“Endogenous cannabinoids (ECs) are lipid-signaling molecules that specifically bind to cannabinoid receptor types 1 and 2 (CB1R and CB2R) and are highly expressed in central and many peripheral tissues under pathological conditions. Activation of hepatic CB1R is associated with obesity, insulin resistance, and impaired metabolic function, owing to increased energy intake and storage, impaired glucose and lipid metabolism, and enhanced oxidative stress and inflammatory responses. Additionally, blocking peripheral CB1R improves insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism and also reduces hepatic steatosis and body weight in obese mice. Thus, targeting EC receptors, especially CB1R, may provide a potential therapeutic strategy against obesity and insulin resistance. There are many CB1R antagonists, including inverse agonists and natural compounds that target CB1R and can reduce body weight, adiposity, and hepatic steatosis, and those that improve insulin sensitivity and reverse leptin resistance. Recently, the use of CB1R antagonists was suspended due to adverse central effects, and this caused a major setback in the development of CB1R antagonists. Recent studies, however, have focused on development of antagonists lacking adverse effects. In this review, we detail the important role of CB1R in hepatic insulin resistance and the possible underlying mechanisms, and the therapeutic potential of CB1R targeting is also discussed.”
“The aim of the present research was to evaluate if the endocannabinoid system (enzymes and receptors) could be modulated by light in rod outer segment (ROS) from bovine retina. First, we analyzed endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) metabolism in purified ROS obtained from dark-adapted (DROS) or light-adapted (LROS) retinas. To this end, diacylglycerol lipase (DAGL), monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), and lysophosphatidate phosphohydrolase (LPAP) enzymatic activities were analyzed using radioactive substrates. The protein content of these enzymes and of the receptors to which cannabinoids bind was determined by immunoblotting under light stimulus. Our results indicate that whereas DAGL and MAGL activities were stimulated in retinas exposed to light, no changes were observed in LPAP activity. Interestingly, the protein content of the main enzymes involved in 2-AG metabolism, phospholipase C β1 (PLCβ1), and DAGLα (synthesis), and MAGL (hydrolysis), was also modified by light. PLCβ1 content was increased, while that of lipases was decreased. On the other hand, light produced an increase in the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 and a decrease in GPR55 protein levels. Taken together, our results indicate that the endocannabinoid system (enzymes and receptors) depends on the illumination state of the retina, suggesting that proteins related to phototransduction phenomena could be involved in the effects observed.”
“The endocannabinoid system has emerged as a promising target for the treatment of numerous diseases, including cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, and metabolic syndromes. Thus far, two cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, have been discovered, which are found predominantly in the central nervous system (CB1) or the immune system (CB2), among other organs and tissues. CB1 receptor ligands have been shown to induce a complex pattern of intracellular effects. The binding of a ligand induces distinct conformational changes in the receptor, which will eventually translate into distinct intracellular signaling pathways through coupling to specific intracellular effector proteins. These proteins can mediate receptor desensitization, trafficking, or signaling. Ligand specificity and selectivity, complex cellular components, and the concomitant expression of other proteins (which either regulate the CB1 receptor or are regulated by the CB1 receptor) will affect the therapeutic outcome of its targeting. With an increased interest in G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) research, in-depth studies using mutations, biological assays, and spectroscopic techniques (such as NMR, EPR, MS, FRET, and X-ray crystallography), as well as computational modelling, have begun to reveal a set of concerted structural features in Class A GPCRs which relate to signaling pathways and the mechanisms of ligand-induced activation, deactivation, or activity modulation. This review will focus on the structural features of the CB1 receptor, mutations known to bias its signaling, and reported studies of CB1 receptor ligands to control its specific signaling.”
“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been placed in the anti-cancer spotlight in the last decade. The immense data load published on its dual role in both tumorigenesis and inhibition of tumor growth and metastatic spread has transformed the cannabinoid receptors CB1 (CB1R) and CB2 (CB2R), and other members of the endocannabinoid-like system, into attractive new targets for the treatment of various cancer subtypes.
Although the clinical use of cannabinoids has been extensively documented in the palliative setting, clinical trials on their application as anti-cancer drugs are still ongoing. As drug repurposing is significantly faster and more economical than de novo introduction of a new drug into the clinic, there is hope that the existing pharmacokinetic and safety data on the ECS ligands will contribute to their successful translation into oncological healthcare.
CB1R and CB2R are members of a large family of membrane proteins called G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR). GPCRs can form homodimers, heterodimers and higher order oligomers with other GPCRs or non-GPCRs. Currently, several CB1R and CB2R-containing heteromers have been reported and, in cancer cells, CB2R form heteromers with the G protein-coupled chemokine receptor CXCR4, the G protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55) and the tyrosine kinase receptor (TKR) human V-Erb-B2 Avian Erythroblastic Leukemia Viral Oncogene Homolog 2 (HER2).
These protein complexes possess unique pharmacological and signaling properties, and their modulation might affect the antitumoral activity of the ECS. This review will explore the potential of the endocannabinoid network in the anti-cancer setting as well as the clinical and ethical pitfalls behind it, and will develop on the value of cannabinoid receptor heteromers as potential new targets for anti-cancer therapies and as prognostic biomarkers.”
“Cannabinoids (CBs) from Cannabis sativa provide relief for tumor-associated symptoms (including nausea, anorexia, and neuropathic pain) in the palliative treatment of cancer patients.
Additionally, they may decelerate tumor progression in breast cancer patients.
Indeed, the psychoactive delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) and other CBs inhibited disease progression in breast cancer models.
The effects of CBs on signaling pathways in cancer cells are conferred via G-protein coupled CB-receptors (CB-Rs), CB1-R and CB2-R, but also via other receptors, and in a receptor-independent way.
THC is a partial agonist for CB1-R and CB2-R; CBD is an inverse agonist for both.
In breast cancer, CB1-R expression is moderate, but CB2-R expression is high, which is related to tumor aggressiveness. CBs block cell cycle progression and cell growth and induce cancer cell apoptosis by inhibiting constitutive active pro-oncogenic signaling pathways, such as the extracellular-signal-regulated kinase pathway.
They reduce angiogenesis and tumor metastasis in animal breast cancer models. CBs are not only active against estrogen receptor-positive, but also against estrogen-resistant breast cancer cells. In human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive and triple-negative breast cancer cells, blocking protein kinase B- and cyclooxygenase-2 signaling via CB2-R prevents tumor progression and metastasis.
Furthermore, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), including tamoxifen, bind to CB-Rs; this process may contribute to the growth inhibitory effect of SERMs in cancer cells lacking the estrogen receptor.
In summary, CBs are already administered to breast cancer patients at advanced stages of the disease, but they might also be effective at earlier stages to decelerate tumor progression.”
“An increasing number of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are using cannabis to treat their symptoms, although systematic studies regarding efficacy in RA are lacking. Within this review we will give an overview on the overall effects of cannabinoids in inflammation and why they might be useful in the treatment of RA.
Peripherally, cannabinoids show anti-inflammatory effects by activating cannabinoid type 2 receptors (CB2) which decrease cytokine production and immune cell mobilization. In contrast, cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1) activation on immune cells is proinflammatory while CB1 antagonism provides anti-inflammatory effects by increasing β2-adrenergic signaling in the joint and secondary lymphoid organs. In addition, the nonpsychotropic cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD) demonstrated antiarthritic effects independent of cannabinoid receptors. In addition to controlling inflammation, cannabinoids reduce pain by activating central and peripheral CB1, peripheral CB2 receptors and CBD-sensitive noncannabinoid receptor targets.
Cannabinoids might be a suitable treatment for RA, but it is important to target the right receptors in the right place. For clinical studies, we propose a combination of a CB2 agonist to decrease cytokine production, a peripheral CB1 antagonist to prevent detrimental CB1 signaling and to support anti-inflammatory effects of CB2 via activation of β2-adrenergic receptors and CBD to induce cannabinoid-receptor-independent anti-inflammatory effects.”
“G protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55) shares numerous cannabinoid ligands with CB1 and CB2 receptors despite low homology with those classical cannabinoid receptors. The pharmacology of GPR55 is not yet fully elucidated; however, GPR55 utilizes a different signaling system and downstream cascade associated with the receptor. Therefore, GPR55 has emerged as a putative “type 3″ cannabinoid receptor, establishing a novel class of cannabinoid receptor. Furthermore, the recent evidence of GPR55-CB1 and GPR55-CB2 heteromerization along with its broad distribution from central nervous system to peripheries suggests the importance of GPR55 in various cellular processes and pathologies and as a potential therapeutic target in inflammation.”
“Phytochemicals and secondary metabolites able to interact with the endocannabinoid system (Cannabimimetics) have been recently described in a broad range of plants and fruits. These findings can open new alternative avenues to explore for the development of novel therapeutic compounds. The cannabinoids regulate many physiological and pathological functions in both animals and plants. Cannabis sativa is the main plant that produces phytocannabinoids inside resins capable to defend the plant from the aggression of parasites and herbivores. Animals produce anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol, which thanks to binding with main receptors such as type-1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1R) and the type-2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2R) are involved in inflammation processes and several brain functions. Endogenous cannabinoids, enzymes for synthesis and degradation of cannabinoids, and CB1R and CB2R constitute the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Other plants can produce cannabinoid-like molecules such as perrottetinene extracted from Radula perrottetii, or anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol extracted from some bryophytes. Moreover, several other secondary metabolites can also interact with the ECS of animals and take the name of cannabimimetics. These phytoextracts not derived from Cannabis sativa can act as receptor agonists or antagonist, or enzyme inhibitors of ECS and can be involved in the inflammation, oxidative stress, cancer, and neuroprotection. Finally, given the evolutionary heterogeneity of the cannabimimetic plants, some authors speculated on the fascinating thesis of the evolutionary convergence between plants and animals regarding biological functions of ECS. The review aims to provide a critical and complete assessment of the botanical, chemical and therapeutic aspects of cannabimimetic plants to evaluate their spread in the world and medicinal potentiality.”
“The myometrium, especially the junctional zone (JZ), is now well documented to have a role in the pathogenesis of adenomyosis. Cannabinoid receptors have been shown to participate in the establishment of endometriosis and its pain perception. However, its relation to adenomyosis has not been identified yet. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of cannabinoid receptor type I (CB1) and type II (CB2) in myometrium of uteri with and without adenomyosis and determine the correlation between their levels and clinical parameters of adenomyosis. We collected tissue samples of JZ and the outer myometrium from 45 premenopausal women with adenomyosis and 34 women without adenomyosis. CB1 and CB2 messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein expression levels were evaluated by the use of Western blotting and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction from all samples. Clinical information on the severity of dysmenorrhea and other data were collected. We found both CB1 and CB2 mRNA and protein levels in women with adenomyosis were significantly higher than those of controls, and CB1 expression levels in JZ were positively correlated with the severity of dysmenorrhea. These data suggest that cannabinoid receptor CB1 may be involved in the pathogenesis of dysmenorrhea in adenomyosis and may be a potential therapeutic target.”