“OBJECTIVE: To review the efficacy, safety, pharmacology and pharmacokinetics of pure, plant-derived cannabidiol (CBD; Epidiolex) in the treatment of Dravet syndrome (DS) and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS).
DATA SYNTHESIS: Pure, plant-based CBD is a pharmaceutical grade extract that exhibits clinically significant antiseizure properties, with a hypothesized multimodal mechanism of action. In the GWPCARE trial series, CBD displayed superior efficacy in reducing key seizure frequencies (convulsive seizures in DS; drop seizures in LGS) by 17% to 23% compared with placebo as adjunctive therapy to standard antiepileptic drugs in patients 2 years of age and older. Common adverse effects were somnolence, diarrhea, and elevated hepatic transaminases. Noteworthy drug-drug interactions included clobazam, valproates, and significant inducers/inhibitors of CYP2C19 and 3A4 enzymes.
Relevance to Patient Care and Clinical Practice: A discussion regarding CBD dosing, administration, adverse effects, monitoring parameters, and interactions is provided to guide clinicians. CBD offers patients with DS and LGS a new treatment option for refractory seizures.
This is the first cannabis-derived medication with approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. This CBD formulation significantly reduces seizures as an adjunct to standard antiepileptic therapies in patients ≥2 years old with DS and LGS and is well tolerated.”
“Why marijuana is headed for the mainstream. The credibility of cannabis as a source of a legitimate pharmaceutical ingredient in prescription medications took a major step forward in 2018 when the FDA approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) for two types of severe seizures. Epidiolex was a stellar candidate for approval. It reduced convulsive seizures by about 40% and has a good safety profile.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30620324
“Dravet syndrome (DS) is an early-onset genetic developmental epileptic encephalopathy characterized by multiple seizure types which are refractory to antiseizure medication. There is an unmet need for effective and tolerable drugs to control different seizure types in DS types, with the aim of improving quality of life and preventing neurological impairment.
Areas covered: Narrative review of efficacy and tolerability of fenfluramine, cannabidiol (CBD), verapamil and modulators of serotonin signaling pathways (lorcaserin or trazodone) in the treatment of DS.
Expert Opinion/Commentary: A recent large randomized controlled-trial has shown that CBD is effective in the treatment of DS; preliminary data from the placebo-controlled trial on fenfluramine are also promising. Further studies are definitely required to evaluate the role of verapamil and modulators of serotonin signaling in DS. At present, drugs used to treat seizures in DS treat the symptoms of epilepsy rather than its cause(s). Future research should focus on elucidating the natural history of DS and whether appropriate treatment can have a beneficial impact on its disease course. A multidisciplinary, individualized approach to care of DS patients is required.”
“The cannabis extract nabiximols (Sativex®) effectively supresses withdrawal symptoms and cravings in treatment resistant cannabis dependent individuals, who have high relapse rates following conventional withdrawal treatments.
This study examines the efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness of longer-term nabiximols treatment for outpatient cannabis dependent patients who have not responded to previous conventional treatment approaches.
This is the first outpatient community-based randomised controlled study of nabiximols as an agonist replacement medication for treating cannabis dependence, targeting individuals who have not previously responded to conventional treatment approaches. The study and treatment design is modelled upon an earlier study with this population and more generally on other agonist replacement treatments (e.g. nicotine, opioids).”
“There is a need for more effective treatment approaches for cannabis dependent patients who are unable to discontinue their illicit use through psychosocial interventions alone. Longer-term agonist replacement treatment approaches rather than acute withdrawal management are likely to be more effective, with the combination of THC:CBD nabiximols preparation being potentially advantageous over synthetic THC analogues. This is the first large-scale outpatient RCT of nabiximols for this population, and has required the development of clinical and research methods specific to agonist treatment with a plant-derived cannabinoid formulation, building upon clinical research models previously used in opioid agonist treatment approaches.”
“Cannabidiol has been used for treatment-resistant seizures in patients with severe early-onset epilepsy.
We investigated the efficacy and safety of cannabidiol added to a regimen of conventional antiepileptic medication to treat drop seizures in patients with the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a severe developmental epileptic encephalopathy.
Among children and adults with the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, the addition of cannabidiol at a dose of 10 mg or 20 mg per kilogram per day to a conventional antiepileptic regimen resulted in greater reductions in the frequency of drop seizures than placebo.”
“The potential of [INCREMENT]-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as a treatment for migraine depends on antinociceptive efficacy with repeated administration.
Although morphine has good antinociceptive efficacy, repeated administration causes medication overuse headache (MOH) – a condition in which the intensity/frequency of migraine increases.
The present study compared the effect of repeated morphine or THC administration on the magnitude and duration of migraine-like pain induced by a microinjection of allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) onto the dura mater of female rats.
Acute administration of THC or morphine prevented AITC-induced depression of wheel running. This antinociception was maintained in rats treated repeatedly with THC, but not following repeated administration of morphine. Moreover, repeated morphine, but not THC administration, extended the duration of AITC-induced depression of wheel running.
These data indicate that tolerance and MOH develop rapidly to morphine administration. The lack of tolerance and MOH to THC indicates that THC may be an especially effective long-term treatment against migraine.”
“There is a clear need for advancing the treatment of cannabis use disorders. Prior research has demonstrated that dronabinol (oral THC) can dose-dependently suppress cannabis withdrawal and reduce the acute effects of smoked cannabis.
The present study was conducted to evaluate whether high-dose dronabinol could reduce cannabis self-administration among daily users.
Chronic dronabinol dosing can reduce cannabis self-administration in daily cannabis users and suppress withdrawal symptoms. Cannabinoid agonist medications should continue to be explored for therapeutic utility in the treatment of cannabis use disorders.”
“The Dravet syndrome is a complex childhood epilepsy disorder that is associated with drug-resistant seizures and a high mortality rate. We studied cannabidiol for the treatment of drug-resistant seizures in the Dravet syndrome. Among patients with the Dravet syndrome, cannabidiol resulted in a greater reduction in convulsive-seizure frequency than placebo and was associated with higher rates of adverse events. The importance of this study is that, unlike most other antiseizure medication trials, it assesses a treatment in a specific epilepsy syndrome with a known genetic basis. CBD resulted in a significant decrease of convulsive seizures and seizures of all types in Dravet syndrome, a pharmacoresistant epilepsy known to be associated with high mortality rates.” http://epilepsycurrents.org/doi/10.5698/1535-75184.108.40.2061?code=amep-site
Design: Multinational double-blinded placebo-controlled trial. Patients randomised in 1:1 ratio to receive cannabidiol or placebo, in addition to stable antiepileptic treatment regime.
Setting: Twenty-three centres in Europe and USA.
Patients: Patients aged 2 years to 18 years with established diagnosis of Dravet syndrome having at least four convulsive seizures during the 28-day baseline period despite regular antiepileptic medication.
Intervention: Adjunctive cannabidiol or placebo oral solution at 20 mg per kilogram of body weight per day.
Primary outcome: Percentage change in median frequency of convulsive seizures per month.
Follow-up period: Outcome measured over a 14-week treatment period in comparison to a 4-week baseline period.
Patient follow-up: One hundred and eight (90%) completed the trial: 85% (52/61) in the cannabidiol group and …”
“Spasticity in chronic spinal cord injury is a condition that can have negative repercussions on the patient’s quality of life. Its treatment is complex and sometimes the outcome is insufficient.
Cannabinoids have recently been used in multiple sclerosis to successfully treat spasticity that is refractory to other therapies.
To quantify the clinical response of a group of patients with spastic chronic spinal cord injury to the orally administered drug delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-cannabidiol (Sativex ®) as medication for use in special situations.
Fifteen patients took part in this study. A significant improvement was observed on three of the scales recorded: modified Ashworth scale (z = -2.97; p = 0.003), Penn spasm frequency scale (z = -2.76; p = 0.006) and Numeric Rating Scale (z = -3.21; p = 0.001).
Sativex can be considered an alternative in patients with spasticity associated with chronic spinal cord injury for whom other therapeutic measures have been insufficient. Further studies need to be conducted before the use of this drug can be recommended and so as to define a complete profile of its long-term side effects.”
“Addiction remains a major public health concern, and while pharmacotherapies can be effective, clinicians are limited by the paucity of existing interventions. Endocannabinoid signaling is involved in reward and addiction, which raises the possibility that drugs targeting this system could be used to treat substance use disorders. This review discusses findings from randomized controlled trials evaluating cannabinergic medications for addiction.
Current evidence suggests that pharmacotherapies containing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, such as dronabinol and nabiximols, are effective for cannabis withdrawal. Dronabinol may also reduce symptoms of opioid withdrawal. The cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) inverse agonist rimonabant showed promising effects for smoking cessation but also caused psychiatric side effects and currently lacks regulatory approval. Few trials have investigated cannabinergic medications for alcohol use disorder.
Overall, the endocannabinoid system remains a promising target for addiction treatment. Development of novel medications such as fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitors and neutral CB1 antagonists promises to extend the range of available interventions.”