• Mississippi Voters Will Decide Whether To Legalize Medical Marijuana
    Mississippi became the latest state this week to add a medical marijuana question to its 2020 ballot. Voters there will have the opportunity to decide on Ballot Initiative 65, which, if approved, will grant access to medical cannabis for patients suffering from various conditions like cancer and epilepsy.  Mississippians for Compassionate Care, the group that spearheaded the ballot initiative, announced the news Wednesday on its Facebook page, saying that the Secretary of State in Mississippi certified the signatures submitted. The group submitted 105,686 signatures to the secretary of state’s office in September—easily exceeding the minimum of 86,185 signatures required by Mississippi law for an initiative to qualify for the ballot.  “We exceeded the requirement with overwhelming numbers in each of the districts totaling more than 105,000 certified signatures from Mississippi voters!” the group trumpeted in the Facebook post on Wednesday. Should voters approve the initiative in November, Mississippi would join more than 30 other states that have already legalized medical marijuana. Voters in South Dakota will also have the opportunity to approve medical marijuana— as well as recreational pot —at the ballot this year. Medical Marijuana in Mississippi If Initiative 65 is approved by Mississippi voters, physicians in the state could start prescribing cannabis to patients suffering from a host of debilitating medical conditions: cancer, epilepsy and other seizure disorders, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, ALS, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, sickle-cell anemia, autism with aggressive or self-injurious behavior, and spinal cord injuries among others. Those patients would then obtain an identification card from the Mississippi Department of Health. Activists in Mississippi spearheaded the petition drive in the fall of 2018; by February of last year, they had more than 45,000 signatures. Mississippians for Compassionate Care have expressed confidence about their chances throughout the process, citing encouraging poll numbers. Jamie Grantham, a spokeswoman for the group, said last month that she believes the initiative will pass if it goes before the voters. “The polling is extremely positive,” Grantham said. “It polls above 77 percent, with every age group, religious affiliation, political affiliation and other groups. Also, to that point, we saw the overwhelming support from the number of signatures we received.” But the initiative will face some heavy opposition, including from the state’s Republican governor, Phil Bryant, who said as early as 2018 that he would be opposing the proposal. “I will be voting “no” if this makes it on the ballot,” Bryant said in a Facebook post at the time. “With all the pharmaceutical ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-09
  • Researching Marijuana is Difficult. Federal Law is one of the Biggest Deterrents.
    The head of the top federal medical research agency said in a new interview that marijuana's status as a Schedule I drug inhibits studies into the plant and prevents scientists from researching the effects of cannabis that consumers are obtaining from state-legal dispensaries in a growing number of states. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), discussed the limitations imposed by the federal drug scheduling system during an appearance on C-SPAN's Newsmakers that aired last week, saying that while he shares concerns about the potential health implications of smoking marijuana, research into the risks and benefits of cannabis is being impeded by current policy. “Frankly, we know far too little about the benefits and risks of smoked marijuana,” Collins said. “There have been very few studies that have actually rigorously tested that.” The director said scientists are in a “funny place” in the U.S. when it comes to cannabis, noting that in order to use federal funds to research the plant and its compounds, the products must come from a single source: a government-authorized farm at the University of Mississippi that cultivates marijuana that's been widely criticized for lacking the properties associated with cannabis that's commercially available in state markets. “People don't realize that I run a farm in Mississippi that grows marijuana because I'm required to do so,” Collins said, referring to the facility that's licensed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which is part of NIH. “But that's the only source that investigators can use, and it may be rather different than what you could get in one of the states where marijuana is now approved in terms of its constituents.” “It's going to be very hard to interpret data about smoked marijuana when the actual nature of the product is vastly different depending on where you got it” with respect to properties like THC and CBD content, he said. “We'd really like to have studies where you're studying those compounds in pure form so you can see what they're doing,” he said. “But again because of various limitations of Schedule I limits, we are not able to do as much as we would like.” Another “big deterrent” to research is the extensive series of hurdles that scientists must overcome to receive approval to study marijuana, Collins said. Researchers must be cleared by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and also submit an investigational new drug application to the Food and Drug Administration in order ... read more
    Source: Marijuana.comPublished on 2020-01-09
  • Chicago Airports Have Installed Drop Boxes For Passengers To Get Rid Of Weed
    Illinois’ new era of legal weed means travelers passing through Chicago airports don’t need to worry about TSA if they’re holding. But if you don’t feel like taking your pot on the plane, well, that’s cool, too. Local officials announced this week that so-called “cannabis amnesty boxes” have been installed at O’Hare International Airport and Midway Airport. Positioned at each airport’s TSA checkpoints, the boxes will serve as a receptacle for travelers who would like to ditch their marijuana products before boarding. “We’re not encouraging people to bring cannabis through the airports at all,” Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Maggie Huynh said, as quoted by the Chicago Tribune. “But if for some reason you have it on you, we have those amnesty boxes out there so that you can dispose of it prior to getting on the airplane.” Illinois’ new law, which took effect on New Year’s Day, permits adults aged 21 and older to purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana. The law, signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker last summer, will also result in the pardons of more than 100,000 individuals previously convicted of low-level, non-violent marijuana offenses. Illinois is the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana. Travelers Still Advised Not To Bring Cannabis To Airports The Transportation Security Administration, created in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, has said that its screening procedures are focused on identifying potential threats and that officials do not search for cannabis or other federally illegal drugs. However, the agency has said that “in the event a substance appears to be marijuana or a cannabis infused product, we’re required by federal law to notify law enforcement.” In that spirit, TSA said last month that it would defer to local police in Chicago on such matters; local police, in turn, said they wouldn’t bother anyone in possession of marijuana as long as they are within the guidelines of the statute. That said, law enforcement is still encouraging travelers to leave the weed at home. “To ensure safe travel for all travelers, we’re encouraging all travelers not to bring cannabis through Chicago airports as it remains illegal under federal law,” Chicago police commander William Mullane said last month. Legal weed is off to a roaring start in Illinois, with the first week of sales generating nearly $11 million and several shops already running out of products. One dispensary has even put a hold on selling recreational weed so that cannabis can go towards medical marijuana patients. The post Chicago Airports Have Installed Drop Boxes ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-08
  • Two Dozen People Arrested For Making THC-Infused Counterfeit Candy In New Jersey
    Cops in New Jersey scoped out a cannabis candy manufacturing ring for a year before they swooped in on December 19. They eventually fingered 24 individuals with criminal charges in an endeavor they called “Operation On the Ropes,” after the suspects’ use of Nerd Ropes in their extra-legal business scheme. The suspects had been allegedly purchasing commercial candy like the Nerds products and Sour Patch Kids. They turned them into their own doctored, creatively monikered cannabis treats by pouring them into pans covered in parchment paper and, said the cops, “spraying” them with THC. Once the candies had been infused, police say the suspects had labeled the former products as “Stoner Patch” edibles. The mastermind behind the operation was allegedly a 27-year-old from Freehold, New Jersey named Dylon Addvensky. Police were particularly concerned that kids could be boondoggled into consuming the cannabis products. “Colorful and sugary candy like what we seized are among the best selling edible pot products on the black market,” said Monmouth County prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni. “Counterfeit candy is making the rounds and they constitute an extreme danger to our community, particularly the children.” The Monmouth County prosecutor’s office announced in a press conference on Tuesday that they had raided 21,000 pieces of candy, 1,100 pounds of marijuana, and around 6,500 flavored THC vaporizer cartridges in relation to the case. Addvensky has been charged with running a narcotics trafficking network, plus drug distribution and conspiracy charges. One individual has been charged but not apprehended by authorities — allegedly, the person that oversaw the shipment of the THC products from California to New Jersey. A Continuing Concern This is not the first time that an operation has been detained by law enforcement that looked to turn commercial candy into THC-infused snacks. In the run up to Halloween, police from Peabody, Massachusetts announced they had detained an individual who had been doctoring Wonka bars, Nerds Ropes, and Rice Krispies Treats with THC. In June, a similar case was reported in West Virginia. In that instance, cops intercepted a multi-pound package of altered candies like Nerds Rope while the supply was transiting the state. Each time, authorities issued a special warning to parents to protect their kids from doctored sweets. Attracting young people to cannabis is precisely the motivating factor behind much of the nation’s strictest marijuana product packaging guidelines. In some cases, this ban extends even to product names that could be appealing to kids. In San Francisco, dispensary chain Cookies — the town’s first Black-owned cannabis store — was forced ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-08
  • Illinois Dispensary Stops Selling Recreational Weed To Help Medical Marijuana Patients
    Just one week into legal recreational cannabis sales in Illinois, some dispensaries have halted sales of adult-use pot while others have been forced to temporarily close. Sales of recreational pot began briskly on January 1 after a legalization bill was passed by the Illinois legislature and signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in June. Under Illinois law, dispensaries licensed to sell medical marijuana must maintain at least a 30-day supply of products to meet patients’ needs. NuMed dispensaries in Chicago and Urbana pumped the brakes on recreational pot sales so that they would be able to continue to serve medical marijuana patients. Sean Johnson, the manager of NuMed in Urbana, told local media on Tuesday that adult-use customers had been cut off. “Today will be the first day that we have suspended recreational sales, adult-use sales,” he said. “We have a door guy out there, unfortunately, turning people away for that.” “We just had to make sure there was some kind of structure with how we would prioritize medical patients in accordance with the state,” Johnson added. Although he isn’t sure when NuMed will begin to resume adult-use sales, Johnson said that he expects it to take at least two months before recreational growers are harvesting at capacity. “A lot of these cultivators, it doesn’t seem like they really started doing anything until Pritzker signed the bill,” Johnson said. “So I don’t think we’ll see full production until around March.” Chris McCloud, a spokesman for HCI Springfield, said that while the dispensary had not been forced to stop serving recreational cannabis customers as of yet, employees are assessing the situation on a daily basis. “Those are day-by-day decisions that our dispensary staff has to make in terms of how much product can meet the demand,” he said. Shops Re-Upping for the Weekend At Midway Dispensary near the Midway Airport, sales of recreational products were halted on Sunday and aren’t expected to resume until Friday. “The demand was huge,” said Neal McQueeney, principal officer of Midway. “We knew we were going to run out. It was a matter of when, not if.” Keith McGinnis, principal officer at NuMed, said that efforts to slow sales of recreational cannabis only delayed the inevitable. Recreational sales at the Chicago NuMed were suspended on Saturday. “It didn’t matter how much you had, you’re going to run out,” he said. “You can set limits, purchasing limits, but still you’re going to run out.” At Dispensary33 in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, sales to recreational customers were stopped for ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-08
  • Cannabis Tech Company Forced To Pull Out Of CES
    LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Canadian cannabis tech company has pulled out of the CES gadget show after being given constraints on how it could promote its products. Nearly a dozen states allow the use and sale of marijuana for recreational purposes, and policies around the world vary. Broad marijuana sales began in Nevada in 2017. Las Vegas, where CES takes place, is now home to what’s claimed to be the world’s largest cannabis dispensary, Planet 13. But CES organizers say marijuana’s acceptance isn’t widespread yet. CES organizers prohibited Keep Labs from mentioning the word cannabis, showing cannabis in promotional materials or discussing what the Keep device does. “We don’t allow pornographic. We don’t allow content where children are killed. We don’t allow anything with vaping,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, which organizes CES. “Marijuana has been a tougher one for us.” He said the show is waiting to see if marijuana becomes more legal, at least in the U.S. “It is changing very quickly, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we changed it sometime in the future as well,” he said. Keep Labs was awarded a prestigious CES Innovation Award in October for its “Keep” home cannabis storage device. It connects wirelessly to an app and lets users unlock the storage unit with a fingerprint or facial recognition. After CES placed limits on what Keep can show, the company decided it was better not to attend at all. Keep was to be one of about 4,500 companies exhibiting at the four-day CES show, which opened Tuesday. Keep co-founder Philip Wilkins described the move as “naive.” Planet 13 dispensary’s marketing specialist, Brandon Zimmer, said he was surprised by organizers’ decision, given that CES is supposed to be a showcase for tech innovations. He said cannabis tech is an exciting field, with lots of invention and new devices. But Gartner analyst Werner Goertz said organizers are being smart in being cautious. Last year, CES also banned an innovation award winner, a vibrator made by a female-founded startup. That led to complaints that CES was being tone deaf on diversity. CES ultimately relented and allowed space for sex tech companies this year as a trial. By James Brooks The post Cannabis Tech Company Forced To Pull Out Of CES appeared first on High Times. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-08
  • Illinois Governor Pardoned Over 11,000 People For Marijuana
    One day before legal adult-use marijuana sales launched in Illinois on Jan. 1, 2019, the governor announced that his office was clearing the records of more than 11,000 people who have previously been convicted of simple cannabis possession. Gov. J. B. Pritzker (D) said the move “sets us apart” from other states that have legalized marijuana for adult-use and that “Illinois is putting equity first, clearing thousands of convictions and giving individuals & their families a new lease on life.”
    These 11,017 misdemeanor convictions represent individuals who have carried around with them a stain on their records for possessing less than 30 grams of cannabis – a stain that has very often prevented them from obtaining housing or jobs or benefits. — Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) December 31, 2019 A total of 11,017 people will be receive pardons for possession offenses of up to 30 grams. The governor's office said that there are 116,000 records that are eligible for expungement through this process, with hundreds of thousands of others that may qualify for relief by petitioning the courts.
    Here in Illinois, we’re not just looking back and correcting the wrongs of our past – we’re facing our future, determined to do better – for everyone. — Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) December 31, 2019 “Importantly, this is just the first wave of Illinoisans who will see a new world of opportunities emerge as they shed the burden of their nonviolent cannabis-related convictions and records,” he said.
    But unlike other states, in Illinois, we purposely built a system where the market has room to grow, so that entrepreneurs, including especially those from the communities devastated by the war on drugs, will have real opportunities in this industry. — Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) December 31, 2019 While Pritzker said he anticipates Illinois will see “high demand and long lines” for marijuana as legal sales go online, he emphasized the need to address restorative justice at the same time that the state benefits economically from its adult-use program.
    We are ending the 50-year long war on cannabis. We are restoring rights to many tens of thousands of Illinoisans. We are bringing regulation and safety to a previously unsafe and illegal market. And we are creating a new industry that puts equity at its very core. — Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) ... read more
    Source: Marijuana.comPublished on 2020-01-08
  • South Dakota Residents Will Vote On Legalizing Recreational Marijuana
    PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakotans will vote this year on whether to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 years and older. Secretary of State Steve Barnett said Monday his office has validated a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older and require the state Legislature to enact a hemp cultivation law. Barnett said his office found the petition had enough valid signatures to put the proposal on the Nov. 3 ballot. A constitutional amendment requires 33,921 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. The measure would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana as well as require the Legislature to pass laws on hemp. South Dakota lawmakers passed a bill in 2019 to legalize industrial hemp, but Republican Gov. Kristi Noem vetoed it. Noem has promised another veto if lawmakers pass a hemp bill in 2020, saying law enforcement can’t differentiate between hemp and marijuana. Hemp is related to cannabis but does not contain enough THC to make someone high. Citizens can still challenge the ballot validation, Barnett said. The deadline to file a challenge is 5 p.m. Central time Feb. 5. South Dakota voters in November also will decide a measure to allow medical marijuana for patients with serious health conditions. The measure would allow patients with chronic or debilitating health conditions to use and possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana. They would need to get a registration card from the state’s Department of Health. Matthew Schweich, deputy director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said South Dakota will become the first state to vote on both medical marijuana and adult-use legalization initiatives on the same ballot. Schweich said the recreational marijuana proposal “will greatly benefit the people of South Dakota by ending the injustice of arresting otherwise law-abiding adults for marijuana offenses” as well as allow law enforcement to focus on fighting serious crime, generate new tax revenue for the state and create jobs. Eleven states have legalized marijuana for adults. Another 22 states have enacted medical marijuana laws. The post South Dakota Residents Will Vote On Legalizing Recreational Marijuana appeared first on High Times. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-07
  • Maryland Receives $3.6 Million In Federal Funds To Address Opioid Use And Pregnancy
    The Maryland Department of Health has received $3.6 million in federal grants to fund a new program designed to address the use of opioids during pregnancy. The new initiative, dubbed the Maternal Opioid Misuse (MOM) model, was announced by the agency on Monday. “The Maryland Department of Health remains committed to ending the opioid crisis, and the MOM model is one very specific but critical approach,” said department Secretary Robert R. Neall in a press release. “By targeting these resources and continuing to align efforts — from the federal level to our local partners — we will increase support for women and families in seeking treatment and finding success in recovery.” The new program will focus on improving substance abuse treatment for pregnant and postpartum Medicaid patients by providing them with additional resources both during and after their pregnancies. Maryland is one of 10 states to secure funding for the initiative and will receive $3.6 million over the next five years to implement the program. The state also has an opportunity to receive an additional $1.5 million if it is able to meet performance targets. “As we continue to combat the opioid crisis, this new funding presents a unique opportunity to improve health outcomes for one of Maryland’s most vulnerable populations,” said health department chief operating officer Dennis Schrader. “This initiative will result in bringing better health care to mothers and children at an especially critical time.” Risks of Substance Abuse During Pregnancy According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, pregnant and postpartum women who misuse substances are at higher risk for poor maternal outcomes, including preterm labor and delivery complications. The problems are frequently made worse by malnourishment, interpersonal violence, and other health-related social needs. “The social aspects of health care play an enormous role in public health,” said Deputy Secretary for Public Health Fran Phillips. “Medicaid’s MOM initiative aligns with Public Health’s community-based opioid intervention and prevention efforts. Together, we have greater potential to help more women with opioid use disorder and their infants get better care across the state.” The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which awarded the grants for the MOM model, has said that substance abuse-related illness is now a leading cause of maternal death. Infants exposed to opioids before birth are also at an increased risk of negative outcomes. “Too many barriers impede the delivery of well-coordinated, high-quality care to pregnant and postpartum women struggling with opioid misuse, including lack of access to treatment and a shortage of providers in rural ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-07
  • Medical University of South Carolina To Launch New Psychedelic Research Center
    Expanding access to legal cannabis and a surge of research into medical cannabis-based treatments have brought with them a renewed interest in the healing powers of another class of mind-altering substances: psychedelics. Cultural attitudes toward psychedelic drugs and experiences are shifting dramatically, and psychedelic-based treatments are rapidly gaining legitimacy among medical and health professionals. But when it comes to evidence-based treatments, researchers have some catching up to do. Psychedelic compounds present myriad opportunities for major medical breakthroughs, but doctors and scientists need opportunities to study them. And The Medical University of South Carolina’s new Psychedelic Research Center, slated to open in mid-2021, will offer researchers exactly such a space to explore the vast medical and therapeutic potential of psychedelics. MUSC Partners with Psychedelic Studies Association to Launch Research Center Despite rekindled interest in the ancient traditions of psychedelic medicine, tripping to heal remains a fringe concept for many health practitioners. But over the past couple of decades, more scientists have begun to investigate the effects of psychedelic compounds on psychiatric problems. Their work has produced a number of exciting and promising studies that point the way toward groundbreaking treatments for mental illness. Indeed, one of those studies was conducted by Dr. Michael Mithoefer, a researcher in MUSC’s department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences who’s also spearheading the development of the new psychedelic research center. Mithoefer recently co-authored a study on using MDMA alongside psychotherapy to help veterans, firefighters and police officers overcome chronic PTSD. Other studies have found that the use of psychedelics can help treat anxiety and depression, ween people off of addictions to nicotine, alcohol and opioids, and improve psychological well-being for people suffering from a range of mental health problems. Beyond medical applications, the study of psychedelics could also revolutionize our understanding of the mind and human psychology. To pursue all of these avenues of research, MUSC is partnering with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a non-profit research and educational organization working to develop “medical, legal and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana,” according to the group’s website. With Dr. Mithoefer heading the project, MUSC and MAPS hope to bring the psychedelic research center online within 18 months. New Research Center Will Study Ecstasy, Psilocybin and More MUSC researcher in psychiatry and behavioral sciences Dr. Michael Mithoefer couldn’t conduct his research on ecstasy (MDMA) and PTSD on the MUSC campus. But once the medical university’s new psychedelic research center comes ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-07
  • Some CBD Pet Products May Not Actually Contain CBD
    (AP)—Companies have unleashed hundreds of CBD pet health products accompanied by glowing customer testimonials claiming the cannabis derivative produced calmer, quieter and pain-free dogs and cats. But some of these products are all bark and no bite. “You’d be astounded by the analysis we’ve seen of products on the shelf with virtually no CBD in them,” said Cornell University veterinary researcher Joseph Wakshlag, who studies therapeutic uses for the compound. “Or products with 2 milligrams per milliliter, when an effective concentration would be between 25 and 75 milligrams per milliliter. There are plenty of folks looking to make a dollar rather than produce anything that’s really beneficial.” Such products can make it to the shelves because the federal government has yet to establish standards for CBD that will help people know whether it works for their pets and how much to give. Still, there’s lots of individual success stories that help fuel a $400 million market that grew more than tenfold since last year and is expected to reach $1.7 billion by 2023, according to the cannabis research firm Brightfield Group. Amy Carter of St. Francis, Wisconsin, decided to go against her veterinarian’s advice and try CBD oil recommended by a friend to treat Bentley, her epileptic Yorkshire terrier-Chihuahua mix. The little dog’s cluster seizures had become more frequent and frightening despite expensive medications. “It’s amazing” Carter said. “Bentley was having multiple seizures a week. To have only six in the past seven months is absolutely incredible.” But some pet owners have found CBD didn’t work. Dawn Thiele, an accountant in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, said she bought a $53 bottle of CBD oil from a local shop in hopes of calming her 2-year-old Yorkshire terrier during long car trips. “I didn’t see a change in his behavior,” said Thiele, who nonetheless remains a believer. “The product is good, it just didn’t work for my dog,” she said. Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a non-intoxicating molecule found in hemp and marijuana. Both are cannabis plants, but only marijuana has enough of the compound THC to get users high. The vast majority of CBD products come from hemp, which has less than 0.3% THC. CBD has garnered a devoted following among people who swear by it for everything from stress reduction to better sleep. Passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which eased federal legal restrictions on hemp cultivation and transport, unleashed a stampede of companies rushing products to the market in an absence of regulations ensuring ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-07
  • 1 in 10 Women with Endometriosis Report Using Cannabis to Ease Their Pain
    Endometriosis is a chronic, inflammatory condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found outside of the womb. It affects around one in ten women of reproductive age, causing pain, infertility and gastrointestinal symptoms. Women often report difficulty getting their pain and other symptoms under control, despite medication or even surgery. Our research, published Nov. 11, 2019, found one in ten Australian women with endometriosis reported using cannabis to manage their pain and other symptoms. What did our study find? We surveyed 484 women with surgically diagnosed endometriosis about the self-management strategies they used. Of the respondents, who were aged 18 to 45, 76% reported using self-management techniques in the past six months. This included the use of heat packs (70%), dietary changes (44%), exercise (42%), yoga or pilates (35%) and cannabis (13%). Out of all of the self-management techniques, cannabis was rated as the most effective for managing pain. Women who reported higher levels of pain were more likely to use cannabis than those with milder symptoms. This may be because they couldn't get relief through other measures. Respondents who used cannabis also reported improvements in other symptoms including gastrointestinal problems, nausea, anxiety, depression and sleep. One in ten cannabis users reported side effects, which included anxiety, drowsiness and tachycardia (fast heart rate). This is consistent with other research. How could cannabis help treat endometriosis symptoms? The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex regulatory system comprised of various receptors, chemicals that bind with these receptors, and enzymes. It helps maintain balance (homeostasis) in our bodies and is important for a wide range of actions, including metabolism, inflammation and immune function. The ECS is distributed throughout most organs in the human body, but is more abundant in the central nervous, immune and female reproductive systems. Chemicals from cannabis, including the cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), can interact with the ECS and other receptor types. This suggests a mechanism for how cannabis may alleviate pelvic pain in women with endometriosis. Tinnakorn jorruang/ShutterstockMedicinal cannabis ... read more
    Source: Marijuana.comPublished on 2020-01-07
  • Thailand Opens Cannabis Clinic Focusing On Traditional and Alternative Medicine
    Thailand’s government has taken a remarkably proactive approach to supplying its populace with medicinal cannabis by opening its first full-service medicinal marijuana clinic in Bangkok on Monday. Patients at the clinic will receive two weeks of free care when they come to the facility. The government estimates that the new center will tend to some 200 to 300 patients daily. 2,200 individuals have already registered with the facility for care that will continue at least through March. The clinic is the first in the country that will operate throughout the week. Approximately 25 clinics attached to public hospitals in the country currently open intermittently due to a paucity of staff. The government has set a goal of opening a cannabis clinic in every district, for an eventual total of 77 in their country. But the government is under no illusion that the current supply of cannabis-related health treatment is equivalent to demand for the plant-based medicine. “This is a pilot clinic, because we cannot produce enough doctors with expertise in cannabis,” said the country’s public health minister Anutin Charnvirakul. In November, the country’s health minister announced that the government would be allowing the cultivation of six cannabis plants per household. Though the government’s pharmaceutical organization continues to be Thailand’s largest supplier of medical marijuana, these home grow operations are meant to supplement its medical supply, and even to provide another source of income for the Thai population. The country has decided to put up protective measures to safeguard its budding national cannabis industry. For the next four years, only Thai firms will be licensed to cultivate the plant. Production and extraction licenses are currently only being given to hospital and research facilities, though regulations for private businesses are being reviewed by the Thai government. A Natural Medicine Cannabis has long been used as a medicine in the country. Indeed, Thailand became known worldwide as a source of “Thai sticks” containing quality cannabis via U.S. Army personnel stationed in the country during the Vietnam War. Nonetheless, many Thai individuals are unfamiliar with the plant’s potential health benefits. An article in the New York Times quoted a 69-year-old patient named Waraporn Boonsri at the clinic, who commented, “I was worried at first, but I studied the effects and decided it was better because it’s natural.” The country legalized medicinal marijuana in 2017 by royal decree, a move that was as much related to expanding Thailand’s agricultural sector as it was to promoting health among the country’s population. It’s the first southeast Asian ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-06
  • High Times Announces That Stormy Simon Has Been Named As New CEO
    Hightimes Holding Corp., the parent company of this publication, announced Monday that Stormy Simon has been named its new CEO. Simon joins the company after previously serving as president of the online retailer Overstock.com, and will succeed Kraig Fox, who has stepped down as CEO and president.  “I’m honored to take on this role at such a pivotal time for this iconic brand,” Simon said in a statement. “Like millions of other people, I have trusted High Times for years and I can’t wait to use my experience to help develop the next iteration of our business: delivering the best products into consumers’ hands,” she added. Along with its ownership of the eponymous pot publication, Hightimes Holding Corp. has also shifted into hosting events such as the Cannabis Cup, while also providing licensing deals and producing merchandise. In her statement, Simon hinted at plans to capitalize even more on the High Times brand. “The cost of customer acquisition has plagued the cannabis industry thus far, but utilizing the High Times brand’s global audience, we should be able to monetize our traffic by connecting consumers to cannabis products at an unprecedented scale,” she said. Hightimes executive chairman Adam Levin, who will remain in his current role, hailed Simon’s time at Overstock, where she held numerous roles in a tenure that spanned 15 years. In addition to serving as president, Simon also headed up the retailer’s books, music, and video category, while also overseeing all offline marketing including television, radio, and print. She stepped down as president of Overstock in 2016 to wade into the cannabis industry.   “Stormy Simon, who rose through the ranks at Overstock.com during her 15-year tenure with the company, has extensive international business relations and marketing experience, and is highly skilled at breaking down and rebuilding departments,” Levin said.  “Stormy revolutionized Overstock.com’s marketing department, and then its customer service department, during an uncharted time in e-commerce history, eventually leading Overstock.com to increase its revenues from $20 million to over $2 billion. For the past two years, Stormy has served on the Hightimes Board of Directors; in addition to her new role as Chief Executive Officer, she will continue to serve as a member of the Company’s Board of Directors.” The post High Times Announces That Stormy Simon Has Been Named As New CEO appeared first on High Times. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-06
  • Virginia Governor Wants To Decriminalize Low-Level Cannabis Possession
    Virginia looks poised to join the ranks of states to decriminalize marijuana, with Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam announcing last week that he backs the policy. The proposal is part of Northam’s broader criminal justice reform agenda for the new year, which along with cannabis decriminalization includes parole reform, raising the felony larceny threshold, raising the age of juvenile transfer to adult court, and the permanent elimination of driver’s license suspensions for unpaid fines, fees and court costs. “All Virginians deserve access to a fair and equitable criminal justice system,” Northam said Friday in a statement. “My proposed criminal justice reform legislation and budget initiatives will combat mass incarceration, increase supports for returning citizens, and ensure meaningful second chances for those who have paid their debts to society. This is a bold step towards a more just and inclusive Commonwealth, and I look forward to working with the General Assembly to pass these measures into law.” Decriminalization is Getting More Popular More than a dozen other states have decriminalized marijuana, with a growing number—most recently Illinois—embracing outright legalization. Under Northam’s proposal, Virginians busted for simple possession of pot would face a $50 civil penalty rather than a criminal misdemeanor. The lenient penalty would apply to those arrested for up to a half-ounce of pot. In addition, Northam said he would expunge the records of individuals previously convicted of simple possession—a provision that Illinois also included in its new marijuana law.  But Northam did not use the announcement to signal support for marijuana legalization; according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the governor said at the Friday announcement that he would prefer to study the issue before moving forward.  Northam’s possible successor could move the state in that direction, however. Virginia attorney general Mark Herring, who is running for governor of the state in 2021, called on the state to legalize recreational pot use in October, citing a poll that showed growing support for the policy in the state.  Last month, Herring hosted a cannabis summit featuring panels and presentations that examined how legalization has worked in other states, such as Colorado. Herring used the event to once again reiterate his support for ending pot prohibition.  “Front and center is badly needed reform of our cannabis laws in Virginia. I don’t believe that Virginia’s current system of criminalizing cannabis is working. It is needlessly creating criminals and burdening Virginians with convictions. The human and social costs of this are enormous,” Herring said. The post Virginia Governor Wants To Decriminalize Low-Level Cannabis Possession appeared first ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-06
 
  • Mississippi Voters Will Decide Whether To Legalize Medical Marijuana
    Mississippi became the latest state this week to add a medical marijuana question to its 2020 ballot. Voters there will have the opportunity to decide on Ballot Initiative 65, which, if approved, will grant access to medical cannabis for patients suffering from various conditions like cancer and epilepsy.  Mississippians for Compassionate Care, the group that spearheaded the ballot initiative, announced the news Wednesday on its Facebook page, saying that the Secretary of State in Mississippi certified the signatures submitted. The group submitted 105,686 signatures to the secretary of state’s office in September—easily exceeding the minimum of 86,185 signatures required by Mississippi law for an initiative to qualify for the ballot.  “We exceeded the requirement with overwhelming numbers in each of the districts totaling more than 105,000 certified signatures from Mississippi voters!” the group trumpeted in the Facebook post on Wednesday. Should voters approve the initiative in November, Mississippi would join more than 30 other states that have already legalized medical marijuana. Voters in South Dakota will also have the opportunity to approve medical marijuana— as well as recreational pot —at the ballot this year. Medical Marijuana in Mississippi If Initiative 65 is approved by Mississippi voters, physicians in the state could start prescribing cannabis to patients suffering from a host of debilitating medical conditions: cancer, epilepsy and other seizure disorders, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, ALS, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, sickle-cell anemia, autism with aggressive or self-injurious behavior, and spinal cord injuries among others. Those patients would then obtain an identification card from the Mississippi Department of Health. Activists in Mississippi spearheaded the petition drive in the fall of 2018; by February of last year, they had more than 45,000 signatures. Mississippians for Compassionate Care have expressed confidence about their chances throughout the process, citing encouraging poll numbers. Jamie Grantham, a spokeswoman for the group, said last month that she believes the initiative will pass if it goes before the voters. “The polling is extremely positive,” Grantham said. “It polls above 77 percent, with every age group, religious affiliation, political affiliation and other groups. Also, to that point, we saw the overwhelming support from the number of signatures we received.” But the initiative will face some heavy opposition, including from the state’s Republican governor, Phil Bryant, who said as early as 2018 that he would be opposing the proposal. “I will be voting “no” if this makes it on the ballot,” Bryant said in a Facebook post at the time. “With all the pharmaceutical ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-09
  • Researching Marijuana is Difficult. Federal Law is one of the Biggest Deterrents.
    The head of the top federal medical research agency said in a new interview that marijuana's status as a Schedule I drug inhibits studies into the plant and prevents scientists from researching the effects of cannabis that consumers are obtaining from state-legal dispensaries in a growing number of states. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), discussed the limitations imposed by the federal drug scheduling system during an appearance on C-SPAN's Newsmakers that aired last week, saying that while he shares concerns about the potential health implications of smoking marijuana, research into the risks and benefits of cannabis is being impeded by current policy. “Frankly, we know far too little about the benefits and risks of smoked marijuana,” Collins said. “There have been very few studies that have actually rigorously tested that.” The director said scientists are in a “funny place” in the U.S. when it comes to cannabis, noting that in order to use federal funds to research the plant and its compounds, the products must come from a single source: a government-authorized farm at the University of Mississippi that cultivates marijuana that's been widely criticized for lacking the properties associated with cannabis that's commercially available in state markets. “People don't realize that I run a farm in Mississippi that grows marijuana because I'm required to do so,” Collins said, referring to the facility that's licensed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which is part of NIH. “But that's the only source that investigators can use, and it may be rather different than what you could get in one of the states where marijuana is now approved in terms of its constituents.” “It's going to be very hard to interpret data about smoked marijuana when the actual nature of the product is vastly different depending on where you got it” with respect to properties like THC and CBD content, he said. “We'd really like to have studies where you're studying those compounds in pure form so you can see what they're doing,” he said. “But again because of various limitations of Schedule I limits, we are not able to do as much as we would like.” Another “big deterrent” to research is the extensive series of hurdles that scientists must overcome to receive approval to study marijuana, Collins said. Researchers must be cleared by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and also submit an investigational new drug application to the Food and Drug Administration in order ... read more
    Source: Marijuana.comPublished on 2020-01-09
  • Chicago Airports Have Installed Drop Boxes For Passengers To Get Rid Of Weed
    Illinois’ new era of legal weed means travelers passing through Chicago airports don’t need to worry about TSA if they’re holding. But if you don’t feel like taking your pot on the plane, well, that’s cool, too. Local officials announced this week that so-called “cannabis amnesty boxes” have been installed at O’Hare International Airport and Midway Airport. Positioned at each airport’s TSA checkpoints, the boxes will serve as a receptacle for travelers who would like to ditch their marijuana products before boarding. “We’re not encouraging people to bring cannabis through the airports at all,” Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Maggie Huynh said, as quoted by the Chicago Tribune. “But if for some reason you have it on you, we have those amnesty boxes out there so that you can dispose of it prior to getting on the airplane.” Illinois’ new law, which took effect on New Year’s Day, permits adults aged 21 and older to purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana. The law, signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker last summer, will also result in the pardons of more than 100,000 individuals previously convicted of low-level, non-violent marijuana offenses. Illinois is the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana. Travelers Still Advised Not To Bring Cannabis To Airports The Transportation Security Administration, created in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, has said that its screening procedures are focused on identifying potential threats and that officials do not search for cannabis or other federally illegal drugs. However, the agency has said that “in the event a substance appears to be marijuana or a cannabis infused product, we’re required by federal law to notify law enforcement.” In that spirit, TSA said last month that it would defer to local police in Chicago on such matters; local police, in turn, said they wouldn’t bother anyone in possession of marijuana as long as they are within the guidelines of the statute. That said, law enforcement is still encouraging travelers to leave the weed at home. “To ensure safe travel for all travelers, we’re encouraging all travelers not to bring cannabis through Chicago airports as it remains illegal under federal law,” Chicago police commander William Mullane said last month. Legal weed is off to a roaring start in Illinois, with the first week of sales generating nearly $11 million and several shops already running out of products. One dispensary has even put a hold on selling recreational weed so that cannabis can go towards medical marijuana patients. The post Chicago Airports Have Installed Drop Boxes ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-08
  • Two Dozen People Arrested For Making THC-Infused Counterfeit Candy In New Jersey
    Cops in New Jersey scoped out a cannabis candy manufacturing ring for a year before they swooped in on December 19. They eventually fingered 24 individuals with criminal charges in an endeavor they called “Operation On the Ropes,” after the suspects’ use of Nerd Ropes in their extra-legal business scheme. The suspects had been allegedly purchasing commercial candy like the Nerds products and Sour Patch Kids. They turned them into their own doctored, creatively monikered cannabis treats by pouring them into pans covered in parchment paper and, said the cops, “spraying” them with THC. Once the candies had been infused, police say the suspects had labeled the former products as “Stoner Patch” edibles. The mastermind behind the operation was allegedly a 27-year-old from Freehold, New Jersey named Dylon Addvensky. Police were particularly concerned that kids could be boondoggled into consuming the cannabis products. “Colorful and sugary candy like what we seized are among the best selling edible pot products on the black market,” said Monmouth County prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni. “Counterfeit candy is making the rounds and they constitute an extreme danger to our community, particularly the children.” The Monmouth County prosecutor’s office announced in a press conference on Tuesday that they had raided 21,000 pieces of candy, 1,100 pounds of marijuana, and around 6,500 flavored THC vaporizer cartridges in relation to the case. Addvensky has been charged with running a narcotics trafficking network, plus drug distribution and conspiracy charges. One individual has been charged but not apprehended by authorities — allegedly, the person that oversaw the shipment of the THC products from California to New Jersey. A Continuing Concern This is not the first time that an operation has been detained by law enforcement that looked to turn commercial candy into THC-infused snacks. In the run up to Halloween, police from Peabody, Massachusetts announced they had detained an individual who had been doctoring Wonka bars, Nerds Ropes, and Rice Krispies Treats with THC. In June, a similar case was reported in West Virginia. In that instance, cops intercepted a multi-pound package of altered candies like Nerds Rope while the supply was transiting the state. Each time, authorities issued a special warning to parents to protect their kids from doctored sweets. Attracting young people to cannabis is precisely the motivating factor behind much of the nation’s strictest marijuana product packaging guidelines. In some cases, this ban extends even to product names that could be appealing to kids. In San Francisco, dispensary chain Cookies — the town’s first Black-owned cannabis store — was forced ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-08
  • Illinois Dispensary Stops Selling Recreational Weed To Help Medical Marijuana Patients
    Just one week into legal recreational cannabis sales in Illinois, some dispensaries have halted sales of adult-use pot while others have been forced to temporarily close. Sales of recreational pot began briskly on January 1 after a legalization bill was passed by the Illinois legislature and signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in June. Under Illinois law, dispensaries licensed to sell medical marijuana must maintain at least a 30-day supply of products to meet patients’ needs. NuMed dispensaries in Chicago and Urbana pumped the brakes on recreational pot sales so that they would be able to continue to serve medical marijuana patients. Sean Johnson, the manager of NuMed in Urbana, told local media on Tuesday that adult-use customers had been cut off. “Today will be the first day that we have suspended recreational sales, adult-use sales,” he said. “We have a door guy out there, unfortunately, turning people away for that.” “We just had to make sure there was some kind of structure with how we would prioritize medical patients in accordance with the state,” Johnson added. Although he isn’t sure when NuMed will begin to resume adult-use sales, Johnson said that he expects it to take at least two months before recreational growers are harvesting at capacity. “A lot of these cultivators, it doesn’t seem like they really started doing anything until Pritzker signed the bill,” Johnson said. “So I don’t think we’ll see full production until around March.” Chris McCloud, a spokesman for HCI Springfield, said that while the dispensary had not been forced to stop serving recreational cannabis customers as of yet, employees are assessing the situation on a daily basis. “Those are day-by-day decisions that our dispensary staff has to make in terms of how much product can meet the demand,” he said. Shops Re-Upping for the Weekend At Midway Dispensary near the Midway Airport, sales of recreational products were halted on Sunday and aren’t expected to resume until Friday. “The demand was huge,” said Neal McQueeney, principal officer of Midway. “We knew we were going to run out. It was a matter of when, not if.” Keith McGinnis, principal officer at NuMed, said that efforts to slow sales of recreational cannabis only delayed the inevitable. Recreational sales at the Chicago NuMed were suspended on Saturday. “It didn’t matter how much you had, you’re going to run out,” he said. “You can set limits, purchasing limits, but still you’re going to run out.” At Dispensary33 in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, sales to recreational customers were stopped for ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-08
  • Cannabis Tech Company Forced To Pull Out Of CES
    LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Canadian cannabis tech company has pulled out of the CES gadget show after being given constraints on how it could promote its products. Nearly a dozen states allow the use and sale of marijuana for recreational purposes, and policies around the world vary. Broad marijuana sales began in Nevada in 2017. Las Vegas, where CES takes place, is now home to what’s claimed to be the world’s largest cannabis dispensary, Planet 13. But CES organizers say marijuana’s acceptance isn’t widespread yet. CES organizers prohibited Keep Labs from mentioning the word cannabis, showing cannabis in promotional materials or discussing what the Keep device does. “We don’t allow pornographic. We don’t allow content where children are killed. We don’t allow anything with vaping,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, which organizes CES. “Marijuana has been a tougher one for us.” He said the show is waiting to see if marijuana becomes more legal, at least in the U.S. “It is changing very quickly, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we changed it sometime in the future as well,” he said. Keep Labs was awarded a prestigious CES Innovation Award in October for its “Keep” home cannabis storage device. It connects wirelessly to an app and lets users unlock the storage unit with a fingerprint or facial recognition. After CES placed limits on what Keep can show, the company decided it was better not to attend at all. Keep was to be one of about 4,500 companies exhibiting at the four-day CES show, which opened Tuesday. Keep co-founder Philip Wilkins described the move as “naive.” Planet 13 dispensary’s marketing specialist, Brandon Zimmer, said he was surprised by organizers’ decision, given that CES is supposed to be a showcase for tech innovations. He said cannabis tech is an exciting field, with lots of invention and new devices. But Gartner analyst Werner Goertz said organizers are being smart in being cautious. Last year, CES also banned an innovation award winner, a vibrator made by a female-founded startup. That led to complaints that CES was being tone deaf on diversity. CES ultimately relented and allowed space for sex tech companies this year as a trial. By James Brooks The post Cannabis Tech Company Forced To Pull Out Of CES appeared first on High Times. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-08
  • Illinois Governor Pardoned Over 11,000 People For Marijuana
    One day before legal adult-use marijuana sales launched in Illinois on Jan. 1, 2019, the governor announced that his office was clearing the records of more than 11,000 people who have previously been convicted of simple cannabis possession. Gov. J. B. Pritzker (D) said the move “sets us apart” from other states that have legalized marijuana for adult-use and that “Illinois is putting equity first, clearing thousands of convictions and giving individuals & their families a new lease on life.”
    These 11,017 misdemeanor convictions represent individuals who have carried around with them a stain on their records for possessing less than 30 grams of cannabis – a stain that has very often prevented them from obtaining housing or jobs or benefits. — Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) December 31, 2019 A total of 11,017 people will be receive pardons for possession offenses of up to 30 grams. The governor's office said that there are 116,000 records that are eligible for expungement through this process, with hundreds of thousands of others that may qualify for relief by petitioning the courts.
    Here in Illinois, we’re not just looking back and correcting the wrongs of our past – we’re facing our future, determined to do better – for everyone. — Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) December 31, 2019 “Importantly, this is just the first wave of Illinoisans who will see a new world of opportunities emerge as they shed the burden of their nonviolent cannabis-related convictions and records,” he said.
    But unlike other states, in Illinois, we purposely built a system where the market has room to grow, so that entrepreneurs, including especially those from the communities devastated by the war on drugs, will have real opportunities in this industry. — Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) December 31, 2019 While Pritzker said he anticipates Illinois will see “high demand and long lines” for marijuana as legal sales go online, he emphasized the need to address restorative justice at the same time that the state benefits economically from its adult-use program.
    We are ending the 50-year long war on cannabis. We are restoring rights to many tens of thousands of Illinoisans. We are bringing regulation and safety to a previously unsafe and illegal market. And we are creating a new industry that puts equity at its very core. — Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) ... read more
    Source: Marijuana.comPublished on 2020-01-08
  • South Dakota Residents Will Vote On Legalizing Recreational Marijuana
    PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakotans will vote this year on whether to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 years and older. Secretary of State Steve Barnett said Monday his office has validated a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older and require the state Legislature to enact a hemp cultivation law. Barnett said his office found the petition had enough valid signatures to put the proposal on the Nov. 3 ballot. A constitutional amendment requires 33,921 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. The measure would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana as well as require the Legislature to pass laws on hemp. South Dakota lawmakers passed a bill in 2019 to legalize industrial hemp, but Republican Gov. Kristi Noem vetoed it. Noem has promised another veto if lawmakers pass a hemp bill in 2020, saying law enforcement can’t differentiate between hemp and marijuana. Hemp is related to cannabis but does not contain enough THC to make someone high. Citizens can still challenge the ballot validation, Barnett said. The deadline to file a challenge is 5 p.m. Central time Feb. 5. South Dakota voters in November also will decide a measure to allow medical marijuana for patients with serious health conditions. The measure would allow patients with chronic or debilitating health conditions to use and possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana. They would need to get a registration card from the state’s Department of Health. Matthew Schweich, deputy director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said South Dakota will become the first state to vote on both medical marijuana and adult-use legalization initiatives on the same ballot. Schweich said the recreational marijuana proposal “will greatly benefit the people of South Dakota by ending the injustice of arresting otherwise law-abiding adults for marijuana offenses” as well as allow law enforcement to focus on fighting serious crime, generate new tax revenue for the state and create jobs. Eleven states have legalized marijuana for adults. Another 22 states have enacted medical marijuana laws. The post South Dakota Residents Will Vote On Legalizing Recreational Marijuana appeared first on High Times. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-07
  • Maryland Receives $3.6 Million In Federal Funds To Address Opioid Use And Pregnancy
    The Maryland Department of Health has received $3.6 million in federal grants to fund a new program designed to address the use of opioids during pregnancy. The new initiative, dubbed the Maternal Opioid Misuse (MOM) model, was announced by the agency on Monday. “The Maryland Department of Health remains committed to ending the opioid crisis, and the MOM model is one very specific but critical approach,” said department Secretary Robert R. Neall in a press release. “By targeting these resources and continuing to align efforts — from the federal level to our local partners — we will increase support for women and families in seeking treatment and finding success in recovery.” The new program will focus on improving substance abuse treatment for pregnant and postpartum Medicaid patients by providing them with additional resources both during and after their pregnancies. Maryland is one of 10 states to secure funding for the initiative and will receive $3.6 million over the next five years to implement the program. The state also has an opportunity to receive an additional $1.5 million if it is able to meet performance targets. “As we continue to combat the opioid crisis, this new funding presents a unique opportunity to improve health outcomes for one of Maryland’s most vulnerable populations,” said health department chief operating officer Dennis Schrader. “This initiative will result in bringing better health care to mothers and children at an especially critical time.” Risks of Substance Abuse During Pregnancy According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, pregnant and postpartum women who misuse substances are at higher risk for poor maternal outcomes, including preterm labor and delivery complications. The problems are frequently made worse by malnourishment, interpersonal violence, and other health-related social needs. “The social aspects of health care play an enormous role in public health,” said Deputy Secretary for Public Health Fran Phillips. “Medicaid’s MOM initiative aligns with Public Health’s community-based opioid intervention and prevention efforts. Together, we have greater potential to help more women with opioid use disorder and their infants get better care across the state.” The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which awarded the grants for the MOM model, has said that substance abuse-related illness is now a leading cause of maternal death. Infants exposed to opioids before birth are also at an increased risk of negative outcomes. “Too many barriers impede the delivery of well-coordinated, high-quality care to pregnant and postpartum women struggling with opioid misuse, including lack of access to treatment and a shortage of providers in rural ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-07
  • Medical University of South Carolina To Launch New Psychedelic Research Center
    Expanding access to legal cannabis and a surge of research into medical cannabis-based treatments have brought with them a renewed interest in the healing powers of another class of mind-altering substances: psychedelics. Cultural attitudes toward psychedelic drugs and experiences are shifting dramatically, and psychedelic-based treatments are rapidly gaining legitimacy among medical and health professionals. But when it comes to evidence-based treatments, researchers have some catching up to do. Psychedelic compounds present myriad opportunities for major medical breakthroughs, but doctors and scientists need opportunities to study them. And The Medical University of South Carolina’s new Psychedelic Research Center, slated to open in mid-2021, will offer researchers exactly such a space to explore the vast medical and therapeutic potential of psychedelics. MUSC Partners with Psychedelic Studies Association to Launch Research Center Despite rekindled interest in the ancient traditions of psychedelic medicine, tripping to heal remains a fringe concept for many health practitioners. But over the past couple of decades, more scientists have begun to investigate the effects of psychedelic compounds on psychiatric problems. Their work has produced a number of exciting and promising studies that point the way toward groundbreaking treatments for mental illness. Indeed, one of those studies was conducted by Dr. Michael Mithoefer, a researcher in MUSC’s department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences who’s also spearheading the development of the new psychedelic research center. Mithoefer recently co-authored a study on using MDMA alongside psychotherapy to help veterans, firefighters and police officers overcome chronic PTSD. Other studies have found that the use of psychedelics can help treat anxiety and depression, ween people off of addictions to nicotine, alcohol and opioids, and improve psychological well-being for people suffering from a range of mental health problems. Beyond medical applications, the study of psychedelics could also revolutionize our understanding of the mind and human psychology. To pursue all of these avenues of research, MUSC is partnering with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a non-profit research and educational organization working to develop “medical, legal and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana,” according to the group’s website. With Dr. Mithoefer heading the project, MUSC and MAPS hope to bring the psychedelic research center online within 18 months. New Research Center Will Study Ecstasy, Psilocybin and More MUSC researcher in psychiatry and behavioral sciences Dr. Michael Mithoefer couldn’t conduct his research on ecstasy (MDMA) and PTSD on the MUSC campus. But once the medical university’s new psychedelic research center comes ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-07
  • Some CBD Pet Products May Not Actually Contain CBD
    (AP)—Companies have unleashed hundreds of CBD pet health products accompanied by glowing customer testimonials claiming the cannabis derivative produced calmer, quieter and pain-free dogs and cats. But some of these products are all bark and no bite. “You’d be astounded by the analysis we’ve seen of products on the shelf with virtually no CBD in them,” said Cornell University veterinary researcher Joseph Wakshlag, who studies therapeutic uses for the compound. “Or products with 2 milligrams per milliliter, when an effective concentration would be between 25 and 75 milligrams per milliliter. There are plenty of folks looking to make a dollar rather than produce anything that’s really beneficial.” Such products can make it to the shelves because the federal government has yet to establish standards for CBD that will help people know whether it works for their pets and how much to give. Still, there’s lots of individual success stories that help fuel a $400 million market that grew more than tenfold since last year and is expected to reach $1.7 billion by 2023, according to the cannabis research firm Brightfield Group. Amy Carter of St. Francis, Wisconsin, decided to go against her veterinarian’s advice and try CBD oil recommended by a friend to treat Bentley, her epileptic Yorkshire terrier-Chihuahua mix. The little dog’s cluster seizures had become more frequent and frightening despite expensive medications. “It’s amazing” Carter said. “Bentley was having multiple seizures a week. To have only six in the past seven months is absolutely incredible.” But some pet owners have found CBD didn’t work. Dawn Thiele, an accountant in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, said she bought a $53 bottle of CBD oil from a local shop in hopes of calming her 2-year-old Yorkshire terrier during long car trips. “I didn’t see a change in his behavior,” said Thiele, who nonetheless remains a believer. “The product is good, it just didn’t work for my dog,” she said. Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a non-intoxicating molecule found in hemp and marijuana. Both are cannabis plants, but only marijuana has enough of the compound THC to get users high. The vast majority of CBD products come from hemp, which has less than 0.3% THC. CBD has garnered a devoted following among people who swear by it for everything from stress reduction to better sleep. Passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which eased federal legal restrictions on hemp cultivation and transport, unleashed a stampede of companies rushing products to the market in an absence of regulations ensuring ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-07
  • 1 in 10 Women with Endometriosis Report Using Cannabis to Ease Their Pain
    Endometriosis is a chronic, inflammatory condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found outside of the womb. It affects around one in ten women of reproductive age, causing pain, infertility and gastrointestinal symptoms. Women often report difficulty getting their pain and other symptoms under control, despite medication or even surgery. Our research, published Nov. 11, 2019, found one in ten Australian women with endometriosis reported using cannabis to manage their pain and other symptoms. What did our study find? We surveyed 484 women with surgically diagnosed endometriosis about the self-management strategies they used. Of the respondents, who were aged 18 to 45, 76% reported using self-management techniques in the past six months. This included the use of heat packs (70%), dietary changes (44%), exercise (42%), yoga or pilates (35%) and cannabis (13%). Out of all of the self-management techniques, cannabis was rated as the most effective for managing pain. Women who reported higher levels of pain were more likely to use cannabis than those with milder symptoms. This may be because they couldn't get relief through other measures. Respondents who used cannabis also reported improvements in other symptoms including gastrointestinal problems, nausea, anxiety, depression and sleep. One in ten cannabis users reported side effects, which included anxiety, drowsiness and tachycardia (fast heart rate). This is consistent with other research. How could cannabis help treat endometriosis symptoms? The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex regulatory system comprised of various receptors, chemicals that bind with these receptors, and enzymes. It helps maintain balance (homeostasis) in our bodies and is important for a wide range of actions, including metabolism, inflammation and immune function. The ECS is distributed throughout most organs in the human body, but is more abundant in the central nervous, immune and female reproductive systems. Chemicals from cannabis, including the cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), can interact with the ECS and other receptor types. This suggests a mechanism for how cannabis may alleviate pelvic pain in women with endometriosis. Tinnakorn jorruang/ShutterstockMedicinal cannabis ... read more
    Source: Marijuana.comPublished on 2020-01-07
  • Thailand Opens Cannabis Clinic Focusing On Traditional and Alternative Medicine
    Thailand’s government has taken a remarkably proactive approach to supplying its populace with medicinal cannabis by opening its first full-service medicinal marijuana clinic in Bangkok on Monday. Patients at the clinic will receive two weeks of free care when they come to the facility. The government estimates that the new center will tend to some 200 to 300 patients daily. 2,200 individuals have already registered with the facility for care that will continue at least through March. The clinic is the first in the country that will operate throughout the week. Approximately 25 clinics attached to public hospitals in the country currently open intermittently due to a paucity of staff. The government has set a goal of opening a cannabis clinic in every district, for an eventual total of 77 in their country. But the government is under no illusion that the current supply of cannabis-related health treatment is equivalent to demand for the plant-based medicine. “This is a pilot clinic, because we cannot produce enough doctors with expertise in cannabis,” said the country’s public health minister Anutin Charnvirakul. In November, the country’s health minister announced that the government would be allowing the cultivation of six cannabis plants per household. Though the government’s pharmaceutical organization continues to be Thailand’s largest supplier of medical marijuana, these home grow operations are meant to supplement its medical supply, and even to provide another source of income for the Thai population. The country has decided to put up protective measures to safeguard its budding national cannabis industry. For the next four years, only Thai firms will be licensed to cultivate the plant. Production and extraction licenses are currently only being given to hospital and research facilities, though regulations for private businesses are being reviewed by the Thai government. A Natural Medicine Cannabis has long been used as a medicine in the country. Indeed, Thailand became known worldwide as a source of “Thai sticks” containing quality cannabis via U.S. Army personnel stationed in the country during the Vietnam War. Nonetheless, many Thai individuals are unfamiliar with the plant’s potential health benefits. An article in the New York Times quoted a 69-year-old patient named Waraporn Boonsri at the clinic, who commented, “I was worried at first, but I studied the effects and decided it was better because it’s natural.” The country legalized medicinal marijuana in 2017 by royal decree, a move that was as much related to expanding Thailand’s agricultural sector as it was to promoting health among the country’s population. It’s the first southeast Asian ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-06
  • High Times Announces That Stormy Simon Has Been Named As New CEO
    Hightimes Holding Corp., the parent company of this publication, announced Monday that Stormy Simon has been named its new CEO. Simon joins the company after previously serving as president of the online retailer Overstock.com, and will succeed Kraig Fox, who has stepped down as CEO and president.  “I’m honored to take on this role at such a pivotal time for this iconic brand,” Simon said in a statement. “Like millions of other people, I have trusted High Times for years and I can’t wait to use my experience to help develop the next iteration of our business: delivering the best products into consumers’ hands,” she added. Along with its ownership of the eponymous pot publication, Hightimes Holding Corp. has also shifted into hosting events such as the Cannabis Cup, while also providing licensing deals and producing merchandise. In her statement, Simon hinted at plans to capitalize even more on the High Times brand. “The cost of customer acquisition has plagued the cannabis industry thus far, but utilizing the High Times brand’s global audience, we should be able to monetize our traffic by connecting consumers to cannabis products at an unprecedented scale,” she said. Hightimes executive chairman Adam Levin, who will remain in his current role, hailed Simon’s time at Overstock, where she held numerous roles in a tenure that spanned 15 years. In addition to serving as president, Simon also headed up the retailer’s books, music, and video category, while also overseeing all offline marketing including television, radio, and print. She stepped down as president of Overstock in 2016 to wade into the cannabis industry.   “Stormy Simon, who rose through the ranks at Overstock.com during her 15-year tenure with the company, has extensive international business relations and marketing experience, and is highly skilled at breaking down and rebuilding departments,” Levin said.  “Stormy revolutionized Overstock.com’s marketing department, and then its customer service department, during an uncharted time in e-commerce history, eventually leading Overstock.com to increase its revenues from $20 million to over $2 billion. For the past two years, Stormy has served on the Hightimes Board of Directors; in addition to her new role as Chief Executive Officer, she will continue to serve as a member of the Company’s Board of Directors.” The post High Times Announces That Stormy Simon Has Been Named As New CEO appeared first on High Times. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-06
  • Virginia Governor Wants To Decriminalize Low-Level Cannabis Possession
    Virginia looks poised to join the ranks of states to decriminalize marijuana, with Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam announcing last week that he backs the policy. The proposal is part of Northam’s broader criminal justice reform agenda for the new year, which along with cannabis decriminalization includes parole reform, raising the felony larceny threshold, raising the age of juvenile transfer to adult court, and the permanent elimination of driver’s license suspensions for unpaid fines, fees and court costs. “All Virginians deserve access to a fair and equitable criminal justice system,” Northam said Friday in a statement. “My proposed criminal justice reform legislation and budget initiatives will combat mass incarceration, increase supports for returning citizens, and ensure meaningful second chances for those who have paid their debts to society. This is a bold step towards a more just and inclusive Commonwealth, and I look forward to working with the General Assembly to pass these measures into law.” Decriminalization is Getting More Popular More than a dozen other states have decriminalized marijuana, with a growing number—most recently Illinois—embracing outright legalization. Under Northam’s proposal, Virginians busted for simple possession of pot would face a $50 civil penalty rather than a criminal misdemeanor. The lenient penalty would apply to those arrested for up to a half-ounce of pot. In addition, Northam said he would expunge the records of individuals previously convicted of simple possession—a provision that Illinois also included in its new marijuana law.  But Northam did not use the announcement to signal support for marijuana legalization; according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the governor said at the Friday announcement that he would prefer to study the issue before moving forward.  Northam’s possible successor could move the state in that direction, however. Virginia attorney general Mark Herring, who is running for governor of the state in 2021, called on the state to legalize recreational pot use in October, citing a poll that showed growing support for the policy in the state.  Last month, Herring hosted a cannabis summit featuring panels and presentations that examined how legalization has worked in other states, such as Colorado. Herring used the event to once again reiterate his support for ending pot prohibition.  “Front and center is badly needed reform of our cannabis laws in Virginia. I don’t believe that Virginia’s current system of criminalizing cannabis is working. It is needlessly creating criminals and burdening Virginians with convictions. The human and social costs of this are enormous,” Herring said. The post Virginia Governor Wants To Decriminalize Low-Level Cannabis Possession appeared first ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2020-01-06