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IACM-Bulletin of 07 January 2018

USA: A decision of the Justice Department threatens patients, who use cannabis for medicinal purposes according to state laws

The U.S. Justice Department on 4 January rescinded an Obama administration policy according to which federal authorities in states, which legalised the drug for medical or recreational use, were asked to be reluctant concerning the enforcement of federal laws.

The action by Attorney General Jeff Sessions could have damaging consequences to many patients, who use cannabis according to state laws and their doctors. Justice Department officials declined to say whether they might take legal action against those states, saying further steps were “still under consideration“. Federal law still prohibits cannabis even for medical use. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump’s top priority was enforcing federal law “whether it’s marijuana or immigration.”

Reuters of 4 January 2018

Science/Human: Cannabis use does not reduce motivation in adolescents

Cannabis use did not reduce motivation in adolescents aged 14 to 18 years according to research by scientists of the Department of Psychology of the Florida International University in Miami, USA. They compared 36 regular cannabis users and 43 occasional users. Motivation was measured by two established scales (Apathy Evaluation Scale and Motivation and Engagement Scale).

After controlling for possible other factors, which may influence motivation, no significant differences were observed between regular and light users on any motivation index. Similarly, no associations between motivation and lifetime or past 30-day cannabis use (CU) amount were observed. Authors concluded that they their “findings do not support a link between reduced motivation and CU among adolescents after controlling for relevant confounds.”

Pacheco-Colón I, Coxe S, Musser ED, Duperrouzel JC, Ross JM, Gonzalez R. Is Cannabis Use Associated with Various Indices of Motivation Among Adolescents? Subst Use Misuse. 2017 Dec 22:1-12.

News in brief

Science/Human: Obsessive compulsory disorder due to brain damage improved with THC in a case report
A 24-year-old man, who suffered an infarct to the left thalamus, a certain brain region, developed refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder. He was treated with increased doses of THC (dronabinol) up to 20 mg daily. Benefits were observed within 2 weeks, which were associated by a significant improvement in quality of life.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience, University of Chicago. USA.
Cooper JJ, Grant JG. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci 2017;29:77–78.

Australia: Government allows export of cannabis for medical purposes
Australia said on 4 January it planned to become the fourth country in the world to legalise medicinal cannabis exports in a bid to score a piece of the estimated 55 billion US Dollars global market.
Reuters of 4 January 2018

USA: California launched legal sale of cannabis for recreational use
California launched the world’s largest regulated commercial market for recreational cannabis on 1 January. It became the sixth U.S. state, and by far the most populous with about 39 million inhabitants to legalise recreational use.
Reuters of 1 January 2018

Science/Human: Cannabis may reduce inflammation associated with alcohol use
Scientists investigated 66 regular alcohol users, of whom some also used cannabis. Alcohol use was associated with an increased level of the pro-inflammatory mediator interleukin-6, while cannabis was associated with an increased level of interleukin-1 Beta, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Authors concluded that “cannabinoid compounds may serve to mitigate inflammation associated with alcohol use.”
Department of Psychology, Neuroscience, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, USA.
Karoly HC, et al. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2017 Dec 29. [in press]

Science/Human: A new formulation, which increases the uptake of cannabinoids by the mucosa of the mouth
A novel oral THC and CBD formulation, called PTL401, was developed, which increased the bioavailability of the cannabinoids by 131% for CBD and 116% for THC compared to a standard cannabis spray (Sativex). Authors wrote: “The relatively faster absorption and improved bioavailability, compared to the oromucosal spray, justifies further, larger scale clinical studies with this formulation.”
Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Israel.
Atsmon J, et al. J Pharm Sci. 2017 Dec 26. [in press]

Science/Human: Most patients believe that cannabis is a useful treatment after injury according to a survey
According to a survey with 500 patients from an orthopaedic clinic 90% of those, who had used cannabis after their injury (63/70) believed that it reduced symptoms of pain and 81% (57/70) believed that it reduced the amount of opioids they used.
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA.
Heng M, et al. J Orthop Trauma. 2018;32(1):e25-e30.

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