“The review represents the analysis of works about role of endogenous cannabinoid (EC) system in the neuro- degenerate diseases (ND), in which the cellular death and disturbances of neuronal functions of the hippo- campus, neocortex and striatum are observed. Here, the diseases.ofAlzheimer, of Parkinson, of Hangtington, and the temporal lobe epilepsy are considered. In recent years the fundamental role of EC system in regu- lation of neuroexcitability, energy metabolism, inflammatory and many other processes has been opened in ND pathogenesis. It points to possibility of development of therapeutic approaches which use the prepara- tions for activation of EC system. In the review various mechanisms of cellular survival and their reparations provided to EC system during action of pathological factors are stated.”
“Cannabis sativa, is also popularly known as marijuana, has been cultivated and used for recreational and medicinal purposes for many centuries.
The main psychoactive content in cannabis is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In addition to plant cannabis sativa, there are two classes of cannabinoids—the synthetic cannabinoids (e.g., WIN55212–2) and the endogenous cannabinoids (eCB), anandamide (ANA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).
The biological effects of cannabinoids are mainly mediated by two members of the G-protein-coupled receptor family, cannabinoid receptors 1 (CB1R) and 2 (CB2R). The endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and the enzymes/proteins responsible for their biosynthesis, degradation, and re-updating constitute the endocannabinoid system.
In recent decades, the endocannabinoid system has attracted considerable attention as a potential therapeutic target in numerous physiological conditions, such as in energy balance, appetite stimulation, blood pressure, pain modulation, embryogenesis, nausea and vomiting control, memory, learning and immune response, as well as in pathological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
The major goal of this Special Issue is to discuss and evaluate the current progress in cannabis and cannabinoid research in order to increase our understanding about cannabinoid action and the underlying biological mechanisms and promote the development cannabinoid-based pharmacotherapies.
“Iron accumulation in the brain has been recognized as a common feature of both normal aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Cognitive dysfunction has been associated to iron excess in brain regions in humans. We have previously described that iron overload leads to severe memory deficits, including spatial, recognition, and emotional memory impairments in adult rats.
In the present study we investigated the effects of neonatal iron overload on proteins involved in apoptotic pathways, such as Caspase 8, Caspase 9, Caspase 3, Cytochrome c, APAF1, and PARP in the hippocampus of adult rats, in an attempt to establish a causative role of iron excess on cell death in the nervous system, leading to memory dysfunction.
Cannabidiol (CBD), the main non-psychotropic component of Cannabis sativa, was examined as a potential drug to reverse iron-induced effects on the parameters analyzed.
These results suggest that iron can trigger cell death pathways by inducing intrinsic apoptotic proteins. The reversal of iron-induced effects by CBD indicates that it has neuroprotective potential through its anti-apoptotic action.”
“Cannabis has been used as a medicinal plant for thousands of years.
As a result of centuries of breeding and selection, there are now over 700 varieties of cannabis that contain hundreds of compounds, including cannabinoids and terpenes.
Cannabinoids are fatty compounds that are the main biological active constituents of cannabis. Terpenes are volatile compounds that occur in many plants and have distinct odors.
Cannabinoids exert their effect on the body by binding to receptors, specifically cannabinoid receptors types 1 and 2. These receptors, together with endogenous cannabinoids and the systems for synthesis, transport, and degradation, are called the Endocannabinoid System.
The two most prevalent and commonly known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol.
The speed, strength, and type of effects of cannabis vary based on the route of administration. THC is rapidly distributed through the body to fatty tissues like the brain and is metabolized by the cytochrome P450 system to 11-hydroxy-THC, which is also psychoactive.
Cannabis and cannabinoids have been indicated for several medical conditions.
There is evidence of efficacy in the symptomatic treatment of nausea and vomiting, pain, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, loss of appetite, Tourette’s syndrome, and epilepsy. Cannabis has also been associated with treatment for glaucoma, Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and dystonia, but there is not good evidence to support its efficacy. Side effects of cannabis include psychosis and anxiety, which can be severe.
Here, we provided a summary of the history of cannabis, its pharmacology, and its medical uses.”
“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) exerts a modulatory effect of important functions such as neurotransmission, glial activation, oxidative stress, or protein homeostasis.
Dysregulation of these cellular processes is a common neuropathological hallmark in aging and in neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). The broad spectrum of actions of cannabinoids allows targeting different aspects of these multifactorial diseases.
In this review, we examine the therapeutic potential of the ECS for the treatment of chronic neurodegenerative diseases of the CNS focusing on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
First, we describe the localization of the molecular components of the ECS and how they are altered under neurodegenerative conditions, either contributing to or protecting cells from degeneration.
Second, we address recent advances in the modulation of the ECS using experimental models through different strategies including the direct targeting of cannabinoid receptors with agonists or antagonists, increasing the endocannabinoid tone by the inhibition of endocannabinoid hydrolysis, and activation of cannabinoid receptor-independent effects.
Preclinical evidence indicates that cannabinoid pharmacology is complex but supports the therapeutic potential of targeting the ECS.
Third, we review the clinical evidence and discuss the future perspectives on how to bridge human and animal studies to develop cannabinoid-based therapies for each neurodegenerative disorder.
Finally, we summarize the most relevant opportunities of cannabinoid pharmacology related to each disease and the multiple unexplored pathways in cannabinoid pharmacology that could be useful for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.”
“During these last years, the CB2 cannabinoid receptor has emerged as a potential anti-inflammatory target in diseases such as multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, ischemic stroke, autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, and cancer. However, the development of clinically useful CB2 agonists reveals to be very challenging. Allosterism and biased-signaling mechanisms at CB2 receptor may offer new avenues for the development of improved CB2 receptor-targeted therapies. Although there has been some exploration of CB1 receptor activation by new CB1 allosteric or biased-signaling ligands, the CB2 receptor is still at initial stages in this domain. In an effort to understand the molecular basis behind these pharmacological approaches, we have analyzed and summarized the structural data reported so far at CB2 receptor.”
“Cannabis is listed as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, meaning the US federal government defines it as an illegal drug that has high potential for abuse and no established medical use; however, half of the states in the nation have enacted “medical marijuana” (MM) laws. Clinicians must be aware of the evidence for and against the use of MM in their patients who may consider using this substance.
Publications were identified that included patients with dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson disease, Huntington disease, schizophrenia, social anxiety disorder, depression, tobacco use disorder, and neuropathic pain.
There is great variety concerning which medical conditions are approved for treatment with MM for either palliative or therapeutic benefit, depending on the state law. It is important to keep an evidence-based approach in mind, even with substances considered to be illegal under US federal law. Clinicians must weigh risks and benefits of the use of MM in their patients and should ensure that patients have tried other treatment modalities with higher levels of evidence for use when available and appropriate.”
““Medical marijuana” encompasses everything from whole-plant cannabis to synthetic cannabinoids available for commercial use approved by regulatory agencies. In determining whether MM is of clinical utility to our patients, it is important to keep in mind chemical constituents, dose, delivery, and indication. Selection of the patient appropriate for MM must be carefully considered because clinical guidelines and treatment options with stronger levels of evidence should be exhausted first in most cases. There seems to be strongest evidence for the use of MM in patients with MS and in patients with neuropathic pain; moderate evidence exists to support further research in social anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, PD, and tobacco use disorder; evidence is limited for use in patients with dementia, Huntington disease, depression, and anorexia.”
“Prominent motor deficits (e.g., chorea) that typify Huntington’s disease (HD) arise following a prolonged prodromal stage characterized by psychiatric disturbances. Apathy, a disorder of motivation characterized by diminished goal-directed behavior, is one of the earliest and most common psychiatric symptoms in HD, but the underlying neurobiology is unclear and treatment options are limited.
Alterations in the endocannabinoid (eCB) and dopamine systems represent prominent pathophysiological markers in HD that-similar to motivational deficits-present early and decline across disease progression. Whether changes in dopamine and eCB systems are associated with specific behavioral impairments in HD and whether these deficits are amenable to viable treatments is unknown.
Here, we show that dopaminergic encoding of effortful drive progressively declines with age in an HD mouse model, and is restored by elevating tissue levels of the eCB 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) through targeted inhibition of its enzymatic degradation.
This work supports aberrant dopaminergic encoding of reward as a neurobiological correlate of apathy in HD, and indicates that cannabinoid receptor-based therapies may benefit neuropsychiatric care for HD.”
“At the beginning of the 21st century, the therapeutic management of neurodegenerative disorders remains a major biomedical challenge, particularly given the worldwide aging of the population over the past 50 years that is expected to continue in the forthcoming years.
This review will focus on the promise of cannabinoid based therapies to address this challenge.
Such promise is based on the broad neuroprotective profile of cannabinoids, which may cooperate to combat excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, glia-driven inflammation and protein aggregation.
Such effects may be produced by the activity of cannabinoids through their canonical targets (e.g. cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoid enzymes) but also, via non-canonical elements and activities in distinct cell types critical for cell survival or neuronal replacement (e.g. neurons, glia, neural precursor cells).
Ultimately, the therapeutic events driven by endocannabinoid signalling reflect the activity of an endogenous system that regulates the preservation, rescue, repair and replacement of neurons and glia.”
“G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) interact with multiple intracellular effector proteins such that different ligands may preferentially activate one signal pathway over others, a phenomenon known as signaling bias. Signaling bias can be quantified to optimize drug selection for preclinical research.
Here, we describe moderate-throughput methods to quantify signaling bias of known and novel compounds. In the example provided, we describe a method to define cannabinoid-signaling bias in a cell culture model of Huntington’s disease (HD).
Decreasing type 1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1) levels is correlated with chorea and cognitive deficits in HD. There is evidence that elevating CB1 levels and/or signaling may be beneficial for HD patients while decreasing CB1 levels and/or signaling may be detrimental.
Recent studies have found that Gαi/o-biased CB1 agonists activate extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), increase CB1 protein levels, and improve viability of cells expressing mutant huntingtin. In contrast, CB1 agonists that are β-arrestin1-biased were found to reduce CB1 protein levels and cell viability.
Measuring agonist bias of known and novel CB1 agonists will provide important data that predict CB1-specific agonists that might be beneficial in animal models of HD and, following animal testing, in HD patients. This method can also be applied to study signaling bias for other GPCRs.”