They target inflammation at the source, making them ideal pain relievers
Are flavonoids the next step in research? Once considered by lawmakers as a purely recreational drug, cannabis today has a real medical potential, especially when it comes to helping patients relieve pain. New research in the journal Phytochemistry suggests that this ability to relieve comes from some less known chemicals in the plant but has real potential to form the basis of the non-addictive analgesics of the future.
Let's put aside for a moment the CBD and terpenes, it seems that the next big constant evolution in the world of research is going to be flavonoids.
"Flavonoids" are chemicals found in all plants (not just cannabis), which are responsible for the pigment in fruits and vegetables. This is not the case for all flavonoids, however, other functions have been of interest to researchers for some time, since many flavonoids have been shown to have antioxidant properties. That's the main reason people say it takes eat by color "And, often, when an unsuspecting plant is cataloged as a" superfood ", it has something to do with its flavonoids.
Cannflavines have greater 30X anti-inflammatory activity than aspirin
In the study publié, researchers at the University of Guelph showed how two molecules called: cannflavin A et cannflavin B (discovered in 1985) exhibit anti-inflammatory activity thirty times higher to that of aspirin.
Even for those familiar with the cannabis science landscape, cannflavin A and cannflavin B, which belong to the flavonoid family, may be unfamiliar names. However, this flavonoid already gives rise to the hope that we may one day have a whole new way of treat the pain.
But this news is not really new. The potential analgesic powers of cannflavines were first discovered by Marilyn Barrett, a researcher at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of London, in the 1980 years. So why have not we heard more about edible cannabis as a new superfood? Because cannflavins make up a tiny amount of plant matter and you'd have to consume a huge quantity to act as an effective anti-inflammatory.
Cannflavines are present in about 0,014 percent of the fresh weight of the plant.
"It's very characteristic of many natural products that have therapeutic value," says Tariq Akhtar, an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Guelph. "You can not just grow crops and expect to get enough bioactive compounds, because the quantities are so low and difficult to obtain because of their complex chemical nature. They can be extracted and purified, but it is not economically viable. "thestar
Thanks to Akhtar and his colleagues, Dr. Steven Rothstein, Dr. José Casaretto and lead author Kevin Rea, there is finally a solution to these mild flavonoids. Using the "in silico" extraction of the genome, the team identified the cannabis genes responsible for making the cannaflavines in question, which allows for the metabolic engineering of cannaflavin A and B without cultivating the entire plant. .
With the help of the University of Guelph, the process was quickly patented. Shortly thereafter, a medical cannabis company, Anahit International, licensed the patent to explore the development of commercial products. Of course, it is still too early to make big statements about the potential impact of their work, but given the crisis in opioids, the possibility of another method of treating pain is really exciting.
"What's interesting about cannabis molecules is that they stop inflammation at the source," says Akhtar. "And most natural products do not have the toxicity associated with over-the-counter pain medications, which, even if they are very effective, carry risks to health. So, considering natural products as an alternative is a very attractive model. "
La high consumption of anti-inflammatories Non-steroidal drugs (NSAIDs) and other over-the-counter analgesics are associated with an increased risk of kidney disease (ibuprofen) and gastric problems (acetylsalicylic acid). Even painkillers, such as acetaminophen, if used excessively and in combination with alcohol, can lead to liver problems. Given all this (combined with the devastation that pharmaceutical companies have left with their aggressive marketing of opioids), one may wonder why no one jumped on Marilyn Barrett's original discovery of cannflavin in the 1980 years.
The answer ? Well, the development of computer technology in silico has helped but the main reason for this delay is that cannabis research has been blocked due to the legal status of the plant. It's not just about the logistics needed for a university to allow marijuana plants into campus labs, it's also about finding the funding to explore a so-called "illegal" substance.
We would not have been able to do it without the current climate in this country that really drives people like us to do this research. There is still a lot of research to be done and I think working in Canada right now, at a time when our government really supported this program and where there is a lot of industrial and financial support available to do that. research in this area opens up very interesting perspectives.
He adds: "Especially for old teachers smothered like me in a field like plant biochemistry."
As part of this study, the team examined the genome and biochemistry of cannabis to identify the genes responsible for the production of both cannflavins as well as the chain of chemical reactions that produce them. This is the first time that this biological process is documented for cannabis stakeholders.
Akhtar and his team hope this will help scientists develop opioid alternatives for patients with acute or chronic pain, not by interacting with opioid receptors in the brain, but by reducing inflammation at the site. pain.
For now, the most scientific and popular attention is focused on Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), two of the most abundant active molecules in cannabis by volume. Recognized for its psychoactive properties, THC can help treat chronic pain, but it has also been associated with psychosis with frequent and excessive use. CBD, meanwhile, is the active ingredient in Epidiolex, the first cannabis-based drug FDA approved for infantile convulsive disorders, but its long-term side effects are poorly understood and the pseudo drug too expensive.
If they can be synthesized in sufficient quantity, cannflavins A and B could become equally well known. Akhtar and several of his co-authors have filed a US patent application for the potential results of this research, so that given the challenging regulatory environment of the CBD, they could potentially benefit from a new class of derivatives derived from CBD. cannabis that are not hampered by the stigma and stigma associated with drugs.
Summary: In addition to the psychoactive constituents generally associated with Cannabis sativaL., there are many other specialized metabolites in this plant that would contribute to its medicinal versatility. This study focused on two of these compounds, called cannflavine A and cannflavine B. These prenyl flavonoids accumulate specifically in C. sativa and are known for their potent anti-inflammatory activity in various models of animal cells. However, we know almost nothing about their biosynthesis. By combining phylogenomic and biochemical approaches, an aromatic prenyltransferase of C. sativa(CsPT3) which catalyzes the regiospecific addition of geranyl diphosphate (GPP) or dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP) to the methylated flavone, chrysool, to produce cannflavines A and B, respectively. Additional evidence is presented for an O-methyltransferase (CsOMT21) encoded in the genome of C. sativa which specifically converts the flavone from the widely used plant known as luteolin into chrysool, which both accumulate in C. sativa . These results therefore imply the following reaction sequence for the biosynthesis of cannflavins A and B: luteolin ► chrysoerosol ► cannflavine A and cannflavine B. Overall, the identification of these two unique enzymes represents a point of attachment of the flavonoid pathway. general at C. sativa. and offer an easy path to metabolic engineering strategies designed to produce these two medicinal cannabis compounds.