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IACM-Bulletin of 09 August 2015

Science/Human: Adolescent cannabis use not linked with later mental health problems according to long-term study

Chronic cannabis use by adolescent boys does not appear to be linked to later physical or mental health issues such as depression, psychotic symptoms or asthma, according to a study published by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennsylvania and Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA. They tracked 408 males from adolescence until the age of 36 for the study, which was published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

“What we found was a little surprising,” said lead researcher Dr Jordan Bechtold, a psychology research fellow at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “There were no differences in any of the mental or physical health outcomes that we measured regardless of the amount or frequency of marijuana used during adolescence.” Based on some prior studies, they expected to find a link between teen marijuana use and the later development of psychotic symptoms (delusions, hallucinations, etc.), cancer, asthma or respiratory problems, but they found none. The study also found no link between cannabis use by adolescents and lifetime depression, anxiety, allergies, headaches or high blood pressure. The research was an offshoot of the Pittsburgh Youth Study, which began tracking 14-year-old male Pittsburgh public school students in the late 1980s to analyse various health and social issues. For 12 years, participants were surveyed annually or semi-annually, and a follow-up survey was conducted with 408 participants in 2009-10 when they were 36 years old.

Bechtold J, Simpson T, White HR, Pardini D. Chronic Adolescent Marijuana Use as a Risk Factor for Physical and Mental Health Problems in Young Adult Men. Psychol Addict Behav. 2015 Aug 3. [in press]

Press release by American Psychological Association of 4 August 2015

Israel: Cannabis will be available in pharmacies for medical use

On 27 July Deputy Minister of Health Yakov Litzman announced that medical cannabis will be available in pharmacies in Israel, and that more doctors would be allowed to prescribe it. "There are already pharmacies that dispense all sorts of other drugs, such as morphine. There is order with that, and there will be order with this," Litzman said. "There will be registration, and we'll supervise it, but it will be according to a standard, like a drug.

Knesset Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse chair MK Tamar Zandberg welcomed Litzman's announcement. "We've heard very good news here for the first time in many years," she said. "This is momentous news. Thank you very much for setting forth these principles. I think that this news was desperately needed."

Globes Israel business news of 27 July 2015

News in brief

Italy: Cannabis research group has been founded
The SIRCA (Società Italiana Ricerca Cannabis), the Italian Cannabis Research Association, has been founded recently. For more information please visit the website of SIRCA

IACM: Film on Raphael Mechoulam and his work available online
The film “The Scientist” on Dr Raphael Mechoulam, a professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, by Zach Klein is now available online. Dr Mechoulam is the world’s most renowned cannabis researcher and a former chairman of the IACM.
Link to The Scientist

Australia: Senators from across all political parties will endorse a bill to legalise the medical use of cannabis
A committee made up of senators of all political parties will strongly recommend that Parliament pass a cross-party bill to set up a regulatory system to allow the medical use of cannabis. The Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis Bill would effectively make the federal government responsible for overseeing the production, distribution and use of the drug. The bill was introduced into Parliament last November and sent to a committee in February. It is expected that the committee will publish its report soon.
Sydney Morning Herald of 26 July 2015

IACM: Richard (Rik) Musty died
We received the very sad news that Dr Richard (Rik) E. Musty, Emeritus Professor, former Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Vermont, USA, died on 26 July. Dr Musty was the first awardee of the IACM Special Award for major contributions to the re-introduction of cannabis as a medicine in the year 2005.

Science/Human: Acceptance of medical cannabis by doctors increases in Israel
According to a survey with 72 physicians the acceptance of medical benefits of cannabis by medical doctors increased in Israel.
Zolotov Y, et al. IMAJ 2015;17:437–441

Science/Human: Cannabis use had no effect on cognition in patients with psychosis
In a study with 1237 patients with psychosis there was no association between cannabis use and cognitive function.
School of Medicine Fremantle, The University of Notre Dame Australia.
Power BD, et al. Schizophr Res. 2015 Jul 30. [in press]

Science/Human: The cause for the association between cannabis use and psychosis remain unclear
Findings of a new study are in agreement with both hypotheses: the self-medication theory, according to which people with psychosis treat symptoms of their disease with cannabis, and the secondary psychosis hypothesis, which says that cannabis causes psychosis.
Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute - Neurosciences, Psychiatry, Barcelona, Spain.
Mané A, et al. Psychiatry Res. 2015 Jul 28. [in press]

Science/Human: Higher rates of psychotic symptoms in patients with ADHD are not caused by cannabis
In a study with 7403 participants there was a link between higher ADHD symptoms on the one side and psychosis, paranoia and hallucinations on the other side. This association was mediated by dysphoric mood and not by use of amphetamine, cocaine or cannabis.
Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, UK.
Marwaha S, et al. Psychiatry Res. 2015 Jul 28. [in press]

Science/Animal: Activation of the CB2 receptor may be protective against inflammation of the kidneys
A synthetic cannabinoid, which selectively activates the cannabinoid receptor 2, protected the kidneys against damage due to reduced blood supply.
Roche Innovation Center Basel, Switzerland.
Nettekoven M, et al. ChemMedChem. 2015 Jul 21. [in press]

Science/Animal: Blockade of the GPR55 receptor reduced inflammation of the bowel
In a mouse model of colitis a synthetic antagonist (CID16020046) at the GPR55 receptor reduced signs of inflammation.
Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, Medical University of Graz, Austria.
Stančić A, et al. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2015 Jul 30. [in press]

Science/Cells: Cannabidiol modulates the CB1 receptor
The non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) is an allosteric modulator of the type 1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1 receptor). Allosteric regulation means that CBD binds to the CB1 receptor at a site other than the active site of the receptor. This is how CBD blocks THC effects at the CB1 receptor, for example increase in appetite or psychic effects.
Departments of Pharmacology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.
Laprairie RB, et al. Br J Pharmacol. 2015 Jul 27 [in press]

Science/Human: Most people with cannabis use disorders do no longer fulfil criteria for this disorder after three years
In a study with 444 individuals with cannabis use disorders 67% no longer fulfilled the criteria for this disorder after three years without any treatment.
Ariel University, Israel.
Feingold D, et al. Addiction. 2015 Jul 25. [in press]

Science/Animal: Cannabinoids may be used together with certain other pain medications to treat neuropathic pain
A new study with mice suggests that combination of a cannabinoid with a selective noradrenaline re-uptake inhibitor may offer a beneficial treatment option for neuropathic pain.
Faculty of Medicine, Trakya University, Edirne, Turkey.
Gunduz O, et al. EUR J Pain. 2015 Jul 24. [in press]

Science/Animal: The endocannabinoid 2-AG is neuroprotective in a mouse model of Parkinson's disease
Increasing levels of the endocannabinoid 2-AG is neuroprotective in a mouse model of Parkinson's disease. Authors wrote that the endocannabinoid system “represents a natural defence mechanism against inflammation, potentiation of which could provide therapeutic benefits”.
Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, UK.

Mounsey RB, et al. Exp Neurol. 2015 Aug 2. [in press]

New Book: Casarett, David. Stoned: A Doctor's Case for Medical Marijuana. 2015.
Link to Amazon

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