Benefits and Risks of Therapeutic Cannabinoids for Neurologic Disorders

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“The Cannabis genus originated in Central Asia and is probably one of the most ancient nonfood crops to be cultivated by humans. Its medicinal properties have been recognized for centuries. Isolation of the psychoactive compound, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, followed by the identification of cannabidiol, led to increased focus on the therapeutic potential of the plant. One of the prominent species, Cannabis sativa, may produce more than 100 different cannabinoids.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30224192

https://www.clinicaltherapeutics.com/article/S0149-2918(18)30331-X/fulltext

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Cannabis sativa: A comprehensive ethnopharmacological review of a medicinal plant with a long history.

Journal of Ethnopharmacology

“Cannabis sativa L. (C. sativa) is an annual dioecious plant, which shares its origins with the inception of the first agricultural human societies in Asia. Over the course of time different parts of the plant have been utilized for therapeutic and recreational purposes, for instance, extraction of healing oils from seed, or the use of inflorescences for their psychoactive effects. The key psychoactive constituent in C. sativa is called Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (D9-THC). The endocannabinoid system seems to be phylogenetically ancient, as it was present in the most primitive vertebrates with a neuronal network. N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) are the main endocannabinoids ligands present in the animal kingdom, and the main endocannabinoid receptors are cannabinoid type-1 (CB1) receptor and cannabinoid type-2 (CB2) receptor.

AIM OF THE STUDY:

The review aims to provide a critical and comprehensive evaluation, from the ancient times to our days, of the ethnological, botanical, chemical and pharmacological aspects of C. sativa, with a vision for promoting further pharmaceutical research to explore its complete potential as a therapeutic agent.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS:

A detailed comparative analysis of the available resources for C. sativa confirmed its origin and traditional spiritual, household and therapeutic uses and most importantly its popularity as a recreational drug. The result of several studies suggested a deeper involvement of phytocannabinoids (the key compounds in C. sativa) in several others central and peripheral pathophysiological mechanisms such as food intake, inflammation, pain, colitis, sleep disorders, neurological and psychiatric illness. However, despite their numerous medicinal benefits, they are still considered as a menace to the society and banned throughout the world, except for few countries. We believe that this review will help lay the foundation for promoting exhaustive pharmacological and pharmaceutical studies in order to better understand the clinical relevance and applications of non-psychoactive cannabinoids in the prevention and treatment of life-threatening diseases and help to improve the legal status of C. sativa.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30205181

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874118316611?via%3Dihub

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Medicinal Properties of Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Flavonoids in Cannabis, and Benefits in Migraine, Headache, and Pain: An Update on Current Evidence and Cannabis Science.

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“Comprehensive literature reviews of historical perspectives and evidence supporting cannabis/cannabinoids in the treatment of pain, including migraine and headache, with associated neurobiological mechanisms of pain modulation have been well described.

Most of the existing literature reports on the cannabinoids Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), or cannabis in general. There are many cannabis strains that vary widely in the composition of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds. These components work synergistically to produce wide variations in benefits, side effects, and strain characteristics. Knowledge of the individual medicinal properties of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids is necessary to cross-breed strains to obtain optimal standardized synergistic compositions. This will enable targeting individual symptoms and/or diseases, including migraine, headache, and pain.

OBJECTIVE:

Review the medical literature for the use of cannabis/cannabinoids in the treatment of migraine, headache, facial pain, and other chronic pain syndromes, and for supporting evidence of a potential role in combatting the opioid epidemic. Review the medical literature involving major and minor cannabinoids, primary and secondary terpenes, and flavonoids that underlie the synergistic entourage effects of cannabis. Summarize the individual medicinal benefits of these substances, including analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

CONCLUSION:

There is accumulating evidence for various therapeutic benefits of cannabis/cannabinoids, especially in the treatment of pain, which may also apply to the treatment of migraine and headache. There is also supporting evidence that cannabis may assist in opioid detoxification and weaning, thus making it a potential weapon in battling the opioid epidemic. Cannabis science is a rapidly evolving medical sector and industry with increasingly regulated production standards. Further research is anticipated to optimize breeding of strain-specific synergistic ratios of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytochemicals for predictable user effects, characteristics, and improved symptom and disease-targeted therapies.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30152161

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A Brief Background on Cannabis: From Plant to Medical Indications.

 Ingenta Connect

“Cannabis has been used as a medicinal plant for thousands of years.

As a result of centuries of breeding and selection, there are now over 700 varieties of cannabis that contain hundreds of compounds, including cannabinoids and terpenes.

Cannabinoids are fatty compounds that are the main biological active constituents of cannabis. Terpenes are volatile compounds that occur in many plants and have distinct odors.

Cannabinoids exert their effect on the body by binding to receptors, specifically cannabinoid receptors types 1 and 2. These receptors, together with endogenous cannabinoids and the systems for synthesis, transport, and degradation, are called the Endocannabinoid System.

The two most prevalent and commonly known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol.

The speed, strength, and type of effects of cannabis vary based on the route of administration. THC is rapidly distributed through the body to fatty tissues like the brain and is metabolized by the cytochrome P450 system to 11-hydroxy-THC, which is also psychoactive.

Cannabis and cannabinoids have been indicated for several medical conditions.

There is evidence of efficacy in the symptomatic treatment of nausea and vomiting, pain, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, loss of appetite, Tourette’s syndrome, and epilepsy. Cannabis has also been associated with treatment for glaucoma, Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and dystonia, but there is not good evidence to support its efficacy. Side effects of cannabis include psychosis and anxiety, which can be severe.

Here, we provided a summary of the history of cannabis, its pharmacology, and its medical uses.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30139415

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Medicinal properties of terpenes found in Cannabis sativa and Humulus lupulus.

European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry

“Cannabaceae plants Cannabis sativa L. and Humulus lupulus L. are rich in terpenes – both are typically comprised of terpenes as up to 3-5% of the dry-mass of the female inflorescence.

Terpenes of cannabis and hops are typically simple mono- and sesquiterpenes derived from two and three isoprene units, respectively. Some terpenes are relatively well known for their potential in biomedicine and have been used in traditional medicine for centuries, while others are yet to be studied in detail.

The current, comprehensive review presents terpenes found in cannabis and hops. Terpenes’ medicinal properties are supported by numerous in vitro, animal and clinical trials and show anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, anticonvulsive, antidepressant, anxiolytic, anticancer, antitumor, neuroprotective, anti-mutagenic, anti-allergic, antibiotic and anti-diabetic attributes, among others.

Because of the very low toxicity, these terpenes are already widely used as food additives and in cosmetic products. Thus, they have been proven safe and well-tolerated.”

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Interferon- α-mediated Activation of T Cells from Healthy and HIV-infected Individuals is Suppressed by Δ 9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol

Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

“HIV patients routinely use medicinal cannabinoids to treat neuropathic pain, anxiety, and HIV-associated wasting. However, Δ 9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, suppresses T cell function and secretion of interferons, both critically important in the anti-viral immune response.

Interferon- α (IFN α), a key cytokine in T cell activation and peripheral control of HIV infection, can potentiate responsiveness to IL-7, a crucial homeostatic cytokine for peripheral T cell maintenance. . The objective of this investigation was to compare the response of T cells to stimulation by IFNα and IL-7 in T cells from healthy and HIV+ donors in the absence and presence of THC.

T cells from healthy and HIV+ donors were stimulated in vitrowith IFN α and IL-7 in the absence and presence of THC followed by measurements of signaling events through IFNAR, IFN α-induced expression of IL-7Rα, cognate signaling through IL-7R, and on IL-7-mediated T cell proliferation by flow cytometry and RT-qPCR. CD8+ T cells from HIV+ donors showed a diminished response to IFN α-induced pSTAT1 compared to CD8+ T cells from healthy donors while CD4+ T cells from HIV+ donors and healthy donors were comparable. Treatment with IFN α promoted IL-7R expression and potentiated IL-7-induced STAT5 phosphorylation to augment IL-7-mediated proliferation by T cells from healthy and HIV+ donors. Finally, HIV+ donors exhibited reduced sensitivity to THC-mediated suppression by IFN α and IL-7-mediated stimulation compared to healthy donors.

These results further support THC as immune suppressive while identifying putatively beneficial aspects of cannabinoid-based therapies in HIV+ patients.

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Cannabis: A Prehistoric Remedy for the Deficits of Existing and Emerging Anticancer Therapies

“Cannabis has been used medicinally for centuries and numerous species of this genus are undoubtedly amongst the primeval plant remedies known to humans.

Cannabis sativa in particular is the most reported species, due to its substantial therapeutic implications that are owed to the presence of chemically and pharmacologically diverse cannabinoids.

These compounds have long been used for the palliative treatment of cancer.

Recent advancements in receptor pharmacology research have led to the identification of cannabinoids as effective antitumor agents.

This property is accredited for their ability to induce apoptosis, suppress proliferative cell signalling pathways and promote cell growth inhibition.

Evolving lines of evidence suggest that cannabinoid analogues, as well as their receptor agonists, may offer a novel strategy to treat various forms of cancer.

This review summarizes the historical perspective of C. sativa, its potential mechanism of action, and pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic aspects of cannabinoids, with special emphasis on their anticancer potentials.”

http://www.xiahepublishing.com/ArticleFullText.aspx?sid=2&jid=3&id=10.14218%2FJERP.2017.00012

Cannabis products.

“Cannabis products. First row, left to right: Indian, Lebanese, Turkish and Pakistani hashish. Second row, left to right: Swiss hashish, Zairean marijuana, Swiss marijuana, Moroccan hash oil.”

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Medicinal Cannabinoids in Palliative Care.

 British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology banner

“The treatment of symptoms in people with palliative diagnoses begins with meticulous clinical assessment with treatment choice (s) selected based on an understanding of the symptom aetiology and the evidence which underpins its treatment.

Increasingly the merits of palliative care have been established earlier in the disease trajectory where treatment outcomes may include increased survival and maintenance of function.

There is strong public support for the availability of medicinal cannabis, particularly for people with palliative diagnoses.

There are several areas where there is potential for symptom benefits through modulation of the endocannabinoid system, though clinical data to date has been inconclusive in key symptoms such as pain and nausea, and data from other settings such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting not readily extrapolated.

Ideally exploration of medicinal cannabinoids should occur within a clinical trial to accelerate the evidence base to inform practice. In people with refractory symptoms the consideration of unregistered products or off label prescribing should be guided by the potential influences of pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and drug-drug interactions, supported by an informed discussion with the patient, and regular review of net clinical benefit.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29923616

https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bcp.13671

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Medicinal cannabis: presenting possible treatment modalities for the future

Image result for ovid journal

“Cannabis is the most popular recreational drug used in the world. It is estimated that 178 million people aged 15–64 years used cannabis at least once in 2012.

Cannabis or cannabinoids used to manage medical conditions is referred to as medicinal cannabis. There are various formulations of cannabis available on the market.

Cannabis can be administered orally, sublingually, or topically; it can be smoked, inhaled, mixed with food, or made into tea. It can be taken in herbal form, extracted naturally from the plant, gained by isomerization of cannabidiol (CBD), or manufactured synthetically.

The commercially available prescribed cannabinoids include dronabinol capsules, nabilone capsules, and the oromucosal spray nabiximols.

Canada and the Netherlands have government-run programs in which dedicated companies supply quality-controlled herbal cannabis. In the United States, 23 states and Washington, DC (May 2015) have introduced laws permitting the medical use of cannabis; other countries have similar laws.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29870436

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=01787381-201806000-00001

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Patterns of medicinal cannabis use, strain analysis, and substitution effect among patients with migraine, headache, arthritis, and chronic pain in a medicinal cannabis cohort.

The Journal of Headache and Pain Cover Image

“Medicinal cannabis registries typically report pain as the most common reason for use. It would be clinically useful to identify patterns of cannabis treatment in migraine and headache, as compared to arthritis and chronic pain, and to analyze preferred cannabis strains, biochemical profiles, and prescription medication substitutions with cannabis.

RESULTS:

Of 2032 patients, 21 illnesses were treated with cannabis. Pain syndromes accounted for 42.4% (n = 861) overall; chronic pain 29.4% (n = 598;), arthritis 9.3% (n = 188), and headache 3.7% (n = 75;). Across all 21 illnesses, headache was a symptom treated with cannabis in 24.9% (n = 505). These patients were given the ID Migraine™ questionnaire, with 68% (n = 343) giving 3 “Yes” responses, 20% (n = 102) giving 2 “Yes” responses (97% and 93% probability of migraine, respectively). Therefore, 88% (n = 445) of headache patients were treating probable migraine with cannabis. Hybrid strains were most preferred across all pain subtypes, with “OG Shark” the most preferred strain in the ID Migraine™ and headache groups. Many pain patients substituted prescription medications with cannabis (41.2-59.5%), most commonly opiates/opioids (40.5-72.8%). Prescription substitution in headache patients included opiates/opioids (43.4%), anti-depressant/anti-anxiety (39%), NSAIDs (21%), triptans (8.1%), anti-convulsants (7.7%), muscle relaxers (7%), ergots (0.4%).

CONCLUSIONS:

Chronic pain was the most common reason for cannabis use, consistent with most registries. The majority of headache patients treating with cannabis were positive for migraine. Hybrid strains were preferred in ID Migraine™, headache, and most pain groups, with “OG Shark”, a high THC (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol)/THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), low CBD (cannabidiol)/CBDA (cannabidiolic acid), strain with predominant terpenes β-caryophyllene and β-myrcene, most preferred in the headache and ID Migraine™ groups. This could reflect the potent analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-emetic properties of THC, with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of β-caryophyllene and β-myrcene. Opiates/opioids were most commonly substituted with cannabis. Prospective studies are needed, but results may provide early insight into optimizing crossbred cannabis strains, synergistic biochemical profiles, dosing, and patterns of use in the treatment of headache, migraine, and chronic pain syndromes.”

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