A Review of Herbal Therapy in Multiple Sclerosis

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“Medicinal plants have opened a new horizon in curing neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, AD and MS. literature data review indicated that herbal medicines could be effective in the treatment of MS disease and itsʼ related symptoms, by reducing the demyelination, improving remyelination and suppressing the inflammation in the CNS. On the basis of the above mentioned review, it can be concluded that the anti-inflammatory effect is the main reason of medicinal plants therapeutic effects in MS disease, through which medicinal plants ameliorate the severity of disease and reduce neuropathological changes. In addition to neuroprotective effect, medicinal plants have other beneficial effects for MS patients, such as sedation, improving sleep quality, anti-depressant effects, relief muscle stiffness and reducing bladder disturbance. The medicinal plants and their derivatives; Ginkgo biloba, Zingiber officinale, Curcuma longa, Hypericum perforatum, Valeriana officinalis, Vaccinium macrocarpon, Nigella sativa,Piper methysticum, Crocus sativus, Panax ginseng, Boswellia papyrifera, Vitis vinifera, Gastrodia elata, Camellia sinensis, Oenothera biennis, MS14 and Cannabis sativa have been informed to have several therapeutic effects in MS patients.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6311642/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30607330

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Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for Pain and Inflammation Treatment.

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“There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that cannabinoids are beneficial for a range of clinical conditions, including pain, inflammation, epilepsy, sleep disorders, the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, anorexia, schizophrenia and other conditions.

The transformation of cannabinoids from herbal preparations into highly regulated prescription drugs is therefore progressing rapidly. The development of such drugs requires well-controlled clinical trials to be carried out in order to objectively establish therapeutic efficacy, dose ranges and safety.

The low oral bioavailability of cannabinoids has led to feasible methods of administration, such as the transdermal route, intranasal administration and transmucosal adsorption, being proposed. The highly lipophilic nature of cannabinoids means that they are seen as suitable candidates for advanced nanosized drug delivery systems, which can be applied via a range of routes.

Nanotechnology-based drug delivery strategies have flourished in several therapeutic fields in recent years and numerous drugs have reached the market. This review explores the most recent developments, from preclinical to advanced clinical trials, in the cannabinoid delivery field, and focuses particularly on pain and inflammation treatment. Likely future directions are also considered and reported.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30262735

https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/23/10/2478

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Medicinal cannabis: presenting possible treatment modalities for the future

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“Cannabis is the most popular recreational drug used in the world. It is estimated that 178 million people aged 15–64 years used cannabis at least once in 2012.

Cannabis or cannabinoids used to manage medical conditions is referred to as medicinal cannabis. There are various formulations of cannabis available on the market.

Cannabis can be administered orally, sublingually, or topically; it can be smoked, inhaled, mixed with food, or made into tea. It can be taken in herbal form, extracted naturally from the plant, gained by isomerization of cannabidiol (CBD), or manufactured synthetically.

The commercially available prescribed cannabinoids include dronabinol capsules, nabilone capsules, and the oromucosal spray nabiximols.

Canada and the Netherlands have government-run programs in which dedicated companies supply quality-controlled herbal cannabis. In the United States, 23 states and Washington, DC (May 2015) have introduced laws permitting the medical use of cannabis; other countries have similar laws.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29870436

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=01787381-201806000-00001

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Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and Herbs with Special Emphasis on Herbal Medicines for Countering Inflammatory Diseases and Disorders – A Review.

“Diseases with inflammatory etiopathology have increased in incidence in recent times. Drugs used for therapeutic management of such inflammatory diseases are relieving the ailment but at the same time also countering serious life-threatening consequences. Moreover, they are costly and rarely available at all places. In this context, research and development on medicinal herbs have opened a new era in the prophylactic and therapeutic management of inflammatory diseases.

OBJECTIVE:

To highlight the importance of anti-inflammatory medicine-synthetic drugs and natural herbs, their constituents, mechanism of action, benefits, side effects and future prospects. The overall aim is to provide better health services to patiens regardless of their background on equality basis.

RESULTS:

Anti-inflammatory herbs have proven beneficial by combating inflammatory responses that lead to severe abnormality in body systems. Inflammation though a protective response to infection or injury and may result in pathological outcome when aggravated or of severe degree thus needs an early intervention for proper resolution. Medicinal plants or their constituents are considered beneficial due to the properties i.e., satisfactory potency, ease of availability, cheapness, less or no side effects, safer and efficient as compared to the synthetic counterparts. These medicinal herbs contain phytoconstituents that can prevent undesirable inflammatory processes and also posses anti-inflammatory activity. Steroids, glycosides, phenolics, flavonoids, alkaloids, polysaccharides, terpenoids, cannabinoids, fatty acids are common phytoconstituents present in these plants. Different mechanisms have been explored for the anti-inflammatory action of these active ingredients. They may synergize the anti-inflammatory pathway enzymes, factors, proteins or interfere with these in the inflammatory pathway like lipooxygenases, cyclooxygenases, tumor necrosis factors, interleukins, prostaglandin, nitric oxide, mitogen-activated protein, nuclear factor, etc. Considering all the above-mentioned factors, further research from molecular to cellular level will enable a better understanding of the mechanisms. Common anti-inflammatory herbal plants are Curcuma longa, Zingiber officinale, Rosmarinus officinalis, Borago officinalis, Urtica dioica, Uncaria tomentosa, Vaccinium myrtillus, Olea europaea and much more. They are believed to be without side effects unlike the chemical counterparts or synthetic anti-inflammatory agents e.g. steroids, nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs, and immunosuppressant used for controlling and suppressing inflammatory crisis. A proper phytochemical, pharmacological and physiological evaluation will enable their safe and effective use in inflammatory conditions. Many of these anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal preparations have been patented with some under consideration.

CONCLUSION:

Natural herbs are safe, effective and better options as anti-inflammatory agents than synthetic ones. The phytoconstituents are as effective with the comparable mechanism of action as synthetic molecules. Future research should focus on molecular mechanisms of different beneficial applications of these herbal plants in various diseases. Recent patents on anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal plants have been covered which provide insight into the current status and future prospects in this field.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29336271  http://www.eurekaselect.com/159064/article

“Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/

“Cannabinoids for the treatment of inflammation.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17520866

“Cannabis-based drugs have been shown to be effective in inflammatory diseases.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29110674

http://www.thctotalhealthcare.com/tag/anti-inflammatory/

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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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Efficacy and Tolerability of Phytomedicines in Multiple Sclerosis Patients: A Review.

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“Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory and demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system (CNS) that can cause cognition, mobility, and sensory impairments. It is considered one of the most common non-traumatic causes of disability in the world.

The aim of the present article was to review the clinical evidence related to medicinal plants in the management of MS symptoms.

Electronic databases, including the Cochrane Library, Pubmed, and Scopus, were searched for entries from 1966 to February 2017. Only clinical studies were included in this review. Different medicinal plants have positive effects on MS, including Andrographis paniculata, Boswellia papyrifera, Ruta graveolens, Vaccinium spp., Camellia sinensis, Panax ginseng, Aloysia citrodora, Ginkgo biloba, Oenothera biennis, and Cannabis sativa.

C. sativa had the highest level of clinical evidence, supporting its efficacy in MS symptoms.

Proanthocyanidins, ginkgo flavone glycosides, ginsenosides, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, cannabinoids (including delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol), boswellic acid, and andrographolide were presented as the main bioactive components of medicinal plants with therapeutic benefits in MS.

The main complications of MS in which natural drugs were effective include spasticity, fatigue, scotoma, incontinence, urinary urgency, nocturia, memory performance, functional performance, and tremor. Herbal medicines were mostly well tolerated, and the adverse effects were limited to mild to moderate. Further well-designed human studies with a large sample size and longer follow-up period are recommended to confirm the role of medicinal plants and their metabolites in the management of MS.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28948486

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Cannabinoids therapeutic use: what is our current understanding following the introduction of THC, THC:CBD oromucosal spray and others?

 

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“The complexity of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system is becoming better understood and new drivers of eCB signaling are emerging. Modulation of the activities of the eCB system can be therapeutic in a number of diseases.

Research into the eCB system has been paralleled by the development of agents that interact with cannabinoid receptors. In this regard it should be remembered that herbal cannabis contains a myriad of active ingredients, and the individual cannabinoids have quite distinct biological activities requiring independent studies.

This article reviews the most important current data involving the eCB system in relation to human diseases, to reflect the present (based mainly on the most used prescription cannabinoid medicine, THC/CBD oromucosal spray) and potential future uses of cannabinoid-based therapy.

Expert commentary: From the different therapeutic possibilities, THC/CBD oromucosal spray has been in clinical use for approximately five years in numerous countries world-wide for the management of multiple sclerosis (MS)-related moderate to severe resistant spasticity.

Clinical trials have confirmed its efficacy and tolerability.

Other diseases in which different cannabinoids are currently being investigated include various pain states, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and epilepsy. The continued characterization of individual cannabinoids in different diseases remains important.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28276775

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The current status of artisanal cannabis for the treatment of epilepsy in the United States.

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“The widespread patient use of artisanal cannabis preparations has preceded quality validation of cannabis use for epilepsy. Neurologists and cannabinoid specialists are increasingly in a position to monitor and guide the use of herbal cannabis in epilepsy patients. We report the retrospective data on efficacy and adverse effects of artisanal cannabis in Patients with medically refractory epilepsy with mixed etiologies in Washington State, California, and Maine. Clinical considerations, including potential risks and benefits, challenges related to artisanal preparations, and cannabinoid dosing, are discussed.

RESULTS:

Of 272 combined patients from Washington State and California, 37 (14%) found cannabis ineffective at reducing seizures, 29 (15%) experienced a 1-25% reduction in seizures, 60 (18%) experienced a 26-50% reduction in seizures, 45 (17%) experienced a 51-75% reduction in seizures, 75 (28%) experienced a 76-99% reduction in seizures, and 26 (10%) experienced a complete clinical response. Overall, adverse effects were mild and infrequent, and beneficial side effects such as increased alertness were reported. The majority of patients used cannabidiol (CBD)-enriched artisanal formulas, some with the addition of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). Four case reports are included that illustrate clinical responses at doses <0.1mg/kg/day, biphasic dose-response effects, the use of THCA for seizure prevention, the use of THC for seizure rescue, and the synergy of cannabinoids and terpenoids in artisanal preparations. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled “Cannabinoids and Epilepsy”.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28254350

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The gastrointestinal tract – a central organ of cannabinoid signaling in health and disease

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“In ancient medicine, extracts of the marijuana plant Cannabis sativa were used against diseases of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Today, our knowledge of the ingredients of the Cannabis plant has remarkably advanced enabling us to use a variety of herbal and synthetic cannabinoid (CB) compounds to study the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a physiologic entity that controls tissue homeostasis with the help of endogenously produced CBs and their receptors.

After many anecdotal reports suggested beneficial effects of Cannabis in GI disorders, it was not surprising to discover that the GI tract accommodates and expresses all the components of the ECS.

The following review summarizes important and recent findings on the role of CB receptors and their ligands in the GI tract with emphasis on GI disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and colon cancer.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27561826

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Survey of herbal cannabis (marijuana) use in rheumatology clinic attenders with a rheumatologist confirmed diagnosis.

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“Cannabinoids may hold potential for the management of rheumatic pain.

Arthritis, often self-reported, is commonly cited as the reason for the use of medicinal herbal cannabis (marijuana). We have examined the prevalence of marijuana use among 1000 consecutive rheumatology patients with a rheumatologist-confirmed diagnosis and compared in an exploratory manner the clinical characteristics of medicinal users and nonusers.

Current marijuana use, medicinal or recreational, was reported by 38 patients (3.8%; 95% CI: 2.8-5.2). Ever use of marijuana for medical purposes was reported by 4.3% (95% CI: 3.2-5.7), with 28 (2.8%; 95% CI: 1.9-4.0) reporting current medicinal use. Current medicinal users had a spectrum of rheumatic conditions, with over half diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Medicinal users were younger, more likely unemployed or disabled, and reported poorer global health. Pain report and opioid use was greater for users, but they had similar physician global assessment of disease status compared with nonusers.

Medicinal users were more likely previous recreational users, with approximately 40% reporting concurrent recreational use. Therefore, less than 3% of rheumatology patients reported current use of medicinal marijuana. This low rate of use in patients with a rheumatologist-confirmed diagnosis is in stark contrast to the high rates of severe arthritis frequently reported by medicinal marijuana users, especially in Canada. Familiarity with marijuana as a recreational product may explain use for some as disease status was similar for both groups.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27842047

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