Study protocol for a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the Efficacy of cannabis-based Medicine Extract in slowing the disease pRogression of Amyotrophic Lateral sclerosis or motor neurone Disease: the EMERALD trial.

Image result for bmj open“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disorder with no known cure and with an average life expectancy of 3-5 years post diagnosis.

The use of complementary medicine such as medicinal cannabis in search for a potential treatment or cure is common in ALS.

Preclinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of cannabinoids in extending the survival and slowing of disease progression in animal models with ALS.

There are anecdotal reports of cannabis slowing disease progression in persons with ALS (pALS) and that cannabis alleviated the symptoms of spasticity and pain.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31719072

https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/11/e029449

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Whole blood transcriptome analysis in ewes fed with hemp seed supplemented diet.

Image result for scientific reports “The hemp plant (Cannabis sativa L.) has a long tradition of being used for many different purposes such as industry, medicine and nutrition. In particular, because hemp seed (HS) is rich in oil protein and considerable amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals that are particularly suitable also for animal nutrition.

Different studies have evaluated HS on qualitative and quantitative properties of livestock products but as of today, nobody has investigated the molecular pathway behind HS supplementation in farm animals. Thus, in this study, we will report the first RNA sequencing of the whole-blood transcriptome of ewes fed either with a controlled diet (CTR, n = 5) or with a diet supplemented with 5% of hemp seed (HSG, n = 5).

These results indicate that HS supplementation positively affects the energy production pathway in lactating ewes conferring them also more resistance to adverse climatic conditions such as low temperature. Finally, the higher milk lactose content makes the derived dairy products more profitable.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31700124

“In conclusion, in this study, we have assessed the transcriptome signature induced by 5% hemp seed supplemented diet in ewes. The findings suggest that pathways related to energy production were the most affected. In addition, we found that this condition could also be potentially beneficial for adaptation to low temperatures. Moreover, we found a higher content of lactose, which makes the derived dairy products more profitable.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-52712-6

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Cannabidiol increases the nociceptive threshold in a preclinical model of Parkinson’s disease.

Neuropharmacology

“Medications that improve pain threshold can be useful in the pharmacotherapy of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Pain is a prevalent PD’s non-motor symptom with a higher prevalence of analgesic drugs prescription for patients. However, specific therapy for PD-related pain are not available.

Since the endocannabinoid system is expressed extensively in different levels of pain pathway, drugs designed to target this system have promising therapeutic potential in the modulation of pain. Thus, we examined the effects of the 6-hydroxydopamine- induced PD on nociceptive responses of mice and the influence of cannabidiol (CBD) on 6-hydroxydopamine-induced nociception.

Further, we investigated the pathway involved in the analgesic effect of the CBD through the co-administration with a fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitor, increasing the endogenous anandamide levels, and possible targets from anandamide, i.e., the cannabinoid receptors subtype 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) and the transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1).

We report that 6-hydroxydopamine- induced parkinsonism decreases the thermal and mechanical nociceptive threshold, whereas CBD (acute and chronic treatment) reduces this hyperalgesia and allodynia evoked by 6-hydroxydopamine. Moreover, ineffective doses of either FAAH inhibitor or TRPV1 receptor antagonist potentialized the CBD-evoked antinociception while an inverse agonist of the CB1 and CB2 receptor prevented the antinociceptive effect of the CBD.

Altogether, these results indicate that CBD can be a useful drug to prevent the parkinsonism-induced nociceptive threshold reduction. They also suggest that CB1 and TRPV1 receptors are important for CBD-induced analgesia and that CBD could produce these analgesic effects increasing endogenous anandamide levels.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31706993

“The CBD treatment decreases hyperalgesia and allodynia in experimental parkinsonism.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028390819303703?via%3Dihub

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European drug agency approves cannabis-based medicine for severe forms of epilepsy

“The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved the first cannabis based medicine to treat two rare and severe forms of childhood onset epilepsy, although hurdles remain before the drug becomes available on the NHS.”

https://www.bmj.com/content/366/bmj.l5708.full

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Insights into biased signaling at cannabinoid receptors: synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists.

Biochemical Pharmacology“Cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) and type 2 (CB2) are promising targets for a number of diseases, including obesity, neuropathic pain, and multiple sclerosis, among others.

Upon ligand-mediated activation of these receptors, multiple receptor conformations could be stabilized, resulting in a complex pattern of possible intracellular effects. Although numerous compounds have been developed and widely used to target cannabinoid receptors, their mode of action and signaling properties are often only poorly characterized.

From a drug development point of view, unraveling the underlying complex signaling mechanism could offer the possibility to generate medicines with the desired therapeutic profile.

Recently, an increased interest has emerged for the development of agonists that are signaling pathway-selective and thereby do not evoke on-target adverse effects. This phenomenon, in which specific pathways are preferred upon receptor activation by certain ligands, is also known as ‘biased signaling’.

For a particular group of cannabinoid receptor ligands (i.e. CB1/CB2 agonists), namely the synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs), the research on biased signaling is still in its infancy and interesting outcomes are only recently being revealed.

Therefore, this review aims at providing insights into the recent knowledge about biased agonism mediated by SCRAs so far. In addition, as these outcomes are obtained using a distinct panel of functional assays, the accompanying difficulties and challenges when comparing functional outcomes are critically discussed. Finally, some guidance on the conceptualization of ideal in vitro assays for the detection of SCRA-mediated biased agonism, which is also relevant for compounds belonging to other chemical classes, is provided.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31472128

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006295219303132?via%3Dihub

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Cannabinoids and inflammation: Implications for People Living with HIV.

Image result for wolters kluwer “Thanks to the success of modern antiretroviral therapy (ART), people living with HIV (PLWH) have life expectancies which approach that of persons in the general population. However, despite the ability of ART to suppress viral replication, PLWH have high levels of chronic systemic inflammation which drives the development of comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and non-AIDS associated malignancies.

Historically, cannabis has played an important role in alleviating many symptoms experienced by persons with advanced HIV infection in the pre-ART era and continues to be used by many PLWH in the ART era, though for different reasons.

Δ-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the phytocannabinoids which have received most attention for their medicinal properties. Due to their ability to suppress lymphocyte proliferation and inflammatory cytokine production, there is interest in examining their therapeutic potential as immunomodulators.

CB2 receptor activation has been shown in vitro to reduce CD4 T-cell infection by CXCR4-tropic HIV and to reduce HIV replication.

Studies involving SIV-infected macaques have shown that Δ-THC can reduce morbidity and mortality and has favourable effects on the gut mucosal immunity. Furthermore, ΔTHC administration was associated with reduced lymph node fibrosis and diminished levels of SIV proviral DNA in spleens of rhesus macaques compared with placebo-treated macaques.

In humans, cannabis use does not induce a reduction in peripheral CD4 T-cell count or loss of HIV virological control in cross-sectional studies. Rather, cannabis use in ART-treated PLWH was associated with decreased levels of T-cell activation, inflammatory monocytes and pro-inflammatory cytokines secretion, all of which are related to HIV disease progression and co-morbidities.

Randomized clinical trials should provide further insights into the ability of cannabis and cannabinoid-based medicines to attenuate HIV-associated inflammation. In turn, these findings may provide a novel means to reduce morbidity and mortality in PLWH as adjunctive agents to ART.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31408029

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00002030-900000000-96855

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Cannabinoid Signaling in Cancer.

“The family of chemical structures that interact with a cannabinoid receptor are broadly termed cannabinoids. Traditionally known for their psychotropic effects and their use as palliative medicine in cancer, cannabinoids are very versatile and are known to interact with several orphan receptors besides cannabinoid receptors (CBR) in the body. Recent studies have shown that several key pathways involved in cell growth, differentiation and, even metabolism and apoptosis crosstalk with cannabinoid signaling. Several of these pathways including AKT, EGFR, and mTOR are known to contribute to tumor development and metastasis, and cannabinoids may reverse their effects, thereby by inducing apoptosis, autophagy and modulating the immune system. In this book chapter, we explore how cannabinoids regulate diverse signaling mechanisms in cancer and immune cells within the tumor microenvironment and whether they impart a therapeutic effect. We also provide some important insight into the role of cannabinoids in cellular and whole body metabolism in the context of tumor inhibition. Finally, we highlight recent and ongoing clinical trials that include cannabinoids as a therapeutic strategy and several combinational approaches towards novel therapeutic opportunities in several invasive cancer conditions.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31332734

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-030-21737-2_4

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Use of Cannabis to Relieve Pain and Promote Sleep by Customers at an Adult Use Dispensary

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“Cannabis has been used for pain relief and to promote sleep for thousands of years. Over the past several decades in the United States (U.S.), a therapeutic role for cannabis in mainstream medicine has increasingly emerged. Medical cannabis patients consistently report using cannabis as a substitute for prescription medications. Both pain relief and sleep promotion are common reasons for cannabis use, and the majority of respondents who reported using cannabis for these reasons also reported decreasing or stopping their use of prescription or over-the-counter analgesics and sleep aids. While adult-use laws are frequently called “recreational,” implying that cannabis obtained through the adult use system is only for pleasure or experience-seeking, our findings suggest that many customers use cannabis for symptom relief.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31264536

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02791072.2019.1626953

“Cannabis Is An Effective Treatment Option For Pain Relief And Insomnia, Study Finds” https://www.inquisitr.com/5509672/cannabis-pain-medications-sleep/

“Marijuana Could Be The Alternative Pain Reliever Replacing Opioids”  https://www.medicaldaily.com/marijuana-alternative-pain-reliever-replacing-opioids-437974

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Cannabidiol inhibits sucrose self-administration by CB1 and CB2 receptor mechanisms in rodents.

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“A growing number of studies suggest therapeutic applications of cannabidiol (CBD), a recently U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medication for epilepsy, in treatment of many other neuropsychological disorders. However, pharmacological action and the mechanisms by which CBD exerts its effects are not fully understood.

Here, we examined the effects of CBD on oral sucrose self-administration in rodents and explored the receptor mechanisms underlying CBD-induced behavioral effects using pharmacological and transgenic approaches.

Systemic administration of CBD produced a dose-dependent reduction in sucrose self-administration in rats and in wild-type (WT) and CB1-/- mice but not in CB2-/- mice. CBD appeared to be more efficacious in CB1-/- mice than in WT mice.

Similarly, pretreatment with AM251, a CB1R antagonist, potentiated, while AM630, a selective CB2R antagonist, blocked CBD-induced reduction in sucrose self-administration, suggesting the involvement of CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Taken together, the present findings suggest that CBD may have therapeutic potential in reducing binge eating and the development of obesity.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31215752

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/adb.12783

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Marijuana as a Substitute for Prescription Medications: A Qualitative Study.

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“Over the past few decades in the United States, marijuana for medical purposes has become increasingly prevalent. Initial qualitative and epidemiological research suggests that marijuana may be a promising substitute for traditional pharmacotherapies.

Objectives: This qualitative study examined perceptions relating to (1) using medical marijuana in comparison to other prescription medications and (2) user perception of policy issues that limit adoption of medical marijuana use.

Results: Three themes emerged related to medical marijuana use, including (1) comparison of medical marijuana to other medications (i.e., better and/or fewer side effects than prescription medications, improves quality of life), (2) substitution of marijuana for other medications (i.e., in addition to or instead of), and (3) how perception of medical marijuana policy impacts use (i.e., stigma, travel, cost, and lack of instruction regarding use).

Conclusions: Several factors prevent pervasive medical marijuana use, including stigma, cost, and the inability for healthcare providers to relay instructions regarding dosing, strain, and method of use. Findings suggest that medical patients consider marijuana to be a viable alternative for opioids and other prescription medications, though certain policy barriers inhibit widespread implementation of marijuana as a treatment option.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31179810

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10826084.2019.1618336?journalCode=isum20

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