Highest-resolution model to date of brain receptor behind marijuana’s high

“Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center report the most detailed 3-D structure to date of the brain receptor that binds and responds to the chemical at the root of marijuana’s high.

Their high-resolution structure of the human cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and its binding site for the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) should lead to a better understanding of how marijuana affects the brain.

The research also could aid discovery of new treatments for conditions that target the receptor, said Dr. Daniel Rosenbaum, Assistant Professor of Biophysics and Biochemistry at UT Southwestern.”


Evaluation of Two Commercially Available Cannabidiol Formulations for Use in Electronic Cigarettes.

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“Since 24 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana in some form, suppliers of legal marijuana have developed Cannabis sativa products for use in electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).

Personal battery powered vaporizers, or e-cigarettes, were developed to deliver a nicotine vapor such that smokers could simulate smoking tobacco without the inherent pathology of inhaled tobacco smoke. The liquid formulations used in these devices are comprised of an active ingredient such as nicotine mixed with vegetable glycerin (VG) and/or propylene glycol (PG) and flavorings.

A significant active ingredient of C. sativa, cannabidiol (CBD), has been purported to have anti-convulsant, anti-nociceptive, and anti-psychotic properties. These properties have potential medical therapies such as intervention of addictive behaviors, treatments for epilepsy, management of pain for cancer patients, and treatments for schizophrenia.

However, CBD extracted from C. sativa remains a DEA Schedule I drug since it has not been approved by the FDA for medical purposes.

Two commercially available e-cigarette liquid formulations reported to contain 3.3 mg/mL of CBD as the active ingredient were evaluated. These products are not regulated by the FDA in manufacturing or in labeling of the products and were found to contain 6.5 and 7.6 mg/mL of CBD in VG and PG with a variety of flavoring agents. Presently, while labeled as to content, the quality control of manufacturers and the relative safety of these products is uncertain.”


Drug repurposing and emerging adjunctive treatments for schizophrenia.

“Schizophrenia is a frequent disorder, which substantially impairs patients’ quality of life. Moreover, the burden of illness for patients, their families and for the society, in general, is substantial.

Given the current failure of a number of mechanistically new drugs, repurposed compounds may serve as alternative and/or adjunctive agents for schizophrenic patients and for treatment refractory patients in particular. Anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as N-acetylcysteine, a precursor of the major antioxidant glutathione, hormones, glutamatergic and nicotinergic compounds, ‘nutraceuticals’ (e.g., ω-3 fatty acids) and cannabidiol, an endocannabinoid modulator, represent promising agents in this field.”


Cannabinoids suppress acute and anticipatory nausea in pre-clinical rat models of conditioned gaping.

“The sensation of nausea is one of the most debilitating human experiences. Current anti-emetic therapies are effective in reducing vomiting, but are less effective in reducing acute and delayed nausea and are completely ineffective in reducing anticipatory nausea.

Recent pre-clinical evidence using a selective rat model of nausea (conditioned gaping reactions) has revealed that cannabinoids have great promise as treatments for nausea and that their anti-nausea effects may be mediated by the interoceptive insular cortex.”



Marijuana’s potential for treating autoimmune disorders

“A new study provides evidence that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a principal ingredient in marijuana, may be beneficial in treating those with autoimmune disorders.

The study is the first to explore how tiny, yet powerful molecules called microRNAs are influenced by THC. The ability to alter microRNA expression could hold the key to successful treatments for a whole host of autoimmune diseases, including arthritis and multiple sclerosis.”


A new face of endocannabinoids in pharmacotherapy. Part I & II

“A new face of endocannabinoids in pharmacotherapy. Part I: Protective role of endocannabinoids in hypertension and myocardial infarction.

Cannabinoids are compounds which were first isolated from the Cannabis sativa plant. For thousands of years they have been used for treatment of numerous diseases.

Currently, synthetic cannabinoids and endocannabinoids are also known. Cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids and the enzymes that catalyze their synthesis and degradation constitute the endocannabinoid system which plays an important role in functioning of the cardiovascular system.

The results obtained to date suggest the involvement of endocannabinoids in the pathology of many cardiovascular diseases, including myocardial infarction, hypertension and hypotension associated with hemorrhagic, endotoxic, and cardiogenic shock. Cardioprotective effect and dilation of coronary vessels induced by endocannabinoids deserve special attention.

It cannot be excluded now that in the future our better understanding of cannabinoid system will allow to develop new strategies for treatment of cardiovascular diseases.”


“A new face of endocannabinoids in pharmacotherapy. Part II. Role of endocannabinoids in inflammation-derived cardiovaascular diseases.

 Endocannabinoids play an important role in cardiovascular diseases caused by inflammatory disorders. Endocannabinoids are endogenous bioactive lipids that activate cannabinoid receptors and together with enzymes responsible for their synthesis and degradation constitute endocannabinoid system.

The results obtained to date suggest the involvement of endocannabinoids in the pathology of many cardiovascular diseases associated with inflammation, such as atherosclerosis, restenosis, chemotherapy-induced myocardial injury, diabetic and hepatic cirrhosis cardiomyopathy.

Our better understanding of cannabinoid system may result in the development of new strategies for the treatment of such disorders.”


Inhibition of colon carcinogenesis by a standardized Cannabis sativa extract with high content of cannabidiol.

“Colon cancer is a major public health problem. Cannabis-based medicines are useful adjunctive treatments in cancer patients. Here, we have investigated the effect of a standardized Cannabis sativa extract with high content of cannabidiol (CBD), here named CBD BDS, i.e. CBD botanical drug substance, on colorectal cancer cell proliferation and in experimental models of colon cancer in vivo.


CBD BDS and CBD reduced cell proliferation in tumoral, but not in healthy, cells… In vivo, CBD BDS reduced AOM-induced preneoplastic lesions and polyps as well as tumour growth in the xenograft model of colon cancer.


CBD BDS attenuates colon carcinogenesis and inhibits colorectal cancer cell proliferation via CB1 and CB2 receptor activation. The results may have some clinical relevance for the use of Cannabis-based medicines in cancer patients.”


Marijuana treatments for autoimmune disorders

“Researchers from the University of South Carolina say that tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal constituent of marijuana, may have another medical use – treating those with autoimmune disorders.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is known to have analgesic effects so can be used to treat pain. It also aids relaxation and can reduce feelings of nausea and stimulate appetite…

Now, a new study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, explores how analgesicmicroRNAs are influenced by THC.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, single-stranded, non-coding RNAs that play a vital role in regulating gene expression. And the authors claim that the ability to alter miRNA expression may be the key to successful treatment for many autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosisarthritis and type 1 diabetes.”

More: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/269432.php

Medicinal Cannabis Does Not Influence the Clinical Pharmacokinetics of Irinotecan and Docetaxel

“For the past 4,000 years, patients and doctors of each era have resorted to cannabis when conventional treatments were ineffective or lacking. Indeed, in oncology beneficial effects have been reported for cancer-associated anorexia, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and palliation…

The only U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medicinal cannabis products are an oral formulation containing dronabinol (Marinol®)… the synthetic version of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main pharmacologically active cannabinoid, and capsules containing nabilone, an analog of dronabinol (Cesamet®)…

…many patients claim (subjectively) that a whole or partially purified extract of Cannabis sativa L. offers advantages over a single isolated ingredient…

We anticipated an increased use of medicinal cannabis concurrent with anticancer drugs, and undertook a drug-interaction study to evaluate the effect of concomitant medicinal cannabis on the pharmacokinetics of irinotecan and docetaxel…

Conclusion. Coadministration of medicinal cannabis, as herbal tea, in cancer patients treated with irinotecan or docetaxel does not significantly influence the plasma pharmacokinetics of these drugs. The evaluated variety of medicinal cannabis can be administered concomitantly with both anticancer agents without dose adjustments.”

Full text: http://theoncologist.alphamedpress.org/content/12/3/291.long

Alcohol and cannabis use and mortality in people with schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders.

“The impact of co-morbid substance use on mortality is not well studied in psychotic disorders. The objective of this study was to examine the impact of substance use on mortality in people with psychotic disorders and alcohol and/or drug use.

…In a Cox model, predicted mortality risk was higher in age group 35-55 compared to <35 years and in males, but reduced in cannabis users. Overall five- (3.1% vs 7.5%) and ten-year mortality risk (5.5% vs. 13.6%) was lower in cannabis users than in non-users with psychotic disorders (p = 0.005) in a survival model.

 We observed a lower mortality risk in cannabis-using psychotic disorder patients compared to cannabis non-users despite subjects having similar symptoms and treatments.

 Future research is warranted to replicate these findings and to shed light on the anti-inflammatory properties of the endocannabinoid system and its role in decreased mortality in people with psychotic disorders.”