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IACM-Bulletin of 24 September 2023

IACM: WeCann and IACM organise Latin America’s largest conference on cannabinoids in medicine in November 2023 in Brazil

The WeCann Summit 2023 is the main congress for physicians on Endocannabinoid Medicine in Latin America. It is organised in cooperation with the IACM.

Hosted by the WeCann Academy, a platform for the education and training of physicians in the field, the WeCann Summit will offer a wealth of highly qualified technical content on the most important scientific advances in the field, unprecedented in Brazil.

Conference in Brazil 2023

Thailand: The new Prime Minister wants to restrict cannabis use

Thailand’s new prime minister vowed to restrict the use of cannabis for medical purposes after the nation became the first in Asia to decriminalize cannabis a year ago. The government will seek to “rectify” its cannabis policy and sprouting of dispensaries that freely sell the drug within a six-month time frame, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said in an interview.

“The law will need to be rewritten,” Srettha said. “It needs to be rectified. We can have that regulated for medical use only,” he said. While Srettha said there was a broad agreement among the 11-party coalition he heads about the need to restrict cannabis use, how exactly his administration will proceed remains unclear.

Time of 21 September 2023

Science/Human: A meta-analysis could not clarify whether cannabis is detrimental or beneficial in patients with psychosis

Investigators from several European, American and African countries conducted a meta-analysis on the association between cannabis use and schizophrenia. They concluded that the findings could not clarify whether cannabis is detrimental or beneficial in disease symptoms. They contacted the authors of relevant studies to extract raw datasets and perform an Individual Participant Data meta-analysis.

Among the 1149 identified studies, 65 were eligible and 21 datasets were shared, totaling 3053 complete cases. Cannabis use was associated with higher severity of positive symptoms, lower severity of negative symptoms, higher severity of excitement. No association was found between cannabis use and disorganization or depression. They concluded that “no causal relationship can be inferred from the current results. The findings could be in favor of both a detrimental and beneficial effect of cannabis on positive and negative symptoms, respectively.”

Argote M, Sescousse G, Brunelin J, Baudin G, Schaub MP, Rabin R, Schnell T, Ringen PA, Andreassen OA, Addington JM, Brambilla P, Delvecchio G, Bechdolf A, Wobrock T, Schneider-Axmann T, Herzig D, Mohr C, Vila-Badia R, Rodie JU, Mallet J, Ricci V, Martinotti G, Knížková K, Rodriguez M, Cookey J, Tibbo P, Scheffler F, Asmal L, Garcia-Rizo C, Amoretti S, Huber C, Thibeau H, Kline E, Fakra E, Jardri R, Nourredine M, Rolland B. Association between cannabis use and symptom dimensions in schizophrenia spectrum disorders: an individual participant data meta-analysis on 3053 individuals. EClinicalMedicine. 2023;64:102199.

Science/Human: Cannabis may be helpful in patients with dementia

According to a a study with 50 patients with diagnosed dementia seen in geriatric psychiatry at the University of Chicago Medical Center, USA, THC may improve neuropsychiatric symptoms and reduce the intake of neuroleptics. Investigators evaluated the effectiveness of dispensary-obtained THC.

Caregiver uptake of dispensary-obtained THC was high (76%). The majority of patients (79%) who took THC had an improvement in neuropsychiatric symptoms according to their caregivers. THC was recommended most often for agitation, aggression, irritability, lability, anxiety, and insomnia. Among the 20 patients who were taking antipsychotics at baseline and took THC, over half (60%) were able to decrease or discontinue the antipsychotic.

Sawicki SM, Hernandez C, Laiteerapong N, Zahradnik EK. The Use of Dispensary-Obtained Tetrahydrocannabinol as a Treatment for Neuropsychiatric Symptoms of Dementia. J Clin Psychiatry. 2023;84(6):23m14791.

Science/Human: Vaporised cannabis was effective in post-traumatic stress disorder in a small clinical study

In a small clinical trial by investigators of the Department of Psychology of the University of British Columbia in Kelowna, Canada, showed positive trending results in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The trial evaluated the effects of a commercially available chemovar that was delivered by vaporization. The study was designed as a randomized placebo-controlled cross-over study with three conditions.

However, only five individuals completed the trial, and analysis of the placebo effect was not possible. Results identified positive changes consistent with medium-sized within-subject effects for cannabis in the treatment of PTSD.

Walsh Z, Mitchell I, Crosby K, St Pierre M, DeClerck D, Ong K, Lucas P. A small clinical trial of vaporized cannabis for PTSD: suggestive results and directions for future study. Trials. 2023;24(1):578.

News in brief

UN: Call for shift from punitive measures to public health to address drug use

A UN human rights report calls for a shift from punitive measures to address the global drugs problem to the use of policies grounded in human rights and public health, arguing that disproportionate use of criminal penalties is causing harm.

United Nations of 20 September 2023

Science/Human: Sublingual CBD shows a similar pharmacokinetic profile as oral CBD

In a study with 8 males so-called sublingual CBD showed a similar pharmacokinetic profile as oral CBD. Authors noted that this “implies that CBD oil delivered sublingually is swallowed before oral mucosal CBD absorption occurs.”

National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences, Loughborough University, UK.

Johnson DA, et al. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2023 Sep 22. [in press]

Science/Cells: CBD shows broad antiviral effects

Investigators demonstrated antiviral effects against Zika virus and other viruses in cell experiments. Authors concluded that it “was demonstrated that CBD inhibits structurally dissimilar viruses, suggesting that this phytochemical has broad-spectrum antiviral effect, representing a valuable alternative in emergency situations during viral outbreaks, like the one caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in 2020.”

Laboratorio de Virología, Departamento de Química Biológica, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentina.

Marquez AB, et al. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2023 Sep 8. [in press]

Science/Cells: Rimonabant and CBD may be useful in breast cancer

In breast cancer cells investigators “demonstrated the anti-metastatic potential of the two compounds, and the membrane array analyses highlighted their ability to alter the release of factors involved in the autocrine and paracrine regulation of tumor proliferation, angiogenesis, and immune reprogramming.”

Department of Pharmacy, University of Salerno, Fisciano, Italy.

Proto MC, et al. Int J Mol Sci. 2023;24(17):13427.

Science/Animal: CBD inhibited breast cancer growth in mice

In a mouse model of breast cancer “results confirm that in vivo CBD blocks development of breast cancer tumors formed by cells induced to malignancy by IL-1β, endorsing its therapeutic potential for cancer treatment.”

Department of Molecular Biomedicine, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Mexico.

García-Morales L, et al. Int J Mol Sci. 2023;24(17):13235.

Science/Animal: CBD ameliorates symptoms of neurodevelopmental disorders in mice

In a mouse model of neurobehavioural disorders CBD ameliorated neurobehavioural abnormalities by restoring prefrontal cortical excitation-inhibition balance.

School of Basic Medical Sciences, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, China.

Zhang L, et al. Neuropharmacology. 2023;240:109715.

Science/Animal: CBD may reduce stress in fish in aquaculture

In a study with stressed and non-stressed Nile tilapia (Oreochromisn niloticus) reared in a recirculating aquaculture system, CBD added in low doses to feed reduced stress.

Department of Biology, Purdue University Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, USAmerica.

Mortuza A, et al. PLoS One. 2023;18(9):e0290835

Science/Cells: CBD inhibits the proliferation and invasiveness of prostate cancer cells

In a study with prostate cancer cells CBD showed anti-cancer effects. Authors noted that the “ability of CBD to inhibit prostate cancer cell proliferation and invasiveness suggests that CBD may have potential as a future chemotherapeutic agent.”

UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Ireland.

O'Reilly E, et al. J Nat Prod. 2023 Sep 13. [in press]

Science/Animal: A combination of THC and CBD may reduce anxiety and depression

In a study with rats, who received a combination of THC and CBD in a ratio of 1 to 100 in an edible formulation, the preparation reduced stress. Authors concluded that these “findings demonstrate a novel synergistic potential for THC:CBD edible formulations in stress-related pathologies.”

Addiction Research Group, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, Canada.

Pérez-Valenzuela E, et al. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2023 Sep 13. [in press]

Science/Cells: Several non-psychedelic cannabinoids may be useful in Alzheimer’s disease

In a cell model of Alzheimer’s disease “cannabinol, cannabidivarin and cannabigerol provided neuroprotection”, while CBD was not effective . Cannabichromene, cannabigerol and cannabinol inhibited the neurotoxicity caused by protein beta amyloid, a key marker of Alzheimer’s disease.

Discipline of Pharmacology, School of Biomedicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Adelaide, Australia.

Marsh DT, et al. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2023 Sep 11. [in press]

Science/Human: The blood level of anandamide may distinguish interstitial cystitis from overactive bladder

Investigators compared anandamide levels in 20 patients with interstitial cystitis, 20 patients with bladder pain syndrome and 20 patients with overactive bladder as well as 15 controls without such problems. Author’s noted that “serum anandamide may be a feasible diagnostic biomarker for interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome. Reduced serum anandamide levels may be associated with pain and inflammation initiation, reflecting the pathology of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome.“

Department of Urology, Nara Medical University, Japan.

Torimoto K, et al. Low Urin Tract Symptoms. 2023 Sep 8. [in press]