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IACM-Bulletin of 16 August 2009

IACM: Survey on the modes of delivery of cannabis and cannabinoids

The IACM has initiated a survey on the advantages and disadvantages of different modes of delivery of cannabis-based drugs and substances. The questionnaire is available in several languages on the website. Anyone who uses cannabis or other cannabinoids for medicinal purposes and has experience with two or more of the following substances or modes of delivery is invited to participate:
- smoking of cannabis,
- inhalation of cannabis with a vaporizer,
- oral use of cannabis as a tea,
- oral use of cannabis in baked goods/cannabis tincture,
- oral use of dronabinol/Marinol (THC),
- oral use of nabilone/Cesamet,
- inhalation of dronabinol (THC) with a vaporizer,
- Sativex,
- other use.

Participants remain anonymous. The survey was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Medical School of Hannover and is headed by the chairwoman of the IACM, Dr. Kirsten Mueller-Vahl, Professor at the Medical School of Hannover (Germany), in cooperation with Dr. Arno Hazekamp of the University of Leiden (The Netherlands), Dr. Donald Abrams, Professor at the University of California San Francisco (USA), Dr. Ethan Russo, Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Montana (USA), Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen of the nova-Institut (Germany), Dr. Mark Ware, Assistant Professor at the McGill University, Montreal (Canada), Dr. Ricardo Navarrete-Varo, Malaga (Spain), and Dr. Rudolf Brenneisen, Professor at the University of Bern (Switzerland).

The questionnaire is available at:
www.cannabis-med.org

IACM: Articles of the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics now freely available

The entire contents of articles published in the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics are now freely available on the new designed web site of the IACM. Previously, these were only accessible to members of the IACM with a personal password, or by paying a fee. The articles provide an extensive review on the therapeutic use of cannabis products and possible side-effects. Some of the most important articles were also published as books.

The new web site offers a convenient search function and an improved overview, which facilitates location of desired information. For example, the programme of the upcoming IACM Conference on 2 to 3 October 2009 in Cologne is linked to the first site. In addition, the headlines of the last articles of the IACM-Bulletin are presented on the main page.
More at:
www.cannabis-med.org
Please click on "Journal" and then "Journal of Cannabis"

Economy: Prominent US healthcare fund subscribes for significant equity stake in GW Pharmaceuticals

GW Pharmaceuticals won a significant endorsement for its cannabis-based medicines on 6 August as US investor Great Point Partners bought a multi-million pound stake in the company, sending GW shares sharply higher. The British company, which grows cannabis plants in secret locations for producing its cannabis extract Sativex, said other institutional investors were likely to follow Great Point in taking a stake in the company.

"Apparently Great Point are ... often seen as a fundraising leader so people look at what these guys are doing and end up following," analyst Paul Cuddon told Reuters. Earlier GW said it had raised 11.2 million US Dollars (about 7.9 million EURos) by selling new shares to M&G Investment Management, already its largest institutional shareholder. Great Point, which made an unsolicited request to take a significant stake in GW, is to subscribe for 7.6 million new shares at 78 pence per share (about 6.8 million EURos, about 9.7 million US Dollars). David Kroin, a founder of Great Point, said in a statement: "Great Point has been following GW for some time and has identified it as a compelling investment opportunity, particularly following the recent strong clinical data on Sativex."

More at:
- www.reuters.com/article/americasMergersNews/idUSL616774120090806
- www.gwpharm.com

(Sources: Reuters of 6 August 2009, press release by GW Pharmaceuticals of 6 August 2009)

Science: Weight reduction and stress may influence detection of cannabis use

According to an article in the New Scientist stress or weight reduction might trigger a new increase of THC metabolites in blood, resulting in a positive drug test long after last use of cannabis. THC, once in the body is soon absorbed into fatty tissues. Over the next few days it slowly diffuses back into the blood. Since THC is taken up by fat more readily than it diffuses out, continual intake may result in storage of THC in fat. It has been suggested that stored THC can be released at a later date in situations where the body's fat is rapidly broken down.

Dr. Jonathon Arnold at the University of Sydney, Australia, cites the example of an athlete who swore he hadn't smoked cannabis since months but who had rapidly lost 4 kilograms just before a positive drug test. To investigate whether rapid breakdown of body fat could have been responsible, Arnold and his colleagues investigated this issue in rats. Both a stress hormone and food deprivation increased the concentration of the THC metabolite THC-COOH in blood. Arnold suspects that if THC is taken over a long period of time, sufficient THC levels could build up in body fat to explain abnormally high levels of THC-COOH in people who claim not to have taken the drug recently.

More at:
- www.newscientist.com/article/mg20327205.100-dieting-could-lead-to-a-dieting-lead-to-positive-cannabis-test/articleshow/4877125.cms

(Source: New Scientist of 9 August 2009)

News in brief

USA: Colorado
The number of patients who are allowed to use cannabis for medicinal purposes has increased strongly in recent months in Colorado. The health department said it is receiving nearly 2,000 new applications each month. As of June 2009, the health department had received 8,918 applications, 4,282 of those applications were received between April and June 2009. (Source: Denver Daily News of 4 August 2009)

Science: Osteoporosis
According to animal research at the University of Edinburgh, UK, activation of the CB1 receptor "may exert contrasting effects on the skeleton at different stages in life". While mice without CB1 receptors had increased peak bone mass during their life due to reduced bone resorption, they later developed age-related osteoporosis with reduced bone formation. Scientists noted, that "cannabinoid receptor ligands may be of value therapeutically in enhancing peak bone mass and preventing age-related osteoporosis." (Source: Idris AI, et al. Cell Metab 2009;10(2):139-47.)

Science: Inflammation of the brain
Researchers of Temple University in Philadelphia, USA, demonstrated in experiments with nerve cells that activation of the CB1 receptor reduces the concentration of the pro-inflammatory substance tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) and may protect nerve cells from inflammation following injury or during neurodegenerative diseases. (Source: Zhao P, et al. Neuropharmacology. 2009 Aug 3. [Electronic publication ahead of print])

Science: Expectancy and cannabis use
Research by US scientists showed that the effects of cannabis are much influenced by expectancy of the user. They conducted a study with 20 young cannabis users who smoked either cannabis cigarettes with 2.8 per cent of THC or placebo cigarettes without THC. All participants who were told that they receive THC, but received placebo cigarettes reported that they indeed smoked active cannabis containing THC. Researchers noted, that "both expectancy and pharmacological effects of marijuana can modify smoking behaviour." (Source: Metrik J, et al. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 2009;17(4):217-25.)

UK: Call for legalization
In an article of The Times entitled "Drugs are evil. We should legalise them now" the authors state: "The harm this market causes comes both from its existence and its illegality. And there's only one of those we can tackle." The article continues: "The victims of this lost war are everywhere. There are those who choose to be victims, ... Then there are the collateral victims: those that the junkies rob to fund their habits, ... There are 11,000 dead Mexicans on the front line, ... There are the British and American soldiers killed by weapons bought by opium dollars." (Source: The Times of 31 July 2009)

A glimpse @ the past

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