Anti-tumoural actions of cannabinoids.

British Journal of Pharmacology banner

“The endocannabinoid system has emerged as a considerable target for the treatment of diverse diseases.

In addition to the well-established palliative effects of cannabinoids in cancer therapy, phytocannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoid compounds as well as inhibitors of endocannabinoid degradation have attracted attention as possible systemic anticancer drugs.

As a matter of fact, accumulating data from preclinical studies suggest cannabinoids elicit effects on different levels of cancer progression, comprising inhibition of proliferation, neovascularisation, invasion and chemoresistance, induction of apoptosis and autophagy as well as enhancement of tumour immune surveillance.

Although the clinical use of cannabinoid receptor ligands is limited by their psychoactivity, nonpsychoactive compounds, such as cannabidiol, have gained attention due to preclinically established anticancer properties and a favourable risk-to-benefit profile.

Thus, cannabinoids may complement the currently used collection of chemotherapeutics, as a broadly diversified option for cancer treatment, while counteracting some of their severe side effects.”

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Evidence for the use of “medical marijuana” in psychiatric and neurologic disorders.

College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists

“Cannabis is listed as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, meaning the US federal government defines it as an illegal drug that has high potential for abuse and no established medical use; however, half of the states in the nation have enacted “medical marijuana” (MM) laws. Clinicians must be aware of the evidence for and against the use of MM in their patients who may consider using this substance.

RESULTS:

Publications were identified that included patients with dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson disease, Huntington disease, schizophrenia, social anxiety disorder, depression, tobacco use disorder, and neuropathic pain.

DISCUSSION:

There is great variety concerning which medical conditions are approved for treatment with MM for either palliative or therapeutic benefit, depending on the state law. It is important to keep an evidence-based approach in mind, even with substances considered to be illegal under US federal law. Clinicians must weigh risks and benefits of the use of MM in their patients and should ensure that patients have tried other treatment modalities with higher levels of evidence for use when available and appropriate.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29955495

““Medical marijuana” encompasses everything from whole-plant cannabis to synthetic cannabinoids available for commercial use approved by regulatory agencies. In determining whether MM is of clinical utility to our patients, it is important to keep in mind chemical constituents, dose, delivery, and indication. Selection of the patient appropriate for MM must be carefully considered because clinical guidelines and treatment options with stronger levels of evidence should be exhausted first in most cases. There seems to be strongest evidence for the use of MM in patients with MS and in patients with neuropathic pain; moderate evidence exists to support further research in social anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, PD, and tobacco use disorder; evidence is limited for use in patients with dementia, Huntington disease, depression, and anorexia.”

http://mhc.cpnp.org/doi/10.9740/mhc.2017.01.029?code=cpnp-site

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Cannabis: A Prehistoric Remedy for the Deficits of Existing and Emerging Anticancer Therapies

“Cannabis has been used medicinally for centuries and numerous species of this genus are undoubtedly amongst the primeval plant remedies known to humans.

Cannabis sativa in particular is the most reported species, due to its substantial therapeutic implications that are owed to the presence of chemically and pharmacologically diverse cannabinoids.

These compounds have long been used for the palliative treatment of cancer.

Recent advancements in receptor pharmacology research have led to the identification of cannabinoids as effective antitumor agents.

This property is accredited for their ability to induce apoptosis, suppress proliferative cell signalling pathways and promote cell growth inhibition.

Evolving lines of evidence suggest that cannabinoid analogues, as well as their receptor agonists, may offer a novel strategy to treat various forms of cancer.

This review summarizes the historical perspective of C. sativa, its potential mechanism of action, and pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic aspects of cannabinoids, with special emphasis on their anticancer potentials.”

http://www.xiahepublishing.com/ArticleFullText.aspx?sid=2&jid=3&id=10.14218%2FJERP.2017.00012

Cannabis products.

“Cannabis products. First row, left to right: Indian, Lebanese, Turkish and Pakistani hashish. Second row, left to right: Swiss hashish, Zairean marijuana, Swiss marijuana, Moroccan hash oil.”

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Medicinal Cannabinoids in Palliative Care.

 British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology banner

“The treatment of symptoms in people with palliative diagnoses begins with meticulous clinical assessment with treatment choice (s) selected based on an understanding of the symptom aetiology and the evidence which underpins its treatment.

Increasingly the merits of palliative care have been established earlier in the disease trajectory where treatment outcomes may include increased survival and maintenance of function.

There is strong public support for the availability of medicinal cannabis, particularly for people with palliative diagnoses.

There are several areas where there is potential for symptom benefits through modulation of the endocannabinoid system, though clinical data to date has been inconclusive in key symptoms such as pain and nausea, and data from other settings such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting not readily extrapolated.

Ideally exploration of medicinal cannabinoids should occur within a clinical trial to accelerate the evidence base to inform practice. In people with refractory symptoms the consideration of unregistered products or off label prescribing should be guided by the potential influences of pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and drug-drug interactions, supported by an informed discussion with the patient, and regular review of net clinical benefit.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29923616

https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bcp.13671

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Targeting cannabinoid receptors in gastrointestinal cancers for therapeutic uses: current status and future perspectives

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“A number of studies have consistently shown that cannabinoids are able to prevent or reduce carcinogenesis in different animal models of colon cancer.

Cannabinoids, via CB1 and possibly CB2 receptors, suppress proliferation and migration and stimulate apoptosis in colorectal cancer cells.

Convincing scientific evidence suggests that cannabinoids, in addition to their well-known use in palliative care in oncology (e.g. improvement of appetite, attenuation of nausea associated to antitumoral medicines, alleviation of moderate neuropathic pain) can reduce, via antiproliferative and proapoptotic as well as by inhibiting angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis or by attenuating inflammation, the growth of cancer cells and hinder the development of experimental colon carcinogenesis in vivo.”

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17474124.2017.1367663?src=recsys

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Endocannabinoid system and anticancer properties of cannabinoids

Folia Biologica et Oecologica

“Cannabinoids impact human body by binding to cannabinoids receptors (CB1 and CB2).

The two main phytocannabinoids are Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

THC interacts with CB1 receptors occurring in central nervous system and is responsible for psychoactive properties of marijuana. CBD has low affinity to CB1 receptor, has no psychoactive characteristics and its medical applications can be wider.

CB receptors are part of a complex machinery involved in regulation of many physiological processes – endocannabinoid system.

Cannabinoids have found some applications in palliative medicine, but there are many reports concerning their anticancer affects.

Agonists of CB1 receptors stimulate accumulation of ceramides in cancer cells, stress of endoplasmic reticulum (ER stress) and, in turn, apoptosis. Effects of cannabinoids showing low affinity to CB receptors is mediated probably by induction of reactive oxygen species production.

Knowledge of antitumor activity of cannabinoids is still based only on preclinical studies and there is a necessity to conduct more experiments to assess the real potential of these compounds.”

https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/fobio/12/1/article-p11.xml

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Cannabis in End-of-Life Care: Examining Attitudes and Practices of Palliative Care Providers.

 Publication Cover

“Medical cannabis research has become quite extensive, with indications ranging from glaucoma to chemotherapy-induced nausea.

Despite increased interest in cannabis‘ potential medical uses, research barriers, cannabis legislation, stigma, and lack of dissemination of data contribute to low adoption for some medical populations.

Of interest, cannabis use appears low in palliative care settings, with few guidelines available to palliative care providers. The present study sought to examine the attitudes, beliefs, and practices of palliative care providers regarding the use of cannabis for terminally ill patients.

Results demonstrated that palliative care providers endorse cannabis for a wide range of palliative care symptoms, end-of-life care generally, and as an adjuvant medication.

Nevertheless, the gap between these beliefs and actual recommendation or prescription appears vast. Many who support the use of cannabis in palliative care do not recommend it as a treatment. These data suggest recommendations for healthcare providers and palliative care organizations.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29714640

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02791072.2018.1462543?journalCode=ujpd20

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The use of cannabis in supportive care and treatment of brain tumor

Issue Cover

“Anticancer Effects of Cannabinoids may be able to Prolong Life.

Cannabinoids are multitarget substances. Currently available are dronabinol (synthetic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, THC), synthetic cannabidiol (CBD) the respective substances isolated and purified from cannabis, a refined extract, nabiximols (THC:CBD = 1.08:1.00); and nabilone, which is also synthetic and has properties that are very similar to those of THC.

Cannabinoids have a role in the treatment of cancer as palliative interventions against nausea, vomiting, pain, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. THC and nabilone are also used for anorexia and weight loss, whereas CBD has no orexigenic effect. The psychotropic effects of THC and nabilone, although often undesirable, can improve mood when administered in low doses. CBD has no psychotropic effects; it is anxiolytic and antidepressive.

Of particular interest are glioma studies in animals where relatively high doses of CBD and THC demonstrated significant regression of tumor volumes (approximately 50% to 95% and even complete eradication in rare cases). Concomitant treatment with X-rays or temozolomide enhanced activity further. Similarly, a combination of THC with CBD showed synergistic effects. Although many questions, such as on optimized treatment schedules, are still unresolved, today’s scientific results suggest that cannabinoids could play an important role in palliative care of brain tumor patients.

THC, a partial CB1, CB2 agonist, has the stigma of psychotropic effects that are mediated by CB1 stimulation. However, CB1 stimulation is necessary for improving mood and appetite and many other effects. At present, it is hard to imagine a better approach than adjusting THC doses individually to balance wanted versus unwanted effects. Generally, higher doses are needed to achieve analgesic and antiemetic effects. Even much higher, supraphysiologic oral doses would be needed to combat tumors.

Combinations were synergistic under many circumstances such as in pain and antitumor studies. Cannabinoids differ in their antitumor activities and probably in their mechanisms and targets, which is a rationale for combinations. However, for many pharmacological effects (except against tumors) roughly 10-times higher daily doses are needed for CBD compared to THC.

In summary, the endocannabinoid system is likely playing a crucial role in palliative care. The future will show whether an optimized treatment strategy with cannabinoids can also prolong life of brain tumor patients by their virtue to combat cancer cells.”

https://academic.oup.com/nop/article/4/3/151/2918616

“Cannabinoid Drug Prolongs the Life of Brain Tumor Patients in Phase II Trials”  https://labiotech.eu/gw-pharmaceuticals-brain-tumor/

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Prospective analysis of safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in large unselected population of patients with cancer

Cover image volume 49, Issue

“Cancer is a major public health problem as the leading cause of death. Palliative treatment aimed to alleviate pain and nausea in patients with advanced disease is a cornerstone of oncology.

In 2007, the Israeli Ministry of Health began providing approvals for medical cannabis for the palliation of cancer symptoms. The aim of this study is to characterize the epidemiology of cancer patients receiving medical cannabis treatment and describe the safety and efficacy of this therapy.

Methods

We analyzed the data routinely collected as part of the treatment program of 2970 cancer patients treated with medical cannabis between 2015 and 2017.

Results

The average age was 59.5 ± 16.3 years, 54.6% women and 26.7% of the patients reported previous experience with cannabis. The most frequent types of cancer were: breast (20.7%), lung (13.6%), pancreatic (8.1%) and colorectal (7.9%) with 51.2% being at stage 4. The main symptoms requiring therapy were: sleep problems (78.4%), pain (77.7%, median intensity 8/10), weakness (72.7%), nausea (64.6%) and lack of appetite (48.9%). After six months of follow up, 902 patients (24.9%) died and 682 (18.8%) stopped the treatment. Of the remaining, 1211 (60.6%) responded; 95.9% reported an improvement in their condition, 45 patients (3.7%) reported no change and four patients (0.3%) reported deterioration in their medical condition.

Conclusions

Cannabis as a palliative treatment for cancer patients seems to be well tolerated, effective and safe option to help patients cope with the malignancy related symptoms.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29482741

http://www.ejinme.com/article/S0953-6205(18)30023-2/pdf

“Cannabis to be a “Safe,” “Effective” Medical Treatment in First-of-its-Kind, Peer-Reviewed Study of Thousands of Cancer Patients Using Tikun Olam™ Strains”  http://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/cannabis-to-be-a-safe-effective-medical-treatment-in-first-of-its-kind-peer-reviewed-study-of-thousands-of-cancer-patients-using-tikun-olam-strains-1017297749

“For the first time, a major scientific study has confirmed what cannabis advocates have known for decades: that cannabis can be a safe and effective palliative treatment in patients suffering from the debilitating effects of cancer.”  https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cannabis-to-be-a-safe-effective-medical-treatment-in-first-of-its-kind-peer-reviewed-study-of-thousands-of-cancer-patients-using-tikun-olam-strains-300604361.html

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The current state and future perspectives of cannabinoids in cancer biology.

Cancer Medicine

“To date, cannabinoids have been allowed in the palliative medicine due to their analgesic and antiemetic effects, but increasing number of preclinical studies indicates their anticancer properties. Cannabinoids exhibit their action by a modulation of the signaling pathways crucial in the control of cell proliferation and survival. Many in vitro and in vivo experiments have shown that cannabinoids inhibit proliferation of cancer cells, stimulate autophagy and apoptosis, and have also a potential to inhibit angiogenesis and metastasis. In this review, we present an actual state of knowledge regarding molecular mechanisms of cannabinoids’ anticancer action, but we discuss also aspects that are still not fully understood such as the role of the endocannabinoid system in a carcinogenesis, the impact of cannabinoids on the immune system in the context of cancer development, or the cases of a stimulation of cancer cells’ proliferation by cannabinoids. The review includes also a summary of currently ongoing clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids as anticancer agents.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29473338

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cam4.1312/abstract

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