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IACM-Bulletin of June 7, 2009


IACM — Registration for the IACM Conference in October

Please register for the IACM 5th Conference on Cannabinoids in Medicine on 2-3 October in Cologne in time and make your reservation for overnight stays at the hotel. This years conference will mainly focus on controversial issues and unsolved problems in cannabinoid research, such as cannabis and psychiatric diseases, cannabinoids and cancer, cannabinoid-like agents, directions of research into the therapeutic manipulation of the endocannabinoid system, etc.

Besides classical talks by Vincent Maida, Donald Abrams, Rudolf Brenneisen, Mark Ware, Emmanuel Onaivi, Ethan Russo and others there will be a number of reviews, partly with subsequent discussions. Some of the topics are:

- Robson P. Metabolic abnormalities, abnormal stress response and chronic inflammation in schizophrenia - potential targets for cannabinoid medicines?

- Mechoulam R. The cannabinoid system as a general protective system.

- Guzman M. Review of recent advances on cannabinoids in glioma.

- Katona I. Breakdown of the synaptic circuit-breaker: endocannabinoid signaling and its impairment in epilepsy.

- Grotenhermen F. Cannabis-associated arteritis: what is the evidence?

- Zimmer A. On beta-caryophyllene.

- Pertwee R. Some potential strategies for targeting cannabinoid receptors in the clinic.

The Scientific Committee of the meeting welcomes additional suggestions for talks on controversial issues in cannabinoid research. The deadline for suggestions is 15 June.

The programme will be available in early July on the website.

Croatian war veterans are allowed to use cannabis in post traumatic stress disorder according to a decision by the high court of the Balkan country. The court was reacting to the appeal of a veteran, who has grown cannabis in his backyard for personal use and was convicted to a prison sentence of one year by a lower court. The man is now free.

He was using cannabis as efficient drug against post traumatic stress disorder, from which suffer many former soldiers in the war against Yugoslavia (1991 to 1995), the judgement says. Experts estimate that about 18,000 Croatian veterans suffer from such stress disorders, among them depression, personality changes and a tendency to self-mutilation. Nearly 1,700 veterans have committed suicide since the end of the war.

More at:

(Source: German Press Agency of 4 June 2009)

Canada/USA — National associations on research into the endocannabinoid system and medical uses of cannabinoids

According to a press release by the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids (CCIC) of 3 June the organisation has evolved into a federally registered Canadian non-profit organisation dedicated to research and education on cannabinoids. The CCIC invites to visit the new web site of the association and to apply for membership, which is free.

Recently, the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine (AACM) has been founded, which according to a press release is a professional medical organization "dedicated to the clinical and scientific understanding of the endoccannabinoid system and the therapeutic application of cannabis and cannabinoids."


(Sources: Press releases of the CCIC and the AACM)

News in brief

USA — Illinois

The Illinois Senate voted in favour of a measure to let sick people use cannabis for relief from diseases like cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis. The bill now goes to the Illinois House of Representatives, where a committee already passed a medical cannabis measure. (Source: Associated Press of 28 May 2009)

Science — Exercise

According to animal research voluntary exercise by animals who had free access to a running wheel increased the density of CB1 receptors and tissue content of the endocannabinoid anandamide in the hippocampus of the brain. Exercise also increased formation of new nerve cells in the hippocampus. Scientists concluded that their research suggests that "the endocannabinoid system in the hippocampus is sensitive to environmental change and suggest that it is a mediator of experience-induced plasticity", i.e. of adaptation processes in this brain region. (Source: Hill MN, et al. Hippocampus 2009 Jun 1. [Electronic publication ahead of print])

Science — Nicotine addiction

According to results by research at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada inhibition of the enzyme degrades the endocannabinoid anandamide (FAAH) may be as effective as CB1 receptor blockade to prevent reinstatement of nicotine addiction in rats. Scientists concluded that "since FAAH inhibition present antidepressant and anxiolytic properties in rodents, targeting the FAAH may represent a novel strategy to prevent relapse for tobacco smoking that may be better tolerated than rimonabant." (Source: Forget B, et al. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2009 May 30. [Electronic publication ahead of print])

Science — Brain inflammation

Spanish researchers found in cell experiments that activation of the CB2 receptor inhibited the production of the pro-inflammatory agent tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) by microglia cells and migration of these immune cells in the nervous system. (Source: Romero-Sandoval EA, et al. Mol Pain 2009;5(1):25.)

Science — Glioblastoma

Researchers at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, found that the number of CB2 receptors was increased in endothelial cells of blood vessels in the brain tumour glioblastoma multiforme compared to healthy cells. The conclude that "selective CB2 agonists might become important targets attenuating vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signalling" and thereby diminishing formation of new blood vessels and glioblastoma growth." (Source: Schley M, et al. Brain Res Bull 2009;79(5):333-7.)

Science — Hypertension

According to research with normal and spontaneously hypertensive rats the function of the endocannabinoid system in a certain brain region (nucleus tractus solitarius) was attenuated in animals with increased blood pressure. Scientists noted that this could contribute to reduced sympathoinhibition and elevated sympathetic tone characteristic of spontaneously hypertensive rats. (Source: Brozoski DT, et al. Auton Neurosci 2009 May 21. [Electronic publication ahead of print])