Using Cannabis to Treat Cancer-Related Pain.

Seminars in Oncology Nursing

“OBJECTIVE: To describe which cannabinoids and terpenes are effective for treating pain.

CONCLUSION: Cannabis and cannabinoid medicines, as modulators of the endocannabinoid system, offer novel therapeutic options for the treatment of cancer-related pain, not only for patients who do not respond to conventional therapies, but also for patients who prefer to try cannabis as a first treatment option.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Understanding the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids, terpenes, routes of administration, potential drug interactions, clinical implications, and potential side effects ensures nurses can better assist patients who use cannabis for the treatment of cancer pain.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31053395

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749208119300609?via%3Dihub

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Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Efficacy and Safety in Epilepsy.

Pediatric Neurology

“Several new antiepileptic medicines became available for clinical use in the last two decades. However, the prognosis of epilepsy remains unchanged, with approximately one-third of patients continuing to have drug-resistant seizures. Because many of these patients are not candidates for curative epilepsy surgery, there is a need for new seizure medicines with better efficacy and safety profile.

Recently, social media and public pressure sparked a renewed interest in cannabinoids, which had been used for epilepsy since ancient times. However, physicians have significant difficulty prescribing cannabinoids freely because of the paucity of sound scientific studies.

Among the two most common cannabinoids, cannabidiol has better antiepileptic potential than tetrahydrocannabinol. The exact antiepileptic mechanism of cannabidiol is currently not known, but it modulates a number of endogenous systems and may have a novel anticonvulsant effect. However, it has broad drug-drug interactions with several agents, including inducer and inhibitor of CYP3A4 or CYP2C19. Cannabidiol can cause liver enzyme elevation, especially when co-administered with valproate.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved pharmaceutical-grade cannabidiol oil for two childhood-onset catastrophic epilepsies: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

The Drug Enforcement Agency also reclassified this product as a schedule V agent. However, other cannabidiol products remain as a schedule I substance and are primarily used without regulation. Additionally, the FDA-approved pharmaceutical-grade cannabidiol oil is expensive, and insurance companies might approve this only for the designated indications.

In despair, many individuals may resort to unregulated medical cannabis products in an attempt to control seizures. Rather than spontaneous treatment without medical supervision, adequate medical oversight is indicated to monitor and manage the proper dose, side effects, validity of the product, and drug-drug interactions.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31053391

https://www.pedneur.com/article/S0887-8994(18)31168-8/fulltext

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Daily Practice Managing Resistant Multiple Sclerosis Spasticity With Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol: Cannabidiol Oromucosal Spray: A Systematic Review of Observational Studies.

 Image result for journal of central nervous system disease“Spasticity is one of the most common symptoms in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Conventional anti-spasticity agents have limitations in their efficacy and tolerability.

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol: cannabidiol (THC:CBD) spray, a cannabinoid-based medicine, is approved as an add-on therapy for MS spasticity not adequately controlled by other anti-spasticity medications. The results from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have demonstrated a reduction in the severity of spasticity and associated symptoms. However, RCTs do not always reflect real-life outcomes. We systematically reviewed the complementary evidence from non-interventional real-world studies.

METHODS:

A systematic literature review was conducted to identify all non-RCT publications on THC:CBD spray between 2011 and 2017. Data on study design, patient characteristics, effectiveness, and safety outcomes were extracted from those publications meeting our inclusion criteria.

RESULTS:

In total, we reviewed 14 real-world publications including observational studies and treatment registries. The proportion of patients reaching the threshold of minimal clinical important difference (MCID), with at least a 20% reduction of the spasticity Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) score after 4 weeks ranged from 41.9% to 82.9%. The reduction in the mean NRS spasticity score after 4 weeks was maintained over 6-12 months. The average daily dose was five to six sprays. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol: cannabidiol was well tolerated in the evaluated studies in the same way as in the RCTs. No new or unexpected adverse events or safety signals were reported in everyday clinical practice.

CONCLUSIONS:

The data evaluated in this systematic review provide evidence for the efficacy and safety of THC:CBD in clinical practice and confirm results obtained in RCTs.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30886530

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1179573519831997

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The endocannabinoid system in migraine: from bench to pharmacy and back.

 Image result for curr opin neurol“Migraine is a common, highly disabling disorder. Its treatment involves acute and preventive therapy. Many of available preventive medications are not well tolerated, which results in poor compliance and limited effectiveness. Cannabinoids have been proposed for the treatment of migraine but their efficacy and tolerability are controversial.

RECENT FINDINGS:

Cannabinoids modulate functions and activity of signaling pathways that have a key role in pain control. Growing preclinical evidence and initial clinical findings suggest that modulation of the endocannabinoid system, via endogenous or exogenous cannabinoids may be relevant for migraine via multiple mechanisms.

SUMMARY:

The endocannabinoid system qualifies as an interesting area of research worth exploration in the quest for therapeutic targets for the treatment of migraine.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30883435

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CBD as the New Medicine in the Pain Provider’s Armamentarium.

“As providers who currently treat some chronic pain patients with CBD oil as part of a multimodal analgesic treatment regimen, we have found great benefit of this new weapon recently being utilized in our armamentarium. As mentioned in the article, the current political climate surrounding CBD is both vague and ever-changing, which can and does impact treatment and subsequent patient outcomes as pain medicine providers. If we want to make cannabis and CBD into a legitimate medicinal treatment, there must be more regulations on CBD oil production and accurate labeling. Patients will continue to seek CBD oil as an additional option to treat their chronic pain as it gains popularity, so it is our duty as providers to protect them and ensure they have safe options of this new medication to choose from.”
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The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator

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“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a very important role in the human body for our survival. This is due to its ability to play a critical role in maintaining the homeostasis of the human body, which encompasses the brain, endocrine, and immune system, to name a few. ECS is a unique system in multiple dimensions.

To begin with, it is a retrograde system functioning post- to pre-synapse, allowing it to be a “master regulator” in the body. Secondly, it has a very wide scope of influence due to an abundance of cannabinoid receptors located anywhere from immune cells to neurons. Finally, cannabinoids are rapidly synthesized and degraded, so they do not stay in the body for very long in high amounts, possibly enabling cannabinoid therapy to be a safer alternative to opioids or benzodiazepines. This paper will discuss how ECS functions through the regulation of neurotransmitter function, apoptosis, mitochondrial function, and ion-gated channels. The practical applications of the ECS, as well as the avenues for diseases such as epilepsy, cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and autism, which have no known cure as of now, will be explored.

The ECS is one of the, if not the most, important systems in our body. Its role in the homeostatic function of our body is undeniable, and its sphere of influence is incredible. Additionally, it also plays a major role in apoptotic diseases, mitochondrial function, and brain function.

Its contribution is more than maintaining homeostasis; it also has a profound ability in regulation. Working in a retrograde fashion and with a generally inhibitory nature, ECS can act as a “kill switch.” However, it has been shown to play an inhibitory or stimulatory role based on the size of the influx of cannabinoids, resulting in a bimodal regulation. Furthermore, due to the nature of the rate of degradation of cannabinoids, it does not have as many long-term side effects as most of the current drugs on the market.

The ECS may not only provide answers for diseases with no known cures, but it could change the way we approach medicine. This system would allow us to change our focus from invasive pharmacological interventions (i.e. SSRIs for depression, benzodiazepines for anxiety, chemotherapies for cancer) to uncovering the mystery of why the body is failing to maintain homeostasis. Understanding the roles of ECS in these diseases confers a new direction for medicine which may eradicate the use of some of the less tolerable therapeutics.”

https://www.jyi.org/2018-june/2018/6/1/the-endocannabinoid-system-our-universal-regulator

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Cannabinoids: a new approach for pain control?

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“To analyze available data related to the use of cannabinoids in medicine, with a special focus on pain management in cancer. The use of cannabis for medical purposes is growing but there are still numerous questions to be solved: effectiveness, safety, and specific indications.

RECENT FINDINGS:

There is considerable variation between countries in the approaches taken, reflecting a variety of historical and cultural factors and despite few randomized controlled studies using natural cannabinoids, there is a trend to state that the use of cannabis should be taken seriously as a potential treatment of cancer-related pain. Cannabidiol, a nontoxic phytocannabinoid with few side-effects is promising in various indications in medicine.

SUMMARY:

The endocannabinoid system is a potential therapeutic target. Cannabinoids may be considered as potential adjuvant in cancer-related pain management. Cannabidiol appears to be the drug of choice. Analgesic trial designs should evolve to get closer to real-life practice and to avoid biases.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30789867

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00001622-900000000-00002

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Combined tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol to treat pain in epidermolysis bullosa: a report of three cases

British Journal of Dermatology banner

“Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a genetic blistering disorder characterized by intense pain related to disease pathology and care‐based interventions.

Opioid‐based therapies underpin pain care in EB; however, they are unable to provide adequate analgesia in a significant proportion of patients.

Cannabinoid‐based medicines (CBMs) have been studied increasingly for pain conditions of various aetiologies and pose as a novel dimension for pain care in EB.

We present three patients with EB who were prescribed pharmaceutical‐grade sublingually administered CBMs comprising tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol.

All three patients reported improved pain scores, reduced pruritus and reduction in overall analgesic drug intake.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30347109

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bjd.17341

“Cannabinoids Could Help Manage EB-related Pain, Study Suggests”  https://epidermolysisbullosanews.com/2019/02/08/cannabinoids-could-help-manage-eb-related-pain-study-suggests/

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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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