The Endocannabinoid System: A Potential Target for the Treatment of Various Diseases

ijms-logo“The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is primarily responsible for maintaining homeostasis, a balance in internal environment (temperature, mood, and immune system) and energy input and output in living, biological systems.

In addition to regulating physiological processes, the ECS directly influences anxiety, feeding behaviour/appetite, emotional behaviour, depression, nervous functions, neurogenesis, neuroprotection, reward, cognition, learning, memory, pain sensation, fertility, pregnancy, and pre-and post-natal development.

The ECS is also involved in several pathophysiological diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. In recent years, genetic and pharmacological manipulation of the ECS has gained significant interest in medicine, research, and drug discovery and development.

The distribution of the components of the ECS system throughout the body, and the physiological/pathophysiological role of the ECS-signalling pathways in many diseases, all offer promising opportunities for the development of novel cannabinergic, cannabimimetic, and cannabinoid-based therapeutic drugs that genetically or pharmacologically modulate the ECS via inhibition of metabolic pathways and/or agonism or antagonism of the receptors of the ECS. This modulation results in the differential expression/activity of the components of the ECS that may be beneficial in the treatment of a number of diseases.

This manuscript in-depth review will investigate the potential of the ECS in the treatment of various diseases, and to put forth the suggestion that many of these secondary metabolites of Cannabis sativa L. (hereafter referred to as “C. sativa L.” or “medical cannabis”), may also have potential as lead compounds in the development of cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals for a variety of diseases.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34502379/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/17/9472

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Analysis of Toxicity Effects of Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol on Isolated Rat Heart Mitochondria

Publication Cover“Mitochondria have the main roles in myocardial tissue homeostasis, through providing ATP for the vital enzymes in intermediate metabolism, contractile apparatus and maintaining ion homeostasis. Mitochondria-related cardiotoxicity results from the exposure with illicit drugs have previously reported. These illicit drugs interference with processes of normal mitochondrial homeostasis and lead to mitochondrial dysfunction and mitochondrial-related oxidative stress.

Here, we investigated this hypothesis that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9-THC) as a main cannabinoid found in cannabis could directly cause mitochondrial dysfunction.

Our observation showed that THC did not cause a deleterious alteration in mitochondrial functions, ROS production, MMP collapse, mitochondrial swelling, oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation in used concentrations (5-100 µM), even in several tests, toxicity showed a decreasing trend.

Altogether, the results of the current study showed that THC is not directly toxic in isolated cardiac mitochondria, and even may be helpful in reducing mitochondrial toxicity.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34431445/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15376516.2021.1973168?journalCode=itxm20

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Antioxidant and Angiotensin I-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitory Peptides Obtained from Alcalase Protein Hydrolysate Fractions of Hemp ( Cannabis sativa L.) Bran

Go to Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry “Proteins from hemp bran (HPB), a byproduct of the hemp seed food-processing chain, were chemically extracted, hydrolyzed by Alcalase, and separated by membrane ultrafiltration into four fractions (MW <1, 1-3, 3-5, and >5 kDa).

The antioxidant and antihypertensive properties of the initial extract and the fractions were evaluated by in vitro assays for their ability to scavenge radical species, bind with metal ions, reduce ferric ions, and inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity.

The hydrolysate was strongly antioxidant and ACE-inhibiting; the most bioactive peptides were further concentrated by ultrafiltration. Of the 239 peptides identified, 47 (12 antioxidant and 35 ACE-inhibitory) exhibited structural features correlated with the specific bioactivity.

These results highlight the promise of hydrolysate and size-based HPB fractions as natural functional ingredients for the food or pharmaceutical industry.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34353019/

“In conclusion, this study highlights the potential use of HPB hydrolysate and fractions as multifunctional ingredients for the development of new healthy foods or for the pharmaceutical industry. ”

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jafc.1c01487

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An overview on plants cannabinoids endorsed with cardiovascular effects

Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy“Nowadays cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the major causes for the reduction of the quality of life.

The endocannabinoid system is an attractive therapeutic target for the treatment of cardiovascular disorders due to its involvement in vasomotor control, cardiac contractility, blood pressure and vascular inflammation. Alteration in cannabinoid signalling can be often related to cardiotoxicity, circulatory shock, hypertension, and atherosclerosis.

Plants have been the major sources of medicines until modern eras in which researchers are experiencing a rediscovery of natural compounds as novel therapeutics.

One of the most versatile plant is Cannabis sativa L., containing phytocannabinoids that may play a role in the treatment of CVDs.

The aim of this review is to collect and investigate several less studied plants rich in cannabinoid-like active compounds able to interact with cannabinoid system; these plants may play a pivotal role in the treatment of disorders related to the cardiovascular system.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34332376/

“Cannabis sativa L. is the most investigated source of phytocannabinoids. Other plants are a rich source of cannabinoid-like compounds. Cannabinoid-like compounds may interact with cannabinoid system. Most of them may exhibit a protective role on cardiovascular system.” 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0753332221007459?via%3Dihub

 

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Cannabis Seed Oil Alleviates Experimental Atherosclerosis by Ameliorating Vascular Inflammation in Apolipoprotein-E-Deficient Mice

Go to Volume 0, Issue 0“In recent decades, epidemiological, clinical, and experimental studies have demonstrated that a diet with antioxidant or anti-inflammatory function plays a central role in the prevention of atherosclerosis (AS).

The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of Cannabis seed oil (CO) administration on in vitro antioxidant capacity as well as blood lipid profiles, lipid peroxidation, inflammatory response, and endothelial cell integrity. Female ApoE-/- mice were fed a high-cholesterol diet and administrated with CO or phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) and seal oil by gavage for 8 weeks.

The results show that CO administration reduced the levels of serum triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol at week 6. Additionally, a decrease in serum tumor necrosis factor α and nitric oxide was also observed. Moreover, results from CD31 staining and scanning electron microscopy revealed that CO treatment alleviated the endothelial cell damage and lipid deposition induced by a high-cholesterol diet. The ratio of lesion area to the total aorta area was 19.57% for the CO group, which was lower than the PBS control group (24.67%).

Collectively, CO exerted anti-atherosclerotic effects by modulating serum lipid profiles and inflammatory responses and improving endothelial cell integrity and arterial lipid deposition. The results provide a promising preventive strategy for the early progression of AS.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34037390/

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jafc.0c07251

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Association Between Marijuana Use and Cardiovascular Disease in US Adults

Cureus | LinkedIn “This study aims to add evidence regarding the impact marijuana use has on the prevalence of cardiovascular disease.

Our study lends support to the notion that marijuana use does not have an association with cardiovascular disease.

Although previous literature has shown that marijuana use has a negative impact on cardiovascular health, our study suggests that users and non-users of marijuana did not have an association with the prevalence of cardiovascular disease.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33409101/

“The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between marijuana use and cardiovascular disease. After controlling for several confounding variables, we found that there was a decrease in the prevalence of cardiovascular events with marijuana use. In conclusion, our study found that there is no link to marijuana use and an increase in cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, there may be a link between marijuana use and lowered risk of cardiovascular disease”

https://www.cureus.com/articles/45502-association-between-marijuana-use-and-cardiovascular-disease-in-us-adults

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Therapeutic Applications of Cannabinoids in Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure

 logo“A large number of cannabinoids have been discovered that could play a role in mitigating cardiac affections. However, none of them has been as widely studied as cannabidiol (CBD), most likely because, individually, the others offer only partial effects or can activate potential harmful pathways.

In this regard, CBD has proven to be of great value as a cardioprotective agent since it is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecule. Thus, we conducted a review to condensate the currently available knowledge on CBD as a therapy for different experimental models of cardiomyopathies and heart failure to detect the molecular pathways involved in cardiac protection.

CBD therapy can greatly limit the production of oxygen/nitrogen reactive species, thereby limiting cellular damage, protecting mitochondria, avoiding caspase activation, and regulating ionic homeostasis. Hence, it can affect myocardial contraction by restricting the activation of inflammatory pathways and cytokine secretion, lowering tissular infiltration by immune cells, and reducing the area of infarct and fibrosis formation. These effects are mediated by the activation or inhibition of different receptors and target molecules of the endocannabinoid system.

In the final part of this review, we explore the current state of CBD in clinical trials as a treatment for cardiovascular diseases and provide evidence of its potential benefits in humans.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33194003/

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2020/4587024/

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Protective Effects of ( E)-β-Caryophyllene (BCP) in Chronic Inflammation

nutrients-logo“(E)-β-caryophyllene (BCP) is a bicyclic sesquiterpene widely distributed in the plant kingdom, where it contributes a unique aroma to essential oils and has a pivotal role in the survival and evolution of higher plants.

Recent studies provided evidence for protective roles of BCP in animal cells, highlighting its possible use as a novel therapeutic tool.

Experimental results show the ability of BCP to reduce pro-inflammatory mediators such as tumor necrosis factor-alfa (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB), thus ameliorating chronic pathologies characterized by inflammation and oxidative stress, in particular metabolic and neurological diseases.

Through the binding to CB2 cannabinoid receptors and the interaction with members of the family of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), BCP shows beneficial effects on obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease/nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NAFLD/NASH) liver diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, pain and other nervous system disorders.

This review describes the current knowledge on the biosynthesis and natural sources of BCP, and reviews its role and mechanisms of action in different inflammation-related metabolic and neurologic disorders.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33114564/

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/11/3273

“β-caryophyllene (BCP) is a common constitute of the essential oils of numerous spice, food plants and major component in Cannabis.”   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23138934

“Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid.”   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18574142

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

See the source image“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.

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.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33123676/

“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.”

https://jcannabisresearch.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42238-020-00042-0

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Cannabinoids in Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiac Fibrosis

 SpringerLink“This article provides a concise overview of how cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system (ECS) have significant implications for the prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and for the treatment of cardiovascular disorders, including cardiac fibrosis.

Recent findings: Over the past few years, the ECS has emerged as a pivotal component of the homeostatic mechanisms for the regulation of many bodily functions, including inflammation, digestion, and energy metabolism. Therefore, the pharmacological modulation of the ECS by cannabinoids represents a novel strategy for the management of many diseases. Specifically, increasing evidence from preclinical research studies has opened new avenues for the development of cannabinoid-based therapies for the management and potential treatment of MetS and cardiovascular diseases. Current information indicates that modulation of the ECS can help maintain overall health and well-being due to its homeostatic function. From a therapeutic perspective, cannabinoids and the ECS have also been shown to play a key role in modulating pathophysiological states such as inflammatory, neurodegenerative, gastrointestinal, metabolic, and cardiovascular diseases, as well as cancer and pain. Thus, targeting and modulating the ECS with cannabinoids or cannabinoid derivatives may represent a major disease-modifying medical advancement to achieve successful treatment for MetS and certain cardiovascular diseases.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33089434/

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11906-020-01112-7

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