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IACM-Bulletin of March 3, 2019


Science/Human — Young people may use less cannabis in the US states with medical cannabis laws

When medical cannabis becomes legal in a US state, teenagers there may be slightly less likely to use the drug, a U.S. study suggests. Even though medical and recreational cannabis laws restrict use to adults, access for adults may influence how easily teens can get the drug and whether they use it, researchers write in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. To see how teen cannabis use compares in states with and without such laws, researchers examined survey data on substance use collected from 861,082 adolescents in 45 states, aged 14 to 18 years between 1999 and 2015.

Among the states included in the study, 11 had legalized adult cannabis and 18 had legalized medical cannabis by April 2015. “Adjusting for numerous other substance use policies, medical marijuana laws were associated with small declines in current marijuana use among adolescents, with larger declines in some subgroups, such as males and African American and Hispanic adolescents,” lead study author Rebekah Levine Coley, a psychology researcher at Boston College, told Reuters.

Reuters of 22 February 2019

Coley RL, Hawkins SS , Ghiani M, Kruzik C, Baum CF. A quasi-experimental evaluation of marijuana policies and youth marijuana use. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2019 Feb 15. [in press]

Science/Human — Medicinal effects of cannabis are mainly based on THC and cannabis flowers were most effective

According to an analysis of 19,910 self-administered cannabis sessions using a mobile device software by 3341 people revealed that dried cannabis flowers were the most commonly used products and generally associated with greater symptom relief than other types of cannabis products. Researchers of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, USA, recorded the type of cannabis products, mode of intake, cannabis strain and major candidate contents (THC and CBD), effect on symptoms and side effects.

Patients showed an average symptom improvement of 3.5 on an 11-point scale across the 27 measured symptom categories. Across product characteristics, only higher THC levels were independently associated with greater symptom relief and prevalence of positive and negative side effects. In contrast, CBD levels were generally not associated with significant symptom changes or experienced side effects.

Stith SS, Vigil JM, Brockelman F, Keeling K, Hall B. The Association between Cannabis Product Characteristics and Symptom Relief. Sci Rep. 2019;9(1):2712.

Mexico — The complete ban on cannabis use is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court rules

The possession and personal use of cannabis is legal, according to several rulings published by the Supreme Court. Publication of the precedents in the court’s weekly gazette means that it will be mandatory for all federal judges to grant injunctions to people who wish to use cannabis recreationally and seek legal protection to do so.

Judges ruled that the complete prohibition of cannabis – as stipulated by the General Health Law – is not a proportional measure to protect people’s health and public order and that criminalization of the drug violates the right to free development of personality. The court’s resolution does not compel judges to provide legal protection to people who wish to grow and/or sell cannabis.

Mexiconewsdaily of 23 February 2019

Science — Genetically modified yeast can produce THC, CBD and other cannabinoids

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have developed genetically modified yeast to produce THC and CBD, the two main ingredients in cannabis. Researchers also engineered the yeast to synthesize novel cannabinoids not found in the cannabis plant. This breakthrough suggests a cheaper, more efficient production method.

"For the consumer, the benefits are high-quality, low-cost CBD and THC: you get exactly what you want from yeast," Jay Keasling, a professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley, said in a news release. "It is a safer, more environmentally friendly way to produce cannabinoids."

UPI of 28 February 2019

Luo X, et al. Complete biosynthesis of cannabinoids and their unnatural analogues in yeast. Nature of 27 February 2019.

Science/Human — A combination of CBD and PEA may reduce permeability of the gut wall during inflammation

A controlled-trial conducted by scientists at the University of Nottingham, UK, assessed the effect of PEA (palmitoylethanolamide) or CBD (cannabidiol) on the absorption of lactulose and mannitol in humans taking 600 mg of aspirin.

In human mucosa, inflammation decreased claudin-5 mRNA, which was prevented by CBD. Palmitoylethanolamide and cannabidiol prevented an inflammation-induced fall in TRPV1 and increase in PPARα transcriptio. Aspirin caused an increase in the absorption of lactulose and mannitol, which were reduced by PEA or CBD. Researchers concluded that these “findings have implications in disorders associated with increased gut permeability, such as inflammatory bowel disease.”

Couch DG, Ortori HCC, Barrett D, Lund JN, O’Sullivan SE. Palmitoylethanolamide and Cannabidiol Prevent Inflammation-induced Hyperpermeability of the Human Gut In Vitro and In Vivo—A Randomized, Placebo-controlled, Double-blind Controlled Trial. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 2019 Feb 19. [in press]

News in brief

UNO — The UN delays a vote on cannabis

Predictably, the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) will not vote on the World Health Organization’s cannabis recommendations at its upcoming meeting on March 7, in Vienna.

Forbes of 26 February 2019

USA — National Clinical Conference On Cannabis Therapeutics

The Thirteenth National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics will take place April 11-13, 2019 in Tampa, Florida.

Conference Website

Science/Human — An oral preparation of Bedrocan cannabis showed significant improvement in several chronic diseases

In an open study 20 patients aged 18 to 80 years suffering from different medical conditions, who received oral preparations of cannabis flowers (Bedrocan) participants showed a number of improvements over 6 months: reduction in total pain, improvements in vitality, social functioning and general health.

University of Modena and Reggio Emilia Medical School, Italy.

Palmieri B, et al. Int J Pharm Pract. 2019 Feb 15. [in press]

Science/Human — CBD and a strong effect on a patient with lung cancer

A patient with lung cancer, who declined treatment with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, presented with good tumour response following self-administration of cannabidiol.

University Hospitals of North Midlands (UHNM), Stoke on Trent, UK.

Sulé-Suso J, et al. SAGE Open Med Case Rep. 201921;7:2050313X19832160.

Science/Human — Interactions of CBD with other antiepileptic drugs

Concomitant CBD intake had little effect on clobazam. Stiripentol exposure increased slightly, while no clinically relevant effect on valproate exposure was observed. Cannabidiol was moderately well tolerated, with similar incidences of adverse events reported when coadministered with clobazam, stiripentol, or valproate.

GW Research Ltd, Cambridge, UK.

Morrison G, et al. Clin Pharmacol Drug Dev. 2019 Feb 21. [in press]

Science/Cells — A combination of CBD, gamma-irradiation and another molecule were most effective against glioblastoma

Glioblastoma cells “exhibited dramatic sensitivity to CBD-mediated killing that was additionally increased in combination with gamma-irradiation and KU60019. In conclusion, “treatment of human GBM by the triple combination (CBD, gamma-irradiation and KU60019) could significantly increase cell death levels in vitro and potentially improve the therapeutic ratio of GBM.”

Columbia University, New York, USA.

Ivanov VN, et al. et al. Oncotarget. 2019;10(8):825-846.

Science/Human — Many young patients with irritable bowel syndrome use cannabis to treat symptoms

According to interviews of young patients (range: 13 to 23 years) with irritable bowel syndrome 15 used cannabis and 67 were non-users. Researchers noted that users “perceived some medical benefit”, most commonly pain relief.

Children's Hospital Colorado and University of Colorado School of Medicine, USA.

Hoffenberg EJ, et al. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2019;68(3):348-352.

Science/Human — Women with adenomyosis have lower levels of cannabinoid receptors in their endometrium

There was a reduced level of CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endometrium of patients diagnosed as adenomyosis, which according to authors “suggests that cannabinoid receptors may participate in the pathogenesis of adenomyosis.”

Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, Capital Medical University, China.

Shen X, et al. Biomed Res Int. 2019;2019:5468954.

Science/Animal — CB2 receptors play an important role in inflammation

Scientists used genetically modified mice without CB2 receptors that this receptor plays an important role during acute mobilisation of certain white blood cells (neutrophils) to sites of inflammation. Thus, the CB2 receptor “could represent a therapeutic target for the development of novel anti-inflammatory compounds to treat inflammatory human diseases.”

Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, UK.

Kapellos TS, et al. FASEB J. 2019 Feb 25 [in press]

Science/Animal — Activation of the CB2 receptor may reduce increased motility of the bowel

Research with mice shows that activation of the CB2 receptor may exert an important inhibitory effect in stress-induced hypermotility of the colon.

Department of Gastroenterology, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, China.

Lin M, et al. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2019 Feb 21 [in press]

Science/Human — Cannabis use has no relevant effect on the brain on adults

In a study with 28 current cannabis users with a mean age of 70 years and 28 non-users with a mean age of 67 years there was no significant impact on overall cortical volume.

Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of Colorado Boulder, USA.

Thayer RE, et al. Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging. 2019;285:58-63.

Science/Human — Small effect of cannabis use on the brain by young people

In a study with 781 young people aged 14 to 22 years there were “small or limited associations between cannabis use and structural brain measures.”

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.

Scott JC, et al. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2019 Feb 19. [in press]

Switzerland — Government wants to implement a pilot study for the recreational use of cannabis

Switzerland may let up to 5,000 people smoke cannabis legally in pilot studies to help shape new rules for adult use of the drug, the government said . The cabinet proposed limited pilot projects that may lead to changes in laws banning cannabis. The plan will be put out for public comment until mid-year, the Federal Health Office said.

Reuters of 28 February 2019

Science/Human — May have negative effects on young people with depression

In a study with 141 young adults aged 18 to 25 years, of whom 24 suffered from major depression and used cannabis, there was evidence, that the combination of cannabis and major depression may have additive adverse associations with thickness of the brain cortex in a certain brain region (middle temporal gyrus) and memory.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA.

Radoman M, et al. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2019 Feb 26. [in press]

Science/Human — Smoking of cannabis may be a risk factor for asthma

According to a survey with 2602 young adults, who were followed for 13 years, cannabis use was associated with an increased risk for prescriptions for asthma medication of about 70%. Authors wrote that their results suggest “that cannabis is a risk factor for bronchial asthma or use of asthma medication even when known risk factors are taken into consideration. Intake of cannabis through smoking should be avoided in persons at risk.”

Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Concurrent Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Norway.

Bramness JG, et al. BMC Pulm Med. 2019;19(1):52.

Science/Human — Patients with irritable bowel syndrome are more likely to use cannabis

According to a large survey with 4,709,043 patients cannabis use was associated with a double risk for irritable bowel syndrome.

Department of Medicine, North Shore Medical Center, Salem, USA.

Adejumo AC, et al. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019 Feb 21. [in press]

Science/Human — Many cancer patients treated themselves with cannabis

An analysis of data from 816 cancer patients in the USA revealed that 19% tested positive for THC on urine testing.

Department of Supportive Care Medicine, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, USA.

Donovan KA, et al. J Palliat Med. 2019 Feb 22. [in press]