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IACM-Bulletin of 06 March 2016

IACM: Partner organizations selected and educational cooperation with ICEERS

The Network Committee of the IACM Board of Directors selected first partner organizations, which are published on the IACM website. These are:

CAMEDA Cannabis Medicinal Argentina
La Asociación Costarricense para el Estudio e Intervención en Drogas (ACEID)
L’Union Francophone pour les Cannabinoďdes en Médecine (UFCM)
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Cannabis als Medizin (ACM)
Medical Cannabis Declaration (MCD)
Associazione Cannabis Terapeutica (ACT)
Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l'analisi dell'economia agraria (CREA-CIN)
Societŕ Italiana Ricerca Cannabis (SIRCA)
Japanese Clinical Association of Cannabinoids (JCAC)
Stichting Patiënten Groep Medicinale Cannabis Gebruikers, normalisering cannabis (PGMCG)
Društvo Prekmurske Pobude (ONEJ)
The International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research & Service (ICEERS)
Asociación de Usuarios y Estudios del Cannabis en Murcia (Salvados Asociación)
Swiss Task Force for Cannabinoids in Medicine (STCM)
American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC)
American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA)
Americans for Safe Access (ASA)
The Medical Cannabis Institute (TMCI)
Patients Out of Time
Project CBD

The first concrete action of this partnership is an educational cooperation of the IACM and the ICEERS, Uruguay. In a letter to Raquel Peyraube of the ICEERS the chairman, Mark Ware, and the executive director, Franjo Grotenhermen, of the IACM write: “It is with pleasure that the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM) writes to fully endorse your “Cannabis Medicine Education Course” to be conducted in 2016. The IACM notes that you are covering a wide range of topics relevant to the role of cannabis in medicine, including potential benefits and risks in a selection of therapeutic areas. We are very pleased to see that so many of the speakers and faculty are IACM members.”

Currently the Committee is selecting IACM professional and patient ambassadors. Ambassadors get an official letter from the IACM on their appointment. The IACM Board hopes to build up a strong network of mutual support concerning issues related to the science on the use of cannabis and cannabinoids as medicines and their access by patients in all countries on earth.

IACM Partner Organisations

Australia: Parliament legalizes the medical use of cannabis

On 27 February Parliament passed a measure legalizing the medical use of cannabis. The measure amends the Narcotic Drugs Act of 1967 to allow "for the cultivation and production of cannabis and cannabis resin for medicinal and scientific purposes," and to authorize "a state or territory government agency to undertake [in the] cultivation and production of cannabis and [in the] manufacture of medicinal cannabis products."

"This is an historic day for Australia and the many advocates who have fought long and hard to challenge the stigma around medicinal cannabis products so genuine patients are no longer treated as criminals,“ Minister for Health Sussan Ley said in a statement.

CNN of 28 February 2016.

Canada: Patients may continue to grow their own cannabis, a federal court rules

On 24 February a federal court judge in Vancouver ruled that patients, who use cannabis for medicinal purposes, have the Constitutional right to grow their own cannabis, striking down a ban introduced by Canada's previous Conservative government. The court suspended its decision for six months to give the government time to respond.

A group of British Columbia residents took the government to court in 2013, arguing a new law requiring medical cannabis patients to buy cannabis from licensed producers, instead of growing their own, was unconstitutional. They said cannabis grown under the government system was too expensive and did not allow them to control the strains and dosages of their treatment. The then Conservative government, which overhauled its medical cannabis program in 2013, argued that its mail order system was safer for both the patient and other Canadians, who could be hurt by unsafe home-grow operations.

Reuters of 24 February 2016

Science/Human: Good long-terms effects of the cannabis spray Sativex in several studies

Three articles published in the journal EURopean Neurology were dedicated to the therapeutic effects of the cannabis spray Sativex observed in Italy and Spain. Researchers of the Section of Neurosciences of University of Catania, Italy, analysed data of 1534 patients from 30 large Italian centres for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. They found that after the first month 61.9% of patients achieved sufficient improvement in spasticity to qualify for continued treatment. Spasticity-associated symptoms such as cramps and nocturnal spasms improved in most responding patients.

Scientists of the University of Bari, Italy, presented interim data of the prospective observational MObility ImproVEment (MOVE) 2 study, which is collecting real-life clinical outcomes data on patients with treatment-resistant multiple sclerosis spasticity treated with Sativex. In the Italian cohort of 300 patients THC-CBD spray was added mainly to oral baclofen. Similar to MOVE 2-Germany, during 3 months' observation, treatment discontinuations were limited and patients recorded meaningful improvements on the patient-based 0-10 numerical rating scale and physician-rated modified Ashworth scale at mean daily doses that were about one-third lower than those used in clinical trials.

In the Spanish investigation by researchers of the Hospital Regional Universitario Carlos Haya in Malaga, Spain, a retrospective registry study and a prospective safety study of Sativex in 207 patients from 13 specialised centres was presented. The findings aligned closely with the UK/German/Swiss registry data in terms of 1-year continuation rates (64.7%), mean daily dose (6.6 sprays/day) and safety profile.

Patti F. Health Authorities Data Collection of THC: CBD Oromucosal Spray (L'Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco Web Registry): Figures after 1.5 Years. EUR Neurol 2016;75 Suppl 1:9-12.

Trojano M. THC:CBD Observational Study Data: Evolution of Resistant MS Spasticity and Associated Symptoms. EUR Neurol 2016;75 Suppl 1:4-8.

Fernández Ó. THC:CBD in Daily Practice: Available Data from UK, Germany and Spain. EUR Neurol 2016;75 Suppl 1:1-3.

News in brief

USA: Florida will decide on the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes in November
Floridians will decide this November whether to allow the medical use of cannabis in the state. A measure to legalize the drug gained enough signatures to qualify for the ballot next November.
Miami Herald of 27 January 2016

Canada: Two thirds of Canadians support the legalization of cannabis
A strong majority of Canadians agree with the Liberal government’s plan to legalize cannabis, and half of them feel users should be able to grow their own cannabis at home, a new Globe and Mail/Nanos Research poll has found. The poll of 1,000 Canadians found that legalizing cannabis is supported or somewhat supported by 68 per cent of the population.
The Globe and Mail of 29 February 2016

World: The United Nations narcotics control body against “war on drugs”
Military approaches against drugs and excessive punishment of users run counter to UN treaties, the UN narcotics control body said on 2 March, advocating policies that put people's health at the centre.
"The conventions never called for a war on drugs," said Werner Sipp, president of the Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board.
Alliance News of 2 March 2016

Science: Crowdfunding on cannabis and cancer
There is a crowdfunding initiative to raise money for the investigation into cannabinoids and brain cancer.
Cannabis and cancer clinical trial

Science/Human: Cannabis spray reduces withdrawal in cannabis users
In an eight-week placebo-controlled trial the cannabis spray Sativex in a dose up to 108 mg THC reduced cannabis withdrawal in cannabis users during abstinence, but was associated with less psychological effects.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada.
Trigo JM, et al. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2016 Feb 23. [in press]

Science/Human: People with posttraumatic stress disorder have lower levels of endocannabinoids in their hair
Research with 38 rebel war survivors from Uganda, who suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and 38 rebel war survivors without PTSD showed that those with PTSD had lower levels of endocannabinoids in their hair. Authors wrote that “the observed reductions in endocannabinoids might account for the increased inflammatory state as well as for the failure to extinguish fear memories observed in PTSD. Our findings add to the accumulating evidence suggesting the endocannabinoid system as a target for pharmacological enhancement of exposure-based psychotherapy for PTSD.”
Institute of Psychology & Education, Ulm University, Germany.
Wilker S, et al. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2016;67:198-206.

Science/Cells: Activation of the CB1 receptor reduced airway inflammation
The effects of CB1 receptor activation were investigated in tracheal segments isolated from mice. Authors wrote that their “findings indicate a protective role of CB1 receptors in airway inflammation.”
Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
Bozkurt TE, et al. EUR J Pharmacol. 2016 Feb 16. [in press]

Science/Human: Cannabis users tend to drive more cautious in a driving simulator
Cannabis users were tested under the influence of alcohol and cannabis in a driving simulator. Authors wrote that “cannabis was associated with slower driving and greater headway, suggesting a possible awareness of impairment and attempt to compensate.”
National Institute on Drug Abuse, Baltimore, USA.
Hartman RL, et al. J Appl Toxicol. 2016 Feb 18. [in press]

Science/Animal: Sex differences of the endocannabinoid system in the reaction to chronic stress
In a rat model of post-traumatic stress disorder males and females reacted differently with regard to the endocannabinoid system in a certain brain region (hippocampus). Authors wrote that their “findings support the eCB system as a therapeutic target for the treatment of disorders associated to inefficient fear coping in males and females.”
Department of Psychology, University of Haifa, Israel.
Zer-Aviv TM, et al. Hippocampus. 2016 Mar 1. [in press]

Science/Human: Cannabis use changes the processing of emotions
By using so-called event-related potential (ERP), which measures brain response, in cannabis users and non-users scientist found that “there is a complex relationship between cannabis consumption and emotion processing that appears to be modulated by attention.”
Department of Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA.
Troup LJ, et al. PLoS One. 2016;11(2):e0149764.

Science/Human: ADHD is associated with alcohol and cannabis use
In a study with 5080 patients suffering from adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), hyperactive symptoms were associated with problematic alcohol use in both men and women and with problematic cannabis use in men. It is unclear if patients use cannabis for self-medication.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada.
Kolla NJ, et al. BMC Psychiatry 2016;16(1):50.

Science/Human: Cannabis use in adolescents had negative effects on brain function
In an 18-month study with 22 adolescent cannabis users and 43 non-users cannabis use resulted in a decrease in functional connectivity between certain brain regions. Authors wrote that their results suggest “that repeated exposure to cannabis during adolescence may have detrimental effects on brain resting functional connectivity, intelligence, and cognitive function.”
Medical School, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA.
Camchong J, et al. Cereb Cortex. 2016 Feb 23. [in press]

Science/Human: Cannabis use during pregnancy was associated with lower birth weight
In a study with 344 Australian Aboriginal pregnant women 1 in 5 women (20.5%) used cannabis during pregnancy, and 52% smoked cigarettes. Compared with mothers not using cannabis or cigarettes, mothers using cannabis had babies on average 565 g lighter.
The University of Melbourne, Australia.
Brown SJ, et al. BMJ Open 2016;6(2):e010286.

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