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IACM-Bulletin of 12 November 2017

Science/Human: THC may be effective in the treatment of sleep apnoea according to a clinical study

In a study conducted at the University of Illinois in Chicago THC was effective in reducing symptoms of patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea. Of 73 adults with moderate or severe sleep apnoea 25 received a placebo, 21 received 2.5 mg THC daily and 27 received 10 mg of THC one hour before bedtime for up to 6 weeks.

Subjects receiving 10mg/day of THC expressed the highest overall satisfaction with treatment. In comparison to placebo, THC dose-dependently reduced the apnoea index by 10.7 and 12.9 events per hour at doses of 2.5 and 10 mg/day, respectively. THC at 10 mg/day reduced a Sleepiness Scale score by -3.8 points from baseline and by -2.3 points in comparison to placebos. Authors concluded that “these findings support the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in patients” with obstructive sleep apnoea.

Carley DW, Prasad B, Reid KJ, Malkani R, Attarian H, Abbott SM, Vern B, Xie H, Yuan C, Zee P. Pharmacotherapy of Apnea by Cannabimimetic Enhancement, the PACE Clinical Trial: Effects of Dronabinol in Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Sleep. 2017 Nov 7. [in press]

Science/Human: Cannabis use resulted in a small increased risk for causing fatal accidents

In a study by researchers of the University of Lyon, France, with 4059 drivers involved in fatal accidents cannabis use was associated with a moderate risk increase. Investigators analysed blood samples and compared drivers responsible for causing an accident to drivers involved in an accident for which they were not responsible.

The proportion of persons driving under the influence of alcohol is estimated at 2.1% and under the influence of cannabis at 3.4%. Drivers under the influence of alcohol are 18 times more likely to be responsible for a fatal accident. Drivers under the influence of cannabis increased their risk of being responsible for causing a fatal accident by 1.65.

Martin JL, Gadegbeku B, Wu D, Viallon V, Laumon B. Cannabis, alcohol and fatal road accidents. PLoS One. 2017;12(11):e0187320.

USA: Medicines Agency issues warnings to companies selling CBD and claiming anti-cancer effects

The US Medicines agency FDA (Food and Drug Administration) issued warnings to 4 companies marketing CBD (cannabidiol) as preventing or treating cancer. "Substances that contain components of marijuana will be treated like any other products that make unproven claims to shrink cancer tumors," Dr Scott Gottlieb of the FDA said in a news release.

"There are a growing number of effective therapies for many cancers. When people are allowed to illegally market agents that deliver no established benefit they may steer patients away from products that have proven, anti-tumor effects that could extend lives." The sale and marketing of CBD products is a violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and could pose a significant health risk if the products prevent patients with cancer from receiving proper medical treatment.

UPI of 1 November 2017

News in brief

Australia: New research centre to study medicinal cannabis
A team of Australian researchers and clinicians has been awarded 2.5million US Dollars to establish a centre to coordinate research into medicinal cannabis use. The Australian Centre for Cannabinoid Clinical and Research Excellence (ACRE), will be co-led by Professor Jenny Martin from the University of Newcastle and Professor Nadia Solowij from the University of Wollongong
Press release by University of Wollongong of 10 November 2017

Science/Human: Orgasms increase the concentration of the endocannabinoid 2-AG
In a study with healthy male and female volunteers masturbation until orgasm increased the concentration of the endocannabinoid 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol) in blood. Authors concluded that “endocannabinoids might play an important role in their sexual response cycle, leading to possible implications for the understanding and treatment of sexual dysfunctions.”
Center of Psychosocial Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.
Fuss J, et al. J Sex Med. 2017;14(11):1372-1379.

Science/Animal: Cannabinoids administered together with fat increased their concentrations in the lymph
If CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) where administered to rats together with lipids their concentrations were much higher in the lymph compared to cannabinoids given without lipids. Authors wrote, that “administering cannabinoids with a high-fat meal or in lipid-based formulations has the potential to be a therapeutic approach to improve the treatment of MS, or other autoimmune disorders.”
School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham, UK.
Zgair A, et al. Sci Rep. 2017;7(1):14542.

Science/Human: No significant difference between placebo and THC in the treatment of pain of patients with multiple sclerosis
In a placebo-controlled study with 240 patients with multiple sclerosis suffering from neuropathic pain there was no significant reduction of pain by THC compared to the placebo.
Klinikum Lüdenscheid, Clinic for Neurology, Germany.
Schimrigk S, et al. EUR Neurol. 2017;78(5-6):320-329.

Science/Human: Cannabis use may be associated with an increased risk of testicular cancer
An analysis of 45,250 men, who were followed for 45 years showed an increased risk for testicular cancer in those using cannabis at the age of 18 to 21 years, when the study started. Heavy use was associated with a 2.5-fold increase.
University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, Canada.
Callaghan RC, et al. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2017 ;26(11):1644-1652.

Science/Animal: Activation of the CB2 receptor reduces inflammation of nerve cells after traumatic brain injury
In a study with mice activation of the cannabinoid-2 receptor reduced inflammation of nerve cells after traumatic brain injury.
Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University, USA.
Braun M, et al. Brain Behav Immun. 2017 Oct 24. [in press]

Science/Animal: THC may reduce migraine pain
In a rat model of migraine THC reduced pain when administered at the right dose and the right time. Authors wrote that their findings “support anecdotal evidence for the use of cannabinoids as a treatment for migraine in humans and implicate the CB1 receptor.”
Graduate Program in Neuroscience, Washington State University, Pullman, USA.
Kandasamy R. et al. EUR J Pharmacol. 2017 Oct 27. [in press]

Science/Animal: Very low doses of THC reverse age-dependent cognitive impairments
Old female mice aged 24 months that had been injected once with very low THC doses performed significantly better than untreated old mice and performed similarly to naive young mice aged 2 months, in 6 different behavioural assays that measured various aspects of memory and learning. The beneficial effect of THC lasted for at least 7 weeks.
Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel.
Sarne Y, et al. Neurobiol Aging. 2017;61:177-186.

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