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Other indications

Modulation of the endocannabinoid system has shown the potential to be beneficial in other indications and therapeutic areas. Thus, while focusing on pain, OCT will use its research network to opportunistically identify other indications that may be beneficially targeted by our compounds in isolation or as a combination.

Neurology

The targeting of the cannabinoid receptors on the cells of the central and peripheral nervous system has shown potential in treating debilitating neurological and neurodegenerative disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s, but also epilepsy. Nabiximols, a combination of THC and CBD, has been clinically shown to ameliorate MS-related symptoms, particularly muscle spasticity, pain and stiffness, and bladder dysfunction. In addition, CBD, commercialised as Epidiolex®, is the standard-of-care for a rare form of epilepsy which starts in children (Lennox-Gastaut syndrome).

Autoimmunity and Inflammation

Cannabinoid receptors are expressed on the surface of cells of the immune system where they play an important role in proliferation, apoptosis (programmed cell death), and production of immunomodulators such as cytokines and chemokines, but also other molecules that play important roles in inflammation and inflammatory pain. Data from preclinical studies in rheumatoid arthritis, systemic sclerosis, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis suggests that cannabinoids have therapeutic potential in inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. The anti-inflammatory potential of cannabinoids may also benefit neurological disorders where special cells of the immune system called microglia cause damage to the neurons.

Cancer

As part of their rewiring of their transcriptional machinery that leads to transformation, cancer cells express high levels of endocannabinoid system (ECS) receptors and modulators. Thus, it is not a surprise that the potential of cannabinoids to alleviate the symptoms of cancer, and even to treat its underlying causes, has been discussed in pre-clinical research papers since the early 1970s. While the ability of cannabinoids to alleviate the symptomatology of cancer is widely accepted, recent clinical studies have shown encouraging results in the direct treatment of multiple cancer types (for instance glioblastoma multiforme and pancreatic cancer).

Notably, in addition to cannabinoids, other molecules found in the cannabis plant (e.g., flavonoids) are increasingly at the centre of research. In a recent study, a flavonoid derivative has shown to increase survival time of mice with pancreatic cancer significantly and reduce tumour size. Such molecules can have an indirect effect by modulating phytocannabinoids activity (entourage effect). Consequently, OCT is considering testing novel combinations of phytocannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids together with other plant derived molecules in pain, immunology, and oncology.