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IACM-Bulletin of 19 March 2017

Science/Human: The medical use of cannabis could decrease prescription opiate abuse

Medical cannabis use is highly under-researched, according to researchers of the University of New Mexico and their recent findings suggest that it could actually help to battle addiction. Professors Jacob Vigil and Sara Stith, along with pain specialist Dr Anthony Reeve, presented their research on how the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program has affected prescription opioid use in patients with chronic pain on 3 March.

Vigil said the Medical Cannabis Program is unprecedented because patients manage their own care, since doctors can’t prescribe doses of cannabis, only authorize patients to obtain it. The study compared prescription opioid use in Reeve’s patients who were enrolled in the medical cannabis program and his patients who were not enrolled over an 18 month period, Stith said. Their research found a 31 percent reduction in opioid use after 18 months in patients, who used cannabis, and a slight increase in opioid use in the control group.

Daily Lobo.com of 3 March 2017

Germany: Law on the medical use of cannabis went into effect

A law, which allows the prescription of cannabis flowers by every doctor, went into effect on 10 March. If standard medications do not work sufficiently, health insurances will have to pay for a treatment with cannabis flowers, cannabis extracts as well as cannabis-based medicines such as the cannabis extract Sativex, dronabinol and nabilone. The law does not limit the possibility to prescribe cannabis and cannabis-based medicines to certain illnesses.

State-supervised cannabis plantations will be set up in Germany in the future and until then cannabis will be imported, currently from the Netherlands and Canada. The health ministry said that it is expected that cannabis from Germany will not be available in pharmacies before 2019. Patients, who are trying to get a cannabis treatment in an increasing number now, are faced with several obstacles. Many doctors are not educated on the issue and remain observant or are sceptical, prices of cannabis flowers in most pharmacies have risen, and covering of costs by health insurances is often unsure. Two conferences, which can educate doctors, are planned on 13 May in Frankfurt by the German ACM together with the medical association of Hessen and on 29-30 September in Cologne by the IACM.

”Cannabis und Cannabinoide als Medizin”, 13 May in Frankfurt

”IACM 9th Conference on Cannabinoids in Medicine”, 29-30 September in Cologne

News in brief

Science: Proceedings from the 26th Annual Symposium of the ICRS 2016 now available in CCR
Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research published the Proceedings from the 26th Annual Symposium of the International Cannabinoid Research Society: June 26–July 1, 2016. Another article in CCR by Stampanoni Bassi M, et al. discusses the use of Cannabinoids in Parkinson's Disease.

Philippines: Parliament wants to legalize the medical use of cannabis
While Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines, is fighting a bloody war on drug dealers ignoring basic human rights, a committee of the Philippine House of Representatives took a step towards the medical use of cannabis. Filipino lawmakers have decided to keep medical cannabis patients out of the ongoing massacre. The bill establishes a set of rules for medical cannabis regulation, which includes among others the designations to qualify as a medical cannabis patient with a government-issued identification card.
San Francisco Chronicle of 9 March 2017

The Netherlands: Bedrocan becomes the world's first high standard approved medicinal cannabis producer
Following a rigorous inspection by the Dutch health authorities, Bedrocan in the Netherlands has become the world's first producer of medicinal cannabis to be compliant with the EURopean Medicines Agency's good manufacturing practice (GMP) standards. This is the first time a medicinal cannabis producer has reached such a high level of compliance with requirements for medicinal drugs.
Press release by Bedrocan of 23 January 2017

Israel: Government wants to decriminalize the use of cannabis
The Israeli government voted on 5 March in favour of decriminalizing recreational cannabis use. According to the new policy, which must still be ratified by parliament, people caught smoking cannabis would get a fine rather than be arrested and prosecuted. Criminal procedures would be launched only against those caught repeatedly with the drug.
Reuters of 5 March 2017

Science/Human: An inhibitor of FAAH did not influence pain in patients with chronic prostatitis
In a study with 239 patients suffering from chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome participants received ASP3652, an inhibitor of FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase), in different doses from 50 mg up to 600 mg daily or a placebo. Reduction of pain did not differ between placebo and ASP3652. However, the number of daily voidings was significantly reduced by high doses the FAAH inhibitor.
Clinic for Urology, Pediatric Urology and Andrology, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany.
Wagenlehner FM, et al. Urology. 2017 Feb 27. [in press]

Science/Human: Palmitoylethanolamide moderately effective in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome
In a placebo controlled study with 61 patients with a diagnosis of a low and moderate carpal tunnel syndrome the endocannabinoid palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) was moderately effective. Patients received either placebo or two times 300 mg PEA. There was no improvement of pain on a visual analogue scale, but some improvement in a questionnaire on carpal tunnel syndrome.
Hospital Sant Rafael, Barcelona, Spain.
Faig-Martí J, et al. J Orthop Traumatol. 2017 Mar 15. [in press]

Science/Animal: Exercise and diet influence endocannabinoid levels in the brain
In rats, 12 weeks of training for half an hour induced a significant increase of the level of the endocannabinoid 2-AG in the hypothalamus, a certain brain region. A diet high in fat increased the levels of the CB1 receptor in another brain region, the hippocampus.
Université Lille Nord de France, France.
Gamelin FX, et al. J Physiol Biochem. 2017 Mar 10. [in press]

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