AUSTRALIA & NZ
Western Australia To Lift Industrial Hemp THC Limit [Hemp Gazette]
Currently in Western Australia, the Industrial Hemp Act 2004 only permits hemp to have a THC content below 0.35 per cent. This will be lifted to up to one per cent, in line with changes to the Food Standards and Australia and New Zealand Code last year that permit the sale of food products derived from hemp seed .
Advanced cancer patients to volunteer for new medicinal cannabis oil trial at Brisbane’s Mater Research [The Catholic Leader]
Queensland researchers will soon start a major clinical trial to find out the benefits of medicinal cannabis for cancer patients receiving palliative care. “We are delighted to be one of nineteen research projects funded in this round right across Australia,” team leader from Mater Research in Brisbane Professor Janet Hardy said. Medicinal cannabis is now legal in Queensland, yet Professor Hardy said so little was known about the more than 100 different cannabinoids contained in each cannabis plant – how each cannabinoid affected symptoms such as pain, fatigue and depression, and which combinations of cannabinoids was suited to the needs of patients with advanced cancer.
‘Game Changing’ Medicinal Cannabis Laws: An Interview with Labor MLC Adam Searle [Sydney Criminal Lawyers]
An Australian politician has finally drafted a law which seeks to provide access to medicinal cannabis and is broad enough to get real product into the hands of patients who desperately need it. Leader of the NSW Opposition in the Legislative Council Adam Searle introduced the Medicinal Cannabis (Compassionate Access) Bill 2018 into the state’s upper house on February 15. And medicinal cannabis advocates are calling it a game changer.
Cannabis haul worth millions goes up in smoke as part of police crackdown on hidden bush farms [ABC]
A cannabis haul worth $12.5 million has gone up in smoke as part of a police operation on the New South Wales north coast. Since November, the NSW police cannabis eradication program has seized more than 6,000 plants found in dense bushland surrounding the Tweed, Richmond and Coffs Clarence districts. From March there will be additional resources added, with a newly formed Regional Enforcement Squad working across the north coast to break distribution networks for drugs, including cannabis and ice.
Cannabis does not significantly impair driving: study [Echo NetDaily]
Nimbin’s Hemp Embassy is calling on police across Australia to ‘back off’ following the publication of a study that found cannabis use caused almost no impairment on driving. The study found that the impairment that it did cause was similar to that observed under the influence of a legal alcohol limit. Researchers at the University of Iowa’s National Advanced Driving Simulator carried out the study, sponsored by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Institute of Drug Abuse, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. ‘The study’s findings further illuminate the fact that alcohol is a much more dangerous drug than cannabis, and somehow the former is legal while the latter is not.’
New squad to target drugs and weapons in the region [Echo Netdaily]
A crack squad of police is being set up to disrupt the supply of drugs and target gun crime in northern New South Wales. The announcement comes as police today claimed to have removed more than $14 million worth of cannabis from the region as part of the cannabis eradication program, which finished yesterday.
South Australia Child Protection Department orders 1500 drug and alcohol tests of parents putting children at risk [news]
But the Government still will not say how many return positive results, which drugs parents are taking or what consequences they may face. Following requests from The Advertiser, the Child Protection Department has revealed there were 1479 tests ordered last financial year, and 563 done between July and December last year. It is not known how many individuals have undergone tests, but it is likely that many parents are subjected to multiple tests.
Cannabis is legal in nearly two-thirds of American states, but many legal marijuana businesses are forced to operate without a bank account. California became the largest state in the US to legalise recreational cannabis use on 1 January 2018, but because at a national level it’s still illegal any bank that handles cannabis money can be charged with money laundering.
Medical marijuana laws and adolescent marijuana use in the United States: A systematic review and meta-analysis [Addiction]
Synthesis of the current evidence does not support the hypothesis that US medical marijuana laws (MMLs) until 2014 have led to increases in adolescent marijuana use prevalence.
Tribes cut out of California pot market might grow their own [Los Angeles Times]
American Indian tribes that say they have been cut out of California’s legal marijuana market have raised the possibility of going their own way by establishing pot businesses outside the state-regulated system that is less than two months old. The tribes floated the idea of setting up rival farms and sales shops on reservations after concluding that rules requiring them to be licensed by the state would strip them of authority over their own lands and their right to self-governance.
What happens in Vegas really can stay in Vegas. Tourists catching a flight out of Sin City can now dump their leftover legal marijuana in metal containers set up at the airport. The 10 green bins dubbed “amnesty boxes” prevent federal transportation agents from finding pot on passengers during security screenings. The drug is legal in Nevada but still banned by the U.S. government.
Cannabis consumption has more than doubled among Canadians 15 and older over a 30-year span, according to a new Statistics Canada report. But Wednesday’s report shows that pot use over the last decade actually has remained stable or decreased among young people. The national statistics agency has been trying to compile a picture of marijuana use in Canada as the Liberal government moves ahead with plans to legalize the drug later this year.
Dr. Michael Verbora spent six years in medical school, but in that time, only 30 minutes were devoted to learning about cannabis. After finishing his training at the University of Toronto in 2013, Verbora learned about the Canabo Medical Corp., a chain of clinics that prescribe cannabis to patients referred by a family doctor. At the time, he was clueless that physicians could be the gatekeepers to this type of medicine. He signed up to be a resident at the Toronto Cannabinoid Medical Clinic, where he spent time shadowing another doctor, and soon realized there when it came to cannabis education, a lot was left out of his schooling.
UK & EUROPE
Most cannabis being sold illegally in the UK is super-strength skunk linked to a higher risk of psychotic mental health episodes, an analysis of 995 samples seized by the police suggests. In 2016, 94% of police seizures were high-potency marijuana, compared to 85% in 2008 and 51% in 2005. The drug contains more of the psychoactive ingredient THC than some other types of cannabis, such as hash. Researchers from King’s College London say users should be warned of this.
So-called “reefer madness” claims are by no means proven, but if this problem of high potency cannabis leading to mental illness does exist as the authors imply, prohibition caused it and no solution is possible until prohibition ends. That must be obvious by now, so why no mention of the option in the study or KCL press release and little serious media coverage?
Following the publication of a new study done by King’s College researchers revealing the cannabis consumed in the UK is highly potent, many experts expressed their views on the issue. One thing is clear: the debate around cannabis and what the government should do about it is involves very different, sometimes conflicting views.
It is tempting to describe the government’s approach to cannabis as a spectacular failure. But that would be untrue: the government’s approach cannot fail, because the government has no approach. It has no goals, it has no aims, it has no policies.
A couple from Preston say cannabis oil is transforming their daughter’s life. Olivia Heary-Botham is two years old and blind. Until a couple of weeks ago she was experiencing around 100 epileptic fits a day. After her story appeared on Granada Reports the family were put in touch with a specialist in Mexico. From there, he’s treated Olivia and given her parents fresh hope.
A new UK bill could give hope to millions of people suffering unnecessarily, allowing them to choose their medical path.
Yet something has happened in the past two years which means Britain will almost certainly be the next Western democracy to open its streets to the sweet-smelling aroma of the world’s most popular recreational drug. That something is the even sweeter smell of the huge amounts of cash being made by legitimate businesses who have been investing in the liberalisation of world cannabis markets. In Europe, 14 countries have brought in various decriminalisation models for the medical or recreational sale of cannabis. However, it is in America where the greatest changes have suddenly made the cultivation and marketing of the drug very profitable indeed.
Ahead of tomorrow’s debate in Parliament, the case of six-year-old Alfie Dingley has thrown the need for a sensible appraisal of our medical weed laws into sharp relief.
While many rooftops might be covered in snow on Friday morning if the forecasters are right, it may help give the game away for anyone running a cannabis farm. It has been found that the warmth coming from the heaters used in the production of cannabis can melt the snow and give away a farm, reports Devon Live .
Should the UK Legalise Cannabis? [volteface]
The drug policy think-tank Volteface are going ‘on the road’ to debate cannabis legalisation at UK universities. Their next stop is the University of Leeds, in collaboration with Leeds Debating Union.
HEALTH & SCIENCE
Jesus healed using cannabis, study shows [Patients for Medical Cannabis]
To some, this information will seem blasphemous. Please note that Cannabis is an ancient herbal remedy and has only recently been considered a street drug. Cannabis was included in the US Pharmacopoeia until 1942. We are not saying Jesus depended on herbs to heal, but the facts seem to show that He did indeed utilize them.
How do you use CBD like Olympians? For pain, stress, and sleep for starters. THC is still on the World Anti-Doping Association’s (WADA) list of prohibited substances, but CBD was recently taken off that list and took effect on January 1st, 2018.
Cannabis compound reduces seizures [MedicalXpress]
About one third of patients treated for epilepsy continue to have seizures. Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the many active compounds in the cannabis (marijuana) plant, has gained attention as a treatment for epilepsy. Purified CBD is being tested, but artisanal formulations of CBD (oils) are already available and being used by patients.
This scientist is testing a marijuana ingredient as a way to prevent relapse. It’s a daunting task [STAT]
Hurd has homed in on cannabidiol, one of the two main compounds plucked from the marijuana plant. She thinks it might hold the potential to curb cravings for heroin and other opioids.
Introducing Taper MD [Rxisk]
Do you think you or someone you love are on too many meds? Did you know that reducing your medication burden may be the single best thing you can do to improve your quality of life? Adverse drug events are now a leading cause of hospitalization, disability, and death, all at great human and financial cost. Seniors are particularly vulnerable, as aging affects our ability to process medications and our resistance to adverse effects. Seniors are likely to be on multiple medications for various chronic conditions, putting them most at risk. More than 40% of US adults age 65 and over take five or more prescription medications.
Cannabis to be a “Safe,” “Effective” Medical Treatment [Cision PR Newswire]
Tikun Olam published the following: 95.9% of respondents reported an improvement in their condition through use of medical cannabis, leading the study’s authors to conclude that “Cannabis as a palliative treatment for cancer patients is a well-tolerated, effective and safe option.” In medical terms, palliative treatment in cancer patients is aimed mainly to alleviate pain and nausea.
Cannabis Science, Inc., (OTC: CBIS) a U.S. company specializing in the development of cannabinoid-based medicines, is pleased to announce the beta launch of iCannabinoid, the Company’s state-of-the-art, high technology social media and educational website. CBIS expects iCannabinoid to be the premier online platform for all things Cannabinoid-related, and will create a community of patients, advocates, doctors, researchers, parents, lawyers, growers, journalists, government and private-sector leaders, community organizers, and other interested parties. Join in our Beta Launch to connect, learn, and share; please visit our website and register at: http://icannabinoid.com/
Debunking Two Claims about US Medical Marijuana [Addiction Journal]
Debunking Two Claims about US Medical Marijuana: Increased Recreational Use among Teens and Decreased Opioid Deaths. Two papers published today in the scientific journal Addiction look at the current evidence of the effects of medical marijuana laws and conclude that there is little support for either claim.
How ‘Strange Fruit’ Killed Billie Holiday [The Progressive]
Anslinger’s men, sensing a macabre opportunity, showed up at her hospital bedside, handcuffed her to the bed, took mugshots, removed gifts that people had brought to the room—flowers, radio, record player, chocolates, magazines—and stationed two cops at the door. Even so, as doctors began methadone treatment, Holiday began to improve, gaining some weight and improving slowly. But then Anslinger’s men prevented hospital staff from administering any further methadone. She succumbed to death within days.
How your brain is wired to just say ‘yes’ to opioids [The Conversation]
The mid-1980s was the era of cocaine and marijuana, when “Just Say No” was the centerpiece of the war on drugs and the government’s efforts to stem drug use and addiction. Since then, prescription opioids have become the nation’s drug scourge. The idea that mere willpower can fight this public health emergency is not only outdated, it’s scientifically misguided. Medical history tells us that almost as long as there have been opioids – their use dates back to the third century – there have been opioid addicts. For many people, opioids are substances their brains are wired to crave in ways that make personal resolve nearly impossible.
Weekly Dose: phenibut – the Russian anti-anxiety drug linked to Gold Coast teens’ overdoses [The Conversation]
Phenibut was initially developed in the 1960s in Russia as an anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) drug with cognitive enhancing properties. It has since attracted a strong following of users in the “smart drug” market, with claims of boosting memory recall and exam performance. Originally given to Soviet cosmonauts to combat anxiety and insomnia, the powdered drug is suspected to have played a role in the recent overdose of seven teenagers at a Queensland private school.
Electronic cigarettes could help recovering alcoholics and other patients, new research has found. Researchers say the use of e-cigarettes in hospitals should be given more thought, as they could lessen the stress of patients’ treatment. Dr Penelope Truman from Massey University’s School of Health Sciences said their research found e-cigarettes could aid patients battling alcohol addiction and patients admitted to psychiatric units.
Outspoken UK drug expert David Nutt argues for regulated access to any drug less harmful than alcohol, including cannabis and Ecstasy. He is a professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London and author of Drugs: Without The Hot Air (2012).
Last night, A Current Affair launched an extraordinary attack on people who are prescribed methadone. They are supporting a campaign for people on methadone treatment to be banned from driving. A Current Affair’s program completely ignored the fact that methadone is a prescribed medication with a strong evidence-base. The ACA program has the potential to cause significant harm, especially in rural and remote areas where driving is often the only transport option. The last thing we need is a current affairs program pushing people out of the treatment system.
Medical Cannabis Webinar Series [BuddingTech]
The Medical Cannabis Council is hosting a national medical cannabis webinar series. The first two webinars will cover essential background information, including the Endocannabinoid System, pharmacology and pharmacokinetics. Then, leading specialists from around the world with experience treating patients with medical cannabis will cover efficacy data, treatment, dosage, and contraindications. These free, 30-minute webinars will come with 1 CPD point each, and will include a Q&A session with each presenter.
Medicinal Cannabis Pharmacology
06 Mar 2018
21 Mar 2018
11 Apr 2018
24 Apr 2018
09 May 2018
23 May 2018
Medicinal Cannabis: Debunking the Myths – Coffs Harbour [NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association]
Last year the NSWNMA held a forum on medicinal cannabis in Sydney. It was fully subscribed and there has been great interest in holding similar forums in regional areas. The first of these is on Friday March 9th in Coffs Harbour. This is open to NSWNMA members and also to non-members. We had a great cross section at the previous forum – which made for very lively questions and discussions. There were community members, parents, people using MC, medical staff – as well as a very broad range of nurses from many disciplines, mental health, D&A, gerontology, Practice nurses, palliative care, Nurse Practitioners and others. Future forums are scheduled for later in the year: Wollongong: 20 June and Newcastle: 19 October.
Australia’s First Medicinal Cannabis Leadership Program [Cann10 Australia]
10 March 2018, Western Sydney University Sydney, Level 4/255 Elizabeth St, Sydney: The program provides a comprehensive approach to cannabis education including historical, cultural, legal/regulatory, chemical, agricultural and commercial aspects. It is delivered by an array of world-class professionals and has been designed so that participants can have personal access to their expertise. The next program is running in Sydney across two weekends in March and further information can be found here.
20 April at 14:00–18:00 The River Torrens Rotunda South Australia: Far too many of our alternative healers are being persecuted and held back from doing what they do best. This year we show our support for them and their magnificent work for the community at large, and of course to show our authoritarians how displeased we are with their perpetuation of a harmful law.
26th Nimbin MardiGrass [Hemp Embassy]
The legendary Cannabis Law Reform Rally & Gathering, 4th – 6th May 2018, Nimbin Nth NSW. Gathering of the tribe! Protest! Educate! Celebrate!
Sydney, Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May 2018. In May 2018 we will have the HHI Expo & Symposium. There will be a large array of speakers and like-minded individuals showcasing their products, to educate, enlighten and entertain an audience. This will be our third Expo in Sydney with a growing awareness of the diversity and benefits of HEMP. Further information regarding this Expo and venue details etc, will be available on the website in the New Year. We look forward to seeing you there.
Hemp & Cannabis Expo [Body Mind Psychic]
19-20 April, Adelaide Showground, Adelaide, South Australia.
Nimbin Medican Workshops on YouTube [Hemp Embassy]
Thanks to Disco Sista for documenting the many medican workshops that the Embassy has hosted in Nimbin over the past 3 years. If you’ve missed these amazing gatherings, then you can still watch the speakers online.