Last updated
reading time

IACM-Bulletin of 25 February 2024

IACM: IACM Meeting and Cannabis Talk

Since the IACM conference in April 2024 cannot take place in Aberdeen, UK, as planned, we want to use this time on April 12 and 13 for an online meeting that interested parties from different time zones can attend from the comfort of their own homes. On both days, the program will last about 4.5 hours, during which we will discuss several topics in different formats, including the endocannabinoid system, effects of cannabis beyond THC and CBD, benefits and risks in psychiatric disorders.

Time: April 12 and 13, 2024


6:00 (UTC -8): San Francisco)

8:00 (UTC -6): Mexico City

9:00 (UTC -5): New York

11:00 (UTC -3): Sao Paulo

15:00 (UTC +1): Madrid, Berlin, Johannesburg, Casablanca

16:00 (UTC +2): Jerusalem, Cairo

19:30 (UTC +5.5): New Delhi

21:00 (UTC +7): Bangkok             

23:00 (UTC +9): Tokyo

Registration fee: Participation is free of charge.

We have developed a new format that we call Cannabis Talk. These are talks with outstanding experts who report on their experiences in their field from their personal perspective. The first Cannabis Talk is already online since last weekend, a conversation with IACM Chair Kirsten Müller-Vahl, neurologist and psychiatrist at the Hannover Medical School, Germany. In March, the Cannabis Talk with Daniele Piomelli, Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at University of California in irvine, USA, will follow.

International Alliance for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM)

Germany: The Bundestag legalizes limited amounts of cannabis cultivation and possession by adults

On 23 February the Bundestag passed a law allowing individuals and voluntary associations to grow and hold limited quantities of cannabis. The law passed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz's ruling three-party coalition legalizes cultivating up to three plants for private consumption and owning up to 25 grams of cannabis. Larger-scale, but still non-commercial, cannabis production will be allowed for members of cannabis associations with no more than 500 members, all of whom must be adults. Only club members can consume their product.

Cannabis remains illegal for minors as does consuming it near schools and playgrounds. "We have two goals: to crack down on the black market and improved protection of children and young people," Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said at the start of a rowdy debate where the opposition accused him of promoting drug use. Some 4.5 million Germans are estimated to use cannabis.

Reuters of 23 February 2024

Science/Human: THC-products were perceived more effective for treatment than CBD-products

According to a survey with 546 patients, participants reported effectiveness of prescribed cannabis, particularly for THC-containing products. Investigators of the Drug and Alcohol Services of the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, Australia, utilized data collected from an online anonymous cross-sectional survey consisting of Australian residents.

Participants prescribed THC-dominant cannabis products were statistically more likely to be younger, male, and to prefer inhaled routes of administration than participants using CBD-dominant products who were older, female, and preferred oral routes of administration. Pain and mental health were the most common reasons for all types of prescribed cannabis, but were more likely to be treated with THC than CBD. “Consumer reported effectiveness of prescribed medical cannabis was very positive, particularly for THC-containing products.”

Trevitt BT, Bailey S, Mills L, Arkell TR, Suraev A, McGregor IS, Lintzeris N. Differences in prescribed medicinal cannabis use by cannabinoid product composition: Findings from the cannabis as medicine survey 2020 (CAMS-20) Australia-wide study. PLoS One. 2024;19(2):e0297092.

Science/Human: The use of cannabis for medical purposes is not associated with opioid use

In an investigation with 1,037 patients, who had a new period of prescription opioid use lasting 30-90 days, were recruited from two midwestern health care systems in the USA. Long-term prescription opioid use and mental health outcomes were studied. 44.4% were never cannabis users, 21.3% were recreational only, 7.7% medical only and 26.6% were both recreational and medical cannabis users.

Lifetime recreational cannabis use, as compared to no use, was significantly associated with increased odds of daily prescription opioid use. There was no association between lifetime recreational or medical cannabis use and daily opioid dose. Authors concluded that “lifetime medical marijuana use is not linked to current opioid dose, but lifetime recreational use is associated with more than a 60% odds of being a daily prescription opioid user.”

Davidson WM, Mahavni A, Chrusciel T, Salas J, Miller-Matero LR, Sullivan MD, Zabel C, Lustman PJ, Ahmedani BK, Scherrer JF. Characteristics of patients with non-cancer pain and long-term prescription opioid use who have used medical versus recreational marijuana. J Cannabis Res. 2024;6(1):7.

News in brief

Science/Animal: CBD may help to reduce nicotine use

A study with mice “found that CBD produced a significant decrease in the number of nicotine rewards earned, and this effect was evidenced across CBD doses and with both the low and moderate levels of nicotine intake.” Authors concluded that results “demonstrate that modulation of cannabinoid signaling may be a viable therapeutic option as a smoking cessation aid.”

Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, University of California Irvine, USA.

Cheeks SN, et al. Neuropharmacology. 2024;246:109833.

Science/Animal: Roots of the flower Heliopsis longipes contain a substance, which activates the CB1 receptor

Extracts of Heliopsis longipes roots and its main alkamide, affinin, elicit a vasorelaxant effect. Studies in rats suggest “that the blood pressure-lowering effect of this alkamide involves activation of cannabinoid type 1 receptors and transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 and transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 channels.”

Posgrado en Ciencias Químico Biológicas, Facultad de Química, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, México.

Luz-Martínez BA, et al. Planta Med. 2024 Feb 20. [in press]

Science/Cells: Activation of cannabinoid receptors may improve the formation of new blood vessels

A synthetic cannabinoid (5-fluoro ABICA) was shown to stimulate angiogenesis (blood vessel formation) in endothelial cells, “thus potentially offering therapeutic options for diseases associated with angiogenesis.”

Department of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan.

Al-Eitan L, Abusirdaneh R. J Taibah Univ Med Sci. 2024;19(2):359-371.

Science/Animal: CBD may improve symptoms after stroke

The administration of CBD after stroke in young rats “did not prevent the development of depressive-like behavior, but reduced long-term hyperactivity, normalizing dopamine receptor function. These data point to the importance of considering the development of depression-like symptoms after neonatal stroke, a well-known complication after stroke in adults. Our work confirms the interest of CBD as a possible treatment for neonatal stroke.”

Biomedical Research Foundation, Hospital Clínico San Calos-IdISSC, Madrid, Spain.

Villa M, et al. Pediatr Res. 2024 Feb 15. [in press]

Science/Animal: CBD ameliorates neuropathic pain

In studies with mice with neuropathic pain induced by the chemotherapeutic agent paclitaxel CBD and a synthetic derivative of CBD “administered on the fourteenth day after the first administration of paclitaxel, attenuated the mechanical allodynia of the sensitized animals.”

Federal University of Minas Gerais, Pharmaceutical Products, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Marques G, et al. Chem Biodivers. 2024:e202301935.

Science/Animal: CBD during pregnancy may have negative effects on the placenta and fetal growth

According to studies with rats receiving CBD during pregnancy pups were 10% smaller and the placentae had altered vasculature.

Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada.

Allen S, et al. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2024 Feb 16. [in press]

Science/Animal: CBD enters fetal blood and brains

Studies with rats “showed that cannabidiol rapidly entered both the developing and adult brains. Entry into CSF was more limited. Its transfer across the placenta was substantially restricted as only about 50% of maternal blood plasma cannabidiol concentration was detected in fetal plasma.”

Department of Neuroscience, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Fitzpatrick G, et al. Cell Tissue Res. 2024 Feb 17. [in press]

Science/Animal: The regulation of the endocannabinoid system is modulated by social isolation

Social isolation is a state of lack of social connections. Social isolation in rats resulted in changes of the endocannabinoid system including the activity of FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase) and the regulation of CB1 receptor expression. Authors wrote that “it is of relevance to restore the endocannabinoid system homeostasis via the use of environmental triggers able to revert those epigenetic mechanisms accounting for the alterations observed.”

Department of Bioscience and Technology for Food, Agriculture and Environment, University of Teramo, Italy.

Girella A, et al. Neurochem Res. 2024 Feb 18. [in press]

Science/Human: The use of cannabis by patients with irritable bowel disease is not associated with cardiovascular risks

An analysis of data from 302,770 hospitalized adult irritable bowel disease patients did not find a difference in cardiovascular diseases between patients with cannabis use disorder and those without cannabis use disorder.

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Weslaco, USA.

Borra V, et al. Curr Med Res Opin. 2024 20:1-13.

Science: Cannabis extracts are effective against antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus

“In this study, ethanolic extracts of Cannabis sativa L. made from plant parts harvested during the whole vegetation cycle under various nutritional treatments were assessed for in vitro anti-staphylococcal effects. (…) The highest antibacterial activity of the extracts was observed from the 5th to the 13th week of plant growth.”

Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural Resources, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic.

Malikova L, et al. Sci Rep. 2024;14(1):4343.