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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Molecular Targets of Cannabidiol in Experimental Models of Neurological Disease

molecules-logo“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid known for its beneficial effects including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, CBD is a compound with antidepressant, anxiolytic, anticonvulsant and antipsychotic effects. Thanks to all these properties, the interest of the scientific community for it has grown.

Indeed, CBD is a great candidate for the management of neurological diseases. The purpose of our review is to summarize the in vitro and in vivo studies published in the last 15 years that describe the biochemical and molecular mechanisms underlying the effects of CBD and its therapeutic application in neurological diseases.

CBD exerts its neuroprotective effects through three G protein coupled-receptors (adenosine receptor subtype 2A, serotonin receptor subtype 1A and G protein-coupled receptor 55), one ligand-gated ion channel (transient receptor potential vanilloid channel-1) and one nuclear factor (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ). Moreover, the therapeutical properties of CBD are also due to GABAergic modulation.

In conclusion, CBD, through multi-target mechanisms, represents a valid therapeutic tool for the management of epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33171772/

https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/25/21/5186

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An Agathokakological tale of ∆9 -THC: Exploration of Possible Biological Targets

“∆ 9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol (∆9 -THC), the active phytocannabinoid in cannabis, is virtually an adjunct to the endogenous endocannabinoid signaling system.

By interacting with G-protein-coupled receptors CB1 and CB2, ∆9 -THC affects peripheral and central circulation by lowering sympathetic activity, altering gene expression, cell proliferation, and differentiation, decreasing leukocyte migration, modulating neurotransmitter release thereby modulating cardiovascular functioning, tumorigenesis, immune responses, behavioral and locomotory activities respectively.

∆ 9 -THC is effective in suppressing chemotherapy-induced vomiting, retards malignant tumor growth, inhibits metastasis, and promotes apoptosis. Other mechanisms involved are targeting cell cycle at the G2-M phase in human breast cancer, downregulation of E2F transcription factor 1 (E2F1) in human glioblastoma multiforme, and stimulation of ER stress-induced autophagy.

∆ 9 -THC also plays a role in ameliorating neuroinflammation, excitotoxicity, neuroplasticity, trauma, and stroke and is associated with reliving childhood epilepsy, brain trauma, and neurodegenerative diseases.

∆9 -THC via CB1 receptors affects nociception, emotion, memory, and reduces neuronal excitability and excitotoxicity in epilepsy. It also increases renal blood flow, reduces intraocular pressure via a sympathetic pathway, and modulates hormonal release, thereby decreasing the reproductive function and increasing glucose metabolism.

Versatile medical marijuana has stimulated abundant research demonstrating substantial therapeutic promise, suggesting the possibilities of first-in-class drugs in diverse therapeutic segments. In this review, we represent the current pharmacological status of the phytocannabinoid, ∆ 9 -THC, and synthetic analogs in cancer, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative disorders.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33001012/

https://www.eurekaselect.com/186455/article

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Receptors and Channels Possibly Mediating the Effects of Phytocannabinoids on Seizures and Epilepsy

pharmaceuticals-logo“Epilepsy contributes to approximately 1% of the global disease burden. By affecting especially young children as well as older persons of all social and racial variety, epilepsy is a present disorder worldwide. Currently, only 65% of epileptic patients can be successfully treated with antiepileptic drugs. For this reason, alternative medicine receives more attention.

Cannabis has been cultivated for over 6000 years to treat pain and insomnia and used since the 19th century to suppress epileptic seizures.

The two best described phytocannabinoids, (-)-trans9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are claimed to have positive effects on different neurological as well as neurodegenerative diseases, including epilepsy.

There are different cannabinoids which act through different types of receptors and channels, including the cannabinoid receptor 1 and 2 (CB1, CB2), G protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55) and 18 (GPR18), opioid receptor µ and δ, transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) and 2 (TRPV2), type A γ-aminobutyric acid receptor (GABAAR) and voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSC).

The mechanisms and importance of the interaction between phytocannabinoids and their different sites of action regarding epileptic seizures and their clinical value are described in this review.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32751761/

https://www.mdpi.com/1424-8247/13/8/174

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Structural and Functional Insights into Cannabinoid Receptors

 Trends in Pharmacological Sciences (@TrendsinPharma) | Twitter“Cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) and 2 (CB2) are widely expressed in the human body, and are attractive drug targets in the prevention and management of central nervous system (CNS) and immune system dysfunction, respectively. Recent breakthroughs in the structural elucidation of cannabinoid receptors and their signaling complexes with G proteins, provide the important molecular basis of ligand-receptor interactions, activation and signaling mechanism, which will facilitate the next-generation drug design and the precise modulation of the endocannabinoid system. Here, we provide an overview on the structural features of cannabinoid receptors in different functional states and the diverse ligand binding modes. The major challenges and new strategies for future therapeutic applications targeting the endocannabinoid system (ECS) are also discussed.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32739033/

“Cannabinoid receptors as key components of the endocannabinoid system are involved in regulating a variety of physiological and pathological activities, and their ligands are regarded as potential drug candidates for the treatment of many diseases.”

https://www.cell.com/trends/pharmacological-sciences/fulltext/S0165-6147(20)30146-2?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0165614720301462%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

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Targeting Cannabinoid Receptors: Current Status and Prospects of Natural Products

ijms-logo “Cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), as part of the endocannabinoid system, play a critical role in numerous human physiological and pathological conditions. Thus, considerable efforts have been made to develop ligands for CB1 and CB2, resulting in hundreds of phyto- and synthetic cannabinoids which have shown varying affinities relevant for the treatment of various diseases. However, only a few of these ligands are clinically used.

Recently, more detailed structural information for cannabinoid receptors was revealed thanks to the powerfulness of cryo-electron microscopy, which now can accelerate structure-based drug discovery. At the same time, novel peptide-type cannabinoids from animal sources have arrived at the scene, with their potential in vivo therapeutic effects in relation to cannabinoid receptors.

From a natural products perspective, it is expected that more novel cannabinoids will be discovered and forecasted as promising drug leads from diverse natural sources and species, such as animal venoms which constitute a true pharmacopeia of toxins modulating diverse targets, including voltage- and ligand-gated ion channels, G protein-coupled receptors such as CB1 and CB2, with astonishing affinity and selectivity. Therefore, it is believed that discovering novel cannabinoids starting from studying the biodiversity of the species living on planet earth is an uncharted territory.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32709050/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/14/5064

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Cannabinoids and Cannabinoid Receptors: The Story So Far

 iScience journal (@iScience_CP) | Twitter“Like most modern molecular biology and natural product chemistry, understanding cannabinoid pharmacology centers around molecular interactions, in this case, between the cannabinoids and their putative targets, the G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). Understanding the complex structure and interplay between the partners in this molecular dance is required to understand the mechanism of action of synthetic, endogenous, and phytochemical cannabinoids. This review, with 91 references, surveys our understanding of the structural biology of the cannabinoids and their target receptors including both a critical comparison of the extant crystal structures and the computationally derived homology models, as well as an in-depth discussion about the binding modes of the major cannabinoids. The aim is to assist in situating structural biochemists, synthetic chemists, and molecular biologists who are new to the field of cannabis research.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32629422/

https://www.cell.com/iscience/pdf/S2589-0042(20)30488-0.pdf?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS2589004220304880%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

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Pharmacological Data of Cannabidiol- And Cannabigerol-Type Phytocannabinoids Acting on Cannabinoid CB 1, CB 2 and CB 1/CB 2 Heteromer Receptors

Pharmacological Research“Background: Recent approved medicines whose active principles are Δ9Tetrahidrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and/or cannabidiol (CBD) open novel perspectives for other phytocannabinoids also present in Cannabis sativa L. varieties. Furthermore, solid data on the potential benefits of acidic and varinic phytocannabinoids in a variety of diseases are already available. Mode of action of cannabigerol (CBG), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), cannabidivarin (CBDV) and cannabigerivarin (CBGV) is, to the very least, partial.

Hypothesis/purpose: Cannabinoid CB1 or CB2 receptors, which belong to the G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) family, are important mediators of the action of those cannabinoids. Pure CBG, CBDA, CBGA, CBDV and CBGV from Cannabis sativa L. are differentially acting on CB1 or CB2 cannabinoid receptors.

Study design: Determination of the affinity of phytocannabinoids for cannabinoid receptors and functional assessment of effects promoted by these compounds when interacting with cannabinoid receptors.

Methods: A heterologous system expressing the human versions of CB1 and/or CB2 receptors was used. Binding to membranes was measured using radioligands and binding to living cells using a homogenous time resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (HTRF) assay. Four different functional outputs were assayed: determination of cAMP levels and of extracellular-signal-related-kinase phosphorylation, label-free dynamic mass redistribution (DMR) and ß-arrestin recruitment.

Results: Affinity of cannabinoids depend on the ligand of reference and may be different in membranes and in living cells. All tested phytocannabinoids have agonist-like behavior but behaved as inverse-agonists in the presence of selective receptor agonists. CBGV displayed enhanced potency in many of the functional outputs. However the most interesting result was a biased signaling that correlated with differential affinity, i.e. the overall results suggest that the binding mode of each ligand leads to specific receptor conformations underlying biased signaling outputs.

Conclusion: Results here reported and the recent elucidation of the three-dimensional structure of CB1 and CB2 receptors help understanding the mechanism of action that might be protective and the molecular drug-receptor interactions underlying biased signaling.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32470563/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1043661820312482?via%3Dihub

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Can Hemp Help? Low-THC Cannabis and Non-THC Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Cancer.

cancers-logo“Cannabis has been used to relieve the symptoms of disease for thousands of years. However, social and political biases have limited effective interrogation of the potential benefits of cannabis and polarised public opinion.

Evidence is emerging for the therapeutic benefits of cannabis in the treatment of neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, with potential efficacy as an analgesic and antiemetic for the management of cancer-related pain and treatment-related nausea and vomiting, respectively.

An increasing number of preclinical studies have established that ∆9-THC can inhibit the growth and proliferation of cancerous cells through the modulation of cannabinoid receptors (CB1R and CB2R), but clinical confirmation remains lacking.

In parallel, the anti-cancer properties of non-THC cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD), are linked to the modulation of non-CB1R/CB2R G-protein-coupled receptors, neurotransmitter receptors, and ligand-regulated transcription factors, which together modulate oncogenic signalling and redox homeostasis.

Additional evidence has also demonstrated the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids, and this may prove relevant in the context of peritumoural oedema and the tumour immune microenvironment. This review aims to document the emerging mechanisms of anti-cancer actions of non-THC cannabinoids.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32340151

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/12/4/1033

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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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