Vascular responses disrupted by fructose-induced hyperinsulinemia improved with delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol

“Objectives: In recent years, cannabinoids have been shown to have beneficial effects on diabetic vascular complications.

Vascular complications due to fructose-induced hyperinsulinemia (HI) and diabetic vascular complications have similar mechanisms.

The aim of this experimental study was to observe whether the cannabinoid agonist delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has an ameliorating effect on fructose-induced HI and vascular responses in the aortic ringof rats with HI.

Methods: A total of 24 rats were categorized into 4 groups: control (standard food pellets and water), HI (water containing 10% fructose provided for 12 weeks), THC (1.5 mg/kg/day intraperitoneal administration for 4 weeks), and THC+HI.Body weight was measured again on the last day of the study and the serum insulin level was measured with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The acetylcholine (ACh) maximum relaxant effect in aortic rings pre-contractedwith noradrenaline (NA) was evaluated.

Results: The body weight of THC and THC+HI groups was lower compared with that of the controls (p<0.01). Increasedinsulin level as a result of fructose consumption decreased with THC administration (p<0.01) while the glucose level increased in all other groups compared with the control group (p<0.01, p<0.05). The NA Emax value decreased in thegroup receiving THC treatment (p<0.01). The increased ACh pD2 value in the HI groups also decreased in the THCtreatment group (p<0.0001). The decreased maximum inhibition value in the HI group increased significantly with THC administration (p<0.001).

Conclusion: THC demonstrated beneficial effects on fructose-induced HI. THC improved ACh-induced endothelialdependent relaxation in HI rat aortic rings.”

Inhibition of mitochondrial permeability transition pore and antioxidant effect of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol reduces aluminium phosphide-induced cytotoxicity and dysfunction of cardiac mitochondria

Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology

“Previous studies have demonstrated that phosphine gas (PH3) released from aluminium phosphide (AlP) can inhibit cytochrome oxidase in cardiac mitochondria and induce generation of free radicals, oxidative stress, alteration in antioxidant defense system and cardiotoxicity.

Available evidence suggests that cannabinoids have protective effects in the reduction of oxidative stress, mitochondrial and cardiovascular damages.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of trans-Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on AlP-induced toxicity in isolated cardiomyocytes and cardiac mitochondria.

Rat heart isolated cardiomyocytes and mitochondria were cotreated with different concentrations of THC (10, 50 and 100 μM) and IC50 of AlP, then cellular and mitochondrial toxicity parameters were assayed. Treatment with AlP alone increased the cytotoxicity, depletion of cellular glutathione (GSH), mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, lipid oxidation, mitochondria membrane potential (ΔΨm) collapse and mitochondrial swelling, when compared to control group. However, incubation with THC (10, 50 and 100 μM) attenuated the AlP-induced changes in all these parameters in a THC concentration-dependent manner.

Interestingly, the obtained results showed remarkably significant protective effects of THC by attenuation the different parameters of cytotoxicity, mitochondrial toxicity and oxidative stress induced by ALP in isolated cardiomyocytes and cardiac mitochondria. It is the first report showing the protective effects of THC against AlP-induced toxicity, and these effects are related to antioxidant potential and inhibition of mitochondria permeability transition (MPT) pore.

Based on these results, it was hypothesized that THC may be used as a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of AlP-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and cardiotoxicity.”

“AIP-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress in mitochondria.•

THC inhibits AIP-induced mitochondrial dysfunction in isolated mitochondria.•

THC reverses AIP-induced mitochondrial swelling in isolated mitochondria.•

THC inhibits AIP-induced MMP (ΔΨm) collapse in isolated mitochondria.•

THC ameliorates AIP-induced cytotoxicity and oxidative stress in cardiomyocytes.”

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Role of cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system in modulation of diabetic cardiomyopathy

“Diabetic complications, chiefly seen in long-term situations, are persistently deleterious to a large extent, requiring multi-factorial risk reduction strategies beyond glycemic control. Diabetic cardiomyopathy is one of the most common deleterious diabetic complications, being the leading cause of mortality among diabetic patients. The mechanisms of diabetic cardiomyopathy are multi-factorial, involving increased oxidative stress, accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), activation of various pro-inflammatory and cell death signaling pathways, and changes in the composition of extracellular matrix with enhanced cardiac fibrosis. The novel lipid signaling system, the endocannabinoid system, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetes and its complications through its two main receptors: Cannabinoid receptor type 1 and cannabinoid receptor type 2, alongside other components. However, the role of the endocannabinoid system in diabetic cardiomyopathy has not been fully investigated. This review aims to elucidate the possible mechanisms through which cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system could interact with the pathogenesis and the development of diabetic cardiomyopathy. These mechanisms include oxidative/ nitrative stress, inflammation, accumulation of AGEs, cardiac remodeling, and autophagy. A better understanding of the role of cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system in diabetic cardiomyopathy may provide novel strategies to manipulate such a serious diabetic complication.”

“Diabetes-induced cardiomyopathy is a deleterious complication of the cardiovascular system characterized by structural and functional changes in the myocardium that ultimately lead to cardiac failure. The mechanisms underlying the development of diabetic cardiomyopathy are complex and involve several pathogenic pathways. A great body of evidence supported a special role of oxidative/nitrative stress and inflammation in the pathogenesis of diabetic cardiomyopathy. The endocannabinoid system has been implicated in the development of several pathological conditions including cardiovascular disorders. Several mechanisms have been proposed as targets by which cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system could modulate cardiovascular disorders and recent evidence suggested the involvement of this system in the pathogenesis of diabetic cardiomyopathy. Indeed, the manipulation of the endocannabinoid system could represent a promising therapeutic approach for diabetic cardiomyopathy, and several mechanisms have been proposed for this role including its effects on oxidative/nitrative stress, inflammatory pathways, and autophagy together with possible effects on cardiac remodeling. However, more research is needed to define the exact mechanisms of the intervention of the different components of this system in diabetic cardiomyopathy.”

Cannabidiol Improves Antioxidant Capacity and Reduces Inflammation in the Lungs of Rats with Monocrotaline-Induced Pulmonary Hypertension


“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a plant-derived compound with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is still an incurable disease. CBD has been suggested to ameliorate monocrotaline (MCT)-induced PH, including reduction in right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP), a vasorelaxant effect on pulmonary arteries and a decrease in the white blood cell count. The aim of our study was to investigate the effect of chronic administration of CBD (10 mg/kg daily for 21 days) on the parameters of oxidative stress and inflammation in the lungs of rats with MCT-induced PH. In MCT-induced PH, we found a decrease in total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and glutathione level (GSH), an increase in inflammatory parameters, e.g., tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and cluster of differentiation 68 (CD68), and the overexpression of cannabinoid receptors type 1 and 2 (CB1-Rs, CB2-Rs). Administration of CBD increased TAC and GSH concentrations, glutathione reductase (GSR) activity, and decreased CB1-Rs expression and levels of inflammatory mediators such as TNF-α, IL -1β, NF-κB, MCP-1 and CD68. In conclusion, CBD has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in MCT-induced PH. CBD may act as an adjuvant therapy for PH, but further detailed preclinical and clinical studies are recommended to confirm our promising results.”

Hempseed ( Cannabis sativa) Peptide H3 (IGFLIIWV) Exerts Cholesterol-Lowering Effects in Human Hepatic Cell Line


“Hempseed (Cannabis sativa) protein is an important source of bioactive peptides. H3 (IGFLIIWV), a transepithelial transported intestinal peptide obtained from the hydrolysis of hempseed protein with pepsin, carries out antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities in HepG2 cells. In this study, the main aim was to assess its hypocholesterolemic effects at a cellular level and the mechanisms behind this health-promoting activity. The results showed that peptide H3 inhibited the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl co-enzyme A reductase (HMGCoAR) activity in vitro in a dose-dependent manner with an IC50 value of 59 μM. Furthermore, the activation of the sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBP)-2 transcription factor, followed by the increase of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor (LDLR) protein levels, was observed in human hepatic HepG2 cells treated with peptide H3 at 25 µM. Meanwhile, peptide H3 regulated the intracellular HMGCoAR activity through the increase of its phosphorylation by the activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)-pathways. Consequently, the augmentation of the LDLR localized on the cellular membranes led to the improved ability of HepG2 cells to uptake extracellular LDL with a positive effect on cholesterol levels. Unlike the complete hempseed hydrolysate (HP), peptide H3 can reduce the proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin 9 (PCSK9) protein levels and its secretion in the extracellular environment via the decrease of hepatic nuclear factor 1-α (HNF1-α). Considering all these evidences, H3 may represent a new bioactive peptide to be used for the development of dietary supplements and/or peptidomimetics for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention.”

Acute Cannabigerol Administration Lowers Blood Pressure in Mice

“Cannabigerol (CBG) is a cannabinoid compound that is synthesized from Cannabis sativa L. and acts as a substrate for both Δ9-tetraydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) formation. Given that it does not exhibit psychoactive effects, emerging research has focused on CBG as a potential therapeutic for health conditions including algesia, epilepsy, anxiety, and cancer. While CBG can bind to cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, it has also been described as an agonist at α2-adrenoreceptors (A2-AR), which when activated inhibit the release of norepinephrine from α-adrenergic neurons. This raises the concern that CBG could act at A2-AR to reduce norepinephrine release to cardiovascular end organs, such as the heart and kidneys, causing a reduction in blood pressure. Despite this possibility, there are no reports examining cardiovascular effects of CBG. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that acute CBG administration can lower blood pressure. To test this, six male C57BL/6J mice underwent surgery at 8-10 weeks of age to implant a radiotelemetry probe, which allows for continuous measurement of blood pressure, heart rate and locomotor activity in conscious, freely moving mice. Following 10 days of recovery, baseline measurements were obtained and then mice were randomized to receive intraperitoneal injections of CBG (3.3, 5.6, and 10 mg/kg) and vehicle in a crossover design, with at least one-week washout between treatments. Changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and locomotor activity were measured for two hours post-injection. We found that acute CBG significantly lowered blood pressure compared with vehicle (-12±5 mmHg vehicle vs. -28±2 mmHg at 10 mg/kg CBG; p=0.018), with no apparent dose responsiveness at the doses used in this study (-22±2 mmHg at 3.3 mg/kg CBG; -28±4 at 5.6 mg/kg CBG). The greatest blood pressure reduction was seen at 90-minutes post-CBG administration, which is consistent with reports for peak plasma concentrations of this compound in rodents. The blood pressure lowering effects of CBG occurred in the absence of changes in heart rate or locomotor activity. These overall findings suggest acute CBG may lower blood pressure in phenotypically normal young adult male mice, which may provide caution for the potential of hypotension as an adverse effect of CBG administration. Additional studies are needed to determine if the blood pressure lowering effects of CBG are via an A2-AR mechanism.”

Cannabis sativa extracts protect LDL from Cu 2+-mediated oxidation

figure 2

“Background: Multiple therapeutic properties have been attributed to Cannabis sativa. However, further research is required to unveil the medicinal potential of Cannabis and the relationship between biological activity and chemical profile.

Objectives: The primary objective of this study was to characterize the chemical profile and antioxidant properties of three varieties of Cannabis sativa available in Uruguay during progressive stages of maturation.

Methods: Fresh samples of female inflorescences from three stable Cannabis sativa phenotypes, collected at different time points during the end of the flowering period were analyzed. Chemical characterization of chloroform extracts was performed by 1H-NMR. The antioxidant properties of the cannabis sativa extracts, and pure cannabinoids, were measured in a Cu2+-induced LDL oxidation assay.

Results: The main cannabinoids in the youngest inflorescences were tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A, 242 ± 62 mg/g) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, 7.3 ± 6.5 mg/g). Cannabinoid levels increased more than twice in two of the mature samples. A third sample showed a lower and constant concentration of THC-A and THC (177 ± 25 and 1 ± 1, respectively). The THC-A/THC rich cannabis extracts increased the latency phase of LDL oxidation by a factor of 1.2-3.5 per μg, and slowed down the propagation phase of lipoperoxidation (IC50 1.7-4.6 μg/mL). Hemp, a cannabidiol (CBD, 198 mg/g) and cannabidiolic acid (CBD-A, 92 mg/g) rich variety, also prevented the formation of conjugated dienes during LDL oxidation. In fact, 1 μg of extract was able to stretch the latency phase 3.7 times and also to significantly reduce the steepness of the propagation phase (IC50 of 8 μg/mL). Synthetic THC lengthened the duration of the lag phase by a factor of 21 per μg, while for the propagation phase showed an IC50 ≤ 1 μg/mL. Conversely, THC-A was unable to improve any parameter. Meanwhile, the presence of 1 μg of pure CBD and CBD-A increased the initial latency phase 4.8 and 9.4 times, respectively, but did not have an effect on the propagation phase.

Conclusion: Cannabis whole extracts acted on both phases of lipid oxidation in copper challenged LDL. Those effects were just partially related with the content of cannabinoids and partially recapitulated by isolated pure cannabinoids. Our results support the potentially beneficial effects of cannabis sativa whole extracts on the initial phase of atherosclerosis.”

“Our findings support the beneficial effects of Cannabis sativa extracts on the initial phase of atherosclerosis. Since isolated cannabinoids were less effective preventing the oxidation of LDL, a synergistic effect between the diverse arrange of phytochemicals present in complex extracts is supported, reinforcing the entourage hypothesis and the use of whole medicinal cannabis extracts for therapeutic purposes.”

Vasoprotective Endothelial Effects of Chronic Cannabidiol Treatment and Its Influence on the Endocannabinoid System in Rats with Primary and Secondary Hypertension

“Our study aimed to examine the endothelium (vascular)-protecting effects of chronic cannabidiol (CBD) administration (10 mg/kg once daily for 2 weeks) in aortas and small mesenteric (G3) arteries isolated from deoxycorticosterone-induced hypertensive (DOCA-salt) rats and spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). CBD reduced hypertrophy and improved the endothelium-dependent vasodilation in response to acetylcholine in the aortas and G3 of DOCA-salt rats and SHR. The enhancement of vasorelaxation was prevented by the inhibition of nitric oxide (NO) with L-NAME and/or the inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX) with indomethacin in the aortas and G3 of DOCA-salt and SHR, respectively. The mechanism of the CBD-mediated improvement of endothelial function in hypertensive vessels depends on the vessel diameter and may be associated with its NO-, the intermediate-conductance calcium-activated potassium channel- or NO-, COX-, the intermediate and the small-conductance calcium-activated potassium channels-dependent effect in aortas and G3, respectively. CBD increased the vascular expression of the cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors and aortic levels of endocannabinoids with vasorelaxant properties e.g., anandamide, 2-arachidonoylglycerol and palmitoyl ethanolamide in aortas of DOCA-salt and/or SHR. In conclusion, CBD treatment has vasoprotective effects in hypertensive rats, in a vessel-size- and hypertension-model-independent manner, at least partly via inducing local vascular changes in the endocannabinoid system.”

Cannabidiol-mediated RISK PI3K/AKT and MAPK/ERK pathways decreasing reperfusion myocardial damage

“Myocardial ischemia continues to be the first cause of morbimortality in the world; the definitive treatment is reperfusion; however, this action causes additional damage to ischemic myocardial tissue; this forces to seek therapies of cardioprotection to reduce this additional damage. There are many cardioprotective agents; within these, cannabinoids have shown to have beneficial effects, mainly cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is a non psychoactive cannabinoid. To evaluate the effect in experimental models of CBD in myocardial ischemia reperfusion in rats, twelve-week-old male rats have been used. The animals were divides in 3 groups: control(C), ischemia reperfusion (IR) and CBD pretreatment (1/day/5mg/kg /10days). Langendorff organ isolate studies were performed, and the area of infarction was assessed with triphenyl tetrazolium, in addition to molecular analysis of AT1 and AT2 receptors and Akt and Erk proteins and their phosphorylated forms related to RISK pathways. It was observed that there is an improvement with the use of CBD increasing inotropism and cardiac lusitropism, improving considerably the cardiovascular functionality. These could be related to the reduction of the area of infarction and activation of the AT2 receptor and the RISK pathway with absence of activation of the AT2 receptor (these could relate the reduction of the infarct area and the restoration of cardiovascular function with the activation of the AT2 receptor and the RISK pathway with the absence of activation of the AT2 receptor). The use of cannabinoids was shown to have beneficial effects when used as a treatment for myocardial reperfusion damage.”

Δ 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ 9-THC) Improves Ischemia/Reperfusion Heart Dysfunction and Might Serve as a Cardioprotective Agent in the Future Treatment

“Background: Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) is a pivotal mechanism of organ injury during clinical stetting for example for cardiopulmonary bypasses. The generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) during I/R induces oxidative stress that promotes endothelial dysfunction, DNA dissociation and local inflammation. In turn, those processes induce cytokine release, resulting in damage to cellular structures and cell death. One of the major psychoactive compounds of Cannabis is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), which is known as an anti-inflammatory mediator. Our research aimed to test if Δ9-THC may be protective in the treatment of cardiovascular system dysfunction arising from I/R heart injury.

Methods: Two experimental models were used: isolated rat hearts perfused with the Langendorff method and human cardiac myocytes (HCM) culture. Rat hearts and HCM underwent ex vivo/chemical in vitro I/R protocol with/without Δ9-THC treatment. The following parameters were measured: cell metabolic activity, morphology changes, cell damage as lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity, ceramide kinase (CERK) activity, ROS level, total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and heart hemodynamic parameters.

Results: Δ9-THC protected the heart, as evidenced by the improved recovery of cardiac function (p < 0.05, N = 3-6). Cells subjected to I/R showed lower cytoplasmic LDH activity, and 10 μM Δ9-THC treatment reduced cell injury and increased LDH content (p = 0.019, N = 6-9). Morphology changes of HCM-spherical shape, vacuolisation of cytoplasm and swollen mitochondria-were inhibited due to Δ9-THC treatment. I/R condition affected cell viability, but 10 μM Δ9-THC decreased the number of dead cells (p = 0.005, N = 6-9). The total level of CERK was lower in the I/R group, reflecting oxidative/nitrosative stress changes. The administration of Δ9-THC effectively increased the production of CERK to the level of aerobic control (p = 0.028, N = 6-9). ROS level was significantly decreased in I/R cells (p = 0.007, N = 6-8), confirming oxidative stress, while administration of 10 μM Δ9-THC enhanced TAC in cardiomyocytes subjected to I/R (p = 0.010, N = 6-8).

Conclusions: Δ9-THC promotes the viability of cardiomyocytes, improves their metabolic activity, decreases cell damage and restores heart mechanical function, serving as a cardioprotective. We proposed the use of Δ9-THC as a cardioprotective drug to be, administered before onset of I/R protocol.”