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IACM-Bulletin of January 16, 2022


Science/Cells — Cannabinoids may have the potential to prevent and treat infection by the new coronavirus

Investigators at the Linus Pauling Institute at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the College of Pharmacy of the Oregon State University, USA, reported that two cannabinoids, CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) and CBGA (cannabigerolic acid) may prevent the infection of human epithelial cells with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is responsible for the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Both cannabinoids bind to the spike protein of the coronavirus and they were equally effective against the alpha variant and the beta variant of the virus. Authors concluded from their research that “orally bioavailable and with a long history of safe human use, these cannabinoids, isolated or in hemp extracts, have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2.”

van Breemen RB, Muchiri RN, Bates TA, Weinstein JB, Leier HC, Farley S, Tafesse FG. Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants. J Nat Prod. 2022 Jan 10.

Science/Human — Among older adults in Canada medicinal cannabis products are more often used by women than by men

A study with 9766 older adults aged 65 years or older in Canada, who were using cannabis products for medicinal reasons, 61% were women. Data were collected between October 2014 and October 2020 from patients who were consulting the Canada-wide network of clinics of a medical cannabis provider and who were willing to answer questionnaires based on their medical status. The most common primary indication for which medical cannabis was sought was pain (67.7%), which was more common in women, whereas oncological and neurological conditions were more common in men.

At follow-up, cannabis oil was used by 81%, among whom compositions containing only or mostly cannabidiol (CBD) had been used by 84%. The majority reported improvements in pain (73%), sleep (65%) and mood (53%). 36% reported a reduction in opioid use and 20% reduction in benzodiazepines doses.

Tumati S, Lanctot KL, Wang R, Li A, Davis A, Herrmann N. Medical Cannabis Use Among Older Adults in Canada: Self-Reported Data on Types and Amount Used, and Perceived Effects. Drugs and Aging. 2021 Dec 23. [in press]

Science/Human — Cannabis is used for a variety of medical reasons in the USA and Canada

According to a study with 27,169 patients aged 16 to 65 years cannabis is used for a broad variety of reasons, investigators of the National Centre for Youth Substance Use Research at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. They had participated in the International Cannabis Policy Study (ICPS) conducted across Canada and the USA in 2018 via online surveys.

The most common physical health reasons included the management of pain (53%), sleep (46%), headaches/migraines (35%), appetite (22%), and nausea/vomiting (21%). For mental health reasons, the most common were for anxiety (52%), depression (40%), and post-traumatic stress disorder/trauma (17%). There were 11% who reported using cannabis for managing other drug or alcohol use and 4% for psychosis.

Leung J, Chan G, Stjepanović D, Chung JYC, Hall W, Hammond D. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2022 Jan 12. [In press]

Science/Human — Fatal outcome in a clinical study with the new FAAH inhibitor in healthy adults

A study, which evaluated the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of a new fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitor in 116 healthy adults caused one fatal outcome. The study was conducted by the Research & Development Division of BIAL - Portela & C - S.A in Mamede do Coronado, Portugal. Single oral doses of 0.25-100 mg and repeated oral doses of 2.5-50 mg were evaluated. FAAH inhibitors inhibit the degradation of anandamide and thus increase its concentration. They are investigated as an alternative to a treatment with cannabinoids.

The molecule, called BIA 10-2474 was well tolerated up to 100 mg as a single dose and up to 20 mg once daily for 10 days. In the cohort receiving repeated administrations of 50 mg, there were central nervous system adverse events in five of six participants, one with fatal outcome, which led to early termination of the study. Authors wrote that the available data “do not provide a complete mechanistic explanation for the tragic fatality.”

Rocha JF, Santos A, Gama H, Moser P, Falcão A, Pressman P, Wallace Hayes A, Soares-da-Silva P. Safety, Tolerability, and Pharmacokinetics of FAAH Inhibitor BIA 10-2474: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study in Healthy Volunteers.. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2022;111(2):391-403.

News in brief

Colombia — Health insurers in the country have to cover the costs for a treatment with medical cannabis

Starting 1 January 2022 every insurance provider in Colombia, is now mandated to cover the costs of high and low THC medical cannabis prescriptions.

Market Screener of Januar 2022

USA — More than 10 billion dollars tax revenues from legal cannabis sales

“Legalizing cannabis for adults has been a wise investment. Since 2014 when sales began in Colorado and Washington, legalization policies have provided states a new revenue stream to bolster budgets and fund important services and programs. As of December 2021, states reported a combined total of $10.4 billion in tax revenue from legal, adult-use cannabis sales. In addition to revenue generated for statewide budgets, cities and towns have also generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in new revenue from local adult-use cannabis taxes.”

The Marijuana Policy Project of 5 January 2022

USA — No increase in traffic fatalities associated with cannabis legalisation

Neither the enactment of medical cannabis access laws or adult-use legalization laws are associated with any significant upticks in motor vehicle traffic fatalities, according to data published in the journal The Review of Regional Studies. A team of researchers affiliated with Florida Polytechnic University examined the relationship between traffic fatalities and statewide policies legalizing marijuana access over a 35-year period (1985 to 2019).

Dewey J, Kindle K, Vadlamani S, Sanchez-Arias R. State Marijuana Laws and Traffic Fatalities. Review of Regional Studies 2021:51:(3):246-265

Science — Minor cannabinoids contribute to cannabis effects

Besides THC and CBD other cannabinoids contribute to cannabis effects. Studies demonstrate that they act as agonists and antagonists at multiple targets including CB1 and CB2 receptors, transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), serotonin 5-HT1a receptors and others.

Walsh KB, McKinney AE, Holmes AE. Minor Cannabinoids: Biosynthesis, Molecular Pharmacology and Potential Therapeutic Uses.Front. Pharmacol., 2021 Nov 29. [in press]

Science/Human — Delta-8-THC may show lesser adverse effects than delta-9-THC

According to a survey with 521 participants, who used delta-8-THC, this cannabinoid “may provide much of the experiential benefits of delta-9-THC with lesser adverse effects.”

Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, University at Buffalo, USA.

Kruger JS, et al. J Cannabis Res. 2022;4(1):4.

Science/Human — THC impairment may be measured by a simple imaging method

169 cannabis users, aged 18-55 years, underwent functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) before and after receiving oral THC and placebo. Investigators were able to measure impairment.

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Department of Psychiatry, Boston, USA.

Gilman JM, et al. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2022 Jan 8 [in press].

Science/Human — THC affects the autonomic activity of the heart

15 mg of oral THC increased heart rate, decreased heart rate variability, a measure of parasympathetic cardiac control, but had no significant effect on blood pressure and the pre-injection period, a measure of sympathetic functioning of the heart.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, University of Chicago, USA.

Pabon E, et al. Psychophysiology. 2022 Feb;59(2):e13955.

Science/Human — In-home cannabis smoking might be more socially acceptable than in-home tobacco smoke

Data from 107,272 drug users from 17 countries shows that 54% had used cannabis in-home in the past year compared to 51% in-home tobacco use. Authors wrote that this would support their “speculation that in-home cannabis smoking might be more socially acceptable than in-home tobacco smoking.”

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

Bellettiere J, et al. Addict Behav. 2022;125:107130.

Science/Animal — Olivetolic acid may be helpful in Dravet syndrome

In an animal model of Dravet syndrome, which is associated with seizures, olivetolic acid, a precursor of cannabis in the cannabis plant showed modest anticonvulsant effects.

Brain and Mind Centre, The University of Sydney, Australia.

Anderson LL, et al. J Cannabis Res. 2022 Jan 4;4(1):2

Science/Human — CBC showed a higher bioavailability than THC and CBD

In a study with 43 participants, who received an oral oil containing different amounts of THC, CBD (cannabidiol) and CBC (cannabichromene) for 7 days CBC seem to have a better systemic bioavailability than the other 2 cannabinoids. Authors concluded that “CBC may have preferential absorption over CBD and THC when administered together.”

Canopy Growth Corporation, Smiths Falls, Canada

Peters EN, et al. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2022 Feb;78(2):259-265.

Science/Human — Heavy cannabis use was associated with a lower rate of diabetes in women but not in men

According to a study with 15,062 participants women with heavy cannabis use were less likely to be diagnosed with diabetes mellitus than non-cannabis using women. There was no difference between female light cannabis users and non-users. There was no significant association between cannabis use and diabetes in male participants.

Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Texas A&M University, Texas, USA.

Ogunsola AS, et al. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2022 Jan 4. [in press]