“The Cannabis plant contains over 100 phytocannabinoids and hundreds of other components. The biological effects and interplay of these Cannabis compounds are not fully understood and yet influence the plant’s therapeutic effects.
Here we assessed the antitumor effects of whole Cannabis extracts, which contained significant amounts of differing phytocannabinoids, on different cancer lines from various tumor origins.
Our results show that specific Cannabis extracts impaired the survival and proliferation of cancer cell lines as well as induced apoptosis.
Our findings showed that pure (-)-Δ9–trans-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) did not produce the same effects on these cell lines as the whole Cannabis extracts. Furthermore, Cannabis extracts with similar amounts of Δ9-THC produced significantly different effects on the survival of specific cancer cells.
In addition, we demonstrated that specific Cannabis extracts may selectively and differentially affect cancer cells and differing cancer cell lines from the same organ origin. We also found that cannabimimetic receptors were differentially expressed among various cancer cell lines and suggest that this receptor diversity may contribute to the heterogeneous effects produced by the differing Cannabis extracts on each cell line.
Our overall findings indicate that the effect of a Cannabis extract on a specific cancer cell line relies on the extract’s composition as well as on certain characteristics of the targeted cells.”
“Many previous reports highlight and demonstrate the anti-tumor effects of cannabinoids. In the last decade, accumulating evidence has indicated that phytocannabinoids might have antitumor properties. A number of in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated the effects of phytocannabinoids on tumor progression by interrupting several characteristic features of cancer. These studies suggest that specific cannabinoids such as Δ9-THC and CBD induce apoptosis and inhibit proliferation in various cancer cell lines.”
“Phytochemicals and secondary metabolites able to interact with the endocannabinoid system (Cannabimimetics) have been recently described in a broad range of plants and fruits. These findings can open new alternative avenues to explore for the development of novel therapeutic compounds. The cannabinoids regulate many physiological and pathological functions in both animals and plants. Cannabis sativa is the main plant that produces phytocannabinoids inside resins capable to defend the plant from the aggression of parasites and herbivores. Animals produce anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol, which thanks to binding with main receptors such as type-1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1R) and the type-2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2R) are involved in inflammation processes and several brain functions. Endogenous cannabinoids, enzymes for synthesis and degradation of cannabinoids, and CB1R and CB2R constitute the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Other plants can produce cannabinoid-like molecules such as perrottetinene extracted from Radula perrottetii, or anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol extracted from some bryophytes. Moreover, several other secondary metabolites can also interact with the ECS of animals and take the name of cannabimimetics. These phytoextracts not derived from Cannabis sativa can act as receptor agonists or antagonist, or enzyme inhibitors of ECS and can be involved in the inflammation, oxidative stress, cancer, and neuroprotection. Finally, given the evolutionary heterogeneity of the cannabimimetic plants, some authors speculated on the fascinating thesis of the evolutionary convergence between plants and animals regarding biological functions of ECS. The review aims to provide a critical and complete assessment of the botanical, chemical and therapeutic aspects of cannabimimetic plants to evaluate their spread in the world and medicinal potentiality.”
“Inflammation is a primary response to infection that can pathologically lead to various diseases including neurodegenerative diseases.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of β-Amyrin, a naturally occurring pentacyclic triterpenoid compound, on inflammation induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and interferone-γ (IFN-γ) in rat microglial cells.
β-Amyrin reduces inflammation in microglial cells and can be used as a potential anti-inflammatory agent in central nervous system neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer and multiple sclerosis, by affecting the inflammatory cytokine and differentiation of microglia as resident CNS macrophages.”
“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
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”