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IACM-Bulletin of September 16, 2018
The IACM Board of Directors decided to establish a certification process for conferences on the medical use of cannabis to give potential visitors a first orientation and support organises of good conferences. Fortunately, in recent years the number of conferences has increased considerable, however of varying quality and benefit for the participants. To enable all conference organisers to be certified by the IACM the evaluation process will only cost €500-€1000. The bases of the certification is the content, the speakers, the organiser and the website. Applicants may contact the IACM by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Certified conferences will be able to put the IACM logo on the conference website, along with “certified by the IACM” or even “3 supported by the IACM.” There will be a short announcement in the IACM-Bulletin. The first certified conference is The 3rd International Medical Cannabis Conference on 14 to 16 October 2018 in Tel Aviv, Israel.
🏷️ Science/Human — THC reduces neuropathic pain and this is associated with altered connections between two brain regions
In a placebo-controlled study with 15 patients with chronic neuropathic pain THC reduced pain. This was associated with changes in pain-related networks in the brain. Scientists from the USA, Israel and the UK published data in the journal Neurology. Pain assessments and functional brain scans were performed at baseline and after sublingual THC administration.
THC significantly reduced patients' pain compared to placebo. THC-induced analgesia was correlated with a reduction in functional connectivity between certain brain regions, the anterior cingulate cortex and the sensorimotor cortex. Moreover, the degree of reduction was predictive of the pain relieving response to THC. Authors wrote that the analgesic effects of THC may be mediated “through induction of functional disconnection between regulatory high-order affective regions and the sensorimotor cortex.”
Weizman L, Dayan L, Brill S, Nahman-Averbuch H, Hendler T, Jacob G, Sharon H. Cannabis analgesia in chronic neuropathic pain is associated with altered brain connectivity. Neurology. 2018 Sep 5. [in press]
Utilizing new mobile application technology (app), researchers at The University of New Mexico found that medical cannabis provides immediate symptom relief across dozens of health symptoms with relatively minimal negative side effects. The software was used to measure self-reported effectiveness and side effects of medical cannabis used under naturalistic conditions. 2,830 Releaf App users completed 13,638 individual sessions self-administering medical cannabis and indicated their primary health symptom severity rating on an 11-point (0-10) visual analogue scale in real-time prior to and following cannabis consumption, along with experienced side effects.
Participants used cannabis to treat a high number of health symptoms, the most frequent relating to pain, anxiety, and depressive conditions. Significant symptom severity reductions were reported for all the symptom categories, with mean reductions between 2.8 and 4.6 points. Authors summarised that “patient managed cannabis use is associated with clinically significant improvements in self-reported symptom relief for treating a wide range of health conditions, along with frequent positive and negative side effects.”
🌐 Africa — Policy experts from West Africa suggest decriminalising drug possession in their countries
A distinguished group of health and policy experts have published a “model law” for decriminalising drug possession and reducing the harms of the drug war in West Africa. The document was published by the West Africa Commission on Drugs (WACD), a group first convened by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, who passed away in August. Annan had long-criticised the global war on drugs.
In November voters of Missouri and Utah will decide whether they will join other states, which have already legalised the medical use of cannabis. Voters in Michigan and North Dakota will vote on the legalisation of recreational use of the drug.
🏷️ Science/Cells — CBD influences the effects of THC, anandamide and other cannabinoids at cannabinoid receptors
Scientists analysed functional selectivity (or “biased agonism”) of a number of cannabinoids in the presence or absence of cannabidiol (CBD). Functional selectivity or biased signalling means that the effects of cannabinoids, which bind to the same receptor, vary depending on the cannabinoid. CBD altered the responses to CB1 receptor binding by THC by so-called allosteric modulation of the receptor. The effect of CBD on anandamide actions on cannabinoid receptors was significantly different from that of other cannabinoids.
Department of Biochemistry and Physiology, University of Barcelona, Spain.
It was shown that iron can trigger apoptosis (programmed cell death) in nerve cells of rats and this effect was prevented by CBD. Authors wrote that the “reversal of iron-induced effects by CBD indicates that it has neuroprotective potential through its anti-apoptotic action.”
Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil.
The endocannabinoid system can be modulated to provide new protection in ischaemic injury of the spine through activation of the CB2 receptor increasing survival of nerve cells and their function.
Department of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, USA.
Researchers investigated the effects of cannabis essential oils on eleven listeria monocytogenes samples from patients who were diagnosed with invasive listeriosis. Authors wrote that “the present work provides a baseline in the study of the anti-virulence properties of the C. sativa essential oil against L. monocytogenes".
Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona, Italy.
In a study with rats activation of the CB2 receptor protected against hearing loss, which may be caused by the chemotherapeutic agent cisplatin.
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, USA.
In a study with 1187 patients aged 16 to 70 years admitted to hospital due to trauma the risk of re-injury due to alcohol consumption was 2.3 and due to cannabis use 1.9. Authors concluded that the presence of alcohol and/or illicit drugs “doubles the risk of trauma recidivism.”
University of Extremadura, Cáceres, Spain.
In a study with mice researchers found, that pain relieving effects of the antipsychotic drug aripiprazole involves the endocannabinoid system, since this effect was abolished by blocking the CB2 and the CB1 receptor.
Institute of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
According to the analysis of a nationwide sample of about 2.5 million cannabis users and 116 million non-users cannabis use was not an independent risk factor for intra-cerebral haemorrhage. With regard to hospital outcomes, cannabis users had a reduced length of hospitalisation (reduction of about 46 %), but an increased risk of hospital mortality (increase of about 26%).
Charleston Area Medical Center, West Virginia University, USA.
🏷️ Science/Animal — Standard chemotherapy together with THC and high doses of CBD increase efficacy in glioblastoma treatment
Researchers investigated the effects of standard chemotherapy with temozolomide together with THC and CBD of different ratios in animals. Their findings showed that temozolomide together with THC and CBD combinations containing a high proportion of CBD were most effective.
School of Biology, Complutense University, Madrid, Spain.
🏷️ Science/Cells — The endocannabinoid system plays an important role in oligodendrocyte development
Oligodendrocytes are a kind of glia cells in the central nervous system and as other glia cells provide a supporting role for the function of nerve cells. Researchers found that the endocannabinoid 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol) increases migration of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells.
Hospital Nacional de Parapléjicos-SESCAM, Toledo, Spain.
In a rat model of schizophrenia CBD, which was given from days 30 to 60 after birth prevented the development of schizophrenia-like behavioural abnormalities. Authors wrote that their investigation provides evidence “for a safe and beneficial effect of peripubertal and treatment with CBD on preventing positive and cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia”.
Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil.
Scientists investigated the effects of six cannabinoids on the calcium channels TRPV5 and TRPV6 and found that one of them, THCV (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabivarin) exerted a strong and concentration -dependent inhibitory effect on these receptors.
VIB Center for Brain & Disease Research, Leuven, Belgium.
🏷️ Science/Animal — Paracetamol may be toxic to the developing brain and this effect may be increased by CB1 receptor activation
In a study with mice paracetamol, also called acetaminophen (AAP), was toxic to the developing brain and this effect was increased by a synthetic cannabinoid (WIN 55,212-2). Authors wrote that “assuming our results are relevant for humans, they raise concerns on AAP safety because it is the only recommended analgesic and antipyretic during pregnancy and early life.”
Uppsala University, Sweden.