In silico inquest reveals the efficacy of Cannabis in the treatment of post-Covid-19 related neurodegeneration

Publication Cover “Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of the Covid-19 pandemic has proved itself as the deadliest pathogen. A major portion of the population has become susceptible to this strain. Scientists are pushing their limits to formulate a vaccine against Covid-19 with the least side effects.

Although the recent discoveries of vaccines have shown some relief from the covid infection rate, however, physical fatigue, mental abnormalities, inflammation and other multiple organ damages are arising as post-Covid symptoms. The long-term effects of these symptoms are massive. Patients with such symptoms are known as long-haulers and treatment strategy against this condition is still unknown.

In this study, we tried to explore a strategy to deal with the post-Covid symptoms. We targeted three human proteins namely ACE2, Interleukin-6, Transmembrane serine protease and NRP1 which are already reported to be damaged via Covid-19 proteins and upregulated in the post-Covid stage. Our target plant in this study is Cannabis (popularly known as ‘Ganja’ in India).

The molecular docking and simulation studies revealed that Cannabidiol (CBD) and Cannabivarin (CVN) obtained from Cannabis can bind to post-Covid symptoms related central nervous system (CNS) proteins and downregulate them which can be beneficial in post-covid symptoms treatment strategy. Thus we propose Cannabis as an important therapeutic plant against post-Covid symptoms.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33810774/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07391102.2021.1905556?journalCode=tbsd20

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Different Cannabis sativa Extraction Methods Result in Different Biological Activities against a Colon Cancer Cell Line and Healthy Colon Cells

plants-logo“Cannabis sativa is one of the oldest medicinal plants used by humans, containing hundreds of bioactive compounds. The biological effects and interplay of these compounds are far from fully understood, although the plant’s therapeutic effects are beyond doubt.

Extraction methods for these compounds are becoming an integral part of modern Cannabis-based medicine. Still, little is known about how different methods affect the final composition of Cannabis extracts and thus, their therapeutic effects.

In this study, different extraction methods were tested, namely maceration, Soxhlet, ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE), and supercritical CO2 extraction methods. The obtained extracts were evaluated for their cannabinoid content, antioxidant properties, and in vitro bioactivity on human colon cancer and healthy colon cells.

Our data suggest that Cannabis extracts, when properly prepared, can significantly decrease cancer cell viability while protecting healthy cells from cytotoxic effects.

However, post-processing of extracts poses a significant limitation in predicting therapeutic response based on the composition of the crude extract, as it affects not only the actual amounts of the respective cannabinoids but also their relative ratio to the primary extracts. These effects must be carefully considered in the future preparations of new therapeutic extracts.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33802757/

https://www.mdpi.com/2223-7747/10/3/566

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Molecular Mechanism of Autophagy and Its Regulation by Cannabinoids in Cancer

cancers-logo“Autophagy is a “self-degradation” process whereby malfunctioned cytoplasmic constituents and protein aggregates are engulfed by a vesicle called the autophagosome, and subsequently degraded by the lysosome. Autophagy plays a crucial role in sustaining protein homeostasis and can be an alternative source of energy under detrimental circumstances. Studies have demonstrated a paradoxical function for autophagy in cancer, displaying both tumour suppressive and tumour promotive roles. In early phases of tumour development autophagy promotes cancer cell death. In later phases, autophagy enables cancer cells to survive and withstand therapy.

Cannabinoids, which are derivatives of the Cannabis sativa L. plant, have shown to be associated with autophagy induction in cells. There is an emerging interest in studying the signalling pathways involved in cannabinoid-induced autophagy and their potential application in anticancer therapies. In this review, the molecular mechanisms involved in the autophagy degradation process will be discussed. This review also highlights a role for autophagy in cancer progression, with cannabinoid-induced autophagy presenting a novel strategy for anticancer therapy.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33802014/

“This review examines the complex function of autophagy in malignancy and explores its regulation by cannabinoids in different cancers. Autophagy is an important process in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis, through the degradation and recycling of cytoplasmic constituents. The action of autophagy is highly dependent on tumour stage and type and the receptors with which ligands interact. Cannabinoids are growingly being acknowledged for their anticancer activities and are known to stimulate several mechanisms such as apoptosis and autophagy. Better understanding the mechanism of action behind autophagy and its regulation by cannabinoids will allow the development of novel cancer therapeutics.”
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THC Reduces Ki67-Immunoreactive Cells Derived from Human Primary Glioblastoma in a GPR55-Dependent Manner

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“Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most frequent malignant tumor of the central nervous system in humans with a median survival time of less than 15 months.

9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the best-characterized components of Cannabis sativa plants with modulating effects on cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) and on orphan receptors such as GPR18 or GPR55. Previous studies have demonstrated anti-tumorigenic effects of THC and CBD in several tumor entities including GBM, mostly mediated via CB1 or CB2.

In this study, we investigated the non-CB1/CB2 effects of THC on the cell cycle of GBM cells isolated from human tumor samples.

Cell cycle entry was measured after 24 h upon exposure by immunocytochemical analysis of Ki67 as proliferation marker. The Ki67-reducing effect of THC was abolished in the presence of CBD, whereas CBD alone did not cause any changes. To identify the responsible receptor for THC effects, we first characterized the cells regarding their expression of different cannabinoid receptors: CB1, CB2, GPR18, and GPR55. Secondly, the receptors were pharmacologically blocked by application of their selective antagonists AM281, AM630, O-1918, and CID16020046 (CID), respectively. All examined cells expressed the receptors, but only in presence of the GPR55 antagonist CID was the THC effect diminished. Stimulation with the GPR55 agonist lysophosphatidylinositol (LPI) revealed similar effects as obtained for THC. The LPI effects were also inhibited by CBD and CID, confirming a participation of GPR55 and suggesting its involvement in modifying the cell cycle of patient-derived GBM cells.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33802282/

“Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most frequent primary brain tumor entity with poor prognosis and resistance to current standard therapies. Cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are discussed as promising compounds for individualized treatment, as they exert anti-tumor effects by binding to cannabinoid-specific receptors. However, their pharmacology is highly diverse and complex. The present study was designed to verify (1) whether cannabinoids show even any effect in GBM cells derived from primary human tumor samples and (2) to identify the receptor responsible for those effects. Our findings revealed that THC reduces the number of Ki67 immunoreactive nuclei, a cell cycle marker through the orphan cannabinoid receptor GPR55. The data suggest a therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in those GBM with functional and responsive GPR55.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/13/5/1064

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Non-Cannabinoid Metabolites of Cannabis sativa L. with Therapeutic Potential

plants-logo“The cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa L.) produces an estimated 545 chemical compounds of different biogenetic classes. In addition to economic value, many of these phytochemicals have medicinal and physiological activity. The plant is most popularly known for its two most-prominent and most-studied secondary metabolites-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Both Δ9-THC and CBD have a wide therapeutic window across many ailments and form part of a class of secondary metabolites called cannabinoids-of which approximately over 104 exist.

This review will focus on non-cannabinoid metabolites of Cannabis sativa that also have therapeutic potential, some of which share medicinal properties similar to those of cannabinoids. The most notable of these non-cannabinoid phytochemicals are flavonoids and terpenes. We will also discuss future directions in cannabis research and development of cannabis-based pharmaceuticals. Caflanone, a flavonoid molecule with selective activity against the human viruses including the coronavirus OC43 (HCov-OC43) that is responsible for COVID-19, and certain cancers, is one of the most promising non-cannabinoid molecules that is being advanced into clinical trials.

As validated by thousands of years of the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, vast anecdotal evidence abounds on the medicinal benefits of the plant. These benefits are attributed to the many phytochemicals in this plant, including non-cannabinoids. The most promising non-cannabinoids with potential to alleviate global disease burdens are discussed.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33672441/

https://www.mdpi.com/2223-7747/10/2/400

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Cannabidiol Inhibits SARS-CoV-2 Replication and Promotes the Host Innate Immune Response

bioRxiv“The rapid spread of COVID-19 underscores the need for new treatments.

Here we report that cannabidiol (CBD), a compound produced by the cannabis plant, inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection. CBD and its metabolite, 7-OH-CBD, but not congeneric cannabinoids, potently block SARS-CoV-2 replication in lung epithelial cells.

CBD acts after cellular infection, inhibiting viral gene expression and reversing many effects of SARS-CoV-2 on host gene transcription. CBD induces interferon expression and up-regulates its antiviral signaling pathway. A cohort of human patients previously taking CBD had significantly lower SARS-CoV-2 infection incidence of up to an order of magnitude relative to matched pairs or the general population.

This study highlights CBD, and its active metabolite, 7-OH-CBD, as potential preventative agents and therapeutic treatments for SARS-CoV-2 at early stages of infection.”

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.03.10.432967v1

“Cannabis compound inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in human lung cells”   https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210314/Cannabis-compound-inhibits-SARS-CoV-2-replication-in-human-lung-cells.aspx

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Cannabinoids as Key Regulators of Inflammasome Signaling: A Current Perspective

Segura Lab - New publication in Frontiers in Immunology“Inflammasomes are cytoplasmic inflammatory signaling protein complexes that detect microbial materials, sterile inflammatory insults, and certain host-derived elements. Inflammasomes, once activated, promote caspase-1-mediated maturation and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18, leading to pyroptosis. Current advances in inflammasome research support their involvement in the development of chronic inflammatory disorders in contrast to their role in regulating innate immunity.

Cannabis (marijuana) is a natural product obtained from the Cannabis sativa plant, and pharmacologically active ingredients of the plant are referred to as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids and cannabis extracts have recently emerged as promising novel drugs for chronic medical conditions. Growing evidence indicates the potent anti-inflammatory potential of cannabinoids, especially Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and synthetic cannabinoids; however, the mechanisms remain unclear. Several attempts have been made to decipher the role of cannabinoids in modulating inflammasome signaling in the etiology of chronic inflammatory diseases.

In this review, we discuss recently published evidence on the effect of cannabinoids on inflammasome signaling. We also discuss the contribution of various cannabinoids in human diseases concerning inflammasome regulation. Lastly, in the milieu of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, we confer available evidence linking inflammasome activation to the pathophysiology of COVID-19 suggesting overall, the importance of cannabinoids as possible drugs to target inflammasome activation in or to support the treatment of a variety of human disorders including COVID-19.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33584697/

“Cannabis has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory effects owing to its constituents, cannabinoids and terpenoids. Overall, cannabinoids hold a great promise as additional therapeutics to support the current treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases, along with COVID-19”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2020.613613/full

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Cannabidiol inhibits human glioma by induction of lethal mitophagy through activating TRPV4

Publication Cover“Glioma is the most common primary malignant brain tumor with poor survival and limited therapeutic options. The non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to be effective against glioma; however, the molecular target and mechanism of action of CBD in glioma are poorly understood.

Here we investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying the antitumor effect of CBD in preclinical models of human glioma.

Our results showed that CBD induced autophagic rather than apoptotic cell death in glioma cells. We also showed that CBD induced mitochondrial dysfunction and lethal mitophagy arrest, leading to autophagic cell death. Mechanistically, calcium flux induced by CBD through TRPV4 (transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 4) activation played a key role in mitophagy initiation. We further confirmed TRPV4 levels correlated with both tumor grade and poor survival in glioma patients. Transcriptome analysis and other results demonstrated that ER stress and the ATF4-DDIT3-TRIB3-AKT-MTOR axis downstream of TRPV4 were involved in CBD-induced mitophagy in glioma cells. Lastly, CBD and temozolomide combination therapy in patient-derived neurosphere cultures and mouse orthotopic models showed significant synergistic effect in both controlling tumor size and improving survival.

Altogether, these findings showed for the first time that the antitumor effect of CBD in glioma is caused by lethal mitophagy and identified TRPV4 as a molecular target and potential biomarker of CBD in glioma. Given the low toxicity and high tolerability of CBD, we therefore propose CBD should be tested clinically for glioma, both alone and in combination with temozolomide.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33629929/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15548627.2021.1885203?journalCode=kaup20

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Induced Fit Docking and Automated QSAR Studies Reveal the ER-α Inhibitory Activity of Cannabis sativa in Breast Cancer

Background: Breast Cancer (BC), a common death-causing disease and the deadliest cancer next to lung cancer, is characterized by an abnormal growth of cells in the tissues of the breast. BC chemotherapy is marked by targeting the activities of some receptors such as Estrogen Receptor alpha (ER-α). At present, one of the most commonly used and approved marketed therapeutic drug for BC is tamoxifen. Despite the short term success of tamoxifen usage, its long time treatment has been associated with significant side effects. Therefore, there is a pressing need for the development of novel anti-estrogens for the prevention and treatment of BC.

Objective: In this study, we evaluate the inhibitory effect of Cannabis Sativa phyto-constituents on ER-α.

Method: Glide and Induced Fit Docking followed by ADME, Automated QSAR and Binding free energy (ΔGbind) studies were used to evaluate the anti-breast cancer and ER-α inhibitory activity of Cannabis sativa, which has been reported to be effective in inhibiting breast cancer cell proliferation.

Results: Phyto-constituents of Cannabis sativa possess lower docking scores and good ΔGbind when compared to that of tamoxifen. ADME and AutoQSAR studies revealed that our lead compounds demonstrated the properties required to make them promising therapeutic agents.

Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that Naringenin, Dihydroresveratrol, Baicalein, Apigenin and Cannabitriol could have relatively better inhibitory activity than tamoxifen and could be a better and patent therapeutic candidate in the treatment of BC. Further research such as in vivo and/or in vitro assays could be conducted to attest the ability of these compounds.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33563181/

https://www.eurekaselect.com/190950/article

 

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The Role of Cannabinoids as Anticancer Agents in Pediatric Oncology

cancers-logo“Cannabinoids are a group of chemicals that bind to receptors in the human body and, in turn, modulate the endocannabinoid system (ECS). They can be endogenously produced, synthetic, or derived from the plant Cannabis sativa L.

Research over the past several decades has shown that the ECS is a cellular communication network essential to maintain multiple biological functions and the homeostasis of the body. Indeed, cannabinoids have been shown to influence a wide variety of biological effects, including memory, pain, reproduction, bone remodeling or immunity, to name a few.

Unsurprisingly, given these broad physiological effects, alterations of the ECS have been found in different diseases, including cancer. In recent years, the medical use of cannabis has been approved in different countries for a variety of human conditions. However, the use of these compounds, specifically as anticancer agents, remains controversial.

Studies have shown that cannabinoids do have anticancer activity in different tumor types such as breast cancer, melanoma, lymphoma and adult brain cancer. Specifically, phytocannabinoids Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to induce apoptosis and inhibit proliferation of adult cancer cells, as well as modulate angiogenesis and metastasis.

Despite increasing evidence that cannabinoids elicit antitumor effects in adult cancers, there is minimal data available on their effects in children or in pediatric cancers despite public and clinical demand for information. Here we describe a comprehensive and critical review of what is known about the effects of cannabinoids on pediatric cancers, highlight current gaps in knowledge and identify the critical issues that need addressing before considering these promising but controversial drugs for use in pediatric oncology.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33466435/

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/13/1/157

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