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IACM-Bulletin of 06 August 2017

Poland: A law on the medical use of cannabis will take effect in three months

On 21 July President Andrzej Duda signed a law previously approved by the Parliament, according to which cannabis-based medicines can be purchased at pharmacies on prescription. "According to the new rules, patients should have simplified access to marijuana to treat symptoms of certain diseases, such as chronic pain, nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy," the law said.

Initially, the bill said that patients with an approval should be allowed to grow their own cannabis for personal use. According to the adopted version of the law cannabis flowers will be imported from abroad, which will be used as raw material for pharmaceutical preparations. Physicians will then be able to prescribe these medicines. The law on simplifying access to cannabis was supported by 440 of 460 deputies of Seim, the Polish Parliament, in late June 2017. The law will take effect in three months.

RMF24 of 21 July 2017

112 international of 21 July 2017

Science/Human: Cannabis may be helpful in Parkinson’s disease according to a survey

Cannabis may be beneficial in Parkinson’s disease according to a survey conducted by scientists of Colorado State University. An anonymous survey was hosted on the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society webpages from 15 February to 15 October 2016. The survey was completed by 595 participants, of whom 76% suffered from Parkinson’s disease (PD) and 24% from multiple sclerosis (MS).

Current users reported high efficacy of cannabis of 6.4 on a scale from 0 to 7 and 59% reported reducing prescription medication since beginning cannabis use. Current cannabis users were younger and reported lower levels of disability, specifically in domains of mood, memory, and fatigue. Authors concluded that “cannabis may have positive impacts on mood, memory, fatigue, and obesity status in people with PD and MS.”

Kindred JH, Li K, Ketelhut NB, Proessl F, Fling BW, Honce JM, Shaffer WR, Rudroff T. Cannabis use in people with Parkinson's disease and Multiple Sclerosis: A web-based investigation. Complement Ther Med. 2017;33:99-104.

News in brief

IACM: New publications in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research
New articles have been published in the CCR, the partner journal of the IACM:
”Cannabis as a Substitute for Opioid-Based Pain Medication: Patient Self-Report” by Reiman Amanda, Welty Mark, and Solomon Perry,
”A Guide to the National Academy of Science Report on Cannabis: An Exclusive Discussion with Panel Members” by Daniele Piomelli, Ziva Cooper, Donald Abrams, Igor Grant, and Sachin Patel,
”An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies” by Kerstin Iffland and Franjo Grotenhermen,
”Prevalence and Correlates of Cannabis Use in Outpatients with Serious Mental Illness Receiving Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorders” by Jordan Skalisky, Emily Leickly, Oladunni Oluwoye, et al.,
”Anti-Inflammatory Activity in Colon Models Is Derived from Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid That Interacts with Additional Compounds in Cannabis Extracts” by Nallathambi Rameshprabu, Mazuz Moran, Ion Aurel, et al.,
”N-Arachidonoyl Dopamine: A Novel Endocannabinoid and Endovanilloid with Widespread Physiological and Pharmacological Activities” by Urszula Grabiec and Faramarz Dehghani,
”The Use of Cannabis by Patients with Sickle Cell Disease Increased the Frequency of Hospitalization due to Vaso-Occlusive Crises” by Samir K. Ballas.

Science/Human: Cannabis use in adolescents was not associated with decline in intelligence in a twin study
In a study with 1,989 twins from USA cannabis use was not associated with a significant change of the intelligence quotient (IQ) and executive function. Frequency of cannabis use and cannabis dependence were assessed at age 18. IQ was obtained at ages 5, 12, and 18. Authors concluded that “short-term cannabis use in adolescence does not appear to cause IQ decline or impair executive functions, even when cannabis use reaches the level of dependence.”
Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe, USA.
Meier MH, et al. Addiction. 2017 Jul 22.
[in press]

Science/Human: Heavy cannabis use by young adults did not influence the volume of the hippocampus
In a study with 20 heavy cannabis users (range 18-24 years) and 23 non-cannabis using healthy controls, who were examined at the beginning of the study and three years later, there was no influence of cannabis on the volume of the hippocampus. It is a certain brain region, which is important for memory. Cannabis users started smoking around 16 years and smoked on average five days per week.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Koenders L, et al. J Psychopharmacol. 2017(8):1027-1034.

Science/Cells: Endocannabinoids may improve survival of nerve cells in HIV
The endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG protected nerve cells of the brain, which were exposed to the damaging effects of tat (transactivator of transcription). Tat is a protein produced by the HIV-1 virus, which enhances the production of the virus. Authors wrote that the endocannabinoid system “possesses promising targets for treatment of neurodegenerative disorders associated with HIV-1 infection.”
Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA.
Xu C, et al. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2017;83:92-102.

Science/Human: The number of cannabinoid receptors and the concentration of endocannabinoids vary with age
In both rats and humans the levels of the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol) and the expression of the GPR55 receptor varied according to age in brain regions, which are relevant for pain perception.
School of Life Sciences, Nottingham, UK.
H-T Kwok C, et al. Pain. 2017 Aug 1. [in press]

Science/Human: The CB2 receptor is involved in inflammation of the liver in HIV patients
In 166 patients, who were co-infected with hepatitis C and HIV, a certain variant of the cannabinoid-2 receptor (CB2 receptor) was associated with a higher risk of severe inflammation of the liver.
Department of Mental Health and Public Medicine, University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, Naples, Italy.
Sagnelli C, et al. PLoS One. 2017;12(7):e0181890.

Science/Animal: Interferon-gamma influences mood by modulation of the CB1 receptor
In a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis) interferon-gamma, a modulator of inflammation, also influenced mood of the animals. And this effect was exerted by modulation of the function of the CB1 receptor.
IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia, Rome, Italy.
Mandolesi G, et al. Neurobiol Dis. 2017 Jul 27. [in press]

Science/Animal: The endocannabinoid 2-AG induces nerve cell repair in a mouse model of MS
Increase in the concentration of the endocannabinoid 2-AG (2-arachinonoylglycerol) in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis) induced nerve cell repair. Inhibition of the degradation of 2-AG promoted remyelination, rebuilding of myelin, which surrounds some nerve cells and is destroyed in multiple sclerosis.
Functional and Systems Neurobiology Department, Instituto Cajal, CSIC, Madrid, Spain.
Feliu A, et al. J Neurosci. 2017 Jul 27. [in press]

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