Medical Cannabis for the Management of Pain and Quality of Life in Chronic Pain Patients: A Prospective Observational Study

Pain Medicine (Journal) by Oxford University Press

“Objective: To evaluate the short-term and long-term effects of plant-based medical cannabis in a chronic pain population over the course of one year.

Results: Medical cannabis treatment was associated with improvements in pain severity and interference (P < 0.001) observed at one month and maintained over the 12-month observation period. Significant improvements were also observed in the SF-12 physical and mental health domains (P < 0.002) starting at three months. Significant decreases in headaches, fatigue, anxiety, and nausea were observed after initiation of treatment (P ≤ 0.002). In patients who reported opioid medication use at baseline, there were significant reductions in oral morphine equivalent doses (P < 0.0001), while correlates of pain were significantly improved by the end of the study observation period.

Conclusions: Taken together, the findings of this study add to the cumulative evidence in support of plant-based medical cannabis as a safe and effective treatment option and potential opioid medication substitute or augmentation therapy for the management of symptoms and quality of life in chronic pain patients.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32556203/

https://academic.oup.com/painmedicine/article-abstract/doi/10.1093/pm/pnaa163/5859722?redirectedFrom=fulltext

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Experiences With Medical Cannabis in the Treatment of Veterans With PTSD: Results From a Focus Group Discussion

 European Neuropsychopharmacology“Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an often chronic condition for which currently available medications have limited efficacy.

Medical cannabis is increasingly used to treat patients with PTSD; however, evidence for the efficacy and safety of cannabinoids is scarce. To learn more about patients’ opinions on and experiences with medical cannabis, we organized a focus group discussion among military veterans (N = 7) with chronic PTSD who were treated with medical cannabis. Afterwards, some of their partners (N = 4) joined the group for an evaluation, during which they shared their perspective on their partner’s use of medical cannabis.

Both sessions were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed by means of qualitative content analysis. Five overarching themes were identified. The first four themes related to the different phases of medical cannabis use – namely, 1) Consideration; 2) Initiation; 3) Usage; and 4) Discontinuation. The fifth theme related to several general aspects of medical cannabis use.

Patients used medical cannabis to manage their symptoms and did not experience an urge to “get high.” They used a variety of different cannabis strains and dosages and reported several therapeutic effects, including an increased quality of sleep. Furthermore, discussions about the experienced stigma surrounding cannabis generated insights with implications for the initiation of medical cannabis use.

These results underscore the value of qualitative research in this field and are relevant for the design of future clinical trials on the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of PTSD.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32576481/

“Reported therapeutic effects ranged from reduced anger and irritability to increased sleep quality and reductions in nightmares and night sweats.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924977X20301280?via%3Dihub

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A Cross-Sectional and Prospective Comparison of Medicinal Cannabis Users and Controls on Self-Reported Health

View details for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image“Despite widespread legalization, the impact of medicinal cannabis use on patient-level health and quality of life (QOL) has not been carefully evaluated.

The objective of this study was to characterize self-reported demographics, health characteristics, QOL, and health care utilization of Cannabis Users compared with Controls.

Results: Cannabis Users self-reported significantly better QOL [t(1054)=−4.19, p<0.001], greater health satisfaction [t(1045)=−4.14, p<0.001], improved sleep [children: t(224)=2.90, p<0.01; adults: [t(758)=3.03, p<0.01], lower average pain severity [t(1150)=2.34, p<0.05], lower anxiety [t(1151)=4.38, p<0.001], and lower depression [t(1210)=5.77, p<0.001] compared with Controls. Cannabis Users reported using fewer prescription medications (rate ratio [RR]=0.86; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.77–0.96) and were less likely to have a past-month emergency department visit (RR=0.61; 95% CI: 0.44–0.84) or hospital admission (RR=0.54; 95% CI: 0.34–0.87). Controls who initiated cannabis use after baseline showed significant health improvements at follow-up, and the magnitude of improvement mirrored the between-group differences observed at baseline.

Conclusions: Cannabis use was associated with improved health and QOL. Longitudinal testing suggests that group differences may be due to the medicinal use of cannabis. Although bias related to preexisting beliefs regarding the health benefits of cannabis in this sample should be considered, these findings indicate that clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of defined cannabinoid products for specific health conditions are warranted.

The key finding of this study is that medicinal cannabis use was associated with more positive ratings of health and QOL, assessed across multiple domains. Prospective analyses found that Controls showed improvement in health and QOL if they initiated medicinal cannabis use, and that Cannabis Users showed diminished health and QOL if they stopped cannabis use.”

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/can.2019.0096

“The Health Benefits of Medical Marijuana As Reported by Users. Using cannabis for medical reasons has been linked in a study to outcomes including better sleep, less anxiety, and taking fewer prescription medications.” https://www.newsweek.com/health-benefits-medical-marijuana-users-1511647

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Targeting Cannabinoid Receptor 2 on Peripheral Leukocytes to Attenuate Inflammatory Mechanisms Implicated in HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder.

 SpringerLink“HIV infection affects an estimated 38 million people. Approximately 50% of HIV patients exhibit neurocognitive dysfunction termed HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND). HAND is a consequence of chronic low-level neuroinflammation due to HIV entry into the brain. Initially, monocytes become activated in circulation and traffic to the brain. Monocytes, when activated, become susceptible to infection by HIV and can then carry the virus across the blood brain barrier. Once in the brain, activated monocytes secrete chemokines, which recruit virus-specific CD8+ T cells into the brain to further promote neuroinflammation. HAND is closely linked to systemic inflammation driven, in part, by HIV but is also due to persistent translocation of microorganisms across the GI tract. Persistent anti-viral responses in the GI tract compromise microbial barrier integrity. Indeed, HIV patients can exhibit remarkably high levels of activated (CD16+) monocytes in circulation.

Recent studies, including our own, show that HIV patients using medical marijuana exhibit lower levels of circulating CD16+ monocytes than non-cannabis using HIV patients. Cannabis is a known immune modulator, including anti-inflammatory properties, mediated, in part, by ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as well as less characterized minor cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD), terpenes and presumably other cannabis constituents. The immune modulating activity of THC is largely mediated through cannabinoid receptors (CB) 1 and 2, with CB1 also responsible for the psychotropic properties of cannabis.

Here we discuss the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids in the context of HIV and propose CB2 as a putative therapeutic target for the treatment of neuroinflammation. Graphical Abstract HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder is a systemic inflammatory disease leading to activation of plasmacytoid dendritic cells, monocytes and T cells. Monocyte and CD8 T cell migration across the BBB and interaction with astrocytes promotes neurotoxic inflammatory mediators release. CB2 ligands are proposed as therapeutics capable of suppressing systemic and localized inflammation.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32409991

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11481-020-09918-7

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The impact of naturalistic cannabis use on self-reported opioid withdrawal.

A Case of Mutism Subsequent to Cocaine Abuse - Journal of ...“Four states have legalized medical cannabis for the purpose of treating opioid use disorder. It is unclear whether cannabinoids improve or exacerbate opioid withdrawal. A more thorough examination of cannabis and its impact on specific symptoms of opioid withdrawal is warranted.

METHOD:

Two hundred individuals recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk with past month opioid and cannabis use and experience of opioid withdrawal completed the survey. Participants indicated which opioid withdrawal symptoms improved or worsened with cannabis use and indicated the severity of their opioid withdrawal on days with and without cannabis.

RESULTS:

62.5% (n = 125) of 200 participants had used cannabis to treat withdrawal. Participants most frequently indicated that cannabis improved: anxiety, tremors, and trouble sleeping. A minority of participants (6.0%, n = 12) indicated cannabis worsened opioid withdrawal, specifically symptoms of yawning, teary eyes, and runny nose. Across all symptoms, more participants indicated that symptoms improved with cannabis compared to those that indicated symptoms worsened with cannabis. Women reported greater relief from withdrawal with cannabis use than men.

DISCUSSION:

These results show that cannabis may improve opioid withdrawal symptoms and that the size of the effect is clinically meaningful. It is important to note that symptoms are exacerbated with cannabis in only a minority of individuals. Prospectively designed studies examining the impact of cannabis and cannabinoids on opioid withdrawal are warranted.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32359667

“Cannabis alleviates self-reported opioid withdrawal symptoms.”

https://www.journalofsubstanceabusetreatment.com/article/S0740-5472(19)30564-1/pdf

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Cannabidiol and Other Non-Psychoactive Cannabinoids for Prevention and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders: Useful Nutraceuticals?

ijms-logo“Cannabis sativa is an aromatic annual flowering plant with several botanical varieties, used for different purposes, like the production of fibers, the production of oil from the seeds, and especially for recreational or medical purposes.

Phytocannabinoids (terpenophenolic compounds derived from the plant), include the well-known psychoactive cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, and many non-psychoactive cannabinoids, like cannabidiol.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) comprises of endocannabinoid ligands, enzymes for synthesis and degradation of such ligands, and receptors. This system is widely distributed in the gastrointestinal tract, where phytocannabinoids exert potent effects, particularly under pathological (i.e., inflammatory) conditions.

Herein, we will first look at the hemp plant as a possible source of new functional food ingredients and nutraceuticals that might be eventually useful to treat or even prevent gastrointestinal conditions.

Subsequently, we will briefly describe the ECS and the general pharmacology of phytocannabinoids. Finally, we will revise the available data showing that non-psychoactive phytocannabinoids, particularly cannabidiol, may be useful to treat different disorders and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.

With the increasing interest in the development of functional foods for a healthy life, the non-psychoactive phytocannabinoids are hoped to find a place as nutraceuticals and food ingredients also for a healthy gastrointestinal tract function.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32357565

https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/9/3067

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Innovative methods for the preparation of medical Cannabis oils with a high content of both cannabinoids and terpenes.

Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis“Cannabis-based medications are being increasingly used for the treatment of different clinical conditions.

Among all galenic formulations, olive oil extracts from medical Cannabis are the most prescribed ones for their easy preparation and usage. A great variety of methods have been described so far for the extraction of medical Cannabis oils to reach a high yield of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), but poor attention has been paid to the preservation of the terpene fraction from the plant, which may contribute to the overall bioactivity of the extracts.

In this context, the present study was aimed at the chemical characterization of different medical Cannabis oils prepared by following both innovative and existing extraction protocols, with particular attention to cannabinoids and terpenes, in order to set up a suitable method to obtain an extract rich in these chemical classes. In particular, six different extraction procedures were followed, based on different techniques, of which all but one included a decarboxylation of the plant material.

The profile of cannabinoids was studied in detail by means of HPLC-ESI-MS/MS, while terpenes were characterized by means both GC-MS and GC-FID techniques coupled with solid-phase microextraction operated in the head-space mode (HS-SPME). An innovative method that is based on the extraction of the oil by dynamic maceration at room temperature from plant inflorescences, which were partially decarboxylated in a closed system at a moderate temperature and partially pre-extracted with ethanol, produced similar yields of bioactive compounds as that obtained by using a microwave-assisted distillation of the essential oil from the plant material, in combination with a maceration extraction of the oil from the residue.

Both these new methods provided a higher efficiency over already existing extraction procedures of medical Cannabis oils and they can be applied to obtain a product with a high therapeutic value.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32334134

“New methods were developed for the extraction of medical Cannabis oils.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0731708520303897?via%3Dihub

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A Comprehensive Patient and Public Involvement Program Evaluating Perception of Cannabis-Derived Medicinal Products in the Treatment of Acute Postoperative Pain, Nausea, and Vomiting Using a Qualitative Thematic Framework.

View details for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image“Cannabis-derived medicinal products (CDMPs) have antiemetic properties and in combination with opioids have synergistic analgesic effects in part signaling through the delta and kappa opioid receptors.

The objective of this patient and public involvement program was to determine perception of perioperative CDMPs in our local population to inform design of a clinical trial.

Consensus was that potential benefits of CDMPs were attractive compared with the known risk profile of opioid use. Decrease in opioid dependence was agreed to be an appropriate clinical end-point for a randomized controlled clinical trial and there was concurrence of positive opinion of a therapeutic schedule of 5 days.

The perception of postoperative CDMP therapy was overwhelmingly positive in this West London population. The data from this thematic analysis will inform protocol development of clinical trials to determine analgesic and antiemetic efficacy of CDMPs.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32322678

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2019.0020

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A case study for the use of medical cannabis in generalized anxiety disorder.

logo“Despite the increasing prevalence and acceptance of the medical cannabis use among the general public, the evidence required by physicians to use cannabis as a treatment is generally lacking. Research on the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids has been limited worldwide, leaving patients, health care professionals, and policymakers without the evidence they need to make sound decisions regarding the use of cannabis and cannabinoids.

This case study outlines an intervention that involved a patient integrating medical cannabis into her treatment to better manage a generalized anxiety disorder and the debilitating symptoms of vertigo. This case demonstrates how the patient drastically improved her quality of life and reinforces the need for more rigorous testing on the use of medical cannabis to support patients and better manage the symptoms associated with their medical conditions.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32309610

https://www.discoveriesjournals.org/discoveries/D.2019.02.OACS-Walkaden.DOI

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Beneficial Effects of Cannabis on Blood Brain Barrier Function in HIV.

“HIV infection leads to blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction that does not resolve despite viral suppression on antiretroviral therapy and is associated with adverse clinical outcomes.

In preclinical models, cannabis restores BBB integrity.

Cannabis may have a beneficial impact on HIV-associated BBB injury.

Since BBB disruption may permit increased entry of toxins such as microbial antigens and inflammatory mediators, with consequent CNS injury, these results support a potential therapeutic role of cannabis among PWH and may have important treatment implications for ART effectiveness and toxicity.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32296832

https://academic.oup.com/cid/article-abstract/doi/10.1093/cid/ciaa437/5820626?redirectedFrom=fulltext

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