“Patients with multiple sclerosis have long turned to complementary therapies to manage symptoms that licensed products can only partially control. Around half of patients with multiple sclerosis admit to previous or current cannabis use for medicinal purposes and would endorse legalisation. Despite many governments worldwide relaxing regulations around medicinal cannabis, there remain many unanswered questions as to how clinicians should prescribe or recommend products, and access to pharmaceutical-grade products remains highly restricted. Here we address what adult neurologists need to know about cannabis and its use in multiple sclerosis.”
“Since 10 March 2017, physicians have been allowed to prescribe cannabis to patients with serious illnesses and in the absence of alternative therapies. Patients can obtain it as dried flowers or extracts in standardised pharmaceutical quality by prescription (narcotic prescription, except for cannabidiol) in pharmacies. When prescribing, physicians have to take a few things into account. The first step is to decide which therapeutic effects are to be achieved and which is the most suitable cannabis product. Cannabis for medical use must meet the requirements for pharmaceutical quality. An identity check must be carried out in the pharmacy on the basis of the monographs of the German Pharmacopoeia (DAB) or the German Pharmaceutical Codex/New Prescription Form (DAC/NRF). For the production of prescription drugs, e.g. capsules, drops or inhalates, there are also corresponding monographs for the preparation of prescription drugs. These standardised, quality-assured prescription formulas should be given preference in the case of a medical prescription. When prescribing an oral or inhalative form of application, it should be noted that the onset and duration of action are very different. Also, due to the complex pharmacology of cannabinoids, interindividual genetic differences in the metabolisation of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the individual structure and function of the cannabinoid receptors, as well as differences in receptor density and distribution, the dosage and frequency of application must be individually determined. Last but not least, the dosage also depends on the type of disease and individual susceptibility to side effects. When prescribed for the first time, a creeping dosage with a very low initial dose is recommended.”
“Chronic pain may be treated by medical cannabis. Yet, there is scarce evidence to support the role of medical cannabis in the treatment of fibromyalgia. The aim of the study was to investigate the characteristics, safety, and effectiveness of medical cannabis therapy for fibromyalgia.
Results: Among the 367 fibromyalgia patients, the mean age was 52.9 ± 15.1, of whom 301 (82.0%) were women. Twenty eight patients (7.6%) stopped the treatment prior to the six months follow-up. The six months response rate was 70.8%. Pain intensity (scale 0–10) reduced from a median of 9.0 at baseline to 5.0 (p < 0.001), and 194 patients (81.1%) achieved treatment response. In a multivariate analysis, age above 60 years (odds ratio [OR] 0.34, 95% C.I 0.16–0.72), concerns about cannabis treatment (OR 0.36, 95% C.I 0.16–0.80), spasticity (OR 2.26, 95% C.I 1.08–4.72), and previous use of cannabis (OR 2.46 95% C.I 1.06–5.74) were associated with treatment outcome. The most common adverse effects were mild and included dizziness (7.9%), dry mouth (6.7%), and gastrointestinal symptoms (5.4%).
Conclusion: Medical cannabis appears to be a safe and effective alternative for the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms. Standardization of treatment compounds and regimens are required.”
“Over the past few decades in the United States, marijuana for medical purposes has become increasingly prevalent. Initial qualitative and epidemiological research suggests that marijuana may be a promising substitute for traditional pharmacotherapies.
Objectives: This qualitative study examined perceptions relating to (1) using medical marijuana in comparison to other prescription medications and (2) user perception of policy issues that limit adoption of medical marijuana use.
Results: Three themes emerged related to medical marijuana use, including (1) comparison of medical marijuana to other medications (i.e., better and/or fewer side effects than prescription medications, improves quality of life), (2) substitution of marijuana for other medications (i.e., in addition to or instead of), and (3) how perception of medical marijuana policy impacts use (i.e., stigma, travel, cost, and lack of instruction regarding use).
Conclusions: Several factors prevent pervasive medical marijuana use, including stigma, cost, and the inability for healthcare providers to relay instructions regarding dosing, strain, and method of use. Findings suggest that medical patients consider marijuana to be a viable alternative for opioids and other prescription medications, though certain policy barriers inhibit widespread implementation of marijuana as a treatment option.”
“This article discusses the controversial but promising topic of medical marijuana (MM) use in the pediatric population with epilepsy. Included is the importance of MM throughout history, the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics, and a literature review that provides anecdotal evidence of the positive effect MM has on children suffering from seizures. From this literature review, dosage for treatment and management is provided. Also discussed is the recent FDA-approved pharmaceutical grade CBD product, Epidiolex, for treatment of two pediatric-onset seizure syndromes, Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet. Clinical implications regarding adverse side effects of MM use are also discussed. The aim of this article is to arm providers with contemporary knowledge on the risks and benefits of MM use in the pediatric population with epilepsy, which may boost their skills and confidence in educating and advocating for children with seizures. This novel, ever-changing medication is in the forefront of history and the news, making this topic especially important for review.”
“The objective of this study was to determine if the use of medical cannabis affects the amount of opioids and benzodiazepines used by patients on a daily basis.
This single-center, retrospective cohort study evaluated opioid and benzodiazepine doses over a 6-month time period for patients certified to use medical cannabis for intractable pain. All available daily milligram morphine equivalents (MMEs) and daily diazepam equivalents (DEs) were calculated at baseline and at 3 and 6 months.
A total of 77 patients were included in the final analysis. There was a statistically significant decrease in median MME from baseline to 3 months (-32.5 mg; P = 0.013) and 6 months (-39.1 mg; P = 0.001). Additionally, there was a non-statistically significant decrease in median DE at 3 months (-3.75 mg; P = 0.285) and no change in median DE from baseline to 6 months (-0 mg; P = 0.833). Conclusion and Relevance: Over the course of this 6-month retrospective study, patients using medical cannabis for intractable pain experienced a significant reduction in the number of MMEs available to use for pain control. No significant difference was noted in DE from baseline. Further prospective studies are warranted to confirm or deny the opioid-sparing effects of medical cannabis when used to treat intractable pain.”
“There can be a fine line between therapeutic intervention and substance abuse, and this point is clearly exemplified in herbal cannabis and its products. Therapies involving cannabis have been the treatment of last resort for some cases of refractory epilepsy, and this has been among the strongest medical justifications for legalization of marijuana. In order to circumvent the narcotic effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), many studies have concentrated on its less intoxicating isomer cannabidiol (CBD). However, CBD, like all natural cannabinoids, is a controlled substance in most countries, and its conversion into THC can be easily performed using common chemicals. We describe here the anticonvulsant properties of 8,9-dihydrocannibidiol (H2CBD), a fully synthetic analogue of CBD that is prepared from inexpensive, non-cannabis derived precursors. H2CBD was found to have effectiveness comparable to CBD both for decreasing the number and reducing the severity of pentylenetetrazole-induced seizures in rats. Finally, H2CBD cannot be converted by any reasonable synthetic route into THC, and thus has the potential to act as a safe, noncontroversial drug for seizure mitigation.”
“Glioma is a devastating primary tumor of the central nervous system with difficult-to-manage symptoms.
Cannabis products have been postulated to potentially benefit glioma patients. Recent state legalization allowed investigators an opportunity to study glioma patients’ adoption of medical marijuana (MM).
Objective: Our goals were to: (1) determine the prevalence of marijuana use, both through physician recommendation and self-medication, and (2) evaluate its perceived risks and benefits in glioma patients.
Results: A total of 73 patients were surveyed. The majority of participants were aware that MM was legal in the state, and most reported learning of this through the media. Over 70% of participants reported having considered using MM, and a third reported using marijuana products after their diagnosis. Most received recommendations from friends/family rather than a medical provider, and only half of the users had obtained a physician’s recommendation. Users generally reported benefits.
Conclusions: With the increasing national conversation that accompanies legalization, glioma patients are pursuing marijuana for the treatment for their symptoms. More research and education is needed to bring health care providers into the conversation.”
“With the increase of life expectancy, neurodegenerative disorders are becoming not only a health but also a social burden worldwide. However, due to the multitude of pathophysiological disease states, current treatments fail to meet the desired outcomes. Therefore, there is a need for new therapeutic strategies focusing on more integrated, personalized and effective approaches. The prospect of using neural stem cells (NSC) as regenerative therapies is very promising, however several issues still need to be addressed. In particular, the potential actions of pharmacological agents used to modulate NSC activity are highly relevant. With the ongoing discussion of cannabinoid usage for medical purposes and reports drawing attention to the effects of cannabinoids on NSC regulation, there is an enormous, and yet, uncovered potential for cannabinoids as treatment options for several neurological disorders, specifically when combined with stem cell therapy. In this manuscript, we review in detail how cannabinoids act as potent regulators of NSC biology and their potential to modulate several neurogenic features in the context of pathophysiology.”