Treatment of human spasticity with delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol.

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“Spasticity is a common neurologic condition in patients with multiple sclerosis, stroke, cerebral palsy or an injured spinal cord. Animal studies suggest that THC has an inhibitory effect on polysynaptic reflexes.

Some spastic patients claim improvement after inhaling cannabis. We tested muscle tone, reflexes, strength and performed EMGs before and after double-blinded oral administration of either 10 or 5 mg THC or placebo.

10 mg THC significantly reduced spasticity by clinical measurement (P less than 0.01).

Responses varied, but benefit was seen in three of three patients with “tonic spasms.””

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Medical Marijuana Helps Kids With Cerebral Palsy, Israeli Study Finds

Medical marijuana plants (illustrative)

“Medical marijuana significantly improved the condition of children suffering from cerebral palsy, a study by Wolfson Medical Center near Tel Aviv has found. According to the interim findings, treatment with cannabis oil reduced the disorder’s symptoms and improved the children’s motor skills. It also improved the kids’ sleep quality, bowel movements and general mood.

“The THC’s effect is especially relevant to motor function, whether it’s Parkinson’s disease or other motor symptoms,” says Bar-Lev Schleider. “But the THC is also responsible for the psycho-active effect, so we picked a variety that also has a lot of CBD, which moderates the euphoric effect.”
One group of children was treated with oil with a 1:6 ratio of THC to CBD, while for another group the ratio was 1:20.
“According to the interim findings both oils are effective,” says Bar-Lev Schleider.”
http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.811010

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Delayed treatment with cannabidiol has a cerebroprotective action via a cannabinoid receptor-independent myeloperoxidase-inhibiting mechanism.

“We examined the neuroprotective mechanism of cannabidiol, non-psychoactive component of marijuana, on the infarction in a 4 h mouse middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion model in comparison with Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta(9)-THC).

Both pre- and post-ischemic treatment with cannabidiol resulted in potent and long-lasting neuroprotection, whereas only pre-ischemic treatment with Delta(9)-THC reduced the infarction.

Unlike Delta(9)-THC, cannabidiol did not affect the excess release of glutamate in the cortex after occlusion.

Cannabidiol suppressed the decrease in cerebral blood flow by the failure of cerebral microcirculation after reperfusion and inhibited MPO activity in neutrophils.

Furthermore, the number of MPO-immunopositive cells was reduced in the ipsilateral hemisphere in cannabidiol-treated group.

Cannabidiol provides potent and long-lasting neuroprotection through an anti-inflammatory CB(1) receptor-independent mechanism, suggesting that cannabidiol will have a palliative action and open new therapeutic possibilities for treating cerebrovascular disorders.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17437545

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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 mouth spray brought help to a severely spastic young man.

“Cannabinoid was licensed in 2012 for the treatment of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis in Finland. Spasticity is one of the main symptoms in cerebral palsies and a risk factor of multiple painful anomalies of the skeletal network. We describe a 28-year-old man with severe cerebral palsy, whose quality of life improved and the need for help decreased by using two daily mouth sprays of cannabinoid.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25158585

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Therapeutic potential of cannabinoid medicines.

Drug Testing and Analysis

“Cannabis was extensively used as a medicine throughout the developed world in the nineteenth century but went into decline early in the twentieth century ahead of its emergence as the most widely used illicit recreational drug later that century. Recent advances in cannabinoid pharmacology alongside the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) have re-ignited interest in cannabis-based medicines.

The ECS has emerged as an important physiological system and plausible target for new medicines. Its receptors and endogenous ligands play a vital modulatory role in diverse functions including immune response, food intake, cognition, emotion, perception, behavioural reinforcement, motor co-ordination, body temperature, wake/sleep cycle, bone formation and resorption, and various aspects of hormonal control. In disease it may act as part of the physiological response or as a component of the underlying pathology.

In the forefront of clinical research are the cannabinoids delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, and their contrasting pharmacology will be briefly outlined. The therapeutic potential and possible risks of drugs that inhibit the ECS will also be considered. This paper will then go on to review clinical research exploring the potential of cannabinoid medicines in the following indications: symptomatic relief in multiple sclerosis, chronic neuropathic pain, intractable nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite and weight in the context of cancer or AIDS, psychosis, epilepsy, addiction, and metabolic disorders.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24006213

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/dta.1529/abstract

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The endocannabinoid system and its therapeutic exploitation.

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“The term ‘endocannabinoid’ – originally coined in the mid-1990s after the discovery of membrane receptors for the psychoactive principle in Cannabis, Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and their endogenous ligands – now indicates a whole signalling system that comprises cannabinoid receptors, endogenous ligands and enzymes for ligand biosynthesis and inactivation. This system seems to be involved in an ever-increasing number of pathological conditions. With novel products already being aimed at the pharmaceutical market little more than a decade since the discovery of cannabinoid receptors, the endocannabinoid system seems to hold even more promise for the future development of therapeutic drugs. We explore the conditions under which the potential of targeting the endocannabinoid system might be realized in the years to come.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15340387

http://www.nature.com/nrd/journal/v3/n9/full/nrd1495.html

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From cannabis to the endocannabinoid system: refocussing attention on potential clinical benefits.

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“Cannabis sativa is one of the oldest herbal remedies known to man. Over the past four thousand years, it has been used for the treatment of numerous diseases but due to its psychoactive properties, its current medicinal usage is highly restricted. In this review, we seek to highlight advances made over the last forty years in the understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the effects of cannabis on the human body and how these can potentially be utilized in clinical practice. During this time, the primary active ingredients in cannabis have been isolated, specific cannabinoid receptors have been discovered and at least five endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitters (endocannabinoids) have been identified. Together, these form the framework of a complex endocannabinoid signalling system that has widespread distribution in the body and plays a role in regulating numerous physiological processes within the body. Cannabinoid ligands are therefore thought to display considerable therapeutic potential and the drive to develop compounds that can be targeted to specific neuronal systems at low enough doses so as to eliminate cognitive side effects remains the ‘holy grail’ of endocannabinoid research.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23155985

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Marijuana: an effective antiepileptic treatment in partial epilepsy? A case report and review of the literature.

Abstract

“Although more data are needed, animal studies and clinical experience suggest that marijuana or its active constituents may have a place in the treatment of partial epilepsy. Here we present the case of a 45-year-old man with cerebral palsy and epilepsy who showed marked improvement with the use of marijuana. This case supports other anecdotal data suggesting that marijuana use may be a beneficial adjunctive treatment in some patients with epilepsy. Although challenging because of current federal regulations, further studies are needed to examine the role of marijuana in the treatment of this disorder.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17609644

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Targeting the endocannabinoid system with cannabinoid receptor agonists: pharmacological strategies and therapeutic possibilities.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences: 367 (1607)

“Human tissues express cannabinoid CB(1) and CB(2) receptors that can be activated by endogenously released ‘endocannabinoids’ or exogenously administered compounds in a manner that reduces the symptoms or opposes the underlying causes of several disorders in need of effective therapy. Three medicines that activate cannabinoid CB(1)/CB(2) receptors are now in the clinic: Cesamet (nabilone), Marinol (dronabinol; Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ(9)-THC)) and Sativex (Δ(9)-THC with cannabidiol). These can be prescribed for the amelioration of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (Cesamet and Marinol), stimulation of appetite (Marinol) and symptomatic relief of cancer pain and/or management of neuropathic pain and spasticity in adults with multiple sclerosis (Sativex). This review mentions several possible additional therapeutic targets for cannabinoid receptor agonists. These include other kinds of pain, epilepsy, anxiety, depression, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, stroke, cancer, drug dependence, glaucoma, autoimmune uveitis, osteoporosis, sepsis, and hepatic, renal, intestinal and cardiovascular disorders. It also describes potential strategies for improving the efficacy and/or benefit-to-risk ratio of these agonists in the clinic. These are strategies that involve (i) targeting cannabinoid receptors located outside the blood-brain barrier, (ii) targeting cannabinoid receptors expressed by a particular tissue, (iii) targeting upregulated cannabinoid receptors, (iv) selectively targeting cannabinoid CB(2) receptors, and/or (v) adjunctive ‘multi-targeting’.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23108552

“Targeting the endocannabinoid system with cannabinoid receptor agonists: pharmacological strategies and therapeutic possibilities”  http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/367/1607/3353.long

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