Feds Say Cannabis Researchers Should Just Buy Weed From Legal Dispensaries

Feds Say Cannabis Researchers Should Just Buy Weed From Legal Dispensaries

Original Post: Merry Jane: Feds Say Cannabis Researchers Should Just Buy Weed From Legal Dispensaries

[Canniseur: The importance of empirical cannabis research cannot be understated. The fact is, cannabis researchers have been regulated to single-sourced, crap cannabis. Thank you Sen. Schatz for prodding the NIH and FDA along in this valuable direction.]

For years, the government has provided low-quality weed to cannabis researchers. But rather than improve the quality, the feds are now directing scientists to buy their own weed.

Federal health agencies have advised cannabis researchers to procure research-quality weed from state-legal retailers, rather than rely on the low-quality schwag that the DEA makes available for research.

This March, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) sent a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting information about their plans to support cannabis research. The senator asked the agencies to detail their clinical research agendas, propose recommendations to improve the “quality and validity of cannabis research,” and to detail the “impacts of regulatory barriers for cannabis research,” Marijuana Moment reports.

In response, acting FDA Director Norman Sharpless and NIH Director Francis Collins wrote that they were in favor of clinical cannabis research. “A larger body of rigorous research, including on cannabis and cannabinoid products that are already in use or that could be developed into FDA-approved medications, is key to furthering our understanding of their potential medical benefits and risks,” the directors wrote.

The letter also acknowledged that there are “a variety of barriers to conducting research on cannabis and cannabinoids.” The agencies note that the DEA does allow the University of Mississippi to grow cannabis to be distributed to researchers, but added that limiting production to a single provider limits “the diversity of products and formulations available to researchers.”

Gallery — Fuck-Tons of Weed That No One Is Smoking Except Cops:

The reality of the situation is even bleaker than the letter describes: the weed produced by the University of Mississippi is so bad that researchers haven’t been able to use it. In a recent interview, Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly, director of the government’s only legal weed farm, said that he deliberately limits research weed to a THC content of 8 percent, because stronger weed is too sticky to work in his professional joint-rolling machine. (Is he not aware of the joint rolling machines and tools of 2019?)

After countless angry letters from scientists and politicians, the DEA began accepting applications from other institutions wishing to grow legal weed for research. The DEA sat on these applications for three years, but in July, a federal judge ruled that the agency must explain the reason for its delay. Last month, the DEA finally announced that it would begin considering these applications, but gave no timeline for approving new growers.

Given the seemingly endless delays in this process, the NIH and FDA advised licensed researchers to just buy their own high-quality cannabis in states where it is legal. 

“NIH and FDA support enabling researchers holding Schedule I licenses for marijuana to obtain products from state authorized dispensaries,” Collins and Sharpless wrote, according to Marijuana Moment. “Such products could be used for basic or clinical research, provided such materials to be used in clinical studies also comply with FDA chemistry, manufacturing, and control requirements for materials to be used in research conducted under an investigational new drug application.”

The health officials also noted that the Schedule I classification of cannabis interfered with research, and subsequently recommended “streamlining the process for conducting research with cannabis and other Schedule I substances.”

This is the second time that Sen. Schatz has gotten the federal government to admit to the medical value of psychedelics and cannabis. In response to another of the senator’s letters, Collins and Sharpless acknowledged that psychedelics like LSD, ketamine, and psilocybin all had promise as therapeutic medicines. 

Original Post: Merry Jane: Feds Say Cannabis Researchers Should Just Buy Weed From Legal Dispensaries

Study Finds Smoking From A Pipe Can Expose You To More Germs Than A Toilet Seat

Study Finds Smoking From A Pipe Can Expose You To More Germs Than A Toilet Seat

Original Post: High Times: Study Finds Smoking From A Pipe Can Expose You To More Germs Than A Toilet Seat

[Canniseur: Yuck! But yet, somehow all these years/decades of passing around the bong or joint has not posed any kind of problem – ever. Will the knowledge of the dirty facts change my habits? Time will tell.]

But don’t back out of your smoke circle just yet

Let’s face it: we touch a lot of dirty things every day. 

Dirty items inside the home include bathroom hand towels and dog toys. Outside of the house, everything from shopping carts to ATMs can expose us to high concentrations of germs. And that doesn’t even cover everyday items like cell phones, cash, and computer keyboards—all of which have high germ exposure potential. 

The same can be said for items that go in our mouths, like fingernails and pens. Sharing drinks, toothbrushes, and food can also spell out germ city. 

And that bizarre five-second rule? Forget about it. 

Germs are everywhere. They’re unavoidable, but don’t freak out; they’re a totally normal part of living and your immune system will protect you from most of them. However, there’s a pressing germ concern unique to the cannabis community: group consumption of pipes and joints. 

A recent study conducted by Los Angeles-based Moose Labs found that cannabis pipes, vapes, and joints all have “an astounding level of bacteria.” It went on to state that it was difficult to find a neutral everyday item that matched its levels of bacteria. The analysis produced significantly higher-than-expected results. In all, the average cannabis pipe was found to have “almost one and a half times more bacteria than a public toilet seat.” 

The report concluded that each person should use a mouthpiece when consuming. The findings support using a product like a disposable or washable mouthpiece with a filter, like one that Moose Labs offers. This is a point the company’s co-founder Jay Rush said the study sought out to prove.

“It really is just absolutely horrifying,” Rush said about the findings. “I almost feel bad telling people, but would you rather be informed and upset or uninformed and blissfully ignorant?” 

Other experts in the field told High Times they recommended carrying a product like alcohol wipes when smoking a bong or pipe with a large group of people. 

Christopher Carrubba, MD explained why cannabis consumption devices can become so contaminated. He cited biofilm formation as the cause. “Marijuana itself can be a host to numerous bacterial and fungal organisms and contaminated bong water can similarly serve as a host for bacteria, candida, and other types of fungi,” he said.

“As these organisms grow, they secrete substances that allow them to cling to certain physical objects such as plastic or glass within a bong. The accumulation of these secretions leads to the formation of a biofilm that serves to protect these organisms and to facilitate their ongoing proliferation.” 

Dr. Carrubba went on to note that biofilms are resistant to standard cleaning solutions and antimicrobial agents: “Once a biofilm forms, bacterial and fungal contaminants may persist even after a basic washing of the bong.” 

He added that some of the more common microbial organisms and their potential risks include:

  • Aspergillosis — When burned, the fungal organism aspergillosis releases mycotoxins that can gather in bong water and be inhaled later on. This can potentially cause a cough or chest pain and can lead to pulmonary disease. 
  • Pseudomonas — This bacterial organism can cause acute pneumonia and sepsis. It is difficult to treat, often requiring antimicrobial therapy for long periods. 
  • Flavobacterium — This bacteria is found in sources of stagnant water like an unclean bong. An infection can lead to pulmonary symptoms and diarrhea. 
  • Streptococcus species — A common bacteria usually found on the skin and in the oral and respiratory tract. It is responsible for infections such as strep throat, pneumonia, ear infections and other unpleasant medical results. 
  • E. coli — E. coli can also be found in the cannabis plant, as well as human and animal feces. Exposure to E. coli can turn into symptoms, including diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. 

The Moose Labs study focuses on cannabis pipes, as the company did not receive enough materials to analyze joints and vaporizers as closely as the pipes. 

However, Rush noted that the unnamed joints and vaporizer provided in the test are products he uses personally. “I consider myself a relatively clean person,” Rush said. “And they both read significantly higher than anything else that we have tested for.” 

The results from Moose Labs found that both joints and vaporizers had close to four times more bacteria than a toilet seat.

The concerning data shows that cannabis consumption, especially in group settings, can create adverse effects. While drastic, Rush noted that global issues, such as the SARS virus, can go from one person to thousands across the world relatively quickly. If an infected person consumed cannabis in a group setting, the consequences could be dire.  

“Imagine if someone goes to one of these events where they have one of these viruses and a hundred other people put their mouth directly on [a pipe] and go out into the world. You’d have an epidemic like never before,” Rush explained.

Causing the next global health scare isn’t a likely outcome, but other uncomfortable conditions from sore throats to diarrhea are possible. While it may not always be the trendiest thing to do, carrying a mouthpiece or sanitary wipes will keep pieces cleaner. Using a few could help yourself and those around you. 

Those looking to protect themselves further may want to consider Dr. Carrubaa’s advice that includes cleaning the bong with boiling water after each use. Other measures include properly drying the bong after washing, a weekly cleaning with rubbing alcohol, and cleaning your hands before using your piece.

Study Finds Smoking From A Pipe Can Expose You To More Germs Than A Toilet Seat was posted on High Times.

Marijuana an Effective Alternative to Opiods, Study Finds

Marijuana an Effective Alternative to Opiods, Study Finds

Original Post: Only 420: Marijuana an Effective Alternative to Opiods, Study Finds

[Canniseur: At this point, it almost seems a given. We know that cannabis can help relieve pain. We know that it’s not addictive in the same way opiates are. And I understand completely that there is new research coming out almost every day, but not enough. I can only wish the research started sooner, but that’s a government hell-bent on prohibition for you.]

A new study found that of a group of people using state-legalized marijuana, 65% of them were using it to relieve pain, and most (80%) of them found it to be very effective. Marijuana’s medicinal abilities helped 82% of the people to reduce or stop taking over-the-counter pain medications, and 88% were able to stop taking opioid painkillers.

“Approximately 20% of American adults suffer from chronic pain, and one in three adults do not get enough sleep,” said Dr Gwen Wurm.

The study suggests that cannabis could help decrease American’s dependence on opioids for pain relief.

“People develop tolerance to opioids, which means that they require higher doses to achieve the same effect,” said Dr. Julia Arnsten. “This means that chronic pain patients often increase their dose of opioid medications over time, which in turn increases their risk of overdose.”

“In states where adult use of cannabis is legal, our research suggests that many individuals bypass the medical cannabis route (which requires registering with the state) and are instead opting for the privacy of a legal adult use dispensary,” stated Wurm.

Over-the-counter drugs can help relieve pain, but they can have serious side effects.

“Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen cause GI bleeding or kidney damage with chronic use,” Wurm noted. “Paracetemol (Acetaminophen) toxicity is the second most common cause of liver transplantation worldwide, and is responsible for 56,000 ER visits, 2600 hospitalizations, and 500 deaths per year in the U.S.”

The study authors caution that further research into marijuana is needed to better understand the health benefits and side effects.

“The challenge is that health providers are far behind in knowing which cannabis products work and which do not. Until there is more research into which cannabis products work for which symptoms, patients will do their own ‘trial and error,’ experiments, getting advice from friends, social media and dispensary employees,” Wurm said.

Original Post: Only 420: Marijuana an Effective Alternative to Opiods, Study Finds

Chocolate May Skew the Potency of THC in Cannabis Products

Chocolate May Skew the Potency of THC in Cannabis Products

Original Post: Merry Jane: Chocolate May Skew the Potency of THC in Cannabis Products

[Canniseur: There’s so much we don’t know about ingesting cannabis with food, whether it’s chocolate, gummies or whatever. This finding by a California lab is disturbing on two fronts; If you like edible anything, and it’s made with chocolate, you may not be able to accurately determine what dose you’re actually putting in your body. The findings are too new to determine if it’s going to be too much or too little. There are no answers yet. Read this to find out why. It’s a perfect companion to this story we just published about consistency in edibles.]

Starting this fall, it will be legal to sell cannabis edibles anywhere in Canada. Like California, and most other US states that have legalized weed-infused food items, the Canadian government is strictly regulating these products, imposing limits on total THC content and requiring mandatory testing to ensure these limits are met.

But new research conducted by a California cannabis testing lab may force health officials to take a second look at their regulations. This research, led by David Dawson of CW Analytical Laboratories, discovered that chocolate can interfere with THC potency testing. Because of this interaction, popular products like pot brownies and infused chocolate bars can fail potency tests even if they contain a legal amount of THC.

Dawson told Science Daily that his Oakland-based testing lab “noticed, kind of anecdotally, some weird potency variations depending on how we prepared chocolate samples for testing.” Dawson decided to investigate further, and found that variations in the amount of chocolate, type of chocolate, or other factors could make a THC potency test less accurate.

“When we had less cannabis-infused chocolate in the sample vial, say 1 gram, we got higher THC potencies and more precise values than when we had 2 grams of the same infused chocolate in the vial,” Dawson explained. “Simply changing how much sample is in the vial could determine whether a sample passes or fails, which could have a huge impact on the producer of the chocolate bars, as well as the customer who might be under — or overdosing because of this weird quirk.”

Dawson cited an example of California’s edibles regulations to illustrate the “high stakes” involved in cannabis potency testing. “If an edible cannabis product tests 10% below the amount on the label, California law states that is must be relabeled, with considerable time and expense,” he told Science Daily. “But it’s even worse if a product tests 10% or more above the labeled amount — then the entire batch must be destroyed.”

The researchers will present their findings at the American Chemical Society Fall 2019 National Meeting and Exposition later this week. Dawson intends to continue his research, in order to discover exactly what ingredient of chocolate may be responsible for these effects. So far, researchers suspect that the fat content of the ingredients may be interfering with THC test results, as THC is known to be fat-soluble.

If this is true, it may have implications outside of chocolate-based edibles, as any cannabis product containing some form of fat — even non-edible products like skin lotions — may be at risk of failing a THC potency test. Researchers will also look into whether potency testing for CBD or other cannabinoids can also be thrown off by chocolate or fats. This latter research may be especially useful for the Food and Drug Administration, which is actively working to develop regulations for CBD-infused food and drinks.

Original Post: Merry Jane: Chocolate May Skew the Potency of THC in Cannabis Products

Whole Cannabis Flower Relieves Pain More Than Other Weed Products, Study Shows

Whole Cannabis Flower Relieves Pain More Than Other Weed Products, Study Shows

Original Post: Merry Jane: Whole Cannabis Flower Relieves Pain More Than Other Weed Products, Study Shows

[Canniseur: I tried whole flower for pain relief and I can state that it works. Cannabis flower knocks out the pain out with the first toke. It was amazing. The only problem I found is that it only lasts about 1/2 hour or so and then you have to dose again. What a terrible thing to have to do. Not.]

A new study reports that whole cannabis flower offers more pain relief than other medical marijuana products, adding to a growing body of evidence suggesting that THC-rich whole flower can be more medically effective than isolated cannabinoids.

The study, published in last month’s Complementary Therapies in Medicine journal, used data from the Releaf mobile app, which was designed to let users keep track of their symptoms before, during, and after using medical marijuana. This app, which was created by three of the study’s co-authors, collected data from 2,987 people between June 2016 and October 2018.

Researchers from the University of New Mexico used this dataset, which they refer to as “the largest database of real-time cannabis administration sessions in the US,” to view over 20,513 user-reported medical marijuana sessions.

In the app, patients are able to report the effects of individual medical marijuana products on five different pain categories: musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, nerve, headache-related, or non-specified pain. Releaf allows users to rank the effectiveness of each product’s pain relief on a scale of one to ten. On average, users reported their initial pain levels at 5.87 out of 10. After using medical marijuana, users reported that their pain levels dropped to an average of 2.77 — a decrease of 3.1 points.

“Perhaps the most surprising result is just how widespread relief was with symptom relief reported in about 95 percent of cannabis administration sessions and across a wide variety of different types of pain,” said Xiaoxue Li, the lead author of the study, in a statement.

Broken down by type of cannabis product, researchers discovered that “consumption of whole, natural cannabis flower was associated with greater anesthetic potential than were most other types of products.”

Concentrates and topicals provided similar relief to whole flower, but edibles, pills, and tinctures ultimately showed to be less effective. Concentrates were associated with higher levels of side effects than other kinds of products, however, possibly due to the inclusion of solvents or other additives.

“Cannabis likely has numerous constituents that possess analgesic properties beyond THC, including terpenes and flavonoids, which likely act synergistically for people that use whole dried cannabis flower,” said Jacob Miguel Vigil, another of the study’s lead authors, in a statement.

The data also revealed that patients suffering from muscle, headache, or non-specified pain experienced greater relief when using high-THC products. Patients suffering from gastrointestinal pain did better with lower levels of THC. And even though the popularity of CBD-infused products has been growing like wildfire over the past few years, researchers found that this cannabinoid provided little pain relief.

“Our results confirm that cannabis use is a relatively safe and effective medication for alleviating pain, and that is the most important message to learn from our results,” Vigil concluded. “It can only benefit the public for people to be able to responsibly weigh the true risks and benefits of their pain medication choices, and when given this opportunity, I’ve seen numerous chronic pain patients substitute away from opioid use, among many other classes of medications, in favor of medical cannabis.”

This research underscores the pressing need to do away with federal prohibition laws that prevent the widespread use of this medicine.

“Even just rescheduling cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II, i.e., classifying it with fentanyl, oxycodone, and cocaine rather than heroin and ecstasy, could dramatically improve our ability to conduct research, ” said co-author Sarah Stith in a statement. “It would require the DEA to recognize that accepted medical uses for cannabis exist, as clearly evidenced by our results and the flourishing medical cannabis programs in the majority of US states.”

Original Post: Merry Jane: Whole Cannabis Flower Relieves Pain More Than Other Weed Products, Study Shows

Anesthesiologists Say Cannabis Consumption Before Surgery Could Be Deadly

Anesthesiologists Say Cannabis Consumption Before Surgery Could Be Deadly

Original Post: Merry Jane: Anesthesiologists Say Cannabis Consumption Before Surgery Could Be Deadly

[Canniseur: PSA: Let your doctor know you use cannabis. Don’t imbibe before surgery.]

American doctors are still tip-toeing around legal cannabis, but when it comes to pre-surgery preparation, marijuana abstinence is becoming a new point of focus.

Doctors in legal weed states are pushing surgery patients to be honest about their cannabis use and to avoid consumption in the hours before going under the knife, or risk potential complications including heart attack or death.

Over the past year, a series of studies into pharmaceutical anesthetics and cannabis has found an inverse relationship between the effectiveness of pre-surgery sedation drugs and marijuana use. But in addition to decreased sensitivity to anesthetics, doctors are now warning patients to specifically avoid cannabis in the same ways that they would water and food in the hours before surgery. Since marijuana can raise our heart rate and lower our blood pressure, the combination of cannabis intoxication and surgical anesthetics can cause severe cardiac and respiratory complications.

“Most of the conditions, in the worst case scenario, may lead to death,” Dr. David Hepner, an anesthesiologist at Massachusetts’ Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told the Boston Globe. “I’m not saying that it’s very common, but the potential is there.”

Since California first legalized cannabis for medical use in the ‘90s, doctors have maintained a robust skepticism for cannabis. And since federal restrictions have stood in the way of in-depth clinical research, and piecemeal legalization has hindered product uniformity, physicians in both cannabis-friendly and prohibition states have largely dismissed or ignored weed altogether. When it comes to surgery, though, more anesthesiologists are beginning to dig deeper on patient pot use.

“We’re not going to have any judgment — there’s no stigma,” Dr. Hepner said. “It’s just important for us to know, because the cannabis could interact with the anesthetic, and we need to know how to adjust.”

On the other end of the communication divide, Hepner said that since legalization, patients have been more forthright with disclosing their cannabis use — a trend that he hopes will continue as general social stigmas dim even further. And while previous studies have shown that frequent cannabis use can necessitate increased doses of anesthesia in surgery patients, Hepner noted that the more serious heart and lung complications are only a threat for patients who consume marijuana in the hours immediately preceding a procedure.

Lead image via

Original Post: Merry Jane: Anesthesiologists Say Cannabis Consumption Before Surgery Could Be Deadly

THC Level Doesn’t Correlate with Driver Impairment, Report Says

THC Level Doesn’t Correlate with Driver Impairment, Report Says

Original Post: Only 420: THC Level Doesn’t Correlate with Driver Impairment, Report Says

[Canniseur: Not surprising in some ways. It appears that several states are clueless about how to determine cannabis “intoxication”. This consists only of a couple of quotes from two government agencies; Congressional Research and NHTSA. Both say the same thing. They’re also saying we still don’t know what cannabis actually does to our minds and how it works.]

A new Congressional Research Service report on marijuana and motoring found that the presence of THC in a person’s blood is an inconsistent predictor of both driver impairment and performance.

The report mentioned: “Research studies have been unable to consistently correlate levels of marijuana consumption, or THC in a person’s body, and levels of impairment,” NORML stated. “Thus, some researchers, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, have observed that using a measure of THC as evidence of a driver’s impairment is not supported by scientific evidence to date.”

The report’s findings are consistent with a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“There is as yet no scientifically demonstrated correlation between levels of THC and degrees of impairment of driver performance, and epidemiological studies disagree as to whether marijuana use by a driver results in increased crash risk,” the report concluded. “Based on current knowledge and enforcement capabilities, it is not possible to articulate a similarly simple level or rate of marijuana consumption and a corresponding effect on driving ability.”

Illinois, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington enforce various laws for the presence of certain amounts of THC in blood. Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin enforce zero-tolerant laws.

Original Post: Only 420: THC Level Doesn’t Correlate with Driver Impairment, Report Says

Health Officer Issues Warning After 7 Californians Hospitalized for Vaping

Health Officer Issues Warning After 7 Californians Hospitalized for Vaping

Original Post: High Times: Health Officer Issues Warning After 7 Californians Hospitalized for Vaping

[Canniseur: This is the second story this week about the dangers of vaping supposed THC carts. ARDS is only one of the myriad of problems that can occur when the distillate for carts is made with illegal chemicals, or processed incorrectly. If you’re going to use oil concentrates, at least get them from a licensed dispensary with a good reputation.]

A public health official issued a warning about the dangers of unlicensed cannabis products following the hospitalization of seven Californians who fell ill after vaping. In a notice released last week, Dr. Milton Teske, health officer with the Kings County Department of Public Health, said that those stricken had been taken to the hospital in the Central California community after experiencing pneumonia-like symptoms.

“Since June, seven cases of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) have been identified, requiring hospitalization and respiratory support among previously healthy adults,” reads the notice. “Some of these patients’ conditions were so severe they were admitted to the intensive care unit and required respiratory support through mechanical devices.”

Initial symptoms of ARDS include the feeling that one can’t get enough air into the lungs, rapid breathing, low blood oxygen level, low blood pressure, confusion, and extreme tiredness.

Six of the patients are in their 20s and the last is a 60-year-old experienced cannabis user who had tried vaping for the first time. Teske noted that all seven patients had recently used THC or CBD oil vape cartridges that they had purchased at unlicensed marijuana “pop-up shops” and urged consumers to purchase cannabis products only at regulated retailers.

“If you’re going to vape THC, get it from a licensed dispensary where you know there’s a certain amount of testing required to do,” Teske said. “It’s going to cost twice as much as the stuff on the street, but you don’t want to end up with a life-threatening respiratory condition.”

Similar Cases Across US

California isn’t the first area to see people experiencing lung problems after vaping, although it appears some cases may involve the use of nicotine vaporizers. Health officials in New York warned health care providers on Friday to be on the alert for pulmonary disease caused by vaping. The New York Department of Health is currently investigating 11 cases of lung problems related to vaping, most in the western part of the state.

“While many people consider vaping to be a less dangerous alternative to smoking cigarettes, it is not risk free,” state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said. “These latest reports of pulmonary disease in people using vaping products in New York and other states are proof that more study is needed on the long-term health effects of these products.”

Dr. Melodi Pirzada, a pediatric lung specialist at New York University Winthrop Hospital, said that she has seen two cases of patients who experienced lung problems after vaping, including an 18-year-old athlete.

“We’re all baffled,” Pirzada said, adding that the only common factor was that they had been vaping.

On Thursday, health officials in Wisconsin reported that 15 cases of lung trouble brought on by vaping had been confirmed and 15 more were being investigated. Health officials in Indiana, Illinois, and Minnesota are also investigating cases of lung problems potentially caused by vaping.

Health Officer Issues Warning After 7 Californians Hospitalized for Vaping was posted on High Times.

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