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Feds Report Significant Year-Over-Year Decline in Marijuana Seizures at the US Border

Washington, DC: Federal officials report a significant drop in the quantity of marijuana they are seizing at the US international border, according to data compiled by the US Department of Homeland Security.

According to reporting provided by borderreport.com, "Department of Homeland Security agencies in FY2021 seized 160 tons of marijuana, an average of 874 pounds a day. With three months left in the current fiscal year, agents have seized 56 tons, an average of 408 pounds a day."

The year-over-year decline in marijuana-related seizures at the border is in stark contrast to more generalized data showing a 25 percent increase in overall drug-related seizures. However, it is consistent with longstanding trends previously reported by the US Drug Enforcement Administration that determined, "In US markets, Mexican marijuana has largely been supplanted by domestic-produced marijuana."

Separate data provided earlier this year by the US Government Accounting Office reported that "most drug seizure events [at the US border] involved only US citizens (91 percent), of which 75 percent involved the seizure of marijuana and no other drugs." Of those seizures, 69 percent involved only personal use quantities of cannabis.

Additional information on drug-related border seizures is available from the US Customs and Border Protection agency.

Study: Legalization of Retail Cannabis Sales Not Linked to Any Increase in Youth Use

East Lansing, MI: The adoption of statewide laws regulating the sale of marijuana products to adults is not associated with any increase in cannabis initiation among people under the age of 21, according to data published in the journal PLoS One.

Researchers affiliated with Michigan State University assessed marijuana use trends in a nationally representative cohort of subjects in order to evaluate whether or not legalization was associated with any changes in the percentage of people initiating cannabis use for the first time.

Investigators identified an increase in the number of new adult cannabis consumers following legalization, but they reported no changes among those under 21 years of age.

They reported: "These results show consistent evidence of an increase in the occurrence of newly incident cannabis use for adults aged 21 years and older after the removal of prohibitions against cannabis retail sales. For those aged 12-20-years-old, the study estimates support the hypothesis that RCLs [recreational cannabis laws] did not affect the occurrence of newly incident cannabis use for underage persons."

The findings are consistent with those of prior studies reporting that adult-use legalization is not associated with either increased use or access among young people.

"Cannabis policy liberalization continues to be a contentious issue in the national political landscape. ... Policymakers and the voters who elect these policy-makers cannot make the best judgments in the absence of evidence, unless their decisions are to be based on potentially erroneous prejudices or beliefs," authors concluded. "The evidence from this study is not perfect, but the estimates provide an evidence base that can be judged in relation to an important question - namely, should we worry about underage cannabis use when adults are allowed to buy cannabis products in retail shops? And might the occurrence of adult-onset newly incident cannabis use increase if this policy change is made? The answer to the first question at this point seems to be that there has been no policy influence on cannabis incidence in the underage adolescent population after adults have been allowed to buy cannabis in retail shops. The answer to the second question at this point indicates a tangible uptick in the occurrence of newly incident cannabis use among adults who otherwise might never have tried cannabis. We are hopeful that voters, policymakers, and public health officials can use this evidence as they forecast what might change if cannabis policies are liberalized to permit adult purchases from retail cannabis shops in their jurisdictions."

Full text of the study, "Estimating the effects of legalizing recreational cannabis on newly incident cannabis use," appears in PLoS One.

Analysis: Labels Often Inaccurate for Hemp-Derived CBD Topical Products

Baltimore, MD: A significant percentage of hemp-derived CBD topical products contain percentages of CBD and THC that differ significantly from what is listed on their packaging, according to data published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

A team of researchers affiliated with John Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration assessed the purity of 105 commercially available hemp-derived CBD topical products.

Of the 89 products that provided information regarding the percentage of CBD available in them, only 24 percent provided accurate data. Thirty-five percent of topical products also tested positive for trace quantities of THC - including 11 percent of products that were explicitly labeled as "THC free." (Over half of the products tested made no mention of THC on the product label.)

The findings are consistent with dozens of prior studies similarly reporting that commercially available CBD products seldom provide accurate information on their packaging.

Authors concluded, "This case series found that topical cannabinoid products purchased online and at popular retail stores were often inaccurately labeled for CBD content and many contained the psychoactive cannabis constituent THC. Moreover, some products made therapeutic claims for indications not approved by the FDA. These findings highlight the need for proper regulatory oversight of cannabis and hemp products to ensure these products meet established standards for quality assurance and so that consumers are not misled by unproven therapeutic or cosmetic claims."

More than three years following the passage of federal legislation legalizing hemp production, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to promulgate rules regulating the marketing and sale of commercial products containing hemp-derived CBD or other cannabinoids. Survey data compiled by the National Consumers League previously determined that more than eight in ten US voters desire greater federal regulatory oversight over the labeling and marketing of commercially available CBD products.

Full text of the study, "Cannabinoid content and label accuracy of hemp-derived topical products available online and at national retail stores," appears in JAMA Network Open.

CBD Extract Shows Anti-Bacterial Activity Against Salmonella in Preclinical Model

Montgomery, AL: Whole-plant CBD extracts exhibit anti-bacterial activity against various species of salmonella, according to preclinical data published in the journal Molecules. Salmonella species are among the most common and prevalent foodborne pathogens worldwide.

A team of scientists affiliated with Alabama State University assessed the efficacy of CBD as an anti-bacterial agent against salmonella newington and salmonella typhimurium.

Researchers determined that CBD extracts inhibited salmonella bacteria cell growth in culture in a manner similar to that of the conventional antibiotic ampicillin.

They reported: "Salmonella infections are typically treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics such as ampicillin; however, the development of resistance to these treatments has become more prevalent, thus increasing the need for alternative treatments. ... These experiments confirmed that CBD has antibacterial activity against our target bacteria. Additionally, our comparative studies showed that CBD has antibacterial activity similar to ampicillin. ... These results posed the question of CBD-antibiotic co-therapy as a potential novel application."

They concluded: "Discovery and development of novel antibacterial agents such as CBD are a major step towards the future of therapeutics in a world where antibiotics are no longer efficacious and cost effective. .... This study further progresses our current knowledge on the effectiveness of CBD as an antibacterial agent and demonstrates the effectiveness of CBD against Gram-negative bacteria, S. typhimurium and S. newington. ... While this study illuminates the potential of CBD as a therapeutic and fills a void in the current literature, future work is necessary for further development of this bioactive compound as a therapeutic agent."

Initial acknowledgements in the scientific literature of cannabinoids' antibacterial properties date back over six decades. More recently, preclinical studies have demonstrated that cannabinoids can inhibit the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (a/k/a MRSA), malaria, and certain forms of dental bacteria.

Full text of the study, "Cannabis sativa CBD extract shows promising antibacterial activity against salmonella typhimurium and salmonella newington," appears in Molecules.

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