New York State’s medical marijuana program is growing very slowly. According to the Democrat & Chronicle, some counties have made very little in revenue, such as Westchester County, which only got $18,000 for the first six months of 2017. Similarly, Monroe County has made only around $80,000 in tax revenue since the NY State’s medical marijuana program launched in 2016. Ulster County made just $3,800 in tax revenue in 2016 and only $12,000 so far in 2017, dismal numbers, and is also home to a dispensary.
In the state of New York, 45% of the tax revenue from the state medical marijuana program is to be distributed to the counties in which the dispensaries are located. There are five growing and production facilities and 20 dispensaries around the state. And according to the state Comptroller’s Office, the county’s’ share worked out to just $263,065 during the entire period of April 2016 to March 2017.
Jill Montag, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health said in a statement, “New York state’s Medical Marijuana Program has always been about patient care, not profitability or tax revenue,”
Why is there so little money?
Well, New York started with only ten dispensaries and limited interest from the state’s doctors to be involved in the program, which was then expanded to 20, despite pushback from the original 10, claiming there would be even less demand.
New York is very strict regulations and rules surrounding who can get medical marijuana and from where making it even more difficult. In December 2016, New York attempted to mitigate that by adding “chronic pain” to the list of 10 other eligible conditions and allowed nurse practitioners to certify patients for medical marijuana usage, but there is still a lack of sales.
The lack of significant revenue is a concern, though the numbers have gone up slightly. The five facilities generated a total of $16.6 million between April 2016 and August 2017, but $8.4 million of that was from April 2016 through March 2017, a total of about $700,000 per month. Over the next several months, sales improved significantly, another $8.2 million from April to August of this year, making it an average of $1.64 million per month, and the number of certified doctors and patients is rising. Not great, but better than previously.
The Black Market
Even though New York is slowly approving new doctors and allowing additional medical issues and conditions to be eligible for medical marijuana, New York residents are still finding the state’s medical marijuana to be somewhat difficult to locate and get, expensive, and payable only in cash.
Reported by SILive, one anonymous man has significant chronic pain from an accident two years ago and purchases his legal medical marijuana in Manhattan, but each pill only relieves his pain for about two hours. He takes the pills twice per day and it costs him $400-500 per month.
Medical marijuana is not covered by insurance and cannot be purchased with a credit card. Aside from price, Empire State NORML’s Doug Greene has also heard many complaints about the paperwork surrounding being approved and the quality of the product once they get it. “There are vape pens you can get for $30 or $40 in a state like Colorado that you can get for $100 here for an inferior product,” says Greene.
It is any surprise that many users have felt the need to purchased marijuana illegally?
It is less expensive and easily attainable, and while some New Yorkers prefer the dispensaries practices of screening and verifying safety, it really often comes down to the cost.Some insiders say that things will change when dispensaries in New York are allowed to sell a smokable cannabis flower, but right now that is not happening.
New York is continuing to try to firm up regulations and make adjustments to make more money and tax revenue and allow for more patients and doctors to be registered and get access to medical marijuana, but right now only time will tell if new rules are effective.
Patents and trademarks are still legal gray areas in the cannabis industry and can present new and difficult problems and challenges. And as the cannabis industry continues to grow, both worldwide and here in the United States, issues with intellectual property will continue to crop up.
Marijuana operators, growers, and inventors are attempting to put together state-level patents working with city and state lawmakers, and even relying on a “common-law” trademark, which basically just allows a company to “possibly” seek protection against competitors with similar names or logos later.
Why do they have to resort to this and have no protection for their intellectual property, as any other business in the U.S. would expect?
Because the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has not awarded a single patent to cover cannabis genetic material, despite hundred of patent applications for cannabis strains and products have been filed.
Despite the fact that the U.S.P.T.O. has long given out patents for growing specific genetic material, such as GMO types of soybeans, corn, and many more crops.
They also cannot receive trademark protection, because of marijuana’s status as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. As it is still federally illegal, on a nationwide level, cannabis companies are out of luck and unprotected against competition and intellectual property theft.
MJBizDaily reports, “the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled that owners of state-licensed marijuana retailers can’t receive federal trademark protection on marks that are connected to cannabis sales because marijuana is illegal under federal law.”
Some Recent Cases
As of January 2017, a well-known company making marijuana utensils, Roor, had filed 200 lawsuits to protect its trademark. Smoke shops in California, Florida, and New York were reportedly selling counterfeit products with the Roor company’s name and logo.
According to the Associated Press, Roor, the German company, and its American licensee, Sream, of California, hold U.S. Trademark No. 3675839 to protect its fashionable pipes and bongs sold with the Roor mark, which is the word “RooR” with the second “r” capitalized and facing backward.
Even though they currently hold a trademark, it can be difficult or even impossible to prosecute counterfeiters, since utensils used to consume cannabis are federally illegal and cannot be trademarked.
But that doesn’t stop people from trying to bring suits against companies for infringing on their intellectual property and trying to protect their company.
Headspace, based in southern California, is a multi-million dollar company which produces marijuana oils. It’s product “The Clear” is sold in seven states, and their brand is well-known. Headspace filed a trademark suit against Podworks, based in Washington state, over their product Top Shelf Clear.
Headspace claims that Podworks is illegally using The Clear’s name by simply removing the article. “We take a lot of pride in the proprietary nature of what we do,” said Chris Barone, CEO of Headspace International. “We’ve got a lot of time and money invested into what we’re doing.”
Podworks owner Thomas Worth said his product is called “Top Shelf Clear,” not just “Clear,” and that he has a legal trademark for his product’s name and does not plan to give it up. This could be a landmark case for the cannabis industry.
Famous Names in the Game
Rapper Snoop Dogg got in a trademark infringement fight in 2016, over whether his “Leafs by Snoop” product line, including marijuana strains and merchandise such as clothing, infringed on the NHL team, the Toronto Maple Leafs trademark. Snoop did file a federal trademark application as far back as January 2015, but dropped it in November of that same year, as it was not going through.
The newest celebrity in this fight is on the opposite side. Jessica Alba is suing Honest Herbal, a three-year-old Colorado-based company that makes nutritional supplements from CBD oil. Alba claims that they are infringing on her trademark of LA-based The Honest Company. Her attorneys argue that Honest Herbal is attempting to confuse consumers and “profit from the goodwill and consumer recognition associated with The Honest Co.” The Honest Company lines include Honest Baby, Honest Beauty, and Honest Man.
What are your thoughts? As with any other plant and logo, we think cannabis companies should be able to get federal trademarks and the protections associated with that. But in the meantime, these landmark cases will help determine future litigation in the marijuana industry. And as the industry continues to grow worldwide, we will be seeing more and more of these.
Niagara College, in southern Ontario province of Canada, is going to offer a one-year post-secondary credential in the production of commercial cannabis. They say the graduate certificate program will launch in the fall of 2018 and aims to prepare students to work in the licensed production of cannabis, which includes marijuana, hemp fiber, and hemp seed.
This certificate program was recently approved by the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development. Niagara’s president, Dan Patterson, says the program is meant to address a growing labor market need in the wake of legislative changes in Canada and abroad and will conform to all regulations and requirements.
The first students, who must have previously earned a diploma or degree in horticulture, agricultural sciences or related fields to qualify for the program, will be part of Niagara’s class of 2019. They sat this course is the first of its kind in Canada, and that consultations with growers identified a growing demand for skilled workers, especially those who understand the legislation at home and abroad.
Though Niagara College may be the first to offer a post-grad certification program, they are far from the first North American college or university to be offering classes to fill a growing need in the labor market of cannabis production.
Other College Courses & Options
About a year ago, in October 2016, Business Insider and Reuters reported that French-language College Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick in the Canadian province of New Brunswick planned to launch a horticulture program on cannabis cultivation to prepare students to work at local marijuana companies. Two months prior, in August of last year, the New Brunswick government invested just over USD $3 million in a local medical marijuana company, creating over 200 jobs in the province of only 750,000, which has reportedly been suffering from a weak economy.
Canadian Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned last year on a promise to legalize recreational marijuana and he has followed through, introducing legislation earlier this year. Recreational-use marijuana is expected to be legalized by Canada Day 2018 (July). Medical marijuana has been legalized nationwide previously, and many medical cannabis cultivators and distributors have been looking to the future and expansion for recreational use.
The United States has started offering some courses here and there. Most notably, according to Wikipedia, Oaksterdam University in Oakland, CA, is recognized as America’s first cannabis college. The educational facility was founded in November 2007 by medical marijuana activist Richard Lee to offer quality training for the cannabis industry, with a mission to “legitimize the business and work to change the law to make cannabis legal.” The university’s curriculum reaches all aspects of the medical marijuana industry, from horticulture to legal issues, politics, history, civics, economics, extracts, topical applications, business management, dispensary management, delivery business, cooking with cannabis and much more.
The Cannabis Career Institute is a business training center founded by Robert Calkin, a lifelong advocate of cannabis legalization and medical marijuana, in 2009. He has been in the cannabis industry for over 30 years, including as a consultant on the television show “Weeds” and a Professor of Delivery at Oaksterdam. Robert founded CCI to provide a support system for people trying to start their own medical marijuana businesses, creating a curriculum focusing specifically on compliance and how to create and market brands.
The Cannabis Career Institute and Dunlap-Stone University in Phoenix, Arizona, has a 3-credit-hour course called The Modern Cannabis Industry. According to their website, the course “is an elective in the Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration degree program, explores the modern cannabis industry from the perspective of the emerging industry and its career possibilities. It briefly discusses the history of cannabis in the U.S., including the myths and stigma associated with the plant. It examines the recent phenomena of medical usage and scientific discoveries related to cannabis and its derivatives. Emphasis is placed on understanding the various emerging career opportunities within the industry for those who possess the requisite skill sets. The course also examines the current legal issues and other challenges facing this growth industry.”
While OU and CCI are cannabis-centric institutions, more mainstream universities are providing courses. These include “Business and Law of Marijuana” at Hofstra University in New York, “Marijuana Law and Policy” at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, and “Business Opportunities Related to Marijuana Legalization” at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland.
Courses like these and placing importance on educating the next generation of cannabis workers is extremely important. We want capable, intelligent, interested, educated people as the driving force behind regulations and the general cannabis industry. As marijuana legalization continues to become the norm and press forward, classes that teach people the realities of the cannabis industry help companies find employees who are already familiar with the marijuana business and the issues it faces through state and federal regulations, pressures, and more.
What are your thoughts on university and college courses in horticulture, marijuana production, and the law?
New Delivery Regulations for CA
Last week, California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control released a new set of regulations for how cannabis deliveries are made, including for commercial companies, throughout the state.
This very long document, which you can find here, states that in order to deliver cannabis, unmanned vehicles cannot be used and special protections must be made.
The Bureau of Cannabis Control ruled that deliveries must “be made only in person by enclosed motor vehicle,” ARS Technica reported, noting that “unmanned vehicles” such as self-driving cars also are likely to be banned.
“Transportation may not be done by aircraft, watercraft, rail, drones, human-powered vehicles, or unmanned vehicles,” is how it is worded in the regulations. This means bicycles, motorcycles, pontoon boats, windsurfing, and paper airplanes are definitely out.
And it definitely bans drones. Several tech startups, such as Eaze, MDelivers, and Trees Delivery had all been hoping to utilize and perfect drone delivery for legalized cannabis.
Drones may have been a farfetched delivery option anyway since federal aviation rules require that aerial drones fly within a pilot’s sight.
Drones are considered one of many types of “unmanned aircraft system” by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is the division of the Department of Transportation that inspects and rates civilian aircraft and pilots, enforces all the rules of air safety, and installs and maintains air-navigation and traffic-control facilities.
An unmanned aircraft is defined by the FAA as “an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft (Public Law 112-95, Section 331(8)).”
And Congress has defined a “model aircraft” as a UAS that meets all of the following:
- Is capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere
- Is flown within visual line-of-sight of the person operating it
- Is flown for hobby or recreational purposes
This definitely includes drones, so potential deliveries outside sight range by drones may never have been a viable option for the marijuana sector.
How Can it Be Delivered?
Legal cannabis delivery can’t just be made by your local teenager in their mom’s Honda. As the new regulations state, deliveries must be made with enclosed automobiles that have GPS locators which the store can use to track its location, and inventory can’t be left unattended in motor vehicles unless the vehicle has an active alarm system.
This means that you likely need at least two people on deliveries, you’ll have to install or activate GPS tracking on your vehicle and make sure to install and use the alarm system. What does this mean for delivery trucks for large-scale quantities?
Though you can order other medications through the mail, marijuana is currently not allowed to be delivered through the mail, either.
Drones may be the least of the issues. These new rules are so specific that a convertible car would not be able to make deliveries, and in many cities, bicycles and moped drivers make document and food deliveries faster than a car would be able to.
As the cannabis industry continues to grow and is one of the fastest-growing sectors in our economy, these growing pains are going to continue to happen.
Cannabis is a cash-only world right now, with banks, credit unions, and more refusing loans. While it is a growing and profitable industry, large companies are not willing to invest in what is still an illegal product in much of the country.
Some are taking advantage of this, creating new cryptocurrencies within the cannabis industry to compete with bitcoin.
Forbes did a recent story on Paragon, a company launching yet another new cryptocurrency called ParagonCoin, and reported, “Blockchain and cannabis industry watchers believe that cryptocurrencies could be a game changer for the marijuana sector. In recent years, a number of weed coins have proliferated, including HempCoin, CannabisCoin, DopeCoin, and PotCoin, each taking a slightly different approach to solving the cash dilemma. “Once, virtual currencies and weed belonged together on the dark web,” said Lionel Laurent in a recent Bloomberg Businessweek article, “Now, they’re being pitched as asset classes on track for mega-growth.””
Whatever happens next, the cannabis industry in the U.S. is continuing its booming growth, which means that regulations, innovations, and more have to keep up or will become obsolete.
Cannabis-Centered New Show
On August 25, 2017, Netflix premiered its new show, “Disjointed.” Created by Chuck Lorre of “The Big Bang Theory” and David Javerbaum of “The Daily Show,” and starring a hilarious Kathy Bates, this 10-episode first season is a look inside a medical marijuana dispensary called Ruth’s Alternative Caring.
The show is alternately silly and deep, fun and frivolous. Ruth is a lifelong cannabis activist and attorney who adores her only son, though thinks he is a sellout for going to get an MBA. You see the stereotypical stoner kids, the PTSD-afflicted security guard, and a very funny plant cultivator.
With the continued legalization of marijuana in the United States and around the world, it makes sense that we’re seeing marijuana in a different way. Gone are the days of marijuana being only represented by dopey kids or hapless sidekicks. Cannabis-centered shows are going to become more common, and whether you liked Disjointed or not, it is breaking new ground for average TV audiences.
New Shows, New Strains of Marijuana
In a savvy business move, Netflix contracted with West Hollywood, CA-based marijuana dispensary Alternative Health Herbal Services to develop 12 new strains of cannabis based on 10 of their shows, starting with “Disjointed.”
To promote the new show, AHHS opened up a pop-up shop the weekend of the show’s premiere to sell the new marijuana strains. The pop-up shop sold about 27 pounds of marijuana over the 3 days it was open.
According to Ad Week, Carrot, the creative agency behind this idea, began working with AHHS about 6 months ago, giving them the information about the streaming shows they want represented by these strains of cannabis. They gave descriptions for each show and worked with AHHS to pair each show with a corresponding strain.
Indica strains were paired with lighter, sillier shows and sativa strains were chosen for darker, more aggressive shows. Carrot also worked on the packaging and branding.
- The Omega Strain, Eve’s Bush, and the Rutherford B. Haze are the 3 strains inspired by “Disjointed.”
- “Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later” gave rise to the Camp Firewood strain, “a very chill indica.”
- “Bojack Horseman” can be viewed while partaking in Prickly Muffin. “When you smoke this, it gets a little easier. But you gotta do it every day.”
- “Arrested Development” inspired Banana Stand Kush, recommended for a “big yellow joint.”
- “Chelsea” birthed Vodkush, for the “advanced botanist.”
- Peyotea 73, an “uplifting sativa hybrid,” was created to go with “Grace and Frankie.”
- Sassafrass OG, with “the power of one thousand pug snorts,” is inspired by “Lady Dynamite.”
- Baka Bile, “to really ramp up your appetite,” is for “Santa Clarita Diet.”
- Poussey Riot strain, “for kicking it with somebody, talking, making mad stupid jokes” is of course paired with “Orange Is The New Black.”
- Moon 13 is “not too strong, so you can ‘keep your sanity, no robot friends required,’” for “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”
They picked some great shows to work with!
Promotional Purposes Only
This whole partnership is fun and interesting, and while it is not the first time this has ever been thought of, it is likely the most successful. In 2014, Kevin Smith tried something similar with his new movie.
Kevin Smith wrote and directed “Tusk,” a comedy horror movie based from his podcast. IMDb describes it as “A brash and arrogant podcaster gets more than he bargained for when he travels to Canada to interview a mysterious recluse…who has a rather disturbing fondness for walruses.”
Smith partnered with Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensary Buds & Roses to develop and sell 2 strains named for the movie.This partnership wasn’t as widely advertised or reported on as Netflix’s new move, and the dispensary did good business and benefitted from the press surrounding it. The results were considered mixed.
As an important note, Netflix itself did NOT sell the marijuana, nor are they profiting at all from any sales of the new strains. This was done for creative and promotional services, and AHHS specifically is profiting from sales and publicity.
Netflix is #314 on the 2017 Fortune 500 list, and having such a large and influential organization engage with the cannabis industry is fantastic. They are taking a public stance on marijuana and helping remove the long-held stigma of marijuana.
This goes to show how quickly times are changing in the US and around the world. TV shows like “Cheers” centered around bars as a gathering place and “Disjointed” is showing marijuana dispensaries in that light as well. Cannabis legalization, usage, and knowledge are becoming the new normal.
What Is Microdosing?
Microdosing is defined as a technique for studying the behavior of drugs in humans through the administration of doses so low (“subtherapeutic”) they are unlikely to produce whole-body effects, but high enough to allow the cellular response to be studied.
It may seem like people only talk about wanting high-THC marijuana that will get them higher faster, but there is little truth in that.
In fact, according to Jake Browne, budtender and reviewer at Denver Post’s The Cannabist,
“If I had cataloged the most common request at dispensaries where I’ve worked,” writes Browne, “it wouldn’t be, ‘What’s going to get me the highest?’ but rather, ‘What can I smoke that won’t knock me out?’”
Many people are looking for the health benefits of cannabinoids like THC and CBD without being laid out for the next several hours.
To avoid the psychoactive effects of THC, microdosing is the answer. According to Leafly, “there is some clinical research suggesting that less is, in fact, more when it comes to medicinal cannabis.
In a 2012 study, for example, patients with advanced cancer who were unresponsive to traditional opioid painkillers were given nabiximols, a THC/CBD compound, at low, medium, and high doses. Patients who received the lowest dosage of cannabinoids showed the greatest reduction in pain, while those receiving higher doses actually experienced more pain.”
Microdosing happens in many types of drugs and medications. For example, there have been recent studies about small amounts of LSD as well.
As the Huffington Post reports, in the 1960s, before the FDA banned testing it, Dr. James Fadiman conducted pioneering psychedelic research, including one study in which he gave LSD and mescaline to scientists, mathematicians, and architects to see how it affected creative problem-solving.
Now, he is examining the effects of psychedelic drugs like LSD and psilocybin in amounts so small that they are below the perceptual threshold. Too small to trip from the drug’s psychoactive effects, but small amounts to produce some chemical shifts in the brain.
Fadiman is seeing people use microdosing to treat anxiety and ADHD and to improve productivity or break through writer’s block. Many people report experiencing improvements in mood, including enhanced focus, productivity or creativity, and in some cases, even relief from depression or cluster headaches.
Another example of positive results of microdosing is a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology in 2014, where Nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, was given in small 4-milligram doses to 104 male inmates with PTSD. The results indicated a significant improvement in PTSD-associated insomnia, nightmares, symptoms, and Global Assessment of Functioning and subjective improvement in chronic pain.
The Biphasic Effect
Cannabis, like anything in too large of doses, can produce the biphasic effect. A biphasic effect is when there are two distinct and separate responses separated by time. An immediate effect and a different effect with more/larger amounts.
Alcohol is the perfect example. A couple beers or glasses of wine can make you feel relaxed or social. That is the immediate effect. But continue drinking larger amounts of alcohol and you can have a more extreme reaction, including overly emotional, getting aggressive, and getting sick. Way too much alcohol can even land you in the hospital. This is the biphasic effect. Smaller amounts give you the desired effects while larger doses/amounts produce basically the opposite or adverse/negative effects.
Many users of medical marijuana are not even aware of microdosing and also may not know that using large amounts of THC-heavy marijuana can actually have adverse effects instead of solving the issue.
For example, small doses of marijuana can be extremely helpful in calming anxiety, but large amounts of it can actually make anxiety worse or lead to paranoia.
The earliest published volume on Chinese pharmacopeia circa 2700 B.C.E., is the Pen Ts’ao (The Herbal), which warned people that consuming too many Ma (marijuana) seeds could cause a person to see demons, while moderate doses would enable users to communicate with the spirits.
While we may no longer call it seeing demons, that feeling of heaviness and paranoia with too much THC is well-known.
Have you had any experience with microdosing? Did you get the desired effect?
Hi, Humanity! It’s that time of year again when the Inc. 5000 list is released!
In 2017, more companies in the cannabis industry have been started than ever before, and many more cannabis-based stocks have been added to the U.S. Marijuana Index.
According to Forbes, “The United States Marijuana Index has jumped from a level of 48.39 a year ago to the current level of 70.83, an increase of 46%. ‘The first quarter of 2017 saw the cannabis stock market settle from the previous fall’s elections, with average daily volatility and volume for the constituents on the North American Marijuana Index decreasing 67% compared to the fourth quarter of 2016,’ said Dan Nicholls, Vice President. ‘Overall, the Canadian Marijuana Index increased 7% and the U.S. Marijuana Index decreased 1% in the first quarter.’”
The U.S. Marijuana Index tracks the leading cannabis stocks operating in the United States. Constituents must have a business strategy focused on the marijuana or hemp industry, and are required to meet their trading criteria. The Index is equal-weighted and rebalanced quarterly.
The Inc 5000 List
In 1982, The Inc. 500 list began, showcasing the 500 fastest growing private companies in the United States. Since then, commerce in the U.S. has exploded, and the list has followed suit, expanding to become the Inc. 5000 list, and still giving special notice to the top 500.
In recent years, cannabis-based companies have begun to be featured, showing the meteoric rise of cannabis and medical marijuana in the U.S. And with countries all over the world legalizing marijuana and studying it in more depth every year, this is only the beginning.
Some of the companies included in the 2017 list include:
- Media and events company Marijuana Business Daily ranks number 528, posting an 843% spike in revenue over the past three years, falling from number 302 from the 2016 list.
- Construction firm Your Green Contractor is number 535 with 839% revenue growth.
- Software provider MJ Freeway is number 1,506 and shows a 270% revenue growth.
- Extraction equipment manufacturer Apeks Supercritical at number 2,248 with 163% revenue growth, also appeared on the 2016 list at number 236.
Last year, on the 2016 list, MJBizDaily highlighted the four companies that were in the top 10%, in the Inc 500, in that year’s list:
- Seattle-based Leafly, which provides listings and reviews of cannabis retailers and strains, ranked number 76, posting a 3,860.7% surge in revenues over the past three years.
- Johnston, Ohio-based Apeks Supercritical, which makes extraction equipment for marijuana companies, ranked number 236 with a 1,662.4% increase in revenues. Apeks also made the list in 2015, at number 24.
- Denver-based Marijuana Business Daily came in at number 302, recording a 1,288.2% spike in revenues over their past three years.
- Tucson, Arizona-based GrowersHouse.com, a hydroponics supply and indoor gardening center with both a physical and online store, ranked number 313, posting a 1,232.9% jump in revenues over the previous three years.
This years’ top 5 are:
- Software company Skillz, based in San Francisco
- Dallas-based Energy company, EnviroSolar Power
- SanFran-based consumer products and services company GameTime
- Club Pilates Franchise, based in LA
- LA-based Halo Top Creamery, a low-calorie ice cream company
As cannabis and cannabis companies continue to grow, they are continuing to become a bigger part of the American economy. Can’t wait to see more next year!
An Overview of Cannabinoids
The term “medical marijuana” can often refer to the entire marijuana plant, adding to its extracts, used to treat various illnesses. And the FDA does not recognize whole marijuana plants as medicine – yet. The reason for this is that the FDA requires carefully conducted clinical trials in hundreds to thousands of human patients/subjects, and so far, researchers haven’t conducted enough large-scale clinical trials that show that the benefits of the entire marijuana plant (as opposed to its cannabinoid ingredients) outweigh its risks in patients it’s meant to treat.
We currently have two FDA-approved pill medications made of cannabinoids, based on scientific studies, and continued research is likely to lead to more medications created and officially approved in the future.
This brief dive into the cannabis chemistry known as cannabinoids is meant to educate you. Many people don’t know how to answer the question “How is marijuana a medicine?” And we at Humanity want to arm you with the knowledge to answer that question in straightforward terms.
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are the specific chemical compounds that comprise the cannabis flowers and are shown to provide relief from many symptoms and illnesses, such as inflammation, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, epilepsy, and more. Examples of cannabinoids include the psychotropic THC and the non-psychoactive CBD.
These cannabinoids simply imitate and work with our endocannabinoids, which your body naturally produces, to help your body naturally maintain stability. This article from Scholastic discusses what the endocannabinoid system does, how it interacts with receptors to regulate important body functions, including how you move and react. Cannabinoids mediate communications between cells, and you need a healthy and normally-functioning endocannabinoid system.
What medications contain cannabinoids?
Two FDA-approved drugs, dronabinol and nabilone, contain THC. They treat nausea, such as when it is caused by chemotherapy and helps to increase appetite in patients with extreme weight loss caused by AIDS and other debilitating diseases.
These drugs also assist with inflammation and there is testing being done showing that cannabinoids can helps quell the symptoms of major illnesses like Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.
The United Kingdom, Canada, and several European countries have approved nabiximols, called Sativex, which is a mouth spray that contains both THC and CBD. Sativex treats muscle control problems caused by Multiple Sclerosis, but it isn’t yet approved by the FDA in the United States.
Epidiolex, a CBD-based liquid medication that is used to treat certain forms of childhood epilepsy, is being tested in clinical trials but isn’t yet FDA-approved in the US, but is in places like Brazil.
Health Benefits of Medical Marijuana
An incomplete list of specific ways using medical marijuana can help humanity and our health. This list is pulled from this article in Business Insider and I have included their sources.
- Treat glaucoma – according to the National Eye Institute
- Can actually increase lung capacity according to a study from the American Medical Association
- Help prevent epileptic seizures (2003 study published in The Journal of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics)
- CBD may help prevent cancer from spreading, researchers at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco reported in 2007.
- Researchers at Harvard Medical School says it reduces anxiety
- Slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, says a study led by Kim Janda of the Scripps Research Institute
- Ease painful symptoms of multiple sclerosis, a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal
- A 2006 study in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that 86% of patients using marijuana successfully completed their Hep C therapy, while only 29% of non-smokers completed their treatment, possibly because the marijuana helps lessens the treatments side effects. Marijuana also seems to improve the treatment’s effectiveness: 54% of hep C patients smoking marijuana got their viral levels low and kept them low, in comparison to only 8% of nonsmokers.
- Can ease the symptoms of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. THC-like compounds made by the body increase the permeability of the intestines, allowing bacteria in. Cannabinoids in marijuana block these body-cannabinoids, preventing this permeability and making the intestinal cells bond together tighter.
- Alleviates pain, reduces inflammation, and promotes sleep, which may help relieve pain and discomfort for people with rheumatoid arthritis, researchers announced in 2011
- Recent research from Israel shows that smoking marijuana significantly reduces pain and tremors and improves sleep for Parkinson’s disease patients.
- The Department of Health and Human Services recently signed off on a proposal to study marijuana’s potential as part of treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Marijuana is approved to treat PTSD in some states already. In New Mexico, PTSD is the number one reason for people to get a license for medical marijuana, but this is the first time the U.S. government has approved this type of proposal.
- Research from the University of Nottingham shows that marijuana may help protect the brain from damage caused by stroke, by reducing the size of the area affected by the stroke.
- A recent study in the journal Cerebral Cortex showed that in mice, marijuana lessened the bruising of the brain and helped with healing mechanisms after a traumatic injury.
Have you had experience with medical marijuana? What was your experience like? Share with us here or on our Instagram!
The Rohrabacher–Farr amendment has been renewed for the 2018 fiscal year! Despite the Trump administration’s bumps, this amendment has been voted on and renewed for next year.
The Rohrabacher–Farr amendment is a 2014 measure that bars the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent states “from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
And according to the Huffington Post, “national support for marijuana legalization has risen dramatically in recent years, reaching historic highs. A Quinnipiac poll from earlier this year found that 94 percent of Americans support allowing adults to use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it.”
How fantastic it is that this industry continues to gain momentum, and we can breathe a sigh of relief that all legal marijuana dispensaries that follow their state laws continue to be legal and are free from federal prosecution.
Great Feedback From Colorado!
In February of this year, a task force was created to review the United States’s enforcement of immigration, drug trafficking, and violent crime laws. The task force sent in their proposals to the Department of Justice last week, but they are not being disclosed.
Colorado and Oregon both are said to have submitted lengthy reports explaining how well-regulated marijuana industry is run and how it generates a great deal of tax revenue with “no measurable increase in crime or health problems.”
The report from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s (D) shows Colorado as collecting $459.5 million in marijuana taxes as of May 2017, and that the money has been used for school construction, regulation and enforcement of marijuana laws, youth prevention programs, substance-abuse treatment programs, and public education campaigns.
Legalization has “facilitated the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars into the Federal Reserve System that would otherwise exist outside of the nation’s banking system,” the report says.
The United States continues to move forward and progress medical marijuana and recreational-use laws under each state!
What We Are Reading This Week:
Landmark Law in Uruguay
In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the entire world to legalize the whole chain of marijuana production and sale, from growing the plant to buying and selling its flowers.
Though the Netherlands had their cannabis cafes, and many countries had started decriminalizing marijuana, Uruguay was the first country to completely legalize every part of the production, growth, sale, and consumption of it.
In 2013, the bill was approved by their Senate 16-13, and allowed Uruguayan residents 18 or older and registered on a government database to buy a maximum of 40 grams each month from licensed pharmacies. Each could grow up to 6 plants at home or could form smoking clubs of up to 45 people and grow 99 plants.
“We begin a new experience in April. It involves a big cultural change that focuses on public health and the fight against drug trafficking,” Uruguay’s first lady, Senator Lucía Topolansky, told Reuters.
This attempt to slow drug trafficking by making illegal drugs legal, therefore unnecessary to smuggle, has been watched and followed by many Latin American countries, including Brazil and most recently, Mexico.
Philanthropist George Soros supported the 2013 bill, saying that it was an interesting experiment that first world countries should pay attention to and that it could provide an alternative to the failed United States war on drugs.
Recreational Use On Sale Starting This Week
Now, on July 19, 2017, legal sales of adult-use recreational marijuana are starting! Over 5000 customers have already signed up in a country of 3.3 million. The sale of cannabis is limited to legal or naturalized citizens.
The cannabis is going to be available at some pharmacies in the country in 5-gram amounts and will be stamped with a security stamp verifying authenticity and a warning from the Cannabis Regulation and Control Institute.
For citizens to register, 65 post offices across Uruguay started accepting registration applicants in May of 2017, which included being fingerprinted and put in a countrywide database. The process also includes showing ID and proof of address and filling out a demographic form for statistical purposes. The process takes just 5 minutes and can be done in all 19 provinces.
Each person’s cannabis purchases will be tracked and each will not be able to purchase more than 40 grams per month.
Uruguay citizens have been allowed to smoke at home and in clubs and even grow their own cannabis plants for four years now, but this will mark the first public sales of recreational-use cannabis.
There have been delays, but now the recreational sales are about to begin!
Some of the regulations for the marijuana sales as reported by MJ Biz Daily:
- Marijuana will be cultivated at undisclosed locations near the capital, Montevideo, by private firms under state regulation.
- Only Uruguayans or foreigners with permanent residency status will be allowed to purchase adult-use cannabis.
- Registered customers – they must be fingerprinted to sign up – will be limited to 1.4 ounces (40 grams) per month.
- A gram of marijuana will cost $1.30, which one person told AFP is “less than half the price on the black market.” (The government’s goal when it approved recreational marijuana was to compete with black-market sources.)
The cannabis is currently being grown at “secret plantations” near Montevideo by privately owned companies and regulated by the government.