Observing the world of cannabis
California: Schwarzenegger again vetoes industrial hemp bill
California: Last Thursday Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the Industrial Hemp Farming act again, even though the bill's authors said they had redrafted the legislation from last year's version to address the governor's concerns. The bill authorizes farmers in four counties to grow plots of nonpsychoactive hemp as a pilot project, but has no effect on federal legislation. In a statement on his Web site, Schwarzenegger said, "I would like to support the expansion of a new agricultural commodity in this State.
"Unfortunately, I am very concerned that this bill would give legitimate growers a false sense of security and a belief that production of 'industrial hemp' is somehow a legal activity under federal law." The redrafted bill permits farmers only in King, Imperial, Yolo and Mendocino counties to grow hemp in plots from 1 to 5 acres, using seeds grown in California or lawfully imported. In addition, laboratories registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration must sample and test the crop to ensure the plants
contain less than 0.3 per cent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
October 29th 2007
UK: Mental illness rate soars among users of cannabis. A dramatic increase in mental illness cases among cannabis users has intensified pressure on Labour to end its "soft" drugs policy. In some parts of the country, the number of people suffering from
mental and behavioural disorders caused by cannabis use has risen tenfold. The number of adults admitted to hospital as a result of cannabis use is up by 73 per cent, from 430 a decade ago to 743 last year. The areas with the highest number of hospital admissions were Manchester, London, Cheshire and Merseyside.
The increase is blamed on people smoking the highly potent "skunk" variety of the drug.
The Forensic Science Service says the stronger skunk cannabis accounts for 75 per cent of all cannabis seized. In the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Strategic Health Authority area, cases of mental disorders due to use of cannabis have increased by more than 1,000 per cent, from two in 1996 to 23 last year. Statistics from the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse show that more than 24,500 people are in drug-treatment programmes for cannabis use, the highest figure ever. Cannabis misuse accounts for 75 per cent of under-18s who require treatment for drug use. The current number of youngsters in treatment for cannabis abuse is 11,582, more than double the total in 2005, while more adults - 13,087 - are in drug treatment programmes for cannabis abuse than for crack or cocaine.
Science: Cannabis extract effective without development of tolerance in 2-year trial. According to a British study on patients with multiple sclerosis, who suffered from neuropathic pain, a cannabis spray (Sativex) maintained its efficacy in reducing pain over the whole period of two years. Following a five-week controlled study, which was
completed by 64 patients, who either received the cannabis extract Sativex or a placebo, 63 patients entered an open-label extension study. The mean duration of the open-label treatment was 463 days. 34 patients completed more than one year and
28 completed the whole study (range: 701-917 days). 17 patients withdrew due to adverse effects of the study medication. The mean pain score for all patients at entry into the initial short term controlled trial was 6.5. Mean pain scores in the final week of the acute study was 3.8 in the group receiving cannabis and 5.0 in the placebo group. In the 28 patients who completed the 2-year follow up the mean pain score in the final week of treatment was 2.9. 92 per cent of patients experienced at least one adverse effect, which were usually mild to moderate. There were two serious adverse effects, one cardiac arrhythmia and one collapse, which occured in the same patient and needed hospitalisation. Researchers concluded that the cannabis extract was effective without development of tolerance to the pain-relieving effects of the drug over an extended period of time without the necessity to increase the dose of the drug.
Science: DepressionIn an animal model for depression a synthetic cannabinoid (WIN55,212-2) showed anti-depressant effects. This effect was CB1-receptor dependent and mediated by the serotonin receptor (5-HT-receptor). (Source: Bambico FR, et al. J
Science: Protection of the heart. In experimental studies it was observed that cannabinoids protect the heart during decreased blood and oxygen supply.
CB1-receptors are present mainly on endothelial cells in the heart, and exert their protective effects through production of nitric oxide. In contrast, CB2-receptors present on heart cells exert a protective effect independent of this endothelial factor. (Source: Lepicier P, et al. Life Sci, 24 Sep 2007; [Electronic
publication ahead of print])
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