Cannabis sativa L. protects against oxidative injury in kidney (vero) cells by mitigating perturbed metabolic activities linked to chronic kidney diseases

“Ethnopharmacological relevance: Cannabis sativa L. is among numerous medicinal plants widely used in traditional medicine in treating various ailments including kidney diseases.

Aims: The protective effect of C. sativa on oxidative stress, cholinergic and purinergic dysfunctions, and dysregulated glucogenic activities were investigated in oxidative injured kidney (Vero) cell lines.

Methods: Fixed Vero cells were treated with sequential extracts (hexane, dichloromethane [DCM] and ethanol) of C. sativa leaves for 48 h before subjecting to MTT assay. Vero cells were further incubated with FeSO4 for 30 minutes, following pretreatment with C. sativa extracts for 25 minutes. Normal control consisted of Vero cells not treated with the extracts and/or FeSO4, while untreated (negative) control consisted of cells treated with only FeSO4.

Results: MTT assay revealed the extracts were slightly cytotoxic at the highest concentrations (250 μg/mL). There was a significant depletion in glutathione level and catalase activity on induction of oxidative stress, with significant elevation in malondialdehyde level, acetylcholinesterase, ATPase, ENTPDase, fructose-1,6-biphosphatase, glucose 6-phosphatase and glycogen phosphorylase activities. These activities and levels were significantly reversed following pretreatment with C. sativa extracts.

Conclusion: These results portray the protective potentials of C. sativa against iron-mediated oxidative renal injury as depicted by the ability of its extracts to mitigate redox imbalance and suppress acetylcholinestererase activity, while concomitantly modulating purinergic and glucogenic enzymes activities in Vero cells.”

Synthesis of the Cannabimovone and Cannabifuran Class of Minor Phytocannabinoids and Their Anti-inflammatory Activity

“Despite centuries-long use of Cannabis in human culture and the now ubiquitous claims of its medicinal value, only a small handful of phytocannabinoids have been rigorously evaluated for pharmacological properties. While more than 100 distinct minor cannabinoids have been documented to date, a paucity of studies on their biological activities have been conducted due to a lack of routine access to sufficient quantities for testing. Herein, we report a strategy to prepare several structurally diverse minor cannabinoids deriving synthetically from readily available cannabidiol. Furthermore, we examined their ability to polarize activated microglia toward an anti-inflammatory phenotype using LPS-stimulated BV2 microglial cells. The minor cannabinoids studied, especially cannabielsoin, dehydrocannabielsoin, cannabimovone, and 3′-epicannabimovone, inhibited the production of prototypical pro-inflammatory biomarkers. This study represents the beginning of a systematic mapping of the roles minor cannabinoids may play in the medicinal properties of cannabis used for the treatment of pain and inflammation. “             

An investigation of cannabis use for insomnia in depression and anxiety in a naturalistic sample

“Background: Little is known about cannabis use for insomnia in individuals with depression, anxiety, and comorbid depression and anxiety. To develop a better understanding of distinct profiles of cannabis use for insomnia management, a retrospective cohort study was conducted on a large naturalistic sample.

Methods: Data were collected using the medicinal cannabis tracking app, Strainprint®, which allows users to monitor and track cannabis use for therapeutic purposes. The current study examined users managing insomnia symptoms in depression (n = 100), anxiety (n = 463), and comorbid depression and anxiety (n = 114), for a total of 8476 recorded sessions. Inferential analyses used linear mixed effects modeling to examine self-perceived improvement across demographic variables and cannabis product variables.

Results: Overall, cannabis was perceived to be efficacious across all groups, regardless of age and gender. Dried flower and oral oil were reported as the most used and most efficacious product forms. In the depression group, all strains were perceived to be efficacious and comparisons between strains revealed indica-dominant (Mdiff = 1.81, 95% CI 1.26-2.36, Padj < .001), indica hybrid (Mdiff = 1.34, 95% CI 0.46-2.22, Padj = .045), and sativa-dominant (Mdiff = 1.83, 95% CI 0.68-2.99, Padj = .028) strains were significantly more efficacious than CBD-dominant strains. In anxiety and comorbid conditions, all strain categories were perceived to be efficacious with no significant differences between strains.

Conclusions: In terms of perceptions, individuals with depression, anxiety, and both conditions who use cannabis for insomnia report significant improvements in symptom severity after cannabis use. The current study highlights the need for placebo-controlled trials investigating symptom improvement and the safety of cannabinoids for sleep in individuals with mood and anxiety disorders.”

Medical cannabis oil for benign essential blepharospasm: a prospective, randomized controlled pilot study

“Objective: To examine the efficacy and safety of medical cannabis in benign essential blepharospasm (BEB).

Methods: This is a prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. All consecutive adult BEB patients who had been treated with BTX-A injections without success between 3/2019 and 2/2020 were recruited. The study patients were randomly allocated into a treatment and a control (placebo) group in a 1:1 ratio. The treatment group used cannabis drops and the control group used cannabis oil drops during the first 6 weeks of the study, and both groups were treated with the medical cannabis drops during the second 6 weeks. The cannabis dose was gradually increased for each patient depending upon effect and tolerability.

Results: Three patients were included in each group (treatment and control groups). The mean duration of spasm attack during the first 6 weeks was 4.29 min in the treatment group and 73.9 min in the placebo group (P < 0.01). During the last 6 weeks, the treatment group used an average of 6.27 drops and the placebo group used an average of 5.36 drops (P = 0.478). There were 61 spasm events in the treatment group and 94 spasm events in the placebo group (P = 0.05). The mean duration of spasm attack was 1.77 and 8.96 min, respectively (P < 0.01). The side effects were mild, and they included general fatigue, dry mouth, and insomnia.

Conclusions: Medical cannabis can be an effective and safe treatment for BEB as a second line after BTX-A injections when used for 3 months. No significant ocular or systemic side effects was associated with the treatment.”

The Effects of Consuming Cannabis Flower for Treatment of Fatigue

“Objectives: We measure for the first time how commercially available Cannabis flower products affect feelings of fatigue. Results: On average, 91.94% of people experienced decreased fatigue following consumption with an average symptom intensity reduction of 3.48 points on a 0–10 visual analog scale (SD = 2.70, d = 1.60, p < 0.001). While labeled plant phenotypes (“C. indica,” “C. sativa,” or “hybrid”) did not differ in symptom relief, people that used joints to combust the flower reported greater symptom relief than pipe or vaporizer users. Across cannabinoid levels, tetrahydrocannabinol, and cannabidiol levels were generally not associated with changes in symptom intensity levels. Cannabis use was associated with several negative side effects that correspond to increased feelings of fatigue (e.g., feeling unmotivated, couch-locked) among a minority of users (<24% of users), with slightly more users (up to 37%) experiencing a positive side effect that corresponds to increased energy (e.g., feeling active, energetic, frisky, or productive). Conclusions: The findings suggest that the majority of patients experience decreased fatigue from consumption of Cannabis flower consumed in vivo, although the magnitude of the effect and extent of side effects experienced likely vary with individuals’ metabolic states and the synergistic chemotypic properties of the plant.”

Vasoprotective Endothelial Effects of Chronic Cannabidiol Treatment and Its Influence on the Endocannabinoid System in Rats with Primary and Secondary Hypertension

“Our study aimed to examine the endothelium (vascular)-protecting effects of chronic cannabidiol (CBD) administration (10 mg/kg once daily for 2 weeks) in aortas and small mesenteric (G3) arteries isolated from deoxycorticosterone-induced hypertensive (DOCA-salt) rats and spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). CBD reduced hypertrophy and improved the endothelium-dependent vasodilation in response to acetylcholine in the aortas and G3 of DOCA-salt rats and SHR. The enhancement of vasorelaxation was prevented by the inhibition of nitric oxide (NO) with L-NAME and/or the inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX) with indomethacin in the aortas and G3 of DOCA-salt and SHR, respectively. The mechanism of the CBD-mediated improvement of endothelial function in hypertensive vessels depends on the vessel diameter and may be associated with its NO-, the intermediate-conductance calcium-activated potassium channel- or NO-, COX-, the intermediate and the small-conductance calcium-activated potassium channels-dependent effect in aortas and G3, respectively. CBD increased the vascular expression of the cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors and aortic levels of endocannabinoids with vasorelaxant properties e.g., anandamide, 2-arachidonoylglycerol and palmitoyl ethanolamide in aortas of DOCA-salt and/or SHR. In conclusion, CBD treatment has vasoprotective effects in hypertensive rats, in a vessel-size- and hypertension-model-independent manner, at least partly via inducing local vascular changes in the endocannabinoid system.”

Cannabidiol-mediated RISK PI3K/AKT and MAPK/ERK pathways decreasing reperfusion myocardial damage

“Myocardial ischemia continues to be the first cause of morbimortality in the world; the definitive treatment is reperfusion; however, this action causes additional damage to ischemic myocardial tissue; this forces to seek therapies of cardioprotection to reduce this additional damage. There are many cardioprotective agents; within these, cannabinoids have shown to have beneficial effects, mainly cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is a non psychoactive cannabinoid. To evaluate the effect in experimental models of CBD in myocardial ischemia reperfusion in rats, twelve-week-old male rats have been used. The animals were divides in 3 groups: control(C), ischemia reperfusion (IR) and CBD pretreatment (1/day/5mg/kg /10days). Langendorff organ isolate studies were performed, and the area of infarction was assessed with triphenyl tetrazolium, in addition to molecular analysis of AT1 and AT2 receptors and Akt and Erk proteins and their phosphorylated forms related to RISK pathways. It was observed that there is an improvement with the use of CBD increasing inotropism and cardiac lusitropism, improving considerably the cardiovascular functionality. These could be related to the reduction of the area of infarction and activation of the AT2 receptor and the RISK pathway with absence of activation of the AT2 receptor (these could relate the reduction of the infarct area and the restoration of cardiovascular function with the activation of the AT2 receptor and the RISK pathway with the absence of activation of the AT2 receptor). The use of cannabinoids was shown to have beneficial effects when used as a treatment for myocardial reperfusion damage.”

Δ 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ 9-THC) Improves Ischemia/Reperfusion Heart Dysfunction and Might Serve as a Cardioprotective Agent in the Future Treatment

“Background: Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) is a pivotal mechanism of organ injury during clinical stetting for example for cardiopulmonary bypasses. The generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) during I/R induces oxidative stress that promotes endothelial dysfunction, DNA dissociation and local inflammation. In turn, those processes induce cytokine release, resulting in damage to cellular structures and cell death. One of the major psychoactive compounds of Cannabis is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), which is known as an anti-inflammatory mediator. Our research aimed to test if Δ9-THC may be protective in the treatment of cardiovascular system dysfunction arising from I/R heart injury.

Methods: Two experimental models were used: isolated rat hearts perfused with the Langendorff method and human cardiac myocytes (HCM) culture. Rat hearts and HCM underwent ex vivo/chemical in vitro I/R protocol with/without Δ9-THC treatment. The following parameters were measured: cell metabolic activity, morphology changes, cell damage as lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity, ceramide kinase (CERK) activity, ROS level, total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and heart hemodynamic parameters.

Results: Δ9-THC protected the heart, as evidenced by the improved recovery of cardiac function (p < 0.05, N = 3-6). Cells subjected to I/R showed lower cytoplasmic LDH activity, and 10 μM Δ9-THC treatment reduced cell injury and increased LDH content (p = 0.019, N = 6-9). Morphology changes of HCM-spherical shape, vacuolisation of cytoplasm and swollen mitochondria-were inhibited due to Δ9-THC treatment. I/R condition affected cell viability, but 10 μM Δ9-THC decreased the number of dead cells (p = 0.005, N = 6-9). The total level of CERK was lower in the I/R group, reflecting oxidative/nitrosative stress changes. The administration of Δ9-THC effectively increased the production of CERK to the level of aerobic control (p = 0.028, N = 6-9). ROS level was significantly decreased in I/R cells (p = 0.007, N = 6-8), confirming oxidative stress, while administration of 10 μM Δ9-THC enhanced TAC in cardiomyocytes subjected to I/R (p = 0.010, N = 6-8).

Conclusions: Δ9-THC promotes the viability of cardiomyocytes, improves their metabolic activity, decreases cell damage and restores heart mechanical function, serving as a cardioprotective. We proposed the use of Δ9-THC as a cardioprotective drug to be, administered before onset of I/R protocol.”

Marijuana and Myocardial Infarction in the UK Biobank Cohort

“Background: Atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, acute coronary syndromes, and cardiac arrest have been attributed to marijuana. But the National Academy of Science’s 2017 Report, The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids, found limited evidence that acute marijuana smoking is positively associated with an increased risk of acute myocardial infarction, and uncovered no evidence to support or refute associations between any chronic effects of marijuana use and increased risk of myocardial infarct (MI).

Aims: We sought to determine the association of marijuana smoking with MI in the UK Biobank cohort. Because red wine is a mood-altering substance, we compared the effect of marijuana with red wine on MI incidence.

Methods: Our analysis included all subjects with MI. The diagnosis was ascertained using the 10th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD10 I21). Marijuana was recorded in UKB Category 143, medical conditions, marijuana use. Cigarette smoking information was from UKB Category 100058, smoking. To compare marijuana smoking with the effect of wine drinking we used data from UKB Category 10051, alcohol.

Results: With marijuana use, MI incidence decreased (p < 0.001, two tail Fisher exact test). Red wine was associated with lower MI incidence, although the incidence begins to rise at 11 or more glasses per week (p < 0.001, two tail Fisher exact test). Multivariate analysis was done with logistic regression, MI dependent variable, cigarette pack-years, diabetes type 2, sex, BMI, hypertension, marijuana use, age, red wine consumption, independent variables. Odds ratio (O.R.) 0.844 associated with marijuana use indicates that MI was less likely in marijuana users and was comparable to the effect of red wine (O.R. 0.847).

Conclusion: Marijuana, which has not been shown to have the favorable physiologic effects of red wine on the heart, does reduce MI risk to an extent comparable to red wine. Perhaps both affect the heart by reducing stress.”

Long-term observational studies with cannabis-based medicines for chronic non-cancer pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis of effectiveness and safety

“Background and objective: This systematic review evaluated the effectiveness, tolerability and safety of cannabis-based medicines (CbMs) for chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP) in long-term observational studies.

Databases and data treatment: CENTRAL, EMBASE and MEDLINE were searched to December 2021. We included prospective observational studies with a study duration ≥ 26 weeks. Pooled estimates of event rates of categorical data and standardized mean differences (SMD) of continuous variables were calculated using a random effects model.

Results: Six studies were included with 2686 participants, with study duration ranging between 26 and 52 weeks. Pain conditions included were nociceptive, nociplastic, neuropathic and mixed pain. The certainty of evidence for every outcome was very low. The weighted mean difference of mean pain reduction was 1.75 (95% Confidence interval [CI] 0.72 to 2.78) on a 0-10 scale. 20.8 % (95% CI 10.2 % to 34.0 %) of patients reported pain relief of 50% or greater. The effect size for sleep problems was moderate and for depression and anxiety was low. Study completions was reported for 53.3% (95% CI 26.8% to 79.9%) of patients, with dropouts of 6.8 % (95% CI 4.3% to 9.7%) due to adverse events. Serious adverse events occurred in 3.0% (95 CI 0.02 % to 12.8%) and 0.3 % (95% CI 0.1% to 0.6%) of patients died.

Conclusions: Information included in observational studies should be regarded with caution.Within the context of observational studies, CbMs had positive effects on multiple symptoms for some CNCP patients and were generally well tolerated and safe.”