Original Post: Cannabis Now: How Texas Accidentally Decriminalized Cannabis
[Canniseur: Oops. Texas legislature, what did you just do? There are so many more important things that our legislatures should be doing rather than worrying about whether it’s hemp or wacky tabaccy. The legislature just passed a regulation for hemp production that effectively stops paying for state testing for misdemeanor possession crimes, which most are. Since there isn’t money to test small quantities of cannabis, it’s effectively decriminalized. So the ball is back in the city and county courts. If they want to pay the $1000 or so to test a few scraps of cannabis, it’s their own business. It comes out of the city’s pocketbook.]
Texas might not have the most punitive cannabis laws in the United States, but no place that logs 80,000 misdemeanor arrests a year can claim to be cool or chill — even if the penalty can range from nothing to jail time depending on local attitudes.
While Texas does have a very limited medical cannabis program, efforts to expand that beyond CBD oil or legalize recreational weed outright have failed, meaning possession of 4 ounces or less or sales of 7 grams or less are still misdemeanor crimes. But so what? Misdemeanor bad laws still on the books are no longer enforceable, because the state crime lab is now refusing to waste its time testing tiny scraps of suspected weed for THC.
In late January, lawmakers in Austin, the city’s most liberal city, announced small-scale marijuana arrests were off after the Department of Public Safety state crime lab told prosecutors it would take up to a year to see if there was THC in any weed scraps that cops found lying around.
Why does it take so long to find out if weed is weed? Outside of testing by private labs, a luxury most governments appear unwilling to indulge, DPS appears to be the only agency able to perform more sophisticated drug tests necessary for low-level busts now that Texas legalized possession of hemp — a legal plant that happens to look and smell exactly like cannabis.
The idea was that these petty busts could resume as soon as DPS perfected its new test and started working through a backlog of cases, some of which date from the middle of last year. But on Feb. 18, agency Director Steven McCraw told the state’s law enforcement agencies that it would probably start testing on felony cases sometime in May or June, but in felonies only. Misdemeanor cases, like simple possession, are something the DPS lab simply does not have time for, McCraw wrote.
“DPS laboratories analyze more than 50,000 felony drug cases per year and we do not accept misdemeanor cases,” he wrote, noting that while the state Legislature did give DPS some cash to update its cannabis-testing protocol, lawmakers did not give DPS nearly enough money to run everyone’s pocket stash through the routine.
With more than 80,000 misdemeanor pot busts a year in Texas, “DPS will not have the capacity to accept those misdemeanor cases,” McCraw wrote. What’s more, he added, is that DPS’s testing protocol is good for plant material only — not for oils, edibles, or anything else, at least not for right now.
Exactly what this means, again, depends on where in Texas you find yourself. As The Texas Tribune reported, most big cities have their own labs to do the requisite testing, but as the experience in Austin demonstrated, not everybody — and even those that do aren’t guaranteed to have the equipment and techniques DPS is finalizing to tell weed from hemp.
Law enforcement officers told the Tribune that the shift is most likely to affect misdemeanor cases in rural counties that rely on the DPS lab for testing. In some of these, police and prosecutors are still ringing people up on pot busts using circumstantial evidence, but there’s always the risk that a judge or a jury will look askance at this and such practice will lead to a string of acquittals. That in turn would most likely lead to cops asking themselves, “Why bother?” and quitting the game entirely.
There is the chance that DPS will either find itself suddenly flush with cash thanks to a remorseful Legislature which found out that all but ending misdemeanor pot busts in Texas was not something that it set out to do. More likely, given public attitudes on the issue even in Texas, is that this accidental step towards decriminalization will be the first in a series of moves towards more realistic cannabis laws in the Lone Star State. If it had to happen thanks to a combination of federal hemp statutes and bureaucratic haggling over money, reform advocates will take it.
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Original Post: Marijuana Moment: Medical Marijuana Patients With ADHD Use Fewer Prescription Drugs, Study Finds
[Canniseur: I’m not surprised by this study. Bit did you know how addicting some of the drugs used to treat ADHD are? Kind of amazing that cannabis, which has been shown to be mostly non-addicting, can keep people away from the addictive meds. It’s time to get real about the healing properties of cannabis. Do you hear that legislators? Probably not.]
When people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) consume more medical marijuana they tend to use fewer prescription drugs, including powerful, habit-forming psychostimulants, according to a new study.
Patients who used medical cannabis components—cannabinoids themselves as well as terpenes— also “reported a higher occurrence of stopping all ADHD medications,” the researchers, whose findings were published late last month in the Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal, wrote.
“In this study, we demonstrated that patients treated with [medical cannabis] stopped their ADHD medications, especially in the high MC dose and in the low ADHD symptoms frequency subgroups.”
Specifically, the study found that the cannabinoid CBN, or cannabinol, which is found in the plant in only trace amounts, seemed to trigger the best results—though they conceded that “more studies are needed in order to fully understand” if cannabis and its constituents can be a workable ADHD treatment.
“These results, although not causal, might shed light on the potential beneficial effects of [medical cannabis] on ADHD symptom severity and motivate future prospective studies in order to validate our results,” the researchers concluded, “and perhaps even consider making ADHD an approved indication” for medical cannabis where it is legal.
The team collected data from 53 Israeli medical cannabis patients in an existing database who had previously agreed to participate in surveys and who also had an ADHD diagnosis. Thirty-seven of the 53 patients suffered from some from of mental health condition.
Participants were asked to self-report monthly doses, how they consumed cannabis, the manufacturer or grower and the cultivar name (or strain) between October 2019 and January 2020.
“These findings reveal that the higher-dose consumption of [medical cannabis] components (phyto-cannabinoids and terpenes) is associated with ADHD medication reduction.”
This is a departure from previous research into ADHD and cannabis, the researchers noted. Prior studies had “considered cannabis as a single product in ADHD research, disregarding its inherent complexities and variability between cultivars and combinations of cultivars,” they wrote.
Most patients had previously obtained medical cannabis licenses (the terminology used in Israel) for chronic pain or cancer treatment rather than neurological disorders that co-exist with ADHD.
Forty-seven patients in the study, which was funded by the Evelyn Gruss Lipper Charitable Foundation, reported either smoking or vaporizing their cannabis.
The cannabis consumers were divided into two subgroups: high dose and low dose. Cultivar combinations were complicated: There were 27 different combinations of varieties but, in addition to CBN, the cannabinoids most associated with reduced or eliminated ADHD medication use including THC, THCV and CBD.
Exactly how various combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes “modulate the circuitry involved in both ADHD and comorbid psychiatric conditions” is still unclear, the researchers said. But the study also suggests that finding the proper dose and the proper cultivar—and cultivar combination—may require significant experimentation on the part of the patient.
And patients in Israel enjoy more reliable access to more regulated cultivars than patients anywhere else in the world—suggesting that most American patients, with a basic understanding of THC and CBD and not a lot else, still have a ways to go.
“This indicates a more complex story than simply stratifying treatment based on THC and CBD alone,” the researchers wrote.
Businesses Are More Profitable And Innovative In States With Legal Marijuana, Study Finds
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Original Post: Cannabis Now: Corruption & Crime Seems to Follow Restrictive Dispensary Permitting
[Canniseur: This is a record that’s been played again and again and it’s getting a bit scratchy. Each and every time in the history of the world when governments try to limit trade, there are people who will pay-to-play. That’s exactly what happened in Grover Beach, CA. It’s hard to turn down money, even when you know it’s not legal. Guess what? The black market continues to thrive in Grover Beach. It’s also happened in Massachusetts. And it will continue to happen until administrators in cities and counties wake up and allow regulated markets. Markets with a chokehold are prone to all sorts of corruption. Exactly what happened in Grover Beach, CA.]
In the grand panoply of grand exits, Debbie Peterson’s is memorable.
Until last February, Peterson, the former mayor of Grover Beach, a small city on the Central California coast in San Luis Obispo County, was serving on the city council, a post she had held for more than 10 years.
Like many California cities not in the Bay Area or in Los Angeles, Grover Beach was in need of viable commercial businesses — and stood poised to capture needed tax revenue and a commercial base after voters legalized cannabis — but also imposed strict limits on legal weed operations. The city would issue no more than three retail licenses, with the winners to be chosen by a council vote after their merits will duly weighed.
The problem is that limited business opportunities creates an atmosphere in which competition for those opportunities exceeds the bounds of propriety. That is, they encourage corruption, bribery and other excesses, a fact recognized by the FBI and alleged by lawmakers and members of the public as well as law enforcement in other states and cities, among them Illinois, Ohio and Florida. Licenses mysteriously awarded to political donors rather than the best-suited applicants, or other examples of patronage and nepotism abounded.
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Original Post: Cannabis Now: Does Cannabis Keep You Young?
[Canniseur: Can cannabis keep our skin young? The answer to this is elusive and hasn’t studied much yet. In believe it helps keep my brain young because it helps me think more clearly and sometimes (depending on strain) more critically. However, this article is about skin care. I’ve watched my skin age over the years and have wondered if there’s anything I can do about it. Maybe the answer is in cannabis.]
Old people look old because their skin stops producing collagen — or, possibly, because they are full of spiteful regret for a life poorly lived, an existence misspent in the pursuit of frivolous things. Younger people look old because their skin was ravaged by something. It’s the sun, mostly, but also stress, overeating, boozing, or — cue the New Age health solutions music!— an onslaught of rampaging free radicals.
If you want good skin that looks young(ish), the best technique is to stay out of the sun. That isn’t good enough, and so we have a beauty and cosmetic industry that promises to either delay one of the above inevitable outcomes, or to fool other peoples’ eyes into thinking it hasn’t already happened.
There is some science at work here. Most skincare products marketed as “anti-aging” are generally just delivery mechanisms for antioxidants. Antioxidants are anything that inhibits oxidation. Common antioxidants in living organisms include vitamin C or A, which your body should have enough of already if you maintain a healthy diet.
But an Australian company working on a “CBD-rich anti-aging cream” believe it’s found evidence that super-cannabinoid CBD is an antioxidant — and that thus, CBD is the secret ingredient in cosmetic and healthcare products that will keep you (looking) young in defiance of your years and bad lifestyle choices. But is it legit?
This is CBD we’re talking about, so the honest answers are “I don’t know” and “maybe,” with an additional “other stuff that is already well known and widely available may work just as well, if not better.” But since neither skepticism nor caution can compete for pageviews with a potential fountain of youth, here are the details.
Business Insider’s Australia edition was first to the news that a three-year research project by the University of Technology Sydney and Bod Australia has turned up a new “family of proteins in human cells that acting as anti-ageing [sic] agents.”
Having made this discovery, “BOD and UTS are [now] exploring the combination of those proteins with CBD in topical anti-ageing creams,” the BI item posted last week reported. Adele Hosseini, Bod’s chief scientific officer, also went one step further. In an interview with BI, she made the additional claim that “CBD by itself does have some antioxidant properties as well.”
Unfortunately for Bod, they’re a bit late to the punch. There are already numerous anti-aging skin creams with CBD in them available on the market, in drugstores as well as through Amazon or other online retailers.
And though most CBD users appear to be attempting to solve pain, anxiety, depression and insomnia before having the time and space to worry about their youthful appearance, cannabis’s value as a general anti-oxidant is already relatively well-known.
“Cannabis is filled with antioxidants, like vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E, all of which will be helpful in preventing damage and premature crepe-iness under your eyes,” Boston-area dermatologist Joyce Imahiyerobo-Ip told Marie Claire in a 2017 interview. (The author of that piece went on a “CBD-only” beauty-care product “diet” for a month — and absolutely loved it, for what that’s worth.)
This means that all cannabis, not just a concoction that includes a hemp-derived CBD extract, might help preserve the skin. This also means that you could get antioxidants from cannabis, or a product that contains cannabis or a cannabis extract, like CBD, or you could get antioxidants from somewhere else entirely.
This also means that the value of CBD-rich anti-aging products might be debatable — not because they don’t work (they might!) but because other products that are cheaper or more widely available may work just as well as the $89.99 “Defynt CBD Skin Serum” sold by Kush Queen, or the CBD anti-aging cream “with apple stem cells” sold by Kushly.
Maybe the best fact to keep in mind here is the finding that 80% of all “extrinsic skin damage” is caused by exposure to the sun, with alcohol intake, bad diet, stress, and damage from free-radicals making up the rest. If shopping for CBD skin creams keeps you mellow — and keeps you inside, and away from the sun — you just may find that it benefits, if not in the way you (or the product you’re buying) anticipate.
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Original Post: Cannabis Now: Dangerous Synthetic Cannabinoids Found in Liquid Claiming to be CBD
[Canniseur: This is precisely why I consume flower for both CBD and THC. Cannabis flowers are easy to recognize. If you buy your cannabis through a shop, provisioning center or reputable dealer, you can see the flowers. Doesn’t matter whether the oil you purchases claims to be full of THC or CBD. It’s kind of silly to ‘doctor’ flowers by spraying some sort of synthetic CBD on them. It’s too easy to grow with plenty of real CBD in them! I consume flower because I know what I’m getting. CBD is now legal and there are some regulations, but apparently not enough.]
Along with bold and unsubstantiated promises of health and wellness, most marketing materials for products containing CBD claim that CBD, a compound found in cannabis that alters mental processes and behaviors, is non-psychoactive.
That’s not true. If CBD does in fact reduce anxiety, or fight depression, those are by definition psychoactive effects. But one effect CBD products are absolutely not supposed to have is a “heart-pounding” hallucinogenic experience, like the one a Virginia Commonwealth University graduate student suffered last year.
As The New York Times recently reported, the unidentified student contacted the school’s forensic toxicologists after vaping some liquids made by a company called Diamond CBD and having a very bad time. His experience mirrored that of more than 100 U.S. service members, some of whom were hospitalized with hallucinations after vaping products said to be CBD oil — experiences that track more closely with ingesting spice than CBD, which studies have found to be mostly benign even at high doses.
When VCU toxicologist Michelle Peace tested Diamond CBD products, in four of nine samples examined, she found a compound called 5F-ADB — which is a synthetic cannabinoid that has no therapeutic potential, according to the World Health Organization, but can trigger acute psychosis and, in extreme cases, convulsions and death.
Fake cannabinoids, keep in mind, are subject to a blanket ban by regulators in the United States and have been linked to numerous very bad health outcomes, including the notorious “zombie” incident in Brooklyn.
But since “synthetic marijuana” is a blanket term referring to one of any number of chemical compounds whose effects attempt to “mimic” THC, they are very hard to suss out. And also, apparently, easy to mix into “CBD” products in order to… well, produce a high? Produce negative headlines? Trick the user?
Among its products marketed to humans, which the very troubled in human consumed, Diamond CBD also sells products marketed to pets.
In a statement to the Times, Diamond CBD’s parent company, a holdings company called PotNetwork Holdings that also markets CBD products under comedic legend Tommy Chong’s brand Chong’s Choice, rejected the findings and said their own tests did not find “any unnatural or improper derivative,” and said it would test more products and issue a recall if necessary.
But the experience of the soldiers last year — who also claimed to have vaped CBD oil before turning up in emergency rooms with symptoms consistent with exposure to synthetic cannabinoids — suggests that the one man’s issue with Diamond CBD products may not be an isolated incident.
The Times’s analysis of the incident was a critique of the CBD market’s lack of regulation. This is a real thing and it is problematic. Swearing that your CBD product can work all kinds of wonders, as many CBD product marketers have done, is neither honest nor legal. But adulterating CBD oil with synthetic cannabinoids, as VCU’s Peace alleges that Diamond CBD may have done, is a huge leap beyond hucksterism and lands instead in the realm of reckless or malicious disregard.
What to do? That’s an excellent question. The speed at which CBD products’ popularity and availability have outpaced any kind of CBD knowledge and awareness — let alone product regulation, safety, and testing — has been stunning. The vape oil is out of the bottle and in your lungs and brain; what’s in it? You just can’t be certain, and until you can, there is apparently a risk of being very dangerously fooled by unscrupulous CBD companies. Will it happen to you? It could, and that’s bad enough.
TELL US, are you concerned about the safety of CBD products?
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