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

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“Cannabinoids have antispastic and analgesic effects; however, their role in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms is not well defined.

OBJECTIVE:

To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the efficacy and tolerability of medicinal cannabinoids compared with placebo in the symptomatic treatment of patients with MS.

STUDY SELECTION:

Randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled trials evaluating the effect of medicinal cannabinoids by oral or oromucosal route of administration on the symptoms of spasticity, pain, or bladder dysfunction in adult patients with MS.

RESULTS:

Seventeen selected trials including 3161 patients were analyzed. Significant findings for the efficacy of cannabinoids vs placebo were SMD = -0.25 SD (95% CI, -0.38 to -0.13 SD) for spasticity (subjective patient assessment data), -0.17 SD (95% CI, -0.31 to -0.03 SD) for pain, and -0.11 SD (95% CI, -0.22 to -0.0008 SD) for bladder dysfunction. Results favored cannabinoids. Findings for tolerability were RR = 1.72 patient-years (95% CI, 1.46-2.02 patient-years) in the total adverse events analysis and 2.95 patient-years (95% CI, 2.14-4.07 patient-years) in withdrawals due to adverse events. Results described a higher risk for cannabinoids. The serious adverse events meta-analysis showed no statistical significance.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:

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://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30646241

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

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Structure of a Signaling Cannabinoid Receptor 1-G Protein Complex.

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“Cannabis elicits its mood-enhancing and analgesic effects through the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1), a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) that signals primarily through the adenylyl cyclase-inhibiting heterotrimeric G protein Gi. Activation of CB1-Gi signaling pathways holds potential for treating a number of neurological disorders and is thus crucial to understand the mechanism of Giactivation by CB1.

Here, we present the structure of the CB1-Gi signaling complex bound to the highly potent agonist MDMB-Fubinaca (FUB), a recently emerged illicit synthetic cannabinoid infused in street drugs that have been associated with numerous overdoses and fatalities.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30639101

https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0092867418315654

“Antidepressant-like effect of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa L. Results of this study show that Delta(9)-THC and other cannabinoids exert antidepressant-like actions, and thus may contribute to the overall mood-elevating properties of cannabis.”   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20332000

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Discovering the pharmacodynamics of conolidine and cannabidiol using a cultured neuronal network based workflow.

Scientific Reports“Determining the mechanism of action (MOA) of novel or naturally occurring compounds mostly relies on assays tailored for individual target proteins.

Conolidine and cannabidiol are plant-derivatives with known antinociceptive activity but unknown MOA.

We used principal component analysis (PCA) and multi-dimensional scaling (MDS) to compare network activity profiles of conolidine/cannabidiol to a series of well-studied compounds with known MOA.

Network activity profiles evoked by conolidine and cannabidiol closely matched that of ω-conotoxin CVIE, a potent and selective Cav2.2 calcium channel blocker with proposed antinociceptive action suggesting that they too would block this channel. To verify this, Cav2.2 channels were heterologously expressed, recorded with whole-cell patch clamp and conolidine/cannabidiol was applied.

Remarkably, conolidine and cannabidiol both inhibited Cav2.2, providing a glimpse into the MOA that could underlie their antinociceptive action.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30644434

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-37138-w

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Cannabis sativa L. and Nonpsychoactive Cannabinoids: Their Chemistry and Role against Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, and Cancer.

 Related image“In the last decades, a lot of attention has been paid to the compounds present in medicinal Cannabis sativa L., such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), and their effects on inflammation and cancer-related pain.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) currently recognizes medicinal C. sativa as an effective treatment for providing relief in a number of symptoms associated with cancer, including pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, and anxiety.

Several studies have described CBD as a multitarget molecule, acting as an adaptogen, and as a modulator, in different ways, depending on the type and location of disequilibrium both in the brain and in the body, mainly interacting with specific receptor proteins CB1 and CB2.

CBD is present in both medicinal and fibre-type C. sativa plants, but, unlike Δ9-THC, it is completely nonpsychoactive. Fibre-type C. sativa (hemp) differs from medicinal C. sativa, since it contains only few levels of Δ9-THC and high levels of CBD and related nonpsychoactive compounds.

In recent years, a number of preclinical researches have been focused on the role of CBD as an anticancer molecule, suggesting CBD (and CBD-like molecules present in the hemp extract) as a possible candidate for future clinical trials.

CBD has been found to possess antioxidant activity in many studies, thus suggesting a possible role in the prevention of both neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. In animal models, CBD has been shown to inhibit the progression of several cancer types. Moreover, it has been found that coadministration of CBD and Δ9-THC, followed by radiation therapy, causes an increase of autophagy and apoptosis in cancer cells. In addition, CBD is able to inhibit cell proliferation and to increase apoptosis in different types of cancer models.

These activities seem to involve also alternative pathways, such as the interactions with TRPV and GRP55 receptor complexes. Moreover, the finding that the acidic precursor of CBD (cannabidiolic acid, CBDA) is able to inhibit the migration of breast cancer cells and to downregulate the proto-oncogene c-fos and the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) highlights the possibility that CBDA might act on a common pathway of inflammation and cancer mechanisms, which might be responsible for its anticancer activity.

In the light of all these findings, in this review we explore the effects and the molecular mechanisms of CBD on inflammation and cancer processes, highlighting also the role of minor cannabinoids and noncannabinoids constituents of Δ9-THC deprived hemp.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30627539

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2018/1691428/

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Changes in Monoaminergic Neurotransmission in an Animal Model of Osteoarthritis: The Role of Endocannabinoid Signaling.

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“Chronic pain is a main symptom of osteoarthritis (OA). Moreover, a high percentage of OA patients suffer from mental health problems.

The endocannabinoid (EC) system has attracted attention as an emerging drug target for pain treatment together with its activity on the mesolimbic reward system.

Understanding the circuits that govern the reward of pain relief is crucial for the search for effective analgesics. Therefore, we investigated the role of the EC system on dopamine (DA) and noradrenaline (NA) in an animal model of OA-related chronic pain.

Our results demonstrated that chronic pain in OA rats was reflected by the inhibition of mesolimbic and mesocortical dopaminergic transmission, and may indicate the pro-pain role of NA in the FCx.

The data provide understanding about changes in neurotransmission in chronic pain states and may explain the clinical improvement in perceived life quality following cannabinoid treatment.

Additional mechanistic studies in preclinical models examining the intersection between chronic pain and reward circuits may offer new approaches for improving pain therapy.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30618615

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnmol.2018.00466/full

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Cannabinoids-induced peripheral analgesia depends on activation of BK channels.

 Brain Research“The endogenous cannabinoid system is involved in the physiological inhibitory control of pain and is of particular interest for the development of therapeutic approaches for pain management.

Selective activation of the peripheral CB1 cannabinoid receptor has been shown to suppress the heightened firing of primary afferents, which is the peripheral mechanism underlying neuropathic pain after nerve injury. However, the mechanism underlying this effect of CB1 receptor remains unclear.

The large-conductance calcium-activated potassium (BK) channels have been reported to participate in anticonvulsant and vasorelaxant effects of cannabinoids. We asked whether BK channels participate in cannabinoids-induced analgesia and firing-suppressing effects in primary afferents after nerve injury.

Here, using mice with chronic constriction injury(CCI)-induced neuropathic pain, antinociception action and firing-suppressing effect of HU210 were measured before and after BK channel blocker application. We found that local peripheral application of HU210 alleviated CCI-induced pain behavior and suppressed the heightened firing of injured fibers. Co-administration of IBTX with HU210 significantly reversed the analgesia and the firing-suppressing effect of HU210.

This result indicated that the peripheral analgesic effects of cannabinoids depends on activation of BK channels.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30615887

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006899319300071?via%3Dihub

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An experimental randomized study on the analgesic effects of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis in chronic pain patients with fibromyalgia.

 

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“In this experimental randomized placebo-controlled 4-way crossover trial, we explored the analgesic effects of inhaled pharmaceutical-grade cannabis in twenty chronic pain patients with fibromyalgia.

We tested four different cannabis varieties with exact knowledge on their [INCREMENT]-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and cannabidiol (CBD) content: Bedrocan® (22.4 mg THC, < 1 mg CBD), Bediol® (13.4 mg THC, 17.8 mg CBD), Bedrolite® (18.4 mg CBD, < 1 mg THC) and a placebo variety without any THC or CBD.

Following a single vapor inhalation, THC and CBD plasma concentrations, pressure and electrical pain thresholds, spontaneous pain scores and drug high were measured for 3 hours. None of the treatments had an effect greater than placebo on spontaneous or electrical pain responses, although more subjects receiving Bediol® displayed a 30% decrease in pain scores compared to placebo (90% vs. 55% of patients, p = 0.01), with spontaneous pain scores correlating with the magnitude of drug high (ρ = -0.5, p < 0.001). Cannabis varieties containing THC caused a significant increase in pressure pain threshold relative to placebo (p < 0.01). CBD inhalation increased THC plasma concentrations but diminished THC-induced analgesic effects, indicative of a synergistic pharmacokinetic but antagonistic pharmacodynamic interactions of THC and CBD.

This experimental trial shows the complex behavior of inhaled cannabinoids in chronic pain patients with just small analgesic responses after a single inhalation. Further studies are needed to determine long-term treatment effects on spontaneous pain scores, THC-CBD interactions and the role of psychotropic symptoms on pain relief.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30585986

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00006396-900000000-98794

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Medical Cannabis in the Skilled Nursing Facility: A Novel Approach to Improving Symptom Management and Quality of Life.

Journal of the American Medical Directors Association Home

“Throughout the millennia, the cannabis plant has been utilized as a recognized therapy for pain relief and symptom management.

Following the Prohibition-era stigmatization and criminalization of all forms of cannabis of the early 20th century, there has been a recent nationwide and worldwide resurgence in interest and use of the cannabinoid compounds extracted from the cannabis plant, that is, medical cannabis.

Although at the Federal level, cannabis remains a Schedule I substance, 31 states have already decriminalized possession and use of medical cannabis for specific diagnoses.

It is noteworthy that many of these indicated diagnoses are prevalent in the skilled nursing facility (SNF). This creates regulatory concerns as SNFs and other healthcare facilities must maintain compliance with Federal laws, while balancing the individual resident’s rights to utilize medical cannabis where indicated.

The authors developed an innovative program that affords their residents the ability to participate in a state-approved medical cannabis program while remaining compliant with Federal law. As medical cannabis use becomes more widespread and accepted, clinicians providing medical care in healthcare facilities will encounter residents who may benefit from and request this alternative therapy.

Studies examining older adults that are utilizing medical cannabis legally have demonstrated significant decreases in prescription medication use, most notably a reduction in opioid analgesic usage. As such, medical cannabis should be viewed as an additional option in the clinician’s toolbox of therapeutic interventions for symptom relief.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30580820

https://www.jamda.com/article/S1525-8610(18)30662-5/fulltext

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Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules.

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“Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.

The prohibition of cannabis in the middle of the 20th century has arrested cannabis research.

In recent years there is a growing debate about the use of cannabis for medical purposes.

The term ‘medical cannabis’ refers to physician-recommended use of the cannabis plant and its components, called cannabinoids, to treat disease or improve symptoms.

Chronic pain is the most commonly cited reason for using medical cannabis.

Cannabinoids act via cannabinoid receptors, but they also affect the activities of many other receptors, ion channels and enzymes.

Preclinical studies in animals using both pharmacological and genetic approaches have increased our understanding of the mechanisms of cannabinoid-induced analgesia and provided therapeutical strategies for treating pain in humans.

The mechanisms of the analgesic effect of cannabinoids include inhibition of the release of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides from presynaptic nerve endings, modulation of postsynaptic neuron excitability, activation of descending inhibitory pain pathways, and reduction of neural inflammation.

Recent meta-analyses of clinical trials that have examined the use of medical cannabis in chronic pain present a moderate amount of evidence that cannabis/cannabinoids exhibit analgesic activity, especially in neuropathic pain.

The main limitations of these studies are short treatment duration, small numbers of patients, heterogeneous patient populations, examination of different cannabinoids, different doses, the use of different efficacy endpoints, as well as modest observable effects.

Adverse effects in the short-term medical use of cannabis are generally mild to moderate, well tolerated and transient. However, there are scant data regarding the long-term safety of medical cannabis use.

Larger well-designed studies of longer duration are mandatory to determine the long-term efficacy and long-term safety of cannabis/cannabinoids and to provide definitive answers to physicians and patients regarding the risk and benefits of its use in the treatment of pain.

In conclusion, the evidence from current research supports the use of medical cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain in adults. Careful follow-up and monitoring of patients using cannabis/cannabinoids are mandatory.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30542280

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2018.01259/full

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What does the ecological and epidemiological evidence indicate about the potential for cannabinoids to reduce opioid use and harms? A comprehensive review.

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“Pre-clinical research supports that cannabinoids reduce opioid dose requirements, but few studies have tested this in humans. This review evaluates ecological and epidemiological studies that have been cited as evidence that medical cannabis use may reduce opioid use and opioid-related harms. Medline and Embase were searched for relevant articles. Data were extracted on study setting, analyses approach, covariates, and outcomes. Eleven ecological and 14 epidemiological studies were found. In ecological studies, states that allow medical cannabis laws have reported a slower rate of increase in opioid overdose deaths compared with states without such laws. These differences have increased over time and persisted after controlling for state sociodemographic characteristics and use of prescription monitoring programmes. Few studies have controlled for other potential confounders such as opioid dependence treatment and imprisonment rates. Some epidemiological studies provide evidence that cannabis availability may reduce opioid use, but are limited by selection bias, cross-sectional designs, and self-reported assessments of the opioid-sparing effects of cannabis. Some epidemiological and ecological studies suggest that cannabis may reduce opioid use and harms, although important methodological weaknesses were identified. Well-designed clinical studies may provide more conclusive evidence on whether cannabinoids can reduce opioid use and related harm.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30522342

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09540261.2018.1509842?journalCode=iirp20

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