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Multiple African Countries May Soon Legalize Marijuana

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Since Lesotho, a kingdom encircled in South Africa with nearly 2 million citizens, announced it would issue a license to legally grow marijuana, other African governments are considering jumping on board. On the continent of Africa, more than 10,000 tons of marijuana is produced annually. Some estimate that the value of that crop would be well in the billions of dollars.

Lesotho’s move indicates a shift in opinion to a more liberal direction, and widespread interest on the continent to legalize marijuana exists from South Africa to Morocco, reports CNN. Each region, however, has challenges of its own to get to legal status.

Morocco is well known for its hashish. It produces the second most hashish according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Afghanistan produces the most hashish. The production of hashish employs roughly 800,000 and may be worth as much as $10 billion in annual sales.

Morocco did attempt to legalize marijuana in 2014, but the bill failed. Thereafter, Ilyas El Omari, the leading legal marijuana advocate, resigned. Some are worried that legalizing marijuana in Morocco would devalue the crop.

Malawi, known for its high-quality marijuana, is experimenting with hemp cultivation. Malawi Gold is a highly sought after strain. Some think that marijuana legalization will come soon to Malawi as the Rastafarian minority is already demanding legalization.

The people of Ghana love marijuana. While marijuana is prohibited there, its use is tolerated. Legalization efforts are heating up in the country, and there is support from the former head of the Narcotics Control Board.

Swaziland is one of the poorest countries on the African continent, but it is rich in one thing: marijuana. Public leaders have attempted to legalize marijuana to boost the economy. Currently, a committee is being tasked with exploring the possibility of marijuana legalization.

South Africa is leading market demand for marijuana. Roughly 2,500 tons are produced in South Africa annually. There are ongoing legal battles to legalize marijuana in the area. The Dagga Party made a huge leap forward earlier this year when a ruling allows for individuals to use marijuana in their homes on private land. Medical marijuana guidelines are established in South Africa.

A lot of progress is being made on the African continent, and more change is expected in the near future. Multiple African governments are expected to change their policy, which could put the continent at the forefront for one of the biggest green rushes in the world.

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Increase in Patients Using Marijuana for Gastrointestinal Health Issues

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The endocannabinoid system plays a major role in gastrointestinal (GI) health. Cannabinoid receptors are located throughout the body, including in the brain, immune system and the GI tract. Several GI issues stem from immune system disruptions, deficiencies or weakness. Medical marijuana can provide relief of some of these GI disorder symptoms such as inflammation, nausea and vomiting.

Patient interest in using medical marijuana to treat gastrointestinal disorders is rising, according to Healio Gastroenterology. Multiple states already include some type of GI disorder on their medical marijuana qualifying conditions list. Some of those disorders include severe and persistent nausea, hepatitis C and inflammatory bowel syndrome.

Dr. Mark E. Gerich of the University of Colorado Anschultz Medical Campus said, “The endocannabinoid system’s endogenous signaling molecules and receptors are present throughout the body, and specific to GI, they’re present in the immune system and in the GI mucosa, both in the luminal GI tract and also in other digestive organs. The plausible premise is that through the use of exogenous compounds, many of which are present in cannabis, the endogenous system could be modified to potentially ameliorate GI disease or symptoms related to other diseases.”

Dr. David T. Rubin of the University of Chicago Medicine said, “Medical marijuana has reached the mainstream in terms of patient interest. For the most part, it’s my younger patients who are asking about it, and fewer physicians are resistant to the idea now that they’ve learned more about how the process works. Most gastroenterologists who take care of patients with chronic nausea or IBD will be asked about it at some point, and they have a responsibility to understand what treatment options are available for patients, what the limits of those options are, what the risks are, and how to appropriately support and provide them when they can.”

Doctors are adamant about more research being needed in able to determine just how beneficial medical marijuana can be for GI disorders.

“In terms of high-quality evidence, most of what we know is extrapolated from clinical trials of THC, predominantly for nausea and vomiting and AIDS-related conditions,” said Dr. Gerich.

Clinical trials have resulted in the formulation and FDA approval of several synthetic forms of THC such as Marinol, Cesamet and Syndros. The primary uses for these synthetic options are to treat those with HIV/AIDS or chemotherapy-related nausea, vomiting and anorexia.

Dr. Gerich pointed out that those with Crohn’s disease may benefit from using medical marijuana for more significant symptoms.

When it comes to gastrointestinal disorder relief, much of determining the effectiveness of a medication, alternative treatment or procedure is based off of patient reporting. Dr. Gerich said, “There are anecdotal reports from IBD patients suggesting that cannabis may alleviate certain symptoms, but we have yet to see convincing evidence that cannabis can change the course of the illness in terms of inflammatory markers, biopsy findings or endoscopic disease severity, so we’re still in the domain of subjective response. It’s plausible that cannabis can have therapeutic benefits in the disease, but it’s also plausible that cannabis can cause some harms in the disease.”

Despite the lack of scientific evidence, between 16 to 50 percent of IBD patients said they’ve used marijuana to treat their symptoms. Some patients have an incomplete response to traditional treatment options, Dr. Timna Naftali and Dr. Fred M. Konikoff say. Corticosteroids have side effects making them less than ideal for long-term use. It’s said that 50 to 60 percent of those using corticosteroids are likely to achieve remission, however, this is a low rate. With Crohn’s disease, nearly 70 percent of patients will have to have surgery at some point in their lives based upon the efforts of traditional medicine.

Because patient interest regarding medical marijuana for treating gastrointestinal disorders has increased, Dr. Naftali and several colleagues chose to dig deeper. They found, in 2011, that a study was conducted which included 30 Crohn’s disease patients. Of those patients, 21 that used medical marijuana found relief and a decrease in symptom severity. Their reliance on traditional medication decreased as did their chances for requiring surgery in the future.

Dr. David T. Rubin believes medical marijuana should be used to complement traditional treatment when it comes to gastrointestinal disorders, not replace it. He said, “I try to be very clear with patients that we want to optimize their existing therapies, use appropriate strategies to manage their condition, and support the idea of cannabis as a complementary treatment to enhance symptom control. We cannot ignore that we want their disease to be under control because frankly, symptom management in the absence of appropriate disease management is a losing battle. It will spiral into progressive complications and lead to problems that we can’t get under better control.”

When a patient wants to use only medical marijuana to treat IBD, Dr. Rubin suggests the “treat-to-target” method. This method uses negotiated short term trials of some alternative approaches, including medical marijuana.

In combatting the chronic pain associated with some gastrointestinal disorders, doctors do question the effectiveness of cannabinoids for visceral pain. Dr. Itai Danovitch said, “One question is whether they are indeed effective for chronic visceral pain, and another question is whether they can help lower reliance on opioid analgesics and therein reduce opioid related harms.”

Opioids aren’t always a good option for those with pain associated with IBD. Dr. Rubin believes that if medical marijuana is helping someone with chronic GI pain and gets them off of the narcotics then it’s a good idea. He said, “We know that narcotics have an adverse effect on people with IBD. Those who need narcotics for managing their IBD are a challenging group of patients, and those who are narcotic-dependent are a very challenging group of patients. Every study that has listed adverse outcomes, whether it’s infection or even death, has demonstrated that narcotics are associated with the worst outcomes. Therefore, treatments that enable us to avoid narcotics or get patients off narcotics are extremely important and helpful.”

When it comes to medical marijuana working for those with gastrointestinal disorders, it can be very individualized. Furthermore, the type of marijuana strain and method of delivery both play a role, as does dosage, but, it appears that marijuana does seem to be helping many people heal.

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The Dabaratus Is Revolutionizing How People Dab

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The Dabaratus by Bakked is a one-click apparatus for dabbing that is quickly revolutionizing concentrates in the marijuana industry. Each click delivers a clean, consistent dose of Bakked’s high-potency marijuana oil, a concentrated distillate.

The distillate incorporates the entire cannabinoid spectrum and also reintroduces same-strain, same-batch terpenes to provide amazing flavor.

Bakked’s marijuana oil is produced from high-quality marijuana. The raw material is processed through a supercritical, closed-loop, organic CO2 extraction system that ensures a safe and pure product. Next, the oil is triple-refined with low heat to preserve the naturally occurring terpenes.

The Dabaratus makes dabbing an easy, clean and convenient process. After dabbing, consumers can simply reattach the cap to the Dabaratus and store or transport their oil anywhere.

Features:

  • Contains 1 gram of pure, high-potency marijuana distillate (up to 90% potency)
  • Heat-resistant metal tip is ideal for dabbing
  • Consistent dosing at the push of a button
  • Each Dabaratus is available as strains (indicas, sativas, hybrids)
  • The Dabaratus is also available in CBD-only varieties

Currently, Bakked’s products are only available in a few states, but soon they will be available in more.

Dabaratus

Photos: Bakked

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World Anti-Doping Agency to Remove CBD as a Banned Substance

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has decided to remove cannabidiol (CBD) from its list of controlled substances. The change will take effect in January 2018.

Moving forward, the agency urges athletes to take necessary precautions, like ensuring that the banned substance, THC, is not present in their CBD products, reports The Washington Post.

In a statement, WADA said, “Cannabidiol is no longer prohibited. Cannabidiol extracted from cannabis plants may contain varying concentrations of THC.”

UFC fighter Nate Diaz said, “It’s CBD. It helps with the healing process and inflammation, stuff like that. So you want to get these for before and after the fights, training. It’ll make your life a better place.”

Dr. David Bearman, a pain management specialist, stated that, “CBD is a powerful anti-epileptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-nauseate, sleep aid, muscle relaxant, sedative and anti-proliferative.”

Photo: @wada_ama

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Colorado Has Banned Multiple Forms of Marijuana Edibles

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Colorado just implemented a big change in the appearance of marijuana edibles. The changes went into effect on October 1, and requires that edibles no longer look like animals, humans or fruit.

The state made this move to prevent edibles from appealing to adolescents, which sometimes causes accidental ingestion, according to The Denver Channel. The state is also requiring some changes to labeling regarding potency. These new rules apply to both medical and recreational marijuana products.

Mike Hartman of the Colorado Department of Revenue said, “Marijuana products in shape and branding should not be enticing to children and we want consumers to be educated about the potency of the products they are buying, these rules ensure that to be the case.”

Font size requirements on labels are now in place and potencies must be displayed in bold lettering with an outline shaped circle. Highlighting must also be used to display potency.

In regards to medical marijuana, testing for potency on flower and trim is required. Concentrates and other infused product rules regarding proficiency testing aren’t established. Labels on these types of products aren’t required to list potency. However, if companies do choose to include potencies, they must follow the new labeling requirements.

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These 6 States Have Extremely Harsh Marijuana Possession Laws

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Marijuana legalization is sweeping across the United States, but there are still a few states with excessively harsh marijuana-related penalties. Below are a few states to be very cautious of.

Louisiana

In Louisiana, growing just one marijuana plant or distributing any marijuana can result in 5-30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Indiana

Indiana legalized cannabidiol (CBD) for epileptic patients in 2017, but possession of a single marijuana joint can lead to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine.

South Dakota

Simple possession of marijuana flower in South Dakota can lead to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine, while possession of marijuana concentrates can lead to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Arizona

Arizona legalized medical marijuana for certain medical conditions in 2010, but marijuana possession without a medical marijuana card is a felony with years of possible jail time. Furthermore, Arizona has a zero tolerance driving law, so any trace of marijuana in a person’s blood can result in felony DUI.

Texas

Texas legalized a low-THC medical marijuana law for certain qualifying conditions in 2017, but possessing 2 ounces or less of marijuana can lead to 6 months in prison and a maximum fine of $2,000.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin legalized cannabidiol (CBD) for epileptic patients in 2013, but marijuana possession of less than one ounce can lead to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Article originally published on Kynd Lyfe Cannabis Clothing

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Nevada Rakes in $27 Million in First Month of Recreational Marijuana Sales

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Nevada has compiled its numbers following the first full month of recreational marijuana sales and found that in July, $27.1 million of recreational marijuana was purchased. This nearly doubles what Oregon and Colorado sold in their first month and is nearly 7 times what Washington state sold in its first month.

The tax revenue from the sales is $10.2 million, USA Today reports. The revenue is broken down with $6.5 million from industry-related fees and the other $3.68 million from recreational marijuana tax dollars.

Governor Sandoval has projected that with the medical and recreational marijuana markets, the state could bring in $100 million or more in the next two fiscal years. His projections may have been a little lean as the latest projections indicate that the state could bring in about $120 million in that time period.

Recreational marijuana sales are taxed at a rate of 10%, which generated $2.71 million. The wholesale tax is 15%, which generated another $974,060 in revenue. Cultivators for recreational and medical marijuana pay the wholesale tax.

Schools will see some of the leftover funds from the wholesale tax. They are given funding based upon their number of students.

The state is putting sales tax revenue into the state’s “rainy day fund” and will be used when the governor sees fit, such as for emergencies.

Nearly 250 marijuana business licenses have been issued in Nevada. All of those businesses pay industry fees and taxes.

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Higher Sales at McDonald’s and Taco Bell in Legal Marijuana States

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A recent joint study by Consumer Research Around Cannabis and Green Market Report found that where marijuana is legal, fast food sales have increased. The study’s findings show that of people who legally purchased marijuana within the last month, 43% of them chose to eat at McDonald’s. Taco Bell came in second with 18.3% sales increases.

These aren’t the only two fast food restaurants marijuana connoisseurs fancy, according to Newsweek. Wendy’s came in third with a 17.8% sales increase and Burger King with 17.6%.

For the study, major cities including Denver, Las Vegas, Washington D.C, Sacramento and Portland were reviewed. The study found no specific correlation with having the munchies and specifically wanting McDonald’s, but because McDonald’s has so many locations, they’ve seen the largest increase in sales in marijuana states.

Jeff Stein of Consumer Research Around Cannabis said, “McDonald’s wins by virtue of the sheer number of locations—by default really. Those competitors which better understanding cannabis users and their consumer habits can certainly close the gap by integrating what they learn through their marketing efforts.”

Serge Cristov, financial adviser for Honest Marijuana (Colorado), believes these aren’t new behaviors. It is, however, easier to study behaviors in areas where the market is legal. Cristov predicts that home shopping and video game companies may also see a surge in sales. He also thinks that Dutch-style smoking coffee shops may be ideal and may aid the social acceptance of marijuana.

Cristov said, “Just like in a college bar. You could get some coffee or hot cocoa and smoke a joint.”

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Researchers: Marijuana Extracts Could Eventually Replace Anti-Anxiety Drugs

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A recent study showed why marijuana reduces stress and could safely treat anxiety.

Cortisol is the stress hormone and it can easily be measured in human saliva, according to Forbes. A new study looked at how daily marijuana users respond to stress in comparison to those that do not. Regular users have a less severe reaction to high stress situations.

Carrie Cuttler, clinical assistant professor of psychology, said, “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the effects of acute stress on salivary cortisol levels in chronic cannabis users compared to non-users. While we are not at a point where we are comfortable saying whether this muted stress response is a good thing or a bad thing, our work is an important first step in investigating potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis at a time when its use is spreading faster than ever before.”

Experts say that reducing stress response too much has both positives and negatives. What it also suggests is that these findings are in line with previous research showing that marijuana can effect levels of GABA (a neurotransmitter) that calms anxiety. It works counteractively to reduce some brain chemicals such as glutamate. Cannabidiol (CBD) has been researched to show that it increases GABA’s effects.

The most common types of medications prescribed for anxiety are benzodiazepines, such as Xanax and Klonopin. Although they may work to reduce anxiety, tolerances can easily be built up, which often lead to increased dosages. Dependency is also high on these types of medications. The withdrawal process from these medications can be difficult, leaving many people to just stay on them so they don’t have to experience the withdrawal.

What is more alarming is that overdose potential for these types of drugs is really high, resulting in thousands of deaths across the country annually.

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DEA Chief Stepping Down After Clashes with Trump Administration

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Chuck Rosenberg, the current DEA administrator, plans to step down this week. Apparently, Rosenberg doesn’t want to work within the Trump Administration any longer. He’s been at odds with President Trump over the past few months.

Rosenberg has been in place since the Obama administration, Washington Post reports. On October 1, he will resign as acting DEA administrator. He’s proud to have led the administration, according to an email sent to his staff.

Rosenberg said via email that “the neighborhoods in which we live are better for your commitment to the rule of law, dedication to the cause of justice, and perseverance in the face of adversity. You will continue to do great things. I will continue to root for you, now from the sidelines.”

It’s been expected that President Trump would nominate an administrator of his own choosing. Rosenberg had a reputation of putting himself at odds with his White House and Justice Department superiors.

Attention was drawn to Rosenberg when he wrote to other DEA personnel disagreeing with President Trump’s comments in July where Trump said that criminal suspects should be treated rougher when being placed into law enforcement vehicles.

Rosenberg said, “We have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong.”

While it isn’t known who his replacement will be, it is speculation that Col. Joseph R. Fuentes of the New Jersey State Police, is a top contender. Also in consideration is Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.

Rosenberg was asked by Rosenstein if he’d assume the role of the head of the DEA but Rosenberg declined.

Trump’s next nominee for becoming DEA administrator has to have a good plan or response to handling the country’s opioid crisis as well as determining a stance on marijuana enforcement and research efforts.

Rosenberg hasn’t been happy with the Justice Department’s blocking of marijuana research. More than two dozen requests to grow marijuana for research projects have been blocked by the Justice Department.

Rosenberg and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions do not see eye-to-eye on marijuana. Sessions opposes all aspects of marijuana, and Rosenberg wanted to see reforms take place.

The appointment of the next DEA administrator will be watched closely by the marijuana industry as the next head of the department may have an impact on the growing industry.

Photo: cnbc