A Systematic Review of the Effectiveness of Medical Cannabis for Psychiatric, Movement and Neurodegenerative Disorders.

“The discovery of endocannabinoid’s role within the central nervous system and its potential therapeutic benefits have brought forth rising interest in the use of cannabis for medical purposes. The present review aimed to synthesize and evaluate the available evidences on the efficacy of cannabis and its derivatives for psychiatric, neurodegenerative and movement disorders. A systematic search of randomized controlled trials of cannabis and its derivatives were conducted via databases (PubMed, Embase and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials). A total of 24 reports that evaluated the use of medical cannabis for Alzheimer’s disease, anorexia nervosa, anxiety, dementia, dystonia, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychosis and Tourette syndrome were included in this review. Trial quality was assessed with the Cochrane risk of bias tool. There is a lack of evidence on the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and dystonia. Although trials with positive findings were identified for anorexia nervosa, anxiety, PTSD, psychotic symptoms, agitation in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, Huntington’s disease, and Tourette syndrome, and dyskinesia in Parkinson’s disease, definitive conclusion on its efficacy could not be drawn. Evaluation of these low-quality trials, as rated on the Cochrane risk of bias tools, was challenged by methodological issues such as inadequate description of allocation concealment, blinding and underpowered sample size. More adequately powered controlled trials that examine the long and short term efficacy, safety and tolerability of cannabis for medical use, and the mechanisms underpinning the therapeutic potential are warranted.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29073741

http://www.cpn.or.kr/journal/view.html?doi=10.9758/cpn.2017.15.4.301

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Speechlessness in Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome: Cannabis-Based Medicines Improve Severe Vocal Blocking Tics in Two Patients.

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“We report the cases of two young German male patients with treatment-resistant Tourette syndrome (TS), who suffer from incapacitating stuttering-like speech disfluencies caused by vocal blocking tics and palilalia. Case 1: a 19-year old patient received medical cannabis at a dose of 1 × 0.1 g cannabis daily. Case 2: a 16-year old patient initially received dronabinol at a maximum dose of 22.4-33.6 mg daily. Both treatments provided significant symptom improvement of vocal blocking tics as well as of comorbid conditions and were well tolerated. Thus, cannabis-based medicine appears to be effective in treatment-resistant TS patients with vocal blocking tics.”

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Medicinal Uses of Marijuana and Cannabinoids

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“In the past two decades, there has been increasing interest in the therapeutic potential of cannabis and single cannabinoids, mainly cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC and cannabis products rich in THC exert their effects mainly through the activation of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). Since 1975, 140 controlled clinical trials using different cannabinoids or whole-plant preparations for the treatment of a large number of disorders and symptoms have been conducted. Results have led to the approval of cannabis-based medicines [dronabinol, nabilone, and the cannabis extract nabiximols (Sativex®, THC:CBD = 1:1)] as well as cannabis flowers in several countries. Controlled clinical studies provide substantial evidence for the use of cannabinoid receptor agonists in cancer chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, appetite loss and cachexia in cancer and HIV patients, neuropathic and chronic pain, and in spasticity in multiple sclerosis. In addition, there is also some evidence suggesting a therapeutic potential of cannabis-based medicines in other indications including Tourette syndrome, spinal cord injury, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and glaucoma. In several other indications, small uncontrolled and single-case studies reporting beneficial effects are available, for example in posttraumatic stress disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and migraine. The most common side effects of THC and cannabis-based medicines rich in THC are sedation and dizziness (in more than 10% of patients), psychological effects, and dry mouth. Tolerance to these side effects nearly always develops within a short time. Withdrawal symptoms are hardly ever a problem in the therapeutic setting. In recent years there is an increasing interest in the medical use of CBD, which exerts no intoxicating side effects and is usually well-tolerated. Preliminary data suggest promising effects in the treatment of anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, dystonia, and some forms of epilepsy. This review gives an overview on clinical studies which have been published over the past 40 years.”

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07352689.2016.1265360?needAccess=true&journalCode=bpts20

“Review Identifies 140 Controlled Clinical Trials Related to Cannabis”  http://blog.norml.org/2017/06/04/review-identifies-140-controlled-clinical-trials-related-to-cannabis/

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Preliminary Evidence on Cannabis Effectiveness and Tolerability for Adults With Tourette Syndrome.

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“The authors retrospectively evaluated effectiveness and tolerability of cannabis in 19 adults with Tourette syndrome.

Tics scores decreased by 60%, and 18 of the 19 participants were at least “much improved.”

Cannabis was generally well tolerated, although most participants reported side effects.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28464701

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Significant Tic Reduction in An Otherwise Treatment-Resistant Patient with Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome Following Treatment with Nabiximols.

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“Early anecdotal reports and preliminary studies suggested that cannabinoid-based medicines such as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are effective in the treatment of Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (TS).

We report a single case study of a patient with otherwise treatment-resistant TS successfully treated with nabiximols.

Our results provide further evidence that treatment with nabiximols may be effective in the treatment of patients with TS.

Given the positive response exhibited by the patient highlighted in this report, further investigation of the effects of nabiximols is proposed on a larger group of patients in a clinical trial setting.”

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Severe motor and vocal tics controlled with Sativex®.

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“A single case report on cannabinoid treatment for treatment-resistant Tourette syndrome (TS).

METHOD:

Our subject received 10.8 mg Tetrahydocannabinol and 10 mg cannabidiol daily, in the form of two oro-mucosal sprays of ‘Sativex®‘, twice daily. Assessment was pre-treatment and at week one, two, and four during treatment. He completed the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale as a subjective measure, and was videoed at each stage. The videos were objectively rated by two assessors, blind to the stage of treatment, using the Original Rush Videotape Rating Scale.

RESULTS:

Both subjective and objective measures demonstrated marked improvement in the frequency and severity of motor and vocal tics post-treatment. There was good interrater reliability of results.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our results support previous research suggesting that cannabinoids are a safe and effective treatment for TS and should be considered in treatment-resistant cases.

Further studies are needed to substantiate our findings.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27558217

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A frequent polymorphism in the coding exon of the human cannabinoid receptor (CNR1) gene.

“The central cannabinoid receptor (CB1) mediates the pharmacological activities of cannabis, the endogenous agonist anandamide and several synthetic agonists.

The cloning of the human cannabinoid receptor (CNR1) gene facilitates molecular genetic studies in disorders like Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), Parkinsons disease, Alzheimers disease or other neuro psychiatric or neurological diseases, which may be predisposed or influenced by mutations or variants in the CNR1 gene.

We detected a frequent silent mutation (1359G–>A) in codon 453 (Thr) of the CNR1 gene that turned out to be a common polymorphism in the German population. Allele frequencies of this polymorphism are 0.76 and 0.24, respectively.

We developed a simple and rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assay by artificial creation of a Msp I restriction site in amplified wild-type DNA (G-allele), which is destroyed by the silent mutation (A-allele).

The intragenic CNR1 polymorphism 1359(G/A) should be useful for association studies in neuro psychiatric disorders which may be related to anandamide metabolism disturbances.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10441206

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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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Treatment-refractory Tourette Syndrome.

“Tourette syndrome (TS) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition marked by tics and frequently associated with psychiatric comorbidities. While most cases are mild and improve with age, some are treatment-refractory.

Here, we review strategies for the management of this population. We begin by examining the diagnosis of TS and routine management strategies.

We then consider emerging treatments for refractory cases, including deep brain stimulation (DBS), electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), and novel pharmacological approaches such as new vesicular monoamine transporter type 2 inhibitors, cannabinoids, and anti-glutamatergic drugs.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26875502

http://www.thctotalhealthcare.com/category/tourettes-syndrome/

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Cannabinoids for Medical Use: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.

“Cannabis and cannabinoid drugs are widely used to treat disease or alleviate symptoms, but their efficacy for specific indications is not clear.

To conduct a systematic review of the benefits and adverse events (AEs) of cannabinoids.

There was moderate-quality evidence to support the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic pain and spasticity. There was low-quality evidence suggesting that cannabinoids were associated with improvements in nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, weight gain in HIV infection, sleep disorders, and Tourette syndrome.

Cannabinoids were associated with an increased risk of short-term AEs. Common AEs included dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, fatigue, somnolence, euphoria, vomiting, disorientation, drowsiness, confusion, loss of balance, and hallucination.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26103030

http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2338251

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