Medical Cannabis in Children.

 Logo of rmmj“The use of medical cannabis in children is rapidly growing.

While robust evidence currently exists only for pure cannabidiol (CBD) to treat specific types of refractory epilepsy, in most cases, artisanal strains of CBD-rich medical cannabis are being used to treat children with various types of refractory epilepsy or irritability associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Other common pediatric disorders that are being considered for cannabis treatment are Tourette syndrome and spasticity.

As recreational cannabis use during youth is associated with serious adverse events and medical cannabis use is believed to have a relatively high placebo effect, decisions to use medical cannabis during childhood and adolescence should be made with caution and based on evidence.

This review summarizes the current evidence for safety, tolerability, and efficacy of medical cannabis in children with epilepsy and in children with ASD. The main risks associated with use of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD in the pediatric population are described, as well as the debate regarding the use of whole-plant extract to retain a possible “entourage effect” as opposed to pure cannabinoids that are more standardized and reproducible.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32017680

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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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The Potential of Cannabinoid-Based Treatments in Tourette Syndrome.

“Novel pharmacological treatments are needed for Tourette syndrome.

Our goal was to examine the current evidence base and biological rationale for the use of cannabis-derived medications or medications that act on the cannabinoid system in Tourette syndrome.

There is a strong biological rationale regarding how cannabis-derived medications could affect tic severity. Anecdotal case reports and series have noted that many patients report that their tics improve after using cannabis. However, only two small randomized, placebo-controlled trials of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol have been published; these suggested possible benefits of cannabis-derived agents for the treatment of tics.

Trials examining other agents active on the cannabinoid system for tic disorders are currently ongoing.

Cannabinoid-based treatments are a promising avenue of new research for medications that may help the Tourette syndrome population.”

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Dark Classics in Chemical Neuroscience: Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol.

 ACS Chemical Neuroscience

“Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) is the most widely used illicit drug in the world, with an estimated 192 million users globally.

The main psychoactive component of cannabis is (-)-trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), a molecule with a diverse range of pharmacological actions. The unique and distinctive intoxication caused by Δ9-THC primarily reflects partial agonist action at central cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors.

Δ9-THC is an approved therapeutic treatment for a range of conditions, including chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and is being investigated in indications such as anorexia nervosa, agitation in dementia, and Tourette’s syndrome.

It is available as a regulated pharmaceutical in products such as Marinol®, Sativex®, and Namisol®, as well as in an ever-increasing range of unregistered medicinal and recreational cannabis products.

While cannabis is an ancient medicament, contemporary use is embroiled in legal, scientific, and social controversy, much of which relates to the potential hazards and benefits of Δ9-THC itself.

Robust contemporary debate surrounds the therapeutic value of Δ9-THC in different diseases, its capacity to produce psychosis and cognitive impairment, and the addictive and “gateway” potential of the drug.

This review will provide a profile of the chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, and recreational and therapeutic uses of Δ9-THC, as well as the historical and societal importance of this unique, distinctive, and ubiquitous psychoactive substance.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30689342

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acschemneuro.8b00651

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Single center experience with medical cannabis in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome.

Parkinsonism and Related Disorders Home

“Patients with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) experience reduced function and impaired quality of life. The current medical treatments for this syndrome can cause significant side effects and offer partial symptomatic relief.

In a few small trials medical cannabis (MC) has been suggested to offer symptomatic relief with a relatively benign side effect profile.

We conducted a real-life assessment of clinical benefit and adverse effects of chronic MC treatment among patients with GTS.

CONCLUSION:

MC seems to hold promise in the treatment of GTS as it demonstrated high subjective satisfaction by most patients however not without side effects and should be further investigated as a treatment option for this syndrome.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30292733

https://www.prd-journal.com/article/S1353-8020(18)30429-2/fulltext

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Cannabidiol prevents haloperidol-induced vacuos chewing movements and inflammatory changes in mice via PPARγ receptors.

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity

“The chronic use of drugs that reduce the dopaminergic neurotransmission can cause a hyperkinetic movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia (TD). The pathophysiology of this disorder is not entirely understood but could involve oxidative and neuroinflammatory mechanisms.

Cannabidiol (CBD), the major non-psychotomimetic compound present in Cannabis sativa plant, could be a possible therapeutic alternative for TD. This phytocannabinoid shows antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antipsychotic properties and decreases the acute motor effects of classical antipsychotics.

The present study investigated if CBD would attenuate orofacial dyskinesia, oxidative stress and inflammatory changes induced by chronic administration of haloperidol in mice. Furthermore, we verified in vivo and in vitro (in primary microglial culture) whether these effects would be mediated by PPARγ receptors.

The results showed that the male Swiss mice treated daily for 21 days with haloperidol develop orofacial dyskinesia. Daily CBD administration before each haloperidol injection prevented this effect.

Mice treated with haloperidol showed an increase in microglial activation and inflammatory mediators in the striatum. These changes were also reduced by CBD. On the other hand, the levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 increased in the striatum of animals that received CBD and haloperidol.

Regarding oxidative stress, haloperidol induced lipid peroxidation and reduced catalase activity. This latter effect was attenuated by CBD. The combination of CBD and haloperidol also increased PGC-1α mRNA expression, a co-activator of PPARγ receptors. Pretreatment with the PPARγ antagonist, GW9662, blocked the behavioural effect of CBD in our TD model. CBD also prevented LPS-stimulated microglial activation, an effect that was also antagonized by GW9662.

In conclusion, our results suggest that CBD could prevent haloperidol-induced orofacial dyskinesia by activating PPARγ receptors and attenuating neuroinflammatory changes in the striatum.”

“Haloperidol, marketed under the trade name Haldol among others, is a typical antipsychotic medication. Haloperidol is used in the treatment of schizophrenia, tics in Tourette syndromemania in bipolar disorder, nausea and vomiting, delirium, agitation, acute psychosis, and hallucinations in alcohol withdrawal”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haloperidol
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A Brief Background on Cannabis: From Plant to Medical Indications.

 Ingenta Connect

“Cannabis has been used as a medicinal plant for thousands of years.

As a result of centuries of breeding and selection, there are now over 700 varieties of cannabis that contain hundreds of compounds, including cannabinoids and terpenes.

Cannabinoids are fatty compounds that are the main biological active constituents of cannabis. Terpenes are volatile compounds that occur in many plants and have distinct odors.

Cannabinoids exert their effect on the body by binding to receptors, specifically cannabinoid receptors types 1 and 2. These receptors, together with endogenous cannabinoids and the systems for synthesis, transport, and degradation, are called the Endocannabinoid System.

The two most prevalent and commonly known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol.

The speed, strength, and type of effects of cannabis vary based on the route of administration. THC is rapidly distributed through the body to fatty tissues like the brain and is metabolized by the cytochrome P450 system to 11-hydroxy-THC, which is also psychoactive.

Cannabis and cannabinoids have been indicated for several medical conditions.

There is evidence of efficacy in the symptomatic treatment of nausea and vomiting, pain, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, loss of appetite, Tourette’s syndrome, and epilepsy. Cannabis has also been associated with treatment for glaucoma, Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and dystonia, but there is not good evidence to support its efficacy. Side effects of cannabis include psychosis and anxiety, which can be severe.

Here, we provided a summary of the history of cannabis, its pharmacology, and its medical uses.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30139415

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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.

ijms-logo

“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

Publication Cover

“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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