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IACM-Bulletin of September 4, 2016


Science/Human — Cannabis may be useful in adults with epilepsy according to a survey

The use of cannabis may improve seizure control in adult patients with epilepsy. Scientists of the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences of Western University in London, Ontario, Canada, published a survey with 292 patients suffering from epileptic seizures, from psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES), and with both epileptic and PNES. Their age ranged from 27 to 49 years, and 57.2% were women. Epilepsy was documented in 190, PNES in 64, and both types of seizures in 26.

Overall, 166 (57%) had tried cannabis, and 36.2% used it over the past year. Improvement in seizures was perceived by 84% in those with epilepsy and 72.7% in those with PNES. In the 2 groups, stress was decreased in 84.9% and 88%, sleep improved in 77.3% and 88%, and memory/concentration was better in 32% and 28%, respectively. Antiepileptic drug side effects were decreased in 53.2% of cannabis users. Authors wrote that “patients with uncontrolled epilepsy or nonepileptic events had a high rate of marijuana use with associated perceived improvements in seizure control, stress, sleep, and drug side effects.”

Massot-Tarrús A, McLachlan RS. Marijuana use in adults admitted to a Canadian epilepsy monitoring unit. Epilepsy Behav. 2016;63:73-78.

Science/Human — Tetrahydrocannabivarin may be beneficial in typ 2 diabetes according to a clinical study

The plant cannabinoid THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) decreases glucose levels and may have further beneficial effects in patients with type 2 diabetes. This is the result of research by scientists from Nottingham, London and Oxford in the UK, published in Diabetes Care. They included 62 patients with noninsulin-treated type 2 diabetes in a placebo-controlled study with CBD (100 mg twice daily), THCV (5 mg twice daily), a combination of CBD and THCV (5 mg of both cannabinoids twice daily), and a 20:1 ratio of CBD and THCV (100 mg/5 mg, twice daily).

Compared with placebo, THCV significantly decreased fasting plasma glucose and improved the function of cells in the pancreas, which are responsible for insulin production (HOMA2 beta-cell function). It also improved the values for adiponectin and apolipoprotein A. There was no difference between CBD and placebo. None of the combination treatments had a significant impact on end points. CBD and THCV were well tolerated. Authors concluded that “THCV could represent a new therapeutic agent in glycemic control in subjects with type 2 diabetes.”

Jadoon KA, Ratcliffe SH, Barrett DA, Thomas EL, Stott C, Bell JD, O'Sullivan SE, Tan GD. Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabivarin on Glycemic and Lipid Parameters in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel Group Pilot Study. Diabetes Care. 2016 Aug 29. [in press]

News in brief

Science/Human — THC was effective in symptoms after stroke in a case report

Brain lesions can be a rare cause of difficult to treat psychiatric symptoms. Scientists presented a case of a obsessive-compulsive syndrome after infarct of the thalamus, a certain brain region, which improved by treatment with THC.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago, USA.

Cooper JJ, et al. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2016 Aug 19. [in press]

Science/Human — Cannabis improved symptoms of Tourette syndrome

In a man with treatment-resistant Tourette syndrome the cannabis extract Sativex significantly improved symptoms.

Department of Psychiatry, Tauranga Hospital, New Zealand.

Trainor D, et al. Australas Psychiatry. 2016 Aug 24. [in press]

USA — Cannabis use increased in the past decade

Over 13% of adults surveyed in 2014 said they'd used cannabis in the previous year, up from roughly 10% in 2002. Also, daily or near daily use -- five days or more a week -- rose from less than 2% to almost 4% of adults during that time period.

UPI of 31 August 2016

Thailand — The government considers medical access to cannabis

A new movement by both government and private organizations may lead to the decriminalization of cannabis in the near future for its pain-relieving benefits. At a public forum on 22 August about the possible decriminalization, four agencies all agreed that cannabis should be pulled from the list of illegal Category 5 drugs.

Pattaya One of 24 August 2016

New Zealand — Increasing support for the medical use of cannabis

A new poll by UMR shows increased support for medicinal cannabis law reform, including strong support for treating it as a herbal remedy. The previous UMR poll in January 2016 found 72% support – this has now risen to 76% in August.

Scoop Politics of 29 August 2016

Science/Human — The use of cannabis had no negative effect on the treatment of hepatitis C

In a study with 1952 patients the use of cannabis by 15% of participants had no effect on the treatment of hepatitis C with antiviral drugs.

The Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

Grebely J, et al. Clin Infect Dis. 2016 Aug 23. [in press]

Science/Human — Cannabis users are less obese

In a study using data of the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (13,038 participants in wave III and 13,972 in wave IV) scientists demonstrated that female cannabis users had a lower body mass index (BMI) of about 3.1% compared to non-users, and male users had 2.7% lower BMI compared to controls.

Department of Sociology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, USA.

Beulaygue IC & French MT. J Ment Health Policy Econ. 2016;19(3):123-40.

Science/Human — Epidemiological study supports the theory that patients with depression self-medicate with cannabis

A study with nearly 10,000 people analyzed the association between cannabis use and depression. Authors summarized that “the results not only support the Self-Medication Model for marijuana use but also provide modest support for the Stress Model, that substance use is associated with depressive symptoms, especially for females.”

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.

Wilkinson AL, et al. J Adolesc Health. 2016 Aug 23. [in press]

Science/Human — Continuation of cannabis use after onset of psychosis is associated with worse outcome

In a study with 256 patients with a first episode of psychosis, who were followed for two years, those who were regular cannabis users before onset of the disease, had the best disease development, if they stopped cannabis use. Those, who continued use had a higher rate of relapse.

Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, UK.

Schoeler T, et al. Lancet Psychiatry. 2016 Aug 23. [in press]

Science/Animal — A compound of annona crassiflora binds to the peripheral CB1 receptor

Peltatoside, a compound of annona crassiflora, a plant native in Brazil and Paraguay, which is known under the name of Marolo, binds to the peripheral CB1 receptor. In a study with mice the substance reduced pain.

Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Oliveira CD, et al. Planta Med. 2016 Aug 30. [in press]

Science/Animal — Palimtoyl serotonin could be useful in Parkinson’s disease

Palimtoyl serotonin, an antagonist of FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase), reduces dyskinesia, certain form of movement disorders, in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. Since FAAH is responsible for the degradation of endocannabinoids, palimtoyl serotonin may increase endocannabinoid level.

Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Daejeon, Korea.

Park HY, et al. Exp Neurobiol. 2016;25(4):174-84.

Science/Animal — Activation of the CB2 receptor may treat an eye disease (proliferative vitreoretinopathy)

Proliferative vitreoretinopathy can develop after trauma or inflammation of the eye and is a common complication of surgery to correct retinal detachment. Scientists demonstrated in mice that the activation of the CB2 receptor may be of therapeutic value to prevent progression of proliferative vitreoretinopathy and vision loss.

Departments of Pharmacology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.

Szczesniak AM, et al. Neuropharmacology. 2016 Aug. 25. [in press]

Science/Animal — A combination of THC and CBD may be helpful in Alzheimer’s disease

In a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease a combination of THC and CBD improved memory impairment, even in advanced stages.

Universitat de Barcelona, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain.

Aso E, et al. J Alzheimers Dis. 2016 Aug 10. [in press]

Science/Animal — Activation of the CB2 receptor may protect from hearing loss caused by cisplatin

In a study with rats the number of CB2 receptors increased in the cochlea of the ear after damage to the ear such as use of cisplatin, a chemotherapeutic agent, which may cause hearing loss. Authors note that activation of the CB2 receptor may prevent hearing loss after such damage.

Universitary Hospital Puerta de Hierro Majadahonda, Madrid, Spain.

Martín-Saldaña S, et al. PLoS One. 2016;11(8):e0161954

Science/Cells — A synthetic cannabinoid showed blood-thinning effects

The cannabinoid WIN 55,212-2 showed a “receptor-independent anticoagulatory action.”

Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology, Rostock University Medical Center, Germany.

Scholl A, et al. Oncotarget. 2016 Aug 18. [in press]

Science/Animal — FABP1 is the major protein, which binds cannabinoids in the liver

Since cannabinoids are not easily soluble in blood they usually bind to certain proteins (FABP, fatty acid binding proteins). In the liver the most important is FABP1.

Texas A&M University, College Station, USA.

Huang H, et al. Biochemistry. 2016 Aug 23. [in press]

Science/Animal — Antagonism at the CB1 receptor may ameliorate essential tremor

A substance (AM251), which blocks the CB1 receptor, improved symptoms in a rat model of essential tremor.

Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Iran.

Abbassian H, et al. Br J Pharmacol. 2016 Aug 21. [in press]