Medical cannabis eases pain, improves appetite

“Medical Cannabis treatment can improve appetite, ease chronic pain, and more, researchers say.

Though controversial, medical cannabis has been gaining ground as a valid therapy, offering relief to suffers of diseases such as cancer, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, ALS and more.

The substance is known to soothe severe pain, increase the appetite, and ease insomnia where other common medications fail.”

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-01-25/health/36547301_1_medical-cannabis-chronic-pain-muscle-spasms

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Medical cannabis can improve appetite, ease chronic pain, say researchers

“Though controversial, medical cannabis has been gaining ground as a valid therapy, offering relief to suffers of diseases such as cancer, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, ALS and more. The substance is known to soothe severe pain, increase the appetite, and ease insomnia  where other common medications fail.

In 2009, Zach Klein, a graduate of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Film and Television Studies, directed the documentary Prescribed Grass. Through the process, he developed an interest in the scientific research behind medical marijuana, and now, as a specialist in policy-making surrounding medical cannabis and an MA student at TAU’s Porter School of Environmental Studies, he is conducting his own research into the benefits of medical cannabis.

Using marijuana from a farm called Tikkun Olam – a reference to the Jewish concept of healing the world – Klein and his fellow researchers tested the impact of the treatment on 19 residents of the Hadarim nursing home in Israel. The results, Klein says, have been outstanding. Not only did participants experience dramatic physical results, including healthy weight gain and the reduction of pain and tremors, but Hadarim staff saw an immediate improvement in the participants’ moods and communication skills. The use of chronic medications was also significantly reduced, he reports.”

Read more: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20130125/Medical-cannabis-can-improve-appetite-ease-chronic-pain-say-researchers.aspx

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Cannabidiol: a promising drug for neurodegenerative disorders?

“Neurodegenerative diseases represent, nowadays, one of the main causes of death in the industrialized country. They are characterized by a loss of neurons in particular regions of the nervous system. It is believed that this nerve cell loss underlies the subsequent decline in cognitive and motor function that patients experience in these diseases. A range of mutant genes and environmental toxins have been implicated in the cause of neurodegenerative disorders but the mechanism remains largely unknown. At present, inflammation, a common denominator among the diverse list of neurodegenerative diseases, has been implicated as a critical mechanism that is responsible for the progressive nature of neurodegeneration.

Since, at present, there are few therapies for the wide range of neurodegenerative diseases, scientists are still in search of new therapeutic approaches to the problem. An early contribution of neuroprotective and antiinflammatory strategies for these disorders seems particularly desirable because isolated treatments cannot be effective.

 In this contest, marijuana derivatives have attracted special interest, although these compounds have always raised several practical and ethical problems for their potential abuse. Nevertheless, among Cannabis compounds, cannabidiol (CBD), which lacks any unwanted psychotropic effect, may represent a very promising agent with the highest prospect for therapeutic use.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19228180

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Cannabidiol Reduces Aβ-Induced Neuroinflammation and Promotes Hippocampal Neurogenesis through PPARγ Involvement

“CBD blunted neuroinflammation sustained by astrocytes through PPARγ selective activation in vitro and in vivo.

Results from the present study prove the selective involvement of PPARγ in the anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects of CBD here observed either in vitro and in vivo. In addition, CBD significantly promoted neurogenesis in Aβ injured rat hippocampi, much expanding its already wide spectrum of beneficial actions exerted in AD models, a non negligible effect, due to its capability to activate PPARγ.

In conclusion, results of the present research demonstrate that CBD may exert protective functions through a PPARγ dependent activation, which leads to a reduction in reactive gliosis and consequently in neurodegeneration. Moreover, in the current experimental conditions this phytocannabinoid appears to stimulate neurogenesis since it increases DCX immunopositive cell proliferation rate in rat DG.

Innovative therapeutic approaches which could significantly improve AD course require new molecules that will be able to have an impact on different pathological pathways, which converge at the progressive neurological decline. CBD has shown a capability to profoundly reduce reactive astrogliosis and to guarantee both direct and indirect neuronal protection in Aβ induced neuroinflammation/neurodegeration. So far, the lack of understanding of the precise molecular mechanism involved in CBD pharmacological actions, has had limited interest and has puzzled investigators.

Currently, findings of the present study throw some light on the issue, and frame CBD as a new PPARγ activator.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3230631/

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The Cannabinoid CB2 Receptor as a Target for Inflammation-Dependent Neurodegeneration

“THE CANNABINOID CB2 RECEPTOR AS A BIORATIONAL TARGET FOR THE TREATMENT OF NEURODEGENERATION. The presence of CB2 receptors in microglia in the human Alzheimer’s diseased brain suggests that CB2 may provide a novel target for a range of neuropathologies.

 The first approved cannabinoid drugs were analogues of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC). Dronabinol is a natural isomer of THC that is found in the cannabis plant, and Marinol contains synthetic dronabinol. Marinol, and another analogue nabilone (Cesamet ) are used to prevent nausea and vomiting after treatment with anti-cancer medicines. More recently, GW-100 (Sativex) which combines nearly equal amounts of Δ9-THC and cannabidiol in a whole plant extract from cultivated cannabis, has been approved in Canada…

We conclude that the administration of CB2 agonists and antagonists may differentially alter microglia-dependent neuroinflammation. CB2 specific compounds have considerable therapeutic appeal over CB1 compounds, as the exclusive expression of CB2 on immune cells within the brain provides a highly specialised target, without the psychoactivity that plagues CB1 directed therapies.

In addition, CB2 activation appears to prevent or decrease microglial activation.

In a rodent model of Alzheimer’s disease microglial activation was completely prevented by administration of a selective CB2 agonist.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18615177

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Role of CB2 receptors in neuroprotective effects of cannabinoids.

“CB2 receptors, the so-called peripheral cannabinoid receptor type, were first described in the immune system, but they have been recently identified in the brain in healthy conditions and, in particular, after several types of cytotoxic stimuli. Specifically, CB2 receptors were identified in microglial cells, astrocytes and, to a lesser extent, in certain subpopulations of neurons.

Given the lack of psychoactivity demonstrated by selective CB2 receptor agonists, this receptor becomes an interesting target for the treatment of neurological diseases, in particular, the case of certain neurodegenerative disorders in which induction/up-regulation of CB2 receptors has been already demonstrated. These disorders include Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s chorea, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and others. Interestingly, in experimental models of these disorders, the activation of CB2 receptors has been related to a delayed progression of neurodegenerative events, in particular, those related to the toxic influence of microglial cells on neuronal homeostasis.

 The present article will review the evidence supporting that CB2 receptors might represent a key element in the endogenous response against different types of cytotoxic events, and that this receptor type may be a clinically promising target for the control of brain damage in neurodegenerative disorders.”

 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18291574

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The endocannabinoid system in targeting inflammatory neurodegenerative diseases.

“The classical divide between degenerative and inflammatory disorders of the CNS is vanishing as accumulating evidence shows that inflammatory processes are important in the pathophysiology of primarily degenerative disorders, and neurodegeneration complicates primarily inflammatory diseases of the brain and spinal cord. Here, we review the contribution of degenerative and inflammatory processes to CNS disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis and HIV-associated dementia.

An early combination of neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory approaches to these disorders seems particularly desirable because isolated treatment of one pathological process might worsen another.

We also discuss the apparently unique opportunity to modify neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation simultaneously by pharmacological manipulation of the endocannabinoid system in the CNS and in peripheral immune cells. Current knowledge of this system and its involvement in the above CNS disorders are also reviewed.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17350694

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Endocannabinoid system: emerging role from neurodevelopment to neurodegeneration.

“The endocannabinoid system, including endogenous ligands (‘endocannabinoids’ ECs), their receptors, synthesizing and degrading enzymes, as well as transporter molecules, has been detected from the earliest stages of embryonic development and throughout pre- and postnatal development. ECs are bioactive lipids, which comprise amides, esters and ethers of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Anandamide (N-arachidonoylethanolamine; AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) are the best studied ECs, and act as agonists of cannabinoid receptors.

Thus, AEA and 2-AG mimic several pharmacological effects of the exogenous cannabinoid delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta(9)-THC), the psychoactive principle of cannabis sativa preparations like hashish and marijuana. Recently, however, several lines of evidence have suggested that the EC system may play an important role in early neuronal development as well as a widespread role in neurodegeneration disorders. Many of the effects of cannabinoids and ECs are mediated by two G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), CB1 and CB2, although additional receptors may be implicated. Both CB1 and CB2 couple primarily to inhibitory G proteins and are subject to the same pharmacological influences as other GPCRs. This new system is briefly presented in this review, in order to put in a better perspective the role of the EC pathway from neurodevelopment to neurodegenerative disorders, like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

In addition, the potential exploitation of antagonists of CB1 receptors, or of inhibitors of EC metabolism, as next-generation therapeutics is discussed.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19356123

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Cannabinoids Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol Differentially Inhibit the Lipopolysaccharide-activated NF-κB and Interferon-β/STAT Proinflammatory Pathways in BV-2 Microglial Cells

“Cannabinoids have been shown to exert anti-inflammatory activities in various in vivo and in vitro experimental models as well as ameliorate various inflammatory degenerative diseases. Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)is a major constituent of Cannabis and serves as an agonist of the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2.

The second major constituent of Cannabis extract is cannabidiol (CBD). CBD lacks the psychoactive effects that accompany the use of THC. Moreover, CBD was demonstrated to antagonize some undesirable effects of THC, including intoxication, sedation, and tachycardia, while sharing neuroprotective, anti-oxidative, anti-emetic, and anti-carcinogenic properties. Both THC and CBD have been shown to exert anti-inflammatory properties and to modulate the function of immune cells…

In summary, our results show that although both THC and CBD exert anti-inflammatory effects, the two compounds engage different, although to some extent overlapping, intracellular pathways. Both THC and CBD decrease the activation of proinflammatory signaling…

 The cannabinoids by moderating or disrupting these signaling networks may show promise as anti-inflammatory agents.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2804319/

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Cannabinoid Receptor Type 1 Protects Nigrostriatal Dopaminergic Neurons against MPTP Neurotoxicity by Inhibiting Microglial Activation

“The present in vivo and in vitro findings clearly indicate that the CB1 receptor possesses anti-inflammatory properties and inhibits microglia-mediated oxidative stress.

 Our results collectively suggest that the cannabinoid system is beneficial for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other disorders associated with neuroinflammation and microglia-derived oxidative damage.

CB1 receptor is a useful pharmacological target for treating PD and other disorders associated with neuroinflammation and microglia-derived oxidative damage. ”

http://www.jimmunol.org/content/187/12/6508.long

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