Medical Cannabis Use Associated With Reduced Opioid Use In Pain Patients, Finds Study

The use of medical cannabis for at least a month is associated with reduced opioid use in pain patients, according to a new study.

The study, titled Opioid dose reduction and pain control with medical cannabis, was published by the Journal of Clinical Oncology. It was conducted by researchers at the Kymera Independent Physicians medical group.

For the study, “A retrospective cohort was evaluated to understand the pattern of care and QOL [quality of life] outcomes with MC [medical cannabis] use across rural multidisciplinary practices in New Mexico. ” QOL questionnaire included a graded pain scale, and “morphine equivalent (ME) dose was used to estimate changes in opioid dose.” ODR was defined “as any reduction of baseline opioid dose.” A chi-square was performed to evaluate associations.

“A total of 133 patients were identified between Jan 2017- May 2017. (M/F) 65/68; median age of 53 (range 20 – 84)”, states the study. “Nineteen percent (25/133) had a cancer diagnosis. Pain score improved in 80 % of patients with cancer and in 75% (64/89) of non-cancer patients (x2 0.24 p = 0.62).”

Opioid dose reduction (ODR) was achieved in 41% of all patients using medical cannabis. Of these, “63% (34/54) had a 25% ODR and 37% (20/54) had 26% or more ODR (x2 12.8 p = 0.002). In cancer patients, a 25% ODR was achieved in 73% (x2 0.51 p = 0.771).”

Researchers state that “All patients (15/15) using MC and high dose opioid (morphine equivalent ≥ 50 mg/day) had some ODR. Co-adjuvant NSAIDs [nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug] with MC improved pain score in 67% of all cases vs 33% among non-NSAID cohort (x2 10.7 p = 0.001). ODR was achieved in 32% of patients with active depression vs 68% of patients without (x2 0.044 p = 0.83).”

The study concludes by stating that “In this rural cohort, MC use led to ODR in 41% of all patients.”

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The CBD Revolution Is Being Led by Women

Each issue of Freedom Leaf includes an article provided by Women Grow. This article appears in Issue 34.

For several years, I’ve assisted thousands of patients with an alternative form of medicine: cannabis. Through direct feedback and observational studies, patients have indicated that CBD, in particular, provides a significant benefit to mediate certain healthcare needs.

As a scientist who earned her PhD in cellular biology with extensive studies in cancer research, including breast and colon cancer, and evolved into developing a model to understand the mechanism of how prostate cancer metastasizes to bone, I’ve studied and consulted with many patients. When I opened my dispensary, National Holistic Healing Center, in 2015 in Washington, DC, I’d already had 15-plus years researching the impact medical marijuana and hemp has on patients.

During my time at Howard University as Director of STEM Education in the College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences, where I was awarded over $10 million in federally funded grants, I had the opportunity to train MDs, PhDs and advanced undergraduates in biomedical research for infectious diseases in several global communities to address healthcare disparities. This was where my education, experience and skillset contributed greatly in my understanding of medical marijuana and hemp. I was familiar with the benefits cannabidiol (CBD) provided patients. This natural cannabinoid found in both the cannabis and hemp plants has aided people for some time. However, it’s only now that CBD is becoming more broadly known and accepted.

Today, we’re seeing more women turning to CBD products for self-care and more women-led CBD companies.

As a dispensary owner, it’s rewarding to see my patients—from children to senior citizens—improve based on this medicine. They’ve come to me with inflammation and anxiety, mood swings and hormonal imbalances, insomnia and excruciating pain, and within months they were new people.

Study: Marijuana Stores Associated With Increased Home Values

Medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries are associated with a significant increase in home value, according to a new study published by the journal Contemporary Economic Policy.


For the study, titled The effect of marijuana dispensary openings on housing prices, researchers evaluated “the effect of medical and recreational dispensary openings on housing prices in Denver, Colorado.” Using an “event study approach”, they found that “the introduction of a new dispensary within a half‐mile radius of a new home increases home prices by approximately 7.7% on average.”

The study notes that this effect “diminishes for homes further from new dispensaries but is consistent over time.” Researchers conclude by stating that “Our results provide important and timely empirical evidence on the socioeconomic impacts of marijuana legalization.”

More information on this study, conducted by researchers at Colorado State University, can be found by clicking here.

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10 Questions with Project CBD’s Martin A. Lee

Cofounder and director of Project CBD, an educational nonprofit that reports on cannabis science and therapeutics, Martin A. Lee is also the author of Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana—Medical, Recreational and Scientific (2012) and Acid Dreams: A Social History of LSD—the CIA, the Sixties and Beyond (1985).

How did you get interested in CBD?

I heard about it as a journalist attending and covering science conferences. I started writing about cannabis—the medical marijuana phenomenon—when I moved to California. I was drawn into it mainly from a civil rights/social justice perspective. Why are people still being busted if this is legal and for medical use?

It was a whole universe that opened up, which I had no idea about at all. So I started to focus on cannabis science and therapeutics, rather than just the raids by the police and that kind of thing, which was what initially drew me into writing about cannabis. It kind of changed course.

But what specifically sparked your interest in cannabidiol?

I would hear about CBD from scientists at these conferences. Steep Hill, the first lab that emerged to service the medical marijuana community, was able to identify both THC and CBD levels in the various cultivars. When these different CBD-rich strains popped up, that was it! What will this do? How will this affect people? Fred Gardner and I knew this was going to have a potentially major impact for not just patients, but for the whole medical marijuana phenomenon. Right away, we thought this could be a tremendous challenge to prohibition and the drug war, and that it would be very difficult for the DEA to respond to CBD and explain why it should be kept illegal.

U.S. Congress Approves Bill to Legalize Hemp, Sending it to President Trump

Both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate has passed the 2018 Farm Bill which includes a provision to legalize hemp throughout the country.

The 2018 Farm Bill was passed by the House today by a vote of 369 to 47. The vote comes a day after the Senate approved the same bill 87 to 13. Now that it’s been passed by the full Congress it will be sent to President Trump, who has said he will sign it into law once given the opportunity.

The legislation is a wide-reaching bill that covers many facets of the farming industry. A provision in the measure, put forth by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel, removes hemp from the federal list of controlled substances. This effectively legalizes it throughout the country, allowing farmers to grow it as they can any other agricultural commodity such as tomatoes.

Once the law takes effect hemp will become legal for the first time in decades.

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American Veterans Desperately Need Legal Access to Marijuana

Photo by USMC OIF veteran and activist Michael P. Whiter

The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, introduced by Democratic senators Bill Nelson (FL) and Brian Schatz (HI), and the Veterans Equal Access Act, introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), would allow Veteran Affairs (VA) physicians to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in the 32 states (and Washington, DC) where it’s legal.

Out of the more than 18 million veterans living in the U.S. today, more than nine million are annually served by VA hospitals. Unfortunately, thousands of those veterans go unseen and underserved every day.

I watched first-hand as my partner, a disabled veteran, waited for more than a year to be processed and seen by a mental health specialist and approved for physical therapy after his honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy. There were days when he was in so much pain from his service-related injury that he could barely walk and was constantly visiting the local VA hospital during that long year; since then, he’s been prescribed several different medications for his ailments. But what if the best medicine for those ailments is marijuana?

A recent American Legion poll found that nearly one in four U.S. veterans of the Armed Forces self-reported using marijuana to treat a mental or physical ailment, which is a much higher rate of use when compared to the general population. Despite medical marijuana becoming increasingly available in states across the country, this self-medicating is often done illegally and leaves veterans at risk of arrest and incarceration for simply trying to deal with service-related ailments that the VA has not managed to alleviate.

New Zealand Legalizes Medical Marijuana

New Zealand’s parliament on Tuesday passed legislation to legalize medical marijuana through its third and final vote.

The legislation will now go through Royal Assent (a formality for a measure to become law), and will take effect the following day. Rules to regulate licensing and quality standards will be established in the next 12 months, reports the Marijuana Business Daily. The bill also removes cannabidiol as a controlled drug, instead making it a prescription medicine.

The initial bill would have allowed for cannabis use by anyone with a diagnosed terminal illness – which would have greatly limited its application. That was broadened in the final months of debate to include any patient requiring palliation.

Health Minister Dr. David Clark said that will open the door to medical marijuana use for approximately 25,000 New Zealanders.The expansion allows patients to “procure, possess, consume, smoke or otherwise use any plant or plant material of the genus cannabis or any cannabis preparation,” according to the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill.

A certificate from a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner will be required.

According to the law, the regulations “must not require that the variety of cannabis contained in the product was brought into New Zealand with authorization, if the variety is established in New Zealand at the time the product is manufactured or produced.”

In other words, medical cannabis strains currently used in New Zealand illicitly will have a path to be brought into the legal market.

“People nearing the end of their lives should not have to worry about being arrested or imprisoned for trying to manage their pain,” Clark said. “So as a compassionate measure we are also creating a statutory defense for people eligible to receive palliation so that they can use illicit cannabis without fear of prosecution.

“These medicinal products will be available on prescription. This will be particularly welcome as another option for people who live …

William Barr: Bush League Choice for Trump’s Next Attorney General

President Trump is reaching back to the first Bush administration for his replacement for Jeff Sessions as the nation’s top law enforcement official. William Barr did that job for 18 months from 1991-1992. His reputation is that of a hardcore drug warrior.

A conservative, white-collar lawyer who also worked in the Reagan administration, as Attorney General, Barr favored longer prison sentences for drug offenders, mass drug testing in the workplace, civil forfeiture, pursuing cannabis cultivators as if they were public enemy No. 1 and rigorous use of military in drug law enforcement.

Barr was the federal quarterback leading the efforts at the Department of Justice to block any and all efforts to legalize medical access to cannabis, from appealing NORML vs. DEA out of the administrative courts to quashing the Compassionate Investigative New Drug Program, which, in the early ’90s, had a dozen patients receiving medical cannabis from the government’s pot farm in Mississippi.

As Attorney General under H.W. Bush, Barr favored longer prison sentences for drug offenders, mass drug testing in the workplace, civil forfeiture and rigorous use of military in drug law enforcement.

“Oh, yes, using the military in drugs was always under discussion,” he said in an oral history interview at the University of Virginia in 2001. “I personally was of the view it was a national security problem. I personally likened it to terrorism… But, we never tightened the noose.”

California Officials Say Cannabis Deliveries Can Be Made Anywhere, Even in Cities Where Marijuana is Banned

California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control said on Friday that marijuana deliveries can be made anywhere in the state, even in localities that ban marijuana businesses.

The issue has been one of the most debated issues as state regulators hammer out permanent rules for how marijuana is grown, tested, packaged and delivered, reports the Associated Press. Law enforcement groups and the California League of Cities opposed the move.

The delivery issue was included in regulations drafted by the Bureau of Cannabis Control, which issues most retail permits. The rules will become law in 30 days unless California’s Office of Administrative Law objects.

The bureau has maintained that Proposition 64 allows for statewide deliveries. It added explicit language authorizing the practice after several law enforcement officials in anti-cannabis locales insisted they could arrest licensed deliver drivers in cities and counties that ban marijuana.

Supporters of statewide deliveries argued that sick and frail people in those areas who depend on marijuana to relieve pain or anxiety cannot make a lengthy drive for a purchase, so they are being shut out of the legal market.

California Cannabis Industry Association spokesman Josh Drayton said most California cities and counties have exerted local control and don’t allow marijuana, making it impossible for a business such as a beverage maker or nutritional supplement manufacturer to partner with a legal marijuana operator. He said the bureau’s stand against unlicensed operators went too far and will hurt the nascent industry by unintentionally preventing such things as non-licensed celebrities endorsing products and other deals not directly involving marijuana.

“The industry has slowed down enough already without this added hurdle,” Drayton said.

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Cronos Rallies, Aphria Gets Crushed as Pot Stock Volatility Continues

While cannabis may conjure up feelings of mellowness, investing in pot stocks is more of a roller coaster ride. And it’s not always fun.

Take your pick. Cronos Group, Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, Curaleaf, The Green Organic Dutchman, MedMen, Tilray and others have been extremely volatile this year.

Earlier this week, Cronos (NASDAQ: CRON) shares vaulted more than 30% in just a couple of days after it confirmed the existence of talks with tobacco giant Altria Group about a possible alliance. Altria, the world’s largest tobacco company and owner of the Marlboro brand, has been hunting for a deal for a while. This development sparked excitement because it marks the most concrete evidence yet that Altria plans to bring its considerable cash, distribution and agricultural resources into the cannabis sector.

For all the fuss around Cronos, it posted well under $5 million in revenue in the latest quarter. While it’s building facilities to meet Canada’s booming demand for cannabis, Cronos remains a micro-cap, a purely speculative play.

Quintessential Capital Challenges Aphria

Meanwhile, Aphria (NYSE: APHQF), another closely-watched Canadian cannabis company, has been beaten …

U.S. Surgeon General Says We Need to Reconsider How We Schedule Marijuana

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams says we should look into how we schedule marijuana, and that its current schedule hinders medical research.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams (photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images).

“Just as we need to look at criminal justice laws, rules and regulations, we need to look at health laws, rules and regulations, and that includes the scheduling system,” said Adams during a recent question and answer session at a Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative conference. “I’ll take it somewhere else: marijuana. We need to look at the way we schedule different medications across the board, because one of the concerns that I have with marijuana is the difficulty that the folks have to do research on it, because of the scheduling system.”

Currently marijuana is a schedule 1 drug, meaning it has absolutely no medical value; other schedule 1 drugs include heroin, LSD and MDMA. Marijuana’s status as a schedule 1 drug makes it almost impossible for most researchers to study it in a comprehensive and unbiased manner.

Adams was nominated by President Trump to become the 20th U.S. Surgeon General in June of last year; he was confirmed by the Senate in August, and took over the position the following month. Prior to his current position, Adams served as the Indiana State Health Commissioner.

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Michigan Marijuana Supporters to Celebrate Legalization at Midnight

At 12 am tonight, recreational marijuana officially becomes legal in Michigan, making it the 10th state to break from federal policy. Passed by voters on Nov. 6, Prop 1 allows for the possession of up to 10 ounces at home and cultivation of up to 10 plants. You can gift 2.5 ounces, but can’t sell it.

Plans for a  commercial industry will get rolling next year, with stores likely opening in 2020. It’s possible that medical dispensaries will be converted for rec purposes earlier than expected.

Prosecutors in several counties—Macomb and Oakland—are already dismissing low-level marijuana arrest charges.

The bad news is that some members of the Michigan legislature, including Republican Senate Majority Leader Arlen Meekof, want to remove Prop 1’s homegrow provision.

Several events are planned for December 6 in Michigan:

Celebration of the Legalization of Cannabis in Michigan, Cannabis Counsel Office, 2930 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit; 8 pm-12 am

Women Grow Signature Networking Event, 4375 Washtanaw Ave., Ann Arbor; 7 pm-9 pm

Make Money NOW with CBD, Entrepreneurs Hub, 1400 Woodbridge St., …

Freedom Leaf FAQ: 16 Questions About Hemp and CBD

Here are 16 frequently asked questions about marijuana’s most famous non-intoxicating cannabinoid and industrial cousin.

1. What’s the difference between hemp and CBD?

Cannabis sativa L, a.k.a. “industrial hemp,” is an incredibly versatile and durable plant, making it ideal for the manufacture of rope, canvas, paper, textiles, fuel and plastic. Hemp seeds are frequently used for food and beauty products. Hemp grows tall and thin, like bamboo, and is non-intoxicating, unlike marijuana.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is extracted from hemp or cannabis to make oil. In the past few years, as the legality of marijuana has evolved, CBD sales skyrocketed by nearly 40%, according to New Frontier Data. This growth is unlikely to slow as word about CBD’s potential healing and medicinal benefits continues to spread.

2. What’s the difference between hemp-derived CBD and cannabis-derived CBD?

Hemp-derived CBD, extracted only from the stalks and stems, contains less than 0.3 percent THC and must be imported into the U.S. The 2014 Farm Bill allowed states to grow hemp as part of university research pilot programs. However, most hemp-derived CBD comes from outside the U.S.

Cannabis-derived CBD is not limited to extraction from the stalks and stems. Other parts of the plant, especially the flowers, can be used to make CBD oil. Cannabis-derived CBD is grown in legal states.

Minnesota Adds Alzheimer’s Disease as Qualifying Medical Cannabis Condition

The Minnesota Department of Health announced Monday that it was adding Alzheimer’s disease to the state’s medical marijuana program.

“[T]here is some evidence for potential benefits of medical cannabis to improve the mood, sleep and behavior of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.”, said state Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, who made the final decision to add the disease to medical marijuana program. The move allows those with the Alzheimer’s who receive a recommendation from a physician to legally purchase, possess and use cannabis and cannabis products for medical use.

Unfortunately Malcolm declined to add six other conditions that were submitted by a state advisory panel; these were opioid use disorder, hepatitis C, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, panic disorder, psoriasis and traumatic brain injury.

The other qualifying medical marijuana conditions in Minnesota are:
  • Cancer associated with severe/chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting
  • Glaucoma
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
  • Terminal illness, with a probable life expectancy of less than one year
  • Intractable pain
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

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U.S. Chemist Roger Adams Isolated CBD 75 Years Ago

Roger Adams illustration by Ross Marinaro

The name most associated with cannabis science is generally Israeli chemist Raphael Mechoulam, who’s credited with first isolating and identifying THC. But given the current CBD craze, there’s another figure who should receive his due: American chemist Roger Adams, who first isolated cannabidiol. And, by some accounts, he even has a claim to being the person who initially identified its psychoactive cousin, THC.

In addition, Adams grappled with the role of science—and its misuses—in war and totalitarianism during the great world political upheavals in the early 20th century.

A true Boston blue-blood and direct descendant of President John Adams, the precocious scion entered Harvard in 1905 at age 16. In 1913, he travelled on a fellowship to Germany, the world leader in chemistry at that time, and studied at Berlin’s prestigious Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. He returned to the U.S. to take a post at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign just as World War I was breaking out. For the first but not the last time, events on the global stage had an impact on his life, career and research.

In 1917, Adams took a position with the National Research Council in Washington, DC and its associated Chemical Warfare Service. Germany was then notoriously using poison gas in the trench warfare of Europe. Adams studied this with an eye toward developing prophylactics to gas attacks—and potentially deterrents in the capacity to retaliate in kind. Ironically, the expertise he learned in Germany was now being put to use for the war effort against Deutschland. Even after the war, Adams remained close to the then-forming national security establishment, which also had an impact on what would be his life’s most important scientific work.

George H. W. Bush: The Last American Drug Warrior President

Infamously, President Bush convened a live TV press conference in September 1989 where he held up for the cameras a small bag of crack cocaine.

By every measure, America’s 41st president George Herbert Walker Bush, who passed away Nov. 30, was a fine man, father, patriot, civil servant and elected policy maker. He was decent and moderate, certainly by today’s standards.

However, likely due more to his age than social disposition, President Bush was the last great standard bearer of American presidents who publicly proclaimed the absurd idea that a “War on Drugs will be won.” After Bush Sr., such fanciful notions were never heard again from Baby Boomer presidents Bill Clinton, G. W. Bush, Barack Obama or Donald Trump, and are no longer part of the American political lexicon.

As a former head of the Central Intelligence Agency and Ronald Reagan’s Vice President (from 1981-1988), President Bush was a committed drug warrior in the worst way, overseeing during his tenure as president the implementation of Reagan’s Just Say No drug war by dutifully rolling out mass drug testing, controversial civil forfeiture enforcement, enhanced policing and the ensuing swelling of prosecutions and incarcerations.

The Bush administration was responsible for the creation of the bloated and ineffective Office of National Drug Control Policy (a.k.a. the Drug Czar’s office), appointing as its first two directors the bombastic William Bennett (a.k.a. the Drug Bizarre) and former Florida Republican Gov. Richard Martinez. The Drug Czar’s office was (and still is) responsible for quarterbacking anti-marijuana propaganda, such as the DARE program in public schools, Partnership for Drug Free America campaigns and anti-drug non-profit organization funding.

Study: CBD Reduces Airway Inflammation and Fibrosis in Experimental Allergic Asthma.

According to a new study published by the European Journal of Pharmacology, and epublished by the U.S. National Institute of Health, cannabidiol (CBD) reduces airway inflammation and fibrosis in experimental allergic asthma.

“Asthma remains a major public health problem and, at present, there are no effective interventions capable of reversing airway remodelling”, states the study’s abstract. “Cannabidiol (CBD) is known to exert immunomodulatory effects through the activation of cannabinoid-1 and -2 (CB1 and CB2) receptors located in the central nervous system and immune cells, respectively.” However, “as the role of CBD on airway remodelling and the mechanisms of CB1 and CB2 aren’t fully elucidated, this study was designed to evaluate the effects of cannabidiol in this scenario”

For the study. allergic asthma was induced in mice. “CBD treatment, regardless of dosage, decreased airway hyperresponsiveness, whereas static lung elastance only reduced with high dose.” These outcomes “were accompanied by decreases in collagen fibre content in both airway and alveolar septa and the expression of markers associated with inflammation in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and lung homogenate.”

Researchers state that “There was a significant and inverse correlation between CB1 levels and lung function in asthmatic patients”, and that “CBD treatment decreased the inflammatory and remodelling processes in the model of allergic asthma.”

They conclude by noting that “The mechanisms of action appear to be mediated by CB1/CB2signalling, but these receptors may act differently on lung inflammation and remodelling.”

For more information on this study, click here.

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