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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Emerging Evidence for Cannabis’ Role in Opioid Use Disorder.

 Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cover image “The opioid epidemic has become an immense problem in North America, and despite decades of research on the most effective means to treat opioid use disorder (OUD), overdose deaths are at an all-time high, and relapse remains pervasive.

Although there are a number of FDA-approved opioid replacement therapies and maintenance medications to help ease the severity of opioid withdrawal symptoms and aid in relapse prevention, these medications are not risk free nor are they successful for all patients. Furthermore, there are legal and logistical bottlenecks to obtaining traditional opioid replacement therapies such as methadone or buprenorphine, and the demand for these services far outweighs the supply and access.

To fill the gap between efficacious OUD treatments and the widespread prevalence of misuse, relapse, and overdose, the development of novel, alternative, or adjunct OUD treatment therapies is highly warranted. In this article, we review emerging evidence that suggests that cannabis may play a role in ameliorating the impact of OUD. Herein, we highlight knowledge gaps and discuss cannabis’ potential to prevent opioid misuse (as an analgesic alternative), alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms, and decrease the likelihood of relapse.

Conclusion: The compelling nature of these data and the relative safety profile of cannabis warrant further exploration of cannabis as an adjunct or alternative treatment for OUD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30221197

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2018.0022

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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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Endocannabinoids in the treatment of gasytrointestinal inflammation and symptoms.

 Current Opinion in Pharmacology

“The evolving policies regarding the use of therapeutic Cannabis have steadily increased the public interest in its use as a complementary and alternative medicine in several disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease.

Endocannabinoids represent both an appealing therapeutic strategy and a captivating scientific dilemma.

Results from clinical trials have to be carefully interpreted owing to possible reporting-biases related to cannabinoids psychotropic effects. Moreover, discriminating between symptomatic improvement and the real gain on the underlying inflammatory process is often challenging.

This review summarizes the advances and latest discovery in this ever-changing field of investigation, highlighting the main limitations in the current use of these drugs in clinical practice and the possible future perspectives to overcome these flaws.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30218940

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1471489218300183?via%3Dihub

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Identification of novel mouse and rat CB1R isoforms and in silico modeling of human CB1R for peripheral cannabinoid therapeutics.

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“Targeting peripheral CB1R is desirable for the treatment of metabolic syndromes without adverse neuropsychiatric effects.

We previously reported a human hCB1b isoform that is selectively enriched in pancreatic beta-cells and hepatocytes, providing a potential peripheral therapeutic hCB1R target. It is unknown whether there are peripherally enriched mouse and rat CB1R (mCB1 and rCB1, respectively) isoforms.

In this study, we found no evidence of peripherally enriched rodent CB1 isoforms; however, some mCB1R isoforms are absent in peripheral tissues. We show that the mouse Cnr1 gene contains six exons that are transcribed from a single promoter. We found that mCB1A is a spliced variant of extended exon 1 and protein-coding exon 6; mCB1B is a novel spliced variant containing unspliced exon 1, intron 1, and exon 2, which is then spliced to exon 6; and mCB1C is a spliced variant including all 6 exons.

Using RNAscope in situ hybridization, we show that the isoforms mCB1A and mCB1B are expressed at a cellular level and colocalized in GABAergic neurons in the hippocampus and cortex. RT-qPCR reveals that mCB1A and mCB1B are enriched in the brain, while mCB1B is not expressed in the pancreas or the liver. Rat rCB1R isoforms are differentially expressed in primary cultured neurons, astrocytes, and microglia.

We also investigated modulation of Cnr1 expression by insulin in vivo and carried out in silico modeling of CB1R with JD5037, a peripherally restricted CB1R inverse agonist, using the published crystal structure of hCB1R.

The results provide models for future CB1R peripheral targeting.”

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ANTINOCICEPTIVE TOLERANCE TO NSAIDS PARTIALLY MEDIATED VIA ENDOCANNABINOIDS IN ANTERIOR CINGULATE CORTEX OF RATS.

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“Pain is characterized as a complex experience, dependent not only on the regulation of nociceptive sensory systems but also on the activation of mechanisms that control emotional processes in limbic brain areas.

Non-opioid, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most widely used analgesics in the treatment of not-severe pain. We have recently shown that repeated doses result in tolerance to these drugs like opioids.

Here we investigated the central brain mechanisms of non-opioid induced antinociception in the non-acute pain models of rats, such as the ‘formalin test’ and a relation between administration of NSAIDs in the limbic brain area, – the anterior cingulated cortex (ACC), – and the endocannabinoid system.

The present data support the notion that endocannabinoids’ CB1 receptor contributes in part to antinociceptive effects of NSAIDs and probably involved in activation of the descending opioid modulatory system of pain.”

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Role of Endocannabinoid System in the Peripheral Antinociceptive Action of Aripiprazole.

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“Recently, we demonstrated that the antipsychotic dopaminergic and serotoninergic agonist aripiprazole induced peripheral antinociception. However, the mechanism underlying this effect has not been fully established.

Here, our aim was to identify possible relationships between this action of aripiprazole and the endocannabinoid system.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results provide evidence for the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in peripheral antinociception induced by aripiprazole treatment.”

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Computational systems pharmacology analysis of cannabidiol: a combination of chemogenomics-knowledgebase network analysis and integrated in silico modeling and simulation.

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“With treatment benefits in both the central nervous system and the peripheral system, the medical use of cannabidiol (CBD) has gained increasing popularity.

Given that the therapeutic mechanisms of CBD are still vague, the systematic identification of its potential targets, signaling pathways, and their associations with corresponding diseases is of great interest for researchers.

In the present work, chemogenomics-knowledgebase systems pharmacology analysis was applied for systematic network studies to generate CBD-target, target-pathway, and target-disease networks by combining both the results from the in silico analysis and the reported experimental validations.

Based on the network analysis, three human neuro-related rhodopsin-like GPCRs, i.e., 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 1 A (5HT1A), delta-type opioid receptor (OPRD) and G protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55), were selected for close evaluation. Integrated computational methodologies, including homology modeling, molecular docking, and molecular dynamics simulation, were used to evaluate the protein-CBD binding modes. A CBD-preferred pocket consisting of a hydrophobic cavity and backbone hinges was proposed and tested for CBD-class A GPCR binding.

Finally, the neurophysiological effects of CBD were illustrated at the molecular level, and dopamine receptor 3 (DRD3) was further predicted to be an active target for CBD.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30202014

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41401-018-0071-1

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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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