Cannabinoid Actions on Neural Stem Cells: Implications for Pathophysiology.

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“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.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30959794

https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/24/7/1350

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Impact of Medical Cannabis on Patient-Reported Symptoms for Patients With Cancer Enrolled in Minnesota’s Medical Cannabis Program.

Journal of Oncology Practice

“Minnesota’s medical cannabis program is unique, in that it routinely collects patient-reported scores on symptoms. This article focuses on changes in symptom severity reported by patients with cancer during their first 4 months of program participation.

MATERIALS AND METHODS::

Patients with cancer in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program reported symptoms (anxiety, lack of appetite, depression, disturbed sleep, fatigue, nausea, pain, and vomiting) at their worst over the last 24 hours before each medical cannabis purchase. Baseline scores on each of the eight symptoms were statistically compared with the average symptom scores reported in the first 4 months of program participation. Symptom scores were also calculated as percent change from baseline, with patients achieving and maintaining at least a 30% reduction in symptoms reported in this article. Patients also reported intensity of adverse effects.

RESULTS::

A significant reduction in scores was found across all symptoms when comparing baseline scores with the average score submitted within the first 4 months of program participation (all Ps < .001). The proportion of patients achieving 30% or greater symptom reduction within the first 4 months of program participation varied from 27% (fatigue) to 50% (vomiting), with a smaller proportion both achieving and maintaining those improvements. Adverse effects were reported in a small proportion of patients (10.5%).

CONCLUSION::

Patients with cancer enrolled in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program showed significant reduction across all eight symptoms assessed within 4 months of program participation. Medical cannabis was well tolerated, and some patients attained clinically meaningful and lasting levels of improvement.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30860938

http://ascopubs.org/doi/10.1200/JOP.18.00562

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Promoting cannabis products to pharmaceutical drugs.

European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences

“Cannabis sativa is widely used for medical purposes. However, to date, aroma, popular strain name or the content of two phytocannabinoids-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are mostly considered for therapeutic activity. This is despite the hundreds of compounds in this plant and their potential synergistic interactions in mixtures. New, specific and effective cannabis-based drugs must be developed to achieve adequate medical standards for the use of cannabis. To do this, the comprehensive molecular profile of cannabis-based drugs must be defined, and mixtures of compounds should be tested for superior therapeutic activity due to synergistic effects compared to individually isolated cannabis compounds. The biological pathways targeted by these new drugs should also be characterized more accurately. For drug development and design, absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination versus toxicity (ADME/Tox) must be characterized, and therapeutic doses identified. Promoting the quality and therapeutic activity of herbal or synthetic cannabis products to pharma grade is a pressing need worldwide.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30851400

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0928098719300880?via%3Dihub

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Acute effect of vaporized Cannabis on sleep and electrocortical activity.

Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior

“The use of Cannabis for medical purposes is rapidly expanding and is usually employed as a self-medication for the treatment of insomnia disorder.

However, the effect on sleep seems to depend on multiple factors such as composition of the Cannabis, dosage and route of administration. Vaporization is the recommended route for the administration of Cannabis for medical purposes; however, there is no published research about the effects of vaporized Cannabis on sleep, neither in laboratory animals, nor in humans.

Because previous reports suggested that low doses of THC have sedating effects, the aim of the present study was to characterize in rats, the acute effects on sleep induced by the administration of low doses of THC by means of vaporization of a specific type of Cannabis (THC 11.5% and negligible amounts of other cannabinoids).

For this purpose, polysomnographic recordings in chronically prepared rats were performed during 6 h in the light and dark phases. Animals were treated with 0 (control), 40, 80 and 200 mg of Cannabis immediately before the beginning of recordings; the THC plasma concentrations with these doses were low (up to 6.7 ng/mL with 200 mg). A quantitative EEG analyses by means of the spectral power and coherence estimations was also performed for the highest Cannabis dose.

Compared to control, 200 mg of Cannabis increased NREM sleep time during the light phase, but only during the first hour of recording. Interestingly, no changes on sleep were observed during the dark (active) phase or with lower doses of Cannabis. Cannabis 200 mg also produced EEG power reductions in different cortices, mainly for high frequency bands during W and REM sleep, but only during the light phase. On the contrary, a reduction in the sleep spindles intra-hemispheric coherence was observed during NREM sleep, but only during the dark phase.

In conclusion, administration of low doses of THC by vaporization of a specific type of Cannabis produced a small increment of NREM sleep, but only during the light (resting) phase. This was accompanied by subtle modifications of high frequency bands power (during the light phase) and spindle coherence (during the dark phase), which are associated with cognitive processing.

Our results reassure the importance of exploring the sleep-promoting properties of Cannabis.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30822492

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091305718304714?via%3Dihub

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Complete biosynthesis of cannabinoids and their unnatural analogues in yeast

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“Cannabis sativa L. has been cultivated and used around the globe for its medicinal properties for millennia. Some cannabinoids, the hallmark constituents of Cannabis, and their analogues have been investigated extensively for their potential medical applications. Certain cannabinoid formulations have been approved as prescription drugs in several countries for the treatment of a range of human ailments. However, the study and medicinal use of cannabinoids has been hampered by the legal scheduling of Cannabis, the low in planta abundances of nearly all of the dozens of known cannabinoids, and their structural complexity, which limits bulk chemical synthesis. Here we report the complete biosynthesis of the major cannabinoids cannabigerolic acid, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, cannabidiolic acid, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarinic acid and cannabidivarinic acid in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, from the simple sugar galactose. To accomplish this, we engineered the native mevalonate pathway to provide a high flux of geranyl pyrophosphate and introduced a heterologous, multi-organism-derived hexanoyl-CoA biosynthetic pathway. We also introduced the Cannabis genes that encode the enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of olivetolic acid, as well as the gene for a previously undiscovered enzyme with geranylpyrophosphate:olivetolate geranyltransferase activity and the genes for corresponding cannabinoid synthases. Furthermore, we established a biosynthetic approach that harnessed the promiscuity of several pathway genes to produce cannabinoid analogues. Feeding different fatty acids to our engineered strains yielded cannabinoid analogues with modifications in the part of the molecule that is known to alter receptor binding affinity and potency. We also demonstrated that our biological system could be complemented by simple synthetic chemistry to further expand the accessible chemical space. Our work presents a platform for the production of natural and unnatural cannabinoids that will allow for more rigorous study of these compounds and could be used in the development of treatments for a variety of human health problems.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-0978-9

“Yeast can produce THC, CBD, novel cannabinoids”  https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2019/02/28/Yeast-can-produce-THC-CBD-novel-cannabinoids/4411551303863/

“Yeast produce low-cost, high-quality cannabinoids”  https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-02/uoc–ypl022419.php

“Engineered yeast can brew up the active ingredients in cannabis plants”  https://www.newscientist.com/article/2195103-engineered-yeast-can-brew-up-the-active-ingredients-in-cannabis-plants/

“High grade cannabis chemicals produced using brewing yeast”  https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/cannabis-drug-produced-yeast-marijuana-thc-cbd-medicine-california-a8799576.html

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Intractable Generalized Epilepsy: Therapeutic Approaches.

 

“PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

To summarize recent developments in therapeutic options, both medical and surgical, for patients with drug-resistant generalized epilepsy syndromes, which continue to be a multifaceted challenge for patients and physicians.

RECENT FINDINGS:

Newer generation pharmaceutical options are now available, such as brivaracetam, rufinamide, lacosamide, perampanel, and cannabidiol. Less restrictive dietary options appear to be nearly as effective as classic ketogenic diet for amelioration of seizures. The latest implantable devices include responsive neurostimulation and deep brain stimulation. Corpus callosotomy is an effective treatment for some seizure types, and newer and less invasive approaches are being explored. Resective surgical options have demonstrated success in carefully selected patients despite generalized electrographic findings on electroencephalogram. The current literature reflects a widening range of clinical experience with newer anticonvulsant medications including cannabinoids, dietary therapies, surgical approaches, and neurostimulation devices for patients with intractable generalized epilepsy.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30806817

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11910-019-0933-z

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Cannabis Oil Use by Adolescents and Young Adults With Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

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“The aim of the study was to describe use of oral or sublingual cannabis oil (CO) by adolescent and young adult patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

METHODS:

A descriptive study of IBD patients 13 to 23 years of age seen between January 2015 through December 2017 at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Information obtained included chart abstraction, electronic and interview self-report, and serum cannabinoid levels. We compared CO users and cannabis non-users for clinical characteristics and perceptions of risk. Users of CO provided information on routes, patterns, motivations, and perceived benefits and problems with use.

RESULTS:

The 15 users and 67 non-users were similar for clinical characteristics and pain and appetite scores. 9 of 15 (60%) CO users had used in the past 30 days, an average of 22 ± 9 times; and 4 used daily. A variety of strengths and CBD:THC ratios were reported. Most common perceived effect of use was on sleep quality, nausea, and increase in appetite. Of the 15 users, 6 used only CO and no additional forms of cannabis. Of these 6 CO only users, 5 reported a medical reason for use, most commonly to relieve pain.

CONCLUSIONS:

Adolescent and young adults with IBD used oral CO and many used other cannabis products as well. Users perceived some medical benefit. Care teams should strive for open communication about use until further information on safety and efficacy becomes available.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30801394

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Dronabinol for the Treatment of Paraneoplastic Night Sweats in Cancer Patients: A Report of Five Cases.

 View details for Journal of Palliative Medicine cover image“Night sweats significantly impact the quality of life for cancer patients and are often resistant to treatment.

Cannabinoids have been shown to modulate cytokine activity and produce hypothermia in animal models, suggesting that they may be a promising candidate for palliation of night sweats in patients with oncologic disease.

A retrospective record search identified five cancer patients who had tried oral dronabinol for palliation of their night sweats between 2013 and 2016 and subjectively reported on its efficacy.

 

RESULTS:

Treatment of five patients with advanced cancer with synthetic orally administered dronabinol resulted in the successful management of persistent symptomatic paraneoplastic night sweats.

CONCLUSION:

Dronabinol and/or medicinal cannabis are promising therapies for palliation of night sweats in cancer patients.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30759037

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jpm.2018.0551

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WHO proposes rescheduling cannabis to allow medical applications

Image result for the bmj journal“The World Health Organization has proposed rescheduling cannabis within international law to take account of the growing evidence for medical applications of the drug, reversing its position held for the past 60 years that cannabis should not be used in legitimate medical practice.”

https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l574

“WHO RECOMMENDS RESCHEDULING #CANNABIS IN INTERNATIONAL LAW FOR FIRST TIME IN HISTORY. The World Health Organization has suggested that cannabis should be downgraded, or “rescheduled,” given the mounting evidence showing that the drug could prove beneficial in treating a number of health problems. This marks a significant change in WHO’s position, which for the last 60 years has said that cannabis should not be used in medicine, according to an article in the BMJ.” https://www.newsweek.com/who-recommends-rescheduling-cannabis-international-law-first-time-history-1324613
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An Update of Current Cannabis-Based Pharmaceuticals in Pain Medicine.

 

“Cannabis users have long reported therapeutic properties of the plant for a variety of conditions, some of which include nausea, emesis, seizures, cancer, neurogenic diseases and pain control. Research has elucidated many cannabinoid pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties, expanding the potential use of cannabinoids as a medical therapy.

Due to the inconsistent delivery and control of the active components involved with smoking, pharmaceutical companies are investigating and prioritizing routes other than smoke inhalation for therapeutic use of cannabinoids. In this relatively new field of pharmaceutical development, ongoing drug development promises great benefit from targeted endocannabinoid receptor agonism.

Available in Canada and Europe, nabiximols, a specific extract from the Cannabis plant, has demonstrated great benefit in the treatment of pain related to spasticity in multiple sclerosis, cancer and otherwise chronic pain conditions.

The cannabidiol oral solution Epidiolex®, which is available in the USA, is indicated for management of refractory epilepsy but may offer therapeutic relief to chronic pain conditions as well.

Current investigative drugs, such as those developed by Cara Therapeutics and Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, are synthetic cannabinoids which show promise to specifically target neuropsychiatric conditions and chronic pain symptoms such as neuropathy and allodynia.

The objective of this review is to provide clinicians with an update of currently available and promising developmental cannabis pharmaceutical derivatives which may stand to greatly benefit patients with otherwise difficult-to-treat chronic conditions.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30721403

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40122-019-0114-4

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