DOSING THCA: LESS IS MORE

THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) is the non-psychoactive acid form of THC found in the plant when raw. THCA converts to THC when it is decarboxylated. Discover the clinical and laboratory research on THCA for epilepsy, chronic pain, digestive disorders, and more.

How much THCA to take
Photo credit: Leafly
Highlights:
  • Cannabis plants don’t produce THC on their own; rather they create cannabinoids in acid form.
  • To turn THCA into psychoactive THC, it must first be heated (for example, by vaping or smoking).
  • THCA shows great promise in the treatment of epilepsy.
  • A higher dose of THCA combined with THC is sometimes effective for seizures, pain, and arthritis.
  • Scientists have shown that low doses of THCA prevent nausea in rats.

Cannabis doesn’t actually produce THC or CBD. The plant produces all cannabinoids in an acid form. Instead of making THC and CBD directly, it synthesizes tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) from their cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) precursor.

THCA is not psychoactive—it does not activate CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the brain. In order to make psychoactive THC from THCA, one needs to heat it. This can be done by smoking or vaporizing raw flower, baking edibles, or heating cannabis in a process known as decarboxylation. When smoking cannabis, it is estimated that more than 95% of the THCA is converted to THC. If so, a cannabis smoker might inhale the small amount of remaining THCA, which could also impart a therapeutic effect.

According to several doctors, THCA shows great promise in the treatment of epilepsy. Preclinical research indicates that THCA may be anti-inflammatory and may reduce nausea. One of the most significant features of THCA is its apparent ability to work at very low doses. The therapeutic potential of THCA is all the more noteworthy given that this compound is more readily available than THC or CBD because of the ubiquity of the raw marijuana plant.

Clinical use of THCA

Clinical experience is the best place to start. Dr. Dustin Sulak and Dr. Bonni Goldstein have both reported on the use of THCA in the treatment of patients. In a recent publication, Sulak, Goldstein, and Dr. Russel Saneto describe four case reports of patients using THCA along with other treatments (conventional antiepileptic drugs as well as cannabis). Among these patients, small doses—around 0.1-1 mg/kg/day THCA1—were used, corresponding to 0.01 to 0.1% of the patient’s body weight in THCA. For a child weighing 50 pounds, this entails between 2-23 milligrams of THCA in a day.

By contrast, studies with Epidiolex, a pure (99.5 percent) CBD sublingual spray, start at a dose of 5 mg/kg/day and usually increase to 25 mg/kg/day. The aforementioned doses of THCA are 10-100 times lower.2

THCA is typically administered along with other components of cannabis in a tincture via an under-the-tongue dropper or spray. Sulak’s article indicates that higher doses of THCA did not generally improve the response, with one patient getting worse after increasing the dose of THCA. Sulak also found that specific terpenes along with THCA in a given cannabis strain can contribute significantly to the antiepileptic effect. (Linalool, in this case, was necessary for the antiepileptic effect.)

Dr. Goldstein told Project CBD that daily consumption of 10-20 mg of THCA was effective in reducing pain in some of her patients with arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome. For one patient with Alzheimer’s disease, THCA improved cognitive symptoms and allowed the patient to reduce the use of other drugs.

Dr. Sulak also spoke with Project CBD, saying that a higher dose of 2 mg/kg of THCA combined with THC is sometimes effective for seizures, pain, and arthritis. For neurological issues, about 1 mg of THCA and THCused 2-3 times a day has helped some of his adult patients. In one teenager, a very low dose of THCAprevented severe refractory migraines.

Anecdotal reports from other sources indicate that a 10:1 CBD:THCA ratio can be effective for some epileptic children when a high CBD/low THC cannabis oil preparation does not deliver satisfactory results. One seven-year-old patient, weighing 42 pounds, has been seizure free for the past two-and-a-half years since he’s been on a dosage regimen of 50 mg/day of CBD and 10 mg/day of THCA.

THCA in the lab

Thus far, preclinical research into THCA has been very confusing. Erin Rock and other scientists at the University of Guelph in Ontario have demonstrated that low doses of THCA—about 10-100 times lower than the requisite dose of THC—prevent nausea in rats. In addition, they found that THCA synergizes with CBDA, which is also a potent antiemetic compound. It is possible that the anti-nausea effect of smoking cannabis is partly attributable to the small amount of THCA that remains when cannabis is burned.

Curiously, THCA’s effect in the Guelph study was prevented by blocking the CB1 cannabinoid receptor. This is surprising, given that THCA isn’t known to bind to CB1 and doesn’t cause psychoactive effects like THC does when the latter binds to CB1. Yet Rock et. al. did not observe any effects from THCA that they could attribute to central CB1 activity. A possible explanation for this finding is that Rimonabant, the experimental drug they used to block the CB1 receptor, may have inhibited THCA’s effects through a different channel or receptor, such as GPR55 (which is activated by Rimonabant). When asked by Project CBD, Dr. Rock indicated that they are uncertain as to how THCA prevents nausea, and that it may very well be an off-target or peripheral effect.

A study by Rosenthaler and a group of Austrian scientists surmised that THCA has a greater binding affinity to the CB1 receptor than THC does. It may be that this study was flawed (their data also suggested—likely incorrectly3—that CBN, a breakdown product of THC, binds to CB1 more potently than does THC). But it also might be the case that THCA acts primarily on peripheral CB1 receptors outside the brain and central nervous system. The main difference between THCA and THC could be related to how these compounds are distributed throughout the body. Another explanation might derive from an inconsistency between two molecular isoforms of THCATHCA-A and THCA-B—which could give rise to different results (see sidebar).

How does THCA work?

So how does THCA confer its effects? Through which biochemical channels does THCA act? The only receptor to which THCA is known to potently bind is TRPM8—the receptor that makes mint feel cold. THCA is a strong antagonist of TRPM8. But there is no research to indicate that inhibiting TRPM8 prevents nausea or reduces seizures, so this does not explain the clinically observed effects of THCA.

At higher concentrations, THCA also may activate TRPV4, a heat-sensing receptor, and TRPA1, a receptor that mediates the edginess of spices such as mustard and cinnamon.

THCA may also convey therapeutic effects by inhibiting the metabolic enzyme MAGL that breaks down the endogenous cannabinoid 2-AG; this would result in higher levels of 2-AG, which activates both CB1 and CB2cannabinoid receptors throughout the brain and body.

In these preclinical tests, THCA was about 10 times more potent when used as a whole-plant extract rather than as an isolate.4 But this evidence is based on only a few studies performed in cell cultures, which does not necessarily translate to clinical experience.

Other data from preclinical work suggests that THCAmay be an anti-inflammatory compound that protects against cancer, but this work is an unconvincing explanation of clinical reports. One study on THCAand breast cancer required a high concentration of THCA, about 1000 times more than the concentration in the blood of Dr. Sulak’s patients. Another study suggested that THCA was a much weaker antioxidant than THC or CBD and that THCA is only slightly neuroprotective at similarly high doses. Two studies on inflammation revealed that THCA does not inhibit COX-2, an inflammatory enzyme blocked by ibuprofen and aspirin, and high doses of THCA were required for an anti-inflammatory effect.

The fact that doctors and patients are reporting significant health-positive effects from THCA at very low concentrations underscores that there is much more to understand about THCA. The properties of THCAindicated by preclinical research may be relevant to cannabinoid medicine in the future, but they do not explain the remarkable results with low doses of THCA that patients are experiencing today.

Source: https://www.projectcbd.org/science/cannabis-dosing/dosing-thca-less-more

What Is Cannabinol (CBN)?

You’ve heard about CBD and THC…but what about CBN?

What Is Cannibinol (CBN)?

The number of known cannabinoids is over a hundred. Each one has its own set of effects. People with limited knowledge of cannabinol (CBN) have assumed that it is simply a degraded, less potent cannabinoid derived from THC. It’s barely present in cannabis flowers and it is nowhere near as psychoactive as THC. You can find more cannabinol in older, degraded material making anything with its presence less desirable. As a result, this cannabinoid hasn’t received much attention. However, the industry is catching on to the fact that CBN has therapeutic effects that benefit people who are sensitive to THC. Now, more CBN is being found in cannabis products like topicals, edibles, capsules and more.

What Is Cannabinol (CBN)  & What Does It Do?

Any company with a cannabinol product is using the powerful sedative effects as a selling point. According to Steep Hill labs, Cannabinol is the most sedative known cannabinoid. They claim that 5mg of cannabinol is equal to 10mg of diazepam (valium) in terms of body relaxation. There’s a theory that the reason Indica strains make you sleepier is that they have higher CBN levels. So if you don’t like buds that makes you sleepy, look for strains or products with slim to no cannabinol content.

Cannabis plants produce enzymes which turn CBGA into the “raw cannabinoids” like THCA, CBDA and CBCA. THCA when heated turns into THC and THCV. Aged THCA turns into CBNA which converts into CBN. Research has shown cannabinol to have a number of therapeutic benefits.

Researchers studied the feeding patterns of rats after administering cannabinol. What they found was that rats treated with CBN were quicker to eat, ate more and for longer durations of time. The research concluded the less popular cannabinoid was a viable nonpsychoactive appetite stimulant.

2006 study found that CBN and several other cannabinoids have the ability to control the growth of cancer cells. CBN was specifically able to control a type of lung tumor called Lewis carcinoma.

Back in 1974, researchers found that THC, CBD and CBN all had anticonvulsant properties but potency-wise, CBN is less active than the other two.

In 2002, Swedish researchers at the Department of Clinical Pharmacology at Lund University Hospital found out cannabinol and THC activate the same pain pathways.

More Research On Effects

Studies on male volunteers illustrated that doses of CBN did not provide the psychoactive effects that THC did. The study also noted that subjects felt more “drugged, drunk, dizzy and drowsy” when it was combined to THC. They concluded that, “CBN increases the effect of THC on some aspects of physiological and psychological processes, but that these effects are small.”

On the other hand, some studies didn’t note as much of a synergetic effect when combined with THC. One study found the combination of THC and CBN did nothing to change “the quality, intensity, or duration of the effects of THC alone.”

Research has also shown that cannabinol is capable of slowing the onset of symptoms from ALS.

Additional research shows cannabinol has antibacterial capabilities as a topical. The study showed “potent activity against MRSA.”

Experimental and preclinical studies have shown topical cannabinol’s potential for treating skin conditions like psoriasis or burns.

Where Can You Find It?

Up until lately, the only place you could find CBN was in extremely small concentrations of certain weed strains. The concentrations in flowers are typically 1 percent or less. Until recently, extracts have either focused on isolating THC or CBD. Fortunately, less common cannabinoids like delta 8 THC are starting to be isolated and extracted. CBN is a little different. Since it exists in such small quantities in flower, we haven’t seen CBN in a concentrated form like with THC, delta 8 or THC-O-acetate. However, with CBN a little goes a much longer way than it would with equal quantities of THC or CBD.

Mary’s Medicinals Cannabinol Capsules is one form that is easy to ingest for any type of patient suffering from sleep-deprivation. Capsules make it easy to know exactly how much you’re consuming in a single sitting. Mary’s Medicinals also has high-cannabinol transdermal patches.

For patients that don’t like patches or swallowing pills, SpOILed Patients Collective makes a high-dose CBN drink called Hornet Hibernate. SpOILed says their CBN drink contains a wide spectrum of cannabinoids including CBC, CBD and small amounts of THC for the entourage effects. From their experience with the Hornet Hibernate, CBN amplifies the effects of THC. Smoking a few bowls on top of a teaspoon will “send you to the moon,” SpOILed tells us. Each bottle contains about 10 to 12 percent CBN and you’ll only need a teaspoon without the smoke to get a solid nights sleep, illustrating how far a little goes. They’re working on versions with delta-8 THC or delta-9 THC for patients that need them.

The Hornet Hibernate is approved by the veterans of the Weed For Warriors Project. SpOILed says the combination of CBD and CBN has been helping veterans to get off of fentanyl patches and curb opiate addictions. They claim the healing properties of the CBD combined with the sedative effects of CBN have helped many of their patients through hard times.

Final Hit: What Is Cannabinol?

The thing that sets cannabinol apart from the other cannabinoids in weed is the strong sedative ability. It can also stimulate appetite and curb anxiety without the side effects of a medication like a valium. The research on cannabinol, especially on humans is currently lacking. As more research is conducted on CBN, we may find even more uses for it. Most of the reported effects don’t have much to back them up yet.

Source: https://hightimes.com/guides/what-is-cannibinol-cbn/

 

What Is the GPR55 Receptor and Why Is It Important in CBD’s Benefits?

(imaginima/iStock)

Most people who have dipped their toe in cannabis science understand that cannabinoids like THC and CBD bind to traditional cannabinoid type I and II (CB1 and CB2) receptors. However, these are not the only receptors that cannabinoids target.

A “newly discovered” target called GPR55 has emerged as a major contributor to many of cannabis’ actions in the brain and body.

CBD in particular has a wide range of therapeutic benefits because of its numerous targets other than CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the brain and body. For instance, it reduces anxiety by boosting the brain’s serotoninsystem, and CBD activation of TRPV1 channels helps reduce pain. But a “newly discovered” target called the G-protein coupled receptor 55, commonly referred to as GPR55, has emerged as a major contributor to many of cannabis’ actions in the brain and body, including CBD’s benefits in preventing seizures and combating cancerous tumors.

The Discovery of GPR55

GPR55 was first identified in 1999. At the time, no one knew what its function was or how it was activated. But in 2007, it was revealed that CBD and other cannabinoids can affect its activity. Both the high-inducing chemical, THC, and the endogenous cannabinoids, anandamide and 2-AG, can activate GPR55. CBD, on the other hand, blocks GPR55 activity. All of these cannabinoid actions on GPR55 has made some in the research community consider it as a novel cannabinoid receptor and perhaps the third in the set (i.e., CB3).

There hasn’t been a firm commitment to this new nomenclature. GPR55 only shares 14% similar identity to CB1 and CB2 receptors (for comparison, CB1 and CB2 are 64% similar), and looks a bit different from CB1 and CB2 receptors in the region that interacts with cannabinoids, creating some controversy over how certain cannabinoids affect GPR55. But nonetheless, it seems to have an important role in the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, particularly CBD.

GPR55’s Role in Epilepsy

CBD has emerged as a promising anti-epileptic treatment strategy in seizuredisorders that don’t respond well to traditional medications. In cases like Dravet syndrome, mutations in DNA cause a reduction in the level of brain inhibition which manifests as epileptic seizures. (You may have heard of Charlotte Figi, the young girl with Dravet syndrome whose seizures were successfully treated with CBD-rich cannabis and is now the namesake of the popular Charlotte’s Web.)

Despite the exciting anecdotal and clinical trials demonstrating CBD’s effectiveness, they don’t reveal how the drug works. To understand the mechanism by which CBD may reduce seizures, our research team tested a genetic mouse model of Dravet syndrome. We revealed that CBD restores brain inhibition and reduces seizures largely by blocking the activity of GPR55 in the hippocampus, a critical brain region for seizure activity.

GPR55 and Cancer

GPR55 has an increasingly appreciated role in cancer. Because of GPR55’s novelty, many of these studies are in their early stages and haven’t been translated to animals or humans yet.

However, in verified cell lines—which is often the first stage of cancer research—GPR55 activation is thought to have pro-tumor effects while blockade of GPR55 activity (i.e., the effects of CBD) has anti-tumor effects in colorectal cancerbreast cancerpancreatic cancer, and brain cancer. CBD’s direct effect on these cancers remains an exciting yet untested future direction of cancer research.

GPR55 and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease is the inflammation of the colon and intestines. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the most common, and patients who suffer from these diseases have elevated GPR55 levels. This suggests that GPR55 may be having a pro-inflammatory role in the intestines. Indeed, blocking GPR55 activity in mice reduces gastrointestinal inflammation, perhaps underlying why CBD is becoming an increasingly popular treatment strategy for patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

CBD’s blockage of GPR55 activity may also contribute to its ability to reduce inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Mice that are genetically unable to produce GPR55 receptors have lower levels of inflammation, inflammation-induced pain, and neuropathic pain after nerve constriction.

How Does GPR55 Affect Cells?

GPR55 is a member of the class of receptors called metabotropic receptors. When these receptors are activated, they lead to a variety of downstream effects in the cell that often depend on what cell type is being tested. For GPR55, the extent of these downstream actions remains unclear across different cell types.

But because of its therapeutic relevance in CBD’s effects, it is a burgeoning area of scientific investigation which will provide an even stronger foundation for CBD’s medicinal benefits. You’ll undoubtedly be hearing more about GPR55 in the future!

Source: https://www.leafly.com/news/science-tech/health-benefits-cbd-on-g-protein-coupled-receptor-55

 

Binge Drinking Drops In States With Recreational Marijuana

(Photo by Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Binge drinking across the United States is at an all time high. Yet, a new report from the Wall Street investment firm Cowen & Company shows that this dangerous alcoholic behavior is on the decline in states that have legalized the leaf in a manner similar to alcohol.

It was just a month ago that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published new data suggesting that more Americans are now engaging in regular binge drinking. What was once considered a foolish exploit of College students has now apparently infiltrated citizens from every demographic and all walks of life.

The CDC found that Americans sucked down 17 billion alcoholic beverages in 2015. By definition, the term “binge drinking,” is five or more drinks for men, and four or more for women in a span of around two hours. Thirty-seven million adults (about 1 in 6 people) engage in this activity at least once a week, the report finds.

But the investment analysts at Cowen published a document earlier this week that provides a little hope for an America headed for cirrhosis of the liver. It seems that binge drinking is on the decline in states that have legal marijuana laws on the books. More specifically, it is those states like Colorado and Washington, some of the first U.S. jurisdictions to legalize for recreational use, where binge drinking is now less prominent.

“In legal adult use cannabis states,” the analysts wrote, “the number binge drinking sessions per month (for states legal through 2016) was -9% below the national average.”

What’s more is legal marijuana states, where adults 21 and older can walk into a dispensary and purchase a variety of cannabis products, experienced 13 percent less binge drinking than areas of prohibition. The writing is on the wall – people with legal access to recreational marijuana are opting to spend either all or a portion of their booze budget on a substance that has been deemed “a safer alternative.”

 Marijuana may never run the booze business out on a rail, Cowen says, but there are some interesting dynamics that could throw a wrench in the gears of this inebriation leader.

“We have consistently argued that cannabis and alcohol are substitute social lubricants,” the report reads. “To be sure, we do not dispute that alcohol will continue to be quite popular in the U.S. (generating over $210 bn in annual retail sales today). We are, however, focused on the marginal alcohol unit, which given the cannabis category’s much smaller size, creates a sizable opportunity for the cannabis industry.”

As more states move into legalization, the report says, making mention of Michigan and Illinois as being the two most likely, the firm believes binge drinking rates will drop even more. This is mostly due to the fact that cannabis keeps gaining popularity and beer sales continue to decline.

As it stands, those states without recreational marijuana laws are experiencing an increase in binge drinking. “Non-cannabis states averaged 7.4 drinks per binge, ~12% higher than the 6.6 drinks per binge seen in adult use cannabis states,” the report reads.

In addition, the report also finds that Cowen’s previous prediction over the size of the national cannabis market was low. In the past, the firm estimated that if the federal government ended prohibition today, the cannabis industry would be worth $50 billion by 2026. Cowen now says the industry has already hit that mark. It now expects the U.S. cannabis market to grow to around $75 billion within the next 12 years.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/gradsoflife/2018/03/29/rebuilding-puerto-rico-one-youth-at-a-time/#394f22e2dba5

 

Report: Arizona Has 159,000 Patients and Sold 8,194 Lbs. of Marijuana

Tucson Marijuana Dispensaries

The Arizona Department of Health Services’ (ADHS) latest medical marijuana program report, which covers through the month of February 2018, reveals that there are 158,488 active medical marijuana patients in Arizona.

Maricopa County has the largest number of patients with 101,023. Pima County was second with 21,999 patients, then Pinal County with 8,860 and Yavapai County with 8,088.

Arizona medical marijuana patients’ ages range from adolescents to seniors:

  • Under 18 – 218 patients
  • 18 to 30 – 39,177
  • 31 to 40 – 32,528
  • 41 to 50 – 24,786
  • 51 to 60 – 26,469
  • 61 to 70 – 25,794
  • 71 to 80 – 7,862
  • 81 and older – 1,654

According to the data, there are 96,744 males (61.04%) and 61,744 females (38.96%) with medical marijuana cards, and the most common qualifying condition in Arizona is chronic pain.

Arizona patients’ medical marijuana qualifying conditions:

  • Chronic Pain – 135,863 patients (85.72%)
  • Cancer – 3,750
  • PTSD – 2,036
  • Seizures – 1,197
  • Muscle Spams – 1,182
  • Glaucoma – 1,041
  • Hepatitis C – 868
  • Nausea – 800
  • HIV/AIDS – 636
  • Crohn’s disease – 524
  • Cachexia – 117
  • Alzheimer’s disease – 63
  • Sclerosis – 47
  • Two or more conditions – 10,364

In February, dispensaries sold a total of 8,194 pounds (131,112 ounces) of marijuana. Here’s an itemized list of marijuana sold:

  • Marijuana flower – 7,497 pounds (119,965 ounces)
  • Marijuana edibles – 363 pounds
  • Other marijuana – 333 pounds

Source: https://azmarijuana.com/arizona-medical-marijuana-news/arizonas-medical-marijuana-program-nearing-160000-patients/

 

 

Part 1, How Cannabis Relieves Different Types of Pain

Cannabis is known to relieve pain, but pain can arise for a variety of reasons which makes choosing the right cannabis product tricky. Knowing which cannabinoids (e.g. THCCBD) have been shown to treat different pain types is useful information to take with you on your next dispensary visit.

The different types of pain fall into three general categories:

  • Nociceptive pain
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Central pain (there’s no firm agreement on the name for this type of pain; fibromyalgia is a common example).

Since each type of pain has a different origin, each type has an optimal treatment strategy.

Pain results from the coordinated activation of brain cells. While these brain regions lead to the sensation of pain, they can also modulate the strength of the pain signals. In some instances, you can have physical injury (i.e., nociceptive pain) without the sensation of pain (imagine a car accident victim who can walk around pain-free in the initial moments after the accident).

But the opposite is also possible, where you can have pain in the absence of physical injury (i.e., central pain). This highlights the importance that factors like mood, context, and attention-to-injury play in the sensation of pain, which can also be used to inform optimal cannabis-based treatment strategies.

Cannabis and Nociceptive Pain

Nociceptive pain (i.e., inflammatory pain) results from tissue damage. It is subjectively described as sharp, aching, or throbbing pain that follows physical damage. When you get injured, the damaged tissues recruit numerous inflammatory and immune cells to repair the damage. These cellsrelease proteins and chemicals that activate receptors on nerves that make their way into the spinal cord and up to the brain, causing the sensation of pain.

To retain pain-relieving efficacy while reducing tolerance risk, one should consider balanced THC and CBD products for long-term pain treatment.

Nociceptive pain can be weakened by reducing the pain signals at the site of injury by blocking the inflammatory process itself or the signals they elicit. Another strategy is to dampen their effects as they make their way up the spinal cord to the brain. Cannabis can target both of these processes to reduce pain.

The abundant cannabinoids, THC and CBD, can reduce pain at the site of injury. Both have potent anti-inflammatory effects. THC’s anti-inflammatory properties are primarily driven through activation of CB2receptors on immune cells which dampens the body’s pain-inducing response to injury. CBD also reduces inflammation by blocking inflammatory mediators and shifting the activation macrophage repair cells from the pro-inflammatory type to the anti-inflammatory type. Indeed, the benefits of THC and CBD on relieving nociceptive pain have been well-documented in rodent models of inflammation and in human clinical trials.

THC can modulate pain at the level of spinal cord and brain by directly activating CB1 receptors, and indirectly by increasing opioid receptor activation (more on that in part two of this series). CBD similarly impacts pain processing by increasing levels of the endogenous cannabinoid, anandamide, which acts like THC to activate CB1 receptors.

CBD also has a host of targets beyond the endogenous cannabinoid system(ECS) that can relieve pain. Of particular relevance, CBD enhances Continue reading “Part 1, How Cannabis Relieves Different Types of Pain”

Marijuana legalization could help offset opioid epidemic, studies find

(CNN)Experts have proposed using medical marijuana to help Americans struggling with opioid addiction. Now, two studies suggest that there is merit to that strategy.

The studies, published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, compared opioid prescription patterns in states that have enacted medical cannabis laws with those that have not. One of the studies looked at opioid prescriptions covered by Medicare Part D between 2010 and 2015, while the other looked at opioid prescriptions covered by Medicaid between 2011 and 2016.
The researchers found that states that allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes had 2.21 million fewer daily doses of opioids prescribed per year under Medicare Part D, compared with those states without medical cannabis laws. Opioid prescriptions under Medicaid also dropped by 5.88% in states with medical cannabis laws compared with states without such laws, according to the studies.
“This study adds one more brick in the wall in the argument that cannabis clearly has medical applications,” said David Bradford, professor of public administration and policy at the University of Georgia and a lead author of the Medicare study.
“And for pain patients in particular, our work adds to the argument that cannabis can be effective.”
Medicare Part D, the optional prescription drug benefit plan for those enrolled in Medicare, covers more than 42 million Americans, including those 65 or older. Medicaid provides health coverage to more than 73 million low-income individuals in the US, according to the program’s website.
“Medicare and Medicaid publishes this data, and we’re free to use it, and anyone who’s interested can download the data,” Bradford said. “But that means that we don’t know what’s going on with the privately insured and the uninsured population, and for that, I’m afraid the data sets are proprietary and expensive.”

‘This crisis is very real’

The new research comes as the United States remains entangled in the worst opioid epidemic the world has ever seen. Opioid overdose has risen dramatically over the past 15 years and has been implicated in over 500,000 deaths since 2000 — more than the number of Americans killed in World War II.
“As somebody who treats patients with opioid use disorders, this crisis is

Arizona Legislature Ready to Approve Using Medical Marijuana to Treat Opioid Abuse

Arizona Legislature Ready to Approve Using Medical Marijuana to Treat Opioid Abuse

Medical marijuana will soon be recommended as a treatment for opioid addiction if a Republican-sponsored bill quietly progressing through the Arizona Legislature is successful.

House Bill 2064, introduced by Representative Vince Leach, was originally intended only to ban dispensaries from selling edibles in packaging that could be appealing to children. But a little-noticed amendment to the bill would also add opioid use disorder to the list of medical conditions that can legally be treated with medical marijuana.

“HB 2064 went from being something that I found, in its original language and apparent intent, annoying,” said Mikel Weisser, the executive director at the Arizona chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, (NORML). “Now, with the opioid use disorder added, it’s something I want to see happen.”

Using marijuana to treat opioid addiction is highly controversial. But, surprisingly enough, what would amount to a major change in state policy has received virtually no opposition so far.

When the bill came before the Senate Commerce and Public Safety committee on Monday, Ed Gogek — author of Marijuana Debunked: A handbook for parents, pundits and politicians who want to know the case against legalization — was the only one to testify against it.

As soon as he was done talking, the committee passed the bill unanimously, without any further discussion. It has already cleared the House of Representatives.

Equally surprising is the bill’s sponsor. Leach, a Republican from Saddlebrooke, isn’t exactly known for being a friend of the medical marijuana industry. Ever year, he introduces a long list of legislation that targets dispensaries and cardholders.

He didn’t immediately respond to a request to a comment on Thursday afternoon about his change of heart. But Representative Randy Friese, a Democrat from Tucson, said that the Democratic caucus had negotiated with Leach to get the amendment added to the bill.

 

Making any changes to voter-approved ballot initiative like Arizona’s medical marijuana law requires a three-fourths majority. So this was a rare instance where Democrats had some leverage, since the bill wouldn’t have been able to pass through the House of Representatives without their support.

“When the votes weren’t there, Mr. Leach went back to the drawing board and apparently concluded that debilitating medical conditions should now include opioid use disorder,” said Kevin DeMenna, a lobbyist for the Arizona Dispensary Association.

Though his client had originally opposed the bill, it’s now “a much improved piece of legislation,” DeMenna said.

Currently, state law allows doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients who suffer from conditions including cancer, glaucoma, HIV, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, or anything that causes muscle spasms, severe nausea, or chronic pain. Post-traumatic stress disorder was added to the list in 2014, after some debate.

Eventually, the Arizona Dispensary Association would eventually like to get rid of that list of qualifying conditions altogether, leaving it up to doctors to determine who should get a medical marijuana card. In the meantime, DeMenna said, adding opioid addiction to the list is a step in the right direction.

Whether Governor Doug Ducey — who, like Leach, is no fan of medical marijuana — will sign the bill is another question. The idea of using cannabis to treat opioid addiction had been floated during this year’s special session, but was rejected outright, Mikel Weisser of NORML pointed out.

“I’m not sure that will get the reception that we want on the Ninth Floor,” he said. “But I think it’s a real step forward to be a state that’s considering addressing opioid dependency by looking at medical marijuana.”

Source: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/medical-cannabis-extracts-legal-in-arizona-or-not-10232352

Contact Natural Healing Care Center (click) for more information on Cannabis as medicine, or for any other questions call 520-323-0069

 

Study: Marijuana Decriminalization Leads To Decreased Arrests, No Increase In Youth Use

Marijuana Decriminalization

St. Louis, MO: State laws reducing minor marijuana possession offenses from criminal to civil violations (aka decriminalization) are associated with dramatic reductions in drug-related arrests, and are not linked to any uptick in youth cannabis use, according to data published by researchers affiliated with Washington University and the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Investigators examined the impact of cannabis decriminalization on arrests and youth cannabis use in five states that passed decriminalization measures between the years 2008 and 2014: Massachusetts (decriminalized in 2008), Connecticut (2011), Rhode Island (2013), Vermont (2013), and Maryland (2014). Data on cannabis use were obtained from state Youth Risk Behavior Surveys; arrest data were obtained from federal crime statistics.

Authors reported: “Decriminalization of cannabis in five states between the years 2009 and 2014 was associated with large and immediate decreases in drug-related arrests for both youth and adults. … The sharp drop in arrest rates suggests that implementation of these policies likely changed police behavior as intended.”

They further reported: “Decriminalization was not associated with increased cannabis use either in aggregate or in any of the five states analyzed separately, nor did we see any delayed effects in a lag analysis, which allowed for the possibility of a two-year (one period) delay in policy impact. In fact, the lag analysis suggested a potential protective effect of decriminalization.” In two of the five states assessed, Rhode Island and Vermont, researchers determined that the prevalence of youth cannabis use declined following the enactment of decriminalization.

Investigators concluded: “[I]mplementation of cannabis decriminalization likely leads to a large decrease in the number of arrests among youth (as well as adults) and we see no evidence of increases in youth cannabis use. On the contrary, cannabis use rates declined after decriminalization. … These findings are consistent with the interpretation that decriminalization policies likely succeed with respect to their intended effects and that their short-term unintended consequences are minimal.”

Thirteen states currently impose either partial or full decriminalization. Nine additional states and Washington, DC have subsequently amended their decriminalization laws in a manner that fully legalizes the use of marijuana by adults.

Source: http://norml.org/news/2018/03/22/study-marijuana-decriminalization-leads-to-decreased-arrests-no-increase-in-youth-use

Contact Natural Healing Care Center (click) for more information on Cannabis as medicine, or for any other questions call 520-323-0069

 

Trump Signs Spending Bill; Medical Marijuana Protected Through September

President Donald Trump signed a $1.3 trillion spending measure Friday, averting a government shutdown at midnight and renewing critical protections for medical marijuana patients and providers.

President Donald Trump reaches to touch a copy of the $1.3 trillion spending bill as he speaks in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, March 23, 2018, as Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross watch. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

 The bill’s passage will allow millions of medical cannabis patients and providers to breathe easier.

Yesterday the president said he was considering a veto, because the bill does not contain full funding for a border wall with Mexico and does not address some 800,000 “Dreamer” immigrants who are now protected from deportation under a program that he has moved to eliminate. He said he signed it in order to provide needed money for the military.

On Friday morning, Trump cast further doubt on whether he would back the massive spending bill. Then, adding to the drama, he scheduled a news conference. Telegraphing the outcome, an internal White House television feed advertised the event this way: “President Trump Participates in a Bill Signing.”

The bill’s passage and presidential signature will allow millions of medical cannabis patients and providers to breathe easier, knowing that the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer provision is in effect. That bipartisan provision, championed by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), ensures that federal funds cannot be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.” The provision covers the 30 states that have legalized the medical use of cannabis. The rule affects agencies that include the Drug Enforcement Administration and local US attorneys’ offices, which all operate under the DOJ.

Those budget provisions have been in effect since 2014. Because the provision is a budgetary amendment, and not a standalone law, it must be explicitly re-authorized by Congress as part of either a continuing resolution or a new fiscal year appropriations bill in order to maintain in effect.

Sessions Failed to Kill the Amendment

Last year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote a letter to Congressional leaders asking them to remove the provision“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions,” he wrote, “particularly in the midst of a historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.”

Consequently, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX, no relation) prevented the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer provision from moving forward out of the House Rules Committee, which Sessions chairs. Fortunately for MMJ patients, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the same provision into the Senate version of the spending bill, and the language survived the long negotiations to arrive at a compromise bill.

A Popular Compromise

The House easily approved the spending package Thursday, 256-167, a bipartisan tally that underscored the popularity of the compromise, which funds the government through September. It beefs up military and domestic programs, delivering federal funds to every corner of the country.

This was the fifth, and last, stopgap spending measure passed by Congress this fiscal year.

But action stalled in the Senate, as conservatives ran the clock in protest. Once the opponents relented, the Senate began voting, clearing the package by a 65-32 vote.

“Shame, shame. A pox on both Houses – and parties,” tweeted Sen. Rand Paul, (R-KY), who spent the afternoon tweeting details found in the 2,200-page bill that was released the night before. “No one has read it. Congress is broken.”

The omnibus spending bill was supposed to be an antidote to the stopgap measures Congress has been forced to pass – five in this fiscal year alone – to keep government temporarily running amid partisan fiscal disputes.

White House legislative director Marc Short framed it as a compromise. “I can’t sit here and tell you and your viewers that we love everything in the bill,” he said on Fox. “But we think that we got many of our priorities funded.

Two Million Patients Protected

Cannabis legalization advocates celebrated the renewal of the medical patient protections.

“We are very pleased to see that neither Congress nor the White House bent to the will of Attorney General Jeff Sessions when it comes to his anti-

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