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IACM-Bulletin of 2 July 2023
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.
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 €25 and €500.
In a placebo-controlled crossover study with 22 participants suffering from severe Tourette’s 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 mg/ml of THC and 5 mg/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 “severe 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.”
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.
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.
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 “suggest that chronic cannabis use may be associated with an enhancement of oculomotor functional resiliency and suppression of the neuroinflammatory response following 20 soccer headings.”
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.
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]
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.
State-registered medical cannabis patients who reside outside of New Hampshire can now legally purchase cannabis products from licensed dispensaries within the state. “People 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,” said DPHS Director Tricia Tilley.
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 “the ability to speed up functional recovery.”
Neurochemicalbiology and Genetics Laboratory (NGL), Department of Physiology, Faculty of Life Sciences Government College University Faisalabad Pakistan.
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.
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 “concluded that the oils have a protective effect and might be used with proposals for neurological and antioxidant impairment avoidance caused by Al intoxications.”
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Laboratory Rosilene Rodrigues Kaizer, Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Rio Grande do Sul, Campus Sertão, Brazil.
In a study with 62 hypertensive volunteers, who received either CBD or placebo over a 12-week study “higher plasma CBD concentrations occurred in females compared to males, which was potentially related to greater adipose tissue.”
Pharmacy of Split-Dalmatia County, Croatia.
In a controlled trial with 68 healthy cannabis users, who smoked cannabis with about 25 mg of THC or placebo “under 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”.
UCLA Center for Cannabis and Cannabinoids, Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.
In a study with rats “CBD-loaded nanoparticles lead to a statistically significant about 20-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.”
Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Nanomaterials Science, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Technion City, Haifa, Israel.
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 “a minor overall involvement in the early stage of MS on inflammatory markers and clinical parameters.”
Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, Department of Neurology, Copenhagen University Hospital - Rigshospitalet, Glostrup, Denmark.
The “presence 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.”
Department of Pharmaceutics, University of Florida College of Pharmacy, Gainesville, USA.
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) “there 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.”
Department of Neurosciences and Behavior, Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo, Brazil.
Anti-lymphoma pharmacodynamic actions of the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG in non-Hodgkin lymphoma cells of the dogs “revealed a significant alteration in the markers of oxidative stress, inflammation, and a decrease in mitochondrial function without altering the apoptotic markers.”
Department of Anatomy, Physiology, & Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, USA
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 Université, Sciences Économiques & Sociales de la santé & Traitement de L'information Médicale, Marseille, France.
Science/human: There may be cross-relativity between hemp seed and hazelnut with regard to allergies
Investigators concluded from a study on allergic reactions: “Our 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.”
INRAE, Nantes, CHU d'Angers, unité d'allergologie, France.