Source of cannabinoids: what is available, what is used, and where does it come from?

John Libbey Eurotext“Cannabis sativa L. is an ancient medicinal plant wherefrom over 120 cannabinoids are extracted. In the past two decades, there has been increasing interest in the therapeutic potential of cannabis-based treatments for neurological disorders such as epilepsy, and there is now evidence for the medical use of cannabis and its effectiveness for a wide range of diseases. Cannabinoid treatments for pain and spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis (Nabiximols) have been approved in several countries. Cannabidiol (CBD), in contrast to tetra-hydro-cannabidiol (THC), is not a controlled substance in the European Union, and over the years there has been increasing use of CBD-enriched extracts and pure CBD for seizure disorders, particularly in children. No analytical controls are mandatory for CBD-based products and a pronounced variability in CBD concentrations in commercialized CBD oil preparations has been identified. Randomized controlled trials of plant-derived CBD for treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome (DS) have provided evidence of anti-seizure effects, and in June 2018, CBD was approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an add-on antiepileptic drug for patients two years of age and older with LGS or DS. Medical cannabis, with various ratios of CBD and THC and in different galenic preparations, is licensed in many European countries for several indications, and in July 2019, the European Medicines Agency also granted marketing authorisation for CBD in association with clobazam, for the treatment of seizures associated with LGS or DS. The purpose of this article is to review the availability of cannabis-based products and cannabinoid-based medicines, together with current regulations regarding indications in Europe (as of July 2019). The lack of approval by the central agencies, as well as social and political influences, have led to significant variation in usage between countries.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31941643

https://www.jle.com/fr/revues/epd/e-docs/source_of_cannabinoids_what_is_available_what_is_used_and_where_does_it_come_from__316043/article.phtml

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Cannabinoids and the expanded endocannabinoid system in neurological disorders.

 Related image“Anecdotal evidence that cannabis preparations have medical benefits together with the discovery of the psychotropic plant cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) initiated efforts to develop cannabinoid-based therapeutics.

These efforts have been marked by disappointment, especially in relation to the unwanted central effects that result from activation of cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1), which have limited the therapeutic use of drugs that activate or inactivate this receptor.

The discovery of CB2 and of endogenous cannabinoid receptor ligands (endocannabinoids) raised new possibilities for safe targeting of this endocannabinoid system. However, clinical success has been limited, complicated by the discovery of an expanded endocannabinoid system – known as the endocannabinoidome – that includes several mediators that are biochemically related to the endocannabinoids, and their receptors and metabolic enzymes.

The approvals of nabiximols, a mixture of THC and the non-psychotropic cannabinoid cannabidiol, for the treatment of spasticity and neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis, and of purified botanical cannabidiol for the treatment of otherwise untreatable forms of paediatric epilepsy, have brought the therapeutic use of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids in neurological diseases into the limelight.

In this Review, we provide an overview of the endocannabinoid system and the endocannabinoidome before discussing their involvement in and clinical relevance to a variety of neurological disorders, including Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, Huntington disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, stroke, epilepsy and glioblastoma.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31831863

“The existence of the endocannabinoidome explains in part why some non-euphoric cannabinoids, which affect several endocannabinoidome proteins, are useful for the treatment of neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41582-019-0284-z

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NICE recommends cannabis based drugs for epilepsy and multiple sclerosis

Image result for the bmj journal“In final appraisal documents the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has recommended the use of cannabidiol with clobazam for treating seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

The decision comes after NICE initially rejected the use of cannabidiol in draft appraisal documents released in August because of concerns over a lack of data on the drug’s long term effectiveness.

However, in its latest documents NICE has recommended the drug for people aged 2 or over, reporting that clinical trials had shown that, in comparison with usual care, cannabidiol reduced the number of drop and non-drop seizures and the number of convulsive and non-convulsive seizures.

The final appraisal documents are out for consultation until 27 November, and final approval is expected on 18 December.

The documents were released alongside NICE’s final guideline on cannabis based medicinal products. In this, NICE also recommends the use of nabiximols for patients with multiple sclerosis.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31712197

https://www.bmj.com/content/367/bmj.l6453

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Cannabidiol Regulates Gene Expression in Encephalitogenic T cells Using Histone Methylation and noncoding RNA during Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis.

 Scientific Reports“Cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown by our laboratory to attenuate experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS).

In this study, we used microarray and next generation sequencing (NGS)-based approaches to determine whether CBD would alter genome-wide histone modification and gene expression in MOG sensitized lymphocytes.

In summary, this study demonstrates that CBD suppresses inflammation through multiple mechanisms, from histone methylation to miRNA to lncRNA.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31673072

“Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) has many biologically active compounds and its medicinal value has been known for centuries. CBD has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect in several animal models. In immune system, studies from our lab as well as those from others have shown that both THC and CBD have anti-inflammatory properties. ”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-52362-8

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The Impact of Cannabinoid Receptor 2 Deficiency on Neutrophil Recruitment and Inflammation.

View details for DNA and Cell Biology cover image“Neutrophil trafficking into damaged or infected tissues is essential for the initiation of inflammation, clearance of pathogens and damaged cells, and ultimately tissue repair. Neutrophil recruitment is highly dependent on the stepwise induction of adhesion molecules and promigratory chemokines and cytokines.

A number of studies in animal models have shown the efficacy of cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) agonists in limiting inflammation in a range of preclinical models of inflammation, including colitis, atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, and ischemia-reperfusion injury.

Recent work in preclinical models of inflammation raises two questions: by what mechanisms do CB2 agonists provide anti-inflammatory effects during acute inflammation and what challenges exist in the translation of CB2 modulating therapeutics into the clinic.”

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Combination of Cannabinoids, Δ9- Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol, Ameliorates Experimental Multiple Sclerosis by Suppressing Neuroinflammation Through Regulation of miRNA-Mediated Signaling Pathways.

 Image result for frontiers in immunology“Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic and disabling disorder of the central nervous system (CNS) characterized by neuroinflammation leading to demyelination.

Recently a combination of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) extracted from Cannabis has been approved in many parts of the world to treat MS-related spasticity. THC+CBD combination was also shown to suppresses neuroinflammation, although the mechanisms remain to be further elucidated.

In the current study, we demonstrate that THC+CBD combination therapy (10 mg/kg each) but not THC or CBD alone, attenuates murine experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) by reducing neuroinflammation and suppression of Th17 and Th1 cells.

Collectively, this study suggests that combination of THC+CBD suppresses neuroinflammation and attenuates clinical EAE development and that this effect is associated with changes in miRNA profile in brain-infiltrating cells.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31497013

“Combination of THC+CBD has been used to treat human MS. This treatment is known to decrease not only muscle spasticity but also suppress neuroinflammation.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2019.01921/full

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Insights into biased signaling at cannabinoid receptors: synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists.

Biochemical Pharmacology“Cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) and type 2 (CB2) are promising targets for a number of diseases, including obesity, neuropathic pain, and multiple sclerosis, among others.

Upon ligand-mediated activation of these receptors, multiple receptor conformations could be stabilized, resulting in a complex pattern of possible intracellular effects. Although numerous compounds have been developed and widely used to target cannabinoid receptors, their mode of action and signaling properties are often only poorly characterized.

From a drug development point of view, unraveling the underlying complex signaling mechanism could offer the possibility to generate medicines with the desired therapeutic profile.

Recently, an increased interest has emerged for the development of agonists that are signaling pathway-selective and thereby do not evoke on-target adverse effects. This phenomenon, in which specific pathways are preferred upon receptor activation by certain ligands, is also known as ‘biased signaling’.

For a particular group of cannabinoid receptor ligands (i.e. CB1/CB2 agonists), namely the synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs), the research on biased signaling is still in its infancy and interesting outcomes are only recently being revealed.

Therefore, this review aims at providing insights into the recent knowledge about biased agonism mediated by SCRAs so far. In addition, as these outcomes are obtained using a distinct panel of functional assays, the accompanying difficulties and challenges when comparing functional outcomes are critically discussed. Finally, some guidance on the conceptualization of ideal in vitro assays for the detection of SCRA-mediated biased agonism, which is also relevant for compounds belonging to other chemical classes, is provided.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31472128

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006295219303132?via%3Dihub

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Application device for THC:CBD oromucosal spray in the management of resistant spasticity: pre-production testing.

 Publication Cover“Patients with multiple sclerosis spasticity (MSS) and upper limb/hand impairment who are taking 9-delta-tetrahydrocannabinol:cannabidiol (THC:CBD) oromucosal spray (Sativex®) may have difficulty self-administering their medication, possibly limiting adherence and treatment effectiveness.

A Class I EU device is available to support administration of THC:CBD spray. Pre-production testing was undertaken in a patient sample.

Results: Fifteen patients participated. Mean treatment time with THC:CBD spray was 4 (range: 0.1-6.1) years. 87% of participants ‘always’, ‘often’ or ‘sometimes’ had hand impairment, and 53% reported difficulty administering THC:CBD spray. Participants reported better application using the device (73%), with less strength required (54%). Most participants (93%) considered the instruction leaflet to be clear and many (66%) expressed interest in using the device. Most HCPs (93%) did not foresee any difficulties in use of the device.

Conclusion: The proposed adherence device was useful to address self-application difficulties with THC:CBD spray in our sample. Providing the device to MSS patients with upper limb/hand spasticity impairment may restore autonomy and support adherence to THC:CBD spray.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31393179

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17434440.2019.1653182?journalCode=ierd20

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Combination of cannabinoids, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), mitigates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) by altering the gut microbiome.

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity“Currently, a combination of marijuana cannabinoids including delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) is used as a drug to treat muscle spasticity in patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Because these cannabinoids can also suppress inflammation, it is unclear whether such patients benefit from suppression of neuroinflammation and if so, what is the mechanism through which cannabinoids act.

In the currently study, we used a murine model of MS, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), to study the role of gut microbiota in the attenuation of clinical signs of paralysis and inflammation caused by cannabinoids.

THC+CBD treatment attenuated EAE and caused significant decrease in inflammatory cytokines such as IL-17 and IFN-γ while promoting the induction of anti-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-10 and TGF-β. Use of 16S rRNA sequencing on bacterial DNA extracted from the gut revealed that EAE mice showed high abundance of mucin degrading bacterial species, such as Akkermansia muciniphila (A.muc), which was significantly reduced after THC+CBD treatment.

Fecal Material Transfer (FMT) experiments confirmed that THC+CBD-mediated changes in the microbiome play a critical role in attenuating EAE. In silico computational metabolomics revealed that LPS biosynthesis, a key component in gram-negative bacteria such as A.muc, was found to be elevated in EAE mice which was confirmed by demonstrating higher levels of LPS in the brain, while treatment with THC+CBD reversed this trend. EAE mice treated with THC+CBD also had significantly higher levels of short chain fatty acids such as butyric, isovaleric, and valeric acids compared to naïve or disease controls.

Collectively, our data suggest that cannabinoids may attenuate EAE and suppress neuroinflammation by preventing microbial dysbiosis seen during EAE and promoting healthy gut microbiota.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31356922

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159119306476?via%3Dihub

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Therapeutic impact of orally administered cannabinoid oil extracts in an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis animal model of multiple sclerosis.

Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications“There is a growing surge of investigative research involving the beneficial use of cannabinoids as novel interventional alternatives for multiple sclerosis (MS) and associated neuropathic pain (NPP).

Using an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) animal model of MS, we demonstrate the therapeutic effectiveness of two cannabinoid oil extract formulations (10:10 & 1:20 – tetrahydrocannabinol/cannabidiol) treatment.

Our research findings confirm that cannabinoid treatment produces significant improvements in neurological disability scoring and behavioral assessments of NPP that directly result from their ability to reduce tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) production and enhance brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) production.

Henceforth, this research represents a critical step in advancing the literature by scientifically validating the merit for medical cannabinoid use and sets the foundation for future clinical trials.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31213295

“Cannabinoid treatment produces improvements in neurological disability scoring. Cannabinoid treatment also improves behavioral assessments of neuropathic pain.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006291X19311568?via%3Dihub

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