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IACM-Bulletin of April 5, 2015


Science/Animal — Cannabidiol improves bone fracture healing in rats

Scientists of the Bone Laboratory of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, reported that the major non-psychoactive cannabis constituent, cannabidiol (CBD), enhances the biomechanical properties of healing bone fractures in rats. The maximal load capacity, but not the stiffness, of thigh bones from rats given a mixture of CBD and THC for 8 weeks was markedly increased by CBD. This effect does not apply to THC, and a combination with THC was not advantageous over CBD alone.

The callus material density was unaffected by CBD and/or THC. Fracture callus is a mass of heterogeneous tissue, which is later transformed to bone. CBD stimulated enzymes responsible for the cross-linking of collagen, the main structural protein of connective tissues. Authors wrote that this “is likely to contribute to the improved biomechanical properties of the fracture callus. Taken together, these data show that CBD leads to improvement in fracture healing and demonstrate the critical mechanical role of collagen crosslinking enzymes.”

Kogan NM, Melamed E, Wasserman E, Raphael B, Breuer A, Stok KS, Sondergaard R, Escudero AV, Baraghithy S, Attar-Namdar M, Friedlander-Barenboim S, Mathavan N, Isaksson H, Mechoulam R, Müller R, Bajayo A, Gabet Y, Bab I. Cannabidiol, a Major Non-Psychotrophic Cannabis Constituent Enhances Fracture Healing and Stimulates Lysyl Hydroxylase Activity in Osteoblasts. J Bone Miner Res. 2015 Mar 19. [in press]

Spain — Operators of the Cannabis Social Club Pannagh acquitted

The Provincial Court of Vizcaya acquitted the 5 people accused in the "Pannagh case". Pannagh is one of the largest and best known cannabis social clubs of the country. The court stated that the activities of the association respect the limits of the concept of "collective consumption". In the sentence, the Chamber considers proven that the members of the association Pannagh that was legally constituted in 2003, "under Article 2 of the Law on Associations and in order to avoid the risks of the illegal market established a system that would allow access of members to guaranteed quality cannabis without violating the legal provisions applicable to the case.”

The sentence states that, contrary to the claims made in court by the prosecution, "it has not been proven that the defendants had constituted an association under a legal and formal coverage of a registered non-profit organization, to grow cannabis, prepare and distribute narcotic substances obtained from cannabis to third parties in exchange for money.” It also considers that it is not proven that cannabis flowers or hashish had been given to anyone who previously had not been a member.

Press release by Encod of 30 March 2015

News in brief

USA — Patients Out of Time celebrates its 20th Anniversary

Patients Out of Time celebrates its 20th Anniversary at The Ninth National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics that will be held on May 21-23, 2015 in West Palm Beach. For more information please go here.

Germany — Session on CBD during the EIHA Conference

The EIHA (European Industrial Hemp Association) is holding its 12th International Conference on

20-21 May 2015 in Wesseling near Cologne, Germany. One afternoon is dedicated to CBD. Conference Website.

Germany — Federal Health Minister affirms the intention to improve the medical supply with cannabis products

During the open debate of a petition by Dr Franjo Grotenhermen, Chairman of the German Association for Cannabis as Medicine, in the Petition Committee of the German Bundestag Federal Health Minister Hermann Gröhe affirmed the intention of the Federal Government to pass a law during this year, which would improve the medical supply of the population with cannabis and cannabis-based medicinal drugs by early 2016.

Website of the Petition

Video of the session of the Petition Committee on medicinal cannabis

Germany — THC Pharm and Bionorica join forces

In the future Bionorica and THC Pharm want to advance the development of medical cannabinoids together. The pioneering companies want to join their know-how. Bionorica has become a major shareholder of THC Pharm, which evolved from a patient initiative. While Bionorica has recently submitted an application for the approval of a capsulated dronabinol drug, THC Pharm is working on making highly pure cannabidiol (CBD) available for patients on prescription. Source: Personal communication.

Science/Human — Children are more likely to use cannabis when harsh punishment is the consequence

Schools that use suspension to punish drug use, or that weakly enforce any of their drug policies, have higher rates of student marijuana use than schools with more consistent and less-punitive approaches, according to a new study. “We hypothesized that harsh penalties like suspension would act as a deterrent and result in lower likelihood of marijuana use,” but that did not turn out to be the case, said lead author Tracy J. Evans-Whipp of the Center for Adolescent Health at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Victoria, Australia.

Reuters of 26 March 2015

USA — The Federal Government spends nearly 70 million dollars on cannabis research

The federal government announced that it is prepared to spend tens of millions of dollars on cannabis research through the University of Mississippi, which houses the only federally legal cannabis garden in the United States. The new contract, worth a maximum of 68.7 million dollars (about 62.5 million euros) over five years, was awarded by the National Institutes of Health. The award is a renewal of a contract with the university that the federal government has held for more than 40 years.

Huffington Post of 26 March 2015

UK/USA — Phase 3 clinical study on CBD rich cannabis extract started in children with Dravet syndrome

GW Pharmaceuticals announced it has initiated the Phase 3 part of a clinical trial of Epidiolex (cannabidiol or CBD) for the treatment of Dravet syndrome, a rare and catastrophic treatment-resistant form of childhood epilepsy.

Press release by GW Pharmaceuticals of 31 March 2015

Science/Animal — Activation of the CB2 receptor may reduce alcohol consumption

Mice without CB2 receptors were less resistant against stress and drank more alcohol. Authors concluded that “a treatment strategy targeting CB2 receptors may have a beneficial effect on pathologic drinking particularly in situations of social stress and discomfort.”

Institute of Molecular Psychiatry, University of Bonn Medical Center, Germany.

Pradier B, et al. Behav Brain Res. 2015 Mar 28. [in press]

Science/Human — The blood levels of endocannabinoids are increased in patients with hepatitis C

Endocannabinoids (2-AG and anandamide) are increased in blood of patients with chronic hepatitis C and according to scientists “might reveal immunosuppressive and profibrogenic effects,” that is an increased risk for the development of liver fibrosis.

Department of Clinical Research, University of Bern, Switzerland.

Patsenker E, et al. Int J Mol Sci 2015;16(4):7057-76.

Science/Human — The blood levels of the endocannabinoid 2-AG are increased in patients suffering from patients with Alzheimer’s disease

Patients with Alzheimer’s disease present high blood 2-AG levels. Authors wrote that “this may be a protective mechanism hindering neurodegeneration, but it may also play an ambivalent role on cerebrovascular circulation.”

Neurology Unit, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Italy.

Altamura C, et al. J Alzheimers Dis. 2015 Mar 27. [in press]

Science/Cells — The endocannabinoid 2-AG protects nerve cells from damage by homocysteine

In cultured nerve cells blockade of the degradation of the endocannabinoid 2-AG (2-arachidonoyl glycerol) protected from damage to nerve cells induced by homocysteine. Authors wrote that this may be a promising strategy for some neurodegenerative disorders.

College of Medical Sciences, China Three Gorges University, Yichang, China.

Dong M, et al. Life Sci. 2015 Mar 26. [in press]

Science/Animal — Anandamide may facilitate ejaculation in men with delayed ejaculation

The sexually sluggish male rat is an animal model for the study of lifelong delayed ejaculation, a sexual dysfunction for which no treatment is available. In this model the endocannabinoid anandamide reduced the ejaculatory threshold, which according to scientists may have “possible relevance for human lifelong delayed ejaculation disorder.”

Departamento de Farmacobiología, México City, México.

Rodríguez-Manzo G, et al. J Sex Med. 2015 Mar 23. [in press]

Science/Cells — Palmitoylethanolamide may be beneficial in Alzheimer’s disease (AD)

Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) concentration-dependently reduced expression of pro-inflammatory and pro-angiogenic markers in certain brain cells (astroglial cells). Authors concluded that “these data support the potential therapeutic utility of PEA in AD.”

Department of Pharmacy, University of Naples Federico II, Italy.

Cipriano M, et al. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2015 Mar 17. [in press]

Science/Animal — Cannabinoids have neuroprotective effects in brain areas with reduced blood circulation

The synthetic cannabinoid WIN55,212-2, which exerts similar effects as THC, and a blocker of anandamide degradation (URB597) protected nerve cells of the brain in rats with artificially reduced blood circulation. The two substances acted synergistically. Authors wrote that they may “potentially be used to protect neurons against chronic ischemic insults.”

Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China.

Su SH, et al. Neuroscience. 2015 Mar 18. [in press]

Science/Animal — Oleoylethanolamide has anti-depressant effects

The endocannabinoid oleoylethanolamide exerts anti-depressant effects in mice and these are mediated by the regulation of the neurotransmitters noradrenaline and serotonin.

Yanbian University, Jilin, China.

Yu HL, et al. Neurosci Lett 2015;593:24-28.