Cannabis, the Endocannabinoid System and Immunity-the Journey From the Bedside to the Bench and Back

ijms-logo“The Cannabis plant contains numerous components, including cannabinoids and other active molecules. The phyto-cannabinoid activity is mediated by the endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoids affect the nervous system and play significant roles in the regulation of the immune system.

While Cannabis is not yet registered as a drug, the potential of cannabinoid-based medicines for the treatment of various conditions has led many countries to authorize their clinical use. However, the data from basic and medical research dedicated to medical Cannabis is currently limited.

A variety of pathological conditions involve dysregulation of the immune system. For example, in cancer, immune surveillance and cancer immuno-editing result in immune tolerance. On the other hand, in autoimmune diseases increased immune activity causes tissue damage.

Immuno-modulating therapies can regulate the immune system and therefore the immune-regulatory properties of cannabinoids, suggest their use in the therapy of immune related disorders.

In this contemporary review, we discuss the roles of the endocannabinoid system in immunity and explore the emerging data about the effects of cannabinoids on the immune response in different pathologies. In addition, we discuss the complexities of using cannabinoid-based treatments in each of these conditions.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32585801/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/12/4448

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Antiemetic Effects of Cannabinoid Agonists in Nonhuman Primates

Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics“Attenuating emesis elicited by both disease and medical treatments of disease remains a critical public health challenge.

Although cannabinergic medications have been used in certain treatment-resistant populations, FDA-approved cannabinoid antiemetics are associated with undesirable side effects, including cognitive disruption, that limit their prescription. Previous studies have shown that a metabolically stable analog of the endocannabinoid anandamide, methanandamide (mAEA), may produce lesser cognitive disruption than that associated with the primary psychoactive constituent in cannabis, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), raising the possibility that endocannabinoids may offer a therapeutic advantage over currently used medications.

The present studies were conducted to evaluate this possibility by comparing the antiemetic effects of Δ9-THC (0.032-0.1 mg/kg) and mAEA (3.2-10.0 mg/kg), against nicotine- and lithium chloride (LiCl)-induced emesis and prodromal hypersalivation in squirrel monkeys.

These studies systematically demonstrate for the first time the antiemetic effects of cannabinoid agonists in nonhuman primates. Importantly, although Δ9-THC produced superior antiemetic effects, the milder cognitive effects of mAEA demonstrated in previous studies suggests that it may provide a favorable treatment option under clinical circumstances in which antiemetic efficacy must be balanced against side-effect liability.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Emesis has significant evolutionary value as a defense mechanism against ingested toxins; however, it is also one of the most common adverse symptoms associated with both disease and medical treatments of disease. The development of improved anti-emetic pharmacotherapies has been impeded by a paucity of animal models.

The present studies systematically demonstrate for the first time the antiemetic effects of the phytocannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and endocannabinoid-analog methanandamide in nonhuman primates.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32561684/

http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/early/2020/06/19/jpet.120.265710

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Targeting the Endocannabinoid System: A Predictive, Preventive, and Personalized Medicine-Directed Approach to the Management of Brain Pathologies

 SpringerLink“Cannabis-inspired medical products are garnering increasing attention from the scientific community, general public, and health policy makers. A plethora of scientific literature demonstrates intricate engagement of the endocannabinoid system with human immunology, psychology, developmental processes, neuronal plasticity, signal transduction, and metabolic regulation. Despite the therapeutic potential, the adverse psychoactive effects and historical stigma, cannabinoids have limited widespread clinical application. Therefore, it is plausible to weigh carefully the beneficial effects of cannabinoids against the potential adverse impacts for every individual. This is where the concept of “personalized medicine” as a promising approach for disease prediction and prevention may take into the account. The goal of this review is to provide an outline of the endocannabinoid system, including endocannabinoid metabolizing pathways, and will progress to a more in-depth discussion of the therapeutic interventions by endocannabinoids in various neurological disorders.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32549916/

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13167-020-00203-4

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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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Cannabis Phytomolecule ‘Entourage’: From Domestication to Medical Use.

 

Trends in Plant Science: Special issue: Specifi...“Cannabis has been used as a medicine for millennia.

Crude extracts of cannabis inflorescence contain numerous phytomolecules, including phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Combinations of phytomolecules have been recently established as superior to the use of single molecules in medical treatment owing to the ‘entourage effect’.

Two types of entourage effects are defined: ‘intra-entourage’, resulting from interactions among phytocannabinoids or terpenes, and ‘inter-entourage’, attributed to interactions between phytocannabinoids and terpenes. It is suggested that the phytomolecule assemblages found in cannabis chemovars today derive from selective breeding during ancient cultivation.

We propose that the current cannabis chemotaxonomy should be redefined according to chemical content and medicinal activity. In parallel, combinations of phytomolecules that exhibit entourage activity should be explored further for future drug development.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32417167

“Cannabis has been used for millennia by humanity for social, ritual, and medical purposes. Humans bred and selected for cannabis strains based on their needs.”

https://www.cell.com/trends/plant-science/pdf/S1360-1385(20)30122-9.pdf?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS1360138520301229%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

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Parents’ experiences using medical cannabis for their child.

Nursing Outlook (@NursingOutlook) | Twitter“Parents across the United States use medical cannabis for their children, often without professional guidance. These parents have become more expert on medical cannabis than most health professionals.

Using a case-study design, this study was conducted to describe the experience of parents using medical cannabis for relief of seizures in their child or dependent.

Themes revealed a complex, multifaceted experience. Many parents report benefit from medical cannabis, and are not hindered by the financial costs or uncertainties. Political and social influences have significant impact on the stigmatization and normalization of cannabis.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32334826

“Parents across the United States are using cannabis to treat their child’s epilepsy.”

https://www.nursingoutlook.org/article/S0029-6554(19)30195-2/pdf

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Cannabidiol: A Brief Review of Its Therapeutic and Pharmacologic Efficacy in the Management of Joint Disease.

Cureus | LinkedIn“Cannabis use in the management of musculoskeletal diseases has gained advocacy since several states have legalized its recreational use.

Cannabidiol (CBD), a commercially available, non-neurotropic marijuana constituent, has shown promise in arthritic animal models by attenuating pro-inflammatory immune responses. Additional research has demonstrated the benefit of CBD in decreasing the endogenous pain response in mice subjected to acute arthritic conditions, and further studies have highlighted improved fracture healing following CBD use in murine mid-femoral fractures.

However, there is a lack of high-quality, novel research investigating the use of CBD in human musculoskeletal diseases aside from anecdotal accounts and retrospective reviews, perhaps due to legal ramifications limiting the enrollment of patients. The purpose of this review article is to highlight the extent of current research on CBD and its biochemical and pharmacologic efficacy in the treatment of joint disease, as well as the evidence for use of CBD and cannabis in patients undergoing joint arthroplasty.

Based on available literature relying on retrospective data and case reports, it is challenging to propose a recommendation for CBD use in perioperative pain management. Additionally, a number of CBD products currently available as supplements with different methods of administration, and it is important to remember that these products are non-pharmaceuticals. However, given the increased social relevance of CBD and cannabis-based medicines, future, prospective controlled studies evaluating their efficacy are needed.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32328386

https://www.cureus.com/articles/28249-cannabidiol-a-brief-review-of-its-therapeutic-and-pharmacologic-efficacy-in-the-management-of-joint-disease

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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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Ensuring access to safe, effective, and affordable cannabis‐based medicines

British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology“Over the past decade, patients, families, and medical cannabis advocates have campaigned in many countries to allow patients to use cannabis preparations to treat the symptoms of serious illnesses that have not responded to conventional treatment.

Ideally, any medical use of a cannabinoid would involve practitioners prescribing an approved medicine produced to standards of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), the safety and effectiveness of which had been assessed in clinical trials. The prescriber would be fully acquainted with the patient’s medical history and well‐informed about the safety and efficacy of cannabinoid medicines and know the most appropriate formulations and dosages to use and how they should be used in combination with other medicines being used to treat the patient’s condition. Current medical use of cannabinoids falls short of these expectations and regulations.

There is reasonable evidence that some cannabinoids are superior to placebo in reducing symptoms of some medical conditions.

There are no short cuts in making quality‐controlled cannabis‐based medicines available to patients in ways that ensure that they are used safely and effectively. In the absence of industry interest in funding clinical trials, governments need to fund large, well‐designed clinical and clinical pharmacological studies that will enable cannabinoids to play a more evidence‐based role in modern clinical practice. In the meantime, the clinical pharmacology field needs to share high‐quality data on the safety, efficacy, and pharmacology of medical cannabinoids as it becomes available. This should be presented in ways that permit the information to be regularly updated and provide clinically useful guidance on how these medicines should be used.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32128867

https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bcp.14242

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Axially-Chiral Cannabinols: A New Platform for Cannabinoid-Inspired Drug Discovery.

Publication cover image“Phytocannabinoids (and synthetic analogs thereof) are gaining significant attention as promising leads in modern medicine. Considering this, new directions for the design of phytocannabinoid-inspired molecules is of immediate interest. In this regard, we have hypothesized that axially-chiral-cannabinols (ax-CBNs), unnatural and unknown isomers of cannabinol (CBN) may be valuable scaffolds for cannabinoid-inspired drug discovery. There are two main factors directing our interest to these scaffolds: (a) ax-CBNs would have ground-state three-dimensionality; ligand-receptor interactions can be more significant with complimentary 3D-topology, and (b) ax-CBNs at their core structure are biaryl molecules, generally attractive platforms for pharmaceutical development due to their ease of functionalization and stability. Herein we report a synthesis of ax-CBNs, examine physical properties experimentally and computationally, and perform a comparative analysis of ax-CBN and THC in mice behavioral studies.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32061146

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/cmdc.202000025

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