Pain and Depression: A Systematic Review.

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“Pain comorbid with depression is frequently encountered in clinical settings and often leads to significant impaired functioning. Given the complexity of comorbidities, it is important to address both pain and depressive symptoms when evaluating treatment options.

Overall, studies suggested that pain and depression are highly intertwined and may co-exacerbate physical and psychological symptoms. These symptoms could lead to poor physical functional outcomes and longer duration of symptoms. An important biochemical basis for pain and depression focuses on serotonergic and norepinephrine systems, which is evident in the pain-ameliorating properties of serotonergic and norepinephrine antidepressants.

Alternative pharmacotherapies such as ketamine and cannabinoids appear to be safe and effective options for improving depressive symptoms and ameliorating pain. In addition, cognitive-behavioral therapy may be a promising tool in the management of chronic pain and depression.

CONCLUSION:

The majority of the literature indicates that patients with pain and depression experience reduced physical, mental, and social functioning as opposed to patients with only depression or only pain. In addition, ketamine, psychotropic, and cognitive-behavioral therapies present promising options for treating both pain and depression.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30407234

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00023727-201811000-00005

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Assessment of Efficacy and Tolerability of Medicinal Cannabinoids in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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“Are medicinal cannabinoids effective and well tolerated in the treatment of multiple sclerosis?

Findings  In this systematic review and meta-analysis of 17 randomized clinical trials including 3161 patients, cannabinoids were significantly associated with efficacy for subjective spasticity, pain, and bladder dysfunction compared with placebo. Cannabinoids had a higher risk of adverse events and withdrawals due to adverse events, with no statistically significant differences found for serious adverse events.

Meaning  Cannabinoids appear to be safe regarding serious adverse events, but their clinical benefit may be limited.

Cannabinoids have antispastic and analgesic effects.

The results suggest a limited efficacy of cannabinoids for the treatment of spasticity, pain, and bladder dysfunction in patients with MS. Therapy using these drugs can be considered as safe.”

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2706499

“MEDICAL MARIJUANA USES: CANNABIS MAY EASE SYMPTOMS OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS” https://www.newsweek.com/medical-marijuana-may-ease-symptoms-multiple-sclerosis-1170416

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Combined THC and CBD to treat pain in epidermolysis bullosa: a report of three cases.

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“Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a genetic blistering disorder characterized by intense pain related to disease pathology and care-based interventions. Opioid-based therapies underpin pain-care in EB however are unable to provide adequate analgesia in a significant proportion of patients. Cannabinoid-based medicines (CBMs) have been increasingly studied for pain conditions of various etiologies and pose as a novel dimension for pain-care in EB. We present three cases of EB who were prescribed pharmaceutical-grade sublingually administered CBMs comprising tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). All three patients reported improved pain scores, reduced pruritus and reduction in overall analgesic drug intake. ”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30347109

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bjd.17341

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THC and gabapentin interactions in a mouse neuropathic pain model.

Neuropharmacology

“Clinical studies have shown that the major psychoactive ingredient of Cannabis sativa Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has some analgesic efficacy in neuropathic pain states.

However, THC has a significant side effect profile. We examined whether the profile of THC could be improved by co-administering it with the first-line neuropathic pain medication gabapentin.

These findings indicate that gabapentin synergistically enhances the anti-allodynic actions of THC and improves its therapeutic window.

Thus, THC may represent a potential adjuvant for neuropathic pain medications such as gabapentin.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30312630

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028390818307779?via%3Dihub

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Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for Pain and Inflammation Treatment.

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“There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that cannabinoids are beneficial for a range of clinical conditions, including pain, inflammation, epilepsy, sleep disorders, the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, anorexia, schizophrenia and other conditions.

The transformation of cannabinoids from herbal preparations into highly regulated prescription drugs is therefore progressing rapidly. The development of such drugs requires well-controlled clinical trials to be carried out in order to objectively establish therapeutic efficacy, dose ranges and safety.

The low oral bioavailability of cannabinoids has led to feasible methods of administration, such as the transdermal route, intranasal administration and transmucosal adsorption, being proposed. The highly lipophilic nature of cannabinoids means that they are seen as suitable candidates for advanced nanosized drug delivery systems, which can be applied via a range of routes.

Nanotechnology-based drug delivery strategies have flourished in several therapeutic fields in recent years and numerous drugs have reached the market. This review explores the most recent developments, from preclinical to advanced clinical trials, in the cannabinoid delivery field, and focuses particularly on pain and inflammation treatment. Likely future directions are also considered and reported.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30262735

https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/23/10/2478

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Association of Cannabinoid Administration With Experimental Pain in Healthy Adults A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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“Patients have reliably endorsed the belief that cannabis is helpful in alleviating pain.

Cannabinoids (the collective term for all of the drugs examined in this study, including plant-based cannabis, which can contain multiple compounds) have long been considered effective for reducing pain and are frequently proposed as treatment options in pain management.

Cannabinoid drugs may prevent the onset of pain by producing small increases in pain thresholds but may not reduce the intensity of experimental pain already being experienced; instead, cannabinoids may make experimental pain feel less unpleasant and more tolerable, suggesting an influence on affective processes.

Cannabis-induced improvements in pain-related negative affect may underlie the widely held belief that cannabis relieves pain.”

“Cannabinoid drugs make pain feel ‘less unpleasant, more tolerable'”  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180919111454.htm

“Medical marijuana increases pain threshold for patients”  https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2018/09/19/Medical-marijuana-increases-pain-threshold-for-patients/1771537292969/?rc_fifo=1

“Study reveals cannabinoid drugs make pain feel ‘less unpleasant, more tolerable'”  https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-09-reveals-cannabinoid-drugs-pain-unpleasant.html

“Cannabinoid drugs reduce perceived unpleasantness of painful stimuli and increase tolerance” https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180919/Cannabinoid-drugs-reduce-perceived-unpleasantness-of-painful-stimuli-and-increase-tolerance.aspx

“Cannabinoids appear to increase pain tolerability”  https://www.healio.com/psychiatry/practice-management/news/online/%7B7626bb3f-ce35-4968-99bc-50ecdaac79b7%7D/cannabinoids-appear-to-increase-pain-tolerability

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Care After Chemotherapy: Peripheral Neuropathy, Cannabis for Symptom Control, and Mindfulness.

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“As cancer therapies improve, patients are living longer. With these improvements in therapy comes a responsibility to optimize patients’ quality of life during cancer therapy and beyond. This report reviews three timely and important topics.

The first section reviews the mechanism underlying chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy and evaluates the evidence for interventions to prevent and treat peripheral neuropathy. It also provides a framework for approaching the diagnosis and management of this common and bothersome side effect.

The second section addresses the controversial but effective use of cannabinoids for cancer and chemotherapy symptoms. Although clinical trials are difficult to conduct because of the political and social stigma of this class of drugs, this review provides evidence of the efficacy of cannabinoids for treatment of pain and nausea.

The last section addresses the mind-body connection, with a focus on the negative emotions patients with cancer often experience. This section assesses the literature regarding mindfulness-based programs to improve cancer-related stress. These three topics may appear unrelated, but all address one common goal: treating the body and the mind to optimize quality of life during and after cancer therapy.”

“Although commercially available dronabinol is not superior to other antiemetics and oromucosal nabiximols is not very effective for treating cancer pain, cannabis has been shown to be effective for treating pain and may help patients reduce opioid intake.”
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Cannabinoids and spinal cord stimulation for the treatment of failed back surgery syndrome refractory pain

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“This study aimed to evaluate pain and its symptoms in patients with failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) refractory to other therapies, treated with a combination of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), in association with spinal cord stimulation (SCS).

Results: Effective pain management as compared to baseline result was achieved in all the cases studied. The positive effect of cannabinoid agonists on refractory pain was maintained during the entire duration of treatment with minimal dosage titration. Pain perception, evaluated through numeric rating scale, decreased from a baseline mean value of 8.18±1.07–4.72±0.9 by the end of the study duration (12 months) (P<0.001).

Conclusion: The results indicate that cannabinoid agonists (THC/CBD) can have remarkable analgesic capabilities, as adjuvant of SCS, for the treatment of chronic refractory pain of FBSS patients.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30233233

https://www.dovepress.com/cannabinoids-and-spinal-cord-stimulation-for-the-treatment-of-failed-b-peer-reviewed-article-JPR

“Outcomes indicate remarkable analgesic capabilities of cannabinoid agonists (THC/CBD) as an adjuvant to SCS for treating chronic refractory pain in FBSS patients, since all the cases studied achieved effective pain management compared to baseline.”

https://www.mdlinx.com/journal-summaries/cannabinoids-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-thc-cannabidiol/2018/09/13/7544234/

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Emerging Evidence for Cannabis’ Role in Opioid Use Disorder.

 Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image “The opioid epidemic has become an immense problem in North America, and despite decades of research on the most effective means to treat opioid use disorder (OUD), overdose deaths are at an all-time high, and relapse remains pervasive.

Although there are a number of FDA-approved opioid replacement therapies and maintenance medications to help ease the severity of opioid withdrawal symptoms and aid in relapse prevention, these medications are not risk free nor are they successful for all patients. Furthermore, there are legal and logistical bottlenecks to obtaining traditional opioid replacement therapies such as methadone or buprenorphine, and the demand for these services far outweighs the supply and access.

To fill the gap between efficacious OUD treatments and the widespread prevalence of misuse, relapse, and overdose, the development of novel, alternative, or adjunct OUD treatment therapies is highly warranted. In this article, we review emerging evidence that suggests that cannabis may play a role in ameliorating the impact of OUD. Herein, we highlight knowledge gaps and discuss cannabis’ potential to prevent opioid misuse (as an analgesic alternative), alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms, and decrease the likelihood of relapse.

Conclusion: The compelling nature of these data and the relative safety profile of cannabis warrant further exploration of cannabis as an adjunct or alternative treatment for OUD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30221197

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2018.0022

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Restored Self: A Phenomenological Study of Pain Relief by Cannabis.

Pain Medicine

“OBJECTIVE:

To explore the subjective experience of pain relief by cannabis.

RESULTS:

Three key themes that emerged from the analysis were explored: 1) the Sigh of Relief, describing the corporal sensation of using cannabis, including a sense of relaxation and reduction in pain; 2) the Return to Normality, describing the comprehensive effect of using cannabis, including an increased ability to sleep, focus, and function; and 3) the Side Effects of using cannabis.

CONCLUSIONS:

We propose the term Restored Self to conceptualize the effect of medical cannabis. Restored Self is the experience of regaining one’s sense of self, sense of normality, and sense of control over one’s life.”

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