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IACM-Bulletin of 08 March 2015

Science/Animal: A CBD rich cannabis extract showed better anti-inflammatory effects than pure cannabidiol

In experiments with mice a CBD rich cannabis extract was superior in reducing inflammation than pure CBD. This is the result of research by scientists of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. They used a cannabis strain called Avidekel to prepare extracts, which were given either orally or injected into the belly. CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-psychotropic compound of the cannabis plant.

The Avidekel extract reduced paw swelling induced by a chemical (zymosan) and pain in mice, and prevented the production of a pro-inflammatory substance (TNF-Alpha). Authors wrote that “it is likely that other components in the extract synergize with CBD to achieve the desired anti-inflammatory action.” Perhaps small amounts of THC and anti-inflammatory terpenes play a role.

Gallily R, Yekhtin Z, Hanuš LO. Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol. Pharmacol Pharm 2015;6(2):75‐85.

Jamaica: Parliament allows cannabis for medicinal and religious purposes and decriminalizes recreational use of the drug

Jamaica's parliament cleared the way for decriminalizing cannabis. Governor General Sir Patrick Allen is expected to sign the amendments of the narcotic laws in the coming days. When enacted, Jamaica's new law will allow the use of cannabis for religious, medicinal, therapeutic and scientific purposes.

Smoking cannabis will not be allowed in public spaces. A person holding up to two ounces (56.7g) in public would have to pay a small fine but would not be arrested. Jamaica’s Senate, known as the Upper House of Representatives, already approved the reforms in early February. It is expected that a medical cannabis industry will be build.

Reuters of 25 February 2015

News in brief

Economy/USA: Phytecs, a new company on modulation of the endocannabinoid system
A new company dedicated to development of healthcare and nutrition products targeting the endocannabinoid system has been founded. The Executive Director of Phythecs is Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, Professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Medical Director is Dr. Ethan Russo, who left GW Pharmaceuticals at the end of last year. Both are outstanding researchers in the field. Initially the company plans to develop cosmetics, skin-care products, nutraceuticals, and food supplements.
Website of Phytecs

Science/Human: Cannabis users have lower levels of a compound, which mediates inflammation
In a study with 168 African American adults (median age = 47 years) non-drug users were approximately two times more likely to have higher TNF (tumour necrosis factor alpha) levels than cannabis users. TNF-Alpha is an important mediator of inflammation.
Department of Psychology, Virginia State University, Petersburg, USA.
Keen L 2nd, et al. J Behav Med. 2015 Mar 3. [in press]

Science/Animal: Activation of the CB2 receptor reduced itching
A synthetic cannabinoid-2 receptor activator (S-777469) reduced itching and scratching in mice, which was induced by a chemical (compound 48/80).
Discovery Research Laboratory for Innovative Frontier Medicines, Osaka, Japan.
Haruna T, et al. Pharmacology 2015;95(1-2):95-103.

USA: Alaska now allows recreational cannabis use
Smoking, growing and owning small amounts of cannabis became legal in Alaska on 24 February. Alaska, which narrowly passed the measure in November, followed the states of Colorado and Washington, which already allow recreational use.
Reuters of 24 February 2015

USA: Cannabis now legal in the District of Columbia
The use and possession of cannabis is legal in the District of Columbia (Washington DC) since 26 February following the states Colorado, Washington and Alaska.
Reuters of 25 February 2015

USA: Nearly half of US citizens support the legalization of cannabis
Nearly half of citizens of the United States favour making cannabis legal and think Congress shouldn't be able to intervene in local cannabis laws. Forty-four percent of respondents supported legalizing the use of cannabis, the online poll by Reuters of 1,906 adults showed. Thirty-five percent opposed such legalization, with 21 percent unsure.
Reuters of 4 March 2015

Science/Cells: CB2 receptor activation was effective against a certain severe form of breast cancer
Triple-negative breast cancer represents a subtype of breast cancer characterized by high aggressiveness. Researchers showed that activation of the CB2 cannabinoid receptor induced death of cells of this type of cancer.
Instituto de Química Médica, CSIC, Madrid, Spain.
Morales P, et al. J Med Chem. 2015 Feb 20. [in press]

Science/Animal: The activation of CB1 receptors of the hippocampus maintains a homeostatic balance of nerve cell activation
Research in mice indicates that cannabinoid-1 receptors both on inhibitory and excitatory nerve cells control functional and structural synaptic plasticity of nerve cells in the hippocampus, an important brain region. Researchers wrote that they “maintain an appropriate homeostatic state upon neuronal activation. Consequently, if the CB1 receptor is lost in either neuronal population, an allostatic shift will occur, leading to a long-term dysregulation of neuronal functions.”
Medical Centre of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany.
Monory K, et al. J Neurosci 2015;35(9):3842-3850.

Science/Human: Cannabis use had negative effects on daily life in bipolar disorder
In a small study 24 patients suffering from bipolar disorder were asked to complete diaries for six days to investigate the effects of cannabis. Researchers found that cannabis use was associated with subsequent increases in positive affect, manic symptoms and depressive symptoms.
Division of Health Research Lancaster University, United Kingdom.
Tyler E, et al. PLoS One 2015;10(3):e0118916.

Science/Human: Pantoprazole may cause positive urine drug test on cannabis/THC
Researchers present a case report of a positive urine drug screening test on THC, which was caused by the medicinal drug pantoprazole. Pantoprazole is widely used for the treatment of increased acid production in the stomach.
Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.
Felton D, et al. Pediatrics. 2015 Mar 2 [in press]

Science/Human: Cannabis in migraine in the 19th century
A researcher of Mayo Clinic reviewed Dr William Osler's 1892 textbook The Principles and Practice of Medicine with regard to his recommendations on migraine. He recommended cannabis both for prevention of the attacks and during attacks together with other medications. Osler`s book became the dominant medical text in the English-speaking world.
Mayo Clinic, Department of Neurology, Rochester, USA.
Boes CJ. Can J Neurol Sci. 2015 Feb 27:1-4. [in press]

Science/Animal: Activation of the CB2 receptor was effective against colitis
A synthetic CB2 receptor agonist protected mice against experimental colitis (inflammation of the colon).
Université de Lille Nord de France, Lille Cedex, France.
El Bakali J, et al. ACS Med Chem Lett 2014;6(2):198-203.

Science/Animal: The endocannabinoid system is tonically active in pain
Rats received injections of formalin into their paws to cause pain. This pain was increased by the administration of antagonists (blockers) of the CB1 and CB2 receptor. Researchers concluded that the results “indicate that CB1 and CB2 receptors mediate a tonically inhibitory action on formalin-induced inflammatory pain.” This means that the body tries to counteract pain itself by an activation of the endocannabinoid system.
The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, China.
Wang TC, et al. Chin J Physiol 2015;58(1).

Science/Animal: Blockade of synthesis of endocannabinoids effective in constipation
In mice with constipation blockade of the formation of endocannabinoids by reducing an enzyme (diacylglycerol lipase), which is responsible for the synthesis of the endocannabinoid 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol) reversed slow motility of the bowel and constipation.
University of Calgary, Canada.
Bashashati M, et al. Br J Pharmacol. 2015 Feb 12. [in press]

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