Genetic and pharmacological regulation of the endocannabinoid CB1 receptor in Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

 Nature Communications

“The endocannabinoid system refers to a widespread signaling system and its alteration is implicated in a growing number of human diseases.

However, the potential role of endocannabinoids in skeletal muscle disorders remains unknown. Here we report the role of the endocannabinoid CB1 receptors in Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy.

In murine and human models, CB1 transcripts show the highest degree of expression at disease onset, and then decline overtime. Similar changes are observed for PAX7, a key regulator of muscle stem cells. Bioinformatics and biochemical analysis reveal that PAX7 binds and upregulates the CB1 gene in dystrophic more than in healthy muscles.

Rimonabant, an antagonist of CB1, promotes human satellite cell differentiation in vitro, increases the number of regenerated myofibers, and prevents locomotor impairment in dystrophic mice.

In conclusion, our study uncovers a PAX7-CB1 cross talk potentially exacerbating DMD and highlights the role of CB1 receptors as target for potential therapies.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30262909

“We propose that the endocannabinoid system participates in the development of degenerative muscle disease, through effects on muscle differentiation, regeneration, and repair processes, and suggest that CB1 receptor may represent a potential target for the adjuvant therapy of muscle dystrophies.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-06267-1

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Cannabinoids and spinal cord stimulation for the treatment of failed back surgery syndrome refractory pain

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“This study aimed to evaluate pain and its symptoms in patients with failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) refractory to other therapies, treated with a combination of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), in association with spinal cord stimulation (SCS).

Results: Effective pain management as compared to baseline result was achieved in all the cases studied. The positive effect of cannabinoid agonists on refractory pain was maintained during the entire duration of treatment with minimal dosage titration. Pain perception, evaluated through numeric rating scale, decreased from a baseline mean value of 8.18±1.07–4.72±0.9 by the end of the study duration (12 months) (P<0.001).

Conclusion: The results indicate that cannabinoid agonists (THC/CBD) can have remarkable analgesic capabilities, as adjuvant of SCS, for the treatment of chronic refractory pain of FBSS patients.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30233233

https://www.dovepress.com/cannabinoids-and-spinal-cord-stimulation-for-the-treatment-of-failed-b-peer-reviewed-article-JPR

“Outcomes indicate remarkable analgesic capabilities of cannabinoid agonists (THC/CBD) as an adjuvant to SCS for treating chronic refractory pain in FBSS patients, since all the cases studied achieved effective pain management compared to baseline.”

https://www.mdlinx.com/journal-summaries/cannabinoids-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-thc-cannabidiol/2018/09/13/7544234/

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Medicinal Properties of Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Flavonoids in Cannabis, and Benefits in Migraine, Headache, and Pain: An Update on Current Evidence and Cannabis Science.

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“Comprehensive literature reviews of historical perspectives and evidence supporting cannabis/cannabinoids in the treatment of pain, including migraine and headache, with associated neurobiological mechanisms of pain modulation have been well described.

Most of the existing literature reports on the cannabinoids Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), or cannabis in general. There are many cannabis strains that vary widely in the composition of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds. These components work synergistically to produce wide variations in benefits, side effects, and strain characteristics. Knowledge of the individual medicinal properties of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids is necessary to cross-breed strains to obtain optimal standardized synergistic compositions. This will enable targeting individual symptoms and/or diseases, including migraine, headache, and pain.

OBJECTIVE:

Review the medical literature for the use of cannabis/cannabinoids in the treatment of migraine, headache, facial pain, and other chronic pain syndromes, and for supporting evidence of a potential role in combatting the opioid epidemic. Review the medical literature involving major and minor cannabinoids, primary and secondary terpenes, and flavonoids that underlie the synergistic entourage effects of cannabis. Summarize the individual medicinal benefits of these substances, including analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

CONCLUSION:

There is accumulating evidence for various therapeutic benefits of cannabis/cannabinoids, especially in the treatment of pain, which may also apply to the treatment of migraine and headache. There is also supporting evidence that cannabis may assist in opioid detoxification and weaning, thus making it a potential weapon in battling the opioid epidemic. Cannabis science is a rapidly evolving medical sector and industry with increasingly regulated production standards. Further research is anticipated to optimize breeding of strain-specific synergistic ratios of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytochemicals for predictable user effects, characteristics, and improved symptom and disease-targeted therapies.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30152161

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Cannabinoids and reduced risk of hepatic steatosis in HIV-HCV co-infection: paving the way for future clinical research

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“Whether or not cannabis itself or cannabinoids contained in it may help to reduce hepatic steatosis in HIV-HCV coinfected patients remains an open question. The existing body of knowledge on the interactions between cannabis and the liver suggest a protective effect of cannabinoids on insulin resistance, diabetes, and NAFLD in the general population. Clinical research with randomized study designs is needed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of cannabis-based pharmacotherapies in HIV-HCV coinfected patients. Targeting the endocannabinoid system seems essential to differently manage several pathological conditions such as intestinal inflammation, obesity, diabetes and fatty liver disease. However, to date, few drugs have been tested in clinical trials. CB1-antagonists and CB2 agonists appear to be viable therapeutic options that need to be explored for the management of liver diseases. As HCV cure rates are coming close to 100% in the era of direct-acting antivirals, it is especially important to be able to identify modifiable risk factors of complications and death in HIV-HCV coinfected patients, as well as possible levers for intervention. Given the persistence of metabolic risk factors after HCV eradication, cannabis-based therapies need to be evaluated both as preventive and therapeutic tools in patients living with or at risk of liver steatosis, possibly in combination with existing conventional approaches.”

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14787210.2018.1473764

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Optimization Of A Preclinical Therapy Of Cannabinoids In Combination With Temozolomide Against Glioma.

 Biochemical Pharmacology “Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most frequent and aggressive form of brain cancer. These features are explained at least in part by the high resistance exhibited by these tumors to current anticancer therapies. Thus, the development of novel therapeutic approaches is urgently needed to improve the survival of the patients suffering this devastating disease.

Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the major active ingredient of marijuana), and other cannabinoids have been shown to exert antitumoral actions in animal models of cancer, including glioma. The mechanism of these anticancer actions relies, at least in part, on the ability of these compounds to stimulate autophagy-mediated apoptosis in tumor cells.

Previous observations from our group demonstrated that local administration of THC (or of THC + CBD at a 1:1 ratio, a mixture that resembles the composition of the cannabinoid-based medicine Sativex®) in combination with Temozolomide, the benchmark agent for the treatment of GBM, synergistically reduces the growth of glioma xenografts.

With the aim of optimizing the possible clinical utilization of cannabinoids in anti-GBM therapies, in this work we explored the anticancer efficacy of the systemic administration of cannabinoids in combination with TMZ in preclinical models of glioma.

Our results show that oral administration of THC+CBD (Sativex-like extracts) in combination with TMZ produces a strong antitumoral effect in both subcutaneous and intracranial glioma cell-derived tumor xenografts. In contrast, combined administration of Sativex-like and BCNU (another alkylating agent used for the treatment of GBM which share structural similarities with the TMZ) did not show a stronger effect than individual treatments.

Altogether, our findings support the notion that the combined administration of TMZ and oral cannabinoids could be therapeutically exploited for the management of GBM.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30125556

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006295218303496

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Cannabinoid pharmacology/therapeutics in chronic degenerative disorders affecting the central nervous system.

 Biochemical Pharmacology “The endocannabinoid system (ECS) exerts a modulatory effect of important functions such as neurotransmission, glial activation, oxidative stress, or protein homeostasis.

Dysregulation of these cellular processes is a common neuropathological hallmark in aging and in neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). The broad spectrum of actions of cannabinoids allows targeting different aspects of these multifactorial diseases.

In this review, we examine the therapeutic potential of the ECS for the treatment of chronic neurodegenerative diseases of the CNS focusing on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

First, we describe the localization of the molecular components of the ECS and how they are altered under neurodegenerative conditions, either contributing to or protecting cells from degeneration.

Second, we address recent advances in the modulation of the ECS using experimental models through different strategies including the direct targeting of cannabinoid receptors with agonists or antagonists, increasing the endocannabinoid tone by the inhibition of endocannabinoid hydrolysis, and activation of cannabinoid receptor-independent effects.

Preclinical evidence indicates that cannabinoid pharmacology is complex but supports the therapeutic potential of targeting the ECS.

Third, we review the clinical evidence and discuss the future perspectives on how to bridge human and animal studies to develop cannabinoid-based therapies for each neurodegenerative disorder.

Finally, we summarize the most relevant opportunities of cannabinoid pharmacology related to each disease and the multiple unexplored pathways in cannabinoid pharmacology that could be useful for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30121249

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S000629521830337X

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Reprint of: Efficacy, tolerability, and safety of non-pharmacological therapies for chronic pain: An umbrella review on various CAM approaches.

Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry

“Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies may be used as a non-pharmacological approach to chronic pain management.

Inhaled cannabis, graded motor imagery, and Compound Kushen injection (a form of Chinese medicine) were found the most efficient and tolerable for chronic pain relief.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30107944

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027858461830602X?via%3Dihub

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Current natural therapies in the treatment against glioblastoma.

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“Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and aggressive brain tumor, which causes the highest number of deaths worldwide. It is a highly vascularized tumor, infiltrative, and its tumorigenic capacity is exacerbated. All these hallmarks are therapeutic targets in GBM treatment, including surgical removal followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Current therapies have not been sufficient for the effective patient’s management, so the classic therapies have had to expand and incorporate new alternative treatments, including natural compounds.

This review summarizes natural products and their physiological effects in in vitro and in vivo models of GBM, specifically by modulating signaling pathways involved in angiogenesis, cell migration/invasion, cell viability, apoptosis, and chemoresistance. The most important aspects of natural products and their derivatives were described in relation to its antitumoral effects.

As a final result, it can be obtained that within the compounds with more evidence that supports or suggests its clinical use are the cannabinoids, terpenes, and curcumin, because many have been shown to have a significant effect in decreasing the progress of GBM through known mechanisms, such as chemo-sensitization or decrease migration and cell invasion.

Natural compounds emerge as promising therapies to attack the progress of GBM.”

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Effects of non-euphoric plant cannabinoids on muscle quality and performance of dystrophic mdx mice.

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“Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), caused by dystrophin deficiency, results in chronic inflammation and irreversible skeletal muscle degeneration. Moreover, the associated impairment of autophagy leads to the accumulation of damaged intracellular organelles that greatly contribute to the aggravation of muscle damage.

We explored the possibility of using non-euphoric compounds present in Cannabis sativa, including cannabidiol (CBD), cannabidivarin (CBDV) and tetrahydrocannabidivarin (THCV) to reduce inflammation, restore functional autophagy and positively enhance muscle function in vivo.

We found that CBD and CBDV promote the differentiation of murine C2C12 myoblast cells into myotubes by increasing [Ca2+ ]i mostly via TRPV1 activation, an effect that undergoes rapid desensitization. CBD and CBDV also promoted the differentiation of myoblasts from DMD donors. In primary cultures prepared from satellite cells isolated from healthy donors, not only CBD and CBDV but also THCV promoted myotube formation, in this case mostly via TRPA1 activation. In mdx mice, CBD (60 mg Kg-1), CBDV (60 mg Kg-1 ) prevented the loss of locomotor activity at two distinct ages (from 5 to 7 and 32 to 34 weeks of age). This effect was associated with a reduction in tissue and plasma pro-inflammatory markers, together with the restoration of autophagy.

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS:

We provide new insights into plant cannabinoid interactions with TRP channels in skeletal muscle, highlighting a potential opportunity for novel co-adjuvant therapies to prevent muscle degeneration in DMD patients.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30074247

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Emerging strategies targeting cb2 cannabinoid receptor: biased agonism and allosterism.

Biochemical Pharmacology

“During these last years, the CB2 cannabinoid receptor has emerged as a potential anti-inflammatory target in diseases such as multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, ischemic stroke, autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, and cancer. However, the development of clinically useful CB2 agonists reveals to be very challenging. Allosterism and biased-signaling mechanisms at CB2 receptor may offer new avenues for the development of improved CB2 receptor-targeted therapies. Although there has been some exploration of CB1 receptor activation by new CB1 allosteric or biased-signaling ligands, the CB2 receptor is still at initial stages in this domain. In an effort to understand the molecular basis behind these pharmacological approaches, we have analyzed and summarized the structural data reported so far at CB2 receptor.”

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