“Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a hereditary disease caused by mutations of the gene encoding a channel protein CFTR, conducting Cl- and HCO3 – ions. The disease is characterized by disturbances in most physiological systems, and more than 95% of men are infertile. The mechanism underlying the etiology of CF is associated with an imbalance of fatty acids.
It has been suggested that the function of the endocannabinoid system is also disturbed in CF, because endocannabinoids are derivatives of fatty acids. We assumed, therefore, that endocannabinoid activity, which plays an important role in fertility, is disrupted in CF and could be one of the causes of infertility.
The aim of the present study was to test the hypothesis that stimulation of endocannabinoid receptors in infancy would normalize their function and prevent infertility in adulthood.
Knockout male mice (cftr-/-) were treated with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), endocannabinoid receptors agonist, in infancy from days 7 until 28, daily.
CF males treated with THC were fully fertile, producing offspring comparable by the number of litters and the number of pups with wild-type mice. CF males that were not treated with THC were completely infertile.
The present study shows that (i) endocannabinoid function is impaired in CF mice, as evidenced by the regenerating effect of its stimulation on the fertility of otherwise infertile males, (ii) endocannabinoid system dysfunction is apparently the determining factor causing infertility in CF, and (iii) mild stimulation of the endocannabinoid system in infancy and adolescence appears to normalize many reproductive processes and thereby prevent infertility in CF males.”
“Substantial data have been accumulated regarding the molecular basis of cystic fibrosis (CF) pathogenesis, whereas the influence of biochemical impairments on brain processes has been the focus of much less attention. We have studied some behavioral parameters, such as motor activity and anxiety level, in a mice model of CF.
We have assumed that functioning of the endocannabinoid system could be impaired in CF (endocannabinoids are fatty acid derivatives, and fatty acid deficiency is considered a major factor in CF etiology). We have suggested that chronic treatment with cannabinoid receptors agonist during infancy would balance cannabinoid levels and prevent CF-related behavioral alterations.
Motor activity and anxiety level were studied in naïve adult CF mice (cftr-deficient mice) and compared with wild-type mice and to CF mice treated chronically with Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC; endocannabinoid receptor agonist) during infancy (from days 7 to 28). Motor activity was tested in the tetrad, and level of anxiety in the plus maze, a month after cessation of treatment.
Motor activity decrease and elevated anxiety level were found in adult naïve CF mice compared with wild-type mice. CF mice treated with THC in infancy showed normal motor activity and anxiety levels in adulthood. Motor function alteration and elevated anxiety levels in CF can result from lack of CFTR-channel in neurons and disturbed activity of various brain areas, as well as being secondary and mediated by fatty acids deficiency, altered levels of endocannabinoids and their receptors.
It can be suggested that chronic treatment during infancy restores endocannabinoid function and thus prevents behavioral alterations.”
“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.”
“Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta(9)-THC) and (-)-cannabidiol ((-)-CBD) are major constituents of the Cannabis sativa plant with different pharmacological profiles…
We tested a series of (+)- and (-)-CBD derivatives for central and peripheral effects in mice…
We suggest that (+)-CBD analogues have mixed agonist/antagonist activity in the brain.
Second, (-)-CBD analogues which are devoid of cannabinoid receptor affinity but which inhibit intestinal motility, suggest the existence of a non-CB(1), non-CB(2) receptor.
Therefore, such analogues should be further developed as antidiarrheal and/or antiinflammatory drugs.
We propose to study the therapeutic potential of (-)- and (+)-CBD derivatives for complex conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and cystic fibrosis.”
“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.”
“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
“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.”
“Recent research suggests that the endogenous cannabinoids (“endocannabinoids”) and their cannabinoid receptors have a major influence during pre- and postnatal development. First, high levels of the endocannaboid anandamide and cannabinoid receptors are present in the preimplantation embryo and in the uterus, while a temporary reduction of anandamide levels is essential for embryonal implantation. In women accordingly, an inverse association has been reported between fatty acid amide hydrolase (the anandamide degrading enzyme) in human lymphocytes and miscarriage. Second, CB(1) receptors display a transient presence in white matter areas of the pre- and postnatal nervous system, suggesting a role for CB(1) receptors in brain development. Third, endocannabinoids have been detected in maternal milk and activation of CB(1) receptors appears to be critical for milk sucking by newborn mice, apparently activating oral-motor musculature. Fourth, anandamide has neuroprotectant properties in the developing postnatal brain. Finally, prenatal exposure to the active constituent of marihuana (Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol) or to anandamide affects prefrontal cortical functions, memory and motor and addictive behaviors, suggesting a role for the endocannabinoid CB(1) receptor system in the brain structures which control these functions. Further observations suggest that children may be less prone to psychoactive side effects of Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol or endocannabinoids than adults. The medical implications of these novel developments are far reaching and suggest a promising future for cannabinoids in pediatric medicine for conditions including “non-organic failure-to-thrive” and cystic fibrosis.”
“Endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) and their cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors, are present from the early stages of gestation and play a number of vital roles for the developing organism. Although most of these data are collected from animal studies, a role for cannabinoid receptors in the developing human brain has been suggested, based on the detection of “atypically” distributed CB1 receptors in several neural pathways of the fetal brain. In addition, a role for the endocannabinoid system for the human infant is likely, since the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl glycerol has been detected in human milk. Animal research indicates that the Endocannabinoid-CB1 Receptor (‘ECBR’) system fulfills a number of roles in the developing organism: 1. embryonal implantation (requires a temporary and localized reduction in anandamide); 2. in neural development (by the transient presence of CB1 receptors in white matter areas of the nervous system); 3. as a neuroprotectant (anandamide protects the developing brain from trauma-induced neuronal loss); 4. in the initiation of suckling in the newborn (where activation of the CB1 receptors in the neonatal brain is critical for survival). 5. In addition, subtle but definite deficiencies have been described in memory, motor and addictive behaviors and in higher cognitive (‘executive’) function in the human offspring as result of prenatal exposure to marihuana. Therefore, the endocanabinoid-CB1 receptor system may play a role in the development of structures which control these functions, including the nigrostriatal pathway and the prefrontal cortex. From the multitude of roles of the endocannabinoids and their receptors in the developing organism, there are two distinct stages of development, during which proper functioning of the endocannabinoid system seems to be critical for survival: embryonal implantation and neonatal milk sucking. We propose that a dysfunctional Endocannabinoid-CB1 Receptor system in infants with growth failure resulting from an inability to ingest food, may resolve the enigma of “non-organic failure-to-thrive” (NOFTT). Developmental observations suggest further that CB1 receptors develop only gradually during the postnatal period, which correlates with an insensitivity to the psychoactive effects of cannabinoid treatment in the young organism. Therefore, it is suggested that children may respond positively to medicinal applications of cannabinoids without undesirable central effects. Excellent clinical results have previously been reported in pediatric oncology and in case studies of children with severe neurological disease or brain trauma. We suggest cannabinoid treatment for children or young adults with cystic fibrosis in order to achieve an improvement of their health condition including improved food intake and reduced inflammatory exacerbations.”