Low-dose THC can relieve stress; more does just the opposite

Low levels tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, does reduce stress, but in a highly dose-dependent manner, new research confirms.

Study: Inhaled Cannabis Controls Tics In Patients With Tourette’s Syndrome

Medical marijuanaInhaled cannabis is effective and well-tolerated in patients with Tourette’s Syndrome, according to clinical data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience.

A team of researchers at the University of Toronto retrospectively assessed the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis in 19 TS patients.

Researchers reported, “All study participants experienced clinically significant symptom relief,” including including reductions in obsessive-compulsive symptoms, impulsivity, anxiety, irritability, and rage outbursts. Eighteen of 19 patients experienced decreased tic severity. Cannabis was “generally well tolerated” by study subjects.

They concluded: “Overall, these study participants experienced substantial improvements in their symptoms. This is particularly striking given that almost all participants had failed at least one anti-tic medication trial. … In conclusion, cannabis seems to be a promising treatment option for tics and associated symptoms.”

Placebo controlled data has previously determined that oral THC dosing also improves tics and obsessive-compulsive behavior in TS patients. However, patients utilizing inhaled cannabis have generally shown greater overall improvement.

An abstract of the study, “Preliminary evidence on cannabis effectiveness and tolerability for adults with Tourette Syndrome,” is online here.

NORML Forms Multi-State Workplace Drug Testing Coalition

mj_salesThe fact that 190 million Americans now live in states where marijuana has been legalized to some degree is raising a number of questions and issues about how to integrate the American workforce and marijuana consumers rights in regards to drug testing. With medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and recreational marijuana for adult use in 8 states and Washington DC, millions of responsible and otherwise law-abiding adults remain at risk of being excluded from the workforce due to a positive drug test — even where the use does not affect an individual’s job performance or has taken place days or weeks prior to the test.

NORML believes that this practice is discriminatory and defies common sense. As a result, a growing coalition of NORML Chapters in California, Oregon, Colorado and Washington have come together to advocate for necessary legislative and workplace reforms to protect responsible marijuana consumers.

NORML’s Workplace Drug Testing Coalition’s efforts will focus on these four areas:

  1. Reform workplace drug testing policies
  2. Expand employment opportunities for marijuana consumers
  3. Clarify the difference between detection technology and performance testing
  4. Highlight off-duty state law legal protections for employees

“Even though marijuana is legal and readily available in several states, consumers are being unfairly forced to choose between their job and consuming off the clock as a result of out-of-date employment practices,” said Kevin Mahmalji, National Outreach Coordinator for NORML. “That is why many NORML chapters active in legal states are now shifting their attention to protecting honest, hardworking marijuana consumers from these sort of antiquated, discriminatory workplace drug-testing practices, in particular the use of random suspicionless urine testing.”

Employer testing of applicants or employees for trace metabolites (inert waste-products) of past use of a legal substance makes no sense in the 21st century.  This activity is particularly discriminatory in the case of marijuana where such metabolites may be detectable for weeks or even months after the consumer has ceased use.

With the 2017 Legislative Session underway, this issue is finally getting the attention it deserves. Legislation has already been introduced in Oregon and Washington, and is gaining traction in those states.

“Random suspicionless drug testing of applicants or employees for past marijuana use is not just unfair and discriminatory, it’s bad for business,” said attorney Judd Golden of Boulder, Colorado, a long-time NORML activist and Coalition spokesperson. The modern workforce includes countless qualified people like Brandon Coats of Colorado, a paraplegic medical marijuana patient who never was impaired on the job and had an unblemished work record. Brandon was fired from a Fortune 500 company after a random drug test, and lost his case in the Colorado Supreme Court in 2015. The Court unfortunately found Colorado’s lawful off-duty activities law that protects employees for legal activities on their own time didn’t apply to marijuana use.

California NORML is also expecting legislation to be introduced this session to address this issue. Ellen Komp, deputy director of California NORML said, “One of the most frequently asked questions we have been getting since Prop. 64 passed legalizing adult marijuana use in California last November is, ‘Am I now protected against drug testing on my job?’ Sadly in our state, not even medical marijuana patients are protected against job discrimination, and it’s a priority of Cal NORML to change that. We are hoping to get a bill introduced at the state level and are working with legislators, unions, and other reform groups to make that happen.”

NORML Chapters across the country are advocating on behalf of the rights of responsible marijuana consumers against discrimination in the workplace. “Our coalition was formed with the intention of not only educating legislators, but also with businesses in mind.  It is important they know testing for marijuana is not mandatory, and that employers have testing options,” said Jordan Person, executive director for Denver NORML. The Denver chapter is currently working with companies that offer performance impairment testing of workers suspected of on-the-job impairment or use rather than unreliable bodily fluid testing to help provide options for employers.

thumbs_upFor decades drug testing companies and others have pushed their agenda through a campaign of misinformation. Until now there has never been an organized effort to challenge the profit- driven ideology of those who seek to benefit from intrusive drug screening. Mounting evidence continues to prove there is no logical reason why adult marijuana consumers should be treated with any less respect, restricted more severely, and denied the same privileges we extend to responsible adults who enjoy a casual cocktail after a long day at the office.

For legal questions, please contact Coalition spokesperson Judd Golden at juddgolden@outlook.com. For other marijuana related questions or an interview, please contact Kevin Mahmalji at kevinm@norml.org.

THC in marijuana makes rats lazy, less willing to try cognitively demanding tasks

New research suggests there may be some truth to the belief that marijuana use causes laziness — at least in rats.

Illinois: Governor Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Measure

thumbs_upRepublican Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation today amending the state’s marijuana possession penalties.

Senate Bill 2228 reduces the penalties for the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor (formerly punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,500 fine) to a civil fine of no more than $200 — no arrest and no criminal record.

It also decriminalizes related offenses involving the possession of marijuana paraphernalia.

Senate Bill 2228 also amends the state’s zero tolerance per se traffic safety law, stating that the presence of THC in blood at levels below 5ng/ml “shall not give rise to any presumption that the person was or was not under the influence of cannabis.”

The full text of the measure is available here.

According to the ACLU, Illinois police arrest some 50,000 individuals annually for marijuana possession offenses — ranking #5 in the nation in per capita marijuana possession arrests.

Illinois becomes the third largest state to decriminalize minor marijuana possession offenses.

NORML’s Legislative Round Up July 22nd, 2016

take_actionThe DEA announced that they will amend their quotas for 2017 regarding the cultivation of research-grade marijuana and hemp legalization bills in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have been signed into law! We also have updates from Illinois, Florida, and Ohio. Keep reading to learn the latest in marijuana law reform news from around the country and to find out how you can #TakeAction!

Federal:

In a notice published in the Federal Register, Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg proposed amending the amount of marijuana that may be produced under federal license in 2017 to approximately 1,041 pounds. The agency alleges that this quantity will be sufficient to provide for the “estimated medical, scientific, research and industrial needs of the United States.”

The US Drug Enforcement Administration is also preparing to respond to an administrative petition calling for the reclassification of marijuana as a schedule I prohibited substance. Their determination was originally expected in the first half of 2016 but it has yet to be released.

State:

Florida: Next Tuesday, the state’s first state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary will open to the public. Trulieve, a licensed cannabis cultivator and distributor, will provide a high CBD, low THC strain of the plant to patients that are registered with the state. However, as of today not a single eligible patient is registered with the state to legally access the product. This is because Florida’s law, initially passed in 2014, is among the strictest in the country. Under the law, patients diagnosed with cancer, seizures, or intractable muscle spasms are eligible for CBD-dominant cannabis, while those diagnosed with a terminal illness are eligible for THC-dominant cannabis. To date, however, only 15 physicians in the state are participating in the program.

Illinois: Two months ago lawmakers voted in favor of Senate Bill 2228, legislation to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. But Governor Bruce Rauner has yet to sign the measure into law. The bill makes the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a fine of $100-$200 — no arrest and no criminal record. Currently, those caught possessing that amount could face up to six months of jail time and fines of up to $1,500. The bill also amends the state’s zero tolerance per se traffic safety law.

#TakeAction  and contact Governor Rauner to urge him to sign this legislation into law.

Ohio: Governor John Kasich has signed legislation so that certain drug offenses are no longer punishable by a mandatory loss of one’s driver’s license. Under previous law, any drug conviction carried a mandatory driver’s license suspension of at least six months, even in cases where the possession offense did not take place in a vehicle. Senate Bill 204 makes such suspensions discretionary rather than mandatory. The law will take effect September 13th, 2016.

industrial_hempPennsylvania: On Wednesday, July 20th, Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation, House Bill 967, to establish “a pilot program to study the growth, cultivation or marketing of industrial hemp.” The new law took immediate effect. Twenty-eight states have now enacted similar legislation.

Rhode Island: Governor Gina Raimondo has signed legislation, H8232, to establish rules for the commercial, licensed cultivation of hemp in the state. The legislation creates the “Hemp Growth Act” to treat hemp as an agricultural product that may be legally produced, possessed, distributed and commercially traded. The Department of Business Regulation will be responsible for establishing rules and regulations for the licensing and regulation of hemp growers and processors.

Cannabinoids remove plaque-forming Alzheimer’s proteins from brain cells

Scientists have found preliminary evidence that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other compounds found in marijuana can promote the cellular removal of amyloid beta, a toxic protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Danish cannabis is stronger than ever

The concentration of the euphoriant THC in cannabis has tripled in the space of 20 years in Denmark. The reason may be a systematic processing of the cannabis plants, some of which are being grown in skunk farms in Denmark. Cannabis of such high quality can lead to a greater risk of harm and adverse side effects. This is in particular a problem for the large group of young people who smoke it several times a month.

Group wants medical marijuana legalized – Florida

A Florida woman is pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana — trying to get 700000 people across the state to sign a petition to get the proposed constitutional amendment on next year’s ballot.
Video Rating: 5 / 5

Transcription to follow: The Medical Marijuana the government supplies four of us today, has been grown at the University of Mississippi in Oxford since the ’70′s. It grows every year I guess. And they ship it to North Carolina and they get it rolled into papers, and then they look like a Pall Mall, I wish I had one now, but I am leaving tomorrow and all of those are gone. All I have in there now is my utencils and things like that. They don’t smell like marijuana sometimes, I don’t know. This new batch I can’t wait to get back home and really pay more attention because I automatically just took them out of the thing to make my oils, so I could bake with it and stuff because I have to concentrate because of the low THC. It didn’t dawn on me till after I was doing my little capsules, I’m looking at it, hey wait a minute, I haven’t had to clean this, this is clean. Oh my god, what is this, then I read, oh this is from last year. Wow that is awesome. That’s great. So I am looking forward to humidifying it, which you always have to do, because it is freeze-dried and then rerolling it and smoking it, or vaporizing it. I will definitely be doing both when I get home. I have to carry my cannabis with me, because I don’t want that suitcase to get lost with 6 tins a 6 month supply of marijuana for me. So what happens is, I just put it in my back pack, and my purse. I carry it with me all the time. And always wonder what craziness is gonna happen next. But I carry a little card

Medical Cannabis, Past & Future, with Michael Aldrich, PhD

April 5.2008 – After Fifth Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, held in Pacific Grove, CAMichael Aldrich, PhD, looks back to 1964, tracing the roots of the “marijuana movement” in America and Dr. Raphael Mechoulam’s isolation of THC in Israel. Citing new science and research since the “discovery” of the Endo-Cannabinoid System in 1989 and it’s role throughout the body, Dr. Aldrich examines medical Cannabis in the 21st century, anticipating many aspects and applications of this remarkable plant. Conference hosted by Patients Out of Time. DVDs are available. medicalcannabis.com

Could the chemicals found in marijuana prevent and even heal several deadly cancers? Discover the truth about this ancient medicine as world-renowned scientists in the field of cannabinoid research illustrate their truly mind-blowing discoveries. “What if Cannabis Cured Cancer” explains how we are all born with a form of marijuana already in our bodies, and when pot is consumed, the “endocannabinoids” inside us, along with any cannabinoids we ingest, fit together like a key in a lock. Thereby promoting the death of cancer cells without harming the body’s healthy cells. A powerful and eye-opening film about the future of cannabis, and perhaps even the future of medicine. Narrated by Emmy-winning actor Peter Coyote. QUOTES: “What If Cannabis Cured Cancer summarizes the remarkable research findings of recent years about the cancer-protective effects of novel compounds in marijuana. Most medical doctors are not aware of this information and its implications for prevention and treatment. This documentary presents compelling evidence that our current policy on cannabis is counterproductive and foolish. An excellent film.” -Andrew Weil, MD *** “A hugely important film.” -Julie Holland, MD NYU School of Medicine *** “What If Cannabis Cured Cancer brings to light a host of recent findings that have potentially game-changing implications for the future of marijuana as a medicine. A must-see film.” -Marijuana Policy Project Washington, DC *** SPECIAL BONUS: Comedy puppet short
Video Rating: 4 / 5

BRKDWN – Medical Marijuana to treat Kids: I know my THC’s

Mikayla Comstock is a seven year old girl living in Oregon who is going through chemotherapy. Her mom is giving her THC treatments to ease her pain. Is this better than traditional medications? Subscribe! Though protested by Mikayla’s Father and various doctors, Mikayla’s THC treatment is endorsed by her own mother and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Is this safer than the more common medications given for paitients? Is it safe for kids? Cynthia and Jon BRK it DWN. Sources: bit.ly Video sources: Friday (movie) – Twinny twin twin – Twenty twen twen – bit.ly David After Dentist – bit.ly Katt Williams “It’s Just A Plant!” – bit.ly Japanese McDonalds SpongeBob Comercial HD – bit.ly Follow us on Twitter: @BRK_DWN Like us on Facebook: Facebook.com/BRKDWN
Video Rating: 4 / 5

Chronic Medical Cannabis Use by US Legal Patients, Part 1

Even as the federal government calls for more research into medical marijuana, it has refused to study it’s own patients, who receive monthly shipments of Cannabis though the IND(Investigational New Drug Program). One patient, appearing at the 2002 Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics where this series was presented, had received 300 “joints” per month for 20 years. Quantifiable and assayed for THC, the government-grown marijuana is low quality, but has suceeded in treating the conditions for which it was prescribed, with little apparent harmful effects. Patients Out of Time, hosts of the conference, knew this opportunity for good science shouldn’t be missed, so it enlisted the help of doctors and researchers to perform physical and pyschological tests on four of the legal patients: Elvy Musikka; Irvin Rosenfeld; George McMahon and a MS patient. Dr. Ethan Russo, co-ordinator of the study, first presents patient demographics; medical conditions; and dosage levels, then lists tests performed, including: MRI scans; chest x-rays and pulminory function tests; neuro-pychological exams; endocrine and immune system tests. The entire one hour presentation from which Part 1 is edited can be viewed at: video.google.com including the “Beck Depression Inventory”, which showed a remarkable lack of clinical depression in the legal marijuana patients(considering their serious medical conditions),as Dr. Russo challenges the “attitude among gov’t officials that euphoria is a bad

Please do not support the proposed THC/DUI Bill

Open Letter to Legislators on the THC/DUI bill:

I am a social scientist and PhD candidate at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where I have been engaged in research on cannabis for several years. In 2012, Colorado passed Amendment 64 to “regulate marijuana like alcohol.” Since marijuana regulation is new, it makes sense to base regulations for cannabis on those for alcohol, but it is important to remember that this does not make marijuana actually “like” alcohol” in its scientific properties. Cannabis does not work like alcohol, and for this reason, the THC/DUI bill is misguided in trying to set laws as if they are the same.

To justify passing the THC/DUI bill, three solid pieces of evidence are required. First, we should know levels that indicate intoxication. Second, there should be an accepted and reliable way to accurately measure that level of intoxication. Third: there should be proof of sufficient need to encroach on individual rights based on danger to the public. Please allow me to address these in turn.

1. Knowing levels that indicate intoxication. Marijuana is not “like alcohol” in terms determining impairment. The science is simply not there. A nanogram limit cannot yet be clearly and unambiguously linked to impairment. Based on the best evidence currently available (Grotenhermen and colleagues review of the literature in 2005, the Medical Marijuana Industry Group report in 2011, which responded to the first proposal of this law, and William Logan’s 2012 chapter reviewing the literature on marijuana and driving in Mahmoud ElSohly’s book Marijuana and the Cannabinoids), it is clear that we simply don’t know the correct limit over which drivers are impaired. It turns out that inexperienced or occasional cannabis consumers may be subjectively impaired at a much lower nanogram level than medical or social cannabis consumers with years or decades of experience. Logan (2012) summarizes the evidence we have to-date and is clear on the point: it is not possible to use blood tests of THC to distinguish between recent impairment and “more distant higher-intensity marijuana use” (286). For medical consumers or other chronic consumers of marijuana, heightened THC in the blood may last long after the subjective experience of impairment. In fact, maintaining higher levels of cannabinoids in one’s system may be related to medical benefit for those treating severe pain and serious illness.

2. There should be an accepted and reliable form of measurement that indicates intoxication. On the second point, it is crucial to acknowledge that marijuana and alcohol are not the same when it comes to how the body processes them. These two substances are metabolized in completely different ways by the body. Alcohol is water soluble. It is rapidly and evenly distributed throughout the body, and for this reason, breath tests can be used to approximate blood alcohol level, and both tests can be reliably used to indicate impairment. There is no such proxy for cannabis. it’s distribution in the body is based on the unique pharmacokinetics of THC, its distribution in the body and the way it is metabolized. Marijuana is lipophilic, it dissolved in fat, not water, and is metabolized quite differently than alcohol. We do not have reliable estimates that are consistent across different individuals, allowing us to measure levels of impairment with the same assessments we use for alcohol. In fact, breath tests cannot be used to measure cannabis for this reason. Instead, blood samples, the most intrusive type of test, would be necessary. Because blood tests are highly intrusive, clear and unambiguous evidence for such an intrusion on individual rights is warranted.

3. Finally, we should be able to link the use of the substance to a clear public health danger on the roads. Cannabis has not proven to present a similar level of risk in traffic accidents. On this final point, we have to ask, is a separate law warranted when marijuana intoxication is already included under existing DUI-D laws? The answer: no. There simply is not data that suggests cannabis alone greatly increases accidents or risks on the road at a level that warrants a new, separate DUI law specific to cannabis. In the case of alcohol, there are clear and well established relationships showing increased risk of accidents linked with blood alcohol levels. Less data exists for cell phone use and prescription drug use, but those studies have consistently shown significant risk ratios that indicate significant crash risks. The data on marijuana shows lower risks than these other factors. The exception is when marijuana use and alcohol use are combined. Again, Logan’s review of the data on relative crash risk following marijuana use, “studies that made odds ratio assessments based on the presence of the inactive THC-COOH metabolite uniformly failed to show significant differences at the p=0.05 level in rate of accident involvement for the drug-positive drivers” (287). Recent evidence suggests that accident rates decrease in states with regulated medical marijuana. This has been attributed to the reduction of alcohol use in favor of marijuana, resulting in fewer alcohol-impaired drivers on the road, discussed by Time magazine in an article by Maia Szalaviz from December 2011.

For these reasons, those who have studied the issue and reviewed all available evidence do not recommend the use of per se limits without better science. To the degree that such policies are used, they urge great caution, and suggest that other methods for assessing impairment not be discarded or demoted given the lack of credibility on the currently available objective measures.

The current bill under consideration belongs to a dying breed. “Get Tough” policies have been popular among politicians because they have equated with success in the polls, but as more and more people acknowledge that the War on Drugs approach to drug control is a failure, these nonscientific approaches are bound to lose traction with the voting public.

Clearly no one wants impaired drivers on the road, and no one is arguing for that. This THC/DUI bill will do little to help prevent that, and it may end up punishing people who are not impaired. Until objective limits for cannabis intoxication can be clearly determined, measured, and linked to a genuine risk to public health on the roads, we should stick with our existing DUI-D law that already covers drug impairment.

Sincerely,

Shelli Newhart Walker

Cannabis Cures Asthma

Smoking cannabis heals my asthma. High THC cannabis works best. The last inhaler I used induced an asthma attack on me, 5 minutes later after smoking cannabis the asthma attack ceased and I had my breathing back. I abandoned the use of inhalers 3-close to 4 years ago and I have not had an asthma attack since I have been smoking cannabis regularly. Pollution is a major source of sickness and disease. We need repeal of an unconstitutional law that has filled our prisons with nonviolent cannabis users. The prohibition against marijuana was unconstitutional from its inception. Why is legalizing and limiting our ability to grow Hemp more popular than repealing the law to make it null and void so we are free to grow as many plants as we want? The medical benefits of cannabis hemp medicine are more potent eaten in an oil form like Rick Simpson’s Cancer Cure Hemp Oil with high THC. Hemp medicine used to be sold to the public. The last thing this corrupt system wants is a healthy, well educated and informed public. mylesohowe.wordpress.com mylesohowe.wordpress.com www.antiquecannabisbook.com

Study: Per Se Drugged Driving Laws Have Little Or No Impact On Traffic Deaths

The imposition of so-called per se drugged driving laws, which create new traffic safety violations for drivers who operate a vehicle with the presence of trace amounts of certain controlled substances and/or their inert metabolites (byproducts) in their blood or urine, do not reduce incidences of traffic safety deaths.

That’s the conclusion of a just-published study by economists at the University of Colorado, Denver and Montana State University. The study is available from the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Germany as a Discussion Paper.

Since 1990, 11 states have passed so-called zero-tolerant per se drugged driving laws which make it illegal for one to drive with detectable levels of a controlled substance in his or her system. Five additional states have passed similar laws specifying non-zero limits for controlled substances or their metabolites. Fourteen (Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin) of these sixteen states impose these strict liability per se standards for cannabis. Recently, the White House Office of National Drug Control has recommended zero tolerant per se drug standards for all US states.

Using state-level data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) for the period 1990-2010, authors examined the relationship between the adoption of controlled substance per se thresholds and overall incidences of traffic fatalities. They found that the relationship is statistically indistinguishable from zero and concluded that there is no evidence that these limits reduced traffic deaths.

Authors reported: “Despite the fact that these laws have been touted by politicians and academics as an effective strategy for making our roadways safer, we find no evidence that they reduce traffic fatalities. … [W]e cannot determine why per se drugged driving laws do not work, and leave this issue to future researchers. However, our results clearly indicate that, as currently implemented, laws that make it illegal to drive with detectable levels of a controlled substance in the system have little to no effect on traffic fatalities.”

In November, Washington state voters approved Initiative 502, which legalizes the private use and retail sale of cannabis to adults, but also imposes a 5ng/ml THC/blood per se limit for drivers over the age of 21. In Colorado, where voters on Election Day similarly legalized cannabis, Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper and Republican Senator Steven King are calling for the passage of nearly identical per se cannabis legislation.

NORML has consistently opposed the imposition of stand-alone per se limits for cannabinoids, arguing that the presence of THC in blood, particularly at lower levels, is an inconsistent predictor of behavioral impairment, particularly in more frequent consumers who may potentially test positive for trace, residual THC levels in their blood for periods of time exceeding any period of acute impairment.

Operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis is already a criminal offense in all 50 states. However, in order for one to gain a criminal conviction under most state DUI laws, prosecutors must prove that a motorist recently ingested cannabis and that doing so prohibited him or her from driving safely.

Full text of the study, “Per Se Drugged Driving Laws and Traffic Fatalities,” is available online here. A separate paper previously published by the same authors reported that the passage of statewide medical marijuana laws is associated with decreased incidences of traffic fatalities.

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