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United States

Marijuana use holds three-fold blood pressure death risk: study

8/9/17--According to scientists, people who smoke marijuana have a three times greater risk of dying from hypertension, or high blood pressure, than those who have never used the drug. The risk grows with every year of use, they said. The findings, from a study of some 1,200 people, could have implications in the United States among other countries. Read

‘Start low and go slow’ – 3 steps to safely consume marijuana edibles

8/9/17--In the interest of consuming marijuana edibles safely, writers from The Sacramento Bee talked to experts and compiled three tips for anyone who wants to try edibles for the first time. Read

Seniors becoming fastest growing marijuana users

8/9/17--Seniors are becoming the fastest growing segment of the marijuana industry. According to a national survey, usage among adults 65 and older is up 250 percent, while adults 50-65 have also increased usage nearly 58 percent. Read

Marijuana associated with three-fold risk of death from hypertension

8/9/17--Marijuana use is associated with a three-fold risk of death from hypertension, according to new research. Compared to non-users, marijuana users had a 3.42-times higher risk of death from hypertension, and a 1.04 greater risk for each year of use. There was no association between marijuana use and death from heart disease or cerebrovascular disease. Read

Marijuana ‘may be worse than cigarettes for cardiovascular health’

8/9/17--People who use marijuana may be three times more likely to die from high blood pressure than non-users of the drug, a new study finds. The researchers say that their findings indicate that marijuana use is a greater risk factor for poor cardiovascular health than cigarette smoking. Read

Report reveals underground US haven for heroin, drug users

8/8/17--A report reveals that a safe haven where drug users inject themselves with heroin and other drugs has been quietly operating in the United States for the past three years. In the report, two researchers said they've been evaluating an underground safe place that opened in 2014. As a condition of their research, they didn't disclose the location of the facility — which is unsanctioned and potentially illegal — or the social service agency running it. Read

Legalizing pot is a bad way to promote racial equality

8/9/27--According to an article by Jason L. Riley of The Wall Street Journal, Senator Corey Booker believes drug legalization would address racial disparities. However, violent offenses, not drug offenses, drive incarceration rates. Data from 2015, the most recent available, show that about 53% of people in state prisons were imprisoned for violent crimes, 19% for property crimes, and 16% for drug crimes. Given that blacks are also overrepresented among those arrested for property and other nonviolent offenses, merely altering U.S. drug laws would effect little change in the racial makeup of people behind bars. Read

Oregon lawmakers to the federal government: de-schedule marijuana

8/8/17--A bipartisan group of Oregon lawmakers joined legislators from across the country on Monday in calling for the federal government to remove marijuana from the list of controlled drugs. If the federal government were to heed the request, it could ease restrictions on cannabis research and banking in states that have legalized the drug. Read

High tensions over legal marijuana

8/8/17--Despite the fact that marijuana is legal in 29 states, Attorney General Jeff Sessions fiercely dislikes the use of marijuana, and there is plenty of federal law at his side. Guests featured on WBUR's radio program, On Point, address what Jeff Session will do with legal pot. Read

Marijuana industry, far from green, is a power hog

8/5/17--One oft-cited study by New Frontier estimates that marijuana cultivation uses 1 percent of American electricity consumption. Another report by a company focusing on clean energy research finds that indoor grow labs have electricity use on par with data centers, or 50 to 200 times more than the average office complex. Read

Developing a statistical model to fill in the blanks on death certificates

8/7/17--A new study presents a correction procedure to refine data reporting opioid and heroin deaths per US state, which results in significant shifts in state-by-state mortality rates. This truer picture helps to remove an important barrier to formulating effective policies to address this serious drug epidemic. Read

Compound derived from marijuana interacts with antiepileptic drugs

8/7/17--New research suggests that an investigational neurological treatment derived from cannabis may alter the blood levels of commonly used antiepileptic drugs. Read

Compound derived from marijuana interacts with antiepileptic drugs

8/7/17--New research published in Epilepsia, a journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), suggests that an investigational neurological treatment derived from cannabis may alter the blood levels of commonly used antiepileptic drugs. Read

Why Jeff Sessions is going to lose his war against cannabis

8/1/17--On at least one front, Sessions’s new war on drugs is likely to fail. In taking on cannabis — particularly the medical uses of cannabis — he is staking out a position that is at odds with powerful interests and an overwhelming majority of Americans from nearly all walks of life. This tide is too strong to swim against. Nearly three-quarters of the U.S. population lives in states that have legalized medical cannabis, and states have powerful incentives to preserve their laws. There is almost universal popular opinion in favor of the availability of medical cannabis. Read

Many Americans are too drugged-out to work

7/30/17--A slew of reports finds a fresh reason for the chronic inability of American companies to fill skilled jobs: not a lack of skills, and hence a training-and-education crisis, but a surfeit of drug abuse, per the NYT's Nelson Schwartz. Simply put, prime-working age Americans without a college diploma are often too drugged-out to get the best jobs. Opioids remain at high levels, but the surge in drug use is now heroin and the powerful contaminant fentanyl. Read

Reviving the war on drugs isn’t the way to improve police/community relations

8/4/17--The United States has been waging a war on drugs for nearly 50 years. According to Dean A. Dabney, associate professor of justice and criminology at Georgia State University, a return to a "law and order" approach would undo recent gains in reducing crime rates as well as prison populations and would further strain tense police-community relations. Read

Task force on marijuana law offers little on new policies

8/5/17--The Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, a group of prosecutors and federal law enforcement officials, has come up with no new policy recommendations to advance the attorney general’s aggressively anti-marijuana views. The group’s report largely reiterates the current Justice Department policy on marijuana. It encourages officials to keep studying whether to change or rescind the Obama administration’s more hands-off approach to enforcement — a stance that has allowed the nation’s experiment with legal pot to flourish. Read

Rastafarian pot farm shootout sparks religious-use debate

8/3/17--The shooting of two California deputies responding to a disturbance at a Rastafarian marijuana farm has drawn attention to religious use of the drug, sparking debate over whether churches should be protected from drug prosecutions. Religious organizations throughout California have been growing marijuana for ceremonial purposes for years, and they have been losing in court for just as long because there is no religious exemption to state and federal marijuana bans, and there won't be any special treatment when California legalizes pot next year. Read

This 59-year-old mother of 2 is making millions selling legal marijuana gummies

7/31/17--Nancy Whiteman's marijuana confectionary company, Wana Brands, makes millions of dollars a year, but she considers herself an "accidental cannabis entrepreneur." She thought that edibles could be the next big thing in legal marijuana trends. Her confectionary concoctions include loaded sour fruit gummies, salted caramels, hot cocoa, and bright lozenge "jewels" infused with different levels of THC. By the end of 2017, she expects Wana Brands to bring in more than $12 million in revenue. Read

The harmfulness of marijuana use and the public policy approach to address the challenges

7/29/17--Auburn University is offering a course is to help increase the understanding of public policy makers, as well as other contributing members to society, concerning the harmful effects of marijuana use and the implications of those harmful effects for the mental and physical well-being of individuals of all ages in society; the implications of the harmful effects of marijuana use on the capacity of adults and ultimately, the rising generation to function as responsible citizens. Read

New ‘Potcast’ to dive into how marijuana legalization is changing America

7/25/17--In a new podcast called the "Potcast," a group of journalists will look at how Americans' lives and their communities are being affected by cannabis legalization. The podcast is set to debut in fall 2017 and is hosted and produced by Jenny Kane and Brian Duggan. Based out of Reno, Nev., the Potcast will tell the stories of dealers, doctors, pastors, and grandmothers as they all come to terms with how legal ganja is changing American culture, for better or worse. Read

Montel Williams enters green rush he helped to create

7/28/17--Television personality Montel Williams, who has supported legalization, decriminalization, and the medical use of pot for nearly two decades, is the latest to back a cannabis product line. He launched his elixirs, LenitivLabs, in Southern California this week, and founded the firm, Lenitiv Scientific LLC. The line, available at select local dispensaries, includes drink "shots" and cannabinoid oils of varying potency. Read

FDA announces comprehensive regulatory plan to shift trajectory of tobacco-related disease, death

7/28/17--The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a new comprehensive plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation that will serve as a multi-year roadmap to better protect kids and significantly reduce tobacco-related disease and death. The approach places nicotine, and the issue of addiction, at the center of the agency’s tobacco regulation efforts. The goal is to ensure that the FDA has the proper scientific and regulatory foundation to efficiently and effectively implement the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Read

Lawmakers halt bill to let VA doctors prescribe pot for pain

7/26/17--Republican lawmakers have blocked a vote on a bill that would have allowed Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana as a pain treatment in states where the drug is legal. The House Rules Committee stopped a proposed “Veterans Equal Access” amendment from moving to debate on the House floor by keeping the measure out of the House’s proposed VA funding bill for next year. Read

Federal lawsuit against Sessions and DEA says marijuana’s Schedule I status unconstitutional

7/25/17--A diverse cadre of cannabis advocates filed a federal lawsuit Monday challenging the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as it pertains to marijuana. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Drug Enforcement Agency acting administrator Charles Rosenberg were named as defendants in the lawsuit brought by a former NFL player, two children using medical marijuana, an Iraq War vet with post-traumatic stress disorder, and a social justice nonprofit organization. Read

Economy needs workers, but drug tests take a toll

7/24/17--The economic impact of drug use on the work force is being felt across the country. The effect is seen not just in the applicants eliminated based on drug screening, but in those deterred from even applying. The biggest employers face similar challenges in their search for suitable hires, especially with the national unemployment rate now at 4.4 percent, down from 8.2 percent five years ago. Read

Pattern of marijuana use during adolescence may impact psychosocial outcomes in adulthood

7/25/17--A pattern of escalating marijuana use in adolescents is linked to higher rates of depression and lower educational accomplishments in adulthood. Those findings come from a new study led by researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Pitt Department of Psychology published in the journal Addiction. Read

Recreational marijuana linked to increase in vehicle collisions

7/24/17--A new analysis conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), shows that Colorado, Oregon, and Washington have about a three percent higher rate of collision claim frequencies than would have been expected without legalization of recreational marijuana. HLDI’s analysis provides a preview of what the legalization of marijuana may mean for highway safety as more states legalize its use. Read

Cliff Robinson aims to ‘knock down the myth that athletes and cannabis don’t mix’

7/21/17--Cliff Robinson, formerly of the Portland Trail Blazers, is now making a name for himself in the marijuana industry through a partnership with Portland-based company Pistil Point Cannabis. Pistil Point is the first exclusive indoor cannabis growing facility in the city. Not being viewed a typical marijuana company is key for Robinson. He wants to knock down the myth that athletes and cannabis don't mix. Read

Trump’s DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana

7/23/17--The Trump administration is readying for a crackdown on marijuana users under Attorney General Jeff Sessions. President Trump’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, led by Sessions, is expected to release a report next week that criminal justice reform advocates fear will link marijuana to violent crime and recommend tougher sentences for those caught growing, selling, and smoking the plant. Read

Survey reveals how many Americans have tried marijuana

7/22/17--According to a new survey by Gallup, more than 40 percent of Americans have tried using marijuana at some point in their lives, the highest percentage ever recorded by Gallup and a remarkable increase from when Gallup first asked respondents about marijuana, in 1969. Read

Team-based model reduces prescription opioid use among patients with chronic pain by 40 percent

7/17/17--A new, team-based, primary care model is decreasing prescription opioid use among patients with chronic pain by 40 percent, according to a new study out of Boston Medical Center's Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine, which is published online ahead of print in JAMA Internal Medicine. Read

A small-town police officer’s war on drugs

7/12/17--Eric Adams, who has worked in law enforcement for nearly two decades, became the first person in New England — to his knowledge, the only person in the country — whose job title is prevention, enforcement, and treatment coordinator. In 2014, the year Adams began in this position, the town of Laconia had 10 opioid fatalities. In 2016, the number was five. Fifty-­one of its residents volunteered for treatment last year, up from 46 a year before and 14 a year before that. Read

Boston startup dives into marijuana industry with high-tech sensor to weed out impurities

7/16/17--The Boston startup 908 Devices has unveiled a new sensor intended to give it a foothold in a less conventional but fast-growing industry of commercial marijuana. The sensor, dubbed the G908, is a countertop “push-button” mass spectrometer designed to identify cannabis compounds. Its designers say the device approaches the accuracy of traditional “gold standard” lab equipment but is far smaller, faster, cheaper, and easier to use. Read

States keep saying yes to marijuana use. Now comes the federal no.

7/15/17--In a national vote widely viewed as a victory for conservatives, last year’s elections also yielded a win for liberals in eight states that legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use. But the growing industry is facing a federal crackdown under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has compared cannabis to heroin. Read

Why an anti-pot lawmaker is pushing for marijuana research

7/12/17--Rep. Andy Harris, M.D. is known as legal marijuana's greatest foe, but he also recognizes that the federal prohibition on all forms of marijuana has left the nation void of serious science on the plant that people are now legally smoking from coast to coast. So, he has teamed up with some of the more pro-pot lawmakers to push legislation that loosens the classification of weed so that universities, hospitals, and the private sector can study marijuana without fear of getting in trouble with the feds. Read

New coffee pods promise a two-way buzz: From marijuana and caffeine

7/12/17--Cannabiniers launched Brewbudz, which is “the world’s first cannabis infused coffee, tea, and cocoa pods. Brewbudz are available in different dosing strengths from 10 mg to 50 mg of THC, and according to Cannabiniers, the company’s patented extraction process “allows the consumer to benefit from the complete profile of the cannabis flower, in a healthy and discreet manner." Read

Here’s why Nevada’s marijuana supply can’t keep up with sales

7/12/17--Dispensaries in Nevada are facing a pot shortage, and lost sales could result in less funding for the state’s schoolchildren. The supply problem has little to do with wilting plants and a lot to do with regulations that give alcohol wholesalers exclusive distributor rights. Although 47 dispensaries obtained licenses to sell cannabis in Nevada, regulators have yet to approve any wholesalers' distributor applications. Read

Marijuana legalization: The new Reefer Madness

7/12/17--In a published commentary featured in The Hill, Kevin Sabet, president and CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, presents his argument for why the proposed Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment is bad for public health and safety. Sabet deems restricting the Justice Department's spending on enforcement in states that have violated federal law and passed medical marijuana initiatives as a back-door gimmick to legalize marijuana at the federal level, while also benefiting major criminal organizations seeking legal cover for drug trafficking. Read

Marijuana and the opioid epidemic: separating fact from fiction

6/27/17--Despite national headlines claiming that states with legal marijuana have lower opioid overdose rates, NIDA reports that there is insufficient evidence to confirm that legalizing marijuana will reduce opioid use and overdose deaths. NIDA is funding additional studies to determine the link between medical marijuana use and the use or misuse of opioids for pain. Read

Both urgency and balance needed in addressing opioid epidemic

8/1/17--The ongoing opioid crisis is at the intersection of 2 substantial public health challenges: improving the treatment of pain and minimizing the harms that can arise from use of opioid medications. Recent Viewpoints in JAMA highlighted this tension. In one article, the authors emphasized that “there is no evidence that opioids are effective in chronic pain conditions and significant evidence that they cause harm.” In another article, the authors expressed dismay that federal policy has “disproportionately focused on reducing opioid use rather than increasing pain relief.” Read

Ed Markey demands apology from Kellyanne Conway for comment on addiction

6/26/17--Senator Ed Markey issued a fiery statement Monday demanding an apology from White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, after she stated that people suffering from drug addiction need “a four-letter word called ‘will’ ’’ in an interview about health care’s role in stemming the ongoing opioid crisis. Markey, in a statement, said Conway’s words are a “death sentence’’ for those suffering from opioid addiction. Read

Op-ed: DEA position statement on CBD, hemp, and Farm Bill “reckless and illegal”

7/7/17--In an op-ed piece published in The Cannabist, Joel Stanley, CEO of Stanley Brothers, addresses an opinion statement released by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that he says not only contradicts federal law, but its very issuance is also illegal. The statement was released in response to The Cannabist’s ongoing reporting on cannabidiol (CBD). Stanley comments that the statement violates the expressed intent of Congress. Furthermore, the opinions expressed by the DEA in the statement show that the agency is choosing which laws it would like to apply to hemp, CBD, and Charlotte’s Web. Read

Scientists lay the groundwork for a reliable marijuana breathalyzer

7/6/17--An important step has been taken toward a reliable marijuana breathalyzer by measuring the vapor pressure of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) -- a measurement that, due to the compound's chemical structure, is very difficult and has not been accomplished before. Read

Machine measures smoking impact

7/6/17--Leslie Sutherland, a research scientist with the Health Sciences North Research Institute, is using a large contraption referred to as Borg, the smoking machine, to examine the dangers of smoking – tobacco and marijuana. Sutherland says she believes she is the first researcher to look into the effects of cannabis smoke from this perspective. Her study centres on the earliest changes that occur at the cellular level, once the cells have been exposed to smoke. Read

Should parents lie about smoking pot?

7/7/17--Frank Pegueros, president and CEO of the anti-substance abuse program D.A.R.E, says parents should be truthful with their children when talking about our past substance use. "Children are more perceptive than we give them credit for," says Pegueros. "It's better to be truthful since they can usually see right through a lie. I've found not being truthful makes life more complicated." Read

Data on drug use is disappearing just when we need it most

6/29/17--Several sources on drug use that researchers once relied on are no longer being updated or have become more difficult to access. The lack of data means researchers, policymakers, and public health workers are facing the worst U.S. drug epidemic in a generation without essential information about the nature of the problem or its scale. Because of the well-known shortcomings of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and other surveys that rely on self-reporting, experts often try to combine different sources to reach a more reliable estimate of total drug use. Read

Mostly young, well-educated men are ordering marijuana delivery

6/27/17--Eaze, the San Francisco-based marijuana delivery startup, recently conducted a survey of its customers to get a better idea of their backgrounds and habits. The report showed that a majority of the service's users are male (66%) and relatively young, with 57% of respondents falling into the "millennial" category between the ages of 22 and 34. The reports also indicates that a majority of Eaze customers are also well-educated and well-paid. Read

Some marijuana-derived treatments aim to soothe skittish pets

7/4/17--CBD has drawn a lot of attention in recent years from neurologists and other researchers intrigued by hints that the chemical might prove helpful to people, and now there is a growing interest in CBD's therapeutic potential for pets. Still, cannabis therapies for pets fall into a legal gray zone. None of the cannabis-derived products for pets are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Read

Brain region that affects drug use habits

6/27/17--Researchers have identified a brain region involved in cocaine addiction. The findings could lead to targeted drugs or improved behavioral treatments for substance addiction, including opioid dependency. Read

Does marijuana increase the risk of vehicle crashes?

6/27/17--While decades of research have shown that alcohol increases the risk of vehicle crashes, marijuana research is mixed. Yet, it still points toward some effect of the drug on driving ability and crash risk. As a result, some researchers urge caution. Read

Today’s marijuana user is likely a woman — & maybe a mom

6/27/17--It turns out that the modern marijuana user is likely to be a woman — and maybe even a parent. A new survey from Eaze, a cannabis technology company that facilitates delivery of medical marijuana, found that they are highly educated, employed, and financially well-off. They're also overwhelmingly millennials. A higher number of women than men reported using cannabis daily, and one in five marijuana users in their survey were parents — with 63% of those parents reporting using cannabis on a daily basis. Read

Medical marijuana cardholders may not purchase firearms

6/28/17--According to a spokesperson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (AFT), people who obtain medical marijuana cards cannot legally purchase firearms from a federally licensed dealer. The ATF says the card gives a dealer "reasonable cause to believe" the person uses marijuana and should be denied a firearm. Read

Legal cannabis laws impact teen use

6/27/17--A new study by researchers at Dartmouth has found that adolescents living in medical marijuana states with a plethora of dispensaries are more likely to have tried new methods of cannabis use, such as edibles and vaping, at a younger age than those living in states with fewer dispensaries. Read

Forbidden medicine: Caught between a doctor’s CBD advice and federal laws

6/20/17--The Cannabist’s special report “CBD, TBD” explores a regulatory and legal landscape pockmarked by federal-state conflicts, national drug policy, pioneering research efforts, and disparate avenues toward the compound’s full legalization. The Cannabist presents the first installment in an ongoing series featuring a man on a quest to help his epileptic sister with cannabidiol who is stymied by the system. Read

What marijuana legalization did to car accident rates

6/26/17--Last week, a pair of studies came to seemingly opposite conclusions on whether rising marijuana use is causing an increase in car crashes in states that have legalized the drug. On the one hand, a finding that legalization led to a small but significant increase in crashes. On the other, a study concluding that legalization had no effect on fatal crashes at all. However, the two don't necessarily contradict each other because the studies measured slightly different things. It seems plausible that legalization could lead to a slight increase in minor accidents that don't prove fatal. Read

This medical marijuana start-up uses artificial intelligence to find which strain is best for you

6/26/17--Potbot uses artificial intelligence to "read" through peer-reviewed medical journals to find studies on cannabinoids, the active compounds in marijuana. Using the research, it pairs 37 symptoms like insomnia, asthma, and cancer with branded marijuana strains to find which type of weed is best suited to treat each one. Read

Marijuana tied to more Colorado collisions but not fatalities, pair of studies says

6/26/17--Two new studies receiving a flurry of news coverage appeared contradictory: An insurance-industry nonprofit found that collision claims had increased in states that legalized marijuana compared to others, while a paper published in an academic journal found no link between legalization and traffic fatalities. Yet, according to Morgan Fox, senior communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, the studies aren't necessarily conflicting because they were looking at two different things: collisions and fatal accidents. Fox further expresses that the problem is they both attempt to show a causation where one doesn’t exist. Read

Addiction medicine experts push back against AHCA’s Medicaid cuts

6/19/17--The first meeting of the Trump administration’s commission on opioids centered on a key topic: the American Health Care Act and proposed cuts to Medicaid within the bill. Though concerns about Medicaid cuts were at the forefront of discussions at the commission’s two-hour meeting, the nine-person panel also sounded off on evidence-based medicine, ways to increase first responders’ access to key drugs like naloxone, and how to make it easier for families to access resources if they’re coping with a relative’s addiction. Read

Advocates are inspiring members of Congress to champion national CBD oil legalization

6/26/17--Paige Figi, founder and executive director of the Coalition for Access Now, a national nonprofit organization that lobbies on behalf of hemp and CBD legalization, is one of several advocates who has thrown her weight behind efforts in Congress to remove CBD — and plants rich in cannabidiol and low in intoxicating THC — from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Some organizations and institutions remain bound by the Controlled Substances Act, even in states where medical marijuana is legal. Read