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Subject: [en2] IACM-Bulletin of 12 September 2010
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IACM-Bulletin of 12 September 2010
***Conference in September 2011***
The next IACM Conference on Cannabinoids in Medicine will be
held from 8 to 10 September 2011 in cooperation with the
European Workshop on Cannabinoids at the University of Bonn.
The conference will start on Thursday afternoon (8 September)
and end with an evening dinner on Saturday (10 September). The
conference website for registration and submission of abstracts
with a preliminary program will be online by November 2010. The
deadline for the submission of abstracts will be 31 May 2011.
Registration fees will be 240 Euros (reduced to 180 Euros for
* Israel: Health Ministry authorizes five more doctors to prescribe
* Science: Smoked cannabis effective in chronic neuropathic pain
* Canada: Cannabis extract Sativex approved for the treatment of
spasticity due to multiple sclerosis
Israel: Health Ministry authorizes five more doctors to prescribe
On 5 September the Health Ministry authorized doctors from five
Israeli different hospitals to prescribe cannabis to patients
suffering from chronic pain and other severe diseases. So far,
there was only one doctor allowed to prescribe cannabis. The
ministry is launching a pilot program meant to increase the number
of doctors allowed to prescribe cannabis for medicinal purposes.
The ministry estimates that in 2010 there will be an increase of 66
percent in the permits for cannabis, allowing treatment for about
5000 patients. In future, the ministry expects tens of thousands of
patients to be treated with cannabis.
Most prescriptions for cannabis are given to patients suffering
from chronic pain, including patients with fibromyalgia and cancer,
but also to patients with HIV/AIDS, neurological disorders,
multiple sclerosis, asthma and glaucoma, as well as to veterans
suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Until now, 14 Israeli
farms have been given permits to grow cannabis legally for
medicinal use, but only three are currently operating. The health
ministry recently approved a monthly fee of 360 Shekels (about 75
Euros, about 95 US Dollars) per cannabis user to cover growing
expenses. Israel is obligated by international treaty to establish a
government agency regulating the distribution of cannabis for
medicinal purposes, but has not done so.
(Source: Haaretz of 5 September 2010)
Science: Smoked cannabis effective in chronic neuropathic pain
A clinical study was conducted at McGill University in Montreal,
Canada, with 23 patients suffering from neuropathic pain caused
by trauma or surgery. They were randomly assigned to receive
cannabis at four potencies (0, 2.5, 6 and 9.4 per cent THC) over
four 14-day periods in a crossover trial. Participants inhaled a
single dose through a pipe three times daily for the first five days
in each cycle, followed by nine-days without treatment. Daily
average pain intensity was measured using a scale from 0 to 10.
"This is the first trial to be conducted where patients have been
allowed to smoke cannabis at home and to monitor their
responses, daily," said Dr. Mark Ware, lead author of the study.
Of the 23 participants 21 completed the trial. The average daily
pain intensity was significantly reduced by the cannabis of highest
potency compared to placebo cannabis (5.4 and 6.1). Preparations
with intermediate potency yielded intermediate but non-significant
degrees of relief. Participants receiving cannabis with 9.4 per cent
THC also reported significantly improved ability to fall asleep and
improved quality of sleep. There were no differences in mood or
quality of life. Researchers concluded that "a single inhalation of
25 mg of 9.4% tetrahydrocannabinol herbal cannabis three times
daily for five days reduced the intensity of pain, improved sleep
and was well tolerated."
The complete study is available at:
(Sources: Reuters of 30 August 2010; Canadian Press of 29
August 2010; Ware MA, Wang T, Shapiro S, Robinson A,
Ducruet T, Huynh T, Gamsa A, Bennett GJ, Collet JP. Smoked
cannabis for chronic neuropathic pain: a randomized controlled
trial. CMAJ. 2010 Aug 30. [in press])
Canada: Cannabis extract Sativex approved for the treatment of
spasticity due to multiple sclerosis
According to a press release of 31August by GW
Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Sativex, a cannabis extract
containing equal amounts of THC and CBD, the Health Ministry
approved the extract for the treatment of spasticity in patients
suffering from multiple sclerosis. Canada is the third country after
the UK and Spain to approve Sativex for this indication.
"Sativex is useful as adjunctive treatment for symptomatic relief
of spasticity in adult patients with MS who have not responded
adequately to other therapy and who demonstrate meaningful
improvement during an initial trial of therapy," the company said.
In addition to this new approval, Sativex is available in Canada for
the symptomatic relief of neuropathic pain in adult patients with
multiple sclerosis since 2005 and as adjunctive analgesic treatment
in adult patients with advanced cancer who experience moderate
to severe constant pain despite the highest tolerated dose of
strong opioids since 2007.
(Source: Press release by GW Pharmaceuticals of 31 August
News in brief
At the Columbia University in New York, USA, 7 HIV-positive
patients who regularly used cannabis received THC (dronabinol)
in a placebo-controlled cross-over study. In two 16-day periods
they received either 10 mg THC four times a day or placebo.
THC increased caloric intake and sleep quality in the initial 8 days
of dosing. THC's mood-enhancing effects were sustained across
the 16 days. Researchers concluded that "selective tolerance"
was observed to the appetite and sleep enhancing effects.
(Source: Bedi G, et al. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010 Sep 8.
***Science: Ecstasy and THC
Scientists of the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands,
investigated differences between the effects of inhaled THC in
combination with ecstasy (MDMA) and of both drugs alone in 16
healthy volunteers. THC was administered by a vaporizer. Co-
administration of THC with MDMA increased desired subjective
drug effects and drug strength compared with ecstasy alone,
which according to the authors may explain wide-spread
combined use. (Source: Dumont G, et al. J Psychopharmacol.
2010 Sep 3. [in press])
According to research at Fukuoka University, Japan, animals who
received a high-fat diet for three days preferred a high-fat diet
thereafter. This effect was mediated by the CB1 receptor. The
concentration of the endocannabinoid 2-AG was increased in the
hypothalamus after three days of high-fat diet. (Source: Higuchi S,
et al. Behav Brain Res. 2010 Sep 1. [in press])
***Science: Widening of the arteries
According to research at a university in Madrid, Spain, the
synthetic cannabinoid methanandamide caused relaxation of the
aorta in rats and this effect was mediated by CB1 and CB2
receptors. Further investigation showed that NO (nitric oxide) and
cytochrome P450 enzymes are involved in this relaxation of this
artery. (Source: López-Miranda V, et al. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther.
2010 Sep 4. [in press])
According to research at the Medical College of Georgia in
Augusta, USA, cannabidiol (CBD) protects nerves of the retina.
This was in part due to the prevention of glutamate accumulation
by action on responsible enzymes. (Source: El-Remessy AB, et al.
Mol Vis 2010;16:1487-95.)
International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM)
Am Mildenweg 6
Phone: +49 (0)2952-9708571
Fax: +49 (0)2952-902651
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