“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.”
“CBN, cannabinol, is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid found within the cannabis plant. We examine the very complex mechanisms that give allowance for this cannabinoids entrance into the cell membrane and its effect on cannabinoid receptors and the inhibition of the enzyme adenylate cyclase that is responsible for phosphate production. Prior study bears weight accordingly; we examine this phosphate as a potent energy source, the enzymes responsible for cell replication cycle and inhibition thereof. Moreover, how IL-2, (Interleukin-2), a type of cytokine signaling molecule in the immune system stops being produced when immune T cells are exposed to cannabinoids. How IL-2 stimulates the cell cycle via promotion of the c-Fos protein and is responsible for modulation of the immune response. This is shown by Faubert and Kaminski, that administration of CBN can slow cell replication and endure cell death (apoptosis).”
“Our main aim was to investigate the short-term therapeutic effects, safety/tolerability and potential side effects of the cannabis galenical preparation (Bedrocan) in patients with a range of chronic conditions unresponsive to other treatments.
In this retrospective, ‘compassionate use’, observational, open-label study, 20 patients (age 18-80 years) who had appealed to our ‘Second Opinion Medical Consulting Network’ (Modena, Italy), were instructed to take sublingually the galenical oil twice a day for 3 months of treatment. The usual starting dose was low (0.5 ml/day) and gradually titrated upward to the highest recommended dose (1 ml/day). Tolerability and adverse effects were assessed at baseline and monthly thereafter during the treatment period through direct contact (email or telephone) or visit if required. Patients’ quality of life was evaluated at baseline and 3 months using the medical outcome short-form health survey questionnaire (SF-36).
From baseline to 6 months post-treatment, SF-36 scores showed: reductions in total pain (P < 0.03); improvements in the physical component (P < 0.02); vitality (P < 0.03); social role functioning (P < 0.02); and general health state (P < 0.02). No changes in role limitations (P = 0.02) due to emotional state (e.g. panic, depression, mood alteration) were reported. Monthly reports of psychoactive adverse effects showed significant insomnia reduction (P < 0.03) and improvement in mood (P < 0.03) and concentration (P < 0.01).
These data suggest that a cannabis galenical preparation may be therapeutically effective and safe for the symptomatic treatment of some chronic diseases. Further studies on the efficacy of cannabis as well as cannabinoid system involvement in the pathophysiology are warranted.”
“Cannabis users have long reported therapeutic properties of the plant for a variety of conditions, some of which include nausea, emesis, seizures, cancer, neurogenic diseases and pain control. Research has elucidated many cannabinoid pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties, expanding the potential use of cannabinoids as a medical therapy.
Due to the inconsistent delivery and control of the active components involved with smoking, pharmaceutical companies are investigating and prioritizing routes other than smoke inhalation for therapeutic use of cannabinoids. In this relatively new field of pharmaceutical development, ongoing drug development promises great benefit from targeted endocannabinoid receptor agonism.
Available in Canada and Europe, nabiximols, a specific extract from the Cannabis plant, has demonstrated great benefit in the treatment of pain related to spasticity in multiple sclerosis, cancer and otherwise chronic pain conditions.
The cannabidiol oral solution Epidiolex®, which is available in the USA, is indicated for management of refractory epilepsy but may offer therapeutic relief to chronic pain conditions as well.
Current investigative drugs, such as those developed by Cara Therapeutics and Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, are synthetic cannabinoids which show promise to specifically target neuropsychiatric conditions and chronic pain symptoms such as neuropathy and allodynia.
The objective of this review is to provide clinicians with an update of currently available and promising developmental cannabis pharmaceutical derivatives which may stand to greatly benefit patients with otherwise difficult-to-treat chronic conditions.”
“Cannabinoid extracts may have anticancer properties, which can improve cancer treatment outcomes.
The aim of this review is to determine the potentially utility of cannabinoids in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
Results: Cannabinol receptors have been identified in pancreatic cancer with several studies showing in vitroantiproliferative and proapoptotic effects. The main active substances found in cannabis plants are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). There effects are predominately mediated through, but not limited to cannabinoid receptor-1, cannabinoid receptor-2, and G-protein-coupled receptor 55 pathways. In vitro studies consistently demonstrated tumor growth-inhibiting effects with CBD, THC, and synthetic derivatives. Synergistic treatment effects have been shown in two studies with the combination of CBD/synthetic cannabinoid receptor ligands and chemotherapy in xenograft and genetically modified spontaneous pancreatic cancer models. There are, however, no clinical studies to date showing treatment benefits in patients with pancreatic cancer.
Conclusions:Cannabinoids may be an effective adjunct for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Data on the anticancer effectiveness of various cannabinoid formulations, treatment dosing, precise mode of action, and clinical studies are lacking.”
“Some time ago a wrote a blog about the use of certain components of the marijuana plant. It was a fairly short blog which I will include here. More and more states are proposing the legalization of marijuana. There are numerous health claims about hemp oil which is a derivative of Cannabis. There may be merit to these claims possibly by the action of the Cannabis on stem cells. Below is the blog and I will expand more on it:
“We use to think that marijuana was bad for one’s health. Now we are not so sure about it. We need to clarify things a bit.
Cannabinoids, the active components of cannabis (Cannabis sativa) extracts, have attracted the attention of human civilizations for centuries for a variety of uses. The use of Cannabis or Marijuana (scientific name is Cannabis sativa) came before we were able to discover the active portion or substrate. This substrate is called endocannabinoid system. The endocannabbinoid system has a number of components. The system consists of lipids, the receptors for the lipids and certain metabolic enzymes. The Cannabinoid signaling regulates cell proliferation, differentiation and it reduces cell aptosis or death. These receptors are found in the very early stages of life. The results of the Cannabinoid receptors depend upon molecular targets and cellular context involved. There are two main receptors which are called CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors seem to be involved in neural degeneration. They seem to be involved in all three germ layer formations. . CB1 and CB2 show opposite patterns of expression, the former increasing and the latter decreasing along neuronal differentiation. It is thought that the CB2 receptors may be most important. Recently, endocannabinoid (eCB) signaling has also been shown to regulate proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells, with a key role in determining the formation of several cell types in peripheral tissues, including blood cells, adipocytes, osteoblasts/osteoclasts and epithelial cells. The developmental regulation of cannabinoid receptor expression and cellular/sub-cellular localization, together with their role in progenitor/stem cell biology, may have important implications in human health and disease. Bone marrow and stem cells make endocannabinoids, these endocannabinoids interact with the cannabinoid receptors (Cannabinoid receptors have been found in nearly every cell in the human body). If cannabinoids can enhance stem cell migration and proliferation, this could be a powerful therapy. For instance, if you can increase the numbers and movement of stem cells to an injured tissue, you could vastly enhance the healing process. Lastly, the synthetic cannabinoid HU-210 is about 100-1000x times more potent than THC from Cannabis and this synthetic agent has been found to be neurogenic. Meaning that HU-210 can cause new neurons (brain cells) in the brain to form. However this study was done in rats…and humans are different from rats. Will I prescribe medical marijuana for my stem cell patients? At present I do not think I have enough information to make an intelligent decision about this. I suspect if some day I do prescribe this it will be some derivative of Cannabis. There are certainly some intriguing aspects of Cannabis but I feel the jury is still out. I suspect we will certainly hear more about this. Thanks Dr. P”
That was the blog I wrote some time ago. At this juncture I am getting closer to utilizing some component of Cannabis. I have further looked at the literature and there seems to be some very good science on the effect of Cannabis on stem cell workings. One of the intriguing aspects of the CB2 receptor is that it is found mostly in the immune system. At the University of South Carolina, a team discovered that THC could reduce the inflammation associated with autoimmune diseases by suppressing the activity of certain genes involved in the immune response. Its presence there interests scientists because the immune system triggers inflammation, and studies show marijuana can have an anti-inflammatory effect. When we start talking about the immune system we have a host of implications. We are aware that many diseases of aging may have some basis as an auto-immune disease. One of these that interests me is Osteoporosis. There may be both receptors at work. CB-2 works on the immune system while CB-1 is induced during osteogenic differentiation. As I have written in another blog, Very Small Embryonic Like Stem Cells may have a profound effect on the course of Osteoporosis. The next question is can we prime these cells additionally with Cannabis and take things to the next level. More to come I am sure. Dr. P.”