Care After Chemotherapy: Peripheral Neuropathy, Cannabis for Symptom Control, and Mindfulness.

ASCO Educational Book

“As cancer therapies improve, patients are living longer. With these improvements in therapy comes a responsibility to optimize patients’ quality of life during cancer therapy and beyond. This report reviews three timely and important topics.

The first section reviews the mechanism underlying chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy and evaluates the evidence for interventions to prevent and treat peripheral neuropathy. It also provides a framework for approaching the diagnosis and management of this common and bothersome side effect.

The second section addresses the controversial but effective use of cannabinoids for cancer and chemotherapy symptoms. Although clinical trials are difficult to conduct because of the political and social stigma of this class of drugs, this review provides evidence of the efficacy of cannabinoids for treatment of pain and nausea.

The last section addresses the mind-body connection, with a focus on the negative emotions patients with cancer often experience. This section assesses the literature regarding mindfulness-based programs to improve cancer-related stress. These three topics may appear unrelated, but all address one common goal: treating the body and the mind to optimize quality of life during and after cancer therapy.”

“Although commercially available dronabinol is not superior to other antiemetics and oromucosal nabiximols is not very effective for treating cancer pain, cannabis has been shown to be effective for treating pain and may help patients reduce opioid intake.”
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Cannabinoids and spinal cord stimulation for the treatment of failed back surgery syndrome refractory pain

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“This study aimed to evaluate pain and its symptoms in patients with failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) refractory to other therapies, treated with a combination of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), in association with spinal cord stimulation (SCS).

Results: Effective pain management as compared to baseline result was achieved in all the cases studied. The positive effect of cannabinoid agonists on refractory pain was maintained during the entire duration of treatment with minimal dosage titration. Pain perception, evaluated through numeric rating scale, decreased from a baseline mean value of 8.18±1.07–4.72±0.9 by the end of the study duration (12 months) (P<0.001).

Conclusion: The results indicate that cannabinoid agonists (THC/CBD) can have remarkable analgesic capabilities, as adjuvant of SCS, for the treatment of chronic refractory pain of FBSS patients.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30233233

https://www.dovepress.com/cannabinoids-and-spinal-cord-stimulation-for-the-treatment-of-failed-b-peer-reviewed-article-JPR

“Outcomes indicate remarkable analgesic capabilities of cannabinoid agonists (THC/CBD) as an adjuvant to SCS for treating chronic refractory pain in FBSS patients, since all the cases studied achieved effective pain management compared to baseline.”

https://www.mdlinx.com/journal-summaries/cannabinoids-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-thc-cannabidiol/2018/09/13/7544234/

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Effect of cannabidiolic acid and ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol on carrageenan-induced hyperalgesia and edema in a rodent model of inflammatory pain.

“Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating component of cannabis, or the psychoactive Δ9-tetrahydrocannabiol (THC), shows anti-hyperalgesia and anti-inflammatory properties.

OBJECTIVES:

The present study evaluates the anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperalgesia effects of CBD’s potent acidic precursor, cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), in a rodent model of carrageenan-induced acute inflammation in the rat hind paw, when administered systemically (intraperitoneal, i.p.) or orally before and/or after carrageenan. In addition, we assess the effects of oral administration of THC or CBDA, their mechanism of action, and the efficacy of combined ineffective doses of THC and CBDA in this model. Finally, we compare the efficacy of CBD and CBDA.

RESULTS:

CBDA given i.p. 60 min prior to carrageenan (but not 60 min after carrageenan) produced dose-dependent anti-hyperalgesia and anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, THC or CBDA given by oral gavage 60 min prior to carrageenan produced anti-hyperalgesia effects, and THC reduced inflammation. The anti-hyperalgesia effects of THC were blocked by SR141716 (a cannabinoid 1 receptor antagonist), while CBDA’s effects were blocked by AMG9810 (a transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 antagonist). In comparison to CBDA, an equivalent low dose of CBD did not reduce hyperalgesia, suggesting that CBDA is more potent than CBD for this indication. Interestingly, when ineffective doses of CBDA or THC alone were combined, this combination produced an anti-hyperalgesia effect and reduced inflammation.

CONCLUSION:

CBDA or THC alone, as well as very low doses of combined CBDA and THC, has anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperalgesia effects in this animal model of acute inflammation.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30225659

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00213-018-5034-1

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Benefits and Risks of Therapeutic Cannabinoids for Neurologic Disorders

Clinical Therapeutics Home

“The Cannabis genus originated in Central Asia and is probably one of the most ancient nonfood crops to be cultivated by humans. Its medicinal properties have been recognized for centuries. Isolation of the psychoactive compound, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, followed by the identification of cannabidiol, led to increased focus on the therapeutic potential of the plant. One of the prominent species, Cannabis sativa, may produce more than 100 different cannabinoids.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30224192

https://www.clinicaltherapeutics.com/article/S0149-2918(18)30331-X/fulltext

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Exploring the Ligand Efficacy of Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CB1) using Molecular Dynamics Simulations.

Scientific Reports

“Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) is a promising therapeutic target for a variety of disorders. Distinct efficacy profiles showed different therapeutic effects on CB1 dependent on three classes of ligands: agonists, antagonists, and inverse agonists. To discriminate the distinct efficacy profiles of the ligands, we carried out molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to identify the dynamic behaviors of inactive and active conformations of CB1 structures with the ligands. In addition, the molecular mechanics Poisson-Boltzmann surface area (MM-PBSA) method was applied to analyze the binding free energy decompositions of the CB1-ligand complexes. With these two methods, we found the possibility that the three classes of ligands can be discriminated. Our findings shed light on the understanding of different efficacy profiles of ligands by analyzing the structural behaviors of intact CB1 structures and the binding energies of ligands, thereby yielding insights that are useful for the design of new potent CB1 drugs.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30213978

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-31749-z

“Chemical structure of the partial agonist THC, antagonist THCV, and inverse agonist Taranabant.”

Figure 1

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Oral cannabinoid-rich THC/CBD cannabis extract for secondary prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: a study protocol for a pilot and definitive randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial (CannabisCINV).

BMJ Journals

“Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) remains an important issue for patients receiving chemotherapy despite guideline-consistent antiemetic therapy. Trials using delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-rich (THC) products demonstrate limited antiemetic effect, significant adverse events and flawed study design. Trials using cannabidiol-rich (CBD) products demonstrate improved efficacy and psychological adverse event profile. No definitive trials have been conducted to support the use of cannabinoids for this indication, nor has the potential economic impact of incorporating such regimens into the Australian healthcare system been established. CannabisCINV aims to assess the efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness of adding TN-TC11M, an oral THC/CBD extract to guideline-consistent antiemetics in the secondary prevention of CINV.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS:

The current multicentre, 1:1 randomised cross-over, placebo-controlled pilot study will recruit 80 adult patients with any malignancy, experiencing CINV during moderate to highly emetogenic chemotherapy despite guideline-consistent antiemetics. Patients receive oral TN-TC11M (THC 2.5mg/CBD 2.5 mg) capsules or placebo capsules three times a day on day -1 to day 5 of cycle A of chemotherapy, followed by the alternative drug regimen during cycle B of chemotherapy and the preferred drug regimen during cycle C. The primary endpoint is the proportion of subjects attaining a complete response to CINV. Secondary and tertiary endpoints include regimen tolerability, impact on quality of life and health system resource use. The primary assessment tool is patient diaries, which are filled from day -1 to day 5. A subsequent randomised placebo-controlled parallel phase III trial will recruit a further 250 patients.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:

The protocol was approved by ethics review committees for all participating sites. Results will be disseminated in peer-reviewed journals and at scientific conferences.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30209152

https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/9/e020745

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Cannabis sativa: A comprehensive ethnopharmacological review of a medicinal plant with a long history.

Journal of Ethnopharmacology

“Cannabis sativa L. (C. sativa) is an annual dioecious plant, which shares its origins with the inception of the first agricultural human societies in Asia. Over the course of time different parts of the plant have been utilized for therapeutic and recreational purposes, for instance, extraction of healing oils from seed, or the use of inflorescences for their psychoactive effects. The key psychoactive constituent in C. sativa is called Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (D9-THC). The endocannabinoid system seems to be phylogenetically ancient, as it was present in the most primitive vertebrates with a neuronal network. N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) are the main endocannabinoids ligands present in the animal kingdom, and the main endocannabinoid receptors are cannabinoid type-1 (CB1) receptor and cannabinoid type-2 (CB2) receptor.

AIM OF THE STUDY:

The review aims to provide a critical and comprehensive evaluation, from the ancient times to our days, of the ethnological, botanical, chemical and pharmacological aspects of C. sativa, with a vision for promoting further pharmaceutical research to explore its complete potential as a therapeutic agent.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS:

A detailed comparative analysis of the available resources for C. sativa confirmed its origin and traditional spiritual, household and therapeutic uses and most importantly its popularity as a recreational drug. The result of several studies suggested a deeper involvement of phytocannabinoids (the key compounds in C. sativa) in several others central and peripheral pathophysiological mechanisms such as food intake, inflammation, pain, colitis, sleep disorders, neurological and psychiatric illness. However, despite their numerous medicinal benefits, they are still considered as a menace to the society and banned throughout the world, except for few countries. We believe that this review will help lay the foundation for promoting exhaustive pharmacological and pharmaceutical studies in order to better understand the clinical relevance and applications of non-psychoactive cannabinoids in the prevention and treatment of life-threatening diseases and help to improve the legal status of C. sativa.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30205181

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874118316611?via%3Dihub

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Cannabis for the Treatment of Epilepsy: an Update.

“For millennia, there has been interest in the use of cannabis for the treatment of epilepsy.

However, it is only recently that appropriately powered controlled studies have been completed. In this review, we present an update on the research investigating the use of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, in the treatment of epilepsy.

While the anticonvulsant mechanism of action of CBD has not been entirely elucidated, we discuss the most recent data available including its low affinity for the endocannabinoid receptors and possible indirect modulation of these receptors via blocking the breakdown of anandamide.

Additional targets include activation of the transient receptor potential of vanilloid type-1 (TRPV1), antagonist action at GPR55, targeting of abnormal sodium channels, blocking of T-type calcium channels, modulation of adenosine receptors, modulation of voltage-dependent anion selective channel protein (VDAC1), and modulation of tumor necrosis factor alpha release.

We also discuss the most recent studies on various artisanal CBD products conducted in patients with epilepsy in the USA and internationally. While a high percentage of patients in these studies reported improvement in seizures, these studies were either retrospective or conducted via survey. Dosage/preparation of CBD was either unknown or not controlled in the majority of these studies.

Finally, we present data from both open-label expanded access programs (EAPs) and randomized placebo-controlled trials (RCTs) of a highly purified oral preparation of CBD, which was recently approved by the FDA in the treatment of epilepsy.

In the EAPs, there was a significant improvement in seizure frequency seen in a large number of patients with various types of treatment-refractory epilepsy. The RCTs have shown significant seizure reduction compared to placebo in patients with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Finally, we describe the available data on adverse effects and drug-drug interactions with highly purified CBD.

While this product is overall well tolerated, the most common side effects are diarrhea and sedation, with sedation being much more common in patients taking concomitant clobazam. There was also an increased incidence of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase elevations while taking CBD, with many of the patients with these abnormalities also taking concomitant valproate. CBD has a clear interaction with clobazam, significantly increasing the levels of its active metabolite N-desmethylclobazam in several studies; this is felt to be due to CBD’s inhibition of CYP2C19. EAP data demonstrate other possible interactions with rufinamide, zonisamide, topiramate, and eslicarbazepine. Additionally, there is one case report demonstrating need for warfarin dose adjustment with concomitant CBD.

Understanding of CBD’s efficacy and safety in the treatment of TRE has expanded significantly in the last few years. Future controlled studies of various ratios of CBD and THC are needed as there could be further therapeutic potential of these compounds for patients with epilepsy.”

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Targeting Glioma Initiating Cells With A Combined Therapy Of Cannabinoids And Temozolomide.

Biochemical Pharmacology

“Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most frequent and aggressive type of brain tumor due, at least in part, to its poor response to current anticancer treatments. These features could be explained, at least partially, by the presence within the tumor mass of a small population of cells termed Glioma Initiating Cells (GICs) that has been proposed to be responsible for the relapses occurring in this disease. Thus, the development of novel therapeutic approaches (and specifically those targeting the population of GICs) is urgently needed to improve the survival of the patients suffering this devastating disease.

Previous observations by our group and others have shown that Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the main active ingredient of marijuana) and other cannabinoids including cannabidiol (CBD) exert antitumoral actions in several animal models of cancer, including gliomas.

We also found that the administration of THC (or of THC + CBD at a 1:1 ratio) in combination with temozolomide, the benchmark agent for the treatment of GBM, synergistically reduces the growth of glioma xenografts.

In this work we investigated the effect of the combination of TMZ and THC:CBD mixtures containing different ratios of the two cannabinoids in preclinical glioma models, including those derived from GICs.

Our findings show that TMZ + THC:CBD combinations containing a higher proportion of CDB (but not TMZ + CBD alone) produce a similar antitumoral effect as the administration of TMZ together with THC and CBD at a 1:1 ratio in xenografts generated with glioma cell lines. In addition, we also found that the administration of TMZ + THC:CBD at a 1:1 ratio reduced the growth of orthotopic xenografts generated with GICs derived from GBM patients and enhanced the survival of the animals bearing these intracranial xenografts.

Remarkably, the antitumoral effect observed in GICs-derived xenografts was stronger when TMZ was administered together with cannabinoid combinations containing a higher proportion of CBD. These findings support the notion that the administration of TMZ together with THC:CBD combinations – and specifically those containing a higher proportion of CBD – may be therapeutically explored to target the population of GICs in GBM.”

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Cannabis analgesia in chronic neuropathic pain is associated with altered brain connectivity.

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“To characterize the functional brain changes involved in δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) modulation of chronic neuropathic pain.

RESULTS:

THC significantly reduced patients’ pain compared to placebo. THC-induced analgesia was correlated with a reduction in functional connectivity between the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the sensorimotor cortex. Moreover, the degree of reduction was predictive of the response to THC. Graph theory analyses of local measures demonstrated reduction in network connectivity in areas involved in pain processing, and specifically in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), which were correlated with individual pain reduction.

CONCLUSION:

These results suggest that the ACC and DLPFC, 2 major cognitive-emotional modulation areas, and their connections to somatosensory areas, are functionally involved in the analgesic effect of THC in chronic pain. This effect may therefore be mediated through induction of functional disconnection between regulatory high-order affective regions and the sensorimotor cortex. Moreover, baseline functional connectivity between these brain areas may serve as a predictor for the extent of pain relief induced by THC.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30185448

http://n.neurology.org/content/early/2018/09/05/WNL.0000000000006293

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