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IACM-Bulletin of 03 September 2000

USA: Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California

Physicians at the San Francisco and San Diego campuses of the University of California announced on 29 August that they will set up a scientific research centre to study the medical uses and effects of marijuana. The new Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, which is to be established in San Diego, will start off with $3 million in state money for its first year, the doctors said.

The money will support grants for well-controlled studies seeking to determine whether the weed is safe and effective in relieving the distressing side effects of powerful AIDS drugs and cancer chemotherapy agents. One of the co-directors of the centre will be Dr. Donald Abrams, professor of medicine at the University of California in San Francisco.

According to Abrams, the first research grants will not only focus on the possible use of the drug in cancer and AIDS patients, but also for relieving spasticity and tremors in patients with multiple sclerosis. The marijuana supplies for researchers will come from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

(Source: San Francisco Chronicle of 30 August 2000)

Science: THC derivative CT-3 safe in Phase I clinical trial

A Phase I clinical trial of CT-3 found that it was safe in humans. CT-3 is a synthetic derivate of the main non-psychoactive metabolite (THC-11-oic acid) of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

The human trial was conducted at the Aster Clinical Research Center in Paris, France, after Atlantic received approval for an IND from the United States Food and Drug Administration for clinical trials. The study was designed to test whether CT-3 produced any psychogenic effects on patients at three different dose levels.

Atlantic is developing CT-3 as an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Preliminary cellular and animal studies have shown that CT-3 demonstrates analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties at microgram doses without central nervous system or gastrointestinal side effects. This makes the compound an attractive development candidate as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent with the potential to overcome the major side effects of current anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and indomethacin.

"The drug caused no adverse events and blood levels were right where we want them. This outcome predicts that the drug will safely and effectively relieve pain in patients," Dr. Joseph Rudick of Atlantic said. With the successful completion of Phase I studies in France this summer, Atlantic plans to conduct Phase I/II studies for pain and inflammation in the United States.

(Source: PRNewswire of 28 August 2000)

USA: Supreme Court stops marijuana distribution in California

On 29 August the U.S. highest court issued a stay of an order by federal judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco that would have allowed the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative to distribute the drug for medicinal purposes. The court voted 7-1 to grant an emergency Clinton administration request and postpone the effect of Breyer's ruling.

In California, medical marijuana advocates were unimpressed. "This is just a small bump in the road," said Jeff Jones, director of the Oakland group. "The real story here is that the court will review our case. We're confident our argument will prevail."

On 17 July U.S. District Court Judge Breyer told the club it could serve sick people, such as AIDS and cancer patients, who would suffer "imminent harm" if they do not get cannabis. Breyer ruled the Oakland cooperative could dispense marijuana to patients who have serious medical conditions.

The Supreme Court put Breyer's order on hold, pending final disposition of an appeal before the U.S. appeals court in California and further order by the justices. Justice John Paul Stevens was the lone dissenter. He said the Justice Department had "failed to demonstrate that the denial of necessary medicine to seriously ill and dying patients will advance the public interest."

(Sources: Reuters of 29 and 30 August 2000, AP of 29 August 2000)

News in brief

The 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, indicated that marijuana use increased for adults ages 18-25 from 13.8 percent in 1998 to 16.4 percent in 1999 and that marijuana decreased for youths aged 12-17 from 8.3 percent in 1998 to 7.0 percent in 1999. (Source: NORML of 31 August 2000)

Still two weeks until the meeting of the IACM at the Bioresource Hemp 2000 in Wolfsburg.

A glimpse @ the past

One year ago

Two years ago

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