The endocannabinoid system: Novel targets for treating cancer induced bone pain.

Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy“Treating Cancer-induced bone pain (CIBP) continues to be a major clinical challenge and underlying mechanisms of CIBP remain unclear.

Recently, emerging body of evidence suggested the endocannabinoid system (ECS) may play essential roles in CIBP. Here, we summarized the current understanding of the antinociceptive mechanisms of endocannabinoids in CIBP and discussed the beneficial effects of endocannabinoid for CIBP treatment.

Targeting non-selective cannabinoid 1 receptors or selective cannabinoid 2 receptors, and modulation of peripheral AEA and 2-AG, as well as the inhibition the function of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) have produced analgesic effects in animal models of CIBP.

Management of ECS therefore appears to be a promising way for the treatment of CIBP in terms of efficacy and safety. Further clinical studies are encouraged to confirm the possible translation to humans of the very promising results already obtained in the preclinical studies.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31627091

“Thus, cannabinoids may be clinically useful for treating chronic pain and CIBP.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S075333221933731X?via%3Dihub

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Beyond THC and Endocannabinoids.

Image result for AR Annual Reviews“Research in the cannabinoid field, namely on phytocannabinoids, the endogenous cannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol and their metabolizing and synthetic enzymes, the cannabinoid receptors, and anandamide-like cannabinoid compounds, has expanded tremendously over the last few years. Numerous endocannabinoid-like compounds have been discovered. The Cannabis plant constituent cannabidiol (CBD) was found to exert beneficial effects in many preclinical disease models ranging from epilepsy, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and autoimmunity to neurodegenerative and kidney diseases and cancer. CBD was recently approved in the United States for the treatment of rare forms of childhood epilepsy. This has triggered the development of many CBD-based products for human use, often with overstated claims regarding their therapeutic effects. In this article, the recently published research on the chemistry and biological effects of plant cannabinoids (specifically CBD), endocannabinoids, certain long-chain fatty acid amides, and the variety of relevant receptors is critically reviewed. ”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31580774

https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-010818-021441

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Human leukocytes differentially express endocannabinoid-glycerol lipases and hydrolyze 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol and its metabolites from the 15-lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase pathways.

Publication cover image“2-Arachidonoyl-glycerol (2-AG) is an endocannabinoid with anti-inflammatory properties.

Blocking 2-AG hydrolysis to enhance CB2 signaling has proven effective in mouse models of inflammation. However, the expression of 2-AG lipases has never been thoroughly investigated in human leukocytes.

Herein, we investigated the expression of seven 2-AG hydrolases by human blood leukocytes and alveolar macrophages (AMs) and found the following protein expression pattern: monoacylglycerol (MAG lipase; eosinophils, AMs, monocytes), carboxylesterase (CES1; monocytes, AMs), palmitoyl-protein thioesterase (PPT1; AMs), α/β-hydrolase domain (ABHD6; mainly AMs), ABHD12 (all), ABHD16A (all), and LYPLA2 (lysophospholipase 2; monocytes, lymphocytes, AMs).

Altogether, our results indicate that human leukocytes are experts at hydrolyzing 2-AG and its metabolites via multiple lipases and probably via a yet-to-be characterized 52 kDa hydrolase. Blocking 2-AG hydrolysis in humans will likely abrogate the ability of human leukocytes to degrade 2-AG and its metabolites and increase their anti-inflammatory effects in vivo.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31556464

https://jlb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/JLB.3A0919-049RRR

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Intermittent ethanol exposure during adolescence impairs cannabinoid type 1 receptor-dependent long-term depression and recognition memory in adult mice.

Image result for neuropsychopharmacology“Binge drinking is a significant problem in adolescent populations, and because of the reciprocal interactions between ethanol (EtOH) consumption and the endocannabinoid (eCB) system, we sought to determine if adolescent EtOH intake altered the localization and function of the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the adult brain.

We also examined a form of excitatory long-term depression that is dependent on CB1 receptors (eCB-eLTD) and found that it was completely lacking in the animals that consumed EtOH during adolescence.

These findings indicate that repeated exposure to EtOH during adolescence leads to long-term deficits in CB1 receptor expression, eCB-eLTD, and reduced recognition memory, but that these functional deficits can be restored by treatments that increase endogenous 2-arachidonoylglycerol.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31569197

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41386-019-0530-5

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Endocannabinoid system and the expression of endogenous ceramides in human hepatocellular carcinoma.

 Journal Cover“The endogenous lipid metabolism network is associated with the occurrence and progression of malignancies.

Endocannabinoids and ceramides have demonstrated their anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic properties in a series of cancer studies.

The aim of the present study was to evaluate the expression patterns of endocannabinoids and endogenous ceramides in 67 pairs of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissues and non-cancerous counterpart controls.

Anandamide (AEA), the major endocannabinoid, was reduced in tumor tissues, probably due to the high expression and activity of fatty acid amide hydrolase. Another important endocannabinoid, 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG), was elevated in tumor tissues compared with non-tumor controls, indicating that the biosynthesis of 2-AG is faster than the degradation of 2-AG in tumor cells.

Furthermore, western blot analysis demonstrated that cannabinoid receptor 1 was downregulated, while cannabinoid receptor 2 was elevated in HCC tissues, in accordance with the alterations in the levels of AEA and 2-AG, respectively. For HCC tissues, the expression levels of C18:0, 20:0 and 24:0-ceramides decreased significantly, whereas C12:0, 16:0, 18:1 and 24:1-ceramides were upregulated, which may be associated with cannabinoid receptor activation and stearoyl-CoA desaturase protein downregulation.

The exact role of endocannabinoids and ceramides in regulating the fate of HCC cells requires further investigation.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31423220

https://www.spandidos-publications.com/10.3892/ol.2019.10399

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Comparative studies of endocannabinoid modulation of pain.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences cover image

“Cannabinoid-based therapies have long been used to treat pain, but there remain questions about their actual mechanisms and efficacy. From an evolutionary perspective, the cannabinoid system would appear to be highly conserved given that the most prevalent endogenous cannabinoid (endocannabinoid) transmitters, 2-arachidonyl glycerol and anandamide, have been found throughout the animal kingdom, at least in the species that have been analysed to date. This review will first examine recent findings regarding the potential conservation across invertebrates and chordates of the enzymes responsible for endocannabinoid synthesis and degradation and the receptors that these transmitters act on. Next, comparisons of how endocannabinoids modulate nociception will be examined for commonalities between vertebrates and invertebrates, with a focus on the medicinal leech Hirudo verbana. Evidence is presented that there are distinct, evolutionarily conserved anti-nociceptive and pro-nociceptive effects. The combined studies across various animal phyla demonstrate the utility of using comparative approaches to understand conserved mechanisms for modulating nociception. This article is part of the Theo Murphy meeting issue ‘Evolution of mechanisms and behaviour important for pain’.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31544609

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rstb.2019.0279

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The Endocannabinoid System of Animals.

 animals-logo“The endocannabinoid system has been found to be pervasive in mammalian species. It has also been described in invertebrate species as primitive as the Hydra. Insects, apparently, are devoid of this, otherwise, ubiquitous system that provides homeostatic balance to the nervous and immune systems, as well as many other organ systems.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been defined to consist of three parts, which include (1) endogenous ligands, (2) G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), and (3) enzymes to degrade and recycle the ligands. Two endogenous molecules have been identified as ligands in the ECS to date.

The endocannabinoids are anandamide (arachidonoyl ethanolamide) and 2-AG (2-arachidonoyl glycerol). Two G-coupled protein receptors (GPCR) have been described as part of this system, with other putative GPC being considered.

Coincidentally, the phytochemicals produced in large quantities by the Cannabis sativa L plant, and in lesser amounts by other plants, can interact with this system as ligands. These plant-based cannabinoids are termed phytocannabinoids.

The precise determination of the distribution of cannabinoid receptors in animal species is an ongoing project, with the canine cannabinoid receptor distribution currently receiving the most interest in non-human animals.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31527410

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/9/9/686

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Emerging role of cannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoid receptor 1/cannabinoid receptor 2 receptor agonists in cancer treatment and chemotherapy-associated cancer management

Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics“Cannabis was extensively utilized for its medicinal properties till the 19th century. A steep decline in its medicinal usage was observed later due to its emergence as an illegal recreational drug.

Advances in technology and scientific findings led to the discovery of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound of cannabis, that further led to the discovery of endogenous cannabinoids system consisting of G-protein-coupled receptors – cannabinoid receptor 1 and cannabinoid receptor 2 along with their ligands, mainly anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol.  Endocannabinoid (EC) is shown to be a modulator not only for physiological functions but also for the immune system, endocrine network, and central nervous system.

Medicinal research and meta-data analysis over the last few decades have shown a significant potential for both THC and cannabidiol (CBD) to exert palliative effects. People suffering from many forms of advanced stages of cancers undergo chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting followed by severe and chronic neuropathic pain and weight loss.

THC and CBD exhibit effective analgesic, anxiolytic, and appetite-stimulating effect on patients suffering from cancer. Drugs currently available in the market to treat such chemotherapy-induced cancer-related ailments are Sativex (GW Pharmaceutical), Dronabinol (Unimed Pharmaceuticals), and Nabilone (Valeant Pharmaceuticals).

Apart from exerting palliative effects, THC also shows promising role in the treatment of cancer growth, neurodegenerative diseases (multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease), and alcohol addiction and hence should be exploited for potential benefits.

The current review discusses the nature and role of CB receptors, specific applications of cannabinoids, and major studies that have assessed the role of cannabinoids in cancer management.

Specific targeting of cannabinoid receptors can be used to manage severe side effects during chemotherapy, palliative care, and overall cancer management. Furthermore, research evidences on cannabinoids have suggested tumor inhibiting and suppressing properties which warrant reconsidering legality of the substance.

Studies on CB1 and CB2 receptors, in case of cancers, have demonstrated the psychoactive constituents of cannabinoids to be potent against tumor growth.

Interestingly, studies have also shown that activation of CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors by their respective synthetic agonists tends to limit human cancer cell growth, suggesting the role of the endocannabinoid system as a novel target for treatment of cancers.

Further explorations are required to exploit cannabinoids for an effective cancer management.”

http://www.cancerjournal.net/preprintarticle.asp?id=263538

“Could Cannabis Kill Cancer Cells? A New Study Looks Promising”  https://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2019/08/15/26977361/could-cannabis-kill-cancer-cells-a-new-study-looks-promising

“Study Reviews How Marijuana Compounds Inhibit Tumor Growth And Kill Cancer Cells” https://www.marijuanamoment.net/study-reviews-how-marijuana-compounds-inhibit-tumor-growth-and-kill-cancer-cells/

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Endogenous cannabinoid levels and suicidality in combat veterans.

Psychiatry Research“Combat veterans are at elevated suicide risk. The goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that combat veterans who have made a suicide attempt post-deployment can be distinguished from combat veterans who have never made a suicide attempt based on differences in psychological and biological variables. For the latter, we focused on endogenous cannabinoids, neuroendocrine markers that are associated with stress. Demographic and clinical parameters of suicide attempters and non-attempters were assessed. Blood samples were assayed for anandamide (AEA), 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), and cortisol. Suicide attempters had higher Scale for Suicidal Ideation (SSI) scores in comparison to non-attempters. Controlling for gender, 2-AG levels were higher among suicide attempters in comparison to non-attempters. Cortisol levels positively correlated with 2-AG levels and negatively correlated with SSI scores among non-attempters but not among attempters. AEA levels negatively correlated with SSI scores among attempters but not among non-attempters. Our results indicate that there are psychological and biological differences between combat veterans with or without a history of suicidal attempt. Our findings also suggest that clinically observed differences between the groups may have a neurobiological basis.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31375282

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165178119315173?via%3Dihub

“Role of the Endocannabinoid System in the Neurobiology of Suicide”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK107200/

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Targeting Cannabinoid Signaling in the Immune System: “High”-ly Exciting Questions, Possibilities, and Challenges

Image result for frontiers in immunology“It is well known that certain active ingredients of the plants of Cannabis genus, i.e., the “phytocannabinoids” [pCBs; e.g., (−)-trans9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), (−)-cannabidiol, etc.] can influence a wide array of biological processes, and the human body is able to produce endogenous analogs of these substances [“endocannabinoids” (eCB), e.g., arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide, AEA), 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), etc.]. These ligands, together with multiple receptors (e.g., CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, etc.), and a complex enzyme and transporter apparatus involved in the synthesis and degradation of the ligands constitute the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a recently emerging regulator of several physiological processes. The ECS is widely expressed in the human body, including several members of the innate and adaptive immune system, where eCBs, as well as several pCBs were shown to deeply influence immune functions thereby regulating inflammation, autoimmunity, antitumor, as well as antipathogen immune responses, etc. Based on this knowledge, many in vitro and in vivo studies aimed at exploiting the putative therapeutic potential of cannabinoid signaling in inflammation-accompanied diseases (e.g., multiple sclerosis) or in organ transplantation, and to dissect the complex immunological effects of medical and “recreational” marijuana consumption. Thus, the objective of the current article is (i) to summarize the most recent findings of the field; (ii) to highlight the putative therapeutic potential of targeting cannabinoid signaling; (iii) to identify open questions and key challenges; and (iv) to suggest promising future directions for cannabinoid-based drug development.

Active Components of Cannabis sativa (Hemp)—Phytocannabinoids (pCBs) and Beyond

It is known since ancient times that consumption of different parts of the plant Cannabis sativa can lead to psychotropic effects. Moreover, mostly, but not exclusively because of its potent analgesic actions, it was considered to be beneficial in the management of several diseases. Nowadays it is a common knowledge that these effects were mediated by the complex mixture of biologically active substances produced by the plant. So far, at least 545 active compounds have been identified in it, among which, the best-studied ones are the so-called pCBs. It is also noteworthy that besides these compounds, ca. 140 different terpenes [including the potent and selective CB2 agonist sesquiterpene β-caryophyllene (BCP)], multiple flavonoids, alkanes, sugars, non-cannabinoid phenols, phenylpropanoids, steroids, fatty acids, and various nitrogenous compounds can be found in the plant, individual biological actions of which are mostly still nebulous. Among the so far identified > 100 pCBs, the psychotropic (−)-trans9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the non-psychotropic (−)-cannabidiol (CBD) are the best-studied ones, exerting a wide-variety of biological actions [including but not exclusively: anticonvulsive, analgesic, antiemetic, and anti inflammatory effects]. Of great importance, pCBs have been shown to modulate the activity of a plethora of cellular targets, extending their impact far beyond the “classical” (see above) cannabinoid signaling. Indeed, besides being agonists [or in some cases even antagonists of CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, some pCBs were shown to differentially modulate the activity of certain TRP channels, PPARs, serotonin, α adrenergic, adenosine or opioid receptors, and to inhibit COX and lipoxygenase enzymes, FAAH, EMT, etc.. Moreover, from a clinical point-of-view, it should also be noted that pCBs can indirectly modify pharmacokinetics of multiple drugs (e.g., cyclosporine A) by interacting with several cytochrome P 450 (CYP) enzymes. Taken together, pCBs can be considered as multitarget polypharmacons, each of them having unique “molecular fingerprints” created by the characteristic activation/inhibition pattern of its locally available cellular targets.

Concluding Remarks—Lessons to Learn from Cannabis

Research efforts of the past few decades have unambiguously evidenced that ECS is one of the central orchestrators of both innate and adaptive immune systems, and that pure pCBs as well as complex cannabis-derivatives can also deeply influence immune responses. Although, many open questions await to be answered, pharmacological modulation of the (endo)cannabinoid signaling, and restoration of the homeostatic eCB tone of the tissues augur to be very promising future directions in the management of several pathological inflammation-accompanied diseases. Moreover, in depth analysis of the (quite complex) mechanism-of-action of the most promising pCBs is likely to shed light to previously unknown immune regulatory mechanisms and can therefore pave new “high”-ways toward developing completely novel classes of therapeutic agents to manage a wide-variety of diseases.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2017.01487/full

www.frontiersin.org

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