Modulation of the Endocannabinoid and Oxytocinergic Systems as a Potential Treatment Approach for Social Anxiety Disorder.

 “Social anxiety disorder (SAD), or social phobia, is one of the most common types of anxiety disorder, with a lifetime prevalence that can reach 15%.

Pharmacological treatments for SAD have moderate efficacy and are associated with significant adverse reactions. Therefore, recent studies have focused on searching for new treatments for this disorder.

Preclinical studies and preliminary evidence in humans suggest that the phytocannabinoid cannabidiol and the neuropeptide oxytocin have anxiolytic effects. In the present text, we review this evidence and its implications for pharmacological treatment.

We conclude that although current available studies show promising results regarding both the safety and efficacy of cannabidiol and oxytocin for the treatment of SAD, most studies were performed using single or few doses of these compounds, with small sample sizes.

Therefore, future studies should explore the anxiolytic potential of these compounds using long-term, placebo-controlled designs with larger samples to elucidate the possible use of these compounds in the treatment of SAD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31617149

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40263-019-00669-5

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Beyond THC and Endocannabinoids.

Image result for AR Annual Reviews“Research in the cannabinoid field, namely on phytocannabinoids, the endogenous cannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol and their metabolizing and synthetic enzymes, the cannabinoid receptors, and anandamide-like cannabinoid compounds, has expanded tremendously over the last few years. Numerous endocannabinoid-like compounds have been discovered. The Cannabis plant constituent cannabidiol (CBD) was found to exert beneficial effects in many preclinical disease models ranging from epilepsy, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and autoimmunity to neurodegenerative and kidney diseases and cancer. CBD was recently approved in the United States for the treatment of rare forms of childhood epilepsy. This has triggered the development of many CBD-based products for human use, often with overstated claims regarding their therapeutic effects. In this article, the recently published research on the chemistry and biological effects of plant cannabinoids (specifically CBD), endocannabinoids, certain long-chain fatty acid amides, and the variety of relevant receptors is critically reviewed. ”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31580774

https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-010818-021441

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Cannabidiol Counteracts the Psychotropic Side-Effects of Δ-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol in the Ventral Hippocampus Through Bi-Directional Control of ERK1-2 Phosphorylation

Journal of Neuroscience“Evidence suggests that the phytocannabinoids Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) differentially regulate salience attribution and psychiatric risk. The ventral hippocampus (vHipp) relays emotional salience via control of dopamine (DA) neuronal activity states, which are dysregulated in psychosis and schizophrenia. Using in-vivo electrophysiology in male Sprague Dawley rats, we demonstrate that intra-vHipp THC strongly increases ventral tegmental area (VTA) DA neuronal frequency and bursting rates, decreases GABA frequency, and amplifies VTA beta, gamma and epsilon oscillatory magnitudes via modulation of local extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation (pERK1-2). Remarkably, whereas intra-vHipp THC also potentiates salience attribution in morphine place-preference and fear conditioning assays, CBD co-administration reverses these changes by down-regulating pERK1-2 signaling, as pharmacological re-activation of pERK1-2 blocked the inhibitory properties of CBD. These results identify vHipp pERK1-2 signaling as a critical neural nexus point mediating THC-induced affective disturbances and suggest a potential mechanism by which CBD may counteract the psychotomimetic and psychotropic side-effects of THC.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT

Strains of marijuana with high levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and low levels of cannabidiol (CBD) have been shown to underlie neuropsychiatric risks associated with high potency cannabis use. However, the mechanisms by which CBD mitigates the side effects of THC have not been identified. We demonstrate that THC induces cognitive and affective abnormalities resembling neuropsychiatric symptoms directly in the hippocampus, while dysregulating dopamine activity states and amplifying oscillatory frequencies in the ventral tegmental area via modulation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathway. In contrast, CBD co-administration blocked THC-induced ERK phosphorylation, and prevented THC-induced behavioural and neural abnormalities. These findings identify a novel molecular mechanism that may account for how CBD functionally mitigates the neuropsychiatric side-effects of THC.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31570536

https://www.jneurosci.org/content/early/2019/09/27/JNEUROSCI.0708-19.2019

“Western University researchers show how CBD blocks side-effects of THC in cannabis. Research out of Western University is showing for the first time how cannabidiol (CBD) helps to lessen negative psychiatric side effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis.”  https://globalnews.ca/news/5970908/western-university-research-cbd-thc-cannabis/

“Cannabis study reveals how CBD offsets the psychiatric side-effects of THC”  https://neurosciencenews.com/cbd-thc-psychosis-15002/

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Absence of Entourage: Terpenoids Commonly Found in Cannabis sativa Do Not Modulate the Functional Activity of Δ9-THC at Human CB1 and CB2 Receptors.

 View details for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image“Compounds present in Cannabis sativa such as phytocannabinoids and terpenoids may act in concert to elicit therapeutic effects. Cannabinoids such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) directly activate cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2); however, it is not known if terpenoids present in Cannabis also affect cannabinoid receptor signaling. Therefore, we examined six common terpenoids alone, and in combination with cannabinoid receptor agonists, on CB1 and CB2 signaling in vitro.

Results: α-Pinene, β-pinene, β-caryophyllene, linalool, limonene, and β-myrcene (up to 30-100 μM) did not change membrane potential in AtT20 cells expressing CB1 or CB2, or affect the response to a maximally effective concentration of the synthetic cannabinoid CP55,940. The presence of individual or a combination of terpenoids did not affect the hyperpolarization produced by Δ9-THC (10 μM): (CB1: control, 59%±7%; with terpenoids (10 μM each) 55%±4%; CB2: Δ9-THC 16%±5%, with terpenoids (10 μM each) 17%±4%). To investigate possible effect on desensitization of CB1 responses, all six terpenoids were added together with Δ9-THC and signaling measured continuously over 30 min. Terpenoids did not affect desensitization, after 30 min the control hyperpolarization recovered by 63%±6% in the presence of the terpenoids recovery was 61%±5%.

Discussion: None of the six of the most common terpenoids in Cannabis directly activated CB1 or CB2, or modulated the signaling of the phytocannabinoid agonist Δ9-THC. These results suggest that if a phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effect exists, it is not at the CB1 or CB2 receptor level. It remains possible that terpenoids activate CB1 and CB2 signaling pathways that do not involve potassium channels; however, it seems more likely that they may act at different molecular target(s) in the neuronal circuits important for the behavioral effect of Cannabis.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31559333

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2019.0016

“Terpenoids and Phytocannabinoids Co-Produced in Cannabis Sativa Strains Show Specific Interaction for Cell Cytotoxic Activity. We found that in “high THC” or “high CBD” strains, phytocannabinoids are produced alongside certain sets of terpenoids. Only co-related terpenoids enhanced the cytotoxic activity of phytocannabinoids on MDA-MB-231 and HCT-116 cell lines. This was found to be most effective in natural ratios found in extracts of cannabis inflorescence.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31438532

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The non-euphoric phytocannabinoid cannabidivarin counteracts intestinal inflammation in mice and cytokine expression in biopsies from UC pediatric patients.

Pharmacological Research“Patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) using marijuana have been reported to experience symptomatic benefit.

Cannabidivarin (CBDV) is a safe non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid able to activate TRPA1, a member of TRP channels superfamily, which plays a pivotal role in intestinal inflammation.

Here, we have investigated the potential intestinal anti-inflammatory effect of CBDV in mice and in biopsies from pediatric patients with active UC.

Our preclinical study shows that CBDV exerts intestinal anti-inflammatory effects in mice via TRPA1, and in children with active UC.

Since CBDV has a favorable safety profile in humans, it may be considered for possible clinical trials in patients with UC.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31553934

https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1043661819311077

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Cannabidiol Is a Novel Modulator of Bacterial Membrane Vesicles.

 Image result for frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology“Membrane vesicles (MVs) released from bacteria participate in cell communication and host-pathogen interactions.

Roles for MVs in antibiotic resistance are gaining increased attention and in this study we investigated if known anti-bacterial effects of cannabidiol (CBD), a phytocannabinoid from Cannabis sativa, could be in part attributed to effects on bacterial MV profile and MV release.

We found that CBD is a strong inhibitor of MV release from Gram-negative bacteria (E. coli VCS257), while inhibitory effect on MV release from Gram-positive bacteria (S. aureus subsp. aureus Rosenbach) was negligible. When used in combination with selected antibiotics, CBD significantly increased the bactericidal action of several antibiotics in the Gram-negative bacteria.

In addition, CBD increased antibiotic effects of kanamycin in the Gram-positive bacteria, without affecting MV release. CBD furthermore changed protein profiles of MVs released from E. coli after 1 h CBD treatment.

Our findings indicate that CBD may pose as a putative adjuvant agent for tailored co-application with selected antibiotics, depending on bacterial species, to increase antibiotic activity, including via MV inhibition, and help reduce antibiotic resistance.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31552202

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcimb.2019.00324/full 

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Potential of Cannabinoid Receptor Ligands as Treatment for Substance Use Disorders.

 “Substance use disorder (SUD) is a major public health crisis worldwide, and effective treatment options are limited.

During the past 2 decades, researchers have investigated the impact of a variety of pharmacological approaches to treat SUD, one of which is the use of medical cannabis or cannabinoids.

Significant progress was made with the discovery of rimonabant, a selective CB1 receptor (CB1R) antagonist (also an inverse agonist), as a promising therapeutic for SUDs and obesity. However, serious adverse effects such as depression and suicidality led to the withdrawal of rimonabant (and almost all other CB1R antagonists/inverse agonists) from clinical trials worldwide in 2008.

Since then, much research interest has shifted to other cannabinoid-based strategies, such as peripheral CB1R antagonists/inverse agonists, neutral CB1R antagonists, allosteric CB1R modulators, CB2R agonists, fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitors, monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) inhibitors, fatty acid binding protein (FABP) inhibitors, or nonaddictive phytocannabinoids with CB1R or CB2R-binding profiles, as new therapeutics for SUDs.

In this article, we first review recent progress in research regarding the endocannabinoid systems, cannabis reward versus aversion, and the underlying receptor mechanisms. We then review recent progress in cannabinoid-based medication development for the treatment of SUDs.

As evidence continues to accumulate, neutral CB1R antagonists (such as AM4113), CB2R agonists (JWH133, Xie2-64), and nonselective phytocannabinoids (cannabidiol, β-caryophyllene, ∆9-tetrahydrocannabivarin) have shown great therapeutic potential for SUDs, as shown in experimental animals.

Several cannabinoid-based medications (e.g., dronabinol, nabilone, PF-04457845) that entered clinical trials have shown promising results in reducing withdrawal symptoms in cannabis and opioid users.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31549358

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40263-019-00664-w

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The Endocannabinoid System of Animals.

 animals-logo“The endocannabinoid system has been found to be pervasive in mammalian species. It has also been described in invertebrate species as primitive as the Hydra. Insects, apparently, are devoid of this, otherwise, ubiquitous system that provides homeostatic balance to the nervous and immune systems, as well as many other organ systems.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been defined to consist of three parts, which include (1) endogenous ligands, (2) G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), and (3) enzymes to degrade and recycle the ligands. Two endogenous molecules have been identified as ligands in the ECS to date.

The endocannabinoids are anandamide (arachidonoyl ethanolamide) and 2-AG (2-arachidonoyl glycerol). Two G-coupled protein receptors (GPCR) have been described as part of this system, with other putative GPC being considered.

Coincidentally, the phytochemicals produced in large quantities by the Cannabis sativa L plant, and in lesser amounts by other plants, can interact with this system as ligands. These plant-based cannabinoids are termed phytocannabinoids.

The precise determination of the distribution of cannabinoid receptors in animal species is an ongoing project, with the canine cannabinoid receptor distribution currently receiving the most interest in non-human animals.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31527410

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/9/9/686

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Cannabinoids in Gynecological Diseases

Related image“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a multifunctional homeostatic system involved in many physiological and pathological conditions. The ligands of the ECS are the endo­cannabinoids, whose actions are mimicked by exogenous cannabinoids, such as phytocannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids. Responses to the ligands of the ECS are mediated by numerous receptors like the classical cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) as well as ECS-related receptors, e.g., G protein-coupled receptors 18 and 55 (GPR18 and GPR55), transient receptor potential ion channels, and nuclear peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors. The ECS regulates almost all levels of female reproduction, starting with oocyte production through to parturition. Dysregulation of the ECS is associated with the development of gynecological disorders from fertility disorders to cancer. Cannabinoids that act at the ECS as specific agonists or antagonists may potentially influence dysregulation and, therefore, represent new therapeutic options for the therapy of gynecological disorders.”

https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/499164

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Cannabidiol induces antioxidant pathways in keratinocytes by targeting BACH1.

Redox Biology“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a major non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid that attracted a great attention for its therapeutic potential against different pathologies including skin diseases.

However, although the efficacy in preclinical models and the clinical benefits of CBD in humans have been extensively demonstrated, the molecular mechanism(s) and targets responsible for these effects are as yet unknown.

Herein we characterized at the molecular level the effects of CBD on primary human keratinocytes using a combination of RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) and sequential window acquisition of all theoretical mass spectrometry (SWATH-MS).

Functional analysis revealed that CBD regulated pathways involved in keratinocyte differentiation, skin development and epidermal cell differentiation among other processes. In addition, CBD induced the expression of several NRF2 target genes, with heme oxygenase 1 (HMOX1) being the gene and the protein most upregulated by CBD. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing, RNA interference and biochemical studies demonstrated that the induction of HMOX1 mediated by CBD, involved nuclear export and proteasomal degradation of the transcriptional repressor BACH1.

Notably, we showed that the effect of BACH1 on HMOX1 expression in keratinocytes is independent of NRF2. In vivo studies showed that topical CBD increased the levels of HMOX1 and of the proliferation and wound-repair associated keratins 16 and 17 in the skin of mice.

Altogether, our study identifies BACH1 as a molecular target for CBD in keratinocytes and sets the basis for the use of topical CBD for the treatment of different skin diseases including atopic dermatitis and keratin disorders.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31518892

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213231719306470?via%3Dihub

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