Medical cannabis research has become quite extensive, with indications ranging from glaucoma to chemotherapy-induced nausea. Despite increased interest in cannabis’ potential medical uses, research barriers, cannabis legislation, stigma, and lack of dissemination of data contribute to low adoption for some medical populations. Of interest, cannabis use appears low in palliative care settings, with few guidelines available to palliative care providers.
Cannabis ( Cannabis sativa/indica), also known as marijuana, has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes for millennia. There has been a recent trend to legalize the use of cannabis, as illustrated by the recent legalization votes in numerous states in the United States and legislation in Canada to allow recreational cannabis use. There are several approved medical indications for cannabis use, including psoriasis, lupus, nail-patella syndrome, and severe pain. In addition, very preliminary studies have suggested cannabis and its derivatives might have use in acne, dermatitis, pruritus, wound healing, and skin cancer.
Cannabinoids in health and disease: pharmacological potential in metabolic syndrome and neuroinflammation
The use of different natural and/or synthetic preparations of Cannabis sativa is associated with therapeutic strategies for many diseases. Indeed, thanks to the widespread diffusion of the cannabinoidergic system in the brain and in the peripheral districts, its stimulation, or inhibition, regulates many pathophysiological phenomena. In particular, central activation of the cannabinoidergic system modulates the limbic and mesolimbic response which leads to food craving.
Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System
The biological effects of cannabinoids, the major constituents of the ancient medicinal plant Cannabis sativa (marijuana) are mediated by two members of the G-protein coupled receptor family, cannabinoid receptors 1 (CB1R) and 2. The CB1R is the prominent subtype in the central nervous system (CNS) and has drawn great attention as a potential therapeutic avenue in several pathological conditions, including neuropsychological disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.
New regulations are in place at the federal and provincial levels in Canada regarding the way medical cannabis is to be controlled. We present them together with guidance for the safe use of medical cannabis and recent clinical trials on cannabis and pain. The new Canadian regulations on the use of medical cannabis, the provincial regulations, and the various cannabis products available from the Canadian Licensed Producers were reviewed from Health Canada, provincial licensing authorities, and the licensed producers website, respectively. Recent clinical trials on cannabis and pain were reviewed from the existing literature.
Cannabis has been employed medicinally throughout history, but its recent legal prohibition, biochemical complexity and variability, quality control issues, previous dearth of appropriately powered randomised controlled trials, and lack of pertinent education have conspired to leave clinicians in the dark as to how to advise patients pursuing such treatment. Suggestions are offered on cannabis-drug interactions, patient monitoring, and standards of care, while special cases for cannabis therapeutics are addressed: epilepsy, cancer palliation and primary treatment, chronic pain, use in the elderly, Parkinson disease, paediatrics, with concomitant opioids, and in relation to driving and hazardous activities.
Epilepsy is one of the world’s oldest recognized and prevalent neurological diseases. It has a great negative impact on patients’ quality of life (QOL) as a consequence of treatment resistant seizures in about 30% of patients together with drugs’ side effects and comorbidities. Therefore, new drugs are needed and cannabinoids, above all cannabidiol, have recently gathered attention.
Survey of herbal cannabis (marijuana) use in rheumatology clinic attenders with a rheumatologist confirmed diagnosis
Cannabinoids may hold potential for the management of rheumatic pain. Arthritis, often self-reported, is commonly cited as the reason for the use of medicinal herbal cannabis (marijuana). We have examined the prevalence of marijuana use among 1000 consecutive rheumatology patients with a rheumatologist-confirmed diagnosis and compared in an exploratory manner the clinical characteristics of medicinal users and nonusers.
In 2014, New York (NY) became the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana (MMJ). The purpose of this survey was to collect data about practicing NY physicians’ comfort level, opinions, and experience in recommending or supporting patient use of MMJ. Although our study sample is small and geographically limited, our survey results highlight key physician issues that are likely applicable to practitioners in other states. Concerted efforts are needed at the federal, state, and academic levels to provide practitioners with evidence-based guidelines for the safe use of MMJ
A National Needs Assessment of Canadian Nurse Practitioners Regarding Cannabis for Therapeutic Purposes
In Canada, the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) has given nurse practitioners (NPs) the power to authorize cannabis for therapeutic purposes (CTP) to eligible patients. This expansion in NPs’ scope of practice underscores the importance of delivering balanced, evidence-based education on cannabis to NPs. The aim of this national study was to assess NPs’ knowledge and practice gaps related to CTP to inform the development of future education resources that increase NPs’ clinical competence and improve patient care related to medical cannabis.