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IACM-Bulletin of 11 October 2020

IACM: Free Webinars and Anniversary Online Meeting between October and December 2020

The start of the IACM webinar series has been postponed from 8 October to 15 October. All webinars will begin and 6 PM Central EURopean Time. The anniversary event on November 5th, where we will celebrate the 90th birthday of Professor Mechoulam and the 20th anniversary of the IACM, will start at 5 pm CET. All webinars will be held in English with subtitles in German, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Only the webinar series will be available online afterwards as on demand recordings from October 2020 until March 2021 on the web site of our host (Congrex).

The first webinar on 15 October 2020 at 6 PM (CEST) by professor Roger Pertwee entitled “Potential therapeutic uses of certain cannabis derived and synthetic cannabinoids revealed by their pharmacological properties” will answer the following questions:
-- What approved cannabinoid medicines have already been developed?
-- Are there any plant cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) with pharmacological properties, for which potential therapeutic applications have been identified?
-- Are there any synthetic cannabinoids with pharmacological properties, for which potential therapeutic applications have been identified?
-- What is the endocannabinoid system and how might it be targeted to generate therapeutically beneficial effects?
-- Are there any currently unmet needs that should be addressed to help advance the discovery/development of important new cannabinoid medicines?
-- Are there any important sources of known information about the pharmacology and/or therapeutic potential of phytocannabinoids and/or synthetic cannabinoids?

The next webinar on 22 October by Donald Abrams and Manuel Guzman will cover the topic “Cannabis in cancer”, followed on 29 October by Ethan Russo with “Plants and the Endocannabinoid System”. Please find here the whole programme.

Please register for free here starting on 12 October at 11:00 PM CET for all events.

Science/Human: The use of cannabis is an emerging treatment for common symptoms in older adults

Results of a survey with 568 adults 65 years and older show that about 15% (83 participants) reported using cannabis within the past 3 years to treat a number of symptoms including pain, sleep disturbances, anxiety and depression. The study was conducted by investigators of the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology of the Department of Medicine at the University of California in San Diego, La Jolla, USA.

Of those using cannabis products 53% reported using cannabis regularly on a daily or weekly basis, and 46% reported using cannabidiol-only products. The majority (78%) used cannabis for medical purposes only, with the most common targeted conditions being pain/arthritis (73%), sleep disturbance (29%), anxiety (24%), and depression (17%). Just over three-quarters reported cannabis "somewhat" or "extremely" helpful in managing one of these conditions, with few adverse effects. Lotions (35%), tinctures (35%), and smoking (30%) were the most common administration forms.

Yang KH, Kaufmann CN, Nafsu R, Lifset ET, Nguyen K, Sexton M, Han BH, Kim A, Moore AA. Cannabis: An Emerging Treatment for Common Symptoms in Older Adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2020 Oct 7. [in press]

Science/Human: More than a quarter of women use cannabis for menopause symptom management

According to a survey by San Francisco VA Health Care System and University of California in San Francisco cannabis is used by more than a quarter of all participating women for the treatment of menopause symptoms. Of 232 midlife women with mean age of 56 years 27% had used cannabis or use it against for one or more of the following symptoms: hot flashes and night sweats (54%), insomnia (27%), and genitourinary symptoms (69%).

An additional 10% of participants expressed interest in future use. In contrast, only 19% reported traditional forms of menopause symptom management, including menopausal hormone therapy. Authors concluded that “use of cannabis for menopause symptom management was common in this sample of midlife women Veterans in Northern California. This study raises questions about the generalizability of these findings in other regions with differing legal and cultural attitudes toward cannabis use (…).” "These findings suggest that cannabis use to manage menopause symptoms may be relatively common," study co-author Carolyn Gibson said in a statement.

Gibson C, Huang A, Maguen S, Inslicht S, Byers A, Seal K. Cannabis use for menopause symptom management among midlife women Veterans. 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting of the North American Menopause Society. Poster 10, p. 14.
UPI of 28 September 2020

Science/Human: Cannabis does not have a major impact on cognition in patients treated for chronic pain

A cross-sectional study was conducted among chronic pain patients aged 15 years or older, who had licences to use cannabis (63 participants) or did not use cannabis (62 patients). Investigators of the School of Public Health, Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences of the University of Haifa, Israel, found that there was no relevant difference between both groups with regard to cognitive psychomotor performance. A computerised brief series of tests was used to assess cognitive performance of psychomotor reaction, attention, working memory and learning.

Results showed that “groups did not significantly differ in terms of cognitive performance measures.” Furthermore, none of the use patterns, such as intensity and length of use were associated with cognitive performance. Investigators concluded that these “results suggest that use of whole plant MC does not have a widespread impact on cognition in older chronic pain patients.”

Sznitman SR, Vulfsons S, Meiri D, Weinstein G. Medical cannabis and cognitive performance in middle to old adults treated for chronic pain. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2020 Sep 22. [in press]

Science/Human: Many cancer patients use cannabis but are often not well informed

According to a survey with 24 participants aged 30 to 71 years suffering from cancer cannabis was used for several symptoms, but often were not well informed about cannabis in cancer. The study was conducted by researchers of Harvard Medical School, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and other scientific institutions from Boston, USA, and published in the journal Cancer.

Medical cannabis certifications were typically issued by a professional new to a patient's care “after a brief, perfunctory consultation,” authors wrote. Patients sometimes used cannabis instead of standard Treatments. Authors noted that due to “absent formal advice from medical professionals, patients relied on nonmedical sources for MC information” and concluded that “patients with cancer used MC with minimal medical oversight.”

Braun IM, Nayak MM, Revette A, Wright AA, Chai PR, Yusufov M, Pirl WF, Tulsky JA. Cancer patients' experiences with medicinal cannabis-related care. Cancer. 2020 Sep 28. [in press]

News in brief

Science/Human: CBD was effective in reducing social anxiety and psychotic symptoms in a case report
According to an article published in the British Medical Journal a 20--year-old man with severe social anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, insomnia and psychotic symptoms profitable from additional treatment with CBD in doses between 200 and 800 mg per day for 6 months. “During treatment with CBD, he experienced subjective benefits to his anxiety, depression and positive symptoms during treatment that were confirmed by clinicians and by standardised research instruments,” the authors from Australia wrote.
Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Berger M, et al. BMJ Case Rep. 2020;13(10):e235307

Colombia: Government declares medicinal cannabis a project of strategic national interest
The National Government declared Medicinal Cannabis as a Project of National Strategic Interest, thus indicating that priority will be given to the sector, speeding up its procedures and processes. This will facilitate the efficient and timely implementation of the projects that comprise it, taking into account the government's interests with respect to employment generation, increased export capacity and generation of new income to the national territory, among others.
Cámara Colombiana de Cannabis Medicinal e Industrial of 18 September 2020

USA: About 0.3% of Utah citizens receive cannabis 6 months after implementation of a medicinal cannabis program
About 10,000 citizens of Utah with its 3.2 million inhabitants are allowed to use cannabis within the medical cannabis program enacted 6 months ago. But high demand has also led to shortages in both product and providers interested in recommending cannabis to patients. ''I don’t think that anybody had an idea as to the number of patients that Utah was going to see this early. ... I think we’re exceeding all of the studies that we had on the number of patients,” Cody James, manager of the Utah Department of Agriculture’s Industrial Hemp and Medical Cannabis Program, said.
Deseret of 27 September 2020

Science/Animal: Endocannabinoids protect from bacterial infection of the gut
Studies with mice show, that animals with increased levels of the endocannabinoid 2-AG are protected from gut infection Enterobacter bacteria. 2-AG directly modulates the function of the bacteria by inhibiting functions essential for successful infection, among other mechanisms of action against bacterial infection. Authors concluded that “endocannabinoids are directly sensed by bacteria and can modulate bacterial function.”
Department of Microbiology, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, USA.
Ellermann M, et al. Elsevier BV. 2020 Oct 7. [in press]

Science/Animal: Beta-caryophyllene reduces chronic inflammatory pain
Beta-caryophyllene stimulates the CB2 receptor. In a study with rats this terpene was able to decrease pain behaviours in a model of repeated inflammatory pain in both sexes, but to a greater degree in males.
Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience, University of Siena, Italy.
Ceccarelli I, et al. Front Neurosci. 2020;14:850

Science/Animal: The CB2 receptor plays a major role in the regulation of graft-versus-host disease
Graft versus host disease is a syndrome, which is commonly associated with bone marrow transplants and stem cell transplants, where the transplanted cells (the graft) attack the body (the host). Studies demonstrate that the CB2 receptor plays a critical role in the regulation of this syndrome, which is characterised by inflammation in different organs.
Medical College of Wisconsin, Wauwatosa, USA.
Yuan CY, et al. Blood. 2020:blood.2020004871

Science/Cells: The endocannabinoid system reduces inflammatory responses
In an inflammatory environment certain white blood cells, macrophages, and so-called mesenchymal stromal cells change, which negatively influences healing. Researchers found that the endocannabinoid system downregulates the inflammatory responses of these cells. They note that cannabinoids “may constitute a potent therapeutic option against inflammatory disorders.”
Department of Plastic Surgery, Hand Surgery-Burn Center, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Germany.
Ruhl T, et al. Pharmacol Rep. 2020 Oct 7. [in press]

Science/Animal: Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) may reduce pain sensitivity
A study with mice shows that the natural cannabinoid cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) has analgesic effects and reduces thermal hyperalgesia.
Center for Behavioral Sciences and Mental Health, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.
Vigli D, et al. Neuroscience. 2020:S0306-4522(20)30625-4

Science/Animal: A combination of CBD, CBG and fish oil reduces inflammation of the bowel
In a study with mice the combination of cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG) and fish oil showed pronounced anti-inflammatory effects in colitis. Authors wrote that these “preclinical data support a novel strategy of combining these substances for the potential development of a treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.”
Department of Pharmacy, School of Medicine and Pharmacy, University of Naples Federico II, Italy.
Pagano E, et al. Phytother Res. 2020 Sep 30. [in press]

Science/Animal: CBD improves pulmonary hypertension
Hypertension of the pulmonary arteries was induced in rats, which was attenuated by CBD in a dose of 10 mg per kg bodyweight. CBD increased lung levels of some endocannabinoids, including anandamide and palmitoylethanolamine, but not of 2-AG. Authors concluded that “CBD may be a safe, promising therapeutic or adjuvant therapy agent for the treatment of human pulmonary artery hypertension.”
Department of Experimental Physiology and Pathophysiology, Medical University of Białystok, Poland.
Sadowska O, et al. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21(19):E7077

Science/Cells: A combination of CBD and oxygen-ozone showed anti-cancer effects in pancreatic cancer cells
A combination of CBD and O2/O3 showed antitumoural effects in 2 pancreatic cancer cell lines.
"Maria Guarino" Foundation-AMOR, Pozzuoli, Italy.
Luongo M, et al. Cancers (Basel). 2020;12(10):E2774

Science/Cells: The underlying mechanisms of CBD’s pain relieving effects
In a study with certain nerve cells from the spinal cord (dorsal root ganglion) CBD inhibited signalling of the TRPV1 (vanilloid receptor 1) and showed some other effects. Authors noted that these “mechanisms may underlie nociceptor desensitization and the therapeutic effect of CBD in animal models and patients with acute and chronic pain.”
Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital, UK.
Anand U, et al. J Pain Res. 2020;13:2269-2278

Science/Animal: Activation of the CB2 receptor may increase blood flow in the brain
Activation of the cannabinoid-2 receptor by a synthetic cannabinoid (JWH-133) increased blood flow in a state of vascular dysfunction in the brain due to type 1 diabetes. It improved impaired endothelial and neuronal dependent widening of cerebral arterioles. Authors wrote that “activation of CB2 receptors can potentiate reactivity of cerebral arterioles during physiologic and pathophysiologic states. We speculate that treatment with CB2 receptor agonists may have potential therapeutic benefits for the treatment of cerebral vascular diseases via a mechanism that can increase cerebral blood flow.”
Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences, Sanford School of Medicine, The University of South Dakota, Vermillion, USA.
Van Hove L, et al. Microvasc Res. 2020;133:104077

CBD protects skin cells against ultraviolet B radiation of the sun
In studies with certain skin cells, keratinocytes and melanocytes, which were treated with ultraviolet B irradiation (UVB) CBD exhibited a dose dependent protective effect on both cell types. Authors speculated “that the protective effect is due to reduction in reactive oxygen species.”
Applied Biology Inc., Irvine, USA.
Gohad P, et al. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2020 Sep 16. [in press]

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