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IACM-Bulletin of 4 February 2024

Science/Human: Cannabis may be helpful in back pain

According to a survey with 259 patients the medical use of cannabis was helpful in the treatment of back or neck pain. Investigators of the Division of Orthopedic Surgery in Kingston, Canada, and other hospitals from Canada analysed data gathered from patients treated by orthopaedic clinics in Ontario.

The average pain severity was 6.5 out of a maximum of 10. Nearly three-quarters were prescribed opioids (73.6%) and almost half (49.3%) had used an opioids in the last week. Patients estimated cannabis could treat 54% of their spine pain and replace 46% of their current analgesics. From these data authors concluded that patients “estimated medical cannabis could treat more than half of their spine pain, with one in three patients already using medical cannabis. 79% of patients also believe cannabis could reduce opioid usage.”

Gjorgjievski M, Madden K, Bullen C, Koziarz F, Koziarz A, Cenic A, Li S, Bhandari M, Johal H. Perceptions in orthopedic surgery on the use of cannabis in treating pain: a survey of patients with spine pain (POSIT Spine). J Orthop Surg Res. 2024;19(1):97.

News in brief

Czech Republic: National Economic Council suggests the introduction of a legal regulated cannabis market to boost economy

The Czech government’s National Economic Council has again recommended the introduction of a legal regulated cannabis market in the Czech Republic, within its proposal of 37 measures to boost economic growth in the country. “Criminal rates and sentencing principles should be adjusted. In the area of drug policy, a legal regulated cannabis market should be introduced,” the Council stated.

BRNO Daily of 25. January 2024

Science/Human: The legalisation of cannabis may not be associated with increased use during pregnancy

According to a survey with 3571 currently and recently pregnant women access to legal cannabis is not associated with cannabis use during pregnancy or beliefs about safety. Legal recreational cannabis may be associated with lower community stigma around cannabis use during pregnancy, which could have implications for pregnant people's disclosure of use and care-seeking behavior.”

Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, Oakland, USA.

Raifman S, et al. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2024;255:111079.

Science/Human: There may be an altered metabolism of the endocannabinoid system in depression

According to an analysis of data from 51 patients with a diagnosis of depressive disorder and 31 healthy volunteers the metabolism of the endocannabinoid system in depression may be altered.

Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, Padua, Italy.

Comai S, et al. BMC Med. 2024;22(1):33.

Science/Human: Cannabis use may not be associated with an increased risk for motor vehicle collision

Researchers conducted a cross-sectional study of visits to emergency departments on the relationship between cannabis and alcohol use and motor vehicle collisions (MVC). “Cannabis alone was not associated with higher odds of MVC, while acute alcohol use alone, and combined use of alcohol and cannabis were both independently associated with higher odds of MVC. Stratifying by level of self-reported or measured cannabis use, higher levels were not associated with higher odds for MVC, with or without co-use of alcohol.”

Center for Policy & Research in Emergency Medicine, Portland, USA.

Choo EK, et al. Accid Anal Prev. 2024;198:107459.

Science/Animal: A synthetic derivative of CBD may improve glucose response in metabolic syndrome

In a study with obese rats the administration of 200 mg of H4CBD per kilogram bodyweight kg by mouth for 4 weeks improved glucose response “independent of static changes in insulin signalling, and these effects are likely a benefit of loss of visceral adiposity.” H4CBD is a synthetic analogue of CBD.

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, School of Natural Sciences, University of California, Merced, USA.

Wilson JN, et al. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2024;326(2):R100-R109.

Science/Animal: CBD may be helpful in hepatocellular carcinoma

A rat model of hepatocellular carcinoma “showed a beneficial improvement after CBD administration. In conclusion, (...) administration of CBD showed a beneficial improvement in the liver enzymes, oxidant-antioxidant status, morphological, and molecular parameters.”

Department of Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Zagazig, Egypt.

Hussein S, et al. Histochem Cell Biol. 2024 Feb 1. [in press]

Science/Animal: 2-AG may suppress neuropathic pain in circadian clocks disruption

Disruption of the circadian clock has been implicated in the exacerbation of neuropathic pain state. New research shows that an increased production of the endocannabinoid 2-AG suppresses tactile pain in a mouse model of circadian clock disruption.

Department of Pharmaceutics, Fukuoka, Japan.

Yamakawa W, et al. PNAS Nexus. 2024;3(1):pgad482

Science: Cannabinoids of the plant Trema orientalis show antibacterial activity

Trema orientalis is a tree which belongs to botanical family of Cannabaceae. This species is widely distributed throughout tropical Asia and is used as traditional medicine, particularly for the treatment of infectious diseases. Researchers found several cannabinoids in extracts of the plant including THC, CBD and CBN. The extracts showed pronounced antibacterial activity.

Department of Biotechnology, Thani, Thailand.

Napiroon T, et al. PeerJ. 2021 May 13;9:e11446.

Science/Animal: CBD may reduce bleeding in brain damage

Bleeding into the so called ventricles of the brain was induced in immature rats and CBD was shown to reduce brain damage. “The protective effects of CBD were associated with the modulation of inflammation, excitotoxicity and oxidative stress. In conclusion, in immature rats, CBD reduced IVH-induced brain damage and its short- and long-term consequences, showing robust and pleiotropic neuroprotective effects. CBD is a potential candidate to ameliorate IVH-induced immature brain damage.” IVH means bleeding into the ventricles of the brain.

Biomedical Research Foundation, Madrid Spain.

Pozo AD, et al. Neurotherapeutics. 2024;21(2):e00326.

Science/Human: Regular cannabis users are no longer impaired 3 hours after cannabis smoking in a driving simulator test

In this study, regular cannabis users operated a driving simulator before, 30 minutes after, and 180 minutes after smoking their preferred cannabis or after resting. Psychomotor performance was decreased at 30 but not 180 minutes after cannabis use. Blood THC was not correlated with impairment.

Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, Toronto, Canada.

Di Ciano P, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2024;7(1):e2352233.

Science/Human: CBD is used in a variety of medical conditions

in an anonymous survey with 1158 respondents the “uses for CBD included neurological disorders, pulmonary conditions, gastrointestinal disorders, and chronic pain. The most commonly reported safety concern related to taking CBD was anxiety.”

University of Kansas School of Pharmacy, Lawrence, Kansas.

Nguyen C, et al. Ment Health Clin. 2023;13(5):217-224.

Science/cells: The receptor GPR55 inhibits the fact producing activity of anandamide in fat cells

The endocannabinoid anandamide stimulates fat production via the CB1 receptor in adipose cells. However, anandamide interacts also with nonclassical cannabinoid receptors, including GPR55. Research suggests that GPR55 functions as negative regulator of cannabinoid mediated fat producing activities in fat cells.

Department of Plastic Surgery, Aachen, Germany.

Ruhl T, et al. Exp Cell Res. 2024;435(1):113908.

Science/Review: Cannabis may help cancer patients in symptom management

“A majority of the participants across studies reported that cannabis helped reduce these symptoms. Lack of symptom improvement, side effects such as fatigue and paranoia, cost, and social stigma were identified as some of the reasons for discontinuing cannabis use. Conclusions: It appears that cannabis may help cancer patients and survivors manage symptoms.”

Population Sciences Program, Honolulu, United States.

Amin S, et al. JNCI Cancer Spectr. 2024:pkae004.