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IACM-Bulletin of 10 February 2013

Science/Human: Cannabis use not associated with statistically increased risk of mortality in patients, who have survived a heart attack

In a clinical study with 17 patients, who suffered from sleep apnoea, which is defined as pauses in breathing during sleep, THC significantly improved this condition, scientists from the Department of Medicine of the University of Illinois at Chicago, USA, wrote in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry. Patients included in the study presented with an apnoea hypopnoea index (AHI) of at least 15 per hour, which is defined as sleep apnoea of at least moderate intensity. The AHI is an index of sleep apnoea severity. The pauses in breathing must last for at least 10 seconds and are associated with a decrease in blood oxygenation. The starting dose was 2.5 mg THC once daily which was slowly increased until a maximum of 10 mg once daily.

Measurements of apnoea index were performed on nights 7, 14 and 21 of dronabinol treatment. Change in apnoea hypopnoea index was significant in night 21 with a mean reduction of 14 per hour. There were no degradation of sleep architecture or serious adverse events. Scientists concluded that THC at doses of 2.5-10 mg daily is safe and well-tolerated by these patients and "significantly reduces AHI in the short-term." They recommend a larger study in order to identify patients, who may benefit from cannabinoid therapy.

Frost L, Mostofsky E, Rosenbloom JI, Mukamal KJ, Mittleman MA. Marijuana use and long-term mortality among survivors of acute myocardial infarction. Am Heart J 2013;165(2):170-5.

Science/Human: THC reduces sleep apnoea in small clinical study

In a clinical study with 17 patients, who suffered from sleep apnoea, which is defined as pauses in breathing during sleep, THC significantly improved this condition, scientists from the Department of Medicine of the University of Illinois at Chicago, USA, wrote in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry. Patients included in the study presented with an apnoea hypopnoea index (AHI) of at least 15 per hour, which is defined as sleep apnoea of at least moderate intensity. The AHI is an index of sleep apnoea severity. The pauses in breathing must last for at least 10 seconds and are associated with a decrease in blood oxygenation. The starting dose was 2.5 mg THC once daily which was slowly increased until a maximum of 10 mg once daily.

Measurements of apnoea index were performed on nights 7, 14 and 21 of dronabinol treatment. Change in apnoea hypopnoea index was significant in night 21 with a mean reduction of 14 per hour. There were no degradation of sleep architecture or serious adverse events. Scientists concluded that THC at doses of 2.5-10 mg daily is safe and well-tolerated by these patients and "significantly reduces AHI in the short-term." They recommend a larger study in order to identify patients, who may benefit from cannabinoid therapy.

Prasad B, Radulovacki MG, Carley DW. Proof of concept trial of dronabinol in obstructive sleep apnoea. Front Psychiatry 2013;4:1. [in press]

Czech Republic: Parliament approves use of cannabis for medicinal purposes

Parliament's upper house has approved legislation that makes it legal in the Czech Republic to use cannabis for medical treatment. The bill was already approved by the lower house in December. It still needs presidential approval.

The lawmakers agreed in a 67-2 vote on 30 January that cannabis would be imported and later grown locally by registered firms licensed for such activity. Patients will need a prescription from a doctor to get the drug at pharmacies, and treatment will not be covered by health insurance. Patients wouldn't be allowed to grow cannabis at home.

Associated Press of 30 January 2013

News in brief

USA: Conference
Americans for Safe Access will hold the National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference on 22-25 February 2013 in Washington D.C. For more information please visit the Conference Website.

USA: Americans don’t want cannabis users be arrested in states where it is legal
Last November voters in Colorado and Washington legalized cannabis, but the drug remains illegal under federal law. A new poll by Reason Foundation-Rupe finds an overwhelming number of Americans believe people should be free to use, grow and sell cannabis if their states have legalized the drug.
Reason Foundation-Rupe of 30 January 2013

USA: Two Democratic lawmakers seek to decriminalize and tax cannabis
U.S. states would be free to decide how to regulate cannabis just like beer and wine in accordance with federal law under legislation being proposed by two Democratic lawmakers. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Jared Polis of Colorado plan to introduce two bills in the House of Representatives.
Reuters of 5 February 2013

Science/Animal: Local treatment with THC on the eye reduces intraocular pressure
21 dogs received 1 drop of an olive oil solution with 2% THC every 12 hours for nine doses and after seven days without dosing olive oil only. There was a “moderate decrease” of intraocular pressure after THC treatment compared to placebo (olive oil). Scientists wrote that “further research is needed to determine efficacy in dogs with glaucoma.”
College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA.
Fischer KM et al Am J Vet Res, 2013;74(2):275-80.

Science/Animal: Cannabidiol (CBD) increases sleep time in rats
The natural plant cannabinoid CBD increased total sleep time and increased sleep latency, the time needed to fall asleep, in the light period of the day in rats. In the animals that received the highest dose the phase of deepest sleep (so-called slow-wave sleep) was increased.
Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo, Brazil.
Chagas MH, et al. J Psychopharmacol. 2013 Jan 23. [in press]

Science/Human: Cannabis users presented with high scores of openness to experience and extraversion
In a study with different groups of drug addicts cannabis users presented with high scores of verbal creativity and achieved the highest scores with respect to openness to experience and extraversion.
Institute for Psychology, Karl-Franzens-University Graz, Austria.
Bliem B et al. Neuropsychiatr. 2013 Jan 29. [in press]

Science/Human: Cannabis smoking increases risk of caries
In a study with 66,941 adolescents tobacco and cannabis smoking negatively affected caries risk.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Dental Medicine, USA.
Ditmyer M, et al. J Adolesc Health. 2013 Jan 23. [in press]

Science/Animal: Antagonism at the CB1 receptor increased microcirculation in the bowel
Inhibition of the CB1 receptor by a synthetic CB1 receptor antagonist improved microcirculation in the bowel in experimental endotoxemia (the presence of certain toxins in the blood), which can lead to septic shock. Scientists concluded that “drugs targeting the CB1R may have therapeutic potential in systemic inflammation, such as sepsis.”
Department of Pharmacology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.
Kianian M, et al. Clin Hemorheol Microcirc. 2013 Jan 18. [in press]

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