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After ‘Green Rush,’ Canada’s legal pot suppliers are stumbling

4/18/21--Analysts say one reason the sunny projections for legal marijuana in Canada have failed to materialize is the tightly regulated distribution system introduced by Canada, which largely bans advertising and marketing. The halting roll out of stores in some provinces — particularly Ontario — is also a factor. Plus, surveys have suggested that many Canadians are simply not interested in adopting a new vice. Read

As more states legalize marijuana, more children accidentally ingest THC-laced edibles

4/17/21--Poison control centers across the country say they have seen a spike in the number of children who have ingested THC after eating their parents' edibles, rising from just 19 cases in 2010, before recreational pot was legalized in any state, to 554 cases last year. About 400 of those cases were children under age 5. Poison control officials attribute the rise in large part to a growing number of states having legalized marijuana. Read

UM School of Medicine researchers map brain regions responsible for intoxicating effects of alcohol

4/14/21--The finding of a new study led by researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, indicates that The slurred speech, poor coordination, and sedative effects of drinking too much alcohol may actually be caused by the breakdown of alcohol products produced in the brain, not in the liver as scientists currently think. It was published recently in the journal Nature Metabolism and provides new insights into how alcohol may affect the brain and the potential for new treatments to treat alcohol misuse. Read

Parallel Chairman & CEO Beau Wrigley talks CPG, R&D and market expansion

4/15/21--In a wide-ranging interview, Beau Wrigley shares how his experience running the legacy Wrigley gum and candy brand has positioned the company for exponential growth as it gears up to go public this summer. Wrigley outlines the benefits of the deal, Parallel’s market expansion strategy, the company’s clinical research partnership with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, as well as why he believes there’s still “a ways to go” before cannabis can become a true consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. Read

Labour’s ‘responsible’ drug abuse

4/13/21--In a relentless drive to legalize drug abuse, Labour issued a White Paper entitled, ‘Towards the strengthening of the legal framework on the responsible use of cannabis’. Labour’s White Paper asserts that “Nothing in this White Paper is intended to encourage, promote or lead to consumption of cannabis,” but according to The Shift's Kevin Cassar, it proceeds to do just that. Read

How Airbnb and Uber use activist tactics that disguise their corporate lobbying as grassroots campaigns

4/15/21--In addition to traditional lobbying, some digital platforms have been cultivating corporate “grassroots lobbying” initiatives in which they resource and mobilize their users to lobby for deregulation or to block proposals or sanctions from government. They do this by using civil-society practices such as online petitions addressed to politicians, one-on-one meetings with representatives, protests, and partnerships with existing civil society groups. Read

Genetic predisposition to schizophrenia may increase risk of psychosis from cannabis use

4/14/21-- A new study published in Translational Psychiatry by researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and King’s College London shows that while cannabis users had higher rates of psychotic experiences than non-users across the board, the difference was especially pronounced among those with high genetic predisposition to schizophrenia. Read

NBA stars John Wall, Carmelo Anthony invest in cannabis company LEUNE

4/15/21--National Basketball Association stars John Wall and Carmelo Anthony are new investors in California-based LEUNE. The cannabis company raised roughly $5 million and said it would use the funds for marketing and expanding its products as it looks to capitalize on more states legalizing marijuana. Read

Trial of Psilocybin versus Escitalopram for depression

4/15/21-- This trial did not show a significant difference in antidepressant effects between psilocybin and escitalopram in a selected group of patients. Secondary outcomes generally favored psilocybin over escitalopram, but the analyses of these outcomes lacked correction for multiple comparisons. Larger and longer trials are required to compare psilocybin with established antidepressants. Read

DEA: ‘Take Back Day’ collects over 9,000,000 pounds of drugs

4/13/21--Annually, the DEA holds their national "Take Back" drug campaign for the public to get rid of any unused or expired prescriptions by taking them to locations designated by the DEA. In 2020 alone, Americans returned more than 900,000 pounds during Take Back Day - almost 500 tons of unused prescription drugs across the country. This is the safest way to dispose of prescription meds you no longer need. Read

Too high, or not high enough? Study finds cannabis potency labeling is often wildly inaccurate

4/14/21--A new study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that a regulatory labeling system featuring two three-letter acronyms accompanied by percentages: CBD and THC could frequently be way off — giving consumers radically different psychoactive experiences than what they might be expecting. Read

Ben Cohen’s new pre-rolled joint business will fund Black-owned cannabis companies

4/14/21--By July, Ben Cohen will launch a cannabis business in Colorado that will produce low-THC, high-terpene pre-rolled joints. The Vermont entrepreneur did revealed that profits will help fund cannabis businesses owned by people of color and nonprofits that work for criminal justice reform. Cohen thinks licensing and capital should be accessible and available to Black-owned cannabis businesses. That mission drives his new company. Read

Provisional drug overdose death counts

4/13/21--This data visualization presents provisional counts for drug overdose deaths based on a current flow of mortality data in the National Vital Statistics System. Counts for the most recent final annual data are provided for comparison. Provisional data presented in this visualization will be updated on a monthly basis as additional records are received. Read

Australia’s “injecting rooms enriching drug trade”: UN complaint

4/12/21--A formal complaint was sent by Major Brian Watters, President of Drug Free Australia, to the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) citing overwhelming evidence that Australia’s two injecting rooms – one each in Sydney and Melbourne – are both tacitly aiding and abetting the local drug trade, significantly enriching drug dealers. Read

Infant mortality associated with prenatal opioid exposure

4/12/21-- In this cohort study of more than 1 million maternal-infant dyads, the odds of mortality in infants with a history of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome was not significantly different from the reference population in adjusted analyses. In contrast, the odds of mortality in opioid-exposed infants not diagnosed with neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome was 72% greater than the reference population. Read

Comparison of water pipes vs other modes of cannabis consumption and subsequent illicit drug use in longitudinal cohort of young Swiss men

4/6/21--In this longitudinal cohort study of 1108 men, both unadjusted and adjusted models showed that consumption of cannabis with a water pipe at baseline was associated with the use of other illicit drugs at follow-up compared with not using a water pipe. Read

PepsiCo unveils Rockstar Energy + Hemp in Germany

4/6/21--Rockstar Energy + Hemp has launched a Rockstar Energy beverage with hemp seed extract containing caffeine, guarana and taurine, as well as an "intense" hemp taste in three flavors. The new product was released on 3 April and is only be available in Germany. The beverage contains caffeine, guarana and taurine as well as an "intense" hemp taste, according to PepsiCo said. Read

FDA letters suggest scrutiny of virus and vaping products

4/8/21--Since the start of 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been issuing warning letters. A large percentage of warning letters concern adulterated, unapproved or misbranded products related to COVID-19, including purported treatments and preventative products. Tobacco is another FDA priority receiving significant attention, and e-cigarette companies continue to be in the agency's crosshairs for selling unapproved products.  Read

Nicotine pouches

4/9/21--To secure the tobacco industry’s medium to long-term future, in light of growing tobacco regulations and a rapidly shrinking cigarette market, transnational tobacco companies (TTC) have been diversifying into alternative tobacco and nicotine products.12 They are also increasingly marketing these products in low and middle income countries. Three of the ‘big four’ TTCs have invested in Swedish-style snus and leaf-free variants called nicotine pouches, which they have promoted as part of their harm reduction or ‘reduced risk’ strategies. Read

Big tobacco is coming for legal marijuana

4/8/21--Seemingly, tobacco companies are pouring billions of dollars into the new legal marijuana industry determined to target marijuana consumers and patients. Tobacco companies continue to target vulnerable people and profit off nicotine addiction. In 2018, Altria, which owns the Marlboro brand, invested $1.8 billion in a cannabis company and $12.8 billion in Juul, a nicotine vape product that has been popular with children and has fueled a public health crisis in teen vaping. Read

Vape seller are using popular music videos to promote e-cigarettes to young people – and it’s working

4/6/21--A recent study uncovered that participants exposed to any electronic cigarette product placement or imagery in music videos were more likely to have used an electronic cigarette in the past month compared to participants with no exposure.the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 prohibits product placement for cigarettes and chew tobacco in television, music videos and motion pictures, but those restrictions do not apply to electronic cigarettes. Read

Billboard and storefront ads for cannabis linked to problematic use in teens

4/8/21--According to a new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, adolescents who frequently see billboard or storefront advertisements for recreational cannabis are more likely to use the drug weekly and to have symptoms of a cannabis use disorder. Read

Cannabis legalization and link to increase in fatal collisions

4/6/21--Legalization of recreational cannabis may be associated with an increase in fatal motor vehicle collisions based on data from the United States, and authors discuss the implications for Canada in an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). Read

New coalition launched to end cannabis prohibition, bridge across ideological, party lines

4/6/21--The Cannabis Freedom Alliance (CFA) launched to end the prohibition, criminalization, and overregulation of cannabis in the United States. The CFA aims to do so in a manner consistent with helping all Americans achieve their full potential and limiting the number of barriers that inhibit innovation and entrepreneurship in a free and open market. Read

Parallel expands into Illinois cannabis market with agreement to acquire Windy City

4/1/21--Parallel, one of the largest privately-held multi-state cannabis operators in the United States (U.S.), announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire, in a cash and stock transaction, certain operations of Windy City Cannabis, comprised of Posen Dispensary Holding Company, LLC, Homewood Holding Company, LLC, Homewood 2nd Site Holding Company, LLC, Posen 2nd Site Holding Company, LLC and Compass Dispensary Holdings, LLC (collectively, "Windy City"). Read

Even YouTube is chilling out on weed

3/31/21--In a Wednesday update posted to the company’s ad-friendly content guidelines, YouTube announced it would be easing up on the monetization restrictions for certain kinds of content dealing with “recreational drugs and drug-related content,” among other topics. Read

Why FDA’s reduced exposure marketing order for IQOS is not a reliable global model

3/25/21--Lauren Lempert, Stella Bialous, and Stanton Glantz recently published “FDA’s reduced exposure marketing order for IQOS: why it is not a reliable global model” in Tobacco Control to explain what happened in the US and why the FDA process — which followed US law — is not a good model for the rest of the world. They argue that FDA should not have even authorized reduced exposure claims. Read

FTCs ‘Operation CBDeceit’: How to understand it and what to watch for going forward

3/24/21--In December 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced proposed settlements with six CBD companies accused of making a broad range of unsubstantiated health claims. Nicknamed “Operation CBDeceit,” the enforcement sweep was part of the FTC’s ongoing effort to protect consumers from false, deceptive, and misleading health claims made in advertisements on websites, through social media, and on other platforms. These settlements became final in early March 2021. Read

Mobile Munchies: Cannabis food trucks roll out across America

3/29/21--There has been a lot of political debate about the true legality of mobile marijuana, but that hasn’t stopped a growing number of industrious entrepreneurs from starting their own food trucks. Though some food truck owners operate in anonymity out of fear of running afoul of confusing legalese, many are boldly emerging from the shadows with a slew of innovative dining concepts. Read

Teenage brains may be especially vulnerable to marijuana and other drugs

3/29/21--According to a new study, published in JAMA Pediatrics and led by a team of scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, adolescents and teenagers who experiment with marijuana and prescription drugs are more likely to get hooked on them than young people who try these drugs for the first time when they are college-aged or older. Read

Driving impairment following vaporization of cannabis

3/23/21--This study confirmed previous findings from on-road and driving simulator studies showing that THC produces modest but clinically relevant driving impairment similar to that seen in drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05%. It also showed that THC-induced impairment was transient and no longer present between 240 minutes and 300 minutes after vaporization, even though most drivers still tested positive for THC in blood. Read

Democrats urge FDA to clear market of all flavored e-cigarettes

3/23/21--The 43 House Democrats sent the letter to Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock urging the agency to take all flavored e-cigarettes off the market. The lawmakers want the FDA to ban all flavored e-cigarettes upon further review and nix the exemption the FDA has for methanol and disposable e-cigarettes. Read

UCSF, Johns Hopkins release documents shining light on opioid crisis

3/24/21--UCSF and John Hopkins University released a trove of documents Wednesday culled from legal rulings, settlements and ongoing lawsuits related to the nation’s opioid crisis, which to date has claimed the lives of nearly 500,000 Americans since 1999. Read

Medicinal psychedelics for mental health and addiction: Advancing research of an emerging paradigm

3/21/21--The medical use of psychedelic substances is attracting renewed interest due to a pressing need for research and development of novel therapies for psychiatric disorders, as well as promising results of contemporary studies. The sum of this research points towards medicinal psychedelics as a potential new class of psychiatric treatments when used within a medically supervised framework with integrated psychotherapeutic support. Read

Highly purified cannabidiol for epilepsy treatment: A systematic review of epileptic conditions beyond Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome

3/22/21--This systematic review aimed to summarize the currently available body of knowledge about the use of this US Food and Drug Administration/European Medicines Agency-approved oral formulation of pharmaceutical-grade CBD in patients with epileptic conditions. The currently available data suggest that response to treatment with a highly purified, plant-derived CBD oil-based solution can be seen in patients across a broad range of epilepsy disorders and etiologies. The existing evidence can provide preliminary support for additional research. Read

U.S. Hemp Authority announces it will not certify “hemp” products that are marketed for intoxication

3/25/21--The U.S. Hemp Authority®, the hemp industry’s initiative to provide high standards, best practices, and self-regulation, announced today that its nationally recognized certification program will not allow the participation of products that are sold under the guise of the hemp name, but that are marketed for their intoxicating effect. Read

Supersized alcopop related calls in the National Poison Data System, 2010-2019

3/23/21--The current study examined the characteristics of calls to U.S. poison control centers involving supersized alcopops, in addition to comparing the proportion of calls for underage consumers between calls involving consumption of supersized alcopops and calls involving other types of alcohol. Results indicate that compared to other alcohol products, calls to U.S poison control centers for supersized alcopops disproportionately involved underage drinkers. To protect youth, improved regulation of supersized alcopop products is urgently needed. Read

How does alcohol marketing impact recovery?

3/23/21--Alcohol marketing has been proven to have a significant influence on drinking habits in the UK. The World Health Organization has concluded that bans and restrictions on alcohol marketing are some of the best and most affordable policies to reduce alcohol-related harm. Read

USDA posts webinar outlining the domestic hemp production final rule

3/26/21--The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has posted a recorded informational webinar to outline key provisions of the Final Rule establishing the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program, which went into effect March 22, 2021. Read

Overdose deaths far outpace COVID-19 deaths in San Francisco

3/25/21--Since COVID-19 first started upending day-to-day life for Americans in March 2020, public health officials have been sounding the alarm about a potential surge in drug overdoses. Overdose deaths rose during the second half of 2019, and experts feared the pandemic would produce conditions that would further increase overdoses and deaths: economic shock, social isolation and increased mental health distress, and disrupted access to addiction support and medications that require face-to-face visits. Read

Why the alcohol industry is betting big on cannabis

3/15/21--The beverage alcohol industry is noticing—and increasingly seeing a huge opportunity in the THC and CBD beverage space. Cannabis sales in the U.S. are expected to reach $21.6 billion in 2021, with cannabis beverage sales comprising around $210 million of that, according to BDS Analytics. Read

The short-term impact of 3 smoked cannabis preparations versus placebo on PSTD symptoms: A randomized cross-over clinical trial

3/17/21--This study is the first randomized placebo-controlled trial of smoked cannabis for PTSD. All treatment groups, including placebo, showed good tolerability and significant improvements in PTSD symptoms during three weeks of treatment, but no active treatment statistically outperformed placebo in this brief, preliminary trial. Additional well-controlled and adequately powered studies with cannabis suitable for FDA drug development are needed to determine whether smoked cannabis improves symptoms of PTSD. Read

Disposable e-cigarette use among U.S. youth – An emerging public health challenge

3/16/21--According to data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), 19.6% of high school students (3.02 million) and 4.7% of middle school students (550,000) reported current (within the preceding 30 days) e-cigarette use in 2020 — 1.8 million fewer than in 2019.2 However, e-cigarette use among youth remains prominent and the landscape of devices is evolving, both of which pose a public health challenge. The changes in device type–specific e-cigarette use during 2019 and 2020 was accessed. Read

Purdue Pharma offers restructuring plan, Sackler family would give up ownership

3/16/21--Under a bankruptcy plan filed late Monday night, Purdue Pharma would pay roughly $500 million in cash up front to settle hundreds of thousands of injury claims linked to the company's role in the deadly opioid epidemic. The company said additional payments would be spread over the next decade, including installments on roughly $4.2 billion promised by members of the Sackler family who own the firm. Read

New wave of bars creates buzz without the booze

3/16/21--Aimed at the growing number of people exploring sobriety, the bars pour adult drinks like craft cocktails without the alcohol. Sober bars first appeared in the 19th century as part of the temperance movement. But while previous iterations were geared toward non-drinkers or people in recovery, the newer venues welcome the sober as well as the curious. Read

Evaluation of state cannabis laws and rates of self-harm and assault

3/18/21--In this cohort study based on health insurance claims data from 75,395,344 beneficiaries between 2003 and 2017, rates of self-harm injuries among males younger than 40 years increased more in states legalizing recreational cannabis dispensaries compared with states without cannabis legalization laws. For other age and sex groups and for more restrictive legalization approaches, no association with self-harm and assault was found. Read

Cannabis policy heterogeneity and effects on research – complexity expected

3/18/21--In their study, Matthay et al identify cannabis commercialization as a risk factor associated with population-level adverse health outcomes, including self-injury and violence, among young men. This consideration of the degree of cannabis commercialization extends a critical early call to researchers, most notably that from Pacula et al, to consider heterogeneity in cannabis policy assessments. Read

The Avett Brothers, Jason Mraz and Michael Franti Headline Rock the RoC benefit concert

3/18/21--Cannabinoid research foundation Realm of Caring (RoC) announced a paramount lineup for its inaugural benefit concert Rock. Confirmed musical guests include The Avett Brothers, Jason Mraz and Michael Franti as headliners, alongside 2020 Grammy-nominated artist Ruthie Foster, Wesley Schultz of The Lumineers, Glen Phillips, Graham Nash, The War and Treaty, and Johnnyswim, along with others. Special appearances include Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Gov. Jared Polis. Read

Prevalence and correlates of driving under the influence of cannabis in the U.S.

3/13/21--In 2020, public-use data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health were examined, using an analytic sample of 128,205 adults interviewed between 2016 and 2018. Findings from a study suggest that prevention efforts should focus on frequent and problem cannabis users and should include content related to other illicit drug use and other drug-impaired driving. Read

Trends in cannabis use among adults with children in the home in the United States, 2004-2017

3/17/21--According to this study, among adults with children living in the home, cannabis use appears to be more common in US states with legalized cannabis use compared with states with no legal cannabis use. Recreational legalization appears to increase use among adults with children in the home broadly across nearly all sociodemographic groups, whereas the effect of legalization for medical use is heterogeneous by age and socioeconomic status. Read

Washington State’s rise in homelessness outpaced the nation’s, according to report

3/20/21--Washington saw one of the biggest estimated increases in people experiencing homelessness in the country between 2019 and 2020, according to new national figures from an annual report to Congress. Overall homelessness across the U.S. grew by more than 2% that year, according to the report's estimates, but Washington saw an overall increase of 6.2%, or 1,346 people — the third largest increase in the number of homeless people among all 50 states. Read

Drug overdose deaths generally higher in urban counties

3/18/21--From 1999 to 2019, the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths increased in urban and rural counties, with rates generally higher in urban counties, according to a March data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics. Read

The declining significance of race in criminal sentencing: Evidence from US Federal Courts

3/15/21--Racial inequality in sentencing has decreased substantially over the last decade. In 2009, the average sentencing difference between black and white defendants in federal court was nearly 3 yrs. By 2018, this difference was less than 6 mos. During the same time, the black–white gap went from 47 mos. down to zero among drug defenders. Read

E-cigarette-inclusive smoke-free policies, excise taxes, tobacco 21 and changes in youth e-cigarette use: 2017-2019

3/8/21--This study examined whether the implementation of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) policies at the state level (e-cigarette-inclusive smoke-free (ESF) policies, excise taxes on e-cigarettes and raising tobacco legal purchasing age to 21 years (T21)) affected recent upward trends in youth e-cigarette use. Results show state-level ESF and T21 policies could be effective for limiting growth of youth e-cigarette use despite an overall national increase. Higher e-cigarette excise tax rates may be needed to effectively reduce youth e-cigarette use. Read

Sharp reductions in costs of producing cannabis, fentanyl likely to spur widespread changes in use, dependence

3/8/21--The legalization of cannabis and the arrival of nonmedical fentanyl are fundamentally changing drug markets in North America. A large part of these changes relates to the ability to produce large quantities of the drugs at low costs, which has slashed wholesale prices for both drugs and retail prices for cannabis. The analysis concludes that sharp declines in production costs for cannabis and opioids could dramatically reduce the price per dose for consumers in ways that alter patterns of use and dependence. Read

The International Women’s Day, let’s reflect on ‘feminist’ gendered alcohol marketing

3/8/21--In this blog post, Amanda Marie Atkinson, Beth Meadows, Mwaka Nanyangwe, and Harry Sumnall from the Public Health Institute at Liverpool John Moores University explore gendered alcohol marketing. Research suggests a move away from sexist content such as the (hyper)sexualisation of women’s bodies, and an increasing use of gender equality and empowerment messaging. Read

Cannabis and cancer part 2: Scientists look for ways to increase knowledge about cannabis with help from people with cancer

3/8/21--Some scientists at a recent symposium suggested that the strongest research supports the use of cannabis to ease chemotherapy’s side effects, such as nausea and vomiting, while other claims, such as whether cannabis “cures” cancer, lack scientific evidence and require further study. To begin addressing the research gaps, Dr. Sharpless said the National Cancer Institute has launched a nationwide survey of 12,000 people with cancer to assess their use of cannabis and related products. Read

Cannabis banking declines have “leveled off”

3/4/21--The latest report notes that the “number of depository institutions banking marijuana-related businesses appears to have leveled off from a decline that started at the end of the 1st Quarter FY2020.” Further, the “decline coincided with the release of guidance by FinCEN and financial regulators on providing financial services to customers engaged in hemp-related business activities.” Read

Cannabis, vaping, and respiratory symptoms in a probability of U.S. youth

3/3/21--This study provides preliminary evidence that adolescents' cannabis use with Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) may have negative health consequences. Lifetime cannabis use with ENDS was substantially associated with higher odds of respiratory symptoms. Read

Vaping pot worse than vaping tobacco for teens’ lungs

3/3/21--Teenagers who vape pot are more likely to wheeze and cough than those who smoke or vape nicotine, new survey data reveals. Reports from U.S. kids 12 to 17 show they have a higher risk of wheezing, suffering from a dry cough, and having their sleep, speech or exercise impeded by wheezing if they vape marijuana products, according to results from the U.S. federally funded Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study. Read