Cannabinoids in Multiple Sclerosis: A Neurophysiological Analysis

Publication cover image “Objectives: To investigate the action of cannabinoids on spasticity and pain in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, by means of neurophysiological indexes.

Conclusions: The THC-CBD spray improved spasticity and pain in secondary progressive MS patients. The spray prolonged CSP duration, which appears a promising tool for assessing and monitoring the analgesic effects of THC-CBD in MS.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32632918/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ane.13313

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The Seed of Industrial Hemp ( Cannabis sativa L.): Nutritional Quality and Potential Functionality for Human Health and Nutrition

nutrients-logo“Hempseeds, the edible fruits of the Cannabis sativa L. plant, were initially considered a by-product of the hemp technical fibre industry. Nowadays, following the restorationing of the cultivation of C. sativa L. plants containing an amount of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) <0.3% or 0.2% (industrial hemp) there is a growing interest for the hempseeds production due to their high nutritional value and functional features.

The goal of this review is to examine the scientific literature concerning the nutritional and functional properties of hempseeds. Furthermore, we revised the scientific literature regarding the potential use of hempseeds and their derivatives as a dietary supplement for the prevention and treatment of inflammatory and chronic-degenerative diseases on animal models and humans too.

In the first part of the work, we provide information regarding the genetic, biochemical, and legislative aspects of this plant that are, in our opinion essential to understand the difference between “industrial” and “drug-type” hemp. In the final part of the review, the employment of hempseeds by the food industry as livestock feed supplement and as ingredient to enrich or fortify daily foods has also revised.

Overall, this review intends to encourage further and comprehensive investigations about the adoption of hempseeds in the functional foods field.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32610691/

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/7/1935

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Administration of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) Post-Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B Exposure Protects Mice From Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and Toxicity

Frontiers in Pharmacology welcomes new Field Chief Editor ...“Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening complication that can ensue following Staphylococcus aureus infection. The enterotoxin produced by these bacteria (SEB) acts as a superantigen thereby activating a large proportion of T cells leading to cytokine storm and severe lung injury.

Δ9Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive ingredient found in Cannabis sativa, has been shown to act as a potent anti-inflammatory agent. In the current study, we investigated the effect of THC treatment on SEB-induced ARDS in mice.

While exposure to SEB resulted in acute mortality, treatment with THC led to 100% survival of mice. THC treatment significantly suppressed the inflammatory cytokines, IFN-γ and TNF-α. Additionally, THC elevated the induction of regulatory T cells (Tregs) and their associated cytokines, IL-10 and TGF-β. Moreover, THC caused induction of Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells (MDSCs).

THC acted through CB2 receptor as pharmacological inhibitor of CB2 receptors blocked the anti-inflammatory effects. THC-treated mice showed significant alterations in the expression of miRNA (miRs) in the lung-infiltrated mononuclear cells (MNCs). Specifically, THC caused downregulation of let7a-5p which targeted SOCS1 and downregulation of miR-34-5p which caused increased expression of FoxP3, NOS1, and CSF1R.

Together, these data suggested that THC-mediated alterations in miR expression in the lungs may play a critical role in the induction of immunosuppressive Tregs and MDSCs as well as suppression of cytokine storm leading to attenuation of SEB-mediated lung injury.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32612530/

“In summary, the current study suggests that treatment of mice with THC post-SEB challenge protects mice from SEB-mediated toxicity by inhibiting inflammation and ARDS through the modulation of miRs. Because SEB is a super antigen that drives cytokine storm, our studies suggest that THC is a potent anti-inflammatory agent that has the potential to be used as a therapeutic modality to treat SEB-induced ARDS.

It is of interest to note that a significant proportion of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients come down with sepsis and ARDS accompanied by cytokine storm. ”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2020.00893/full

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The pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety of a novel selective‐dose cannabis inhaler in patients with chronic pain: A randomized, double‐blinded, placebo‐controlled trial

European Journal of Pain“Precise cannabis treatment dosing remains a major challenge, leading to physicians’ reluctance to prescribe medical cannabis.

Objective

To test the pharmacokinetics, analgesic effect, cognitive performance and safety effects of an innovative medical device that enables the delivery of inhaled therapeutic doses of Δ9‐Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in patients with chronic pain.

Methods

In a randomized, three‐arms, double‐blinded, placebo‐controlled, cross‐over trial, 27 patients received a single inhalation of Δ9‐THC: 0.5mg, 1mg, or a placebo.

Δ9‐THC plasma levels were measured at baseline and up to 150‐min post‐inhalation. Pain intensity and safety parameters were recorded on a 10‐cm visual analogue scale (VAS) at pre‐defined time points. The cognitive performance was evaluated using the selective sub‐tests of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB).

Results

Following inhalation of 0.5 mg or 1mg, Δ9‐THC plasma max ± SD were 14.3 ± 7.7 and 33.8 ± 25.7 ng/ml. max ± SD were 3.7 ± 1.4 and 4.4 ± 2.1 min, and AUC0 → infinity±SD were 300 ± 144 and 769 ± 331 ng*min/ml, respectively. Both doses, but not the placebo, demonstrated a significant reduction in pain intensity compared with baseline and remained stable for 150‐min. The 1‐mg dose showed a significant pain decrease compared to the placebo. Adverse events were mostly mild and resolved spontaneously. There was no evidence of consistent impairments in cognitive performance.

Conclusion

This feasibility trial demonstrated that a metered‐dose cannabis inhaler delivered precise and low THC doses, produced a dose‐dependent and safe analgesic effect in patients with neuropathic pain/ complex‐regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Thus, it enables individualization of medical cannabis regimens that can be evaluated pharmacokinetically and pharmacodynamically by accepted pharmaceutical models.

Significance

Evidence suggests that cannabis‐based medicines are an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults. The pharmacokinetics of THC varies as a function of its route of administration. Pulmonary assimilation of inhaled THC causes rapid onset of analgesia. However, currently used routes of cannabinoids delivery provide unknown doses, making it impossible to implement a pharmaceutical standard treatment plan. A novel selective‐dose cannabis inhaler delivers significantly low and precise doses of THC, thus allowing the administration of inhaled cannabis‐based medicines according to high pharmaceutical standards. These low doses of THC can produce safe and effective analgesia in patients with chronic pain.

To the best of our knowledge, it is the first time that the delivery of selective, significantly low, and precise therapeutic single doses of inhaled THC demonstrates an analgesic effect. It allows patients to reach the optimum balance between symptom relief and controlled side effects, enabling patients to regain their quality of life. In addition, this metered‐dose cannabis inhaler enables the individualization of medical cannabis regimens that can be evaluated pharmacokinetically and pharmacodynamically using accepted pharmaceutical models.”

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejp.1605

Study Finds Microdosing THC Reduces Pain Levels”  https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2020/7/1/study-finds-microdosing-thc-reduces-pain-levels

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Interactions Between Cannabidiol and Δ 9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol in Modulating Seizure Susceptibility and Survival in a Mousae Model of Dravet Syndrome

British Journal of Pharmacology “Extracts from the cannabis plant can dramatically improve the health of children suffering from refractory epilepsies such as Dravet syndrome.

These extracts typically contain cannabidiol (CBD), a phytocannabinoid with well-documented anticonvulsant effects, but may also contain Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9 -THC). It is unclear whether the presence of Δ9 -THC modulates the anticonvulsant efficacy of CBD. Here we utilized the Scn1a+/- mouse model of Dravet syndrome to examine this question.

Key results: Administered alone, CBD (100 mg/kg i.p.) was anticonvulsant against hyperthermia-induced seizures as were low (0.1 and 0.3 mg/kg i.p.) but not higher doses of Δ9 -THC. A subthreshold dose of CBD (12 mg/kg) enhanced the anticonvulsant effects Δ9 -THC (0.1 mg/kg). Subchronic oral administration of Δ9 -THC or CBD alone did not affect spontaneous seizure frequency or mortality while, surprisingly, their co-administration increased the severity of spontaneous seizures and overall mortality.

Conclusion and implications: Low doses of Δ9 -THC are anticonvulsant against hyperthermia-induced seizures in Scn1a+/ mice, effects that are enhanced by a sub-anticonvulsant dose of CBD. However, proconvulsant effects and increased premature mortality are observed when CBD and Δ9 -THC are subchronically dosed in combination. The possible explanations and implications of this are discussed.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32608111/

https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bph.15181

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The Effectiveness of Cannabis Flower for Immediate Relief From Symptoms of Depression

 Logo of yjbm“Scientific research on how consumption of whole, natural Cannabis flower affects low mood and behavioral motivations more generally is largely nonexistent, and few studies to date have measured how common and commercially available Cannabis flower used in vivo may affect the experience of “depression” in real-time.

Results: On average, 95.8% of users experienced symptom relief following consumption with an average symptom intensity reduction of -3.76 points on a 0-10 visual analogue scale (SD = 2.64, d = 1.71, p <.001). Symptom relief did not differ by labeled plant phenotypes (“C. indica,” “C. sativa,” or “hybrid”) or combustion method. Across cannabinoid levels, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels were the strongest independent predictors of symptom relief, while cannabidiol (CBD) levels, instead, were generally unrelated to real-time changes in symptom intensity levels. Cannabis use was associated with some negative side effects that correspond to increased depression (e.g. feeling unmotivated) in up to 20% of users, as well as positive side effects that correspond to decreased depression (e.g. feeling happy, optimistic, peaceful, or relaxed) in up to 64% of users.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that, at least in the short term, the vast majority of patients that use cannabis experience antidepressant effects, although the magnitude of the effect and extent of side effect experiences vary with chemotypic properties of the plant.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32607086/

“In conclusion, almost all patients in our sample experienced symptom relief from using Cannabis to treat depression and with minimal evidence of serious side effects in the short run.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7309674/

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Use of Cannabis for Agitation in Patients With Dementia

 logo“Studies have reported changes in the endocannabinoid system in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), playing a role in the pathophysiology of AD. Cannabinoids have been shown to have neuroprotective properties, reduce neuroinflammation, and enhance neurogenesis. Evidence suggests that the utilization of marijuana products containing both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) or CBD alone have been effective and safe for use in older people with agitation associated with dementia.

A review in 2017 summarized positive findings for therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids in agitation of AD and dementia, but there was no definitive conclusion because of varying cannabinoid products. Cannabinoids were shown to be well tolerated, with few short-term side effects. This differs from first-line medications utilized for dementia behaviors, which can have unwanted side effects. Further research regarding the safety, efficacy, and variability of these products in older people is needed.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32600509/

https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ascp/tscp/2020/00000035/00000007/art00006;jsessionid=1ivcuvrvy4g1s.x-ic-live-03

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Cannabis Constituents Reduce Seizure Behavior in Chemically-Induced and scn1a-mutant Zebrafish

Epilepsy and Behavior Journal | Epilepsy Foundation“Current antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are undesirable for many reasons including the inability to reduce seizures in certain types of epilepsy, such as Dravet syndrome (DS) where in one-third of patients does not respond to current AEDs, and severe adverse effects that are frequently experienced by patients.

Epidiolex, a cannabidiol (CBD)-based drug, was recently approved for treatment of DS. While Epidiolex shows great promise in reducing seizures in patients with DS, it is used in conjunction with other AEDs and can cause liver toxicity. To investigate whether other cannabis-derived compounds could also reduce seizures, the antiepileptic effects of CBD, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidivarin (CBDV), cannabinol (CBN), and linalool (LN) were compared in both a chemically-induced (pentylenetetrazole, PTZ) and a DS (scn1Lab-/-) seizure models.

Cannabidiol (0.6 and 1 μM) and THC (1 and 4 μM) significantly reduced PTZ-induced total distance moved. At the highest THC concentration, the significant reduction in PTZ-induced behavior was likely the result of sedation as opposed to antiseizure activity.

In the DS model, CBD (0.6 μM), THC (1 μM), CBN (0.6 and 1 μM), and LN (4 μM) significantly reduced total distance traveled. Cannabinol was the most effective at reducing total distance relative to controls. In addition to CBD, other cannabis-derived compounds showed promise in reducing seizure-like activity in zebrafish.

Specifically, four of the five compounds were effective in the DS model, whereas in the PTZ model, only CBD and THC were, suggesting a divergence in the mode of action among the cannabis constituents.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32585475/

“In the DS model, CBD, THC, CBN, and LN caused significant reduction in seizure behavior, while THC and CBD were effective in both models.”

https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1525505020303310

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Antiemetic Effects of Cannabinoid Agonists in Nonhuman Primates

Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics“Attenuating emesis elicited by both disease and medical treatments of disease remains a critical public health challenge.

Although cannabinergic medications have been used in certain treatment-resistant populations, FDA-approved cannabinoid antiemetics are associated with undesirable side effects, including cognitive disruption, that limit their prescription. Previous studies have shown that a metabolically stable analog of the endocannabinoid anandamide, methanandamide (mAEA), may produce lesser cognitive disruption than that associated with the primary psychoactive constituent in cannabis, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), raising the possibility that endocannabinoids may offer a therapeutic advantage over currently used medications.

The present studies were conducted to evaluate this possibility by comparing the antiemetic effects of Δ9-THC (0.032-0.1 mg/kg) and mAEA (3.2-10.0 mg/kg), against nicotine- and lithium chloride (LiCl)-induced emesis and prodromal hypersalivation in squirrel monkeys.

These studies systematically demonstrate for the first time the antiemetic effects of cannabinoid agonists in nonhuman primates. Importantly, although Δ9-THC produced superior antiemetic effects, the milder cognitive effects of mAEA demonstrated in previous studies suggests that it may provide a favorable treatment option under clinical circumstances in which antiemetic efficacy must be balanced against side-effect liability.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Emesis has significant evolutionary value as a defense mechanism against ingested toxins; however, it is also one of the most common adverse symptoms associated with both disease and medical treatments of disease. The development of improved anti-emetic pharmacotherapies has been impeded by a paucity of animal models.

The present studies systematically demonstrate for the first time the antiemetic effects of the phytocannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and endocannabinoid-analog methanandamide in nonhuman primates.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32561684/

http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/early/2020/06/19/jpet.120.265710

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Cannabis Extract for the Treatment of Painful Tonic Spasms in a Patient With Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder: A Case Report

Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders | Journal | ScienceDirect.com“Painful tonic spasm (PTS) is a common yet debilitating symptom in patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), especially those with longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis. Although carbamazepine is an effective treatment, it poses the risk of severe adverse reactions, such as Steven-Johnson syndrome (SJS).

In this case report, we describe an NMOSD patient with severe PTS suffering from carbamazepine-induced SJS who responded well to cannabis extract. Since cannabinoids can ameliorate spasticity in an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis model through cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor activation, cannabis extract which includes delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a potential treatment option for PTS in NMOSD patients.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32559701/

“A cannabis extract has been approved for spasticity in multiple sclerosis (MS). Cannabis extract is a potential treatment for PTS in NMOSD patients.”

https://www.msard-journal.com/article/S2211-0348(20)30354-0/pdf

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