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Weekly Medicinal Cannabis Research Wrap - 29/07/20

Cannabinoids to treat patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition, which involves the body’s immune system progressively attacking its own tissues. Symptoms of MS vary considerably in severity and nature but include movement and coordination problems, vision problems, shaking of the hands and extreme fatigue. A recent study (1) completed by the neurology unit at the University of Piemonte Orientale in Novara, Italy investigated the action of cannabinoids on spasticity and pain in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis patients.

The study involved 15 participants with MS (11 females, 4 males) and used a clinical scale for spasticity and pain as well as using neurophysiological measures to test the functioning of the brain and related pathways. The patient’s symptoms were measured prior to the treatment and then again during the treatment regime. The results from the initial tests were compared with a control group of 14 healthy individuals, and then the results from both of the participant’s tests (pre-treatment and during treatment) were compared.

The results from this study showed that an oral THC-CBD spray could not only improve pain, but also relieve spasticity in patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. Four weeks after the patients had reached an optimum dosing level their spasticity scores had greatly improved, both via physiological testing and the patient’s own perception. These results are consistent with previous investigations on the subject and are a promising step to providing pain and spasticity relief to patients suffering from MS.

(1) Vecchio, D., Varrasi, C., Virgilio, E., Spagarino, A., Naldi, P., & Cantello, R. (2020). Cannabinoids in multiple sclerosis: A neurophysiological analysis. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica.

CBD as a therapy option for treating cocaine dependence

According to a recently completed meta-study (2), CBD shows a lot of promise as an option for treating cocaine dependence. A meta-study is a method of statistical analysis that combines the results of multiple scientific studies to draw conclusions about the body of research. This meta-study looked at 14 published research papers from the last five years, which focused on the administration of CBD on animal subjects that had consumed cocaine.

While not all studies were consistent with each other the general indication is that CBD can reduce self-administration of cocaine in animal subjects. Across these studies, the results showed that on treatment with CBD, the rat subjects significantly reduced the self-administration of cocaine compared to a control group of rats. Rat subjects with a history of cocaine use also showed less anxiety once CBD had been administered.

These studies show a huge amount of promise as a therapy option for the treatment of cocaine dependence due to its effect on cocaine consumption, brain rewards and anxiety. Researchers from many of the individual studies covered by this meta-study emphasized the need for human trials before conclusive results can be stated.

(2) Rodrigues, L. A., Caroba, M. E. S., Taba, F. K., Filev, R., & Gallassi, A. D. (2020). Evaluation of the potential use of cannabidiol in the treatment of cocaine use disorder: A systematic review. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior,

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