Source of cannabinoids: what is available, what is used, and where does it come from?

John Libbey Eurotext“Cannabis sativa L. is an ancient medicinal plant wherefrom over 120 cannabinoids are extracted. In the past two decades, there has been increasing interest in the therapeutic potential of cannabis-based treatments for neurological disorders such as epilepsy, and there is now evidence for the medical use of cannabis and its effectiveness for a wide range of diseases. Cannabinoid treatments for pain and spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis (Nabiximols) have been approved in several countries. Cannabidiol (CBD), in contrast to tetra-hydro-cannabidiol (THC), is not a controlled substance in the European Union, and over the years there has been increasing use of CBD-enriched extracts and pure CBD for seizure disorders, particularly in children. No analytical controls are mandatory for CBD-based products and a pronounced variability in CBD concentrations in commercialized CBD oil preparations has been identified. Randomized controlled trials of plant-derived CBD for treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome (DS) have provided evidence of anti-seizure effects, and in June 2018, CBD was approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an add-on antiepileptic drug for patients two years of age and older with LGS or DS. Medical cannabis, with various ratios of CBD and THC and in different galenic preparations, is licensed in many European countries for several indications, and in July 2019, the European Medicines Agency also granted marketing authorisation for CBD in association with clobazam, for the treatment of seizures associated with LGS or DS. The purpose of this article is to review the availability of cannabis-based products and cannabinoid-based medicines, together with current regulations regarding indications in Europe (as of July 2019). The lack of approval by the central agencies, as well as social and political influences, have led to significant variation in usage between countries.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31941643

https://www.jle.com/fr/revues/epd/e-docs/source_of_cannabinoids_what_is_available_what_is_used_and_where_does_it_come_from__316043/article.phtml

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Disease-modifying effects of natural Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol in endometriosis-associated pain.

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“Endometriosis is a chronic painful disease highly prevalent in women that is defined by growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity and lacks adequate treatment.

Medical use of cannabis derivatives is a current hot topic and it is unknown whether phytocannabinoids may modify endometriosis symptoms and development.

Here we evaluate the effects of repeated exposure to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in a mouse model of surgically-induced endometriosis.

In this model, female mice develop mechanical hypersensitivity in the caudal abdomen, mild anxiety-like behavior and substantial memory deficits associated with the presence of extrauterine endometrial cysts.

Interestingly, daily treatments with THC (2 mg/kg) alleviate mechanical hypersensitivity and pain unpleasantness, modify uterine innervation and restore cognitive function without altering the anxiogenic phenotype. Strikingly, THC also inhibits the development of endometrial cysts.

These data highlight the interest of scheduled clinical trials designed to investigate possible benefits of THC for women with endometriosis.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31931958

https://elifesciences.org/articles/50356

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The Endocannabinoid System and Synthetic Cannabinoids in Preclinical Models of Seizure and Epilepsy.

 Related image“Cannabinoids are compounds that are structurally and/or functionally related to the primary psychoactive constituent of Cannabis sativa, [INCREMENT]-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabinoids can be divided into three broad categories: endogenous cannabinoids, plant-derived cannabinoids, and synthetic cannabinoids (SCs).

Recently, there has been an unprecedented surge of interest into the pharmacological and medicinal properties of cannabinoids for the treatment of epilepsies. This surge has been stimulated by an ongoing shift in societal opinions about cannabinoid-based medicines and evidence that cannabidiol, a nonintoxicating plant cannabinoid, has demonstrable anticonvulsant activity in children with treatment-refractory epilepsy.

The major receptors of the endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS)-the type 1 and 2 cannabinoid receptors (CB1R, CB2R)-have critical roles in the modulation of neurotransmitter release and inflammation, respectively; so, it is not surprising therefore that the ECS is being considered as a target for the treatment of epilepsy.

SCs were developed as potential new drug candidates and tool compounds for studying the ECS. Beyond the plant cannabinoids, an extensive research effort is underway to determine whether SCs that directly target CB1R, CB2R, or the enzymes that breakdown endogenous cannabinoids have anticonvulsant effects in preclinical rodent models of epilepsy and seizure.

This research demonstrates that many SCs do reduce seizure severity in rodent models and may have both positive and negative pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic interactions with clinically used antiepilepsy drugs. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of the preclinical evidence for and against SC modulation of seizure and discuss the important questions that need to be addressed in future studies.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31895186

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00004691-202001000-00004

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β-Caryophyllene, a CB2-Receptor-Selective Phytocannabinoid, Suppresses Mechanical Allodynia in a Mouse Model of Antiretroviral-Induced Neuropathic Pain.

molecules-logo “Neuropathic pain associated with nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), therapeutic agents for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), responds poorly to available drugs.

Smoked cannabis was reported to relieve HIV-associated neuropathic pain in clinical trials. Some constituents of cannabis (Cannabis sativa) activate cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid type 2 (CB2) receptors. However, activation of the CB1 receptor is associated with side effects such as psychosis and physical dependence.

Therefore, we investigated the effect of β-caryophyllene (BCP), a CB2-selective phytocannabinoid, in a model of NRTI-induced neuropathic pain.

BCP prevents NRTI-induced mechanical allodynia, possibly via reducing the inflammatory response, and attenuates mechanical allodynia through CB2 receptor activation. Therefore, BCP could be useful for prevention and treatment of antiretroviral-induced neuropathic pain.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31892132

https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/25/1/106

“β-caryophyllene (BCP) is a common constitute of the essential oils of numerous spice, food plants and major component in Cannabis.”   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23138934

“Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid.”   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18574142

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A novel phytocannabinoid isolated from Cannabis sativa L. with an in vivo cannabimimetic activity higher than Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol: Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabiphorol.

 Scientific Reports“(-)-Trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) is the main compound responsible for the intoxicant activity of Cannabis sativa L. The length of the side alkyl chain influences the biological activity of this cannabinoid. In particular, synthetic analogues of Δ9-THC with a longer side chain have shown cannabimimetic properties far higher than Δ9-THC itself. In the attempt to define the phytocannabinoids profile that characterizes a medicinal cannabis variety, a new phytocannabinoid with the same structure of Δ9-THC but with a seven-term alkyl side chain was identified. The natural compound was isolated and fully characterized and its stereochemical configuration was assigned by match with the same compound obtained by a stereoselective synthesis. This new phytocannabinoid has been called (-)-trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabiphorol (Δ9-THCP). Along with Δ9-THCP, the corresponding cannabidiol (CBD) homolog with seven-term side alkyl chain (CBDP) was also isolated and unambiguously identified by match with its synthetic counterpart. The binding activity of Δ9-THCP against human CB1 receptor in vitro (Ki = 1.2 nM) resulted similar to that of CP55940 (Ki = 0.9 nM), a potent full CB1 agonist. In the cannabinoid tetrad pharmacological test, Δ9-THCP induced hypomotility, analgesia, catalepsy and decreased rectal temperature indicating a THC-like cannabimimetic activity. The presence of this new phytocannabinoid could account for the pharmacological properties of some cannabis varieties difficult to explain by the presence of the sole Δ9-THC.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31889124

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-56785-1

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Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol.

antioxidants-logo“Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main pharmacologically active phytocannabinoids of Cannabis sativa L. CBD is non-psychoactive but exerts a number of beneficial pharmacological effects, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The chemistry and pharmacology of CBD, as well as various molecular targets, including cannabinoid receptors and other components of the endocannabinoid system with which it interacts, have been extensively studied. In addition, preclinical and clinical studies have contributed to our understanding of the therapeutic potential of CBD for many diseases, including diseases associated with oxidative stress. Here, we review the main biological effects of CBD, and its synthetic derivatives, focusing on the cellular, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31881765

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3921/9/1/21

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Cannabinoids and dystonia: an issue yet to be defined.

 “Dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by sustained or intermittent muscle contractions causing abnormal movements and postures. Besides motor manifestations, patients with dystonia also display non-motor signs and symptoms including psychiatric and sensory disturbances.

Symptomatic treatment of motor signs in dystonia largely relies on intramuscular botulinum toxin injections and, in selected cases, on deep brain stimulation. Oral medications and physical therapy offer a few benefits only in a minority of patients.

Cannabinoids have been shown to be a complementary treatment in several neurological disorders but their usefulness in dystonia have not been systematically assessed. Given recent policy changes in favor of cannabis use in clinical practice and the request for alternative treatments, it is important to understand how cannabinoids may impact people with dystonia.

Reviewing the evidence so far available and our own experience, cannabinoids seem to be effective in single cases but further studies are required to improve our understanding on their role as complementary treatment in dystonia.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31848779

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10072-019-04196-5

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Exploiting cannabinoid and vanilloid mechanisms for epilepsy treatment.

“This review focuses on the possible roles of phytocannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and “transient receptor potential cation channel, subfamily V, member 1” (TRPV1) channel blockers in epilepsy treatment.

The phytocannabinoids are compounds produced by the herb Cannabis sativa, from which Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) is the main active compound. The therapeutic applications of Δ9-THC are limited, whereas cannabidiol (CBD), another phytocannabinoid, induces antiepileptic effects in experimental animals and in patients with refractory epilepsies.

Synthetic CB1 agonists induce mixed effects, which hamper their therapeutic applications. A more promising strategy focuses on compounds that increase the brain levels of anandamide, an endocannabinoid produced on-demand to counteract hyperexcitability. Thus, anandamide hydrolysis inhibitors might represent a future class of antiepileptic drugs. Finally, compounds that block the TRPV1 (“vanilloid”) channel, a possible anandamide target in the brain, have also been investigated.

In conclusion, the therapeutic use of phytocannabinoids (CBD) is already in practice, although its mechanisms of action remain unclear. Endocannabinoid and TRPV1 mechanisms warrant further basic studies to support their potential clinical applications.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31839498

“Cannabidiol is in clinical use for refractory epilepsies.”

https://www.epilepsybehavior.com/article/S1525-5050(19)30373-7/fulltext

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Missing Pieces to the Endocannabinoid Puzzle.

Image result for trends in molecular medicine“The most bioactive ingredient of cannabis (Cannabis sativa or indica) extracts, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), was identified in the 1960s as one of more than 110 phytocannabinoids. It activates receptors of chemically different endogenous ligands (endocannabinoids) that, unlike THC, are metabolized by several enzymes of the endocannabinoid system. Here, the complexity of the plant-derived and endogenous cannabinoids (eCBs) is discussed, to better appreciate the challenge of: (i) dissecting their mutual interactions; (ii) understanding their impact on human pathophysiology; and (iii) exploiting them for human disease. To this aim, missing pieces to the eCB puzzle must be urgently found, by solving the 3D structures of key components, and interrogating noncanonical modes of regulation and trafficking of these lipid signals.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31822395

https://www.cell.com/trends/molecular-medicine/fulltext/S1471-4914(19)30293-X?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS147149141930293X%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

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Untargeted characterization of extracts from Cannabis sativa L. cultivars by gas and liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry in high resolution mode.

Talanta“Elucidation of Cannabis composition is required to evaluate the potential of this plant for pharmacological uses, but also for implementation in breeding programs with agronomical purposes. The aim of the present study was to develop a method for untargeted analysis of polar and non-polar Cannabis extracts.

For this purpose, extracts from 17 cultivars of Cannabis sativa L. were analyzed by gas chromatography-time-of-flight/mass spectrometry (GC-TOF/MS) and liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry (LC-QTOF MS/MS) in high resolution mode.

One hundred sixty-nine compounds were identified in the extracts by searching MS and MS/MS information. Among identified families, there were mainly cannabinoids, terpenoids, lipids and flavonoids, but also some interesting compounds such as amino and organic acids, among others.

Relative contents of terpenoids and cannabinoids in the same cultivars grown in greenhouse and field were compared. Compositional differences in the profile of terpenoids and cannabinoids between both types of grown conditions were found.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31816756

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0039914019310173?via%3Dihub

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