Cannabis and its Constituents for Cancer: History, Biogenesis, Chemistry and Pharmacological Activities

Pharmacological Research “Cannabis has long been used for healing and recreation in several regions of the world. Over 400 bioactive constituents, including more than 100 phytocannabinoids, have been isolated from this plant. The non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) and the psychoactive Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) are the major and widely studied constituents from this plant.

Cannabinoids exert their effects through the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that comprises cannabinoid receptors (CB1, CB2), endogenous ligands, and metabolizing enzymes. Several preclinical studies have demonstrated the potential of cannabinoids against leukemia, lymphoma, glioblastoma, and cancers of the breast, colorectum, pancreas, cervix and prostate.

Cannabis and its constituents can modulate multiple cancer related pathways such as PKB, AMPK, CAMKK-β, mTOR, PDHK, HIF-1α, and PPAR-γ. Cannabinoids can block cell growth, progression of cell cycle and induce apoptosis selectively in tumour cells. Cannabinoids can also enhance the efficacy of cancer therapeutics. These compounds have been used for the management of anorexia, queasiness, and pain in cancer patients.

Cannabinoid based products such as dronabinol, nabilone, nabiximols, and epidyolex are now approved for medical use in cancer patients. Cannabinoids are reported to produce a favourable safety profile. However, psychoactive properties and poor bioavailability limit the use of some cannabinoids. The Academic Institutions across the globe are offering training courses on cannabis. How cannabis and its constituents exert anticancer activities is discussed in this article. We also discuss areas that require attention and more extensive research.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33246167/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1043661820316108?via%3Dihub

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Antinociception mechanisms of action of cannabinoid-based medicine: an overview for anesthesiologists and pain physicians

 Pain Rounds“Cannabinoid-based medications possess unique multimodal analgesic mechanisms of action, modulating diverse pain targets.

Cannabinoids are classified based on their origin into three categories: endocannabinoids (present endogenously in human tissues), phytocannabinoids (plant derived) and synthetic cannabinoids (pharmaceutical). Cannabinoids exert an analgesic effect, peculiarly in hyperalgesia, neuropathic pain and inflammatory states.

Endocannabinoids are released on demand from postsynaptic terminals and travels retrograde to stimulate cannabinoids receptors on presynaptic terminals, inhibiting the release of excitatory neurotransmitters. Cannabinoids (endogenous and phytocannabinoids) produce analgesia by interacting with cannabinoids receptors type 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2), as well as putative non-CB1/CB2 receptors; G protein-coupled receptor 55, and transient receptor potential vanilloid type-1. Moreover, they modulate multiple peripheral, spinal and supraspinal nociception pathways.

Cannabinoids-opioids cross-modulation and synergy contribute significantly to tolerance and antinociceptive effects of cannabinoids. This narrative review evaluates cannabinoids’ diverse mechanisms of action as it pertains to nociception modulation relevant to the practice of anesthesiologists and pain medicine physicians.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33239391/

https://rapm.bmj.com/content/early/2020/11/24/rapm-2020-102114

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Cannabidiol: A Potential New Alternative for the Treatment of Anxiety, Depression, and Psychotic Disorders

biomolecules-logo“The potential therapeutic use of some Cannabis sativa plant compounds has been attracting great interest, especially for managing neuropsychiatric disorders due to the relative lack of efficacy of the current treatments.

Numerous studies have been carried out using the main phytocannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). CBD displays an interesting pharmacological profile without the potential for becoming a drug of abuse, unlike THC.

In this review, we focused on the anxiolytic, antidepressant, and antipsychotic effects of CBD found in animal and human studies. In rodents, results suggest that the effects of CBD depend on the dose, the strain, the administration time course (acute vs. chronic), and the route of administration. In addition, certain key targets have been related with these CBD pharmacological actions, including cannabinoid receptors (CB1r and CB2r), 5-HT1A receptor and neurogenesis factors.

Preliminary clinical trials also support the efficacy of CBD as an anxiolytic, antipsychotic, and antidepressant, and more importantly, a positive risk-benefit profile. These promising results support the development of large-scale studies to further evaluate CBD as a potential new drug for the treatment of these psychiatric disorders.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33228239/

https://www.mdpi.com/2218-273X/10/11/1575

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CB2 receptor-selective agonists as candidates for targeting infection, inflammation, and immunity in SARS-CoV-2 infections

“The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 is a deadly disease afflicting millions. The pandemic continues affecting population due to nonavailability of drugs and vaccines. The pathogenesis and complications of infection mainly involve hyperimmune-inflammatory responses. Thus, therapeutic strategies rely on repurposing of drugs aimed at reducing infectivity and inflammation and modulate immunity favourably.

Among, numerous therapeutic targets, the endocannabinoid system, particularly activation of cannabinoid type-2 receptors (CB2R) emerged as an important one to suppress the hyperimmune-inflammatory responses. Recently, potent antiinflammatory, antiviral and immunomodulatory properties of CB2R selective ligands of endogenous, plant, and synthetic origin were showed mediating CB2R selective functional agonism.

CB2R activation appears to regulate numerous signaling pathways to control immune-inflammatory mediators including cytokines, chemokines, adhesion molecules, prostanoids, and eicosanoids. Many CB2R ligands also exhibit off-target effects mediating activation of PPARs, opioids, and TRPV, suggestive of adjuvant use with existing drugs that may maximize efficacy synergistically and minimize therapeutic doses to limit adverse/ side effects.

We hypothesize that CB2R agonists, due to immunomodulatory, antiinflammatory, and antiviral properties may show activity against COVID-19. Based on the organoprotective potential, relative safety, lack of psychotropic effects, and druggable properties, CB2R selective ligands might make available promising candidates for further investigation.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33190277/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ddr.21752

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The endocannabinoidome as a substrate for noneuphoric phytocannabinoid action and gut microbiome dysfunction in neuropsychiatric disorders

“The endocannabinoid (eCB) system encompasses the eCBs anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol, their anabolic/catabolic enzymes, and the cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors. Its expansion to include several eCB-like lipid mediators, their metabolic enzymes, and their molecular targets, forms the endocannabinoidome (eCBome).

This complex signaling system is deeply involved in the onset, progress, and symptoms of major neuropsychiatric disorders and provides a substrate for future therapeutic drugs against these diseases. Such drugs may include not only THC, the major psychotropic component of cannabis, but also other, noneuphoric plant cannabinoids.

These compounds, unlike THC, possess a wide therapeutic window, possibly due to their capability of hitting several eCBome and non-eCBome receptors. This is particularly true for cannabidiol, which is one of the most studied cannabinoids and shows promise for the treatment of a wide range of mental and mood disorders. The eCBome plays a role also in the microbiota-gut-brain axis, which is emerging as an important actor in the control of affective and cognitive functions and in their pathological alterations.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33162769/

https://www.dialogues-cns.org/dialoguesclinneurosci-22-259/

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Cannabidiol (CBD) as a Promising Anti-Cancer Drug

cancers-logo“Recently, cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), have been the subject of intensive research and heavy scrutiny. Cannabinoids encompass a wide array of organic molecules, including those that are physiologically produced in humans, synthesized in laboratories, and extracted primarily from the Cannabis sativa plant. These organic molecules share similarities in their chemical structures as well as in their protein binding profiles. However, pronounced differences do exist in their mechanisms of action and clinical applications, which will be briefly compared and contrasted in this review. The mechanism of action of CBD and its potential applications in cancer therapy will be the major focus of this review article.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33143283/

“The use of cannabinoids containing plant extracts as herbal medicine can be traced back to as early as 500 BC. In recent years, the medical and health-related applications of one of the non-psychotic cannabinoids, cannabidiol or CBD, has garnered tremendous attention. In this review, we will discuss the most recent findings that strongly support the further development of CBD as a promising anti-cancer drug.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/12/11/3203

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History of cannabis and the endocannabinoid system

“This article retraces the story of cannabis from the earliest contacts of humans with the plant to its subsequent global expansion, its medicinal uses, and the discovery of the endocannabinoid system in the 20th century. Cannabis was attested to around 12 000 years ago near the Altai Mountains in Central Asia, and since then, cannabis seeds have accompanied the migration of nomadic peoples. Records of the medicinal use of cannabis appear before the Common Era in China, Egypt, and Greece (Herodotus), and later in the Roman empire (Pliny the Elder, Dioscorides, Galen). In the 19th century, orientalists like Silvestre de Sacy, and Western physicians coming into contact with Muslim and Indian cultures, like O’Shaughnessy and Moreau de Tours, introduced the medicinal use of cannabis into Europe. The structure of the main psychoactive phytocannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), was determined in Israel by Mechoulam and Gaoni in 1964. This discovery opened the gate for many of the subsequent developments in the field of endocannabinoid system (ECS) research. The advances in the scientific knowledge of the ECS place the debate on cannabis liberalization in a new context.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33162765/

https://www.dialogues-cns.org/dialoguesclinneurosci-22-223/

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Cannabis Use May Reduce Healthcare Utilization and Improve Hospital Outcomes in Patients with Cirrhosis

Cover image Annals of Hepatology“Introduction and objectives: Previous studies reveal conflicting data on the effect of cannabis use in patients with cirrhosis. This research evaluates the impact of cannabis on hepatic decompensation, health care utilization, and mortality in patients with cirrhosis.

Results: Cannabis use was detected in 370 (2.1%) of 17,520 cirrhotics admitted in 2011 and in 1,162 (5.3%) of 21,917 cirrhotics in 2015 (p-value <0.001). On multivariable analysis, cirrhotics utilizing cannabis after its legalization experienced a decreased rate of admissions related to hepatorenal syndrome (Odds Ratio (OR): 0.51; 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.34-0.78) and ascites (OR: 0.73; 95% CI: 0.63-0.84). Cirrhotics with an etiology of disease other than alcohol and hepatitis C had a higher risk of admission for hepatic encephalopathy if they utilized cannabis [OR: 1.57; 95% CI: 1.16-2.13]. Decreased length of stay (-1.15 days; 95% CI: -1.62, -0.68), total charges (-$15,852; 95% CI: -$21,009, -$10,694), and inpatient mortality (OR: 0.68; 95% CI: 0.51-0.91) were also observed in cirrhotics utilizing cannabis after legalization compared to cirrhotics not utilizing cannabis or utilizing cannabis prior to legalization.

Conclusion: Cannabis use in patients with cirrhosis resulted in mixed outcomes regarding hospital admissions with hepatic decompensation. A trend towards decreased hospital utilization and mortality was noted in cannabis users after legalization. These observations need to be confirmed with a longitudinal randomized study.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33157269/

“The effectiveness of medicinal cannabis has been noted for many digestive system diseases including cirrhosis. Medicinal cannabis is associated with improved patient and hospital outcomes in cirrhotics”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1665268120302052?via%3Dihub

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Protective Effects of ( E)-β-Caryophyllene (BCP) in Chronic Inflammation

nutrients-logo“(E)-β-caryophyllene (BCP) is a bicyclic sesquiterpene widely distributed in the plant kingdom, where it contributes a unique aroma to essential oils and has a pivotal role in the survival and evolution of higher plants.

Recent studies provided evidence for protective roles of BCP in animal cells, highlighting its possible use as a novel therapeutic tool.

Experimental results show the ability of BCP to reduce pro-inflammatory mediators such as tumor necrosis factor-alfa (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB), thus ameliorating chronic pathologies characterized by inflammation and oxidative stress, in particular metabolic and neurological diseases.

Through the binding to CB2 cannabinoid receptors and the interaction with members of the family of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), BCP shows beneficial effects on obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease/nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NAFLD/NASH) liver diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, pain and other nervous system disorders.

This review describes the current knowledge on the biosynthesis and natural sources of BCP, and reviews its role and mechanisms of action in different inflammation-related metabolic and neurologic disorders.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33114564/

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/11/3273

“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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Cannabidiol (CBD) reduces cocaine-environment memory in mice

Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior “Cocaine addiction is a global health problem with no approved pharmacotherapies.

Preclinical research indicates the non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), can reduce addiction-relevant behaviour for several drug classes (e.g. ethanol, opiates, psychostimulants) in rodents. However, research into the effects of CBD on cocaine addiction-like behaviours is limited, and the acute effects of CBD on cocaine reward are unknown.

Objectives: The present experiments sought to clarify the effects of CBD (10 mg/kg) on the acquisition, consolidation, reconsolidation, extinction and drug-primed reinstatement of cocaine (15 mg/kg) conditioned place preference (CPP) in adult male C57BL6/J mice.

Results: CBD treatment reduced preference for the cocaine-context 20 days after CBD cessation. CBD also reduced consolidation of cocaine memory, and this was evident 1 day after cessation of CBD treatment. Interestingly, CBD treatment also modified cocaine-induced locomotion. CBD did not affect reconsolidation of cocaine-induced place preference, the rate of extinction of cocaine memory, or drug-primed reinstatement of cocaine CPP.

Conclusions: These findings indicate specific effects of acute 10 mg/kg CBD on cocaine memory processes, suggesting delayed effects on cocaine preference and consolidation of cocaine memory, and support the therapeutic utility of CBD for targeting some drug-associated memory processes.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33127382/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S009130572030527X?via%3Dihub

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