“Anecdotal evidence that cannabis preparations have medical benefits together with the discovery of the psychotropic plant cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) initiated efforts to develop cannabinoid-based therapeutics.
These efforts have been marked by disappointment, especially in relation to the unwanted central effects that result from activation of cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1), which have limited the therapeutic use of drugs that activate or inactivate this receptor.
The discovery of CB2 and of endogenous cannabinoid receptor ligands (endocannabinoids) raised new possibilities for safe targeting of this endocannabinoid system. However, clinical success has been limited, complicated by the discovery of an expanded endocannabinoid system – known as the endocannabinoidome – that includes several mediators that are biochemically related to the endocannabinoids, and their receptors and metabolic enzymes.
The approvals of nabiximols, a mixture of THC and the non-psychotropic cannabinoid cannabidiol, for the treatment of spasticity and neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis, and of purified botanical cannabidiol for the treatment of otherwise untreatable forms of paediatric epilepsy, have brought the therapeutic use of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids in neurological diseases into the limelight.
In this Review, we provide an overview of the endocannabinoid system and the endocannabinoidome before discussing their involvement in and clinical relevance to a variety of neurological disorders, including Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, Huntington disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, stroke, epilepsy and glioblastoma.”
“The existence of the endocannabinoidome explains in part why some non-euphoric cannabinoids, which affect several endocannabinoidome proteins, are useful for the treatment of neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.”
“Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects approximately 50 million people worldwide.
There is currently no definitive epilepsy cure. However, in recent years, medicinal cannabis has been successfully trialed as an effective treatment for managing epileptic symptoms, but whose mechanisms of action are largely unknown.
Lately, there has been a focus on neuroinflammation as an important factor in the pathology of many epileptic disorders. In this literature review, we consider the links that have been identified between epilepsy, neuroinflammation, the endocannabinoid system (ECS), and how cannabinoids may be potent alternatives to more conventional pharmacological therapies.
We review the research that demonstrates how the ECS can contribute to neuroinflammation, and could therefore be modulated by cannabinoids to potentially reduce the incidence and severity of seizures. In particular, the cannabinoid cannabidiol has been reported to have anti-convulsant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it shows promise for epilepsy treatment.
There are a multitude of signaling pathways that involve endocannabinoids, eicosanoids, and associated receptors by which cannabinoids could potentially exert their therapeutic effects. Further research is needed to better characterize these pathways, and consequently improve the application and regulation of medicinal cannabis.”
“In Italy, medical grade cannabis (MGC) can be prescribed for different medical conditions, including drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE), once standard and approved therapies have failed, or caused non-tolerable side effects.
Here, we present a retrospective case series report of five patients with DRE who started therapy with MGC. Authorized ISO 9001:2008 pharmacies prepared MGC according to Italian laws. Olive oil extracts (OOEs) were prepared following standard extraction protocols, and cannabinoids were measured on each OOE to check for successful extraction.
After treatment with MGC, all patients reported a reduction in seizure frequency and severity, and some reported improved mood, sleep quality, and general well-being without relevant side effects.
Despite the small sample size and open-label nature of the data, we show that MGC may be successfully used to treat DRE. This is especially true when considering that no valid therapeutic option exists for these patients and that MGC was extremely well tolerated.”
“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is comprised of cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB1R and CB2R), endogenous ligands, and regulatory enzymes, and serves to regulate several important physiological functions throughout the brain and body.
Recent evidence suggests that the ECS may be a promising target for the treatment of epilepsy, including epilepsy subtypes that arise from mutations in the voltage-gated sodium channel SCN1A.
The objective of this study was to explore the effects of modulating CB2R activity on seizure susceptibility.
Our results demonstrate that reduced CB2R activity is associated with increased seizure susceptibility. CB2Rs might therefore provide a therapeutic target for the treatment of some forms of epilepsy.”
“The study aims to investigate: (1) the prevalence of cannabis among epileptic patients seen at Mansoura University Hospital, (2) serum levels and gene expression of cytokines in epilepsy patients and the controls. and (3) the possibility that cannabis use affects the cytokine levels in epilepsy patients, triggering its future use in treatment.
We recruited 440 epilepsy patients and 200 controls matched for age, gender, and ethnicity. Of the epileptic patients, 37.5% demonstrated lifetime cannabis use with a mean duration of 15 ± 73 years. Serum levels of interleukin IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), were analyzed and gene expression analysis was conducted only for those cytokines that were different between groups in the serum analysis.
The “Epilepsy-only” patients had significantly higher serum and mRNA levels of IL-1α, β, IL-2,6,8, and TNF-α compared to the controls and the “Cannabis+Epilepsy” group (p = 0.0001). IL-10 showed significantly lower levels in the “Epilepsy-only” patients compared to the controls and “Cannabis+Epilepsy” (p = 0.0001). Cannabis use is prevalent among epilepsy patients.
Epilepsy is characterized by a pro-inflammatory state supported by high serum and gene expression levels.
Cannabis users demonstrated significantly lower levels of inflammatory cytokines compared to epilepsy non-cannabis users which might contribute to its use in the treatment of resistant epilepsy.”
“This paper aimed to systematically examine the efficacy and adverse event (AE) profile of cannabidiol and medicinal cannabis by analyzing qualitative and meta-analytic data.
According to the results, a statistically meaningful effect of cannabidiol compared with placebo was observed (p < 0.00001). When comparing treatment with cannabidiol or medicinal cannabis, significance was not found for the AE profile (p = 0.74). As AEs for cannabidiol were more common under short-term than under long-term treatment (p < 0.00001), this approach was favorable in the long term.
Furthermore, cannabidiol is more effective than placebo, regardless of the etiology of epileptic syndromes and dosage.
Overall, the AE profile did not differ across treatments with cannabidiol or medicinal cannabis, though it did differ favorably for long-term than for short-term treatment.”
“CBD treatments were effective compared with placebo, regardless of the dose administered. •The safety analysis is related to tolerable SEs found in studies with both CBD and medicinal CNB. •There was a greater tendency for adverse events in short-term treatment compared with long-term treatment.”
“In final appraisal documents the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has recommended the use of cannabidiol with clobazam for treating seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
The decision comes after NICE initially rejected the use of cannabidiol in draft appraisal documents released in August because of concerns over a lack of data on the drug’s long term effectiveness.
However, in its latest documents NICE has recommended the drug for people aged 2 or over, reporting that clinical trials had shown that, in comparison with usual care, cannabidiol reduced the number of drop and non-drop seizures and the number of convulsive and non-convulsive seizures.
The final appraisal documents are out for consultation until 27 November, and final approval is expected on 18 December.
The documents were released alongside NICE’s final guideline on cannabis based medicinal products. In this, NICE also recommends the use of nabiximols for patients with multiple sclerosis.”
“EpidiolexTM , a form of highly purified cannabidiol (CBD) derived from Cannabis plants has demonstrated seizure control activity in patients with Dravet syndrome, without a fully-elucidated mechanism of action. We have employed an unbiased approach to investigate this mechanism at a cellular level.
We use a tractable biomedical model organism, Dictyostelium, to identify protein controlling the effect of CBD and characterize this mechanism. We then translate these results to a Dravet Syndrome mouse model and an acute in vitro seizure model.
Key Results CBD activity is partially dependent upon the mitochondrial glycine cleavage system component, GcvH1 in Dictyostelium, orthologous to the human GCSH protein, which is functionally linked to folate one-carbon metabolism (FOCM). Analysis of FOCM components identified a mechanism for CBD in directly inhibiting methionine synthesis.
Analysis of brain tissue from a Dravet syndrome mouse model also showed drastically altered levels of one-carbon components including methionine, and an in vitro rat seizure model showed an elevated level of methionine that is attenuated following CBD treatment. Conclusions and Implications
Our results suggest a novel mechanism for CBD in the regulating methionine levels, and identify altered one-carbon metabolism in Dravet syndrome and seizure activity.”
“Cannabis sativa produces a complex mixture of many bioactive molecules including terpenophenolic compounds known as phytocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids come in neutral forms (e.g., Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, THC; cannabidiol, CBD; etc.) or as acid precursors, which are dominant in the plant (e.g., Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, THCA; cannabidiolic acid, CBDA; etc.).
There is increasing interest in unlocking the therapeutic applications of the phytocannabinoid acids; however, the present understanding of the basic pharmacology of phytocannabinoid acids is limited. Herein the brain and plasma pharmacokinetic profiles of CBDA, THCA, cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA), cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), and cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA) were examined following intraperitoneal administration in mice.
Next it was examined whether CBDA was anticonvulsant in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome (Scn1aRX/+ mice). All the phytocannabinoid acids investigated were rapidly absorbed with plasma tmax values of between 15 and 45 min and had relatively short half-lives (<4 h). The brain-plasma ratios for the acids were very low at ≤0.04. However, when CBDA was administered in an alternate Tween 80-based vehicle, it exhibited a brain-plasma ratio of 1.9. The anticonvulsant potential of CBDA was examined using this vehicle, and it was found that CBDA significantly increased the temperature threshold at which the Scn1aRX/+ mice had a generalized tonic-clonic seizure.”