Phytocannabinoid Pharmacology: Medicinal Properties of Cannabis sativa Constituents Aside from the “Big Two”

 Go to Volume 0, Issue 0“Plant-based therapies date back centuries. Cannabis sativa is one such plant that was used medicinally up until the early part of the 20th century.

Although rich in diverse and interesting phytochemicals, cannabis was largely ignored by the modern scientific community due to its designation as a schedule 1 narcotic and restrictions on access for research purposes. There was renewed interest in the early 1990s when the endocannabinoid system (ECS) was discovered, a complex network of signaling pathways responsible for physiological homeostasis. Two key components of the ECS, cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2), were identified as the molecular targets of the phytocannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC).

Restrictions on access to cannabis have eased worldwide, leading to a resurgence in interest in the therapeutic potential of cannabis. Much of the focus has been on the two major constituents, Δ9-THC and cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabis contains over 140 phytocannabinoids, although only a handful have been tested for pharmacological activity. Many of these minor cannabinoids potently modulate receptors, ionotropic channels, and enzymes associated with the ECS and show therapeutic potential individually or synergistically with other phytocannabinoids.

The following review will focus on the pharmacological developments of the next generation of phytocannabinoid therapeutics.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33356248/

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jnatprod.0c00965

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Cannabinoid receptor activation on hematopoietic cells and enterocytes protects against colitis

Oxford University Press“Cannabinoid receptor (CB) activation can attenuate inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in experimental models and human cohorts. However, the role of the microbiome, metabolome, or the respective contributions of hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic cells in the anti-colitic effects of cannabinoids has yet to be determined.

Methods: Female C57BL/6 mice were treated with either cannabidiol (CBD), Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a combination of CBD and THC or vehicle, in several models of chemically induced colitis. Clinical parameters of colitis were assessed by colonoscopy, histology, flow cytometry and detection of serum biomarkers; single-cell RNA sequencing and qRT-PCR were used to evaluate the effects of cannabinoids on enterocytes. Immune cell transfer from CB2 knockout mice was used to evaluate the contribution of hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic cells to colitis protection.

Results: We found that THC prevented colitis, and that CBD, at the dose tested, provided little benefit to the amelioration of colitis, or when added synergistically with THC. THC increased colonic barrier integrity by stimulating mucus, tight junction and antimicrobial peptide production, and these effects were specific to the large intestine. THC increased colonic gram-negative bacteria, but the anti-colitic effects of THC were independent of the microbiome. THC acted on both immune cells via CB2 and on enterocytes to attenuate colitis.

Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate how cannabinoid receptor activation on both immune cells and colonocytes is critical to prevent colonic inflammation. These studies also suggest how cannabinoid receptor activation can be used as a preventive and therapeutic modality against colitis.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33331878/

https://academic.oup.com/ecco-jcc/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjaa253/6040793?redirectedFrom=fulltext

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Bisphenol A Deranges the Endocannabinoid System of Primary Sertoli Cells with an Impact on Inhibin B Production

ijms-logo“Bisphenol A (BPA) is an endocrine disruptor that negatively affects spermatogenesis, a process where Sertoli cells play a central role. Thus, in the present study we sought to ascertain whether BPA could modulate the endocannabinoid (eCB) system in exposed mouse primary Sertoli cells.

Under our experimental conditions, BPA turned out to be cytotoxic to Sertoli cells with an half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of ~6.0 µM. Exposure to a non-cytotoxic dose of BPA (i.e., 0.5 μM for 48 h) increased the expression levels of specific components of the eCB system, namely: type-1 cannabinoid (CB1) receptor and diacylglycerol lipase-α (DAGL-α), at mRNA level, type-2 cannabinoid (CB2) receptor, transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) receptors, and DAGL-β, at protein level. Interestingly, BPA also increased the production of inhibin B, but not that of transferrin, and blockade of either CB2 receptor or TRPV1 receptor further enhanced the BPA effect.

Altogether, our study provides unprecedented evidence that BPA deranges the eCB system of Sertoli cells towards CB2– and TRPV1-dependent signal transduction, both receptors being engaged in modulating BPA effects on inhibin B production. These findings add CB2 and TRPV1 receptors, and hence the eCB signaling, to the other molecular targets of BPA already known in mammalian cells.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33256105/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/23/8986

“Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics have many applications including use in some food and drink packaging, e.g., water and infant bottles, compact discs, impact-resistant safety equipment, and medical devices. Epoxy resins are used as lacquers to coat metal products such as food cans, bottle tops, and water supply pipes. Some dental sealants and composites may also contribute to BPA exposure.” https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/sya-bpa/index.cfm

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Cannabis and its Constituents for Cancer: History, Biogenesis, Chemistry and Pharmacological Activities

Pharmacological Research “Cannabis has long been used for healing and recreation in several regions of the world. Over 400 bioactive constituents, including more than 100 phytocannabinoids, have been isolated from this plant. The non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) and the psychoactive Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) are the major and widely studied constituents from this plant.

Cannabinoids exert their effects through the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that comprises cannabinoid receptors (CB1, CB2), endogenous ligands, and metabolizing enzymes. Several preclinical studies have demonstrated the potential of cannabinoids against leukemia, lymphoma, glioblastoma, and cancers of the breast, colorectum, pancreas, cervix and prostate.

Cannabis and its constituents can modulate multiple cancer related pathways such as PKB, AMPK, CAMKK-β, mTOR, PDHK, HIF-1α, and PPAR-γ. Cannabinoids can block cell growth, progression of cell cycle and induce apoptosis selectively in tumour cells. Cannabinoids can also enhance the efficacy of cancer therapeutics. These compounds have been used for the management of anorexia, queasiness, and pain in cancer patients.

Cannabinoid based products such as dronabinol, nabilone, nabiximols, and epidyolex are now approved for medical use in cancer patients. Cannabinoids are reported to produce a favourable safety profile. However, psychoactive properties and poor bioavailability limit the use of some cannabinoids. The Academic Institutions across the globe are offering training courses on cannabis. How cannabis and its constituents exert anticancer activities is discussed in this article. We also discuss areas that require attention and more extensive research.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33246167/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1043661820316108?via%3Dihub

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Use of Cannabinoids to Treat Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and Cytokine Storm Associated with Coronavirus Disease-2019

Frontiers in Pharmacology (@FrontPharmacol) | Twitter“Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a highly infectious respiratory disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. A significant proportion of COVID-19 patients develop Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) resulting from hyperactivation of the immune system and cytokine storm, which leads to respiratory and multi-organ failure, and death. Currently, there are no effective treatments against hyperimmune syndrome and ARDS.

We propose that because immune cells express cannabinoid receptors and their agonists are known to exhibit potent anti-inflammatory activity, targeting cannabinoid receptors, and endocannabinoids deserve intense investigation as a novel approach to treat systemic inflammation, cytokine storm, and ARDS in patients with COVID-19.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33240092/

“The fact that cells of the immune system produce endocannabinoids and express both CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors provides unique opportunities into investigating how the cannabinoid system can be engineered to suppress inflammation using both exogenous and endogenous cannabinoids. Because cannabinoids are potent suppressors of inflammation as evidenced by their ability to suppress cytokine storm in animal models, they may serve as novel therapeutic agents to treat cytokine storm and ARDS that are seen in patients with or without COVID-19. There is a dire need for novel anti-inflammatory agents that exert broad spectrum cytokine suppression associated with ARDS considering that currently up to 40% of such patients, including those with COVID-19, die because currently there are no FDA-approved drugs that are highly effective against cytokine storm and ARDS.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2020.589438/full

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Antinociception mechanisms of action of cannabinoid-based medicine: an overview for anesthesiologists and pain physicians

 Pain Rounds“Cannabinoid-based medications possess unique multimodal analgesic mechanisms of action, modulating diverse pain targets.

Cannabinoids are classified based on their origin into three categories: endocannabinoids (present endogenously in human tissues), phytocannabinoids (plant derived) and synthetic cannabinoids (pharmaceutical). Cannabinoids exert an analgesic effect, peculiarly in hyperalgesia, neuropathic pain and inflammatory states.

Endocannabinoids are released on demand from postsynaptic terminals and travels retrograde to stimulate cannabinoids receptors on presynaptic terminals, inhibiting the release of excitatory neurotransmitters. Cannabinoids (endogenous and phytocannabinoids) produce analgesia by interacting with cannabinoids receptors type 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2), as well as putative non-CB1/CB2 receptors; G protein-coupled receptor 55, and transient receptor potential vanilloid type-1. Moreover, they modulate multiple peripheral, spinal and supraspinal nociception pathways.

Cannabinoids-opioids cross-modulation and synergy contribute significantly to tolerance and antinociceptive effects of cannabinoids. This narrative review evaluates cannabinoids’ diverse mechanisms of action as it pertains to nociception modulation relevant to the practice of anesthesiologists and pain medicine physicians.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33239391/

https://rapm.bmj.com/content/early/2020/11/24/rapm-2020-102114

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Cannabidiol: A Potential New Alternative for the Treatment of Anxiety, Depression, and Psychotic Disorders

biomolecules-logo“The potential therapeutic use of some Cannabis sativa plant compounds has been attracting great interest, especially for managing neuropsychiatric disorders due to the relative lack of efficacy of the current treatments.

Numerous studies have been carried out using the main phytocannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). CBD displays an interesting pharmacological profile without the potential for becoming a drug of abuse, unlike THC.

In this review, we focused on the anxiolytic, antidepressant, and antipsychotic effects of CBD found in animal and human studies. In rodents, results suggest that the effects of CBD depend on the dose, the strain, the administration time course (acute vs. chronic), and the route of administration. In addition, certain key targets have been related with these CBD pharmacological actions, including cannabinoid receptors (CB1r and CB2r), 5-HT1A receptor and neurogenesis factors.

Preliminary clinical trials also support the efficacy of CBD as an anxiolytic, antipsychotic, and antidepressant, and more importantly, a positive risk-benefit profile. These promising results support the development of large-scale studies to further evaluate CBD as a potential new drug for the treatment of these psychiatric disorders.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33228239/

https://www.mdpi.com/2218-273X/10/11/1575

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The endocannabinoidome as a substrate for noneuphoric phytocannabinoid action and gut microbiome dysfunction in neuropsychiatric disorders

“The endocannabinoid (eCB) system encompasses the eCBs anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol, their anabolic/catabolic enzymes, and the cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors. Its expansion to include several eCB-like lipid mediators, their metabolic enzymes, and their molecular targets, forms the endocannabinoidome (eCBome).

This complex signaling system is deeply involved in the onset, progress, and symptoms of major neuropsychiatric disorders and provides a substrate for future therapeutic drugs against these diseases. Such drugs may include not only THC, the major psychotropic component of cannabis, but also other, noneuphoric plant cannabinoids.

These compounds, unlike THC, possess a wide therapeutic window, possibly due to their capability of hitting several eCBome and non-eCBome receptors. This is particularly true for cannabidiol, which is one of the most studied cannabinoids and shows promise for the treatment of a wide range of mental and mood disorders. The eCBome plays a role also in the microbiota-gut-brain axis, which is emerging as an important actor in the control of affective and cognitive functions and in their pathological alterations.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33162769/

https://www.dialogues-cns.org/dialoguesclinneurosci-22-259/

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Cannabinoid Receptors and Their Relationship With Chronic Pain: A Narrative Review

CB1-versus-CB2-receptors “The burden of chronic pain has affected many individuals leading to distress and discomfort, alongside numerous side effects with conventional therapeutic approaches.

Cannabinoid receptors are naturally found in the human body and have long been an interest in antinociception. These include CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are promising candidates for the treatment of chronic inflammatory pain.

The mechanism of action of the receptors and how they approach pain control in inflammatory conditions show that it can be an adjunctive approach towards controlling these symptoms. Numerous studies have shown how the targeted approach towards these receptors has activated them promoting a release in cytokines, all leading to anti-inflammatory effects and immune system regulation.

Cannabinoid activation of glycine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) models also showed efficacy in pain management. Chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis were shown to also benefit from this considerable treatment. However, it is unclear how the cannabinoid system works in relation with the pain pathway. Therefore, in this review we aim to analyse the role of the cannabinoid system in chronic inflammatory pain.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33072446/

https://www.cureus.com/articles/39887-cannabinoid-receptors-and-their-relationship-with-chronic-pain-a-narrative-review

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Cannabinoid Receptors: An Update on Cell Signaling, Pathophysiological Roles and Therapeutic Opportunities in Neurological, Cardiovascular, and Inflammatory Diseases

ijms-logo “The identification of the human cannabinoid receptors and their roles in health and disease, has been one of the most significant biochemical and pharmacological advancements to have occurred in the past few decades. In spite of the major strides made in furthering endocannabinoid research, therapeutic exploitation of the endocannabinoid system has often been a challenging task.

An impaired endocannabinoid tone often manifests as changes in expression and/or functions of type 1 and/or type 2 cannabinoid receptors. It becomes important to understand how alterations in cannabinoid receptor cellular signaling can lead to disruptions in major physiological and biological functions, as they are often associated with the pathogenesis of several neurological, cardiovascular, metabolic, and inflammatory diseases.

This review focuses mostly on the pathophysiological roles of type 1 and type 2 cannabinoid receptors, and it attempts to integrate both cellular and physiological functions of the cannabinoid receptors. Apart from an updated review of pre-clinical and clinical studies, the adequacy/inadequacy of cannabinoid-based therapeutics in various pathological conditions is also highlighted. Finally, alternative strategies to modulate endocannabinoid tone, and future directions are also emphasized.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33080916/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/20/7693

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