Graft-versus-host illness (GVHD) is a widespread – and potentially fatal – complication following bone marrow and strong organ transplants. This life threatening situation can also happen following a patient receives a blood transfusion or other types of transplanted tissue from a genetically different person.

The mortality price for acute GVHD is more than 80 %. And there are no trusted molecular markers that indicate the onset or reflect the severity of a post-transplant reaction. At present there are no FDA-authorized therapies for this illness. The capacity to treat acute GVHD is therefore a key unmet medical need.

But hope is on the horizon, thanks to cannabidiol ( CBD), a non-intoxicating element of cannabis, according to a group of Israeli scientists at the Rabin Health-related Center. Information from 3 phase two clinical research in Israel showed dramatic benefits when 150 mg of pure CBD was orally administered twice each day to ten sufferers with acute GVHD who did not respond to steroids. Though the sample size was tiny, the outcome proved noteworthy: “Consumption was protected and no important adverse effects have been reported. Nine out of ten sufferers responded to remedy, seven of them accomplished full remission and two accomplished really superior partial response.”

The Israeli study, “Cannabidiol – An revolutionary tactic for the remedy of graft versus host illness,“ was featured on Day A single of the 2018 International Cannabinoid Investigation Society conference, which convened this summer season in the picturesque Dutch city of Leiden. More than 500 delegates from about the planet attended the annual 4-day gathering, exactly where they discussed cutting-edge developments in cannabis science and medicine.

This year’s ICRS conference featured 58 oral presentations, like 4 keynotes, and 235 posters that covered a wide variety of subjects. CBD figured prominently in a lot of of these reports, which also explored the overall health added benefits of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other plant cannabinoids. But the key concentrate, as normally, was on the endocannabinoid program itself, which mediates a lot of of the effects of  cannabis.

THC & CBD for brain health

Andras Bilkei-Gorzo, a University of Bonn scientist, linked brain aging to a decline in activity of the endocannabinoid program (characterized by diminished endocannabinoid levels and decreased coupling with CB1 cannabinoid receptors). But animal models showed that typical, age-associated, cognitive decline can be counteracted with a chronic low dose of THC: “Most strikingly, THC remedy facilitated a rebalanced hippocampal gene transcription in old mice so that their expression profiles closely resembled that of young THC-free of charge animals … Therefore, restoration of CB1 signaling in old folks could be an productive tactic to treat or stop age-associated cognitive impairments.”

The neuroprotective properties of plant cannabinoids have been noted in a number of other presentations at ICRS 2018:

  • Alzheimer’s. Australian scientists reported that chronic CBD remedy (50mg/kg) reversed cognitive deficits in animal models of Alzheimer’s. [Keep in mind that this dosage pertains to pure single-molecule CBD, whereas whole plant, full spectrum CBD-rich oils are effective at much lower doses.]
  • Parkinson’s. Brazilian researchers located that 30 mg/kg of pure CBD decreased the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the brain regions implicated in Parkinson’s.
  • Epilepsy. Researchers at the University of Sydney, functioning with a mouse model of Dravet Syndrome, an infant seizure disorder, located that “sub-threshold CBD” potentiated “the anticonvulsant possible of THC.”
  • Stroke. A University of Nottingham (UK) group determined that cannabidiolic acid (CBDA, the raw version of cannabidiol that exists in the plant prior to it is harvested, heated and decarboxylated into CBD), acting by means of the five-HT1A serotonin receptor, is neuroprotective in a cellular model of a stroke.
  • Neonatal brain trauma. Spanish scientists studied CBD’s neuroprotective properties in a neonatal rat model of hypoxia ischemia (brain harm from oxygen and nutrient restriction) and linked these effects to the CB2 cannabinoid receptor. The researchers surmised that there was no “direct action of CBD on CB2 receptors,” but noted that the information was constant with the doable involvement of “CB2/five-HT1A heteromers.” Heteromers happen when unique receptors conjoin to kind novel signaling mechanisms – in this case, the CB2 cannabinoid receptor (which CBD does not activate) and five-HT1A, a crucial serotonin receptor (which CBD activates).

CBD synergies

Clara Andradas, a health-related scientist at the Telethon Youngsters Institute in Western Australia, has been researching possible applications of cannabinoids for treating pediatric cancer, particularly malignant brain tumors. Her poster disclosed that CBD and THC decreased the viability of brain cancer cells, an impact mediated in aspect by the CB2 cannabinoid receptor. In addition, “the mixture of cannabinoids with traditional chemotherapies enhances the anti-proliferative effects in these cells,” she concluded.

Temple University scientists assessed the therapeutic influence of CBD combined with beta-caryophyllene (BCP), a versatile terpene present in a lot of cannabis cultivars, kitchen spices, and green vegetables. In contrast to cannabidiol, BCP straight activates the CB2 receptor, which modulates immune function and neuroprotection in response to brain trauma. The two compounds with each other “showed a statistically important reduction in infarct size,” according to the investigators, who concluded that “combination therapies can present a higher advantage than single treatment options alone” and ought to be explored additional for treating ischemic stroke and other diseases.

Mark Lewis, a plant scientist with Napro Investigation in California, offered added proof that entire plant cannabis medicine might be far more efficacious than pure, single-molecule cannabinoids. Lewis has bred a number of CBD-wealthy and BCP-wealthy cannabis chemovars. In vitro evaluation showed that different CBDBCP ratios inhibited cellular inflammation. Co-administration of CBD and BCP “produced enhanced effects as compared to each and every compound alone.” Of unique interest, the anti-inflammatory influence “produced by specific CBD concentrations improved by up to ten instances when co-administered with specific concentrations of BCP.”

Anecdotal accounts from cannabis buyers attest to the added benefits of artisanal, terpene-wealthy treatments. Whistler Therapeutics, a boutique health-related marijuana business in British Columbia, surveyed Canadian sufferers to assess the analgesic influence of unique aromatic terpenes in cannabis. Imbued with their personal medicinal properties, terpenes interact synergistically with CBD, THC and other plant cannabinoids. For discomfort management purposes, the greatest benefits have been obtained making use of cannabis varietals with noteworthy concentrations of myrcene and trans-nerolidol.

Study Component two: ICRS 2018: Report from Leiden – “Targeting the endocannabinoid program for therapeutic relief”


Project CBD director Martin A. Lee is the author of Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Health-related, Recreational and Scientific.