Terpenoids, Cannabimimetic Ligands, beyond the Cannabis Plant.

molecules-logo “Medicinal use of Cannabis sativa L. has an extensive history and it was essential in the discovery of phytocannabinoids, including the Cannabis major psychoactive compound-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC)-as well as the G-protein-coupled cannabinoid receptors (CBR), named cannabinoid receptor type-1 (CB1R) and cannabinoid receptor type-2 (CB2R), both part of the now known endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Cannabinoids is a vast term that defines several compounds that have been characterized in three categories: (i) endogenous, (ii) synthetic, and (iii) phytocannabinoids, and are able to modulate the CBR and ECS. Particularly, phytocannabinoids are natural terpenoids or phenolic compounds derived from Cannabis sativa.

However, these terpenoids and phenolic compounds can also be derived from other plants (non-cannabinoids) and still induce cannabinoid-like properties. Cannabimimetic ligands, beyond the Cannabis plant, can act as CBR agonists or antagonists, or ECS enzyme inhibitors, besides being able of playing a role in immune-mediated inflammatory and infectious diseases, neuroinflammatory, neurological, and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as in cancer, and autoimmunity by itself.

In this review, we summarize and critically highlight past, present, and future progress on the understanding of the role of cannabinoid-like molecules, mainly terpenes, as prospective therapeutics for different pathological conditions.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32235333

https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/25/7/1567

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Molecular Mechanism and Cannabinoid Pharmacology.

 “Since antiquity, Cannabis has provoked enormous intrigue for its potential medicinal properties as well as for its unique pharmacological effects.

The elucidation of its major cannabinoid constituents, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), led to the synthesis of new cannabinoids (termed synthetic cannabinoids) to understand the mechanisms underlying the pharmacology of Cannabis.

These pharmacological tools were instrumental in the ultimate discovery of the endogenous cannabinoid system, which consists of CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors and endogenously produced ligands (endocannabinoids), which bind and activate both cannabinoid receptors.

CB1 receptors mediate the cannabimimetic effects of THC and are highly expressed on presynaptic neurons in the nervous system, where they modulate neurotransmitter release. In contrast, CB2 receptors are primarily expressed on immune cells.

The endocannabinoids are tightly regulated by biosynthetic and hydrolytic enzymes. Accordingly, the endocannabinoid system plays a modulatory role in many physiological processes, thereby generating many promising therapeutic targets.

An unintended consequence of this research was the emergence of synthetic cannabinoids sold for human consumption to circumvent federal laws banning Cannabis use. Here, we describe research that led to the discovery of the endogenous cannabinoid system and show how knowledge of this system benefitted as well as unintentionally harmed human health.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32236882

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F164_2019_298

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Editorial: The Canonical and Non-Canonical Endocannabinoid System as a Target in Cancer and Acute and Chronic Pain

frontiers in pharmacology – Retraction Watch“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) comprises the canonical receptor subtypes CB1R and CB2R and endocannabinoids (anandamide, AEA and 2-arachidonoylglycerol, 2-AG), and a “non-canonical” extended signaling network consisting of: (i) other fatty acid derivatives; (ii) the defined “ionotropic cannabinoid receptors” (TRP channels); other GPCRs (GPR55, PPARα); (iii) enzymes involved in the biosynthesis and degradation of endocannabinoids (FAAH and MAGL); and (iv) protein transporters (FABP family).The ECS is currently a hot topic due to its involvement in cancer and pain.

The current Research Topic highlights various ways the endocannabinoid system (ECS) can impact cancer and pain. Ramer et al. review the anticancer potential of the canonical and noncanonical endocannabinoid system. Morales and Jagerovic provide a much needed summary of cannabinoid ligands as promising antitumor agents in a wide variety of tumors, in contrast to their palliative applications. In their article, the authors classify cannabinoids with anticancer potential in endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids, and synthetic cannabinoids. Moreno et al. in their review explored the value of cannabinoid receptor heteromers as potential new targets for anti-cancer therapies and as prognostic biomarkers, showing the potential of the endocannabinoid network in the anti-cancer setting as well as the clinical and ethical pitfalls behind it.

As an ensemble, these studies provide further fuel to the discussion and underline the potential for targeting the ECS at multiple levels to treat certain cancers and for pain relief. Importantly, they also help to move the focal point of the discussion beyond THC, CBD, and the cannonical receptors. Several of these reports either review or provide data to support the use of/targeting of other members of the ECS system as well as alternative natural products beyond THC and CBD.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2020.00312/full

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Cannabinoids Rescue Cocaine-Induced Seizures by Restoring Brain Glycine Receptor Dysfunction.

Cover image volume 30, Issue 12“Cannabinoids are reported to rescue cocaine-induced seizures (CISs), a severe complication in cocaine users. However, the molecular targets for cannabinoid therapy of CISs remain unclear.

Here, we report that the systemic administration of cannabinoids alleviates CISs in a CB1/CB2-receptor-independent manner.

These findings suggest that using GlyR-hypersensitive cannabinoids may represent a potential therapeutic strategy for treating CISs.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32209479

“Cannabinoids alleviate cocaine-induced seizures (CISs) by glycine receptors (GlyRs).”

https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(20)30287-4?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS2211124720302874%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

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The endocannabinoid system modulates the ovarian physiology and its activation can improve in vitro oocyte maturation.

Publication cover image“The present study investigated the effect of the lack of CB1 and CB2 receptors in mice ovarian morphology, folliculogenesis, oocyte retrieval, and oocyte maturation and evaluated the use of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on oocyte in vitro maturation (IVM) by comparing classical IVM and two-step IVM by analyzing the meiotic competence of the oocytes and their evolution toward embryos.

Thus, when CB1 and CB2 receptors were missed, the ovary area and volume was significantly less and the action of the equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG) hormone was diminished.

In addition, the mutant genotypes had fewer ovarian follicles and they were less competent after eCG administration compared with wild-type mice, and this lack of CB receptors showed a mismatch of oocyte maturation.

However, the in vitro use of THC showed improvements in oocytes IVM after a Pre-IVM step for 48 hr, as those oocytes reached a significantly higher polar body rate, a larger diameter and the best result on blastocysts rate was achieved when THC was used during the IVM step.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32198753

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jcp.29663

“Tetrahydrocannabinol Modulates in Vitro Maturation of Oocytes and Improves the Blastocyst Rates after in Vitro Fertilization. Our data suggest that THC may be useful IVM supplements in clinic as is more feasible and reliable than any synthetic cannabinoid.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31436397

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Perspectives on Cannabis-Based Therapy of Multiple Sclerosis: A Mini-Review.

Image result for frontiers in cellular neuroscience“The consistency, efficacy, and safety of cannabis-based medicines have been demonstrated in humans, leading to the approval of the first cannabis-based therapy to alleviate spasticity and pain associated with multiple sclerosis (MS). Indeed, the evidence supporting the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for the management of pathological events related to this disease is ever increasing.

Different mechanisms of action have been proposed for cannabis-based treatments in mouse models of demyelination, such as Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE) and Theiler’s Murine Encephalomyelitis Virus-Induced Demyelinating Disease (TMEV-IDD). Cells in the immune and nervous system express the machinery to synthesize and degrade endocannabinoids, as well as their CB1 and CB2 receptors, each mediating different intracellular pathways upon activation. Hence, the effects of cannabinoids on cells of the immune system, on the blood-brain barrier (BBB), microglia, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and neurons, potentially open the way for a plethora of therapeutic actions on different targets that could aid the management of MS.

As such, cannabinoids could have an important impact on the outcome of MS in terms of the resolution of inflammation or the potentiation of endogenous repair in the central nervous system (CNS), as witnessed in the EAE, TMEV-IDD and toxic demyelination models, and through other in vitro approaches. In this mini review article, we summarize what is currently known about the peripheral and central effects of cannabinoids in relation to the neuroinflammation coupled to MS. We pay special attention to their effects on remyelination and axon preservation within the CNS, considering the major questions raised in the field and future research directions.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32140100

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fncel.2020.00034/full

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Role of cannabis in inflammatory bowel diseases.

Image result for Ann Gastroenterol“For many centuries, cannabis (marijuana) has been used for both recreational and medicinal purposes. Currently, there are about 192 million cannabis users worldwide, constituting approximately 3.9% of the global population. Cannabis comprises more than 70 aromatic hydrocarbon compounds known as cannabinoids. Endogenous circulating cannabinoids, or endocannabinoids, such as anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol, their metabolizing enzymes (fatty acid amide hydrolase and monoacylglycerol lipase) and 2 G-protein coupled cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, together represent the endocannabinoid system and are present throughout the human body. In the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the activated endocannabinoid system reduces gut motility, intestinal secretion and epithelial permeability, and induces inflammatory leukocyte recruitment and immune modulation through the cannabinoid receptors present in the enteric nervous and immune systems. Because of the effects of cannabinoids on the GI tract, attempts have been made to investigate their medicinal properties, particularly for GI disorders such as pancreatitis, hepatitis, and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The effects of cannabis on IBD have been elucidated in several small observational and placebo-controlled studies, but with varied results. The small sample size and short follow-up duration in these studies make it difficult to show the clear benefits of cannabis in IBD. However, cannabis is now being considered as a potential drug for inflammatory GI conditions, particularly IBD, because of its spreading legalization in the United States and other countries and the growing trend in its use. More high-quality controlled studies are warranted to elucidate the mechanism and benefits of cannabis use as a possible option in IBD management.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32127734

http://www.annalsgastro.gr/files/journals/1/earlyview/2020/ev-02-2020-03-AG4866-0452.pdf

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Cannabinoids and Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer Treatment.

cancers-logo “Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer in women worldwide. Approximately 70-80% of BCs express estrogen receptors (ER), which predict the response to endocrine therapy (ET), and are therefore hormone receptor-positive (HR+).

Endogenous cannabinoids together with cannabinoid receptor 1 and 2 (CB1, CB2) constitute the basis of the endocannabinoid system.

Interactions of cannabinoids with hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis hormones are well documented, and two studies found a positive correlation between peak plasma endogenous cannabinoid anandamide with peak plasma 17β-estradiol, luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone levels at ovulation in healthy premenopausal women. Do cannabinoids have an effect on HR+ BC? In this paper we review known and possible interactions between cannabinoids and specific HR+ BC treatments.

In preclinical studies, CB1 and CB2 agonists (i.e., anandamide, THC) have been shown to inhibit the proliferation of ER positive BC cell lines.

There is less evidence for antitumor cannabinoid action in HR+ BC in animal models and there are no clinical trials exploring the effects of cannabinoids on HR+ BC treatment outcomes. Two studies have shown that tamoxifen and several other selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERM) can act as inverse agonists on CB1 and CB2, an interaction with possible clinical consequences. In addition, cannabinoid action could interact with other commonly used endocrine and targeted therapies used in the treatment of HR+ BC.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32106399

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/12/3/525

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Localization of cannabinoid and cannabinoid related receptors in the cat gastrointestinal tract.

Image result for Histochem Cell Biol journal “A growing body of literature indicates that activation of cannabinoid receptors may exert beneficial effects on gastrointestinal inflammation and visceral hypersensitivity.

The present study aimed to immunohistochemically investigate the distribution of the canonical cannabinoid receptors CB1 (CB1R) and CB2 (CB2R) and the putative cannabinoid receptors G protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55), nuclear peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα), transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1), and serotonin receptor 5-HT1a 5-HT1aR) in tissue samples of the gastrointestinal tract of the cat.

CB1R-immunoreactivity (CB1R-IR) was observed in gastric epithelial cells, intestinal enteroendocrine cells (EECs) and goblet cells, lamina propria mast cells (MCs), and enteric neurons. CB2R-IR was expressed by EECs, enterocytes, and macrophages. GPR55-IR was expressed by EECs, macrophages, immunocytes, and MP neurons. PPARα-IR was expressed by immunocytes, smooth muscle cells, and enteroglial cells. TRPA1-IR was expressed by enteric neurons and intestinal goblet cells. 5-HT1a receptor-IR was expressed by gastrointestinal epithelial cells and gastric smooth muscle cells.

Cannabinoid receptors showed a wide distribution in the feline gastrointestinal tract layers. Although not yet confirmed/supported by functional evidences, the present research might represent an anatomical substrate potentially useful to support, in feline species, the therapeutic use of cannabinoids during gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32095931

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Targeting Peripherally Restricted Cannabinoid Receptor 1, Cannabinoid Receptor 2, and Endocannabinoid-Degrading Enzymes for the Treatment of Neuropathic Pain Including Neuropathic Orofacial Pain.

ijms-logo“Neuropathic pain conditions including neuropathic orofacial pain (NOP) are difficult to treat. Contemporary therapeutic agents for neuropathic pain are often ineffective in relieving pain and are associated with various adverse effects. Finding new options for treating neuropathic pain is a major priority in pain-related research.

Cannabinoid-based therapeutic strategies have emerged as promising new options.

Cannabinoids mainly act on cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and 2 (CB2) receptors, and the former is widely distributed in the brain. The therapeutic significance of cannabinoids is masked by their adverse effects including sedation, motor impairment, addiction and cognitive impairment, which are thought to be mediated by CB1 receptors in the brain. Alternative approaches have been developed to overcome this problem by selectively targeting CB2 receptors, peripherally restricted CB1 receptors and endocannabinoids that may be locally synthesized on demand at sites where their actions are pertinent.

Many preclinical studies have reported that these strategies are effective for treating neuropathic pain and produce no or minimal side effects.

Recently, we observed that inhibition of degradation of a major endocannabinoid, 2-arachydonoylglycerol, can attenuate NOP following trigeminal nerve injury in mice. This review will discuss the above-mentioned alternative approaches that show potential for treating neuropathic pain including NOP.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32093166

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/4/1423

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