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IACM-Bulletin of 2 July 2023

Ukraine: President Zelensky supports the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is urging his country to legalize medical cannabis to help those suffering from the "trauma of war" with Russia.

President Zelensky addressed his country's parliament on 28 June, calling on members to legalize medicinal cannabis as a therapeutic option for Ukrainians who have endured more than a year of war with Russia.

UPI of 28 June 2023

Luxembourg: The Country legalises cultivation and consumption of cannabis at home

Luxembourg deputies greenlit a bill that allows for limited cannabis cultivation and consumption at home. 38 deputies voted in favour of the bill, with 22 against.  A repressive policy towards drugs is "an absolute failure", said Minister of Justice, Sam Tanson (Déi Gréng) at the end of the debate. For that reason, "we must dare to take another path" and "seek solutions".

People will be able to cultivate up to four plants in their home or usual place of residence. Cannabis plants can only be grown from seed and must not be visible from public spaces. So, no cannabis planters on balconies or window sills. It remains prohibited for minors. Bill 8033 further stipulates penalties in relation to illegal cannabis possession. Anyone who consumes recreational cannabis or cannabis-derived products outside their home risks a fine of between ‚ā¨25 and ‚ā¨500.

RTL Today of 29 June 2023

Science/Human: Cannabis may be helpful in Tourette’s syndrome according to placebo controlled trial

In a placebo-controlled crossover study with 22 participants suffering from severe Tourette‚Äôs syndrome an oral cannabis preparation reduced tics. Investigators of Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Herston, Australia, and other academic institutions from Australia randomly assigned them to a 6-week treatment period with escalating doses of an oral oil containing 5‚ÄČmg/ml of THC and 5‚ÄČmg/ml of CBD, followed by a 6-week course of placebo, or vice versa, separated by a 4-week washout period.

Mean reduction in total tic score (at week 6 relative to baseline) as measured by the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale was 8.9 in the active group and 2.5 in the placebo group. Authors concluded from study results that in ‚Äúsevere Tourette syndrome, treatment with THC and CBD reduced tics and may reduce impairment due to tics, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder; although in some participants this was associated with slowed mentation, memory lapses, and poor concentration.‚ÄĚ

Mosley PE, Webb L, Suraev A , Hingston L, Turnbull T, Foster K, Ballard E, McGregor LS. Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol in Tourette Syndrome. NEJM Evidence. 2023 June 7. [in press]

Science/Human: A hemp extract hair regrowth in a case series

A hemp extract containing CBD, THCV and CBDV improved hair growth in a study with 31 subjects (15 men and 16 women) suffering from androgenetic alopecia. Investigators of Nex Therapeutics in St. Pete Beach, USA, used a hemp oil rich in these cannabinoids which was applied once-daily to the area of the scalp most affected.

The results revealed that all subjects had some regrowth. This ranged  from 31% (from 16 to 21 hairs) to 2000% (from 1 to 21 hairs). The average  increase was statistically significant 246% (15 hairs/cm2 increase) in men  and 127% (16 hairs/cm2) in women. There were no reported adverse effects. All  subjects rated their psychosocial perception of the effects on the hair loss, as  "happy" or "very happy." So far, the mechanism of action is unclear.

Smith GL. Hair Regrowth with Novel Hemp Extract: A Case Series. Int J Trichology. 2023;15(1):18-24.

Science/Human: Cannabis may be somewhat effective in the treatment of laryngeal dystonia and vocal tremor

According to a survey with 158 patients suffering from laryngeal dystonia and vocal tremor some of them may profit from a treatment with cannabis. An eight-question anonymous survey was distributed by investigators of Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, USA.

There were 158 responses (25 males and 133 females) with a mean age of 65 years, of whom 54% had tried cannabinoids for the treatment of the condition at some point. Of these 53% were still using cannabis. Most participants who have used  cannabinoids as a treatment rank their effectiveness as somewhat effective  (42%) or ineffective (46%). Participants cited a reduction in voice strain  and anxiety as reasons for cannabinoid effectiveness.

Millman N, van der Woerd B, Sund LT, Johns M. Cannabinoid Use in the Treatment of Laryngeal Dystonia and Vocal Tremor: A Pilot  Investigation. J Voice. 2023:S0892-1997(23)00158-3.

Science/Human: Cannabis may protect from negative effects of subconcussive head impacts in soccer players

In a study with 43 soccer players, of whom 24 were using cannabis at least once a week for the past 6 months, the use of cannabis was associated with a lower marker of brain damage after induction of a controlled heading model. The study was undertaken by investigators of the Department of Kinesiology at Indiana University School of Public  Health-Bloomington, , USA.

Twenty soccer headings, induced by our controlled¬† heading model, significantly impaired ocular-motor function, but the degrees of¬† impairments were less in the cannabis group compared to controls. The control¬† group significantly increased its serum level of calcium-binding protein B¬†(S100B), a marker of brain damage, whereas no¬† change was observed in the cannabis group. Authors concluded that these data ‚Äúsuggest that¬† chronic cannabis use may be associated with an enhancement of oculomotor¬† functional resiliency and suppression of the neuroinflammatory response¬† following 20 soccer headings.‚ÄĚ

Kalbfell RM, Rettke DJ, Mackie K, Ejima K, Harezlak J,  Alexander IL, Wager-Miller J, Johnson BD, Newman SD, Kawata K. The modulatory role of cannabis use in subconcussive neural injury. iScience. 2023;26(6):106948.

Science/Human: Cancer patients experience benefits from cannabis use according to a survey

According to a survey with 267 cancer patients may get several benefits from cannabis use. Investigators of Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center in Oklahoma City, USA, asked adults undergoing cancer treatment at a National Cancer Institute about perceived harms and benefits of cannabis and other information.

Over a quarter of respondents (26%)  reported past 30-day cannabis use, and among those, 4.5% screened positive for  cannabis use disorder. Participants who used cannabis most often used edibles  (65%) or smoked cannabis (51%), and they were younger and more likely to be  male. Those who used cannabis reported more  severe symptoms and perceived cannabis as less harmful than those who did not  use cannabis. The most common medical reasons for cannabis use were pain,  cancer, sleep problems, anxiety, nausea/vomiting, and poor appetite. 

Azizoddin DR, Cohn AM, Ulahannan SV, Henson CE, Alexander  AC, Moore KN, Holman LL, Boozary LK, Sifat MS, Kendzor  DE. Cannabis use among adults undergoing cancer treatment. Cancer. 2023 Jun 24. [in press]

News in brief

Albania: The country takes steps to allow the medical use of CBD products

Officials in Albania have approved a draft bill which would regulate the production and export of THC free cannabis. On Friday 16 June, the Council of Ministers voted to approve a draft bill to legalise the production of cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes. Under the proposed regulations, there would be no THC cap on medicinal cannabis and cultivation will be limited to an area of 5-10 hectares.

Albanian Daily News 16 June 2023

USA: Medical cannabis reciprocity law takes effect in New Hampshire

State-registered medical cannabis patients who reside outside of New Hampshire can now legally purchase cannabis products from licensed dispensaries within the state. ‚ÄúPeople from other states with severe medical conditions who use therapeutic cannabis to alleviate their symptoms are welcome to travel to New Hampshire with the certainty that they will be able to safely access therapeutic cannabis while they visit our state,‚ÄĚ said DPHS Director Tricia Tilley.

NORML of 29 June 2023

Science/Animal: Cannabis may be helpful to speed up functional recovery after peripheral nerve injury

In a study with mice, whose sciatic nerve was injured, a cannabis extract had ‚Äúthe ability to speed up functional recovery.‚ÄĚ

Neurochemicalbiology and Genetics Laboratory (NGL), Department of Physiology,  Faculty of Life Sciences Government College University Faisalabad Pakistan.

Maqbool J, et al. Food Sci Nutr. 2023;11(6):2767-2775.

Science/Animal: THC conserved heart function in the presence of endotoxins in blood

In a rat model of endotoxaemia, which is the presence of endogenous toxins in the blood, THC conserved cardiovascular functions. Authors assumed an involvement of endothelial molecular mechanisms and the reduction of oxidative-nitrative stress.

Department of Physiology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.

B√°nyai B, et al. PLoS One. 2023;18(6):e0287168.

Science/Animal: Cannabis may reduce aluminium-induced damage to nerves

In a study with zebrafish CBD- and THC-based oils¬† were able to increase the activity of acetylcholinesterase helping the cholinergic nervous system¬† actuate against aluminium toxicity. Authors ‚Äúconcluded that the oils have a protective effect and might be used¬† with proposals for neurological and antioxidant impairment avoidance caused by¬† Al intoxications.‚ÄĚ

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Laboratory Rosilene Rodrigues Kaizer,  Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Rio Grande do Sul, Campus  Sertão, Brazil.

Alves C, et al. Sci Rep. 2023;13(1):9813.

Science/Human: CBD concentrations may be higher in women than in men

In a study with 62 hypertensive volunteers, who received either CBD or placebo over a 12-week study ‚Äúhigher plasma CBD concentrations occurred in¬† females compared to males, which was potentially related to greater adipose¬† tissue.‚ÄĚ

Pharmacy of Split-Dalmatia County, Croatia.

Batinic A, et al.  Int J Mol Sci. 2023;24(12):10273.

Science/Human: Sex differences in the subjective effects of smoked cannabis

In a controlled trial with 68 healthy cannabis users, who smoked cannabis with about 25 mg of THC or placebo ‚Äúunder active cannabis conditions, female¬† participants reported greater reductions from baseline in cannabis craving and¬† significantly higher cannabis-specific ratings of strength, liking, willingness¬† to take again and good effect, compared with males‚ÄĚ.

UCLA Center for Cannabis and Cannabinoids, Jane and Terry Semel Institute for  Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.

Lake S, et al. Addict Biol. 2023;28(7):e13301.

Science/Animal: CBD nanoparticles considerably increased maximum blood concentrations

In a study with rats ‚ÄúCBD-loaded¬† nanoparticles lead to a statistically significant‚ÄČ about ‚ÄČ20-fold increase of¬† the¬†maximum drug concentration in plasma (Cmax) and a shortening of the time to¬† the Cmax (tmax) from 4 to 0.3¬†h, indicating a more complete and faster¬† absorption than in free form.‚ÄĚ

Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Nanomaterials Science, Department of Materials  Science and Engineering, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Technion  City, Haifa, Israel.

Shreiber-Livne I, et al. Drug Deliv Transl Res. 2023 Jun 21.[in press]

Science/Human: No alterations of the endocannabinoid system in untreated patients with multiple sclerosis compared to healthy controls

In a study with 66 untreated patients with multiple sclerosis and 46 healthy controls investigators did not find any alteration in the peripheral endocannabinoid system between both groups. They concluded that the anecdote system has ‚Äúa¬† minor overall involvement in the early stage of MS on inflammatory markers and¬† clinical parameters.‚ÄĚ

Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, Department of Neurology, Copenhagen University Hospital - Rigshospitalet, Glostrup, Denmark.

Gustavsen S, et al. Eur J Neurol. 2023 Jun 20. [in press]

Science/Animal: The presence of low amounts of THC increased the oral bioavailability of CBD

The ‚Äúpresence of 0.2% THC increased the oral bioavailability of CBD¬† in male and female rats, indicating that full-spectrum products may produce¬† increased effectiveness of CBD due to a greater exposure available systemically.‚ÄĚ

Department of Pharmaceutics, University of Florida College of Pharmacy, Gainesville,  USA.

Berthold EC, et al. Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 2023 Jun 19. [in press]

Science/Human: No evidence of interactive effects between ayahuasca and CBD

According to a randomised controlled trial with 17 healthy volunteers who received a placebo or 600 mg of oral CBD followed by oral ayahuasca (1 mL/kg) ‚Äúthere was no evidence of interactive effects between ayahuasca and¬† CBD. The safety of separate and concomitant drug intake suggests that both drugs¬† could be applied to clinical populations with anxiety disorders.‚ÄĚ

Department of Neurosciences and Behavior, Ribeirão Preto Medical  School, University of São Paulo, Brazil.

Rossi GN, et al. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2023;43(4):339-349.

Science/Animal: Endocannabinoids exhibit anti-lymphoma effects

Anti-lymphoma pharmacodynamic actions of the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG in non-Hodgkin lymphoma cells of the dogs ‚Äúrevealed a significant alteration in the markers of¬† oxidative stress, inflammation, and a decrease in mitochondrial function without¬† altering the apoptotic markers.‚ÄĚ

Department of Anatomy, Physiology, & Pharmacology, College of Veterinary  Medicine, Auburn University, USA

Omer S, et al. Life Sci. 2023;327:121862.

Science/Human: Cannabis users in France differ depending on recreational or therapeutic use

According to a survey with 4150 daily cannabis users, of whom 453 used it exclusively for therapeutic reasons there were several differences with regard to age, employment, mode of cannabis administration and other parameters.

Aix-Marseille Universit√©, Sciences √Čconomiques &¬† Sociales de la sant√© & Traitement de L'information M√©dicale, Marseille, France.

Bastien M, et al. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2023:1-11

Science/human: There may be cross-relativity between hemp seed and hazelnut with regard to allergies

Investigators concluded from a study on allergic reactions: ‚ÄúOur study¬† thus identifies vicilins and edestins as potential hemp seed allergens and¬† highlights a possible cross-reactivity with hazelnut. The clinical relevance of¬† this cross-reactivity between hemp seed and hazelnut needs to be further¬† investigated in hazelnut-allergic individuals.‚ÄĚ

INRAE, Nantes, CHU d'Angers, unité d'allergologie, France.

Beriziky P, et al. Food Res Int. 2023;169:112932.