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IACM-Bulletin of January 20, 2019


Science/Human — CBD may be helpful in anxiety disorders according to a case series

In an analysis of charts of 72 adult patients CBD improved anxiety and sleep. This large retrospective case series was conducted by scientists of the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Colorado in Denver, USA. The primary concern was anxiety in 47 patients per sleep in 25 participants.

Anxiety scores decreased within the first month in 57 patients (79.2%) and remained decreased over time. Sleep scores improved within the first month in 48 patients (66.7%) but fluctuated over time. With the exception of3 patients CBD was well tolerated. Authors concluded that cannabidiol may hold benefit for anxiety disorders.

Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J. 2019;23.

Science/Human — Vaporisation may be more effective than smoking cannabis

In a study with 17 healthy adults with no past-month cannabis use THC blood concentrations were higher after vaporising than with smoking cannabis with the same THC content. Scientists of the Johns Hopkins University School of medicine in Baltimore published their research in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology. They received cannabis containing 0, 10 or 25 mg THC in six double-blind sessions.

Blood concentrations of THC and its metabolites (11-OH-THC, THCCOOH) were dose-dependent for both methods of administration, but higher following vaporization compared with smoking. THC was detected longer in oral fluid compared to blood. Authors wrote that “cannabis pharmacokinetics vary by method of inhalation and biological matrix being tested. Vaporization appears to be a more efficient method of delivery compared with smoking.”

Spindle TR, Cone EJ, Schlienz NJ, Mitchell JM, Bigelow GE, Flegel R, Hayes E, Vandrey R. J Anal Toxicol. 2019 Jan 7. [in press]

Science/Human — Are a few cannabis cigarettes enough to change the brain of children?

In a study with 46 adolescents with very low cannabis use scientists detected brain changes compared to 46 adolescents without cannabis use. An international group of scientists published their research in the Journal of Neuroscience. Participants were asked for their cannabis use at the age of 14. Cannabis users had used the drug only at one or two instances. Compared to controls they had higher grey matter volume in some brain regions, including hippocampus, amygdala and striatum. Authors wrote that “this study presents evidence suggesting structural brain and cognitive effects of just one or two instances of cannabis use in adolescence.”

However, the study is not able to prove a causal relationship since the information on cannabis use is based on the statement of the children. The new findings are a step toward understanding the impact of cannabis on young brains, said Dr Michael Lynch, a toxicologist and emergency medicine physician and director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “It’s important that there was a change,” Lynch said. “But I don’t think we can make a final determination on that from this study,” he added.

Orr C, Spechler P, Cao Z, Albaugh M, Chaarani B, Mackey S, D'Souza D, Allgaier N, Banaschewski T, Bokde ALW, Bromberg U, Büchel C, Burke Quinlan E, Conrod P, Desrivières S, Flor H, Frouin V, Gowland P, Heinz A, Ittermann B, Martinot JL, Paillère Martinot ML, Nees F, Papadopoulos Orfanos D, Paus T, Poustka L, Millenet S, Fröhner JH, Radhakrishnan R, Smolka MN, Walter H, Whelan R, Schumann G, Potter A, Garavan H. Grey Matter Volume Differences Associated with Extremely Low Levels of Cannabis Use in Adolescence. J Neurosci. 2019 Jan 14 [in press]

Reuters of 15 January 2019

Science/Human — Many patients substitute their stunning medication by cannabis

According to a survey with 392 participants suffering from different medical conditions medical cannabis users reported a greater degree of trust in cannabis compared to standard medication, researchers of the Population Studies Center of the University of Michigan wrote. In comparison to pharmaceutical drugs, medical cannabis users rated cannabis better on effectiveness, side effects, safety, addictiveness, availability, and cost.

Due to the medical use of cannabis, 42% stopped taking a pharmaceutical drug and 38% used less of a pharmaceutical drug. A substantial proportion (30%) reported that their treating physician did not know that they used medical cannabis.

Kruger DJ, Kruger JS. Medical Cannabis Users' Comparisons between Medical Cannabis and Mainstream Medicine. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2019:1-6.

News in brief

Ecuador — Government considers making CBD available

The Ecuadorean Congress will soon hold a second debate session of a new Organic Code of Health that incorporates the permission of therapeutic use of CBD extracts.

UPI of 8 January 2019

Canada — Prices for cannabis increased after legalisation

The average price for a legal gram of cannabis was 9.7 Canadian dollars in the past year. This is nearly 50% higher than cannabis from the black market. Statistics Canada, a federal authority, says it looks like Canadians are still turning to the black market, and claims things such as widespread cannabis shortages, delivery delays and issues with websites may have been contributing factors.

Durham Radio News of 9 January 2019

Science/Animal — How CBD counteracts cognitive impairment caused by THC

Researchers demonstrated for the first time that CBD reduces THC induced cognitive impairment in an adenosine A2A receptor (A2AR)-dependent manner. They found heteromers of A2 AR and the CB1 receptor in certain nerve cells in the hippocampus, a brain region relevant for memory among others influenced by CBD. Heteromers are combinations of 2 or more receptors.

Department of Pathology and Experimental Therapy, IDIBELL University of Barcelona, Spain.

Aso E, et al. Mol Neurobiol. 2019 Jan 4. [in press]

Science/Human — CBD-rich cannabis legally available in Switzerland may cause positive THC tests on blood and urine

In Switzerland CBD-rich cannabis may legally contain up to 1% of THC. In a study with a volunteer, who smoked cigarettes with different CBD-doses, traces of THC could be detected in blood. Authors wrote that these “amounts of THC present in CBD-cannabis can produce THC blood levels above the Swiss legal limit for driving.”

Department of Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry, University of Bern, Switzerland.

Hädener M, et al. Int J Legal Med. 2019 Jan 5. [in press]

Science/Animal — How cannabinoids may reduce pain in the periphery

It had been demonstrated that THC may reduce pain both in the central nervous system and in the periphery. In mice researchers demonstrated that the “peripheral analgesic effects of cannabinoids depends on activation of BK channels.” BK channels are calcium-activated potassium channels.

MOE Key Laboratory of Modern Teaching Technology, Shaanxi Normal University, China.

Li Y, et al. Brain Res. 2019 Jan 4. [in press]

Science/Animal — Activation of the CB1 receptor may rescue nerve cells in neurodegenerative diseases

In a mouse model of inflammation of the brain induced by streptozotocin activation of the CB1 receptor by a synthetic cannabinoid (ACEA) reversed cognitive impairment and increased the activity of cell proteins, which prevent apoptosis (programmed cell death). Authors wrote that their data “suggest that the cannabinoid system is an interesting therapeutic target for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.”

Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of São Paulo, Brazil.

Crunfli F, et al. Neurotox Res. 2019 Jan 3. [in press]

Science/Cells — Beta-Caryophyllene has anti-inflammatory effects in nerve cells

In a study with microglia cells beta-caryophyllene modulated the activity of these immune cells in the brain. Authors wrote that this terpene, which binds to the CB2 receptor, is “able to have potential therapeutic effects in neuro-inflammation conditions such as MS [multiple sclerosis] and AD [Alzheimer’s disease].”

Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Iran.

Askari VR, et al. Life Sci. 2019 Jan 5. [in press]

Science/Animal — Synergistic effects of pentobarbital and THC

In a study with mice the sleep inducing effects of pentobarbital were increased by a simultaneous administration of THC. CBD as well enhanced pentobarbital -induced sleep. The effect of THC was mediated by the CB1 receptor, while CBD acted through other mechanisms.

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hokuriku University, Kanazawa, Japan.

Kimura T, et al. Forensic Toxicol. 2019;37(1):207-214.

Science/Animal — Cannabidivarin has antiepileptic properties

In several animal models of epilepsy the plan cannabinoid cannabidivarin (CBDV) showed therapeutic value for early life seizures.

Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, Georgetown University, USA.

Huizenga MN, et al. Neuropharmacology. 2019 Jan 8. [in press]