30 September 2003

IACM: News at the 2nd IACM Conference on Cannabinoids in Medicine

About 120 people participated in the conference on 12-13 September at the Medical School of the University of Cologne organized by the IACM in cooperation with the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy and the Department of Anaesthesiology of the University of Cologne. The directors of both departments, Dr. Joachim Klosterkoetter and Dr. Walter Buzello participated as chairs of the reviews by Dr. Mechoulam on the neuroprotective properties on cannabinoids and by Dr. Di Marzo on the possible use of endocannabinoid-based drugs against tumour growth.

Please find online the updated reader with both lecture and poster abstracts on the IACM web site.

Some lectures presented at the meeting:

Cannabis reduces postoperative pain
Dr. Anita Holdcroft of Imperial College in London investigated the effects of a capsulated cannabis extract in post-operative pain in 57 patients with doses of 5, 10 and 15 mg THC. Relief of pain and adverse effects were dose related. Dr. Holdcroft recently started a multi-centre study with 400 patients to test a cannabis extract with 10 mg THC. (Lecture by Anita Holdcroft)

Cannabis alleviates symptoms in cancer patients
In an open study at the Lukas Clinic in Arlesheim, Switzerland, the effects of a capsulated cannabis extract were tested in 40 palliative cancer patients. Under the guidance of Dr. Silke Helwig the study intended to find out the maximally tolerated dose (MTD) to be used in a future controlled study. Based on side effects the MTD was concluded to be 0.15 mg THC/kg body weight. 24 patients noted an increase of appetite, 20 relief of pain, and 9 relief of nausea. (Lecture by Martin Schnelle)

Endocannabinoids reduce size of myocardial infarction
In an animal study researchers of Cardiff and Cambridge University, UK, found out that the endocannabinoid anandamide limits myocardial infarction. One possible mechanism of action is via interaction with either cannabinoid-1 or cannabinoid-2 receptors, but other mechanisms of action may be involved. (Lecture by Willam Ford)

Cannabis improves night vision
Inspired by reports of Jamaican and Moroccan fishermen Dr. Ethan Russo of Missoula, USA, and colleagues of Spain and Marocco investigated the effects of THC (dronabinol) and cannabis on night vision. The study examined the results of double-blinded placebo controlled THC administration in doses between 2.5 and 20 mg in one subject and in three subjects before and after smoking cannabis. In both test situations, improvements in night vision were noted after THC or cannabis. It is believed that this effect is dose-dependent and mediated by cannabinoid receptors in the retina. (Lecture by Ethan Russo)

Alleviation of neuropathic pain with CT-3
Dr. Udo Schneider and colleagues of the Medical School of Hanover tested the efficacy of CT-3, a synthetic cannabinoid, in 21 patients with chronic neuropathic pain. Pain was significantly reduced without relevant side effects. (Lecture by Udo Schneider)

THC effective in spasticity in spinal cord injury
At the REHAB in Basel 15 patients with spinal cord injury and severe spasticity underwent a double-blind placebo controlled trial with oral and rectal THC. Medium daily doses were 31 mg with the oral dose. THC resulted in a significant reduction of spasticity after a single dose of 10 mg THC and over a course of 6 weeks with individual dosing. (Lecture by Ulrike Hagenbach)

Smoked Cannabis reduces neuropathic pain in HIV
A pilot study with 16 subjects with persistent painful HIV associated peripheral neuropathy despite treatment with opioids was conducted at the University of California in San Francisco. 10 of the 16 participants experienced a more than 30% reduction in pain after seven days of treatment with smoked cannabis. A placebo-controlled trial with a target sample size of 50 subjects is under way. (Lecture by Donald Abrams)

Derivatives of cannabidiol (CBD) may be effective in inflammatory bowel disease
Analogues of CBD were tested in mice on their possible therapeutic effects in inflammatory bowel disease. CBD itself and several analogues inhibited intestinal motility. Researchers conclude that “CBD analogues devoid of central effects show therapeutic potential as anti-inflammatory drugs for the GI (gastro-inestinal) system, with application in conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel disease and Crohn’s disease.” (Lecture by Ester Fride)

Cannabinoids influence bone formation
According to research results at Hebrew University of Jerusalem endocannabinoids are involved in bone remodeling. Precursors of bone forming cells (osteoblasts) show progressive increase in CB2 but not of CB1 receptors. In addition normal mice systematically treated with the endocannabinoid 2-AG or with a specific CB2 agonist showed a dose dependent increase in bone formation. The researcher assumes that “endocannabinoids stimulate bone formation.” (Lecture by Raphael Mechoulam)

Successful use of dronabinol in children with severe neurological disorders
Eight case reports of children between 3 and 14 years of age were presented, suffering from sever neurological disorders including spasticity, dystonia (movement disorder) and seizures. They were successfully treated in private practice with dronabinol (THC). (Lecture by Ruediger Lorenz)

Further Questions to:
Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen (IACM)
Tel.: 0221-95 43 92-29
E-Mail: info@cannabis-med.org

For further informations about medical use of cannabis products please look at IACM-website.

(Vgl. Meldung vom 2003-09-30.)

Source: Reader of the IACM 2nd Conference on Cannabinoids in Medicine, Sept. 2003.

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