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IACM-Bulletin of 27 May 2007

Science: Cannabis smoking worsens breathing problems in cigarette smokers

The smoking of cannabis worsens breathing problems in current cigarette smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study presented at the American Thoracic Society 2007 International Conference on 22 May.

The study found that among people 40 and older, cigarette smokers were two-and-a-half times as likely as nonsmokers to develop COPD, while smoking cigarettes and cannabis together boosted the odds of developing COPD to three-and-a-half times the risk of someone who did not smoke either cigarettes or cannabis. In other words, adding cannabis smoking to cigarette smoking increased the risk by one-third, said Dr. Wan Tan, of St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada. The odds of cigarette smokers having any respiratory symptoms was 2.4 times that of nonsmokers, while the odds of someone who smoked both cigarettes and cannabis having respiratory symptoms was 18 times higher.

More at:

(Source: Press release of the American Thoracic Society of 21 May 2007)

IACM: In commemoration of Dr. Tod Mikuriya

On 21 May Dr. Tod Mikuriya died at his home in Berkeley, California, at the age of 73. Dr. Mikuriya was a psychiatrist and a well-known advocate of the medical use of cannabis. He was an architect of Proposition 215, the Californian law that legalized growing and using cannabis for medical purposes with a doctor's recommendation in 1996. He was a member of the Advisory Board of the IACM.

Dr. Mikuriya was born in Pennsylvania in 1933 to Anna Schwenk, a German immigrant and Tadafumi Mikuriya, a Japanese samurai. After earning his medical degree at Temple University he completed a psychiatric residency at San Francisco's Southern Pacific General Hospital. He was Director of the Drug Addiction Treatment Center of the New Jersey NeuroPschiatric Institute. In the 1960's he directed cannabis research for the National Institute of Mental Health's Center for Narcotics and Drug Abuse Studies (predecessor of today's National Institute on Drug Abuse).

More information on Dr. Mikuriya at:

(Sources: San Francisco Chronicle of 22 May 2007, National Association of Public Health of 21 May 2007)

News in brief

Science: Pain
THC and morphine were shown to act synergistically in an arthritis model in mice. Researchers noted that this observation may have relevance for the treatment of chronic pain. (Source: Cox ML, et al. EUR J Pharmacol. 2007 Apr 20; [Epub ahead of print])

Science: Sensitization by THC
Recent evidence has provided support for the incentive-sensitization model of addiction, where repeated stimulation of the brain reward system leads to a long-lasting sensitization of this system and stimulates further consumption of the drug. This phenomenon has been demonstrated with many drugs. In this study the effects of repeated intermittent (every 3-4 days) treatment with THC or methamphetamine to mice were investigated. Later this study was repeated with rats. A robust dose-dependent sensitization was observed by methamphetamine but not by THC. (Source: Varvel SA, et al. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2007 May 12; [Epub ahead of print]).

A glimpse @ the past

One year ago

Two years ago

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