Anticancer effect of minor phytocannabinoids in preclinical models of multiple myeloma

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“Multiple myeloma (MM) is a blood cancer caused by uncontrolled growth of clonal plasmacells. Bone disease is responsible for the severe complications of MM and is caused by myeloma cells infiltrating the bone marrow and inducing osteoclast activation. To date, no treatment for MM is truly curative since patients relapse and become refractory to all drug classes.

Cannabinoids are already used as palliative in cancer patients. Furthermore, their proper anticancer effect was demonstrated in many cancer models in vitro, in vivo, and in clinical trials. Anyway, few information was reported on the effect of cannabinoids on MM and no data has been provided on minor phytocannabinoids such as cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabidivarin (CBDV). Scientific literature also reported cannabinoids beneficial effect against bone disease.

Here, we examined the cytotoxic activity of CBG, CBC, CBN, and CBDV in vitro in MM cell lines, their effect in modulating MM cells invasion toward bone cells and the bone resorption. Subsequently, according to the in vitro results, we selected CBN for in vivo study in a MM xenograft mice model.

Results showed that the phytocannabinoids inhibited MM cell growth and induced necrotic cell death. Moreover, the phytocannabinoids reduced the invasion of MM cells toward osteoblast cells and bone resorption in vitro. Lastly, CBN reduced in vivo tumor mass.

Together, our results suggest that CBG, CBC, CBN, and CBDV can be promising anticancer agents for MM.”

Cannabidiol prevents LPS-induced inflammation by inhibiting the NLRP3 inflammasome and iNOS activity in BV2 microglia cells via CB2 receptors and PPARγ

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“Neuroinflammation stands as a critical player in the pathogenesis of diverse neurological disorders, with microglial cells playing a central role in orchestrating the inflammatory landscape within the central nervous system.

Cannabidiol (CBD) has gained attention for its potential to elicit anti-inflammatory responses in microglia, offering promising perspectives for conditions associated with neuroinflammation.

Here we investigated whether the NLRP3 inflammasome and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) are involved in the protective effects of CBD, and if their modulation is dependent on cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) and PPARγ signalling pathways.

We found that treatment with CBD attenuated pro-inflammatory markers in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-challenged BV2 microglia in a CB2- and PPARγ-dependent manner. At a molecular level, CBD inhibited the LPS-induced pro-inflammatory responses by suppressing iNOS and NLRP3/Caspase-1-dependent signalling cascades, resulting in reduced nitric oxide (NO), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) concentrations.

Notably, the protective effects of CBD on NLRP3 expression, Caspase-1 activity, and IL-1β concentration were partially hindered by the antagonism of both CB2 receptors and PPARγ, while iNOS expression and NO secretion were dependent exclusively on PPARγ activation, with no CB2 involvement. Interestingly, CBD exhibited a protective effect against TNF-α increase, regardless of CB2 or PPARγ activation.

Altogether, these findings indicate that CB2 receptors and PPARγ mediate the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD on the NLRP3 inflammasome complex, iNOS activity and, ultimately, on microglial phenotype. Our results highlight the specific components responsible for the potential therapeutic applications of CBD on neuroinflammatory conditions.”

Cannabidiol ameliorates PTSD-like symptoms by inhibiting neuroinflammation through its action on CB2 receptors in the brain of male mice

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“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental health disease related to traumatic experience, and its treatment outcomes are unsatisfactory.

Accumulating research has indicated that cannabidiol (CBD) exhibits anti-PTSD effects, however, the underlying mechanism of CBD remains inadequately investigated. Although many studies pertaining to PTSD have primarily focused on aberrations in neuronal functioning, the present study aimed to elucidate the involvement and functionality of microglia/macrophages in PTSD while also investigated the modulatory effects of CBD on neuroinflammation associated with this condition.

We constructed a modified single-prolonged stress (SPS) mice PTSD model and verified the PTSD-related behaviors by various behavioral tests (contextual freezing test, elevated plus maze test, tail suspension test and novel object recognition test). We observed a significant upregulation of Iba-1 and alteration of microglial/macrophage morphology within the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, but not the amygdala, two weeks after the PTSD-related stress, suggesting a persistent neuroinflammatory phenotype in the PTSD-modeled group.

CBD (10 mg/kg, i.p.) inhibited all PTSD-related behaviors and reversed the alterations in both microglial/macrophage quantity and morphology when administered prior to behavioral assessments. We further found increased pro-inflammatory factors, decreased PSD95 expression, and impaired synaptic density in the hippocampus of the modeled group, all of which were also restored by CBD treatment. CBD dramatically increased the level of anandamide, one of the endocannabinoids, and cannabinoid type 2 receptors (CB2Rs) transcripts in the hippocampus compared with PTSD-modeled group.

Importantly, we discovered the expression of CB2Rs mRNA in Arg-1-positive cells in vivo and found that the behavioral effects of CBD were diminished by CB2Rs antagonist AM630 (1 mg/kg, i.p.) and both the behavioral and molecular effects of CBD were abolished in CB2Rs knockout mice. These findings suggest that CBD would alleviate PTSD-like behaviors in mice by suppressing PTSD-related neuroinflammation and upregulation and activation of CB2Rs may serve as one of the underlying mechanisms for this therapeutic effect.

The present study offers innovative experimental evidence supporting the utilization of CBD in PTSD treatment from the perspective of its regulation of neuroinflammation, and paves the way for leveraging the endocannabinoid system to regulate neuroinflammation as a potential therapeutic approach for psychiatric disorders.”

“Cannabidiol alleviated all PTSD-like behaviors in mice by suppressing PTSD-related neuroinflammation.”

Cannabis and cancer: unveiling the potential of a green ally in breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer

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“Cancer comes in second place on the list of causes of death worldwide. In 2018, the 5-year prevalence of breast cancer (BC), prostate cancer (PC), and colorectal cancer (CRC) were 30%, 12.3%, and 10.9%, respectively.

Cannabinoids are chemicals derived from the Cannabis sativa plant; the most investigated cannabinoids are cannabinol, delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), and cannabidiol. In humans, the endogenous endocannabinoid system consists of endocannabinoids, cannabinoids receptors (CBs), and enzymes that degrade the endocannabinoids.

In this review, we will review the most recent literature for evidence that discusses the role of cannabis in the treatment of the three types of neoplasms mentioned.

Studies have proved that BC cells express CB receptors; many in-vivo studies showed that cannabinoids cause apoptosis and inhibit proliferation and migration. Also, researchers found that treating BC mice with THC and JWH-133 (CB2 receptor agonist) slowed the tumor growth.

Regarding CRC, cannabidiol was found to decrease the viability of chemotherapy-resistant CRC cells and inhibit metastasis by antagonizing the G-protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55; a novel cannabinoid receptor) necessary for metastasis. Moreover, cannabidiol had anti-angiogenetic effects by reducing the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in addition to anti-inflammatory effects.

Finally, studies demonstrated that PC cells highly express CB1 and CB2 receptors and that cannabinoids are capable of inhibiting the release of exosomes and microvesicles related to cancer progression. Cannabinoids also have antiproliferative, anti-invasive, anti-fibroblastic, cell cycle arrest, and proapoptotic effects on PC cells.”

“There is growing evidence supporting the role of Cannabinoids in numerous pathological conditions, including their role in several cancer types such as breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer. Accordingly, cannabinoids could have a promising potential as adjunctive therapy for the treatment of these types of cancers.”

Structurally Diverse Phenylpropanamides from Cannabis Fructus and Their Potential Neuroprotective Effects

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“This study aimed to investigate the chemical components and potential health benefits of the fruits of Cannabis sativa L.

Fourteen new phenylpropanamides designated as cannabisin I-XIV (114) and 40 known analogs were isolated and characterized via nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, high-resolution electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, and electronic circular dichroism.

In vitro bioassay using H2O2-induced PC12 cell damage models demonstrated that hempseeds extract and compounds 131526303641, and 48 exhibited neuroprotective properties. 3,3′-Demethylgrossamide (30) displayed encouraging protection activity, which was further investigated to relieve the oxidative stress and apoptosis of PC12 cells treated with H2O2.

The isolation and characterization of these neuroprotective phenylpropanamides from the fruits of C. sativa provide insights into its health-promoting properties as a healthy food and herbal medicine for preventing and treating neurodegenerative diseases, especially Alzheimer’s disease.”

Use of cannabidiol in the treatment of drug-refractory epilepsy in children and young adults: A systematic review

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“Objectives: Epilepsy poses a significant challenge in pediatric and adolescent populations, impacting not only seizures but also psychological and cognitive comorbidities, leading to higher mortality rates than the general population. Drug-refractory epilepsy, resistant to conventional treatments, affects a range of 7-20% of pediatric patients. The search for alternative therapies has led to exploring the therapeutic potential of Cannabis sativa L. compounds, particularly cannabidiol (CBD). Examine the use of CBD for treating drug-refractory epilepsy in children and young adults, summarizing existing evidence on its efficacy.

Materials and methods: A systematic review, following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses guidelines, assessed studies from 2018 to 2023, focusing on CBD’s efficacy and safety for treatment-resistant epilepsy in pediatric and juvenile populations. The search spanned seven databases, and the studies underwent rigorous screening and data extraction.

Results: Out of 6351 identified articles, eight were selected for review. The included studies reported positive outcomes, with CBD leading to a reduction in seizure frequency ranging from 50% to complete seizure freedom. Adverse effects were mostly mild and reversible, including drowsiness, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

Conclusion: The CBD emerges as a promising tool for refractory epilepsy in pediatric patients, showing efficacy in reducing seizure frequency and improving overall quality of life. Despite mild and reversible adverse effects, CBD’s benefits outweigh the risks. However, more research on long-term effects is needed to fully understand its implications.”

“The use of cannabis is a tool for refractory epilepsy when first-line therapies do not have the expected efficacy. The benefits of the crisis are clear, in the reduction and even elimination or blocking of seizures, impacting positively their quality of life such as sleep, behavior, and cognitive functions. There is great efficacy against different types of epileptic seizures, such as tonic, tonic-clonic, epileptic encephalopathy, focal seizures, and generalized seizures, making its use advisable for patients, without forgetting that more information is still required regarding its long-term use. As for the adverse effects, it can be noted that, despite being almost constant, these mainly appear due to the interaction of CBD with the medications used by these patients, although it is clear that none of these adverse effects turned out to be a reason not to stop the treatment that was presented during the different studies.”

Unraveling the Endocannabinoid System: Exploring Its Therapeutic Potential in Autism Spectrum Disorder

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“The salient features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) encompass persistent difficulties in social communication, as well as the presence of restricted and repetitive facets of behavior, hobbies, or pursuits, which are often accompanied with cognitive limitations.

Over the past few decades, a sizable number of studies have been conducted to enhance our understanding of the pathophysiology of ASD. Preclinical rat models have proven to be extremely valuable in simulating and analyzing the roles of a wide range of established environmental and genetic factors.

Recent research has also demonstrated the significant involvement of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the pathogenesis of several neuropsychiatric diseases, including ASD. In fact, the ECS has the potential to regulate a multitude of metabolic and cellular pathways associated with autism, including the immune system. Moreover, the ECS has emerged as a promising target for intervention with high predictive validity.

Particularly noteworthy are resent preclinical studies in rodents, which describe the onset of ASD-like symptoms after various genetic or pharmacological interventions targeting the ECS, providing encouraging evidence for further exploration in this area.”

Extraction, purification and in vitro assessment of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of policosanols from non-psychoactive Cannabis sativa L

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“Policosanols (PCs) are bioactive compounds extracted from different natural waxes.

In this work, the purification, characterization and assessment of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity was carried out on PCs from an innovative source, i.e. a waxy material from supercritical-fluid extraction (SFE) of non-psychoactive Cannabis sativa L. (hemp) inflorescences.

Starting from this material, PCs were obtained by microwave-assisted trans-esterification and hydrolysis, followed by preparative liquid chromatography under normal phase conditions. The purified product was characterized using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with an evaporative light scattering detector (ELSD). In vitro cell-free and cell-based antioxidant and anti-inflammatory assays were then performed to assess their bioactivity. HPLC-ELSED analysis of the purified mixture from hemp wax revealed C26OH and C28OH as the main compounds. 

In vitro assays indicated an inhibition of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, a reduction of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) activation and of the activity of the neutrophil elastase. Immunoblotting assays allowed us to hypothesize the mechanism of action of the compounds of interest, given the higher levels of MAPK-activated protein kinase 2 (MK2) and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) protein expression in the PC pretreated HaCaT cells.

In conclusion, even if more research is needed to unveil other molecular mechanisms involved in hemp PC activity, the results of this work suggest that these compounds may have potential for use in oxinflammation processes.”

“A new extraction method for policosanols from hemp wax was developed. This new product may be useful against oxinflammation processes.”

“Policosanol suppresses tumor progression in a gastric cancer xenograft model”

Hemp Seeds (Cannabis sativa L.) as a Valuable Source of Natural Ingredients for Functional Foods-A Review

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“Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) has experienced a significant resurgence in popularity, and global interest in diversifying its use in various industries, including the food industry, is growing. Therefore, due to their exceptional nutritional value, hemp seeds have recently gained increasing interest as a valuable ingredient for obtaining high-quality foods and dietary supplements.

Hemp seeds stand out for their remarkable content of quality proteins, including edestin and albumin, two distinct types of proteins that contribute to exceptional nutritional value. Hemp seeds are also rich in healthy lipids with a high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as linoleic acid (omega-6), alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3), and some vitamins (vitamins E, D, and A). Polyphenols and terpenoids, in particular, present in hemp seeds, provide antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

This review examines the scientific literature regarding hemp seeds’ physicochemical and nutritional characteristics. The focus is on those characteristics that allow for their use in the food industry, aiming to transform ordinary food products into functional foods, offering additional benefits for the body’s health. Innovating opportunities to develop healthy, nutritionally superior food products are explored by integrating hemp seeds into food processes, promoting a balanced and sustainable diet.”

“Cannabis sativa L. hemp seeds represent a valuable resource for the food industry, offering versatility and nutritional quality.”

Clinical outcome analysis of patients with multiple sclerosis – Analysis from the UK Medical Cannabis Registry

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“Introduction: Whilst disease-modifying therapies are the cornerstone for treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), there is a need to develop novel therapeutics for the symptomatic sequalae of the disease. Cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) have been suggested as a potential therapy for the associated pain, spasticity, and mental health disorders. However, there is a paucity of clinical evidence on CBMPs in MS. The aim of this study is to assess changes in MS-specific and general health-related quality of life (HRQoL) outcomes alongside adverse event incidence in patients prescribed CBMPs for MS from the UK Medical Cannabis Registry (UKMCR).

Method: Patients prescribed CBMPs for MS symptoms for longer than one month were identified from the UKMCR. The primary outcomes were changes from baseline in MS Quality of Life-54 (MSQoL-54), Generalised Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7), Single-Item Sleep Quality Scale (SQS), and EQ-5D-5L scales at one month, three months and six months. p < 0.050 was defined as statistically significant.

Results: 141 patients met the inclusion criteria for the study. There was an improvement in the following subscales of the MSQoL-54 at 6 months: change in health scale, cognitive function, mental health composition, physical health, role limitations due to physical limitation and due to emotional problems, as well as social and sexual function (p < 0.050). There were also improvements in the EQ-5D-5L index value, GAD-7 and SQS (p < 0.050). 146 (103.55 %) adverse events were reported in total. Most were considered mild (n = 47; 33.33 %) and moderate (n = 72; 51.06 %).

Conclusions: This preliminary analysis demonstrates a possible association with improved general health-related quality of life in those prescribed CBMPs for MS. Moreover, the results suggest that CBMPs are well-tolerated in the first 6 months of treatment. However, this must be interpreted with caution considering the limitations of the observational study design.”

“Cannabis-based medicinal products were prescribed to those with multiple sclerosis.Significant improvements were observed in health-related quality of life. Treatment was well-tolerated over the course of 6 months.”