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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Thu, 08 Nov 2018 04:20:21 PST

Colorado: State Issues Report Assessing Legalization's Impact On Public Safety

Denver, CO: The Colorado Department of Public Safety has issued its first-ever baseline report assessing the impact of adult use marijuana regulations in Colorado. Lawmakers in 2013 passed legislation authorizing regulators to conduct the five-year review, which seeks to better identify ways in which legalization has impacted public health and safety.

Authors reported that the total number of marijuana arrests fell 52 percent between the years 2012 and 2017. In Denver, marijuana arrests fell 81 percent over this same period of time.

Authors also reported that youth marijuana use has remained largely unchanged since legalization. The report acknowledged "no significant change in past 30-day use of marijuana between 2013 and 2017." Authors further reported that marijuana use by Colorado teens in 2017 was virtually no different than the national average. By contrast, the percentage of Colorado adults reporting marijuana use increased from 13.6 percent in 2014 to 15.5 percent in 2017.

Authors acknowledged that police are now more likely to make DUI arrests for drivers suspected of being under the influence of cannabis. Specifically, 15 percent of DUI arrests in 2017 involved cannabis versus 12 percent in 2014. However, authors cautioned that this uptick is may be partially due to "an increase in the number of law enforcement officers who are trained in recognizing drug use," rather than as a result of any changes in driving behavior. Authors further reported that the total number of drivers involved in fatal accidents with elevated THC blood levels over 5ng.ml fell between 2016 and 2017.

Full text of the report, "Impacts of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado: A Report Pursuant to Senate Bill 13-283," appears online.

NORML Delivers Over 10,000 Public Comments To FDA Regarding International Classification Of Cannabis

Washington, DC: NORML staffers on Wednesday hand-delivered over 10,000 public comments to the US Food and Drug Administration calling on the agency to recommend amending the substance's illicit status under international treaties. The agency had requested public comments so that they could be "considered in preparing a response from the United States to the World Health Organization regarding the abuse liability and diversion" of marijuana and certain other substances.

It is the second time this year the FDA has sought the public's feedback with regard to cannabis scheduling. In April, NORML staffers also delivered over 10,000 written comments to the agency from members of the public.

Writing to the FDA on NORML's behalf, Deputy Director Paul Armentano opined "that cannabis be removed from the international drug conventions so that nations that wish to do so may further expand their regulations governing cannabis' use, possession, production, and dispensing for either recreational or medical use."

Mexico: Supreme Court Strikes Down Marijuana Ban

Mexico City: Justices for Mexico's Supreme Court have ruled that laws criminalizing the private use and cultivation of cannabis by adults are unconstitutional. Justices opined, "The effects caused by marijuana do not create an absolute prohibition on its consumption."

In accordance with the ruling, lawmakers may enact regulatory policies governing adults' personal marijuana use, but they must repeal those laws that broadly prohibit marijuana use per se. By contrast, neither commercial marijuana production or sales are addressed by the Court's ruling.

In September, South Africa's highest court similarly struck down laws criminalizing the personal, private consumption of cannabis by adults.

Mexican lawmakers in 2009 decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis (5 grams or less) and other substances. Last month, Canada began licensing the retail production and sale of cannabis to those 18 years and older.

Study: Cannabis Use Associated With Reduced Likelihood Of Liver Cirrhosis Among Hepatitis C Patients

Salem, MA: Hepatitis C patients who use cannabis are less likely to contract liver cirrhosis as compared to matched controls, according to clinical data published in the Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

A team of researchers from the United States and Canada assessed the effect of cannabis use on chronic liver disease in a cohort of 4,728 patients with the Hepatitis C virus versus 4,728 non-users.

Authors reported that subjects who consumed cannabis "had decreased prevalence of liver cirrhosis" and had "lower total health care cost ($39,642 versus $45,566) compared to non-cannabis users." They concluded, "Our findings suggest that cannabis use is associated with decreased incidence of liver cirrhosis."

Prior studies have reported that cannabis use is associated with reduced incidences of fibrosis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in patients with the Hepatitis C virus.

Full text of the study, "Reduced incidence and better liver disease outcomes among chronic HCV infected patients who consume cannabis," appears in the Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

Cannabis Use Associated With Improved Outcomes In Bipolar Patients

Belmont, MA: Cannabis use is associated with an alleviation of clinical symptoms in patients with bipolar disorder, and does not negatively impact cognitive performance, according to clinical trial data published in the journal PLoS One.

Investigators with Harvard Medical School, Tufts University, and McLean Hospital in Massachusetts assessed the impact of marijuana use on mood symptomology and cognitive function in patients with bipolar disorder.

Authors reported that marijuana use was associated with lower scores of anger, tension, and depression, as well as higher levels of vigor in BPD patients. Subjects who used marijuana also showed no significant differences in cognitive performance compared to BPD subjects who abstained from the plant. The study is the first clinical trial to assess the impact of cannabis on both mood and neuropsychological performance in BPD patients.

Researchers concluded, "The current study highlights preliminary evidence that patients with BPD who regularly smoked marijuana reported at least short-term clinical symptom alleviation following marijuana use, indicating potential mood-stabilizing properties of marijuana in at least a subset of patients with BPD."

Full text of the study, "A pilot investigation of the impact of bipolar disorder and marijuana use on cognitive function and mood," appears in PLoS One.

Meta-Analysis: Repeated Cannabis Exposure Associated With Reduced Impact On Cognitive, Psychomotor Performance

London, United Kingdom: Regular users of cannabis demonstrate limited, or in some cases, no impairment on measurements of either cognitive or psychomotor performance, according to data published in the journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.

British researchers conducted a systematic review of all human trials examining whether subjects exhibit tolerance to the effects of cannabis following repeated dosing. Thirty-six trials, involving over 1000 subjects, were included in their review.

Authors reported that repeated exposure to either cannabis or THC was associated with partial or full tolerance in subjects, particularly with regard to cognitive performance and psychomotor abilities. They reported: "Studies indicated relatively minor or no effects of repeated Δ9-THC administration in RU (regular users) on a number of cognitive domains including learning, memory, vigilance, and psychomotor ability. This absence of effect in RU might indicate the development of full tolerance."

Investigators concluded: "Available evidence suggests that the effects of acute marijuana or Δ9-THC administration are less prominent in individuals with a regular pattern of cannabis use compared to non-regular users. Cognitive function appears to be the domain most likely to demonstrate tolerance upon repeated exposure, with some evidence of full tolerance indicating a complete absence of acute effect. The acute intoxicating and cardiac effects of Δ9-THC are also blunted upon regular exposure. Similar but limited evidence also suggests blunted acute psychotomimetic effects of Δ9-THC in individuals using cannabis regularly."

Full text of the study, "Cannabis use and the development of tolerance: A systematic review of human evidence," appears in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.

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