Science

Oregon: Task Force Says State Should Should Fund Marijuana Research Institute

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oregon should pay for an independent cannabis institute to study the herb's medicinal and public health benefits, according to a task force including state officials, scientists and leading doctors.

Tax dollars from recreational marijuana sales would supplement private funding to underwrite the semi-public Oregon Institute for Cannabis Research, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian.

Research scientists and staff would be hired to navigate the complexities of getting marijuana studies federally approved, according to the report, prepared by the Oregon Health Authority.

The recommendation was included in a report submitted to the Oregon Legislature on Monday. Among the proposals is that the institute itself would grow and handle cannabis for research purposes.

"This institute will position Oregon as a leader in cannabis research and serve as an international hub for what will soon be a rapidly accelerating scientific field," according to the report. "No other single initiative could do as much to strengthen the Oregon cannabis industry and to support the needs of Oregon medical marijuana patients."

While the federal government allows research on marijuana, the approval process is tortuously complicated, and must use cannabis grow at a federal facility at The University of Mississippi.

U.K.: Major Study Finds Marijuana Does Not Reduce IQ In Teens

TeenLightsMarijuanaJoint[ChuckGrimmett-Flickr]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Reefer Madness has been debunked yet again, as a large study conducted in the United Kingdom failed to find any evidence of a link between cannabis use and lower intelligence among teenagers.

The study was published online January 6 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, and it found that any statistical association between marijuana use and decreased intellectual performance vanished when researchers took other variables into account, reports Eric W. Dolan at The Raw Story.

The study looked at 2,235 teenagers who participated in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a longterm study following children born in the Bristol area in 1991 and 1992. The kids had their IQ tested at the age of 8, and again at the age of 15. Nearly a quarter of the participants reported having tried marijuana at least once, and 3.3 percent had used it at least 50 times.

"The notion that cannabis use itself is causally related to lower IQ and poorer educational performance was not supported in this large teenager sample," werote lead resercher Claire Mokrysz of the University College London and her colleagues.

Israel: Documentary Examines Professor Mechoulam's Pioneering Work With Cannabis

RaphaelMechoulam[PotNetwork.com]

The Scientist, a documentary released by filmmaker Zach Klein which aims to promote the work of Professor Raphael Mechoulam, is available online for free viewing.

Filmmaker Zach Klein first met Professor Mechoulam when researching the ways in which cannabis reduced the symptoms of chemotherapy that his mother was experiencing while being treated for breast cancer. The resulting documentary follows Professor Mechoulam's attempt to answer the potent question: Are we missing something?

While the work of Dr. Mechoulam in the cannabis field started way back in 1960, he maintained a humble attitude when it comes to the diffusion to the general public of the incredible discoveries he was able to publish. Only a few years ago Dr. Mechoulam agreed to grant an exclusive right to Zach Klein to produce a documentary about his lifetime achievements, to help spread the word and reach out to patients that suffer from medical conditions that can be treated with cannabinoids.

"Here we have a group of compounds, an endogenous system of major importance, it is not being used as much as it should be in the clinic, it is of great promise in the clinic," explained Dr. Mechoulam. "Let's try to push it forward and maybe this film can push it forward a bit."

The Scientist was produced, over period of four years, in association with Fundación CANNA, a non-profit research foundation focusing on the study of Cannabis and its compounds.

The Scientist is free to watch online through

U.S.: Survey Of Teens Finds No Change In Marijuana Usage Rates For Past 5 Years

TeenMarijuanaUse[SmokingPanda]

The results of an annual survey of U.S. middle and high school students released Wednesday refute claims that reforming marijuana laws and debating legalization will lead to increased marijuana use among teens.

According to the Monitoring the Future Survey sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):

· Rates of daily marijuana use by 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders, as well as monthly use by 12th-graders, did not change from 2014 to 2015 and have remained unchanged since 2010.

· The rate of monthly marijuana use by 8th-graders did not change in the past year, but has dropped significantly since 2010.

· The rate of monthly marijuana use by 10th-graders appears to have dropped significantly from 2014 (and 2010) to 2015.

The survey also found a decline in the number of teens who perceive "great risk" in marijuana use, negating the theory that softening perceptions of harm will result in more teens using marijuana.

“Many young people recognize that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and other drugs," said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "But they also understand that it is not okay for them to use it.

"For decades, teens had an artificially high perception of risk that stemmed from exaggerations and scare tactics," Tvert said. "Now that there is more information out there and it's not limited to horror stories and propaganda, they are developing a more realistic view.

Vermont: Medical School Delves Into Cannabis Science

MedicalMarijuanaTextbook[LisaRathke]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The University of Vermont is offering a course in the science of cannabis, but the professors say they are hobbled by a lack of research on what has long been a taboo topic.

While other institutions have offered classes in marijuana law and policy, the university's medical school is possibly the first in the nation to offer a full course on medical cannabis, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, reports the Associated Press. Other medical schools have touched on the topic.

"What we're trying to do with this course is to sort of demystify this whole subject matter, to try to treat this like any other drug, like alcohol or amphetamines or opioids," said Vermont pharmacology professor Wolfgang Dostmann. "Just demystify the whole thing and say what it is, what is going on with it, how does it work."

The Massachusetts Medical Society is offering online medical marijuana courses including one on pharmacology, but those courses are also limited because of the lack of research on the topic.

Nearly 90 graduate and undergraduate students have signed up for the Vermont class, which is to start in the spring, forcing the professors to expand the classroom twice. The class is also open to the general public, allowing members of the Legislature, or those in law enforcement or medicine, to attend.

Study: Marijuana Is Safe and Effective For Pain Treatment

PainkillerMedicalMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Cannabinoid preparations including herbal marijuana, liquid and oral cannabis extracts, and nabilone (a synthetic analog of THC) are effective in the treatment of chronic pain, according to the results of a systematic review of randomized, controlled trials published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.

Investigators from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and McGill University in Montreal evaluated the results of 11 placebo-controlled trials conducted between 2010 and 2014, reports Paul Armentano at NORML. Trials assessed the use of herbal cannabis, liquid and oral extracts, and synthetic THC.

Cannabinoids possess "significant analgesic effects" and were "well tolerated" in the majority of studies reviewed.

"The current systematic review provides further support that cannabinoids are safe, demonstrate a modest analgesic effect and provide a reasonable treatment option for treatment chronic non-cancer pain,” the authors concluded.

According to a 2011 review of 18 separate randomized trials evaluating the safety and effectiveness of cannabinoids for pain management, "[C]annabinoids are a modestly effective and safe treatment option for chronic non-cancer (predominantly neuropathic) pain."

Study: Blocking Brain's 'Internal Marijuana' May Trigger Early Alzheimer's

AlzheimersCannabis(TokeSignals)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A 2014 study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine has implicated the blocking of endocannabinoids -- the body's natural substances that are internal versions of the psychoactive chemicals in marijuana -- in the early development of Alzheimer's disease.

A substance called A-beta is strongly suspected to play a major role in the development of Alzheimer's, since it's the chief constituent of the clumps found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients -- may, in the early stages of the disease, impair learning and memory by blocking the natural beneficial action of endocannabinoids in the brain, according to the study, reports Bruce Goldman at Stanford University.

The researchers at Stanford are now working on the molecular details of how and where the interference with endocannabinoid receptors occurs. Knowing that could help develop new drugs to delay the effects upon learning ability and memory that occur with Alzheimer's.

The study, published in Neuron, analyzed A-beta's effects on the hippocampus, a region of the midbrain which in all mammals serves as a combination GPS system and memory-filing assistant, along with other duties.

U.S.: Marijuana Use Doubles In 12 Years; Authorities Hit Panic Button

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Pot's hotter than ever in America, according to a new study.

Marijuana use in the United States more than doubled between 2001 and 2013, according to researchers using data from two large national surveys of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use called the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), reports Shawn Radcliffe at Heathline.

The surveys also asked questions "meant to identify marijuana use disorders such as abuse or dependence," so, of course, the leading questions thus included created suitable answers for those who need to pretend cannabis is a big, bad menace.

Release of a pseudo-scientific study like this is the kind of sadly predictable response that happens one day after Gallup announces 58 percent support for legalization in the United States.a

The skewed questions and thereby distorted answers allow the researchers to claim "a similar increase in the number of people who abused or were dependent on marijuana" -- and, not coincidentally, allows them to get more government funding for their research, which unfortunately depends upon coming up with negative talking points about pot, in the face of a nationwide demand for legalization.

Study: Nicotine Changes The Way Marijuana Affects The Brain

MaybeIt'sTimeYouSwitchedToWeed[MassCentral]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Nicotine changes the way marijuana affects the brain, according to a new study from scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas.

When marijuana and tobacco are combined, according to the study, which was published in the journal Behavioural Brain Research, memory gets stronger as the hippocampus, an area of the brain which affects learning ability and memory, gets smaller, reports Sean Martin at the International Business Times. The more cigarettes smoked per day, the smaller the size of the hippocampus, and the greater the memory performance, according to the research.

The team concluded that the effects of marijuana on the brain aren't usually analyzed with tobacco taken into consideration. The research team was led by Francesca Filbey, director of cognitive neuroscience of addictive behaviors at the Center for BrainHealth.

"Approximately 70 percent of individuals who use marijuana also use tobacco," Filbey said (although I'd question that number). "Our findings exemplify why the effects of marijuana on the brain may not generalize to the vast majority of the marijuana using population, because most studies do not account for tobacco use. This study is one of the first to tease apart the unique effects of each substance on the brain as well as their combined effects.

U.S.: Yet Another Scientific Study Debunks Marijuana Gateway Theory

GatewayTheoryItStartsWithPotThenOneDayYouEndUpPresidentOftheUSA

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Yet another scientific study has been added to the mountain of evidence debunking to so-called "gateway theory," which maintains that marijuana use leads to harder drugs.

Teens instead smoke cannabis for very specific reasons, researchers report in the new study, and it is those same reasons which sometimes prompt them to try other drugs, reports Dennis Thompson at HealthDay News.

Youths who use marijuana because they are bored, for example, are more likely to also use cocaine, while kids using weed to achieve insight or understanding are more likely to try psilocybin mushrooms, according to the findings, recently published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

"We found that marijuana use within itself wasn't a risk factor for use of other drugs," said lead author Joseph Palamar, assistant professor in the department of population health at New York University's Langone Medical Center. "People do generally use marijuana before other drugs, but that doesn't marijuana is a cause of [using] those other drugs."

The researchers based their conclusions on data gathered from Monitoring the Future, on ongoing study of the behaviors of American high school students. About 15,000 high school seniors are questioned each year.

U.S.: Getting High In Senior Year - Is Marijuana Associated With Other Drugs?

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The study reveals “boredom,” “experimentation,” and “insight” are reasons for use related to increased and decreased risk of use of other drugs.

Marijuana is the most prevalent drug in the U.S. Approximately 70 percent of the 2.8 million individuals who initiated use of illicit drugs in 2013 reported that marijuana was their first drug.

Despite extensive research examining potential links between marijuana use and other drug use, the literature is currently lacking data regarding which illicit marijuana users are most likely to engage in use of other illicit drugs.

A new study, published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse by researchers affiliated with New York University's Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR), examines how reasons for illicit marijuana use relates to the use of other drugs individually, rather than grouping them into a single “illicit drug” group.

“Aside from marijuana, a wide range of illicit drugs are prevalent, each having different use patterns, and different effects and dangers associated with use,” said Joseph J. Palamar, PhD, MPH, a CDUHR affiliated researcher and an assistant professor of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center (NYULMC). “Our research helped to identify subtypes of illicit marijuana users who use other drugs, as this may be able to inform prevention efforts.”

Australia: $33.7 Million Donation For Medical Marijuana Research Inspired By Granddaughter

KatelynLambert[TheDailyTelegraph]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A pair of Australian grandparents on Friday made the biggest-ever donation to medical marijuana research to investigate its use in treating childhood epilepsy and other diseases.

Barry and Joy Lambert's granddaughter Katelyn suffers up to 1,400 seizures a day, and medicinal cannabis could save her life, reports Alicia Wood at The Daily Telegraph. Lambert said he and his wife made the $33.7 million gift after seeing Katelyn respond to cannabis treatments for her debilitating condition, Dravet syndrome.

"Our vision is to make Australia a world leader in researching how to realize the powerful medicinal potential of the cannabis plant," Lambert said. "The experience of our granddaughter, who suffers debilitating epilepsy, has opened our eyes to the extraordinary possibility of cannabinoids treating not only her condition but a range of chronic illnesses that often don’t respond to conventional treatments.

“We believe this investment in the future of Australian science and medicine will provide the much-needed evidence to rapidly advance the use of medicinal cannabinoids in the treatment of childhood epilepsy and other serious illnesses,” Lambert said.

Israel: Researchers Eliminate 60% of Myeloma Cells With Cannabis-Based Treatments

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As the possibilities for cannabis-based treatments continue to make headlines in the medical world, One World Cannabis, a medical-cannabis research company, has announced that the initial results of its landmark study on treating multiple myeloma with cannabis-based solutions were extremely promising. After a series of tests using cannabis-based treatments, researchers were able to eradicate 60 percent of multiple myeloma cells.

The disease is one of the most deadly hematologic cancers and individuals diagnosed with the disease often have about a 50 percent survival rate.

OWC Pharmaceutical Research Corp. on Wednesday announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, One World Cannabis Ltd., an Israel-based developer of cannabinoid-based therapies targeting a variety of different indications, has received the first basic science study (lab) results on the effect of several combination of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on multiple myeloma cell line RPMI8226.

Based on the results, One World Cannabis will submit the clinical trial protocol to the IRB (Helsinki committee). The company expects to receive institutional review board approval for the study within 6-9 weeks.

The OWC multiple myeloma study was done by three repetitive tests on the effect of cannabis extract with various combination ratios of THC/CBD and pure THC and CBD (50 percent concentration). The results present more than 60 percent malignant cell death. More results of pure THC and CBD are under further analysis.

Study: Medical Marijuana Laws Do Not Lead To Increases In Teen Use

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Lancet Study Dismantles Main Argument of Opponents of Medical Marijuana

A new Columbia University study published in Lancet Psychiatry shows that teen marijuana use does not increase after the passage of medical marijuana laws. The study, led by Dr. Debra Hasin, looked at past-30-day marijuana use among over one million adolescents over a 24-month period.

While rates of use were higher to begin with in medical marijuana states, rates of use did not change after laws went into effect.

This is not the first study to find that medical marijuana laws do not have an impact on teen use – but this study is the most comprehensive and valid, given the large sample size, the long study period and adjusting results for other factors that might contribute to marijuana use, such as gender, age and geographic location. Additionally, the study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which has been critical of the impact of medical marijuana laws on teen use.

“Medical marijuana relieves pain and suffering for millions and does not lead to an increase in teen marijuana use,” said Amanda Reiman, manager of Marijuana Law and Policy for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and professor at UC Berkeley. “This should end the ‘What About The Kids’ argument used by opponents who try prevent access to marijuana for the sick and dying.”

Global: Ancient Humans Probably Smoked Marijuana For Health

PygmyMarijuana[Pinterest]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Ancient hunter-gatherers who depended on the wild, before agriculture was invented, not only forged for food -- they foraged for marijuana, according to science.

The medical benefits of cannabis, while still officially denied by the U.S. government (which holds a patent on the damn stuff) was well understood by our forebears, probably instinctively, at least 12,000 years ago, reports Stephen Morgan at Digital Journal.

A team of anthropologists from Washington State University, led by Dr. Ed Hagen, wanted to see how cultures worldwide used cannabis historically. They especially wanted to see if ancient marijuana users were subconsciously influenced more by health reasons than just wanting to get high.

Humans throughout history have probably sought out cannabis, in the same way we searched out foods beneficial to us, according to Dr. Hagen.

"In the same way we have a taste for salt, we might have a taste for psychoactive plant toxins, because these things kill parasites. If you look at non-human animals, they do the same thing, and what a lot of biologists think is they're doing it to kill parasites," Dr. Hagen said, reports Ellie Zolfagharifard at the Daily Mail.

Africa: Cannabis Use Among Male African Pygmies Linked To Decreased Risk Of Infection

PygmyMarijuana[Pinterest]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Could using cannabis help protect against parasitic infection? A study from Africa seems to show that it does.

In a population of Congo Basin foragers called the Aka, 67 percent of men—but just 6 percent of women—use cannabis, and the practice seems to protect against infection with parasitic worms.

The large sex difference, which is also seen in tobacco use, might be a consequence, in part, of women's avoidance of smoking during childbearing years.

The results highlight the need for more research on the high rate of cannabis use in Aka men.

“Recreational drug use is rarely studied in hunter gatherers,” said Dr. Edward Hagen, senior author of the American Journal of Human Biology study. "In the same way we have a taste for salt, we might have a taste for psychoactive plant toxins, because these things kill parasites," he said, reports Science Daily.

“We’re intrigued by the possible link between cannabis use and parasitic worms, which resembles the self-medication behavior seen in numerous species.

"We need to be cautious, though, in generalizing from one study in a unique population to other populations,” Dr. Hagen, a Washington State University anthropologist, said.

The Aka, as one of the world's last group's of hunter-gatherers, offer anthropologists a unique window into a way of life covering some 99 percent of human history; they might also offer an alternative hypothesis explaining human drug use.

U.S.: President Obama Nominates Chuck Rosenberg To Head Beleaguered DEA

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DEA Increasingly Scrutinized as States Legalize Marijuana and Public Opinion Turns Against Failed Drug War

A senior F.B.I. official and former U.S. Attorney, Chuck Rosenberg, has been selected by President Obama as interim director of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Rosenberg has served as the chief of staff to the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, for the past 18 months.

Outgoing DEA head Michele Leonhart announced her retirement last month in the wake of numerous scandals. She came under intense criticism for opposing the Obama Administration’s efforts to reform mandatory minimum sentencing laws, and for opposing the administration’s hands-off approach in the four states that have approved legal regulation of marijuana.

The DEA has existed for more than 40 years but little attention has been given to the role the agency has played in fueling mass incarceration, racial disparities, the surveillance state, and other Drug War problems. Congress has rarely scrutinized the agency, its actions or its budget, instead showing remarkable deference to the DEA’s administrators.

U.S.: Thursday, May 14 Town Hall On Teens And Drugs To Feature Expert Dr. Carl Hart

DrCarlHart(ColumbiaUniversity)

Dr. Hart Will Take Questions from Listeners

Dr. Carl Hart, Columbia University professor and the best-selling, award-winning author of High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society will join the Drug Policy Alliance’s asha bandele on Thursday, May 14, from 1 – 2 p.m., EDT for a discussion on how our current approaches to teaching our children about drugs fail – and actually make them more vulnerable to the harms of drug use.

Hart is also expected to explore the impact of drugs on the developing adolescent brain, as well as the myths and prejudices at the roots of drug prohibition.

Dr. Hart has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, Jon Stewart’s "The Daily Show," and other national media outlets. He is a dedicated scientist, activist and educator who has spent his career researching drugs and their impact on human beings.

His work addresses the rampant misinformation about drugs and their perceived harms, dispelling the prevailing myths that link crime, drugs and poor people of color.

Dr. Hart’s talk is the fifth in a series of quarterly telephone town halls sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance. The conversations seek to bring some of the most learned and influential people working in the field of drug policy before the general public so that together we can create an ever-more informed and shared understanding about drugs and society.

Study: Marijuana is effective in the treatment of chronic pain

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By Monica Pupo,
Hemp News Correspondent

Published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, a recent study showed that the use of marijuana to relieve chronic pain is very common. Plus, patients reported greater relief with cannabis use than when using only opioid drugs.

The research included 1,514 people who live in Australia and received opioid prescription for treatment of non-malignant chronic pain. According to scientists, "Associations between demographics, pain, personal characteristics of each patient and the use of cannabis for pain."

The results showed that one in six - or 16% - had used cannabis for pain relief, and 6% in the previous month. Almost half (43%) of the sample had also used cannabis for recreational purposes.

A quarter of participants reported that would use marijuana for pain relief if he had access. Those who already use cannabis for pain on average are younger, reported higher pain intensity and greater pain interference in their daily lives.

The conclusion of the study shows that "cannabis use in order to relieve the pain seems common among people living with non-malignant chronic pain - and users report greater pain relief with the combination with opioids, than when the opioids are used alone."

Study: Study: Findings from the Pain and Opioids IN Treatment (POINT)

To read Monica Pupos blog, please visit http://maryjuana.com.br

Study: Daily Marijuana Use Doesn't Change Brains Of Teens Or Adults

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's a repeating pattern. Last year, the mainstream press gave lots of attention to a study suggesting that daily marijuana use could cause abnormalities in the brain. But now that new research, using better techniques, indicates that claim simply isn't true, it doesn't get nearly as much coverage.

The authors of the new study, "Daily Marijuana Use Is Not Associated with Brain Morphometric Measures in Adolescents or Adults," which was published in the latest issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, suggest that alcohol use was actually responsible for the brain changes found in previous studies, reports Ray Stern at Phoenix New Times.

An abstract of the study describes how scientists could not replicate recent research that claimed cannabis use "is associated with volumetric and shape differences in subcortical structures."

The MRI brain-scan reports of 29 adults and 50 adolescents who use cannabis daily were compared with MRI scans of the same numbers of adult and teen non-users of cannabis.

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