Medical marijuana for the treatment of vismodegib-related muscle spasm

JAAD Case Reports

“Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) arises from loss-of-function mutations in tumor suppressor patched homologue 1, which normally inhibits smoothened homologue in the sonic hedgehog signaling pathway. Vismodegib, a smoothened homologue inhibitor, is US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for metastatic or locally advanced BCC that has recurred after surgery or for patients who are not candidates for surgery and radiation. Common adverse effects of vismodegib are muscle spasms, alopecia, dysgeusia, nausea, and weight loss. Muscle spasms worsen with duration of drug administration and may lead to drug discontinuation.

We report a case of vismodegib-related muscle spasm that was successfully treated with medical marijuana (MM).

During the first week of vismodegib and radiation, the patient started MM, having heard of its indication in the treatment of muscle cramps. She smoked 3 to 4 joints daily of Trainwreck strain, containing 18.6% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), 0.0% cannabidiol (CBD), and 0.0% cannabinol. Her muscle spasms resolved immediately. She continued MM for 3.5 weeks, until the cost of MM became prohibitive. She reported no adverse effects from MM. Complete resolution of muscle spasms was sustained through the remaining 3.5 weeks of vismodegib. Complete blood count, comprehensive metabolic panel, and lactate dehydrogenase level were monitored throughout the study with no significant changes. As of 18 months posttreatment, the patient had a complete clinical response of her BCC.

One marijuana joint contains, on average, 0.66 g of marijuana, although the definition of a joint is highly variable. With any MM formulation, patients should start at a low dose and gradually titrate to effect. Additional studies could confirm safety and efficacy and better specify the optimal cannabinoid subtypes, preparations, and dosages that may be most beneficial for vismodegib-induced muscle spasms.”

http://www.jaadcasereports.org/article/S2352-5126(17)30124-8/fulltext

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A Review of the Therapeutic Antitumor Potential of Cannabinoids.

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“The aim of this review is to discuss cannabinoids from a preclinical and clinical oncological perspective and provide the audience with a concise, retrospective overview of the most significant findings concerning the potential use of cannabinoids in cancer treatment.

RESULTS:

Cannabis sativa is a plant rich in more than 100 types of cannabinoids. Besides exogenous plant cannabinoids, mammalian endocannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoid analogues have been identified. Cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) and type 2 (CB2) have been isolated and characterized from mammalian cells. Through cannabinoid receptor and non-receptor signaling pathways, cannabinoids show specific cytotoxicity against tumor cells, while protecting healthy tissue from apoptosis. The dual antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects of cannabinoids and associated signaling pathways have been investigated on a large panel of cancer cell lines. Cannabinoids also display potent anticancer activity against tumor xenografts, including tumors that express high resistance to standard chemotherapeutics. Few studies have investigated the possible synergistic effects of cannabinoids with standard oncology therapies, and are based on the preclinically confirmed concept of “cannabinoid sensitizers.” Also, clinical trials aimed to confirm the antineoplastic activity of cannabinoids have only been evaluated on a small number of subjects, with no consensus conclusions regarding their effectiveness.

CONCLUSIONS:

A large number of cannabinoid compounds have been discovered, developed, and used to study the effects of cannabinoids on cancers in model systems. However, few clinical trials have been conducted on the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of cancers in humans. Further studies require extensive monitoring of the effects of cannabinoids alone or in combination with standard anticancer strategies. With such knowledge, cannabinoids could become a therapy of choice in contemporary oncology.”

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Cannabinoids as Modulators of Cell Death: Clinical Applications and Future Directions.

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“Endocannabinoids are bioactive lipids that modulate various physiological processes through G-protein-coupled receptors (CB1 and CB2) and other putative targets. By sharing the activation of the same receptors, some phytocannabinoids and a multitude of synthetic cannabinoids mimic the effects of endocannabinoids.

In recent years, a growing interest has been dedicated to the study of cannabinoids properties for their analgesic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. In addition to these well-recognized effects, various studies suggest that cannabinoids may affect cell survival, cell proliferation or cell death. These observations indicate that cannabinoids may play an important role in the regulation of cellular homeostasis and, thus, may contribute to tissue remodelling and cancer treatment.

For a long time, the study of cannabinoid receptor signalling has been focused on the classical adenylyl cyclase/cyclic AMP/protein kinase A (PKA) pathway. However, this pathway does not totally explain the wide array of biological responses to cannabinoids. In addition, the diversity of receptors and signalling pathways that endocannabinoids modulate offers an interesting opportunity for the development of specific molecules to disturb selectively the endogenous system.

Moreover, emerging evidences suggest that cannabinoids ability to limit cell proliferation and to induce tumour-selective cell death may offer a novel strategy in cancer treatment.

This review describes the main properties of cannabinoids in cell death and attempts to clarify the different pathways triggered by these compounds that may help to understand the complexity of respective molecular mechanisms and explore the potential clinical benefit of cannabinoids use in cancer therapies.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28425013

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ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM: A multi-facet therapeutic target.

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“Cannabis sativa is also popularly known as marijuana. It is being cultivated and used by man for recreational and medicinal purposes from many centuries.

Study of cannabinoids was at bay for very long time and its therapeutic value could not be adequately harnessed due to its legal status as proscribed drug in most of the countries.

The research of drugs acting on endocannabinoid system has seen many ups and down in recent past. Presently, it is known that endocannabinoids has role in pathology of many disorders and they also serve “protective role” in many medical conditions.

Several diseases like emesis, pain, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, anorexia, epilepsy, glaucoma, schizophrenia, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, obesity, metabolic syndrome related diseases, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Tourette’s syndrome could possibly be treated by drugs modulating endocannabinoid system.

Presently, cannabinoid receptor agonists like nabilone and dronabinol are used for reducing the chemotherapy induced vomiting. Sativex (cannabidiol and THC combination) is approved in the UK, Spain and New Zealand to treat spasticity due to multiple sclerosis. In US it is under investigation for cancer pain, another drug Epidiolex (cannabidiol) is also under investigation in US for childhood seizures. Rimonabant, CB1 receptor antagonist appeared as a promising anti-obesity drug during clinical trials but it also exhibited remarkable psychiatric side effect profile. Due to which the US Food and Drug Administration did not approve Rimonabant in US. It sale was also suspended across the EU in 2008.

Recent discontinuation of clinical trial related to FAAH inhibitor due to occurrence of serious adverse events in the participating subjects could be discouraging for the research fraternity. Despite of some mishaps in clinical trials related to drugs acting on endocannabinoid system, still lot of research is being carried out to explore and establish the therapeutic targets for both cannabinoid receptor agonists and antagonists.

One challenge is to develop drugs that target only cannabinoid receptors in a particular tissue and another is to invent drugs that acts selectively on cannabinoid receptors located outside the blood brain barrier. Besides this, development of the suitable dosage forms with maximum efficacy and minimum adverse effects is also warranted.

Another angle to be introspected for therapeutic abilities of this group of drugs is non-CB1 and non-CB2 receptor targets for cannabinoids.

In order to successfully exploit the therapeutic potential of endocannabinoid system, it is imperative to further characterize the endocannabinoid system in terms of identification of the exact cellular location of cannabinoid receptors and their role as “protective” and “disease inducing substance”, time-dependent changes in the expression of cannabinoid receptors.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27086601

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Cannabinoid pharmacology in cancer research: A new hope for cancer patients?

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“Cannabinoids have been used for many centuries to ease pain and in the past decade, the endocannabinoid system has been implicated in a number of pathophysiological conditions, such as mood and anxiety disorders, movement disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, stroke, hypertension, glaucoma, obesity, and osteoporosis.

Several studies have demonstrated that cannabinoids also have anti-cancer activity and as cannabinoids are usually well tolerated and do not produce the typical toxic effects of conventional chemotherapies, there is considerable merit in the development of cannabinoids as potential anticancer therapies.

Whilst the presence of psychoactive effects of cannabinoids could prevent any progress in this field, recent studies have shown the value of the non-psychoactive components of cannabinoids in activating apoptotic pathways, inducing anti-proliferative and anti-angiogenic effects.

The aforementioned effects are suggested to be through pathways such as ERK, Akt, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways, phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathways and hypoxia inducible factor 1 (HIF1), all of which are important contributors to the hallmarks of cancer.

Many important questions still remain unanswered or are poorly addressed thus necessitating further research at basic pre-clinical and clinical levels. In this review, we address these issues with a view to identifying the key challenges that future research needs to address.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26852955

http://www.thctotalhealthcare.com/category/cancer/

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Ligands for cannabinoid receptors, promising anticancer agents.

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“Cannabinoids compounds are unique to cannabis and provide some interesting biological properties.

These compounds along with endocannabinoids, a group of neuromodulator compounds in the body especially in brain, express their effects by activation of G-protein-coupled cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2.

There are several physiological properties attributed to the endocannabinoids including pain relief, enhancement of appetite, blood pressure lowering during shock, embryonic development, and blocking of working memory.

On the other hand, activation of endocannabinoid system may be suppresses evolution and progression of several types of cancer.

According to the results of recent studies, CB receptors are over-expressed in cancer cell lines and application of multiple cannabinoid or cannabis-derived compounds reduce tumor size through decrease of cell proliferation or induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis along with desirable effect on decrease of tumor-evoked pain.

Therefore, modulation of endocannabinoid system by inhibition of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), the enzyme, which metabolized endocannabinoids, or application of multiple cannabinoid or cannabis-derived compounds, may be appropriate for the treatment of several cancer subtypes. This review focuses on how cannabinoid affect different types of cancers.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26764235

http://www.thctotalhealthcare.com/category/cancer/

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The use of cannabinoids as anticancer agents.

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“It is well-established that cannabinoids exert palliative effects on some cancer-associated symptoms. In addition evidences obtained during the last fifteen years support that these compounds can reduce tumour growth in animal models of cancer.

Cannabinoids have been shown to activate an ER-stress related pathway that leads to the stimulation of autophagy-mediated cancer cell death.

In addition, cannabinoids inhibit tumour angiogenesis and decrease cancer cell migration.

The mechanisms of resistance to cannabinoid anticancer action as well as the possible strategies to develop cannabinoid-based combinational therapies to fight cancer have also started to be explored.

In this review we will summarize these observations (that have already helped to set the bases for the development of the first clinical studies to investigate the potential clinical benefit of using cannabinoids in anticancer therapies) and will discuss the possible future avenues of research in this area.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26071989

“… cannabinoids have been shown to alleviate nausea and vomit induced by chemotherapy and several cannabinoid-based medicines [Marinol (THC) and Cesamet (nabilone, a synthetic analogue of THC)] are approved for this purpose. Cannabinoids also inhibit pain, and Sativex (a standardized cannabis extract) has been approved in Canada for the treatment of cancer-associated pain. Other potential palliative effects of cannabinoids in oncology include appetite stimulation and attenuation of wasting. In addition to these palliative actions of cannabinoids in cancer patients, THC and other cannabinoids exhibit antitumour effects in animal models of cancer… a large body of scientific evidences strongly support THC and other cannabinoid agonists exert anticancer actions in preclinical models of cancer… In conclusion there exist solid scientific evidences supporting that cannabinoids exhibit a remarkable anticancer activity in preclinical models of cancer. Since these agents also show an acceptable safety profile, clinical studies aimed at testing them as single agents or in combinational therapies are urgently needed.” http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278584615001190
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The cannabinoid delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol inhibits RAS-MAPK and PI3K-AKT survival signalling and induces BAD-mediated apoptosis in colorectal cancer cells.

“…there is considerable interest in therapeutics that can modulate survival signalling pathways and target cancer cells for death. There is emerging evidence that cannabinoids, especially Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), may represent novel anticancer agents, due to their ability to regulate signalling pathways critical for cell growth and survival.

Here, we report that CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors are expressed in human colorectal adenoma and carcinoma cells, and show for the first time that THC induces apoptosis in colorectal cancer cells…

The use of THC, or selective targeting of the CB1 receptor, may represent a novel strategy for colorectal cancer therapy.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17583570

http://www.thctotalhealthcare.com/category/colon-cancer/

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Endocannabinoid system in cancer cachexia.

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“More than 60% of advanced cancer patients suffer from anorexia and cachexia.

This review focuses on the possible mechanisms by which the endocannabinoid system antagonizes cachexia-anorexia processes in cancer patients and how it can be tapped for therapeutic applications.

Cannabinoids stimulate appetite and food intake…

Cannabinoid type 1 receptor activation stimulates appetite and promotes lipogenesis and energy storage.

Further study of cancer-cachexia pathophysiology and the role of endocannabinoids will help us to develop cannabinoids without psychotropic properties, which will help cancer patients suffering from cachexia and improve outcomes of clinical antitumor therapy.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17563462

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The endocannabinoid signaling system in cancer.

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“The endocannabinoid system, comprising lipid-derived endocannabinoids, their G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), and the enzymes for their metabolism, is emerging as a promising therapeutic target in cancer.

This report highlights the main signaling pathways for the antitumor effects of the endocannabinoid system in cancer and its basic role in cancerpathogenesis, and discusses the alternative view of cannabinoid receptors as tumor promoters.

We focus on new players in the antitumor action of the endocannabinoid system and on emerging crosstalk among cannabinoid receptors and other membrane or nuclear receptors involved in cancer.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23602129

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