Cannabis May Offer Alzheimer’s Hope, Study Says

“Marijuana compounds offer an alternative approach for treating the neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD)…

Investigators at the Trinity College, Institute for Neuroscience, in Dublin report that cannabinoids have been shown to protect neurons from the deleterious effects of amyloid plaque – the primary pathological hallmark of Alzheimer’s. Cannabinoids also demonstrate a propensity to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, while also promoting neurogenesis (the birth of new neuronal cells), authors report.

Authors write: “In recent years the proclivity of cannabinoids to exert a neuroprotective influence has received substantial interest as a means to mitigate the symptoms of neurodegenerative conditions. … [C]annabinoids offer a multi-faceted approach for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease by providing neuroprotection and reducing neuroinflammation, whilst simultaneously supporting the brain’s intrinsic repair mechanisms by augmenting neurotrophin expression and enhancing neurogenesis. … Manipulation of the cannabinoid pathway offers a pharmacological approach for the treatment of AD that may be efficacious than current treatment regimens.”

Preclinical studies have demonstrated that cannabinoids can delay disease progression in animal models of several neurodegenerative diseases, including multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease).”-

Paul Armentano, NORML  http://norml.org/news/2007/09/20/cannabis-may-offer-alzheimers-hope-study-says

Full text of the study, “Alzheimer’s disease; taking the edge off with cannabinoids?” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2190031/

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The CB2 cannabinoid agonist AM-1241 prolongs survival in a transgenic mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis when initiated at symptom onset.

“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive motor neuron loss, paralysis and death within 2-5 years of diagnosis. Currently, no effective pharmacological agents exist for the treatment of this devastating disease. Neuroinflammation may accelerate the progression of ALS. Cannabinoids produce anti-inflammatory actions via cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2), and delay the progression of neuroinflammatory diseases…

 …treatment with non-selective cannabinoid partial agonists prior to, or upon, symptom appearance minimally delays disease onset and prolongs survival through undefined mechanisms…

…Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) is the main psychoactive constituent in the plant Cannabis sativa (marijuana) and produces its effects by activation of cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) cannabinoid receptors. CB1 receptors are expressed throughout the CNS, while CB2 receptors are expressed predominantly in immune cells and non-neuronal tissues. Therapeutic agents which modulate the cann-abinoid system are effective in treating a wide variety of disorders characterized by inflammation. More specifically, drugs which activate CB2 receptors successfully improve the symptoms of several inflammatory diseases…

More importantly, daily injections of the selective CB2 agonist AM-1241, initiated at symptom onset, increase the survival interval after disease onset by 56%. Therefore, CB2 agonists may slow motor neuron degeneration and preserve motor function, and represent a novel therapeutic modality for treatment of ALS.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2819701/

 

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AM1241, a cannabinoid CB2 receptor selective compound, delays disease progression in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

“Effective treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) remains elusive. Motor neuron degeneration is the primary pathology in ALS; however non-neuronal cells contribute to the disease process. In particular, inflammatory processes have been shown to play an important role. AM1241 is a cannabinoid CB2 receptor selective agonist that has been shown to be effective in models of inflammation and hyperalgesia. Here we report that treatment with AM1241 was effective at slowing signs of disease progression when administered after onset of signs in an ALS mouse model (hSOD1(G93A) transgenic mice)…. As AM1241 was well tolerated by the animals, cannabinoid CB2 receptor-selective compounds may be the basis for developing new drugs for the treatment of ALS and other chronic neurodegenerative diseases.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16781706

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Abnormal sensitivity of cannabinoid CB1 receptors in the striatum of mice with experimental amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that primarily affects motor neurons.

The sensitivity of cannabinoid CB1 receptors controlling both glutamate and GABA transmission was remarkably potentiated in ALS mice, indicating that adaptations of the endocannabinoid system might be involved in the pathophysiology of ALS. In conclusion, our data identify possible physiological correlates of striatal dysfunction in ALS mice, and suggest that cannabinoid CB1 receptors might be potential therapeutic targets for this dramatic disease.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19452308

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Identification of receptors and enzymes for endocannabinoids in NSC-34 cells: relevance for in vitro studies with cannabinoids in motor neuron diseases.

“NSC-34 cells, a hybridoma cell line derived from the fusion of neuroblastoma cells with mice spinal cord cells, have been widely used as an in vitro model for the study of motor neuron diseases [i.e. amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)]. In the present study, they were used to characterize different elements of the cannabinoid signaling system, which have been reported to serve as targets for the neuroprotective action of different natural and synthetic cannabinoid compounds…

Assuming that glutamate toxicity is one of the major causes of neuronal damage in ALS and other motor neurons diseases, the differentiated NSC-34 cells might serve as a useful model for studying neuroprotection with cannabinoids in conditions of excitotoxic injury, mitochondrial malfunctioning and oxidative stress.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22206832

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The endocannabinoid system in the inflammatory and neurodegenerative processes of multiple sclerosis and of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Abstract

“Multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are chronic diseases of the central nervous system (CNS), featured by a complex interplay between inflammation and neurodegeneration. Increasing evidence supports the involvement of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in both inflammatory and neurodegenerative processes typical of these pathological conditions. Exogenous or endogenous cannabinoids regulate the function of immune system by limiting immune response. On the other hand, by preventing excitotoxic damage, cannabinoids protect neuronal integrity and function. Of note, the ECS not only plays a role as modulator of disease processes, but it can also be disrupted by the same diseases. Agents modulating cannabinoid receptors or endocannabinoid tone provide promising therapeutic opportunities in the treatment of inflammatory neurodegenerative disorders of the CNS.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20353778

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The (endo)cannabinoid system in multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

“Alterations of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) have been recently implicated in a number of neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative conditions so that the pharmacological modulation of cannabinoid (CB) receptors and/or of the enzymes controlling synthesis, transport, and degradation of these substances has emerged as a valuable option to treat neurological diseases.

Here, we describe the current knowledge concerning the rearrangement of ECS in a primarily inflammatory disorder of the central nervous system such as multiple sclerosis (MS), and in a primarily degenerative condition such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

 Furthermore, the data supporting a therapeutic role of agents modulating CB receptors or endocannabinoid tone in these disorders will also be reviewed. Complex changes of ECS take place in both diseases, influencing crucial aspects of their pathophysiology and clinical manifestations. Neuroinflammation, microglial activation, oxidative stress, and excitotoxicity are variably combined in MS and in ALS and can be modulated by endocannabinoids or by drugs targeting the ECS.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17678961

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Targeting the endocannabinoid system with cannabinoid receptor agonists: pharmacological strategies and therapeutic possibilities.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences: 367 (1607)

“Human tissues express cannabinoid CB(1) and CB(2) receptors that can be activated by endogenously released ‘endocannabinoids’ or exogenously administered compounds in a manner that reduces the symptoms or opposes the underlying causes of several disorders in need of effective therapy. Three medicines that activate cannabinoid CB(1)/CB(2) receptors are now in the clinic: Cesamet (nabilone), Marinol (dronabinol; Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ(9)-THC)) and Sativex (Δ(9)-THC with cannabidiol). These can be prescribed for the amelioration of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (Cesamet and Marinol), stimulation of appetite (Marinol) and symptomatic relief of cancer pain and/or management of neuropathic pain and spasticity in adults with multiple sclerosis (Sativex). This review mentions several possible additional therapeutic targets for cannabinoid receptor agonists. These include other kinds of pain, epilepsy, anxiety, depression, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, stroke, cancer, drug dependence, glaucoma, autoimmune uveitis, osteoporosis, sepsis, and hepatic, renal, intestinal and cardiovascular disorders. It also describes potential strategies for improving the efficacy and/or benefit-to-risk ratio of these agonists in the clinic. These are strategies that involve (i) targeting cannabinoid receptors located outside the blood-brain barrier, (ii) targeting cannabinoid receptors expressed by a particular tissue, (iii) targeting upregulated cannabinoid receptors, (iv) selectively targeting cannabinoid CB(2) receptors, and/or (v) adjunctive ‘multi-targeting’.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23108552

“Targeting the endocannabinoid system with cannabinoid receptor agonists: pharmacological strategies and therapeutic possibilities”  http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/367/1607/3353.long

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Cannabinoid receptor signalling in neurodegenerative diseases: a potential role for membrane fluidity disturbance

Abstract

“Type-1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1) is the most abundant G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) in the brain. CB1 and its endogenous agonists, the so-called ‘endocannabinoids (eCBs)’, belong to an ancient neurosignalling system that plays important functions in neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multiple sclerosis. For this reason, research on the therapeutic potential of drugs modulating the endogenous tone of eCBs is very intense. Several GPCRs reside within subdomains of the plasma membranes that contain high concentrations of cholesterol: the lipid rafts. Here, the hypothesis that changes in membrane fluidity alter function of the endocannabinoid system, as well as progression of particular neurodegenerative diseases, is described. To this end, the impact of membrane cholesterol on membrane properties and hence on neurodegenerative diseases, as well as on CB1 signalling in vitro and on CB1-dependent neurotransmission within the striatum, is discussed. Overall, present evidence points to the membrane environment as a critical regulator of signal transduction triggered by CB1, and calls for further studies aimed at better clarifying the contribution of membrane lipids to eCBs signalling. The results of these investigations might be exploited also for the development of novel therapeutics able to combat disorders associated with abnormal activity of CB1.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165948/

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THC From Cannabis Destroys Cancer Cells

“The study results strongly suggest that if taken regularly, cannabis oil may be able to induce remission in leukemia patients without the horrendous side effects typically associated with standard radio-chemical treatment options. Although this is only one such study, other similar studies have shown equally impressive results.

 Many of the active ingredients found in cannabis-derived drugs show exceptional promise in treating some of the greatest hurdles facing modern medical science. In addition to their aforementioned capacity for safely treating certain forms of deadly cancer, they also show great promise in alleviating autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and even inflammatory bowel disease. A growing number of experts also note their possible viability treating a range of neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease.”

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/thc-from-cannabis-destroys-cancer-cells/

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