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Vaporized Cannabis for Chronic Pain Associated With Sickle Cell Disease (Cannabis-SCD)

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01771731
Recruitment Status : Active, not recruiting
First Posted : January 18, 2013
Last Update Posted : July 11, 2017
Information provided by (Responsible Party):

Study Description
Brief Summary:

Our primary objective is to assess whether inhaling vaporized cannabis ameliorates chronic pain in patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). As these patients will all be on chronic opioid analgesics, the investigators will also assess the possible synergistic affect between inhaled cannabis and opioids. The investigators will also assess the clinical safety of the concomitant use of cannabinoids and these opioids in patients with SCD by monitoring the short-term side effects associated with combined therapy. Finally, the investigators will evaluate the short-term effects of inhaled cannabis on markers of inflammation and disease progression in patients with SCD.

Hypotheses are as follows:

  1. Inhaled cannabis will significantly reduce chronic pain in patients with SCD.
  2. Inhaled cannabis will significantly alter the short-term side effects experienced by patients who take opioids for SCD.
  3. Inhaled cannabis will significantly alter markers of inflammation and disease progression in patients with SCD compared to placebo.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Sickle Cell Disease Drug: Cannabis Phase 1 Phase 2

Detailed Description:

This is a proof-of-principle investigation of the safety and potential effectiveness of inhaled vaporized cannabis when added to a stable analgesic regimen in sickle cell disease (SCD) patients with chronic pain. The study will be comprised of two 5-day intervention periods in the inpatient setting (the Clinical Research Center at SFGH), with completion of a 5-day daily pain diary prior to admission to establish an outpatient baseline. Participants will be randomly assigned, in double-blind fashion, to treatment with (A) vaporized cannabis with an approximately 1:1 ration of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol:cannabidiol or (B) vaporized placebo. Those who receive treatment A during the first admission will receive treatment B in the second, and those who receive treatment B during the first admission will receive treatment A in the second. The two admissions will be spaced at least 14 days apart.

On Day 1 of each admission, subjects will provide blood samples for baseline markers of inflammation and SCD disease progression. They will undergo assessments of pain, mood, and quality of life. At 12 pm on Day 1, they will inhale vaporized study agent (equivalent to 1 cannabis/placebo cigarette) using the Volcano® vaporizer; on Days 2-4 they will inhale study agent at 8 am, 2 pm, and 8 pm, and they will inhale their final dose on Day 5 at 8 am. Subjects will continue their pre-study analgesic regimen while in the study. If additional analgesia is required, supplemental therapy will be administered and the dose recorded. Pain measurements by visual analogue scale will be obtained every 2 hours while subjects are awake. On Day 5 a second set of blood samples for inflammation markers and disease progression will be obtained, and subjects will again complete pain, mood, and quality of life assessments.

Study Design

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 34 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Quadruple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Cannabinoid-Based Therapy and Approaches to Quantify Pain in Sickle Cell Disease
Study Start Date : August 2014
Primary Completion Date : May 2017
Estimated Study Completion Date : October 2017

Arms and Interventions

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Cannabis
Contents of 1 cannabis cigarette (4.7% THC/5.1% CBD) will be vaporized and inhaled at 12pm on Day 1; 8am, 2pm and 8pm on Days 2-4; and 8am on Day 5.
Drug: Cannabis
Other Name: marijuana
Placebo Comparator: Placebo
Contents of 1 placebo cigarette (0% THC/0% CBD) will be vaporized and inhaled at 12pm on Day 1; 8am, 2pm and 8pm on Days 2-4; and 8am on Day 5.
Drug: Cannabis
Other Name: marijuana

Outcome Measures

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. pain level [ Time Frame: Days 1 and 5 of two 5-day study periods ]
    Subjects will complete a 5-day pain diary prior to admission to the Clinical Research Center (CRC) to establish a baseline of pain. They will then be assigned to inhale either vaporized cannabis of mixed THC/CBD content (4.7% THC/5.1% CBD) or placebo cannabis (0% THC/0% CBD). Participants and personnel will be blinded as to assignment. Pain will be evaluated during the 5-day inpatient exposure. Participants will be asked to participate in two such 5-day sessions separated by at least a 2-week washout so that each will be exposed to the two experimental conditions.

Eligibility Criteria

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Sickle cell disease, including sickle cell anemia (SS), sickle-hemoglobin C disease (SC), and sickle beta thalassemia disease (Sb).
  • Ongoing opioid analgesic therapy for chronic sickle cell disease-associated pain.
  • Subjects must be on a stable dose of analgesic medication (opioid or other) for at least 2 weeks before enrollment.
  • All men and women in this study must agree to use adequate birth control during this study. Acceptable barrier birth control methods are a male condom, female condom, diaphragm, or intra-uterine (IUD).
  • All women of reproductive potential (who have not reached menopause or undergone hysterectomy, oophorectomy, or tubal ligation) must have a negative urine b-HCG pregnancy test performed before initiating the protocol-specified medication.
  • Prior history of use of cannabis. Subjects must have smoked cannabis on at least 6 occasions in their lifetime prior to enrollment.
  • Subjects will self-report abstaining from smoking or ingesting cannabis for one week prior to their enrollment into the study.
  • Able to understand and follow the instructions of the investigator, including completing the pain intensity rating scales.
  • Karnofsky Performance Scale >60.
  • Able and willing to provide informed consent.
  • Able and willing to spend two separate periods of 5 days and 4 nights in the Clinical Research Center at SFGH.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Severe coronary artery disease, uncontrolled hypertension, cardiac ventricular conduction abnormalities, orthostatic mean blood pressure drop greater than 24 mmHg, severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Evidence of clinically significant hepatic or renal dysfunction based on judgment of physician.
  • Positive serum THC level on Day 1 of study.
  • Active substance abuse (e.g., alcohol or injection drugs) as determined by urine toxicity screening.
  • Neurologic dysfunction or psychiatric disorder severe enough to interfere with assessment of pain or sensory systems.
  • Current use of smoked tobacco products.
  • Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding may not take part in this study.
  • Unable to read or speak English.
Contacts and Locations

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT01771731

United States, California
San Francisco General Hospital
San Francisco, California, United States, 94110
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of California, San Francisco
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
University of Minnesota - Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Principal Investigator: Donald I Abrams, MD University of California, San Francisco
More Information

Responsible Party: University of California, San Francisco
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01771731     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: U54HL117664-01
6610 ( Other Identifier: UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute )
First Posted: January 18, 2013    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: July 11, 2017
Last Verified: July 2017

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Anemia, Sickle Cell
Anemia, Hemolytic, Congenital
Anemia, Hemolytic
Hematologic Diseases
Genetic Diseases, Inborn