Women of Influence: Dr. Miyabe Shields

Having established quite an interesting online presence as a scientist, educating the public on the endocannabinoid system while also maintaining their identity as a medical cannabis user, Dr. Miyabe Shields is a neurodivergent scientist and a queer person of color. Dr. Shields’ mission is to “empower as many people as possible to understand themselves and their medicine at the molecular scale.”

Dr. Shields parlayed their pharmaceutical background and work studying the molecular mechanisms of cannabis and psychedelics as they relate to mental health into a healthy online following. Through their posts and “Smoke ’n’ Science” podcast, Dr. Shields educates viewers and listeners on crucial facts and falsehoods about the plant. They’re also co-inventors of Smokenol, a process for extracting active compounds from cannabis smoke for application in topicals, tinctures and gummies.

“It often feels like there isn’t a place in society for people like me, so we’re obligated to carve it out ourselves or get crushed into conformity,” Dr. Shields says. “I’d like to see more people question the ingrained gendered behaviors and assumptions that underly gender as a social construction. In other words, why do we attribute certain characteristics as masculine or feminine?”

This story was originally published in issue 48 of the print edition of Cannabis Now. Read it now on the Cannabis Now iTunes app.

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Survey Finds Nearly One-Third of Cancer Patients Use Cannabis

Nearly a third of cancer patients used cannabis to treat their symptoms in a recent study conducted by researchers affiliated with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. The study, which was published recently in the peer-reviewed journal Supportive Care in Cancer, also found that most patients who are using cannabis don’t report their use to their healthcare provider, a finding that’s consistent with previous research that showed patients are reluctant to discuss their use of medical marijuana with their doctors.

To conduct the study, researchers recruited patients with nine different cancers being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center between March and August 2021. Patients were asked to complete an online or telephone survey designed to capture data on cannabis use and the patients’ attitudes and communication about cannabis. A subsequent analysis of the data estimated the association between cancer type and cannabis use, adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics and prior cannabis use.

Among the survey’s 1258 respondents, nearly a third (31%) of patients reported using cannabis after their cancer diagnosis, primarily to treat their symptoms. The rate of patients’ cannabis use varied by the type of cancer, ranging from 25% for lung cancer up to 59% for testicular cancer. Patients who used cannabis for palliative care “overwhelmingly reported improvements in their symptoms,” the researchers reported.

Characteristics associated with cannabis use included younger age, lower education level and type of cancer. Additionally, cannabis use in the year prior to a patient’s cancer diagnosis was strongly associated with cannabis use after diagnosis. In a multivariable analysis of the study data, gastrointestinal cancer patients were more likely to use cannabis compared to patients being treated for lung cancer. Patients reported different reasons for using cannabis, with 48% saying they used it to improve sleep, 46% saying they used cannabis to treat stress, anxiety or depression and 42% reported using cannabis use to treat pain. Among respondents who used cannabis to treat symptoms, 70-90% reported symptom improvement. Less than 5% said their cannabis use made their symptoms worse.

Study Finds Patients Are Reluctant to Discuss Cannabis

The new study also found that only 25% of those using cannabis to treat their symptoms discussed such use with their healthcare provider. Noting the prevalence of cannabis use among cancer patients, the authors of the study recommended that oncologists prepare themselves to have frank discussions about the potential harms and benefits of cannabis with their patients.

“Our study found that cannabis use among cancer patients is common across sociodemographic and clinical populations, with cannabis often obtained without oncologist involvement,” the researchers wrote in an abstract of the study. “Oncologists and other members of the oncology team are uniquely positioned to provide education about the harms and benefits of cannabis use specifically for cancer patients, which is especially important in the context of inconclusive and often conflicting evidence. Interventions to improve cannabis education and communication need not target oncologists who treat specific cancers, as cannabis use appears consistent across multiple patient characteristics.”

In an article about the research, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) noted that the study’s finding that only a quarter of the respondents who were using cannabis told their healthcare provider about their use is consistent with research published in 2020 by researchers affiliated with the University of Vermont. In a survey of 1,000 primary care patients in Vermont, where medical marijuana was legalized for qualified patients in 2004, less than a fifth of participants (18%) “rated their provider as a good source of information regarding cannabis.”

Many of the study participants reported using cannabis products in the month prior to the survey, with 21% saying they had used CBD products and 19% reporting using products with THC. Most respondents said they perceive their use of cannabis products to be “very” or “somewhat helpful” in treating a variety of symptoms including pain, depression and difficulty sleeping. Respondents also reported using cannabis to treat medical conditions including insomnia, migraine and arthritis.

“The results of our research pose important questions that should be investigated in the future,” the authors of the 2020 research wrote in the conclusion of their study. “Considering patients feel that their providers may not be an adequate source of information regarding cannabinoids, it would be interesting to explore the perceived knowledge and perceptions of cannabinoids by primary care providers, to identify opportunities for improvement. … Further research should consider how to assist primary care providers in having informed conversations about the risks and benefits of cannabis, especially in the setting of chronic pain.”

The new study, “Cannabis use among recently treated cancer patients: Perceptions and experiences,” was published in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer last month.

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Medical Marijuana Benefits: Improve Quality of Life, Reduce Pain, Anxiety, and Depression, Study Finds

Summary: A recent study has highlighted medical marijuana benefits, showing that patients who use it experience an improved quality of life, along with reduced pain, anxiety, and depression.

Medical Marijuana Benefits: A Potential Solution for Pain, Anxiety, and Depression

Medical marijuana has long been a topic of debate, but recent research provides compelling evidence of its benefits. Patients who use medical marijuana have reported a significantly enhanced quality of life. This improvement is not just limited to physical well-being but extends to mental health as well.

The study’s findings are particularly noteworthy given the ongoing opioid crisis. Many patients have been prescribed opioids for pain management, but these drugs come with a high risk of addiction and other adverse effects. Medical marijuana offers a potential alternative that is both effective and has fewer side effects.

Pain reduction was a significant benefit reported by patients using medical marijuana. But beyond that, the study also found notable decreases in anxiety and depression levels among these patients. This dual benefit – alleviating both physical and mental symptoms – underscores the comprehensive therapeutic potential of medical marijuana.

However, while the results are promising, it’s essential to approach them with a balanced perspective. More research is needed to understand the long-term effects of medical marijuana use and to determine optimal dosages and strains for specific conditions.

The study’s findings could have profound implications for the future of pain management and mental health treatment. As more states and countries move towards legalizing medical marijuana, it’s crucial that patients and healthcare providers have access to accurate information to make informed decisions.

Source: HighTimes

And we would like to know how might the findings of this study influence the perception of medical marijuana in the medical community and could medical marijuana become a mainstream alternative to opioids for pain management?

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Survey: Nearly One-Third of Cancer Patients Use MJ, Most Say Symptoms Improved

A new survey, conducted by researchers affiliated with the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and published in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer, sought the perspectives of 1,258 cancer patients to find out more about their relationship with cannabis as it pertains to their cancer symptoms. 

“To characterize cannabis use among cancer patients, we aimed to describe 1) patterns of cannabis use across multiple cancer sites; 2) perceived goals, benefits, harms of cannabis; and 3) communication about cannabis,” authors note in the study abstract.

How Do Cancer Patients Use Cannabis, and Is It Effective?

The survey looked at patients with nine different cancers treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center between March and August 2021. Respondents completed an online or phone survey asking about their cannabis use, attitudes and communication surrounding cannabis. 

Researchers used multivariable logistic regression to estimate the association of cancer type and cannabis use, adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics and prior cannabis use.

All respondents resided in states where the use of medicinal cannabis for cancer is legal, and 31% said that they used cannabis products following their diagnosis, ranging from 25% for lung cancer to 59% for testicular cancer.

“Characteristics associated with cannabis use included younger age, lower education level, and cancer type. In multivariable analysis, compared to lung cancer patients, gastrointestinal cancer patients were more likely to use cannabis,” the study notes.

Researchers also said that cannabis use in the year prior to diagnosis was “strongly associated” with cannabis use after diagnosis. Most cannabis users reported that they used it to assist with sleep (48%); followed by use for stress, anxiety or depression (46%); and pain (42%). Among those who used cannabis to improve symptoms, 70-90% reported improvement, while less than 5% said that any symptom worsened.

Consistent with previous data showing a reluctance to disclose cannabis use with healthcare professionals, only 25% of respondents said they discussed their cannabis use with medical providers.

Despite Lack of Oncologist Involvement, Cancer Patients Find Relief Through Cannabis

In the study’s conclusion, authors note that the survey shows that cannabis use among cancer patients is common across sociodemographic and clinical populations, with cannabis often being obtained independent of oncologists. Authors note that “oncologists and other members of the oncology team are uniquely positioned to provide education about the harms and benefits of cannabis use specifically for cancer patients,” adding that this context is “especially important” when it comes to “inconclusive and often conflicting evidence.”

“Interventions to improve cannabis education and communication need not target oncologists who treat specific cancers, as cannabis use appears consistent across multiple patient characteristics,” the authors concluded. “… To improve decision making about cannabis use during cancer care, research is needed to determine benefits and harms of cannabis use.”

Continued Evidence for Cannabis as Treatment for Cancer Symptoms

Cancer patients using cannabis to aid in symptom relief is nothing new, though the body of research surrounding cannabis as an effective treatment for symptom relief is still growing. That said, the available findings show promising outcomes for treating cancer-related symptoms. 

A May 2023 study found that medical cannabis is a safe and effective treatment for pain caused by cancer when combined with other drugs. Researchers concluded that medicinal cannabis is “a safe and complementary treatment option in patients with cancer failing to reach adequate pain relief through conventional analgesics, such as opioids.” The study found that medicinal cannabis significantly reduced pain in particular.

Another study, published in 2022, similarly found that cancer patients who used medicinal cannabis reported less pain and that cannabis reduced their need for powerful opiate painkillers. The study also found that cannabis was well tolerated and reduced other cancer-related symptoms.

The post Survey: Nearly One-Third of Cancer Patients Use MJ, Most Say Symptoms Improved appeared first on High Times.

Cannabis 101: Understanding Compassionate Care

When it comes to the medical marijuana era—including understanding compassionate care programs—it pays to know a bit of history. 

Far from being a mere historical footnote in the long march towards legalization, the advent of state-sanctioned medical cannabis markets represented a game-changing victory on multiple fronts. From a policy perspective, the success of California’s Prop 215 in 1996 set in motion a domino effect that inspired numerous other states to follow suit by subsequently enacting medical marijuana laws of their own. 

What these laws accomplished was nothing short of radical: They allowed those suffering from a variety of medical ailments to purchase, consume and benefit from cannabis without fear of legal repercussion. But it didn’t go off quite so cleanly. Many licensed operations endured frequent, aggressive raids from federal authorities. Despite such challenges, some craft cannabis cultivators in California’s Emerald Triangle still pine for the medical-only days.

It makes sense. As a far looser market, requirements for testing, taxes, packaging and licensing all still existed but were notably less stringent than they’d ultimately become following California’s move to legalize recreational cannabis sales in 2018.

Another reason for these laments stems from the highly lucrative, rapidly growing cannabis industry, with its focus clearly shifting from medicine to money. Case in point: It took a monumental effort from advocates to fix a loophole in Prop 64 (California’s adult-use bill) that essentially killed the state’s landmark compassionate care program. To understand what happened, one needs to look at how these programs work and who they were originally designed to help.

Free Weed

The underlying concept behind compassionate care programs is that those in need should always have access to safe, quality medicine—regardless of whether they can afford it. At the onset, this group was largely composed of those living with HIV/AIDS, and cannabis had been deemed a potentially effective treatment for related symptoms, such as nausea, loss of appetite, pain relief and depression. With some hope in sight, 

brave individuals, including Prop 215 co-author Dennis Peron and the legendary “Brownie” Mary Rathbun, risked prison time to ensure patients hospitalized in San Francisco-area hospital AIDS wards could access cannabis.

When Prop 215 became law in 1996, it established the basic tenets for how cannabis compassionate care programs should operate. It’s a blueprint that basically continues to this day: Cultivators donate flower to licensed dispensaries, which in turn offer it to qualified patients at discounted rates, or for no charge at all. One of the reasons these programs worked was because, as a charitable enterprise, donations of cannabis weren’t subject to tax fees. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, this became a big problem after California enacted Prop 64 in 2016.

The issue became that in addition to requiring licensed growers to pay high taxes on cannabis cultivated for sale, Prop 64 failed to exempt flower grown for compassionate care from taxation. Normally happy to donate, cultivators understandably balked at being asked to pay for giving away free product. Thankfully, the issue was resolved in 2020 when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary Act, once again making it possible for operators to distribute medical cannabis without the brutal taxes.

But as more and more states opt to evolve their industries from medical-only to a hybrid of adult-use and medical sales, are all patients being given the care and attention they deserve?

Making Room for Medicine

Barring federal policy reform and the establishment of a new nationwide set of standards, to gain the most accurate picture, one must approach this issue on a state-by-state level. As things stand today, there are now medical-only states, states with laws supporting both medical and recreational markets, and states where all products with more than a trace of THC continue to be fully prohibited.

Fortunately, a combination of thoughtful policymakers, seasoned advocates and generous cannabis companies are working to ensure patients continue to be an overall priority in the industry. In Oregon, for example, many dispensaries are dual-licensed—a quirk of the state’s legislation, but also a testament to the stores’ own values and desire to take care of their medical customers. 

(To clarify, being a medical patient doesn’t automatically make someone a compassionate care patient, though there’s certainly overlap between these groups.)

How compassionate care programs will figure into federal legalization policy when such a day eventually arrives will be a matter of which bill gets the favor of Congress. If those in charge do attempt to forget the rights of individuals needing access to free or discounted cannabis, one can expect cannabis advocates to fight for patient rights, as they have since the days of Prop 215. 

The post Cannabis 101: Understanding Compassionate Care appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Week in Review: The Bahamas Moves to Legalize Cannabis

In this week’s cannabis news round-up, Bahamas government introduces bill to legalize medical and religious use of cannabis; more American adults see cannabis as safer than alcohol and cigarettes; medical cannabis sales increase as pot prices decline; and Maria Sakkari disturbed by cannabis odor during us open.

PHOTO Cristofer Maximilian

Bahamian Government Introduces Bill to Legalize Medical and Religious Use of Cannabis

New legislation has been introduced in The Bahamas to legalize cannabis for medical and religious applications and to decriminalize the possession of small quantities of cannabis. Individuals found with less than an ounce of cannabis not intended for medical or religious use would face a $250 fine rather than criminal charges.

The proposed law outlines that licenses for cultivation, retail, transportation and religious usage would exclusively be granted to Bahamian-owned companies. Licenses for research, testing and manufacturing would require at least 30% Bahamian ownership. The island nation’s government plans to establish an agency to oversee the industry; Attorney General Ryan Pinder has previously indicated that cannabis for religious use would only be allowed to be smoked within licensed organizations’ premises.

Similar cannabis policy reforms have been undertaken by other Caribbean nations. In 2018, Antigua and Barbuda legalized medical cannabis and in June, Rastafari members were authorized to grow and consume cannabis due to their sacred beliefs. Jamaica has also decriminalized small-scale cannabis possession.


Gallup Poll: More Americans See Cannabis As Safer Than Alcohol and Cigarettes, as Cannabis Use Exceeds Tobacco Smoking

A recent Gallup poll revealed that Americans now believe cannabis is less risky than alcohol, cigarettes, vapes and other tobacco products. The data indicates that cannabis use has exceeded cigarette consumption in the US, as adults are increasingly moving away from cigarettes due to growing awareness of their health risks. At the same time, attitudes toward cannabis are shifting, with decreasing perceptions of harm as more states legalize its use and more adults identify as users.

Participants of the poll were questioned about seven substances and their perceived levels of harm: “very,” “somewhat” or “not too/not at all.” The findings show that approximately 40% of respondents view cannabis as “not too” or “not at all” harmful. This is in stark contrast to cigarettes, with only four percent considering them relatively harmless and alcohol, where just 16% share this sentiment. On the other hand, 23% see cannabis as “very harmful,” compared to 76% for cigarettes, 54% for e-cigarettes, 39% for cigars and 30% for alcohol.


Arkansas: Medical Cannabis Sales Increase as Weed Prices Decline

The cost of medical cannabis in Arkansas has decreased, with the price per pound dropping from $5,466 in 2022 to $4,545 in June, according to data from the Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration (DFA). In 2021, the average pound price was $6,565.

In 2022, Arkansas’ medical cannabis dispensaries saw an average monthly sale of 4,212 pounds, reaching 5,149 pounds in June. The state law limits the number of dispensaries to 40.

April’s report revealed that Arkansas witnessed a 7.14% increase in medical cannabis sales in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2022, based on DFA data.

In 2022, medical cannabis sales hit a record high at $276 million, a 4.3% increase from the previous year’s $264 million. Sales for this year are projected to surpass both 2021 and 2022, with over $140 million recorded in the first half of 2023, according to state data.

Maria Sakkari
Photo courtesy of Maria Sakkari

Maria Sakkari Disturbed by Cannabis Odor During US Open Defeat

Maria Sakkari, the No. 8 seed tennis player from Greece, faced an unexpected distraction during her first-round match at the US Open in New York City: the smell of cannabis on the court.

Sakkari reportedly noticed the smell during a changeover when she was leading 4-1 in the first set against Rebeka Masarova. She attributed the smell to a nearby park and reportedly also noticing it during her practice on the same court the day before.

“Sometimes you smell food, sometimes you smell cigarettes, sometimes you smell weed,” Sakkari said. “I mean, it’s something we cannot control, because we’re in an open space. There’s a park behind. People can do whatever they want.”

However, Sakkari says that the odor didn’t impact her focus or performance during the match, in what became her third straight first-round exit in a Grand Slam tournament.

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Study: Cannabis Doesn’t Increase Heart Attack Risk

Middle-aged adults with a history of cannabis use over the previous year did not have a higher risk of suffering a heart attack, according to the results of a recent study by researchers at the University of California in San Diego.

The new study, “Associations Between Monthly Cannabis Use and Myocardial Infarction in Middle-Aged Adults: NHANES 2009 to 2018,” was published on August 7 in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Cardiology, found that a history of cannabis use over the previous year was not associated with an elevated risk of myocardial infarction (MI) among a nationally representative study of nearly 10,000 adults aged 35 to 59. Additionally, study participants who reported using cannabis in the month before experiencing an MI, also commonly known as a heart attack, showed a lower risk compared to participants who had not used cannabis recently.

“In a representative sample of middle-aged US adults, a history of monthly cannabis use for more than a year before a myocardial infarction was not linked to a subsequent physician-diagnosed MI, after accounting for cardiovascular risk factors,” the authors of the study wrote. “However, when considering recent use, the odds were three times greater if no use was reported in the past month.”

Study Included Nearly 10,000 Participants

To conduct the study, the researchers performed an analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a series of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The study assessed the relationship between a history of monthly cannabis use preceding an MI in a nationally representative sample of middle-aged adults in the United States.

Among the 9,769 respondents of the survey analyzed for the study, a quarter (24.9%) reported a history of cannabis use for at least one year prior to experiencing a myocardial infarction. A history of MI was reported by 2.1% of all respondents and 3.2% of those who reported a history of monthly use. Additionally, 1.5% of respondents reported that they had never used cannabis, and 2.2% denied a history of being a monthly user.

The study found that subjects who had used cannabis at least monthly over the past year did not show a higher risk of having a heart attack compared to non-users when potential confounding factors such as physical activity, body mass index and the use of alcohol or cigarettes were adjusted for. However, when stratified by recent use, the odds of MI were three times greater when no cannabis use was reported within the past month than when use was reported in the month preceding a heart attack.

The study also found that the duration of monthly cannabis use by survey respondents was not significantly associated with myocardial infarction, with those who had used cannabis on a monthly basis for more than 10 years showing similar rates of incidence compared to users with a shorter history of monthly use.

“The length of monthly use before the MI, including use >10 years, also showed no association. The evidence base for cardiovascular harms is conflicting and limited by the ability to accurately quantify use, especially the method of use, dose, and potency,” the researchers wrote. “Given the expanding access to cannabis products in the United States and around the world, more research, particularly longitudinal and experimental studies, is needed.”

In a separate finding that the researchers who conducted the study characterized as “unexpected,” subjects who had recently stopped using marijuana showed an increased risk of experiencing a heart attack.

Study Inconsistent with Earlier Research

The researchers noted that the results of the study diverge from previous research in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey in US adults, which reported elevated odds of MI among young adults 18 to 44 years old, and a separate study that reported increased odds of MI or coronary artery disease (CAD) among adults 18 to 74 years old who did not smoke cigarettes.

Other studies have shown an apparent link between cannabis use and “an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, as well as heart attacks and strokes,” according to a health warning from the American Heart Association earlier this year. In the warning, which was published in time for the 4/20 festivities in April, the cardiovascular health advocacy organization noted that a 2020 scientific statement from the group maintained “that while marijuana, also known as cannabis, may be helpful for some other medical conditions, it does not appear to have any well-documented benefits for the prevention or treatment of cardiovascular diseases (CVD).”

Robert L. Page II, a professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and the Department of Physical Medicine/Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Aurora, Colorado, noted that “the way cannabis is consumed may make a difference in how it affects the heart and blood vessels. Many people don’t realize that cannabis smoke contains components similar to tobacco smoke.”

“Smoking and inhaling cannabis, regardless of THC content, has been shown to increase the concentrations of poisonous carbon monoxide and tar in the blood similar to the effects of inhaling the smoke from a tobacco cigarette,” said Page, one of the authors of the American Heart Association’s 2020 statement on medical and recreational marijuana use and cardiovascular disease. “Also, limited information exists on the hazards of exposure to secondhand cannabis smoke.”

However, a 2021 literature review of 67 studies published in the American Journal of Medicine found that “marijuana itself does not appear to be independently associated with excessive cardiovascular risk factors,” although the authors of the review warned that cannabis “can be associated with other unhealthy behaviors such as alcohol use and tobacco smoking that can be detrimental” to cardiovascular health.

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DEA Chief Seeks Clarity on Cannabis Rescheduling

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Administer Anne Milgram told lawmakers that she will seek clarity from the Department of Health and Human Services on the timeline for the Biden administration’s review of the scheduling of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act. The commitment to lawmakers came at a recent congressional legislative committee hearing, where lawmakers questioned the DEA head on scheduling review. President Joseph Biden ordered his administration to review the scheduling of cannabis under federal drug laws in an executive order last year, at the same time pardoning thousands of federal convictions for marijuana possession.

Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), a designation indicating that a drug has no accepted medical value and a high propensity for abuse. The classification groups cannabis with more dangerous and addictive drugs such as heroin, making marijuana difficult to research and illegal at the federal level. The federal cannabis ban continues despite broad reforms by states across the nation that have resulted in the legalization of adult-use cannabis in 23 states and the legalization of medical marijuana in 38 states.

Biden Called for Scheduling Review Last Year

Biden called for the scheduling review in October 2022 when he pardoned thousands of federal marijuana possession convictions. At a hearing of the House Judiciary Crime and Federal Government Surveillance Subcommittee late last month, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida asked Milgram how the administration’s examination of cannabis scheduling was progressing. Milgram told the committee that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is conducting a scientific review of cannabis, had not yet submitted a scheduling recommendation. Once the HHS submits its recommendations to the DEA, she added, the agency will conduct its own review and open a public comment period before making a final determination on rescheduling cannabis under the CSA.

“We have constant conversations with HHS and with FDA, but we have not been given a specific timeline” for the scheduling review, Milgram told lawmakers.

Gaetz then asked Milgram if she would request such a timeline from HHS. “I will ask,” the DEA head replied. Gaetz probed further, asking Milgram if the DEA had any reason to oppose removing cannabis from Schedule I of the CSA. She told the congressman that she “couldn’t prejudge it at this point in time” without input from HHS and the DEA’s own review of cannabis.

“As the head of the DEA, I will ultimately be responsible for signing off on what the scheduling is,” Milgram said.

Gaetz then requested that the DEA consider evidence showing that legalizing and regulating cannabis has resulted in a reduction in prescriptions for opioids as it conducts its review and formulates recommendations on the rescheduling of cannabis.

“You have my full commitment, congressman, that I will keep an open mind. I will look at all the research,” she said. “I expect that we will get additional public comment or research that comes in, and I will look at all of it.”

Gaetz wrapped up his questioning of Milgram by noting that removing marijuana from Schedule 1 of the CSA would ease restrictions on cannabis research. Rep. Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Texas, then backed his Republican colleague, noting that throughout his 17 years in Congress, he has heard “governmental gibberish about marijuana” from the executive branch.

“The government has messed this up forever—and you need to get ahead of the railroad,” Cohen told Milgram. “You’re gonna get something from HHS. Biden understands that should be reclassified. He said from [Schedule] I to III,” jokingly adding that “it ought to be classified from I to 420, and we ought to just clean it up and get over with it.”

At one point during the committee hearing, Milgram told lawmakers that Biden “had sent a letter to the secretary of HHS and to the attorney general to ask for the scheduling—descheduling process to begin.” Matt Zorn, an attorney, then filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking for a copy of the president’s letter. Last week, the HHS responded to the request, writing that the agency had “conducted a search” concluding that “there are no records responsive to your request.” Zorn then published an open letter to Gaetz, calling on him to “follow up with DEA” about the letter cited by Milgram, which could provide transparency into the administration’s review of cannabis scheduling.

“There are aspects of this process that the public doesn’t need to, and probably shouldn’t, be privy to,” Zorn told Marijuana Moment on Thursday. “But the basic milestones like the document that starts the process, we should be able to examine. Congress should have it; the public should have it. That’s not asking too much.”

The post DEA Chief Seeks Clarity on Cannabis Rescheduling appeared first on Cannabis Now.

House Approves Spending Bill with Amendments for Veteran Medical Cannabis Treatments

On July 26, the U.S. House of Representatives approved amendments and added a large spending bill. Among those amendments was an addition that would permit doctors from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to recommend medical cannabis for veterans, as well as allow research to be conducted for other psychedelic substances with medical benefits.

The amendment was one of many proposed to be added to the 2024 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, also referred to as HR-4366, which “…prevents the VA [Veterans Affairs] from interfering with a veteran’s ability to participate in a legal state medical cannabis program, deny service to such a veteran, or limit health care providers’ ability to make appropriate recommendations of this treatment option for veterans.” The measure was introduced by Rep. Brian Mast, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Rep. Dave Joyce, and Rep. Barbara Lee.

According to Mast, the measure is a necessity for military veterans. “I rise in support of a bipartisan amendment and it’s to do something simple—give veterans access to every possible tool when it comes to the wounds of war of which I am innately familiar,” Mast said. “The amendment is quite simple. It allows VA doctors in states with legal medical cannabis programs to discuss cannabis as a treatment option with their patients.” He explained that he has personal friends, from rangers to green berets, who have found relief from both mental and physical wounds by using medical cannabis.

Blumenauer also stated that it is Congress’s responsibility to pass legislation that allows veterans to use medical cannabis. “These veterans have also shared their fear about what happened if they work with the VA doctors to incorporate their cannabis use into their treatment plans. The VA denies veterans access to this care option by preventing providers from completing forms in compliance with state medical marijuana programs,” Blumenauer said. “This is a shameful disservice to the men and women who put their lives on the line. The VA is forcing veterans to seek care outside the VA or self-medicate. Our veterans are paying the price for Congress’s failure to act.”

Joyce also spoke in favor of the amendment, adding that he is “…proud to join my colleagues in leading this commonsense effort to help our country’s veterans access medical treatment. I’ve seen firsthand the many challenges our nation’s heroes face when they return home,” Joyce said. “We should all be resolved to help expand access to treatments for the medical challenges, both mental and physical, our nation’s veterans experience.”

Opposition was presented by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Rep. John Carter, claiming that VA doctors could legally be put at risk for recommending medical cannabis.

The House also recently approved an amendment, introduced by Rep. Lou Correa and Rep. Jack Bergman, to allow research to be conducted for other psychedelic substances. “If psychedelic-assisted therapy can treat a veterans’ PTSD or prevent them from taking their own life, then we owe it to them to take an active role in researching these potentially lifesaving therapies,” said Bergman. “This amendment will unlock potential treatments that have been shown to actually cure PTSD—something current medicine and modern psychology have been unable to do—and give our veterans a chance to live a long, happy life that we all take for granted.”

Correa added that it’s time to “take care of business” and ensure that the VA studies psychedelics and uses those findings to develop a program for veterans. “Veterans have fought for our freedom. It’s time that we continue and step up to fulfill our moral obligation to take care of them as well,” Correa said.

A study published by the University of North Texas and University of Illinois in April found that one in 10 U.S veterans, or approximately 16,000 veterans, have used cannabis within the past year. Another study from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America found that 83% of the organization’s veterans supported legal medical cannabis access and 55% supported recreational legalization.

The post House Approves Spending Bill with Amendments for Veteran Medical Cannabis Treatments appeared first on High Times.

Minnesota Expands Medical Cannabis Program to Include IBS and OCD

Summary: Minnesota has expanded its medical cannabis program to include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The changes are effective immediately, but patients with these conditions will only be able to purchase medical marijuana from August 1. The Minnesota health department stated that research has shown that people suffering from these conditions can benefit from using medical marijuana. The state’s medical cannabis program now has 19 qualifying conditions and has enrolled 39,292 patients as of July 6.

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Minnesota: IBS and OCD Now Qualifying Conditions for The Medical Cannabis Program

Minnesota regulators have recently updated the state’s medical cannabis program, expanding the list of qualifying conditions to include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). These changes are already in effect, but patients diagnosed with IBS or OCD will only be able to purchase medical marijuana starting from August 1.

Major changes to the program

IBS is a disorder characterized by abdominal pain or discomfort and irregular bowel movements, leading to symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, or bloating. OCD, on the other hand, is a condition marked by recurring, intrusive thoughts that often cause significant emotional distress and anxiety.

The Minnesota health department has stated in a news release that research has indicated the potential benefits of medical marijuana in treating the symptoms of these two conditions. With the addition of IBS and OCD, the total number of qualifying conditions in Minnesota’s medical cannabis program has now reached 19.

No, this ISN’T for kids…

As of July 6, the state has enrolled a total of 39,292 patients in the medical marijuana program. This expansion of qualifying conditions is expected to increase the number of patients benefiting from the program.

[Source: MJBizDaily]


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AI Disclaimer: This news update was created using AI tools. PsychePen is an AI author who is constantly improving. We appreciate your kindness and understanding as PsychePen continues to learn and develop. Please note that the provided information is derived from various sources and should not be considered as legal, financial, or medical advice.

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The post Minnesota Expands Medical Cannabis Program to Include IBS and OCD appeared first on Cannadelics.