Radwan MM, Chandra S, Gul S, ElSohly MA.
Cannabis sativais one of the oldest medicinal plants in the world. It was introduced into western medicine during the early 19th century. It contains a complex mixture of secondary metabolites, including cannabinoids and non-cannabinoid-type constituents. More than 500 compounds have been reported fromC. sativa, of which 125 cannabinoids have been isolated and/or identified as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are C21terpeno-phenolic compounds specific toCannabis.The non-cannabinoid constituents include: non-cannabinoid phenols, flavonoids, terpenes, alkaloids and others. This review discusses the chemistry of the cannabinoids and major non-cannabinoid constituents (terpenes, non-cannabinoid phenolics, and alkaloids) with special emphasis on their chemical structures, methods of isolation, and identification.
Recently, many countries have enacted new cannabis policies, including decriminalization of cannabis possession as well as legalization of medical and recreational cannabis. In this context, patients and their physicians have had an increasing number of conversations about the risks and benefits of cannabis. While cannabis and cannabinoids continue to be evaluated as pharmacotherapy for medical conditions, the best evidence currently exists for the following medical conditions: chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity resulting from multiple sclerosis. We also reviewed the current state of evidence for cannabis and cannabinoids for several other medical conditions, while addressing the potential acute and chronic effects of cannabis use, which are issues that physicians must consider before making an official recommendation on the use of medical cannabis to a patient. As the number of patient requests for medical cannabis has been increasing, physicians must become knowledgeable on the science of medical cannabis and open to a discussion about why the patient feels that medical cannabis may be helpful.
Clinical studies indicate that cannabidiol (CBD), the primary nonaddictive component of cannabis that interacts with the serotonin (5-HT)1A receptor, may possess analgesic and anxiolytic effects. However, its effects on 5-HT neuronal activity, as well as its impact on models of neuropathic pain are unknown. First, using in vivo single-unit extracellular recordings in rats, we demonstrated that acute intravenous (i.v.) increasing doses of CBD (0.1-1.0 mg/kg) decreased the firing rate of 5-HT neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus, which was prevented by administration of the 5-HT1A antagonist WAY 100635 (0.3 mg/kg, i.v.) and the TRPV1 antagonist capsazepine (1 mg/kg, i.v.) but not by the CB1 receptor antagonist AM 251 (1 mg/kg, i.v.). Repeated treatment with CBD (5 mg/kg/day, subcutaneously [s.c.], for 7 days) increased 5-HT firing through desensitization of 5-HT1A receptors. Rats subjected to the spared nerve injury model for 24 days showed decreased 5-HT firing activity, mechanical allodynia, and increased anxiety-like behavior in the elevated plus maze test, open-field test, and novelty-suppressed feeding test. Seven days of treatment with CBD reduced mechanical allodynia, decreased anxiety-like behavior, and normalized 5-HT activity. Antiallodynic effects of CBD were fully prevented by capsazepine (10 mg/kg/day, s.c., for 7 days) and partially prevented by WAY 100635 (2 mg/kg/day, s.c., for 7 days), whereas the anxiolytic effect was blocked only by WAY. Overall, repeated treatment with low-dose CBD induces analgesia predominantly through TRPV1 activation, reduces anxiety through 5-HT1A receptor activation, and rescues impaired 5-HT neurotransmission under neuropathic pain conditions.
A selective review of medical cannabis in cancer pain managemen
Insufficient management of cancer-associated chronic and neuropathic pain adversely affects patient quality of life. Patients who do not respond well to opioid analgesics, or have severe side effects from the use of traditional analgesics are in need of alternative therapeutic op-tions. Anecdotal evidence suggests that medical cannabis has potential to effectively manage pain in this patient population. This review presents a selection of representative clinical studies, from small pilot studies conducted in 1975, to double-blind placebo-controlled trials conducted in 2014 that evaluated the efficacy of cannabinoid-based therapies containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) for reducing cancer-associated pain. A review of literature published on Medline between 1975 and 2017 identified five clinical studies that evaluated the effect of THC or CBD on controlling cancer pain, which have been reviewed and summarised. Five studies that evaluated THC oil capsules, THC:CBD oromucosal spray (nabiximols), or THC oromucosal sprays found some evidence of cancer pain reduction associated with these therapies. A variety of doses ranging from 2.7-43.2 mg/day THC and 0-40 mg/day CBD were administered. Higher doses of THC were correlated with increased pain relief in some studies. One study found that significant pain relief was achieved in doses as low as 2.7-10.8 mg THC in combination with 2.5-10.0 mg CBD, but there was conflicting evidence on whether higher doses provide superior pain relief. Some reported side effects include drowsiness, hypotension, mental clouding, and nausea and vomiting. There is evidence suggesting that medical cannabis reduces chronic or neu-ropathic pain in advanced cancer patients. However, the results of many studies lacked statistical power, in some cases due to limited number of study subjects. Therefore, there is a need for the conduct of further double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials with large sample sizes in order to establish the optimal dosage and efficacy of different cannabis-based therapies.
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