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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
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- Tue, 30 Jun 2020 04:20:21 PST

Study: Cannabis Associated with Reduced Opioid Use, Prolonged Benefits in Pain Patients

Toronto, Canada: The daily use of cannabis by patients with chronic pain conditions is associated with prolonged improvements in subjects’ symptom management and overall quality of life, as well as sustained reductions in their use of opioids, according to longitudinal data published in the journal Pain Medicine.

A team of Canadian researchers assessed the short-term and long-term impacts of medical cannabis treatment in 751 chronic pain subjects. Participants in the study consumed cannabis daily for a period of 12 months. Sixty percent of subjects reported having had no previous experience with cannabis prior to their involvement in the trial.

Investigators observed clinically significant improvements in patients’ pain severity “as early as one month after initiating treatment and [these improvements] were maintained over the course of the 12-month observation period.” In addition, patients’ “reported frequencies of fatigue, headaches, feelings of anxiety, and nausea decreased compared with baseline.”

Patients who were taking opioids prior to their enrollment in the study reduced their daily drug intake over the trial period – a finding that is consistent with those of other longitudinal studies, such as those here, here, and here. Investigators observed initial reductions in patients’ opioid consumption at three months. Patients further reduced their opioid intake at six months and again at twelve months.

Authors concluded, “Taken together, the results of this study add to the cumulative evidence in support of plant-based MC (medical cannabis) as a safe and effective treatment option and potential opioid substitute or augmentation therapy for the management of chronic pain symptomatology and quality of life.”

Full text of the study, “Medical cannabis for the management of pain and quality of life in chronic pain patients: A prospective observational study,” appears in Pain Medicine. Additional information is available in the NORML fact-sheet, “Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids.”

Gallup: Seven in Ten Americans Say That “Smoking Marijuana” Is Morally Acceptable

Princeton, NJ: Seventy percent of Americans say that it is morally permissible for adults to “smoke marijuana,” regardless of the plant’s legal status, according to nationwide polling data compiled by Gallup. That is an increase of five percentage points since Gallup last posed the question in 2019.

Among those respondents who identify as ideologically liberal, 83 percent said that the use of cannabis is morally permissible. Among those who identify as ideologically conservative, 51 percent opined that marijuana use is morally acceptable.

“Public opinion continues to drastically evolve in favor of marijuana’s legal and cultural status and it is time that the federal laws evolve as well,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “As we approach Independence Day, it is reassuring to see that majorities of both sides of the ideological spectrum agree that adults should be free from the shackles of marijuana prohibition. Politicians in Washington should take this opportunity ahead of the 2020 elections to move forward legislation, like The MORE Act, to both amend this failed policy and address the inequities and injustices it has brought for generations, particularly against communities of color.”

Remembering Dr. Lester Grinspoon

Cambridge, MA: Lester Grinspoon, M.D., the longtime Harvard professor, psychiatrist, and author of twelve books, including Marihuana Reconsidered and Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine, passed away Thursday morning. He was 92 years old.

The author of over 180 scholarly articles, Dr. Grinspoon is perhaps most well-known for his work to advance awareness for the therapeutic utility of cannabis. Marihuana Reconsidered, published in 1971, chronicled his evolution from a marijuana skeptic to a cannabis reform advocate. His follow up book, Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine, co-written with James B. Bakalar and published in 1993, argued for the legalization of cannabis so that its full medicinal potential could be harnessed.

Throughout his career, Dr. Grinspoon played a pivotal role in advancing both marijuana policy and the NORML organization. NORML’s founder Keith Stroup fondly referred to Dr. Grinspoon as “the intellectual leader of the marijuana legalization movement,” and he served in various advisory capacities for the organization for several decades.

Dr. Grinspoon was a former Chair of NORML’s Board of Directors and he served as a member of the NORML Advisory Board up until his death. “Lester’s extraordinary personal political involvement with NORML demonstrated his belief that we all have an obligation to fight injustice whenever and wherever we find it,” Stroup said.

Since 1999, NORML has presented an annual award bearing his name, the Lester Grinspoon Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Marijuana Law Reform. It is among the highest honors awarded by the organization.

Reflecting on Dr. Grinspoon’s impact, NORML’s Keith Stroup said: “While there have been other medical and public health experts who have taken an active role to advance full legalization of marijuana, it is Dr. Lester Grinspoon who first led the way to insist that our marijuana policies be based on legitimate science. He has made it possible for us to have an informed public policy debate leading to the growing list of states legalizing the responsible use of marijuana.”

Condolences to the family and friends of Lester Grinspoon.

New Jersey: Assembly Advances Bill Decriminalizing Possession of Up to Two Ounces of Marijuana

Trenton, NJ: Members of the state Assembly voted 63 to 10 last week in favor of an amended version of A1897, which decriminalizes activities involving up to two ounces of marijuana.

Under current law, marijuana possession offenders may receive up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The Assembly-backed measure makes activities involving the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis a $50 fine – no arrest and no criminal record.

Annually, police make over 30,000 marijuana-related arrests in New Jersey. That total is among the highest of any state in the nation.

The legislation now moves to the state Senate for further consideration. A more expansive marijuana reform bill, S2535, is also pending in the Senate. That measure bars police searches based solely upon the odor of marijuana, allows those on probation or parole to use cannabis without it impacting their release, and directs New Jersey courts to develop a system to seal past records, among other changes.

In November, New Jersey voters will decide on a statewide ballot measure that reads: “Do you approve amending the Constitution to legalize a controlled form of marijuana called ‘cannabis’? Only adults at least 21 years of age could use cannabis. The State commission created to oversee the State’s medical cannabis program would also oversee the new, personal use cannabis market. Cannabis products would be subject to the State sales tax. If authorized by the Legislature, a municipality may pass a local ordinance to charge a local tax on cannabis products.” Polling data compiled in April by Monmouth University reported that 61 percent of New Jersey voters intend to vote ‘yes’ on the measure.

Case Report: Oral THC Effective in Mitigating Agitation Due to Alzheimer’s

Innsbruck, Austria: The administration of oral THC is associated with symptom mitigation and reduced prescription drug use in a patient with severe Alzheimer’s-induced dementia, according to a case report published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry.

A team of Austrian researchers reported on the use of synthetic, oral THC (dronabinol) in a female patient with severe Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Low-dose administration of dronabinol was associated with reduced aggression and anxiety, as well as an overall improvement in the patient’s emotional state. The patient was also able to reduce her use of psychopharmacological drugs from a total of six medications to three over the course of cannabinoid treatment.

Authors concluded: “Our report underpins the need for randomized, controlled trials to explore the effect of cannabinoid receptor agonists on behavioral and psychological symptoms in patients in different stages of AD. Cannabinoids have a distinct pharmacologic profile that may offer an alternative pharmacologic approach to antipsychotics and sedatives for treating NPs (neuropsychiatric symptoms) in patients with AD. In addition, the beneficial effect on appetite and pain may significantly improve quality of life of AD-patients and their caregivers.”

Full text of the study, “Cannabinoid as beneficial replacement therapy for psychotropics to treat psychiatric symptoms in severe Alzheimer’s dementia: A clinical case report,” appears in Frontiers in Psychiatry. Additional information on cannabinoids and AD symptoms is available online.

Analysis: Variability Persists in Potency of Commercially Available CBD Products

Tel Aviv, Israel: A significant percentage of commercially available CBD products contain amounts of cannabidiol that vary widely from the information provided on the products’ labels, according to an analysis published by the website LeafReport.com.

Investigators commissioned third-party lab analyses of 37 CBD products available at retailers or online. More than one in four of products possessed levels of CBD that differed by more than ten percent from what was advertised – a finding that is consistent with prior analyses. However, in contrast with several prior studies – most which have identified lower-than-advertised quantities of CBD – researchers in this study reported that the majority of inaccurately labeled products contained greater quantities of CBD.

Authors concluded, “It (the commercial CBD industry) still has much room to improve in terms of providing accurate, high-quality products.”

Jamaica: Regulations Amended to Permit Online Medical Cannabis Sales

Kingston, Jamaica: Federal officials have relaxed rules so that qualified patients can purchase medical cannabis products online from licensed retailers.

The new rules, prepared in consultation with the Ministry of Health and approved by Jamaica’s Cannabis Licensing Authority, allow dispensaries to offer online sales and curbside pick-up. The updated rules seek to facilitate the continued operation of medical cannabis establishments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the United states, dozens of jurisdictions have enacted similar steps in recent months to facilitate uninterrupted retail cannabis access while also encouraging physical distancing.

Additional information on state-specific guidelines for retail cannabis operations during the COVID-19 pandemic are available from NORML.

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