Perspectives on Cannabis-Based Therapy of Multiple Sclerosis: A Mini-Review.

Image result for frontiers in cellular neuroscience“The consistency, efficacy, and safety of cannabis-based medicines have been demonstrated in humans, leading to the approval of the first cannabis-based therapy to alleviate spasticity and pain associated with multiple sclerosis (MS). Indeed, the evidence supporting the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for the management of pathological events related to this disease is ever increasing.

Different mechanisms of action have been proposed for cannabis-based treatments in mouse models of demyelination, such as Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE) and Theiler’s Murine Encephalomyelitis Virus-Induced Demyelinating Disease (TMEV-IDD). Cells in the immune and nervous system express the machinery to synthesize and degrade endocannabinoids, as well as their CB1 and CB2 receptors, each mediating different intracellular pathways upon activation. Hence, the effects of cannabinoids on cells of the immune system, on the blood-brain barrier (BBB), microglia, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and neurons, potentially open the way for a plethora of therapeutic actions on different targets that could aid the management of MS.

As such, cannabinoids could have an important impact on the outcome of MS in terms of the resolution of inflammation or the potentiation of endogenous repair in the central nervous system (CNS), as witnessed in the EAE, TMEV-IDD and toxic demyelination models, and through other in vitro approaches. In this mini review article, we summarize what is currently known about the peripheral and central effects of cannabinoids in relation to the neuroinflammation coupled to MS. We pay special attention to their effects on remyelination and axon preservation within the CNS, considering the major questions raised in the field and future research directions.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32140100

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fncel.2020.00034/full

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Ensuring access to safe, effective, and affordable cannabis‐based medicines

British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology“Over the past decade, patients, families, and medical cannabis advocates have campaigned in many countries to allow patients to use cannabis preparations to treat the symptoms of serious illnesses that have not responded to conventional treatment.

Ideally, any medical use of a cannabinoid would involve practitioners prescribing an approved medicine produced to standards of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), the safety and effectiveness of which had been assessed in clinical trials. The prescriber would be fully acquainted with the patient’s medical history and well‐informed about the safety and efficacy of cannabinoid medicines and know the most appropriate formulations and dosages to use and how they should be used in combination with other medicines being used to treat the patient’s condition. Current medical use of cannabinoids falls short of these expectations and regulations.

There is reasonable evidence that some cannabinoids are superior to placebo in reducing symptoms of some medical conditions.

There are no short cuts in making quality‐controlled cannabis‐based medicines available to patients in ways that ensure that they are used safely and effectively. In the absence of industry interest in funding clinical trials, governments need to fund large, well‐designed clinical and clinical pharmacological studies that will enable cannabinoids to play a more evidence‐based role in modern clinical practice. In the meantime, the clinical pharmacology field needs to share high‐quality data on the safety, efficacy, and pharmacology of medical cannabinoids as it becomes available. This should be presented in ways that permit the information to be regularly updated and provide clinically useful guidance on how these medicines should be used.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32128867

https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bcp.14242

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Axially-Chiral Cannabinols: A New Platform for Cannabinoid-Inspired Drug Discovery.

Publication cover image“Phytocannabinoids (and synthetic analogs thereof) are gaining significant attention as promising leads in modern medicine. Considering this, new directions for the design of phytocannabinoid-inspired molecules is of immediate interest. In this regard, we have hypothesized that axially-chiral-cannabinols (ax-CBNs), unnatural and unknown isomers of cannabinol (CBN) may be valuable scaffolds for cannabinoid-inspired drug discovery. There are two main factors directing our interest to these scaffolds: (a) ax-CBNs would have ground-state three-dimensionality; ligand-receptor interactions can be more significant with complimentary 3D-topology, and (b) ax-CBNs at their core structure are biaryl molecules, generally attractive platforms for pharmaceutical development due to their ease of functionalization and stability. Herein we report a synthesis of ax-CBNs, examine physical properties experimentally and computationally, and perform a comparative analysis of ax-CBN and THC in mice behavioral studies.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32061146

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/cmdc.202000025

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Mechanisms of Cannabinoids and Potential Applicability to Skin Diseases.

SpringerLink“The legalisation of cannabis in a growing number of jurisdictions has led to increasing interest in its potential therapeutic effects in a range of disorders, including cutaneous conditions. Cannabinoids have been used as natural medicines for centuries; however, their biological activity in the skin is a new area of study.

Recent data suggest that cannabinoids are involved in neuro-immuno-endocrine modulation of skin functioning, yet their effect on the features of dermatologic conditions is unclear. This article sought to review the mechanisms by which cannabinoids regulate skin functioning through the lens of relevance to treatment of dermatologic diseases looking at the effects of cannabinoids on a range of cellular activities and dermatologic conditions both in vitro and in vivo.

We identified studies demonstrating an inhibitory effect of cannabinoids on skin inflammation, proliferation, fibrosis, pain, and itch-biological mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of many dermatologic conditions.

Cannabinoids have the potential to expand the therapeutic repertoire of a wide spectrum of skin disorders. Given their widespread unregulated use by the general public, basic and clinical studies are required to elucidate the effectiveness and long-term effects of topical and systemic cannabinoids in cutaneous disorders.”

“The endocannabinoid system of the skin. A potential approach for the treatment of skin disorders.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30138623

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The endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 affect the regenerative potential of adipose tissue MSCs.

Experimental Cell Research“Human adipose tissue includes large quantities of mesenchymal stromal cells (atMSCs), which represent an abundant cell source for therapeutic applications in the field of regenerative medicine.

Adipose tissue secrets various soluble factors including endocannabinoids, and atMSCs express the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. This indicates that adipose tissue possesses an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is also ascribed great significance for wound repair, e.g. by modulating inflammation. However, the exact effects of CB1/CB2 activation in human atMSCs have not been investigated, yet.

In the present study, we stimulated human atMSCs with increasing concentrations (1-30 μM) of the unspecific cannabinoid receptor ligand WIN55,212-2 and the specific CB2 agonist JWH-133, either alone or co-applied with the receptor antagonist Rimonabant (CB1) or AM 630 (CB2). We investigated the effects on metabolic activity, cell number, differentiation and cytokine release, which are important processes during tissue regeneration.

WIN decreased metabolic activity and cell number, which was reversed by Rimonabant. This suggests a CB1 dependent mechanism, whereas the number of atMSCs was increased after CB2 ligation. WIN and JWH increased the release of VEGF, TGF-β1 and HGF. Adipogenesis was enhanced by WIN, which could be reversed by blocking CB1. There was no effect on osteogenesis, and only WIN increased chondrogenic differentiation.

Our results indicate that definite activation of the cannabinoid receptors exerted different effects in atMSCs, which could be of specific value in cell-based therapy for wound regeneration.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32006556

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S001448272030080X?via%3Dihub

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Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol Use in an Outpatient Palliative Medicine Population.

Image result for American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine® “Palliative medicine physicians are challenged by lack of guidance regarding effectiveness and dosing of cannabis products in the setting of their emerging popularity.

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study was to describe early patterns of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) use in Florida following passage of the state’s first medical marijuana law. We describe here the perceived benefits, side effects, and beliefs expressed by patients in a single outpatient academic palliative medicine practice.

RESULTS:

In all, 24% (14/58) of respondents reported THC use, with half using THC on a daily basis. Patients reported improvements in pain, appetite, and nausea. In all, 71% (10/14) began using THC after the diagnosis of their chronic illness, and the most common form of usage was vaping. In all, 24% (14/58) of patients reported CBD use. Patients reported improvements in pain, and the most common form of usage was topical application. None of the patients had used CBD prior to the onset of their chronic illness. In all, 21% (3/14) of THC users and 21% (3/14) of CBD users thought that their substance was helping to cure their illness. Individual reported side effects in both groups were minimal.

CONCLUSIONS:

Approximately a quarter of outpatient palliative care patients use THC or CBD, often on a daily basis. Palliative care providers should be aware of the frequency, diverse usage, and beliefs behind cannabis product use in this patient population.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31986898

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1049909119900378

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Challenges and Opportunities in Preclinical Research of Synthetic Cannabinoids for Pain Therapy.

medicina-logo“Cannabis has been used in pain management since 2900 BC.

In the 20th century, synthetic cannabinoids began to emerge, thus opening the way for improved efficacy. The search for new forms of synthetic cannabinoids continues and, as such, the aim of this review is to provide a comprehensive tool for the research and development of this promising class of drugs.

Methods for the in vitro assessment of cytotoxic, mutagenic or developmental effects are presented, followed by the main in vivo pain models used in cannabis research and the results yielded by different types of administration (systemic versus intrathecal versus inhalation). Animal models designed for assessing side-effects and long-term uses are also discussed.

In the second part of this review, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies of synthetic cannabinoid biodistribution, together with liquid chromatography-mass spectrometric identification of synthetic cannabinoids in biological fluids from rodents to humans are presented. Last, but not least, different strategies for improving the solubility and physicochemical stability of synthetic cannabinoids and their potential impact on pain management are discussed.

In conclusion, synthetic cannabinoids are one of the most promising classes of drugs in pain medicine, and preclinical research should focus on identifying new and improved alternatives for a better clinical and preclinical outcome.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31936616

https://www.mdpi.com/1010-660X/56/1/24

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Cannabinoids and Opioids in the Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.

Image result for clinical and translational gastroenterology“In traditional medicine, Cannabis sativa has been prescribed for a variety of diseases. Today, the plant is largely known for its recreational purpose, but it may find a way back to what it was originally known for: a herbal remedy. Most of the plant’s ingredients, such as Δ-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabigerol, and others, have demonstrated beneficial effects in preclinical models of intestinal inflammation. Endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) have shown a regulatory role in inflammation and mucosal permeability of the gastrointestinal tract where they likely interact with the gut microbiome. Anecdotal reports suggest that in humans, Cannabis exerts antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory, and antidiarrheal properties. Despite these reports, strong evidence on beneficial effects of Cannabis in human gastrointestinal diseases is lacking. Clinical trials with Cannabis in patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have shown improvement in quality of life but failed to provide evidence for a reduction of inflammation markers. Within the endogenous opioid system, mu opioid receptors may be involved in anti-inflammation of the gut. Opioids are frequently used to treat abdominal pain in IBD; however, heavy opioid use in IBD is associated with opioid dependency and higher mortality. This review highlights latest advances in the potential treatment of IBD using Cannabis/cannabinoids or opioids.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31899693

https://journals.lww.com/ctg/Abstract/latest/Cannabinoids_and_Opioids_in_the_Treatment_of.99898.aspx

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Treatment of Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome with Cannabis-Based Medicine: Results from a Retrospective Analysis and Online Survey.

View details for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image“Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) is a neuropsychiatric disorder that is characterized by motor and vocal tics and psychiatric comorbidities, including attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive-compulsive behavior/disorder (OCB/OCD). From anecdotal reports and preliminary controlled studies, it is suggested that cannabis-based medicine (CBM) may improve tics and comorbidities in adults with GTS. This study was designed to further investigate efficacy and safety of CBM in GTS and specifically compare effects of different CBM.

Results: From medical records, we identified 98 patients who had used CBM (most often street cannabis followed by nabiximols, dronabinol, medicinal cannabis) for the treatment of GTS: Of the 38 patients who were able to judge, 66% preferred treatment with medicinal cannabis, 18% dronabinol, 11% nabiximols, and 5% street cannabis. Altogether, CBM resulted in a subjective improvement of tics (of about 60% in 85% of treated cases), comorbidities (55% of treated cases, most often OCB/OCD, ADHD, and sleeping disorders), and quality of life (93%). The effects of CBM appear to persist in the long term. Adverse events occurred in half of the patients, but they were rated as tolerable. Dosages of all CBM varied markedly. Patients assessed cannabis (with a preference for tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]-rich strains) as more effective and better tolerated compared with nabiximols and dronabinol. These data were confirmed by results obtained from the online survey (n=40).

Conclusion: From our results, it is further supported that CBM might be effective and safe in the treatment of tics and comorbidities at least in a subgroup of adult patients with GTS. In our sample, patients favored THC-rich cannabis over dronabinol and nabiximols, which might be related to the entourage effect of cannabis. However, several limitations of the study have to be taken into considerations such as the open uncontrolled design and the retrospective data analysis.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31872061

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2018.0050

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Pharmacists and the future of cannabis medicine.

“To summarize the history and evolution of cannabis use and policies and to review current therapeutic uses, safety, and the central role pharmacists can play.

SUMMARY:

Cannabis regulation and use have evolved over the centuries and are becoming more widely accepted, with over two-thirds of states in the United States having an approved cannabis program. However, changing policy and a paucity of controlled clinical trials has led to questions on the safety and effectiveness of cannabinoid therapies. Although there are conditions for which cannabinoids may be helpful, potential contraindications, adverse effects, and drug-drug interactions should be taken into account.

CONCLUSION:

Pharmacists are in a unique position based on their accessibility, knowledge, and skills to guide product selection, dosing, and discuss drug interactions and adverse effects to educate patients on safe cannabis use, whether it be delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, or a combination thereof. Pharmacists and pharmacy organizations, moreover, should advocate for an integral role in the medical cannabis movement to ensure patient safety and evaluate cannabinoid pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, drug-drug interactions, safety, and efficacy through rigorous investigations.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31870860

https://www.japha.org/article/S1544-3191(19)30513-8/fulltext

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