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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Tue, 20 Mar 2016 04:20:21 PST

Review: Adjunctive Use Of Cannabinoids Efficacious In Patients With Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy

Sydney, Australia: The adjunctive use of cannabinoids, particularly CBD (cannabidiol), typically reduces seizure frequency and improves the quality of life in patients with intractable forms of epilepsy, according to a review of clinical data published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Australian researchers reviewed data from six randomized, placebo-controlled studies, involving 555 patients, and from another 30 observational trials, involving an additional 2,865 patients. In the randomized trials, CBD administration was more effective than placebo in achieving complete seizure remission and in improving patients' quality of life. In the observational trials, nearly half of patients achieved a greater than 50 percent reduction in seizure frequency.

Authors concluded: "We synthesized available evidence on the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids as an adjunctive treatment to conventional AEDs (anti-epileptic drugs) in treating drug-resistant epilepsy. In many cases, there was qualitative evidence that cannabinoids reduced seizure frequency in some patients, improved other aspects of the patients' quality of life and were generally well tolerated with mild-to-moderate AEs (adverse events).

Earlier this year, FDA regulators announced that they will undertake a 'priority review' of randomized clinical trial data specific to the safety and efficacy of Epidiolex - a standardized, plant-derived CBD extract formulated by a British pharmaceutical company - for the treatment of pediatric epilepsy. The review is scheduled to be completed by June 27, 2018.

Full text of the study, "Evidence for cannabis and cannabinoids for epilepsy: A systematic review of controlled and observational evidence," appears in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Michigan: Support Grows For Proposed Adult Use Initiative

Lansing, MI: More than six in ten Michigan voters endorse a proposed statewide ballot initiative legalizing the adult use and sale of cannabis.

According to polling data compiled by the EPIC-MRA polling research firm and commissioned by Michigan NORML, 61 percent of voters say that they would vote yes on the measure "if the election were held today." That percentage is up four percentage points from last year, and is an increase of 11 percent since 2014.

Commenting on the statewide polling, MINORML Board Member Brad Forrester said: "I'm not surprised. These results are the product of Michigan NORML's effective advocacy for the past several years."

Michigan NORML is a member of The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is backing the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act. The initiative permits those over the age of 21 to possess and grow personal use quantities of cannabis and related concentrates, while also licensing activities related to the commercial marijuana production and retail marijuana sales.

In November, proponents turned in more than 360,000 signatures in an effort to qualify the measure for the November 2018 ballot. State officials must certify a total of 252,523 valid signatures from registered voters in order to place the initiative on the November 2018 ballot.

Marijuana law reform advocates are continuing to gather signatures for voter-initiated efforts in Missouri and Utah. Proponents of a medical marijuana initiative in South Dakota have turned in their signatures and are awaiting a review by the Secretary of State's office.

In Oklahoma, voters will decide on June 26 whether or not to approve State Question 788 - a broad-based initiative that permits physicians to recommend medical cannabis to patients at their sole discretion. NORML endorsed State Question 788 in January.

For more information, visit: Michigan NORML or The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

New Jersey: Governor Reaffirms Support For Adult Use Legalization

Trenton, NJ: Newly elected Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy reaffirmed his support for adult use marijuana regulation during his budget address on Tuesday.

The Governor acknowledged that the state currently spends upwards of $140 million per year adjudicating low-level marijuana possession offenses, and that those prosecuted are disproportionately young people of color.

"Legalization will allow us to reinvest directly in our communities - especially the urban neighborhoods hardest hit by the misguided war on drugs - in their economic development, in health care and housing, child care and after-school programs, and other critical areas. These investments will pay dividends far greater than the cost of mass incarceration," he said. "I did not come to this overnight, myself. ... But from the standpoint of social justice, and from the standpoint of protecting our kids and lifting up our communities, I could not arrive at any other conclusion."

The Governor's fiscal year 2019 budget proposal estimates that marijuana legalization will yield $80 million in new annual revenue.

According to statewide polling data released this week by Quinnipiac University, 59 percent of New Jersey voters support permitting adults to possess marijuana for personal use.

Currently, three separate pieces of legislation seeking to regulate the retail production and sale of marijuana are pending in the state legislature. A fourth bill, which seeks to depenalize adult marijuana possession and expunge past convictions, is also pending in the Assembly.

In January, Governor Murphy signed an executive order calling on regulators to review the state's eight-year-old medical cannabis access program and to recommend ways to increase participation from patients and physicians.

Study: Adult Use Legalization In Colorado Not Linked To Increased Teen Use, Homelessness

Pueblo, CO: The enactment of retail marijuana sales in Pueblo County, Colorado has been associated with localized economic benefits, but does not appear to be responsible for increasing levels of homelessness, according to a draft study released by researchers at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

Researchers and faculty at CSU-Pueblo's Institute of Cannabis Research reported that legalization provided an economic net gain of $35 million in revenue in Pueblo County (population 164,000), even after authors adjusted for applicable social costs. Further, authors determined that adult use legalization was not directly linked to rising homelessness in the area, nor was it adversely impacting "student use and perceptions toward cannabis in south central Colorado." Researchers also failed to attribute rising levels of area crime to legalization, instead theorizing that this increase was likely the result of an "increase in the population and [a] decrease in police personnel."

A draft of the 200-page study was presented Monday to Pueblo County commissioners.

Racial Disparities Persist Among NYC Marijuana Possession Arrestees

New York, NY: New York City police are continuing to disproportionately arrest African Americans and Latinos for minor marijuana possession violations, despite ongoing pledges from Mayor Bill de Blasio to halt the practice.

In 2017, city police made an estimated 17,500 arrests for marijuana possession in the 5th degree - a class B misdemeanor. Consistent with past years, 86 percent of those arrested were either Black or Hispanic.

Since the de Blasio administration took office in 2014, city police have made over 75,000 misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests; 86 percent of arrestees were either Black or Latino.

Under state law, the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis is a non-arrestable offense, except instances where the police contend that the substance was either being burned or was in public view.

While law enforcement officials alleged that the high volume of arrests was a result of citizens' complaints, a POLITICO.com analysis found no evidence to support that claim.

During his mayoral campaign, de Blasio said that the city's elevated marijuana arrest totals "demonstrate clear racial bias" and promised to "direct the NYPD to stop these misguided prosecutions."

Despite consuming cannabis at rates comparable to whites, recent analyses of marijuana arrest data from multiple states find that African Americans are consistently arrested for marijuana possession offenses at least three times the rate of Caucasians.

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