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

Medical Marijuana business in Texas steadily growing

AUSTIN - A topic seen as controversial to some is becoming a booming industry in the Lone Star State.

More Texans are turning to medical marijuana, and this is only the beginning. “We’ve sold medicine to more than 25,000 Texans,” said Morris Denton, CEO of Texas Original. Texas Original first opened their doors on Feb. 8, 2018 and has continued to grow. They are one of three licensed medical cannabis operators in the state. The company is based in Austin, but saw an opportunity in the Piney Woods.

“In East Texas and Nacogdoches in particular, basically started to grow pretty quickly for us,” Denton said. The owners say they are impressed with their dispensary’s performance in Nacogdoches, and now they are looking to expand.

“We anticipate that over the next few years we will end up having a full-time retail location in East Texas,” Denton said. But how is the growing process different from recreational marijuana, which is still illegal here in Texas? Jason Sanders, the Director of Cultivation, takes us through the process from source to dispensaries in your community.

Marijuana plant clippings

“It all starts with our mother plants. We produce these originally from seed, and then we identify these plants as being the same ratio as what our medicine is,” said Jason Sanders, Director of Cultivation, Texas Original.

They take clippings from the mother plant to create clones. These branches will be planted, left to grow for two weeks, and transferred to a flowering room.

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Medical Cannabis restrictions could be lifted in North Sioux City, SD

NORTH SIOUX CITY - Voters will decide whether or not to remove a current ordinance on the number of licensed medical cannabis facilities that can operate in city limits.

As it stands right now, the limits are four dispensaries, two growing, two processing, and two testing facilities.

Licenses for those facilities were given out using a lottery system.

If the voters say yes, those restrictions will choose to remove all restrictions on medical marijuana facilities.

The initiative began with a party who failed to secure one of the lottery licenses for the current facilities that are allowed.

“Yeah, one of the parties that was unsuccessful in the original application process, and didn’t win one of the licenses through the lottery decided to take it to a vote of the public, to see whether the public would be willing to take the limits off, which would allow them and others the opportunity to also open cannabis facilities in the city,” said Eric Christensen, North Sioux City city administrator.

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Sean 'Diddy' Combs to invest in cannabis business in NY

NEW YORK - Hip-hop superstar and businessman Sean "Diddy" Combs is investing in the marijuana business. 

A deal estimated at $185 million is in the works in which Combs would buy cannabis production facilities and retail shops from Cresco Labs and Columbia Care in several states, including New York.

"This industry-changing transaction is rooted in Cresco's vision to develop the most responsible, respectable and robust industry possible, and advances Combs' mission to open new doors in emerging industries for Black entrepreneurs and other diverse founders who are underrepresented and underserved," a press release about the deal states. "Throughout his legendary career, Combs has solidified himself as one of the most successful business leaders and cultural icons."

New York City Cannabis Industry Association President David Holland explained why buying Cresco Labs could be huge for Combs.

"They are vertically integrated in New York — meaning they own the cultivation, the processing, the delivery and the sale of their own merchandise," Holland said. "Those are only 10 such licenses given in New York state and now he's the owner of at least one of those."

My mission has always been to create opportunities for Black entrepreneurs in industries where we've traditionally been denied access.

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What have we learned about the arguments for and against legalized Marijuana in the past 10 years?

As we look back on a decade since Colorado’s landmark vote on legalized cannabis, we assess how arguments from both sides of the debate have borne out.

When Colorado voters legalized use, possession and sale of small amounts of marijuana 10 years ago, they faced a lot of unknowns.

“A great experiment,” is what legalization skeptic-turned-believer John Hickenlooper, who was the state’s governor a decade ago and is now a U.S. senator, has called it.

But how has that experiment turned out? Have the promises been kept? Have the fears of legalization opponents been borne out?When the blue book, the nonpartisan voter guide, was distributed to voters in 2012, it contained three arguments for legalization and three arguments against. Here we take those arguments directly from the blue book and break them down to see what happened and what didn’t.

The Arguments

Arguments For

1) Current state policies that criminalize marijuana fail to prevent its use and availability and have contributed to an underground market. By creating a framework for marijuana to be legal, taxed, and regulated under state law, Amendment 64 provides a new direction for the state.

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Maine clarifies new limits on Medical Marijuana providers

Maine clarifies new limits on medical marijuana providers.

PORTLAND - Maine delivered an October surprise to medical marijuana providers with guidance limiting the sale of pre-rolled marijuana and liquid concentrates by treating them like tobacco.

The Maine Office of Cannabis Policy released guidance on Oct. 7 that effectively bans medical marijuana caregivers without a storefront from providing those products altogether while medical marijuana dispensaries and stores must treat them like tobacco products with an age limit of 21. Previously, those could be provided to people 18 and older with a medical marijuana card.

The guidance caused an outcry because pre-rolled products and liquid concentrates for vaping are among the most popular — and profitable — cannabis products sold in medical and adult recreational stores.

Democratic Sen. Craig Hickman, co-chair of the Legislature's Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, accused the Maine OCP of "executive branch overreach and bad faith."

A spokesperson for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services said the guidance doesn't reflect a change in policy or rules. She said the guidance was simply issued to answer questions that had been raised by some medical cannabis providers and registrants.

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3 Technologies clapping back at Hemp’s solvent problem

Research from Vantage predicts America’s CBD market will reach $47.22 billion by 2028. People use hemp-derived CBD on their skin, in drinks, and even give it to pets. While hemp oil is safe, is it created safely? 

Hemp oil extraction often involves chemical solvents such as butane or ethanol — both are flammable and potentially explosive. Once extracted, any remaining biomass must be discarded as hazardous waste. 

These solvent-based processes, while popular, are not the only way to derive CBD from hemp. More sustainable and eco-friendly options are starting to find a place in the commercial market.

Oil Infusion for a Cleaner Concentrate

Left Hand Technologies in Boulder, Colorado recently started offering infusion equipment to hemp farmers. This process requires zero solvents and captures 90% of the phytochemicals in the plant while preserving the terpene profile. Left Hand’s systems use a medium-chain triglyceride carrier oil, such as coconut or sunflower oil. This room-temperature oil circulates throughout the biomass, collecting trichomes and cannabinoids.

The infusion process doesn’t leave residual solvents and eliminates the potential for an explosive work environment. The tech does have limitations, as it’s unable to produce vape-able oil. 

It’s best suited to topicals and edibles.
For consumers 65-years and older, savory edibles are a largely underdeveloped market. This tech lends itself well to cooking oils and finishing oils.

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Former police officers support Legalizing Marijuana

SIOUX FALLS - Another group has come forward to weigh in on legalizing recreational marijuana for adults in South Dakota.

Last week a group of Sioux Falls law enforcement, elected officials and community leaders spoke out against IM 27, a ballot measure that would legalize recreational marijuana for anyone 21 and older in South Dakota.

Now, a group of former law enforcement officers and veterans are coming together to voice their support for legalizing marijuana in the state.

“I served as a South Dakota police officer for 12 years,” Sioux Falls resident JoAnn Jorgensen said. 

“I’m an Army veteran and a 27-year retired police officer,” Rapid City resident Roseanna Renaud said. 

“I’m an Army veteran,” Madison resident Becky Letsche said. 

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Colorado Regulators Issue Recall for Moldy Weed

Colorado identified “potentially unsafe levels of total yeast and mold and aspergillus” in a strain of flower.

A pair of Colorado agencies last week issued “a Health and Safety Advisory” after identifying “potentially unsafe levels of total yeast and mold and aspergillus on Medical Marijuana flower (bud/shake/trim)” that was produced by a business based in Colorado Springs. 

The advisory was issued by both the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which said that the tainted bud came from a producer known as The Living Rose, a medical cannabis retailer in Colorado Springs.

The two agencies “deem it a threat to public health and safety when marijuana is found to have levels of total yeast and mold and aspergillus above the acceptable limits established” by Colorado cannabis regulations.

“[The Department of Revenue] has identified Harvest Batches of Medical Marijuana produced by [The Living Rose] that were not submitted for testing…Harvest Batches of Medical Marijuana produced by [The Living Rose] were required to be tested by the [Department of Revenue] and were found to contain total yeast and mold and aspergillus above the acceptable amounts,” read the advisory, which was issued last Wednesday.

The advisory said that consumers “who have affected marijuana items in their possession should destroy them or return them to the Medical Marijuana Store from which they were purchased for proper disposal,” and that consumers “who experience adverse health effects from consuming the marijuana should seek medical attention immediately and report the event to the Marijuana Enforcement Division by submitting a MED Reporting Form.”

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South Dakota regulators just removed this requirement for obtaining Medical Marijuana

The news comes on the heels of Gov. Kristi Noem (R) saying cannabis legalization can move forward if voters approve it on the Nov. 8 ballot. (Benzinga)

South Dakota regulators approved an important change in the state’s medical marijuana program. In a 5-1 vote on Tuesday, the panel approved the proposal to allow the state Department of Health to remove a requirement from how the department chooses how or if a medical condition qualifies for treatment with cannabis, reported Keloland.

In other words, the department no longer must determine if “treatments currently available for the proposed condition are either ineffective or produce harmful side effects.”

Furthermore, the state official also allowed the department to change the wording of a related requirement.

The wording was changed from “Medical use of cannabis will provide therapeutic or palliative benefits that outweigh the risks of cannabis use” to “Medical use of cannabis is determined to provide benefits that outweigh the risks of cannabis use.”

Tim Engel, an attorney representing the South Dakota State Medical Association, doesn’t support these changes and Rep. Kevin Jensen agrees, saying that there would no longer be any way to identify the benefits.

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Certified Medical Marijuana patients may now grow cannabis at home

Whether it’s a morning stroll or warming up for his next marathon, Frank Falvo said part of pregame ritual is marijuana.

“If I don’t use it before I run, I cannot run as long. It takes away the pain, the inflammation, it helps me focus. It's great for running," said Falvo, a medical marijuana pharmacist.

As a medical marijuana cardholder, he’s looking forward to finally growing his own. Certified patients or their designated caregiver may now cultivate medical cannabis in their home.

“I would definitely be interested in growing my own. If you can find the strain that you really like and grow it yourself. People grow their own vegetables and it just seems to taste better," said Falvo.

Falvo said home growing will be more cost-effective and convenient for patients making long drives to dispensaries. According to the New York State Department of Health, nearly 125,000 New Yorkers are currently registered in the state’s medical marijuana access program.

“Albany to Plattsburgh, there’s nothing in between. I think there might be some medical dispensaries plan. But it’s a long drive, the product is fairly expensive too," said Falvo.

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Lower risk of lung injury from contaminated vapes less frequent in legal Cannabis states, study finds

A new study analyzed the prevalence of cannabis vaping, cases of e-cigarette or vaping product-use-associated lung injury (EVALI), and marijuana laws in 13 states. (Benzinga)

Researchers used data from the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). BRFSS noted that "while more people reported vaping marijuana in states that have legalized it for medical or recreational use, that prevalence didn’t translate into a greater percentage of EVALI case burdens compared to non-legal states."

What Does The Study Say? Methods & Findings

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that “state-level cannabis vaping prevalence was not positively associated with EVALI caseload, even after accounting for state cannabis policies.”

Researchers at Johns Hopkins, New York University and the American Heart Association reached that conclusion by looking at data from four prohibition states, seven medical cannabis states, and two states that have legalized recreational cannabis.

Indeed, there was “an inverse association between state cannabis vaping prevalence and EVALI case burden.” States that have higher levels of marijuana vaping because they have some form of legal access saw lower rates of lung injury.

Using data from the 2019 BRFSS, researchers calculated the weighted prevalence of past-month cannabis vaping among non-elderly adults (18–64 years) for each state.

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Medical Marijuana patients, daily dose amounts at an all-time high

Physicians certified patients for 546 million ounces of smokable marijuana last fiscal year

Florida’s medical marijuana market continues to grow as more and more residents qualify for access.

Not only has the number of patients qualifying for medical marijuana increased in the last year, daily dose amounts ordered have, too, according to he Physician Certification Pattern Review 2023 Annual Report, which shows 546 million ounces of smokable marijuana was certified for patients between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.

In all there were 757,600 patients who qualified or were eligible for medical marijuana, according to the report. That’s a 25% increase in the number of qualified patients from the previous fiscal year. The vast majority of the patients in fiscal year (FY) 21-22, 728,655, have smoking certifications.

Certifications for medical marijuana use contain orders for the type of marijuana — low-THC or traditional — as well as the route of administration for the delivery — edible, inhalation, oral, smokable, sublingual, suppository, or topical. They contain orders with a maximum duration of 35 to 70 days depending on route of administration.

In FY 21-22 83% of certifications were issued by 17% of qualified physicians. Those physicians certified at least 1,000 patients. By contrast 43% of the physicians certified between one and 50 patients during the 12-month span under review, accounting for 1% of all certifications for the year.


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Medical Cannabis can help treat symptoms of irritable bowel disease, study finds

Medical marijuana users experienced decreased IBD symptoms and fewer visits to the emergency room.

A new study looking into the effects of cannabis on irritable bowel disease (IBD) has revealed some good news: Patients who used marijuana experienced fewer symptoms of IBD than those who didn’t.

IBD encapsulates two conditions: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In the U.S., about 3 million adults are diagnosed with the condition and with symptoms ranging from mild to severe.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, IBD is a generalized gastrointestinal tract condition that can target any part of the digestive system, from the mouth to the intestines.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and examined patients with IBD and their history with cannabis. Researchers conducted an anonymous survey on IBD patients over the age of 18 and made medical marijuana purchases on dispensaries in New York or Minnesota.

Survey questions ranged from the patients’ IBD symptoms to their medical marijuana habits, including their purchase history and adverse side effects.

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From atheist churches to finding healing in the ‘Sacred Flower of Cannabis,’ spiritual but not religious Americans are finding new ways of pursuing meaning

Some find refuge in secularized churches that combine alternative rituals, such as the use of cannabis, with various humanist, ethical and spiritual orientations.

According to a recent Pew Center report, American Christianity remains in a nearly three-decade decline.

Responding as “none” or “unaffiliated” on religious surveys, people increasingly identify as humanists, atheists, agnostics or simply spiritual. If current trends continue, by 2070 Christianity may no longer be the dominant expression of religion in the United States.

As a scholar who studies alternative spirituality and new religious movements in the U.S., I believe the reality of America’s diverse religious and spiritual landscape is more complex than often presented.​​

The nones — or those claiming no particular religious affiliation — range from atheists to individuals searching for spiritual answers outside traditional religious groups. This last group commonly identifies as spiritual, but not religious, or SBNR. Dissatisfied with traditional religion, these individuals think about spirituality in a more secular way, as representing their pursuit of meaning, healing, purpose and belonging.

The many expressions of spirituality

In her study of multiple SBNR identities, theologian Linda Mercadante found that the turn away from organized religion does not necessarily come at the expense of faith, ritual or practice. For “post-Christianity” seekers, Mercadante stresses how spiritual fulfillment moves from “religious and civic institutions to ‘gathering places.’”

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What’s the difference between Marijuana, CBD and Delta-8? Find out the Facts

Since 2019, CBD stores and dispensaries have been cropping up all over Abilene - the year Texas legalized hemp.

This legalization caused much confusion as to which marijuana products are legal. For the moment, CBD and Delta-8 products are permitted in Texas - but what are the differences? And how do they help? Keep reading as we take a look at the differences in the marijuana plant according to The Texas Tribune.

Marijuana and hemp look and smell alike because they come from the same cannabis plant. The difference between the two is the amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) they contain. By law, a substance is considered marijuana when the THC concentration is greater than 0.3%.

 

CBD is the non-psychoactive component found in cannabis. Stores in Abilene are allowed to sell CBD as long as the concentration is below 0.3%. I know folks from miles around who swear by the benefits of CBD. It's reputed to greatly help reduce anxiety, insomnia and depression.

Delta-8 is a psychoactive part of the cannabis plant that - when concentrated in labs - can produce a "high" similar to that of marijuana. Delta-8 is also legal in Texas, contributing to its current popularity.

CBD products are widely popular and come in many different forms, like concentrated oils, creams, tinctures and more. According to Harvard Medical School, some of the benefits of using CBD products include reductions in:
Anxiety - The common report that CBD helps lower anxiety has prompted current studies.Insomnia - Studies have shown that CBD helps in the aid of sleep and staying asleep.Chronic Pain - Reports have shown that CBD helps control pain as well as inflammation caused by arthritis.Addiction - The use of CBD lowers cravings for tobacco and even heroin, under certain conditions.

If you can get past our culture's initial hesitation about the use of marijuana, CBD could be worth a try. I'm all about passing along information that may help someone. If you deal with chronic pain, visit your local CBD store and talk with the pros to find out how you can benefit.

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Boy who had 1,000 epileptic fits a month now seizure free due to Medical Cannabis

A boy who used to endure 500 life-threatening fits a month is set to celebrate his 1,000th seizure-free day, thanks to medical cannabis.

Alfie Dingley, who suffers from severe epilepsy, is one of just three people in the UK to have been handed an NHS prescription for the drug.

Mum Hannah Deacon says the cannabis – which was legalised for medicinal use on November 1, 2018 – has made a huge difference to the 11-year-old’s life.

Yet thousands of people are still unable to access funded prescriptions, with families forced to spend thousands of pounds a month to go private, or buy the drug illegally.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance allows ­clinicians to prescribe medical cannabis if the evidence suggests it could be beneficial.But the British Paediatric and Neurology Association does not support the use of whole plant medicinal cannabis, which contains the psychoactive ingredient THC, claiming that the firms producing the products have not undertaken the required clinical trials to prove their safety.

Hannah, 43, who co-founded MedCan Support for families looking to access the drug, said this stance has created what she described as “a block” on NHS prescriptions.

She told how medical cannabis had given Alfie back his “quality of life”, allowing him to attend school full-time and start making friends.

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War veteran calls for legal overhaul after losing license after driving with Medicinal Cannabis

An ex-serviceman who uses medicinal cannabis to treat his health issues may lose his licence after he was deemed "under the influence" when a car crashed into him.

An out-of-control truck crashed into Paul Hardman's ute in Carrum Downs in Melbourne in July last year.

Almost 18 months on, the father-of-two will likely lose his licence because he tested positive to cannabis.

Hardman told 9News that he has been fighting it in court. 

"There was no accusation of impairment, it was just me admitting I was a medicinal cannabis user was the only reason I was sent for a blood test," he said. 

Enlisting in the army in 2007, the now 40-year-old was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq.

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Number of Texans using Medical Marijuana growing

AUSTIN - The Texas DPS Public Safety Commission took action Thursday to expand its Compassionate Use Program so that it can accommodate a growing number of Texas patients who want to access medical marijuana.

The Compassionate Use Act was originally passed by the Texas legislature and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2015 to allow doctors to prescribe THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) products to patients with epilepsy. Since then, the original bill has expanded to allow patients with other medical conditions – such as post-traumatic stress disorder and cancer —  into the medical marijuana program.

“For the last 18 months, we have seen a significant increase in the growth of patients within the program, approximately averaging about a 10% month-over-month growth,” Chief Wayne Mueller of the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

 

In the next 18 to 24 months, there will likely be 100,000 patients in Texas using medical marijuana, Mueller said.

But as the number of patients rises, there are still only three licensed cannabis providers in the state, according to reporting by Austin Business Journal. In comparison, while Florida has significantly more patients enrolled in its medical marijuana program (they have over 700,000 patients), it has 22 different dispensing organizations, Mueller said.

To address the rising number of patients, the Public Safety Commission agreed to hire a consultant who could help them grow as a program and procure more licensees that can distribute medical marijuana to patients.

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Teen Cannabis use should not eclipse promise of Medical Marijuana, U.S. drug control policy director says

Any substance in the growing brain isn’t good, but this shouldn’t ‘nullify the medical benefits that have been documented in science’.

The director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy wants to make it clear that teen use of cannabis shouldn’t deter politicians and researchers from exploring the drug’s medical potential.

During a recorded interview with The Washington Post, Dr. Rahul Gupta spoke plainly about two of the most pressing issues with cannabis, namely its medical possibilities and its impact on the developing brain.

“We know that there’s data behind supporting medical uses for cannabis. We also know that there’s plenty of evidence that, when we talk about children and the growing brain, the use of marijuana does impact negatively the areas of their emotions and learning,” Dr. Gupta noted.

He said any substance in the growing brain isn’t good, but this shouldn’t “nullify the medical benefits that have been documented in science.” Dr. Gupta concluded a lot of science is developing and that there’s been a lot of bans that have prevented researchers from doing a thorough job of studying substances.

Earlier in the interview, Jonathan Capehart, associate editor of The Washington Post, and Dr. Gupta talked about President Joe Biden’s marijuana pardon and the possible descheduling of cannabis.

“When do you expect that review to be done?” Capehart asked. “It will be done expeditiously because the president has asked for it,” Dr. Gupta replied.

“What the president has announced is historic in nature. No one before in the history of the United States has made those proclamations,” he said.

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Are women turning to Cannabis for menopause symptom relief?

A survey offers a glimpse into cannabis and CBD use among women in midlife.

Hot flashes and sleep or mood changes are well-known, troublesome symptoms that may occur during perimenopause and menopause. Now, one survey suggests nearly 80% of midlife women use cannabis to ease certain symptoms, such as mood issues and trouble sleeping.

Mounting numbers of US states have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use in recent years. This wave of acceptance runs alongside skepticism in some quarters concerning FDA-approved menopause treatment options, including hormone therapy. But a lack of long-term research data surrounding cannabis use has led one Harvard expert to question how safe it may be, even while acknowledging its likely effectiveness for certain menopause woes.

"More and more patients tell me every year that they’ve tried cannabis or CBD (cannabidiol, an active ingredient in cannabis), particularly for sleep or anxiety," says Dr. Heather Hirsch, head of the Menopause and Midlife Clinic at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. "Adding to its appeal is that cannabis is now legal in so many places and works acutely for a couple of hours. You don’t need a doctor’s prescription. Socially, it may be easier to justify than using a medication. But why is there a movement toward saying okay to something that has unknown long-term effects, more than something that’s been studied and proven safe?" she asks.

Survey reports on who uses cannabis, why, and how

The new Harvard-led survey, published in the journal Menopause, looked at patterns of cannabis use in 131 women in perimenopause — the often years-long stretch before periods cease — along with 127 women who had passed through menopause. Participants were recruited through online postings on social media sites and an online recruitment platform. Nearly all survey respondents were white and most were middle-class, according to income reporting.

The vast majority (86%) were current cannabis users. Participants were split on whether they used cannabis for medical reasons, recreational purposes, or both. Nearly 79% endorsed it to alleviate menopause-related symptoms. Of those, 67% said cannabis helps with sleep disturbance, while 46% reported it helps improve mood and anxiety.

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