Evaluation of the effects of CBD hemp extract on opioid use and quality of life indicators in chronic pain patients: a prospective cohort study.

Publication Cover “Chronic pain is highly prevalent in most of the industrialized nations around the world. Despite the documented adverse effects, opioids are widely used for pain management. Cannabinoids, and specifically Cannabidiol, is proposed as an opioid alternative, having comparable efficacy with better safety profile.

Objectives: We aim to investigate the impact of full hemp extract cannabidiol (CBD) on opioid use and quality of life indicators among chronic pain patients.

Results: Over half of chronic pain patients (53%) reduced or eliminated their opioids within 8 weeks after adding CBD-rich hemp extract to their regimens. Almost all CBD users (94%) reported quality of life improvements. The results indicated a significant relationship between CBD and PSQI (p = 0.003), and PEG (p = 0.006). There was a trend toward improvement but no significant relationship between CBD use and PHQ and PDI.

Conclusion: CBD could significantly reduce opioid use and improve chronic pain and sleep quality among patients who are currently using opioids for pain management.

Key Message: This is a prospective, single-arm cohort study for the potential role of cannabinoids as an alternative for opioids. The results indicate that using the CBD-rich extract enabled our patients to reduce or eliminate opioids with significant improvement in their quality of life indices.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31711352

“Cannabis, the plant source of cannabinoids (CB), have been used for millennia for different purposes such as pain control and stress relief. Recent evidence highlights cannabinoids’ efficacy and safety for pain control. Besides its potential direct effects on pain, cannabinoids are suggested to have a role in reducing opioid intake. This study concludes that using CBD for chronic pain in patients using opioids has a significant effect on reducing opioid intake, reducing pain and improving quality of life (QoL). Over half of the participants who added CBD hemp extract reduced or eliminated opioids over the course of 8 weeks, and almost all CBD users reported improvements in QoL.”

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00325481.2019.1685298

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Considering abuse liability and neurocognitive effects of cannabis and cannabis-derived products when assessing analgesic efficacy: a comprehensive review of randomized-controlled studies.

Publication Cover “Pain is the most frequent indication for which medical cannabis treatment is sought.

Objectives: The clinical potential of cannabis and cannabis-derived products (CDPs) relies on their efficacy to treat an indication and potential adverse effects that impact outcomes, including abuse liability and neurocognitive effects. To ascertain the extent to which these effects impact therapeutic utility, studies investigating cannabis and CDPs for pain were reviewed for analgesic efficacy and assessments of abuse liability and neurocognitive effects.

Methods: A comprehensive review of placebo-controlled studies investigating cannabis and CDP analgesia was performed. Methods and findings related to adverse effects, abuse liability, and neurocognitive effects were extracted.

Results: Thirty-eight studies were reviewed; 29 assessed cannabis and CDPs for chronic pain, 1 for acute pain, and 8 used experimental pain tests. Most studies ascertained adverse effects through self-report (N = 27). Fewer studies specifically probed abuse liability (N = 7) and cognitive and psychomotor effects (N = 12).

Many studies related to chronic and experimental pain (N = 18 and N = 5, respectively) found cannabis and CDPs to reduce pain. Overall, adverse effects were mild to moderate, and dose-related. Studies investigating the impact of cannabis and CDPs on abuse liability and neurocognitive endpoints were mostly limited to inhaled administration and confirmed dose-related effects.

Conclusion: Few studies investigating cannabis and CDP analgesia assess abuse liability and cognitive endpoints, adverse effects that impact the long-term clinical utility of these drugs. Future studies should include these measures to optimize research and clinical care related to cannabis-based therapeutics.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31687845

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00952990.2019.1669628?journalCode=iada20

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Medical Cannabis for Older Patients-Treatment Protocol and Initial Results.

jcm-logo“Older adults may benefit from cannabis treatment for various symptoms such as chronic pain, sleep difficulties, and others, that are not adequately controlled with evidence-based therapies. However, currently, there is a dearth of evidence about the efficacy and safety of cannabis treatment for these patients.

This article aims to present a pragmatic treatment protocol for medical cannabis in older adults. We followed consecutive patients above 65 years of age prospectively who were treated with medical cannabis from April 2017 to October 2018. The outcomes included treatment adherence, global assessment of efficacy and adverse events after six months of treatment. During the study period, 184 patients began cannabis treatment, 63.6% were female, and the mean age was 81.2 ± 7.5 years (median age-82). After six months of treatment, 58.1% were still using cannabis.

Of these patients, 33.6% reported adverse events, the most common of which were dizziness (12.1%) and sleepiness and fatigue (11.2%). Of the respondents, 84.8% reported some degree of improvement in their general condition. Special caution is warranted in older adults due to polypharmacy, pharmacokinetic changes, nervous system impairment, and increased cardiovascular risk.

Medical cannabis should still be considered carefully and individually for each patient after a risk-benefit analysis and followed by frequent monitoring for efficacy and adverse events.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31683817

https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0383/8/11/1819

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Cannabinoid effects on responses to quantitative sensory testing among individuals with and without clinical pain: a systematic review.

Image result for wolters kluwer“There has been an explosion of interest in the utility of cannabinoids as potential analgesics.

This systematic review critically synthesizes the evidence for cannabinoid analgesic effects on quantitative sensory testing outcomes in both healthy adults and patients with chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP).

Our systematic review protocol is pre-registered on PROSPERO (CRD42018117367). An electronic search was made in PsycINFO, Cochrane, Google Scholar, Embase, and Pubmed of all literature published until August 2018. Of the 1,217 studies found from the search, a total 39 placebo-controlled studies that met the eligibility criteria were synthesized for the present study. Due to substantial heterogeneity of study designs, populations, cannabinoid compounds, and quantitative sensory testing outcomes, meta-analysis was not conducted.

More consistent evidence of cannabinoid analgesia was observed for inhaled cannabis than synthetic cannabinoids.

Analgesic effects were most commonly observed in tests of cold pain sensitivity, and hyperalgesic effects were most commonly observed in tests of electrical stimulation. Patterns of findings from studies with healthy subjects did not substantively differ from those with CNCP. However, these observations are qualified by the high degree of inconsistency across studies and methodological heterogeneity. We offer recommendations for future studies to improve study rigor and reproducibility.”

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Cellular Distribution of Canonical and Putative Cannabinoid Receptors in Canine Cervical Dorsal Root Ganglia.

Image result for frontiers in veterinary science“Growing evidence indicates cannabinoid receptors as potential therapeutic targets for chronic pain.

Consequently, there is an increasing interest in developing cannabinoid receptor agonists for treating human and veterinary pain.

The present study may represent a morphological substrate to consider in order to develop therapeutic strategies against chronic pain.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31608295

“The anti-nociceptive potential of the endocannabinoid system has prompted the development of therapeutic cannabinoid receptors agonists or medical marjiuana to be used in pets in order to treat chronic pain.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2019.00313/full

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Cannabinoid Receptor Type 1 and Its Role as an Analgesic: An Opioid Alternative?

 Publication Cover“Understanding how the body regulates pain is fundamental to develop rational strategies to combat the growing prevalence of chronic pain states, opioid dependency, and the increased financial burden to the medical care system.

Pain is the most prominent reason why Americans seek medical attention and extensive literature has identified the importance of the endocannabinoid pathway in controlling pain. Modulation of the endocannabinoid system offers new therapeutic opportunities for the selective control of excessive neuronal activity in several pain conditions (acute, inflammatory, chronic, and neuropathic).

Cannabinoids have a long history of medicinal use and their analgesic properties are well documented; however, there are major impediments to understanding cannabinoid pain modulation.

One major issue is the presence of psychotropic side effects associated with D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or synthetic derivatives, which puts an emphatic brake on their use. This dose-limiting effect prevents the appropriate degree of analgesia .

Animal studies have shown that the psychotropic effects are mediated via brain cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors, while analgesic activity in chronic pain states may be mediated via CB1R action in the spinal cord, brainstem, peripheral sensory neurons, or immune cells.

The development of appropriate therapies is incumbent on our understanding of the role of peripheral versus central endocannabinoid-driven analgesia. Recent physiological, pharmacological, and anatomical studies provide evidence that one of the main roles of the endocannabinoid system is the regulation of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and/or glutamate release.

This article will review this evidence in the context of its implications for pain. We first provide a brief overview of CB1R’s role in the regulation of nociception, followed by a review of the evidence that the peripheral endocannabinoid system modulates nociception.

We then look in detail at regulation of central-mediated analgesia, followed up with evidence that cannabinoid mediated modulation of pain involves modulation of GABAergic and glutamatergic neurotransmission in key brain regions. Finally, we discuss cannabinoid action on non-neuronal cells in the context of inflammation and direct modulation of neurons.

This work stands to reveal long-standing controversies in the cannabinoid analgesia area that have had an impact on failed clinical trials and implementation of therapeutics targeting this system.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31596190

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15504263.2019.1668100?journalCode=wjdd20

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The effect of cannabis laws on opioid use.

International Journal of Drug Policy“Many Americans rely on opioids at varying dosages to help ameliorate their suffering. However, empirical evidence is mounting that opioids are ineffective at controlling non-cancer related chronic pain, and many argue the strategies meant to relieve patient suffering are contributing to the growing opioid epidemic.

Concurrently, several states now allow the use of medical cannabis to treat a variety of medical conditions, including chronic pain. Needing more exploration is the impact of cannabis laws on general opioid reliance and whether chronic pain sufferers are opting to use cannabis medicinally instead of opioids.

METHODS:

This study investigates the effect of Medical Marijuana Laws (MML)s on opioid use and misuse controlling for a number of relevant factors using data from several years of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and multivariate logistic regression and longitudinal analysis strategies.

RESULTS:

Results provide evidence that MMLs may be effective at reducing opioid reliance as survey respondents living in states with medical cannabis legislation are much less apt to report using opioid analgesics than people living in states without such laws, net other factors. Results further indicate that the presence of medicinal cannabis legislation appears to have no influence over opioid misuse.

CONCLUSION:

MMLs may ultimately serve to attenuate the consequences of opioid overreliance.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31590091

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0955395919302567?via%3Dihub

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Role of Cannabinoids and Terpenes in Cannabis-Mediated Analgesia in Rats.

View details for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image

“Cannabis sativa has been used for centuries in treating pain. However, the analgesic role of many of its constituents including terpenes is unknown. This research examined the contributions of terpenes (volatile oil) and cannabinoids in cannabis-mediated analgesia in rats.

Methods: Animals received intraperitoneal administration of either vehicle, 10.0 or 18.0 mg/kg morphine, or various doses of the extract without terpenes, isolated terpenes, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or the full extract. Thirty minutes later animals were tested on hotplate and tail-flick tests of thermal nociception. One week later, rats received a second administration of test articles and were tested 30 min later in the abdominal writhing test of inflammatory nociception.

Results: In the thermal assays, hotplate and tail-flick latencies for morphine-treated rats were dose dependent and significantly higher than vehicle-treated animals. All the cannabinoid compounds except for the isolated terpenes produced dose-dependent increases in hotplate and tail-flick latencies. In the inflammatory nociceptive assay, animals treated with vehicle and isolated terpenes demonstrated increased abdominal writhing, whereas all the cannabinoid compounds significantly decreased abdominal writhing responses.

Conclusions: Overall, THC alone produced robust analgesia equivalent to the full cannabis extract, whereas terpenes alone did not produce analgesia. These data suggest the analgesic activity of cannabis is largely mediated by THC, whereas terpenes alone do not cause alterations in cannabis-mediated analgesia.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31579834

“The work herein demonstrates that cannabis extracts can not only produce robust analgesia without the terpene-containing volatile oils, but isolated THC appears to be all that is required to produce such effects.”

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2018.0054

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Cannabinoids, Pain, and Opioid Use Reduction: The Importance of Distilling and Disseminating Existing Data.

View details for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image“The high prevalence of chronic pain conditions combined with an over-reliance on opioid prescriptions has resulted in an opioid epidemic and a desperate need for solutions.

There is some debate about whether cannabis might play a role in addressing chronic pain conditions as well as the opioid epidemic.

Recent surveys suggest that a large number of people are using cannabis as a treatment for pain and to reduce use of opioids, and cannabis-derived products demonstrate at least modest efficacy in the treatment of pain in randomized controlled trials.

In addition, surveillance studies from countries that have approved the use of Sativex, which is a cannabis-based product, have demonstrated that a combination of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol has low potential for harm, is well tolerated, and is helpful to patients.

Given the number of people in the United States who are already using cannabis to manage pain and opioid use in state-regulated markets, it is imperative to conduct additional research in these areas, and to disseminate information on how to minimize harm and maximize any benefits of using cannabinoids to mitigate pain and reduce opioid use.

The purpose of this article is to call attention to the fact that cannabis is being used in the management of chronic pain. Thus, this article also provides a set of guidelines on how to approach using cannabis to treat pain.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31579833

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2018.0052

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Endogenous cannabinoid modulation of restraint stress-induced analgesia in thermal nociception.

Journal of Neurochemistry banner“It is thought that endogenous cannabinoids have a role in the analgesia induced by specific forms of stress.

We examined if the role of endogenous cannabinoids is also dependent upon the mode of nociception, and whether this could be altered by drugs which block their enzymatic degradation.

These findings indicate the role of endocannabinoids in stress-induced analgesia differs with the type of thermal pain behaviour. However, by inhibiting their breakdown, endocannabinoids can be recruited to substitute for endogenous opioid signalling when their activity is blocked, indicating a degree of redundancy between opioid and cannabinoid systems.

Together these data suggest targeting endocannabinoid breakdown could provide an alternative, or adjuvant to mainstream analgesics such as opioids.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31571215

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jnc.14884

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