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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Cannabidiol Anticonvulsant Effect Is Mediated by the PI3Kγ Pathway

Neuropharmacology“The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (PKB/Akt)/mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway has been associated with several pathologies in the central nervous system (CNS), including epilepsy. There is evidence supporting the hypothesis that the PI3Kγ signaling pathway may mediate the powerful anticonvulsant properties associated with the cannabinoidergic system.

This work aims to investigate if the anticonvulsant and neuroprotective effects of cannabidiol (CBD) are mediated by PI3Kγ.

CDB increased latency and reduced the severity of pilocarpine-induced behavioral seizures, as well as prevented postictal changes, such as neurodegeneration, microgliosis and astrocytosis, in WT animals, but not in PI3Kγ-/-. CBD in vivo effects were abolished by pharmacological inhibition of cannabinoid receptor or mTOR. In vitro, PI3Kγ inhibition or deficiency also changed CBD protection observed in glutamate-induced cell death assay. Thus, we suggest that the modulation of PI3K/mTOR signaling pathway is involved in the anticonvulsant and neuroprotective effects of CBD.

These findings are important not only for the elucidation of the mechanisms of action of CBD, which are currently poorly understood, but also to allow the prediction of therapeutic and side effects, ensuring efficacy and safety in the treatment of patients with epilepsy.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32574650/

“CBD is anticonvulsant in a model of pilocarpine-induced behavioral seizures. CB1 receptor mediates the effects of CBD. PI3Kγ pathway mediates the anticonvulsant neuroprotective effects of CBD.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0028390820302240?via%3Dihub

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Plant Derived Versus Synthetic Cannabidiol: Wishes and Commitment of Epilepsy Patients

 cannabidiol | www.thctotalhealthcare.com“A special component of cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD), is currently in the focus of epilepsy treatment and research. In this context, we investigated patients’ expectations and preferences pertaining to plant-derived versus synthetic formulation of cannabidiol, as well as their willingness to get this treatment.

Methods: One hundred and four of 153 patients with different forms of epilepsy (54 % female, mean age 40 ± 16 yrs.) responded to the survey. The survey consisted of 8 questions addressing expectations of and concerns towards CBD treatment, preferences of plant-derived versus synthetic CBD, estimated monthly costs, and willingness to buy CBD at one’s own expense.

Results: The majority (73 %) of the responding epilepsy patients wished to receive plant-derived CBD; 5 % preferred synthetic CBD. Reasons for this choice were botanic origin, lack of chemistry, and the assumption of fewer and less dangerous side effects. Eighty-two percent of the patients estimated the monthly costs of CBD treatment to be below €500. Using the willingness-to-pay approach to assess the commitment of patients, 68 % could imagine buying the drug themselves. Fifty-three percent of these would be willing to pay up to €100, 40 % €100 to €200, and another 7 % €200 to €500 per month.

Conclusion: There is an overwhelming preference towards plant-derived cannabidiol in epilepsy patients, driven by the idea of organic substances being safer and better tolerated than synthetic. The willingness-to-pay approach reflects the high burden and pressure of uncontrolled epilepsy and the expectation of relief. Non-realistic ideas of pricing as well as what patients would be willing and able to pay confirm this perception.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32554292/

“Epilepsy patients preferred plant-derived cannabidiol to synthetic cannabidiol.”

https://www.seizure-journal.com/article/S1059-1311(20)30175-8/pdf

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Can Physical Activity Support the Endocannabinoid System in the Preventive and Therapeutic Approach to Neurological Disorders?

ijms-logo“The worldwide prevalence of neurological and neurodegenerative disorders, such as depression or Alzheimer’s disease, has spread extensively throughout the last decades, becoming an enormous health issue.

Numerous data indicate a distinct correlation between the altered endocannabinoid signaling and different aspects of brain physiology, such as memory or neurogenesis. Moreover, the endocannabinoid system is widely regarded as a crucial factor in the development of neuropathologies. Thus, targeting those disorders via synthetic cannabinoids, as well as phytocannabinoids, becomes a widespread research issue.

Over the last decade, the endocannabinoid system has been extensively studied for its correlation with physical activity. Recent data showed that physical activity correlates with elevated endocannabinoid serum concentrations and increased cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1R) expression in the brain, which results in positive neurological effects including antidepressant effect, ameliorated memory, neuroplasticity development, and reduced neuroinflammation. However, none of the prior reviews presented a comprehensive correlation between physical activity, the endocannabinoid system, and neuropathologies.

Thus, our review provides a current state of knowledge of the endocannabinoid system, its action in physical activity, as well as neuropathologies and a possible correlation between all those fields. We believe that this might contribute to finding a new preventive and therapeutic approach to both neurological and neurodegenerative disorders.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32545780/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/12/4221

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Neuroprotection or Neurotoxicity of Illicit Drugs on Parkinson’s Disease

life-logo“Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is currently the most rapid growing neurodegenerative disease and over the past generation, its global burden has more than doubled. The onset of PD can arise due to environmental, sporadic or genetic factors. Nevertheless, most PD cases have an unknown etiology.

Chemicals, such as the anthropogenic pollutant 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) and amphetamine-type stimulants, have been associated with the onset of PD. Conversely, cannabinoids have been associated with the treatment of the symptoms’. PD and medical cannabis is currently under the spotlight, and research to find its benefits on PD is on-going worldwide.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32545328/

https://www.mdpi.com/2075-1729/10/6/86

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Migraine Frequency Decrease Following Prolonged Medical Cannabis Treatment: A Cross-Sectional Study

brainsci-logo“Medical cannabis (MC) treatment for migraine is practically emerging, although sufficient clinical data are not available for this indication. This cross-sectional questionnaire-based study aimed to investigate the associations between phytocannabinoid treatment and migraine frequency.

Compared to non-responders, responders (n = 89, 61%) reported lower current migraine disability and lower negative impact, and lower rates of opioid and triptan consumption. Subgroup analysis demonstrated that responders consumed higher doses of the phytocannabinoid ms_373_15c and lower doses of the phytocannabinoid ms_331_18d (3.40 95% CI (1.10 to 12.00); p < 0.01 and 0.22 95% CI (0.05-0.72); p < 0.05, respectively).

Conclusions: These findings indicate that MC results in long-term reduction of migraine frequency in >60% of treated patients and is associated with less disability and lower antimigraine medication intake. They also point to the MC composition, which may be potentially efficacious in migraine patients.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32526965/

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3425/10/6/360

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The Role of Cannabinoids in Allergic Diseases

 International Archives of Allergy and Immunology - Home - Karger ...“The human endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex signalling network involved in many key physiological processes. The ECS includes the cannabinoid receptors, the endocannabinoid ligands, and the enzymes related to their synthesis and degradation.

Other cannabinoids encompass the phytocannabinoids from Cannabis sativaL.(marijuana) and the synthetic cannabinoids. Alterations in the ECS are associated with different diseases, including inflammatory and immune-mediated disorders such as allergy.

Allergy is a global health problem of increasing prevalence with high socio-economic impact. Different studies have convincingly demonstrated that cannabinoids play a role in allergy, but their actual contribution is still controversial. It has been shown that cannabinoids exert anti-inflammatory properties in the airways and the skin of allergic patients.

A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in the mode of action of specific cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors on relevant immune cells under different biological contexts might well contribute to the design of novel strategies for the prevention and treatment of allergic diseases. Future research in this promising emerging field in the context of allergy is warranted for the upcoming years.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32526734/

“Different studies have convincingly demonstrated the anti-inflammatory properties exerted by cannabinoids in the airways and the skin in the context of allergic diseases both in mice and humans.”

https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/508989

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(‒)-Cannabidiolic Acid, a Still Overlooked Bioactive Compound: An Introductory Review and Preliminary Research

molecules-logo“Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) is the main phytocannabinoid in fiber and seed-oil hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) plants, but its potential health-related capabilities have been masked for years by a greater scientific interest towards its neutral derivative cannabidiol (CBD). This review aims to collect from the literature and critically discuss all the information about this molecule, starting from its biosynthesis, and focusing on its bioactivity, as an anti-inflammatory, anti-emetic, anti-convulsant, and anti-cancerogenic drug. Furthermore, in the awareness that, despite its multiple bioactive effects, currently poor efforts have been made to achieve its reliable purification, herein, we propose a relatively simple, fast, and inexpensive procedure for its recovery from pollen of industrial hemp cultivars. Spectroscopic and spectrometric techniques allowed us to unequivocally identify pure isolated CBDA and to distinguish it from the constitutional isomer tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA-A).”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32517131/

https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/25/11/2638

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The Potential of Cannabidiol in the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Hypothesis Letter

British Journal of Pharmacology“Identifying candidate drugs effective in the new coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is crucial, pending a vaccine against SARS-CoV2. We suggest the hypothesis that Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid, has the potential to limit the severity and progression of the disease for several reasons: 1) High-CBD Cannabis Sativa extracts are able to downregulate the expression of the two key receptors for SARS-CoV2 in several models of human epithelia 2) CBD exerts a wide range of immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects and it can mitigate the uncontrolled cytokine production featuring Acute Lung Injury 3) Being a PPARγ agonist, it can display a direct antiviral activity 4) PPARγ agonists are regulators of fibroblast/myofibroblast activation and can inhibit the development of pulmonary fibrosis, thus ameliorating lung function in recovered patients. We hope our hypothesis, corroborated by several preclinical evidence, will inspire further targeted studies to test CBD as a support drug against the COVID-19 pandemic.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32519753/

https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bph.15157

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