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IACM-Bulletin of 10 December 2017

Science/Human: The legalization of cannabis for medical uses in several states of the USA reduces alcohol sales by 15%

Alcohol sales decreased in counties of US states, which legalised the medical use of cannabis. This is the result of a study by scientists of the University of Connecticut and the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies in Atlanta, USA. They analysed alcohol sales in more than 2000 counties in the years 2006 to 2015. Alcohol sales trends in medical cannabis states were compared to sales trends in states where cannabis remained illegal.

They found that cannabis and alcohol are substitutes. When disaggregating by beer and wine researchers found that legalization of medical cannabis had a negative effect on corresponding sales by as much as 13.8 and 16.2%, respectively. Authors wrote, that the results “address concerns about the potential spillover effects of medical marijuana laws on use of other substances that might contribute to negative health and social outcomes as the relationship between these substances is an important public health issue.“

”Baggio M, Chong A, Kwon S. Helping Settle the Marijuana and Alcohol Debate: Evidence from Scanner Data. SSRN. November 1, 2017.”

Science/Human: Cannabis use does not increase the risk for atherosclerosis

In a study with 3498 participants of the CARDIA study (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) cannabis use was not associated with an increased risk for the development of atherosclerosis. A working group of scientists from Switzerland and the USA published their observations in the journal Addiction. Participants were aged 18 to 30 years at baseline in 1985 to 1986 and were followed for 25 years.

Among those who never smoked tobacco, cannabis use was not associated with increased calcium in the abdominal aorta or the coronary arteries. Only if cannabis use was used together with tobacco there was an increased risk for the development of atherosclerosis. Authors concluded that “marijuana use appears to be associated with subclinical atherosclerosis, but only among ever tobacco users.”

Auer R, Sidney S, Goff D, Vittinghoff E, Pletcher MJ, Allen NB, Reis JP, Lewis CE, Carr J, Rana JS. Lifetime Marijuana Use and Subclinical Atherosclerosis: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study. Addiction. 2017 Nov 22. [in press]

Paraguay: Congress legalizes cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes

Paraguay’s Congress passed a bill on 5 December creating a state-sponsored system to import cannabis seeds and grow the plant for medical uses, a decision that followed other countries in Latin America. The South American nation had authorized the importing of cannabis oil in May 2017, under control of the health ministry, and the new decision was celebrated by patients for making cannabis more readily available.

“We are very happy because this will also allow for the import of seeds for oil production,” said Roberto Cabanas, vice president Paraguay’s medicinal cannabis organization. His daughter has Dravet syndrome and the family was paying 300 US dollars a month for imported cannabis oil. Peru, Chile, Argentina and Colombia had already legalized cannabis for medical purposes. Uruguay has fully legalized growing and selling of cannabis for any use.

”Reuters of 5 December 2017”

News in brief

WHO: No reports on abuse or dependency of CBD
During its thirty-ninth Meeting on 6-10 November 2017 the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence of the WHO discussed the status of CBD (cannabidiol) with regard to controlled substances according to the treaties of the United Nations. The report says that “there are no case reports of abuse or dependence relating to the use of pure CBD. There are also no published statistics on non-medical use of pure CBD.”
CANNABIDIOL (CBD): Pre-Review Report

Science/Human: THC reduced the urge to be physically active in a patient with anorexia nervosa
In a 27-year-old male suffering from anorexia nervosa treatment with 2 times 7.5 mg of THC reduced his urge to be physically active. Also eating disorder-specific compulsive behaviours improved.
University Hospital Erlangen, Germany.
Graap H, et al. Int J Eat Disord. 2017 Dec 1. [in press]

IACM: New publications in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research
New articles have been published in the CCR, the partner journal of the IACM:
”Cannabis and Pain: A Clinical Review” by Kevin P. Hill, Matthew D. Palastro, Brian Johnson, and Joseph W. Ditre, ”The Clinical Significance of Endocannabinoids in Endometriosis Pain Management” by Jerome Bouaziz, Alexandra Bar On, Daniel S. Seidman, and David Soriano, ”The Use of Cannabis for Headache Disorders” by Bryson C. Lochte, Alexander Beletsky, Nebiyou K. Samuel, and Igor Grant,
”Cannabis as a Substitute for Opioid-Based Pain Medication: Patient Self-Report” by Amanda Reiman, Mark Welty, and Perry Solomon, and
”Cannabis Roots: A Traditional Therapy with Future Potential for Treating Inflammation and Pain” by Natasha R. Ryz, David J. Remillard, and Ethan B. Russo.

Canada: House of Commons passes law on legalization of cannabis
The House of Commons has passed legislation that would legalize recreational use of cannabis in Canada. Members of Parliament voted in favour 200 to 82, sending the bill to the Senate – which has the ability to delay or altogether stop the government’s plans on cannabis, if a large number of senators decide to vote against it.
”iPolitics of 27 November 2017”

USA: Minnesota adds autism and sleep apnoea to the list of conditions for the medical use of cannabis
Minnesotans with autism and obstructive sleep apnoea will be able to use medical cannabis starting next July to manage their conditions. Minnesota now permits medical cannabis for 13 conditions, including chronic pain and Tourette syndrome, and is the fourth state to specifically approve the use for autism.
”Star Tribune of 1 December 2017”

Science/Animal: Activation of the CB2 receptor may reduce kidney damage
Research with mice shows that activation of the CB2 receptor may protect from consequences of reduced blood supply to the kidneys and thus prevent acute kidney injury.
University of Tennessee Health Science Center, USA.
Pressly JD, et al. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2017 Nov 29. [in press]

Science/Human: Cannabis use in adolescents may be associated with increased risk for hypomania
In a study with 3370 participants, who were contacted at the age of 17 and tested at the age of 22 to 23 years cannabis use was associated with a twofold risk (odds ratio: 2.21) for the development of hypomania.
Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.
Marwaha S, et al. Schizophr Bull. 2017 Nov 28. [in press]

Science/Animal: Increase of endocannabinoid concentrations improved status epilepticus
In a mouse model of status epilepticus, which is characterised by non-ending seizures inhibition of the degradation of the endocannabinoid 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol) significantly improved the condition.
IRCCS-Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Milano, Italy.
Terrone G, et al. Epilepsia. 2017 Nov 24. [in press]

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