Category: News

Study: Daily Marijuana Use Associated With Increased Treatment Retention Rates for Those Addicted to Opioids

Daily cannabis use is associated with greater odds of retention in treatment among those addicted to opioids, according to a new study published in the journal Addiction, and epublished online by the National Institute of Health.

“Cannabis use is common among people on opioid agonist treatment (OAT), causing concern for some care providers”, states the study. “However, there is limited and conflicting evidence on the impact of cannabis use on OAT outcomes. Given the “critical role of retention in OAT in reducing opioid-related morbidity and mortality”, researchers “aimed to estimate the association of at least daily cannabis use on the likelihood of retention in treatment among people initiating OAT.” As a secondary aim researchers “tested the impacts of less frequent cannabis use.”

The study comprised a total of 820 people who use illicit drugs (PWUD), who initiated OAT between December 1996 and May 2016. . Participants were followed for a median of 81 month.

The primary outcome was retention in OAT, defined as remaining in OAT (methadone or buprenorphine/naloxone-based) for two consecutive 6-month follow-up periods, and the primary explanatory variable was cannabis use (at least daily versus less than daily) during the same 6-month period. “Confounders assessed included: socio-demographic characteristics, substance use patterns and social-structural exposures.”

In adjusted analysis, “at least daily cannabis use was positively associated with retention in OAT [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.21, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.04-1.41]. Our secondary analysis showed that compared with non-cannabis users, at least daily users had increased odds of retention in OAT (aOR = 1.20, 95% CI = 1.02-1.43), but not less than daily users (aOR = 1.00, 95% CI = 0.87-1.14).”

Researchers conclude from this that “Among people who use illicit drugs initiating opioid agonist treatment in Vancouver, at least daily cannabis use was associated with approximately 21% greater odds of retention in treatment compared with less than daily consumption.”

More information on this study, conducted by researchers at the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, the University of British Columbia, and Simon Fraser University – all in Canada – can be found by clicking here.

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Study: THC/CBD Effective in Treating Pain From Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

According to a new study published by the Journal of Pain Research, THC/CBD can have “remarkable analgesic capabilities” in the treatment of chronic refractory pain caused by failed back surgery syndrome.

“This study aimed to evaluate pain and its symptoms in patients with failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) refractory to other therapies, treated with a combination of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), in association with spinal cord stimulation (SCS)”, states the study’s abstract. “Outpatients referred at Pain Unit of San Vincenzo Hospital in Taormina (Italy), between September 2014 and January 2016”, were evaluated.

For the study, eleven FBSS patients diagnosed with neuropathic pain, and suffering from moderate to severe chronic refractory pain and undergoing treatment with SCS and a combination of THC/CBD for 12 consecutive months, completed the Douleur Neuropathique 4 questionnaire.

“All the included patients discontinued previous unsuccessful therapy at least 2 months before the beginning of the cannabinoid therapy, with the exception of the SCS that was continued. Patients received a fixed dosage of cannabinoid agonists (THC/CBD) that could be increased subjective to pain control response.” A Brief Pain Inventory questionnaire “was administered to measure pain and its interference with characteristic dimensions of feelings and functions”, and the “duration of treatment with SCS and THC/CBD combination was 12 months.”

Researchers found that “Effective pain management as compared to baseline result was achieved in all the cases studied. The positive effect of cannabinoid agonists on refractory pain was maintained during the entire duration of treatment with minimal dosage titration. Pain perception, evaluated through numeric rating scale, decreased from a baseline mean value of 8.18±1.07-4.72±0.9 by the end of the study duration (12 months) (P<0.001).”

The study concludes by stating that “The results indicate that cannabinoid agonists (THC/CBD) can have remarkable analgesic capabilities, as adjuvant of SCS, for the treatment of chronic refractory pain of FBSS patients.”

For the full study, click here.

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Northern Mariana Islands Governor Signs Marijuana Legalization Bill Into Law

Northern Mariana Islands Governor Ralph DLG. Torres has signed HB 20-178, the Taulamwaar Sensible CNMI Cannabis Act of 2018, into law.

“Today, our people made history”, said Governor Torres is a public statement. “We took a stand to legalize marijuana in the CNMI for recreational, medical, and commercial use”.

Torres’ signature on the measure comes shortly after it passed the Senate 6-0-2; it passed the House in August 108-1-1.

The new law allows those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, while also possessing up to 16 ounces of marijuana infused food products and 72 ounces of marijuana infused liquids. Licensed cannabis retail outlets are authorized to distribute the plant.

Under the new law there must be a Cannabis Commission appointed within 30 days. Once formed, the commission will have 180 days to create and adopt rules for the program.

Gover Torres’ signature of HB 20-178 makes the Northern Mariana Islands the first US territory to legalize cannabis.

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Getting Lobsters High?

Recreational marijuana is legal in Maine, and one restaurant is using the drug to get its lobsters high before boiling them in a pot. Talk about high class dining!

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Study: CBDA and THC Have Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Hyperalgesia Effects

Both cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) show anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperalgesia effects on acute inflammation, according to a new study published by the journal Psychopharmacology, and epublished ahead of print by the National Institute of Health.

“The present study evaluates the anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperalgesia effects of CBD’s potent acidic precursor, cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), in a rodent model of carrageenan-induced acute inflammation in the rat hind paw, when administered systemically (intraperitoneal, i.p.) or orally before and/or after carrageenan”, begins the study’s abstract. “In addition, we assess the effects of oral administration of THC or CBDA, their mechanism of action, and the efficacy of combined ineffective doses of THC and CBDA in this model. Finally, we compare the efficacy of CBD and CBDA.”

Researchers found that “CBDA given i.p. 60 min prior to carrageenan (but not 60 min after carrageenan) produced dose-dependent anti-hyperalgesia and anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, THC or CBDA given by oral gavage 60 min prior to carrageenan produced anti-hyperalgesia effects, and THC reduced inflammation.”

The anti-hyperalgesia effects of THC “were blocked by SR141716 (a cannabinoid 1 receptor antagonist), while CBDA’s effects were blocked by AMG9810 (a transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 antagonist). In comparison to CBDA, an equivalent low dose of CBD did not reduce hyperalgesia, suggesting that CBDA is more potent than CBD for this indication.”

Interestingly, “when ineffective doses of CBDA or THC alone were combined, this combination produced an anti-hyperalgesia effect and reduced inflammation.”

The study concludes by stating that “CBDA or THC alone, as well as very low doses of combined CBDA and THC, has anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperalgesia effects in this animal model of acute inflammation.”

The full study, conducted by researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada, can be found by clicking here.

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New Jersey Senate Committee Passes Hemp Bill

A hemp legalization bill has been passed by a key Senate committee in New Jersey.

The Senate Economic Growth Committee passed Senate Bill 2491 today, sending it towards a vote by the full Senate. A companion bill to this measure, Assembly Bill 1330, was passed unanimously through the Assembly (67 to 0) in June.

According to its official text, SB 2491 “establishes an industrial hemp license for planting, growing, harvesting, possessing, processing, distributing, buying, or selling industrial hemp in the State.” The bill also “establishes procedures and requirements for persons applying to the Secretary of Agriculture for a license, including procedures and requirements for fingerprinting and criminal background checks for license applicants.”

The proposal defines industrial hemp as “an agricultural product that is part of the plant of any variety of Cannabis sativa L. with a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of 0.3% or less on a dry weight basis, and that is permitted pursuant to this act to be planted, grown, harvested, possessed, processed, distributed, bought, or sold by a person licensed pursuant to section 3 of this act.”

The full text of Senate Bill 2491 can be found by clicking here.

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Louisiana Officials Remove 100-Patient Limit for Doctors Recommending Medical Cannabis

Louisiana state officials today nixed a regulation that prohibited physicians from recommending medical cannabis to more than 100 patients, while also easing renewal requirements for patients.

Earlier today the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners, by a vote of 8 to 1, decided to remove an arbitrary rule that required physicians to stop recommending medical cannabis once they’ve recommended the medicine to 100 patients. The board also removed a requirement for patients to see their physician every 90 days in order to continue their ability to legally use medical cannabis (the vote on this was closer; 5 to 4).

Dr. Victor Chou, who was one of the first physicians in the state receive a license to recommend medical marijuana, told the board he met the patient cap just two weeks after opening his clinic, noting that he has “a waiting list of 700 patients”.

During their meeting the board was also asked to lift a rule that requires minors using the medicine to treat the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder to see a pediatric subspecialist in addition to their family physician. Proponents of the change urged the board to look into the issue at their next meeting which takes place in October.

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Study: Marijuana May Have Anti-Obesity Effects

Marijuana may help fight obesity, according to a new study published by the International Journal of Molecular Science.

Noting that “Obesity is an increasing health problem worldwide” and its “related comorbidities imply a high cost for the National Health System and diminish a patient’s life quality”, the study’s abstract states that”Cannabinoid receptors (CB) regulate thermogenesis, food intake and inflammation”.

In this study researchers found that “Stimulation of CB2 limits inflammation and promotes anti-obesity effects by reducing food intake and weight gain.” Stimulation of the CB2 receptors, of course, can occur through the consumption of cannabis and cannabinoids.”

The study’s full abstract can be found below:

Obesity is an increasing health problem worldwide. Its related comorbidities imply a high cost for the National Health System and diminish a patient’s life quality. Adipose tissue is composed of three types of cells. White adipocytes are involved in fat storage and secretion of hormones. Brown adipocytes are involved in thermogenesis and caloric expenditure. Beige adipocytes are transitional adipocytes that in response to various stimuli can turn from white to brown and could be protective against the obesity, enhancing energy expenditure. The conversion of white in beige adipose tissue is a potential new therapeutic target for obesity. Cannabinoid receptors (CB) regulate thermogenesis, food intake and inflammation. CB1 ablation or inhibition helps reducing body weight and food intake. Stimulation of CB2 limits inflammation and promotes anti-obesity effects by reducing food intake and weight gain. Its genetic ablation results in adiposity development. CB receptors are also responsible for transforming white adipose tissue towards beige or brown adipocytes, therefore their modulation can be considered potential anti-obesity target. CB1 principal localization in central nervous system represents an important limit. Stimulation of CB2, principally localized on peripheral cells instead, should facilitate the anti-obesity effects without exerting remarkable psychotropic activity.

The full text of the study can be found by clicking here.

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