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Hot off the press cannabis, marijuana, cbd and hemp news from around the world on the WeedLife News Network.

Another Study Report On Medical Cannabis And Pain Management

A study evaluating short and long-term effects of the use of plant-based medical cannabis by pain patients found it to be effective.

The study was carried out with 751 chronic pain patients starting medical cannabis treatment between 2015 and 2019. Medical cannabis was associated with improvements in pain severity and interference at the one month point – and this continued over the 12 months patients participated in the investigation, with patients reporting progress monthly.

Furthermore, there were significant reductions in oral morphine equivalent doses in patients who reported opioid medication use at baseline.

The researchers concluded the findings of the study added to existing evidence “supporting plant-based medical cannabis as a safe and effective treatment option and potential opioid medication substitute or augmentation therapy for the management of symptoms and quality of life in chronic pain patients.”

The study was published in the journal Pain Medicine and an abstract can be viewed here.

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Does hemp have a home in Japan?

In recent years, Western countries have been loosening laws surrounding the use and possession of marijuana. The recreational use of the plant is legal in 11 American states, and medicinal usage is permitted in 33. Several European countries have also taken a lenient stance, while others have become havens for drug tourism. In 2018, Canada became the second nation to legalize the plant and allow for a nationwide market.

Although Western-friendly, Japan has maintained strict policies surrounding drug control, including marijuana. For crimes involving narcotics, as well as drunk driving, Japan effectively has a "zero tolerance" stance and levies heavy penalties against lawbreakers. The government's stance is so hardline that citizens can even be prosecuted for using marijuana while visiting liberalized countries such as Canada. Complicating matters further for western tourists, the import of several medications such as amphetamines for ADHD and opiates for pain relief is also restricted.

The History of Hemp in Japan

With such strict policies in place, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Japan has always been intolerant of intoxicants. However, the laws currently controlling marijuana were not ratified until 1948. Before then, hemp was widely cultivated in Hiroshima, Tochigi, and other regions, and cannabis was historically incorporated into spiritual ceremonies.

The plant is particularly important to Shintoism, an indigenous religion of Japan. Thought to be the "way of the gods," hemp was burned to cleanse shrines and to exorcise demons. At weddings, it was burnt as an invitation to spirits, and many spiritual practitioners, such as priests, wore hemp garbs. It was also given as an offering in certain situations, such as praying for safe travel.

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Swiss government wants to ease access to medical marijuana

The Swiss government wants to empower doctors to prescribe cannabis for medical purposes without authorisation. On Wednesday, the Federal Council submitted a revised version of the narcotics law to parliament for deliberation.

Cannabis, whether for recreational or medical purposes, has been banned in Switzerland since 1951. However, doctors may prescribe a medicine based on this substance if they get an exceptional green light from the Federal Office of Public Health.

But the government believes this process complicates access to treatment, delays the start of therapies and is no longer adequate in view of the growing number of requests.

Multiple treatments

In 2019, around 3,000 authorisations were issued for patients suffering from cancer, neurological diseases or multiple sclerosis. That figure excludes patients who procure cannabis directly on the black market.

The government wants to tweak the narcotics law so that the decision to prescribe cannabis-based drugs would be taken directly by doctor and patient. The ban on recreational cannabis would remain in place, and physicians would be required to share data on the use of cannabis for treatments.

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Child-resistant packaging in the age of medicinal cannabis

Medicinal cannabis as a treatment for acute illnesses and ailments such as chronic pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, liver disease and cancer is still in its infancy, but already the prospects for this emerging scientific field look promising.

As a sector, the global cannabis extract market is expected to be worth $23.7 billion by 2025, thanks to legislation becoming more relaxed in major economies around the world, the rising popularity of “lifestyle” CBD products, and increased public and medical awareness around cannabis’ therapeutic powers.

However, like traditional medicine, cannabis-based treatments can be potentially life-threatening if a child accidentally ingests concentrated doses.

In this article, Rich Quelch, global head of marketing at Origin, a designer and manufacturer of pharmaceutical packaging, looks at the role that packaging is currently playing in the field of medicinal cannabis to keep young children safe.

The first line of defence

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Hemp Futures: a growing hemp producer in Estonia

Stephen J Wyatt, founder and CEO of Hemp Futures, based in Estonia, tells MCN about the importance of customer engagement and accountability.

Estonia-based CBD producer Hemp Futures was founded in 2019 with the goal of creating ‘clean, green and organic’ products; and operates across more than 68 hectares of certified organic land.

“Estonia is a hidden jewel,” explains Hemp Futures founder and CEO Stephen J Wyatt, a former US Marine. “The environment is very pristine; the water is good; the soil is organic. We’re lucky in that we don’t have a lot of native pest insects, which means we don’t need many pesticides for growing hemp.”

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Medical marijuana patients can now order cannabis delivered to their homes, N.J. says

Medical cannabis dispensaries can begin delivering products to their patients at home, a long-awaited move that intends to ease patient access and allow them to stay away from dispensaries to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The state Department of Health announced Thursday it has issued a waiver that allows for home delivery.

“The Department continues to prioritize patient access during this unprecedented pandemic,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said in a statement. “This new waiver will allow [alternative treatment centers], once they have submitted a plan to the Department for approval, to deliver across the state.”

Jake Honig’s Law, which Gov. Phil Murphy signed last summer to expand the state’s medical marijuana program, included provisions for home delivery. But the service never launched.

But when hours-long lines backed up dispensaries in March, the program began to talk about ways it could better serve patients — many of whom have pre-existing conditions that make them vulnerable — in the midst of a public health crisis.

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Government working on new cannabis laws for South Africa

The Department of Social Development says that it is in the process of developing new legislation around the possession and use of cannabis in South Africa.

In a ‘national drug master plan‘ published on Thursday (25 June), the department said that the new rules would be in line with the September 2018 Constitutional Court ruling on private use.

At the time, the relevant departments were given 24 months to respond and make changes in line with ruling, meaning the updated legislation should be tabled within the coming months.

“A steering committee has been established to deal with the amendments cited in the Constitutional Court judgement, with a specific program and plan with time frames to abide by the judgement,” the department said.

“Currently the relevant departments as outlined in the ruling are in the process of aligning specific section on the cited legislation to comply with the ruling, and to make sure that there is no ambiguity in the possession and private use of Cannabis.


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Uruguay agency sets a roadmap for hemp sector development

Cannabis-derived food & feed, cosmetics, medicine and genetics offer the best export opportunities for Uruguay in the coming years, according to a recent report from the country’s Investment & Export Promotion Agency.

Noting those sectors represent the potential for “short-term export impact,” the Agency also said development of the industry can help attract investment, boost the fortunes of Uruguay’s farmers and continue the transition from illegal trade in cannabis.

Uruguay was the first country in the world to regulate the production of cannabis for adult recreational, medical and industrial use, and was the first to establish a regulatory framework to exploit the plant’s full potential. That led to a first wave of investment with global and domestic players setting up operations. The Agency said the country’s favorable geographic location and commitment to high value-added agricultural exports are positive indicators for Uruguayan hemp.

Well-functioning

A well-functioning, secure, established framework that incorporates traceability and shields the industry from money washing over from the illegal trade, along with the country’s overall investment rating, can lead to further influx of foreign and domestic capital, the report said.

Noting existing strong demand from established laboratories in Uruguay and growing demand globally, the report suggests “the ideal scenario for Uruguay would be to generate its own materials (for) medical cannabis, high CBD and low THC . . . and also high THC varieties but with freedom of levels of CBD and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.” That would promote local development for food, medical and even textile use, the report further advises.

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Medicinal cannabis may reduce behavioral problems in kids with intellectual disabilities

Cannabidiol, a type of medicinal cannabis, may reduce severe behavioural problems in children and adolescents with an intellectual disability a new study has found.

The pilot study, led by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) and published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, recorded a clinically significant change in participants' irritability, aggression, self-injury, and yelling. The intervention was also found to be safe and well-tolerated by most study participants.

The randomised controlled trial involved eight participants, aged 8-16, years who took either cannabidiol or a placebo over eight weeks. Participants were recruited from paediatric clinics from both hospital and private paediatric practices.

Although the pilot study was not large enough to make definitive statements, the early findings strongly support a larger follow-up trial. Only a large scale randomised controlled trial can produce the definitive results necessary to drive changes in prescribing and clinical care guidelines. The researchers are planning a large study to definitively test the findings.

The researchers are also seeking funding for further research into the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis in children with developmental disorders such as autism and Tourette syndrome.

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Five Companies You Can Feel Good About Supporting This Pride Month

There’s been a lot going on this month. Between the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that’s changed the way we work, shop, and interact with people, and the newly-invigorated wave of protests and direct actions to address the prevalent and systemic issue of police brutality against people of color, it’s completely understandable that people are maybe more stressed out than usual.

As most of us know, June is LGBTQ Pride Month. Typically, this is the month where large corporations and big businesses decorate with rainbows and glitter…while not actually doing anything to benefit the community. This kind of performative move is particularly painful this year, since the Trump administration revoked a ruling that protected LGBTQ-identified people from discrimination in healthcare. This specifically impacts transgender people, who are already vulnerable to discrimination and abuse.

Those who are part of the LGBTQ community, and those who are allies, know how important it is to support companies and organizations that return that same support. That extends to cannabis companies.

This month, a few cannabis brands are showing their love to the LGBTQ community in meaningful ways—here’s who they are and why we love them:

Courtesy of Kiva Confections

Five Companies You Can Feel Good About Supporting This Pride Month

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Bill To License Hemp Farmers, Sellers Passes Georgia Senate

Hemp farmers and sellers would need a license to possess the non-psychoactive cousin of marijuana under legislation that passed the General Assembly on Monday.

House Bill 847 requires anyone cultivating, transporting or selling hemp to hold a license just like for other agricultural products. Anyone caught with hemp who does not have a proper license would face the same penalties as for marijuana possession in Georgia.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. John Corbett, R-Lake Park, follows passage last year of a measure that legalized the growing, processing and transport of hemp. It cleared the state Senate on Monday by a 34-13 vote with several Democratic lawmakers voting against it.

The hemp measure now heads to Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk for his signature.

States have rushed into the hemp business in recent years to take advantage of its many commercial uses, including the manufacture of rope, textiles and CBD oil used to treat a variety of illnesses.

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Tips For Cannabis Entrepreneurs Navigating The Rules Of Instagram

We’ve all seen social media accounts get shut down left and right in the cannabis industry, especially on Instagram. It’s been happening for years, and brands are often left frustrated and scrambling to appeal or get a new account up quickly.

When your Instagram account is taken down, the first thing you need to do is file an appeal. If you haven’t broken any of the community standards, you should get it back fairly quickly.

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Probiotics And Cannabis: What Health Providers Should Know

Where does cannabis fit in with the intricate tapestry of bacteria and enzymes in the gut? We’re here to explain.

The rise in cannabis and its various correlated products are bringing about attitudinal perceptions and changes. The new mindset is in how we think about traditional antibiotics, and how we create responsive treatments of gut health. There is increasing anecdotal evidence of the efficacy of cannabis in treating various gastrointestinal conditions.

Microscopic bacteria, known as microbiomes, are organisms that go a long way to improving gastrointestinal health. They are a diverse collection of microorganisms that line the inner walls of your gut, like sticky wallpaper.

There are two types of supportive bacteria. The first, prebiotics, have their basis in the health benefits of plant fiber. They serve an essential function, acting as a sort of fertilizer to stimulate the growth of bacteria and support digestion in your gut lining.  

The second type, probiotics, are mostly live bacteria or yeasts sourced from fermented foods. Mayo Clinic states that probiotics are different than prebiotics in that they contain live organisms, precisely many types of bacterial organisms, which effectively help balance the healthy microbes. The most common probiotic food that everyone knows is yogurt with live cultures. Yogurt is milk fermented with many different types of bacteria. Beyond yogurt, other fermented foods include sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi. Seek a dietitian or medical professional if you want to research what types of gastrointestinal supplements to recommend to patients and clients.

Here's How Medical Marijuana Can Help ALS

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Prolonged Cannabis Exposure Might Help Treat Migraines

A new study shows that marijuana may contribute to the long term treatment of migraines, reducing their frequency, intensity and the need to consume other medications.

A study from Israel looking into how marijuana use affects migraines showed that continued exposure to the drug may reduce the frequency of these bouts in the long term.

Published in the journal Brain Sciences, the study surveyed 145 patients between the ages of 34 and 54, all of whom had been treating their migraines with medical marijuana for at least the past three years.

The study found that 61% of subjects reported that their monthly migraines had been cut in half. It also found that those subjects who did have reoccurring migraines suffered less impairment than usual, had better sleep patterns, and were consuming less medications in order to treat their symptoms.

“These findings indicate that MC [medical cannabis] results in long-term reduction of migraine frequency in [more than] 60% of treated patients and is associated with less disability and lower antimigraine medication intake,” concluded the study. Researchers theorized that the endocannabinoid system can influence these behaviors, stimulating the development of serotonin and reducing pain.

Should Chronic Pain Patients Use Metered Doses For Most Effective Treatment?

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Online College Unveils New Training Program In Cannabis Policy And Compliance

As more states legalize their medical and/or recreational cannabis markets, the demand for jobs in the emerging industry has exponentially increased. According to a 2018 study by top cannabis researcher ArcView, the space is poised to create 414,000 jobs by 2021. Making employment prospects even more enticing is a recent forecast by San Francisco-based business consulting firm Grand View Research, which predicts that the sector will be generating $73.6 billion by 2027.

That’s a whole lot of coin. Unsurprisingly, several colleges and universities have launched special programs in the last few years, either degree or non-degree, which target students keen on entering this booming market. The latest one is Excelsior College's newly launched Graduate Certificate in Cannabis Control. Where some programs focus on the business of cannabis or cultivation, for example, this unique online program focuses on educating students on how to navigate the complex regulatory landscape of the legal cannabis market.

To enroll in this graduate-level certificate program, prospective students should have already completed their bachelor's degree. The three-course, nine-credit certificate "takes an interdisciplinary approach and can be taken alone for college credit and career advancement or applied toward four of Excelsior College’s master’s degree programs,” said the news release touting the program. The three courses in the certificate program are: “Implications of Legalization of Cannabis: Policy and Compliance”; “Interstate/International Commerce: Policy and Regulatory Environment”; and “Risk Assessment in Cannabis Control.”

Work on the program, which began in September 2019, has been methodical and thorough. “We started our work conducting a scan of the market, developing a concept paper, and having early conversations with experts and leaders in the industry,” said Scott Dolan, dean of Excelsior College’s School of Graduate Studies. “The three themes that emerged were around policy and compliance, interstate and international regulation, and risk assessment. After identifying a need for education and training, we conducted a full market research study and worked on aligning the curriculum with our existing programs and areas of expertise.”

Initial response to the program “has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Dolan. “[It] has reinforced what we suspected: There is a need for education around the regulatory aspects of cannabis. All industry experts we have talked with have agreed that the three courses we identified for inclusion in the cannabis control certificate are in demand in the field. Understanding policy and compliance is critical to success in the cannabis industry, as is understanding the complexities of intra- and inter-state regulation as it relates to cannabis and the supply chain.”

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Oklahoma cannabis businesses sue over residency, location requirements

Several medical marijuana businesses in Oklahoma are asking a judge to block the state from enforcing laws they say could prevent some licensed cannabis businesses from continuing to operate.

The businesses are asking an Oklahoma County district court judge to block the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority from requiring cannabis business owners to be residents of the state for at least two years and mandating that dispensaries be located more than 1,000 feet from schools and preschools.

The laws, passed by Oklahoma's Legislature in 2019, sought to clarify State Question 788, which legalized medical marijuana in the state. But some cannabis entrepreneurs say the laws are on the verge of putting them out of business.

The lawsuit alleges the legal changes and subsequent rules adopted by the OMMA left "hundreds, if not thousands" of licensed dispensaries within 1,000 feet of a school entrance. Similarly, the lawsuit alleges some licensed business owners, who moved here after the passage of SQ 788, have not been Oklahoma residents for two years, which means they could lose their business licenses.

One of the companies involved in the class-action lawsuit filed this week, KC's Cannabis, LLC, says it is located more than 2,000 feet away from a nearby school, but within 1,000 feet of the entrance to the dugout of a softball field, which falls within the OMMA's definition of a school entrance.

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L.A. Considers Social Equity Overhaul for Cannabis Industry

After a lot of community blowback about not being inclusive enough and a failed attempt at social equity last year, The Los Angeles City Council may adopt new cannabis licensing and social equity plans that would overhaul the existing licensing system. 

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6 Steps To Steering Your Cannabis Business To Recovery

n today's rapidly changing economy, there is a lot of discussion about best practices to successfully emerge from the initial impact of the recent COVID-19 crisis.

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AG Barr’s Bias Allegedly Spurred Investigations Of Cannabis Industry

A Department of Justice whistleblower has said that U.S. Attorney General William Barr directed the agency’s Antitrust Division to investigate proposed mergers of cannabis companies because of his “personal dislike of the industry.” In written testimony released on Tuesday before a planned congressional appearance, Justice Department attorney John Elias said the investigations were a waste of federal resources and were continued over the objections of career staff.

Elias, who testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, wrote that the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division had been instructed to look into a total of 10 cannabis industry mergers. In one case, the merger of MedMen and PharmaCann, employees were instructed by Barr in March 2019 to continue an investigation, despite the findings of a preliminary review that the cannabis industry appeared to be fragmented and that “the transaction was unlikely to raise any significant competitive concerns.”

“Rejecting the analysis of career staff, Attorney General Barr ordered the Antitrust Division to issue Second Request subpoenas,” Elias said, referring to the Justice Department’s most exhaustive type of merger probe. “The rationale for doing so centered not on an antitrust analysis, but because he did not like the nature of their underlying business.”

Including the MedMen merger with PharmaCann, “the Antitrust Division launched ten full-scale reviews of merger activity taking place in the marijuana, or cannabis, industry,” Elias wrote. “These mergers involve companies with low market shares in a fragmented industry; they do not meet established criteria for antitrust investigations.”

DOJ Leaders Aware Of Barr’s Bias

Elias also contends that several members of the division’s political leadership were aware of Barr’s disdain for the legal cannabis industry. During a staff meeting last September, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, the head of the Antitrust Division, “acknowledged that the investigations were motivated by the fact that the cannabis industry is unpopular “on the fifth floor,” a reference to Attorney General Barr’s offices in the DOJ headquarters building,” Elias wrote. “Personal dislike of the industry is not a proper basis upon which to ground an antitrust investigation.”

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Free medical cannabis education platform launched in the UK

A free medical cannabis education platform has been launched by Sapphire Medical Clinics in response to a recommendation by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

This week Sapphire Medical Clinics has launched ‘The Sapphire Institute for Medical Cannabis Education’ with the aim of educating healthcare professionals and patients on medical cannabis. This groundbreaking initiative provides the first free comprehensive platform for medical cannabis education in the UK and was established in response to the NICE evidence review committee recommendation highlighting the need for specific training of healthcare professionals in cannabis-based medicines.

A comprehensive cannabis education platform

The Sapphire Institute for Medical Cannabis Education is a comprehensive educational platform with activities ranging from CPD-accredited didactic teaching to interactive web-based learning and clinical networking opportunities, with additional specific content for patients.

Free membership of the Sapphire Institute for Medical Cannabis Education is offered to healthcare professionals and will grant access to a series of online webinars and e-learning modules. These cover the latest evidence for treatment with medical cannabis across a range of conditions, dosing and monitoring, modes of administration and key case study examples. The Institute has already held five successful online webinars, all of which will be freely available to members.

Topics include Medical Cannabis for Pain, Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders and its role in Palliative Care.

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