Cannabinoids and spinal cord stimulation for the treatment of failed back surgery syndrome refractory pain

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“This study aimed to evaluate pain and its symptoms in patients with failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) refractory to other therapies, treated with a combination of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), in association with spinal cord stimulation (SCS).

Results: Effective pain management as compared to baseline result was achieved in all the cases studied. The positive effect of cannabinoid agonists on refractory pain was maintained during the entire duration of treatment with minimal dosage titration. Pain perception, evaluated through numeric rating scale, decreased from a baseline mean value of 8.18±1.07–4.72±0.9 by the end of the study duration (12 months) (P<0.001).

Conclusion: The results indicate that cannabinoid agonists (THC/CBD) can have remarkable analgesic capabilities, as adjuvant of SCS, for the treatment of chronic refractory pain of FBSS patients.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30233233

https://www.dovepress.com/cannabinoids-and-spinal-cord-stimulation-for-the-treatment-of-failed-b-peer-reviewed-article-JPR

“Outcomes indicate remarkable analgesic capabilities of cannabinoid agonists (THC/CBD) as an adjuvant to SCS for treating chronic refractory pain in FBSS patients, since all the cases studied achieved effective pain management compared to baseline.”

https://www.mdlinx.com/journal-summaries/cannabinoids-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-thc-cannabidiol/2018/09/13/7544234/

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Cannabis cures the spine.

The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Home

“Cannabis cures the spine.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30172587

“Huo and colleagues elegantly demonstrate that the endogenous cannabinoid system can be modulated to provide neuroprotection in ischemic injury of the spine.

Modulation of the endocannabinoid system attenuates ischemic spinal cord injury through CB2-mediated inhibition of the GAPDH/Siah1 signaling cascade, positively influencing neuron survival and function.” https://www.jtcvs.org/article/S0022-5223(18)32080-4/fulltext

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Cannabis shenanigans: advocating for the restoration of an effective treatment of pain following spinal cord injury.

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“Cannabis is an effective treatment for pain following spinal cord injury that should be available to patients and researchers.

The major argument against the rescheduling of cannabis is that the published research is not convincing. This argument is disingenuous at best, given that the evidence has been presented and rejected at many points during the political dialog. Moreover, the original decision to criminalize cannabis did not utilize scientific or medical data.

There is tension between the needs of a society to protect the vulnerable by restricting the rights of others to live well and with less pain. It is clear that this 70-year war on cannabis has had little effect in controlling the supply of cannabis.

Prohibition can never succeed; “it is a tyranny from which every independent mind revolts.”

People living with chronic pain should not have to risk addiction, social stigma, restrictions on employment and even criminal prosecution in order to deal with their pain.

It is time to end the shenanigans and have an open, transparent discussion of the true benefits of this much-beleaguered medicine.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30109133

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41394-018-0096-1

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The enigma of cannabis use in spinal cord injury.

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“Cannabis use in medicine continues to confound practitioners.

There is confusing interpretation of the efficacy and adverse event data, highlighting the complexity of this unique plant.

Cannabis may have a neuroprotective role in SCI.”

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The non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) attenuates pro-inflammatory mediators, T cell infiltration, and thermal sensitivity following spinal cord injury in mice.

Cellular Immunology

“We evaluated the effects of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) on the inflammatory response and recovery of function following spinal cord injury (SCI).

Female C57Bl/6 mice were exposed to spinal cord contusion injury (T9-10) and received vehicle or CBD (1.5 mg/kg IP) injections for 10 weeks following injury. The effect of SCI and CBD treatment on inflammation was assessed via microarray, qRT-PCR and flow cytometry. Locomotor and bladder function and changes in thermal and mechanical hind paw sensitivity were also evaluated.

There was a significant decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines associated with T-cell differentiation and invasion in the SCI-CBD group as well as a decrease in T cell invasion into the injured cord. A higher percentage of SCI mice in the vehicle-treated group (SCI-VEH) went on to develop moderate to severe (0-65.9% baseline thermal threshold) thermal sensitivity as compared with CBD-treated (SCI-CBD) mice. CBD did not affect recovery of locomotor or bladder function following SCI.

Taken together, CBD treatment attenuated the development of thermal sensitivity following spinal cord injury and this effect may be related to protection against pathological T-cell invasion.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29784129

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Possible mechanisms of cannabinoid-induced antinociception in the spinal cord.

European Journal of Pharmacology

“Anandamide is an endogenous ligand at both the inhibitory cannabinoid CB(1) receptor and the excitatory vanilloid receptor 1 (VR1). The CB(1) receptor and vanilloid VR1 receptor are expressed in about 50% and 40% of dorsal root ganglion neurons, respectively. While all vanilloid VR1 receptor-expressing cells belong to the calcitonin gene-related peptide-containing and isolectin B4-binding sub-populations of nociceptive primary sensory neurons, about 80% of the cannabinoid CB(1) receptor-expressing cells belong to those sub-populations. Furthermore, all vanilloid VR1 receptor-expressing cells co-express the cannabinoid CB(1) receptor.

In agreement with these findings, neonatal capsaicin treatment that induces degeneration of capsaicin-sensitive, vanilloid VR1 receptor-expressing, thin, unmyelinated, nociceptive primary afferent fibres significantly reduced the cannabinoid CB(1) receptor immunostaining in the superficial spinal dorsal horn.

Synthetic cannabinoid CB(1) receptor agonists, which do not have affinity at the vanilloid VR1 receptor, and low concentrations of anandamide both reduce the frequency of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents and electrical stimulation-evoked or capsaicin-induced excitatory postsynaptic currents in substantia gelatinosa cells in the spinal cord without any effect on their amplitude. These effects are blocked by selective cannabinoid CB(1) receptor antagonists. Furthermore, the paired-pulse ratio is increased while the postsynaptic response of substantia gelatinosa neurons induced by alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxasole-propionic acid (AMPA) in the presence of tetrodotoxin is unchanged following cannabinoid CB(1) receptor activation.

These results strongly suggest that the cannabinoid CB(1) receptor is expressed presynaptically and that the activation of these receptors by synthetic cannabinoid CB(1) receptor agonists or low concentration of anandamide results in inhibition of transmitter release from nociceptive primary sensory neurons. High concentrations of anandamide, on the other hand, increase the frequency of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents recorded from substantia gelatinosa neurons. This increase is blocked by ruthenium red, suggesting that this effect is mediated through the vanilloid VR1 receptor.

Thus, anandamide at high concentrations can activate the VR1 and produce an opposite, excitatory effect to its inhibitory action produced at low concentrations through cannabinoid CB(1) receptor activation. This “dual”, concentration-dependent effect of anandamide could be an important presynaptic modulatory mechanism in the spinal nociceptive system.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11698030

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014299901013097?via%3Dihub

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The nonpsychotropic cannabinoid cannabidiol modulates and directly activates alpha-1 and alpha-1-Beta glycine receptor function.

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“Loss of inhibitory synaptic transmission within the dorsal horn of the spinal cord plays a key role in the development of chronic pain following inflammation or nerve injury. Inhibitory postsynaptic transmission in the adult spinal cord involves mainly glycine.

Cannabidiol is a nonpsychotropic plant constituent of Cannabis sativa.

As we hypothesized that non-CB receptor mechanisms of cannabidiol might contribute to its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects, we investigated the interaction of cannabidiol with strychnine-sensitive alpha(1 )and alpha(1)beta glycine receptors by using the whole-cell patch clamp technique.

Cannabidiol showed a positive allosteric modulating effect in a low micromolar concentration range (EC(50) values: alpha(1) = 12.3 +/- 3.8 micromol/l and alpha(1)beta = 18.1 +/- 6.2 micromol/l). Direct activation of glycine receptors was observed at higher concentrations above 100 micromol/l (EC(50) values: alpha(1) = 132.4 +/- 12.3 micromol/l and alpha(1)beta = 144.3 +/- 22.7 micromol/l).

These in vitro results suggest that strychnine-sensitive glycine receptors may be a target for cannabidiol mediating some of its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19204413

https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/201556

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Remote Ischemia Preconditioning Attenuates Blood-Spinal Cord Barrier Breakdown in Rats Undergoing Spinal Cord Ischemia Reperfusion Injury: Associated with Activation and Upregulation of CB1 and CB2 Receptors.

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“Remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC) has protective effects on spinal cord ischemia reperfusion (I/R) injury, but the potential mechanisms remain unclear. In our study, the effects and underlying mechanisms of RIPC on blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) breakdown following I/R injury were investigated.

RIPC attenuated the motor dysfunction, BSCB disruption and downregulation of occludin after I/R injury, which were impaired by blocking CB1 and CB2 receptors. Moreover, RIPC upregulated the elevated perivascular expression of CB1 and CB2 receptors following I/R injury.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results indicated that RIPC, through activation and upregulation of CB1 and CB2 receptors, was involved in preserving the integrity of BSCB after spinal cord I/R injury.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29130941

https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/484460

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[Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-cannabidiol in the treatment of spasticity in chronic spinal cord injury: a clinical experience].

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“Spasticity in chronic spinal cord injury is a condition that can have negative repercussions on the patient’s quality of life. Its treatment is complex and sometimes the outcome is insufficient.

Cannabinoids have recently been used in multiple sclerosis to successfully treat spasticity that is refractory to other therapies.

AIM:

To quantify the clinical response of a group of patients with spastic chronic spinal cord injury to the orally administered drug delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-cannabidiol (Sativex ®) as medication for use in special situations.

RESULTS:

Fifteen patients took part in this study. A significant improvement was observed on three of the scales recorded: modified Ashworth scale (z = -2.97; p = 0.003), Penn spasm frequency scale (z = -2.76; p = 0.006) and Numeric Rating Scale (z = -3.21; p = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Sativex can be considered an alternative in patients with spasticity associated with chronic spinal cord injury for whom other therapeutic measures have been insufficient. Further studies need to be conducted before the use of this drug can be recommended and so as to define a complete profile of its long-term side effects.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28929471

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Treatment of human spasticity with delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol.

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“Spasticity is a common neurologic condition in patients with multiple sclerosis, stroke, cerebral palsy or an injured spinal cord. Animal studies suggest that THC has an inhibitory effect on polysynaptic reflexes.

Some spastic patients claim improvement after inhaling cannabis. We tested muscle tone, reflexes, strength and performed EMGs before and after double-blinded oral administration of either 10 or 5 mg THC or placebo.

10 mg THC significantly reduced spasticity by clinical measurement (P less than 0.01).

Responses varied, but benefit was seen in three of three patients with “tonic spasms.””

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