#NORML #News Source: @norml @WeedConnection Posted By: firstname.lastname@example.org media :: news - Wed, 26 Dec 2018 04:20:21 PST
Farm Bill Provisions Lifting Federal Hemp Ban Become Law
Washington, DC: President Donald Trump today signed legislation into law that includes language lifting the United States' decades-long prohibition on domestic, commercial hemp production. The provisions were included within The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka 'The Farm Bill'), which takes effect on January 1, 2019.
"The significance of this law change should not be underemphasized," NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. "This law marks the first change in the federal classification of the cannabis plant since it was initially classified as a schedule I controlled substance by Congress in 1970, and paves the way for the first federally-sanctioned commercial hemp grows since World War II."
Language included in the 2014 version of the Farm Bill (Sec. 7606) permitted states to license farmers to cultivate hemp as part of a university-sanction pilot program, but did not allow for the commercialization of the crop.
The hemp-specific provisions of the 2018 Act amend the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance under federal law.
The Act also broadens the definition of 'hemp' (Section 297A) to include "any part of the plant, including ... extracts [or] cannabinoids" that do not possess greater than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis. To date, various commercial products – such as some CBD oils – are advertised as being derived from hemp, although some experts in the field dispute the notion that such plants are an efficient source for cannabinoids.
The Act (Section 297B) permits those US states that wish to possess "primary regulatory authority over the production of hemp" to submit a plan to the US Secretary of Agriculture. The agency has 60 days to approve, disapprove, or amend the plan. In instances where a state-proposed plan is not approved, "it shall be unlawful to produce hemp in that state ... without a license." Federal grant opportunities will be available to licensed commercial farmers, as will the ability for farmers to obtain crop insurance. The Act does not federally recognize non-licensed, non-commercial hemp cultivation activities.
Nothing in the new language (Section 297D) shall "affect or modify" the existing regulatory powers of the US Food and Drug Administration or other agencies with regard to the enforcement of the US Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics Act or the Public Health Service Act. The FDA has previously acknowledged that it will "take action when we see the illegal marketing of CBD-containing products with unproven medical claims. We're especially concerned when these products are marketed for serious or life-threatening diseases, where the illegal promotion of an unproven compound could discourage a patient from seeking other therapies that have proven benefits."
NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said: "These changes represent a significant and long overdue shift in US policy. Nonetheless, future regulatory efforts will likely still be required to address emerging consumer issues when it comes to the commercial sale and marketing of certain hemp-derived products, particularly so-called hemp-derived CBD extracts. For years, many of the producers of these products have navigated in a grey area of the law — manufacturing products of variable and sometimes questionable quality and safety. Now it is time for lawmakers to craft consistent benchmark safety and quality standards for hemp-derived CBD in order to increase consumer satisfaction and confidence as this nascent industry transitions into a legal marketplace."
NIH: Teen Marijuana Use Not Increasing Despite Legalization
Rockville, MD: Self-reported marijuana use by adolescents has failed to increase in recent years despite the majority of states legalizing it for either medical or adult use, according to the latest data compiled by the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future survey, which is commissioned by the US National Institutes on Drug Abuse. NIDA is a part of the US National Institutes of Health.
Summarizing the findings in a press release, the agency acknowledged: "Rates of marijuana use by teens have been of great interest to researchers over the past decade, given major social and legislative shifts around the drug; it is now legal for adult recreational use in 10 states plus the District of Columbia, and it is available medicinally in many more. Fortunately, even as teens' attitudes toward marijuana's harms continue to relax, they are not showing corresponding increases in marijuana use."
Marijuana use prevalence by young people did not change significantly between 2017 and 2018, the survey reported. Between the years 2012 and 2018, both rates of lifetime marijuana use and rates of annual marijuana use by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders have declined. Ten states have enacted laws regulating adult marijuana use during this same period of time, and several others have legalized medical cannabis access.
Further data is available from NORML's fact-sheet, "Marijuana Regulation and Teen Use Rates."
Study: Long-Term Cannabis Use Not Associated With Changes In Brain Morphology
Melbourne, Australia: The use of cannabis, even long-term, is not associated with changes in the cortical surface of the brain, according to data published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology.
A team of investigators from Australia and the Netherlands assessed the relationship between cannabis use and brain morphology in a cohort of 261 subjects (141 cannabis users and 120 controls). Researchers reported "no significant effects on cortical surface morphology" that could be attributable to subjects' cannabis use, dependence, or age of initiation.
Authors concluded, "Our lack of finding in a well-powered study suggests that cortical surface morphology may be less associated with cannabis use than previously assumed."
The findings are consistent with other recent brain imaging studies – such as those here, here, and here – and are largely inconsistent with those of a well-publicized 2014 study purporting that even causal cannabis exposure was linked to changes in the brain in young people.
Full text of the study, "Cortical surface morphology in long-term cannabis users: A multi-site MRI study," appears in European Neuropsychopharmacology. Further information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, "Marijuana Exposure and Cognitive Performance."
New York: Governor Says Legalizing Marijuana Is Among Administration's Top Legislative Priorities
Albany, NY: Enacting legislation to permit and regulate the retail sale of cannabis to adults is among the Cuomo administration's top 2019 legislative priorities, New York's Governor announced on Monday.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said, "We must ... end the needless and unjust criminal convictions and the debilitating criminal stigma, and let's legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all." His comments reaffirm those of a Cuomo spokesperson in November, who said, "The goal of this administration is to create a model program for regulated adult use marijuana."
Days later, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio also publicly endorsed legalization, stating: "Our mission is clear: We want New York to be the fairest big city in America. If we get legalization right, marijuana can be an important new part of the solution." A newly-released city task force report estimates that retail sales in New York City could total some $1.7 billion per year.
In July, a Health Department study commissioned by the Governor's office recommended legalizing adult marijuana use and commerce. It concluded: "A regulated marijuana program enjoys broad support and would have significant health, social justice, and economic benefits. ... Regulating marijuana enables public health officials to minimize the potential risks of marijuana use through outreach, education, quantity limits at point of sale, quality control, and consumer protection. ... The positive effects of a regulated marijuana market in New York State outweigh the potential negative impacts."
Iowa Senator Quashes Floor Debate On Marijuana STATES Act
Washington, DC: Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) on Tuesday blocked lawmakers from considering an amendment on the floor of the US Senate that sought to permanently remove the threat of federal intervention in states that regulate marijuana sales.
The amendment, offered by Colorado Republican Cory Gardner, was largely identical to Senate Bill 3032: The STATES Act, which creates an exemption under federal law for those jurisdictions that legally regulate marijuana production and retail sales. Senator Gardner has stated that he has the votes to pass the measure on the floor, and that the President would sign the bill into law. To date, however, the measure has yet to receive either a debate or a vote by members of the Senate.
Senator Grassley, who has previously bottled S. 3032 in committee, quashed Sen. Gardner's effort to attach the language to broader sentencing reform bill, The First Step Act. Senator Grassley called the amendment a "backdoor to legalization," and said that its intent was "inappropriate to consider in the context of a criminal justice reform bill."
Senate members eventually passed The First Step Act. House members followed suit on Thursday. The measure now awaits action from the President.
As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Grassley has refused to permit votes on any Senate bills pertaining to marijuana law reform. However, in November, he announced that he would be stepping down as Committee Chair.
Study: Cannabis Use Associated With Reduced Risk Of Alcoholic Gastritis
Worchester, MA: Habitual alcohol drinkers who also use cannabis are at less risk for alcoholic gastritis as compared to those who do not use the substance, according to clinical data published in the journal Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research. Alcoholic gastritis refers to inflammation or erosion of the stomach lining that is caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
A team of investigators from the United States and Canada assessed the prevalence of alcoholic gastritis in a nationwide sample of heavy alcohol users who also consumed marijuana versus matched controls. They reported that subjects who concurrently consumed cannabis possessed a 25 percent decreased probability of alcoholic gastritis.
"We reveal that risky alcohol drinking combined with cannabis use is associated with reduced prevalence of alcohol-associated gastritis in patients," authors concluded. "Given increased cannabis legislation globally, understanding if and how the specific ingredients in cannabis plant extract can be used in the treatment of alcoholic gastritis is paramount. In this regard, further molecular mechanistic studies are needed to delineate the mechanisms of our novel findings not only for alcoholic gastritis but also gastritis from other causes."
Full text of the study, "Reduced prevalence of alcoholic gastritis in hospitalized individuals who consume cannabis," appears in Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research.
Study: Adjunctive Use Of Oral CBD Associated With Reduced PTSD Symptoms
Denver, CO: The use of CBD is associated with a reduction in post-traumatic stress symptoms in patients diagnosed with the disorder, according to clinical data published in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine.
Researchers from the University of Colorado and elsewhere assessed the impact of the adjunctive use of oral CBD over an eight-week period in a cohort of eleven patients with post-traumatic stress.
CBD administration was associated with reduced symptoms in ten of the eleven patients. None of the trial participants discontinued CBD treatment because of adverse side-effects.
"Administration of oral CBD in addition to routine psychiatric care was associated with PTSD symptom reduction in adults with PTSD," investigators concluded. "CBD also appeared to offer relief in a subset of patients who reported frequent nightmares as a symptom of their PTSD. Additional clinical investigation, including double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, would be necessary to further substantiate the response to CBD that was observed in this study."
Full text of the study, "Cannabidiol in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: A case series," appears in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine. Further information is available from NORML's fact-sheet, "Marijuana and Veterans Issues."
Case Report: Daily CBD Administration Associated With Remission Of Schizophrenic Symptoms
Leipzig, Germany: The adjunctive use of cannabidiol is associated with a remission in schizophrenic symptoms in a patient previously unresponsive to conventional treatment, according to a case report published in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.
Investigators from the University of Leipzig in Germany assessed the use of twice-daily dosing of 750mg of CBD in conjunction with clozapine in a patient with treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Cannabidiol dosing was associated with remission criteria and improvements remained consistent over eight months.
"Our case report contradicts the assumption that CBD is not likely to be any superior than existing antipsychotics," authors concluded. "In fact, CBD might be particularly suitable for those patients [who are] resistant to antipsychotics due to its different mode of action."
Full text of the study, "Remission of severe, treatment-resistant schizophrenia following adjunctive cannabidiol," appears in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.