Cannabis for Pediatric Epilepsy.

 Related image“Epilepsy is a chronic disease characterized by recurrent unprovoked seizures. Up to 30% of children with epilepsy will be refractory to standard anticonvulsant therapy, and those with epileptic encephalopathy can be particularly challenging to treat.

The endocannabinoid system can modulate the physiologic processes underlying epileptogenesis. The anticonvulsant properties of several cannabinoids, namely Δ-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol (CBD), have been demonstrated in both in vitro and in vivo studies.

Cannabis-based therapies have been used for millennia to treat a variety of diseases including epilepsy. Several studies have shown that CBD, both in isolation as a pharmaceutical-grade preparation or as part of a CBD-enriched cannabis herbal extract, is beneficial in decreasing seizure frequency in children with treatment-resistant epilepsy.

Overall, cannabis herbal extracts appear to provide greater efficacy in decreasing seizure frequency, but the studies assessing cannabis herbal extract are either retrospective or small-scale observational studies. The two large randomized controlled studies assessing the efficacy of pharmaceutical-grade CBD in children with Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes showed similar efficacy to other anticonvulsants. Lack of data regarding appropriate dosing and pediatric pharmacokinetics continues to make authorization of cannabis-based therapies to children with treatment-resistant epilepsy challenging.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31895184

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00004691-202001000-00002

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Isolation of a High-Affinity Cannabinoid for the Human CB1 Receptor from a Medicinal Cannabis sativa Variety: Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabutol, the Butyl Homologue of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol.

Go to Volume 0, Issue 0“The butyl homologues of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabutol (Δ9-THCB), and cannabidiol, cannabidibutol (CBDB), were isolated from a medicinal Cannabis sativa variety (FM2) inflorescence. Appropriate spectroscopic and spectrometric characterization, including NMR, UV, IR, ECD, and HRMS, was carried out on both cannabinoids. The chemical structures and absolute configurations of the isolated cannabinoids were confirmed by comparison with the spectroscopic data of the respective compounds obtained by stereoselective synthesis. The butyl homologue of Δ9-THC, Δ9-THCB, showed an affinity for the human CB1 (Ki = 15 nM) and CB2 receptors (Ki = 51 nM) comparable to that of (-)-trans9-THC. Docking studies suggested the key bonds responsible for THC-like binding affinity for the CB1 receptor. The formalin test in vivo was performed on Δ9-THCB in order to reveal possible analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. The tetrad test in mice showed a partial agonistic activity of Δ9-THCB toward the CB1 receptor.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31891265

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jnatprod.9b00876

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A novel phytocannabinoid isolated from Cannabis sativa L. with an in vivo cannabimimetic activity higher than Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol: Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabiphorol.

 Scientific Reports“(-)-Trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) is the main compound responsible for the intoxicant activity of Cannabis sativa L. The length of the side alkyl chain influences the biological activity of this cannabinoid. In particular, synthetic analogues of Δ9-THC with a longer side chain have shown cannabimimetic properties far higher than Δ9-THC itself. In the attempt to define the phytocannabinoids profile that characterizes a medicinal cannabis variety, a new phytocannabinoid with the same structure of Δ9-THC but with a seven-term alkyl side chain was identified. The natural compound was isolated and fully characterized and its stereochemical configuration was assigned by match with the same compound obtained by a stereoselective synthesis. This new phytocannabinoid has been called (-)-trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabiphorol (Δ9-THCP). Along with Δ9-THCP, the corresponding cannabidiol (CBD) homolog with seven-term side alkyl chain (CBDP) was also isolated and unambiguously identified by match with its synthetic counterpart. The binding activity of Δ9-THCP against human CB1 receptor in vitro (Ki = 1.2 nM) resulted similar to that of CP55940 (Ki = 0.9 nM), a potent full CB1 agonist. In the cannabinoid tetrad pharmacological test, Δ9-THCP induced hypomotility, analgesia, catalepsy and decreased rectal temperature indicating a THC-like cannabimimetic activity. The presence of this new phytocannabinoid could account for the pharmacological properties of some cannabis varieties difficult to explain by the presence of the sole Δ9-THC.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31889124

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-56785-1

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Treatment of Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome with Cannabis-Based Medicine: Results from a Retrospective Analysis and Online Survey.

View details for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image“Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) is a neuropsychiatric disorder that is characterized by motor and vocal tics and psychiatric comorbidities, including attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive-compulsive behavior/disorder (OCB/OCD). From anecdotal reports and preliminary controlled studies, it is suggested that cannabis-based medicine (CBM) may improve tics and comorbidities in adults with GTS. This study was designed to further investigate efficacy and safety of CBM in GTS and specifically compare effects of different CBM.

Results: From medical records, we identified 98 patients who had used CBM (most often street cannabis followed by nabiximols, dronabinol, medicinal cannabis) for the treatment of GTS: Of the 38 patients who were able to judge, 66% preferred treatment with medicinal cannabis, 18% dronabinol, 11% nabiximols, and 5% street cannabis. Altogether, CBM resulted in a subjective improvement of tics (of about 60% in 85% of treated cases), comorbidities (55% of treated cases, most often OCB/OCD, ADHD, and sleeping disorders), and quality of life (93%). The effects of CBM appear to persist in the long term. Adverse events occurred in half of the patients, but they were rated as tolerable. Dosages of all CBM varied markedly. Patients assessed cannabis (with a preference for tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]-rich strains) as more effective and better tolerated compared with nabiximols and dronabinol. These data were confirmed by results obtained from the online survey (n=40).

Conclusion: From our results, it is further supported that CBM might be effective and safe in the treatment of tics and comorbidities at least in a subgroup of adult patients with GTS. In our sample, patients favored THC-rich cannabis over dronabinol and nabiximols, which might be related to the entourage effect of cannabis. However, several limitations of the study have to be taken into considerations such as the open uncontrolled design and the retrospective data analysis.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31872061

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2018.0050

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Medical Cannabis Use in Palliative Care: Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines – An Update [Internet].

Cover of Medical Cannabis Use in Palliative Care: Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines – An Update“Palliative care is defined by the World Health Organization as “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness…”. The last days and hours of a person’s life can be associated with immense physical as well as emotional suffering Relief of pain and other distressing symptoms, and enhancement of quality of life, are among the essential elements of good palliative care. Palliative care could benefit an estimated 69% to 82% of dying individuals in Canada. As Canada’s population ages, with increasing prevalence of chronic conditions and treatments resulting in prolonged life, it is expected that there will be an increased need for palliative care services.

Approximately 9% of Canadians (or 2.7 million) reported using cannabis for medical purposes in the first half of 2019. Herbal cannabis (cannabis sativa) contains hundreds of pharmacological components, many of which are not well-characterized. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most prevalent pharmacologically active compound and is primarily responsible for the psychoactive and physical effects of cannabis. Cannabidiol (also commonly referred to as CBD) is the second most prevalent. It has very little if any psychotropic effects. Quantity and ratio of these and other components can vary considerably between plants and even within the same plant.

Two prescription cannabinoids are currently marketed in Canada: Nabiximols (Sativex) which contains THC and cannabidiol, and Nabilone (Cesamet) which is a synthetic cannabinoid. Dronabinol (Marinol), synthetic THC, was withdrawn from the Canadian market however it is available in other jurisdictions. For the purposes of this report, medical cannabis refers to use of the cannabis plant or its extracts or synthetic cannabinoids for medical purposes.

Medical cannabis may be of value for a number of conditions, including but not limited to pain, nausea and vomiting, depression, anxiety and appetite stimulation. Adverse effects of cannabis are very common, developing in 80% to 90% of patients. These include but are not limited to psychiatric disturbances, sedation, speech disorders, impaired memory, dizziness, ataxia, addiction, irritability, and driving impairment. Risk of adverse effects is likely lower with cannabidiol alone as compared to THC. The potential for drug interactions is also an important concern. These risks must be considered along with the an apparent lack of evidence surrounding effectiveness of medical cannabis in many conditions for which its use is promoted.

This report updates and expands on a previous summary of abstracts report.9 The objective of the report is to review evidence and guidelines for use of medical cannabis in the palliative care setting.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31873991

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551867/

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Medicinal and Synthetic Cannabinoids for Pediatric Patients: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines [Internet].

Cover of Medicinal and Synthetic Cannabinoids for Pediatric Patients: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines“Cannabinoids are pharmacologically active agents extracted from the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the most studied cannabinoids and both interact with endocannabinoid receptors in various human tissues. The endocannabinoid system moderates physiological functions, such as neurodevelopment, cognition, and motor control.

The products naturally derived from cannabis include marijuana (dried leaves and flowers, mostly for smoking) and oral cannabinoid extracts with varying concentrations of cannabinoids, including cannabidiol and THC. THC is the main psychoactive constituent and cannabidiol seems to have no psychoactive properties. In addition, there are two synthetical cannabinoids approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, dronabinol and nabilone, which are molecules similar to a type of THC (δ-9-THC)1 Nabilone is also approved in Canada. Dronabinol is indicated for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in children. The use of nabilone in children is not recommended.

In Canada, the minimum age for cannabis consumption varies by provinces and territories, and is either 18 or 19 years. A prescription is required to administer cannabinoids among children. Clinically, cannabis has been used to treat children with epilepsy, cancer palliation and primary treatment, chronic pain, and Parkinson disease.

The adverse events that clinicians need to monitor for include negative psychoactive sequelae and development of tolerance. Psychoactive sequelae may be positive, such as relaxation and euphoria, or negative, such as anxiety and irritability. In 2016, CADTH completed a Summary of Abstracts report on the use of cannabis in children with medical conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, Tourette syndrome, epilepsy, posttraumatic stress disorder, or neurodegenerative diseases, and five non-randomized studies were identified. However, there were no control groups in the five studies included in the report.

It is unclear whether there is new evidence or clinical guidance for the use of medical cannabis in children with mental health conditions, neurodegenerative diseases, or pain disorders, particularly in comparison with other possible therapies for those conditions. There is a need to review the clinical effectiveness of cannabis for pediatric care, as well as clinical guidelines.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31873990

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551866/

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Pharmacists and the future of cannabis medicine.

“To summarize the history and evolution of cannabis use and policies and to review current therapeutic uses, safety, and the central role pharmacists can play.

SUMMARY:

Cannabis regulation and use have evolved over the centuries and are becoming more widely accepted, with over two-thirds of states in the United States having an approved cannabis program. However, changing policy and a paucity of controlled clinical trials has led to questions on the safety and effectiveness of cannabinoid therapies. Although there are conditions for which cannabinoids may be helpful, potential contraindications, adverse effects, and drug-drug interactions should be taken into account.

CONCLUSION:

Pharmacists are in a unique position based on their accessibility, knowledge, and skills to guide product selection, dosing, and discuss drug interactions and adverse effects to educate patients on safe cannabis use, whether it be delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, or a combination thereof. Pharmacists and pharmacy organizations, moreover, should advocate for an integral role in the medical cannabis movement to ensure patient safety and evaluate cannabinoid pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, drug-drug interactions, safety, and efficacy through rigorous investigations.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31870860

https://www.japha.org/article/S1544-3191(19)30513-8/fulltext

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Cannabis and Neuropsychiatric Disorders: An Updated Review.

 Image result for Acta Neurol Taiwan. journal“Cannabis plant has the scientific name called Cannabis sativa L. Cannabis plant has many species, but there are three main species including Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica and Cannabis ruderalis. Over 70 compounds isolated from cannabis species are called cannabinoids (CBN).

Cannabinoids produce over 100 naturally occurring chemicals. The most abundant chemicals are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). THC is psychotropic chemical that makes people feel “high” while CBD is nonpsychotropic chemical. However, cannabinoid chemicals are not found only in the cannabis plant, they are also produced by the mammalian body, called endocannabinoids and in the laboratory, called synthesized cannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids are endogenous lipid-based retrograde neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors, and cannabinoid receptor proteins that are expressed throughout the mammalian central nervous system including brain and peripheral nervous system. There are at least two types of endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) which are G-protein coupled receptors.

CB1 receptors are particularly abundant in the frontal cortex, hippocampus, basal ganglia, hypothalamus and cerebellum, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system. They are present in inhibitory GABA-ergic neurons and excitatory glutamatergic neurons. CB2 receptor is most abundantly found on cells of the immune system, hematopoietic cells and glia cells. CB2 is mainly expressed in the periphery under normal healthy condition, but in conditions of disease or injury, this upregulation occurs within the brain, and CB2 is therefore expressed in the brain in unhealthy states.

Cannabis and cannabinoid are studied in different medical conditions. The therapeutic potentials of both cannabis and cannabinoid are related to the effects of THC, CBD and other cannabinoid compounds. However, the “high” effect of THC in cannabis and cannabinoid may limit the clinical use, particularly, the study on the therapeutic potential of THC alone is more limited.

This review emphasizes the therapeutic potential of CBD and CBD with THC. CBD has shown to have benefit in a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders including autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, psychosis, neuropathic pain, cancer pain, HIV, migraine, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, Huntington disease, hypoxic-ischemic injury and epilepsy. CBD is generally well tolerated. Most common adverse events are diarrhea and somnolence. CBD also shows significantly low abuse potential.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31867704

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Endocannabinoid system and adult neurogenesis: a focused review.

Current Opinion in Pharmacology“The endocannabinoid system (eCB) is a ubiquitous lipid signaling system composed of at least two receptors, their endogenous ligands, and the enzymes responsible for their synthesis and degradation. Within the brain, the eCB system is highly expressed in the hippocampus and controls basic biological processes, including neuronal proliferation, migration and differentiation, which are intimately linked with embryonal neurogenesis. Accumulated preclinical evidence has indicated that eCBs play a major role also in regulating adult neurogenesis. Increased cannabinoid receptor activity, either by increased eCB content or by pharmacological blockade of their degradation, produces neurogenic effects alongside rescue of phenotypes in animal models of different psychiatric and neurological disorders. Therefore, in the light of the higher therapeutic potential of adult neurogenesis compared to the embryonic one, here we sought to summarize the most recent evidence pointing towards a neurogenic role for eCBs in the adult brain, both under normal and pathological conditions.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31864101

“The endocannabinoid system is involved in all aspects of the biology of neural stem cells. Selective CB1 and CB2 agonism produces pro-neurogenic effects in different models of brain insults. Further research is needed to characterize the eCB system as a new druggable target for neurogenesis-related diseases.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1471489219301122?via%3Dihub

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The impact of cannabis access laws on opioid prescribing.

Journal of Health Economics“While recent research has shown that cannabis access laws can reduce the use of prescription opioids, the effect of these laws on opioid use is not well understood for all dimensions of use and for the general United States population. Analyzing a dataset of over 1.5 billion individual opioid prescriptions between 2011 and 2018, which were aggregated to the individual provider-year level, we find that recreational and medical cannabis access laws reduce the number of morphine milligram equivalents prescribed each year by 11.8 and 4.2 percent, respectively. These laws also reduce the total days’ supply of opioids prescribed, the total number of patients receiving opioids, and the probability a provider prescribes any opioids net of any offsetting effects. Additionally, we find consistent evidence that cannabis access laws have different effects across types of providers, physician specialties, and payers.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31865260

“The results of this study suggest that passing cannabis access laws reduces the use of prescription opioids across several different measures of opioid prescriptions. Thus, the passage of Recreational cannabis laws (RCLs) or Medical cannabis laws (MCLs) may be a valid policy option for combating the ongoing opioid epidemic, even if these laws were not originally conceived for that purpose.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167629618309020?via%3Dihub

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