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IACM-Bulletin of September 23, 2012


Science UK — Antiepileptic efficacy of cannabidivarin will be tested in clinical studies

Scientists at the University of Reading have demonstrated for the first time that a previously unstudied cannabinoid in the cannabis plant could lead to effective treatments for people with epilepsy. The team at the Department of Pharmacy and School of Psychology has discovered that cannabidivarin (CBDV) has the potential to prevent more seizures, with few side effects. Cannabidivarin is a cannabinoid of this CBD group.

In the study, carried out by the University of Reading CBDV strongly suppressed seizures in six different animal models commonly used in epilepsy drug discovery. Cannabidivarin was also found to work when combined with drugs currently used to control epilepsy and, unlike other cannabinoids such as THC, is not psychoactive and therefore does not cause psychotropic effects. Dr Ben Whalley, who is leading the study, said: "This is an enormously exciting milestone in our investigations into non-psychoactive elements of cannabis as treatments for epilepsy. (…) Currently prescribed drugs to prevent fits can cause significant side-effects to individuals' motion and cognitive abilities that can adversely affect the quality of life for people who have to take them every day.”

The British company GW Pharmaceuticals told Reuters that clinical trials using cannabidivarin could start in 2013.

Hill AJ, et al. Br J Pharmacol. 2012 Sep 12. [in press]

Press release by the University of Reading

Press release by GW Pharmaceuticals

Reuters of 13 September 2012

News in brief

Science/Human — Moderate exercise increases endocannabinoid level

In a study with fit human runners moderate exercise on treadmills increased the concentration of endocannabinoids in blood, while very low and very high intensity exercises did not significantly alter endocannabinoid levels. Authors concluded that “results are consistent with intensity-dependent psychological state changes with exercise and therefore a support the hypothesis that eCB [endocannabinoid] activity is related to neurobiological effects of exercise.”

School of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA.

Raichlen DA, et al. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2012 Sep 19. [in press]

Science/Animal — Cannabidiol may be useful in posttraumatic stress disorder

In a study with rats, which were exposed to cats, the natural cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) reduced fear reactions one hour after the exposure to the predator. This effect was mediated at least in part by the 5HT1A receptor. Authors concluded: “Our results suggest that CBD has beneficial potential for PTSD [posttraumatic stress disorder] treatment and that 5HT1A receptors could be a therapeutic target in this disorder.”

School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Brazil.

Campos AC, et al. J Psychiatr Res. 2012 Sep 11. [in press]

Science/Cells — Cannabinoids may be useful in liver cancer

Two cannabinoids that either bind to the CB1 receptor (ACEA) or to the CB2 receptor (CB65) reduce proliferation and viability of liver cancer cells. Authors wrote: “These data suggest ACEA and CB65 as an option for novel treatment of hepatocellular cancer.”

Faculty of Pharmacy, and Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran.

Farsandaj N, et al. Toxicol Mech Methods. 2012 Sep 17. [in press]

Science/Animal — The endocannbinoid oleamide improves sleep

The endocannabinoid oleamide restored sleep in adult rats that were subjected to separation of their mothers early in life. This separation resulted in sleep disturbancies, which was normalized by oleamide through the activation of CB1 receptors.

Departamento de Fisiología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Reyes Prieto NM, et al. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2012 Sep 7. [in press]

Science/Animal — A derivative of CBG reduces inflammation in multiple sclerosis

A derivative of the natural cannabinoid CBG (cannabigerol) reduced inflammation in an animal model of multiple sclerosis. Scientists used cannabigerol quinone.

Vivacell Biotechnology España, Córdoba, Spain.

Granja AG, et al. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2012 Sep 14. [in press]

Science/Human — Cannabis use may increase the risk of testicular cancer

In an epidemiological study people with a history of cannabis use had a small (twofold) increased risk for the development of testicular cancer. 163 patients with this type of cancer were compared with 292 controls.

Department of Preventive Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.

Lacson JC, et al. Cancer. 2012 Sep 10. [in press]

Science/Cells — Cannabidiolic acid may inhibit spreading of breast cancer

The acid of cannabidiol (cannabidiolic acid), which is highly present in fiber hemp, inhibited migration of highly aggressive human breast cancer cells. Before heating cannabinoids are mostly present in cannabis in their acid forms, among them CBDA (cannabidiolic acid). Scientists wrote that “CBDA offers potential therapeutic modality in the abrogation of cancer cell migration, including aggressive breast cancers.”

Department of Molecular Biology, Daiichi University of Pharmacy, Fukuoka, Japan.

Takeda S, et al. Toxicol Lett. 2012 Sep 8. [in press]

Science/Human — Concentration dependent accident risk with cannabis use

In a case-control study a concentration of 2 ng/ml THC in whole blood was associated with a fourfold increased accident risk compared to lower THC concentrations. Scientists compared 337 subjects involved in accidents, of whom 161 were positive for alcohol and/or other drugs, with 2726 randomly selected drivers, of whom 301 were positive for alcohol and/or other drugs. Scientists concluded: “The study demonstrated a concentration-dependent crash risk for THC positive drivers. Alcohol and alcohol-drug combinations are by far the most prevalent substances in drivers and subsequently pose the largest risk in traffic, both in terms of risk and scope.”

Department of Neuropsychology & Psychopharmacology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, The Netherlands.

Kuypers KP, et al. PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e43496.

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