Study: Cannabis Lozenge Associated With Reduced Opioid Use
Huntington Beach, CA: Patients who consume plant-derived cannabis extracts in the form of an oral lozenge report reductions in chronic pain and opioid use, according to clinical data published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.
Investigators from the United States, the Netherlands, and Spain assessed the safety and efficacy of the Trokie brand lozenge in a cohort of medical cannabis patients in California. The lozenges contained standardized quantities of THC and/or CBD.
Researchers reported: "[T]he use of Trokie® lozenges is associated with a self-reported pain reduction in chronic, non-cancer pain patients. ... [T]he proportion of participants reducing or discontinuing opiate analgesics was ... 84 percent, similar to what has been previously found in a study based on patient self-reports. ... [T]he findings support the need for conducting a phase 1 clinical trial to formally characterize the pharmacokinetic profile of Trokie® lozenges in humans."
Several prior studies have similarly reported that chronic pain patients enrolled in state-sponsored medical cannabis access programs reduce or eliminate their use of opioids over time.
Full text of the study, "Self-reported effectiveness and safety of Trokie® lozenges: A standardized formulation for the buccal delivery of cannabis extracts," appears in Frontiers in Neuroscience. NORML's fact-sheet highlighting the relevant, peer-reviewed research specific to the relationship between cannabis and opioids is available online.
First Ever Veterans-Focused Medical Bill Introduced In Senate
Washington, DC: Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) on Wednesday introduced legislation, The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, to expand and facilitate medical cannabis access to military veterans suffering from chronic pain, PTSD, and other serious medical conditions.
Under existing regulations, VA doctors are not permitted to fill out the mandatory paperwork necessary to recommend cannabis therapy in those 31 states that regulate it. Passage of The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act ends this discrimination against veterans and prevents sanctions against VA doctors who wish to recommend medical cannabis treatment to their patients. The Act also encourages the Veterans Administration to promulgate medical cannabis research, and appropriates funding for scientific studies.
A recent American Legion poll found that nearly one in four veterans use marijuana to alleviate a medical condition. A 2017 review of over 10,000 studies by the National Academy of Sciences concluded, "There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis and cannabinoids are effective for the treatment for chronic pain in adults."
Similar legislation, The Veterans Equal Access Act (HR 1820) is pending in the House.
Delaware: Governor Signs Marijuana Expungement Bill Into Law
Dover, DE: Democrat Gov. John Carney has signed legislation into law vacating past, low-level marijuana convictions.
Senate Bill 197, which took immediate effect, "provides mandatory expungement eligibility to individuals who were convicted of the possession [of one ounce or less], use or consumption of marijuana prior to Delaware's decriminalization of these offenses."
State lawmakers in 2015 enacted legislation reducing the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis from a criminal act to a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine only - no arrest, and no criminal record.
To be eligible for expungement under the new law, the defendant must have no other criminal convictions on their record.
In recent years, lawmakers in several states - including Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon, and Rhode Island - have enacted similar expungement laws following the passage of either marijuana decriminalization or legalization. In California, legislation providing for mandatory expungement of past marijuana convictions is awaiting the Governor's signature. An estimated 220,000 cases would be eligible for erasure or a reduction under the proposed California law.
According to a nationwide poll released in June, 73 percent of Americans support the enactment of legislation "to automatically seal the records of individuals convicted of crimes related to the possession of marijuana."
Study: Cannabis Use Associated With Reduced Risk Of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms
Chicago, IL: Males with a history of cannabis use are far less likely than non-users to suffer from lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), according to data published in the journal Urology.
Investigators with the University of Chicago assessed the relationship between cannabis use and LUTS in a nationally representative sample of men between the ages of 20 and 59. Those who acknowledged regular marijuana use were nearly twice less likely to report LUTS as compared to non-users, after authors adjusted for other potential confounding variables.
"Regular THC use ... appears to be protective from LUTS in young ... men," authors concluded.
Full text of the study, "The association between tetrahydrocannabinol and lower urinary tract symptoms utilizing the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey," appears in Urology.
Florida: Medical Cannabis Opposition Hurts Governor's Senate Bid
St. Petersburg, FL: Republican Gov. Rick Scott's failure to expeditiously implement the state's voter-approved medical cannabis law hurts his support among voters, according to polling data compiled by StPetePolls.org for FloridaPolitics.com.
Nearly half of voters polled (49 percent) said that they are "less likely" to support Scott's US Senate candidacy because he "opposed medical marijuana" legalization, and because "his administration delayed implementation of the [voter-initiated] law." Only 37 percent of respondents said that they would be "more likely" to support his candidacy.
Seventy-one percent of voters in November 2016 approved Amendment 2, a constitutional amendment to permit medical cannabis access. Lawmakers in 2017 significantly amended the law to bar patients' use of smoked cannabis, among other changes. In May, a Florida Circuit Court struck down the smoking ban, but the state is appealing that decision.
According to the St. Pete Polls survey, 66 percent of voters believe "that legal medical patients in Florida should be allowed to smoke medical marijuana," and 74 percent are supportive of permitting doctors to recommend cannabis therapy to authorized patients.
Delaware: More Patients Now Eligible For Medical Cannabis Therapy
Dover, DE: Democrat Governor John Carney has signed legislation into law expanding the pool of patients eligible to access medical marijuana.
House Bill 374, which took immediate effect, expands the statutory definition of a "debilitating medical condition" under the state's medical cannabis law to include glaucoma and "chronic debilitating migraines."
An earlier version of the bill also sought to include pediatric autism spectrum disorder.
Report: Marijuana Retailers Aren't Magnets For Serious Crimes
San Diego, CA: State-licensed marijuana retailers are not magnets for serious criminal activity, according to a six-month analysis of law enforcement data conducted by the Voice of San Diego newspaper.
Reporters reviewed emergency calls between January and June 2018 - the first six-months during which state-licensed retailers were permitted to operate within the city. Investigators determined that relatively few calls were directly related to any of the city's 13 licensed storefronts, and that "most of the requests for police assistance were low-priority" in nature - such as responding to false security alarms.
"Those findings should reassure not just San Diegans who might live near a dispensary, but also officials across the country who've expressed concern that legal marijuana storefronts will attract crime," the report concluded.
Prior studies - such as those here, here, here, and here - have similarly failed to report a relationship between the establishment of cannabis retailers and an uptick in neighborhood crime.
NORML's fact-sheet, "Societal Impacts of Cannabis Dispensaries/Retailers," appears online.