Effects of cannabidivarin (CBDV) on brain excitation and inhibition systems in adults with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): a single dose trial during magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Image result for translational psychiatry“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a high cost neurodevelopmental condition; and there are currently no effective pharmacological treatments for its core symptoms. This has led some families and researchers to trial alternative remedies – including the non-intoxicating Cannabis sativa-derived compound cannabidivarin (CBDV). However, how CBDV affects the human brain is unknown.

Previous (pre)clinical evidence suggests that CBDV may modulate brain excitatory-inhibitory systems, which are implicated in ASD. Hence, our main aim was to test, for the first time, if CBDV shifts glutamate and/or GABA metabolites – markers of the brain’s primary excitatory and inhibitory system – in both the ‘typical’ and autistic brain.

Our subsidiary aim was to determine whether, within ASD, brain responsivity to CBDV challenge is related to baseline biological phenotype. We tested this using a repeated-measures, double-blind, randomized-order, cross-over design.

We used magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to compare glutamate (Glx = glutamate + glutamine) and GABA + (GABA + macromolecules) levels following placebo (baseline) and 600 mg CBDV in 34 healthy men with (n = 17) and without (n = 17) ASD. Data acquisition from regions previously reliably linked to ASD (dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, DMPFC; left basal ganglia, BG) commenced 2 h (peak plasma levels) after placebo/CBDV administration. Where CBDV significantly shifted metabolite levels, we examined the relationship of this change with baseline metabolite levels. Test sessions were at least 13 days apart to ensure CBDV wash-out. CBDV significantly increased Glx in the BG of both groups. However, this impact was not uniform across individuals. In the ASD group, and not in the typically developing controls, the ‘shift’ in Glx correlated negatively with baseline Glx concentration. In contrast, CBDV had no significant impact on Glx in the DMPFC, or on GABA+ in either voxel in either group.

Our findings suggest that, as measured by MRS, CBDV modulates the glutamate-GABA system in the BG but not in frontal regions. Moreover, there is individual variation in response depending on baseline biochemistry. Future studies should examine the effect of CBDV on behaviour and if the response to an acute dose of CBDV could predict a potential clinical treatment response in ASD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31748505

“Here we report that CBDV can ‘shift’ subcortical levels of the brain’s primary excitatory metabolite glutamate (measured as Glx) both in the neurotypical and autistic brain; but that there may be significant response variability in ASD. These findings add to our understanding of the effects of CBDV in the adult human brain. Nonetheless, future studies will need to explore (i) the mechanisms of action of CBDV; (ii) the impact of CBDV on (ASD-related) cognition and behaviour; (iii) if single-dose responsivity could facilitate the identification of pharmacologically homogeneous sub-groups; and (iv) if acute CBDV effects are indicative of the impact of long-term treatment in ASD.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-019-0654-8

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The non-euphoric phytocannabinoid cannabidivarin counteracts intestinal inflammation in mice and cytokine expression in biopsies from UC pediatric patients.

Pharmacological Research“Patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) using marijuana have been reported to experience symptomatic benefit.

Cannabidivarin (CBDV) is a safe non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid able to activate TRPA1, a member of TRP channels superfamily, which plays a pivotal role in intestinal inflammation.

Here, we have investigated the potential intestinal anti-inflammatory effect of CBDV in mice and in biopsies from pediatric patients with active UC.

Our preclinical study shows that CBDV exerts intestinal anti-inflammatory effects in mice via TRPA1, and in children with active UC.

Since CBDV has a favorable safety profile in humans, it may be considered for possible clinical trials in patients with UC.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31553934

https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1043661819311077

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Cannabidivarin Treatment Ameliorates Autism-Like Behaviors and Restores Hippocampal Endocannabinoid System and Glia Alterations Induced by Prenatal Valproic Acid Exposure in Rats.

 Image result for frontiers in cellular neuroscience“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition whose primary features include social communication and interaction impairments with restricted or repetitive motor movements. No approved treatment for the core symptoms is available and considerable research efforts aim at identifying effective therapeutic strategies.

Emerging evidence suggests that altered endocannabinoid signaling and immune dysfunction might contribute to ASD pathogenesis. In this scenario, phytocannabinoids could hold great pharmacological potential due to their combined capacities to act either directly or indirectly on components of the endocannabinoid system and to modulate immune functions.

Among all plant-cannabinoids, the phytocannabinoid cannabidivarin (CBDV) was recently shown to reduce motor impairments and cognitive deficits in animal models of Rett syndrome, a condition showing some degree of overlap with autism, raising the possibility that CBDV might have therapeutic potential in ASD.

Here, we investigated the ability of CBDV treatment to reverse or prevent ASD-like behaviors in male rats prenatally exposed to valproic acid (VPA; 500 mg/kg i.p.; gestation day 12.5).

CBDV in symptomatic rats recovered social impairments, social novelty preference, short-term memory deficits, repetitive behaviors and hyperlocomotion whereas preventative treatment reduced sociability and social novelty deficits, short-term memory impairments and hyperlocomotion, without affecting stereotypies.

As dysregulations in the endocannabinoid system and neuroinflammatory markers contribute to the development of some ASD phenotypes in the VPA model, neurochemical studies were performed after symptomatic treatment to investigate possible CBDV’s effects on the endocannabinoid system, inflammatory markers and microglia activation in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.

Prenatal VPA exposure increased CB1 receptor, FAAH and MAGL levels, enhanced GFAP, CD11b, and TNFα levels and triggered microglia activation restricted to the hippocampus. All these alterations were restored after CBDV treatment.

These data provide preclinical evidence in support of the ability of CBDV to ameliorate behavioral abnormalities resembling core and associated symptoms of ASD. At the neurochemical level, symptomatic CBDV restores hippocampal endocannabinoid signaling and neuroinflammation induced by prenatal VPA exposure.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31447649

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fncel.2019.00367/full

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From Cannabinoids and Neurosteroids to Statins and the Ketogenic Diet: New Therapeutic Avenues in Rett Syndrome?

Image result for frontiers in neuroscience “Rett syndrome (RTT) is an X-linked neurodevelopmental disorder caused mainly by mutations in the MECP2 gene, being one of the leading causes of mental disability in females.

Epilepsy is one of the most common symptoms in RTT, occurring in 60 to 80% of RTT cases, being associated with worsening of other symptoms. At this point, no cure for RTT is available and there is a pressing need for the discovery of new drug candidates to treat its severe symptoms.

New and exciting evidence has been gathered and the etiopathogenesis of this complex, severe and untreatable disease is slowly being unfolded. Advances in gene editing techniques have prompted cure-oriented research in RTT. Nonetheless, at this point, finding a cure is a distant reality, highlighting the importance of further investigating the basic pathological mechanisms of this disease.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31333401

“Very recently, a new study using CBDV has confirmed the potential of this particular phytocannabinoid in RTT.  The promising antiseizure effects of CBD, even in cases of refractory-epilepsy, observed in both clinical trials with humans and in laboratory animals, the effects of combinations of CBD and Δ9-THC in controlling muscle spasticity and motor symptoms, and the positive results of CBDV administration in two different mouse models of RTT, place cannabinoids as a viable therapeutic strategy in RTT. Moreover, CBD positively modifies impairments in motor, cognitive and social processes in animal models, further highlighting the potential of cannabinoid molecules to tackle RTT-symptomology.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2019.00680/full

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Cannabidivarin completely rescues cognitive deficits and delays neurological and motor defects in male Mecp2 mutant mice.

SAGE Journals“Recent evidence suggests that 2-week treatment with the non-psychotomimetic cannabinoid cannabidivarin (CBDV) could be beneficial towards neurological and social deficits in early symptomatic Mecp2 mutant mice, a model of Rett syndrome (RTT). The aim of this study was to provide further insights into the efficacy of CBDV in Mecp2-null mice using a lifelong treatment schedule to evaluate its effect on recognition memory and neurological defects in both early and advanced stages of the phenotype progression. CBDV rescues recognition memory deficits in Mecp2 mutant mice and delays the appearance of neurological defects. CBDV administration exerts an enduring rescue of memory deficits in Mecp2 mutant mice. CBDV delays neurological defects but this effect is only transient.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31084246

“Chronic treatment with the phytocannabinoid Cannabidivarin (CBDV) rescues behavioural alterations and brain atrophy in a mouse model of Rett syndrome.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30056123

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Preclinical safety and efficacy of cannabidivarin for early life seizures.

Neuropharmacology

“A significant proportion of neonatal and childhood seizures are poorly controlled by existing anti-seizure drugs (ASDs), likely due to prominent differences in ionic homeostasis and network connectivity between the immature and mature brain. In addition to the poor efficacy of current ASDs, many induce apoptosis, impair synaptic development, and produce behavioral deficits when given during early postnatal development.

There is growing interest in new targets, such as cannabidiol (CBD) and its propyl analog cannabidivarin (CBDV) for early life indications. While CBD was recently approved for treatment of refractory childhood epilepsies, little is known about the efficacy or safety of CBDV.

Here, we addressed this gap through a systematic evaluation of CBDV against multiple seizure models in postnatal day (P) 10 and 20 animals. We also evaluated the impact of CBDV on acute neurotoxicity in immature rats.

CBDV (50-200 mg/kg) displayed an age and model-specific profile of anticonvulsant action.

Finally, CBDV treatment generally avoided induction of neuronal degeneration in immature rats.

Together, the efficacy and safety profile of CBDV suggest it may have therapeutic value for early life seizures.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30633929

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028390818306786?via%3Dihub

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Novel inverse agonists for the orphan G protein-coupled receptor 6.

Image result for Heliyon.

“The orphan G protein-coupled receptor 6 (GPR6) displays unique promise as a therapeutic target for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders due to its high expression in the striatopallidal neurons of the basal ganglia.

GPR6, along with closely related orphan receptors GPR3 and GPR12, are phylogenetically related to CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors.

In the current study, we performed concentration-response studies on the effects of three different classes of cannabinoids: endogenous, phyto-, and synthetic, on both GPR6-mediated cAMP accumulation and β-arrestin2 recruitment. In addition, structure-activity relationship studies were conducted on cannabidiol (CBD), a recently discovered inverse agonist for GPR6.

We have identified four additional cannabinoids, cannabidavarin (CBDV), WIN55212-2, SR141716A and SR144528, that exert inverse agonism on GPR6. Furthermore, we have discovered that these cannabinoids exhibit functional selectivity toward the β-arrestin2 recruitment pathway.

These novel, functionally selective inverse agonists for GPR6 can be used as research tools and potentially developed into therapeutic agents.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30480157

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Effects of non-euphoric plant cannabinoids on muscle quality and performance of dystrophic mdx mice.

Image result for Br J Pharmacol.

“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.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30074247

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Chronic treatment with the phytocannabinoid Cannabidivarin (CBDV) rescues behavioural alterations and brain atrophy in a mouse model of Rett syndrome.

Neuropharmacology

“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.”

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Investigational cannabinoids in seizure disorders, what have we learned thus far?

 Publication Cover

“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.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29842819

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13543784.2018.1482275

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