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IACM-Bulletin of 30 November 2014

The Netherlands: All activities involving the production of cannabis will become illegal

The Senate has accepted a legislative proposal of Minister Opstelten (Security and Justice), which makes all actions of persons and businesses who prepare and promote illegal cannabis growing punishable. The maximum prison sentence for such an offence will be three years. The legislative amendment will take effect on 1 March 2015. The new law may make the operation of coffee shops, where citizens of the Netherlands can legally buy small amounts of cannabis, more difficult.

Through this amendment all links in the preliminary phase of cannabis production can be addressed. This involves people and businesses who do not grow cannabis themselves, but earn money with the supply of goods or services and the financing of illegal cannabis growing. Examples are shops selling equipment for cannabis cultivation, transport and distribution companies, landlords of sheds and barns, electricians who install illegal electrical equipment.

Cannabis grow shops, distributors soon illegal

News in brief

Science/Human: Patients are more in favour of using cannabinoids in epilepsy than physicians
776 subjects participated in a survey on epilepsy and cannabis. 58% were patients from North America, and 22% were epileptologists and general neurologists from EURope and North America. A minority of epileptologists and general neurologists said that there were sufficient safety (34%) and efficacy (28%) data, and 48% would advise using cannabis in severe cases of epilepsy. By comparison, nearly all patients and the public said there were sufficient safety (96%) and efficacy (95%) data, and 98% would recommend cannabis in cases of severe epilepsy.
University of California, Los Angeles, USA.
Mathern GW, et al. Epilepsia. 2014 Nov 20. [in press]

USA: Voices Against Brain Cancer and Spanish Cannabinoid Research Group announce collaboration
The Cannabinoid Research Group of Complutense University in Madrid, Spain, and Voices Against Brain Cancer, an US foundation, announce that a collaborative alliance has been signed by both organizations. In an effort to fast track the propagation of accurate scientific based information on therapeutic opportunities of cannabinoids in brain cancer, these two groups have formed an exclusive partnership in the United States. "We have chosen Voices Against Brain Cancer to act as our voice in North America where they will support and herald our efforts,"stated Dr. Manuel Guzmán, Chairman of The Cannabinoid Research Group.
PRNewswire of 17 November 2014

Slovakia: Sativex now available
Following the change of the narcotics law in 2011, which allows to market medicines containing THC and CBD, the cannabis extract Sativex, produced by the British company GW Pharmaceuticals and marketed by Almirall, is available since November 2014.
Personal communication by Konopkar

Switzerland: Suggestions for setting up cannabis clubs
Some larger cities, among them Geneva, Bern, Basel and Zurich, are looking at introducing cannabis social clubs. Former interior minister Ruth Dreifuss is one of the figureheads of the country’s legalisation campaign.
Swissinfo of 21 November 2014

Science/Cells: 2-AG stimulates the production of platelets
Research with human megakaryozytes – large bone marrow cells responsible for the production of blood thrombocytes (platelets) – shows that the endocannabinoid 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol) triggers platelet release and according to scientists may have clinical efficacy to counteract diseases related to reduced number of platelets.
Department of Experimental Medicine & Surgery, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy.
Gasperi V, et al. Cell Cycle. 2014 Nov 26. [in press]

Science/Human: Problematic cannabis and alcohol use were associated with an increased risk for traumatic brain injury in adolescents
In a survey with 6383 adolescents aged about 15-18 years from Ontario, Canada, the life time risk of traumatic brain injury was more than doubled in participants with harmful alcohol drinking and cannabis problems.
St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Canada.
Ilie G, et al. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2014 Nov 25. [in press]

Science/Animal: CBD had no effect on reduction of body temperature caused by THC
In a study with rats THC induced reduction in body temperature (hypothermia). This effect was not inhibited by CBD. Authors concluded that there “is no evidence from this study that elevated CBD content in cannabis provides protection from the physiological effects of THC.”
The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, USA.
Taffe MA, et al. Br J Pharmacol. 2014 Nov 26. [in press]

Science/Animal: Overactivation of the CB1 receptor in certain kidney cells fastens kidney damage in type 2 diabetes
Research with diabetic rats shows that increased activation of the CB1 receptor in certain kidney cells – so-called podocytes – contributes to the development of kidney damage in diabetes, “highlighting the therapeutic potential of peripheral CB1 receptor blockade.”
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA.
Jourdan T, et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Nov 24. [in press]

Science/Human: Cannabis use is associated with an increased risk for acne
In a survey with subjects between 15 and 24 years of age the daily consumption of chocolate and sweets and regular use of cannabis was associated with an increased risk for acne.
Université Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marne, Créteil, France.
Wolkenstein P, et al. Dermatology. 2014 Nov 19. [in press]

Science/Animal: Activation of CB2 receptors reduced pain in inflammation of the pancreas
A synthetic cannabinoid (LY3038404 HCl), which only activates the CB2 receptor, reduced pain caused by chronic inflammation of the pancreas, which was induced in rats with a diet high in alcohol and fat.
Department of Physiology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA.
Zhang L, et al. Mol Pain 2014;10:66

Science/Animal: THC reduces brain reward by electrical stimulation of a certain brain region
Intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) of the medial forebrain bundle is a method to create well-being (brain reward). Remarkably, THC and the increase of endocannabinoid concentrations reduced ICSS.
Virginia Commonwealth University, USA.
Wiebelhaus JM, et al. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2014 Nov 14. [in press]

Science/Animal: Increased endocannabinoid levels reduce pain caused by bladder inflammation
Mice without the enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which degrades the endocannabinoid anandamide, present with reduced bladder inflammation (cystitis) and reduced subsequent changes in pain perception. These mice have increased endocannabinoid levels.
Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA.
Wang ZY, et al. J Mol Neurosci. 2014 Nov 6. [in press]

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