The Endocannabinoid System: A Potential Target for the Treatment of Various Diseases

ijms-logo“The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is primarily responsible for maintaining homeostasis, a balance in internal environment (temperature, mood, and immune system) and energy input and output in living, biological systems.

In addition to regulating physiological processes, the ECS directly influences anxiety, feeding behaviour/appetite, emotional behaviour, depression, nervous functions, neurogenesis, neuroprotection, reward, cognition, learning, memory, pain sensation, fertility, pregnancy, and pre-and post-natal development.

The ECS is also involved in several pathophysiological diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. In recent years, genetic and pharmacological manipulation of the ECS has gained significant interest in medicine, research, and drug discovery and development.

The distribution of the components of the ECS system throughout the body, and the physiological/pathophysiological role of the ECS-signalling pathways in many diseases, all offer promising opportunities for the development of novel cannabinergic, cannabimimetic, and cannabinoid-based therapeutic drugs that genetically or pharmacologically modulate the ECS via inhibition of metabolic pathways and/or agonism or antagonism of the receptors of the ECS. This modulation results in the differential expression/activity of the components of the ECS that may be beneficial in the treatment of a number of diseases.

This manuscript in-depth review will investigate the potential of the ECS in the treatment of various diseases, and to put forth the suggestion that many of these secondary metabolites of Cannabis sativa L. (hereafter referred to as “C. sativa L.” or “medical cannabis”), may also have potential as lead compounds in the development of cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals for a variety of diseases.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34502379/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/17/9472

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The Impact of CB1 Receptor on Inflammation in Skeletal Muscle Cells

Dove Medical Press - Open Access Publisher of Medical Journals“Background: Various factors trigger the inflammatory response and cytokine activation in skeletal muscle. Inflamed muscle will exhibit significant levels of inflammation and cytokine activity. Interleukin-6 (IL-6), a pro-inflammatory cytokine, exerts pleiotropic effects on skeletal muscle. Endocannabinoid produced by all cell types binds to a class of G protein-coupled receptors, in particular cannabinoid CB1 receptors, to induce skeletal muscle actions.

Objective: The purpose of this research was to discover whether activation of cannabinoid CB1 receptors in L6 skeletal muscle cells may promote IL-6 gene expression.

Materials and methods: L6 skeletal muscle cells were cultured in 25 cm2 flasks and quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (probe-based) utilised to quantify IL-6 gene expression levels among different treatment settings.

Results: Arachidonyl-2′-chloroethylamide (ACEA) 10 nM, a persistent selective CB1 receptor agonist, promotes IL-6 gene expression in a time-dependent manner. Rimonabant 100 nM, a selective cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist, blocks the impact of ACEA. However, insulin does not change IL-6 gene expression.

Conclusion: For the first time, a unique link between ACEA and IL-6 up-regulation has been established; IL-6 up-regulation generated by ACEA is mediated in skeletal muscle through cannabinoid CB1 receptor activation. As a result, cannabinoid CB1 receptors may be useful pharmaceutical targets in the treatment of inflammation and related disorders in skeletal muscle tissues.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34421307/

“In the present study, I have demonstrated that when cannabinoid CB1 receptors are activated, the expression of IL-6 increases in a way that is influenced by time. Such findings deliver a novel mechanism characterised by cannabinoid analogue playing the role of a pro-inflammatory mediator in the skeletal muscle tissue. The findings from the present study also imply that there may be a possible therapeutic use of cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist at acute early states for skeletal muscle dysfunction related to inflammation. My findings point to skeletal muscle cell cannabinoid CB1 receptor as a therapeutic target, and expand its potential to include anti-inflammatory effects in diabetes, obesity, and sarcopenia.”

https://www.dovepress.com/the-impact-of-cb1-receptor-on-inflammation-in-skeletal-muscle-cells-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-JIR

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Pharmacological characterisation of the CB 1 receptor antagonist activity of cannabidiol in the rat vas deferens bioassay

European Journal of Pharmacology“Cannabidiol is increasingly considered for treatment of a wide range of medical conditions. Binding studies suggest that cannabidiol binds to CB1 receptors. In the rat isolated vas deferens bioassay, a single electrical pulse causes a biphasic contraction from nerve-released ATP and noradrenaline. WIN 55,212-2 acts on prejunctional CB1 receptors to inhibit release of these transmitters. In this bioassay, we tested whether cannabidiol and SR141716 were acting as competitive antagonists of this receptor. Monophasic contractions mediated by ATP or noradrenaline in the presence of prazosin or NF449 (P2X1 inhibitor), respectively, were measured to a single electrical pulse delivered every 30 min. Following treatment with cannabidiol (10-100 μM) or SR141716 (0.003-10 μM), cumulative concentrations of WIN 55,212-2 (0.001-30 μM) were applied followed by a single electrical pulse. The WIN 55,212-2 concentration-contraction curve EC50 values were applied to global regression analysis to determine the pKB. The antagonist potency of cannabidiol at the CB1 receptor in the rat vas deferens bioassay matched the reported receptor binding affinity. Cannabidiol was a competitive antagonist of WIN 55,212-2 with pKB values of 5.90 when ATP was the effector transmitter and 5.29 when it was noradrenaline. Similarly, SR141716 was a competitive antagonist with pKB values of 8.39 for ATP and 7.67 for noradrenaline as the active transmitter. Cannabidiol’s low micromolar CB1 antagonist pKB values suggest that at clinical blood levels (1-3 μM) it may act as a CB1 antagonist at prejunctional neuronal sites with more potency when ATP is the effector than for noradrenaline.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34416240/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0014299921005860?via%3Dihub

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Multi-Target Effects of the Cannabinoid CP55940 on Familial Alzheimer’s Disease PSEN1 E280A Cholinergic-Like Neurons: Role of CB1 Receptor

Get IOS Press NewsAlzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by structural damage, death, and functional disruption of cholinergic neurons (ChNs) as a result of intracellular amyloid-β (Aβ) aggregation, extracellular neuritic plaques, and hyperphosphorylation of protein tau (p-Tau) overtime.

Objective: To evaluate the effect of the synthetic cannabinoid CP55940 (CP) on PSEN1 E280A cholinergic-like nerve cells (PSEN1 ChLNs)-a natural model of familial AD.

Results: CP in the presence of both inverse agonists (hereafter SR) almost completely inhibits the aggregation of intracellular sAβPPβf and p-Tau, increases ΔΨm, decreases oxidation of DJ-1Cys106-SH residue, and blocks the activation of c-Jun, p53, PUMA, and caspase-3 independently of CB1Rs signaling in mutant ChLNs. CP also inhibits the generation of reactive oxygen species partially dependent on CB1Rs. Although CP reduced extracellular Aβ 42, it was unable to reverse the Ca2 + influx dysregulation as a response to acetylcholine stimuli in mutant ChLNs. Exposure to anti-Aβ antibody 6E10 (1:300) in the absence or presence of SR plus CP completely recovered transient [Ca2 +]i signal as a response to acetylcholine in mutant ChLNs.

Conclusion: Taken together our findings suggest that the combination of cannabinoids, CB1Rs inverse agonists, and anti-Aβ antibodies might be a promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of familial AD.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33252082/

“It is therefore proposed that combinations of cannabinoids, anti-Aβ 42 antibodies (e.g., crenezumab), and CB1 inverse agonists might be a promising multi-target drugs for therapy in the early treatment of FAD PSEN 1 E280A ChLNs neurodegeneration.”

https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad201045

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It Is Our Turn to Get Cannabis High: Put Cannabinoids in Food and Health Baskets

molecules-logo“Cannabis is an annual plant with a long history of use as food, feed, fiber, oil, medicine, and narcotics. Despite realizing its true value, it has not yet found its true place. Cannabis has had a long history with many ups and downs, and now it is our turn to promote it.

Cannabis contains approximately 600 identified and many yet unidentified potentially useful compounds. Cannabinoids, phenolic compounds, terpenoids, and alkaloids are some of the secondary metabolites present in cannabis. However, among a plethora of unique chemical compounds found in this plant, the most important ones are phytocannabinoids (PCs).

Over hundreds of 21-22-carbon compounds exclusively produce in cannabis glandular hairs through either polyketide and or deoxyxylulose phosphate/methylerythritol phosphate (DOXP/MEP) pathways. Trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are those that first come to mind while talking about cannabis. Nevertheless, despite the low concentration, cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), cannabidivarin (CBDV), cannabinodiol (CBND), and cannabinidiol (CBDL) may have potentially some medical effects.

PCs and endocannabinoids (ECs) mediate their effects mainly through CB1 and CB2 receptors. Despite all concerns regarding cannabis, nobody can ignore the use of cannabinoids as promising tonic, analgesic, antipyretic, antiemetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-epileptic, anticancer agents, which are effective for pain relief, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, nausea and vomiting, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disorders, and appetite stimulation.

The scientific community and public society have now increasingly accepted cannabis specifically hemp as much more than a recreational drug. There are growing demands for cannabinoids, mainly CBD, with many diverse therapeutic and nutritional properties in veterinary or human medicine. The main objective of this review article is to historically summarize findings concerning cannabinoids, mainly THC and CBD, towards putting these valuable compounds into food, feed and health baskets and current and future trends in the consumption of products derived from cannabis.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32899626/

https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/25/18/4036

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Cannabidiol as a Novel Therapeutic for Immune Modulation

 “The immune-suppressive effects of cannabidiol (CBD) are attributed to the modulation of essential immunological signaling pathways and receptors. Mechanistic understanding of the pharmacological effects of CBD emphasizes the therapeutic potential of CBD as a novel immune modulator.

Studies have observed that the antagonists of CB1 and CB2 receptors and transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 reverse the immunomodulatory effects of CBD. CBD also inhibits critical activators of the Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription signaling pathway, as well as the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor signaling pathway, in turn decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokine production. Furthermore, CBD protects against cellular damage incurred during immune responses by modulating adenosine signaling.

Ultimately, the data overwhelmingly support the immunosuppressive effects of CBD and this timely review draws attention to the prospective development of CBD as an effective immune modulatory therapeutic.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32903924/

https://www.dovepress.com/cannabidiol-as-a-novel-therapeutic-for-immune-modulation-peer-reviewed-article-ITT

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Spinal cannabinoid CB1 or CB2 receptors activation attenuates mechanical allodynia in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats

 Behavioural Pharmacology“Diabetes is a chronic disease associated with a high number of complications such as peripheral neuropathy, which causes sensorial disturbances and may lead to the development of diabetic neuropathic pain (DNP). The current treatment for DNP is just palliative and the drugs may cause severe adverse effects, leading to discontinuation of treatment. Thus, new therapeutic targets need to be urgently investigated.

Studies have shown that cannabinoids have promising effects in the treatment of several pathological conditions, including chronic pain.

Thus, we aimed to investigate the acute effect of the intrathecal injection of CB1 or CB2 cannabinoid receptor agonists N-(2-chloroethyl)-5Z, 8Z, 11Z, 14Z-eicosatetraenamide (ACEA) or JWH 133, respectively (10, 30 or 100 μg/rat) on the mechanical allodynia associated with experimental diabetes induced by streptozotocin (60 mg/kg; intraperitoneal) in rats.

Cannabinoid receptor antagonists CB1 AM251 or CB2 AM630 (1 mg/kg) were given before treatment with respective agonists to confirm the involvement of cannabinoid CB1 or CB2 receptors. Rats with diabetes exhibited a significant reduction on the paw mechanical threshold 2 weeks after diabetes induction, having the maximum effect observed 4 weeks after the streptozotocin injection. This mechanical allodynia was significantly improved by intrathecal treatment with ACEA or JWH 133 (only at the higher dose of 100 μg). Pre-treatment with AM251 or AM630 significantly reverted the anti-allodynic effect of the ACEA or JWH 133, respectively.

Considering the clinical challenge that the treatment of DPN represents, this study showed for the first time, that the intrathecal cannabinoid receptors agonists may represent an alternative for the treatment of DNP.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32804775/

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Naturally Occurring Cannabinoids and their Role in Modulation of Cardiovascular Health

 Publication Cover“In recent years, the role of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in various cardiovascular conditions has been a subject of great interest. The ECS is composed of cannabinoid receptors, their endogenous ligands, also known as endocannabinoids, and enzymes responsible for the synthesis and degradation of endocannabinoids.

Several lines of evidence suggest that the ECS plays a complex role in cardiac and vascular systems; however, under normal physiological conditions the functions of the ECS are limited. Overactivation of components of the ECS has been associated with various cardiovascular conditions.

Intriguingly, activation of the ECS may also reflect a cardioprotective compensatory mechanism. With this knowledge, a range of naturally occurring and synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists and antagonists, as well as inhibitors of endocannabinoid metabolic enzymes have emerged as promising approaches for the treatment or management of cardiovascular health.

This review will first focus on the known role of the ECS in regulating the cardiovascular system. Secondly, we discuss emerging data highlighting the therapeutic potential of naturally occurring non-psychoactive ECS modulators within the cardiovascular system, including phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and the endocannabinoid-like molecule palmitoylethanolamide.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32677481/

“Several approaches discussed here, including administration of eCB-related molecules such as PEA, or supplementing with various phytocannabinoids can be promising candidates for the management of cardiovascular risk factors and CVD.”

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19390211.2020.1790708

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Cannabinoid 1 Receptor (CB1R) Antagonists Play a Neuroprotective Role in Chronic Alcoholic Hippocampal Injury Related to Pyroptosis Pathway

 Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research“Alcohol use disorders affect millions of people worldwide and there is growing evidence that excessive alcohol intake causes severe damage to the brain of both humans and animals.

Numerous studies on chronic alcohol exposure in animal models have identified that many functional impairments are associated with the hippocampus, which is a structure exhibiting substantial vulnerability to alcohol exposure. However, the precise mechanisms that lead to structural and functional impairments of the hippocampus are poorly understood.

Herein, we report a novel cell death type, namely pyroptosis, which accounts for alcohol neurotoxicity in mice.

Conclusions: Alcohol induces hippocampal pyroptosis, which leads to neurotoxicity thereby indicating that pyroptosis may be an essential pathway involved in chronic alcohol-induced hippocampal neurotoxicity. Further, cannabinoid receptors are regulated during this process, which suggests promising therapeutic strategies against alcohol-induced neurotoxicity through pharmacologic inhibition of CB1R.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32524615/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/acer.14391

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Targeting the Endocannabinoid CB1 Receptor to Treat Body Weight Disorders: A Preclinical and Clinical Review of the Therapeutic Potential of Past and Present CB1 Drugs

biomolecules-logo“Obesity rates are increasing worldwide and there is a need for novel therapeutic treatment options.

The endocannabinoid system has been linked to homeostatic processes, including metabolism, food intake, and the regulation of body weight.

Rimonabant, an inverse agonist for the cannabinoid CB1 receptor, was effective at producing weight loss in obese subjects. However, due to adverse psychiatric side effects, rimonabant was removed from the market.

More recently, we reported an inverse relationship between cannabis use and BMI, which has now been duplicated by several groups.

As those results may appear contradictory, we review here preclinical and clinical studies that have studied the impact on body weight of various cannabinoid CB1 drugs. Notably, we will review the impact of CB1 inverse agonists, agonists, partial agonists, and neutral antagonists.

Those findings clearly point out the cannabinoid CB1 as a potential effective target for the treatment of obesity. Recent preclinical studies suggest that ligands targeting the CB1 may retain the therapeutic potential of rimonabant without the negative side effect profile. Such approaches should be tested in clinical trials for validation.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32512776/

https://www.mdpi.com/2218-273X/10/6/855

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