NYU LANGONE HEALTH / NYU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE VIA- EurekAlert.org
People with and without cancer are more likely, over time, to use a more potent form of medical marijuana with increasingly higher amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a new study shows.
In a report publishing in the Journal of Palliative Medicine on March 26, researchers say that cancer patients were more likely to favor forms of medical marijuana with higher amounts of THC, which relieves cancer symptoms and the side effects of cancer treatment, including chronic pain, weight loss, and nausea.
By contrast, marijuana formulations higher in cannabidiol (CBD), which has been shown to reduce seizures and inflammation in other studies, were more popular among non-cancer patients, including those with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, say the study authors.
Cancer patients were also more likely to prefer taking oil droplets containing medical marijuana under the tongue than "vaping".
"Although there is growing patient interest in medical cannabis, there is a scarcity of solid evidence about the benefits, risks, and patterns of use of marijuana products in various disease settings," says study lead investigator Arum Kim, MD, an assistant professor of medicine and rehabilitation medicine at NYU School of Medicine and director of the supportive oncology program at its Perlmutter Cancer Center. "Such information is important for delivering the best care."
Since 1996, 31 states, including New York in 2014, have legalized medical marijuana.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from 11,590 men and women in New York, of whom 1,990 (17.2 percent of the total patient cohort) were cancer patients who purchased and used cannabis products from Columbia Care LLC., a dispensary licensed in New York State, between January 2016 and December 2017.
The researchers caution that their data did not include the type of cancer the purchasers had, how much of what they bought was used, or whether marijuana was used for symptoms unrelated to the cancer. Nevertheless, the patterns of use among cancer patients were distinctly different from those of non-cancer patients.
Specifically, the study found that cancer and non-cancer patients used different dosages of cannabis formulations with dramatically different THC:CBD ratios. The two most common formulations contained THC and CBD, but one had twenty times more THC than CBD, whereas the other had the opposite ratio.
Over the two years of the study, the research team found that all types of patients increased their THC dose by approximately 0.20 milligrams per week.
"Our study provides valuable new information about how cancer patients are using marijuana," says study senior investigator Benjamin Han, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of medicine and population health at NYU School of Medicine. "In the absence of strong clinical research data for medical marijuana, identifying patterns of use offers some sense of how to guide patients who come in with questions for using medical marijuana, and what may or may not help them." Researchers say they next plan to get more detailed information about how medical marijuana affects patient response to therapy and functional status at different stages of their disease, as well as the risks and side effects of treatment. Furthermore, the profiles of other cannabinoids besides THC and CBD in medical marijuana products warrant further research, according to the study authors.
TALLAHASSEE -Without much debate and two. days before Gov. Ron DeSantis’ deadline, a bill to repeal a ban on smoking medical marijuana has finally rolled onto the governor’s desk. The Florida House affirmed the right to smoke medical pot Wednesday afternoon, approving the Senate bill to include “smoking” to the language in the medical marijuana constitutional amendment. The bill allows patients to receive up to 2.5 ounces of whole flower cannabis every 35 days as recommended by their qualified doctor.
Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/health-care/article227611364.html#storylink=cpy
BERKELEY (CBS SF) – The University of California at Berkeley has launched the Cannabis Research Center that will explore the impacts of cannabis production on the environment and society, UC officials said Tuesday.
The center will focus on three distinct areas of research as they relate to cannabis production: policy and regulation, environmental impacts, and cannabis-producing communities.
Van Butsic and Ted Grantham, who both work in UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, will lead the center’s multidisciplinary team.
“This is a rapidly changing industry, and no one really knows where it is headed,” Grantham said in a statement. “We believe researchers have an important role in bringing independent scientific information to conversations around cannabis policy.”
While other research groups are exploring the health effects of cannabis use, this center will be the first in the UC system to explore other dimensions of cannabis growth, university officials said.
(Bloomberg) — The Super Bowl isn’t ready for medical marijuana.
Acreage Holdings, the multi-state cannabis company backed by John Boehner, says CBS rejected a television advertisement that calls for the legalization of medical marijuana. The network, which is airing the game on Feb. 3, nixed the proposed spot after seeing a rough outline, according to the company.
While medical marijuana is now legal in more than 30 states, the federal prohibition on cannabis has restricted research and made it difficult for some potential patients to get their hands on a drug that proponents say helps treat seizures, pain and other ailments.
The advertisement aimed to “create an advocacy campaign for constituents who are being lost in the dialogue,” Acreage President George Allen said. Super Bowl airtime would have been the best way to achieve this, he added.
“It’s hard to compete with the amount of attention something gets when it airs during the Super Bowl,” Allen said in a telephone interview. CBS didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment on Monday, which was a federal holiday.
The Super Bowl is typically the most-watched television program of the year, and it’s an opportunity for brands to get in front of millions of Americans. Companies typically debut new publicity campaigns and air their most creative commercials during the event. Some viewers eagerly anticipate the advertisements that run during stoppages in play.
In past years, some advertisers have also grabbed the spotlight for offering up commercials that weren’t likely to be approved.
Acreage, one of the most valuable U.S. weed companies with a market value of more than $2.4 billion, had hoped to raise its profile and push for increased access to medical marijuana. The proposed ad features two subjects who have benefited from medicinal cannabis: a veteran with combat injuries and a child with seizures.
Super Bowl ads are expensive, reportedly costing more than $5 million for an average 30-second spot last year. Acreage, which went public in Canada last year, was prepared to pony up, and created the ad thinking it had a legitimate chance of getting onto the air. The company said it was careful to position the spot as a “call to political action” rather than a pitch for its brand, which now has cannabis operations in roughly 15 states.
“We certainly thought there was a chance,” Allen said. “You strike when the chance of your strike has the probability of success — this isn’t a doomed mission.”
Glazed & Confuzed donuts founder and CEO Josh Schwab tops a donut frosted with CBD-infused glaze with a candied hemp leaf at his shop in the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora. TREVOR HUGHES, TREVOR HUGHES-USA TODAY NETWORK
TREVOR HUGHES | USA TODAY| January 10, 2019
DENVER – Sprinkled on donuts, mixed into milkshakes or infused into olive oil, make no mistake: Cannabis is coming to a kitchen near you.
Chefs across the country say cannabis-infused food and drinks are the top two dining trends they expect to see unfold in 2019, although we’re not talking about food that will get you “high" – these are products made with "CBD," a non-psychoactive compound extracted from cannabis plants that enthusiasts say offers health benefits while tempting the palate.
"I'm telling you, 75 percent of my clientele is doctors, nurses and lawyers," said Josh Schwab, 45, whose Denver-area Glazed & Confuzed donut shop makes a CBD-frosted donut topped with a candied hemp leaf, selling upwards of 30 each weekend day. "You get all the relaxation without the head high. It kinda just takes the edge off."
Jonathan Eppers, 35, has seen the rocketing CBD interest firsthand: Launched just a year ago from LA, his CBD-infused Vybes drinks are now available in 19 states, including New York and Florida, in flavors ranging from blueberry mint to blackberry lavender.
"I was tired of living every day anxious. I wanted to be more present and calm. That’s what CBD does for me," said Eppers, whose fledgling company sold more than 1.1 million bottles last year.
The survey of chefs was part of an annual poll conducted for the National Restaurant Association, which checked with more than 650 professional chefs. Of those, 77 percent said CBD drinks are the No. 1 trend they see for 2019, followed by CBD foods.Zero-waste kitchens were the third top trend identified by the chefs, who are all members of the American Culinary Federation, and who have previously singled out artisanal cheese, house-made condiments and savory desserts.
And heads-up: These same chefs say pretzels in desserts are on their way out.
Hudson Riehle, the restaurant association's senior research director, said it's still too early to tell if CBD is just a fad or will fade into history like molecular gastronomy or meals served in mason jars. U.S. restaurants are an $850 billion industry that employs about 15 million people, and the daily conversations chefs have with customers help inform the survey, said Riehle, 65.
Because CBD products are often derived from hemp, which is usually imported but legal nationally, you can expect to see CBD on menus across the United States, although specific regulations still vary.
And while there's still relatively peer-reviewed research available on CBD's health benefits, its fans say it can help treat insomnia, anxiety, pain and seizures. Others say it provides mild relaxation without intoxication. (Marijuana-infused foods are a very different story.)
At Colorado's The Cereal Box, where customers can add a taste-free $3 scoop of CBD powder to their cereal, coffee or milkshake, co-owner Lori Hofer said she spends a lot of time explaining the difference between CBD and THC, the marijuana compound that gets you high.
She said Colorado customers tend to know more about CBD because the state's been at the forefront of marijuana legalization for so many years.
A sign on a display at a Denver-area pet store lists claimed health benefits of CBD, a component of hemp and marijuana plants. TREVOR HUGHES, USA TODAY
A few weeks ago, Hannah Smith, a 23-year-old Fort Collins, Colorado, resident who works at her family’s CBD products company, Joy Organics, got a call from her mom, asking why their Facebook page wasn’t working. Her mother assumed the password had been changed, or that someone had switched admin permissions. When Smith tried logging on herself, she found that Facebook had unpublished the Joy Organics Facebook page, flagging the business for “promoting the sale of prescription pharmaceuticals.”
Smith tried to file an appeal, but her claim was denied. She started a petition, which has received nearly 3,000 signatures. When she reached out to contacts in the CBD industry, she learned that many other CBD companies in North Carolina, Tennessee, Colorado, and Kentucky had had their Facebook pages shut down. According to the Boston Globe, at least six CBD companies in Massachusetts saw their accounts on Facebook-owned Instagram shut down as well. In an email on Monday morning, Facebook admitted that its team had erroneously removed CBD and hemp pages. “We mistakenly removed Pages for hemp and CBD oil that do not violate our policies and we are currently working to restore these Pages,” a spokesperson said.
Smith is dismayed by Facebook’s erroneous characterization of CBD. The nonpsychoactive cannabinoid of marijuana has become a popular ingredient in coffee and dog treats lately, but CBD is far from a prescription pharmaceutical. Proponents boast that CBD has medicinal properties including soothing anxiety, pain, and stress, although there aren’t enough scientific studies on it to make any conclusive claims. The substance is also now a popular subject of discussion since hemp, a species of cannabis plant that CBD can be extracted from, became legal in December thanks to Congress passing the farm bill.
“It was a huge bummer Facebook killed our page right before the holidays,” Smith said in a recent phone interview. “And we had just come up with a whole marketing campaign for our new skincare line.”
Smith was aggressive about filing additional appeals, and over the weekend, the Joy Organics page was finally reinstated. But other CBD companies are still fighting to get Facebook pages back up.
“I don’t understand why Facebook is attacking us now,” said 36-year-old Jamie Johns of Franklin, Tennessee, who owns a franchise of three CBD stores, Hempy’s. “I don’t even sell anything on our Facebook page, we just use it to educate the community and tell them about new products and new studies.”
According to Facebook’s Community Standards about what can and can’t be posted to the platform, the company states that it “prohibit attempts by individuals, manufacturers and retailers to purchase, sell or trade non-medical drugs, pharmaceutical drugs and marijuana.” The company’s Pages-Specific Policies also notes that company pages “must not promote the sale of prescription pharmaceuticals.” Pharmaceuticals are allowed to have Facebook pages, but must obtain permission from the social media company first.
Facebook said it did not believe hemp or CBD companies violated any of these terms, but it did not further explain why its team had removed these pages in the first place. Last week, Kentucky’s Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles even penned a letter to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on behalf of his state’s CBD businesses whose pages were taken down.
The timing of Facebook coming after CBD companies seemed a bit strange to Smith: “I still don’t know what is behind Facebook’s actions. Ignorance? Pharmaceutical industry interests?” she muses.
Several CBD companies told Vox that they don’t believe that Facebook deleted their pages by mistake. One business owner, Sunshine Bickett, who runs Sunshine CBD Bake in Lafayette, Indiana, believes the passing of the farm bill had caused confusion at the company.
“Personally, I think this is happening because they are correlating us with big pharma now that hemp is legal,” Bickett said. “Pharmaceutical companies pay big bucks to be on Facebook, and then there are little guys like us who have pages. Once the farm bill passed, maybe Facebook saw an opportunity to move things around.” Although the newly passed farm bill made hemp and CBD legal, the state of non-psychoactive cannabinoid is murky at best. After the bill was passed, the FDA issued a statement that its opinions had not changed and that all CBD companies must obtain FDA approval. The association also sent out warning letters to several CBD companies last month, demanding they file with the FDA. Facebook says it’s working to reestablish all CBD pages on the platform soon, but its latest move shows how complex the world of CBD is going to become. It might have a new legal status, but it will be a while before CBD’s struggles disappear for good.
Studies show that an estimated 9 percent of cannabis users will develop a dependence on the drug. Think of CUD as a matter of the Three C’s, “which is loss of control over use, compulsivity of use, and harmful consequences of use,” says Itai Danovitch, chair of the department of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai. A growing tolerance can also be a sign.
Compared to a drug like heroin, which can hook a quarter of its users, the risk of dependency with cannabis is much lower. The symptoms of withdrawal are also far less severe: irritability and depression with cannabis, compared to seizures and hallucinations with heroin. Plus, an overdose of cannabis can’t kill you.But as medicine and society continue to embrace cannabis, we risk losing sight of the drug’s potential to do harm, especially for adolescents and their developing brains.
Far more people use cannabis than heroin, meaning that the total number of users at risk of dependence is actually rather high. And studies are showing that the prevalence of CUD is on the rise—whether that’s a consequence of increased use due to legalization, a loss of stigma in seeking treatment, or some other factor isn’t yet clear. While cannabis has fabulous potential to improve human physical and mental health, understanding and then mitigating its dark side is an essential component.
Dependence is not the same as addiction, by the way. Dependence is a physical phenomenon, in which the body develops tolerance to a drug, and then goes into withdrawal if you suddenly discontinue use. Addiction is characterized by a loss of control; you can develop a dependence on drugs, for example steroids, without an accompanying addiction. You can also become addicted without developing a physical dependence—binge alcohol use disorder, for instance, is the condition in which alcohol use is harmful and out of control, but because the use isn't daily, significant physical dependence may not have developed. “An important similarity that all addictive substances tend to have is a propensity to reinforce their own use,” says Danovitch.
Figuring out such details improves the odds that we’ll be able to detect and treat cannabis use disorder. “Early intervention is important to address substance use before it progresses to a substance use disorder,” says Iowa State University psychologist Brooke Arterberry, coauthor of the study. But to pull that off, she says, we need to better understand when and why symptoms emerge. Those answers will likely be especially important in intervening with adolescent users, whose brains continue to develop into their mid-20s. Studies suggest that heavy cannabis use among this demographic can lead to changes in the brain. Particularly concerning is the apparent link between cannabis and schizophrenia, the onset of which can happen in the early 20s. It’s also important to keep in mind that in the grand scheme of drugs, cannabis is nowhere near as risky as opioids. But because of prohibition, scientists have been hindered in their ability to gather knowledge of how cannabis works on the human body, and how different doses affect different people (and potentially the development of CUD). Once acquired, those insights can inform how people should be using the drug. Groups like the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, for example, want proper labeling to keep cannabis out of the hands of children. And we need clear communication of the potency of products that can be very powerful—a chocolate bar containing 100 milligrams of THC is not meant to be consumed all at once.
“The reasons we demand proper labeling is all because of an awareness that cannabis is a mood-altering substance,” says Paul Armentano, the organization’s deputy director. “It possesses some potential level of dependence and it carries potential risk. And we believe prohibition exacerbates those potential risks, while regulation potentially mitigates those risks.” Like other substance disorders, cannabis use disorder is treatable. And as scientists develop a better understanding of CUD, we can intervene with appropriate therapies.
Cannabis has big potential to treat a range of ills. And it’ll benefit users even more once we’ve characterized its risks more precisely.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo will announce major policies Monday which will set the priorities for his first 100 days in office for his new term.
Sources tell CBS2 that Cuomo will include legalizing recreational marijuana and funding the MTA as among those top initiatives.
Cuomo and state health officials released a report during the summer recommending the legalization of marijuana in New York State.
The report, commissioned by the governor, concludes that “taxing and regulating marijuana far outweighs any potential negative consequences.” The report recommends allowing recreational marijuana be made available to adults across the state and claims taxes would bring in over $1.3 billion each year from sales of the controversial substance.
The race for state revenue from marijuana is in part driven by competition from across the Hudson River. New Jersey’s Gov. Phil Murphy has said legalization of marijuana could be ready in New Jersey by January.
Funding and fixing the troubled MTA system for commuters is another matter. Earlier this year Cuomo said lawmakers have to pass congestion pricing to raise $30 billion to fix the system, but officials say that would not be enough.
A cannabis plant is displayed on a screen at New England Treatment Access medical marijuana dispensary, in Northampton, Mass., Oct. 17, 2018.AP PHOTO/Steven Senne
By BERA DUNAU vía Daily Hampshire Gazette
NORTHAMPTON – A total of $2,218,208.47 in gross sales was made from legal recreational marijuana and marijuana products last week. The week three total was slightly more than the week one total of $2,217,621 in gross sales, but less than week two’s total of $2,586,863, according to data released by the Cannabis Control Commission. Combined with the first two weeks of sales, over $7 million of legal recreational marijuana and marijuana products have been sold. All of these sales took place in only two locations: New England Treatment Access in Northampton and Cultivate in Leicester. Both dispensaries were first opened, and also continue to operate, as medical marijuana dispensaries. The CCC has not released sales data for individual store locations. However, lines outside the building continue to be seen at NETA at all hours of operation.
Alternative Therapies Group, a Salem medical marijuana dispensary, was recently cleared to begin recreational marijuana sales by the CCC, and it is set to start them Saturday. This will make it the third location in the Bay State, and the third east of the Mississippi to sell legal recreational marijuana. ATG was the first medical marijuana dispensary to begin serving patients in Massachusetts.