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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
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- Tue, 09 Jun 2020 04:20:21 PST

Cannabis Consumers at No Greater Risk of Occupational Injuries

Victoria, Canada: Adults who consume cannabis are no more likely to suffer injuries at work than are those employees who abstain from the substance, according to the findings of a literature review published in the journal Substance Use and Misuse.

A team of researchers affiliated with the University of British Columbia conducted a systematic review of scientific papers assessing any potential links between cannabis consumption and occupational accidents.

Investigators determined that most of the existing literature on the subject is limited by poor research designs. Specifically, few studies "employed research designs that ensured that cannabis use preceded the occupational injury outcome." Others failed to adequately assess or control for confounding variables, such as the concurrent use of alcohol or other psychoactive substances.

Due to these limitations, authors concluded, "[T]he current body of evidence does not provide sufficient evidence to support the position that cannabis users are at increased risk of occupational injury."

Their finding is consistent with that of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine which conducted its own literature review in 2017 and concluded, "There is no or insufficient evidence to support ... a statistical association between cannabis use and ... occupational accidents or injuries."

In recent months, lawmakers in several municipalities – including New York City, Richmond, Virginia, and Washington, DC – have enacted legislation limiting the use of marijuana-specific pre-employment drug screening.

Both Maine and Nevada have enacted state-specific legislation barring certain employers from refusing to hire a worker solely because he or she tested positive for cannabis on a pre-employment drug screen.

Full text of the study, "Systemic review of cannabis use and risk of occupational injury," appears in Substance Use and Misuse.

Study: Inhaled Cannabis Provides Temporary Relief of Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms

Pullman, WA: Inhaled cannabis temporarily mitigates symptoms of post-traumatic stress (PTS), including anxiety and flashbacks, according to clinical trial data published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

A team of investigators affiliated with Washington State University and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine assessed the use of marijuana in 404 medical cannabis patients who self-identified as suffering from post-traumatic stress.

On average, respondents "reported a 62 percent reduction in the severity of intrusive thoughts, a 51 percent reduction in flashbacks, a 67 percent reduction in irritability, and a 57 percent reduction in the severity of anxiety, from before to after inhaling cannabis."

Researchers reported no significant differences in subjects' outcomes that were attributable to specific varieties of cannabis and or THC/CBD content.

Authors reported that cannabis' effects on PTS symptoms were relatively short-lived and that regular use of marijuana over the study period did not influence subjects' baseline symptom ratings.

They concluded: "Results from the present study indicate that acute cannabis intoxication provides temporary relief from intrusions, flashbacks, irritability, and anxiety in individuals self-identifying as having PTSD. However, baseline PTSD symptom ratings did not change over time and we detected evidence that people used higher doses to manage anxiety over time, which may be indicative of the development of tolerance to the drug.

"Collectively, these results indicate that cannabis may reduce PTSD symptoms in the short-term but may not be an effective long-term remedy for the disorder. Future research should examine specific cannabinoid preparations as monotherapy, as well as adjunct to conventional behavioral and pharmacological interventions, within well-powered placebo-controlled trials."

Full text of the study, "Short and long-term effects of cannabis on symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder," appear in the Journal of Affective Disorder.

Study: Fibromyalgia Patients Reduce or Eliminate Their Prescription Drug Use Following Cannabis Therapy

Netanya, Israel: Fibromyalgia patients report mitigating or eliminating their use of prescription medications following their use of medical cannabis, according to data published in Israeli scientific journal Harefuah.

A team of Israeli researchers assessed characteristics in 181 medical cannabis patients with fibromyalgia. Qualified patients may legally access state-regulated medical cannabis products in Israel.

After initiating cannabis therapy, 51 percent of subjects either "reduced the dose or the number of medications" that they took to treat fibromyalgia-related symptoms. Nearly half of the study's participants reported ceasing their use of prescription medications altogether.

Participants in the study were most likely to report either smoking or vaporizing cannabis flower (72 percent), and only three percent of subjects reporting using cannabis oil extracts. Patients were most likely to report that medical cannabis mitigated their pain and improved their quality of sleep.

Authors concluded, "Medical cannabis is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia. ... Medical cannabis treatment enabled nearly half of the patients to discontinue any treatment for fibromyalgia and all participants recommended medical cannabis treatment for their loved ones in case they develop severe fibromyalgia. ... Mild adverse effects were reported in nearly a quarter of the patients but did not result in discontinuing its consumption."

Both observational and placebo-controlled trials have shown that the use of either whole-plant cannabis and/or synthetic cannabinoids are associated with reduced symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia.

Full text of the study, "Characteristics of medical cannabis use among patients with fibromyalgia," appears in Harefuah. Additional information regarding the use of cannabinoids and fibromyalgia appears online.

Over-the-Counter CBD Products Typically Less Potent Than Advertised

Oxford, MS: Many CBD-infused products available over-the-counter contain far lower percentages of cannabidiol than advertised on the products' labeling, according to findings published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements.

A team of investigators from the University of Mississippi lab-tested 25 commercially available hemp/CBD oil products. These commercially available products are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Of the 25 products tested, 15 possessed quantities of CBD that were far below what was advertised on the products' labels. Three of the products tested positive for levels of THC above the federal 0.3 percent limit. In four of the products tested, investigators identified the presence of synthetic cannabinoid adulterants.

Authors concluded: "From this small, but diverse sampling of hemp-derived merchandise, it appears that most product label claims do not accurately reflect actual CBD content and are fraudulent in that regard. ... These findings argue strongly for further development of current good manufacturing practices for CBD-containing products and their stringent enforcement."

The study's findings are consistent with dozens of other analyses reporting that commercially available CBD products are of heterogeneous quality – with many containing psychoactive adulterants, heavy metals, and lower than advertised percentages of cannabidiol,

According to a newly released marketing report by New Frontier Data, an estimated 18 percent of Americans over the age of 18 have tried CBD products, with many acquiring them from online sources.

Full text of the study, "Content versus label claims in cannabidiol (CBD) products obtained from commercial outlets in the state of Mississippi," appears in the Journal of Dietary Supplements.

Analysis: Pine Rosin Identified as Possible E-Liquid Adulterant

Portland, OR: A scientific analysis reveals that some adulterated cannabis e-liquid products may contain colophony (pine rosin), according to data published in the journal Forensic Science International.

Researchers affiliated with Portland State University's Department of Chemistry analyzed a pair of unidentified adulterants provided by a cannabis cartridge vaporizer manufacturer.

The first adulterant was identified to be pure vitamin E acetate. Vitamin E acetate has previously been identified as a common adulterant in illicitly produced vapor cartridges. Last November, the US Center for Disease Control identified it as a "very strong culprit of concern" in the 2019 EVALI outbreak, which led to an estimated 3,000 hospitalizations.

The second sample tested positive for both oleamide – a psychoactive compound typically found in so-called synthetic marijuana products like Spice and K2 – and resin acids consistent with colophony. Colophony is typically used in surface coatings, lubricants, and adhesives, among other products.

Although commenters in online forums have previously speculated about the possible use of pine rosin as an additive agent in cannabis extract products, the study is the first to positively identify the presence of colophony in an oil adulterant.

Authors concluded: "The use of pine rosin as an adulterant in cannabis oil has not been previously reported in the scientific literature. ... It has significant inhalation toxicity. To date, there are no reports of testing for this substance in cannabis oil samples from patients with lung injury. Due to the significant toxicity and prevalence based on social media posts, regulators and laboratory personnel should be aware of its use in adulterated cannabis oil."

Synthetic cannabinoids, such as 5F-ADB, as well as psychoactive cough suppressant dextromethorphan, have previously been identified in unregulated, adulterated CBD oil extracts.

Full text of the study, "Pine rosin identified as a toxic cannabis extract adulterant," appears in Forensic Science International.

Montana: Law Change Permits Patients to Visit Multiple Dispensaries

Helena, MT: New rules took effect this week amending the state's medical cannabis access program so that registered patients now have the option to obtain marijuana from multiple dispensaries.

Under the previous rules, state-qualified patients were limited to purchasing cannabis products from a single, designated dispensary. That policy ended Tuesday. Now patients can visit any of the state's 235 registered facilities.

Separate emergency rules passed in response to the COVID pandemic have also taken effect increasing the total amount of cannabis patients may obtain from a dispensary in a single visit. Under the policy change, patients have the option to purchase up to a one-month supply of cannabis (five ounces) during a single visit to a dispensary.

Additional information about the Montana Medical Marijuana Program is available online.

Virginia: Marijuana Arrests Decline Year-Over-Year

Richmond, VA: The total number of marijuana-related arrests declined more than eight percent from 2018 to 2019, according to annual data compiled by the Virginia State Police.

State law enforcement officials recorded 26,470 arrests for marijuana violations in 2019, down from 28,866 in 2018. Marijuana-related arrests comprised 57 percent of all drug-related arrests recorded in 2019. Approximately half of those arrested for cannabis violations were age 24 or younger.

Under state law first-time possession offenders face up to 30 days in jail and a criminal record. Subsequent offenses are punishable by up to one-year in prison. Those penalties change on July 1, 2019 when the state's newly enacted marijuana decriminalization law takes effect. Under the new law, offenses involving personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana are a civil violation – punishable by a maximum $25 fine, no arrest, and no criminal record.

The year-over-year decline in marijuana arrests marks a reversal in policing trends. Between 2016 and 2018, marijuana-related arrests rose 25 percent in the state. Historically, African Americans have been arrested in Virginia for violating cannabis laws at more than three times the rates of Caucasians.

NORML Development Director Jenn Michelle Pedini, who also serves as the executive director of the state affiliate chapter, Virginia NORML, welcomed the change in enforcement priorities. "It is a positive sign that after years of heightened enforcement, we're now seeing a downward trend in marijuana-related arrests in Virginia. Following the enactment of decriminalization on July 1, we expect to see an even more drastic reduction in these arrests — arrests that, historically, have disproportionately impacted the poor, the young, and people of color."

Arizona: Two-Thirds of Voters Support Proposed Legalization Initiative

Phoenix, AZ: Two-thirds of Arizona voters say that they are supportive of a proposed statewide ballot measure to legalize the adult use of cannabis and regulate its commercial production and sale, according to polling data compiled by the consulting group HighGround Incorporated.

Just under 66 percent of those surveyed said that they would "definitely" or "probably" vote in November for the Smart and Safe Arizona Act. Advocates have been collecting signatures to place the Act before voters this November, but have yet to turn them over to state regulators for verification.

The Act would permit those age 21 or older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and would direct revenue from retail cannabis sales to fund various public education and safety programs.

Democrats, Republicans, and Independents all expressed majority support for the measure, as did voters over the age of 65.

"As long as Smart and Safe Arizona can qualify for the ballot, all signs point to 2020 being the year that recreational marijuana finally becomes legal in Arizona," said Paul Bentz, Sr. Vice President of Research and Strategy at HighGround. The polling firm is not affiliated with the Smart and Safe Arizona campaign.

Statewide polling in New Jersey indicates that over 60 percent of voters in that state intend to vote 'yes' on a November ballot measure to legalize the use of marijuana by adults. Voters in Mississippi and South Dakota will also be deciding in November on marijuana-specific ballot initiatives.

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