This themed section of BJP arises from the 6th European Workshop on Cannabinoid Research held in Dublin, Ireland from 18–20 April 2013. The section brings together 3 reviews and 10 research articles, presenting a range of work across the cannabinoid field.
The review article by Fagan et al. (2014) addresses the impact of endogenous, plant-derived and synthetic cannabinoids on neuronal viability. This review summarizes common mechanisms of neurodegeneration (including mitochondrial dysfunction, neuroinflammation and excitotoxicity) in three prominent age-related neurodegenerative disorders, Alzheimers’ disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. The review focuses on literature highlighting the cannabinoid system as a bona fide therapeutic target against such neurodegenerative processes. In addition, this review brings us up-to-date on the close links between the endocannabinoid system, ageing and the process of adult neurogenesis.
Stanley and O’Sullivan (2014) review the vascular targets of cannabinoids. They examine the evidence for the range of receptors activated by cannabinoids in perfused vascular beds or isolated arteries. Direct targets of synthetic, plant-derived or endogenous cannabinoids include CB1, CBe, TRPV1, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), CB2, GPR55 and 5-HT1A receptors. Prostanoid receptors and the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor can also indirectly mediate the vascular response to cannabinoids. Typically cannabinoids have vasorelaxant effects, although vasoconstriction has also been observed in some instances. Animal and human studies are reviewed.
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