Situated in the heart of the medical research epicentre of Canada (MaRS) and in collaboration with some of the top medical and academic intuitions in the country Avicanna is leading the edge on advanced cannabinoid delivery mechanisms and is embarking on the clinical development of its products.
The Endocannabinoid system is a signaling pathway that occupies the brain, nervous system and is sparsely distributed throughout the rest of the body [1,2]. This system is comprised of cannabinoid 1 and 2 receptors (CB1 and CB2) that dominate the central nervous system and immune system respectively. These receptors become activated upon cannabinoid ligation, and subsequently influence a number of physiological factors such as immune responses, cardiovascular function, bone development, digestion and metabolism, as well as several other processes including wake/sleep cycles, learning, pain response, and regulation of stress and appetite [1,2,3].
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that activate CB1 and CB2 receptors. They are grouped into three generalized categories: Endocannabinoids are endogenously found within the body, and include compounds Anandamide and 2-AG; phytocannabinoids are found in the vegetative matter of cannabis, and include the most widely known cannabinoids THC and CBD; synthetic cannabinoids are often generated chemically within a laboratory setting and includes a range of notable brands [3,4].
Cannabis is comprised of over 400 chemical substances, 70 of which are cannabinoids – the chemical component of the herb, found on the mature flowers of the female plant, that acts upon cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) within the body. Cannabis is found in two major subspecies: Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa, that differ based on their cannabinoid compositions [1,6,8,13].
The principal cannabinoids existing in cannabis are Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (ie. Δ9-THC, THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), however CBD does not directly stimulate either CB1 or CB1 receptors. [1,2]. THC largely acts on the CB1 receptors located in the peripheral and central nervous system, including the brain, and is therefore largely responsible for the for the major physical and psychotropic effects brought on by cannabis use [1,2]. Conversely, CBD is an indirect antagonists of CB1 and CB2 receptors, and rather serves other functions including activating several non-cannabinoid receptors including 5-HT1A serotonin receptors responsible for stimulating positive emotions; and also acts to prevents the reuptake of neurotransmitters such as anandaminde that serves important roles in generating feelings of motivation and pleasure [2,4,15].
Atakan Z (2012) Cannabis, a complex plant: different compounds and different effects on individuals. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol 2: 242.
 Health Canada (2013) Information for Health Care Professionals: Cannabis (marijuana, marijuana).
 Fine PG, Rosenfeld MJ (2013) The Endocannabinoid System, Cannabinoids, and Pain. Rambam Maimonides Med J. 4 DOIe0022
 Huestis MA (2007) Human Cannabinoid Pharmacokinetics. Chem Biodivers 4: 1770-1804
 Fisar Z (2009) Phytocannabinoids and Endocannabinoids. Curr Drug Abuse Rev 2: 51-75
 Atakan Z (2012) Cannabis, a complex plant: different compounds and different effects on individuals. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol 2: 241-254
 Morabito D et al. (2016) A Review of Recent Advances in the Therapeutic Uses of Secondary Cannabinoids. Curr Addict Rep 3: 230-238
 Abrams DI, Guzman M (2015) Cannabis in Cancer Care. Clin Pharmacol Ther 6: 575-86
 Robson PJ (2013) Therapeutic potential of cannabinoid medicine. Drug Test Anal 6: 24-30
 Baron EP (2015) Comprehensive Review of Medicinal Marijuana, Cannabinoids, and Therapeutic Implications in Medicine and Headache: What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been… Head Curr 885-916
 Klein TW (2005) Cannabinoid-based drugs as ant-inflammatory therapeutics. Nat Rev Immunol 5: 400-411
 D’Souza G et al. (2012) Medicinal and Recreational Marijuana Use Among HIV-Infected Women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) Cohort, 1994–2010. Epid Prev 61: 618-626
 Pozzilli P (2013) Advances in the management of multiple sclerosis spasticity: experiences from recent studies and everyday clinical practice. Expert Rev 13: 49-54
 Notcutt WG (2015) Clinical Use of Cannabinoids for Symptom Control in Multiple Sclerosis. NeuroTher 12: 769-777
 Campos AC et al. (2012) Cannabidiol blocks long-
lasting behavioral consequences of predator threat stress: possible
involvement of 5HT1A receptors. J Psychiatr Res 46: 1501–1510
 Blessing EM et al. (2015) Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. NeuroTher 12: 825-836
 Izzo A (2004) Cannabinoids and intestinal motility: welcome to CB2 receptors. Br J Pharmacol 142: 1201–1202
 Malfait AM et al. (2000) The nonpsychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an oral anti-arthritic therapeutic in murine collagen-induced arthritis. Proc Natl Acad Sci 97: 9561–9566
 Sumariwalla PF et al. (2004) A novel synthetic, nonpsychoactive cannabinoid acid (HU-320) with antiinflammatory properties in murine collagen-induced arthritis. Arthritis Rheum
 Massa F et al. (2004) The endogenous cannabinoid system protects against colonic inflammation. J Clin Invest 113: 1202–1209
 Mathison R et al. (2004) Effects of cannabinoid receptor-2 activation on accelerated gastrointestinal transit in lipopolysaccharide-treated rats. Br J Pharmacol 142: 1247–1254
 Black SC (2004) Cannabinoid receptor antagonists and obesity. Curr Opin Investig Drugs 5: 389–394
 Foulds J et al. (2004) Advances in pharmacotherapy for tobacco dependence. Expert Opin Emerg Drugs 9: 39–53
 Howlett AC et al. (2004) Cannabinoid physiology and pharmacology: 30 years of progress. Neuropharmacology 47: 345–358