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Trending news
12.11.19
by Gene Johnson, Elaine Thompson and Rob Gillies, Associated Press
1075 Words
Legal sales in the first year are expected to total just $1 billion, an amount dwarfed by an illegal market still estimated at $5 billion to $7 billion.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The weed is expensive, the selection is limited, the black market persists, and licensed stores are scarce.

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened. While many residents remain proud of Canada for bucking prohibition, a lot still buy cannabis on the sly, because taxes and other issues mean high-quality bud can cost nearly twice what it did before legalization.

Much of the drug’s production and distribution over the years has been controlled by outlaw groups, including the Hells Angels, and replacing such criminality with safe, regulated sales is a key goal of legalization.

Yet legal sales in the first year are expected to total just $1 billion, an amount dwarfed by an illegal market still estimated at $5 billion to $7 billion.

“One customer told me, ‘I love you and I want to support you, but I can’t buy all my cannabis here. It’s too expensive,'” said Jeremy Jacob, co-owner of Village Bloomery, a Vancouver pot store that feels more like a museum gift shop, with its high ceilings, graceful lighting, tidy wooden shelves and locked white cabinets hiding packages of marijuana. “The black-market producers are being well rewarded by legalization.”

The nation has seen no sign of increases in impaired driving or underage use since it joined Uruguay as the only countries to legalize and regulate the sale of cannabis to adults — those over 19 in most Canadian provinces. Delegations from other countries, including Mexico, have visited Canada as they explore the possibility of rewriting their own marijuana laws.

But officials promised legalization would be a process, not an event, and they weren’t wrong. Kinks abound, from what many consider wasteful packaging requirements and uneven quality to the slow pace of licensing stores and growers across most of the country.

Canada allowed provinces to shape their own laws within a federal framework, including setting the minimum age and deciding whether to distribute through state-run or private retail outlets. Some have done better than others.

The result: There now are more than 560 licensed stores across Canada, but more than half are in Alberta, the fourth-largest province.

Ontario and Quebec, which together make up two-thirds of Canada’s population, have only about 45 shops between them. In Newfoundland, Canada’s easternmost province, pot shop owner Tom Clarke said he’s about to hit $1.5 million in sales but isn’t making any money, thanks to rules that limit him to just an 8% commission.

Online sales, designed to ensure far-flung communities can access the market even if they don’t have a licensed shop, have been underwhelming, at least partly because consumers are reluctant to pay with a credit card if that transaction might come to the attention of U.S.-based banks or border guards, said Megan McCrae, board chair of the Cannabis Council of Canada industry group.

Nowhere are the challenges of legalization more pronounced than British Columbia, which has had a flourishing cannabis culture since U.S. military draft-dodgers settled there during the Vietnam War era. They grew what became known as “B.C. Bud,” high quality marijuana cherished by American consumers.

In Vancouver, which has 2.2 million residents and is Canada’s third-largest city, there was tacit approval of marijuana even before legalization. Though storefront distribution of medical marijuana never was allowed by law, about 100 dispensaries operated in the city before legalization arrived.

Around the province, authorities have visited 165 illegal dispensaries in the past year and warned them to get licensed or shut down. Despite some raids, the government has been reluctant to close them all before more licensed shops open.

Licensing has been glacial, though, thanks to a change in power in the provincial government and cities being slow to approve zoning and other requirements, partly because the province has no tax-revenue-sharing agreement with local jurisdictions. Regulatory hurdles have also made it tough for B.C.’s many small growers to be licensed; instead, production is dominated by large corporations churning out pot by the ton from massive greenhouses.

Regulators hoped to have 250 legal shops operating in British Columbia by now; instead, they have only about 80 private stores and seven government-run shops. Through July, legal sales in B.C. were a meager $25 million. Alberta, with a smaller population, hit $145 million.

“Everybody still uses their neighbors and their back yards,” said Susan Chappelle of the British Columbia Independent Cannabis Association.

Nevertheless, the legal market has fans. Vancouver resident Sarah Frank, who used to grow her own marijuana plants, loves that she can walk into a clean, welcoming, legal shop and walk out with a few grams of her favorite cannabis, actor Seth Rogen’s Houseplant Sativa brand.

“You don’t feel like a criminal,” said Frank, 41. “I have friends who can’t travel to the States because 20 years ago they got busted with a joint.”

Some who want to get into the legal business are still waiting. With legalization looming last year, Chris Clay shut down his gray-market pot shop on Vancouver Island for what he thought would be a few months, eager to apply for a license and reopen. A year later, he’s still waiting.

Some of his workers went on unemployment and eventually found jobs elsewhere. He’s barely avoided bankruptcy, and though local officials have finally started handling applications, he says it will likely be another three to six months before he’s back in business.

“It’s very frustrating,” he said. “Tourists have been driving up and down the island all summer, saying, ‘Where can we go? Where can we go?'”

For Mike Babins, who runs Evergreen Cannabis, the Vancouver shop where Frank buys her Seth Rogen-brand weed, it’s just fine that legalization is developing slowly.

“Everyone’s watching us,” he said. “If anything goes wrong here, we’re screwing it up for the whole world.”

Gillies reported from Toronto. Gene Johnson, who reported from Seattle, is a member of the AP’s marijuana beat team and can be followed at https://twitter.com/GeneAPseattle. Follow AP’s complete marijuana coverage: https://apnews.com/MarijuanaCopyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Trending news
10.11.19
by Emily Earlenbaugh
1074 Words
A low dose of cannabis can reduce anxiety while a higher dose can aggravate or create anxiety. Understanding the biphasic response curve is key to finding the right dose for you.

Cannabis can relieve anxiety, but it can also cause it. Cannabis can make you sleepy, but it can also give you energy. Cannabis can relieve pain, but in some cases it can worsen it. 

Some of these opposing effects may be due to differences in the chemical composition of a particular cannabis product — or by differences in the individuals using cannabis. But there is also another explanation — the biphasic response of cannabis.

What is a biphasic response? And what does it mean for finding the right cannabis dose for you?

When a chemical has a biphasic response, it means that the single substance can produce two opposing effects, one at a lower dose and one at a higher dose. 

Consider the effects of alcohol, a common substance with a biphasic response. Have a single drink, and the low dose might leave you feeling happy, full of energy and ready to be social. On the other hand, take a high dose like say 10 drinks, and you are more likely to become tired and sad. 

This kind of effect is usually represented with a biphasic response curve. If you were to graph it on a chart, on one side you would see how an effect (like the positive mood you experience with your first drink) starts at your baseline and increases as your dose of alcohol increases. But at a certain dose, this effect actually reverses. After this point, as the dose continues to go up, the curve of your positive mood goes back down — getting worse as you continue to drink. This creates a bell shaped curve — or a biphasic response curve. 

Biphasic Response Curves and Finding the Right Dose

In terms of dosing, this means that to achieve the effect you are looking for you need to know what the optimal dose is — and specifically what dose is right for you. As we all know with alcohol, sensitivity can vary. One person may feel nothing from a single drink and only reach the happy social part of their response curve after a few drinks. Someone else might take a few sips to reach their ideal point, while a drink or two might send them past their ideal dose and leave them too drunk for comfort.

In other words, the ideal dose for any drug with a biphasic response will vary by individual — but each individual will have an optimal dose at the curve’s peak, just before any further increase sends the effect back in the other direction. 

This kind of biphasic response curve has been studied in a wide variety of substances such as alcohol, nicotine, amphetamines, psychedelics like ayahuasca, and many pharmaceutical drugs. But it can also be found with cannabis’ two most plentiful and medicinally-utilized cannabinoids — THC and CBD. 

Evidence for Biphasic Responses with Cannabis

One of the most commonly reported uses for medical cannabis, anxiety, also happens to have a highly reported biphasic effect. Some say that cannabis has a calming effect and can relieve their anxiety, while others say cannabis makes them feel more anxious and can create a feeling of paranoia. This is primarily attributed to the biphasic effects on anxiety exhibited by THC, and has been shown experimentally in a few ways. 

In a study on mice, scientists gave mice subjects different doses of THC and then watched whether they avoided open spaces (a sign of increased anxiety in mice). Those who had lower doses spent more time exploring the open area than controls, while those with higher doses spent less time there. This suggests that lower doses reduced anxiety while higher doses increased it. 

This was also replicated in a human study, where 42 patients were administered either a placebo or low (7.5 mg) or high (12.5 mg) doses of THC. After being given a variety of stress-inducing tests they were asked to rate their own stress. Like with the mice, those who took the low dose reported lower anxiety than those who took the placebo, while those who took the high dose experienced an increased anxiety response. While 7.5 milligrams isn’t an exceptionally low dose, in other experiments, doses of THC as low as 4 milligrams have also been effective at reducing anxiety symptoms in patients with PTSD. 

THC’s biphasic effects have also been noted for temperature regulation, pain, appetite, motivational processing, novelty seeking, and locomotion and exploration

But THC isn’t the only chemical in cannabis with biphasic effects. Similar effects have also been noted in CBD, a medicinal cannabinoid without THC’s mind-altering high. Animal studies on CBD and pain, for example, show that pure CBD reduces pain responses at lower doses, but then at a certain point can actually increase pain responses. Interestingly, when the same dose of CBD is left in a full spectrum cannabis extract (which includes other chemicals found naturally in the cannabis plant) this dose dependant curve disappears. CBD continues to increase pain relief as the dose increases, with no observed ceiling on the effect. Thus other compounds in the plant may offer a protection against this biphasic effect of CBD.  

Biphasic responses have also been noted with CBD for nausea and vomiting relief. In animal studies, CBD decreased nausea and vomiting measures at low doses but seemed to enhance them at high doses. Other biphasic effects such as sedation and immune responses have also been found from CBD. 

Working with Biphasic Responses

While the biphasic nature of cannabis might be intimidating at first, understanding it can help you better utilize your medicine. 

This is especially important for conditions related to the studied biphasic effects mentioned above, such as anxiety and depression, sleep or fatigue issues, nausea, pain, immune health, or obesity and eating issues. But, it’s also something that should be taken into account anytime you are treating a condition with cannabis — since these effects are relevant even if they are just side effects. 

The moral of the story is that dose matters. While you might think more is better, instinctually, the science shows that sometimes a smaller dose is more effective. To find your ideal dose, work with a practitioner who specializes in cannabinoid medicine. They can help you to hone in the right dose for you. By starting low (around 2.5mg) and gradually increasing, you can find your optimal dose and avoid ending up on the wrong side of that biphasic response curve.

Trending news
10.11.19
by Tom Corwin
463 Words
Health authorities believe that vitamin E acetate is the additive responsible for the mystery vaping illness that has killed dozens, hospitalized thousands of Americans.

By Tom Corwin, The Augusta Chronicle, Ga.

The number of injuries and deaths associated with vaping continues to rise, although it appears to be slowing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

And for the first time, there appears to be a “very strong culprit” identified for those injuries, usually associated with black-market THC products, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director for CDC.

As of Nov. 5, there have been 2,051 electronic cigarette or vaping-associated lung injuries in the U.S., an increase of 163 from the previous week, CDC reported this week. There have been 39 deaths, an increase of two, and that includes three deaths in Georgia.

“The trend in cases appears to be downward,” Schuchat said, although additional cases are under investigation by various states. While CDC, the Food and Drug Administration and various state health departments have been searching for a cause, CDC has identified at least one substance that may be at blame.

According to a study published Friday, in 29 cases where lung fluid samples could be obtained, all of them tested positive for vitamin E acetate, Schuchat said. It is a common food additive and ingredient in some skin creams that appears safe to swallow or apply to the skin but has not been approved as an inhalant, she said.

In the majority of cases, 82 percent, the samples also tested positive for THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Because THC is not known to hang around long in the lungs the other cases could also have been people who were vaping THC but it was no longer detectable, said Dr. James Pirkle of CDC.

While it makes vitamin E acetate “a very strong culprit” for the lung injuries, more testing is needed, Schuchat said.

“There may be more than one cause” for those injuries and the outbreak of cases this year, she cautioned.

But those findings would be in line with what the Illinois Public Department of Health found in its comparison of lung injury patients to those who vaped but were not injured.

More than 4,000 adults who vape responded to an online survey the department hosted between September and October and those results were compared to interviews with 137 lung-injury patients. When compared to survey respondents of a similar younger age, those injured were twice as likely to exclusively use THC products and were nine times more likely to have gotten those products from “informal sources,” a dealer, off the street or from friends and family, said Dr. Jennifer Layden, chief medical officer and state epidemiologist for Illinois.

In particular, they were eight times more likely to have purchased a product known as “Dank Vapes,” Illinois reported.

___

(c)2019 The Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Ga.)

Visit The Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Ga.) at chronicle.augusta.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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6 min
Trending news
07.11.19
by Dr. Kaveh Kahen & Dr. Toby Astill
1597 Words
One pertinent issue facing the growing cannabis edibles market is the current lack of industry standards and quality control, such as the persistent pattern of labeling inaccuracies.

New Food Magazine

In 2017, the Specialty Food Association predicted that cannabis would be a leading trend in the food and beverage industry from 2018 onwards. Since then, several global food and beverage manufacturers have shown a strong interest in this space, having explored the addition of legalized cannabis to their product portfolios.

Just as with other food products, it is crucial to test cannabis edibles for potential contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals and residual solvents. In addition, determining the potency of edible products is particularly pertinent due to the complexity of the matrices involved.

Given these needs and challenges, it is vital that labs have access to innovative instruments and software that are robust and sensitive, yet simple to use. Scientists and technicians must also have pre-established sample preparation methods, training and support. This type of analysis infrastructure will help labs keep pace with the rapidly growing cannabis testing market and, in turn, help food companies and others in the food supply chain ensure that consumers get what is promised in terms of product quality and potency.

The challenges with sample preparation

There is currently a variety of edible products available on the US market, with some of the most popular being chocolates, brownies, cookies and gummies. Due to this wide range of samples, a robust sample preparation method is crucial when testing edibles to ensure accurate and reliable analysis results across all available products.

The very nature of producing edibles – such as mixing cannabis with flour, sugar, chocolate and other ingredients – makes these products non-homogenous prior to testing. This means that a sample taken from one part of a brownie or cookie may have completely different concentrations of cannabinoids – as well as contaminants – compared to one taken from a different area. This inconsistency has a significant impact on the accuracy of results across a given sample and necessitates the homogenization of samples prior to analysis.

Due to the variety of cannabis edibles available in the US market, it is critical to implement a robust sample method to ensure accurate and reliable analysis results across all products.

The first step is to process the sample into a form that can be ground into small particles. This creates a homogenous powder from the product that is fully representative of the total sample received. In the case of heavy metal analysis, this would typically be followed by microwave digestion to break down the complex cannabis matrix and extract the metals for quantification and identification. This method works effectively across a variety of sample types, including edibles, as microwave digestion ensures complete dissolution of the samples in preparation for analysis on an ICP-MS (inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry).

The importance of a good extraction phase

It is vital to employ an effective extraction phase during sample preparation in order to reduce any interferences that might result from the complexity of the matrix. The presence of sugars, fatty acids and other ingredients in the sample will have various effects depending on the type of analysis being performed. For example, when analyzing a sample for pesticides, these additional components could suppress the target ion signal; but if you are analyzing a sample for cannabinoids, these could instead cause interferences.

In addition, the efficiency of the extraction process can also have a significant effect on the accuracy of obtained results. Numerous reports suggest that the concentration of cannabinoids reported in products varies greatly between different labs, with as much as 40 percent variation being observed from one batch to another. This is widely believed to be caused by the inefficiency of different extraction methods, meaning inaccuracy is introduced in that initial step of sample preparation.

It is therefore essential that labs have several sample preparation tools at their disposal and develop specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) for each type of sample. It is also paramount that labs perform their own validation studies when dealing with new samples, using robust instruments that can account for any interferences. Taking residual solvent analysis as an example, a headspace GC/MS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) approach requires minimal sample preparation, enabling easy maintenance and a faster analysis time. It also allows non-target compounds to be identified, which prevents false positives from interfering with the results of the analysis.

Keeping it clean in edibles analysis

In terms of sample clean up, the complexity of matrices in cannabis edibles can once again cause issues. This is due to deposits and residues building up at the interface of the ionization space in mass spectrometry instruments, ultimately requiring further cleaning and maintenance steps. However, some instruments have additional technology to reduce the frequency of cleaning the interface, which addresses matrix-induced maintenance issues and improves throughput. For example, a heated inner surface on the MS can prevent contaminants from depositing, while a hot laminar flow can desolvate any charged species. This ensures long-term stability and reproducibility, and reduces the frequency of cleaning, which can cause throughput delays in some labs.

The issues around potency analysis of edibles

Accurately establishing the potency of an edible is another key consideration during analysis, to help inform consumers about what they are buying. Numerous factors can influence the potency of an edible and the effects it can have on a particular person. However, the majority of focus when determining potency has either been on the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or CBD (cannabidiol) level of a product. This narrow view can present an issue for cannabis edibles due to their route of administration. When cannabis is smoked, the native acidic forms are decarboxylated to produce the psychoactive THC and CBD. However, if cannabis is ingested, as with edibles, these acidic forms will not be converted to their psychoactive counterparts. Consumers will therefore not receive the expected effect if only the total amount of THC – which includes THC and THCA – are reported. It is therefore important that methods are available for the full cannabinoid quantification of edible cannabis products, in order to accurately determine potency.

Because the acidic forms of THC and CBD will be decarboxylated when heated in the injector port of a GC/MS, HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography) is often the preferred method for determining potency inedible materials and extracted tinctures. HPLC offers a method for the chromatographic separation and quantitative monitoring of these native acid forms, providing exceptional repeatability and affording limits of quantification (LOQs) well below the current concentration levels of interest for cannabinoids in edibles. This method ensures that labs can more accurately determine the potency of edible cannabis products.

Ironing out the issues in a rapidly growing market

The accelerating interest in the edibles market across parts of the US and the rest of the world has led to a rapid increase in the number of cannabis testing laboratories. Often, many of these labs are in ‘start-up’ mode and may not have the required scientific expertise or training regimens onboarded to perform rigorous testing of cannabis and edible products. Vetted best practices and methods, that are available from the moment a lab is set up, are therefore vital for this fast-paced market and can give labs confidence in their results.

For example, single-instrument techniques that incorporate two ionization sources are available to help labs test for all the pesticides and mycotoxins currently regulated in North America in a single run. Having an established method for pesticide analysis also streamlines the entire analytical process, improving cost-effectiveness and eliminating the need for more time-consuming preparation methods.

The sensitivity of instruments is another crucial consideration for labs across the world, as regulatory limits for contaminants continue to evolve and become more stringent. Future-proof instrumentation and robust methods play an important role in ensuring the continued safety of consumers within the growing cannabis industry.

One pertinent issue facing the growing cannabis edibles market is the current lack of industry standards and quality control, such as the persistent pattern of labeling inaccuracies. Cannabis edibles are not subject to federal quality control regulations, which results in variation in the quality and consistency of these products. More needs to be done to ensure that the manufacturing and labeling of edibles is as consistent as other legalized drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco.

Finding the right solution

There are several areas that have significant opportunity for further development in the expanding cannabis edibles market. Improvements can be made by outfitting labs with complete solutions, including instruments and software that add value from sample intake to results delivery. The entire process also needs to be streamlined with methodologies that have already been developed and validated. It is particularly pertinent for cannabis edibles to ensure that established cannabinoid extraction methodologies exist for different matrices. Further to this, it is also imperative that ever-more sensitive equipment is available to ensure labs are able to meet future regulations around contaminants and potency.

By leveraging technologies, labs can keep up with the growing cannabis edibles market and continue to help provide safe medicinal and recreational products to consumers across the globe.

About the authors

Dr Kaveh Kahen is the President and CEO at Sigma Analytical Services, and founded the company after recognising a significant gap in cannabis and hemp science and testing methodologies. He has a wealth of experience in the design, development and applications of analytical instrumentation and testing methodologies, and has previously held a number of leadership positions at PerkinElmer.

Dr Toby Astill is the Global Market Manager for Cannabis and Hemp Markets at PerkinElmer. He first joined PerkinElmer in 2011 as an Account Manager and has since gained significant experience across the global cannabis market.

© Russell Publishing Limited, 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Trending news
07.11.19
by Mary Biles
1125 Words
What would you do if the medicine you needed was only available in another country? Become a cannabis refugee?

What would you do if a treatment for your debilitating health condition was available in another country, but illegal in your own? This is the situation experienced by thousands of individuals across the world. Known as cannabis refugees, they have left their homes, heading across state lines or even continents in order to be legally prescribed cannabis as medicine. 

If we cast our minds back 10 years, you could count on one hand the number of countries where medical cannabis was legal. Certain US states such as Colorado and California were considered mavericks when they passed medical marijuana laws, particularly when you consider cannabis was (and still is) federally illegal. 

Canada took a much more consistent approach, passing legislation in 2001 enabling physicians to prescribe medical cannabis to patients. In Europe around the same time, the Netherlands introduced the Office of Medical Cannabis, overseeing the cultivation, patient access and export of medical cannabis. 

Suddenly, there were pockets of North American and Europe where medical marijuana was legally available, attracting patients from outside their borders. Indeed, as far back as 2002, The Guardian reported that a group of Americans was seeking political asylum in Canada, claiming they face persecution in their home country if they took their cannabis for medicinal use. 

A lot has happened since these early moves towards medical cannabis legalization. These days, a small minority of US states prohibit medical cannabis outright, but that doesn’t mean there’s a joined up approach among the rest. Some states severely limit the types of indications qualifying for medical cannabis, others only allow CBD to be prescribed, a few required medical cannabis recommendations, while others require a doctor’s prescription. Plus, cannabis continues to be illegal on a federal basis, so travelling across state with your medical cannabis is prohibited by law. 

In Europe, countries like Germany, the UK, Ireland, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Denmark allow legal access to medical cannabis, albeit in a restricted manner. Thus, many patients still find themselves forced to move to another country or state in order to access the cannabis medicine they need.   

The European cannabis Map

Charlotte Figi Story Draws Other Epilepsy Children To Colorado

Sanjay Gupta’s Weed documentary charting the story of Charlotte Figi, a little girl with Dravet Syndrome, was a ‘before and after’ moment in medical cannabis history. Dravet syndrome is a rare type of epilepsy that does not usually respond to standard antiepilepsy drugs. Charlotte, who happened to live in Colorado where medical cannabis was legal, found a high strength CBD oil controlled her seizures where other drugs had failed.

For the thousands of parents desperately looking for alternatives for their child’s intractable epilepsy, Charlotte’s story was the hope they were looking for. And so began an exodus to Colorado, as many uprooted their families hoping that the same CBD oil would control their child’s seizures. 

Parents such as Paula Lyles, whose daughter Jordan had her first seizure when she was six months old, decided to move to Colorado from Ohio, even though this meant splitting up her family. Speaking to CNN in 2014, she said, “I’m 52 years old. My whole life is in Ohio, my family, my friends, my church, my doctors. … I had a twinge in my heart because I knew it was the right thing to do, but my other voice is saying, ‘Hey, this is crazy — you’re going to leave this all behind, break up your family and go?’ “

Thankfully, Jordan responded well to the CBD oil she was prescribed. “We’ve been able to reduce her pharmaceuticals by 50% as a result of using Charlotte’s Web,” Lyles says, referring to a strain of cannabis named after Charlotte Figi. “It’s ridiculous. I didn’t want to do it, but now that I’m out here on the other side I know I’m where I’m supposed to be. I wanted to do anything to save Jordan’s life. Nobody should be forced with that choice,” she said. “Now I have hope. There was no hope if I had stayed home. I would just be watching her die.”

Medical Cannabis Refugees Bring About Changes In UK Legislation 

At the centre of the recent changes in UK medical cannabis legislation are two young boys with rare types of epilepsy, both of whom had been living as medical cannabis refugees.

Alfie Dingley and his family moved to the Netherlands hoping medical cannabis would control the seizures caused by his PCDH19 epilepsy. Under the care of a pediatric neurologist, a dosing regime and cannabinoid combination was found to reduce Alfie’s seizures.

Unfortunately, the family couldn’t afford to stay in Holland, but returning to the UK where medical cannabis was still illegal, meant his medicine would be confiscated. Which is exactly what happened when Alfie came home. Alfie’s mother Hannah Deacon was thrust into the limelight as she became instrumental in the fight to get cannabis legalized for children like Alfie. 

A similar story was played out with Billy Caldwell, again with a rare form of epilepsy, who had been receiving medical cannabis in Canada. Billy had previously been a medical cannabis refugee in California, but had returned to his native Northern Ireland where he’d briefly been prescribed cannabis oil by a local doctor. 

However, when this prescription was withdrawn, Billy and his mother travelled to Canada. Once again, on their return, the cannabis-based medicine was confiscated, and soon after, Billy’s seizures began again. Thankfully, the home secretary at the time, Sajid Javid, recognised both Billy’s and Alfie’s stories as proof that cannabis does in fact have therapeutic benefit, and so began the complicated process of legalizing medical cannabis in the UK.

In a cruel twist of fate, despite the changes in legislation, Billy was forced to fly once more to Canada to get his medical cannabis prescription, as no doctor would prescribe the cannabis-based medicine he needed. Thankfully, Billy has since returned home and has been prescribed medical cannabis privately. 

Marijuana Migration 

Medical patients aren’t the only ones moving states and countries because of cannabis legalization.

According to Cannabiz Media there are three types of migration: 

  1. Freedom: in order to have the freedom to use marijuana products whenever they want.
  2. Quality: for those in search of higher quality, consistent marijuana products
  3. Jobs and business opportunities: the booming green rush in legal states means cannabis-related jobs are in plentiful supply, attracting a slew of out-of-state workers  

In Colorado, a report called “The Pot Rush: Is Legalized Marijuana a Positive Local Amenity” found that since full legalization of marijuana in 2014, the number of people moving to the state has grown by 15,470 people per year, causing a 3.2% overall increase in population.

Trending news
06.11.19
by Andrew Ward
938 Words
Whether you’re a medical marijuana patient or a recreational user, make sure you understand the laws around traveling with cannabis.

Eleven states in the U.S. have legalized recreational cannabis, and 33 states have medical marijuana programs. But considering cannabis remains illegal under U.S. federal law, there is still plenty of confusion about travelling from one legalized state to another with cannabis, be it driving, flying, or any other way. 

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers, responsible for checking passengers at American airports, aren’t directly looking for marijuana or other drugs. But they may report any found while searching for weapons, explosives, and other security threats. 

The result of having cannabis found by the TSA, is likely being turned over to airport or local law enforcement officers. Those officers, however, are tasked with enforcing local, state laws. Airport police in several California cities have stated that when the TSA calls them over because marijuana was found on passengers, they would only prosecute if the amount exceeds the limits prescribed by state law. 

Traveling Between Recreational States

Los Angeles’ LAX airport warns that officers have no jurisdiction to arrest people with a legal amount of cannabis, but they can still find themselves in trouble with federal law, the jurisdiction which governs parts of the airport. 

Meanwhile, medical cannabis card holders can fly out of Portland, Oregon. As of 2018, you couldn’t do the same out of Denver, Colorado, but it also appears that TSA isn’t looking for it either

In Las Vegas, instead of turning a blind eye or punishing travellers, airport authorities installed amnesty boxes. If a person is caught with cannabis, they are directed by police to dispose of the plant as they would a liquid that is too large for travel.

Despite the new approaches to cannabis, U.S. travellers need to understand that cannabis remains federally illegal. Like LAX mentioned, parts of airports fall under federal jurisdiction.

Traveling with CBD Products

The issue can become a bit more confusing with CBD, despite its somewhat legal status on the federal level. Currently, airport security doesn’t have the means to determine if CBD is derived from hemp or marijuana, the former being legal nation-wide. To avoid any resulting confusion and legal trouble, travelers who need CBD may want to leave the oil, and especially flower, at home. Edibles or isolates may draw less attention. 

Take a similar approach to paraphernalia as well. While travelling with bowls and pipes is legal in the U.S., it is advised that you use discretion. Make sure your pipes and other devices are free of any visible cannabis, residue, and smells. Any lingering cannabis aromas can set security off, leading to possible delays, detention, or worse.

A TSA officer searches a passenger’s bag.

Travelling Internationally with Cannabis

While the default answer is that travelling with cannabis is illegal and risky, \That isn’t actually the hard and fast rule everywhere. It is best to assume that you can’t travel with cannabis, but if you understand the process with certain countries, you might be able to fly with your supply.  

Be sure you understand the rules and regulations of both your arriving and departing countries. Understanding the rules of both lands and their airports is crucial. For example, the American. TSA will refer you to local authorities and/or confiscate your cannabis, but if you’re landing in the United States, you can be searched and arrested by federal customs officers. Other countries, cannabis-friendly countries in the EU like the Netherlands, may be less of an issue. 

The topic is a popular subject on the internet. In a 2018 Quora thread, one medical cannabis patient reported difficulty flying from Amsterdam to Barcelona, two well-known cannabis destinations in the EU. He said that despite having a prescription for five grams, security did press him on the amount he had. After some discussion, airport screeners returned the medical cannabis to him. 

However, most in the thread said the same: don’t do it. While the allure of having cannabis — medical or recreational — in a foreign country might be tempting, so is not being arrested. It’s best to avoid the risk altogether when travelling by air, road and rail internationally by leaving your supply at home.

Travelling with Medical Cannabis in the U.S.

Medical cannabis card holders may be able to travel with cannabis in their own states, but not when traveling outside of them. Crossing state lines puts you under multiple legal jurisdictions and sets of laws. As such, medical cannabis card holders are recommended not to bring their medicine on trips. 

While legally allowed to possess and use their medicine at home, patients are left with little options when leaving for pleasure or work. The situation has led some to alter their travel plans to only visit legalized markets so they can obtain their medicine once they land. 

Some states allow for reciprocity, where an out-of-state medical cannabis license-holder can legally acquire cannabis in a participating state. The rules are fragmented and do not apply uniformly. As such, travellers should check on the rules in both states while planning their trip. If you plan on travelling outside the country, it’s probably best to leave your THC and CBD at home unless you are willing to take a potentially significant risk. 

Safe Travels

Bringing medical marijuana with you on your travels might be tempting, and the same could be true for recreational cannabis. But in most parts of the world it carries great risk.

We don’t advocate for anyone to do so. But if you are considering doing so anyway, it’s best to understand the laws and consequences they carry.

Trending news
06.11.19
by Natan Ponieman
589 Words
If you're a new medical marijuana patient, you might find yourself confused by the weights and measures used. Here's a quick guide, calculator, and explanation.

Ounces? Grams? Eigths? If you’re new to the world of medical cannabis, you’re liable to be confused by the different ways in which the plant is measured. 

While there are many different cannabis products out there, flower buds are still one of the most sought after. So if you’re in the market for cannabis flowers, best make sure you know how much to ask for.

Here’s an easy calculator. If you are looking for a more thorough explanation, keep reading.

Ounces and Grams

Ounces or Grams?

The main cause of confusion in the way marijuana is measured comes from the fact that two different measurement systems are used.

Ounces

Experienced cannabis patients and users, particularly in the United States, might be used to thinking of their cannabis in terms of ounces and fractions of an ounce, like an eight or a quarter. 

An ounce is a weight unit that was established in Britain and expanded from there in the 16th and 17th centuries to countries where the British had influence, which are also most of the countries that adopted the English language. For that reason the ounce is officially used in the UK and in the US, and has colloquial use in other countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India.

One ounce is a considerably large amount of cannabis. For someone who consumes cannabis once a day, an ounce should last between two to three months. That’s why some medical marijuana users tend to refer to their cannabis in terms of an eight, a quarter, or a half. All of these terms are just subdivisions of an ounce in eight, four, or two parts, respectively.

Grams

A gram is another weight unit that is used in the Metric System, which has been adopted by most of the world, and is also the system used in science, engineering, and commerce. Since grams provide a more exact and simpler way to measure weights, dispensaries use them to divide and organize their merchandise, and sell it to customers.

As a reference, 1 kilogram (which equals roughly 2.2 pounds) has 1,000 grams.

How Many Grams in an Ounce?

The simple answer is 28. There are approximately 28 grams in an ounce. This means that one ounce of cannabis will weigh 28 grams.

This is not an exact conversion, however. The precise number is 28.349523125 grams to an ounce. That said, it’s good enough to use 28 as a general rule when trying to convert between the two units.

Using this rule, an eight (⅛ of an ounce) would equal 3.5 grams. A quarter (¼ of an ounce) equals 7 grams and a half (½ of an ounce) equals 14 grams.

Should I Use Ounces or Grams When Buying Cannabis Flowers?

That depends on your preference, and on how much cannabis you’re looking to purchase.

If you feel you have a grasp of how much a gram is, you can simply tell your budtender how many grams you need, and in most cases, they’ll understand. 

Another reason to use grams is if you’d like to buy smaller quantities of cannabis. This is normally done when looking to try a particular strain before committing to a larger purchase. In this case you can just buy 1 gram of a particular product.

If you’re more comfortable using ounces, you can continue to do so, and tell your budtender you need an eight, a quarter, or a half. Knowing how to convert between grams and ounces will allow you to make sure you’re getting the right amount.

Trending news
06.11.19
by Philip Ghezelbash
489 Words
Cannabis still remains illegal on a federal level, and it won't become illegal to buy or sell the plant — but the capital territory has led broader change in the past.

The forward marching movement that is cannabis legalization has finally reached Australian shores, with the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) becoming the first Australian state to legalize cannabis in September 2019. 

Despite the legislation for cannabis legalization being recently passed, the law itself will not come into effect until it is signed by the health minister on January 31, 2020.

Under the legislation, those over 18 years of age in the ACT will be allowed to grow two cannabis plants and possess up to 50 grams of cannabis. 

While possession and cultivation will be legal, consumption in public will still be prohibited. The selling, sharing, or gifting of cannabis or cannabis seeds will also remain illegal. So while you may be allowed to grow and own a cannabis plant, actually procuring the plant in the first place will constitute a crime. 

Uneven Legal Ground

While the ACT is about to legalize cannabis, cannabis possession will still be considered a crime under Commonwealth laws.

This sort of legal limbo will put the ACT in a similar position to legalized American states. While the US may be growing a reputation as a legal cannabis haven, it is only in certain states that have legalized medical (33 states) and recreational cannabis (11 states and Washington DC), while cannabis remains illegal under federal law. 

People in Canberra could, therefore, find themselves both adhering to and breaking the same law at once. And the commonwealth laws are nothing to laugh at, with the maximum prison sentence being two years. No one is certain what will happen to those who consume or grow cannabis in the ACT, but it seems the decision will be down to police and prosecutorial discretion. 

What About The Rest Of Australia?

While people living in Canberra may find themselves confused as to the legal state of cannabis come January 31st, the answer is crystal clear for the rest of Australia. Possession, cultivation, and distribution of cannabis all remain a crime in the rest of Australia, with no legislation being passed in any states other than the ACT. 

Cannabis that is legally owned in Canberra will also become illegal as soon as it is transported out of the ACT to any other state. Medical cannabis, on the other hand, was legalized at the federal level in 2016. 

Not The First Time The ACT Has Led The Way 

While being the first and only states to vote in cannabis legalization may seem like a bold move, it is not the first time the ACT has introduced laws that differed to the rest of the country. 

In 2013 the state became the first to legalize same-sex marriage until the law was revoked in the High Court after a challenge by the federal government. 

While same-sex marriage took another four years until it was legalized across Australia, there will surely be many in Canberra hoping that the January 31st deadline for cannabis legalization holds steady.

Testimonial
322
6
4 min
Trending news
06.11.19
by Janelle Lassalle
1139 Words
Using Cannabis Medicinally Saved Me. Here’s How.

When things start to go bad you always expect the good guy to have a trick up his sleeve. You shudder when you see the hero struggle; you wait for a big, larger than life solution to appear out of thin air at absolutely the worst moment because it just has to, right?. And then your faith is rewarded when, POOF!, it does — it appears just like that, just when you couldn’t bear the tension any longer.

You would never think that a plant would end up being the hero of anyone’s story, but trust me when I say it was mine. 

Using cannabis saved my life. Here’s how.

I used to be energetic, vivacious, full of life, a physical being that reveled in how good running made her feel. I played soccer nearly every day — I was a midfielder and proud of it. I had long, curly brown hair that tumbled past my shoulders, strong, thick muscles toned by years of running in the sun. 

I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened, but I was around 13 when I began to sense another presence in my body. Pain. A tight, pressure filled pain straight in the center of my chest. Gripping pain that felt like someone was trying to compress my sternum into a diamond. 

I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t run; my hair and nails began to thin. The energy and life that had once defined me slipped away. 

I had no idea what was wrong, and no doctor seemed to have a clue, either. I got chest X-rays, tested for conditions like COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), asthma and bronchitis, stress tests, blood tests, and metabolic panels. 

I wish the loss of energy, thinning nails and hair was the worst of it but it was the tip of the iceberg. The iceberg would consist of steady weight gain, stretch marks that appeared out of nowhere, back spasms that had me bedridden for days and a deep need for oxygen that made me feel like I was constantly suffocating. I stopped playing sports.

The mood swings kicked in a few years later. I became a caricature trapped in a body as I watched my mood swing from depressed to manic over and over again. This wild teeter-totter pushed me to the brink of my sanity, and would eventually land me in the hospital with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. 

The doctors continued. A psychiatrist suggested I try mood stabilizers, antidepressants, the works. She loaded me up on pills and sent me off. 

Does this narrative seem familiar? It may very well resonate if you’re one of the billion people living with a mental illness today. The “cure” in America? Pills, baby, and lots of them — and plenty of doctors who get paid handsomely to prescribe them. I saw a few of these doctors first-hand. One of them asked me if I needed a new bottle of Xanax every time I saw him. I had to stop seeing him because I was afraid he’d get me addicted.

The chest pain would remain with me from that day on.

The weight gain, insane mood swings and loss of energy got worse and worse. I could spend days in bed sobbing without speaking to a single human. The loneliness and pain combined was unbearable. 

The thing that saved me? An ex-boyfriend offered me a joint. I was 20 years old.

I AM SO VERY GLAD THAT HE DID, because if he hadn’t I may not be writing this today. 

The temporary relief inspired me to seek out cannabis in a more meaningful way. I got a job at a dispensary in Portland and began experimenting. I tried everything: smoking flower, edibles, concentrates, tinctures, the whole nine yards. 

And wouldn’t you know it, I can vividly remember THE EXACT MOMENT where — for the first time in 10 years — my chest pain was gone. 

I sat there in the middle of a parking lot feeling stunned. I took a deep breaths, one after another, jumped up and down, whooped, sobbed like a baby.

What had provided this sweet relief? I had taken CBD-rich RSO (Rick Simpson oil) for the first time that day. 

It turns out that once my mind and body were calm (for the first time in years!) I could think clearly. Tinctures provided significant relief, and while I took them whenever I could, I couldn’t afford to take them regularly. Each bottle cost between $60 to $90. 

I began experimenting and chronicled my results. RSO would relieve my pain, but so would using high CBD tinctures, especially full spectrum products. I eventually started making my own CBD oil based tinctures using East Fork Cultivar flower, which cut the cost of tinctures tremendously, making it an affordable care option. I smoked it, too, on a daily basis. I started looking into other minor cannabinoids like CBG.

Cannabis gave me clarity of mind. I finally realized I had to be my own advocate. I went through the medical literature and suggested test after test to my doctor until I wound up with a diagnosis. 

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. It’s an auto-immune disease where your body attacks your thyroid gland. The end result? An underactive thyroid gland (Hypothyroidism) that couldn’t produce the hormones I needed. And wouldn’t you know it: Hashimoto’s is sometimes misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder (you can read more about that here). 

I had one month where I had some extra cash. I decided I would order a CBG tincture and finally take all three tinctures — THC, CBD and CBG — together for the entire month.

Two weeks of being treated with all three tinctures is all it took before I felt “cured.” I felt like a completely different person. I no longer had wild mood swings but enjoyed a stable mood. It wasn’t like Prozac or any of those other drugs; they numbed me so much that I couldn’t even cry when I was on them, much less experience joy or ecstasy. This was about three months ago, and I’m beyond elated to say the effect continues to this day—continues every day I take my CBD, in fact.

This was just… me. No pain. No depression or anxiety. I had ENERGY! I was free. And you know what else? I discovered that when the layers of pain were stripped away I was fundamentally a happy person.

That’s why I’m writing this today. I hope you can free yourself with cannabis like I did. I hope you can find the joy that I did in this humble plant, and I wish you the best of luck in your healing journey.

News
322
64
1 min
Trending news
03.11.19
by Daniel Cohen
191 Words
Attending PMC in Lisbon? Drop us a line and come meet Team Cannigma

Leaders of medical cannabis research from around the world will gather in Portugal next week at the Portugal Medical Cannabis Conference. The conference will begin in Lisbon on November 8th and 9th, and continue in Porto on November 22nd and 23rd. The conference is organized by the Portuguese Observatory of Medicinal Cannabis, a non-profit organization which aims to learn all about cannabis and its benefits for patients. The event will include workshops, conferences for health professionals, and sessions for the general public as well.

The Cannigma team will be at the PMC to get a first-hand account of the latest research in cannabis, and interview participants for new episodes of The Cannabis Enigma podcast. We’re very excited to meet with industry experts and discuss the current climate surrounding medical cannabis. 

The PMC is expecting over 500 guests from 20 different countries and has developed an app which is available for download on iOS and Android. You can find the schedule for the event here, and make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for insights and constant updates during the conference.