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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.


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.”

Pro-inflammatory obesity in aged cannabinoid-2 receptor deficient mice.

“Cannabinoid-1 receptor signaling increases the rewarding effects of food intake and promotes the growth of adipocytes, whereas CB2 possibly opposes these pro-obesity effects by silencing the activated immune cells that are key drivers of the metabolic syndrome.

Pro- and anti-orexigenic cannabimimetic signaling may become unbalanced with age because of alterations of the immune and endocannabinoid system…

CB2 agonists may fortify CB2-mediated anti-obesity signaling without the risk of anti-CB1 mediated depression that caused the failure of rimonabant.”

Isolation and Pharmacological Evaluation of Minor Cannabinoids from High-Potency Cannabis sativa.

“Seven new naturally occurring hydroxylated cannabinoids (1-7), along with the known cannabiripsol (8), have been isolated from the aerial parts of high-potency Cannabis sativa.

The structures of the new compounds were determined by 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopic analysis, GC-MS, and HRESIMS as 8α-hydroxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (1), 8β-hydroxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (2), 10α-hydroxy-Δ8-tetrahydrocannabinol (3), 10β-hydroxy-Δ8-tetrahydrocannabinol (4), 10α-hydroxy-Δ9,11-hexahydrocannabinol (5), 9β,10β-epoxyhexahydrocannabinol (6), and 11-acetoxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid A (7).

The binding affinity of isolated compounds 1-8, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, and Δ8-tetrahydrocannabinol toward CB1 and CB2 receptors as well as their behavioral effects in a mouse tetrad assay were studied.

The results indicated that compound 3, with the highest affinity to the CB1 receptors, exerted the most potent cannabimimetic-like actions in the tetrad assay, while compound 4 showed partial cannabimimetic actions. Compound 2, on the other hand, displayed a dose-dependent hypolocomotive effect only.”

Full FAAH inhibition combined with partial monoacylglycerol lipase inhibition: Augmented and sustained antinociceptive effects with negligible cannabimimetic side effects in mice.

“Inhibition of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) or monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), the primary hydrolytic enzymes for the respective endocannabinoids, N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA) and 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG), produces antinociception, but with minimal cannabimimetic side effects.

Although selective inhibitors of either enzyme often show partial efficacy in various nociceptive models, their combined blockade elicits augmented antinociceptive effects, but side effects emerge. Moreover, complete and prolonged MAGL blockade leads to CB1 receptor functional tolerance, which represents another challenge in this potential therapeutic strategy.

Therefore, the present study tested whether full FAAH inhibition, combined with partial MAGL inhibition, would produce sustained antinociceptive effects with minimal cannabimimetic side effects…

Thus, full FAAH inhibition combined with partial MAGL inhibition reduces neuropathic and inflammatory pain states, with minimal cannabimimetic effects.”

Control by the endogenous cannabinoid system of ras oncogene-dependent tumor growth.

“Because THC-like compounds are used to inhibit nausea and induce appetite in cancer patients, and anandamide appears to be an endogenous orexigenic mediator, the finding of possible antitumor effect for these substances might have a tremendous potential for therapeutic intervention in preventing the progression of cancer and, at the same time, in alleviating its symptoms.

Because multiple pathways are important for the proliferation of tumor cells and because combination therapies are often more effective than single-drug administration, cannabimimetic substances may complement other anticancer agents…”

“[Targeting the RAS signalling pathway in cancer].”

“Targeting the RAS oncogene.”