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IACM-Bulletin of April 25, 2021


Science/Human — Cannabis use is associated with increased physical activity according to 2 studies

Two studies from the UK and the US suggest that cannabis use is positively associated with physical activity and exercise. According to research at the Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Science of Anglia Ruskin University, UK, with 15,822 participants (mean age: 37.5 years) cannabis use was associated with a moderately higher degree of physical activity. They concluded that “cannabis consumption was associated with higher levels of physical activity and sitting time. When intervening to reduce cannabis consumption in the US populations, it may be appropriate to promote physical activity and ensure physical activity is maintained once cannabis consumption is stopped.”

These results are supported by data from the Center for Children and Families of the Florida International University in Miami, USA. Study participants were 387 adolescents aged 15-18 who completed two assessments 6 months apart. More exercise at baseline was associated with greater cannabis use (CU) frequency at the 6-month follow-up. Authors wrote that “contrary to hypotheses, adolescents reporting more exercise at baseline also reported higher CU frequency in our sample.”

Pacheco-Colón I, Salamanca MJ, Coxe S, Hawes SW, Gonzalez R. Exercise, Decision-Making, and Cannabis-Related Outcomes among Adolescents. Subst Use Misuse. 2021:1-10.

Smith L, Sherratt F, Barnett Y, Cao C, Tully MA, Koyanagi A, Jacob L, Soysal P, López Sánchez GF, Shin JI, Yang L. Physical activity, sedentary behaviour and cannabis use in 15,822 US adults: cross-sectional analyses from NHANES. Public Health. 2021;193:76-82.

Science/Human — War veterans in the US prefer cannabis over opioids and benzodiazepines

According to a survey by investigators of the College of Applied Health Sciences of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, USA, with 514 Veterans 60 years of age or older and 2758 Non-Veterans the groups differed with regard to the use of cannabis, opioids and benzodiazepines. Both groups reported similar levels of pain, quality of life, social satisfaction, and sleep quality.

Veterans were more likely to use cannabis for mental health conditions while they reported lower use for pain-related conditions than non-Veterans. Veterans were less likely to use opioids and benzodiazepines compared to non-Veterans. Veterans also reported desirable health outcomes of cannabis use for pain, sleep quality, health conditions, and quality of life. Authors concluded that their work “provides insights for clinicians and policy makers to consider whether cannabis can be a viable option to reduce or replace opioid and benzodiazepine use by older Veterans with chronic physical and mental health conditions.”

Kang H, Hunniecutt J, Quintero Silva L, Kaskie B, Bobitt J. Biopsychosocial factors and health outcomes associated with cannabis, opioids and benzodiazepines use among older veterans. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2021:1-11.

Science/Human — Low levels of THC may increase reduction of acute pain by hydromorphone in healthy adults

In a placebo-controlled study with 29 healthy adults with no history of drug use disorder 2.5 mg of THC reduced analgesia by 4 mg of hydromorphone in several tests of acute and chronic pain, including thermal pain, pressure pain and 10% capsaicin topical cream. Participants received either hydromorphone with placebo or 2.5 mg THC, 5 mg THC or 10 mg THC. Medications were given orally.

Hydromorphone  plus   2.5 mg THC showed the lowest and hydromorphone plus 5 mg THC showed the highest risk for abuse. Hydromorphone plus 10 mg THC produced a high rate of dysphoric effects. Only hydromorphone plus 2.5 mg THC modestly enhanced hydromorphone-based analgesia and hydromorphone  plus 5 or 10 mg of THC   increased the risk for abuse and adverse effects.

Dunn KE, Bergeria CL, Huhn AS, Speed TJ, Mun CJ, Vandrey R, Campbell CM. Within-subject, double-blinded, randomized, and placebo-controlled evaluation of the combined effects of the cannabinoid dronabinol and the opioid hydromorphone in a human laboratory pain model. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2021 Apr 20. [in press].

Science/Animal — Some cannabis terpenes enhance the effects of cannabinoids

In studies with mice by Investigators of the Department of Pharmacology of the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson, USA, reported that studies with mice revealed, that some cannabis terpenes alone and in combination with the synthetic cannabinoid WIN55,212 showed cannabis -like effects. They “ found that the terpenes alpha-humulene, geraniol, linalool, and beta-pinene produced cannabinoid tetrad behaviours in mice, suggesting cannabimimetic activity.” Similar to THC this cannabinoid is binding to the CB1 and the CB2 receptor. Cell experiments demonstrated that these terpene effects were mediated in part by activation of the CB1 receptor and in part by the activation of other targets.

Authors wrote that their “findings suggest that these Cannabis terpenes are multifunctional cannabimimetic ligands that provide conceptual support for the entourage effect hypothesis and could be used to enhance the therapeutic properties of cannabinoids.”

LaVigne JE, Hecksel R, Keresztes A, Streicher JM. Cannabis sativa terpenes are cannabimimetic and selectively enhance cannabinoid activity. Sci Rep. 2021;11(1):8232..

Science/Human — Cannabis may be helpful in pruritus according to a case report

Investigators of the Department of Dermatology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, USA, reported a case of successful use of medical cannabis for treating chronic treatment resistant pruritus. They noted that “chronic pruritus is a debilitating symptom that is associated with numerous dermatologic, neurologic, and systemic diseases. It is often resistant to treatment and can cause a severe reduction in quality of life.”

A woman, who suffered from pruritus for 10 years, experienced significant and sustained improvement after the inhalation of cannabis and the use of cannabis tinctures. A measure for quality of life improved from 17 to 1 over the course of 20 months of cannabis treatment. She was able to stop all other medication, which was not very effective. Authors concluded that “this case report highlights that medical marijuana is a potential treatment for chronic pruritus.”

Roh YS, Sutaria N, Biles NF, Kwatra SG. Treatment of Chronic Pruritus With Medical Marijuana. JAMA Dermatol. 2021 Apr 9. [in press].

News in brief

USA — Virginia legalises cannabis use by adults

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill that legalises the simple possession of cannabis, making the state the first in the U.S. south to allow the drug's recreational use, the governor said. In a bid to tackle racial disparities in the prosecution of cannabis-related crimes, the state accelerated to July 1 its timetable to pass the legislation, rather than waiting until 2024.

Reuters of 22 April 2021

USA — The federal house of representatives approves legislation that would allow banks to work with cannabis companies

The House of Representatives voted 321-101 on 19 April to approve a legislation that would allow banks to provide services to cannabis companies in states where it is legal. The bill states that proceeds from legitimate cannabis businesses would not be considered illegal and directs federal regulators to craft rules for how they would supervise such banking activity. The bill now heads to the Senate.

Reuters of 20 April 2021

Africa/Europe — European Union allows Lesotho company to export cannabis for medicinal use

Lesotho start-up MG Health has become the first African cannabis-grower to win European Union permission to export cannabis flower for medicinal use. Lesotho has helped pioneer the nascent legal cannabis sector in Africa which could be worth more than 7.1 billion US Dollars annually by 2023 if new laws are introduced, the African Cannabis Report said two years ago.

Reuters of 16 April 2021

USA — Cannabis products may not always contain the amount of THC and CBD as listed on their labels

Levels of THC and CBD -- can vary widely from those claimed by distributors, a new study warns. "People are buying products they think are THC-free but, in fact, contain a significant amount of THC," said researcher Jodi Gilman, of the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. It's particularly problematic when THC -- the ingredient responsible for cannabis´ "high" -- is found in medical marijuana labelled to be "CBD only," the study authors said in a hospital news release.

UPI of 14 April 2021

USA — 69 percent of citizens think that cannabis should be legal in the United States

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans (69%) think the use of cannabis should be made legal in the United States. The numbers among registered voters are similar (70%), and they mark a record level of support for cannabis legalization since Quinnipiac University began polling on this issue in December of 2012. At that time, 51% of registered voters supported it. 1,237 U.S. adults nationwide were surveyed in April 2021.

Quinnipiac University of 15 April 2021

Switzerland — 5000 citizens will be allowed to use cannabis

It´s a test to observe the pros and cons of legalising recreational cannabis. From 15 May, and for a maximum of seven years, 5,000 Swiss over 18 will be able to legally use cannabis. They will have to respect a few conditions: they must already be users, accept a follow-up and limit their consumption. According to this development these studies will make it possible to evaluate and document, within a scientific framework, its effects on the health of users and on consumption habits.

Newsweed of 7 April 2021

Science — Anandamide alters membrane properties of drug-resistant bacteria

New research shows that the endocannabinoid anandamide alters the membrane properties in multidrug resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and halts the cell division.

Biofilm Research Laboratory, The Faculty of Dental Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.

Banerjee S, et al. Sci Rep. 2021;11(1):8690.

Science/Human — Cannabis use was associated with negative effects in pregnancy

In a study with 4.83 million mothers, who delivered a singleton birth during 2001 to 2012 a cannabis use disorder during pregnancy was associated with a small but significant increase of lower birthweight, preterm birth and death within one year of birth.

Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, USA.

Shi Y, et al. Addiction. 2021 Apr 22. [in press].

Science/Cells — The activation of the CB2 receptor induces apoptoses in cancer cells of the colon

In a study with human colorectal adenocarcinoma cells activation of the cannabinoid-2 receptor induced apoptosis, a form of programmed cell death, in these cancer cells.

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Urmia University, Iran.

Alenabi A, et al. Mol Cell Biochem. 2021 Apr 22. [in press].

Science/Human — Life stressors and sleeping problems predict the likelihood of cannabis use in black adults

In a study with 1508 people life stressors such as financial problems and sleep problems were predictive of the likelihood of lifetime cannabis use among black adults with criminal justice contact.

City University of New York, School of Health Sciences, Department of Social Work, USA.

Archibald PC, et al. Ethn Dis. 2021;31(2):187-196.

Science/Animal — THC but not CBD had anxiolytic properties

In a study with mice THC alone but not CBD alone reduced anxiety in the so-called elevated plus maze, a standard test for anxiety.

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology EpLink, The Epilepsy Research Program of the Ontario Brain Institute, University of Toronto, Canada.

Liu J, et al. Behav Pharmacol. 2021 Apr 19. [in press].

Science/Human — Derivatives of THC may be effective against the new coronavirus

Structurally modified compounds of hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir and tetrahydrocannabinol were effective against the main protease of SARS-CoV-2.

Department of Chemistry, SRM University, Delhi-NCR Sonepat, India.

Mishra D, et al. J Mol Liq. 2021:116185.

Science/Animal — THC during rat pregnancy impaired the function of the heart

In studies with rats THC administration during pregnancy had negative effects on cardiovascular health after birth.

Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Western University, London, Canada.

Lee K, et al. Pediatr Res. 2021 Apr 20. [in press].

Science/Cells — CBD may induce odontogenesis and thus be helpful in dentistry

In a study with dental pulp cells CBD (cannabidiol) induced odontogenesis. Authors wrote that CBD has the potential to develop new therapeutics in vital pulp treatment in dentistry.

Graduate Periodontics, School of Dentistry, University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, USA.

Qi X, et al. J Dent. 2021:103673.

Science/Cells — CBD converted a driver of cancer progression into a tumour suppressor in glioblastoma cells

New research shows that CBD (cannabidiol) may convert a protein, the transcription factor NFxB, which drives cancer progression in many cancers including glioblastoma, into a tumour suppressor.

Neurosurgical Research, Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital, LMU Munich, Germany.

Volmar MNM, et al. Neuro Oncol. 2021:noab095.

Science/Animal — Activation of the CB2 receptor reduces colitis-induced abdominal pain

Abdominal pain is a key symptom of inflammatory bowel disease. A new study demonstrates that a synthetic cannabinoid (olorinab), which activates the CB2 receptor, reduces abdominal pain due to inflammation of the bowel in rodents.

Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.

Castro J, et al. Pain. 2021 Apr 13. [in press].

Science/Animal — Hemp seed may ameliorate kidney problems due to hypercholesterolemia

Hemp seed improved kidney health in rats with high cholesterol. Authors wrote that hemp may have “therapeutic potential against hypercholesterolemia-associated nephropathies and other systemic effects.”

Department of Biophysics, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.

Kaur S, et al. Clin Biochem. 2021:S0009-9120(21)00111-9.

Science/Cells — CBD may be protective in Parkinson’s disease

CBD protected nerve cells from dysfunction of the mitochondria and showed other beneficial effects. Authors noted that “taken together, Cannabidiol acts as a protector in PD.”

Department of Radiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, China.

Kang S, et al. Front Cell Neurosci. 2021;15:654340.

Science/Cells — A combination of CBD and dihydroartemisinin may be beneficial in inflammation

A combination of CBD (cannabidiol) and dihydroartemisinin may be useful in the treatment of inflammation in the nervous system, research microglia cells shows.

School of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Guangxi Normal University, Guilin, China.

Wang F, et al. Bioorg Med Chem. 2021;39:116131.

Science/Human — Many MS patients in Argentina use cannabis

A survey with 281 patients with multiple sclerosis from Argentina demonstrates that 34% used cannabis in the past year. 31% were current or former daily users. 42% of users started their use after the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

Neuroimmunology Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Hospital Alemán, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Carnero Contentti E, et al. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2021;51:102932.

Science/Human — CBD was not effective in the treatment of low back pain in a controlled trial

In a study with 100 patients suffering from acute low back pain, who received either 400 mg CBD or placebo in addition to standard in emergency department analgesic medication there was no difference between CBD and placebo. Authors noted that “CBD was not superior to placebo as an adjunct medication for relieving acute non-traumatic low back pain.”

Austin Health, Melbourne, Australia.

Bebee B, et al. Med J Aust. 2021 Apr 12. [in press].

Science/Animal — Gabatentin attenuates THC withdrawal in mice

In THC -dependent mice withdrawal was precipitated by blocking the CB1 receptor. Withdrawal was associated with paw tremors and head twitches. These symptoms were reduced by the administration of gabapentin.

Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, Rochester, USA.

Eckard ML, et al. Neuropharmacology. 2021:108554. [in press].

Science/Human — Successful treatment of seizures by CBD, ketogenic diet and vagal nerve stimulation

A 3-year old child with multi-drug-resistant epilepsy due to asphyxia during birth was successfully treatment with a combination of a ketogenic diet, vagal nerve stimulation and oral cannabidiol.

Koc University Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, Istanbul, Turkey.

Coskun Y, et al. Int J Neurosci. 2021:1-5.

Science/Animal — Activation of the CB2 receptor reduces injury of the ovary after reducing blood supply

Activation of the CB2 receptor by a synthetic cannabinoid (JWH-133) alleviated injury after ischaemia of the ovary in rats due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Yozgat Bozok University, Turkey.

Onat T, et al. Biotech Histochem. 2021:1-7.

Science/Animal — The endocannabinoid system is involved in bone growth

Research with fish (zebrafish and medaka) shows, that the endocannabinoid system and the retinoic acid system influence bone growth, which according to the authors may be used in therapy.

Metabolic Genetic Diseases Laboratory, Metabolic Research Unit, Deakin University School of Medicine, Geelong, Australia.

Fraher D, et al. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2021;529:111267.

Science/Human — Cannabis may influence taste perception

Research with 2808 participants demonstrates that current cannabis users had lower bitter tasting than never users of cannabis.

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences, USA.

Chao AM, et al. Chem Senses. 2021:bjab017.

Science/Human — Cannabis use has no effect on survival after liver transplantation

In a study with 2690 liver transplant candidates 11% reported cannabis use within the past 12 months. Survival after transplantation was not influenced by cannabis use.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Michigan, USA.

Likhitsup A, et al. Clin Transplant. 2021:e14312.

Science/Animal — Oleolyethanolamide may be beneficial against neurodegeneration of the cerebellum

The endocannabinoid olelylethanolamide protected nerve cells and research with mice shows that this endocannabinoid may “limit severe cerebellar neurodegenerative processes.”

Laboratory of Neuronal Plasticity and Neurorepair, Institute for Neurosciences of Castile and Leon (INCyL), University of Salamanca, Spain.

Pérez-Martín E, et al. Neurotherapeutics. 2021 Apr 7. [in press].

Science/Animal — CBD prolongs lifespan in an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease

CBD (cannabidiol) prevented nerve cell degradation induced by amyloid beta, a key protein in Alzheimer’s disease, in certain nematodes. This effect involves the activation of the CB1 receptor.

Australian Centre for Cannabinoid Clinical and Research Excellence (ACRE), New Lambton Heights, Australia.

Wang Z, et al. FASEB J. 2021;35(5):e21537.