Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabinol Use in Parkinson’s Disease: An Observational Pilot Study

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“Background: There is a need for more research examining the use of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and cannabidiol (CBD) products in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), especially given the recent increase in the use of these products.

Objectives: Given the recent increase in over-the-counter CBD use as well as the prescription of medical cannabis by treating physicians, the utilization method, effects on motor and non-motor symptoms, side effects, and attitude toward cannabis use were examined in a naturalistic sample of patients with PD.

Methods: A total of 15 individuals with PD, eight of whom were prescribed CBD/THC treatment and seven who were not taking any CBD/THC product, were assessed cross-sectionally. Participants completed structured neuropsychological testing, motor assessment, and questionnaires regarding mood, subjective cognition, and symptom levels. T-tests were completed for quantitative measures and descriptive data were examined and described. Due to the small sample size, Shapiro-Wilk tests for normality were utilized and Mann-Whitney U analyses were completed when appropriate.

Results: We found a wide range of prescribed products and methods as well as variability in perceived benefits and untoward effects, even in our small sample. Individuals with PD who were taking a CBD/THC product had lower global cognition scores on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) but no detectable differences among more specific neuropsychological measures. They also had more non-motor symptoms of PD but no differences in motor symptom levels. Qualitatively, some participants with PD who were taking CBD/THC reported improved pain levels, sleep, and reductions in anxiety. A few negative effects were endorsed, including sleepiness, concentration difficulties, and forgetfulness.

Conclusion: CBD/THC utilization in PD is varied. In our small sample, individuals who utilized the treatment had lower MoCA scores, more non-motor symptoms, and descriptively reported improvements in sleep, anxiety, and pain, and had side effects of sleepiness and cognitive difficulty. Future studies should focus on clinical trials with standardized CBD/THC methods of use.”!/

Oral Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC):Cannabinoid (CBD) Cannabis Extract Adjuvant for Reducing Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting (CINV): A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial

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“Objective: To evaluate the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC):cannabinoid (CBD) (1:1) oil in reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) in gynecologic cancer patients who received moderate-to-high emetogenic chemotherapy.

Material and method: This was a randomized, double-blinded, crossover and placebo-controlled trial. The study was conducted at the Gynecologic Oncology Units, Bhumibol Adulyadej Hospital (BAH), Royal Thai Air Force, Bangkok, Thailand, between August and November 2022. Participants had gynecologic cancer and received moderate-to-high emetogenic chemotherapy. Subjects were randomized and divided into two groups (A and B) based on the block of four randomization method. In the first cycle, groups A and B received THC:CBD extract oil 1:1 (TCEO) and placebo before chemotherapy administration. In the second cycle, groups A and B received placebo and TCEO before chemotherapy administration. Both groups received per protocol antiemetic medication during chemotherapy. Nausea score and side effects were recorded.

Results: A total of 60 cases were recruited. After exclusion, 54 cases were included in the study. The mean age of participants was 54.4 years. The mean body mass index (BMI) was 26.5 kg/m2. Fifty-nine (21/54) percent cases were the advanced stages of cancer. The nausea score of TCEO and placebo groups were 2.11 and 2.99, respectively (P < 0.05). More than half of the participants (36/54) reported dizziness and sedation side effects. Dry mouth, confusion, anxiety, and palpitation of both groups were comparable.

Conclusion: The cannabinoid extract (THC:CBD) was an appropriate adjuvant agent to reduce CINV in patients with gynecologic cancer who received high-emetogenic chemotherapy. Dizziness and sedation were the major side effects.”

A machine learning approach for understanding the metabolomics response of children with autism spectrum disorder to medical cannabis treatment

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“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition impacting behavior, communication, social interaction and learning abilities. Medical cannabis (MC) treatment can reduce clinical symptoms in individuals with ASD. Cannabis-responsive biomarkers are metabolites found in saliva that change in response to MC treatment. Previously we showed levels of these biomarkers in children with ASD successfully treated with MC shift towards the physiological levels detected in typically developing (TD) children, and potentially can quantify the impact. Here, we tested for the first time the capabilities of machine learning techniques applied to our dynamic, high-resolution and rich feature dataset of cannabis-responsive biomarkers from a limited number of children with ASD before and after MC treatment and a TD group to identify: (1) biomarkers distinguishing ASD and TD groups; (2) non-cannabinoid plant molecules with synergistic effects; and (3) biomarkers associated with specific cannabinoids. We found: (1) lysophosphatidylethanolamine can distinguish between ASD and TD groups; (2) novel phytochemicals contribute to the therapeutic effects of MC treatment by inhibition of acetylcholinesterase; and (3) THC- and CBD-associated cannabis-responsive biomarkers are two distinct groups, while CBG is associated with some biomarkers from both groups.”

Cannabis Improves Clinical Outcomes and Quality of Life in Patients With Chronic Pouchitis

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“Many patients with ulcerative colitis after ileoanal pouch anastomosis report improvement of pouchitis with the use of cannabis. Nine patients with chronic pouchitis used 1 g/d of cannabis: 7 patients were male with average age 51 ± 16 years. Average partial pouchitis disease activity index were 11 (range 8-17), 6 (range 5-8), and 5 (range 4-8); endoscopic subscores were 7 .3 ± 2.3, 6 ± 1.1, and 4.4 ± 0.9; average bowel movements per day were 14 (range 8-20), 8 (range 2-13), and 10 (range 13-8); and quality of life increased from 72 ± 1 to 90 ± 16 and 97 ± 10 (P = 0.001) before cannabis treatment and after 8-12 and 52 weeks, respectively. No adverse events were reported.”

“In conclusion, cannabis use led to significant symptomatic improvement and better quality of life in this group of patients with refractory pouchitis.”

Quality of Life in Patients Receiving Medical Cannabis

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“Introduction: Medical cannabis has been used to relieve the symptoms of people with various chronic diseases. Despite of this, it has been stigmatized, even after its legalization in many countries.

Aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate the quality of life of patients receiving medical cannabis.

Material and method: One hundred patients receiving medical cannabis were given (a) a socio-demographic and clinical questionnaire, and (b) the SF-36 Health Survey scale for assessing quality of life.

Results: The majority of our patients who received medical cannabis to treat their neurological disorders (58%) reported decrease in their symptoms (96%), better energy and vitality (68%), ability to perform their professional duties (88%), and an improvement in sleeping and appetite (79% and 71%, respectively) after receiving medical cannabis. Our participants exhibited very few restrictions in activities due to emotional difficulties, a moderate general health status as well as moderate vitality and energy. Participants, who reported a longer period of receiving medical cannabis, reported statistically significant more energy and vitality (p = 0.000), but also better mental (p = 0.000) and general health status (p = 0.001). Furthermore, the majority of patients have disclosed medical cannabis use to their family members (85%) and enjoyed their support (93%), but they haven’t revealed their medication treatment to their social environment (81%).

Conclusions: Appropriate knowledge could significantly help health professionals in the field of planning and implementation of personalized nursing care in order to achieve optimal therapeutic outcomes.”

An answered call for aid? Cannabinoid clinical framework for the opioid epidemic

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“Background: The opioid crisis continues in full force, as physicians and caregivers are desperate for resources to help patients with opioid use and chronic pain disorders find safer and more accessible non-opioid tools.

Main body: The purpose of this article is to review the current state of the opioid epidemic; the shifting picture of cannabinoids; and the research, policy, and current events that make opioid risk reduction an urgent public health challenge. The provided table contains an evidence-based clinical framework for the utilization of cannabinoids to treat patients with chronic pain who are dependent on opioids, seeking alternatives to opioids, and tapering opioids.

Conclusion: Based on a comprehensive review of the literature and epidemiological evidence to date, cannabinoids stand to be one of the most interesting, safe, and accessible tools available to attenuate the devastation resulting from the misuse and abuse of opioid narcotics. Considering the urgency of the opioid epidemic and broadening of cannabinoid accessibility amidst absent prescribing guidelines, the authors recommend use of this clinical framework in the contexts of both clinical research continuity and patient care.”

“Resistance to cannabis-based medicines for the opioid epidemic may have many origins, particularly the stigma associated with recreational cannabis use. That said, the evidence to date suggests that it is time for a sea change in the clinical approach to cannabis for pain management and OUD. Throughout the history of science and clinical medicine, there have been transformative changes that were initially considered heretical: hand hygiene as a means to prevent infection prior to germ theory, therapy for H. pylori to combat peptic ulcer disease, and even the genetic basis of cancer were all dismissed by their era’s established medical communities. Similarly, we face great resistance to the implementation of CBD and other cannabinoids for treatment-resistant chronic illnesses, despite the compelling evidence, strong overall safety profile, and urgent need. Many of our patients have already begun their own self-guided journey into pain management with cannabinoids and the burden is now on providers to consolidate the information available, conduct more rigorous research, form best practices, and implement guidelines that will inform both the field and those we care for without stigma.”

Medical cannabis laws lower individual market health insurance premiums

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“Background: To evaluate the impact of medical cannabis laws (MCLs) on health insurance premiums. We study whether cannabis legalization significantly impacts aggregate health insurer premiums in the individual market. Increases in utilization could have spillover effects to patients in the form of higher health insurance premiums.

Methods: We use 2010-2021 state-level U.S. private health insurer financial data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. We examined changes to individual market health insurance premiums after the implementation of medical cannabis laws. We employed a robust difference-in-differences estimator that accounted for variation in policy timing to exploit temporal and geographic variation in state-level medical cannabis legalization.

Results: Seven years after the implementation of Medical Cannabis laws, we observe lower health insurer premiums in the individual market. Starting seven years post-MCL implementation, we find a reduction of $-1662.7 (95% confidence interval [CI -2650.1, -605.7]) for states which implemented MCLs compared to the control group, a reduction of -$1541.8 (95% confidence interval [CI 2602.1, -481.4]) in year 8, and a reduction of $-1625.8, (95% confidence interval [CI -2694.2, -557.5]) in year 9. Due to the nature of insurance pooling and community rating, these savings are appreciated by cannabis users and non-users alike in states that have implemented MCLs.

Conclusions: The implementation of MCLs lowers individual-market health insurance premiums. Health insurance spending, including premiums, comprises between 16% and 34% of household budgets in the United States. As healthcare costs continue to rise, our findings suggest that households that obtain their health insurance on the individual (i.e., not employer sponsored) market in states with MCLs appreciate significantly lower premiums.”

Cannabis reduces anxiety in dementia

MMW - Advances in Medicine 14/2023

“Neuropsychiatric symptoms occur in almost 90% of people with dementia. Agitated and aggressive behavior significantly reduces the quality of life of those affected and those around them, but it is difficult to access therapy. One option could be medicinal cannabis. The results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled study indicate that a full-spectrum cannabis extract with a high content of cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce dementia-related agitation [1]. In the study, 60 patients with severe neurocognitive disorder and associated behavioral disorders received a full-spectrum cannabis extract with 1% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and 30% CBD (Re:cannis) or a placebo oil. After 16 weeks, sleep disturbances, Agitation and aggression significantly improved compared to the placebo group. Since the effects only became apparent in the 14th week, patience is required.”

Cannabis use may attenuate neurocognitive performance deficits resulting from methamphetamine use disorder

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“Objective: Methamphetamine and cannabis are two widely used, and frequently co-used, substances with possibly opposing effects on the central nervous system. Evidence of neurocognitive deficits related to use is robust for methamphetamine and mixed for cannabis. Findings regarding their combined use are inconclusive. We aimed to compare neurocognitive performance in people with lifetime cannabis or methamphetamine use disorder diagnoses, or both, relative to people without substance use disorders.

Method: 423 (71.9% male, aged 44.6 ± 14.2 years) participants, stratified by presence or absence of lifetime methamphetamine (M-/M+) and/or cannabis (C-/C+) DSM-IV abuse/dependence, completed a comprehensive neuropsychological, substance use, and psychiatric assessment. Neurocognitive domain T-scores and impairment rates were examined using multiple linear and binomial regression, respectively, controlling for covariates that may impact cognition.

Results: Globally, M+C+ performed worse than M-C- but better than M+C-. M+C+ outperformed M+C- on measures of verbal fluency, information processing speed, learning, memory, and working memory. M-C+ did not display lower performance than M-C- globally or on any domain measures, and M-C+ even performed better than M-C- on measures of learning, memory, and working memory.

Conclusions: Our findings are consistent with prior work showing that methamphetamine use confers risk for worse neurocognitive outcomes, and that cannabis use does not appear to exacerbate and may even reduce this risk. People with a history of cannabis use disorders performed similarly to our nonsubstance using comparison group and outperformed them in some domains. These findings warrant further investigation as to whether cannabis use may ameliorate methamphetamine neurotoxicity.”

Cannabis use for exercise recovery in trained individuals: a survey study

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“Background: Cannabis use, be it either cannabidiol (CBD) use and/or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) use, shows promise to enhance exercise recovery. The present study aimed to determine if individuals are using CBD and/or THC as a means of recovery from aerobic and/or resistance exercise, as well as additional modalities that might be used to aid in recovery.

Methods: Following consent, 111 participants (Mean ± SD: Age: 31 ± 13 years) completed an anonymous survey. All participants were regularly using cannabis (CBD and/or THC) as well as were currently exercising. Questions pertained to level of cannabis use, methods used for consumption of cannabis, exercise habits, exercise recovery strategies, and demographics.

Results: Eighty-five percent of participants reported participating in aerobic training. In addition, 85% of participants also reported regular participation in resistance exercise. Seventy-two percent of participants participated in both aerobic and resistance exercise. Ninety-three percent of participants felt that CBD use assisted them with recovery from exercise, while 87% of participants felt the same regarding THC use.

Conclusions: Individuals who habitually use cannabis, CBD or THC, and regularly engage in exercise do feel that cannabis assists them with exercise recovery. More data are necessary to understand the role of cannabis in exercise recovery as well as perceived ergogenic benefits of cannabis by individuals who both regularly participate in exercise and habitually use cannabis.”

“CBD or THC use have been suggested to play a role in pain management, inflammation, and sleep, which are hallmarks for recovery from exercise. While data are lacking, it is clear that individuals are using cannabis and believe cannabis to have a positive effect on recovery from exercise. The present study demonstrated that in addition to more traditional recovery methods, cannabis is used as an ergogenic recovery aid by individuals that exercise regularly.”