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IACM-Bulletin of 20 June 2010

USA: Oregon Board of Pharmacy reclassified cannabis as a medicine

In a press release of 16 June the Board of Pharmacy of the State of Oregon said that it officially removed marijuana from the list of "Schedule I Controlled Substances," in accordance with a law passed in August 2009. This law required the removal of cannabis from this list of controlled substances that have a "high abuse potential and no acceptable medical use in the United States."

Although Oregon and 13 other states have adopted medical cannabis laws, cannabis has officially remained a Schedule I substance according to the federal laws, and most states defer to that federal status. Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 cannabis was placed as a Schedule I drug. Several attempts have since been made to reclassify cannabis at the federal level. Besides Oregon further four states - Alaska, Iowa, Montana, and Tennessee - and the District of Columbia have classified cannabis as a therapeutic substance. While such moves are more symbolic than practical, especially in states like Oregon which have allowed the medical use of cannabis, it does tend to reinforce the argument that cannabis has medical value.

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(Sources: Press release of the Oregon Board of Pharmacy of 16 June 2010, Americans for Safe Access of 16 June 2010)

News in brief

USA: Colorado
On 7 June Governor Bill Ritter signed into law two bills regulating the medical use of cannabis. One of the laws creates strict new regulations for distribution centres for cannabis. It requires that dispensaries be licensed at both the state and local levels, and it allows local governments to ban dispensaries and large-scale cannabis-growing operations in their communities. The other law requires doctors to have completed a full assessment of the patient's medical history, to talk with the patient about the medical condition that has caused them to seek cannabis before he recommends its use and to be available for follow-up care. In 2000 the voters of Colorado passed a law legalizing the medical use of cannabis. (Source: Denver Post of 7 June 2010)

Science: Transdermal application
The possibilities of transdermal and intranasal application of cannabidiol (CBD) to rats and guinea pigs was studied at the University of Kentucky, USA. CBD was absorbed intranasally within 10 minutes with a bioavailability of 34-46 per cent. The average steady-state plasma concentration of CBD in guinea pigs after transdermal gel application was 6.3 ng/ml, which was attained at 15.5 hours on average. (Source: Paudel KS, et al. Drug Dev Ind Pharm. 2010 Jun 14. [in press]

Science: Postoperative pain
According to animal research at the Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire, USA, endocannabinoid signalling via cannabinoid receptors is necessary for the limitation of behavioural hypersensitivity and pro-inflammatory signalling in astrocytes following surgical insult. Authors suggested "that therapeutic strategies designed to enhance endocannabinoid signalling may prevent patients from developing persistent or chronic pain states following surgery." (Source: Alkaitis MS, et al. PLoS One 2010;5(5):e10891.)

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