Efficacy, tolerability and safety of cannabis-based medicines for chronic pain management – An overview of systematic reviews.

European Journal of Pain

“Medicinal cannabis has already entered mainstream medicine in some countries.

Cannabis-based medicines undoubtedly enrich the possibilities of drug treatment of chronic pain conditions.

It remains the responsibility of the health care community to continue to pursue rigorous study of cannabis-based medicines to provide evidence that meets the standard of 21st century clinical care.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29034533

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejp.1118/abstract

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Efficacy of Cannabis-Based Medicines for Pain Management: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.

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“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.

OBJECTIVES:

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.

CONCLUSIONS:

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.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28934780

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Activation of dorsal horn cannabinoid CB2 receptor suppresses the expression of P2Y12 and P2Y13 receptors in neuropathic pain rats.

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“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.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28899427

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Attenuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis.

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“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.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28885454             https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00006396-900000000-99152

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Cannabis constituent synergy in a mouse neuropathic pain model.

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“Cannabis and its psychoactive constituent Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have efficacy against neuropathic pain however, this is hampered by their side-effects. It has been suggested that co-administration with another major constituent cannabidiol (CBD) might enhance the analgesic actions of THC and minimise its deleterious side-effects.

We examined the basis for this phytocannabinoid interaction in a mouse chronic constriction injury (CCI) model of neuropathic pain. Acute systemic administration of THC dose-dependently reduced CCI-induced mechanical and cold allodynia, but also produced motor incoordination, catalepsy and sedation. CBD produced a lesser dose-dependent reduction in allodynia, but did not produce the cannabinoid side-effects. When co-administered in a fixed ratio, THC and CBD produced a biphasic dose-dependent reduction in allodynia. At low doses, the THC:CBD combination displayed a 200-fold increase in anti-allodynic potency, but had lower efficacy compared to that predicted for an additive drug interaction. By contrast, high THC:CBD doses had lower potency, but greater anti-allodynic efficacy compared to that predicted for an additive interaction. Only the high dose THC:CBD anti-allodynia was associated with cannabinoid side-effects and these were similar to those of THC alone. Unlike THC, the low dose THC:CBD anti-allodynia was not cannabinoid receptor mediated.

These findings demonstrate that CBD synergistically enhances the pain relieving actions of THC in an animal neuropathic pain model, but has little impact on the THC-induced side-effects. This suggests that low dose THC:CBD combination treatment has potential in the treatment of neuropathic pain.”

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Managing neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis: Pharmacological interventions.

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“Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Of the plethora of motor and sensory disturbances experienced by sufferers, neuropathic pain is a highly prevalent and debilitating symptom, and at present remains extremely difficult to treat. Common forms of neuropathic pain seen in MS patients include central neuropathic pain, Lhermitte’s phenomenon and trigeminal neuralgia, which are all speculated to arise from specific patterns of lesion formation.

OBJECTIVE:

Efficacious pharmacological interventions for the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with MS are lacking, and have been largely informed by drug trials in peripheral neuropathies and spinal cord injury.

METHOD/RESULTS:

Neuropathic pain in MS is inadequately relieved by conventional analgesics, and first-line therapies are generally comprised of anti-depressive and anti-convulsive drugs. A range of alternatives have been proposed and tested with variable success, including cannabinoids and certain opioid analgesics. Animals with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an autoimmune model of MS, also exhibit neuropathic pain symptoms.

CONCLUSION:

Studies aimed at understanding the mechanisms underlying EAE-induced neuropathic pain and investigating the efficacy of novel pharmacological interventions at the animal level offer an exciting area of future research, and may inform future therapeutic options for MS-associated neuropathic pain.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28875858

 

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The Endogenous Cannabinoid System: A Budding Source of Targets for Treating Inflammatory and Neuropathic Pain.

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“A great need exists for the development of new medications to treat pain resulting from various disease states and types of injury. Given that the endogenous cannabinoid (ie, endocannabinoid) system modulates neuronal and immune cell function, both of which play key roles in pain, therapeutics targeting this system hold promise as novel analgesics.

Potential therapeutic targets include the cannabinoid receptors, type 1 and 2, as well as biosynthetic and catabolic enzymes of the endocannabinoids N-arachidonoylethanolamine and 2-arachidonoylglycerol. Notably, cannabinoid receptor agonists as well as inhibitors of endocannabinoid-regulating enzymes fatty acid amide hydrolase and monoacylglycerol lipase produce reliable antinociceptive effects, and offer opioid-sparing antinociceptive effects in myriad preclinical inflammatory and neuropathic pain models.

Emerging clinical studies show that ‘medicinal’ cannabis or cannabinoid-based medications relieve pain in human diseases, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia.

Here, we examine the preclinical and clinical evidence of various endocannabinoid system targets as potential therapeutic strategies for inflammatory and neuropathic pain conditions.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28857069

https://www.nature.com/npp/journal/vaop/naam/abs/npp2017204a.html

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Single oral dose of cannabinoid derivate loaded PLGA nanocarriers relieves neuropathic pain for eleven days.

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“Neuropathic pain, resistant to opiates and other drugs, is a chronic/persistent state with a complex treatment and often poor efficacy. In this scenario, cannabinoids are increasingly regarded as a genuine alternative. In this paper, and in an experimental animal model of neuropathic pain, we studied the efficacy of three kinds of PLGA nanoparticles containing synthetic cannabinoid CB13: (i) plain nanoparticles (PLGA); (ii) particles coated with PEG chains (PLGA+PEG) and (iii) particles possessing hydrophilic surfaces obtained by covalently binding PEG chains (PLGA-PEG). The optimized formulation, CB13-PLGA-PEG, showed high drug loading (13%) and small size (<300nm) with a narrow distribution and controlled surface properties (near-neutral zeta potential and stable PEG corona). Animal nociceptive behavioral studies were conducted by paw pressure and acetone tests. Versus the free CB13, CB13-PLGA-PEG nanoparticles showed a very noticeable analgesic efficacy with the longest sustained pain-relieving effect, lasting up to eleven days after one oral dose.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28756090

http://www.nanomedjournal.com/article/S1549-9634(17)30140-5/fulltext

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Antiallodynic effect of β-caryophyllene on paclitaxel-induced peripheral neuropathy in mice.

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“Painful peripheral neuropathy is a common side effect of paclitaxel (PTX). The use of analgesics is an important component for management of PTX-induced peripheral neuropathy (PINP). However, currently employed analgesics have several side effects and are poorly effective.

β-caryophyllene (BCP), a dietary selective CB2 agonist, has shown analgesic effect in neuropathic pain models, but its role in chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain has not yet been investigated. Herein, we used the mouse model of PINP to show the therapeutic effects of BCP in this neuropathy.

Our findings show that BCP effectively attenuated PINP, possibly through CB2-activation in the CNS and posterior inhibition of p38 MAPK/NF-κB activation and cytokine release. Taken together, our results suggest that BCP could be used to attenuate the establishment and/or treat PINP.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28729222

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028390817303465

“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

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Medicinal Uses of Marijuana and Cannabinoids

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“In the past two decades, there has been increasing interest in the therapeutic potential of cannabis and single cannabinoids, mainly cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC and cannabis products rich in THC exert their effects mainly through the activation of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). Since 1975, 140 controlled clinical trials using different cannabinoids or whole-plant preparations for the treatment of a large number of disorders and symptoms have been conducted. Results have led to the approval of cannabis-based medicines [dronabinol, nabilone, and the cannabis extract nabiximols (Sativex®, THC:CBD = 1:1)] as well as cannabis flowers in several countries. Controlled clinical studies provide substantial evidence for the use of cannabinoid receptor agonists in cancer chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, appetite loss and cachexia in cancer and HIV patients, neuropathic and chronic pain, and in spasticity in multiple sclerosis. In addition, there is also some evidence suggesting a therapeutic potential of cannabis-based medicines in other indications including Tourette syndrome, spinal cord injury, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and glaucoma. In several other indications, small uncontrolled and single-case studies reporting beneficial effects are available, for example in posttraumatic stress disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and migraine. The most common side effects of THC and cannabis-based medicines rich in THC are sedation and dizziness (in more than 10% of patients), psychological effects, and dry mouth. Tolerance to these side effects nearly always develops within a short time. Withdrawal symptoms are hardly ever a problem in the therapeutic setting. In recent years there is an increasing interest in the medical use of CBD, which exerts no intoxicating side effects and is usually well-tolerated. Preliminary data suggest promising effects in the treatment of anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, dystonia, and some forms of epilepsy. This review gives an overview on clinical studies which have been published over the past 40 years.”

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07352689.2016.1265360?needAccess=true&journalCode=bpts20

“Review Identifies 140 Controlled Clinical Trials Related to Cannabis”  http://blog.norml.org/2017/06/04/review-identifies-140-controlled-clinical-trials-related-to-cannabis/

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