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IACM-Bulletin of 16 February 2020

IACM: Conferences in November 2020 in Mexico City and in October 2021 in Basel

The IACM will hold its 11th Conference on Cannabinoids in Medicine from 7 to 9 November 2020 in Mexico City. Our congress partner is the Asociacion Mexicana de Medicina Cannabinoide (Mexican Association for Cannabinoid Medicines). This association has already held an excellently organized and well attended congress in Mexico in 2019. It will be the first congress of the IACM outside EURope.

The 12th IACM Conference on Cannabinoids in Medicine will be held in Basel, Switzerland, from 14 to 16 October 2021. Our cooperation partner is the Swiss Task Force on Cannabinoids in Medicine (STCM). The STCM has been successfully organizing scientific congresses in Switzerland for several years. With Congrex we have found a professional congress organizer.

Science/Human: An increasing number of patients with rheumatic diseases in the USA use cannabis

Surveys with patients from the National Databank of Rheumatic Diseases conducted in 2014 and 2019 showed, that the use of cannabis increased from 6% to 18%. 11,006 responders filled in the questionnaire about their symptoms and whether they ever used cannabis products for symptom relief and whether they found it helpful.

At both time points, patients reporting use were younger, had a worse disease status, more likely to have fibromyalgia, report a history of depression and report opioid use. Most patients reported that cannabis was helpful in relieving symptoms (74% in 2014 and 62% in 2019). Since 2014, prevalence of use increased in 49 of 50 US states, with the highest prevalence in and near states where cannabis use is legal.

Wipfler K, Simon T, Katz P, Wolfe F, Michaud K. Cannabis Use Among Patients in a Large US Rheumatic Disease Registry, 2019 ACR/ARP Annual Meeting, Abstract Number 2929.

Science/Human: Cessation of CBD use does not cause withdrawal symptoms

In a study by GW Research in Cambridge, UK, with 30 volunteers, who received high doses of CBD for several weeks did not present withdrawal symptoms after abrupt cessation. Participants were received 750 mg of a highly purified CBD preparation (Epidiolex) in an oral solution twice daily for four weeks in part 1 of the study. In part 2 of the study they received either 750 mg of CBD twice daily for another two weeks or a placebo.

All volunteers completed the Cannabis Withdrawal Scale several times for six weeks. Scores ranged from 0.0 two 4.0 out of possible 190. Physicians also did not note any withdrawal symptoms. Most participants reported adverse events. The most common were diarrhoea and headache. Nine volunteers withdrew because of adverse events in Part 1; 1 withdrew in Part 2, in the placebo group, because of an adverse event that began in Part 1. There were no serious side-effects. Authors concluded that in “healthy volunteers, no evidence of withdrawal syndrome was found with abrupt discontinuation of short-term treatment with CBD.”

Taylor L, Crockett J, Tayo B, Checketts D, Sommerville K. Abrupt withdrawal of cannabidiol (CBD): A randomized trial. Epilepsy Behav. 2020;104(Pt A):106938.

Science/Human: After passage of medical cannabis laws in the USA workers compensation claiming was reduced

Scientists from the Business and Economics Department of the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College, USA, found that workers compensation (WC) claiming among adults was reduced after passage of laws on the medical use of cannabis in US states. The analysis was based on data over the period 1989 to 2012. Workers' compensation is a form of insurance providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment.

Authors concluded that these “findings suggest that medical marijuana can allow workers to better manage symptoms associated with workplace injuries and illnesses and, in turn, reduce need for WC. However, the reductions in WC claiming post MML [medical marijuana laws] are very modest in size.”

Ghimire KM, Maclean JC. Medical marijuana and workers' compensation claiming. Health Econ. 2020 Feb 4. [in press]

Science/Human: Cannabis use on is associated with reduced symptoms in ADHD

In a survey with 59 patients cannabis was associated with reduced ADHD symptoms. Researchers from the Faculty of Biology of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, divided the group into low (20 to 30 g, 18 participants) and high monthly cannabis dose (40 to 70 g, 35 participants) and between patients with low and high symptom scores of ADHD. The chemovar could be defined for 27 patients.

The high dose consumers and the ones with lower symptom scores reported a higher occurrence of stopping all standard ADHD medications. Moreover, there was an association between lower ADHD subgroup scores and lower anxiety scores. In addition, researchers found an association between lower ADHD symptoms and consumption of high doses of cannabinol (CBN), but not with THC.

Hergenrather JY, Aviram J, Vysotski Y, Campisi-Pinto S, Lewitus GM, Meiri D. Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Doses are Associated with Adult ADHD Status of Medical Cannabis Patients. Rambam Maimonides Med J. 2020 Jan 30;11(1).

News in brief

Science: Cannabinoids may be an alternative to antibiotics to reduce bacterial content from dental plaque
In a study with dental plaques from 60 adults aged 18 to 45 years treatment with several cannabinoids (cannabidiol, cannabichromene, cannabinol, cannabigerol and cannabigerolic acid) in Petri dishes resulted in reduced bacterial colonies. Authors wrote “that cannabinoids were more effective in reducing the bacterial colony count in dental plaques as compared to the well-established synthetic oral care products such as Oral B and Colgate.”
Dentistry, EURo Dent Belgium, Mortsel.
Stahl V, et al. Cureus. 2020;12(1):e6809.

Science: Hemp cultivation may be good for bee populations
Researchers found that hemp supported 16 different bee species. They wrote that “as cultivation of hemp increases, growers, land managers, and policy makers should consider its value in supporting bee communities and take its attractiveness to bees into account when developing pest management strategies.”
Department of Entomology, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA.
Flicker NR, et al. Environmental Entomology. 2019 Dec 2. [in press]

Economy: Some large cannabis companies try to reduce costs
Some large cannabis companies try to reduce costs
Several companies in the cannabis market (Canopy, Tilray, Aurora) announced to reduce costs of production, for example by reducing workforce.
Reuters of 4 February 2020
Reuters of 13 February 2020
Reuters of 14 February 2020

Nepal: Lawmakers want to legalise growth and use of cannabis
Ruling party lawmakers have proposed legalizing cannabis in Nepal, where it has been used for generations and was famed during the counterculture '60s. Forty-six members of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal filed the proposal in Parliament to legalize the production and use of cannabis, party lawmaker Birod Khatiwada said.
Associated Press of 10 February 2020

USA: Colorado University to offer cannabis science degrees
Addressing demand for scientific training that could prepare students for high-paying jobs in the cannabis industry, a branch of Colorado State University will offer science degrees in cannabis starting in the fall. Studies in cannabis biology and chemistry at the university branch in Pueblo will be based on a curriculum that leads to an analytical chemistry degree and a natural products biology degree, said David Lehmpuhl, chemistry professor and dean of the College of Science and Mathematics.
UPI of 12 February 2020

Malaysia: Government wants to decriminalise drug possession
The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government aims to decriminalise drug possession for personal use before the end of its first term. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly indicated this as the “timeline” when asked about the plans that it had announced last year. “We have put (in) the timeline and policy appropriately and whatever we need to embark on will be based on proper scientific evidence (…).”
New Straits Times of 20 January 2020

Israel: About 60,000 patients are allowed to use cannabis
The Ministry of Health told the High Court that as of 30 January 2020 there were 58,300 patients, who are allowed to use cannabis in accordance with the new regulation. There are some, who have “old generation” licences.
(Cannabis Magazine of 5 February 2020)

South Africa: Cannabis grows on the farm of the Finance Minister
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni uploaded photos of cannabis plants growing on his farm in Limpopo, which he explained were occurring there naturally. The law around cannabis in South Africa is complex, after the Constitutional Court declared that private growth and use should be protected by rights to privacy. However, the plant remains a controlled substance according to the statute books.
The Citizen of 3 February 2020

Science/Human: CBD blood concentrations in children after regular oral intake
In a study with 29 patients below 18 years of age, who received CBD for the treatment of epilepsy, medium peak plasma CBD concentration was 13.1 ng/ml (interquartile range: 6.8 to 39.3 ng/ml). Median time to peak was two hours (interquartile range: 2 to 4 hours). Coadministration of the antiepileptic medications zonisamide and levetiracetam had “some impact” on the pharmacokinetics of CBD.
Children's Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, USA
Wang GS, et al. Clin Pharmacokinet. 2020 Feb 12. [in press]

Science/Human: Beneficial effects of CBD in an adolescent with multiple substance abuse, anxiety and depression
A case of the 17-year-old patient with multiple substance use disorder (cannabis, MDMA, cocaine, ecstasy), severe depression and social phobia was presented. After receiving CBD (starting dose of 100 mg up to 600 mg over eight weeks) patient improved with regards to depression and anxiety and he quit use of illegal drugs without withdrawal symptoms.
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.
Laczkovics C, et al. Neuropsychiatr. 2020 Feb 12. [in press]

Science/Cells: THC and CBD reduced proliferation of lung cancer cells
THC and CBD were used alone or in combination to observe their effect on non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. Authors found that the “expression levels of CB1 and CB2 have a potential use as markers of survival in patients with NSCLC. THC and CBD inhibited the proliferation and expression of EGFR in the lung cancer cells studied. Finally, the THC/CBD combination restored the epithelial phenotype in vitro.” The EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) has a negative effect on survival of several cancers (non-small cell lung, kidney and colon cancer, glioblastoma). Thus, THC and CBD may be beneficial against these cancers.
Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine and Odontology, University of Valencia, Spain.
Milian L, et al. PLoS One. 2020;15(2):e0228909.

Science/Human: A Chinese herbal medicine with hemp seeds improves constipation
In a three-arms, controlled clinical study with 85 participants, Chinese Herbal Medicine MaZiRenWan (MZRW, also known as Hemp Seed Pill) demonstrated comparable efficacy with Senna for functional constipation during an 8-week treatment period. Researchers found that the medication reduced the concentration of the endocannabinoid oleamide.
School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong.
Huang T, et al. Front Pharmacol. 2020;10:1570.

Science/Animal: CBD is neuroprotective after chronic exposure to methamphetamine
In a study with rats “chronic administration of METH [methamphetamine] induces memory impairment and presents interesting implications for the potential use of CBD in treating impairment deficits after chronic exposure to psychostimulant drugs such as METH.”
Cellular and Molecular Research Center, Iran University of Medical Sciences.
Razavi Y, et al. Behav Pharmacol. 2020 Feb 4. [in press]

Science/Animal: The activation of the CB2 receptor alleviates septic lung injury
In a study with mice a synthetic cannabinoid, which selectively activates the CB2 receptor, alleviated septic lung injury by reducing the level of inflammatory cytokines and the enhancement of autophagy.
Department of Anesthesiology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, China .
Liu AP, et al. Cell Signal. 2020;69:109556.

Science/Cells: The endocannabinoid system plays a role in the regulation of mesenchymal stromal cells
Mesenchymal stromal cells represent an abundant cell source for therapeutic applications in the field of regenerative medicine. The production of fat cells was enhanced by activation of the CB1 receptor. There was no effect on the formation of bone cells. Activation of cannabinoid receptors increased the differentiation of mesenchymal stromal cells into cartilage cells.
Department of Plastic Surgery, Hand Surgery-Burn Center, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Germany.
Ruhl T, et al. Exp Cell Res. 2020 Jan 29:111881.

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The 12th IACM Conference on Cannabinoids in Medicine will be postponed to autumn 2022 and will be held as a hybrid event in Switzerland and online.

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