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IACM-Bulletin of February 3, 2002


USA β€” Second National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics

The Second National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics will be held on 3 & 4 May 2002 in Portland, Oregon. The main focus will be on pain therapy.

The conference is co-sponsored by Patients Out of Time, the Portland Community College Institute of Health Professionals, the Oregon Health Division, Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse, and the Oregon Nurses Association.

The agenda includes researchers from Israel, the United Kingdom, Holland, Canada and the United States. Patient presentations will include pain patients who receive their Cannabis medicine from the United States federal government, those receiving support from the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act and others from various states.

Registration information and conference details will soon be available at

Science β€” THC not superior to megestrol acetate

THC (dronabinol) was not superior to megestrol acetate in improving appetite in cancer patients, according to a study published in January in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

US and Canadian researchers found that 49 percent of those taking THC reported improved appetite, compared with 75 percent on megestrol acetate. Only 3 percent of the dronabinol group gained weight of more than 10 percent over baseline weight, compared with 11 percent following standard treatment with megestrol. A combination of both drugs did not improve the results received by megestrol acetate alone.

Patients received either 800 mg megestrol acetate, 2 x 2.5 mg dronabinol, or both drugs. Overall, 469 cancer patients with wheight loss had been enroled in the study between December 1996 and December 1999. The study was conducted as a collaborative trial of the North Central Cancer Treatment Group and the Mayo Clinic.

(Sources: Jatoi A, et al. J Clin Oncol 2002;20(2):567-573; WENN via COMTEX of 28 January 2002)

News in brief

USA β€” Poll in Maryland

In a telephone poll of 833 registered voters of Maryland 37 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to support a politician who backs allowing patients to use marijuana if they have a physician's approval. 40 percent said a candidate's position on medical marijuana would not affect their vote, 18 percent said they'd be less likely to support such a candidate and 5 percent were undecided. (Source: Washington Times of 19 January 2002)

Science β€” Interaction with nicotine

In animal studies the interaction of THC and nicotine were investigated. Nicotine strongly facilitated reduction of body temperature, pain reduction and reduced motion induced by THC. Furthermore, the co-administration of low doses of THC and nicotine produced an anxiolytic-like response in two tests. Animals co-treated with nicotine and THC displayed an attenuation in THC tolerance and an enhancement in cannabinoid antagonist-precipitated THC withdrawal. (Source: Valjent E, et al. Br J Pharmacol 2002 Jan 2;135(2):564-578)

Canada β€” Discussion on delay

An article in the newspaper Edmonton Sun initiated a discussion in Canada wether the real cause for the recently announced delay in the distribution of cannabis for medical purposes by the governemnt might be problems with a convention of the United Nations. The UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 allows countries to use banned drugs only for scientific or medical purposes. It might be unclear if the medical benefits of cannabis had been proven already. (Source: Edmonton Sun of 19 January 2002)

UK β€” Cannabis to relax

Female members of Britain's biggest trade union call for the legalisation of cannabis. They have an unusual argument - the drug offers women a calorie-free way to relax, in contrast to alcohol. A motion will be debated at the union's women's conference in Cardiff, Wales, this month. Delegates will represent 900,000 women. The motion is unlikely to be passed. (Source: Reuters of 22 January 2002)

Canada β€” Teahouse shut

A marijuana teahouse located in Vancouver and designed to take advantage of new federal regulations for medicinal marijuana use has been closed down, two months after its opening. Police padlocked the doors last weekend and arrested two people involved in running the teahouse. (Source: Globe and Mail of 25 January 2002)