Natural Products Derived from Cannabis sativa for Pain Management

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“Cannabis sativa is one of the oldest medicinal plants in human history. Even ancient physicians from hundreds of years ago used Cannabis sativa to treat several conditions like pain.

In the modern era, the research community, including health-care providers, have witnessed wide-scale changes in cannabis policy, legislation, and marketing, with a parallel increase in patient interest. A simple search in PubMed using “cannabis and pain” as keywords provides more than 2,400 articles, about 80% of which were published in the last 8-10 years. Several advancements have been achieved in understanding the complex chemistry of cannabis along with its multiple pharmacological activities.

Preclinical data have demonstrated evidence for the promising potential of cannabis for pain management, and the continuous rise in the prevalence of pain increases the urgency to translate this into clinical practice. Despite the large body of cannabis literature, researchers still need to find rigorous answers for the questions about the efficacy and safety of cannabis in treatment of certain disorders such as pain. In the current chapter, we seek to present a critical overview about the current knowledge on cannabis with special emphasis on pain-related disorders.”

Cannabidiol Alleviates Chronic Prostatitis and Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome via CB2 Receptor Activation and TRPV1 Desensitization

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“Purpose: This study elucidates the mechanism of the physiological effect of cannabidiol (CBD) by assessing its impact on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation in RWPE-1 cells and prostatitis-induced by 17β-estradiol and dihydrotestosterone in a rat model, focusing on its therapeutic potential for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS).

Materials and methods: RWPE-1 cells were stratified in vitro into three groups: (1) controls, (2) cells with LPS-induced inflammation, and (3) cells with LPS-induced inflammation and treated with CBD. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and western blots were performed on cellular components and supernatants after administration of CBD. Five groups of six Sprague-Dawley male rats were assigned: (1) control, (2) CP/CPPS, (3) CP/CPPS and treated with 50 mg/kg CBD, (4) CP/CPPS and treated with 100 mg/kg CBD, and (5) CP/CPPS and treated with 150 mg/kg CBD. Prostatitis was induced through administration of 17β-estradiol and dihydrotestosterone. After four weeks of CBD treatment, a pain index was evaluated, and prostate tissue was collected for subsequent histologic examination and western blot analysis.

Results: CBD demonstrated efficacy in vivo for CP/CPPS and in vitro for inflammation. It inhibited the toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)/nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) pathway by activating the CB2 receptor, reducing expression of interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) (p<0.01). CBD exhibited analgesic effects by activating and desensitizing the TRPV1 receptor.

Conclusions: CBD inhibits the TLR4/NF-κB pathway by activating the CB2 receptor, desensitizes the TRPV1 receptor, and decreases the release of COX2. This results in relief of inflammation and pain in patients with CP/CPPS, indicating CBD as a potential treatment for CP/CPPS.”

Cannabinoids for Cancer-related Pain Management: An Update on Therapeutic Applications and Future Perspectives

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“Pain is a debilitating phenomenon that dramatically impairs the quality of life of patients. Many chronic conditions, including cancer, are associated with chronic pain. Despite pharmacological efforts that have been conducted, many patients suffering from cancer pain remain without treatment. To date, opioids are considered the preferred therapeutic choice for cancer-related pain management.

Unfortunately, opioid treatment causes side effects and inefficiently relieves patients from pain, therefore alternative therapies have been considered, including Cannabis Sativa and cannabinoids.

Accumulating evidence has highlighted that an increasing number of patients are choosing to use cannabis and cannabinoids for the management of their soothing and non-palliative cancer pain and other cancer-related symptoms. However, their clinical application must be supported by convincing and reproducible clinical trials.

In this review, we provide an update on cannabinoid use for cancer pain management. Moreover, we tried to turn a light on the potential use of cannabis as a possible therapeutic option for cancer-related pain relief.”

Targeting the endocannabinoid system for the management of low back pain

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“Low back pain (LBP) is a major unmet clinical need. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has emerged as a promising therapeutic target for pain, including LBP. This review examines the evidence for the ECS as a therapeutic target for LBP. While preclinical studies demonstrate the potential of the ECS as a viable therapeutic target, clinical trials have presented conflicting findings. This review underscores the need for innovative LBP treatments and biomarkers and proposes the ECS as a promising avenue for their exploration. A deeper mechanistic understanding of the ECS in LBP could inform the development of new pain management strategies.”

Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol for Pain Treatment-An Update on the Evidence

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“In light of the current International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) and the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) guidelines, the topic of cannabinoids in relation to pain remains controversial, with insufficient research presently available.

Cannabinoids are an attractive pain management option due to their synergistic effects when administered with opioids, thereby also limiting the extent of respiratory depression.

On their own, however, cannabinoids have been shown to have the potential to relieve specific subtypes of chronic pain in adults, although controversies remain. Among these subtypes are neuropathic, musculoskeletal, cancer, and geriatric pain.

Another interesting feature is their effectiveness in chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). Analgesic benefits are hypothesized to extend to HIV-associated neuropathic pain, as well as to lower back pain in the elderly.

The aim of this article is to provide an up-to-date review of the existing preclinical as well as clinical studies, along with relevant systematic reviews addressing the roles of various types of cannabinoids in neuropathic pain settings. The impact of cannabinoids in chronic cancer pain and in non-cancer conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and headaches, are all discussed, as well as novel techniques of administration and relevant mechanisms of action.”

Perceptions of Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Surgeons About Medical Cannabidiol Use: A Survey Study

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“Introduction: Multiple studies exist identifying cannabidiol (CBD) as an effective part of an orthopaedic patient’s pain regimen; however, there is a paucity of studies elucidating orthopaedic surgeons’ perception of the use and prescription of CBD in the medical setting. This study surveys orthopaedic sports medicine surgeons about their previous education on and current perceptions and usage of CBD in their medical practice.

Methods: Between April 2023 and July 2023, orthopaedic sports medicine surgeons from across the country were surveyed. This survey was designed in hopes of identifying physician perceptions and current use of CBD as well as their previous education and training on its use.

Results: Overall, 75 orthopaedic surgeons responded. More than three-fourths of responders had not received formal education on medical CBD use, nor did they have partners or colleagues who used CBD in their practice. More than half of all surgeons believed that there is a stigma associated with CBD use. A higher proportion of surgeons from CBD legal states recommended CBD to help patients control their pain (53.7% vs. 37.5%). Less than 15% of responders believed that CBD can adversely affect surgical outcomes. Finally, four-fifths of all responders believed that CBD is easy to legally access and affordable to buy by patients who desire it.

Discussion: The relative novelty of CBD inclusion in medicine has led to a lack of early education and overall experience with its use among orthopaedic sports medicine surgeons. Still, surgeons believe that CBD is a safe and effective option to control pain. As surgeons continue to gain more familiarity and trust with CBD’s medical uses over time, it has the potential to be a mainstay in orthopaedic multimodal pain regimens.”!/

Cannabinoids in anesthesia and chronic pain: Where do we stand?

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“Cannabis derivatives have been conventionally employed globally for their curative and restorative properties for various ailments. However, its recreational use and consequent legal restrictions have substantially cramped its scientific research.

An emerging interest regarding the profound therapeutic potential of cannabinoids has been observed among clinicians. Despite a rich cultural background, high-quality research on cannabinoids is lacking in the Indian scenario. This review readdresses the challenges on this front and brings an insight into the current status of cannabinoids and their utility in scientific exploration.

Cannabinoids have a significant medicinal value in various clinical disorders. Its use so far has been based on scarce resources and corroborations, as evidence-based substantiation is limited.

Through this review article, we emphasize the remarkable role enacted by cannabinoids in the treatment of various clinical disorders and an utterly significant need to formulate stringent research methodologies to promote its systematic investigation.”

Perceptions in orthopedic surgery on the use of cannabis in treating pain: a survey of patients with spine pain (POSIT Spine)

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“Background: Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Despite guidelines discouraging opioids as first-line treatment, opioids remain the most prescribed drugs for back pain. There is renewed interest in exploring the potential medical applications of cannabis, and with the recent changes in national legislation there is a unique opportunity to investigate the analgesic properties of cannabis.

Methods: This was a multi-center survey-based study examining patient perceptions regarding cannabis for spine pain. We included patients presenting with back or neck pain to one of three Orthopedic clinics in Ontario. Our primary outcome was perceived effect of cannabis on back pain, while secondary outcomes were perceptions regarding potential applications and barriers to cannabis use.

Results: 259 patients participated in this study, 35.3% (90/255) stating they used cannabis medically. Average pain severity was 6.5/10 ± 0.3 (95% CI 6.2-6.8). Nearly three-quarters were prescribed opioids (73.6%, 148/201), with oxycodone/oxycontin (45.9% 68/148) being the most common, and almost half of (49.3%, 73/148) had used an opioid in the last week. Patients estimated cannabis could treat 54.3% ± 4.0 (95% CI 50.3-58.3%) of their spine pain and replace 46.2% ± 6. 6 (95% CI 39.6-52.8%) of their current analgesics. Age (β = – 0.3, CI – 0.6-0.0), higher pain severity (β = 0.4, CI 0.1-0.6) and previous cannabis use (β = 14.7, CI 5.1-24.4) were associated with a higher perceived effect of cannabis. Patients thought cannabis would be beneficial to treat pain (129/146, 88.4%), and reduce (116/146, 79.5%) or eliminate opioids (102/146, 69.9%). Not considering using cannabis for medical purposes (65/150, 43.3%) was the number one reported barrier.

Conclusions: Patients estimated medical cannabis could treat more than half of their spine pain, with one in three patients already using medical cannabis. 79% of patients also believe cannabis could reduce opioid usage. This data will help support more research into cannabis for musculoskeletal pain.”

Suppression of neuropathic pain in the circadian clock-deficient Per2m/m mice involves up-regulation of endocannabinoid system

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“Neuropathic pain often results from injuries and diseases that affect the somatosensory system. Disruption of the circadian clock has been implicated in the exacerbation of the neuropathic pain state. However, in this study, we report that mice deficient in a core clock component Period2 (Per2m/m mice) fail to develop tactile pain hypersensitivity even following peripheral nerve injury. Similar to male wild-type mice, partial sciatic nerve ligation (PSL)-Per2m/m male mice showed activation of glial cells in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord and increased expression of pain-related genes. Interestingly, α1D-adrenergic receptor (α1D-AR) expression was up-regulated in the spinal cord of Per2m/m mice, leading to increased production of 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), an endocannabinoid receptor ligand. This increase in 2-AG suppressed the PSL-induced tactile pain hypersensitivity. Furthermore, intraspinal dorsal horn injection of adeno-associated viral vectors expressing α1D-AR also attenuated pain hypersensitivity in PSL-wild-type male mice by increasing 2-AG production.

Our findings reveal an uncovered role of the circadian clock in neuropathic pain disorders and suggest a link between α1D-AR signaling and the endocannabinoid system.”

Antinociceptive Effects of Cannabichromene (CBC) in Mice: Insights from von Frey, Tail-Flick, Formalin, and Acetone Tests

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“Cannabis sativa contains minor cannabinoids that have potential therapeutic value in pain management. However, detailed experimental evidence for the antinociceptive effects of many of these minor cannabinoids remains lacking. Here, we employed artificial intelligence (AI) to perform compound-protein interaction estimates with cannabichromene (CBC) and receptors involved in nociceptive signaling.

Based on our findings, we investigated the antinociceptive properties of CBC in naïve or neuropathic C57BL/6 male and female mice using von Frey (mechanical allodynia), tail-flick (noxious radiant heat), formalin (acute and persistent inflammatory pain), and acetone (cold thermal) tests. For von Frey assessments, CBC dose (0-20 mg/kg, i.p.) and time (0-6 h) responses were measured in male and female neuropathic mice. For tail-flick, formalin, and acetone assays, CBC (20 mg/kg, i.p.) was administered to naïve male and female mice 1 h prior to testing.

The results show that CBC (10 and 20 mg/kg, i.p.) significantly reduced mechanical allodynia in neuropathic male and female mice 1-2 h after treatment. Additionally, CBC treatment caused significant reductions in nociceptive behaviors in the tail-flick assay and in both phase 1 and phase 2 of the formalin test. Finally, we found a significant interaction in neuropathic male mice in the acetone test.

In conclusion, our results suggest that CBC targets receptors involved in nociceptive signaling and imparts antinociceptive properties that may benefit males and females afflicted with diverse forms of acute or chronic/persistent pain.”