“We have investigated the endocannabinoid system in the motor cortex of motor neuron disease (MND) patients.
We have confirmed that CB2 receptors are elevated in the motor cortex of MND patients associated with the reactive gliosis. This phenomenon is previous to neuronal losses. We also found CB2 receptors in cortical and spinal motor neurons.
These observations support that targeting this receptor may serve for developing neuroprotective therapies in MNDs.”
“The discovery of endocannabinoid’s role within the central nervous system and its potential therapeutic benefits have brought forth rising interest in the use of cannabis for medical purposes. The present review aimed to synthesize and evaluate the available evidences on the efficacy of cannabis and its derivatives for psychiatric, neurodegenerative and movement disorders. A systematic search of randomized controlled trials of cannabis and its derivatives were conducted via databases (PubMed, Embase and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials). A total of 24 reports that evaluated the use of medical cannabis for Alzheimer’s disease, anorexia nervosa, anxiety, dementia, dystonia, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychosis and Tourette syndrome were included in this review. Trial quality was assessed with the Cochrane risk of bias tool. There is a lack of evidence on the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and dystonia. Although trials with positive findings were identified for anorexia nervosa, anxiety, PTSD, psychotic symptoms, agitation in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, Huntington’s disease, and Tourette syndrome, and dyskinesia in Parkinson’s disease, definitive conclusion on its efficacy could not be drawn. Evaluation of these low-quality trials, as rated on the Cochrane risk of bias tools, was challenged by methodological issues such as inadequate description of allocation concealment, blinding and underpowered sample size. More adequately powered controlled trials that examine the long and short term efficacy, safety and tolerability of cannabis for medical use, and the mechanisms underpinning the therapeutic potential are warranted.”
“Most neurodegenerative disorders (NDDs) are characterized by cognitive impairment and other neurological defects. The definite cause of and pathways underlying the progression of these NDDs are not well defined. Several mechanisms have been proposed to contribute to the development of NDDs. These mechanisms may proceed concurrently or successively, and they differ among cell types at different developmental stages in distinct brain regions. The endocannabinoid system, which involves cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1R) and type 2 (CB2R), endogenous cannabinoids and the enzymes that catabolize these compounds, has been shown to contribute to the development of NDDs in several animal models and human studies. In this review, we discuss the functions of the endocannabinoid (EC) system in NDDs and converse the therapeutic efficacy of targeting the endocannabinoid system to rescue NDDs.”
“Beneficial effects of cannabidiol (CBD) have been described for a wide range of psychiatric disorders, including anxiety, psychosis, and depression. The mechanisms responsible for these effects, however, are still poorly understood. Similar to clinical antidepressant or atypical antipsychotic drugs, recent findings clearly indicate that CBD, either acutely or repeatedly administered, induces plastic changes. For example, CBD attenuates the decrease in hippocampal neurogenesis and dendrite spines density induced by chronic stress and prevents microglia activation and the decrease in the number of parvalbumin-positive GABA neurons in a pharmacological model of schizophrenia. More recently, it was found that CBD modulates cell fate regulatory pathways such as autophagy and others critical pathways for neuronal survival in neurodegenerative experimental models, suggesting the potential benefit of CBD treatment for psychiatric/cognitive symptoms associated with neurodegeneration. These changes and their possible association with CBD beneficial effects in psychiatric disorders are reviewed here.”
“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease of the motor neuron system with limited therapeutic options. While an increasing number of ALS patients can be linked to a small number of autosomal-dominantly inherited cases, most cases are termed sporadic. Both forms are clinically and histopathologically indistinguishable, raising the prospect that they share key pathogenic steps, including potential therapeutic intervention points.
The endocannabinoid system is emerging as a versatile, druggable therapeutic target in the CNS and its dysregulation is an early hallmark of neurodegeneration. Whether this is a defense mechanism or part of the pathogenesis remains to be determined.
The neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), which is degraded by monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), accumulates in the spinal cords of transgenic models of ALS. We tested the hypothesis that this 2-AG increase is a protective response in the low-copy SOD1G93A mouse model of ALS.
We show that oral application of the MAGL inhibitor KML29 delays disease onset, progression and survival. Furthermore, we could demonstrate that KML29 reduced proinflammatory cytokines and increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression levels in the spinal cord, the major site of neurodegeneration in ALS. Moreover, treatment of primary mouse neurons and primary mousecroglia with 2-AG confirmed the neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory action by increasing BDNF and arginase-1 and decreasing proinflammatory cytokines in vitro.
In summary, we show that elevating 2-AG levels by MAGL inhibition is a therapeutic target in ALS and demonstrate that the endocannabinoid defense mechanisms can be exploited therapeutically in neurodegenerative diseases.”
“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most common degenerative disease of the motor neuron system. Over the last years, a growing interest was aimed to discovery new innovative and safer therapeutic approaches in the ALS treatment. In this context, the bioactive compounds of Cannabis sativa have shown antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects in preclinical models of central nervous system disease. However, most of the studies proving the ability of cannabinoids in delay disease progression and prolong survival in ALS were performed in animal model, whereas the few clinical trials that investigated cannabinoids-based medicines were focused only on the alleviation of ALS-related symptoms, not on the control of disease progression. The aim of this report was to provide a short but important overview of evidences that are useful to better characterize the efficacy as well as the molecular pathways modulated by cannabinoids.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28197175
“The endocannabinoid system in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. There is increasing evidence that cannabinoids and manipulation of the endocannabinoid system may have therapeutic value in ALS. Cannabinoids exert anti-glutamatergic and anti-inflammatory actions through activation of the CB(1) and CB(2) receptors. The ability of cannabinoids to target multiple neurotoxic pathways in different cell populations may increase their therapeutic potential in the treatment of ALS.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18781981
“Abnormal sensitivity of cannabinoid CB1 receptors in the striatum of mice with experimental amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Our data suggest that cannabinoid CB1 receptors might be potential therapeutic targets for this dramatic disease.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19452308
“Cannabinoid CB2 receptor selective compound, delays disease progression in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Cannabinoid CB2 receptor-selective compounds may be the basis for developing new drugs for the treatment of ALS and other chronic neurodegenerative diseases.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16781706
“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: delayed disease progression in mice by treatment with a cannabinoid. The cannabinoid receptor system has the potential to reduce both excitotoxic and oxidative cell damage. Here we report that treatment with Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta(9)-THC) was effective. As Delta(9)-THC is well tolerated, it and other cannabinoids may prove to be novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of ALS.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15204022
“Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) is the main psychoactive constituent in the plant Cannabis sativa (marijuana) and produces its effects by activation of cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) cannabinoid receptors. Administration of the non-selective partial cannabinoid agonists Δ9-THC or cannabinol are successful in delaying motor impairment and prolonging survival in mice after the onset of symptoms. Collectively, these studies suggest that cannabinoid receptors might serve as novel therapeutic targets for ALS drug development. CB2 agonists may slow motor neuron degeneration and preserve motor function, and represent a novel therapeutic modality for treatment of ALS.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2819701/
“Cannabinoids exert neuroprotective and symptomatic effects in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22594565
“Therapeutic options for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) remain limited. Evidence suggests that cannabinoids, the bioactive ingredients of marijuana (Cannabis sativa) might have some therapeutic benefit in this disease. We found that this treatment significantly delays disease onset. Cannabinoids might be useful in ameliorating symptoms in ALS.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16183560
“Marijuana is a substance with many properties that may be applicable to the management of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). These include analgesia, muscle relaxation, bronchodilation, saliva reduction, appetite stimulation, and sleep induction. In addition, marijuana has now been shown to have strong antioxidative and neuroprotective effects. Marijuana should be considered in the pharmacological management of ALS.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11467101
“Ideally, a multidrug regimen would be required to comprehensively address the known pathophysiology of ALS. REMARKABLY, cannabis appears to have activity in all of those areas. Cannabis has powerful antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects. Cannabis might significantly slow the progression of ALS, potentially extending life expectancy and substantially reducing the overall burden of the disease.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20439484
“In light of the above findings, there is a valid rationale to propose the use of cannabinoid compounds in the pharmacological management of ALS patients. Cannabinoids indeed are able to delay ALS progression and prolong survival.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5270417/
“Targeting the CB2 receptor afforded neuroprotection in SOD1G93A mutant mice, a model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
The neuroprotective effects of CB2 receptors were facilitated by their up-regulation in the spinal cord in SOD1G93A mutant mice.
Herein, we have investigated whether a similar CB2 receptor up-regulation, as well as parallel changes in other endocannabinoid elements, are evident in the spinal cord of dogs with degenerative myelopathy (DM), caused from mutations in the superoxide dismutase 1 gene (SOD1).
In summary, our results demonstrated a marked up-regulation of CB2 receptors occurring in the spinal cord in canine DM, which was concentrated in activated astrocytes.
Such receptors may be used as a potential target to enhance the neuroprotective effects exerted by these glial cells.”
“Research in recent years has extensively investigated the therapeutic efficacy of mesenchymal stromal cells in regenerative medicine for many neurodegenerative diseases at preclinical and clinical stages.
However, the success rate of stem cell therapy remains less at translational phase. Lack of relevant animal models that potentially simulate the molecular etiology of human pathological symptoms might be a reason behind such poor clinical outcomes associated with stem cell therapy.
Apparently, self-renewal and differentiation ability of mesenchymal stem cells may help to study the early developmental signaling pathways connected with the diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), etc., at in vitro level.
Cannabidiol, a non-psychotrophic cannabinoid, has been demonstrated as a potent anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective agent in neurological preclinical models.
In the present study, we investigated the modulatory role of cannabidiol on genes associated with ALS using human gingiva-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (hGMSCs) as an in vitro model system.
Next generation transcriptomic sequencing analysis demonstrated considerable modifications in the expression of genes connected with ALS pathology, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and excitotoxicity in hGMSCs treated with cannabidiol.
Our results suggest the efficacy of cannabidiol to delineate the unknown molecular pathways, which may underlie ALS pathology at early stage using hGMSCs as a compelling in vitro system.”
“Endocannabinoids activate two types of specific G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), namely cannabinoid CB1 and CB2. Contrary to the psychotropic actions of agonists of CB1 receptors, and serious side effects of the selective antagonists of this receptor, drugs acting on CB2 receptors appear as promising drugs to combat CNS diseases (Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s chorea, cerebellar ataxia, amyotrohic lateral sclerosis). Differential localization of CB2 receptors in neural cell types and upregulation in neuroinflammation are keys to understand the therapeutic potential in inter alia diseases that imply progressive neurodegeneration. Medicinal chemistry approaches are now engaged to develop imaging tools to map receptors in the living human brain, to develop more efficacious agonists, and to investigate the possibility to develop allosteric modulators.”