Beneficial and deleterious effects of cannabinoids in the brain: the case of ultra-low dose THC.

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“This article reviews the neurocognitive advantages and drawbacks of cannabinoid substances, and discusses the possible physiological mechanisms that underlie their dual activity. The article further reviews the neurocognitive effects of ultra-low doses of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC; 3-4 orders of magnitude lower than the conventional doses) in mice, and proposes such low doses of THC as a possible remedy for various brain injuries and for the treatment of age-related cognitive decline.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30864864

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00952990.2019.1578366?journalCode=iada20

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β-Caryophyllene, a Natural Sesquiterpene, Attenuates Neuropathic Pain and Depressive-Like Behavior in Experimental Diabetic Mice.

 View details for Journal of Medicinal Food cover image“Neuropathic pain (NP) is associated with chronic hyperglycemia and emotional disorders such as depression in diabetic patients, complicating the course of treatment. Drugs currently used to treat NP have undesirable side effects, so research on other natural sources has been required.

β-caryophyllene (BCP), a natural sesquiterpene found in some food condiments and considered an agonist to cannabinoid receptor type 2, could have potential therapeutic effects to treat conditions such as NP and emotional disorders. For this reason, we assessed whether BCP modulates nociception, anxiety, and depressive-like behavior in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced experimental diabetic BALB/c female mice.

BCP was orally chronic administrated (10 mg/kg/60 μL). Pain developed with STZ was evaluated with von Frey filament test, SMALGO®, and hot plate test. Anxiety and depression-like behavior were assessed by marbles test, forced swim test, and tail suspension test. BCP significantly reduced glycemia in experimental diabetic mice. The pain was also mitigated by BCP administration. Depression-like behavior assessed with tail suspension test was attenuated with orally chronic BCP administration. Substance P and cytokines such as interleukin-1β (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), and interleukin-6 (IL-6) were also attenuated with BCP administration. NP was positively correlated with substance P and IL-6 and IL-1β release.

Our data using an orally chronic BCP administration in the STZ challenged mice to suggest that glycemia, diabetes-related NP, and depressive-like behavior could be prevented/reduced by dietary BCP.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30864870

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jmf.2018.0157

“β-caryophyllene (BCP) is a common constitute of the essential oils of numerous spice, food plants and major component in Cannabis.”   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23138934

“Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid.”   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18574142

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Cannabidiol enhances the passage of lipid nanocapsules across the blood-brain barrier both in vitro and in vivo.

 Molecular Pharmaceutics“Diseases affecting the central nervous system (CNS) should be regarded as a major health challenge due to the current lack of effective treatments given the hindrance to brain drug delivery imposed by the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Since efficient brain drug delivery should not solely rely on passive targeting, active targeting of nanomedicines into the CNS is being explored. The present study is devoted to the development of lipid nanocapsules (LNCs) decorated with non-psychotropic cannabinoids as pioneering non-immunogenic brain targeting molecules and to the evaluation of their brain targeting ability both in vitro and in vivo. Noticeably, both the permeability experiments across the hCMEC/D3 cell-based in vitro BBB model and the biodistribution experiments in mice consistently demonstrated that the highest brain targeting ability was achieved with the smallest-sized cannabinoid-decorated LNCs. Importantly, the enhancement in brain targeting achieved with the conjugation of CBD to LNCs outperformed by 6-fold the enhancement observed for the G-Technology® (the main brain active strategy that has already entered clinical trials for the treatment of CNS diseases) As the transport efficiency across the BBB certainly determines the efficacy of the treatments for brain disorders, small cannabinoid-decorated LNCs represent auspicious platforms for the design and development of novel therapies for CNS diseases.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30865462

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.8b01344

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Cannabinoid Use in Patients With Gastroparesis and Related Disorders: Prevalence and Benefit.

 

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“Gastroparesis (Gp) can be a challenging disorder to manage due to the paucity of treatment options. We do not know how frequently patients with Gp symptoms resort to cannabinoids to address their symptoms. This study (i) determines the prevalence of cannabinoid use in patients with Gp symptoms, (ii) describes the patients with Gp symptoms using cannabinoids, and (iii) assesses the patients’ perceived benefit of cannabinoids for Gp symptoms.

METHODS:

Consecutive outpatients with symptoms suggestive of Gp seen on follow-up at our academic center from June 2018 to September 2018 filled out questionnaires on their symptoms and the current treatments.

RESULTS:

Of 197 patients, nearly half (n = 92, 46.7%) reported current (35.5%) or past (11.2%) use of cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (n = 63), dronabinol (n = 36), and/or cannabidiol (n = 16). Of these, most perceived improvement in Gp symptoms from cannabinoids (93.5% with tetrahydrocannabinol, 81.3% with cannabidiol, and 47.2% with dronabinol). Cannabinoids were used most commonly via smoking (n = 46). Patients taking cannabinoids were younger (41.0 ± 15.4 vs 48.0 ± 15.9 years; P < 0.01) and had a higher Gastroparesis Cardinal Symptom Index total score (3.4 ± 1.0 vs 2.8 ± 1.3; P < 0.01) compared with patients with no history of cannabinoid use.

CONCLUSIONS:

A third of patients with Gp symptoms actively use cannabinoids for their chronic symptoms. Most of these patients perceive improvement in their symptoms with cannabinoids. Patients taking cannabinoids were younger and more symptomatic than those not taking cannabinoids. Further studies on the efficacy and safety of cannabinoids in Gp will be useful.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30865015

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Impact of Medical Cannabis on Patient-Reported Symptoms for Patients With Cancer Enrolled in Minnesota’s Medical Cannabis Program.

Journal of Oncology Practice

“Minnesota’s medical cannabis program is unique, in that it routinely collects patient-reported scores on symptoms. This article focuses on changes in symptom severity reported by patients with cancer during their first 4 months of program participation.

MATERIALS AND METHODS::

Patients with cancer in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program reported symptoms (anxiety, lack of appetite, depression, disturbed sleep, fatigue, nausea, pain, and vomiting) at their worst over the last 24 hours before each medical cannabis purchase. Baseline scores on each of the eight symptoms were statistically compared with the average symptom scores reported in the first 4 months of program participation. Symptom scores were also calculated as percent change from baseline, with patients achieving and maintaining at least a 30% reduction in symptoms reported in this article. Patients also reported intensity of adverse effects.

RESULTS::

A significant reduction in scores was found across all symptoms when comparing baseline scores with the average score submitted within the first 4 months of program participation (all Ps < .001). The proportion of patients achieving 30% or greater symptom reduction within the first 4 months of program participation varied from 27% (fatigue) to 50% (vomiting), with a smaller proportion both achieving and maintaining those improvements. Adverse effects were reported in a small proportion of patients (10.5%).

CONCLUSION::

Patients with cancer enrolled in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program showed significant reduction across all eight symptoms assessed within 4 months of program participation. Medical cannabis was well tolerated, and some patients attained clinically meaningful and lasting levels of improvement.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30860938

http://ascopubs.org/doi/10.1200/JOP.18.00562

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Perspectives on the Role of Endocannabinoids in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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“Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are diagnosed on the basis of three behavioral features, namely, (1) deficits in social communication, (2) absence or delay in language and (3) stereotypy. The consensus regarding the neurological pathogenesis of ASDs is aberrant synaptogenesis and synapse function. Further, it is now widely accepted that ASD is neurodevelopmental in nature, placing emphasis on derangements occurring at the level of intra- and intercellular signaling during corticogenesis. At present, there is an ever-growing list of mutations in putative susceptibility genes in affected individuals, preventing effective transformation of knowledge gathered from basic science research to the clinic. In response, the focus of ASD biology has shifted toward the identification of cellular signaling pathways that are common to various ASD-related mutations in hopes that these shared pathways may serve as more promising treatment targets than targeting individual genes or proteins. To this end, the endogenous cannabinoid (endocannabinoid, eCB) system has recently emerged as a promising therapeutic target in the field of ASD research. The eCB system is altered in several neurological disorders, but the role of these bioactive lipids in ASD etiology remains poorly understood. In this perspective, we review current evidence linking eCB signaling to ASDs and put forth the notion that continued focus on eCBs in autism research may provide valuable insight into pathophysiology and treatment strategies. In addition to its role in modulating transmitter release at mature synapses, the eCB signaling system plays important roles in many aspects of cortical development, and disruption of these effects of eCBs may also be related to ASD pathophysiology.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30854511

“Advances in our understanding of eCB actions will undoubtedly facilitate pharmacological interventions and further, provide patients the best quality of life possible.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6407886/

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Does morning affect contribute to daily Cannabis use?

Addictive Behaviors

“Several theories posit that cannabis and other substances are used to reduce negative affect. This daily report study considered whether variations in positive and negative affect, reported each morning, contributed to the likelihood of cannabis use later that day. We also explored whether levels of positive and negative affect reported immediately after cannabis use improved, relative to that day’s morning levels. The sample included 183 men and 183 women representing heterosexual, cannabis-using couples from the community. Participants made independent, daily reports of affect and cannabis use episodes for 30 consecutive days. Using multilevel modeling, we modeled men’s and women’s use of cannabis on a given day as a function of morning levels of positive, hostile, and anxious affect, accounting for partner cannabis use that day, and mean levels of positive and negative affect. Men and women were more likely to use cannabis on a given day when morning positive affect was lower than typical for the person and when partner used cannabis that day. Neither hostile nor anxious affect contributed to later use of cannabis. Immediately after cannabis use, positive affect increased, and hostile and anxious affect decreased relative to that day’s morning levels. The improved affect immediately after use suggests a mechanism of positive reinforcement.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30856545

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S030646031831339X?via%3Dihub

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Epidiolex as adjunct therapy for treatment of refractory epilepsy: a comprehensive review with a focus on adverse effects.

 

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“Medically refractory epilepsy remains an area of intense clinical and scientific interest since a significant porportion of patients continue to suffer from debilitating seizures despite available therapies. In this setting, recent studies have focused on assessing the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD)-enriched cannabis, a plant based product without psychoactive properties which has been shown to decrease seizure frequency in animal models. More recently, several randomized controlled and open label trials have studied the effects of Epidiolex, a 99% pure oral CBD extract, on patients with refractory epilepsy. This in turn has led to the FDA approval of and more recently, to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s placement of Epidiolex into schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). In this review, we summarize the major findings of several recent large-scale studies using this product with a focus on its adverse effects.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30854190

“The recent FDA approval of Epidiolex combined with the placement of this compound in schedule V of the CSA (the least restrictive schedule of the CSA) has created a much-needed opportunity for the continued study of high-concentration, regulated CBD as a potential therapy for refractory epilepsy. Although recent RCTs and open-label extended-access programs have already demonstrated significant improvement in seizure frequency and severity with a relatively well-tolerated side effect profile for this compound, continued monitoring of Epidiolex is needed to further asses the long-term safety and efficacy, particularly with regard to immune, cognitive, hormonal, and reproductive function. Furthermore, there have been no large-scale RCTs demonstrating significant seizure reduction with Epidiolex in patients with focal onset seizures. Nonetheless, to date, Epidiolex has proven to be an attractive treatment option for an otherwise devastating group of epileptic syndromes. Future studies expanding our knowledge of this compound will be helpful in better understanding its role in the future of epilepsy treatment.”  https://f1000research.com/articles/8-234/v1

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Members of the endocannabinoid system are distinctly regulated in inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer.

Scientific Reports

“Preclinical studies have demonstrated that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays an important role in the protection against intestinal inflammation and colorectal cancer (CRC); however, human data are scarce. We determined members of the ECS and related components of the ‘endocannabinoidome’ in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and CRC, and compared them to control subjects. Anandamide (AEA) and oleoylethanolamide (OEA) were increased in plasma of ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD) patients while 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) was elevated in patients with CD, but not UC. 2-AG, but not AEA, PEA and OEA, was elevated in CRC patients. Lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI) 18:0 showed higher levels in patients with IBD than in control subjects whereas LPI 20:4 was elevated in both CRC and IBD. Gene expression in intestinal mucosal biopsies revealed different profiles in CD and UC. CD, but not UC patients, showed increased gene expression for the 2-AG synthesizing enzyme diacylglycerol lipase alpha. Transcripts of CNR1 and GPR119 were predominantly decreased in CD. Our data show altered plasma levels of endocannabinoids and endocannabinoid-like lipids in IBD and CRC and distinct transcript profiles in UC and CD. We also report alterations for less known components in intestinal inflammation, such as GPR119, OEA and LPI.”

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Characterization of Cancer-Induced Nociception in a Murine Model of Breast Carcinoma.

“Severe and poorly treated pain often accompanies breast cancer. Thus, novel mechanisms involved in breast cancer-induced pain should be investigated. Then, it is necessary to characterize animal models that are reliable with the symptoms and progression of the disease as observed in humans. Explaining cancer-induced nociception in a murine model of breast carcinoma was the aim of this study. 4T1 (104) lineage cells were inoculated in the right fourth mammary fat pad of female BALB/c mice; after this, mechanical and cold allodynia, or mouse grimace scale (MGS) were observed for 30 days. To determine the presence of bone metastasis, we performed the metastatic clonogenic test and measure calcium serum levels. At 20 days after tumor induction, the antinociceptive effect of analgesics used to relieve pain in cancer patients (acetaminophen, naproxen, codeine or morphine) or a cannabinoid agonist (WIN 55,212-2) was tested. Mice inoculated with 4T1 cells developed mechanical and cold allodynia and increased MGS. Bone metastasis was confirmed using the clonogenic assay, and hypercalcemia was observed 20 days after cells inoculation. All analgesic drugs reduced the mechanical and cold allodynia, while the MGS was decreased only by the administration of naproxen, codeine, or morphine. Also, WIN 55,212-2 improved all nociceptive measures. This pain model could be a reliable form to observe the mechanisms of breast cancer-induced pain or to observe the efficacy of novel analgesic compounds.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30850915

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10571-019-00666-8

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