The latest news, research, and reports on the therapeutic uses of cannabis from the scientific community.

Patient-Reported Symptom Relief Following Medical Cannabis Consumption

The Releaf Application continues to revolutionize the way studies are conducted. As a free App for patients, it is an invaluable tool for physicians, dispensaries and researchers to know exactly which products are alleviating exactly which conditions. A report in Frontiers of Pharmacology in August of last year detailed data from thousands of patients. This type of anonymous patient data provided much more accurate details on the positive and negative effects of medical cannabis.

The report said, “Since its release in 2016, the commercially developed Releaf AppTM application has been the only publically available, incentive-free patient educational software program designed for recording how individual cannabis usage sessions may correspond to immediate changes in primary symptom intensity levels and experienced side effects. This electronic assessment tool enables patients to monitor and manage their cannabis consumption decisions under naturalistic conditions while avoiding the limitations of retrospective survey collection methods (e.g., memory bias, social desirability effects).”

The study’s goal was “to calculate changes in patient-perceived symptom severity, the prevalence of positive and negative side effects associated with cannabis consumption, and whether the reported-effects differs depending on the symptom for which users were seeking treatment. We measured changes in symptom relief by subtracting the ending symptom level from the beginning
symptom (possible range from -10 to 10).“ “Conclusion: Patient-managed cannabis use is associated with clinically significant improvements in self-reported symptom relief for treating a wide range of health conditions, along with frequent positive and negative side


Potential Use of Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer

In January 2019, the Journal of Pancreatic Cancer published a literature review study of “the biological effects of cannabinoids in cancer treatment, with a focus on pancreatic cancer.” Pancreatic cancer, the study says, “is the fourth major cause of cancer death and is likely to become the second major cause of cancer death after lung cancer by 2030.” The authors looked at both “In vitro and in vivo studies that investigated the effects of cannabinoids in pancreatic cancer.”

This detailed study outlines all that is known on the endocannabinoid system through 2018, stating, “The bodies’ endogenous opioid and cannabinoid systems have remained unchanged for more than 500 million years of human evaluation. The endogenous cannabinoid system
contains endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, second messengers, and anabolic and catabolic enzymes such as the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) system.”

Along with the CB-1 and CB-2 receptors, “there is a third putative human cannabinoid receptor, G-protein-coupled receptor 55 (GPR55). Studies have shown that malignant cells can alter the physiologic function of GPR55 and other GPCRs to enhance tumor growth and metastasis.”

The study goes into great detail on THC and CBD and their effects on cancer, the mechanisms of action, and the effects of cannabinoids on pancreatic cancer. One of the reviewed studies indicated, “the GPR55 receptor, regulated by tumor suppressor p53, may have a crucial role in pancreatic cancer development, via cell cycle regulation and MAPK signaling pathways. CBD binds to the GPR55 receptor and blocks its activity.”

The study concludes, “Endogenous cannabinoids, synthetic or cannabis extracted from plants, can reduce tumor invasion and growth, induce tumor cell death, and inhibit tumor angiogenesis via cannabinoid receptor or receptor-independent pathways. Cannabinoid receptors appear to be highly expressed in pancreatic cancer compared with normal pancreatic tissue. CBD and THC appear to have antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects. CBD in a clinically relevant pancreatic cancer model improved survival outcomes when combined with gemcitabine.” More research is, of course, needed “on the anticancer effects of various cannabinoid formulations, treatment dosing, [and] precise mode of action.”

Flavonoid Derivative of Cannabis Demonstrates Therapeutic Potential in Preclinical Models of Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

In July 2019, Frontiers in Oncology published a study of “a new non-cannabinoid, non-psychoactive derivative of cannabis, termed FBL-03G, with the potential to treat pancreatic cancer.” The study had a very narrow focus – to test the therapeutic potential of FBL-03G and determine if it will “enhance radiotherapy during the treatment of pancreatic cancer.”

The study reports, “In vitro studies were first carried out with and without radiotherapy (RT). In vitro studies, in vivo studies were also conducted in small animals employing FBL-03G sustainably delivered from smart radiotherapy biomaterials, allowing continual exposure of the tumor to the cannabis derivative payloads over time.” “From the results of this study, the key findings include, the observation that a non-cannabinoid derivative of cannabis can enhance radiotherapy treatment outcomes in-vitro and in-vivo.”

The study outlined the materials and methods, including the FBL-03G synthesis, the Fabrication of Smart Radiotherapy Biomaterials (SRB) and the Mice and Generation of Syngeneic Pancreatic Cancer Models.

Results were presented in great detail as well, stating, “From the results of this study, the key findings include observation that a non-cannabinoid derivative of cannabis can enhance radiotherapy treatment outcomes in-vitro and in-vivo. Secondly, the sustained delivery of the cannabis derivative FBL-03G from smart radiotherapy biomaterials (SRBs) results in tumor growth inhibition of both locally treated and distant untreated tumors, with and without radiotherapy.”

The conclusion of this study is “a flavonoid derivative of cannabis demonstrates significant therapeutic potential in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, including radiosensitizing and cancer metastasis treatment potential. The results justify further studies to optimize therapy
outcomes toward clinical translation.”