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IACM-Bulletin of 18 May 2014

World: Nobel-prize winning economists urge end to 'war on drugs'

Global efforts to thwart the drugs trade have failed and the time has come for a radical rethink, according to a group of Nobel-prize winning economists, a former U.S secretary of state, the vice prime minister of Britain and others. "It is time to end the ‘war on drugs’ and massively redirect resources toward effective evidence-based policies underpinned by rigorous economic analysis," the group said in a foreword to a new academic report on global anti-drugs policies.

Citing mass drug-related incarceration in the United States, corruption and violence in developing countries and an HIV epidemic in Russia, the group urged the United Nations to drop its "repressive, one-size-fits-all approach" to tackling drugs. Signatories of the text included five Nobel-prize winning economists - among them Kenneth Arrow, Christopher Pissarides and Thomas Schelling - as well as former U.S secretary of state George Schultz, British vice prime minister Nick Clegg and Javier Solana, a former EURopean Union foreign policy chief.

Reuter of 5 May 2014

News in brief

Germany: Session on CBD at the EIHA Conference
During this year’s annual meeting of the EIHA (European Industrial Hemp Association) near Cologne on 21-22 May 2014 there will be a session on “Pharmaceutical applications of Cannabidiol (CBD)". Speakers are Franjo Grotenhermen (nova-Institut, Germany), James Brodie (GW Pharmaceuticals, UK), Holger Rönitz (THC Pharm, Germany), Tjalling Erkelens (Bedrocan, The Netherlands), and Gianpaolo Grassi (CRA-CIN, Italy).
EIHA Conference

Italy: Puglia Conference on Cannabis and Cannabinoids in Medicine
The Medical Cannabis Association "LapianTiamo" presents the first "Puglia Cannabis Conference" on Cannabis and Cannabinoids in Medicine on 24 May. It is organised together with the Regione Puglia, the Municipality of Racale and the University of Salento.
Among the speakers are Rudolf Brenneisen, Cristina Sanchez, Maurizio Inghilleri, and Giuseppe Meco
Puglia Conference on Cannabis and Cannabinoids in Medicine

USA: The federal government increases the amount of cannabis available for research
The federal government just ordered all the cannabis it wants. The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a new rule that increases the U.S. government's production quota for medical cannabis from an annual 21 kg to 650 kg.
Huffington Post of 5 May 2014

Uruguay: Legal cannabis will be good and cheap
Uruguayans will be allowed to buy enough cannabis to roll about 20 cannabis cigarettes a week at a price well below the black market rate, the government said as it detailed a new law legalizing the cannabis trade.
Reuters of 7 May 2014

Tunisia: Cannabis law too harsh, prime minister says
Tunisia’s prime minister has backed a reform of the country’s harsh penalties for cannabis possession, calling it “out of sync” with current times. In a press conference, Mehdi Jomaa promised to “amend the law to adapt it to the new reality” in society.
Washington Post of 15 May 2014

Science/Human: THC more often found in fatally injured drivers in Colorado after start of the medical cannabis law in 2009
Scientists analysed fatal traffic crashes from 1994 to 2011. In Colorado, since mid-2009 when medical cannabis became commercially available and prevalent, there was a doubling of drivers with THC in their blood. No significant changes were seen in the proportion of drivers in a fatal motor vehicle crash who were alcohol-impaired.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado, Aurora, USA.
Salomonsen-Sautel S, et al. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 Apr 23. [in press]

Science/Human: No relevant effect of legal status on cannabis use
According to a new study by Australian and Norwegian scientists the legal status of cannabis has no major effect on cannabis use. However, there is some impact on young people who have a higher rate of uptake in the first five years following legalization, which normalises thereafter.
Department of Economics, University of Melbourne, Australia.
Williams J, et al. J Health Econ. 2014 Mar 28;36C:20-32.[in press]

Science/Animal: Anandamide reduces side effects of antipsychotics on movement
In a rat model of tardive dyskinesia the endocannabinoid anandamide reversed vacuous chewing movements (VCM) induced by haloperidol, a neuroleptic used for the treatment of psychosis. Antipsychotics may cause tardive dyskinesia, a difficult to treat movement disorder, in humans. Authors wrote that “CB1 receptors may prevent haloperidol-induced VCMs in rats.”
Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Brazil.
Röpke J, et al. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2014 Apr 18. [in press]

Science/Human: CB1 receptor availability in the amygdala associated with trauma-related symptoms
Trauma-related psychopathology is comprised of threat (for example re-experiencing, avoidance, and hyper arousal) and loss (for example, depression, generalized anxiety). Results of a new study revealed that increased CB1 receptor availability in the amygdala, a certain brain region, was associated with increased threat. Greater peripheral anandamide levels were associated with decreased threat. Authors noted that “novel pharmacotherapies that target the CB1 system may provide a more focused, mechanism-based approach to mitigating this core aspect of trauma-related psychopathology.”
National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, USA.
Pietrzak RH, et al. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2014 May 13. [in press]

Science/Animal: Activation of CB2 receptors attenuates brain oedema
Cannabinoid-2 receptor stimulation attenuated brain oedema by reducing cerebral leukocyte infiltration, if the oedema was caused by bleeding into the space between brain and skull in rats.
Department of Physiology, Loma Linda University, USA.
Fujii M, et al. J Neurol Sci. 2014 Apr 30.
[in press]

Science/Animal: Palmitoylethanolamide may be beneficial in irritable bowel syndrome
The endocannabinoid palmitoylethanolamide counteracted the accelerated transit in a mouse model of irritable bowel syndrome, the effect being mediated by CB1 receptors possibly via increased anandamide levels and modulated by vanilloid receptors.
Department of Pharmacy, University of Naples Federico II, Italy.
Capasso R, et al. Br J Pharmacol. 2014 May 12. [in press]

Science/Human: THC compromises smell
In a study with 15 healthy subjects THC impaired the subjects' performance in a test on smell.
Thresholds for smell were increased and odour discrimination performance was reduced.
Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Walter C, et al. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2014 May 6. [in press]

Science/Animal: CBD increases adenosine concentration in the nucleus accumbens of the brain
Injection of CBD into the hypothalamus of the brain increased the levels of adenosine collected from nucleus accumbens, a certain brain region. Authors noted that these findings suggest that CBD promotes the endogenous accumulation of adenosine. Adenosine plays an important role in several biochemical processes.
Escuela de Medicina, División Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Anáhuac Mayab, Mérida, Mexico.
Mijangos-Moreno S, et al. Neurosci Res. 2014 May 4. [in press]

Science/Human: Cannabis reduces cognition in patients with multiple sclerosis
A clinical study was conducted in 20 subjects with multiple sclerosis who smoked cannabis and 19 non-cannabis users with MS to test cognitive performance. The cannabis group performed more poorly on a few demanding tests. Researchers concluded that cannabis “further compromises cerebral compensatory mechanisms, already faulty in MS.”
Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, Canada.
Pavisian B, et al. Neurology. 2014 Apr 30. [in press]

Science/Human: Long-term changes in CB2 receptors and anandamide concentrations after cannabis use
Cannabis users, who had smoked cannabis for more than 20 times in their lives and stopped cannabis use at least 6 months before the study showed an increase in CB2 receptors and in blood anandamide levels.
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Cologne, Germany.
Muhl D, et al. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2014 May 2. [in press]

Science/Animal: Regular THC use in young mice may cause dysfunction of the immune system
In young mice THC reduced inflammatory cytokines (signal transmitters), but this effect was lost in adult animals. In adult animals treated as adolescents with THC, a perturbation of immune responses, although in an opposite direction, to a pro-inflammatory status, was present.
Dipartimento di Scienze Farmacologiche e Biomolecolari, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy.
Moretti S, et al. J Leukoc Biol. 2014 Apr 17. [in press]

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