#NORML #News
Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Thu, 14 Nov 2019 04:20:21 PST

Poll: Most Americans Support Ending Federal Cannabis Criminalization

Washington, DC: More than six in ten US adults say that they favor "changing federal law to legalize marijuana for recreational use," according to national polling data compiled by the Washington DC-based publication Politico and Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It is the third national survey released within the past month showing strong majority support among Americans for legalizing marijuana.

Sixty-two percent of respondents endorsed legalization and 69 percent said that they supported allowing the substance to be sold at state-licensed retail stores. Support for legalization was strongest among self-identified Independents (69 percent) and Democrats (67 percent).

Slight majorities also said that they supported the establishment of state-licensed cannabis cafes (52 percent) and were comfortable with recreational marijuana facilities operating in their local neighborhoods (53 percent).

Consistent with prior polls, most respondents residing in adult-use legal states favor the policy change. Sixty-four percent said that "legalizing marijuana for recreational use ... has been a good thing."

Commenting on the poll results, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said: "At a time when the political divide is larger than ever, the issue of marijuana legalization is one of the few policy issues upon which most Americans agree. With eleven states now having legalized the adult use of cannabis, citizens of all ages and ideologies are seeing the benefits of regulation and rejecting the failed policy of marijuana prohibition. We expect to see public support to continue to grow in 2020 as more and more states implement sensible cannabis regulatory policies."

The poll possesses a margin of error of +/-3.4 percentage points.

Survey: Majority of Americans Falsely Presume the FDA Regulates CBD Products

Washington, DC: Survey data compiled by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) finds that most Americans falsely believe that CBD-infused products sold commercially are regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration.

According to a national sampling of 2,056 US adults, 76 percent of respondents presume that commercially available CBD products are FDA regulated. Another 16 percent of respondents said that they did not know whether they were or were not.

In fact, the FDA does not currently provide any regulatory oversight specific to the production or sale of commercially available CBD-infused products. As a result, third-party lab testing has frequently revealed inconsistencies between the percentage of CBD advertised and the amount actually contained in these products. In many instances – such as those reported here, here, here, here, and here – actual quantities of CBD in the product are far lower than advertised. In other cases, testing has revealed the presence of THC. Some commercial products have also been identified to possess elevated levels of heavy metals and solvents, as well as psychoactive synthetic adulterants.

By contrast, CBD-infused products sold at state-licensed dispensaries are typically subject to state-specific regulations and lab testing protocols. However, such facilities are typically only open to either state-qualified patients or to adults in states that legally regulate cannabis sales.

The GMA survey also reported that just over a third of US adults (34 percent) acknowledge having purchased a CBD-specific product. Among those familiar with CBD, over half (55 percent) say they've purchased it. Data compiled from a separate survey commissioned by Politico reported that one-third of those who say that they are familiar with CBD acknowledge having purchased CBD-related products.

Writing in TheHill.com, the president and CEO of the GMA opined: "The FDA has pledged to give consumers the information they need to make smart choices about CBD products – but estimates that it could take up to five years to establish federal CBD regulations. That timeline is unacceptable for a booming market. Effective, uniform regulation will not only inform consumers, it will allow America's most trusted brands into the CBD market – if they so choose – creating another layer of consumer confidence."

In May, NORML provided written testimony to the US Food and Drug Administration urging the agency to move expeditiously to provide regulatory guidelines governing CBD-infused products, including best practices for their manufacturing, standardization, and purity.

Full text of the GMA survey and accompanying report is available online.

Study: Terminology Doesn't Influence Public's Perception of Marijuana

Nashville, TN: Use of the term 'cannabis' instead of 'marijuana' does not influence the public's perception of the plant or their attitudes, according to data published in the journal PLOS One.

Researchers affiliated with Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee surveyed a nationally representative sampling of adults regarding the terms 'marijuana or 'cannabis.' Specifically, authors examined whether framing the substance as 'marijuana' as opposed to 'cannabis' shapes public attitudes across a range of related topics: support for legalization of the drug, moral acceptance of its use, tolerance of activities involving the drug, perceptions of the drug's harms, and stereotypes of its users.

Investigators reported: "We find no support for the notion that changing the name of the drug from 'marijuana' to 'cannabis' affects public opinion on the drug or the policies governing it. Whether asked about legalization of the drug, the moral acceptability of its use, tolerance for activities involving the drug, the harmfulness of its use, or the traits of its users—and whether they are prompted to think about medical use or use more generally—respondents offered similar opinions whether we called the drug 'marijuana' or 'cannabis.'

By contrast, authors did report that the general public possesses more favorable opinions of the substance "when told it is for medical versus unspecified purposes." That distinction is evident in national polls, which show greater public support for medicalization (93 percent: Quinnipiac, 2019) over adult-use legalization (66 percent: Gallup, 2019).

Commenting on the study's results, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: "Changing the hearts and minds of the public with regard to marijuana has always been about substance, not terminology. Reformers are winning the legalization debate on the strength of our core arguments — namely, the fact that legalization and regulation are better for public health and safety than is criminalization — and not because of any particular change in the lexicon surrounding the cannabis plant."

Full text of the study, "Has the 'M' word been framed? Marijuana, cannabis, and public opinion," appears in PLOS One.

Study: Pain Patients Report Significant Health Improvements Following Enactment of Medical Cannabis Access Laws

Philadelphia, PA: Those suffering from chronic pain report significant improvements in health following the passage of medical cannabis access laws, according to data published in the journal Forum for Health Economics & Policy.

Researchers affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania and the Perelman School of Medicine assessed the impact of medical cannabis legalization laws on self-reported health outcomes.

Investigators reported that pain patients were the group most likely to report health benefits following medical cannabis enactment. They determined: "A MML (medical marijuana law) and protected dispensaries positively affected the health of individuals suffering from chronic pain by reducing the days not in good physical health, days not in good mental health, and days with health-related limitations. ... [T]hese effects translate into reduction in the number of days with health-related issues between 14 percent and 23 percent."

They concluded: "Individuals who report having pain that limits their daily activity see large health improvements. This is the strongest evidence that a group with a high probability of pain medication use sees large benefits from medical marijuana laws."

Separate studies – such as those here, here, and here – consistently report that pain patients reduce their use of opioids following access to medical cannabis therapy. Among state-licensed medical cannabis registrants, two out of three report consuming cannabis to mitigate pain conditions.

Full text of the study, "The impact of medical marijuana laws and dispensaries on self-reported health," appears in Forum for Health Economics & Policy.

Study: Endometriosis Patients Report Subjective Benefits from Marijuana

Phoenix, AZ: The use of either cannabis or cannabis-related products is associated with subjective benefits in women with endometriosis, according to survey data published in the Journal of Minimally Invasive Oncology.

Investigators affiliated with St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona surveyed the attitudes in 364 patients with endometriosis.

Authors reported: "Use of medical marijuana and CBD amongst women with endometriosis is common. Both marijuana and CBD are reported as moderately or very effective for pelvic pain by the majority of women who have tried them, with marijuana reported as more effective than CBD."

Separate survey data published in January in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine reported that the use of cannabis was the most effective self-management strategy engaged in by endometriosis patients.

A 2017 review paper on the subject of cannabinoids and endometriosis concluded: "Pain management for patients with endometriosis needs to be more effective, target the hormonal and immunologic environment, downregulate proliferation while enhancing apoptosis, and normalize the invasive mechanisms and neuroangiogenesis processes. ECS (endocannabinoid system) modulation appears to be a good therapeutic strategy by potentially combining all these factors."

Full text of the study, "Self-reported efficacy of cannabis for endometriosis pain," appears in the Journal of Minimally Invasive Oncology.

Kansas: Legislative Committee Makes Medical Marijuana Recommendations

Topeka, KS: Members of a special legislative committee are supporting recommendations to provide limited medical cannabis access to qualifying patients.

Members of the Special Committee on Federal and State Affairs have called for the approval of legislation in 2020 permitting patients access to non-herbal forms of cannabis, such as edible and topical products. They also recommended providing out-of-state patients with legal protections if they travel to Kansas with medical cannabis.

NORML opposes prohibitions on herbal cannabis formulations and/or inhaling the product.

Legislation enacted earlier this year permits patients with a "debilitating medical condition" to possess oils containing extracts of cannabidiol and only trace percentages of THC. The law provides no regulated system for the production or distribution of high-CBD oil products.

Despite the Committee's recommendations, representatives from state law enforcement organizations indicate that they will continue to oppose any further medical cannabis access efforts.

Pennsylvania: Supreme Court to Decide on Whether Patients Can Use Medical Marijuana While on Probation

Harrisburg, PA: Justices on the state Supreme Court have halted a county-wide policy barring the use of medical cannabis to patients who are on probation until it decides the issue next year.

Members of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania had filed a class action suit (Gass v. 52nd Judicial District) challenging the local ban, calling the policy "Needlessly cruel and in violation of state law."

The group's legal director said, "The Supreme Court's action ... was the right thing to do. ... We look forward to explaining to the court why policies like [this] one ... are illegal and must be struck down."

Courts in other states have issued mixed opinions concerning whether those under court-ordered supervision may still access medical cannabis.

Review: Cannabis Compounds Show Promise in Treatment of Parkinson's Disease

Sao Paulo, Brazil: Plant-derived cannabinoids, including CBD, possess a potential multi-targeted treatment strategy for patients with Parkinson's disease and dyskinesia, according to a literature review published in the journal Neurotoxicity Research.

Brazilian researchers affiliated with the University of Sao Paulo assessed "clinical and preclinical evidence suggesting CBD and other cannabinoids have therapeutic effects in PD" and dyskinesia (involuntary muscle movements).

They concluded: "The studies reviewed here indicate that cannabinoids could influence the development and manifestations of PD and LID [L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia]. Several mechanisms, ranging from direct changes in critical neurotransmitters such as dopamine and glutamate to indirect anti-inflammatory effects, seem to be involved. Among the cannabinoids investigated so far, CBD appears one of the most promising drugs in preclinical trials. It is a 'multi-targeted' compound, with an extensive range of biological effects in different neuropsychiatric disorders. The specific role of this compound in the treatment of these disorders, however, remains to be established by large and comparative clinical trials."

Full text of the study, "Cannabidiol and cannabinoid compounds as potential strategies for treating Parkinson's disease and L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia," appears in Neurotoxicity Research. Additional information on cannabis and Parkinson's disease is available online.

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