Medical cannabis and cognitive performance in middle to old adults treated for chronic pain

“Cannabis exposure is becoming more common in older age but little is known about how it is associated with brain health in this population.

This study assesses the relationship between long-term medical cannabis (MC) use and cognitive function in a sample of middle-aged and old chronic pain patients.

Results: Mean age was 63 ± 6 and 60 ± 5 years in the non-exposed and MC patients, respectively. Groups did not significantly differ in terms of cognitive performance measures. Furthermore, none of the MC use patterns were associated with cognitive performance.

Discussion and conclusions: These results suggest that use of whole plant MC does not have a widespread impact on cognition in older chronic pain patients. Considering the increasing use of MC in older populations, this study could be a first step towards a better risk-benefit assessment of MC treatment in this population. Future studies are urgently needed to further clarify the implications of late-life cannabis use for brain health.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32964502/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/dar.13171

“No Ill Effects for Older Adults Using Medical Marijuana for Pain, Study Says. A study looking at older adults with chronic pain found no no significant difference in cognitive performance when comparing them with matched patients who did not use medical marijuana.” https://www.ajmc.com/view/no-ill-effects-for-older-adults-using-medical-marijuana-for-pain-study-says

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The Impact of Medical Cannabis on Intermittent and Chronic Opioid Users with Back Pain: How Cannabis Diminished Prescription Opioid Usage

View details for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image“To determine if cannabis may be used as an alternative or adjunct treatment for intermittent and chronic prescription opioid users.

Results: There were no between-group differences based on demographic, experiential, or attitudinal variables. We found that 50.8% were able to stop all opioid usage, which took a median of 6.4 years (IQR=1.75-11 years) after excluding two patients who transitioned off opioids by utilizing opioid agonists. For those 29 patients (47.5%) who did not stop opioids, 9 (31%) were able to reduce opioid use, 3 (10%) held the same baseline, and 17 (59%) increased their usage. Forty-eight percent of patients subjectively felt like cannabis helped them mitigate their opioid intake but this sentiment did not predict who actually stopped opioid usage. There were no variables that predicted who stopped opioids, except that those who used higher doses of cannabis were more likely to stop, which suggests that some patients might be able to stop opioids by using cannabis, particularly those who are dosed at higher levels.

Conclusions: In this long-term observational study, cannabis use worked as an alternative to prescription opioids in just over half of patients with low back pain and as an adjunct to diminish use in some chronic opioid users.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32923663/

“Cannabis has been used for centuries as an analgesic and has been shown to reduce chronic pain. In this long-term observational study of a single-center cannabis medical practice site, the addition of cannabis use worked as an alternative to prescription opioids in 50% of patients with chronic back pain. It worked as an adjunct to diminish use in some chronic opioid users. There was only one variable that predicted those who were able to stop opioids suggesting that some patients might be able to stop opioids by using cannabis and that those who do not stop opioids may not be titrated at doses of cannabis high enough to achieve the desired effect necessary to diminish or stop their opioid usage.”

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2019.0039

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Investigating the cumulative effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and repetitive mild traumatic brain injury on adolescent rats

 Issue Cover“The prevalence of mild traumatic brain injury is highest amongst the adolescent population and can lead to complications including neuroinflammation and excitotoxicity.

Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive component of cannabis, is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and serves as a neuroprotective agent against excitotoxicity.

Thus, we investigated the effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol on recovery when administered either prior to or following repeated mild brain injuries.

We hypothesized that, in both experiments, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol administration would provide neuroprotection against mild injury outcomes and confer therapeutic benefit.

Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol administration following repeated mild traumatic brain injury was beneficial to three of the six behavioural outcomes affected by injury (reducing anxiety and depressive-like behaviours while also mitigating injury-induced deficits in short-term working memory). Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol administration following injury also showed beneficial effects on the expression of Cnr1Comt and Vegf-2R in the hippocampus, nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex.

There were no notable benefits of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol when administered prior to injury, suggesting that Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol may have potential therapeutic benefit on post-concussive symptomology when administered post-injury, but not pre-injury.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32954298/

 “Overall, this study suggests that THC has potential therapeutic efficacy for the treatment of RmTBI-induced symptomology but requires additional examination.”

https://academic.oup.com/braincomms/article/2/1/fcaa042/5819138

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Cannabis Extracts Affected Metabolic Syndrome Parameters in Mice Fed High-Fat/Cholesterol Diet

View details for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image“Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is associated with metabolic syndrome, which often includes obesity, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. Several studies in mice and humans have implicated the involvement of the gut microbiome in NAFLD.

While cannabis may potentially be beneficial for treating metabolic disorders such as NAFLD, the effects of cannabis on liver diseases and gut microbiota profile are yet to be addressed. In this study, we evaluated the therapeutic effects of cannabis strains with different cannabinoid profiles on NAFLD progression.

Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that the administration of cannabis containing elevated levels of THC may help ameliorate symptoms of NAFLD, whereas administration of CBD-rich cannabis extracts may cause a proinflammatory effect in the liver, linked with an unfavorable change in the microbiota profile. Our preliminary data suggest that these effects are mediated by mechanisms other than increased expression of the endocannabinoid receptors cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and CB2.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32923658/

“The results of this study provide an indication that administration of certain strains of cannabis, preferably with a higher THC level, may be helpful in treating certain symptoms of metabolic syndrome, which include preventing the development and/or ameliorating the symptoms of NAFLD.”

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2020.0013

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Daily Cannabis Users with Sickle Cell Disease Show Fewer Admissions than Others with Similar Pain Complaints

View details for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image “Previous studies have shown that cannabis use is common in adults with sickle cell disease (SCD), and that many patients report using cannabis to treat pain.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of adults with SCD and compared daily users of cannabis with others using validated patient-reported measures of pain and quality of life as well as opioid and health care utilization.

Results: Daily cannabis users with SCD had worse pain episode severity scores than others (56.7 vs. 48.8, p=0.02) yet had 1.8 fewer annual admissions (p=0.01) and 1.2 fewer annual emergency room (ER) visits (p=0.01), and similar amounts of opioids dispensed to others after matching for age, gender, SCD genotype, hydroxyurea use, and pain impact scores.

Conclusions: We show that people with SCD with more severe pain crisis are more likely to use daily cannabis, yet have lower rates of hospital admission and ER use as compared with others with similar disease severity and pain impact. Randomized controlled trials should be performed.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32923662/

“We posit that people with SCD with severe pain are more likely to use daily cannabis due to its analgesic properties. This would explain why daily users reported more severe pain crises yet had fewer admissions and ER visits after propensity matching was performed.”

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2019.0036

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Δ 9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol promotes oligodendrocyte development and CNS myelination in vivo

“Δ9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main bioactive compound found in the plant Cannabis sativa, exerts its effects by activating cannabinoid receptors present in many neural cells.

Cannabinoid receptors are also physiologically engaged by endogenous cannabinoid compounds, the so-called endocannabinoids. Specifically, the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol has been highlighted as an important modulator of oligodendrocyte (OL) development at embryonic stages and in animal models of demyelination. However, the potential impact of THC exposure on OL lineage progression during the critical periods of postnatal myelination has never been explored.

Here, we show that acute THC administration at early postnatal ages in mice enhanced OL development and CNS myelination in the subcortical white matter by promoting oligodendrocyte precursor cell cycle exit and differentiation. Mechanistically, THC-induced-myelination was mediated by CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, as demonstrated by the blockade of THC actions by selective receptor antagonists. Moreover, the THC-mediated modulation of oligodendroglial differentiation relied on the activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling pathway, as mTORC1 pharmacological inhibition prevented the THC effects.

Our study identifies THC as an effective pharmacological strategy to enhance oligodendrogenesis and CNS myelination in vivo.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32956517/

“In summary, our findings identify THC as a novel pharmacological candidate to enhance OL development and CNS myelination in vivo.”

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/glia.23911

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Cannabidiol Modifies the Formation of NETs in Neutrophils of Psoriatic Patients

ijms-logo“Psoriasis is associated with increased production of reactive oxygen species which leads to oxidative stress.

As antioxidants can provide protection, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation in psoriatic and healthy neutrophils.

These results suggest that psoriatic patients neutrophils are at a higher risk of NETosis both in vitro and in vivo.

CBD reduces NETosis, mainly in psoriatic neutrophils, possibly due to its antioxidant properties.

The anti-NET properties of CBD suggest the positive effect of CBD in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32947961/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/18/6795

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A pediatric patient with autism spectrum disorder and epilepsy using cannabinoid extracts as complementary therapy: a case report

 Journal of Medical Case Reports | Home page“The pharmacological treatment for autism spectrum disorders is often poorly tolerated and has traditionally targeted associated conditions, with limited benefit for the core social deficits.

We describe the novel use of a cannabidiol-based extract that incidentally improved core social deficits and overall functioning in a patient with autism spectrum disorder, at a lower dose than has been previously reported in autism spectrum disorder.

Case presentation: The parents of a 15-year-old boy, of South African descent, with autism spectrum disorder, selective mutism, anxiety, and controlled epilepsy, consulted a medical cannabis physician to trial cannabis extract to replace seizure medications. Incidentally, at a very low cannabidiol-based extract dose, he experienced unanticipated positive effects on behavioral symptoms and core social deficits.

Conclusion: This case report provides evidence that a lower than previously reported dose of a phytocannabinoid in the form of a cannabidiol-based extract may be capable of aiding in autism spectrum disorder-related behavioral symptoms, core social communication abilities, and comorbid anxiety, sleep difficulties, and weight control. Further research is needed to elucidate the clinical role and underlying biological mechanisms of action of cannabidiol-based extract in patients with autism spectrum disorder.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32958062/

https://jmedicalcasereports.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13256-020-02478-7

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The neurocognitive effects of a past cannabis use disorder in a diverse sample of people living with HIV

 Publication Cover“People living with HIV (PLWH) report higher rates of cannabis use than the general population, a trend likely to continue in light of recent policy changes and the reported therapeutic benefits of cannabis for PLWH. Therefore, it is important to better understand cannabis-associated effects on neurocognition, especially as PLWH are at heightened risk for neurocognitive impairment.

This study aimed to elucidate the effects of a past cannabis use disorder on current neurocognition in a diverse sample of PLWH.

Compared to the past CUD- group, the past CUD+ group performed significantly better on tests of processing speed, visual learning and memory, and motor ability.

Findings suggest PLWH with past cannabis use have similar or better neurocognition across domains compared to PLWH without past use.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32951441/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09540121.2020.1822504?journalCode=caic20

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Natural cannabinoids suppress the cytokine storm in sepsis-like in vitro model

 John Libbey Eurotext“Natural cannabinoids may have beneficial effects on various tissues and functions including a positive influence on the immune system and the inflammatory process.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of natural cannabinoids on the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated whole human blood cells.

Levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) were measured before and after exposure of LPS-stimulated whole blood to different concentrations of Cannabidiol (CBD) or a combination of CBD and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) extract.

LPS stimulated the production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines. Exposure to both CBD and CBD/THC extracts significantly suppressed cytokine production in a dose-dependent manner. Exposure to cannabinoid concentrations of 50 μg/ml or 100 μg/ml resulted in a near-complete inhibition of cytokine production.

This study demonstrates that natural cannabinoids significantly suppress pro-inflammatory cytokine production in LPS-stimulated whole blood in a dose-dependent manner. The use of human whole blood, rather than isolated specific cells or tissues, may closely mimic an in vivo sepsis environment.

These findings highlight the role that natural cannabinoids may play in suppressing inflammation and call for additional studies of their use as possible novel therapeutic agents for acute and chronic inflammation.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32933892/

https://www.jle.com/fr/revues/ecn/e-docs/natural_cannabinoids_suppress_the_cytokine_storm_in_sepsis_like_in_vitro_model__318510/article.phtml

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