Los Angeles County Issues Its First Cannabis License

Yvonne Delarosa Green was awarded the first cannabis business license for Los Angeles County for her dispensary 99 High Tide Collective in Malibu. The city and county of Los Angeles are expected to become the capital of cannabis once the state of California’s regulated adult-use market is up and running.

There is a great deal of confusion over the cannabis licenses in the city versus the county. Los Angeles, the city, hasn’t issued any licenses, and it is rumored that existing dispensaries will have to close until they receive the new 2018 license under the new regulations.

Keith Knox, chief deputy treasurer and tax collector for the county, confirmed that Los Angeles County administers some functions like business permits for three cities and Malibu is one of those three. However, Los Angeles County is banning marijuana for now, which makes the licensing in Malibu even more unique.

The mayor’s office in Malibu said in a statement:

“The City of Malibu’s Municipal Code allows for two medical marijuana dispensaries to operate within City limits. Two medical marijuana dispensaries have been in operation in the City for several years. Los Angeles County issues business licenses on behalf of the City of Malibu, and approved a business license for one of the two existing medical marijuana dispensaries today.”

Read the full article at Forbes

Opium Tincture Market Plan, Supply and Revenue to 2020

A tincture is an alcoholic extract of plant or animal material or solution of such low volatility substance. Tincture of opium which is also known as laudanum is an alcoholic herbal preparation containing approximately 10% powdered opium by weight.

Opium is a highly narcotic drug acquired as dried latex that contains approximately 12% of the analgesic alkaloid morphine. Opium is processed chemically to produce heroin and other synthetic opioids for medicinal use and other uses. Opium tincture is reddish brown in color and bitter in taste.

Opium tincture contains morphine and codeine and it is primarily used as an analgesic and cough suppressant. Opium tincture enhances the tone in the long segments of the longitudinal muscle and inhibits propulsive contraction of circular and longitudinal muscles.

Opium tincture remains in the British Pharmacoepia, where it is referred to as Tincture of Opium, B.P., Laudanum, Thebaic Tincture, or Tinctura Thebaica.
Major methods of preparation of opium include processing it into regular opium tincture (tinctura opii).

Read the full article at Miltech

Why Is Weed Getting More Potent?

The feds began monitoring the potency of the nation’s pot supply in the ‘70s by drawing samples from stashes seized by law enforcement, and boy was it schwag. The percentage of THC—the main psychoactive component in cannabis—averaged from less than 1% in 1975 to just under 3% a decade later, according to the data.

These notoriously low levels reflected the times, as the weed subculture in America was just starting to take root and could help explain why some of the most memorable old school brands have names like Acapulco Gold, Panama Red, Afghani, Thai stick, and Jamaican sensi; they were all originally cultivated outside of the country.

Now, as some critics have pointed out, it’s impossible to empirically confirm how strong domestically grown pot was back in the day due to inferior testing and sampling methods, however, there does seem to be enough prevailing research, firsthand testimony, and common sense to show that the illicit reefer from decades ago wasn’t nearly as powerful as today’s.

A recent federal study found that “the potency of illicit cannabis plant material has consistently risen over time since 1995 from approximately 4% in 1995 to approximately 12% in 2014.” This marked increase represents a shift when smokers began to pivot from dirt to mid-grade and hydro. In one standout bust from 2009, the DEA nabbed some sticky-icky that scored an impressive 33.12%, the highest concentration of THC the agency has ever seen in a domestic sample of weed.

Continue Reading at Gizmodo

CDC Launches Campaign To Fight Opioid Crisis In US

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a national campaign to help fight the prescription opioid crisis in this country.

The campaign will use online advertising, billboards, newspapers and radio/TV ads to increase awareness about the risks of opioids.

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is committed to using evidence-based methods to communicate targeted messages about the opioid crisis and prevent addiction and misuse in every way we can,” said HHS Secretary Tom Price, M.D.

He added, “Prevention is a key piece of the five-point strategy HHS unveiled under the Trump Administration for combating this crisis, which has left no corner of America untouched.”

WSB Radio

WING Officials Report Increase In Heroin Usage

GERING — Scotts Bluff County Sheriff Mark Overman refers to Colorado as the area’s “canary in the coal mine” because law enforcement and drug problems experienced in northern Colorado soon spread to the Nebraska Panhandle.

Use of the powerful painkillers, both prescription and non-prescription, has been rapidly increasing in both the U.S. and Canada since about 2010. By 2015, overdose deaths from opioids surpassed deaths from both car accidents and guns.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, overdose deaths, especially from prescription opioids and heroin, have reached epidemic levels.

Nebraska State Patrol Sgt. Brian Eads serves as the WING Drug Task Force commander. He said the area has been dealing with opioids, particularly prescription drugs, for some time. But now heroin is starting to make more of an appearance in even smaller towns in the Panhandle.

Much of the heroin they’re seeing is cut with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid painkiller that has a rapid onset and short duration of action. It’s 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

Eads said DEA statistics show a large majority of seized heroin has been cut with fentanyl, which is considerably stronger than the heroin itself.

Read more at Starherald

Opioid Addiction: Humanizing A Crisis

Serious, chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, represent just a few of the staple diagnoses in developed countries, but few are as stigmatized as addiction. The opioid epidemic is at the forefront of public health issues capturing national attention in the United States, affecting communities from Hollywood to small town USA.

The term opiate is a classification for a drug that contains the highly addictive drug opium, a narcotic derived from the Papaver somniferum poppy plant. Opioids are appealing because the user feels a great sense of euphoria, followed by both decreased pain and increased drowsiness.

Adding to the complexity of this epidemic is the availability of similar, and often illicit, drugs that produce the same euphoric feelings of prescription pain medications. The abuse of, and addiction to, illicit versions of opiates, such as heroin, is growing as regulations and costs make it more difficult to obtain legally prescribed opiates.

It makes sense, then, that the United States consumes 80% of the global opioid supply. Individuals hit hardest by this epidemic are between the ages of 25 to 54, with higher overdose rates seen in non-Hispanic whites and Native Americans or Alaskan Natives. Men die from overdoses at higher rates than women, but that gap is said to be closing.

Continue Reading at Crixeo

Big Weed Will Capitalize On Cannabis At Any Cost To Society

Cigarettes are good for your health. There’s no such thing as global warming, so keep on burning coal. Benzodiazepines like Valium are a godsend — “mother’s little helper.” “Anything’s possible when you learn to handle Smirnoff.” These are some of the vintage ads and canards that we look back upon today with wonder.

What’s stupid is our collective amnesia about what happens in a democracy when a forbidden fruit hits the market: namely, capitalism at its worst. The response of capitalism to legalized cannabis will be to capitalize, as is its nature. To imagine that there will be no Big Weed akin to Big Tobacco is stupid. Consolidation is assured, and Big Weed will be run by executives from the other Big Bad Wolves.

The health benefits of “medical marijuana” will one day be equated with the disservice done by a generation of doctors who overprescribed opiates and benzos, the previous generation of doctors being suckered into smoking and recommending Camel cigarettes as good for you.

Read more at The Star

Why Michigan’s Marijuana Regulators Want to Shut the Pot Industry Down

Michigan’s medical marijuana industry has had a licensing authority—in this case, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Board—for less than three months. It took two meetings before the licensing board, in charge of overseeing and regulating the state’s cannabis landscape, suggested shutting it all down.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Michigan since 2008. Under state law, a caregiver is allowed to cultivate up to 72 marijuana plants—no more than 12 plants for no more than six patients.

Retail outlets offering cannabis in Michigan are technically illegal—and will be until the state starts issuing licenses, a development expected to come as soon as later this year—yet dispensaries have been operating with varying levels of transparency in select cities for years.

In Detroit, there are more than 70 dispensaries offering marijuana for sale that has completed or at least started the city licensing process, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“Every dispensary out there is open in violation of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act,” Bailey said during a recent board meeting, according to the Detroit Free Press. “It’s a felony for every sale that occurs from a dispensary.”

Continue Reading at High Times

Californians Might Vote on ‘Magic Mushroom’ Legalization in 2018

Californians might vote on whether to decriminalize the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms as early as 2018, under a newly proposed ballot measure.

The measure — which was filed on Friday (Aug. 25) with the state Attorney General’s office — would exempt people ages 21 and over from criminal penalties for using, possessing, selling, transporting or cultivating psilocybin, a hallucinogenic compound found in certain mushroom species.

The measure is not currently on the ballot — supporters need to get at least 365,880 signatures to qualify for the 2018 ballot, according to the Sacramento Bee, a newspaper in Northern California.

Continue reading at LiveScience

Two Foreign Nationals Arrested With Rare Drug

Port Shepstone SAPS arrested two foreign nationals after being caught with what is believed to be the first consignment of a drug called “khat” that was intercepted on the South Coast.

The two male occupants appeared to be very suspicious and the vehicle was intercepted. The drug is originally from East Africa and contains two stimulant substances, cathinone, and cathine.

“This plant is normally chewed or even smoked. A total of 104 bundles were confiscated and each bundle contained 106 stems.”

The two suspects will be charged with possession of drugs and will appear in court shortly. – Supplied.

News24

It’s Time to Cut the Oil Syringe Some Slack

Cannabis oils are contained, transported, and dispensed from a variety of vessels. “Pucks” and different types of parchments are the most common containers used to package cannabis oils, but the syringe remains the only oil container that can dispense measured doses of cannabis concentrate by design.

The syringe, however, holds an especially loaded place in drug culture for its apparent relationship to intravenous drug use, which is amplified against the backdrop of the opioid epidemic in the United States. The optics of the syringe are challenging to overcome because society shares the preconceived notation that syringes belong in the responsible hands of science and medicine professionals, yet are being abused by hard drug users.

Benefits of Cannabis Oil Syringes

It’s time to push your concerns aside and give this implement a chance. There are myriad benefits of cannabis oil syringes. First, syringes usually come in a variety of volumes. Many have their volume indicated in marks on the body of the syringe, giving you relative measurements for dosage.

Another benefit of the syringe is its minimal to non-existent loss of oil. The plunger in my oil syringe pressed the oil through without losing much to the container. With a puck or parchment, over time oil can get thin and difficult to fully collect. There are different techniques to gather this residual oil, but the syringe requires neither the time nor effort to do so. The full volume is available, measurable, and usable without the fuss of a heating element and tools.

Read the full article at Leafly

Could This Back-pain Device End Need For Opioids?

A new pain pellet that scientists are developing in Columbus is about half the size of a grain of rice, but researchers say it delivers a big dose of relief that could one day help fight the opioid epidemic.

The tiny rod holds a nonaddictive painkiller that doctors could insert in the lower back, much like an epidural, to give a patient a break from the chronic or acute pain, said Dr. Ali Rezai, director of the Neurological Institute at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. He would not reveal the painkiller, saying only that it is a drug that already has been used successfully as a cardiovascular medication.

A small trial of 55 people with sciatica — pain in the lower back and legs — showed that the pellet stopped the pain for up to one year and was safe and easy to use, Fiore said. Researchers will next seek to perform a large clinical trial, hoping to confirm effectiveness and safety. The trial will involve a broader group of people culled from pain centers across Ohio.

Opioids are commonly used to treat chronic pain, Rezai said.

But the highly addictive nature of the medications, Fiore said, is a reason to find alternatives. Someone who takes opioids for a single day, for example, has a 6 percent chance of being addicted a year later.

Read more at The Columbus Dispatch

‘Magic Mushroom’ Enzyme Mystery Solved

Researchers unravel the biosynthesis of the psychoactive drug psilocybin, making the large-scale production a possibility…

The euphoria and hallucinations induced from eating Psilocybe “magic mushrooms” have earned the fungi a cult following. Sandoz chemist Albert Hofmann isolated and determined the structure of psilocybin, the main ingredient in mushrooms that leads to the psychedelic effects, nearly 60 years ago. That discovery and subsequent mind-altering experiments by Harvard University psychologist Timothy F. Leary have left scientists longing to develop a large-scale synthesis of the compound for medical uses, which include treating anxiety and depression in terminal cancer patients and treating nicotine addiction. Yet no one has been able to unravel the enzymatic pathway the mushrooms use to make psilocybin, until now.

During their study, Hoffmeister and co-workers sequenced the genomes of two mushroom species to identify the genes that govern the fungal enzymatic production of psilocybin. They further used engineered bacteria and fungi to confirm the gene activity and exact order of synthetic steps. This process includes a newly discovered enzyme that decarboxylates tryptophan, an enzyme that adds a hydroxyl group, an enzyme that catalyzes phosphorylation, and an enzyme that mediates two sequential amine methylation steps. With that knowledge in hand, the team designed a one-pot reaction using three of the enzymes to prepare psilocybin from 4-hydroxy-L-tryptophan.

“The publication by Hoffmeister and colleagues highlights a terrific example of genomics-based biocatalyst-pathway discovery,” adds natural products researcher Jon S. Thorson of the University of Kentucky. “While psilocybin biosynthesis derives from a series of fairly simple chemical transformations, this new study identifies the contributing genes and biocatalysts for the first time and, importantly, provides strong evidence to support a revision of the order of the key steps proposed more than five decades ago. This work clearly sets the stage for bioengineered psilocybin production and/or for analogs that may serve as compelling alternatives to existing synthetic strategies.”

C&En News

Legal weed: An accidental solution to the opioid crisis?

It’s hard to go a day in Canada without hearing about at least one of two types of drugs – but for vastly different reasons. One class of drug — opioids — kills four people a day in British Columbia. The other — cannabis — will be legal for adult purchase and consumption by this time next year.

The opioid overdose epidemic is Canada’s gravest public health crisis since the emergence of HIV in the 1980s. With its roots in the over-prescription of high-potency painkillers, sparked by the contamination of the illicit drug supply with fentanyl and related drugs, the crisis has reached across demographic divides.

Could cannabis legalization be a part of this solution? Increasingly, this is what the latest scientific research indicates.

Fatal overdoses

The opioid crisis is a product of the medical system’s over-reliance on opioids for pain relief. Almost one in five Canadians live with some form of chronic pain. Twenty years ago, pharmaceutical companies began to develop slow-release formulations of opioids (e.g. OxyContin) and marketed them as safe and effective medications for the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain.

Continue Reading at The Conversation

Is Marijuana Worse Than Tobacco For Cardiovascular Health?

If you consume cannabis, you are three times more likely to die from high blood pressure than those who abstain, according to a shocking new study. What does this mean to your cardiovascular health?

The study, published on Tuesday in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, found:

“Compared with subjects who had never used marijuana, the results revealed that marijuana users were 3.42 times more likely to die from high blood pressure. For each year of marijuana use, the risk of death from hypertension increased by 1.04 times.”

“We found higher estimated cardiovascular risks associated with marijuana use than cigarette smoking,” said study author Barbara A. Yankey from Georgia State University. “This indicates that marijuana use may carry even heavier consequences on the cardiovascular system than that already established for cigarette smoking.”

The study’s methodology has been questioned by other cannabis researchers. One significant shortcoming in the study is that the researchers did not control for diet and exercise as a factor in cardiovascular risk. It also did not assess whether test subjects ate, vaporized or smoked cannabis.

Read the full article at The Fresh Toast

Can Weed Make You a Better Athlete?

Cannabis is the perfect medicine for athletes,” says retired NFL offensive lineman Eben Britton over the phone, stating matter-of-factly what’s still, generally, considered taboo. (In the world of modern cannabis advocacy, you’re never talking about “weed,” “pot,” “marijuana,” or “cannabis”.)

That hypothesis is the impetus behind Athletes For Care, a new nonprofit of which Britton—alongside 26 other athletes from the NFL, NBA, NHL, and UFC—is a founding member. The organization is dedicated to promoting a holistic, alternative approach to athlete wellness, both for those still playing and retirees. Cannabis is but one part of the wellness package—albeit an important one.

Many of the athletes involved, including former NFL players Eugene Monroe and Nate Jackson, already have a history of cannabis advocacy. The goal of Athletes For Care is to allow them to come together and create what Britton calls a “safe space” for athletes interested in alternative medicine, as well as those simply looking for support after leaving the infrastructure of professional sports.

Read the full article at Bleacher Report

Is It Legal to Mail CBD Oil?

As you are likely aware, cannabis is federally illegal under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that transporting any form of cannabis across state lines is considered a felony trafficking offense. Sending cannabis through the mail is no exception and can result in a prison sentence of up to five years for the first offense.

However, more and more often, there have been advertisements offering to ship CBD oil to your home, whether you live in Colorado or Kentucky, across state and federal lines.

The Cannabis sativa L. plant has several different varieties. The non-psychoactive variety is what we commonly refer to as industrial hemp, and contains little to no THC content and small amounts of CBD.

Industrial hemp is legal to import and ship across state lines and process into various products, including the fabled CBD oils, so long as they contain less than 0.3% delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol.

Continue Reading at Leafly

Maine Panel Mulls Doubling 10% Tax on Cannabis

In November, legalization of recreational marijuana was approved. Possession of recreational marijuana became legal this year, while the Legislature pushed back the legalization until at least February.

The referendum included licensing fees as well as a 10 percent tax on sales by retail marijuana stores and social clubs.

“I think we’ll definitely be increasing (the tax) to some level,” said Democratic Rep. Teresa Pierce, co-chair of the Legislature’s joint marijuana legalization implementation committee.

Meanwhile, medical marijuana dispensaries and advocacy groups so far this year have reported spending more than $265,000 on lobbyists to sway officials. Legalize Maine has reported spending $32,000, while Maine Professionals for Regulating Marijuana has reported spending nearly $85,000.

The regulations will govern issues from the use of pesticides to grow for personal consumption, and the Legislature faces further votes on a bill to set up a system of labs to test marijuana. Pierce said that overall, the idea is to learn from states like Colorado.

Read the full article at Leafly

Opioid Epidemic Spreading To Newborns

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the number of babies dependent on opioids nearly doubled from 2010 to 2015.

Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo is one of many hospitals across Colorado seeing a big spike in babies dependent on drugs.

The hospital treated 32 infants in 2015 and saw 37 babies exposed to opiates in 2016. That’s up from just one or two a year before 2011.

Most of the drug-dependent babies the hospital sees are addicted to heroin. Nationwide, the number of newborns addicted to opioids is up 400 percent since 2000.

Health officials say cuddling helps the babies through some of the most difficult days as newborns.

“With cuddling, you get control of some of those minor symptoms of withdrawal and it’s actually seen as our first line of medical treatment,” said Camille Hodapp, a nurse practitioner at Parkview Medical Center.

Read more at Fox 31

Scientists Get Religious Leaders High On Magic Mushroom Compound

Commentary: A revolutionary experiment involves seeing whether drugs heighten the religious experience.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University are taking a more celestial look at chemically enhanced spiritual uplift.

As the Guardian reports, they’ve brought together a few rabbis, some Catholic, Orthodox and Presbyterian priests, and a Zen Buddhist to see if doses of psilocybin might enhance their religious fervor.

One of the scientists involved in the study, Dr. William Richards, told the Guardian: “With psilocybin, these profound mystical experiences are quite common. It seemed like a no-brainer that they might be of interest, if not valuable, to clergy.”

How much more productive — or even happier — might we be if, having woken up in a bad mood, we then don a strange headset or patch that suddenly makes us feel at one with the world?

Read the full article at CNET