Sources Say Cannabis Sales in US Have Spiked During COVID-19 Pandemic

Sources Say Cannabis Sales in US Have Spiked During COVID-19 Pandemic

Original Post: High Times: Sources Say Cannabis Sales in US Have Spiked During COVID-19 Pandemic

[Canniseur: This is so not surprising. Of course, sales have spiked! Is there a better stress reliever than cannabis? I don’t think so. All the pharmaceutical ‘stress relievers’ have issues with side effects or addiction. Cannabis is perfect for stress relief. Not really addictive. The only side effects are the munchies and maybe sleepiness (depending on the cultivar) and perhaps dry mouth. All those are easily relieved. :-)]

Millions of Americans are confined to their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that has apparently been good for the cannabis industry.

Headset, a cannabis market research company, has been monitoring how the outbreak has affected marijuana businesses around the world. On Tuesday, it reported that marijuana inventory levels had declined in most states because consumers were purchasing at higher rates than usual. In California, for example, a typical marijuana retailer had enough cannabis inventory to last nearly five weeks; now, as a result of increased demand, those retailers have enough for 3.6 weeks. The story is the same in Washington, which along with Colorado became one of the first two states to vote to legalize recreational pot use for adults back in 2012. There, retailers had enough inventory to last five-and-a-half weeks before the coronavirus pandemic; now, they have enough for 4.4.

There is an exception to the trend: Nevada, where marijuana retailers have apparently been hurt by an abrupt drop in foot traffic. COVID-19 has forced the Las Vegas strip to go dark, turning an area normally teeming with tourists into a relative ghost town. Nevada marijuana retailers now have enough inventory to last 13.8 weeks, nearly double what they had before the pandemic, according to Headset’s data.

Liz Connors, director of analytics at Headset, told the New York Times that marijuana sales spiked by more than 150% after a stay-at-home order was issued for residents in the San Francisco bay area. On March 16, Headset reported that adult use cannabis sales in Oregon were a whopping 75% higher than the preceding four Mondays before it.

“It shows that a lot of people think cannabis is just another consumer good, like beer or wine,” Connors said.

Steve Allan, the president of the California-based cannabis business Caliva, said its delivery business has seen double-digit growth thus far in March, as well as an increase in its delivery services across all of its locations. The last two weeks, Allan said, have brought “record breaking sales.”

“We know that many cannabis users rely on our products and services for their ongoing well-being, so having a delivery option that can continue to service them during these unprecedented times is something we’re proud to keep up and running, of course with the safety of our own employees and our community front of mind,” Allan said.

Shareef El-Sissi, the CEO of the California cannabis company Eden Enterprises, said that the pandemic has been a watershed moment for the industry.

“I believe cannabis retail will never be the same. Retailers have been forced to pivot towards a digital first approach and customers have quickly adjusted to the new norm,” El-Sissi said. “When the quarantining is over, I think customers will continue to use digital channels to purchase cannabis. This is more inline with the order online, pick up in  store trend sweeping traditional retail as well.” He said that the outbreak represented the “first panic buying event” for cannabis retail.”

California, like a number of other states where pot is legal, has deemed marijuana businesses “essential” during the pandemic, a recognition of its legitimacy as a medical treatment. The state is in the midst of a near-total lockdown, with residents ordered to stay home. Elsewhere around the country, people have anxiously stayed home in an effort to avoid getting infected, and to reduce community spread of the virus.

Sources Say Cannabis Sales in US Have Spiked During COVID-19 Pandemic was posted on High Times.

Study Suggests Even One Joint May Result In Temporary Psychiatric Symptoms

Study Suggests Even One Joint May Result In Temporary Psychiatric Symptoms

Original Post: High Times: Study Suggests Even One Joint May Result In Temporary Psychiatric Symptoms

[Canniseur: I can wish the story below was complete, but I can keep wishing. It’s not. This peer-reviewed study is just incomplete as presented here…not that High Times is a peer-reviewed publication…but more information is needed about this research to give the story validity. In this coronavirus age of information and misinformation, we need to have complete information. Are you or anyone you know at risk? Can’t tell from the story.]

A new study published this week helps illuminate the psychiatric effects of cannabis.

The research, which was published by The Lancet Psychiatry, found that “the acute administration of THC induces positive, negative, and other symptoms associated with schizophrenia and other mental disorders in healthy adults with large effect sizes.” As reported by CNN, the researchers concluded that “a single dose of the main psychoactive ingredient (THC) in cannabis — equal to one joint — in otherwise healthy people, can temporarily induce psychiatric symptoms, including those associated with schizophrenia.”

“The first takeaway is that for people in general there is a risk, even if you are healthy and taking a single dose, a one-off, you could have these symptoms,” said Oliver Howes, one of the study’s authors, as quoted by CNN.

“They are distressing and could affect your thinking. You might not behave in a safe or rational way. It’s not just something that’s going to affect people with a history of mental health problems,” added Howes, who is a molecular psychiatry professor at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience.

Howe and his colleagues researched 15 studies involving 331 “healthy” people who received both THC and placebo. He told CNN that they wanted to examine the effects of THC on otherwise healthy individuals who were not at risk of psychiatric problems. “This allows us to really test whether these cannabis components themselves lead to psychiatric symptoms,” Howe said.

More Cannabis Research Being Done

The study is part of what has become a flowering of academic research on marijuana in recent years that has dovetailed with governments and companies reconsidering longstanding prohibitions on pot. In October, researchers at the University of Georgia announced that they will study the effects of legalized medical cannabis on those suffering from chronic pain thanks to a multi-million dollar grant. Last April, the cannabis investor Charles R. Broderick made a $9 million donation that was split between Harvard and MIT to support research into how marijuana affects the brain and behavior. Broderick said the gift was driven by a desire “to fill the research void that currently exists in the science of cannabis.”

Study Suggests Even One Joint May Result In Temporary Psychiatric Symptoms was posted on High Times.

Indiana GOP Lawmakers Seek to Override Relaxed Marijuana Laws in Indianapolis

Indiana GOP Lawmakers Seek to Override Relaxed Marijuana Laws in Indianapolis

Original Post: High Times: Indiana GOP Lawmakers Seek to Override Relaxed Marijuana Laws in Indianapolis

[Canniseur: I lived in Indiana for a number of years. I smoked a lot of weed in Indiana. The people who are getting elected in Indiana are getting stranger and stranger about many issues. Pence comes from Indiana, but so did a lot of good people as well. The place is just goofy. Illinois now has adult-use cannabis. So does Michigan. Ohio is leaning that way. And guess who is buying a lot of the cannabis in Michigan and Illinois? Hoosiers, that’s who. And Indiana is just missing out on the revenue.]

If local officials no longer want to enforce anti-marijuana laws, Indiana Republicans want the state to step in.

That is the gist of the legislation that was approved Tuesday by a panel in the state senate. The bill would allow the Indiana attorney general’s office to intervene if a county prosecutor were to not enforce a particular law—a direct response to a policy announced last year by the prosecutor of Marion County, where the capital and largest city Indianapolis is located, to no longer pursue simple marijuana possession cases.

The bill, introduced by Indianapolis GOP state Sen. Michael Young, was endorsed by a 6-3 vote by a state Senate committee.

“It’s because of the social justice prosecution phenomena that’s going on throughout the country,” Young said, as quoted by the Associated Press. “I wanted to try to head it off in Indiana.”

Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears, a Democrat, announced in September that his office would “no longer prosecute possession of marijuana cases involving approximately one ounce or less of marijuana when the charge is the only or most serious charge against an adult.”

“I have come to this decision as a veteran prosecutor. I have seen the resources devoted to these prosecutions and believe those resources can be used more effectively to promote public safety, ensure justice for victims, and reduce recidivism,” Mears said at the time. “When faced with the choice between prosecuting this and prosecuting acts of violence, my priority is clear.”

“Too often, an arrest for marijuana possession puts individuals into the system who otherwise would not be. That is not a win for our community,” Mears added. “The enforcement of marijuana policy has disproportionately impacted people of color, and this is a first step to addressing that.”

But Indiana Republicans—from the state’s governor to the attorney general to legislators like Young — are not on board with legalization, which has arrived in neighboring states, most recently Illinois.

Pot as a Partisan Issue

Young’s proposal is yet another example of the partisan divide on the issue in the Hoosier State. Just last month, one of his Young’s Democratic colleagues in the state Senate, Karen Tallian, filed legislation to decriminalize pot. 

On Tuesday, Mears told the IndyStar that Republicans like Young were avoiding addressing the issue head on.

“I would like to think that the constituents of those elected representatives want to know where their elected officials stand on the issue of marijuana and whether or not medical marijuana is appropriate, or decriminalization is appropriate,” Mears told the newspaper. “Especially given what our neighboring states are doing as it relates to the regulation of marijuana.”

Indiana GOP Lawmakers Seek to Override Relaxed Marijuana Laws in Indianapolis was posted on High Times.

New Mexico Could Expand Medical Marijuana Program To Include Dogs

New Mexico Could Expand Medical Marijuana Program To Include Dogs

Original Post: High Times: New Mexico Could Expand Medical Marijuana Program To Include Dogs

[Canniseur: A dog walks into a dispensary… … There are lots of jokes that could come out of this, but I think there might be a real reason for it. And as I think about it, why should dogs not be able to get their own cannabis products. Cannabis infused bull pizzle might be interesting for your pet pooch.]

Pot for pooches? It could happen in New Mexico, where activists are lobbying to expand the state’s medical marijuana program to cover ailing dogs.

The Associated Press is reporting that the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board will take up a pair of petitions at its meeting next month to expand the qualifying medical conditions for medical cannabis. One petition is conventional: it calls for the program to extend to people with attention deficit disorder.

But the other one is where things get a bit more exotic. Citing veterinary studies in support of cannabis use for animals suffering from seizures, the petition calls for the state’s medical marijuana program to apply to dogs with epilepsy. 

The New Mexico Department of Health withheld the names of petition sponsors, according to the Associated Press.

Potential Problems With The Petition

It is unclear which studies the petitioner cited advocating for cannabis for canines. The American Veterinary Medical Association has said that “although cannabinoids such as CBD appear to hold therapeutic promise in areas such as the treatment of epilepsy and the management of pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, the available scientific evidence pertaining to their use in animals is currently limited.”

“While findings from a few well-controlled studies have been published, much of what we know is related to anecdotal or case reports or has been gleaned from studies related to use in humans, including the study of animal models for that purpose,” the AVMA says in a primer available on its website. “The AVMA continues to encourage well-controlled clinical research and pursuit of FDA approval by manufacturers of cannabis-derived products so that high-quality products of known safety and efficacy can be made available for veterinarians and their patients.”

In a letter sent to the Food and Drug Administration in July, Janet D. Donlin, the CEO of AVMA, called for more regulatory clarity regarding the labeling, safety, and use of cannabis-derived and cannabis-related products.

“Veterinarians have a strong interest in and enthusiastically support exploring the therapeutic potential of cannabis-derived and cannabis-related products, but we want to be sure we can have continued confidence in the efficacy, quality, and safety of products used to treat our patients,” Donlin wrote. “We are aware of several research institutions with both completed and ongoing investigations into the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids for companion animals, with results that appear promising in some areas (e.g., osteoarthritis, epilepsy, pain management, oncology).”

Donlin said that the AVMA has received many reports from its members “that animal owners are actively purchasing these products and administering them to their pets and horses to treat medical conditions, often in the absence of veterinary consultation, and without the assurance that comes with FDA review and approval of therapeutic claims being made by their manufacturers and distributors.”

New Mexico Could Expand Medical Marijuana Program To Include Dogs was posted on High Times.

Group of Irish Doctors Publish Letter Outlining Health Concerns About Cannabis

Group of Irish Doctors Publish Letter Outlining Health Concerns About Cannabis

Original Post: High Times: Group of Irish Doctors Publish Letter Outlining Health Concerns About Cannabis

[Canniseur: It seems the Irish are conflating their concerns. Their concerns appear centered around youth and cannabis use. However, legal recreational cannabis is for adults, same as alcohol is for adults. Medical use of cannabis for youth is between a doctor and patient. If cannabis controls someone’s seizures, then it is all good.]

The “Cannabis Risk Alliance” is less than enthused about Ireland’s progressing views on the herb.

More than 20 doctors have sounded the alarm on Ireland’s march toward marijuana legalization, lamenting what they called a “one-sided discussion about cannabis.”

The group of doctors, calling themselves the “Cannabis Risk Alliance,” voiced their concerns in a letter published Monday in the Irish Times; the signatories include Dr. Ray Walley, the former president of the Irish Medical Organisation.

“We are extremely concerned about the increasing health-related problems caused by cannabis across Ireland,” they wrote, citing “growing scientific data that indicates that cannabis use in young people is related to impairments to memory and thinking, which can endure long after cannabis use has ceased.”

Moreover, they wrote that cannabis use, particularly among young people, “is associated with increased risk of development of severe mental disorders particularly psychosis.”

Such warnings represent an increasingly fringe sentiment these days, with public polling around the world showing growing acceptance of recreational pot use and rising opposition to laws criminalizing the drug. In both the United States and Europe, efforts to roll back marijuana prohibition have been gaining steam.

The members of the Cannabis Risk Alliance acknowledged that the discussion surrounding cannabis use was driven by two separate concerns — “the argument in favour of legalising cannabis for medicinal use” and “the argument criticising the use of criminal sanctions to deter people from using cannabis.”

“Most of the people taking part in these discussions are sincere and well-intentioned,” they wrote in the letter. “However, as doctors, we are concerned that Ireland is being led down the path of cannabis legalisation. We are opposed to such a move as we strongly feel that it would be bad for Ireland, especially for the mental and physical health of our young people.”

Recreational marijuana use remains illegal in Ireland, but medicinal pot is available to select patients in the country. The Irish government is set to consider proposals to regular medical marijuana there, and an Irish supplier is expected to be made available imminently, both of which will broaden its access in the country. In February, the European Union overwhelmingly passed a resolution urging its members to remove barriers to medical marijuana.

But in their letter to the Irish Times, the Cannabis Risk Alliance raised an ominous warning about such efforts.

“While there is limited evidence that some products containing cannabinoids have medical benefit in a very small number of conditions, this has, in our view, been grossly distorted to imply that the cannabis plant in its entirety can be considered a ‘medicine,’” the doctors wrote. “Decriminalisation and “medical cannabis” campaigns have proven to be effective “Trojan horse” strategies on the road to full legalisation and commercialisation elsewhere such as the United States and Canada.”

Although attitudes surrounding marijuana have shifted dramatically this century, as many longstanding arguments against its use have shriveled under scrutiny, there remains a dearth of credible research on cannabis. That gap is what inspired Charles R. Broderick to make a $9 million donation to both Harvard and MIT last month to, as he put it, “fill the research void that currently exists in the science of cannabis.”

In that same vein, the members of the Cannabis Risk Alliance are “calling for an urgent and unbiased examination of the evidence about cannabis use and cannabis-related health harms in Ireland and a comprehensive public education campaign.”

Group of Irish Doctors Publish Letter Outlining Health Concerns About Cannabis was posted on High Times.

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