Cannabis for cancer – illusion or the tip of an iceberg: a review of the evidence for the use of Cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids in oncology.

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“A flowering plant of variegated ingredients and psychoactive qualities, Cannabis has long been used for medicinal and recreational purposes.

Regulatory approvals have been gained across a broad range of palliative and therapeutic indications, and in some cases, included in standard treatment guidelines.

Areas covered: The use of Cannabis and cannabinoid-based-medicines in oncology is summarized in this article. Cannabinoids were classified according to natural and synthetic subtypes and their mechanisms of action expounded. The variability of available products is discussed in the clinical context and data regarding chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, cancer-related pain, anorexia, insomnia and anxiety are presented.

Moreover, immunological and antineoplastic effects in preclinical and clinical trials are addressed. Concepts such as synergism or opposition with conventional treatment modalities, sequence of administration and dosage, molecular cross-talk and malignancy-cannabinoid congruence, are explored. Finally, side-effects, limitations in trial design and legislation barriers are related.

Expert opinion: Sufficient evidence supports use of Cannabis for palliative indications in oncology, however, patients should be carefully selected, guided and followed. Promising research suggests potent antineoplastic activity, but more data must be accrued before conclusions can be drawn.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30572744

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13543784.2019.1561859?journalCode=ieid20

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Reefer madness or real medicine? A plea for incorporating medicinal cannabis in pharmacy curricula.

Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning

“Over the past twenty years, the acceptance and use of medicinal cannabis has increased in the United States. However, there is still a lack of education and comfort as it relates to the therapeutic uses of botanical cannabis and cannabidiol in pharmacy professional curricula. Professional training programs have failed to keep pace with the evolving national landscape and growing acceptance of this therapy.

PERSPECTIVE:

In this manuscript, the current landscape of pharmacy professional involvement in the dispensing and administration of medicinal cannabis throughout the United States is described. A concern exists that there is a knowledge gap among pharmacists and pharmacy students, as demonstrated by recent survey results, related to the pharmacology, dosing, administration, adverse effects, drug interactions, and monitoring of both medicinal and recreational cannabis use.

IMPLICATIONS:

While cannabis use is still considered illegal by the federal government, it is imperative pharmacy educators prepare the next generation of pharmacists to be knowledgeable on the safe and effective use and communication tactics related to cannabis. As a therapy garnering national attention with growing support for use, education on this topic must be included in pharmacy curricula and pharmacy continuing education.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30497617

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1877129717304860?via%3Dihub

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Cannabinoids, Chemical Senses, and Regulation of Feeding Behavior.

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“The herb Cannabis sativa has been traditionally used in many cultures and all over the world for thousands of years as medicine and recreation.

However, because it was brought to the Western world in the late 19th century, its use has been a source of controversy with respect to its physiological effects as well as the generation of specific behaviors. In this regard, the CB1 receptor represents the most relevant target molecule of cannabinoid components on nervous system and whole-body energy homeostasis.

Thus, the promotion of CB1 signaling can increase appetite and stimulate feeding, whereas blockade of CB1 suppresses hunger and induces hypophagia.

Taste and flavor are sensory experiences involving the oral perception of food-derived chemicals and drive a primal sense of acceptable or unacceptable for what is sampled. Therefore, research within the last decades focused on deciphering the effect of cannabinoids on the chemical senses involved in food perception and consequently in the pattern of feeding.

In this review, we summarize the data on the effect of cannabinoids on chemical senses and their influences on food intake control and feeding behavior.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30481264

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Medical Cannabis: A plurimillennial history of an evergreen.

 Journal of Cellular Physiology banner“The history of Cannabis goes along that of humankind, as speculated based on geographical and evolutionary models together with historic data collected to date. Its medical use is several thousand years old, as attested both by archeobotanical evidence of Cannabis remains and written records found in ancient texts from the sacred Vedic foundational texts of Ayurvedic medicine (about 800 before current era [BCE]) to the first known Pharmacopoea, the Chinese “Shen Nung Pen Ts’ao Ching” (1 century BCE). In this paper, we retrace the history of Cannabis traveling through the key stages of its diffusion among the most important ancient cultures up to our days, when we are facing a renaissance of its medical employment. We report through the centuries evidence of its use in numerous pathologic conditions especially for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and anticonvulsing properties that support the requirement to direct our present research efforts into the definitive understanding of its efficacy.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30417354

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jcp.27725

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Cannabis Therapeutics and the Future of Neurology.

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“Neurological therapeutics have been hampered by its inability to advance beyond symptomatic treatment of neurodegenerative disorders into the realm of actual palliation, arrest or reversal of the attendant pathological processes.

While cannabis-based medicines have demonstrated safety, efficacy and consistency sufficient for regulatory approval in spasticity in multiple sclerosis (MS), and in Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut Syndromes (LGS), many therapeutic challenges remain.

This review will examine the intriguing promise that recent discoveries regarding cannabis-based medicines offer to neurological therapeutics by incorporating the neutral phytocannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), their acidic precursors, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabis terpenoids in the putative treatment of five syndromes, currently labeled recalcitrant to therapeutic success, and wherein improved pharmacological intervention is required: intractable epilepsy, brain tumors, Parkinson disease (PD), Alzheimer disease (AD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI)/chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Current basic science and clinical investigations support the safety and efficacy of such interventions in treatment of these currently intractable conditions, that in some cases share pathological processes, and the plausibility of interventions that harness endocannabinoid mechanisms, whether mediated via direct activity on CB1 and CB2 (tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, caryophyllene), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARγ; THCA), 5-HT1A (CBD, CBDA) or even nutritional approaches utilizing prebiotics and probiotics.

The inherent polypharmaceutical properties of cannabis botanicals offer distinct advantages over the current single-target pharmaceutical model and portend to revolutionize neurological treatment into a new reality of effective interventional and even preventative treatment.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30405366

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnint.2018.00051/full

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Combined THC and CBD 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 are unable to provide adequate analgesia in a significant proportion of patients. Cannabinoid-based medicines (CBMs) have been increasingly studied for pain conditions of various etiologies and pose as a novel dimension for pain-care in EB. We present three cases of EB who were prescribed pharmaceutical-grade sublingually administered CBMs comprising tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). 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/abs/10.1111/bjd.17341

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Combined CB2 Receptor Agonist and Photodynamic Therapy Synergistically Inhibit Tumor Growth in Triple Negative Breast Cancer.

Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy

“Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the deadliest form of breast cancer because compared with other types of breast cancer, it is more aggressive, diagnosed at later stage and more likely to develop recurrence.

Many patients do not experience adequate tumor control after current clinical treatments involving surgical removal, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, leading to disease progression and significantly decreased quality of life.

Here we report a new combinatory therapy strategy involving cannabinoid-based medicine and photodynamic therapy (PDT) for the treatment of TNBC.

This combinatory therapy targets two proteins upregulated in TNBC: the cannabinoid CB2 receptor (CB2R, a G-protein coupled receptor) and translocator protein (TSPO, a mitochondria membrane receptor). We found that the combined CB2R agonist and TSPO-PDT treatment resulted in synergistic inhibition in TNBC cell and tumor growth.

This combinatory therapy approach provides new opportunities to treat TNBC with high efficacy. In addition, this study provides new evidence on the therapeutic potential of CB2R agonists for cancer.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30240926

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1572100018301571?via%3Dihub

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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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