Aggressive Behavior Reduced By Oral THC

According to the findings of four case reports published in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, the administration of oral synthetic THC is linked with improved symptoms of psychosis in patients with refractory schizophrenia.

Investigators at the Rockland Psychiatric Center in Orangeburg, New York, the Columbia University Medical Center, and the New York University School of Medicine evaluated the efficiency of oral THC (dronabinol) on eight patients with refractory psychosis.

The trial subjects had a history of symptomatic improvement when making use of cannabis and had been unresponsive to conventional medical treatments. It was reported by the researchers that there was significant improvement in four of the eight patients after oral THC treatment. The authors reported, in particular, that administration of cannabinoid produced a significant reduction in subjects’ aggressive tendencies. No patients in the study experienced significant adverse side effects from THC.

“It appears that a predisposed subset of patients with schizophrenia may actually improve with cannabinoid stimulation,” investigators concluded.

The study, “Improvement in refractory psychosis with dronabinol: four case reports,” appeared in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Agitation In Alzheimer’s Patients Reduced By Synthetic Marijuana

A synthetic version of the active ingredient in marijuana, dronabinol, minimizes agitation in patients with Alzheimer’s disease according to results from a Phase II, multi-center study. It was also concluded by the researchers that minimized agitation could contribute to the relief of caregiver burden linked with the condition.

The findings were presented at the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists’ 34th annual meeting.

‘Our results show dronabinol is an effective treatment for behavioral agitation in patients with Alzheimer’s and may ultimately help reduce the stress often experienced by caregivers,’ said geriatrician Joel S. Ross, M.D. a member of the teaching faculty at Monmouth Medical Center and the lead investigator in the study.

‘While difficult for the patient, the effects of agitation can greatly impact the emotional and physical health of family members and caregivers. By reducing patients’ agitation, caregivers are able to focus more time and energy on their patients’ overall wellbeing.’

Agitation is the most common behavioral management problem in Alzheimer’s patients and could lead to a variety of symptoms ranging from physical and/or verbal abusive postures, physically non-aggressive conduct including pacing and restlessness.

Marketed as Marinol, Dronabinol is synthetic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC). Delta-9-THC also is a naturally occurring component of Cannabis sativa L (marijuana). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved Dronabinol for the treatment of anorexia in patients with HIV/AIDS and for the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy.

Reference:
1Zajicek, J. The Lancet, Nov. 8, 2003: vol 263;pp 1517-1526

Synthetic THC reduces motility In Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome

According to clinical trial data to be published in the journal Gastroenterology, the administration of synthetic THC (aka dronabinol) decreases colonic motility compared to placebo in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

The impact of oral THC versus placebo in a randomized trial of 75 patients with IBS was assessed by investigators at the Clinical Enteric Neuroscience Translational and Epidemiological Research (CENTER) in Rochester, Minnesota.

It was reported by researchers that active THC reduced motility of the large intestine during fasting compared to placebo in all of the study’s participants. The administration of dronabinol yielded the most significant results in IBS patients with diarrhea and in subjects with alternating diarrhea and constipation.

“Dronabinol may provide potential benefit to those [IBS patients] with accelerated transit,” researchers concluded.

Dronabinol is presently a schedule III controlled substance that is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of severe nausea and cachexia (wasting syndrome).

Earlier this month, survey results published online in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology reported that patients with IBD commonly use cannabis therapeutically.

Reference:
Pharmacogenetic Trial of a Cannabinoid Agonist Shows Reduced Fasting Colonic Motility in Patients with Non-Constipated Irritable Bowel Syndrome-Gastroenterology