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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Cannabinoids and inflammation: Implications for People Living with HIV.

Image result for wolters kluwer “Thanks to the success of modern antiretroviral therapy (ART), people living with HIV (PLWH) have life expectancies which approach that of persons in the general population. However, despite the ability of ART to suppress viral replication, PLWH have high levels of chronic systemic inflammation which drives the development of comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and non-AIDS associated malignancies.

Historically, cannabis has played an important role in alleviating many symptoms experienced by persons with advanced HIV infection in the pre-ART era and continues to be used by many PLWH in the ART era, though for different reasons.

Δ-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the phytocannabinoids which have received most attention for their medicinal properties. Due to their ability to suppress lymphocyte proliferation and inflammatory cytokine production, there is interest in examining their therapeutic potential as immunomodulators.

CB2 receptor activation has been shown in vitro to reduce CD4 T-cell infection by CXCR4-tropic HIV and to reduce HIV replication.

Studies involving SIV-infected macaques have shown that Δ-THC can reduce morbidity and mortality and has favourable effects on the gut mucosal immunity. Furthermore, ΔTHC administration was associated with reduced lymph node fibrosis and diminished levels of SIV proviral DNA in spleens of rhesus macaques compared with placebo-treated macaques.

In humans, cannabis use does not induce a reduction in peripheral CD4 T-cell count or loss of HIV virological control in cross-sectional studies. Rather, cannabis use in ART-treated PLWH was associated with decreased levels of T-cell activation, inflammatory monocytes and pro-inflammatory cytokines secretion, all of which are related to HIV disease progression and co-morbidities.

Randomized clinical trials should provide further insights into the ability of cannabis and cannabinoid-based medicines to attenuate HIV-associated inflammation. In turn, these findings may provide a novel means to reduce morbidity and mortality in PLWH as adjunctive agents to ART.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31408029

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00002030-900000000-96855

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Bones and Joints: The Effects of Cannabinoids on the Skeleton.

Image result for j clin endocrinol metab“This paper reviews the endocannabinoid system and focuses on the role of endocannabinoids in bone metabolism and their potential use in the management of conditions associated with bone loss.

CONTEXT:

The endocannabinoid system uses tissue-specific lipid ligands and G protein-coupled transmembrane receptors to regulate neurological, metabolic, and immune responses. Recent studies demonstrate that the endocannabinoid system influences bone metabolism. With the increasing use of endocannabinoid mimetics, e.g. tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), endocannabinoids’ involvement in bone growth and remodeling has become clinically relevant.

EVIDENCE ACQUISITION:

This literature review is based upon a search of Pubmed and Google Scholar databases, as of June 2019, for all English-language publications relating to cannabinoids and bone. We evaluated retrieved articles for relevance, experimental design, data acquisition, statistical analysis, and conclusions.

EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS:

Preclinical studies establish a role for endocannabinoids in bone metabolism. These studies yield complex and often contradictory results attributed to differences in the specific experimental model examined. Studies using human cells or subjects are limited.

CONCLUSIONS:

In vitro and animal models document that endocannabinoids participate in bone biology. The relevance of these observations to humans is not clear. The increasing chronic use of medical and recreational cannabis underscores the need to better understand the role of endocannabinoids in human bone metabolism. Moreover, it is important to evaluate the role of endocannabinoids as a therapeutic target to prevent and treat disorders associated with bone loss.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31393556

“[The endocannabinoid system and bone].”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27734700

“Joint problems arising from lack of repair mechanisms: can cannabinoids help?”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29574720

“Cannabinoids and bone regeneration.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30702341

“Cannabinoids and the skeleton: from marijuana to reversal of bone loss.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19634029

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The safety, tolerability, and effectiveness of PTL-101, an oral cannabidiol formulation, in pediatric intractable epilepsy: A phase II, open-label, single-center study.

“Several works have reported on the antiepileptic impact of cannabis-based preparations in patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy (TRE). However, current formulations suffer from low bioavailability and side effects. PTL-101, an oral formulation containing highly purified cannabidiol (CBD) embedded in seamless gelatin matrix beadlets was designed to enhance bioavailability and maintain a constant gastrointestinal transit time.

RESULTS:

Sixteen patients (age: 9.1±3.4) enrolled in the study; 11 completed the full treatment program. The average maintenance dose was 13.6±4.2mg/kg. Patient adherence to treatment regimens was 96.3±9.9%. By the end of the treatment period, 81.9% and 73.4±24.6% (p<0.05) reductions from baseline median seizure count and monthly seizure frequency, respectively, were recorded. Responders’ rate was 56%; two patients became fully seizure-free. By study end, 8 (73%) caregivers reported an improved/very much improved condition, and 9 (82%) reported reduced/very much reduced seizure severity. Most commonly reported treatment-related adverse effects were sleep disturbance/insomnia, (4 (25.0%) patients), followed by somnolence, increased seizure frequency, and restlessness (3 patients each (18.8%)). None were serious or severe, and all resolved.

CONCLUSIONS:

PTL-101 was safe and tolerable for use and demonstrated a potent seizure-reducing effect among pediatric patients with TRE.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31394352

https://www.epilepsybehavior.com/article/S1525-5050(19)30305-1/fulltext

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Application device for THC:CBD oromucosal spray in the management of resistant spasticity: pre-production testing.

 Publication Cover“Patients with multiple sclerosis spasticity (MSS) and upper limb/hand impairment who are taking 9-delta-tetrahydrocannabinol:cannabidiol (THC:CBD) oromucosal spray (Sativex®) may have difficulty self-administering their medication, possibly limiting adherence and treatment effectiveness.

A Class I EU device is available to support administration of THC:CBD spray. Pre-production testing was undertaken in a patient sample.

Results: Fifteen patients participated. Mean treatment time with THC:CBD spray was 4 (range: 0.1-6.1) years. 87% of participants ‘always’, ‘often’ or ‘sometimes’ had hand impairment, and 53% reported difficulty administering THC:CBD spray. Participants reported better application using the device (73%), with less strength required (54%). Most participants (93%) considered the instruction leaflet to be clear and many (66%) expressed interest in using the device. Most HCPs (93%) did not foresee any difficulties in use of the device.

Conclusion: The proposed adherence device was useful to address self-application difficulties with THC:CBD spray in our sample. Providing the device to MSS patients with upper limb/hand spasticity impairment may restore autonomy and support adherence to THC:CBD spray.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31393179

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17434440.2019.1653182?journalCode=ierd20

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Cannabis and Epilepsy.

 Publication Cover“In recent years, the use of cannabidiol in the treatment of refractory epilepsy has been increasingly investigated and has been gaining public support as a novel way to treat these disorders.

Marijuana has been used for medical purposes for thousands of years, and a lot of research has been conducted over the last several decades into the chemistry and pharmacology of marijuana and its many compounds, including cannabidiol.

There are historical and recent scientific developments that support the use of cannabidiol in rare severe epilepsy syndromes.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31385740

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15504263.2019.1645372?journalCode=wjdd20

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Cannabidiol Regulates the Expression of Keratinocyte Proteins Involved in the Inflammation Process through Transcriptional Regulation.

cells-logo “Cannabidiol (CBD), a natural phytocannabinoid without psychoactive effect, is a well-known anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound.

The possibility of its use in cytoprotection of cells from harmful factors, including ultraviolet (UV) radiation, is an area of ongoing investigation. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of CBD on the regulatory mechanisms associated with the redox balance and inflammation in keratinocytes irradiated with UVA [30 J/cm2] and UVB [60 mJ/cm2].

Spectrophotometric results show that CBD significantly enhances the activity of antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase and thioredoxin reductase in UV irradiated keratinocytes. Furthermore, despite decreased glutathione peroxidase and reductase activities, CBD prevents lipid peroxidation, which was observed as a decreased level of 4-HNE and 15d-PGJ2 (measured using GC/MS and LC/MS). Moreover, Western blot analysis of protein levels shows that, under stress conditions, CBD influences interactions of transcription factors Nrf2- NFκB by inhibiting the NFκB pathway, increasing the expression of Nrf2 activators and stimulating the transcription activity of Nrf2.

In conclusion, the antioxidant activity of CBD through Nrf2 activation as well as its anti-inflammatory properties as an inhibitor of NFκB should be considered during design of new protective treatments for the skin.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31382646

https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4409/8/8/827

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Intraperitoneal cannabidiol attenuates neonatal germinal matrix hemorrhage-induced neuroinflamtion and perilesional apoptosis.

Publication Cover“As the survival of preterm infants has increased significantly, germinal matrix hemorrhage (GMH) has become an important public health issue. Nevertheless, treatment strategies for the direct neuronal injury are still scarce. The present study aims to analyze the neuroprotective properties of cannabidiol in germinal matrix hemorrhage.

Results. Reduction of reactive astrocytosis was observed both in the perilesional area 24 hours and 14 days after the hemorrhage lesion (p < 0.001) and in the Stratum oriens of the ipsilateral hippocampal CA1 14 days after the hemorrhage lesion (p < 0.05) in the treated groups. Similarly, there was a reduction in the number of Caspase 3-positive astrocytes in the perilesional area in the treated groups 24 hours after the hemorrhage lesion (p < 0.001). Finally, we found a significant increase in the weight of the rats treated with cannabidiol.

Conclusion. The treatment of GMH with cannabidiol significantly reduced the number of apoptotic cells and reactive astrocytes in the perilesional area and the ipsilateral hippocampus. In addition, this response was sustained 14 days after the hemorrhage. These results corroborate our hypothesis that cannabidiol is a potential neuroprotective agent in the treatment of germinal matrix hemorrhage.”

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Pharmacological and Therapeutic Properties of Cannabidiol for Epilepsy.

 “Cannabidiol (CBD) is a major active component of the Cannabis plant, which, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is devoid of euphoria-inducing properties.

During the last 10 years, there has been increasing interest in the use of CBD-enriched products for the treatment of epilepsy.

In 2018, an oil-based highly purified liquid formulation of CBD (Epidiolex) derived from Cannabis sativa was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of seizures associated with Dravet syndrome (DS) and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS).

The mechanisms underlying the antiseizure effects of CBD are unclear but may involve, among others, antagonism of G protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55), desensitization of transient receptor potential of vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) channels, and inhibition of adenosine reuptake. CBD has complex and variable pharmacokinetics, with a prominent first-pass effect and a low oral bioavailability that increases fourfold when CBD is taken with a high-fat/high-calorie meal.

In four randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, adjunctive-therapy trials, CBD given at doses of 10 and 20 mg/kg/day administered in two divided administrations was found to be superior to placebo in reducing the frequency of drop seizures in patients with LGS and convulsive seizures in patients with DS.

Preliminary results from a recently completed controlled trial indicate that efficacy also extends to the treatment of seizures associated with the tuberous sclerosis complex.

The most common adverse events that differentiated CBD from placebo in controlled trials included somnolence/sedation, decreased appetite, increases in transaminases, and diarrhea, behavioral changes, skin rashes, fatigue, and sleep disturbances.

About one-half of the patients included in the DS and LGS trials were receiving concomitant therapy with clobazam, and in these patients a CBD-induced increase in serum levels of the active metabolite norclobazam may have contributed to improved seizure outcomes and to precipitation of some adverse effects, particularly somnolence.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31372958

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40265-019-01171-4

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A phase 1/2, open-label assessment of the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of transdermal cannabidiol (ZYN002) for the treatment of pediatric fragile X syndrome.

 

Image result for journal of neurodevelopmental disorders“Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is characterized by a range of developmental, neuropsychiatric, and behavioral symptoms that cause significant impairment in those with the disorder.

Cannabidiol (CBD) holds promise as a potential treatment for FXS symptoms due to its safety profile and positive effects on a number of emotional and behavioral symptoms associated with FXS.

The aim of the current study was to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and initial efficacy of ZYN002, a transdermal CBD gel, in a pediatric population with FXS.

RESULTS:

The majority of treatment-emergent AEs (reported by 85% of participants) were mild in severity (70%), and no serious adverse events were reported. There was a statistically significant reduction in ADAMS total score from screening to week 12 and significant reductions on nearly all other secondary endpoints, including all ADAMS subscales (except depressed mood), all ABC-CFXS subscale scores (e.g., social avoidance, irritability), PARS-R total severity score, and PedsQL total score.

CONCLUSIONS:

ZYN002 was well tolerated and produced clinically meaningful reductions in anxiety and behavioral symptoms in children and adolescents with FXS. These findings support further study of ZYN002 in a randomized, well-controlled trial for the treatment of behavioral symptoms of FXS.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31370779

https://jneurodevdisorders.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s11689-019-9277-x

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