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

How Much Does Cannabis Cost Where You Live?

Cannabis has intrigued me since the first time I consumed it in the early 1990’s. Since that time I, as many others had before me, got particularly fascinated in the types of cannabis that people consume across the country, as well as how much cannabis costs in each state. 

It’s one of the most talked about things in the cannabis world. I find that type of web chatter is more insightful for gauging a state’s cannabis scene than looking at databases.

Perhaps it will change over time, but as of this posting, they have grams for $3.75. As far as I know, that includes tax. That’s an eighth for less than $15, and it’s been lab tested and perfectly legal to anyone over the age of 21. To be clear, I don’t have any affiliation with the linked to the dispensary, but I have consumed the $3.75 gram and it was some decent stuff. I have heard of dispensary ounces being as low as $79 in Oregon.

How much does cannabis cost where you live, and what is the quality level? Some parts of America are still picking seeds out of bricks, while some states have regulated dispensaries. If you live in a state that has prohibition, do your part and fight for reform so that you can enjoy the freedoms that people in legal states do. No state left behind!

Weed News

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

Are Pain Management Devices An Alternative to Opioids?

“People are afraid of opioids right now. There’s a stigma. Patients don’t want to be on opioids,” Michael Leong, a pain specialist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, told Technology Review. Using pain relief devices can reportedly drastically reduce or eliminate a patient’s need for pain medication, particularly powerful opioids.

Terri Bryant was on fentanyl for her back pain until she took part in a clinical trial of a spinal cord stimulator that was implanted under her skin at the base of her spine. After getting the implant her pain decreased almost immediately and she was able to stop taking fentanyl, which was a relief to her.

The medical community is now looking to develop devices that provide the same sort of relief without needing to be surgically implanted. One such device, Neuro-Stim System Bridge, is placed behind a patient’s ear and gives off electrical pulses to certain areas of the brain.

The device has proved very effective for helping people overcome the pain of withdrawing from opioids and is now used in 30 states to support detox. Patients wear the bridge for the first five days after they stop taking opioids in order to get them through the toughest part of withdrawing.

Yet not everyone is convinced that pain management devices are the answer to America’s chronic pain problem. Edward Michna, a pain management specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said that we need more long-term research into their effectiveness.

The Fix

Study: Magic mushrooms May Be Among The Safest Illicit Drugs

A GLOBAL study has assessed the health dangers of all illicit drugs, revealing the substances that carry the most – and least – risk.

The study, which canvassed 120,000 people worldwide, found 79.3 per cent of its sample had taken drugs in their lives. Some 37 per cent of respondents had used in the prior month.

By far the most heavily used illegal drug was cannabis, with a 77.8 per cent take-up rate. While the report highlights growing issues caused by newer and purer varieties of drugs, it says more traditional drugs are still a serious cause for concern.

But the Global Drug Survey 2017 study says that if you insist on using illicit substances, perhaps magic mushrooms was the best pick of a bad bunch.

Magic mushrooms came in as the ninth most heavily used illicit drug, with 29.4 per cent of respondents saying it was their drug of choice. Magic mushrooms directly affect serotonin receptors in the brain. Other drugs also stimulate many others. And taking more ‘shrooms doesn’t increase a high — which makes them less addictive.

This is a very real risk as many magic mushroom users tend to scour fields and reserves for varieties growing naturally. The alternative — growing them yourself — is illegal. The Global Drug Survey is administered by an independent research company based in London.

News.com

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

Concentrate Shelf Life: How Long Does Cannabis Oil Last?

Finding a long-lost cannabis concentrate is a bittersweet moment. Your discovered concentrate was left stranded in a pair of jeans that had been stuffed in the far reaches of your dresser, untouched since that last camping trip.

The good news: no mold. The bad news: it doesn’t look like the translucent and golden “shatter” you once had. What’s before you now looks like a collection of off-yellow sugar crystals. Has this hash oil gone past its shelf life? Can you still enjoy it?

While some extracts and infusions can experience quality degradation in a very short time span, others may stay fresh and usable indefinitely.

The Impact of Extraction Method on Concentrates

“Gold in, gold out; Garbage in, garbage out.” There’s a direct correlation between the quality of the starting material and what remains post-extraction. Inferior products containing compromised cannabinoid profiles will, in every case, result in an inferior extract.

Continue Reading at Leafly

Opioid Epidemic Still a Top Priority This Summer

The announcements have come from three major government agencies, and reactions have come from a number of well-known health-related organizations.

“Drug overdose, driven largely by overdose related to the use of opioids, is now the leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States. The ongoing opioid crisis lies at the intersection of two public health challenges: reducing the burden of suffering from pain, and containing the rising toll of the harms that can arise from the use of opioid medications,” stated the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine in their comprehensive report released last week.

Fewer prescriptions but more deaths

In its latest Vital Signs report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that a number of opioids prescribed in the United States peaked in 2010 and have decreased every year through 2015.

“The amount of opioids prescribed in the U.S. is still too high, with too many opioid prescriptions for too many days at too high a dosage,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of the CDC in a press statement.

Read more at Healthline News

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

Cannabis Oil Touted As New Acne Cure

Botanix yesterday reported to the Australian Securities Exchange its first safety study on humans, the West Australian reported.

The second phase of clinical trials of the treatment will start within months according to Botanix executive director Matthew Callahan.

“Collectively, our findings suggest that, due to the combined lipostatic, antiproliferative and anti-inflammatory effects, CBD has potential as a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne vulgaris,” the study found.

The most common adverse effect was skin dryness according to the first trials.

Newshub

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