The effects of a brand-specific, hemp-derived cannabidiol product on physiological, biochemical, and psychometric outcomes in healthy adults: a double-blind, randomized clinical trial

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“Background: Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive phyto-cannabinoid derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. CBD exhibits various interactions at receptor sites, prompting the research of its potential anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, psychological, and pain-relieving effects. This study aimed to investigate the physiological, biochemical, and psychometric effects of a brand-specific, hemp-derived CBD product in healthy adults over a 12-week observation period.

Methods: 54 healthy males and females (age = 25 ± 7y; BMI = 24.82 ± 3.25 kg/m2) recruited from a large Southeastern University completed the study. Participants arrived at the laboratory after > 8 h of fasting, and > 48 h without alcohol consumption and vigorous exercise. Following baseline measurements (height, weight, blood pressure, electrocardiogram (ECG), and blood work), participants were stratified by sex and randomized to either CBD or placebo groups. Products were administered double-blinded, with both given in liquid form containing medium-chain triglyceride oil, while the CBD product specifically contained 50 mg/mL of CBD. Participants were instructed to consume 1 mL of their product twice daily and were given enough product to last until their next laboratory visit. Data were collected at baseline and on days 30 ± 3, 60 ± 3, and 90 ± 3. Blood was drawn for analysis of immune and inflammatory biomarkers. Chronic pain among participants was calculated using urine samples according to the foundational pain index (FPI). Self-reported psychometric questionnaires were utilized (Cohen’s Perceived Stress Scale, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Profile of Mood States,10-item Likert scale for perceived pain) to assess stress, sleep quality, mood state, and body discomfort. To determine overall wellbeing, participants completed a daily survey indicating if they missed work or school due to illness. Change from baseline was calculated for each measure, and mixed effects models were used to determine differences between groups over time while adjusting for baseline values (α = 0.05). Data are presented as mean ± standard deviation.

Results: There were no Group-by-Time interactions or Group or Time main effects for immune or inflammatory biomarkers (p > 0.05). Analyses revealed no Group-by-Time interactions or main effects observed for perceived stress, sleep quality, overall mood disturbance, and all the profile of mood state subscales (p > 0.05), except “vigor-activity.” A Time main effect was found for the sub-score for “vigor-activity” (p = 0.007; Pre CBD = 19.5 ± 5.2, Post CBD = 17.3 ± 5.3; Pre PL = 19.0 ± 5.7, Post PL = 17.9 ± 7.1), which decreased from Visit 3 to Visit 4 (p = 0.025) and from Visit 3 to Visit 5 (p = 0.014). There was a Group main effect for FPI (p = 0.028; Pre CBD = 11.9 ± 14.4, Post CBD = 8.8 ± 10.9; Pre PL = 9.0 ± 14.2, Post PL = 12.9 ± 11.5), indicating that the placebo group had greater increases in pain over the intervention compared to the CBD group. No significant differences were found between groups in the incidence and prevalence of “colds or flus” (p > 0.05).

Discussion: CBD was safe and well tolerated in healthy adults. These findings show pain was lower in the CBD group, suggesting a potentially positive effect for consumption of CBD. “Vigor-activity” decreased across the intervention, which may be a confounding effect of the academic semester. While the dosage chosen was safe, more research may be warranted using higher doses as these may be needed to observe further therapeutic effects in healthy populations.”

Advancement of Research Progress on Synthesis Mechanism of Cannabidiol (CBD)

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“Cannabis sativa L. is a multipurpose crop with high value for food, textiles, and other industries. Its secondary metabolites, including cannabidiol (CBD), have potential for broad application in medicine. With the CBD market expanding, traditional production may not be sufficient. Here we review the potential for the production of CBD using biotechnology. We describe the chemical and biological synthesis of cannabinoids, the associated enzymes, and the application of metabolic engineering, synthetic biology, and heterologous expression to increasing production of CBD.”

Cannabidiol protects mouse hippocampal neurons from neurotoxicity induced by amyloid β-peptide25-35

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“Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most prevalent form of dementia worldwide, is a significant health concern, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The neuropathological diagnostic criteria for AD are based on the deposition of amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) and the formation of intracellular tau protein tangles. These proteins are associated with several overlapping neurodegenerative mechanisms, including oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, lipid peroxidation, reduced neuronal viability, and cell death.

In this context, our study focuses on the potential therapeutic use of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychotropic cannabinoid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. We aim to evaluate CBD’s neuroprotective role, particularly in protecting hippocampal neurons from Aβ25-35-induced toxicity.

Our findings indicate that CBD significantly improves cell viability and decreases levels of lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress. The results demonstrate that CBD possesses a robust potential to rescue cells from induced neurotoxicity through its antioxidant properties. Additionally, the neuroprotective effect of CBD may be associated with the modulation of the endocannabinoid system.

These findings suggest that CBD could be a promising compound for adjuvant treatments in neurodegenerative processes triggered by amyloid-β peptide.”

The Use of Compounds Derived from Cannabis sativa in the Treatment of Epilepsy, Painful Conditions, and Neuropsychiatric and Neurodegenerative Disorders

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“Neurological disorders present a wide range of symptoms and challenges in diagnosis and treatment. Cannabis sativa, with its diverse chemical composition, offers potential therapeutic benefits due to its anticonvulsive, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties.

Beyond cannabinoids, cannabis contains terpenes and polyphenols, which synergistically enhance its pharmacological effects. Various administration routes, including vaporization, oral ingestion, sublingual, and rectal, provide flexibility in treatment delivery.

This review shows the therapeutic efficacy of cannabis in managing neurological disorders such as epilepsy, neurodegenerative diseases, neurodevelopmental disorders, psychiatric disorders, and painful pathologies.

Drawing from surveys, patient studies, and clinical trials, it highlights the potential of cannabis in alleviating symptoms, slowing disease progression, and improving overall quality of life for patients. Understanding the diverse therapeutic mechanisms of cannabis can open up possibilities for using this plant for individual patient needs.”

Anti-Cancer and Anti-Proliferative Potential of Cannabidiol: A Cellular and Molecular Perspective

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“Cannabinoids, the bioactive compounds found in Cannabis sativa, have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, with early discoveries dating back to the BC era (BCE). However, the increased recreational use of cannabis has led to a negative perception of its medicinal and food applications, resulting in legal restrictions in many regions worldwide.

Recently, cannabinoids, notably Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), have gained renewed interest in the medical field due to their anti-cancer properties. These properties include the inhibition of tumour growth and cell invasion, anti-inflammatory effects, and the induction of autophagy and apoptosis.

As a result, the use of cannabinoids to treat chemotherapy-associated side effects, like nausea, vomiting, and pain, has increased, and there have been suggestions to implement the large-scale use of cannabinoids in cancer therapy. However, these compounds’ cellular and molecular mechanisms of action still need to be fully understood.

This review explores the recent evidence of CBD’s efficacy as an anti-cancer agent, which is of interest due to its non-psychoactive properties. The current review will also provide an understanding of CBD’s common cellular and molecular mechanisms in different cancers. Studies have shown that CBD’s anti-cancer activity can be receptor-dependent (CB1, CB2, TRPV, and PPARs) or receptor-independent and can be induced through molecular mechanisms, such as ceramide biosynthesis, the induction of ER stress, and subsequent autophagy and apoptosis.

It is projected that these molecular mechanisms will form the basis for the therapeutic applications of CBD. Therefore, it is essential to understand these mechanisms for developing and optimizing pre-clinical CBD-based therapies.”

“Overall, the studies presented herein have given insights into the potential of CBD as an anti-cancer agent and a possible sustainable alternative to current treatments.”

Modulation of Redox and Inflammatory Signaling in Human Skin Cells Using Phytocannabinoids Applied after UVA Irradiation: In Vitro Studies

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“UVA exposure disturbs the metabolism of skin cells, often inducing oxidative stress and inflammation. Therefore, there is a need for bioactive compounds that limit such consequences without causing undesirable side effects.

The aim of this study was to analyse in vitro the effects of the phytocannabinoids cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabidiol (CBD), which differ in terms of biological effects. Furthermore, the combined use of both compounds (CBG+CBD) has been analysed in order to increase their effectiveness in human skin fibroblasts and keratinocytes protection against UVA-induced alternation.

The results obtained indicate that the effects of CBG and CBD on the redox balance might indeed be enhanced when both phytocannabinoids are applied concurrently. Those effects include a reduction in NOX activity, ROS levels, and a modification of thioredoxin-dependent antioxidant systems. The reduction in the UVA-induced lipid peroxidation and protein modification has been confirmed through lower levels of 4-HNE-protein adducts and protein carbonyl groups as well as through the recovery of collagen expression. Modification of antioxidant signalling (Nrf2/HO-1) through the administration of CBG+CBD has been proven to be associated with reduced proinflammatory signalling (NFκB/TNFα).

Differential metabolic responses of keratinocytes and fibroblasts to the effects of the UVA and phytocannabinoids have indicated possible beneficial protective and regenerative effects of the phytocannabinoids, suggesting their possible application for the purpose of limiting the harmful impact of the UVA on skin cells.”

“The results presented in this manuscript indicate that the concurrent use of the two phytocannabinoids (CBG and CBD), acting as both a protective and regenerative system, may have a beneficial effect on the redox balance in human keratinocytes and skin fibroblasts, even if they were applied after UVA irradiation. The tested phytocannabinoids also counteract proinflammatory reactions, which, consequently, contribute to the development of various pathological conditions. The obtained results suggest the combined use of CBG and CBD as a potential preventive and regenerative method for skin cells, especially those damaged by UV radiation, which may be used for the purpose of both prevention and therapy.”

Minor Cannabinoids as Inhibitors of Skin Inflammation: Chemical Synthesis and Biological Evaluation

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“Despite millennia of therapeutic plant use, deliberate exploitation of Cannabis‘s diverse biomedical potential has only recently gained attention. Bioactivity studies focus mainly on cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with limited information about the broader cannabinome’s “minor phytocannabinoids”. In this context, our research targeted the synthesis of minor cannabinoids containing a lateral chain with 3 or 4 carbon atoms, focusing on cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabichromene (CBC) analogues. Using known and innovative strategies, we achieved the synthesis of 11 C3 and C4 analogues, five of which were inhibitors of skin inflammation, with the CBG-C4 ester derivative emerging as the most potent compound.”

Cannabigerol and Cannabicyclol Block SARS-CoV-2 Cell Fusion

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“The search for new active substances against SARS-CoV-2 is still a central challenge after the COVID-19 pandemic. Antiviral agents to complement vaccination are an important pillar in the clinical situation.

Selected cannabinoids such as cannabigerol, cannabicyclol, cannabichromene, and cannabicitran from Cannabis sativa and synthetic homologues of cannabigerol and cannabicyclol were evaluated for effects on the cell viability of Vero cells (CC50 of cannabigerol and cannabicyclol 40 resp. 38 µM) and reduced virus entry of vesicular stomatitis pseudotyped viruses with surface-expressed SARS-CoV-2 spike protein at 20 µM. In addition to a reduction of pseudotyped virus entry, a titer reduction assay on Vero cells after preincubation of Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 significantly confirmed antiviral activity.

Investigations on the molecular targets addressed by cannabigerol and cannabicyclol indicated that both compounds are inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-mediated membrane fusion, as could be shown by a virus-free reporter fusion inhibition assay (EC50 for cannabigerol 5.5 µM and for cannabicyclol 10.8 µM) and by monitoring syncytia formation in Vero reporter cells. Selectivity indices were calculated as 7.4 for cannabigerol and 3.5 for cannabicyclol. Systematic semisynthetic alterations of cannabigerol and cannabicyclol indicated that the side chains of both compounds do not contribute to the observed anti-membrane fusion activity.”

Hepatoprotective Effect of Cannabidiol on the Progression of Experimental Hepatic Cirrhosis in Rats

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“Introduction: Liver cirrhosis is a condition characterized by the gradual replacement of normal liver tissue with scar tissue, ultimately leading to liver failure. This slow and progressive disease begins with a chronic inflammatory process induced by a noxious agent. In its advanced stages, the disease lacks effective therapies. Research has demonstrated the significant involvement of the endocannabinoid system in the pathogenesis of this disease. This study evaluated the hepatoprotective effect of cannabidiol (CBD) in the progression of experimental hepatic cirrhosis induced by thioacetamide (TAA) in rats. 

Methods: A randomized experimental design was employed using Holtzman rats. Hepatic cirrhosis was induced by intraperitoneal administration of TAA at a dose of 150 mg/kg for 6 weeks, with treatment initiated additionally. The groups were as follows: Group 1: TAA + vehicle; Group 2: TAA + CBD 2 mg/kg; Group 3: TAA + CBD 9 mg/kg; Group 4: TAA + CBD 18 mg/kg; Group 5: TAA + silymarin 50 mg/kg; and Group 6: Healthy control. Serum biochemical analysis (total bilirubin, direct bilirubin, ALT, AST, alkaline phosphatase, and albumin) and hepatic histopathological study were performed. The Knodell histological activity index (HAI) was determined, considering periportal necrosis, intralobular degeneration, portal inflammation, fibrosis, and focal necrosis. 

Results: All groups receiving TAA exhibited an elevation in AST levels; however, only those treated with CBD at doses of 2 mg/kg and 18 mg/kg did not experience significant changes compared to their baseline values (152.8 and 135.7 IU/L, respectively). Moreover, ALT levels in animals treated with CBD showed no significant variation compared to baseline. The HAI of hepatic tissue was notably lower in animals treated with CBD at doses of 9 and 18 mg/kg, scoring 3.0 and 3.25, respectively, in contrast to the TAA + vehicle group, which recorded a score of 7.00. Animals treated with CBD at 18 mg/kg showed a reduced degree of fibrosis and necrosis compared to those receiving TAA alone (p ≤ 0.05). 

Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate that cannabidiol exerts a hepatoprotective effect in the development of experimental hepatic cirrhosis induced in rats.”

Prescribed Medical Cannabis Use Among Older Individuals: Patient Characteristics and Improvements in Well-Being: Findings from T21

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“Background: Previous research has suggested that the use of cannabis-based medicinal products is increasing most rapidly among older aged individuals (65+ years). Despite this, little is known about the characteristics of older people using cannabis-based medicinal products and their effectiveness.

Objectives: We aimed to document the characteristics, outcomes and prescribing patterns of individuals aged 65+ years receiving prescribed cannabis compared to younger individuals receiving prescribed cannabis.

Methods: Data from T21, an observational study of patients seeking treatment with medicinal cannabinoids, including self-report ratings of quality of life (assessed via the EQ-5D-5L), general health (assessed via the visual analogue scale of the EQ-5D-5L), mood (assessed via the Patient Health Questionnaire-9) and sleep (assessed using four items derived from the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index) were available at treatment entry [n = 4228; 198 (4.7%) 65+ years] and at a 3-month follow-up [n = 2455; 98 (4.2%) = 65+ years].

Results: Relative to younger individuals, those aged over 64 years were more likely to be female (52.5% vs 47.0%; p < 0.001), more likely to report pain as their primary condition (76.3% vs 45.6%; p < 0.001) and less likely to report current daily use (20.2% vs 60.3%, p < 0.001). They received fewer cannabis-based medicinal products (mean = 1.4 vs 2.1; F(1,2199) = 32.3, p < 0.001) and were more likely to receive a prescription for a cannabidiol dominant oil (17.5% vs 5.7%; p < 0.001) and less likely to receive a prescription for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol dominant flower (32.5% vs 75.2%; p < 0.001). There were significant improvements across all measures of well-being (p < 0.001), but the extent of improvements in sleep were more marked in younger individuals (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: There are important differences between individuals aged 65+ years and younger individuals receiving cannabis-based medicinal products. Older aged individuals experience considerable improvement in health and well-being when prescribed cannabis-based medicinal products.”