#NORML #News Source: @norml @WeedConnection Posted By: firstname.lastname@example.org media :: news - Tue, 28 Nov 2017 04:20:21 PST
Study: Marijuana Use Associated With Decreased In-Hospital Mortality In Heart Failure Patients
Bergenfield, NJ: Heart failure patients with a history of cannabis use possess reduced odds of in-hospital mortality compared to similarly matched controls, according to data published online in the journal Circulation.
Investigators assessed data from over six million heart failure patients over a seven-year period. Patients with a history of cannabis use were less likely to suffer from atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), experienced shorter hospital stays, and were less likely to die during hospitalization as compared to non-users.
"Our study showed that cannabis use lowered the odds of atrial fibrillation in patients with heart failure," authors concluded. "There was also reduced in-hospital mortality among patients admitted for the primary diagnosis of heart failure in DU (cannabis dependent users) and NDU (non-dependent cannabis users) which was not explained by comorbid conditions and demographic data. This study provides important opportunity to explore the preventive mechanism of cannabis on atrial fibrillation and its therapeutic potential in heart failure patients."
Prior studies have similarly reported increased survival rates among marijuana-positive patients hospitalized for trauma, TBI (traumatic brain injury), and heart attacks.
Full text of the study, "Among patients with heart failure, cannabis is associated with reduced occurrence of atrial fibrillation and in-hospital mortality: Evidence from the Nationwide Survey 2007-2014."
Study: Medical Cannabis Registrants More Likely To Cease Using Opioids Compared To Non-Participants
Medical Cannabis or Opioids
Albuquerque, NM: Chronic pain patients enrolled in a statewide medical cannabis access program are significantly more likely to either reduce or cease their use of opioids as compared to non-enrolled patients suffering from similar pain conditions, according to data published online in the journal PLOS One.
A team of investigators at the University of New Mexico assessed opioid prescription use patterns over a 21-month period in 37 pain patients enrolled in the state's medicinal cannabis program versus 29 non-enrolled patients.
Compared to non-users, medical cannabis enrollees "were more likely either to reduce daily opioid prescription dosages between the beginning and end of the sample period (83.8 percent versus 44.8 percent) or to cease filling opioid prescriptions altogether (40.5 percent versus 3.4 percent)." Enrollees were also more likely to report an improved quality of life.
Authors concluded, "The clinically and statistically significant evidence of an association between MCP (medical cannabis program) enrollment and opioid prescription cessation and reductions and improved quality of life warrants further investigations on cannabis as a potential alternative to prescription opioids for treating chronic pain."
Prior studies have similarly reported that patients enrolled in cannabis access programs are more likely to reduce their use of opioids and other prescription drugs.
Full text of the study, "Association between medical cannabis and prescription opioid use in chronic pain patients: A preliminary cohort study," appears in PLOS One.
Buffalo, New York: Blacks Disproportionately Arrested For Minor Marijuana Offenses
Buffalo, NY: African Americans in the city of Buffalo (population 257,000) are disproportionately arrested for low-level marijuana possession offenses, according to an analysis of arrest data by the advocacy group Partnership for the Public Good.
Researchers evaluated marijuana arrest data for Erie County for the years 2012 to 2016. Countywide, blacks comprised 71 percent of all low-level marijuana offenders, despite comprising only 13.5 percent of the population. In the city of Buffalo, 86 percent of those arrested for minor marijuana possession violations were either African American (80 percent) or Hispanic (six percent). Blacks and Hispanic represent fewer than 50 percent of the city's population.
"[T]he disparities in the number of marijuana possession arrests cannot be explained by a higher use among black or Hispanic people," authors concluded. "Legalizing marijuana would reduce low-level drug arrests by ten percent, and help reduce racial disparities in overall arrest numbers."
Recent analyses from other states, such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, have similarly identified racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests. Nationwide, African Americans are four times more likely than whites to be arrested for possessing marijuana, despite members of both ethnicities using the substance at similar rates.
Full text of the report, "Advancing Racial Equity and Public Health: Smarter Marijuana Laws in Western New York," appears online.
Literature Review: "Substantial" Clinical Evidence Supports Medical Cannabis Efficacy
Boston, MA: Substantial clinical trial data exists to support the efficacy of medical cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain conditions, pediatric epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis, according to a literature review published online ahead of print in the journal Polish Archives of Internal Medicine.
Investigators from Harvard Medical School and New York Medical College reviewed randomized, placebo-controlled studies assessing the administration of medical cannabis in various patient populations.
Authors identified "moderate to high" quality evidence in support of the efficacy of cannabis for chronic/neuropathic pain, spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, and seizures. There exists "substantial evidence supporting the efficacy of medical cannabis pharmacotherapy" in the treatment of these disorders, researchers concluded. They identified "moderate" quality evidence in support of the efficacy of cannabis in the treatment of HIV/AIDS and gastrointestinal disorders.
"As medical cannabis laws continue to be passed internationally, patient requests for medical cannabis will likely increase," they concluded. "Physicians must take the same steps with these patients as they would with prescribing any other medications to ensure that medical cannabis is recommended appropriately and as safely as possible. ... Cannabis is often used for recreational purposes, but this should not affect how physicians view data collected on its efficacy at treating certain medical conditions."
Full text of the study, "Medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain and other disorders: misconceptions and facts," appears in the Polish Archives of Internal Medicine.
Wisconsin: Lawmakers Unanimously Approve Hemp Research Act
Madison, WI: Members of the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate have unanimously approved legislation, Senate Bill 119, to establish a state-sponsored pilot program to "study the growth, cultivation, and marketing of industrial hemp." The measure now awaits final approval from Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
Under a 2014 federal law, states may license hemp cultivation as part of a university sponsored pilot program. Thirty-two universities in nineteen states - Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia - have participated in hemp cultivation projects this year, according to data compiled by the advocacy organization Vote Hemp.
Federal legislation is pending, House Bill 3530: The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017, to exclude cannabis strains under 0.3 percent THC from the federal definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. In August, the National Conference on State Legislatures unanimously approved a policy position in support of amending federal law to reclassify hemp as a distinct agricultural crop and permitting states to engage in its commercial cultivation.