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Medical Marijuana Articles 2017
Click on the links below to get the full story from its source

Medical Marijuana has shown positive results for:

  • Relieving the Horrible Pain and Misery of Chemotherapy
  • Treating Glaucoma and Helps Prevent Blindness
  • Relieving the Painful Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
  • Helping Control Epileptic Seizures and Parkinson's Disease
  • Relieving the Pain and Inflammation of Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Slowing Alzheimer's Disease and Reducing Dementia
  • And Other Less Well Known Medical Problems

But the scientific support for these benefits is not as unequivocal
as medical marijuana advocates would like. Read the articles below.

12-29-17 The cops and politicians joining Canada's cannabis business
As Canada moves towards legalising recreational cannabis, there's a surprising group of entrepreneurs jumping into the market: cops and politicians. In 2015, former Toronto police chief Julian Fantino was "completely opposed" to marijuana legalisation and supported mandatory jail time for minor cannabis offences. Mr Fantino, who was also a Cabinet minister in the former Conservative government, criticised the now governing-Liberals' plan to legalise the drug, saying it would make smoking marijuana "a normal, everyday activity for Canadians". In November, along with former RCMP deputy commissioner Raf Souccar, he opened Aleafia, a "health network" that helps patients access medical cannabis. He also had a change of heart on legalisation, telling the Toronto Star newspaper he now supports it as long as it keeps pot away from children and criminals. In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, he said his 2015 comments were made "in a different era". Mr Fantino said his turning point on medical marijuana came when he was minister of veterans affairs and met ex-soldiers who relied on it. Marijuana activists who have fought against prohibition for decades - and sometimes faced subsequent criminal charges for their activities - were angry over Mr Fantino's reversal on pot. Prominent cannabis advocate Dana Larsen called Mr Fantino's decision to enter the market "shameful" and "unacceptable". "I would not buy from those people," he says, adding he would tell other marijuana users to do the same.

12-23-17 Pot for pets: Could medical marijuana help your dog?
Alison Ettel, MBA, has never got high for fun, but she'd like to feed your dog cannabis. Why? Alison is the CEO of TreatWell Health, a Californian firm making medical marijuana products for people - and their canines. Her rivals include Treatibles, which sells a hemp oil "for animals of all kinds", and Pet Releaf, whose hemp dog treats look like fancy vegan snack-food. It may sound mad, but as more US states legalise recreational cannabis use, pot for pets is booming. Veterinary groups are cautious at best; but a mounting number of dog owners say the drug is easing their animals' anxiety and chronic pain. Firstly, the obvious question: No, they're not smoking it. Or eating it whole. Cannabis at human strengths can be toxic for dogs, so firms are making dog chews, oils and topical creams using cannabis extract. Some use marijuana, but more often it's hemp, which belongs to the same plant species. Both contain the compound Cannabidiol (CBD), which studies suggest can reduce inflammation, and combat seizures and anxiety. Melinda Hayes, who runs a medical cannabis delivery service in Los Angeles, gives TreatWell's cannabis tincture to Diva, her arthritic 12-year-old rescue dog. "She is in great health for a dog her age," she says, "and I attribute that to good genes, good food and the cannabis." The only side-effects she's heard of are sleepiness and increased thirst - "so you do have to make sure they have access to do their business regularly".

12-11-17 Canada, provinces reach tax deal for recreational marijuana
Canada's provinces will be getting the lion's share of the lucrative taxation revenues from legal cannabis. The provinces have agreed in principle to a two-year tax sharing agreement that gives them a 75% cut of those eventual revenues. Canada's governing Liberals are planning to legalise and regulate recreational marijuana by July 2018. Provinces had rejected an earlier proposal to share the tax revenues 50-50 with the federal government. In October, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proposed a 10% federal excise tax on recreational cannabis products that should not exceed $0.78 (C$1.00; £0.58) per gram, or 10% of the sale price. He also proposed that the revenues be shared equally between the two levels of government. Provinces rejected that proposal, arguing they would bear most of the costs related to setting up the distribution framework for recreational marijuana, regulating the drug, as well costs related to policing and public health. Each province is responsible for setting out the framework for the distribution of cannabis within its territory, and for regulating its distribution and retail sales. After meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts on Monday, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the sweetened revenue-sharing deal. Under the agreement, the federal government will keep a 25% share to a maximum of $78m per year. Any additional revenue above will be redistributed to the 13 provinces and territories.

11-10-17 Medical cannabis vendors must stop making bogus health claims
There are enough real benefits of medical marijuana, so why are people making them up? It’s time to stop overhyping what weed can do. Cannabis can make scars disappear, reverse Alzheimer’s disease and even cure cancer – that is, if you believe some of the wilder health claims made by US firms in states where medical marijuana has been legalised. Unfortunately, such assertions aren’t based on a shred of good evidence. Not only are consumers being ripped off, but sometimes their health is being endangered. Little wonder that the US cannabis industry is sometimes dubbed a Wild-West operation. Although marijuana is best known as a recreational drug that gets you high, the plant has a long history of therapeutic use. Modern researchers have found some supporting evidence for a range of benefits that include relieving pain, muscle spasms, nausea, epilepsy and aiding sleep. It’s hard to know the exact nature and scale of the effects because there are few large-scale, good quality trials. This is partly because research has long been stymied by the plant’s classification as an illegal drug. It can take researchers years to get past the red tape and official disapproval. In the meantime, thanks to changing public attitudes, there has been a spreading decriminalisation of cannabis in various forms, including in Spain, Portugal, Uruguay and Canada. More significantly, 29 US states and Washington DC now allow medical use.

11-9-17 Why moms should put down the wine and pick up the weed
Many women say using marijuana makes them better mothers. Why are we still judging them for liking pot? "Motherhood, powered by love, fueled by coffee, sustained by wine." That's a common trope these days: Moms drink wine. Lots of wine, from the sound of it. Motherhood is hard, and nothing makes hard stuff easier than sipping a little rosé and watching Netflix. We know it, everyone knows it. Boozy moms are a thing, especially boozy millennial moms. What's less commonly known is that moms, particularly stay-at-home moms, live with depression at a higher rate than other folks. And alcohol can increase feelings of depression because of the way it interacts with certain neurotransmitters. So stay-at-home moms sometimes struggle with depression and anxiety, then drink wine to feel a little better, relieve some stress, and relax at the end of a long day. But the wine they're drinking actually has a tendency to make them feel worse, not better. For some moms, the answer lies not in the wine glass but in the bong. Today's mothers are turning to recreational marijuana to take the edge off after a long day of child-rearing, or even help treat more serious problems, like postpartum depression. "Once I became a mom I never even considered using it, but I wasn't the same after experiencing postpartum depression with both of my daughters in various forms," says Celia Behar, a life coach and cannabis advocate. A friend recommended she try pot. "I balked at first but eventually, out of desperation, I did it and it worked better than anything else I had tried." Indeed, cannabis has been shown to improve symptoms associated with clinical depression and some anxiety disorders. (Webmaster's comment: My mom should be a pothead?)

11-3-17 Marijuana Tax Windfall
California lawmakers expect a huge tax windfall when the state’s recreational marijuana market goes live Jan. 1. Buyers will have to pay state and local taxes that will total as much as 45 percent in parts of the state. A state-sponsored study estimates the legal market could be worth $5 billion.

10-27-17 Danish companies queue to grow cannabis
Companies have begun applying to Denmark's medicines regulator to grow cannabis plants ahead of the drug becoming legalised for medicinal purposes next year, it's reported. Some 13 companies have already submitted applications for growing cannabis plants to the Laegemiddelstyrelsen, so that they can help treat Danes suffering from painful illnesses such as cancer and multiple sclerosis. From January 2018, the drug becomes legalised as part of a four-year trial and patients in the country can obtain cannabis on prescription, the Copenhagen Post reports. But parliament is still working on the specific details of how the scheme will work, meaning that some horticulturalists, including Jorgen K. Andersen of the Dansk Gartneri firm, have chosen not to apply. Mr Andersen tells the fyens.dk website that his company is put off by what he foresees "will be a very complicated set of rules" to grow the plant. Some companies, however, are hoping to cultivate a Danish cannabis industry and export the drug to other regions where it is legal, to help drive down costs for domestic patients, Danmarks Radio says. Currently, it would cost some 6,000 krone ($935; £715) a month to adequately treat an average patient, Lars Tomassen, director of Danish Cannabis tells the radio. With permission to export, "we are aiming to at least half the cost," he says.

10-27-17 Legal pot is the new gay marriage
Legal pot is the new gay marriage
American public opinion has been gradually shifting on the question of legalizing marijuana. In the last couple of years, the proportion of the country in support has reached critical mass: In a Gallup poll released Wednesday, fully 64 percent of Americans support legalization — including a majority of Republicans. It's in many ways quite similar to what happened with gay marriage. However, unlike when the gay marriage public opinion wave started to crest in 2012 and 2013, as of yet few high-profile Democrats have come out for legalization. It's long since time the party came around on this issue — not just on policy or political grounds, but to get out ahead of a more corporate legalization approach. Now, there are some exceptions, most prominently Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who to his credit introduced a bill to legalize marijuana at the federal level in August. In fact, Booker's bill is considerably more aggressive than even Bernie Sanders' bill from 2015, which would have merely allowed states to legalize marijuana — thus formalizing the quasi-legal status of the eight states and D.C. that have legalized marijuana to varying extents. In comparison, Booker's bill would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, pressure states into legalizing it, expunge federal marijuana use and possession crimes, allow marijuana convicts in federal prison to petition for resentencing, and create a community reinvestment fund to rebuild places hit hardest by the war on drugs. It's a great start. The war on drugs is an abject failure, and it's long since time we treated marijuana more sensibly.

10-25-17 Record-High Support for Legalizing Marijuana Use in U.S.
Record-High Support for Legalizing Marijuana Use in U.S.
Americans in favor of legalizing marijuana use: 64%. Americans continue to warm to legalizing marijuana, with 64% now saying its use should be made legal. This is the highest level of public support Gallup has found for the proposal in nearly a half-century of measurement.

  • Support for legalization at highest point in nearly five decades
  • Majority of Republicans now support legalizing marijuana

American's Support for Legalizing Marijuana Continues to Rise!

10-25-17 Marijuana compounds made in GM yeast could help epilepsy
Marijuana compounds made in GM yeast could help epilepsy
Sneaking cannabis DNA into yeast can create enormous quantities of any marijuana component, from those with medical applications to the ones that get you high. Cell-sized cannabis factories could soon be producing medical treatments for epilepsy. A non-psychoactive compound found in marijuana plants called cannabidivarin (CBDV) has shown promise in the treatment of severe cases of epilepsy. However, to treat just 10 per cent of people with epilepsy would require around 1500 tonnes of pure CBDV. To obtain this amount using current methods, you would need to plant large quantities of marijuana and extract their small supply of CBDV. “There’s so little of this chemical in plants it would actually be impossible to harvest it by traditional means,” says Kevin Chen, who runs Hyasynth Bio, a start-up in Montreal, Canada. That’s why the firm has turned to cellular agriculture, in which crops are made from cell cultures. It has added the chunk of cannabis DNA that codes for CBDV into yeast DNA, which turns the yeast into CBDV production plants. This allows for rapid, large-scale CBDV creation with none of the concerns around growing marijuana. “It can be very inefficient to extract these compounds from plants,” says Tom Williams at Macquarie University in Australia, “and that can consume a lot of valuable resources like land and fertiliser.” The work was presented at the New Harvest conference in New York this month. Once optimised, using microbes like yeast will make harvesting compounds such as CBDV efficient and cost-effective, says Williams. The medical applications could be far-reaching. Epilepsy affects around 50 million people worldwide and those diagnosed with it are three times more likely to die prematurely. Around 30 per cent of those with epilepsy don’t respond to available treatments.

10-23-17 California fires: Cannabis farm fundraisers shut down
California fires: Cannabis farm fundraisers shut down
Crowdfunding efforts to help legal cannabis farms damaged in California's wildfires have been closed down because of fear of contradictory national laws. More than $13,000 (£10,000) was raised for the dozens of businesses. Medical cannabis is already legal in California and it is set to be sold recreationally from January next year. However under US federal law it is illegal to manufacture, distribute or sell the drug - making it difficult for legal growers to get help. As it stands 29 US states allow medical cannabis and eight have approved recreational use - but it is still classed as a schedule one drug nationally, alongside other drugs such as heroin and ecstasy. The crowdfunding website, Youcaring, said they had no choice but to cancel the fundraisers because fundraising for cannabis-related purposes is banned by its payment providers, WePay and PayPal. The fundraising could technically be classified as money-laundering under the federal laws, despite the businesses being legal within the state of California. It had been set up by Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, aiming to raise $25,000 for at least 34 businesses affected, according to CNN. The US justice department released guidance in 2013 instructing federal prosecutors to not pursue cases where the state allowed the action, and other federal agencies have had to issue similar guidance on how to operate legally within the contradicting laws.

10-20-17 New Zealand to hold cannabis referendum within three years
New Zealand to hold cannabis referendum within three years
New Zealand will hold a referendum on legalising the recreational use of cannabis in the next three years, its prime minister-elect has pledged. Jacinda Ardern said she did not personally support imprisoning people for using cannabis but wanted to hear New Zealanders' views. Ms Ardern received a standing ovation at a meeting of her Labour Party. She will head a three-way coalition with the Greens and nationalist party New Zealand First (NZF). Ms Ardern, 37, emerged as the surprise new leader after weeks of negotiation following September's inconclusive election, which resulted in a hung parliament. The incumbent National Party won 56 seats - two more than the Labour-Green bloc - but was unable to agree a governing coalition.

9-22-17 Confusion lingers over health-related pros and cons of marijuana
Confusion lingers over health-related pros and cons of marijuana
No one knows whether chronic marijuana smoking causes emotional troubles or is a symptom of them.... This dearth of evidence has a number of explanations: serious lingering reactions, if they exist, occur after prolonged use, rarely after a single dose; marijuana has no known medical use, unlike LSD, so scientists have had little reason to study the drug…. Also, marijuana has been under strict legal sanctions … for more than 30 years. – Science News, October 7, 1967.
In 29 states and in Washington, D.C., marijuana is now commonly prescribed for post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain. But the drug’s pros and cons remain hazy. Regular pot use has been linked to psychotic disorders and to alcohol and drug addiction (SN Online: 1/12/17). And two recent research reviews conclude that very little high-quality data exist on whether marijuana effectively treats PTSD or pain. Several large-scale trials are under way to assess how well cannabis treats these conditions.

9-14-17 New Zealand police enlist school in cannabis crackdown
New Zealand police enlist school in cannabis crackdown
Local police on New Zealand's South Island are calling on a primary school to be on the lookout for illegal cannabis plantations. Havelock School in the picturesque Marlborough Sounds has run a police appeal in its latest newsletter - just below the cross-country race results - urging teachers, parents and pupils to be "extra-vigilant as the cannabis-growing season approaches," reports the Marlborough Express newspaper, which prints a photo of the item. The newsletter also urges readers to look out for "people in the bush who do not look like they are hunting or tramping" - a New Zealand term for hill-walking. One of the two local police officers is Spencer Kingi, who is also a parent representative at the school. He told the paper that the public play an important role as the "eyes and ears of the police" in Marlborough's remote rural locations and islands. These are ideal for hiding cannabis plantations, so the public should report any suspicious vehicles or yachts, and any cannabis-growing kit like hydroponic equipment, he says. Constable Kingi told the paper that the police are using every means, including the school newsletter, to get people involved in "reducing harm in our communities, where the supply of illicit drugs has a big impact".

8-4-17 Marijuana company buys entire US town to create 'cannabis-friendly municipality'
Marijuana company buys entire US town to create 'cannabis-friendly municipality'
A company which makes cannabis products has bought an entire town in California and plans to turn it into a "destination" for marijuana. American Green has agreed a deal to buy the town of Nipton for $5m (£3.8m). The company will own 120 acres of land, which includes a school building, a hotel, mineral baths and a general store. They also want to power the town with renewable energy. "We are excited to lead the charge for a true green rush," American Green's president David Gwyther said in a statement to Time. "The cannabis revolution that's going on here in the US has the power to completely revitalise communities in the same way gold did during the 19th Century." Nipton was originally founded during the gold rush in the early 20th Century when the precious metal was found nearby. California is one of eight US states where recreational marijuana is legal.

7-28-17 Wanted: Drug-free factory workers
Wanted: Drug-free factory workers
High-paying manufacturing jobs are going unfilled because factories are struggling to find workers who can pass a drug test, said Nelson Schwartz in The New York Times. At Warren Fabricating & Machining in Hubbard, Ohio, co-owner Regina Mitchell says nearly half of the company’s job applicants test positive for drugs. Among those, Mitchell says, it’s split about evenly between marijuana use and harder drugs like opioids. Mitchell’s company isn’t unique. Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen recently “linked increased opioid abuse to declining participation in the labor force among prime-age workers.” A 2013 study estimated that opioid abuse cost the economy $78.5 billion in that year, not counting the impact of factors like lost productivity. “Imagine the money we could save or invest as a company if I were able to hire drug-free workers on the spot,” Mitchell says. “But that’s just not the environment we are in.”

7-28-17 Weed at the pharmacy
Weed at the pharmacy
Recreational marijuana is now fully available in Uruguay—the first country in the world to legally regulate the production, distribution, and sale of weed. Adults can buy marijuana at their local pharmacy, as long as they have registered with the government and get a fingerprint scan each time they purchase the drug, to ensure they don’t go over the approved personal limit. The price, about $13 for some 15 joints’ worth, is below the black-market rate, so users have an incentive to choose the legal system over street dealers. “The great responsibility we have in Uruguay is to show the world that this system of freedom with regulation works better than prohibition,” said Eduardo Blasina, founder of the Montevideo Cannabis Museum.

7-21-17 Marijuana emergency
Marijuana emergency
Nevada state officials approved emergency regulations last week to help solve the acute marijuana shortage that developed just days after the state legalized recreational weed. Lines of customers have snaked outside the doors of the state’s 47 licensed dispensaries since legal marijuana was made available for sale on July 1, with a reported 40,000 transactions in the first weekend. The surge in demand caught sellers off guard, and with display cases emptying, they lobbied for a change to strict weed-distribution rules. Under the referendum approved by voters in November, only liquor wholesalers can move weed from growers to the dispensaries, and none were licensed when the law took effect. After the Nevada Tax Commission unanimously voted last week to expand the distribution licenses, dispensaries were able to restock. Nevada officials expect marijuana sales to generate $100 million in tax revenue over the next two years.

7-19-17 In U.S., 45% Say They Have Tried Marijuana
In U.S., 45% Say They Have Tried Marijuana
As more U.S. states legalize marijuana use, 45% of Americans say they have tried marijuana at least once, a new high in Gallup's trend since 1969. When Gallup first asked this question in 1969, only 4% said they had tried marijuana. The rise in use over the past five decades has paralleled the increasing support for legalization -- last year, 60% said pot should be legal, a record high. Eight states allow recreational marijuana use, and these states comprise one-fifth of the U.S. population.

7-20-17 Is marijuana a secret weapon against the opioid epidemic?
Is marijuana a secret weapon against the opioid epidemic?
Research suggests pot could help save lives. As U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a crowd of federal, state and local law enforcement in March, the country "is in the throes of a heroin and opioid epidemic." According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription opioid and heroin overdoses kill 91 Americans each day. But in the same speech, Sessions made clear that he thinks the drug crisis isn't limited to opiate abuse. "I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana — so, people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that's only slightly less awful," he said. Studies have shown a different link between marijuana and opioids, however. "Really, if we stopped medical marijuana programs that are now in place in 29 states and Washington, D.C. … the science suggests we would worsen the opioid epidemic," says Dina Fine Maron, a medicine and health editor at Scientific American, who wrote a recent story on the subject. She explains that states with medical marijuana programs have fewer opioid overdose-related deaths than states without medical marijuana — 25 percent fewer, according to a 2014 study cited in her article. "The reality is that the literature right now suggests that if anyone is using an opioid — whether it be a prescription painkiller or something like heroin — a prescription painkiller is more likely [than marijuana] to lead to drug abuse," she says, "because it's more addictive and obviously can be more lethal."

7-19-17 Uruguay pharmacies start selling recreational marijuana
Uruguay pharmacies start selling recreational marijuana
Uruguay has become the first country in the world to legally sell marijuana for recreational use. Sixteen pharmacies started dispensing marijuana on Wednesday. Almost 5,000 people have signed up to a national registry to be able to buy marijuana legally. They will be able to buy up to 10g (0.35oz) a week and no more than 40g a month. The move comes four years after a law was passed which fully legalised the cannabis trade. Supporters of the law argue that it will help stop the illegal trade in marijuana and put drug dealers out of business.

7-12-17 Marijuana shortage: Nevada considers emergency measures
Marijuana shortage: Nevada considers emergency measures
State officials in Nevada are considering emergency measures to deal with a lack of marijuana. Demand has been strong since recreational use was legalised on 1 July. There are plenty of outlets but not enough distributors, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports. Legislation gave liquor wholesalers the right to distribute, but most do not meet the licence requirements, Nevada's tax department is quoted as saying. The department issued a "statement of emergency", which means state officials could adopt emergency measures to combat the shortage. The journal quotes tax department spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein as saying that many of Nevada's 47 marijuana stores are running out amid "reports of adult-use marijuana sales already far exceeding the industry's expectations".

7-1-17 You can now legally buy recreational marijuana in Nevada
You can now legally buy recreational marijuana in Nevada
Recreational marijuana sales began Saturday in Nevada, the fifth state to legalize recreational pot use despite continuing federal prohibition, with some dispensaries opening at midnight Saturday morning. The legalization was approved by ballot initiative in November with 55 percent public support. Pot purchases are regulated much like alcohol, allowing buyers over 21 to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana at a time. However, it is still illegal to use recreational marijuana anywhere outside private residences, and it is also illegal to bring marijuana purchased in another state where it is legal, like Washington or Colorado, into Nevada. Legalization is expected to be a major tourist draw for Las Vegas as well as a significant new source of state revenue.

6-16-17 Sessions targets medical marijuana
Sessions targets medical marijuana
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked congressional leaders to allow the Justice Department to prosecute medical marijuana providers. In a May letter made public this week, Sessions asked lawmakers to undo federal medical-marijuana protections, arguing that the bipartisan 2014 Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prohibits the Justice Department from interfering with laws in the 30 states that have legalized medical marijuana, was unwise “in the midst of a historic drug epidemic.” The drug epidemic Sessions refers to is an opioid, not marijuana, crisis, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who sponsored the amendment, said the move would harm “veterans and other suffering Americans who...are helped dramatically by medical marijuana.”

6-13-17 Jeff Sessions really wants to prosecute medical marijuana providers
Jeff Sessions really wants to prosecute medical marijuana providers
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee today, but he's recently been in touch with Congress about another matter: prosecuting medical marijuana providers. Some context: Since 2014, Congress has prohibited the Justice Department from spending any money to interfere with states "implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana." The law functions as a de facto federal legalization of medical marijuana wherever it is legalized at the state level, and it was upheld in appeals court in 2016. That's the rule Sessions wants to nix. He wrote a letter to Congress in May arguing it is "unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the [Justice] Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime." Sessions' argument here is disingenuous; as The Washington Post notes, the "historic drug epidemic" in question involves opioids, not marijuana, and states in which medical marijuana is legal see a substantially lower rate of opioid overdose and abuse.

5-31-17 Could cannabis help crack cocaine addicts kick the habit?
Could cannabis help crack cocaine addicts kick the habit?
Crack users find it easier to give up when they take cannabis, and animals given components of cannabis are more likely to overcome a crack addiction. COMPONENTS of cannabis might help those addicted to crack cocaine to quit. Such people may find it easier to curb their usage or give up entirely when they take some form of cannabis, suggests a small study that builds on similar results from research in rodents. “This is a promising development that will provide more alternatives to those in need,” says Ric Curtis at the City University of New York, who wasn’t involved in the work. Some of the first hints that cannabis might help curb crack cravings were anecdotal, says Curtis, who studied crack dealers in the 1980s. “They would wean themselves off crack by smoking it with marijuana.” To find out if this approach might work, Michael-John Milloy at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver assessed the findings from three long-term studies of drug users in the city. Across the studies, 3000 people with a history of drug use completed questionnaires detailing their habits, including whether they had started taking cannabis with the intention of reducing their crack cravings. Milloy and his colleagues identified 122 crack users who started taking cannabis for this purpose. Over an average of 30 months, these individuals were 89 per cent more likely to have reduced their crack use when they were using cannabis, compared with when they were not using it.

5-8-17 A little cannabis every day might keep brain ageing at bay
A little cannabis every day might keep brain ageing at bay
A mouse study suggests marijuana may have the opposite effect on older people than it has on the young, boosting learning and memory instead of impairing it. In some cultures, it’s traditional for elders to smoke grass, a practice said to help them pass on tribal knowledge. It turns out that they might just be onto something. Teenagers who toke perform less well on memory and attention tasks while under the influence. But low doses of the active ingredient in cannabis, THC, might have the opposite effect on the elderly, reversing brain ageing and restoring learning and memory – at least according to studies of mice. “We repeated these experiments many times,” says team leader Andreas Zimmer at the University of Bonn, Germany. “It’s a very robust and profound effect.” Zimmer’s team has been studying the mammalian endocannabinoid system, which is involved in balancing out our bodies’ response to stress. THC affects us by mimicking similar molecules in this system, calming us down. The researchers discovered that mice with genetic mutations that stop this endocannabinoid system from working properly age faster than normal mice, and show more cognitive decline. This made Zimmer wonder if stimulating the endocannabinoid system in elderly mice might have the opposite effect.

5-7-17 New Canada Law Gives Legal Immunity To People Who Report Drug Overdoses
New Canada Law Gives Legal Immunity To People Who Report Drug Overdoses
“During an overdose, a call to 911 can often be the difference between life and death,” the Canadian minister of health said. The Canadian government enacted a new law on Thursday that seeks to stem the rising death toll from opioids by allowing bystanders to report overdoses without fear of legal repercussion. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act ensures that anyone who calls 911 in case of an overdose, as well as those who are at the scene of the emergency, will be granted immunity from simple drug possession charges, or violations of parole, probation or pre-trial release orders. Other offenses like trafficking or driving while impaired are not exempted. Liberal Member of Parliament Ron McKinnon introduced the law last year. Lawmakers gave it final approval earlier this week, clearing the way for it to receive royal assent on Thursday. Canada, like the U.S., has been hit hard by opioids in recent years. The influx of increasingly potent heroin, often cut with synthetics such as fentanyl, led to thousands of deaths in 2016. Although nationwide data is hard to come by due to inconsistent reporting, 931 people fatally overdosed on illicit drugs last year in British Columbia alone, with the vast majority likely related to opioids. British Columbia is often referred to as the heart of the Canadian opioid epidemic. Drug policy experts note that opioid overdose victims are often with others when they use drugs, and that these bystanders can play a crucial role in preventing fatalities. (Message I Received From A Member: I was just reading about Canada's new law called the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act and thought it is something that this country or at the very least, this state should have. Basically from what I understand it makes anyone immune from legal prosecution in the event they or anyone around them has to go to the hospital in the event of a drug overdose. I know in my younger years the idea of someone overdosing or even a minor getting alcohol poisoning would have been a big issue because everyone would be scared of legal repercussions if they went to the hospital or took someone to the hospital and in a situation like that, where every second means a persons life I don't think that people should have to delay for one moment just out of fear of prosecution. I don't care if it's a drug dealer or a group of adults who bought alcohol for minors, I just believe that as a society we should be more concerned with a human life than prosecuting someone for a mistake and a personal choice. I feel so strongly about this but don't know who to contact about it or who could just take the idea and know where to go with it to at least get it into people's minds. I figured your group would at least know how to move it up the chain I guess, and also figured that members of your group would probably agree with the idea. Feel free to email me back. Even if you disagree with my idea I would like to know that it was received and thought about I guess. I don't want any credit for it, the credit goes to Canada and their people, and I just happened to read the article and thought we need this, so no need to include my name or anything. Just hoping that you all can maybe go somewhere with it. You can put me on email lists. I would like to hear what's current in your group and emails are always a good way of getting updated. I think posting this issue would be a good idea; I fully support whatever you think it would take to get this concept out in the open. I'm hoping even some of the biggest anti-drug groups would even realize that this isn't about medical or recreational drug use it's about saving life.
We should support such legislation in the United States. Anyone who wants to run with this will get Sioux Falls Free Thinkers support. - Webmaster)

5-5-17 Forget about legalizing all drugs
Forget about legalizing all drugs
“As the opioid crisis takes lives on a historic scale, it’s time to kill a bad idea,” said David French. “Just say no to legalizing hard drugs.” Since the war on drugs took off in the 1980s, many thoughtful conservatives, libertarians, and liberals have argued for legalization. Their rationale is that the drug war’s costs—“in lives lost, lives squandered in prison, and civil liberties curtailed”—outweigh any potential harm from the drugs themselves. The opioid epidemic proves them wrong: The consequences of hard-drug use are indeed “more horrific than prohibition.” The scourge began when the federal government approved and pharmaceutical companies aggressively marketed addictive prescription opioid painkillers such as Percocet and OxyContin. It was, in essence, the legalization of heroin in pill form. “Communities were suddenly awash in narcotics,” and when prescriptions became more tightly restricted, already-addicted people simply turned to cheaper street heroin. In 2015, 52,404 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses, more than the number who died from car crashes or guns. People don’t choose to use opioids—they become slaves to them. While we may never win the war on drugs, “there is no choice but to continue the fight.”

4-25-17 Medical marijuana may be a salve for the US opioid epidemic
Medical marijuana may be a salve for the US opioid epidemic
In US states where medical marijuana has been legalised, people seem to be switching from other prescribed drugs to cannabis as a treatment for pain. Does cannabis really have medicinal properties? As the trend to legalise medical marijuana continues, there is growing evidence that it does help relieve some conditions, leading to hopes that it may help curb the US opioid addiction epidemic. In the US, 28 states plus Washington DC have legalised medical marijuana in some form. An analysis has shown that compared with other states, those regions spent less money on prescriptions through Medicaid – the healthcare programme for people on low incomes – for five conditions sometimes treated with cannabis between 2007 and 2014. These conditions were pain, depression, nausea, psychosis and seizures. The study could not prove that medical marijuana was causing the difference in prescription medication use. But there was no difference found in prescriptions for conditions unlikely to be treated with cannabis, such as antibiotics for infections. “It’s consistent with patients switching to marijuana for the five conditions,” says author David Bradford of the University of Georgia, US. At the federal level, cannabis in plant form is still classed as an illegal drug that has no medicinal properties. “I hope that this will help encourage the Attorney General to change its status,” says Bradford.

3-27-17 Canada to legalise marijuana 'by 2018'
Canada to legalise marijuana 'by 2018'
Recreational marijuana use could be legal in Canada by 1 July 2018 under coming legislation, according to reports. The federal government will table legislation to legalise marijuana by April, public broadcaster CBC is reporting. Sources told the CBC that members of the governing Liberal party were recently briefed on the timeline. The party has long promised they would have legislation ready by spring. The CBC said the new regulations would broadly follow recommendations released in December by a federally-appointed pot task force. Those recommendations included proposals that Canada should permit the sale of recreational marijuana to people over age 18 and tax pot products based on potency.

3-3-17 Marijuana crackdown looms
Marijuana crackdown looms
The Trump administration said last week that it expects to begin enforcing federal law banning marijuana sales in states that have legalized recreational use of the drug. The Obama administration had announced that the federal government wouldn’t interfere in states that had legalized weed, saying it had “bigger fish to fry.” Eight states have legalized recreational use of marijuana: Colorado, Washington, Alaska, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Oregon. While House press secretary Sean Spicer said President Trump sees “a big difference” between medical and recreational use, and that there would probably be “greater enforcement” against the latter. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime opponent of weed legalization, reinforced Spicer’s comments, saying he opposed “marijuana being sold at every corner grocery store.” U.S. cannabis stocks immediately slumped.

1-12-17 Promise and perils of marijuana deserve more scientific scrutiny
Promise and perils of marijuana deserve more scientific scrutiny
Limits on ability to study drug hamper efforts to weigh public health benefits, concerns. Cannabis plants such as this one yield marijuana and other substances that deserve expanded study for possible medical benefits, a large research review recommends. But negative physical and psychological effects of cannabis products can’t be ignored, the report says. Marijuana’s medical promise deserves closer, better-funded scientific scrutiny, a new state-of-the-science report concludes. The report, released January 12 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in Washington, D.C., calls for expanding research on potential medical applications of cannabis and its products, including marijuana and chemical components called cannabinoids. Big gaps in knowledge remain about health effects of cannabis use, for good or ill. Efforts to study these effects are hampered by federal classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule 1 status makes it difficult for researchers to access cannabis. The new report recommends reclassifying the substance to make it easier to study.

1-11-17 Preventing Big Cannabis: How to nip marijuana lobby in the bud
Preventing Big Cannabis: How to nip marijuana lobby in the bud
A powerful lobby could be an unintended consequence of legalising the drug. Could Canada's regulatory approach ensure public health comes before profit? CANNABIS is going legit. This year, Canada will become the latest country to join a small but growing number of regions where it is legal to smoke marijuana. But some fear that this global trend could lead to the plant’s growers and sellers taking control of the market to maximise profits and recruit new users, and fighting any controls on its sales and marketing techniques. One worry is that, left unchecked, the cannabis industry might become as rich and powerful as the tobacco and alcohol industries did in the last century. “The marijuana industry is where tobacco was in about 1890,” says Stanton Glantz at the University of California, San Francisco. “Tobacco went on to develop immense political power, hire lawyers and lobbyists and dominate regulators.” Canada offers an alternative approach, one in which public health is at the forefront. Under plans published last month, cannabis would be as tightly regulated as tobacco or alcohol. Is this enough to halt the rise of Big Cannabis? In the West, the case for legalising cannabis has been gaining ground for some time. It has long been the most widely used recreational drug, yet in most parts of the world it is criminalised. This ruins lives, wastes police time and fills jails.

1-4-17 Marijuana brands aim for high-end retail in Canada
Marijuana brands aim for high-end retail in Canada
With retailers jockeying for position before cannabis is fully legalised in Canada, "seedy" so-called head shops could soon be a thing of the past.

With doctor's advice and under prescription control legalizing
Medical Marijuana seems like a good idea, but the above scientific
facts will help you decide whether to support it or not.

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Medical Marijuana Articles 2017