Determination of cannabinoids in hemp nuts products in Taiwan by HPLC-MS/MS coupled with chemometric analysis: Quality evaluation and a pilot human study.

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“Hemp nuts are mature cannabis seeds obtained after hulling and stir-frying that are commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine for treating functional constipation. In this work, we screened hemp nut products, classified them, and verified the legality of consuming them.

A total of 18 products were purchased from Taiwan, China and Canada. Validated high-performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry methods were developed for analyzing the cannabinoid (i.e., Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabinol) content of the products and the concentration of urinary 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC.

Chemometric techniques, namely hierarchical clustering analysis (HCA) and principal component analysis (PCA), were applied for rapidly classifying 11 concentrated powder products in Taiwan. A pilot human study comprising single and multiple administrations of a product with 1.5 µg/g of THC was conducted to examine the urinary 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC concentration. Through optimization of 32 full factorial design, using 60% isopropanol as the extraction solvent exhibited the highest yield ofcannabinoids and was applied as the optimal condition in further analysis.

The results of HCA and PCA on quality evaluation were in well agreement; however, the tested products possessed distinct CBD-to-THC ratios which ranged widely from 0.1:1 to 46.8:1. Particularly, the products with CBD-to-THC ratios higher than 1:1 were the majority in Taiwan.

Our data suggested that all the tested hemp nut products met the Taiwan restriction criteria of 10 µg/g of THC. We propose a usual consumption amount of hemp nut products in Taiwan would unlikely to violate the cut-off point of 15 ng/mL of urinary 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27590030

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ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM: A multi-facet therapeutic target.

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“Cannabis sativa is also popularly known as marijuana. It is being cultivated and used by man for recreational and medicinal purposes from many centuries.

Study of cannabinoids was at bay for very long time and its therapeutic value could not be adequately harnessed due to its legal status as proscribed drug in most of the countries.

The research of drugs acting on endocannabinoid system has seen many ups and down in recent past. Presently, it is known that endocannabinoids has role in pathology of many disorders and they also serve “protective role” in many medical conditions.

Several diseases like emesis, pain, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, anorexia, epilepsy, glaucoma, schizophrenia, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, obesity, metabolic syndrome related diseases, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Tourette’s syndrome could possibly be treated by drugs modulating endocannabinoid system.

Presently, cannabinoid receptor agonists like nabilone and dronabinol are used for reducing the chemotherapy induced vomiting. Sativex (cannabidiol and THC combination) is approved in the UK, Spain and New Zealand to treat spasticity due to multiple sclerosis. In US it is under investigation for cancer pain, another drug Epidiolex (cannabidiol) is also under investigation in US for childhood seizures. Rimonabant, CB1 receptor antagonist appeared as a promising anti-obesity drug during clinical trials but it also exhibited remarkable psychiatric side effect profile. Due to which the US Food and Drug Administration did not approve Rimonabant in US. It sale was also suspended across the EU in 2008.

Recent discontinuation of clinical trial related to FAAH inhibitor due to occurrence of serious adverse events in the participating subjects could be discouraging for the research fraternity. Despite of some mishaps in clinical trials related to drugs acting on endocannabinoid system, still lot of research is being carried out to explore and establish the therapeutic targets for both cannabinoid receptor agonists and antagonists.

One challenge is to develop drugs that target only cannabinoid receptors in a particular tissue and another is to invent drugs that acts selectively on cannabinoid receptors located outside the blood brain barrier. Besides this, development of the suitable dosage forms with maximum efficacy and minimum adverse effects is also warranted.

Another angle to be introspected for therapeutic abilities of this group of drugs is non-CB1 and non-CB2 receptor targets for cannabinoids.

In order to successfully exploit the therapeutic potential of endocannabinoid system, it is imperative to further characterize the endocannabinoid system in terms of identification of the exact cellular location of cannabinoid receptors and their role as “protective” and “disease inducing substance”, time-dependent changes in the expression of cannabinoid receptors.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27086601

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Inhibiting endocannabinoid biosynthesis: a novel approach to the treatment of constipation.

“Endocannabinoids are a family of lipid mediators that are involved in the regulation of gastrointestinal (GI) motility. The expression, localization and function of their biosynthetic enzymes in the GI tract are not well understood.

Here we examined the expression, localization and function of the enzyme diacylglycerol lipase (DAGLα), involved in the biosynthesis of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).

Cannabinoid (CB)1-deficient, wildtype control and C3H/HeJ mice, a genetically constipated model, were used…

DAGLα is expressed in the enteric nervous system and its inhibition reverses slowed GI motility, intestinal contractility and constipation through 2-AG and CB1 receptor mediated mechanisms.

Our data suggest that DAGLα inhibitors may be promising candidates for the treatment of constipation.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25684407

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Cannabinoid Modulation of Neuroinflammatory Disorders

Table 1.

Cannabis sativa is a herb belonging to the Cannabaceae family, characterized by palmate leaves and numerous fibers. Its first record as a medicine dates back to 5000 years ago and it was found in China, where cannabis was used for a myriad of purposes and diseases, including malaria, neuropathic pain, nausea, sexual dysfunction and constipation.

The use of cannabis spread from Central Asia and deeply influenced Indian folk medicine. However, sedative and psychotropic effects of cannabis turned it into a recreational drug. This fact resulted in discrimination against the consumption of the cannabis plant and its derivatives, which delayed the scientific findings in this field…

In recent years, a growing interest has been dedicated to the study of the endocannabinoid system. The isolation of Cannabis sativa main psychotropic compound, Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has led to the discovery of an atypical neurotransmission system that modulates the release of other neurotransmitters and participates in many biological processes, including the cascade of inflammatory responses.

In this context, cannabinoids have been studied for their possible therapeutic properties in neuroinflammatory diseases. In this review, historic and biochemical aspects of cannabinoids are discussed, as well as their function as modulators of inflammatory processes and therapeutic perspectives for neurodegenerative disorders, particularly, multiple sclerosis.

Cannabinoid compounds may be extracted from the plant (phytocannabinoids) or be artificially obtained (synthetic cannabinoids)…

To date, it is still impossible to prove or rule out all benefits of cannabis described empirically by ancient herbal practitioners. For now, science aims to understand how cannabinoid compounds are associated with neuroinflammation and how cannabis-based medicine can help millions of patients worldwide.”

 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3386505/

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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.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24006213

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/dta.1529/abstract

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The endocannabinoid system and its therapeutic exploitation.

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“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.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15340387

http://www.nature.com/nrd/journal/v3/n9/full/nrd1495.html

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

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“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.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23155985

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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’.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23108552

“Targeting the endocannabinoid system with cannabinoid receptor agonists: pharmacological strategies and therapeutic possibilities”  http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/367/1607/3353.long

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History of cannabis as a medicine: a review

 

” Cannabis as a medicine was used before the Christian era in Asia, mainly in India. The introduction of cannabis in the Western medicine occurred in the midst of the 19th century, reaching the climax in the last decade of that century, with the availability and usage of cannabis extracts or tinctures. In the first decades of the 20th century, the Western medical use of cannabis significantly decreased largely due to difficulties to obtain consistent results from batches of plant material of different potencies. The identification of the chemical structure of cannabis components and the possibility of obtaining its pure constituents were related to a significant increase in scientific interest in such plant, since 1965. This interest was renewed in the 1990’s with the description of cannabinoid receptors and the identification of an endogenous cannabinoid system in the brain. A new and more consistent cycle of the use of cannabis derivatives as medication begins, since treatment effectiveness and safety started to be scientifically proven.”

 

“Cannabis Sativa (cannabis) is among the earliest plants cultivated by man. The first evidence of the use of cannabis was found in China, where archeological and historical findings indicate that that plant was cultivated for fibers since 4.000 B.C.1 With the fibers obtained from the cannabis stems, the Chinese manufactured strings, ropes, textiles, and even paper. Textiles and paper made from cannabis were found in the tomb of Emperor Wu (104-87 B.C.), of the Han dynasty.

 

“The Chinese also used cannabis fruits as food. These fruits are small (3 to 5 mm), elliptic, smooth, with a hard shell, and contain one single seed. The first evidence of the use of these seeds was found during the Han dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 A.D.). In the beginning of the Christian Era, with the introduction of new cultures, cannabis was no longer an important food in China, although, until today, the seeds are still used for making kitchen oil in Nepal.

 

“The use of cannabis as a medicine by ancient Chinese was reported in the world’s oldest pharmacopoeia, the pen-ts’ao ching which was compiled in the first century of this Era, but based on oral traditions passed down from the time of Emperor Shen-Nung, who lived during the years 2.700 B.C. Indications for the use of cannabis included: rheumatic pain, intestinal constipation, disorders of the female reproductive system, malaria, and others.In the beginning of the Christian Era, Hua T’o, the founder of Chinese surgery (A.D. 110 – 207), used a compound of the plant, taken with wine, to anesthetize patients during surgical operations.

 

“The Chinese used mainly the seeds of cannabis for medical purposes; therefore, it may be assumed that they were referring to that part of the plant when describing its medicinal properties. Until today, cannabis seeds continue to be used as a laxative by Chinese physicians. It is acknowledged that the seeds are practically deficient in D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (D9-THC), which is considered the plant’s main active constituent, and is mainly composed of essential fatty acids and proteins. Today some of these fatty acids are considered as having therapeutic effects, such as the g-linoleic acid, whose topical use is recommended for eczema and psoriasis, and its oral use for atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases. In China, the medical use of cannabis never reached the importance it did in India.”

Read More: http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1516-44462006000200015&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en

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Therapeutic aspects of cannabis and cannabinoids

The British Journal of Psychiatry

“HISTORY OF THERAPEUTIC USE

The first formal report of cannabis as a medicine appeared in China nearly 5000 years ago when it was recommended for malaria, constipation, rheumatic pains and childbirth and, mixed with wine, as a surgical analgesic. There are subsequent records of its use throughout Asia, the Middle East, Southern Africa and South America. Accounts by Pliny, Dioscorides and Galen remained influential in European medicine for 16 centuries.”

“It was not until the 19th century that cannabis became a mainstream medicine in Britain. W. B. O’Shaughnessy, an Irish scientist and physician, observed its use in India as an analgesic, anticonvulsant, anti-spasmodic, anti-emetic and hypnotic. After toxicity experiments on goats and dogs, he gave it to patients and was impressed with its muscle-relaxant, anticonvulsant and analgesic properties, and recorded its use-fulness as an anti-emetic.”

“After these observations were published in 1842, medicinal use of cannabis expanded rapidly. It soon became available ‘over the counter’ in pharmacies and by 1854 it had found its way into the United States Dispensatory. The American market became flooded with dozens of cannabis-containing home remedies.”

“Cannabis was outlawed in 1928 by ratification of the 1925 Geneva Convention on the manufacture, sale and movement of dangerous drugs. Prescription remained possible until final prohibition under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, against the advice of the Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence.”

“In the USA, medical use was effectively ruled out by the Marijuana Tax Act 1937. This ruling has been under almost constant legal challenge and many special dispensations were made between 1976 and 1992 for individuals to receive ‘compassionate reefers’. Although this loophole has been closed, a 1996 California state law permits cultivation or consumption of cannabis for medical purposes, if a doctor provides a written endorsement. Similar arrangements apply in Italy and Canberra, Australia.”

“Results and Conclusions Cannabis and some cannabinoids are effective anti-emetics and analgesics and reduce intra-ocular pressure. There is evidence of symptom relief and improved well-being in selected neurological conditions, AIDS and certain cancers. Cannabinoids may reduce anxiety and improve sleep. Anticonvulsant activity requires clarification. Other properties identified by basic research await evaluation. Standard treatments for many relevant disorders are unsatisfactory. Cannabis is safe in overdose but often produces unwanted effects, typically sedation, intoxication, clumsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, lowered blood pressure or increased heart rate. The discovery of specific receptors and natural ligands may lead to drug developments. Research is needed to optimise dose and route of administration, quantify therapeutic and adverse effects, and examine interactions.”

http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/178/2/107.long

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