Cannabis-based medicines and the perioperative physician.

Image result for perioperative medicine

“Cannabis use for medicinal purposes was first documented in 2900 BC in China, when Emperor Shen Nong described benefit for rheumatism and malaria and later in Ancient Egyptian texts.

Discussion in medical journals, the mainstream and social media around the use of cannabis for medicinal and non-medicinal purposes has increased recently, especially following the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use in Canada and the UK government’s decision to make cannabis-based medicines (CBMs) available for prescription by doctors on the specialist register.

The actual, social and economic legitimisation of cannabis and its medicinal derivatives makes it likely increasing numbers of patients will present on this class of medicines. Perioperative physicians will require a sound understanding of their pharmacology and evidence base, and may wish to exploit this group of compounds for therapeutic purposes in the perioperative period.

The increasing availability of cannabis for both recreational and medicinal purposes means that anaesthetists will encounter an increasing number of patients taking cannabis-based medications. The existing evidence base is conflicted and incomplete regarding the indications, interactions and long-term effects of these substances.

Globally, most doctors have had little education regarding the pharmacology of cannabis-based medicines, despite the endocannabinoid system being one of the most widespread in the human body.

Much is unknown, and much is to be decided, including clarifying definitions and nomenclature, and therapeutic indications and dosing. Anaesthetists, Intensivists, Pain and Perioperative physicians will want to contribute to this evidence base and attempt to harness such therapeutic benefits in terms of pain relief and opiate-avoidance, anti-emesis and seizure control.

We present a summary of the pharmacology of cannabis-based medicines including anaesthetic interactions and implications, to assist colleagues encountering these medicines in clinical practice.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31827774

“In summary, cannabinoids may improve pain relief as part of multi-modal approach. As the evidence base increases, CBMs could become part of the perioperative teams’ armamentarium to help provide an opiate sparing multimodal analgesia regime as well as having a role in the management of common post-operative complications such as nausea and vomiting.”

 https://perioperativemedicinejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13741-019-0127-x
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

The Interplay between the Endocannabinoid System, Epilepsy and Cannabinoids.

ijms-logo“Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects approximately 50 million people worldwide.

There is currently no definitive epilepsy cure. However, in recent years, medicinal cannabis has been successfully trialed as an effective treatment for managing epileptic symptoms, but whose mechanisms of action are largely unknown.

Lately, there has been a focus on neuroinflammation as an important factor in the pathology of many epileptic disorders. In this literature review, we consider the links that have been identified between epilepsy, neuroinflammation, the endocannabinoid system (ECS), and how cannabinoids may be potent alternatives to more conventional pharmacological therapies.

We review the research that demonstrates how the ECS can contribute to neuroinflammation, and could therefore be modulated by cannabinoids to potentially reduce the incidence and severity of seizures. In particular, the cannabinoid cannabidiol has been reported to have anti-convulsant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it shows promise for epilepsy treatment.

There are a multitude of signaling pathways that involve endocannabinoids, eicosanoids, and associated receptors by which cannabinoids could potentially exert their therapeutic effects. Further research is needed to better characterize these pathways, and consequently improve the application and regulation of medicinal cannabis.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31810321

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/20/23/6079

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

An Open-Label Pilot Study Testing the Feasibility of Assessing Total Symptom Burden in Trials of Cannabinoid Medications in Palliative Care.

View details for Journal of Palliative Medicine cover image“There is considerable interest in the use of cannabinoids for symptom control in palliative care, but there is little high-quality evidence to guide clinical practice.

Objectives: Assess the feasibility of using global symptom burden measures to assess response to medicinal cannabis, to determine median tolerated doses of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and to document adverse events (AEs).

Design: Prospective two-arm open-label pilot trial of escalating doses of CBD and THC oil.

Setting/Subjects: Participants had advanced cancer and cancer-related symptoms in a palliative and supportive care service in an Australian cancer center.

Measurements: The main outcome measures were the number of participants screened and randomized over the time frame, the number of participants completing days 14 and 28 and providing total symptom distress scores (TSDSs) (measured using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale), and the change from baseline of the TSDS at day 14.

Results: Of the 21 participants enrolled (CBD, n = 16; THC, n = 5), 18 (86%) completed the primary outcome measure at day 14 and 8 completed at day 28. The median maximum tolerated doses were CBD, 300 mg/day (range 100-600 mg); THC, 10 mg/day (range 5-30 mg). Nine of 21 patients (43%) met the definition of response (≥6 point reduction in TSDS). Drowsiness was the most common AE.

Conclusions: Trials of medicinal cannabis in advanced cancer patients undergoing palliative care are feasible. The doses of THC and CBD used in this study were generally well tolerated and the outcome measure of total symptom distress is promising as a measure of overall symptom benefit.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31800354

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jpm.2019.0540

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Exploring cancer survivors’ attitudes, perceptions, and concerns about using medical cannabis for symptom and side effect management: A qualitative focus group study.

Complementary Therapies in Medicine“The purpose of this study is to gain a greater understanding of cancer survivors’ attitudes, perspectives, and concerns about medical cannabinoids (MCs) for cancer symptom and side effect management.

Using qualitative methods, we conducted four focus groups (n = 19) with cancer survivors recruited from a community-based cancer wellness center. Groups were audio-recorded and facilitated by experienced co-moderators who directed discussion using a semi-structured interview guide. Transcripts were coded using principles from Grounded Theory.

Analyses revealed the following ten themes and percentages of codes applied: 1) Attitudes & Beliefs (25.3%), 2) Access (17.1%), 3) Information (15.5%), 4) Concern (14%), 5) How MCs Helped (12.6%), 6) Comfort (4.3%), 7) Confusion (3.6%), 8) Trust/Distrust (3.1%), 9) Behaviors (2.3%), and 10) Support (2.2%).

Participants reported that MCs offer potential benefits for symptom management and side effect relief, especially in reducing and managing pain. Despite the growing number of states that are legalizing MCs, significant barriers exist that make knowledge and adequate access a challenge for many.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31779995

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0965229919309252?via%3Dihub

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

The Impact of Medical Marijuana Laws and Dispensaries on Self-Reported Health

 “Growing evidence suggests that medical marijuana laws have harm reduction effects across a variety of outcomes related to risky health behaviors. This study investigates the impact of medical marijuana laws on self-reported health using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System from 1993 to 2013. In our analyses we separately identify the effect of a medical marijuana law and the impact of subsequent active and legally protected dispensaries. Our main results show surprisingly limited improvements in self-reported health after the legalization of medical marijuana and legally protected dispensaries. Subsample analyses reveal strong improvements in health among non-white individuals, those reporting chronic pain, and those with a high school degree, driven predominately by whether or not the state had active and legally protected dispensaries. We also complement the analysis by evaluating the impact on risky health behaviors and find that the aforementioned demographic groups experience large reductions in alcohol consumption after the implementation of a medical marijuana law.”

https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/fhep.ahead-of-print/fhep-2019-0002/fhep-2019-0002.xml

“Study Links Medical Marijuana Access To Better Health. Access to medical marijuana appears to improve the health of some patients, even reducing their alcohol intake, according to new research.” https://thefreshtoast.com/cannabis/study-links-legal-marijuana-access-to-better-health/

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Endocannabinoid System Alterations in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Review of Developmental and Accumulative Effects of Trauma.

 Image result for sage journals chronic stress“The role of the endocannabinoid system in stress-related psychiatric symptoms has been investigated in many animal and human studies.

Although most of these studies consistently report long-lasting effects of prolonged stress and trauma on the endocannabinoid system, the nature and direction of these changes are controversial.

We reviewed the available preclinical and clinical studies investigating the endocannabinoid system alterations long after chronic stress and trauma.

We propose that the effects of prolonged stress or trauma on the endocannabinoid system are different based on the developmental age of subjects at the time of experiencing the trauma and its repetitiveness and accumulative effects.

The current literature consistently demonstrates decreased levels of endocannabinoid ligands and receptors if the trauma occurs in childhood, whereas decreased levels of endocannabinoid ligands and increased levels of cannabinoid receptors are reported when trauma has happened in adulthood.

It is important to note that these changes are region-specific in the brain and also there are important sex differences, which are beyond the scope of this review.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31660473

“More studies are needed to compare the effects of childhood and adulthood trauma, with or without PTSD presentations, on the eCB system. These studies would have important clinical implications, not only for individuals with trauma and PTSD who commonly have comorbid recreational cannabis use, and medical marijuana users with PTSD being one of its main indicators but also for studies investigating the potential therapeutic use of cannabinoids and eCB enhancers in PTSD treatment.”

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2470547019864096

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Medical Marijuana Guidelines for Practice: Health Policy Implications.

Journal of Pediatric Health Care Home“Cannabis use in pediatric health care remains limited, however, there is increasing evidence on the pharmacologic benefits of medical marijuana for chronic conditions in childhood. Realizing the need for guidance in practice, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) published guidelines to aid in decision making in nursing practice. While focusing primarily on adult use of cannabis, the guidelines do address special populations such as children and adolescents. This article reviews the endocannabinoid system, current state of legislation on medical marijuana, policy considerations, recent FDA approval of a cannabis product for pediatric use, NCSBN National Nursing Guidelines for Medical Marijuana, and pediatric implications for nursing practice.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31655786

https://www.jpedhc.org/article/S0891-5245(19)30399-2/fulltext

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Medical Cannabis for the Primary Care Physician.

 SAGE Journals“Medical cannabis use is common in the United States and increasingly more socially acceptable. As more patients seek out and acquire medical cannabis, primary care physicians will be faced with a growing number of patients seeking information on the indications, efficacy, and safety of medical cannabis. We present a case of a patient with several chronic health conditions who asks her primary care provider whether she should try medical cannabis. We provide a review of the pharmacology of medical cannabis, the state of evidence regarding the efficacy of medical cannabis, variations in the types of medical cannabis, and safety monitoring considerations for the primary care physician.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31646929

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2150132719884838

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Utilization of medicinal cannabis for pain by individuals with spinal cord injury.

Image result for spinal cord series and cases“A cross-sectional multi-center study using an on-line survey addressing utilization, knowledge, and perceptions of medicinal cannabis (MC) by people with spinal cord injury (SCI).

OBJECTIVE:

To characterize differences between current (CU), past (PU), and never users (NU) of MC with SCI; to determine why people with SCI use MC; to examine reports of MCs’ efficacy and tolerability by individuals with SCI.

SETTING:

Three academic medical centers in the United States.

METHODS:

Comparison of demographic and attitudinal differences between CU, PU, and NU and differences in the groups’ reports of pain, health, and quality of life (QOL). Evaluation of utilization patterns and perceived efficacy of MC among CU and PU and reports of side effects of MC versus prescription medications. Data were analyzed using either Chi Square, distribution-free exact statistics, or t-tests for continuous data.

RESULTS:

Among a nationwide sample (n = 353) of individuals with SCI, NU were less likely than CU and PU to believe that cannabis ought to be legalized and more likely to endorse risks of use. Current users and PU reported greater pain interference in daily life than did NU, but there were no between group differences in QOL or physical or emotional health. Current users and PU took MC to address pain (65.30%), spasms (63.30%), sleeplessness (32.70%), and anxiety (24.00%), and 63.30% reported it offered “great relief” from symptoms. Participants reported that MC is more effective and carries fewer side effects than prescription medications.

CONCLUSIONS:

Medicinal cannabis is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for a number of SCI-related symptoms.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31632724

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41394-019-0208-6

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Cellular Distribution of Canonical and Putative Cannabinoid Receptors in Canine Cervical Dorsal Root Ganglia.

Image result for frontiers in veterinary science“Growing evidence indicates cannabinoid receptors as potential therapeutic targets for chronic pain.

Consequently, there is an increasing interest in developing cannabinoid receptor agonists for treating human and veterinary pain.

The present study may represent a morphological substrate to consider in order to develop therapeutic strategies against chronic pain.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31608295

“The anti-nociceptive potential of the endocannabinoid system has prompted the development of therapeutic cannabinoid receptors agonists or medical marjiuana to be used in pets in order to treat chronic pain.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2019.00313/full

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous