Review of the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids.

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“Numerous physical, psychological, and emotional benefits have been attributed to marijuana since its first reported use in 2,600 BC in a Chinese pharmacopoeia. The phytocannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD), and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) are the most studied extracts from cannabis sativa subspecies hemp and marijuana. CBD and Δ9-THC interact uniquely with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Through direct and indirect actions, intrinsic endocannabinoids and plant-based phytocannabinoids modulate and influence a variety of physiological systems influenced by the ECS.

METHODS:

In 1980, Cunha et al. reported anticonvulsant benefits in 7/8 subjects with medically uncontrolled epilepsy using marijuana extracts in a phase I clinical trial. Since then neurological applications have been the major focus of renewed research using medical marijuana and phytocannabinoid extracts.

RESULTS:

Recent neurological uses include adjunctive treatment for malignant brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain, and the childhood seizure disorders Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes. In addition, psychiatric and mood disorders, such as schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, addiction, postconcussion syndrome, and posttraumatic stress disorders are being studied using phytocannabinoids.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this review we will provide animal and human research data on the current clinical neurological uses for CBD individually and in combination with Δ9-THC. We will emphasize the neuroprotective, antiinflammatory, and immunomodulatory benefits of phytocannabinoids and their applications in various clinical syndromes.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29770251

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5938896/

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A Critical Systematic Review of Evidence for Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Schizophrenia

Psychiatric Annals

“Cannabinoids have an emerging evidence base as an effective treatment option in a number of medical conditions, including anorexia and intractable vomiting.

It is well known that patients with schizophrenia are more likely to use cannabis; it has also been argued that this could be a way of self-treating adverse side effects (secondary to antipsychotics) in a group of people with schizophrenia. Therefore, studies have attempted to examine the use of cannabinoids in schizophrenia.

Given the recent interest in the use of cannabinoids in general and the ensuing ethical debates, we systematically review the available literature on the use of four cannabinoids, namely delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, dronabinol, rimonabant, and cannabidiol, in the management of schizophrenia. We also offer suggestions for future research in this area.”

https://www.healio.com/psychiatry/journals/psycann/2018-5-48-5/%7B04639e36-7fd1-4e31-aff2-7cea85ea3bc3%7D/a-critical-systematic-review-of-evidence-for-cannabinoids-in-the-treatment-of-schizophrenia

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Prolonged Cannabidiol Treatment Effects on Hippocampal Subfield Volumes in Current Cannabis Users.

Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image

“Chronic cannabis use is associated with neuroanatomical alterations in the hippocampus. While adverse impacts of cannabis use are generally attributed to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, emerging naturalistic evidence suggests cannabidiol (CBD) is neuroprotective and may ameliorate brain harms associated with cannabis use, including protection from hippocampal volume loss. This study examined whether prolonged administration of CBD to regular cannabis users within the community could reverse or reduce the characteristic hippocampal harms associated with chronic cannabis use.

Results: No change was observed in left or right hippocampus as a whole. However, left subicular complex (parasubiculum, presubiculum, and subiculum) volume significantly increased from baseline to post-treatment (p=0.017 uncorrected) by 1.58% (Cohen’s d=0.63; 2.83% in parasubiculum). Heavy cannabis users demonstrated marked growth in the left subicular complex, predominantly within the presubiculum, and right cornu ammonis (CA)1 compared to lighter users. Associations between greater right subicular complex and total hippocampal volume and higher plasma CBD concentration were evident, particularly in heavy users.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest a restorative effect of CBD on the subicular and CA1 subfields in current cannabis users, especially those with greater lifetime exposure to cannabis. While replication is required in a larger, placebo-controlled trial, these findings support a protective role of CBD against brain structural harms conferred by chronic cannabis use. Furthermore, these outcomes suggest that CBD may be a useful adjunct in treatments for cannabis dependence and may be therapeutic for a range of clinical disorders characterized by hippocampal pathology (e.g., schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and major depressive disorder).”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29682609

“In conclusion, our findings are the first to demonstrate an ameliorating effect of CBD treatment upon brain structural harms characteristic of regular cannabis use. Furthermore, these results speak to the potential for CBD treatment to restore hippocampal pathology in a range of clinical populations (e.g., schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and major depressive disorder).”

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2017.0047

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Impact of Chronic Cannabis Use on Auditory Mismatch Negativity Generation in Schizophrenia Patients.

“Cannabis use disorders (CUD) are highly prevalent among patients with schizophrenia (SCZ). Deficient mismatch negativity (MMN) generation is a characteristic finding in SCZ patients and cannabis users. This study therefore examined the effects of CUD on MMN generation in SCZ patients.

These results demonstrate that comorbid cannabis use in SCZ patients might be associated with superior cognitive functioning. It can be assumed that the association between cannabis use and better cognitive performance may be due to a subgroup of cognitively less impaired SCZ patients characterized by lower genetic vulnerability for psychosis.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29506304

https://www.thieme-connect.de/DOI/DOI?10.1055/a-0573-9866

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Cannabinoid Modulation of the Stressed Hippocampus.

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“Exposure to stressful situations is one of the risk factors for the precipitation of several psychiatric disorders, including Major Depressive Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Schizophrenia.

The hippocampal formation is a forebrain structure highly associated with emotional, learning and memory processes; being particularly vulnerable to stress. Exposure to stressful stimuli leads to neuroplastic changes and imbalance between inhibitory/excitatory networks. These changes have been associated with an impaired hippocampal function.

Endocannabinoids (eCB) are one of the main systems controlling both excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission, as well as neuroplasticity within the hippocampus.

Cannabinoids receptors are highly expressed in the hippocampus, and several lines of evidence suggest that facilitation of cannabinoid signaling within this brain region prevents stress-induced behavioral changes.

Also, chronic stress modulates hippocampal CB1 receptors expression and endocannabinoid levels.

Moreover, cannabinoids participate in mechanisms related to synaptic plasticity and adult neurogenesis. Here, we discussed the main findings supporting the involvement of hippocampal cannabinoid neurotransmission in stress-induced behavioral and neuroplastic changes.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29311804

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnmol.2017.00411/full

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Cannabidiol (CBD) as an Adjunctive Therapy in Schizophrenia: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial

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“Research in both animals and humans indicates that cannabidiol (CBD) has antipsychotic properties.

The authors assessed the safety and effectiveness of CBD in patients with schizophrenia.

After 6 weeks of treatment, compared with the placebo group, the CBD group had lower levels of positive psychotic symptoms and were more likely to have been rated as improved and as not severely unwell by the treating clinician.

These findings suggest that CBD has beneficial effects in patients with schizophrenia. As CBD’s effects do not appear to depend on dopamine receptor antagonism, this agent may represent a new class of treatment for the disorder.”

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Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics of Oral Cannabidiol Following Administration of PTL101: A New Formulation Based on Gelatin Matrix Pellets Technology.

Clinical Pharmacology in Drug Development

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is the main nonpsychoactive component of the cannabis plant. It has been associated with antiseizure, antioxidant, neuroprotective, anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and antipsychotic effects.

PTL101 is an oral gelatin matrix pellets technology-based formulation containing highly purified CBD embedded in seamless gelatin matrix beadlets. Study objectives were to evaluate the safety and tolerability of PTL101 containing 10 and 100 mg CBD, following single administrations to healthy volunteers and to compare the pharmacokinetic profiles and relative bioavailability of CBD with Sativex oromucosal spray (the reference product) in a randomized, crossover study design.

Administration of PTL101 containing 10 CBD, led to a 1.7-fold higher Cmax and 1.3-fold higher AUC compared with the oromucosal spray. Tmax following both modes of delivery was 3-3.5 hours postdosing. CBD exhibited about a 1-hour lag in absorption when delivered via PTL101. A 10-fold increase in the dose resulted in an ∼15-fold increase in Cmax and AUC. Bioavailability of CBD in the 10-mg PTL101 dose was 134% relative to the reference spray.

PTL101 is a pharmaceutical-grade, user-friendly oral formulation that demonstrated safe and efficient delivery of CBD and therefore could be an attractive candidate for therapeutic indications.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29125702

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cpdd.408/abstract

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The positive link between executive function and lifetime cannabis use in schizophrenia is not explained by current levels of superior social cognition.

Psychiatry Research Home

“There has been a growing link between a history of cannabis use and neurocognitive performance in patients with schizophrenia. Fewer neurocognitive deficits may be a marker of the superior social cognition needed to obtain illicit substances, or cannabis use may indicate a distinct path to schizophrenia with less neurocognitive vulnerability. This study sought to determine whether the relationship of cannabis use and executive function exists independently of social cognition.

Eighty-seven patients with schizophrenia were administered measures of social cognition and executive function. Social cognition was assessed using the Bell-Lysaker Emotion Recognition Test to measure affect recognition, and the Eyes and Hinting Tests to measure theory of mind. Executive function was assessed by the Mental Flexibility component of the Delis-Kaplan Executive Functioning Scale. The relations between the variables were examined with structural equation modeling.

Cannabis use positively related to executive function, negatively related to affect recognition, and had no relationship with theory of mind. There were no indirect effects of other illicit substances on amount of regular cannabis use. Alcohol use was related to worse affect recognition. The relationship between cannabis use and better executive function was supported and was not explained by superior social cognition.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28152399

http://www.psy-journal.com/article/S0165-1781(16)31861-3/fulltext

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Chronic Adolescent Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Treatment of Male Mice Leads to Long-Term Cognitive and Behavioral Dysfunction, Which Are Prevented by Concurrent Cannabidiol Treatment.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers

“The current study examined the immediate and long-term behavioral consequences of THC, CBD, and their combination in a mouse model of adolescent cannabis use.

All THC-induced behavioral abnormalities were prevented by the coadministration of CBD+THC,

These data suggest that chronic exposure to THC during adolescence leads to some of the behavioral abnormalities common in schizophrenia. Interestingly, CBD appeared to antagonize all THC-induced behavioral abnormalities.

These findings support the hypothesis that adolescent THC use can impart long-term behavioral deficits; however, cotreatment with CBD prevents these deficits.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29098186

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2017.0034

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The Potential of Cannabidiol Treatment for Cannabis Users With Recent-Onset Psychosis.

Schizophrenia Bulletin

“A major factor associated with poor prognostic outcome after a first psychotic break is cannabis misuse, which is prevalent in schizophrenia and particularly common in individuals with recent-onset psychosis. Behavioral interventions aimed at reducing cannabis use have been unsuccessful in this population.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid found in cannabis, although at low concentrations in modern-day strains. CBD has a broad pharmacological profile, but contrary to ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not activate CB1 or CB2 receptors and has at most subtle subjective effects.

Growing evidence indicates that CBD acts as an antipsychotic and anxiolytic, and several reports suggest neuroprotective effects. Moreover, CBD attenuates THC’s detrimental effects, both acutely and chronically, including psychotogenic, anxiogenic, and deleterious cognitive effects. This suggests that CBD may improve the disease trajectory of individuals with early psychosis and comorbid cannabis misuse in particular-a population with currently poor prognostic outcome and no specialized effective intervention.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29083450

https://academic.oup.com/schizophreniabulletin/article/doi/10.1093/schbul/sbx105/4080751/The-Potential-of-Cannabidiol-Treatment-for

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