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IACM-Bulletin of January 7, 2001


Switzerland โ€” Study with cannabis in MS patients will be completed in spring

At the "Berner Klinik" in Montana a clinical study with anticipated 50 MS patients is conducted under the guidance of Dr. Claude Vaney, head physician of the hospital. The majority of patients have already been included in the study that is intended to be completed in spring 2001.

According to a double-blind design participants get both a capsulated cannabis extract standardized on THC and placebo capsules within the four weeks of the study. Participants suffer from confirmed multiple sclerosis with relevant spasticity, that cannot sufficiently be influenced by conventional medication such as baclofen or tizanidin.

Besides testing the efficacy of the cannabis extract on spasticity and pain it is intended to find out the most efficient doses. Several tests measuring motor abilities are performed and psychotropic effects, concentration ability and eyesight are recorded.

(Sources: Interview with C. Vaney at; personal communication M. Schnelle)

USA โ€” Unimed Pharmaceuticals to be sole marketer of Marinol

On 2 January Unimed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that effective January 1, 2001, it has become solely responsible for the marketing of Marinol capsules. Marinol(R) is the only approved synthetic form of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Marinol was first brought onto the market in 1987 for the treatment of cancer chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting. In 1992, Marinol was approved for the treatment of appetite loss and weight loss in AIDS patients.

Roxane Laboratories launched Marinol in 1987. In 1992, Unimed and Roxane Laboratories started co-promoting Marinol in the United States. The co-marketing arrangement ended on 31 December 2000.

Unimed Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in the Chicago, Illinois area is a wholly owned, independently operated subsidiary of Solvay Pharmaceuticals. Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. of Marietta, Georgia, is a member of the worldwide Solvay Group of chemical and pharmaceutical companies, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.

(Source: PR Newswire of 2 January 2001)

News in brief


The New Mexico's Drug Policy Advisory Group on 4 January released a report outlining reforms to current state and federal drug policy. It recommends allowing the use of marijuana to treat pain and suffering associated with serious illnesses and removing criminal penalties for those caught with small amounts of marijuana for personal use. The report will be reviewed by New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. State Health Secretary Alex Valdez, a member of the panel, said medical marijuana "is a compassionate tool which can help people alleviate pain and suffering." (Source: Associated Press of 5 January 2001)


A team of Nevada doctors and pharmacists has recommended that the state conduct research to determine if marijuana is effective in treating ailments such as cancer, AIDS or glaucoma. The group said the research program would allow the state to avoid a confrontation with the federal government. The recommendations are contained in the final report released on 26 December by the Nevada Medical Marijuana Initiative Work Group, formed last year after Nevada voters in 1998 passed a ballot initiative to allow medical use of marijuana. (Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal of 27 December 2000)