The synthetic cannabinoid WIN55212-2 ameliorates traumatic spinal cord injury via inhibition of GAPDH/Siah1 in a CB2-receptor dependent manner.

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“The essential role of GAPDH/Siah1 signaling pathway in the pathogenesis of various injurious conditions such as traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) has been gradually recognized. However, the drugs targeting this signaling pathway are still lacking.

The endocannabinoid system, including its receptors (CB1 and CB2), act as neuroprotective and immunomodulatory modulators in SCI. WIN55212-2, an agonist for CB1 and CB2 receptors, has been demonstrated with anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects in multiple neurological diseases. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate whether WIN55212-2 could promote functional recovery after traumatic SCI via inhibition of the GAPDH/Siah1 signaling.

In conclusion, our study indicates that, WIN55212-2 improves the functional recovery after SCI via inhibition of GAPDH/Siah1 cascades in a CB2 receptor dependent manner, indicative of its therapeutic potential for traumatic SCI or other traumatic conditions.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28716633

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Medicinal Uses of Marijuana and Cannabinoids

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“In the past two decades, there has been increasing interest in the therapeutic potential of cannabis and single cannabinoids, mainly cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC and cannabis products rich in THC exert their effects mainly through the activation of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). Since 1975, 140 controlled clinical trials using different cannabinoids or whole-plant preparations for the treatment of a large number of disorders and symptoms have been conducted. Results have led to the approval of cannabis-based medicines [dronabinol, nabilone, and the cannabis extract nabiximols (Sativex®, THC:CBD = 1:1)] as well as cannabis flowers in several countries. Controlled clinical studies provide substantial evidence for the use of cannabinoid receptor agonists in cancer chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, appetite loss and cachexia in cancer and HIV patients, neuropathic and chronic pain, and in spasticity in multiple sclerosis. In addition, there is also some evidence suggesting a therapeutic potential of cannabis-based medicines in other indications including Tourette syndrome, spinal cord injury, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and glaucoma. In several other indications, small uncontrolled and single-case studies reporting beneficial effects are available, for example in posttraumatic stress disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and migraine. The most common side effects of THC and cannabis-based medicines rich in THC are sedation and dizziness (in more than 10% of patients), psychological effects, and dry mouth. Tolerance to these side effects nearly always develops within a short time. Withdrawal symptoms are hardly ever a problem in the therapeutic setting. In recent years there is an increasing interest in the medical use of CBD, which exerts no intoxicating side effects and is usually well-tolerated. Preliminary data suggest promising effects in the treatment of anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, dystonia, and some forms of epilepsy. This review gives an overview on clinical studies which have been published over the past 40 years.”

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07352689.2016.1265360?needAccess=true&journalCode=bpts20

“Review Identifies 140 Controlled Clinical Trials Related to Cannabis”  http://blog.norml.org/2017/06/04/review-identifies-140-controlled-clinical-trials-related-to-cannabis/

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Cannabidiol administration reduces sublesional cancellous bone loss in rats with severe spinal cord injury.

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“Patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) undergo severe loss of bone mineral below the level of lesion, and data on available treatment options after SCI is scarce.

The aim of this work was to investigate the therapeutic effect of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabis, on sublesional bone loss in a rat model of SCI.

In conclusion, CBD administration attenuated SCI-induced sublesional cancellous bone loss.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28479140

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014299917303230

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Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol shows antispastic and analgesic effects in a single case double-blind trial.

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“A double-blind study was performed comparing 5 mg delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) p.o., 50 mg codeine p.o., and placebo in a patient with spasticity and pain due to spinal cord injury. The three conditions were applied 18 times each in a randomized and balanced order. Delta-9-THC and codeine both had an analgesic effect in comparison with placebo. Only delta-9-THC showed a significant beneficial effect on spasticity. In the dosage of THC used no altered consciousness occurred.”

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Implication of cannabinoids in neurological diseases.

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“1. Preparations from Cannabis sativa (marijuana) have been used for many centuries both medicinally and recreationally. 2. Recent advances in the knowledge of its pharmacological and chemical properties in the organism, mainly due to Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol, and the physiological roles played by the endocannabinoids have opened up new strategies in the treatment of neurological and psychiatric diseases. 3. Potential therapeutic uses of cannabinoid receptor agonists include the management of spasticity and tremor in multiple sclerosis/spinal cord injury, pain, inflammatory disorders, glaucoma, bronchial asthma, cancer, and vasodilation that accompanies advanced cirrhosis. CB(1) receptor antagonists have therapeutic potential in Parkinson’s disease. 4. Dr. Julius Axelrod also contributed in studies on the neuroprotective actions of cannabinoids.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16699878

“Medical marijuana: emerging applications for the management of neurologic disorders.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15458761
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Up-regulation of CB2 receptors in reactive astrocytes in canine degenerative myelopathy, a disease model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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“Targeting the CB2 receptor afforded neuroprotection in SOD1G93A mutant mice, a model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The neuroprotective effects of CB2 receptors were facilitated by their up-regulation in the spinal cord in SOD1G93A mutant mice.

Herein, we have investigated whether a similar CB2 receptor up-regulation, as well as parallel changes in other endocannabinoid elements, are evident in the spinal cord of dogs with degenerative myelopathy (DM), caused from mutations in the superoxide dismutase 1 gene (SOD1).

In summary, our results demonstrated a marked up-regulation of CB2 receptors occurring in the spinal cord in canine DM, which was concentrated in activated astrocytes.

Such receptors may be used as a potential target to enhance the neuroprotective effects exerted by these glial cells.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28069688

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Dietary fats and pharmaceutical lipid excipients increase systemic exposure to orally administered cannabis and cannabis-based medicines

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“Cannabis sativa, commonly called hemp, has thousands of years-long history of medical use. Cannabis extracts were widely used in Europe and North America for their therapeutic value as sedatives, hypnotics, analgesics, muscle relaxants, and anticonvulsant agents. However, cannabis was removed from British and American Pharmacopoeias in 20th century, partially due to politic bias. Although prohibited, many patients were nevertheless self-medicating to obtain therapeutic benefits from cannabis for various conditions, including AIDS wasting syndrome, multiple sclerosis (MS) and spinal injuries. More recently, a growing interest in the therapeutic effects of cannabis has developed following the isolation of cannabinoids, the principal chemical compounds of cannabis, as well as the discovery of endocannabinoids and their cognate receptors in humans. These advances supported legalisation and wide-spread use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes in many countries.

There has been an escalating interest in the medicinal use of Cannabis sativa in recent years. Cannabis is often administered orally with fat-containing foods, or in lipid-based pharmaceutical preparations. However, the impact of lipids on the exposure of patients to cannabis components has not been explored. Therefore, the aim of this study is to elucidate the effect of oral co-administration of lipids on the exposure to two main active cannabinoids, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). In this study, oral co-administration of lipids enhanced the systemic exposure of rats to THC and CBD by 2.5-fold and 3-fold, respectively, compared to lipid-free formulations. In vitro lipolysis was conducted to explore the effect of lipids on the intestinal solubilisation of cannabinoids. More than 30% of THC and CBD were distributed into micellar fraction following lipolysis, suggesting that at least one-third of the administered dose will be available for absorption following co-administration with lipids. Both cannabinoids showed very high affinity for artificial CM-like particles, as well as for rat and human CM, suggesting high potential for intestinal lymphatic transport. Moreover, comparable affinity of cannabinoids for rat and human CM suggests that similar increased exposure effects may be expected in humans. In conclusion, co-administration of dietary lipids or pharmaceutical lipid excipients has the potential to substantially increase the exposure to orally administered cannabis and cannabis-based medicines. The increase in patient exposure to cannabinoids is of high clinical importance as it could affect the therapeutic effect, but also toxicity, of orally administered cannabis or cannabis-based medicines.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5009397/

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Activation of cannabinoid CB1 receptor contributes to suppression of spinal nociceptive transmission and inhibition of mechanical hypersensitivity by Aβ-fiber stimulation.

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“Activation of Aβ-fibers is an intrinsic feature of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) pain therapy.

Cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) is important to neuronal plasticity and pain modulation, but its role in SCS-induced pain inhibition remains unclear.

In this study, we showed that CB1 receptors are expressed in both excitatory and inhibitory interneurons in substantia gelatinosa (SG).

Our findings suggest that activation of spinal CB1 receptors may contribute to synaptic depression to high-threshold afferent inputs in SG neurons after electrical stimulation of Aβ-fibers (Aβ-ES) and may be involved in SCS-induced inhibition of spinal nociceptive transmission after nerve injury.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27589093

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A study of cannabinoid-1 receptors during the early phase of excitotoxic damage to rat spinal locomotor networks in vitro.

“Endocannabinoids acting on cannabinoid-1 receptors (CB1Rs) are proposed to protect brain and spinal neurons from excitotoxic damage.

The ability to recover from spinal cord injury (SCI), in which excitotoxicity is a major player, is usually investigated at late times after modulation of CB1Rs whose role in the early phases of SCI remains unclear.

Using the rat spinal cord in vitro as a model for studying SCI initial pathophysiology, we investigated if agonists or antagonists of CB1Rs might affect SCI induced by the excitotoxic agent kainate (KA) within 24 h from a transient (1 h) application of this glutamate agonist.

The present data indicate that the early phases of excitotoxic SCI could not be arrested by pharmacologically exploiting the endocannabinoid system, consistent with the notion that AEA and its derivatives are more useful to treat late SCI phases.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27450568

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Type-2 Cannabinoid Receptors in Neurodegeneration.

“Based on its wide expression in immune cells, type 2 cannabinoid (CB2) receptors were traditionally thought to act as “peripheral receptors” with an almost exclusively immunomodulatory function. However, their recent identification in mammalian brain areas, as well as in distinct neuronal cells, has opened the way to a re-consideration of CB2 signaling in the context of brain pathophysiology, synaptic plasticity and neuroprotection. To date, accumulated evidence from several independent preclinical studies has offered new perspectives on the possible involvement of CB2signaling in brain and spinal cord traumatic injury, as well as in the most relevant neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s chorea. Here, we will review available information on CB2 in these disease conditions, along with data that support also its therapeutic potential to treat them.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27450295

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