Cannabidiol administration reduces sublesional cancellous bone loss in rats with severe spinal cord injury.

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“Patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) undergo severe loss of bone mineral below the level of lesion, and data on available treatment options after SCI is scarce.

The aim of this work was to investigate the therapeutic effect of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabis, on sublesional bone loss in a rat model of SCI.

In conclusion, CBD administration attenuated SCI-induced sublesional cancellous bone loss.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28479140

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014299917303230

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Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol shows antispastic and analgesic effects in a single case double-blind trial.

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“A double-blind study was performed comparing 5 mg delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) p.o., 50 mg codeine p.o., and placebo in a patient with spasticity and pain due to spinal cord injury. The three conditions were applied 18 times each in a randomized and balanced order. Delta-9-THC and codeine both had an analgesic effect in comparison with placebo. Only delta-9-THC showed a significant beneficial effect on spasticity. In the dosage of THC used no altered consciousness occurred.”

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Implication of cannabinoids in neurological diseases.

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“1. Preparations from Cannabis sativa (marijuana) have been used for many centuries both medicinally and recreationally. 2. Recent advances in the knowledge of its pharmacological and chemical properties in the organism, mainly due to Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol, and the physiological roles played by the endocannabinoids have opened up new strategies in the treatment of neurological and psychiatric diseases. 3. Potential therapeutic uses of cannabinoid receptor agonists include the management of spasticity and tremor in multiple sclerosis/spinal cord injury, pain, inflammatory disorders, glaucoma, bronchial asthma, cancer, and vasodilation that accompanies advanced cirrhosis. CB(1) receptor antagonists have therapeutic potential in Parkinson’s disease. 4. Dr. Julius Axelrod also contributed in studies on the neuroprotective actions of cannabinoids.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16699878

“Medical marijuana: emerging applications for the management of neurologic disorders.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15458761
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Up-regulation of CB2 receptors in reactive astrocytes in canine degenerative myelopathy, a disease model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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“Targeting the CB2 receptor afforded neuroprotection in SOD1G93A mutant mice, a model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The neuroprotective effects of CB2 receptors were facilitated by their up-regulation in the spinal cord in SOD1G93A mutant mice.

Herein, we have investigated whether a similar CB2 receptor up-regulation, as well as parallel changes in other endocannabinoid elements, are evident in the spinal cord of dogs with degenerative myelopathy (DM), caused from mutations in the superoxide dismutase 1 gene (SOD1).

In summary, our results demonstrated a marked up-regulation of CB2 receptors occurring in the spinal cord in canine DM, which was concentrated in activated astrocytes.

Such receptors may be used as a potential target to enhance the neuroprotective effects exerted by these glial cells.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28069688

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Dietary fats and pharmaceutical lipid excipients increase systemic exposure to orally administered cannabis and cannabis-based medicines

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“Cannabis sativa, commonly called hemp, has thousands of years-long history of medical use. Cannabis extracts were widely used in Europe and North America for their therapeutic value as sedatives, hypnotics, analgesics, muscle relaxants, and anticonvulsant agents. However, cannabis was removed from British and American Pharmacopoeias in 20th century, partially due to politic bias. Although prohibited, many patients were nevertheless self-medicating to obtain therapeutic benefits from cannabis for various conditions, including AIDS wasting syndrome, multiple sclerosis (MS) and spinal injuries. More recently, a growing interest in the therapeutic effects of cannabis has developed following the isolation of cannabinoids, the principal chemical compounds of cannabis, as well as the discovery of endocannabinoids and their cognate receptors in humans. These advances supported legalisation and wide-spread use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes in many countries.

There has been an escalating interest in the medicinal use of Cannabis sativa in recent years. Cannabis is often administered orally with fat-containing foods, or in lipid-based pharmaceutical preparations. However, the impact of lipids on the exposure of patients to cannabis components has not been explored. Therefore, the aim of this study is to elucidate the effect of oral co-administration of lipids on the exposure to two main active cannabinoids, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). In this study, oral co-administration of lipids enhanced the systemic exposure of rats to THC and CBD by 2.5-fold and 3-fold, respectively, compared to lipid-free formulations. In vitro lipolysis was conducted to explore the effect of lipids on the intestinal solubilisation of cannabinoids. More than 30% of THC and CBD were distributed into micellar fraction following lipolysis, suggesting that at least one-third of the administered dose will be available for absorption following co-administration with lipids. Both cannabinoids showed very high affinity for artificial CM-like particles, as well as for rat and human CM, suggesting high potential for intestinal lymphatic transport. Moreover, comparable affinity of cannabinoids for rat and human CM suggests that similar increased exposure effects may be expected in humans. In conclusion, co-administration of dietary lipids or pharmaceutical lipid excipients has the potential to substantially increase the exposure to orally administered cannabis and cannabis-based medicines. The increase in patient exposure to cannabinoids is of high clinical importance as it could affect the therapeutic effect, but also toxicity, of orally administered cannabis or cannabis-based medicines.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5009397/

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Activation of cannabinoid CB1 receptor contributes to suppression of spinal nociceptive transmission and inhibition of mechanical hypersensitivity by Aβ-fiber stimulation.

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“Activation of Aβ-fibers is an intrinsic feature of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) pain therapy.

Cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) is important to neuronal plasticity and pain modulation, but its role in SCS-induced pain inhibition remains unclear.

In this study, we showed that CB1 receptors are expressed in both excitatory and inhibitory interneurons in substantia gelatinosa (SG).

Our findings suggest that activation of spinal CB1 receptors may contribute to synaptic depression to high-threshold afferent inputs in SG neurons after electrical stimulation of Aβ-fibers (Aβ-ES) and may be involved in SCS-induced inhibition of spinal nociceptive transmission after nerve injury.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27589093

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A study of cannabinoid-1 receptors during the early phase of excitotoxic damage to rat spinal locomotor networks in vitro.

“Endocannabinoids acting on cannabinoid-1 receptors (CB1Rs) are proposed to protect brain and spinal neurons from excitotoxic damage.

The ability to recover from spinal cord injury (SCI), in which excitotoxicity is a major player, is usually investigated at late times after modulation of CB1Rs whose role in the early phases of SCI remains unclear.

Using the rat spinal cord in vitro as a model for studying SCI initial pathophysiology, we investigated if agonists or antagonists of CB1Rs might affect SCI induced by the excitotoxic agent kainate (KA) within 24 h from a transient (1 h) application of this glutamate agonist.

The present data indicate that the early phases of excitotoxic SCI could not be arrested by pharmacologically exploiting the endocannabinoid system, consistent with the notion that AEA and its derivatives are more useful to treat late SCI phases.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27450568

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Type-2 Cannabinoid Receptors in Neurodegeneration.

“Based on its wide expression in immune cells, type 2 cannabinoid (CB2) receptors were traditionally thought to act as “peripheral receptors” with an almost exclusively immunomodulatory function. However, their recent identification in mammalian brain areas, as well as in distinct neuronal cells, has opened the way to a re-consideration of CB2 signaling in the context of brain pathophysiology, synaptic plasticity and neuroprotection. To date, accumulated evidence from several independent preclinical studies has offered new perspectives on the possible involvement of CB2signaling in brain and spinal cord traumatic injury, as well as in the most relevant neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s chorea. Here, we will review available information on CB2 in these disease conditions, along with data that support also its therapeutic potential to treat them.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27450295

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An Exploratory Human Laboratory Experiment Evaluating Vaporized Cannabis in the Treatment of Neuropathic Pain from Spinal Cord Injury and Disease.

“Using eight hour human laboratory experiments, we evaluated the analgesic efficacy of vaporized cannabis in patients with neuropathic pain related to injury or disease of the spinal cord, the majority of whom were experiencing pain despite traditional treatment.

After obtaining baseline data, 42 participants underwent a standardized procedure for inhaling 4 puffs of vaporized cannabis containing either placebo, 2.9%, or 6.7% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on three separate occasions. A second dosing occurred 3 hours later; participants chose to inhale 4 to 8 puffs. This flexible dosing was utilized to attempt to reduce the placebo effect.

Using an 11-point numerical pain intensity rating scale as the primary outcome, a mixed effects linear regression model demonstrated a significant analgesic response for vaporized cannabis.

When subjective and psychoactive side effects (e.g., good drug effect, feeling high, etc.) were added as covariates to the model, the reduction in pain intensity remained significant above and beyond any effect of these measures (all p<0.0004). Psychoactive and subjective effects were dose dependent.

Measurement of neuropsychological performance proved challenging because of various disabilities in the population studied. As the two active doses did not significantly differ from each other in terms of analgesic potency, the lower dose appears to offer the best risk-benefit ratio in patients with neuropathic pain associated with injury or disease of the spinal cord.

PERSPECTIVE:

A cross-over, randomized, placebo-controlled human laboratory experiment involving administration of vaporized cannabis was performed in patients with neuropathic pain related to spinal cord injury and disease. This study supports consideration of future research that would include longer duration studies over weeks to months in order to evaluate the efficacy of medicinal cannabis in patients with central neuropathic pain.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27286745

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ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM: A multi-facet therapeutic target.

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“Cannabis sativa is also popularly known as marijuana. It is being cultivated and used by man for recreational and medicinal purposes from many centuries.

Study of cannabinoids was at bay for very long time and its therapeutic value could not be adequately harnessed due to its legal status as proscribed drug in most of the countries.

The research of drugs acting on endocannabinoid system has seen many ups and down in recent past. Presently, it is known that endocannabinoids has role in pathology of many disorders and they also serve “protective role” in many medical conditions.

Several diseases like emesis, pain, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, anorexia, epilepsy, glaucoma, schizophrenia, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, obesity, metabolic syndrome related diseases, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Tourette’s syndrome could possibly be treated by drugs modulating endocannabinoid system.

Presently, cannabinoid receptor agonists like nabilone and dronabinol are used for reducing the chemotherapy induced vomiting. Sativex (cannabidiol and THC combination) is approved in the UK, Spain and New Zealand to treat spasticity due to multiple sclerosis. In US it is under investigation for cancer pain, another drug Epidiolex (cannabidiol) is also under investigation in US for childhood seizures. Rimonabant, CB1 receptor antagonist appeared as a promising anti-obesity drug during clinical trials but it also exhibited remarkable psychiatric side effect profile. Due to which the US Food and Drug Administration did not approve Rimonabant in US. It sale was also suspended across the EU in 2008.

Recent discontinuation of clinical trial related to FAAH inhibitor due to occurrence of serious adverse events in the participating subjects could be discouraging for the research fraternity. Despite of some mishaps in clinical trials related to drugs acting on endocannabinoid system, still lot of research is being carried out to explore and establish the therapeutic targets for both cannabinoid receptor agonists and antagonists.

One challenge is to develop drugs that target only cannabinoid receptors in a particular tissue and another is to invent drugs that acts selectively on cannabinoid receptors located outside the blood brain barrier. Besides this, development of the suitable dosage forms with maximum efficacy and minimum adverse effects is also warranted.

Another angle to be introspected for therapeutic abilities of this group of drugs is non-CB1 and non-CB2 receptor targets for cannabinoids.

In order to successfully exploit the therapeutic potential of endocannabinoid system, it is imperative to further characterize the endocannabinoid system in terms of identification of the exact cellular location of cannabinoid receptors and their role as “protective” and “disease inducing substance”, time-dependent changes in the expression of cannabinoid receptors.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27086601

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