Cannabinoids are lipophilic substances derived from Cannabis sativa that can exert a variety of effects in the human body. They have been studied in cellular and animal models as well as in human clinical trials for their therapeutic benefits in several human diseases. Some of these include central nervous system (CNS) diseases and dysfunctions such as forms of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, pain and neuropsychiatric disorders. In addition, the endogenously produced cannabinoid lipids, endocannabinoids, are critical for normal CNS function, and if controlled or modified, may represent an additional therapeutic avenue for CNS diseases. This review discusses in vitro cellular, ex vivo tissue and in vivo animal model studies on cannabinoids and their utility as therapeutics in multiple CNS pathologies. In addition, the review provides an overview on the use of cannabinoids in human clinical trials for a variety of CNS diseases. Cannabinoids and endocannabinoids hold promise for use as disease modifiers and therapeutic agents for the prevention or treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and neurological disorders.
This work is a literature review, presenting the current state of the use of cannabinoids on neurodegenerative diseases. The emphasis is on Parkinson’s (PD) and Alzheimer’s (AD) diseases, the two most prevalent neurological diseases. The review goes from Cannabis sativa and its hundreds of bioactive compounds to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and mainly cannabidiol (CBD) and their interactions with the endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2).