‘Standard THC Units’: a proposal to standardise dose across all cannabis products and methods of administration.

Publication cover image“Cannabis products are becoming increasingly diverse, and they vary considerably in concentrations of ∆9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Higher doses of THC can increase the risk of harm from cannabis, while CBD may partially offset some of these effects. Lower Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines currently lack recommendations based on quantity of use, and could be improved by implementing standard units. However, there is currently no consensus on how units should be measured or standardised across different cannabis products or methods of administration.

ARGUMENT:

Existing proposals for standard cannabis units have been based on specific methods of administration (e.g. joints) and these may not capture other methods including pipes, bongs, blunts, dabbing, vaporizers, vape pens, edibles and liquids. Other proposals (e.g. grams of cannabis) cannot account for heterogeneity in THC concentrations across different cannabis products. Similar to alcohol units, we argue that standard cannabis units should reflect the quantity of active pharmacological constituents (dose of THC). On the basis of experimental and ecological data, public health considerations, and existing policy we propose that a ‘Standard THC Unit’ should be fixed at 5 milligrams of THC for all cannabis products and methods of administration. If supported by sufficient evidence in future, consumption of Standard CBD Units might offer an additional strategy for harm reduction.

CONCLUSIONS:

Standard THC Units can potentially be applied across all cannabis products and methods of administration to guide consumers and promote safer patterns of use.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31606008

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/add.14842

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The Effects of Dosage-Controlled Cannabis Capsules on Cancer-Related Cachexia and Anorexia Syndrome in Advanced Cancer Patients: Pilot Study.

Image result for integrative cancer therapies“Cancer-related cachexia and anorexia syndrome (CACS) is a common phenomenon in cancer patients. Cannabis has been suggested to stimulate appetite but research on this issue has yielded mixed results. The current study aimed to evaluate the effect of dosage-controlled cannabis capsules on CACS in advanced cancer patients.

Methods: The cannabis capsules used in this study contained two fractions of oil-based compounds. The planned treatment was 2 × 10 mg per 24 hours for six months of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) 9.5 mg and cannabidiol (CBD) 0.5 mg. If patients suffered from side effects, dosage was reduced to 5 mg × 2 per day (THC 4.75 mg, CBD 0.25 mg). Participants were weighed on every physician visit. The primary objective of the study was a weight gain of ≥10% from baseline.

Results: Of 24 patients who signed the consent form, 17 started the cannabis capsules treatment, but only 11 received the capsules for more than two weeks. Three of six patients who completed the study period met the primary end-point. The remaining three patients had stable weights. In quality of life quaternaries, patients reported less appetite loss after the cannabis treatment (p=0.05). Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) levels decreased after the cannabis treatment but without statistical significance. According to patients’ self-reports, improvement in appetite and mood as well as a reduction in pain and fatigue was demonstrated.

Conclusions: Despite various limitations, this preliminary study demonstrated a weight increase of ≥10% in 3/17 (17.6%) patients with doses of 5mgx1 or 5mgx2 capsules daily, without significant side effects. The results justify a larger study with dosage-controlled cannabis capsules in CACS.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31595793

“The primary objective of the study was a weight gain of ≥10% from baseline. Despite various limitations, the current preliminary study demonstrated a weight increase of ≥10% in 3/17 (17.6%) of the patients with doses of 5 mg × 1 or 5 mg × 2 capsules daily, without significant side effects.”

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1534735419881498

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Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Derivative-Loaded Nanoformulation Lowers Intraocular Pressure in Normotensive Rabbits.

“Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol-valine-hemisuccinate, a hydrophilic prodrug of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, synthesized with the aim of improving the ocular bioavailability of the parent molecule, was investigated in a lipid-based nanoparticle dosage form for ocular delivery.

RESULTS:

A peak intraocular pressure (IOP) drop of 30% from baseline was observed in rabbits treated with SLNs loaded with Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol-valine-hemisuccinate at 90 minutes. Treated eyes of rabbits receiving Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol-valine-hemisuccinate SLNs had significantly lower IOP than untreated eyes until 360 minutes, whereas the group receiving the emulsion formulation showed a drop in IOP until 90 minutes only. In comparison to marketed pilocarpine and timolol maleate ophthalmic solutions, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol-valine-hemisuccinate SLNs produced a greater effect on IOP in terms of both intensity and duration. In terms of tissue concentrations, significantly higher concentrations of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol-valine-hemisuccinate were observed in iris-ciliary bodies and retina-choroid with SLNs.

CONCLUSION:

Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol-valine-hemisuccinate formulated in a lipid-based nanoparticulate carrier shows promise in glaucoma pharmacotherapy.

TRANSLATIONAL RELEVANCE:

Glaucoma therapies usually focus on decreased aqueous humor production and increased outflow. However, such therapy is not curative, and there lies a need in preclinical research to focus efforts on agents that not only affect the aqueous humor dynamics but also provide neuroprotection. Historically, there have been bench-scale studies looking at retinal ganglion cell death post-axonal injury. However, for a smooth translation of this in vitro activity to the clinic, animal models examining IOP reduction, i.e., connecting the neuroprotective activity to a measurable outcome in glaucoma management (IOP), need to be investigated. This study investigated the IOP reduction efficacy of cannabinoids for glaucoma pharmacotherapy in a normotensive rabbit model, bringing forth a new class of agents with the potential of IOP reduction and improved permeation to the back of the eye, possibly providing neuroprotective benefits in glaucoma management.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31588378

“THC has been demonstrated to be effective in glaucoma management, helping to lower IOP in human subjects after smoking marijuana; however, the molecule fails to manifest a similar effect when dosed topically. This research explores molecular bioengineering and formulation-based strategies to improve the ocular bioavailability of THC, facilitating the molecule to translate into a dosage form capable of demonstrating a desired IOP-lowering effect even on topical application. These studies suggest that formulation development efforts along with prodrug derivatization can effectively improve the overall ocular bioavailability of THC. Thus, THC-VHS represents a potential new therapy option for the treatment and management of glaucoma by virtue of its superiority in lowering IOP when compared to antiholinergic and beta blockers, as studied in this model.”
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How does cannabidiol (CBD) influence the acute effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in humans? A systematic review.

Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews“The recent liberalisation of cannabis regulation has increased public and scientific debate about its potential benefits and risks. A key focus has been the extent to which cannabidiol (CBD) might influence the acute effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but this has never been reviewed systematically. In this systematic review of how CBD influences the acute effects of THC we identified 16 studies involving 466 participants. Ten studies were judged at low risk of bias. The findings were mixed, although CBD was found to reduce the effects of THC in several studies. Some studies found that CBD reduced intense experiences of anxiety or psychosis-like effects of THC and blunted some of the impairments on emotion and reward processing. However, CBD did not consistently influence the effects of THC across all studies and outcomes. There was considerable heterogeneity in dose, route of administration and THC:CBD ratio across studies and no clear dose-response profile emerged. Although findings were mixed, this review suggests that CBD may interact with some acute effects of THC.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31580839

“CBD influenced the effects of THC in some but not all studies. Several studies found that CBD reduced the acute effects of THC. CBD may reduce intense experiences of anxiety or psychosis-like effects of THC. CBD may blunt effects of THC on emotion and reward processing. CBD did not alter subjective intoxication or psychomotor effects of THC. CBD may influence the benefits and harms of cannabis”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763419305615?via%3Dihub

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Beyond THC and Endocannabinoids.

Image result for AR Annual Reviews“Research in the cannabinoid field, namely on phytocannabinoids, the endogenous cannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol and their metabolizing and synthetic enzymes, the cannabinoid receptors, and anandamide-like cannabinoid compounds, has expanded tremendously over the last few years. Numerous endocannabinoid-like compounds have been discovered. The Cannabis plant constituent cannabidiol (CBD) was found to exert beneficial effects in many preclinical disease models ranging from epilepsy, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and autoimmunity to neurodegenerative and kidney diseases and cancer. CBD was recently approved in the United States for the treatment of rare forms of childhood epilepsy. This has triggered the development of many CBD-based products for human use, often with overstated claims regarding their therapeutic effects. In this article, the recently published research on the chemistry and biological effects of plant cannabinoids (specifically CBD), endocannabinoids, certain long-chain fatty acid amides, and the variety of relevant receptors is critically reviewed. ”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31580774

https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-010818-021441

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Cannabidiol Counteracts the Psychotropic Side-Effects of Δ-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol in the Ventral Hippocampus Through Bi-Directional Control of ERK1-2 Phosphorylation

Journal of Neuroscience“Evidence suggests that the phytocannabinoids Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) differentially regulate salience attribution and psychiatric risk. The ventral hippocampus (vHipp) relays emotional salience via control of dopamine (DA) neuronal activity states, which are dysregulated in psychosis and schizophrenia. Using in-vivo electrophysiology in male Sprague Dawley rats, we demonstrate that intra-vHipp THC strongly increases ventral tegmental area (VTA) DA neuronal frequency and bursting rates, decreases GABA frequency, and amplifies VTA beta, gamma and epsilon oscillatory magnitudes via modulation of local extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation (pERK1-2). Remarkably, whereas intra-vHipp THC also potentiates salience attribution in morphine place-preference and fear conditioning assays, CBD co-administration reverses these changes by down-regulating pERK1-2 signaling, as pharmacological re-activation of pERK1-2 blocked the inhibitory properties of CBD. These results identify vHipp pERK1-2 signaling as a critical neural nexus point mediating THC-induced affective disturbances and suggest a potential mechanism by which CBD may counteract the psychotomimetic and psychotropic side-effects of THC.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT

Strains of marijuana with high levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and low levels of cannabidiol (CBD) have been shown to underlie neuropsychiatric risks associated with high potency cannabis use. However, the mechanisms by which CBD mitigates the side effects of THC have not been identified. We demonstrate that THC induces cognitive and affective abnormalities resembling neuropsychiatric symptoms directly in the hippocampus, while dysregulating dopamine activity states and amplifying oscillatory frequencies in the ventral tegmental area via modulation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathway. In contrast, CBD co-administration blocked THC-induced ERK phosphorylation, and prevented THC-induced behavioural and neural abnormalities. These findings identify a novel molecular mechanism that may account for how CBD functionally mitigates the neuropsychiatric side-effects of THC.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31570536

https://www.jneurosci.org/content/early/2019/09/27/JNEUROSCI.0708-19.2019

“Western University researchers show how CBD blocks side-effects of THC in cannabis. Research out of Western University is showing for the first time how cannabidiol (CBD) helps to lessen negative psychiatric side effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis.”  https://globalnews.ca/news/5970908/western-university-research-cbd-thc-cannabis/

“Cannabis study reveals how CBD offsets the psychiatric side-effects of THC”  https://neurosciencenews.com/cbd-thc-psychosis-15002/

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Absence of Entourage: Terpenoids Commonly Found in Cannabis sativa Do Not Modulate the Functional Activity of Δ9-THC at Human CB1 and CB2 Receptors.

 View details for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image“Compounds present in Cannabis sativa such as phytocannabinoids and terpenoids may act in concert to elicit therapeutic effects. Cannabinoids such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) directly activate cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2); however, it is not known if terpenoids present in Cannabis also affect cannabinoid receptor signaling. Therefore, we examined six common terpenoids alone, and in combination with cannabinoid receptor agonists, on CB1 and CB2 signaling in vitro.

Results: α-Pinene, β-pinene, β-caryophyllene, linalool, limonene, and β-myrcene (up to 30-100 μM) did not change membrane potential in AtT20 cells expressing CB1 or CB2, or affect the response to a maximally effective concentration of the synthetic cannabinoid CP55,940. The presence of individual or a combination of terpenoids did not affect the hyperpolarization produced by Δ9-THC (10 μM): (CB1: control, 59%±7%; with terpenoids (10 μM each) 55%±4%; CB2: Δ9-THC 16%±5%, with terpenoids (10 μM each) 17%±4%). To investigate possible effect on desensitization of CB1 responses, all six terpenoids were added together with Δ9-THC and signaling measured continuously over 30 min. Terpenoids did not affect desensitization, after 30 min the control hyperpolarization recovered by 63%±6% in the presence of the terpenoids recovery was 61%±5%.

Discussion: None of the six of the most common terpenoids in Cannabis directly activated CB1 or CB2, or modulated the signaling of the phytocannabinoid agonist Δ9-THC. These results suggest that if a phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effect exists, it is not at the CB1 or CB2 receptor level. It remains possible that terpenoids activate CB1 and CB2 signaling pathways that do not involve potassium channels; however, it seems more likely that they may act at different molecular target(s) in the neuronal circuits important for the behavioral effect of Cannabis.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31559333

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2019.0016

“Terpenoids and Phytocannabinoids Co-Produced in Cannabis Sativa Strains Show Specific Interaction for Cell Cytotoxic Activity. We found that in “high THC” or “high CBD” strains, phytocannabinoids are produced alongside certain sets of terpenoids. Only co-related terpenoids enhanced the cytotoxic activity of phytocannabinoids on MDA-MB-231 and HCT-116 cell lines. This was found to be most effective in natural ratios found in extracts of cannabis inflorescence.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31438532

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Medical cannabis for inflammatory bowel disease: real-life experience of mode of consumption and assessment of side-effects.

 

Image result for ovid journal“Use of medical cannabis for improving symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease is increasing. However, reports on long-term outcomes are lacking. This prospective, observational study assessed the effects of licensed cannabis use among patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

METHODS:

Dose and mode of consumption, adverse events, use of other medications, and long-term effects were evaluated among 127 patients with inflammatory bowel disease using legalized medical cannabis. Blood count, albumin, and C-reactive protein were assessed before, 1 month, and at least 1 year after medical cannabis therapy was initiated. Questionnaires on disease activity, patient function, and signs of addiction were completed by patients and by a significant family member to assess its effects.

RESULTS:

The average dose used was 31 ± 15 g/month. The average Harvey-Bradshaw index improved from 14 ± 6.7 to 7 ± 4.7 (P < 0.001) during a median follow-up of 44 months (interquartile range, 24-56 months). There was a slight, but statistically significant, average weight gain of 2 kg within 1 year of cannabis use. The need for other medications was significantly reduced. Employment among patients increased from 65 to 74% (P < 0.05). We conclude that the majority of inflammatory bowel disease patients using cannabis are satisfied with a dose of 30 g/month. We did not observe negative effects of cannabis use on the patients’ social or occupational status.

CONCLUSIONS:

Cannabis use by inflammatory bowel disease patients can induce clinical improvement and is associated with reduced use of medication and slight weight gain. Most patients respond well to a dose of 30 g/month, or 21 mg Δ9-tetra- hydrocannabinol (THC) and 170 mg Cannabidiol (CBD) per day.”

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Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol During Adolescence Attenuates Disruption of Dopamine Function Induced in Rats by Maternal Immune Activation.

Image result for frontiers in behavioral neuroscience“Here, we hypothesized that adolescent Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) worsens the impact of prenatal maternal immune activation (MIA) on ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine cells in rat offspring.

Adolescent THC attenuated several MIA-induced effects.

Contrary to our expectations, adolescent THC did not worsen MIA-induced deficits.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31551729

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00202/full

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Medical cannabis for chronic pain: can it make a difference in pain management?

 “Globally, chronic pain is a major therapeutic challenge and affects more than 15% of the population. As patients with painful terminal diseases may face unbearable pain, there is a need for more potent analgesics.

Although opioid-based therapeutic agents received attention to manage severe pain, their adverse drug effects and mortality rate associated with opioids overdose are the major concerns.

Evidences from clinical trials showed therapeutic benefits of cannabis, especially delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabinoids reduced neuropathic pain intensity in various conditions. Also, there are reports on using combination cannabinoid therapies for chronic pain management.

The association of cannabis dependence and addiction has been discussed much and the reports mentioned that it can be comparatively lower than other substances such as nicotine and alcohol.

More countries have decided to legalise the medicinal use of cannabis and marijuana.

Healthcare professionals should keep themselves updated with the changing state of medical cannabis and its applications.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31535218

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00540-019-02680-y

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