Cannabimimetic plants: are they new cannabinoidergic modulators?

“Phytochemicals and secondary metabolites able to interact with the endocannabinoid system (Cannabimimetics) have been recently described in a broad range of plants and fruits. These findings can open new alternative avenues to explore for the development of novel therapeutic compounds. The cannabinoids regulate many physiological and pathological functions in both animals and plants. Cannabis sativa is the main plant that produces phytocannabinoids inside resins capable to defend the plant from the aggression of parasites and herbivores. Animals produce anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol, which thanks to binding with main receptors such as type-1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1R) and the type-2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2R) are involved in inflammation processes and several brain functions. Endogenous cannabinoids, enzymes for synthesis and degradation of cannabinoids, and CB1R and CB2R constitute the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Other plants can produce cannabinoid-like molecules such as perrottetinene extracted from Radula perrottetii, or anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol extracted from some bryophytes. Moreover, several other secondary metabolites can also interact with the ECS of animals and take the name of cannabimimetics. These phytoextracts not derived from Cannabis sativa can act as receptor agonists or antagonist, or enzyme inhibitors of ECS and can be involved in the inflammation, oxidative stress, cancer, and neuroprotection. Finally, given the evolutionary heterogeneity of the cannabimimetic plants, some authors speculated on the fascinating thesis of the evolutionary convergence between plants and animals regarding biological functions of ECS. The review aims to provide a critical and complete assessment of the botanical, chemical and therapeutic aspects of cannabimimetic plants to evaluate their spread in the world and medicinal potentiality.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30877436

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00425-019-03138-x

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Beneficial and deleterious effects of cannabinoids in the brain: the case of ultra-low dose THC.

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“This article reviews the neurocognitive advantages and drawbacks of cannabinoid substances, and discusses the possible physiological mechanisms that underlie their dual activity. The article further reviews the neurocognitive effects of ultra-low doses of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC; 3-4 orders of magnitude lower than the conventional doses) in mice, and proposes such low doses of THC as a possible remedy for various brain injuries and for the treatment of age-related cognitive decline.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30864864

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00952990.2019.1578366?journalCode=iada20

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Cannabinoid Use in Patients With Gastroparesis and Related Disorders: Prevalence and Benefit.

 

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“Gastroparesis (Gp) can be a challenging disorder to manage due to the paucity of treatment options. We do not know how frequently patients with Gp symptoms resort to cannabinoids to address their symptoms. This study (i) determines the prevalence of cannabinoid use in patients with Gp symptoms, (ii) describes the patients with Gp symptoms using cannabinoids, and (iii) assesses the patients’ perceived benefit of cannabinoids for Gp symptoms.

METHODS:

Consecutive outpatients with symptoms suggestive of Gp seen on follow-up at our academic center from June 2018 to September 2018 filled out questionnaires on their symptoms and the current treatments.

RESULTS:

Of 197 patients, nearly half (n = 92, 46.7%) reported current (35.5%) or past (11.2%) use of cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (n = 63), dronabinol (n = 36), and/or cannabidiol (n = 16). Of these, most perceived improvement in Gp symptoms from cannabinoids (93.5% with tetrahydrocannabinol, 81.3% with cannabidiol, and 47.2% with dronabinol). Cannabinoids were used most commonly via smoking (n = 46). Patients taking cannabinoids were younger (41.0 ± 15.4 vs 48.0 ± 15.9 years; P < 0.01) and had a higher Gastroparesis Cardinal Symptom Index total score (3.4 ± 1.0 vs 2.8 ± 1.3; P < 0.01) compared with patients with no history of cannabinoid use.

CONCLUSIONS:

A third of patients with Gp symptoms actively use cannabinoids for their chronic symptoms. Most of these patients perceive improvement in their symptoms with cannabinoids. Patients taking cannabinoids were younger and more symptomatic than those not taking cannabinoids. Further studies on the efficacy and safety of cannabinoids in Gp will be useful.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30865015

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Does morning affect contribute to daily Cannabis use?

Addictive Behaviors

“Several theories posit that cannabis and other substances are used to reduce negative affect. This daily report study considered whether variations in positive and negative affect, reported each morning, contributed to the likelihood of cannabis use later that day. We also explored whether levels of positive and negative affect reported immediately after cannabis use improved, relative to that day’s morning levels. The sample included 183 men and 183 women representing heterosexual, cannabis-using couples from the community. Participants made independent, daily reports of affect and cannabis use episodes for 30 consecutive days. Using multilevel modeling, we modeled men’s and women’s use of cannabis on a given day as a function of morning levels of positive, hostile, and anxious affect, accounting for partner cannabis use that day, and mean levels of positive and negative affect. Men and women were more likely to use cannabis on a given day when morning positive affect was lower than typical for the person and when partner used cannabis that day. Neither hostile nor anxious affect contributed to later use of cannabis. Immediately after cannabis use, positive affect increased, and hostile and anxious affect decreased relative to that day’s morning levels. The improved affect immediately after use suggests a mechanism of positive reinforcement.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30856545

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S030646031831339X?via%3Dihub

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Characterization of Cancer-Induced Nociception in a Murine Model of Breast Carcinoma.

“Severe and poorly treated pain often accompanies breast cancer. Thus, novel mechanisms involved in breast cancer-induced pain should be investigated. Then, it is necessary to characterize animal models that are reliable with the symptoms and progression of the disease as observed in humans. Explaining cancer-induced nociception in a murine model of breast carcinoma was the aim of this study. 4T1 (104) lineage cells were inoculated in the right fourth mammary fat pad of female BALB/c mice; after this, mechanical and cold allodynia, or mouse grimace scale (MGS) were observed for 30 days. To determine the presence of bone metastasis, we performed the metastatic clonogenic test and measure calcium serum levels. At 20 days after tumor induction, the antinociceptive effect of analgesics used to relieve pain in cancer patients (acetaminophen, naproxen, codeine or morphine) or a cannabinoid agonist (WIN 55,212-2) was tested. Mice inoculated with 4T1 cells developed mechanical and cold allodynia and increased MGS. Bone metastasis was confirmed using the clonogenic assay, and hypercalcemia was observed 20 days after cells inoculation. All analgesic drugs reduced the mechanical and cold allodynia, while the MGS was decreased only by the administration of naproxen, codeine, or morphine. Also, WIN 55,212-2 improved all nociceptive measures. This pain model could be a reliable form to observe the mechanisms of breast cancer-induced pain or to observe the efficacy of novel analgesic compounds.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30850915

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10571-019-00666-8

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Promoting cannabis products to pharmaceutical drugs.

European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences

“Cannabis sativa is widely used for medical purposes. However, to date, aroma, popular strain name or the content of two phytocannabinoids-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are mostly considered for therapeutic activity. This is despite the hundreds of compounds in this plant and their potential synergistic interactions in mixtures. New, specific and effective cannabis-based drugs must be developed to achieve adequate medical standards for the use of cannabis. To do this, the comprehensive molecular profile of cannabis-based drugs must be defined, and mixtures of compounds should be tested for superior therapeutic activity due to synergistic effects compared to individually isolated cannabis compounds. The biological pathways targeted by these new drugs should also be characterized more accurately. For drug development and design, absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination versus toxicity (ADME/Tox) must be characterized, and therapeutic doses identified. Promoting the quality and therapeutic activity of herbal or synthetic cannabis products to pharma grade is a pressing need worldwide.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30851400

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0928098719300880?via%3Dihub

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The Relationship between Marijuana Use Prior to Sex and Sexual Function in Women.

Sexual Medicine Open Access - Click here to go back to the homepage

“Scientific research on the effects of marijuana on sexual functioning in women, including libido, arousal, orgasm, and satisfaction, is limited.

AIM:

To evaluate women’s perceptions of the effect of marijuana use before sexual activity.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional design, from March 2016-February 2017, within a single, academic, obstetrics and gynecology practice, was performed. Patients were given a questionnaire at their visit and asked to complete it anonymously and place it in a locked box after their visit.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

The primary outcome was satisfaction in the sexual domains of drive, orgasm, lubrication, dyspareunia, and overall sexual experience. The secondary outcome was the effect of the frequency of marijuana use on satisfaction.

RESULTS:

Of the 373 participants, 34.0% (n = 127) reported having used marijuana before sexual activity. Most women reported increases in sex drive, improvement in orgasm, decrease in pain, but no change in lubrication. After adjusting for race, women who reported marijuana use before sexual activity had 2.13 higher odds of reporting satisfactory orgasms (adjusted odds ratio = 2.13; 95% CI = 1.05, 4.35) than women who reported no marijuana use. After adjusting for race and age, women with frequent marijuana use, regardless of use before sex or not, had 2.10 times higher odds of reporting satisfactory orgasms than those with infrequent marijuana use (adjusted odds ratio = 2.10; 95% CI = 1.01-4.44).

CONCLUSION:

Marijuana appears to improve satisfaction with orgasm. A better understanding of the role of the endocannabinoid system in women is important, because there is a paucity of literature, and it could help lead to development of treatments for female sexual dysfunction. ”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30833225

https://www.smoa.jsexmed.org/article/S2050-1161(19)30009-1/fulltext

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Association Between Cannabis Use and Complications Related to Crohn’s Disease: A Retrospective Cohort Study.

“Crohn’s disease is an idiopathic inflammatory process that is occasionally associated with complications, which cause significant morbidity and mortality. The anti-inflammatory effect of cannabis in intestinal inflammation has been shown in several experimental models; it is unknown whether this correlates with fewer complications in Crohn’s disease patients.

AIMS:

To compare the prevalence of Crohn’s disease-related complications among cannabis users and non-users in patients admitted with a primary diagnosis of Crohn’s disease or a primary diagnosis of Crohn’s related complication and a secondary diagnosis of Crohn’s disease between 2012 and 2014.

METHODS:

We used data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project-National Inpatient Sample. Cannabis users (615) were compared directly after propensity score match to non-users, in aspects of various complications and clinical end-points.

RESULTS:

Among matched cohorts, Cannabis users were less likely to have the following: active fistulizing disease and intra-abdominal abscess (11.5% vs. 15.9%; aOR 0.68 [0.49 to 0.94], p = 0.025), blood product transfusion (5.0% vs. 8.0%; aOR 0.48 [0.30 to 0.79], p = 0.037), colectomy (3.7% vs. 7.5%; aOR 0.48 [0.29-0.80], p = 0.004), and parenteral nutrition requirement (3.4% vs. 6.7%, aOR 0.39 [0.23 to 0.68], p = 0.009).

CONCLUSION:

Cannabis use may mitigate several of the well-described complications of Crohn’s disease among hospital inpatients. These effects could possibly be through the effect of cannabis in the endocannabinoid system.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30825109

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10620-019-05556-z

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Cannabinoid derivatives acting as dual PPARγ/CB2 agonists as therapeutic agents for Systemic Sclerosis.

Biochemical Pharmacology

“The endocannabinoid system(ECS) may play a role in the pathophysiology of systemic sclerosis (SSc). Cannabinoids actingas dual PPARγ/CB2agonists, such as VCE-004.8 and Ajulemic acid (AjA), havebeen shown to alleviate skin fibrosis and inflammation in SSc models. Since bothcompounds are being tested in humans, we compared their activities in the bleomycin(BLM) SSc model.Specifically, the pharmacotranscriptomicsignature of the compounds was determined by RNA-Seq changes in the skin of BLM mice treated orallywith AjA or EHP-101, a lipidicformulation of VCE-004.8. While both compounds down-regulatedthe expression of genes involved in the inflammatoryand fibrotic components of the disease and the pharmacotranscriptomicsignatures were similar for both compounds in some pathways, we found keydifferences between the compounds in vasculogenesis. Additionally, we found 28 specific genes withtranslation potential by comparing with a list of humanscleroderma genes. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that both compounds prevented fibrosis, collagen accumulation andTenascin C (TNC) expression. Theendothelial CD31+/CD34+ cells and telocyteswere reduced in BLM mice and restored only byEHP-101 treatment. Finally, differences were found inplasmatic biomarker analysis; EHP-101, but not AjA, enhanced the expressionof some factors related to angiogenesisand vasculogenesis. Altogether the results indicate that dual PPARγ/CB2agonists qualify as a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of SSc and other fibrotic diseases. EHP-101 demonstratedunique mechanisms of action related to the pathophysiology of SSc that could be beneficial in the treatment of this complex disease without current therapeutic options.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30825431

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006295219300772?via%3Dihub

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CB2 Receptor Stimulation and Dexamethasone Restore the Anti-Inflammatory and Immune-Regulatory Properties of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells of Children with Immune Thrombocytopenia.

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“Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is an autoimmune disorder characterized by antibody-mediated platelet destruction, with a complex and unclear pathogenesis. The impaired immunosuppressive capacity of mesenchymal stromal cells in ITP patients (ITP-MSCs) might play a role in the development of the disease. Correcting the MSC defects could represent an alternative therapeutic approach for ITP.

High-dose dexamethasone (HD-Dexa) is the mainstay of the ITP therapeutic regimen, although it has several side effects. We previously demonstrated a role for cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB₂) as a mediator of anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties of human MSCs.

We analyzed the effects of CB₂ stimulation, with the selective agonist JWH-133, and of Dexa alone and in combination on ITP-MSC survival and immunosuppressive capacity. We provided new insights into the pathogenesis of ITP, suggesting CB₂ receptor involvement in the impairment of ITP-MSC function and confirming MSCs as responsive cellular targets of Dexa. Moreover, we demonstrated that CB₂ stimulation and Dexa attenuate apoptosis, via Bcl2 signaling, and restore the immune-modulatory properties of MSCs derived from ITP patients.

These data suggest the possibility of using Dexa in combination with JWH-133 in ITP, reducing its dose and side effects but maintaining its therapeutic benefits.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30823385

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/20/5/1049

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