Topicals: The Real Gateway Drug for Senior Citizens

Cannabis topicals are having a moment. From
A-list celebrities using Lord Jones balms to soothe aching feet at the Golden
Globes to professional athletes debuting their own line of muscle rub,
transdermal products infused with cannabinoids seem to be everywhere.

But it isn’t just millennials and the Hollywood elite jumping on the bandwagon. An increasing number of senior citizens are also turning to topicals, often desperate to alleviate a painful and often debilitating condition that affects nearly 54 million American adults: arthritis.

The disease, which causes aches, swelling and stiffness in the joints and muscles, is typically treated with a combination of medications including steroids and opiates, which may have dramatic side effects. However, cannabis is becoming a popular and viable alternative. Infused creams and lotions work when the products’ cannabinoids bind to the network of cannabinoid receptors called CB2 receptors on the skin, without needing to enter the bloodstream. This means people using topicals infused with psychoactive cannabinoids such as THC will not feel a cerebral effect — only localized relief. Transdermal patches, however, do allow the cannabinoids to enter the bloodstream and travel to receptors in the brain, but because the release is so slow, it’s also unlikely to impart a high feeling.

While research on the efficacy of topicals is limited, there have been some promising results. A 2015 study published in the European Journal of Pain found that, when applied transdermally to rats with arthritic joints, the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) offered relief. Another study conducted in 2017 on rats with osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis, wherein bone cartilage breaks down over time) concluded CBD prevents pain and nerve damage. In fact, scientists are also exploring evidence that concludes CB2 receptors themselves may be responsible for regulating inflammation — one of the main issues arthritis causes.

The science is still early, but according to Radicle Health founder and nurse Eloise Theisen, CBD topicals appear to help with inflammation and itchiness, but people should try a THC topical — or a combination of THC and CBD — if they’re not finding relief from a CBD-only product.

Since the average senior citizen in the United
States takes around five prescription medications daily, concerns about
interactions between drugs, side effects and potentials for abuse have many
seeking another way.

And since those who might be averse to getting high from smoking or eating cannabis are often not intimidated by using a non-psychoactive cannabis balm, topicals offer a way to discover the healing properties of cannabis while eliminating the fear of Grandma and Grandpa getting too buzzed.

‘Once He Went Off the Pharmaceuticals….’

Karen Rumics Averill is a 63-year-old business
owner from Oregon who began making her own cannabis-infused topicals a few
years ago to help her husband. He was suffering from a severe type of arthritis
called ankylosing spondylitis, also known as “curved back syndrome.”

“He was initially put on Enbrel, which is an
injection, and he was actually receiving twice the dose that is normally
required,” Averill said. “Then, [the doctors] put him on Oxycontin and Vicodin
and then all of a sudden one day, at two in the morning, we’re rushing him to
the emergency room for a bleeding ulcer and they had to remove him from all of
those drugs.”

She believes the drugs her husband had been
prescribed were actually making his condition worse.

“Once he went off of [pharmaceuticals], he became
more mobile, more active. He wasn’t comatose on the couch because he was
over-medicated.”

Averill began experimenting, utilizing byproducts
from top-shelf indica strains to infuse in coconut oil, creating a THC-infused topical.

“Actually, my 94-year-old aunt is now using it
for her arthritis. She called me
yesterday and said it works great!” Averill said.

Bringing Seniors to Cannabis

For many within the cannabis industry, one of the biggest challenges is getting accurate information to the general public — without being overwhelming or unconvincing. After getting phone call after phone call from seniors asking about their transdermal product, the team at NanoSphere Health Sciences decided they needed to focus not on getting their products to seniors, but on bringing the seniors to them.

“A lot of times, the way that a senior gets our
product is because a niece or nephew, granddaughter, son or daughter has gone
in, bought them the product and then told them that they need to use it, versus
them actually going into the dispensary and purchasing the product themselves,”
said Crystal Colwell, marketing director for NanoSphere.

So the company decided to partner with several dispensaries in their home state of Colorado, offering residents of nearby assisted living facilities and 55-plus communities round-trip bus rides to their locations in order to educate them on the many useful applications of cannabis. They also work with the non-profit group Realm of Caring in order to further their outreach towards the senior citizen demographic. Colwell says the feedback has been remarkable.

“We had one woman who had such severe arthritis
in her hands that she was unable to open her hands all the way,” Colwell said.
“One of her most favorite things to do is to write letters and handwritten
notes. She started using NanoSerum on her hands and she was using it once a day
for a month and after the first month she was able to open her hand and hold a
pen or a pencil in her hand again. Within a two-month time span, she was
actually able to write handwritten notes again.”

Colwell adds that while it will take time to
dismantle all the misinformation about marijuana and the ways it can be
consumed, topicals offer a non-threatening introduction to a medicine that
could make all the difference.

“A lot of misconceptions that senior citizens
have is that the only time you can get relief from cannabis is if you smoke it
or you ingest as an edible,” she said. “Once they learn that there are
alternative applications, that’s when they become intrigued and it gets their
mind going.”

TELL US, have you used cannabis topicals?

Originally published in Issue 37 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

The post Topicals: The Real Gateway Drug for Senior Citizens appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Older adults and medical marijuana: Reduced stigma and increased use

As a primary care doctor who has incorporated medical cannabis into his practice, it is notable how many silver-haired patients are coming in to discuss the pros and cons of a trial of medical cannabis. These patients range from people in their 60s with kidney failure who can no longer take certain pain medications but still need to manage chronic pain, to patients in their 90s, who are looking for a good night’s sleep and are leery of the side effects of traditional sleep medications. Some of them — typically “children of the 60s” — are quite comfortable with the idea of using medical marijuana; others bring it up quietly, as if they are asking permission to break the law.

According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, cannabis use among older adults (defined as 65 and older) in the US has been steadily increasing. In this study, the prevalence of past-year use increased from 2.4% to 4.2% from 2015 to 2018. This study is consistent with other research, as well as with reports from physicians who recommend cannabis in their daily practices.

What might be behind this trend?

A confluence of factors seems to be responsible, including the decrease in stigma associated with cannabis use and the increased interest in the use of medical marijuana by older patients. Stigma is a complicated issue, but most would agree that the stigma associated with cannabis use is lessening, especially for medical cannabis. In a recent poll, 94% of Americans voiced support for legal access to medical marijuana, and most states have approved some form of legal access.

One marker for the decrease in stigma is the recent statement by the 38 million-member AARP, in which they declared their support for the medical use of marijuana for older adults in states that have legalized it, in close consultation with their medical providers, where they can discuss the most up-to-date clinical evidence, weighing the balance of benefits and harms.

What conditions are older adults using cannabis for?

Studies show that older adults commonly use medical cannabis for the same conditions younger patients do: pain, insomnia, neuropathy, and anxiety.

What are the risks for older people using medical cannabis?

This is new territory, as either there haven’t been large numbers of older adults who report using medical cannabis, or if they have been using it they have kept it quiet, due to its illegality and due to the stigma. Medical cannabis is typically well tolerated among older adults; however, as with all medications, there is no such thing as a free lunch, meaning that there are always side effects and downsides to consider.

Cardiac health and cannabis use

Cannabis is known to increase heart rate and can increase blood pressure, though there doesn’t seem to be much if any quality evidence directly linking cannabis use with coronary events, according to a recent review by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Still, the authors of this review do recommend screening people with coronary disease for cannabis use. The scenario that I would be most concerned about is an older patient, with underlying coronary disease, taking a very high dosage of cannabis (perhaps by mistake via edibles) and then having an anxiety attack, which could trigger a coronary syndrome or an arrhythmia.

Medication interactions

Older people tend to have comorbid health conditions and may be taking multiple medications. Cannabis has about 600 chemicals in it, and in theory, the two main active ingredients in cannabis, THC and CBD, could either increase or decrease the blood levels of other drugs you are taking, by affecting the enzymes in your liver that help metabolize your medications. CBD, in particular, is at risk for increasing the other drugs in your system by “competitively inhibiting” (or, in plain English, using at the same time) the molecules that you need to break down and clear these medications from your body.

People should be particularly cautious using cannabis with anti-seizure medications and with blood thinners, as these medications tend to have serious side effects and not as much room for error, and it is important that you always communicate with your medical providers about your cannabis use. Disclosing marijuana use is particularly important if you plan to have surgery, as the drugs used for anesthesia and post-surgical pain management may need to be adjusted.

Changes in thinking, both pro and con

The psychoactivity, or the high that cannabis causes, is another potential concern for older adults, especially those at risk for confusion and dementia. These days, with the ability to buy cannabis in medical dispensaries, there is more control over the types or strains of cannabis that one can buy and consume, and it is easier to avoid the high by controlling the dose and by keeping the THC content low. Strains that are low in THC (the chemical that causes the high) and higher in CBD, which is non-intoxicating, may be preferable to avoid the psychoactive experience of marijuana. Still, if an older person has experienced delirium, or any psychiatric conditions, they and their doctors should proceed with caution.

Interestingly, there is some research that cognitive functioning can actually improve when patients use medical cannabis, due to, among other things, improved sleep and pain control. It seems plausible that older patients might be using lower doses of pain and sleep medications, which can affect thinking, and they are combatting the negative effects of chronic pain and insomnia, which also have an effect on cognitive functioning. However, as with most things cannabis-related, this too needs further study to confirm and clarify.

What’s the bottom line?

Cannabis use among the elderly is growing as there is more public acceptance and reduced stigma. Medical cannabis is increasingly viewed as an effective option for managing insomnia and chronic pain. It’s key to have an informed discussion with your doctor to weigh the safety risks, especially if you have cardiac issues, are taking multiple medications, or have cognitive changes due to aging. Educate yourself (and your doctor) as much as possible about cannabis before starting to use it. Most of the adverse effects associated with cannabis usage are dose-related, so it is important to know the strength of the marijuana you are taking and to “start low and go slow”: start with the lowest effective dose and take your time working your way up to a dose that alleviates your symptoms with a minimum of side effects.

The post Older adults and medical marijuana: Reduced stigma and increased use appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

Plant Power – The Health Benefits of Psilocybin Mushrooms

Once again, we turn to
nature to heal the ailments we struggle with. This time, we’re taking a look at
magic mushrooms, or rather, their active ingredient – psilocybin.

Psilocybin is a classic hallucinogenic compound produced by over 100 species of mushrooms across the world. It has a strong effect on serotonin receptors in the brain, including some in the cerebral cortex and thalamus regions.

Although mushroom use – casually referred to as “shrooming” – is commonly associated with hippies, artists and others that tend to live a more alternative lifestyle, their consumption actually dates back thousands of years. Historically, they’ve been used as an aid in religious ceremonies and are still considered a gateway to some very profound spiritual experiences.

Psilocybin mushrooms also have some powerful therapeutic benefits, and have been decriminalized in a few areas of the world as researchers dive into their potential to treat numerous disorders. Areas of interest include conditions like mood disorders, anxiety, OCD, and addiction.

Use the form below to subscribe to the Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter.

What is Psilocybin?

Psilocybin is the main psychedelic
compound in mushrooms and truffles. It’s a basic tryptamine hallucinogen, with
properties similar to lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and mescaline, although the
chemic structure is different. Research shows a common mechanism of action
through serotonergic (5-HT) pathways. Psilocybin is a strong agonist at 5-HTreceptors
which are located within the thalamus and cortex of the brain

The onset of hallucinogenic
effects typically kick in around 20 to 40 minutes after consumption, and they
last up to 6 hours. Psilocybin’s threshold for intoxication is approximately 40
mcg/kg of body weight. In wild mushrooms with lower levels of psilocybin, this
translates to about 2 grams, although some people use up to 4 grams for a good psychedelic
trip.

Psilocybin was first
isolated by swiss chemist Albert Hoffmann in 1958, using the Psilocybe Mexicana
mushroom species from Central America. Psilocybin is found in both wild and cultivated
mushrooms, although just like cannabis, cultivated mushrooms tend to be more
potent. Through cross-breeding, cultivated mushrooms can have up to 10 times
higher levels of psilocybin than wild species.

Research and Legal Roadblocks

In the United States, use of psychedelic mushrooms has been
illegal since the Controlled Substances Act was implemented in 1970. Since
then, clinical studies have pretty much ceased, but recreational use definitely
has not.

However, in 1992, the National Institute on Drug Abuse linked up with an FDA advisory to revamp research efforts of psychedelic agents – albeit extremely limited research. In 1993, the Heffter Research Institute in New Mexico was founded. It’s one of the only institutes in the world the is entirely dedicated to uncovering the medical benefits of psychedelic compounds found in nature. Despite these developments, psilocybin is still banned in the U.S.

The Complicated History of Cannabis in the United States

Around the world, novel and alternative treatments for mental
illnesses becoming increasingly sought after, new resources are being aimed at
age-old therapies including cannabis, ketamine, mescaline, and psilocybin. Dr.
George R. Greer, co-founder and president of the Heffter
Research Institute
, “Our mission is two-fold: one to do research
that helps us understand the mind, the brain, how all that works, and number
two, to help reduce suffering through therapeutic use of psychedelics.”

Medical Benefits

Although there are many possible uses for psilocybin, at the moment, it’s most frequently used to treat conditions relating to mental health. Depression and anxiety are among the most researched indications for psilocybin treatment.

“There’ve been some promising preliminary results in such areas such as the treatment of overwhelming depression and existential anxiety in people who are facing the end of life, who have diagnoses of advanced-stage cancer,” Dr. Charles Grob, professor of psychiatry at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, stated in an interview with Healthline. “The thing that we have the most evidence for is cancer-related depression and anxiety. That seems really strong, and I’d be surprised if those results didn’t hold up,” he added.

Another possible use for psychedelic mushrooms is in the cessation of smoking, drinking, and other addictions. In a small pilot study conducted at Johns Hopkins University, people who partook in psilocybin therapy successfully abstained from smoking cigarettes over the following 12-month period.

“The general idea is that the nature of these disorders is a
narrowed mental and behavioral repertoire,” says Matthew Johnson, PhD, Associate
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavior Sciences at John Hopkins. “So, in
well-orchestrated sessions, there is the ability to essentially shake someone
out of their routine to give a glimpse of a larger picture and create a mental
plasticity with which people can step outside of those problems.”

It’s also being looked at as a possible treatment for certain
types of cancers, heart disease, inflammation, and many other conditions.

Applications Around the World

As mentioned above, psilocybin-containing mushrooms are illegal in the United States and are listed as a Schedule 1 drug. Even mushroom spores, which don’t contain any psychoactive chemicals yet, are illegal in many states. A few cities – Denver, Oakland and Santa Cruz – have decriminalized mushrooms, meaning you won’t get arrested for possessing them but there are no legal avenues through which to purchase or sell them either. Oregon has plans to legalize mushrooms entirely, however, these plans have been put on the backburner amid the current pandemic.

Exploring the 3 Different Types of Cannabinoids: Endo, Phyto, and Synthetic

Some countries have a
much more liberal approach when it comes to hallucinogenic mushrooms though. In
Austria, Brazil, Samoa, Jamaica, the Netherlands, and the Bahamas, mushrooms
are legal. Recreational use is quite popular in many of these regions and you
can purchase mushrooms, truffles, and spores for both from select online
retailers based in some of these countries.

In Israel, mushrooms are
being studied for their medicinal properties. One of the pioneers in this field
is Prof. Solomon Wasser of Haifa University, who runs a mushroom research lab
and is the founder and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of
Medicinal Mushrooms.

Last year, his lab took
out a patent on a product derived from Cyathus striatus, a type of mushroom
found in Israeli forests. In animal trials, the drug appeared effective against
pancreatic cancer, which is considered a particularly lethal cancer for which
no new drugs have been discovered in recent years.

Another Israeli company,
medical cannabis firm Cannabotech, is currently looking at how certain blends
of cannabinoids, medicinal herbs, and mushrooms could effectively treat a
variety of chronic medical conditions. So far, they have developed five proprietary
blends intended to treat colon cancer, infertility, fatty liver disease,
inflammation, and heart or vascular disease. These products are all currently
awaiting clinical trials.

Microdosing Magic Mushrooms

When used in a therapeutic setting, the best way to get
medicinal benefits without any intoxication or risks is by microdosing, which just
means taking an extra small, or sub-perceptual, dose. This should ideally be
administered in a medical setting by a trained professional, but that’s not
always the case.

Many health enthusiasts have incorporated mushroom microdosing into their daily or weekly routines report higher levels of creativity, increased energy and focus, and improved relational skills. Some even claim that microdosing psilocybin mushrooms helps to heighten spiritual awareness and enhance their senses.

That said, there are some risks associated with the use of psychedelic
mushrooms. “Psilocybin is a lot more psychologically dangerous than cannabis,
and it’s especially dangerous for a small percentage of the population who have
had an episode of psychosis or mania, manic episode, or even, say, a close
family member whose had those problems, because it can trigger a psychosis or
manic episode in a person who is vulnerable to that,” Greer said.

If you’ve ever heard the term “bad trip”, that’s exactly what he
is referring to. Some people can move past it easily, but for others, a bad trip
can cause irreparable psychological damage.

Final Thoughts

Although some are optimistic that psilocybin mushrooms will follow the path of cannabis in MDMA, with approval in the next 5 to 10 years, the truth is, the future remains very unclear. There is really no realistic timeline for when this class of drugs might be legalized, especially given the current circumstances.

“There needs to be more FDA-approved clinical research with
psychedelics,” mentions Grob, “exploring both how to optimize their therapeutic
potential but also trying to get a better understanding of the range of medical
effects, which may be problematic… There’s still some questions that need to be
answered.”

For more articles like this one, make sure to subscribe to the Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter.

The post Plant Power – The Health Benefits of Psilocybin Mushrooms appeared first on CBD Testers.

Sourcing Coronavirus Testing Kits, N95 Masks, Gloves & Hand Sanitizer

Top products you’ll see at pharmacies and medical dispensaries in the future include coronavirus testing kits, N95 face masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer.

Seemingly overnight, COVID-19 (coronavirus) went from bad, to worse, to completely out of control. New cases are popping in up in every U.S. state and all over the globe while panic buying is leading to a shortage of food and necessary supplies at grocery stores and pharmacies across numerous nations. That said, there a few products in particular that are just flying off the shelves. The United States is seeing a toilet paper frenzy which is both sad and humerus, depending on how you look at it. But in general, there are 4 products that are being with purchased with great frequency by pharmacies across borders: coronavirus testing kits, N95 face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer.

Coronavirus Testing Kits

Coronavirus testing kits are still a bit difficult to come by in some countries, but we’ve partnered with a leading global healthcare solutions company based out of Europe, to help bring you rapid-result Covid-19 testing. It’s a simple finger prick test that checks your blood for coronavirus antibodies, which begin to develop shortly after being exposed to the virus. In studies, this test is 98.6% effective and can confirm illness in people before they even show any symptoms.

The key to getting ahead of this epidemic is to briefly
isolate, then have effective testing and treatment solutions from there on out.
If patients could test themselves with an inexpensive, over-the-counter
product, they could find out much faster if they’re infected and isolate
themselves, thus slowing the communal spread of this disease.

If you do inventory for hospitals, own a pharmacy network, or work for a similar place of business, contact us at info@cbdtesters.co to learn more about ordering these tests.

MINIMUM ORDER 50K UNITS.

Stocking Up On Facemasks

Although the CDC released a
statement advising people not to buy facemasks, it fell on deaf ears as
consumers continued buying them by the pallet. It’s a bit excessive, I’ll admit,
it makes sense to have maybe 1 or 2 boxes on hand if you live with someone
immunocompromised, older, newborn, etc. – not just when it comes to
coronavirus, but to keep from spreading any other airborne pathogens.

As far as the cannabis industry, it can vary greatly. In a more medical setting, like caregiver/patient scenario, hospital (some throughout the world administer cannabis- based medications), and the like, having masks is a sensible precaution to keep sick people from getting sicker.

They’re even being used in
the recreational realm, albeit in a more gimmicky way. For example, at
Herbarium dispensary in Los Angeles, every purchase comes with the option for
free delivery, as well as a stylish black face mask dubbed the “Corona Free
Herbarium” mask. For the last few weeks, people have been stocking up on buds
and they’re getting a kick out the masks too.

According to Breanna Lucier, a spokeswoman for the dispensary, “There are two reasons for all the customers you see in here right now. One is that people are stocking up on all the things they consider essential after being advised to stay indoors. The other reason — people don’t want to care about coronavirus or watch upsetting news about it on television,” she added. “Instead, they just want to chill out with Netflix and some weed.”

If you are interested in ordering a large amount of N95 face masks, or 3 layer disposable protective face mouth masks, contact us at info@cbdtesters.co to learn more about ordering these masks.

MINIMUM ORDER 500K UNITS.

Hand Sanitizer For Those on the Go

Let’s face it, as much as we try to keep people in, there will be occasions where they have to leave the house, particularly for doctor’s appointments and hospital visits which are difficult to reschedule. Even when we’re not in the middle of a dangerous pandemic, I like to have some hand sanitizer on me if I’m going to a hospital, physician’s office, or anywhere else there are higher than normal numbers of sick people. It just makes sense.

Made In America – Domestic Cannabis and Hemp Companies Are Booming Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

If you live in the U.S. (and possibly elsewhere, I’m in California though), you’re probably finding that all your local stores and pharmacies are completely out of hand sanitizer and rubbing alcohol. It’s gotten so bad, that stores are even beginning to run out of higher-proof drinking alcohols and distilleries are using their alcohol waste to make sanitizer and distribute to people in need.

If you are to source a large amount of hand sanitizers, contact us at info@cbdtesters.co to learn more about ordering these tests.

MINIMUM ORDER 100K UNITS.

Gloves as a Last Resort

Since hand sanitizer and soap is running out at many of the local stores, naturally, the next product in line would be gloves. Instead of washing your hands or using-alcohol based santizer repeatedly and drying out your skin, just put on some rubber gloves and toss them in the trash before you get back in your car or house.

Either way, stores and pharmacies have listed disposable gloves as an item that’s been purchased with increased frequency. As demand ramps up, they’ll be more and more difficult to find at an affordable rate.

Contact us now at info@cbdtesters.co to make a bulk order for disposable gloves.

MINIMUM ORDER 10K BOXES (100 gloves per box)

Final Thoughts

As demand continues to ramp
up, pharamcies and grocery stores will be ordering larger orders of all these
items – hand sanitizer, coronavirus testing kits, and face masks.

For more information on the coronavirus testing kits, or anything else relating to Covid-19 or cannabis, make sure to contact us at info@cbdtesters.co and subscribe to the CBD Business Weekly Newsletter by using the link below.

The post Sourcing Coronavirus Testing Kits, N95 Masks, Gloves & Hand Sanitizer appeared first on CBD Testers.

San Francisco Closes Cannabis Stores Over Coronavirus Fears

Update: At 4:30 p.m. today the San Francisco Department of Health announced the city’s dispensaries would be able to remain open as “essential businesses.

All of San Francisco’s cannabis dispensaries were ordered shut down by city health officials late Monday, an extraordinary and so far unprecedented step that may yet be repeated in other cities as the coronavirus pandemic continues to profoundly disrupt Americans’ lives.

Bay Area elected officials midday Monday declared a “shelter in place” order for the six-county region and its nearly 7 million residents. Only “essential businesses” including grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, banks and auto-repair garages would remain open; all other merchants were ordered to close.

And according to an e-mail from San Francisco Department of Public Health sent to the city’s roughly three dozen retail cannabis outlets at about 6:30 p.m. that evening, cannabis sales are not “essential.”

“At this time, Cannabis Dispensaries and Cannabis Delivery Services are not considered an ‘Essential Business,’” wrote Mohanned Malhi, the city cannabis program’s principal health inspector. “You will need to close your business starting March 17, 2020. You will be notified of any future updates or information immediately.”

A spokesperson for DPH did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

There was speculation that San Francisco ordered its dispensaries closed to avoid a repeat of scenes seen over the weekend, when enormous lines of spooked cannabis buyers queued outside the city’s cannabis stores in seek of supplies.

If so, the abrupt shutdown order had the opposite effect, as even larger crowds of even more spooked cannabis buyers — faced with the reality of at least three weeks with no legal cannabis access — arrived at the city’s dispensaries, seeking one last purchase before service ended at 10 p.m., multiple dispensary operators told Cannabis Now.

“The lines were [blocks long], which completely defeats the purpose,” said Sarah Shrader, an executive at Bay Area Safe Alternatives on San Francisco’s Divisadero Street. “It was insanity.”

Some dispensaries in the state had been given special permission from the state Bureau of Cannabis Control to do “hand-offs” to customers arriving in parking lots or at storefront doors.

Prohibiting even that make-do in San Francisco means that cannabis consumers and medical-cannabis patients — many of whom are low income or seriously ill, and likely do not have the material resources to lay in a three-week supply of increasingly expensive legal cannabis — will be forced to patronize the state’s thriving black market, potentially exposing themselves to dangerous moldy or pesticide-laden cannabis as well as the coronavirus, critics say.

It’s not yet clear what path other cities will take. Dispensaries in Los Angeles, Vallejo, Oakland and Berkeley remained open as of mid-day Tuesday but that could quickly change.

The Board of Supervisors in Alameda County, responsible for Oakland and Berkeley, location of some of the oldest and busiest cannabis dispensaries in the country, was set to take up the question of “essential businesses” at its meeting Tuesday.

Greg Minor, Oakland’s assistant city administrator responsible for the city’s cannabis program, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Tuesday.

Regulators in Los Angeles did not immediately respond to a similar query asking about that county’s plans.

According to Oakland-based cannabis attorney James Anthony, dispensaries absolutely meet the definition of an “essential business,” because for medical-cannabis patients, cannabis stores are “healthcare operations.”

“Cannabis has been recognized as medicine, and therefore healthcare, by all of California since the voters so deemed it in 1996,” Anthony wrote in a letter submitted to county officials. “Since 2005, the County has recognized and permitted cannabis businesses for healthcare purposes.”

He has yet to receive a response, he told Cannabis Now.

If dispensaries are to shut down, the impact could be widespread and immediate.

“We currently have 13,795 registered patient members receiving medical marijuana under doctor’s orders,” Debby Goldsberry, an executive at Magnolia Wellness in Oakland, wrote to the Oakland City Council on Monday evening.

“One person after another is worried, asking questions we can’t answer, and expressing absolute terror that their medicine supply will be cut off,” she wrote. “People do not have enough money to stock up through April 7, and they did not have time to do so either, before the end of today.”

TELL US, do you have enough cannabis to get you through a “shelter in place”?

The post San Francisco Closes Cannabis Stores Over Coronavirus Fears appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Vape Illnesses Diminish

After a few scary months, the vaping health scare of 2019 seems to be over. And according to experts at the federal government and in the New England Journal of Medicine, we appear to know both who was responsible and how to avoid a repeat of such a scenario ever again.

As of Feb. 18, severe lung illnesses or injuries linked to vaporizer products — containing both THC as well as nicotine — killed 68 people and hospitalized 2,807 in all 50 states and several U.S. territories, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The primary cause of these illnesses and deaths, the CDC wrote in its last and final report on the matter, was indeed an additive called vitamin E acetate, a commonly used food product that is highly hazardous when ingested. The presence of in the lungs of vitamin E acetate, first identified by David Downs of Leafly News as a cutting agent, recently introduced to the illicit market and commonly found in underground vaporizer cartridges, would explain the symptoms, similar to lipiod pneumonia, found in a majority of patients.

And that’ appears to be the last and final analysis, as “due to continued declines in new” cases the CDC’s Feb. 25 released was its “final update” on hospitalizations and deaths nationally, barring any new developments. And with that agency busy with the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, it’s hard to imagine a months-old scare that appears to have gone away competing for its attention.

So what did we learn, and who can we blame? As researchers wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 5, the vaporizer health scare was indeed an illicit market health scare — and if you prefer, you could call it “The Dank Vapes Scare.”

Dank Vapes is a cannabis brand, but one without a trademark or a founder — it’s simply the packaging used by a significant number of vaporizers found to contain harmful additives. 

Whether any one person was responsible for the brand’s beginnings is still unclear, but as a team of physicians and public-health experts wrote in the NEJM, “the most common THC product that was reported [among victims] was marketed under the ‘Dank Vape’ label.”

The researchers there cautioned that despite the CDC’s findings of vitamin E acetate as the causal agent, “the definitive substance or substances contributing to injury have not been determined,” but their research was limited exclusively to 98 case patients in Illinois and Wisconsin — two states in which only illegal cannabis products were available prior prior to Jan. 1, when recreational cannabis was legalized in Illinois. (The state had medical cannabis before that day, but there’s as yet no indication that offending products were obtained via those routes.)

“All of this supports the theory that the problem was caused by illegal vape additives, which have now been withdrawn from the underground market,” said Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, in a recent email.

These findings will vindicate backers of legalization that throughout the crisis questioned any link to legal, lab-tested products — the line that was pushed, repeatedly, without any supporting data, by anti-legalization zealots, chief among them Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). Playing off of existing fears, SAM has managed to convince some states to slow legalization efforts.

Of course, depending on your point of view, the vape scare ends without any good news for anybody — especially if you’re a vaper.

“The CDC recommends that persons not use THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly from informal sources,” the NEJM article authors wrote. “However, evidence is not yet sufficient to rule out the contribution of other chemicals of concern.”

“Therefore, the best way for persons to ensure that they are not at risk while the investigation continues is to consider refraining from the use of all e-cigarette, or vaping, products,” they added. “Regardless of the ongoing investigation, e-cigarette, or vaping, products should never be used by youths, young adults, or pregnant women.”

TELL US, do you vape?

The post Vape Illnesses Diminish appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Pliny the Elder: Ancient Pioneer of Medical Marijuana

It’s rare when news headlines concern someone who died nearly 2,000 years ago, but that’s what happened last month, when a scientific team in Italy reported results of their study finding that the skull in a Rome museum really is that of Pliny the Elder, the immortal naturalist of the ancient Roman world. 

As the New York Times reported, the skull had been sitting for decades in the Museo Storico Nazionale Dell’Arte Sanitaria, or National Historical Museum of Medical Arts, described as a “treasure trove of medical curiosities.” It had been unearthed in an excavation in 1900 on the shore of the Bay of Naples near the ruins of Pompeii, along with some Roman-era jewelry and regalia. As Pliny was killed in the 79 CE eruption of Mount Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii, and was said to have met his death on that fabled shoreline, there was inevitably speculation. 

The landowner who discovered the skull seems to have leveraged it for personal notoriety as the man who found the remains of Pliny. After changing hands a few times, it wound up in the museum some 70 years ago, It was first plugged as “Pliny the Elder’s skull,” then, less ambitiously, as “skull from the excavations of Pompeii and attributed to Pliny.”

The forensic study, which was launched in 2017, used DNA sequencing and an analysis of cranial shape to determine that the skull fits what we know from history about Pliny’s general profile. Andrea Cionci, leader of the study, dubbed Project Pliny, told the Times: “It is very likely that the skull is Pliny, but we cannot have 100% security. We have many coincidences in favor, and no contrary data.” 

The identity of the skull remains a matter of some controversy. The Times ironically quoted a line from Pliny himself: “In these matters, the only certainty is that nothing is certain.” 

There is, however, a greater degree of certainty about Pliny’s role as one of history’s first scholars to document the medicinal properties of the cannabis plant. 

Admiral, Adventurer, Naturalist

Gaius Plinius Secundus, born around 23 CE, led military campaigns for Imperial Rome in Germany before being assigned as a naval admiral in the Bay of Naples to fight piracy. In between such adventures he wrote his classic work, “Naturalis Historia,” or Natural History (sometimes rendered in the plural as “Naturae Historiae”).  

“Natural History” was, in the words of one historian, a “compendium of ancient knowledge and misinformation.” Amid a massive 37-volume review of flora and fauna from across what was for Rome the known world are such fanciful creations as griffins and cyclopes. But it was the first such compendium of its kind in the Western world and became the standard reference work throughout the Middle Ages.  

And his intellectual curiosity seems to have played a role in his demise. This episode was recorded in letters by his nephew and adopted son, who witnessed it and survived. This was Pliny the Younger, then 17, who would go on to become a statesman, serving as governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor (contemporary Turkey). 

From his command post on the Bay of Naples, he witnessed a giant cloud rising from Mount Vesuvius.  

“Having seen the cloud, Pliny the Elder decided he wanted to get closer to it to investigate,” Daisy Dunn, author of the Pliny biography “The Shadow of Vesuvius,” told the New York Times. “He was, after all, author of a 37-volume book of natural history.” 

But as his ship crossed the bay toward Pompeii, it became clear that many were trapped on the shore as lava descended on the city from the volcano and ash rained down from the sky. According to another work on Pliny — “Indagine sulla Scomparsa di un Ammiraglio,” or “Inquiry on the Death of an Admiral,” by military historian Flavio Russo — what began as a personal investigation of a natural phenomenon became “the oldest natural disaster relief operation.” 

It was, alas, in vain. By the time his craft had reached the stricken shore, Pliny the Elder had asphyxiated to death on the toxic fumes.  

The Pharmacopeia of Cannabis 

Despite the dubious or fantastical elements of his work, Pliny has had a huge influence. As Daily Beast notes, some have speculated that he even helped inspire Charles Darwin, a member of the Plinian Society, to develop Darwin’s theory of inheritable traits. 

Pliney’s influence on the pharmacopeia of cannabis has only recently come to be recognized, and may also be considerable. 

There are numerous references in “Natural History” to what English translators have rendered as “hemp.” Pliny clearly makes note of its industrial applications, calling it “a plant remarkably useful for making ropes.”

The footnotes for the hemp references in the most authoritative translation by British scholar John Bostock, published in 1856, read: “The Cannabis sativa of Linnæus.” This is a reference to Carl Linnaeus, the 18th century Swedish botanist known as the father of modern taxonomy, who invented the system of plant classification still in use today.

Given that the Latin word for hemp is cannabis, there is little controversy here. 

The likely references to medicinal and ecstasy-inducing (“recreational,” in contemporary parlance) use of the plant are somewhat more ambiguous. 

In his book “Cannabis and the Soma Solution,” the Canadian chronicler of ancient cannabis use Chris Bennett notes that Pliny cited references in an earlier work by the Greek philosopher Democritus (c. 460 – c. 370 BCE), himself the central figure in development of the atomic theory of the universe (dramatically vindicated by science in the 20th century). 

The lost earlier work by Democritus made note of an herb called theangelis that “grows upon Mount Libanus in Syria” (contemporary Lebanon), and “at Babylon and Susa in Persia.” Democritus, in a passage quoted by Pliny, wrote: “An infusion of it imparts powers of divination to the Magi.” The Magi, of course, were the sages and priests of the ancient Persian religion, Zoroastrianism.

Pliny also noted Democritus’ reference to geolotophyllis, “a plant found in Bactriana” (contemporary Afghanistan) and “on the banks of the Borysthenes” (the Dnieper River, in contemporary Russia and Ukraine). “Taken internally with myrrh and wine, all sorts of visionary forms present themselves, excite the most immoderate laughter.”

As Bennett notes, Bostock’s footnotes for both these esoteric terms identified them as “Indian hemp, cannabis sativa.”

Christian Rätsch in his “Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants” lists theangelis and geolotophyllis in his section “Psychoactive Plants That Have Not Yet Been Identified.” However, Pliny’s geographic references are in line with what we know about the origin of the cannabis plant in Central Asia (the Tibetan plateau, by the most recent research), and its diffusion from there across the steppes to Europe and the Middle East.

This makes Pliny one of the earliest writers to mention cannabis use. Earlier ones include the Greek historian Herodotus, who noted its use by the Scythians, and the herbal compendiums in India’s Athrava Veda and the Pen Ts’ao of the legendary Chinese emperor Shen Nung (c. 2800 BCE).

On a less esoteric tip, Pliny also noted that an infusion of cannabis root boiled in water “eases cramped joints, gout too, and similar violent pain.” He also recommended hemp seed oil as a treatment for ear infections (“worms”). This was noted in the December 2017 edition of the peer-reviewed quarterly journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, in an article entitled “Cannabis Roots: A Traditional Therapy with Future Potential for Treating Inflammation and Pain.” The article, written by a team led by Vancouver physician and cannabis therapeutics practitioner Natasha R. Ryz, stated: “In the first century, Pliny the Elder described in ‘Natural Histories’ that a decoction of the root in water could be used to relieve stiffness in the joints, gout and related conditions. By the 17th century, various herbalists were recommending cannabis root to treat inflammation, joint pain, gout, and other conditions.”Although the plant’s root contains few cannabinoids, this points to a link between Pliny and the later medicinal use of cannabis tinctures and the like in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This tradition came to an abrupt halt in the United States with federal prohibition in 1937, and has only been rediscovered since the emergence of the medical marijuana movement a little more than a generation ago.

The works of Pliny the Elder certainly demonstrate that cannabis use is not some recent innovation, but deeply rooted in human culture.

TELL US, are you surprised that cannabis was used in ancient times?

The post Pliny the Elder: Ancient Pioneer of Medical Marijuana appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Tod Mikuriya: Grandfather of Medical Marijuana

Dr. Tod Mikuriya was a critical force in the
successful and ground-breaking effort to legalize medical marijuana in
California in the 1990s. Now his papers
are available
to researchers through a newly archived collection at the
National Library of Medicine.

The Berkeley psychiatrist, who died in 2007, was hailed as the grandfather of the medical marijuana movement, backing up the activists with unimpeachable scholarly chops to the rage of the Drug War establishment. It was hard to assail his credibility, as he had actually headed up the National Institute of Health’s cannabis research program in the 1960s before defecting to the side of the people being studied, so to speak. 

An ‘Inappropriate Attack of Curiosity’ 

Mikuriya was born in a rural part of
Pennsylvania’s Bucks County in 1933, to mixed German and Japanese immigrant
stock. This obviously made him the target of prejudice during his childhood in
World War II, an experience to which he would later attribute his rebellious
streak. 

Mikuriya received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Reed College in
Oregon in 1956, before serving a medic in the Army. He then went to medical
school at Philadelphia’s Temple University, where the turning point in his life
occurred. 

As he would years later relate to video-journalist Ruby Dunes on the sidelines of a cannabis conference in Santa Barbara, in 1959 Mikuriya was “struck by an inappropriate attack of curiosity” after reading an unassigned chapter in a pharmacology textbook that mentioned the widespread medicinal use of cannabis in the United States before it was outlawed in 1937.

He was sufficiently intrigued that on summer break between semesters that year, he overcame his ingrained fear and traveled to Mexico to seek the stuff out, buying a small quantity from a street-dealer. Nothing would ever be the same for him.  

In 1966, Mikuriya began directing the drug addiction treatment center of the New Jersey Neuropsychiatric Institute, at Princeton. That same year, he travelled to Morocco’s hashish heartland of the Rif Mountains, where he smoked kif with Berber tribesman who had resisted French colonial efforts to stamp out cannabis smoking.  

It was also during this period that he discovered and immersed himself in the works of Sir William Brooke O’Shaughnessy, the Irish physician who researched the long tradition of medicinal use of cannabis in India in the 19th century. Mikuriya came to view O’Shaugnessy as a “personal hero.” 

Mikuriya was also among the first scholars to re-explore the findings of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report, the 1894 study ordered by British colonial authorities to examine the supposed cannabis problem in the subcontinent, which instead determined that use is “either harmless or even beneficial.” 

In 1967, Mikuriya became a researcher at the Center for Narcotics & Drug Abuse Studies of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), itself a division of the National Institutes of Health. This agency was the predecessor of today’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). There, he headed up what he would later call the government’s “first overground cannabis research program.” (He would learn there was a “concurrent secret study” going on at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland, linked to the CIA’s search for truth serums and psychotropic warfare agents.) 

He was dispatched to California for the study, to observe the habits of the hippies who were then bursting upon the scene. But as Martin Lee writes in his book “Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana,” “Mikuriya realized that as far as cannabis was concerned he had more in common with the reefer rebels he visited in Northern California than with the ‘repressed bureaucrats’ who debriefed him when he returned from the West Coast.”

In 1968, Mikuriya stepped down from his NIMH position and moved to Berkeley, where he took up a private psychiatric practice. The most important work of his life was about to begin.

Intellectual Force Behind Medical Marijuana Push 

In 1972, Mikuriya published the Marijuana Medical Papers:
1869-1972
, a germinal work that was instrumental in launching the modern movement
for medical marijuana.  

As this movement began to take off in California amid the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, Mikuriya came to be seen as the intellectual prowess behind the activist efforts.

San Francisco’s cannabis crusader Dennis Peron was viewed as the key architect of Proposition 215, the 1996 ballot measure that made medical marijuana legal in California, but it was Mikuriya who helped draft the text. If Peron was the father of the medical marijuana movement, Mikuriya was its grandfather, providing guidance behind the scenes. 

After the passage of 215, he founded Mikuriya Medical Practice, which lives on today and touts itself as “California’s original medical marijuana consultation service.” During this period, he was writing numerous medical marijuana recommendations for patients every day. He was fondly known to his following as “Dr. Tod.” 

In the following years, he would found the California Cannabis Research Medical Group and its latter offshoot, the Society of Cannabis Clinicians.

But his open stance also attracted unwelcome if inevitable attention from the authorities. President Bill Clinton’s hardline drug czar, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, publicly derided Mikuriya’s medical practice and advocacy as “the Cheech and Chong show.” 

Finally, in 2000, the Medical Board of California accused Mikuriya of unprofessional conduct for allegedly failing to conduct proper physical examinations on 16 patients for whom he had recommended cannabis. The case was based on the testimony of undercover agents, including police. He would tell the medical board at his disciplinary hearing, “Never before had a fake witness infiltrated my practice and created a fraudulent medical record. It’s most upsetting.” 

None of his legitimate patients complained about his conduct — on the contrary, several testified to the Medical Board in his defense. 

In 2004, the Medical Board gave Mikuriya five years’ probation and a $75,000 fine. He appealed the ruling, and was allowed to continue practicing under the supervision of the state-appointed monitor. 

‘First-line Medication’ 

Mikuriya died of cancer in May 2007. His obituary in the New York Times noted that he was reported to have recommended cannabis
for nearly 9,000 patients. 

And he was quite out of the closet about his own use. As the Los Angeles Times reported in 2004, “He willingly acknowledges, unlike most of his peers in cannabis consulting, that he does indeed smoke pot, mostly in the morning with his coffee.” 

As Mikuriya told Ruby Dunes in the interview the year before he died, “Cannabis is far less dangers than most any other medication you can think of, especially when dealing with chronic conditions. Cannabis should be looked on as a first-line medication, instead of it being something that you try when you give up on all the conventional treatments.” 

TELL
US,
 do
you consider cannabis a first-line medication?

The post Tod Mikuriya: Grandfather of Medical Marijuana appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Compassionate Care is Alive Again in California

With California’s new laws around cannabis
being donated to sick and low-income patients taking effect March 1, one of the
state’s most famed providers took immediate advantage by offering free cannabis
to those in need.

The Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana was the oldest operating medical cannabis collective on the planet when it was forced to close its doors in January of 2018 as Proposition 64 took effect. After operating since being founded in 1993 Valerie and Mike Corral, the collective was forced into a holding pattern when lawmakers and regulators neglected to create a mechanism for medical cannabis to be distributed for free without insane taxes.

With their free to sliding scale model of distribution to people with cancer, AIDS, MS, epilepsy and other life-threatening conditions effectively taxed out of existence, operating WAMM became financially unfeasible.

“It’s darkly ironic that after being at the forefront of the cannabis movement for decades, including facing a DEA raid in 2002 and the threat of life in prison, it was legalization that closed WAMM’s doors,” Valerie said of California’s adult-use regulations that kicked in on Jan. 1, 2018. “But we never stopped pushing back — along with our many allies in the community. And now that the laws have changed to once again allow compassionate giving, we’re pioneering a new, holistic way to offer phytotherapeutic and alternative care.”

It seemed like there would be a glimmer of
hope in 2018. Senate Bill 829 made it all the way to then-Gov. Jerry Brown’s
desk. The bill would have exempted compassionate care programs from paying the
crazy taxes that put WAMM out of business in the first place. Unfortunately,
Brown vetoed the bill before he left office.

But advocates continued to push on, including State Sen. Scott Weiner who would again file the now aptly named Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary Act again in 2019. Senate Bill 34 would make it to the Governor’s desk like its predecessor, but this time the man sitting there would be the leader of California’s blue ribbon commission that led to Prop. 64, Gov. Gavin Newsom. Newsom continued his longtime support for medical cannabis and signed the bill late last October, but he certainly kept advocates on edge.

Now four months later, the bill went into
effect on March 1. We reached out to Weiner to get his take on seeing the bill
finally cross the finish line.

“Compassion programs provide critical, even
life-saving, free medicine to low-income Californians,” Weiner told Cannabis
Now. “The idea that we would tax these programs, which don’t generate revenue,
makes no sense. We worked hard to pass SB 34 to ensure that everyone who needs
medical cannabis can benefit from it.”

Valerie celebrated the day by officially launching WAMM Phytotherapies, which will begin operating regularly in Santa Cruz at KindPeoples, a state-licensed dispensary.

According to WAMM’s press release on the
relaunch, Kind Peoples has generously donated the use of their space and
infrastructure as WAMM Phytotherapies transitions into a new home so that
eligible patients can receive their medicine in a safe and accessible location
in the heart of the city.

When WAMM provided free cannabis to 40 of its
longtime members this week, it was not only an act of compassion, but it also
served as the first step in their reemergence in their beloved Santa Cruz
community.

Khalil Moutawakkil, CEO and co-founder of KindPeoples, spoke with Cannabis Now about what it’s been like helping WAMM get back to serving their patients.

“It’s wonderful,” Moutawakkil said.“It’s
amazing. Val and eye have worked side by side on the legislative front for many
years in the city of Santa Cruz and the county. So it’s my honor, we’re
overjoyed to join forces with WAMM. And now we’re setting the standard for the
new age of compassionate care in California.”

March 1 was a date that kicked off a new era
of legalization in Moutawakkil’s opinion now that compassion can thrive and
coexist alongside wider positive reforms. He went on to note SB 34 sunsets in
five years.

“We have an opportunity to establish a rock-solid medical cannabis system in California, hopefully one the rest of the nation can follow,” he said.

TELL US, how do you think everyone deserves
access to cannabis regardless of their income?

The post Compassionate Care is Alive Again in California appeared first on Cannabis Now.

New Bill Seeks to Protect Pot Patients’ Employment

There is a new effort in Sacramento,
California to protect the rights of medical cannabis patients when it comes to
using cannabis off the clock.

The push comes in the form of AB 2355, a bill authored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta that would prevent employers from discriminating against medical cannabis patients in the hiring process. The bill would accomplish this by modifying the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Employers would be required to provide “reasonable accommodations” to staff with a doctor’s recommendation to use medical cannabis.

But it certainly won’t be a cloudy
free-for-all for anyone with a doctor’s note. Patients won’t actually be
allowed to use marijuana on the job. There are also other provisions to exempt
companies that have to follow federal guidelines when it comes to testing
workforces in safety-sensitive positions, like pilots.

“Patients who are able to work should have
that right to not be discriminated for using medical cannabis, as prescribed by
a physician,” Bonta noted when filing the bill in February. “These are patients
who need their medicine and there is no reason why cannabis, when used for
medical purposes outside the workplace and work time, should not be treated in
a similar way to any other prescribed medication.”

Advocates of the bill took to the California
State Capitol to advocate for the bill this week, at the same time they
demonstrated prospective cannabis impairment testing to lawmakers and others in
attendance. The testing was conducted on the AlertMeter performance testing
system. The system conducts a 60-second test of cognitive ability on a
smartphone or tablet.

It’s not just some random tech being pushed by
the pro-cannabis crowd, AlertMeter’s development was funded in part by the
National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety and the National
Institutes of Health and has a ton of scientific data backing its methodology.

Part of the idea is with things like
AlertMeter is that supervisors will have a much more comprehensive idea about
someone’s cognitive ability in any given moment than they would have simply by
referencing the number of cannabis metabolites in their urine weeks after
getting high.

Advocates noted that 19 other states already protect the rights of medical cannabis users who are in the workforce and pointed to recent court cases in six states that affirmed the rights of workers.

The battle to protect patients’ rights has existed since the earliest days of the implementation of Proposition 215 that legalized medical cannabis in California in 1996. In the 2000s Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed an effort that would have protected patients. Advocates also noted when Proposition 64 passed in 2016 it specifically allowed employers to continue to discriminate against their workers’ off-the-clock marijuana use.

California NORML notes the topic of getting fired from work is one of the most frequent queries they get.

“As we feared, one of the most frequently asked questions we have been getting since Prop. 64 passed legalizing adult marijuana use in California is, “Am I now protected against drug testing on my job?”

Cal NORML Deputy Director Ellen Komp told Cannabis Now the day at the state capitol went very well.

“Lots of stakeholders turned up to see the technology and ask questions,” Komp said.

Unfortunately for advocates, the global drug screening industry has big bucks to spend on delaying the pace of change in California and beyond. According to estimates released last summer, The Global Drug Screening Market is expected to be worth more than $9.50 Billion by 2024 at a compound annual growth rate of 9.5% in the given forecast period.

Even as states come around on protecting off
the clock cannabis use, the drug screening industry will be boosted by
developing economies coming online.

According to a survey of 741 hiring managers and 262 employees by SimplyHired.com, 46% of respondents were drug tested in their current role. Nearly 75% thought testing positive for marijuana should not lead to automatic termination. The survey also found 75% of hiring managers would fire someone for marijuana use but only 17% would terminate an employee for off-the-clock use.

TELL US, have you ever been penalized for off-the-clock
cannabis use?

The post New Bill Seeks to Protect Pot Patients’ Employment appeared first on Cannabis Now.