whycannabisquoteCBTs – Cannabinoid Based Therapeutics

whycbt_figure1Medical cannabis has been reported to be an effective treatment strategy for a number of diseases.  Cannabis and/or the cannabinoids (chemical compounds  produced by cannabis) have been found to decrease seizure symptoms in epileptics, halt cancer metastasis, and decrease inflammation as well as having many other therapeutic properties. Cannabis has also been widely used in palliative care relieving pain, nausea, insomnia and other symptoms of disease.

Cannabis contains over 85 cannabinoids.  The cannabinoids are unique chemical compounds that activate cannabinoid receptors (CB1 & CB2) in the body.  The CB1 receptor is primarily located in the brain, but also found in other regions such as the reproductive system.  The CB2 receptor is found in the immune system, peripheral nervous system and several other organs.  Binding of cannabinoids to the CB1 and/or CB2 receptor has been shown to modulate neurotransmission, modulate the endocannabinoid system, reduce inflammation, control ion-channels, induce apoptosis of cancer cells, inhibit angiogenesis, regulate cell cycle genes, and affect oxidative stress.

The combination of different cannabinoids activating either the CB1 or CB2 receptors in a variety of tissues leads to a variety of applications for CBT (cannabinoid based therapeutics).  For example, activation of the CB2 receptor on cells of the immune system modulates inflammation in tissues; this has utility in a number of diseases such as arthritis.

Activation of the CB1 receptor on brain cells has been shown to modulate brain activities such as seizures.  Cannabinoids have been shown to work synergistically with each other as different cannabinoids have various affinities for the CB1 versus CB2 receptors.    It is easy to hypothesize that a single CBT will not work for every disease.  Research is needed to tailor and standardize CBTs with uniform cannabinoid profiles to best meet the needs of individual patients.

Use of medical cannabis has been supported by multiple medical groups including:

Institute of Medicine: “The IOM report, Cannabis and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base, released in March 1999… a subpopulation of patients do not respond well to other medications and have no effective alternative to smoking cannabis.”

American College of Physicians: “Evidence not only supports the use of medical cannabis in certain conditions but also suggests numerous indications for cannabinoids. Additional research is needed to further clarify the therapeutic value of cannabinoids and determine optimal routes of administration. The science on medical cannabis should not be obscured or hindered by the debate surrounding the legalization of cannabis for general use.”

The American Medical Association: “Results of short term controlled trials indicate that smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.”

Interested in learning about the history of CBTs? Click here.