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IACM-Bulletin of 24 October 2010

USA: South Dakota may become the 15th state in the US to legalise the medical use of cannabis in November

In 2006 South Dakota was the first state in the USA where a voter's initiative for the legalisation of the medical use of cannabis was defeated. In the upcoming elections of 2 November a new referendum has a much better chance to convince the majority of the citizens of South Dakota. The new initiative was designed to address the concerns of people that cannabis may get into the hands of people who just want to use it recreationally.

If the referendum succeeds it would make South Dakota one of the states with the most restrictive laws on the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. It would limit the access to patients with a list of specific illnesses and conditions. It requires that patients be in a "bona fide relationship" with the recommending physician and installs a state registry and identity card system. Patients would be limited to possess up to one ounce (about 28 grams) of cannabis and six plants. They would be able to designate one caregiver and each caregiver would be able to grow for no more than five patients.

(Source: Drug War Chronicle of 20 October 2010)

News in brief

Science: Hyperactivity disorder
At the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, USA, 38 patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and cannabis dependence were treated either with atomoxetine or placebo for 12 weeks. Treated patients had some improvement in a scale on clinical gobal impression. There were however no effects on self-rated ADHD symptoms by patients and cannabis use. Atomoxetine is available in many countries for the treatment of ADHD. (Source: McRae-Clark AL, et al. Am J Addict 2010;19(6):481-9.)

Science: Damage of the retina in diabetes
Scientists at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, USA, suggested that the natural cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) may be a useful novel treatment option for the damage of the retina in diabetes (diabetic retinopathy). (Source: Liou G, et al. Curr Pharmacogenomics Person Med 2009;7(3):215-222.)

Science: Gateway theory
The gateway theory says that people who use cannabis are more likely to use other and stronger illegal drugs. Following 1,286 young adults researchers of the University of New Hampshire, USA, found out that "this association fades from statistical significance with adjustments for stress and life-course variables." In other words they did not find any support for the gateway theory. (Source: Van Gundy K, Rebellon CJ. J Health Soc Behav 2010;51(3):244-59.)

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