Medical cannabis patterns of use and substitution for opioids & other pharmaceutical drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and illicit substances; results from a cross-sectional survey of authorized patients.

 

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“The findings provide a granular view of patient patterns of medical cannabis use, and the subsequent self-reported impacts on the use of opioids, alcohol, and other substances, adding to a growing body of academic research suggesting that increased regulated access to medical and recreational cannabis can result in a reduction in the use of and subsequent harms associated with opioids, alcohol, tobacco, and other substances.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30691503

https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-019-0278-6

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Perspectives on cannabis as a substitute for opioid analgesics.

 Future Medicine Logo“With the opioid epidemic reaching new heights in the USA, it has become critical to find suitable alternatives to opioids.

Cannabis, an antinociceptive, is a strong contender to help patients reduce their opioid usage.

A growing literature has been examining the complex effects cannabis has on pain relief and on opioid usage; whether it is a substitute for opioids or increases their use. This review explores the studies that compare cannabis-opioid interactions and presents some challenges of cannabis research and usage.

The practical clinical pharmacology of cannabis as an analgesic, including the route of administration, safety and pharmacokinetics, are discussed to address the concerns, as well as possible solutions, of cannabis as a pain reliever.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30681029

https://www.futuremedicine.com/doi/10.2217/pmt-2018-0051

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Reduction of Benzodiazepine Use in Patients Prescribed Medical Cannabis

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Benzodiazepines are a class of medication with sedative properties, commonly used for anxiety and other neurological conditions. These medications are associated with several well-known adverse effects.

This observational study aims to investigate the reduction of benzodiazepine use in patients using prescribed medical cannabis.

Within a cohort of 146 patients initiated on medical cannabis therapy, 45.2% patients successfully discontinued their pre-existing benzodiazepine therapy.

Medical cannabis remains a controversial but potentially effective treatment for patients suffering from a variety of medical conditions. Within a cohort of patients initiated on medical cannabis therapy, a large proportion successfully discontinued their pre-existing benzodiazepine therapy.

This study therefore supports the continued research of medical cannabis and urges further exploration into its therapeutic value.”

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2018.0020

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Cannabis and Mood Disorders.

 “The present review will provide an overview of the neurobiology, epidemiology, clinical impact, and treatment of cannabis use disorder (CUD) in mood disorders.

Patients with mood disorders including major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder (BD) have higher rates of cannabis use, and CUD compared to the general population. Reasons for this association are not clear, nor are the putative therapeutic effects of cannabis use, or its components delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), in these illnesses.

Cannabis use may be associated mood disorders, but more research is needed to increase our understanding of the mechanisms for this association, and to develop more effective treatments for this comorbidity.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30643708

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40429-018-0214-y

“Antidepressant-like effect of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa L. Results of this study show that Delta(9)-THC and other cannabinoids exert antidepressant-like actions, and thus may contribute to the overall mood-elevating properties of cannabis.”   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20332000

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∆9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, a major marijuana component, enhances the anesthetic effect of pentobarbital through the CB1 receptor.

 “∆9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (∆9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), major psychoactive constituents of marijuana, induce potentiation of pentobarbital-induced sleep in mice.

We have elucidated the mechanism of enhancement of the anesthetic effect of pentobarbital by cannabinoids.

These results suggest that binding of ∆9-THC to the CB1 receptor is involved in the synergism with pentobarbital, and that potentiating effect of CBD with pentobarbital may differ from that of ∆9-THC. We successfully demonstrated that ∆9-THC enhanced the anesthetic effect of pentobarbital through the CB1 receptor.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30636988

“The pharmacological results indicate the effect of ∆9-THC co-administered with pentobarbital was a synergistic, but not additive, action in mice. Further evidence suggests the CB1 receptor plays an important role as a trigger in potentiating pentobarbital-induced sleep by ∆9-THC.”

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11419-018-0457-2

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Medical Cannabis Users’ Comparisons between Medical Cannabis and Mainstream Medicine.

 Publication Cover“An evidence-based approach is needed to shape policies and practices regarding medical cannabis, thereby reducing harm and maximizing benefits to individuals and society.

This project assesses attitudes towards and utilization of medical cannabis and the mainstream healthcare system among medical cannabis users. The research team administered brief hard copy surveys to 450 adults attending an annual public event advocating for cannabis law reform.

Among usable responses (N = 392), the majority (78%) reported using cannabis to help treat a medical or health condition.

Medical cannabis users reported a greater degree of use of medical cannabis and a greater degree of trust in medical cannabis compared to mainstream healthcare.

In comparison to pharmaceutical drugs, medical cannabis users rated cannabis better on effectiveness, side effects, safety, addictiveness, availability, and cost.

Due to the medical use of cannabis, 42% stopped taking a pharmaceutical drug and 38% used less of a pharmaceutical drug.

A substantial proportion (30%) reported that their mainstream healthcare provider did not know that they used medical cannabis.

Other issues identified included lack of access to mainstream healthcare, self-initiated treatment of health issues, little knowledge of psychoactive content, and heavy cannabis use.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30616501

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02791072.2018.1563314?journalCode=ujpd20

“A Growing Number of People Are Trading Their Pain Meds for Weed, Study Finds. As more states legalize marijuana, a new study shows that many patients are choosing medical cannabis to supplement or even replace pharmaceutical drugs. Nearly half of users in the study said they’d completely stopped taking a pharmaceutical drug because of medical marijuana.” https://www.menshealth.com/health/a25953041/medical-marijuana-pain-cannabis-prescription-drugs-study/

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Attenuation Effect of Cannabinoid Type 1 Receptor Activation on Methamphetamine-Induced Neurodegeneration and Locomotion Impairments among Male Rats.

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“A number of neuroimaging studies on human addicts have revealed that abuse of Methamphetamine (METH) can induce neurodegenerative changes in various brain regions like the cerebral cortex and cerebellum. Although the underlying mechanisms of METH-induced neurotoxicity have been studied, the cellular and molecular mechanisms of METH-induced neurotoxicity remain to be clarified.

Previous studies implicated that cannabinoid type 1 receptors (CB1Rs) exert neuroprotective effects on several models of cerebral toxicity, but their role in METH-induced neurotoxicity has been rarely investigated. Moreover, the cerebellum was considered as a potential target to evaluate the effects of cannabinoids on locomotion activity as the CB1Rs are most widely distributed in the molecular layer of cerebellum. Therefore, the present study was carried out to evaluate whether neurodegeneration induced in the cerebellum tissue implicated in locomotion deficit induced by METH.

FINDINGS:

The results of the present study demonstrated that repeated exposure to METH increased cerebellar degeneration level as compared to the saline and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) groups. In addition, METH-treated rats showed hyperactivity as compared to the saline and DMSO groups. Pretreatment with WIN significantly attenuated neurodegeneration and hyperactivity induced by METH.

CONCLUSION:

The findings of this study provided evidence that CB1Rs may serve as a therapeutic strategy for attenuation of METH-induced locomotor deficits.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30574283

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6294485/

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Alcohol Use and Risk of Related Problems Among Cannabis Users Is Lower Among Those With Medical Cannabis Recommendations, Though Not Due To Health.

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“A small body of work has started developing cannabis use “typologies” for use in treatment and prevention.

Two potentially relevant dimensions for classifying cannabis use typologies are medical versus recreational cannabis use and the co-use of cannabis and alcohol.

Here we compare alcohol use and related problems between cannabis users with and without medical cannabis recommendations.

Cannabis users with medical cannabis recommendations drink less and have fewer alcohol-related problems than those without recommendations, even after adjusting for health status.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30573025

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What does the ecological and epidemiological evidence indicate about the potential for cannabinoids to reduce opioid use and harms? A comprehensive review.

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“Pre-clinical research supports that cannabinoids reduce opioid dose requirements, but few studies have tested this in humans. This review evaluates ecological and epidemiological studies that have been cited as evidence that medical cannabis use may reduce opioid use and opioid-related harms. Medline and Embase were searched for relevant articles. Data were extracted on study setting, analyses approach, covariates, and outcomes. Eleven ecological and 14 epidemiological studies were found. In ecological studies, states that allow medical cannabis laws have reported a slower rate of increase in opioid overdose deaths compared with states without such laws. These differences have increased over time and persisted after controlling for state sociodemographic characteristics and use of prescription monitoring programmes. Few studies have controlled for other potential confounders such as opioid dependence treatment and imprisonment rates. Some epidemiological studies provide evidence that cannabis availability may reduce opioid use, but are limited by selection bias, cross-sectional designs, and self-reported assessments of the opioid-sparing effects of cannabis. Some epidemiological and ecological studies suggest that cannabis may reduce opioid use and harms, although important methodological weaknesses were identified. Well-designed clinical studies may provide more conclusive evidence on whether cannabinoids can reduce opioid use and related harm.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30522342

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09540261.2018.1509842?journalCode=iirp20

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Reduced prevalence of alcoholic gastritis in hospitalized individuals who consume cannabis.

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“Alcoholic gastritis, a superficial erosive disease of the stomach, is a common manifestation of risky alcohol use. In contrast, cannabis which is frequently co-used with alcohol suppresses gastric acidity and might counteract the deleterious effect of alcohol on the gastric mucosa.

RESULTS:

Our study revealed that among risky alcohol users, cannabis co-users have a lower prevalence of alcoholic gastritis compared to non-cannabis users (1,289[1,169-1,421] vs. 1,723[1,583-1,875] per 100,000 hospitalizations for risky alcohol use), resulting in a 25% decreased probability of alcoholic gastritis (aRR:0.75[0.66-0.85]; p-value:<0.0001). Furthermore, dependent cannabis usage resulted in a lower prevalence of alcoholic gastritis when compared to both non-dependent-cannabis users (0.72[0.52-0.99]), and to non-cannabis-users (0.56[0.41-0.76]).

CONCLUSIONS:

We reveal that risky alcohol drinking combined with cannabis use is associated with reduced prevalence of alcohol-associated gastritis in patients. Given increased cannabis legislation globally, understanding if and how the specific ingredients in cannabis plant extract can be used in the treatment of alcoholic gastritis is paramount. In this regard, further molecular mechanistic studies are needed to delineate the mechanisms of our novel findings not only for alcoholic gastritis but also gastritis from other causes.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30536396

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/acer.13930

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