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      The pharmacokinetics and the pharmacodynamics of cannabinoids : The pharmacokinetics and the pharmacodynamics of cannabinoids

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          Abstract

          <p id="d98623e299">There is increasing interest in the use of cannabinoids for disease and symptom management, but limited information available regarding their pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics to guide prescribers. Cannabis medicines contain a wide variety of chemical compounds, including the cannabinoids delta‐9‐tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is psychoactive, and the nonpsychoactive cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabis use is associated with both pathological and behavioural toxicity and, accordingly, is contraindicated in the context of significant psychiatric, cardiovascular, renal or hepatic illness. The pharmacokinetics of cannabinoids and the effects observed depend on the formulation and route of administration, which should be tailored to individual patient requirements. As both THC and CBD are hepatically metabolized, the potential exists for pharmacokinetic drug interactions via inhibition or induction of enzymes or transporters. An important example is the CBD‐mediated inhibition of clobazam metabolism. Pharmacodynamic interactions may occur if cannabis is administered with other central nervous system depressant drugs, and cardiac toxicity may occur via additive hypertension and tachycardia with sympathomimetic agents. More vulnerable populations, such as older patients, may benefit from the potential symptomatic and palliative benefits of cannabinoids but are at increased risk of adverse effects. The limited availability of applicable pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic information highlights the need to initiate prescribing cannabis medicines using a ʻstart low and go slowʼ approach, carefully observing the patient for desired and adverse effects. Further clinical studies in the actual patient populations for whom prescribing may be considered are needed, to derive a better understanding of these drugs and enhance safe and optimal prescribing. </p>

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          Most cited references 51

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          Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of cannabinoids.

          Delta(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main source of the pharmacological effects caused by the consumption of cannabis, both the marijuana-like action and the medicinal benefits of the plant. However, its acid metabolite THC-COOH, the non-psychotropic cannabidiol (CBD), several cannabinoid analogues and newly discovered modulators of the endogenous cannabinoid system are also promising candidates for clinical research and therapeutic uses. Cannabinoids exert many effects through activation of G-protein-coupled cannabinoid receptors in the brain and peripheral tissues. Additionally, there is evidence for non-receptor-dependent mechanisms. Natural cannabis products and single cannabinoids are usually inhaled or taken orally; the rectal route, sublingual administration, transdermal delivery, eye drops and aerosols have only been used in a few studies and are of little relevance in practice today. The pharmacokinetics of THC vary as a function of its route of administration. Pulmonary assimilation of inhaled THC causes a maximum plasma concentration within minutes, psychotropic effects start within seconds to a few minutes, reach a maximum after 15-30 minutes, and taper off within 2-3 hours. Following oral ingestion, psychotropic effects set in with a delay of 30-90 minutes, reach their maximum after 2-3 hours and last for about 4-12 hours, depending on dose and specific effect. At doses exceeding the psychotropic threshold, ingestion of cannabis usually causes enhanced well-being and relaxation with an intensification of ordinary sensory experiences. The most important acute adverse effects caused by overdosing are anxiety and panic attacks, and with regard to somatic effects increased heart rate and changes in blood pressure. Regular use of cannabis may lead to dependency and to a mild withdrawal syndrome. The existence and the intensity of possible long-term adverse effects on psyche and cognition, immune system, fertility and pregnancy remain controversial. They are reported to be low in humans and do not preclude legitimate therapeutic use of cannabis-based drugs. Properties of cannabis that might be of therapeutic use include analgesia, muscle relaxation, immunosuppression, sedation, improvement of mood, stimulation of appetite, antiemesis, lowering of intraocular pressure, bronchodilation, neuroprotection and induction of apoptosis in cancer cells.
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            Identification and functional characterization of brainstem cannabinoid CB2 receptors.

            The presence and function of CB2 receptors in central nervous system (CNS) neurons are controversial. We report the expression of CB2 receptor messenger RNA and protein localization on brainstem neurons. These functional CB2 receptors in the brainstem were activated by a CB2 receptor agonist, 2-arachidonoylglycerol, and by elevated endogenous levels of endocannabinoids, which also act at CB1 receptors. CB2 receptors represent an alternative site of action of endocannabinoids that opens the possibility of nonpsychotropic therapeutic interventions using enhanced endocannabinoid levels in localized brain areas.
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              Human cannabinoid pharmacokinetics.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
                Br J Clin Pharmacol
                Wiley
                03065251
                November 2018
                November 2018
                August 07 2018
                : 84
                : 11
                : 2477-2482
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Discipline of Clinical Pharmacology, School of Medicine and Public Health; University of Newcastle; Newcastle New South Wales Australia
                [2 ]Hunter Medical Research Institute; Newcastle New South Wales Australia
                [3 ]NSW Health Cannabis Medicines Advisory Service; Newcastle New South Wales Australia
                [4 ]The Australian Centre for Cannabinoid Clinical and Research Excellence, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
                [5 ]School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy; University of Newcastle; Newcastle New South Wales Australia
                Article
                10.1111/bcp.13710
                6177698
                30001569
                © 2018

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