Cannabinoid pharmacology and therapy in gut disorders.

Biochemical Pharmacology

“Cannabis sp and their products (marijuana, hashish…), in addition to their recreational, industrial and other uses, have a long history for their use as a remedy for symptoms related with gastrointestinal diseases.

After many reports suggesting these beneficial effects, it was not surprising to discover that the gastrointestinal tract expresses endogenous cannabinoids, their receptors, and enzymes for their synthesis and degradation, comprising the so-called endocannabinoid system.

This system participates in the control of tissue homeostasis and important intestinal functions like motor and sensory activity, nausea, emesis, the maintenance of the epithelial barrier integrity, and the correct cellular microenvironment. Thus, different cannabinoid-related pharmacological agents may be useful to treat the main digestive pathologies.

To name a few examples, in irritable bowel syndrome they may normalize dysmotility and reduce pain, in inflammatory bowel disease they may decrease inflammation, and in colorectal cancer, apart from alleviating some symptoms, they may play a role in the regulation of the cell niche.

This review summarizes the main recent findings on the role of cannabinoid receptors, their synthetic or natural ligands and their metabolizing enzymes in normal gastrointestinal function and in disorders including irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer and gastrointestinal chemotherapy-induced adverse effects (nausea/vomiting, constipation, diarrhea).”

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Medicinal Cannabinoids in Palliative Care.

 British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology banner

“The treatment of symptoms in people with palliative diagnoses begins with meticulous clinical assessment with treatment choice (s) selected based on an understanding of the symptom aetiology and the evidence which underpins its treatment.

Increasingly the merits of palliative care have been established earlier in the disease trajectory where treatment outcomes may include increased survival and maintenance of function.

There is strong public support for the availability of medicinal cannabis, particularly for people with palliative diagnoses.

There are several areas where there is potential for symptom benefits through modulation of the endocannabinoid system, though clinical data to date has been inconclusive in key symptoms such as pain and nausea, and data from other settings such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting not readily extrapolated.

Ideally exploration of medicinal cannabinoids should occur within a clinical trial to accelerate the evidence base to inform practice. In people with refractory symptoms the consideration of unregistered products or off label prescribing should be guided by the potential influences of pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and drug-drug interactions, supported by an informed discussion with the patient, and regular review of net clinical benefit.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29923616

https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bcp.13671

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Cannabis in End-of-Life Care: Examining Attitudes and Practices of Palliative Care Providers.

 Publication Cover

“Medical cannabis research has become quite extensive, with indications ranging from glaucoma to chemotherapy-induced nausea.

Despite increased interest in cannabis‘ potential medical uses, research barriers, cannabis legislation, stigma, and lack of dissemination of data contribute to low adoption for some medical populations.

Of interest, cannabis use appears low in palliative care settings, with few guidelines available to palliative care providers. The present study sought to examine the attitudes, beliefs, and practices of palliative care providers regarding the use of cannabis for terminally ill patients.

Results demonstrated that palliative care providers endorse cannabis for a wide range of palliative care symptoms, end-of-life care generally, and as an adjuvant medication.

Nevertheless, the gap between these beliefs and actual recommendation or prescription appears vast. Many who support the use of cannabis in palliative care do not recommend it as a treatment. These data suggest recommendations for healthcare providers and palliative care organizations.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29714640

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02791072.2018.1462543?journalCode=ujpd20

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Dronabinol oral solution in the management of anorexia and weight loss in AIDS and cancer.

“The true incidence of anorexia secondary to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and cancer is not well classified owing to the fact that there is a lack of standardized definitions and recent clinical data in these settings.

Dronabinol, or Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is a synthetic molecule that closely mimics the action of Cannabis sativa L., a naturally occurring compound activated in the central nervous system by cannabinoid receptors.

Dronabinol exerts its effects by directly acting on the vomiting and appetite control centers in the brain, which in turn increases appetite and prevents vomiting.

In the USA, dronabinol is currently available in two dosage formulations – oral capsule and oral solution. While the oral capsule was initially approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1985, the recent approval of the oral solution in 2016 presents an “easy-to-swallow” alternative for patients using or intending to use dronabinol.

Dronabinol is indicated in adult patients with HIV/AIDS for the treatment of anorexia and weight loss. However, there is no approved indication in the setting of cancer-related anorexia and weight loss. This review aims at presenting available data on the use of oral dronabinol in the management of anorexia and weight loss in HIV/AIDS and cancer, as well as characterizing and highlighting the pharmacotherapeutic considerations of the newest formulation of dronabinol.”

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The therapeutic effects of Cannabis and cannabinoids: An update from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report

European Journal of Internal Medicine

“The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine conducted a rapid turn-around comprehensive review of recent medical literature on The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids.

In the Therapeutics chapter reviewed here, the report concluded that there was conclusive or substantial evidence that Cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for the treatment of pain in adults; chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. Moderate evidence was found for secondary sleep disturbances. The evidence supporting improvement in appetite, Tourette syndrome, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, epilepsy and a variety of neurodegenerative disorders was described as limited, insufficient or absent. A chapter of the NASEM report enumerated multiple barriers to conducting research on Cannabis in the US that may explain the paucity of positive therapeutic benefits in the published literature to date.

The 2017 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report, like the 1999 Institute of Medicine publication before it, did conclude that there is evidence to support the therapeutic effect of Cannabis and cannabinoids in a number of conditions. Although it is well appreciated that the plural of anecdote is not evidence, it must also be remembered that in the case of evaluating the therapeutic effects of Cannabis as published in the medical literature, the absence of evidence is not necessarily indicative of evidence of the absence of effectiveness. ”

http://www.ejinme.com/article/S0953-6205(18)30003-7/fulltext

“Researchers claim that medicinal cannabis is safe and effective for pain relief, and are calling for the treatment to be properly established in our modern medical arsenal” https://www.drugtargetreview.com/news/30737/medicinal-cannabis-safe-effective/
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Suppression of Cisplatin-Induced Vomiting by Cannabis sativa in Pigeons: Neurochemical Evidences.

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“Cannabis sativa (CS, family Cannabinaceae) has been reported for its anti-emetic activity against cancer chemotherapy-induced emesis in animal models and in clinics. The current study was designed to investigate CS for potential effectiveness to attenuate cisplatin-induced vomiting in healthy pigeons and to study the impact on neurotransmitters involved centrally and peripherally in the act of vomiting.

High-performance liquid chromatography system coupled with electrochemical detector was used for the quantification of neurotransmitters 5-hydroxytryptamine (5HT), dopamine (DA) and their metabolites; Di-hydroxy Phenyl Acetic acid (Dopac), Homovanillic acid (HVA), and 5-hydroxy indole acetic acid (5HIAA) centrally in specific brain areas (area postrema and brain stem) while, peripherally in small intestine. Cisplatin (7 mg/kg i.v.) induce emesis without lethality across the 24 h observation period.

CS hexane fraction (CS-HexFr; 10 mg/kg) attenuated cisplatin-induced emesis ∼ 65.85% (P < 0.05); the reference anti-emetic drug, metoclopramide (MCP; 30 mg/kg), produced ∼43.90% reduction (P < 0.05). At acute time point (3rd h), CS-HexFr decreased (P < 0.001) the concentration of 5HT and 5HIAA in the area postrema, brain stem and intestine, while at 18th h (delayed time point) CS-HexFr attenuated (P < 0.001) the upsurge of 5HT caused by cisplatin in the brain stem and intestine and dopamine in the area postrema. CS-HexFr treatment alone did not alter the basal neurotransmitters and their metabolites in the brain areas and intestine except 5HIAA and HVA, which were decreased significantly.

In conclusion the anti-emetic effect of CS-HexFr is mediated by anti-serotonergic and anti-dopaminergic components in a blended manner at the two different time points, i.e., 3rd and 18th h in pigeons.”

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Systematic review of systematic reviews for medical cannabinoids: Pain, nausea and vomiting, spasticity, and harms.

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“To determine the effects of medical cannabinoids on pain, spasticity, and nausea and vomiting, and to identify adverse events.

Systematic reviews with 2 or more randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that focused on medical cannabinoids for pain, spasticity, or nausea and vomiting were included.

 

There is reasonable evidence that cannabinoids improve nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy.

They might improve spasticity (primarily in multiple sclerosis).

There is some uncertainty about whether cannabinoids improve pain, but if they do, it is neuropathic pain”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29449262

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Cannabinoids for nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy: Overview of systematic reviews.

Phytotherapy Research

“Nausea and vomiting are common and distressing adverse events of chemotherapy.

This review focuses on the findings and quality of systematic reviews (SRs) of cannabinoids for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV).

On the basis of findings of the sole SR judged as high methodological quality, cannabinoids seem to be more effective than placebo, equal to prochlorperazine for reducing CINV, and to be preferred by patients.

Cannabinoids represent a valuable option for treating CINV, despite the adverse events related to treatment, such as drowsiness and cognitive impairment.”   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29168289

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.5975/abstract?systemMessage=Wiley+Online+Library+usage+report+download+page+will+be+unavailable+on+Friday+24th+November+2017+at+21%3A00+EST+%2F+02.00+GMT+%2F+10%3A00+SGT+%28Saturday+25th+Nov+for+SGT+

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Medical Cannabinoids in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review

AAP Gateway

“CONTEXT: Legalization of medical marijuana in many states has led to a widening gap between the accessibility and the evidence for cannabinoids as a medical treatment.

OBJECTIVE: To systematically review published reports to identify the evidence base of cannabinoids as a medical treatment in children and adolescents.

RESULTS: Evidence for benefit was strongest for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, with increasing evidence of benefit for epilepsy.”  http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2017/10/19/peds.2017-1818

“Limited data on medical cannabis use in children. Strongest evidence supports use to reduce seizures, side effects of chemotherapy.”  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171023094606.htm

“Marijuana Can Help Children with Seizures, Cancer Nausea”   https://www.healthline.com/health-news/marijuana-can-help-children-with-seizures-cancer-nausea

“Medical Marijuana Reduces CINV, Seizures in Children”  https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/887616

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Reprint of: survey of medicinal cannabis use among childbearing women: patterns of its use in pregnancy and retroactive self-assessment of its efficacy against ‘morning sickness’.

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice

“A majority of women experience some nausea and/or vomiting during pregnancy. This condition can range from mild nausea to extreme nausea and vomiting, with 1-2% of women suffering from the life-threatening condition hyperemesis gravidarum.

Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) may be used therapeutically to mitigate pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting.

This paper presents the results of a survey of 84 female users of medicinal cannabis, recruited through two compassion societies in British Columbia, Canada. Of the seventy-nine respondents who had experienced pregnancy, 51 (65%) reported using cannabis during their pregnancies. While 59 (77%) of the respondents who had been pregnant had experienced nausea and/or vomiting of pregnancy, 40 (68%) had used cannabis to treat the condition, and of these respondents, 37 (over 92%) rated cannabis as ‘extremely effective’ or ‘effective.’

Our findings support the need for further investigations into cannabis therapy for severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19880090

“Marijuana use is common in pregnancy but may not be an independent risk factor for poor neonatal outcomes in term pregnancies.”  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S000293781500527X

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