“This study sought to determine whether the cannabis constituent cannabidiol attenuates the development of morphine reward in the conditioned place preference paradigm.
Separate groups of mice received either saline or morphine in combination with one of four doses of cannabidiol using three sets of drug/no-drug conditioning trials. After drug-place conditioning, morphine mice displayed robust place preference that was attenuated by 10 mg/kg cannabidiol. Further, when administered alone, this dose of cannabidiol was void of rewarding and aversive properties.
The finding that cannabidiol blocks opioid reward suggests that this compound may be useful in addiction treatment settings.”
“Previous research has demonstrated the ability of non-active smoked cannabis cigarettes to induce subjective effects of intoxication (i.e., placebo effect). No studies have been conduced to test whether edible forms of cannabis, which are associated with a significant delay in onset of effect, are able to induce a placebo effect. In the present study, 20 participants were told that they would receive an edible cannabis lollipop containing a high dose of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but were instead given a placebo control. Measures of intoxication and mood were taken at baseline, 30 minutes, and 60 minutes post-ingestion of the placebo lollipop. Results of four repeated-measures ANOVAs found significant and quadratic changes across time in cannabis (ARCI m-scale) intoxication (F(2,18) = 4.90, p = .01, η2 = .22) and negative mood (F(2,18) = 3.99, p = .05, η2 = .19). Changes in positive mood and the overall measure of general intoxication (ARCI) failed to reach significance. The present study provides preliminary evidence that a placebo effect can be induced with inert edible agents when participants are told that they are receiving active THC. This is the first known study to demonstrate an edible cannabis intoxication placebo effect.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28771093
“The endocannabinoid (eCB) neurotransmitter system regulates diverse neurological functions including stress and anxiety, pain, mood, and reward. Understanding the mechanisms underlying eCB regulation is critical for developing targeted pharmacotherapies to treat these and other neurologic disorders.
Cellular studies suggest that the arachidonate eCBs, N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), are substrates for intracellular binding and transport proteins, and several candidate proteins have been identified. Initial evidence from our laboratory indicates that the lipid transport protein, sterol carrier protein 2 (SCP-2), binds to the eCBs and can regulate their cellular concentrations.
Here, we present methods for evaluating SCP-2 binding of eCBs and their application to the discovery of the first inhibitor lead molecules. Using a fluorescent probe displacement assay, we found SCP-2 binds the eCBs, AEA (Ki=0.68±0.05μM) and 2-AG (Ki=0.37±0.02μM), with moderate affinity. A series of structurally diverse arachidonate analogues also bind SCP-2 with Ki values between 0.82 and 2.95μM, suggesting a high degree of tolerance for arachidonic acid head group modifications in this region of the protein. We also report initial structure-activity relationships surrounding previously reported inhibitors of Aedis aegypti SCP-2, and the results of an in silico high-throughput screen that identified structurally novel SCP-2 inhibitor leads.
The methods and results reported here provide the basis for a robust probe discovery effort to fully elucidate the role of facilitated transport mediated by SCP-2 in eCB regulation and function.”
“This study tested whether adolescents who used cannabis or met criteria for cannabis dependence showed neuropsychological impairment prior to cannabis initiation and neuropsychological decline from before to after cannabis initiation.
Short-term cannabis use in adolescence does not appear to cause IQ decline or impair executive functions, even when cannabis use reaches the level of dependence. Family background factors explain why adolescent cannabis users perform worse on IQ and executive function tests.”
“Individuals who work nonstandard schedules, such as rotating or night shifts, are more susceptible to workplace injuries, performance decrements, and reduced productivity. This population is also almost twice as likely to use illicit drugs as individuals working a standard day shift. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of smoked marijuana on performance, mood, and sleep during simulated shift work.
Ten experienced marijuana smokers completed this 23-day, within-participant residential study. They smoked a single marijuana cigarette (0, 1.9, 3.56% Δ9-THC) one hour after waking for three consecutive days under two shift conditions: day shift and night shift. Shifts alternated three times during the study, and shift conditions were separated by an ‘off’ day. When participants smoked placebo cigarettes, psychomotor performance and subjective-effect ratings were altered during the night shift compared to the day shift: performance (e.g., vigilance) and a few subjective ratings were decreased (e.g., “Self-Confident”), whereas other ratings were increased (e.g., “Tired”). Objective and subjective measures of sleep were also disrupted, but to a lesser extent.
Marijuana attenuated some performance, mood, and sleep disruptions: participants performed better on vigilance tasks, reported being less miserable and tired and sleep a greater number of minutes. Limited negative effects of marijuana were noted. These data demonstrate that abrupt shift changes produce performance, mood, and sleep decrements during night shift work and that smoked marijuana containing low to moderate Δ9-THC concentrations can offset some of these effects in frequent marijuana smokers.”
“The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) is a region of the extended amygdala that is implicated in addiction, anxiety, and stress related behaviors. This region has been identified in mediating the aversive state of naloxone-precipitated morphine withdrawal (MWD) and cannabinoid Type I (CB1) receptors have been found to modulate neurotransmission within this region.
Previous findings suggest that the CB1 antagonist/inverse agonist, AM251, administered systemically or by infusion into the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) prevented the aversive affective properties of MWD as measured by conditioned place aversion learning.
The current findings emphasize an important role for the BNST in opioid withdrawal and suggest that the ameliorative effects of systemically administered CB1 antagonists are mediated, in part, by their actions within this region.”
“Prescription drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Alternatives to opioids for the treatment of pain are necessary to address this issue. Cannabis can be an effective treatment for pain, greatly reduces the chance of dependence, and eliminates the risk of fatal overdose compared to opioid-based medications. Medical cannabis patients report that cannabis is just as effective, if not more, than opioid-based medications for pain.
The results of this study provide implications from both a micro and macro level. First, from the macro level, there have been three previously published indicators of public health changes in states that permit medical cannabis: decreases in opioid related mortality, decreases in spending on opioids, and a decrease in traffic fatalities. While none of these studies shows a cause and effect relationship, they do suggest public health related population based changes in localities where cannabis can be accessed to treat pain. Given that the participants in this study reported a greater likelihood of using cannabis as a substitute in a less stigmatized and easily accessible environment, it makes sense why we would see these changes in locations where medical cannabis is sanctioned versus places where it is illegal.
At the micro level, there is a great deal of individual risk associated with prolonged use of opioids and perhaps even nonopioid-based pain medications. The prescribing of opioids has not been curbed in the United States, despite the growing number of fatal overdoses and reported dependence. Providing the patient with the option of cannabis as a method of pain treatment alongside the option of opioids might assist with pain relief in a safer environment with less risk. A society with less opioid dependent people will result in fewer public health harms.”
“In animal studies, four times less morphine and ten times less codeine was needed when cannabinoids were given at the same time.
The higher the dose of opioid pain relievers, the more likely it is a patient will experience side effects and complications. With the opioid epidemic becoming a pressing problem, researchers are working to find ways to provide pain relief with less risk. To understand whether therapeutic cannabinoids could be an effective strategy to reduce opioid use, researchers at the University of New South Wales and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health analysed data from 19 pre-clinical studies and nine clinical trials.
“These studies highlight the potential beneficial effects of combining opioids and cannabinoids””
“Addiction remains a major public health concern, and while pharmacotherapies can be effective, clinicians are limited by the paucity of existing interventions. Endocannabinoid signaling is involved in reward and addiction, which raises the possibility that drugs targeting this system could be used to treat substance use disorders. This review discusses findings from randomized controlled trials evaluating cannabinergic medications for addiction.
Current evidence suggests that pharmacotherapies containing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, such as dronabinol and nabiximols, are effective for cannabis withdrawal. Dronabinol may also reduce symptoms of opioid withdrawal. The cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) inverse agonist rimonabant showed promising effects for smoking cessation but also caused psychiatric side effects and currently lacks regulatory approval. Few trials have investigated cannabinergic medications for alcohol use disorder.
Overall, the endocannabinoid system remains a promising target for addiction treatment. Development of novel medications such as fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitors and neutral CB1 antagonists promises to extend the range of available interventions.”