Anti-Inflammatory Activity in Colon Models Is Derived from Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid That Interacts with Additional Compounds in Cannabis Extracts.

“Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) include Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. Cannabis sativa preparations have beneficial effects for IBD patients. However, C. sativa extracts contain hundreds of compounds. Although there is much knowledge of the activity of different cannabinoids and their receptor agonists or antagonists, the cytotoxic and anti-inflammatory activity of whole C. sativa extracts has never been characterized in detail with in vitro and ex vivo colon models.

Material and Methods: The anti-inflammatory activity of C. sativa extracts was studied on three lines of epithelial cells and on colon tissue. C. sativa flowers were extracted with ethanol, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to determine the level of interleukin-8 in colon cells and tissue biopsies, chemical analysis was performed using high-performance liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance and gene expression was determined by quantitative real-time PCR.

Results: The anti-inflammatory activity of Cannabis extracts derives from D9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) present in fraction 7 (F7) of the extract. However, all fractions of C. sativa at a certain combination of concentrations have a significant increased cytotoxic activity. GPR55 receptor antagonist significantly reduces the anti-inflammatory activity of F7, whereas cannabinoid type 2 receptor antagonist significantly increases HCT116 cell proliferation. Also, cannabidiol (CBD) shows dose dependent cytotoxic activity, whereas anti-inflammatory activity was found only for the low concentration of CBD, and in a bell-shaped rather than dose-dependent manner. Activity of the extract and active fraction was verified on colon tissues taken from IBD patients, and was shown to suppress cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) and metalloproteinase-9 (MMP9) gene expression in both cell culture and colon tissue.

Conclusions: It is suggested that the anti-inflammatory activity of Cannabis extracts on colon epithelial cells derives from a fraction of the extract that contains THCA, and is mediated, at least partially, via GPR55 receptor. The cytotoxic activity of the C. sativa extract was increased by combining all fractions at a certain combination of concentrations and was partially affected by CB2 receptor antagonist that increased cell proliferation. It is suggested that in a nonpsychoactive treatment for IBD, THCA should be used rather than CBD.”

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Inspired by Mary Jane? Mechanisms underlying enhanced creativity in cannabis users.

Consciousness and Cognition

“Previous research suggests cannabis may enhance some aspects of creativity, although the results remain somewhat equivocal. Moreover, it is unclear whether differences in cannabis users’ personalities may account for any potentially beneficial effects of cannabis on creativity. This study was designed to examine whether sober cannabis users demonstrate superior self-reported and objective creativity test performance relative to non-users, and to determine whether any of the Big 5 personality domains underlie these effects. A sample of sober cannabis users (n=412) and non-users (n=309) completed measures of cannabis consumption, personality, self-reported and objective creativity. Relative to non-users, sober cannabis users self-reported higher creativity, and performed significantly better on a measure of convergent thinking. Controlling for cannabis users’ higher levels of openness to experience abolished these effects. Therefore, while cannabis users appear to demonstrate enhanced creativity, these effects are an artifact of their heightened levels of openness to experience.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29065317

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053810017303744?via%3Dihub

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Bioactivities of alternative protein sources and their potential health benefits.

“Increasing the utilisation of plant proteins is needed to support the production of protein-rich foods that could replace animal proteins in the human diet so as to reduce the strain that intensive animal husbandry poses to the environment. Lupins, quinoa and hempseed are significant sources of energy, high quality proteins, fibre, vitamins and minerals. In addition, they contain compounds such as polyphenols and bioactive peptides that can increase the nutritional value of these plants. From the nutritional standpoint, the right combination of plant proteins can supply sufficient amounts of essential amino acids for human requirements. This review aims at providing an overview of the current knowledge of the nutritional properties, beneficial and non-nutritive compounds, storage proteins, and potential health benefits of lupins, quinoa and hempseed.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28804797

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Cannabidiol attenuates seizures and social deficits in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome.

Current Issue

“Worldwide medicinal use of cannabis is rapidly escalating, despite limited evidence of its efficacy from preclinical and clinical studies. Here we show that cannabidiol (CBD) effectively reduced seizures and autistic-like social deficits in a well-validated mouse genetic model of Dravet syndrome (DS), a severe childhood epilepsy disorder caused by loss-of-function mutations in the brain voltage-gated sodium channel NaV1.1.

The duration and severity of thermally induced seizures and the frequency of spontaneous seizures were substantially decreased. Treatment with lower doses of CBD also improved autistic-like social interaction deficits in DS mice.

Phenotypic rescue was associated with restoration of the excitability of inhibitory interneurons in the hippocampal dentate gyrus, an important area for seizure propagation. Reduced excitability of dentate granule neurons in response to strong depolarizing stimuli was also observed.

The beneficial effects of CBD on inhibitory neurotransmission were mimicked and occluded by an antagonist of GPR55, suggesting that therapeutic effects of CBD are mediated through this lipid-activated G protein-coupled receptor.

Our results provide critical preclinical evidence supporting treatment of epilepsy and autistic-like behaviors linked to DS with CBD. We also introduce antagonism of GPR55 as a potential therapeutic approach by illustrating its beneficial effects in DS mice.

Our study provides essential preclinical evidence needed to build a sound scientific basis for increased medicinal use of CBD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28973916

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/09/26/1711351114

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Targeting the Endocannabinoid System to Treat Sepsis

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“Sepsis is a complex immune disorder that can affect the function of almost all organ systems in the body. This disorder is characterised by a malfunctioning immune response to an infection that involves both pro-inflammatory and immunosuppressive mediators. This leads to severe damage and failure of vital organs, resulting in patient death. Sepsis, septic shock, and systemic inflammatory response syndrome are the leading causes of mortality in surgical intensive care unit patients internationally.

The current lack of viable therapeutic treatment options for sepsis underscores our insufficient understanding of this complex disease. The endocannabinoid system, a key regulator of essential physiological functions including the immune system, has recently emerged as a potential therapeutic target for sepsis treatment. The endocannabinoid system acquires its name from the plant Cannabis Sativa, which has been used medically to treat a variety of ailments, as well as recreationally for centuries. Cannabis Sativa contains more than 60 active phytocannabinoids with the primary phytocannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), (6) activating both endogenous endocannabinoid receptors.

The endocannabinoid system represents a potential therapeutic target in sepsis due to the presence of cannabinoid receptors (CB2) on immune cells. In this review we discuss how various targets within the endocannabinoid system can be manipulated to treat the immune consequences of sepsis. One of the targets outlined are the endocannabinoid receptors and modulation of their activity through pharmacological agonists and antagonists. Another therapeutic target covered in this review is the modulation of the endocannabinoid degradative enzyme’s activity. Modulation of degradative enzyme activity can change the levels of endogenous cannabinoids thereby altering immune activity. Overall, activation of the CB2 receptors causes immunosuppression and can be beneficial during the hyperactivated immune state of sepsis, while suppression of the CB2 receptors may be beneficial during a hypoimmune septic state.

The endocannabinoid system modulates the immune response in experimental sepsis. Manipulating the endocannabinoid system may have potential therapeutic benefit in clinical sepsis where immune and inflammatory dysfunction can be detrimental. Multiple targets exist within the endocannabinoid system, e.g. the system can be targeted at the level of receptors by administration of synthetic compounds, similar to the endocannabinoids, which either increase or inhibit receptor activation to provide the desired therapeutic effect. Alternatively, the endogenous enzymes that degrade endocannabinoids or cannabinoid-like lipids can also be targeted in order to manipulate the levels of endocannabinoids. Proper identification of the septic stage is crucial to determine the adequate therapeutic response that will be most beneficial. Due to the biphasic nature of sepsis immunopathology, immune suppression through endocannabinoid modulation can help mitigate the hyper-immune response during the early septic state, while immune activation may be beneficial in later stages.” http://www.signavitae.com/2013/05/targeting-the-endocannabinoid-system-to-treat-sepsis/

Targeting the Endocannabinoid System to Treat Sepsis

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Cannabidiol attenuates alcohol-induced liver steatosis, metabolic dysregulation, inflammation and neutrophil-mediated injury.

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, which has anti-inflammatory effects. It has also been approved by FDA for various orphan diseases for exploratory trials. Herein, we investigated the effects of CBD on liver injury induced by chronic plus binge alcohol feeding in mice. CBD may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of alcoholic liver diseases associated with inflammation, oxidative stress and steatosis, which deserves exploration in human trials.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28935932

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most abundant non-psychoactive constituent of marijuana plant (Cannabis Sativa) with excellent safety profile in humans even after chronic use. In conclusion, we demonstrate that CBD treatment significantly attenuates liver injury induced by chronic plus binge alcohol in a mouse model and oxidative burst in human neutrophils. CBD ameliorates alcohol-induced liver injury by attenuating inflammatory response involving E-selectin expression and neutrophil recruitment, and consequent oxidative/nitrative stress, in addition to attenuation of the alcohol-induced hepatic metabolic dysregulation and steatosis. These beneficial effects, coupled with the proven safety of CBD in human clinical trials and its current orphan drug approval by FDA for various indications suggest that it may have therapeutic potential in liver disease associated with inflammation, oxidative stress, metabolic dysregulation and steatosis.” https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-10924-8

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Medical marijuana for the treatment of vismodegib-related muscle spasm

JAAD Case Reports

“Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) arises from loss-of-function mutations in tumor suppressor patched homologue 1, which normally inhibits smoothened homologue in the sonic hedgehog signaling pathway. Vismodegib, a smoothened homologue inhibitor, is US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for metastatic or locally advanced BCC that has recurred after surgery or for patients who are not candidates for surgery and radiation. Common adverse effects of vismodegib are muscle spasms, alopecia, dysgeusia, nausea, and weight loss. Muscle spasms worsen with duration of drug administration and may lead to drug discontinuation.

We report a case of vismodegib-related muscle spasm that was successfully treated with medical marijuana (MM).

During the first week of vismodegib and radiation, the patient started MM, having heard of its indication in the treatment of muscle cramps. She smoked 3 to 4 joints daily of Trainwreck strain, containing 18.6% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), 0.0% cannabidiol (CBD), and 0.0% cannabinol. Her muscle spasms resolved immediately. She continued MM for 3.5 weeks, until the cost of MM became prohibitive. She reported no adverse effects from MM. Complete resolution of muscle spasms was sustained through the remaining 3.5 weeks of vismodegib. Complete blood count, comprehensive metabolic panel, and lactate dehydrogenase level were monitored throughout the study with no significant changes. As of 18 months posttreatment, the patient had a complete clinical response of her BCC.

One marijuana joint contains, on average, 0.66 g of marijuana, although the definition of a joint is highly variable. With any MM formulation, patients should start at a low dose and gradually titrate to effect. Additional studies could confirm safety and efficacy and better specify the optimal cannabinoid subtypes, preparations, and dosages that may be most beneficial for vismodegib-induced muscle spasms.”

http://www.jaadcasereports.org/article/S2352-5126(17)30124-8/fulltext

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Re-visiting the Endocannabinoid System and Its Therapeutic Potential in Obesity and Associated Diseases.

 Current Diabetes Reports

“The purpose of the review was to revisit the possibility of the endocannabinoid system being a therapeutic target for the treatment of obesity by focusing on the peripheral roles in regulating appetite and energy metabolism.

Previous studies with the global cannabinoid receptor blocker rimonabant, which has both central and peripheral properties, showed that this drug has beneficial effects on cardiometabolic function but severe adverse psychiatric side effects. Consequently, focus has shifted to peripherally restricted cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor blockers as possible therapeutic agents that mitigate or eliminate the untoward effects in the central nervous system.

Targeting the endocannabinoid system using novel peripheral CB1 receptor blockers with negligible penetrance across the blood-brain barrier may prove to be effective therapy for obesity and its co-morbidities.

Perhaps the future of blockers targeting CB1 receptors will be tissue-specific neutral antagonists (e.g., skeletal muscle specific to treat peripheral insulin resistance, adipocyte-specific to treat fat excess, liver-specific to treat fatty liver and hepatic insulin resistance).”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28913816

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11892-017-0924-x

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GPR55: A therapeutic target for Parkinson’s disease?

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“The GPR55 receptor is expressed abundantly in the brain, especially in the striatum, suggesting it might fulfill a role in motor function. Indeed, motor behavior is impaired in mice lacking GPR55, which also display dampened inflammatory responses.

Abnormal-cannabidiol (Abn-CBD), a synthetic cannabidiol (CBD) isomer, is a GPR55 agonist that may serve as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of inflammatory diseases.

In this study, we explored whether modulating GPR55 could also represent a therapeutic approach for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD).

These results demonstrate for the first time that activation of GPR55 might be beneficial in combating PD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28807673

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028390817303842

“The orphan receptor GPR55 is a novel cannabinoid receptor”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2095107/

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Alleviation of Neuropathology by Inhibition of Monoacylglycerol Lipase in APP Transgenic Mice Lacking CB2 Receptors.

Molecular Neurobiology

“Inhibition of monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), the primary enzyme that hydrolyzes the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in the brain, produces profound anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects and improves synaptic and cognitive functions in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects produced by inhibition of 2-AG metabolism are still not clear.

The cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2R) has been thought to be a therapeutic target for AD. Here, we provide evidence, however, that CB2R does not play a role in ameliorating AD neuropathology produced by inactivation of MAGL in 5XFAD APP transgenic mice, an animal model of AD.

Our results suggest that CB2R is not required in ameliorating neuropathology and preventing cognitive decline by inhibition of 2-AG metabolism in AD model animals.”

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