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IACM-Bulletin of 20 April 2014

Science/Human: Cannabis reduces symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in an open study

Cannabis is associated with reductions in symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in some patients. This is the result of a chart review of 80 patients with PTSD using cannabis according to the medical cannabis law of New Mexico. This analysis is published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs by Dr. George Greer from Santa Fe and collegues from the University of California in Los Angeles and San Diego. New Mexico was the first state to accept PTSD as a condition for the use of medical cannabis.

The purpose of the study was to statistically analyze data on PTSD symptoms in patients applying to the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program from 2009 to 2011. The Clinician Administered Posttraumatic Scale for DSM-IV (CAPS) was administered. Greater than 75% reduction in CAPS symptom scores were reported when patients were using cannabis compared to when they were not.

Greer GR, Grob GS, Halberstadt AL. PTSD symptom reports of patients evaluated for the New Mexico medical cannabis program. J Psychoactive Drugs 2014;46(1):73-7.

Guatemala: President intends to legalize the production of cannabis and opium

Guatemala could present a plan to legalize production of cannabis and opium poppies towards the end of 2014 as it seeks ways to curb the power of organized crime, President Otto Perez said on 2 April. Perez, a conservative retired general who broke ranks with the United States by proposing drug legalization shortly after he took office at the start of 2012, has yet to put forward a concrete plan on how it could be done.

A government commission has been studying the proposal, and Perez told Reuters in an interview that he expected the recommendations to be published around October and that measures could be presented at the end of the year. Those measures could include an initiative for Congress to legalize drugs, in particular cannabis, he said. "The other thing we're exploring ... is the legalization of the poppy plantations on the border with Mexico, so they're controlled and sold for medicinal ends," Perez said. Guatemala is one of the most violent countries in America and has suffered from incursions by violent Mexican drug cartels in recent years.

Reuters of 2 April 2014

News in brief

USA: Maryland approves bill to reduce cannabis penalties
The Democratic-controlled Maryland legislature approved a measure to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis. The state Senate approved the measure making possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis a civil offense. Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley said he would sign it.
Reuters of 7 April 2014

Science/Animal: Cannabinoid receptor antagonists may be neuroprotective in Parkinson’s disease
The CB1 receptor antagonist rimonabant was neuroprotective in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease. The results “suggest that glial cells might be involved in this protective effect,” authors wrote. Glial cells are cells, which provide support and protection for nerve cells in the brain and peripheral nervous system.
Laboratory of Functional Neurochemistry, C. Mondino National Neurological Institute, Pavia, Italy.
Cerri S, et al. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2014 Apr 4. [in press]

Science/Animal: Increase of anandamide concentration reduces pain
In several animal models the increase of anandamide concentrations in the brain by inhibition of FABPs (fatty acid binding proteins) reduced pain. FABPs deliver anandamide to FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase), which breaks down this endocannabinoid.
Department of Anesthesiology, Stony Brook University, New York, USA.
Kaczocha M, et al. PLoS One 2014;9(4):e94200.

Science/Cells: A cannabinoid receptor antagonist reduces replication of hepatitis C virus
Experiments with liver cells show that a treatment with a CB1 receptor antagonist improved glucose metabolism disorders and inhibited replication of the hepatitis C virus. Activation of the endocannabinoid system increased replication of the hepatitis C virus.
Department of Infectious Diseases, Second Affiliated Hospital, Harbin Medical University, China.
Sun LJ, et al. Int J Infect Dis. 2014 Apr 2. [in press]

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