“Many cultures throughout history have used cannabis to treat a variety of painful ailments. Neuropathic pain is a complicated condition that is challenging to treat with our current medications.
Recent scientific discovery has elucidated the intricate role of the endocannabinoid system in the pathophysiology of neuropathic pain. As societal perceptions change, and legislation on medical cannabis relaxes, there is growing interest in the use of medical cannabis for neuropathic pain.
We examined current basic scientific research and data from recent randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating medical cannabis for the treatment of neuropathic pain.
These studies involved patients with diverse etiologies of neuropathic pain and included medical cannabis with different THC concentrations and routes of administration. Multiple RCTs demonstrated efficacy of medical cannabis for treating neuropathic pain, with number needed to treat (NNT) values similar to current pharmacotherapies.
Although limited by small sample sizes and short duration of study, the evidence appears to support the safety and efficacy of short-term, low-dose cannabis vaporization and oral mucosal delivery for the treatment of neuropathic pain.
The results suggest medical cannabis may be as tolerable and effective as current neuropathic agents; however, more studies are needed to determine the long-term effects of medical cannabis use. Furthermore, continued research to optimize dosing, cannabinoidratios, and alternate routes of administration may help to refine the therapeutic role of medical cannabis for neuropathic pain.”
“Targeting the endocannabinoid system has emerged as an effective strategy for the treatment of inflammatory and neurological diseases.
Unlike the inhibition of the principal 2-arachidonyl glycerol (2-AG) hydrolytic enzyme monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), which leads to 2-AG overload and cannabinoid receptor desensitization, selective inhibition of the minor 2-AG hydrolytic enzyme alpha, beta-hydrolase domain 6 (ABHD6) can provide therapeutic benefits without producing cannabimimetic side effects. We have shown that inhibition of ABHD6 significantly reduces neuroinflammation and exerts neuroprotection in animal models of traumatic brain injury and multiple sclerosis. However, the role of ABHD6 inhibition on neuropathic pain has not been explored.
This study reveals a novel mechanism for the antinociceptive effect of the 2-AG catabolic enzyme ABHD6 inhibitor WWL70. Understanding the interaction between endocannabinoid and eicosanoid pathways might provide a new avenue for the treatment of inflammatory and neuropathic pain.”
“Chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain is a distressing and commonly occurring side effect of many commonly used chemotherapeutic agents, which in some cases may prevent cancer patients from being able to complete their treatment.
Cannabinoid based therapies have the potential to manage or even prevent pain associated with this syndrome.
Pre-clinical animal studies that investigate the modulation of the endocannabinoid system (endogenous cannabinoid pathway) are being conducted to better understand the mechanisms behind this phenomenon.
Five recent pre-clinical studies identified from Medline published between 2013 and 2016 were selected for review. All studies evaluated the effect of small-molecule agonists or antagonists on components of the endocannabinoid system in rats or mice, using cisplatin or paclitax-el-induced allodynia as a model of chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain. Activation of the cannabinoid receptor-2 (CB-2) receptor by AM1710 blocked paclitaxel-induced mechanical and cold allodynia in one study.
Four studies investigating the activation of both cannabinoid receptor-1 (CB-1) and CB-2 receptors by dual-agonists (WIN55,21 and CP55,940), or by the introduction of inhibitors of endocannabinoid metabolisers (URB597, URB937, JZL184, and SA-57) showed reduction of chemotherapy-induced al-lodynia. In addition, their results suggest that anti-allodynic effects may also be mediated by additional receptors, including TRPV1 and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT1A).
Pre-clinical studies demon-strate that the activation of endocannabinoid CB-1 or CB-2 receptors produces physiological effects in animal models, namely the reduction of chemotherapy-induced allodynia. These studies also provide in-sight into the biological mechanism behind the therapeutic utility of cannabis compounds in managing chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain, and provide a basis for the conduct of future clinical studies in patients of this population.”
“Treatment of neuropathic pain (NP) symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) is frequently insufficient. Yet, cannabis is still rarely offered for treatment of pain. This clinical trial aimed at showing the positive benefit-risk ratio of dronabinol. Two hundred forty MS patients with central NP entered a 16-weeks placebo-controlled phase-III study followed by a 32-weeks open-label period. One hundred patients continued therapy for overall up to 119 weeks. Primary endpoint was change of pain intensity on the 11-point Numerical Rating Scale over a 16-weeks treatment period. Safety was assessed on the basis of adverse reactions (ARs), signs of dependency and abuse. Pain intensity during 16-weeks dronabinol and placebo treatment was reduced by 1.92 and 1.81 points without significant difference in between (p = 0.676). Although the proportion of patients with ARs was higher under dronabinol compared to placebo (50.0 vs. 25.9%), it decreased during long-term use of dronabinol (26%). No signs of drug abuse and only one possible case of dependency occurred. The trial results demonstrate that dronabinol is a safe long-term treatment option.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29073592
“Overall, this trial demonstrated the long-lasting therapeutic potential, the good tolerability and favourable safety profile of dronabinol – especially in terms of drug abuse and dependency. Based on the presented results, there is no special focus on the harm caused by dronabinol treatment. Although the statistical proof of efficacy for dronabinol versus placebo treatment is pending, physicians should consider the potential benefits of the multifactorial effects of dronabinol.” https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/481089
“Recently, many countries have enacted new cannabis policies, including decriminalization of cannabis possession, medical cannabis legalization, and legalization of recreational cannabis. In this context, patients and their physicians have had an increasing number of conversations about the risks and benefits of cannabis. While cannabis and cannabinoids continue to be evaluated as pharmacotherapy for medical conditions, currently, the best evidence exists for the following medical conditions: chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity resulting from multiple sclerosis. We also reviewed the current state of evidence for cannabis and cannabinoids for a number of other medical conditions while addressing the potential acute and chronic effects of cannabis use, which are issues that physicians must consider before making an official recommendation on the use of medical cannabis to a patient. As patient requests for medical cannabis increase, physicians must become knowledgeable on the science of medical cannabis and open to a discussion about why the patient feels that medical cannabis may be helpful to them.”
“The management of chronic pain is a complex challenge worldwide. Cannabis-based medicines (CBMs) have proven to be efficient in reducing chronic pain, although the topic remains highly controversial in this field.
This study’s aim is to conduct a conclusive review and meta-analysis, which incorporates all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in order to update clinicians’ and researchers’ knowledge regarding the efficacy and adverse events (AEs) of CBMs for chronic and postoperative pain treatment.
The current systematic review suggests that CBMs might be effective for chronic pain treatment, based on limited evidence, primarily for neuropathic pain (NP) patients. Additionally, GI AEs occurred more frequently when CBMs were administered via oral/oromucosal routes than by inhalation.”
“More evidence suggests that dorsal spinal cord microglia is an important site contributing to CB2 receptor-mediated analgesia. The upregulation of P2Y12 and P2Y13 purinoceptors in spinal dorsal horn microglia is involved in the development of pain behavior caused by peripheral nerve injury. However, it is not known whether the expression of P2Y12 and P2Y13 receptors at spinal dorsal horn will be influenced after CB2 receptor activation in neuropathic pain rats. Chronic constriction injury (CCI) and intrathecal ADPbetaS injection were performed in rats to induce neuropathic pain.
In CCI- and ADPbetaS-treated rats, AM1241 pretreatment could efficiently activate CB2 receptor, while inhibiting p38MAPK and NF-kappaB activation in the dorsal spinal cord. CB2 receptor stimulation decreased P2Y13 receptor expression via p38MAPK/NF-kappaB signaling. On the other hand, CB2 receptor activation decreased P2Y12 receptor expression via p38MAPK-independent NF-kappaB signaling pathway.”
“Osteoarthritis (OA) is a multifactorial joint disease, which includes joint degeneration, intermittent inflammation, and peripheral neuropathy. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-euphoria producing constituent of cannabis that has the potential to relieve pain.
The aim of this study was to determine if CBD is anti-nociceptive in OA, and whether inhibition of inflammation by CBD could prevent the development of OA pain and joint neuropathy.
The therapeutic and prophylactic effects of peripheral CBD (100-300μg) were assessed. In end stage OA, CBD dose-dependently decreased joint afferent firing rate, and increased withdrawal threshold and weight bearing (p<0.0001; n=8). Acute, transient joint inflammation was reduced by local CBD treatment (p<0.0001; n=6). Prophylactic administration of CBD prevented the development of MIA-induced joint pain at later time points (p<0.0001; n=8), and was also found to be neuroprotective (p<0.05; n=6-8).
The data presented here indicate that local administration of CBD blocked OA pain. Prophylactic CBD treatment prevented the later development of pain and nerve damage in these OA joints.
These findings suggest that CBD may be a safe, useful therapeutic for treating OA joint neuropathic pain.”