Magic mushrooms are a strange drug. They’re one part illegal music festival enhancer, one part promising treatment that could have important medical applications. That second use continues to look more and more promising.
A new study from researchers in the United Kingdom and South Africa monitored the brains of folks trying psilocybin, the magic mushroom chemical, for depression that wasn’t kicked by the usual treatments. The psychedelic not only reduced the symptoms of depression but seemed to have a noticeable physical effect.
The study followed 15 male and four female depressed patients (which ultimately became 12 and then 11 male patients) receiving two doses of the drug over two weeks, who were then monitored for five weeks after. All of the patients had fewer symptoms of depression in the first week, and around half showed improvement at five weeks.
The paper points out that this is a tiny study with no control, and the researchers reminded New Scientist that you shouldn’t try to self-medicate with psychedelics. But it’s also promising. “This is further evidence that psilocybin may turn out to be effective for the most stubborn depression,” Paul Morrison from King’s College London told them.
Read the full article at Gizmodo
Magic mushrooms may effectively “reset” the activity of key brain circuits known to play a role in depression, the latest study to highlight the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics suggests.
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Psychedelics have shown promising results in the treatment of depression and addictions in a number of clinical trials over the last decade. Imperial College London researchers used psilocybin – the psychoactive compound that occurs naturally in magic mushrooms – to treat a small number of patients with depression, monitoring their brain function, before and after.
“Psilocybin may be giving these individuals the temporary ‘kick start’ they need to break out of their depressive states and these imaging results do tentatively support a ‘reset’ analogy. Similar brain effects to these have been seen with electroconvulsive therapy.”
For the study, published in Scientific Reports on Friday, 20 patients with treatment-resistant depression were given two doses of psilocybin (10 mg and 25 mg), with the second dose a week after the first. Of these, 19 underwent initial brain imaging and then the second scan one day after the high dose treatment. The team used two main brain imaging methods to measure changes in blood flow and the crosstalk between brain regions, with patients reporting their depressive symptoms through completing clinical questionnaires.
The authors believe the findings provide a new window into what happens in the brains of people after they have ‘come down’ from a psychedelic, with an initial disintegration of brain networks during the drug ‘trip’ followed by a re-integration afterward.
Full article at The Guardian
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
Poppy seed tea has potentially lethal consequences according to a new paper published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences. Researchers at Sam Houston State University decided to look into home-brewed poppy seed tea and its lethality.
Deaths attributable to opioids have quadrupled since 1999 and account for the six out of every ten overdose deaths. Whereas heroin and opiate-containing medications have been the primary source of addictions and deaths, it seems that brewing tea from unwashed poppy seeds can also kill.
The opium poppy plant (Papaver somniferum) has been cultivated for centuries as a source of opium. Poppy seeds produced from the poppy plant produce a milky sap containing opiates. Poppy seed tea is made by washing or soaking the seeds in water. Opium is contained within the seed capsule and also contains a variable mixture of alkaloids, including roughly ten percent morphine, 6 percent noscapine, one percent papaverine, 0.5 percent codeine and 0.2 percent thebaine.
How lethal ingestion of opiates can depend on individual tolerance which develops rapidly with long-term use. As the authors of the study point out, “The level of information that is shared online contributes to the facilitation of drug abuse practices such as extracting opium alkaloids by brewing poppy seed tea,” and they add, “However, this practice can have fatal consequences.”
Professor Madeleine Swortwood, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Forensic Science at Sam Houston State University, was contacted by the parent of a young man who died after drinking home-brewed PST.
Read more at American Council on Science and Health
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
TALLAHASSEE — Health officials won’t be able to meet a legislatively mandated Tuesday deadline to hand out five new medical-marijuana licenses, the head of the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use said Friday.
The law called for an overall increase of 10 licenses, some of which have already been awarded, by Oct. 3. It also specified that one license goes to a black farmer who had been part of settled lawsuits about discrimination by the federal government against black farmers.
In a letter to legislative leaders signed Friday, Bax wrote that his office has “worked diligently to implement” the new law, but that the issuance of five new medical marijuana licenses by Tuesday posed an “extraordinarily challenging deadline.”
Bax pointed out that 13 administrative challenges were filed after the agency issued the first medical-marijuana licenses in 2015. The agency is still in litigation over two of the challenges, he said.
The upcoming licenses will be the first time the state has opened the application process to businesses that did not participate in the first selection process in 2015, creating intense interest in what could be one of the biggest medical-marijuana markets in the nation.
Read more at Newsherald
American Chemical Society’s ACS Omega has published a study which claims to be groundbreaking in terms of how we view a very specific type of cannabis consumption, the so-called cannabis oil dabbing.
The study which was published this month finds that dabbing cannabis oil through glass rigs may expose users to elevated toxin levels as compared to other methods, such as smoking dried cannabis or even vaping it for that matter.
In an effort to explain how the chemicals in concentrated cannabis break down under heat, a team of scientists from Portland State University has discovered that concentrates exposed to the high heat common to dab setups produced elevated levels of carcinogenic and toxic compounds.
Dabbing at low temperatures might be the way out
Researchers from PSU said that the key factor in which chemicals get released is the degree of heat used to activate cannabinoids in the oil.
Researchers also found that the higher the temperature that a substance’s flavoring terpenes are subjected to, the more carcinogens, toxins, and potential irritants are produced — meaning that you should dab on as low as possible temperatures.
Read the full article at Greencamp
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
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.”
Medical marijuana laws are becoming more popular across the country, but legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes can have a major unintended consequence.
State medical marijuana laws lead to an increase in the probability that people will make Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims, according to a new working paper from researchers at Temple University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Cincinnati. The tendency to make a SSDI claim rose 9.9% following the passage of a medical marijuana law, while actual SSDI benefits rose by 2.6%. The report, which was distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research, used data from the Current Population Survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to produce its findings.
The researchers also studied the effect state laws on medical marijuana had on workers’ compensation (WC) claims. While their analysis did not produce any statistically significant evidence for these claims, the researchers said the data suggested generally that the laws do cause an increase. “Expanding marijuana access has negative spillover effects to costly social programs that disincentive work,” the researchers wrote.
More of this news at Marketwatch
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
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Would-be growers and distributors of Arkansas’ initial medical marijuana crop flooded a state office building Monday, turning in thousands of pages of paperwork and handing over thousands of dollars in application fees.
Arkansas voters last year approved marijuana use by people with certain medical conditions. The new state Medical Marijuana Commission will review applications after the names of companies and individuals have been redacted and then select up to five growers and 32 distributors. The Arkansas Health Department has approved 1,200 people for a medical marijuana registry, making them eligible to obtain the drug.
Continue Reading at US News
Detroit voters will have an opportunity to weigh in on the region’s cannabis industry in November when newly proposed regulations appear on the local ballot.
• Amend the definition of a Drug-Free School Zone to correspond to federal and state law that requires dispensaries to be at least 1,000 feet from schools, colleges, and public libraries.
• Amend the definition of a Drug-Free School Zone to correspond to federal and state law that requires dispensaries to be at least 1,000 feet from schools, colleges, and public libraries
• Would allow dispensaries to open within 500 feet of another dispensary. They would also be allowed to open within 500 feet of exempt religious institutions where religious services are conducted regularly. The current ordinance requires facilities to be more than 1,000 feet from churches and other dispensaries.
• Would allow dispensaries to open near liquor, beer/wine stores, child care centers, arcades, and parks. The current ordinance does not allow them to be open near any of them.
• Would allow dispensaries to stay open until 9 p.m. currently, they’re required to close by 8 p.m.
More of this news at Leafly
Everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different, and therefore everyone responds to weed differently. In fact, according to recent research, estrogen might make you more sensitive to the effects of cannabis.
A study from Washington State University found that women are most receptive to the effects of THC when their estrogen has peaked and is on the descent, which happens about a day or two before ovulation.
“What we’re finding with THC is that you get a very clear spike in drug sensitivity right when the females are ovulating, right when their estrogen levels have peaked and are coming down,” says lead researcher Rebecca Craft.
Other research has shown that women also tend to experience an increased libido from cannabis more so than men do. If a heterosexual couple is going to use cannabis to enhance sex, it’s best for the man to stop smoking about half an hour beforehand and for the women to keep on smoking. However, increased libido only works for moderate amounts of cannabis. If the dose is too high, the consumer might get too tired.
According to the study from Washington State University, increased appetite is a side effect of cannabis more likely to be found in men than in women.
Read the full article at Jane Street
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
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
Painkiller addiction has reached epic proportions and this has spurred a search for suitable alternatives to opiates. We’ve seen some potential novel alternatives, such as sea snail venom and using VR to distract patients from pain. One new potential alternative comes in the form of a hallucinogenic drug call salvia and a synthetic version of it with pain-killing properties.
A newly detailed synthetic version of the hallucinogenic compound in Salvia divinorum may be the key. Researchers with The Scripps Research Institute and the University of Southern California have published a report detailing the process of synthesizing this compound, Salvinorin A, into 20-nor-salvinorin A.
This synthetic salvia was found to relieve itching in mice, and it could also potentially be a painkiller without the same addiction potential as traditional opiates. The synthesized variant addresses some typical troubles presented by Salvinorin A and is reported to be stable. As well, this successful synthesis was performed in 10 steps rather than the 20+ that past methods have required.
You’re probably familiar with Salvia divinorum, the hallucinogenic plant used for religious purposes in some indigenous cultures, and for watching celebrities giggle in some decaying cultures.
A team of scientists is now reporting that they’ve found an easier way create a slightly-altered version of the chemical responsible for salvia’s hallucinogenic effects, Salvinorin A. They’re not doing it so that you can continue having wild trips with your high school friends, though. Instead, these researchers are looking for a painkiller with opiate-like effects, but with a lower potential to abuse.
“Drug overdose has become the leading cause of death for Americans under 50, driven largely by abuse of opioids,” the authors report in their paper published recently on the new preprint server, ChemRxiv. “To counter this epidemic, replacement of abused opioids with alternate pain therapeutics has emerged as an increasingly sensible goal.”
The authors write that Salvinorin A is unstable, making it difficult to alter. Others have been able to produce the chemical in the lab and change its structure somewhat, but some complexities have limited the options available to alter the molecule and change the effects it might have on the nervous system.
The final molecule, called 20-nor-Salvinorin A, differs just slightly from Salvinorin A. One single piece of the large molecule, a dangling carbon atom with three hydrogen atoms attached, is replaced by a hydrogen atom.
Continue Reading at Gizmodo
People who suffer from chronic itching say it’s more unbearable than pain. I’ll never forget a 2008 story called The Itch in The New Yorker.
Chemical and Engineering News reports that a compound in the popular psychedelic plant Salvia divinorum was found to contain a compound that is found to provide itch relief to mice.
Salvinorin A, a hallucinogen produced by the Mexican plant Salvia divinorum, holds promise for treating itch and pain because it activates the κ-opioid receptor while avoiding the μ-opioid receptor, a sister receptor that’s been associated with opioid abuse.
Chemists have tried to synthesize salvinorin A so that they could alter the structure to sidestep the compound’s psychoactive effects while preserving its analgesic properties.
More of this news at Boing Boing
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ‘nearly 900,000 Americans die prematurely from the five leading causes of death.’ Those five leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and unintentional injuries. According to the CDC, 20 to 40 percent of those premature deaths could be prevented. And according to a study from last month conducted by Indiana University, cannabis could play a big part in significantly reducing the number of premature deaths in America if medical cannabis was legalized nationwide.
Per the study:
To date, no studies have attempted to estimate impacts of Cannabis use on premature death that include both adverse and beneficial effects on physical health. Marijuana use is estimated to reduce premature deaths from diabetes mellitus, cancer, and traumatic brain injury by 989 to 2,511 deaths for each 1% of the population using Cannabis. The analysis predicts an estimated 23,500 to 47,500 deaths prevented annually if medical marijuana were legal nationwide.
Full article at Weed News