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IACM-Bulletin of June 17, 2012
🏷️ Science/Human — Synthetic cannabinoid improves survival after severe brain injury in clinical study
In a clinical study with 97 comatose patients a synthetic cannabinoid (named KN38-7271) improved survival in the acute early phase after a head injury. The trial was conducted in 14 European neurosurgical centres. KN38-7271 binds both to the CB1 and the CB2 receptor, similar to THC and some other cannabinoids. Participants received 1 or 0.5 mg of the cannabinoid or a placebo within 4.5 hours of the injury. Efficacy was measured by survival and by neurological improvement or deterioration 7 and 14 days and 1, 3, and 6 months after the injury. Intracranial pressure and cerebral perfusion pressure were analysed from start of treatment to end of day 7.
Survival rates within 1 month of the injury were significantly better in the treatment groups than in the placebo group, but this effect was not seen after 6 months. Critical intracranial pressure and cerebral perfusion pressure were less extreme and less frequent in the treatment groups. There were no serious adverse effects. Authors concluded that “KN38-7271 appeared beneficial in the acute early phase of the comatose patient after a head injury.” These results may provide the basis for further trials in larger study populations.
Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum, Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg, Germany.
Firsching R, Piek J, Skalej M, Rohde V, Schmidt U, Striggow F; the KN38-7271 Study Group. Early Survival of Comatose Patients after Severe Traumatic Brain Injury with the Dual Cannabinoid CB1/CB2 Receptor Agonist KN38-7271: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Phase II Trial. J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg. 2012 Jun 13. [in press]
It has long been the argument of anti-medical cannabis advocates that cannabis dispensaries cause an increase in crime, especially burglary and muggings. The only problem is that argument is not true, according to a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, found that neighbourhoods with medical cannabis dispensaries in Sacramento were no more likely to have crime than other neighbourhoods.
The study looked at crime rates in Sacramento in 2009, before the city enacted regulations on cannabis dispensaries. Although the researchers aren't sure why there was no uptick in crime around dispensaries, they suspect that security guards and cameras have an impact on keeping criminals out. Or, as the authors wrote in the report, it could be that cannabis dispensaries just don't increase crime any "more than any other facility in a commercially-zoned area." Several murders in San Francisco and Hollywood dispensaries and burglaries in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Colorado Springs have made dispensary-based crime national news, but those cases aren't representative, authors say.
Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut signed into law legislation allowing physicians to certify an adult patient's use of cannabis for medical purposes. Under the bill, patients and their caregivers must register with the Department of Consumer Protection. A doctor can certify a medical need for conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis or epilepsy.
A synthetic cannabinoid (WIN 55,212-2) blocked the activity of adrenergic receptors and reduced excitability of the brain in rats. The adrenergic receptors are activated by adrenaline and other catecholamines. Authors stated that “these data add to the growing evidence of complex, stress-dependent modulation of monoaminergic systems by cannabinoids and support the potential use of cannabinoids in the treatment of stress-induced noradrenergic dysfunction.”
Department of Neuroscience, Farber Institute for Neurosciences, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, USA.
Brain images of 59 long-term heavy cannabis users were compared with 33 control subjects. The connections of nerve cells were reduced in a few brain regions (hippocampus, corpus callosum) in users, who started their use in adolescence. Scientists concluded: “Our findings indicate long-term cannabis use is hazardous to the white matter of the developing brain. Delaying the age at which regular use begins may minimize the severity of microstructural impairment.”
Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, The University of Melbourne and Melbourne Health, Australia.
The concentration of the endocannabinoid 2-AG (2-arachidonyl glycerol) was increased in animals during allergic reaction. The antiallergic effect of 2-AG was mediated by the CB2 receptor. Researchers concluded: “Our data strongly suggest that endogenous CB2 ligands upregulated upon disease progression in allergic models are involved in aberrant alterations of both inflammatory responses and tissue cell growth.”
Pharmaceutical Frontier Research Laboratories, Central Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Japan Tobacco Inc., Kanagawa, Japan.
Increase of endocannabinoids by inhibition of endocannabinoid degradation reduced hyperactivity of dopamine receptors caused by quinpirole. Authors wrote: “This finding might be relevant for therapeutic approaches for either psychomotor disorders (dyskinesia, chorea) or disorganized behaviours associated with dopamine-mediated hyperactivity.”
Fundación IMABIS, Laboratorio de Medicina Regenerativa, Hospital Regional Universitario Carlos Haya, Málaga, Spain.