Tuesday, June 30, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, June 30, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Colorado Governor Signs Marijuana Social Equity Bill Letting Him Expedite Possession Pardons (Marijuana Moment)

// Dixie Brands a Denver-Based Weed Edibles Company Will Change Name (Denver Westword)

// Oregon Psilocybin Measure Has Enough Signatures For November Ballot Activists Say (Marijuana Moment)

These headlines are brought to you by MJToday Media, publishers of this podcast as well as our weekly show Marijuana Today and the most-excellent Green Rush Podcast. And check out our new show Weed Wonks!

// Arizona Medical Marijuana Sales Hit a New Record High in May (Phoenix New Times)

// Another Cannabis Founder Is Out At Aurora Cannabis (Green Market Report)

// San Diego creates new marijuana business regulatory agency (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Gov. Kim Reynolds signs medical cannabis program changes into law (CBS 2 Iowa)

// Top Baltimore Prosecutor Dismisses Drug Possession Cases And Closes Warrants (Marijuana Moment)

// Acreage Holdings Q1 Revenue Increases 15% Sequentially to $24.2 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Acclaimed Cannabis Advocate Dr. Lester Grinspoon Dies At 92 (High Times)

Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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The Endocannabinoid System Explained – Why Cannabis Is Good for Our Bodies

Cannabis has been pinned as a treatment option for many different disorders lately, many of them seeming completely unrelated. Everything from physical pain to mental disorders and even cancer are said to respond to cannabinoid treatments, but how exactly is that possible?

When you first start hearing about all the different conditions that medicinal cannabis is being used for these days, it almost seems like a gimmick to legalize. Can one plant, not to mention it’s a plant that gets you high, seriously have so many therapeutic benefits? Although it may seem like a stretch, if you have an understanding of the Endocannabinoid System, it makes a lot more sense why cannabis actually works so well in the human body.

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What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The only reason cannabis actually works and has an effect on us at all is because of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Simply put, the ECS is a network of receptors that exists in the bodies of all mammals, plus the endocannabinoids that bind to them. As a whole, the ECS regulates numerous different functions and processes in our bodies and maintains internal balance and homeostasis.

Researchers have discovered two different endocannabinoids so far, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide (AEA). 2-AG is made from omega-6 fatty acids and is present in fairly high levels in the central nervous system, but it has also been detected in human (and bovine) milk. 2-AG is a full agonist of both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, but it has a stronger influence over the CB2 receptor. Because of this, 2-AG is thought to have a substantial impact on the immune system.

Anandamide (AEA), also commonly referred to as the “bliss molecule”, is believed to play a major role in the in all of our basic daily physiological functions including sleep/wake cycles, appetite, mood, and even fertility; but we’ll get more in-depth on the benefits of this cannabinoid a bit later.

In addition to the naturally produced cannabinoids, there is also a large web of receptors that allow AEA and 2-AG to function the way they do. The two receptors that have been studied most extensively are CB1 and CB2. Cannabinoid receptors sit on the surface of cells and monitor conditions on the outside. Once they sense changing conditions and the body falling out of a state of homeostasis, they signal the appropriate cellular response to restore balance.

Anandamide: The Bliss Molecule

Although there are two known endocannabinoids, one is by far more prominent in research and literature: Anandamide (AEA). The reason AEA is known as the Bliss Molecule is because of the role in plays in balancing our body functions and elevating our moods. Multiple studies have been conducted on the benefits of being exposed to varying levels of anandamide.

Anandamide – The “Bliss” Molecule of the Endocannabinoid System

In 2015, a study examining both humans and rodents, found that high levels of anandamide contributed to mood elevation and fear reduction. When the enzymes that break down anandamide were inhibited, the subjects felt less fear and anxiety where threats were perceived.

2009 study linked anandamide to fertility by showing that high levels of this endocannabinoid were not only beneficial, but essential for regular ovulation and proper fetal development. The study also concluded that higher levels of anandamide during times of ovulation contributed to a healthy and successful pregnancy.

A slightly older study published in 2004 found that increased levels of anandamide the bloodstream created a “euphoric high” in people who had just performed rigorous exercise or physical activity. This is frequently described as a “runner’s high” or “adrenaline high”, and it’s likely the reason why people who use cannabis often feel that it contributes to their workout.

Although this is one of the more studied cannabinoids, there is still a lot that remains unknown about the bliss molecule the extent of its functions.

Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency is a recently discovered condition, some might call it a theory still, in which the body doesn’t produce enough endocannabinoids. As a result, the body becomes unbalanced leading to the onset of numerous different diseases and disorders.

According to acclaimed cannabinoid researcher Dr. Ethan Russo, people who are diagnosed with a clinical endocannabinoid deficiency can benefit tremendously by supplementing with phytocannabinoids – cannabinoids coming from plants.

Are You Suffering From Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency?

Migrainefibromyalgiairritable bowel syndrome and related conditions display common clinical, biochemical and pathophysiological patterns that suggests a clinical endocannabinoid deficiency that may be suitably treated with cannabinoid medicines,” Russo mentioned in his 2004 study. This research has been reviewed and echoed a couple times over the years, in 2014 and 2016.

The above conditions have the greatest evidence of being caused by a clinical endocannabinoid deficiency, however, there is an extensive and varied list of disorders that are likely related to this condition. These include neonatal failure to thrive, cystic fibrosis, causalgia, brachial plexopathy, phantom limb pain, infantile colic, glaucoma, dysmenorrhea, hyperemesis gravidarum, unexplained repetitive miscarriages, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disease, and the list continues.

Neurological disorders have also been linked to a lack of natural endocannabinoids. Some experts believe that Alzheimer’s diseaseParkinson’s disease, and similar disorders can be treated with cannabinoids. This could be why people suffering from these conditions report success when self-medicating with cannabis products.

Final Thoughts

When you look at the whole picture, and realize how integrated cannabinoids are within almost every system in our bodies, it makes perfect sense why cannabinoid-based therapies are so successful at treating so many different conditions. The Endocannabinoid System has a role in all of our basic body functions, so if you’re feeling out of balance, can’t eat right, can’t sleep, suffering from anxiety, etc., the right blend of cannabinoids might be more effective than chemical pharmaceuticals at relieving your ailments and symptoms.

Thanks for stopping by CBDtesters.co, where we’re covering everything related to medical cannabis and legal cannabis business. Stop back frequently and subscribe to the Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter to keep yourself up-to-date.

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Creating API Cannabinoid Therapies Using Molecular Methods

Let’s take a closer look at how the molecular method can be used to discover the specific combinations of cannabis compounds beneficial in the treatment of certain medical indications such as inflammatory bowel disease, skin cancer, and colon cancer.

Over the last decade, cannabis as a medicine has become a more frequent topic of discussion. Many people initially thought it was all B.S., primarily because there were no legitimate, large-scale studies to on in the United States that one could refer to. However, in other parts of the world, namely Israel, cannabinoids have been an important research subject for the last 60 years.

And what have they discovered over in six decades, you may be asking? Well, as it turns out, cannabis is one of the most powerful medicinal plants on Earth – one that can be used to treat everything from anxiety, to pain and nausea, to even certain types of cancer. What else are the scientists saying?

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Chatting with an expert

To give you a better idea of the depth at which cannabis is being studied, we included some experts from an interview with Professor Hinanit Koltai of Israel’s Volcani Research Institute, just outside of Tel Aviv. Volcani is a government funded institute focusing on agricultural research, innovation, and molecular plant science. This interview was conducted by Narkis Tessler from CannaCAST IL.

“What combinations of cannabis compounds are the beneficial ones for the treatment of different medical indications (such as inflammation and cancer)?” begins Prof. Kolati. “For that, we combined deep chemical analysis in such a way that we could see each and every molecule present in cannabis extracts. We started to work on inflammatory bowel diseases, skin diseases, and even colon cancer and inflammation of colon polyps. We were able to identify and isolate the actual composition of molecules from cannabis which act, even synergistically, to treat those different medical indications.”

“We are looking first at the molecules on the plant, and looking at each and every molecule”, she continued. “But we do not stop there. Rather, we ask, what is happening in the human cells and human tissues once they have been treated by this certain API formulation from cannabis? What genes and pathways are activated or repressed by this treatment? And by that we are looking not just at the plant, but also at the human body, and human cells and tissues and we allocate a mode of action of these cannabis compounds.”

Researcher from Volcani collaborate with numerous healthcare professionals including doctors/physicians, hospitals, pharmacists, and specialty practitioners. Who they collaborate with at any given time depends on the specific medical indication that’s being studied.

THC in the human body

Tetrahydrocannabinol, more simply known as THC, is the most dominant cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, and it’s also the one with psychoactive effects. Because of this, cannabis flower and products containing more than trace amounts of THC are federally prohibited. THC is much more complex than just a substance that gets you high though, it has a myriad of health benefits – including pain relief, brain regeneration, sleep aid, and PTSD treatment – that are hard to find in most other natural compounds.

To understand why THC works for such a seemingly random combination of medical conditions, you will have to look deep within the human body at the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS is a network of receptors that can be found throughout the bodies of all mammals. Plant based cannabinoids, known as Phytocannabinoids, only work because our bodies already create natural cannabinoids, or Endocannabinoids, and the receptors that interact with them. The ESC is believe to have a prominent role in regulating many different processes in our bodies, as well as maintaining homeostasis.

So far, researchers have been able to identify two separate endocannabinoids: 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide (AEA), as well as two main receptors: CB1 and CB2. 2-AG is a full agonist of both the CB1 and CB2 receptors but it has a more direct association with the CB2 receptor. Because of this, 2-AG is thought to have a substantial influence over the immune system.

THC is the only major cannabinoid that directly activates both the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain – even CBD (cannabidiol), which has become mainstream for it’s well-publicized medical benefits – does not. Other compounds can actually interfere with the way THC impacts the CB receptors, which is precisely why dosing and ratios (THC:CBD) are incredibly pertinent when it comes to successfully using cannabis-based therapies.

Not Just for Getting High – The Underreported Medical Uses of THC

A closer look at CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD), is well known for being a full-on, therapeutic powerhouse. And it’s true, CBD can certainly be used on a wide range of conditions including epilepsy, anxiety, and inflammation. However, unlike THC, CBD only communicates indirectly with the CB receptors in our brains. CBD works by targeting numerous other systems. For example, CBD’s connection with the serotonin system helps reduce anxiety, which CBD’s activation of the TRPV1 receptor is the reason why it works for pain.

More recently discovered is a target called the G-protein Coupled Receptor 55, or GPR55. This is another receptor that cannabis compounds, including CBD, bind to. GPR55 appears to be a major factor in much of the pharmacology related to cannabis, including CBD’s actions in preventing seizures and fighting tumors.

To summarize, the most frequently cited uses for CBD are: anxiety, pain, inflammation, seizure control, and addiction management. Motivational disorders like addiction and anxiety are incredibly complicated and hard to understand as they impact quite a few receptor systems and neural pathways all at once. Over the coming years, we can expect that researchers will continue to further study these complexities to discover the full scope of CBD’s therapeutic effects within the body.

The Top 5 Medical Uses for CBD

Treating cancer with cannabis

Throughout the world, most people’s lives have been affected by cancer in some way, whether they had it or they know someone who does or did. In the United States alone, roughly 1.8 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year. The most common diagnosis is breast cancer, which affects close to 277,000 women each ear. Cancer is also the most common cause of death in Canada, accounting for nearly 30% of the overall death rate. Treatment options include radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery – all of which carry some potentially dangerous and long-lasting side effects.

It seems like a stretch at first, but more research is coming to the surface describing cannabis compound’s ability to fight cancerous tumors. Take the most recent study on this topic, published March 31, 2020 in the Oncotarget medical journal, where they found that numerous cannabinoids – CBD and THC, as well as CBC (cannabichromene) and CBN (cannabinol) – can cause cell death in certain tumors.

As per the study, “Treatment with the synergistic combination of the active fractions led to apoptotic cell death in My-La and HuT-78 cell lines. Moreover, the synergistic treatment also led to apoptosis in SPBL, which was significantly selective to the malignant enriched cell population within the SPBL, further implicating possible therapeutic use. Indeed, a prevalent effect of cannabinoids on cancer cells is the induction of death by apoptosis and the inhibition of cancer cell proliferation [21]. For example, THC was previously demonstrated to induce the apoptotic death of cancerous glioma cells via CB1 and CB2 receptors.”

Additionally, a cannabis-based treatment for cancer might actually be within reach, thanks to the ongoing work of medical cannabis pioneer, Professor Raphael Mechoulam. Mechoulam, who is currently head of the Cannabinoids Research Multidisciplinary Center at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is leading a research team aimed at developing cannabis-based treatments for three aggressive forms of cancer: melanoma (skin cancer), neuroblastoma (cancer originating in the surrounding and mostly neural system in children), and glaublastoma (brain cancer).

$2 Million Going To Cannabis Cancer Research Led By Professor Mechoulam

Final Thoughts

As usual, I’m once again amazed at the sheer magnitude of this plant’s healing abilities. Not only can it be used in the treatment of so many different medical indications, it’s also safe, non-addictive, and generally speaking, has very minimal side effects. Once the science here in the U.S. begins to catch up, we can anticipate the introduction of new and innovative cannabis-based therapies.

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Not Just for Getting High – The Underreported Medical Uses of THC

THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, has a pretty bad reputation and it’s the reason why cannabis continues to be illegal in most of the world to this day.

Contrary to popular belief, however, THC does a lot more for the body and mind than just getting us stoned (although that’s certainly another plus side). It actually has numerous therapeutic uses – including benefits for the brain, digestive system, and more – that are hard to come by with other natural remedies.

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What is THC?

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the most abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, and it’s also the only known psychoactive one. In a way, THC has become synonymous with cannabis itself, as when most people refer to cannabis, pot, weed, etc., they’re usually talking about the THC-dominant variety. Due to the intoxicating effects it creates, it’s illegal in most countries, including the United States where it continues to be listed as a Schedule 1 narcotic – despite the fact that it’s safety profile is great and the risk of addiction and subsequent issues is minimal.

Regardless of the high and the politics though, THC does a lot more than just get people “stoned”. It has some very real and incredibly powerful medical benefits including pain relief, brain regeneration, and treatment for PTSD and depression – but we’ll cover this more in-depth a couple sections down.

Although controversial, studies on the therapeutic power of THC have been going on for decades. In 1964, THC was isolated for the first time by Israeli chemist and Professor, Raphael Mechoulam. It was the very first cannabinoid to be extracted from the plant and studied. This breakthrough marked the beginning of an era of cannabis research, leading to the discovery of other cannabinoids and compounds, as well as the human endocannabinoid system.

THC and the Endocannabinoid System

The reason cannabinoids are so effective and are able to target such a varied range of conditions is because of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS is a network of receptors that can be found throughout the bodies of all mammals. We naturally create cannabinoids in our bodies – called endocannabinoids – which bond to these receptors to regulate different processes in our bodies and maintain homeostasis.

So far, researchers have been able to identify two separate endocannabinoids: 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide (AEA), as well as two main receptor: CB1 and CB2. 2-AG is a full agonist of both the CB1 and CB2 receptors but it has a more direct association with the CB2 receptor. Because of this, 2-AG is thought to have a substantial influence over the immune system.

Anandamide – The “Bliss” Molecule of the Endocannabinoid System

Anandamide – or AEA – is frequently referred to as the “bliss molecule” and it has a major impact on our state of homeostasis. AEA can help manage things such as appetite, sleep wake cycles, pain response, and the list goes on. Our bodies cycle through anandamide. It breaks down very easily, so it doesn’t stay in the body for long. However, our bodies create it on-demand to continuously maintain homeostasis.

There is a condition referred to as ‘cannabinoid deficiency’, characterized by a body’s inability to produce endocannabinoids. Some experts theorize that many illnesses we suffer from, stem from this shortage of endocannabinoids.

THC is the only major cannabinoid that directly activates both the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain – even CBD does not. Other compounds can actually interfere with the way THC impacts the CB receptors, which is precisely why dosing and ratios (THC:CBD), as well as the option to use different cannabinoids, are important factors when it comes to successfully using cannabis-based therapies.

Pain Management

Cannabis use dates back thousands of years and has been used both recreationally and medicinally throughout the course of its history. As far as the modern, Western world goes, cannabis has been on its way to the mainstream for the last few decades. Beginning in 1970s when some cultural and spiritual changes were going on, then moving forward to 1996 when California became the first state to legalize cannabis use for medicinal reasons.

One of the most common, non-recreational uses of cannabis has always been to treat pain. Whether that pain stems from inflammation, headaches, injury, chemotherapy, menstrual cramps, injury, or neuropathic pain – cannabis seems to be able to offer relief in every scenario. Due to the increase in opioid-related deaths, people are turning to cannabis as a way to safely treat their symptoms.

More than 1.5 billion people worldwide live with chronic pain, defined as persistent pain lasting longer than 6 months. Many of these individuals suffer from neuropathic pain or nerve-related pain. Many prescription medications are available to manage pain, but they are dangerous, addictive, and become increasingly less effective over time.

Studies show that THC activates pathways in the central nervous system that block pain signals from reaching the brain. Even an FDA-approved trial in 2013 confirmed THC’s effectiveness for curbing pain. Individuals experiencing neuropathic pain were given low doses of THC (1.29%) in the form of vaporized cannabis. The results, according to the documents, were that “A low dose of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol provided statistically significant 30% reductions in pain intensity when compared to placebo.”

Nausea, Wasting Syndrome, and other Digestive Issues

Anecdotal evidence, or personal accounts, will tell you that THC is actually one of the best remedies on earth for treating digestive issues. However, that’s unfortunately not enough to be considered evidence for most people. Luckily, there are a few emerging studies that back up these sentiments.

How Cannabis Can Provide Quick Relief For Nausea

But  there are some legitimate studies that have echoed that sentiment which is promising for anyone interested in using it. For example, this study looked at the effects of using THC to treat children suffering from chemotherapy-induced nausea. According to the research, “vomiting was completely prevented and the side effects observed were negligible”.

Further proving its effectiveness, a synthetic version of THC has been used in a prescription drug – Marinol – since the 1980s; although Marinol pales in comparison to real THC and the entourage effect of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids all working together. Additionally, THC can effectively increase appetites and in those who need it most. It’s basically a one and done solution to many issues relating to the stomach and digestive system.

Brain Regeneration and Growth

Did you THC is actually good for the brain? Despite its reputation for causing forgetfulness and “killing brain cells”, when used by elderly patients, it can actually help them focus better and improve their memory. That’s the conclusion of a study conducted by a German-Israeli research team who ran a series of THC tests on elderly mice. Not only did the older mice perform as well as the young, sober mice, but their brain tissue physically changed and showed traits of cognitive youth following THC administration.

THC regenerates non-functioning brain cells and promotes growth of new ones via the activation of the CB1 receptor. More specifically, THC causes brain cells in the hippocampus to grow. THC can also stimulate long-term potentiation, which is a process that helps improve the brain’s ability to learn and store new information, and it can even help protect special memories. It’s for this reason that small doses of cannabis can be helpful in treating diseases like Alzheimer’s.  

And just to round out the list of reason why THC is good for the brain, we also have a study that suggests people with THC in their systems are 80% more likely to survive and recover from serious head trauma.

Natural Sleep Aid

According to The Sleep Foundation and the National Institute of Health, “roughly 30 percent of the general population complains of sleep disruption, and approximately 10 percent have associated symptoms of daytime functional impairment consistent with the diagnosis of insomnia.”

Insomnia can come and go, and for many people it goes away naturally and never returns. But for others, it’s there to stay, and when sleep is disrupted, every single organ, system, and function within our bodies will suffer. In the short term, inadequate sleep can affect mood and judgement, the ability to learn and retain information, and it can increase the possibility of an accident or injury. Over a longer period, lack of sleep can lead to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early death.

Cannabinoids vs Melatonin – What’s the Best Sleep Aid?

Many will attest to the use of THC as a sleep aid, as it can make you feel quite tired, especially when you’re using and indica strain with high levels of THC, and particularly when you are coming down from a “high”. Scientific research on this topic also has the same implications.

This study found that THC can “significantly decrease the time it takes to fall asleep in physically healthy insomniacs.” A small 2008 study indicated that THC can reduce the amount of REM sleep a patient gets which leads to less dreams, but that’s not the case for everyone and a lack of dreaming doesn’t necessarily correlate with poor sleep.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

An estimated  8 percent of Americans currently live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); that’s around 24.4 million people. PTSD is a mental and emotional disorder that can occur after someone has experienced a traumatic event. It’s common in war veterans, rape victims, and other people who have been exposed to violence.

Symptoms of PTSD can include but are not limited to: agitation, anger, rage, severe anxiety, depression, insomnia, nightmares, social isolation, visual and auditory hallucinations, flashbacks, and the list goes on. It can be an extremely debilitating and crippling condition.  

THC has been proven to be a safe, consistent, and effective treatment option for PTSD. As a matter of fact, some psychiatrists say that cannabis rich in THC is the only worthwhile treatment for PTSD, which is a powerful sentiment. Numerous studies confirm that THC provides relief for many of the PTSD-related symptoms mentioned above.

Antibacterial Against Resistant Microbes

Antibiotic resistance is growing to alarming high levels all over the world, in both developed and developing nations. Overtime, bacteria mutates and develops various mechanisms that make it less susceptible to antibiotic treatments. Numerous different infections – including tuberculosis, pneumonia, blood poisoning, gonorrhea, foodborne pathogens, and others – are becoming more difficult, and sometimes impossible to treat.

In a world plagued with antibiotic resistance, look to cannabis as a natural alternative

One of lesser known benefits of using cannabinoids, and THC in particular, is to fight microbes. A small study conducted on rodents showed that THC can change their gut microbes, which is not only a sign that THC can impact bacteria, but that it can also be used for weight management.

 A more elaborate study published in the Journal of Natural Products indicated that cannabinoids are indeed effective at fighting various bacteria. So effective in fact, that researchers at MIT were able to use cannabis-based creams to kill antibiotic-resistant pathogens that no other medication could destroy.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there is much more to THC than meets the eye. It’s not just a fun cannabinoid (although yes, it is oh so fun), it’s also a powerhouse of therapeutic benefits. It needs to be studied more, but the fact that it’s still illegal, and not being researched, when it can be used to help so many people, is unconscionable. We all have the right to medicate with products that are safe, natural, non-addictive, and that work for us and our individual needs.

Thank you for tuning in to CBD Testers, your source for all things relating to cannabis and hemp. Check back frequently and make sure to subscribe to the Medical Cannabis Business Newsletter for more articles like this one.  

The post Not Just for Getting High – The Underreported Medical Uses of THC appeared first on CBD Testers.

Israeli Researchers Work on CBD-Based Treatment for COVID-19

So here we are, a few months after the first COVID-19 case was officially diagnosed, and this disease has pretty much taken over every aspect of our lives. It’s constantly in the news, most of the world is on some level of lockdown, and people are looking for that light at the end of the tunnel.

Although the origin of this particular viral strain has recently come into question, what we do know is that COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus, a family of viruses that include other upper respiratory infections like MERS and SARS. Coronaviruses have existed for thousands of years and are common among humans and many animal species. Common symptoms include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath.

As of now, there is no official course of action for managing COVID-19 patients. Many people are given antivirals, put on respirators, and subjected to other invasive and possibly dangerous treatment methods. Are there any natural alternatives? Could cannabidiol (CBD) be used to treat and possibly prevent COVID-19? That’s exactly what researchers in Israel are working to discover.

Why Israel Is (and will continue to be) A Global Leader in the Cannabis Industry

The Relationship Between Cannabis and Viruses

Let me start by saying that, just because no documented evidence exists doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. That said, there is no published research on the effects of cannabinoids on viral infections, but quite a bit of anecdotal evidence exists. According to Dr. Shawn Meirovici, a naturopathic doctor from Toronto: “The cannabinoids THC and CBD have been shown to have pain-relieving, sleep-inducing, and anti-inflammatory properties. So, on your sick day when you’re wrapped in a blanket cannabis may help reduce body aches, ease inflammation of the airways, and increase relaxation to help you sleep.”

He also suggested that cannabis may also have “antipyretic
or fever-reducing properties, due to its ability to suppress the immune
system.” There
is one thing to take note of though, and that the fact that some preliminary
research suggests CBD, and THC, might actually hinder the immune system’s
ability to fight certain infections.

It’s well known that CBD has
anti-inflammatory properties. However, slightly lesser known is the fact that
inflammation is a vital response to infection that isolates affected areas and prevents
toxins from spreading throughout the body. Reducing the body’s inflammatory
immune response can actually prolong the time that it takes for a pathogen to
run its course. The same applies to fevers, they are yet another necessary immune

I know this directly contradicts other information regarding
CBD and immunity, but this is exactly why more large-scale research is so
desperately needed. “The research has been primarily in vitro or in rats; there
hasn’t been any studies on humans to date,” added Dr. Meirovici.

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CBD Exosomes for Treating COVID-19

InnoCan Pharma, an Israeli company that specializes in developing cannabinoid-based medications has recently formed a partnership with Ramot, the technology transfer arm of Tel Aviv University. Together, they’re working on a novel treatment for COVID-19 using exosomes loaded with CBD (cannabidiol).

Exosomes are small particles that are created when stem
cells get multiplied. They can act as “homing missiles” by targeting specific
organs that have been damaged. They also play an important role in cell-to-cell

According to a study conducted in 2018, “Exosomes mediate intercellular transfer of functional proteins, lipids, and RNAs. Exosomes and several viruses share similar structural and molecular characteristics. Explanation: It has been documented that viral hijacking exploits the exosomal pathway and mimics cellular protein trafficking.”

“Exosomes released from virus-infected cells contain a variety of viral and host cellular factors that are able to modify recipient host cell responses,” the text continued. “Recent studies have demonstrated that exosomes are crucial components in the pathogenesis of virus infection. Exosomes also allow the host to produce effective immunity against pathogens by activating antiviral mechanisms and transporting antiviral factors between adjacent cells.”

The two groups, led by Professor Daniel Offen who specializes in neuroscience and exosome technology, will collaborate on a novel, exosome-based therapy that targets “central nervous system (CNS) indications and COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus”, they said in a statement.  

Control of Inflammation with CBD

More About CBD for COVID-19

According to a press release: “CBD-loaded exosomes hold the potential to provide a highly synergistic effect of anti-inflammatory properties and help in the recovery of infected lung cells. When cell healing properties of the exosomes are combined with the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD, it is expected to reach this high synergetic effect, according to InnoCan.

“InnoCan has agreed to fund the research in the aggregate amount of about
$450,000 in the first stage. The product will be administered by inhalation,
InnoCan said, and will be tested against a variety of lung infections. The
research results may also be beneficial to additional treatments for Central
Nerve System ( CNS ) indications, such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s Disease.

“The agreement gives InnoCan the option to receive an
exclusive global royalty-bearing license to Ramot’s background tech and the
research results to allow InnoCan to develop and manufacture this potential
treatment for COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. If InnoCan decides to
exercise this option, the two companies have agreed to negotiate the license
agreement, according to predefined commercial terms outlined in the agreement.”

Final Thoughts

A lot of research still needs to be conducted on the use of CBD for COVID-19, and it’s hard to say how soon we will see this put into practice. For a medication to be safe and effective, it needs to be studied very extensively. Trials need to be conducted, first in animal models and then humans, and that can take anywhere from months to years.

For now, we’ll just make sure to keep you updated this story, as well as any studies relating to use the of cannabinoids and viruses. Make sure to subscribe to the CBD Business Weekly Newsletter for more stories like this one.

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Thursday, April 2, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Thursday, April 2, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// AOC Says Marijuana Dispensaries Should Stay Open During Coronavirus If Liquor Stores Can (Marijuana Moment)

// The Feds Are Offering Grants to Study How Coronavirus Impacts Cannabis Consumers (Merry Jane)

// OWNERS: Have a Heart Compassionate Care dispensaries were not economically feasible to operate (Quad-City Times)

These headlines are brought to by MJToday Media.

// Cannabis users, shops suffer high anxiety after Massachusetts shuts down recreational sales (NBC News)

// Why are liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries considered essential businesses? (Newsweek)

// Maine retailers deemed essential prepare to follow new state mandates (Portland Press Herald)

// COVID-19 Kills a Non-Violent Drug Offender Serving 27 Years Behind Bars (Merry Jane)

// USDA Approves Hemp Plans For South Carolina And West Virginia (Marijuana Moment)

// Medical cannabis businesses eye potential new markets in southern US (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Washington Governor Signs Bill To Diversify State’s Marijuana Industry (Marijuana Moment)

Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Photo: Nrkbeta/Flickr

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.

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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

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

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.

Why Israel Is (and will continue to be) A Global Leader in the Cannabis Industry

When we think about legal cannabis
products, there is a certain level of expectation there. The fad of “everything
CBD” has faded over the last year and people are looking for more a product
that’s merely, CBD-infused.

The cannabis products of today need to be more professional, safe, accurate, and efficient – and this applies to everything from raw flowers to highly processed pharmaceuticals. People want to know what’s in their products and where it comes from, and large stores and pharmacy chains, like CVS for example, will only sell products that contain safe and legal ingredients.

In the very-near future, we can expect to see Israel leading the way in the production and verification of safe cannabis products. Let’s take a look at why this is.

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Strong History of R&D

The United States has
always struggled with even the basics of cannabis-research, starting with a decades-long
prohibition against the plant. Even with more social acceptance and legalizations
at the state level, the government is slow to the punch, not even providing
proper flower for researchers to conduct studies (the few that are allowed to

In Israel, the situation
is entirely different. “Israel isn’t just at the forefront of medical cannabis
research,” writes Swiss
medical cannabis company Cibdol. “It is out in front by some margin.” U.S. News
and World Report referred to
Israel as “The Holy Land of medical marijuana.”

Israel has a long history with cannabis, dating back to the 1960s when Raphael Mechoulam, AKA The Father of Cannabis Research, initially discovered endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids. It was his curiosity about cannabis as a healing plant that led him to a police station in 1963, where he obtained his first sample – 5 kilos of hashish – to use for research purposes. Mechoulam then developed a relationship with employees at the Israeli Ministry of Health, who gave him permits to continue getting cannabis products for his studies over the next few decades.

He and his research group were the first to isolate and fully synthesize the major plant cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinolcannabidiolcannabigerol and many others. He has also conducted many studies on Anandamide, an endocannabinoid responsible for homeostasis and referred to as the “bliss molecule“.

He currently runs a research program at Hebrew University, where he still studies the use of cannabinoids to treat various conditions and illnesses, including cancer.

$2 Million Going To Cannabis Cancer Research Led By Professor Mechoulam

What’s Happening Today

Aside from Mechoulam, other Israeli companies are conduction
ongoing research on medical cannabis. The Isreali Health Ministry and the
Israeli Agricultural Ministry have a designated budget of 8 million NIS (2.1
million USD) to fund new cannabis research. There’s a whole slew of projects
they want to work on and so far, 13 have been approved, but there will be three
main areas of focus:

  1. Strains: They will be identifying and producing new strains and studying the effects of these strains and what ailments they could best alleviate.
  2. Medicine: New studies on how cannabis can be used to combat cancer, improve vision, increase the body’s likelihood to accept a transplanted organ, and decrease symptoms of autism in children and adults are on the books.
  3. Cultivation: They are hoping to improve watering and fertilizing techniques, and find new ways to protect cannabis crops from pests and diseases. 

Additionally, there is a heavy focus on technology and “agritech” in the Israeli cannabis scene. The future of agriculture involves technology and automation and we can expect to see things like automated grow rooms, smart growing systems that collect and store data, and companies that utilize, manage and sell that data. Agriculture is a lot more than just growing and gardening in today’s world.  

Technology in Cultivation – Smart Farming Innovations For Hemp and Cannabis

As far as business goes, there are various opportunities for Israeli companies to make a name for themselves in the coming years. “Companies that have cash and are smart enough will benefit now because many of the [Canadian] larger LPs will no longer be able to hold on to all the assets they bought when the stock market was better,” Nadav Gil, the Head of the Cannabis practice, as well of Global Investment and Innovation Incentives practice at Deloitte Israel, in an interview with our friends at CannaCAST.

“There are a few Israeli companies
with good management and money as well because they raised significant capital
in the beginning stages,” he continued. “If they work wisely, they can find
themselves going into acquisition to buy a plant or a farm in Europe that
belongs to the LPs, or in North America. And remember, this will not last
forever because once the federal laws change in the United States, the
americans will buy everything.”  

A good opportunity for many smaller
businesses, not just Israeli, to purchase another farm or facility to expand
their business in the future.

Looking Forward

Israel will become the go-to place to
create products that are “science-based”. Demand has evolved, not just from consumers
but from government agencies as well. Everyone wants to know what is in the
product you’re selling, and rightfully so. There should always be transparency when
it comes to ingredients in products that are made for human consumption, but
with this transparency comes another demand, quality.

Israel can bring the “science-based”
aspect to many cannabis products. Because of the existing research, medical and
university infrastructure, and regulation regarding cannabis R&D, that will
make this tiny nation the future epicenter for trusted cannabis products – ones
that actually deliver therapeutic results and not just fun products in pretty
packaging that are just riding along on the CBD hype from a couple years ago.

Gil added, “The world understands that
the product of tomorrow, will be a product that can be clearly explained.”

We strive to keep you informed, check back with us to stay in the loop on all things cannabis-related. For more articles like this one, make sure to subscribe to the CBD Business Weekly Newsletter.

The post Why Israel Is (and will continue to be) A Global Leader in the Cannabis Industry appeared first on CBD Testers.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, February 26, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Presidential Candidates Clash Over Marijuana Legalization At Democratic Debate (Marijuana Moment)

// Massachusetts Regulators Warn That More Pot Shops Mean More Weed on the Streets (Merry Jane)

// Smokable Hemp Bill Heads To Virginia Governor’s Desk And Lawmakers Approve Legal Marijuana Study (Marijuana Moment)

These headlines are brought to you by MJToday Media, publishers of this podcast as well as our weekly show Marijuana Today and the most-excellent Green Rush Podcast. And check out our new show Weed Wonks!

// Mexican Senate Committees Meeting This Week To Finalize Marijuana Legalization Plan (Marijuana Moment)

// Eaze Raises $35 Million As Company Pivots To Plant Touching (Green Market Report)

// Paraguay issues first 12 medical cannabis production licenses (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Chart: Montana medical marijuana patient count continues rapid growth (Marijuana Business Daily)

// How old do you need to be to legally sell cannabis? In Canada it depends on where you live (Growth Op)

// Pennsylvania approves four firms to grow cannabis for research (Marijuana Business Daily)

// GW Pharma Generates $109 Million Revenue in Q4 (New Cannabis Ventures)

Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: CBS News