Pharmacotherapy of Apnea by Cannabimimetic Enhancement, the PACE Clinical Trial: Effects of Dronabinol in Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Oxford University Press

“There remains an important and unmet need for fully effective and acceptable treatments in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). At present, there are no approved drug treatments. Dronabinol has shown promise for OSA pharmacotherapy in a small dose-escalation pilot study.

Here, we present initial findings of the Phase II PACE (Pharmacotherapy of Apnea by Cannabimimetic Enhancement) trial, a fully-blinded parallel groups, placebo-controlled randomized trial of dronabinol in patients with moderate or severe OSA.

These findings support the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in patients with OSA. In comparison to placebo, dronabinol was associated with lower AHI, improved subjective sleepiness and greater overall treatment satisfaction. Larger scale clinical trials will be necessary to clarify the best potential approach(es) to cannabinoid therapy in OSA”   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29121334

“These findings support the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).” https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article-abstract/doi/10.1093/sleep/zsx184/4600041?redirectedFrom=fulltext

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Actions and Regulation of Ionotropic Cannabinoid Receptors.

“Almost three decades have passed since the identification of the two specific metabotropic receptors mediating cannabinoid pharmacology. Thereafter, many cannabinoid effects, both at central and peripheral levels, have been well documented and characterized. However, numerous evidences demonstrated that these pharmacological actions could not be attributable solely to the activation of CB1 and CB2 receptors since several important cannabimimetic actions have been found in biological systems lacking CB1 or CB2 gene such as in specific cell lines or transgenic mice. It is now well accepted that, beyond their receptor-mediated effects, these molecules can act also via CB1/CB2-receptor-independent mechanism. Cannabinoids have been demonstrated to modulate several voltage-gated channels (including Ca2+, Na+, and various type of K+ channels), ligand-gated ion channels (i.e., GABA, glycine), and ion-transporting membranes proteins such as transient potential receptor class (TRP) channels. The first direct, cannabinoid receptor-independent interaction was reported on the function of serotonin 5-HT3 receptor-ion channel complex. Similar effects were reported also on the other above mentioned ion channels. In the early ninety, studies searching for endogenous modulators of L-type Ca2+ channels identified anandamide as ligand for L-type Ca2+ channel. Later investigations indicated that other types of Ca2+ currents are also affected by endocannabinoids, and, in the late ninety, it was discovered that endocannabinoids activate the vanilloid receptor subtype 1 (TRPV1), and nowadays, it is known that (endo)cannabinoids gate at least five distinct TRP channels. This chapter focuses on cannabinoid regulation of ion channels and lays special emphasis on their action at transient receptor channels.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28826537

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Monoglyceride lipase deficiency affects hepatic cholesterol metabolism and lipid-dependent gut transit in ApoE-/- mice.

 Image result for Oncotarget“Monoglyceride lipase (MGL) hydrolyzes monoglycerides (MGs) to glycerol and fatty acids. Among various MG species MGL also degrades 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), the most abundant endocannabinoid and potent activator of cannabinoid receptors (CBR) 1 and 2. MGL-knockout (-/-) mice exhibit pronounced 2-AG accumulation, but lack central cannabimimetic effects due to CB1R desensitization. We have previously shown that MGL affects plaque stability in apolipoprotein E (ApoE)-/- mice, an established animal model for dyslipidemia and atherosclerosis. In the current study, we investigated functional consequences of MGL deficiency on lipid and energy metabolism in ApoE/MGL double knockout (DKO) mice. MGL deficiency affected hepatic cholesterol metabolism by causing increased cholesterol elimination via the biliary pathway. Moreover, DKO mice exhibit lipid-triggered delay in gastric emptying without major effects on overall triglyceride and cholesterol absorption. The observed phenotype of DKO mice is likely not a consequence of potentiated CB1R signaling but rather dependent on the activation of alternative signaling pathways. We conclude that MGL deficiency causes complex metabolic changes including cholesterol metabolism and regulation of gut transit independent of the endocannabinoid system.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28380440

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Cannabimimetic phytochemicals in the diet – an evolutionary link to food selection and metabolic stress adaptation?

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“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a major lipid signaling network that plays important pro-homeostatic (allostatic) roles not only in the nervous system but in peripheral organs.

Increasing evidence points towards a dietary component in the modulation of the ECS.

Cannabinoid receptors in hominids co-evolved with diet and the ECS constitutes a feedback loop for food selection and energy metabolism.

Here it is postulated that the mismatch of ancient lipid genes of hunter-gatheres and pastoralists with the high carbohydrate diet introduced by agriculture could be compensated via dietary modulation of the ECS.

In addition to the fatty acid precursors of endocannabinoids the potential role of dietary cannabimimetic phytochemicals in agriculturist nutrition is discussed.

Dietary secondary metabolites from vegetables and spices able to enhance the activity of cannabinoid-type 2 (CB2) receptors may provide adaptive metabolic advantages and counteract inflammation.

Food able to modulate the CB1/CB2 receptor activation ratio may thus play a role in the nutrition transition of Western high calorie diets. In this review the interplay between diet and the ECS is highlighted from an evolutionary perspective.

The emerging potential of cannabimimetic food as nutraceutical strategy is critically discussed.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27891602

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The endocannabinoid hydrolysis inhibitor SA-57: Intrinsic antinociceptive effects, augmented morphine-induced antinociception, and attenuated heroin seeking behavior in mice.

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“Although opioids are highly efficacious analgesics, their abuse potential and other untoward side effects diminish their therapeutic utility. The addition of non-opioid analgesics offers a promising strategy to reduce required antinociceptive opioid doses that concomitantly reduce opioid-related side effects.

Inhibitors of the primary endocannabinoid catabolic enzymes fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) show opioid-sparing effects in preclinical models of pain. As simultaneous inhibition of these enzymes elicits enhanced antinociceptive effects compared with single enzyme inhibition, the present study tested whether the dual FAAH-MAGL inhibitor SA-57 [4-[2-(4-chlorophenyl)ethyl]-1-piperidinecarboxylic acid 2-(methylamino)-2-oxoethyl ester] produces morphine-sparing antinociceptive effects, without major side effects associated with either drug class.

Although high doses of SA-57 alone were required to produce antinociception, low doses of this compound, which elevated AEA and did not affect 2-AG brain levels, augmented the antinociceptive effects of morphine, but lacked cannabimimetic side effects.

Because of the high abuse liability of opioids and implication of the endocannabinoid system in the reinforcing effects of opioids, the final experiment tested whether SA-57 would alter heroin seeking behavior. Strikingly, SA-57 reduced heroin-reinforced nose poke behavior and the progressive ratio break point for heroin.

In conclusion, the results of the present study suggest that inhibition of endocannabinoid degradative enzymes represents a promising therapeutic approach to decrease effective doses of opioids needed for clinical pain control, and may also possess therapeutic potential to reduce opioid abuse.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27890602

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The combination of β-caryophyllene, baicalin and catechin synergistically suppresses the proliferation and promotes the death of RAW267.4 macrophages in vitro.

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“β-caryophyllene, which is a constituent of many essential oils, has been known to be a selective agonist of the cannabinoid receptor type-2 and to exert cannabimimetic anti-inflammatory effects in animals.

On the whole, this study demonstrates that the combination of β-caryophyllene, baicalin and (+)-catechin exerts synergistic suppressive effects on macrophages in vitro.

This composition may be a useful as an anti-inflammatory treatment strategy.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27840942

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Endocannabionoid System in Neurological Disorders.

“Several studies support the evidence that the endocannabinoid system and cannabimimetic drugs might have therapeutic potential in numerous pathologies. These pathologies range from neurological disorders, atherosclerosis, stroke, cancer to obesity/metabolic syndrome and others.

In this paper we review the endocannabinoid system signaling and its alteration in neurodegenerative disorders like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease and discuss the main findings about the use of cannabinoids in the therapy of these pathologies.

Despite different etiologies, neurodegenerative disorders exhibit similar mechanisms like neuro-inflammation, excitotoxicity, deregulation of intercellular communication, mitochondrial dysfunction and disruption of brain tissue homeostasis.

Current treatments ameliorate the symptoms but are not curative.

Interfering with the endocannabinoid signaling might be a valid therapeutic option in neuro-degeneration.

To this aim, pharmacological intervention to modulate the endocannabinoid system and the use of natural and synthetic cannabimimetic drugs have been assessed. CB1 and CB2 receptor signaling contributes to the control of Ca2+ homeostasis, trophic support, mitochondrial activity, and inflammatory conditions.

Several studies and patents suggest that the endocannabinoid system has neuro-protective properties and might be a target in neurodegenerative diseases.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27364363

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Cannabimimetic Drugs: Recent Patents in Central Nervous System Disorders.

“Agents acting via cannabinoid receptors have been widely developed; starting from the chemical structure of phytocannabinoids isolated from cannabis sativa plant, specific and selective compounds of these receptors have been produced ranging from partial to full agonists and /or antagonists endowed with different potency.

The enhanced interest on developing such classes of drugs is due to the beneficial properties widely reported by both anecdotal reports and scientific studies describing the potential medicinal use of cannabinoids and their derivatives in numerous pathological conditions in both in vitro and in vivo models.

The use of these drugs has been found to be of benefit in a wide number of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders, and in many other diseases ranging from cancer, atherosclerosis, stroke, hypertension, inflammatory related disorders, and autoimmune diseases, just to mention some.

In particular, being the cannabinoid CB1 receptor a central receptor expressed by neurons of the central nervous system, the attention for the treatment of neurological diseases has been mainly focused on compounds acting via this receptor, however some of these compounds has been showed to act by alternative pathways in some cases unrelated to CB1 receptors.

Nonetheless, endocannabinoids are potent regulators of the synaptic function in the central nervous system and their levels are modulated in neurological diseases.

In this study, we focused on endocannabinoid mechanism of action in neuronal signaling and on cannabimimetic drug potential application in neurological disorders.

Finally, novel patents on cannabis-based drugs with applicability in central nervous system disorders are highlighted, to suggest future potential therapeutic utility of derivatives of this ancient plant.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27334611

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Indirect modulation of the endocannabinoid system by specific fractions of nutmeg total extract.

“Nutmeg [Myristica fragrans Houtt. (Myristicaceae)] has a long-standing reputation of psychoactivity. Anecdotal reports of nutmeg use as a cheap marijuana substitute, coupled to previous studies reporting a cannabimimetic-like action, suggest that nutmeg may interact with the endocannabinoid system.

The study provides the first piece of evidence that nutmeg interacts with the endocannabinoid system via inhibition of the endocannabinoid catabolizing enzymes. This mechanism provides insight into reported cannabis-like action as well as expands the potential therapeutic utility of nutmeg.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27296774

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Phytocannabinoids and cannabimimetic drugs: recent patents in central nervous system disorders.

“Starting from the chemical structure of phytocannabinoids, isolated from Cannabis sativa plant, research groups designed numerous cannabimimetic drugs.

These compounds according to their activities can be partial, full agonists and antagonists of cannabinoid receptors.

Anecdotal reports and scientific studies described beneficial properties of cannabinoids and their derivatives in several pathological conditions like neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders, and in many other diseases ranging from cancer, atherosclerosis, stroke, hypertension, inflammatory related disorders, and autoimmune diseases.

The cannabinoid CB1 receptor was considered particularly interesting for therapeutic approaches in neurological diseases, because primarily expressed by neurons of the central nervous system. In many experimental models, these drugs act via this receptor, however, CB1 receptor independent mechanisms have been also described. Furthermore, endogenous ligands of cannabinoid receptors, the endocannabinoids, are potent modulators of the synaptic function in the brain. In neurological diseases, numerous studies reported modulation of the levels of endocannabinoids according to the phase of the disease and its progression.

CONCLUSIONS:

Finally, although the study of the mechanisms of action of these compounds is still unsolved, many reports and patents strongly suggest therapeutic potential of these compounds in neurological diseases.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27184693

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