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IACM-Bulletin of 16 April 2017

Science/Human: Patients who use cannabis reduce their use in medications for pain, anxiety, migraine and sleep disorders

In an online survey of 1,513 patients, who receive cannabis from dispensaries, researchers from different scientific institutions across the USA revealed that a large number significantly reduced their use of several other medications.

Among respondents that regularly used opioids, over three-quarters (76.7%) indicated that they reduced their use since they started the medical use of cannabis. Approximately two-thirds of patients decreased their use of anti-anxiety drugs (71.8%), followed by medications for migraine (66.7%), sleep disorders (65.2%), alcohol (42.0%) and antidepressants (37.6%). Authors wrote that “a majority of patients reported using less opioids as well as fewer medications to treat anxiety, migraines, and sleep after initiating MC [medical cannabis]”.

Piper BJ, DeKeuster RM, Beals ML, Cobb CM, Burchman CA, Perkinson L, Lynn ST, Nichols SD, Abess AT. Substitution of medical cannabis for pharmaceutical agents for pain, anxiety, and sleep. J Psychopharmacol. 2017 Mar 1. [in press]

Science/Human/Uruguay: Pharmacies may start to sell cannabis in July

Uruguay's three-year process of legalizing recreational cannabis consumption reached its final stage on 6 April, when the government said it would authorize pharmacies to begin selling the substance as of July. Sixteen pharmacies have already registered with the government of the South American country to be able to sell cannabis for recreational purposes. That number is expected to increase to 30 in the coming months, said Juan Roballo, head of the National Drug Board. They must sell the substance at about 1.30 US Dollars (about 1.20 EURos) per gram.

Uruguay became a global pioneer when it legalized the cultivation, distribution and consumption of cannabis in late 2013. The cannabis sold in pharmacies will be grown by producers licensed by the state. Interested Uruguayans 18 or older must enrol in a government registry, set to open on 2 May, and are limited to purchasing 40 grams per month and 10 grams per week. Foreign tourists will not be able to purchase the drug.

Reuters of 6 April 2017

News in brief

USA: West Virginia lawmakers approve cannabis for medical use
Lawmakers in West Virginia passed a bill that would allow patients to use some forms of cannabis for medical needs. If signed by Democratic Governor Jim Justice, the measure would make West Virginia the 29th state to allow the medical use of cannabis products including tinctures, extracts, pills and OILs. It does not authorize patients to smoke cannabis or grow their own.
Reuters of 7 April 2017

Germany: Companies can now apply for a licence for government supervised cannabis production
Companies, who would like to produce cannabis for medical use, may now apply for a licence at a body of the Federal Health Ministry. They need to have experience in the production of medicinal cannabis or other medicinal plants. Deadline for application is 5 June 2017
Call for proposals by the German Federal Institute for Medicinal Drugs and Devices

Czech Republic: Decriminalization of cannabis did not result in change of age of use onset
A law, which decriminalized cannabis use in 2010, did not affect the age of onset of cannabis use.
Department of Economics, Tilburg University, The Netherlands.
Červený J, et al. Int J Drug Policy. 2017;43:122-129

Science/Human: Cannabis use does not increase injury risk
In a study with 1191 injured and 1613 non-injured patients in two Canadian emergency departments the use of alcohol was associated with a three-fold increase of injury risk, but not for use of cannabis, stimulants and depressants.
Alcohol Research Group, Emeryville, Canada.
Cherpitel CJ, et al. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017;174:121-127

Science/Human: A FAAH inhibitor did not reduce neuropathic pain
In a placebo controlled study with 116 patients suffering from peripheral neuropathic pain from Poland, Czech Republic and the UK the FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase) inhibitor ASP8477 was not superior to placebo in pain reduction. 63 completed the double-blind period. The medication was well-tolerated.
Astellas Pharma EURope, Leiden, the Netherlands.
Bradford D, et al. Pain Med. 2017 Apr 5.
[in press]

Science/Human: Review on controlled clinical studies with cannabis and cannabinoids
A review on 140 controlled clinical studies with cannabis and cannabinoids in the years 1975–2015 was published in Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences and is available online.
Grotenhermen F, Müller-Vahl K. Crit Rev Plant Sci. 2017 Feb 17. [in press]

Science/Human: Cannabis use reduced crack use
In 122 participants, who use cannabis to reduce crack use, researchers observed a reduced frequency of crack use. Authors wrote that “further clinical research to assess the potential of cannabinoids for the treatment of crack use disorders is warranted.”
St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, Canada.
Socías ME, et al. Addict Behav. 2017;72:138-143

Science/Animal: A THC preparation, which may be used locally at the eyes
In a study with rabbits a new THC preparation significantly improved the penetration of THC into the anterior segment of the eye following topical application. Enhanced ocular penetration resulted in significantly improved lowering activity on intraocular pressure.
School of Pharmacy, University of Mississippi, USA.
Adelli GR, et al. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2017;58(4):2167-2179

Science/Human: Effects of cannabis on testosterone levels
In a study with 1577 men there was no difference in serum testosterone levels between ever users of cannabis and never users. However, serum testosterone was inversely associated with time since last regular use of cannabis. Serum testosterone concentrations were higher in men with more recent cannabis use.
National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA.
Thistle JE, et al. Andrology. 2017 Apr 10. [in press]

Science/Human: CBD improved consequences of status epilepticus in rats
CBD was shown to be effective in a rat model of status epilepticus. It demonstrated anticonvulsant and neuroprotective effects, “reinforcing the potential role of CBD in the treatment of epileptic disorders.”
Ribeirao Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo, Brazil.
Do Val-da Silva RA, et al. Front Pharmacol. 2017;8:131

Science/Human: CBD-rich cannabis reduced seizures in children with epilepsy according to a survey
In 43 children from Mexico the use of cannabis rich in CBD (cannabidiol) 51% experienced a moderate to significant decrease in seizure frequency, and an additional 16% of cases were free from seizures according to a survey of their parents. The number of antiepileptic drugs being used was reduced in 9/43 (20.9%) cases. No serious adverse effects were reported.
Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Campus Salud, Mexico.
Aguirre-Velázquez CG. Neurol Res Int. 2017;2017:2985729

Science/Animal: The number of CB2 receptors increases in some brain regions following anxiety and exercise
In mice, which were subjected to social fear for five minutes on four days or had access to running wheels, the levels of CB2 receptors increased in certain brain regions. Authors wrote that “these results suggest that the CB2 receptor system is rapidly induced during anxiogenic social interactions plus fear conditioning or exercise; with responses potentially adaptive for coping mechanisms.”
Department of Biology, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, USA.
Robertson JM, et al. Neuroscience. 2017 Apr 6. [in press]

Science/Cells: The toxicity of anandamide to cancer cells was increased by ceramide
In a study with human neuroblastoma cells the ability of the endocannabinoid anandamide to damage these cancer cells was increased by the presence of ceramide in these cells. Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that forms in certain types of nerve tissue.
Faculté des Sciences, Aix-Marseille Université, France.
Di Scala C, et al. Chem Phys Lipids. 2017 Apr 4. [in press]

Science/Animal: CBD prevented the lungs of new-born pigs from damage due to reduced oxygen supply
Reduced oxygen supply to the brain induces distant inflammatory lung damage in new-born pigs. CBD reduced this distant lung damage, and this effect involved the 5-HT1A receptor.
Hospital Clínico San Carlos-IdISSC, Madrid, Spain.
Arruza L, et al. Pediatr Res. 2017 Apr 7. [in press]

Science/Animal: Damage to the kidneys due to diabetes reduced by antagonism of the CB1 receptor and activation of the CB2 receptor
Diabetic nephropathy, damage to the kidneys due to diabetes, was improved in mice by an antagonist of the CB1 receptor (AM6545) in combination with an agonist of the CB2 receptor (AM1241).
Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, Italy.
Barutta F, et al. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2017 Apr 6. [in press]

Science/Human: No difference in cognitive abilities between people with psychosis with and without cannabis use
In a sample of 1199 adults with psychotic illness there was no significant difference in cognitive performance in current cannabis users, past cannabis users and never users. However, current cannabis use had a significant negative relationship with cognitive function in people with affective psychoses, but not in those with non-affective psychoses.
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Western Australia, Australia.
Waterreus A, et al. Schizophr Res. 2017 Apr 2. [in press]

Science/Animal: Beta-caryophyllene reduced inflammation in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis
In a study with mice beta-caryophyllene significantly ameliorated both the clinical and pathological parameters of multiple sclerosis like changes. This effect was linked to its ability to inhibit microglial cells, T lymphocytes, as well as the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Department of Health Sciences, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil.
Alberti TB, et al. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(4).

Science/Animal: Beta-caryophyllene exerts pain-reducing effects by activation of the CB2 receptor
Beta-caryophyllene reduced pain induced in mice by capsaicin, and this effect was mediated by the CB2 receptor.
Daiichi College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Fukuoka, Japan.
Katsuyama S, et al. EUR J Pain. 2013;17(5):664-75

Science/Cells: Activation of the CB1 receptor relaxes contracted arteries
Isolated human and rat arteries were contracted by several chemicals (angiotensin II, serotonin, and others). The endocannabinoid 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol) concentration-dependently induced relaxation, and this effect mediated by activation of the CB1 receptor.
Medical University of Białystok, Finland.
Karpińska O, et al. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2017 Mar 29. [in press]

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