“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is idiopathic, chronic and affects the gastrointestinal tract. It results from the association of genetic, environmental and immune deregulation, which culminates in the development and progression of the inflammatory process. In an attempt to reverse colonic inflammation, endogenous systems involved in intestinal physiology are studied and the cholinergic system is fundamental for this process. In addition, this system has anti-inflammatory action in experimental models of IBD. Another important endogenous system in regulating the exacerbated inflammatory response in the gut is mediated by endocannabinoids, which play an important role in restoring bowel functionality after the onset of the inflammatory process. There are several reports in the literature showing the interconnection between the cannabinoid and cholinergic systems in different tissues. Considering that the activation of the cholinergic system stimulates the production of cannabinoid agonists in the intestine, our hypothesis is that the interaction between the muscarinic system and the cannabinoid in the control of intestinal inflammation is mediated by endogenous cannabinoids, since they are stimulated by the activation of muscarinic receptors.”
“The endocannabinoid system (ES) is a cell-signalling system widely distributed in biological tissues that includes endogenous ligands, receptors, and biosynthetic and hydrolysing machineries.
The impairment of the ES has been associated to several pathological conditions like behavioural, neurological, or metabolic disorders and infertility, suggesting that the modulation of this system may be critical for the maintenance of health status and disease treatment.
Lifestyle and environmental factors can exert long-term effects on gene expression without any change in the nucleotide sequence of DNA, affecting health maintenance and influencing both disease load and resistance. This potentially reversible “epigenetic” modulation of gene expression occurs through the chemical modification of DNA and histone protein tails or the specific production of regulatory non-coding RNA (ncRNA).
Recent findings demonstrate the epigenetic modulation of the ES in biological tissues; in the same way, endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids, and cannabinoid receptor agonists and antagonists induce widespread or gene-specific epigenetic changes with the possibility of trans-generational epigenetic inheritance in the offspring explained by the transmission of deregulated epigenetic marks in the gametes.
Therefore, this review provides an update on the epigenetics of the ES, with particular attention on the emerging role in reproduction and fertility.”
“Cannabinoids are a group of structurally heterogeneous but pharmacologically related compounds, including plant-derived cannabinoids, synthetic substances and endogenous cannabinoids, such as anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol.
Cannabinoids elicit a wide range of central and peripheral effects mostly mediated through cannabinoid receptors. There are two types of specific Gi/o-protein-coupled receptors cloned so far, called CB1 and CB2, although an existence of additional cannabinoid-binding receptors has been suggested. CB1 and CB2 differ in their predicted amino acid sequence, tissue distribution, physiological role and signaling mechanisms.
Significant alterations of a balance in the cannabinoid system between the levels of endogenous ligands and their receptors occur during malignant transformation in various types of cancer, including gliomas.
Cannabinoids exert anti-proliferative action in tumor cells.
Induction of cell death by cannabinoid treatment relies on the generation of a pro-apoptotic sphingolipid ceramide and disruption of signaling pathways crucial for regulation of cellular proliferation, differentiation or apoptosis. Increased ceramide levels lead also to ER-stress and autophagy in drug-treated glioblastoma cells.
Beyond blocking of tumor cells proliferation cannabinoids inhibit invasiveness, angiogenesis and the stem cell-like properties of glioma cells, showing profound activity in the complex tumor microenvironment. Advances in translational research on cannabinoid signaling led to clinical investigations on the use of cannabinoids in treatments of glioblastomas.”
“Cannabinoids exert anti-proliferative action in tumor cells.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22879071
“A glioma is a primary brain tumor that originates from the supportive cells of the brain, called glial cells.” http://neurosurgery.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=159
“Remarkably, cannabinoids kill glioma cells selectively and can protect non-transformed glial cells from death.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15275820
“Most of the drugs of abuse affect the brain by interacting with naturally expressed molecular receptors. Marihuana affects a series of receptors including cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1R) and CB2R, among others. Endogenous molecules with cannabinoid activity interact with these receptors naturally. Receptors, ligands, synthesizing and degrading enzymes, as well as transporters, have been described.
This endocannabinoid system modulates behaviors and physiological processes, i.e. food intake, the sleep-waking cycle, learning and memory, motivation, and pain perception, among others. The rather broad distribution of endocannabinoids in the brain explains the different effects marihuana induces in its users. However, this very same anatomical and physiological distribution makes this system a useful target for therapeutic endeavors.
In this review, we briefly discuss the potential of small molecules that target the endocannabinoids as therapeutic tools to improve behaviors and treat illnesses. We believe that under medical supervision, endocannabinoid targets offer new advantages for patients for controlling multiple medical disorders.”
“Critically ill patients with sepsis require a multidisciplinary approach, as this situation implies multiorgan distress, with most of the bodily biochemical and cellular systems being affected by the condition. Moreover, sepsis is characterized by a multitude of biochemical interactions and by dynamic changes of the immune system. At the moment, there is a gap in our understanding of the cellular, genetic, and molecular mechanisms involved in sepsis.
One of the systems intensely studied in recent years is the endocannabinoid signaling pathway, as light was shed over a series of important interactions of cannabinoid receptors with biochemical pathways, specifically for sepsis. Furthermore, a series of important implications on inflammation and the immune system that are induced by the activity of cannabinoid receptors stimulated by the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) have been noticed.
One of the most important is their ability to reduce the biosynthesis of pro-inflammatory mediators and the modulation of immune mechanisms. Different studies have reported that cannabinoids can reduce oxidative stress at mitochondrial and cellular levels.
The aim of this review paper was to present, in detail, the important mechanisms modulated by the endocannabinoid signaling pathway, as well as of the molecular and cellular links it has with sepsis. At the same time, we wish to present the possible implications of cannabinoids in the most important biological pathways involved in sepsis, such as inflammation, redox activity, immune system, and epigenetic expression.”
“Human adipose tissue includes large quantities of mesenchymal stromal cells (atMSCs), which represent an abundant cell source for therapeutic applications in the field of regenerative medicine.
Adipose tissue secrets various soluble factors including endocannabinoids, and atMSCs express the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. This indicates that adipose tissue possesses an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is also ascribed great significance for wound repair, e.g. by modulating inflammation. However, the exact effects of CB1/CB2 activation in human atMSCs have not been investigated, yet.
In the present study, we stimulated human atMSCs with increasing concentrations (1-30 μM) of the unspecific cannabinoid receptor ligand WIN55,212-2 and the specific CB2 agonist JWH-133, either alone or co-applied with the receptor antagonist Rimonabant (CB1) or AM 630 (CB2). We investigated the effects on metabolic activity, cell number, differentiation and cytokine release, which are important processes during tissue regeneration.
WIN decreased metabolic activity and cell number, which was reversed by Rimonabant. This suggests a CB1 dependent mechanism, whereas the number of atMSCs was increased after CB2 ligation. WIN and JWH increased the release of VEGF, TGF-β1 and HGF. Adipogenesis was enhanced by WIN, which could be reversed by blocking CB1. There was no effect on osteogenesis, and only WIN increased chondrogenic differentiation.
Our results indicate that definite activation of the cannabinoid receptors exerted different effects in atMSCs, which could be of specific value in cell-based therapy for wound regeneration.”
“Anticholinergic organophosphate (OP) agents act on the diverse serine hydrolases, thereby revealing unexpected biological effects. Epidemiological studies indicate a relationship between OP exposure and development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)-like symptoms, whereas no plausible mechanism for the OP-induced ADHD has been established.
The present investigation employs ethyl octylphosphonofluoridate (EOPF) as an OP-probe which is an extremely potent inhibitor of endocannabinoid (EC, anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol)-hydrolyzing enzymes: i.e., fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL).
Ex vivo experiment shows that EOPF treatment decreases FAAH and MAGL activities and conversely increases EC levels in rat brain. Subsequently, EOPF (treated intraperitoneally once at 0, 1, 2, or 3 mg/kg) clearly induces ADHD-like behaviors (in elevated plus-maze test) in both Wistar and spontaneously hypertensive rats. The EOPF-induced behaviors are reduced by a concomitant administration of cannabinoid receptor inverse agonist SLV-319.
Accordingly, EC system is a feasible target for OP-caused ADHD-like behaviors in adolescent rats.”