WeedLife News Network

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

Tens of thousands of patients have registered for medical marijuana access in Missouri. But there are few dispensaries open, and those that are reportedly experiencing supply issues.

Legal sales of medical marijuana in Missouri kicked off in October this year. The state’s Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) expected most of the 192 dispensaries licensed to be opened by the end of this year, but as at early December only 17 were.

According to St. Louis Public Radio, another challenge for patients and dispensaries alike is the DHSS has approved around 67,000 patient/caregiver applications and supply has become a problem. This isn’t uncommon – other states have experienced similar issues when their programs launched.

Spokesperson for the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association seems confident the issues will be ironed out soon.

“When someone walks into a dispensary right now, they’re mostly going to have flower to choose from,” he said. “But in the coming weeks and months, they’ll be able to have the full assortment — edibles, tinctures, vapors and all of those.”

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While not sufficient treatment in itself, research continues to find cannabis is an excellent tool in the war against cancer.  

In a recent study, Thomas M. Clark, Ph.D., head of a recent analysis, found that “the anticancer effects of cannabis outweigh the carcinogenic effects even in the airways and bladder, where carcinogen exposure is high.” 

Clark headed an August analysis directly on the issue of cannabis and cancer, supported by his sabbatical leave from Indiana University South Bend. At first, Clark had three hypotheses: cannabis increases cancer risk, the benefits and risks of using cannabis canceled out, or cannabis lowers cancer risk.  

At the first analysis of the data set, there was a slight association with cannabis and reduced cancer risk. However, by removing data that did not control for tobacco use, defined as data with a high risk for selection bias, and data at risk for performance bias, the association became medium to large.  

Likewise, the data revealed a medium to large association with reduced cancer risk if data related to testicular cancer was removed. However, according to the analysis, “the hypothesis that cannabis use increases cancer risk is not supported by the available data.”  

The Incredible Truth About Marijuana And Bladder Cancer

Nine months following the launch of legal medical cannabis sales in Utah, regulators and industry leaders are hailing the early success of the state’s program and looking forward to 2021 for continued growth. Voters in Utah approved the medical use of cannabis with the passage of a ballot initiative known as Proposition 2 in November 2018. 

But the measure soon came under attack by state legislators, who attempted to tighten restrictions on the law with a replacement bill that caused an uproar from medical cannabis advocates. A measure that was termed a compromise bill by lawmakers was passed in December 2018, although it saw legal challenges and multiple changes in subsequent legislative sessions.

Sales of medical cannabis products finally began at licensed dispensaries, or pharmacies as they are called in Utah, on March 2 of this year, and statewide sales already exceed $2 million monthly. The number of registered patients has risen quickly, surpassing 10,000 in September, six months sooner than regulators expected the tally to reach that milestone.

“It’s been going. It’s been going well, as with all new programs and people starting and really pushing to get up and going like they did early on — and now (producers) are starting to find their traction to be able to keep moving forward,” Cody James, manager of the Utah Department of Agriculture’s Industrial Hemp and Medical Cannabis Program, said at the time.

“I don’t think that anybody had an idea as to the number of patients that Utah was going to see this early,” James added. “I think we’re exceeding all of the studies that we had on the number of patients.”

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Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is certainly interested in identifying good, viable crops and suggests medical cannabis could potentially be a good one moving forward.

Weed — along with mushrooms (not that kind) and cut flowers — are among the novel crops that offer promise and could be successful match for farming conditions in the south of Scotland, according to a statement from SRUC.

 
 
 

Funded by the South of Scotland Economic Partnership for the new South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) agency, the report includes 10 fact sheets on novel crops with the most potential for successful growing and marketing. Medical marijuana, mushrooms and cut flowers represent a mere drop in the bucket of the full range of alternative crops.

“The report shows that medicinal cannabis is among the alternative crops which could be grown successfully in the South of Scotland,” Professor Russel Griggs, chair of South of SOSE, says in the press release.

“This ties in with SOSE’s recent announcement of support to Hilltop Leaf Limited, a private medicinal cannabis cultivation and extraction business, which aims to provide an alternative plant-based clinical treatment to synthetic pharmaceuticals in the South of Scotland,” Griggs adds.


Chronic back pain is a major issue around the globe.

In fact, lower back pain is the leading cause of disability on the planet.

The condition affects people from all backgrounds and socio-economic statuses, although low and middle-income populations have seen a greater uptick in diagnosis compared to upper-income global populations in recent years.

Back pain can come in many forms and levels of severity, from a nagging pain that makes routine life actions tougher, all the way up to complete debilitation.

If you have suffered from chronic back pain at any point in your life, then you know how painful it can be.

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If you’re a young person in America today, there’s a chance you have smoked marijuana. In a 2019 report, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that 22.3% of 12th graders and 18.4% of 10th graders who were surveyed reported using marijuana in the past month, and 35.7% of 12th graders and 28.8% of 10th graders reported using marijuana in the past year. Considering the growing legalization and decriminalization of marijuana in states across the country, it seems that weed will only continue to become more pervasive and accessible. Because of this, it’s important that everyone — and young people especially — becomes educated about how to smoke weed safely, if they choose to at all.

 
 

Psychologist Jami Wolf-Dolan emphasizes that there is no such thing as completely safe drug use, even with marijuana. For young people particularly, smoking weed can impact your health.

“The human brain does not stop fully developing until the age of 25,” Wolf-Dolan explains. “Smoking pot at such an early life stage can impact how one learns certain life skills such as managing emotions or making friends, or can even potentially impair cognitive skills and memory. I think the safest way to smoke pot is to abstain during adolescence, but I also understand that’s a bit naive to ask of young people today.”

 

There is no hard or fast rule to determine how often one can smoke marijuana and still be “safe,” but there are certainly signs to look out for. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, signs of marijuana dependency include trying but failing to quit using it, giving up important activities and relationships in order to use marijuana, and using it even when you know it causes problems in your daily life. If you are a regular marijuana user, look out for these signs, but also know it might not be so cut and dry.

“There are definitely varying levels of marijuana dependency,” says Wolf-Dolan. “Typically, we would say if you answer yes to one or two of the questions [we ask to diagnose dependency], you have a mild dependency.”

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Growing up, Georgia's family thought she was a bit of a hypochondriac because she'd always complain about weird aches and pains. Even doctors didn't really take her symptoms seriously.

"I remember at 14 going to the doctors with really bad lower back pain, and they told me it was my posture. I was really fatigued all the time and sleeping so much," Georgia told Hack.

"Every day waking up, I'm not sure what I'm going to be in for. It's a bit of a Russian roulette."

Finally, after years of pain and other chronic symptoms, Georgia was diagnosed with endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a disease in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows in other parts of the body. It can be painful, chronic, and has no cure.

A girl with dark blonde hair and a large white tshirt smiles as she brushes hair from her eyes.

Medical cannabis was legalized in Colorado in 2000, but 20 years later, Camille Stewart, MD, isn't able to prescribe it to her patients. Nor is she able to dictate the dosage or frequency with which patients take the drug.

That's because of the weird limbo in which medical cannabis exists. Although it is legal in many states, cannabis still is classified by the federal government as a Schedule I drug with no current acceptable medical use and a high potential for abuse. That puts it in the same category as heroin, LSD and MDMA (ecstasy).

You can see why that's very confusing to a layperson, and even confusing to a person in the medical field. You've got this thing called medical cannabis, but then at a federal level it literally says in the law that there is no medical use for it."

Dr. Camille Stewart, Assistant Professor, University of Colorado (CU) Division of Surgical Oncology and CU Cancer Center Member

In Colorado, the most a physician can do is recommend cannabis for a medical condition. Most states operate in a similar fashion, though laws vary on how cannabis is obtained or grown and who can make the recommendation for a patient to receive it.

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It wouldn't be unfair to say that 2020 has been one hell of a year, and the need to escape from reality — if even for a few hours — is more tempting than ever. Consuming cannabis can be good for what ails you in so many ways, from its medicinal compounds that could help calm inflammation and contribute to a better night's sleep, to its ability to bring a feeling of euphoria that could take your mind momentarily off of the world's troubles. 

For all the myriad benefits of cannabis consumption, there can be a few downsides, especially for novice consumers, including the dreaded “green out." Defined as an experience caused by consuming too much cannabis, signs of a green out include nausea, sweating, dizziness, vomiting, severe anxiety, increased heart rate, reduced blood pressure, and even mild hallucinations. 

While the research is still out as to what precisely causes a green out, anecdotal accounts from consumers and doctors hold that THC — the intoxicating cannabinoid responsible for the high you feel while consuming — accountable. 

Greening out and the endocannabinoid system

All mammals have an endocannabinoid system (ECS), composed of endogenous (internal) endocannabinoids, enzymes, and receptors. Humans often ingest exogenous (external) cannabinoids through cannabis consumption, most famously the non-intoxicating CBD and the aforementioned THC. But humans also produce two endocannabinoids on their own; anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol. 

Both endogenous and exogenous cannabinoids bind to CB receptors called CB1 and CB2. These receptors are located throughout the body, including skeletal tissues, internal organs, and the skin to help create bodily harmony, or homeostasis. When your body is out of whack in some way, let's say it needs to respond to a change in outside temperature for example, the ECS rounds up endogenous cannabinoids to help bring your body back to balance. 

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TORONTO, Dec. 04, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aleafia Health Inc. (TSX: AH, OTC: ALEAF) (“Aleafia Health” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the launch of high potency CBD 50 oils, further strengthening the Company’s growing line of cannabis products for wellness oriented consumers. It will be sold to adult-use consumers as SymblTM High CBD 50, and to medical patients as EmblemTM CBD 50.

“The commercialization of our business is fully underway with Aleafia Health’s third major product release in the last month,” said Aleafia Health CEO Geoff Benic. “CBD 50 formulas are differentiated and highly sought after formats in both the medical and adult-use markets which further reinforces our cannabis extract market leadership position.”

CBD sales to medical patients commenced today, with product shipments to the adult-use market expected later this month. Highlights include:

High Potency: CBD 50, with 50 mg per millilitre of CBD oil, provides greater consumer and patient convenience and has more than twice the potency of traditional high CBD oils.Full Spectrum: Formulated and produced at Aleafia Health’s product innovation centre in Paris, Ont., CBD 50 features full spectrum, supercritical CO2 extracted CBD oils which preserve the cannabis plant’s properties.Repeatable Effects: Emblem CBD 50 is strain-specific, providing patients with a consistent product experience.High Market Demand: Not widely available in Canada currently, high potency CBD oils are frequently requested by the Company’s patients and physicians, along with provincial government adult-use wholesalers.

For Investor & Media Relations:

Nicholas Bergamini, VP Investor Relations
1-833-879-2533
[email protected]
LEARN MORE: www.AleafiaHealth.com

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A new study conducted by Australian and Dutch research experts and published in JAMA looked at how CBD impacts driving, and it found that while THC can definitely cause driving impairment issues, there is not yet any evidence that CBD alone can.

“With rapidly changing attitudes towards medical and non-medical use of cannabis, driving under the influence of cannabis is emerging as an important and somewhat controversial public health issue,” said Iain McGregor of the University of Sydney, who worked on the study. “While some previous studies have looked at the effects of cannabis on driving, most have focused on smoked cannabis containing only THC (not CBD) and have not precisely quantified the duration of impairment.”

As cannabis legalization sweeps the nation, CBD is becoming very widely accepted. It is legal across the U.S., and many use CBD products often for pain relief, even if they don’t use THC because it is illegal or they don’t want the high, so this is very important information to have access to.

The Study

The study looked at how CBD impacts driving when faced with real-world conditions. It also compared driving on CBD to driving without taking CBD, to driving only on THC, and to driving on a combination of THC and CBD.

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A new medical cannabis card initiative in the UK is designed to provide a legal argument for exemption from prosecution for possession of cannabis. It won’t just be good for patients, but also police.

While cannabis medicines became legal in the UK in 2018, many patients are unable to afford costly prescription products, so they source cannabis via illicit channels. This not only carries risks relating to quality, but also prosecution; creating stress for patients and drain on police and court resources.

Designed with the input of doctors and supported by senior representatives of the Police Federation, CanCard provides a signal for police to exercise discretion by understanding the cardholder in possession of cannabis is medicating for their condition.

The creator of the card is Carly Barton, who was the first person in the UK to receive a prescription for herbal cannabis privately since the law change in 2018.

“Together we can unofficially decriminalise, for those most vulnerable, as we greatly reduce the possibility of a obtaining a conviction,” says Ms. Barton.

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Cannabis has been popular in Europe for a very long time.

While it’s unclear when cannabis consumption first became popular in Europe, it’s as popular today as ever before.

Parts of Europe such as Amsterdam and Barcelona have been top cannabis tourist destinations among cannabis fans for many years.

Europe has yet to see a country fully legalize cannabis for adult use, although momentum for legalization has gained steam in recent years.

A court decision in Italy, similar to one issued in Mexico, determined that cannabis prohibition is unconstitutional, however, lawmakers in Italy have yet to implement the court’s mandate.

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Millions of people suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), many of them U.S. veterans who experienced combat and served on other missions where they had life-threatening experiences. For years, veterans have argued for the right to use cannabis to treat  PTSD symptoms, which include recurring nightmares about past events, an inability to sleep, and a frequent feeling of being on edge.

A new study shows that veterans who have advocated cannabis use may be onto something. Researchers have found that cannabis can modulate PTSD symptoms by tamping down the fear and anxiety at the root of the issue.

The study focused on treating excessive fear and anxiety.

Researchers from Wayne State University in Michigan conducted the study, publishing it in the peer-reviewed Journal of Psychopharmacology. The researchers note from the outset that the “core features” of PTSD are excessive fear and anxiety, coupled with dysfunction in the corticolimbic system that includes many behavioral and cognitive functions such as motor control, decision making, and emotional regulation.

Further, the researchers noted that a low dose of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, can reduce activation of the part of the brain that responds to threats and helps the brain better process threats. However, they wanted to test THC’s impact on the corticolimbic system functioning in adults with PTSD.

In the randomized, double-blind placebo study, 71 patients received either a low dose of THC or a placebo. Researchers then put them through a threat-processing paradigm while having an MRI scan of their brain. 

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For some, it might mean feeling a little uneasy when matched with an unknown entity that catches them off guard when they least expect it, or a looming dread of a weekly editorial meeting that keeps them from wanting to get out of bed. Hey, we’ve been there. There are other people, however, who have an irrational, crippling fear (otherwise known as a phobia) of something that hinders their lives with such ferocity that they will do everything in their power to maintain a safe distance.

You won’t catch these folks in or even around an airport, near the snake pit at the local zoo, in confined spaces, or checking out the view from the top of the Empire State Building. Oh, hell no. People with phobias are perfectly content living their lives without any of these perceived frightening situations turning them into a frayed ball of nerves. Maybe even you have a phobia that you’ve lived with ever since you can remember that still, to this day, scares the holy bejeezus out of you. You’d do anything to avoid facing it. But don’t feel bad, you’re not alone. Around 19 million people all across the U.S. suffer from an irrational fear of something, which makes it the most common mental disorder in the country, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

There is no need to fear, though, cannabis might be just what the doctor ordered. A body of evidence has emerged over the past six years or so suggesting that marijuana, or at least some of its essential compounds, might be able to help people with certain kinds of phobias be less afraid.

A study from the University of Michigan, which was published in the journal Neuropsychology in 2013, finds that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) might provide phobia patients with a trapdoor out of the horrific anxiety that comes with these conditions. In some cases, researchers discovered that the stoner cannabinoid is so beneficial in this respect that it even allowed some patients to work through their fears and moved past them. But it’s not like researchers just got a bunch of people super stoned and then tossed them in a closed space and let them work out their anxieties.

The study, which involved around 30 people, used a Pavlovian fear extinction paradigm and simultaneous skin conductance response recording while dosing patients with a synthetic version of THC called dronabinol, according to Science Direct. Still, researchers say that people under the influence of THC showed less fear over time. “These results provide the first evidence that pharmacological enhancement of extinction learning is feasible in humans using cannabinoid system modulators, which may thus warrant further development and clinical testing,” the study authors wrote.

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As of this week, those with certain health conditions in the U.K. will be able to apply for Cancard, a cannabis card that will make sure patients don’t get arrested for having cannabis medicine on their person. 

The idea is to make sure that no one who needs cannabis medicinally has to be worried about the law, even if their medical card is expired. Those behind the card estimate that over 1 million people could be eligible for the card by 2021. 

Currently, qualified conditions range from anxiety, nausea from chemotherapy, appetite loss, depression, pain, ADHD, and even gastrointestinal issues like Crohn’s disease and neurological problems like cerebral palsy. So far, the card has been approved by the Police Federation, the National Police Chiefs Council, the Police Foundation, and the Drug Expert Witness Board.

The Story Behind The Card

Innovated by Carly Barton a chronic pain survivor with seizures who uses and advocates for medical cannabis, the card will be on the radar of police forces across the nation, to ensure that, as long as the card is honored, no one has to worry about the law as long as they are a certified medical patient. 

Barton said about Cancard, “We all know that cases, where patients have proved legitimate medicinal use, are unlikely to make it to court, and if they do these cases are consistently dropped. This is especially the case when a patient presents with a condition that is being privately prescribed for. There is currently no way of identifying these people before emotional distress has been caused, and public resources have been wasted.”

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The Minnesota Department of Health has announced that three more conditions now qualify for access to the state's medical cannabis program.

The department said sickle cell disease and chronic vocal/or motor tic disorder will be added to its list of qualifying conditions, which will take effect in August 2021.

It comes after MDH sought public submissions for potential qualifying conditions during the summer, which went to a public comment period and before a review panel.

Sickle cell disease, a group of hereditary red blood cell disorders, predominantly affects people who are Black or African American, and per MDH can trigger severe pain when sickle cells "get stuck in small blood vessels and block the flow of blood and oxygen to organs in the body."

Health commissioner Jan Malcolm said allowing marijuana to treat sickle cell will give patients "a non-opioid option to manage their pain."

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Consuming cannabis before getting behind the wheel is never a good idea, but just how much influence does it have on our driving?

A study published on Tuesday suggests that low doses of CBD don’t have an influence on people’s capabilities to drive. It also found that while THC is capable of impairing drivers, the effects wear off within a period of four hours.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first to analyze the impact CBD has on driving, while also providing more information as to how THC affects us behind the wheel.

“These findings indicate for the first time that CBD, when given without THC, does not affect a subject’s ability to drive. That’s great news for those using or considering treatment using CBD-based products,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Thomas Arkell.


Photo by William Krause via Unsplash

Could CBD Cause Impaired Driving?

In the 18 months since Arkansas’ first medical marijuana dispensary opened in May 2019, overall sales have surpassed 28,000 pounds. In total, Arkansans have spent $187 million to obtain 28,674 pounds of medical marijuana.

At this rate, officials with the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission anticipate sales will reach 30,000 pounds by late December.

Locally, since Plant Family Therapeutics of Mountain Home opened in February, the company has sold 1,303 pounds of medical marijuana.

In Mountain View, since Fiddler’s Green opened in July 2019, the company has sold 1,581 pounds of medical marijuana.

There are 31 dispensaries in operation, with six remaining that are working toward opening. The six include new dispensaries in Hardy, Little Rock, Fayetteville and Osceola, as well as two in Pine Bluff.

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Would you smoke cannabis if it meant you might consume less alcohol, tobacco, or prescription drugs? A recent study examining a group of patients adds more convincing evidence to the idea that marijuana is an “exit” drug rather than a gateway drug.

Published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, the study compared survey results of 973 patients who answered questions about how they used alcohol before and after receiving medical cannabis authorizations from their doctors. Among them, 44 percent reported drinking less frequently on a monthly basis, 34 percent consumed fewer standard drinks per week, and eight percent said they drank no alcohol at all in the 30 days prior to completing the survey.

The study’s data is derived from the Canadian Cannabis Patient Survey 2019, a survey of patients registered with licensed producer Tilray, and led by the company’s VP of patient research and access and University of Victoria researcher Philippe Lucas.

Greater Success With Intention

Lucas says the study’s most interesting finding was that when patients had a deliberate intention to use medical cannabis to reduce their alcohol consumption, their odds of drinking less or ceasing drinking altogether were significantly higher.

“About 13 percent of participants cited that they deliberately used medical cannabis to reduce the use of alcohol. Conversely, fewer than one percent worked with their physician to do so,” Lucas says.

Cannabis Researcher Philippe Lucas on a white background