Therapeutic applicability of cannabidiol and other phytocannabinoids in epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease and in comorbidity with psychiatric disorders

pubmed logo

“Studies have demonstrated the neuroprotective effect of cannabidiol (CBD) and other Cannabis sativa L. derivatives on diseases of the central nervous system caused by their direct or indirect interaction with endocannabinoid system-related receptors and other molecular targets, such as the 5-HT1A receptor, which is a potential pharmacological target of CBD. Interestingly, CBD binding with the 5-HT1A receptor may be suitable for the treatment of epilepsies, parkinsonian syndromes and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in which the 5-HT1A serotonergic receptor plays a key role. The aim of this review was to provide an overview of cannabinoid effects on neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s diseases, and discuss their possible mechanism of action, highlighting interactions with molecular targets and the potential neuroprotective effects of phytocannabinoids. CBD has been shown to have significant therapeutic effects on epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease, while nabiximols contribute to a reduction in spasticity and are a frequent option for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Although there are multiple theories on the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for neurological disorders, substantially greater progress in the search for strong scientific evidence of their pharmacological effectiveness is needed.”

Unveiling the Potential of Cannabinoids in Multiple Sclerosis and the Dawn of Nano-Cannabinoid Medicine

pubmed logo

“Multiple sclerosis is the predominant autoimmune disorder affecting the central nervous system in adolescents and adults. Specific treatments are categorized as disease-modifying, whereas others are symptomatic treatments to alleviate painful symptoms.

Currently, no singular conventional therapy is universally effective for all patients across all stages of the illness. Nevertheless, cannabinoids exhibit significant promise in their capacity for neuroprotection, anti-inflammation, and immunosuppression.

This review will examine the traditional treatment for multiple sclerosis, the increasing interest in using cannabis as a treatment method, its role in protecting the nervous system and regulating the immune system, commercially available therapeutic cannabinoids, and the emerging use of cannabis in nanomedicine.

In conclusion, cannabinoids exhibit potential as a disease-modifying treatment rather than merely symptomatic relief. However, further research is necessary to unveil their role and establish the safety and advancements in nano-cannabinoid medicine, offering the potential for reduced toxicity and fewer adverse effects, thereby maximizing the benefits of cannabinoids.”

The Therapeutic Potential and Molecular Mechanisms Underlying the Neuroprotective Effects of Sativex® – A Cannabis-derived Spray

pubmed logo

“Sativex is a cannabis-based medicine that comes in the form of an oromucosal spray. It contains equal amounts of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, two compounds derived from cannabis plants.

Sativex has been shown to have positive effects on symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis (MS), and sleep disorders. It also has analgesic, antiinflammatory, antitumoral, and neuroprotective properties, which make it a potential treatment option for other neurological disorders.

The article reviews the results of recent preclinical and clinical studies that support the therapeutic potential of Sativex and the molecular mechanisms behind its neuroprotective benefits in various neurological disorders. The article also discusses the possible advantages and disadvantages of using Sativex as a neurotherapeutic agent, such as its safety, efficacy, availability, and legal status.”

Identification of Anti-Neuroinflammatory Bioactive Compounds in Essential Oils and Aqueous Distillation Residues Obtained from Commercial Varieties of Cannabis sativa L

pubmed logo

“Neuroinflammation, which is mainly triggered by microglia, is a key contributor to multiple neurodegenerative diseases.

Natural products, and in particular Cannabis sativa L., due to its richness in phytochemical components, represent ideal candidates to counteract neuroinflammation.

We previously characterized different C. sativa commercial varieties which showed significantly different chemical profiles. On these bases, the aim of this study was to evaluate essential oils and aqueous distillation residues from the inflorescences of three different hemp varieties for their anti-neuroinflammatory activity in BV-2 microglial cells. Cells were pretreated with aqueous residues or essential oils and then activated with LPS. Unlike essential oils, aqueous residues showed negligible effects in terms of anti-inflammatory activity. Among the essential oils, the one obtained from ‘Gorilla Glue’ was the most effective in inhibiting pro-inflammatory mediators and in upregulating anti-inflammatory ones through the modulation of the p38 MAPK/NF-κB pathway. Moreover, the sesquiterpenes (E)-caryophyllene, α-humulene, and caryophyllene oxide were identified as the main contributors to the essential oils’ anti-inflammatory activity. To our knowledge, the anti-neuroinflammatory activity of α-humulene has not been previously described.

In conclusion, our work shows that C. sativa essential oils characterized by high levels of sesquiterpenes can be promising candidates in the prevention/counteraction of neuroinflammation.”

Characterizing cannabis-prevalent terpenes for neuroprotection reveal a role for α and β-pinenes in mitigating amyloid β-evoked neurotoxicity and aggregation in vitro

pubmed logo

Background: Cannabis Sativa L. (C. sativa) can efficiently synthesize of over 200 terpenes, including monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and triterpenes that may contribute to the known biological activities of phytocannabinoids of relevance for the burgeoning access to medicinal cannabis formulations globally; however, to date have been uncharacterized. We assessed twelve predominant terpenes in C. sativa for neuroprotective and anti-aggregative properties in semi-differentiated PC12 neuronal cell line that is robust and validated as a cell model responsive to amyloid β (Aβ1-42) protein exposure and oxidative stress.

Methods: Cell viability was assessed biochemically using the MTT assay in the presence of myrcene, β-caryophyllene, terpinolene, limonene, linalool, humulene, α-pinene, nerolidol, β-pinene, terpineol, citronellol and friedelin (1-200μM) for 24hr. Sub-toxic threshold test concentrations of each terpene were then applied to cells, alone or with concomitant incubation with the lipid peroxidant tert-butyl hyrdroperoxide (t-BHP; 0-250μM) or amyloid β (Aβ1-42; 0-1μM) to assess neuroprotective effects. Direct effects of each terpene on Aβ fibril formation and aggregation were also evaluated using the Thioflavin T (ThT) fluorometric kinetic assay and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to visualize fibril and aggregate morphology

Results: Terpenes were intrinsically benign to PC12 cells up to 50μM, with higher concentrations of β-caryophyllene, humulene and nerolidol inducing some loss of PC12 cell viability. No significant protective effects of terpenes were observed following t-BHP (0-200µM) administration, with some enhanced toxicity instead demonstrated from both β-caryophyllene and humulene treatment (each at 50µM). α-pinene and β-pinene demonstrated a significant neuroprotective effect against amyloid β exposure. α-pinene, β-pinene, terpineol, terpinolene and friedelin were associated with a variable inhibition of Aβ1-42 fibril and aggregate density.

Conclusions: The outcomes of this study underline a neuroprotective role of α-pinene and β-pinene against Aβ-mediated neurotoxicity associated with an inhibition of Aβ1-42 fibrilization and density. This demonstrates the bioactive potential of selected terpenes for consideration in the development of medicinal cannabis formulations targeting neurodegenerative diseases.”

“In summary, the outcomes from this study reveal a novel and efficacious neuroprotective and anti-aggregatory effect of α-pinene and β-pinene against β amyloid-mediated toxicity. The modest inhibition of lipid peroxidation from α-pinene, β-pinene, and terpinolene may also contribute to the multifaceted neuroprotection of C. sativa-prevalent terpenes. In addition, limited anti-aggregatory effects were observed from terpineol, terpinolene, α-pinene, β-pinene and friedelin. The outcomes of this study contribute to an emerging body of knowledge towards the potential synergistic bioactivities of selected terpenes for consideration in the development of medicinal cannabis formulations targeting neurodegenerative diseases.”

Cannabinoids and endocannabinoids as therapeutics for nervous system disorders: preclinical models and clinical studies

pubmed logo

“Cannabinoids are lipophilic substances derived from Cannabis sativa that can exert a variety of effects in the human body. They have been studied in cellular and animal models as well as in human clinical trials for their therapeutic benefits in several human diseases.

Some of these include central nervous system (CNS) diseases and dysfunctions such as forms of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, pain and neuropsychiatric disorders. In addition, the endogenously produced cannabinoid lipids, endocannabinoids, are critical for normal CNS function, and if controlled or modified, may represent an additional therapeutic avenue for CNS diseases. This review discusses in vitro cellular, ex vivo tissue and in vivo animal model studies on cannabinoids and their utility as therapeutics in multiple CNS pathologies. In addition, the review provides an overview on the use of cannabinoids in human clinical trials for a variety of CNS diseases.

Cannabinoids and endocannabinoids hold promise for use as disease modifiers and therapeutic agents for the prevention or treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and neurological disorders.”

Cannabinoids in Medicine: A Multifaceted Exploration of Types, Therapeutic Applications, and Emerging Opportunities in Neurodegenerative Diseases and Cancer Therapy

pubmed logo

“In this review article, we embark on a thorough exploration of cannabinoids, compounds that have garnered considerable attention for their potential therapeutic applications. Initially, this article delves into the fundamental background of cannabinoids, emphasizing the role of endogenous cannabinoids in the human body and outlining their significance in studying neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Building on this foundation, this article categorizes cannabinoids into three main types: phytocannabinoids (plant-derived cannabinoids), endocannabinoids (naturally occurring in the body), and synthetic cannabinoids (laboratory-produced cannabinoids). The intricate mechanisms through which these compounds interact with cannabinoid receptors and signaling pathways are elucidated. A comprehensive overview of cannabinoid pharmacology follows, highlighting their absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion, as well as their pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties. Special emphasis is placed on the role of cannabinoids in neurodegenerative diseases, showcasing their potential benefits in conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. The potential antitumor properties of cannabinoids are also investigated, exploring their potential therapeutic applications in cancer treatment and the mechanisms underlying their anticancer effects. Clinical aspects are thoroughly discussed, from the viability of cannabinoids as therapeutic agents to current clinical trials, safety considerations, and the adverse effects observed. This review culminates in a discussion of promising future research avenues and the broader implications for cannabinoid-based therapies, concluding with a reflection on the immense potential of cannabinoids in modern medicine.”

Cannabis sativa-based oils against aluminum-induced neurotoxicity

pubmed logo

“The use of terpenoid compounds in different neural-related conditions is becoming useful for several illnesses. Another possible activity of these compounds is the reduction of nervous impairment. Cannabis sativa plants are known for their concentration of two important terpenoids, the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). CBD and THC have central peripheral activities already described and their usage in different brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. Aluminum (Al) is known as an important neurotoxic compound, the physiological action of Al is not known already, and in high concentrations can lead to intoxication and cause neurotoxicity. Here we evaluated the potential effect of two different doses of CBD- and THC-rich based oils against Al-induced toxicity, in the zebrafish model. We evaluated behavioral biomarkers of the novel tank test (NTT) and social preference test (SPT), and biochemical markers: the activity of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and the antioxidant enzymes-catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione-S-transferase. CBD- and THC-based oils were able to increase the AChE activity helping the cholinergic nervous system actuate against Al toxicity which was reflected by the behavioral biomarkers changes. We concluded that the oils have a protective effect and might be used with proposals for neurological and antioxidant impairment avoidance caused by Al intoxications.”

“In our study, we observed that Al is responsible for neurotoxicity, especially causing AChE decrease. The main effect of Al is related to reduced social ability and anxiety-like patterns. The testes oil THC- and CBD-rich have an important role in AChE reestablishment and social ability reacquisition. In addition, both oils exert an outstanding effect on antioxidant enzyme modulations with the re-establishment of the SOD and CTL after Al exposition. The activity of GST was also well modulated indicating that the oils played a crucial role in cellular damage avoidance. However, the oils do not change the impaired anxiety-like behavior that looks to be linked to other central signaling pathways and needs to be well investigated in the next studies. Finally, the oils have a protective effect and might be used with proposals for neurological and antioxidant impairment avoidance.”

Cannabis and Cannabinoids in Multiple Sclerosis: From Experimental Models to Clinical Practice-A Review

pubmed logo

“Background: As far as 80% of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience disabling symptoms in the course of the disease, such as spasticity and neuropathic pain. As first-line symptomatic therapy is associated with important adverse reactions, cannabinoids have become increasingly popular among patients with MS. This review intends to provide an overview of the evidence of the role of cannabinoids in treating symptoms related to MS and to encourage further research on this matter.

Areas of uncertainty: To date, the evidence supporting the role of cannabis and its derivatives in alleviating the MS-related symptoms comes only from studies on experimental models of demyelination. To the best of our knowledge, relatively few clinical trials inquired about the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids on patients with MS, with variable results.

Data sources: We conducted a literature search through PubMed and Google Scholar from the beginning until 2022. We included articles in English describing the latest findings regarding the endocannabinoid system, the pharmacology of cannabinoids, and their therapeutic purpose in MS.

Results: Evidence from preclinical studies showed that cannabinoids can limit the demyelination process, promote remyelination, and have anti-inflammatory properties by reducing immune cell infiltration of the central nervous system in mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Moreover, it has been established that experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis mice treated with cannabinoids experienced a significant reduction of symptoms and slowing of the disease progression. Given the complexity of human immune and nervous systems, cannabinoids did not have the anticipated effects on human subjects. However, data obtained from clinical trials showed some beneficial results of cannabinoids as a single or as add-on therapy in reducing the spasticity and pain related to MS.

Conclusion: Considering their various mechanisms of action and good tolerability, cannabinoids remain an interesting therapy for spasticity and chronic pain related to MS.”

Multiple Sclerosis and Use of Medical Cannabis: A Retrospective Review of a Neurology Outpatient Population

pubmed logo

“Background: Patients diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis (MS) experience a wide range of symptoms requiring pharmacologic management, and many do not achieve adequate symptom control. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of medical cannabis (MC) as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for patients with MS.

Methods: A retrospective medical record review of 141 patients with MS receiving MC for symptom management was conducted. Data were collected for up to 4 follow-up appointments after initiation of MC. Outcomes included changes in MS symptoms, medication changes, adverse events, and changes in cognition and mobility.

Results: Patients experienced extensive MS symptom improvement after initiation of MC, with alleviation of pain (72% of patients) and spasticity (48% of patients) and improvement in sleep (40% of patients) the most common. There was a significant reduction in concomitant opioid use after initiating MC as evidenced by a significant decrease in daily morphine milligram equivalents among patients prescribed opioid analgesics (P = .01). Decreases in muscle relaxant use and benzodiazepine use did not reach significance (P > .05). The most common adverse reaction to MC was fatigue (11% of patients).

Conclusions: In many patients with MS, MC was well tolerated, eased pain and spasticity, improved sleep and other symptoms, and reduced use of concomitant opioid analgesics. Prospective studies are needed to further investigate the role of MC in the treatment of patients with MS.”