Involvement of the cannabinoid system in chronic inflammatory intestinal diseases: opportunities for new therapies

Intestinal Research

“The components of the endogenous cannabinoid system are widely expressed in the gastrointestinal tract contributing to local homeostasis. In general, cannabinoids exert inhibitory actions in the gastrointestinal tract, inducing anti-inflammatory, antiemetic, antisecretory, and antiproliferative effects. Therefore, cannabinoids are interesting pharmacological compounds for the treatment of several acute intestinal disorders, such as dysmotility, emesis, and abdominal pain. Likewise, the role of cannabinoids in the treatment of chronic intestinal diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease, is also under investigation. Patients with chronic intestinal inflammatory diseases present impaired quality of life, and mental health issues are commonly associated with long-term chronic diseases. The complex pathophysiology of these diseases contributes to difficulties in diagnosis and, therefore, in the choice of a satisfactory treatment. Thus, this article reviews the involvement of the cannabinoid system in chronic inflammatory diseases that affect the gastrointestinal tract and highlights possible therapeutic approaches related to the use of cannabinoids.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35645322/

https://www.irjournal.org/journal/view.php?doi=10.5217/ir.2021.00160

Medical Cannabis Activity Against Inflammation: Active Compounds and Modes of Action

Frontiers in Pharmacology welcomes new Field Chief Editor – Science &  research news | Frontiers

“Inflammation often develops from acute, chronic, or auto-inflammatory disorders that can lead to compromised organ function. Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) has been used to treat inflammation for millennia, but its use in modern medicine is hampered by a lack of scientific knowledge. Previous studies report that cannabis extracts and inflorescence inhibit inflammatory responses in vitro and in pre-clinical and clinical trials. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a modulator of immune system activity, and dysregulation of this system is involved in various chronic inflammations. This system includes cannabinoid receptor types 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2), arachidonic acid-derived endocannabinoids, and enzymes involved in endocannabinoid metabolism. Cannabis produces a large number of phytocannabinoids and numerous other biomolecules such as terpenes and flavonoids. In multiple experimental models, both in vitro and in vivo, several phytocannabinoids, including Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG), exhibit activity against inflammation. These phytocannabinoids may bind to ECS and/or other receptors and ameliorate various inflammatory-related diseases by activating several signaling pathways. Synergy between phytocannabinoids, as well as between phytocannabinoids and terpenes, has been demonstrated. Cannabis activity can be improved by selecting the most active plant ingredients (API) while eliminating parts of the whole extract. Moreover, in the future cannabis components might be combined with pharmaceutical drugs to reduce inflammation.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35614947/

“Cannabis compounds, in some cases via the endocannabinoids system, were shown to affect some of the cornerstones of chronic inflammation. However, in light of the large number of active molecules produced by cannabis and their sometimes-synergistic interactions, there is a need to better specify cannabis-based treatments and the active compounds, while utilizing the synergy identified between cannabis phytomolecules. Thus, even if CBD or THC are considered potentially leading molecules, additional cannabis-derived compounds may be selected for improved activity.

Future approaches for improved usage of cannabis demand the development, transformation and formulation of full-spectrum cannabis extracts into active plant ingredients (APIs) to achieve higher effectivity.

Importantly, once the mode of action of phytocannabinoids and that of their combination is known, APIs might be targeted towards specific mechanisms involved with inflammation.

Moreover, it might be that cannabis components can be combined with other pharmaceutical drugs to reduce inflammation. “

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2022.908198/full


Endocannabinoid Levels in Ulcerative Colitis Patients Correlate With Clinical Parameters and Are Affected by Cannabis Consumption

Logo of frontendo“Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are chronic, idiopathic, inflammatory, gastrointestinal disorders.

The endocannabinoid system may have a role in the pathogenesis of IBD.

We aimed to assess whether cannabis treatment influences endocannabinoids (eCBs) level and clinical symptoms of IBD patients.

Conclusion

Our study supports the notion that cannabis use affects eCB “tone” in UC patients and may have beneficial effects on disease symptoms in UC patients.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8438407/

“In conclusion, our study suggests that cannabis use may affect eCBs tone in UC patients. This affect has a beneficial effect on UC symptoms.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2021.685289/full

The Endocannabinoid System: A Potential Target for the Treatment of Various Diseases

ijms-logo“The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is primarily responsible for maintaining homeostasis, a balance in internal environment (temperature, mood, and immune system) and energy input and output in living, biological systems.

In addition to regulating physiological processes, the ECS directly influences anxiety, feeding behaviour/appetite, emotional behaviour, depression, nervous functions, neurogenesis, neuroprotection, reward, cognition, learning, memory, pain sensation, fertility, pregnancy, and pre-and post-natal development.

The ECS is also involved in several pathophysiological diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. In recent years, genetic and pharmacological manipulation of the ECS has gained significant interest in medicine, research, and drug discovery and development.

The distribution of the components of the ECS system throughout the body, and the physiological/pathophysiological role of the ECS-signalling pathways in many diseases, all offer promising opportunities for the development of novel cannabinergic, cannabimimetic, and cannabinoid-based therapeutic drugs that genetically or pharmacologically modulate the ECS via inhibition of metabolic pathways and/or agonism or antagonism of the receptors of the ECS. This modulation results in the differential expression/activity of the components of the ECS that may be beneficial in the treatment of a number of diseases.

This manuscript in-depth review will investigate the potential of the ECS in the treatment of various diseases, and to put forth the suggestion that many of these secondary metabolites of Cannabis sativa L. (hereafter referred to as “C. sativa L.” or “medical cannabis”), may also have potential as lead compounds in the development of cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals for a variety of diseases.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34502379/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/17/9472

Cannabis sativa L. as a Natural Drug Meeting the Criteria of a Multitarget Approach to Treatment

ijms-logo“Cannabis sativa L. turned out to be a valuable source of chemical compounds of various structures, showing pharmacological activity. The most important groups of compounds include phytocannabinoids and terpenes.

The pharmacological activity of Cannabis (in epilepsy, sclerosis multiplex (SM), vomiting and nausea, pain, appetite loss, inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, schizophrenia, glaucoma, and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)), which has been proven so far, results from the affinity of these compounds predominantly for the receptors of the endocannabinoid system (the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1), type two (CB2), and the G protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55)) but, also, for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR), glycine receptors, serotonin receptors (5-HT), transient receptor potential channels (TRP), and GPR, opioid receptors.

The synergism of action of phytochemicals present in Cannabis sp. raw material is also expressed in their increased bioavailability and penetration through the blood-brain barrier. This review provides an overview of phytochemistry and pharmacology of compounds present in Cannabis extracts in the context of the current knowledge about their synergistic actions and the implications of clinical use in the treatment of selected diseases.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33466734/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/2/778

Cannabidiol Isolated From Cannabis sativa L. Protects Intestinal Barrier From In Vitro Inflammation and Oxidative Stress

Frontiers in Pharmacology (@FrontPharmacol) | Twitter“The relevance and incidence of intestinal bowel diseases (IBD) have been increasing over the last 50 years and the current therapies are characterized by severe side effects, making essential the development of new strategies that combine efficacy and safety in the management of human IBD. Herbal products are highly considered in research aimed at discovering new approaches for IBD therapy and, among others, 

Cannabis sativa L. has been traditionally used for centuries as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory remedy also in different gastrointestinal disorders. This study aims to investigate the effects of different C. sativa isolated compounds in an in vitro model of intestinal epithelium. The ability of treatments to modulate markers of intestinal dysfunctions was tested on Caco-2 intestinal cell monolayers.

Our results, obtained by evaluation of ROS production, TEER and paracellular permeability measurements and tight junctions evaluation show Cannabidiol as the most promising compound against intestinal inflammatory condition. Cannabidiol is able to inhibit ROS production and restore epithelial permeability during inflammatory and oxidative stress conditions, suggesting its possible application as adjuvant in IBD management.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33995048/

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2021.641210/full

Cannabinoid receptor activation on hematopoietic cells and enterocytes protects against colitis

Oxford University Press“Cannabinoid receptor (CB) activation can attenuate inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in experimental models and human cohorts. However, the role of the microbiome, metabolome, or the respective contributions of hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic cells in the anti-colitic effects of cannabinoids has yet to be determined.

Methods: Female C57BL/6 mice were treated with either cannabidiol (CBD), Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a combination of CBD and THC or vehicle, in several models of chemically induced colitis. Clinical parameters of colitis were assessed by colonoscopy, histology, flow cytometry and detection of serum biomarkers; single-cell RNA sequencing and qRT-PCR were used to evaluate the effects of cannabinoids on enterocytes. Immune cell transfer from CB2 knockout mice was used to evaluate the contribution of hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic cells to colitis protection.

Results: We found that THC prevented colitis, and that CBD, at the dose tested, provided little benefit to the amelioration of colitis, or when added synergistically with THC. THC increased colonic barrier integrity by stimulating mucus, tight junction and antimicrobial peptide production, and these effects were specific to the large intestine. THC increased colonic gram-negative bacteria, but the anti-colitic effects of THC were independent of the microbiome. THC acted on both immune cells via CB2 and on enterocytes to attenuate colitis.

Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate how cannabinoid receptor activation on both immune cells and colonocytes is critical to prevent colonic inflammation. These studies also suggest how cannabinoid receptor activation can be used as a preventive and therapeutic modality against colitis.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33331878/

https://academic.oup.com/ecco-jcc/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjaa253/6040793?redirectedFrom=fulltext

THE PHARMACOLOGICAL CASE FOR CANNABIGEROL (CBG)

Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics: 375 (3) “Medical cannabis and individual cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), are receiving growing attention in both the media and the scientific literature. The Cannabis plant, however, produces over 100 different cannabinoids, and cannabigerol (CBG) serves as the precursor molecule for the most abundant phytocannabinoids.

CBG exhibits affinity and activity characteristics between THC and CBD at the cannabinoid receptors, but appears to be unique in its interactions with alpha-2 adrenoceptors and 5-HT1A Studies indicate that CBG may have therapeutic potential in treating neurological disorders (e.g., Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and multiple sclerosis), inflammatory bowel disease, as well as having antibacterial activity.

There is growing interest in the commercial use of this unregulated phytocannabinoid. This review focuses on the unique pharmacology of CBG, our current knowledge of its possible therapeutic utility, and its potential toxicological hazards.

Significance Statement Cannabigerol (CBG) is currently being marketed as a dietary supplement and, as with cannabidiol (CBD) before, many claims are being made about its benefits. Unlike CBD, however, little research has been performed on this unregulated molecule, and much of what is known warrants further investigation to identify potential areas of therapeutic uses and hazards.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33168643/

https://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/early/2020/11/09/jpet.120.000340

Endocannabinoids Inhibit the Induction of Virulence in Enteric Pathogens

Cell | Publons
“Endocannabinoids are host-derived lipid hormones that fundamentally impact gastrointestinal (GI) biology. The use of cannabis and other exocannabinoids as anecdotal treatments for various GI disorders inspired the search for mechanisms by which these compounds mediate their effects, which led to the discovery of the mammalian endocannabinoid system. Dysregulated endocannabinoid signaling was linked to inflammation and the gut microbiota. However, the effects of endocannabinoids on host susceptibility to infection has not been explored. Here, we show that mice with elevated levels of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) are protected from enteric infection by Enterobacteriaceae pathogens. 2-AG directly modulates pathogen function by inhibiting virulence programs essential for successful infection. Furthermore, 2-AG antagonizes the bacterial receptor QseC, a histidine kinase encoded within the core Enterobacteriaceae genome that promotes the activation of pathogen-associated type three secretion systems. Taken together, our findings establish that endocannabinoids are directly sensed by bacteria and can modulate bacterial function.”
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“Fighting intestinal infections with the body’s own endocannabinoids. By harnessing the power of natural compounds produced in the body and in plants, we may eventually treat infections in a whole new way.”  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201007123119.htm

“Study may explain why cannabis plant can reduce symptoms of various bowel conditions” https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201007/Study-could-help-explain-why-cannabis-plant-can-reduce-symptoms-of-various-bowel-conditions.aspx

Efficacy of combined therapy with fish oil and phytocannabinoids in murine intestinal inflammation

Phytotherapy Research“Fish oil (FO) and phytocannabinoids have received considerable attention for their intestinal anti-inflammatory effects.

We investigated whether the combination of FO with cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabidiol (CBD) or a combination of all three treatments results in a more pronounced intestinal antiinflammatory action compared to the effects achieved separately.

Colitis was induced in mice by 2,4-dinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (DNBS). CBD and CBG levels were detected and quantified by liquid chromatography coupled with time of flight mass spectrometry and ion trap mass spectrometry (LC-MS-IT-TOF). Endocannabinoids and related mediators were assessed by LC-MS. DNBS increased colon weight/colon length ratio, myeloperoxidase activity, interleukin-1β, and intestinal permeability.

CBG, but not CBD, given by oral gavage, ameliorated DNBS-induced colonic inflammation. FO pretreatment (at the inactive dose) increased the antiinflammatory action of CBG and rendered oral CBD effective while reducing endocannabinoid levels. Furthermore, the combination of FO, CBD, and a per se inactive dose of CBG resulted in intestinal anti-inflammatory effects. Finally, FO did not alter phytocannabinoid levels in the serum and in the colon.

By highlighting the apparent additivity between phytocannabinoids and FO, our preclinical data support a novel strategy of combining these substances for the potential development of a treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32996187/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.6831