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IACM-Bulletin of October 1, 2000


IACM — Principles and structure of the IACM

At a first informal meeting of the IACM in Wolfsburg on 16 September the Board of Directors presented principles of the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine. It is intended to install an advisory board and a patients representative.

The principles of the IACM that have been discussed in the fore-field of the meeting are:


##The IACM supports the medicinal use of individual cannabinoids and natural cannabis.

##The commitment of the IACM is focussed on the improvement of medical treatment options.

##The IACM does not deal with other uses of the cannabis plant.


The Advisory Board will comprise scientists and other well-known persons, interested in the medicinal use of cannabis and the cannabinoids. Among them will be Antonio Zuardi (Brazil), Raphael Mechoulam (Israel), Dave Pate (The Netherlands), Robert Gorter (Germany), Tod Mikuriya (USA), Vinzenco di Marzo (Italy), Manuel Guzman (Spain), Roger Pertwee (UK), Greg Chesher (Australia), Rik Musty (USA) and others.

Among the persons interested in the patients representative are Clare Hodges, Director of the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics (UK), and Al Byrne from Patients out of Time (USA).

The IACM does not only want to encourage research efforts. It will also try to improve the treatment options for patients who may profit from cannabis products by other means. Among them are information in several languages, the development of comments and the promotion of political discussion.

The national conditions and lines of discussions vary world-wide. This became clear also on the meeting of 16 September. Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen, Chairman of the IACM: "It is not reasonable to simply transfer the experiences we made with the Association for Cannabis of Medicine in the German speech area to an international organization. New working procedures of co-operation between different initiatives, between different countries, between experts and patients are needed, that can only be developed slowly. We want to encourage this process and thereby use these different experiences."

Canada — Marijuana available from the Health Ministry within one year

Health Canada will select an official marijuana supplier over the next month or two. The supply will be available depending on "how long after that it will take them to produce the first crop," Health Minister Allan Rock said in an interview.

"And within a year, if you are granted an exemption for medical marijuana, you will be able to collect it from Health Canada. It will be clear, consistent quality." Mr. Rock said that no patient whose application showed they could benefit from marijuana has been rejected.

While the department develops its supply, Mr. Rock has appealed to police to "use discretion" when dealing with people who supply marijuana to medical users.

"And by this time next year, clinical trials will be within full swing and we will be accumulating scientific evidence about the comparative medical implications of smoking marijuana for the alleviation of symptoms. (...) The day may come when marijuana is available on pharmacists' shelves."

(Source: National Post of 25 September 2000)

USA — Patent for a cannabinoid patch

Lawrence Brooke, founder of General Hydroponics, and Cal Herrmann (both from California) have obtained a patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office for a "Cannabinoid patch and method for cannabis transdermal delivery" on September 5, 2000.

The patch is intended to deliver cannabis constituents into the bloodstream. The patent says: "The structure comprises a backing layer which carries the cannabis chemical(s). The chemicals are contained in a film on the backing layer or within a cavity formed in the backing layer. Alternatively, an opening in a secondary layer that overlies the backing layer may be used to create the cavity. The structure is applied to one's skin so that the cannabis chemicals are in contact with the skin."

"Effective gel or liquid carriers for the cannabis may include carbon tetrachloride, or ethanolic solution of resin and pyrahexyl mixed with THC. Other potential carriers include Tween 80 or petrol ether. In all cases the carrier material should be inert to the cannabis and permit easy migration of the preparation to the patient's skin."

In a test with two subjects 0.2 grams of cannabis oil and about 0,02 grams of DMSO were used. The patch was applied to the underside of the wrist of two human subjects. In about ten minutes, the soothing effect of the medication was observed. The effects were felt for four to six hours.

(Sources: Personal communication General Hydroponics, United States Patent 6.113.940)

News in brief


A report of Maine's Task Force on Medical Marijuana issued on 27 September suggests ways to distribute cannabis to sick patients. Maine voters last November approved a referendum proposal to legalize marijuana for certain medicinal uses. The report calls for a voluntary patient and caregiver registry like Washington and Oregon have. It would create a distribution system allowing eligible patients to grow small extra quantities of marijuana. It also calls for a single, non-profit centre to sell marijuana to registered patients, similar to locally approved marijuana cooperatives in California. (Source: Associated Press of 27 September 2000)


The medical use of marijuana is on the November ballot in Colorado and Nevada. Nevada's Question 9 would let doctors prescribe marijuana for severe illness and pain. Nevada voters approved medical marijuana by 59 percent in 1998, but adding it to the state's constitution requires another "yes" vote on 7 November. A recent Las Vegas Review-Journal poll found 63 percent of likely voters backed the measure. According to a recent poll in Colorado by the Denver Rocky Mountain News found 71 percent of registered voters to favour the measure. (Source: Associated Press of 28 September 2000).


A multiple sclerosis sufferer was cleared of illegally possessing cannabis after telling a court that she needed to use the drug to relieve the symptoms of her disease. 36-year-old Lezley Gibson of Alston, Cumbria, was found not guilty. During the four-day trial the jury heard police raided her home in August of last year where they found eight grams of cannabis. (Source: PA News of 28 September 2000)