Cannabis, the Endocannabinoid System and Immunity-the Journey From the Bedside to the Bench and Back

ijms-logo“The Cannabis plant contains numerous components, including cannabinoids and other active molecules. The phyto-cannabinoid activity is mediated by the endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoids affect the nervous system and play significant roles in the regulation of the immune system.

While Cannabis is not yet registered as a drug, the potential of cannabinoid-based medicines for the treatment of various conditions has led many countries to authorize their clinical use. However, the data from basic and medical research dedicated to medical Cannabis is currently limited.

A variety of pathological conditions involve dysregulation of the immune system. For example, in cancer, immune surveillance and cancer immuno-editing result in immune tolerance. On the other hand, in autoimmune diseases increased immune activity causes tissue damage.

Immuno-modulating therapies can regulate the immune system and therefore the immune-regulatory properties of cannabinoids, suggest their use in the therapy of immune related disorders.

In this contemporary review, we discuss the roles of the endocannabinoid system in immunity and explore the emerging data about the effects of cannabinoids on the immune response in different pathologies. In addition, we discuss the complexities of using cannabinoid-based treatments in each of these conditions.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32585801/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/12/4448

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Cannabis Extract for the Treatment of Painful Tonic Spasms in a Patient With Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder: A Case Report

Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders | Journal | ScienceDirect.com“Painful tonic spasm (PTS) is a common yet debilitating symptom in patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), especially those with longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis. Although carbamazepine is an effective treatment, it poses the risk of severe adverse reactions, such as Steven-Johnson syndrome (SJS).

In this case report, we describe an NMOSD patient with severe PTS suffering from carbamazepine-induced SJS who responded well to cannabis extract. Since cannabinoids can ameliorate spasticity in an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis model through cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor activation, cannabis extract which includes delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a potential treatment option for PTS in NMOSD patients.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32559701/

“A cannabis extract has been approved for spasticity in multiple sclerosis (MS). Cannabis extract is a potential treatment for PTS in NMOSD patients.”

https://www.msard-journal.com/article/S2211-0348(20)30354-0/pdf

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Long-term Assessment of the Cognitive Effects of Nabiximols in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis: A Pilot Study

Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery “Moderate to severe spasticity is commonly reported in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and its management is still a challenge. Cannabinoids were recently suggested as add-on therapy for the treatment of spasticity and chronic pain in MS but there is no conclusive scientific evidence on their safety, especially on cognition and over long periods.

The aim of this prospective pilot study was to assess the long-term effects of a tetrahydrocannabinol-cannabidiol (THC/CBD) oromucosal spray (Sativex®) on cognition, mood and anxiety.

Results: Twenty per protocol patients were followed up and evaluated at baseline, 6 and 12 months. Domains involving processing speed and auditory verbal memory significantly improved within the first 6 months of therapy (SDMT: p < 0.001; CVLT: p = 0.0001). Mood and anxiety did not show any significant variation. Additionally, the NRS score significantly improved since the beginning (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions: These results are encouraging in supporting possible long-term benefits of Sativex on cognition and a wider role than symptom alleviator. Further studies on larger groups of patients would be necessary in order to test this intriguing possibility.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32526487/

“Under Nabiximols some cognitive domains improved after 12 months, and the therapy was safely tolerated.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0303846720303334?via%3Dihub

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Nabiximols Plus Robotic Assisted Gait Training in Improving Motor Performances in People With Multiple Sclerosis

szklerózis multiplex Archives | Magyar Orvosi Kannabisz Egyesület“Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, affecting ambulation even in people with only mild neurological signs. Patients with MS frequently experience spasticity, which contributes significantly to impair their motor functions, including ambulation, owing to muscle stiffness, spasms, and pain.

Objectives: To clarify the role of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol(THC):cannabidiol(CBD) oromucosal spray, coupled to robot-aided gait training (RAGT) using the Lokomat©Pro to improve functional ambulation in patients with MS.

Methods: We compared 20 patients with MS, who were treated with THC:CBD oromucosal spray in add-on to the ongoing oral antispastic therapy (OAT) (group A), with 20 individuals with MS (matched for clinical-demographic characteristics) who were treated only with OAT (group B). Both the groups underwent RAGT using the Lokomat-Pro (three 45-minute sessions per week). Our primary outcome measures were the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) and the 10 meters walking test (10MWT). As secondary outcome measures we evaluated the brain cortical excitability by using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. Both parameters were taken before and after the end of the RAGT.

Results: FIM improved in group A more than in group B (p<0.001). Moreover, 10MWT decreased in group A more than in group B (p<0.001). These clinical findings were paralleled by a more evident reshape of intracortical excitability in both upper and lower limbs, as suggested by motor evoked potential amplitude increase (p<0.001), intracortical inhibition strengthening (p<0.001), and intracortical facilitation decrease (p=0.01) in group A as compared to group B.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that the combined THC:CBD-RAGT approach could be useful in improving gait performance in patients with MS.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32447249/

“The coupled therapy is preliminarily demonstrated as safe and efficacious.”

https://www.msard-journal.com/article/S2211-0348(20)30253-4/pdf

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Effects of THC/CBD oromucosal spray on spasticity-related symptoms in people with multiple sclerosis: results from a retrospective multicenter study.

 Journal cover“The approval of 9-δ-tetrahydocannabinol (THC)+cannabidiol (CBD) oromucosal spray (Sativex®) in Italy as an add-on medication for the management of moderate to severe spasticity in multiple sclerosis (MS) has provided a new opportunity for MS patients with drug-resistant spasticity.

We aimed to investigate the improvement of MS spasticity-related symptoms in a large cohort of patients with moderate to severe spasticity in daily clinical practice.

CONCLUSION:

Our study confirmed that the therapeutic benefit of cannabinoids may extend beyond spasticity, improving spasticity-related symptoms even in non-NRS responder patients.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32335779

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10072-020-04413-6

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Cannabidiol Regulates Gene Expression in Encephalitogenic T cells Using Histone Methylation and noncoding RNA during Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis.

 Scientific Reports“Cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown by our laboratory to attenuate experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS).

In this study, we used microarray and next generation sequencing (NGS)-based approaches to determine whether CBD would alter genome-wide histone modification and gene expression in MOG sensitized lymphocytes.

In summary, this study demonstrates that CBD suppresses inflammation through multiple mechanisms, from histone methylation to miRNA to lncRNA.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31673072

“Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) has many biologically active compounds and its medicinal value has been known for centuries. CBD has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect in several animal models. In immune system, studies from our lab as well as those from others have shown that both THC and CBD have anti-inflammatory properties. ”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-52362-8

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The Endocannabinoid System and its Modulation by Cannabidiol (CBD).

Image result for Altern Ther Health Med. “The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is an extensive endogenous signaling system with multiple elements, the number of which may be increasing as scientists continue to elucidate its role in human health and disease. The ECS is seemingly ubiquitous in animal species and is modulated by diet, sleep, exercise, stress, and a multitude of other factors, including exposure to phytocannabinoids, like Cannabidiol (CBD). Modulating the activity of this system may offer tremendous therapeutic promise for a diverse scope of diseases, ranging from mental health disorders, neurological and movement disorders, pain, autoimmune disease, spinal cord injury, cancer, cardiometabolic disease, stroke, TBI, osteoporosis, and others.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31202198

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Cannabinoid receptors as therapeutic targets for autoimmune diseases: where do we stand?

Drug Discovery Today

“Described during the late 1980s and 1990s, cannabinoid receptors (CB1R and CB2R) are G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) activated by endogenous ligands and cannabinoid drug compounds, such as Δ9-THC. Whereas CB1R has a role in the regulation of neurotransmission in different brain regions and mainly mediates the psychoactive effects of cannabinoids, CB2R is found predominantly in the cells and tissues of the immune system and mediates anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory processes. Studies have demonstrated that CB1R and CB2R can affect the activation of T cells, B cells, monocytes, and microglial cells, inhibiting proinflammatory cytokine expression and upregulating proresolution mediators. Thus, in this review, we summarize the mechanisms by which CBRs interact with the autoimmune environment and the potential to suppress the development and activation of autoreactive cells. Finally, we highlight how the modulation of CB1R and CB2R is advantageous in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS), type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31158514

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1359644618304847?via%3Dihub

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CB2 Receptor Stimulation and Dexamethasone Restore the Anti-Inflammatory and Immune-Regulatory Properties of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells of Children with Immune Thrombocytopenia.

ijms-logo

“Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is an autoimmune disorder characterized by antibody-mediated platelet destruction, with a complex and unclear pathogenesis. The impaired immunosuppressive capacity of mesenchymal stromal cells in ITP patients (ITP-MSCs) might play a role in the development of the disease. Correcting the MSC defects could represent an alternative therapeutic approach for ITP.

High-dose dexamethasone (HD-Dexa) is the mainstay of the ITP therapeutic regimen, although it has several side effects. We previously demonstrated a role for cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB₂) as a mediator of anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties of human MSCs.

We analyzed the effects of CB₂ stimulation, with the selective agonist JWH-133, and of Dexa alone and in combination on ITP-MSC survival and immunosuppressive capacity. We provided new insights into the pathogenesis of ITP, suggesting CB₂ receptor involvement in the impairment of ITP-MSC function and confirming MSCs as responsive cellular targets of Dexa. Moreover, we demonstrated that CB₂ stimulation and Dexa attenuate apoptosis, via Bcl2 signaling, and restore the immune-modulatory properties of MSCs derived from ITP patients.

These data suggest the possibility of using Dexa in combination with JWH-133 in ITP, reducing its dose and side effects but maintaining its therapeutic benefits.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30823385

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/20/5/1049

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Cutting Edge: Dysregulated Endocannabinoid-Rheostat for Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Activation in a Systemic Lupus Endophenotype.

The Journal of Immunology

“Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disease, characterized by loss of tolerance toward self nuclear Ags. Systemic induction of type I IFNs plays a pivotal role in SLE, a major source of type I IFNs being the plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs). Several genes have been linked with susceptibility to SLE in genome-wide association studies. We aimed at exploring the role of one such gene, α/β-hydrolase domain-containing 6 (ABHD6), in regulation of IFN-α induction in SLE patients. We discovered a regulatory role of ABHD6 in human pDCs through modulating the local abundance of its substrate, the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonyl glycerol (2-AG), and elucidated a hitherto unknown cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2)-mediated regulatory role of 2-AG on IFN-α induction by pDCs. We also identified an ABHD6High SLE endophenotype wherein reduced local abundance of 2-AG relieves the CB2-mediated steady-state resistive tuning on IFN-α induction by pDCs, thereby contributing to SLE pathogenesis.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30728209

http://www.jimmunol.org/content/early/2019/02/05/jimmunol.1801521

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