Cannabinoid derivatives acting as dual PPARγ/CB2 agonists as therapeutic agents for Systemic Sclerosis.

Biochemical Pharmacology

“The endocannabinoid system(ECS) may play a role in the pathophysiology of systemic sclerosis (SSc). Cannabinoids actingas dual PPARγ/CB2agonists, such as VCE-004.8 and Ajulemic acid (AjA), havebeen shown to alleviate skin fibrosis and inflammation in SSc models. Since bothcompounds are being tested in humans, we compared their activities in the bleomycin(BLM) SSc model.Specifically, the pharmacotranscriptomicsignature of the compounds was determined by RNA-Seq changes in the skin of BLM mice treated orallywith AjA or EHP-101, a lipidicformulation of VCE-004.8. While both compounds down-regulatedthe expression of genes involved in the inflammatoryand fibrotic components of the disease and the pharmacotranscriptomicsignatures were similar for both compounds in some pathways, we found keydifferences between the compounds in vasculogenesis. Additionally, we found 28 specific genes withtranslation potential by comparing with a list of humanscleroderma genes. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that both compounds prevented fibrosis, collagen accumulation andTenascin C (TNC) expression. Theendothelial CD31+/CD34+ cells and telocyteswere reduced in BLM mice and restored only byEHP-101 treatment. Finally, differences were found inplasmatic biomarker analysis; EHP-101, but not AjA, enhanced the expressionof some factors related to angiogenesisand vasculogenesis. Altogether the results indicate that dual PPARγ/CB2agonists qualify as a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of SSc and other fibrotic diseases. EHP-101 demonstratedunique mechanisms of action related to the pathophysiology of SSc that could be beneficial in the treatment of this complex disease without current therapeutic options.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30825431

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006295219300772?via%3Dihub

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Acute effect of vaporized Cannabis on sleep and electrocortical activity.

Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior

“The use of Cannabis for medical purposes is rapidly expanding and is usually employed as a self-medication for the treatment of insomnia disorder.

However, the effect on sleep seems to depend on multiple factors such as composition of the Cannabis, dosage and route of administration. Vaporization is the recommended route for the administration of Cannabis for medical purposes; however, there is no published research about the effects of vaporized Cannabis on sleep, neither in laboratory animals, nor in humans.

Because previous reports suggested that low doses of THC have sedating effects, the aim of the present study was to characterize in rats, the acute effects on sleep induced by the administration of low doses of THC by means of vaporization of a specific type of Cannabis (THC 11.5% and negligible amounts of other cannabinoids).

For this purpose, polysomnographic recordings in chronically prepared rats were performed during 6 h in the light and dark phases. Animals were treated with 0 (control), 40, 80 and 200 mg of Cannabis immediately before the beginning of recordings; the THC plasma concentrations with these doses were low (up to 6.7 ng/mL with 200 mg). A quantitative EEG analyses by means of the spectral power and coherence estimations was also performed for the highest Cannabis dose.

Compared to control, 200 mg of Cannabis increased NREM sleep time during the light phase, but only during the first hour of recording. Interestingly, no changes on sleep were observed during the dark (active) phase or with lower doses of Cannabis. Cannabis 200 mg also produced EEG power reductions in different cortices, mainly for high frequency bands during W and REM sleep, but only during the light phase. On the contrary, a reduction in the sleep spindles intra-hemispheric coherence was observed during NREM sleep, but only during the dark phase.

In conclusion, administration of low doses of THC by vaporization of a specific type of Cannabis produced a small increment of NREM sleep, but only during the light (resting) phase. This was accompanied by subtle modifications of high frequency bands power (during the light phase) and spindle coherence (during the dark phase), which are associated with cognitive processing.

Our results reassure the importance of exploring the sleep-promoting properties of Cannabis.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30822492

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091305718304714?via%3Dihub

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Complete biosynthesis of cannabinoids and their unnatural analogues in yeast

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“Cannabis sativa L. has been cultivated and used around the globe for its medicinal properties for millennia. Some cannabinoids, the hallmark constituents of Cannabis, and their analogues have been investigated extensively for their potential medical applications. Certain cannabinoid formulations have been approved as prescription drugs in several countries for the treatment of a range of human ailments. However, the study and medicinal use of cannabinoids has been hampered by the legal scheduling of Cannabis, the low in planta abundances of nearly all of the dozens of known cannabinoids, and their structural complexity, which limits bulk chemical synthesis. Here we report the complete biosynthesis of the major cannabinoids cannabigerolic acid, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, cannabidiolic acid, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarinic acid and cannabidivarinic acid in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, from the simple sugar galactose. To accomplish this, we engineered the native mevalonate pathway to provide a high flux of geranyl pyrophosphate and introduced a heterologous, multi-organism-derived hexanoyl-CoA biosynthetic pathway. We also introduced the Cannabis genes that encode the enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of olivetolic acid, as well as the gene for a previously undiscovered enzyme with geranylpyrophosphate:olivetolate geranyltransferase activity and the genes for corresponding cannabinoid synthases. Furthermore, we established a biosynthetic approach that harnessed the promiscuity of several pathway genes to produce cannabinoid analogues. Feeding different fatty acids to our engineered strains yielded cannabinoid analogues with modifications in the part of the molecule that is known to alter receptor binding affinity and potency. We also demonstrated that our biological system could be complemented by simple synthetic chemistry to further expand the accessible chemical space. Our work presents a platform for the production of natural and unnatural cannabinoids that will allow for more rigorous study of these compounds and could be used in the development of treatments for a variety of human health problems.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-0978-9

“Yeast can produce THC, CBD, novel cannabinoids”  https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2019/02/28/Yeast-can-produce-THC-CBD-novel-cannabinoids/4411551303863/

“Yeast produce low-cost, high-quality cannabinoids”  https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-02/uoc–ypl022419.php

“Engineered yeast can brew up the active ingredients in cannabis plants”  https://www.newscientist.com/article/2195103-engineered-yeast-can-brew-up-the-active-ingredients-in-cannabis-plants/

“High grade cannabis chemicals produced using brewing yeast”  https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/cannabis-drug-produced-yeast-marijuana-thc-cbd-medicine-california-a8799576.html

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Intractable Generalized Epilepsy: Therapeutic Approaches.

 

“PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

To summarize recent developments in therapeutic options, both medical and surgical, for patients with drug-resistant generalized epilepsy syndromes, which continue to be a multifaceted challenge for patients and physicians.

RECENT FINDINGS:

Newer generation pharmaceutical options are now available, such as brivaracetam, rufinamide, lacosamide, perampanel, and cannabidiol. Less restrictive dietary options appear to be nearly as effective as classic ketogenic diet for amelioration of seizures. The latest implantable devices include responsive neurostimulation and deep brain stimulation. Corpus callosotomy is an effective treatment for some seizure types, and newer and less invasive approaches are being explored. Resective surgical options have demonstrated success in carefully selected patients despite generalized electrographic findings on electroencephalogram. The current literature reflects a widening range of clinical experience with newer anticonvulsant medications including cannabinoids, dietary therapies, surgical approaches, and neurostimulation devices for patients with intractable generalized epilepsy.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30806817

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11910-019-0933-z

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Inhibition of ATM kinase upregulates levels of cell death induced by cannabidiol and γ-irradiation in human glioblastoma cells.

Related image“Despite advances in glioblastoma (GBM) therapy, prognosis of the disease remains poor with a low survival rate.

Cannabidiol (CBD) can induce cell death and enhance radiosensitivity of GBM but not normal astrocytes.

Inhibition of ATM kinase is an alternative mechanism for radiosensitization of cancer cells.

In this study, we increased the cytotoxic effects of the combination of CBD and γ-irradiation in GBM cells through additional inhibition of ATM kinase with KU60019, a small molecule inhibitor of ATM kinase.

We observed in GBM cells treated by CBD, γ-irradiation and KU60019 high levels of apoptosis together with strong upregulation of the percentage of G2/M-arrested cells, blockade of cell proliferation and a massive production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Overall, these changes caused both apoptotic and non-apoptotic inflammation-linked cell death. Furthermore, via JNK-AP1 activation in concert with active NF-κB, CBD upregulated gene and protein expression of DR5/TRAIL-R2 and sensitize GBM cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. In contrast, CBD notably decreased in GBM surface levels of PD-L1, a critical immune checkpoint agent for T-lymphocytes. We also used in the present study TS543 human proneural glioma cells that were grown as spheroid culture. TS543 neurospheres exhibited dramatic sensitivity to CBD-mediated killing that was additionally increased in combination with γ-irradiation and KU60019.

In conclusion, treatment of human GBM by the triple combination (CBD, γ-irradiation and KU60019) could significantly increase cell death levels in vitro and potentially improve the therapeutic ratio of GBM.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30783513

http://www.oncotarget.com/index.php?journal=oncotarget&page=article&op=view&path[]=26582&path[]=82682

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Cannabinoids: a new approach for pain control?

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“To analyze available data related to the use of cannabinoids in medicine, with a special focus on pain management in cancer. The use of cannabis for medical purposes is growing but there are still numerous questions to be solved: effectiveness, safety, and specific indications.

RECENT FINDINGS:

There is considerable variation between countries in the approaches taken, reflecting a variety of historical and cultural factors and despite few randomized controlled studies using natural cannabinoids, there is a trend to state that the use of cannabis should be taken seriously as a potential treatment of cancer-related pain. Cannabidiol, a nontoxic phytocannabinoid with few side-effects is promising in various indications in medicine.

SUMMARY:

The endocannabinoid system is a potential therapeutic target. Cannabinoids may be considered as potential adjuvant in cancer-related pain management. Cannabidiol appears to be the drug of choice. Analgesic trial designs should evolve to get closer to real-life practice and to avoid biases.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30789867

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00001622-900000000-00002

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WIN55,212-2 induces caspase-independent apoptosis on human glioblastoma cells by regulating HSP70, p53 and Cathepsin D.

Toxicology in Vitro

“Despite the standard approaches to treat the highly aggressive and invasive glioblastoma (GBM), it remains incurable.

In this sense, cannabinoids highlight as a promising tool, because this tumor overexpresses CB1 and/or CB2 receptors and being, therefore, can be susceptible to cannabinoids treatment.

Thus, this work investigated the action of the cannabinoid agonist WIN55-212-2 on GBM cell lines and non-malignant cell lines, in vitro and in vivo. WIN was selectively cytotoxic to GBM cells. These presented blebbing and nuclear alterations in addition to cell shrinkage and chromatin condensation. WIN also significantly inhibited the migration of GAMG and U251 cells.

Finally, the data also showed that the antitumor effects of WIN are exerted, at least to some extent, by the expression of p53 and increased cathepsin D in addition to the decreased expression of HSP70.This data can indicate caspase-independent cell death mechanism. In addition, WIN decreased tumoral perimeter as well as caused a reduction the blood vessels in this area, without causing lysis, hemorrhage or blood clotting.

So, the findings herein presented reinforce the usefulness of cannabinoids as a candidate for further evaluation in treatment in glioblastoma treatment.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30776504

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0887233318307537?via%3Dihub

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Spontaneous, anecdotal, retrospective, open-label study on the efficacy, safety and tolerability of cannabis galenical preparation (Bedrocan).

International Journal of Pharmacy Practice banner

“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.

METHODS:

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).

KEY FINDINGS:

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).

CONCLUSIONS:

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.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30768819

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ijpp.12514

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Cannabis for refractory epilepsy in children: A review focusing on CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder.

Epilepsy Research

“Severe paediatric epilepsies such as CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder (CDD) are extremely debilitating, largely due to the early-onset and refractory nature of the seizures. Existing treatment options are often ineffective and associated with a host of adverse effects, causing those that are affected to seek alternative treatments.

Cannabis based products have attracted significant attention over recent years, primarily driven by reports of miraculous cures and a renewed public preference for ‘natural’ therapies, thus placing intense pressure on health professionals and the government for regulatory change.

This study provides a comprehensive overview of the potential role for cannabis in the treatment of CDD. Key areas discussed include the history, mechanism of action, efficacy and safety of cannabis based preparations as well as the burden related to CDD.

The evidence supports the use of cannabinoids, especially cannabidiol, in similar forms of refractory epilepsy including Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes. Evidence for cannabinoids specifically in CDD is limited but growing, with multiple anecdotal reports and an open-label trial showing cannabidiol to be associated with a significant reduction in seizure activity.

This review provides the first comprehensive overview of the potential role for cannabis based preparations in the treatment of CDD and provides justification for further clinical and observational research.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30771550

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0920121118306107?via%3Dihub

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Dronabinol for the Treatment of Paraneoplastic Night Sweats in Cancer Patients: A Report of Five Cases.

 View details for Journal of Palliative Medicine cover image“Night sweats significantly impact the quality of life for cancer patients and are often resistant to treatment.

Cannabinoids have been shown to modulate cytokine activity and produce hypothermia in animal models, suggesting that they may be a promising candidate for palliation of night sweats in patients with oncologic disease.

A retrospective record search identified five cancer patients who had tried oral dronabinol for palliation of their night sweats between 2013 and 2016 and subjectively reported on its efficacy.

 

RESULTS:

Treatment of five patients with advanced cancer with synthetic orally administered dronabinol resulted in the successful management of persistent symptomatic paraneoplastic night sweats.

CONCLUSION:

Dronabinol and/or medicinal cannabis are promising therapies for palliation of night sweats in cancer patients.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30759037

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jpm.2018.0551

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