Cannabidiol in sport : ergogenic or else?

Pharmacological Research“In the sports domain, cannabis is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) across all sports in competition since 2004. The few studies on physical exercise and cannabis focused on the main compound i.e. Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Cannabidiol (CBD) is another well-known phytocannabinoid present in dried or heated preparations of cannabis. Unlike Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, CBD is non-intoxicating but exhibits pharmacological properties that are interesting for medical use.

The worldwide regulatory status of CBD is complex and this compound is still a controlled substance in many countries. Interestingly, however, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from the list of prohibited substances – in or out of competition – since 2018. This recent decision by the WADA leaves the door open for CBD use by athletes.

In the present opinion article we wish to expose the different CBD properties discovered in preclinical studies that could be further tested in the sport domain to ascertain its utility. Preclinical studies suggest that CBD could be useful to athletes due to its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic, neuroprotective properties and its influence on the sleep-wake cycle. Unfortunately, almost no clinical data are available on CBD in the context of exercise, which makes its use in this context still premature.”

“Athletes could benefit from CBD to manage pain, inflammation and the swelling processes associated with injury. CBD could be useful to manage anxiety, fear memory process, sleep and sleepiness in athletes. CBD could be interesting for the management of mild traumatic brain injury and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.”

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Antinociceptive and Immune Effects of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or Cannabidiol in Male Versus Female Rats with Persistent Inflammatory Pain.

Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics: 373 (1)

“Chronic pain is the most common reason reported for using medical cannabis.

The goal of this research was to determine if the two primary phytocannabinoids, THC and CBD, are effective treatments for persistent inflammatory pain.

These results suggest that THC may be more beneficial than CBD for reducing inflammatory pain, in that THC maintains its efficacy with short-term treatment in both sexes, and does not induce immune activation.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: CBDs and THCs pain-relieving effects are examined in male and female rats with persistent inflammatory pain to determine if individual phytocannabinoids could be a viable treatment for men and women with chronic inflammatory pain. Additionally, sex differences in the immune response to an adjuvant and to THC and CBD are characterized to provided preliminary insight into immune-related effects of cannabinoid-based therapy for pain.”

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High expectations: The landscape of clinical trials of medical marijuana in oncology.

Complementary Therapies in Medicine“Given the infancy and evolving complexity of medicinal marijuana, an evolving political landscape, and the growing frequency of its use in cancer care, it is important for oncologists to be actively engaged in developing and successfully implementing clinical trials focusing on medical marijuana.

The purpose of this study was to analyze and evaluate trends in clinical trials focused on medical marijuana in oncology.


Our results indicate that across oncology, there is growing interest in clinical research in the use of medical marijuana.”

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What Do You Know About Maryjane? A Systematic Review of the Current Data on the THC:CBD Ratio.

Publication Cover“Ratios of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) impact metabolism and therapeutic effects of cannabis.

The medical and scientific communities have not drawn substantive conclusions nor thoroughly explored THC:CBD ratios for “best practice” treatment of different disease processes and their sequelae.

While there is evidence that cannabis provides medical benefits, research is lacking on standardization of medical cannabis use in modern medical practices.”

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Ensuring access to safe, effective, and affordable cannabis‐based medicines

British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology“Over the past decade, patients, families, and medical cannabis advocates have campaigned in many countries to allow patients to use cannabis preparations to treat the symptoms of serious illnesses that have not responded to conventional treatment.

Ideally, any medical use of a cannabinoid would involve practitioners prescribing an approved medicine produced to standards of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), the safety and effectiveness of which had been assessed in clinical trials. The prescriber would be fully acquainted with the patient’s medical history and well‐informed about the safety and efficacy of cannabinoid medicines and know the most appropriate formulations and dosages to use and how they should be used in combination with other medicines being used to treat the patient’s condition. Current medical use of cannabinoids falls short of these expectations and regulations.

There is reasonable evidence that some cannabinoids are superior to placebo in reducing symptoms of some medical conditions.

There are no short cuts in making quality‐controlled cannabis‐based medicines available to patients in ways that ensure that they are used safely and effectively. In the absence of industry interest in funding clinical trials, governments need to fund large, well‐designed clinical and clinical pharmacological studies that will enable cannabinoids to play a more evidence‐based role in modern clinical practice. In the meantime, the clinical pharmacology field needs to share high‐quality data on the safety, efficacy, and pharmacology of medical cannabinoids as it becomes available. This should be presented in ways that permit the information to be regularly updated and provide clinically useful guidance on how these medicines should be used.”

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Cannabinoids in Chronic Non-Cancer Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

SAGE Journals“For patients with chronic, non-cancer pain, traditional pain-relieving medications include opioids, which have shown benefits but are associated with increased risks of addiction and adverse effects.

Medical cannabis has emerged as a treatment alternative for managing these patients and there has been a rise in the number of randomized clinical trials in recent years; therefore, a systematic review of the evidence was warranted.


Thirty-six trials (4006 participants) were included, examining smoked cannabis (4 trials), oromucosal cannabis sprays (14 trials), and oral cannabinoids (18 trials). Compared with placebo, cannabinoids showed a significant reduction in pain which was greatest with treatment duration of 2 to 8 weeks (weighted mean difference on a 0-10 pain visual analogue scale -0.68, 95% confidence interval [CI], -0.96 to -0.40, I 2 = 8%, P < .00001; n = 16 trials). When stratified by route of administration, pain condition, and type of cannabinoids, oral cannabinoids had a larger reduction in pain compared with placebo relative to oromucosal and smoked formulations but the difference was not significant (P[interaction] > .05 in all the 3 durations of treatment); cannabinoids had a smaller reduction in pain due to multiple sclerosis compared with placebo relative to other neuropathic pain (P[interaction] = .05) within 2 weeks and the difference was not significant relative to pain due to rheumatic arthritis; nabilone had a greater reduction in pain compared with placebo relative to other types of cannabinoids longer than 2 weeks of treatment but the difference was not significant (P[interaction] > .05). Serious AEs were rare, and similar across the cannabinoid (74 out of 2176, 3.4%) and placebo groups (53 out of 1640, 3.2%). There was an increased risk of non-serious AEs with cannabinoids compared with placebo.


There was moderate evidence to support cannabinoids in treating chronic, non-cancer pain at 2 weeks. Similar results were observed at later time points, but the confidence in effect is low. There is little evidence that cannabinoids increase the risk of experiencing serious AEs, although non-serious AEs may be common in the short-term period following use.”

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Adding medical cannabis to standard analgesic treatment for fibromyalgia: a prospective observational study.

Image result for Clin Exp Rheumatol. “To assess any clinical improvement attributable to the addition of medical cannabis treatment (MCT) to the stable (>3 months) standard analgesic treatment of fibromyalgia (FM) patients, the retention rate and any changes in the concomitant analgesic treatment over a period of six months.


The study involved 102 consecutive FM patients with VAS scores ≥4 despite standard analgesic treatment. Patients were prescribed two oil-diluted cannabis extracts: Bedrocan (22% THC, <1% CBD), and Bediol (6.3% THC, 8% CBD). FM severity was periodically assessed using Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQR), Fibromyalgia Assessment Scale (FAS), FACIT-Fatigue score, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and Zung Depression and Anxiety Scales. During the study, patients were allowed to reduce or stop their concomitant analgesic therapy.


The 6-month retention rate was 64%. A significant improvement in the PSQI and FIQR was observed in respectively 44% and 33% of patients. 50% showed a moderate improvement in the anxiety and depression scales. Multiple regression analysis showed a correlation between the body mass index (BMI) and FIQR improvement (p=0.017). Concomitant analgesic treatment was reduced or suspended in 47% of the patients. One-third experienced mild adverse events, which did not cause any significant treatment modifications.


This observational study shows that adjunctive MCT offers a possible clinical advantage in FM patients, especially in those with sleep dysfunctions. The clinical improvement inversely correlated with BMI. The retention rate and changes in concomitant analgesic therapy reflect MCT efficacy of the improved quality of life of patients. Further studies are needed to confirm these data, identify MCT-responsive sub-groups of FM patients, and establish the most appropriate posology and duration of the therapy.”

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The implications of late-life cannabis use on brain health: A mapping review and implications for future research.

Ageing Research Reviews“While medical and recreational cannabis use is becoming more frequent among older adults, the neurocognitive consequences of cannabis use in this age group are unclear. The aim of this literature review was to synthesize and evaluate the current knowledge on the association of cannabis use during older-adulthood with cognitive function and brain aging.

We reviewed the literature from old animal models and human studies while focusing on the link of middle- and old-age use of cannabis with cognition. The report highlights the gap in knowledge on cannabis use in late-life and cognitive health, and discusses the limited findings in the context of substantial changes in attitudes and policies. Furthermore, we outline possible theoretical mechanisms and propose recommendations for future research.

The limited evidence on this important topic suggests that use in older ages may not be linked with poorer cognitive performance, thus detrimental effects of early-life cannabis use may not translate to use in older ages. Rather, use in old ages may be associated with improved brain health, in accordance with the known neuroprotective properties of several cannabinoids.”

“Cannabis use in older ages may be associated with improved brain health.”

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A Review of Scientific Evidence for THC:CBD Oromucosal Spray (Nabiximols) in the Management of Chronic Pain.

“The 20% prevalence of chronic pain in the general population is a major health concern given the often profound associated impairment of daily activities, employment status, and health-related quality of life in sufferers. Resource utilization associated with chronic pain represents an enormous burden for healthcare systems. Although analgesia based on the World Health Organization’s pain ladder continues to be the mainstay of chronic pain management, aside from chronic cancer pain or end-of-life care, prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or opioids to manage chronic pain is rarely sustainable.

As the endocannabinoid system is known to control pain at peripheral, spinal, and supraspinal levels, interest in medical use of cannabis is growing.

A proprietary blend of cannabis plant extracts containing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) as the principal cannabinoids is formulated as an oromucosal spray (USAN name: nabiximols) and standardized to ensure quality, consistency and stability. This review examines evidence for THC:CBD oromucosal spray (nabiximols) in the management of chronic pain conditions.

Cumulative evidence from clinical trials and an exploratory analysis of the German Pain e-Registry suggests that add-on THC:CBD oromucosal spray (nabiximols) may have a role in managing chronic neuropathic pain, although further precise clinical trials are required to draw definitive conclusions.”

“Smoked Cannabis Proven Effective In Treating Neuropathic Pain.”

“Marijuana Relieves Chronic Pain, Research Shows”

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Quality of Life, Mental Health, Personality and Patterns of Use in Self-Medicated Cannabis Users with Chronic Diseases: A 12-Month Longitudinal Study.

Phytotherapy Research“The number of patients using cannabis for therapeutic purposes is growing worldwide. While research regarding the treatment of certain diseases/disorders with cannabis and cannabinoids is also expanding, only a few longitudinal studies have assessed the mid-term impacts of medical cannabis use on psychological variables and quality of life (QoL).

The aim of the study was to assess the psychological safety and QoL of patients with chronic diseases who self-medicate with cannabis over time.

We recruited patients with various chronic diseases who use cannabis and collected data regarding patterns of cannabis use as well as mental health, personality and QoL. Participants were followed-up at baseline, 4, 8 and 12 months. Hair analysis was conducted to confirm the presence of cannabinoids. Personality assessment showed a consistent decrease in self-transcendence and self-directedness scores.

Neither cognitive nor psychopathological deterioration was found. There were also no variations in QoL. Mid-term use of medical cannabis seems to show adequate tolerability regarding cognitive and psychopathological abilities, and it may help patients with chronic diseases to maintain an acceptable QoL.”

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