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IACM-Bulletin of April 10, 2022


IACM — The Cannabinoid Conference 2022 is dedicated to Daniela Parolaro

The upcoming Cannabinoid Conference on 20-21 October 2022 in Switzerland is dedicated Dr Daniela Parolaro, who passed away in March 2022. For many years Dr Parolaro served as a member of the IACM Board of Directors and was Chairwoman of the IACM from 2013 to 2015.

The Cannabinoid Conference 2022 is a joint meeting of the IACM and the SACM (Swiss Working Group on Cannabinoids in Medicine) at the Congress Centre in Basel. We are currently preparing the programme of the meeting with a mix of well-known speakers such as Daniele Piomelli, Vincenzo DiMarzo, Jose Crippa, Paola Cubillos and upcoming scientists. The IACM Board is happy to organise another meeting of scientists, doctors and others interested in the science of cannabis and cannabis in medicine together with our Swiss partners.

We are looking forward to meet again in person after 3 years of virtual events to exchange new developments, discuss controversies and have a good time together. The Scientific Committee of the Conference is still open for suggestions of speakers for the programme. Elected speakers will get travel expenses reimbursed and free accommodation. The website with programme and call for abstracts is coming soon.

IACM — Former Chairwoman Daniela Parolaro passed away

Dr Daniela Parolaro passed away on March 28th in Milan at the age of 72. She was a past chairwoman of IACM and professor of Pharmacology at the University of Insubria, Varese, Italy. Her long and impressive career in the cannabinoid field began in 1994 when she published a paper on the impact of chronic cannabinoid treatment on CB1 receptor expression in the brain. She was able to go beyond the "abuse" feature of cannabis and the idea of THC as the only component of cannabis. Indeed, she was among the first researchers to understand the relevance of cannabidiol in the field of cancer diseases. She went on exploring the impact of the modulation of the endocannabinoid system in several brain disorders such as anxiety, schizophrenia, and depression.

“Daniela was a wonderful scientist, a mentor for many students, and a kind friend for several researchers in the cannabinoid field,” says Dr Tiziana Rubino, who worked with her for 25 years. “Her example as a great, strong and passionate scientist will inspire new generations of cannabinoid researchers in Italy and also all over the world. Every person who has had the opportunity to meet Daniela will surely keep a memory of her to fill the void she left.”

USA — House of Representatives supports the legalisation of cannabis, but the bill faces dim prospects in the Senate

The U.S. House of Representatives on 1 April passed a bill to end the federal ban on cannabis for use by adults, which has created legal headaches for users and businesses in the states that have legalized it, though the measure was seen as unlikely to pass the Senate. It passed by 220 to 204, with few Republicans supporting the measure.

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, which is in the process of legalizing the drug, removes marijuana from the list of controlled substances and eliminates criminal penalties for individuals who grow, distribute or possess it. But the bill will need to gain 60 votes in the evenly divided Senate before moving to President Joe Biden's desk for his signature, an outcome widely seen as unlikely given the lack of Republican support for the measure.

Reuters of 1 April 2022

Science/Human — THC reduces opioid use in older pain patients even in low doses

An analysis of 178 pain patients from a single medical practice, the Schmerzpraxis in Potsdam, Germany, shows that the use of even low doses of THC was able to reduce the need for opioids. They were treated for a median of 366 days (range: 31 to 2590 days). Mean age was 72 years (range: 26 to 96 years). In 56% of patients received pure THC and 44% full-spectrum cannabis extracts or a combination of THC and full-spectrum extracts.

Women needed lower THC dosages compared to men (8 mg vs. 15 mg). Only 6% stopped treatment, because the medication was not effective, 4% due to the costs and 3% due to adverse effects. 115 patients (65%) also received opioids with a median of 65 mg/day morphine equivalents, which was significantly reduced by 24 mg/day in the course of the treatment.

Gastmeier K, Gastmeier A, Rottmann F, Herdegen T, Böhm R. Cannabinoids reduce opioid use in older patients with pain : Retrospective three-year analysis of data from a general practice. Schmerz. 2022 Apr 6. [in press]

Science/Human — The legalisation of cannabis in the USA did not increase cannabis-related treatments

Investigators of the Department of Public Health Sciences of the School of Medicine at the University of Connecticut, USA, did not find increased cannabis-related admissions to substance use treatment facilities between 2000 and 2017.

Overall, the proportion of cannabis-related admissions in states with legalization decreased by 2.3% from 31.7% in 2000-2005 to 29.4% in 2012-2017 with little difference from states where cannabis use remained illegal, in which cannabis use as any reason for admissions decreased by 0.3% from 39.8% in 2000-2005 to 39.5% in 2012-2017. Authors concluded that “while earlier studies suggested that marijuana legalization is associated with increased levels of use, emergency department visits, and traffic fatalities, our findings suggest that marijuana legalization did not increase marijuana-related treatment use in the United States.”

Rhee TG, Rosenheck RA. Admissions to substance use treatment facilities for cannabis use disorder, 2000-2017: Does legalization matter? Am J Addict. 2022 Apr 2 [in press]

Science/Human — Cannabidivarin may be effective in the treatment of epilepsy in girls with Rett syndrome

The non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabidivarin (CBDV) reduced seizure frequency in an open study with 5 girls suffering from Rett syndrome, a rare genetic disease, which is often associated with epilepsy. The study was conducted by investigators of the Department of Neurology at Sydney Children's Hospital Randwick, Australia. CBDV oral solution was prescribed and titrated to daily doses of 10mg/kg bodyweight.

All five children reached the maximum CBDV dose of 10mg/kg/day and had a reduction in monthly seizure frequency (median 79% reduction). Three children had seizure frequency reduction of more than 75%. Adverse events were usually mild, including hypersomnolence and drooling.

Hurley EN, Ellaway CJ, Johnson AM, Truong L, Gordon R, Galettis P, Martin JH, Lawson JA. The efficacy and safety of cannabidivarin treatment on epilepsy in girls with Rett syndrome: A phase I clinical trial. Epilepsia. 2022 Apr 1. [in press]

News in brief

Europe — More than half of Europeans support legalisation of cannabis

More than half of the European population support legalization of adult use of cannabis and around 30% of them are interested in purchasing it, according to polling data by industry consultants. The European cannabis market is expected to cross 3 billion euros (3.27 billion US dollers) in annual revenue by 2025, up from about 400 million euros last year, according to a report from research firm Prohibition Partners.

Reuters of 7 April 2022

Portugal — Cannabis exports increased by 600% in 2021

Cannabis exports for medicinal use grew by almost 600% in 2021 and, this year, 10 tonnes of flower have already been sold abroad.

Jornal de Notícias of 22 March 2022

Science/Cells — CBD rich cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties

In a study with microglial cells a CBD rich cannabis extract reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-2, interleukin-6 and tumour necrosis factor alpha.

Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, Drug Research and Child Health (NEUROFARBA), Section of Pharmacology, University of Florence, Italy.

Borgonetti V, et al. Phytother Res. 2022 Apr 8. [in press]

Science/Human — Topical CBD did not reduce pain after total knee arthroplasty

In a placebo-controlled trial with 80 patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty CBD oil had no effect on pain.

Rothman Orthopaedic Institute at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, USA.

Haffar A, et al. J Arthroplasty. 2022 Apr 4:S0883-5403(22)00383-7.

Science/Human — Tobacco but not cannabis smoking is associated with hearing loss

According to an analysis of data from 2705 participants from the US tobacco use, but not cannabis smoking was associated with hearing loss.

Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, USA.

Baiduc RR, et al. Ear Hear. 2022 Apr 4. [in press]

Science/Cells — THC and CBD increase blood viscosity

Using blood samples from healthy non-smokers investigators demonstrated that both THC and CBD increased red blood viscosity.

Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Physiology Section, The University of the West Indies, Mona campus, Kingston, Jamaica.

James TR, et al. J Cannabis Res. 2022 Apr 5;4(1):15.

Science/Animal — CBD may reduce pruritus in dogs with atopic dermatitis

In a study with 8 dogs suffering from atopic dermatitis oral CBD reduced pruritus including pruritic behaviour.

Department of Animal Health Technology, Yamazaki University of Animal Health Technology, Tokyo, Japan.

Mogi C, et al. Can Vet J. 2022;63(4):423-426.

Science/Human — CBD had no effect on cognition in people with cocaine use disorder

In a placebo-controlled study with 78 people with cocaine use disorder 800 mg of CBD per day had no effect on cognition.

Research Center, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), Montréal, Canada.

Rizkallah E, et al. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2022;216:173376.

Science/Human — No relevant effect of exercise on blood levels of endocannabinoids

In a controlled study with 65 middle aged adults exercise of different kinds for 12 weeks did not modify fasting blood plasma levels of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids as well as on endocannabinoids.

Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Granada, Andalucía, Spain.

Jurado-Fasoli L, et al. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2022:1-10.

Science/Animal — CBD improves spatial memory in an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease

In a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease high doses of CBD improved spatial memory and reduced anxiety -like behaviours.

School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, Australia.

Kreilaus F, et al. Behav Brain Res. 2022;425:113812.

Science/Animal — A combination of CBD and naltrexone may increase anticancer effects of chemotherapy

In a study with mice a combination of CBD and low doses of naltrexone enhanced the effect of the chemotherapeutic agent gemcitabine.

Institute for Infection and Immunity, St George's University of London, UK.

Liu WM, et al. Oncol Rep. 2022;47(4):76.

Science/Animal — CBD may reduce the motivation for cocaine use

In an animal model CBD reduced the motivation for the use of cocaine, but had no effect on abstinence and craving.

Neurobiology of Behaviour Research Group (GReNeC-NeuroBio), Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.

Alegre-Zurano L, et al. Biomed Pharmacother. 2022;148:112708.

Science/Cells — CBD reduces the anticancer effects of disulfiram

According to experiments with cancer cells CBD was shown to reduce the anticancer effect of disulfiram.

Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Institute of Molecular and Translational Medicine, Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic.

Buchtova T, et al. Mol Oncol. 2022;16(7):1541-1554.

Science/Human — Cannabis had no effect on opioid use in persons with HIV

The analysis of 1284 persons with HIV, of whom 31% used cannabis and 12% received long-term opioid therapy showed, that cannabis use was not related with the intensity of pain or the need for opioid medication.

VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, USA.

Becker WC, et al. AIDS Care. 2022;34(4):469-477.