Cannabinoids: the lows and the highs of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

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“Despite remaining one of the most widely abused drugs worldwide, Cannabis sativa exhibits remarkable medicinal properties. The phytocannabinoids, cannabidiol and Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, reduce nausea and vomiting, particularly during chemotherapy. This is attributed to their ability to reduce the release of serotonin from enterochromaffin cells in the small intestine, which would otherwise orchestrate the vomiting reflex. Although there are many preclinical and clinical studies on the effects of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol during nausea and vomiting, little is known about the role that cannabidiol plays in this scenario. Since cannabidiol does not induce psychotropic effects, in contrast to other cannabinoids, its use as an anti-emetic is of great interest. This review aims to summarize the available literature on cannabinoid use, with a specific focus on the nonpsychotropic drug cannabidiol, as well as the roles that cannabinoids play in preventing several other adverse side effects of chemotherapy including organ toxicity, pain and loss of appetite.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30720344

https://www.futuremedicine.com/doi/10.2217/fon-2018-0530

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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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Cannaboinoid Antiemetic Therapy.

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“There are currently three cannabinoids available on the pharmaceutical market.  Dronabinol and Nabilone are both synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which the FDA has approved for treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) after the failure of a trial of first-line anti-emetics.  Both are also FDA approved to treat anorexia associated with AIDS.  Recently, the FDA has also approved a cannabidiol (CBD) product to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravel Syndrome in pediatric patients. However, there is no FDA approved indication for its use as an anti-emetic.  Independently produced cannabidiol extracts are being used increasingly in the general population for many non-FDA approved indications, frequently including nausea and emesis.  In states that have decriminalized marijuana, both in recreational and medicinal contexts, products with varying ratios of cannabidiol and THC are also used for their anti-emetic properties.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30571051

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535430/

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Impact of recreational and medicinal marijuana on surgical patients: A review.

American Journal of Surgery Home

“As medicinal and recreational marijuana use broadens across the United States, knowledge of its effects on the body will become increasingly important to all health care providers, including surgeons.

DATA SOURCES:

We performed a literature review of Pubmed for articles discussing the basic science related to cannabinoids, as well as articles regarding cannabinoid medications, and cannabis use in surgical patients.

CONCLUSIONS:

The primary components in the cannabis plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), have been made available in numerous forms and formulations to treat multiple medical conditions, and recreational access to marijuana is increasing. Of particular importance to the surgeon may be their effects on prolonging intestinal motility, decreasing inflammation, increasing hunger, mitigating pain, and reducing nausea and vomiting. Perioperative use of medicinal or recreational marijuana will become increasingly prevalent, and the surgeon should be aware of the positive and negative effects of these cannabinoids.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30471810

https://www.americanjournalofsurgery.com/article/S0002-9610(18)31123-1/fulltext

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

ASCO Educational Book

“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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Oral cannabinoid-rich THC/CBD cannabis extract for secondary prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: a study protocol for a pilot and definitive randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial (CannabisCINV).

BMJ Journals

“Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) remains an important issue for patients receiving chemotherapy despite guideline-consistent antiemetic therapy. Trials using delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-rich (THC) products demonstrate limited antiemetic effect, significant adverse events and flawed study design. Trials using cannabidiol-rich (CBD) products demonstrate improved efficacy and psychological adverse event profile. No definitive trials have been conducted to support the use of cannabinoids for this indication, nor has the potential economic impact of incorporating such regimens into the Australian healthcare system been established. CannabisCINV aims to assess the efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness of adding TN-TC11M, an oral THC/CBD extract to guideline-consistent antiemetics in the secondary prevention of CINV.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS:

The current multicentre, 1:1 randomised cross-over, placebo-controlled pilot study will recruit 80 adult patients with any malignancy, experiencing CINV during moderate to highly emetogenic chemotherapy despite guideline-consistent antiemetics. Patients receive oral TN-TC11M (THC 2.5mg/CBD 2.5 mg) capsules or placebo capsules three times a day on day -1 to day 5 of cycle A of chemotherapy, followed by the alternative drug regimen during cycle B of chemotherapy and the preferred drug regimen during cycle C. The primary endpoint is the proportion of subjects attaining a complete response to CINV. Secondary and tertiary endpoints include regimen tolerability, impact on quality of life and health system resource use. The primary assessment tool is patient diaries, which are filled from day -1 to day 5. A subsequent randomised placebo-controlled parallel phase III trial will recruit a further 250 patients.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:

The protocol was approved by ethics review committees for all participating sites. Results will be disseminated in peer-reviewed journals and at scientific conferences.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30209152

https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/9/e020745

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Cannabis for the Management of Cancer Symptoms: THC Version 2.0?

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“The landscape of medical cannabis is rapidly expanding. Cannabis preparations have been used in medicine for millennia, and now there is a strong renaissance in the study of their therapeutic properties.

The vast majority of controlled clinical trials that support the medical use of what is commonly known as “cannabis” or “marijuana” have actually been conducted with purified cannabinoids or a single extract of Cannabis sativa that contains an equimolecular proportion of Δ9-THC and CBD.

Based on these studies, THC/dronabinol (Marinol) and its synthetic analogue nabilone (Cesamet), as well as nabiximols (Sativex), are already approved by several regulatory agencies, including FDA, Health Canada, and EMA, as antiemetic, anticachexic, analgesic, or antispastic medicines.

This study provides a precious piece of information on the use of medical cannabis for the management of cancer symptoms.”

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2018.0009

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The use of cannabis in supportive care and treatment of brain tumor

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“Anticancer Effects of Cannabinoids may be able to Prolong Life.

Cannabinoids are multitarget substances. Currently available are dronabinol (synthetic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, THC), synthetic cannabidiol (CBD) the respective substances isolated and purified from cannabis, a refined extract, nabiximols (THC:CBD = 1.08:1.00); and nabilone, which is also synthetic and has properties that are very similar to those of THC.

Cannabinoids have a role in the treatment of cancer as palliative interventions against nausea, vomiting, pain, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. THC and nabilone are also used for anorexia and weight loss, whereas CBD has no orexigenic effect. The psychotropic effects of THC and nabilone, although often undesirable, can improve mood when administered in low doses. CBD has no psychotropic effects; it is anxiolytic and antidepressive.

Of particular interest are glioma studies in animals where relatively high doses of CBD and THC demonstrated significant regression of tumor volumes (approximately 50% to 95% and even complete eradication in rare cases). Concomitant treatment with X-rays or temozolomide enhanced activity further. Similarly, a combination of THC with CBD showed synergistic effects. Although many questions, such as on optimized treatment schedules, are still unresolved, today’s scientific results suggest that cannabinoids could play an important role in palliative care of brain tumor patients.

THC, a partial CB1, CB2 agonist, has the stigma of psychotropic effects that are mediated by CB1 stimulation. However, CB1 stimulation is necessary for improving mood and appetite and many other effects. At present, it is hard to imagine a better approach than adjusting THC doses individually to balance wanted versus unwanted effects. Generally, higher doses are needed to achieve analgesic and antiemetic effects. Even much higher, supraphysiologic oral doses would be needed to combat tumors.

Combinations were synergistic under many circumstances such as in pain and antitumor studies. Cannabinoids differ in their antitumor activities and probably in their mechanisms and targets, which is a rationale for combinations. However, for many pharmacological effects (except against tumors) roughly 10-times higher daily doses are needed for CBD compared to THC.

In summary, the endocannabinoid system is likely playing a crucial role in palliative care. The future will show whether an optimized treatment strategy with cannabinoids can also prolong life of brain tumor patients by their virtue to combat cancer cells.”

https://academic.oup.com/nop/article/4/3/151/2918616

“Cannabinoid Drug Prolongs the Life of Brain Tumor Patients in Phase II Trials”  https://labiotech.eu/gw-pharmaceuticals-brain-tumor/

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Cannabidiol to Improve Mobility in People with Multiple Sclerosis

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“Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS) that affects an estimated 2.3 million people worldwide. The symptoms of MS are highly varied but frequently include pain, muscle spasticity, fatigue, inflammation, and depression. These symptoms often lead to reduced physical activity, negatively impact functional mobility, and have a detrimental impact on patients’ quality of life.

Although recent years have seen significant advances in disease modifying therapy, none of the current treatments halts or cures MS related symptoms. As a consequence, many people with MS (PwMS) look for alternative and complementary therapies such as cannabis.

The cannabis plant contains many biologically active chemicals, including ~60 cannabinoids. Cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are typically the most concentrated chemical components of cannabis and believed to primarily drive therapeutic benefit.

There is evidence that CBD has a number of beneficial pharmacological effects. It is anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antiemetic, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective. The review of 132 original studies by Bergamaschi et al. describes the safety profile of CBD by highlighting that catalepsy is not induced and physiological parameters (heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature) are not altered. Moreover, psychomotor and psychological functions are not negatively affected. High doses of up to 1,500 mg per day and chronic use have been repeatedly shown to be well tolerated by humans.

Additionally, there is also evidence that CBD may reduce the negative psychotropic effects, memory impairment, and appetite stimulation, anxiety and psychotic-like states of THC while enhancing its positive therapeutic actions.

 Anecdotal reports indicate that an increasing number of PwMS use cannabis (medical marijuana) as a supplement to improve their mobility.

Based on the following considerations, it is our opinion that CBD supplementation maybe advisable for PwMS to reduce fatigue, pain, spasticity, and ultimately improve mobility. “

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fneur.2018.00183/full

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Suppression of Cisplatin-Induced Vomiting by Cannabis sativa in Pigeons: Neurochemical Evidences.

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“Cannabis sativa (CS, family Cannabinaceae) has been reported for its anti-emetic activity against cancer chemotherapy-induced emesis in animal models and in clinics. The current study was designed to investigate CS for potential effectiveness to attenuate cisplatin-induced vomiting in healthy pigeons and to study the impact on neurotransmitters involved centrally and peripherally in the act of vomiting.

High-performance liquid chromatography system coupled with electrochemical detector was used for the quantification of neurotransmitters 5-hydroxytryptamine (5HT), dopamine (DA) and their metabolites; Di-hydroxy Phenyl Acetic acid (Dopac), Homovanillic acid (HVA), and 5-hydroxy indole acetic acid (5HIAA) centrally in specific brain areas (area postrema and brain stem) while, peripherally in small intestine. Cisplatin (7 mg/kg i.v.) induce emesis without lethality across the 24 h observation period.

CS hexane fraction (CS-HexFr; 10 mg/kg) attenuated cisplatin-induced emesis ∼ 65.85% (P < 0.05); the reference anti-emetic drug, metoclopramide (MCP; 30 mg/kg), produced ∼43.90% reduction (P < 0.05). At acute time point (3rd h), CS-HexFr decreased (P < 0.001) the concentration of 5HT and 5HIAA in the area postrema, brain stem and intestine, while at 18th h (delayed time point) CS-HexFr attenuated (P < 0.001) the upsurge of 5HT caused by cisplatin in the brain stem and intestine and dopamine in the area postrema. CS-HexFr treatment alone did not alter the basal neurotransmitters and their metabolites in the brain areas and intestine except 5HIAA and HVA, which were decreased significantly.

In conclusion the anti-emetic effect of CS-HexFr is mediated by anti-serotonergic and anti-dopaminergic components in a blended manner at the two different time points, i.e., 3rd and 18th h in pigeons.”

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