Safety and effectiveness of cannabinoids for the treatment of neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia: a systematic review.

SAGE Journals“Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in dementia impact profoundly on the quality of life of people living with dementia and their care givers. Evidence for the effectiveness and safety of current therapeutic options is varied.

Cannabinoids have been proposed as an alternative therapy, mainly due to their activity on CB1 receptors in the central nervous system. However, little is known regarding the safety and effectiveness of cannabinoid therapy in people with dementia.

A literature review was undertaken to identify, describe and critically appraise studies investigating cannabinoid use in treating NPS in dementia.

RESULTS:

Twelve studies met the inclusion criteria. There was considerable variability across the studies with respect to study design (50% randomized controlled trials), intervention [dronabinol (33%), nabilone (25%) or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC; 42%)] and outcome measures.

Dronabinol (three studies) and THC (one study) were associated with significant improvements in a range of neuropsychiatric scores.

The most common adverse drug event (ADE) reported was sedation. A high risk of bias was found in eight studies. The highest-quality trial found no significant improvement in symptoms or difference in ADE rate between treatment arms. Included studies used low doses of oral cannabinoids and this may have contributed to the lack of demonstrated efficacy.

CONCLUSION:

While the efficacy of cannabinoids was not proven in a robust randomized control trial, observational studies showed promising results, especially for patients whose symptoms were refractory. In addition, the safety profile is favourable as most of the ADEs reported were mild. Future trials may want to consider dose escalation and formulations with improved bioavailability.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31205674

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2042098619846993

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Cannabidiol attenuates aggressive behavior induced by social isolation in mice: Involvement of 5-HT1A and CB1 receptors.

Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry

“Long-term single housing increases aggressive behavior in mice, a condition named isolation-induced aggression or territorial aggression, which can be attenuated by anxiolytic, antidepressant, and antipsychotic drugs.

Preclinical and clinical findings indicate that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychotomimetic compound from Cannabis sativa, has anxiolytic, antidepressant, and antipsychotic properties. Few studies, however, have investigated the effects of CBD on aggressive behaviors.

Here, we investigated whether CBD (5, 15, 30, and 60 mg/kg; i.p.) could attenuate social isolation-induced aggressive behavior in the resident-intruder test.

Taken together, our findings suggest that CBD may be therapeutically useful to treat aggressive behaviors that are usually associated with psychiatric disorders.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31054943

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278584618308340?via%3Dihub

cannabidiol reduces aggressiveness, study concludes”  https://globalhealthnewswire.com/2019/07/31/cannabidiol-reduces-aggressiveness-study-concludes/

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Prescription of a THC/CBD-Based Medication to Patients with Dementia: A Pilot Study in Geneva

 

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“Dementia is increasing worldwide. No effective medication is currently available for the treatment of the underlying disease and accompanying behavioral symptoms. Cannabinoids might have a beneficial effect, but clinical studies with (low-dose) synthetic THC have not been conclusive.

Objective: To test the acceptability, practical aspects, and clinical outcomes of the introduction of a THC/CBD-based oral medication in severely demented patients in a specialized nursing home in Geneva.

Methods: This was a prospective observational study.

Results: Ten female demented patients with severe behavior problems received oral medication with on average 7.6 mg THC/13.2 mg CBD daily after 2 weeks, 8.8 mg THC/17.6 mg CBD after 1 month, and 9.0 mg THC/18.0 mg CBD after 2 months. The THC/CBD-based oil was preferred. Neuropsychiatric Inventory, Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory score, and a behavior problem visual analog scale decreased by 40% after 2 months, rigidity score by 50%. Half of the patients decreased or stopped other psychotropic medications. The staff appreciated the decrease in rigidity, making daily care and transfers easier, the improved direct contact with the patients, the improvement in behavior, and the decrease in constipation with less opioids. There was no withholding of the medication for reasons of side effects, and the effects persisted after 2 months.

Conclusions: An oral cannabis extract with THC/CBD, in higher dosages than in other studies, was well tolerated and greatly improved behavior problems, rigidity, and daily care in severely demented patients.”

https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/498924

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Opposite effects of cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors on antipsychotic clozapine-induced cardiotoxicity.

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“Clozapine is an atypical antipsychotic drug that is very efficacious in treating psychosis but the risk of severe cardiotoxicity limits its clinical use.

The present study investigated the myocardial injury effects of clozapine and assessed the involvement of cannabinoid receptors in clozapine cardiotoxicity.

Our data provided evidence that cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors had opposite effects and selective antagonists of CB1R or agonists of CB2R might confer protective effects against clozapine.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30707759

https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bph.14591

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How effective and safe is medical cannabis as a treatment of mental disorders? A systematic review.

“We conducted a review of systematic reviews (SRs) and randomized-controlled trials (RCTs) to analyze efficacy and safety of cannabis-based medication in patients with mental disorders.

Five data bases were systematically searched (2006-August 2018); 4 SRs (of 11 RCTs) and 14 RCTs (1629 participants) were included. Diagnoses were: dementia, cannabis and opioid dependence, psychoses/schizophrenia, general social anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, anorexia nervosa, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Tourette`s disorder. Outcome variables were too heterogeneous to conduct a  meta-analysis. A narrative synthesis method was applied. The study quality was assessed using the risk-of-bias tool and SIGN-checklists.

THC- and CBD-based medicines, given as adjunct to pharmaco- and psychotherapy, were associated with improvements of several symptoms of mental disorders, but not with remission. Side effects occurred, but severe adverse effects were mentioned in single cases only. In order to provide reliable treatment recommendations, more and larger RCTs with follow-up assessments, consistent outcome measures and active comparisons are needed.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30706168

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00406-019-00984-4

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Dark Classics in Chemical Neuroscience: Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol.

 ACS Chemical Neuroscience

“Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) is the most widely used illicit drug in the world, with an estimated 192 million users globally.

The main psychoactive component of cannabis is (-)-trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), a molecule with a diverse range of pharmacological actions. The unique and distinctive intoxication caused by Δ9-THC primarily reflects partial agonist action at central cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors.

Δ9-THC is an approved therapeutic treatment for a range of conditions, including chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and is being investigated in indications such as anorexia nervosa, agitation in dementia, and Tourette’s syndrome.

It is available as a regulated pharmaceutical in products such as Marinol®, Sativex®, and Namisol®, as well as in an ever-increasing range of unregistered medicinal and recreational cannabis products.

While cannabis is an ancient medicament, contemporary use is embroiled in legal, scientific, and social controversy, much of which relates to the potential hazards and benefits of Δ9-THC itself.

Robust contemporary debate surrounds the therapeutic value of Δ9-THC in different diseases, its capacity to produce psychosis and cognitive impairment, and the addictive and “gateway” potential of the drug.

This review will provide a profile of the chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, and recreational and therapeutic uses of Δ9-THC, as well as the historical and societal importance of this unique, distinctive, and ubiquitous psychoactive substance.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30689342

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acschemneuro.8b00651

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Cannabidiol May Help Normalize Brain Function in Psychosis

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“Cannabidiol (CBD), the nonpsychoactive compound in cannabis, may help normalize function in brain regions associated with psychosis, found a study in JAMA Psychiatry.”

“Effect of Cannabidiol on Medial Temporal, Midbrain, and Striatal Dysfunction in People at Clinical High Risk of Psychosis A Randomized Clinical Trial. Cannabidiol (CBD) has antipsychotic effects in humans. Cannabidiol may partially normalize alterations in parahippocampal, striatal, and midbrain function associated with the CHR state. As these regions are critical to the pathophysiology of psychosis, the influence of CBD at these sites could underlie its therapeutic effects on psychotic symptoms.” https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/2697762

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The protective effects of β-caryophyllene on LPS-induced primary microglia M1/M2 imbalance: A mechanistic evaluation.

Life Sciences

“Neuroinflammation is observed as a routine characterization of neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia, multiple sclerosis (MS) and Alzheimer’s diseases (AD). Scientific evidence propounds both of the neuromodulatory and immunomodulatory effects of CB2 in the immune system. β-Caryophyllene (BCP) is a dietary selective CB2 agonist, which deserves the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects at both low and high doses through activation of the CB2 receptor.

METHODS:

In this study, we investigated the protective effects of a broad range concentration of BCP against LPS-induced primary microglia cells inflammation and M1/M2 imbalance and identifying the portion of the involvement of related signaling pathways on BCP effects using pharmacological antagonists of CB2, PPAR-γ, and sphingomyelinase (SMase).

KEY FINDINGS:

The protective effects of BCP on LPS-induced microglia imbalance is provided by the M2 healing phenotype of microglia, releasing the anti-inflammatory (IL-10, Arg-1, and urea) and anti-oxidant (GSH) parameters and reducing the inflammatory (IL-1β, TNF-α, PGE2, iNOS and NO) and oxidative (ROS) biomarkers. Moreover, we showed that BCP exerts its effects through CB2receptors which overproduction of ceramides by SMase at middle to higher concentrations of BCP reduce the protective activity of BCP and results in the activation of the PPAR-γ pathway.

SIGNIFICANCE:

In conclusion, the low concentration of BCP has higher selective anti-inflammatory effects rather than high levels. On this occasion, BCP by modulating the microglia is able to have potential therapeutic effects in neuro-inflammation conditions and microglia cells such as MS and AD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30620895

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0024320518308610?via%3Dihub

“β-caryophyllene (BCP) is a common constitute of the essential oils of numerous spice, food plants and major component in Cannabis.”   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23138934

“Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18574142

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Blood-brain barrier disturbances in diabetes-associated dementia: Therapeutic potential for cannabinoids.

Pharmacological Research

“Type-2 diabetes (T2D) increases the risk of dementia by ˜5-fold, however the mechanisms by which T2D increases dementia risk remain unclear. Evidence suggests that the heightened inflammation and oxidative stress in T2D may lead to disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which precedes premature cognitive decline. Studies show that vascular-targeted anti-inflammatory treatments protect the BBB by attenuating neuroinflammation, and in some studies attenuate cognitive decline. Yet, this potential pathway is understudied in T2D-associated cognitive impairment.

In recent years, therapeutic potential of cannabinoids has gained much interest. The two major cannabinoids, cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol, exert anti-inflammatory and vascular protective effects, however few studies report their potential for reversing BBB dysfunction, particularly in T2D. Therefore, in this review, we summarize the current findings on the role of BBB dysfunction in T2D-associated dementia and consider the potential therapeutic use of cannabinoids as a protectant of cerebrovascular BBB protection.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30616019

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1043661818314634?via%3Dihub

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Anandamide Effects in a Streptozotocin-Induced Alzheimer’s Disease-Like Sporadic Dementia in Rats.

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“Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by multiple cognitive deficits including memory and sensorimotor gating impairments as a result of neuronal and synaptic loss.

The endocannabinoid system plays an important role in these deficits but little is known about its influence on the molecular mechanism regarding phosphorylated tau (p-tau) protein accumulation – one of the hallmarks of AD -, and on the density of synaptic proteins.

Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the preventive effects of anandamide (N-arachidonoylethanolamine, AEA) on multiple cognitive deficits and on the levels of synaptic proteins (syntaxin 1, synaptophysin and synaptosomal-associated protein, SNAP-25), cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and molecules related to p-tau degradation machinery (heat shock protein 70, HSP70), and Bcl2-associated athanogene (BAG2) in an AD-like sporadic dementia model in rats using intracerebroventricular (icv) injection of streptozotocin (STZ).

This study showed, for the first time, that the administration of an endocannabinoid can prevent AD-like effects induced by STZ, boosting further investigations about the modulation of endocannabinoid levels as a therapeutic approach for AD.”

“Altogether, our results showed, for the first time, that the administration of an endocannabinoid can prevent cognitive, synaptic and histopatological AD-like alterations induced by STZ, thus prompting endocannabinoids as a candidate therapeutic target in AD.”  https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2018.00653/full
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