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Study: CBD Dosing Relieves Symptoms In Patients With Anxiety Disorders

Denver, CO: The daily administration of CBD is associated with sustained symptomatic relief in patients diagnosed with anxiety disorders, according to the results of a case series published in The Permanente Journal.

Investigators at the University of Colorado, Denver and Colorado State University assessed the adjunctive use of low daily doses of CBD (typically 25mg capsules) over a three-month period in a cohort of patients diagnosed with either sleep or anxiety disorders.

Researchers reported that patients experienced a “mild improvement” in sleep scores, and a larger “more sustained response to anxiety.” They also reported that “CBD appears to be better tolerated than routine psychiatric medications.”

Authors acknowledged that the therapeutic doses used in the study were far lower than those typically associated with anxiolytic action in prior clinical trials.

They concluded: “Anxiety scores decreased fairly rapidly, and this decrease was sustained during the study period. … Randomized and controlled trials are needed to provide definitive clinical guidance.”

 

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Medical Schools Including Cannabis Content In Their Curriculum

Pittsburgh, PA: A growing percentage of colleges of pharmacy are instituting medical cannabis training as part of their curriculum, according to survey data published in the journal Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh contacted 140 US schools of pharmacy regarding whether they include medical cannabis-related topics in their curriculum. Among respondents, 62 percent reported that they had instituted some level of medical marijuana training, while 23 percent answered that they intended to incorporate the topic to their coursework within the next 12 months.

The study is the first inventory of medical schools with regard to the inclusion of medical cannabis-related topics to their curriculum.

According to a 2015 evaluation of student pharmacists’ attitudes, 90 percent of respondents indicated that they favored the inclusion of medical cannabis instruction to their curriculum.

 

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Study: CBD Administration Reduces Methamphetamine Cravings

Sydney, Australia: The administration of cannabidiol (CBD) is associated with reduced cravings for methamphetamine in rats, according to preclinical data published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Australian researchers assessed the impact of CBD on methamphetamine-seeking behavior in a rat model. They reported that CBD dosing reduced the animals’ motivation to self-administer methamphetamine and reduced the likelihood of relapse following drug abstinence.

Authors concluded, “This is the first demonstration that cannabidiol can reduce the motivation to seek and consume methamphetamine, and suggests that cannabidiol might be worth trialing as a novel pharmacotherapy for methamphetamine dependence.”

Prior studies have similarly reported that CBD is associated with reduced cravings for tobaccoheroincocaine, and opioids.

 

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2018 Year In Review: NORML’s Top Ten Events In Marijuana Policy

#1: Public Support in Favor of Adult Use Legalization at Historic Highs

More adults than ever before believe that marijuana use by adults ought to be legal. An October poll conducted by Gallup reported that 66 percent of adults – including majorities of Democrats, Independents, Republicans, and those over the age of 55 – back legalization. The percentage is the highest level of support ever reported by the polling firm. A 2018 Pew poll similarly reported greater public support for legalization than ever before, while a June poll by the Center for American Progress reported that 68 percent of voters nationwide endorse legalization – the highest level of national support ever recorded in a scientific poll.

#2: Marijuana Initiatives Win at the Ballot Box

Voters in four states – Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Utah – passed voter initiated measures in 2018 regulating the use of marijuana. Missouri, Oklahoma, and Utah became the 31st, 32nd, and 33rd states to enact medical cannabis access laws, while Michigan became the tenth state to permit adult marijuana use. In January, Vermont legislatively enacted provisions permitting adults to grow and possess marijuana for their own personal use.

#3: Congress Amends CSA to Lift Ban on Commercial Hemp Production

Hemp-specific provisions included in the 2018 Farm Bill (aka The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) for the first-time amend the federal classification of marijuana to distinguish between cannabis and hemp. Under the new law, which takes effect on January 1, 2019, hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance. The Act also broadens the definition of ‘hemp’ (Section 297A) to include “any part of the plant, including …. extracts [or] cannabinoids” that do not possess greater than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis. The Act also for the first time in decades permits for the licensed commercial cultivation of hemp under a partnership of state and federal regulations.

#4 Canada Legalizes Adult Marijuana Use and Retail Sales

Canadian lawmakers this summer approved federal legislation permitting the use of marijuana by those ages 18 and older, and regulating adult use cannabis production and sales. Retailers began selling cannabis in compliance with the new law in October. In November, justices for Mexico’s Supreme Court also struck down the nation’s marijuana ban – finding that laws criminalizing the private use and cultivation of cannabis by adults are unconstitutional.

#5: Governors Campaign, Win On Marijuana Legalization Platforms

Candidates for Governor in numerous state races campaigned and won in 2018 on a pledge to legalize and regulate the adult use of cannabis. Specifically, incoming governors in Connecticut, Minnesota, and Illinoisexplicitly pledged to enact legalization. Re-elected Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has also pledgedto enact adult use legalization in early 2019, as has New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.

#6: Incoming House Rules Chair to Allow Floor Votes on Marijuana-Related Measures

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern said in November that he will permit federal lawmakers to debate and vote on marijuana-related amendments when he assumes control of the House Rules Committee in 2019. Representative McGovern replaces outgoing Rules Chair Pete Sessions (R-TX), who lost his re-election bid. Representative Sessions used his position as Chairman of the House Rules Committee to block House floor members from voting on over three-dozen marijuana-related amendments during his leadership tenure. “Unlike my predecessor, I’m not going to block amendments for marijuana,” McGovern said. “Citizens are passing ballot initiatives, legislatures are passing laws, and we need to respect that. Federal laws and statutes are way behind.”

#7: Legal Marijuana Access is Associated with Reduced Opioid Abuse

Over a dozen studies were published in 2018 finding that regulated marijuana access is associated with lower rates of opioid use, abuse, and mortality. Among patients enrolled in medical cannabis access programs, use of opioids frequently decreases or is eliminated altogether.

#8: FBI: Marijuana Arrests Spike for Second Straight Year

The total number of persons arrested in the United States for violating marijuana laws rose for the second consecutive year, according to data released in September by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, police made 659,700 arrests for marijuana-related violations in 2017. As in previous years, marijuana possession arrests were least likely to occur in the western region of the United States, where possessing the plant has largely been either legalized or decriminalized. By contrast, in Midwestern states, marijuana-related arrests comprised over 53 percent of all drug arrests.

#9: FDA Approves First Ever Plant-Derived Cannabis Medicine

Regulators at the US Food and Drug Administration in June for the first time granted market approval to a plant-derived cannabis medicine, Epidiolex. The medicine contains a standardized formulation of plant-derived cannabidiol for the explicit treatment of two rare forms of severe epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. In September, the US Drug Enforcement Administration classified Epidiolex to Schedule V — the lowest restriction classification available under federal law.

#10: States, Localities Move to Expunge Past Marijuana Convictions

California became the first state to automatically review and expunge past marijuana-related convictions, under legislation enacted in October. Delaware enacted a similar law calling for the mandatory expungement of certain marijuana-related offenses, joining several other states that permit those with past records to petition to have those records sealed. Local officials in various cities in 2018, including DenverPhiladelphia, and Seattle, announced the facilitation of similar policies.

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Farm Bill Provisions Lifting Federal Hemp Ban Become Law

Washington, DC: President Donald Trump today signed legislation into law that includes language lifting the United States’ decades-long prohibition on domestic, commercial hemp production. The provisions were included within The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka ‘The Farm Bill’), which takes effect on January 1, 2019.

“The significance of this law change should not be underemphasized,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “This law marks the first change in the federal classification of the cannabis plant since it was initially classified as a schedule I controlled substance by Congress in 1970, and paves the way for the first federally-sanctioned commercial hemp grows since World War II.”

Language included in the 2014 version of the Farm Bill (Sec. 7606) permitted states to license farmers to cultivate hemp as part of a university-sanction pilot program, but did not allow for the commercialization of the crop.

The hemp-specific provisions of the 2018 Act amend the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance under federal law.

The Act also broadens the definition of ‘hemp’ (Section 297A) to include “any part of the plant, including … extracts [or] cannabinoids” that do not possess greater than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis. To date, various commercial products – such as some CBD oils – are advertised as being derived from hemp, although some experts in the field dispute the notion that such plants are an efficient source for cannabinoids.

The Act (Section 297B) permits those US states that wish to possess “primary regulatory authority over the production of hemp” to submit a plan to the US Secretary of Agriculture. The agency has 60 days to approve, disapprove, or amend the plan. In instances where a state-proposed plan is not approved, “it shall be unlawful to produce hemp in that state … without a license.” Federal grant opportunities will be available to licensed commercial farmers, as will the ability for farmers to obtain crop insurance. The Act does not federally recognize non-licensed, non-commercial hemp cultivation activities.

Nothing in the new language (Section 297D) shall “affect or modify” the existing regulatory powers of the US Food and Drug Administration or other agencies with regard to the enforcement of the US Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics Act or the Public Health Service Act. The FDA has previously acknowledged that it will “take action when we see the illegal marketing of CBD-containing products with unproven medical claims. We’re especially concerned when these products are marketed for serious or life-threatening diseases, where the illegal promotion of an unproven compound could discourage a patient from seeking other therapies that have proven benefits.”

NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said: “These changes represent a significant and long overdue shift in US policy. Nonetheless, future regulatory efforts will likely still be required to address emerging consumer issues when it comes to the commercial sale and marketing of certain hemp-derived products, particularly so-called hemp-derived CBD extracts. For years, many of the producers of these products have navigated in a grey area of the law — manufacturing products of variable and sometimes questionable quality and safety. Now it is time for lawmakers to craft consistent benchmark safety and quality standards for hemp-derived CBD in order to increase consumer satisfaction and confidence as this nascent industry transitions into a legal marketplace.”

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Missouri: Voter Initiated Medical Cannabis Law Takes Effect

Amendment 2, the state’s voter-initiated medical cannabis access law, took effect on Thursday, December 6th. Sixty-six percent of voters approved the measure in November, while rejecting a pair of competing initiatives.

State regulators have 180 days from the law’s enactment date to make available application forms to patients seeking to register to grow and/or possess medical cannabis.

Under the program, physicians may recommend cannabis therapy at his/her discretion. Qualified patients may obtain cannabis from licensed dispensaries or grow their own. Retail cannabis sales will be taxed at four percent. Tax revenues are earmarked to fund programs to assist state veterans.

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Psychoactive Adulterants Identified In Some Liquid CBD Products

Liquid formulations of CBD available on the commercial market have been identified to contain synthetic cannabinoids and other psychoactive constituents, according to a scientific analysis published in the journal Forensic Science International.

A team of researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University evaluated the content of nine commercially available CBD e-liquid products obtained from a single manufacturer, Diamond CBD. The products were advertised as being “100 percent natural CBD extracts.”

In addition to containing CBD, two of the nine products also contained THC. Four products contained the synthetic cannabinoid agonist 5F-ADB, a schedule I controlled substance that has also been identified in ‘Spice’ and other so-called herbal cannabis products. One product contained dextromethorphan (DXM), a cough suppressant.

Authors reported: “The addition of 5F-ADB and DXM compounds to the CBD products may lead to unexpected psychoactive effects. Uninformed users may mistakenly associate these effects with CBD. The inclusion of these drugs in e-liquids can lead to dangerous consequences; particularly when the users are unaware, and the product are used for therapeutic reasons.”

They concluded: “There was no indication on the website, box or labeled e-liquid containers to indicate that these products contained any psychoactive substance other than CBD. The analysis of these products illustrates the potential quality control issues that can occur in an unregulated industry. CBD products are believed by many users to offer health benefits, but the detection of a dangerous cannabimimetic, 5F-ADB, and DXM in the analyzed products illustrates the need for oversight of CBD products.”

Other studies, such as those here and here, have previously reported that commercially available CBD-infused products are often mislabeled – frequently containing far lower percentages of CBD than advertised on the label. Many of these products also contain THC despite being advertised as THC-free. Analytical testing of CBD products by the US Food and Drug Administration has yielded similar findings.

Despite the abundance of these commercial products, the US Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal agencies contend that CBD is a schedule I controlled substance.

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How Cannabis Could Become The Next Real Estate Disrupter

For a while it looked like the best thing to bring to a neighborhood was a new Whole Foods grocery store. One study showed that homes in these neighborhoods would appreciate at a much faster rate than if they were near a Trader Joe’s (and both were better than a Starbucks). Another sign a neighborhood is on the cusp of revitalization is when the yoga studios start vying for space with the arthouses. Usually it is not long after that the expensive coffee shops and cupcake stores start showing up at street level. But now that so many states have passed laws favorable to the marijuana movement, the next big thing to bring a neighborhood back from the brink just might be the increasing number of organizations that work in the industry.

Downtown Los Angeles could be the first case study to see this phenomenon in action. Next month, a seven-story building in the heart of Los Angeles’ Jewelry District will open up, filled with tenants who all have cannabis somewhere in their job description. The 67,000-square-foot Green Street Building (the name is in reference to its anchor tenant, the Green St. Agency, which works solely with clients in the marijuana industry) will house everything from co-working spaces to an art gallery, restaurant, law firm, luxury spa and lounge. Real estate investment company Bow West Capital purchased the property last year for a reported $14 million. Once open it will be the largest real estate space dedicated to cannabis in the U.S.

“The buildings in [the Jewelry District] have not received the proper upkeep, allowing for low sale prices of the buildings but also requiring full renovations,” said Matthew Rosenberg, CEO and Founder of M-Rad, Inc, the design team behind the project. “With the prosperity and funding in the cannabis industry on the rise, this is a perfect combination for this exciting new industry to make this area their home, with Green St. being the catalyst.”

While there are not many residential properties for sale within the Jewelry District itself, data from Realtor.com shows the few that are on the market have a median asking price of $525,000. Surrounding neighborhoods vary quite a bit with the neighborhood of Florence-Graham about five miles away to the southwest seeing median list prices of $440,000 compared to Greater Wilshire a few miles to the northeast seeing median list prices of $1.7 million.

M-Rad took the 1913 building and completely renovated the interiors to create mixed-use spaces that cater both to the requirements of offices and restaurants as well as the unique needs of cannabis companies. They needed to create the right proportion of an open-plan design matched with a set of cloistered, secluded rooms for those who want privacy. Here are some images of the interior provided exclusively to Forbes.

For example one concept for behind the hidden door of the library bookshelf is a secluded meeting room with a custom-designed furniture. (For the enthusiasts out there, a Forbes contributor put together a Gift Guide which includes some of the most unique marijuana rolling papers, with some that are made from gold and others that look like money.)

The lounge, MOTA—which if, like me, you didn’t know is a Spanish slang term for marijuana (at least one dispensary out there has ascribed the words Medicine Of The Angels to the letters, but the term doesn’t have its origins as an acronym)—will be in addition to the restaurant, which will have fully transparent windows into the kitchen so guests can see the food being prepared. Sound-proof rooms are also available for private meetings. [Update: An earlier version of this article included information passed on from the design team that mentioned cannabis-infused menu items and cannabis tastings would be available on site. Those options related to another marijuana-related project in their portfolio and not to Green Street. There is also no smoking allowed in the building.]

“The companies who are part of the building are some of the biggest players in the industry,” says Rosenberg. “Which will bring in high-level clientele and investors who may feel encouraged to invest in the development of the area. The building itself will host a number of cannabis-related programs such as cultural activities and gastronomic experiences which will attract new clientele.” Some of the big names affiliated with the project are prolific investor Gary Vaynerchuck, who is a 50% stakeholder in Green Street Agency, and Vicente Sederberg LLC, dubbed The Marijuana Law Firm, is one of the tenants.

Typically neighborhood revitalization follows the pattern of stores opening up on a neglected city block one retail space at a time. But this model is different. By bringing a critical mass of companies to the neighborhood all at once, the sudden influx could accelerate the resurgence all the more quickly. Los Angeles’ Jewelry District could become a major player in a matter of months, not years.

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Cuomo Administration To Back Adult Use Marijuana Bill

A spokesperson for Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that creating a framework for legalizing adult marijuana use is among the administration’s 2019 legislative priorities.

“The goal of this administration is to create a model program for regulated adult-use marijuana – and we determined the best way to do that was to ensure our final proposal captures the views of everyday New Yorkers,” said Tyrone Stevens, a spokesperson for the Governor. “Now that the listening sessions have concluded, the working group has begun accessing and reviewing the feedback we received and we expect to introduce a formal comprehensive proposal during the 2019 legislative session.”

In July, a Health Department study commissioned by the Governor’s office recommended legalizing adult marijuana use and commerce. It concluded: “A regulated marijuana program enjoys broad support and would have significant health, social justice, and economic benefits. … Regulating marijuana enables public health officials to minimize the potential risks of marijuana use through outreach, education, quantity limits at point of sale, quality control, and consumer protection. … The positive effects of a regulated marijuana market in New York State outweigh the potential negative impacts.”

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Senate Majority Leader: Farm Bill Will Lift Federal Hemp Ban

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reaffirmed on Friday that provisions lifting the federal prohibition of hemp will be included in the engrossed language of H.R. 2: The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka the 2018 Farm Bill). The must-pass legislation is currently being debated by leadership in conference committee.

“If there’s a Farm Bill, it’ll be in there. I guarantee that” McConnell told reporters. He added: “I don’t want to overstate this – I don’t know if it’s going to be the next tobacco or not – but I do think it has a lot of potential. And as all of you already know, in terms of food and medicine but also car parts. I mean, it’s an extraordinary plant.”

The hemp-specific provisions, which Sen. McConnell included in the Senate version of the bill, amend federal regulations to further expand and facilitate state-licensed hemp production, research, and commerce. The language also for the first time amends the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that industrial hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance. (See page 1182, Section 12608: ‘Conforming changes to controlled substances act.’)

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