Cannabinoids in Treating Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms: A Systematic Review of Clinical Studies

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“Background: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a serious neurodegenerative condition impacting many individuals worldwide. There is a need for new non-invasive treatments of PD. Cannabinoids in the form of cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may offer utility as treatment, and our objective was hence to conduct a systematic review regarding the clinical evidence for the efficacy and safety of cannabinoids in treating PD. 

Methods: Screening, data extraction, and quality assessments were all conducted by multiple reviewers, with discrepancies resolved by consensus. 

Results: After conducting searches in 4 different databases, 673 articles were screened. Thirteen articles were deemed eligible for inclusion in this review. It was shown that cannabis, CBD, and nabilone (a synthetic form of THC) were capable of consistently improving motor symptoms more than a placebo. All treatments improved various non-motor symptoms, particularly with cannabis improving pain intensity, and CBD improving psychiatric symptoms in a dose-dependent manner. Adverse effects were usually minor, and, in the case of CBD, rare (except at very high doses). 

Conclusion: Cannabinoids have been shown to safely offer important potential in treating motor symptoms in PD and some non-motor symptoms. More large-scale randomized control trials for specific forms of cannabinoid treatments are required to determine their overall efficacy.”

Impact of Marijuana Smoking on COPD Progression in a Cohort of Middle-Aged and Older Persons

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“Background: Limited data are available regarding marijuana smoking’s impact on development or progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in middle-aged or older adults with a variable history of tobacco cigarette smoking.

Methods: We divided ever-tobacco smoking participants in the Subpopulations and Intermediate Outcomes in COPD Study (SPIROMICS) into three groups based on self-reported marijuana use: current, former or never marijuana smokers (CMS, FMS or NMS, respectively). Longitudinal data were analyzed in participants with ≥2 visits over a period of ≥52 weeks.

Measurements: We compared CMS, FMS and NMS, and those with varying amounts of lifetime marijuana use. Mixed effects linear regression models were used to analyze changes in spirometry, symptoms, health status and radiographic metrics; zero-inflated negative binomial models were used for exacerbation rates. All models were adjusted for age, sex, race, baseline tobacco smoking amount, and FEV1 %predicted.

Results: Most participants were followed for ≥4 years. Annual rates of change in FEV1, incident COPD, respiratory symptoms, health status, radiographic extent of emphysema or air trapping, and total or severe exacerbations were not different between CMS or FMS versus NMS or between those with any lifetime amount of marijuana use versus NMS.

Conclusions: Among SPIROMICS participants with or without COPD, neither former nor current marijuana smoking of any lifetime amount was associated with evidence of COPD progression or its development. Because of our study’s limitations, these findings underscore the need for further studies to better understand longer term effects of marijuana smoking in COPD.”

“Smoking cannabis doesn’t carry the same COPD risk as tobacco, study finds”

Cannabidiol and Minor Phytocannabinoids: A Preliminary Study to Assess Their Anti-Melanoma, Anti-Melanogenic, and Anti-Tyrosinase Properties

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“Currently, there is an increased interest from both scientists and consumers in the application of cannabis/hemp/phytocannabinoids in skin-related disorders. However, most previous investigations assessed the pharmacological properties of hemp extracts, cannabidiol (CBD), or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), with very few studies focusing on minor phytocannabinoids from hemp. In this context, the current work explored the in vitro anti-melanoma, anti-melanogenic, and anti-tyrosinase effects of cannabidiol (CBD) and three minor phytocannabinoids, namely cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabichromene (CBC). Among the tested human malignant melanoma cells (A375, SH4, and G361), only A375 cells were highly susceptible to the 48 h treatment with the four phytocannabinoids (IC50 values between 12.02 and 25.13 μg/mL). When melanogenesis was induced in murine melanoma B16F10 cells by α-melanocyte stimulating hormone (αMSH), CBD, CBG, and CBN significantly decreased the extracellular (29.76-45.14% of αMSH+ cells) and intracellular (60.59-67.87% of αMSH+ cells) melanin content at 5 μg/mL. Lastly, CBN (50-200 μg/mL) inhibited both mushroom and murine tyrosinase, whereas CBG (50-200 μg/mL) and CBC (100-200 μg/mL) down-regulated only the mushroom tyrosinase activity; in contrast, CBD was practically inactive. The current data show that tyrosinase inhibition might not be responsible for reducing the melanin biosynthesis in α-MSH-treated B16F10 cells. By evaluating for the first time the preliminary anti-melanoma, anti-melanogenic, and anti-tyrosinase properties of CBN and CBC and confirming similar effects for CBD and CBG, this study can expand the utilization of CBD and, in particular, of minor phytocannabinoids to novel cosmeceutical products for skin care.”

Antitumor Effects of Cannabis sativa Bioactive Compounds on Colorectal Carcinogenesis

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“Cannabis sativa is a multipurpose plant that has been used in medicine for centuries. Recently, considerable research has focused on the bioactive compounds of this plant, particularly cannabinoids and terpenes. Among other properties, these compounds exhibit antitumor effects in several cancer types, including colorectal cancer (CRC). Cannabinoids show positive effects in the treatment of CRC by inducing apoptosis, proliferation, metastasis, inflammation, angiogenesis, oxidative stress, and autophagy. Terpenes, such as β-caryophyllene, limonene, and myrcene, have also been reported to have potential antitumor effects on CRC through the induction of apoptosis, the inhibition of cell proliferation, and angiogenesis. In addition, synergy effects between cannabinoids and terpenes are believed to be important factors in the treatment of CRC. This review focuses on the current knowledge about the potential of cannabinoids and terpenoids from C. sativa to serve as bioactive agents for the treatment of CRC while evidencing the need for further research to fully elucidate the mechanisms of action and the safety of these compounds.”

“Data suggest that cannabinoids exert advantages in the treatment of CRC, mostly by inducing apoptosis, although some evidence also points out that they may target other key therapeutic events, such as proliferation, metastasis, inflammation, angiogenesis, oxidative stress, and autophagy. The currently available data on this subject refer mostly to the C. sativa major cannabinoids, i.e., CBD, THC, and CBG, but several pieces of evidence suggest that minor cannabinoids and other bioactive compounds such as terpenes also may hold potential as therapeutic agents for CRC. Data also suggest that certain combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes in C. sativa extracts can lead to a synergistic action known as the “entourage effect,” which has been linked to certain pharmacological benefits. The potential therapeutic benefits of the cannabinoids and terpenes from this plant make them key candidates for further drug development.”

Cannabinoids Reduce Melanoma Cell Viability and Do Not Interfere with Commonly Used Targeted Therapy in Metastatic Melanoma In Vivo and In Vitro

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“Background: Cannabinoids are mainly used for recreational purposes, but also made their way into oncology, since these substances can be taken to increase appetite in tumour cachexia. Since there are some hints in the literature that cannabinoids might have some anti-cancerous effects, the aim of this study was to study if and how cannabinoids mediate pro-apoptotic effects in metastatic melanoma in vivo and in vitro and its value besides conventional targeted therapy in vivo. 

Methods: Several melanoma cell lines were treated with different concentrations of cannabinoids, and anti-cancerous efficacy was assessed by proliferation and apoptosis assays. Subsequent pathway analysis was performed using apoptosis, proliferation, flow cytometry and confocal microscopy data. The efficacy of cannabinoids in combination with trametinib was studied in NSG mice in vivo. 

Results: Cannabinoids reduced cell viability in multiple melanoma cell lines in a dose-dependent way. The effect was mediated by CB1, TRPV1 and PPARα receptors, whereby pharmacological blockade of all three receptors protected from cannabinoid-induced apoptosis. Cannabinoids initiated apoptosis by mitochondrial cytochrome c release with consecutive activation of different caspases. Essentially, cannabinoids significantly decreased tumour growth in vivo and were as potent as the MEK inhibitor trametinib. 

Conclusions: We could demonstrate that cannabinoids reduce cell viability in several melanoma cell lines, initiate apoptosis via the intrinsic apoptotic pathway by cytochrome c release and caspase activation and do not interfere with commonly used targeted therapy.”

“Cannabinoids are mainly used for recreational purposes but find their way into oncology due to ongoing legalization efforts and anti-cancerous hints in the scientific literature. The goal of this study was to elucidate the mode of action of a clinically used cannabis medication in metastatic melanoma as well as its clinical value in combination with targeted therapy. By cell viability and apoptosis assays, we could demonstrate that cannabinoids mediate their apoptotic effect in a caspase-mediated fashion by disturbing mitochondrial integrity. With in vivo experiments, we could demonstrate that clinically used cannabinoid medication does not interfere with the commonly used anti-cancerous drug trametinib. Our results suggest that cannabinoids are effective in metastatic melanoma and pave the way for further clinical trials.”

Analgesia by intrathecal delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is dependent on Cav3.2 calcium channels

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“Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) is known to produce systemic analgesia that involves CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. However, there is compelling evidence that Δ9-THC can potently inhibit Cav3.2T-type calcium channels which are highly expressed in dorsal root ganglion neurons and in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. Here, we investigated whether spinal analgesia produced by Δ9-THC involves Cav3.2 channels vis a vis cannabinoid receptors. We show that spinally delivered Δ9-THC produced dose-dependent and long-lasting mechanical anti-hyperalgesia in neuropathic mice, and showed potent analgesic effects in models of inflammatory pain induced by formalin or Complete Freund’s Adjuvant (CFA) injection into the hind paw, with the latter showing no overt sex differences. The Δ9-THC mediated reversal of thermal hyperalgesia in the CFA model was abolished in Cav3.2 null mice, but was unaltered in CB1 and CB2 null animals. Hence, the analgesic effects of spinally delivered Δ9-THC are due to an action on T-type calcium channels, rather than activation of spinal cannabinoid receptors.”

Cannabis sativa L. modulates altered metabolic pathways involved in key metabolisms in human breast cancer (MCF-7) cells: A metabolomics study

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“The present study investigated the ability of Cannabis sativa leaves infusion (CSI) to modulate major metabolisms implicated in cancer cells survival, as well as to induce cell death in human breast cancer (MCF-7) cells. MCF-7 cell lines were treated with CSI for 48 h, doxorubicin served as the standard anticancer drug, while untreated MCF-7 cells served as the control. CSI caused 21.2% inhibition of cell growth at the highest dose. Liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy (LC-MS) profiling of the control cells revealed the presence of carbohydrate, vitamins, oxidative, lipids, nucleotides, and amino acids metabolites. Treatment with CSI caused a 91% depletion of these metabolites, while concomitantly generating selenomethionine, l-cystine, deoxyadenosine triphosphate, cyclic AMP, selenocystathionine, inosine triphosphate, adenosine phosphosulfate, 5′-methylthioadenosine, uric acid, malonic semialdehyde, 2-methylguanosine, ganglioside GD2 and malonic acid. Metabolomics analysis via pathway enrichment of the metabolites revealed the activation of key metabolic pathways relevant to glucose, lipid, amino acid, vitamin, and nucleotide metabolisms. CSI caused a total inactivation of glucose, vitamin, and nucleotide metabolisms, while inactivating key lipid and amino acid metabolic pathways linked to cancer cell survival. Flow cytometry analysis revealed an induction of apoptosis and necrosis in MCF-7 cells treated with CSI. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis of CSI revealed the presence of cannabidiol, rutin, cinnamic acid, and ferulic. These results portray the antiproliferative potentials of CSI as an alternative therapy for the treatment and management of breast cancer as depicted by its modulation of glucose, lipid, amino acid, vitamin, and nucleotide metabolisms, while concomitantly inducing cell death in MCF-7 cells.”

Medicinal cannabis products for the treatment of acute pain

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“For thousands of years, medicinal cannabis has been used for pain treatment, but its use for pain management is still controversial. Meta-analysis of the literature has shown contrasting results on the addition of cannabinoids to opioids compared with placebo/other active agents to reduce pain. Clinical studies are mainly focused on medicinal cannabis use in chronic pain management, for which the analgesic effect has been proven in many studies. This review focuses on the potential use of medical cannabis for acute pain management in preclinical studies, studies on healthy subjects and the few pioneering studies in the clinical setting.”

Therapeutic use of cannabinoids for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders: a potential breakthrough

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“Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is a plant-based illicit drug notorious for its recreational purposes. However, in recent years its extracts are being extensively studied for their overall therapeutic effects. Active substances found in marijuana that interact with the endocannabinoid system are known as cannabinoids, the primary examples being 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (9-THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). These cannabinoids ligand to receptors such as CB1 (found in CNS) and CB2 (found in immune system cells) to prevent the release of neurotransmitters and modulate immune cell migration as well as cytokine release, respectively (1). In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in the neuroprotective potential of marijuana; however, investigators could not make firm conclusions about the effectiveness of these treatments. A comprehensive review by Bahji A et al. (2022) found an evident link between cannabidiol-based products and relief from the motor as well as behavioural and psychological symptoms spanning Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Huntington’s disease (HD), and Parkinson’s disease (PD) (2). Here we discuss the effects of marijuana and its derivatives on the treating significant neurodegenerative disorders.

Dronabinol (2.5 mg) seemed to lessen the disordered behaviours as assessed by the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory in 12 patients of AD (p=0.05) (3). Sherman et al. (2018) reported the association of cannabis administration with weight and pain management in AD patients. The adverse effects are typically well tolerated at the levels supplied, even though cannabis is linked to an increased risk of euphoria, sleepiness and psychosis (1). On the other hand, for HD, nabilone (1 or 2 mg) had a substantial therapeutic benefit in a different 10-week placebo-controlled crossover experiment as determined by the overall motor and chorea score on the Unified Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) (4). Available reviews revealed variable evidence suggesting the clinical benefits of cannabis in treating motor symptoms in patients with PD. A randomized trial found that compared to a placebo, giving a single dosage of 300 mg of CBD successfully decreased tremor amplitude (5).

Neurological diseases, including  the  neurodegenerative diseases,  comprise  8.7% of the disease burden  in lower- middle- income countries (such as Pakistan) (6). Currently, there is no real cure for neurodegenerative disorders, only symptomatic management, such as dopamine treatment for PD or cholinesterase inhibitors for dementia. Cannabinoids might be the lifeline all neurodegenerative disorder patients have been waiting for.”

Cannabidiol Use Patterns and Efficacy for Children Who Have Cerebral Palsy

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“Cannabidiol (CBD)-containing supplements are used by children with cerebral palsy (CP), but the prevalence and efficacy of their use have not been studied. We sought to describe CBD use patterns and perceived efficacy in the pediatric population with CP, evaluating any association between CBD use and health-related quality of life. Patients with CP were prospectively enrolled, and caregivers were offered the Caregiver Priorities and Child Health Index of Life with Disabilities (CPCHILD) Questionnaire and a survey assessing CBD use. Of 119 participants, 20 (16.8%) endorsed CBD use (CBD+) and 99 (83.2%) denied it (CBD-). Participants in the CBD+ group had worse functional status (85% Gross Motor Function Classification System level IV-V for CBD+ vs 37.4% for CBD-, P<.001) and lower health-related quality of life (mean CPCHILD score of 49.3 for CBD+ vs 62.2 for CBD-, P=.001). Spasticity was the rationale most cited for CBD use (29%), followed by pain and anxiety (both 22.6%). CBD was perceived to be most effective for improving emotional health, spasticity, and pain. Fifty percent of the patients in the CBD+ group underwent surgery in the previous 2 years and most endorsed a general benefit in the postoperative setting. The most common side effects noted were fatigue and increased appetite (both 12%). Most participants endorsed no side effects (60%). CBD may serve as a useful adjunct for some children with CP, especially those with worse disease severity. Caregivers perceive CBD as offering some benefits, particularly in the domains of emotional health, spasticity, and pain. We found no evidence of severe adverse events in our small cohort.”