Benefits and Risks of Therapeutic Cannabinoids for Neurologic Disorders

Clinical Therapeutics Home

“The Cannabis genus originated in Central Asia and is probably one of the most ancient nonfood crops to be cultivated by humans. Its medicinal properties have been recognized for centuries. Isolation of the psychoactive compound, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, followed by the identification of cannabidiol, led to increased focus on the therapeutic potential of the plant. One of the prominent species, Cannabis sativa, may produce more than 100 different cannabinoids.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30224192

https://www.clinicaltherapeutics.com/article/S0149-2918(18)30331-X/fulltext

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Cannabidiol enhances morphine antinociception, diminishes NMDA-mediated seizures and reduces stroke damage via the sigma 1 receptor.

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“Cannabidiol (CBD), the major non-psychotomimetic compound present in the Cannabis sativa plant, exhibits therapeutic potential for various human diseases, including chronic neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, ischemic stroke, epilepsy and other convulsive syndromes, neuropsychiatric disorders, neuropathic allodynia and certain types of cancer.

CBD does not bind directly to endocannabinoid receptors 1 and 2, and despite research efforts, its specific targets remain to be fully identified. Notably, sigma 1 receptor (σ1R) antagonists inhibit glutamate N-methyl-D-aspartate acid receptor (NMDAR) activity and display positive effects on most of the aforesaid diseases. Thus, we investigated the effects of CBD on three animal models in which NMDAR overactivity plays a critical role: opioid analgesia attenuation, NMDA-induced convulsive syndrome and ischemic stroke.

In an in vitro assay, CBD disrupted the regulatory association of σ1R with the NR1 subunit of NMDAR, an effect shared by σ1R antagonists, such as BD1063 and progesterone, and prevented by σ1R agonists, such as 4-IBP, PPCC and PRE084. The in vivo administration of CBD or BD1063 enhanced morphine-evoked supraspinal antinociception, alleviated NMDA-induced convulsive syndrome, and reduced the infarct size caused by permanent unilateral middle cerebral artery occlusion.

These positive effects of CBD were reduced by the σ1R agonists PRE084 and PPCC, and absent in σ1R-/- mice. Thus, CBD displays antagonist-like activity toward σ1R to reduce the negative effects of NMDAR overactivity in the abovementioned experimental situations.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30223868

https://molecularbrain.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13041-018-0395-2

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Cannabidiol prevents haloperidol-induced vacuos chewing movements and inflammatory changes in mice via PPARγ receptors.

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity

“The chronic use of drugs that reduce the dopaminergic neurotransmission can cause a hyperkinetic movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia (TD). The pathophysiology of this disorder is not entirely understood but could involve oxidative and neuroinflammatory mechanisms.

Cannabidiol (CBD), the major non-psychotomimetic compound present in Cannabis sativa plant, could be a possible therapeutic alternative for TD. This phytocannabinoid shows antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antipsychotic properties and decreases the acute motor effects of classical antipsychotics.

The present study investigated if CBD would attenuate orofacial dyskinesia, oxidative stress and inflammatory changes induced by chronic administration of haloperidol in mice. Furthermore, we verified in vivo and in vitro (in primary microglial culture) whether these effects would be mediated by PPARγ receptors.

The results showed that the male Swiss mice treated daily for 21 days with haloperidol develop orofacial dyskinesia. Daily CBD administration before each haloperidol injection prevented this effect.

Mice treated with haloperidol showed an increase in microglial activation and inflammatory mediators in the striatum. These changes were also reduced by CBD. On the other hand, the levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 increased in the striatum of animals that received CBD and haloperidol.

Regarding oxidative stress, haloperidol induced lipid peroxidation and reduced catalase activity. This latter effect was attenuated by CBD. The combination of CBD and haloperidol also increased PGC-1α mRNA expression, a co-activator of PPARγ receptors. Pretreatment with the PPARγ antagonist, GW9662, blocked the behavioural effect of CBD in our TD model. CBD also prevented LPS-stimulated microglial activation, an effect that was also antagonized by GW9662.

In conclusion, our results suggest that CBD could prevent haloperidol-induced orofacial dyskinesia by activating PPARγ receptors and attenuating neuroinflammatory changes in the striatum.”

“Haloperidol, marketed under the trade name Haldol among others, is a typical antipsychotic medication. Haloperidol is used in the treatment of schizophrenia, tics in Tourette syndromemania in bipolar disorder, nausea and vomiting, delirium, agitation, acute psychosis, and hallucinations in alcohol withdrawal”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haloperidol
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Pharmaceutical potentialities of β-caryophyllene for drug delivery systems: a prospection.

“The β-caryophyllene (BCP), a phytocannabinoid presents in various essential oils, demonstrated selective action on the CB2 endocannabinoid receptor and attracted considerable attention because of its several pharmacological activities. Despite this recognized potential, this hydrophobic compound is a volatile and acid-sensitive sesquiterpene that readily oxidizes when exposed to air, and has low bioavailability in oral formulations. Thus, the development of formulations that guarantee its stability and increase its bioavailability is a challenge for its use in the pharmaceutical field.

RESULTS:

The systems presented here may represent an interesting approach to overcome the limitations already mentioned for this terpene. These systems proved to be promising for improving solubility, stability and controlled release of this pharmacological relevant sesquiterpene. In the industrial field, some companies have filed patent applications for the commercial use of the BCP, however, the use of pharmaceutical formulations still appeared moderate.

CONCLUSION:

This prospective study evidenced the new perspectives related to BCP vectorization systems in the pharmaceutical and industrial marketing field and may serve as a basis for further research and pharmaceutical use of this powerful cannabinoid.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30207226

http://www.eurekaselect.com/165376/article

“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

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Cannabis sativa: A comprehensive ethnopharmacological review of a medicinal plant with a long history.

Journal of Ethnopharmacology

“Cannabis sativa L. (C. sativa) is an annual dioecious plant, which shares its origins with the inception of the first agricultural human societies in Asia. Over the course of time different parts of the plant have been utilized for therapeutic and recreational purposes, for instance, extraction of healing oils from seed, or the use of inflorescences for their psychoactive effects. The key psychoactive constituent in C. sativa is called Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (D9-THC). The endocannabinoid system seems to be phylogenetically ancient, as it was present in the most primitive vertebrates with a neuronal network. N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) are the main endocannabinoids ligands present in the animal kingdom, and the main endocannabinoid receptors are cannabinoid type-1 (CB1) receptor and cannabinoid type-2 (CB2) receptor.

AIM OF THE STUDY:

The review aims to provide a critical and comprehensive evaluation, from the ancient times to our days, of the ethnological, botanical, chemical and pharmacological aspects of C. sativa, with a vision for promoting further pharmaceutical research to explore its complete potential as a therapeutic agent.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS:

A detailed comparative analysis of the available resources for C. sativa confirmed its origin and traditional spiritual, household and therapeutic uses and most importantly its popularity as a recreational drug. The result of several studies suggested a deeper involvement of phytocannabinoids (the key compounds in C. sativa) in several others central and peripheral pathophysiological mechanisms such as food intake, inflammation, pain, colitis, sleep disorders, neurological and psychiatric illness. However, despite their numerous medicinal benefits, they are still considered as a menace to the society and banned throughout the world, except for few countries. We believe that this review will help lay the foundation for promoting exhaustive pharmacological and pharmaceutical studies in order to better understand the clinical relevance and applications of non-psychoactive cannabinoids in the prevention and treatment of life-threatening diseases and help to improve the legal status of C. sativa.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30205181

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874118316611?via%3Dihub

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Cannabis and cannabinoid drug development: evaluating botanical versus single molecule approaches.

Publication Cover

“Accumulating evidence suggests that the endocannabinoid system is a promising target for the treatment of a variety of health conditions.

Two paths of cannabinoid drug development have emerged. One approach is focused on developing medications that are directly derived from the cannabis plant. The other utilizes a single molecule approach whereby individual phytocannabinoids or novel cannabinoids with therapeutic potential are identified and synthesized for pharmaceutical development.

This commentary discusses the unique challenges and merits of botanical vs single molecule cannabinoid drug development strategies, highlights how both can be impacted by legalization of cannabis via legislative processes, and also addresses regulatory and public health considerations that are important to consider as cannabinoid medicine advances as a discipline.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30179534

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09540261.2018.1474730?journalCode=iirp20

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Cannabinoids in cancer treatment: Therapeutic potential and legislation.

Bosnian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences

“The plant Cannabis sativa L. has been used as an herbal remedy for centuries and is the most important source of phytocannabinoids.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) consists of receptors, endogenous ligands (endocannabinoids) and metabolizing enzymes, and plays an important role in different physiological and pathological processes.

Phytocannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids can interact with the components of ECS or other cellular pathways and thus affect the development/progression of diseases, including cancer.

In cancer patients, cannabinoids have primarily been used as a part of palliative care to alleviate pain, relieve nausea and stimulate appetite.

In addition, numerous cell culture and animal studies showed antitumor effects of cannabinoids in various cancer types.

Here we reviewed the literature on anticancer effects of plant-derived and synthetic cannabinoids, to better understand their mechanisms of action and role in cancer treatment. We also reviewed the current legislative updates on the use of cannabinoids for medical and therapeutic purposes, primarily in the EU countries.

In vitro and in vivo cancer models show that cannabinoids can effectively modulate tumor growth, however, the antitumor effects appear to be largely dependent on cancer type and drug dose/concentration.

Understanding how cannabinoids are able to regulate essential cellular processes involved in tumorigenesis, such as progression through the cell cycle, cell proliferation and cell death, as well as the interactions between cannabinoids and the immune system, are crucial for improving existing and developing new therapeutic approaches for cancer patients.

The national legislation of the EU Member States defines the legal boundaries of permissible use of cannabinoids for medical and therapeutic purposes, however, these legislative guidelines may not be aligned with the current scientific knowledge.”

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Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin impairs epithelial calcium transport through inhibition of TRPV5 and TRPV6.

 Pharmacological Research

“Compounds extracted from the cannabis plant, including the psychoactive Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and related phytocannabinoids, evoke multiple diverse biological actions as ligands of the G protein-coupled cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. In addition, there is increasing evidence that phytocannabinoids also have non-CB targets, including several ion channels of the transient receptor potential superfamily.

We investigated the effects of six non-THC phytocannabinoids on the epithelial calcium channels TRPV5 and TRPV6, and found that one of them, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), exerted a strong and concentration-dependent inhibitory effect on mammalian TRPV5 and TRPV6 and on the single zebrafish orthologue drTRPV5/6. Moreover, THCV attenuated the drTRPV5/6-dependent ossification in zebrafish embryos in vivo. Oppositely, 11-hydroxy-THCV (THCV-OH), a product of THCV metabolism in mammals, stimulated drTRPV5/6-mediated Ca2+ uptake and ossification.

These results identify the epithelial calcium channels TRPV5 and TRPV6 as novel targets of phytocannabinoids, and suggest that THCV-containing products may modulate TRPV5- and TRPV6-dependent epithelial calcium transport.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30170189

https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1043661818311095

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A Brief Background on Cannabis: From Plant to Medical Indications.

 Ingenta Connect

“Cannabis has been used as a medicinal plant for thousands of years.

As a result of centuries of breeding and selection, there are now over 700 varieties of cannabis that contain hundreds of compounds, including cannabinoids and terpenes.

Cannabinoids are fatty compounds that are the main biological active constituents of cannabis. Terpenes are volatile compounds that occur in many plants and have distinct odors.

Cannabinoids exert their effect on the body by binding to receptors, specifically cannabinoid receptors types 1 and 2. These receptors, together with endogenous cannabinoids and the systems for synthesis, transport, and degradation, are called the Endocannabinoid System.

The two most prevalent and commonly known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol.

The speed, strength, and type of effects of cannabis vary based on the route of administration. THC is rapidly distributed through the body to fatty tissues like the brain and is metabolized by the cytochrome P450 system to 11-hydroxy-THC, which is also psychoactive.

Cannabis and cannabinoids have been indicated for several medical conditions.

There is evidence of efficacy in the symptomatic treatment of nausea and vomiting, pain, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, loss of appetite, Tourette’s syndrome, and epilepsy. Cannabis has also been associated with treatment for glaucoma, Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and dystonia, but there is not good evidence to support its efficacy. Side effects of cannabis include psychosis and anxiety, which can be severe.

Here, we provided a summary of the history of cannabis, its pharmacology, and its medical uses.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30139415

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The enigma of cannabis use in spinal cord injury.

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“Cannabis use in medicine continues to confound practitioners.

There is confusing interpretation of the efficacy and adverse event data, highlighting the complexity of this unique plant.

Cannabis may have a neuroprotective role in SCI.”

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