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IACM-Bulletin of 13 December 2014

IACM: Cannabinoid Conference 2015 – Call for abstracts

The IACM Board of Directors would like to invite you to the Cannabinoid Conference 2015 and present your research. It is a joint meeting of the IACM and the EURopean Workshop on Cannabinoids and will be held on 17-19 September 2015 in Sestri Levante, Italy. The conference website with the preliminary program is online now for submission of abstracts and registration of participants. The deadlines for oral abstracts are 30 April 2015 and for poster abstracts 31 July 2015. In 2011 the IACM already collaborated with the EURopean Workshop and hold a very successful and inspiring conjoint conference at the University of Bonn. Please find here sponsors of the up-coming meeting. If you want to sponsor the conference please contact the IACM by sending an e-mail to info@cannabis-med.org.

Date: 17-19 September 2015
Location: Palazzo Negrotto Cambiaso, Sestri Levante, Italy.

During the Cannabinoid Conference 2015 the IACM will honour four persons for special achievements regarding the re-introduction of cannabis and cannabinoids as medicine. There is an award for basic research (Ester Fride Award), for clinical research, for young researchers and a special award. The IACM Award Committee will elect the Awardees. Each award is associated with a price money of 500 EURos (about 650 US Dollars). During the Conference the IACM will hold its General Meeting and elect new members for the Board of Directors and a new chairman/chairwoman.

Science/Human: The benefits of cannabidiol in childhood epilepsy were discussed at the Annual Meeting of the American Epilepsy Society

Two clinical studies exploring the efficacy and safety in the development of a cannabis extract (Epidiolex) rich in CBD (cannabidiol) by the British company GW Pharmaceuticals were presented at the 68th Annual Meeting of the American Epilepsy Society. These studies are precursor studies to a controlled clinical trial. In the first study 23 patients with treatment-resistant epilepsies, especially Dravet Syndrome, with an average age of 10, were enrolled in two epilepsy centres at New York University and the University of California in San Francisco. Patients received CBD at a constant dose of 5mg per kg body weight in addition to their current epilepsy medication. The daily dose was gradually increased until intolerance occurred or a maximum dose of 25 mg per kg body weight was achieved. After three months of therapy, 39% of patients had a greater than 50% reduction in seizures. Seizure freedom occurred in 3 of 9 Dravet patients and 1 of 14 patients with other forms of epilepsy. Adverse effects were mostly mild or moderate and included somnolence, fatigue, decreased appetite, weight gain, diarrhoea, increased appetite and weight loss.

The second abstract related to Epidiolex examined the drug interactions between existing anti-epileptic medications and Epidiolex. In this study, 33 children were taking an average of three different drugs including clobazam (54.5% of patients), valproate (36.4%) and levetiracetam (30.3%), felbamate (21.2%), lamotrigine (18.2%) and zonisamide (18.2%). Again patients were given a dose of 5mg/kg and increasing by 5mg/kg every week until a maximal dose of 25mg/kg in addition to their baseline anti-epileptic drugs. The study found that in patients on multiple drugs, the addition of CBD may be associated with changes in blood concentrations of some concomitant anti-epileptic drugs. A subset of patients experienced an increase in clobazam concentrations that was thought to be causing sedation and required a dose adjustment. This suggests CBD may have effects on the major metabolic pathways of clobazam.

Science Daily of 8 December 2014

News in brief

Science/Human: Alcohol intake, but not cannabis use increases the risk of falls
In a study with 690 adults (aged 20 to 64 years) previous alcohol use but not previous cannabis use significantly elevated the risk of fall-related injury.
Section of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Thornley S, et al. N Z Med J 2014;127(1406):32-8.

Science: Truffles contain anandamide
Truffles contain the endocannabinoid anandamide. Researchers wrote that anandamide has “evolved earlier than endocannabinoid-binding receptors, and that anandamide might be an ancient attractant to truffle eaters.”
Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, University of L'Aquila, Italy.
Pacioni G, et al. Phytochemistry. 2014 Nov 26. [in press]

USA: American Indians may continue to grow and sell cannabis on their lands
The Justice Department on 11 December told attorneys to not prevent tribes in Native American reservations from growing or selling cannabis on the sovereign lands, even in states that ban the practice. The new guidance will be implemented on a case-by-case basis. It remains to be seen how many reservations will take advantage of the policy. Many tribes are opposed to legalizing cannabis on their lands, and federal officials will continue to enforce the law in those areas, if requested.
Los Angeles Times of 11 December 2014

USA: Researcher gets 2 million dollars to research the benefits of cannabis in posttraumatic stress disorder
Colorado honours Dr Sue Sisley, who lost her job as professor at the University of Arizona in July, by a grant of 2 million dollars (about 1.6 million EURos) to continue her study into the effects of cannabis on veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. She has expressed suspicion that she was fired in July because of political influences. Sisley's study plans to focus on 76 veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, half of whom will be in Arizona - where a private donor has reportedly offered her free lab space - while the other half will be at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
New York Daily News of 27 November 2014

Uruguay: Cannabis program will continue after election of the new president
Tabare Vazquez is the new president of Uruguay after the election of 30 November 2014 extending the decade-long rule of a leftist coalition and allowing it to continue the implementation of a law that legalizes the production and sale of cannabis. Vazquez will succeed President Jose Mujica, who was very popular.
Reuters of 1 December 2014

USA: According to the NHTSA science does not support the development of per se limits for THC in blood
Available science fails to support the definition of impairment thresholds for cannabis in a manner that is analogous to the per se limits already in place for alcohol, according to the conclusions of a publication of the United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Per se traffic safety laws allow determining concentration thresholds in blood for substances, above which drivers are regarded as to be unfit to drive, even in the absence of evidence indicating that the subject was indeed impaired.
Report by NHTSA of November 2014

Science/Human: Cannabis and tobacco use by adolescents are associated with lower educational outcomes, but the association may not be causal
In a study with 1155 children the use of cannabis and the use of tobacco at the age of 15 were associated with lower educational outcomes at the age of 16. The effect of tobacco was stronger than that of cannabis. Researchers wrote that “it is possible that these effects arise through non-causal mechanisms, although a causal explanation cannot be discounted.”
School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, UK.
Stiby AI, et al. Addiction. 2014 Dec 9. [in press]

Science/Animal: Increased levels of 2-AG in blood are helpful in traumatic brain injury
In mice the inhibition of the enzyme, which is responsible for the degradation of the endocannabinoid 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol), which boosts 2-AG, reduces the negative consequences of traumatic brain injury.
Neuroscience Center of Excellence, School of Medicine, Louisiana State University, New Orleans, USA.
Zhang J, et al. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2014 Dec 10. [in press]

Science/Animal: The pain relieving effects of CBD depend on kind of pain
In research with mice CBD reduced pain only in one kind of pain. In combination with morphine CBD acted synergistically only in one form of pain.
Temple University, Philadelphia, USA.
Neelakantan H, et al. Behav Pharmacol. 2014 Dec 5. [in press]

Science/Animal: Endocannabinoids reduce morphine withdrawal
Animal studies suggest that the inhibition of endocannabinoid degradation reduces morphine withdrawal signs.
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Medical College of Virginia Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA.
Gamage TF, et al. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 Nov 26. [in press]

Science/Animal: Palmitoylethanolamide improves symptoms of bladder inflammation
Cystitis (bladder inflammation) was induced by a chemical in female rats. The following investigations provided strong evidence for a protective role of the endocannabinoid palmitoylethanolamide in bladder inflammation.
Department of Molecular and Developmental Medicine, University of Siena, Italy.
Pessina F, et al. J Urol. 2014 Nov 18. [in press]

Science/Animal: A synthetic cannabinoid potentiated anti-epileptic effects of clobazam
A synthetic cannabinoid (WIN 55,212-2), which acts similar to THC, potentiated the suppression of seizures produced by clobazam in a mouse model of epilepsy.
Department of Public Health, Institute of Rural Health, Poland
Florek-Luszczki M, et al. Epilepsy Res 2014;108(10):1728-33.

Science/Human: Very heavy use of cannabis is associated with brain changes
Investigations of the brains of very heavy cannabis users revealed smaller volumes of two brain regions (hippocampus and amygdala).
Royal College of Psychiatrists, Australia.
Lorenzetti V, et al. Br J Psychiatry. 2014 Nov 27. [in press]

Science/Animal: THC reduced inflammation of the lung caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus
Results of new research suggest that THC is a potent anti-inflammatory compound that may serve as a novel therapeutic to suppress lung inflammation caused by a toxin of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (enterotoxin B).
University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, USA.
Rao R, et al. Br J Pharmacol. 2014 Nov 26. [in press]

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