The therapeutic use of cannabis has generated a lot of interest in the past years, leading to a better understanding of its mechanisms of action. Countries like the United States and Canada have modified their laws in order to make cannabinoid use legal in the medical context. It’s also the case in France now, where a recent decree was issued, authorizing the prescription of medication containing “therapeutic cannabis” (decree no. 2013-473, June 5, 2013). These agents are most promising to relieve chronic pain associated with cancer, with human immunodeficiency virus infection and with multiple sclerosis.
Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) revisited: can this concept explain the therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions?
A review of the literature indicates that significant progress has been made since Dr. Ethan B. Russo’s landmark paper, just ten years ago (February 2, 2004). Investigation at that time suggested that cannabinoids can block spinal, peripheral and gastrointestional mechanisms that promote pain in headache, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and muscle spasm. Further research and especially, clinical trials will further demonstrate the usefulness of medical cannabis. As legal barriers fall and scientific bias fades this will become more apparent.
Legalization of cannabis’ medicinal use is rapidly increasing worldwide, raising the need to evaluate medical implications of cannabis. Currently, evidence supports cannabis and its active ingredients as immune-modulating agents, affecting T-cells, B-cells, monocytes, and microglia cells, causing an overall reduction in pro-inflammatory cytokine expression and an increase in anti-inflammatory cytokines. Due to the supporting evidence of cannabinoids as an immune-modulating agent, research focusing on cannabinoids and autoimmunity has emerged. Several clinical trials in multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and fibromyalgia suggest cannabis’ effectiveness as an immune-modulator.
The use of medical cannabis is increasing, most commonly for pain, anxiety and depression. Emerging data suggest that use and abuse of prescription drugs may be decreasing in states where medical cannabis is legal. These patient-reported outcomes support prior research that individuals are using cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs, particularly, narcotics/opioids, and independent of whether they identify themselves as medical or non-medical users. This is especially true if they suffer from pain, anxiety and depression. Additionally, this study suggests that state laws allowing access to, and use of, medical cannabis may not be influencing individual decision-making in this area.
Prescription drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Alternatives to opioids for the treatment of pain are necessary to address this issue. 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. Medical cannabis patients report that cannabis is just as effective, if not more, than opioid-based medications for pain.
Brief Report: Cannabidiol-Rich Cannabis in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Severe Behavioral Problems-A Retrospective Feasibility Study
Anecdotal evidence of successful cannabis treatment in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are accumulating but clinical studies are lacking. Following the cannabis treatment, behavioral outbreaks were much improved or very much improved in 61% of patients. This preliminary study supports feasibility of CBD-based cannabis trials in children with ASD.
North America is currently in the grips of a crisis rooted in the use of licit and illicit opioid-based analgesics. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in Canada and the US, and the growing toll of opioid-related morbidity and mortality requires a diversity of novel therapeutic and harm reduction-based interventions. Research suggests that increasing adult access to both medical and recreational cannabis has significant positive impacts on public health and safety as a result of substitution effect. Observational and epidemiological studies have found that medical cannabis programs are associated with a reduction in the use of opioids and associated morbidity and mortality.
Cannabis and the Anxiety of Fragmentation-A Systems Approach for Finding an Anxiolytic Cannabis Chemotype
Cannabis sativa is a medicinal herb with a diverse range of chemotypes that can exert both anxiolytic and anxiogenic effects on humans. Medical cannabis patients receiving organically grown cannabis from a single source were surveyed about the effectiveness of cannabis for treating anxiety. Patients rated cannabis as highly effective overall for treating anxiety with an average score of 8.03 on a Likert scale of 0 to 10 (0 = not effective, 10 = extremely effective).
The history of Cannabis goes along that of humankind, as speculated based on geographical and evolutionary models together with historic data collected to date. We report through the centuries evidence of its use in numerous pathologic conditions especially for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and anticonvulsing properties that support the requirement to direct our present research efforts into the definitive understanding of its efficacy.
Effect of adding medical cannabis to analgesic treatment in patients with low back pain related to fibromyalgia: an observational cross-over single centre study
Low back pain (LBP) occurs in many patients with fibromyalgia (FM). The current study aimed to assess the possible pain and function amelioration associated with medical cannabis therapy (MCT) in this setting.
This observational cross-over study demonstrates an advantage of MCT in FM patients with LBP as compared with Standard Analgesic Treatment. Further randomised clinical trial studies should assess whether these results can be generalised to the FM population at large.