A Randomized Controlled Trial of Topical Cannabidiol for the Treatment of Thumb Basal Joint Arthritis

The Journal of Hand Surgery

“Purpose: Since the passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, hand surgeons have increasingly encountered patients seeking counseling on over-the-counter, topical cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of pain. To this end, we designed a human clinical trial to investigate the therapeutic potential of CBD for the treatment of pain associated with thumb basal joint arthritis.

Methods: Following Food and Drug Administration and institutional approval, a phase 1 skin test was completed with 10 healthy participants monitored for 1 week after twice-daily application of 1 mL of topical CBD (6.2 mg/mL) with shea butter. After no adverse events were identified, we proceeded with a phase 2, double-blinded, randomized controlled trial. Eighteen participants with symptomatic thumb basal joint arthritis were randomized to 2 weeks of twice-daily treatment with CBD (6.2 mg/mL CBD with shea butter) or shea butter alone, followed by a 1-week washout period and then crossover for 2 weeks with the other treatment. Safety data and physical examination measurements were obtained at baseline and after completion of each treatment arm.

Results: Cannabidiol treatment resulted in improvements from baseline among patient-reported outcome measures, including Visual Analog Scale pain; Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand; and Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation scores, compared to the control arm during the study period. There were similar physical parameters identified with range of motion, grip, and pinch strength.

Conclusions: In this single-center, randomized controlled trial, topical CBD treatment demonstrated significant improvements in thumb basal joint arthritis-related pain and disability without adverse events.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35637038/

https://www.jhandsurg.org/article/S0363-5023(22)00133-2/fulltext

Impact of Δ 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol on Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Fibroblasts Alone and in Co-Culture with Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells

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“δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in animal models of arthritis, but its mechanism of action and cellular targets are still unclear. The purpose of this study is to elucidate the effects of THC (0.1-25 µM) on synovial fibroblasts from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RASF) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from healthy donors in respect to proliferation, calcium mobilization, drug uptake, cytokine and immunoglobulin production. Intracellular calcium and drug uptake were determined by fluorescent dyes Cal-520 and PoPo3, respectively. Cytokine and immunoglobulin production were evaluated by ELISA. Cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) were detected by flow cytometry. RASF express CB1 and CB2 and the latter was increased by tumor necrosis factor (TNF). In RASF, THC (≥5 µM) increased intracellular calcium levels/PoPo3 uptake in a TRPA1-dependent manner and reduced interleukin-8 (IL-8) and matrix metalloprotease 3 (MMP-3) production at high concentrations (25 µM). Proliferation was slightly enhanced at intermediate THC concentrations (1-10 µM) but was completely abrogated at 25 µM. In PBMC alone, THC decreased interleukin-10 (IL-10) production and increased immunoglobulin G (IgG). In PBMC/RASF co-culture, THC decreased TNF production when cells were stimulated with interferon-γ (IFN-γ) or CpG. THC provides pro- and anti-inflammatory effects in RASF and PBMC. This is dependent on the activating stimulus and concentration of THC. Therefore, THC might be used to treat inflammation in RA but it might need titrating to determine the effective concentration.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35625855/

https://www.mdpi.com/2227-9059/10/5/1118


Anti-Inflammatory, Antioxidative, and Hepatoprotective Effects of Trans Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol/Sesame Oil on Adjuvant-Induced Arthritis in Rats

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“Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a painful chronic autoimmune disease affecting the joints. Its first-line therapy, Methotrexate (MTX), although effective in ameliorating the progress of the disease, induces hepatotoxicity over long-term usage. Thus, seeking natural compounds with fewer side effects could be an alternative therapeutic approach. This study aimed to investigate the anti-inflammatory, antiarthritic, and antioxidative effects of synthetic trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) dissolved in sesame oil (Dronabinol) against MTX in adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA) rat model. Daily oral administration of Δ9-THC/sesame oil, over a period of 21 days, was well tolerated in arthritic rats with no particular psychoactive side effects. It markedly attenuated the severity of clinical manifestations, recovered the histopathological changes in tibiotarsal joints, and repressed the splenomegaly in arthritic rats. Δ9-THC/sesame oil therapy showed similar effects to MTX in neutralizing the inflammatory process of AIA, through attenuating erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) scores and proinflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin 1-beta (IL-1β), and interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels, to normal values. As opposed to MTX, this natural combination markedly protected the liver of arthritic rats and downregulated the induced oxidative stress by increasing the antioxidant defense system such as activities of catalase and superoxide dismutase (SOD) and levels of glutathione (GSH). These results suggest promising effects for the clinical use of Δ9-THC/sesame oil therapy in alleviating arthritic clinical signs as well as arthritis-induced liver injury.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30046349/

“Dronabinol (Δ9-THC in sesame oil) is usually used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy or weight loss and loss of appetite in AIDS patients, yet, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that proves the antiarthritic and antioxidative effects of this combination in an experimental model of RA with a hepatoprotective effect against arthritis-induced liver injury compared to commonly used antirheumatic drug (MTX).”

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2018/9365464/


Medical Cannabis Use Reduces Opioid Prescriptions in Patients With Osteoarthritis

“Osteoarthritis (OA) can result in significant pain, requiring pain management with opioids. Medical cannabis (MC) has the potential to be an alternative to opioids for chronic pain conditions. This study investigates whether MC used in the management of OA-related chronic pain can reduce opioid utilization.

Results

Average MME/day decreased from 18.2 to 9.8 (n=40, p<0.05). The percentage of patients who dropped to 0 MME/day was 37.5%. VAS scores decreased significantly at three and six months, and Global Physical Health score increased significantly by three months.

Conclusions

MC reduces opioid prescription for patients with chronic OA pain and improves pain and quality of life.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8873278/

The Endocannabinoid System: A Potential Target for the Treatment of Various Diseases

ijms-logo“The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is primarily responsible for maintaining homeostasis, a balance in internal environment (temperature, mood, and immune system) and energy input and output in living, biological systems.

In addition to regulating physiological processes, the ECS directly influences anxiety, feeding behaviour/appetite, emotional behaviour, depression, nervous functions, neurogenesis, neuroprotection, reward, cognition, learning, memory, pain sensation, fertility, pregnancy, and pre-and post-natal development.

The ECS is also involved in several pathophysiological diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. In recent years, genetic and pharmacological manipulation of the ECS has gained significant interest in medicine, research, and drug discovery and development.

The distribution of the components of the ECS system throughout the body, and the physiological/pathophysiological role of the ECS-signalling pathways in many diseases, all offer promising opportunities for the development of novel cannabinergic, cannabimimetic, and cannabinoid-based therapeutic drugs that genetically or pharmacologically modulate the ECS via inhibition of metabolic pathways and/or agonism or antagonism of the receptors of the ECS. This modulation results in the differential expression/activity of the components of the ECS that may be beneficial in the treatment of a number of diseases.

This manuscript in-depth review will investigate the potential of the ECS in the treatment of various diseases, and to put forth the suggestion that many of these secondary metabolites of Cannabis sativa L. (hereafter referred to as “C. sativa L.” or “medical cannabis”), may also have potential as lead compounds in the development of cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals for a variety of diseases.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34502379/

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/17/9472

Therapeutic Attributes of Endocannabinoid System against Neuro-Inflammatory Autoimmune Disorders

molecules-logo“In humans, various sites like cannabinoid receptors (CBR) having a binding affinity with cannabinoids are distributed on the surface of different cell types, where endocannabinoids (ECs) and derivatives of fatty acid can bind. The binding of these substance(s) triggers the activation of specific receptors required for various physiological functions, including pain sensation, memory, and appetite.

The ECs and CBR perform multiple functions via the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1); cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2), having a key effect in restraining neurotransmitters and the arrangement of cytokines. The role of cannabinoids in the immune system is illustrated because of their immunosuppressive characteristics. These characteristics include inhibition of leucocyte proliferation, T cells apoptosis, and induction of macrophages along with reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines secretion.

The review seeks to discuss the functional relationship between the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and anti-tumor characteristics of cannabinoids in various cancers.

The therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for cancer-both in vivo and in vitro clinical trials-has also been highlighted and reported to be effective in mice models in arthritis for the inflammation reduction, neuropathic pain, positive effect in multiple sclerosis and type-1 diabetes mellitus, and found beneficial for treating in various cancers.

In human models, such studies are limited; thereby, further research is indispensable in this field to get a conclusive outcome. Therefore, in autoimmune disorders, therapeutic cannabinoids can serve as promising immunosuppressive and anti-fibrotic agents.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34205169/

https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/26/11/3389

Cannabinoid-based therapy as a future for joint degeneration. Focus on the role of CB 2 receptor in the arthritis progression and pain: an updated review

“Over the last several decades, the percentage of patients suffering from different forms of arthritis has increased due to the ageing population and the increasing risk of civilization diseases, e.g. obesity, which contributes to arthritis development. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are estimated to affect 50-60% of people over 65 years old and cause serious health and economic problems. Currently, therapeutic strategies are limited and focus mainly on pain attenuation and maintaining joint functionality. First-line therapies are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; in more advanced stages, stronger analgesics, such as opioids, are required, and in the most severe cases, joint arthroplasty is the only option to ensure joint mobility.

Cannabinoids, both endocannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoid receptor (CB) agonists, are novel therapeutic options for the treatment of arthritis-associated pain. CB1 receptors are mainly located in the nervous system; thus, CB1 agonists induce many side effects, which limit their therapeutic efficacy. On the other hand, CB2 receptors are mainly located in the periphery on immune cells, and CB2 modulators exert analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects in vitro and in vivo. In the current review, novel research on the cannabinoid-mediated analgesic effect on arthritis is presented, with particular emphasis on the role of the CB2 receptor in arthritis-related pain and the suppression of inflammation.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34050525/

“Cannabinoids not only alleviate joint hyperalgesia but also may help to prevent joint damage, chronic pain development and disease progression.”

In vivo and in vitro anti-inflammatory activity evaluation of Lebanese Cannabis sativa L. ssp. indica (Lam.)

Journal of Ethnopharmacology “Cannabis sativa L. is an aromatic annual herb belonging to the family Cannabaceae and it is widely distributed worldwide. Cultivation, selling, and consumption of cannabis and cannabis related products, regardless of its use, was prohibited in Lebanon until April 22, 2020. Nevertheless, cannabis oil has been traditionally used unlawfully for many years in Lebanon to treat diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, cancer and few neurological disorders.

Aim of the study: The present study aims to evaluate the phytochemical and anti-inflammatory properties of a cannabis oil preparation that is analogous to the illegally used cannabis oil in Lebanon.

Results: Chemical analysis of COE revealed that cannabidiol (CBD; 59.1%) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC; 20.2%) were found to be the most abundant cannabinoids.Various monoterpenes (α-Pinene, Camphene, β-Myrecene and D-Limonene) and sesquiterpenes (β-Caryophyllene, α-Bergamotene, α-Humelene, Humulene epoxide II, and Caryophyllene oxide) were identified in the extract. Results showed that COE markedly suppressed the release of TNF-α in LPS-stimulated rat monocytes. Western blot analysis revealed that COE significantly inhibited LPS-induced COX-2 and i-NOS protein expressions and blocked the phosphorylation of MAPKs, specifically that of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 MAPK. COE displayed a significant inhibition of paw edema in both rat models. Histopathological examination revealed that COE reduced inflammation and edema in chronic paw edema model.

Conclusion: The current findings demonstrate that COE possesses remarkable in vivo and in vitro anti-inflammatory activities which support the traditional use of the Lebanese cannabis oil extract in the treatment of various inflammatory diseases including arthritis.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33359187/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S037887412033631X?via%3Dihub

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Cannabis: An Emerging Treatment for Common Symptoms in Older Adults

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society “Background/objectives: Use of cannabis is increasing in a variety of populations in the United States; however, few investigations about how and for what reasons cannabis is used in older populations exist.

Design: Anonymous survey.

Setting: Geriatrics clinic.

Participants: A total of 568 adults 65 years and older.

Intervention: Not applicable.

Measurements: Survey assessing characteristics of cannabis use.

Results: Approximately 15% (N = 83) of survey responders reported using cannabis within the past 3 years. Half (53%) reported using cannabis regularly on a daily or weekly basis, and reported using cannabidiol-only products (46%).

The majority (78%) used cannabis for medical purposes only, with the most common targeted conditions/symptoms being pain/arthritis (73%), sleep disturbance (29%), anxiety (24%), and depression (17%). Just over three-quarters reported cannabis “somewhat” or “extremely” helpful in managing one of these conditions, with few adverse effects.

Just over half obtained cannabis via a dispensary, and lotions (35%), tinctures (35%), and smoking (30%) were the most common administration forms. Most indicated family members (94%) knew about their cannabis use, about half reported their friends knew, and 41% reported their healthcare provider knowing. Sixty-one percent used cannabis for the first time as older adults (aged ≥61 years), and these users overall engaged in less risky use patterns (e.g., more likely to use for medical purposes, less likely to consume via smoking).

Conclusion: Most older adults in the sample initiated cannabis use after the age of 60 years and used it primarily for medical purposes to treat pain, sleep disturbance, anxiety, and/or depression. Cannabis use by older adults is likely to increase due to medical need, favorable legalization, and attitudes.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33026117/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jgs.16833

“Study Finds Older Adults Using Cannabis to Treat Common Health Conditions”  https://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2020-10-07-study-finds-older-adults-using-cannabis-to-treat-common-health-conditions.aspx

Cannabidiol (CBD): a killer for inflammatory rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts

 Cell Death & Disease“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid from cannabis sativa that has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in several inflammatory conditions including arthritis.

In this study, we show that CBD increases intracellular calcium levels, reduces cell viability and IL-6/IL-8/MMP-3 production of rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF).

CBD reduced cell viability, proliferation, and IL-6/IL-8 production of RASF. Moreover, CBD increased intracellular calcium and uptake of the cationic viability dye PoPo3 in RASF, which was enhanced by pre-treatment with TNF.

Thus, CBD possesses anti-arthritic activity and might ameliorate arthritis via targeting synovial fibroblasts under inflammatory conditions.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32873774/

“In conclusion, CBD might be beneficial as an adjuvant treatment in rheumatoid arthritis that might support the action of currently used disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41419-020-02892-1