“Phytocannabinoids, such as Δ9–tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), bind and activate cannabinoid (CB) receptors, thereby “piggy-backing” on the same pathway’s endogenous endocannabinoids (ECs).
The recent discovery that liver fatty acid binding protein-1 (FABP1) is the major cytosolic “chaperone” protein with high affinity for both Δ9-THC and ECs suggests that Δ9-THC may alter hepatic EC levels.
Therefore, the impact of Δ9-THC or EC treatment on the levels of endogenous ECs, such as N-arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), was examined in cultured primary mouse hepatocytes from WT and Fabp1 gene-ablated (LKO) mice. Δ9-THC alone or 2-AG alone significantly increased AEA and especially 2-AG levels in WT hepatocytes. LKO alone markedly increased AEA and 2-AG levels. However, LKO blocked/diminished the ability of Δ9-THC to further increase both AEA and 2-AG. In contrast, LKO potentiated the ability of exogenous 2-AG to increase the hepatocyte level of AEA and 2-AG.
These and other data suggest that Δ9-THC increases hepatocyte EC levels, at least in part, by upregulating endogenous AEA and 2-AG levels.
This may arise from Δ9-THC competing with AEA and 2-AG binding to FABP1, thereby decreasing targeting of bound AEA and 2-AG to the degradative enzymes, fatty acid amide hydrolase and monoacylglyceride lipase, to decrease hydrolysis within hepatocytes.”
“2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) is a signaling lipid in the central nervous system that is a key regulator of neurotransmitter release. 2-AG is an endocannabinoid that activates the cannabinoid CB1 receptor. It is involved in a wide array of (patho)physiological functions, such as emotion, cognition, energy balance, pain sensation and neuroinflammation. In this review, we describe the biosynthetic and metabolic pathways of 2-AG and how chemical and genetic perturbation of these pathways has led to insight in the biological role of this signaling lipid. Finally, we discuss the potential therapeutic benefits of modulating 2-AG levels in the brain.”
“Negative emotional states that are associated with excessive alcohol intake, particularly anxiety-like states, have been linked to opponent processes in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA), affecting stress-related transmitters and monoamines.
This study extends these observations to include endocannabinoid signaling in alcohol-dependent animals.
Rats and mice were exposed to chronic intermittent alcohol with vapor inhalation or liquid diet to induce dependence. In vivo microdialysis was used to estimate interstitial concentrations of endocannabinoids [N-arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide; AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)] and amino acids (glutamate and GABA) in rat CeA. Additionally, we evaluated the inhibition of endocannabinoids clearance enzymes [monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) and fatty acid amide hydrolase] on anxiety-like behavior and alcohol consumption in alcohol-dependent rats and mice.
Results revealed that alcohol dependence produced decreases in baseline 2-AG dialysate levels and increases in baseline levels of glutamate and GABA. Acute alcohol abstinence induced an enhancement of these dependence-induced effects and the levels of 2-AG and GABA were restored upon alcohol re-exposure. Additional studies showed that the increased CeA 2-AG levels induced by restraint stress and alcohol self-administration were blunted in alcohol-dependent rats. Pharmacological studies in rats and mice showed that anxiety-like behavior and alcohol consumption were increased in alcohol-dependent animals, and these behavioral effects were attenuated mainly by MAGL inhibitors [MJN110 (10 and 20 mg/kg) in rats and JZL184 (1 and 3 mg/kg) in mice].
The present results suggest a key role for endocannabinoid signaling in motivational neuroadaptations during alcohol dependence, in which a deficiency in CeA 2-AG signaling in alcohol-dependent animals is linked to stress and excessive alcohol consumption.”
“The endogenous cannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol bind to the cannabinoid receptors of type 1 and 2. These receptors are also the binding sites for exogenous, both natural and synthetic, cannabinoids that are used for recreation purposes.
Until recently, cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors have attracted little interest among nephrologists; however, a full endocannabinoid system (ECS) is present in the kidney and it has recently emerged as an important player in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy, drug nephrotoxicity, and progressive chronic kidney disease.
This newly established role of the ECS in the kidney might have therapeutic relevance, as pharmacological modulation of the ECS has renoprotective effects in experimental animals, raising hope for future potential applications in humans.
In addition, over the last years, there has been a number of reported cases of acute kidney injury (AKI) associated with the use of synthetic cannabinoids that appear to have higher potency and rate of toxicity than natural Cannabis. This poorly recognized cause of renal injury should be considered in the differential diagnosis of AKI, particularly in young people.
In this review we provide an overview of preclinical evidence indicating a role of the ECS in renal disease and discuss potential future therapeutic applications.”
“The endocannabinoid (eCB) system plays a key role in many physiological and pathological conditions and its dysregulation has been described in several rheumatological and autoimmune diseases. Yet, its possible alteration in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) has never been investigated.
Here, we aimed filling this gap in plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of patients with SLE and age- and sex- matched healthy subjects (HS).
In conclusion, our results demonstrate, for the first time, an alteration of eCB system in SLE patients. They represents the first step toward the understanding of the role of eCB system in SLE that likely suggest DAGL and 2-AG as potential biomarkers of SLE in easily accessible blood samples.
Our data provides proof-of-concept to the development of cannabis-based medicine as immune-modulating agents.”
“Previous findings showed that inhibitors of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), degrading enzymes of anandamide (2-AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), reduced the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced gastric lesions.
The present study aimed to investigate: i./whether central or peripheral mechanism play a major role in the gastroprotective effect of inhibitors of FAAH, MAGL and AEA uptake, ii./which peripheral mechanism(s) may play a role in mucosal protective effect of FAAH, MAGL and uptake inhibitors.
Gastric mucosal damage was induced by acidified ethanol.
Elevation of central endocannabinoid levels by blocking their degradation or uptake via stimulation of mucosal defensive mechanisms resulted in gastroprotective action against ethanol-induced mucosal injury. These findings might suggest that central endocannabinoidsystem may play a role in gastric mucosal defense and maintenance of mucosal integrity.”
“Endocannabinoids are involved in depressive and anxious symptoms and might play a role in stress-associated psychiatric disorders.
While alterations in the endogenous cannabinoid system have been repeatedly found in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this system has been mostly neglected in borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, there is first evidence for elevated serum levels of the endocannabinoids arachidonylethanolamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonyl-sn-glycerol (2-AG) in BPD patients compared to healthy controls and PTSD patients.
In this study, hair endocannabinoids were analyzed, reflecting long-term endocannabinoid concentrations. We assessed AEA concentrations as well as 2-AG and the 2-AG main isomer 1-AG (1-AG/2-AG) in hair in women with BPD (n = 15) and age- and education-matched healthy women (n = 16).
We found significantly reduced log AEA in BPD patients compared to healthy women (p = .03) but no differences in log 1-AG/2-AG concentrations. In addition, there was no association between 1-AG/2-AG and hair cortisol, but we found a non-significant correlation between hair concentrations of AEA and cortisol (p = .06).
Our data indicate altered long-term release of endogenous cannabinoids in women with BPD depending on type of endocannabinoid. AEA has been suggested to modulate the basal activity of the endocannabinoid system and seems to attenuate depressive and anxious symptoms. Thus, chronically reduced AEA might contribute to psychiatric symptoms in BPD.”
“Activating the endocannabinoid system has become a major focus in the search for novel therapeutics for anxiety and deficits in fear extinction, two defining features of PTSD. We examined whether chronic treatment with the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitor URB597 (0.2, 0.3, 0.4 mg/kg, i.p.) or the CB1/2 receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 (0.25, 0.5 mg/kg, i.p.) injected for 3 weeks to rats exposed to the shock and reminders model of PTSD would attenuate post-stress symptoms and affect basolateral amygdala (BLA) and CA1 CB1 receptors.
Exposure to shock and reminders enhanced acoustic startle response and impaired extinction. Rats exposed to shock and reminders and chronically treated with URB597 demonstrated normalized startle response and intact extinction kinetics. WIN55,212-2 only affected the startle response. The therapeutic effects of URB597 and WIN55,212-2 were found to be CB1 receptor dependent, as these effects were blocked when a low dose of the CB1 receptor antagonist AM251 (0.3 mg/kg, i.p. for 3 weeks) was co-administered. Moreover, URB597, but not WIN55,212-2, normalized the shock/reminders-induced upregulation in CB1 receptor levels in the BLA and CA1. One hour after the shock, N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA) was increased in the BLA and decreased in the CA1. Circulating 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) concentrations were decreased in shocked rats, with no significant effect in the BLA or CA1. FAAH activity was increased in the CA1 of shocked rats.
Chronic cannabinoid treatment with URB597 can ameliorate PTSD-like symptoms suggesting FAAH inhibitors as a potentially effective therapeutic strategy for the treatment of disorders associated with inefficient fear coping.”
“Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic neurological disorders in dogs characterized by recurrent seizures. The endocannabinoid (EC) system plays a central role in suppressing pathologic neuronal excitability and in controlling the spread of activity in an epileptic network. Endocannabinoids are released on demand and their dysregulation has been described in several pathological conditions. Recurrent seizures may lead to an adverse reorganization of the EC system and impairment of its protective effect. In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of the endocannabinoids anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2AG) are altered in epileptic dogs. Concentrations of AEA and total AG (sum of 2AG and 1AG) were measured in 40 dogs with idiopathic epilepsy and in 16 unaffected, healthy control dogs using liquid chromatography combined with tandem mass spectrometry.
AEA and total AG were measured at 4.94 (3.18 – 9.17) pM and 1.43 (0.90 – 1.92) nM in epileptic dogs and at 3.19 (2.04 – 4.28) pM and 1.76 (1.08 – 2.69) nM in the control group, respectively (median, 25 – 75% percentiles in brackets). The AEA difference between epileptic and healthy dogs was statistically significant (p < 0.05). Values correlated with seizure severity and duration of seizure activity. Dogs with cluster seizures and/or status epilepticus and with seizure activity for more than six months displayed the highest EC concentrations.
In conclusion, we present the first endocannabinoid measurements in canine CSF and confirm the hypothesis that the EC system is altered in canine idiopathic epilepsy.”
“In conclusion, we demonstrated an elevation of CSF AEA concentrations in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. The highest AEA concentrations were found in dogs with severe seizures and a long disease history. Possibly, the activation of the EC system serves as a counter-mechanism in order to regulate the seizure-threshold in epilepsy. However, the EC system can either alter or be altered by seizure activity, so that further, prospective studies are warranted to investigate pathological mechanisms. Despite endocannabinoids can be synthesized “on demand”, the EC system should be considered for development of new treatment strategies against epilepsy.”