“Finding a therapy for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is perhaps the greatest challenge for modern medicine. The chemical scaffolds of many drugs in the clinic today are based upon natural products from plants, yet Cannabis has not been extensively examined as a source of potential AD drug candidates.
Here, we determine if a number of non-psychoactive cannabinoids are neuroprotective in a novel pre-clinical AD and neurodegeneration drug-screening platform that is based upon toxicities associated with the aging brain.
This drug discovery paradigm has yielded several compounds in or approaching clinical trials for AD. Eleven cannabinoids were assayed for neuroprotection in assays that recapitulate proteotoxicity, loss of trophic support, oxidative stress, energy loss, and inflammation. These compounds were also assayed for their ability to remove intraneuronal amyloid and subjected to a structure-activity relationship analysis. Pairwise combinations were assayed for their ability to synergize to produce neuroprotective effects that were greater than additive.
Nine of the 11 cannabinoids have the ability to protect cells in four distinct phenotypic neurodegeneration screening assays, including those using neurons that lack CB1 and CB2 receptors. They are able to remove intraneuronal Aβ, reduce oxidative damage, and protect from the loss of energy or trophic support. Structure-activity relationship (SAR) data show that functional antioxidant groups such as aromatic hydroxyls are necessary but not sufficient for neuroprotection. Therefore, there is a need to focus upon CB1 agonists that have these functionalities if neuroprotection is the goal.
Pairwise combinations of THC and CBN lead to a synergistic neuroprotective interaction.
Together, these results significantly extend the published data by showing that non-psychoactive cannabinoids are potential lead drug candidates for AD and other neurodegenerative diseases.”
“In this review, we discuss the role of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system in regulating energy and metabolic homeostasis. Endocannabinoids, via activating the cannabinoid type-1 receptor (CB1R), are commonly known as mediators of the thrifty phenotype hypothesis due to their activity in the central nervous system, which in turn regulates food intake and underlies the development of metabolic syndrome. Indeed, these findings led to the clinical testing of globally acting CB1R blockers for obesity and various metabolic complications. However, their therapeutic potential was halted due to centrally mediated adverse effects. Recent observations that highlighted the key role of the peripheral eCB system in metabolic regulation led to the preclinical development of various novel compounds that block CB1R only in peripheral organs with very limited brain penetration and without causing behavioral side effects. These unique molecules, which effectively ameliorate obesity, type II diabetes, fatty liver, insulin resistance, and chronic kidney disease in several animal models, are likely to be further developed in the clinic and may revive the therapeutic potential of blocking CB1R once again.”
“Cannabis sativa (cannabis) produces a resin that is valued for its psychoactive and medicinal properties. Despite being the foundation of a multi-billion dollar global industry, scientific knowledge and research on cannabis is lagging behind compared to other high-value crops. This is largely due to legal restrictions that have prevented many researchers from studying cannabis, its products, and their effects in humans. Cannabis resin contains hundreds of different terpene and cannabinoid metabolites. Our understanding of the genomic and biosynthetic systems of these metabolites in cannabis, and the factors that affect their variability, is rudimentary. As a consequence, there is concern about lack of consistency with regard to the terpene and cannabinoid composition of different cannabis ‘strains’. Likewise, claims of some of the medicinal properties attributed to cannabis metabolites would benefit from thorough scientific validation.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31084880
“Cannabis and cannabinoids offer significant therapeutic benefits for a wide scope of pathological conditions. Among them, the clinical issues rooted in inflammation stand out, nonetheless, the underlying mechanisms are not yet plainly understood. Circumstantial evidence points to polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) as targets for the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis. Therefore, we conducted this study to assess the effects of CM5, a novel Cannabis sativa L. extract standardized in 5% cannabidiol (CBD), on human PMN functions, including cell migration, oxidative metabolism and production of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α. We then sought to investigate whether such effects could be ascribed to its content in CBD. Cell migration was assessed by the Boyden chamber assay, oxidative metabolism by means of spectrofluorimetric measurement of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and TNF-α was measured by real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Results show that both CM5 and CBD inhibit PMN migration, ROS and TNF-α production, indicating that CBD may be the main item responsible for the effects of CM5. CM5 is however more potent than CBD on cell migration and TNF-α production, and less effective on ROS production, suggesting that beyond CBD, other components of the cannabis plant may contribute to the biological effects of the extract. As a whole, such results support the use of cannabis standardized extract and CBD to stem inflammation; however, they also warrant in-depth investigation of the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms to better exploit their therapeutic potential.”
“Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic disorders of the brain affecting around 70 million people worldwide. Treatment is mainly symptomatic, and most patients achieve long-term seizure control. Up to one-third of the affected subjects, however, are resistant to anticonvulsant therapy.
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome (DS) are severe, refractory epilepsy syndromes with onset in early childhood. Currently available interventions fail to control seizures in most cases, and there remains the need to identify new treatments.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the first in a new class of antiepileptic drugs. It is a major chemical of the cannabis plant, which has antiseizure properties in absence of psychoactive effects.
This article provides a critical review of the pharmacology of CBD and the most recent clinical studies that evaluated its efficacy and safety as adjunctive treatment of seizures associated with LGS and DS.”
“Phytochemicals and secondary metabolites able to interact with the endocannabinoid system (Cannabimimetics) have been recently described in a broad range of plants and fruits. These findings can open new alternative avenues to explore for the development of novel therapeutic compounds. The cannabinoids regulate many physiological and pathological functions in both animals and plants. Cannabis sativa is the main plant that produces phytocannabinoids inside resins capable to defend the plant from the aggression of parasites and herbivores. Animals produce anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol, which thanks to binding with main receptors such as type-1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1R) and the type-2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2R) are involved in inflammation processes and several brain functions. Endogenous cannabinoids, enzymes for synthesis and degradation of cannabinoids, and CB1R and CB2R constitute the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Other plants can produce cannabinoid-like molecules such as perrottetinene extracted from Radula perrottetii, or anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol extracted from some bryophytes. Moreover, several other secondary metabolites can also interact with the ECS of animals and take the name of cannabimimetics. These phytoextracts not derived from Cannabis sativa can act as receptor agonists or antagonist, or enzyme inhibitors of ECS and can be involved in the inflammation, oxidative stress, cancer, and neuroprotection. Finally, given the evolutionary heterogeneity of the cannabimimetic plants, some authors speculated on the fascinating thesis of the evolutionary convergence between plants and animals regarding biological functions of ECS. The review aims to provide a critical and complete assessment of the botanical, chemical and therapeutic aspects of cannabimimetic plants to evaluate their spread in the world and medicinal potentiality.”
“Medically refractory epilepsy remains an area of intense clinical and scientific interest since a significant porportion of patients continue to suffer from debilitating seizures despite available therapies. In this setting, recent studies have focused on assessing the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD)-enriched cannabis, a plant based product without psychoactive properties which has been shown to decrease seizure frequency in animal models. More recently, several randomized controlled and open label trials have studied the effects of Epidiolex, a 99% pure oral CBD extract, on patients with refractory epilepsy. This in turn has led to the FDA approval of and more recently, to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s placement of Epidiolex into schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). In this review, we summarize the major findings of several recent large-scale studies using this product with a focus on its adverse effects.”
“The recent FDA approval of Epidiolex combined with the placement of this compound in schedule V of the CSA (the least restrictive schedule of the CSA) has created a much-needed opportunity for the continued study of high-concentration, regulated CBD as a potential therapy for refractory epilepsy. Although recent RCTs and open-label extended-access programs have already demonstrated significant improvement in seizure frequency and severity with a relatively well-tolerated side effect profile for this compound, continued monitoring of Epidiolex is needed to further asses the long-term safety and efficacy, particularly with regard to immune, cognitive, hormonal, and reproductive function. Furthermore, there have been no large-scale RCTs demonstrating significant seizure reduction with Epidiolex in patients with focal onset seizures. Nonetheless, to date, Epidiolex has proven to be an attractive treatment option for an otherwise devastating group of epileptic syndromes. Future studies expanding our knowledge of this compound will be helpful in better understanding its role in the future of epilepsy treatment.” https://f1000research.com/articles/8-234/v1
“Cannabis sativa is widely used for medical purposes. However, to date, aroma, popular strain name or the content of two phytocannabinoids-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are mostly considered for therapeutic activity. This is despite the hundreds of compounds in this plant and their potential synergistic interactions in mixtures. New, specific and effective cannabis-based drugs must be developed to achieve adequate medical standards for the use of cannabis. To do this, the comprehensive molecular profile of cannabis-based drugs must be defined, and mixtures of compounds should be tested for superior therapeutic activity due to synergistic effects compared to individually isolated cannabis compounds. The biological pathways targeted by these new drugs should also be characterized more accurately. For drug development and design, absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination versus toxicity (ADME/Tox) must be characterized, and therapeutic doses identified. Promoting the quality and therapeutic activity of herbal or synthetic cannabis products to pharma grade is a pressing need worldwide.”
“Substance use disorder is characterized by repeated use of a substance, leading to clinically significant distress, making it a serious public health concern. The endocannabinoid system plays an important role in common neurobiological processes underlying substance use disorder, in particular by mediating the rewarding and motivational effects of substances and substance-related cues. In turn, a number of cannabinoid drugs (e.g., rimonabant, nabiximols) have been suggested for potential pharmacological treatment for substance dependence. Recently, cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, has also been proposed as a potentially effective treatment for the management of substance use disorder. Animal and human studies suggest that these cannabinoids have the potential to reduce craving and relapse in abstinent substance users, by impairing reconsolidation of drug-reward memory, salience of drug cues, and inhibiting the reward-facilitating effect of drugs. Such functions likely arise through the targeting of the endocannabinoid and serotonergic systems, although the exact mechanism is yet to be elucidated. This article seeks to review the role of the endocannabinoid system in substance use disorder and the proposed pharmacological action supporting cannabinoid drugs’ therapeutic potential in addictions, with a focus on CBD. Subsequently, this article will evaluate the underlying evidence for CBD as a potential treatment for substance use disorder, across a range of substances including nicotine, alcohol, psychostimulants, opioids, and cannabis. While early research supports CBD’s promise, further investigation and validation of CBD’s efficacy, across preclinical and clinical trials will be necessary.”
“Extracts from Cannabis species have aided the discovery of the endocannabinoid signaling system (ECSS) and phytocannabinoids that possess broad therapeutic potential. Whereas the reinforcing effects of C. sativa are largely attributed to CB1 receptor agonism by Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), the observed medicinal effects of Cannabis arise from the combined actions of various compounds. In addition to compounds bearing a classical cannabinoid structure, naturally occurring fatty acid amides and esters resembling anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol isolated from non- Cannabis species are also valuable tools for studying ECSS function. This review highlights the potential of plant-based secondary metabolites from Cannabis and unrelated species as ECSS modulators.”