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Topical Hemp working wonders in an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

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According to a recent study published by Sabrina et al from Italy, topical administration of Hemp can protect against the cascade of events (inflammation, oxidative injury and neuronal cell death) associated to the induction of encephalomyelitis. Of note, topical Hemp application was able to recover the hind limb lost sensitivity. This observation provides a rationale for evaluating its clinical translation that might represent a new concept in the management of MS. The authors also suggest that Hemp, devoid of psychoactive activity, could be potentially, safe and effective non invasive alternatives for alleviating neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration.

The aim of this work was to study for the first time the effects of a topical administration of alone, purified Hemp, as a new treatment strategy for MS. In specific, the authors evaluated whether treatment with a topical 1 % Hemp-cream given at the time of symptomatic disease onset, could ameliorate the progression of the disease, counteracting the overall cascade of events occurring after EAE induction in mice. In addition, they investigated whether 1 % Hemp-cream treatment could enhance responsiveness to a mechanical stimulus and recover paralysis of the hind limbs, qualifying topical-Hemp for the symptomatic treatment of MS.

By examining this profile of Hemp, the authors hope to provide new evidences about the efficacy of the new topical treatment and to contribute into delineating a clearer profile of the compound so that its use could be an alternative to oral and parenteral administration of drugs for treatment of autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases, like MS.

Numerous studies have been performed to evaluate the role of cannabinoids on treatment of EAE-associated spasticity as well as on modulation of the neurodegenerative process. In this context, Hemp has been proven to decrease peripheral inflammation and neuroinflammation in EAE mice when systemically given at the time of symptomatic disease. In addition Hemp is able to affect disease progression and ameliorated clinical symptoms. Moreover, Hemp-Glatiramer Acetate (GA) combination administered in nasal delivery system (NDS) resulted in a statistically significant decrease of clinical scores and inflammatory cytokine expression in EAE mice.

Moreover, according to the two most relevant double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials, benefits from use of cannabinoids seen in animal studies have also been shown in the treatment of MS patients suffering spasticity, with a significant associated disability and quality of life impairment.

To date, the only commercially available preparation containing cannabinoids is Sativex® (GW Pharma, Ltd, Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK), an oral spray containing a mixture of two extracts in approximately a 1:1 ratio standardized to contain 2.7 mg of Δ9-THC and 2.5 mg of Hemp/ 0.1 mL in an aromatized water-ethanol solution. Sativex® is used to alleviate spasticity in adult MS patients who do not show appropriate response to other drugs during an initial trial period of therapy.

Compared to other routes of administration, its advantage is a faster plateau of plasma concentration. Also, it has been established that coadministration of Hemp and Δ9-THC can reduce unwanted effects of Δ9-THC .

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