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IACM-Bulletin of 09 October 2011

Science: Cannabis improves symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder in an observational study

According to an observational study by scientists of MaReNa Diagnostic and Consulting Center in Bat-Yam, Israel, presented at the Cannabinoid Conference 2011 in Bonn, Germany, the use of cannabis may improve symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. As a part of their routine consulting work, they assessed the mental condition of 79 adult PTSD patients, who applied to the Ministry of Health in order to obtain a license for the medical use of cannabis. Only part of them (about 50 per cent) got cannabis licenses and constitutes the study group. They were followed for a period of about two years.

The majority of PTSD patients also used conventional medications, prescribed by their treating physicians. The cannabis daily dosage was about 2-3 grams per day. In most cases a significant improvement in quality of life and pain, with some positive changes in severity of posttraumatic stress disorder was observed. The patients reported a discontinuation or lowering of the dosage of pain killers and sedatives. The majority of improved PTSD patients belonged to groups with either additional pain and/or depression. Researchers concluded that "results show good tolerability and other benefits (…) particularly, in the patients with either pain and/or depression comorbidity."

More abstracts:
Abstract book of the Cannabinoid Conference 2011:
- www.cannabis-med.org
- www.cannabis-med.org/meeting/Bonn2011/abstractbook.pdf

(Source: Reznik I. Medical cannabis use in post-traumatic stress disorder: a naturalistic observational study. Abstract presented at the Cannabinoid Conference 2011, 8-10 September, Bonn, Germany.)

News in brief

USA: Rhode Island
State-run medical cannabis dispensaries will not be coming to Rhode Island after Governor Lincoln Chafee scrapped the plan for fear it was illegal under federal law. Chafee, who had earlier vowed support for the measure, said he decided the state's planned dispensaries could violate federal law and become a target of federal law enforcement efforts. Before his reversal, Chafee had hoped to implement a 2009 state law allowing cannabis distribution through three state-run, so-called "compassion centers." (Source: Reuters of 30 September 2011)

Holland: Coffee shops
Foreign tourists have been banned from cannabis-selling coffee shops in the Dutch border city of Maastricht. According to the BBC the ban does not apply to visitors from Belgium or Germany, who make up the majority of foreign clients. There are about 700 cannabis-selling coffee shops throughout the Netherlands. (Source: BBC News of 1 October 2011)

Science: Cannabis and accident risk
According to a meta-analysis of 9 epidemiological studies published in English in the past 20 years on cannabis use and crash risk, the relative risk reported in the studies ranged from 0.85 to 7.16, resulting in a summary odds ratio of 2.66, by far less than with alcohol. (Source: Li MC, et al. Epidemiol Rev. 2011 Oct 4. [in press])

Science: CBDA
According to research at the University of Bradford, UK, cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) exert similar effects on the readiness for contractions of the gastrointestinal tract of Suncus murinus (musk shrew). In electrically stimulated tissues CBDA inhibited contractions induced by lower frequencies, while CBD inhibited contractions induced by higher frequencies. These effects were independent of cannabinoid receptors. CBDA is the precursor of CBD in the plant. (Source: Cluny NL, et al. Arch Pharm Res 2011;34(9):1509-17.)

Science: Placebo analgesia
According to research at the University of Turin, Italy, both opioid receptors and the CB1 receptor are involved in pain reduction caused by placebos. Researchers concluded from their investigations that "the endocannabinoid system has a pivotal role in placebo analgesia in some circumstances when the opioid system is not involved." (Source: Benedetti F, et al. Nat Med. 2011 Oct 2. [in press])

Science: Ischemia
According to research at King Faisal University in Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia, cannabidiol (CBD) prevented the liver from damage caused by reduced blood perfusion (ischemia). Researchers concluded that cannabidiol represents a potential therapeutic option to protect the liver against injury caused by transient reduced supply with oxygen. (Source: Fouad AA, Jresat I. EUR J Pharmacol. 2011 Sep 14. [in press])

Science: Pain
Scientists at Lanzhou University, China, investigated the interaction between neuropeptide FF receptors and the endocannabinoid system. Their animal research indicates that activation of central neuropeptide FF receptors increases cannabinoid-mediated central and peripheral pain reduction. They concluded that "the present work may pave the way for a new strategy of using combination treatment of cannabinoid and NPFF agonists for pain management." (Source: Fang Q, et al. Neuropharmacology. 2011 Sep 19. [in press])

Science: Panic
According to research at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, anandamide probably exerts both panicolytic (panic reducing) and panicogenic (panic causing) effects via its opposite actions at CB1 receptors and vanilloid receptors. (Source: Casarotto PC, et al. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011 Sep 21. [in press])

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