Alteration of the endocannabinoid system in mouse brain during prion disease.

Neuroscience

“Prion diseases are neurodegenerative disorders characterized by deposition of the pathological prion protein (PrPsc) within the brain of affected humans and animals. Microglial cell activation is a common feature of prion diseases; alterations of various neurotransmitter systems and neurotransmission have been also reported. Owing to its ability to modulate both neuroimmune responses and neurotransmission, it was of interest to study the brain endocannabinoid system in a prion-infected mouse model. The production of the endocannabinoid, 2-arachidonoyglycerol (2-AG), was enhanced 10 weeks post-infection, without alteration of the other endocannabinoid, anandamide. The CB2 receptor expression was up-regulated in brains of prion-infected mice as early as 10 weeks and up to 32 weeks post-infection whereas the mRNAs of other cannabinoid receptors (CBRs) remain unchanged. The observed alterations of the endocannabinoid system were specific for prion infection since no significant changes were observed in the brain of prion-resistant mice, that is, mice devoid of the Prnp gene. Our study highlights important alterations of the endocannabinoid system during early stages of the disease long before the clinical signs of the disease.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21195746

“Prion diseases are a group of neurodegenerative diseases caused by prions, which are “proteinaceous infectious particles.” Prion diseases are caused by misfolded forms of the prion protein, also known as PrP. These diseases affect a lot of different mammals in addition to humans. The human forms of prion disease are most often the names Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), fatal familial insomnia (FFI), Gertsmann-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome (GSS), kuru and variably protease-sensitive prionopathy (VPSPr). All of these diseases are caused by just slightly different versions of the same protein, so we refer to them all as prion diseases.” http://www.prionalliance.org/2013/12/02/what-are-human-prion-diseases/
“Eating meat contaminated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy and its hallmark misshapen proteins, called prions, can cause a fatal and untreatable brain disorder,” http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/12/mad-cow-disease-remains-threat-new-blood-tests-could-detect-it
“Prions are terrifying.”
“Marijuana Kills MRSA and Inhibits Prions That Cause Neurodegenerative Disease; Still Recognized by Feds As a Dangerous Drug.” http://www.medicaldaily.com/marijuana-kills-mrsa-and-inhibits-prions-cause-neurodegenerative-disease-still-recognized-feds
 
“Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: a structure-activity study.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18681481
“Nonpsychoactive Cannabidiol Prevents Prion Accumulation and Protects Neurons against Prion Toxicity. Our results suggest that CBD may protect neurons against the multiple molecular and cellular factors involved in the different steps of the neurodegenerative process, which takes place during prion infection. When combined with its ability to target the brain and its lack of toxic side effects, CBD may represent a promising new anti-prion drug. ” http://www.jneurosci.org/content/27/36/9537.full
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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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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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Pot is good for you? Marijuana fights the superbugs

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Fact: Cannabis Kills MRSA, Disrupts Prion Diseases

“Marijuana is a potent antibiotic that can kill methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and disrupt the progression of prion diseases such as Mad Cow disease and Creutzfeld-Jakob disease — just don’t expect the federal government to tell you any of this.”

A MRSA lesion

“Scientists from Italy and the United Kingdom reported in the August 2007 issue of the Journal of Natural Products that the main active ingredient in weed, THC, as well as four other pot molecules “showed potent antibacterial activity against six different strains of MRSA of clinical relevance.”

Pot also stops prions,  a type of protein that can cause neurodegenerative diseases that are invariably fatal. Once prions get into a brain they replicate rapidly and shred brain tissue “resulting in a ‘spongiform’ appearance on post-mortem histological examination of neural tissue.”

In 2007, American and French researchers reported that pot molecule cannabidiol “prevents prion accumulation and protects neurons against prion toxicity” in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Cannabidiol inhibited prion accumulation in mouse and sheep prion disease cell cultures and inhibited prion formation in the brain of infected mice given injections of CBD. “The authors conclude that CBD likely represents a new class of anti-prion drugs.””

More: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/LegalizationNation/archives/2013/07/29/fact-cannabis-kills-mrsa-disrupts-prion-diseases

“Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: a structure-activity study.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18681481

“Nonpsychoactive Cannabidiol Prevents Prion Accumulation and Protects Neurons against Prion Toxicity” http://www.jneurosci.org/content/27/36/9537.full

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Marijuana Kills MRSA and Inhibits Prions That Cause Neurodegenerative Disease; Still Recognized by Feds As a Dangerous Drug

“Research indicates that marijuana could effectively fight off MRSA, as well as prions — the proteins that cause mad cow disease and Creutzfeld-Jakob disease.”

(Photo : Flickr, "it was 3 a.m.") Pot's constituent molecules kill bacteria and inhibit the formation of prions, a protein that can cause neurodegenerative diseases.

“New research reveals that several marijuana ingredients exhibit a potent antibiotic capacity in cases of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections as well as the ability to fight off proteins called prions that can lead to Mad Cow disease and Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (CDJ).”

More: http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/17941/20130730/marijuana-mrsa-prions-mad-cow-disease.htm

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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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Nonpsychoactive Cannabidiol Prevents Prion Accumulation and Protects Neurons against Prion Toxicity

“Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) in humans belongs to a group of fatal neurodegenerative disorders called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases. No therapeutic treatments against TSEs are currently available. The urgent need to find effective anti-prion therapies has been strengthened by the emergence of variant CJD (vCJD) caused by contaminated beef consumption …

Our results suggest that CBD may protect neurons against the multiple molecular and cellular factors involved in the different steps of the neurodegenerative process, which takes place during prion infection. When combined with its ability to target the brain and its lack of toxic side effects, CBD may represent a promising new anti-prion drug.

Overall, CBD is a promising therapeutic drug against the TSEs because it combines several crucial characteristics. It has a low toxicity and lack of psychotropic side effects as well as in vivo neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-PrPres properties. Because CBD easily crosses the BBB, it also has the potential to be effective after prion infection has reached the CNS. Finally, prolonged treatments with CBD do not induce tolerance, a phenomenon frequently observed with THC. Additional investigations should be performed to define the optimal dose, route, frequency, and duration of the in vivo CBD treatment necessary to prevent TSE infection…”

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/27/36/9537.full

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Metals Linked To Alzheimer’s And Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

“A multi-institutional team of researchers led by Emory University has defined for the first time how metal ions bind to amyloid fibrils in the brain in a way that appears toxic to neurons. Amyloid fibrils are linked to the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob.”

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070813185007.htm

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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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