A bill that would allow the use of medical cannabis at schools zoomed off the Senate floor Monday afternoon.
Senate Bill 204, co-sponsored by Sens. Candace Gould, R-Albuquerque, and Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, and Rep. Gail Armstrong, R-Socorro, would allow children who are qualified patients to use the medicine in school settings and permit school personnel to administer it.
With little discussion, 35 senators voted to pass and two did not.
Gould told Senators the bill addresses the problem of students choosing between going to school every day and taking their medicine.
"My constituent came to me, torn between using medicine that's working more effectively for her child's epilepsy with less side effects than the Valium she was using and being able to go to school," she said.
That constituent is Lindsay Sledge, whose daughter Paloma uses cannabis oil regularly to control severe seizures.
Sledge has been pushing to change the law in the state.
Sledge told the Journal she's "very excited" about the Senate's approval of the legislation.
"I'm sort of blown away by the amount of support we've had for the bill," she said. "When I first started doing this whole process, I had several people say this was going to be next to impossible."
Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, D-Albuquerque, supported the bill during Monday's debate, saying it addresses a problem across the state.
"Since it is the policy of this state to support medical marijuana this is an opportunity to let our schools know that they need to support it for our children as well," she said.
There are currently 175 other children in the state using medical cannabis, Gould said.
Sen. Pat Woods, R-Broadview, who voted not to pass the bill, pushed on SB 204 because it did not appropriate money for storing the medicine.
Gould said the medical cannabis probably would be locked up with other prescription medicines that are allowed on school campuses now.
The bipartisan bill approaches the use of medical cannabis at school much like the use of other drugs at schools.
But districts are allowed to opt out if they can determine they'd lose federal funding because marijuana remains illegal under federal law. SB 204 has a provision that allows parents to appeal to the state Public Education Department if districts are exempted from allowing the medicine at school.
The bill now heads to the House.
"I'm hopeful it will pass its next step quickly," Sledge said.
passed the House Judiciary Committee Saturday and is now headed to the House floor for a vote -- a first in state history.
Meanwhile, Republican senators had their own Cannabis Regulation Act heard in a Senate committee Saturday, too. It also passed."We came to the conclusion that legalization is coming," Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, said. "How can we do it in a way that's more responsible, so we don't have the negative social impacts that Colorado and other states have had?"
"So we wanted to sit down at the table and give our solution, as Republicans, to how we would like to see the regulation of cannabis," he said.
The House bill is sponsored by Democrats and would make it legal for anyone over the age of 21 to possess up to two ounces of pot and grow up to six mature plants in their home. It allows towns and cities to prohibit sales, but not ban the use or growing of plants in private homes.The Senate bill, however, does not allow for homegrown marijuana. It would create a cannabis control commission to regulate cannabis production, sales, and testing, also setting standards on the packaging.
The Republican lawmakers want childproof packaging and labels showing where the pot came from, but these aren't the only concerns when it comes to legalizing weed. Medical marijuana patients want to make sure their cannabis is protected.
"It is not like a batch of cookies where you can go buy ingredients and get more. You have to wait for a whole plant to grow itself before you can get more medicine," said Ginger Grider, a medical cannabis patients advocate. "Even with fines imposed, producers always choose to sell out on the recreational side first because they are going to make money.
"The sponsors of the Senate bill say they agree with her, which is also something Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham wants. While the House and Senate bills may not be identical, the legalization of recreational marijuana in New Mexico appears to be on the horizon. The specifics of the idea just need to be worked out.If the House bill passes on the floor vote, it heads over to the Senate for consideration. The Senate bill still has to get through a few more Senate committees before it gets a floor vote, then heads over to the House to repeat the process.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 356, to permit the use, possession, and retail sale of cannabis for adults 21 and over.A separate proposal is also pending to permit adult use marijuana sales, Senate Bill 577, with retail stores being regulated and operated by the state government as opposed to being privately operated.
Statewide polling data shows that 60 percent of likely voters support legislation to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana sales to adults 21 and over.
Follow the link to message your lawmakers in support of legalization.
Food and cannabis can be the perfect match. But, let’s be real here: certain kinds of food tend to rule them all—chocolate and hazelnuts being at the top. Nutty, chocolate-packed, and infinitely decadent, adding cannabis to your cocoa hazelnut spread is one of the greatest pairings to be discovered since PB&J. It’s versatile enough to go on just about everything (ice cream, cookies, cake, crackers, you name it), improves even the worst days in mere seconds, and can be eaten straight out of the jar.
Because this delectable spread is so delicious, I highly recommend using a low dose of THC for your oil—you may end up eating the jar much more quickly than anticipated.
4-5 tablespoons milk (plant-based milks are also fine)
1. Preheat oven to 350° Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 10-15 minutes. Let cool.
2. Place a towel over the hazelnuts and roll to create friction, removing the skins. Set aside.
3. Melt chocolate (ideally over a double boiler) until shiny and smooth. Add oil and vanilla then mix to combine.
4. Add hazelnuts to a food processor with salt, cocoa, and powdered sugar. Pulse for 2-3 minutes until the mixture resembles a paste.
5. Slowly drizzle in the chocolate mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
6. Add milk until the mixture is desired consistency. Store in a jar at room temperature for up to two weeks.
*Note: The amount of cannaoil specified in this recipe is a very loose suggestion; the actual amount you use should be modified based on the strength of your butter and the potency you desire. Dosing homemade edibles can be tricky (click here to learn why), so the best way to test for potency is to start with one portion of a serving, wait one to two hours, then make an informed decision on whether to consume more. Always dose carefully and listen to your body, and never drive under the influence of cannabis.
SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) - The governor tweeted out Wednesday night saying she's supporting a bill that would expand the commercial and industrial use of hemp.
The bill's sponsor says it's going to bring an economic boom to the state.Lawmakers are looking at different ways to grow New Mexico's economy. The governor and a Democratic representative think hemp is the way to go.
"What this does is provide uniformity in our farmers...ability to send their product to manufacturers to help manufacture hemp products and their byproducts," Rep. Derrick Lente, D-Sandia Pueblo, said.Rep. Derrick Lente says those products and byproducts include things like CBD oils, textiles, cosmetic products, food, and construction materials, just to name a few.
This bill is to make sure New Mexico is in compliance with the federal farm bill, which allows research and industrializes hemp.
Rep. Lente says the hemp bill makes it easier to get a growing license and to be a manufacturer.
"New Mexico is a prime spot to be growing hemp, but it allows, again, our folks in agriculture in rural New Mexico, tribes, everybody to take part in this really growing and booming economy that is now national and worldwide," Sen. Lente said.
Hemp is different from marijuana. Hemp cannot be smoked and you cannot get high from it. Hemp can be made into CBD oils and creams that can help with relieving pain.
Rep. Lente says there are about 2,000 acres of farmland already growing hemp and those farmers hope to produce about $40 million of hemp this year.This isn't the only hemp-related bill this session. Other bills call for more hemp research. If farmers want to grow hemp, they would pay the state about $800 a year to grow it outside and an additional fee for each acre.
The House Financial Services subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions held a hearing Wednesday to address the lack of access to basic banking services by state-legal marijuana businesses.
Currently, state-licensed marijuana businesses face a web of conflicting regulations and federal prohibitions largely prohibit these businesses from partnering with financial institutions, processing credit cards, and taking standard business deductions.
Marijuana could soon become legal in every US state, if a new Senate bill is passed.The bill, playfully labeled S.420, was introduced to the Senate last week by Ron Wyden, a Democrat and Oregon Senator.“It’s time to bring our country’s marijuana policies into the 21st century, and my legislation is the way to do it,” he said in an online statement.“It’s time for Congress to respect the will of the voters in Oregon and nationwide, who are demanding common-sense drug policies.”In practice, the new bill would leave the Drug Enforcement Administration 60 days to remove cannabis from its list of controlled substances, establish a federal tax on all legal sales of the drug, and create federal permits for cannabis businesses.Cannabis products would also have to adhere to advertising standards similar to those required for alcohol.If passed, the bill would become a milestone in US drug history. Because while, for decades, certain states have pursued and approved cannabis legalization, the plant remains illegal at the US federal level – a clause that has criminalized most actions involving the drug, including scientific research.Three bills outside Washington DCAlong with S.420, Wyden introduced two other pieces of cannabis legislation.The bill S.421 would “reduce the gap between federal and state marijuana policy.” A broad, progressive proposal, if passed, the bill would allow banks access to cannabis companies, expunge criminal records, shield immigrants from deportation, and allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to issue medical cannabis to patients.The third bill, S.422, is the only piece of legislation that comes with initial cosponsors. Along with Wyden, Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have also endorsed the bill, which seeks to remove state-legal cannabis businesses from the federal provision, a restriction that prevents companies from taking business tax deductions.Will they pass?While Wyden’s bills may seem historic, they are far from the first attempts to remove cannabis from federal prohibition. They aren’t even Wyden’s first attempt.During the last Congress, the Oregon senator filed three nearly identical bills. None were brought to vote.And only last month, Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) proposed another bill monikered 420, that would move regulations to treat cannabis like alcohol.“While the bill number may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, the issue is very serious,” says Blumenauer in an online statement. “Our federal marijuana laws are outdated, out of touch and have negatively impacted countless lives.”But advocates are hopeful about the latest trio of bills. Backed by rising support of reform legalization and the economic viability of the cannabis industry, many feel that 2019 is the right time to take this progressive step.“Too many lives have been wasted and too many economic opportunities have been missed,” reads Wyden’s online statement.“It’s time for Congress to respect the will of the voters in Oregon and nationwide, who are demanding common-sense drug policies.”Representative Blumenauer’s bill be discussed at a US House Committee hearing on February 13th.A hearing to discuss Senator Wyden’s bills has yet to be booked.https://www.analyticalcannabis.com/articles/senator-introduces-420-bill-to-legalize-cannabis-federally-311482?fbclid=IwAR0nR0TMPMNkNFCOamJkG_l0Rd3fHz3WgdevF9Q6OhGXochgwt2qfPI3tjw
Recreational marijuana is one step closer to becoming a reality in our state.
On Saturday, HB 356 advanced in the House Health and Human Services Committee. HB 356 would regulate the use, production and sale of cannabis and cannabis products for those over the age of 21.
"It's time that we end the prohibition of cannabis," said Rep. Javier Martinez, one of the sponsors of the bill.
"This proposed legislation ensures that we lead the way with a legalization framework that protects medical cannabis patients, ensures public safety, and advances social justice for low-income, communities of color."
The bill includes public health and safety provisions, as well as investments in safety and education.
It would potentially create a Community Reinvestment Fund that would be used to fund numerous resources like legal services, medical care, outreach services and education for youth.
The bill now moves to the House Judiciary Committee.
Senator Ron Wyden has introduced legislation in the Senate — The Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act— to permit states to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies free from federal interference. In addition to removing marijuana from the United States Controlled Substances Act, this legislation also removes enforcement power from the US Drug Enforcement Administration in matters concerning marijuana possession, production, and sales — thus permitting state governments to regulate these activities as they see fit.Click here to send a message to your lawmakers in support of Senate Bill 420 now!“Senate Bill 420 is another sign that the growing public support for ending our failed war on cannabis consumers nationwide is continuing to translate into political support amongst federal officials,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “If we are truly going to move our nation towards sensible marijuana policies, the removal of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act is paramount. Annually, 650,000 Americans are arrested for nothing more than the possession of small amounts of marijuana and now is the time for Congress to once and for all end put an end to the national embarrassment that is cannabis prohibition. With marijuana legalization being supported by a supermajority of Americans while Congress’ approval rating hovers around 20 percent, ending our country’s disastrous prohibition against marijuana would not just be good policy, but good politics.”Upon introduction, Senator Wyden said,“The federal prohibition of marijuana is wrong, plain and simple. Too many lives have been wasted, and too many economic opportunities have been missed. It’s time Congress make the changes Oregonians and Americans across the country are demanding.”Representative Earl Blumenauer, who will carry the House companion legislation, said, “Oregon has been and continues to be a leader in commonsense marijuana policies and the federal government must catch up,” said Blumenauer. “The American people have elected the most pro-cannabis Congress in American history and significant pieces of legislation are being introduced. The House is doing its work and with the help of Senator Wyden’s leadership in the Senate, we will break through.”Legislative text for the Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act can be found here.Thirty-three states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted legislation specific to the physician-authorized use of cannabis. Moreover, an estimated 73 million Americans now reside in the ten states where anyone over the age of 21 may possess cannabis legally. An additional fifteen states have passed laws specific to the possession of cannabidiol (CBD) oil for therapeutic purposes.Sixty-eight percent of registered voters “support the legalization of marijuana,” according to national polling data compiled by the Center for American Progress. The percentage is the highest level of support for legalization ever reported in a nationwide, scientific poll.Majorities of Democrats (77 percent), Independents (62 percent), and Republicans (57 percent) back legalization. The results of a 2017 nationwide Gallup poll similarly found majority support among all three groups.To date, these statewide regulatory programs are operating largely as voters and politicians intended. The enactment of these policies have not negatively impacted workplace safety, crime rates, traffic safety, oryouth use patterns. Instead, they have stimulated economic development and created hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue.Specifically, a 2017 report estimates that over 149,000 Americans are now working full-time in the cannabis industry. Tax revenues from states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington now exceed initial projections. Further, numerous studies have identified an association between cannabis access and lower rates of opioid use, abuse, hospitalizations, and mortality.https://blog.norml.org/2019/02/08/s-420-introduced-to-end-federal-prohibition-and-regulate-marijuana-nationwide/
Picture this. You are preparing an elegant dinner for yourself and your significant other. You head into a liquor store looking for the perfect alcoholic beverage to complement the flavors of your meal. Do you walk up to the counter and ask the shopkeeper for the bottle with the highest alcohol percentage? Most likely not, as Everclear doesn’t really have the most appetizing taste.
But with the advent of state legal marijuana, many dispensaries in the United States report that medical patients or recreational users tend to do just that when selecting their strains. “Which one has the highest THC content,” is a question often heard by the ears of bud tenders, suggesting that anything with a lower count isn’t worth their dollar. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. After all, what is the reason that sometimes one drinks a beer, another time one enjoys a glass of wine, and yet another night one savors a smooth whiskey on the rocks?
The problem with selecting cannabis strains based solely on the THC content is much like stomaching the worst swill at the bar just because it has a high alcoholic percentage. By doing this, the consumer is robbing themselves of not only the rich scents and flavors of the strain, but also missing out on the beneficial effects that can be delivered through a strain’s specific terpene profile.
Terpenes are essential oils that determine all of these factors and make each strain unique. Together with the cannabinoid content — compounds such THC or CBD — we get what’s often referred to as an “entourage effect,” which ultimately has the final say in what kind of benefits you can receive from a particular strain. In fact, it has almost gotten to the point where one can zero in on what exactly they would like a strain to do for them, and by studying the effects of the individual terpenes, with a little trial-and-error, they can find the perfect strain to suit their needs.
But because of the limited scientific research done inside the United States on marijuana, many of these discoveries have been made “in the field” by the underground cannabis users.
“It’s almost as if the rest of the scientific community is in the present, but as far as marijuana is concerned, we are sitting at the forefront of the scientific revolution,” says Adam Laikin, Director of Marketing for Tryke companies.
Darin Carpenter, Director of Cultivation at Tryke, feels passionately about the science of terpenes. We spoke to him to get a better idea about the fascinating discoveries happening in this space.
Mike Pizzo: When did people really start looking at terpenes as a variable in the cultivation process for marijuana?
Darin Carpenter: I think generally people were looking at terpenes — whether they knew it or not — way back in the underground days, because terpenes are what give the cannabis its smell. Some people prefer very strong, pungent types of smells. Others prefer the sweet types of smells. Other growers didn’t want any type of smell. But it was all based on the concentration and makeup of the terpenes.
More recently, I think, the terpenes became more of a major subject of interest, once states started mandating analytical labs to test the different potencies of various compounds. This caused people to start truly questioning the effects and combinations of terpenes and cannabinoids.
What are some good examples of how the entourage effect works or how cultivators zero in on what is going to work together in a strain?
It’s synergy; multiple elements that work together to amplify an effect. When the cannabinoids are paired with terpenes and certain concentrations of them, that’s what generally provides the particular effect. What science understands now is that the combination of those terpenes actually has the ultimate say in the type of effect and intensity that one experiences when consuming cannabis.
Cannabinoids do have a very specific effect, but the terpenes work to amplify that effect and move it to a more particular subset, whether it’s anti-anxiety, paired with pain remediation, or helping people with insomnia, etc. CBD, for instance, is known to be a neural protectant. So that’s the effect of it, helping people with seizures, etc. When people are consuming a CBD plant with one profile of terpenes, they might get a different effect than consuming a different CBD plant with a different terpene profile.
What are some of the more popular terpenes, or are they well known enough to be popular?
Well, for instance, myrcene gives off the sweet smell, more indicative of indica plants. Then you have limonene, which has more of a citrus odor, which leans heavier into sativas. There are over 200 terpenes out there, it’s just the molecular composition that changes its odor and effect.
I think there is a lot more experimentation that needs to be done. Certain labs are actually increasing the number of terpenes and cannabinoids that they are actually looking for, in an effort to understand the entourage effect of the molecular profile of that particular genetic and how it effects individuals. You can break the terpenes down to a core group, but there might be some other compounds that actually are enhancing that core group for the total enhancement. There is a lot more work that needs to be done.
Probably because there are so many combinations out there, right?
Right. So, for instance, Medusa, some people just don’t like Medusa. It doesn’t work for them. But for me, it might be the thing that takes my pain away. It might be the thing that helps me with anxiety, or symptom I am trying to control. One strain might work for you, that may not work for me the same way. One may make you feel relaxed and comfortable, while I might get a feeling of paranoia.
Everyone is harping on, “I have to have the highest THC concentration.” To me, it’s not about that. It’s the effect and finding the strain that works for you, particularly. Yes, THC gives you that psychoactive effect, but some of the better strains out there aren’t higher THC. It’s the combination of the flavors and the terpenes that are paired with the THC and the cannabinoids that make it so powerful. People see THC as a value proposition, like “I am spending $25 an eighth and this one’s got 30% THC. Why would I spend $35 or $45 on something that’s got 15%?” If they tried it, they might see that it’s not all the THC. They actually might get a better effect, taste and experience because of the terpene/cannabinoid profile that works best for them.
Federal law has made it really difficult to study cannabis in the United States, so there is not a lot of scientific research done on this here, right?
Yeah, not a lot in the United States. Israel and England is where most of the research is being done.
That actually brings up another point, that a lot of the “testing” is going on in the field, where people are going “This worked for me, this didn’t,” etc. And through word-of-mouth, those findings are kind of going “viral” in the cannabis community, is that right?
Yeah. A lot of the guys in Mendocino and Santa Rosa, the Emerald Triangle area, they were kind of growing and breeding what works for them and what speaks to them. That’s really kind of how it’s been, but nobody that I am aware of has really started a targeted breeding program to develop strains to create a library with a wide range of particular effects, quality and yield.
So do you think people that are purchasing based only on a super high THC levels are doing so out of naivety?
It’s not always about the concentration of the psychoactive ingredients in the flower. It is the combination of the terpenes and cannabinoids that provide that effect. So if people are looking for something, they don’t need to go for that super high-potency strain. Yes, it may work for them, but there are other options that may or may not.
For me, I hate expensive beers. If you take some super craft, micro brew with a heavy amount of hops and for me it just tastes too bitter. It doesn’t quench my thirst. I prefer other types of flavors when enjoying a beer. I think when educating the patients, we need to explain that you will still get the desired effect in most cases, and because of that, you should enjoy something that has the flavor profile smell and look that speaks to you and controls their individual symptoms.
The overuse and misuse of opioid medications is major public health problem for which we don’t currently have an effective solution. Nearly 2.5 million Americans struggle with opioid addiction and over 100 people die every day from opioid overdose. Though controversial, more and more evidence is showing that medical cannabis could be a lifesaving component of a strategy to solve to this epidemic.
I recently had the opportunity to work with Sanjay Gupta on the fourth installment of his groundbreaking series on CNN, Weed 4: Pot vs. Pills, which aired last month, helping to explain how cannabis can be a solution to this epidemic.
How Cannabis Reduces Opioid Dependence
Thousands of people have used cannabis to help them reduce and replace opioid medications, as demonstrated in numerous recent scientific papers and strongly supported by animal research.Like the reports in the scientific literature, I’ve seen the same positive results firsthand in my medical practices. From a survey of our patients in 2016, of the 542 opioid users who added cannabis:
39% were able to completely stop opioid use
39% used cannabis to reduce their opioid dosage
Adding cannabis reduced pain by more than 40% in nearly half the patients and improved function in 80%
In 87% of patients, it improved quality of life
Cannabis alone isn’t enough to completely solve this epidemic, but we know it can help replace the opioids, improve their safety, and increase adherence to addiction treatment programs.
A Guide to Reducing Opioid Use With Cannabis
It’s essential that everyone who is concerned with this problem learn about the potential solution that’s right within reach, so we can make this life-saving treatment available for those dependent on opioids. For this reason, I have created guidelines based on my experience treating chronic pain with cannabis in 8 years of clinical practice, conferring with my colleagues, and closely following the scientific literature. These guidelines apply to patients from any walk of life, including those with chronic pain, PTSD, addiction, non-medical use of opioids, etc.
In How to Use Cannabis to Reduce and Replace Opioid Medications, you’ll find the advantages of adding cannabis, complete with scientific references and specific dosing strategies for successfully relieving the symptoms of opioid withdrawal and enhancing the safety and medical benefits of opioids.The guide includes links to several of my free online cannabis education programs for both patients new to cannabis and experienced cannabis consumers, and other programs that can help improve your likelihood of successfully using cannabis to reduce and replace opioid medications.
This guide is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for diagnostic or treatment purposes. It is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. I strongly suggest that patients:
Discuss the intention to use cannabis to reduce and replace opioids with the prescribing health care provider and collaborate to achieve your goals.
Work with an experienced cannabis clinician who can monitor and provide feedback on the use of cannabis.
Those who are most successful in using cannabis to replace opioid drugs always use a combination of pharmacologic and behavioral interventions. No medication is powerful enough to accomplish this goal on its own. By prioritizing and organizing the proper resources for sleep, exercise, counseling, support groups, and social support, you can ensure your success.If you decide to follow this path of treatment to reduce or replace medications, I want to learn from your experiences. Please share them with me here.https://www.leafly.com/news/health/using-cannabis-to-reduce-opioid-dependence
Pain is the number one reason people seek medical care—and quite possibly medical cannabis—and it affects more people than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. In the clinic, pain is often treated with opioid drugs like OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, and Fentanyl. This has traditionally been a first-line treatment approach because they work—at first.
On their own, low doses of cannabis or opioids do not relieve pain, but in combination, they do.
But opioid use has spiraled out of control and we find ourselves amidst an opioid epidemic that cost the U.S. $504 billion in 2015 alone, claims the lives of over 30,000 annually, and damages the quality of life of countless others. Clearly, we must do something to curb the growing opioid epidemic, but unfortunately, it appears that the federal government is ignoring one of its strongest solutions: cannabis.
We know that cannabis is effective in treating chronic pain. We understand its ability to effectivelysubstitute for opioid medication, and that CBD can combat opioid abuse by reducing its rewarding effects. Here, we’ll take a look at how cannabis enhances the effects of opioids—an interaction worth exploring in an era plagued by opioid dependence and overdose.
CB1 Receptors Are Important for the Effects of Opioids
The original natural painkiller, opium, dates back to 3,400 B.C. in Southwestern Asia. Cannabis followed a half a century later. It’s unclear if they were ever used together to treat pain, but consumers would have found profound pain relief from low doses of both drugs when used together.Science is revealing that the cannabinoid and opioid systems can work synergistically to achieve greater pain relief. This interaction becomes clear when you consume super low-doses of THC or opioids; on their own, these low doses do not relieve pain, but in combination, they do.
For instance, a recent double-blinded, placebo-controlled study (the gold-standard in clinical research) investigated the effects of low-dose cannabis (5.6% THC) and the opioid drug, oxycodone (2.5 mg) on pain thresholds in human subjects. Neither THC nor oxycodone independently affected pain, but when used in combination, participants were able to withstand higher levels of painful stimuli consistent with substantial pain reductions.To achieve these pain-relieving effects, could THC’s primary target, cannabinoid type I (CB1) receptors, and opioid receptors be working together? There’s evidence that they do.Take mice that have been genetically engineered to not express CB1 receptors (that’s right, you can create mice without CB1 receptors!). These mice enjoy nicotine, amphetamines, cocaine, and they’ll eagerly press a lever to self-administer these drugs. But they won’t do it for the opioid drug, heroin. Normal mice do, but not the mice without CB1 receptors. This tells us that CB1 receptors are important in the euphoric effects of heroin. Extending these findings to pain, blocking the activity of CB1 receptors weakensmorphine’s ability to reduce pain.
So CB1 receptors are important in opioid drugs’ ability to make you feel good and reduce pain.These are two critical elements driving the opioid epidemic and an integral component of the pain experience. After all, pain is subjective. The severity of pain is determined by numerous factors including:
Incoming signals from an injured area (e.g., knee inflammation)
Cognitive factors (e.g., attention to injury)
Contextual factors (e.g., do you expect it to be painful?)
Mood factors (e.g., are you already depressed or anxious?)
Chemical factors (e.g., endocannabinoid or opioid system function)
Genetics (e.g., are you predisposed to have low opioid levels?).
Opioid medications predominately target two of these factors. First, they weaken the strength of the pain signals from the site of injury to your brain, and second, they improve your mood by boosting levels of the pleasurable dopamine chemical.
These dual effects make stopping opioid use difficult, especially when repeated opioid use leads to long-term brain changes that reduce the number of opioid receptors in the brain and body. Lower numbers of opioid receptors enable stronger pain signals to enter your brain and reduces the levels of mood-boosting dopamine. This is the phenomenon of tolerance, which leads to increased opioid consumption, the transition to stronger drugs, and increased risk for overdose and death.
CB1 and Opioid Receptors Interact
Pain signals begin at the site of injury, then make their way into the spinal cord and travel up to the brain. After exiting the spinal cord, they activate brain cells in critical pain processing regions including the periaqueductal gray, thalamus, and cortex. If you were to design a pain medication, you’d try to (a) weaken pain signals as they enter and exit the spinal cord and (b) dampen their effect in the brain.CB1 receptors and opioid receptors, specifically the µ-opioid receptors that modulate pain, are found expressed together in the spinal cord, the periaqueductal gray, and the brain’s reward centers. That is, you find these two receptors together in all the places that are important in pain relief.
Once activated by either opioids or cannabinoids, they share many common downstream signaling features. In fact, if you activate one receptor, it affects how the other one responds. This has led many to believe that the CB1 and µ-opioid receptors physicallyinteract. The consequence of this interaction depends on where in the brain they’re found, but in some cases, it means that their co-activation by low amounts of drug leads to a stronger effect than what would be predicted by activating either CB1 or opioid receptors on their own.While the physical interaction between CB1 and opioid receptors is likely important for the pain-relieving effects of cannabis and opioids, cannabis can enhance the effect of opioids by also increasing the body’s endogenous opioid levels, themselves. The effect is reciprocal; THC can increase opioid levels to help relieve pain, and using drugs to boost the body’s own opioid levels enhances THC’s pain-relieving effects.
So, taken together, cannabis can increase opioid’s pain-relieving effects by modulating opioid-receptor signaling directly through physical interaction between CB1 and opioid receptors, and by increasing the body’s own opioid levels.
SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) - For the first time this session, lawmakers are taking a stab at legalizing recreational marijuana in the state.The bill, sponsored by House Democrats, would make it legal for anyone 21 and over to possess up to two ounces of pot.It also provides for a person to grow up to six mature plants in their home.
The law would allow towns and cities to ban the sale of pot, but they could not ban the use or growing of marijuana in private homes.The bill will have to clear two House communities to be heard on the House floor.
Chronic pain can be an incredibly debilitating condition. For many who live with it on a daily or near daily basis, the condition can be so oppressive, it affects other parts of their lives, impacting their mood, health, and overall well-being. Unfortunately, many treatment options are only nominally effective. Worse, commonly prescribed drugs like opioids are highly addictive and potentially toxic; 28,000 people died from an opioid overdose in 2014, more than any other year in history. No wonder a growing number of the estimated one in five Americans who suffer from chronic pain are turning to cannabis as an alternative.
While many people believe cannabis to be an effective treatment, what does the science say? Is it really more effective and safer than other drugs? Fortunately, when it comes to cannabis and cannabinoid-based formulations, chronic pain is one of the best studied conditions. However, the causes of chronic pain are diverse. Moreover, chronic pain can be nociceptive or neuropathic. Nociceptive pain is caused by tissue damage or inflammation. Neuropathic pain is caused by nervous system damage or malfunction.
Everyone’s biology is unique and will respond differently to cannabis depending on a number of variables, including what type of chronic pain they experience, dosage, strain, and administration method (vaping, edibles, tinctures, etc.).
How Effective is Cannabis for Chronic Pain Relief?
In a comprehensive, Harvard-led systematic review of 28 studies examining the efficacy of exo-cannabinoids (e.g. synthetic formulations or cannabinoids from the plant) to treat various pain and medical issues, the author concluded, “Use of marijuana for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is supported by high quality evidence.”Of the studies reviewed, six out of six general chronic pain studies and five out of five neuropathic pain studies found a significant improvement in symptoms among patients. Notably, while most of the studies were limited to synthetic preparations of cannabinoids, three of the five neuropathic pain studies investigated “smoked” cannabis, while two examined an oral spray preparation.
Dr. Donald Abrams, a professor and Chief of Hematology/Oncology at San Francisco General Hospital, supports cannabis to treat chronic pain, suggesting the following:
“Given the safety profile of cannabis compared to opioids, cannabis appears to be far safer. However, if a patient is already using opioids, I would urge them not to make any drastic changes to their treatment protocol without close supervision by their physician.”
Both THC and CBD in cannabis are known to elicit analgesic effects, especially when used together due to their congruent chemical synergies.
Cannabis vs. Opioids
North America has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. Prescriptions have increased 400% percent since 1999, and with this trend a shocking increase in fatal overdoses has followed. Every day, 40 people now die from prescription narcotic overdoses. Many also move on to heroin because it is cheaper, easier to find, and more potent.Could cannabis be part of the solution? Quite possibly. An increasing number of studies provide evidence that many patients can use cannabis instead of opioids to treat their pain, or they can significantly reduce their reliance on opioids.
A University of Michigan March 2016 study published in the Journal of Pain provides some compelling data. They found that cannabis:
Decreased side effects from other medications
Improved quality of life
Reduced use of opioids (on average) by 64%
“We are learning that the higher the dose of opioids people are taking, the higher the risk of death from overdose,” said Dr. Daniel Clauw, one of the study’s researchers and a professor of pain management anesthesiology at the University of Michigan Medical School. “[The] magnitude of reduction in our study is significant enough to affect an individual’s risk of accidental death from overdose.”Kevin Ameling, a chronic pain patient who now works for a Colorado-based non-profit cannabis research advocacy group called the IMPACT Network, is a success story. Ameling believes cannabis saved him from a life of dependency on prescription drugs. In 2007, he suffered a severe fall and was prescribed a cocktail of prescription drugs that included OxyContin, Tramadol, Clonazepam, and Lexapro. The pain became so severe that he had to progressively increase dosage while the OxyContin became less and less effective.
Living in Colorado, he decided to try medical marijuana in 2013. He claims he achieved results immediately and was able to significantly reduce his prescription intake. He cut his OxyContin dosage by 50%, reduced Clonazepam from 3 mg to 0.5 mg, Lexapro from 30 mg to 5 mg, and Tramadol from 300 mg to 75 mg.“It’s hard to express in words what a life changer medical marijuana has been for me,” said Ameling. “I was becoming increasingly worried about having to take higher doses of prescription drugs that can be highly addictive and toxic. Not only was I able to cut back significantly, with cannabis I can often skip the OxyContin with no adverse effects, something I couldn’t do before.”
Cannabis Can Take a Bit of Trial and Error
Ameling added, “Everyone will respond differently. For me, I found smoking can worsen my symptoms, while low dose edibles work the best.”No doubt, the chemical composition of the strain you choose and how you consume will affect the outcome. It may take a little trial and error before you find the most effective cannabis strain, dose, and preferred method of administration for your pain. Most importantly, if you are currently using opioids, exercise extreme caution. A change in treatment protocol should be done under medical supervision.
And, finally, heed the advice of Dr. Michael Hart, head physician at Marijuana for Trauma in Canada: “When considering cannabis to treat chronic pain, the adage ‘less is more’ rings true. Patients seem to find more relief in indica strains which are higher in THC than most sativa or hybridstrains. What we’ve found is that these strains can be highly effective in low to moderate doses, but could actually make pain worse in higher doses. So it’s important to start low, and titrate up as appropriate.”https://www.leafly.com/news/health/cannabis-for-chronic-pain-vs-opioids
Cannabis lovers the world over are missing out on optimized highs because they don’t know enough about terpenes. We’ve all been lured toward high percentages of THC—the main active ingredient in cannabis. But is THC the main ingredient?
More and more people are learning that title may go to the terpenes, the molecules responsible for cannabis’ smells and tastes. There are over 150 of them like terpineol, linalool, and pinene, and they have measurable effectson mood, all on their own.
Many have heard of the cannabinoids THC and CBD, but terpenes are a huge part of the chemical fingerprint of cannabis—its chemotype. New data is augmenting our old folk knowledge of strains, families and classes of cannabis like indica, sativa and hybrid.
If THC is the engine, terpenes are the steering wheel and tires.
Science is confirming that you have to look beyond the THC score of a plant to tell its true effects. If THC is the engine, terpenes are the steering wheel and tires.
“Nobody likes a person without personality, same for weed,” said Ed Rosenthal, leading cannabis horticulture author. He co-wrote the 2017 crop science book Marijuana Harvest. [Full Disclosure: Marijuana Harvest is also co-written by David Downs]
“Terpenes are absolutely the driving force behind the diverse effects of cannabis,” said Stephen Rechif, a San Francisco dispensary operator of The Bloom Room and a veteran cultivator. “When you break it down to a chemical level, there is much more evidence of the importance of terpenes over the traditional indica vs. sativa conversation.”
“Experienced cannabis enthusiasts always lead the with nose and there’s a good reason for that—you’re much more likely to enjoy a strain that is pleasing to your nose rather than going by only THC potency. That’s the effects of the terpenes and that’s what makes every strain of cannabis special.”
The most award-winning strains aren’t often the highest-THC, but they all have riotous terps.
“Since 2010, when The Emerald Cup began testing, the winner has never had the highest THC. It’s all about the ensemble of terpenes and cannabinoids,” said Nikki Lastreto and Swami Chaitanya of Mendocino County, judges in in the world largest outdoor organic cannabis competition since it began in 2003.
This week, Leafly celebrates terpenes and the science behind them with Terpene Week, where we present never before seen terpene data and dig into how our knowledge of cannabis is changing.
We also arm you, good reader, with the info to dial in the exact cannabis effects you want, and avoid the ones you don’t.
Turns out, it’s got a lot to do with the terps! So clear your nostrils and get ready to take more than a whiff. It’s time to inhale deeply.
At the close of 2018, the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams called on the federal government to rethink marijuana’s classification as it pertains to medical research. While the Surgeon General did not go so far as to condone legalization for recreational use, he did say that medically, marijuana should be studied, noting, “While I support local solutions to help solve our national public health challenges, they must be led by science driven policy. Currently, NIH funded research on marijuana is pressing forward and we are making progress in studying marijuana and its impact on the human brain, body, and behavior as well as on our communities. We should continue to seek ways to encourage and enable research to best inform policies regarding the potential medicinal properties of marijuana.”
Because the cannabis plant is made up of hundreds of different chemical entities, there is much to learn about the array of chemical compounds– individually and in combination– that could provide medical treatment across many health states. The FDA has already approved cannabinoid oil and other derivatives of the plant for treatment of everything from anxiety to epilepsy. Further, as the nation faces an opioid epidemic, discussions surrounding non-opioid pain relief options are growing around Capitol Hill, with cannabinoids at the top of the list.While the Surgeon General is right in his position on medical research, the move would serve other purposes as well. The change he proposed could be significant for justice system reforms and an economic triumph for the U.S. His belief– and that of researchers around the world– is that the current U.S. classification of marijuana inhibits research for medical advancements that include cannabis and cannabinoids, with the U.S. falling behind in both knowledge and financing. Not only are countries such as China and Israel lapping the U.S. in medical innovations and research, but G7 countries like Canada are earning billions of dollars by having legalized cannabis. For example, in the latter six months of 2018, Canada’s market has run wild with IPOs, including American-based cannabis companies flooding the market.“The relevance of the Surgeon General’s call to reschedule cannabis cannot be understated,” says Dr. Mark Rosenfeld, CEO of ANANDA Scientific. “The chemistry found only in cannabis plants can provide relief across an incredible array of adverse health states. It does this with minimal side effects and with the prospect of being eminently cost-effective in its use.” He goes on to explain that, "The medicinal use of cannabis today has its roots in the 1960s, when Israeli scientists began studies on its unique chemistry. A government program for administering medical cannabis has been in place there for 12 years, and doctors do not hesitate to encourage its use as an effective pharmaceutical alternative. Meanwhile, the United States remains regrettably behind because of its draconian and antiquated anti-cannabis laws. In no small way due to the regulatory and legal nightmare defining the situation for medical cannabis in the U.S., the science supporting its medicinal efficacy remains tentative. But reversing the excessively harsh and prohibitive laws for cannabis in the United States remains essential for making cannabis chemistry real human medicine. It is important to realize that states have approved the medicinal use of cannabis through legislative processes, not scientific or medical ones. That has gotten in the way of scientists determining with certainty the therapeutic impact of cannabis and thus of patients wishing to beneficially use it.Billions On The TableThe Surgeon General’s public comments come alongside a congressional report released this week entitled, “The National Cannabis Economy,” highlighting economic benefits of legalized cannabis at the state and national levels. The report concludes that this year alone more than $11 billion will be earned by the marijuana industry, and that sales will reach $23 billion by 2022 due to, “job creation, more tax revenue, and better patient care.”
Of additional interest to federal lawmakers should be revenue projections that estimate the medical segment of the market will surpass the recreational segment of the market within four years, due to the need for opioid alternatives for pain management as well as chronic diseases. Thus, those trying to improve the regulatory environment and sustainability of a cannabis market agree with the academic researchers and the Surgeon General. Jeffrey M. Zucker, President of Green Lion Partners says, "It’s great to see Surgeon General Adams coming out in support of cannabis reclassification. We still know relatively little about the possible uses of this plant. Our inability to conduct extensive research in the U.S. has led to countries like Canada and Israel jumping far ahead of us before we’ve even really got into it from both scientific and economic perspectives. The discoveries they are making are life-changing for many, and I can only imagine the depth of discovery possible with the U.S. government supporting more research. There are a lot of pharmaceuticals with rough side effects that can potentially be replaced by various forms of cannabis, but it is going to take a focus on science and compassion to get there."
Garyn Angel, CEO of MagicalButter.com, an American company that has seen the global market leave the U.S. in the dust, adds that from an economic perspective, “As cannabis legalization moves forward globally, we are leaving a huge market opportunity on the table here in the U.S.— there are billions of dollars to be made in research, innovation, cultivation, product development and retail sales.” He claims, “By reclassifying cannabis, the U.S. could potentially capture millions in tax revenue, bolstering our economy and encouraging funding of scientific innovation in the process. Every day that we aren’t working to lead the charge in this new “green rush,” we risk being left behind as the global market grows more sophisticated.”In June, Canada became the second nation in the world after Uruguay (first G7 nation) to fully legalize cannabis. The result has been global surges in stocks and private sector deals with pharmaceutical companies such as Novartis to research and distribute medical marijuana.In addition to sales and tax revenue being left on the table, the U.S. is also trailing when it comes to R&D, as well as intellectual property (IP). Countries like China and Israel, where federal funds are appropriated for cannabis research, are seeing vigorous innovations that could shift the entire global market for pain relief within the world’s aging population alone. Not to mention medical breakthroughs for rare and chronic diseases across the life span. China, which has become the world’s powerhouse in research, holds more than half of the world’s 600 cannabis-related patents. And Israel currently has more than 110 clinical trials involving cannabis.The DEA Is In The WayThe U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies drugs, substances, and certain chemicals used to make drugs into five distinct categories or “schedules” depending upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential. According to the website, “The abuse rate is a determinate factor in the scheduling of the drug; for example, Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and the potential to create severe psychological and/or physical dependence. As the drug schedule changes– Schedule II, Schedule III, etc., so does the abuse potential– Schedule V drugs represents the least potential for abuse.”Schedule I drugs, substances and chemicals–like marijuana– are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use. Further, they are considered to have a very high potential for abuse. In comparison to marijuana, other drugs in this category are heroin, lacid diethylamide (LSD), 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone and peyote. Which begs the question how the FDA can have already approved cannabis for medical use, and yet the chemical stays with the likes of LSD and heroin.Moreover, Schedule II drugs (which are considered less dangerous and less addictive) include the likes of substances that many cannabinoid compounds could prevent individuals from becoming addicted to, such as hydrocodone (Vicodin), cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Adderall and Ritalin. Making it hard to believe that even a federal agency classifies marijuana as meaningfully more dangerous than meth.However, in recent months, the DEA has released a Final Order rescheduling FDA-approved cannabis-derived Cannabidiol (CBD) with no more than 0.1% THC under Schedule V. The decision came after pressure from both the FDA and HHS, but has since gone in circles between the agencies.But the biggest step forward might be taken with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Buried in the 1,000-plus-page document (Section 7415) are removal of hemp from the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), and redefining how extracts, cannabinoids and derivates of CBD can be legal. Despite this progress, many regulatory questions remain unanswered, and the growing, selling, purchasing and research associated with various components of plants will come under much scrutiny in coming months.https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolefisher/2019/01/07/surgeon-general-believes-its-high-time-for-marijuana-reclassification/#354506645686
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says she will direct health officials in her administration to begin making opioid addiction a qualifying condition for patients seeking to use medical marijuana.The Democratic governor's pledge Tuesday came during her first State of State address, which kicks off the Legislature's 60-day session in Santa Fe.She says the directive follows a longstanding recommendation from the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, and will come in addition to other state initiatives to address the state's opioid crisis.She says the other plans include boosting opioid prevention programs and the availability of overdose-reversal drugs like Narcan.She said cracking down on prescribers and pharmaceutical companies that avert the law would help address the distribution of opioids in New Mexico, in addition to a compassionate approach to addressing addiction.https://www.kvia.com/news/new-mexico/new-mexico-governor-opioid-addicts-to-qualify-for-medical-marijuana/977006463