Cannabinoids in the management of frontotemporal dementia: a case series

 “Background: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is characterized by progressive deterioration in behaviors, executive function and/or language. The behavioral variant (Bv) is characterized by disinhibition and obsessive/compulsive behaviors. These symptoms are sometimes resistant to medications. This series examines patients suffering with treatment-resistant Bv-FTD who were prescribed cannabinoid and related compounds for other indications.

Case presentation: Three FTD cases from a dementia clinic were identified. These patients had disability due to behavior despite typical pharmacologic management. These patients were prescribed marijuana for comorbidities (anxiety, insomnia and pain). In all cases, use of cannabinoid products showed significant improvements in behavior and in the primary indication for prescription.

Conclusion: Review of these cases demonstrates potential for the use of cannabinoids in the management of treatment-resistant Bv-FTD.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33190583/

“Frontotemporal dementia is a complicated and difficult disease that can be challenging to manage and often leads to significant burden on caregivers. Sometimes management of behavioral changes is difficult even with medications. In this case series, we report three cases of patients with behavior that was resistant to typical treatment who showed improvement in behavior when they were prescribed medical marijuana for other reason.”

https://www.futuremedicine.com/doi/10.2217/nmt-2020-0048

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Emerging potential of cannabidiol in reversing proteinopathies

Ageing Research Reviews “The aberrant accumulation of disease-specific protein aggregates accompanying cognitive decline is a pathological hallmark of age-associated neurological disorders, also termed as proteinopathies, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multiple sclerosis.

Along with oxidative stress and neuroinflammation, disruption in protein homeostasis (proteostasis), a network that constitutes protein surveillance system, plays a pivotal role in the pathobiology of these dementia disorders.

Cannabidiol, a non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid of Cannabis sativa, is known for its pleiotropic neuropharmacological effects on the central nervous system, including the ability to abate oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and protein misfolding. Over the past years, compelling evidence has documented disease-modifying role of cannabidiol in various preclinical and clinical models of neurological disorders, suggesting the potential therapeutic implications of cannabidiol in these disorders.

Because of its putative role in the proteostasis network in particular, cannabidiol could be a potent modulator for reversing not only age-associated neurodegeneration but also other protein misfolding disorders. However, the current understanding is insufficient to underpin this proposition. In this review, we discuss the potentiality of cannabidiol as a pharmacological modulator of the proteostasis network, highlighting its neuroprotective and aggregates clearing roles in the neurodegenerative disorders.

We anticipate that the current effort will advance our knowledge on the implication of CBD in proteostasis network, opening up a new therapeutic window for ageing proteinopathies.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33181336/

“Cannabidiol reduces oxidative stress and neuroinflammation of brain.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1568163720303445?via%3Dihub

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The Effects of Cannabis Use on Cognitive Function in Healthy Aging: A Systematic Scoping Review

Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology“Background: Older adults (≥50 years) represent the fastest-growing population of people who use cannabis, potentially due to the increasing promotion of cannabis as medicine by dispensaries and cannabis websites. Given healthy aging and cannabis use are both associated with cognitive decline, it is important to establish the effects of cannabis on cognition in healthy aging.

Objective: This systematic scoping review used preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses guidelines to critically examine the extent of literature on this topic and highlight areas for future research.

Results: Six articles reported findings for older populations (three human and three rodent studies), highlighting the paucity of research in this area. Human studies revealed largely null results, likely due to several methodological limitations. Better-controlled rodent studies indicate that the relationship between ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cognitive function in healthy aging depends on age and level of THC exposure. Extremely low doses of THC improved cognition in very old rodents. Somewhat higher chronic doses improved cognition in moderately aged rodents. No studies examined the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) or high-CBD cannabis on cognition.

Conclusions: This systematic scoping review provides crucial, timely direction for future research on this emerging issue. Future research that combines neuroimaging and cognitive assessment would serve to advance understanding of the effects of age and quantity of THC and CBD on cognition in healthy aging.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33159510/

“THC; the main psychoactive cannabis compound; exerted pro-cognitive effects on memory and learning in older populations.”

https://academic.oup.com/acn/advance-article/doi/10.1093/arclin/acaa105/5960018

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Cannabidiol (CBD) enhanced the hippocampal immune response and autophagy of APP/PS1 Alzheimer’s mice uncovered by RNA-seq

 Life Sciences“Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a central nervous system disease characterized by dementia, which has now become a major threat to global health.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural component extracted from the hemp plant and exhibits multiple mechanisms to improve the pathological process of AD in vitro and in vivo. However, its underlying molecular mechanism is still unclear.

This study attempts to reveal its common mechanism through transcriptome sequence.

This study illustrated that CBD may improve the pathological process of AD by enhancing immune system response and autophagy pathway.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33096116/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0024320520313771?via%3Dihub

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Cannabis: An Emerging Treatment for Common Symptoms in Older Adults

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society “Background/objectives: Use of cannabis is increasing in a variety of populations in the United States; however, few investigations about how and for what reasons cannabis is used in older populations exist.

Design: Anonymous survey.

Setting: Geriatrics clinic.

Participants: A total of 568 adults 65 years and older.

Intervention: Not applicable.

Measurements: Survey assessing characteristics of cannabis use.

Results: Approximately 15% (N = 83) of survey responders reported using cannabis within the past 3 years. Half (53%) reported using cannabis regularly on a daily or weekly basis, and reported using cannabidiol-only products (46%).

The majority (78%) used cannabis for medical purposes only, with the most common targeted conditions/symptoms being pain/arthritis (73%), sleep disturbance (29%), anxiety (24%), and depression (17%). Just over three-quarters reported cannabis “somewhat” or “extremely” helpful in managing one of these conditions, with few adverse effects.

Just over half obtained cannabis via a dispensary, and lotions (35%), tinctures (35%), and smoking (30%) were the most common administration forms. Most indicated family members (94%) knew about their cannabis use, about half reported their friends knew, and 41% reported their healthcare provider knowing. Sixty-one percent used cannabis for the first time as older adults (aged ≥61 years), and these users overall engaged in less risky use patterns (e.g., more likely to use for medical purposes, less likely to consume via smoking).

Conclusion: Most older adults in the sample initiated cannabis use after the age of 60 years and used it primarily for medical purposes to treat pain, sleep disturbance, anxiety, and/or depression. Cannabis use by older adults is likely to increase due to medical need, favorable legalization, and attitudes.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33026117/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jgs.16833

“Study Finds Older Adults Using Cannabis to Treat Common Health Conditions”  https://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2020-10-07-study-finds-older-adults-using-cannabis-to-treat-common-health-conditions.aspx

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Emerging Promise of Cannabinoids for the Management of Pain and Associated Neuropathological Alterations in Alzheimer’s Disease

Frontiers in Pharmacology (@FrontPharmacol) | Twitter “Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an irreversible chronic neurodegenerative disorder that occurs when neurons in the brain degenerate and die. Pain frequently arises in older patients with neurodegenerative diseases including AD. However, the presence of pain in older people is usually overlooked with cognitive dysfunctions. Most of the times dementia patients experience moderate to severe pain but the development of severe cognitive dysfunctions tremendously affects their capability to express the presence of pain. Currently, there are no effective treatments against AD that emphasize the necessity for increasing research to develop novel drugs for treating or preventing the disease process. Furthermore, the prospective therapeutic use of cannabinoids in AD has been studied for the past few years. In this regard, targeting the endocannabinoid system has considered as a probable therapeutic strategy to control several associated pathological pathways, such as mitochondrial dysfunction, excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, and neuroinflammation for the management of AD. In this review, we focus on recent studies about the role of cannabinoids for the treatment of pain and related neuropathological changes in AD.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32792944/

“Cannabinoids act by targeting several signaling processes, such as pain, abnormal processing of Aβ and tau, neuroinflammation, excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction, which play a pivotal role in the management of AD. Cannabinoids also ameliorate behavioral and cognitive dysfunctions. Therefore, due to these extensive medical uses of cannabinoid compounds, it can be said that targeting the endocannabinoid system can be a promising strategy to develop an effective therapy for the management of AD. Furthermore, cannabinoids may demonstrate a safe and reliable low-cost therapy, with limited side effects.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2020.01097/full

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Phytocannabinoids: General Aspects and Pharmacological Potential in Neurodegenerative Diseases

 “In the last few years research into Cannabis and its constituent phytocannabinoids has burgeoned, particularly in the potential application of novel cannabis phytochemicals for the treatment of diverse illnesses related to neurodegeneration and dementia, including Alzheimer’s (AD), Parkinson’s (PD) and Huntington’s disease (HD). To date, these neurological diseases have mostly relied on symptomatological management. However, with an aging population globally, the search for more efficient and disease-modifying treatments that could delay or mitigate disease progression is imperative. In this context, this review aims to present a state of art in the research with cannabinoids and novel cannabinoid-based drug candidates that have been emerged as novel promising alternatives for drug development and innovation in the therapeutics of a number of diseases, especially those related to CNS-disturbance and impairment.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32691712/

https://www.eurekaselect.com/183955/article

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Use of Cannabis for Agitation in Patients With Dementia

 logo“Studies have reported changes in the endocannabinoid system in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), playing a role in the pathophysiology of AD. Cannabinoids have been shown to have neuroprotective properties, reduce neuroinflammation, and enhance neurogenesis. Evidence suggests that the utilization of marijuana products containing both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) or CBD alone have been effective and safe for use in older people with agitation associated with dementia.

A review in 2017 summarized positive findings for therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids in agitation of AD and dementia, but there was no definitive conclusion because of varying cannabinoid products. Cannabinoids were shown to be well tolerated, with few short-term side effects. This differs from first-line medications utilized for dementia behaviors, which can have unwanted side effects. Further research regarding the safety, efficacy, and variability of these products in older people is needed.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32600509/

https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ascp/tscp/2020/00000035/00000007/art00006;jsessionid=1ivcuvrvy4g1s.x-ic-live-03

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Cannabinoid as Beneficial Replacement Therapy for Psychotropics to Treat Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Severe Alzheimer’s Dementia: A Clinical Case Report

CrossFit | 190629“Alzheimer’s Dementia (AD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that affects approximately 17% of people aged 75-84. Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) such as delusions, agitation, anxiety, and hallucinations are present in up to 95% of patients in all stages of dementia. To date, any approved and effective pharmacological interventions for the treatment of NPS are still not available.

We describe a clinical case of a female patient diagnosed with AD with continuous cognitive decline and dementia-related behavioral symptoms. Between 2008 and 2019, the patient was examined half-yearly at the memory clinic of the Medical University of Innsbruck. At each visit, cognitive state and pharmacological treatment were evaluated. In addition, NPs were assessed by using the neuropsychiatric inventory (NPI). In 2018, the patient progressed to severe AD stage and presented with progressive NPs (anxiety, suspected delusions, agitation, aggressive behavior, and suspected pain due to long immobility).

Consequently, off-label treatment with low-dose dronabinol was initiated, which facilitated a reduction of psychopharmacological treatment from six to three psychotropics. At the same time, the patient’s emotional state improved, while disruptive behavior, aggression, and sedation decreased significantly. This case report underpins the need for randomized, controlled trials to explore the effect of cannabinoid receptor agonists on behavioral and psychological symptoms in patients with severe AD.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32477187/

“Cannabinoids have a distinct pharmacologic profile that may offer an alternative pharmacologic approach to antipsychotics and sedatives for treating NPs in patients with AD. In addition, the beneficial effect on appetite and pain may significantly improve quality of life of AD-patients and their caregivers.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00413/full

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Possible therapeutic applications of cannabis in the neuropsychopharmacology field.

European Neuropsychopharmacology“Cannabis use induces a plethora of actions on the CNS via its active chemical ingredients, the so-called phytocannabinoids.

These compounds have been frequently associated with the intoxicating properties of cannabis preparations. However, not all phytocannabinoids are psychotropic, and, irrespective of whether they are psychotropic or not, they have also shown numerous therapeutic properties.

These properties are mostly associated with their ability to modulate the activity of an intercellular communication system, the so-called endocannabinoid system, which is highly active in the CNS and has been found altered in many neurological disorders.

Specifically, this includes the neuropsychopharmacology field, with diseases such as schizophrenia and related psychoses, anxiety-related disorders, mood disorders, addiction, sleep disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, anorexia nervosa and other feeding-related disorders, dementia, epileptic syndromes, as well as autism, fragile X syndrome and other neurodevelopment-related disorders.

Here, we gather, from a pharmacological and biochemical standpoint, the recent advances in the study of the therapeutic relevance of the endocannabinoid system in the CNS, with especial emphasis on the neuropsychopharmacology field. We also illustrate the efforts that are currently being made to investigate at the clinical level the potential therapeutic benefits derived from elevating or inhibiting endocannabinoid signaling in animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32057592

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924977X20300365?via%3Dihub

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