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

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

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

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

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

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

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

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Cannabis-based medicines and the perioperative physician.

Image result for perioperative medicine

“Cannabis use for medicinal purposes was first documented in 2900 BC in China, when Emperor Shen Nong described benefit for rheumatism and malaria and later in Ancient Egyptian texts.

Discussion in medical journals, the mainstream and social media around the use of cannabis for medicinal and non-medicinal purposes has increased recently, especially following the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use in Canada and the UK government’s decision to make cannabis-based medicines (CBMs) available for prescription by doctors on the specialist register.

The actual, social and economic legitimisation of cannabis and its medicinal derivatives makes it likely increasing numbers of patients will present on this class of medicines. Perioperative physicians will require a sound understanding of their pharmacology and evidence base, and may wish to exploit this group of compounds for therapeutic purposes in the perioperative period.

The increasing availability of cannabis for both recreational and medicinal purposes means that anaesthetists will encounter an increasing number of patients taking cannabis-based medications. The existing evidence base is conflicted and incomplete regarding the indications, interactions and long-term effects of these substances.

Globally, most doctors have had little education regarding the pharmacology of cannabis-based medicines, despite the endocannabinoid system being one of the most widespread in the human body.

Much is unknown, and much is to be decided, including clarifying definitions and nomenclature, and therapeutic indications and dosing. Anaesthetists, Intensivists, Pain and Perioperative physicians will want to contribute to this evidence base and attempt to harness such therapeutic benefits in terms of pain relief and opiate-avoidance, anti-emesis and seizure control.

We present a summary of the pharmacology of cannabis-based medicines including anaesthetic interactions and implications, to assist colleagues encountering these medicines in clinical practice.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31827774

“In summary, cannabinoids may improve pain relief as part of multi-modal approach. As the evidence base increases, CBMs could become part of the perioperative teams’ armamentarium to help provide an opiate sparing multimodal analgesia regime as well as having a role in the management of common post-operative complications such as nausea and vomiting.”

 https://perioperativemedicinejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13741-019-0127-x
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

Cannabinoids: A Guide for Use in the World of Gastrointestinal Disease.

Image result for ovid journal“Cannabinoids have been known as the primary component of cannabis for decades, but the characterization of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the 1990s opened the doors for cannabis’ use in modern medicine.

The 2 main receptors of this system, cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2, are found on cells of various tissues, with significant expression in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The characterization of the ECS also heralded the understanding of endocannabinoids, naturally occurring compounds synthesized in the human body.

Although research on the effects of both endogenous and exogenous cannabinoids has been slow due to the complicated legal history of cannabis, discoveries of cannabinoids‘ treatment potential have been found in various fields of medicine, including the GI world.

Medical cannabis has since been offered as a treatment for a myriad of conditions and malignancies, including cancer, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, nausea, posttraumatic stress disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cachexia, glaucoma, and epilepsy.

This article hopes to create an overview of current research on cannabinoids and the ECS, detail the potential advantages and pitfalls of their use in GI diseases, and explore possible future developments in this field.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31789770

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00004836-900000000-97668

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

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

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

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

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

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

Image 1

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous

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

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous