European rating of drug harms.

“The present paper describes the results of a rating study performed by a group of European Union (EU) drug experts using the multi-criteria decision analysis model for evaluating drug harms.

Alcohol, heroin and crack emerged as the most harmful drugs (overall weighted harm score 72, 55 and 50, respectively). The remaining drugs had an overall weighted harm score of 38 or less, making them much less harmful than alcohol.

The outcome of this study shows that the previous national rankings based on the relative harms of different drugs are endorsed throughout the EU.

The results indicates that EU and national drug policy measures should focus on drugs with the highest overall harm, including alcohol and tobacco, whereas drugs such as cannabis and ecstasy should be given lower priority including a lower legal classification.”

A safer alternative: Cannabis substitution as harm reduction.

“Harm reduction is a set of strategies that aim to minimise problems associated with drug use while recognising that for some users, abstinence may be neither a realistic nor a desirable goal.

In this paper, we aim for deeper understandings of older adult cannabis users’ beliefs and substitution practices as part of the harm reduction framework..

Study participants described using cannabis as a safer alternative for alcohol, illicit drugs and pharmaceuticals based on their perceptions of less adverse side effects, low-risk for addiction and greater effectiveness at relieving symptoms, such as chronic pain.

Cannabis substitution can be an effective harm reduction method for those who are unable or unwilling to stop using drugs completely.”


Role of CB2 receptors in social and aggressive behavior in male mice.

“This study was designed to examine the role of cannabinoid CB2r in social and aggressive behavior…

Our results suggest that CB2r is implicated in social interaction and aggressive behavior and deserves further consideration as a potential new target for the management of aggression.”

Differential role of cannabinoids in the pathogenesis of skin cancer.

“Cannabinoids (CB) like ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can induce cancer cell apoptosis and inhibit angiogenesis.

Here we investigated the role of exogenous and endogenous cannabinoids in mouse skin cancer.

THC significantly inhibited tumor growth of transplanted HCmel12 melanomas in a CB receptor-dependent manner in vivo through antagonistic effects on its characteristic pro-inflammatory microenvironment.

Our results confirm the value of exogenous cannabinoids for the treatment of melanoma…”

Israeli-American Team Hopes to Cure Diabetes With Cannabis

israel diabetes

“An American-Israeli biotech team is taking cannabis research to the next level by developing novel therapies using cannabis extract to treat diabetes, inflammatory conditions, chronic pain and cardiovascular disease.

ISA Scientific just signed a deal with Yissum, the technology-transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Hadasit, the technology-transfer company of the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem, and the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research (KIR) in the United Kingdom to help bring the drugs to market.

All the credit for the idea, however, goes to a Hebrew University researcher who has worked on idea for years.

“Raphael Mechoulam deserves all the credit for this,” fellow researcher Chaim Lotan of Hadassah University Medical Center said.

Mechoulam discovered that cannabidiol (CBD) receptors existed not only in the brain but in other tissues found throughout the body.

Knowing this, he then went to work finding a way to alter cannabinoids to work on certain areas of the body.

“He synthesized a whole ‘family’ of cannabinoids, and therefore with some changes in molecular structure you can tailor cannabinoids to different receptors,” Lotan said.

Lotan, a cardiologist, helped work on making a drug for the heart.

“My role was only the cardiac part,” he explained “but we may see effects in other organs as well since we found so many receptors.”

The team is now ready for Phase 2 trials of the drug for diabetes and chronic pain and is hopeful that the drug, which has now psychoactive properties at all, will ultimately provide a solution that may not only manage diabetes but perhaps even cure the widespread disease.

“Unlike insulin and other existing medications for diabetes, CBD may actually suppress, reverse and perhaps cure the disease,” ISA Scientific Chief Executive Officer Mark J. Rosenfeld said. “So, the therapeutic alternatives offered by cannabis chemistry could go far in helping to resolve conditions responsible for a huge public health crisis in China and elsewhere.””

Inhaled cannabis reduces pain in diabetic peripheral neuropathy patients, study suggests

“A small study finds that inhaling cannabis could demonstrate a dose-dependent pain reduction in patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

Researchers at the University of California, United States conducted a study in which 16 patients with painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy were given placebo, or single doses of cannabis.

These doses were either low (one per cent tetrahydrocannibinol, THC), medium (four per cent THC) or high (seven per cent THC).

Tests were first performed on baseline spontaneous pain, evoked pain and cognitive function. Subsequently, participants either inhaled the cannabis or placebo, with measurements of pain intensity and cognitive function assessed over a three-hour period.

The higher the content of THC participants inhaled, the less pain they felt. The high dose of THC had a significant effect when researchers evoked pain using foam brush and von Frey.

These are tools used to test neuropathic pain in patients – von Frey are a set of filaments that test the pain of a patients by pushing against the skin to assess when the sensation becomes painful.

Patients on the high dose of THC showed impaired performance on the neuropsychological tests, but researchers concluded the pain reduction of patients adds further evidence on the efficacy of cannabis in treating diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

The results of this study were published in the Journal of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacology.

Earlier this month, the CBD compound in cannabis was reported by researchers as a potential treatment for diabetes.”,-study-suggests-95680845.html

“Efficacy of Inhaled Cannabis on Painful Diabetic Neuropathy.”

The Antitumor Activity of Plant-Derived Non-Psychoactive Cannabinoids.

“As a therapeutic agent, most people are familiar with the palliative effects of the primary psychoactive constituent of Cannabis sativa (CS), Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a molecule active at both the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptor subtypes.

Through the activation primarily of CB1 receptors in the central nervous system, THC can reduce nausea, emesis and pain in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

During the last decade, however, several studies have now shown that CB1 and CB2 receptor agonists can act as direct antitumor agents in a variety of aggressive cancers.

In addition to THC, there are many other cannabinoids found in CS, and a majority produces little to no psychoactivity due to the inability to activate cannabinoid receptors.

For example, the second most abundant cannabinoid in CS is the non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD). Using animal models, CBD has been shown to inhibit the progression of many types of cancer including glioblastoma (GBM), breast, lung, prostate and colon cancer.

This review will center on mechanisms by which CBD, and other plant-derived cannabinoids inefficient at activating cannabinoid receptors, inhibit tumor cell viability, invasion, metastasis, angiogenesis, and the stem-like potential of cancer cells.

We will also discuss the ability of non-psychoactive cannabinoids to induce autophagy and apoptotic-mediated cancer cell death, and enhance the activity of first-line agents commonly used in cancer treatment.”

Critical Role of Mast Cells and Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor γ in the Induction of Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells by Marijuana Cannabidiol In Vivo.

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural nonpsychotropic cannabinoid from marijuana (Cannabis sativa) with anti-epileptic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Effect of CBD on naive immune system is not precisely understood. In this study, we observed that administering CBD into naive mice triggers robust induction of CD11b+Gr-1+ myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) in the peritoneum, which expressed functional arginase 1, and potently suppressed T cell proliferation ex vivo…

Together, the results suggest that CBD may induce activation of PPAR-γ in mast cells leading to secretion of G-CSF and consequent MDSC mobilization.

CBD being a major component of Cannabis, our study indicates that marijuana may modulate or dysregulate the immune system by mobilizing MDSC.”

The critical role of spinal 5-HT7 receptors in opioid and non-opioid type stress-induced analgesia.

“The opioid and non-opioid types of stress-induced analgesia have been well defined. One of the non-opioid type involve the endocannabinoid system.

We previously reported that the spinal serotonin 7 receptor (5-HT7) blockers inhibit both morphine and cannabinoid-induced analgesia, thus we hypothesized that descending serotonergic pathways-spinal 5-HT7 receptor loop might contribute to stress-induced analgesia…

These results indicate that descending serotonergic pathways and the spinal 5-HT7 receptor loop play a crucial role in mediating both opioid and non-opioid type stress-induced analgesia.”

Endocannabinoids regulate the activity of astrocytic hemichannels and the microglial response against an injury: In vivo studies.

“Anandamide (AEA) is an endocannabinoid (EC) that modulates multiple functions in the CNS and that is released in areas of injury, exerting putative neuroprotective actions.

In the present study, we have used intravital microscopy to analyze the role of the EC system in the glial response against an acute insult…

In summary, these findings demonstrate that AEA modifies glial functions by promoting an enhanced pro-inflammatory glial response in the brain.”