The human endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a vital role in many biological processes including immune function, appetite stimulation and memory. Due to its ubiquitous expression, the dysregulation of the ECS has been implicated (to varying degrees) in many disease states involving inflammation, neurodegeneration and pain (among many others).
Exogenous cannabinoids derived from the plant, Cannabis sativa, have been shown to modulate the ECS by binding with the human cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and/or human cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2), two members of the G-protein coupled receptor family. In recent years there has been a renewed interest in the therapeutic potential of these cannabinoids.
At the Allen lab, we are interested in exploring the potential of a variety of exogenous cannabinoids, including, cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabinol (CBN) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) for a range of therapeutic applications.
In particular, we are interested in exploring the anti-inflammatory and chemotherapeutic potential of these cannabinoids in vitro and in Vivo.
In order to be an effective therapeutic, these cannabinoids need to be formulated into an appropriate delivery vehicle. This is due to the fact that they exhibit unfavourable physicochemical properties (i.e. poor water solubility) as well as sensitivity to various environmental factors, such as light, oxygen and/or heat. At the Allen lab, we aim to design advanced formulations of cannabinoids that protect the active agents from degradation, while simultaneously ensuring their delivery at therapeutically relevant doses. As part of this work, we have designed robust analytical methodologies which enable us to detect and quantify exogenous cannabinoids and their metabolites in various biological matrices.