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IACM-Bulletin of 8 October 2023

Science/Human: Cannabis use is common among breast cancer patients

According to a survey by investigators of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, USA, a large proportion of patients with early-stage breast cancer uses cannabis to treat insomnia and pain. Among 2462 patients, who answered the question on cannabis use, 14.8% reported using the drug in the last 30 days and 59.4 percent reported never having used cannabis.

Of the 364 patients endorsing cannabis use in the last 30 days, 24.5% used it on 1 to 2 days of the whole 30 day period, 19.8% on 3 to 5 days, 8.0% on 6 to 9 days, 18.1% on 10 to 19 days, 8.2% on 20 to 29 days, and 21.4% on all 30 days. The products used contained THC (26.3%), CBD (19.7%), balanced levels of THC and CBD (19.7%), or active ingredients that were unknown to the patient (34.2%). Patients frequently endorsed cannabis use for insomnia, anxiety, and pain.

Cousins MM, Dykstra MP, Griffith K, Mietzel M, Kendrick D, Trumpower E, Dusseau D, DominelloMM, Boike TP, Hayman JA, Walker EM, Jolly S, Mierzwa ML, Jagsi R, Vicini FA, Pierce LJ. Cannabis Use Patterns among Patients with Early-Stage Breast Cancer in a Large Multicenter Cohort from a State with Legalized Adult Non-Medical Cannabis. Redjournal.2023;117(2):E95.

Science/Human: CBN may be helpful sleep disturbance

In a placebo-controlled study with 293 participants by investigators of Canopy Growth Corporation, Canada, CBN (Cannabinol) may improve sleep quality. Participants either received a placebo, 20 mg CBN, 20 mg CBN + 10 mg CBD, 20 mg CBN + 20 mg CBD or 20 mg CBN + 100 mg CBD for 7 consecutive nights. Participants were 18-55 years of age who self-rated sleep quality as "very poor" or "poor."

Compared to placebo, 20 mg CBN demonstrated a nonsignificant but potentially meaningful effect on sleep quality and significantly reduced number of awakenings and overall sleep disturbance. There was no difference from placebo among any group for sleep onset latency, or daytime fatigue. Individuals receiving 20 mg CBN demonstrated reduced night-time awakenings and overall sleep disturbance relative to placebo, with no impact on daytime fatigue. The addition of CBD did not positively augment CBN treatment effects.

Bonn-Miller MO, Feldner MT, Bynion TM, Eglit GML, Brunstetter M, Kalaba M, Zvorsky I, Peters EN, Hennesy M. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of the safety and effects of CBN with and without CBD on sleep quality. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2023 Oct 5. [in press]

Science/Human: Many cancer patients use cannabis for symptom relief

Investigators of the Division of Medical Oncology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, USA, conducted a survey among 934 patients with invasive cancer treated in the past 12 months.

Approximately 15% (n = 142) of consented patients reported current cannabis use defined as use within the past 12 months. Among which, 75% reported cannabis use in the past week. Among current cannabis users, 39% used CBD products. Current users reported using cannabis a median of 4.5 days/week, 2.0 times per use/day, and for 3 years. Authors noted that “patients reported moderate to high relief of symptoms with cannabis use.”

Brasky TM, Newton AM, Conroy S, Adib A, Adley NC, Strassels SA, Hays JL, Cooper ZD, Wagener TL, Stevens E, Plascak JJ, Krok-Schoen JL. Marijuana and Cannabidiol Use Prevalence and Symptom Management Among Patients with Cancer. Cancer Res Commun. 2023;3(9):1917-1926

Science/Human: Cannabis may be helpful to manage stimulant cravings among people who use unregulated drugs

Investigators of British Columbia Centre on Substance Use in Vancouver, Canada, administered a questionnaire to “people who concurrently use cannabis and unregulated stimulants in Vancouver, Canada”. In total, 297 individuals were included in the study.

Cannabis use to manage stimulant cravings was reported by 134 (45%) participants and 104 (78%) of these participants reported decreasing their stimulant use during periods of cannabis use.

In the sub-analyses, cannabis use to manage stimulant cravings was significantly associated with reduced stimulant use among people who used crystal methamphetamine daily and was not significantly associated with reduced stimulant use among people who used crack/cocaine daily.

Reddon H, Socias ME, DeBeck K, Hayashi K, Walsh Z, Milloy MJ. Cannabis use to manage stimulant cravings among people who use unregulated drugs. Addict Behav. 2023;148:107867.

News in brief

IACM: Documentary on Franjo Grotenhermen now freely available

The multiple award-winning documentary film about the long-time Executive Director and former Chair of the IACM, Franjo Grotenhermen, is now freely available. It gives a vivid impression of the atmosphere of the IACM Conference 2019 in Berlin and provides a foretaste of the upcoming IACM Conference from 11 to 13 April 2024 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Our thanks go to MYCB1 for funding and production. See you in Aberdeen to celebrate the work of Roger Pertwee together.

Documentary film "The Doctor - Franjo Grotenhermen"

IACM Conference 2024 in Aberdeen

Science/Human: Cannabis use may be associated with a reduced risk to develop kidney stones in men

Kidney stone and cannabis use data were collected from self-report questionnaires. One to seven times per week regular consumption of cannabis was associated with a reduced risk of kidney stones in males by 38%.

Laboratory of Reconstructive Urology, Department of Urology, Institute of Urology, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.

Di X, et al. Front Pharmacol. 2023;14:1214647.

Science/Human: No increased negative effects of cannabis on young adults following legalisation in Canada

In a study of high-risk young adults from Ontario, Canada, individuals using cannabis frequently before legalisation “showed significant reductions in use and consequences over time, reflecting an aging out pattern. Small increases in use among participants with no prelegalization use were observed over time, but without parallel changes in cannabis-related consequences.”

McMaster University/St. Joseph's Healthcare, Hamilton, Canada.

Doggett A, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(9):e2336035.

Science/Cells: Polyphenols of cannabis may have anti-cancer effects against colon cancer

Phenolic compounds from cannabis, in particular cannflavins, are known to possess several biological properties. Researchers demonstrated anti-cancer effects of these compounds against colon cancer cells.

Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.

Caroli C, et al. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2023;236:115723.

Science/Cells: Several “minor” cannabinoids exert anti-inflammatory effects

In studies with white blood cells THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin), CBC (cannabichromene) , and CBN (cannabinol) “exert anti-inflammatory effects by influencing different stages of gene expression.”

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Lethbridge, Canada.

Gojani EG, et al. Molecules. 2023;28(18):6487.

Science/Animal: Long-term administration of THC attenuated weight gain in mice

Mice were fed with either a high-fat or standard diet and then received oral treatment in ramping doses, namely 10 mg/kg of THC or CBD for 5 weeks followed by 30 mg/kg for an additional 5 weeks. “Mice treated with THC had attenuated weight gain and improved glucose tolerance, followed by improvement in steatosis markers and decreased hypertrophic cells in adipose epididymal tissue. Mice treated with CBD had improved glucose tolerance and increased markers of lipid metabolism in adipose and liver tissues, but in contrast to THC, CBD had no effect on weight gain and steatosis markers.”

The Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel.

Eitan A, et al. Int J Mol Sci. 2023;24(18):13797

Science/Animal: Activation of the CB2 receptor may reduce excessive inflammatory processes

According to studies with mice, “cannabinoid CB2 receptors are potential targets to control the excessive inflammatory process that occurs in severe conditions, and agonists of these receptors can be considered promising adjuvants in pneumonia-induced sepsis treatment.”

Department of Pharmacology, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil.

Fernandes de Souza C, et al. Eur J Pharmacol. 2023:176092.

Science/Cells: The anti-cancer effects of CBD in prostate cancer is mediated by programmed cell death

According to studies with prostate cancer cells “results suggest that CBD may be effective against prostate cancer cells” and these effects were mediated by apoptosis (programmed cell death).

Department of Urology, Zhejiang University School of Medicine First Affiliated Hospital, Hangzhou, China.

Li J, et al. PLoS One. 2023;18(10):e0286758.

Science/Human: Cannabis use among young adults increased after legalisation in the state of Washington

“During the five-year period following implementation of legalization, patterns of young adult cannabis use shifted, including particularly sharp increases among females.”

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.

Guttmannova K, et al. Am J Prev Med. 2023:S0749-3797(23)00388-4.

Science/Human: A review shows that CBD does not impair cognition

A review demonstrates “that the chronic and acute administration of CBD seems not to impair cognition in humans without neuropsychiatric disorders. In addition, preclinical studies report promising results regarding the effects of CBD on the cognitive processing of animals.”

Department of Neurosciences and Behavioral Sciences, University of São Paulo, Brazil.

Bomfim AJL, et al. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2023 Oct 4. [in press]

Science/Human: Cannabis use was associated with a small increased risk of impaired fracture healing after arm fractures

According to an analysis of data “cannabis use is associated with an elevated risk of infection and malunion following operative management of a distal radius fracture. Concomitant use of cannabis and tobacco poses an elevated risk of nonunion and malunion compared to tobacco use alone.”

Department of Orthopaedics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA.

Livesey MG, et al. Hand (N Y). 2023:15589447231196905.

Science/Cells: CBD shows protective effects in inflamed astrocytes

In studies with astrocytes treated with a toxic agent “findings suggest CBD as a potential anti-inflammatory treatment in metabolic pathologies and highlight a possible role for the cannabinoidergic system in the modulation of mitochondrial oxidative stress. CBD enhances mitochondrial bioenergetic profile, attenuates proinflammatory cytokines release”, and reactive oxygen species overproduction of astrocytes stimulated by ROS overproduction of astrocytes stimulated by lipopolysaccharide.

Physiology and Physiopathology Team, Faculty of Sciences, Genomic of Human Pathologies Research Centre, Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco.

Ibork H, et al. Neurotox Res. 2023 Oct 2. [in press]

 Science/Cells: CBD attenuates inflammation in cells of the intestine

CBD was shown to possess anti-inflammatory effects in healthy and inflamed intestinal cells. It stabilised the so-called transepithelial electrical resistance and prevented the barrier-disrupting effects of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF alpha, among others. “These findings demonstrate the potential of CBD as a component of Cannabis-based biomaterials used in the development of novel therapeutic approaches against inflammatory pathogenesis.”

Institute of Veterinary Physiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

Boehm E, Droessler L, Amasheh S. Mater Today Bio. 2023;23:100808.

Science/Human: Cannabis users showed a small increase in morning sickness severity in pregnancy

In a sample of Michigan pregnant women 14% reported cannabis use. “Participants who experienced increasing morning sickness severity had higher odds of using cannabis.” The increase was small, about 20%. Authors wrote: “Findings from this study indicate a link between nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and prenatal cannabis use. This study also revealed that using cannabis in the three months prior to pregnancy is associated with first trimester morning sickness severity.”

Center for Health Policy & Health Services Research, Henry Ford Health, Detroit, USA.

Vanderziel A, et al. Am J Obstet Gynecol MFM. 2023:101171.

Science/Human: Functional variation in the FAAH gene is associated with subjective well-being

In a study with 2822 individuals researchers found that variations in the FAAH gene, which is responsible for the production of FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase) and thus for the degradation of anandamide is directly associated with well-being and indirectly with alcohol use. “We propose that chronically elevated anandamide levels might influence disruptions in the endocannabinoid system-a biological contributor to well-being-which could, in turn, contribute to increased alcohol intake, though multiple factors may be at play.”

Department of Public Health Sciences, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.

Bornscheuer L, et al. Genes (Basel). 2023;14(9):1826.

Science/Animal: Olive oil-derived endocannabinoid-like mediators inhibit obesity.

N-oleoylglycine, a lipid derived from the basic component of olive oil, oleic acid, and N-oleoylalanine are endocannabinoid-like mediators. Researchers found in studies with mice that the substances “control body weight by counteracting highly palatable food overconsumption, and possibly rebalancing the gut microbiota, and provide a potential new mechanism of action for the obeso-preventive effects of olive oil-rich diets.”

Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry, National Research Council of Italy, Pozzuoli, Italy.

Forte N, et al. Commun Biol. 2023;6(1):959.