WeedLife News Network

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

Recent studies have shown that some forms of cannabis, particularly cannabidiol (CBD) and terpenes, can treat COVID-19 in some patients. Research has mainly focused on the treatment of “cytokine storms” — a severe immune reaction that can damage the lungs and lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

All research is preliminary at this point. Experts from the University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute recently argued in a paper published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity that such research is needed because earlier studies have shown CBD can treat COVID-19 patients.

CBD “has shown beneficial anti-inflammatory effects in pre-clinical models of various chronic inflammatory diseases,” the researchers write. New studies have started to find out if this also holds true with treating the coronavirus.

Israeli study investigates the efficacy of cannabis terpenes.

In Israel, two cannabis research and development firms, Eybna and CannaSoul, have launched a study to determine whether cannabis terpenes can effectively treat COVID-19 infections. This study also focuses on the treatment of cytokine storms.

These storms contribute to fever, cough, and muscle pain symptoms, leading to high blood pressure, lung damage, ARDS, and organ failure. The body creates these storms from a severe immune reaction in which too many cytokines are released into the bloodstream too quickly.

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Researchers analyzed data spanning two decades and detected no uptick in pedestrian deaths following new marijuana laws.

When states legalize marijuana for adult-use or medicinal purposes, new research states it is not connected with increases in pedestrian fatality rates. Investigators at the University of Minnesota found that legalization was actually associated with declines in overall motor vehicle-related deaths.

The study, published in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention, analyzed traffic-related and fatal motor vehicle crashes in three legalized states—Oregon, Washington, and Colorado—as well as five control states, or where cannabis remained illegal. Records spanned between 1991 to 2018 and used crash data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

“While attention has been given to how legalization of recreational cannabis affects traffic crash rates, there has been limited research on how cannabis affects pedestrians involved in traffic crashes,” researchers wrote. “This study examined the association between cannabis legalization (medical, recreational use, and recreational sales) and fatal motor vehicle crash rates (both pedestrian-involved and total fatal crashes).”

Photo by JasonDoiy/Getty Images

is new marijuana breathalyzer technology on the way

Fish aren’t just useful for growing cannabis, but can also speed up the process of sorting medical cannabis strains, according to Israeli researchers.

As reported by ISRAEL21c, companies using a zebrafish model can identify strains and organize them based on therapeutic potential much faster than relying on mice or human models.

Zebrafish have reportedly already been used to determine which strains may help combat sleep problems, seizures, Parkinson’s disease and pain, with additional indications being studied for autism and anxiety.

The zebrafish cannabis testing model was developed by Camanex, the applied science arm for cannabis of MIGAL Galilee Research Institute, and Canonic, a subsidiary of computational biotech company Evogene.

The companies also worked together to cultivate the cannabis varieties before moving into the laboratory.

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THCA is the acid form of THC that’s found in the raw cannabis plant. What does all this mean though, and how can THCA have a positive impact on one’s life?

The cannabis plant contains over 400 chemical entities and more than 60 of them are cannabinoid compounds. One of these cannabinoid compounds is THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), which contains its own variety of medicinal properties and therapeutic effects.

THCA is a unique compound because it’s not only non-psychoactive and medically beneficial, but it’s the acid form of THC that’s found in the raw cannabis plant. What does all this mean though, and how can THCA have a positive impact on one’s life?

About THCA & Its Link To THC

As mentioned, THCA is the acid form of THC that’s found in the raw cannabis plant. In general, cannabis produces all cannabinoids in acid form. One of the most abundant of all cannabinoid acids is THCA, which is a precursor to THC. On its own, cannabinoid acids don’t make users high. Instead, these acids deliver a variety of health benefits minus changes in consciousness.

When one consumes THC, a decarboxylation process normally takes place first. Decarboxylation is the term that’s used to describe the heating of a compound via smoking or vaping. To convert THCA into THC, raw cannabis first needs to be dried, aged, and heated via smoking or vaping. Overall, THC is a breakdown of THCA, and it doesn’t deliver psychoactive effects until it’s heated through decarboxylation.

What Is THCA In Cannabis And What Can It Do For You

The word on the street is that cannabidiol (CBD) is the most medicinal part of the cannabis plant. The non-intoxicating compound of marijuana has gained rock star status ever since Dr. Sanjay Gupta showed the world in his documentary Weed 2 that it has the power to control seizures in epilepsy patients.

Fast forward a few years and now the substance has become so much a part of popular culture that it is even being counterfeited by hacks trying to strike it rich on the heels of Uncle Sam’s regulatory incompetence.

But is CBD really the most effective medicine in terms of cannabis sativa? In other words, could the U.S. government save the nation from strife and suffering by simply legalizing this part of the plant?

The answer is a resounding no.

Some of the research conducted over the past several decades shows the only way to maximize the therapeutic aspects of cannabis medicine is to use the entire plant. After all, it would be naïve to think a single component of the plant, especially considering it has hundreds of various cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, would be the only part contributing to the health of civil society.

Researchers at Kansas State University have recently earned a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study hemp in cattle feed.

The $200,000 Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant from the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture will help the researchers determine the concentrations of cannabinoids in livestock after exposure to industrial hemp.

While hemp is federally legal, it needs approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA-CVM) as well as the Association of American Feed Control.

"Although hemp can be legally cultivated under license in Kansas, feeding hemp products to livestock remains prohibited because the potential for cannabinoid drug residues to accumulate in meat and milk has not been studied," said Hans Coetzee, professor and head of the anatomy and physiology department in the university's College of Veterinary Medicine, in a news release.

The research team at Kansas State University is comprised of pharmacologists, toxicologists, analytical chemists and horticulture experts. The hemp used in the studies was grown at K-State's John C. Pair Horticultural Center near Wichita.

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 Before you roll your next joint, listen up. An analysis conducted on rolling papers showed that there was at least one heavy metal in 90% of the papers that were tested. And according to data, 8% of them contained at least one heavy metal in concentration levels above the allowable state limits for cannabis products.

Researchers from one of California’s leading cannabis labs, SC Labs, analyzed samples of 70 rolling papers — 25 pre-rolled cones, 20 wraps and three cellulose based papers, all purchased from Amazon and different smoke shops located throughout Santa Cruz.

“It is not surprising to find a prevalence of heavy metals detected in the rolling paper products and should not be considered alarming on its own,” researchers noted. “There is a wide range of concentrations of metals contamination in these products from a relatively low level to grossly contaminated.”

While it may be surprising to learn that there’s metals in your rolling papers, it makes sense. Paper is made out of plants, which naturally absorb contaminants from the soil that they were planted in. Although rolling paper manufacturers have to adhere to some regulations, including listing their ingredients, these are generally less monitored than other products within the tobacco and cannabis industry.

There will always be some level of harm associated with smoking any kind of paper, which makes switching to other cannabis consuming methods a valid option. If you enjoy your joints, you can still try to keep yourself as healthy as possible by sticking to popular and certified rolling paper brands, such as RAW.  

Are People Really Using Food Stamps To Buy Legal Marijuana?

Harvest is the most exciting and also the most stressful time of the entire outdoor grow cycle. Six or more months of hard work and a whole year’s income ride on this small window of time, and it can make or break your operation. Here are some of the most important things to do before harvest to ensure success and avoid common mistakes.

1. Make sure your drying space is ready.

Clean and sanitize your drying area. Post-harvest contamination is a huge issue in regulated markets, so you want to have a good, clean start. Pull out your fans and dehumidifiers, clean them and test them to make sure they work. Acquire more if you do not have enough. Make sure you have a lot of ventilation and airflow to prevent post-harvest fungal issues. Buy a humidity monitor for your drying area and try to keep it as close to 50% relative humidity (RH)  as possible. Especially after the first day.

2. Decide how you are going to harvest, dry and separate buds from plants, and calculate how much space you will need to do this.

Not having enough drying space is one of the most common mistakes new farmers make. This choice can also affect drying time and ultimately the quality of finished flower. Options include:

Harvest, hang and dry whole plants and handle sorting later.Harvest and break down plants into individual branches and hang.Remove buds wet, and then dry the flower on screens.

Post-harvest contamination is a huge issue in regulated markets, so you want to have a good, clean start. Puffin Farm's drying area is cleaned and sanitized before harvest begins. Photo by David Goodman. 

3. Scout plants for botrytis and fungal issues frequently.

As harvest approaches, depending on your location, the weather may be getting cooler and wetter. Any infected buds need to be removed daily, or the fungus can spread rapidly. After harvest, continue to check drying material, as mold can take hold in the drying area and destroy your harvest.

It wasn’t that long ago that there was a spike in health issues reported in multiple countries, with the culprit causing the issues reportedly being cannabis vape pen cartridges.

Cannabis vape pen cartridges grew in popularity at an exponential rate in recent years, and for good reason.

Much of the increased popularity is due to vape pen cartridges being convenient, discreet, and for many consumers and patients they are effective at providing the desired effect.

Another major factor contributing to the exponential growth in popularity is the increased availability of vape pen cartridges in legal markets. 

Unfortunately, that increased availability in legal markets has been paralleled by an increase in the availability of unregulated cartridges in illegal jurisdictions.

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When ingested in oil form, one of the most popular consumption methods, the effectiveness of CBD and THC becomes compromised.

A product can claim to contain large amounts of THC or CBD and that it will provide powerful benefits. But while this may be true, it doesn’t explain the complex process of how cannabis ends up absorbed through the bloodstream, which is known as bioavailability. When it comes to CBD and THC oils, the amount of that ends up absorbed in your blood is usually very little.

Bioavailability can be influenced by your body’s make up, physiological processes and, most importantly, the method in which you consume your cannabis. While recreational cannabis is more lax and can be adapted as needed, bioavailability is vital for the plant’s value as medicine. The more bioavailable the product is, the more accurate the dosage, and the less amount of it you’ll need for it to produce its intended effect.

When ingested in oil form, one of the most popular consumption methods, the effectiveness of CBD and THC becomes compromised. In fact, only about 6% of the THC or CBD present in these products ends up absorbed by the bloodstream.

The body is made up of 60% water. When compounds are presented in oil form, their potency is affected since the water in our bodies and the oil in the product have trouble mixing. This is further increased by the fact that oil is usually ingested orally, absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract and later making its way to the liver, where it’s metabolized. After so many stops, the amounts of useful compound that end up in your bloodstream is limited.

Could CBD And Cannabis Eliminate The High-Cost And High-Stakes Of Current Psoriasis Medicines?

If there’s one thing that the U.S. seems to enjoy, it’s health fads.

There has been no shortage of health-conscious trends that have made their way into the public eye only to become yesterday’s news in a matter of months.

Keto dieting, kale integration, juice cleansing, gluten avoidance, and even colonic hydrotherapy are just a few examples of health fads that seemed like they were going to change the world, only to quickly become a relic of their time.

This has led to CBD being considered a wonder drug by some and snake oil by others.

There’s no doubt that CBD is very much “in” right now.

The numbers back this up, looking at Statista’s list of CBD sales over the years: $108.1 million in 2014, $262.2 million in 2016, $512.7 million in 2018, and a projected $1.812 billion in 2022.

A couple popular brands of rolling papers, blunt wraps, and other products used to twist up cannabis into smokeable form are contaminated with pesticides and heavy metals, a study from a California-based testing lab has found.

The good news is that most popular products were squeaky clean. But a few were not.

While most of the 118 smoking products examined by SC Labs this summer had only minute amounts of toxic material—and thus pose little to no threat to most marijuana consumers—a few were dirty enough to fail state product standards when combined with cannabis.

A couple more were so dirty by themselves, with heavy metal levels more than 100 times worse than state limits that the lab recommended consumers treat them like seafood containing high levels of mercury, and limit consumption.

What's in your blunt? Potentially toxic material, a recent review of 118 rolling products has found


2020 will always be remembered as the year of coronavirus. In the retail marketplace, people were driven away from physical retail stores and became increasingly reliant on remote shopping. Also, many nervous consumers dealing with pandemic-induced stress and sleeping disorders have been embracing the relatively new marketplace of cannabidiol (CBD) products. 

Unfortunately, this dynamic has created a perfect storm for fraud, as scam artists hide behind the anonymity of the internet and prey on unsuspecting consumers with subpar, fake and/or counterfeit CBD goods. 

With snowballing fraud now jeopardizing the growth of the industry, it has become absolutely critical for manufacturers and distributors of CBD products to quickly stem the tide of abuse and guard against any further erosion of the relationship between consumer expectations and the CBD industry. Luckily, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and many online retail outlets now have tools available to help protect CBD brands and their customers from online scams. 

In an effort to slow the spread of fraud and counterfeits on its platform, Amazon has enacted a brand registry system that provides trademark owners with enhanced tools to more accurately present their brands to consumers, find and remove counterfeit products and other violations, and work directly with the Amazon enforcement team to proactively prevent violations and build brand presence.

These tools are invaluable in building marketplace momentum and protecting consumer interactions with your brand; however, a company must have an active federal trademark registration in order to participate. Amazon will not accept any other method of validating brand ownership for purposes of the registry, so trademark registration is now even more important than in the past.

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Anyone that has cultivated cannabis will tell you that it is one of the most rewarding activities they have ever done.

Whether it’s for personal use or for commercial purposes, cultivating cannabis can be a very fun endeavor.

The cannabis plant is one of the most visually beautiful plants on earth.

However, it is also one of the stinkiest plants on Earth.

Smells that emanate from the cannabis plant are causing an issue in legal markets around the globe. 

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The American workforce failed drug tests at the highest rate in nearly two decades last year, according to new data released this week.

That finding comes via Quest Diagnostics, one of the largest providers of drug tests, which said that 2019 was a 16 year high in workforce drug positivity. “Positivity rates in the combined U.S. workforce increased in urine drug tests, climbing to the highest level since 2003 (4.5%) and more than 28% percent higher than the thirty-year low of 3.5 percent recorded between 2010 and 2012,” Quest said in a press release on Tuesday. 

Notably, Quest said that last year saw “dramatic increases in positivity for cocaine and methamphetamine as well as marijuana.” Cannabis laws, of course, have changed considerably over the last decade on the local level, with a number of states and cities moving toward decriminalization or outright legalization. Medical marijuana, meanwhile, is legal in more than 30 states.

But pot remains banned on the federal level, and some employers continue to test for it. Barry Sample, PhD, senior director of science and technology, for Quest Diagnostics, said that marijuana “continues to be an enduring presence in the U.S. workforce.” 

“Changing attitudes toward its use could pose heightened risks especially in safety-sensitive positions and those states exploring legalization,” Sample said.

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New analysis from Global Market Insights, Inc., shows the US cannabis testing market will be worth $1.2bn by 2026.

The Global Market Insights report shows that growing demand for medical cannabis for the treatment of various ailments has led to the growth of the US cannabis testing market. This rise in demand has further resulted in the implementation of strict government policies for the testing of cannabis to be used in medical cannabis products, thereby propelling the industry outlook.

An increasing number of applications for medical cannabis in the medical cannabis industry to treat ailments such as chronic pain and epilepsy will likely bring forth a stimulating period of growth for the medical cannabis testing market during the projected timespan.

Furthermore, various research institutes are actively focusing on exploring novel applications of cannabis. To that end, increasing investment in R&D activities is likely to further grow the cannabis testing market over the forthcoming years.

The increasing discovery of the medicinal benefits offered by cannabis have driven the demand for legalisation, and several states across the US have subsequently legalised the usage of the product for treating specific medical conditions. The legalisation is further anticipated to increase the need for laboratories to test safety and potency, thereby driving industry growth.

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Late last week, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) released their Interim Final Ruling on hemp extract that, if passed in October, will have devastating consequences for the CBD industry.

In typical government fashion, the DEA misinterpreted what was stated in the Farm Bill and ran with it, creating a new roadblock for the cannabis industry that makes no sense whatsoever. In short, the DEA ruling prohibits any hemp extract that reach 0.3% or more tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) at any point during the manufacturing process, by categorizing these products as Schedule 1 Narcotics. Did all hemp extract just become illegal?

At first glance, the law makes sense based on the 0.3% cutoff that, arbitrary as it may be, has been around for quite some time. However, this law doesn’t apply to just finished products. If we have a CBD oil for example, that has no THC in the final product and was extracted from legally compliant industrial hemp, it could still be illegal if at some point during the manufacturing process, the THC (temporarily) exceeded 0.3 percent.

Now it makes even less sense, doesn’t it? Well, it doesn’t get much better.

WIPHE and Temporarily Elevated Levels of THC

When creating CBD products, even isolate, they go through a stage referred to as Work-in-Progress Hemp Extract (WIPHE), during which the concentrations of THC temporarily exceed 0.3 percent. Products in the WIPHE stage are only partially processed, and not intended for sale or consumption. Fluctuating levels of cannabinoids is just a normal part of the process and is impossible to avoid. Even during at the most basic levels of production, there will always be a point where the product has more than 0.3% THC.

It is these WIPHE products that are now banned. So, in the process of creating legal products from a legal plant, they briefly enter a stage where they are considered a Schedule 1 controlled substances, and thus are overall illegal. It was always the elephant in the room, but it’s honestly illogical to think that any of that matters, the focus should obviously be on the finished product that ends up in the consumer’s hands.

Dry hemp vs wet hemp

There is quite a bit of confusion whether this applies to products in the WIPHE stage or only completely finished, consumer products. According to the National Hemp Association, “this IFR only refers to consumer products to ensure that they are D9 compliant. It does not address mid-process crude or distillate which often exceeds legal THC levels. So moving/selling those materials across state lines remains ambiguous and problematic. However, while this IFR does not alleviate that concerns it also does not make it worse.”

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A field testing kit that will enable law enforcement officers to quickly and cheaply determine if cannabis or a cannabis product is hemp or marijuana is ready for prime time.

To this point it has been impossible for law enforcement officers in the USA to distinguish between hemp and marijuana without sending samples to a laboratory for testing. Hemp and marijuana are basically the same plant – it’s the THC level that distinguishes between the two. At a federal level in the USA, hemp is legal while marijuana isn’t and while field testing can determine if a cannabis sample has THC, hemp is permitted to have very low levels.

Hemp Synergistics LLC, through a partnership with forensic scientists at Purdue University Northwest, says a THC Rapid Field Test Kit it has developed provides law enforcement an easy-to-use tool to distinguish hemp from marijuana in less than five minutes. Each test costs USD $14; far cheaper than laboratory testing that costs thousands and similar in pricing to non-discriminatory field test kits used regularly by law enforcement. What isn’t mentioned is the cost of the testing unit.

Aside from the expense of laboratory testing, crops and products suspected of being marijuana are seized; depriving owners of legal hemp and associated products of their use or sale. There have been a number of high-profile cases where large quantities of cannabis have been seized and then subsequently proven to be hemp. By the time that happens, the material may have degraded and unable to be sold for its original purpose.

“The goal was to develop a test that was easily deployed in the field and was reliable and scientifically defensible – as opposed to sending a sample back to a lab with expensive high-powered instrumentation,” said Ron Fazio, COO at Hemp Synergistics.

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For the most part, mainstream markets today are completely missing out on the benefits of the versatile hemp plant, from its tiny seeds up to its hardy stalks.

Hemp is an excellent crop for farmers because it requires far fewer resources to grow than traditional crops, replenishes the soil with nutrients and has a relatively short harvest cycle. Hemp products contain only trace amounts of THC if any at all, and will not cause a positive drug test result or any intoxication.

Increasing consumer demand for hemp products is more important now than ever, as our planet’s resources face exponential stress, but knowing where to begin can be a bit overwhelming. Here are six uses for this versatile plant — including how to wear it, eat it and even use it to power the world.

Textiles & Paper

The fibers of the hemp plant stalk are strong and durable and can be used to create textiles for clothing, ropes, linens and more, as well as processed into pulp to make paper. There’s a tendency for hemp clothing to “wear in, not out,” becoming softer and more comfortable over time while still outlasting cotton thanks to the strength of the hemp fibers. Hemp is more environmentally friendly than cotton or synthetic materials and, because the lifetime of hemp textiles is long, we could produce less clothing overall if everyone wore hemp. Paper made from hemp is “tree-free,” meaning it does not contribute to further deforestation of our planet, and can be processed into results that are nearly identical to traditional paper.

Skincare & Soap

Lotions and soaps made with hemp are readily available in stores around the world and the benefits for your skin are plentiful. Through the cold press extraction method, hemp seed oil retains amino and fatty acids, as well as minerals and vitamins A and E. Hemp seed oil also prevents loss of moisture in the skin and can alleviate dermatitis or dryness. In addition, it’s non-comedogenic so it won’t clog your pores. Hemp seed oil cleansers gently pull dirt and excess oil from skin, leaving it clean and glowing. The cleansing properties of hemp oil also make it a popular component of natural laundry soaps, where it removes grime without stripping the fibers of their dyes.

hemp paper textiles

While the cannabis-infused beverage category is expanding rapidly, product awareness and brand awareness lag behind, according to a survey of 1,000 U.S. cannabis consumers fielded July 2nd through July 16th, 2020 by consumer insights firm SoapBoxSample. Results revealed that the top reason cited for not having tried cannabis beverage products is that 45% of consumers simply did not know they existed. Meanwhile, those who have tried it are likely to try it again. The most popular types of beverages consumers have tried and say they will have again are juice or fruit punch (68%), hot chocolate (61%) and non-alcoholic wine (60%). Certain categories of cannabis-infused beverages have even become a part of some consumers’ weekly routines including coffee (42%), tea (42%) and juice or fruit punch (41%).

“This study illustrates the enormous potential of the cannabis beverage market,” said Jacqueline Rosales, COO of SoapBoxSample. “Cannabis consumers are eager to try new products and they are expecting brands to bring products to market that speak to their specific tastes and preferences. By connecting with their target audience, brands can make strategic decisions supported by market insights.”

Beer without cannabis is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the United States. However, that popularity doesn’t seem to translate to the cannabis category. SoapBoxSample asked consumers who hadn’t tried a cannabis beverage about their interest level in 13 different types of beverages. The only beverage that ranked lower than beer were aperitifs. Only 33% expressed an interest in trying cannabis-infused non-alcoholic beer. By comparison, 79% said they would like to try a cannabis lemonade or limeade. Other popular choices for would-be consumers include iced and herbal teas (79%), juice/fruit punch (77%), and soda/sparkling seltzer (72%).

Cannabis beer brands may be hoping to win over consumers once they sample the product. However, consumers who have tried cannabis beer have less interest in trying it again, compared to other beverage categories. While 39% of those who have tried cannabis beer said they would drink it again, 68% of those who have had cannabis juice or fruit punch said they would drink it again and 61% of those who tried cannabis hot chocolate would have it again. Adoption rates of cannabis sparkling water (59%), infused coffee/cold brew (58%) and infused iced or herbal tea (56%) were also relatively high, while cannabis beer (39%) and aperitifs (28%) ranked lowest.

The emerging popularity of cannabis beverages is reflected in the data. Among those who have tried cannabis beverages, 29% tried it for the first time in the last month. To understand rapidly evolving consumer preferences, SoapBoxSample looked at consumer interest in beverage types and awareness of cannabis beverage brands. Overall, brand awareness is low. Around 60% of consumers said they were unfamiliar with all 23 of the brands tested in this study, indicating there is room for cannabis brands to earn market share by increasing brand awareness.

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