Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states, and recreational marijuana is legal in 11. But on a federal level, the use and possession of marijuana is illegal for any purpose. The illegal status of cannabis prohibits research opportunities and hinders the safety of cannabis sales.
Watch this video for 4 reasons to legalize marijuana on a federal level
Benjamin Caplan, MDVideo: Legalization of Cannabis?
Though UK doctors have been able to prescribe cannabis since November 2018, very few prescriptions have been issued, because most forms of medical cannabis have not been approved by the government.
In response to thousands of disappointed patients, the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee called for immediate clinical trials focusing on the treatment of intractable childhood epilepsy.
Kudos to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission for implementing a regulatory standard to ensure a sustained opportunity for education and knowledge improvement into the state’s cannabis industry and community.
Massachusetts has consistently shown outstanding leadership in the healthcare arena, and it’s thrilling to see that cannabis is treated no differently.
Already leading the cutting edge of research, education, and cannabis formulation development, CED Foundation is ready & eager to support our industry colleagues with education and guidance, here in MA, and worldwide.
Benjamin Caplan, MDMassachusetts enshrines education requirements into the cannabis standard of care
Title: A review of drug abuse in recently reported cases of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) in Asia, USA, and Europe
A recent literature review has found that the current driving regulations in Asia, Europe, and the US have not prevented cases of driving under the influence of drugs. The authors observed steady trends of incidences of driving under the influence in all three regions, despite legislature specifically enacted against such actions. In the literature, there is a consistent recommendation that drivers should be regularly tested, especially in the case of an accident, in order to gather more data on the role of drugs in traffic accidents.
This review highlights the different illicit drugs that contribute to traffic accidents, depending on the region of the world. Cannabis is legal in certain areas of Europe, whereas it is still considered an illicit substance here in the US, and many other locations, worldwide. Looking at the differences in severity or circumstance of the accidents between the type of illicit drug used may provide data to create more beneficial regulations for each country. As the legal status of cannabis continues to evolve, and it becomes more common to find drivers on the road who have consumed a minimal amount of cannabis, new screening techniques will likely be developed to help the culture establish what it considers an “acceptable amount” of blood-borne cannabinoids to be.
Opioid-Sparing Effects of Cannabinoids on Morphine Analgesia- Participation of CB1 and CB2 Receptors
Researchers have recently provided evidence that synthetic cannabinoids are able to work synergistically with morphine to provide maximum pain relief while limiting opioid doses.
In an effort to control the current opioid epidemic researchers have been looking into the possible benefits of cannabinoids due to the interaction of the opioid and endocannabinoid systems. The results of this study showed that various synthetic cannabinoids (WIN and GP1a) were able to work synergistically with morphine in two separate pain models to maximize analgesic effects. Further evidence is still needed to validate these claims before patient use, but this paper provides further evidence that medical cannabis may help put an end to the opioid crisis.
Highlighted in this paper is the lingering uncertainty of exact mechanisms within the endocannabinoid system. The authors of this article are left without definite answers as to whether or not the analgesic effect is mediated completely through cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) or if cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) is also involved. Research into cannabinoids is slow within the United States, as there are currently only privately funded studies. This severely limits the medical community from a full understanding. The better a system is understood, the more concrete answers can be found. Critics may never support the rescheduling of cannabis but without moving cannabis to a Schedule II or III, it remains impossible to back even their claims.
Pediatric oncologists from Minnesota recently published an article justifying their use of medical cannabis as palliative care for their patients.
The majority of patients at the oncology center were approved for medical cannabis use during their first round of treatment, in order to immediately address the negative side effects of chemotherapy such as nausea, pain, and cancer cachexia. The data provided from the center described much higher chemotherapy compliance rates among patients, and that patients have a much better quality of life when utilizing cannabis.
This article highlights a few promising trends and issues with using medical cannabis; one promising trend is the hope for cannabis to provide antitumor effects. Cannabis has been a subject of exploration for antitumor effects and it has shown promising results. But, there are many limitations to the few studies that have been published, leading the authors to defer any definitive conclusions. The center in Minnesota noted that many of the patients diagnosed with brain tumors were especially hopeful that cannabis would aid in curing them of cancer, second to utilizing the drug for nausea. This is a promising trend because it means the greater public is showing interest in the therapeutic possibilities of cannabis and their support and call for research will aid the drive for the federal rescheduling of marijuana.
Also highlighted in this article is that, of all the patients certified to use medical cannabis, a subset of 24% never actually registered through the state to receive it. The authors have no firm explanation for these circumstances but seem to suspect that the $200 annual certification fee, on top of the cost for each additional dispensed product may be limiting of patients abilities to afford cannabis. Without the backing of the federal government, insurance companies are unable to cover medical cannabis. As the depth and reach of cannabis research grow, there are good reasons for patients to feel optimistic about medical cannabis.
Characteristics of Daily E-Cigarette Use and Acquisition Means Among a National Sample of Adolescents
From 2017 to 2018 the amount of middle school and high school electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) users increased by 48% and 78% respectively. One of the first studies examining the association between e-cigarette characteristics and daily use among US adolescents is calling for comprehensive tobacco control efforts to reduce e-cigarette and nicotine addiction among adolescents. 38% of adolescent users report using their e-cigarette devices for cannabis which can be hazardous due to the lack of regulation. The potential risks associated with nicotine use and the dangerous misuse of these devices for other substances is putting youth’s health at risk.
Tennessee is yet another state looking to regulate hemp effectively, and a proposed solution to this is on-the-go testing kits to determine THC levels in hemp products. If executed well, this could prevent many from being charged with possession of cannabis and save money in the courts and prison systems http://bit.ly/2ISjm7V
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Benjamin Caplan, MDRegulation of hemp in Tennessee
Title of study: Cannabis use as a risk factor for causing motor vehicle crashes: a prospective study
After legalization in 2018, many Canadian provinces implemented “zero tolerance” policies for drivers who have THC in their systems. But a new study from the University of British Columbia suggests that Canada’s drug-impaired driving laws may be unnecessarily strict. According to researchers, there is no link between THC levels below 5ng/mL and increased risk of car accidents.
Note: Considering the potentially grave risk to life and health for modern culture to make the wrong interpretation of the potential dangers of the effects of cannabis consumption on driving, it is critical for the industry to approach the circumstances with delicacy and diligence. Ideally, everyone involved will be motivated to learn as much as possible about the impact of cannabis on the risks of operating machinery and all will follow a cautious approach which will minimize the risk to all. To that end, it is important to consider and reconcile evidence from multiple perspectives.