STUDY REVEALS CANNABIS HAS ANTI-TUMOR EFFECTS

Researchers have found cannabis to be effective at inhibiting tumor growth and at reducing the severity of the symptoms commonly caused by chemotherapy treatments. In a research review, published in JAMA Oncology, Gianna Wilkie and a team of researchers from the Brown University Alpert Medical School of Brown University examined data from previous studies to summarize cannabis’s cancer-related therapeutic value and symptom relief.

“Cannabis in oncology may have potential in its use for anticipatory and refractory [cannabis-induced nausea and vomiting], refractory cancer pain, and as an antitumor agent,” Wilkie and her team concluded.

The researchers found both in vivo and in vitro studies that demonstrated cannabinoid’s ability to inhibit tumor growth by increasing cancer cell death and suppressing cell proliferation. The two major cannabinoids found in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) showed potential as antineoplastic agents.

Several clinical trials found cannabis to be effective at relieving chronic cancer pain as well as neuropathic pain. One study even showed that a two-week treatment of cannabis containing both THC and CBD offered pain relief to cancer patients who had previously been unsuccessful in managing their discomfort with opioids.

Wilkie and her team also acknowledged that cannabinoids have shown to be safer compared to other analgesic medications like opioids.

“In the aforementioned studies, THC was seen to be more sedating than codeine but unlike opioids was not associated with respiratory depression,” the researchers wrote. “The extrapolated estimated lethal dose of cannabinoids from animal studies is approximately 680 kg smoked in 15 minutes, making overdose unlikely.”

While Wilkie and her research team concluded that studies have shown cannabis to have significant positive effects on cancer and chemotherapy-related symptoms, they did declare the need for more studies.

“More research is needed in all areas related to the therapeutic use of marijuana in oncology,” Wilkie wrote in the article’s abstract. “Currently, cannabis is not a primary means of treatment for any cancer or treatment-related adverse effect. However, as marijuana legalization, access, and research increases, this may change.”

Since 1996, 29 states and Washington D.C. have established medical marijuana legislation.

Originally posted on Medical Marijuana Inc.

MISSOURI AND UTAH MAY VOTE ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN 2018

Efforts are underway to legalize medical marijuana in both Missouri and Utah, as campaign groups in both states are gathering signatures for measures they hope to present to their respective voters in 2018.

As of now, cannabis remains classified federally as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, but 29 states have passed their own comprehensive medical marijuana laws. A campaign organization in Oklahoma has already has a certified medical marijuana measure to present to voters in the coming 2018 election. Voters in Utah and Missouri will also have the opportunity to bring medicinal cannabis to their states, provided campaign organizations are able to successfully gather enough signatures before spring of next year.

After failed legislative efforts since 2014, Utah medical cannabis proponents have decided to move forward by proposing a ballot initiative. The Utah Patients Coalition filed a proposal for permitting cannabis for medical use in Utah last month, and once the lieutenant governor approves it, the group will need to obtain 113,000 signatures of Utah voters in at least 26 of the state’s 29 Senate districts by April 15, 2018.

“We have been advocating on this issue since 2014,” said Christine Stenquist, a spokeswoman for the Utah Patients Coalition. “Patients need access, and the when is now.”

The proposed ballot initiative would allow medical marijuana access to patients diagnosed with autism, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, chronic pain, and rare conditions.

The proposal calls for allowing patients to purchase cannabis oils, edibles, topicals, and vaporizing materials, but would ban smoking. Unfortunately, the initiative would also prohibit home cultivation and public use.

“For many people here, this bill isn’t perfect, this initiative isn’t perfect in the language and, in fact, it falls short of what many people believe it should be,” said DJ Schanz, the campaign’s co-director. “What it is is possible and what it is is it’s going to pass in 2018.”

Advocates believe they will have enough support from voters, partly due to the state’s opioid epidemic. Utah is ranked 7th in the U.S. for opioid overdoses, and evidence suggests that states with legal access to medical marijuana have fewer opioid-related fatal overdoses.

According to a February poll by FM3 research, 73 percent of Utah voters say they would support a measure that legalizes medical marijuana with the recommendation of a doctor.

“These numbers are actually what really helped put us over the top in deciding to move forward actively with the ballot initiative,” Schanz said. “There was always a bit of hesitancy, knowing if the public was with us.”

Much of the language within the measure is taken directly from Senate Bill 73, introduced in 2016 by former Utah Sen. Mark Madsen (R-Saratoga Springs). The legislation failed, but proponents believe the bill offers a conservative and highly regulated bill that most Utahns will support.

In Missouri, campaign organization New Approach Missouri is raising funds and collecting signatures for its proposal to create a medical marijuana program. The group narrowly failed to get a similar proposal on the 2016 ballot.

Their new proposed initiative would allow qualified patients to legally purchase and use dried flower, as well as marijuana capsules, teas, oils, extracts, ointments or balms, food products, patches or suppositories, and other infused products. The list of qualified conditions in the measure include cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, intractable migraines, debilitating psychiatric disorders, HIV and AIDS, terminal illnesses, chronic conditions that cause pain or spasms, and any other medical condition as recommended by a physician.

The strongest opposition to New Approach Missouri is local prosecutors who are concerned with marijuana’s federal status.

New Approach Missouri has until May 6, 2018 to collect and submit roughly 190,000 signatures of registered voters from at least six congressional districts. So far, it’s collected approximately 40,000 signatures, and the group plans to hire paid collections to increase signature production this summer.

In 2016, voters in seven states approved marijuana measures in what was an astounding representation of the nation’s shifting attitude toward cannabis. Support for marijuana legalization in the U.S. is now at an all-time high.

Originally posted on Medical Marijuana Inc.

NEVADA NEARLY OUT OF MARIJUANA AFTER LESS THAN TWO WEEKS OF LEGAL SALES

Nevada marijuana dispensaries have experienced higher-than-expected sales since the state’s adult use program began operating July 1. According to the state Department of Taxation, after less than two weeks of sales, licensed dispensaries are running out of their cannabis supply. The shortage has prompted the department to request a “statement of emergency.”

“Based on reports of adult-use marijuana sales already far exceeding the industry’s expectations at the state’s 47 licensed retail marijuana stores, and the reality that many stores are running out of inventory, the Department must address the lack of distributors immediately. Some establishments report the need for delivery within the next several days,” said Department of Taxation spokeswoman Stephanie Klapstein, in an email to USA Today.

Gov. Brian Sandoval has endorsed the taxation department’s “state of emergency,” which allows state officials to consider adopting emergency marijuana regulations to help alleviate the shortage. The Nevada Tax Commission is meeting Thursday to consider adopting such emergency regulations and to determine whether the state has an adequate number of wholesale marijuana distributors.

As of right now, only existing medical dispensaries are allowed to sell to adult use consumers. Eventually, distribution opportunities will open up to companies that are also licensed to distribute liquor. The limited number of operational dispensaries throughout the state, currently 47, is why dispensaries are running out of supply. At least seven wholesale liquor dealers have applied to become marijuana distributors, but none have yet received a license.

“We continue to work with the liquor wholesalers who have applied for distribution licenses, but most don’t yet meet the requirements that would allow us to license them. Even as we attempted to schedule the final facility inspection for one of the applicants this week, they told us their facility was not ready and declined the inspection. As of mid-day Friday, not one distribution license has been issued,” Klapstein said.

The Nevada Dispensary Association estimates that the 47 dispensaries generated $3 million in sales between July 1-4. Nevada’s legal marijuana market is projected to reach nearly $630 million by 2020. However, adjustments are needed if the state is going to effectively support new cannabis businesses and prevent customers from returning to obtaining cannabis from the illegal market. The Department of Taxation may decide to consider a larger pool of applicants for distribution licenses.

“The business owners in this industry have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to build facilities across the state,” Klapstein said. “They have hired and trained thousands of additional employees to meet the demands of the market. Unless the issue with distributor licensing is resolved quickly, the inability to deliver product to retail stores will result in many of these people losing their jobs and will bring this nascent market to a grinding halt. A halt in this market will lead to a hole in the state’s school budget.”

Nevada is one of eight U.S. states that have legalized adult use cannabis. Its recreational marijuana law allows adults ages 21 years and older to purchase and possess up to an ounce of marijuana, or an eighth of an ounce in edibles.

Originally posted on Medical Marijuana Inc.