Pharmacological Foundations of Cannabis Chemovars.

“An advanced Mendelian Cannabis breeding program has been developed utilizing chemical markers to maximize the yield of phytocannabinoids and terpenoids with the aim to improve therapeutic efficacy and safety.

Cannabis is often divided into several categories based on cannabinoid content. Type I, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol-predominant, is the prevalent offering in both medical and recreational marketplaces. In recent years, the therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol have been better recognized, leading to the promotion of additional chemovars: Type II, Cannabis that contains both Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, and cannabidiol-predominant Type III Cannabis.

While high-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and high-myrcene chemovars dominate markets, these may not be optimal for patients who require distinct chemical profiles to achieve symptomatic relief. Type II Cannabis chemovars that display cannabidiol- and terpenoid-rich profiles have the potential to improve both efficacy and minimize adverse events associated with Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol exposure. Cannabis samples were analyzed for cannabinoid and terpenoid content, and analytical results are presented via PhytoFacts, a patent-pending method of graphically displaying phytocannabinoid and terpenoid content, as well as scent, taste, and subjective therapeutic effect data.

Examples from the breeding program are highlighted and include Type I, II, and III Cannabis chemovars, those highly potent in terpenoids in general, or single components, for example, limonene, pinene, terpinolene, and linalool. Additionally, it is demonstrated how Type I - III chemovars have been developed with conserved terpenoid proportions. Specific chemovars may produce enhanced analgesia, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antidepressant, and anti-anxiety effects, while simultaneously reducing sequelae of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol such as panic, toxic psychosis, and short-term memory impairment.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29161743

https://www.thieme-connect.de/DOI/DOI?10.1055/s-0043-122240

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Current evidence of cannabinoid-based analgesia obtained in preclinical and human experimental settings.

European Journal of Pain

“Cannabinoids have a long record of recreational and medical use and become increasingly approved for pain therapy. This development is based on preclinical and human experimental research summarized in this review.

Cannabinoid CB1 receptors are widely expressed throughout the nociceptive system. Their activation by endogenous or exogenous cannabinoids modulates the release of neurotransmitters. This is reflected in antinociceptive effects of cannabinoids in preclinical models of inflammatory, cancer and neuropathic pain, and by nociceptive hypersensitivity of cannabinoid receptor-deficient mice.

Cannabis-based medications available for humans mainly comprise Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and nabilone.

During the last 10 years, six controlled studies assessing analgesic effects of cannabinoid-based drugs in human experimental settings were reported. An effect on nociceptive processing could be translated to the human setting in functional magnetic resonance imaging studies that pointed at a reduced connectivity within the pain matrix of the brain. However, cannabinoid-based drugs heterogeneously influenced the perception of experimentally induced pain including a reduction in only the affective but not the sensory perception of pain, only moderate analgesic effects, or occasional hyperalgesic effects. This extends to the clinical setting.

While controlled studies showed a lack of robust analgesic effects, cannabis was nearly always associated with analgesia in open-label or retrospective reports, possibly indicating an effect on well-being or mood, rather than on sensory pain. Thus, while preclinical evidence supports cannabinoid-based analgesics, human evidence presently provides only reluctant support for a broad clinical use of cannabinoid-based medications in pain therapy.

SIGNIFICANCE:

Cannabinoids consistently produced antinociceptive effects in preclinical models, whereas they heterogeneously influenced the perception of experimentally induced pain in humans and did not provide robust clinical analgesia, which jeopardizes the translation of preclinical research on cannabinoid-mediated antinociception into the human setting.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29160600

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejp.1148/abstract?systemMessage=Wiley+Online+Library+usage+report+download+page+will+be+unavailable+on+Friday+24th+November+2017+at+21%3A00+EST+%2F+02.00+GMT+%2F+10%3A00+SGT+%28Saturday+25th+Nov+for+SGT+

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Results of a Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study of Nabiximols Oromucosal Spray as Adjunctive Therapy in Advanced Cancer Patients With Chronic Uncontrolled Pain.

Journal of Pain and Symptom Management Home

“Prior phase 2/3 studies found that cannabinoids might provide adjunctive analgesia in advanced cancer patients with uncontrolled pain.

To assess adjunctive nabiximols (Sativex®), an extract of Cannabis sativa containing two potentially therapeutic cannabinoids (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, in advanced cancer patients with chronic pain unalleviated by optimized opioid therapy.

Nabiximols was statistically superior to placebo on two of three quality-of-life instruments at week 3 and on all three at week 5.

The safety profile of nabiximols was consistent with earlier studies.

Although not superior to placebo on the primary efficacy endpoint, nabiximols had benefits on multiple secondary endpoints, particularly in US patients.

Nabiximols might have utility in patients with advanced cancer who receive a lower opioid dose, such as individuals with early intolerance to opioid therapy.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28923526

http://www.jpsmjournal.com/article/S0885-3924(17)30465-7/fulltext

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Effects of Centrally Administered Endocannabinoids and Opioids on Orofacial Pain Perception in Rats.

British Journal of Pharmacology

“Endocannabinoids and opioids play a vital role in mediating pain-induced analgesia.

The specific effects of these compounds within orofacial region are largely unknown. In this study we tried to determine whether the increase of cannabinoid and opioid concentration in cerebrospinal fluid affects impulse transmission between the motor centers localized in the vicinity of the third and fourth cerebral ventricles.

We demonstrated that in the orofacial area analgesic activity is modulated by AEA and that EM-2-induced antinociception was mediated by MOR and CB1 receptors. The action of AEA and EM-2 is tightly regulated by FAAH and FAAH/MAGL, by preventing the breakdown of endogenous cannabinoids in regions where they are produced on demand.

Therefore, the current findings support the therapeutic potential of FAAH and FAAH/MAGL inhibitors as novel pharmacotherapeutic agents for orofacial pain.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28771697

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.13970/abstract

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Endocannabinoids in arthritis: current views and perspective.

International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases

“Preclinical and clinical studies using cannabis-based therapy have been shown to provide both analgesia and anti-inflammatory effects, with an overall alleviation of clinical symptoms in animal models of arthritis, highlighting its promising therapeutic application for humans. Despite this, the development of cannabis-based therapeutics remains in its infancy, with further investigation into its efficacy and safety profile in patients still required. This synopsis reviews the various components of the endocannabinoid system in health and disease and their potential as therapeutic targets.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28736968

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1756-185X.13146/abstract

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Nonopioid placebo analgesia is mediated by CB1 cannabinoid receptors.

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“Placebo analgesia is mediated by both opioid and nonopioid mechanisms, but so far nothing is known about the nonopioid component. Here we show that the specific CB1 cannabinoid receptor antagonist 5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichloro-phenyl)-4-methyl-N-(piperidin-1-yl)-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide (rimonabant or SR141716) blocks nonopioid placebo analgesic responses but has no effect on opioid placebo responses. These findings suggest that the endocannabinoid system has a pivotal role in placebo analgesia in some circumstances when the opioid system is not involved.”

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Continuous Intrathecal Infusion of Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists Attenuates Nerve Ligation-Induced Pain in Rats.

 

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“Cannabinoid receptors (CB1R/CB2R) are known to play important roles in pain transmission.

In this study, we investigated the effects of continuous intrathecal infusion of CB1/2R agonists in the L5/6 spinal nerve ligation pain model.

Continuous intrathecal infusion of CB1/2R agonists elicits antinociception in the pain model.

The mechanisms might involve their actions on neurons and glial cells. CB2R, but not CB1R, seems to play an important role in the regulation of nerve injury-induced neuroinflammation.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28492437

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Cannabis for Pain and Headaches: Primer.

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“Marijuana has been used both medicinally and recreationally since ancient times and interest in its compounds for pain relief has increased in recent years. The identification of our own intrinsic, endocannabinoid system has laid the foundation for further research.

Synthetic cannabinoids are being developed and synthesized from the marijuana plant such as dronabinol and nabilone. The US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of dronabinol and nabilone for chemotherapy-associated nausea and vomiting and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) wasting. Nabiximols is a cannabis extract that is approved for the treatment of spasticity and intractable pain in Canada and the UK. Further clinical trials are studying the effect of marijuana extracts for seizure disorders.

Phytocannabinoids have been identified as key compounds involved in analgesia and anti-inflammatory effects.  Other compounds found in cannabis such as flavonoids and terpenes are also being investigated as to their individual or synergistic effects.

This article will review relevant literature regarding medical use of marijuana and cannabinoid pharmaceuticals with an emphasis on pain and headaches.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28281107

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Cannabinoid receptor 2 agonist attenuates pain related behavior in rats with chronic alcohol/high fat diet induced pancreatitis

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“Chronic Pancreatitis (CP) is a complex and multifactorial syndrome. Many contributing factors result in development of dysfunctional pain in a significant number of patients. Drugs developed to treat a variety of pain states fall short of providing effective analgesia for patients with chronic pancreatitis, often providing minimal to partial pain relief over time with significant side effects.

Recently, availability of selective pharmacological tools has enabled great advances in our knowledge of the role of the cannabinoid receptors in pathophysiology. In particular, cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) has emerged as an attractive target for management of chronic pain, as demonstrated in several studies with inflammatory and neuropathic preclinical pain models. In this study, the analgesic efficacy of a novel, highly selective CB2 receptor agonist, LY3038404 HCl, is investigated in a chronic pancreatitis pain model, induced with an alcohol/high fat (AHF) diet.

LY3038404 HCl, a potent CB2 receptor agonist, possesses tissue protective and analgesic properties without effects on higher brain function. Thus, activation of CB2 receptors is suggested as a potential therapeutic target for visceral inflammation and pain management.

The major finding of the present study is that LY3038404 HCl, a potent CB2 receptor agonist, possesses tissue protective and analgesic properties. No effects on higher brain functions were observed including the diminished fear responses induced by the alcohol diet. Thus, activation of CB2 receptors is suggested as a potential therapeutic target for pancreas protection and pain management.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4242547/

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Effects on Spasticity and Neuropathic Pain of an Oral Formulation of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol in Patients With Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

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“The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of an oral formulation of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (ECP002A) in patients with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS).

Pain was significantly reduced when measured directly after administration of ECP002A in the clinic but not when measured in a daily diary. A similar pattern was observed in subjective muscle spasticity. Other clinical outcomes were not significantly different between active treatment and placebo. Cognitive testing indicated that there was no decline in cognition after 2 or 4 weeks of treatment attributable to ECP002A compared with placebo.

Implications This study specifically underlines the added value of thorough investigation of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic associations in the target population. Despite the complex interplay of psychoactive effects and analgesia, the current oral formulation of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol may play a role in the treatment of spasticity and pain associated with MS because it was well tolerated and had a stable pharmacokinetic profile.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28189366

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