This Week in the ASAM Weekly
Not often do we lead with a study of a first-in-class pharmacotherapy, especially one that treats cannabis use disorder. Known as a signaling-specific inhibitor of the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1-SSi), this new drug works by selectively targeting only a subset of intracellular processes resulting in a therapeutic that can reduce the use and subjective effects of cannabis while having minimal side effects and without precipitating withdrawal (Nature Medicine). The results of the phase 2a trial are promising.
Although the burden of alcohol use is well-known globally, many of the studies linking alcohol consumption with various diseases have been conducted in Western populations. A study using data from the China Kadoorie Biobank has not only confirmed most of the known associations, but has also identified 33 additional alcohol-associated diseases in Chinese men not previously identified by the WHO (Nature Medicine). The additional genetic analysis adds an interesting consideration for causation.
We also have several brief publications to consider. A perspective from the New England Journal of Medicine focuses our attention on the role of fentanyl test strips, the sphere of FDA authorization, and how both could innovate future harm-reduction strategies. A research letter from JAMA Health Forum demonstrates how New Jersey’s large-scale decarceration during the pandemic did not result in increased SUD-related acute care or overdose death. Also, an opinion piece from Yahoo Life critiques Kentucky’s plan to research ibogaine as a future treatment of opioid use disorder when not nearly enough is being spent to fund treatments already known to work today.
Lastly, there is a must-read commentary from the Journal of Addiction Medicine. Overturning Roe v. Wade has created many harms in the delivery of healthcare with a disproportionate impact on individuals who use substances. Addiction specialists can help by asking, advocating, and informing.
Thanks for reading,
Nicholas Athanasiou, MD, MBA, DFASAM
Editor in Chief
with Co-Editors: Brandon Aden, MD, MPH, FASAM, Debra R. Newman, PA-C, MSPAS, MPH, Jack Woodside, MD, John A. Fromson, MD