Cannabidiol Protects against the Reinstatement of Oxycodone-Induced Conditioned Place Preference in Adolescent Male but Not Female Rats: The Role of MOR and CB1R

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“Cannabidiol (CBD), a phytocannabinoid, appeared to satisfy several criteria for a safe approach to preventing drug-taking behavior, including opioids. However, most successful preclinical and clinical results come from studies in adult males. We examined whether systemic injections of CBD (10 mg/kg, i.p.) during extinction of oxycodone (OXY, 3 mg/kg, i.p.) induced conditioned place preference (CPP) could attenuate the reinstatement of CPP brought about by OXY (1.5 mg/kg, i.p.) priming in adolescent rats of both sexes, and whether this effect is sex dependent. Accordingly, a priming dose of OXY produced reinstatement of the previously extinguished CPP in males and females. In both sexes, this effect was linked to locomotor sensitization that was blunted by CBD pretreatments. However, CBD was able to prevent the reinstatement of OXY-induced CPP only in adolescent males and this outcome was associated with an increased cannabinoid 1 receptor (CB1R) and a decreased mu opioid receptor (MOR) expression in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The reinstatement of CCP in females was associated with a decreased MOR expression, but no changes were detected in CB1R in the hippocampus (HIP). Moreover, CBD administration during extinction significantly potentialized the reduced MOR expression in the PFC of males and showed a tendency to potentiate the reduced MOR in the HIP of females. Additionally, CBD reversed OXY-induced deficits of recognition memory only in males. These results suggest that CBD could reduce reinstatement to OXY seeking after a period of abstinence in adolescent male but not female rats. However, more investigation is required.”

“In conclusion, our findings indicate that CBD is effective in preventing OXY seeking behavior after a period of abstinence in adolescent male, but not in female rats. This effect in males appears to be due to the interaction between CB1R and MOR. Further research is needed to determine whether the lack of effect in female adolescent rats is related to gonadal hormone status, dose of CBD, or other mechanisms, such as that, for example, of CB2R. It is important to investigate the mechanisms behind these sex differences, especially since previous research has shown that CBD reduces cue-induced cravings in humans with heroin use disorder.”

Cannabis donation as a harm reduction strategy: a case study

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“Background: The United States (US) continues to experience unprecedented rates of overdose mortality and there is increased need to identify effective harm reduction practices. Research from Canada describes cannabis donation through harm reduction agencies as an adjunctive strategy to mitigate the negative consequences of more harmful drugs. This case study describes the operational logistics, feasibility, and potential benefits of a cannabis donation program that was operated through a harm reduction program in rural Michigan.

Case presentation: We applied a community driven research approach to gather information from harm reduction program staff about the implementation and evolution of cannabis donation efforts in Michigan. We also examined 20-months (September 2021 through May 2023) of administrative data from a cannabis company to compare the sale and donation of cannabis products. Ten cannabis-experienced harm reduction clients received cannabis donations, with clinical staff determining client interest and appropriateness, and providing weekly pick-up or delivery. To expand product availability and sustainability, we examined administrative data from a commercialcannabis company that volunteered to provide donations. This administrative data suggests that while flower products constitute most of the adult and medical sales, edible, oil, and topical products predominated donations. Further, cost analysis suggests that donations represent only 1% of total gross sales and account for much less than the expected yearly donation amount.

Conclusions: Research suggests there is potential to reduce alcohol and drug use related harms of more dangerous substances through substitution with cannabis. This case study is the first to document cannabis donation as a harm reduction practice in the US and suggests potential for sustainability dependent on state laws. Findings from this case study provide a starting point for inquiry into cannabis donation as a harm reduction strategy in the US; future research is needed to fully understand the individual-level outcomes, public health impacts, necessary legal regulations, and best practices for cannabis donation programs through harm reduction organizations.”

“Despite billions spent at federal, state, and local levels, the US continues to face a drug overdose public health crisis. As illustrated in this case study, cannabis donation through harm reduction is happening in the US. While the policies surrounding the regulation and distribution of cannabis can still present barriers towards this practice, harm reduction staff working in the field see the potential benefits of cannabis, which include reduced premature death [1749], improved quality of life [5051], pain moderation [2952,53,54], increased recovery outcomes [10155556], and improved safety for clients and community [5758]. Future research should focus on assessing whether this harm reduction practice is achieving any of these outcomes. Until then, given the ongoing overdose mortality stemming from illicitly produced fentanyl and other synthetic contaminants saturating the unregulated drug market, and the potential benefits of cannabis in reducing this unregulated substance use, harm reduction practitioners will continue to support client self-determination, and mutual aid in all forms, including available safe psychoactive substances, for persons who use drugs.”

Unravelling the landscape of Cannabis craving pharmacological treatments: a PRISMA-guided review of evidence

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“Currently, few treatments are available for craving in general, and none of them have received approval for cannabis craving.

The objective of this review is to evaluate existing studies analysing treatments for cannabis craving and explore novel treatment possibilities for these patients.

The current pharmacological treatments largely involve off-label drug use and the utilisation of cannabinoid-based medications, such as combinations of THC and lofexidine, oxytocin, progesterone, and N-acetylcysteine.

These emerging treatments show promise and have the potential to revolutionise current clinical practices, but further investigation is needed to establish their efficacy.”

Perceptions in orthopedic surgery on the use of cannabis in treating pain: a survey of patients with spine pain (POSIT Spine)

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“Background: Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Despite guidelines discouraging opioids as first-line treatment, opioids remain the most prescribed drugs for back pain. There is renewed interest in exploring the potential medical applications of cannabis, and with the recent changes in national legislation there is a unique opportunity to investigate the analgesic properties of cannabis.

Methods: This was a multi-center survey-based study examining patient perceptions regarding cannabis for spine pain. We included patients presenting with back or neck pain to one of three Orthopedic clinics in Ontario. Our primary outcome was perceived effect of cannabis on back pain, while secondary outcomes were perceptions regarding potential applications and barriers to cannabis use.

Results: 259 patients participated in this study, 35.3% (90/255) stating they used cannabis medically. Average pain severity was 6.5/10 ± 0.3 (95% CI 6.2-6.8). Nearly three-quarters were prescribed opioids (73.6%, 148/201), with oxycodone/oxycontin (45.9% 68/148) being the most common, and almost half of (49.3%, 73/148) had used an opioid in the last week. Patients estimated cannabis could treat 54.3% ± 4.0 (95% CI 50.3-58.3%) of their spine pain and replace 46.2% ± 6. 6 (95% CI 39.6-52.8%) of their current analgesics. Age (β = – 0.3, CI – 0.6-0.0), higher pain severity (β = 0.4, CI 0.1-0.6) and previous cannabis use (β = 14.7, CI 5.1-24.4) were associated with a higher perceived effect of cannabis. Patients thought cannabis would be beneficial to treat pain (129/146, 88.4%), and reduce (116/146, 79.5%) or eliminate opioids (102/146, 69.9%). Not considering using cannabis for medical purposes (65/150, 43.3%) was the number one reported barrier.

Conclusions: Patients estimated medical cannabis could treat more than half of their spine pain, with one in three patients already using medical cannabis. 79% of patients also believe cannabis could reduce opioid usage. This data will help support more research into cannabis for musculoskeletal pain.”

Cannabidiol and its Potential Evidence-Based Psychiatric Benefits – A Critical Review

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“The endocannabinoid system shows promise as a novel target for treating psychiatric conditions.

Cannabidiol (CBD), a naturally occurring cannabinoid, has been investigated in several psychiatric conditions, with diverse effects and an excellent safety profile compared to standard treatments. Even though the body of evidence from randomised clinical trials is growing, it remains relatively limited in most indications.

This review comprises a comprehensive literature search to identify clinical studies on the effects of CBD in psychiatric conditions. The literature search included case studies, case reports, observational studies, and RCTs published in English before July 27, 2023, excluding studies involving nabiximols or cannabis extracts containing CBD and ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Completed studies were considered, and all authors independently assessed relevant publications.Of the 150 articles identified, 54 publications were included, covering the effects of CBD on healthy subjects and various psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia, substance use disorders (SUDs), anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and autism spectrum disorders. No clinical studies have been published for other potential indications, such as alcohol use disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, dementia, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

This critical review highlights that CBD can potentially ameliorate certain psychiatric conditions, including schizophrenia, SUDs, and PTSD. However, more controlled studies and clinical trials, particularly investigating the mid- to long-term use of CBD, are required to conclusively establish its efficacy and safety in treating these conditions. The complex effects of CBD on neural activity patterns, likely by impacting the endocannabinoid system, warrant further research to reveal its therapeutic potential in psychiatry.”

Recreational and Medical Cannabis Legalization and Opioid Prescriptions and Mortality

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“Importance: While some have argued that cannabis legalization has helped to reduce opioid-related morbidity and mortality in the US, evidence has been mixed. Moreover, existing studies did not account for biases that could arise when policy effects vary over time or across states or when multiple policies are assessed at the same time, as in the case of recreational and medical cannabis legalization.

Objective: To quantify changes in opioid prescriptions and opioid overdose deaths associated with recreational and medical cannabis legalization in the US.

Design, setting, and participants: This quasiexperimental, generalized difference-in-differences analysis used annual state-level data between January 2006 and December 2020 to compare states that legalized recreational or medical cannabis vs those that did not.

Intervention: Recreational and medical cannabis law implementation (proxied by recreational and medical cannabis dispensary openings) between 2006 and 2020 across US states.

Main outcomes and measures: Opioid prescription rates per 100 persons and opioid overdose deaths per 100 000 population based on data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Results: Between 2006 and 2020, 13 states legalized recreational cannabis and 23 states legalized medical cannabis. There was no statistically significant association of recreational or medical cannabis laws with opioid prescriptions or overall opioid overdose mortality across the 15-year study period, although the results also suggested a potential reduction in synthetic opioid deaths associated with recreational cannabis laws (4.9 fewer deaths per 100 000 population; 95% CI, -9.49 to -0.30; P = .04). Sensitivity analyses excluding state economic indicators, accounting for additional opioid laws and using alternative ways to code treatment dates yielded substantively similar results, suggesting the absence of statistically significant associations between cannabis laws and the outcomes of interest during the full study period.

Conclusions and relevance: The results of this study suggest that, after accounting for biases due to possible heterogeneous effects and simultaneous assessment of recreational and medical cannabis legalization, the implementation of recreational or medical cannabis laws was not associated with opioid prescriptions or opioid mortality, with the exception of a possible reduction in synthetic opioid deaths associated with recreational cannabis law implementation.”

The Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol in Revolutionising Opioid Use Disorder Management

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“Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and is linked to a complex interplay of biopsychosocial factors as well as the increasing overprescription and availability of opioid medications. Current OUD management relies on the controlled provision of opioid medications, such as methadone or buprenorphine, known as opioid replacement therapy. There is variable evidence regarding the long-term efficacy of these medications in improving the management of OUD, thereby necessitating an exploration into innovative approaches to complement, or even take the place of, existing treatment paradigms.

Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant, has garnered attention for its diverse pharmacological properties, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anxiolytic effects. Preliminary studies suggest that CBD may target opioid withdrawal pathways that make CBD a potential therapeutic option for OUD.

This narrative review synthesises current literature surrounding OUD and offers a nuanced review of the current and future role of CBD in managing this condition. In doing so, we highlight the potential avenues to explore with respect to CBD research for the guidance and development of further research opportunities, framework and policy development, and clinical considerations before medicinal CBD can be integrated into evidence-based clinical guidelines.”!/

The impact of cannabis on non-medical opioid use among individuals receiving pharmacotherapies for opioid use disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies

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“Background: The relationship between cannabis use and the risk of returning to using opioids non-medically during treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) remains unclear.

Objective: We sought to quantify the impact of cannabis use on the risk of non-medical opioid use among people receiving pharmacotherapies for OUD.

Methods: A comprehensive search was performed using multiple databases from March 1 to April 5 of 2023. Eligible studies longitudinally assessed the association between cannabis use and non-medical opioid use among people with OUD receiving treatment with buprenorphine, methadone, or naltrexone. We utilized a random-effects model employing the restricted maximum likelihood method. A sensitivity analysis was conducted to understand potential differences between each OUD treatment modality.

Results: A total of 10 studies were included in the final meta-analysis. There were 8,367 participants (38% female). The average follow-up time across these studies was 9.7 months (SD = 3.77), ranging from 4 to 15 months. The pharmacotherapies involved were methadone (76.3%) buprenorphine (21.3%), and naltrexone (2.4%). The pooled odds ratio did not indicate that cannabis use significantly influenced non-medical opioid use (OR: 1.00, 95% CI: 0.97-1.04, p = .98). There is evidence of moderate heterogeneity and publication bias.

Conclusion: There was no significant association between cannabis use and non-medical opioid use among patients receiving pharmacotherapies for OUD. These findings neither confirm concerns about cannabis increasing non-medical opioid use during MOUD, nor do they endorse its efficacy in decreasing non-medical opioid use with MOUD.

This indicates a need for individualized approaches for cannabis use and challenges the requirement of cannabis abstinence to maintain OUD pharmacotherapies.”

A preliminary study evaluating self-reported effects of cannabis and cannabinoids on neuropathic pain and pain medication use in people with spinal cord injury

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“Approximately 60% of individuals with a spinal cord injury (SCI) experience neuropathic pain, which often persists despite the use of various pharmacological treatments. Increasingly, the potential analgesic effects of cannabis and cannabinoid products have been studied; however, little research has been conducted among those with SCI-related neuropathic pain. Therefore, the primary objective of the study was to investigate the perceived effects of cannabis and cannabinoid use on neuropathic pain among those who were currently or had previously used these approaches. Additionally, the study aimed to determine if common pain medications are being substituted by cannabis and cannabinoids. Participants (N = 342) were recruited from existing opt-in listserv sources within the United States. Of those, 227 met the inclusion criteria and were enrolled in the study. The participants took part in an anonymous online survey regarding past and current use of cannabis and their perceived effects on neuropathic pain, including the use of pain medication. Those in the sample reported average neuropathic pain intensity scores over the past week of 6.8 ± 2.1 (0 to 10 scale), reflecting a high moderate to severe level of pain. Additionally, 87.9% noted that cannabis reduced their neuropathic pain intensity by more than 30%, and 92.3% reported that cannabis helped them to better deal with their neuropathic pain symptoms. Most participants (83.3%) also reported substituting their pain medications with cannabis, with the most substituted medication categories being opioids (47.0%), gabapentinoids (42.8%) and over-the-counter pain medications (42.2%). These preliminary results suggest that cannabis and cannabinoids may be effective in reducing neuropathic pain among those with SCI and may help to limit the need for certain pain medications.”

Cannabidiol as a potential cessation therapeutic: Effects on intravenous nicotine self-administration and withdrawal symptoms in mice

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“Cigarette smoking remains a leading cause of preventable disease and death worldwide. Due to the devastating negative health effects of smoking, many users attempt to quit, but few are successful in the long-term. Thus, there is a critical need for novel therapeutic approaches. In these investigations, we sought to examine whether cannabidiol (CBD) has the potential to be repurposed as a nicotine cessation therapeutic. In the first study, male and female mice were trained to respond for intravenous nicotine infusions at either a low or moderate nicotine dose and then were pretreated with CBD prior to their drug-taking session. We found that CBD produced a significant decrease in the number of nicotine rewards earned, and this effect was evidenced across CBD doses and with both the low and moderate levels of nicotine intake. These effects on drug intake were not due to general motor-related effects, since mice self-administering food pellets did not alter their behavior with CBD administration. The potential effects of CBD in mitigating nicotine withdrawal symptoms were then investigated. We found that CBD attenuated the somatic signs of nicotine withdrawal and prevented nicotine’s hyperalgesia-inducing effects. Taken together, these results demonstrate that modulation of cannabinoid signaling may be a viable therapeutic option as a smoking cessation aid.”