Current evidence of cannabinoid-based analgesia obtained in preclinical and human experimental settings.

European Journal of Pain

“Cannabinoids have a long record of recreational and medical use and become increasingly approved for pain therapy. This development is based on preclinical and human experimental research summarized in this review.

Cannabinoid CB1 receptors are widely expressed throughout the nociceptive system. Their activation by endogenous or exogenous cannabinoids modulates the release of neurotransmitters. This is reflected in antinociceptive effects of cannabinoids in preclinical models of inflammatory, cancer and neuropathic pain, and by nociceptive hypersensitivity of cannabinoid receptor-deficient mice.

Cannabis-based medications available for humans mainly comprise Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and nabilone.

During the last 10 years, six controlled studies assessing analgesic effects of cannabinoid-based drugs in human experimental settings were reported. An effect on nociceptive processing could be translated to the human setting in functional magnetic resonance imaging studies that pointed at a reduced connectivity within the pain matrix of the brain. However, cannabinoid-based drugs heterogeneously influenced the perception of experimentally induced pain including a reduction in only the affective but not the sensory perception of pain, only moderate analgesic effects, or occasional hyperalgesic effects. This extends to the clinical setting.

While controlled studies showed a lack of robust analgesic effects, cannabis was nearly always associated with analgesia in open-label or retrospective reports, possibly indicating an effect on well-being or mood, rather than on sensory pain. Thus, while preclinical evidence supports cannabinoid-based analgesics, human evidence presently provides only reluctant support for a broad clinical use of cannabinoid-based medications in pain therapy.

SIGNIFICANCE:

Cannabinoids consistently produced antinociceptive effects in preclinical models, whereas they heterogeneously influenced the perception of experimentally induced pain in humans and did not provide robust clinical analgesia, which jeopardizes the translation of preclinical research on cannabinoid-mediated antinociception into the human setting.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29160600

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejp.1148/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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Modulating the endocannabinoid pathway as treatment for peripheral neuropathic pain: a selected review of preclinical studies.

“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.”

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Associations between medical cannabis and prescription opioid use in chronic pain patients: A preliminary cohort study.

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“Current levels and dangers of opioid use in the U.S. warrant the investigation of harm-reducing treatment alternatives.

PURPOSE:

A preliminary, historical, cohort study was used to examine the association between enrollment in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) and opioid prescription use.

RESULTS:

By the end of the 21 month observation period, MCP enrollment was associated with 17.27 higher age- and gender-adjusted odds of ceasing opioid prescriptions (CI 1.89 to 157.36, p = 0.012), 5.12 higher odds of reducing daily prescription opioid dosages (CI 1.56 to 16.88, p = 0.007), and a 47 percentage point reduction in daily opioid dosages relative to a mean change of positive 10.4 percentage points in the comparison group (CI -90.68 to -3.59, p = 0.034). The monthly trend in opioid prescriptions over time was negative among MCP patients (-0.64mg IV morphine, CI -1.10 to -0.18, p = 0.008), but not statistically different from zero in the comparison group (0.18mg IV morphine, CI -0.02 to 0.39, p = 0.081). Survey responses indicated improvements in pain reduction, quality of life, social life, activity levels, and concentration, and few side effects from using cannabis one year after enrollment in the MCP (ps<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

The clinically and statistically significant evidence of an association between MCP enrollment and opioid prescription cessation and reductions and improved quality of life warrants further investigations on cannabis as a potential alternative to prescription opioids for treating chronic pain.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29145417

“In summary, if cannabis can serve as an alternative to prescription opioids for at least some patients, legislators and the medical community may want to consider medical cannabis programs as a potential tool for combating the current opioid epidemic.”   http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0187795

“Study finds medical cannabis is effective at reducing opioid addiction”  http://news.unm.edu/news/study-finds-medical-cannabis-is-effective-at-reducing-opioid-addiction

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Study finds medical cannabis is effective at reducing opioid addiction

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“A new study conducted by researchers at The University of New Mexico, involving medical cannabis and prescription opioid use among chronic pain patients, found a distinct connection between having the legal ability to use cannabis and significant reductions in opioid use.

The study titled, “Associations between Medical Cannabis and Prescription Opioid Use in Chronic Pain Patients: A Preliminary Cohort Study,” and published in the open access journal PLOS ONE, was conducted by Drs. Jacob Miguel Vigil, associate professor, Department of Psychology and Sarah See Stith, assistant professor, Department of Economics.

The results from this preliminary study showed a strong correlation between enrollment in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) and cessation or reduction of opioid use, and that whole, natural Cannabis sativa and extracts made from the plant may serve as an alternative to opioid-based medications for treating chronic pain.

“If cannabis can serve as an alternative to prescription opioids for at least some patients, legislators and the medical community may want to consider medical cannabis programs as a potential tool for combating the current opioid epidemic,””

http://news.unm.edu/news/study-finds-medical-cannabis-is-effective-at-reducing-opioid-addiction

“Associations between medical cannabis and prescription opioid use in chronic pain patients: A preliminary cohort study.” http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0187795

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Availability and approval of cannabis-based medicines for chronic pain management and palliative/supportive care in Europe: A survey of the status in the chapters of the European Pain Federation.

European Journal of Pain

“There is considerable public and political interest in the use of cannabis products for medical purposes.

METHODS:

The task force of the European Pain Federation (EFIC) conducted a survey with its national chapters representatives on the status of approval of all types of cannabis-based medicines, the covering of costs and the availability of a position paper of a national medical association on the use of medical cannabis for chronic pain and for symptom control in palliative/supportive care.

RESULTS:

Thirty-one out of 37 contacted councillors responded. Plant-derived tetrahydrocannabinol/cannabidiol (THC/CBD) oromucosal spray is approved for spasticity in multiple sclerosis refractory to conventional treatment in 21 EFIC chapters. Plant-derived THC (dronabinol) is approved for some palliative care conditions in four EFIC chapters. Synthetic THC analogue (nabilone) is approved for chemotherapy-associated nausea and vomiting refractory to conventional treatment in four EFIC chapters’. Eight EFIC chapters’ countries have an exceptional and six chapters an expanded access programme for medical cannabis. German and Israeli pain societies recommend the use of cannabis-based medicines as third-line drug therapies for chronic pain within a multicomponent approach. Conversely, the German medical association and a team of finish experts and officials do not recommend the prescription of medical cannabis due to the lack of high-quality evidence of efficacy and the potential harms.

CONCLUSIONS:

There are marked differences between the countries represented in EFIC in the approval and availability of cannabis-based products for medical use. EFIC countries are encouraged to collaborate with the European Medicines Agency to publish a common document on cannabis-based medicines.

SIGNIFICANCE:

There are striking differences between European countries in the availability of plant-derived and synthetic cannabinoids and of medical cannabis for pain management and for symptom control in palliative care and in the covering of costs by health insurance companies or state social security systems.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29134767

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejp.1147/abstract

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Cannabinoids offer alternatives to opioids for pain relief, experts say.

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“Alternatives to opioids can be used alone or in combination with opioids for pain relief, to help prevent medical exposure to narcotics being an entry point to misuse, said experts at a medical education forum in Washington, DC on 3 November.

Endocannabinoid compounds found in marijuana can greatly enhance the potency of opioids in relieving pain.

The synergy from using these drugs together can result in more effective pain relief from lower doses of opioids,”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29113969

http://www.bmj.com/content/359/bmj.j5140.full

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N-Arachidonoyl Dopamine: A Novel Endocannabinoid and Endovanilloid with Widespread Physiological and Pharmacological Activities.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers

“N-arachidonoyl dopamine (NADA) is a member of the family of endocannabinoids to which several other N-acyldopamines belong as well. Their activity is mediated through various targets that include cannabinoid receptors or transient receptor potential vanilloid (TRPV)1. Synthesis and degradation of NADA are not yet fully understood. Nonetheless, there is evidence that NADA plays an important role in nociception and inflammation in the central and peripheral nervous system. The TRPV1 receptor, for which NADA is a potent agonist, was shown to be an endogenous transducer of noxious heat. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that NADA exerts protective and antioxidative properties in microglial cell cultures, cortical neurons, and organotypical hippocampal slice cultures. NADA is present in very low concentrations in the brain and is seemingly not involved in activation of the classical pathways. We believe that treatment with exogenous NADA during and after injury might be beneficial. This review summarizes the recent findings on biochemical properties of NADA and other N-acyldopamines and their role in physiological and pathological processes. These findings provide strong evidence that NADA is an effective agent to manage neuroinflammatory diseases or pain and can be useful in designing novel therapeutic strategies.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29082315

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2017.0015

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Medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain and other disorders: misconceptions and facts.

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“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.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29067992

http://pamw.pl/en/issue/article/29067992

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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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Cannabis for the Treatment of Chronic Pain in the Era of an Opioid Epidemic: A Symposium-Based Review of Sociomedical Science.

Pain Medicine

“This manuscript reviews medical literature published pertaining to the management of chronic pain with medical marijuana therapy (MMJ), with an emphasis on the social, medical, and legal aspects of therapy.

CONCLUSIONS:

Increasing interest in MMJ for chronic pain underscores a need for primary care and pain physicians to better understand the indications and evidence for its use free from cultural bias. Given a lack of full conclusive clinical utility, continued research is needed to better understand how to best utilize MMJ therapy for the treatment of chronic pain.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29016917

https://academic.oup.com/painmedicine/article-abstract/doi/10.1093/pm/pnx143/3964518/Cannabis-for-the-Treatment-of-Chronic-Pain-in-the?redirectedFrom=fulltext

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