The Impact of Medical Cannabis on Intermittent and Chronic Opioid Users with Back Pain: How Cannabis Diminished Prescription Opioid Usage

View details for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image“To determine if cannabis may be used as an alternative or adjunct treatment for intermittent and chronic prescription opioid users.

Results: There were no between-group differences based on demographic, experiential, or attitudinal variables. We found that 50.8% were able to stop all opioid usage, which took a median of 6.4 years (IQR=1.75-11 years) after excluding two patients who transitioned off opioids by utilizing opioid agonists. For those 29 patients (47.5%) who did not stop opioids, 9 (31%) were able to reduce opioid use, 3 (10%) held the same baseline, and 17 (59%) increased their usage. Forty-eight percent of patients subjectively felt like cannabis helped them mitigate their opioid intake but this sentiment did not predict who actually stopped opioid usage. There were no variables that predicted who stopped opioids, except that those who used higher doses of cannabis were more likely to stop, which suggests that some patients might be able to stop opioids by using cannabis, particularly those who are dosed at higher levels.

Conclusions: In this long-term observational study, cannabis use worked as an alternative to prescription opioids in just over half of patients with low back pain and as an adjunct to diminish use in some chronic opioid users.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32923663/

“Cannabis has been used for centuries as an analgesic and has been shown to reduce chronic pain. In this long-term observational study of a single-center cannabis medical practice site, the addition of cannabis use worked as an alternative to prescription opioids in 50% of patients with chronic back pain. It worked as an adjunct to diminish use in some chronic opioid users. There was only one variable that predicted those who were able to stop opioids suggesting that some patients might be able to stop opioids by using cannabis and that those who do not stop opioids may not be titrated at doses of cannabis high enough to achieve the desired effect necessary to diminish or stop their opioid usage.”

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2019.0039

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Daily Cannabis Users with Sickle Cell Disease Show Fewer Admissions than Others with Similar Pain Complaints

View details for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image “Previous studies have shown that cannabis use is common in adults with sickle cell disease (SCD), and that many patients report using cannabis to treat pain.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of adults with SCD and compared daily users of cannabis with others using validated patient-reported measures of pain and quality of life as well as opioid and health care utilization.

Results: Daily cannabis users with SCD had worse pain episode severity scores than others (56.7 vs. 48.8, p=0.02) yet had 1.8 fewer annual admissions (p=0.01) and 1.2 fewer annual emergency room (ER) visits (p=0.01), and similar amounts of opioids dispensed to others after matching for age, gender, SCD genotype, hydroxyurea use, and pain impact scores.

Conclusions: We show that people with SCD with more severe pain crisis are more likely to use daily cannabis, yet have lower rates of hospital admission and ER use as compared with others with similar disease severity and pain impact. Randomized controlled trials should be performed.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32923662/

“We posit that people with SCD with severe pain are more likely to use daily cannabis due to its analgesic properties. This would explain why daily users reported more severe pain crises yet had fewer admissions and ER visits after propensity matching was performed.”

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2019.0036

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No Evidence of Altered Reactivity to Experimentally Induced Pain Among Regular Cannabis Users

Clinical Journal of Pain,Philadelphia - Gainbuzz“Recent years have seen an increase in the adoption of cannabinoid medicines, which have demonstrated effectiveness for the treatment of chronic pain.

However, the extent to which frequent cannabis use (CU) influences sensitivity to acute pain has not been systematically examined. Such a determination is clinically relevant in light of hypersensitivity to pain associated with prolonged use of other analgesics such as opioids, and reports of increased pain sensitivity to experimentally induced pain during acute cannabis intoxication.

This study explored differences in measures of pain intensity and tolerance. The authors hypothesized that individuals who report frequent CU would demonstrate greater experimental pain sensitivity.

Results: Frequent CU was not associated with hyperalgesia as cannabis users and nonusers did not exhibit differences on measures of pain tolerance (t (78)=-0.05; P=0.96), sensitivity (t (78)=-0.83; P=0.41), or intensity (t (78)=0.36; P=0.72).

Discussion: Frequent cannabis users did not demonstrate hyperalgesia. This finding should help to inform evaluations of the relative harms and benefits of cannabis analgesic therapies.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32433075/

https://journals.lww.com/clinicalpain/Abstract/2020/08000/No_Evidence_of_Altered_Reactivity_to.4.aspx

“Pain tolerance among cannabis users. Unlike opioids, long-term cannabis use does not increase sensitivity to pain. “This study should come as good news to patients who are already using cannabis to treat pain,” says co-author Zach Walsh, who leads the UBC Therapeutic Recreational and Problematic Substance Use Lab which hosted the study. “Increases in pain sensitivity with opioids can really complicate an already tough situation; given increasing uptake of cannabis-based pain medications it’s a relief that we didn’t identify a similar pattern with cannabinoids.”

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/09/200910120105.htm

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It Is Our Turn to Get Cannabis High: Put Cannabinoids in Food and Health Baskets

molecules-logo“Cannabis is an annual plant with a long history of use as food, feed, fiber, oil, medicine, and narcotics. Despite realizing its true value, it has not yet found its true place. Cannabis has had a long history with many ups and downs, and now it is our turn to promote it.

Cannabis contains approximately 600 identified and many yet unidentified potentially useful compounds. Cannabinoids, phenolic compounds, terpenoids, and alkaloids are some of the secondary metabolites present in cannabis. However, among a plethora of unique chemical compounds found in this plant, the most important ones are phytocannabinoids (PCs).

Over hundreds of 21-22-carbon compounds exclusively produce in cannabis glandular hairs through either polyketide and or deoxyxylulose phosphate/methylerythritol phosphate (DOXP/MEP) pathways. Trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are those that first come to mind while talking about cannabis. Nevertheless, despite the low concentration, cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), cannabidivarin (CBDV), cannabinodiol (CBND), and cannabinidiol (CBDL) may have potentially some medical effects.

PCs and endocannabinoids (ECs) mediate their effects mainly through CB1 and CB2 receptors. Despite all concerns regarding cannabis, nobody can ignore the use of cannabinoids as promising tonic, analgesic, antipyretic, antiemetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-epileptic, anticancer agents, which are effective for pain relief, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, nausea and vomiting, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disorders, and appetite stimulation.

The scientific community and public society have now increasingly accepted cannabis specifically hemp as much more than a recreational drug. There are growing demands for cannabinoids, mainly CBD, with many diverse therapeutic and nutritional properties in veterinary or human medicine. The main objective of this review article is to historically summarize findings concerning cannabinoids, mainly THC and CBD, towards putting these valuable compounds into food, feed and health baskets and current and future trends in the consumption of products derived from cannabis.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32899626/

https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/25/18/4036

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Topical cannabis-based medicines – A novel paradigm and treatment for non-uremic calciphylaxis leg ulcers: An open label trial

“Non-Uremic Calciphylaxis (NUC) is a rare condition that often manifests as intractable and painful integumentary wounds, afflicting patients with a high burden of co-morbidity.

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a ubiquitous signalling system that is theorised to be dysregulated within wound beds and associated peri-wound tissues.

Preclinical research has shown that the dominant chemical classes derived from the cannabis plant, cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, interact with the integumentary ECS to promote wound closure and analgesia.

This is a prospective open label cohort study involving two elderly Caucasian females with recalcitrant NUC leg ulcers of greater than 6 months duration.

Topical Cannabis-Based Medicines (TCBM) composed of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids were applied daily to both the wound bed and peri-wound tissues until complete wound closure was achieved.

Wounds were photographed regularly, and the digital images were subjected to planimetric analysis to objectively quantify the degree of granulation and epithelization. Analgesic utilisation, as a surrogate/proxy for pain scores, was also tracked. The cohort had a mean M3 multimorbidity index score of 3.31. Complete wound closure was achieved in a mean of 76.3 days. Additionally, no analgesics were required after a mean of 63 days.

The treatments were well tolerated with no adverse reactions. The positive results demonstrated in very challenging wounds such as NUC, among highly complex patients, suggest that TCBM may have an even broader role within integumentary and wound management.

This treatment paradigm warrants being trialled in other wound types and classes, and ultimately should be subjected to randomised controlled trials.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32875692/

“Topical Cannabis‐Based Medicines, applied to both wound beds and peri‐wound tissues, represent a promising novel, non‐invasive, and safe treatment option for NUC leg ulcers.”

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/iwj.13484

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Oral Transmucosal Cannabidiol Oil Formulation as Part of a Multimodal Analgesic Regimen: Effects on Pain Relief and Quality of Life Improvement in Dogs Affected by Spontaneous Osteoarthritis

animals-logo “The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of oral transmucosal (OTM) cannabidiol (CBD), in addition to a multimodal pharmacological treatment for chronic osteoarthritis-related pain in dogs.

Pain Severity Score was significantly lower in CBD than in C group at T1 (p = 0.0002), T2 (p = 0.0043) and T3 (p = 0.016). Pain Interference Score was significantly lower in CBD than in C group at T1 (p = 0.0002), T2 (p = 0.0007) and T4 (p = 0.004). Quality of Life Index was significantly higher in CBD group at T1 (p = 0.003). The addition of OTM CBD showed promising results. Further pharmacokinetics and long-term studies in larger populations are needed to encourage its inclusion into a multimodal pharmacological approach for canine osteoarthritis-related pain.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32858828/

“Osteoarthritis is a progressive and degenerative condition that affects dog populations, causing pain. The pain associated with osteoarthritis is considered to be chronic, owing to both active inflammation and to a maladaptive component caused by central sensitization. Chronic pain in dogs is being increasingly recognised as a significant problem, and finding successful treatments against canine osteoarthritis-related pain is challenging. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy in pain management over a twelve-week period of oral transmucosal cannabidiol, in combination with a multimodal pharmacological protocol, in dogs affected by spontaneous osteoarthritis. Dogs receiving oral transmucosal cannabidiol in addition to an anti-inflammatory drug, gabapentin and amitriptyline showed a meaningful improvement in Canine Brief Pain Inventory scores, in comparison with dogs that did not receive cannabidiol. The present study suggests that the addition of oral transmucosal cannabidiol to a multimodal pharmacological treatment for canine osteoarthritis improves owner reported pain scores and quality of life of dogs, without severe adverse effects.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/10/9/1505

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Cannabinoids in multiple sclerosis: A neurophysiological analysis

“Objectives

To investigate the action of cannabinoids on spasticity and pain in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, by means of neurophysiological indexes.

Material and Methods

We assessed 15 patients with progressive MS (11 females) using clinical scales for spasticity and pain, as well as neurophysiological variables (H/M ratio, cutaneous silent period or CSP). Testing occurred before (T0) and during (T1) a standard treatment with an oral spray containing delta‐9‐tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Neurophysiological measures at T0 were compared with those of 14 healthy controls of similar age and sex (HC). We then compared the patient results at the two time points (T1 vs T0).

Results

At T0, neurophysiological variables did not differ significantly between patients and controls. At T1, spasticity and pain scores improved, as detected by the Modified Ashworth Scale or MAS (P = .001), 9‐Hole Peg Test or 9HPT (P = .018), numeric rating scale for spasticity or NRS (P = .001), and visual analogue scale for pain or VAS (P = .005). At the same time, the CSP was significantly prolonged (P = .001).

Conclusions

The THC‐CBD spray improved spasticity and pain in secondary progressive MS patients. The spray prolonged CSP duration, which appears a promising tool for assessing and monitoring the analgesic effects of THC‐CBD in MS.”

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ane.13313

“THC, CBD Combo Eases MS Symptoms, Extends Cutaneous Silent Period”   https://www.ajmc.com/view/thc-cbd-combo-eases-ms-symptoms-extends-cutaneous-silent-period

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Medical cannabis for chronic pain: can it make a difference in pain management?

SpringerLink “Globally, chronic pain is a major therapeutic challenge and affects more than 15% of the population. As patients with painful terminal diseases may face unbearable pain, there is a need for more potent analgesics.

Although opioid-based therapeutic agents received attention to manage severe pain, their adverse drug effects and mortality rate associated with opioids overdose are the major concerns. Evidences from clinical trials showed therapeutic benefits of cannabis, especially delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabinoids reduced neuropathic pain intensity in various conditions. Also, there are reports on using combination cannabinoid therapies for chronic pain management.

The association of cannabis dependence and addiction has been discussed much and the reports mentioned that it can be comparatively lower than other substances such as nicotine and alcohol. More countries have decided to legalise the medicinal use of cannabis and marijuana. Healthcare professionals should keep themselves updated with the changing state of medical cannabis and its applications.

The pharmacokinetics and safety of medical cannabis need to be studied by conducting clinical research. The complex and variable chemically active contents of herbal cannabis and methodological limitations in the administration of cannabis to study participants, make the clinical research difficult.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31535218/

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00540-019-02680-y

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Spinal cannabinoid CB1 or CB2 receptors activation attenuates mechanical allodynia in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats

 Behavioural Pharmacology“Diabetes is a chronic disease associated with a high number of complications such as peripheral neuropathy, which causes sensorial disturbances and may lead to the development of diabetic neuropathic pain (DNP). The current treatment for DNP is just palliative and the drugs may cause severe adverse effects, leading to discontinuation of treatment. Thus, new therapeutic targets need to be urgently investigated.

Studies have shown that cannabinoids have promising effects in the treatment of several pathological conditions, including chronic pain.

Thus, we aimed to investigate the acute effect of the intrathecal injection of CB1 or CB2 cannabinoid receptor agonists N-(2-chloroethyl)-5Z, 8Z, 11Z, 14Z-eicosatetraenamide (ACEA) or JWH 133, respectively (10, 30 or 100 μg/rat) on the mechanical allodynia associated with experimental diabetes induced by streptozotocin (60 mg/kg; intraperitoneal) in rats.

Cannabinoid receptor antagonists CB1 AM251 or CB2 AM630 (1 mg/kg) were given before treatment with respective agonists to confirm the involvement of cannabinoid CB1 or CB2 receptors. Rats with diabetes exhibited a significant reduction on the paw mechanical threshold 2 weeks after diabetes induction, having the maximum effect observed 4 weeks after the streptozotocin injection. This mechanical allodynia was significantly improved by intrathecal treatment with ACEA or JWH 133 (only at the higher dose of 100 μg). Pre-treatment with AM251 or AM630 significantly reverted the anti-allodynic effect of the ACEA or JWH 133, respectively.

Considering the clinical challenge that the treatment of DPN represents, this study showed for the first time, that the intrathecal cannabinoid receptors agonists may represent an alternative for the treatment of DNP.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32804775/

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Emerging Promise of Cannabinoids for the Management of Pain and Associated Neuropathological Alterations in Alzheimer’s Disease

Frontiers in Pharmacology (@FrontPharmacol) | Twitter “Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an irreversible chronic neurodegenerative disorder that occurs when neurons in the brain degenerate and die. Pain frequently arises in older patients with neurodegenerative diseases including AD. However, the presence of pain in older people is usually overlooked with cognitive dysfunctions. Most of the times dementia patients experience moderate to severe pain but the development of severe cognitive dysfunctions tremendously affects their capability to express the presence of pain. Currently, there are no effective treatments against AD that emphasize the necessity for increasing research to develop novel drugs for treating or preventing the disease process. Furthermore, the prospective therapeutic use of cannabinoids in AD has been studied for the past few years. In this regard, targeting the endocannabinoid system has considered as a probable therapeutic strategy to control several associated pathological pathways, such as mitochondrial dysfunction, excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, and neuroinflammation for the management of AD. In this review, we focus on recent studies about the role of cannabinoids for the treatment of pain and related neuropathological changes in AD.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32792944/

“Cannabinoids act by targeting several signaling processes, such as pain, abnormal processing of Aβ and tau, neuroinflammation, excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction, which play a pivotal role in the management of AD. Cannabinoids also ameliorate behavioral and cognitive dysfunctions. Therefore, due to these extensive medical uses of cannabinoid compounds, it can be said that targeting the endocannabinoid system can be a promising strategy to develop an effective therapy for the management of AD. Furthermore, cannabinoids may demonstrate a safe and reliable low-cost therapy, with limited side effects.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2020.01097/full

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