U.S. Government Increases Marijuana Being Grown for Research

The U.S. government is growing the largest crop of marijuana for research purposes in five years, reports the Associated Press.

The increase is in response to the rapidly growing interest in marijuana strains with high levels of THC and CBD.

As noted by the AP, the government is the only source of cannabis for nearly all research in the U.S., while it still considers it illegal and dangerous. Mississippi, which holds the sole federal contract for producing marijuana. That’s enough for 5 million joints, although the government provides marijuana in different forms.

The crop will be divided between high THC and high CBD varieties with “recent interest (in CBD) as a potential medicine for a number of medical conditions,” NIDA said. The compound THC causes pot’s mind-altering effect; CBD doesn’t get people high.

Last year, a CBD-based drug was approved by federal regulators for two rare seizure disorders and researchers are pursuing research on it for other conditions. Others are focused on THC.

“We want to study what our patients are using,” said University of Colorado Assistant Professor Emily Lindley, who is investigating marijuana with high THC as an alternative to opioids for chronic back pain.

Lindley and other researchers want others besides the University of Mississippi to get federal authorization to grow research pot. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration created an application process for growers, but has not acted on more than two dozen applications. In June, Scottsdale Research Institute in Arizona asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to order the DEA to process the applications.

“We are still working through the process and those applications remain under review,” said DEA spokeswoman Katherine Pfaff in an email Thursday. She declined to comment on the litigation.

In response to questions from the AP, NIDA said there had been no major increase in demand for cannabis by researchers in recent years. Last year, 20 researchers got shipments of government marijuana, much of it from frozen cannabis grown in 2014. Since 2010, the number of researchers receiving government marijuana has ranged from eight to 21.

Researchers should be able to obtain material from the new crop in the fall after harvest and analyses are completed, NIDA said.

Switzerland May Soon Legalize Medical Marijuana

The Swiss government on Wednesday put forth a proposal to legalize marijuana as prescription medicine.

The proposal would allow prescriptions for marijuana to treat cancer and other serious ailments report Reuters. Separate from a Swiss government push to allow some cities to experiment with recreational marijuana, the proposition would replace the current system in which those seeking medical cannabis must apply for an exception from the Federal Health Office to get what is otherwise an illegal drug.

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Marijuana is Safe and Effective in Treating Fibromyalgia, Says Study

According to new research, the use of marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for those with fibromyalgia.

The study, titled Safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in fibromyalgia, was published by the Journal of Clinical Medicine and was published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

Read moreMarijuana is Safe and Effective in Treating Fibromyalgia, Says Study

Illinois Legalizes Marijuana

Illinois has officially become the 11th U.S. state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes.

As reported by the Associated Press, Illinois’ new governor signed the legislation into law today making his state the 11th to approve marijuana for recreational use in a program offering legal remedies and economic benefits to minorities whose lives critics say were damaged by a wayward war on drugs.

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Pot in Vermont: The Latest on the Recreational Legalization Front

 

Last year was a historical moment for both the state of Vermont and the marijuana community. Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana with a legislative vote rather than a ballot initiative.

However, it became clear quickly that the new laws weren’t as liberal as some probably would have liked. While a good first step, there is still much ground to be covered in terms of true recreational legalization.

Keep reading to discover what’s going on with Vermont’s marijuana laws and some possible changes and what they could mean in the future.

Read morePot in Vermont: The Latest on the Recreational Legalization Front

Canada’s federal and provincial governments earned C$186 million (roughly $140 million) in tax revenues from direct sales of cannabis in the first 5-1/2 months of legalization.

According to a report by Statistics Canada (first reported on by Reuters), Ottawa collected a combined C$55 million in revenue via federal excise and goods and services taxes. Provincial tax revenues were estimated at a combined C$132 million. Although this is obviously a large number, the figures were below projections, said Robyn Gibbard, an economist for the Conference Board of Canada think tank, “thanks in part to the bumpy rollout of legalization last fall.” Gibbard says; “However, we think that as the kinks are worked out, governments can expect strong growth in revenues from cannabis sales going forward”.

Read moreCanada’s federal and provincial governments earned C$186 million (roughly $140 million) in tax revenues from direct sales of cannabis in the first 5-1/2 months of legalization.

Study: Strong Majority of Hospice Professionals Support Medical Marijuana

A large majority of hospice  professionals support medical marijuana, according to a new study published in The Journal of Palliative Medicine and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

For the study – titled A survey of hospice professional regarding medical cannabis practices – researchers surveyed a nationally representative sample of 310 hospice professionals (primarily nurses) from 40 states. 91% of respondents said that they endorse medical marijuana for hospice patients. In addition, 90% stated that they have fielded questions from patients regarding medical marijuana, and 73% said that they’ve had a patient who has used it.

The study states that “[R]egardless of legal status, hospice staff overwhelmingly support patient access to MC (medical cannabis). Those who practice in states where MC is not yet legal wish that it was.”

Read moreStudy: Strong Majority of Hospice Professionals Support Medical Marijuana