Use of marijuana for medical purposes.

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“Cannabis is the most popular illicit drug on the European market. Over 16 million young Europeans have used it at least once in the last few years. The recent trends in the consumption of marihuana differ between countries. Some countries face an increase in the prevalence of cannabis use, including Poland, where the level cannabis use has been systematically increasing since the 1990’s. According to a recent ESPAD study, 19% of Polish adolescents aged 15-16 have used cannabis in the last year. Marihuana is also a leading substance when analyzing the data of seizures and crimes. The recent EMCDDA Annual report on the drug situation in Europe notes the increasing potency in cannabis available on the market. Some countries face an increasing number of emergencies caused by marihuana, which was unlikely to have happened previously. In almost all European countries there is an ongoing discussion about loosening marijuana laws or its complete legalization. There is also ongoing discussion on the use of marihuana in therapy as a medicine. Many scientific studies are being conducted in this field. Some of the results are promising; however, there is no well-designed human trial which would unequivocally confirm that medical cannabis is effective as a medicine, or more effective than other medicines on the market. The problem is that the debate on the medical use of marihuana becomes more ideological and less professional. The medical use of marihuana is strongly supported by organizations lobbying for the legalization of cannabis use. Research on the medical use of cannabis should be continued, as there are some promising results supporting therapy in different medical conditions. However, the use of cannabis as a medicine should be discussed only among professionals. If marihuana is to be used for medical purposes, the fact that it is the most popular illicit drug in Europe is irrelevant.”

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Medical Marijuana: Just the Beginning of a Long, Strange Trip?

Physical Therapy Journal

“Medical marijuana continues to gain acceptance and become legalized in many states. Various species of the marijuana plant have been cultivated, and this plant can contain up to 100 active compounds known as cannabinoids.

Two cannabinoids seem the most clinically relevant: Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which tends to produce the psychotropic effects commonly associated with marijuana, and cannabidiol (CBD), which may produce therapeutic effects without appreciable psychoactive properties.

Smoking marijuana, or ingesting extracts from the whole plant orally (in baked goods, teas, and so forth), introduces variable amounts of THC, CBD, and other minor cannabinoids into the systemic circulation where they ultimately reach the central and peripheral nervous systems.

Alternatively, products containing THC, CBD, or a combination of both compounds, can also be ingested as oral tablets, or via sprays applied to the oral mucosal membranes. These products may provide a more predictable method for delivering a known amount of specific cannabinoids into the body.

Although there is still a need for randomized controlled clinical trials, preliminary studies have suggested that medical marijuana and related cannabinoids may be beneficial in treating chronic pain, inflammation, spasticity, and other conditions seen commonly in physical therapist practice.

Physical therapists should therefore be aware of the options that are available for patients considering medical marijuana, and be ready to provide information for these patients.”

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CB1 receptor activation in the rat paraventricular nucleus induces bi-directional cardiovascular effects via modification of glutamatergic and GABAergic neurotransmission.

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“We have shown previously that the cannabinoid receptor agonist CP55940 microinjected into the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN) of urethane-anaesthetized rats induces depressor and pressor cardiovascular effects in the absence and presence of the CB1 antagonist AM251, respectively. The aim of our study was to examine whether the hypotension and/or hypertension induced by CP55940 given into the PVN results from its influence on glutamatergic and GABAergic neurotransmission. CP55940 was microinjected into the PVN of urethane-anaesthetized rats twice (S1 and S2, 20 min apart). Antagonists of the following receptors, NMDA (MK801), β2-adrenergic (ICI118551), thromboxane A2-TP (SQ29548), angiotensin II-AT1 (losartan) or GABAA (bicuculline), or the NO synthase inhibitor L-NAME were administered intravenously 5 min before S2 alone or together with AM251. The CP55940-induced hypotension was reversed into a pressor response by AM251, bicuculline and L-NAME, but not by the other antagonists. The CP55940-induced pressor effect examined in the presence of AM251 was completely reversed by losartan, reduced by about 50-60 % by MK801, ICI118551 and SQ29548, prevented by bilateral adrenalectomy but not modified by bicuculline and L-NAME. Parallel, but smaller, changes in heart rate accompanied the changes in blood pressure. The bi-directional CB1 receptor-mediated cardiovascular effects of cannabinoids microinjected into the PVN of anaesthetized rats depend on stimulatory glutamatergic and inhibitory GABAergic inputs to the sympathetic tone; the glutamatergic input is related to AT1, TP and β2-adrenergic receptors and catecholamine release from the adrenal medulla whereas the GABAergic input is reinforced by NO.”

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Cannabinoids: Glutamatergic Transmission and Kynurenines.

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“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) comprises a complex of receptors, enzymes, and endogenous agonists that are widely distributed in the central nervous system of mammals and participates in a considerable number of neuromodulatory functions, including neurotransmission, immunological control, and cell signaling. In turn, the kynurenine pathway (KP) is the most relevant metabolic route for tryptophan degradation to form the metabolic precursor NAD(+).

Recent studies demonstrate that the control exerted by the pharmacological manipulation of the ECS on the glutamatergic system in the brain may offer key information not only on the development of psychiatric disorders like psychosis and schizophrenia-like symptoms, but it also may constitute a solid basis for the development of therapeutic strategies to combat excitotoxic events occurring in neurological disorders like Huntington’s disease (HD).

Part of the evidence pointing to the last approach is based on experimental protocols demonstrating the efficacy of cannabinoids to prevent the deleterious actions of the endogenous neurotoxin and KP metabolite quinolinic acid (QUIN).

These findings intuitively raise the question about what is the precise role of the ECS in tryptophan metabolism through KP and vice versa. In this chapter, we will review basic concepts on the physiology of both the ECS and the KP to finally describe those recent findings combining the components of these two systems and hypothesize the future course that the research in this emerging field will take in the next years.”

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Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Febrile Infection-Related Epilepsy Syndrome (FIRES) in the Acute and Chronic Phases.

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“Febrile infection-related epilepsy syndrome (FIRES) is a devastating epilepsy affecting normal children after a febrile illness. FIRES presents with an acute phase with super-refractory status epilepticus and all patients progress to a chronic phase with persistent refractory epilepsy. The typical outcome is severe encephalopathy or death. The authors present 7 children from 5 centers with FIRES who had not responded to antiepileptic drugs or other therapies who were given cannabadiol (Epidiolex, GW Pharma) on emergency or expanded investigational protocols in either the acute or chronic phase of illness. After starting cannabidiol, 6 of 7 patients’ seizures improved in frequency and duration. One patient died due to multiorgan failure secondary to isoflourane. An average of 4 antiepileptic drugs were weaned. Currently 5 subjects are ambulatory, 1 walks with assistance, and 4 are verbal. While this is an open-label case series, the authors add cannabidiol as a possible treatment for FIRES.”

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Dietary fats and pharmaceutical lipid excipients increase systemic exposure to orally administered cannabis and cannabis-based medicines

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“Cannabis sativa, commonly called hemp, has thousands of years-long history of medical use. Cannabis extracts were widely used in Europe and North America for their therapeutic value as sedatives, hypnotics, analgesics, muscle relaxants, and anticonvulsant agents. However, cannabis was removed from British and American Pharmacopoeias in 20th century, partially due to politic bias. Although prohibited, many patients were nevertheless self-medicating to obtain therapeutic benefits from cannabis for various conditions, including AIDS wasting syndrome, multiple sclerosis (MS) and spinal injuries. More recently, a growing interest in the therapeutic effects of cannabis has developed following the isolation of cannabinoids, the principal chemical compounds of cannabis, as well as the discovery of endocannabinoids and their cognate receptors in humans. These advances supported legalisation and wide-spread use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes in many countries.

There has been an escalating interest in the medicinal use of Cannabis sativa in recent years. Cannabis is often administered orally with fat-containing foods, or in lipid-based pharmaceutical preparations. However, the impact of lipids on the exposure of patients to cannabis components has not been explored. Therefore, the aim of this study is to elucidate the effect of oral co-administration of lipids on the exposure to two main active cannabinoids, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). In this study, oral co-administration of lipids enhanced the systemic exposure of rats to THC and CBD by 2.5-fold and 3-fold, respectively, compared to lipid-free formulations. In vitro lipolysis was conducted to explore the effect of lipids on the intestinal solubilisation of cannabinoids. More than 30% of THC and CBD were distributed into micellar fraction following lipolysis, suggesting that at least one-third of the administered dose will be available for absorption following co-administration with lipids. Both cannabinoids showed very high affinity for artificial CM-like particles, as well as for rat and human CM, suggesting high potential for intestinal lymphatic transport. Moreover, comparable affinity of cannabinoids for rat and human CM suggests that similar increased exposure effects may be expected in humans. In conclusion, co-administration of dietary lipids or pharmaceutical lipid excipients has the potential to substantially increase the exposure to orally administered cannabis and cannabis-based medicines. The increase in patient exposure to cannabinoids is of high clinical importance as it could affect the therapeutic effect, but also toxicity, of orally administered cannabis or cannabis-based medicines.”

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Cannabinoid Agonists Show Promise for Anorexia

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“Impairments in the endocannabinoid system in the brain could play an important role in the development of anorexia nervosa, say Italian researchers, who report findings that point to novel cannabis-based therapeutic strategies for the eating disorder.

In a mouse model of anorexia, the team found not only that the density of cannabinoid receptors was significantly reduced in areas associated with appetite but also that administration of receptor agonists led to increases in body weight and a reduction in interest in exercise.”

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Marijuana Could Be the Answer to Curing Alzheimer’s Disease, Study Shows

“The statistics associated with Alzheimer’s disease are downright depressing.

However, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies believe the cure to Alzheimer’s disease might come from a readily available substance: marijuana.”

“Marijuana Could Be the Answer to Curing Alzheimer’s Disease, Study Shows. The clinical failure rate of Alzheimer’s drugs is exceptionally high, yet early data from researchers at the Salk Institute suggests marijuana could provide a cure.”


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Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Reverses TNFα-induced Increase in Airway Epithelial Cell Permeability through CB2 Receptors.

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“Despite pharmacological treatment, bronchial hyperresponsiveness continues to deteriorate as airway remodelling persists in airway inflammation.

Previous studies have demonstrated that the phytocannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) reverses bronchoconstriction with an anti-inflammatory action.

The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of THC on bronchial epithelial cell permeability after exposure to the pro-inflammatory cytokine, TNFα. Calu-3 bronchial epithelial cells were cultured at air-liquid interface.

These data indicate that THC prevents cytokine-induced increase in airway epithelial permeability through CB2 receptor activation.

This highlights that THC, or other cannabinoid receptor ligands, could be beneficial in the prevention of inflammation-induced changes in airway epithelial cell permeability, an important feature of airways diseases.”

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Comparing the effects of endogenous and synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists on survival of gastric cancer cells.

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“Anti-neoplastic activity induced by cannabinoids has been extensively documented for a number of cancer cell types; however, this topic has been explored in gastric cancer cells only in a limited number of approaches.


Through a comparative approach, our results support and confirm the therapeutic potential that cannabinoid receptor agonists exert in gastric cancer cells and open possibilities to use cannabinoids as part of a new gastric cancer therapy.”

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