L-Theanine Prevents Long-Term Affective and Cognitive Side-Effects of Adolescent Δ-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Exposure and Blocks Associated Molecular and Neuronal Abnormalities in the Mesocorticolimbic Circuitry

Journal of Neuroscience“Chronic adolescent exposure to Δ-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is linked to elevated neuropsychiatric risk and induces neuronal, molecular and behavioural abnormalities resembling neuropsychiatric endophenotypes. Previous evidence has revealed that the mesocorticolimbic circuitry, including the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and mesolimbic dopamine (DA) pathway are particularly susceptible to THC-induced pathological alterations, including dysregulation of DAergic activity states, loss of PFC GABAergic inhibitory control and affective and cognitive abnormalities. There are currently limited pharmacological intervention strategies capable of preventing THC-induced neuropathological adaptations.

L-theanine is an amino acid analogue of L-glutamate and L-glutamine derived from various plant sources, including green tea leaves. L-theanine has previously been shown to modulate levels of GABA, DA and glutamate in various neural regions and to possess neuroprotective properties.

Using a pre-clinical model of adolescent THC exposure in male rats, we report that L-theanine pre-treatment prior to adolescent THC exposure is capable of preventing long-term, THC-induced dysregulation of both PFC and VTA DAergic activity states, a neuroprotective effect which persists into adulthood. In addition, pre-treatment with L-theanine blocked THC-induced downregulation of local GSK-3 and Akt signaling pathways directly in the PFC, two biomarkers previously associated with cannabis-related psychiatric risk and sub-cortical DAergic dysregulation.

Finally, L-theanine powerfully blocked the development of both affective and cognitive abnormalities commonly associated with adolescent THC exposure, further demonstrating functional and long-term neuroprotective effects of L-theanine in the mesocorticolimbic system.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT With the increasing trend of cannabis legalization and consumption during adolescence, it is essential to expand knowledge on the potential effects of adolescent cannabis exposure on brain development and identify potential pharmacological strategies to minimize THC-induced neuropathology. Previous evidence demonstrates that adolescent THC exposure induces long-lasting affective and cognitive abnormalities, mesocorticolimbic dysregulation and schizophrenia-like molecular biomarkers that persist into adulthood.

We demonstrate for the first time that L-theanine, an amino acid analogue of L-glutamate and L-glutamine, is capable of preventing long-term THC side-effects. L-theanine prevented development of THC-induced behavioral aberrations, blocked cortical downregulation of local GSK-3 and Akt signaling pathways and normalized dysregulation of both PFC and VTA DAergic activity, demonstrating powerful and functional neuroprotective effects against THC-induced developmental neuropathology.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33268546/

https://www.jneurosci.org/content/early/2020/11/24/JNEUROSCI.1050-20.2020

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Medicinal Applications of Cannabinoids Extracted from Cannabis sativa (L.): A new Route to Fight against COVID-19?

 “Cannabis sativa is a well-known plant which has been of benefit since ancient times in several medicinal systems, including Chinese, Indian, Greek and Egyptian ones.

Although C. sativa is one of the most investigated medicinal plants in the world, it faces the most controversial of issues for its legalization as a medication. C. sativa contains several hundreds of phytoconstituents including the infamous «cannabinoid.” It is necessary to properly understand the medicinal importance of these phytochemicals and spread awareness among the countries where it’s still facing legal complexities.

The current review is focusing on most recent literature pertaining to the various applications of cannabinoids with a special focus on medicinal aspect of the phytochemicals. Peer reviewed articles focusing on the importance of cannabis and cannabinoids were the target of this review. Articles were selected based on the relevance to the general scope of the work i.e. application of cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids can truly be regarded as wonder drug keeping their immense diversity of usage but unfortunately, many of the mares never researched biologically or pharmacologically due to their low yield in the plant. However, the approval of some cannabinoids by the FDA (along with other recognized national medical health systems) has opened the horizons for the explicit use of these natural drugs in medicines such as Epidiolex® (cannabidiol used for the treatment of severe forms of epilepsy) and Sativex®(‘Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol’ used for the treatment of spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis, aka: MS.)

Many pharmacological properties of C. sativa are attributed to cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component, along with Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9 -THC), a psychoactive component. This review addresses the most important application or current utilization of cannabinoids in a variety of treatments such as: chronic pain, cancer, emesis, anorexia, irritable bowel syndrome, communicative diseases, glaucoma and central nervous system disorders. The biosynthetic pathway of cannabinoids is also discussed. In short, this plant has a myriad of bioactive compounds which have the potential to increase the list of approved cannabinoids suitable for therapy.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33267756/

https://www.eurekaselect.com/188617/article

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Short-Term Medical Cannabis Treatment Regimens Produced Beneficial Effects among Palliative Cancer Patients

pharmaceuticals-logo“In the last decade the use of medical cannabis (MC) for palliative cancer treatment has risen. However, the choice between products is arbitrary and most patients are using Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-dominant cannabis products.

In this study, we aimed to assess the short-term outcomes of MC treatment prescribed by oncologists in relation to the type of cannabis they receive.

A comparative analysis was used to assess the differences in treatment effectiveness and safety between THC-dominant (n = 56, 52%), cannabidiol (CBD)-dominant (n = 19, 18%), and mixed (n = 33, 30%) MC treatments. Oncology patients (n = 108) reported on multiple symptoms in baseline questionnaires, initiated MC treatment, and completed a one-month follow-up.

Most parameters improved significantly from baseline, including pain intensity, affective and sensory pain, sleep quality and duration, cancer distress, and both physical and psychological symptom burden. There was no significant difference between the three MC treatments in the MC-related safety profile. Generally, there were no differences between the three MC treatments in pain intensity and in most secondary outcomes.

Unexpectedly, CBD-dominant oil treatments were similar to THC-dominant treatments in their beneficial effects for most secondary outcomes. THC-dominant treatments showed significant superiority in their beneficial effect only in sleep duration compared to CBD-dominant treatments.

This work provides evidence that, though patients usually consume THC-dominant products, caregivers should also consider CBD-dominant products as a useful treatment for cancer-related symptoms.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33265945/

https://www.mdpi.com/1424-8247/13/12/435

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Perioperative Cannabis as a Potential Solution for Reducing Opioid and Benzodiazepine Dependence

See the source image“Cannabis is increasingly being used for medicinal purposes but remains outside Western medical practice. Data on perioperative use and outcomes are scarce. Few surgeons receive training regarding legal endorsement, reported medicinal benefits, and potential risks, making it difficult to advise patients. Guidelines and additional research are needed.

Observations: It is legal to recommend cannabis, which can be obtained in states with medical cannabis programs. There are many methods of consumption, oral being the safest. Activity is primarily through Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) via cannabinoid receptors, which may be potentiated when taken together in the plant or plant extract. The known effects of cannabis on inflammation and malignancy are largely limited to laboratory experiments. However, there are higher-quality data to support adjunctive use of cannabis for relief of pain, nausea, and insomnia, which may be useful postoperatively and could potentially decrease reliance on opiates and benzodiazepines. There are prospective trials in surgical patients, but no reported data regarding surgical complications or other surgical outcomes. Currently, cannabis is regulated differently than other controlled substances, and there are issues with purity/homogeneity, making it difficult for surgeons to accept or significantly explore its medical benefits.

Conclusions and relevance: Recommendations are made for surgeons advising patients who use cannabis based on the limited existing data. While cannabis likely has some therapeutic benefits, it must be treated as other medical controlled substances to truly elucidate its role in surgical patient care.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33263719/

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamasurgery/article-abstract/2773526

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Natural Salicylates and Their Roles in Human Health

ijms-logo“Salicylic acid (SA) is a plant hormone which plays a crucial role in the plant defense against various pathogens and abiotic stresses. Increasing reports suggest that this phenolic compound and its derivatives, collectively termed salicylates, not only regulate plant defense but also have beneficial effects on human health. Both natural and synthetic salicylates are known to have multiple targets in humans, thereby exhibiting various appreciating pharmacological roles, including anti-inflammatory, anticancer, neuroprotective, antidiabetic effects, and so on. The role of some salicylates, such as acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), 5-aminosalicylic acid (mesalazine), and amorfrutins in human diseases has been well studied in vitro. However, their clinical significance in different diseases is largely unknown. Based on recent studies, five natural salicylates, including amorfrutin, ginkgolic acid, grifolic acid, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, and cannabidiolic acid, showed potential roles in different challenging human diseases. This review summarizes together some of the recent information on multitarget regulatory activities of these natural salicylates and their pharmacological roles in human health.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33260759/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/23/9049

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Changes in Lipid Profile of Keratinocytes from Rat Skin Exposed to Chronic UVA or UVB Radiation and Topical Application of Cannabidiol

antioxidants-logo“UV radiation is a well-established environmental risk factor known to cause oxidative stress and disrupt the metabolism of keratinocyte phospholipids. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

In this study, we examined changes in the keratinocyte phospholipid profile from nude rat skin exposed to UVA and UVB radiation that was also treated topically with CBD.

UVA and UVB radiation promoted up-regulation of phosphatidylcholines (PC), lysophosphatidylcholines (LPC), phosphatidylethanolamines (PE) and down-regulation of sphingomyelin (SM) levels and enhanced the activity of phospholipase A2 (PLA2) and sphingomyelinase (SMase).

Application of CBD to the skin of control rats led to down-regulation of SM and up-regulation of SMase activity. After CBD treatment of rats irradiated with UVA or UVB, SM was up-regulated and down-regulated, respectively, while ceramide (CER) levels and SMase activity were down-regulated and up-regulated, respectively. CBD applied to the skin of UV-irradiated rats down-regulated LPC, up-regulated PE and phosphatidylserines (PS) and reduced PLA2 activity.

In conclusion, up-regulation of PS may suggest that CBD inhibits their oxidative modification, while changes in the content of PE and SM may indicate a role of CBD in promoting autophagy and improving the status of the transepidermal barrier.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33255796/

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3921/9/12/1178

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Use of Medical Cannabis to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury

View details for Journal of Neurotrauma cover image“There is not a single pharmacological agent with demonstrated therapeutic efficacy for traumatic brain injury (TBI). With recent legalization efforts and the growing popularity of medical cannabis, patients with TBI will inevitably consider medical cannabis as a treatment option.

Preclinical TBI research suggests cannabinoids have neuroprotective and psychotherapeutic properties.

Our review identified a paucity of high-quality studies examining the beneficial and adverse effects of medical cannabis on traumatic brain injury, with only a single Phase III randomized control trial. However, observational studies demonstrate that TBI patients are using medical and recreational cannabis to treat their symptoms, highlighting inconsistencies between public policy, perception of potential efficacy, and the dearth of empirical evidence.

We conclude that randomized controlled trials and prospective studies with appropriate control groups are necessary to fully understand the efficacy and potential adverse effects of medical cannabis for TBI.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33256496/

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/neu.2020.7148

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Use of Cannabis for Self-Management of Chronic Pelvic Pain

 View details for Journal of Women's Health cover image“Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) affects up to 15% of women in the United States. The endocannabinoid system is a potential pharmacological target for pelvic pain as cannabinoid receptors are highly expressed in the uterus and other nonreproductive tissues.

We hypothesize that cannabis use is common for self-management of CPP, and our primary objective was to determine the prevalence of cannabis use in this population.

Results: A total of 240 patients were approached, with 113 responses (47.1% response rate). There were 26 patients who used cannabis (23%). The majority used at least once per week (n = 18, 72%). Most users (n = 24, 96%) reported improvement in symptoms, including pain, cramping, muscle spasms, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, libido, and irritability. Over one-third (35%) stated that cannabis use decreased the number of phone calls or messages sent to their provider, and 39% reported decreased number of clinical visits. Side effects, including dry mouth, sleepiness, and feeling “high,” were reported by 84% (n = 21).

Conclusions: Almost one-quarter of patients with CPP report regular use of cannabis as an adjunct to their prescribed therapy. Although side effects are common, most users report improvement in symptoms. Our study highlights the potential of cannabis as a therapeutic option for patients with CPP.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33252316/

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jwh.2020.8737

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Consensus-Based Recommendations for Titrating Cannabinoids and Tapering Opioids for Chronic Pain Control

International Journal of Clinical Practice“Opioid misuse and overuse has contributed to a widespread overdose crisis and many patients and physicians are considering medical cannabis to support opioid tapering and chronic pain control. Using a five-step modified Delphi process, we aimed to develop consensus-based recommendations on: 1) when and how to safely initiate and titrate cannabinoids in the presence of opioids, 2) when and how to safely taper opioids in the presence of cannabinoids, and 3) how to monitor patients and evaluate outcomes when treating with opioids and cannabinoids.

Results: In patients with chronic pain taking opioids not reaching treatment goals, there was consensus that cannabinoids may be considered for patients experiencing or displaying opioid-related complications, despite psychological or physical interventions. There was consensus observed to initiate with a cannabidiol (CBD)-predominant oral extract in the daytime and consider adding tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). When adding THC, start with 0.5-3 mg, and increase by 1-2 mg once or twice weekly up to 30-40 mg/day. Initiate opioid tapering when the patient reports a minor/major improvement in function, seeks less as-needed medication to control pain, and/or the cannabis dose has been optimized. The opioid tapering schedule may be 5%-10% of the morphine equivalent dose (MED) every 1 to 4 weeks. Clinical success could be defined by an improvement in function/quality of life, a ≥ 30% reduction in pain intensity, a ≥ 25% reduction in opioid dose, a reduction in opioid dose to < 90 mg MED, and/or reduction in opioid-related adverse events.

Conclusions: This five-stage modified Delphi process led to the development of consensus-based recommendations surrounding the safe introduction and titration of cannabinoids in concert with tapering opioids.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33249713/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ijcp.13871

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

The effect of cannabidiol on canine neoplastic cell proliferation and MAP Kinase activation during autophagy and apoptosis

“Low tetrahydrocannabinol Cannabis sativa products, also known as hemp products, have become widely available and their use in veterinary patients has become increasingly popular. Despite prevalence of use, the veterinary literature is lacking and evidence-based resource for cannabinoid efficacy.

The most prevailing cannabinoid found in hemp is cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and becomes cannabidiol (CBD) during heat extraction; CBD has been studied for its direct anti-neoplastic properties alone and in combination with standard cancer therapies, yielding encouraging results.

The objectives of our study were to explore the anti-proliferative and cell death response associated with in vitro treatment of canine cancer cell lines with CBD alone and combination with common chemotherapeutics, as well as investigation into major proliferative pathways (e.g. p38, JNK, AKT, mTOR) potentially involved in the response to treatment with CBD.

CBD significantly reduced canine cancer cell proliferation far better than cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) across five canine neoplastic cell lines when treated with concentrations ranging from 2.5-10 μg/mL. Combinatory treatment with CBD and vincristine reduced cell proliferation in a synergistic or additive manner at anti-proliferative concentrations with less clear results using doxorubicin in combination with CBD. The cellular signaling effects of CBD treatment, showed that autophagy supervened induction of apoptosis and may be related to prompt induction of ERK and JNK phosphorylation prior to autophagy.

In conclusion, CBD is effective at hindering cell proliferation and induction of autophagy and apoptosis rapidly across neoplastic cell lines and further clinical trials are needed to understand its efficacy and interactions with traditional chemotherapy.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33247539/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/vco.12669

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous