#NORML #News
Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Tue, 01 Jun 2021 04:20:21 PST

Initiation of Medical Cannabis Precedes Self-Reported Reductions in Tobacco Use

Vancouver, Canada: Patients authorized to use medical cannabis report reducing or ceasing their use of tobacco and nicotine, according to data published online in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

A team of investigators from Canada and the United States assessed self-reported rates of tobacco and nicotine prior to and following the initiation of cannabis in a cohort of 650 Canadian subjects authorized to use medical marijuana.

Just under half of the study's participants (49 percent) acknowledged reductions in use following medical cannabis therapy, with 25 percent reporting no use during the past 30 days.

Subjects ages 55 and older, as well as those who expressed intentions to quit tobacco, were most likely to reduce their tobacco/nicotine use.

Authors concluded: "Results from this retrospective survey of medical cannabis users suggest that initiation of medical cannabis use was associated with self-reported reductions and/or cessation of T/N [tobacco/nicotine]. ... In light of the significant morbidity, mortality, and health care costs related to T/N dependence, future research should further evaluate the potential of cannabis-based treatments to support efforts to reduce or cease T/N use."

Clinical trial data from the United Kingdom previously reported that subjects administered CBD significantly reduced their intake of tobacco cigarettes while those administered a placebo did not. A pair of studies published earlier this year documented an association between cannabis use and a reduction in subjects' consumption of alcohol.

Full text of the study, "Self-reported reductions in tobacco and nicotine use following medical cannabis initiation: Results from a cross-sectional survey of authorized medical cannabis patients in Canada," appears in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

Survey: Over Two-Thirds of Health Clinicians Acknowledge That Cannabis "Can Be Used Medically"

Atlanta, GA: Nearly 70 percent of US clinicians believe that cannabis is a legitimate medicine, according to survey data published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

Commenting on the findings, NORML's Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: "Overwhelming majorities of patients and their providers acknowledge that cannabis is medicine. Politicians should not be standing in their way by opposing efforts to permit medical professionals from recommending cannabis to their patients in instances where they believe it is therapeutically appropriate."

A team of investigators affiliated with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Public Health Service compiled responses from over 2,200 practicing doctors, internists, nurse practitioners, and oncologists regarding their attitudes about medical cannabis.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they believed that cannabis possessed medical utility. Those who favored its medical use were most likely to endorse marijuana use for treating pain (73 percent), cancer (72 percent), and nausea (61 percent).

More than one-in-four respondents (27 percent) acknowledged having authorized the use of cannabis for their patients. However, many respondents were unable to accurately identify the legal status of cannabis in their state – with many believing that marijuana was either fully or partially legal in instances where it was not.

Authors concluded: "This is among the first studies to assess clinician beliefs and practices related to medical cannabis in a U.S. multi-state sample. ... Over two-thirds (68.9 percent) of clinicians surveyed believe that cannabis has medicinal uses and just over a quarter (26.6 percent) had ever recommended cannabis to a patient. ... Results from this study suggest that the highest prevalence conditions where clinicians indicated they believed cannabis could be medically used were scientifically based – pain, nausea, appetite activation, anti-seizure, and spasticity.

"Clinician education about state-based policies for cannabis use may also be warranted. In this study, 6 in 10 clinicians incorrectly reported the cannabis legalization policy in their state. ... Given that clinicians are responsible for recommending medicinal cannabis in most states that have legalized it, ongoing education about the health effects of cannabis is warranted." Full text of the study, "Clinician beliefs and practices related to cannabis," appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

Inhaled Cannabis Associated with Significant Reductions in Self-Reported Pain Severity

Pullman, WA: Smoked cannabis is associated with significant declines in subjects' perception of pain severity, according to data published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

A team of investigators affiliated with Washington State University assessed the effects of cannabis inhalation on self-reported pain severity in a cohort of patients suffering from various pain conditions, including muscle pain, nerve pain, and joint pain. Study participants self-administered cannabis at home and reported symptom changes in real time on a mobile software application.

Authors reported that subjects' perceptions of their pain severity fell nearly 50 percent following cannabis inhalation. That finding is consistent with previous data using similar methods which concluded that pain patients, on average, reported "a three-point drop in pain suffering on a zero-to-10 point scale immediately following cannabis consumption."

Investigators noted that subjects typically increased their cannabis dosing over time, suggesting that some tolerance to the plant's analgesic effects may develop following its continued use. They also noted that patients suffering primarily from nerve-related pain responded most favorably to lower doses of cannabis.

Several placebo-controlled trials validate the pain-relieving properties of cannabis, particularly in the mitigation of neuropathy. A 2017 literature review by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined, "There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis [is] effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults."

Full text of the study, "A large-scale naturalistic examination of the acute effects of cannabis on pain," appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

DEA Announces Intent to License Marijuana Growing Applicants

Washington, DC: Following nearly a five-year delay, the US Drug Enforcement Administration has publicly announced its intent to grant marijuana cultivation licenses to a handful of third-party applicants.

Since 1968, only the University of Mississippi has been federally licensed to engage in the growing of cannabis for FDA-approved clinical research. Scientists familiar with the product have consistently said that it is of inferior quality and fails to accurately reflect the types of marijuana varieties commercially available in legal states. Further, the University only provides scientists with the option to access herbal cigarette formulations of the plant, not concentrates, edibles, or extracts. Strains high in the compound cannabidiol (CBD) are also not currently available from the University.

In 2016, the Agency announced that it was amending its longstanding policies to allow additional parties to grow cannabis for clinical research purposes. Since that time, however, it has taken few steps to follow through on that pledge.

On May 14, the DEA acknowledged for the first time that it has provided a MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) to three applicants to "work together to facilitate the production, storage, packaging, and distribution of marijuana" in accordance with rules adopted by the agency in December 2020. NORML criticized those regulations at that time in comments submitted to the US Federal Register, opining: "While NORML has long supported facilitating and expanding domestic clinical research efforts, we do not believe that these proposed rules, if enacted, will achieve this outcome. Rather, we believe that the adoption of these rules may further stonewall efforts to advance our scientific understanding of cannabis by unduly expanding the DEA's authority and control over decisions that ought to be left up to health experts and scientists."

Last year, members of the US House of Representatives advanced legislation, HR 3797: The Medical Marijuana Research Act, to facilitate clinical cannabis research by establishing a process so that authorized scientists may access flowers and other products manufactured in accordance with state-approved marijuana programs – thereby bypassing the need for researchers to access marijuana grown under a DEA license. NORML endorsed those changes. However, the bill was never taken up by the US Senate.

The DEA's website did not provide a timeline as to when it anticipates finalizing the applicants' grow authorizations or when it plans to take actions on the dozens of remaining applications that are still pending before the agency.

Colorado: Governor Signs Legislation into Law Doubling Marijuana Possession Limits

Denver, CO: Democratic Gov. Jared Polis has signed legislation, House Bill 1090, eliminating civil penalties for activities involving the possession of up to two ounces of either cannabis flower or concentrates.

State law previously permitted adults to legally possess up to one ounce of either marijuana flower or concentrates for recreational purposes without penalty. By contrast, possessing between one and two ounces of cannabis was classified as a petty offense, punishable by a civil penalty of $100. House Bill 1090 eliminates those civil penalties. The measure also makes it easier for those with past marijuana convictions to petition the courts to have their records sealed.

"This is a very exciting bill in the vein of criminal justice reform because, for far too long, the consequences for people who had a personal amount of cannabis before it had been legalized still had a long shadow on them for doing something that is fully legal today," Governor Polis said. "They might have something on their record--and, of course, disproportionately people of color -- that might get in the way of them getting loans or leases or licenses or jobs or mortgages or many other things."

The new law took immediate effect upon passage.

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