Cannabinoid Receptors in Regulating the GI Tract: Experimental Evidence and Therapeutic Relevance.

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“Cannabinoid receptors are fundamentally involved in all aspects of intestinal physiology, such as motility, secretion, and epithelial barrier function. They are part of a broader entity, the so-called endocannabinoid system which also includes their endocannabinoid ligands and the ligands’ synthesizing/degrading enzymes.

The system has a strong impact on the pathophysiology of the gastrointestinal tract and is believed to maintain homeostasis in the gut by controlling hypercontractility and by promoting regeneration after injury.

For instance, genetic knockout of cannabinoid receptor 1 leads to inflammation and cancer of the intestines. Derivatives of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, such as nabilone and dronabinol, activate cannabinoid receptors and have been introduced into the clinic to treat chemotherapy-induced emesis and loss of appetite; however, they may cause many psychotropic side effects.

New drugs that interfere with endocannabinoid degradation to raise endocannabinoid levels circumvent this obstacle and could be used in the future to treat emesis, intestinal inflammation, and functional disorders associated with visceral hyperalgesia.”

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Activation of cannabinoid receptors elicits antidepressant-like effects in a mouse model of social isolation stress.

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“Social isolation stress (SIS) paradigm is a chronic stress procedure able to induce profound behavioral and neurochemical changes in rodents and evokes depressive and anxiety-like behaviors.

Recent studies demonstrated that the cannabinoid system plays a key role in behavioral abnormalities such as depression through different pathways; however, there is no evidence showing a relation between SIS and the cannabinoid system.

This study investigated the role of the cannabinoid system in depressive-like behavior and anxiety-like behavior of IC animals.

Our findings suggest that the cannabinoid system is involved in depressive-like behaviors induced by SIS.

We showed that activation of cannabinoid receptors (type 1 and 2) could mitigate depression-like behavior induced by SIS in a mouse model.”

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β-Caryophyllene/Hydroxypropyl-β-Cyclodextrin Inclusion Complex Improves Cognitive Deficits in Rats with Vascular Dementia through the Cannabinoid Receptor Type 2 -Mediated Pathway.

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“This work was conducted to prepare β-caryophyllene-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin inclusion complex (HPβCD/BCP) and investigate its effects and mechanisms on cognitive deficits in vascular dementia (VD) rats.

Overall, the findings demonstrated the protective effects of HPβCD/BCP against cognitive deficits induced by chronic cerebral ischemia and suggested the potential of HPβCD/BCP in the therapy of vascular dementia in the future.”

“β-caryophyllene (BCP) is a common constitute of the essential oils of numerous spice, food plants and major component in Cannabis.”


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The effects of synthetic cannabinoids on executive function.

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“There is a growing use of novel psychoactive substances (NPSs) including synthetic cannabinoids. Synthetic cannabinoid products have effects similar to those of natural cannabis but the new synthetic cannabinoids are more potent and dangerous and their use has resulted in various adverse effects. The purpose of the study was to assess whether persistent use of synthetic cannabinoids is associating with impairments of executive function in chronic users.

Synthetic cannabinoid users performed significantly worse than both recreational and non-cannabis users on the n-back task (less accuracy), the Stroop task (overall slow responses and less accuracy), and the long-term memory task (less word recall). Additionally, they have also shown higher ratings of depression and anxiety compared with both recreational and non-users groups.

This study showed impairment of executive function in synthetic cannabinoid users compared with recreational users of cannabis and non-users. This may have major implications for our understanding of the long-term consequences of synthetic cannabinoid based drugs.”

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A selective CB2R agonist (JWH133) restores neuronal circuit after Germinal Matrix Hemorrhage in the preterm via CX3CR1+ microglia.

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“Microglia play dual roles after germinal matrix hemorrhage, and the neurotrophic phenotype maybe neuroprotective.

We raise the hypothesis that a cannabinoid receptor2 agonist (JWH133) accelerates the CX3CR1+ microglia secreting neurotrophic factors and restores damaged neuronal circuit.

Overall, this study provides evidence that JWH133 promoted a neurotrophic phenotype of microglia (CX3CR1+ microglia), beyond merely alleviating microglial proliferation and inflammation.

Moreover, JWH133 restored impaired neuronal circuit, which represent a novel therapeutic strategy following GMH in clinic.”

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Tumor-promoting effects of cannabinoid receptor type 1 in human melanoma cells.

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“The role of endocannabinoid system in melanoma development and progression is actually not fully understood.

This study was aimed at clarifying whether cannabinoid-type 1 (CB1) receptor may function as tumor-promoting or -suppressing signal in human cutaneous melanoma.

Findings of this study suggest that CB1 receptor might function as tumor-promoting signal in human cutaneous melanoma.”

“Antitumor effects of THC.”
“Cannabinoids (CB) like ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can induce cancer cell apoptosis and inhibit angiogenesis. Our results confirm the value of exogenous cannabinoids for the treatment of melanoma”
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The involvement of cannabinoids and mTOR in the reconsolidation of an emotional memory in the hippocampal-amygdala-insular circuit.

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“Memory reconsolidation is the process in which reactivated long-term memory becomes transiently sensitive to amnesic agents.

We evaluated the ability of post reactivation administration of the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin, separately and in combination with the cannabinoid CB1/2 receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 (WIN), given systemically or specifically into the hippocampal CA1 area, basolateral amygdala (BLA) or insular cortex (IC), to reduce inhibitory avoidance fear in rats.

Taken together, the results suggest that rapamycin or a combined treatment that involves blocking mTOR and activating cannabinoids may be a promising pharmacological approach for the attenuation of reactivated emotional memories, and thus, it could represent a potential treatment strategy for disorders associated with traumatic memories.”

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Antihyperalgesic effect of CB1 receptor activation involves the modulation of P2X3 receptor in the primary afferent neuron.

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“Cannabinoid system is a potential target for pain control.

Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) activation play a role in the analgesic effect of cannabinoids once it is expressed in primary afferent neurons.

This study investigates whether the anti-hyperalgesic effect of CB1receptor activation involves P2×3 receptor in primary afferent neurons.

Our data suggest that the analgesic effect of CB1 receptor activation is mediated by a negative modulation of the P2×3 receptor in the primary afferent neurons.”

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Endocannabinoid Signaling and the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis.

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“The elucidation of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol as the active principal of Cannabis sativa in 1963 initiated a fruitful half-century of scientific discovery, culminating in the identification of the endocannabinoid signaling system, a previously unknown neuromodulatory system.

A primary function of the endocannabinoid signaling system is to maintain or recover homeostasis following psychological and physiological threats. We provide a brief introduction to the endocannabinoid signaling system and its role in synaptic plasticity.

The majority of the article is devoted to a summary of current knowledge regarding the role of endocannabinoid signaling as both a regulator of endocrine responses to stress and as an effector of glucocorticoid and corticotrophin-releasing hormone signaling in the brain.

We summarize data demonstrating that cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1R) signaling can both inhibit and potentiate the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis by stress.

We present a hypothesis that the inhibitory arm has high endocannabinoid tone and also serves to enhance recovery to baseline following stress, while the potentiating arm is not tonically active but can be activated by exogenous agonists.

We discuss recent findings that corticotropin-releasing hormone in the amygdala enables hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activation via an increase in the catabolism of the endocannabinoid N-arachidonylethanolamine.

We review data supporting the hypotheses that CB1R activation is required for many glucocorticoid effects, particularly feedback inhibition of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activation, and that glucocorticoids mobilize the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol.

These features of endocannabinoid signaling make it a tantalizing therapeutic target for treatment of stress-related disorders but to date, this promise is largely unrealized.”

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The endocannabinoid system: no longer anonymous in the control of nitrergic signalling?

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“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a key cellular signalling system that has been implicated in the regulation of diverse cellular functions. Importantly, growing evidence suggests that the biological actions of the ECS may, in part, be mediated through its ability to regulate the production and/or release of nitric oxide, a ubiquitous bioactive molecule, which functions as a versatile signalling intermediate. Herein, we review and discuss evidence pertaining to ECS-mediated regulation of nitric oxide production, as well as the involvement of reactive nitrogen species in regulating ECS-induced signal transduction by highlighting emerging work supporting nitrergic modulation of ECS function. Importantly, the studies outlined reveal that interactions between the ECS and nitrergic signalling systems can be both stimulatory and inhibitory in nature, depending on cellular context. Moreover, such crosstalk may act to maintain proper cell function, whereas abnormalities in either system can undermine cellular homoeostasis and contribute to various pathologies associated with their dysregulation. Consequently, future studies targeting these signalling systems may provide new insights into the potential role of the ECS -: nitric oxide signalling axis in disease development and/or lead to the identification of novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of nitrosative stress-related neurological, cardiovascular, and metabolic disorders.”

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