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IACM-Bulletin of 23 August 2015

Science/Human: Life threatening angiooedema responded to cannabis according to a case report

A 27-year-old man with recurrent episodes of angiooedema since he was 19 responded well to a treatment with cannabis, researchers of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, Israel, reported in the journal Case Reports in Immunology. Initially, the patient responded well to steroids and antihistamines, but several attempts to withdraw treatment resulted in recurrence. In the last few months before prescribing cannabis, the frequency and severity of the attacks worsened.

The patient reported that he was periodically using cannabis socially and that during these periods he was free of attacks. Doctors decided to try inhaled cannabis, which resulted in a complete response, and he has been free of symptoms for 2 years. An attempt to withhold the inhaled cannabis led to a recurrent attack within a week. Angiooedema, also known as Quincke's oedema, is the rapid swelling (oedema) of the skin, subcutaneous tissue, mucosa and submucosal tissues.

Frenkel A, Roy-Shapira A, Evgeni B, Leonid K, Borer A, Klein M. Life Threatening Idiopathic Recurrent Angioedema Responding to Cannabis. Case Reports Immunol 2015;2015:780824.

News in brief

India: Association on medicinal cannabis founded
The Medicinal Cannabis Foundation of India was recently founded. Please see here a press release.

Science/Human: Cannabis extract decreased spasticity in multiple sclerosis
In a clinical study with 44 patients with multiple sclerosis, of whom half received the cannabis extract Sativex and half a placebo, response on the modified Ashworth scale (at least 20 % improvement) was significantly more frequent after Sativex than placebo (50 vs 23.5 %). The Ashworth scale allows the objective measurement of spasticity intensity.
Scientific Institute Hospital San Raffaele, Milan, Italy.
Leocani L, et al. J Neurol. 2015 Aug 20. [in press]

Science/Animal: CBD inhibits seizures caused by cocaine
In a study with mice CBD protected against seizures in a model of cocaine intoxication. These effects were associated with a reduced glutamate release. Authors wrote that “CBD should be further investigated as a strategy for alleviating psychostimulant toxicity.” Glutamate is a neurotransmitter, which may be over-activated after brain damage and causes further damage itself.
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Gobira PH, et al. Neurotoxicology. 2015 Aug 14. [in press]

Science/Human: Cannabis use was associated with better cognitive abilities in patients with psychosis
In a study with 133 patients with a first episode of psychosis cannabis use was associated with better processing speed and social cognition.
Department of Psychology & Counselling, La Trobe University, Australia.
Arnold C, et al. Schizophr Res. 2015 Aug 7. [in press]

Science/Human: Reduced sperm count in regular cannabis users
In a study with 1,215 young Danish men aged 18-28 years regular cannabis smoking more than once per week was associated with a 28% lower sperm concentration. Cannabis smokers also had higher levels of testosterone.
University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Gundersen TD, et al. Am J Epidemiol. 2015 Aug 16. [in press]

Science/Human: Drug use associated with higher mortality in people with mental illness
In a study with 41,470 people with schizophrenia, 11,739 people with bipolar disorder, and 88,270 people with depression mortality was higher in individuals with substance use disorders than in those without, particularly in people who used alcohol and other hard drugs. There was also a slight increase of mortality in cannabis users.
Mental Health Center, Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark.
Hjorthøj C, et al. Lancet Psychiatry. 2015 Aug 12. [in press]

Science/Animal: Endocannabinoids are involved in development of fever
New research suggests that endocannabinoids are involved in the fever causing effects of certain cytokines, for example tumour necrosis factor alpha.
University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil.
Fraga D, et al. Brain Behav Immun. 2015 Aug 17. [in press]

Science/Animal: Fasting stimulates the synthesis of the endocannabinoid 2-AG in the bowel
In a study with rats food deprivation stimulated the synthesis of 2-AG, which by activation of the CB1 receptor may promote feeding.
University of California, Riverside, School of Medicine, USA.
DiPatrizio NV, et al. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2015 Aug 19. [in press]

Science/Animal: Endocannabinoids prevented cognitive deficits caused by morphine
In a study with rats a synthetic inhibitor of FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase), which causes an increase of endocannabinoid levels and thus an increased activity of endocannabinoids protected against tolerance and memory deficits in chronic usage of morphine.
Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran.
Hasanein P, et al. Behav Pharmacol. 2015 Aug 13. [in press]

Science/Human: No good correlation of THC in oral fluid and blood after cannabis inhalation with a vaporizer
In a study with healthy cannabis smokers, who received different doses of cannabis by using a vaporizer there was no good correlation between the THC concentration in oral fluid and blood.
National Institute on Drug Abuse, Baltimore, USA.
Hartman RL, et al. Drug Test Anal. 2015 Aug 10. [in press]

Science/Animal: Activation of CB1 receptor stimulated the formation of new nerve cells in the hippocampus
Mice, who received the anti-epileptic medication valproate, showed a small decrease of new born nerve cells in the hippocampus, a certain brain region. If they received this medication together with a synthetic cannabinoid (ACEA), which activates the CB1 receptor, the number of new-born nerve cells in this brain region was significantly increased.
Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland.
Andres-Mach M, et al. Brain Res. 2015 Jul 29. [in press]

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