Hemp-Derived Nanovesicles Protect Leaky Gut and Liver Injury in Dextran Sodium Sulfate-Induced Colitis

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“Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is used for medicinal purposes owing to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities.

We evaluated the protective effect of nanovesicles isolated from hemp plant parts (root, seed, hemp sprout, and leaf) in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in mice.

The particle sizes of root-derived nanovesicles (RNVs), seed-derived nanovesicles (SNVs), hemp sprout-derived nanovesicles (HSNVs), and leaf-derived nanovesicles (LNVs) were within the range of 100-200 nm as measured by nanoparticle tracking analysis. Acute colitis was induced in C57BL/N mice by 5% DSS in water provided for 7 days.

RNVs were administered orally once a day, leading to the recovery of both the small intestine and colon lengths. RNVs, SNVs, and HSNVs restored the tight (ZO-1, claudin-4, occludin) and adherent junctions (E-cadherin and α-tubulin) in DSS-induced small intestine and colon injury. Additionally, RNVs markedly reduced NF-κB activation and oxidative stress proteins in DSS-induced small intestine and colon injury. Tight junction protein expression and epithelial cell permeability were elevated in RNV-, SNV-, and HSNV-treated T84 colon cells exposed to 2% DSS. Interestedly, RNVs, SNVs, HSNVs, and LNVs reduced ALT activity and liver regeneration marker proteins in DSS-induced liver injury.

These results showed for the first time that hemp-derived nanovesicles (HNVs) exhibited a protective effect on DSS-induced gut leaky and liver injury through the gut-liver axis by inhibiting oxidative stress marker proteins.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36077356/

“In summary, we successfully identified and characterized edible-plant nanovesicles from different hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) parts (root; RNVS, seed; SNVS, hemp sprout; HSNVs, leaf; LNVs). RNVs markedly alleviated leaky gut and intestinal barrier proteins such as tight junction and adherent junction proteins and reduced NF-κB activation and oxidative stress markers in DSS-induced colitis. Additionally, NVs, SNVs, HSNVs, and LNVs administration reduced liver damage markers and elevated liver regeneration markers. Therefore, this is the first study using hemp-derived nanovesicles in protection against colitis that can be a novel therapeutic strategy to treat IBD.”

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/23/17/9955/htm

Cannabinoids and Chronic Liver Diseases

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“Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), alcohol-induced liver disease (ALD), and viral hepatitis are the main causes of morbidity and mortality related to chronic liver diseases (CLDs) worldwide. New therapeutic approaches to prevent or reverse these liver disorders are thus emerging.

Although their etiologies differ, these CLDs all have in common a significant dysregulation of liver metabolism that is closely linked to the perturbation of the hepatic endocannabinoid system (eCBS) and inflammatory pathways. Therefore, targeting the hepatic eCBS might have promising therapeutic potential to overcome CLDs.

Experimental models of CLDs and observational studies in humans suggest that cannabis and its derivatives may exert hepatoprotective effects against CLDs through diverse pathways. However, these promising therapeutic benefits are not yet fully validated, as the few completed clinical trials on phytocannabinoids, which are thought to hold the most promising therapeutic potential (cannabidiol or tetrahydrocannabivarin), remained inconclusive. Therefore, expanding research on less studied phytocannabinoids and their derivatives, with a focus on their mode of action on liver metabolism, might provide promising advances in the development of new and original therapeutics for the management of CLDs, such as NAFLD, ALD, or even hepatitis C-induced liver disorders.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36012687/

“Given the significant contribution of the hepatic eCBS and its downstream pathways in the regulation of liver metabolism and the setting of liver abnormalities, pharmacologically targeting peripheral CBRs may have promising potential therapeutic benefits for the treatment of CLDs. Besides this, the use of cannabis by people at risk of developing chronic liver disorders has also suggested hepatoprotective effects by reducing the frequency of NAFLD, ALD, or HCV-induced liver disorders, which would suggest that cannabinoid-based medicine may be effective in treating CLDs.”

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/23/16/9423/htm

The Endocannabinoid System and Physical Activity-A Robust Duo in the Novel Therapeutic Approach against Metabolic Disorders

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“Rapidly increasing worldwide prevalence of obesity and related pathologies encompassing coronary heart disease, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, or type 2 diabetes constitute serious threats to global health and are associated with a significantly elevated risk of premature death. Considering the enormous burden of these pathologies, novel therapeutic and preventive patterns are indispensable.

Dysregulation of one of the most complex biological systems in the human body namely, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) may result in metabolic imbalance and development of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Furthermore, many studies showed that physical exercises, depending on their type, intensity, and frequency, exert various alterations within the ECS.

Emerging evidence suggests that targeting the ECS via physical activity may produce robust beneficial effects on the course of metabolic pathologies. However, the data showing a direct correlation between the ECS and physical activity in the aspect of metabolic health are very scarce. Therefore, the aim of this review was to provide the most up-to-date state of knowledge about the interplay between the ECS activity and physical exercises in the novel therapeutic and preventive approach toward metabolic pathologies.

We believe that this paper, at least in part, will fulfill the existing gap in knowledge and encourage researchers to further explore this very complex yet interesting link between the ECS, its action in physical activity, and subsequent positive outcomes for metabolic health.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35328503/

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first review directly and comprehensively discussing the uncharted link between physical activity and its influence on the endocannabinoid signaling in the aspect of beneficial effects in the management of metabolic disorders. Considering the very alarming worldwide prevalence of these diseases as well as the unexplored potential of the topic, we believe that this paper, at least in part, will encourage researchers toward investigating this interesting, yet very complicated interplay. ECS and physical activity constitute robust and valuable therapeutic and preventive approaches that may significantly contribute to the decreased socioeconomic burden and the reduced annual number of patients suffering from obesity and other metabolic disorders. The future investigation should primarily encompass further discovery of the link between physical activity, alterations within endocannabinoid signaling and subsequently improved metabolic status of overweight, obese, and diabetic individuals.”

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/23/6/3083/htm


“Exercise activates the endocannabinoid system”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14625449/

Cannabis Extract Effects on Metabolic Parameters and Gut Microbiota Composition in a Mice Model of NAFLD and Obesity

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“Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a major cause of chronic liver abnormalities and has been linked with metabolic syndrome hallmarks. Unfortunately, current treatments are limited.

This work aimed to elucidate the effects of three cannabis extracts on metabolic alteration and gut microbiota composition in a mouse model of NAFLD and obesity.

Male mice were fed with a high-fat diet (HFD) for 12 weeks. Following the establishment of obesity, the HFD-fed group was subdivided into HFD or HFD that was supplemented with one of three cannabis extracts (CN1, CN2, and CN6) for additional 8 weeks. Metabolic parameters together with intestinal microbiota composition were evaluated.

Except for several minor changes in gene expression, no profound metabolic effect was found due to cannabis extracts addition. Nevertheless, marked changes were observed in gut microbiota diversity and composition, with CN1 and CN6 exhibiting microbial abundance patterns that are associated with more beneficial outcomes.

Taken together, specific cannabis extracts’ addition to an HFD results in more favorable modifications in gut microbiota. Although no marked metabolic effect was disclosed, longer treatments duration and/or higher extracts concentrations may be needed. More research is required to ascertain this conjecture and to establish the influence of various cannabis extracts on host health in general and NAFLD in particular.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35795290/

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2022/7964018/

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

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28441459/

The protective effects of Δ 9 -tetrahydrocannabinol against inflammation and oxidative stress in rat liver with fructose-induced hyperinsulinemia

“Objectives: A large amount of fructose is metabolized in the liver and causes hepatic functional damage. Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is known as a therapeutic agent for clinical and experimental applications. The study aims to investigate the effects of THC treatment on inflammation, lipid profiles and oxidative stress in rat liver with hyperinsulinemia.

Methods: Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into groups: control, fructose (10% fructose in drinking water for 12 weeks), THC (1.5 mg/kg/day for the last 4 weeks, intraperitoneally) and fructose+THC groups. Biochemical parameters were measured spectrophotometrically. ELISA method was used for insulin measurement. Apoptosis and inflammation markers were detected by the streptavidin-biotin peroxidase method.

Key findings: The consumptions of food and fluid are inversely proportional to fructose and non-fructose groups. Insulin levels were the highest in fructose group. The reduced glutathione-S-transferase level significantly increased in fructose + THC group compared with fructose group. Total cholesterol level in the fructose + THC group was higher than the fructose group. Caspase-3 and NF-κβ immunopositive cell numbers increased in fructose + THC rats compared with fructose group. The number of IL-6 immunopositive cell decreased in fructose + THC group compared with fructose group.

Conclusions: According to the result, long-term and low-dose THC administration may reduce hyperinsulinemia and inflammation in rats to some extent.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30427077/

“Taken together, the findings from this study demonstrate that fructose consumption induces hyperinsulinemia, oxidative stress and inflammation in rats. The long-term and low-dose THC administration may prevent hyperinsulinemia and inflammation to some extent.”

https://academic.oup.com/jpp/article/71/3/408/6122105?login=false


Anti-Inflammatory, Antioxidative, and Hepatoprotective Effects of Trans Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol/Sesame Oil on Adjuvant-Induced Arthritis in Rats

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“Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a painful chronic autoimmune disease affecting the joints. Its first-line therapy, Methotrexate (MTX), although effective in ameliorating the progress of the disease, induces hepatotoxicity over long-term usage. Thus, seeking natural compounds with fewer side effects could be an alternative therapeutic approach. This study aimed to investigate the anti-inflammatory, antiarthritic, and antioxidative effects of synthetic trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) dissolved in sesame oil (Dronabinol) against MTX in adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA) rat model. Daily oral administration of Δ9-THC/sesame oil, over a period of 21 days, was well tolerated in arthritic rats with no particular psychoactive side effects. It markedly attenuated the severity of clinical manifestations, recovered the histopathological changes in tibiotarsal joints, and repressed the splenomegaly in arthritic rats. Δ9-THC/sesame oil therapy showed similar effects to MTX in neutralizing the inflammatory process of AIA, through attenuating erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) scores and proinflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin 1-beta (IL-1β), and interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels, to normal values. As opposed to MTX, this natural combination markedly protected the liver of arthritic rats and downregulated the induced oxidative stress by increasing the antioxidant defense system such as activities of catalase and superoxide dismutase (SOD) and levels of glutathione (GSH). These results suggest promising effects for the clinical use of Δ9-THC/sesame oil therapy in alleviating arthritic clinical signs as well as arthritis-induced liver injury.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30046349/

“Dronabinol (Δ9-THC in sesame oil) is usually used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy or weight loss and loss of appetite in AIDS patients, yet, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that proves the antiarthritic and antioxidative effects of this combination in an experimental model of RA with a hepatoprotective effect against arthritis-induced liver injury compared to commonly used antirheumatic drug (MTX).”

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2018/9365464/


Cannabis sativa L. (var. indica) Exhibits Hepatoprotective Effects by Modulating Hepatic Lipid Profile and Mitigating Gluconeogenesis and Cholinergic Dysfunction in Oxidative Hepatic Injury

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“Cannabis sativa L. is a crop utilized globally for recreational, therapeutic, and religious purposes. Although considered as an illicit drug in most countries, C. sativa until recently started gaining attention for its medicinal application. This study sought to investigate the hepatoprotective effect of C. sativa on iron-mediated oxidative hepatic injury. Hepatic injury was induced ex vivo by incubating hepatic tissues with Fe2+, which led to depleted levels of reduced glutathione, superoxide dismutase, catalase and ENTPDase activities, triglyceride, and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C). Induction of hepatic injury also caused significant elevation of malondialdehyde, nitric oxide, cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) levels while concomitantly elevating the activities of ATPase, glycogen phosphorylase, glucose-6-phosphatase, fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase, amylase, and lipase. Treatment with the hexane, dichloromethane (DCM), and ethanol extracts of C. sativa leaves significantly (p < 0.05) reversed these levels and activities to almost near normal. However, there was no significant effect on the HDL-C level. The extracts also improved the utilization of glucose in Chang liver cells. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis showed the presence of phenolics in all extracts, with the ethanol extract having the highest constituents. Cannabidiol (CBD) was identified in all the extracts, while Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-9-THC) was identified in the hexane and DCM extracts only. Molecular docking studies revealed strong interactions between CBD and Δ-9-THC with the β2 adrenergic receptor of the adrenergic system. The results demonstrate the potential of C. sativa to protect against oxidative-mediated hepatic injury by stalling oxidative stress, gluconeogenesis, and hepatic lipid accumulation while modulating cholinergic and purinergic activities. These activities may be associated with the synergistic effect of the compounds identified and possible interactions with the adrenergic system.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34992528/

“The data obtained in this study indicate the ability of C. sativa to protect against oxidative-mediated hepatic injury by stalling oxidative stress, gluconeogenesis, and hepatic lipid accumulation while modulating cholinergic and purinergic activities. These activities may be associated with the synergistic effect of the identified phenolics, CBD, and Δ-9-THC and possible interactions with the adrenergic system.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2021.705402/full

Lower Rates of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Observed Among Cannabis Users: A Population-Based Study

“Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignancies worldwide and the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the world. The association between HCC and cannabis has been identified in mice; however, to our knowledge has not been identified in humans. Therefore, we aim to investigate the relation between HCC and cannabis use in humans.

Methods: Using data from the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database between 2002 and 2014, we identified the patients with HCC and cannabis use diagnosis using the International Classification of Disease 9th version codes (ICD-9). Then, we identified patients without cannabis use as the control group. We adjusted for multiple potential confounders and performed multivariable logistic regression analysis to determine the association between cannabis abuse and HCC.

Results: A total of 101,231,036 patients were included in the study. Out of the total, 996,290 patients (1%) had the diagnosis of cannabis abuse versus 100,234,746 patients (99%) in the control group without cannabis abuse. We noticed that patients with cannabis abuse were younger (34 vs 48 years), had more males (61.7% vs 41.4%) and more African Americans (29.9% vs 14.2%) compared with the control group (P<0.001 for all). Besides, patients with cannabis use had more hepatitis B, hepatitis C, liver cirrhosis, and smoking, but had less obesity and gallstones, (P<0.001 for all). Using multivariable logistic regression, and after adjusting for potential confounders, patients with cannabis abuse were 55% less likely to have HCC (adjusted Odds Ratio {aOR}, 0.45, 95% Confidence Interval {CI}, 0.42-0.49, P<0.001) compared with patients without cannabis abuse.

Conclusion: Based on our large database analysis, we found that cannabis use patients were 55% less likely to have HCC compared to patients without cannabis use. Further prospective studies are needed to assess the role of cannabis use on HCC.”

“Our analysis revealed that cannabis users were 55% less likely to have HCC compared to non-cannabis users.”

https://www.cureus.com/articles/90568-lower-rates-of-hepatocellular-carcinoma-observed-among-cannabis-users-a-population-based-study

Hepatic Cannabinoid Signaling in the Regulation of Alcohol-Associated Liver Disease

Logo of arcr“Purpose: The endocannabinoid system has emerged as a key regulatory signaling pathway in the pathophysiology of alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD). More than 30 years of research have established different roles of endocannabinoids and their receptors in various aspects of liver diseases, such as steatosis, inflammation, and fibrosis. However, pharmacological applications of the endocannabinoid system for the treatment of ALD have not been successful because of psychoactive side effects, despite some beneficial effects. Thus, a more delicate and detailed elucidation of the mechanism linking the endocannabinoid system and ALD may be of paramount significance in efforts to apply the system to the treatment of ALD.

Search results: According to the inclusion and exclusion criteria, the authors selected 47 eligible full-text articles out of 2,691 searched initially. Studies in the past 3 decades revealed the opposite effects of cannabinoid receptors CB1R and CB2R on steatosis, inflammation, and fibrosis in ALD.

Discussion and conclusions: This review summarizes the endocannabinoid signaling in the general physiology of the liver, the pathogenesis of ALD, and some of the potential therapeutic implications of cannabinoid-based treatments for ALD.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34646717/

“Over the past 30 years, it has been found that the endocannabinoid system is involved in a variety of pathways associated with the onset, or the progression, of several diseases, including ALD. The endocannabinoid system has been observed in both the hepatocytes and various nonparenchymal cells in the liver, in which the endocannabinoid production and its receptor activation may contribute to the development of a spectrum of ALD, ranging from simple alcoholic steatosis to more severe forms such as steatohepatitis and fibrosis. Therefore, understanding the precise physiology of the endocannabinoid system in the liver and unveiling the mechanism underlying the association between ALD progression and hepatic endocannabinoid signaling seem to bear a paramount significance for the advancement of ALD treatment, as well as for the treatment of other chronic liver diseases (e.g., NAFLD, viral hepatitis). Moreover, developing efficacious and highly selective cannabinoid receptor–modulating drugs could be a major breakthrough in the treatment of ALD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8496755/

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Cannabis Use Is Inversely Associated with Overweight and Obesity in Hepatitis B Virus-Infected Patients (ANRS CO22 Hepather Cohort)

View details for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image“Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection may evolve into cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, and this progression may be accelerated by specific risk factors, including overweight and obesity. Although evidence for a protective effect of cannabis use on elevated body weight has been found for other populations, no data are available for HBV-infected patients. 

Aims: We aimed to identify risk factors (including cannabis use) for overweight and obesity in patients with HBV chronic infection. 

Methods: Using baseline data from the French ANRS CO22 Hepather cohort, we performed two separate analyses, one using “central obesity” (based on waist circumference) and the other “overweight” and “obesity” (based on body mass index) as outcomes. Logistic and multinomial regressions were used to model central obesity and overweight/obesity, respectively. 

Results: Among the 3706 patients in the study population, 50.8% had central obesity, 34.7% overweight, and 14.4% obesity. After multivariable adjustment, current cannabis use was associated with a 59% lower risk of central obesity compared with no lifetime use (adjusted odds ratio [95% CI]: 0.41 [0.24 to 0.70]). It was also associated with a 54% and 84% lower risk of overweight (adjusted relative risk ratio [95% CI]: 0.46 [0.27 to 0.76]) and obesity (0.16 [0.04 to 0.67]), respectively. 

Conclusions: Cannabis use was associated with lower risks of overweight and obesity in patients with HBV chronic infection. Future studies should test whether these potential benefits of cannabis and cannabinoid use translate into reduced liver disease progression in this high-risk population.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34648718/

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2021.0094