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IACM-Bulletin of June 9, 2019


USA — Illinois will become the 11th state to legalise cannabis possession for adults

Illinois will become the latest state in the USA to legalize cannabis, as legislators passed a bill making cannabis use for adults the legal. The Land of Lincoln is on the verge of becoming the 11th state in the nation to legalize recreational cannabis. Governor J.B. Pritzker, who campaigned in support of legalization, is expected to promptly sign the bill.

The state senate passed the measure, House Bill 1438, by 38-17, giving the lower house until the end of Friday, May 31, to pass. Representatives took full advantage of their time, finally passing the measure 66-47. The debate lasted more than three hours, during which legislators went into great detail defending their respective votes.

Curbed Chicago of 31 May 2019

Canada — Government supports cannabis research with 25 million dollars

The federal government is earmarking nearly 25 million dollars toward cannabis research projects across the country. Bill Blair, the minister responsible for the Cannabis Act, made the announcement in Calgary on 22 May. “These projects will seek to further generate the knowledge needed to develop evidenced-based policies and regulations around cannabis use,” he said.

Part of the money will be used to fund three research projects at the University of Calgary. One Calgary study will look at cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which sees regular, long-term users develop a sudden intolerance to the drug, another will look to develop cannabis education and harm-reduction messaging for youth, and the third will look at using cannabis as a way of treating migraines. Part of the money will also be used to educate youth about safe consumption practises.

CTV News category of 22 May 2019

Science/Human — Cannabis may have a protective effects against diabetes in obese individuals

Cannabis use in obese people is associated with lower fasting insulin levels in blood and lower insulin resistance. Researchers of the Faculty of Pharmacy of Laval University and the Public Health Institute of Québec, Canada, analysed data of 129,509 adults aged 18 to 59 years.

In current obese consumers, the mean insulin in those with less than 4 uses per month months was 52% lower than in never users. Former obese consumers with 8 or more uses per month and who stopped cannabis use within less than 12 months showed 47% lower insulin. Authors wrote that cannabis use “is associated with lower fasting insulin and HOMA-IR in obese but not in non-obese adults, even low frequency of < 4 uses per month.” Even former use showed an effect. The homeostatic model assessment (HOMA) is a method used to quantify insulin resistance and function of beta cells, which produce insulin in the pancreas.

Ngueta G(1)(2)(3), Ndjaboue R(4)(5). Lifetime marijuana use in relation to insulin resistance in lean, overweight and obese U.S. adults. J Diabetes. 2019 Jun 1. [in press]

Science/Human — Cannabis users with personality disorders are not at increased risk for developing other psychiatric disorders

Findings of an international study “suggest that aside from specific substance use disorders, individuals with PDs are not at an increased risk for developing other psychiatric disorders following cannabis use.” Scientists from Lev-Hasharon Mental Health Center in Pardesiya, Israel, and other institutions from Israel, Canada and Germany analysed data from 34,653 individuals with PD (personality disorders), who were followed for 3 years.

Authors wrote that cannabis users “were at increased odds for developing substance use disorders (including opioid use disorder), but not other comorbid psychiatric disorders, at 3-year follow up. No significant interaction effects were generally found between cannabis use and PD. These findings suggest that aside from specific substance use disorders, individuals with PDs are not at an increased risk for developing other psychiatric disorders following cannabis use.”

Shalit N, Rehm J, Lev-Ran S. The association between cannabis use and psychiatric comorbidity in people with personality disorders: A population-based longitudinal study. Psychiatry Res. 2019;278:70-77.

News in brief

USA — Non-profit cannabis company as an alternative to commercialisation of cannabis trade

There are strong concerns that the commercialization of the cannabis trade following legalization in several US states is giving way to corporate and hegemonic monopoly in the cannabis industry. David Bronner launched his new non-profit cannabis company Brother David’s. If offers consumers who prefer to know where and under what conditions their cannabis was grown and processed an option.

Salon of 5 May 2019

Ukraine — Medical Cannabis Conference 2019 took place in Kyiv

A Conference on medical cannabis was held with the support of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Veteran Affairs of Ukraine. According to the official data of the Ukrainian Association of Medical Cannabis, this year, 898 participants were registered at the conference, of which 452 were doctors, and 446 were guests and patients from all over Ukraine.

112.International of 5 June 2019

Sports — Athletes ask for removing cannabis from the list of prohibited substances

More than 150 current and former athletes signed a letter sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency, asking the organization to remove cannabis from its list of prohibited substances.

Reuters of 23 May 2019

Holland — Second licence for the production of medicinal cannabis

The Dutch government is planning to issue a second licence for the production of medicinal cannabis to meet growing demand patients. The only company authorised to produce cannabis for medical use, Bedrocan in Emmeloord, has increased its output fivefold in the last five years to 2,604 kilograms.

DutchNews of 27 May 2019

Thailand — Government approves use of medicinal cannabis by tourists

The government fleshed out regulatory details for the production, distribution and possession of cannabis, months after the longstanding narcotics law was amended to allow the production and possession of cannabis for medical purposes. These conditions include the possibility to export cannabis and foreign travellers within Thailand to have access to medical cannabis

Thaivisa News of 29 May 2019

Zimbabwe — Approval of first cannabis production project

Zimbabwe has approved the first project for the farming and processing of cannabis, a development that is set to earn the country billions in foreign currency.

CAJ News of 29 May 2019

New Zealand — A million citizens want to try medical cannabis

More than a million citizens are keen to try medicinal cannabis, according to a new survey. 14% said they would definitely try to access medical cannabis products. An additional 20% said they were likely to seek out medicinal cannabis.

Newshub of 20 May 2019

Science/Human — Cannabis had no influence on the efficacy of antipsychotic medication

In a study with 226 patients suffering from psychosis the use of drugs, including cannabis, had no influence on effectiveness of their antipsychotic medication.

Division of Psychiatry , Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.

Alisauskiene R, et al. Nord J Psychiatry. 2019 May 29:1-7.

Europe — Monograph on cannabis flowers will be prepared

According to an article by the Medicines Agency of Germany a “harmonised cannabis flower monograph for the European Pharmacopoeia is currently being prepared to replace national quality standards.” The article says that “in future, harmonised monographs in the European Pharmacopoeia will make it possible to avoid multiple testing according to the respective national standards and to facilitate analyses in laboratories and pharmacies.”

Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte, Bonn, Deutschland.

Manns D, et al. Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2019 May 28.[in press]

Germany — Rulings by German courts mainly responsible for cannabis law of 2017

The head of the Bundesopiumstelle, responsible for narcotic drugs within the German Medicines Agency wrote in an article: “With a prescription, cannabis-derived medicines may be available that are not approved as a finished medicinal product. The reasons for this lie in particular in court decisions from the years 2005 and 2016.”

Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte, Bonn, Deutschland.

Cremer-Schaeffer P, Knöss W. Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2019 May 28. [in press]

Science/Animal — CBD reduces unconditioned fear

In a study with rats investigating effects on fear due to post-traumatic stress disorder “CBD attenuates unconditioned but not conditioned fear.”

Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA.

Shallcross J, et al. Front Behav Neurosci. 2019 May 10;13:91.

Science/Human — Cannabis reduces opioid use by pain patients

In a chart review of 77 patients with intractable pain those who received cannabis in addition to their standard medication showed a reduced use of opioids after 3 and 6 months of treatment by 32.5 mg and 39.1 mg of daily milligram morphine equivalents. Cannabis did not reduce the amount of benzodiazepines.

HealthEast St Joseph‘s Hospital, Ann Arbor, USA.

O‘Connell M, et al. Ann Pharmacother. 2019 May 25:1060028019854221.

Denmark — Many MS patients use illegal cannabis

According to a survey with 2009 MS patients 49% had used cannabis at least once. It had been used in the past year by 21%. Only a small sample of these patients (21%) received prescribed cannabis-based medicines and 79% were forced to use illegal cannabis.

Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark.

Gustavsen S, et al. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2019;33:5-12.

Science/Animal — Exercise has no effect on CB1 receptors

Chronic exercise during adulthood did not alter CB1 receptor levels in the brain of rats.

Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, USA.

Swenson S, et al. Life Sci. 2019 May 22. [in press]

Science/Human — The use of cannabis, tobacco and alcohol is associated with higher prevalence of epilepsy

In an analysis of 657,072 patients with epilepsy the use of drugs was associated with a higher prevalence of the disease. Odds ratios were 1.56 for cannabis, 1.20 for tobacco and 1.63 for alcohol.

Department of Psychiatry, Griffin Memorial Hospital, Norman, USA.

Patel RS, et al. Am J Addict. 2019 May 24. [in press]

Science/Cells — Medicinal drugs, which increase the expression of CB1 receptors, may be helpful in colon cancer

An analysis of tissue from 59 patients with colorectal cancer showed, that the level of CB1 receptors was reduced in primary tumour tissue. Authors wrote that their “observations contribute to the idea that drugs able to induce CB1 receptor expression can be helpful in order to set new anticancer therapeutic strategies.”

Research Hospital, Castellana Grotte, Bari, Italy.

Tutino V, et al. Cancers (Basel). 2019;11(5).

Science/Human — Majority of hospice professionals support the use of cannabis for hospice patients

In a survey with 310 hospice staff members (nurses, physicians) participants were “overwhelmingly in agreement that MC is appropriate for hospice patients to have access to and use. Several barriers to use were identified including discordant legal status between state and federal governments, concerns about clinical efficacy and safety, and a myriad of other societal factors. Wide variations in MC documentation and education practices between hospices were noted.”

Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Baltimore, USA.

Costantino RC, et al. J Palliat Med. 2019 May 16. [in press]

Science/Animal — The formation of new nerve cells in the hippocampus is involved in the reduction of cocaine intake by CBD

CBD is known to reduce the intake of cocaine by mice. A new study “confirms that adult hippocampal neurogenesis is one of the mechanisms by which cannabidiol lowers cocaine reinforcement.”

Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.

Luján MÁ, et al. Addict Biol. 2019 Jun 4:e12778.

Science/Animal — A combination of CBD and CBN reduces myofascial pain

CBD (5 mg/ml) or CBN (1 mg/ml) decreased mechanical pain in rats and combinations of CBD/CBN “induced a longer-lasting reduction of mechanical sensitization than either compound alone.”

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Wong H, Cairns BE. Arch Oral Biol. 2019;104:33-39.

Science/Human — Altered states of consciousness induced by cannabis is associated with specific brain connectivity states

In a study with 19 healthy occasional cannabis users researchers using functional magnetic resonance imaging scans elucidated neural correlates of the transitory perceptual changes induced by THC. They found changes of connectivity of nerve cells “characterized by high connectivity within and between auditory and somato-motor cortices and anti-correlation with subcortical structures and the cerebellum that was only found during the intoxicated condition.”

National Institute of Mental Health, Klecany, Czech Republic.

Zaytseva Y, et al. J Psychopharmacol. 2019 Jun 3:269881119849814.

Science/Animal — Activation of the CB2 receptor reduced joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis

In a study with mice a synthetic cannabinoid, which activates the CB2 receptor, reduced destruction of the joints.

The First Affiliated Hospital, Soochow University, Jiangsu, China.

Bai J, et al. Biomed Pharmacother. 2019;116:109025.