Medical case reports suggest that cannabinoids extracted from Cannabis sativa have ther- apeutic effects; however, the therapeutic employment is limited due to the psychotropic effect of its major component, ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The new scientific discoveries related to the endocannabinoid system, including new receptors, ligands, and mediators, allowed the development of new therapeutic targets for the treatment of several pathological disorders minimizing the undesir- able psychotropic effects of some constituents of this plant. Today, FDA-approved drugs, such as nabiximols (a mixture of THC and non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD)), are employed in alleviating pain and spasticity in multiple sclerosis. Dronabinol and nabilone are used for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in cancer patients. Dronabinol was approved for the treatment of anorexia in patients with AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). In this review, we highlighted the potential therapeutic efficacy of natural and synthetic cannabinoids and their clinical relevance in cancer, neurodegenerative and dermatological diseases, and viral infections.
Archive for month: March, 2022
Cancer is a complex family of diseases affecting millions of people worldwide. Gliomas are primary brain tumors that account for ~80% of all malignant brain tumors. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common, invasive, and lethal subtype of glioma. Therapy resistance and intra-GBM tumoral heterogeneity are promoted by subpopulations of glioma stem cells (GSCs). Cannabis sativa produces hundreds of secondary metabolites, such as flavonoids, terpenes, and phytocannabinoids. Around 160 phytocannabinoids have been identified in C. sativa. Cannabis is commonly used to treat various medical conditions, and it is used in the palliative care of cancer patients. The anti-cancer properties of cannabis compounds include cytotoxic, anti-proliferative, and anti-migratory activities on cancer cells and cancer stem cells. The endocannabinoids system is widely distributed in the body, and its dysregulation is associated with different diseases, including various types of cancer. Anti-cancer activities of phytocannabinoids are mediated in glioma cells, at least partially, by the endocannabinoid receptors, triggering various cellular signaling pathways, including the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress pathway. Specific combinations of multiple phytocannabinoids act synergistically against cancer cells and may trigger different anti-cancer signaling pathways. Yet, due to scarcity of clinical trials, there remains no solid basis for the anti-cancer therapeutic potential of cannabis compounds.
High-grade gliomas constitute the most frequent and aggressive form of primary brain cancer in adults. These tumors express cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors, as well as other elements of the endocannabinoid system. Accruing preclinical evidence supports that pharmacological activation of cannabinoid receptors located on glioma cells exerts overt anti-tumoral effects by modulating key intracellular signaling path- ways. The mechanism of this cannabinoid receptor-evoked anti-tumoral activity in experimental models of glioma is intricate and may involve an inhibition not only of cancer cell survival/proliferation, but also of invasiveness, angiogenesis, and the stem cell-like properties of cancer cells, thereby affecting the complex tumor microenvi- ronment. However, the precise biological role of the endocannabinoid system in the generation and progression of glioma seems very context-dependent and remains largely unknown. Increasing our basic knowledge on how (endo)cannabinoids act on glioma cells could help to optimize experimental cannabinoid-based anti-tumoral therapies, as well as the preliminary clinical testing that is currently underway.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may stem from the formation of aberrant and enduring aversive memories. Some PTSD patients have recreationally used Cannabis, probably aiming at relieving their symptomatology. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how Cannabis or its psychotomimetic compound Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) attenuates the aversive/traumatic memory outcomes. Here, we seek to review and discuss the effects of THC on aversive memory extinction and anxiety in healthy humans and PTSD patients.
The therapeutic application of cannabidiol (CBD) is gaining interest due to expanding evidence for its use.
Objective: To summarize the clinical outcomes, study designs and limitations for the use of CBD and nabiximols (whole plant extract from Cannabis sativa L. that has been purified into 1:1 ratio of CBD and delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol) in the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
Major depressive disorder is a high-impact, debilitating disease and it is currently considered the most prevalent mental illness. It is associated with disability, as well as increased morbidity and mortality. Despite its significant repercussions in our society, its exact pathophysiology remains unclear and therefore, available antidepressant treatment options are limited and, in some cases, ineffective. In the past years, research has focused on the development of a multifactorial theory of depression. Simultaneously, evidence supporting the role of the endocannabinoid system in the neurobiology of neuropsychiatric diseases has emerged. Studies have shown that the endocannabinoid system strongly impacts neurotransmission, and the neuroendocrine and neuroimmune systems, which are known to be dysfunctional in depressive patients. Accordingly, common antidepressants were shown to have a direct impact on the expression of cannabinoid receptors throughout the brain. Therefore, the relationship between the endocannabinoid system and major depressive disorder is worth consideration. Nevertheless, most studies focus on smaller pieces of what is undoubtedly a larger mosaic of interdependent processes. Therefore, the present review summarizes the existing literature regarding the role of the endocannabinoid system in depression aiming to integrate this information into a holistic picture for a better understanding of the relationship between the two.