Weed in Review: 1.26.18

Weed in Review: Friday, January 26, 2018

In the United States

Medical marijuana smoking ban challenged in court: A judge is deciding whether Floridians should be allowed to consume medical marijuana by smoking it. Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers heard arguments Thursday on whether to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on smoking. The medical marijuana constitutional amendment voters approved in 2016 allowed the Legislature to prohibit smoking in public areas. But the law passed in 2017 to implement the amendment banned smoking entirely.

Pharmaceutical Industry Brings Cannabis Drug to FDA After Decades of U.S. Denying Value of Marijuana: A prescription medication made from marijuana might be approved by the Food and Drug Administration this summer. The advance could be a huge step forward for people with epilepsy, which this drug treats. And it would signal a new… embrace of cannabis-based medications in the U.S. GW Pharmaceuticals, the company behind the drug, started the approval process with the FDA last year, and a study published this week offers more encouraging signs.

Despite Liberalizing Marijuana Laws, the War on Drugs Still Targets People of Color: THE HUGE FAILURE we know as the “war on drugs” is back in full force under the Trump administration, thanks in no small part to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ retrograde tough-on-crime approach to drugs. It’s not hard to understand why someone like Sessions, with a history of racism, would love the war on drugs: In reality, it was always a war on a very particular set of people — and you can probably guess who those people are. And yet despite Sessions’ best efforts, there’s been a lot of progress on legalizing marijuana; opinions are changing and, in a lot of places, so are laws…In 2016, more people were arrested for simple marijuana possession in the United States than all violent crimes combined.

Cortez Masto Urges President Trump to Protect State Marijuana Laws: Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Representative Jared Polis (D-Colo.) in a bipartisan letter to President Trump requesting he urge Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reinstate the Cole Memorandum. Doing so would create a pathway to a more comprehensive marijuana policy that respects state interests. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Don Young (R-Alaska), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) joined Senator Warren and Representative Polis in leading the letter.

Q&A: America’s Marijuana Moments: Historian Emily Dufton discusses the prospects of a Sessions-led backlash to legal weed. Do you see a grassroots movement pushing for a crackdown on marijuana use again in the future?I see people trying to do that now. But the biggest opposition to legalization is coming from pharmaceutical manufacturers that make the opiates. In states with medical or recreational laws, opioid prescriptions have dropped dramatically, because people are using marijuana to treat their pain. That’s cutting into Purdue’s and Abbott Laboratories’ bottom line, and they’re spending oodles of money to lobby legislatures.”

What Are You Smoking? Episode 23: Gettin’ Scientific About Cannabis features Leafly experts Jeremiah Wilhelm, Bailey Rahn, Will Hyde, and Brett Konen, as well as guests from all corners of the cannabis industry reviewing strains, test-firing products, offering up pro tips, and answering your toughest cannabis questions.

Medical Marijuana, Inc. Subsidiary HEMPMEDS® announces partnership with first female UFC fighter, Liz Carmouche: SAN DIEGO, Jan. 24, 2018 — Medical Marijuana, Inc. (OTC:MJNA), the first-ever publicly traded cannabis company in the United States, announced today that Liz Carmouche, the American MMA fighter who competed in the first-ever women’s UFC fight, has become a spokesperson for subsidiary HempMeds® to spread awareness on the therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) for athletes and those looking to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.

Indiana takes small step toward legalizing medical marijuana as House votes to study issue: Indiana lawmakers inched toward legalizing medical marijuana Thursday as the House unanimously voted to study the possibility before next year’s legislative session. While the resolution is far from an endorsement of legalizing the substance, it signals a new-found openness to the idea. Neither chamber has voted to study the topic in recent years.

Maine Lawmakers — and Voters — Still Hope to Legalize Recreational Marijuana: Maine voters have approved legal marijuana but the governor, a noted opponent of legal cannabis, has thwarted legalization despite voters. Maine lawmakers returning this month to Augusta, the capital, were already talking about the possibility of working with Gov. Paul LePage to finally act on voters’ wishes to make recreational marijuana legal in Maine.


Medical Research Updates

How Cannabis and CBD Offer Hope in Future Treatments of Autism: [A]ccumulating evidence suggests that in many cases of autism, there’s a reduction in the brain’s “inhibitory tone” (see below). This suggests that cannabis-based medications, particularly CBD-rich preparations that enhance the brain’s inhibitory signaling, may be a potential autism treatment.

Medical Cannabis and Natural Products Research Centre Launched at Loyalist College: Loyalist College is pleased to announce the opening of the Applied Research Centre for Natural Products and Medical Cannabis (ARC), an 1,800-square-foot state-of-the-art laboratory which builds on the success of Loyalist’s Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Extraction Applied Research Laboratory. “Loyalist has a highly successful 13-year, industry-driven track record of natural product extraction and analysis-based applied research,” said Ann Marie Vaughan, Loyalist College President & CEO. “The College has contributed $950,000 to the ARC to enhance lab extraction and analytical equipment, an investment which will truly set Loyalist apart.”

Feds announce funding for 14 marijuana research projects across Canada:  TORONTO – The federal government is putting $1.4 million toward research into the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana, saying the work will help it understand the impact of the country’s new pot laws. “We acknowledge the need to expand our knowledge when it comes to the health effects of cannabis, as well as the behavioural, social and economic implications of its legalization and regulation,” says Bill Blair, the MP who has acted as the government’s point person on cannabis legislation. Each of the 14 research projects, which are based out of hospitals and universities across the country, will receive a $100,000 grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research.


It’s Time to Rally with #DontTaxMedicine: The #DontTaxMedicine campaign was launched by Canadians For Fair Access to Medical Marijuana, a national non-profit, patient-run organisation dedicated to protecting and improving the rights of Canadian medical cannabis patients. We recently sat down with CFAMM’s founder and Executive Director Jonathan Zaid to ask him why they’re against imposing government taxes on your medical cannabis.

Wellness with Weed: Sleeping with cannabis

It’s complicated…

As Bill Nye recently pointed out, “What’s happened with marijuana is it’s a Schedule I drug, which means it’s presumed to be addictive and it’s presumed to have no medical value,” he stated in a recent interview with NowThis. “Yet people are using it for all these medical applications,” he said. “So well, let’s study it. Well, you’re not allowed to study it because it’s a Schedule I drug… So that has to be sorted out.”

In other words, an old-school policy is holding up really important cannabis research. Once Jeff Sessions and POTUS have their secret meeting with Russian Big Pharma, the doors to research may finally burst open. Mostly kidding…that doesn’t feel like a healthy solution! But until policies change, scientists in the United States are practically wading through concrete when it comes to research on the medicinal properties of marijuana. Nonetheless, we do have some information to help you make informed decisions about cannabis for sleep. As with any medication or drug, we recommend that you pay attention to how your body responds to cannabis. You know your body better than anyone else.


Highlights on how cannabis can help you sleep better

Leafly has a great article about sleep from March of 2016. Here are some highlights:

THC (especially indica) is better than CBD for sleep, CBN (aged/degraded THC also known as cannabinol) is 5x more sedating than THC, it may help restore respiratory stability, it may help you fall asleep faster, you may feel groggy in the morning, cannabis in conjunction with natural remedies such as lavender and chamomile may maximize the effect, and cannabis inhibits dreaming (more below)

The effect of cannabis on sleep may vary

A publication from September 2017 by sleep psychologist, Deirdre A. Conroy, Ph.D., suggests that “cannabis’s effect on sleep may differ depending on whether you have depression or anxiety. In order words, if you have depression, cannabis may help you sleep – but if you don’t, cannabis may hurt…Cannabis’s effect on sleep seems highly variable, depending on the person, the timing of use, the cannabis type and concentration, mode of ingestion and other factors.” Dr. Conroy is at the University of Michigan with research that focuses broadly on sleep and psychiatric disorders and specifically on sleep disturbance in alcoholism, insomnia in adolescent depression, and sleep in marijuana users. Keep your eyes peeled for more work from this woman!

Cannabis suppresses REM sleep (when you have most of your dreams and/or nightmares)

For those who struggle with nightmares, cannabis could be a fantastic solution. Thanks to VICE Netherlands, Dr. Hamburger confirms: “Every night, you go through about four or five sleep cycles…Each cycle takes about ninety minutes, during which you go through different phases. There’s superficial sleep, deep sleep, and finally REM sleep. During that REM period, you have most of your dreams…By smoking weed, you suppress the REM sleep…” thus greatly reducing the chance of good or bad dreams.

But Hamburger also reminds us that by suppressing REM, “…you also suppress a lot of important functions of that REM sleep. One of those functions is reliving the things you have experienced and coming to terms with them, as it were. Processing all kinds of psychological influences is something you do in REM sleep. You also anticipate the things that will happen the next day or the days after that. While you’re sleeping, you already consider those and make decisions in advance.” So if you’re trying to reduce nightmares and holding the options of Big Pharma in one hand and cannabis in the other, I’d opt for cannabis. As a therapist, I’m biased enough to throw in the recommendation of considering cannabis in conjunction with therapy because when the cannabis nightcap stops, your dreams may resurge with two or three weeks of temporary intensity as your body readjusts.

Cannabis for sleep apnea

Cannabis.net released a publication in February 2017 that highlights the potential benefits of cannabis for sleep apnea. The University of Illinois published research 15 years ago explaining that

“THC and oleamide were effective in stabilizing respiration in the subjects during the entire cycle of sleep, which reduced the apnea index during NREM and REM sleep stages by as 42% and 58% respectively. The reduction was dose-dependent…a higher dose of cannabinoids…resulted in a greater reduction in apnea symptoms.”

The findings prompted Dr. David Carley, the study’s lead author, to conduct the first human trial in 2013. He wanted to document the effect of THC (dronabinol) on sleep apnea. The 17 participants were administered with different doses of dronabinol (2.5, 5, and 10mg) before bedtime over the course of 3 weeks. The results showed that the overall reduction in sleep apnea indexes was at 32%. The study’s authors suggest that patients can still find relief by using cannabinoid medications, whether they are suffering from mild or moderate cases.

Cannabis may be worth trying!

And in conclusion, if you’re struggling with sleep, we encourage you to explore the possibility of using cannabis as a form of treatment. Talk to your doctor, talk to your medical marijuana provider, or if you’re fortunate enough to be in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, talk to your budtender. Let us know how it goes!