“Cough is the most common reason to visit a primary care physician, yet it remains an unmet medical need. Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) is an enzyme that breaks down endocannabinoids, and inhibition of FAAH produces analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Cannabinoids inhibit vagal sensory nerve activation and the cough reflex, so it was hypothesised that FAAH inhibition would produce antitussive activity via elevation of endocannabinoids.
Primary vagal ganglia neurons, tissue bioassay, in vivoelectrophysiology and a conscious guinea pig cough model were utilised to investigate a role for fatty acid amides in modulating sensory nerve activation in vagal afferents. FAAH inhibition produced antitussive activity in guinea pigs with concomitant plasma elevation of the fatty acid amides N-arachidonoylethanolamide (anandamide), palmitoylethanolamide, N-oleoylethanolamide and linoleoylethanolamide. Palmitoylethanolamide inhibited tussive stimulus-induced activation of guinea pig airway innervating vagal ganglia neurons, depolarisation of guinea pig and human vagus, and firing of C-fibre afferents. These effects were mediated via a cannabinoid CB2/Gi/o-coupled pathway and activation of protein phosphatase 2A, resulting in increased calcium sensitivity of calcium-activated potassium channels.
These findings identify FAAH inhibition as a target for the development of novel, antitussive agents without the undesirable side-effects of direct cannabinoid receptor agonists.”
“In a high percentage (≥85%) of both sporadic and familial adenomatous polyposis forms of colorectal cancer (CRC), the inactivation of the APC tumor suppressor gene initiates tumor formation and modulates the Wnt/β-Catenin transduction pathways involved in the control of cell proliferation, adhesion and metastasis.
Increasing evidence showed that the endocannabinoids control tumor growth and progression, both in vitro and in vivo.
We evaluated the effect of Rimonabant, a Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CB1) inverse agonist, on the Wnt/β-Catenin pathway in HCT116 and SW48 cell lines carrying the genetic profile of metastatic CRC poorly responsive to chemotherapies.
Obtained data heavily supported the rationale for the use of cannabinoids in combined therapies for metastatic CRC harbouring activating mutations of β-Catenin.”
“Recent evidence shows that the endocannabinoid system is involved in amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) use disorders. To elucidate the role of the endocannabinoid system in ATS addiction, we reviewed results of studies using cannabinoid receptor agonists, antagonists as well as knockout model.
The endocannabinoid system seems to play a role in reinstatement and relapse of ATS addiction and ATS-induced psychiatric symptoms. The molecular mechanisms of this system remains unclear, the association with dopamine system in nucleus accumbens is most likely involved. However, the function of the endocannabinoid system in anxiety and anti-anxiety effects induced by ATS is more complicated.
These findings suggest that the endocannabinoid system may play an important role in the mechanism of ATS addiction and provide new idea for treating ATS addiction.”
“Synthetic cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids have been shown to suppress seizures both in humans and experimental models of epilepsy.
However, they generally have a detrimental effect on memory and memory-related processes. Here we compared the effect of the inhibition of the endocannabinoid (eCB) degradation versus synthetic CB agonist on limbic seizures induced by maximal dentate activation (MDA) acute kindling. Moreover, we investigated the dentate gyrus (DG) granule cell reactivity and synaptic plasticity in naïve and in MDA-kindled anaesthetised rats.
We found that both the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitor URB597 and the synthetic cannabinoid agonist WIN55,212-2 displayed AM251-sensitive anti-seizure effects. WIN55,212-2, dose-dependently (0.5-2 mg/kg, i.p.) impaired short-term plasticity (STP) and long-term potentiation (LTP) at perforant path-DG synapses in naïve rats. Strikingly, URB597 (1 mg/kg, i.p.) was devoid of any deleterious effects in normal conditions, while it prevented seizure-induced alterations of both STP and LTP.
Our evidence indicates that boosting the eCB tone rather than general CB1 activation might represent a potential strategy for the development of a new class of drugs for treatment of both seizures and comorbid memory impairments associated with epilepsy.”
“Several works have shown that triterpenes induce peripheral antinociception by activation of cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids; besides, several research groups have reported activation of cannabinoid receptors in peripheral antinociception.
The aim of this study was to assess the involvement of the cannabinoid system in the antinociceptive effect induced by tingenone against hyperalgesia evoked by prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) at peripheral level.
The results suggest that tingenone induced a peripheral antinociceptive effect via cannabinoidreceptor activation. Therefore, this study suggests a pharmacological potential for a new analgesic drug.”
“The brain is enriched in arachidonic acid (ARA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) of the n-6 and n-3 series, respectively. Both are essential for optimal brain development and function. Dietary enrichment with DHA and other long-chain n-3 PUFA, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), has shown beneficial effects on learning and memory, neuroinflammatory processes, and synaptic plasticity and neurogenesis. ARA, DHA and EPA are precursors to a diverse repertoire of bioactive lipid mediators, including endocannabinoids.
The endocannabinoid system comprises cannabinoid receptors, their endogenous ligands, the endocannabinoids, and their biosynthetic and degradation enzymes. Anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) are the most widely studied endocannabinoids and are both derived from phospholipid-bound ARA. The endocannabinoid system also has well-established roles in neuroinflammation, synaptic plasticity and neurogenesis, suggesting an overlap in the neuroprotective effects observed with these different classes of lipids.
Indeed, growing evidence suggests a complex interplay between n-3 and n-6 LCPUFA and the endocannabinoid system. For example, long-term DHA and EPA supplementation reduces AEA and 2-AG levels, with reciprocal increases in levels of the analogous endocannabinoid-like DHA and EPA-derived molecules. This review summarises current evidence of this interplay and discusses the therapeutic potential for brain protection and repair.”
“The seed of Cannabis sativa L. has been an important source of nutrition for thousands of years in Old World cultures. Technically a nut, hempseed typically contains over 30% oil and about 25% protein, with considerable amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. Hempseed oil is over 80% in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and is an exceptionally rich source of the two essential fatty acids (EFAs) linoleic acid (18:2 omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (18:3 omega-3). The omega-6 to omega-3 ratio (n6/n3) in hempseed oil is normally between 2:1 and 3:1, which is considered to be optimal for human health. Hempseed has been used to treat various disorders for thousands of years in traditional oriental medicine.” http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10681-004-4811-6
“Endocannabinoids (eCBs) are amongst the most ubiquitous signaling molecules in the nervous system. Over the past few decades, observations based on a large volume of work, first examining the pharmacological effects of exogenous cannabinoids, and then the physiological functions of eCBs, have directly challenged long-held and dogmatic views about communication, plasticity and behavior in the Central Nervous System (CNS). The eCBs and their cognate cannabinoid receptors exhibit a number of unique properties that distinguish them from the widely studied classical amino acid transmitters, neuropeptides and catecholamines. Although we now have a loose set of mechanistic rules based on experimental findings, new studies continue to reveal that our understanding of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is continuously evolving and challenging long-held conventions. Here, we will briefly summarize findings on the current canonical view of the ‘endocannabinoid system’ and will address novel aspects that reveal how a nearly ubiquitous system can determine highly specific functions in the brain. In particular, we will focus on findings that push for an expansion of our ideas around long-held beliefs about eCB signaling that, whilst clearly true, may be contributing to an oversimplified perspective on how cannabinoid signaling at the microscopic level impacts behavior at the macroscopic level.”
“Patients with endometriosis often suffer from diffuse and poorly localized severe pain. The current pain management strategies include medical and hormonal therapy, as well as surgery. Medical management of pain is often insufficient and is associated with high rate of recurrence. Better pain management is therefore of urgent need.
Methods: Among the various candidates, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) has recently emerged as a relevant pharmacological target for the management of endometriosis-related pain. A computerized literature search was performed to identify relevant studies combining the keywords “endometriosis,” “endocannabinoid,” “cannabinoid receptor,” “THC,” and “pain mechanisms.”
Conclusions: This review describes the multiple and complex pain mechanisms associated with endometriosis. Current data and theories concerning the link between the ECS and pain management for endometriosis patients are presented. Finally, we will discuss which aspects of endometriosis-associated pain can be targeted by modulation of the ECS.”
“Acute kidney injury (AKI) is associated with a significantly increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) is a major cause of AKI. In this study, we investigated the role of the endocannabinoid (EC) system in renal IRI using a well-established mouse model.
Results: Renal IRI was associated with significantly increased serum BUN and creatinine, increased tubular damage score, increased expression of renal markers of inflammation and oxidative stress and elevated renal 2-AG content. Pretreatment with JZL184 was associated with a significant increase in renal 2-AG content and there was also improved serum BUN, creatinine and tubular damage score. However, renal expression of inflammation and oxidative stress markers remained unchanged.
Conclusions: This is the first report documenting that renal IRI is associated with an increase in kidney 2-AG content. Further enhancement of 2-AG levels using JZL184 improved indices of renal function and histology, but did not lower renal expression of markers of inflammation and oxidative stress. Further studies are needed to determine the mechanisms responsible for the effects observed and the potential value of 2-AG as a therapeutic target in renal IRI.”
“A great need exists for the development of new medications to treat pain resulting from various disease states and types of injury. Given that the endogenous cannabinoid (ie, endocannabinoid) system modulates neuronal and immune cell function, both of which play key roles in pain, therapeutics targeting this system hold promise as novel analgesics.
Potential therapeutic targets include the cannabinoid receptors, type 1 and 2, as well as biosynthetic and catabolic enzymes of the endocannabinoids N-arachidonoylethanolamine and 2-arachidonoylglycerol. Notably, cannabinoid receptor agonists as well as inhibitors of endocannabinoid-regulating enzymes fatty acid amide hydrolase and monoacylglycerol lipase produce reliable antinociceptive effects, and offer opioid-sparing antinociceptive effects in myriad preclinical inflammatory and neuropathic pain models.
Emerging clinical studies show that ‘medicinal’ cannabis or cannabinoid-based medications relieve pain in human diseases, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia.
Here, we examine the preclinical and clinical evidence of various endocannabinoid system targets as potential therapeutic strategies for inflammatory and neuropathic pain conditions.”