“Spasticity is one of the most common symptoms in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Conventional anti-spasticity agents have limitations in their efficacy and tolerability.
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol: cannabidiol (THC:CBD) spray, a cannabinoid-based medicine, is approved as an add-on therapy for MS spasticity not adequately controlled by other anti-spasticity medications. The results from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have demonstrated a reduction in the severity of spasticity and associated symptoms. However, RCTs do not always reflect real-life outcomes. We systematically reviewed the complementary evidence from non-interventional real-world studies.
A systematic literature review was conducted to identify all non-RCT publications on THC:CBD spray between 2011 and 2017. Data on study design, patient characteristics, effectiveness, and safety outcomes were extracted from those publications meeting our inclusion criteria.
In total, we reviewed 14 real-world publications including observational studies and treatment registries. The proportion of patients reaching the threshold of minimal clinical important difference (MCID), with at least a 20% reduction of the spasticity Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) score after 4 weeks ranged from 41.9% to 82.9%. The reduction in the mean NRS spasticity score after 4 weeks was maintained over 6-12 months. The average daily dose was five to six sprays. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol: cannabidiol was well tolerated in the evaluated studies in the same way as in the RCTs. No new or unexpected adverse events or safety signals were reported in everyday clinical practice.
The data evaluated in this systematic review provide evidence for the efficacy and safety of THC:CBD in clinical practice and confirm results obtained in RCTs.”
“Studies suggest cannabis may improve symptoms like pain and muscle spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis (PwMS). As cannabis legalization has impacted the variety of cannabis products available, there appears to be growing numbers of PwMS using cannabis, with this study’s Cannabis users (CUs) reporting use of highly efficacious products with minimal side-effects.”
“To examine evolution in activities of daily living (ADL) in patients with multiple sclerosis spasticity during long-term use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC):cannabidiol (CBD) oromucosal spray.
Functional impairment was assessed retrospectively (prior to start of treatment) and at the present moment using a 16-item ADL survey; results were compared. A control group without add-on THC:CBD oromucosal spray was included to investigate possible recall bias.
ADL was maintained or slightly improved with THC:CBD oromucosal spray across treatment time (mean 31.9 months) including significant improvement in ‘standing up’ (p < 0.05) and trends in other items. Significant improvements (p < 0.01) with THC:CBD oromucosal spray were observed in several multiple sclerosis spasticity-related symptoms. Overall, 96.9% of patients using THC:CBD oromucosal spray had a positive global impression of change during treatment.
In this pilot study, THC:CBD oromucosal spray maintained or improved aspects of daily functioning. Further study in a larger trial is warranted.”
“Driving ability is a key function for the majority of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) to help maintain daily interactions. Both physical and cognitive disability, as well as treatments, may affect the ability to drive. Spasticity is a common symptom associated with MS, and it may affect driving performance either directly or via the medications used to treat it.
In this article, we review the evidence relating the antispasticity medicine, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol:cannabidiol (THC:CBD) oromucosal spray (Sativex®), and its potential impact on driving performance.
The results from THC:CBD oromucosal spray driving studies and real-world registries did not show any evidence of an increase in motor vehicle accidents associated with THC:CBD oromucosal spray. The majority of patients reported an improvement in driving ability after starting THC:CBD oromucosal spray, and it was speculated that this may be related to reduced spasticity and/or better cognitive function.
THC:CBD oromucosal spray was shown not to impair driving performance.”
“The use of cannabis for medical purposes has been recently legalised in many countries including the Czech Republic. As a result, there is increased interest on the part of physicians and patients in many aspects of its application. This mini review briefly covers the main active substances of the cannabis plant and mechanisms of action. It focuses on two conditions, cancer pain and spasticity in multiple sclerosis, where its effects are well-documented. A comprehensive overview of a few cannabis-based products and the basic pharmacokinetics of marijuana’s constituents follows. The review concludes with an outline for preparing cannabis (dried inflorescence) containing drug dosage forms that can be produced in a hospital pharmacy.”
“Spasticity is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS) affecting about 80% of MS patients. Numerous lines of evidence suggest that spasticity due to its complexity is not adequately managed with conventional anti-spastic therapies. Therefore, in order to improve the outcomes for the majority of MS patients, alternative approaches are needed to be discovered. Over the last years, the use of cannabinoid compounds as a potential treatment for MS-related symptoms has aroused great interest, owing to encouraging preclinical and clinical studies. To date, Sativex, an oromucosal spray containing tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol in approximately 1:1 ratio, is the only commercially available formulation containing cannabinoids used as add-on therapy for treatment of spasticity in adult MS patients who are not responding to conventional antispastic therapies.
Here, by performing a literature search, we provided an overview of the last decade of clinical evaluations as well as post-marketing studies about effectiveness and safety of Sativex in the management of MS-related spasticity.
Sativex was proven effective in treating spasticity and also in improving the patient’s quality of life. In addition, a low incidence of adverse reactions Sativex-related supports the good safety profile and its tolerability.
This review by recognizing the clinical effectiveness of Sativex in spasticity management, opened a new opportunity for many patients with spasticity resistant to common antispastic drugs.”
“For centuries extracts from the Cannabis sativa plant have been used for recreational use and as remedies.
Anecdotal reports from patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) experiencing relief of their spasticity and pain after smoking marihuana have prompted discussions about a potential therapeutic application of cannabis preparations in MS.
Only recently the first large, multicenter, double-blind, placebo controlled study was conducted evaluating the use of cannabinoids for treatment of spasticity and other symptoms related to MS.
Based on this trial and previous uncontrolled observations together with insights from basic research and animal experiments there is reasonable evidence for the therapeutical employment of cannabinoids in the treatment of MS related symptoms.
Furthermore, data are arising that cannabinoids have immunomodulatory and neuroprotective properties.
This article summarizes the present knowledge of clinical and experimental research regarding the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for the treatment of MS.”
“Conventional drugs have only a limited impact on spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and are rarely satisfactory. A solution for oral transmucosal delivery (spray) containing a mixture of cannabis extracts (2.7 mg of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol + 2.5 mg of cannabidiol per spray) has been granted marketing authorisation in France for patients who are inadequately relieved by standard treatments. Three double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in a total of about 300 patients tested this combination, in addition to ongoing treatment, for periods of 6 to 14 weeks. Individually, none of these trials showed any tangible anti-spastic efficacy, but two combined analyses showed “response rates” of about 35% with the mixture versus about 25% with placebo. In a trial with 572 patients, the 241 patients who “responded” after 4 weeks of treatment were randomised to either continue using the cannabis extract or receive placebo. Twelve weeks later, 75% of patients using the extract were still “responders”, versus 51% of patients switched to placebo. The principal adverse effects of the cannabis extracts consist of neuropsychiatric disorders that resolve on treatment withdrawal. The potential for abuse increases with the dose and is tangible from 16 sprays per day. Pharmacokinetic interactions due to P-glycoprotein inhibition are likely. Treatment during pregnancy may lead to neonatal withdrawal symptoms. In practice, about 10% of patients in whom standard anti-spastic medications are unsatisfactory benefit from a specific effect of the cannabis extracts contained in this oral spray.”
“There is increasing evidence to suggest that cannabis can ameliorate muscle-spasticity in multiple sclerosis, as was objectively shown in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis models. The purpose of this study was to investigate further the involvement of CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the control of experimental spasticity…
Conclusions and Implications:
The CB1 receptor controls spasticity and cross-reactivity to this receptor appears to account for the therapeutic action of some CB2 agonists.
As cannabinoid-induced psychoactivity is also mediated by the CB1 receptor, it will be difficult to truly dissociate the therapeutic effects from the well-known, adverse effects of cannabinoids when using cannabis as a medicine.
The lack of knowledge on the true diversity of the cannabinoid system coupled with the lack of total specificity of current cannabinoid reagents makes interpretation of in vivo results difficult, if using a purely pharmacological approach.
Gene knockout technology provides an important tool in target validation and indicates that the CB1 receptor is the main cannabinoid target for an anti-spastic effect.”