Clinical outcome analysis of patients with multiple sclerosis – Analysis from the UK Medical Cannabis Registry

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“Introduction: Whilst disease-modifying therapies are the cornerstone for treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), there is a need to develop novel therapeutics for the symptomatic sequalae of the disease. Cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) have been suggested as a potential therapy for the associated pain, spasticity, and mental health disorders. However, there is a paucity of clinical evidence on CBMPs in MS. The aim of this study is to assess changes in MS-specific and general health-related quality of life (HRQoL) outcomes alongside adverse event incidence in patients prescribed CBMPs for MS from the UK Medical Cannabis Registry (UKMCR).

Method: Patients prescribed CBMPs for MS symptoms for longer than one month were identified from the UKMCR. The primary outcomes were changes from baseline in MS Quality of Life-54 (MSQoL-54), Generalised Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7), Single-Item Sleep Quality Scale (SQS), and EQ-5D-5L scales at one month, three months and six months. p < 0.050 was defined as statistically significant.

Results: 141 patients met the inclusion criteria for the study. There was an improvement in the following subscales of the MSQoL-54 at 6 months: change in health scale, cognitive function, mental health composition, physical health, role limitations due to physical limitation and due to emotional problems, as well as social and sexual function (p < 0.050). There were also improvements in the EQ-5D-5L index value, GAD-7 and SQS (p < 0.050). 146 (103.55 %) adverse events were reported in total. Most were considered mild (n = 47; 33.33 %) and moderate (n = 72; 51.06 %).

Conclusions: This preliminary analysis demonstrates a possible association with improved general health-related quality of life in those prescribed CBMPs for MS. Moreover, the results suggest that CBMPs are well-tolerated in the first 6 months of treatment. However, this must be interpreted with caution considering the limitations of the observational study design.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38728958/

“Cannabis-based medicinal products were prescribed to those with multiple sclerosis.Significant improvements were observed in health-related quality of life. Treatment was well-tolerated over the course of 6 months.”

https://www.msard-journal.com/article/S2211-0348(24)00242-6/fulltext


Cannabinoids for the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory skin diseases: A systematic review

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“In recent years, the medical use of cannabinoids has attracted growing attention worldwide. In particular, anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids led to their emergence as potential therapeutic options for autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.

Recent studies have also shown that cannabinoid receptors are widely expressed and have endogenous ligands in the skin, suggesting that the skin has its own endocannabinoid system. The aim of this review is to discuss the potential therapeutic effects of cannabinoids in autoimmune and inflammatory skin diseases.

Following an overview of cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system, we describe the cellular and molecular mechanisms of cannabinoids in skin health and disease. We then review the clinical studies of cannabinoids in autoimmune and inflammatory skin diseases including systemic sclerosis (SSc), dermatomyositis (DM), psoriasis (Pso) and atopic dermatitis (AD). A primary literature search was conducted in July 2023, using PubMed and Web of Science. A total of 15 articles were included after excluding reviews, non-human studies and in vitro studies from 389 non-duplicated articles.

Available evidence suggests that cannabinoids may be beneficial for SSc, DM, Pso and AD. However, further studies, ideally randomized controlled trials, are needed to further evaluate the use of cannabinoids in autoimmune and inflammatory skin diseases.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38532572/

“The available data support the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids in SSc, DM, Pso and AD, as well as highlight the need for further studies to confirm their therapeutic use. In conclusion, available evidence suggests that cannabinoids have the potential therapeutic benefit with good tolerability in SSc, DM, Pso and AD. “

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/exd.15064

Cannabidiol: Influence on B Cells, Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells, and Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell/Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Fibroblast Cocultures

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“Background: Cannabidiol (CBD), one major nonintoxicating phytocannabinoid from Cannabis sativa demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in animal models of several inflammatory conditions, including arthritis. However, it is still unknown which cell types mediate these anti-inflammatory effects of CBD, and, since CBD binds to a plethora of receptors and enzymes, it is complicated to pinpoint its mechanism of action. In this study, we elucidate the effects of CBD on B cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in respect to survival, calcium mobilization, drug uptake, and cytokine (IL-6, IL-10, and TNF) and immunoglobulin production. 

Methods: Modulation of intracellular calcium and drug uptake in B cells was determined by using the fluorescent dyes Cal-520 and PoPo3, respectively. Cytokine and immunoglobulin production was evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. PBMC composition and B cell survival after CBD treatment was assessed by flow cytometry. 

Results: B cells express two major target receptors for CBD, TRPV2 (transient receptor potential vanilloid 2) and TRPA1 (transient receptor potential ankyrin 1), which are not regulated by B cell activation. CBD increased intracellular calcium levels in mouse and human B cells, which was accompanied by enhanced uptake of PoPo3. These effects were not dependent on transient receptor potential channel activation. CBD increased the number of early apoptotic B cells at the expense of viable cells and diminished interleukin (IL)-10 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) production when activated T cell independently. In PBMCs, CBD increased IL-10 production when B cells were activated T cell dependent, while decreasing TNF levels when activated T cell independently. In PBMC/rheumatoid synovial fibroblast cocultures, CBD reduced IL-10 production when B cells were activated T cell independently. Immunoglobulin M production was augmented by CBD when B cells were activated with CpG. 

Conclusion: CBD is able to provide pro- and anti-inflammatory effects in isolated B cells and PBMCs. This is dependent on the activating stimulus (T cell dependent or independent) and concentration of CBD. Therefore, CBD might be used to dampen B cell activity in autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, in which B cells are activated by specific autoantigens.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35920857/

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2021.0241

The Efficacy of Cannabis on Multiple Sclerosis-Related Symptoms

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“Multiple sclerosis (MS) is known as an autoimmune disease that damages the neurons in the central nervous system. MS is characterized by its most common symptoms of spasticity, muscle spasms, neuropathic pain, tremors, bladder dysfunction, dysarthria, and some intellectual problems, including memory disturbances. Several clinical studies have been conducted to investigate the effects of cannabis on the relief of these symptoms in MS patients. The efficacy of Cannabis sativa (C. Sativa) in the management of MS outcomes such as spasticity, pain, tremors, ataxia, bladder functions, sleep, quality of life, and adverse effects were assessed in this review.

Most clinical studies showed the positive effects of cannabinoids with their different routes of administration, such as oromucosal spray and oral form, in reducing most MS symptoms. The oromucosal spray Nabiximols demonstrated an improvement in reducing MS spasticity, pain, and quality of life with a tolerated adverse effect. Oral cannabinoids are significantly effective for treating MS pain and spasticity, while the other symptoms indicate slight improvement and the evidence is quite inconsistent. Oromucosal spray and oral cannabis are mainly used for treating patients with MS and have positive effects on treating the most common symptoms of MS, such as pain and spasticity, whereas the other MS symptoms indicated slight improvement, for which further studies are needed.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35629350/

https://www.mdpi.com/2075-1729/12/5/682


Effects of Cannabidiol in a Caenorhabditis Elegans Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Model

“Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease caused by the progressive death of motor neurons. Cannabidiol, the second most prevalent cannabinoid in the Cannabis sativa plant, is a potential therapeutic tool for ALS due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasticity effects, as well as its complementary role in treating other neurodegenerative diseases. In SOD1-G93A murine ALS models, cannabinoids have been shown to slow disease progression, extending lifespan and increasing motor function. However, the effects of specific cannabinoids-including cannabidiol-are yet undefined and their functions slowing disease progression are unknown. To advance this understanding we aim to study the effects of cannabidiol treatment in a Caenorhabditis elegans ALS model: a SOD-1 mutant transgenic strain with SOD-1 aggregation in muscular cells. We will use a death assay to measure the lifespan of SOD-1 mutant C. elegans and cannabidiol-treated SOD-1 mutant C. elegans to investigate whether treatment with cannabidiol impacts the lifespan of SOD-1 mutants. To assess mechanosensation, we will touch C. elegans with sutures of various sizes, based on the Von Frey filaments touch response assay in humans. We will develop a novel computational analysis system to measure C. elegans movement in response to touch. We will then compare the motor response of the SOD-1 mutant transgenic strain to wild type and study if cannabidiol modulates a possible change in motor response. This study will evaluate the functions of cannabidiol as a potential therapeutic tool in ALS using a SOD-1 mutant C. elegans model.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35555765/

https://faseb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1096/fasebj.2022.36.S1.0R317

Neurological Benefits, Clinical Challenges, and Neuropathologic Promise of Medical Marijuana: A Systematic Review of Cannabinoid Effects in Multiple Sclerosis and Experimental Models of Demyelination

“Despite current therapeutic strategies for immunomodulation and relief of symptoms in multiple sclerosis (MS), remyelination falls short due to dynamic neuropathologic deterioration and relapses, leading to accrual of disability and associated patient dissatisfaction. The potential of cannabinoids includes add-on immunosuppressive, analgesic, neuroprotective, and remyelinative effects. This study evaluates the efficacy of medical marijuana in MS and its experimental animal models. A systematic review was conducted by a literature search through PubMed, ProQuest, and EBSCO electronic databases for studies reported since 2007 on the use of cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in MS and in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), Theiler’s murine encephalomyelitis virus-induced demyelinating disease (TMEV-IDD), and toxin-induced demyelination models. Study selection and data extraction were performed by 3 reviewers, and 28 studies were selected for inclusion. The certainty of evidence was appraised using the Cochrane GRADE approach. In clinical studies, there was low- and moderate-quality evidence that treatment with ~1:1 CBD/THC mixtures as a nabiximols (Sativex®) oromucosal spray reduced numerical rating scale (NRS) scores for spasticity, pain, and sleep disturbance, diminished bladder overactivity, and decreased proinflammatory cytokine and transcription factor expression levels. Preclinical studies demonstrated decreases in disease severity, hindlimb stiffness, motor function, neuroinflammation, and demyelination. Other experimental systems showed the capacity of cannabinoids to promote remyelination in vitro and by electron microscopy. Modest short-term benefits were realized in MS responders to adjunctive therapy with CBD/THC mixtures. Future studies are recommended to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms of cannabinoid effects on MS lesions and to evaluate whether medical marijuana can accelerate remyelination and retard the accrual of disability over the long term.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35327341/

Δ 9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol promotes functional remyelination in the mouse brain

“Background and purpose: Research on demyelinating disorders aims to find novel molecules that are able to induce oligodendrocyte precursor cell differentiation to promote central nervous system remyelination and functional recovery. Δ9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most prominent active constituent of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa, confers neuroprotection in animal models of demyelination. However, the possible effect of THC on myelin repair has never been studied.

Experimental approach: By using oligodendroglia-specific reporter mouse lines in combination with two models of toxin-induced demyelination, we analysed the effect of THC on the processes of oligodendrocyte regeneration and functional remyelination.

Key results: We show that THC administration enhanced oligodendrocyte regeneration, white matter remyelination and motor function recovery. THC also promoted axonal remyelination in organotypic cerebellar cultures. THC remyelinating action relied on the induction of oligodendrocyte precursor differentiation upon cell cycle exit and via CB1 cannabinoid receptor activation.

Conclusions and implications: Overall, our study identifies THC administration as a promising pharmacological strategy aimed to promote functional CNS remyelination in demyelinating disorders.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34216154/

Cannabinoids induce functional Tregs by promoting tolerogenic DCs via autophagy and metabolic reprograming

Mucosal Immunology“The generation of functional regulatory T cells (Tregs) is essential to keep tissue homeostasis and restore healthy immune responses in many biological and inflammatory contexts.

Cannabinoids have been pointed out as potential therapeutic tools for several diseases.

Dendritic cells (DCs) express the endocannabinoid system, including the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. However, how cannabinoids might regulate functional properties of DCs is not completely understood.

We uncover that the triggering of cannabinoid receptors promote human tolerogenic DCs that are able to prime functional FOXP3+ Tregs in the context of different inflammatory diseases. Mechanistically, cannabinoids imprint tolerogenicity in human DCs by inhibiting NF-κB, MAPK and mTOR signalling pathways while inducing AMPK and functional autophagy flux via CB1- and PPARα-mediated activation, which drives metabolic rewiring towards increased mitochondrial activity and oxidative phosphorylation.

Cannabinoids exhibit in vivo protective and anti-inflammatory effects in LPS-induced sepsis and also promote the generation of FOXP3+ Tregs. In addition, immediate anaphylactic reactions are decreased in peanut allergic mice and the generation of allergen-specific FOXP3+ Tregs are promoted, demonstrating that these immunomodulatory effects take place in both type 1- and type 2-mediated inflammatory diseases.

Our findings might open new avenues for novel cannabinoid-based interventions in different inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34548620/

“Cannabinoids have been pointed out as potential therapeutic tools for several diseases. Our results might well contribute to pave the way for the future development of novel cannabinoid-based strategies for different inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41385-021-00455-x

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

 

“Cannabis sativa L. as a Natural Drug Meeting the Criteria of a Multitarget Approach to Treatment”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7830475/

Δ 9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol promotes functional remyelination in the mouse brain

British Journal of Pharmacology“Background and purpose: Research on demyelinating disorders aims to find novel molecules that are able to induce oligodendrocyte precursor cell differentiation to promote central nervous system remyelination and functional recovery.

Δ9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most prominent active constituent of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa, confers neuroprotection in animal models of demyelination. However, the possible effect of THC on myelin repair has never been studied.

Experimental approach: By using oligodendroglia-specific reporter mouse lines in combination with two models of toxin-induced demyelination, we analysed the effect of THC on the processes of oligodendrocyte regeneration and functional remyelination.

Key results: We show that THC administration enhanced oligodendrocyte regeneration, white matter remyelination and motor function recovery. THC also promoted axonal remyelination in organotypic cerebellar cultures. THC remyelinating action relied on the induction of oligodendrocyte precursor differentiation upon cell cycle exit and via CB1 cannabinoid receptor activation.

Conclusions and implications: Overall, our study identifies THC administration as a promising pharmacological strategy aimed to promote functional CNS remyelination in demyelinating disorders.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34216154/

“Our study provides a novel therapeutic advantage of THC-based interventions in multiple sclerosis by promoting remyelination and functional recovery. New clinical trials with improved designs on cannabinoids in people with multiple sclerosis are needed now, considering these compounds as potential remyelinating/disease-modifying drugs to try to overcome previous failures. Our work also suggests that at least part of the neuroprotective action of phytocannabinoids in multiple sclerosis animal models and potentially in patients as well may be due to an enhanced CNS remyelination. Finally, this study also identifies THC as a potent inductor of oligodendrocyte progenitor cell differentiation under demyelination in mice, opening the possibility for this molecule to become a candidate drug to promote oligodendrocyte regeneration and remyelination in the treatment of demyelinating disorders.”

https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.15608