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

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

Better Buy: Medical Marijuana vs. Canopy Growth

“The global cannabis market is no doubt an exciting one, and there are many companies auditioning for your investment dollars. Cannabis stocks range from penny stocks to multi-billion-dollar global companies, so there’s quite a lot to choose from when thinking about how to play the space.

Two companies on opposite ends of the cannabis spectrum are Canopy Growth Company (NYSE: CGC) and Medical Marijuana, Inc. (NASDAQOTH: MJNA). Canopy, based in Canada, is the largest cannabis company in the world by market capitalization, and has Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ), the owner of beer brands such as Corona and Modelo, as its largest strategic investor. Constellation invested $4 billion in Canopy last August for a 38% stake, along with warrants that give it the option to potentially purchase a controlling stake in the company.

Meanwhile, Medical Marijuana is a very small stock that trades over-the-counter in the United States at a market capitalization of just $200 million. Unlike Canopy, which focuses on medical and recreational marijuana sales in non-U.S. countries where cannabis has been legalized, Medical Marijuana decided to focus on the cannabidiol (CBD) market in the U.S. Though THC products, which contain the psychoactive agent in cannabis, remain federally illegal, the 2018 Farm Bill, passed in December, legalized the cultivation of hemp in order to produce CBD without THC, the psychoactive agent in cannabis. Medical Marijuana did have about $20 million in sales last quarter, which means there is a real potential business there.

Comparing operating results
Canopy currently generates much more revenue than Medical Marijuana, but it’s not as much as you might think. Last quarter Canopy made just over CA$106 million in revenue, more than 400% growth over the prior-year quarter, while Medical Marijuana made just over $20 million in revenue, nearly double the amount in the prior-year quarter.

Canopy is certainly larger and growing faster than Medical Marijuana, but considering Canopy’s stock is valued at roughly 68 times that of Medical Marijuana’s it’s not a stretch to think the scrappy upstart could be the better bet.

Compare that with Canopy, which posted a staggering CA$335 million net loss just last quarter, and a loss of CA$670 million for the year. The losses were due to Canopy’s heavy spending on expansion in Canada and 15 countries around the world. Even after the end of the last quarter Canopy continued its spending spree, buying Germany’s C3 Cannabinoid Compound Company, the UK’s This Works Products, a CBD company, then paying $300 million for the right to purchase Acreage Holdings (NASDAQOTH: ACRGF) for $3.4 billion should the U.S. legalize cannabis at the federal level.

Read the full article at Yahoo Finance

Can Cannabis Treat Anxiety? It’s Complicated

“Many cannabis users and businesses are invested in the idea of cannabis as an anxiety treatment. The position invites skepticism: marijuana companies have a financial interest in promoting a maximalist view of the drug’s benefits, and in patients, it can look like a rationalization for excessive use.

As with other health conditions, the available research is inconclusive and limited due to decades-old restrictions on medical marijuana research. To sort through some of the ambiguities surrounding cannabis and anxiety, I spoke to Jordan Tishler, a Boston-area doctor who has a cannabis-focused practice.

Anxiety, Tishler said, referred more to a disorder when feelings of worry or distress arise for no specific reason. Fewer people take medical marijuana for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) than stress, and the research about whether it works “is all over the map”.

The little research that does exist on the topic lacks specific information such as how much cannabis people take (dosing) and when in the day they ingest it. Additionally, the proportion of THC and CBD content of the product the subjects use is not clear. This makes it very difficult to gauge the drug’s efficacy. “People are very bad at reporting this stuff accurately,” Tishler said.

One of the driving forces of US cannabis legalization is the hope among military veterans that cannabis may relieve PTSD. “PTSD and generalized anxiety disorder have a lot in common,” Tishler said, and based on his practice he believes cannabis can be an effective treatment for PTSD. However, there is an added concern that veterans, in his experience, seem more likely to become heavy cannabis users very quickly, in part because they’re relying more on advice from their peers than their doctors.

The Guardian

Does the Legalization of Marijuana Make It Safe?

“Alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs, though legal, are often abused. People can get these substances whether they are of age or not, and the same thing is happening with marijuana. Walking through almost any neighborhood, one can smell marijuana everywhere. Dena Gorkin, educator, founder, and principal of Bnos Chomesh Academy high school for girls recalls walking down the street with her twelve-year-old daughter and her daughter said, “Smell that, Mom? That’s marijuana.”

There was a time when twelve-year-olds did not know what marijuana was, but now they know what it is and how to recognize it. With any substance that is potentially addictive, it is important that adults give children information. Adults must teach children about real dangers.

At the same time, it is very important to not give them exaggerated information. If a child or teenager is warned, “One marijuana joint will melt your brains and you’ll never be able to concentrate in school again,” they may try it anyway to see what happens. When what they were told inevitably does not happen, the adult loses all credibility and from that point on, any information that adult tells a child about other drugs or substances is potentially ignored because it is deemed unreliable. False information is not an effective way of keeping children away from drugs and other harmful substances.

Different people react in different ways just as they do with alcohol. Not everybody has the same reaction. However, some common reactions have been observed. One common reaction is people becoming very desensitized. Clinically, this is called “Amotivational syndrome.” Amotivational syndrome means a person has little or no desire to do anything – whether it is working, socializing or even completing simple tasks.

Family therapist Dr. Miriam Gross explains that when we combine this syndrome with a teenager’s developing brain, serious developmental issues arise. Teenage marijuana use affects memory, learning, and interpersonal relationships. Teenagers are still learning how to perform in life as they are discovering what they are good at. They need to put significant effort into their studies. They are learning how friendships work and are beginning to understand the dynamics of healthy friendships. These are the building blocks for a successful life. When a person becomes unmotivated, life becomes difficult, and this is particularly true for a teenager.

Marijuana use that begins in the teenage years has been associated with lower career success and income, as well as an increase in problems with interpersonal relationships. When teenagers use marijuana, it permanently affects their developing brain, which, in turn, impacts the rest of their lives.

Read the full article at BK Reader

CBD As A Superbug Antibiotic?

June 24, 2019 — Cannabidiol, or CBD, already being researched and used for anxiety, insomnia, epilepsy, and pain, maybe the next superbug fighter for resistant infections, a new study suggests.

The researchers tested CBD against a wide variety of bacteria, “including bacteria that have become resistant to the most commonly used antibiotics,” says Mark Blaskovich, Ph.D., senior research officer at the Centre for Superbug Solutions at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland in Australia.

The development is important, as antibiotic resistance is reaching dangerously high levels, according to the World Health Organization.

What the Research Shows
CBD is a non-psychoactive compound taken from cannabis and hemp; it does not produce the high that regular marijuana does. To date, the FDA has only approved CBD for treating rare and severe forms of seizure, although it is promoted for many other health benefits.

Blaskovich presented the research Sunday at the American Society for Microbiology annual meeting. The research includes work in test tubes and animal models. Research presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

They compared how effective CBD was compared to common antibiotics, such as vancomycin and daptomycin. “We looked at how quickly the CBD killed the bacteria. It’s quite fast, within 3 hours, which is pretty good. Vancomycin (Vancocin) kills over 6 to 8 hours.”

The CBD also disrupted the biofilm, the layer of ”goop” around bacteria that makes it more difficult for the antibiotic to penetrate and kill.

Finally, the lab studies showed that “CBD is much less likely to cause resistance than the existing antibiotics,” Blaskovich says.

The CBD ”is selective for the type of bacteria,” he says.

He found it effective against gram-positive bacteria but not gram-negative. Gram-positive bacteria cause serious skin infections and pneumonia, among other conditions. Gram-negative bacteria include salmonella (found in undercooked foods) and E. coli (the cause of urinary tract infections, diarrhea, and other ailments), among other bacteria.

In another study, also presented at the meeting, the researchers tested topical CBD to treat a skin infection on mice. It cut the number of bacteria after 48 hours, Blaskovich says, although it did not clear the infection. That research is ongoing.

Continue Reading at WebMD

Is CBD Really the Marijuana Molecule That Cures All?

Wonder drug or modern-day snake oil? Appearing in stores and online in the form of body lotions, capsules, tinctures, edible gummies, and bottled water, CBD has exploded in popularity as a way to reap the supposed health benefits of marijuana without the high that comes with it. All this is in spite of the paucity of evidence of its merits so far.

1. What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of more than 100 molecules called cannabinoids that are found in cannabis. Unlike the nearly identical THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the main active ingredient in pot, CBD doesn’t produce a buzz. According to a report by the World Health Organization, it hasn’t exhibited any potential for abuse or dependence, and there is no evidence of any public health-related problems associated with its use.

2. What does it do?

CBD has been touted as a potential treatment for any number of ailments, among them depression, insomnia, brain injury, opioid addiction, diabetes, arthritis, and graft versus host disease. Pre-clinical trials suggest CBD may have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, but there have been few human trials to substantiate the claims. Several clinical trials are in the works, including one testing its use to combat nausea during chemotherapy, and another on how it affects mood. For now, its only approved medical use in the U.S. is as a treatment of two rare forms of childhood epilepsy.

3. How many people are using it?

Almost 7% of Americans polled in January by investment bank Cowen & Co. reported using CBD as a supplement. Big chains such as CVS, Walgreens, and Kroger are now selling CBD lotions and other products. Cowen estimated that U.S. retail sales were as high as $2 billion in 2018, and analysts at Piper Jaffray & Co. estimated that the U.S. CBD market could be worth as much as $15 billion in five years. The research firm Brightfield Group estimated that CBD was a $318 million market in Europe in 2018.

Read the full article at Bloomberg

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.

Promising results of early clinical trials

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.

Interest in psilocybin research, but also hurdles

In addition to the research being done at NYU, Johns Hopkins, and other universities, two pharma like companies is also doing psilocybin research.

Usona Institute in Madison, Wisconsin, is planning a multisite phase II study of psilocybin for major depression. This kind of early clinical trial focuses on determining the best dose of psilocybin to use and its safety.

Ross will be the lead investigator for the NYU site. He says the hope is that this research, once completed, will go on to a full randomized clinical trial, also known as phase III.

The other company is U.K.-based COMPASS Pathways. It’s beginning a randomized clinical trial looking at psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression.

In 2018, the company received breakthrough therapy designation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this therapy.

Continue reading at Healthline

First Medical Marijuana Edibles for Sale in Ohio

“Limited quantities of marijuana-infused gummy candy hit Ohio medical marijuana dispensary shelves late last week.

The initial price for Ohio’s first legal edible is steep: $80 for 11 gummies. Each candy contains 10 mg of THC. THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is a marijuana compound that generates a “high.”

Similar strength gummies sell for about $25 for a pack of 10 in Illinois, which has a highly-regulated medical marijuana program similar to Ohio’s.

Prices are expected to remain high as the program ramps up. Fewer than half of the state-licensed 29 growers have marijuana flower or other products on retail dispensary store shelves.

Ohio Cannabis Company in Coshocton sold out of the gummies within days of receiving its first shipment. Dispensary employee Missy Bethel said customers have been asking for alternatives to dried bud, which can be vaped but not smoked in Ohio.

Ohio’s medical marijuana law, passed in May 2016, prohibits medical marijuana products that are “attractive to children.” So you won’t see any gummy bears, worms or fruit shapes for sale.

Gummies have to be imprinted with the letters THC. Edible products also contain a warning label that their effects may be delayed.

Smoking or vaping cannabis delivers quick effects because it enters the bloodstream through the lungs. Eating cannabis takes longer and can have different effects because it is absorbed as it is digested.

Read the full article at Cincinnati.com

The Heady Thorny Journey To Decriminalize Magic Mushrooms

“Denver café populated almost entirely by young people staring at laptops, Travis Tyler Fluck—dressed in an orange velour jacket, over which is draped a thin braided lock of hair—takes out his phone and pulls up Craigslist.

A quick search lands him on a post advertising $10 magic mushrooms, with a poorly lit photo of said mushrooms. A good deal for anyone but Fluck, who helped leads the ballot campaign to essentially decriminalize magic mushrooms in this city by making enforcement an extremely low priority, a measure that passed by the slimmest of margins early last month.

Instead of reaching out to the seller, he flags the post. After all, the measure says you can grow and possess mushrooms for personal use, but that doesn’t mean you can sell them. Selling on Craigslist is a bad look for a measure that a small majority of voters approved.

Kevin Matthews—director of Decriminalize Denver, which led the ballot campaign—arrives and sits down on a couch opposite Fluck, who shows him the post on his screen.

Meanwhile, the psilocybin decriminalization movement is snowballing at an incredible clip. Last week, the Oakland, California, city council voted unanimously to decriminalize a range of psychedelic plants, including mushrooms and cacti. And Oregon is considering a measure in 2020 to allow access to “guided psilocybin services,” while lowering penalties for possession.

How quickly is the push to decriminalize psilocybin progressing, exactly? So quickly that it’s even surprised psychedelics advocates. “The fact that it’s happening so fast is kind of amazing,” says Brad Burge, spokesperson for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which leads studies of psychedelic therapies, including the aforementioned MDMA trial. “Here we have some of the very first policy measures ever to be proposed around the decriminalization of psychedelic substances and they’re passing. This is so surprising, I’ve only just had a chance to start thinking about it.”

Read the full article at Wired