Stanford University scientists, Dr. Jonathan Rothbard, and Professor Lawrence Steinman have launched Katexco Pharmaceuticals, a medical marijuana company. According to the media reports, the newly launched Katexco Pharmaceuticals will produce CBD-based drugs that would exploit endocannabinoid and nicotine receptors in the brain for treating several neurodegenerative & inflammatory diseases where conventional medicines have failed.
Cannabis-based these drugs will exploit the key receptor CB2 on immune cells in the brain. The drugs would be useful for treating several diseases relating to inflammation of neurons and different regions of the brain that cause neurodegenerative diseases where current prescription drugs don’t show a good response.
One of the most important causes of severe and chronic neurodegenerative diseases is the decay of neurons, mainly due to inflammation. Immune responses are critical to neuron regeneration. Because there is no growth of new neurons, this results in the occurrence of the neurodegenerative conditions.
Besides certain cancers & HIV/ AIDS which are life-threatening diseases, also exists a group of neurodegenerative disorders that come up by aging, but it’s almost impossible to rid of them. Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease are just a few to name among the Dementia conditions, that affect most of the aged people and cripple their lives. As of now, there is no known conventional medicine that can cure these crippling illnesses.
The progression & dysfunction in all these conditions are slow. These conditions continue to deteriorate, but the symptoms are not visible on the early stage. And when the patient decides to consult a physician, it’s too late. By that time, about 80% of neurons & axons are already decayed, and there is no coming back.
What’s Dementia – Alzheimer’s
You must have seen numerous patients battling with certain diseases with the hope that sooner or later, they might recover and come back to normal life. But, on the back of the scene, they might not be aware of this hard fact that there is no medicines that might take them out of the nightmare they have entered due to wear & tear of neurons over years.
Neurodegenerative disorders fall under the umbrella of conditions that come up due to inflammation, damage or death of neurons. Neurons are formed in the brain and Central Nervous System. When they get damaged, it’s not possible to repair them with conventional medicines that are available at present.
Most Common Neurodegenerative Disorders:
These include MS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Prion disease, Huntington’s disease (HD) malignant brain tumors, Spinocerebellar ataxia, epilepsy related seizures. MND (Motor Neurone Diseases) Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and Neuralgia or neuropathic pain.
When it’s about Alzheimer’s disease, the patients even do not know to whom they are interacting, what they are talking about and what’s happening. They might be freighted of things that don’t exist at all or they may feel talking to a person whom they have never seen.
In most of the cases, patients fail to know what’s happening with them. They are neither able to cater to their personal needs, nor can they discuss with their caretakers as what they need.
Neurological Effects of Medical Marijuana:
CBD, one of the main compounds of cannabis, protects the neurons from degeneration. A paper on the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids, published by the NCBI in PMC, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, (V-9/2018) supports this property of medical marijuana.
Anticonvulsant benefits of medical marijuana were first seen in the year 1980. Since then, cannabis has been tried for various neurological uses. In the clinical and lab researches, activation of the ECS has shown potential benefits in treating various critical conditions.
Cannabinoid receptors, CB (1) and CB (2), both bind to G proteins. CB (1) receptors. These receptors are found in central and peripheral neurons, On the other hand, CB (2) receptors are found on immune cells. This way, CB1 receptors mainly relate to the diseases of the CNS and CB2 receptors relate to our immune system.
At present, CB (1) & CB (2) agonists are potentially explored for therapeutic uses of cannabinoid receptor agonists for the management of inflammatory disorders, cancers and cancers related severe pains, MS, glaucoma, bronchial asthma, inflammatory pain and in the spasticity and schizophrenia.
FDA has already approved CBD based drug Epidiolex manufactured by the GW Pharmaceuticals, for treating childhood related 2 types of childhood seizure disorders, Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes, entry of Katexco Pharmaceuticals in the medical marijuana industry would pave the way for replacing some of the prescription medicines, including opioids with the cannabis-based alternative medicines.