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IACM-Bulletin of 13 December 2015

Science/Human: CBD extract may reduce seizures by at least 50 per cent in about half of children with epilepsy according to large clinical study

Three studies presented at the American Epilepsy Society's 69th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia highlight the efficacy and safety of Epidiolex, a cannabidiol (CBD) containing cannabis extract of the British company GW Pharmaceuticals. The largest CBD study presented data on Epidiolex from an open study at 16 sites in the USA. The study involves 261 people, predominantly children, who have severe epilepsy that had not responded adequately to other treatments. The average age of the participants was 11. Over the course of 12 weeks, the study participants were given Epidiolex in gradually increasing doses. In all cases, Epidiolex was added to their current treatment regimes.

After three months of treatment, the frequency of all seizures was reduced by a median of 45% in all participants. Almost half (47%) of the participants in the study experienced a 50% or greater reduction in seizures and nine percent of patients were seizure-free. Among specific patient populations, patients with Dravet Syndrome had a 62% reduction in seizures and 13% were seizure-free. Patients with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome experienced a 71% reduction in seizures. Adverse events occurred in more than 10 percent of participants with the most common being somnolence, diarrhoea and fatigue and led to discontinuation in 4% of patients.

Science Daily of 7 December 2015.

Australia: The government creates a national scheme to regulate the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes

The Australian government has announced the creation of a nationally consistent licencing scheme to regulate the controlled cultivation of cannabis for medicinal or scientific purposes. By removing the need for states and territories to implement individual cultivation schemes, legislation will be consistent across the country for growers, according to Minister for Health Sussan Ley.

The decision follows consultation with state and territory governments and law enforcement agencies over the past month. Legislation will be introduced in the first sitting period of 2016 to allow comments on the exposure draft to be considered in full over the next couple of months. “Allowing controlled cultivation locally will provide the critical ‘missing piece’ for a sustainable legal supply of safe medicinal cannabis products for Australian patients in the future,” Ley said.

International Business Times of 3 December 2015

News in brief

Science/Human: Prescribed opioids are gateway drugs to heroine
Over three-quarters (77.3%) of heroin users reported nonmedical use of prescribed opioids in their medical history. Data were analysed from a nationally representative sample of 67,822 American high school seniors.
Palamar JJ, et al. Drug Alcohol Depend 2015;156:112-9.

Science/Animal: Mechanisms of THC in reducing consequences of HIV infection in monkeys
It is known that THC reduces consequences of SIV infection in rhesus macaques, which is the equivalent to HIV infection in humans. Researchers found that THC exerts neuroprotective effects in the striatum, a certain brain region, including a reduced production of pro-inflammatory substances.
Louisiana State University Health Sciences, New Orleans, USA.
Simon L, et al. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2015 Nov 25. [in press]

Science/Animal: Activation of CB2 receptors protects the kidneys from damage in diabetes
In mice with diabetes the administration of a cannabinoid, which activates the CB2 receptor, protected the kidneys. Researchers concluded that these “results suggest that CB2 agonism is a potential option to be added to the available therapeutic armamentarium for type 2 diabetic nephropathy.”
IRCCS, Science and Technology Park Kilometro Rosso, Bergamo, Italy.
Zoja C, et al. Nephron. 2015 Dec 9. [in press]

IACM: Please find here some of the PowerPoint presentations of talks given at the Cannabinoid Conference 2015
David Finn – Pain modulation by negative affective state: role of the endocannabinoid system
Mauro Maccarrone - Endocannabinoid signalling at the skin/immune cell interface
Roger Pertwee - New potential therapeutic applications for certain phytocannabinoids revealed by pharmacological discoveries
Andrea Ruiz Calvo - Potential neuroprotective role of specific CB1 receptor subpopulations in the mouse corticostriatal circuitry
Guillermo Velasco - Towards the utilization of cannabinoids as anti-cancer agents
Ethan Russo - Under-investigated indications in cannabis therapeutics
Tjalling Erkelens / Arno Hazekamp - An overview of Bedrocan
Ilya Reznik - Medicinal cannabis in Israel, 2015
Mark Ware - The Canadian experience
Franjo Grotenhermen – Perspectives from a doctor’s office in Germany

A glimpse @ the past

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