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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Pharmacological Data of Cannabidiol- And Cannabigerol-Type Phytocannabinoids Acting on Cannabinoid CB 1, CB 2 and CB 1/CB 2 Heteromer Receptors

Pharmacological Research“Background: Recent approved medicines whose active principles are Δ9Tetrahidrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and/or cannabidiol (CBD) open novel perspectives for other phytocannabinoids also present in Cannabis sativa L. varieties. Furthermore, solid data on the potential benefits of acidic and varinic phytocannabinoids in a variety of diseases are already available. Mode of action of cannabigerol (CBG), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), cannabidivarin (CBDV) and cannabigerivarin (CBGV) is, to the very least, partial.

Hypothesis/purpose: Cannabinoid CB1 or CB2 receptors, which belong to the G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) family, are important mediators of the action of those cannabinoids. Pure CBG, CBDA, CBGA, CBDV and CBGV from Cannabis sativa L. are differentially acting on CB1 or CB2 cannabinoid receptors.

Study design: Determination of the affinity of phytocannabinoids for cannabinoid receptors and functional assessment of effects promoted by these compounds when interacting with cannabinoid receptors.

Methods: A heterologous system expressing the human versions of CB1 and/or CB2 receptors was used. Binding to membranes was measured using radioligands and binding to living cells using a homogenous time resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (HTRF) assay. Four different functional outputs were assayed: determination of cAMP levels and of extracellular-signal-related-kinase phosphorylation, label-free dynamic mass redistribution (DMR) and ß-arrestin recruitment.

Results: Affinity of cannabinoids depend on the ligand of reference and may be different in membranes and in living cells. All tested phytocannabinoids have agonist-like behavior but behaved as inverse-agonists in the presence of selective receptor agonists. CBGV displayed enhanced potency in many of the functional outputs. However the most interesting result was a biased signaling that correlated with differential affinity, i.e. the overall results suggest that the binding mode of each ligand leads to specific receptor conformations underlying biased signaling outputs.

Conclusion: Results here reported and the recent elucidation of the three-dimensional structure of CB1 and CB2 receptors help understanding the mechanism of action that might be protective and the molecular drug-receptor interactions underlying biased signaling.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32470563/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1043661820312482?via%3Dihub

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Biological potential of varinic-, minor-, and acidic phytocannabinoids.

Pharmacological Research“While natural Δ9-tetrahidrocannabinol (Δ9THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and their therapeutic potential have been extensively researched, some cannabinoids have not been widely investigated.

The present article compiles data from the literature that highlights research on and the therapeutic possibilities of lesser known phytocannabinoids, which we have divided into varinic, acidic, and “minor” (i.e., cannabinoids that are not present in high quantities in common varieties of Cannabis sativa L).

A growing interest in these compounds, which are enriched in some cannabis varieties, has already resulted in enough preclinical information to show that they are promising therapeutic agents for a variety of diseases.

Each phytocannabinoid has a “preferential” mechanism of action, and often target the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and/or CB2. The recent resolution of the structure of cannabinoid receptors demonstrates the atypical nature of cannabinoid binding, and that different binding modes depend on the agonist or partial agonist/inverse agonist, which allows for differential signaling, even acting on the same cannabinoid receptor. In addition, other players and multiple signaling pathways may be targeted/engaged by phytocannabinoids, thereby expanding the mechanistic possibilities for therapeutic use.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32416215

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1043661820311099?via%3Dihub

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Endocannabinoids and Stroke Prevention: Review of Clinical Studies.

View details for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image“The societal burden of ischemic stroke suggests a need for additional therapeutic categories in stroke prevention.

Modulation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a rational target for stroke prevention because of its effects on inflammation, vascular tone, and metabolic balance, all well-described stroke risk factors.

In this article, we summarize the existing ECS clinical studies in human subjects’ research as they relate to conventional vascular risk factors associated with ischemic stroke.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32322672

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2018.0066

“The endocannabinoid system and stroke: A focused review. This review seeks to summarize the recent evidence for the role of the endocannabinoid signaling system in stroke pathophysiology, as well as the evidence from preclinical studies regarding the efficacy of cannabinoids as neuroprotective therapies in the treatment of stroke.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6458776/

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Terpenoids, Cannabimimetic Ligands, beyond the Cannabis Plant.

molecules-logo “Medicinal use of Cannabis sativa L. has an extensive history and it was essential in the discovery of phytocannabinoids, including the Cannabis major psychoactive compound-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC)-as well as the G-protein-coupled cannabinoid receptors (CBR), named cannabinoid receptor type-1 (CB1R) and cannabinoid receptor type-2 (CB2R), both part of the now known endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Cannabinoids is a vast term that defines several compounds that have been characterized in three categories: (i) endogenous, (ii) synthetic, and (iii) phytocannabinoids, and are able to modulate the CBR and ECS. Particularly, phytocannabinoids are natural terpenoids or phenolic compounds derived from Cannabis sativa.

However, these terpenoids and phenolic compounds can also be derived from other plants (non-cannabinoids) and still induce cannabinoid-like properties. Cannabimimetic ligands, beyond the Cannabis plant, can act as CBR agonists or antagonists, or ECS enzyme inhibitors, besides being able of playing a role in immune-mediated inflammatory and infectious diseases, neuroinflammatory, neurological, and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as in cancer, and autoimmunity by itself.

In this review, we summarize and critically highlight past, present, and future progress on the understanding of the role of cannabinoid-like molecules, mainly terpenes, as prospective therapeutics for different pathological conditions.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32235333

https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/25/7/1567

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The Epigenetics of the Endocannabinoid System.

ijms-logo “The endocannabinoid system (ES) is a cell-signalling system widely distributed in biological tissues that includes endogenous ligands, receptors, and biosynthetic and hydrolysing machineries.

The impairment of the ES has been associated to several pathological conditions like behavioural, neurological, or metabolic disorders and infertility, suggesting that the modulation of this system may be critical for the maintenance of health status and disease treatment.

Lifestyle and environmental factors can exert long-term effects on gene expression without any change in the nucleotide sequence of DNA, affecting health maintenance and influencing both disease load and resistance. This potentially reversible “epigenetic” modulation of gene expression occurs through the chemical modification of DNA and histone protein tails or the specific production of regulatory non-coding RNA (ncRNA).

Recent findings demonstrate the epigenetic modulation of the ES in biological tissues; in the same way, endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids, and cannabinoid receptor agonists and antagonists induce widespread or gene-specific epigenetic changes with the possibility of trans-generational epigenetic inheritance in the offspring explained by the transmission of deregulated epigenetic marks in the gametes.

Therefore, this review provides an update on the epigenetics of the ES, with particular attention on the emerging role in reproduction and fertility.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32046164

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/3/1113

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Organophosphate agent induces ADHD-like behaviors via inhibition of brain endocannabinoid-hydrolyzing enzyme(s) in adolescent male rats.

 Go to Volume 0, Issue ja“Anticholinergic organophosphate (OP) agents act on the diverse serine hydrolases, thereby revealing unexpected biological effects. Epidemiological studies indicate a relationship between OP exposure and development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)-like symptoms, whereas no plausible mechanism for the OP-induced ADHD has been established.

The present investigation employs ethyl octylphosphonofluoridate (EOPF) as an OP-probe which is an extremely potent inhibitor of endocannabinoid (EC, anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol)-hydrolyzing enzymes: i.e., fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL).

Ex vivo experiment shows that EOPF treatment decreases FAAH and MAGL activities and conversely increases EC levels in rat brain. Subsequently, EOPF (treated intraperitoneally once at 0, 1, 2, or 3 mg/kg) clearly induces ADHD-like behaviors (in elevated plus-maze test) in both Wistar and spontaneously hypertensive rats. The EOPF-induced behaviors are reduced by a concomitant administration of cannabinoid receptor inverse agonist SLV-319.

Accordingly, EC system is a feasible target for OP-caused ADHD-like behaviors in adolescent rats.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31995978

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jafc.9b08195

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Cannabinoids and the expanded endocannabinoid system in neurological disorders.

 Related image“Anecdotal evidence that cannabis preparations have medical benefits together with the discovery of the psychotropic plant cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) initiated efforts to develop cannabinoid-based therapeutics.

These efforts have been marked by disappointment, especially in relation to the unwanted central effects that result from activation of cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1), which have limited the therapeutic use of drugs that activate or inactivate this receptor.

The discovery of CB2 and of endogenous cannabinoid receptor ligands (endocannabinoids) raised new possibilities for safe targeting of this endocannabinoid system. However, clinical success has been limited, complicated by the discovery of an expanded endocannabinoid system – known as the endocannabinoidome – that includes several mediators that are biochemically related to the endocannabinoids, and their receptors and metabolic enzymes.

The approvals of nabiximols, a mixture of THC and the non-psychotropic cannabinoid cannabidiol, for the treatment of spasticity and neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis, and of purified botanical cannabidiol for the treatment of otherwise untreatable forms of paediatric epilepsy, have brought the therapeutic use of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids in neurological diseases into the limelight.

In this Review, we provide an overview of the endocannabinoid system and the endocannabinoidome before discussing their involvement in and clinical relevance to a variety of neurological disorders, including Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, Huntington disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, stroke, epilepsy and glioblastoma.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31831863

“The existence of the endocannabinoidome explains in part why some non-euphoric cannabinoids, which affect several endocannabinoidome proteins, are useful for the treatment of neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41582-019-0284-z

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