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Key Research Findings
Medical cannabis use is associated with decreased opiate medication use in a retrospective cross-sectional survey of patients with chronic pain. (2016)
- “Cannabis use associated with 64% lower opioid use in chronic pain patients.”
- “Cannabis use associated with increased quality of life in chronic pain patients.”
- “Cannabis use associated with fewer medication side effects and medications used.”
- “Cannabis can be an effective treatment for pain, greatly reduces the chance of dependence, and eliminates the risk of fatal overdose compared to opioid-based medications.”
- “CBD has several therapeutic properties on its own that could indirectly be useful in the treatment of addiction disorders, such as its protective effect on stress vulnerability and neurotoxicity.”
- “These results show that CBD lacks activity as a drug of abuse and should stimulate the development of the basic and clinical studies needed to elucidate its potential therapeutic use for the treatment of neuropsychiatric and drug use disorders.”
Medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose mortality in the United States, 1999-2010. (2014)
- “Medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates.”
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Key Research Findings
- The frequency of migraine headache was decreased with medical marijuana use.
- “Overall, 85.1% had decreased migraine frequency, with 39.7% reporting positive effects: prevention of or reduced headache frequency (19.8%) or aborted headache (11.6%)
Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency reconsidered: current research supports the theory in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, and other treatment-resistant syndromes.(2016)
- What if endocannabinoid levels are too low? It has been theorized that numerous mysterious disorders fit the description of “clinical endocannabinoid deficiency” (CED). Noteworthy among these are migraine, fibromyalgia and idiopathic bowel syndrome (IBS or “spastic colon”).
- The three conditions tend to affect the same individuals at various times of their lives, and are therefore termed “co-morbid.”
- All three are characterized by “central sensitization,” the concept that normal sensations in the brain are magnified to the point of becoming painful when they would not be to a person free from the affliction. The three disorders also benefit from treatment with cannabinoids according to patient testimonials.
- “…cannabinoids reduced pain intensity among migraine patients by 43.5%. The same results were seen in cluster headache patients…”
- “The study confirms that a dysfunction of the endocannabinoid system may contribute to the development of migraine attacks and that a pharmacological modulation of CB receptors can be useful for the treatment of migraine pain.”
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Key Research Findings
Cannabinoids for treatment of chronic non-cancer pain; a systematic review of randomized trials. (2011)
- “Chronic non-cancer pain conditions included neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and mixed chronic pain.”
- “Overall the quality of trials was excellent. Fifteen of the eighteen trials that met the inclusion criteria demonstrated a significant analgesic effect of cannabinoid as compared with placebo and several reported significant improvements in sleep.”
- “There were no serious adverse effects. Adverse effects most commonly reported were generally well tolerated, mild to moderate in severity and led to withdrawal from the studies in only a few cases.”
- “Overall there is evidence that cannabinoids are safe and modestly effective in neuropathic pain with preliminary evidence of efficacy in fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.”
Cannabis Use in Patients with Fibromyalgia: Effect on Symptoms Relief and Health-Related Quality of Life (2011)
- “This observational study provides information on the patterns of cannabis use for therapeutic purposes among a group of patients with FM. Most of them were middle-aged women that did not respond to current treatment and self-administered marijuana, devoid of medical advice.”
- 28 people with fibromyalgia who were herbal cannabis users and 28 non-users, without differences in demographics and clinical variables, were compared. After two hours of cannabis use, there was a statistically significant reduction of pain and stiffness, enhancement of relaxation and an increase in somnolence and feeling of well-being (all P values < 0.001).
Delta-9-THC based monotherapy in fibromyalgia patients on experimentally induced pain, axon reflex flare, and pain relief. (2006)
- Daily recorded pain of the people with fibromyalgia was significantly reduced over a three-month period.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 9-THC) Treatment in Chronic Central Neuropathic Pain and Fibromyalgia Patients: Results of a Multicenter Survey. (2009)
- One case series of 172 participants reported from Germany included 32 people with fibromyalgia. On average, participants received delta 9-THC 7.5 mg over seven months.
- “In our patient sample, THC treatment led to a significant reduction in pain intensity. Noteworthy, this effect could be observed when a mean daily dose of 7.5 mg THC was administered. This dosage shows high acceptance and efficacy.”
Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency reconsidered: current research supports the theory in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, and other treatment-resistant syndromes. (2016)
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Key Research Findings
Cannabis, pain, and sleep: lessons from therapeutic clinical trials of Sativex®, a cannabis‐based medicine. (2007)
- “Experience to date with Sativex in numerous Phase I – III studies in 2000 subjects with 1000 patient years of exposure demonstrate marked improvement in subjective sleep parameters in patients with a wide variety of pain conditions including multiple sclerosis, peripheral neuropathic pain, intractable cancer pain, and rheumatoid arthritis, with an acceptable adverse event profile.”
- “No tolerance to the benefit of Sativex on pain or sleep, nor need for dosage increases have been noted in safety extension studies of up to four years, wherein 40– 50% of subjects attained good or very good sleep quality, a key source of disability in chronic pain syndromes that may contribute to patients quality of life.”
- “Initial work examining specific cannabinoids suggests a potential therapeutic effect of high-dose CBD and low-dose THC for sleep.“
- “ECS is a critical system involved in the regulation of the circadian rhythm sleep–wake cycle, highlighting the importance of examining the impact of cannabinoids on sleep. The role of the ECS on circadian rhythms has been further supported by work demonstrating that a lack of normal sleep causes dysregulation within the ECS, while elevation in the ECS at the receptor level is involved in the homeostatic recovery of sleep after non-normal sleep.”
- “CBD may hold promise for REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness…”
- Low-dose CBD has a stimulating effect, while high-dose CBD has a sedating effect.
- In individuals with insomnia, results suggested that administration of 160 mg/day of CBD increased total sleep time and decreased the frequency of arousals during the night, while low-dose CBD has been associated with increased wakefulness
Effect of cannabidiol on sleep disruption induced by the repeated combination tests consisting of open field and elevated plus-maze in rats. (2012)
- “CBD efficiently blocked anxiety-induced REM sleep suppression, but had little effect on the alteration of NREM sleep. Conclusively, CBD may block anxiety-induced REM sleep alteration via its anxiolytic effect, rather than via sleep regulation per se.”
- “Among those who had reported trouble sleeping, 79% reported increased sleep quality after using cannabis.”
- “Both those with sleep difficulties and those without reported a significant decrease in time to sleep after the use of cannabis. This suggests cannabis may be an effective treatment for insomnia.”
Effectiveness of cannabidiol oil for pediatric anxiety and insomnia as part of posttraumatic stress disorder: a case report. (2016)
- “This case study provides clinical data that support the use of cannabidiol [CBD] oil as a safe treatment for reducing anxiety and improving sleep in a young girl with posttraumatic stress disorder.”
The use of a synthetic cannabinoid in the management of treatment-resistant nightmares in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (2009)
- The authors of this study found that treatment with nabilone produced a reduction in nightmare presence and intensity and increased participants’ hours of sleep per night.
Preliminary, Open-Label, Pilot Study of Add-On Oral D9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol in Chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (2014)
- “The results show good tolerance and safety, reduction of PTSD hyperarousal symptoms, improved sleep quality and reduced frequency of nightmares.”
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Anecdotal, preclinical, and clinical evidence attest to the broad protective role of our endocannabinoid system in preventing and suppressing chronic illnesses like cancer. Large randomized controlled trials and peer-reviewed studies across the world have shown that cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc) are effective for relieving some common symptoms of cancer, including pain, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, & sleep.
Pre-clinical animal trials have produced promising data, revealing the ability of cannabinoids to selectively kill tumor cells, leaving healthy cells unharmed in a variety of cancer types. However, any anti-tumor effects appear to be largely dependent on cancer cell type and the potency and ratio of the different cannabinoids, primarily THC and CBD. It has become clear that cannabinoids can effectively alter the development of a cancer cells life cycle, from its formation, proliferation to its death. This is why it is CRUCIAL to remove the clinical research barriers surrounding cannabis in the U.S. so that more studies may begin to apply these pre-clinical findings to our own physiology and start to create standards for dosing recommendations for specific types of cancer.
According to a report in Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, cannabinoids “represent a new class of anticancer drugs that retard cancer growth, inhibit angiogenesis [the formation of new blood cells that feed a tumor] and the metastatic spreading of cancer cells.”
Key Research Findings
Learn more from the mounting evidence below:
The health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: The current state of evidence and recommendations for research. (2017)
- This report rigorously reviewed over 10,000 scientific studies and concluded that: “In adults with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, oral cannabinoids are effective antiemetics.”
- “Cannabis is useful in combatting anorexia, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, pain, insomnia, and depression. Cannabis might be less potent than other available antiemetics, but for some patients, it is the only agent that works, and it is the only antiemetic that also increases appetite.”
- “Patients with malignant disease, at all points of their disease trajectory, could be candidates for cannabinoid therapies whether as monotherapies or as adjuvants.”
- “A large body of evidence suggests that cannabinoids affect multiple signalling pathways involved in the development of cancer, displaying an anti‐proliferative, proapoptotic, anti‐angiogenic and anti‐metastatic activity on a wide range of cell lines and animal models of cancer.”
- This review includes a summary of currently ongoing clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids as anticancer agents.
Antitumor activity of plant cannabinoids with emphasis on the effect of cannabidiol on human breast carcinoma. (2006)
- “Delta-9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) exhibits antitumor effects on various cancer cell types, but its use in chemotherapy is limited by its psychotropic activity.”
- “We found that, surprisingly, cannabidiol [CBD] acted as a more potent inhibitor of cancer cell growth than THC and that cannabigerol [CBG] and cannabichromene [CBC] usually followed cannabidiol in the rank of potency.”
- “In conclusion, our data indicate that cannabidiol and possibly Cannabis extracts enriched in this natural cannabinoid, represent a promising nonpsychoactive antineoplastic strategy. In particular, for a highly malignant human breast carcinoma cell line, we have shown here that cannabidiol [CBD] and a cannabidiol-rich extract counteract cell growth both in vivo and in vitro as well as tumor metastasis in vivo.”
- “Cannabinoids impair tumour progression at various levels. Their most prevalent effect is the induction of cancer cell death by apoptosis and the inhibition of cancer cell proliferation. At least one of those actions has been demonstrated in almost all cancer cell types tested.”
- “The use of combinational anticancer therapies has a number of theoretical advantages over single-agent strategies, because they allow for the simultaneous targeting of tumour growth, progression, and spread at various levels. In line with that idea, recent observations suggest that the combined administration of cannabinoids with other anticancer drugs acts synergistically to reduce tumour growth.”
- “To summarize, cannabinoids induce tumour cell death and inhibit tumour angiogenesis and invasion in animal models of cancer, and there are indications that they act similarly in patients with glioblastoma…and show an acceptable safety profile.”
- “In conclusion, our results indicate that CBD exerts a potent anti-angiogenic effect by widely affecting several pathways involved in this process. Its dual effect on both tumour and endothelial cells further suggests that CBD could represent a potential effective agent in cancer therapy”
- Collectively, the non-psychoactive plant-derived cannabinoid CBD exhibits pro-apoptotic and anti-proliferative actions in different types of tumours and may also exert anti-migratory, anti-invasive, anti-metastatic and perhaps anti-angiogenic properties. On the basis of these results evidence is emerging to suggest that CBD is a potent inhibitor of both cancer growth and spread.
- “CBD behaves as a non toxic compound; indeed oral administration of CBD 700 mg day-1 for 6 weeks did not show any overt toxicity in humans suggesting its possible exploitation for prolonged treatment.”
- “Additionally, experimental data showed that combined treatment with CBD and Delta-9 THC could be more effective in reducing cancer cell proliferation, suggesting that the co-administration may represent a better choice for cancer therapy.”
Multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of THC: CBD extract and THC extract in patients with intractable cancer-related pain. (2010)
- “THC:CBD combination showed a more promising efficacy profile than the THC extract alone. CBD may enhance the analgesic potential of THC… which may produce anti-inflammatory effects, along with its ability to inhibit immune cell migration. Additionally, CBD may modulate the potential unwanted effects of THC…which potentially would provide a better safety profile for the THC:CBD medication in chronic use.”
- “The THC:CBD and the THC medications were well tolerated…The clinical response to pain with THC:CBD extract oromucosal spray has not demonstrated tolerance in several clinical trials of longer duration.”
- “We can conclude that the observed reduction in pain scores is attributable to the positive analgesic effects of THC:CBD extract. This study shows that THC:CBD extract is efficacious for relief of pain in patients with advanced cancer pain not fully relieved by strong opioids.”
Inhibition of colon carcinogenesis by a standardized Cannabis sativa extract with high content of cannabidiol.
Cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound, inhibits proliferation and invasion in U87-MG and T98G glioma cells through a multitarget effect.
The combination of cannabidiol and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol enhances the anticancer effects of radiation in an orthotopic murine glioma model.Cannabinoids synergize with carfilzomib, reducing multiple myeloma cells viability and migration.
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Key Research Findings
Beneficial effect of the non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel disease. (2013)
- “CBG was effective when given both before and after the inflammatory insult, suggesting a preventive and a curative (therapeutic) beneficial effect. Significant protective effects were achieved starting from the 1 mg/kg dose (preventive protocol) and 5 mg/kg (curative protocol).”
- “Also, CBG exerts antioxidant effects in the inflamed gut as well as in intestinal epithelial cells exposed to oxidative stress. On the whole, these results could provide a pharmacological basis to explain, at least in part, the beneficial effects of Cannabis preparations observed in IBD patients using Cannabis.”
- “In conclusion, this study shows that the endogenous cannabinoid system is physiologically involved in the protection against excessive inflammation in the colon, both by dampening smooth muscular irritation caused by inflammation and by controlling cellular pathways leading to inflammatory responses.”
- “These results strongly suggest that modulation of the physiological activity of the endogenous cannabinoid system during colonic inflammation might be a promising therapeutic tool for the treatment of several diseases characterized by inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.”
Cannabinoid actions at TRPV channels: effects on TRPV3 and TRPV4 and their potential relevance to gastrointestinal inflammation. (2012)
- “Cannabinoids can affect both the activity and the expression of TRPV1-4 channels, with various potential therapeutic applications, including in the gastrointestinal tract.”
“…together with related studies published in other journals over the last 2 years, confirm that the ECS [endocannabinoid system] and related emerging signaling systems may play a fundamental role in the control of all aspects of GI physiology and pathology.”
The effects of Δ9‐tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol alone and in combination on damage, inflammation and in vitro motility disturbances in rat colitis. (2010)
- “It is well known that cannabis possesses immunosuppressive properties and that the main component responsible for this profile of action is THC…. In support of this, THC was effective in attenuating autoimmune responses in an experimental model of diabetes (multiple low-dose streptozotocin injections) and in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.”
- “Importantly, CBD has been also demonstrated to possess potent anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties which, together with a lack of psychotropic activity and low toxicity, make it a very promising therapeutic candidate for a variety of inflammatory and pain associated disorders, including IBD. CBD is a very potent antioxidant, which results in reduction of the level of reactive oxygen species in the course of inflammation and protection from tissue damage.”
- “Our results demonstrated that treatment with THC and CBD reduced inflammation and motility disturbances associated with colitis. The effects of THC alone and in combination with CBD were similar to and, in some aspects, better than those of sulphasalazine, suggesting potential value of phytocannabinoids for the treatment of IBD.”
Cannabidiol, a safe and non-psychotropic ingredient of the marijuana plant Cannabis sativa, is protective in a murine model of colitis. (2009)
- “In conclusion, our results show that the degree of intestinal inflammation caused by intracolonic administration of DNBS is substantially reduced by treatment of mice with the Cannabis-derived ingredient CBD.”
- “…these results suggest, for the first time, that CBD, by modulating the glial-immune axis, regulates the fire up of the inflammatory reaction in the intestine thereby preventing the detrimental intestinal damage.”
- “…in this study we demonstrate that during intestinal inflammation, CBD is able to control the inflammatory scenario and the subsequent intestinal apoptosis through the restoration of the altered glia-immune homeostasis. CBD is therefore regarded as a promising therapeutic agent that modulates the neuroimmune axis, which can be recognised as a new target in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disorders.”
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Key Research Findings
Neuroprotective effect of (−) Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol in N-methyl-D-aspartate-induced retinal neurotoxicity: involvement of peroxynitrite. (2003)
- “THC and CBD, are similarly potent antioxidants that protect neuron cultures from glutamate-induced cell death or oxidative stress.”
- “Our results indicate that lipid peroxidation and ONOO− formation play an important role in NMDA-induced retinal neurotoxicity and cell loss in the retina, and that THC and CBD, by reducing the formation of these compounds, are effective neuroprotectants. The present studies could form the basis for the development of new topical therapies for the treatment of glaucoma.
Potential roles of (endo)cannabinoids in the treatment of glaucoma: from intraocular pressure control to neuroprotection. (2008)
- “Experimental findings indicate that the endocannabinoid system contributes to the control of intraocular pressure (IOP), by modulating both production and drainage of aqueous humor.”
- ‘Molecules capable of interfering with the ocular endocannabinoid system could offer valid alternatives to the treatment of this disease, based not only on the reduction of IOP but also on neuroprotection.”
A comparison of the ocular and central effects of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabigerol. (1990)
- “…both cannabinoids produced a two-to three-fold increase in aqueous outflow facility. These results suggest that cannabigerol and related cannabinoids may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of glaucoma.”