Cannabis Consumers Exercise More and Are Healthier Than Non-Users, Study Says

Cannabis Consumers Exercise More and Are Healthier Than Non-Users, Study Says

Original Post: Merry Jane: Cannabis Consumers Exercise More and Are Healthier Than Non-Users, Study Says

[Canniseur: Great study, mostly because I exercise and agree with it!!! Do I exercise more when I smoke? Probably not. But I do exercise and I do watch my diet, so my “n” of 1 says this study is absolutely accurate!]

For decades, mainstream media has painted cannabis users as lazy, couch-locked slobs. But, scientists are finding that people who use pot are actually healthier and more active than those who abstain from the plant.

Cannabis consumers aged 60 and older are more likely to lead healthier lives than non-users of the same age group, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Health Behavior. This study compared the health and fitness habits of 28 older cannabis users to 136 non-users.

Each of the subjects was already participating in another four-month study examining the relationship between changes in physical activity and cognitive function in older adults. During the course of the study, researchers measured each participant’s body mass index (BMI) and asked them to self-report how often they exercised or engaged in physical activity.

Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder conducted an additional study on the same subjects to determine whether seniors’ use of cannabis negatively impacted their willingness to exercise.

“Adults over the age of 50 are the fastest-growing population of cannabis consumers in the US, with national prevalence rates estimated at up to 9.1% in 2013,” the authors explain. “Given the plethora of negative health consequences associated with inactivity and the protective factors associated with exercise, efforts must be made to understand factors, like cannabis use, that may affect older adults’ engagement in exercise.”

But, although they may have expected older stoners to exercise less often than their peers, the exact opposite proved to be true. Both groups of subjects exercised three times a week as part of the original study, but pot users were more likely to add in extra exercise days every week, compared to non-users. The cannabis users also scored higher on a survey of healthy community activities and were found to have significantly lower BMI measurements than non-users.

“Compared to older adult nonusers, older adult cannabis users had lower BMI at the beginning of an exercise intervention study, engaged in more weekly exercise days during the intervention, and were engaging in more exercise-related activities at the conclusion of the intervention,” the study authors wrote.

The present study does have a number of limitations, including its reliance on self-reported exercise questionnaires, lack of information on cannabis doses used by the subjects, and a small subject size. Still, researchers believe that their results, “although preliminary … suggest that it may be easier for older adults who endorse using cannabis to increase and maintain their exercise behavior, potentially because cannabis users have lower body weight than their non-using peers.”

“At minimum, the evidence suggests that cannabis use does not hinder older adults’ ability to engage in physical activity, to participate in a supervised exercise program, or to increase their fitness as a result of physical activity,” the authors conclude.

This is one of the first studies to look at the relationship between cannabis use and exercise in seniors, but other studies have found positive links between weed and good health in the general population. A 2019 study comparing BMI measurements and cannabis use among 33,000 Americans found that pot users put on less weight over time than non-users.

Plus, not only are cannabis consumers more likely to exercise in general, but many like to combine weed with their workouts. Another University of Colorado Boulder study from last year found that nearly 82 percent of all cannabis users said they get high before working out.

So, what these studies basically confirm is that the “lazy stoner” stereotype was always a farce — and now we have an abundance of data to prove it.

Original Post: Merry Jane: Cannabis Consumers Exercise More and Are Healthier Than Non-Users, Study Says

7-Eleven Is Waging War on Medical Cannabis Businesses in Oklahoma

7-Eleven Is Waging War on Medical Cannabis Businesses in Oklahoma

Original Post: Merry Jane: 7-Eleven Is Waging War on Medical Cannabis Businesses in Oklahoma

[Canniseur: Japanese-owned (Texas-based) 7-11 has canceled leases for all Cannabis dispensaries in Oklahoma, with very little notice. The corporation is anti-cannabis and harshly pulled the plug for these small businesses. It’s the abrupt canceling of leases and lying about it that’s rankling. If it’s not time to boycott 7-11, it’s certainly time to raise awareness of their anti-cannabis actions.]

Several medical cannabis businesses are being forced to look for new homes after 7-Eleven Incorporated bought the buildings they rented and refused to renew their leases.

This past January, 7-Eleven Inc., the Dallas-based convenience store giant, bought out Oklahoma’s local 7-Eleven franchise and took ownership of several buildings in Oklahoma City. At the time of the sale, the company’s property manager sent an email to all of the buildings’ tenants explaining that the takeover would not change anything regarding their lease assignments.

Many of the tenants’ leases, including several medical marijuana dispensaries, processors, and grow facilities, were set to expire on July 1 of this year. Based on the previous email, the tenants expected their leases to automatically renew. But on June 16, each cannabis business renting these properties was notified by phone that their leases would not be extended.

Effectively, the company’s decision is forcing these businesses to find a new home within the next two to six weeks — during a global pandemic. The decision affects several medical marijuana dispensaries, including Nurses Station and Gayle’s Dispensary, as well as cannabis processing and cultivation companies including JKJ Processing Inc.

“I couldn’t believe it, to be honest,” said John Koumbis, owner of JKJ Processing, to The Oklahoma Chronic. “It’s utterly ridiculous of them to shove that onto us at this kind of short notice, and the worst part is, there are several hundreds of us that are going to be impacted by this. The space we occupy was empty for 13 years before we leased it from them, and I’m not sure what they’re thinking with this, honestly.”

Koumbis asked the property manager why the company had made this abrupt decision, and was told that 7-Eleven is refusing to work with any cannabis business. “They don’t believe in it, and they’re not renewing any leases going forward with anyone who’s in the marijuana business and leases from 7-Eleven,” he explained.

Other medical marijuana business owners received similar answers from the property manager. Starla Norwood, owner of Nurses Station — a dispensary that primarily serves patients age 50 and older — told local news outlet KFOR that 7-Eleven considers state-legal pot businesses to be engaged in “criminal activity and money laundering,” despite the fact that “there are 300,000 Oklahomans with medical cards.”

Christian Oliver, owner of Gayle’s Dispensary, told KFOR that “there wasn’t any kind of written notice, there wasn’t any kind of attempt at dialogue. There wasn’t any kind of approach to investigate it. It was just like no get out… The new owner does not want to lease to the cannabis industry. It’s a company out of Texas so I have until July 31 to vacate the premises.”

During his call with the property manager, Koumbis discovered that the company actually hid its plans from these businesses. According to the manager, corporate executives decided to kick cannabis businesses out in January, but did not notify them of this decision until two weeks before their leases expire.

Koumbis told the Chronic that the company’s decision was especially abhorrent given the fact that the building his business rented “sat empty for over twelve years before we leased it… It took a lot of time and money just to get it up to code, and so many other mom and pop shops are in the same boat. They’ve sunk their life savings into these places, and they’re just getting pushed out now.”

Although Oklahoma is already in the midst of re-opening businesses after the COVID-19 quarantine, these businesses are struggling to find new homes with such short notice. “We’re trying to look for a new place but it’s difficult. It’s not an easy thing to do,” said Norwood to KFOR. Many places will refuse to rent to a weed business, and “the ones that are available want really high rent… It is devastating. This is just heartbreaking for my entire family.”

Despite these setbacks, Oklahoma actually boasts one of the most progressive and robust medicinal cannabis industries in the entire US. The program, which was approved by voters in 2018, allows doctors to prescribe pot for nearly any condition, and the program has been growing by leaps and bounds ever since. In April, the state sold $73 million worth of medical pot, a record figure even exceeding the monthly sales of some adult-use states.

Original Post: Merry Jane: 7-Eleven Is Waging War on Medical Cannabis Businesses in Oklahoma

Medical Pot Users Are Healthier and Happier Than Those Who Don’t Puff, Study Says

Medical Pot Users Are Healthier and Happier Than Those Who Don’t Puff, Study Says

Original Post: Merry Jane: Medical Pot Users Are Healthier and Happier Than Those Who Don't Puff, Study Says

Image via

[Canniseur: This seems like a legitimate study, but as the article says…we already knew! This is an important study for several reasons. There’s another study recently published by the American Cancer Society that all alcohol is bad for you. It doesn’t mention cannabis as being bad for you. It’s interesting that I follow almost all the guidelines and have for years. I’ve also had cancer. Go figure.]

We could have told you this all along. But, now there’s proof: Medical cannabis users are healthier, happier, and more satisfied with life than non-users, according to a new cross-sectional study which will soon be published in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research journal.

Hundreds of research studies have already reported that medical cannabis can effectively treat specific medical conditions including chronic pain, epilepsy, anxiety, and depression — and even slow the growth of cancer. While studies on these specific use-cases continue, the researchers for this report chose to focus on the broader picture instead of specifics.

“Despite widespread legalization, the impact of medicinal cannabis use on patient level health and quality of life has not been carefully evaluated,” the study authors explain. “The objective of this study was to characterize self-reported demographics, health characteristics, quality of life, and health care utilization of Cannabis Users compared with Controls.”

To conduct the study, researchers used ongoing web-based surveys to determine the overall health and well-being of medical marijuana users and non-users between April 2016 and February 2018. Researchers recruited 1,276 subjects who were either registered caregivers or patients suffering from at least one diagnosed health condition. Each of these patients was registered with the Realm of Caring Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to medicinal cannabis research and education.

Out of the subject pool, 808 of the subjects used medical marijuana or low-THC hemp products, while the remaining 468 subjects did not. Each subject was asked to self-assess their quality of life, pain, sleep, anxiety, and depression, as well as to report their ongoing use of non-cannabis medications. Subjects were then asked to respond to follow-up surveys every three months after the initial survey. Only one-third of subjects completed all of the follow-up surveys, however.

An analysis of the data revealed that medical cannabis users reported significantly better quality of life, greater health satisfaction, improved sleep, and a lower average pain severity than non-users. They were also significantly less depressed and anxious than the control group. Cannabis users also reported using fewer prescription medications, and were less likely to have been admitted to the hospital in the month prior to the survey.

“This study shows clearly that cannabinoids have a very positive effect on health outcomes across the board among all age groups and demographics,” said Jonathan Hoggard, PhD, CEO of Realm of Caring, to Grit Daily. “This publication will be the first of many based on the detailed findings of this extensive data set. Perhaps the most dramatic finding in this study was that medicinal cannabis use was associated with 39 percent fewer ER visits and 46 percent fewer hospital admissions.”

The study authors were able to find the most noticeable impact among subjects who were not using medical marijuana at the start of the trial, but began using these treatments in the midst of the study. After they began using medical cannabis, these subjects reported health and well-being improvements over their initial surveys.

“People felt better when they started [consuming cannabis],” said lead researcher Ryan Vandrey, PhD, associate professor in the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, to Grit Daily. “That is a powerful signal.” Vandrey also noted that some of the subjects said they had previously been using a prescription medicine to treat their illness, but that cannabis was able to provide the same relief with fewer side-effects.

Original Post: Merry Jane: Medical Pot Users Are Healthier and Happier Than Those Who Don't Puff, Study Says

Legalizing Cannabis Could Bring New Zealand $500 Million In Annual Tax Revenue

Legalizing Cannabis Could Bring New Zealand $500 Million In Annual Tax Revenue

Original Post: Merry Jane: Legalizing Cannabis Could Bring New Zealand $500 Million In Annual Tax Revenue

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[Canniseur: If New Zealand legalizes, this will be a big deal. A very big deal indeed. And this will be decided by the people. The Parliament in En Zed (that’s what Kiwi’s call New Zealand) has promised to enact legal adult use if the population approves the referendum in September!]

This September, New Zealanders will vote in a non-binding referendum to show whether they support or oppose the legalization of a taxed and regulated legal weed market. Earlier this month, the country’s legislature released the final draft of an adult-use legalization bill, which it has promised to pass if a majority of voters support the referendum.

If the measure passes, legal weed sales could bring the country as much as $490 million annually, according to a new report by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER). This estimate is based on the 25 percent cannabis tax rate proposed in the new legislation, in combination with the country’s standard sales tax. But because there is little information regarding how much weed Kiwis smoke, NZIER used data from Canada and Colorado to come up with its predictions.

”The key insight from that is that heavy users do actually consume a lot of this product,” explained NZIER principal economist Peter Wilson, RNZ reports. The analysts assumed that New Zealand’s rate of cannabis use would be similar to that of Colorado, and then scaled this data to match the country’s population. Based on this analysis, NZIER predicts that a legal weed market would sell around 1,100 tons of weed a year.

Wilson notes, however, that sales can only reach this level if the new legal market can successfully displace the country’s existing black market. Although Canada and most US adult-use states are still struggling to defeat illicit weed operations, Wilson believes the data shows that a properly-regulated market offering quality products will eventually negate illegal pot.

”It may take some time to achieve that, but if legal cannabis is safe and the price reasonable, findings from countries which have legalised cannabis tell us that people will make the switch,” said Wilson in a statement. “If regulatory costs and taxes are too high an illegal market will likely re-emerge and gain market share.”

Wilson also notes that the government’s adult-use bill contains a unique provision that could eventually decrease their share of tax revenue. The bill, which is partially modeled on Canada’s restrictive adult-use legislation, will require the government to work to reduce the country’s use of cannabis over time. If the government succeeds at this end, then overall weed sales will decline, as will tax revenue.

“Overseas lessons show the detail of the legislation is important to avoid unintended consequences and achieve the Government’s overall objectives of reducing use through time,” Wilson explained.

Although the report is promising, the fate of the legalization bill remains uncertain. The referendum, which is being included in this year’s general election ballot, is non-binding — meaning that majority support does not guarantee its success. Voters will also be choosing new government officials during that same election, and the country’s new Parliament is under no obligation to uphold any promises made by the current administration.

In other words, even if voters are totally in favor of legal weed, the adult-use bill could still fail. If that happens, New Zealand will continue to prohibit cannabis in any form, as it does today. Even medical marijuana remains completely illegal, although recent laws have made it less risky for terminally ill patients to use medicinal pot.

Original Post: Merry Jane: Legalizing Cannabis Could Bring New Zealand $500 Million In Annual Tax Revenue

Illinois Dedicates $31 Million in Pot Taxes to Help People Harmed by Prohibition

Illinois Dedicates $31 Million in Pot Taxes to Help People Harmed by Prohibition

Original Post: Merry Jane: Illinois Dedicates $31 Million in Pot Taxes to Help People Harmed by Prohibition

[Canniseur: This is what I call social action and it’s by a governmental body. It’s about time we as a country started doing something to solve this horrible problem of social inequity. Bravo! Illinois.]

Illinois just announced that over $30 million in legal pot tax revenue will be used to fund restorative justice grants, continuing the Prairie State’s commitment to implementing social and criminal justice reforms alongside cannabis legalization.

The Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) program, which was established via an act of legislature last year, uses 25 percent of the state’s adult-use tax revenue “to fund strategies that focus on violence prevention, re-entry, and health services to areas across the state that are objectively found to be acutely suffering from the horrors of violence, bolstered by concentrated disinvestment.”

The state’s legal weed market has turned out to be a massive success, and even the recent coronavirus outbreak has done little to slow sales. These strong sales have provided the state with an extra income boost from weed tax revenue, and regulators have just allocated $31 million of this revenue to the R3 program. State officials also identified economically distressed areas throughout the state that are eligible to apply for grants under this new program.

“In developing these funding opportunities, the focus has been on equity in opportunity at the community level,” said Jason Stamps, acting director of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, to Marijuana Moment. “This program will start to close those gaps in areas most hard hit by gun violence, unemployment, and criminal justice system overuse. To do so, we are looking to R3 communities for proposals of programs and strategies they identify to best address their needs and challenges.”

The program is offering grants to organizations that are working to reduce gun violence, improve reentry and diversion services from the criminal justice system, offer civil legal aid, or to bolster community health and youth development. The program will accept applications for these grants until July 20.

The R3 program could help Illinois’ violence prevention groups — many of which have been struggling to secure steady funding — survive. “This could have a huge effect on violent crime rates and give Chicago a second opportunity to really be the world-class city that we know it is,” said Monique K. Shelton, program manager with the Centers for New Horizons community group, to The Trace. “We’re on the cusp of something really spectacular.”

“The R3 program is a critical step towards repairing the harms caused by the failed war on drugs and decades of economic disinvestment,” said Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, according to Marijuana Moment. “Equity is one of the administration’s core values, and we are ensuring that state funding reaches organizations doing critical work in neighborhoods most impacted by the War on Drugs.”

Illinois is one of the first US states to roll social justice reform into its initial adult-use law, although many other states have tried to enact social equity initiatives post-legalization. As part of the first wave of reform, Governor J.B. Pritzker cleared the records of over 11,000 former pot offenders before sales began this January.

And not only is the state of Illinois working to enact social justice reform, but individual cities are also implementing their own programs. Last December, the city of Evanston announced that it would use all of its local weed tax revenue to fund programs that will support the city’s black residents in an attempt to pay reparations for centuries of racism and social injustice.

Original Post: Merry Jane: Illinois Dedicates $31 Million in Pot Taxes to Help People Harmed by Prohibition

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