#NORML #News
Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Tue, 23 Oct 2018 04:20:21 PST

Canada: Licensed Provincial Operations Begin Retail Marijuana Sales

Ottawa, Ontario: Legislation permitting the possession, use, cultivation, and retail sale of cannabis took effect on Wednesday. Canada is only the second country in the world to explicitly legalize cannabis production and sales nationwide.

The new federal law permits those age 18 and older to legally possess (up to 30 grams) and grow cannabis (up to four plants of any size per household). Individual provinces possess the authority to enact additional regulations with respect to its distribution, such as raising the legal age limit to purchase cannabis or by restricting home grow operations.

The Act federally licenses commercial producers of cannabis and of certain cannabis-infused products, while permitting provinces to regulate retail sales in public (government operated) and private stores, subject to local rules. The new social use regulations do not amend Canada's existing medical marijuana access laws, which have been in place since 2001.

Separate legislation is expected to be forthcoming to facilitate a process where those with past convictions for minor marijuana offenses may be granted pardons.

The enactment of the law fulfills a campaign pledge by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who promised shortly after taking office in 2015 to legalize and regulate the marijuana market. Prime Minister Trudeau, who formerly opposed legalization, cites a 2012 meeting with NORML members as the impetus for reversing his position on the issue.

FDA Calls for Public Comments Regarding International Classification Of Cannabis

Rockville, MD: The US Food and Drug Administration is seeking public comments specific to whether changes ought to be recommended regarding the international classification of cannabis as a controlled substance. Members of the public have until October 31, 2018 to submit their comments to the FDA for consideration.

The FDA says that the comments "will 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.

In April, in response to a similar FDA request, NORML collected and hand-delivered over 10,000 comments to the agency calling on it to recommend a lifting of international restrictions criminalizing the plant.

In NORML's latest comments to the FDA, it opines 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."


United Kingdom: Health Regulators To Reclassify Certain 'Cannabis-Derived Medicinal Products'

London, United Kingdom: British regulators have announced their intent to reclassify certain marijuana-derived products so that they may be made available by prescription.

The proposed scheduling change follows a July 2018 government review, which concluded, "[T]here is now conclusive evidence of medicinal benefit of cannabis-based products for certain medical conditions." A number of parents who sought access to cannabis-based tinctures as a potential anti-seizure treatment for their children also prominently campaigned for the law change.

According to a Home Office press release, regulators must still define which specific products will explicitly be reclassified from Schedule I to Schedule II. It states, "The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will now develop a clear definition of what constitutes a cannabis-derived medicinal product so they can be rescheduled and prescribed. Only products meeting this definition will be rescheduled. Other forms of cannabis will be kept under strict controls and will not be available on prescription."

Until that process is completed, clinicians will have to apply to an "independent expert panel" in order to seek permission to legally prescribe cannabis-derived products to their patients.

Study: Marijuana Use Associated With Lower Diabetes Risk

Toronto, Canada: The past use of cannabis is significantly associated with lower odds of diabetes in adults, according to data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review.

Investigators with the University of Toronto assessed the association between cannabis use and diabetes in a nationally representative sample, while accounting for a range of potential confounders – including lifestyle behaviors, socio-demographics, and mental health disorders.

Compared to non-users, subjects with a history of cannabis use possessed an approximately 20 percent decreased likelihood of diabetes. Those subjects with past-year marijuana use possessed an approximately 50 percent decreased risk.

"In sum, a decreased likelihood of diabetes for both lifetime and 12-month cannabis users versus non-users was found after accounting for a range of potential confounders, including mental health disorders," authors concluded.

Although authors cautioned that "additional epidemiological studies … are needed before protective effects of cannabis can be suggested," the study is one of several population studies identifying a positive association between lifetime cannabis consumption and a reduced risk for diabetes.

Full text of the study, "The relationship between cannabis use and diabetes: Results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions III," appears in Drug and Alcohol Review.

Study: Cannabis Strains Often Possess Similar Plant Chemistry

Kelowna, Canada: Various 'strains' of cannabis possess nearly identical ratios of the primary cannabinoids THC and CBD, according to data published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia analyzed the cannabinoid composition of 33 separate cannabis strains, obtained from five licensed producers. They reported that most strains, regardless of their origin, name, or whether they were classified as either indica or sativa, possessed nearly the same quantities of THC and CBD. By contrast, many strains did differ from one another with regard to the abundance of other, less prevalent cannabinoids.

"A high abundance compound in a plant, such as THC or CBD, isn't necessarily responsible for the unique medicinal effects of certain strains," the study's lead author opined in a press release. "Understanding the presence of the low abundance cannabinoids could provide valuable information to the medical cannabis community."

The data is consistent with prior analyses finding that many so-called cannabis strains actually possess few significant genetic differences.

Full text of the study, "Chemometric analysis of cannabinoids: Chemotaxonomy and domestication syndrome," appears in Scientific Reports.

Study: Synthetic CBD Administration Associated With Anti-Cancer Activity In Patients

London, United Kingdom: Patients with advanced forms of cancer exhibit a clinical response to the long-term use of synthetic CBD, according to data published in the journal Anticancer Research.

British investigators assessed the effects of twice-daily CBD administration on 119 cancer patients over a four-year period. Synthetic CBD oil extracts were provided by the British biotechnology firm STI Pharmaceuticals. Subjects consumed the oil for a minimum period of six months.

Authors reported that over 90 percent of subjects exhibited a clinical response to CBD treatment, with some patients experiencing a reduction in tumor size and tumor cell proliferation.

Numerous prior studies have demonstrated cannabinoids, particularly CBD and THC, to possess anti-cancer activity in preclinical models. To date, however, this activity has not yet been replicated in controlled human trials.

Authors concluded: "The fact that we have been able to document improvement … strongly supports further studies of CBD-based products in cancer patients who have exhausted standard treatments."

Full text of the study, "Report of objective clinical responses of cancer patients to pharmaceutical-grade synthetic cannabidiol," appears here. NORML's literature review on cannabinoids and cancer is online.

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