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 Novel Anti-Inflammatory Formulation Comprising Celecoxib and Cannabidiol Exerts Antidepressant and Anxiolytic Effects

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“Background: Ample research shows that anti-inflammatory drugs, particularly celecoxib, exert antidepressant effects, especially in patients with microglia activation. However, substantial cardiovascular adverse effects limit celecoxib’s usefulness. Given that cannabidiol (CBD) exerts anti-inflammatory, microglia-suppressive, and antidepressant effects, we hypothesized that it may potentiate the therapeutic effects of celecoxib. 

Methods: The effects of celecoxib, CBD, and their combination were examined in murine models of antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like behavioral responsiveness, including the forced swim test (FST), elevated plus maze (EPM), lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced neuroinflammation, and chronic social defeat stress (CSDS), as well as in microglia cell cultures. 

Results: Acute administration of a combination of celecoxib plus CBD, at doses that had no effects by themselves (10 and 5 mg/kg, respectively), produced significant antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like effects in the FST and EPM, in male and female mice. In the LPS model, combinations of celecoxib (10 or 20 mg/kg) plus CBD (30 mg/kg) reversed the anxiety-like behavior in the open-field test (OFT) and anhedonia in the sucrose preference test (SPT), with minimal effects of celecoxib or CBD by themselves. In the CSDS paradigm, a combination of celecoxib plus CBD (each at 30 mg/kg) reversed the deficits in the OFT, EPM, social exploration, and SPT, whereas celecoxib or CBD by themselves had partial effects. In BV2 microglia cultures stimulated with LPS or α-synuclein, CBD markedly potentiated the suppressive effects of celecoxib over TNFα (tumor necrosis factor-α) and IL (interleukin)-1β secretion. 

Conclusions: Combinations of celecoxib plus CBD produce efficacious antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like effects, which may depend on their synergistic microglia-suppressive effects.”

Single cannabidiol administration affects anxiety-, obsessive compulsive-, object-memory, and attention-like behaviors in mice in a sex and concentration dependent manner

Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior

“Rationale: The behavioral effects of cannabidiol (CBD) are understudied, but are important, given its therapeutic potential and widespread use as a natural supplement.

Objective: The objective of this study was to test whether a single injection of CBD affected anxiety-like or attention-like behavior, or memory in wildtype mice or mice with reported trait anxiety due to a targeted-gene deletion in a voltage-dependent potassium channel, Kv1.3.

Methods: Wildtype C57BL/6 J and Kv1.3-/- mice of both sexes were reared to adulthood and then administered an intraperitoneal injection of 10 or 20 mg/kg CBD. Mice were behaviorally-phenotyped using the marble-burying test, the light-dark box (LDB), short (1 h) and long-term (24 h) object memory test, the elevated-plus maze (EPM), and the object-based attention task in order to assess obsessive compulsive-, anxiety-, attention-like behaviors, and memory.

Results: We discovered that acute CBD treatment reduced marble burying in male, but not female mice. CBD was effective in lessening anxiety-like behaviors determined by the LDB test in both male and female wildtype mice, whereby the effective dose required to observe the effect in females was less. In Kv1.3-/- mice, CBD increased anxiety-like behaviors in the LDB in both sexes at the higher concentration of CBD and it similarly increased anxiety-like behavior in females in the EPM at the lower concentration of CBD. Long-term object memory was reduced in male wildtype mice at the lower concentration of CBD. Finally, ADHD- or attention-like behaviors were not altered by CBD in wildtype mice, but in Kv1.3-/- mice, females were observed to have a loss in attention while males demonstrated improved attention.

Conclusions: We conclude that administration of a single dose of CBD has immediate effects on mouse behavior that is dose, sex, and anxiety-state dependent – and that these behavioral outcomes are important to examine in parallel human trials.”

Potential Utility of Cannabidiol in Stress-Related Disorders

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“Background: The endocannabinoid (eCB) system plays an important role in homeostatic regulation of anxiety and stress responses; however, the eCB system can be disrupted following traumatic stressors. Additionally, traumatic or chronic stressors that occur during adulthood or early life can cause long-lasting disturbances in the eCB system. These alterations interfere with hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function and may be involved in lifelong increased fear and anxiety behaviors as well as increased risk for development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Methods: This review focuses on the implications of trauma and significant stressors on eCB functionality and neural pathways, both in adolescence and into adulthood, as well as the current state of testing for CBD efficacy in treating pediatric and adult patients suffering from stress-induced eCB dysregulation. Articles were searched via Pubmed and included studies examining eCB modulation of stress-related disorders in both clinical settings and preclinical models. 

Conclusion: Given the potential for lifelong alterations in eCB signaling that can mediate stress responsiveness, consideration of pharmaceutical or nutraceutical agents that impact eCB targets may improve clinical outcomes in stress-related disorders. However, caution may be warranted in utilization of medicinal cannabinoid products that contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol due to pronounced euphorigenic effects and potential to exacerbate stress-related behaviors. Other cannabinoid products, such as cannabidiol (CBD), have shown promise in reducing stress-related behaviors in pre-clinical models. Overall, pre-clinical evidence supports CBD as a potential treatment for stress or anxiety disorders resulting from previously stressful events, particularly by reducing fearful behavior and promoting extinction of contextual fear memories, which are hallmarks of PTSD. However, very limited clinical research has been conducted examining the potential effectiveness of CBD in this regard and should be examined further.”

Regulation of DNA Methylation by Cannabidiol and Its Implications for Psychiatry: New Insights from In Vivo and In Silico Models


“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychotomimetic compound present in cannabis sativa. Many recent studies have indicated that CBD has a promising therapeutic profile for stress-related psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety, schizophrenia and depression. Such a diverse profile has been associated with its complex pharmacology, since CBD can target different neurotransmitter receptors, enzymes, transporters and ion channels. However, the precise contribution of each of those mechanisms for CBD effects is still not yet completely understood. Considering that epigenetic changes make the bridge between gene expression and environment interactions, we review and discuss herein how CBD affects one of the main epigenetic mechanisms associated with the development of stress-related psychiatric disorders: DNA methylation (DNAm). Evidence from in vivo and in silico studies indicate that CBD can regulate the activity of the enzymes responsible for DNAm, due to directly binding to the enzymes and/or by indirectly regulating their activities as a consequence of neurotransmitter-mediated signaling. The implications of this new potential pharmacological target for CBD are discussed in light of its therapeutic and neurodevelopmental effects.”

Cannabinoid Treatments for Anxiety: A Systematic Review and Consideration of the Impact of Sleep Disturbance

Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews

“Cannabidiol’s (CBD) safety profile and broad action has made it a popular treatment option for anxiety and co-occurring sleep disturbance. However, its efficacy in healthy and clinical populations, treatment duration, formulation and doses for optimal therapeutic benefits remains unclear. Selected databases were examined from inception to October 2022. Study selection, data extraction and Cochrane Risk of Bias assessments were conducted according to PRISMA guidelines and registered on the PROSPERO database (CRD42021247476) with 58 full-text studies meeting the eligibility criteria and administered CBD only or with Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) across healthy and clinical populations. In healthy populations and certain non-cannabis using clinical populations, CBD had greater anxiolytic effects without prominent effects on sleep. An inverted U-shaped dose relationship, and CBD ratio to THC in combined treatments likely moderated these effects. Mechanistically, observed CBD effects occurred via primary modulation of the endocannabinoid system and secondary regulation of neuroendocrine function. Additional research is needed to understand CBD mechanisms of action across diverse groups.”

Clinical and cognitive improvement following full-spectrum, high-cannabidiol treatment for anxiety: open-label data from a two-stage, phase 2 clinical trial

Communications Medicine

“Background: Evidence suggests cannabidiol (CBD) has anxiolytic properties, indicating potential for novel treatment strategies. However, few clinical trials of CBD-based products have been conducted, and none thus far have examined the impact of these products on cognition.

Methods: For the open-label stage of clinical trial NCT02548559, autoregressive linear modeling assessed efficacy and tolerability of four-weeks of 1 mL t.i.d. treatment with a full-spectrum, high-CBD sublingual solution (9.97 mg/mL CBD, 0.23 mg/mL Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) in 14 outpatients with moderate-to-severe anxiety, defined as ≥16 on the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) or ≥11 on the Overall Anxiety Severity and Impairment Scale (OASIS).

Results: Findings suggest significant improvement on primary outcomes measuring anxiety and secondary outcomes assessing mood, sleep, quality of life, and cognition (specifically executive function) following treatment. Anxiety is significantly reduced at week 4 relative to baseline (BAI: 95% CI = [-21.03, -11.40], p &lt; 0.001, OASIS: 95% CI = [-9.79, -6.07], p &lt; 0.001). Clinically significant treatment response (≥15% symptom reduction) is achieved and maintained as early as week 1 in most patients (BAI = 78.6%, OASIS = 92.7%); cumulative frequency of treatment responders reached 100% by week 3. The study drug is well-tolerated, with high adherence/patient retention and no reported intoxication or serious adverse events. Minor side effects, including sleepiness/fatigue, increased energy, and dry mouth are infrequently endorsed.

Conclusions: Results provide preliminary evidence supporting efficacy and tolerability of a full-spectrum, high-CBD product for anxiety. Patients quickly achieve and maintain symptom reduction with few side effects. A definitive assessment of the impact of this novel treatment on clinical symptoms and cognition will be ascertained in the ongoing double-blind, placebo-controlled stage.”

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found within the Cannabis sativa plant. Previous studies suggest CBD may reduce anxiety. In this clinical trial, 14 patients with anxiety were treated for four-weeks with a cannabis-derived study product with high levels of CBD, administered under their tongue 3 times each day. All patients knew that they were being given CBD. Following four weeks of treatment, patients reported reduced anxiety as well as improvements in mood, sleep, quality of life, and measures reflecting their self-control and ability to think flexibly. Patients did not experience any serious negative effects during the trial. The impact of this product is now being evaluated in more patients with anxiety.”

” Flower Power”: Controlled Inhalation of THC-Predominant Cannabis Flos Improves Health-Related Quality of Life and Symptoms of Chronic Pain and Anxiety in Eligible UK Patients


“In November 2018, the UK’s Home Office established a legal route for eligible patients to be prescribed cannabis-based products for medicinal use in humans (CBPMs) as unlicensed medicines. These include liquid cannabis extracts for oral administration (“oils”) and dried flowers for inhalation (“flos”). Smoking of CBPMs is expressly prohibited. To date, THC-predominant cannabis flowers remain the most prescribed CBPMs in project Twenty21 (T21), the first multi-center, prospective, observational UK cannabis patient registry. This observational, prospective data review analyzes patient-reported outcome measures (PROMS) collected by T21 associated with the inhalation of KHIRON 20/1, the most prescribed CBPM in the project. PROMS collected at baseline and at subsequent 3-month follow-up included health-related quality of life (HRQoL), general mood, and sleep. Condition-specific measures of illness severity were performed with the Brief Pain Inventory Short Form (BPI-SF) and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-Item Scale (GAD-7). Participants (N = 344) were mostly males (77.6%, average age = 38.3) diagnosed mainly with chronic pain (50.9%) and anxiety-related disorders (25.3%). Inhalation of KHIRON 20/1 was associated with a marked increase in self-reported HRQoL, general mood, and sleep (N = 344; p < 0.001). Condition-specific assessments showed significant improvements in pain severity (T = 6.67; p < 0.001) and interference (T = 7.19; p < 0.001) in patients using KHIRON 20/1 for chronic pain (N = 174). Similar results were found for patients diagnosed with anxiety-related disorders (N = 107; T = 12.9; p < 0.001). Our results indicate that controlled inhalation of pharmaceutical grade, THC-predominant cannabis flos is associated with a significant improvement in patient-reported pain scores, mood, anxiety, sleep disturbances and overall HRQoL in a treatment-resistant clinical population.”

“Our results indicate that controlled inhalation of pharmaceutical grade, THC-predominant cannabis flos was associated with a robust improvement in patient-reported pain scores, general mood, anxiety, sleep, and overall HRQoL in a treatment-resistant clinical population.”

The safety and efficacy of low oral doses of cannabidiol: An evaluation of the evidence

“Global interest in the non-intoxicating cannabis constituent, cannabidiol (CBD), is increasing with claims of therapeutic effects across a diversity of health conditions. At present, there is sufficient clinical trial evidence to support the use of high oral doses of CBD (e.g., 10-50 mg/kg) in treating intractable childhood epilepsies. However, a question remains as to whether “low-dose” CBD products confer any therapeutic benefits. This is an important question to answer, as low-dose CBD products are widely available in many countries, often as nutraceutical formulations. The present review therefore evaluated the efficacy and safety of low oral doses of CBD. The review includes interventional studies that measured the clinical efficacy in any health condition and/or safety and tolerability of oral CBD dosed at less than or equal to 400 mg per day in adult populations (i.e., ≥18 years of age). Studies were excluded if the product administered had a Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol content greater than 2.0%.

Therapeutic benefits of CBD became more clearly evident at doses greater than or equal to 300 mg. Increased dosing from 60 to 400 mg/day did not appear to be associated with an increased frequency of adverse effects. At doses of 300-400 mg, there is evidence of efficacy with respect to reduced anxiety, as well as anti-addiction effects in drug-dependent individuals. More marginal and less consistent therapeutic effects on insomnia, neurological disorders, and chronic pain were also apparent. Larger more robust clinical trials are needed to confirm the therapeutic potential of lower (i.e., <300 mg/day) oral doses of CBD.”

Cannabidiol as a personalized treatment for anxiety: clinical cases in Mexico

Drugs in Context

“Anxiety-related disorders are one of the most common mental health issues worldwide. Mexico has reported an increase in the prevalence of these ailments secondary to the confinement derived from the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the limitations of commonly used treatments for these disorders, a need arises to develop new pharmacological treatments for these patients. This paper has the primary objective of evaluating the efficacy and safety of cannabidiol isolate in drug compounding used as a personalized treatment in patients with anxiety disorders through the presentation of four clinical cases.”