Enhancing Athletic Performance With Cannabis

“Anna Symonds, education manager for East Fork Cultivars, has been a rugby player for 18 years and attributes a lot of her longevity as a professional athlete to cannabis.

While she experimented with cannabis as a teenager, she discontinued this practice when she got more serious about sports. After she smoked with some teammates after a game, she experienced immediate healing and muscle relaxation. “I started to have this mental shift to seeing cannabis as medicine.” After a back injury five years ago, cannabis proved to be the only thing that would provide her with pain relief and muscle relaxation while increasing her functionality without the side effects of other medications.

By microdosing before practice with a 1.1 full spectrum chocolate edible containing 1 mg THC, Symonds found the sweet spot where her pain would reduce and her mind gets into a flow state where she was fully present and performing fully optimally.

Cannabis as an aid for performance and recovery

While Antonio DeRose, head of Green House Healthy, has used cannabis recreationally for more than 15 years, he didn’t begin using this plant to help with his performance and recovery as a trail runner until about five to six years ago. He describes himself as a “wake and bakes” person. “When I wake up in the morning, I use cannabis to recharge my endocannabinoid system. Then I do some sort of physical activity.”

DeRose prefers a high-dose edible followed by some flower before he runs. “Cannabis is a bronchodilator, so it allows me to absorb more oxygen with each breath.” He finds cannabis aids in recovery in calming down his nervous system and reducing inflammation. Topicals work well for isolated areas where he has specific pain. Also, he uses hemp as a nutritional supplement, noting that as the body regenerates bones every 10 years, technically he’s made of hemp.

Chicago Tribune

Fueling The Scientifically-Driven Approach In A Crowded CBD Market

“The rise of new holistic treatments and remedies in popular culture are, unfortunately, typically accompanied by snake oil salesmen pitches and an emerging market rife of false advertising and capricious product origins. Welcome to the contemporary demand for CBD-infused products.

Cannabidiol (CBD), the natural oil cannabinoid extract of the cannabis plant, a molecule of the plant that has shown therapeutic promise without the “high,” has been at the center of an unprecedented race among competing startups offering a “panacea” to everything from anxiety to arthritis pain. Fueling a reported market for CBD oil products projected to reach $3.86 billion by 2025, growing by a CAGR of 39.5 percent since 2018, it is easy to see why there is so much hype around the once overlooked component of the cannabis plant famous for its sister constituent — THC.

However, despite the early warning signs that the CBD mania is on a trajectory for too much speculation followed by underperformance, there are some intriguing signs that tangible applications of the extract may make their way into modern medical pathways.

“There is an overall lack of formalized studies and clinical pathways to the actualization of legitimate CBD products in the commercial market,” details Layne Beal, CEO of Viridian Pharmaceuticals, a firm focused on developing safe and effective delivery of natural therapeutics through the skin using topical creams. “To help legitimize the science of this molecule, we are investigating how our proprietary delivery technology coupled with CBD works for specific indications in our planned clinical trials.”

Imbuing Credibility Into The World of CBD & Beyond

It may appear that CBD has gained sufficient credibility with the likes of Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS announcing the sale of CBD products in their retail locations earlier this year, but the truth is much more nuanced. The FDA has come under growing pressure to regulate CBD products, which came on the heels of a liver damage scare following some studies into the potential adverse side effects of the extract.

Viridian’s topical cream, called Notion, is based on the company’s proprietary technology that has been funneled through efficacy tests in pharmacokinetics and bioavailability studies to optimize its delivery impact. Importantly, they have laid the groundwork for a formalized clinical roadmap, including treatments for chronic migraine and osteoarthritis based on existing medical literature using CBD.

“The science is evolving in the CBD space, and there aren’t a lot of specific dosing guidelines aside from the first FDA-approved drug, Epidiolex,” says Beal. “We spent a significant amount of time learning from our in-home trial users about the amount of CBD that seems to have positive results for most, which brought us to the CBD concentration in our first product, which is 750mg per 30mL jar.”

Read more at Forbes

Cannabis 2.0 Legalization: Canada Is Ready

“Federally, cannabis legalization saw daylight in Canada in 2018. The Cannabis Act legalized recreational marijuana in October 2018. Now, the country is all set for the second wave of legalization, Cannabis 2.0, which includes cannabis edibles, cannabis-infused beverages, extracts, and various other products. Let’s dig into this more.

Canada’s second wave of legalization

Next month, Canada will legalize cannabis-infused edibles for recreational use. The Canadian market will see a limited selection of products in retail outlets and online stores after the legalization, but not earlier than mid-December.

Canada legalized medical and recreational marijuana. However, the country has been very careful to ensure that public health safety is also taken into account. Keeping in mind how the edibles market could attract young people, Health Canada implemented a strict legal framework for cannabis. The amendments to Canada’s regulations in June will ensure legal production and sale of edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals.

Why regulations are important

Gummies look like the favorite choice in edibles. However, Health Canada will be careful with product labels and marketing. Since gummies are a popular product among children and youth, officials want to ensure that marketing strategies don’t influence them.

Health Canada ensured that there are stricter regulations and guideline for the products. Notably, Health Canada released a new set of guidelines on June 14 for edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals. The regulations include marijuana and industrial hemp regulations.

Canada’s cannabis industry

What fascinates me about Canada’s approach to legalization is its model. The Canadian government made efforts to pass legislation. Notably, the legislation controls marijuana use and sales even though it’s legalized. By allowing marijuana to be sold only by government-licensed retailers and grown only by licensed producers, Canada can keep illicit activities in check. Illicit activities are a major concern in the cannabis industry.

Recently, I discussed how California is on the path to become marijuana’s biggest black market. Read Marijuana Policy: Can California Shape It for the US? to learn more.

More black market sales would impact cannabis companies with exposure to the California market. A Forbes article in March discussed how higher taxes, opposition from local officials, and clumsy regulations are making the black market popular. Also, getting a license, renewing licenses annually, and other operating costs make dealing with legal cannabis expensive.

Read the full article at Market Realist

CBD Tinctures: 5 Things Every Consumer Should Know

“It’s no longer surprising that CBD is gaining popularity, as its purported health benefits are almost mind-blowing, with some derivatives even thought to help ease cancer-related symptoms.

But just because tinctures are gaining popularity doesn’t mean you should rush to the store and get a bottle for yourself. There are some key things you need to know before considering them, starting with these five essentials.

1. CBD tincture is not CBD oil.

In simple terms, a tincture is derived by soaking the cannabis plant in an alcohol and water solution, while to concoct CBD oil, plant extracts are infused in a carrier oil, like coconut, olive or hemp seed.

2. Always check the label before purchasing a CBD tincture.

An interesting study by the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that only 30 percent of CBD products are accurately labeled. That means you need to be extra careful when buying your tincture. One of the things to look out for is the Certificate of Analysis, or COA, which indicates the tincture’s level of cannabinoid and its overall purity.

3. Tinctures need to be taken in small doses.

Tinctures are extremely concentrated, so it’s vital that you take them in small doses. Although you can’t overdose on a tincture, it’s better to stay safe and restrict yourself.

4. Potent tinctures contain terpenes.

The cannabis plant contains medicinal constituents called terpenes that provide the tincture’s aroma and flavor. To boost its medicinal value, terpenes from other plants or herbs are often added to it. Since tinctures are usually taken to help ease a specific ailment, the kind of terpenes added is targeted to those particular symptoms.

5. Don’t be misled by the cheaper price.

Without a doubt, CBD tinctures have powerful benefits but don’t be seduced by lower price points. Higher-quality CBD tinctures are necessarily expensive.

Entrepreneur

Vape Pen Lung Disease Has Insiders Eyeing Misuse of New Additives

“SAN FRANCISCO—During alcohol prohibition, drinkers had to worry about getting sick and dying from “bathtub gin.” This week, vapers are learning of similar quality control issues with cannabis oil vape cartridges purchased on the illegal market.

A rash of tainted THC vape cartridge poisonings is thought to have claimed one life in Illinois and caused lung inhalation injuries to as many as 215 people in 25 states, according to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) conference call last Friday, and updates Aug. 30.

California now has 24 suspected cases of the hyper-inflammatory lung response, first identified by doctors in the Central Valley town of Hanford on Aug. 14 after recognizing that seven young adults had all suffered from sudden acute respiratory distress in the past month. The common thread: Each patient had purchased disposable, THC-filled vaporizer cartridges from illegal street markets.

Nearly All Cases in the Illegal States

Most importantly, no cases are associated with adult-use or medical cannabis products from legal state-licensed stores. Almost all affected states do not have adult-use legalization in effect. They include Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. Additional states are pending verification. The California incidents occurred in Kings County, which has banned licensed cannabis stores.

West Coast Carts, Dank Vapes Named

In Wisconsin, a family member of a victim there said another suspected tainted cartridge came from an illicit-market brand called “Dank Vapes.” Medical and adult-use cannabis products are not legal in Wisconsin.

Neither brand is traceable to a single company. Outside of a state-regulated system, anyone can order vape packaging and fill it with their choice of ingredients.

The CDC is not sure whether the national reports are all linked to a common contaminant or a combination of toxins. Officials are not sure if every patient has the same illness or when the series of respiratory injuries really began. They’re just starting to coordinate information collection among the states, agency officials said last Friday.

Continue reading at Leafly

What You Eat Might Make Your CBD OilWork Even Better

“Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has become a multi-billion dollar industry, with recreational athletes dishing out a large chunk of that change for the promise of pain relief, faster recovery, better sleep, and more.

Some people claim remarkable benefits from CBD, while others find effects elusive at best. Myriad factors influence how well (or not) you respond to CBD, including the type you take, how much you take, and even your genes.

Now, research published in the journal Epilepsia shows that the food you eat along with your CBD supplement may have a dramatic effect on how much of the compound your body absorbs—and that may play a role in how effective it is.

The small study included eight adults who were prescribed CBD for seizures related to epilepsy (a condition which CBD has been FDA-approved for). For the first part of the study, half the volunteers took their CBD first thing in the morning before eating and had breakfast four hours later, while the other half ate a high-fat breakfast burrito, containing about 850 calories and 52 percent fat, within 30 minutes of taking their CBD oil. After two weeks, they switched groups.

The researchers concluded that CBD should be taken with food to maximize absorption and that a low-fat meal may not have the same absorption boosting the effect as one that is higher in fat.

“The type of food can make a large difference in the amount of CBD that gets absorbed into the body. Although fatty foods can increase the absorption of CBD, it can also increase the variability as not all meals contain the same amount of fat,” said Angela Birnbaum, Ph.D., a professor in the College of Pharmacy and study co-author, in a press release.

Full article at Bicycling

Marijuana Legalization: Is the White House Warming Up?

Marijuana legalization is a major issue in the cannabis industry. Marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act in the US. It’s illegal at the federal level. However, now, White House officials may be warming up to legalization.

Is the White House warming up to marijuana?

A Marijuana Moment article on Friday said two federal drug officials expressed their views about legalization. Apparently, Jim Carroll told Fox 59 reporter Kayla Sullivan that he believes legalization is a states’ rights issue. Carroll is President Donald Trump’s principal advisor on drug control issues. Additionally, he wishes to see targeted education campaigns about cannabis use.

Another member of the Office of National Drug Control Policy also told CentralIllinoisProud.com that she wishes to have more research done on cannabis use before legalization could reach the federal level.

Legalization under the Obama administration

Under the Obama administration, federal agencies introduced the Cole Memo, a policy that protected marijuana-legal states from federal scrutiny. It favored marijuana-related businesses. The memo mostly helped federal prosecutors avoid taking action, especially in states where marijuana is legal.

Legalization under the Trump administration

Under the Trump administration, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions revoked the Cole Memo. The session was a harsh critic of marijuana. The cannabis sector in the US was optimistic upon his resignation last year. The newly appointed US Attorney General, William Barr, said he would leave cannabis companies alone. A Forbes article last year said that the attorney general’s logical first step would be to reinstate the Cole Memo.

The US sentiment toward cannabis seems to be improving. Currently, recreational marijuana is legal in ten states and Washington, D.C. Additionally, 14 states have decriminalized marijuana, and around 33 states now allow medicinal marijuana use.

Now White House officials’ comments prove they may be warming up to marijuana too. We’ve also seen presidential candidates standing up in support of legalization. Many Democrats, including Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Beto O’Rourke, have expressed such views.

Does President Trump support marijuana legalization?

Nonetheless, President Donald Trump hasn’t directly discussed the matter. Trump is known to be very vocal about issues on Twitter. However, he’s been quiet up until now about the cannabis industry. A Growth Op article discussed how word on the street is that Trump will soon push the topic to clinch his reelection. Read President Trump: Is Marijuana Legalization a Key Weapon? to know more.

Read the full article at Market Realist

Wasn’t the DEA Going to Let Others Grow Research-Grade Cannabis?

“Arizona-based researcher Dr. Sue Sisley is spearheading an extraordinary lawsuit against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), demanding that the agency stop dragging its feet on a years-old promise to end the federal government’s monopoly on growing cannabis for clinical research.

Sisley is a medical doctor who recently made history with her federally-approved studies regarding the effects of cannabis on military veterans with PTSD. The results of those PTSD studies are expected to be released later this year.

Her next scheduled study will look at how late-stage cancer patients can perhaps use cannabis for pain relief.

With the help of two Texas attorneys who are working pro bono, Sisley’s Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI) is calling on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to order the federal government to follow through on the DEA’s 2016 announcement in the Federal Register.

In that announcement, DEA officials said they would permit other facilities to grow and manufacture cannabis for clinical trials and research.

Demanding an Explanation

DEA officials have declined to comment on the litigation. “We are still working through the process and those applications remain under review,” an agency spokesperson told the Associated Press last month.

Matt Zorn, one of the attorneys at the Houston-based Yetter Coleman law firm working on the SRI lawsuit, declined to comment on that speculation. Instead, he’s focusing on the damage done by the government’s inaction.

“They’re not saying yes, they’re not saying no,” Zorn told Leafly. “Until the agency says something, there’s nothing to go to a court with, nothing to appeal. It’s stuck in purgatory. So what we’re trying to do is get the agency to explain why they’re not processing these applications. It’s gotten to the point where we think a court needs to step in and do something about it.”

Read the complete article at Leafly

The Unintended Consequences of More Potent Pot

“The legalization of recreational marijuana in almost a dozen states shows how America’s attitude toward the drug may be changing. But the drug has changed too: Newly developed strains of marijuana are far stronger than what people were smoking in the past, leading to unintended consequences like addiction and marijuana toxicity.

“Typically, young children around the age of 2 are getting into caregivers’ — whether it’s parents’, grandparents’, babysitters’ — marijuana products, often edible products,” said Dr. Sam Wang.

Wang’s findings from Colorado’s Children’s Hospital are included in a new nationwide study that showed a 27% increase in children and teenagers getting emergency treatment for marijuana toxicity. Seventy percent of the cases occurred in states with legalized marijuana.

An exponential increase in marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, THC, is at the center of the crisis. THC content has spiked from 3.7% to more than 20% — and some cannabis concentrates contain close to 100% THC.

Twenty-year-old Colton said that his addiction to marijuana began when the drug was legalized five years ago while he was attending high school in Colorado.

States that legalized recreational marijuana has generated almost $3 billion in tax revenue since 2014 when Colorado first started sales.

“The state was highly focused on how much tax revenue it could generate from marijuana sales,” Brandt said. “Nobody really spent a lot of time thinking about, well, how this going to impact some of the younger community?”

For Brandt, the impact became clear when Colton was failing in college, couldn’t quit cannabis and asked to go to rehab.

CBS News

Cannabis Oil Complicates Drug Testing

“The growing popularity of cannabis oil is leading to more positive tests for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component in marijuana.

But what exactly is cannabis oil? Can workers get high from it? Why would they use it? Is it illegal?

Experts weigh in to keep HR professionals and managers up-to-date on the ever-changing reality of drug use in the workplace.

Cannabis Oil, CBD Oil, Hemp-Derived CBD

Cannabis oil refers to concentrated extracts from cannabis and could be pure THC, pure cannabidiol (CBD) oil, or a combination of these and other chemicals, said Sara Jane Ward, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacology with the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia.

People who use cannabis oil or CBD oil sometimes have disabilities, and their use of the product is understandable: to reduce pain or anxiety, help with sleep, treat tremors or symptoms of epilepsy, and alleviate multiple sclerosis symptoms, for example.

“There’s no high from CBD oil made only from CBD,” said Amy Epstein Gluck, an attorney with FisherBroyles in Washington, D.C.

A product labeled as hemp-derived CBD is extracted from the hemp variety of cannabis, which is typically low in THC. CBD can be produced in a spray, lozenge or cream. These products must have less than 0.3 percent THC to be legal under federal law, but “regulation of these products is currently very loose,” Ward said.

Evolving CBD Marketplace and Regulation

“Many of the CBD oils on the market are unregulated, and while a buyer may think the product has no THC or very little THC, there is no way to know for sure,” said Kathryn Russo, an attorney with Jackson Lewis in Melville, N.Y. Research published by the Journal of the American Medical Association has shown that 43 percent of CBD oils tested contained more THC than was labeled on the bottle. “This means that a person using these products might test positive on a workplace drug test for marijuana, particularly if they are using it in large quantities on a regular basis,” Russo stated.

While cannabis oil can contain any range of constituents, including THC, hemp-derived CBD products are supposed to contain only up to 0.3 percent THC, and some contain no THC. But some products are labeled as containing less than 0.3 percent THC when they have more.

“In a product that does contain 0.3 percent THC, there is still a potential to test positive for THC, depending on the amount consumed, the frequency of use and individual metabolism of the product,” Ward said. “There is also a chance that pure CBD tests positive for THC, depending on the type of drug screen used, but this is much less likely to happen.”

Continue reading at SHRM

Should Magic Mushrooms Be Legal?

“Marijuana is becoming legal in more parts of the country, both medicinally and recreationally. A new group of advocates is following the pot playbook to change laws regarding hallucinogens, specifically magic mushrooms.

A small but growing campaign to legalize magic mushrooms has spread its spores into a handful of spots across the United States. In May, Denver became the first city in the country to decriminalize psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms. A month later, the Oakland City Council did the same. Under decriminalization, psilocybin is still officially illegal, but city agencies do not enforce laws that ban it.

Under federal law, psilocybin and similar hallucinogens are classified by the U.S. government as Schedule I drugs, substances with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

Supporters of legalizing magic mushrooms point to evidence that the classification is incorrect on both counts. Recent research suggests psilocybin may be an effective treatment for psychological issues such as depression and anxiety. Magic mushrooms also come with a low risk of addiction, studies suggest. There is some evidence that psilocybin can help people break their addictions to other substances, specifically smoking.

Read the full article at Yahoo News

Should Magic Mushrooms Be Legal?

“Marijuana is becoming legal in more parts of the country, both medicinally and recreationally. A new group of advocates is following the pot playbook to change laws regarding hallucinogens, specifically magic mushrooms.

A small but growing campaign to legalize magic mushrooms has spread its spores into a handful of spots across the United States. In May, Denver became the first city in the country to decriminalize psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms. A month later, the Oakland City Council did the same. Under decriminalization, psilocybin is still officially illegal, but city agencies do not enforce laws that ban it.

Under federal law, psilocybin and similar hallucinogens are classified by the U.S. government as Schedule I drugs, substances with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

Why there’s a debate:

Supporters of legalizing magic mushrooms point to evidence that the classification is incorrect on both counts. Recent research suggests psilocybin may be an effective treatment for psychological issues such as depression and anxiety. Magic mushrooms also come with a low risk of addiction, studies suggest. There is some evidence that psilocybin can help people break their addictions to other substances, specifically smoking.

Many of these benefits, some say, are present when users practice “microdosing” — taking a small amount that provides psychological benefits without creating a hallucinogenic effect. Microdosing can improve creativity and focus, practitioners report.

Perspectives

Psilocybin may be a revolutionary treatment for depression

“It’s really unprecedented in medical history to see effects for depression that are caused by a single medication.” — Johns Hopkins University researcher Matthew Johnson to NPR

The drug should be made accessible to certain vulnerable groups

“If Prozac had the effects observed in the best current studies on psychedelics, withholding it from the depressed or dying would be considered a human rights violation as serious as failing, out of spite, to set a broken leg.” — Graeme Wood, Atlantic.

Continue reading at Yahoo News

Why that CBD Oil You Just Bought Might Be Fake

“It seems everywhere we turn these days there is a big, flashing sign that reads “CBD Sold Here.” But instead of seeing these circus-style advertisements around legitimate medical facilities dedicated to creating a healthier population, they are appearing in front of smoke shops, convenience stores, and malls. America has gone buck wild for this non-intoxicating cannabis-hemp derivative. So much, in fact, they have failed to take into consideration that some of these products might be fake.

Not all CBD is the therapeutic heal-all you’ve been reading about for the past few years. Some of it is junk, containing only trace amounts of the cannabinoid. Reports abound of counterfeit CBD oil sold in parts of the country. So, yes, if you purchase CBD oil the last time you filled up your vehicle with gasoline or bought a blacklight poster from Spencer’s Gifts, there’s a good chance the CBD you’ve been taking is just a load of bull.

Research published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that around 40 percent of CBD products purchased online do not contain as much of the compound as printed on the labels. About 26 percent included higher concentrations than they were supposed to. Some of these products even tested positive for enough THC (the stoner compound) to cause a person to fail a drug test. Reports of CBD users testing positive for marijuana have become more prevalent as of late because of these kinds of manufacturing discrepancies.

Getting your hands on quality CBD products is relatively simple. It’s always a good idea to buy from a reputable dealer in a legal marijuana state where these products are held to testing standards. But if a legal state isn’t an option, consumers shouldn’t just rely on Amazon or their local truck stop for help. You just can’t be sure about the quality when buying CBD from these retailers. Ultimately, consumers should do some research and find cannabis companies that employ strict testing standards as though they were under the thumb of the FDA. Sniffing out those firms can sometimes be tricky. But this list from the U.S. Hemp Authority is an excellent place to start.

The Growth Shop

Why Do You Think Medical Cannabis Will Disrupt the Pharma Industry?

Medical cannabis can reach new heights – as long as the researchers and policymakers keep their feet on the ground.

Dr. Delon Human, Head of Innovation and Medical Affairs of PharmaCielo Ltd., a global medical cannabis company headquartered in Toronto has decades of experience as a health consultant. This experience includes high-ranking appointments with both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Medical Association (WMA), Dr. Human has seen trends come and go. However, medical cannabis, he says, will only keep growing.

Having shaken off its counterculture mantle and taken root in health care, cannabis offers opportunities to a range of stakeholders – from innovators and investors to suffering individuals. As the industry matures, Dr. Human wants to ensure the benefits continue to outpace the risks.

As it happens, Dr. Human comes from a background of harm reduction and has spent much of his career fighting the excesses of tobacco, alcohol, and substance use. Which raises the question: why would a man who has devoted years to helping people ‘say no’ step into a leadership position at a cannabis company?

Dr. Human also explains what sets PharmaCielo apart—like the fact that the company grows its cannabis under open skies in Colombia (hence the word “Cielo,” or sky, in the name) and partners with a combination of professional flower growers, rural farmers and indigenous peoples with centuries-old expertise to support its farming operations; or why PharmaCielo has placed its bets on cannabis oils and extracts, rather than dried flowers, for its finished products.

How does the public perception of cannabis products match up with reality?

There is still a lot of ignorance around this plant. Part of it has to do with the product’s legacy. As a symbol of so-called hippie culture in the sixties, cannabis still wears the ‘stoner’ hat in some people’s minds. However, if you strip away this historical association, cannabis is just a plant, just like basil or tomato. It happens to be a fascinating and multidimensional plant, with the potential to reduce human suffering.

The connotation of cannabis with smoking has also damaged public perception, though this knee-jerk image is fading as people become aware of the different ways of ingesting the product. Currently, about 70% of cannabis sold in Canada is dried, milled and smoked, but I believe the proportion will get a lot smaller.

How is medical cannabis disrupting the traditional pharmaceutical industry?

In the traditional pharmaceutical industry, innovation and access are always pulling against each other. Broadly speaking, the more innovative the molecule, the more it costs and the greater the barriers to access. Poorer countries and poorer people don’t usually have the same level of access as richer ones. When you consider that most pharmaceutical products treat noncommunicable chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis or cancer, the traditional pharma model leaves a lot of people out.

Organisations such as the WHO spend a lot of energy trying to balance innovation and access, but the tension and unfairness persist.

In contrast, cannabis offers the possibility of both high innovation and high access. It is inexpensive to produce, and the right policies can ensure widespread access to those in need, disrupting the traditional marketplace.

Continue reading at Health Europe

Many Teens Are Using Ultra-Potent ‘Marijuana Concentrates’

A striking proportion of teens are using highly potent forms of marijuana known as marijuana concentrates, at least in one state, a new study suggests.

The study, published today (Aug. 26) in the journal Pediatrics, analyzed data from nearly 50,000 eighth, 10th and 12th graders in Arizona. The researchers found that one-third of participants said they had used marijuana, and nearly a quarter said they had used marijuana concentrates at least once in their lives.

Marijuana concentrates are substances with very high levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana responsible for the drug’s intoxicating effects. Sometimes known as “butane hash oil,” “dab,” “wax,” “crumble” or “shatter,” these concentrates typically contain three times more THC than does the dried marijuana flower.

It’s important to note that the new study only included teens in Arizona, and the percentage of teens who use marijuana concentrates in other states is unknown. More studies will be needed to understand if the trend is confined to Arizona, or whether it’s happening in other states as well.

The usage rates could be similar in other states that have legalized medical cannabis, as Arizona has, Meier said. However, some states have legalized medical cannabis but not marijuana concentrates, so their use might be lower in those ones, she added. It’s also unclear whether states that allow recreational marijuana in addition to medical marijuana have higher rates of teen marijuana-concentrate use.

A yearly national survey known as Monitoring the Future, which looks at drug use among teens across the U.S., has also examined rates of marijuana-concentrate use to some extent. However, that survey classifies “concentrated THC” as a hallucinogen, and so only teens who report the use of hallucinogens are asked about the use of concentrated THC. As a result, this type of questioning tends to underestimate use, Meier said. In 2018, the Monitoring the Future survey found that just 1.1% of 12th graders reported the use of concentrated THC.

The new study also found that teens who used marijuana concentrates had much higher rates of electronic cigarette use. Indeed, teens who used marijuana concentrates were three times more likely to report using e-cigarettes, compared to those who used other forms of marijuana. (Teens are probably using e-cigarettes to vape marijuana.)

Read the full article at Live Science

Will Oakland Lead the Psychedelic Revolution?

“The city of Oakland breeds hell-raisers. Visionary writers such as Jack London and Amy Tan have called the Town home, as did radical politician Earl Warren, who paved the way for eliminating segregation in schools. Actress Zendaya is a local legend in the making. Then, of course, there are the Black Panthers and MC Hammer and his pants.

That’s been the case time and again, including Oakland’s treatment of marijuana, as it was one of the first places to decriminalize it long before legalization swept over larger swaths of America. And once recreational use arrived, it became the first city to put an equity program in place that prioritized permits and support for people of color who had previously been arrested for selling weed in the illegal market.

Now it appears that Oakland’s next sights are on psychedelic plants. The City Council unanimously passed a resolution in June decriminalizing psilocybin mushrooms and other “entheogenic plants,” such as ayahuasca and iboga. This came on the heels of Denver’s move to decriminalize solely psilocybin mushrooms just weeks before. Under the resolution, Oakland law enforcement will not investigate and prosecute adults over 21 possessing magic mushrooms and other psychoactive plants.

The news begs the question, Is this the next frontier in the drug-legalization movement? And if so, will Oakland be the city to lead it?

Oakland resident Carlos Plazola cofounded Decriminalize Nature Oakland with other advocates of entheogenic-plant medicine in January after he endured a revelatory magic-mushroom experience that helped him source his anxiety and anger issues to childhood trauma. Councilman Gallo sponsored the resolution, saying he sees the plants as another form of medicine that people can try when other treatments fail to help them. He also said he personally knows about the healing powers of plants, as his Native American grandmother used them for traditional medicine.

Nearly 100 people were in the City Council chambers in support of the vote, some sharing their stories about how psychedelic plants have helped them with addiction and depression.

While there’s a lot more research to be done, some studies have shown psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy’s efficacy helps reduce depression and anxiety for cancer patients as well as alcohol dependence. Santa Cruz–based MAPS has long researched psychedelic medicine, and FDA-supported, large-scale clinical trials exploring psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression are underway in North America and Europe.

Read the full article at The Bold Italic

How Legal Marijuana Is Helping the Black Market

“When the new marijuana shop opened up just down the street from his own marijuana shop, Greg Meguerian, owner of The Refinery in Los Angeles, kept an eye on it. When that shop stayed open past the legal closing time of 10 p.m. and sold customers over a quarter-pound of cannabis at once, four times more than the legal limit, Meguerian knew he wasn’t competing with a licensed dispensary.

The 15 Spot—as the tarp sign hung in front says doesn’t appear on Los Angeles’ list of authorized retail businesses. Meguerian and his lawyer reported the dispensary, but it’s still open—and Meguerian is paying a price. He said his sales are down noticeably since his illicit competitor moved in. Calls to the 15 Spot went unanswered because its phone is disconnected.

“I told the state, ‘If I lose 20 percent, you just lost 20 percent in taxes,’” he told POLITICO Magazine. “You feel like your words are falling on deaf ears.”

Though each state has its own issues, the problems have similar outlines: Underfunded law enforcement officers and slow-moving regulators are having trouble building a legal regime fast enough to contain a high-demand product that already has a large existing criminal network to supply it. And at the national level, advocates also point to another, even bigger structural issue: Problems are inevitable in a nation where legalization is so piecemeal.

“You’re never going to eliminate [the illicit market] until most of the states are legal,” says Adam Smith of the Craft Cannabis Alliance, a group in Oregon advocating for small cannabis farmers. “As long as half the country still can’t get it legally, there’s a market for it illegally.”

With Oregon growers producing three times more marijuana than consumers inside the state can handle, neighboring Idaho has reported a 665 percent increase in the number of illicit marijuana officers has seized. In 2016, the year before Oregon’s adult-use laws took effect, troopers confiscated 508 pounds of marijuana. Oregon’s new recreational market went into full effect on January 1, 2017, and the number of licensed dispensaries jumped from 99 to 260. That same year, the amount of cannabis confiscated by Idaho state troopers skyrocketed to 1,376 pounds and kept climbing. Last year, seizures totaled nearly a ton.

Read the full article at Politico

Ohio Lawmakers Vote to Allow Growing Hemp, Selling CBD Oil

“COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Republican-led Legislature has passed a measure that would allow Ohio farmers and university researchers to grow industrial hemp and would legalize sales of hemp-derived cannabidiol oil, or CBD.

Federal legislation last year removed hemp from the list of federally controlled substances and now treats the low-THC version of the cannabis plant like other agricultural crops. But existing Ohio law doesn’t differentiate between marijuana and hemp.

The newly passed Ohio legislation would allow for the cultivation of hemp as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC, the cannabis compound that gives marijuana its high. It would be regulated by the state.

Fox 8 Cleveland

Could Magic Mushrooms Ever Replace Today’s Antidepressants?

“Interest in using hallucinogens, such as magic mushrooms, to treat depression is on the rise, fueled by the results of early clinical trials in people with cancer.

Researchers caution it will be several years before data is available from the first randomized trials of psilocybin — the hallucinogenic compound in magic mushrooms — for depression in those without cancer.

But advocates say psilocybin could provide an effective treatment for depression with fewer side effects than current antidepressants, which leave many people emotionally “blunted.”

“The work is very promising, with large effects shown for depression in the two largest studies in cancer patients, and large effects in the single published study outside of cancer,” said Matthew W. Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

One of these studies — conducted in 2016 by researchers at Imperial College London and other institutions — found that a single dose of psilocybin had a long-lasting effect on people with moderate to severe major depression.

“This study showed an antidepressant effect after a week and enduring for a couple of months,” said Dr. Stephen Ross, co-director of the NYU Psychedelic Research Group in New York City.

However, he points out the study didn’t compare people taking psilocybin to people not taking the drug — the control group. So, the study results don’t necessarily show that psilocybin works for depression.

The strongest psilocybin data so far is for treating anxiety and depression in people with cancer, carried out in two clinical trials by Ross and other researchers at NYU and by Johnson and others at Johns Hopkins University.

These studies, which included 80 participants combined, showed that psilocybin worked better than a non-hallucinogenic placebo for treating cancer-related depression.

More of this story at Healthline

U.K. Legalizing Cannabis Supported by Near-Majority of Voters

“Almost half of Britons support the legalization of cannabis, according to a survey commissioned by a group associated with the ruling Conservative Party.

Legalization is backed by 48% with only 24% opposed, based on a YouGov poll carried out for the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group. Support is highest among 18-24 year-olds at 54% and lowest among people 65 or older at 39%. A separate YouGov poll last year found 43% support and 41% opposed.

The latest result “illustrates the widening gulf between the stubborn, decades-old policies of blanket prohibition and the developing attitude of millions of voters,” Rob Wilson, a former Tory minister, and now chief executive officer of the CDPRG wrote in an online article for the Sunday Times cited by the newspaper.

The U.K. legalized medicinal cannabis in 2018. The Church of England said in June it would consider investments in medical marijuana, according to the Financial Times.

Bloomberg