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IACM-Bulletin of 16 January 2011

IACM: Call for papers for the Cannabinoid Conference 2011 in September

CALL FOR PAPERS: The scientific committee would like to invite you to present your research at the Cannabinoid Conference 2011 on 8-10 September at the University of Bonn. The Cannabinoid Conference 2011 is a joint meeting of the IACM 6th Conference on Cannabinoids in Medicine and the 5th EURopean Workshop on Cannabinoid Research. You may submit your abstract electronically until 31 May 2011 to info@cannabis-med.org. Abstracts will usually be accepted as posters. From all submissions the scientific committee will select abstracts for oral presentation. There will be awards for the best oral presentations and posters, preferably for young researchers (500 EURos each, about 650 US Dollars). We will decide on the number of awards in summer.

INVITED SPEAKERS: Among the speakers are Daniele Piomelli, Ken Mackie, George Kunos, Vincenzo Di Marzo, Sophie Lotersztain, Javier Fernández-Ruiz, Andreas Zimmer, Manuel Guzman, Aaron Lichtman, Philip Robson, Tjalling Erkelens, Itai Bab, Ruth Ross, Roger Pertwee, and Raphael Mechoulam.

IACM AWARD: During the Meeting the IACM will honour four persons for special achievements regarding the re-introduction of cannabis and cannabinoids as medicine. The IACM Award Committee consisting of Donald Abrams, Ethan Russo, Giovanni Marsicano, Istvan Katona, Manuel Guzman, Mario van der Stelt, Mark Ware, Mauro Maccarrone, and Raphael Mechoulam has already elected the awardees. Each award is associated with a price money of 500 EURos (about 650 US Dollars).

IACM GENERAL MEETING: During the meeting the IACM will held its annual General Meeting. Regular members will elect the new Board of Directors (a maximum of 10 members) including the chairman. Associate members will elect two patient representatives. Members of the IACM are invited to make suggestions for candidates by e-mail to info@cannabis-med.org. Suggestions can also be made during the General Meeting. IACM members will get a written invitation to the General Meeting together with the printed IACM-News in July.

More information on the Cannabinoid 2011 Conference, including Call for Papers at

News in brief

Canada: Cannabis dispensaries
A medical cannabis dispensary that opened 8 January in Vancouver, British Columbia, is the sixth in the city, its owner said. Six volunteers operate the Imedikate Medical Cannabis Dispensary, which already has 60 regular patients, the Vancouver Sun reported. Patients must bring proof of a serious illness or a recommendation from a doctor for cannabis to be dispensed. The owner said the shops operate "on the edge of the legislative law" because the Health Ministry refuses to issue a dispensary license, but the country's judiciary has ruled people have a right to medical cannabis. (Source: UPI of 10 January 2011)

USA: New Jersey
A state senator said he's taking the next step toward voiding Governor Chris Christie's proposed strict medical cannabis regulations after the Christie administration missed the deadline to submit a new version of them. A hearing on the issue has been scheduled for 20 January before the state Senate's health committee. That's the next step in a little-used legislative process to force an administration to redo regulations — the nuts-and-bolts of how a law is to be carried out. After the hearing, lawmakers could vote to require the Republican governor's administration to write new rules, said state Sen. Nicholas Scutari, a Democrat from Linden. (Source: Associated Press of 12 January 2011)

Science: THC and nabilone
Researchers of the University of Kentucky in Lexington, USA, investigated the combined effects of THC and the THC analogue nabilone and similarities in their effects in six cannabis users. They first learned to discriminate 30 mg oral THC from placebo and then received nabilone (0, 1 and 3 mg) and THC (0, 5, 15 and 30 mg) alone and in combination. THC and nabilone produced similar effects. Researchers suggest future studies "to determine if nabilone treatment would produce cross-tolerance to the abuse-related effects of cannabis and reduce cannabis use." (Source: Lile JA, et al. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2011 Jan 10. [in press])

Science: Glioma
At the Complutense University in Madrid, Spain, the effects of a combination of cannabinoids and temozolomide (TMZ) were investigated in the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme in animals. Administration of submaximal doses of THC and cannabidiol (CBD) remarkably reduced the growth of gliomas. Moreover, treatment with TMZ and submaximal doses of THC and CBD produced a strong anti-tumoural action in both TMZ-sensitive and TMZ-resistant tumours. Authors suggested that "the combined administration of TMZ and cannabinoids could be therapeutically exploited for the management" of glioblastoma multiforme (glioma). (Source: Torres S, et al. Mol Cancer Ther 2011;10(1):90-103.)

Science: Epilepsy
According to research at the University of Reading, UK, CBD (cannabidiol) exerted anti-convulsant effects in animal models of temporal lobe and partial seizures. (Source: Jones NA, et al. Seizure 2011 Jan 4. [in press])

Science: Epilepsy
Researchers of the University of Mainz, Germany, demonstrated that high concentrations of the CB1 receptor in the hippocampus, a certain brain region, in mice reduced seizure activity. They concluded that their data "provide further evidence for a role of increased CB1 signalling in pyramidal hippocampal neurons as a safeguard against the adverse effects of excessive excitatory network activity." (Source: Guggenhuber S, et al. PLoS One 2010;5(12):e15707.)

Science: Neuropathic pain
British researchers reviewed available data on the effectiveness of medicinal drugs in HIV-associated neuropathy. Of 44 clinical studies identified, 14 fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Interventions demonstrating greater efficacy than placebo were smoked cannabis, topical capsaicin 8%, and recombinant human nerve growth factor. No superiority over placebo was reported in clinical studies that examined amitriptyline, gabapentin, pregabalin, or other substances. They concluded that "evidence of efficacy exists only for capsaicin 8%, smoked cannabis and rhNGF." (Source: Phillips TJ, et al. PLoS One 2010;5(12):e14433.)

Science: Pain
A group of Italian and US researchers investigated the effect of an inhibitor of monoacylglycerol lipase (MGL), which is responsible for the degradation of the endocannabinoid 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol) on pain. The inhibitor URB602 reduced peripheral pain in rats. (Source: Guindon J, et al. Br J Pharmacol 2010 Dec 30. [in press])

Science: Obesity and schizophrenia
A working group from the US investigated the effects of the CB1 receptor antagonist rimonabant on 15 patients with schizophrenia and obesity in a 16-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Rimonabant was associated with an improvement of psychiatric symptoms, mainly anxiety/depression and hostility. There were no significant effects on body weight, lipids or glucose in the blood. No significant adverse events were observed. (Source: Kelly DL, et al. J Clin Psychopharmacol 2011;31(1):86-91.)

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