The pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety of a novel selective‐dose cannabis inhaler in patients with chronic pain: A randomized, double‐blinded, placebo‐controlled trial

European Journal of Pain“Precise cannabis treatment dosing remains a major challenge, leading to physicians’ reluctance to prescribe medical cannabis.

Objective

To test the pharmacokinetics, analgesic effect, cognitive performance and safety effects of an innovative medical device that enables the delivery of inhaled therapeutic doses of Δ9‐Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in patients with chronic pain.

Methods

In a randomized, three‐arms, double‐blinded, placebo‐controlled, cross‐over trial, 27 patients received a single inhalation of Δ9‐THC: 0.5mg, 1mg, or a placebo.

Δ9‐THC plasma levels were measured at baseline and up to 150‐min post‐inhalation. Pain intensity and safety parameters were recorded on a 10‐cm visual analogue scale (VAS) at pre‐defined time points. The cognitive performance was evaluated using the selective sub‐tests of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB).

Results

Following inhalation of 0.5 mg or 1mg, Δ9‐THC plasma max ± SD were 14.3 ± 7.7 and 33.8 ± 25.7 ng/ml. max ± SD were 3.7 ± 1.4 and 4.4 ± 2.1 min, and AUC0 → infinity±SD were 300 ± 144 and 769 ± 331 ng*min/ml, respectively. Both doses, but not the placebo, demonstrated a significant reduction in pain intensity compared with baseline and remained stable for 150‐min. The 1‐mg dose showed a significant pain decrease compared to the placebo. Adverse events were mostly mild and resolved spontaneously. There was no evidence of consistent impairments in cognitive performance.

Conclusion

This feasibility trial demonstrated that a metered‐dose cannabis inhaler delivered precise and low THC doses, produced a dose‐dependent and safe analgesic effect in patients with neuropathic pain/ complex‐regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Thus, it enables individualization of medical cannabis regimens that can be evaluated pharmacokinetically and pharmacodynamically by accepted pharmaceutical models.

Significance

Evidence suggests that cannabis‐based medicines are an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults. The pharmacokinetics of THC varies as a function of its route of administration. Pulmonary assimilation of inhaled THC causes rapid onset of analgesia. However, currently used routes of cannabinoids delivery provide unknown doses, making it impossible to implement a pharmaceutical standard treatment plan. A novel selective‐dose cannabis inhaler delivers significantly low and precise doses of THC, thus allowing the administration of inhaled cannabis‐based medicines according to high pharmaceutical standards. These low doses of THC can produce safe and effective analgesia in patients with chronic pain.

To the best of our knowledge, it is the first time that the delivery of selective, significantly low, and precise therapeutic single doses of inhaled THC demonstrates an analgesic effect. It allows patients to reach the optimum balance between symptom relief and controlled side effects, enabling patients to regain their quality of life. In addition, this metered‐dose cannabis inhaler enables the individualization of medical cannabis regimens that can be evaluated pharmacokinetically and pharmacodynamically using accepted pharmaceutical models.”

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejp.1605

Study Finds Microdosing THC Reduces Pain Levels”  https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2020/7/1/study-finds-microdosing-thc-reduces-pain-levels

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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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Antiemetic Effects of Cannabinoid Agonists in Nonhuman Primates

Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics“Attenuating emesis elicited by both disease and medical treatments of disease remains a critical public health challenge.

Although cannabinergic medications have been used in certain treatment-resistant populations, FDA-approved cannabinoid antiemetics are associated with undesirable side effects, including cognitive disruption, that limit their prescription. Previous studies have shown that a metabolically stable analog of the endocannabinoid anandamide, methanandamide (mAEA), may produce lesser cognitive disruption than that associated with the primary psychoactive constituent in cannabis, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), raising the possibility that endocannabinoids may offer a therapeutic advantage over currently used medications.

The present studies were conducted to evaluate this possibility by comparing the antiemetic effects of Δ9-THC (0.032-0.1 mg/kg) and mAEA (3.2-10.0 mg/kg), against nicotine- and lithium chloride (LiCl)-induced emesis and prodromal hypersalivation in squirrel monkeys.

These studies systematically demonstrate for the first time the antiemetic effects of cannabinoid agonists in nonhuman primates. Importantly, although Δ9-THC produced superior antiemetic effects, the milder cognitive effects of mAEA demonstrated in previous studies suggests that it may provide a favorable treatment option under clinical circumstances in which antiemetic efficacy must be balanced against side-effect liability.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Emesis has significant evolutionary value as a defense mechanism against ingested toxins; however, it is also one of the most common adverse symptoms associated with both disease and medical treatments of disease. The development of improved anti-emetic pharmacotherapies has been impeded by a paucity of animal models.

The present studies systematically demonstrate for the first time the antiemetic effects of the phytocannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and endocannabinoid-analog methanandamide in nonhuman primates.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32561684/

http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/early/2020/06/19/jpet.120.265710

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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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Current Application of Cannabidiol (CBD) in the Management and Treatment of Neurological Disorders

SpringerLink“Cannabidiol (CBD), which is nonintoxicating pharmacologically relevant constituents of Cannabis, demonstrates several beneficial effects. It has been found to have antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects. As the medicinal use of CBD is gaining popularity for treatment of various disorders, the recent flare-up of largely unproven and unregulated cannabis-based preparations on medical therapeutics may have its greatest impact in the field of neurology. Currently, as lot of clinical trials are underway, CBD demonstrates remarkable potential to become a supplemental therapy in various neurological conditions. It has shown promise in the treatment of neurological disorders such as anxiety, chronic pain, trigeminal neuralgia, epilepsy, and essential tremors as well as psychiatric disorders. While recent FDA-approved prescription drugs have demonstrated safety, efficacy, and consistency enough for regulatory approval in spasticity in multiple sclerosis (MS) and in Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut Syndromes (LGS), many therapeutic challenges still remain. In the current review, the authors have shed light on the application of CBD in the management and treatment of various neurological disorders.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32556748/

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10072-020-04514-2

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Migraine Frequency Decrease Following Prolonged Medical Cannabis Treatment: A Cross-Sectional Study

brainsci-logo“Medical cannabis (MC) treatment for migraine is practically emerging, although sufficient clinical data are not available for this indication. This cross-sectional questionnaire-based study aimed to investigate the associations between phytocannabinoid treatment and migraine frequency.

Compared to non-responders, responders (n = 89, 61%) reported lower current migraine disability and lower negative impact, and lower rates of opioid and triptan consumption. Subgroup analysis demonstrated that responders consumed higher doses of the phytocannabinoid ms_373_15c and lower doses of the phytocannabinoid ms_331_18d (3.40 95% CI (1.10 to 12.00); p < 0.01 and 0.22 95% CI (0.05-0.72); p < 0.05, respectively).

Conclusions: These findings indicate that MC results in long-term reduction of migraine frequency in >60% of treated patients and is associated with less disability and lower antimigraine medication intake. They also point to the MC composition, which may be potentially efficacious in migraine patients.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32526965/

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3425/10/6/360

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Acute Inflammation and Pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 Infection: Cannabidiol as a Potential Anti-Inflammatory Treatment?

Cytokine & Growth Factor Reviews

“Cannabidiol to decrease SARS-CoV-2 associated inflammation.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid with various clinical applications and has proven efficacy for certain medical conditions, along with a favorable safety and tolerability profile.

Cannabinoids can suppress immune activation and inflammatory cytokine production, suggesting their potential for tempering excessive inflammation.

Therefore, as SARS-CoV2 induces significant damage through pro-inflammatory cytokine storm mediated by macrophages and other immune cells and based on the fact that CBD has broad anti-inflammatory properties, CBD might represent as a potential anti-inflammatory therapeutic approach against SARS-CoV2-induced inflammation.

As CBD is already a therapeutic agent used in clinical medicine and has a favorable safety profile, the results of in vitro and animal model proof-of-concept studies would provide the necessary supporting evidence required before embarking on costly and labor-intensive clinical trials.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32467020/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1359610120301040?via%3Dihub

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[CHARACTERISTICS OF MEDICAL CANNABIS USAGE AMONG PATIENTS WITH FIBROMYALGIA]

Harefuah” - IMA - Israel Medicine Association“Medical cannabis (MC) is becoming more and more popular among patients with chronic pain syndromes.

In this study we evaluated the characteristics of MC use among patients with fibromyalgia.

MC is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia, with nearly zero % withdrawal from this treatment.

MC treatment enabled nearly half of the patients to discontinue any treatment for fibromyalgia and all participants recommended MC treatment for their loved ones in case they develop severe fibromyalgia.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32431124/

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The Cannabis Spread Throughout the Continents and Its Therapeutic Use in History

“Historical relevance: Cannabis sativa L. (C. sativa) is a plant whose use as a therapeutic agent shares its origins with the first Far East’s human societies. Cannabis has been used not only for recreational purposes, but as a food to obtain textile fibers, to produce hemp paper, to treat many physical and mental disorders.

This review aims to provide a complete assessment of the deep knowledge of the cannabis psychoactive effects and medicinal properties in the course of history covering i.) the empirical use of the seeds and the inflorescences to treat many physical ailments by the ancient Oriental physicians ii.) the current use of cannabis as a therapeutic agent after the discovery of its key psychoactive constituent and the human endogenous endocannabinoid system.

Results and conclusion: Through a detailed analysis of the available resources about the origins of C. sativa we found that its use by ancient civilizations as a source of food and textile fibers dates back over 10,000 years, while its therapeutic applications have been improved over the centuries, from the ancient East medicine of the 2nd and 1st millennium B.C. to the more recent introduction in the Western world after the 1st century A.D. In the 20th and 21th centuries, Cannabis and its derivatives have been considered as a menace and banned throughout the world, but nowadays they are still the most widely consumed illicit drugs all over the world. Its legalization in some jurisdictions has been accompanied by new lines of research to investigate its possible applications for medical and therapeutic purposes.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32433013/?from_term=cannabinoid&from_sort=date&from_size=200&from_pos=6

http://www.eurekaselect.com/182145/article

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Cannabis Phytomolecule ‘Entourage’: From Domestication to Medical Use.

 

Trends in Plant Science: Special issue: Specifi...“Cannabis has been used as a medicine for millennia.

Crude extracts of cannabis inflorescence contain numerous phytomolecules, including phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Combinations of phytomolecules have been recently established as superior to the use of single molecules in medical treatment owing to the ‘entourage effect’.

Two types of entourage effects are defined: ‘intra-entourage’, resulting from interactions among phytocannabinoids or terpenes, and ‘inter-entourage’, attributed to interactions between phytocannabinoids and terpenes. It is suggested that the phytomolecule assemblages found in cannabis chemovars today derive from selective breeding during ancient cultivation.

We propose that the current cannabis chemotaxonomy should be redefined according to chemical content and medicinal activity. In parallel, combinations of phytomolecules that exhibit entourage activity should be explored further for future drug development.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32417167

“Cannabis has been used for millennia by humanity for social, ritual, and medical purposes. Humans bred and selected for cannabis strains based on their needs.”

https://www.cell.com/trends/plant-science/pdf/S1360-1385(20)30122-9.pdf?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS1360138520301229%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

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