“Diseases affecting the central nervous system (CNS) should be regarded as a major health challenge due to the current lack of effective treatments given the hindrance to brain drug delivery imposed by the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Since efficient brain drug delivery should not solely rely on passive targeting, active targeting of nanomedicines into the CNS is being explored. The present study is devoted to the development of lipid nanocapsules (LNCs) decorated with non-psychotropic cannabinoids as pioneering non-immunogenic brain targeting molecules and to the evaluation of their brain targeting ability both in vitro and in vivo. Noticeably, both the permeability experiments across the hCMEC/D3 cell-based in vitro BBB model and the biodistribution experiments in mice consistently demonstrated that the highest brain targeting ability was achieved with the smallest-sized cannabinoid-decorated LNCs. Importantly, the enhancement in brain targeting achieved with the conjugation of CBD to LNCs outperformed by 6-fold the enhancement observed for the G-Technology® (the main brain active strategy that has already entered clinical trials for the treatment of CNS diseases) As the transport efficiency across the BBB certainly determines the efficacy of the treatments for brain disorders, small cannabinoid-decorated LNCs represent auspicious platforms for the design and development of novel therapies for CNS diseases.”
“Gastroparesis (Gp) can be a challenging disorder to manage due to the paucity of treatment options. We do not know how frequently patients with Gp symptoms resort to cannabinoids to address their symptoms. This study (i) determines the prevalence of cannabinoid use in patients with Gp symptoms, (ii) describes the patients with Gp symptoms using cannabinoids, and (iii) assesses the patients’ perceived benefit of cannabinoids for Gp symptoms.
Consecutive outpatients with symptoms suggestive of Gp seen on follow-up at our academic center from June 2018 to September 2018 filled out questionnaires on their symptoms and the current treatments.
Of 197 patients, nearly half (n = 92, 46.7%) reported current (35.5%) or past (11.2%) use of cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (n = 63), dronabinol (n = 36), and/or cannabidiol (n = 16). Of these, most perceived improvement in Gp symptoms from cannabinoids (93.5% with tetrahydrocannabinol, 81.3% with cannabidiol, and 47.2% with dronabinol). Cannabinoids were used most commonly via smoking (n = 46). Patients taking cannabinoids were younger (41.0 ± 15.4 vs 48.0 ± 15.9 years; P < 0.01) and had a higher Gastroparesis Cardinal Symptom Index total score (3.4 ± 1.0 vs 2.8 ± 1.3; P < 0.01) compared with patients with no history of cannabinoid use.
A third of patients with Gp symptoms actively use cannabinoids for their chronic symptoms. Most of these patients perceive improvement in their symptoms with cannabinoids. Patients taking cannabinoids were younger and more symptomatic than those not taking cannabinoids. Further studies on the efficacy and safety of cannabinoids in Gp will be useful.”
“Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are diagnosed on the basis of three behavioral features, namely, (1) deficits in social communication, (2) absence or delay in language and (3) stereotypy. The consensus regarding the neurological pathogenesis of ASDs is aberrant synaptogenesis and synapse function. Further, it is now widely accepted that ASD is neurodevelopmental in nature, placing emphasis on derangements occurring at the level of intra- and intercellular signaling during corticogenesis. At present, there is an ever-growing list of mutations in putative susceptibility genes in affected individuals, preventing effective transformation of knowledge gathered from basic science research to the clinic. In response, the focus of ASD biology has shifted toward the identification of cellular signaling pathways that are common to various ASD-related mutations in hopes that these shared pathways may serve as more promising treatment targets than targeting individual genes or proteins. To this end, the endogenous cannabinoid (endocannabinoid, eCB) system has recently emerged as a promising therapeutic target in the field of ASD research. The eCB system is altered in several neurological disorders, but the role of these bioactive lipids in ASD etiology remains poorly understood. In this perspective, we review current evidence linking eCB signaling to ASDs and put forth the notion that continued focus on eCBs in autism research may provide valuable insight into pathophysiology and treatment strategies. In addition to its role in modulating transmitter release at mature synapses, the eCB signaling system plays important roles in many aspects of cortical development, and disruption of these effects of eCBs may also be related to ASD pathophysiology.”
“Advances in our understanding of eCB actions will undoubtedly facilitate pharmacological interventions and further, provide patients the best quality of life possible.”
“Medically refractory epilepsy remains an area of intense clinical and scientific interest since a significant porportion of patients continue to suffer from debilitating seizures despite available therapies. In this setting, recent studies have focused on assessing the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD)-enriched cannabis, a plant based product without psychoactive properties which has been shown to decrease seizure frequency in animal models. More recently, several randomized controlled and open label trials have studied the effects of Epidiolex, a 99% pure oral CBD extract, on patients with refractory epilepsy. This in turn has led to the FDA approval of and more recently, to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s placement of Epidiolex into schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). In this review, we summarize the major findings of several recent large-scale studies using this product with a focus on its adverse effects.”
“The recent FDA approval of Epidiolex combined with the placement of this compound in schedule V of the CSA (the least restrictive schedule of the CSA) has created a much-needed opportunity for the continued study of high-concentration, regulated CBD as a potential therapy for refractory epilepsy. Although recent RCTs and open-label extended-access programs have already demonstrated significant improvement in seizure frequency and severity with a relatively well-tolerated side effect profile for this compound, continued monitoring of Epidiolex is needed to further asses the long-term safety and efficacy, particularly with regard to immune, cognitive, hormonal, and reproductive function. Furthermore, there have been no large-scale RCTs demonstrating significant seizure reduction with Epidiolex in patients with focal onset seizures. Nonetheless, to date, Epidiolex has proven to be an attractive treatment option for an otherwise devastating group of epileptic syndromes. Future studies expanding our knowledge of this compound will be helpful in better understanding its role in the future of epilepsy treatment.” https://f1000research.com/articles/8-234/v1
“Preclinical studies have demonstrated that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays an important role in the protection against intestinal inflammation and colorectal cancer (CRC); however, human data are scarce. We determined members of the ECS and related components of the ‘endocannabinoidome’ in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and CRC, and compared them to control subjects. Anandamide (AEA) and oleoylethanolamide (OEA) were increased in plasma of ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD) patients while 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) was elevated in patients with CD, but not UC. 2-AG, but not AEA, PEA and OEA, was elevated in CRC patients. Lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI) 18:0 showed higher levels in patients with IBD than in control subjects whereas LPI 20:4 was elevated in both CRC and IBD. Gene expression in intestinal mucosal biopsies revealed different profiles in CD and UC. CD, but not UC patients, showed increased gene expression for the 2-AG synthesizing enzyme diacylglycerol lipase alpha. Transcripts of CNR1 and GPR119 were predominantly decreased in CD. Our data show altered plasma levels of endocannabinoids and endocannabinoid-like lipids in IBD and CRC and distinct transcript profiles in UC and CD. We also report alterations for less known components in intestinal inflammation, such as GPR119, OEA and LPI.”
“Severe and poorly treated pain often accompanies breast cancer. Thus, novel mechanisms involved in breast cancer-induced pain should be investigated. Then, it is necessary to characterize animal models that are reliable with the symptoms and progression of the disease as observed in humans. Explaining cancer-induced nociception in a murine model of breast carcinoma was the aim of this study. 4T1 (104) lineage cells were inoculated in the right fourth mammary fat pad of female BALB/c mice; after this, mechanical and cold allodynia, or mouse grimace scale (MGS) were observed for 30 days. To determine the presence of bone metastasis, we performed the metastatic clonogenic test and measure calcium serum levels. At 20 days after tumor induction, the antinociceptive effect of analgesics used to relieve pain in cancer patients (acetaminophen, naproxen, codeine or morphine) or a cannabinoid agonist (WIN 55,212-2) was tested. Mice inoculated with 4T1 cells developed mechanical and cold allodynia and increased MGS. Bone metastasis was confirmed using the clonogenic assay, and hypercalcemia was observed 20 days after cells inoculation. All analgesic drugs reduced the mechanical and cold allodynia, while the MGS was decreased only by the administration of naproxen, codeine, or morphine. Also, WIN 55,212-2 improved all nociceptive measures. This pain model could be a reliable form to observe the mechanisms of breast cancer-induced pain or to observe the efficacy of novel analgesic compounds.”
“Cannabis sativa is widely used for medical purposes. However, to date, aroma, popular strain name or the content of two phytocannabinoids-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are mostly considered for therapeutic activity. This is despite the hundreds of compounds in this plant and their potential synergistic interactions in mixtures. New, specific and effective cannabis-based drugs must be developed to achieve adequate medical standards for the use of cannabis. To do this, the comprehensive molecular profile of cannabis-based drugs must be defined, and mixtures of compounds should be tested for superior therapeutic activity due to synergistic effects compared to individually isolated cannabis compounds. The biological pathways targeted by these new drugs should also be characterized more accurately. For drug development and design, absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination versus toxicity (ADME/Tox) must be characterized, and therapeutic doses identified. Promoting the quality and therapeutic activity of herbal or synthetic cannabis products to pharma grade is a pressing need worldwide.”
“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has lately been proven to be an important, multifaceted homeostatic regulator, which influences a wide-variety of physiological processes all over the body. Its members, the endocannabinoids (eCBs; e.g., anandamide), the eCB-responsive receptors (e.g., CB₁, CB₂), as well as the complex enzyme and transporter apparatus involved in the metabolism of the ligands were shown to be expressed in several tissues, including the skin. Although the best studied functions over the ECS are related to the central nervous system and to immune processes, experimental efforts over the last two decades have unambiguously confirmed that cutaneous cannabinoid (“c[ut]annabinoid”) signaling is deeply involved in the maintenance of skin homeostasis, barrier formation and regeneration, and its dysregulation was implicated to contribute to several highly prevalent diseases and disorders, e.g., atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, scleroderma, acne, hair growth and pigmentation disorders, keratin diseases, various tumors, and itch. The current review aims to give an overview of the available skin-relevant endo- and phytocannabinoid literature with a special emphasis on the putative translational potential, and to highlight promising future research directions as well as existing challenges.”
“Insulin resistance and β-cell dysfunction are the main defects in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM), and β-cell dysfunction and apoptosis is the critical determinant in the progression of T2DM. G-protein coupled receptor 55 (GPR55) is an orphan G-protein coupled receptor, which is activated by endocannabinoids and lipid transmitters. Recently, GPR55 was shown to regulate glucose and energy homeostasis, however its role in β-cell apoptosis was not studied. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the novel effect of GPR55 agonists, O-1602 and abnormal cannabidiol (Abn-CBD), on endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-induced apoptosis in mouse pancreatic β-cell lines, MIN6 and Beta-TC-6, and its underlying mechanisms. Our results showed that O-1602 and Abn-CBD reduced ER stress-induced apoptosis in MIN6 and Beta-TC-6 cells. This was through the phosphorylation of 3′-5′-cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element-binding protein (CREB) in β-cells, hence activating CREB downstream anti-apoptotic genes, Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. Moreover, O-1602 and Abn-CBD directly activated kinases, CaMKIV, Erk1/2 and PKA, to induce CREB phosphorylation. Therefore, our results indicated that GPR55 agonists protected from β-cell apoptosis through CREB activation, thus up-regulating anti-apoptotic genes. In conclusion, our study provided a novel protective effect of GPR55 agonists on ER stress-induced apoptosis in β-cells and its underlying mechanisms mediating this protection, therefore we suggested that GPR55 might be a therapeutic target for T2DM.”
“Substance use disorder is characterized by repeated use of a substance, leading to clinically significant distress, making it a serious public health concern. The endocannabinoid system plays an important role in common neurobiological processes underlying substance use disorder, in particular by mediating the rewarding and motivational effects of substances and substance-related cues. In turn, a number of cannabinoid drugs (e.g., rimonabant, nabiximols) have been suggested for potential pharmacological treatment for substance dependence. Recently, cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, has also been proposed as a potentially effective treatment for the management of substance use disorder. Animal and human studies suggest that these cannabinoids have the potential to reduce craving and relapse in abstinent substance users, by impairing reconsolidation of drug-reward memory, salience of drug cues, and inhibiting the reward-facilitating effect of drugs. Such functions likely arise through the targeting of the endocannabinoid and serotonergic systems, although the exact mechanism is yet to be elucidated. This article seeks to review the role of the endocannabinoid system in substance use disorder and the proposed pharmacological action supporting cannabinoid drugs’ therapeutic potential in addictions, with a focus on CBD. Subsequently, this article will evaluate the underlying evidence for CBD as a potential treatment for substance use disorder, across a range of substances including nicotine, alcohol, psychostimulants, opioids, and cannabis. While early research supports CBD’s promise, further investigation and validation of CBD’s efficacy, across preclinical and clinical trials will be necessary.”