Tag Archives: recreational cannabis

DEA says Inhaled is Better

Today the DEA announced that they have a new FDA approved form of THC called Syndros.  Syndros is the result of work of Insys Therapeutics to create a new oral THC that has 5mg per ML of solution. – FEDERAL REGISTER LINK

In the DEA’s findings they are planning to schedule this as a Schedule II drug because.

Dronabinol is a generic name for the (-) delta-9-trans isomer of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the primary psychoactive substance in marijuana. Dronabinol is the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Syndros. As stated by HHS, Marinol (synthetic dronabinol in sesame oil and encapsulated in a soft gelatin capsule) was approved by the FDA for medical use on May 31, 1985 and placed in schedule II based on its accepted medical use and high abuse potential. On July 2, 1999, Marinol was rescheduled from schedule II to schedule III because of the findings of the DEA that the difficulty of separating dronabinol from the sesame oil formulation and the delayed onset of behavioral effects due to oral route administration supported a lower abuse potential of Marinol as compared to substances in Schedule II. 64 FR 35928.

Going on to state:

HHS indicated that the formulation of Syndros (oral solution) is easier to abuse than Marinol because this liquid formulation can be manipulated to produce concentrated extracts of dronabinol for abuse by inhalation (smoking or vaping) or through other routes of administration. Because of the large amount of dronabinol in Syndros oral solution it has a greater potential for extraction than Marinol and thus has a greater abuse potential.

Based on the use of Cannabis by the general public DEA feels that this form of THC needs to be a Schedule II drug.

What you find when reading further down is that it appears DEA would rather people smoke it because of the onset of effects are easier to control.

Oral consumption of dronabinol, compared to inhaled THC, may result in psychoactive effects that are delayed and stronger with an increased risk of experiencing serious adverse events.

But then they quickly add:

When dronabinol (THC) is smoked, the drug rapidly reaches the brain and psychoactive effects are felt within minutes of inhalation, which allows the subject to control the dose more readily.

The DEA is full of contradictory things but this just about takes the cake.  Using a substance via oral methods pose issues that smoking or inhalation don’t and is better at controlling the dose.  However they are afraid that people will do just that.  Take this new drug and turn it into something they can control the dose better.

There is a time that this potential rule can be commented on, see the link at the top of the page to the federal register.

Congressional Research Service Report on Cannabis

On March 10th the Congressional Research Service released it’s report on “The Marijuana Policy Gap and the Path Forward”

“Given the current marijuana policy gap between the federal government and many of the states, there are a number of issues that Congress may address. These include, but are not limited to, issues surrounding availability of financial services for marijuana businesses, federal tax treatment, oversight of federal law enforcement, allowance of states to implement medical marijuana laws and involvement of federal health care workers, and consideration of marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the CSA. The marijuana policy gap has widened each year for some time. It has only been a few years since states began to legalize recreational marijuana, but over 20 years since they began to legalize medical marijuana. In addressing state – level legalization efforts and considering marijuana’s current placement on Schedule I, Congress could take one of several routes. It could elect to take no action, thereby upholding the federal government’s current marijuana policy. It may also decide that the CSA must be enforced in states and not allow them to implement conflicting laws on marijuana. Alternatively, Congress could choose to reevaluate marijuana’s placement as a Schedule I controlled substance.”

Here is the document – R44782

And a link to the CRS report

VA releases Medical Cannabis Report

If anyone has been watching the VA website they had a report about the medical use of Cannabis for Pain and PTSD.  The document has not been available for the public but through the power of the Freedom of Information Act we were able to get a copy.

This 124 page, well researched document is probably one of the most extensive looks at Cannabis done by a Government agency.  It not only looks at the use of Cannabis for Pain and PTSD but also looks at the harms of Cannabis use.

While they didn’t find much quality research on the medical use of Cannabis for Pain or PTSD they did find a lot of information.  The research they cite from all kinds of sources indicate that the lack of research is limiting their ability to make quality decisions on Cannabis for Medicine or Safety.

CONCLUSIONS

Although cannabis is increasingly available for medical and recreational use, there is very little methodologically rigorous evidence examining its effects in patients with chronic pain or PTSD. There is limited evidence that cannabis may be helpful in improving pain and spasticity in selected populations with MS, but there is insufficient evidence in other populations. There is insufficient evidence examining the effects of cannabis in PTSD populations. Cannabis is associated with an increased risk of short-term adverse effects, but data on its effects on long- term physical health vary; harms in older patients or those with multiple comorbidities have not been studied. Cannabis has been associated with short-term cognitive impairment and potentially serious mental health adverse effects such as psychotic symptoms, though the absolute risk and application specifically to chronic pain and PTSD populations are uncertain.

You can get the entire document here at this link – Benefits and harms of cannabis in chronic pain or post traumatic stree disorder

WHO Pre-review Report Cannabis and Cannabis resin

With the upcoming meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence Thirty-eight Meeting in Geneva, on 14 – 18 November 2016 many are calling for Cannabis to be an agenda item.

coverIn a pre-view Report “Cannabis and Cannabis Resin Pre-Review Report A document prepared for the World Health Organization” was prepared by H. Valerie Curran, Philip Wiffen, David J. Nutt, Willem Scholten.  In their report they give all the reasons why Cannabis should be more than an Update Item on the agenda.

In their report to the WHO they state in the preface:

In the eighty years since cannabis and cannabis resin were last reviewed by the Health Committee of the League of Nations in 1935, both the social context of cannabis use and the science of drug dependence have dramatically changed. Yet, cannabis and cannabis resin continue to remain under the strictest control regime possible under the Single Convention, without a valid scientific re-assessment of this decision. Cannabis and cannabis resin are listed in Schedule I and Schedule IV respectively, which means that both remain strictly prohibited worldwide.

then adding that the WHO is acting in a manner that appears to make continued prohibition illegitimate

The current scheduling of cannabis is in marked divergence with the Convention’s principle that scheduling of substances should be based on a scientific assessment by WHO. In the absence of a recent assessment, the continued prohibition of cannabis appears completely illegitimate even though it may be legal.

38ccdThey then proceed to ask the WHO to conduct a Scientific Review of cannabis and cannabis resin

A scientific review by the WHO, the only authoritative global body to make such an assessment, would greatly legitimize international policies and their national implementation. A scientific assessment of cannabis and cannabis resin appears most timely given the many debates that have emerged on this issue across the world in recent years.

In the fifty years since it’s inception the WHO has never conducted a scientific review of cannabis.  Despite it’s mandate to review the substance.

The scheduling under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs assumes a scientific justification. However, cannabis and cannabis resin have never been evaluated by WHO since it was mandated the review of psychoactive substances in 1948.

The purpose of the pre-review report is to clarify the position of the current state of use both medically and none medically.

The purpose of a Pre-review is to determine whether current information justifies a Critical Review. For evaluating substances in a Pre-review, the categories of information are identical to those used in Critical Reviews. At the stage of the Pre-review, the Expert Committee must decide whether the information justifies a Critical Review. If it finds that the data available may justify changing the scheduling of cannabis and/or cannabis resin, the Committee should recommend a Critical Review in its next Meeting.

The 53 page report, or 75 with cites, covers everything from adverse reactions, LD50 level, and pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about cannabis and how it works.  The report is remarkable in it’s completeness.

Conclusions Despite that the scheduling system of substances under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is supposed to be based on scientific assessments, the WHO has never reviewed cannabis and cannabis resin. This means also that the Expert Committee continues to recommend that cannabis is not to be used medically despite growing evidence of considerable medical use world-wide, including the availability of a pharmaceutical preparation with a marketing authorization in multiple countries. Many countries are struggling with the impact of the prohibition of cannabis with its wide negative impact on societies (including through human rights violations) and on drug markets and drug use, including on the market of synthetic cannabinoids.

Committee recommendations are needed on the following topics:

1. Whether a Critical Review should be conducted for reviewing the current scheduling in Schedules I and IV. Each of the following reasons would justify a recommendation for a Critical Review: a. because WHO has never conducted a Critical Review, meaning that there is no scientific justification for the current scheduling; b. because the wide-spread medical use, including the use of preparations with a marketing authorization is in contradiction to listing in Schedule IV; c. because it is not clear whether the dependence-producing properties of cannabis and cannabis resin are between codeine and morphine (justification for Schedule I) or between dextropropoxyphene and codeine (justification for Schedule II) or below those of dextropropoxyphene (justification for not scheduling).

2. On the medical use of cannabis and its preparations (which can include revoking old recommendations by the Committee)

3. On the need of quality control on cannabis and cannabis products for medical and non-medical use.

Here is a link to the piece – LINK

Here is the report itself just in case it disappears from the net – whocannabisreport

Therapeutic Cannabinoid Research

The State of The States, Cannabis

wss_skunk_cured_budEvery year the president, governors, city leaders give a state of the state address so we thought why not make a state of the states for Cannabis.  We’ve been able to kinda find all the laws as they are now, subject to change in Nov, so people can see the number of states that have legalized cannabis for one use or another.

It’s actually a pretty impressive list, a few years ago this list would have been much shorter

Alaska Stat. §§ 17.37.010 et seq. (medical), §§ 17.38.010 et seq. (recreational);
Arizona Rev. Stat. §§ 36-2801 et seq. (medical);
California Health & Safety Code §§ 11362.5 et seq. (medical);
Colorado Rev. Stat. §§ 12-43.3-101 et seq. (medical), §§ 12-43.4-101 et seq. (recreational);
Connecticut Gen. Stat. §§ 21a-408 et seq. (medical);
Delaware Code Ann. tit. 16, §§ 4901A et seq. (medical);
D.C. Code §§ 7.1671.01 et seq.(medical);
Hawaii Rev. Stat. §§ 329-121 et seq. (medical);
Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 130/1 et seq.(medical);
Maine Rev. Stat. tit. 22, §§ 2421 et seq. (medical);
Maryland Code Ann. Health-Gen §§ 13-3301 et seq. (medical);
Massachusetts Ann. Laws ch. 94C, §§ Appx. 1 et seq. (medical);
Michigan Comp. Laws Serv. §§ 333.26421 et seq. (medical);
Minnesota Stat. Ann. §§ 152.27 et seq. (medical);
Nevada Rev. Stat. §§ 453A.___ [2015 ch. 401, § 29] et seq. (medical);
New Hampshire Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 126-X:2 et seq. (medical);
New Jersey Stat. Ann. §§ 24:6I-1 et seq. (medical);
New Mexico Stat. Ann. §§ 26-2B-1 et seq. (medical);
New York CLS Pub. Health Law §§ 1004.1 et seq. (medical);
Oregon Rev. Stat. §§ 475.300 et seq. (medical), Or. Rev. Stat. §§ ___.___ [2015 c.1, § 3] et seq. (recreational);
Rhode Island Gen. Laws §§ 21-28.6-1 et seq. (medical);
Vermont Stat. Ann. tit. 18 §§ 4472 et seq. (medical);
Washington. Rev. Code §§ 69.51A et seq. (medical), Rev. Code §§ 69.50.360, 69.50.363, 69.50.66, 69.50.401 (recreational).

 

Does Cannabis Use Equal Abuse?

As we have searched through various databases about Cannabis a consistent theme has developed.  Use = Abuse when it comes to Cannabis.

This just doesn’t make any sense.  Just because something is used doesn’t mean it’s abused.  Unfortunately because of state and federal laws, Use = Abuse.  At least that is what it looks like when you look at NIDA and other cannabis studies on use.

It also appears in many law cases.  The accused is said to have a cannabis use disorder.  What is a Cannabis Use Disorder?  Meaning the person violated the state or federal law that Cannabis is a schedule substance and not legal to buy like you can alcohol or tobacco?

Dr. Damon concluded that defendant suffers from … mild cannabis use disorder in a controlled environment, and antisocial personality disorder.

apaAccording to the DSM 5th revision Cannabis Use Disorder is described as

Cannabis use disorder or cannabis dependence is defined in the fifth revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as the continued use of cannabis despite clinically significant impairment, ranging from mild to severe.

So Use Disorder, which sounds really bad, is actually not.   “continued use of cannabis despite clinically significant impairment”.  Not DESPITE clinically significant impairment.  So simply using Cannabis is all it takes to get this “Disorder”.  But if there is no impairment how can there be a disorder?  That remains to be understood.

The History of Cannabis

Cannabis use can be documented as far back as 2700BC(1) in ancient Chinese writings.  These writings tell us that cannabis was used by the Chinese for a variety of uses.  These included fiber, oil, and as a medicine.  By 450bc history tells us that cannabis was being cultivated in the mid-east region.  From Afghanistan to Egypt hemp was cultivated for its fiber, medical and recreational use.  It appears that Cannabis was first introduced into Europe around 500AD.  It is known that cannabis was in wide cultivation in Europe by the 16th century.  It was cultivated for it’s fiber and seed.  The seed was cooked with barley and other grains and eaten.

In 1537 Dioscorides called the plant Cannabis Sativa, the scientific name that stands to this day as the plant’s true name.  He notes it’s use in “the stoutest cords” and also its medicinal properties(2)

Cannabis was introduced into Chile about 1545(3) where it was grown for fiber.  Cannabis was introduced into New England soon after Puritan Immigrants settled, noting that it grew “twice so high”(4)

In Virginia the early legislature passed many acts to promote the cannabis industry.  Before the revolution cannabis seems to have flourished in the area around Lancaster PA.

Cannabis was first grown in Kentucky in 1775(5).  In 1802 two extensive Ropewalks were built in Lexington Kentucky to make rope from the cannabis being grown in the area.  There was also announced a new machine that could break “eight thousand weight of hemp per day”(6), a huge quantity and step forward for the cannabis fiber industry.

Cannabis spread to other states including Missouri by 1835, Illinois by 1875, Nebraska by 1887, California by 1912(7) Minnesota by 1880(8), Wisconsin and Iowa by the early 1900’s.

The industrial cultivation was stalled by Federal legislation in 1937 bu the imposition of a heavy tax on producers known as the Marijuana Tax Act.

By 1940 the US Government reduced the tax so that production could take place during WWII.  During WWII the industry flourished in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Kentucky where farmers were encouraged to grow it for the war.  The Film “Hemp for Victory” produced by the USDA explained to farmers the need for hemp for the war effort.

After WWII with the heavy tax back in place the commercial cultivation declined until the last documented crop was grown at the University of Minnesota in 1968 (9).

1 – Yearbook of the Department of Agriculture, L Dewey, 1913 pg 296

2- Dioscorides. Medica Materia, li bri sex, 1537, page 147

3- USDA Bureau of Plant Industry, Bulletin #153, Husbands, Jose D, 1909, page 42

4- Yearbook of the USDA Dewey, 1913 pg 291

5- A study of the past, the present and future of the hemp industry in Kentucky, Moore, Brent, 1905, page 16

6- Travels to the West of the Alleghenies, Michaux, Andre, 1805 page 152

7- Yearbook of the USDA, L Dewey, 1913 page 293

8- Hemp in Minnesota during the War Time Emergency, Schoenrock, Ruth, 1966, page 15

9 – Robinson, Bob, Dr.  Hemp Experimenter at UofM 1960-1968 199