Cannabis – Helping the kids, A journey for oil

Time has a released a documentary about how cannabis is providing medical treatment for kids where legal medicines have failed dramatically.

Kate Pickert investigates the world of medical marijuana for children.

The story focuses on the Stanley family, who began selling “Charlotte’s Web” – a strain high in CBD but low in THC – through their Colorado business after the mother of a girl with epilepsy approached them. We have looked before at the remarkable story of Charlotte Figi, this story however delves a little deeper.

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Wanting cannabis legalised so access can be restricted

An interesting debate has arisen in Oregan where the cannabis legalisation debate is front and centre with a vote on legalisation occuring shortly.

One group of mothers is for legalisation, but not so that they can buy it or smoke…for another reason entirely.

To clarify, the Yes on 91 moms don’t want to legally buy marijuana. Nor do they want their kids to have access to it. In fact, that’s their argument.

“With no regulation, marijuana is sold everywhere,” says Leah Maurer, a stay-at-home mom of three who’s been volunteering for the campaign. “It’s sold on the streets, in parks, outside schools, under the bleachers at baseball and basketball games.”

She holds up a photo, for the benefit of the four television cameras that have crammed into the makeshift press conference room, showing edible THC lollipops with smiley faces painted on them. “This is what’s out there right now. This is what this looks like to our children,” Maurer says. Then she holds up a second image — a sterile white vial with a label on it. “This is what it will look like,” she says, “under Measure 91.”

Broadly speaking, this is the campaign’s particular mom-proof, skeptic-co-opting logic: Measure 91 is less pro-pot than pro-rules-on-pot. The people who want to smoke have likely already decided to vote for the law, and the people who think marijuana’s evil are probably set against it. What’s in between are all the Oregonians not particularly interested in their own personal access to marijuana who might be swayed that the state can better manage this market — and, say, a child’s access to it — than drug dealers can.

This is a good point…with legalisation comes restrictions, just like on tobacco and with alcohol.   Read more »

Pro tip: Don’t stash your stash near farm animals


Close to $10,000 of Marijuana has been consumed by some very happy sheep

Cannabis is known to leave its smokers feeling woolly-headed, but it seemed to have little effect on a flock of sheep who chomped their way through thousands of pounds worth of the drug.

The hungry hash-eaters came across seven black bags containing the class B banned substance that had been dumped at the edge of their farm in Merstham, Surrey, and started scoffing.

The [illegally dumped] plants, each about three-foot tall, had an estimated street value of £4,000 – police have just revealed. Read more »

Does Weed Make Food Taste and Smell Better?

Apparently it does and there is some research to back it up…maybe this is why the munchies occur?

[N]ow there’s finally some actual hard science to back up such boasting, thanks to a new study published in Nature Neuroscience that found that the brain’s cannabinoid receptors“promote food intake in fasted mice by increasing odor detection.”

Led by Giovanni Marsicano of the University of Bordeaux, a team of European neuroscientists proved that THC—the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana—fits into special receptors in the brain’s olfactory bulb, allowing users to smell and taste food far more acutely while high. Since these scientists study neurological diseases, rather than write a column on theintersection of cannabis and cuisine, their report tends to focus on practical medical applications of this exciting new discovery, rather than its role in giving rise to what the New York Times has dubbed haute stoner cuisine.

“Many feeding disorders [like anorexia] are accompanied by altered perception in general,” Marsicano noted. “Smell is particularly linked to food intake and is particularly altered in different diseases…so smell and its regulation by the endocannabinoid system could represent a future target for therapies against these and other diseases.”

According to Smithsonian Magazine, Marsicano and his team “began by exposing mice (increasingly used in neuroscientific research because of the surprising amount of cognitive similarities they share with humans) to banana and almond oils as a test of sensitivity to scent. When they did so, the mice sniffed the oils extensively at first, then stopped showing interest in them, a well-known phenomenon called olfactory habituation. Mice that were dosed with THC, however, kept on sniffing, demonstrating an enhanced sensitivity to the scents. These THC-dosed mice also ate much more chow when given the chance, showing an increased appetite.”

When a second set of mice—genetically engineered to lack a cannabinoid receptor in their olfactory bulb—underwent the same experiment, THC had no effect on how quickly they habituated to the scents, or their general level of appetite. That suggests that THC’s effect on these receptors largely accounts for how we get “the munchies.”

Further, when researchers made some of the non-stoned mice fast for 24-hours, their olfactory bulbs actually began to produce large amounts of endogenous cannabinoids naturally, with the resulting increase in sensitivity to food aromas serving as a powerful incentive to seek out nourishment in large amounts and avoid starvation.

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Medicinal Cannabis coming to Australia

As more states and countries around the world start legalising cannabis the pressure is going to come on John Key to look at legalisation of cannabis sooner rather than later.

Tony Abbott is a convert and his government is moving to legislate for the introduction of medicinal cannabis.

The federal government would be given oversight over the production and distribution of medical cannabis under new legislation to make the make the drug available to patients with chronic pain.

The push to legalise medical cannabis is gathering pace, with Greens Senator Richard Di Natale, chairman of the cross-party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy and Law Reform, now finalising a bill that is set to be introduced into Parliament next month.

Supporters of legalised medical cannabis have been buoyed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s strong public support for the legalisation of the drug for medical use.

“I have no problem with the medical use of cannabis, just as I have no problem with the medical use of opiates,” Mr Abbott wrote in a letter to 2GB radio host Alan Jones, dated August 23.

“If a drug is needed for a valid medicinal purpose … and is being administered safely there should be no question of its legality.”

Jones, who has been campaigning in support of medical cannabis, read Mr Abbott’s letter on air earlier this month.

Senator Di Natale, a former GP, is also pushing for the Therapeutic Goods Administration to create a special category for the drug so that it can be available with a doctor’s prescription. The TGA currently lists cannabis as a prohibited substance.   Read more »

NY Times endorses legalisation of cannabis

The NY Times has taken an editorial stance supporting the legalisation of cannabis.

The New York Times editorial board endorsed the repeal of federal law banning marijuana use on Saturday, a landmark moment in the decades-long fight for legalization.

The Times is also rolling out an interactive six-part series with more editorials discussing issues related to marijuana use. In the first interactive editorial, which turns the stars of the American flag into marijuana leaves as the user scrolls down, the editorial board argued that the ban on marijuana has caused “great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.”

“There are no perfect answers to people’s legitimate concerns about marijuana use. But neither are there such answers about tobacco or alcohol, and we believe that on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization,” the board wrote. “That will put decisions on whether to allow recreational or medicinal production and use where it belongs — at the state level.”

The Times is the biggest U.S. newspaper to endorse the legalization of marijuana. In recent years magazines like National Review and a few state newspapers like the Las Vegas Review Journal and the Star-Ledger Editorial Board have endorsed legalization.  Read more »

Colorado’s violent crime plummets after legalisation of weed


The murder rate in Colorado has fallen dramatically ,by more than 50%, since the legalisation of cannabis.

According to government data released this week, the city- and countywide murder rate has dropped 52.9% since recreational marijuana use was legalized in January. This is compared to the same period last year, a time frame encompassing Jan. 1 through April 30.

f13d0115939a1e66aa350d8215928aed Read more »

Cannabis going corporate?

Marijuana plants grow under artificial sunlight in one of the many climate-controlled rooms at Tweed Marijuana in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Tweed is one of about 20 companies that are licensed to grow medical marijuana in Canada. Credit Dave Chan for The New York Times

Marijuana plants grow under artificial sunlight in one of the many climate-controlled rooms at Tweed Marijuana in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Tweed is one of about 20 companies that are licensed to grow medical marijuana in Canada. Credit Dave Chan for The New York Times

With expanding legalisation in the US it appears that cannabis is going corporate.

That is certainly the case in Canada.

How long before we hear the term “Big Weed”?

Hershey stopped producing chocolate in Smiths Falls, Ontario, six years ago. The work went to Mexico, but the factory remains, along with reminders of the glory days: A sign that once directed school buses delivering children for tours. A fading, theme-park-style entrance that marks what used to be the big attraction — a “Chocolate Shoppe” that sold about $4 million of broken candy and bulk bars a year.

The once ever-present sweet smell of chocolate is gone, too. In the high-ceilinged warehouse, where stacks of Hershey’s bars and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups once awaited shipment, the nose now picks up a different odor: the woody, herbal aroma of 50,000 marijuana plants.

Clinical, climate-controlled rooms with artificial sunlight house rows upon rows of plants at various stages of growth. In the “mother room,” horticulturalists use cuttings to start new plants. The “flowering rooms” are flooded with intense light 12 hours a day to nurture nearly grown plants in strains with vaguely aristocratic names like Argyle, Houndstooth and Twilling.   Read more »


Dissent of the Day – Legalisation of Cannabis

Another reader emails on the issue of cannabis legalisation responding to William’s email.

Brett makes some good points too:

Hi Cam.

After reading your correspondents argument for legalisation of cannabis I thought the alternative view was worth considering as well. The concept that legalising cannabis removes the “cost of fighting violent cartels” …. and “prevent ordinary otherwise law abiding citizens from consuming public resources” is simplistic in its approach and overstates the potential benefits.

Firstly the concept of violent cartels doesn’t really apply in NZ to the extent it does in South America for example. For sure organised criminal gangs are actively involved in distribution of cannabis but legalising cannabis would not remove them from the NZ crime scene, it would simply cause them to focus on other revenue streams such as meth, heroin etc. It would however create another method to launder revenue from the other illegal activities as legitimate cannabis revenue. it would probably also increase their business opportunities as a flow on effect.  More legal drug users mean more potential illegal drug users as there is plenty of evidence supporting the concept of Cannabis increasing the susceptibility to addiction. Its simply about growing target markets.

By creating a legal cannabis industry you are creating an industry that has a vested interest in increasing cannabis use. The more people who smoke, the more profit they generate. The last thing our economy needs is an increased population of hop heads who cant function to reasonable levels of productivity. There is absolutely no doubt that cannabis use results in poorer cognitive performance. While Alcohol is metabolised out of the body in a matter of hours, cannabis takes six weeks or more. Due to the fact that the THC deposits itself in certain body fats, particularly those around the brain, its effects are cumulative. Some studies indicate that regular use of cannabis  lowers the average IQ of the user by 6 points. Just what we need in NZ , more dumbasses who don’t contribute to society!

Think that legalisation wouldn’t increase its use? Did lowering the drinking age contribute to increased youth binge drinking and the associated social problems? Did legalised synthetic cannabis create a new population of drug users because ‘it was legal’ and promoted by greedy manufacturers with no ethics?   Read more »

A reader emails about Legalisation of Cannabis

William emails:

It is increasingly obvious that the prohibition of what legal highs attempt to replicate is shortsighted.

People will continue to do whatever it is that they choose to do, which in this case is experimenting with a plant that has grown naturally for thousands of years. Whether or not this plant is illegal is irrelevant to them.

As it stands, the prohibition delivers three hits to New Zealand. The first is the cost of fighting violent cartels and this cost will only increase. This is a ‘war’ that will not end, so would it not be a better state of affairs if New Zealanders did not break the law and fund violent cartels every time they indulged?

The second hit is the lost revenue because of non-taxation. Instead of giving violent cartels an enormous revenue stream, why does the government not collect tax on the product so as to pay for its detrimental effects? A similar state of affairs exists with both alcohol and cigarettes, both of which would be illegal if judged by the same criteria as marijuana. There would be boosted revenues for the government in G.S.T, income tax and company tax, aside from the thousands of jobs that would be created for those in the industry.  Read more »