The Effects of Dosage-Controlled Cannabis Capsules on Cancer-Related Cachexia and Anorexia Syndrome in Advanced Cancer Patients: Pilot Study.

Image result for integrative cancer therapies“Cancer-related cachexia and anorexia syndrome (CACS) is a common phenomenon in cancer patients. Cannabis has been suggested to stimulate appetite but research on this issue has yielded mixed results. The current study aimed to evaluate the effect of dosage-controlled cannabis capsules on CACS in advanced cancer patients.

Methods: The cannabis capsules used in this study contained two fractions of oil-based compounds. The planned treatment was 2 × 10 mg per 24 hours for six months of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) 9.5 mg and cannabidiol (CBD) 0.5 mg. If patients suffered from side effects, dosage was reduced to 5 mg × 2 per day (THC 4.75 mg, CBD 0.25 mg). Participants were weighed on every physician visit. The primary objective of the study was a weight gain of ≥10% from baseline.

Results: Of 24 patients who signed the consent form, 17 started the cannabis capsules treatment, but only 11 received the capsules for more than two weeks. Three of six patients who completed the study period met the primary end-point. The remaining three patients had stable weights. In quality of life quaternaries, patients reported less appetite loss after the cannabis treatment (p=0.05). Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) levels decreased after the cannabis treatment but without statistical significance. According to patients’ self-reports, improvement in appetite and mood as well as a reduction in pain and fatigue was demonstrated.

Conclusions: Despite various limitations, this preliminary study demonstrated a weight increase of ≥10% in 3/17 (17.6%) patients with doses of 5mgx1 or 5mgx2 capsules daily, without significant side effects. The results justify a larger study with dosage-controlled cannabis capsules in CACS.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31595793

“The primary objective of the study was a weight gain of ≥10% from baseline. Despite various limitations, the current preliminary study demonstrated a weight increase of ≥10% in 3/17 (17.6%) of the patients with doses of 5 mg × 1 or 5 mg × 2 capsules daily, without significant side effects.”

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1534735419881498

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Perception of Benefits and Harms of Medical Cannabis among Seriously Ill Patients in an Outpatient Palliative Care Practice.

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“Patients with serious illness often have pain, uncontrolled symptoms, and poor quality of life. Evidence continues to evolve regarding the role of cannabis to treat chronic pain, nausea, and anorexia. Little is known about how patients with serious illness perceive its benefits and harms. Given that an increasing number of clinicians across the United States are treating patients with medical cannabis, it is important for providers to understand patient beliefs about this modality. We assessed patient perceptions of benefits and harms of cannabis who obtained a medical cannabis card within an ambulatory palliative care (APC) practice.

Results: All 101 patients invited to participate completed the survey. A majority had cancer (76%) and were married (61%), disabled or retired (75%), older than 50 years of age (64%), and men (56%). Most patients ingested (61%) or vaporized (49%) cannabis products. A majority of respondents perceived cannabis to be important for their pain (96%) management. They reported that side effects were minimally bothersome, and drowsiness was the most commonly reported bothersome harm (28%). A minority of patients reported cannabis withdrawal symptoms (19%) and concerns for dependency (14%). The majority of patients were using concurrent prescription opioids (65%). Furthermore, a majority of cancer patients reported cannabis as being important for cancer cure (59%).

Conclusion: Patients living with serious illnesses who use cannabis in the context of a multidisciplinary APC practice use cannabis for curative intent and for pain and symptom control. Patients reported improved pain, other symptoms, and a sense of well-being with few reported harms.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31539298

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jpm.2019.0211

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Impaired brain endocannabinoid tone in the activity-based model of anorexia nervosa.

International Journal of Eating Disorders banner“Despite the growing knowledge on the functional relationship between an altered endocannabinoid (eCB) system and development of anorexia nervosa (AN), to date no studies have investigated the central eCB tone in the activity-based anorexia (ABA) model that reproduces key aspects of human AN.

These data demonstrate an altered brain eCB tone in ABA rats, further supporting the involvement of an impaired eCB system in AN pathophysiology that may contribute to the maintenance of some symptomatic aspects of the disease.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31456239

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/eat.23157

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Are cannabis users less likely to gain weight? Results from a national 3-year prospective study.

International Journal of Epidemiology

“Pre-clinical studies indicate increased food intake and weight gain as cannabinoid effects. Cross-sectional epidemiological studies, however, indicate lower prevalence of obesity among cannabis users. Here, we aim to study the weight-gain research question in the prospectively conducted National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC).

RESULTS:

At W2, 77% of the participants never used cannabis, 18% had discontinued use (‘quit’), 3% were initiates and 2% were persistent users. Estimated W1-to-W2 BMI change shows an increase for all subgroups. Compared with never-users (reference), inverse slope estimates and attenuated change (%) in BMI between W1 and W2 are seen for cannabis-use subgroups: quitters [β = -0.81; 95% confidence interval (CI) = -1.01, -0.60], initiates (β = -0.97; 95% CI = -1.36, -0.57) and persistent users (β = -1.26; 95% CI = -1.81, -0.72).

CONCLUSION:

This new prospective study builds from anecdotes, pre-clinical studies and cross-sectional evidence on inverse associations linking cannabis use and obesity and shows an inverse cannabis-BMI increase association. Confirmatory studies with rigorous cannabis and BMI assays will be needed.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30879064

https://academic.oup.com/ije/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/ije/dyz044/5382155?redirectedFrom=fulltext

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Dark Classics in Chemical Neuroscience: Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol.

 ACS Chemical Neuroscience

“Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) is the most widely used illicit drug in the world, with an estimated 192 million users globally.

The main psychoactive component of cannabis is (-)-trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), a molecule with a diverse range of pharmacological actions. The unique and distinctive intoxication caused by Δ9-THC primarily reflects partial agonist action at central cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors.

Δ9-THC is an approved therapeutic treatment for a range of conditions, including chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and is being investigated in indications such as anorexia nervosa, agitation in dementia, and Tourette’s syndrome.

It is available as a regulated pharmaceutical in products such as Marinol®, Sativex®, and Namisol®, as well as in an ever-increasing range of unregistered medicinal and recreational cannabis products.

While cannabis is an ancient medicament, contemporary use is embroiled in legal, scientific, and social controversy, much of which relates to the potential hazards and benefits of Δ9-THC itself.

Robust contemporary debate surrounds the therapeutic value of Δ9-THC in different diseases, its capacity to produce psychosis and cognitive impairment, and the addictive and “gateway” potential of the drug.

This review will provide a profile of the chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, and recreational and therapeutic uses of Δ9-THC, as well as the historical and societal importance of this unique, distinctive, and ubiquitous psychoactive substance.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30689342

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acschemneuro.8b00651

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Cannabis, cannabinoid receptors, and endocannabinoid system: yesterday, today, and tomorrow

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“Cannabis sativa, is also popularly known as marijuana, has been cultivated and used for recreational and medicinal purposes for many centuries.

The main psychoactive content in cannabis is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In addition to plant cannabis sativa, there are two classes of cannabinoids—the synthetic cannabinoids (e.g., WIN55212–2) and the endogenous cannabinoids (eCB), anandamide (ANA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).

The biological effects of cannabinoids are mainly mediated by two members of the G-protein-coupled receptor family, cannabinoid receptors 1 (CB1R) and 2 (CB2R). The endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and the enzymes/proteins responsible for their biosynthesis, degradation, and re-updating constitute the endocannabinoid system.

In recent decades, the endocannabinoid system has attracted considerable attention as a potential therapeutic target in numerous physiological conditions, such as in energy balance, appetite stimulation, blood pressure, pain modulation, embryogenesis, nausea and vomiting control, memory, learning and immune response, as well as in pathological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

The major goal of this Special Issue is to discuss and evaluate the current progress in cannabis and cannabinoid research in order to increase our understanding about cannabinoid action and the underlying biological mechanisms and promote the development cannabinoid-based pharmacotherapies.

 Overall, the present special issue provides an overview and insight on pharmacological mechanisms and therapeutic potentials of cannabis, cannabinoid receptors, and eCB system. I believe that this special issue will promote further efforts to apply cannabinoid ligands as the therapeutic strategies for treating a variety of diseases.”
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Bidirectional modulation of food habit expression by the endocannabinoid system.

European Journal of Neuroscience banner

“The compulsive, habitual behaviors that have been observed in individuals diagnosed with substance use disorders may be due to disruptions in the neural circuits that mediate goal-directed actions.

The endocannabinoid system has been shown to play a critical role in habit learning, but the role of this neuromodulatory system in habit expression is unclear.

Here, we investigated the role of the endocannabinoid system in established habitual actions using contingency degradation in male C57BL/6 mice.

We found that administration of the endocannabinoid transport inhibitor AM404 reduced habitual responding for food and that antagonism of cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1), but not transient receptor potential cation subfamily V (TRPV1), receptors produced a similar reduction in habitual responding.

Moreover, pharmacological stimulation of CB1 receptors increased habitual responding for food. Co-administration of an enzyme inhibitor that selectively increases the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) with AM404 partially restored habitual responding for food.

Together, these findings demonstrate an important role for the endocannabinoid system in the expression of habits and provide novel insights into potential pharmacological strategies for reducing habitual behaviors in mental disorders.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30589475

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ejn.14330

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Cannabinoids, Chemical Senses, and Regulation of Feeding Behavior.

Image result for Chem Senses. journal

“The herb Cannabis sativa has been traditionally used in many cultures and all over the world for thousands of years as medicine and recreation.

However, because it was brought to the Western world in the late 19th century, its use has been a source of controversy with respect to its physiological effects as well as the generation of specific behaviors. In this regard, the CB1 receptor represents the most relevant target molecule of cannabinoid components on nervous system and whole-body energy homeostasis.

Thus, the promotion of CB1 signaling can increase appetite and stimulate feeding, whereas blockade of CB1 suppresses hunger and induces hypophagia.

Taste and flavor are sensory experiences involving the oral perception of food-derived chemicals and drive a primal sense of acceptable or unacceptable for what is sampled. Therefore, research within the last decades focused on deciphering the effect of cannabinoids on the chemical senses involved in food perception and consequently in the pattern of feeding.

In this review, we summarize the data on the effect of cannabinoids on chemical senses and their influences on food intake control and feeding behavior.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30481264

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The Impact of Δ9-THC on the Psychological Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa: A Pilot Study.

 Image result for Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci.

“Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) is the active compound of Cannabis sativa with appetite stimulating properties.

This study evaluated the effect of low doses of oral Δ9-THC on self-reported symptoms of patients suffering from chronic anorexia nervosa (AN).

The primary outcome was improvement in the way patients perceived their eating behavior.

Significant improvements were found in self reported body care, sense of ineffectiveness, asceticism and depression. There were no significant changes in BMI.

Δ9-THC may be an effective component in treating the psychological symptoms of AN.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29735812

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Dronabinol oral solution in the management of anorexia and weight loss in AIDS and cancer.

“The true incidence of anorexia secondary to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and cancer is not well classified owing to the fact that there is a lack of standardized definitions and recent clinical data in these settings.

Dronabinol, or Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is a synthetic molecule that closely mimics the action of Cannabis sativa L., a naturally occurring compound activated in the central nervous system by cannabinoid receptors.

Dronabinol exerts its effects by directly acting on the vomiting and appetite control centers in the brain, which in turn increases appetite and prevents vomiting.

In the USA, dronabinol is currently available in two dosage formulations – oral capsule and oral solution. While the oral capsule was initially approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1985, the recent approval of the oral solution in 2016 presents an “easy-to-swallow” alternative for patients using or intending to use dronabinol.

Dronabinol is indicated in adult patients with HIV/AIDS for the treatment of anorexia and weight loss. However, there is no approved indication in the setting of cancer-related anorexia and weight loss. This review aims at presenting available data on the use of oral dronabinol in the management of anorexia and weight loss in HIV/AIDS and cancer, as well as characterizing and highlighting the pharmacotherapeutic considerations of the newest formulation of dronabinol.”

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