Cannabinoids and the expanded endocannabinoid system in neurological disorders.

 Related image“Anecdotal evidence that cannabis preparations have medical benefits together with the discovery of the psychotropic plant cannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) initiated efforts to develop cannabinoid-based therapeutics.

These efforts have been marked by disappointment, especially in relation to the unwanted central effects that result from activation of cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1), which have limited the therapeutic use of drugs that activate or inactivate this receptor.

The discovery of CB2 and of endogenous cannabinoid receptor ligands (endocannabinoids) raised new possibilities for safe targeting of this endocannabinoid system. However, clinical success has been limited, complicated by the discovery of an expanded endocannabinoid system – known as the endocannabinoidome – that includes several mediators that are biochemically related to the endocannabinoids, and their receptors and metabolic enzymes.

The approvals of nabiximols, a mixture of THC and the non-psychotropic cannabinoid cannabidiol, for the treatment of spasticity and neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis, and of purified botanical cannabidiol for the treatment of otherwise untreatable forms of paediatric epilepsy, have brought the therapeutic use of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids in neurological diseases into the limelight.

In this Review, we provide an overview of the endocannabinoid system and the endocannabinoidome before discussing their involvement in and clinical relevance to a variety of neurological disorders, including Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, Huntington disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, stroke, epilepsy and glioblastoma.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31831863

“The existence of the endocannabinoidome explains in part why some non-euphoric cannabinoids, which affect several endocannabinoidome proteins, are useful for the treatment of neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41582-019-0284-z

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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
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Short-term effects of cannabis consumption on cognitive performance in medical cannabis patients.

Publication Cover “This observational study examined the acute cognitive effects of cannabis.

We hypothesized that cognitive performance would be negatively affected by acute cannabis intoxication.

Contrary to expectations, performance on neuropsychological tests remained stable or even improved during the acute intoxication stage (THC; d: .49-.65, medium effect), and continued to increase during Recovery (d: .45-.77, medium-large effect).

Contrary to our hypothesis, there was no psychometric evidence for a decline in cognitive ability following THC intoxication.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31790276

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/23279095.2019.1681424?journalCode=hapn21

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Cannabis for pain in orthopedics: a systematic review focusing on study methodology

Image result for Can J Surg. journal“Medical cannabis use is an emerging topic of interest in orthopedics. Although there is a large amount of literature on medical cannabis use for managing various types of pain, few studies have focused on orthopedic conditions. There is little high-quality evidence in core orthopedic areas. The objective of this study was to summarize the literature on the efficacy of cannabis use for pain related to orthopedic conditions.

METHODS:

We conducted a systematic review of the literature on the use of cannabinoids for pain management in core orthopedic conditions. Two independent reviewers extracted information on reporting quality, risk of bias, drugs, population, control, duration of study, pain outcomes and the authors’ conclusions regarding efficacy for pain outcomes.

RESULTS:

We identified 33 orthopedic studies, including 21 primary studies and 12 reviews. Study quality was generally low to moderate. Six of the included studies had a control group and 15 were noncontrolled studies. Methodologies, drugs and protocols of administration varied greatly across studies. Study conclusions were generally positive in noncontrolled studies and mixed in controlled studies. Studies using higher doses tended to conclude that cannabis use was effective, but the potential for harmful effects may also be increased with higher doses.

CONCLUSION:

Variability in the methodologies used in cannabis research makes it challenging to draw conclusions about dosing, routes and frequency of administration. Most of the existing evidence suggests that medical cannabis use is effective, but this efficacy has been demonstrated only when either there is no comparator or cannabis is compared with placebo. Studies using an active comparator have not demonstrated efficacy. Future research should focus on improving study reporting and methodologic quality so that protocols that optimize pain control while minimizing harmful effects can be determined.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31782292

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The use of medical grade cannabis in Italy for drug-resistant epilepsy: a case series.

 “In Italy, medical grade cannabis (MGC) can be prescribed for different medical conditions, including drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE), once standard and approved therapies have failed, or caused non-tolerable side effects.

Here, we present a retrospective case series report of five patients with DRE who started therapy with MGC. Authorized ISO 9001:2008 pharmacies prepared MGC according to Italian laws. Olive oil extracts (OOEs) were prepared following standard extraction protocols, and cannabinoids were measured on each OOE to check for successful extraction.

After treatment with MGC, all patients reported a reduction in seizure frequency and severity, and some reported improved mood, sleep quality, and general well-being without relevant side effects.

Despite the small sample size and open-label nature of the data, we show that MGC may be successfully used to treat DRE. This is especially true when considering that no valid therapeutic option exists for these patients and that MGC was extremely well tolerated.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31776867

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10072-019-04162-1

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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

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Association between cannabis and the eyelids: A comprehensive review.

Publication cover image“Cannabis is the most consumed illicit drug worldwide. As more countries consider bills that would legalize adult use of cannabis, health care providers, including eye care professionals (ophthalmologists, optometrists), will need to recognize ocular effects of cannabis consumption in patients.

There are only 20 studies on the eyelid effects of cannabis usage as a medical treatment or a recreational drug.

These include: ptosis induction, an “eyelid tremor” appearance and blepharospasm attenuation.

Six articles describe how adequately dosed cannabis regimens could be promising medical treatments for blepharospasm induced by psychogenic factors.

The exact mechanism of cannabinoids connecting cannabis to the eyelids is unclear.

Further studies should be conducted to better understand the cannabinoid system in relation to the eyelid and eventually develop new, effective and safe therapeutic targets derived from cannabis.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31747112

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ceo.13687

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Cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system in anxiety, depression, and dysregulation of emotion in humans.

Image result for ovid journal“This review is to summarize most recent evidence published in the last 18 months on medical and recreational use of cannabis and cannabinoids in relation to anxiety, depression (unipolar and bipolar), and dysregulation of emotions as part of posttraumatic stress disorders (PTSD) and emotionally instable personality disorders.

It also covers the investigation of endocannabinoids as potential biomarkers in these conditions. This is important with increasing medicinal use of cannabinoids and growing social tolerance towards recreational cannabis use.

RECENT FINDINGS:

There is some recent evidence suggesting cannabinoids, cannabidiol or cannabidiol-enriched cannabis preparations have anxiolytic properties. In addition, depression may be worsened by cannabis use, however, randomized controlled trials (RCT) are lacking.

New evidence also suggests that cannabidiol or cannabidiol-enriched cannabis use for PTSD and emotion regulation can induce hyporesponse to fear and stress. Further, several lines of evidence point to the endocannabinoid system as a key player in some of the reviewed disorders, in particular anxiety and PTSD.

SUMMARY:

The most recent evidence for a therapeutic use of cannabinoids in the reviewed conditions is weak and lacking well designed RCTs. However, there is some indication of the role of the endocannabinoid system in these conditions that warrant further studies.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31714262

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00001504-900000000-99165

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Medical Cannabis as an Effective Treatment for Refractory Symptoms of Paraneoplastic Stiff Person Syndrome.

Journal of Pain and Symptom Management Home“Stiff person syndrome (SPS) is a disorder characterized by fluctuating, progressive and painful spasms of the limbs, trunk and face. The condition is frequently associated with other diseases, including malignancies1. Up to 10% of SPS cases are paraneoplastic (PSPS) and occur with various types of cancer 2. SPS is thought to be immune-mediated, with up to 60% of patients demonstrating antibodies to glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), the rate-limiting enzyme for the production of the inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA).” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31743746

https://www.jpsmjournal.com/article/S0885-3924(19)30654-2/fulltext

Successful cannabis derivatives oromucosal spray therapy for a seronegative stiff-person syndrome: a case report.”  https://ejhp.bmj.com/content/19/2/219.2

Cannabis derivatives therapy for a seronegative stiff-person syndrome: a case report”   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22726074

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Frequency of cannabis and illicit opioid use among people who use drugs and report chronic pain: A longitudinal analysis.

Image result for plos medicine“Ecological research suggests that increased access to cannabis may facilitate reductions in opioid use and harms, and medical cannabis patients describe the substitution of opioids with cannabis for pain management.

We aimed to investigate the longitudinal association between frequency of cannabis use and illicit opioid use among people who use drugs (PWUD) experiencing chronic pain.

The most commonly reported therapeutic reasons for cannabis use were pain (36%), sleep (35%), stress (31%), and nausea (30%). After adjusting for demographic characteristics, substance use, and health-related factors, daily cannabis use was associated with significantly lower odds of daily illicit opioid use (adjusted odds ratio 0.50, 95% CI 0.34-0.74, p < 0.001).

 

We observed an independent negative association between frequent cannabis use and frequent illicit opioid use among PWUD with chronic pain. These findings provide longitudinal observational evidence that cannabis may serve as an adjunct to or substitute for illicit opioid use among PWUD with chronic pain.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31743343

“In conclusion, we found evidence to suggest that frequent use of cannabis may serve as an adjunct to or substitute for illicit opioid use among PWUD with chronic pain in Vancouver. The findings of this study have implications for healthcare and harm reduction service providers. In chronic pain patients with complex socio-structural and substance use backgrounds, cannabis may be used as a means of treating health problems or reducing substance-related harm. In the context of the current opioid crisis and the recent rollout of a national regulatory framework for cannabis use in Canada, frequent use of cannabis among PWUD with pain may play an important role in preventing or substituting frequent illicit opioid use.”

https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002967

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