Inverse association of marijuana use with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease among adults in the United States.

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“The impact of marijuana on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is largely unknown. We studied the association between marijuana and NAFLD utilizing cross-sectional data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2005-2014 and NHANES III (1988-1994).

RESULTS:

Of the 14,080 (NHANES 2005-2014) and 8,286 (NHANES III) participants, prevalence of suspected NAFLD and ultrasonographically-diagnosed NAFLD were inversely associated with marijuana use (p < 0.001). Compared to marijuana-naïve participants, marijuana users were less likely to have suspected NAFLD (odds ratio [OR]: 0.90, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.82-0.99 for past user; OR: 0.68, 95% CI: 0.58-0.80 for current user) and ultrasonographically-diagnosed NAFLD (OR: 0.75, 95% CI: 0.57-0.98 for current user) in the age, gender, ethnicity-adjusted model. On multivariate analysis, the ORs for suspected NAFLD comparing current light or heavy users to non-users were 0.76 (95% CI 0.58-0.98) and 0.70 (95% CI 0.56-0.89), respectively (P for trend = 0.001) with similar trends in ultrasonographically-diagnosed NAFLD (OR: 0.77, 95% CI: 0.59-1.00 for current user; OR: 0.71, 95% CI: 0.51-0.97 for current light user). In insulin resistance-adjusted model, marijuana use remained an independent predictor of lower risk of suspected NAFLD.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this nationally representative sample, active marijuana use provided a protective effect against NAFLD independent of known metabolic risk factors. The pathophysiology is unclear and warrants further investigation.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29049354

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0186702

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Cannabinoid Receptor 1 Participates in Liver Inflammation by Promoting M1 Macrophage Polarization via RhoA/NF-κB p65 and ERK1/2 Pathways, Respectively, in Mouse Liver Fibrogenesis.

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“Macrophage M1/M2 polarization mediates tissue damage and inflammatory responses. Cannabinoid receptor (CB) 1 participated in liver fibrogenesis by affecting bone marrow (BM)-derived monocytes/macrophages (BMMs) activation. However, the knowledge of whether CB1 is involved in the polarization of BMMs remains limited.

Here, we found M1 gene signatures (including CD86, MIP-1β, tumor necrosis factor, IL-6, and inducible nitric oxide synthase) and the amount of M1 macrophages (CD86+ cells, gated by F4/80) were significantly elevated in carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced mouse injured livers, while that of M2 type macrophages had little change by RT-qPCR and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS).

Our preceding study confirmed CB1 was involved in CCl4-induced liver fibrogenesis. Our results noted CB1 expression showed positive correlation with CD86. Blockade of CB1 by its antagonist or siRNA in vivo downregulated the mRNA and protein levels of M1 markers using RT-qPCR, western blot, and Cytometric Bead Array (CBA) assays, and reduced the proportion of M1 macrophages. Moreover, chimera mouse models, which received BM transplants from EGFP-transgenic mice or clodronate liposome injection mouse models, in which Kupffer cells were depleted, were performed to clarify the role of CB1 on the polarization of Kupffer cells and BMMs.

We found that CB1 was especially involved in BMM polarization toward M1 phenotype but have no effect on that of Kupffer cells. The reason might due to the lower CB1 expression in Kupffer cells than that of BMMs. In vitro, we discovered CB1 was involved in the polarization of BMMs toward M1. Furthermore, CB1-induced M1 polarization was apparently impaired by PTX [G(α)i/o protein inhibitor], Y27632 (ROCK inhibitor), and PD98059 [extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) inhibitor], while SB203580 (p38 inhibitor) and compound C (AMPK inhibitor) had no such effect. ACEA (CB1 agonist) activated G(α)i/o coupled CB1, then enlarged GTP-bound Rho and phosphor-ERK1/2, independently. NF-κB p65 nuclear translocation is also a marker of M1 phenotype macrophages. We found that CB1 switched on NF-κB p65 nuclear translocation only depending on G(α)i/o/RhoA signaling pathway.

CONCLUSION:

CB1 plays a crucial role in regulating M1 polarization of BMMs in liver injury, depending on two independent signaling pathways: G(α)i/o/RhoA/NF-κB p65 and G(α)i/o/ERK1/2 pathways.”

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Daily cannabis and reduced risk of steatosis in human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C virus co-infected patients (ANRS CO13-HEPAVIH).

Journal of Viral Hepatitis

“Liver steatosis is common in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) – Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) co-infected patients. Some recent studies have found that cannabis use is negatively associated with insulin resistance in the general population and in HIV-HCV co-infected patients.

Given the causal link between insulin resistance and steatosis, we hypothesized that cannabis use has a positive impact on steatosis.

Therefore, we aimed to study whether cannabis use in this population was associated with a reduced risk of steatosis, measured by ultrasound examination.

The ANRS CO13-HEPAVIH cohort is a French nationwide multicenter of HIV-HCV co-infected patients. Medical and socio-behavioral data from clinical follow-up visits and annual self-administered questionnaires were prospectively collected. A cross-sectional analysis was conducted using data from the first visit where both ultrasound examination data for steatosis (positive or negative diagnosis) and data on cannabis use were available. A logistic regression model was used to evaluate the association between cannabis use and steatosis. Among study sample patients (n=838), 40.1% had steatosis. Fourteen percent reported daily cannabis use, 11.7% regular use, and 74.7% no use or occasional use (“never or sometimes”).

Daily cannabisuse was independently associated with a reduced prevalence of steatosis (adjusted odds ratio [95%]=0.64 [0.42;0.99]; p=0.046), after adjusting for body mass index, hazardous alcohol consumption and current or lifetime use of lamivudine/zidovudine. Daily cannabisuse may be a protective factor against steatosis in HIV-HCV co-infected patients. These findings confirm the need for a clinical evaluation of cannabis-based pharmacotherapies in this population.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28984055

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jvh.12797/abstract

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Cannabidiol attenuates alcohol-induced liver steatosis, metabolic dysregulation, inflammation and neutrophil-mediated injury.

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, which has anti-inflammatory effects. It has also been approved by FDA for various orphan diseases for exploratory trials. Herein, we investigated the effects of CBD on liver injury induced by chronic plus binge alcohol feeding in mice. CBD may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of alcoholic liver diseases associated with inflammation, oxidative stress and steatosis, which deserves exploration in human trials.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28935932

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most abundant non-psychoactive constituent of marijuana plant (Cannabis Sativa) with excellent safety profile in humans even after chronic use. In conclusion, we demonstrate that CBD treatment significantly attenuates liver injury induced by chronic plus binge alcohol in a mouse model and oxidative burst in human neutrophils. CBD ameliorates alcohol-induced liver injury by attenuating inflammatory response involving E-selectin expression and neutrophil recruitment, and consequent oxidative/nitrative stress, in addition to attenuation of the alcohol-induced hepatic metabolic dysregulation and steatosis. These beneficial effects, coupled with the proven safety of CBD in human clinical trials and its current orphan drug approval by FDA for various indications suggest that it may have therapeutic potential in liver disease associated with inflammation, oxidative stress, metabolic dysregulation and steatosis.” https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-10924-8

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Re-visiting the Endocannabinoid System and Its Therapeutic Potential in Obesity and Associated Diseases.

 Current Diabetes Reports

“The purpose of the review was to revisit the possibility of the endocannabinoid system being a therapeutic target for the treatment of obesity by focusing on the peripheral roles in regulating appetite and energy metabolism.

Previous studies with the global cannabinoid receptor blocker rimonabant, which has both central and peripheral properties, showed that this drug has beneficial effects on cardiometabolic function but severe adverse psychiatric side effects. Consequently, focus has shifted to peripherally restricted cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor blockers as possible therapeutic agents that mitigate or eliminate the untoward effects in the central nervous system.

Targeting the endocannabinoid system using novel peripheral CB1 receptor blockers with negligible penetrance across the blood-brain barrier may prove to be effective therapy for obesity and its co-morbidities.

Perhaps the future of blockers targeting CB1 receptors will be tissue-specific neutral antagonists (e.g., skeletal muscle specific to treat peripheral insulin resistance, adipocyte-specific to treat fat excess, liver-specific to treat fatty liver and hepatic insulin resistance).”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28913816

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11892-017-0924-x

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Cannabinoid receptor 2-63 RR variant is independently associated with severe necroinflammation in HIV/HCV coinfected patients.

 

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“This is the first study to analyze the impact of the rs35761398 variant of the CNR2 gene leading to the substitution of GLN (Q) of codon 63 of the cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) with ARG (R) on the clinical presentation of chronic hepatitis in HIV/HCV coinfected patients.

This study shows interesting interplay between the CB2-RR variant and liver necroinflammation in chronic hepatitis patients with HIV/HCV coinfection, an observation of clinical value that coincides with the interest in the use of the CB2 agonists and antagonists in clinical practice emerging from the literature.”

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Cannabis use is associated with reduced prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: A cross-sectional study.

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“Cannabis use is associated with reduced prevalence of obesity and diabetes mellitus (DM) in humans and mouse disease models. Obesity and DM are a well-established independent risk factor for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the most prevalent liver disease globally. The effects of cannabis use on NAFLD prevalence in humans remains ill-defined. Our objective is to determine the relationship between cannabis use and the prevalence of NAFLD in humans.

We conducted a population-based case-control study of 5,950,391 patients using the 2014 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), Nationwide Inpatient Survey (NIS) discharge records of patients 18 years and older. After identifying patients with NAFLD (1% of all patients), we next identified three exposure groups: non-cannabis users (98.04%), non-dependent cannabis users (1.74%), and dependent cannabis users (0.22%). We adjusted for potential demographics and patient related confounders and used multivariate logistic regression (SAS 9.4) to determine the odds of developing NAFLD with respects to cannabis use.

Our findings revealed that cannabis users (dependent and non-dependent) showed significantly lower NAFLD prevalence compared to non-users (AOR: 0.82[0.76-0.88]; p<0.0001). The prevalence of NAFLD was 15% lower in non-dependent users (AOR: 0.85[0.79-0.92]; p<0.0001) and 52% lower in dependent users (AOR: 0.49[0.36-0.65]; p<0.0001). Among cannabis users, dependent patients had 43% significantly lower prevalence of NAFLD compared to non-dependent patients (AOR: 0.57[0.42-0.77]; p<0.0001).

Our observations suggest that cannabis use is associated with lower prevalence of NAFLD in patients. These novel findings suggest additional molecular mechanistic studies to explore the potential role of cannabis use in NAFLD development.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28441459

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Cannabinoid CB2 receptor ligand profiling reveals biased signalling and off-target activity

“The cannabinoid CB2 receptor (CB2R) represents a promising therapeutic target for various forms of tissue injury and inflammatory diseases. There is a great interest in the development of selective type-2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2R) agonists as potential drug candidates for various pathophysiological conditions, which include chronic and inflammatory pain, pruritus, diabetic neuropathy and nephropathy, liver cirrhosis, and protective effects after ischaemic-reperfusion injury.” https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms13958

“Pain relief without the high. Researchers at Leiden University led by Mario van der Stelt (Leiden Institute for Chemistry) have set ‘gold standards’ for developing new painkillers based on the medicinal effects of cannabis.”  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170104103916.htm

ScienceDaily
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The effect of cannabinoid receptor 1 blockade on hepatic free fatty acid profile in mice with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

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“We used rimonabant to investigate the role of CB1 receptor on hepatic FFAs profile during NAFLD. Male mice C57BL/6 were divided into: control group fed with control diet 20 weeks (C; n=6); group fed with HFD 20 weeks (HF; n=6); group fed with control diet and treated with rimonabant after 18 weeks (R; n=9); group fed with HFD and treated with rimonabant after 18 weeks (HFR; n=10). Rimonabant (10mg/kg) was administered daily to HFR and R group by oral gavage. Rimonabant decreased liver palmitic acid proportion in HFR group compared to HF group (p<0.05). Liver stearic and oleic acid proportions were decreased in R group compared to control (p<0.01 respectively). Rimonabant increased liver linoleic and arachidonic acid proportions in HFR group compared to HF group (p<0.01 respectively). CB1 blockade may be useful in the treatment of HFD-induced NAFLD due to modulation of plasma lipid and hepatic FFA profile.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28363784

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0009308417300063

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Potential of Cannabidiol for the Treatment of Viral Hepatitis.

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“Viral hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) pose a major health problem globally and if untreated, both viruses lead to severe liver damage resulting in liver cirrhosis and cancer. While HBV has a vaccine, HCV has none at the moment. The risk of drug resistance, combined with the high cost of current therapies, makes it a necessity for cost-effective therapeutics to be discovered and developed.

The recent surge in interest in Medical Cannabis has led to interest in evaluating and validating the therapeutic potentials of Cannabis and its metabolites against various diseases including viruses. Preliminary screening of cannabidiol (CBD) revealed that CBD is active against HCV but not against HBV in vitro. CBD inhibited HCV replication by 86.4% at a single concentration of 10 μM with EC50 of 3.163 μM in a dose-response assay.

These findings suggest that CBD could be further developed and used therapeutically against HCV. Cannabidiol exhibited in vitro activity against viral hepatitis C.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28250664

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid found in the Cannabis plants and is credited for several pharmacological properties. It is also known to have beneficial effects against inflammation/pain, neurological conditions, cancer, and other ailments. In general, with regard to antiviral activity, medical Cannabis was reported to be used as an accompanying remedy by HIV/AIDS patients to alleviate neuropathic pain, wasting, nausea, and vomiting. Given the increasing use and application of medical Cannabis along with its nonpsychoactive metabolite (CBD), and in line with our continuous effort to evaluate and validate the potential therapeutic properties of CBD, the major aim of this study was as such to evaluate the anti-HBV and anti-HCV activities of CBD in vitro. We report here for the first time in vitro studies to demonstrate the antiviral activity of CBD against HCV. CBD was shown to have activity against HCV in vitro but not against HBV. A review of the literature seems to suggest that CBD may also have activity in vivo based on its interaction with the CB2 receptor and as such using a host mechanism to indirectly slow the pathogenic process of the HBV virus. Based on these findings, CBD as such has potential to be further developed as a treatment for viral hepatitis, especially as a combination therapy with the currently existing therapies.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5330095/

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