Cannabinoid-induced apoptosis in immune cells as a pathway to immunosuppression.

Fig. 1

“Cannabinoids are a group of compounds found in the marijuana plant (Cannabis sativaL.). Marijuana has been used both for recreational and medicinal purposes for several centuries.

Cannabinoids have been shown to be effective in the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy, anorexia and cachexia seen in HIV/AIDS patients, as well as neuropathic pain, and spasticity in multiple sclerosis.

More recently, the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids are drawing significant attention. In the last 15 years, studies with marijuana cannabinoids led to the discovery of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) and their endogenous ligands, which make up what is known as the endocannabinoid system.

Cannabinoids are a group of compounds present in Cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa L.). They mediate their physiological and behavioral effects by activating specific cannabinoid receptors. With the recent discovery of the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) and the endocannabinoid system, research in this field has expanded exponentially.

Cannabinoids have been shown to act as potent immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory agents and have been shown to mediate beneficial effects in a wide range of immune-mediated diseases such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, septic shock, rheumatoid arthritis, and allergic asthma.

Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) is mainly expressed on the cells of the central nervous system as well as in the periphery. In contrast, cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) is predominantly expressed on immune cells. The precise mechanisms through which cannabinoids mediate immunosuppression is only now beginning to be understood…

In this review, we will focus on apoptotic mechanisms of immunosuppression mediated by cannabinoids on different immune cell populations and discuss how activation of CB2 provides a novel therapeutic modality against inflammatory and autoimmune diseases as well as malignancies of the immune system, without exerting the untoward psychotropic effects…

…cannabinoids do induce apoptosis in immune cells, alleviating inflammatory responses and protecting the host from acute and chronic inflammation.

The cumulative effect of cannabinoids on all cell populations of the immune system can be beneficial, when there is a need for immune suppression.

For example, in patients with autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis and lupus, or in those with septic shock, where the disease is caused by activated immune cells, targeting the immune cells via CB2 agonists may trigger apoptosis and act as anti-inflammatory therapy.

CB2 select agonists are not psychoactive and because CB2 is expressed primarily in immune cells, use of CB2 agonists could provide a novel therapeutic modality against autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

In addition to the use of exogenous cannabinoids, in vivo manipulation of endocannabinoids may also offer novel treatment opportunities against cancer and autoimmune diseases.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3005548/

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Therapeutic potential of cannabinoid medicines.

Drug Testing and Analysis

“Cannabis was extensively used as a medicine throughout the developed world in the nineteenth century but went into decline early in the twentieth century ahead of its emergence as the most widely used illicit recreational drug later that century. Recent advances in cannabinoid pharmacology alongside the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) have re-ignited interest in cannabis-based medicines.

The ECS has emerged as an important physiological system and plausible target for new medicines. Its receptors and endogenous ligands play a vital modulatory role in diverse functions including immune response, food intake, cognition, emotion, perception, behavioural reinforcement, motor co-ordination, body temperature, wake/sleep cycle, bone formation and resorption, and various aspects of hormonal control. In disease it may act as part of the physiological response or as a component of the underlying pathology.

In the forefront of clinical research are the cannabinoids delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, and their contrasting pharmacology will be briefly outlined. The therapeutic potential and possible risks of drugs that inhibit the ECS will also be considered. This paper will then go on to review clinical research exploring the potential of cannabinoid medicines in the following indications: symptomatic relief in multiple sclerosis, chronic neuropathic pain, intractable nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite and weight in the context of cancer or AIDS, psychosis, epilepsy, addiction, and metabolic disorders.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24006213

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/dta.1529/abstract

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Medical Marijuana is Being Used to Successfully Treat the Symptoms of Lupus in Patients

“Cannabis is considered an ideal medication to help Lupus patients cope with the symptoms of the disorder like nausea and pain. It’s also known to be an anti-inflammatory, suppressing certain parts of the immune system.”

By lowering the levels of the inflammation-promoting protein interleukin-2, and raising levels of the anti-inflammatory protein interleukin-10, cannabis shows that it may be beneficial for treating autoimmune disorders where inflammation is the main complication.”

“There is no doubt that cannabis has some medicinal benefits, and helps patients to cope with symptoms of Lupus. On the contrary, medical cannabis is only legal in a number of states. The naturally grown “drug” remains illegal on a federal level, so one should consider the law and its consequences before deciding to self-medicate. Even if you live in a state where cannabis is legal medicinally, always consult your doctor before using cannabis to treat your condition.”

More Helpful Medical Marijuana & Lupus Resources:

  • http://www.mcsocal.com/blog/plaquenil-rheumatoid-arthritis-lupus-and-marijuana-cannabis
  • http://cure4lupus.org/store/index.php?main_page=page&id=164&chapter=1
  • http://www.thelupussite.com/
  • http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/lupus/
  • http://www.lupus.org/newsite/index.html
  • http://lupus.webmd.com/news/20030415/cannabis-may-suppress-immune-system
  • http://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/features/autoimmune-disease-and-ra
  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lupus/DS00115/DSECTION=alternative-medicine

More: http://www.medicaljane.com/2013/01/07/lupus-and-medical-marijuana/

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The endocannabinoid system and its therapeutic exploitation.

Image result for Nat Rev Drug Discov.

“The term ‘endocannabinoid’ – originally coined in the mid-1990s after the discovery of membrane receptors for the psychoactive principle in Cannabis, Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and their endogenous ligands – now indicates a whole signalling system that comprises cannabinoid receptors, endogenous ligands and enzymes for ligand biosynthesis and inactivation. This system seems to be involved in an ever-increasing number of pathological conditions. With novel products already being aimed at the pharmaceutical market little more than a decade since the discovery of cannabinoid receptors, the endocannabinoid system seems to hold even more promise for the future development of therapeutic drugs. We explore the conditions under which the potential of targeting the endocannabinoid system might be realized in the years to come.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15340387

http://www.nature.com/nrd/journal/v3/n9/full/nrd1495.html

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From cannabis to the endocannabinoid system: refocussing attention on potential clinical benefits.

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“Cannabis sativa is one of the oldest herbal remedies known to man. Over the past four thousand years, it has been used for the treatment of numerous diseases but due to its psychoactive properties, its current medicinal usage is highly restricted. In this review, we seek to highlight advances made over the last forty years in the understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the effects of cannabis on the human body and how these can potentially be utilized in clinical practice. During this time, the primary active ingredients in cannabis have been isolated, specific cannabinoid receptors have been discovered and at least five endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitters (endocannabinoids) have been identified. Together, these form the framework of a complex endocannabinoid signalling system that has widespread distribution in the body and plays a role in regulating numerous physiological processes within the body. Cannabinoid ligands are therefore thought to display considerable therapeutic potential and the drive to develop compounds that can be targeted to specific neuronal systems at low enough doses so as to eliminate cognitive side effects remains the ‘holy grail’ of endocannabinoid research.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23155985

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Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs

Figure 1

“Cannabinoids are a group of compounds that mediate their effects through cannabinoid receptors. The discovery of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as the major psychoactive principle in marijuana, as well as the identification of cannabinoid receptors and their endogenous ligands, has led to a significant growth in research aimed at understanding the physiological functions of cannabinoids. Cannabinoid receptors include CB1, which is predominantly expressed in the brain, and CB2, which is primarily found on the cells of the immune system. The fact that both CB1 and CB2 receptors have been found on immune cells suggests that cannabinoids play an important role in the regulation of the immune system. Recent studies demonstrated that administration of THC into mice triggered marked apoptosis in T cells and dendritic cells, resulting in immunosuppression. In addition, several studies showed that cannabinoids downregulate cytokine and chemokine production and, in some models, upregulate T-regulatory cells (Tregs) as a mechanism to suppress inflammatory responses. The endocannabinoid system is also involved in immunoregulation. For example, administration of endocannabinoids or use of inhibitors of enzymes that break down the endocannabinoids, led to immunosuppression and recovery from immune-mediated injury to organs such as the liver. Manipulation of endocannabinoids and/or use of exogenous cannabinoids in vivo can constitute a potent treatment modality against inflammatory disorders. This review will focus on the potential use of cannabinoids as a new class of anti-inflammatory agents against a number of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases that are primarily triggered by activated T cells or other cellular immune components.”

“Cannabis, commonly known as marijuana, is a product of the Cannabis sativa plant and the active compounds from this plant are collectively referred to as cannabinoids. For several centuries, marijuana has been used as an alternative medicine in many cultures and, recently, its beneficial effects have been shown in: the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy; anorexia and cachexia seen in HIV/AIDS patients; and in neuropathic pain and spasticity in multiple sclerosis. Cannabinoid pharmacology has made important advances in recent years after the discovery of the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). Cannabinoid receptors and their endogenous ligands have provided an excellent platform for the investigation of the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids. It is well known that CB1 and CB2 are heterotrimeric Gi/o-protein-coupled receptors and that they are both expressed in the periphery and the CNS. However, CB1 expression is predominant in the CNS, especially on presynaptic nerves, and CB2 is primarily expressed on immune cells.”

“Cannabinoids are potent anti-inflammatory agents and they exert their effects through induction of apoptosis, inhibition of cell proliferation, suppression of cytokine production and induction of T-regulatory cells (Tregs).”

“Executive summary

  • Cannabinoids, the active components of Cannabis sativa, and endogenous cannabinoids mediate their effects through activation of specific cannabinoid receptors known as cannabinoid receptor 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2).
  • The cannabinoid system has been shown both in vivo and in vitro to be involved in regulating the immune system through its immunomodulatory properties.
  • Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory response and subsequently attenuate disease symptoms. This property of cannabinoids is mediated through multiple pathways such as induction of apoptosis in activated immune cells, suppression of cytokines and chemokines at inflammatory sites and upregulation of FoxP3+ regulatory T cells.
  • Cannabinoids have been tested in several experimental models of autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, colitis and hepatitis and have been shown to protect the host from the pathogenesis through induction of multiple anti-inflammatory pathways.
  • Cannabinoids may also be beneficial in certain types of cancers that are triggered by chronic inflammation. In such instances, cannabinoids can either directly inhibit tumor growth or suppress inflammation and tumor angiogenesis.”                      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/
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Targeting the endocannabinoid system with cannabinoid receptor agonists: pharmacological strategies and therapeutic possibilities.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences: 367 (1607)

“Human tissues express cannabinoid CB(1) and CB(2) receptors that can be activated by endogenously released ‘endocannabinoids’ or exogenously administered compounds in a manner that reduces the symptoms or opposes the underlying causes of several disorders in need of effective therapy. Three medicines that activate cannabinoid CB(1)/CB(2) receptors are now in the clinic: Cesamet (nabilone), Marinol (dronabinol; Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ(9)-THC)) and Sativex (Δ(9)-THC with cannabidiol). These can be prescribed for the amelioration of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (Cesamet and Marinol), stimulation of appetite (Marinol) and symptomatic relief of cancer pain and/or management of neuropathic pain and spasticity in adults with multiple sclerosis (Sativex). This review mentions several possible additional therapeutic targets for cannabinoid receptor agonists. These include other kinds of pain, epilepsy, anxiety, depression, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, stroke, cancer, drug dependence, glaucoma, autoimmune uveitis, osteoporosis, sepsis, and hepatic, renal, intestinal and cardiovascular disorders. It also describes potential strategies for improving the efficacy and/or benefit-to-risk ratio of these agonists in the clinic. These are strategies that involve (i) targeting cannabinoid receptors located outside the blood-brain barrier, (ii) targeting cannabinoid receptors expressed by a particular tissue, (iii) targeting upregulated cannabinoid receptors, (iv) selectively targeting cannabinoid CB(2) receptors, and/or (v) adjunctive ‘multi-targeting’.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23108552

“Targeting the endocannabinoid system with cannabinoid receptor agonists: pharmacological strategies and therapeutic possibilities”  http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/367/1607/3353.long

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Therapeutic aspects of cannabis and cannabinoids

The British Journal of Psychiatry

“HISTORY OF THERAPEUTIC USE

The first formal report of cannabis as a medicine appeared in China nearly 5000 years ago when it was recommended for malaria, constipation, rheumatic pains and childbirth and, mixed with wine, as a surgical analgesic. There are subsequent records of its use throughout Asia, the Middle East, Southern Africa and South America. Accounts by Pliny, Dioscorides and Galen remained influential in European medicine for 16 centuries.”

“It was not until the 19th century that cannabis became a mainstream medicine in Britain. W. B. O’Shaughnessy, an Irish scientist and physician, observed its use in India as an analgesic, anticonvulsant, anti-spasmodic, anti-emetic and hypnotic. After toxicity experiments on goats and dogs, he gave it to patients and was impressed with its muscle-relaxant, anticonvulsant and analgesic properties, and recorded its use-fulness as an anti-emetic.”

“After these observations were published in 1842, medicinal use of cannabis expanded rapidly. It soon became available ‘over the counter’ in pharmacies and by 1854 it had found its way into the United States Dispensatory. The American market became flooded with dozens of cannabis-containing home remedies.”

“Cannabis was outlawed in 1928 by ratification of the 1925 Geneva Convention on the manufacture, sale and movement of dangerous drugs. Prescription remained possible until final prohibition under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, against the advice of the Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence.”

“In the USA, medical use was effectively ruled out by the Marijuana Tax Act 1937. This ruling has been under almost constant legal challenge and many special dispensations were made between 1976 and 1992 for individuals to receive ‘compassionate reefers’. Although this loophole has been closed, a 1996 California state law permits cultivation or consumption of cannabis for medical purposes, if a doctor provides a written endorsement. Similar arrangements apply in Italy and Canberra, Australia.”

“Results and Conclusions Cannabis and some cannabinoids are effective anti-emetics and analgesics and reduce intra-ocular pressure. There is evidence of symptom relief and improved well-being in selected neurological conditions, AIDS and certain cancers. Cannabinoids may reduce anxiety and improve sleep. Anticonvulsant activity requires clarification. Other properties identified by basic research await evaluation. Standard treatments for many relevant disorders are unsatisfactory. Cannabis is safe in overdose but often produces unwanted effects, typically sedation, intoxication, clumsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, lowered blood pressure or increased heart rate. The discovery of specific receptors and natural ligands may lead to drug developments. Research is needed to optimise dose and route of administration, quantify therapeutic and adverse effects, and examine interactions.”

http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/178/2/107.long

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The therapeutic potential of novel cannabinoid receptors.

Cover image

“Cannabinoids produce a plethora of biological effects, including the modulation of neuronal activity through the activation of CB(1) receptors and of immune responses through the activation of CB(2) receptors. The selective targeting of either of these two receptor subtypes has clear therapeutic value. Recent evidence indicates that some of the cannabinomimetic effects previously thought to be produced through CB(1) and/or CB(2) receptors, be they on neuronal activity, on the vasculature tone or immune responses, still persist despite the pharmacological blockade or genetic ablation of CB(1) and/or CB(2) receptors. This suggests that additional cannabinoid and cannabinoid-like receptors exist. Here we will review this evidence in the context of their therapeutic value and discuss their true belonging to the endocannabinoid signaling system.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19248809

“The therapeutic potential of novel cannabinoid receptors”  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0163725809000266

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Juicing cannabis miraculously saves lives after physicians declare the battle lost

“(NaturalNews) At 16, Kristen Peskuski was suffering from joint inflammation and an array of autoimmune conditions which made her organs and other tissues swell, including interstitial cystitis and lupus. She was prescribed over 40 different anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and painkilling medications to combat the symptoms. Still struggling to bring the symptoms under control, Kristen developed steroid toxicity. She was told that the most she could hope for was reduced discomfort, and with luck, she might make it to her 30th birthday. Seeking alternative treatments, she began juicing raw cannabis leaves every day, and within two months, Kristen’s back pain had been eliminated, and she had stopped using any other painkillers.”

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/035400_juicing_cannabis_remedies.html#ixzz29OcuQ7gQ

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