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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Tue, 28 Jan 2020 04:20:21 PST

Report: Federal Marijuana Prosecutions Declining

Washington, DC: Federal prosecutions for marijuana-related crimes fell significantly from 2018 to 2019, according to a recently released report from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

The 2019 end-of-year report finds that the number of federal defendants charged with cannabis-associated crimes declined by 28 percent from September 30, 2018 to September 30, 2019. By contrast, total filings for drug crimes increased five percent over the same time period, totaling over 83,000 cases in 2019.

Separate data compiled by the US Drug Enforcement Administration in July reported a decline in DEA-led marijuana seizures in 2018, but also showed an uptick in DEA-related arrests for marijuana violations. State-level arrests for marijuana violations have increased year-over-year since 2016, according to annual data reported by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Full text of the report, "2019 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary," appears online.

Study: Cannabis Use Associated with Reduced Opioid Use in Back Pain Patients

San Francisco, CA: The adjunctive use of cannabis is associated with decreasing levels of opioid use in some patients with lower back pain, according to observational data published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

A team of investigators from California, Pennsylvania, and Florida assessed the long-term impact of cannabis therapy in patients taking opioids for lower back pain. Over a six-year period, more than half of the study's subjects diminished or ceased their use of opioids. Those participants who used higher doses of cannabis were more likely to halt their opioid intake.

The findings are consistent to those of several other papers reporting that pain patients often mitigate or cease their use of opioids after initiating medical cannabis therapy.

Full text of the study, "The impact of medical cannabis on intermittent and chronic opioid users with back pain: How cannabis diminished prescription opioid usage," appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

Survey: Flower Remains Dominant Form of Cannabis Used by Consumers

Ontario, Canada: Cannabis consumers in the United States and Canada prefer flower over extracts, edibles, or other alternative forms of the plant, according to survey data published in the International Journal of Drug Policy.

Investigators affiliated with the University of Waterloo in Ontario surveyed over 27,000 subjects in the U.S. and Canada regarding their marijuana consumption habits. Consistent with prior studies, authors reported, "Dried herb was the dominant form of cannabis reported by past 12-month users across all jurisdictions."

Respondents in legal states reported consuming cannabis flowers more frequently than those in non-legal jurisdictions. However, researchers reported that "the [total] amount of dried herb used over the past year was similar across jurisdictions."

The use of high-potency concentrate products was more prevalent in legal markets than in states without such markets. Respondents in all jurisdictions were least likely to report having consumed edible cannabis products.

Full text of the study, "Prevalence and forms of cannabis use in legal vs. illegal recreational cannabis markets," appears in the International Journal of Drug Policy.

Study: Cannabis Promotes Sleep in Chronic Pain Patients

Haifa, Israel: The use of plant-derived cannabis is associated with improved sleep among older patients with chronic pain, according to data published in the journal BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care.

A team of Israeli investigators examined the association between sleep problems and cannabis use in older (50+ years of age) chronic pain patients. A total of 128 patients were enrolled in the study. Of them, 66 used medical cannabis for at least one-year. Sixty-two were non-users.

Researchers reported that cannabis use was associated with an overall "positive effect on maintaining sleep throughout the night."

They concluded: "This study is among the first to test the link between whole plant MC (medical cannabis) use and sleep quality. ... Our findings showed that MC patients were less likely to report problems with staying asleep compared with non-MC patients, independently of potential confounders. ... This suggests that MC may have a sleep-promoting characteristic in terms of minimizing awakenings during the night. ... These findings may have large public health impacts considering the aging of the population, the relatively high prevalence of sleep problems in this population along with increasing use of MC."

Full text of the study, "Medical cannabis and insomnia in older patients with chronic pain: A cross-sectional study," appears in BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care.

Study: Cannabis Use Associated with Neuroprotection in HIV Patients

San Diego, CA: A history of cannabis use among people living with HIV is associated with a lower likelihood of neurocognitive decline, according to data published in the Journal of Acquired Immunity Deficiency Syndrome.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego assessed the association between cannabis use, neurocognitive impairment, and verbal and learning performance in patients with HIV and non-using controls.

Investigators reported that HIV patients who used cannabis were significantly less likely to experience neurocognitive impairment as compared to those patients who had no history of marijuana exposure.

They concluded: "Our findings present evidence that cannabis exposure was associated with lower odds of NCI (neurocognitive impairment) in the context of HIV. ... Our results are consistent with the idea that under some circumstances, cannabis might be neuroprotective."

Full text of the study, "Cannabis exposure is associated with a lower likelihood of neurocognitive impairment in people living with HIV," appears in the Journal of Acquired Immunity Deficiency Syndrome.

California: County Officials to Dismiss Several Thousand Marijuana Convictions

Martinez, CA: The District Attorney's Office for Contra Costa County (population: 1.15 million) has announced that it will be dismissing over 2,000 marijuana-related convictions.

California lawmakers in 2018 enacted legislation establishing an automatic review and expungement process for low-level marijuana convictions. To date, officials in various counties throughout the state – including Alameda, San Diego, and San Francisco – have vacated thousands of cannabis-specific convictions.

"Far too often, old criminal convictions for minor drug offenses can leave a lasting mark on an individual's life," Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said in a news release. "The removal of these convictions effectively reduces barriers to licensing, education, housing and employment. It is imperative that we continue to be innovative in our approach to reforming and strengthening the criminal justice system."

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