Comparing the effects of medical cannabis for chronic pain patients with and without co-morbid anxiety: A cohort study

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“Introduction: There is growing evidence on the efficacy of cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) for chronic pain (CP). Due to the interaction between CP and anxiety, and the potential impact of CBMPs on both anxiety and CP, this article aimed to compare the outcomes of CP patients with and without co-morbid anxiety following CBMP treatment.

Methods: Participants were prospectively enrolled and categorized by baseline General Anxiety Disorder-7(GAD-7) scores, into ‘no anxiety'(GAD-7 < 5) and ‘anxiety'(GAD-7 ≥ 5) cohorts. Primary outcomes were changes in Brief Pain Inventory Short-Form, Short-form McGill Pain Questionnaire-2, Pain Visual Analogue Scale, Sleep Quality Scale (SQS), GAD-7 and EQ-5D-5L index values at 1, 3 and 6 months.

Results: 1254 patients (anxiety = 711; no anxiety = 543) met inclusion criteria. Significant improvements in all primary outcomes were observed at all timepoints (p < 0.050), except GAD-7 in the no anxiety group(p > 0.050). The anxiety cohort reported greater improvements in EQ-5D-5L index values, SQS and GAD-7(p < 0.050), but there were no consistent differences in pain outcomes.

Conclusion: A potential association between CBMPs and improvements in pain and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in CP patients was identified. Those with co-morbid anxiety reported greater improvements in HRQoL.”

“A potential association between initiation of CBMPs and improvements in pain and HRQoL, as well as reductions in opioid consumption and an acceptable AE profile in both cohorts was found, complimenting previous UKMCR studies. Moreover, CP patients with co-morbid anxiety may achieve better HRQoL outcomes and potentially pain outcomes due to CBMPs’ peripheral and central effects.”

A Retrospective Medical Record Review of Adults with Non-Cancer Diagnoses Prescribed Medicinal Cannabis

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“Research describing patients using medicinal cannabis and its effectiveness is lacking. We aimed to describe adults with non-cancer diagnoses who are prescribed medicinal cannabis via a retrospective medical record review and assess its effectiveness and safety. From 157 Australian records, most were female (63.7%; mean age 63.0 years). Most patients had neurological (58.0%) or musculoskeletal (24.8%) conditions. Medicinal cannabis was perceived beneficial by 53.5% of patients.

Mixed-effects modelling and post hoc multiple comparisons analysis showed significant changes overtime for pain, bowel problems, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, mood, quality of life (all p < 0.0001), breathing problems (p = 0.0035), and appetite (p = 0.0465) Symptom Assessment Scale scores. For the conditions, neuropathic pain/peripheral neuropathy had the highest rate of perceived benefit (66.6%), followed by Parkinson’s disease (60.9%), multiple sclerosis (60.0%), migraine (43.8%), chronic pain syndrome (42.1%), and spondylosis (40.0%). For the indications, medicinal cannabis had the greatest perceived effect on sleep (80.0%), followed by pain (51.5%), and muscle spasm (50%). Oral oil preparations of balanced delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol/cannabidiol (average post-titration dose of 16.9 mg and 34.8 mg per day, respectively) were mainly prescribed. Somnolence was the most frequently reported side effect (21%).

This study supports medicinal cannabis’ potential to safely treat non-cancer chronic conditions and indications.”

“Cannabis (Cannabaceae) has been used medicinally since 400 AD for its analgesic, appetite enhancement, and myorelaxant properties. Emerging evidence suggests that people with chronic conditions may benefit from using medicinal cannabis for treating chronic pain, multiple sclerosis-related spasticity, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, insomnia, and anxiety.”

A Phase I Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study on Efficacy and Safety Profile of a Sublingually Administered Cannabidiol /Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabidiol (10: 1) Regimen in Diabetes Type 2 Patients

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“The current study aimed to evaluate the safety profile and efficacy of a cannabis-based sublingual spray, CBDEX10® (containing 100 µg cannabidiol and 10 µg Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol per puff; CBD/Δ9-THC 10:1), in improving lipid profile and glycemic state of the diabetic patients.

Fifty diabetic patients were randomly allocated to the treatment (n = 25; receiving two puffs of CBDEX10® twice daily) or the control groups (n = 25; receiving two puffs of placebo). The primary endpoint of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of the CBDEX10® adjunctive therapy in improving the lipid profile and glycemic state of diabetic patients; the secondary endpoint was to assess the safety profile and tolerability of the spray.

A statistically significant decline in total cholesterol [estimated treatment difference (ETD) = −19.73 mg/dL; P < 0.05], triglyceride (ETD = −27.84 mg/dL; P < 0.01), LDL-C (ETD = −5.37 mg/dL; P < 0.01), FBS (ETD = −12 mg/dL; P < 0.01), Hb A1C (ETD = −0.21 mg/dL; P < 0.01) and insulin secretion (ETD = -5.21 mIU/L; P < 0.01) was observable in the patients treated with CBDEX10® at the end of the 8-week treatment period. Regarding safety, the mentioned adjunctive regimen was well, and there were no serious or severe adverse effects.

Overall, CBDEX1® sublingual spray could be a new therapeutic agent for lipid and glycemic control in diabetic patients.”

“Based on these observations, the combination of CBD/Δ9-THC regimen could be a new therapeutic regimen for controlling the lipid profile and glycemic state of DM patients.”

Multi-Targeting Intranasal Nanoformulation as a Therapeutic for Alzheimer’s Disease


“Melatonin, insulin, and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have been shown to reverse cognitive deficits and attenuate neuropathologies in transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) when used individually. Here, we evaluated the therapeutic properties of long-term intranasal treatment with a novel nanoformulation containing melatonin, insulin, and THC in aged APPswe/PS1ΔE9 (APP/PS1) mice, a transgenic model of AD.

Transgenic mice at the age of 12 months were intranasally administered with a new nanoformulation containing melatonin, insulin, and THC at doses of 0.04, 0.008, and 0.02 mg/kg, respectively, once daily for 3 months. The spatial memory of the mice was assessed using the radial arm water maze (RAWM) test before and after drug treatment. Brain tissues were collected at the end of the treatment period for the assessment of Aβ load, tauopathy state, and markers of mitochondrial function.

The RAWM test revealed that the treatment with the melatonin-insulin-THC (MIT) nasal spray improved the spatial learning memory of APP/PS1 mice significantly. Results of protein analyses of brain homogenates indicated that MIT treatment significantly decreased the tau phosphorylation implicated in tau toxicity (p < 0.05) and the expression of CKMT1 associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. Moreover, MIT significantly decreased the expression of two mitochondrial fusion-related proteins, Mfn2 and Opa1 (p < 0.01 for both), while increasing the expression of a mitophagy regulator, Parkin, suggesting a compensatory enhancement of mitophagy due to MIT-promoted mitochondrial fusion.

In conclusion, this study was the first to demonstrate the ability of an MIT nanoformulation to improve spatial memory in AD mice through its multi-targeting effects on Aβ production, tau phosphorylation, and mitochondrial dynamics. Thus, MIT may be a safe and effective therapeutic for AD.”

“The results of the present study provide the first evidence that MIT nanoformulation containing melatonin, insulin, and THC has potential as a multi-targeting treatment for AD.”

Medical Cannabis for Chronic Nonmalignant Pain Management


“Purpose of review: Cannabis has been used since ancient times for medical and recreational research. This review article will document the validity of how medical cannabis can be utilized for chronic nonmalignant pain management.

Recent findings: Current cannabis research has shown that medical cannabis is indicated for symptom management for many conditions not limited to cancer, chronic pain, headaches, migraines, and psychological disorders (anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder). Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are active ingredients in cannabis that modulate a patient’s symptoms. These compounds work to decrease nociception and symptom frequency via the endocannabinoid system. Research regarding pain management is limited within the USA as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies it as a schedule one drug. Few studies have found a limited relationship between chronic pain and medical cannabis use. A total of 77 articles were selected after a thorough screening process using PubMed and Google Scholar. This paper demonstrates that medical cannabis use provides adequate pain management. Patients suffering from chronic nonmalignant pain may benefit from medical cannabis due to its convenience and efficacy.”

“Patients often seek medical consultations most commonly because of having intolerable chronic pain. Medications such as NSAIDs or opioids are being used to relieve such pain. However, long-term use of these medications can also cause adverse effects on health. Several studies have been done regarding cannabis as an alternative for chronic pain. Some patients were reported to get relief from cannabis consumption through various routes, and the use of it has been legalized, too, in some states in the USA and countries like Germany. Italy, the Netherlands, UK, Australia, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Thailand, and Jamaica. Compared with opioids, studies show that cannabis use has lesser adverse effects, and it could even lessen opioid dependence.”

Cannabinoids modulate the microbiota-gut-brain axis in HIV/SIV infection by reducing neuroinflammation and dysbiosis while concurrently elevating endocannabinoid and indole-3-propionate levels

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“Background: Although the advent of combination anti-retroviral therapy (cART) has transformed HIV into a manageable chronic disease, an estimated 30-50% of people living with HIV (PLWH) exhibit cognitive and motor deficits collectively known as HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). A key driver of HAND neuropathology is chronic neuroinflammation, where proinflammatory mediators produced by activated microglia and macrophages are thought to inflict neuronal injury and loss. Moreover, the dysregulation of the microbiota-gut-brain axis (MGBA) in PLWH, consequent to gastrointestinal dysfunction and dysbiosis, can lead to neuroinflammation and persistent cognitive impairment, which underscores the need for new interventions.

Methods: We performed RNA-seq and microRNA profiling in basal ganglia (BG), metabolomics (plasma) and shotgun metagenomic sequencing (colon contents) in uninfected and SIV-infected rhesus macaques (RMs) administered vehicle (VEH/SIV) or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (THC/SIV).

Results: Long-term, low-dose THC reduced neuroinflammation and dysbiosis and significantly increased plasma endocannabinoid, endocannabinoid-like, glycerophospholipid and indole-3-propionate levels in chronically SIV-infected RMs. Chronic THC potently blocked the upregulation of genes associated with type-I interferon responses (NLRC5, CCL2, CXCL10, IRF1, IRF7, STAT2, BST2), excitotoxicity (SLC7A11), and enhanced protein expression of WFS1 (endoplasmic reticulum stress) and CRYM (oxidative stress) in BG. Additionally, THC successfully countered miR-142-3p-mediated suppression of WFS1 protein expression via a cannabinoid receptor-1-mediated mechanism in HCN2 neuronal cells. Most importantly, THC significantly increased the relative abundance of Firmicutes and Clostridia including indole-3-propionate (C. botulinum, C. paraputrificum, and C. cadaveris) and butyrate (C. butyricum, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Butyricicoccus pullicaecorum) producers in colonic contents.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates the potential of long-term, low-dose THC to positively modulate the MGBA by reducing neuroinflammation, enhancing endocannabinoid levels and promoting the growth of gut bacterial species that produce neuroprotective metabolites, like indole-3-propionate. The findings from this study may benefit not only PLWH on cART, but also those with no access to cART and more importantly, those who fail to suppress the virus under cART.”

Cannabinoids in traumatic brain injury and related neuropathologies: preclinical and clinical research on endogenous, plant-derived, and synthetic compounds

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“Traumatic brain injury is common, and often results in debilitating consequences. Even mild traumatic brain injury leaves approximately 20% of patients with symptoms that persist for months. Despite great clinical need there are currently no approved pharmaceutical interventions that improve outcomes after traumatic brain injury. Increased understanding of the endocannabinoid system in health and disease has accompanied growing evidence for therapeutic benefits of Cannabis sativa. This has driven research of Cannabis’ active chemical constituents (phytocannabinoids), alongside endogenous and synthetic counterparts, collectively known as cannabinoids. Also of therapeutic interest are other Cannabis constituents, such as terpenes. Cannabinoids interact with neurons, microglia, and astrocytes, and exert anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects which are highly desirable for the management of traumatic brain injury. In this review, we comprehensively appraised the relevant scientific literature, where major and minor phytocannabinoids, terpenes, synthetic cannabinoids, and endogenous cannabinoids were assessed in TBI, or other neurological conditions with pathology and symptomology relevant to TBI, as well as recent studies in preclinical TBI models and clinical TBI populations.”

“Diseases with complex, multifaceted pathology, such as TBI, may require treatment that is multi-mechanistic, such as whole plant cannabis extracts.”

Regulatory role of the endocannabinoid system on glial cells toward cognitive function in Alzheimer’s disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of animal studies

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“Objective: Over the last decade, researchers have sought to develop novel medications against dementia. One potential agent under investigation is cannabinoids. This review systematically appraised and meta-analyzed published pre-clinical research on the mechanism of endocannabinoid system modulation in glial cells and their effects on cognitive function in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). 

Methods: A systematic review complying with PRISMA guidelines was conducted. Six databases were searched: EBSCOHost, Scopus, PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane, and Web of Science, using the keywords AD, cannabinoid, glial cells, and cognition. The methodological quality of each selected pre-clinical study was evaluated using the SYRCLE risk of bias tool. A random-effects model was applied to analyze the data and calculate the effect size, while I2 and p-values were used to assess heterogeneity. 

Results: The analysis included 26 original articles describing (1050 rodents) with AD-like symptoms. Rodents treated with cannabinoid agonists showed significant reductions in escape latency (standard mean difference [SMD] = -1.26; 95% confidence interval [CI]: -1.77 to -0.76, p < 0.00001) and ability to discriminate novel objects (SMD = 1.40; 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.76, p < 0.00001) compared to the control group. Furthermore, a significant decrease in Aβ plaques (SMD = -0.91; 95% CI: -1.55 to -0.27, p = 0.006) was observed in the endocannabinoid-treated group compared to the control group. Trends were observed toward neuroprotection, as represented by decreased levels of glial cell markers including glial fibrillary acid protein (SMD = -1.47; 95% CI: -2.56 to -0.38, p = 0.008) and Iba1 (SMD = -1.67; 95% CI: -2.56 to -0.79, p = 0.0002). Studies on the wild-type mice demonstrated significantly decreased levels of pro-inflammatory markers TNF-α, IL-1, and IL-6 (SMD = -2.28; 95% CI: -3.15 to -1.41, p = 0.00001). Despite the non-significant decrease in pro-inflammatory marker levels in transgenic mice (SMD = -0.47; 95% CI: -1.03 to 0.08, p = 0.09), the result favored the endocannabinoid-treated group over the control group. 

Conclusion: The revised data suggested that endocannabinoid stimulation promotes cognitive function via modulation of glial cells by decreasing pro-inflammatory markers in AD-like rodent models. Thus, cannabinoid agents may be required to modulate the downstream chain of effect to enhance cognitive stability against concurrent neuroinflammation in AD. Population-based studies and well-designed clinical trials are required to characterize the acceptability and real-world effectiveness of cannabinoid agents.”

“Numerous traditional medical applications of cannabis have already been established and are now accepted practices in medicine.”

Machine learning study: from the toxicity studies to tetrahydrocannabinol effects on Parkinson’s disease

“Aim: Investigating molecules having toxicity and chemical similarity to find hit molecules. 

Methods: The machine learning (ML) model was developed to predict the arylhydrocarbon receptor (AHR) activity of anti-Parkinson’s and US FDA-approved drugs. The ML algorithm was a support vector machine, and the dataset was Tox21. 

Results: The ML model predicted apomorphine in anti-Parkinson’s drugs and 73 molecules in FDA-approved drugs as active. The authors were curious if there is any molecule like apomorphine in these 73 molecules. A fingerprint similarity analysis of these molecules was conducted and found tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Molecular docking studies of THC for dopamine receptor 1 (affinity = -8.2 kcal/mol) were performed. 

Conclusion: THC may affect dopamine receptors directly and could be useful for Parkinson’s disease.”

“A machine learning model was developed to predict AHR activity of anti-Parkinson’s and US FDA-approved drugs separately. The model predicted apomorphine in anti-Parkinson’s drugs, 73 molecules in FDA-approved drugs and tetrahydrocannabinol as active.”

“Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ⁹-THC) exerts a direct neuroprotective effect in a human cell culture model of Parkinson’s disease”

Specific cannabinoids revive adaptive immunity by reversing immune evasion mechanisms in metastatic tumours

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“Emerging cancers are sculpted by neo-Darwinian selection for superior growth and survival but minimal immunogenicity; consequently, metastatic cancers often evolve common genetic and epigenetic signatures to elude immune surveillance. Immune subversion by metastatic tumours can be achieved through several mechanisms; one of the most frequently observed involves the loss of expression or mutation of genes composing the MHC-I antigen presentation machinery (APM) that yields tumours invisible to Cytotoxic T lymphocytes, the key component of the adaptive cellular immune response.

Fascinating ethnographic and experimental findings indicate that cannabinoids inhibit the growth and progression of several categories of cancer; however, the mechanisms underlying these observations remain clouded in uncertainty. Here, we screened a library of cannabinoid compounds and found molecular selectivity amongst specific cannabinoids, where related molecules such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, and cannabigerol can reverse the metastatic immune escape phenotype in vitro by inducing MHC-I cell surface expression in a wide variety of metastatic tumours that subsequently sensitizing tumours to T lymphocyte recognition.

Remarkably, H3K27Ac ChIPseq analysis established that cannabigerol and gamma interferon induce overlapping epigenetic signatures and key gene pathways in metastatic tumours related to cellular senescence, as well as APM genes involved in revealing metastatic tumours to the adaptive immune response. Overall, the data suggest that specific cannabinoids may have utility in cancer immunotherapy regimens by overcoming immune escape and augmenting cancer immune surveillance in metastatic disease. Finally, the fundamental discovery of the ability of cannabinoids to alter epigenetic programs may help elucidate many of the pleiotropic medicinal effects of cannabinoids on human physiology.”