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IACM-Bulletin of September 29, 2019


IACM — 10th Conference on Cannabinoids in Medicine in Berlin

About one month until the opening of the leading international conference on medical uses of cannabis and cannabinoids. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet the leading researchers in the field, learn from their experience, exchange with others and get first-hand and latest information!

Conference Website





We are delighted to announce that Plena Global will be our Diamond Sponsor. It is due to the generous sponsorship of companies like Plena Global that make holding the conference possible. We would also like to highlight the support by Our Platinum Sponsors Bedrocan, Storz & Bickel, Tilray and Spektrum Therapeutics. You will find a complete list of our sponsors here.

Science/Human — Nabilone may reduce agitation and inflammation of the brain in Alzheimer’s disease

In a double-blind 14-week clinical study with 38 patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease the THC analogue nabilone was shown to reduce agitation and this effect was associated with decreases in inflammation of the brain. In this study by researchers of the University of Toronto, Canada, participants received both nabilone and a placebo for 6 weeks each in a crossover design with one week between treatments.

The pro-inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) was associated with agitation severity. Authors wrote that in “the nabilone phase, lower baseline TNF-α was associated with decreases in agitation severity (… ), and decreases in TNF-α were associated with decreases in agitation severity (… ).”

Ruthirakuhan M, Herrmann N, Andreazza AC, Verhoeff NPLG, Gallagher D, Black SE, Kiss A, Lanctôt KL. Agitation, Oxidative Stress, and Cytokines in Alzheimer Disease: Biomarker Analyses From a Clinical Trial With Nabilone for Agitation. J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2019 Sep 23:891988719874118.

Science/Human — Nabilone was effective in reducing chronic diarrhoea in a case series

A retrospective analysis of the efficacy and safety of the THC analogue nabilone, which was administered in 6 patients with refractory chronic diarrhoea, showed that the cannabinoid significantly improved symptoms. Researchers of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy, published research in BMC Gastroenterology.

Patients were treated between April 2008 and July 2016. After three months of therapy, oral nabilone improved the health of nearly all patients, with visible improvements in reducing diarrheal symptoms and weight gain. Most of the benefits persisted through the three-month follow-up. Only one patient interrupted the treatment after one month, due to severe fatigue and mental confusion. Authors wrote that “cannabinoids acting on CB1 receptors in chronic gastrointestinal disorders, especially in refractory chronic diarrhea, [are] offering a chance for a substantial improvement in the quality of life of selected patients, with a reasonable safety profile.”

Pellesi L, Verga MC, De Maria N, Villa E, Pini LA, Guerzoni S. Nabilone administration in refractory chronic diarrhea: a case series. BMC Gastroenterol. 2019;19(1):105.

Ecuador — The National Assembly approves cannabis for medical uses

The plenary session of the National Assembly on 17 September approved the reform of the Penal Code (COIP) that allows the production, marketing, distribution, use and consumption of cannabis for medicinal or therapeutic uses in the country.

It was 83 votes in favour to this modification of the COIP, while 23 were against. In addition, there was one blank vote and 23 abstentions.

El Universo of 17 September 2019

Science — CBD may increase the efficacy of antibiotics against certain bacteria

According to basic research at the School of Human Sciences of the London Metropolitan University, United Kingdom, CBD may increase the efficacy of a therapy with standard antibiotics. Membrane vesicles (MV) released from bacteria participate in cell communication and human-pathogen interactions. Scientists found that anti-bacterial effects of CBD could be in part attributed to effects on bacterial membrane vesicles.

They found that CBD is a strong inhibitor of membrane vesicle release from Gram-negative bacteria (E. coli VCS257), while inhibitory effect on MV release from Gram-positive bacteria (S. aureus subsp. aureus Rosenbach) was negligible. They concluded that “CBD may pose as a putative adjuvant agent for tailored co-application with selected antibiotics, depending on bacterial species, to increase antibiotic activity, including via MV inhibition, and help reduce antibiotic resistance.

Kosgodage US, Matewele P, Awamaria B, Kraev I, Warde P, Mastroianni G, Nunn AV, Guy GW, Bell JD, Inal JM, Lange S. Cannabidiol Is a Novel Modulator of Bacterial Membrane Vesicles. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2019;9:324.

News in brief

USA — House of Representatives passes a bill that would allow banks to work with cannabis companies

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to advance legislation that would allow banks to provide services to cannabis companies in states where it is legal. By a vote of 321-103, lawmakers approved the bill, which now heads to the Senate. The bill received nearly unanimous support from Democrats, as well as nearly half of all Republicans.

Reuters of 26 September 2019

Australia — Canberra becomes first Australian city to legalize cannabis for personal use

Australia’s capital city of Canberra will become the first in the country to legalize the possession, use and cultivation of small amounts of cannabis following a vote on 25 September. Lawmakers in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) passed a bill allowing people aged 18 or over to possess up to 50 grams per person of cannabis and a maximum of four plants per household for personal consumption. The new law is set to come into effect from 31 January 2020.

Reuters of 25 September 2019

USA — Universities boost courses and research on cannabis

U.S. universities are offering courses and degree programs built around cannabis science, even though cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. The universities are responding to the need for trained workers and chemical analysts in the booming cannabis industry, with medical cannabis legal in 33 states and recreational cannabis approved in 11 states.

UPI of 27 September 2019

Germany — First imports of cannabis for medical uses from Australia and Portugal

German cannabis company Cansativa becomes the first European company to import medical cannabis from Australia. The test samples are provided by Little Green Pharma (LGP).

On 9 September, Cannamedical Pharma imported from Portugal to Germany, the largest quantity of medicinal cannabis ever transported within the European Union.

Globe Newswire of 10 September 2019

Business Wire of 10 September 2019

Science/Animal — Cannabidivarin may be useful for the treatment of ulcerative colitis

In a study with mice the plant cannabinoid cannabidivarin (CBDV), which belongs to the cannabinoids of the CBD group, was shown to exert anti-inflammatory effects in a model of ulcerative colitis by blocking the TRPA1 receptor. This effect was also replicated in biopsies of children with active ulcerative colitis.Department of Pharmacy, School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Naples Federico II, Italy.

Pagano E, et al. Pharmacol Res. 2019 Sep 22:104464

Science/Human — A large number of Canadian patients is using cannabis in cancer treatment

According to a survey with 821 cancer patients 23% were currently using cannabis-based products, almost exclusively for medical purposes and an additional 31% had medical authorisation. Authors concluded from their analysis that “more than half the respondents had tried cannabis at some time, and almost one quarter of respondents were currently taking cannabis to help manage their symptoms or treat their cancer, or both.”

Pain and Symptom Management/Palliative Care, BC Cancer, Vancouver, Canada.

Hawley P, et al. Curr Oncol. 2019;26(4):e425-e432.

Science/Cells — A CB2 receptor agonist reduces growth of brain cancer cells

A synthetic cannabinoid, which selectively binds to the CB2 receptor significantly reduced proliferation of glioblastoma and astrocytoma cells in a dose -dependent manner. Authors wrote, that these “findings add to the role of cannabinoid CB2 receptor as a possible pharmacological target to counteract glial tumor growth.”

Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neurosciences, University of Siena, Italy.

Cioni C, et al. Cent Nerv Syst Agents Med Chem. 2019 Sep 23. [in press]

Science/Cells — CBD may be helpful in the treatment of atopic dermatitis

Researchers investigated the mechanism of action, by which topical CBD may be helpful “for the treatment of different skin diseases including atopic dermatitis and keratin disorders.” They found that CBD induces antioxidant pathways by influencing the regulator protein BACH1 in certain skin cells (keratinocytes).

Jacqui Wood Cancer Centre, Division of Cellular Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Dundee, UK.

Casares L, et al. Redox Biol. 2019 Sep 5;28:101321.

Science/Animal — A flavonoid of the cannabis plant may have anti-cancer properties

Researchers found that the flavonoid FBL-03G increased apoptosis (programmed cell death) and decreased survival in two pancreatic cancer cell lines. Experiments with mice showed increased survival for animals with pancreatic cancer following treatment with FBL-03G.

Brigham and Women's Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.

Moreau M, et al. Flavonoid Derivative of Cannabis Demonstrates Therapeutic Potential in Preclinical Models of Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer. Front Oncol. 2019;9:660.

Science/Human — Cannabis may be helpful in seriously ill patients according to an online survey

According to a survey with 101 patients, of whom a majority had cancer (76%) and were older than 50 years of age (64%), most participants perceived cannabis to be important for their pain management (96%). Minority reported cannabis withdrawal symptoms (19%).

Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

Zarrabi AJ, et al. J Palliat Med. 2019 Sep 20.[in press]