Regulators in Alabama said last week that medical marijuana likely will not be available for purchase in the state prior to 2023.
The Associated Press reported that the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission “has plenty to do before people can apply for medical cannabis licenses, so it won’t push for a date that might allow sales next year.”
The news comes after the regulatory panel had previously said that the start date for sales may be accelerated.
But according to Rex Vaughn, the vice chairman of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission, the panel has a full plate. He told the Montgomery Advertiser newspaper that “the group needed to address other duties, including rulemaking and physician training,” while also expressing “concerns that further legislative action—required to move the dates—could expose the medical cannabis law to attempts to weaken it.”
“At this point in time, we decided not to ask the Legislature to go back into digging up a legislative bill and opening it back up,” Vaughn said, as quoted by the Montgomery Advertiser. “We could lose what we’ve got.”
Lawmakers in Alabama passed a bill in May that legalized medical cannabis in the state for patients suffering from more than a dozen different qualifying conditions, including cancer, chronic pain, depression, sickle-cell anemia, terminal illnesses and HIV/AIDS.
The legislation was signed into law by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, a Republican, about a week later.
“This is certainly a sensitive and emotional issue and something that is continually being studied,” Ivey said in a statement following the bill signing. “On the state level, we have had a study group that has looked closely at this issue, and I am interested in the potential good medical cannabis can have for those with chronic illnesses or what it can do to improve the quality of life of those in their final days.”
Getting the bill over the finish line was a multi-year effort for medical cannabis boosters in Alabama. Two years ago, lawmakers there failed to pass legislation that would have legalized the treatment. Instead, the legislature appointed a commission to research the policy via a series of public meetings.
The bill never got off the ground last year, but lawmakers got the job this spring. Now, it is down to regulators to put the new law into practice.
The Montgomery Advertiser noted last week that supporters “of the bill had hoped to see medical marijuana available by the fall of 2022,” but because the law only allowed “the commission to accept applications for licenses to grow or distribute medical marijuana on September 1, 2022,” it is “unlikely that any cannabis could be grown, processed and ready for transport before 2023.”
“If you start looking at the timelines for what it’s going to take to get rules and regulations approved, and the growth cycle and the 60 days that people have to get in business after they get the license, it starts adding up,” John McMillian, the executive director of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission, said last week, as quoted by the Montgomery Advertiser.
Once physicians are clear to start prescribing, cannabis “would be available as tablets, capsules, gummies, lozenges, topical oils, suppositories, patches and in nebulizers or oil to be vaporized. The law forbids smoking or vaping medical cannabis, or baking it into food,” the Associated Press reported.
Minnesota’s high court ruled this week that medical marijuana cannot be covered under workers’ compensation.
In a pair of decisions handed down last Wednesday, the state’s Supreme Court said that the federal prohibition on cannabis precludes employers from being required to cover medical marijuana treatment for employees who have been injured.
“If federal law preempts state law in this specific instance, then an employer cannot be ordered to reimburse an injured employee for the cost of medical cannabis used to treat the effects of a work-related injury,” Justice G. Barry Anderson wrote for the majority.
With the rulings on Wednesday, the Minnesota Supreme Court “overturned earlier decisions by the state Workers Compensation Court of Appeals’ that ordered employers to pay for medical marijuana to treat work-related injuries,” according to the Associated Press.
The cases “involved a Mendota Heights dental hygienist who suffered an on-the-job neck injury and an employee at a Prior Lake outdoor equipment dealer who suffered an ankle injury when an ATV rolled over it,” according to the Associated Press, both of whom “were certified by their doctors to use medical marijuana after other treatments to control their pain, including opioids, proved inadequate.”
Minnesota Denies Cannabis Coverage
The decision captures what has been a defining tension in this era of legalization in the United States: even as dozens of states have moved to end the prohibition on pot, weed remains banned under the federal Controlled Substances Act.
“We recognize that the federal government’s position on criminal prosecution of cannabis offenses has been in a state of flux for over a decade. At one point, the United States Department of Justice announced that it would not prosecute cannabis offenses under the CSA when a cannabis user complies with state law, but the Department later rescinded those directions,” Anderson wrote. “Further, Congress has prohibited the Department of Justice from using allocated funds to prevent states from implementing medical cannabis laws.”
Anderson wrote that the court concluded “that mandating Mendota Heights to pay for Musta’s medical cannabis, by way of a court order, makes Mendota Heights criminally liable for aiding and abetting the possession of cannabis under federal law.”
“We agree that if the result here is not beneficial to the employee, the remedy is for Congress to pass, and the President to sign, legislation that addresses the preemption issues created by the conflict between federal and state law,” the justice wrote.
There are growing signs that Congress is ready to do just that. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier this year that Democrats on Capitol Hill were eager to pursue legislation ending the prohibition—with or without President Joe Biden.
“We will move forward,” Schumer said at the time. “[Biden] said he’s studying the issue, so [I] obviously want to give him a little time to study it. I want to make my arguments to him, as many other advocates will. But at some point we’re going to move forward, period.”
Schumer, whose home state of New York legalized marijuana earlier this year, noted the changing attitudes and policies toward pot as a motivating factor in pursuing the legislation.
“In 2018, I was the first member of the Democratic leadership to come out in support of ending the federal prohibition. I’m sure you ask, “Well what changed?” Well, my thinking evolved. When a few of the early states—Oregon and Colorado—wanted to legalize, all the opponents talked about the parade of horribles: Crime would go up.
“Drug use would go up. Everything bad would happen,” Schumer said in an interview with Politico. “The legalization of states worked out remarkably well. They were a great success. The parade of horribles never came about, and people got more freedom. And people in those states seem very happy.”
We are in the age of self-help, the era of improvement and being the best you can be and it can get a little tiring. It’s hard not to sometimes shrug at the suggestion that psychology can help improve our experiences and the way we interact with the world, but we’re here to hopefully change that view.
Psychology has a reach so far that all aspects of our lives have been dissected and studied by men in white lab coats holding clipboards. A surprising amount of research has also been done into how to improve day to day experiences, such as eating, drinking and relaxing to get the most out of them. Of course the experience that I’m going to investigate in this article is cannabis and psychology. Could it be possible that Psychology and the findings from the science could be used to improve the effects of cannabis on the brain and in general?
In this article, I’ll be looking at how we can use our senses (Sound, taste, sight), sociality and context to get the most out of the drug we love, both recreationally and medically. Our brain, and its ability to be influenced by its surroundings, is fascinating and we will be looking at how we can affect it through internal and external changes.
Both psychology and cannabis are hot topics of discussion lately, because both are holistic approaches to ailments that affect millions of people across the globe. It only makes sense at this point that we combine the two for ultimate healing results. Make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other legal products.
Cannabis and the Brain
Before we look at how to improve the effects of cannabis, we must first discuss how it affects the brain. Cannabis works on the brain and body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is an intricate system of neurons in the brain that seems to control the release of multiple neurotransmitters. It was discovered in the 1990s and seems to be linked to many processes in the brain and body, including appetite, learning and memory and sleep.
Both CBD and THC, two cannabinoids found in Cannabis, activate the ECS and seem to produce the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is linked to reward and pleasure in the brain. This is the neurotransmitter that creates the euphoric high associated with Cannabis. If we can find ways to increase the production of this neurotransmitter Dopamine or find ways to affect the interaction of cannabinoids on the ECS, then perhaps this will have a wholly positive effect on the experience of getting high.
Get the Snacks Out: Food and the ECS
It has long been known that food tastes better after smoking cannabis, in fact studies on rats have shown that cannabinoids increase the senses of smell and taste, but there is also new emergent research suggesting that some foods can actually increase the effect of these same cannabinoids. According to a fascinating list created by NMJ Health, Mangoes, Chocolate and black Tea all have properties that increase the effect of Cannabis for recreational and medical purposes. Mangoes contain natural chemicals that actively help cannabinoids interact with the body’s ECS mentioned above.
By eating Mangoes before inhaling or injecting marijuana products you increase the levels of these chemicals (terpenes) that allow for this interaction. This means that the effects of the cannabis will set in a lot quicker, that they’ll be stronger and that the effects will last longer. With Chocolate, it appears that the cannabinoids in cannabis that produce the euphoric effects are naturally occurring. Studies have even shown that a chemical in chocolate called
Anandamide binds to cannabinoid receptors mimicking and heightening the effect of Cannabis. Not only is this research incredible as it shows that chocolate can increase the overall effects of cannabis, but the practical applications for the use of medical marijuana and dosing cannot be overstated. Black tea and broccoli also seem to improve the experience of Cannabis. Black tea by producing longer and more sustained feelings of peace and relaxation. It is clear to see from this rather eclectic set of foods and the research behind them that we can change the effects of Cannabis through changing what we eat.
Set the Mood: Music and Dopamine
Another avenue for increasing the experience that cannabis can offer through psychology and psychological research is to look at the effect sound and music has on a high. Music has long been associated with feelings of pleasure and relaxation, but recent research has shown that listening to music that gives you chills actually produces the neurotransmitter dopamine (a neurotransmitter linked to cannabis and the ECS. It seems then that listening to music you enjoy and instrumental music (the study found) leads to an increased amount of dopamine. This combined with the high levels of dopamine released when using cannabis can only result in a more pleasurable experience, again highlighting another way that psychology and the environment around you can influence your experience of cannabis.
Watch Those Lights: Sight, Colour, Taste and Experience
This next paragraph may come as the most surprising to readers. Vision may be one of the most powerful senses when it comes to changing our experiences of the world. Being in a room with a certain colour scheme or using particular lights can influence our mental states and how we feel. To create a more calm and relaxed experience while using cannabis, a recent study has shown that blue lighting is best. The same study also showed that red light and yellow light increases heart rate, so perhaps should be avoided unless you want to induce a potential panic attack.
There are ways that we can use our vision to influence our experiences of things like taste and smell too. Studies by Charles Spence, an Oxford researcher have shown that the colour of crockery used when eating actually changes the subjective experience of flavour. Red dishes increased perceptions of sweetness in some popcorn and blue seemed to increase perceptions of saltiness. What this means is that a particular coloured skin or vape could actually alter the taste of the cannabis inhaled. If you prefer a sweeter experience, perhaps using a red vape might do this for you. Again, this research highlights how we can use psychology to generally increase our cannabis experience.
Changing up Your Environment
One of the biggest factors that can reduce the enjoyment of cannabis is tolerance. A tolerance to a certain chemical just means that it takes more to achieve the same effect. From a neuro-chemical point of view, it just takes a greater amount of cannabinoids to activate the ECS. Tolerance arises due to frequent use of the drug. Can psychology be used to help us with tolerance? An incredible study actually seems to suggest it can, and the way one can overcome a tolerance seems to be through altering context.
Context just means the environments around you. It has long been studied in psychology as animals and humans seem to have powerful associations between context and memory. If you revise in a certain context (classroom) your results in a test done in that same context will be higher than if you alter it. Here’s where tolerance comes in: If you smoke cannabis in the same environment, your body associates that context with cannabis and will actually build up a tolerance that is context specific. In a fascinating review by Siegel et al the preparation and expectation of taking a drug can lead to the body preparing itself and therefore reducing the effects. When dogs were conditioned into taking adrenaline in a specific context, just placing the dog in that room was enough for their bodies to prepare to counter the high blood pressure, even without injecting anything.
The core study by Siegel was conducted on heroin users and it was found that the opposite is true as well. If a user of heroin takes the drug in a context they are not used to they are more likely to require medical treatment as it seems their tolerance is not there. The body was not prepared because it was not in the context associated with the drug. The very same principle of association and context can be applied to cannabis use. If you use the drug in the same context over and over again, the tolerance will be associated with that specific location, so to increase the effect, change up where you light up.
Being Around Others: Socialising and Dopamine
A final way that cannabis can be improved is through being around others. It seems obvious to say, but being around others is good for the brain. It increases feelings of happiness and can relax us as well if we are around people we love, but it may be surprising to learn that socialising also increases dopamine levels, giving us a little high. This increase in dopamine is theorised to be a reward for being around others and evolutionary psychologists have argued that socialising and bonding with others is heavily linked to the reward areas of our brain and dopamine production. So perhaps combining socialising and cannabis will create a huge boost of dopamine and increase the euphoria of cannabis experiences.
Conclusion – Combining Cannabis and Psychology
I hope that from the list above you find even one thing to use to make your experiences of cannabis even better. I hope it’s also clear that any method can be useful but they are only suggestions and sometimes just sticking to what you know and enjoy is more than enough to have a great time. Cannabis is a fascinating drug and the mechanisms underlying it are still intriguing to psychologists. It affects so many areas of the brain that it isn’t surprising that the changes listed above can affect how it works. But what do you think?
The cannabis industry is expected to double in total value over the next 3 years, with legal products sales estimated to top $43 billion. That said, right now is prime time to invest and venture capitalists are taking note. Naturally, being an incipient market, there are numerous investment risks to take into consideration so it is important to have a good understanding of industry operations and patterns beforehand.
It can take some time to get educated in all the innerworkings of the complicated and everchanging cannabis industry, so until then, you can check out some of the current top stocks from our list and see if any are a right fit for you.
The cannabis industry is still relatively new, but growing at exponential rates. That’s why now is the perfect time to consider investing. If you’d like to learn more about the industry, make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter, your top-source for all things cannabis-related including more articles like this one and exclusive deals on various legal products.
1. Innovative Industrial Properties
Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE:IIPR) is probably a name you’re already familiar with, as it’s well known, well performing, and somewhat unique in the industry. This company doesn’t deal directly with cannabis products nor is it really an ancillary company. Rather, it’s a real estate investment trust that specializes in the management of cannabis cultivation facilities, which it leases to growers across the US.
As of now, they only offer property contracts to growers that are licensed to cultivate for medical purposes. The medical market is stable, more widely accepted, and according to recent data collected by Global Market Insights, expected to surpass $15 billion in valuation over the next few years. IIP has a large portfolio in this sector that includes properties in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, and Illinois.
Now let’s take a quick look at the numbers. In 2020, the company reported a 162% increase in revenue, as well as a net income boost of 191 percent. In the first half of 2021, they company continued to see growth by 101% in the first quarter and 119% in the second.
In 2020 alone, the company reported that its revenue increased 162% and net income rose by 191% from the prior year. In the first half of 2021, the company’s revenue and net income surged by 101% and 119%, respectively, from the same period in 2020. The company raises its payout on a regular basis and recently announced a 28% year-over-year increase. Additionally, IIR is yielding 2.6% percent, compared to the average of 1.3% noted by S&P 500.
2. Jushi Holdings
When it comes to the type of cannabis stocks most investors think of when considering the marijuana industry, Jushi Holdings (OTC:JUSHF) is one of the first that comes to mind. Jushi is a multi-state cannabis operator has a large portfolio of dispensaries across the US in states such as California, Illinois, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, its largest market where it current has 15 stores.
Jushi Holdings (OTC:JUSHF) is the kind of stock that most investors think of when looking at the marijuana industry. The multi-state cannabis operator has a fast-growing portfolio of dispensaries and retail locations that run from coast to coast.
Jushi Holdings has locations in Pennsylvania, Illinois, California, Virginia, and Massachusetts. The company’s most substantial presence is in Pennsylvania, where it has 15 stores. Additionally, they recently acquired an 8,000-square-foot medical cannabis production facility in Ohio, where they already sell a large percentage of their products.
Jushi Holdings reported a 220% year-over-year revenue increase in the most recent quarter, as well as 194% raise in gross profits from 12 months prior. Shares are up 80% since last year but they are still affordable enough for even novice investors to consider.
3. Cresco Labs
Cresco Labs (CRLBF), is another multistate operator with business in 10 different states. Their portfolio includes 44 ancillary retail businesses, 18 production facilities, and 32 dispensaries. National brands they represent include Cresco, Reserve, Remedi, and Mindy’s Edibles.
In April of this year, Cresco Labs announced the launch of a new line of low-dose cannabis-based edibles: Wonder Wellness. For now, this brand is only available in Illinois, but they will so be on store shelves in the all the states in which Cresco currently operates.
Cresco reported a 123% increase in sales during Q2, as well as an adjusted EBITDA of $45.5 million, which was 98% higher than the same time last year. In total, they reported a net profit of $2.7 billion, a 106% increase from 12 months ago – making it one of the safest and most reliable stocks in the industry.
GrowGeneration (GRWG) is the largest operator of hydroponic garden centers in the United States. Although they have been on a bit of a roller coaster ride this year as far as stock prices rising and falling, overall, they have been on a steady rise with shares doubling annually over the last 3 years.
In July 2021, GrowGeneration announced the acquisition of Michigan-based company HGS Hydro. In total, HGS operates seven stores and they are the third largest retailer of hydroponic products in the US.
In total, GrowGeneration operates 65 stores in 12 different states, and they are currently looking to expand into many of the newer markets such as Missouri, Illinois, Arizona, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. By 2023, they plan to operate over 100 stores across the country.
Current numbers for GrowGeneration boast a year-over-year revenue increase of 190%, and a net income rise of 161% compared to last year. They also experienced 60% same-store sales growth and raised their full-year sales guidance. Despite some minor setbacks and occasional drop in prices, GrowGeneration is moving up again and stock prices are quite reasonable heading into fall.
5. ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF
As far as industry stocks go, ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ) is a well-known name in the world of cannabis investing and the first ETF to target the industry. Since launching in December 2015, MJ has accumulated an estimated $1.4 billion in total assets, and the company is expected to grow to $66.3 billion in annual revenue within the next 3 years. MJ has an impressive portfolio of Canadian holdings including Canopy Growth and Cronos Group.
According to Kiplinger’s Investment Outlook, “The Prime Alternative Harvest Index looks to embrace a broad strategy that not only invests in companies that grow or manufacture cannabis-related products, as well as CBD stocks; it also invests in those businesses that are likely to benefit from increased cannabis use worldwide. For example, a company such as Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG) will benefit from the sale of lawn care, gardening and hydroponics equipment to cannabis enthusiasts. It represents 2.9% of MJ’s total portfolio, putting it outside the top 10 holdings.”
That being said, one slight setback to buying MJ stock is that their expense ratio is a bit high at 0.75%. But despite that, it’s an affordable, solid stock with tremendous growth potential.
Final Thoughts on Fall Cannabis Stocks
Right now is the perfect time to invest in cannabis. The market has solidified it’s place in our culture, so we know it’s here to stay, but the industry is still in its infancy so stock prices are affordable and seeing a lot of forward momentum.
Thank you for stopping by CBD Testers, your hub for all things cannabis-related. Remember to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletterfor more articles like this one and exclusive deals on various legal cannabis products.
After months of negotiating, lawmakers in Mississippi reached a deal this week to implement a new medical marijuana law in the state.
Mississippi Today reported that “legislative negotiators and leaders have agreed on a draft of medical marijuana legislation,” and that they are “anticipated to ask Governor Tate Reeves as early as Friday to call the Legislature into special session.”
The approach to Reeves could be significant, as the report noted that the first term Republican governor “has sole authority to call lawmakers into special session, and would set the date and parameters of a special session.”
“Although legislative leaders have expressed interest in dealing with COVID-19 and other issues in a special session, Reeves has appeared unwilling but said he would call a session for medical marijuana, pending lawmakers are in agreement and he agrees with the measure,” the report said.
In May, Reeves said that a special session to address medical marijuana was “certainly a possibility.”
For medical cannabis advocates and would-be patients of the treatment, the legislative wrangling has been a long, and at times frustrating, process.
Nearly 70 percent of Mississippi voters approved a ballot initiative last year that legalized medical marijuana for a host of qualifying conditions including cancer, epilepsy or other seizures, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cachexia (weakness and wasting due to chronic illness), post-traumatic stress disorder, HIV+, AIDS, chronic or debilitating pain, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, glaucoma, agitation from dementia, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, sickle-cell anemia and autism.
Under Initiative 65, qualifying patients could legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis.
But the new law hit a major snag in May, when the state’s Supreme Court struck down Initiative 65 citing a strange and obscure provision in the state’s constitution. In the 6-3 ruling, the majority justices “ held the initiative had to be struck down because of an odd flaw in the state constitution’s voter initiative process,” NBC News reported at the time.
“Passed in the 1990s, the measure called for a percentage of signatures to come from each of the state’s five congressional districts to get on the ballot,” NBC reported. “But, the judges noted, the state lost one of those congressional districts thanks to the 2000 U.S. Census, and now only has four districts.”
After that ruling, lawmakers in Mississippi went back to the drawing board to create a new medical marijuana program to supplant Initiative 65.
Negotiations ran through the summer, with state lawmakers and other agencies hearing testimony from both advocates and opponents to medical cannabis.
The breakthrough finally arrived on Thursday. Mississippi Today reported that some legislative leaders “released some details of the proposal—which had been kept close to the vest for months—such as that cities and counties will be allowed to ‘opt out’ of having medical marijuana cultivation or dispensaries, although local voters can override this.”
“City councils or aldermen, or county boards of supervisors, within 90 days of passage of legislation, could opt out from allowing cultivation or dispensing of medical marijuana within their borders,” the report explained. Voters in those cities and counties could force a referendum to rejoin the medical marijuana program if they gathered 1,500 signatures or 20 percent of the voters, according to the report.
Other notable provisions in the draft proposal include that smokable cannabis would be permitted, and that the state’s sales tax of seven percent would be imposed on medical marijuana. But the lawmakers have closed the door on personal cultivation, with Mississippi Todayreporting that “outdoor growing would not be allowed, nor home growing.”
A regulatory panel in Ohio gave the green light on Tuesday to plans that would more than double the number of medical cannabis dispensaries in the state.
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy voted “to start the process of awarding an additional 73 licenses,” per the Cincinnati Enquirer. There are currently 58 licensed dispensaries in the Buckeye State, with the Enquirer noting that nine of which “are owned and operated by someone who identifies as African American, Native American, Hispanic, Latino or Asian.”
The Enquirer reported that equity provisions “weren’t discussed during the meeting or mentioned in the request for applications approved Tuesday,” and that a spokesperson for the Ohio Board of Pharmacy said that the board “is still reviewing how it can encourage equity within the state law and rules.”
According to the paper, licenses for cultivation and dispensaries “were awarded in 2017 and 2018 under state law that required 15 percent of all marijuana licenses go to businesses owned by a member of one of those ‘economically disadvantaged’ groups,” but that requirement was later “struck down by court and won’t be in place for this second application round for 73 new licenses that begins this month.”
For now, more details regarding the application process are set to be released next week. The application period will run in November, and the licenses will likely be awarded early next year.
Ohio legalized medical marijuana in 2016 when lawmakers in the state passed a bill authorizing the treatment. The state’s first dispensaries opened three years later, as it continues to tweak and expand the law.
In June, the Ohio State Medical Board added Huntington’s disease, terminal disease and spasticity to the list of qualifying conditions, although it also rejected the addition of autism spectrum disorder, restless leg syndrome, panic disorder with agoraphobia and spasms.
That same month, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program issued new rules over the use of Delta-8 THC, which included a new requirement licensee notification of “the use of Delta-8 THC must include a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that describes the process and methods with which Delta-8 THC will be used in compliance” with the state’s existing laws.
The panel also issued requirements that the “total THC content—combination of Delta-9 THC and any other THC isomer or analog—of the manufactured product shall not exceed 70 percent,” a notable stipulation given hemp-derived Delta-8’s similarities to marijuana. In that same vein, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control program required that Delta-8 THC “must be fully incorporated on the package and label for patient awareness,” and that abbreviations “such as ‘Delta-8’ or ‘D8,’” are not allowed.
But while the state’s medical marijuana law continues to evolve, efforts to legalize recreational pot use have been slow to get off the ground.
In July, a pair of Ohio lawmakers introduced what was said to be the first bill to legalize and regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana in the state’s history.
The bill, introduced by Democratic state House Reps. Casey Weinstein and Terrence Upchurch, would make it legal for adults aged 21 and older to “buy and possess up to five ounces of marijuana at a time and grow up to 12 mature plants for personal use.”
“We’re seeing there are dramatic economic benefits, there are medical benefits and there’s a strong criminal justice avenue here so we can focus law enforcement on violent crime,” Weinstein said after the bill was introduced. “Ohio is at the point where we’re going to be behind if we don’t act now. I hope this provides the spark that we need to elevate the conversation and get this legislation moving.”
The state’s Republican governor, Mike Dewine, has previously voiced opposition to legalizing marijuana.
The Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act or Ryan’s Law would allow patients in California with serious conditions to use non-smokable medical cannabis inside of hospitals. After receiving approval in California’s Assembly and Senate, Ryan’s Law and a bill regulating smokable hemp products both headed to the governor’s desk, amid a recall election.
If and when it’s signed by the governor, Senate Bill 311 or Ryan’s Law would allow terminally ill patients to use medical cannabis in healthcare facilities. The proposal prohibits patients, however, from inhaling or vaping herbal cannabis products. It also restricts the use of any forms of cannabis in emergency rooms.
Members of the California Assembly and Senate approved legislation and sent a bill to the Governor’s desk to allow the use of medical cannabis products within hospitals and other eligible health care facilities.
The California State Assembly voted 57-1 to approve the bill on September 9, and the Senate approved the other chamber’s amendments in a 36-1 vote the next day.
The bill was pushed by State Senator Ben Hueso, who has fought to allow cannabis use in medical facilities for terminally ill patients repeatedly. In July, Hueso sent a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, asking them to provide clarification on whether hospitals in legal cannabis states can allow terminally ill patients to use medical cannabis without jeopardizing federal funding.
The bill “would require specified types of health care facilities to allow a terminally ill patient’s use of medicinal cannabis within the health care facility, subject to certain restrictions,” it reads. “The bill would require a patient to provide the health care facility with a copy of their medical marijuana card or written documentation that the use of medicinal cannabis is recommended by a physician. The bill would require a health care facility to reasonably restrict the manner in which a patient stores and uses medicinal cannabis to ensure the safety of other patients, guests, and employees of the health care facility, compliance with other state laws, and the safe operations of the health care facility.”
Lawmakers approved a similar bill in 2019, but it was vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom who expressed concerns that it create a conflict between federal and state law.
Representatives from both HHS and the governor’s office have recently reached out to Hueso to say they’re continuing to look into the matter.
The senator’s legislation was partly inspired by the experience of a father whose son died from cancer and was initially denied access to cannabis at a California hospital. Jim Bartell did eventually find a facility that agreed to allow the treatment, and he has said his son’s quality of life improved dramatically in those last days.
The U.S. Hemp Roundtable claims that they’ve reached an agreement and expect Governor Newsom to sign the hemp-derived CBD bill. “We’re excited to report that a final deal has been reached with Governor Gavin Newsom to move to final passage of AB 45, our long term effort to explicitly permit the retail sale of hemp-derived extracts such as CBD in California,” a U.S Hemp Roundtable release reads. However, it’s unclear if the governor will sign Ryan’s Law, as he vetoed similar legislation earlier due to confusion about federal implications.
AB 45 would allow the sale of hemp-derived CBD extracts outside of licensed cannabis dispensaries. The Senate in a 29-2 vote on Wednesday. The Assembly concurred with amendments and gave final passage to the bill in a 56-3 vote on Thursday.
The German medical cannabis market is one of the largest in the world. Indeed, as of 2021, it is not only the largest market in Europe, but also responsible for driving cultivation plans across many sunnier and lower labor cost locales. This is true of both countries in the European Union (EU) and further flung spots, all hoping to export cannabis to a country, which so far has not, by design, been able to domestically source the medical cannabis consumed in the country.
All well and good—but this is the good news.
In fact, the pharmaceutical infrastructure that faces medical cannabis companies is far from either clear cut or easy to navigate. Here is why.
Cannabis is Defined by Law as a Controlled Narcotic Drug
The first issue facing all distributors in the German market, is that cannabis, legally, is defined as a narcotic at a federal level. To date, despite a decision on the European level last fall, this also includes low THC hemp—which has led to a number of lawsuits and embarrassing contretemps of late even on the non-medical, commercial level.
Beyond this, however, cannabis as medicine is clearly now present in the system—but merely importing and or registering strains and brands (no matter who makes them or where such flower or products come from) is far from enough to get sales.
Unlike the U.S. (for example), pharmaceutical drugs may not be advertised directly to potential consumers (also known as patients).
As a result, cannabis specialty, just like general pharmaceutical distributors, must engage in a strange, highly inefficient and expensive, three-step process to obtain prescriptions that starts but does not, by any means end, with what is euphemistically called “doctor education.”
Step by Painful Step
The first pre-step is actually still quite difficult for all nascent distributors who are not in business at all and wish to jump directly into the cannabis specialty business. Namely, before they can obtain their final licensing and approvals, they must identify a qualified supplier. As there is only one distributor in the country that handles domestically grown cannabis, this means that everyone else has to find companies who want to work with them.
Five years ago, this meant one of two things. Find a Canadian company who wanted to expand to Europe and Germany or go to Bedrocan, the Dutch cultivator right across the border. As a result of the early rush, Bedrocan also began to limit both the amount of cannabis it was willing to sell, per distributors this way, and then limited the number of distributors it was willing to work with.
The Difficulties and Dichotomies of German Cannabis Prescriptions
Once a distributor has at least one offtake agreement with a certified company and all its licensing and approvals in place, the real struggle begins. To get your strain or brand of cannabis sold in German pharmacies, distributors must do several (expensive and time consuming) things beyond just obtaining the licenses required and obtaining the product. They must educate doctors about their strain or product and find patients to advocate for their brand when they do get in front of a cannabis prescribing doctor.
For the privately insured, finding a doctor is not a big issue anymore, particularly in the larger cities. “Schmerz zentrums” (pain clinics) are staffed by doctors who are usually sympathetic to patients with a provable, pre-diagnosed condition. If one has private insurance, it is also not necessary to get a referral by a general practitioner. That said, both the doctor visit and the cannabis must be paid for, out of pocket and up front, by the patient.
For those on statutory or “public” health insurance, the battle is even tougher, starting with finding willing doctors. Once found, however, it is at this point that the doctor must work with the patient to fill out forms and wait for the approval from the regional approvers (not even individual health insurers). Once that approval happens, patients can then ask for the brand of cannabis they want. Assuming the doctor is sympathetic and does so, they must then take this prescription, with the specific brand written on the paper itself, to a specialist pharmacy. These days, such pharmacies can order overnight.
Regardless, none of this is easy. So far, distributors have relied on a variety of methods (including free press, hiring pharma representatives and sponsoring events) to try to reach both the public and prescribing doctors. To add even more complications, the availability of doctors and their willingness to prescribe also varies by state.
For example, the Frankfurt city agency responsible for training new cannabis doctors will not give out the names of doctors they have trained. Further, as admitted to High Times, they understand that most doctors who work with statutory health insurance patients in the state of Hesse are refusing to take on more than two cannabis patients per practice.
The Future of Generic Extracts
Given all of these problems, not to mention the markup that is available, liquid dronabinol, the global generic, 96 percent THC extract, is highly popular in the German market these days. The reason? It is easier to market to both doctors and patients, not to mention obtain approval via health insurance (because of the “generic” designation).
That said, most patients do not want to take this extract, preferring other medications or treatments.
Patient Outreach Remains Critical but Hard
Every distributor in Germany maintains online patient outreach. Indeed, Facebook and other social media groups for patients are relatively widespread. However, this is far from a panacea. As dedicated as patients can be to specific brands, they are most dedicated to finding a regular supply and source of their drug.
This remains, by far, the hardest hurdle to broach, sadly, in a country with insurance coverage of cannabis at least by statute, but where it also took until late last year for the first patient to secure a guaranteed yearlong prescription.
Until any of these dynamics change—via legal challenge or greater statutory reform—marketing any kind of cannabis, and via any source, traditional or not, is an uphill challenge.
As the demand for cannabis research and potent new products continues to soar, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that this plant is much more complex than we ever could have imagined. It seems like every day we’re learning something new about pot, from medical applications and innovative technologies to recently discovered cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids – all with their own interesting effects and benefits.
Lately there’s a lot of talk about Tetrahydrocannabiphorol, or THCP, because it was only very recently synthesized for the first time and, according to the existing research, this THC-like compound is considerably stronger than many of the cannabinoids we’re currently familiar with.
Cannabis is full of fun and interesting compounds including HHC, all the Delta THCs, CBD, and so much more. If you would like to learn more about these cannabinoids, or try out different products make sure to Subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter to learn more and for exclusive deals on Delta 8, Delta 10 THC, THC-O, THCV, THCP & HHC.
Different ‘Types’ of THC
When we talk about tetrahydrocannabinols as a whole, we are referring to a specific chemical structure known as C21H30O2. This chemical structure is basically the umbrella under which numerous different-yet-very-similar compounds can be created. These molecules, known as isomers, have the same chemical formula but the arrangement of atoms within the molecule can vary – like how the words ‘live’ and “evil’ have the exact same letters, but once you switch up the configuration a bit, the words take on completely different meanings.
Take all the delta THC’s, for example. In Delta 9 THC, the most abundant compound in cannabis, the ‘9’ represents where the double bond occurs, in this case, on the 9th carbon atom in the chain. When the double bond moves to the 8th atom, it becomes Delta 8 THC, which is an isomer of Delta 9. The same holds true for Delta 10 THC, which is an isomer of Delta 9 with the double bond located on the 10th atom in the chain.
The difference between Delta 8 and Delta 10 is that Delta 8 is a naturally occurring isomer formed via the oxidation of Delta 9 THC, whereas Delta 10 can only be created synthetically. And speaking of synthetics, let’s quickly discuss THC-O-Acetate. This compound is an analog of THC, meaning its chemical structure is similar to delta 9, but differs more than an isomer.
Then we have 11-hydroxy-THC, which has the chemical formula C21H30O3. Although it has ‘THC’ in the name, 11-hydroxy is not THC, nor is it an isomer or analog of THC. Rather, it is metabolite of THC and technically an endocannabinoid, created when our bodies digest other types of tetrahydrocannabinols. It has a very similar chemical structure to all THCs, but as you can see, there is one extra oxygen molecule making this a completely different compound, with similar, but reportedly much more powerful, effects.
THCP, on the other hand, is a special type of THC analog called a homolog. A homolog is a molecule belonging to a series of compounds that differ from each other by a repeating unit. In this scenario, the repeating unit is the alkyl side chain. Delta 9 THC has a 5-term alkyl side chain, which means that it contains 5 total carbon atoms. THCP has an elongated 7-term chain.
THCP: Enhancing THC’s Binding Ability
THCP is one of the newest cannabis compounds to be discovered, having first been documented in late 2019. Again, the main difference researchers found in THCP compared to Delta 9 THC is that THCP has a longer alkyl side chain, which is believed to be a vital factor in the way THCP interacts with the body’s CB1 receptors, compared to other THCs.
In organic chemistry, an alkyl is an alkane that is missing one hydrogen molecule. The term alkyl is intentionally unspecific to include many possible substitutions. Alkyls form homologous series and most of the simplest series have the same general formula.
A minimum chain length of three links is required for THC to bind with the receptors, with binding affinity peaking at eight links before starting to decrease. THCP’s seven-link chain puts it close to the maximum for receptor activity. When researchers checked THCP vs THC binding affinity with both cannabinoid receptors, they found that THCP was 33 times for active at the CB1 receptor and 5-10 times more active at CB2.
What Are The Implications of These Findings?
The main reason this discovery has everyone so excited is because researchers believe that THCP mimics the effects of THC in the body, but at a much more effective rate. Although THCP is a minor phytocannabinoid, its presence can still impact the high via the entourage effect and many in the scientific community believe it can do so more efficiently than other trace compounds.
This brings us to our next questions: as a minor compound, how much THCP is required to produce a noticeable difference in either medicinal or psychoactive effects, and exactly how much THCP is found in most strains? As much as I’d like to give an exact answer, the reality is that the research just hasn’t made it that far yet. The scientists who discovered THCP only had access to one strain, provided by the federal government of Italy, and in they found very little THCP. However, it’s worth noting this statement in the report claiming that “it is reasonable to suppose that other cannabis varieties may contain even higher percentages.”
Other experts disagree, such as Dr. Samuel Banister from The University of Sydney, who believes the difference in effects is not that substantial. “While this possibility cannot be ruled out,” Banister stated, “the known potency differences for THC and THCP at cannabinoid receptors is relatively small, while the difference in abundance of each in cannabis is enormous. The same is true of CBD and CBDP, although CBD requires even higher doses to achieve many of its pharmacological effects. For this reason, I do not feel that minor or trace phytocannabinoids like THCP or CBDP contribute significantly to the psychoactive effects of different cannabis strains.”
Bottom line, more research needs to be done in order to get a better idea of the full scope of THCP’s recreational and pharmaceutical potential. There is no way to put an exact number on how much stronger THCP is, or how much better it works than THC, if we don’t have repeatable research and solid data to reference to.
THCP Products… Where to Find Them, and Are They Safe?
Because so little is known about THCP, it’s impossible to say with 100 percent certainty whether it is safe or not. Because it’s a cannabis compound, one can assume that it has a relatively good safety profile. The consumer always assumes a certain level of risk when buying new, trendy, and barely-studied products, and this is true in more industries than just cannabis.
All that said, a few companies are already selling THCP products, and whenever we stumble on good-quality ones, we’ll make sure to include them in our newsletter. So far, all we’ve been able to source are vape carts and gummies, but either one is a great option if you’re interested in sampling THCP to see if this cannabinoid is right for your needs. As demand intensifies and more research becomes available, an inevitable wave of new products will hit the market.
Cannabis has hundreds of different compounds, some major, some minor, some potent, some non-psychoactive. With so many restrictions in place, it’s impossible to know everything about certain cannabinoids at this point. The first discovery of an individual cannabinoid was in 1940, and THCP was just discovered less than 2 years, so it’s one of those subjects we’ll continue to learn about for a very long time. In the near future, additional information will be revealed about cannabis, giving us a more complete picture of what the plant and all of its compounds can really do.
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The push to legalize cannabis in the Midwest is making new advances, with lawmakers in Wisconsin introducing a new bill and Ohio activists amending language for a proposed legalization measure. Meanwhile, regional early adopters Illinois and Michigan continue to post strong recreational marijuana sales with record-breaking months in July.
Last week, a group of Wisconsin lawmakers appeared at a cannabis dispensary in Illinois (where adult-use cannabis is legal) to unveil a bill that would legalize marijuana in the Badger State. Under the bill, adults 21 and over would be permitted to purchase and use recreational cannabis while adults 18 and up with debilitating health conditions would be allowed access to medical marijuana. Younger patients would be permitted to use cannabis medicinally with parental consent. Wisconsin currently has no provisions for legal cannabis, even as it is surrounded by four states with at least some form of legalized marijuana.
The lawmakers gathered at the Sunnyside dispensary in South Beloit, Illinois — only about 1,000 feet from the state border — to illustrate how many of the business’s customers are coming from Wisconsin. On an average day, half of the cars in the Sunnyside parking lot have Wisconsin license plates, according to South Beloit Mayor Ted Rehl. At last week’s unveiling of the bill, Democratic Sen. Melissa Agard, who is the sponsor of the bill in the state Senate, said that cannabis legalization would be a good move for Wisconsin.
“Legalizing and taxing cannabis in Wisconsin just like we already do with alcohol ensures a controlled, safe market for our communities,” Agard said.
Fellow Democrat and Wisconsin State Assembly Rep. David Bowen noted that Wisconsin’s drug prohibition laws have not been enforced fairly and equitably.
“Under the failed war on drugs, enforcement of cannabis prohibition laws have disproportionately impacted communities of color,” said Bowen, the lead author of the legalization bill. “When an individual is arrested for nonviolent possession of marijuana, they are driven from their jobs, from their families and driven from their communities.”
Despite a 2019 Marquette University Law School poll showing that 59% of Wisconsin’s registered voters support cannabis legalization, approval of the bill in the state’s Republican-led legislature does not seem likely, according to media reports. Agard said that the sponsoring lawmakers will be circulating the bill for two weeks in order to gain co-sponsors before moving forward with the legislation.
In Ohio, citizens rather than lawmakers are leading the drive to legalize cannabis for recreational use. The cannabis reform group the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol resubmitted petition language for a proposed legalization measure. In early August, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost rejected an earlier draft of a summary of the proposal, which would allow adults 21 and older to possess, purchase, use and grow marijuana. After reviewing the proposal to ensure it was a “fair and truthful” description of the law, Yost cited a list of seven deficiencies in the summary and returned it to supporters for correction. The attorney general wrote, for example, that the summary did not adequately explain the “cannabis social equity and jobs program” and did not clearly indicate that home growers are limited to possessing up to six cannabis plants.
“In total, the summary does not properly advise a potential signer of a proposed measure’s character and limitations,” Yost wrote in a letter to the group’s attorney.
Last Friday, supporters of the proposal resubmitted the summary after addressing the deficiencies noted by Yost.
“We appreciate the attorney general’s feedback on our initial filing, and have fully addressed the issues flagged in this updated filing” coalition spokesman Tom Haren said in a news release.
Once the summary is approved, supporters of the legalization proposal will be able to begin collecting petition signatures from Ohio registered voters. If the group collects at least 132,887 valid signatures, the proposal will head to the Ohio General Assembly for consideration. If lawmakers fail to approve the measure, supporters could collect an additional 132,887 signatures to place the proposal before voters, perhaps as soon as the Nov. 2022 general election.
Midwest Cannabis Sales Break Records
If Wisconsin and Ohio successfully join the ranks of the states that have legalized cannabis in the Midwest, they will be able to tap into a market that continues to grow for the region’s early adopters of marijuana policy reform. On Aug. 3, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation reported that adult-use cannabis sales totaled $127.8 million in July, breaking a state record set only two months earlier by 10 percent. Jason Erkes, spokesman for Chicago-based cannabis multistate operator Cresco Labs, said that visitors attending the Lollapalooza music festival at the end of the month helped fuel the strong showing.
“Summer tourism and the Lollapalooza attendees were strong contributors to July’s out-of-state sales,” Erkes said.
Legal marijuana sales are breaking records in Michigan, as well. Last week, the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) released cannabis sales figures for July. Together, medical marijuana and adult-use cannabis sales totaled $171 million, generating more than $23 million in tax revenue. MRA executive director Andrew Brisbo characterized July’s cannabis sales as “Another record month!”