“Clinical trials demonstrate the efficacy and tolerability of an intervention under experimental conditions, but information on use under daily practice conditions is required to confirm the effectiveness and safety of new management options.
Clinical outcomes for THC:CBD oromucosal spray (Sativex®) in patients with treatment-resistant MS spasticity have been collected in post-marketing safety registries from the UK and Germany, a safety study from Spain and two observational studies from Germany, including one investigating its effects on driving ability.
Collectively, findings from daily practice support the long-term effectiveness and safety of THC:CBD oromucosal spray.
There was no evidence of abuse/misuse or other adverse events of special interest with a cannabis-based medicine and no impairment of driving ability.
Observational data and real world experience reinforce the efficacy and safety of THC:CBD oromucosal spray as reported in phase III clinical trials.”
“We have investigated whether a 1:1 combination of botanical extracts enriched in either Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ(9)-THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), which are the main constituents of the cannabis-based medicine Sativex, is neuroprotective in Huntington’s disease (HD), using an experimental model of this disease generated by unilateral lesions of the striatum with the mitochondrial complex II inhibitor malonate. This toxin damages striatal neurons by mechanisms that primarily involve apoptosis and microglial activation. We monitored the extent of this damage and the possible preservation of the striatal parenchyma by treatment with a Sativex-like combination of phytocannabinoids using different histological and biochemical markers. Results were as follows: (i) malonate increased the volume of edema measured by in vivo NMR imaging and the Sativex-like combination of phytocannabinoids partially reduced this increase; (ii) malonate reduced the number of Nissl-stained cells, while enhancing the number of degenerating cells stained with FluoroJade-B, and the Sativex-like combination of phytocannabinoids reversed both effects; (iii) malonate caused a strong glial activation (i.e., reactive microglia labeled with Iba-1, and astrogliosis labeled with GFAP) and the Sativex-like combination of phytocannabinoids attenuated both responses; and (iv) malonate increased the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase and the neurotrophin IGF-1, and both responses were attenuated after the treatment with the Sativex-like combination of phytocannabinoids. We also wanted to establish whether targets within the endocannabinoid system (i.e., CB(1) and CB(2) receptors) are involved in the beneficial effects induced in this model by the Sativex-like combination of phytocannabinoids. This we did using selective antagonists for both receptor types (i.e., SR141716 and AM630) combined with the Sativex-like phytocannabinoid combination. Our results indicated that the effects of this combination are blocked by these antagonists and hence that they do result from an activation of both CB(1) and CB(2) receptors. In summary, this study provides preclinical evidence in support of a beneficial effect of the cannabis-based medicine Sativex as a neuroprotective agent capable of delaying signs of disease progression in a proinflammatory model of HD, which adds to previous data obtained in models priming oxidative mechanisms of striatal injury. However, the interest here is that, in contrast with these previous data, we have now obtained evidence that both CB(1) and CB(2) receptors appear to be involved in the effects produced by a Sativex-like phytocannabinoid combination, thus stressing the broad-spectrum properties of Sativex that may combine activity at the CB(1) and/or CB(2) receptors with cannabinoid receptor-independent actions.”
“We studied whether combinations of botanical extracts enriched in either Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ(9)-THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), which are the main constituents of the cannabis-based medicine Sativex, provide neuroprotection in rat models of Huntington’s disease (HD). We used rats intoxicated with 3-nitropropionate (3NP) that were given combinations of Δ(9)-THC- and CBD-enriched botanical extracts. The issue was also studied in malonate-lesioned rats. The administration of Δ(9)-THC- and CBD-enriched botanical extracts combined in a ratio of 1:1 as in Sativex attenuated 3NP-induced GABA deficiency, loss of Nissl-stained neurons, down-regulation of CB(1) receptor and IGF-1 expression, and up-regulation of calpain expression, whereas it completely reversed the reduction in superoxide dismutase-1 expression. Similar responses were generally found with other combinations of Δ(9)-THC- and CBD-enriched botanical extracts, suggesting that these effects are probably related to the antioxidant and CB(1) and CB(2) receptor-independent properties of both phytocannabinoids. In fact, selective antagonists for both receptor types, i.e., SR141716 and AM630, respectively, were unable to prevent the positive effects on calpain expression caused in 3NP-intoxicated rats by the 1:1 combination of Δ(9)-THC and CBD. Finally, this combination also reversed the up-regulation of proinflammatory markers such as inducible nitric oxide synthase observed in malonate-lesioned rats. In conclusion, this study provides preclinical evidence in support of a beneficial effect of the cannabis-based medicine Sativex as a neuroprotective agent capable of delaying disease progression in HD, a disorder that is currently poorly managed in the clinic, prompting an urgent need for clinical trials with agents showing positive results in preclinical studies.”
“Effective therapeutic options for patients living with chronic pain are limited. The pain relieving effect of cannabinoids remains unclear. A systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examining cannabinoids in the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain was conducted according to the PRISMA statement update on the QUORUM guidelines for reporting systematic reviews that evaluate health care interventions. Cannabinoids studied included smoked cannabis, oromucosal extracts of cannabis based medicine, nabilone, dronabinol and a novel THC analogue. Chronic non-cancer pain conditions included neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and mixed chronic pain. Overall the quality of trials was excellent. Fifteen of the eighteen trials that met the inclusion criteria demonstrated a significant analgesic effect of cannabinoid as compared with placebo and several reported significant improvements in sleep. There were no serious adverse effects. Adverse effects most commonly reported were generally well tolerated, mild to moderate in severity and led to withdrawal from the studies in only a few cases. Overall there is evidence that cannabinoids are safe and modestly effective in neuropathic pain with preliminary evidence of efficacy in fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. The context of the need for additional treatments for chronic pain is reviewed. Further large studies of longer duration examining specific cannabinoids in homogeneous populations are required.
In conclusion this systematic review of 18 recent good quality randomized trials demonstrates that cannabinoids are a modestly effective and safe treatment option for chronic non-cancer (predominantly neuropathic) pain. Given the prevalence of chronic pain, its impact on function and the paucity of effective therapeutic interventions, additional treatment options are urgently needed. More large scale trials of longer duration reporting on pain and level of function are required.”
“Despite progress in anti-emetic treatment, many patients still suffer from chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). This is a pilot, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase II clinical trial designed to evaluate the tolerability, preliminary efficacy, and pharmacokinetics of an acute dose titration of a whole-plant cannabis-based medicine (CBM) containing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, taken in conjunction with standard therapies in the control of CINV.”
“Compared with placebo, CBM added to standard antiemetic therapy was well tolerated and provided better protection against delayed CINV. These results should be confirmed in a phase III clinical trial.”
“A systematic review of 30 clinical trials involving orally administered synthetic cannabinoids (nabilone and dronabinol) showed that they were superior to dopamine receptor antagonists in preventing CINV. Both are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in CINV refractory to conventional anti-emetic therapy, but some authors have questioned the appropriateness of orally administered cannabinoids due to the variability in their gastrointestinal absorption, low bioavailability, long half-lives and the difficulties for an adequate self titration of the dose.”
“Animal studies suggest that the combined administration of different cannabinoids may enhance some of the therapeutic effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This might explain why some patients preferred marihuana to synthetic cannabinoids in clinical trials.”