From earliest days, cannabis has been applied for its varied recreational and medical benefits. Raphael Mechoulam and Yechiel Gaoni’s discovery of 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (9-THC), however, didn’t open the way for the investigation of the pharmacological and therapeutic potential of cannabinoids until the 1960s. As a result of this important discovery, more than 550 chemical components in the cannabis plant have been studied, over 100 of which are phytocannabinoids with unique characteristics and effects. Cannabinoids research around the world expands as more countries see the potential in cannabis plant. Thus, we will look into recent developments, basing on new publication.
The complexity of endocannabinoid system
The endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is made up of cannabinoid receptors and endogenous cannabinoids, was first discovered as a result of research on 9-THC. This complex system plays a crucial role in controlling a variety of biological processes and tissue balance. Endocannabinoids including N-arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), cannabinoid receptors like CB1 and CB2, hydrolyzing and biosynthetic enzymes, and transporters are all components of the ECS. Its widespread distribution across biological systems highlights the crucial function it plays in synaptic plasticity, pain management, mood regulation, immunological response, and other processes.
Emergence of cannabinoid therapies
Recent developments in the study of cannabinoids have opened the door for new medicinal strategies. The potential of cannabinoid-based therapeutics has been made possible by the creation of cannabinoid receptor agonists, antagonists, and inhibitors, as well as the isolation of several cannabinoids produced from plants. The potential for personalised medicine utilising cannabis is becoming more and more clear as nations legalise both the recreational and medical use of these chemicals.
Research articles are gathered in the Special Issue of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences to provide a greater understanding of the study of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids. There are some the articles’ highlights to mention.
A glimpse into the recent developments
First of all, we can see expanding the horizons of cannabinoid biosynthesis. By locating specific enzymes in several plant species, researchers investigate the biosynthesis of cannabinoids. Their research sheds light on the possibility of carefully regulating the bio-production of cannabinoids from plants other than Cannabis sativa.
What is more, CB2 can be an agent in tumorigenesis. Using animal models, researchers investigated the function of CB2 in colorectal cancer. Their findings point to CB2’s potential as a tumour-preventive drug and imply a connection between the occurrence of colon cancer and CNR2 gene variations. Additionally, another researchers looked into the connection between CB2 activation and inflammation in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Their research suggests that CB2 activation in this case has promising anti-inflammatory potential.
Worth adding is a research about endocannabinoid nuclear signalling. It advanced our knowledge of endocannabinoid activity in the nucleus. It reveals new ECS targets by identifying important enzymes involved in 2-AG synthesis within the nuclear matrix. And, CB1 can function in brain aging. Using knockout mice models, research investigates the function of CB1 signalling in brain ageing. According to their findings, the hippocampus’s CB1 signalling has an effect on neurogenesis, neuroinflammation, and cognitive decline. Interestingly, cannabidiol can act as an agent in ageing in overal.
Additionally, salivary endocannabinoids can help in chronic orofacial pain. Particular endocannabinoid patterns in the saliva of patients with chronic orofacial pain show a potential diagnostic characteristic for particular forms of pain. And finally, cannabinoids can help patients with opioid use disorders. The advantages can come from exercise for individuals with opioid use disorders. They investigate how physical activity alters the endocannabinoid and opioid systems to support the recovery from addiction.
Further research and cannabinoid potential
Endocannabinoid and cannabinoid research is still developing, revealing new molecular understandings and therapeutic opportunities. The International Journal of Molecular Sciences’ Special Issue presents a selection of studies. They show several facets of this dynamic discipline, from neuroprotection and addiction treatment to biosynthesis and cancer modulation. These research pave the path for future developments in customized treatment and better health outcomes. Many publications reveal now the complexity of the endocannabinoid system.