Impact of substance use disorder on gray matter volume in schizophrenia.

Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging

“Substance use may confound the study of brain structure in schizophrenia. We used voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to examine whether differences in regional gray matter volumes exist between schizophrenia patients with (n = 92) and without (n = 66) clinically significant cannabis and/or alcohol use histories compared to 88 healthy control subjects.

Relative to controls, patients with schizophrenia had reduced gray matter volume in the bilateral precentral gyrus, right medial frontal cortex, right visual cortex, right occipital pole, right thalamus, bilateral amygdala, and bilateral cerebellum regardless of substance use history.

Within these regions, we found no volume differences between patients with schizophrenia and a history of cannabis and/or alcohol compared to patients with schizophrenia without a clinically significant substance use history.

Our data support the idea that a clinically meaningful history of alcohol or cannabis use does not significantly compound the gray matter deficits associated with schizophrenia.”

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Cannabinoid pharmacology/therapeutics in chronic degenerative disorders affecting the central nervous system.

 Biochemical Pharmacology “The endocannabinoid system (ECS) exerts a modulatory effect of important functions such as neurotransmission, glial activation, oxidative stress, or protein homeostasis.

Dysregulation of these cellular processes is a common neuropathological hallmark in aging and in neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). The broad spectrum of actions of cannabinoids allows targeting different aspects of these multifactorial diseases.

In this review, we examine the therapeutic potential of the ECS for the treatment of chronic neurodegenerative diseases of the CNS focusing on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

First, we describe the localization of the molecular components of the ECS and how they are altered under neurodegenerative conditions, either contributing to or protecting cells from degeneration.

Second, we address recent advances in the modulation of the ECS using experimental models through different strategies including the direct targeting of cannabinoid receptors with agonists or antagonists, increasing the endocannabinoid tone by the inhibition of endocannabinoid hydrolysis, and activation of cannabinoid receptor-independent effects.

Preclinical evidence indicates that cannabinoid pharmacology is complex but supports the therapeutic potential of targeting the ECS.

Third, we review the clinical evidence and discuss the future perspectives on how to bridge human and animal studies to develop cannabinoid-based therapies for each neurodegenerative disorder.

Finally, we summarize the most relevant opportunities of cannabinoid pharmacology related to each disease and the multiple unexplored pathways in cannabinoid pharmacology that could be useful for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30121249

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S000629521830337X

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Revisiting cannabinoid receptor 2 expression and function in murine retina.

 Neuropharmacology

“The cannabinoid receptor CB2 plays a significant role in the regulation of immune function whereas neuronal expression remains a subject of contention. Multiple studies have described CB2 in retina and a recent study showed that CB2 deletion altered retinal visual processing. We revisited CB2 expression using immunohistochemistry and a recently developed CB2-eGFP reporter mouse. We examined the consequence of acute vs. prolonged CB2 deactivation on the electroretinogram (ERG) responses. We also examined lipidomics in CB2 knockout mice and potential changes in microglia using Scholl analysis. Consistent with a published report, in CB2 receptor knockout mice see an increased ERG scotopic a-wave, as well as stronger responses in dark adapted cone-driven ON bipolar cells and, to a lesser extent cone-driven ON bipolar cells early in light adaptation. Significantly, however, acute block with CB2 antagonist, AM630, did not mimic the results observed in the CB2 knockout mice whereas chronic (7 days) block did. Immunohistochemical studies show no CB2 in retina under non-pathological conditions, even with published antibodies. Retinal CB2-eGFP reporter signal is minimal under baseline conditions but upregulated by intraocular injection of either LPS or carrageenan. CB2 knockout mice see modest declines in a broad spectrum of cannabinoid-related lipids. The numbers and morphology of microglia were unaltered. In summary minimal CB2 expression is seen in healthy retina. CB2 appears to be upregulated under pathological conditions. Previously reported functional consequences of CB2 deletion are an adaptive response to prolonged blockade of these receptors. CB2 therefore impacts retinal signaling but perhaps in an indirect, potentially extra-ocular fashion.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30121200

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028390818304775?via%3Dihub

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The novel peripherally active cannabinoid type 1 and serotonin type 3 receptor agonist AM9405 inhibits gastrointestinal motility and reduces abdominal pain in mouse models mimicking irritable bowel syndrome.

European Journal of Pharmacology

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a crucial role in numerous physiological processes in the central and peripheral nervous systems. In the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, selective cannabinoid (CB) receptor agonists exert potent inhibitory actions on motility and pain signalling. In the present study, we used mouse models of diarrhea, hypermotility, and abdominal pain to examine whether a novel synthetic CB1 receptor agonist AM9405 [(2-(2,6-dihydroxy-4-(2-methyloctan-2-yl)phenyl)-1,3-dimethyl-1H-benzo[d]imidazol-3-ium bromide); also known as GAT379] exhibits effects of potential therapeutic relevance. AM9405 significantly slowed mouse intestinal motility in physiological conditions. Moreover, AM9405 reversed hypermotility and reduced pain in mouse models mimicking symptoms of functional GI disorders, such as stress-induced diarrhoea and writhing test. Interestingly, some of the effects of AM9405 were blocked by a 5-HT3 antagonist suggesting interaction with 5-HT3 receptors. In our study we show that combining CB1 agonism with 5-HT3 agonism may alter physiological functions and experimental pathophysiologies in a manner that make such compounds promising drugs for the future treatment of functional GI disorders.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30121173

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014299918304734?via%3Dihub

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Antimicrobial activity of Cannabis sativa, Thuja orientalis and Psidium guajava leaf extracts against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Journal of Integrative Medicine

“This study examined the antimicrobial activity of Cannabis sativa, Thuja orientalis and Psidium guajava against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and used a standardized purification protocol to determine the presence and abundance of bioactive compounds in the leaf extracts.

RESULTS:

Resistance to methicillin, penicillin, oxacillin and cefoxitin was observed in each of the clinical and nonclinical MRSA isolates. However, they were still vulnerable to vancomycin. Used individually, the 50% extract of each plant leaf inhibited MRSA growth. A profound synergism was observed when C. sativa was used in combination with T. orientalis (1:1) and when P. guajava was used in combination with T. orientalis (1:1). This was shown by larger zones of inhibition. This synergism was probably due to the combined inhibitory effect of phenolics present in the leaf extracts (i.e., quercetin and gallic acid) and catechin, as detected by HPTLC.

CONCLUSION:

The leaf extracts of C. sativa, T. orientalis and P. guajava had potential for the control of both hospital- and community-acquired MRSA. Moreover, the inhibitory effect was enhanced when extracts were used in combination.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30120078

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095496418300815?via%3Dihub

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New approaches and challenges to targeting the endocannabinoid system.

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“The endocannabinoid signalling system was discovered because receptors in this system are the targets of compounds present in psychotropic preparations of Cannabis sativa. The search for new therapeutics that target endocannabinoid signalling is both challenging and potentially rewarding, as endocannabinoids are implicated in numerous physiological and pathological processes. Hundreds of mediators chemically related to the endocannabinoids, often with similar metabolic pathways but different targets, have complicated the development of inhibitors of endocannabinoid metabolic enzymes but have also stimulated the rational design of multi-target drugs. Meanwhile, drugs based on botanical cannabinoids have come to the clinical forefront, synthetic agonists designed to bind cannabinoid receptor 1 with very high affinity have become a societal threat and the gut microbiome has been found to signal in part through the endocannabinoid network. The current development of drugs that alter endocannabinoid signalling and how this complex system could be pharmacologically manipulated in the future are described in this Opinion article.”

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Cannabinoid signalling in the immature brain: encephalopathies and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Biochemical Pharmacology

“The endocannabinoid system exerts a crucial neuromodulatory role in many brain areas that is essential for proper regulation of neuronal activity. The role of cannabinoid signalling controlling neuronal activity in the adult brain is also evident when considering its contribution to adult brain insults or neurodegenerative diseases.

In the context of brain genetic or acquired encephalopathies administration of cannabinoid-based molecules has demonstrated to exert symptomatic relief and hence, they are proposed as new potential therapeutic compounds.

This review article summarizes the main evidences indicating the beneficial action of cannabinoid-derived molecules in preclinical models of neonatal hypoxia/ischemic damage. In a second part, we discuss the available evidences of therapeutic actions of cannabidiol in children with refractory epilepsy syndromes. Finally, we discuss the current view of cannabinoid signalling mechanisms active in the immature brain that affect in neural cell fate and can contribute to long-term neural cell plasticity.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30118663

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006295218303344

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Traditional Uses of Cannabinoids and New Perspectives in the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis.

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“Recent findings highlight the emerging role of the endocannabinoid system in the control of symptoms and disease progression in multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a chronic, immune-mediated, demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system with no cure so far. It is widely reported in the literature that cannabinoids might be used to control MS symptoms and that they also might exert neuroprotective effects and slow down disease progression. This review aims to give an overview of the principal cannabinoids(synthetic and endogenous) used for the symptomatic amelioration of MS and their beneficial outcomes, providing new potentially possible perspectives for the treatment of this disease.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30111755

http://www.mdpi.com/2305-6320/5/3/91

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Reprint of: Efficacy, tolerability, and safety of non-pharmacological therapies for chronic pain: An umbrella review on various CAM approaches.

Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry

“Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies may be used as a non-pharmacological approach to chronic pain management.

Inhaled cannabis, graded motor imagery, and Compound Kushen injection (a form of Chinese medicine) were found the most efficient and tolerable for chronic pain relief.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30107944

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027858461830602X?via%3Dihub

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Cannabis shenanigans: advocating for the restoration of an effective treatment of pain following spinal cord injury.

 Image result for spinal cord series and cases

“Cannabis is an effective treatment for pain following spinal cord injury that should be available to patients and researchers.

The major argument against the rescheduling of cannabis is that the published research is not convincing. This argument is disingenuous at best, given that the evidence has been presented and rejected at many points during the political dialog. Moreover, the original decision to criminalize cannabis did not utilize scientific or medical data.

There is tension between the needs of a society to protect the vulnerable by restricting the rights of others to live well and with less pain. It is clear that this 70-year war on cannabis has had little effect in controlling the supply of cannabis.

Prohibition can never succeed; “it is a tyranny from which every independent mind revolts.”

People living with chronic pain should not have to risk addiction, social stigma, restrictions on employment and even criminal prosecution in order to deal with their pain.

It is time to end the shenanigans and have an open, transparent discussion of the true benefits of this much-beleaguered medicine.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30109133

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41394-018-0096-1

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