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IACM-Bulletin of 29 October 2017

Science/Human: The regular use of cannabis is linked to more sex

The first study to examine the relationship between cannabis use and frequency of sexual intercourse at the population level in the United States shows a positive correlation between the two. The study by investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine, USA, indicates that, despite concerns among physicians and scientists that frequent cannabis use may impair sexual desire or performance, the opposite appears more likely to be the case.

The findings, published online on 27 October in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, are based on an analysis of more than 50,000 Americans ages 25-45. And they’re unambiguous. “Frequent marijuana use doesn’t seem to impair sexual motivation or performance. If anything, it’s associated with increased coital frequency,” said the study’s senior author, Dr Michael Eisenberg, assistant professor of urology. The study does not establish a causal connection between cannabis use and sexual activity, Eisenberg noted. But the results hint at it, he added.

Sun AJ, Eisenberg ML. Association Between Marijuana Use and Sexual Frequency in the United States: A Population-Based Study. J Sexual Med 2017;14(11):1342–7

Press release by Stanford Medicine of 27 October 2017

Science/Human: Cannabis use protects against non-alcoholic fatty liver

In a national study by scientists of Stanford University School of Medicine, USA, with 14,080 participants with fatty liver in the NHANES study from 2005-2014 and 8,286 in the NHANES III study from 1988-1994 cannabis use was associated with a reduced risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver.

Compared to cannabis-naïve participants, cannabis users were less likely to have suspected non-alcoholic fatty liver. Past users had a reduced risk of 10%. Current users had a reduced risk of 32%. Researchers concluded that “in this nationally representative sample, active marijuana use provided a protective effect against NAFLD independent of known metabolic risk factors.”

Kim D, Kim W, Kwak MS, Chung GE, Yim JY, Ahmed A. Inverse association of marijuana use with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease among adults in the United States. . PLoS One. 2017;12(10):e0186702

Science/Human: Cannabis may be beneficial in overactive bladder of patients with MS according to an observational study

In an observational study with 15 patients suffering from neurogenic overactive bladder due to multiple sclerosis cannabis improved bladder function. Scientists of the Multiple Sclerosis Center "A Cardarelli" Hospital in Naples, Italy, evaluated several measures before and after a four week treatment with the cannabis extract Sativex.

Regarding the urodynamic findings after the end of treatment, post-void residual volume was significantly reduced, while bladder volume at the first desire and maximal bladder capacity were increased.

Maniscalco GT, Aponte R, Bruzzese D, Guarcello G, Manzo V, Napolitano M, Moreggia O, Chiariello F, Florio C. THC/CBD oromucosal spray in patients with multiple sclerosis overactive bladder: a pilot prospective study. Neurol Sci. 2017 Oct 19. [in press]

Science/Human: Cannabis may be beneficial in Parkinson`s disease according to a survey

According to a survey conducted by scientists of Tel Aviv University and other Israelian institutions patients suffering from Parkinson`s disease may profit from a treatment with cannabis. Forty-seven nondemented patients with Parkinson`s disease (40 men and 7 women) participated in a telephone interview with structured questions. Their mean age was 64 years and mean disease duration was 11 years. The main route of delivery was cannabis smoking.

Effect size improvement was 0.89 for falls, 0.73 for pain relief, 0.64 for depression, 0.64 for tremor, 0.62 for muscle stiffness, and 0.60 for sleep. Authors concluded that “medical cannabis was found to improve symptoms of PD in the initial stages of treatment and did not cause major adverse effects in this pilot, 2-center, retrospective survey.”

Balash Y, Bar-Lev Schleider L, Korczyn AD, Shabtai H, Knaani J, Rosenberg A, Baruch Y, Djaldetti R, Giladi N, Gurevich T. Medical Cannabis in Parkinson Disease: Real-Life Patients' Experience. Clin Neuropharmacol.17 Oct 20. [in press]

Science/Human: CBD may be effective in epilepsy due to brain tumours according to a case series

In three patients with refractory seizures and a history of a primary brain tumour, two had improvement in seizure frequency and all three had improvement in seizure severity. They participated in the University of Alabama at Birmingham CBD Program.

Epilepsy, commonly encountered by patients with brain tumours, is often refractory to standard therapies. The aim of the study was to examine the safety and efficacy of a CBD rich cannabis extract (Epidiolex, GW Pharmaceuticals). Authors wrote that “these pilot results suggest that CBD should be further studied for the treatment of brain tumour-related epilepsy.”

Warren PP, Bebin EM, Nabors LB, Szaflarski JP. The use of cannabidiol for seizure management in patients with brain tumor-related epilepsy. Neurocase. 2017 Oct 24:1-5. [in press]

News in brief

USA: Deaths due to opioids decreased in Colorado after the legalization of cannabis
Opioid-related deaths in Colorado fell by more than 6 percent since the state legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2014, new research has found. According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, "Colorado's legalization of recreational cannabis sales and use resulted in a 0.7 deaths per month reduction in opioid-related deaths."
UPI of 18 October 2017

USA: 64% support general legalization of cannabis
A record-high number of adults in the United States – 64% – say they support legalizing cannabis. According to a Gallup survey, Americans' support for legalizing cannabis has grown since their poll first asked the question in 1969, when just 12% supported the proposal.
UPI of 25 October 2017

Peru: Congress passes bill to legalize the medical use of cannabis OIL
Peru's Congress passed a bill to legalize medical use of cannabis OIL on 19 October. The law will allow cannabis OIL to be produced, imported and commercialized. President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski had proposed the measure after police arrested a group of mothers making cannabis OIL to treat their epileptic children. It is unclear whether this cannabis OIL refers to CBD extracts or also products rich in THC.
Reuters of 20 October 2017

Jamaica: Government issues two licences for the production and cultivation of cannabis
On 18 October the Cannabis Licensing Authority of Jamaica issued the first two licenses to legally operate in the cannabis industry. Everyting OILy Labs was presented with a processing licence, while Epican received a licence for cultivation, during a press conference held at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries in New Kingston.
Jamaica Information Service of 20 October 2017

Science/Animal: High endocannabinoid concentrations reduce stress
In a study with rats increased levels of endocannabinoids dampened the response to stress allowing the recovery of homeostasis. Scientists found evidence for a participation of the endocannabinoid system by inhibiting corticosterone release directly at the adrenal gland level.
Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Surkin PN, et al. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2017;87:131-140.

Science/Animal: Activation of the CB1-receptor causes relaxation of capillaries in the retina
The endocannabinoids 2-AG and anandamide as well as a synthetic cannabinoid (WIN55212-2) promoted vasorelaxation of pericyte-containing rat retinal capillaries. This effect depended on the CB1receptor and required an intact endothelium. Pericytes are contractile cells that wrap around the endothelial cells that line the capillaries.
Eye and ENT Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
Zong Y, et al. Cell Physiol Biochem. 2017 Oct 23;43(5):2088-2101.

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