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IACM-Bulletin of 05 February 2017

Israel: The government wants to decriminalize small-scale recreational cannabis use

Israel plans to decriminalize cannabis use, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan said on 26 January. He said that if the government approves his new policy, those caught smoking cannabis would be punished by a fine rather than arrested and prosecuted. Criminal procedures would be launched only against those caught repeatedly.

"Police will be able to redirect resources ... away from normative personal users and focus instead on dangerous drugs," Erdan told a news conference in Tel Aviv. According to data presented to parliament by the Internal Security Ministry in December, enforcement against cannabis users has dropped by 30 percent since 2010. Figures presented to the Justice Ministry showed only 188 people were arrested in 2015 for smoking cannabis, a 56 percent drop since 2010. Thus, recreational cannabis use seemed to decrease despite increase of accepted medical use in Israel, where more than 20,000 patients allowed to use cannabis.

Reuters of 26 January 2017

News in brief

Israel: Government wants to finance 13 research projects on cannabis
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announced to finance 13 research projects into cannabis worth about 2.1 million US dollars (about 1.9 million EURos) in colaboration with the Health Ministry. Among the projects are the identification of new strains of cannabis; the use of cannabis to improve vision, fight intestinal cancer and boost the body’s acceptance of transplanted organs; the improvement of watering and fertilizing of the cannabis plant; and the development of ways to combat cannabis plant diseases and pests.
Times of Israel of 24 January 2017

Science: Discussion on the assertation that CBD may be converted into THC in the stomach
In a new article for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research scientists refuted the assertation that CBD might by transformed into THC in the stomach but researchers of Zynerba insist in their authors’ response. Zynerba develops the transdermal CBD preparation and has a financial interest to present oral CBD, which is well tolerated in clinical studies, as potential dangerous.
Grotenhermen F, Russo E, Zuardi AW. Even High Doses of Oral Cannabidol Do Not Cause THC-Like Effects in Humans: Comment on Merrick et al. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research 2016;1(1):102-112.
Bonn-Miller MO, Banks SL, Sebree T. Conversion of Cannabidiol Following Oral Administration: Authors' Response to Grotenhermen et al. 2017, 2(1): 5-7.

Science/Human: Maximum blood concentrations after oral intake of THC were reached faster in a fasted state than in if taken together with a meal
In a study with 54 healthy volunteers THC was longer detectable blood after oral intake with a meal than taken in a fasted state. Mean time to maximum blood plasma concentration was similarly delayed for THC oral solution with food (7.7 hours) and capsule with food (5.6 hours) versus capsule with fasting (1.7 hours).
INSYS Therapeutics, Inc., Chandler, USA.
Oh DA,et al. Clin Pharmacol. 2017;9:9-17.

Science: Activation of the CB2 receptor may be helpful in psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease, which highly depends on inflammation and formation of new blood vessels. The CB2 receptor agonist JWH-133 is a synthetic cannabinoid with strong anti-angiogenic and anti-inflammatory activities. Authors suggest using this cannabinoid for treatment of psoriasis.
Medical Biology Research Center, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Iran.
Norooznezhad AH, et al. Med Hypotheses. 2017;99:15-18.

Science/Animal: Beta-caryophyllene may protect the liver
In mice treated with alcohol, beta-caryophyllene (BCP) attenuated the chronic alcohol-induced liver injury and inflammation. Authors wrote that “given the safety of BCP in humans this food additive has a high translational potential in treating or preventing hepatic injury associated with oxidative stress, inflammation and steatosis.”
National Institutes of Health/NIAAA, Bethesda, USA.
Varga ZV, et al. Br J Pharmacol. 2017 Jan 20. [in press]

Science/Cells: Beta-caryophyllene stimulates mineralization of osteoblasts
Bone marrow cells obtained from mouse femoral tissues were cultured in the presence of beta-caryophyllene, a known CB2 receptor agonist. The results revealed that beta-caryophyllene stimulated mineralization of osteoblasts, which build up bone, and suppressed production of fat and osteoclasts, which degrade bone. Authors wrote that this terpene “may be used as a therapeutic agent for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.”
Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, USA.
Yamaguchi M, Levy RM. Exp Ther Med. 2016;12(6):3602-3606.

Science/Human: Effects of inhaled and oral THC on pupil size and psychomotor performance
Effects on performance and pupil size of frequent and occasional cannabis smokers following controlled placebo, inhaled (6.9% THC) and oral (50mg THC) cannabis administration were investigated. Significant effects following inhaled doses were not observed due to delayed tasks administration 1.5 and 3.5 h post-dose, but significant impairment was observed after oral dosing. Pupil sizes after oral dosing under the direct lighting condition were significantly larger than after placebo at 1.5 h and at 3.5 h among all participants
National Institute on Drug Abuse National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, USA.
Newmeyer MN et al. J Appl Toxicol. 2017 Jan 31. [in press]

Science/Cells: Activation of CB1 receptor promoted growth of melanoma cells
In human melanoma cells, an aggressive form of skin cancer, activation of the CB1 receptor promoted growth. Authors wrote that “CB1 receptor might function as tumor-promoting signal in human cutaneous melanoma.”
Department of Pharmacy, University of Pisa, Italy.
Carpi S, et al. Toxicol In Vitro. 2017 Jan 25. [in press]

Science/Animal: Cannabigerol (CBG) increases food intake
A cannabis extract rich in CBG (cannabigerol) and devoid of THC increased food take in rats. Authors wrote that a CBG cannabis extract may be a “novel appetite stimulant.”
University of Reading, Cambridge, UK.
Brierley DI, et al. Behav Pharmacol. 2017 Jan 25. [in press]

Science/France: Increase of THC content in cannabis
For cannabis resin (hashish), THC content has slowly risen from 1992 to 2009, before a considerable increase in the last four years (mean THC content in mid-2016 is 23% compared to 10% in 2009). For herbal cannabis, it has known three main stages of growth (mean THC content is 13% in mid-2016 compared to 7% in 2009 and 2% in 1995).
Institut National de Police Scientifique - Laboratoire de Lyon, France.
Dujourdy L, et al. Forensic Sci Int. 2017;272:72-80.

Science/Israel: Differences between medical users of cannabis and recreation cannabis users
An online survey of 1479 Israeli cannabis users compared unlicensed medical users (38%) with recreational (42%) and licensed medical (5.6%) users. Recreational users were more likely to be male, less likely to eat cannabis, to use cannabis frequently and to use alone and before midday than unlicensed medical users. Licensed medical cannabis users were older than unlicensed users, they reported less hours feeling stoned, less cannabis use problems and they were more likely to report cannabis use patterns analogous of medication administration for chronic problems.
School of Public Health, University of Haifa, Israel.
Sznitman SR. Int J Drug Policy. 2017;42:15-21.

Science/Animal: CB2 receptor function is increased in a brain region responsible for pain modulation in chronic inflammation
In rats with chronic inflammation the CB2 receptor function in the rostral ventromedial medulla, a brain region important for pain perception, is increased. Authors wrote that “the emergence of CB2 receptor function in the rostral ventromedial medulla provides additional rationale for the development of CB2 receptor-selective agonists as useful therapeutics for chronic inflammatory pain.”
Department of Neurological Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, USA.
Li MH, et al. J Neurosci. 2017;37(3):626-636.

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