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      Cannabis sativa: The Plant of the Thousand and One Molecules

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          Abstract

          Cannabis sativa L. is an important herbaceous species originating from Central Asia, which has been used in folk medicine and as a source of textile fiber since the dawn of times. This fast-growing plant has recently seen a resurgence of interest because of its multi-purpose applications: it is indeed a treasure trove of phytochemicals and a rich source of both cellulosic and woody fibers. Equally highly interested in this plant are the pharmaceutical and construction sectors, since its metabolites show potent bioactivities on human health and its outer and inner stem tissues can be used to make bioplastics and concrete-like material, respectively. In this review, the rich spectrum of hemp phytochemicals is discussed by putting a special emphasis on molecules of industrial interest, including cannabinoids, terpenes and phenolic compounds, and their biosynthetic routes. Cannabinoids represent the most studied group of compounds, mainly due to their wide range of pharmaceutical effects in humans, including psychotropic activities. The therapeutic and commercial interests of some terpenes and phenolic compounds, and in particular stilbenoids and lignans, are also highlighted in view of the most recent literature data. Biotechnological avenues to enhance the production and bioactivity of hemp secondary metabolites are proposed by discussing the power of plant genetic engineering and tissue culture. In particular two systems are reviewed, i.e., cell suspension and hairy root cultures. Additionally, an entire section is devoted to hemp trichomes, in the light of their importance as phytochemical factories. Ultimately, prospects on the benefits linked to the use of the -omics technologies, such as metabolomics and transcriptomics to speed up the identification and the large-scale production of lead agents from bioengineered Cannabis cell culture, are presented.

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          Discovery and resupply of pharmacologically active plant-derived natural products: A review

          Medicinal plants have historically proven their value as a source of molecules with therapeutic potential, and nowadays still represent an important pool for the identification of novel drug leads. In the past decades, pharmaceutical industry focused mainly on libraries of synthetic compounds as drug discovery source. They are comparably easy to produce and resupply, and demonstrate good compatibility with established high throughput screening (HTS) platforms. However, at the same time there has been a declining trend in the number of new drugs reaching the market, raising renewed scientific interest in drug discovery from natural sources, despite of its known challenges. In this survey, a brief outline of historical development is provided together with a comprehensive overview of used approaches and recent developments relevant to plant-derived natural product drug discovery. Associated challenges and major strengths of natural product-based drug discovery are critically discussed. A snapshot of the advanced plant-derived natural products that are currently in actively recruiting clinical trials is also presented. Importantly, the transition of a natural compound from a “screening hit” through a “drug lead” to a “marketed drug” is associated with increasingly challenging demands for compound amount, which often cannot be met by re-isolation from the respective plant sources. In this regard, existing alternatives for resupply are also discussed, including different biotechnology approaches and total organic synthesis. While the intrinsic complexity of natural product-based drug discovery necessitates highly integrated interdisciplinary approaches, the reviewed scientific developments, recent technological advances, and research trends clearly indicate that natural products will be among the most important sources of new drugs also in the future.
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            Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects.

            Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been the primary focus of cannabis research since 1964, when Raphael Mechoulam isolated and synthesized it. More recently, the synergistic contributions of cannabidiol to cannabis pharmacology and analgesia have been scientifically demonstrated. Other phytocannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabivarin, cannabigerol and cannabichromene, exert additional effects of therapeutic interest. Innovative conventional plant breeding has yielded cannabis chemotypes expressing high titres of each component for future study. This review will explore another echelon of phytotherapeutic agents, the cannabis terpenoids: limonene, myrcene, α-pinene, linalool, β-caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, nerolidol and phytol. Terpenoids share a precursor with phytocannabinoids, and are all flavour and fragrance components common to human diets that have been designated Generally Recognized as Safe by the US Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies. Terpenoids are quite potent, and affect animal and even human behaviour when inhaled from ambient air at serum levels in the single digits ng·mL(-1) . They display unique therapeutic effects that may contribute meaningfully to the entourage effects of cannabis-based medicinal extracts. Particular focus will be placed on phytocannabinoid-terpenoid interactions that could produce synergy with respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections (including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Scientific evidence is presented for non-cannabinoid plant components as putative antidotes to intoxicating effects of THC that could increase its therapeutic index. Methods for investigating entourage effects in future experiments will be proposed. Phytocannabinoid-terpenoid synergy, if proven, increases the likelihood that an extensive pipeline of new therapeutic products is possible from this venerable plant. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bph.2011.163.issue-7. © 2011 The Author. British Journal of Pharmacology © 2011 The British Pharmacological Society.
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              Chemical constituents of marijuana: the complex mixture of natural cannabinoids.

              The cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa L.) and products thereof (such as marijuana, hashish and hash oil) have a long history of use both as a medicinal agent and intoxicant. Over the last few years there have been an active debate regarding the medicinal aspects of cannabis. Currently cannabis products are classified as Schedule I drugs under the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Controlled Substances act, which means that the drug is only available for human use as an investigational drug. In addition to the social aspects of the use of the drug and its abuse potential, the issue of approving it as a medicine is further complicated by the complexity of the chemical make up of the plant. This manuscript discusses the chemical constituents of the plant with particular emphasis on the cannabinoids as the class of compounds responsible for the drug's psychological properties.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Plant Sci
                Front Plant Sci
                Front. Plant Sci.
                Frontiers in Plant Science
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1664-462X
                04 February 2016
                2016
                : 7
                : 19
                Affiliations
                [1]Environmental Research and Innovation, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg
                Author notes

                Edited by: Eugenio Benvenuto, ENEA, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, Italy

                Reviewed by: Biswapriya Biswavas Misra, University of Florida, USA; Felix Stehle, Technical University of Dortmund, Germany

                *Correspondence: Christelle M. Andre, christelle.andre@ 123456list.lu

                This article was submitted to Plant Biotechnology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Plant Science

                Article
                10.3389/fpls.2016.00019
                4740396
                26870049
                f26e8557-480f-4ca2-a16f-147e8d13c5b9
                Copyright © 2016 Andre, Hausman and Guerriero.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                History
                : 27 October 2015
                : 08 January 2016
                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 169, Pages: 17, Words: 0
                Funding
                Funded by: Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg 10.13039/501100001866
                Award ID: C13/SR/5774202
                Categories
                Plant Science
                Review

                Plant science & Botany
                fibers,hemp,cannabis,cellulose,lignin,cannabinoids,terpenes,lignans
                Plant science & Botany
                fibers, hemp, cannabis, cellulose, lignin, cannabinoids, terpenes, lignans

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