Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) Protects Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells (ASC) against Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Development and Reduces Inflammation during Adipogenesis


“The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) fulfills essential duties in cell physiology, and impairment of this organelle’s functions is associated with a wide number of metabolic diseases. When ER stress is generated in the adipose tissue, it is observed that the metabolism and energy homeostasis of the adipocytes are altered, leading to obesity-associated metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes (T2D).

In the present work, we aimed to evaluate the protective effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV, a cannabinoid compound isolated from Cannabis sativa L.) against ER stress in adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells.

Our results show that pre-treatment with THCV prevents the subcellular alteration of cell components such as nuclei, F-actin, or mitochondria distribution, and restores cell migration, cell proliferation and colony-forming capacity upon ER stress. In addition, THCV partially reverts the effects that ER stress induces regarding the activation of apoptosis and the altered anti- and pro-inflammatory cytokine profile.

This indicates the protective characteristics of this cannabinoid compound in the adipose tissue. Most importantly, our data demonstrate that THCV decreases the expression of genes involved in the unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway, which were upregulated upon induction of ER stress.

Altogether, our study shows that the cannabinoid THCV is a promising compound that counters the harmful effects triggered by ER stress in the adipose tissue. This work paves the way for the development of new therapeutic means based on THCV and its regenerative properties to create a favorable environment for the development of healthy mature adipocyte tissue and to reduce the incidence and clinical outcome of metabolic diseases such as diabetes.”


“Considering that nowadays there is still a need for metabolic disorder (including obesity) prevention and the enhancement of regenerative outcomes of autologous stem cells, the potential use of the natural plant compound THCV, which is non-psychotropic, could be an effective and economical way to cope with those obstacles.”


Components of the Endocannabinoid System and Effects of Cannabinoids Against Bone Diseases: A Mini-Review

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“Background: The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is involved in multiple physiological processes, including appetite regulation, pain perception, motor function development, and immune response regulation. Cannabinoids have been approved for the clinical treatment of nausea and vomiting caused by cytostatic therapy or cancer chemotherapy, loss of appetite in HIV/AIDS-associated cachexia, refractory spasms induced by multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and urinary incontinence. 

Methods: Check out the research on ECS and bone diseases in the past 20 years. 

Results: Many studies have demonstrated that endocannabinoids (eCBs) and cannabinoid receptors (CBRs) are expressed in bone and synovial tissues, playing important roles in bone metabolism. Preclinical studies using cannabis-based therapies in animal models have shown that cannabinoids (CBs) can alleviate the development of osteoarthritis (OA), prevent osteoporosis (OP), reduce cancer-induced osteolytic destruction, and improve fracture healing, highlighting the therapeutic potential of CBs for human bone diseases. 

Conclusions: The present review summarizes various components of the ECS in bone diseases and their potential as a therapeutic target.”



Non-psychoactive Cannabidiol Prevents Osteoporosis in an Animal Model and Increases Cell Viability, Proliferation, and Osteogenic Gene Expression in Human Skeletal Stem and Progenitor Cells


“Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive component of the Cannabis sativa plant, is marketed as a potential therapeutic agent and has been studied for its roles in reducing inflammation and managing neuropathic pain. Some studies have reported that CB1 and CB2 receptor activation can attenuate and reverse bone loss in experimental animal models. Despite this, little is known about the impact of CBD on fracture healing.

We investigated the effects of CBD in vitro using human osteoprogenitor cells and in vivo via murine femur fracture and osteoporosis models. In vitro mesenchymal stem cells were treated with increasing concentrations of crystalized pharmaceutical grade CBD or vehicle solution.

Cell viability and proliferation were significantly increased in cells treated with CBD compared to vehicle control. Osteocalcin expression was also significantly higher in the CBD-treated human stem cells compared to vehicle control. In vivo the effect of CBD on bone mineral density and fracture healing in mice was examined using a two-phase experimental approach.

Fluoxetine was used for pharmacologic induction of osteoporosis and surgical oophorectomy (OVX) was used for hormonal induction of osteoporosis. X-ray and microCT analysis showed that CBD prevented both fluoxetine- and OVX-induced osteoporosis. We found that while OVX resulted in delayed bone healing in control mice, CBD-pretreated mice exhibited normal bone healing.

Collectively these in vitro and in vivo findings suggest that CBD exerts cell-specific effects which can be exploited to enhance bone metabolism. These findings also indicate that CBD usage in an osteoporotic population may positively impact bone morphology, warranting further research.”



Chronic Effects of Oral Cannabidiol Delivery on 24-h Ambulatory Blood Pressure in Patients with Hypertension (HYPER-H21-4): A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, and Crossover Study

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“Background: Recent data indicate that cannabidiol (CBD), a nonintoxicating constituent of cannabis, is involved in several aspects of cardiovascular regulation, including blood pressure (BP). However, the impact of chronic CBD administration on 24-h BP and vascular health has not been previously examined in patients with hypertension. The primary aim of this randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled, and crossover study was to examine the influence of chronic CBD on 24-h ambulatory BP and arterial stiffness in hypertensive patients. 

Methods: Seventy patients with mild or moderate primary hypertension, who were untreated or receiving standard of care therapy, were randomly assigned to receive either 5 weeks of oral CBD or placebo-matched controls. Following a >2-week washout period, patients were crossed over to alternate therapy. The primary outcome of the study was dynamic in 24-h ambulatory BP and was assessed using two-way repeated measure analysis of variance. 

Results: Administration of CBD reduced average 24 h mean, systolic, and diastolic BP after 2.5 weeks (-3.22±0.90 mmHg [95% confidence interval -1.01 to -5.44 mmHg], -4.76±1.24 mmHg [-1.72 to -7.80 mmHg], and -2.25±0.80 mmHg [-0.30 to -6.01 mmHg], respectively (all p<0.05); however, these values largely remained stable following the uptitration of CBD dosing. There were no changes in liver enzymes or serious adverse events (AEs). There was no significant difference in pulse wave velocity (group×factor interaction: F=1.50, p=0.226) at different time points, regardless of the intervention arm. 

Conclusions: In conclusion, chronic administration of CBD reduces ambulatory BP in those with untreated and treated hypertension. In addition, lack of serious AEs implies safety and tolerability of the above-noted CBD formulation.”



Cannabinoid modulation of corticolimbic activation during extinction learning and fear renewal in adults with posttraumatic stress disorder

Neurobiology of Learning and Memory

“Failure to successfully extinguish fear is a hallmark of trauma-related disorders, like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is also characterized by dysfunctional corticolimbic activation and connectivity.

The endocannabinoid system is a putative system to target for rescuing these behavioral and neural deficits. In healthy adults, acute, low-dose delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) facilitates fear extinction and increases cortico-limbic activation and connectivity in response to threat.

The present study determines the effect of acute, low-dose THC on fear-related brain activation and connectivity during fear extinction in trauma-exposed adults with (PTSD = 19) and without PTSD [trauma-exposed controls (TEC) = 26] and non-trauma-exposed [healthy controls (HC) = 26]. We used a Pavlovian fear conditioning and extinction paradigm, where we measured concurrent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and behavioral responses (i.e., skin conductance responding and expectancy ratings). Using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design, N = 71 subjects were randomized to receive placebo (PBO, n = 37) or THC (n = 34) prior to fear extinction learning.

During early extinction learning, individuals with PTSD given THC had greater vmPFC activation than their TEC counterparts. During a test of the return of fear (i.e., renewal), HC and individuals with PTSD given THC had greater vmPFC activation compared to TEC. Individuals with PTSD given THC also had greater amygdala activation compared to those given PBO. We found no effects of trauma group or THC on behavioral fear indices during extinction learning, recall, and fear renewal.

These data suggest that low dose, oral THC can affect neural indices of fear learning and memory in adults with trauma-exposure; this may be beneficial for future therapeutic interventions seeking to improve fear extinction learning and memory.”




Biochemical Pharmacology

“The cannabis plant exerts its pharmaceutical activity primarily by the binding of cannabinoids to two G protein-coupled cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. The role that cannabis terpenes play in this activation has been considered and debated repeatedly, based on only limited experimental results. In the current study we used a controlled in-vitro heterologous expression system to quantify the activation of CB1 receptors by sixteen cannabis terpenes individually, by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) alone and by THC-terpenes mixtures. The results demonstrate that all terpenes, when tested individually, activate CB1 receptors, at about 10-50% of the activation by THC alone. The combination of some of these terpenes with THC significantly increases the activity of the CB1 receptor, compared to THC alone. In some cases, several fold. Importantly, this amplification is evident at terpene to THC ratios similar to those in the cannabis plant, which reflect very low terpene concentrations. For some terpenes, the activation obtained by THC- terpene mixtures is notably greater than the sum of the activations by the individual components, suggesting a synergistic effect. Our results strongly support a modulatory effect of some of the terpenes on the interaction between THC and the CB1 receptor. As the most effective terpenes are not necessarily the most abundant ones in the cannabis plant, reaching “whole plant” or “full spectrum” composition is not necessarily an advantage. For enhanced therapeutic effects, desired compositions are attainable by enriching extracts with selected terpenes. These compositions adjust the treatment for various desired medicinal and personal needs.”



Activation of CB1R alleviates central sensitization by regulating HCN2-pNR2B signaling in a chronic migraine rat model

The Journal of Headache and Pain

“Background: Central sensitization has been widely accepted as an underlying pathophysiological mechanism of chronic migraine (CM), activation of cannabinoid type-1 receptor (CB1R) exerts antinociceptive effects by relieving central sensitization in many pain models. However, the role of CB1R in the central sensitization of CM is still unclear.

Methods: A CM model was established by infusing inflammatory soup (IS) into the dura of male Wistar rats for 7 days, and hyperalgesia was assessed by the mechanical and thermal thresholds. In the periaqueductal gray (PAG), the mRNA and protein levels of CB1R and hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated cation channel 2 (HCN2) were measured by qRT-PCR and western blotting. After intraventricular injection of Noladin ether (NE) (a CB1R agonist), ZD 7288 (an HCN2 blocker), and AM 251 (a CB1R antagonist), the expression of tyrosine phosphorylation of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subtype 2B (pNR2B), calcium-calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII), and phosphorylated cAMP-responsive element binding protein (pCREB) was detected, and central sensitization was evaluated by the expression of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), c-Fos, and substance P (SP). Synaptic-associated protein (postsynaptic density protein 95 (PSD95) and synaptophysin (Syp)) and synaptic ultrastructure were detected to explore synaptic plasticity in central sensitization.

Results: We observed that the mRNA and protein levels of CB1R and HCN2 were both significantly increased in the PAG of CM rats. The application of NE or ZD 7288 ameliorated IS-induced hyperalgesia; repressed the pNR2B/CaMKII/pCREB pathway; reduced CGRP, c-Fos, SP, PSD95, and Syp expression; and inhibited synaptic transmission. Strikingly, the application of ZD 7288 relieved AM 251-evoked elevation of pNR2B, CGRP, and c-Fos expression.

Conclusions: These data reveal that activation of CB1R alleviates central sensitization by regulating HCN2-pNR2B signaling in CM rats. The activation of CB1R might have a positive influence on the prevention of CM by mitigating central sensitization.”



Antitumoral effects of cannabis in Notch1-mutated T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia

“In T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), an aggressive hematologic cancer with poor clinical outcomes, more than 50% of cases show NOTCH1-driven transformation [1]. The NOTCH1 receptor signaling pathway is activated through a series of proteolytic cleavages, ultimately causing the release of the active intracellular domain (NICD), which translocates to the nucleus where it promotes transcription of target genes involved in cell growth. The importance of NOTCH1 mutations in T-ALL has generated great interest in the development of anti-NOTCH1 targeted therapies.

A new and promising emerging field in cancer treatment is medical cannabis. Accumulating evidence suggests the direct effects of cannabis on tumor progression in cell lines and animal models [2]. Cannabis, and its unique secondary metabolites, known as phytocannabinoids, directly affect the propagation of cancer cells by modulating key cellsignaling pathways.

We have previously demonstrated that different cannabis extracts, each containing a unique composition of metabolites, selectively impaired the survival of cancer cell lines depending on a match between the chemical composition of the extract and the characteristics of the specific cancer cell line.

In the present work, we set out to investigate whether cannabis extracts with unique phytocannabinoid profiles can selectively facilitate antitumor effects in T-ALL cells that harbor a Notch1 mutation.

In summary, targeting NOTCH1 signaling has generated much interest for its therapeutic potential. However, so far, efforts to develop such treatments have been unsuccessful.

The cannabis plant contains over 140 phytocannabinoids, many of which are presumed to have pharmacological properties, and accumulating evidence suggests anticancer capabilities.

Here, we identified a specific CBD-rich extract that selectively induced apoptosis in NOTCH1-mutated T-ALL cells. Although CBD by itself was able to induce cell death, the whole extract was more effective, suggesting that other metabolites from the plant are required to achieve full potency.

We have previously demonstrated this phenomenon in a mouse model of epilepsy, where CBD-rich extracts with equal amounts of CBD but varying concentrations of other minor compounds led to diverse anticonvulsant effects. A possible mechanism previously suggested to explain the difference between the effects of purified phytocannabinoids versus full-spectrum extracts is the “entourage effect”, where one compound may enhance the activity and efficacy of another on the same target. While this synergy is well-established for endogenous cannabinoids of the endocannabinoid system, only very few studies demonstrated this phenomenon for phytocannabinoids.

Cannabis is already being prescribed to cancer patients for its palliative qualities; however, the huge variety between different chemovars in their composition is disregarded. Matching an effective extract to certain cancer subtypes will ultimately lead to personalized cancer treatments and medications that not only treat symptoms but also treat the disease.

As dysregulation of NOTCH1 signaling has been found in various cancers other than T-ALL and in non-cancerous diseases, our findings suggest a novel therapeutic strategy for the effective treatment of a variety of malignancies.”



Endocannabinoid System: Chemical Characteristics and Biological Activity


“The endocannabinoid system (eCB) has been studied to identify the molecular structures present in Cannabis sativa. eCB consists of cannabinoid receptors, endogenous ligands, and the associated enzymatic apparatus responsible for maintaining energy homeostasis and cognitive processes.

Several physiological effects of cannabinoids are exerted through interactions with various receptors, such as CB1 and CB2 receptors, vanilloid receptors, and the recently discovered G-protein-coupled receptors (GPR55, GPR3, GPR6, GPR12, and GPR19). Anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidoylglycerol (2-AG), two small lipids derived from arachidonic acid, showed high-affinity binding to both CB1 and CB2 receptors.

eCB plays a critical role in chronic pain and mood disorders and has been extensively studied because of its wide therapeutic potential and because it is a promising target for the development of new drugs. Phytocannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids have shown varied affinities for eCB and are relevant to the treatment of several neurological diseases.

This review provides a description of eCB components and discusses how phytocannabinoids and other exogenous compounds may regulate the eCB balance. Furthermore, we show the hypo- or hyperfunctionality of eCB in the body and how eCB is related to chronic pain and mood disorders, even with integrative and complementary health practices (ICHP) harmonizing the eCB.”


“The roles of cannabinoid receptors and their agonists in multiple conditions have been addressed in this review. Since research with derivatives of Cannabis has started and the biological functions of isolated compounds in experimental and human diseases have shown promising outcomes, it is evident that selective ligands of specific Cannabis receptors could induce beneficial outcomes, depending on the clinical condition. More research on the biological function of each Cannabis derivative should be encouraged.”


Medicinal cannabis for Australian patients with chronic refractory pain including arthritis

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“Objectives: To examine the tolerability and effectiveness of medicinal cannabis prescribed to patients for chronic, refractory pain, with a subset analysis on arthritis.

Methods: This was an interim analysis of the CA Clinics Observational Study investigating self-reported adverse events (AEs) and changes in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) outcomes over time after commencing medicinal cannabis. Patients were prescribed medicinal cannabis by a medical practitioner, containing various ratios of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and/or cannabidiol (CBD).

Results: The overall chronic pain cohort, and specifically the balanced CBD:THC products, were associated with significantly reduced pain intensity scores (p = 0.003, p = 0.025), with 22% of patients reporting a clinically meaningful reduction in pain intensity. Patients in the arthritis subset (n = 199) reported significantly reduced pain intensity scores (p = 0.005) overall, and specifically for those taking CBD-only (p = 0.018) and balanced products (p = 0.005). Other HRQoL outcomes, including pain interference and pain impact scores were significantly improved depending on the CBD:THC ratio. Products that contained a balanced ratio of CBD:THC were associated with improvements in the most number of PROMIS-29 domains. Approximately half (n = 364; 51%) of the chronic pain cohort experienced at least one AE, the most common being dry mouth (24%), somnolence (19%) or fatigue (12%). These findings were similar in the arthritis subset.

Discussion: Medicinal cannabis was observed to improve pain intensity scores and HRQoL outcomes in patients with chronic, refractory pain, providing real-world insights into medicinal cannabis’ therapeutic potential.”