Cannabis, a Miracle Drug with Polyvalent Therapeutic Utility: Preclinical and Clinical-Based Evidence

/WebMaterial/ShowPic/1319420“Cannabis sativa L. is an annual herbaceous dioecious plant which was first cultivated by agricultural human societies in Asia. Over the period of time, various parts of the plant like leaf, flower, and seed were used for recreational as well as therapeutic purposes. The main chemical components of Cannabis sativa are termed as cannabinoids, among them the key psychoactive constituent is Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol (CBD) as active nonpsychotic constituent. Upon doing extensive literature review, it was found that cannabis has been widely studied for a number of disorders. Very recently, a pure CBD formulation, named Epidiolex, got a green flag from both United States Food and Drug Administration and Drug Enforcement Administration for 2 rare types of epilepsies. This laid a milestone in medical cannabis research.

This review intends to give a basic and extensive assessment, from past till present, of the ethnological, plant, chemical, pharmacological, and legal aspects of C. sativa. Further, this review contemplates the evidence the studies obtained of cannabis components on Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, emesis, epilepsy, chronic pain, and cancer as a cytotoxic agent as well as a palliative therapy. The assessment in this study was done by reviewing in extensive details from studies on historical importance, ethnopharmacological aspects, and legal grounds of C. sativa from extensive literature available on the scientific databases, with a vision for elevating further pharmaceutical research to investigate its total potential as a therapeutic agent.”

“This study has analyzed and reviewed the historical, botanical, chemical, ethnopharmacological, and legal aspects of C. sativa from the first human use to the present medical applications with an analysis of its multiple therapeutic applications for various diseased conditions in the contemporary scientific context. There is an abundance of support for its several medicative uses as well as a possible benefit in various diseased conditions. Extensive pharmacological examination is still needed to better understand the clinical significance and uses of active cannabinoids in the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases. Also, cannabis can be chemically standardized and under prescription can be used. With the majority of the United States currently legalizing medicinal cannabis and/or restricted CBD-only use, physicians need to be educated on the history and correct clinical use of cannabis, as a result of which patients can know more and more about possible treatment utilizing cannabis. Medical cannabis has shown to have clinical efficacy in our past, and in present, data show its therapeutic effects. Extensive research in the field of cannabis can be very fruitful for the medicine world.”

Cannabinoids and Neurogenesis: The Promised Solution for Neurodegeneration?

molecules-logo“The concept of neurons as irreplaceable cells does not hold true today. Experiments and evidence of neurogenesis, also, in the adult brain give hope that some compounds or drugs can enhance this process, helping to reverse the outcomes of diseases or traumas that once were thought to be everlasting.

Cannabinoids, both from natural and artificial origins, already proved to have several beneficial effects (e.g., anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidants and analgesic action), but also capacity to increase neuronal population, by replacing the cells that were lost and/or regenerate a damaged nerve cell.

Neurogenesis is a process which is not highly represented in literature as neuroprotection, though it is as important as prevention of nervous system damage, because it can represent a possible solution when neuronal death is already present, such as in neurodegenerative diseases.

The aim of this review is to resume the experimental evidence of phyto- and synthetic cannabinoids effects on neurogenesis, both in vitro and in vivo, in order to elucidate if they possess also neurogenetic and neurorepairing properties.”

“The current results of cannabinoids effects on neurogenesis are encouraging, and it is expectable that the amount of evidence continues to increase in the future with other experiments.”

Analgesic Potential of Terpenes Derived from Cannabis sativa

Pharmacological Reviews“Pain prevalence among adults in the United States has increased 25% over the past two decades, resulting in high health-care costs and impacts to patient quality of life. In the last 30 years, our understanding of pain circuits and (intra)cellular mechanisms has grown exponentially, but this understanding has not yet resulted in improved therapies. Options for pain management are limited. Many analgesics have poor efficacy and are accompanied by severe side effects such as addiction, resulting in a devastating opioid abuse and overdose epidemic. These problems have encouraged scientists to identify novel molecular targets and develop alternative pain therapeutics.

Increasing preclinical and clinical evidence suggests that cannabis has several beneficial pharmacological activities, including pain relief.

Cannabis sativa contains more than 500 chemical compounds, with two principle phytocannabinoids, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Beyond phytocannabinoids, more than 150 terpenes have been identified in different cannabis chemovars. Although the predominant cannabinoids, Δ9-THC and CBD, are thought to be the primary medicinal compounds, terpenes including the monoterpenes β-myrcene, α-pinene, limonene, and linalool, as well as the sesquiterpenes β-caryophyllene and α-humulene may contribute to many pharmacological properties of cannabis, including anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects.

The aim of this review is to summarize our current knowledge about terpene compounds in cannabis and to analyze the available scientific evidence for a role of cannabis-derived terpenes in modern pain management.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Decades of research have improved our knowledge of cannabis polypharmacy and contributing phytochemicals, including terpenes. Reform of the legal status for cannabis possession and increased availability (medicinal and recreational) have resulted in cannabis use to combat the increasing prevalence of pain and may help to address the opioid crisis. Better understanding of the pharmacological effects of cannabis and its active components, including terpenes, may assist in identifying new therapeutic approaches and optimizing the use of cannabis and/or terpenes as analgesic agents.”

“Cannabis sativa has been used for medical, recreational, and spiritual purposes for thousands of years. Modern scientific studies have provided increasing amounts of preclinical and clinical evidence about its beneficial pharmacological effects, including pain relief. Recent changes in the legislation of cannabis usage and possession have resulted in cannabis-based products becoming widely used alternatives in fighting against many different illnesses. Medical marijuana has been applied to treat a host of indications, but the most frequent, and evidence-backed indication, is pain. Overall, cannabis terpenes have a high potential for pain management, alone or as adjunctive therapeutics, and are attractive compounds for the development of terpene-based analgesics given their generally-recognized-as-safe status with low side effect and toxicity profiles.”

Inflammaging and Cannabinoids

Ageing Research Reviews“Aging is a complex phenomenon associated with a wide spectrum of physical and physiological changes affecting every part of all metazoans, if they escape death prior to reaching maturity. Critical to survival, the immune system evolved as the principal component of response to injury and defense against pathogen invasions. Because how significantly immune system affects and is affected by aging, several neologisms now appear to encapsulate these reciprocal relationships, such as Immunosenescence. The central part of Immunosenescence is Inflammaging -a sustained, low-grade, sterile inflammation occurring after reaching reproductive prime. Once initiated, the impact of Inflammaging and its adverse effects determine the direction and magnitudes of further Inflammaging. In this article, we review the nature of this vicious cycle, we will propose that phytocannabinoids as immune regulators may possess the potential as effective adjunctive therapies to slow and, in certain cases, reverse the pathologic senescence to permit a more healthy aging.”

“The beneficial effects of cannabinoids may be considered as alternative therapy in treating age-related diseases.”

Hepatic Cannabinoid Signaling in the Regulation of Alcohol-Associated Liver Disease

Logo of arcr“Purpose: The endocannabinoid system has emerged as a key regulatory signaling pathway in the pathophysiology of alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD). More than 30 years of research have established different roles of endocannabinoids and their receptors in various aspects of liver diseases, such as steatosis, inflammation, and fibrosis. However, pharmacological applications of the endocannabinoid system for the treatment of ALD have not been successful because of psychoactive side effects, despite some beneficial effects. Thus, a more delicate and detailed elucidation of the mechanism linking the endocannabinoid system and ALD may be of paramount significance in efforts to apply the system to the treatment of ALD.

Search results: According to the inclusion and exclusion criteria, the authors selected 47 eligible full-text articles out of 2,691 searched initially. Studies in the past 3 decades revealed the opposite effects of cannabinoid receptors CB1R and CB2R on steatosis, inflammation, and fibrosis in ALD.

Discussion and conclusions: This review summarizes the endocannabinoid signaling in the general physiology of the liver, the pathogenesis of ALD, and some of the potential therapeutic implications of cannabinoid-based treatments for ALD.”

“Over the past 30 years, it has been found that the endocannabinoid system is involved in a variety of pathways associated with the onset, or the progression, of several diseases, including ALD. The endocannabinoid system has been observed in both the hepatocytes and various nonparenchymal cells in the liver, in which the endocannabinoid production and its receptor activation may contribute to the development of a spectrum of ALD, ranging from simple alcoholic steatosis to more severe forms such as steatohepatitis and fibrosis. Therefore, understanding the precise physiology of the endocannabinoid system in the liver and unveiling the mechanism underlying the association between ALD progression and hepatic endocannabinoid signaling seem to bear a paramount significance for the advancement of ALD treatment, as well as for the treatment of other chronic liver diseases (e.g., NAFLD, viral hepatitis). Moreover, developing efficacious and highly selective cannabinoid receptor–modulating drugs could be a major breakthrough in the treatment of ALD.”

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Cannabis Use Is Inversely Associated with Overweight and Obesity in Hepatitis B Virus-Infected Patients (ANRS CO22 Hepather Cohort)

View details for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image“Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection may evolve into cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, and this progression may be accelerated by specific risk factors, including overweight and obesity. Although evidence for a protective effect of cannabis use on elevated body weight has been found for other populations, no data are available for HBV-infected patients. 

Aims: We aimed to identify risk factors (including cannabis use) for overweight and obesity in patients with HBV chronic infection. 

Methods: Using baseline data from the French ANRS CO22 Hepather cohort, we performed two separate analyses, one using “central obesity” (based on waist circumference) and the other “overweight” and “obesity” (based on body mass index) as outcomes. Logistic and multinomial regressions were used to model central obesity and overweight/obesity, respectively. 

Results: Among the 3706 patients in the study population, 50.8% had central obesity, 34.7% overweight, and 14.4% obesity. After multivariable adjustment, current cannabis use was associated with a 59% lower risk of central obesity compared with no lifetime use (adjusted odds ratio [95% CI]: 0.41 [0.24 to 0.70]). It was also associated with a 54% and 84% lower risk of overweight (adjusted relative risk ratio [95% CI]: 0.46 [0.27 to 0.76]) and obesity (0.16 [0.04 to 0.67]), respectively. 

Conclusions: Cannabis use was associated with lower risks of overweight and obesity in patients with HBV chronic infection. Future studies should test whether these potential benefits of cannabis and cannabinoid use translate into reduced liver disease progression in this high-risk population.”

Novel CBG Derivatives Can Reduce Inflammation, Pain and Obesity

molecules-logo“Interest in CBG (cannabigerol) has been growing in the past few years, due to its anti-inflammatory properties and other therapeutic benefits.

Here we report the synthesis of three new CBG derivatives (HUM-223, HUM-233 and HUM-234) and show them to possess anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

In addition, HUM-234 also prevents obesity in mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD). The metabolic state of the treated mice on HFD is significantly better than that of vehicle-treated mice, and their liver slices show significantly less steatosis than untreated HFD or CBG-treated ones from HFD mice.

We believe that HUM-223, HUM-233 and HUM-234 have the potential for development as novel drug candidates for the treatment of inflammatory conditions, and in the case of HUM-234, potentially for obesity where there is a huge unmet need.”

The potential of cannabinoids and inhibitors of endocannabinoid degradation in respiratory diseases

European Journal of Pharmacology“The global incidence of respiratory diseases and complications is increasing. Therefore, new methods of treatment, as well as prevention, need to be investigated.

A group of compounds that should be considered for use in respiratory diseases is cannabinoids. There are three groups of cannabinoids – plant-derived phytocannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids, and endogenous endocannabinoids including the enzymes responsible for their synthesis and degradation.

All cannabinoids exert their biological effects through either type 1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1) and/or type 2 cannabinoid receptors (CB2). In numerous studies (in vitro and in vivo), cannabinoids and inhibitors of endocannabinoid degradation have shown beneficial anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-fibrotic properties.

Although in the respiratory system, most of the studies have focused on the positive properties of cannabinoids and inhibitors of endocannabinoid degradation. There are few research reports discussing the negative impact of these compounds. This review summarizes the properties and mechanisms of action of cannabinoids and inhibitors of endocannabinoid degradation in various models of respiratory diseases.

A short description of the effects selected cannabinoids have on the human respiratory system and their possible use in the fight against COVID-19 is also presented. Additionally, a brief summary is provided of cannabinoid receptors properties and their expression in the respiratory system and cells of the immune system.”

“Phytocannabinoids are terpenophenolic compounds produced by specialized parts of the Cannabis sativa plant and are found in high concentrations in marijuana and hashish. In most of models, these compounds have shown positive biological properties. Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer and anti-fibrotic actions are especially emphasized.”

Activity of THC, CBD, and CBN on Human ACE2 and SARS-CoV1/2 Main Protease to Understand Antiviral Defense Mechanism

“THC, CBD, and CBN were reported as promising candidates against SARS-CoV2 infection, but the mechanism of action of these three cannabinoids is not understood.

This study aims to determine the mechanism of action of THC, CBD, and CBN by selecting two essential targets that directly affect the coronavirus infections as viral main proteases and human angiotensin-converting enzyme2.

Tested THC and CBD presented a dual-action action against both selected targets. Only CBD acted as a potent viral main protease inhibitor at the IC50 value of 1.86 ± 0.04 µM and exhibited only moderate activity against human angiotensin-converting enzyme2 at the IC50 value of 14.65 ± 0.47 µM.

THC acted as a moderate inhibitor against both viral main protease and human angiotensin-converting enzymes2 at the IC50 value of 16.23 ± 1.71 µM and 11.47 ± 3.60 µM, respectively.

Here, we discuss cannabinoid-associated antiviral activity mechanisms based on in silico docking studies and in vitro receptor binding studies.”

Lung cancer patient who had declined conventional cancer treatment: could the self-administration of ‘CBD oil’ be contributing to the observed tumour regression?

b-on, bliblioteca do conhecimento online | BMJ“Conventional lung cancer treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy; however, these treatments are often poorly tolerated by patients. Cannabinoids have been studied for use as a primary cancer treatment. Cannabinoids, which are chemically similar to our own body’s endocannabinoids, can interact with signalling pathways to control the fate of cells, including cancer cells. We present a patient who declined conventional lung cancer treatment. Without the knowledge of her clinicians, she chose to self-administer ‘cannabidiol (CBD) oil’ orally 2-3 times daily. Serial imaging shows that her cancer reduced in size progressively from 41 mm to 10 mm over a period of 2.5 years. Previous studies have failed to agree on the usefulness of cannabinoids as a cancer treatment. This case appears to demonstrate a possible benefit of ‘CBD oil’ intake that may have resulted in the observed tumour regression. The use of cannabinoids as a potential cancer treatment justifies further research.”

“Patient’s perspective

“I was not very interested in traditional cancer treatments as I was worried about the risks of surgery, and I saw my late husband suffer through the side effects of radiotherapy. My relative suggested that I should try ‘cannabidiol (CBD) oil’ to treat my cancer, and I have been taking it regularly ever since. I am ‘over the moon’ with my cancer shrinking, which I believe was caused by the ‘CBD oil’. I am tolerating it very well and I intend to take this treatment indefinitely.””

“Cannabis oil led to lung cancer regression in 80-year-old woman: Report”

“Case Report: Lung Cancer Shrinks in Patient Using CBD Oil”