we found that Nrf2-mediated expression of redox-dependent genes defines a Mox-like phenotype in CBD treated BV-2 cells.

In summary, we have identified a specific repertoire of miRNAs that are regulated by cannabinoids, in resting (surveillant) and in LPS-activated microglia. The modulated miRNAs and their target genes are controlled by TLR, Nrf2 and Notch cross-talk signaling and are involved in immune response, cell cycle regulation as well as cellular stress and redox homeostasis.”

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