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IACM-Bulletin of 06 October 2013

IACM: General Meeting elected Daniela Parolaro as new chairwoman

The General Meeting on 27 September the IACM elected Daniela Parolaro, a professor at the University of Insubria, Italy, as the new chairwoman. Mark Ware from Canada was elected as second chairman and Franjo Grotenhermen from Germany was re-elected as Executive Director. The following Board Members left the board after many years in office: Manuel Guzman (Spain), Ethan Russo (USA), and Rudolf Brenneisen (Switzerland). New members of the board are Donald Abrams (USA), Jahan Marcu (USA), and Ilya Reznik (Israel). In addition, the following members were re-elected: Arno Hazekamp (The Netherlands), Roger Pertwee (UK), Willy Notcutt (UK), and Kirsten Müller-Vahl (Germany). The patient representatives Michael Krawitz (USA), Alison Myrden (Canada), and Sarah Martin (UK) were re-elected.

The General Meeting decided to set the membership fee at 60 EURos for working members and 30 EURos non-working members. At the 2011 Meeting members had decided on a 2-year trial of letting members choose their membership fees. Before 2011 working members could either pay 60 EURos or 60 US-dollars and non-working members 30 EURos or 30 US-dollars. Every member is invited to make an additional donation according to his or her possibility. The membership of the US company Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, which will pay 5000 US-dollars annually, received high recognition by members.

The Board of Directors discussed several measures to increase attractiveness of a membership in the IACM, including the set-up of mailing lists for scientists and patients for a high-level exchange of information and discussion of issues related to the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids between members.

IACM: The Conference on Cannabinoids in Medicine 2013 in Cologne

About 130 scientists, doctors, students and others mainly from EURope participated in the IACM Cannabinoid Conference 2013 in Cologne on 27-28 September, with excellent talks, lively discussions, good food in a cordial atmosphere. The talks were recorded and will be made available on the IACM website within some weeks or months for IACM members.

The IACM honoured four persons for special achievements regarding the re-introduction of cannabis and cannabinoids as medicine. The IACM award committee, consisting of previous awardees, made the following decisions: The IACM Award 2013 for Clinical Research goes to Philip Robson, the IACM Ester Fride Award 2013 goes to Vincenzo Di Marzo, the IACM Award 2013 for Young Researchers goes to Tibor Harkany, and the IACM Special Award 2013 goes to Roger Pertwee. The IACM Awards are associated with a prize money of 500 EURos.

The sponsors of the meeting contributed to a large extent to its success. There was sponsoring from Bedrocan, Bionorica Ethics, Almirall Hermal, Fundacion Canna, THC Pharm, Phytoplant Research, Paradise Seeds and Terra Energetika.

Abstracts on the talks and posters are available in the abstract book on the Conference Website

Canada: Start of a new programme for the medical use of cannabis

On 1 October Canada started with a controlled medical cannabis industry that is expected to grow to more than 1 billion Canadian dollars within 10 years. But even as the new system privatizes distribution, critics fear regulation under the conservative-led government will make it harder for patients to get access to the drug.

In Canada, medical cannabis has been legal but highly regulated for more than a decade. Patients with doctor approval could grow or have someone else grow small quantities or buy limited amounts from the Health Ministry. But the conservative-led government voted earlier this year to effectively scrap that system in favour of a private—but also strictly regulated—system. The Health Ministry (Health Canada) will phase out the current system, under which it sells registered users cannabis grown by Prairie Plant Systems, by the end of March. Instead, starting on 1 October, medical cannabis users, or aspiring users, can send in an application directly to sanctioned corporate producers, along with a doctor’s note.

Time Magazine of 2 October 2013

Science/Human: THC effective in the treatment of nausea and vomiting in end-stage cancer

THC may be very effective in the treatment of nausea and vomiting in end-stage cancer, which does not respond to other medication, researchers of the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa, USA, reported based on a case report. Nausea and vomiting are common and often highly distressing symptoms in advanced cancer and in hospice and palliative medicine practice. Up to 7% of patients have refractory symptoms.

THC is extensively studied for chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting, but there are only a few case reports of its use in nausea and vomiting unrelated to chemotherapy. Researchers reported a patient with end-stage ovarian cancer with peritoneal carcinomatosis and refractory nausea and vomiting who responded dramatically to addition of dronabinol (THC).

Hernandez SL, Sheyner I, Stover KT, Stewart JT. Dronabinol Treatment of Refractory Nausea and Vomiting Related to Peritoneal Carcinomatosis. Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2013 Sep 19. [in press]

News in brief

Science/Animal: The intake of linoleic acid increases the levels of endocannabinoids
In studies with mice the intake of linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, increases the levels of the endocannabinoids 2-AG and anandamide and increased weight. Researchers concluded that a diet high in linoleic acid may promote weight gain.
National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research, Bergen, Norway.
Alvheim AR, et al. Lipids. 2013 Oct 1. [in press]

Science/Cells: Certain medicinal drugs may influence the excretion of THC-COOH
From cell experiments researches concluded that “taking of remedies affecting enterohepatic recycling of THC-COOH and its glucuronide may challenge interpretation of cannabinoid concentrations used to detect or assess frequency of drug use or the time since last drug consumption.”
Institute of Legal and Traffic Medicine, University Hospital, Heidelberg, Germany.
Skopp G, et al. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2013 Sep 29. [in press]

Science/Animal: Compound in curry influences the activity of CB1 receptors in the liver
Antagonism of hepatic CB1 receptors could be novel therapeutic strategies for liver fibrosis. New research demonstrates that curcumin, a compound of curry, reduced the activity of the CB1 receptor but increased that of CB2. Antagonists at the CB1 receptor mimicked and reinforced the curcumin effects. Scientists concluded that “our current studies revealed that curcumin reduction of liver fibrosis was associated with modulation of CBRs system and that antagonism of CBR1 contributed” to the effects of curcumin.
College of Pharmacy, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, China.
Zhang Z, et al. EUR J Pharmacol. 2013 Sep 26. [in press]

Science/Cells: CBD may adversely affect the placenta during pregnancy
According to cell experiments CBD (cannabidiol) may influence the function of certain proteins, which play a role in the normal function of the placenta. Authors concluded that the use of CBD during pregnancy “may reduce placental protective functions and change its morphological and physiological characteristics.”
Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmacology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.
Feinshtein V, et al. PeerJ. 2013 Sep 12;1:e153 [in press]

Science/Animal: Beta-caryophyllene reduces pain by influencing the opioid and endocannabinoid systems
Trans-caryophyllene (beta-caryophyllene) is an essential oil present in many plants, such as pepper, rosemary, oregano and cannabis. Research demonstrates that “trans-caryophyllene reduced both acute and chronic pain in mice, which may be mediated through the opioid and endocannabinoid systems.”
Departamento de Psicobiologia, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brazil.
Paula-Freire LI, et al. Phytomedicine. 2013 Sep 19. [in press]

Science: Cannabinoids and other medicinal drugs influence activity of enzymes due to effects on the DNA
In a review researchers wrote that “evidence increases that common drugs such as opioids, cannabinoids, valproic acid, or cytostatics may induce alterations in DNA methylation patterns or histone conformations.” These effects may influence the activity of certain parts of the DNA and hence the production of proteins in the cells. They added that “these epigenetic effects add to wanted and unwanted drug effects.”
Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Lötsch J, et al. Trends Mol Med. 2013 Sep 17. [in press]

Science/Animal: 2-AG is involved in impairment of memory in patients with schizophrenia
The regulation of information between cells by the endocannabinoid 2-AG is impaired by the prolonged elevation of neuregulin-1. This elevation is observed in many patients with schizophrenia. A new study provides “novel insights into potential schizophrenic therapeutics that target the endocannabinoid system.”
Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, USA.
Du H, et al. J Neurosci 2013;33(38):15022-31.

Science/Human: THC may be present in breath of cannabis users up to 2 hours after smoking
In a study with 24 cannabis smokers THC was detectable in breath after smoking a cannabis cigarette. Among the 13 regular smokers, all breath samples were positive for THC at 0.89 h, 76.9% at 1.38 h, and 53.8% at 2.38 h, and only 1 sample was positive at 4.2 h after smoking. Among the 11 occasional smokers, 90.9% of breath samples were THC-positive at 0.95 h and 63.6% at 1.49 h. Scientists wrote that “breath may offer an alternative matrix for testing for recent driving under the influence of cannabis, but is limited to a short detection window (0.5-2 h).”
National Institute on Drug Abuse, Baltimore, USA.
Himes SK, et al. Clin Chem. 2013 Sep 17. [in press]

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