Combination of cannabinoids, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), mitigates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) by altering the gut microbiome.

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity“Currently, a combination of marijuana cannabinoids including delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) is used as a drug to treat muscle spasticity in patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Because these cannabinoids can also suppress inflammation, it is unclear whether such patients benefit from suppression of neuroinflammation and if so, what is the mechanism through which cannabinoids act.

In the currently study, we used a murine model of MS, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), to study the role of gut microbiota in the attenuation of clinical signs of paralysis and inflammation caused by cannabinoids.

THC+CBD treatment attenuated EAE and caused significant decrease in inflammatory cytokines such as IL-17 and IFN-γ while promoting the induction of anti-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-10 and TGF-β. Use of 16S rRNA sequencing on bacterial DNA extracted from the gut revealed that EAE mice showed high abundance of mucin degrading bacterial species, such as Akkermansia muciniphila (A.muc), which was significantly reduced after THC+CBD treatment.

Fecal Material Transfer (FMT) experiments confirmed that THC+CBD-mediated changes in the microbiome play a critical role in attenuating EAE. In silico computational metabolomics revealed that LPS biosynthesis, a key component in gram-negative bacteria such as A.muc, was found to be elevated in EAE mice which was confirmed by demonstrating higher levels of LPS in the brain, while treatment with THC+CBD reversed this trend. EAE mice treated with THC+CBD also had significantly higher levels of short chain fatty acids such as butyric, isovaleric, and valeric acids compared to naïve or disease controls.

Collectively, our data suggest that cannabinoids may attenuate EAE and suppress neuroinflammation by preventing microbial dysbiosis seen during EAE and promoting healthy gut microbiota.”

Associations between adolescent cannabis use frequency and adult brain structure: A prospective study of boys followed to adulthood.

Drug and Alcohol Dependence“Few studies have tested the hypothesis that adolescent cannabis users show structural brain alterations in adulthood.

The present study tested associations between prospectively-assessed trajectories of adolescent cannabis use and adult brain structure in a sample of boys followed to adulthood.

Boys in different trajectory subgroups did not differ on adult brain structure in any subcortical or cortical region of interest. Adolescent cannabis use is not associated with structural brain differences in adulthood.”


“Adolescent cannabis users did not differ in adult brain structure. Adolescent cannabis use is not associated with lasting structural brain differences.”

In-hospital outcomes of inflammatory bowel disease in cannabis users: a nationwide propensity-matched analysis in the United States.

“Literature suggests the role of cannabis (marijuana) as an anti-inflammatory agent. However, the impact of recreational marijuana usage on in-hospital outcomes of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) remains indistinct.

We assessed the outcomes of Crohn’s disease (CD) as well as ulcerative colitis (UC) with vs. without recreational marijuana usage using a nationally illustrative propensity-matched sample.


Propensity-matched cohorts included 6,002 CD (2,999 cannabis users & 3,003 non-users) and 1,481 UC (742 cannabisusers & 739 non-users) hospitalizations. In CD patients, prevalence of colorectal cancer (0.3% vs. 1.2%, P<0.001), need for parenteral nutrition (3.0% vs. 4.7%, P=0.001) and anemia (25.6% vs. 30.1%, P<0.001) were lower in cannabis users. However, active fistulizing disease or intraabdominal abscess formation (8.6% vs. 5.9%, P<0.001), unspecific lower gastrointestinal (GI) hemorrhage (4.0% vs. 2.7%, P=0.004) and hypovolemia (1.2% vs. 0.5%, P=0.004) were higher with recreational cannabis use. The mean hospital stay was shorter (4.2 vs. 5.0 days) with less hospital charges ($28,956 vs. $35,180, P<0.001) in cannabis users. In patients with UC, cannabis users faced the higher frequency of fluid and electrolyte disorders (45.1% vs. 29.6%, P<0.001), and hypovolemia (2.7% vs.<11) with relatively lower frequency of postoperative infections (<11 vs. 3.4%, P=0.010). No other complications were significant enough for comparison between the cannabis users and non-users in this group. Like CD, UC-cannabis patients had shorter mean hospital stay (LOS) (4.3 vs. 5.7 days, P<0.001) and faced less financial burden ($30,393 vs. $41,308, P<0.001).


We found a lower frequency of colorectal cancer, parenteral nutrition, anemia but a higher occurrences of active fistulizing disease or intraabdominal abscess formation, lower GI hemorrhage and hypovolemia in the CD cohort with cannabis usage. In patients with UC, frequency of complications could not be compared between the two cohorts, except a higher frequency of fluid and electrolyte disorders and hypovolemia, and a lower frequency of postoperative infections with cannabis use. A shorter length of stay (LOS)  and lesser hospital charges were observed in both groups with recreational marijuana usage.”

Cannabidiol Induces Cell Cycle Arrest and Cell Apoptosis in Human Gastric Cancer SGC-7901 Cells.

 biomolecules-logo“The main chemical component of cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD), has been shown to have antitumor properties.

The present study examined the in vitro effects of CBD on human gastric cancer SGC-7901 cells.

We found that CBD significantly inhibited the proliferation and colony formation of SGC-7901 cells.

These results indicated that CBD could induce G0-G1 phase cell cycle arrest and apoptosis by increasing ROS production, leading to the inhibition of SGC-7901 cell proliferation, thereby suggesting that CBD may have therapeutic effects on gastric cancer.”

“These findings may be utilized in the development of CBD as a potential drug for the treatment of gastric cancer.”

Therapeutic potential of cannabinoids as neuroprotective agents for damaged cells conducing to movement disorders.

International Review of Neurobiology“The basal ganglia (BG), an organized network of nuclei that integrates cortical information, play a crucial role in controlling motor function. In fact, movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Huntington’s disease (HD) are caused by the degeneration of specific structures within the BG.

There is substantial evidence supporting the idea that cannabinoids may constitute novel promising compounds for the treatment of movement disorders as neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory agents.

This potential therapeutic role of cannabinoids is based, among other qualities, on their capacity to reduce oxidative injury and excitotoxicity, control calcium influx and limit the toxicity of reactive microglia.

The mechanisms involved in these effects are related to CB1 and CB2 receptor activation, although some of the effects are CB receptor independent.

Thus, taking into account the aforementioned properties, compounds that act on the endocannabinoid system could be useful as a basis for developing disease-modifying therapies for PD and HD.”

Modulators of the endocannabinoid system influence skin barrier repair, epidermal proliferation, differentiation and inflammation in a mouse model.

Experimental Dermatology banner“Endocannabinoids (ECs) are important regulators of cell signaling.

Cannabinoid receptors are involved in keratinocyte proliferation/differentiation.

Elevation of the endogenous cannabinoid tone leads to strong anti-inflammatory effects.

Here, we explored the influence of endocannabinoid system (ECS) modulators on skin permeability barrier repair, epidermal proliferation, differentiation and inflammation in hairless mice.

We used WOBE440, a selective fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitor, WOL067-531, an inhibitor of endocannabinoid reuptake with no relevant FAAH activity, which both signal via cannabinoid receptor-1and 2 (CB-1R and CB-2R) and compared them to WOBE15 which signals via CB-2R.

We found that barrier repair was significantly delayed by WOL067-531.

In summary, we showed that WOL067-531 exhibits a significant effect on skin barrier repair, epidermal proliferation/differentiation and inflammation.”

Development of An Oral Treatment with the PPAR-γ-Acting Cannabinoid VCE-003.2 Against the Inflammation-Driven Neuronal Deterioration in Experimental Parkinson’s Disease.

molecules-logo “In a recent study, we described the neuroprotective properties of VCE-003.2-an aminoquinone derivative of the non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid cannabigerol (CBG)-administered intraperitoneally (i.p.) in an inflammatory model of Parkinson’s disease (PD). We also demonstrated that these properties derive from its activity on the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ, in particular at a regulatory site within this receptor type.

In the present study, we wanted to further confirm this neuroprotective potential using an oral lipid formulation of VCE-003.2, developed to facilitate the clinical development of this phytocannabinoid derivative.

To this end, we evaluated VCE-003.2, administered orally at two doses (10 and 20 mg/kg), to mice subjected to unilateral intrastriatal injections of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a classic model of inflammation-driven neuronal deterioration that recapitulates characteristics of PD.

In summary, our data confirm the neuroprotective potential of an oral formulation of VCE-003.2 against neuronal injury in an in vivo model of PD based on neuroinflammation, and this study opens the possibility to further the development of oral VCE-003.2 in the clinic.”

Endocannabinoid System and the Kidneys: From Renal Physiology to Injury and Disease.

View details for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image“As the prevalence of kidney disease continues to rise worldwide, there is accumulating evidence that kidney injury and dysfunction, whether acute or chronic, is associated with major adverse outcomes, including mortality. Meanwhile, effective therapeutic options in the treatment of acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) have been sparse.

Many of the effective treatments that are routinely utilized for different pathologies in patients without kidney disease have failed to demonstrate efficacy in those with renal dysfunction. Hence, there is an urgent need for discovery of novel pathways that can be targeted for innovative and effective clinical therapies in renal disease states.

There is now accumulating evidence that the endocannabinoid (EC) system plays a prominent role in normal renal homeostasis and function. In addition, numerous recent studies have described mechanisms through which alteration in the EC system can contribute to kidney damage and disease. These include a potential role for cannabinoid receptors in tubulo-glomerular damage and fibrosis, which are common features of AKI, interstitial nephritis, glomerulopathy, and other conditions leading to AKI and CKD.

These findings suggest that manipulating the EC system may be an effective therapeutic strategy for the treatment of kidney disease and injury. However, further mechanistic studies are needed to fully delineate the role of this system in various conditions affecting the kidneys. Furthermore, while most of the current literature is focused on the role of the EC system as a whole in renal pathophysiology, future studies will also need to clarify the contribution of each component of this system, including the EC mediators, in the pathogenesis of kidney disease and their potential role as part of a therapeutic strategy.”

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Targeting Cannabinoid Signaling in the Immune System: “High”-ly Exciting Questions, Possibilities, and Challenges

Image result for frontiers in immunology“It is well known that certain active ingredients of the plants of Cannabis genus, i.e., the “phytocannabinoids” [pCBs; e.g., (−)-trans9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), (−)-cannabidiol, etc.] can influence a wide array of biological processes, and the human body is able to produce endogenous analogs of these substances [“endocannabinoids” (eCB), e.g., arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide, AEA), 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), etc.]. These ligands, together with multiple receptors (e.g., CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, etc.), and a complex enzyme and transporter apparatus involved in the synthesis and degradation of the ligands constitute the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a recently emerging regulator of several physiological processes. The ECS is widely expressed in the human body, including several members of the innate and adaptive immune system, where eCBs, as well as several pCBs were shown to deeply influence immune functions thereby regulating inflammation, autoimmunity, antitumor, as well as antipathogen immune responses, etc. Based on this knowledge, many in vitro and in vivo studies aimed at exploiting the putative therapeutic potential of cannabinoid signaling in inflammation-accompanied diseases (e.g., multiple sclerosis) or in organ transplantation, and to dissect the complex immunological effects of medical and “recreational” marijuana consumption. Thus, the objective of the current article is (i) to summarize the most recent findings of the field; (ii) to highlight the putative therapeutic potential of targeting cannabinoid signaling; (iii) to identify open questions and key challenges; and (iv) to suggest promising future directions for cannabinoid-based drug development.

Active Components of Cannabis sativa (Hemp)—Phytocannabinoids (pCBs) and Beyond

It is known since ancient times that consumption of different parts of the plant Cannabis sativa can lead to psychotropic effects. Moreover, mostly, but not exclusively because of its potent analgesic actions, it was considered to be beneficial in the management of several diseases. Nowadays it is a common knowledge that these effects were mediated by the complex mixture of biologically active substances produced by the plant. So far, at least 545 active compounds have been identified in it, among which, the best-studied ones are the so-called pCBs. It is also noteworthy that besides these compounds, ca. 140 different terpenes [including the potent and selective CB2 agonist sesquiterpene β-caryophyllene (BCP)], multiple flavonoids, alkanes, sugars, non-cannabinoid phenols, phenylpropanoids, steroids, fatty acids, and various nitrogenous compounds can be found in the plant, individual biological actions of which are mostly still nebulous. Among the so far identified > 100 pCBs, the psychotropic (−)-trans9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the non-psychotropic (−)-cannabidiol (CBD) are the best-studied ones, exerting a wide-variety of biological actions [including but not exclusively: anticonvulsive, analgesic, antiemetic, and anti inflammatory effects]. Of great importance, pCBs have been shown to modulate the activity of a plethora of cellular targets, extending their impact far beyond the “classical” (see above) cannabinoid signaling. Indeed, besides being agonists [or in some cases even antagonists of CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, some pCBs were shown to differentially modulate the activity of certain TRP channels, PPARs, serotonin, α adrenergic, adenosine or opioid receptors, and to inhibit COX and lipoxygenase enzymes, FAAH, EMT, etc.. Moreover, from a clinical point-of-view, it should also be noted that pCBs can indirectly modify pharmacokinetics of multiple drugs (e.g., cyclosporine A) by interacting with several cytochrome P 450 (CYP) enzymes. Taken together, pCBs can be considered as multitarget polypharmacons, each of them having unique “molecular fingerprints” created by the characteristic activation/inhibition pattern of its locally available cellular targets.

Concluding Remarks—Lessons to Learn from Cannabis

Research efforts of the past few decades have unambiguously evidenced that ECS is one of the central orchestrators of both innate and adaptive immune systems, and that pure pCBs as well as complex cannabis-derivatives can also deeply influence immune responses. Although, many open questions await to be answered, pharmacological modulation of the (endo)cannabinoid signaling, and restoration of the homeostatic eCB tone of the tissues augur to be very promising future directions in the management of several pathological inflammation-accompanied diseases. Moreover, in depth analysis of the (quite complex) mechanism-of-action of the most promising pCBs is likely to shed light to previously unknown immune regulatory mechanisms and can therefore pave new “high”-ways toward developing completely novel classes of therapeutic agents to manage a wide-variety of diseases.”

Regional changes in the type 1 cannabinoid receptor are associated with cognitive dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease.

 “The endocannabinoid system plays a regulatory role in a number of physiological functions, including motor control but also mood, emotion, and cognition.

A number of preclinical studies in Parkinson’s disease (PD) models demonstrated that modulating the type 1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1R) may improve motor symptoms and components of cognitive processing. However, the relation between CB1R, cognitive decline and behavioral symptoms has not been investigated in PD patients so far.

The aim of this study was to examine whether CB1R availability is associated with measures of cognitive and behavioral function in PD patients.


Decreased CB1R availability in the prefrontal and midcingulate cortex in PD patients is strongly correlated with disturbances in executive functioning, episodic memory, and visuospatial functioning. Further investigation of regional CB1R expression in groups of PD patients with mild cognitive impairment or dementia is warranted in order to further investigate the role of CB1R expression in different levels of cognitive impairment in PD.”