An Overview on Medicinal Chemistry of Synthetic and Natural Derivatives of Cannabidiol.

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“Cannabidiol (CBD) has been traditionally used in Cannabis-based preparation, however historically, it has received far less interest as a single drug than the other components of Cannabis. Currently, CBD generates considerable interest due to its beneficial neuroprotective, antiepileptic, anxiolytic, antipsychotic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, the CBD scaffold becomes of increasing interest for medicinal chemists. This review provides an overview of the chemical structure of natural and synthetic CBD derivatives including the molecular targets associated with these compounds. A clear identification of their biological targets has been shown to be still very challenging.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28701957

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Cannabinoids prevent the differential long-term effects of exposure to severe stress on hippocampal- and amygdala-dependent memory and plasticity.

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“Exposure to excessive or uncontrolled stress is a major factor associated with various diseases including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The consequences of exposure to trauma are affected not only by aspects of the event itself, but also by the frequency and severity of trauma reminders. It was suggested that in PTSD, hippocampal-dependent memory is compromised while amygdala-dependent memory is strengthened.

Several lines of evidence support the role of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system as a modulator of the stress response.

In this study we aimed to examine cannabinoids modulation of the long-term effects (i.e., 1 month) of exposure to a traumatic event on memory and plasticity in the hippocampus and amygdala.

Cannabinoids prevent the differential long-term effects of exposure to severe stress on hippocampal- and amygdala-dependent memory and plasticity.

Taken together, these findings suggest the involvement of the endocannabinoid system, and specifically CB1 receptors, in the opposite effects of severe stress on memory and plasticity in the hippocampus and amygdala.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28667676

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi?DOI=10.1002/hipo.22755

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The cannabinoid ligand LH-21 reduces anxiety and improves glucose handling in diet-induced obese pre-diabetic mice.

“LH-21 is a triazol derivative that has been described as a low-permeant neutral CB1 antagonist, though its pharmacology is still unclear. It has been associated with anti-obesity actions in obese rats. However, its role in preventing type 2 diabetes (T2D) onset have not been studied yet. Given CB1 receptors remain as potential pharmacological targets to fight against obesity and T2D, we wanted to explore the metabolic impact of this compound in an animal model of obesity and pre-diabetes as well as the lack of relevant actions in related central processes such as anxiety. These results suggest that LH-21 can be a new candidate to fight against diabetes onset. Indeed, this compound shows potential in counteracting obesity-related anxiety.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28638091   https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-03292-w

“Anti-obesity efficacy of LH-21, a cannabinoid CB(1) receptor antagonist with poor brain penetration, in diet-induced obese rats.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21951309

“Antiobesity effects of the novel in vivo neutral cannabinoid receptor antagonist 5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-3-hexyl-1H-1,2,4-triazole–LH 21.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16750544

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Is cannabis treatment for anxiety, mood, and related disorders ready for prime time?

Depression and Anxiety

“Anxiety and related disorders are the most common mental conditions affecting the North American population. Despite their established efficacy, first-line antidepressant treatments are associated with significant side effects, leading many afflicted individuals to seek alternative treatments. Cannabis is commonly viewed as a natural alternative for a variety of medical and mental health conditions. Currently, anxiety ranks among the top five medical symptoms for which North Americans report using medical marijuana. However, upon careful review of the extant treatment literature, the anxiolytic effects of cannabis in clinical populations are surprisingly not well-documented. The effects of cannabis on anxiety and mood symptoms have been examined in healthy populations and in several small studies of synthetic cannabinoid agents but there are currently no studies which have examined the effects of the cannabis plant on anxiety and related disorders. In light of the rapidly shifting landscape regarding the legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, it is important to highlight the significant disconnect between the scientific literature, public opinion, and related policies. The aim of this article is to provide a comprehensive review of the current cannabis treatment literature, and to identify the potential for cannabis to be used as a therapeutic intervention for anxiety, mood, and related disorders. Searches of five electronic databases were conducted (PubMed, MEDLINE, Web of Science, PsychINFO, and Google Scholar), with the most recent in February 2017. The effects of cannabis on healthy populations and clinical psychiatric samples will be discussed, focusing primarily on anxiety and mood disorders.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28636769   http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/da.22664/abstract

“The endocannabinoid system and the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders. Collectively, both clinical and preclinical data argue that cannabinoid receptor signalling may be a realistic target in the development of a novel class of agent for the pharmacotherapy of mood and anxiety disorders.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19839936

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Plastic and Neuroprotective Mechanisms Involved in the Therapeutic Effects of Cannabidiol in Psychiatric Disorders.

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“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.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28588483

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fphar.2017.00269/full

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Medicinal Uses of Marijuana and Cannabinoids

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“In the past two decades, there has been increasing interest in the therapeutic potential of cannabis and single cannabinoids, mainly cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC and cannabis products rich in THC exert their effects mainly through the activation of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). Since 1975, 140 controlled clinical trials using different cannabinoids or whole-plant preparations for the treatment of a large number of disorders and symptoms have been conducted. Results have led to the approval of cannabis-based medicines [dronabinol, nabilone, and the cannabis extract nabiximols (Sativex®, THC:CBD = 1:1)] as well as cannabis flowers in several countries. Controlled clinical studies provide substantial evidence for the use of cannabinoid receptor agonists in cancer chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, appetite loss and cachexia in cancer and HIV patients, neuropathic and chronic pain, and in spasticity in multiple sclerosis. In addition, there is also some evidence suggesting a therapeutic potential of cannabis-based medicines in other indications including Tourette syndrome, spinal cord injury, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and glaucoma. In several other indications, small uncontrolled and single-case studies reporting beneficial effects are available, for example in posttraumatic stress disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and migraine. The most common side effects of THC and cannabis-based medicines rich in THC are sedation and dizziness (in more than 10% of patients), psychological effects, and dry mouth. Tolerance to these side effects nearly always develops within a short time. Withdrawal symptoms are hardly ever a problem in the therapeutic setting. In recent years there is an increasing interest in the medical use of CBD, which exerts no intoxicating side effects and is usually well-tolerated. Preliminary data suggest promising effects in the treatment of anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, dystonia, and some forms of epilepsy. This review gives an overview on clinical studies which have been published over the past 40 years.”

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07352689.2016.1265360?needAccess=true&journalCode=bpts20

“Review Identifies 140 Controlled Clinical Trials Related to Cannabis”  http://blog.norml.org/2017/06/04/review-identifies-140-controlled-clinical-trials-related-to-cannabis/

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Modulation of CB1 cannabinoid receptor by allosteric ligands: Pharmacology and therapeutic opportunities.

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“Cannabinoid pharmacology has been intensely studied because of cannabis’ pervasive medicinal and non-medicinal uses as well as for the therapeutic potential of cannabinoid-based drugs for the treatment of pain, anxiety, substance abuse, obesity, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. The identification of allosteric modulators of the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) has given a new direction to the development of cannabinoid-based therapeutics due to the many advantages offered by targeting allosteric site(s). Allosteric receptor modulators hold potential to develop subtype-specific and pathway-specific therapeutics. Here we briefly discuss the first-generation of allosteric modulators of CB1 receptor, their structure-activity relationships, signaling pathways and the allosteric binding site(s) on the CB1 receptor.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28527758

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028390817302307

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Cannabidiol in Medical Marijuana: Research Vistas and Potential Opportunities.

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“The high and increasing prevalence of medical marijuana consumption in the general population invites the need for quality evidence regarding its safety and efficacy. Herein, we synthesize extant literature pertaining to the phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) and its brain effects.

The principle phytocannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and CBD are the major pharmacologically active cannabinoids. The effect of CBD on brain systems as well as on phenomenological measures (e.g. cognitive function) are distinct and in many cases opposite to that of Δ9-THC.

Cannabidiol is without euphoriant properties, and exerts antipsychotic, anxiolytic, anti-seizure, as well as anti-inflammatory properties.

It is essential to parcellate phytocannabinoids into their constituent moieties as the most abundant cannabinoid have differential effects on physiologic systems in psychopathology measures. Disparate findings and reports related to effects of cannabis consumption reflect differential relative concentration of Δ9-THC and CBD.

Existing literature, notwithstanding its deficiencies, provides empirical support for the hypothesis that CBD may exert beneficial effects on brain effector systems/substrates subserving domain-based phenomenology. Interventional studies with purified CBD are warranted with a call to target-engagement proof-of-principle studies using the research domain criteria (RDoC) framework.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28501518

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1043661817303559

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Cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs – a cross-sectional study

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“The use of medical cannabis is increasing, most commonly for pain, anxiety and depression. Emerging data suggest that use and abuse of prescription drugs may be decreasing in states where medical cannabis is legal. The aim of this study was to survey cannabis users to determine whether they had intentionally substituted cannabis for prescription drugs.

A total of 1,248 (46%) respondents reported using cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs. The most common classes of drugs substituted were narcotics/opioids (35.8%), anxiolytics/benzodiazepines (13.6%) and antidepressants (12.7%). A total of 2,473 substitutions were reported or approximately two drug substitutions per affirmative respondent.

These patient-reported outcomes support prior research that individuals are using cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs, particularly, narcotics/opioids, and independent of whether they identify themselves as medical or non-medical users. This is especially true if they suffer from pain, anxiety and depression. Additionally, this study suggests that state laws allowing access to, and use of, medical cannabis may not be influencing individual decision-making in this area.”

https://www.dovepress.com/cannabis-as-a-substitute-for-prescription-drugs-ndash-a-cross-sectiona-peer-reviewed-article-JPR

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The endocannabinoid system as a target for novel anxiolytic drugs.

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“The endocannabinoid (eCB) system has attracted attention for its role in various behavioral and brain functions, and as a therapeutic target in neuropsychiatric disease states, including anxiety disorders and other conditions resulting from dysfunctional responses to stress. In this mini-review, we highlight components of the eCB system that offer potential ‘druggable’ targets for new anxiolytic medications, emphasizing some of the less well-discussed options. We discuss how selectively amplifying eCBs recruitment by interfering with eCB-degradation, via fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), has been linked to reductions in anxiety-like behaviors in rodents and variation in human anxiety symptoms. We also discuss a non-canonical route to regulate eCB degradation that involves interfering with cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). Next, we discuss approaches to targeting eCB receptor-signaling in ways that do not involve the cannabinoid receptor subtype 1 (CB1R); by targeting the CB2R subtype and the transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1). Finally, we review evidence that cannabidiol (CBD), while representing a less specific pharmacological approach, may be another way to modulate eCBs and interacting neurotransmitter systems to alleviate anxiety. Taken together, these various approaches provide a range of plausible paths to developing novel compounds that could prove useful for treating trauma-related and anxiety disorders.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28434588

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