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Volume 38, issue 1

Review article

Possibilities of therapeutic action of cannabinoids in neurodegenerative diseases

Anna A. Kaszyńska1
1. University of Social Sciences and Humanities; Uniwersytet Humanistycznospołeczny SWPS
Farmakoterapia w Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2022, 38 (1), 49–58
Date of publication: 28-07-2022
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5114/fpn.2022.117701
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, neurodegenerative diseases, endokannabinoid system, cannabinoids/medical marijuana

Abstract

Objectives. The aim of this article is to demonstrate the potential of cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) in neurodegenerative diseases.

Literature review. The endocannabinoid system was presented, including the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, as well as endogenous cannabinoids, the most important of which is anandamide and enzymes for the synthesis and biodegradation of endocannabinoids.

Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), Huntington’s disease (HD), and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), which define the progressive activity associated with the further loss of specific subpopulation of neurons and disorders of multiple brain neurotransmitters. These diseases also include pathological protein accumulation (such as tau proteins), impairment of the lysosomal system, excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, and inflammatory features of the nervous system. The endocannabinoid system can modulate phenomena with neurodegeneration. It is caused by the action of cannabinoid receptors – CB1, causing the normalization of glutamatergic transmission and autophagy, activation of CB2 receptors, limiting the weakening of action, and lowering the level of emission reduction – the independence of cannabinoid receptors. The article presents data on the beneficial effects of cannabinoids on the symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases obtained in experimental studies in animal models (AD, PD, HD, ALS), as well as in clinical studies (AD, PD, HD).

Conclusions. The results of research, mainly experimental and clinical, may indicate a beneficial effect of cannabinoids, reducing some of the symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases. These results are promising prerequisites for further research.

Address for correspondence:
mgr Anna Aleksandra Kaszyńska
Uniwersytet Humanistyczno-społeczny SWPS
ul. Chodakowska 19/31, 03-815 Warszawa
email: akaszynska@swps.edu.pl