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

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

New ‘Cannabis Oil’ Named After Billy Caldwell

A CO Tyrone boy who became the first person to be prescribed medical cannabis on the NHS is to be the face of a new brand of oil derived from the marijuana plant.

Billy Caldwell (11), from Castlederg, made history earlier this year he was prescribed oil containing CBD – an extract from cannabis – to help with life-threatening epilepsy that caused him to suffer up to 100 seizures a day.

Now a medical cannabis firm, 710 Holdings MME, is launching ‘Billy’s Bud’ CBD oil, a product inspired by Billy’s bravery.

His mother Charlotte told the Irish News that she hoped the oil would help other families benefit from medical cannabis.

“We are overwhelmed with this, and the oil will be available all over the US, Ireland, the UK, and Europe,” she said.

The Irish News

4 Marijuana Stocks Looking to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

The pharmaceutical and biotech industry is tasked with one purpose: to improve the quality of life for people. But, what if that task were being compromised by the medicines they’re creating?

In terms of their clinical results, opioids have shown demonstrably positive impacts on reducing pain associated with a chronic disease, and they are a staple therapy for certain diseases. In 2012, some 259 million prescriptions were written for prescription opioids, which would be enough to ensure that every adult in the U.S. received their own bottle.

Opioids are a highly addictive therapy that, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, led to 20,101 overdose-related deaths in 2015.

In fact, the dangers of opioid addiction and overdose-related death have become such a reality that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently requested Endo International take Opana ER, an opioid therapy, off the market.

Continue reading at The Motley Fool

Greece Legalizes Marijuana for Medical Purposes

Greece has become the latest European country to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said:
“From now on, the country is turning its page, as Greece is now included in countries where the delivery of medical cannabis to patients in need is legal.” Mr. Tsipras said at a press conference, as reported by the Greek Government Gazette.

The Prime Minister also said cannabis would be downgraded from a Table A drug – equivalent to class A in the UK – to a Table B drug, in which category are other drugs like methadone and opium with approved medical values, as reported by Dope Magazine.

Greece is the sixth EU country to take this action after the Czech Republic, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain have already legalised the drug for medical use.

It is yet to be seen whether Greece will go further to allow full-scale cannabis legislation, for recreational use as well as medical, joining Portugal, the only other European country to do so.

Independent UK

ADHS: More Women Using Medical Marijuana to Treat Pain

The number of women using medical marijuana to treat their pain is up drastically over the past five years, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The report says 25 percent of women in 2012 used medical marijuana compared to more than 37 percent as of May of this year.

Dr. Burns, the Director of the Southwest Medical Evaluation Center, says many people have a hard time getting over the stigma of using marijuana to treat medical ailments, especially women.

“People have a hard time jumping over the blurred line and looking at the medical and really looking at it through a filter or medical standpoint, a therapeutic standpoint,” Dr. Burns said.

But now, more and more women are using medical marijuana to treat their issues.

Fox10Phoenix

Organic Weed? Marijuana Growers Go Green

In the U.S., one square foot of indoor marijuana cultivation uses four times more energy than the same space in a hospital, eight times more energy than a commercial building, and 20 times more energy than a center for religious worship, according to a study by Lewis and Clark College.

In National Geographic magazine’s June 2015 edition, Editor-In-Chief Susan Goldberg wrote about the growing number of states that had legalizedmarijuana for medicinal and recreational use. At the time, less than half of the states in the U.S. had legalized the substance for medical use. Now, medical marijuana use is legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia.

“The disconnect between the willingness of some states to regulate, sell, and tax marijuana and the federal reluctance to allow research to progress leaves an increasing number of people without the knowledge to make informed, science-based choices.”

Click here for more Information National Geographic

Advocates Make Final Push for Marijuana Legalization

Lawmakers and advocates are backing legislation that would regulate and tax an industry that would be open to those who are 21 years of age or older. It’s a recycled proposal that has not gained significant traction in past sessions. Whether it can overcome hurdles in the final two weeks of the legislative session, especially in the Republican-controlled state Senate, remains unclear.

The bill has undergone revision and was reintroduced just last week. It’s core tenants are: Marijuana would be removed from the list of Schedule 1 controlled substances in state law; New Yorkers 21 or older would be allowed to cultivate up to six plants at home, and those of age would be allowed to possess or transport up to two pounds of marijuana and four-and-a-half ounces of concentrated cannabis.

New York Democrats have toyed with the idea of modifying the law to legalize recreational marijuana in the past but efforts have fallen flat. Public support statewide for recreational marijuana has been mixed, polling has shown in recent years.

Continue Reading at Timesunion

Marijuana: Effects of Weed on Brain and Body

Marijuana is a combination of shredded leaves, stems and flower buds of the Cannabis sativa plant. Marijuana can be smoked, eaten, vaporized, brewed and even taken topically, but most people smoke it.

According to research from the Potency Monitoring Project, the average THC content of marijuana has soared from less than 1 percent in 1972, to 3 to 4 percent in the 1990s, to nearly 13 percent in 2010. Today, some retail marijuana has 30 percent THC or more. The increased potency makes it difficult to determine the short- and long-term effects of marijuana.

How Cannabis is consumed

In a 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 17.4 million people in the United States said they had used marijuana in the past month.

A 2016 Gallup poll found that one in eight people smoke marijuana and 43 percent of U.S. adults admit to trying it.

Read the full article at Live Science

Marijuana Legalization Could Hurt These Marijuana Stocks

One company with a cannabinoid product actually opposes marijuana legalization. Insys Therapeutics (NASDAQ: INSY) doesn’t want more states to legalize weed and has urged the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in the past to not lower the bar for some marijuana laws. Here’s how marijuana legalization could hurt Insys’ fortunes — and perhaps those of other biotechs with cannabinoid products, especially GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: GWPH).

Why Insys wants to just say No?

Insys donated $500,000 in 2016 to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, a group opposing legalization of recreational marijuana in Arizona. The company’s investment paid off: Arizona voters rejected the proposition for legalizing recreational marijuana. However, the state’s voters narrowly approved the legal use of medical marijuana in 2010

Why did Insys Therapeutics fight against expanded marijuana legalization in its home state? The company’s official line was that the proposition on the ballot last year failed “to protect the safety of Arizona’s citizens, and particularly its children.” However, Insys also said that the company “firmly believes in the potential clinical benefits of cannabinoids.”

Continue Reading at Madison.com

Marijuana convictions go up in smoke with California legalization

Since California legalized recreational pot, thousands of people convicted of marijuana crimes have asked to get their records reduced.

Partial numbers released last week show more than 2,500 reduction requests were filed through March.

The state does not record outcomes, but prosecutors say they haven’t fought most petitions. The figures do not yet include data from more than half of counties from the first quarter of the year.

Marijuana legalization advocates, such as the Drug Policy Alliance, have held free legal clinics to help convicts get their records changed. Lawyers who specialize in pot defense have noted a steady flow of interest from new and former clients.

Eye Witness News

Hospital Begins Dispensing Cannabis Oil

(CNS Business): Grand Cayman’s CTMH Doctors Hospital and Cayman Pharmacy Group has introduced medical cannabis for physician selected patients who are resident in the Cayman Islands. Case studies reveal life changing results for patients suffering with chronic pain, neuropathic pain and seizures, among other health related problems who are treated with cannabis oil. The medicine will, initially, be dispensed out of Professional Pharmacy to spearhead this strongly supported treatment.

The prescription of cannabis oil for many conditions, including cancer, was made possible after Dennie Warren Jr successfully lobbied government to change the misuse of drugs law and allow for what many believe is a near miraculous and natural way to treat many serious diseases.

he oil contains measurable combinations of the active ingredients of cannabis, Tetrahyrdocannabinol or THC and Cannabidiol or CBD. Hospital officials said that to begin with, only a limited supply of oil will be dispensed to a small number of physician selected patients. During this initial phase, the primary focus is to engage and educate these patients and track their progress to assist them to achieve desired outcomes and minimise side effects.

The hospital explained that specific cannabis oil product information will be circulated to physicians by CMD and Professional Pharmacy. As with all prescriptions, Professional Pharmacy provides free and confidential patient counselling on prescriptions they dispense.

The treatment is approved for use only in the Cayman Islands and cannot cross international borders legally. Patients cannot carry medical cannabis oils into the United States, UK or Canada, even with a prescription.

CNS Business

Medical Marijuana Firm Seeks Emergency Ruling to Halt Maryland Industry

A medical marijuana company filed an emergency motion Monday asking a judge to forbid the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission from issuing any final licenses to grow the drug.

Alternative Medicine Maryland asked Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams to issue a temporary injunction against the commission, arguing the entire licensing process should be stopped because the commission appears poised to grant final licenses.

The request for an emergency halt to the process comes as the marijuana commission is scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss the progress of 15 companies that did win initial approval to grow marijuana — a meeting that is among the final steps in the process to begin legal cultivation of medical marijuana.

“Time is of the essence,” Alternative Medicine Maryland’s lawyers wrote to Judge Williams. “It is undisputed that the commission made no attempt to … actively seek racial and ethnic diversity throughout the licensing process.”

The state law legalizing medical marijuana required the commission to “actively seek” racial diversity among approved growers and distributors. Alternative Medicine Maryland, which is led by an African-American and did not receive a preliminary license, filed a lawsuit last year alleging the commission broke the law by failing to use a race-conscious application process.

The commission’s failure to consider race when picking the winning companies also sparked a prolonged fight in the Maryland General Assembly over whether to expand the industry. The Legislative Black Caucus pushed for at least five more marijuana growing licenses to be issued, in order to make sure minority-owned firms had a fair shot a potentially lucrative industry. The issue was not resolved before the annual legislative session adjourned last month.

The governor and legislative leaders also are considering whether to recall lawmakers to Annapolis for a special legislative session to consider how to increase diversity among medical marijuana growers.

The state legalized medical marijuana in 2013, but it has taken more than four years for the program to launch.

The Baltimore Sun

Man Arrested Over $14,000 Marijuana Find

A RANDOM breath test operation at Maclean has yielded an unexpected find, with close to half a kilogram of marijuana located in a van.

The van was subsequently searched and police allegedly found 474g of marijuana, a quantity of which was packaged into 16 resealable bags.

Police also located scales and a quantity of unused resealable bags. The driver, a 30-year-old man from Stokers Siding, near Murwillumbah, was arrested.

he alleged offender was arrested and taken to Maclean Police Station, where he was subsequently charged with supplying a prohibited drug, possession of marijuana, disqualified driving, and driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle.

According to Coffs/Clarence crime manager, Detective Inspector Darren Jameson, the marijuana had a potential street value of more than $14,000, and represented more than 450 street deals and equates to over 4500 individual dosage units.

“Cannabis remains at the root of crime here and recent media reports of tragic events out of Queensland, show that cannabis use can lead to violent and unimaginable crimes.”

Daily Examiner

Trump Supports Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s Murderous Drug War

President Trump invited President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines to the White House after having a “very friendly conversation with Mr. Duterte” on Saturday. According to a statement issued by the White House, the two “discussed the fact that the Philippines is fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs.”

Since he was elected President last May, Duterte has championed a campaign that is responsible for the extrajudicial killing of thousands of people.

“To host President Duterte at the White House is to endorse his deadly drug war policies,” said Michael Collins, Deputy Director at Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. “The Trump Administration should immediately withdraw its invitation to Duterte and publicly denounce the mass killings he has advocated for, or risk embarrassing the country with the sight of the U.S. President greeting a remorseless, self-confessed murderer.”

In December 2016, an advisor to Trump’s transition team on security policy said that the president-elect would start a “clean slate” with Duterte “without being wedded to previous policy failures.” Days later, President Trump praised Duterte for his efforts and The New York Times ran a feature piece documenting the homicide victims of Duterte’s brutal drug war.

Duterte has repeatedly shown complete disregard for due process or human rights. In his call for the murder of people who use or sell drugs, he promised medals for citizens who comply, and pardons for police if they are charged with human rights violations while carrying out the executions. He has even likened himself to Hitler. These extrajudicial killings have largely claimed the lives of the country’s most marginalized and vulnerable citizens, including those who are unemployed or underemployed.

Despite international calls for Duterte to end the extrajudicial killings, he has refused to change direction, responding to anyone who has questioned his anti-drug strategy with insults, including former President Obama, the Pope, the International Criminal Court and the United Nations. He has also threatened to kill human rights defenders who attempt to intervene in his war on drugs.

While Trump is embracing the horrific approach taken by the president of the Philippines, he is also doubling down on the failed drug war here in the U.S. both in his rhetoric and his appointments, most notably Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.

Weednews

Canadians Admitting to Marijuana Use Can Be Permanently Banned from Entering U.S.

If you are a foreign citizen trying to cross the border into the United States, one of the questions you are likely to be asked is whether or not you have ever smoked pot. But not everyone is aware that answering yes to this question can get you permanently barred from entering the country. If Canada follows through on its promise to legalize marijuana next year, there will then be millions of people who are legally free to smoke weed but could all be potentially banned from entering the U.S.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said that it was “ludicrous” how many Canadians were getting banned from the U.S. over marijuana. “What we will expect of our American counterparts, just as they would expect it of us, that when people present themselves to cross the border, that the experience is respectful, that it’s consistent, that it’s professional and that people are not treated in any kind of a capricious way,” Goodale said.

Canada’s impending legalization of marijuana “completely changes the dynamic,” Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer said. “Some regard Canada as the 51st state. This is going to make a big difference in terms of adjusting attitudes and accelerating progress. . . . It’s going to help us bring these things to a head.”

Merry Jane

Maryland Legislators Propose Treating Heroin Addiction with Medical Marijuana

Maryland legislators have proposed a new plan to treat the state’s growing number of opioid addicts with medical marijuana. The proposal is being added to a current bill that would completely rewrite the laws concerning the state’s medical marijuana program. The House Health and Government Operations Committee just approved an amendment to the bill, adding “opioid use disorder” to the list of eligible conditions that medical marijuana can be prescribed for.

The issue of using MMJ to treat opioid addiction is a controversial one, as there is little current research that either proves or disproves its effectiveness as a treatment. “There is evidence that cannabis may be effective in alleviating certain forms of pain, and may be useful therefore in reducing opioid use. But there is no evidence that cannabis may help reduce opioid addiction,” said Dr. Daniele Piomelli.

“We have looked at the medical evidence, and we thought it made sense,” Delegate Sandy Rosenberg, who led the team of legislators currently rewriting the bill, said. “We thought we should leave it up the doctors. We don’t legislate medical judgment.”

However, Republican legislators are not convinced. “Replacing one habit with another may not be a good idea,” said House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga, “Treating opioid addiction with pot is a not a clean-and-sober approach.”

Merry Jane

For Epilepsy Patients, New Cannabis Oil law in Virginia is a ‘step in the right direction’

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The state of Virginia is still a long way off from Colorado, but it is easing up on its laws against marijuana.

Governor Terry McAuliffe signed SB1027 into law, which will allow Virginia pharmacies to make and sell marijuana extract oils for treating intractable epilepsy.

In 2015, the General Assembly carved out one exception for people who suffer from intractable epilepsy, but patients and caregivers faced problems buying the medication.

The new law will allow “pharmaceutical processors,” or dispensary license holders, after obtaining a permit from the state Board of Pharmacy and under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, to grow low-THC cannabis, manufacture the oil, and then provide it to epilepsy patients who have a written certification from a doctor.

The only physicians that will be able to issue those certifications must specialize in the treatment of epilepsy and must also enroll in the program with the Board of Pharmacy.

They will only be able to issue a set number of certifications.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, patients must enroll in the program with the state Department of Health and are only permitted to do so with their physician’s authorization.

The Board of Pharmacy has until December 15, 2017 to issue their proposed regulations to govern the program.

Lee says they will be waiting to submit their application for a license until he sees those regulations.

WTKR

Marijuana Could Be Legal In All 50 States by 2021

Marijuana could be legal across the entire United States by 2021, according to the latest research by GreenWave Advisors.

It is for this reason that GreenWave believes legal weed is on the cusp of expanding into a number of additional states within the next few years. There is momentum to put marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballots in 2018 and 2020, a series of events that could lead to all 50 states having some sort of legal weed within the next four years, reports the Motley Fool.

A similar report from Arcview Market Research and New Frontier Data shows the nationwide cannabis industry could be worth around $22 billion by 2020. It also suggests that the legal marijuana industry could resurrect the middle class — the lifeblood of the American economy – by creating more jobs than the culmination of the manufacturing and government sectors.

It makes sense why communities in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio are hoping that legal marijuana can fill the void left where more traditional industries failed them. Over the past couple of weeks, a number of reports have surfaced showing that blue-collar workers are looking toward the newfound marijuana industry to create thousands of jobs for those people previously employed by steel manufacturers and other vital producers.

Perhaps this is the reason more Americans now support the legalization of marijuana. The latest polls show around 60 percent of the population want weed handled no differently than alcohol or tobacco.

Merry Jane

Florida Lawmakers Push for Marijuana Decriminalization

Now that Florida has legalized marijuana for medicinal use, a couple of state lawmakers want to ensure that law enforcement doesn’t put more people in jail for pot possession.

Democratic Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith and Democratic Senator Jeff Clemens recently introduced bills in the state legislature aimed at eliminating the criminal penalties associated with marijuana possession. These bills would allow anyone caught with up to an ounce of weed to simply repay their debt to civil society through a small fine and/or community service rather than through the criminal justice system.

Last year, a number of local jurisdictions across Florida passed decriminalization ordinances – giving police the freedom to issue citations for petty pot possession when the offense was not connected to violent crime. As it stands, 14 cities and counties in the Sunshine States have adopted these policies, including Miami-Dade County and Orlando.

There were almost 40,000 people busted in Florida for this offense in 2016, according to the West Orlando News.

A report from the American Civil Liberties Union shows that Florida spent $228 million in 2010 enforcing marijuana laws – a large majority of these arrests were for minor pot possession.

Merry Jane