“Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), caused by dystrophin deficiency, results in chronic inflammation and irreversible skeletal muscle degeneration. Moreover, the associated impairment of autophagy leads to the accumulation of damaged intracellular organelles that greatly contribute to the aggravation of muscle damage.
We explored the possibility of using non-euphoric compounds present in Cannabis sativa, including cannabidiol (CBD), cannabidivarin (CBDV) and tetrahydrocannabidivarin (THCV) to reduce inflammation, restore functional autophagy and positively enhance muscle function in vivo.
We found that CBD and CBDV promote the differentiation of murine C2C12 myoblast cells into myotubes by increasing [Ca2+ ]i mostly via TRPV1 activation, an effect that undergoes rapid desensitization. CBD and CBDV also promoted the differentiation of myoblasts from DMD donors. In primary cultures prepared from satellite cells isolated from healthy donors, not only CBD and CBDV but also THCV promoted myotube formation, in this case mostly via TRPA1 activation. In mdx mice, CBD (60 mg Kg-1), CBDV (60 mg Kg-1 ) prevented the loss of locomotor activity at two distinct ages (from 5 to 7 and 32 to 34 weeks of age). This effect was associated with a reduction in tissue and plasma pro-inflammatory markers, together with the restoration of autophagy.
CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS:
We provide new insights into plant cannabinoid interactions with TRP channels in skeletal muscle, highlighting a potential opportunity for novel co-adjuvant therapies to prevent muscle degeneration in DMD patients.”
“Rett syndrome (RTT) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder, characterized by severe behavioural and physiological symptoms. RTT is caused by mutations in the MECP2 gene in about 95% of cases and to date no cure is available.
The endocannabinoid system modulates several physiological processes and behavioural responses that are impaired in RTT and its deregulation has been associated with neuropsychiatric disorders which have symptoms in common with RTT.
The present study evaluated the potential therapeutic efficacy for RTT of cannabidivarin (CBDV), a non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid from Cannabis sativa that presents antagonistic properties on the G protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55), the most recently identified cannabinoid receptor.
Present results demonstrate that systemic treatment with CBDV (2, 20, 100 mg/Kg ip for 14 days) rescues behavioural and brain alterations in MeCP2-308 male mice, a validated RTT model. The CBDV treatment restored the compromised general health status, the sociability and the brain weight in RTT mice. A partial restoration of motor coordination was also observed. Moreover, increased levels of GPR55 were found in RTT mouse hippocampus, suggesting this G protein-coupled receptor as new potential target for the treatment of this disorder.
Present findings highlight for the first time for RTT the translational relevance of CBDV, an innovative therapeutic agent that is under active investigation in the clinical setting.”
“The anticonvulsant activity of cannabinoids attracted much attention in the last decade. Cannabinoids that are currently investigated with the intention of making them drugs for the treatment of epilepsy are cannabidiol, cannabidivarin, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid.
Areas covered. In this review, the authors look at the results of pre-clinical and clinical studies with investigational cannabinoids. Relevant literature was searched for in MEDLINE, SCOPUS, EBSCO, GOOGLE SCHOLAR and SCINDEX databases.
Expert opinion. Pre-clinical studies confirmed anticonvulsant activity of cannabidiol and cannabidivarin in a variety of epilepsy models. While the results of clinical trials with cannabidivarin are still awaited, cannabidiol showed clear therapeutic benefit and good safety in patients with therapy resistant seizures associated with Dravet syndrome and in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome who have drop seizures. However, the full therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in treatment-resistant epilepsy needs to be investigated in the near future.”
“Cannabidivarin (CBDV) and cannabidiol (CBD) have recently emerged among cannabinoids for their potential antiepileptic properties, as shown in several animal models.
We report the case of a patient affected by symptomatic partial epilepsy who used cannabis as self-medication after the failure of countless pharmacological/surgical treatments.
After cannabis administration, a dramatic clinical improvement, in terms of both decrease in seizure frequency and recovery of cognitive functions, was observed, which might parallel high CBDV plasma concentrations.
Our patient’s electroclinical improvement supports the hypothesis that cannabis could actually represent an effective, well-tolerated antiepileptic drug.
Moreover, the experimental data suggest that CBDV may greatly contribute to cannabis anticonvulsant effect through its possible GABAergic action.”
“Over the past decade there has been an increasing interest in using cannabinoids to treat a range of epilepsy syndromes following reports of some remarkable responses in individual patients.
The situation is complicated by the fact that these agents do not appear to work via their attachment to endogenous cannabinoid receptors. Their pharmacokinetics are complex, and bioavailability is variable, resulting in difficulty in developing a suitable formulation for oral delivery. Drug interactions also represent another complication in their everyday use.
Nevertheless, recent randomized, placebo-controlled trials with cannabidiol support its efficacy in Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.
Further placebo-controlled studies are underway in adults with focal epilepsy using cannabidivarin. The many unanswered questions in the use of cannabinoids to treat epileptic seizures are briefly summarized in the conclusion.”
“As studies continue to reveal favorable findings for the use of cannabidiol in the management of childhood epilepsy syndromes and other disorders, best practices for the large-scale production of Cannabis are needed for timely product development and research purposes. The processes of two institutions with extensive experience in producing large-scale cannabidiol chemotype Cannabis crops-GW Pharmaceuticals and the University of Mississippi-are described, including breeding, indoor and outdoor growing, harvesting, and extraction methods. Such practices have yielded desirable outcomes in Cannabis breeding and production: GW Pharmaceuticals has a collection of chemotypes dominant in any one of eight cannabinoids, two of which-cannabidiol and cannabidivarin-are supporting epilepsy clinical trial research, whereas in addition to a germplasm bank of high-THC, high-CBD, and intermediate type cannabis varieties, the team at University of Mississippi has established an in vitro propagation protocol for cannabis with no detectable variations in morphologic, physiologic, biochemical, and genetic profiles as compared to the mother plants. Improvements in phytocannabinoid yields and growing efficiency are expected as research continues at these institutions.”
“Cannabis sativa has been used for recreational, therapeutic and other uses for thousands of years.
The plant contains more than 120 C21 terpenophenolic constituents named phytocannabinoids. The Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol type class of phytocannabinoids comprises the largest proportion of the phytocannabinoid content.
Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol was first discovered in 1971. This led to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system in mammals, including the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2.
Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol exerts its well-known psychotropic effects through the CB1 receptor but this effect of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol has limited the use of cannabis medicinally, despite the therapeutic benefits of this phytocannabinoid. This has driven research into other targets outside the endocannabinoid system and has also driven research into the other non-psychotropic phytocannabinoids present in cannabis.
This chapter presents an overview of the molecular pharmacology of the seven most thoroughly investigated phytocannabinoids, namely Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin, cannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabidivarin, cannabigerol, and cannabichromene.
The targets of these phytocannabinoids are defined both within the endocannabinoid system and beyond.
The pharmacological effect of each individual phytocannabinoid is important in the overall therapeutic and recreational effect of cannabis and slight structural differences can elicit diverse and competing physiological effects.
The proportion of each phytocannabinoid can be influenced by various factors such as growing conditions and extraction methods. It is therefore important to investigate the pharmacology of these seven phytocannabinoids further, and characterise the large number of other phytocannabinoids in order to better understand their contributions to the therapeutic and recreational effects claimed for the whole cannabis plant and its extracts.”
“This study has implications for developing new therapeutics for the treatment of cancer, pain, and metabolic disorders.
GPR55 is activated by l-α-lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI) but also by certain cannabinoids.
In this study, we investigated the GPR55 pharmacology of various cannabinoids, including analogues of the CB1 receptor antagonist Rimonabant®, CB2 receptor agonists, and Cannabis sativa constituents.
Here, we show that CB1 receptor antagonists can act both as agonists alone and as inhibitors of LPI signaling under the same assay conditions. This study clarifies the controversy surrounding the GPR55-mediated actions of SR141716A; some reports indicate the compound to be an agonist and some report antagonism. In contrast, we report that the CB2 ligand GW405833 behaves as a partial agonist of GPR55 alone and enhances LPI signaling. GPR55 has been implicated in pain transmission, and thus our results suggest that this receptor may be responsible for some of the antinociceptive actions of certain CB2 receptor ligands.
Here, we report that the little investigated cannabis constituents CBDV, CBGA, and CBGV are potent inhibitors of LPI-induced GPR55 signaling.
The phytocannabinoids Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin, cannabidivarin, and cannabigerovarin are also potent inhibitors of LPI.
Our findings also suggest that GPR55 may be a new pharmacological target for the following C. sativa constituents: Δ9-THCV, CBDV, CBGA, and CBGV.
“The putative cannabinoid receptor GPR55 promotes cancer cell proliferation. In this issue of Oncogene, two groups demonstrated that GPR55 is expressed in various cancer types in an aggressiveness-related manner, suggesting a novel cancer biomarker and a potential therapeutic target.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21057532
“The orphan G protein-coupled receptor GPR55 promotes cancer cell proliferation via ERK. These findings reveal the importance of GPR55 in human cancer, and suggest that it could constitute a new biomarker and therapeutic target in oncology.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20818416
“The putative cannabinoid receptor GPR55 defines a novel autocrine loop in cancer cell proliferation. These findings may have important implications for LPI as a novel cancer biomarker and for its receptor GPR55 as a potential therapeutic target.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20838378
“Antiepileptic drugs often produce serious adverse effects, and many patients do not respond to them properly.
Phytocannabinoids produce anticonvulsant effects in preclinical and preliminary human studies, and appear to produce fewer adverse effects than available antiepileptic drugs.
The present review summarizes studies on the anticonvulsant properties of phytocannabinoids.
Preclinical studies suggest that phytocannabinoids, especially cannabidiol and cannabidivarin, have potent anticonvulsant effects which are mediated by the endocannabinoid system. Human studies are limited in number and quality, but suggest that cannabidiol has anticonvulsant effects in adult and infantile epilepsy and is well tolerated after prolonged administration…
Phytocannabinoids produce anticonvulsant effects through the endocannabinoid system, with few adverse effects.”
“Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder, with over 50 million people worldwide affected. Recent evidence suggests that the transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 (TRPV1) may contribute to the onset and progression of some forms of epilepsy.
Since the two non-psychotropic cannabinoids cannabidivarin (CBDV) and cannabidiol (CBD) exert anticonvulsant activity in vivo and produce TRPV1-mediated intracellular calcium elevation in vitro, we evaluated the effects of these two compounds on TRPV1 channel activation and desensitization and in an in vitro model of epileptiform activity.
These data suggest that CBDV anti-epileptiform effects in the Mg2+-free model are not uniquely mediated via activation of TRPV1. However, TRPV1 was strongly phosphorylated (and hence likely sensitized) in Mg2+-free solution-treated hippocampal tissue, and both capsaicin and CBDV caused TRPV1 dephosphorylation, consistent with TRPV1 desensitization. We propose that CBDV effects on TRP channels should be studied further in different in vitro and in vivo models of epilepsy.”