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IACM-Bulletin of June 26, 2016


Science/Human — Cannabis showed beneficial effects in bipolar disorder in clinical study

For some bipolar patients, cannabis may result in partial alleviation of clinical symptoms in bipolar disorders, scientists of McLean Hospital in Belmont, of Harvard Medical School in Boston and Tufts University in Medford, USA, said. Twelve patients with bipolar disorder who smoke cannabis, 18 bipolar patients who do not smoke, 23 healthy cannabis smokers and 21 healthy controls completed a neuropsychological battery. Further, they rated their mood three times daily as well as after each instance of cannabis use over a four-week period.

Results revealed that although cannabis and bipolar disorder was associated with some degree of cognitive impairment, no significant differences between the two groups suffering from bipolar disorder were apparent, providing no evidence of an additive negative impact of bipolar disorder and cannabis use on cognition. Additionally, patients with bipolar disorders, who used cannabis, experienced a substantial mood improvement.

Sagar KA, Dahlgren MK, Racine MT, Dreman MW, Olson DP, Gruber SA. Joint Effects: A Pilot Investigation of the Impact of Bipolar Disorder and Marijuana Use on Cognitive Function and Mood. PLoS One 2016;11(6):e0157060.

Science/Human — Inhaled cannabis reduces neuropathic pain in patients with spinal cord injury

Inhalation of cannabis by a vaporizer reduced pain in 42 patients, who suffered from neuropathic pain related to injury or disease of the spinal cord. This is the result of a placebo controlled study by researchers of the University of California, USA, published in The Journal of Pain. After obtaining baseline data, participants underwent a standardized procedure for inhaling 4 puffs of vaporized cannabis containing either placebo, 2.9%, or 6.7% THC on three separate occasions. A second dosing occurred 3 hours later; participants chose to inhale 4 to 8 puffs.

Using an 11-point numerical pain intensity rating scale, scientists demonstrated a significant analgesic response for vaporized cannabis. Psychoactive and subjective effects were dose dependent. The two active doses did not significantly differ from each other in terms of analgesic potency. Authors concluded that “this study supports consideration of future research that would include longer duration studies over weeks to months in order to evaluate the efficacy of medicinal cannabis in patients with central neuropathic pain.”

Wilsey B, Marcotte TD, Deutsch R, Zhao H, Prasad H, Phan A. An Exploratory Human Laboratory Experiment Evaluating Vaporized Cannabis in the Treatment of Neuropathic Pain from Spinal Cord Injury and Disease. J Pain. 2016 Jun 7. [in press]

News in brief

Chile — Seminar on medical cannabis

On 29 and 30 August Fundación Daya and Medicinal Cannabis Users of Arica are organising a seminar on the medical use of cannabis.

More information

Science — CBD may be converted into THC in simulated gastric fluid

In simulated gastric fluid CBD was converted into delta-9-THC and delta-8-THC.

Pace Analytical Services, Oakdale, USA.

Merrick J, et al. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research 2016;1(1):102-112.

Science/Animal — CBD has no psychoactive effects, but may increase the effects of THC

In a study with rhesus monkeys CBD (cannabidiol) up to a dose of 17.8 mg/kg body weight had no effects on the CB1 receptor, but increased the effects of THC. Authors suggest that CBD agonism at the 5-HT1A receptor “enhances the CB1 receptor-mediated effects of delta-9-THC.”

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, USA.

McMahon LR, et al. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2016 Jun 3. [in press]

USA — Cannabis use by adolescents decreased in the past 20 years

According to data by the Centers for Disease Control adolescents ever having used cannabis fell from an estimated 43% in 1995 to just under 39% in 2015. The percentage of adolescents, who had used cannabis at least once in the past 30 days also declined from 25% to just under 22%.



USA — The use of cannabis by adolescents in Colorado decreased

Cannabis use by Colorado high school students has decreased slightly since the state first permitted recreational cannabis use by adults, a new survey showed. The biannual poll by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment showed that 21.2% of Colorado high school students surveyed in 2015 had used cannabis during the preceding 30 days, down from 22% in 2011, the year before voters state-wide approved recreational cannabis use by adults 21 and older.

Reuters of 20 June 2016

Macedonia — Media announce that medical cannabis will be legal, but in fact it is only fibre hemp

Cannabis-derived medicines became legal on 13 June in Macedonia, the media announced citing the head of Macedonia’s agency for medicines Marija Darkovska-Serafimovska. However only products containing less than 0.2% THC, for example fibre hemp or cannabidiol (CBD) are now available in pharmacies. Fibre hemp or industrial hemp with less than 0.2% THC can be grown by farmers in many countries of the European Union. of 14 June 2016

Science — Activation of the CB2 receptor may reduce obesity

An analysis of 501 Italian children shows that a gene variant with a less functional CB2 receptor is associated with higher grades of obesity. Activation of the CB2 receptor with a synthetic cannabinoid (JWH-133) decreased inflammation associated with obesity and fat storage.

The Second University of Naples, Italy.

Rossi F, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2016 Jun 13 [in press]

Science/Animal — The endocannabinoid 2-AG may reduce intraocular pressure

In experiments with mice blocking of the degradation of 2-AG (2-arachidonoyl glycerol) by blocking of MAGL (monoacylglycerol lipase) reduced intraocular pressure (IOP). Authors concluded that “the development of an optimized MAGL blocker offers therapeutic potential for treatment of elevated IOP.”

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.

Miller S, et al. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2016;57(7):3287-3296.

Science/Animal — Activation of the CB1 receptor may reduce airway hyperreactivity

New research in rats suggests that activation of CB1 receptors may suppress the hypersensitivity of vagal lung C-fibres induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS). This reduced hypersensitivity may result in reduced airway hyperreactivity.

National Chung-Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan.

Yeh CM, et al. Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2016 Jun 18. [in press]

Science/Animal — Anandamide may reduce neuropathic pain in the spinal cord by the activation of the CB2 receptors

Blocking of FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase) elevated anandamide and palmitoylethanolamide levels in cerebrospinal fluid, which reduced pain. Authors suppose that anandamide activates the receptors “CB2, GPR18 and GPR55, which are believed to be novel cannabinoid receptors.”

Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow, Poland.

Malek N, et al. Pharmacol Res. 2016 Jun 17. [in press]

Science/Animal — Activation of cannabinoid receptors may be beneficial in Parkinson’s disease

Research in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease shows that endocannabinoids may have beneficial effects in the disease mediated by cannabinoid receptors.

University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.

Celorrio M, et al. Brain Behav Immun. 2016 Jun 15. [in press]

Science/Animal — Cannabinoids may be helpful in patients with tremor

In a study with rats, which suffered from motor and cognitive impairments, a synthetic cannabinoid (WIN55,212-2) was beneficial. Authors wrote that an agent, which activates cannabinoid receptors, may be “a potential neuroprotective agent in the treatment of patients with tremor that manifest mental dysfunctions.”

Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Iran.

Abbassian H, et al. Physiol Behav. 2016 Jun 15. [in press]

Science/Animal — Possible strategies to reduce the development of tolerance by cannabinoids

Researchers investigated possibilities to reduce the development of tolerance to cannabinoids in mice. Their findings demonstrate the functional link among autophagy, receptor signalling and animal behaviour regulated by psychoactive drugs. Autophagy allows the orderly degradation and recycling of cellular components.

Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, USA.

Kuramoto K, et al. Autophagy. 2016 Jun 15. [in press]

Science — Nutmegs inhibit endocannabinoid degradation

Nutmegs extracts inhibited the activity of the enzymes FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase) and MAGL (monoacylglycerol lipase), which are responsible for the degradation of the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG. Thus, nutmegs may increase endocannabinoid concentrations, which may be responsible for their psychoactive effects.

College of Pharmacy, Chicago State University, USA.

El-Alfy AT, et al. Pharm Biol. 2016 Jun 14:1-6. [in press]

Science/Human — THC in breath may be used to detect recent cannabis use

In 13 subjects, who smoked one cannabis cigarette, THC concentrations in breath increased after smoking and remained detectable for over 3 hours. Only THC was detected and no metabolites.

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Ghent University Hospital, Belgium.

Coucke L, et al. Clin Biochem. 2016 Jun 8. [in press]