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IACM-Bulletin of January 1, 2012
According to the television channel France 2 on the evening of 28 December two different French criminal courts have acquitted two patients suffering from chronic diseases from the charge of illegal cannabis possession in the past days. One of them is an AIDS patient who was arrested due to the possession of 400 grams cannabis and declared before the court that it was for personal use and for medicinal purposes. The second acquittal happened in the case of a multiple sclerosis sufferer.
According to the television report the prosecutor said in the trial against the AIDS patient: "The law has to protect the individuals and in this case it does not protect him, but puts him in jeopardy if it denies him access to his medication." In the other case the judge said that certain "intolerable painful conditions can only be alleviated by the use of cannabis." These are the first published cases of acquitalls due to the medical use of cannabis in France.
(Sources: France 2 of 28 December 2011, Cannaway of 28 December 2011)
The cannabis extract Sativex received regulatory approval in Sweden for the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis. Sativex contains equal amounts of THC and CBD and is sprayed into the mouth. In Europe it is currently available in the UK, Germany, Spain and Denmark. (Source: GW Pharmaceuticals of 22 December 2011)
Colorado has become the third state to ask the federal government to reclassify cannabis in a way that allows doctors to prescribe it as a medical treatment. The head of Colorado's Department of Revenue made the request in a letter sent 22 December. The letter says the discrepancy between state law and federal drug law, which does not permit medicinal uses of cannabis, is problematic. In November 2011, the governors of Washington and Rhode Island also asked that the government to list cannabis (marijuana) in the same category as morphine and oxycodone. (Source: Associated Press of 28 December 2011)
The website of the Dutch NCSM (‘Dutch Association for Legal Cannabis and its Constituents as Medicine’) is now available in English. (Source: Personal communication, www.ncsm.nl)
According to a review of studies on cannabidiol (CBD) this non-psychotropic cannabinoid of the cannabis plant "may be safe in humans and animals." "Several studies suggest that CBD is non-toxic in non-transformed cells and does not induce changes on food intake, does not induce catalepsy, does not affect physiological parameters (heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature), does not affect gastrointestinal transit and does not alter psychomotor or psychological functions." (Source: Bergamaschi MM, et al. Curr Drug Saf 2011;6(4):237-49.)
According to cell experiments at the University of Rostock, Germany, cannabidiol (CBD) inhibits lung cancer metastasis by increasing the concentration of a certain protein (ICAM-1). (Source: Ramer R, et al. FASEB J. 2011 Dec 23. [in press])
According to research at the Schizophrenia Research Institute in Sydney, Australia, the number of CB1 receptors in the brain is higher in adult compaired to adolescent rats. Researchers noted that this increase "during the transition from adolescence to adulthood, is the opposite of most other neuroreceptor systems undergoing pruning during this period." (Source: Verdurand M, et al. Int J Mol Imaging. 2011;2011:548123.)
According to animal research of Italian scientists the CB1 receptor antagonist rimonabant reversed chemically induced liver fibrosis in rats. Fibrosis was significantly reduced in rats treated with rimonabant. The number of CB1 and CB2 receptors was increased in cirrhotic animals. Pharmacological CB1 receptor antagonism was associated with a further increase of the CB2 receptor. (Source: Giannone FA, et al. Lab Invest. 2011 Dec 19. [in press])
According to research by Chinese scientists the endocannabinoid system is altered in human gliomas, certain brain tumours. The concentration of the endocannabinoid anandamide was increased while the level of 2-AG (2-arachidonylglycerol) was increased in glioma tissue. The levels of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, were also elevated. (Source: Wu X, et al. J Neurochem. 2011 Dec 16. [in press])
According to a clinical study with 76 obese subjects who received rimonabant (20 mg/day) or placebo for 12 months "improvements observed in insulin regulation of free fatty acid and glucose metabolism with rimonabant treatment in humans was not greater than that predicted by weight loss alone." (Source: Triay J, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Dec 14. [in press])