The endocannabinoid system misfires in ADHD mice (Commentary on Castelli et al.)

European Journal of Neuroscience

“Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by short attention span, hyperactivity and impulsiveness and affects both children and adults. Its social and economic significance can hardly be overrated, with a recent literature review estimating a worldwide prevalence of more than 5% (Polanczyk et al., 2007). With importance comes controversy, and the biological basis of ADHD, its diagnostic criteria and its treatments continue to divide opinions.

Neuroscientists have tackled ADHD at several levels. Brain imaging has revealed abnormalities in ADHD patients, particularly in the neural networks linking the frontal cortex to the basal ganglia (Cubillo et al., 2011). The genetic factors underlying ADHD are also being unravelled. Several lines of research point to an involvement of the dopaminergic system, and the dopamine transporter (DAT) in particular. DAT polymorphism is correlated with ADHD (Gizer et al., 2009). Intriguingly, abnormalities of the DAT and its pharmacology may explain the apparent paradox that stimulants such as amphetamine and methylphenidate (Ritalin), which inhibit DAT activity and increase extracellular dopamine, are effective (and widespread) treatments for ADHD symptoms.

Given these findings, the use of animal models of ADHD carrying mutations in the DAT gene holds great promise. In a study published in this issue of EJNCastelli et al. (2011) used a knock-in transgenic mouse in which a mutant version of the DAT gene results in a protein that becomes insensitive to cocaine, while retaining at least in part its functionality (Chen et al., 2006). These DAT mutant mice are hyperactive and respond paradoxically to both cocaine and methylphenidate: these drugs, which induce hyperlocomotor states in normal mice, reduce motor activity in the DAT mutants (Tilley & Gu, 2008).

Castelli et al. (2011) focused on the endocannabinoid system in the striatum of these DAT mutant mice. There are good reasons to investigate in this direction. Dopamine promotes endocannabinoid release in the striatum (Yin & Lovinger, 2006) and striatal dopamine levels are elevated in DAT mutant mice.

In normal animals, striatal projection neurons release endocannabinoids in response to ionotropic and metabotropic receptor activation. Endocannabinoids then act as retrograde messengers, diffusing in the extracellular space and binding presynaptic CB1 receptors located on glutamatergic and GABAergic terminals. In both cases, this decreases neurotransmitter release.

Castelli et al. (2011) found that endocannabinoid signalling is dramatically impaired in DAT mutant mice. Surprisingly, the mice present a specific deficit of the endocannabinoid-mediated control of GABA release, while control of glutamate is unaffected. The potential implications of these findings are fascinating: the striatum, whose intrinsic circuits are mostly GABAergic, is involved in the action selection process (Kimchi & Laubach, 2009). Thus, the inability of striatal projection neurons to suppress inhibition may be directly linked to abnormal action selection – a cardinal feature of ADHD.

This is one of several changes induced by the mutated DAT gene in the striatal network, including those of dopamine signalling previously described by the same group (Napolitano et al., 2010). However, this is the first indication that the endocannabinoid-mediated control of synaptic inhibition may be selectively impaired in ADHD, and raises the possibility that drugs able to restore this process may prove effective in its treatment.”

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Loss of striatal cannabinoid CB1 receptor function in attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder mice with point-mutation of the dopamine transporter.

“Abnormal dopamine (DA) transmission in the striatum plays a pivotal role in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

As striatal DA signalling modulates the endocannabinoid system (ECS), the present study was aimed at investigating cannabinoid CB1 receptor (CB1R) function in a model of ADHD…

Our results point to CB1Rs as novel molecular players in ADHD, and suggest that therapeutic strategies aimed at interfering with the ECS might prove effective in this disorder.”

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Medical Marijuana Helps Cure Chronic Disease

Medical Marijuana Helps Cure Chronic Disease

“The medicinal power of Marijuana is well documented throughtout history

Back in 2700 BC, According to Chinese lore, the Emperor Shen Nung, considered the Father of Chinese medicine, in 2700 BC ,discovered the healing properties of Marijuana as well as Ginseng and Ephedra.

Throughout recorded history, the use of Medical Marijuana  has been linked to the ancient Egyptians, Persians, Greek civilizations, George Washington, Queen Victoria and even mainstream medicine by the 1840s.

From the 1850s to Y 1942, Marijuana was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia, an official public standards-setting authority for all prescription and over-the counter medicines, as a treatment for tetanus, cholera, rabies, dysentery, alcoholism, opiate addiction, convulsive disorders, insanity, excessive menstrual bleeding and many other health problems. My father was a Dental doctor and had a license to dispense the drug, pharmacies carried it back then.

During that same time frame prohibition gained popularity, that along with a growing “faith” in federal government.

By Y 1937, the United States passed its 1st federal law against Marijuana despite objections by the American Medical Association (AMA).

In fact, Dr. William C. Woodward, testifying on behalf of the AMA, told the US Congress:

“The American Medical Association knows of no evidence that Marijuana is a dangerous drug.”

He warned that a prohibition “loses sight of the fact that future investigation may show that there are substantial medical uses for Cannabis.”

Today, we see a growing trend of acceptance of Marijuana for its medicinal purposes.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, reversed his Y 2009 opinion against Marijuana when he said, “We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 yrs in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.”

Now people including lawmakers are seeing the legalization of Marijuana in states like Colorado and Washington for “recreational” purposes. Most Americans are in favor of Medical Marijuana,  and the legalization of this drug.

The Big Q: why does the federal government want to ban its usage?

The Big A: it is all about control and money, and there is a major market for it, plus it poses a major threat to the pharmaceutical industry.

Below are just a few of the many health benefits associated with Medical Marijuana:

1. It can stop HIV from spreading throughout the body.
2. It slows the progression of Alzheimer’s.
3. It slows the spread of cancer cells.
4. It is an active pain reliever.
5. It can prevent or help with opiate addiction.
6. It combats depression, anxiety and ADHD.
7. It can treat epilepsy and Tourette’s.
8. It can help with other neurological damage, such as concussions and strokes.
9. It can prevent blindness from glaucoma.
10. Its connected to lower insulin levels in diabetics.

Contrary to popular notions, many patients  experience health benefits from Medical Marijuana without “getting stoned.””

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Therapeutic potential of cannabinoid medicines.

Drug Testing and Analysis

“Cannabis was extensively used as a medicine throughout the developed world in the nineteenth century but went into decline early in the twentieth century ahead of its emergence as the most widely used illicit recreational drug later that century. Recent advances in cannabinoid pharmacology alongside the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) have re-ignited interest in cannabis-based medicines.

The ECS has emerged as an important physiological system and plausible target for new medicines. Its receptors and endogenous ligands play a vital modulatory role in diverse functions including immune response, food intake, cognition, emotion, perception, behavioural reinforcement, motor co-ordination, body temperature, wake/sleep cycle, bone formation and resorption, and various aspects of hormonal control. In disease it may act as part of the physiological response or as a component of the underlying pathology.

In the forefront of clinical research are the cannabinoids delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, and their contrasting pharmacology will be briefly outlined. The therapeutic potential and possible risks of drugs that inhibit the ECS will also be considered. This paper will then go on to review clinical research exploring the potential of cannabinoid medicines in the following indications: symptomatic relief in multiple sclerosis, chronic neuropathic pain, intractable nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite and weight in the context of cancer or AIDS, psychosis, epilepsy, addiction, and metabolic disorders.”

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The endocannabinoid system and its therapeutic exploitation.

Image result for Nat Rev Drug Discov.

“The term ‘endocannabinoid’ – originally coined in the mid-1990s after the discovery of membrane receptors for the psychoactive principle in Cannabis, Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and their endogenous ligands – now indicates a whole signalling system that comprises cannabinoid receptors, endogenous ligands and enzymes for ligand biosynthesis and inactivation. This system seems to be involved in an ever-increasing number of pathological conditions. With novel products already being aimed at the pharmaceutical market little more than a decade since the discovery of cannabinoid receptors, the endocannabinoid system seems to hold even more promise for the future development of therapeutic drugs. We explore the conditions under which the potential of targeting the endocannabinoid system might be realized in the years to come.”

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From cannabis to the endocannabinoid system: refocussing attention on potential clinical benefits.

Image result for West Indian Med J

“Cannabis sativa is one of the oldest herbal remedies known to man. Over the past four thousand years, it has been used for the treatment of numerous diseases but due to its psychoactive properties, its current medicinal usage is highly restricted. In this review, we seek to highlight advances made over the last forty years in the understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the effects of cannabis on the human body and how these can potentially be utilized in clinical practice. During this time, the primary active ingredients in cannabis have been isolated, specific cannabinoid receptors have been discovered and at least five endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitters (endocannabinoids) have been identified. Together, these form the framework of a complex endocannabinoid signalling system that has widespread distribution in the body and plays a role in regulating numerous physiological processes within the body. Cannabinoid ligands are therefore thought to display considerable therapeutic potential and the drive to develop compounds that can be targeted to specific neuronal systems at low enough doses so as to eliminate cognitive side effects remains the ‘holy grail’ of endocannabinoid research.”

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Targeting the endocannabinoid system with cannabinoid receptor agonists: pharmacological strategies and therapeutic possibilities.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences: 367 (1607)

“Human tissues express cannabinoid CB(1) and CB(2) receptors that can be activated by endogenously released ‘endocannabinoids’ or exogenously administered compounds in a manner that reduces the symptoms or opposes the underlying causes of several disorders in need of effective therapy. Three medicines that activate cannabinoid CB(1)/CB(2) receptors are now in the clinic: Cesamet (nabilone), Marinol (dronabinol; Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ(9)-THC)) and Sativex (Δ(9)-THC with cannabidiol). These can be prescribed for the amelioration of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (Cesamet and Marinol), stimulation of appetite (Marinol) and symptomatic relief of cancer pain and/or management of neuropathic pain and spasticity in adults with multiple sclerosis (Sativex). This review mentions several possible additional therapeutic targets for cannabinoid receptor agonists. These include other kinds of pain, epilepsy, anxiety, depression, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, stroke, cancer, drug dependence, glaucoma, autoimmune uveitis, osteoporosis, sepsis, and hepatic, renal, intestinal and cardiovascular disorders. It also describes potential strategies for improving the efficacy and/or benefit-to-risk ratio of these agonists in the clinic. These are strategies that involve (i) targeting cannabinoid receptors located outside the blood-brain barrier, (ii) targeting cannabinoid receptors expressed by a particular tissue, (iii) targeting upregulated cannabinoid receptors, (iv) selectively targeting cannabinoid CB(2) receptors, and/or (v) adjunctive ‘multi-targeting’.”

“Targeting the endocannabinoid system with cannabinoid receptor agonists: pharmacological strategies and therapeutic possibilities”

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The endocannabinoid system in peripheral lymphocytes as a mirror of neuroinflammatory diseases.


“During immuno-mediated attack of the brain, activation of endocannabinoids represents a protective mechanism, aimed at reducing both neurodegenerative and inflammatory damage through various and partially converging mechanisms that involve neuronal and immune cells. Here, we review the main alterations of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) within the central nervous system and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells, in order to discuss the intriguing observation that elements of the peripheral ECS mirror central dysfunctions of endocannabinoid signaling. As a consequence, elements of blood ECS might serve as novel, non-invasive diagnostic tools of several neurological disorders, and targeting the ECS might be useful for therapeutic purposes. In addition, we discuss the appealing working hypothesis that the presence of type-1 cannabinoid receptors on the luminal side, and that of type-2 cannabinoid receptors on the abluminal side of the blood-brain barrier, could drive a unidirectional transport of AEA in the luminal –> abluminal direction (i.e., from blood to brain), thus implying that blood may be a reservoir of AEA for the brain. On this basis, it can be expected that an unbalance of the endogenous tone of AEA in the blood may sustain a similar unbalance of its level within the brain, as demonstrated in Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, depression and headache.”

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Major Health Benefits of Medical Cannabis

“The benefits of medical marijuana plant are extensive, pervasive, and long-standing. Because of the way the cannabis impacts the Autonomic Nervous System which develops the breath and relaxes the body, prospective for health and curative characteristics are huge. Some of the major health benefits of medical cannabis are explained below:

Treats Migraines

Cannabis healing has been very effective in the treatment of migraine headaches. Migraine headaches are vascular in source and are often preceded by an air characterized by nausea, flashes of light, faintness or photosensitivity.

Slows Down Tumor Growth

Studies have shown that cannabis help in slow down the facsimile and slow down the production of cancer cells in body. It is also a natural antiemetic, which makes it effectual in plummeting the nausea and vomiting related with chemo and radiation therapies. So taking marijuana slows down the tumor growth too.

Relieves Symptoms of Chronic Diseases

Marijuana is one of the best natural pain relievers that can help sufferers of chronic pain live more relaxed lives. The side effects are often much less severe than the other common pain medications.

Prevents Alzheimer’s

Cannabis reduces the occurrence of depression in Alzheimer’s patients, which can help patients to keep up a higher level of brain function. That is a powerful way to keep patients performance for a longer time after the first onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Treats Glaucoma

Some strains of this medicinal plant have been shown that, they are potentially decreasing the force that glaucoma can place on the optic nerve; thereby the patients can easily cut the critical condition by smoking or taking the marijuana edibles or medicines.

Prevents Seizures

Seizure is a kind of epilepsy which almost affects more than 2 millions of Americans and 30 millions of people worldwide. Epilepsy is a condition when some of the brain cells become abnormally excitable. People using marijuana to control epilepsy should be alert when there is any removal of any tablets which controls seizures may leave you more susceptible to the patient. Marijuana is no exception. Patients with epilepsy are advised to exercise caution when using oral THC because there is no enough sufficient knowledge about the convulsive or anti-convulsive properties of the single compound.

For ADD and ADHD

Many people who endure with ADD and/or ADHD find that medical cannabis recovers their knack to hub and their level of recital with definite tasks. There are no clinical studies on humans but there are some beginner studies have done on animals that point to less hyperactivity and impulsivity with the use of cannabinoids (the active medicines in cannabis).

Relieve PMS

Millions of women have an illness on Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). PMS includes the symptoms of headaches, abdominal cramps, bloating and fluid retention. Many women report that they have tried several different medications but none as give any significant relief like Medical Marijuana. Cannabis medicine has shown to give symptomatic relief from all the unpleasant symptoms of PMS.

Calm Those With Tourette’s and OCD

Several psychological disorders have been known to be related with the medical benefits of marijuana as well. Taking weed of prescribed amount on regular basis can slow down the tics for those who are suffering from Tourette’s syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Yes some of the qualities in marijuana plant help the patient to calm themselves when any creation of intrusive thoughts which produces fear, uneasiness and abnormal behaviors.”

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The therapeutic potential of novel cannabinoid receptors.

Cover image

“Cannabinoids produce a plethora of biological effects, including the modulation of neuronal activity through the activation of CB(1) receptors and of immune responses through the activation of CB(2) receptors. The selective targeting of either of these two receptor subtypes has clear therapeutic value. Recent evidence indicates that some of the cannabinomimetic effects previously thought to be produced through CB(1) and/or CB(2) receptors, be they on neuronal activity, on the vasculature tone or immune responses, still persist despite the pharmacological blockade or genetic ablation of CB(1) and/or CB(2) receptors. This suggests that additional cannabinoid and cannabinoid-like receptors exist. Here we will review this evidence in the context of their therapeutic value and discuss their true belonging to the endocannabinoid signaling system.”

“The therapeutic potential of novel cannabinoid receptors”

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