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IACM-Bulletin of 21 January 2024

Science/Human: Cannabis may be effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder

According to a retrospective analysis of data from 59 patients with major depressive disorder cannabis may reduce symptom severity, investigators of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University of Essen, Germany, and other German institutions reported. treatment was conducted via a telemedical platform and patients were followed for 18 weeks.

Drop-out  rate was 22% after 18 weeks. Mean severity of depression decreased from 6.9  points at entry to 3.8 points at week 18. A  treatment response (more than 50% reduction of the initial score) was seen in 50.8% at  week 18. One third of patients complained about side effects, none was  considered as severe. Concomitant antidepressant medication (31% of patients)  was not associated with outcome.

Specka M, Bonnet U, Schmidberg L, Wichmann J, Keller M, Scholze C, Scherbaum N. Effectiveness of Medical Cannabis for the Treatment of Depression: A  Naturalistic Outpatient Study. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2024 Jan 11. [in press]

Science/Human: A synthetic CB1 receptor inverse agonist induced weight loss

In a multicentre placebo-controlled parallel group study with 37 participants the synthetic cannabinoid receptor-1 inverse agonist INV-202 caused rapid weight loss. researchers at Inversago Pharma, Montréal, Canada administered either the inverse CB1 or a placebo once-daily for 28 days. Participants where aged 18 to 65 years with a mean body mass index of 38.1 with features of metabolic syndrome and glucose intolerance.

INV-202 was well tolerated with no serious treatment-emergent  adverse events. The most common events related to known effects of CB1 receptor blockade  in the gastrointestinal tract. INV-202 produced a significant mean weight loss  of 3.5 kg compared with placebo participants who gained a mean 0.6 kg. INV-202 also exhibited significant reductions in waist circumference.

Crater GD, Lalonde K, Ravenelle F, Harvey M, Després JP. Effects of CB1R inverse agonist, INV-202, in patients with features of metabolic  syndrome. A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind phase 1b study. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2024;26(2):642-649.

News in brief

USA: The Department of Health and Human Services suggests a reclassification of cannabis

Marijuana is less harmful and less prone to abuse than first thought and should be reclassified to reflect that, the Department of Health and Human Services now says. "I am recommending that marijuana, referring to botanical cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.) that is within the definition 'marihuana' or 'marijuana' in the CSA, be controlled in Schedule III of the CSA," Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine. wrote in the letter addressed to Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Anne Milgram and originally dated Aug. 29, 2023.

UPI of 13 January 2024

Israel: About 1.5 percent of the population have legal access to a treatment with cannabis

The number of Israelis, who are treated with medical cannabis reached 138,000, which represents about 1.5 percent of the population (9.1 million).

Cannabis of 10 January 2024

Science/Animal: CB2 receptors in the brain may play a role in the development of schizophrenia

Studies with mice demonstrate  that there is an interaction between neuronal CB2 receptors and methamphetamine treatment, which  increases the risk of schizophrenia-like behavior. “This  finding provides evidence for further studies targeting CB2R as a potential  schizophrenia therapy.”

Laboratory of Reticular Formation Physiology, Mexico City, Mexico.

Canseco-Alba A, et al. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2024;130:110924.

Science/Human: Cannabis use may be associated with increased risk for new-onset arrhythmia

Among 1.88 million patients with chronic pain, 5391 patients claimed a  prescription of medical cannabis. “In patients with chronic pain, the use of prescribed medical  cannabis was associated with an elevated risk of new-onset arrhythmia compared  with no use-most pronounced in the 180 days following the initiation of  treatment.”

Department of Cardiology, Hellerup, Denmark.

Holt A, et al. Eur Heart J. 2024:ehad834.

Science/Human: Strong CBD -related placebo effect on stress

In a study with 48 healthy adults, who received CBD free oils, of whom half were told that they re-received CBD oil there was a strong CBD -related placebo effect on stress. Authors noted that these results “replicate and extend previous findings that CBD expectancy  alone can impact stress- and anxiety-relevant responses in the laboratory  context.”

Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Halifax, Canada.

Zhekova RM, et al. J Psychopharmacol. 2024:2698811231219060.

Science/Cells: The reduction of CB2 dependent mitochondrial dysfunction may improve cognitive impairment

According to a study with cells from the hippocampus, a certain brain region, the increase of entocannabinoids may improve cognitive impairment induced by cerebral hypoperfusion by the alleviation of CB2-dependent endoplasmatic reticulum stress and  mitochondrial dysfunction.“Furthermore, this study identified CB2 as a potential  target for therapy of ischemic cerebrovascular diseases.”

Department of Neurosurgery, Center of Pituitary Tumor, Shanghai, China.

Wang DP, et al. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2024;19(1):1.

Science/Review: May CBD treatment promotes brain health and delay ageing?

This article  reviews the relevant literature on Alzheimer’s disease , CBD treatment for Alzheimer’s disease , cellular  senescence, aging, and CBD treatment for aging in recent years. “These data may provide new ideas on how to effectively  prevent and delay aging, and develop effective treatment strategies for  age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.”

Department of Basic Medicine, Qingdao, China.

Liu Y, et al. Mol Biol Rep. 2024;51(1):121.

Science/Review: Is there an association between suicide attempt and substance use?

“Higher cigarette smoking and marijuana use; any use  of opioids, sedatives, and hallucinogens; and greater dependence on nicotine,  alcohol, marijuana, and any illicit or prescription drug were associated with  elevated risk for suicide attempt.”

Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Richmond, USA.

Stephenson M, et al. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2024 Jan 16. [in press]

Science/Review: May CBD have the potential to manage opiate use disorder?

“This narrative review  synthesises current literature surrounding opiate use disorder and offers a nuanced review of  the current and future role of CBD in managing this condition.”

Medical School, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australien.

Le K, et al. Cureus. 2023;15(12):e50634.

Science/Review: Does cannabis therapy may have opioid sparing effects?

“The opioid-sparing effect of cannabinoids remains uncertain based on  current evidence. However, attention could be paid to cannabinoid doses  associated with opioid reduction in included observational studies. “

Faculty of Pharmacy, Québec, Canada.

El-Mourad J, et al. Pain Manag Nurs. 2024;25(1):e8-e20.

Science/Review: What is the current role of cannabinoids in the treatment of nervous system disorders?

“Cannabinoids and endocannabinoids hold promise for use as disease  modifiers and therapeutic agents for the prevention or treatment of  neurodegenerative diseases and neurological disorders.”

Department of Ophthalmology, Kansas, USA.

Duncan RS, et al. Neural Regen Res. 2024;19(4):788-799.