Cannabidiol as a treatment for epilepsy

Journal of Neurology

“Despite an increasing number of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), the proportion of drug-resistant cases of epilepsy has remained fairly static at around 30% and the search for new and improved AEDs continues.

Cannabis has been used as a medical treatment for epilepsy for thousands of years; it contains many active compounds, the most important being tetrahydrocannabinol, which has psychoactive properties, and cannabidiol, which does not.

Animal models and clinical data to date have suggested that cannabidiol is more useful in treating epilepsy; there is limited evidence that tetrahydrocannabinol has some pro-convulsant effects in animal models. The mechanism by which cannabidiol exerts its anti-convulsant properties is currently unclear.

Conclusion. The evidence is increasing that cannabidiol is an effective treatment option for childhood onset severe treatment-resistant epilepsies with a tolerable side effect and safety profile. Further evidence is needed before cannabidiol can be considered in more common or adult onset epilepsies. Longer-term safety data for cannabidiol, particularly considering its effects on the developing brain, are also required.”

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00415-017-8663-0

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Reversal of age-related cognitive impairments in mice by an extremely low dose of tetrahydrocannabinol.

Neurobiology of Aging

“This study was designed to test our hypothesis that an ultra-low dose of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) reverses age-dependent cognitive impairments in old mice and to examine the possible biological mechanisms that underlie this behavioral effect. These findings suggest that extremely low doses of THC that are devoid of any psychotropic effect and do not induce desensitization may provide a safe and effective treatment for cognitive decline in aging humans.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29107185

“Cognitive decline is an integral aspect of aging. The idea that age-related cognitive decline can be reversed and that the old brain can be revitalized is not new. It has been previously suggested that the endocannabinoid system is part of an antiaging homeostatic defense system.  In previous studies, we have shown that ultra-low doses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the main psychotropic ingredient in cannabis) protected young mice from cognitive impairments that were evoked by various insults. In the present study, we tested our hypothesis that a single ultra-low dose of THC can reverse age-dependent cognitive decline in mice. Here, we show that a single extremely low dose of THC devoid of any psychotropic activity can trigger an endogenous compensatory mechanism that improves cognitive functioning in old mice and that this effect lasts for at least several weeks. Since THC in high doses (dronabinol, 1–10 mg) is already approved for medical treatments in humans, and since its safety profile is well characterized, we believe that the initiation of clinical trials with ultra-low doses of THC designed to reverse cognitive decline in elderly patients should be straightforward.”  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0197458017303214

“Reversal of age-related cognitive impairments in mice by an extremely low dose of tetrahydrocannabinol. These findings suggest that extremely low doses of THC that are devoid of any psychotropic effect and do not induce desensitization may provide a safe and effective treatment for cognitive decline in aging humans.”   http://www.neurobiologyofaging.org/article/S0197-4580(17)30321-4/fulltext

Neurobiology of Aging Home

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Reprint of: survey of medicinal cannabis use among childbearing women: patterns of its use in pregnancy and retroactive self-assessment of its efficacy against ‘morning sickness’.

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice

“A majority of women experience some nausea and/or vomiting during pregnancy. This condition can range from mild nausea to extreme nausea and vomiting, with 1-2% of women suffering from the life-threatening condition hyperemesis gravidarum.

Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) may be used therapeutically to mitigate pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting.

This paper presents the results of a survey of 84 female users of medicinal cannabis, recruited through two compassion societies in British Columbia, Canada. Of the seventy-nine respondents who had experienced pregnancy, 51 (65%) reported using cannabis during their pregnancies. While 59 (77%) of the respondents who had been pregnant had experienced nausea and/or vomiting of pregnancy, 40 (68%) had used cannabis to treat the condition, and of these respondents, 37 (over 92%) rated cannabis as ‘extremely effective’ or ‘effective.’

Our findings support the need for further investigations into cannabis therapy for severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19880090

“Marijuana use is common in pregnancy but may not be an independent risk factor for poor neonatal outcomes in term pregnancies.”  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S000293781500527X

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Cannabis and Cannabinoids for Chronic Pain.

Current Rheumatology Reports

“The purpose of this study was to provide the most up-to-date scientific evidence of the potential analgesic effects, or lack thereof, of the marijuana plant (cannabis) or cannabinoids, and of safety or tolerability of their long-term use.

RECENT FINDINGS:

We found that inhaled (smoked or vaporized) cannabis is consistently effective in reducing chronic non-cancer pain.

Oral cannabinoids seem to improve some aspects of chronic pain (sleep and general quality of life), or cancer chronic pain, but they do not seem effective in acute postoperative pain, abdominal chronic pain, or rheumatoid pain.

The available literature shows that inhaled cannabis seems to be more tolerable and predictable than oral cannabinoids. Cannabis or cannabinoids are not universally effective for pain. Continued research on cannabis constituents and improving bioavailability for oral cannabinoids is needed. Other aspects of pain management in patients using cannabis require further open discussion: concomitant opioid use, medical vs. recreational cannabis, abuse potential, etc.”

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Is cannabis an effective treatment for joint pain?

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“Cannabis has been used to treat pain for thousands of years.

However, since the early part of the 20th century, laws restricting cannabis use have limited its evaluation using modern scientific criteria. Over the last decade, the situation has started to change because of the increased availability of cannabis in the United States for either medical or recreational purposes, making it important to provide the public with accurate information as to the effectiveness of the drug for joint pain among other indications.

The major psychotropic component of cannabis is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of some 120 naturally occurring phytocannabinoids. Cannabidiol (CBD) is another molecule found in herbal cannabis in large amounts. Although CBD does not produce psychotropic effects, it has been shown to produce a variety of pharmacological effects. Hence, the overall effects of herbal cannabis represent the collective activity of THC, CBD and a number of minor components.

The action of THC is mediated by two major G-protein coupled receptors, cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and CB2, and recent work has suggested that other targets may also exist. Arachidonic acid derived endocannabinoids are the normal physiological activators of the two cannabinoid receptors.

Natural phytocannabinoids and synthetic derivatives have produced clear activity in a variety of models of joint pain in animals. These effects are the result of both inhibition of pain pathway signalling (mostly CB1) and anti-inflammatory effects (mostly CB2). There are also numerous anecdotal reports of the effectiveness of smoking cannabis for joint pain.

Indeed, it is the largest medical request for the use of the drug. However, these reports generally do not extend to regulated clinical trials for rheumatic diseases. Nevertheless, the preclinical and human data that do exist indicate that the use of cannabis should be taken seriously as a potential treatment of joint pain.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28967368

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[Cannabis use in Epilepsy. Current situation in Argentina and abroad].

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“Although at present we have over 20 different types of drugs for epilepsy, 30 to 40% of patients continue to have seizures.

Preliminary data from human studies suggest that cannabis, cannabidiol in particular, is effective in the treatment of some patients with epilepsy.

However, the available data are limited and do not allow defnitive conclusions. Only randomized clinical trials with controlled double-blind, placebo-controlled utilizing secure preparations and one or more cannabinoids, will provide comprehensive information on the effcacy and safety of use.

In order to perform these trials it is necessary to have legislation authorizing the use of cannabis on epilepsy.”

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Speechlessness in Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome: Cannabis-Based Medicines Improve Severe Vocal Blocking Tics in Two Patients.

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“We report the cases of two young German male patients with treatment-resistant Tourette syndrome (TS), who suffer from incapacitating stuttering-like speech disfluencies caused by vocal blocking tics and palilalia. Case 1: a 19-year old patient received medical cannabis at a dose of 1 × 0.1 g cannabis daily. Case 2: a 16-year old patient initially received dronabinol at a maximum dose of 22.4-33.6 mg daily. Both treatments provided significant symptom improvement of vocal blocking tics as well as of comorbid conditions and were well tolerated. Thus, cannabis-based medicine appears to be effective in treatment-resistant TS patients with vocal blocking tics.”

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Cannabidiol reduces seizure frequency in Dravet syndrome

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“Cannabidiol is effective in treating drug-resistant seizures in Dravet syndrome, according to a new clinical trial. For the first time, a multinational, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial has confirmed controversial anecdotal evidence supporting the efficacy of cannabinoids in epilepsy.” https://www.nature.com/nrneurol/journal/v13/n7/full/nrneurol.2017.86.html

“Trial of Cannabidiol for Drug-Resistant Seizures in the Dravet Syndrome”  http://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa1611618

“Cannabinoids for Epilepsy — Real Data, at Last”  http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe1702205

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Cannabis and intractable chronic pain: an explorative retrospective analysis of Italian cohort of 614 patients.

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“Despite growing interest in the therapeutic use of cannabis to manage chronic pain, only limited data that address these issues are available. In recent years, a number of nations have introduced specific laws to allow patients to use cannabis preparations to treat a variety of medical conditions. In 2015, the Italian government authorized the use of cannabis to treat several diseases, including chronic pain generally, spasticity in multiple sclerosis, cachexia and anorexia among AIDS and cancer patients, glaucoma, Tourette syndrome, and certain types of epilepsy. We present the first snapshot of the Italian experience with cannabis use for chronic pain over the initial year of its use.

METHODS:

This is a retrospective case series analysis of all chronic pain patients treated with oral or vaporized cannabis in six hubs during the initial year following the approval of the new Italian law (December 2015 to November 2016). We evaluated routes of administration, types of cannabis products utilized, dosing, and effectiveness and safety of the treatment.

RESULTS:

As only one of the six centers has extensively used cannabinoids for intractable chronic pain (614 patients of 659), only the population from Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Pisana (Pisa) was considered. Cannabis tea was the primary mode of delivery, and in almost all cases, it was used in association with all the other pain treatments. Initial and follow-up cannabinoid concentrations were found to vary considerably. At initial follow-up, 76.2% of patients continued the treatment, and <15% stopped the treatment due to side effects (none of which were severe).

CONCLUSION:

We present the first analysis of Italian clinical practice of the use of cannabinoids for a large variety of chronic pain syndromes. From this initial snapshot, we determined that the treatment seems to be effective and safe, although more data and subsequent trials are needed to better investigate its ideal clinical indication.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28579820

https://www.dovepress.com/cannabis-and-intractable-chronic-pain-an-explorative-retrospective-ana-peer-reviewed-article-JPR

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Cannabinoids for treating neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction in patients with multiple sclerosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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“To systematically review all available evidence on efficacy and safety of cannabinoids for treating neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction (NLUTD) in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

:Preliminary data imply, that cannabinoids might be an effective and safe treatment option for NULTD in patients with MS.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28058780

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