A Review of the Potential Use of Pinene and Linalool as Terpene-Based Medicines for Brain Health: Discovering Novel Therapeutics in the Flavours and Fragrances of Cannabis

Archive of "Frontiers in Psychiatry".“”Medicinal cannabis” is defined as the use of cannabis-based products for the treatment of an illness. Investigations of cannabis compounds in psychiatric and neurological illnesses primarily focus on the major cannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), which are hypothesised to benefit multiple illnesses manifesting cognitive impairment, neurodegeneration and neuro-inflammation, as well as chronic pain, epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder, respectively.

The cannabis plant contains >500 compounds, including terpenes responsible for the flavour and fragrance profiles of plants. Recently, research has begun providing evidence on the potential use of certain plant-derived terpenes in modern medicine, demonstrating anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects of these compounds.

This review examined the effects of two key terpenes, pinene and linalool, on parameters relevant to neurological and psychiatric disorders, highlighting gaps in the literature and recommendations for future research into terpene therapeutics.

Overall, evidence is mostly limited to preclinical studies and well-designed clinical trials are lacking. Nevertheless, existing data suggests that pinene and linalool are relevant candidates for further investigation as novel medicines for illnesses, including stroke, ischemia, inflammatory and neuropathic pain (including migraine), cognitive impairment (relevant to Alzheimer’s disease and ageing), insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

Linalool and pinene influence multiple neurotransmitter, inflammatory and neurotrophic signals as well as behaviour, demonstrating psycho-activity (albeit non-intoxicating).   Optimising the phytochemical profile of cannabis chemovars to yield therapeutic levels of beneficial terpenes and cannabinoids, such as linalool, pinene and CBD, could present a unique opportunity to discover novel medicines to treat psychiatric and neurological illnesses; however, further research is needed.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34512404/

“Overall, it appears that the importance of the terpene profile of plants to humans extends further than mere olfactory and gustatory delight. Rather, these compounds have the potential for use as treatments for serious chronic neurological and psychiatric illnesses.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.583211/full

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Cannabinoids and Cancer

cancers-logo“Cannabinoids, active components of the plant Cannabis sativa, had been used for centuries in ancient medicine as therapeutic remedies for a variety of conditions, before becoming stigmatized due to their psychoactive effects.

In the second half of the 19th century, phyto-cannabinoids have been re-evaluated after the discovery of the chemical structure and isolation of different substances, and the subsequent development of cannabinoid-based drugs that have been FDA approved mainly to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea, insomnia and appetite, epilepsy, spasticity, and pain management.

Then, the elucidation of the endocannabinoid system, from the initial type 1 and type 2 (CB1 and CB2) cannabinoid receptors and their endogenous ligands (especially N-arachidonoylethanolamine, or anandamide, and 2-arachidonoylglycerol) to the emerging complexity of a wider system made up of additional putative receptors, ligands and enzymes, altogether termed endocannabinoidome, has further boosted research into the therapeutic potential of phyto-, endo- and even syntho-(synthetic) cannabinoids, cancer treatment included.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34503268/

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/13/17/4458/htm

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The Endocannabinoid System: A Potential Target for the Treatment of Various Diseases

ijms-logo“The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is primarily responsible for maintaining homeostasis, a balance in internal environment (temperature, mood, and immune system) and energy input and output in living, biological systems.

In addition to regulating physiological processes, the ECS directly influences anxiety, feeding behaviour/appetite, emotional behaviour, depression, nervous functions, neurogenesis, neuroprotection, reward, cognition, learning, memory, pain sensation, fertility, pregnancy, and pre-and post-natal development.

The ECS is also involved in several pathophysiological diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. In recent years, genetic and pharmacological manipulation of the ECS has gained significant interest in medicine, research, and drug discovery and development.

The distribution of the components of the ECS system throughout the body, and the physiological/pathophysiological role of the ECS-signalling pathways in many diseases, all offer promising opportunities for the development of novel cannabinergic, cannabimimetic, and cannabinoid-based therapeutic drugs that genetically or pharmacologically modulate the ECS via inhibition of metabolic pathways and/or agonism or antagonism of the receptors of the ECS. This modulation results in the differential expression/activity of the components of the ECS that may be beneficial in the treatment of a number of diseases.

This manuscript in-depth review will investigate the potential of the ECS in the treatment of various diseases, and to put forth the suggestion that many of these secondary metabolites of Cannabis sativa L. (hereafter referred to as “C. sativa L.” or “medical cannabis”), may also have potential as lead compounds in the development of cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals for a variety of diseases.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34502379/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/17/9472

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Cannabidiol Induces Apoptosis and Perturbs Mitochondrial Function in Human and Canine Glioma Cells

Frontiers in Pharmacology (@FrontPharmacol) | Twitter“Cannabidiol (CBD), the major non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, is frequently used both as a nutraceutical and therapeutic.

Despite anecdotal evidence as an anticancer agent, little is known about the effect CBD has on cancer cells. Given the intractability and poor prognoses of brain cancers in human and veterinary medicine, we sought to characterize the in vitro cytotoxicity of CBD on human and canine gliomas.

Glioma cells treated with CBD showed a range of cytotoxicity from 4.9 to 8.2 μg/ml; canine cells appeared to be more sensitive than human.

These results demonstrate the cytotoxic nature of CBD in human and canine glioma cells and suggest a mechanism of action involving dysregulation of calcium homeostasis and mitochondrial activity.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34456736/

“In this present study, we demonstrate that highly purified CBD isolate reduced proliferation and induced caspase-mediated cell death, suggestive of apoptosis, in both canine glioma cell lines SDT3G and J3TBG as well as the human glioma cell lines U87MG and U373MG Uppsala. The growing body of knowledge of the pharmacology, anticancer effects, and other therapeutically relevant properties of cannabidiol reveal the exciting potential of CBD as a potential clinical therapeutic.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2021.725136/full

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The Pathophysiology and the Therapeutic Potential of Cannabinoids in Prostate Cancer

cancers-logo“Prostate cancer is the second most frequently occurring cancer diagnosed among males. Recent preclinical evidence implicates cannabinoids as powerful regulators of cell growth and differentiation. In this review, we focused on studies that demonstrated anticancer effects of cannabinoids and their possible mechanisms of action in prostate cancer. Besides the palliative effects of cannabinoids, research from the past two decades has demonstrated their promising potential as antitumor agents in a wide variety of cancers. This analysis may provide pharmacological insights into the selection of specific cannabinoids for the development of antitumor drugs for the treatment of prostate cancer.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34439262/

“Prostate cancer, after lung cancer, is the leading cause of death among men. Although the pathophysiological mechanisms and the etiological factors of prostate cancer development are still poorly understood, there are several factors associated with the risk of developing the disease such as age, family history, lifestyle-related factors (e.g., smoking, diet), and testosterone levels. Cannabinoids are an emerging class of pharmacological molecules that may exert their therapeutic effect against different cancers, including those from the prostate. Several studies have shown that various agonists are able to target cannabinoid receptors exhibited on prostate cancer cells.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/13/16/4107

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Neuroprotective and Symptomatic Effects of Cannabidiol in an Animal Model of Parkinson’s Disease

ijms-logo“Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the Substantia Nigra pars compacta, leading to classical PD motor symptoms. Current therapies are purely symptomatic and do not modify disease progression.

Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the main phytocannabinoids identified in Cannabis Sativa, which exhibits a large spectrum of therapeutic properties, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, suggesting its potential as disease-modifying agent for PD.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of chronic treatment with CBD (10 mg/kg, i.p.) on PD-associated neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory processes, and motor deficits in the 6-hydroxydopamine model. Moreover, we investigated the potential mechanisms by which CBD exerted its effects in this model.

CBD-treated animals showed a reduction of nigrostriatal degeneration accompanied by a damping of the neuroinflammatory response and an improvement of motor performance. In particular, CBD exhibits a preferential action on astrocytes and activates the astrocytic transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1), thus, enhancing the endogenous neuroprotective response of ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF).

These results overall support the potential therapeutic utility of CBD in PD, as both neuroprotective and symptomatic agent.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34445626/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/16/8920

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Cannabidiol – A phytocannabinoid that widely affects sphingolipid metabolism under conditions of brain insulin resistance

Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy“Obesity-related insulin resistance (IR) and attenuated brain insulin signaling are significant risk factors for neurodegenerative disorders, e.g., Alzheimer’s disease. IR and type 2 diabetes correlate with an increased concentration of sphingolipids, a class of lipids that play an essential structural role in cellular membranes and cell signaling pathways.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a nonpsychoactive constituent of Cannabis sativa plant that interacts with the endocannabinoidome. Despite known positive effects of CBD on improvement in diabetes and its aftermath, e.g., anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects, there are no studies evaluating the effect of phytocannabinoids on the brain insulin resistance and sphingolipid metabolism. Our experiment was carried out on Wistar rats that received a high-fat diet and/or intraperitoneal CBD injections.

In our study, we indicated inhibition of de novo synthesis and salvage pathways, which resulted in significant changes in the concentration of sphingolipids, e.g., ceramide and sphingomyelin. Furthermore, we observed reduced brain IR and decreased tau protein phosphorylation what might be protective against neuropathologies development.

We believe that our research will concern a new possible therapeutic approach with Cannabis -plant derived compounds and within a few years, cannabinoids would be considered as prominent substances for targeting both metabolic and neurodegenerative pathologies.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34435590/

“CBD might be an essential factor that leads to the reduction of brain IR. Thus, we believe that our research will concern a new possible therapeutic approach with a Cannabis-plant derived compounds and within a few years, those substances would be considered as prominent compounds for targeting both metabolic and neurodegenerative pathologies.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0753332221008404?via%3Dihub

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Constituents of Cannabis Sativa

“The Cannabis sativa plant has been used medicinally and recreationally for thousands of years, but recently only relatively some of its constituents have been identified.

There are more than 550 chemical compounds in cannabis, with more than 100 phytocannabinoids being identified, including Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

These phytocannabinoids work by binding to the cannabinoid receptors, as well as other receptor systems. Also within cannabis are the aromatic terpenes, more than 100 of which have been identified.

Cannabis and its constituents have been indicated as therapeutic compounds in numerous medical conditions, such as pain, anxiety, epilepsy, nausea and vomiting, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

This chapter provides an overview of some of the biological effects of a number of the cannabinoids and terpenes, as well as discussing their known mechanisms of action and evidence of potential therapeutic effects.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33332000/

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-030-57369-0_1

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In quest of a new therapeutic approach in COVID-19: the endocannabinoid system

Publication Cover“The SARS-Cov-2 virus caused a high morbidity and mortality rate disease, that is the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the unprecedented research interest in this field, the lack of specific treatments leads to severe complications in a high number of cases.

Current treatment includes antivirals, corticosteroids, immunoglobulins, antimalarials, interleukin-6 inhibitors, anti-GM-CSF, convalescent plasma, immunotherapy, antibiotics, circulation support, oxygen therapy, and circulation support. Due to the limited results, until specific treatments are available, other therapeutic approaches need to be considered.

The endocannabinoid system is found in multiple systems within the human body, including the immune system. Its activation can lead to beneficial results such as decreased viral entry, decreased viral replication, and a decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-12, TNF-α, or IFN-γ. Moreover, endocannabinoid system activation can lead to an increase in anti-inflammatory cytokines, mainly represented by IL-10.

Overall, the cannabinoid system can potentially reduce pulmonary inflammation, increase the immunomodulatory effect, decrease PMN infiltration, reduce fibrosis, and decrease viral replication, as well as decrease the ‘cytokine storm’. Although the cannabinoid system has many mechanisms to provide certain benefits in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infected patients, research in this field is needed for a better understanding of the cannabinoid impact in this situation.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33683968/

“Concerning the SARS-CoV-2 infection, the cannabinoid effects on the immune system have the potential to limit the abnormal function of the immune system and therefore decrease the overall mortality.”

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03602532.2021.1895204

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Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV): a commentary on potential therapeutic benefit for the management of obesity and diabetes

figure1“Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a cannabis-derived compound with unique properties that set it apart from the more common cannabinoids, such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The main advantage of THCV over THC is the lack of psychoactive effects. In rodent studies, THCV decreases appetite, increases satiety, and up-regulates energy metabolism, making it a clinically useful remedy for weight loss and management of obesity and type 2 diabetic patients. The distinctions between THCV and THC in terms of glycemic control, glucose metabolism, and energy regulation have been demonstrated in previous studies. Also, the effect of THCV on dyslipidemia and glycemic control in type 2 diabetics showed reduced fasting plasma glucose concentration when compared to a placebo group. In contrast, THC is indicated in individuals with cachexia. However, the uniquely diverse properties of THCV provide neuroprotection, appetite suppression, glycemic control, and reduced side effects, etc.; therefore, making it a potential priority candidate for the development of clinically useful therapies in the future. Hopefully, THCV could provide an optional platform for the treatment of life-threatening diseases.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33526143/

“The psychoactive effects of THC in marijuana are the main reasons for its classification as a Schedule I substance, even though it is the THC that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for appetite stimulation and weight gain. In contrast to THC, clinical and therapeutic advantages of THCV regarding its lack of psychoactive effects in human studies are of great value in pharmacotherapy. It is envisioned that the unique and diverse characteristics of THCV could be explored for further development into clinically useful medicines for the treatment of life-threatening diseases.”

https://jcannabisresearch.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42238-020-0016-7

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