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IACM-Bulletin of 13 January 2013

Science/Animal: It may not be a good idea to combine cannabinoids and cortisol to treat inflammation

The combined administration of cannabinoids that activate the CB2 receptor together with glucocorticoids such as cortisol is less effective in the reduction of inflammation than each substance alone. This is the result of basic research conducted by researchers of the Department of Biomedical Sciences of the University of Teramo, Italy. However, it is not yet clear how these results translate to a treatment in humans. The cannabis compound THC activates both the CB1 and the CB2 cannabinoid receptor.

Endocannabinoids and glucocorticoids are two distinct classes of signaling molecules that exert both neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. Researchers investigated the possibility of an interaction of their receptors (cannabinoid-2 receptor and glucocorticoid receptor alpha). They demonstrated that the concomitant activation of CB2 and glucocorticoid receptors abolished the neuroprotective effects induced by each receptor on brain nerve cells and on glial cells in animals. They also showed that the ability of endocannabinoids and glucocorticoids, used individually, to inhibit the production of mediators of inflammation (tumour necrosis factor-alpha and interferon-gamma) from activated human white blood cells (T lymphocytes) is lost when both receptors are activated simultaneously. Researcher concluded that their study demonstrates for the first time the existence of a “negative cross-talk” between endocannabinoids and glucocorticoids.

Bisicchia E, Chiurchiů V, Viscomi MT, Latini L, Fezza F, Battistini L, Maccarrone M, Molinari M. Activation of type-2 cannabinoid receptor inhibits neuroprotective and antiinflammatory actions of glucocorticoid receptor α: when one is better than two. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2013 Jan 8. [in press]

News in brief

USA: The state of California earns 105 million dollars as sales taxes from cannabis dispensaries
The state Board of Equalization in its most recent analysis from 2009 estimated medical cannabis dispensaries ring up sales of 1.3 billion dollars (about 1 billion EURos) a year and pay sales taxes of 105 million dollars (about 80 million EURos).
Reuters from 30 December 2012

USA: Colorado gets the first clubs for legal cannabis use
Two Colorado cannabis clubs are believed to be the first legal cannabis clubs in the USA . Colorado's cannabis law prohibits public consumption. The owner of one of the clubs said the cannabis club would meet monthly at different locations.
Associated Press from 1 January 2013

Europe: Drug use not influenced by legal status
In a representative survey with 15,191 adolescents aged 15-24 years from different EURopean countries the legal status had no effect on drug use. Authors concluded that “eliminating punishments for possession for personal use is not associated with higher drug use.”
Department of Sociology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, USA.
Vuolo M. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 Jan 5. [in press]

Science/Human: Venlafaxine not effective in reducing cannabis use
The anti-depressant venlafaxine was not effective in reducing cannabis use in a placebo-controlled study with 103 regular cannabis users, who suffered from depression. The proportion of patients achieving abstinence was low overall, but was significantly worse on venlafaxine (12%) compared to placebo (37%).
New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, USA.
Levin FR, et al. Addiction. 2013 Jan 8. [in press]

Science/Animal: CB2 agonists may prevent dialysis-induced peritoneal fibrosis
In a rat modell of dialysis-induced peritoneal fibrosis the administration of a cannabinoid, which activates the cannabinoid-2 receptor, and a blocker of the cannabinoid-1 receptor prevented the fibrosis. The peritoneum is the membrane that forms the lining of the abdominal cavity and covers most of the organs in the belly.
Division of Nephrology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan.
Yang CY, et al. Am J Nephrol 2013;37(1):50-58.

Science/Human: Cannabis use was associated with an early age of psychosis onset
In a study with 311 psychotic patients, who agreed to be interviewed on drug and alcohol use, 19% used cannabis. Cannabis use was not associated with a higher level of positive symptoms, but correlated with less severe depressive symptoms. Patients who used cannabis had an earlier age of onset than abstinent patients.
Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Section of Psychiatry, University of Verona, Italy.
Tosato S, et al. J Psychiatr Res. 2013 Jan 3. [in press]

Science/Human: Most family physicians from Colorado had reservations with regard to medical cannabis
In an anonymous web-based electronic survey to the 1727 members of the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians, 520 responded. Of these, 46% did not support physicians recommending medical cannabis and 19% thought that physicians should recommend it. A minority thought that cannabis conferred significant benefits to physical (27%) and mental (15%) health. Most agreed that cannabis poses serious mental (64%) and physical (61%) health risks.
St. Anthony North Family Medicine Residency, Westminster, USA.
Kondrad E, Reid A. J Am Board Fam Med 2013;26(1):52-60.

Science/Animal: Peripheral analgesia by cannabinoids is mediated by activation of the noradrenergic system
Rats, which received the endocannabinoid anandamide injected into their paws, presented with reduced pain perception by the activation of CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. This in turn activated the release of noradrenaline, which induced analgesia.
Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Biological Sciences, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Romero TR, et al. Anesth Analg. 2013 Jan 9. [in press]

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