Marijuana Sales Increase over Holiday Season

Marijuana Sales Increase over Holiday Season

Baker, a marijuana software firm has just released a report showing an increase in sales over the holiday season so far. The increase is shown in marijuana stores, the majority being edibles.

Baker says there is an average of 21% the marijuana sales increase was in states that are legal in medical and recreational cannabis. The data was shown from these states: Colorado, California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington.

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Marijuana Sales Increase over Holiday SeasonIt seems like in these states, instead of buying traditional Christmas cookies or chocolates, marijuana brownies, cannabis cookies, and vaporizers were the highest selling products over the past couple weeks.

Joel Milton, CEO of Baker says “Holiday gift-giving is a perfect example of this once-taboo product making its way into the mainstream retail environment. We have a feeling people will like cannabis gifts a lot more than a traditional box of chocolates.”

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Although there was an increase in sales this year, it doesn’t surpass April 20, the biggest selling day of the year for the cannabis industry.

As more and more states legalize marijuana, we are sure to see an increase year after year in cannabis sales. Read the full article here.

Could Marijuana Weaken Heart Muscles?

Some studies have been conducted on the use of marijuana in health related issues.

One being its impact on the heart muscles

Since marijuana can significantly increase or decrease a persons’ stress levels, it’s obvious it will have some impact to a persons’ heart. Marijuana affects each and every person differently, and one of those reasons is the level of THC the strain has.

Marijuana with low THC and high CDB (cannabidiol) are used way more for medical purposes than vice versa, as marijuana with high levels of THC are the strains that will get you “high”.

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There are numerous medical benefits

from ingesting marijuana in some form, from epilepsy to cancer. But those are usually the strains with low THC and high CDB. The recent study performed, was towards the strains with high THC and low CDB levels.

The study was conducted by St. Luke’s University Hospital Network, on patients with high levels of stress and a high stress related heart disease called cardiomyopathy.

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Cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects the heart muscles

Could Marijuana Weaken Heart Muscles?It causes the heart muscles to become enlarged or rigid. Some symptoms are slower heart rates, shortness of breath, fatigue, and similar feelings of a heart attack. The disease is usually caused by high-stress rates, especially after a breakup or stressful life event in a person’s life.

The study showed an increase in cardiomyopathy in young men that use marijuana. Since marijuana is becoming much more available since it’s recreational legalization in many states, the disease is becoming more of a concern for medical professionals.

Currently, there has not been enough research done to learn about the effects marijuana has on many health related issues. Hopefully in the future, as marijuana becomes more widely used recreationally, researchers will have the ability to learn more of the positive and negative effects marijuana has on the body.

Marijuana Infused Wine?

I’m sure the thought if infusing Marijuana in lots of different foods and drinks are pretty abundant, but what about wine?

LA Times posted an article recently about how Lisa Molyneux, a long time Marijuana advocate and dispensary owner from Santa Cruz, has decided to do make this infusion happen. She is pairing up with Louisa Sawyer Lindquist, owner of Verdad Wines in Santa Maria to try this new infusion.

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Apparently, the thought arose while camping together in Yosemite Valley back in 2010. This infusion is called Canna Vine. High-grade Marijuana fused with biodynamic farmed grapes.

The new “Green Wine” is also getting a lot of hype from celebrities like Chelsea Handler and Melissa Etheridge. These new bottles are ranging from $120-$400 so you better be ready to fork up the big bucks for the infusion.

Read the full articles from LA Times here!

Iceland May Legalize Cannabis Usage

A bill has been put forth by a member of Iceland’s Reform Party, MP Pawel Bartoszek, which would put in place the foundation of a recreational cannabis program in that country. The bill covers various aspects of adult usage, including the production and sales, and most importantly, the decriminalization of cannabis possession and consumption. The main points of the bill came directly from a guide issued by the UK advocacy group Transform, the guide being entitled “How to Regulate Cannabis: A Practical Guide”.

Iceland May Legalize Cannabis Usage

Who would be affected? 

Under the provisions of the bill, Iceland adults aged 20 and above would be affected, with cannabis usage, production, and sales becoming legal for that entire age group. At the same time, it would require a ban on all advertising of cannabis, presumably so as to prevent pitches from reaching under-age ears, and it would be packaged in plain gray containers, devoid of excitement or appeal. Sales to minors would remain illegal and carry a heavy fine for anyone caught.

According to MP Bartoszek, the aim of his bill is to spark needed discussion and debate about legalization and about how to regulate sales and production of cannabis, so the government can share in tax revenues. “If the production and sale remains illegal, we miss the opportunity to control access, protect children and minors, and to tax consumption”, says Bartoszek, adding ”I hope that the bill will be an icebreaker that spurs debate, and that it will ultimately lead to us ceasing the punishment of people for consuming this specific substance.”

Supporters and opponents

Bartoszek’s comments to the Iceland Review, and similar comments posted on his website have gained popular support in the country thus far, and with other members of his Reform Party. The bill will likely be reviewed sometime after October 28th, when Iceland will have a general election. Three co-sponsors have added their support to the bill, all members of the Reform Party, but of course there are also opponents who are loudly voicing their opposition, and insisting on a more conservative approach.

It’s hard to say at this point what the real level of support for the bill might be, but that will probably become more obvious in November. Bartoszek himself feels that the bill has strong support, but is worried that the first wave of reform might only embrace decriminalization rather than full legalization. In his mind, this would be a mistake, since it misses the opportunity to control access, pricing, and tax revenues which would be generated by regulation.


Photo credit: Moyan Brenn via CC-By-2.0

NIH Funds the First Long-Term Study into Cannabis Effectiveness for Pain Relief

NIH Funds the First Long-Term Study into Cannabis Effectiveness for Pain ReliefThe National Institute of Health (NIH) has put up almost $4 million to fund a 5-year study into whether or not medical cannabis can be an effective replacement for opioids in managing chronic pain. This is an official federal grant which has been awarded to researchers at the and Montefiore Health System, and the stated mission of the study is to determine if cannabis can truly be a step-down method for weaning patients away from opioids.

Parameters of the study

To conduct this study, only high-quality medical dispensary cannabis from NY state will be used, as opposed to the typically low-grade cannabis generally available for current research projects. The study group will consist of 250 patients currently experiencing chronic pain, many of whom will be HIV-positive, and all of whom have already been approved for using medical marijuana to relieve pain. Since HIV-positive patients are well known to be chronic pain sufferers, the inclusion of a number of such patients will provide very useful data over the life of the study.

Every two weeks, participants will be asked to complete online questionnaires which focus on their level of pain, and their usage of cannabis for relief. Urine and blood samples will also be taken from participants every three months to provide firm medical and scientific backing, and to ensure that opioids are not being taken in tandem with cannabis. Interviews will also be conducted among chosen members of the study group to obtain their perspectives on the effectiveness of cannabis vs. opioid usage.

Unchartered territory

No study of this kind has ever been conducted, so the information it provides can be extremely useful, particularly if there are strong indications that cannabis can be effective as an opioid replacement. There have been localized, on-the-spot observations of course, but no prolonged research has ever been performed over such a long period of time. The duration of this study is one of the aspects which lends greater legitimacy and credibility to its findings, since they would have the advantage of being demonstrated in a pattern of consistency.

No long-term studies have ever been conducted on how the active chemical compounds of cannabis, i.e. THC and CBD, impact the health, pain levels, or quality of life for patients regularly ingesting them. As the study’s chief investigator, Chinazo Cunningham states, “As state and federal governments grapple with the complex issues surrounding opioids and medical marijuana, we hope to provide evidence-based recommendations that will help shape responsible and effective healthcare practices and public policies.”

Former Prohibitionist Congressman Introduces Bill for Medical Marijuana Research

Former Prohibitionist Congressman Introduces Bill for Medical Marijuana Research
In a move that can only be described as stunning, former Republican marijuana prohibitionist, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah introduced a bill in Congress which would encourage far greater research into the medical benefits of cannabis. On September 13, 2017, Sen. Hatch stood before his peers and delivered an impassioned speech about how cannabis has already demonstrated some very profound healing properties, as well as the ability to improve quality of life for people suffering from various kinds of chronic pain.

An abrupt philosophical change

In his words, “The federal government strains to enforce regulations that sometimes do more harm than good. To be blunt, we need to remove the administrative barriers preventing legitimate research into medical marijuana, which is why I’ve decided to roll out the MEDS Act.” So what is responsible for this seeming about-face in Sen. Hatch’s philosophy? Apparently, the plight of a close friend figured strongly into his thinking, and even though he still opposes recreational use, his thinking about medical marijuana has indeed been drastically altered.

Sen. Hatch has an unnamed friend who had been forced to ingest nearly 20 pills a day to manage pain, and some of these were fairly powerful opioids. After trying medical cannabis, this friend was able to discard all the pills, including the opioids, and rely solely on the medical cannabis for full relief. Right before his own eyes, Hatch witnessed the near-miraculous effects of pain relief, as well as the extremely effective substitution of cannabis for opioids.

What’s included in the MEDS Act 

This is no lightweight, half-hearted bill introduced by Sen. Hatch – these are the highlights of the features included in the bill:

  • Requires the Attorney General to increase the national marijuana quota as soon as is practicable, in order to meet the changing medical needs of our society
  • Requires the National Institute on Drug Abuse to put forth ‘best practices’ recommendations for the growing and overall production of marijuana, with the expectation that crops would be then used for medical research
  • Make marijuana much more accessible for groups involved with legitimate research into medical marijuana, and for the production of marijuana derivative drugs which have FDA approval
  • Encourage more medical research into the uses of marijuana, specifically by streamlining the registration process and removing barriers to research. This would not be dependent on having marijuana re-classified from its current Schedule I status as a ‘dangerous drug’.
  • Prevent the Department of Health and Human Services from instituting any new requirements or protocols which would tend to inhibit research into the usage of medical marijuana.

Impact of the speech and the bill

The impact of Sen. Hatch’s bill could be far-reaching indeed. If passed, sorely needed research into medical marijuana should proceed at a much faster and less inhibited pace. It would also represent a concession by the federal government that medical cannabis can be an effective tool for many health conditions, and for fighting the opioid crisis. Lastly, it will be seen as one stark example of the changing attitude in our society over the unjust stigma formerly attached to the amazing cannabis plant.


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State Lawmakers Urge Congress to Remove Cannabis from Schedule I Classification

State Lawmakers Urge Congress to Remove Cannabis from Schedule I ClassificationIn early August, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) drafted a resolution to urge Congress to have marijuana removed from the clearly inappropriate language of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), and allow all states to determine their own individual policies regarding the herb. Drugs appearing on this list ‘have a high potential for abuse’ and ‘have no currently accepted medical use’ in this country.

A number of benefits would immediately be derived from this action, including the most obvious one of permitting states’ wishes on the subject to be carried out. Secondly, public safety would be better served, because marijuana businesses are currently obliged to operate on a cash basis, with federal penalties still threatening banks who do business with them. With large amounts of cash on hand to conduct business, these companies are prime targets for the criminal-minded, who are eager to pounce on cash reserves. Thirdly, it would allow much greater research to be conducted into the many medical usages of cannabis.

Reinforcing the message

This isn’t the first time that the state legislatures have made the same recommendation to Congress – this is the third consecutive year that the same group has called for cannabis reform, in light of the federal government’s curious policy on the herb. Each time the message has been the same – remove cannabis from Schedule I (harmful, addictive drugs), and incorporate language into the CSA which allows all states to set their own policies regarding all aspects of the marijuana industry.

Sign of the times

Advocates for legalization point to this as a step in the right direction, especially given the fact that a majority of voters nationwide now favor legalization of the herb. A poll conducted by the Marijuana Majority has recently found that more than 76% of all Americans favor the notion that states should be allowed to establish their own sets of regulations regarding cannabis, and that the federal government should withdraw its own intervention and interference with the industry.

Furthermore, the same poll showed that 94% of people in this country feel that adults should have the legal right to use medical marijuana without fear of federal interference, and 60% said they felt adults also should be allowed to use marijuana recreationally. With this kind of broad support in hand, the NCSL is considering adding additional language to its resolution that would recommend the usage of cannabis as an effective tool for combating the crisis with opioids.

Available evidence demonstrated clearly that cannabis has been very effective in reducing fatalities related to opioid usage, as well as the instances of hospitalization due to the same cause. However, those reductions have only been realized in the states which have medical marijuana programs in place, and that makes an even more compelling case for the effectiveness of cannabis as a deterrent to the spread of opioid usage.

Later in this year, the NCSL will vote on whether or not to include this endorsement of medical cannabis in its recommendations to Congress. Whether it actually includes the language or not, it’s clear that the state legislatures of this country are more in touch with the will of the people than is the federal government on the extraordinary usefulness of medical marijuana.


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Medical Marijuana Becomes Legal in Mexico

Medical Marijuana Becomes Legal in MexicoOn June 19, 2017, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto declared that the country of Mexico had legalized medical marijuana, on the basis of overwhelming support from that nation’s Lower House of Congress. After a long history in which the official stance of the country entailed criminalization of all cannabis-related activities, this announcement formally reverses the country’s prior position.

Presidential support

The Mexican President himself was once a strong opponent of any kind of legalized cannabis, but in response to growing public sentiment, softened his stance considerably in early 2016, when he called for public debate on the issue, when he made an earnest attempt to gauge the pulse of the nation. Another reason for President Nieto’s about-face on the issue stems from the fact that he believes global attempts at controlling drugs and drug-related crimes have fallen far short of what is truly needed. He now believes that prohibition of cannabis is the wrong approach, and that effective prevention of the more serious drugs should take priority.

Support from lawmakers

To emphasize his reversal of opinion on the subject, President Nieto even personal introduced a legal measure which would entitle all Mexican adults to own up to an ounce of marijuana with no legal consequences. This bill stalled in Congress, but its cousin which legalized medical marijuana, breezed through both the Senate and the House, the latter measure being approved by a count of 347 to 7. Pointing up the universal support for medical marijuana, the nation’s Secretary of Health, Dr. José Navarro Robles chimed in with his own personal approval by announcing that he welcomed the therapeutic usage of medical marijuana in the country.

Much work to be done

There is certainly much to be done before full implementation of a medical marijuana program will be realized in Mexico, but the biggest hurdle to legalization has now been handled, with state approval being made official. Now it becomes the task of the Ministry of Health to draft and implement all the necessary regulations regarding the use of medical marijuana, as well as national production of the plant, and all ongoing research into its beneficial properties.

In effect, all prior criminal penalties associated with growing, producing, selling, using, distributing, or researching medical marijuana are effectively banished in the country of Mexico as of this moment, and the nation’s focus will now shift to how all these activities can best be carried out in the interest of the nation and its citizens.


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Are Harmful Opioids Being Replaced by Safer Cannabis?

Opioids vs Cannabisrecent survey conducted in Canada has found that more than 63% of participants were using medical cannabis in place of prescription medications, and this is leading researchers to speculate that more and more patients with access to medical cannabis are doing the same. Specifically, the nearly 300 participants indicated that they were replacing antidepressants with cannabis in about 13% of cases, benzodiazepines were replaced at a 16% rate, and opioids were substituted for at a 30% rate. All other medications were lumped together and dropped at a 40% rate in favor of cannabis.

Why is cannabis better?

When asked to give a reason for the substitutions, approximately 39% of respondents said that cannabis has fewer side effects than prescription medications, 27% indicated that it was safer to use, and another 16% declared that cannabis was more effective in treating their symptoms than were the prescribed medications.

These statistics led researchers to conclude that in a broader application, medical cannabis might well become very effective as a substitute for other more problematic drug usage. In some places, the usage of opioids has reached epidemic proportions, with whole segments of a given population becoming mildly to severely addicted to opioids.

Another surprising result of the survey showed that medical cannabis was being used to replace other harmful substances, with 25% of survey participants saying that they used cannabis to replace alcohol, while 12% did away with cigarettes and tobacco products using cannabis. There was even a smaller segment at 3% of respondents, who indicated that they no longer used illicit drugs because that need was filled by cannabis.

Similar results in the US?

The Canadian survey was conducted by researchers Zach Walsh and Philippe Lucas, who worked with medical cannabis patients from the Canadian LP Tilray dispensary, with the intention of discovering more about the patients who use medical marijuana, and why they used it. While substitution for prescription medications was expected to be one of the results, no one anticipated that the actual substitution statistics encountered would include nearly 2/3 of all participants in the survey.

Since opioid usage and prescription medication in general are such enormous issues in the United States, it seems logical to expect that similar numbers might be expected from research initiatives conducted in the US. Even if results were not quite so resounding as in the Canadian survey, a high percentage of cannabis substitution over prescription medications could be a very encouraging development in America.


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Cannabis and Exercise: A Surprising Relationship

You might think that there’s no relationship between cannabis and exercise, since the two are rarely mentioned in the same sentence.

Medical marijuana to treat chronic pain, overcome appetite loss, and relieve anxiety, while recreational marijuana is generally consumed in the context of relaxation and entertainment.

So how does cannabis affect the body when you engage in strenuous exercise?

Reactivation of THC

Most people are aware that the main active ingredient in cannabis (THC), is stored by the human body in fat cells.

Research has shown that ingested THC can actually be reactivated and consumed by the body for nearly a month after ingested.

As a person engages in strenuous exercise, the body begins to burn off fat and small amounts of THC are released back into the bloodstream. Naturally enough, this has a similar effect to ingesting a small amount of cannabis.

Tests demonstrated clearly that THC levels in the bloodstream increase by as much as 15% directly after exercise, although two hours later, all of that increase had disappeared.

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Stimulation through physical exercise

Physical exercise has always been a great way to combat illnesses and strengthen the muscles of the body, including the heart. It also has the desirable side effects of decreasing anxiety and helping to manage stress.

Scientific research has confirmed that during at least moderate exercise, the endocannabinoid system of the body is activated in much the same way as it is when consuming cannabis.

The endocannabinoid system is associated with managing appetite, easing pain, and influencing memory and mood in a person.

It’s thought by scientists that cannabinoids are produced by the body to manage the discomfort produced by exercise. When this information is coupled with consumption, it becomes clear that there is a double effect to the body’s own cannabinoids with those previously ingested and stored in fat cells.

Cannabis and insulin levels

The American Journal of Medicine (AJM) recently published a study that shows cannabis users routinely have around 16% less insulin stored in their bloodstream before eating, than non-consumers. That same study also discovered that consumers generally had smaller waistlines than non-consumers, and that their insulin resistance levels were 17% lower.

Insulin is the hormone that helps manage glucose in the bloodstream, and if it isn’t present in the right amounts, it can cause obesity, as well as a slew of other problems.

The AJM study found a clear correlation between cannabis and exercise and more efficient metabolic function. So it would seem that cannabis consumption partners pretty well with exercise, rather than inhibiting it as many people might think.