Cannabis in palliative care: current challenges and practical recommendations.

 “Pain and symptom control challenges are common in palliative care, and the search for other therapeutic strategies is ongoing.

Unfortunately, patients and their caregivers are receiving little information or support from healthcare providers regarding the increasingly popular cannabinoid-based medicines (CBM).

Clinicians, meanwhile, feel understandably perplexed by the discrepancy between the available evidence and the rapid interest in which patients and their families have demonstrated for CBM.

There is an urgent need to address the many challenges that are delaying the appropriate integration of CBM into clinical practice, notwithstanding the obvious need for a solid general knowledge of pharmacology, mechanism of action and available clinical evidence supporting its use.

The authors will address these challenges and provide practical recommendations regarding patient assessment for the use of CBM. The authors will also make suggestions regarding patient expectations in order to define clear objectives, review the necessary precautions prior to initiating treatment, aid in selecting the appropriate strain and route of administration as well as establishing proper titration and monitoring protocols. The authors will also discuss the lesser known but potentially therapeutic psychoactive effects of cannabis.

As this class of therapeutic agents are likely to play a major role in palliative medicine in the near future, clinicians would benefit from familiarizing themselves with CBM and we can expect that patients and their caregivers will appreciate receiving support in their search for safe and effective therapeutic alternatives.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30180728

http://apm.amegroups.com/article/view/20097

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Cannabis and cannabinoid drug development: evaluating botanical versus single molecule approaches.

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“Accumulating evidence suggests that the endocannabinoid system is a promising target for the treatment of a variety of health conditions.

Two paths of cannabinoid drug development have emerged. One approach is focused on developing medications that are directly derived from the cannabis plant. The other utilizes a single molecule approach whereby individual phytocannabinoids or novel cannabinoids with therapeutic potential are identified and synthesized for pharmaceutical development.

This commentary discusses the unique challenges and merits of botanical vs single molecule cannabinoid drug development strategies, highlights how both can be impacted by legalization of cannabis via legislative processes, and also addresses regulatory and public health considerations that are important to consider as cannabinoid medicine advances as a discipline.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30179534

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09540261.2018.1474730?journalCode=iirp20

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Should Cannabinoids Be Added to Multimodal Pain Regimens After Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty?

Journal of Arthroplasty Home

“This study investigated the effects of dronabinol on pain, nausea, and length of stay following total joint arthroplasty (TJA).

CONCLUSION:

These findings suggest that further investigation into the role of cannabinoid medications for non-opioid pain control in the post-arthroplasty patient may hold merit.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30170713

“In conclusion, our study suggests that cannabinoids may have a role in post-arthroplasty pain management and may reduce patient’s need for opioid-containing pain medications. Further randomized, prospective clinical trials are warranted to shed more light onto the possible beneficial effects of cannabinoid medications in the orthopedic surgery patient population.” https://www.arthroplastyjournal.org/article/S0883-5403(18)30670-3/fulltext

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Optimization Of A Preclinical Therapy Of Cannabinoids In Combination With Temozolomide Against Glioma.

 Biochemical Pharmacology “Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most frequent and aggressive form of brain cancer. These features are explained at least in part by the high resistance exhibited by these tumors to current anticancer therapies. Thus, the development of novel therapeutic approaches is urgently needed to improve the survival of the patients suffering this devastating disease.

Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the major active ingredient of marijuana), and other cannabinoids have been shown to exert antitumoral actions in animal models of cancer, including glioma. The mechanism of these anticancer actions relies, at least in part, on the ability of these compounds to stimulate autophagy-mediated apoptosis in tumor cells.

Previous observations from our group demonstrated that local administration of THC (or of THC + CBD at a 1:1 ratio, a mixture that resembles the composition of the cannabinoid-based medicine Sativex®) in combination with Temozolomide, the benchmark agent for the treatment of GBM, synergistically reduces the growth of glioma xenografts.

With the aim of optimizing the possible clinical utilization of cannabinoids in anti-GBM therapies, in this work we explored the anticancer efficacy of the systemic administration of cannabinoids in combination with TMZ in preclinical models of glioma.

Our results show that oral administration of THC+CBD (Sativex-like extracts) in combination with TMZ produces a strong antitumoral effect in both subcutaneous and intracranial glioma cell-derived tumor xenografts. In contrast, combined administration of Sativex-like and BCNU (another alkylating agent used for the treatment of GBM which share structural similarities with the TMZ) did not show a stronger effect than individual treatments.

Altogether, our findings support the notion that the combined administration of TMZ and oral cannabinoids could be therapeutically exploited for the management of GBM.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30125556

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006295218303496

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Cannabis shenanigans: advocating for the restoration of an effective treatment of pain following spinal cord injury.

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“Cannabis is an effective treatment for pain following spinal cord injury that should be available to patients and researchers.

The major argument against the rescheduling of cannabis is that the published research is not convincing. This argument is disingenuous at best, given that the evidence has been presented and rejected at many points during the political dialog. Moreover, the original decision to criminalize cannabis did not utilize scientific or medical data.

There is tension between the needs of a society to protect the vulnerable by restricting the rights of others to live well and with less pain. It is clear that this 70-year war on cannabis has had little effect in controlling the supply of cannabis.

Prohibition can never succeed; “it is a tyranny from which every independent mind revolts.”

People living with chronic pain should not have to risk addiction, social stigma, restrictions on employment and even criminal prosecution in order to deal with their pain.

It is time to end the shenanigans and have an open, transparent discussion of the true benefits of this much-beleaguered medicine.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30109133

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41394-018-0096-1

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The enigma of cannabis use in spinal cord injury.

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“Cannabis use in medicine continues to confound practitioners.

There is confusing interpretation of the efficacy and adverse event data, highlighting the complexity of this unique plant.

Cannabis may have a neuroprotective role in SCI.”

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[A brief history of marijuana in the western world].

Image result for Rev Neurol.

“Marijuana is a substance with a long and controversial history.

At different times in its history, which goes back over 5,000 years, this plant has been used for different purposes, ranging from recreational and leisure to its use in the treatment of several diseases or to offer relief in processes that entail a certain type of malaise, and including its consideration as a means of relaxation and meditation.

Although it was supposed that the roots of marijuana lay in Central America, it is now known that this is but an urban legend with little credibility and that its origins can be found recorded in Chinese medical references dating back to the year 2737 BC.

Although this plant was not originally from Central America, it has aroused interest around the world, and above all in Mexico. It is in this country where the use of cannabis has gone from applications in textiles and medicine to its free sale, the bans on its use due to political and social pressures, its tolerance and, recently, its decriminalisation for recreational and medicinal use.

Unfortunately there are few references on the history of this plant in Mexico, and thus we have considered it interesting to present some data about the generalities of marijuana, a brief history in the world, the development of decriminalisation in North America, its medicinal uses and its course through Mexico to the present day.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30039841

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[Cannabinoids in pain medicine]

Der Schmerz

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) controls a large number of vital functions.

Suboptimal tone of the ECS in certain regions of the nervous system may be associated with disorders that are also associated with pain.

Pain and inflammation processes can be modulated by the exogenous supply of cannabinoids.

Low-to-moderate pain-relieving effects and in individual cases large pain-relieving effects were observed in randomized, controlled studies of various types of chronic pain. People with chronic neuropathic pain and stress symptoms seem to particularly benefit.

The therapeutic range of cannabinoids is small; often small doses are sufficient for clinically significant effects. The “Cannabis-als-Medizin-Gesetz” (cannabis as medicine law) allows the prescription of cannabis preparations under certain conditions.

Available data indicate good long-term efficacy and tolerability. However, there is little systematic long-term experience from clinical studies.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29881935

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00482-018-0299-1

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Endocannabinoids in Body Weight Control.

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“Maintenance of body weight is fundamental to maintain one’s health and to promote longevity. Nevertheless, it appears that the global obesity epidemic is still constantly increasing.

Endocannabinoids (eCBs) are lipid messengers that are involved in overall body weight control by interfering with manifold central and peripheral regulatory circuits that orchestrate energy homeostasis.

Initially, blocking of eCB signaling by first generation cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1) inverse agonists such as rimonabant revealed body weight-reducing effects in laboratory animals and men. Unfortunately, rimonabant also induced severe psychiatric side effects.

At this point, it became clear that future cannabinoid research has to decipher more precisely the underlying central and peripheral mechanisms behind eCB-driven control of feeding behavior and whole body energy metabolism.

Here, we will summarize the most recent advances in understanding how central eCBs interfere with circuits in the brain that control food intake and energy expenditure. Next, we will focus on how peripheral eCBs affect food digestion, nutrient transformation and energy expenditure by interfering with signaling cascades in the gastrointestinal tract, liver, pancreas, fat depots and endocrine glands.

To finally outline the safe future potential of cannabinoids as medicines, our overall goal is to address the molecular, cellular and pharmacological logic behind central and peripheral eCB-mediated body weight control, and to figure out how these precise mechanistic insights are currently transferred into the development of next generation cannabinoid medicines displaying clearly improved safety profiles, such as significantly reduced side effects.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29849009

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8247/11/2/55

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Cannabis for the Management of Cancer Symptoms: THC Version 2.0?

Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image

“The landscape of medical cannabis is rapidly expanding. Cannabis preparations have been used in medicine for millennia, and now there is a strong renaissance in the study of their therapeutic properties.

The vast majority of controlled clinical trials that support the medical use of what is commonly known as “cannabis” or “marijuana” have actually been conducted with purified cannabinoids or a single extract of Cannabis sativa that contains an equimolecular proportion of Δ9-THC and CBD.

Based on these studies, THC/dronabinol (Marinol) and its synthetic analogue nabilone (Cesamet), as well as nabiximols (Sativex), are already approved by several regulatory agencies, including FDA, Health Canada, and EMA, as antiemetic, anticachexic, analgesic, or antispastic medicines.

This study provides a precious piece of information on the use of medical cannabis for the management of cancer symptoms.”

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2018.0009

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