Can Cannabis Treat Hemorrhoids?

This is a disgusting story, so if you get queasy easily, I’d recommend reading one of the news articles that went up today. It’s also slightly embarrassing, but seeing as how, while writing, it’s only my computer and I, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about; the fact that potentially millions of people will be reading about my butthole is a non-issue since it hasn’t happened yet and even if/when when does, so be it—my butthole is a part of me, and I am a part of my butthole.

Hemorrhoids. If you’ve never had them, let me try to explain as best as I possibly can (for those who have had them, there’s no reason to read this paragraph, as you already know the immeasurable pain and mental anguish that they inflict): The easiest comparison is shitting hot shards of glass. The blood part of it sucks, but women deal with that all the time, so who am I to complain? The worst part is knowing that you have to go to the bathroom, but deciding not to because if you do, you’ll be bedridden all day (although of course laying in bed doing nothing besides thinking about how much it hurts only makes matters worse!). Then, by not going to the bathroom, your stomach gets all fucked up, so on and so forth.

Physical pain is a strange thing because it seems made-up. By “made-up” I mean both psychosomatic and like a lie. There’s no way, unless you’re clearly missing an arm or what have you, for someone to know that you’re in pain. Pain requires trust. Trust in yourself to know that you’re not crazy—that you actually are hurt—and trust from other human beings, because otherwise you’re moaning and groaning to gain attention, but I’m getting off-topic. We’re here to talk about the medical effects of cannabis in relation to these little devilish, oozing, swollen veins.

According to the first website that popped up when I googled “hemorrhoids cannabis,” Hemorrhoid Treatment Center of Florida: “Medical marijuana has anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) effects. This can help hemorrhoid patients feel less discomfort from hemorrhoids. Additionally, since cannabis is known to naturally relieve stress, anxiety, and insomnia, it can be used to fend off many of the ramifications of hemorrhoidal disease.” Eh.

One time in the shower, while showering, I took a shit standing up because the idea of sitting on the toilet seemed like a worse option. The second google result, Healthline, discusses CBD. They ask the question, “Can CBD Help Hemorrhoids?” and answer by saying, “Right now, there doesn’t seem to be research based specifically on CBD’s effectiveness on hemorrhoids.” Among other things that are equally unhelpful. That’s not to say that this article is any more helpful. Perhaps I’m just contributing to the confusion… Also according to Healthline, “The World Health Organization says CBD is largely considered safe. However, if you’re applying CBD topically to hemorrhoids, it’s best to keep some safety information in mind: Avoid applying CBD to broken skin.” This is essentially impossible, as every time one passes a stool, the skin breaks.

I tried stool softeners, probiotics, and sitz baths. I tried using Preparation H (ointment, wipes, and suppositories!), which worked fine for a while, until it didn’t. I tried edibles, but they kind of made the pain worse because I started to focus on it even more. I’m sure for other people, that wouldn’t be the case. I saw two doctors, one for abdominal pain and the other specifically for hemorrhoids; both were very nice, but at the end of the day, nothing came from either visit. The first one asked if I drank; I told him that I was taking the year off and his advice was, “Well, maybe you should start drinking again.” He had a quirky tie on, so I would imagine that was his version of humor. They both said it was probably stress-related, and that if matters worsened, there was always surgery.

Well, in my mind, matters were already as bad as they could be, but I wasn’t—and unfortunately still am not—made of money, nor did I really want someone rubberbanding or stapling my asshole, so during one particularly nasty flare-up, I decided to smoke a joint instead. It wasn’t a matter of pain management, because like I said, cannabis didn’t really help in that department, but I needed a new way to think about this thing that I was dealing with. And that’s exactly what I received. I thought about how pain was an extremely physical force, but a force that the mind controlled, so all of a sudden, this ailment became somewhat of a gift, a test of my endurance, not only to pain but all other forms of torment. I was reading a book at the time, I forget which, but it was a rather dull book and I decided that I was going to stand still and finish it, all while barely being able to stand; I wouldn’t eat, I wouldn’t drink water, I’d stand there and read. It took several hours, but when it was all over, the pain had subsided, and it was as if I had broken whatever spiritual chain was trying so hard to break me.

I don’t know if “spiritual” is the right word, but that’s the one I chose. I’ve had some light bleeding here and there. I still have to push on my rectum after taking a shit to make the external hemorrhoids internal, which I’m not entirely sure I should be doing, but they seem safer there, away from this cold, cold world. All that to say, I’m pretty sure I still have them, but no burning (unless I eat spicy food, which I think is a normal reaction—or at least that’s what I tell myself), no calling off work to roll around in bed, and most importantly, no pus that smells like sulfur and asshole. All of the above could come back, but here’s to optimism!

It’s a bummer that I felt obligated to preface this by saying “This is a disgusting story.” It’s not. What’s disgusting is our inability to share truths without being judged or feeling as if that’s the case. But I don’t know how to fix that. What I do know is that hemorrhoids are no laughing matter, unless you’ve hit rock-bottom and there’s nothing else to do butt laugh (haha). Hopefully you don’t, but if you do find yourself in that predicament, here are some things that made the pain more manageable for me: 

  • A sitz bath will help for as long as you’re in it, but seeing as how you can’t sit in a tub soaking your bum all day…
  • Masturbate!
  • (Unrelated to the above) Don’t just lay in bed. Get some fresh air, take a walk around the block.
  • Lastly, as cheesy as it sounds, just know that you’re not alone (hemorrhoids affect approximately 1 in 20 Americans) and although it might not seem like it, there will come a time when you won’t want to commit suicide. And I’m not using this term lightly.

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Researchers Aim To Combine Psilocybin and Cannabis Into Single Medical Treatment

The company, CaaMTech, first received a patent in support of the research in 2021. An article published Wednesday on the website Greenstate explains that the company “develops pharmaceutical drugs for mental health conditions like depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder,” and is now “researching the therapeutic value of psilocybin in combination with cannabinoids.”

“Through their research, CaaMTech has isolated derivatives of psilocybin, cannabinoids, and terpenes,” Greenstate explained.

In the 2021 announcement of the patent, CaaMTech founder and CEO, Dr. Andrew Chadeayne said that the company’s “goal from Day 1 has been to capture as much of CaaMTech’s scientific innovation as possible in our intellectual property portfolio as we develop the next generation of psychedelic drugs.”

“The allowance of our first patent application has given a shot of energy to the team that has worked diligently over these past four years to bring it to the finish line,” Chadeayne said in the announcement. “With hundreds of applications still to prosecute, this is a great start.”

“Strong patent protection and fundamental research give our drugs the foundational support that they need to proceed through clinical trials and become FDA-approved medicines,” he added. “‘Compositions and methods comprising a psilocybin derivative’ covers (among other subject matter) the synergistic modulatory effects of cannabinoids on the activation of serotonin receptors when administered in conjunction with a serotonin agonist. In simpler terms, CaaMTech has shown that cannabinoids work synergistically with psychedelic tryptamines in producing their effects. In doing so, CaaMTech has demonstrated the potential for two drugs once declared by the United States Federal Government to have ‘no known medical value’ to treat some of the world’s most challenging mental health issues.”

The announcement said that “notice of allowance [from the the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)] is a watershed moment for CaaMTech’s intellectual property division, which has filed in excess of one hundred additional patent applications since the application was filed in 2017.” 

“Allowance is the final hurdle of examination before a patent is issued,” the announcement said.

Since the approval of that patent in 2021, Greenstate reports that “CaaMTech has shared findings related to 4-PrO-DMT as a novel synthetic alternative to psilocybin, among other things.” 

“Separate efforts may supplement this work, like the research survey from SABI Mind covering myriad topics, like the general acceptance or disregard for synthetic alternatives to compounds like psilocybin. These steps, alongside policy work, create wider access lanes for patients seeking trustworthy, science-based psychedelic therapies,” the outlet reported.

Developing the compound will not be easy. As MJBizDaily explained, there are “serious obstacles to creating a combo compound.”

“Cannabinoids and psychedelics act on different receptors in the brain. Cannabinoids such as THC binds primarily to the CB1 cannabinoid receptor; CBC binds primarily to the CB2 receptor. Psychedelics such as psilocybin bind primarily to 5-HT2A serotonin receptors,” the outlet reported.

“But there has been research showing that the cannabinoid CBD can bind to serotonin, and that, when serotonin is joined with a CB2 cannabinoid receptor, the resulting combination can do things that neither receptor can do on its own…Buoyed by the potential of the combo compound, the medical cannabis community is growing increasingly excited. For example, cannabis combined with psychedelics has been found to shrink tumors significantly in breast cancer.”

CaaMTech, based in Issaquah, Washington, bills itself as “the foremost drug discovery and lead optimization company focused on engineering psychedelic drugs that meet the standards of modern medicine.”

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Study: Occasional MJ Use Among Older Adults With HIV Linked to Better Cognition

Researchers from the University of California at San Diego examined the long-term impact of cannabis use on cognition among 297 older adults with HIV. The study ultimately found that those participants with a history of occasional cannabis consumption displayed a greater cognitive performance than those who don’t use cannabis at all.

The findings were published in the journal AIDS and Behavior.

Cannabis, Cognition and HIV: An Understudied Issue

Researchers noted the prevalence of cannabis as a treatment for common health conditions while nodding to the lack of studies regarding cannabis use and cognitive decline, specifically among aging populations.

Participants consisted of frequent cannabis consumers who used cannabis multiple times per week, occasional consumers who used cannabis once per week or less, and non-users. Researchers assessed the cognition of participants for up to 10 years to examine the effects of average and recent cannabis use on global cognition, global cognitive decline, and functional independence.

Ultimately, the study authors determined that participants with a history of occasional cannabis use performed the best out of the three groups. 

“In a longitudinal, well-characterized cohort of older adults with HIV, we found that occasional cannabis use in later-life was associated with better overall global cognition compared to no cannabis use, a potentially important finding given this population’s increased vulnerability to cognitive impairment,” researchers stated. 

“Further, frequent cannabis use did not relate to worse global cognition over study follow-up, … suggesting that cannabis use within the ranges observed in this study is not a risk factor for early decline in any cognitive domain.”

‘No Evidence’ That Cannabis Use Influences Cognitive Decline

Researchers also recognized that frequent cannabis use was not associated with a decline in cognitive performance throughout the study period. Specifically, they noted that “rates of cognitive decline and functional problems did not vary by average cannabis use.”

Researchers did note that recent cannabis use specifically was linked to worse cognition at study visits, when participants had THC-positive urine toxicology. However, this short-term decline in cognition was driven by worse memory and did not extend to reports of functional declines, according to the study.

In the study conclusion, researchers noted that the study is the first to their knowledge to characterize longitudinal patterns of current cannabis use and global cognitive performance over time among older adults with HIV.

“We found no evidence that cannabis use influences risk for cognitive nor functional decline,” researchers stated. “Further mechanistic work is needed to probe this positive finding to inform whether cannabinoids show therapeutic potential in treating chronically elevated neuroinflammation and reducing downstream cognitive problems in people with HIV.”

Adding to the Literature and Looking Ahead

The effect cannabis has on cognition in general is not a new research topic, though it can be a bit complex to approach. One study similarly noted that cognitive effects typically depend on frequency of use and duration of time since last exposure to cannabis. Specifically, it found that working memory is significantly impaired following acute cannabis exposure, though these deficits resolve with sustained abstinence. 

“The long-term effects of cannabis on executive function is most clearly demonstrated when studies use chronic, heavy cannabis users, as opposed to light, occasional users,” researchers said.

Though, examining the relationship between cannabis and adults with HIV is surely a subject worth looking into, given that up to one-third of HIV-positive individuals have reported using cannabis to treat symptoms. Other studies have suggested that cannabis may provide “a beneficial intervention to reduce morbidity related to inflammation” and a “novel means to reduce morbidity and mortality” in people living with HIV.

Looking ahead, researchers said that “the effects of specific cannabinoid doses on cognition and biological mechanisms must be investigated in older adults” in order to inform safe and effective medical cannabis use.

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Advocates in Nebraska Launch Medical Cannabis Ballot Campaign for 2024

Advocates in Nebraska, one of the few remaining states in the U.S. that have not enacted medical cannabis legislation, recently filed paperwork to get a medical cannabis initiative on the ballot in 2024.

According to the Nebraska Examiner, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana will need more than 200,000 signatures for the initiative to qualify. The group’s spokesperson, Crista Eggers, hopes that the people will override the decisions of her state legislature who have refused to listen to their constituents. “We have no choice but to keep petitioning our government,” said Eggers. “The Legislature refuses to act despite the will of over 80% of Nebraskans, from all parties, regions, ages, etc., supporting this.”

Eggers also spoke to the Lincoln Journal Star about their hope for medical cannabis. “We know the people support this,” said Eggers. “We are going to execute and put that into motion to have safe and regulated medical cannabis in Nebraska.”

Eggers’ eight-year-old son has been experiencing epileptic seizures since he was two years old. She and her family tried multiple medications that didn’t improve her son’s condition, but eventually tried medical cannabis with success. She has spent the last seven years advocating and working toward legalization for her son and other families across the state.

According to the group’s website, it takes approximately three weeks for the state to certify the initiative. After that, the group can begin to collect signatures.

Medical cannabis can provide relief to Nebraskans who are suffering. We are among the thousands of families and patients who need access,” the Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana states on its website. “Whether it’s a neighbor or a loved one or a friend, most Nebraskans know someone who struggles with a serious health condition. But medical cannabis isn’t an option in our state—even if a doctor recommends it.”

In 2020, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana’s ballot initiative was stripped from the ballot by the Nebraska Supreme Court. The court stated that the initiative violated constitutional requirements for a “single subject” rule, which prompted the group to instead create two initiatives that separately addressed a regulatory framework and established protections for caregivers from arrest.

LB-474 was also introduced in the state legislature in 2021 to consider medical cannabis, but was two votes short in order to pass. Nicole Hochstein, a Nebraska mother of a child who suffers from epilepsy, described her feelings as “Devastated. Broken. In pieces because they literally voted my child’s life away.”

A petition drive in August 2022 failed to receive enough signatures for the 2022 ballot. Although the 184,000 signatures the group collected were not enough, and despite funding woes, the group decided to continue working toward 2024.

In December 2021, former Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts was featured in an ad paid for by Smart Approaches to Marijuana that solidified his opposition on the topic of medical cannabis. “The only difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana is word choice,” the governor said. “Doctors can’t prescribe it and pharmacists can’t provide it because it’s not medicine.”

Earlier that year, he made statements claiming that cannabis “is a dangerous drug that will impact our kids” and “if you legalize marijuana, you’re gonna kill your kids.”

Current Gov. Jim Pillen isn’t a staunch advocate of cannabis, but in February he did confirm support of FDA-approved medicines. “I’m a 100% believer in prescription authority. That’s a place the FDA has done a good job in over the past several years. I’m a proponent of prescription marijuana use if it’s approved through the FDA,” he said.

Medical cannabis laws are still lacking in other states such as Idaho, Indiana, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. In the Americans for Safe Access 2022 State of the States Report, all of these states, including Nebraska, were scored with an “F” across the board for lack of legislation and access for patients.

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Pennsylvania House Members Introduce Bill To Protect Medical Cannabis Users From DUIs

If a bill passes in Pennsylvania, medical cannabis patients will no longer be at risk of being charged with a DUI just because drug tests show the presence of THC in their system, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. However, that doesn’t mean you can drive while impaired if you have a card, nor does it apply to anyone who uses cannabis without a medical card. 

Rather, the introduced legislation attempts to address a long-standing problem since cannabis legalization. As many readers know, THC can show up in your urine 30 days after you consume it and up to 90 days for heavier users. Therefore, arresting people for DUIs because their drug test shows the presence of THC would be like issuing out DUIs to a driver who hasn’t had a drink in a month. The bias in drug testing against cannabis, one of the safest drugs, doesn’t only come up regarding alcohol. Cocaine leaves your urine after about three days, as does heroin. Meth can hang around for six days. When a person fails a drug test for any reason, it’s often just because they smoked some weed. 

We know that cannabis is generally safe to consume, and a recent Canadian study even found that weed legalization does not lead to more car crashes. However, it’s understandable that folks are concerned about impaired drivers. But, under current Pennsylvania law, police can charge drivers with a DUI when marijuana use is detected, regardless of the level of impairment or time of consumption. 

“In 2016, the PA General Assembly voted to legalize medicinal use of cannabis. Sadly, the legislature failed to provide these patients the same privileges afforded to others who have legal prescriptions for a scheduled medication,” reads a cosponsor and bipartite memo from Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Philadelphia, and Rep. Aaron Kaufer, R-Luzerne. “Medicinal cannabis patients regularly contact our offices concerned that state law makes it illegal for them to drive,” they continue. 

Currently (and thankfully), Pennsylvania is an outlier and only one of a handful of states which have zero tolerance for controlled substances. Thirty-three states (even somewhere cannabis is still mostly outlawed) require proof of actual impairment at the time of being pulled over. Last session, Pennsylvania representatives introduced similar legislation but got stuck in the government’s quicksand and didn’t make it out of the Transportation Committee. Additional attempts to solve this issue arose in the state Senate. The Senate Transportation Committee approved Senate Bill 167 last June. However (more government quicksand) the bill didn’t even get a vote in the full Senate before the 2021-22 legislative session closed.

“During a Senate Transportation Committee meeting last September, representatives of the Pennsylvania State Police testified that the bill would not adversely impact their mission to keep the highways and byways of the Commonwealth free of impaired drivers,” Sen. Camera Bartolotta, R-Washington, the prime sponsor of SB 167, said in a statement at the time of that committee vote, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Considering more than 425,000 Pennsylvania residents have active patient certifications allowing them to use medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, let’s hope this issue resolves sooner rather than later. 

Reasonable Pennsylvania officials are currently trying to make cannabis laws more rational in other ways. Sen. Mike Regan, R-Cumberland, and Sen. James Brewster, D-McKeesport announced plans earlier this year for legislation allowing doctors to certify patients to use medical cannabis for any condition rather than the state’s current limited medical list. On a map of which states have legalized adult-use, Pennsylvania sticks out like a sore thumb that hasn’t.

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5 Medications You Should Avoid Using With Cannabis

While cannabis undoubtedly has a wide range of potential benefits, including pain and anxiety relief, there are some prescription medications you should avoid using with weed, even if you are a medical marijuana patient. Cannabis may interact negatively with your medication or dull the medication’s impact, potentially creating a range of health risks.

If you’re currently prescribed any of the following medications, you should consider refraining from cannabis use until you have had an opportunity to discuss the potential outcomes and best options with your doctor.

Prescription Opioids

Although both prescription opioids and medical cannabis can be used to treat long-term or chronic pain, the two should not be used together.

One opioid medication worth mentioning is oxycodone. An opioid like oxycodone can be incredibly addictive on its own. Some doctors may be able to help moderate oxycodone use and ensure its use is as safe as possible. When you mix oxycodone with other drugs, like cannabis, the risks only increase. One study found that combining oxycodone and cannabis leads to an increased risk of depression and anxiety and unintentionally subdues a patient’s central nervous system to a dangerous degree.

However, there is a plus side: Medical cannabis can potentially be used to reduce prescription opioid intake, which ultimately reduces the chances of negative side effects such as dependence and overdose. Those who intend to utilize medical cannabis to reduce their opioid intake should speak to a qualified healthcare professional to get the appropriate support and tapering programs, which improves the chances of overcoming dependence.

Blood Thinners

Blood thinners, which regulate the ease of blood flow throughout the body, require incredibly careful dosages in the first place, and adding cannabis to the mix can be risky. Some blood thinners are drastically affected by cannabis use. One study found that using blood thinners and cannabis simultaneously can lead to the increased potency of certain blood-thinning medications.

Doctors prescribe people medicines at certain dosages for a reason. With some blood thinners, the potential exists, in practice, for people to essentially be taking a significantly higher amount of medication than their doctor intended. If you are on blood thinners and actively use cannabis, your doctor might recommend lowering the prescribed dose of your medicine or suggest you reduce or cease cannabis use.


SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, have a lot of potential uses but are most commonly used as antidepressants to treat conditions such as depression, anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder. More research is needed to determine whether patients need to avoid cannabis entirely when taking a prescribed SSRI. Still, until then, patients should be aware of potential issues, be careful, and seek their physician’s advice.

Some initial warning signs suggest that antidepressants’ effectiveness may be dulled by co-use with cannabis. Some studies also suggest that cannabinoids like CBD can prevent your body from eliminating antidepressants such as escitalopram and sertraline, which can lead to an increase of antidepressants in the body. This, in turn, can lead to an increased risk of side effects such as panic attacks.

On the other hand, some patients on SSRIs may benefit from the medical use of some marijuana products, as cannabis can have antidepressant qualities when dosed appropriately. Moreover, cannabis may be useful in reducing antidepressant intake. As always, open and honest communication with your healthcare provider is the best course of action when combining SSRIs and cannabis.


Some studies suggest that there could be potential benefits to using cannabis to aid in the withdrawal from benzodiazepines, though further research is needed. Those with forms of epilepsy like Dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome may also find that CBD reduces their need for antiseizure medications, many of which are sedative and benzodiazepine-based (e.g., lorazepam, midazolam, diazepam, and clonazepam).

Combining cannabis use with active benzodiazepine use, however, could be a different story. Benzodiazepines are depressant, sedative-like drugs known for general potency. Like blood thinners, cannabis use can effectively increase the amount of benzodiazepines in the body. In other words, cannabis use can ramp up the potency of a drug like Xanax, which is already quite powerful on its own.

Those who wish to utilize cannabis to reduce their benzodiazepine intake should do so under medical supervision, especially as benzodiazepine withdrawal can be dangerous and even life-threatening.


Ritalin is a stimulant often used to treat conditions like ADHD. While CBD or low-dose THC may help manage some of Ritalin’s side effects, some studies have found that cannabis use can result in minimized effectiveness of Ritalin.

Due to its ability to potentially dull Ritalin’s effectiveness, those prescribed Ritalin should work with their doctors to determine whether they should continue using cannabis.

The Bottom Line

Several prescription drugs should not be combined with cannabis use, or at the very least, should be done so under medical supervision. With that said, it is important to remember that cannabis is not the sole, potentially problematic factor for adverse medical reactions. All potentially negative drug interactions should be taken seriously, whether cannabis is involved in any way or not.

Even grapefruit has been shown to negatively interact with some forms of medication, leading to the term ‘The Grapefruit Effect.’ This is because grapefruit can inhibit the liver enzyme, cytochrome P450 (CYP 450), which metabolizes many drugs and medications. CBD has a similar effect.

As always, you should be open and honest with your doctor so that, together, you can make informed, responsible decisions about what medications are best for your health. Medical cannabis can be an amazing tool for managing chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and many other conditions but, like everything, it requires careful consideration and is not for everyone.

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Colorado Cannabis Industry Continues to Face Uncertainty

A recent report from The Denver Post analyzes the fallout of the post-pandemic cannabis industry in Colorado. While once the state reached a peak of $226 million in combined recreational and medical cannabis sales, current sales have decreased and small businesses struggle to stay afloat.

“The market’s just bad. It’s bad right now,” cannabis salesperson Val Tonazzi told The Denver Post. “There’s businesses closing, left and right.”

In February, Colorado’s medical cannabis sales decreased to $15 million, the lowest collection since retail sales began in 2014. March brought a slight increase in medical cannabis sales, approximately $17 million, but was $5 million less than March 2022. Likewise, March recreational sales were recorded at $122 million this year, but it’s a $17 million decrease from last year’s numbers.

On May 9, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a fact sheet detailing the “End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.” While the nation and many of its industries return to normal operations, cannabis business owners continue to see ripples of oversupply of cannabis products, lack of demand, pricing dropping to record lows, and lack of cannabis tourism.

Over the past few years, many states bordering Colorado have approved recreational cannabis. This includes Montana and Arizona in 2020, and New Mexico in 2021, creating competition for Colorado.

Vangst, a cannabis job company, recently released its 2023 Vangst Jobs Report. The report states that there was a 2% drop in cannabis jobs, and Colorado was ranked as the second highest state for cannabis job losses. It was also ranked number six on a list of top cannabis jobs with less positions than states like California, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, and Massachusetts.

It isn’t just small cannabis businesses falling under hard times. Bigger companies, like Curaleaf, are also pivoting as well. In January, Curaleaf  closed down its offices in Colorado, California and Oregon, “as part of its continued effort to streamline its business.” According to Curaleaf CEO Matt Darin, this move was also made due to thriving black market competition. “We believe these states will represent opportunities in the future, but the current price compression caused by a lack of meaningful enforcement of the illicit market prevent us from generating an acceptable return on our investments,” Darin said in a press release.

The closure of cannabis businesses is affecting the real estate market as well. A National Association of Realtors report recently explained “a decline in commercial property purchases by marijuana industry-related businesses and a corresponding increase in leasing activity.”

The Denver Post spoke with local entrepreneur Renée Grossman, who founded five retail storefronts in Colorado since 2013, and also moved into cultivation and manufacturing as well. “There’s too many stores, there’s too much cultivation, there’s too many products,” Grossman explained to The Denver Post. “Right now, all the investors are sitting on the sidelines, and kind of waiting to time the bottom—and nobody knows exactly when that’s going to happen.”

Amidst the uncertainty of the situation, Grossman and many other business owners have had to lay off many of their staff to continue paying the bills. “Most companies I know are losing money, or they’ve shut down and scaled back,” said Grossman. “A lot of companies that are my size or smaller are really feeling the burn.” She also suggested that more mergers may take place in order to help bolster smaller businesses against larger companies.

Initially there was a drive for cannabis tourism to bring people to Colorado, but even as travel has become safer in the wake of COVID-19, the increase in states with recreational cannabis has caused a shift in interest. According to Native Roots Cannabis Company vice president of marketing, Buck Dutton, sales for 4/20 decreased from recent years: “…people don’t see the need to travel here to spend their 4/20 with us,” Dutton told The Denver Post. “The only expectation that it lived up to is that we thought it was going to be bad.”

Marijuana Industry Group executive director Truman Bradley likens Colorado’s current situation to “the ghost of Christmas future.” The excitement that drove sales for Colorado as the first state to legalize recreational cannabis has since slowed. Bradley stated that the only way Colorado can survive now is for the industry to “get leaner,” in terms of competition being thinned out. He also calls on state legislators to reevaluate legalization. “It’s critical that lawmakers understand that decade No. 2 of legalization needs to look fundamentally different from decade No. 1,” Bradley stated.

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Costa Rica Grants First Medical Cannabis Cultivation License

Just over a year after legalizing hemp and medical cannabis, Costa Rica’s Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Victor Carvajal signed a resolution to grant authorization to Azul Wellness S.A. to cultivate and process medical cannabis, The Tico Times reports

It marks the first medical cannabis license granted in the Central American country.

Azul Wellness S.A. is Costa Rican owned and backed by the family of José Álvaro Jenkins, president of the Costa Rican Union of Chambers and Associations of the Private Business Sector. Azul reportedly is planning to establish an 800-square-meter production and processing facility, located in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province.

The firm also partnered with U.S. private equity firm Merida Capital Holdings, which specializes in medical cannabis. According to the Times, the collaboration is meant to help Azul cultivate two varieties of psychoactive cannabis to start, with a focus on exporting the produced material.

Jenkins himself expressed optimism about the endeavor and said he envisions eventually establishing a medical cannabis laboratory in Costa Rica. He has also publicly supported the government’s efforts to legalize recreational cannabis in the past.

While Azul received the first medical cannabis license, Carvajal has issued eight authorizations for hemp cultivation. There are still two applications for hemp cultivation and processing and one medical cannabis license under evaluation.

Costa Rica legalized hemp and medical cannabis in March 2022. President Rodrigo Chaves unveiled a draft law several months later to lay the legal foundation for the country’s medical cannabis and hemp markets, specifically looking at production and sales. The Costa Rican government controls the cannabis industry — including granting permits related to industrial hemp and medical cannabis — under regulation of the Ministry of Health and the minister of agriculture and livestock.

Around that same time, Chaves also presented a bill to the Legislative assembly to legalize the recreational use of cannabis in Costa Rica. He promised the initiative shortly after taking his role, nodding to the fact that recreational use of cannabis is a reality we cannot turn away from.

“It is no secret to anyone that marijuana is consumed in Costa Rica, more and more openly in the streets and parks. It is a reality,” Chaves said in a translation during a press conference.

He’s admitted that he personally does not agree with the consumption of cannabis, though he believes that it’s best to regulate the market so Costa Rica can reap the benefits.

“That they pay taxes, that generates formal employment; It is very clear that it is not an easy issue, many people of good faith have doubts,” he said.

As of January 2023, the government was set to present a substitute text to the recreational legalization bill after receiving feedback from different institutions, according to The Tico Times. Originally, the plan would have allowed recreational cannabis companies to operate under the Free Trade Zone regime, meaning consumers could feasibly go to clubs, coffee shops and other businesses to buy cannabis products. 

A number of institutions, including The Judicial Investigation Organism (OIJ), the Medical Association, the College of Psychiatrists, the Institute of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction (IAFA), the Evangelical Alliance Federation and some municipalities, shared their opposition and requested the proposal’s dismissal.

And even though a number of other institutions and businesses in the country support the proposal, citing similar benefits as Chaves like economic growth and opportunity, citizens aren’t quite on board. According to a survey conducted by the School of Statistics of the University of Costa Rica, 76.5% of Costa Ricans approve of medical cannabis, but only 35.4% support recreational legalization.

Costa Rica joins a number of other Latin American countries with legal medical cannabis, including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru. Uruguay is the only Latin American country with legalized recreational cannabis.

Regarding hemp, Costa Rican law defines industrial hemp as the plant or part or the plant and its derivatives, with extracting to contain no more than 1% THC by dry weight. The U.S. currently defines hemp as 0.3% THC or less, though farmers have advocated to change the limit to 1% as well with the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill.

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Doctors Warn Seniors About Consuming Too Much THC

Due to an uptick of incidents involving seniors consuming too much cannabis, doctors are warning older citizens about how to consume the plant correctly. Eating edibles in particular, without the proper guidance, is notorious for causing panic, though the risks are rarely physical.

KOMO News in Seattle reports that doctors want to inform seniors about ways to avoid panic and an unnecessary emergency room visit. This can be solved with simple education about the differences between edibles, topicals, and smokable products and how they affect us differently.

It’s the responsibility of any consumer to properly research before eating an edible, or consuming a high-THC product.

“There are a number of different situations where you could end up in the emergency department, because of a combination of cannabis and a medication or cannabis and another product,” Dr. Lianne Hirano of the Geriatrics department at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, told KOMO News. 

“If you are a first time user, or if you are somebody who is used to using products from the 60s and 70s, today’s products are way more potent. Your body and your metabolism might not be used to that level of potency,” she said, “That can be quite scary.”

Wall Street Journal reports that seniors are often susceptible to consuming too much cannabis if they’re used to lighter doses.

There are a number of reasons seniors are trying out cannabis for medical purposes. Some seniors turn to cannabis to help with sleeping. Researchers found that overall, cannabis helped seniors get, on average, an extra 30 minutes of sleep. Study participants used smartphones and actigraphy watches to log their sleep patterns

Some seniors believe cannabis can help when battling aging itself. Seniors are turning to cannabis to treat common symptoms of aging, with nearly 80% of those who reported using cannabis saying they did so for medicinal reasons, according to a study from researchers at the University of California San Diego. Results of the study, “Cannabis: An emerging treatment for common symptoms in older adults,” were published on Oct. 7, 2020 in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.

Today’s Weed is ‘A Different Animal’

Hashtag Cannabis Marketing Director Christine Bryant described today’s more potent weed as “a different animal.”

“The difference is when using a topical, you’re not going to feel the intoxicating effects of THC. But you will feel some of the anti-inflammatory effects that THC can provide for the skin barrier. That’s the difference with an oral (product), like a gummy or a chocolate, something like that. Is this going to affect your whole system? You’re going to process it through your liver, you’re going to feel whole body effects,” she said.

In the event that you consume too much THC, sniffing black peppercorns is an old hack that can reduce some, but not all, of the effect.

Studies show both improvements and setbacks due to senior cannabis use. Last January, researchers from the University of California San Diego published a study in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, suggesting that emergency room visits involving people 65 and older who use cannabis have increased 1,804% in the past 15 years.

Another study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society also reported an uptick in seniors who are consuming cannabis. In a survey of nearly 600 adults in the age range found that 15% reported using marijuana products in the last three years.

Anyone getting into cannabis should be aware of the proper titration in order to prevent panicked calls to the emergency room.

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Missouri Cannabis Sales Top $1 Billion

Missouri has a new billion-dollar industry. 

Cumulative sales for marijuana reportedly topped that lofty threshold in the Show Me State earlier this month, just three months after the adult-use marijuana market launched there, and nearly three years after medical cannabis was made legal in Missouri.

Local news station KOMU reports that “Missouri surpassed $1 billion in legal cannabis sales on May 2,” an impressive milestone driven by strong recreational pot sales.

According to the station, in the three months since the state’s recreational cannabis market launched on February 3, “Missouri has sold $350.2 million, including $256.2 million of adult-use cannabis and $94 million in medical marijuana.”

Medical cannabis sales in Missouri began in October of 2020.

“For comparison, Illinois, which has twice Missouri’s population, sold a total of $188.1 million in the first three months of adult use sales in January through March 2020,” the station reported.

The early returns were promising after the state’s recreational cannabis industry launched in early February. 

In that first month, Missouri dispensaries raked in more than $100 million in marijuana sales, with $72 million coming from recreational cannabis sales and $31 million coming from medical cannabis.

Andrew Mullins, executive director of the Missouri Cannabis Trade Association (MOCann), said that the opening month of regulated sales of adult-use cannabis in the state eclipsed the launch of recreational pot sales in neighboring Illinois in 2020.

“That’s more than double what Illinois did in a state with twice the population,” Andrew Mullins, the executive director of the Missouri Cannabis Trade Association, said at the time. “So it really shows the interest and excitement for the new adult-use industry in Missouri.”

“Canna-tourism folks that may decide to come to Missouri to access and utilize cannabis,” Mullins added. “That seems to also be having an impact on the amount of sales that Missouri’s experiencing.”

Mullins sang a similar tune in comments to KOMU this week.

“Missouri’s newest billion-dollar industry is experiencing significant job growth, providing great products and services to Missourians, and becoming an integral part to the local economy throughout the state,” Mullins said, as quoted by the news station. “Missouri has avoided so many of the early hiccups that other states have experienced transitioning from a medical cannabis program focusing on quality, affordability, access and selection. Missouri’s cannabis program could not have gotten off to a better start. A sincere thank you to all the patients, customers, and small business owners that helped Missouri reach this impressive milestone.” 

Voters in Missouri last year approved Amendment 3, which legalized recreational cannabis for adults aged 21 and older in the state.

The amendment passed by a vote of 53% to 47%.

According to KOMU, the state “has now surpassed 14,800 direct jobs in the [cannabis] industry, and early indications are that these jobs pay higher than cannabis jobs in many other states.”

The new law has also resulted in the expungement of thousands of prior pot-related convictions in the state. 

The Riverfront Times reported in March that the “majority of expunged convictions so far [were] misdemeanors.” At that time, the paper reported, courts in the state had “granted 6,121 expungements for misdemeanors related to nonviolent cannabis offenses that did not involve selling to minors or driving under the influence of cannabis,” while more than 1,200 “felony convictions have also been expunged.”

Local news station FOX4 reports that, as of this week, “more than 31,000 past marijuana convictions have been expunged.”

“Part of the 6% sales tax buyers pay on adult use marijuana sales funds automatic expungements. The state believes the number of expunged cases will increase quickly in coming months,” the station reports.

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