Cannabis News (5)
Why choose oils?
For easy dosing, long-lasting effects and discretion.
First, oils comes with droppers and exact dosing information, making it easy for patients to titrate, or fine-tune, their dose until they find the right one. The therapeutic effects of oils also last longer, when compared with cannabis flower, or bud. “For any patient with a chronic condition, whether it's chronic pain or anxiety, it makes much more sense to try to target that consistently so you get better remission of the condition, given the long-acting properties of the oil,” says Dr. Verbora. Finally, oils are discreet, and look more like traditional medicines, which can be comforting for patients who are nervous about cannabis or wish to dose privately.
Are there any cautions?
Yes, a few.
Oils are metabolized through the liver before getting to the bloodstream and can interact with other medications, so Dr. Verbora recommends visiting a doctor who’s well-educated about cannabis and can ensure it's safe for you (see Lift’s list of cannabis-aware doctors and clinics).
Also, patients with certain gastrointestinal disorders or who are recovering from a recent gut surgery may not absorb the oils as expected, says Dr. Verbora.
“But generally speaking, oils tend to be safe. It’s really important that the dosing is well understood, and you have a physician helping you dose it properly. Then you can minimize any negative effects and potentially maximize the benefits.” To that effect, Dr. Verbora recommends sourcing your oils from a licensed producer, saying that when patients do report negative outcomes, it’s typically when they’ve ingested too much THC, which is easier to do from unregulated, untested products, like those sometimes sold in unlicensed dispensaries.
What if I take too much cannabis oil?
Well, it won't kill you...
“Ideally you shouldn't be able to take too much,” says Dr. Verbora, “because you should be titrating slowly and getting advice. However I know some people who aren't getting benefits or relief sometimes get excited and will take a higher dose than they're encouraged to.”
This can lead to unpleasant experiences, such as paranoia, anxiety, nausea, vomiting and lethargy. It’s not a nice feeling, but Dr. Verbora reminds us that no one has ever died from a so-called cannabis overdose. Avoidance is the best precaution, but should you take too much oil, find a comfortable, safe spot to wait it out, and consider taking some CBD oil or flower if you have it on hand. “There is some biochemistry to support the fact that increasing the CBD when you're having too much THC in your system might mitigate the effects,” says Dr. Verbora.
Can I just take my cannabis oil and put it where it hurts?
Go for it!
“There are endocannabinoid receptors in our skin and this is definitely a potential therapeutic target,” says Dr. Verbora. “You could take the oil and put it on your skin, and you may get some hydration benefits from the oil and you may get some localized effect from the cannabinoids.”
Evidence for topicals is promising, but limited, and Dr. Verbora worries that most oils haven’t been designed to penetrate deeper than the dermis. “So we need to understand if cannabis needs to be combined with other pharmaceutical ingredients to help maybe penetrate into deeper tissue...However I don't see any harm whatsoever associated with topical cannabinoids, so if patients do choose to use this option, I support them in doing so or attempting to do so.”
Different LPs use different base oils— does it matter which one I choose?
“For me as a physician, I don't think it makes too much of a clinical difference,” says Dr. Verbora. If you’re allergic or sensitive to a particular ingredient, then choose an LP that uses an alternative base oil, says Dr. Verbora, adding that he hasn’t come across that situation in his clinical practice yet.
What’s the difference between oils and capsules?
Dr. Verbora looks forward to a future when cannabis capsules use advanced technology to allow for controlled release, but for now, capsules are pretty much cannabis oil inside a digestible container.
I take a CBD-only oil. Is it possible to take too much?
“Right now we don't have good evidence to know if there is a ceiling of CBD oil that if exceeded it would cause negative effects,” says Dr. Verbora. “However all CBD oils have a small amount of THC in them, so as you do increase the dose, sometimes the effects of the THC become more pronounced.” He’s looking forward to more research on CBD dosing, but does point to a study on patients treated with CBD for Dravet syndrome, an extreme form of epilepsy. “They're using very high dosages, probably somewhere 10 times higher than the average patient I have,” he says, “and the negative outcomes or side effects were quite minimal. So from that perspective it seems to look quite safe.”
My doctor says to take my oil every day—will I become an addict?
“From a medical perspective we're trying to treat something, and if we're trying to treat something that tends to be chronic, you have to medicate consistently so that you can keep it at bay,” says Dr. Verbora. “It's kind of like diabetes pills—you have to take them every day, because that's how they work, they need to be in your system for certain periods of time. And cannabis, for some conditions, is like that, and then for other conditions it can definitely be used more on an as-needed basis.” He notes that although there is a slim chance of addiction, it’s much lower with cannabis when compared to a number of pharmaceutical drugs.
Ultimately, your doctor prescribed cannabis to help you, not to turn you into a lazier version of your previous self. “It’s not about medicating and being pain-free and sitting on a couch and watching TV, it's about medicating so you can go get your groceries, so that you can do chores around the house, you can maybe get to your work,” says Dr. Verbora. “That's the whole philosophy around treating conditions in general, it's about improving function.”
It is time for politicians to put to rest the myth that cannabis is a gateway to the use of other controlled substances — a theory that is neither supported by modern science or empirical data.
Over 60 percent of American adults acknowledge having tried cannabis, but the overwhelming majority of these individuals never go on to try another illicit substance. Further, nothing in marijuana’s chemical composition alters the brain in a manner that makes users more susceptible to experimenting with other drugs. That’s why both the esteemed Institute of Medicine and the Rand Corporation’s Drug Policy Research Center conclude that "[M]arijuana has no causal influence over hard drug initiation."
In contrast, a growing body of evidence now exists to support the counter notion that for many people, pot serves as a path away from the use of more dangerous substances, including opioids, alcohol, prescription drugs, cocaine, and tobacco.
For example, in jurisdictions where marijuana use is legally regulated, researchers have reported year-over-year declines in opioid-related abuse and mortality. According to data published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, deaths attributable to both prescription opiates and heroin fell by 20 percent shortly after marijuana legalization and by 33 percent within six years. Overall, the study’s investigators concluded, “States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8 percent lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared with states without medical cannabis laws.” Data published this past April in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence also reports a dramatic decline in opioid pain reliever related hospitalizations following legalization.
Patients’ use of other prescription drugs has also been shown to fall in states where marijuana is legally accessible. Newly published data from both the United States and Canada finds that patients curb their use of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs and sleep aids after initiating cannabis use—a reality that is quantified in their spending habits. According to researchers at the University of Georgia’s Department of Public Policy, Medicare recipients residing in medical marijuana states spent millions less on prescription drugs as compared to patients with similar ailments in non-legal states. Patients’ spending on Medicaid related services is also significantly lower in cannabis-friendly states.
Emerging data also indicates that pot use is associated with reduced cravings for cocaine. Writing last month in the journal Addictive Behaviors, investigators at the University of Montreal and the University of British Columbia reported that subjects dependent on crack cocaine subsequently reduce their drug use following the intentional use of cannabis. They concluded: “In this longitudinal study, we observed that a period of self-reported intentional use of cannabis … was associated with subsequent periods of reduced use of crack [cocaine]. … Given the substantial global burden of morbidity and mortality attributable to crack cocaine use disorders alongside a lack of effective pharmacotherapies, we echo calla for rigorous experimental research on cannabinoids as a potential treatment for crack cocaine use disorders.” The findings replicate those of a prior Brazilian study which also determined that the therapeutic use of cannabis mitigates crack cocaine cravings and consumption.
Empirical data also reinforces this contention. Specifically, Americans’ use of cocaine has fallen dramatically in recent years, during which time the percentage of adults acknowledging using cannabis has risen.
Scientific data also suggests that cannabis may reduce some people’s cravings for alcohol and tobacco. For example, clinical trial data from the United Kingdom finds that subjects administered cannabidiol, an organic cannabinoid, reduces their cigarette smoking by 40 percent compared to participants provided a placebo. Data published earlier this year in the International Journal of Drug Policy reported that over ten percent of Canadian medical cannabis patients acknowledge using pot in lieu of tobacco.
Survey data from the United States reports even larger declines in cannabis users’ consumption of alcohol. According to a May 2017 study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, over 40 percent of medical cannabis dispensary members acknowledge reducing their alcohol intake. A 2014 literature review published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism adds, “While more research and improved study designs are needed to better identify the extent and impact of cannabis substitution on those affected by AUD (alcohol use disorders), cannabis does appear to be a potential substitute for alcohol.”
Finally, for those seeking treatment for drug dependency, cannabis may also play a positive role. In fact, studies report that pot use is predictive of greater adherence to abstinence among heroin dependent subjects, and those who consume it occasionally are more likely to complete their treatment regimen as compared to those who not.
In light of this scientific evidence, combined with a growing number of Americans’ first-hand experience with cannabis, it is hardly surprising that public confidence in the ‘gateway theory’ is waning. According to survey data compiled in 2016 by YouGov.com, fewer than one in three US citizens agree with the statement, “[T]he use of marijuana leads to the use of hard drugs.” Among those respondents under the age of 65, fewer than one in four agree. Public opinion data provided earlier this week by Yahoo News finds even less support, with only 14 percent of adults expressing “significant concern” that cannabis “leads to the use of other drugs.”
In short, both scientific and public opinion reject the contention that marijuana use promotes the use of other drugs. It’s past time for public officials to renounce this rhetoric as well.
our members of the U.S. congress are banding together to protect the growing marijuana industry.
A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers launched the Congressional Cannabis Caucus in a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday afternoon. Republican congressmen Dana Rohrabacher (California) and Don Young (Alaska) joined Democrats Earl Blumenauer (Oregon) and Jared Polis (Colorado) to launch the new group. They are dedicated to developing policy reforms that can bridge the gap that currently exists between federal laws banning marijuana and the laws in an ever-growing number of states that have legalized it for medical or recreational purposes.
"We're stepping forward together to say we've got to make major changes in our country's attitude toward cannabis," Rep. Rohrabacher said at the start of the press conference. "And if we do, many people are going to live better lives, it's going to be better for our country, better for people, and it makes economic sense at a time when every penny must count for government."
Various polls show that a majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana in some form, and a strong showing in November's elections pushed the number of states that have legalized medical cannabis to 28, while another eight have voted for recreational legalization. (Notably, each of the four congressmen forming the Cannabis Caucus represent districts in states that have legalized both medical and recreational pot.)
In recent years, under President Barack Obama, federal law enforcement mostly left individual states alone to enact and enforce their own marijuana legislation. Three years ago, Congress passed a bill that prohibited the Justice Department from using federal funds to target cannabis operations that comply with local laws.
But the Trump administration has cast a cloud of uncertainty on a burgeoning legal marijuana industry that saw more than $6.5 billion in legal sales in the U.S. last year—a number that is estimated to reach $25 billion by 2020, according to market researcher GreenWave Advisors.
While Trump himself has publicly voiced his support for medical cannabis, specifically, some questions remain about how his administration will treat states that have legalized the drug in any form. Perhaps the largest reason for concern in the marijuana industry is the fact that Trump's recently-confirmed Attorney General, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, has a long history of opposition to cannabis legalization. In a confirmation hearing last month, Sessions was cagey when questioned about whether he would instruct the Justice Department to enforce federal laws that criminalize marijuana in states that have voted to legalize the drug. "It's not so much the attorney general's job to decide what laws to enforce," Sessions said at the time. The White House later indicated that Sessions would follow Trump's lead on the issue.
Several of the marijuana industry's top leading lobbying groups and associations—including NORML, the Marijuana Policy Project, and the Drug Policy Alliance, among others—issued a joint statement on Thursday commending the lawmakers for forming the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. Their statement read, in part: "We commend Representatives Blumenauer, Rohrabacher, Polis, and Young for their leadership on the issue of cannabis policy. The establishment of a Cannabis Caucus will allow members from both parties, who represent diverse constituencies from around the country, to join together for the purpose of advancing sensible cannabis policy reform."
Agency now admits weed doesn’t cause cancer or psychosis.
Although the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has all but refused to consider the cannabis plant as having any medicinal application within the confines of the Controlled Substances Act, the nation’s leading drug sniffing hounds recently eliminated some misinformation about the potential dangers of the herb from the its website.
The update to the agency’s digital presence was made after Americans for Safe Access, a nonprofit advocacy group fighting for marijuana to be recognized for its medicinal function, filed a petition with the higher ups at the U.S. Department of Justice demanding the DEA eliminate inaccurate language from its marijuana-related material.
Some of the DEA’s erroneousness claims, which came in the form of a document entitled “The Dangers and Consequences of Marijuana Abuse,” indicated that marijuana caused psychosis, cancer, and destroys cognitive function. The petition filed by Americans for Safe Access said the agency was in violation of the federal Information Quality Act by publishing these claims.
“The DEA’s removal of these popular myths about cannabis from their website could mean the end of the Washington gridlock” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access. “This is a victory for medical cannabis patients across the nation, who rely on cannabis to treat serious illnesses. The federal government now admits that cannabis is not a gateway drug, and doesn’t cause long-term brain damage, or psychosis. While the fight to end stigma around cannabis is far from over, this is a big first step.”
Unfortunately, while marijuana advocates consider the changes to the DEA’s website a modest victory, the drug agency still has not formally responded to the petition. As of yesterday, the agency is one week past the deadline to provide the group with an official reply. Furthermore, the law firm representing Americans for Safe Access claims there are more misleading statements that need to be taken down.
“We are hopeful the DEA will also remove the remaining statements rather than continue to mislead the public in the face of the scientifically proven benefits of medical cannabis,” said Vickie Feemam of the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.
Americans for Safe Access believes it is crucial for the federal government to publish accurate information regarding the cannabis plant, especially since the majority of the setbacks regarding the legalization of marijuana in the United States can be largely attributed to the gross misinformation being spread regarding its safety.
Cannabis Science, Inc. (otc pink:CBIS), a U.S. company specializing in the development of cannabis-based medicines, announces its California distributors have sold out of Cannabis Science's recently released CBIS Metered Dose Inhalers (MDI) in an initial test market run in the State of California. Cannabis Science is excited to report it has increased production of the inhalers to meet this new consumer demand.
Cannabis Science's CEO, Mr. Raymond C. Dabney, stated, "We did not expect demand for our Inhaler to increase so rapidly. While it was not a particularly large initial test batch, there were certainly enough indicators in the pilot program that point to a great success considering the application and target market. Consequently, we have substantially increased production with our current manufacturer and are identifying and implementing key manufacturing and distribution expansions to ensure we meet the growing demand for the CBIS MDI Inhaler."
As previously noted, the California market is stated to be the most populous state in the US and has the world's sixth-largest economy with a gross domestic product of about $2.5 trillion. The potential revenue stream for Cannabis Science should increase dramatically with the additions to the legal Cannabis market sectors. The city of Los Angeles surrounds West Hollywood, and the neighboring districts include Hollywood, Sunset Strip, Beverly Center, and Wilshire, some of the largest demographic addressable markets in the Los Angeles area, which explains the high demand for CBIS products.
The Company is also exploring additional observational studies using the CBIS MDI's potential to alleviate breathing problems and pain associated with lung cancer and other target ailments. Given the demand for our inhaler, "Cannabis Science has evaluated the potential for a Dry-powder Inhaler (DPI) as a long-term therapy of these diseases and we've decided to go forward with the development of this medication for our customers. A DPI is a device that delivers medication to the lungs in the form of a dry powder. DPI's are commonly used to treat respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and COPD. With the development of a CBIS DPI, we will continue to strive to meet the growing needs of our consumers by offering more choices using the strength of cannabinoids for critical ailment treatments," stated Dr. Allen Herman, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Cannabis Science Inc.
The CBIS MDI device can offer the ingestion of the medication in a finer particle mist than the Nebulizer version which can be quickly absorbed by the Lungs and spread into the Blood Stream for quicker response time. Rescue Inhalers cannot replace Nebulizer Medications but the portability of these devices gives the Asthma/COPD sufferer freedom to be out enjoying life knowing their medication is at hand if needed.