Consuming Food Rich in Flavonoids Can Reduce Excess Body Weight During Pregnancy
A recent study has found that women who consume food rich in flavonoids during pregnancy (found in fruits, vegetation, and also in cannabis, tend to have less excess body weight. European studies have also reported that flavonoid-rich diets during pregnancy can reduce the risk of gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) but their studies recorded women consuming even higher amounts of flavonoids that the women in the American study. A meta-analysis of American and European studies confirms that pregnant women who maintain a flavonoid-rich diet have an easier time managing the excess weight associated with pregnancy.
A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review Across Species
A recent review has exposed the contrasting information found in human and mouse model studies that study cannabis-based medicines. Acute THC use impairs non-spatial memory in humans and monkeys but not in rodents. Previous research has shown that chronic cannabis use is correlated with lower cognitive function but a mechanism of action for the decline in cognitive function has yet to be identified, and several studies have pointed that the decline is short-lived, perhaps caused by acute intoxication. This study provides evidence for cannabis-based clinical trials due to THC’s species-specific effects on memory. More information is needed to examine the full effect of cannabis on human memory as animal models have now been proven to be inaccurate.
2020: A new year with a brand new vision of success!
By: Callie Farmer
From Tokyo to Tennessee, New Year’s Eve hails celebrations among friends, luxurious preparations, sharing celebratory beverages and cheers with family and strangers alike, often to excess. Festivities reflect cultural norms, personal preferences, and regional customs.
How will you bring in the new year!?
Let’s consider alcohol for a moment: A cross-cultural icon, for millennia, alcohol is the prototypical celebratory libation. Why is it that at every social gathering, from holidays to periodic festivities, including birthdays and funerals, alcohol is often the beverage of choice? For some, these social gatherings carry elements of anxiety or nervous discomfort. Meeting new people, striking up small-talk with an old friend on queue, or lurching oneself into celebration mode in the midst of an otherwise normal life, can all be stressful events. The qualities of “social lubrication,” that alcohol offers may be enticing in such circumstances. Over the years, marketing alcohol to the public as “Spirits” “a good time!” and “a socially acceptable way to shut off your brain” has promoted and sustained the giant alcohol industry’s lasting dominance.
Anxiety is one of the top 3 reasons that patients report while applying for access to medical cannabis programs. Although it may be ingrained in global culture to share beverages at social occasions, might it be possible for the alcohol ingredient to be peeled away from these social customs? Might cannabis present itself as an alternative ingredient to quell anxiety inside a delicious, beneficial, and also fun concoction?
Choosing not to wake up feeling anxious, nauseous, and irritable from an alcohol hangover, for New Years 2020 many celebrators will be embarking on a new tradition: Tincture “Mock-tails!” Below you’ll find a wonderful recipe for a medicated Moscow Mule!
As always, when consuming anything with potential intoxication, be mindful of dosage! Cannabis can have adverse effects just like alcohol, including dizziness, dry mouth, itchy eyes, and delayed cognitive ability, and increased appetite.
MEDICATED MOSCOW MULE
16 oz Ginger Beer (non-alcoholic)
1 T fresh-squeezed lime juice
2-3 drops of Lemon-flavored tincture (Try a 1:1 CBD/THC blend)
1 lime wedge
½ cup ice
(Optional) Copper Mug
Fill your preferred drinking vessel with ice, then ginger beer.
Add tincture and stir.
Top with lime juice, and stir again!
Garnish with lime wheel, and enjoy.
Special thanks to Curaleaf for this wonderful recipe!
Year 2019 was an up and down year for the cannabis industry. As the year comes to a close, let us take some time to reflect on what transpired during this transitional period for the cannabis industry. Hopefully, a detailed look at what happened may shed some light on what is ahead in 2020.
First, public opinion on cannabis has continued to rise. For the first time, poll results suggested that more than two-thirds of Americans support legalization. Such a pervasive, bipartisan, agreement for a fundamental change in the law is rare, and is a true reflection of the state of the industry now, and where the industry is headed.
Riding along with public opinion, Congress saw more movement towards full legalization than in any single year prior. The list of cannabis-related bills that were introduced in Congress this year tops 15, covering topics from banking to immigration. Most noteworthy among those bills are the MORE Act, a comprehensive legalization bill that passed its committee in the House, and the SAFE Banking Act, which passed the full House by a landmark 321-102 bipartisan vote. At the same time that these provide an optimistic outlook for the federal regime, no actual progress has been made in Congress, largely because the Republican-led Senate remains staunchly opposed to reform (google “Mitch marijuana machete” for an idea of Mitch McConnell’s recent activities relating to drug policy reform).
The executive branch has not been without movement either. President Trump does not have the traditional hard-lined anti-cannabis stance that some Republican leaders espouse. He campaigned on a platform of not interfering with states’ ability to manage their own medical and adult-use programs. He has publicly stated his support for the States’ Act, a bill that would essentially codify the same, leaving enforcement up to the states. Under Trump, the FinCEN continued its policy of allowing banks to do business with the cannabis industry, assuming that the Suspicious Activity Report (“SAR”) requirements were being followed. There are also no known examples of DEA or other federal law enforcement actions taken against operators lawfully operating under state law.
At the same time, the executive branch has made moves against the legalization movement. In 2018, then-AG Sessions rescinded the Cole Memorandum, signaling that the feds were looking into increasing enforcement against cannabis businesses (Thankfully Sessions is no longer a part of the administration, as his views are notoriously more anti-legalization than Trump’s). Just last week, as Trump signed the yearly spending bill into law, he attached a vague statement reserving the right to enforce federal law even in the face of full state-law compliance. Overall the federal government has progressed, albeit slowly, in the right direction.
Many states had significant progress towards legalization in 2019. Illinois became the 11th state to fully legalize adult-use, while Hawaii, New Mexico, and North Dakota decriminalized. We now stand with 33 states having passed a robust medical program, a full two-thirds of the union. Bills were proposed in more than two dozen states, some to expand existing frameworks, and others to create new ones. Just this week Alabama’s legislature’s commission recommended legalizing for medical purposes, a stark shift from the traditional views thought to be widely-held in the deep south. Overall the trend is clearly moving towards more states joining the legalization team, some quicker than others.
Though 2018 set a high bar for the hemp/CBD industry in terms of significant reform, Year 2019 arguably topped the significant progress of the 2018 Farm bill. In October, the USDA published its interim final rule, providing much-needed guidance to the hemp community. It created a federal framework for hemp farmers, creating registration, licensing, and testing requirements. It also allowed states to create their own systems, and many of the largest states for hemp farming are doing just that. FinCEN, the same treasury bureau that regulates banking for marijuana businesses, announced in December that banks may do business with the hemp industry without having to adhere to the SAR reporting requirements like those doing business with marijuana.
At the same time, the hemp/CBD industry skyrocketed in 2019. We saw an explosion of CBD products, and the industry is now estimated to be worth $4 billion. Tinctures, edibles, lotions, balms, you name it, someone has put CBD in it and made money this year. There remains so much uncertainty about the legalities of the market, and many have taken advantage of this “Wild West” atmosphere to quickly seize market shares, without guaranteed continuity once enforcement occurs. Year 2019 was not without foreshadowing of enforcement, however. In November, the FDA sent out warning labels to several companies that were selling CBD products. The letters go into detail regarding the various items being sold and analyzed how each company was violating various laws. Although the FDA hasn’t actually seized anyone’s assets or froze any bank accounts, they are clearly watching and thinking about doing it.
A really interesting piece of news swept the nation this year. At the beginning of November, the NYPD posted a picture of two officers posing with “106 pounds of marijuana that was destined for our city streets”, bragging about its success. Only one problem… it was all legal hemp, with certifying papers and all. The NYPD quickly dropped all the charges, and recently returned the hemp to the owner. This incident also highlights a significant issue with the hemp industry, in that it comes from and has all the outward appearance of marijuana, leading to confusion and enforcement problems. Until law enforcement agencies are properly trained, this type of incident is likely to repeat itself.
Year 2019 also took its toll on many cannabis companies. Large companies like Eaze and MedMen had to lay off many employees, as the actual returns were less than what their projections anticipated. Many stocks took big hits in 2019, for the same reasons. The projections for the industry have been huge, and are likely accurate, but are also likely skewed because of the nature of the industry. There is still a large “traditional” market in existence, which continues to dwarf the legal one. While some have come out of the shadows, progress remains slow because of the monumental taxes, regulations, and difficulties associated with being a fully-legal operating cannabis company.
WHAT ABOUT 2020?
The year 2020 is upon us. The cannabis industry is not going anywhere. It will continue to grow and mature as the year goes on. We aren’t going to see any reversal of the general trend towards legalization. At the federal level, I don’t believe that 2020 will see a single cannabis bill passed and enacted into law, and certainly nothing like full legalization. The country is not ready for it yet, as many of the industry leaders remain staunchly opposed for two reasons. First, there remains distrust and skepticism that is leftover from the reefer madness days. Many politicians still feel that marijuana is a gateway drug to other substances, and until they are convinced otherwise will stay opposed. Second, and more sinister perhaps, legalization denotes trouble for industries like alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals, all of whom stand to lose significant market shares once cannabis replaces these vices as people’s substance of choice. Lobbyists for these industries continue to work tirelessly to oppose legalization, and members of Congress are still forced to follow. Until these issues change, we must wait for full legalization.
At the state level, change will happen, and rapidly. Already several states seem poised to have recreational programs on the ballot, in states where it is almost certain to pass. These include New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Minnesota, Vermont, and Pennsylvania, all of whom will pass legalization by years end. More states will join the medical bandwagon, leaving perhaps one or two states with absolutely no cannabis legalization framework.
Public opinion will continue to positively increase and have more of an impact on the industry. If in 2019 we finally hit 66%, I predict that Year 2020 will have us hit 75%. As the younger generation grows up, and as the older one retires and fades away, the numbers will continue to rise. At the same time, science continues to develop, as new studies are coming out nearly every week showing another beneficial use of the cannabis plant. At the same time, organizations like CED Foundation and The IJCA continue to run awareness campaigns and spread the word, adding to the number of people who are exposed to ideas and understanding of the plant’s many uses. More studies and more awareness, reaching even more people, means more backing for legalization.
Hemp is poised for a huge gain in 2020. With the federal regulations in place, the industry now has definitive guidance on the government’s position. While CBD as medicine remains a tricky subject, certainly hemp’s use as a tobacco alternative, a plastic alternative, textiles, fabric, and other industry uses will skyrocket. I also believe that 2020 will see the FDA, DEA and USDA will work out some of the kinks with using CBD as an active ingredient, providing helpful guidance to an industry running around like a headless chicken. Once that occurs, again, the industry will expand rapidly, as more certainty from the government will allow more companies to enter the market.
Lastly, I think 2019 brought some valuable lessons to the industry. The way the projections did not turn into reality, and the hits that many businesses had to take, give us some really important lessons. Caution is urged when investing in an industry plagued by burdensome regulations and strong financial incentives not to join the legal market. The “traditional” market remains the elephant in the room. The likelihood of real enforcement crackdown is low, because of limited resources, sheer numbers, and the probability that any enforcement would result in really bad press. Because investors have now been warned, the industry’s growth will slow. We will continue to see startups join the market, but perhaps on a smaller scale.
I hope that this discrepancy between projections and sales will also be a lesson for our legislatures. They need to come up with solutions that create subsidies for those coming out of the shadows so that states can see the actual revenues they hoped for. They may have to accept several billion in illegal sales as water under the bridge. They may have to lower tax rates to incentivize people to legitimize their operations. They may have to lessen the licensing requirements, making it easier and cheaper for those interested in joining to actually do so. The specific decisions are theirs to make, but they need to get creative about solving this problem.
Overall 2019 was a successful year for the industry. Even the downsizing and financial hits taken will prove to be valuable in the long run. Just like getting out of bed too fast can result in injury, an industry that expands too rapidly can result in harmful consequences.
Benjamin Caplan, MDWHAT 2019 HAS TAUGHT US ABOUT WHAT 2020 WILL LOOK LIKE: PROCEED WITH CAUTION
The Importance of Chemical Structure: Functional Groups of Flavonoids
A recent study has revealed the detrimental effects of the flavonoid luteolin on neuronal differentiation in embryonic stem cells. Luteolin is a dietary flavonoid that has been researched due to its anti-cancer, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory actions and is now being looked into for its supposed neuroprotective qualities. This study found that although luteolin does have some neuroprotective benefits it also has harmful side effects on neuronal development. Apigenin is a similar flavonoid that also has neuroprotective qualities but does not disrupt differentiation, emphasizing how slight differences in chemical structure can change the effects of a flavonoid.
A Call to Arms: Share Accurate Medical Information on the Internet
In a piece by Jen Gunter, an OBGYN clinician and pain specialist, she calls on other physicians to help educate the public by sharing accurate medical information and encourages the public to participate by liking well-cited sources. Medical misinformation spreads like wildfire, promoting bogus products to ill-advised patients, or convincing people that their headache is due to cancer. Dr. Gunter was encouraged to write this piece due to her own experience raising her premature children and finding mountains of misinformation.
Help other physicians and foundations like the CED Foundation to spread accurate medical advice and well-sourced evidence-based medical literature by sharing well-cited articles and liking posts that you find helpful. The more popular a post is the more likely it will pop up on other peoples pages due to social media platforms algorithm. Help spread accurate medical information!
Researchers have recently provided evidence that a flavonol extract derived from a common flower has antinociceptive (pain-relieving) properties. Sweet-scented Marigold has been used is frequently used in cooking techniques in South America and has now been found to alleviate pain through serotonin and opioid mechanisms of action. The antinociceptive properties of this flavonol, like those of many other plant-derived compounds, are ripe for testing in a clinical setting to determine their effectiveness in human patients. In this small animal study, it clearly demonstrates promise as a safe alternative to commonly used pain medications.
Dr. Caplan and the #MDTake:
Modern medicine seems to have largely forgotten its roots. Long before pharmaceutical companies were the source of all medication, the earth served as a resource for medications, and apothecaries, pharmacists, and druggists, as they were known, supported the medical industry with formulations and a deep understanding of natural resources. As the greater scientific arena and dominant culture have lost touch with the earth’s natural medicinal resources, our culture has lost a deeply valuable reservoir of opportunity. As the fast-paced life of modernity demands faster results on an ever-greater, mass-production scale, the construction of sprawling cities, which often demands deforestation and destruction of natural resources, may turn out to be a greater threat to human health than most of us have yet to even understand.
As with all elements of the aging process, the human endocannabinoid system loses tone over time. Whether it is a reduction in the numbers of cannabinoid receptors or a slow waning of the machinery used to create the signaling molecules that bind to the receptors or the natural senescence of the system that supports all of these normal signaling processes, the fact remains that adults over 50 are best-suited for external support for the endocannabinoid system.
Indeed, the average age at dispensaries is surprising to most who are not familiar with the modern medical cannabis arena. Baby Boomers, perhaps more than any other age group, tend to dominate the medical cannabis dispensaries. This is no new phenomenon, however. Through the ages, across cultures and around the globe, cannabis has been consumed primarily by older adults. Whether by tribe elders, wise councilmen, spiritual leaders, or the educated elite, cannabis has been an integral part of human aging for as long as we have recorded history.
Here, a review out of Israel followed at 184 patients over 65 (average age was 81.2) beginning cannabis treatment. 63.6% were female. “After six months of treatment, 58.1% were still using cannabis. Of these patients, 33.6% reported adverse events, the most common of which were dizziness (12.1%) and sleepiness and fatigue (11.2%). Of the respondents, 84.8% reported some degree of improvement in their general condition.”
Appropriately, the authors advise caution for older adults related to those adults who may be consuming multiple pharmaceuticals, for potential medication interaction effects, as well as nervous system impairment, and increased cardiovascular risk for those who may quire the concern. Wisely, they recommend that “Medical cannabis should still be considered carefully and individually for each patient after a risk-benefit analysis and followed by frequent monitoring for efficacy and adverse events.”
Dr. Caplan and the #MDTake:
At CED Clinic, we have long seen that the average age of medical patients is over 50. Whether for concerns related to sleep, pain, mental or physical health, it seems as though Baby Boomers have either weathered enough politics to have developed a healthy cynicism for the misinformation campaigns of the 1930s and 1970s, or they have direct or indirect experience with cannabis to have learned of its safety and efficacy. Either way, it is quickly reclaiming its historical place in the care of older adults, although oddly… it seems to be a demographic skipped over by the marketing systems of most establishments in the cannabis arena, at least for now.
Sudden cardiac death associated to substances of abuse and psychotropic drugs consumed by young people- A population study based on forensic autopsies
A recent study out of Spain has revealed alarming trends among cases of sudden cardiac death associated with substances of abuse consumed by young people. Half of the 15-36-year-olds who suffered sudden cardiac death were found with illicit substances in their bodies, primarily cannabis, tobacco, and cocaine. Researchers found that although cannabis was the most common substance found in the deceased systems, cocaine and tobacco are known to have a stronger impact on the cardiovascular system and lead to ischemic heart disease, which is often the more acute causes of sudden death. It was also mentioned here that the duration of cannabis is far longer in the body than that of either tobacco or cocaine, and this duration may easily confuse people to associate it as a trigger for sudden death.
However, on the other hand, there are several tragic cases of young, otherwise heart-healthy individuals who have died with cannabis as the only substance discovered. Fortunately, these cases are extraordinarily rare, but unfortunately, no reproducible association has been established, so the mysterious concerns are not easily relieved or forgotten.
Dr. Caplan and the #MDTake:
While the return of medical cannabis to modern medical care seems to bring with it a return of appreciation for more naturalistic care, it is critical for us all to recognize that we still have much to learn. The tools and high standards of scientific evaluation have only recently been applied to cannabis, and there are reasonable arguments that the usual tools may not actually apply (for example, some are suggesting that the placebo effect, a cornerstone of randomized control trials may be a facet of effects related to the endocannabinoid system.)
For these, and a great many other unknowns, it is important for the discerning consumer to consult with trusted resources, including friends, family, scientists, and where possible, doctors, to ensure the appropriateness of use on an individual basis.
Cannabis wasn’t always a taboo topic. Hemp, a variety of the Cannabis Sativa plant, has a rich history in the United States as being a valuable and versatile crop. Hemp was booming as a “cash crop” because not only was it useful in a range of industries, but it was also very easy to grow. The fiber from the plant has many uses, ranging from textiles and clothing to sails for rafts, rope, and paper. In fact, the Declaration of Independence was originally drafted on hemp paper! Unfortunately, with the passing of the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act that lumped all cannabis in the same group of regulated narcotics and the rise of inexpensive synthetic fibers in the 1950s, hemp’s popularity took a sharp decline. It wasn’t until 2018 the United States removed hemp as a Schedule 1 substance. Now, the plant is surging in popularity again for its many uses, especially the extraction of CBD for states that do not have any medical cannabis sales available.