Shroom-Therapy Startup Edges Toward FDA Approval

“Just a few years ago, if you wanted to hear about the benefits of psychedelic drugs, your best bet was to head over to the parking lot outside the local jam band concert and flag down the guy in the tie-dye selling “magic mushrooms.” Today there are better options. You could, for instance, fly down to the Waldorf Astoria’s gated beachside resort in Boca Raton, Fla., and—between spa appointments and rounds of golf—take in the keynote address at the CNS Summit, an annual Big Pharma conference.

This plan might sound like swirling colors to anyone who lived through President Richard Nixon’s crusade against Harvard professor Timothy Leary, the high priest of acid trips. In the decades since Nixon branded Leary and hallucinogens, public enemies, as part of his “war on drugs,” all but a few psychiatrists have avoided publicly testing psychedelics’ medical benefits for fear of excommunication from their field. Now, though, attitudes are changing fast.

The advisers’ bona fides are at least as important as the eight-figure funding. For the FDA to say yes to shroom therapy, “you’re going to have to be more rigorous, and more risk-averse, and more Catholic than the pope,” says Insel, who’s also an investor. “You’re going to have to do this in a way that is very carefully scientific, with the best scientists, the best clinical trials, the most conservative and rigorous design, and the most careful data analysis.”

If psilocybin proves effective against treatment-resistant depression, patients may be content to leave some whys unanswered. Today’s go-to treatments, psycho­therapy, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors work for only about 70% of patients, leaving as many as 90 million still struggling around the globe, according to the World Health Organization.

Read the full article at Bloomberg Businessweek

Marijuana Legalization Measure Officially Qualifies For South Dakota 2020 Ballotv

“The proposed constitutional amendment, which was submitted by a former federal prosecutor in September, would allow adults 21 and older to possess and distribute up to one ounce of marijuana. Individuals would also be allowed to cultivate up to three cannabis plants.

Under the broader recreational legalization proposal, the South Dakota Department of Revenue would be responsible for issuing licenses for manufacturers, testing facilities and retailers. And sales on cannabis products would be taxed at 15 percent, with revenue earmarked to cover the program’s implementation, public education, and the state general fund.

“As outlined in South Dakota Codified Law § 2-1-16, our office conducted a random sample of the petition signatures and found 68.74 percent to be valid,” Secretary of State Steven Barnett (R) said in a press release. Based on the results of the random sample, 36,707 signatures were deemed valid, his office projected.

“At this point, it appears increasingly unlikely that Congress will pass legislation this year to fix our nation’s broken federal marijuana laws,” Schweich, who played a central role in overseeing the signature-gathering drives for both South Dakota initiatives, said. “Therefore it is crucial that our movement win as many ballot initiative campaigns as possible this November and increase the pressure on Congress to take action. That is how we will ensure success at the federal level in 2021.”

Read the complete article at MARIJUANA MOMENT.

The Five Best CBD Oils for Pain, Anxiety and Sleep

“The 2014 Agricultural Act, which made it permissible to grow industrial hemp, was a stepping stone that paved the way for the skyrocketing growth of the CBD oil industry. And with the recent passing of the 2018 Hemp Farming Act that removed hemp (cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC) from the Schedule, I Controlled Substances List, CBD manufacturers are able to now legally sell their products across state lines.

In order for CBD oil to be legally sold throughout the United States, it needs to contain less than 0.3 percent THC, otherwise known as the psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. And thanks to countless studies supporting the therapeutic benefits of the oil, now, more people than ever are incorporating it into their daily lives.

Today’s CBD oil market is flooded with companies looking to sell their products to the next enthusiastic buyer. But competing with all of those reputable companies are a host of dishonest CBD manufacturers seeking to scam consumers through sub-par products loaded with toxins, pesticides, and other unnecessary chemicals.

How Our Best CBD Oil List is Made

Always practice caution when purchasing CBD oil online. Remember that not all CBD manufacturers are equal. In fact, a great number of companies have been closed down by the FDA due to false information about the CBD content in their products.

Not only were those companies’ products less potent but upon further testing, it was also found that the products contained harmful chemicals and pesticides as well. Therefore, our Best CBD Oil List was created after careful examination of the practices, reputations, and methods of some of the best, highly-rated online CBD manufacturers.

What to Consider Before Buying CBD Oil

Among the things to consider before buying CBD oil are the following:

1. Hemp Source — The best hemp is full-spectrum, organically grown, is tested and/or verified by an FDA facility, and is harvested from a Colorado farm.
2. THC Levels — In order for CBD oils to be legally sold across state lines throughout the United States, products must contain less than 0.3 percent THC.
3. Discover what form of CBD works best for you. Full-spectrum, isolate, and broad-spectrum work differently with everyone’s body.
4. Thoroughly read and investigate the labels of products you are interested in purchasing for their list of ingredients.
5. Check to see if the company you want to buy from makes their third-party lab results easily accessible on their website. If so, then take the time to carefully read through them.

Read the full article at Observer

Is Marijuana Use Associated With A Higher Risk Of Cancer?

“As the use of marijuana is increasing in the United States, researchers are asking whether the use of this substance — particularly smoking joints — is associated with an increased risk of any form of cancer, and, if so, which.

Marijuana is one of the most widely used drugs in the United States, with more than one in seven adults reporting that they used marijuana in 2017.

Statistical reports project that sales of cannabis for recreational purposes in the U.S. will amount to $11,670 million between 2014 and 2020.

According to recent research trusted Source, smoking a joint remains one of the main ways in which individuals use marijuana recreationally.

While specialists already know that smoking tobacco cigarettes is a top risk factor for many forms of cancer, it remains unclear whether smoking marijuana can increase cancer risk in a similar way.

To try to find out whether there is a link between recreational marijuana use and cancer, researchers from the Northern California Institute of Research and Education in San Francisco and other collaborating institutions recently conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies assessing this potential association.

In their paper — which appears in JAMA Network OpenTrusted Source — the team notes that marijuana joints and tobacco cigarettes share many of the same potentially carcinogenic substances.

“Marijuana smoke and tobacco smoke share carcinogens, including toxic gases, reactive oxygen species, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, such as benzo[alpha]pyrene and phenols, which are 20 times higher in unfiltered marijuana than in cigarette smoke,” write first author Dr. Mehrnaz Ghasemiesfe and colleagues.

‘Misinformation — a threat to public health’

Dr. Ghasemiesfe and the team identified 25 studies assessing the link between marijuana use and the risk of developing different forms of cancer. More specifically, eight of these studies focused on lung cancer, nine looked at head and neck cancers, seven examined urogenital cancers, and four covered various other forms of cancer.

The studies found associations of different strengths between long-term marijuana use and various forms of cancer.

The researchers note that the study results regarding the link between marijuana lung cancer risk were mixed — so much so that they were unable to pool the data.

For head and neck cancer, the researchers concluded that “ever use,” which they define as exposure equivalent to smoking one joint a day for 1 year, did not appear to increase the risk, although the strength of the evidence was low. However, the studies produced mixed findings for heavier users.

Read the full article at Medical News Today

Why It’s Still So Hard to Sell Medical Marijuana in Asia

“Marijuana legalization seems to be making strides across the globe, but there are still plenty of pockets where the idea faces fierce resistance, namely in Asia.

Recreational cannabis has been legal in Uruguay since 2013—the first full legalization of the modern era—and in Canada since 2018. In the U.S., recreational pot is legal in the District of Columbia and 11 states, starting in 2012 with Colorado and Washington and most recently with Michigan this week. Medical marijuana is legal in several more U.S. states and many more countries.

Australia, New Zealand, and various countries in Europe are either looking to legalize or have already legalized medical marijuana. But in Asia, cannabis is illegal almost everywhere. In Singapore and Malaysia, possession can lead to the death penalty.

Two countries, South Korea and Thailand, broke from Asia’s anti-marijuana stance by legalizing the product for medical purposes in 2018. The move opened the door to medical marijuana companies looking for new markets.

Nicole Godresse, director of emerging markets in the Asia Pacific for Canadian medical cannabis firm Tilray, also spoke at the Infinity Ventures Summit and described Tilray’s strategy in Australia and New Zealand, which the company hopes to replicate in Thailand.

Tilray—which became the first cannabis company to list on NASDAQ when it went public in 2018—is currently the number one medical cannabis company by market share in Australia and New Zealand.

Sachdev said he is “very proud” that medical cannabis was legalized in Thailand, and hopes other Asian nations will follow suit.

Read the complete article at Fortune

DEA to Grow Even More Garbage Cannabis in 2020

“It’s always good news when the only dealer that can supply your Devil’s Kale tells you they are soon going to have even more cannabis to buy. Yes!

Except when it’s bad news because your dealer is the Drug Enforcement Administration. And much like someone with untreated ADHD using a 40-watt sun lamp in a cardboard box to grow three sickly plants, the DEA is the nation’s worst grower.

Last week, the DEA announced they will be producing even more cannabis in 2020. It’s a 30 percent increase to 3.2 million grams, or over 7,000 pounds of that sweet, potent federal flower. The struggle with quality versus quantity is still an issue where the DEA has shown no progress, in turn undercutting all federally funded cannabis research.

Last month in a two-part series of columns for the Portland Mercury profiling Elvy Musikka (one of the last remaining recipients of federally grown cannabis for medical use), I had several joints from the six pounds of pre-rolls Elvy picks up annually in Miami from the Feds tested by Green Leaf Labs. The results of this sad sub-swag were pathetic: 5.3 percent THC, with no measurable terpenes. (You know, just like everyone is trying to find at the dispensaries.) Perhaps not too surprising, seeing as researchers have complained for years about receiving a ground-up mixture of leaves, flowers, and stems, sometimes with mold.

The quality factor could change substantially if other producers were allowed to grow for the Feds, which the DEA has been promising to do for over three years, with more than 30 grow applicants each paying a $3,000 deposit, which the DEA still holds. They say they need to establish additional rules around these new potential growers and has given no date as to when these regulations are expected to be introduced.

An increase in cannabis research is both needed and welcomed, but using cannabis which is not used by consumers, patients, or anyone isn’t true research. It radically skews towards a less effective, more harmful series of outcomes for test subjects. It hamstrings researchers from discovering the true potential and risks of cannabis. Hopefully, the DEA will move to get cracking on those grower applications. I assure you, there is no shortage of growers who could consistently produce better than what Ole Miss is vomiting up.

The Stranger

Why Are Women Using CBD Products — And Do They Work?

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil and other products containing CBD are being touted as a natural, organic remedy for a wide range of women’s health concerns. Sellers of these products make many claims: CBD has calming effects on sleep, mood, and anxiety; eases hot flashes and improves bone density by balancing hormonal changes of menopause; and has anti-inflammatory properties that clear skin, cure acne, and calm rosacea. It’s promoted for PMS symptoms like bloating and mood swings. And CBD-infused lubricants claim to boost arousal and enjoyment of sex. So, how much of this is true?

Does CBD have proven benefits?

So far, there’s not much evidence on the medical benefits of CBD, partly because laws on marijuana made it difficult to study. Until we learn more, it’s wise to keep in mind that few high-quality studies have been done.

• In 2018 the FDA approved a drug derived from CBD to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy. This medication was shown in randomized clinical trials to reduce the frequency of seizures (see here and here).

• A few studies have found CBD may improve anxiety, but the studies were small and of poor quality (see here and here).

• Some laboratory research on human cells suggests CBD may have anti-inflammatory effects on oil-secreting glands in the skin. This might have implications for acne and other inflammatory skin disorders, but further research is needed to confirm this. And while CBD in skin products is unlikely to harm you, most dermatologists agree that there are more effective and better-studied medications and treatments for acne and inflammatory skin disorders.

Are our CBD products safe?

The short answer is this: pure CBD seems to be safe for most people. However, we don’t have rigorous studies and long-term data to prove whether or not a wide range of CBD products are safe for everyone. For example, there is no evidence to suggest that CBD is safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding, or for people who are immunocompromised.

Because CBD products aren’t regulated by the FDA in the way that drugs are, there is a huge variation in quality and, quite possibly, safety. In 2017–2018, counterfeit CBD oil was found that contained synthetic cannabinoids and led to a poisoning outbreak in Utah.

The takeaway

There are a lot of extravagant product claims out there about the benefits of CBD for women, but little high-quality research supports them. CBD oil and other CBD products aren’t well regulated. It’s possible what you are buying is counterfeit or contaminated. Before using CBD — especially if you plan to vape or ingest it — first talk with your doctor or healthcare provider to learn whether it could be safe and helpful for you.

Harvard Health Publishing

Is The Craze for CBD Oil Justified Or Just Crazy?

“Walk down most high streets in the UK and you’ll recognize many of the familiar sights: betting shops, clothing stores, and fast-food chains.

In the past few years, there’s been a new fixture greeting shoppers: CBD retailers.

There has been an explosion in the mainstream market for products containing the cannabis derivative, ranging from sweets to creams and even sexual lubricants.

With around six million people in the UK having tried CBD bought in shops and online, ITV News delves deeper into the compound craze.

What is CBD and which products does it appear in?

Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is the non-intoxicating component in marijuana, which means it can’t get you high.

You’ll find it in an array of products, from teas to shampoos, on the high street – often in small businesses selling vapes – and on the internet.

What are the claimed health benefits?

Much of the buzz about CBD comes from recent studies of medical marijuana.

Among the findings from extensive research is the suggestion CBD can have a positive impact on patients with epilepsy.

Earlier this year, the first-ever cannabis clinic in Britain opened on Harley Street in London, treating patients suffering from conditions such as chronic pain, PTSD and epilepsy using medicinal CBD.

While in the US, the federal government’s health branch recently approved its first-ever cannabis-derived medicine for epilepsy conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.

What’s the difference?

The strength of CBD on the high street, its quality and where it is sourced from is vastly different from CBD used in clinical trials.

Patients in clinical research are given much higher doses of CBD compared to what you can get over the counter in shops.

According to the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal (BMJ), the non-medicinal high street products contain around 25 mg (2%) CBD, compared to 150-1500 mg/day in clinical trials, which is often administered orally.

Continue reading at iTV

Can Cannabis Be Normalized?

“One of my favorite quotes from my interview with Chelsea Handler in the current issue of Green Entrepreneur magazine — and there are many — is when she said, “The world is only getting browner, gayer, and higher, so you’d better hop on the bus.” Just four years ago, who could have imagined that today, 12 U.S. states would permit the use of recreational marijuana — with more predicted to decriminalize the plant in 2020?

The legal weed train has left the station, and there’s no turning back. But how the mainstream will marijuana become? I’m writing this note from Los Angeles, the epicenter of the cannabis business, where every street corner has a fancy billboard for a new dispensary or brand. MedMen, which has been called the Apple store of weed, has an expensive ad campaign calling cannabis use “the new normal.” This is a clever phrase, and I want to believe it’s true, but I wonder if some of us are living in a bubble.

Even in so-called progressive communities like Brookline, Mass., residents staged a protest rally when the news dropped of a retail pot shop opening on their streets. The tony Santa Barbara region in California is booming with outdoor grows, but when locals kept complaining that it smelled like a Phish concert, cultivators were forced to find a solution or risk being sued. National fitness industry giants such as Equinox and SoulCycle are carrying CBD lines, but when Ricky Williams and others tried to open a weed gym, called Power Plant Fitness (great name, btw), in San Francisco, regulations made it impossible.

The cannabis movement has made tremendous progress — economically, socially, and legally — but there’s still work to be done. Education is the word on every smart entrepreneur’s lips. The more people understand the benefits of the plant, the more the deep-seated stigma starts to wither away.

That’s why some dispensary owners meet with community members to allay concerns before opening stores. And that’s why Handler will include personal notes with each of her products explaining what dose to take and feeling to expect. If everyone in the business continues to educate, the question won’t be whether cannabis can be normalized; the question will be when.

MySA

What Is the Best CBD Oil in the UK?

“Within less than two years cannabidiol (CBD) has sounded off the tongues of mums, doctors, and internet bloggers as if it was vitamin D, caffeine, or moisturizer cream. Now, the USA’s best CBD companies have finally arrived across the pond in the United Kingdom.

The USA is flooded with reviews of CBD products. There are tons of positive and negative reviews out there. The UK’s delayed entry into the CBD market means that if you want to buy CBD oil in the UK then you don’t need to make the same mistakes as your American friends. We are here to help you in your search for the best CBD oil in the UK.

What are the Best CBD products in the UK?

Although the most popular method of ingesting CBD is in an oil, it’s not the only way. Here are some products you can buy today that contain CBD:

1. CBD Tinctures are often synonymous with CBD oils. These are small bottles with single-serve droppers. You can ingest tinctures, or you can add oil to foods and drinks.
2. CBD Vapes boast fast absorption rates, with effects beginning seconds after inhaling and peaking within ten minutes. They come in a variety of flavors and can be infused with natural essences. You can buy vapes in disposable pens or refillable cartridges.
3. CBD Edibles are popular because they’re so easy — just pop one in your mouth on your way to the office or after a workout. You can buy sweet edibles, like gummies, or savory ones, like granola bars. Companies portion CBD into each serving, so you know exactly how much CBD you’re ingesting.
4. CBD Topicals use your skin as the absorption method, penetrating your muscles and tissues and soothing aches and pains. Topicals come in creams, lotions, or sprays — ideal for joint and back problems.
5. CBD Capsules, like edibles, are ingested. Each pill has a measured serving of CBD mixed with a carrier oil. They’re a perfect option for those looking for fast and precise dosing.

How to Take CBD Oil in the UK

Use the tincture to dispense droplets under your tongue and hold there for 60 seconds before swallowing. This will help the CBD to enter your system and get to work faster

Read more at SFWeekly

Reasons Marijuana Legalization Seems To Be Failing

“When it was first proposed, the concept of marijuana legalization seemed solid enough. Take the world’s most popular illicit substance, establish a taxed and regulated marketplace and watch all of the evil associated with the herb – the criminal activity, the youth consumption –fade away into a footnote of American history. And by all accounts, it was a plan that should have worked.

One of the biggest arguments made by cannabis advocates when trying to sell their spiel to politicians and voters was that legal weed would eliminate the black market. This, they said, would make it more difficult for children to get their hands on pot than in decades past while also generating significant tax revenue for the states. But the underground pot trade hasn’t really gone anywhere. In fact, it is only growing stronger now that criminal organizations have the luxury of being domestically based instead of running distribution from Mexico.

All one needs to do is take a look at California, which legalized the leaf a couple of years ago, to see that this is true.

There is simply no shortage of illicit operations (large and small) trying to capitalize on pot’s forward momentum. It’s a development that continues to benefit the average cannabis consumer, so they’re not really complaining. As I pointed out in a previous column for Forbes, “marijuana legalization breeds a better black market.” It’s a statement that seems to be more accurate with each passing day.

But once again, this is another fail.

Diehard cannabis advocates might argue that all of the black market madness exists because of conflicting federal and state law. There was even a point where I would have been inclined to agree that federal prohibition is the real monster behind all of this ruckus. But I’m not convinced at this juncture, at least not 100 percent. Why? Well, just take a look to the north in Canada, where marijuana has been legal nationwide for the past year. Its black market pot trade is still way stronger than the legal sector.

It could even be said that the push to convince the world that pot users are something they are not might be leading the cannabis trade to ruins. While the growing and selling of marijuana was once touted as a great job creator, many leading cannabis firms have been laying off hundreds of employees as of late. Canadian-based producer Hexo is slashing 200 jobs, while CannaTrust is cutting 140. In the United States, Eaze recently announced that it was eliminating 36 positions. The popular Weedmaps is also trimming the fat. The company says it will get rid of 100 employees.

Read more at Forbes

People Are Deliberately ‘Horror-Tripping’ on Mushrooms

“Generally, a ‘bad trip’ is the last thing you want from a sesh on psychedelics. When it feels like the darkest corners of your mind slither to the forefront of your thoughts, you usually fumble for a way out. But that’s not always the case. “Dark trips help you see things in a way that good trips won’t let you,” says Enrique, 26, from Ojai, a small city northwest of Los Angeles. “Dark trips grab you by the skull and shake the shit right out of you.” He would know. He turned to “horror-tripping” – intentionally going down a negative cerebral path, to challenge yourself – while going through heroin withdrawal.

As an LSD veteran, Enrique knew the power of psychedelics, but, he says magic mushrooms delivered a sense of clarity like nothing else: “Letting in the darkness by tripping teaches you a lesson – and you damn well pay attention to it.”

In both the UK and the US, funding is flowing towards research into psilocybin, the active component of magic mushrooms, as a treatment for depression. The world’s first formal centre for psychedelic research launched at Imperial College London in April, with scientists there suggesting psilocybin will have a major impact on psychiatry in the next few years. Adam Winstock, consultant psychiatrist and founder of the Global Drugs Survey, has told VICE that when the 2020 report is released next month, it will show a spike in people attempting to self-treat with psychedelics.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, a chill creeping in with the dank scent of autumn means the start of the UK’s magic mushroom season. Scores of spindly fungi are pushing up through the earth and into the light, ripe to be plucked until around the end of November.

Continue reading at Vice

New Drugs And Precursors Emerge In Vietnam

“In 2015, 292 types of narcotics and precursors were found in Vietnam. Three years later, this number was 559.

Synthetic drugs like ecstasy, bath salt, LSD, heaven leaf are already popular but some new substances yet to be listed trigger high levels of hallucination, and are easily available. They can also be addictive.

In 2017, there were approximately 223,000 people using narcotics in Vietnam, 12,000 more than the previous year, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Each year, about 1,600 people die of a drug overdose in Vietnam. A staggering $93.7 million is spent on buying drugs and $44.6 million on running rehab facilities.

In the first half of 2018, arrests were made in approximately 13,000 drug-related cases, in which 18,500 people were detained, and 880 kilograms of heroin, 500,000 ecstasy pills, 1.3 tons of cannabis and 2.5 tons of Catha edulis leaves were seized.

The first six months of 2018 saw 3,500 people test positive for HIV, down 3 percent from the same period last year, according to the Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control, Ministry of Health.

However, experts worry that the number of people contracting HIV through unprotected sex when using synthetic drugs can increase among the youth.

Vietnam is a key trafficking hub for narcotics despite having some of the world’s toughest drug laws.

VNE Express

New Drugs And Precursors Emerge In Vietnam

In 2015, 292 types of narcotics and precursors were found in Vietnam. Three years later, this number was 559.

Synthetic drugs like ecstasy, bath salt, LSD, heaven leaf are already popular but some new substances yet to be listed trigger high levels of hallucination, and are easily available. They can also be addictive.

In 2017, there were approximately 223,000 people using narcotics in Vietnam, 12,000 more than the previous year, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Each year, about 1,600 people die of a drug overdose in Vietnam. A staggering $93.7 million is spent on buying drugs and $44.6 million on running rehab facilities.

In the first half of 2018, arrests were made in approximately 13,000 drug-related cases, in which 18,500 people were detained, and 880 kilograms of heroin, 500,000 ecstasy pills, 1.3 tons of cannabis and 2.5 tons of Catha edulis leaves were seized.

The first six months of 2018 saw 3,500 people test positive for HIV, down 3 percent from the same period last year, according to the Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control, Ministry of Health.

However, experts worry that the number of people contracting HIV through unprotected sex when using synthetic drugs can increase among the youth.

Vietnam is a key trafficking hub for narcotics despite having some of the world’s toughest drug laws.

VNE Express

What Are the Benefits of CBD?

“The CBD industry is flourishing, conservatively projected to hit $16 billion in the United States by 2025. Already, the plant extract is being added to cheeseburgers, toothpicks and breath sprays. More than 60 percent of CBD users have taken it for anxiety, according to a survey of 5,000 people, conducted by the Brightfield Group, a cannabis market research firm. Chronic pain, insomnia, and depression follow behind. Kim Kardashian West, for example, turned to the product when “freaking out” over the birth of her fourth baby. The professional golfer Bubba Watson drifts off to sleep with it. And Martha Stewart’s French bulldog partakes, too.

What are the claims?

CBD is advertised as providing relief for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is also marketed to promote sleep. Part of CBD’s popularity is that it purports to be “nonpsychoactive,” and that consumers can reap health benefits from the plant without the high (or the midnight pizza munchies).

Just as hemp seedlings are sprouting up across the United States, so is the marketing. From oils and nasal sprays to lollipops and suppositories, it seems no place is too sacred for CBD. “It’s the monster that has taken over the room,” Dr. Brad Ingram, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, said about all the wild uses for CBD now. He is leading a clinical trial into administering CBD to children and teenagers with drug-resistant epilepsy.

Does CBD work?

Last year, the F.D.A. approved Epidiolex, a purified CBD extract, to treat rare seizure disorders in patients 2 years or older after three randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled clinical trials with 516 patients that showed the drug, taken along with other medications, helped to reduce seizures. These types of studies are the gold standard in medicine, in which participants are divided by chance, and neither the subject nor the investigator knows which group is taking the placebo or the medication.

Continue reading at The New York Times

Vaping CBD Carries Unique Risks

“People like vaping because it’s a smokeless, convenient, and fast-acting way to consume pleasure-inducing chemicals including THC and nicotine. It’s also potentially quite dangerous—and that’s also true when it comes to vaping cannabidiol, the popular cannabis-derived compound known as CBD. In fact, thanks to a regulatory no-man’s-land, a consumer craze, and manufacturers who dilute extract with oils better suited for salad dressings, CBD vapes are uniquely risky.

As of Oct. 10, more than 1,200 cases of a mysterious vaping-related illness, and 26 related deaths had been reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is advising consumers to “consider refraining” from vaping altogether. Of the 771 patients the CDC previously reported data on, the majority reported vaping THC and/or nicotine. Only about 17% reported having vaped a CBD product, but there is still good reason for CBD enthusiasts to take note—and even to be especially cautious.

While no single brand, product, or ingredient has been identified as the cause of the 1,000-plus cases of vaping-associated pulmonary injury—first called VAPI and now renamed EVALI—we do know that many of the affected patients were vaping illicit, and therefore unregulated, THC products. Tests showed many of those contained vitamin E acetate, an oil derived from vitamin E—which is considered safe for skincare but not for inhalation.

While the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been struggling to research and regulate both CBD and vaping separately, the agency has allowed manufacturers to flood the market with both types of products. In the FDA’s eyes, none of these products are legal, as they have not been evaluated or regulated for their safety. And where these two categories overlap in CBD vapes is a grey area that’s ripe for exploitation at the risk of consumers’ health. According to analysts at Cowen and Company, that grey area was worth an estimated $40 million in sales in 2018.

In May of this year, the FDA held a public hearing where more than 100 stakeholders—patients, manufacturers, and researchers among them—testified about their experiences with CBD. Now, the industry is waiting for a timeline for regulation, which was expected this autumn, but has yet to appear. In the meantime, the FDA considers an interstate sale of CBD as a food additive or nutritional supplement (ie., all those candies, canned sodas, and tinctures) to be illegal. But it’s not enforcing the law so long as operators in the estimated $590 million market for hemp-derived CBD adhere to the broader rules for the categories they fall in, whether that’s food, supplements, or cosmetics.

Read the complete article at Quartz

The Miracle That Is CBD, Might Help Breast Cancer Patients Too

“CBD is in our lattes, moisturizers, and chocolates, but what about its use in a hospital setting instead of your local café or beauty store? Although more study is needed, research suggests that CBD may have the potential to help relieve certain side effects of chemotherapy.

CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is one of the many compounds found in cannabis and hemp. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it’s non-psychoactive. Manufacturers have found a way to separate CBD from the plants, and the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka the Farm Bill) legalized hemp-derived CBD that contains no more than 0.3% THC and is made from hemp grown by licensed producers. (That’s why you’ve seen so many CBD products recently.) But so far, the Food and Drug Administration has only approved one form of CBD: Epidiolex, a drug containing a purified marijuana-derived form of CBD, which is used for preventing seizures caused by rare forms of epilepsy.

A 2016 review of medical marijuana’s use in oncology, published by the American Medical Association journal JAMA Oncology, notes, “Marijuana in oncology may have potential for use as an antiemetic [relieving nausea and vomiting], for refractory cancer pain, and as an antitumor agent. However, much of the data are based on animal data, small trials, or are outdated.” The authors concluded that more research is needed for medical marijuana’s therapeutic use for cancer patients.

There is even less research into CBD’s potential benefits for cancer patients. But still, some studies have been conducted. According to the National Cancer Institute, research indicates that CBD may slow the growth or reduce the risk of recurrence of certain kinds of cancers, including breast cancer; enhance the potency of certain medications; and reduce chemotherapy side effects including vomiting, nausea, and anxiety. However, all these studies are limited, and experts agree that further research is needed to understand just how CBD affects humans.

The American Cancer Society stresses that cannabis in any form should never be used as a sole form of cancer treatment. In a statement, they urge for more research into the use of cannabinoids for cancer patients and add, “Medical decisions about pain and symptom management should be made between the patient and his or her doctor, balancing evidence of benefit and harm to the patient, the patient’s preferences and values, and any laws and regulations that may apply.”

Refinery

Texas Officials Suddenly Shut Down Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing Process

“A week into opening the application process for medical cannabis dispensaries to apply for permits in Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety — without warning — suspended the process.

“The Department’s Compassionate Use Program is not accepting applications at this time,” it says on the department’s website. The sudden announcement comes nearly a month after the state said it would keep the application process open for a month, from Oct. 1 through Nov. 1.

The move by the state agency came as a shock to advocacy groups who were eager for the state to move forward on medical cannabis expansion months after the Legislature expanded the list of conditions that qualify for the medicine under the Compassionate Use Program to include seizure disorders; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS; terminal cancer and autism. Previously, the medicine was only available to people with intractable epilepsy who met certain requirements.

The move by the state agency came as a shock to advocacy groups who were eager for the state to move forward on medical cannabis expansion months after the Legislature expanded the list of conditions that qualify for the medicine under the Compassionate Use Program to include seizure disorders; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS; terminal cancer and autism. Previously, the medicine was only available to people with intractable epilepsy who met certain requirements.

In September, the Texas Department of State Health Services held a public hearing to help determine which incurable neurodegenerative disorders would qualify for the medicine under the new bill. Until those conditions are officially determined — a process that could take months, she said — and the state has an accurate patient count, the DPS might have to stop accepting applications for new dispensaries.

Marijuana Moment

Jamaica Launches The World Magic Mushroom Center

“The University of the West Indies in Mona is launching the world’s first research facility to focus on psychedelic lifeforms. Researchers will study what makes so-called “magic mushrooms” psychedelic, for example. Funded in total by a Canadian psychedelic firm called Field Trip Ventures, the goal is to put research findings toward creating profitable products and services.; The announcement of the new psychedelic research facility came a few weeks after Johns Hopkins became the largest such center in the world.

According to Field Trip Ventures’ co-founder Ronan Levy, two potential business targets have been identified. One involves the establishment of ways to measure the mushrooms’ psychedelic properties in order to provide clearer expectations of their effects on humans. The other is to identify intellectual property that could be patented, as the firm will retain the rights to all discoveries made at the facility. Levy did not disclose how much his company is investing in the project, saying there was no set limit to the number of funds that will be provided to the Jamaican research center.

Ten scientists will be employed at the center with more staff to be added in the future. Some of the scientists will be employees of Field Trip Ventures, while others will be from the University of the West Indies.

Field Trip Ventures is in the process of constructing psychedelic clinics throughout North America, including in the cities of New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto, In the hope that new psychedelic drugs will be found to have therapeutic properties. Currently, only ketamine is legal for such use. The company has not yet identified any new psychedelic molecules, however.

Jamaican.com

Bloomington’s Cannabis Task Force To Begin Its Work Thursday

“(WJBC) — Bloomington’s cannabis task force will meet for the first time Thursday night aiming to gather information and recommend whether the city council should allow the sale of recreational marijuana in the city.

Our news partner WJBC reports, the meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Miller Park Pavilion, is being held just three days after the city council in nearby Decatur decided to prohibit cannabis sales despite a new state law allowing recreational marijuana use.

If the council legalizes marijuana sales, elected leaders would also decide whether to collect taxes on the purchases and if specific areas of Bloomington should be zoned for cannabis dispensaries.

Last week, the Bloomington council approved Mayor Tari Renner’s slate of 10 task force members despite criticism from council member Kimberly Bray. She claimed Renner’s picks were biased in favor of allowing cannabis sales.

Also serving on the task force are Downtown Bloomington business owners Jan Lancaster and De Urban, addiction specialist Deb Carter, John Walsh of the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, Illinois State University Instructional Assistant Professor and Black Lives Matter activist Olivia Butts, President of the Bloomington-Normal Chapter of the NAACP Linda Foster, Bloomington Assistant Police Chief Greg Scott and Police Sgt. Aaron Veerman.

Week.com