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IACM-Bulletin of 10 October 2021

Science/Human: The use of cannabis during adolescence is not associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia according to a twin study

Investigators of the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota, USA, wanted to clarify whether the association between cannabis use and psychosis, which has been observed observational studies “reflects a causal effect of cannabis exposure or residual confounding.” They analysed data from two cohorts of twins who completed repeated, prospective measures of cannabis use (N = 1544) and cannabis use disorder symptoms (N = 1458) in adolescence and a dimensional measure of psychosis-proneness in adulthood.

Both cumulative adolescent cannabis use and use disorder were associated with higher Psychoticism scores in adulthood. Authors wrote that they “found no evidence of an effect of cannabis on Psychoticism or any of its facets in co-twin control models that compared the greater-cannabis-using twin to the lesser-using co-twin. We also observed no evidence of a differential effect of cannabis on Psychoticism by polygenic risk of schizophrenia.” They concluded that “although cannabis use and disorder are consistently associated with increased risk of psychosis, the present results suggest this association is likely attributable to familial confounds rather than a causal effect of cannabis exposure. “

Schaefer JD, Jang SK, Vrieze S, Iacono WG, McGue M, Wilson S. Adolescent cannabis use and adult psychoticism: A longitudinal co-twin control analysis using data from two cohorts. J Abnorm Psychol. 2021 Sep 23. [In press]

Science/Human: Cannabis use has no negative short-term effects on cognition in medical cannabis users

In a study with 22 medical cannabis patients from Ontario the acute intake of cannabis had no effect on cognitive abilities. It was conducted by investigators of Audacia Bioscience, Windsor, Canada. The majority of participants (n = 13) were male and mean age was 36 years. They were administered the same brief neurocognitive battery three times during a six-hour period: at baseline, once after they consumed a 20% THC cannabis product, and once again several hours later ("Recovery").

The average self-reported level of cannabis intoxication prior to the second assessment was 5.1 out of 10. Results showed that performance on neuropsychological tests remained stable or even improved during the acute intoxication stage and continued to increase during Recovery. In the conclusions they noted that “contrary to our hypothesis, there was no psychometric evidence for a decline in cognitive ability following THC intoxication.”

Olla P, Rykulski N, Hurtubise JL, Bartol S, Foote R, Cutler L, Abeare K, McVinnie N, Sabelli AG, Hastings M, Erdodi LA. Short-term effects of cannabis consumption on cognitive performance in medical cannabis patients. Appl Neuropsychol Adult. 2021;28(6):647-657.

Science/Human: CBD enhances verbal memory in healthy young people according to a randomised clinical trial

In a placebo-controlled study with 34 healthy young people CBD (cannabidiol) improved verbal memory, investigators of the Division of Cognitive Neuroscience of the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Basel, Switzerland, said. Participants received once a single dose of cannabidiol e-liquid (12.5 mg cannabidiol) and once placebo for vaping after learning 15 unrelated nouns. The primary outcome measure was the short delay verbal memory performance (number of correctly free recalled nouns) 20 min after learning.

34 participants (mean age: 22 years) completed all visits and entered analyses (17 received cannabidiol and 17 received placebo first). Cannabidiol enhanced verbal episodic memory performance (placebo: 7.0; CBD 7.7). Authors wrote that they “did not detect medication effects on secondary outcome measures attention or working memory performance, suggesting that CBD has no negative impact on these basic cognitive functions. The results are in line with the idea that vaping cannabidiol interacts with the central endocannabinoid system and is capable to modulate memory processes, a phenomenon with possible therapeutic potential.”

Hotz J, Fehlmann B, Papassotiropoulos A, de Quervain DJ, Schicktanz NS. Cannabidiol enhances verbal episodic memory in healthy young participants: A randomized clinical trial. J Psychiatr Res. 2021;143:327-333.

Science/Human: Cannabis may be helpful in depression and anxiety according to observational study

In a study with 368 patients, who received medicinal cannabis, and 170 controls the use of cannabis was associated with lower self-reported depression. It was conducted by researchers of the Department of Neuroscience of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, USA. Participants completed an online survey assessing anxiety and depressive symptoms, cannabis product use, sleep, quality of life, and comorbid chronic pain. Participants that completed this baseline survey were then invited to complete additional follow-up surveys at 3-month intervals.

Medicinal cannabis use was associated with lower self-reported depression, but not anxiety, at baseline. Initiation of medicinal cannabis during the follow-up period was associated with significantly decreased anxiety and depressive symptoms, an effect that was not observed in Controls that never initiated cannabis use. Authors concluded that “medicinal cannabis use may reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms in clinically anxious and depressed populations.”

Martin EL, Strickland JC, Schlienz NJ, Munson J, Jackson H, Bonn-Miller MO, Vandrey R. Antidepressant and Anxiolytic Effects of Medicinal Cannabis Use in an Observational Trial. Front Psychiatry. 2021;12:729800.

Science/Human: Cannabis may be helpful in the management of endometriosis, a survey shows

According to an online survey with 213 valid responses women suffering from endometriosis may profit from self-treatment with cannabis. Data were collected by investigators of NICM Health Research Institute at Western Sydney University, Australia.

Mean age of respondents was 32 years and 79.8% were current cannabis users. The most common outcomes that cannabis was used for were to improve pain relief (95.5%) and to improve sleep (95.5%). Respondents reported that their symptom was "much better" for pain (81%), sleep (79%), and nausea or vomiting (61%). Over three-quarters (81.4%) indicated cannabis had reduced their normal medication usage. Over half (59%) were able to completely stop a medication, most commonly (66%) analgesics. Authors concluded that “cannabis is reported as an effective intervention for pain and other endometriosis symptoms with potential substitution effects on opioid usage.”

Armour M, Sinclair J, Noller G, Girling J, Larcombe M, Al-Dabbas MA, Hollow E, Bush D, Johnson N. Illicit Cannabis Usage as a Management Strategy in New Zealand Women with Endometriosis: An Online Survey. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2021;30(10):1485-1492.

Science/Human: Cannabigerol rich cannabis may be effective for the treatment of pain, insomnia and depression

According a survey by CReDO Science in Vashon, USA, with 127 participants cannabis rich in CBG (cannabigerol) may be of therapeutic value in the treatment of pain, insomnia, depression and anxiety. CBG-predominant cannabis users were asked to complete an online survey assessing CBG use patterns, conditions treated with CBG-predominant cannabis (containing >50% CBG), perceived efficacy, associated adverse events, and withdrawal symptoms.

Most of the participants (51%) reported use of CBG-predominant products solely for medical purposes and 36% reported use for medical and recreational purposes. The most common conditions the complete sample reported using CBG to treat were anxiety (51.2%), chronic pain (40.9%), depression (33.1%), and insomnia/disturbed sleep (30.7%). Efficacy was highly rated, with the majority reporting their conditions were "very much improved" or "much improved" by CBG. Furthermore, 73.9% claimed superiority of CBG-predominant cannabis over conventional medicines for chronic pain, 80% for depression, 73% for insomnia, and 78.3% for anxiety. Forty-four percent of CBG-predominant cannabis users reported no adverse events, with 16.5% noting dry mouth, 15% sleepiness, 11.8% increased appetite, and 8.7% dry eyes. Around 84.3% reported no withdrawal symptoms.

Russo EB, Cuttler C, Cooper ZD, Stueber A, Whiteley VL, Sexton M. Survey of Patients Employing Cannabigerol-Predominant Cannabis Preparations: Perceived Medical Effects, Adverse Events, and Withdrawal Symptoms. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2021 Sep 27. [in press]

News in brief

Science/Human: The legalisation of cannabis in the USA had no effect on newborn health
Laws on recreational cannabis “were not associated with statistically significant changes in newborn health.” Laws on medical cannabis “had no statistically significant effect on maternal substance use disorder hospitalizations nor on newborn health and fairly small effects could be ruled out. In absolute numbers, our findings implied modest or no adverse effects of marijuana liberalization policies on the array of perinatal outcomes considered.”
Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, USA.
Meinhofer A, et al. J. Health Economics, 2021;80;102537.

Science/Human: About 20% of people caring for a child with autism give their child CBD
In a survey sent out by Autism Parenting Magazine to more than 160,000 email subscribers around the world, 18.6% of respondents confirmed they use CBD for a child on the spectrum to help relieve a variety of autism symptoms. Breaking the data down further, 22% of USA-based caregivers use CBD versus 14% of UK caregivers. The data revealed 76% participants use CBD only (less than 0.3% THC), 14% use CBD/THC combination, while the remaining 10% use “Other” forms.
Autism Parenting Magazine of 6 October 2021

Malta: Legislators want to allow citizens to grow their own cannabis
Cannabis users will be able to grow plants at home or buy the substance from specially set up associations, according to a cannabis reform bill presented to parliament, but smoking a joint in public will remain against the law. Giving details about the bill, Equality Minister Owen Bonnici said on 6 October the police will be enforcing the new rules which stipulate that no one can carry more than seven grams of cannabis at any given time.
Times of Malta of 6 October 2021

Germany: Increase in imports of cannabis to Germany by more than 80 percent.
Demand for cannabis for medical and scientific purposes continues to grow in Germany, according to the federal government. The number of countries from which cannabis flowers and/or cannabis extracts are imported has increased to 17 in 2021, with the main importing countries for cannabis flowers continuing to be Canada and the Netherlands, followed by Denmark and Portugal. According to an answer of the German government to the question of the Free Democratic Party the imports for medicinal cannabis flowers have almost doubled in the first half of 2021 compared to the previous year (exactly: increase by 81.8%), from 8966.6 kg to 4946.3 kg in the first half of 2020.
ACM-Mitteilungen of 2 October 2021

Science/Human: Many women use cannabis to help with problems in menopause according to a survey
A good number of middle-aged women apparently think so, because they've been turning to cannabis to help handle the change of life, a new study reports. For the survey, Dr. Stephanie Faubion, medical director of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) and her colleagues ask nearly 1,500 middle-aged women in the Canadian province of Alberta. Two-thirds of the women said they had used cannabis at some time, and one-third said they'd done so within the past month.
Health Day of 22 September 2021

Science/Animal: THC may improve learning deficits in old mice
According to a study with old mice “findings indicate that THC-treatment alone is more efficient to improve spatial learning in aged mice than the 1:1 combination of THC and CBD.”
Institute of Molecular Psychiatry, Medical Faculty, University of Bonn, Germany.
Nidadavolu P, et al. Front Aging Neurosci. 2021;13:718850.

Science/Human: A Mediterranean diet influences the endocannabinoid system in overweight people
In a study with 82 overweight subjects are switch to a Mediterranean diet influences the endocannabinoid system and ameliorates inflammation.
Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, Portici, Italy.
Tagliamonte S, et al. EUR J Nutr. 2021;60(7):3703-3716.

Science: The presence of the new cannabinoid delta-9-cis-THC
Delta-9-cis-THC occurs in cannabis fibre hemp in the concentration range of delta-9-trans-THC and was undetectable in a sample of high-THC-containing medicinal cannabis. It was characterised as a partial cannabinoid agonist.
Laboratorium für Organische Chemie, Zürich, Switzerland.
Schafroth MA, et al. J Nat Prod. 2021;84(9):2502-2510.

Science/Human: The use of medical cannabis may be associated with reduced use of tobacco
In a sample of 2102 individuals of whom 650 were current or former tobacco users the initiation of medical cannabis use was associated with self-reported reduction or cessation of tobacco/nicotine use.
Social Dimensions of Health, University of Victoria, Canada.
Lucas P, et al. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2021;130:108481.

Science/Human: Cannabis use is common in women with disabilities
According to an analysis of 76,765 women with disabilities aged between 18 and 44 years approximately 21% reported cannabis use.
Department of Health Administration and Policy, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.
Kitsantas P, et al. Am J Prev Med. 2021;61(4):554-562.

Science/Human: CBD had no effect on the course of COVID-19 patients
In a placebo-controlled study with 91 patients suffering from COVID-19 the intake of 300 mg of CBD per day for 14 days had no effect on the clinical course of the disease compared to placebo.
Department of Neuroscience and Behavior, Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo, Brazil.
Crippa JAS, et al. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2021 Oct 7. [in press]

Science: Some new cannabinoids
Some new cannabinoids were presented: cannabidiphorol (CBDP) delta-9-tetrahydrocannabiphorol (Δ9-THCP). cannabigerophorolic acid (CBGPA), cannabichromephorolic acid (CBCPA), cannabinophorolic acid (CBNPA), cannabielsophorolic acid (CBEPA), cannabicyclophorolic acid (CBLPA), cannabitriophorolic acid (CBTPA), and cannabiripsophorolic acid (CBRPA).
Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.
Linciano P, et al. Talanta. 2021;235:122704.

Science/Animal: The intake omega-3 fatty acids by mothers influences the endocannabinoid system in the brain of the offspring
A study with rats suggests that the intake of omega-3 fatty acids may impact the endocannabinoid system in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus.
Centro de Ciências da Saúde, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Isaac AR, et al. J Nutr Biochem. 2021;96:108782.

Science/Human: Long-term cannabis use may be associated with lower cognitive functioning in elder adults
According to a study with 28 regular cannabis users age 60 and older and 10 non-users short-term cannabis use does not result in differences in cognitive function. However, longer duration of use was “associated with poorer processing speed and executive functioning.”
Psychology Department, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, USA.
Stypulkowski K, et al. J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2021:8919887211049130.

Science/Human: Regular tobacco and cannabis use mildly modulates semen in infertile men
In a sample of 160 infertile healthy participants (cigarette smokers n = 40, dipping tobacco users n = 40, cannabis users n = 40 and infertile controls n = 40) there were only subtle influences on semen and hormonal parameters by the 2 two drugs.
Department of Physiology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Khyber Medical University, Peshawar, Pakistan.
Khan N, et al. Hum Fertil (Camb). 2021:1-9.

Science/Human: The complex relationship between the Initiation of the use of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other drugs
“Smoking initiation may lead to increased alcohol consumption, cannabis use and cannabis dependence. Cannabis use may also lead to smoking initiation and opioid dependence to alcohol consumption. However, given that tobacco and alcohol use typically begin before other drug use, these results may reflect a shared risk factor or a bidirectional effect for cannabis use and opioid dependence.”
School of Psychological Science, University of Bristol, UK.
Reed ZE, et al. Addiction. 2021 Sep 29. [in press]

Science/Animal: CBD may prevent several behavioural alterations related to cocaine addiction
In studies with cocaine-dependent mice the administration of CBD was associated with reduced memory deficits induced by cocaine withdrawal. Authors noted, that “CBD can prevent the development of cocaine addiction.”
Departamento de Psicobiología, Facultad de Psicología, Universitat de València, Spain.
Ledesma JC, et al. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2021;111:110390.

Science/Animal: PPAR-gamma receptors are involved in the effects of CBD on cognitive dysfunction due to antipsychotic medication
In a study with mice PPAR-gamma receptor were “involved in the effects of cannabidiol on orofacial dyskinesia and cognitive dysfunction induced by typical antipsychotics.”
Department of Pharmacology, Medical School of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Brazil.
Sonego AB, et al. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2021;111:110367.

Science/Human: Cannabis use is not associated with damage to the kidneys
In an observational study with 2215 patients with advanced chronic kidney disease cannabis use was not associated with an increased risk of acute kidney injury.
Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.
Potukuchi PK, et al. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2021 Oct 1. [in press]

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