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IACM-Bulletin of 30 June 2013

Science/Animal: THC blocks bleeding and inflammation of the stomach caused by painkillers such as diclofenac

Moderate doses of THC are able to reduce bleeding and inflammation of the stomach caused by NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). This is the result of studies with mice conducted by researchers of the Department of Psychology of West Virginia University in Morgantown, USA. The mice were fasted, administered THC (oral or injected into the belly), and then treated with the NSAID diclofenac, which induces gastric damage.

THC dose-dependently attenuated diclofenac-induced gastric bleeding through both routes of administration. THC was effective at low doses, which did not cause locomotor immobility, analgesia and catalepsy. Authors concluded that “these data indicate that the phytocannabinoid delta-9-THC protects against diclofenac-induced gastric inflammatory tissue damage at doses insufficient to cause common cannabinoid side effects.”

Kinsey SG, Cole EC. Acute Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol blocks gastric haemorrhages induced by the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac sodium in mice. EUR J Pharmacol. 2013 Jun 11. pii: S0014-2999(13)00461-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2013.06.001. [in press]

Ecuador: A new law allows the possession of small drug amounts

Citizens of Ecuador may carry cannabis, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy or amphetamines in small amounts with them without penalty. The Health Ministry set the limits at 10 grams of cannabis, 2 grams of crack cocaine, 1 gram of cocaine, 0.01 grams of heroin, 0.01 grams of ecstasy and 0.04 grams of amphetamines. This is based on a report by the Ministry with a “technical analysis of toxicity, psychological studies, biological and other necessary information on narcotics and psychotropic substances for personal consumption.”

The state attorney general, Diego Garcia, said on 20 June that "the law allows consumption and considers it as not criminal, but that cultivation, trafficking and sale of either small or high amounts remains illegal." He added that "we must start from a clear recognition that in Ecuador, according to the Constitution (Article 364), we do not criminalize drug use. We consider it as a health problem and not a crime."

Associated Press of 21 June 2013

News in brief

Science/Human: Medical cannabis laws in the USA have no effect on cannabis use by adolescents
Researchers investigated the effect of medical cannabis laws in Montana, Rhode Island, Michigan, and Delaware on cannabis use by adolescents and found no effect. They wrote that the laws “have not measurably affected adolescent marijuana use in the first few years after their enactment.”
Department of Health Outcomes and Policy and the Institute for Child Health Policy, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA.
Lynne-Landsman SD, et al. Am J Public Health. 2013 Jun 13. [in press]

USA: Cannabis dispensaries allowed in Nevada
After 13 years of waiting, medical cannabis patients in Nevada will soon have a legal way to obtain the drug without growing it themselves after Governor Brian Sandoval signed the law. It also contains provisions to continue to allow home-growing until 2016. Nevadans voted to legalize medical cannabis in 2000. Nevada becomes the 14th state to legalize medical cannabis dispensaries.
Las Vegas Sun of 12 June 2013.

Science/Human: Cannabis use associated with depression
In a review of 14 studies, which have investigated an association with cannabis use and depression, there was a slightly increased risk of 17% for all cannabis users and of 62% for heavy users. It is unclear from the data, if cannabis use causes depression, or whether people treat their depression on their own or whether there are other reasons for this association. Authors concluded that “there is need for further longitudinal exploration of the association between cannabis use and developing depression, particularly taking into account cumulative exposure to cannabis and potentially significant confounding factors.”
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada.
Lev-Ran S, et al. Psychol Med. 2013 Jun 24:1-14. [in press]

Science/Human: Physically active subjects have higher levels of FAAH in white blood cells
Eight physically active healthy subjects had higher levels of FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase), the enzyme, which degrades the endocannabinoid anandamide, in their lymphocytes than 8 non-active persons. They had also higher levels of IL-6 (interleukin 6), which plays a role in inflammation and fighting infection. Researchers found that IL-6 enhances FAAH activity and thus modulates endocannabinoid concentrations in physically active people.
Tor Vergata University of Rome, Italy, and several other institutions.
Gasperi V, et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Jun 20. [in press]

Science/Animal: CBD may help in disturbed muscle tension
In studies with mice the natural cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) attenuated catalepsy, characterized by muscular rigidity and fixity of posture. Catalepsy was caused by the anti-psychotic drug haloperidol, by L-nitro-N-arginine (L-NOARG) or by the synthetic cannabinoid
WIN55,212-2, which acts similar to THC. Researchers noted that “these findings indicate that CBD can attenuate catalepsy caused by different mechanisms (…) via 5-HT1A receptors activation, suggesting that it could be useful in the treatment of striatal disorders.” Among these disorders are Parkinson’s disease and dyskinesias.
Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Brazil.
Gomes FV, et al. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2013 Jun 19. [in press]

Science/Cells: Cannabinoid effective against cancer cells of the stomach resistant to a common anti-cancer drug
The synthetic cannabinoid WIN55,212-2 killed gastric cancer cells, which were resistant to fluorouracil, the main chemotherapeutic drug used for gastrointestinal cancers. Scientists concluded that “these results indicate that a cannabinoid agonist may, indeed, be an alternative chemotherapeutic agent for 5-FU-resistant gastric cancer.”
Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea.
Xian XS, et al. Anticancer Res. 2013;33(6):2541-7.

Science/Human: The association of suicide with the use of several drugs
Data from 73,183 high school students were analysed. Among the ten substances, the analysis demonstrated that heroin use had the strongest association with suicidal ideation, suicide plan, suicide attempts and severe suicide attempts in the last year, followed by users of methamphetamines and steroids. Cocaine, ecstasy and hallucinogens had a moderate association with suicidality. Users of cannabis, alcohol and tobacco also had an increased risk of suicidality. This does not mean that these substances favour suicide, but they are an indicator of increased suicide risk.
Stanford University School of Medicine, USA.
Wong SS, et al. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2013 Jun 7. [in press]

Science/Human: Enlarged heart associated with activation of the endocannabinoid system
In patients with myocardial hypertrophy (enlarged heart) due to stenosis of the aorta the concentration of the endocannabinoid anandamide was increased. Authors wrote that their “study shows for the first time activation of the endocannabinoid system and predominant expression of its receptor CB2 on cardiomyocytes [heart cells] being associated with persistent inflammation (…) in hypertrophic myocardium of patients with aortic stenosis.”
Department of Cardiac Surgery, University Clinical Centre Bonn, Germany.
Duerr GD, et al. Life Sci. 2013;92(20-21):976-83.

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