Antinociception mechanisms of action of cannabinoid-based medicine: an overview for anesthesiologists and pain physicians

 Pain Rounds“Cannabinoid-based medications possess unique multimodal analgesic mechanisms of action, modulating diverse pain targets.

Cannabinoids are classified based on their origin into three categories: endocannabinoids (present endogenously in human tissues), phytocannabinoids (plant derived) and synthetic cannabinoids (pharmaceutical). Cannabinoids exert an analgesic effect, peculiarly in hyperalgesia, neuropathic pain and inflammatory states.

Endocannabinoids are released on demand from postsynaptic terminals and travels retrograde to stimulate cannabinoids receptors on presynaptic terminals, inhibiting the release of excitatory neurotransmitters. Cannabinoids (endogenous and phytocannabinoids) produce analgesia by interacting with cannabinoids receptors type 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2), as well as putative non-CB1/CB2 receptors; G protein-coupled receptor 55, and transient receptor potential vanilloid type-1. Moreover, they modulate multiple peripheral, spinal and supraspinal nociception pathways.

Cannabinoids-opioids cross-modulation and synergy contribute significantly to tolerance and antinociceptive effects of cannabinoids. This narrative review evaluates cannabinoids’ diverse mechanisms of action as it pertains to nociception modulation relevant to the practice of anesthesiologists and pain medicine physicians.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33239391/

https://rapm.bmj.com/content/early/2020/11/24/rapm-2020-102114

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Cannabis: are there any benefits?

“Cannabis has been used as a medicine for millennia. Prohibition in the mid-20th century precluded early scientific investigation.

‘Cannabis’ describes three separate forms – herbal cannabis, ‘hemp’ products, pharmaceutical-grade regulated cannabinoid-based medical products (CBMP).

The endocannabinoid system (ECS), delineated in the late 1990s, has increased the understanding and interest in research for appropriate clinical indications. The ubiquitous ECS has homeostatic and anti-inflammatory effects and comprises cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids and degrading enzymes.

Phytocannabinoids are partial agonists of the ECS. In pre-clinical studies, THC and CBD produce beneficial effects in chronic pain, anxiety, sleep and inflammation. Systematic reviews often conflate herbal cannabis and CBMP, confusing the evidence. Currently large randomised controlled trials are unlikely to be achieved. Other methodologies with quality end-points are required. Rich, valuable high-quality real-world evidence for the safe and effective use of CBMP provides an opportunity to examine benefits and potential harms.

Evidence demonstrates benefit of CBMP in multiple sclerosis, chronic neuropathic pain, chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, resistant paediatric epilepsy, anxiety and insomnia. CBMP are well tolerated with few serious adverse events. Additional clinical benefits are promising in many other resistant chronic conditions. Pharmaceutical grade prescribed CBMP has proven clinical benefits and provides another clinical option in the physician’s pharmacopeia.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33215831/

“Medical use of cannabis has been practiced for millennia and pre‐dates recorded human history.”

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/imj.15052

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Cannabidiol (CBD) as a Promising Anti-Cancer Drug

cancers-logo“Recently, cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), have been the subject of intensive research and heavy scrutiny. Cannabinoids encompass a wide array of organic molecules, including those that are physiologically produced in humans, synthesized in laboratories, and extracted primarily from the Cannabis sativa plant. These organic molecules share similarities in their chemical structures as well as in their protein binding profiles. However, pronounced differences do exist in their mechanisms of action and clinical applications, which will be briefly compared and contrasted in this review. The mechanism of action of CBD and its potential applications in cancer therapy will be the major focus of this review article.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33143283/

“The use of cannabinoids containing plant extracts as herbal medicine can be traced back to as early as 500 BC. In recent years, the medical and health-related applications of one of the non-psychotic cannabinoids, cannabidiol or CBD, has garnered tremendous attention. In this review, we will discuss the most recent findings that strongly support the further development of CBD as a promising anti-cancer drug.”

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/12/11/3203

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The Effects of Cannabis Use on Cognitive Function in Healthy Aging: A Systematic Scoping Review

Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology“Background: Older adults (≥50 years) represent the fastest-growing population of people who use cannabis, potentially due to the increasing promotion of cannabis as medicine by dispensaries and cannabis websites. Given healthy aging and cannabis use are both associated with cognitive decline, it is important to establish the effects of cannabis on cognition in healthy aging.

Objective: This systematic scoping review used preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses guidelines to critically examine the extent of literature on this topic and highlight areas for future research.

Results: Six articles reported findings for older populations (three human and three rodent studies), highlighting the paucity of research in this area. Human studies revealed largely null results, likely due to several methodological limitations. Better-controlled rodent studies indicate that the relationship between ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cognitive function in healthy aging depends on age and level of THC exposure. Extremely low doses of THC improved cognition in very old rodents. Somewhat higher chronic doses improved cognition in moderately aged rodents. No studies examined the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) or high-CBD cannabis on cognition.

Conclusions: This systematic scoping review provides crucial, timely direction for future research on this emerging issue. Future research that combines neuroimaging and cognitive assessment would serve to advance understanding of the effects of age and quantity of THC and CBD on cognition in healthy aging.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33159510/

“THC; the main psychoactive cannabis compound; exerted pro-cognitive effects on memory and learning in older populations.”

https://academic.oup.com/acn/advance-article/doi/10.1093/arclin/acaa105/5960018

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Ingestion of a THC-Rich Cannabis Oil in People with Fibromyalgia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial

Issue Cover “Objective: To determine the benefit of a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-rich cannabis oil on symptoms and quality of life of fibromyalgia patients.

Conclusions: Phytocannabinoids can be a low-cost and well-tolerated therapy to reduce symptoms and increase the quality of life of patients with fibromyalgia. Future studies are still needed to assess long-term benefits, and studies with different varieties of cannabinoids associated with a washout period must be done to enhance our knowledge of cannabis action in this health condition.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33118602/

“To our knowledge, this is the first randomized controlled trial to demonstrate the benefit of cannabis oil—a THC-rich whole plant extract—on symptoms and on quality of life of people with fibromyalgia. We conclude that phytocannabinoids can be a low-cost and well-tolerated therapy for symptom relief and quality of life improvement in these patients, and we suggest that this therapy could be included as an herbal medicine option for the treatment of this condition”

https://academic.oup.com/painmedicine/article/21/10/2212/5942556

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A Literature Analysis on Medicinal Use and Research of Cannabis in the Meiji Era of Japan

 Journal of Pharmacopuncture“Cannabis is a historical plant which has been used as a medicine in East Asia.

 

Cannabis was prescribed in Meiji era of Japan to alleviate pain and cure the digestive, respiratory, urinary, and nervous system diseases such as indigestion, asthma, tuberculosis, gonorrhea and its complications, insomnia, and nervous prostration.

Cannabis was medically used in Meiji era of Japan and the reporting and sharing of its clinical effect was published on the medical journals like present days.

There were already Cannabis regulations in that era, but its medicinal use was more liberated than nowadays.

It may be a chance to reconsider the current legal system, which strictly controls the use of Cannabis.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33072412/

http://www.journal-jop.org/journal/view.html?doi=10.3831/KPI.2020.23.3.142

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Practical use of pharmaceutically purified oral cannabidiol in Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome

Publication Cover “Pharmaceutically purified oral cannabidiol (CBD) has been recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency as treatment of seizures associated with Dravet syndrome (DS) and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which are severe and difficult-to-treat developmental and epileptic encephalopathies with onset in early childhood.

Areas covered: This review will critically review the pharmacokinetic properties of CBD, the interactions with antiseizure and non-antiseizure medications, and the main tolerability and safety issues to provide guidance for its use in everyday practice.

Expert opinion: CBD is metabolized in the liver and can influence the activity of enzymes involved in drug metabolism. The best characterized drug-drug interaction is between CBD and clobazam. The most common adverse events include somnolence, gastrointestinal discomfort and increase in serum transaminases.

High-grade purified CBD oral solution represents an effective therapeutic option in patients with DS and LGS.

The findings cannot be extrapolated to other cannabis-based products, synthetic cannabinoids for medicinal use and non-medicinal cannabis and CBD derivatives.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33026899/

“Pharmaceutically purified oral cannabidiol (CBD) is approved for treatment of seizures associated with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.”

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14737175.2021.1834383?journalCode=iern20

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Development of cannabidiol as a treatment for severe childhood epilepsies

“In recent years there has been a growing appreciation by regulatory authorities that cannabis-based medicines can play a useful role in disease therapy.

Although often conflagrated by proponents of recreational use, the legislative rescheduling of cannabis-derived compounds, such as cannabidiol (CBD), has been associated with the steady increase in the pursuit of use of medicinal cannabis.

One key driver in this interest has been the scientific demonstration of efficacy and safety of CBD in randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trials in children and young adults with difficult-to-treat epilepsies, which has encouraged increasing numbers of human trials of CBD for other indications and in other populations.

The introduction of CBD as the medicine Epidiolex in the US (in 2018) and as Epidyolex in the EU (in 2019) as the first cannabis-derived therapeutic for the treatment for seizures was underpinned by preclinical research performed at the University of Reading.

This work was awarded the British Pharmacological Society Sir James Black Award for Contributions to Drug Discovery 2019 and is discussed in the following review article.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32986848/

https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.15274

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No Evidence of Altered Reactivity to Experimentally Induced Pain Among Regular Cannabis Users

Clinical Journal of Pain,Philadelphia - Gainbuzz“Recent years have seen an increase in the adoption of cannabinoid medicines, which have demonstrated effectiveness for the treatment of chronic pain.

However, the extent to which frequent cannabis use (CU) influences sensitivity to acute pain has not been systematically examined. Such a determination is clinically relevant in light of hypersensitivity to pain associated with prolonged use of other analgesics such as opioids, and reports of increased pain sensitivity to experimentally induced pain during acute cannabis intoxication.

This study explored differences in measures of pain intensity and tolerance. The authors hypothesized that individuals who report frequent CU would demonstrate greater experimental pain sensitivity.

Results: Frequent CU was not associated with hyperalgesia as cannabis users and nonusers did not exhibit differences on measures of pain tolerance (t (78)=-0.05; P=0.96), sensitivity (t (78)=-0.83; P=0.41), or intensity (t (78)=0.36; P=0.72).

Discussion: Frequent cannabis users did not demonstrate hyperalgesia. This finding should help to inform evaluations of the relative harms and benefits of cannabis analgesic therapies.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32433075/

https://journals.lww.com/clinicalpain/Abstract/2020/08000/No_Evidence_of_Altered_Reactivity_to.4.aspx

“Pain tolerance among cannabis users. Unlike opioids, long-term cannabis use does not increase sensitivity to pain. “This study should come as good news to patients who are already using cannabis to treat pain,” says co-author Zach Walsh, who leads the UBC Therapeutic Recreational and Problematic Substance Use Lab which hosted the study. “Increases in pain sensitivity with opioids can really complicate an already tough situation; given increasing uptake of cannabis-based pain medications it’s a relief that we didn’t identify a similar pattern with cannabinoids.”

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/09/200910120105.htm

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It Is Our Turn to Get Cannabis High: Put Cannabinoids in Food and Health Baskets

molecules-logo“Cannabis is an annual plant with a long history of use as food, feed, fiber, oil, medicine, and narcotics. Despite realizing its true value, it has not yet found its true place. Cannabis has had a long history with many ups and downs, and now it is our turn to promote it.

Cannabis contains approximately 600 identified and many yet unidentified potentially useful compounds. Cannabinoids, phenolic compounds, terpenoids, and alkaloids are some of the secondary metabolites present in cannabis. However, among a plethora of unique chemical compounds found in this plant, the most important ones are phytocannabinoids (PCs).

Over hundreds of 21-22-carbon compounds exclusively produce in cannabis glandular hairs through either polyketide and or deoxyxylulose phosphate/methylerythritol phosphate (DOXP/MEP) pathways. Trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are those that first come to mind while talking about cannabis. Nevertheless, despite the low concentration, cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), cannabidivarin (CBDV), cannabinodiol (CBND), and cannabinidiol (CBDL) may have potentially some medical effects.

PCs and endocannabinoids (ECs) mediate their effects mainly through CB1 and CB2 receptors. Despite all concerns regarding cannabis, nobody can ignore the use of cannabinoids as promising tonic, analgesic, antipyretic, antiemetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-epileptic, anticancer agents, which are effective for pain relief, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, nausea and vomiting, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disorders, and appetite stimulation.

The scientific community and public society have now increasingly accepted cannabis specifically hemp as much more than a recreational drug. There are growing demands for cannabinoids, mainly CBD, with many diverse therapeutic and nutritional properties in veterinary or human medicine. The main objective of this review article is to historically summarize findings concerning cannabinoids, mainly THC and CBD, towards putting these valuable compounds into food, feed and health baskets and current and future trends in the consumption of products derived from cannabis.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32899626/

https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/25/18/4036

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