Modulation of the Endocannabinoid and Oxytocinergic Systems as a Potential Treatment Approach for Social Anxiety Disorder.

 “Social anxiety disorder (SAD), or social phobia, is one of the most common types of anxiety disorder, with a lifetime prevalence that can reach 15%.

Pharmacological treatments for SAD have moderate efficacy and are associated with significant adverse reactions. Therefore, recent studies have focused on searching for new treatments for this disorder.

Preclinical studies and preliminary evidence in humans suggest that the phytocannabinoid cannabidiol and the neuropeptide oxytocin have anxiolytic effects. In the present text, we review this evidence and its implications for pharmacological treatment.

We conclude that although current available studies show promising results regarding both the safety and efficacy of cannabidiol and oxytocin for the treatment of SAD, most studies were performed using single or few doses of these compounds, with small sample sizes.

Therefore, future studies should explore the anxiolytic potential of these compounds using long-term, placebo-controlled designs with larger samples to elucidate the possible use of these compounds in the treatment of SAD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31617149

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40263-019-00669-5

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Cannabinoid effects on responses to quantitative sensory testing among individuals with and without clinical pain: a systematic review.

Image result for wolters kluwer“There has been an explosion of interest in the utility of cannabinoids as potential analgesics.

This systematic review critically synthesizes the evidence for cannabinoid analgesic effects on quantitative sensory testing outcomes in both healthy adults and patients with chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP).

Our systematic review protocol is pre-registered on PROSPERO (CRD42018117367). An electronic search was made in PsycINFO, Cochrane, Google Scholar, Embase, and Pubmed of all literature published until August 2018. Of the 1,217 studies found from the search, a total 39 placebo-controlled studies that met the eligibility criteria were synthesized for the present study. Due to substantial heterogeneity of study designs, populations, cannabinoid compounds, and quantitative sensory testing outcomes, meta-analysis was not conducted.

More consistent evidence of cannabinoid analgesia was observed for inhaled cannabis than synthetic cannabinoids.

Analgesic effects were most commonly observed in tests of cold pain sensitivity, and hyperalgesic effects were most commonly observed in tests of electrical stimulation. Patterns of findings from studies with healthy subjects did not substantively differ from those with CNCP. However, these observations are qualified by the high degree of inconsistency across studies and methodological heterogeneity. We offer recommendations for future studies to improve study rigor and reproducibility.”

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Antitumor Activity of Abnormal Cannabidiol and Its Analog O-1602 in Taxol-Resistant Preclinical Models of Breast Cancer.

Image result for frontiers in pharmacology“Cannabinoids exhibit anti-inflammatory and antitumorigenic properties.

Contrary to most cannabinoids present in the Cannabis plant, some, such as O-1602 and abnormal cannabidiol, have no or only little affinity to the CB1 or CB2 cannabinoid receptors and instead exert their effects through other receptors.

Here, we investigated whether the synthetic regioisomers of cannabidiol, abnormal cannabidiol, and a closely related compound, O-1602, display antitumorigenic effects in cellular models of breast cancer and whether it could reduce tumorigenesis in vivo.

Several studies have shown the effects of cannabinoids on chemotherapy-sensitive breast cancer cell lines, but less is known about the antitumorigenic effects of cannabinoids in chemotherapy-resistant cell lines.

Paclitaxel-resistant MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 breast cancer cell lines were used to study the effect of O-1602 and abnormal cannabidiol on viability, apoptosis, and migration. The effects of O-1602 and abnormal cannabidiol on cell viability were completely blocked by the combination of GPR55 and GPR18-specific siRNAs. Both O-1602 and abnormal cannabidiol decreased viability in paclitaxel-resistant breast cancer cells in a concentration-dependent manner through induction of apoptosis. The effect of these cannabinoids on tumor growth in vivo was studied in a zebrafish xenograft model. In this model, treatment with O-1602 and abnormal cannabidiol (2 µM) significantly reduced tumor growth.

Our results suggest that atypical cannabinoids, like O-1602 and abnormal cannabidiol, exert antitumorigenic effects on paclitaxel-resistant breast cancer cells. Due to their lack of central sedation and psychoactive effects, these atypical cannabinoids could represent new leads for the development of additional anticancer treatments when resistance to conventional chemotherapy occurs during the treatment of breast and possibly other cancers.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31611800

“Our results suggest that some cannabinoids acting through the GPR55 and/or GPR18 receptors can be helpful in inducing apoptosis in breast cancer cell lines that are unresponsive to paclitaxel. The effects of O-1602 and Abn-CBD on cell viability were observed both in vitro and in a zebrafish xenograft model. These drugs were also reducing cell migration. Taken together, even if no synergistic antitumor effect is always observed when cannabinoids and chemotherapeutic agents are combined as an anticancer treatment, cannabinoids can still provide anticancer benefits on top of their palliative effects. This is particularly important in the context of cancers that have developed resistance to current chemotherapies.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2019.01124/full

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Cannabidiol directly targets mitochondria and disturbs calcium homeostasis in acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

 Image result for cell death & disease“Anticancer properties of non-psychoactive cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) have been demonstrated on tumors of different histogenesis. Different molecular targets for CBD were proposed, including cannabinoid receptors and some plasma membrane ion channels. Here we have shown that cell lines derived from acute lymphoblastic leukemia of T lineage (T-ALL), but not resting healthy T cells, are highly sensitive to CBD treatment. CBD effect does not depend on cannabinoid receptors or plasma membrane Ca2+-permeable channels. Instead, CBD directly targets mitochondria and alters their capacity to handle Ca2+. At lethal concentrations, CBD causes mitochondrial Ca2+ overload, stable mitochondrial transition pore formation and cell death. Our results suggest that CBD is an attractive candidate to be included into chemotherapeutic protocols for T-ALL treatment.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31611561

“Considering the pivotal role of mitochondria in oncogenic re-programming, CBD may be plausible candidate to be included into chemotherapeutic protocols.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41419-019-2024-0

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Cannabidiol Administration Prevents Hypoxia-Ischemia-Induced Hypomyelination in Newborn Rats.

Image result for frontiers in pharmacology“Neonatal hypoxia-ischemia (HI) is a risk factor for myelination disturbances, a key factor for cerebral palsy.

Cannabidiol (CBD) protects neurons and glial cells after HI insult in newborn animals.

We hereby aimed to study CBD’s effects on long-lasting HI-induced myelination deficits in newborn rats.

In conclusion, HI injury in newborn rats resulted in long-lasting myelination disturbance, associated with functional impairment. CBD treatment preserved function and myelination, likely as a part of a general neuroprotective effect.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31611802

“In conclusion, our study confirms that a HI insult in rats at a brain developmental stage equivalent to term infants leads to long-lasting myelination disturbance which is directly related to long-term functional disturbances. The administration of CBD single dose after the neonatal HI insult protects the maturational process of OL cells, as well as the mOL function and relationship with axons, thus, preserving normal myelination and restoring neurobehavioral function. Those results open exciting perspectives regarding a possible role for CBD in NHIE and other demyelinating pediatric conditions.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2019.01131/full

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‘Standard THC Units’: a proposal to standardise dose across all cannabis products and methods of administration.

Publication cover image“Cannabis products are becoming increasingly diverse, and they vary considerably in concentrations of ∆9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Higher doses of THC can increase the risk of harm from cannabis, while CBD may partially offset some of these effects. Lower Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines currently lack recommendations based on quantity of use, and could be improved by implementing standard units. However, there is currently no consensus on how units should be measured or standardised across different cannabis products or methods of administration.

ARGUMENT:

Existing proposals for standard cannabis units have been based on specific methods of administration (e.g. joints) and these may not capture other methods including pipes, bongs, blunts, dabbing, vaporizers, vape pens, edibles and liquids. Other proposals (e.g. grams of cannabis) cannot account for heterogeneity in THC concentrations across different cannabis products. Similar to alcohol units, we argue that standard cannabis units should reflect the quantity of active pharmacological constituents (dose of THC). On the basis of experimental and ecological data, public health considerations, and existing policy we propose that a ‘Standard THC Unit’ should be fixed at 5 milligrams of THC for all cannabis products and methods of administration. If supported by sufficient evidence in future, consumption of Standard CBD Units might offer an additional strategy for harm reduction.

CONCLUSIONS:

Standard THC Units can potentially be applied across all cannabis products and methods of administration to guide consumers and promote safer patterns of use.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31606008

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/add.14842

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Cellular Distribution of Canonical and Putative Cannabinoid Receptors in Canine Cervical Dorsal Root Ganglia.

Image result for frontiers in veterinary science“Growing evidence indicates cannabinoid receptors as potential therapeutic targets for chronic pain.

Consequently, there is an increasing interest in developing cannabinoid receptor agonists for treating human and veterinary pain.

The present study may represent a morphological substrate to consider in order to develop therapeutic strategies against chronic pain.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31608295

“The anti-nociceptive potential of the endocannabinoid system has prompted the development of therapeutic cannabinoid receptors agonists or medical marjiuana to be used in pets in order to treat chronic pain.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2019.00313/full

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Disease associated polymorphisms within the conserved ECR1 enhancer differentially regulate the tissue specific activity of the cannabinoid-1 receptor gene promoter; implications for cannabinoid pharmacogenetics.

Publication cover image“Cannabinoid receptor-1 (CB1) represents a potential drug target against conditions that include obesity and substance abuse. However, drug trials targeting CB1 (encoded by the CNR1 gene) have been compromised by differences in patient response.

Towards addressing the hypothesis that genetic changes within the regulatory regions controlling CNR1 expression contribute to these differences, we characterised the effects of disease associated allelic variation within a conserved regulatory sequence (ECR1) in CNR1 intron 2 that had previously been shown to modulate cannabinoid response, alcohol intake and anxiety-like behaviour.

We used primary cell analysis of reporters carrying different allelic variants of the human ECR1 and found that human specific C-allele variants of ECR1 (ECR1(C)) drove higher levels of CNR1prom activity in primary hippocampal cells than did the ancestral T-allele and demonstrated a differential response to CB1 agonism.

We further demonstrate a role for the AP-1 transcription factor in driving higher ECR1(C) activity and evidence that the ancestral t-allele variant of ECR1 interacted with higher affinity with the insulator binding factor CTCF. The cell-specific approaches used in our study represent an important step in gaining a mechanistic understanding the roles of non-coding polymorphic variation in disease and in the increasingly important field of cannabinoid pharmacogenetics.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31608546

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/humu.23931

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Effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in neuropsychiatric disorders: A review of pre-clinical and clinical findings.

Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science“Cannabis sativa (cannabis) is one of the oldest plants cultivated by men. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the major non-psychomimetic compound derived from cannabis. It has been proposed to have a therapeutic potential over a wide range of neuropsychiatric disorders.

In this narrative review, we have summarized a selected number of pre-clinical and clinical studies, examining the effects of CBD in neuropsychiatric disorders. In some pre-clinical studies, CBD was demonstrated to potentially exhibit anti-epileptic, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory anti-psychotic, anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties. Moreover, CBD was shown to reduce addictive effects of some drugs of abuse.

In clinical studies, CBD was shown to be safe, well-tolerated and efficacious in mitigating the symptoms associated with several types of seizure disorders and childhood epilepsies.

Given that treatment with CBD alone was insufficient at managing choreic movements in patients with Huntington’s disease, other cannabis-derived treatments are currently being investigated. Patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) have reported improvements in sleep and better quality of life with CBD; however, to fully elucidate the therapeutic potential of CBD on the symptoms of PD-associated movement disorders, larger scale, randomized, placebo-controlled studies still need to be conducted in the future.

Currently, there are no human studies that investigated the effects of CBD in either Alzheimer’s disease or unipolar depression, warranting further investigation in this area, considering that CBD was shown to have effects in pre-clinical studies.

Although, anxiolytic properties of CBD were reported in the Social Anxiety Disorder, antipsychotic effects in schizophrenia and anti-addictive qualities in alcohol and drug addictions, here too, larger, randomized, placebo-controlled trials are needed to evaluate the therapeutic potential of CBD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31601406

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S187711731930095X?via%3Dihub

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Cannabinoid Receptor Type 1 and Its Role as an Analgesic: An Opioid Alternative?

 Publication Cover“Understanding how the body regulates pain is fundamental to develop rational strategies to combat the growing prevalence of chronic pain states, opioid dependency, and the increased financial burden to the medical care system.

Pain is the most prominent reason why Americans seek medical attention and extensive literature has identified the importance of the endocannabinoid pathway in controlling pain. Modulation of the endocannabinoid system offers new therapeutic opportunities for the selective control of excessive neuronal activity in several pain conditions (acute, inflammatory, chronic, and neuropathic).

Cannabinoids have a long history of medicinal use and their analgesic properties are well documented; however, there are major impediments to understanding cannabinoid pain modulation.

One major issue is the presence of psychotropic side effects associated with D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or synthetic derivatives, which puts an emphatic brake on their use. This dose-limiting effect prevents the appropriate degree of analgesia .

Animal studies have shown that the psychotropic effects are mediated via brain cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors, while analgesic activity in chronic pain states may be mediated via CB1R action in the spinal cord, brainstem, peripheral sensory neurons, or immune cells.

The development of appropriate therapies is incumbent on our understanding of the role of peripheral versus central endocannabinoid-driven analgesia. Recent physiological, pharmacological, and anatomical studies provide evidence that one of the main roles of the endocannabinoid system is the regulation of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and/or glutamate release.

This article will review this evidence in the context of its implications for pain. We first provide a brief overview of CB1R’s role in the regulation of nociception, followed by a review of the evidence that the peripheral endocannabinoid system modulates nociception.

We then look in detail at regulation of central-mediated analgesia, followed up with evidence that cannabinoid mediated modulation of pain involves modulation of GABAergic and glutamatergic neurotransmission in key brain regions. Finally, we discuss cannabinoid action on non-neuronal cells in the context of inflammation and direct modulation of neurons.

This work stands to reveal long-standing controversies in the cannabinoid analgesia area that have had an impact on failed clinical trials and implementation of therapeutics targeting this system.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31596190

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15504263.2019.1668100?journalCode=wjdd20

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