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Surg Neurol Int. 2018 Apr 26;9:91. doi: 10.4103/sni.sni_45_18. eCollection 2018.

Review of the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids.

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1
Department of Neurosurgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Abstract

Background:

Numerous physical, psychological, and emotional benefits have been attributed to marijuana since its first reported use in 2,600 BC in a Chinese pharmacopoeia. The phytocannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD), and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) are the most studied extracts from cannabis sativa subspecies hemp and marijuana. CBD and Δ9-THC interact uniquely with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Through direct and indirect actions, intrinsic endocannabinoids and plant-based phytocannabinoids modulate and influence a variety of physiological systems influenced by the ECS.

Methods:

In 1980, Cunha et al. reported anticonvulsant benefits in 7/8 subjects with medically uncontrolled epilepsy using marijuana extracts in a phase I clinical trial. Since then neurological applications have been the major focus of renewed research using medical marijuana and phytocannabinoid extracts.

Results:

Recent neurological uses include adjunctive treatment for malignant brain tumors, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain, and the childhood seizure disorders Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes. In addition, psychiatric and mood disorders, such as schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, addiction, postconcussion syndrome, and posttraumatic stress disorders are being studied using phytocannabinoids.

Conclusions:

In this review we will provide animal and human research data on the current clinical neurological uses for CBD individually and in combination with Δ9-THC. We will emphasize the neuroprotective, antiinflammatory, and immunomodulatory benefits of phytocannabinoids and their applications in various clinical syndromes.

KEYWORDS:

Cannabidiol; delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol; endocannabinoid system; neurological disease; phytocannabinoids

Conflict of interest statement

The Authors report the following conflicts: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center - Employer, National Football League – Medical Consultant – Non-paid consultant, Pittsburgh Steelers Football Club – Medical Consultant – Non-paid consultant, World Wrestling Entertainment Corporation – Paid Consultant, ImPACT Applications, INC (Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) – Shareholder, Board Member, CV Sciences - Shareholder.

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