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IACM-Bulletin of 10 August 2014

USA: The Editorial Board of the New York Times calls for an end to cannabis prohibition


In a statement of 27 July entitled “Repeal Prohibition, Again” the Editorial Board of the New York Times calls for the legalization of cannabis. “It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished," the statement says. "It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.

The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana. We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws. (…) There is honest debate among scientists about the health effects of marijuana, but we believe that the evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems, especially compared with alcohol and tobacco. Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults. (…) Creating systems for regulating manufacture, sale and marketing will be complex. But those problems are solvable.”

New York Times of 27 July 2014

Australia: Norfolk Island allows cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes

A Tasmanian company that applied to trial medicinal cannabis in the state has been given the go-ahead elsewhere. Like Tasmania, Norfolk Island has an historic past that struggles financially and depends on assistance from the Commonwealth. But as the island's Health Minister Robin Adams explained, it was keen to pull itself out of that mire. "We are open for investment, we are open for business on Norfolk Island," he said. Norfolk Island is a small island in the Pacific Ocean located between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. The island is part of the Commonwealth of Australia, but it enjoys a large degree of self-governance.

"We see this as a great opportunity both for the economy of Norfolk Island whilst providing a much needed medical product for export," he said. The island's government has given Tasman Health Cannabinoids (THC) approval to grow medical cannabis. THC had wanted to conduct its trial in Tasmania, with the view to it becoming a multi-billion-dollar export industry. "The Health Minister on Norfolk Island Robin Adams has now given us a production licence to go ahead and progress to grow on Norfolk medical cannabinoids," said the chairman of THC, Dr Mal Washer.

Medicinal cannabis trial gets green light on Norfolk Island

News in brief

USA: Conference on Marijuana for Medical Professionals
On 9-11 September there will be a conference on medicinal cannabis in Denver. Among the speakers are Donald Abrams, Jeffrey Hergenrather, Lester Grinspoon, Mary Lynn Mathre, Raphael Mechoulam, Zach Klein and many others.
Meeting Website

France: 3rd Colloquium on the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids
On 22 October the associations Action Sida Ville and Union Francophone pour les Cannabinoďdes en médecine-I Care are organising a colloquium on the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids at Strasbourg Medecine University. Among the international presenters are Raphael Mechoulam and Manuel Guzman.
Meeting Website

Australia: Discussion on medical cannabis
A desperate mother, a dying child, the rigid law and one man's experimental drug. The medical cannabis debate in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) found a name and a face as it was revealed a 2.5 year-old girl suffering from a rare genetic disorder in Sydney had been treated using small doses of cannabis oil supplied by a Canberra man. Sydney girl Abbey, and her mother, Cherie, have been left without access to the oil after Australian Federal Police raided the ACT home of a supplier who had contacted Chief Minister Katy Gallagher.
Cannabis oil supplier defends providing mother with drugs

USA: Inergetics started trial with CBD product
Inergetics enters second phase of a three phase process to launch its supplements based on cannabidiol (CBD). The company is a developer of nutritional products that are intended to improve overall health, physical recovery, athletic performance and quality of life for patients and consumers. On 5 August it announced the beginning of the second phase of development towards the launch of its proprietary line of natural cannabidiol-based nutritional supplements it is developing in partnership with Terra Tech Corp.
Press release by Inergetics of 5 August 2014

USA: Cannabis legalization did not increase use of the drug by adolescents
A rise of cannabis use among teenagers over the past 20 years has no significant tie to the legalization of cannabis for medical use in many states, according to a new research paper. Comparing surveys of cannabis use by adolescents conducted annually by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found the probability that a high schooler had used cannabis in the last 30 days was no more than 0.8 percent higher in states with medical cannabis laws compared to states that had not approved medical cannabis.
Reuters of 29 July 2014

UK: No influence of legal status on cannabis use
Researchers investigated the effects of declassification of cannabis in the UK in 2004. They found no relevant increases in either cannabis consumption, consumption of other drugs, crime and other forms of risky behaviour.
Newcastle University, Business School - Economics, UK.
Braakmann N, et al. Soc Sci Med, 2014;115:29-37.

Uruguay: Plans to legalize cannabis may be stopped
Uruguay's plan to create the world's first national, government-regulated marketplace for legal cannabis may be going up in smoke. Delays in implementing the plan are putting it at risk as polls point to opposition gains in October's election and say most Uruguayans oppose a legal cannabis marketplace. Opposition politicians have said they will seek to repeal or modify the legislation, which gives the national government power to oversee the production, sales and consumption of cannabis.
Associated Press of 1 August 2014

Science/Cells: Alcohol alters endocannabinoid signalling in the brain
According to a study conducted with brain slices ethanol down-regulates cannabinoid signalling and results in altered network activity in the prefrontal cortex, an important brain area.
Department of Neuroscience, Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, USA.
Pava MJ, et al. Front Integr Neurosci. 2014 Jul 18;8:58.

Science/Animal: Celastrol exerts anti-inflammatory effects by the activation of CB2 receptors
Celastrol, a major active ingredient of Chinese medicinal herb Tripterygium wilfordii Hook. f. has exhibited a broad spectrum of pharmacological activities, including anti-inflammation, anti-cancer and immunosuppression. Animal research shows that it attenuates inflammatory and neuropathic pain mediated by cannabinoid receptor type 2.
Department of Medical Sciences, Medical College, Xiamen University, China.
Yang L, et al. Int J Mol Sci, 2014;15(8):13637-13648.

Science/Human: A synthetic cannabinoid was associated with kidney injury
In several cases the use of synthetic cannabinoids was associated with acute kidney injury.
Oregon Public Health Division, Oregon Health Authority, Portland, USA.
Buser GL, et al. Clin Toxicol (Phila), 2014;52(7):664-73.

Science/Animal: Inhibition of 2-AG degradation reduces nausea
Inhibiton of MAGL (monoacylglycerol lipase) which selectively elevates the endocannabinoid 2-AG has therapeutic potential in the treatment of acute nausea and vomiting as well as anticipatory nausea, according to a study with rats.
Department of Psychology and Collaborative Neuroscience Program, University of Guelph, Canada.
Parker LA, et al. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2014 Aug 3. [in press]

Science/Animal: Reaction of the endocannabinoid system on kainic acid induced seizures depends on age
Increased levels of endocannabinoids protect against kainic acid induced seizures. Research with rats shows that the endocannabinoids anandamide and palmitoylethanolamine significantly increased in the hippocampus of younger rats treated with kainic acid, while decreasing in adults. In contrast, the levels of 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) were higher in older compared to younger rats.
Department of Experimental Medicine and Surgery, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy.
Fezza F, et al. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2014 Jul 24. [in press]

Science/Cells: CBD reduces production of sebum in the skin
Research with cells, which produce cutaneous sebum (sebocytes), shows that cannabidiol (CBD) exerts anti-inflammatory effects on human sebocytes and reduces sebum production.
Oláh A, et al. J Clin Invest. 2014 Jul 25. [in press]

Science/Animal: The analgesic effect of metamizole is partly mediated by CB1 receptors
According to studies with rats the analgesic effects of metamizole in peripheral tissue involves two different mechanisms: Neuronal KATP channel opening and CB1 receptor activation.
Institute of Biology, University of Campinas, Brasil.
Dos Santos GG, et al. EUR J Pharmacol. 2014 Jul 21. [in press]

Science/Human: Panic symptom severity after quitting cannabis use was associated with the ability of emotional regulation
In a study with 104 cannabis-dependent military veterans difficulties in emotion regulation were associated with higher panic symptom severity.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA.
Galang JN, et al. Anxiety Stress Coping. 2014 Jul 18:1-13. [in press]

Science/Animal: Endocannabinoids influence partner preference
Studies with rats suggest that the endocannabinoid system may contribute to sexual motivation in female rats by specifically altering approach behaviour. For example, rats treated with anandamide made more visits to a male stimulus than non-treated rats.
Department of Psychology, Southwestern University, Georgetown, USA.
Memos NK, et al. Pharmacol Biochem Behav, 2014;124C:380-388.

Science/Animal: Regular treatment with THC increased sensitivity to infections with Candida albicans
In a study with mice chronic THC treatment decreased the efficacy of the memory immune response to candida infection, which correlated with a decrease in interferon-gamma that was only observed after the secondary challenge with this fungus.
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, USA
Blumstein GW, et al. PLoS One, 2014;9(7):e103288.

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