Cannabis and Cannabinoids in Pain Relief

Cannabis is a term that describes products derived from the Indian hemp, Cannabis sativa. It has its origins probably in India but now grows all over the world. The chemical compounds responsible for intoxication and medicinal effects are found mainly in a sticky golden resin exuded from the flowers of the female plants and surrounding leaves. Cannabis sativa contains a wide range of different chemicals including a family of compounds called “cannabinoids”. Of the cannabinoids delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is probably the main compound responsible for the psychotropic activities. Cannabis has been used as a medicine for thousands of years and is mentioned in a Chinese herbal dating back to 2700 BC. There are records of ’its medicinal use in Egyptian papyri of the sixteenth century BC. Much later, the plant is mentioned in Assyrian texts and in Greek and Roman sources as a medicinal agent. Early Experiences in the 19th Century Cannabis Tincture was used in the nineteenth century as an analgesic, as well as numerous other conditions and was considered milder and less dangerous than opium. W.B.O’Shaughnessy was the first of the western physicians to take an interest in cannabis as a medicine on account Read more […]

Spasmolytic effects of Thyme

The spasmolytic properties are commonly considered as the major action of thyme preparations. In this regard Thymus vulgaris is the most representative species. Therefore many publications have focused on the effects of thyme preparations on smooth muscles, especially rat and guinea pig intestines, such as duodenum and ileum, guinea pig trachea.. seminal vesicles and rabbit jejunum. Two different protocols are typically followed: (i) The isolated smooth muscle is first contracted using several agonists (acetylcholine, histamine, adrenaline, nicotine and BaCl2) and the thyme preparations are subsequently added until maximum relaxation is achieved. The spasmolytical effect is evaluated by measuring the maximum relaxant effect and the ED50 (contraction that produces 50 per cent of the maximum spasmolytic response), (ii) The isolated smooth muscle is first incubated with the thyme preparations; the modification of the dose-response curves produced by the contracting agents are calculated. In this protocol, the relaxant agent remains in the bath throughout the experiment. The use of various spasmogens with different mechanisms of action causing muscle contraction can provide information on the pharmacological Read more […]

Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis

The historical and contemporary, medicinal uses of cannabis have been reviewed on several occasions. Perhaps the earliest published report to contain at least some objectivity on the subject was that of O’Shaughnessy (1842), an Irish surgeon, working in India, who described the analgesic, anticonvulsant and muscle relaxant properties of the drug. This report triggered the appearance of over 100 publications on the medicinal use of cannabis in American and European medical journals over the next 60 years. One such use was to treat nausea and vomiting; but it was not until the advent of potent cancer chemotherapeutic drugs that the antiemetic properties of cannabis became more widely investigated and then employed. One can argue that the available clinical evidence of efficacy is stronger here than for any other application and that proponents of its use are most likely to be successful in arguing that cannabis should be re-scheduled (to permit its use as a medicine) because it has a “currently accepted medical use”. Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Use as an Antiemetic Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Glaucoma Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Multiple Sclerosis Spastic Conditions A discussion Read more […]

Herbs For Diseases Of The Cardiovascular System

Herbs considered important for the cardiovascular system are classified according to traditional actions of cardioactive, cardioprotective, cardiotonic, and circulatory stimulants. Anticoagulants are a more modern application of herbs to cardiovascular disease and nervines and diuretic herbs are traditionally included in formulas. The diseases that are indicated for these herbs include cardiomyopathy (dilatative and hypertrophic), congestive heart failure / valvular disease, heartworm disease, and hypertension. Cardioactive herbs Cardioactive herbs are some of the most potentially toxic herbs. Many of these contain cardioactive glycosides such as Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis), which are ionotropic and lead to a more efficient and coordinated cardiac contraction. Perhaps the most useful from a veterinary perspective is Bugleweed (Lycopus europaeus, L. virginicus). It does not contain cardiac glycosides but is still cardioactive. L. virginicus was recognized by the early Eclectics as an excellent sedative with properties similar to digitalis but without adverse side effects. L. europaeus may have applications in feline hyperthyroidism as well as cardiovascular disease. L. Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Cannabis

Cannabis sativa L. (Cannabaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Bhang, Dagga, Ganja, Hashish, Indian hemp, Marihuana, Marijuana. Cannabis indica Lam. Constituents Cannabis herb contains a wide range of cannabinoids, which are the major active compounds. The main psychoactive constituent is delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC; dronabinol), and it is the cause of many of the pharmacological effects elicited by the consumption of cannabis. However, other cannabinoids, which do not possess psychoactive properties, such as cannabidiol, cannabinol (a decomposition product of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol), cannabigerol and cannabichromene, are increasingly being investigated for their pharmacological and therapeutic properties. Cannabinoids are often found in the plant as their acid metabolites, e.g. ll-nor-9-carboxy-delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol acid and others, especially if the plant has been grown in a cooler climate. These decarboxylate to the parent cannabinoid at high temperatures, such as during smoking. Most medicinal cannabis products have been heat treated to ensure that the cannabinoids are present only in the non-acid form. Use and indications Cannabis has no current established use in herbal Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Coffee

Coffea L. species. (Rubiaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Arabian coffee is from Coffea arabica. Robusta coffee is from Coffea canephora (Pierre ex Froehner) also known as Coffea robusta (Linden ex De Wild.). Other species include Coffea liberica. Constituents The kernel of the dried coffee bean contains xanthine derivatives, the main one being caffeine (1 to 2%), with some theobromine and theophylline. It also contains polyphenolic acids such as chlorogenic acids and various diterpenes (e.g. kahweol, cafestrol). Use and indications Coffee has been used as a stimulant and diuretic. However, when roasted, coffee beans are most commonly used as a beverage. Pharmacokinetics The pharmacokinetics of caffeine are discussed under caffeine. Evidence suggests that chlorogenic acid is hydrolysed in the gastrointestinal tract to free caffeic acid, which is then conjugated to form the glucuronate or sulphate. Interactions overview Coffee contains significant amounts of caffeine, so the interactions of caffeine, are relevant to coffee, unless the product is specified as decaffeinated. By virtue of its caffeine content, coffee may also cause serious adverse effects if used with other drugs or herbs with similar Read more […]


ANTITHYROID AGENTS are used in the treatment of overactivity of the thyroid gland — hyperthyroidism. thyrotoxicosis or Graves’ disease. In thyrotoxicosis there is excess secretion of the thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3; liothyronine). This excess results in an exaggerated version of the normal activity of the gland, so that there are the symptoms of increased metabolic rate, an increase in body temperature, sweating, increased sensitivity to heat, nervousness, tremor, raised heart rate, tendency to fatigue and sometimes loss of body weight with an increased appetite. The cause of thyrotoxicosis may be simple overactivity of the gland; or toxic nodular goitre where there is secretion from a benign tumour or a carcinoma of the thyroid; or diffuse toxic goitre (Graves’ disease; exothalmic goitre) in which there are additional symptoms, including a swelling of the neck (goitre) due to enlargement of the gland, and protrusion of the eyes (exothalmos). How the disease is treated depends on its origin, but one final therapy is surgical removal of part of the gland or, more commonly, treatment of the gland with radioactive iodine to reduce the number of cells. For this purpose 131I is given orally Read more […]


ANTISYMPATHETIC AGENTS is a grouping of convenience intended to encompass all agents acting by one of the many mechanisms that lead to a reduction in the actions of the sympathetic nervous system, including those of poorly defined mechanism that are known to have this overall action. Antisympathetics are of particular importance in reducing vasomotor tone, and thence blood pressure. There are many of them and they will be grouped by site and mechanism of action. See also ANTIHYPERTENSIVE AGENTS. Central mechanisms. Some agents may act within the CNS to modify autonomic control of sympathetic tone and blood pressure. Clonidine inhibits release of noradrenaline by an agonist action at the autoinhibitory alpha2-adrenoceptors on sympathetic nerve endings. Methyldopa is thought to work, at least in part, centrally, acting both as an inhibitory false substrate in the biosynthetic pathway, also producing an active metabolite with actions at α2-adrenoceptors. Rauwolfia alkaloids, especially reserpine, which inhibit the monoamine transporters, were at one time used to treat hypertension, but the side-effects are marked. Biosynthetic pathway inhibitors. In both the central and periphery nervous systems, the biosynthetic Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Senna

Cassia senna L, Cassia angustifolia Vahl. (Fabaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Indian senna. Cassia acutifolia Delile, Senna alexandrina Mill. Senna obtained from Cassia senna is also known as Alexandrian senna or Khartoum senna, and senna obtained from Cassia angustifolia is also known as Tinnevelly senna. Pharmacopoeias Alexandrian Senna Fruit (British Ph 2009); Senna Fluid Extract (US Ph 32); Senna Leaf (British Ph 2009, European Ph 2008, US Ph 32); Senna Liquid Extract (British Ph 2009); Senna Oral Solution (US Ph 32); Senna Pods (US Ph 32); Senna Pods, Alexandrian (European Ph 2008); Senna Pods, Tinnevelly (European Ph 2008); Senna Tablets (British Ph 2009); Sennosides (US Ph 32); Standardised Senna Granules (British Ph 2009); Standardised Senna Leaf Dry Extract (British Ph 2009, European Ph 2008); Tinnevelly Senna Fruit (British Pharmacopoeia 2009). Constituents Anthraquinone glycosides are major components of senna. In the leaf the anthraquinones include sennosides A, B, C and D, and palmidin A, rhein anthrone and aloe-emodin glycosides. The fruit contains sennosides A and B and a closely related glycoside, sennoside Al. Senna is usually standardised to the content of sennosides, generally Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Policosanol

Types, sources and related compounds Octacosanol. Constituents Policosanol consists of a mixture of alcohols with octacosanol being the major component. Triacontanol and hexacosanol are also present but in lesser amounts. Use and indications Policosanol is isolated from sugar cane wax and, because of its lipid-lowering and antiplatelet properties, is mainly used for cardiovascular disorders. It is also being investigated for possible use in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, and for enhancing athletic performance. Pharmacokinetics Policosanol did not alter the metabolism of phenazone (antipyrine) in dogs. Phenazone is used as a probe drug to assess the effects of other drugs on hepatic enzyme induction and inhibition. This finding therefore suggests that policosanol is unlikely to induce or inhibit the metabolism of other drugs that are substrates of hepatic enzymes. Interactions overview Policosanol has antiplatelet effects, which may be additive with other antiplatelet drugs, and could theoretically increase the risk of bleeding in patients taking anticoagulants. Policosanol may also enhance the blood pressure-lowering effects of some antihypertensives. Policosanol + Anticoagulants The interaction between Read more […]