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IACM-Bulletin of 21 July 2019

Science/USA: The legalisation of cannabis reduced the use of cannabis by adolescents

Cannabis legalization for adults does not appear to increase cannabis use by adolescents and instead may have the opposite effect, a study suggests. To see how cannabis use by adolescents developed in states with and without such laws, researchers examined survey data on substance use collected from 1.4 million adolescents between 1993 and 2017. During that period, 27 states and Washington, D.C. legalized medical cannabis and seven states legalized cannabis for adult use.

Medical cannabis laws didn’t appear to influence whether teens used cannabis, the study authors reported in JAMA Pediatrics. Recreational cannabis laws, however, were associated with an 8% decline in the odds that adolescents would report trying cannabis in the previous 30 days and a 9% decrease in adolescents reporting frequent use. Reduced supply may explain why, said lead study author Mark Anderson, an associate professor in agricultural economics at Montana State University in Bozeman. “It may actually be more difficult for adolescents to obtain marijuana as drug dealers are replaced by licensed dispensaries that require proof of age,” Anderson said by email. “Selling to minors becomes a relatively more risky proposition after the passage of these laws.”

Anderson DM, Hansen B, Rees DI, Sabia JJ. Association of Marijuana Laws With Teen Marijuana Use: New Estimates From the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. JAMA Pediatr. 2019 Jul 8. [in press]
Reuters of 8 July 2019

Israel: Government wants to ease access to medical cannabis

New steps outlined by the Health Ministry will make it easier for consumers of medical cannabis to access their medications, according to a ministry statement on 4 July. “We are attentive to criticism and to improving in order to ease the suffering of patients,” Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman said. “We will continue to promote further activities on the matter.” Part of the ministry’s plan is to supervise the pricing of cannabis to keep it under control.

“A large proportion of the patients will pay less than what they currently pay in the old system,” the ministry wrote in a statement. A fixed payment for pediatric patients and oncology patients will be set at around NIS 500 (about 125€), which will cover their cannabis medications regardless of the amount that they use. Under the new system, “prescription splits” will be allowed, meaning that patients will be able to purchase part of their prescription at one pharmacy and part at another.

Jerusalem Post of 5 July 2019

News in brief

UK: About half of Britons support the legalisation of cannabis
Almost half of Britons support the legalization of cannabis, according to a survey commissioned by a group associated with the ruling Conservative Party. Legalization is backed by 48% with only 24% opposed, based on a YouGov poll carried out for the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group. A separate YouGov poll last year found 43% support and 41% opposed.
Bloomberg of 14 July 2019

Germany: Number of prescriptions on cannabis-based drugs increase
Expenses for cannabis-based medicines by health insurers are further increasing. In the first three months of 2019, sales of reimbursed cannabis products totaled 24.5 million EURos, an increase of 7% from the fourth quarter of 2018. About 59.000 prescriptions were filled, of which 23.000 for cannabis flowers, 22.000 for cannabinoid preparations and the rest for finished pharmaceutical products, mainly Sativex.
Information of the GKV of 2 July 2019

Italy: Government will import cannabis from Canada
Canadian cannabis producer Aurora Cannabis said in July it had secured a two-year contract to supply medical cannabis to the Italian government. The company will supply a minimum of 400 kg of medical cannabis to the country.
Reuters of 18 July 2019

France: French health agency opens the way for studies on the medical value of cannabis
Studies on the medical use of cannabis are officially allowed in France after a decision by the National agency on the safety of medicinal drugs and health products (ANSM).
Le Monde of 11 July 2019

Czech Republic: Insurance companies may cover most prescriptions on cannabis
Medical cannabis should be 90 percent covered by insurance companies in the Czech Republic due to an amendment to the Medicines Act, which passed its bill in the Chamber of Deputies. The bill now goes to the Senate, and if it passed there needs to be signed by the president before it can take effect.
expats.cz of 10 July 2019

Science/Animal: Lawmakers propose to make cannabis for medical use available
Almost 100 members of Parliament from all parties proposed the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes. Patients with chronic terminal illnesses may then have access based on prescriptions to cannabis painkillers. A bill was filed on July 4 in Parliament.
Romania Insider of 5 July 2019

Science/Animal: CBD protects the heart
A review shows, that “CBD can protect against cardiac injuries, mainly through its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic effects on the basis of non-clinical studies.”
Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran.
Shayesteh MRH, et al. Curr Pharm Des. 2019 Jul 9. [in press]

Science/Human: Cannabis use reduces the risk of death in people co-infected with HIV and HCV
In a group of 1028 patients co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C virus regular/daily cannabis use was associated with reduced HCV mortality. Obesity, severe thinness and severe alcohol drinking were assisted with an increased risk.
Faculdade de Ciências da Saúde, Universidade de Brasília, Brazil.
Santos ME, et al. AIDS Behav. 2019 Jul 8.
[in press]

Science: Antioxidants properties of THC and CBD
Researchers found “remarkable antioxidant properties” of CBD and THC as well as of 6 different cannabis extracts containing various proportions of CBD and THC.
Departamento de Química, Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa, Ponta Grossa, Brazil.
Hacke ACM, et al. Analyst. 2019 Jul 18.
[in press]

Science/Human: Nicotine is associated with an increased risk for psychosis
Cigarette smoking is strongly associated with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. And in contrast to previous beliefs at least part of this relationship may be causal.
Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, Kings College London,UK.
Quigley H, MacCabe JH. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2019 Jul 1;9:2045125319859969.

Science/Human: Cannabis-based medicines may reduce cannabis use
According to a study with 128 participants the use of a cannabis extract (Sativex) in combination with psychosocial interventions reduced cannabis use among people with cannabis dependence, who were seeking treatment.
Drug and Alcohol Services, South East Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, Australia.
Lintzeris N, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2019 Jul 15. [in press]

Science/Human: Schizophrenia is associated with an increased risk of subsequent substance abuse
in a study with 3,133,968 Danish citizens, of whom 14,007 developed schizophrenia, 2885 subsequently were diagnosed with substance abuse. The increased risk for cannabis use was 2.5, for alcohol 1.9 and for stimulants 1.8.
Copenhagen University Hospital, Hellerup, Denmark.
Petersen SM, et al. Addiction. 2019 Jul 13. [in press]

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