Natural CBD from cannabis lowers nicotine cravings

Study: Cannabis compound reduces cigarette consumption in tobacco smokers

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

A natural plant compound found in cannabis reduces nicotine cravings. Inhaling  the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) significantly mitigates tobacco smokers’ desire for cigarettes, according to clinical trial data published online in July 2013 in the journal Addictive Behaviors.

Investigators at University College London conducted a double blind pilot study to assess the impact of the ad-hoc consumption of organic CBD versus placebo in 24 tobacco-smoking subjects seeking to quit their habit. Participants were randomized to receive an inhaler containing CBD (n=12) or placebo (n=12) for one week. Trial investigators instructed subjects to use the inhaler when they felt the urge to smoke.

Researchers reported that, “Over the treatment week, placebo treated smokers showed no differences in number of cigarettes smoked. In contrast, those treated with CBD significantly reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by

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Congress approves hemp, then votes down farm bill

By Chris Conrad,

The House of Representatives solidly rejected a last-minute lobbying bid from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) June 20, 2013 and adopted a farm bill amendment in a 225-200 vote to legalize growing hemp for research purposes. Soon thereafter, it voted down the $940 billion bill by 195-234. Most Democrats voted against the bill because it cut food stamps by more than $20 billion. Many Republicans voted no because the country is already $17 trillion in debt.

The vote is a blow to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who has failed to move farm policy forward for two years in a row. A new and more conservative farm bill is expected to be put forward, but even if it is not, there’s a good chance the hemp amendment will get inserted into other legislation now that the full House has approved it.

Despite the full bill being

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Cannabinoids may halt diabetes

By Paul Armentano,

A naturally occurring analogue of THC — tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) — has positive metabolic effects in animal models of obesity, according to preclinical study data published online in June in the scientific journal Nutrition & Diabetes.

British researchers assessed the effects of THCV administration on dietary-induced and genetically modified obese mice. Authors reported that although its administration did not significantly affect food intake or body weight gain in any of the models, it did produce several metabolically beneficial effects, including reduced glucose intolerance, improved glucose tolerance, improved liver triglyceride levels, and increased insulin sensitivity.

Researchers concluded: “Based on these data, it can be suggested that THCV may be useful for the treatment of the metabolic syndrome and/or type 2 diabetes (adult onset diabetes), either alone or in combination with existing treatments. Given the reported benefits of another non-THC cannabinoid, CBD in type 1 diabetes, a CBD/THCV combination

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Study: Legal medical use has no measurable effect on teen use rates

By Paul Armentano,

Once again a new study has affirmed that the enactment of statewide medical marijuana laws is not associated with increased rates of adolescent use.

According to a report published online in June, 2013 by the American Journal of Public Health, the passage of medical use laws has had no “statistically significant … effect on the prevalence of either lifetime or 30-day marijuana use” by adolescents in those states.

Researchers at the University of Florida College of Medicine studied data from the years 2003 and 2011 and “found no evidence of intermediate-term effects of passage of state MMLs (medical marijuana laws) on the prevalence or frequency of adolescent nonmedical marijuana use in the states evaluated.” Authors concluded, “Our results suggest that, in the states assessed here, MMLs have not measurably affected adolescent marijuana use.”

The study’s findings rebut the myth that passage of medical cannabis adversely impacts

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Study: Cannabis smoke not associated with serious pulmonary risk

By Paul Armentano,

Cannabis smoke poses only nominal pulmonary risks compared to those associated with tobacco smoke, reports a literature review to be published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society. Its author, Donald P. Tashkin, MD, emeritus professor of medicine and medical director of the Pulmonary Function Laboratory at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA conducted US-government sponsored studies of marijuana and lung function for over 30 years.

“Dr. Tashkin found that regular smoking of marijuana by itself causes visible and microscopic injury to the large airways that is consistently associated with an increased likelihood of symptoms of chronic bronchitis that subside after cessation of use,” explains the American Thoracic Society news website. “He also found that the evidence does not indicate that habitual use of marijuana leads to significant abnormalities in lung function when assessed either cross-sectionally or longitudinally, except for possible increases in

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Michigan Court upholds patients’ driving rights

By Paul Armentano,

Michigan’s state-authorized cannabis patients have legal protection from criminal prosecution for having THC in their systems while driving, the state Supreme Court ruled on May 21, 2013. In its unanimous opinion, People v Koon, the Court held that patients who comply with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) may not be criminally convicted of being ‘under the influence’ (DUI) absent evidence of behavioral impairment.

Michigan’s zero tolerance traffic laws classify the operation of a vehicle with any amount of THC in one’s system to be a criminal offense — whether or not one is impaired. Under these types of traffic safety laws, motorists are guilty per se (in fact) of a criminal traffic safety violation if they engage in the act of driving while detectable levels of certain controlled substances, or, in some cases, if their inert metabolites (byproducts) are present in the defendants’ blood or

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Nevada plans one or more cannabis dispensaries per county

By Phil Smith,

Nevada’s Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, signed a new state law on June 12, 2013 allowing for medical marijuana dispensaries. Senate Bill 374 establishes a state-regulated system of dispensaries and envisions up to 66 dispensaries across the state, with up to 40 in Las Vegas, 10 in Reno and at least one in each county.

“We applaud Gov. Sandoval and the legislature for their leadership and commend those law enforcement organizations that expressed support for this much-needed legislation,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, who testified in support of the bill.

“It will make Nevada a safer and healthier place not only for medical marijuana patients, but for the entire community. This new law will provide patients with the safe and reliable access to medical marijuana that they deserve,” O’Keefe said. “Regulating medical marijuana sales will also generate revenue and take

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Patients battle federal cannabis ban in appeals court

By Martin Williams

The nation’s largest medical marijuana patient advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), filed a petition with the federal court of appeals March 22 in its epic battle to force the federal government to comply with its own laws on medical marijuana.

The UN drug control treaties authorizes nations to allow the medical use of cannabis and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is required to move the plant out of its banned status, Schedule 1, if it has accepted medical use. Currently 18 states and thousands of studies agree that it has medical value and is wrongly prohibited.

In its widely watched case that seeks to reclassify marijuana for medical use, ASA v. DEA, the patient group seeks a rehearing before the original panel, as well as seeking full (en banc) review by the US Court of Appeals for the Washington DC Circuit. The circuit court

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Study: Home marijuana gardens not a health risk for children

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

California medical marijuana patient Daisy Brant has had her infant child literally torn from her breast twice to be handed over to Child Protective Services and been charged with child abuse because police found medical marijuana growing in her home. She won the first case, got her child back, was raided again and is now fighting the second case as a new published study shows how wrong and cruel the police have been in this and other cases in what amounts to little more than what Brant has called “government-sanctioned child-stealing.”

“The role of child protection in grow-operations,” a study in the March 2013 International Journal of Drug Policy, shows that children who live in homes where marijuana is being cultivated do not suffer from adverse health effects at any greater rate than do comparable children in cannabis-free environments.

A pair of investigators with

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New scientific, political advances for cannabis

Kristin Peskuski addressed a Medical Cannabis Conference held at the senior community Laguna Woods City Auditorium on Jan. 22. The image behind her depicts super-magnified and colorized trichomes, or resin glands of the cannabis plant, which contain cannabinoids. More about the conference and more photos by Michael Guerrini inside.

More THC, less CBD in confiscated cannabis

By Paul Armentano, NORML

Levels of the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) are declining in marijuana, according to a review* of over 5,000 samples seized by law enforcement in California. The review appears on the website of the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Investigators at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica assessed changes in the median THC and CBD levels of cannabis seized between 1996 and 2008 and found that THC levels rose during this time peri- od while CBD levels fell.

“[M]edian THC potency has increased from 4.56% in 1996 to 11.75% in 2008,” they reported. “The increase in THC was far more dramatic in non-border areas (from 4.18% to 13.95%) than in border areas (from 4.52% to 6.84%). … The median level of CBD dropped from 0.24% in 1996 to 0.08% in 2008.” The authors speculated that the shift was because “growers are making greater use of plant strains that

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