When you buy a product you enjoy, you usually expect the quality you’ve received in the past. There are plenty of industry standard certifications and similar organizations in other industries – but few exist within the legal cannabis sector. Organizations such as the National Association of Cannabis Businesses (NACB) seek to be one of the first of their kind to fill this industry need.
What Are SROs?
Self-regulating organizations (SROs) are groups that uphold organizational and industry standards. SROs are not publicly funded government agencies, but rather are made up of voluntary members working in various professions. Examples of SROs include The American Medical Association (AMA), The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR). An SRO audits their members to ensure transparency, quality of product or service, and upholding honesty and integrity. SROs are still subject to government laws and regulations.
Perfect for an Evolving Cannabis Sector
Generally speaking, regulatory bodies and governments mostly concern themselves with enforcing laws and generating tax dollars to boost state or local budgets. While some officials certainly are concerned for the average consumer, ensuring the quality and safety of cannabis products is best left up to the passionate professionals that actually make up the industry. Of course, issues arise with self-regulating models as well, which is why competition is just as important when it comes to a business selecting the best SRO. A trustworthy SRO could help push back against the advancement of ‘Big Marijuana’ lobbyists entrenching themselves in the industry, such as that of big pharmaceutical, big alcohol or big tobacco.
Whether they are registering strains on the Bitcoin block chain or removing weed testing from pre-employment processes, cannabis entrepreneurs tend to be forward thinking, with an emphasis on solutions to optimize the customer experience. This is one reason why joining SROs would likely be a great fit for a constantly growing cannabis industry that faces changing laws and regulations.
One of the First of Their Kind
According to the NACB’s press release, “NACB will also provide members access to expertise, tools and services they are unlikely to access elsewhere that are intended to help them enhance the value of their business and navigate the complex web of constantly shifting regulations they face every day.”
The NACB will also be setting up a reporting hotline for the public to express their concerns or to alert the organization to member businesses that may have committed violations. Cannabis SROs, as with legal weed itself, will only continue to improve as we inch toward legalization and continue to build legitimacy, honesty and integrity around the industry.
Originally published: The Marijuana Times
Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neuropsychiatric disorder that is characterized by involuntary, repetitive movements and vocal or phonic tics. Simple motor tics are characterized by movement problems such as impaired or uncontrolled jaw movements, eye blinking, facial movements, shoulder shrugging, arm jerking and neck stretching; while complex motor tics involve multiple muscles and their abnormal movements. Vocal/phonic tics are characterized by abnormal sounds such as hooting, throat clearing, etc. Patients with complex vocal tics speak out inconsistent or unrecognizable words, and in some cases words may be inappropriate or socially unacceptable. TS patients usually suffer at least two motor tics and at least one vocal or phonic tic that persists more than one year.
The onset of TS typically occurs between the ages of 5-7 years with presentation of a motor tic of the head or neck area, resulting in impaired neurodevelopment. The frequency and severity of tic tends to increase between the ages of 8-12 years. Most TS patients experience improvement in late adolescence and possibly become asymptomatic. However, some patients suffer persistent and severe forms of tics even into adulthood, and require medical attention. The exact cause of TS is unknown, and the severity of TS varies widely among patients. Experts believe hereditary, developmental and environmental factors play a vital role in the onset of TS.
The co-morbidity of TS includes other neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders that cause more harm than tics. The co-occurrence of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is common in TS and tic disorders.
As of now, no cure is available for TS; however, as stated before, the condition generally improves with age in many patients.
Relevance of CB1 receptors in TS pathophysiology
Based on the supportive evidence, we can speculate the role of the CB1 receptor system in the pathophysiology of TS. If we look into the fact CB1 receptors are densely present in the molecular layers of the cerebellum, basal ganglia and hippocampus, we can understand the importance of CB1 receptor activation for treatment of tic disorders.
Neurophysiological studies have shown the presence of CB1 receptors at higher concentrations in the hippocampal dentate gyrus, output nuclei of the basal ganglia and forebrain, which is associated with cognitive functions. Sparsely dense presence of CB1 receptors in the lower brainstem regions, which regulate respiratory and cardiovascular functions, actually explain why THC is not lethal – even at higher doses.
Several studies have provided evidence suggesting a complex interaction between the dopaminergic system and CB1 receptor system in TS patients. Nonetheless, only one study has investigated the effect of the CB1 agonist (synthetic) on central CB1 receptors in six TS patients. The binding effects of THC were compared before and after administration by employing single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT).
Although studies have reported that the pathogenesis of TS is caused by genetic variations or polymorphism in the cannabinoid receptor (CNR1) gene, this study has reported moderate CB1 receptor specific binding of agonists with CB1 receptors. These results were confirmed by another study. In line with this evidence, one study has reported significant reduction of TS-related symptoms after 9-THC treatment. We can see that the pathology of tics is not related to genetic polymorphism of cannabinoid receptors, and could be the possible involvement of pre-existing dysfunctional CB1 receptors. We have adequate grounds to assume that THC administration might improve cognitive functions in TS patients; however this influence might be different in healthy users due to functional involvement of the CB1 receptor system in the regulation of cognitive function, attention and memory. The role of cannabis use in cognitive impairment in healthy users remains a controversial debate to date.
Cannabinoids for TS
Two studies, published in 2003 and 2013 respectively, have acknowledged the use of delta-9-THC for treatment of TS, if other well-established, conventional therapies either fail to achieve symptomatic improvement or cause an unacceptable degree of adverse events in patients. These are not the only studies that suggest THC might be a successful alternative option for management of severe, treatment-refractory TS. Delta 9-THC might be particularly helpful for treatment of stimulant-induced exacerbation of tics and related co-morbidities by enhancement of intra-cortical inhibition and induction of neurotransmitter release.
Cannabinoids can modulate brain neurotransmitter systems, such as glutamine and GABA, by which it is possible to treat TS or reduce the behavioral symptoms of tics.
A systematic review study by German researchers reported successful treatment of a 25-year old male TS patient with a single dose of 10 mg of THC. Although the study design was open-labeled and uncontrolled, the therapeutic benefit remains irrefutable.
Subjective evidential studies have suggested that delta-9-THC has the potential to reduce tics and related behavioral disorders. To confirm this, a team of researchers conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized single-dose study to investigate the safety and efficacy of various doses of THC in 12 TS patients. The tested doses were 5.0, 7.5 and 10.0 mg of delta-9-THC. The severity of tic was assessed by Tourette Syndrome Symptom List, or TSSL (self-reported), which was cross-checked by clinical examiners’ rating scales, including Tourette Syndrome Severity Scale, Yale Global Tic Severity Scale etc, in addition to assessment of behavioral disorders such as obsessive compulsive behavior/disorder (OCB/OCD). The maximum plasma concentrations of THC and its metabolites (11-OH-THC and THC-COOH) were correlated with the clinical improvements or changes.
Significant improvement in tics and OCB was observed using the TSSL, compared to the placebo group. These benefits were concordant to the examiners’ ratings, with significant improvement in the scores of simple motor tics, vocal tics and complex motor tics. Surprisingly, the severity score dropped from 41 to 7 within two hours of delta-9-THC administration. The treatment benefit lasted for several hours without causing significant adverse events in the treated subjects, except occurrence of mild psychoactive side effects. Plasma analysis revealed a significant relationship between higher 11-OH-THC plasma concentration and tic improvement after single dose THC administration. These results suggest that the therapeutic effects of 9-delta-THC are attributed to its metabolite 11-OH-THC. The study concluded that delta-9-THC is safe and effective in treating tics and associated behavioral problems.
To confirm these findings, the investigators conducted two follow-up studies including one randomized-controlled study involving 24 TS patients who received daily doses of up to 10 mg of THC for 6 weeks. Upon completion of dosing, the patients experienced clinically significant reduction in tics. This study was followed-up by a single-dose, cross-over study that enrolled 12 TS patients who received 10 mg of delta-9-THC. Statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements were observed in the treatment group when compared with the placebo group, without causing any serious adverse events. This evidence suggests THC is a safer and effective treatment option for tics. These results were confirmed in other studies as well. None of these studies reported risk or occurrence of acute or long-term cognitive deficits in THC-received study subjects.
Not only clinical studies, but even individual case studies provide supportive evidence for treatment of tics and related behavioral symptoms in TS patients. One case study that observed the effects of cannabis smoking in three male TS patients who were 15-39 years of age reported clinical improvement of tics. Additionally, the patients reported improvement of attention span, self-mutilatory behavior, premonitory urges and hypersexuality upon smoking cannabis every day. Another single case study that looked into a 36-year old TS patient reported symptom-free remission of tics for over a year, and the patient was taking one ‘cone’ of cannabis every night but was not on any other treatment. This evidence suggests that cannabis may have beneficial effects for treating TS symptoms.
Although one Cochrane review study has noted these benefits are small, we should note that the two studies included for the analysis have reported positive effects of THC treatment, as evidenced by improvements in tic frequency and severity of disease. To sum up, cannabis could be a safer, more effective alternate treatment option to treat tics and behavioral symptoms of TS, particularly for treatment-refractory TS patients.
Originally published: The Marijuana Times
Active around the globe, the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) is celebrating 19 years of advocacy as a grassroots network of students and alumni whose mission is to educate, reform, and update communities about the impact of drug abuse. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., SSDP is an active member of the cannabis legalization movement and is a regular at industry expos and events and is hosting a soiree during the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) Oakland conference this coming week.
According to SSDP, the War on Drugs is failing our society, that’s why they focus on young up-and-coming students to carry the torch into the new era of cannabis legalization. The organization carries out efforts on many drug-related fronts, but cannabis law reform is a huge part of their objective. For instance, just last month the two founding members of the SSDP Austria chapter marched along other supporters who were handing over a petition with 10,000 signatures to Parliamentary Director Dr. Harald Dossi in defense of sensible drug policies. The petition is regarding the Narcotic Drugs Act (SMG), which would put Austria in conflict with the worldwide trend towards cannabis regulation and outlaw CBD by “styling it as a chemical”.
It’s interesting to note that SSDP neither condones nor condemns drug use. They support the rights of everyone to make their own decisions as to what’s right for their health and use civic engagement amongst the youth to fuel communities around the world to change outdated drug policies and put an end to propagandized anti-drug rhetoric.
Oakland NCIA Conference Evening Soiree
The fourth annual NCIA Cannabis Business Summit will take place from June 12th through June 14th in Oakland, California. June 13th will be a busy day for those in attendance as Vicente Fox, Former President of Mexico & President of Coca-Cola Latin America, is slated to speak in support of legalization followed by SSDP’s evening soiree for ticket holders.
As keynote speaker, the Former President of Mexico is going to talk about his support of cannabis legalization in both America and Mexico. Back in 2013, Fox advocated for legalization, saying it’s t he only way to end the violence of Mexican drug cartels. “The cost of the war is becoming unbearable – too high for Mexico, for Latin America and for the rest of the world,” Fox once said in a press conference. Fox will also discuss the social injustices created by the war on drugs and the positive effects of global governments adopting cannabis legalization.
The ‘Sensible Celebration’ kicks off at 7:30pm with a screening of Mary Janes: The Women of Weed, featuring SSDP students and staff alongside some of the most hard-working women in cannabis. In celebration of so much sensibility when it comes to cannabis, SSDP promises a dance party in the venue’s outdoor beer garden. Tickets are available and include drink tickets and dessert. The proceeds also go to supporting SSDP’s ongoing efforts to end the harms of drug prohibition.
Denver Charity Golf Tournament Benefitting SSDP
SSDP holds a dear place in many ganjapreneurs’ hearts. Their work has affected hundreds of thousands of patients, businesses, and consumers, and the Denver cannabis community wants to give back to the organization with the third annual Cannabis Charity Open.
Hosted by High Rollers dispensary and The Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, the July golf tournament’s mission is two-fold. First, they are happy to donate the proceeds to SSDP. Secondly, the annual charity tradition serves to normalize cannabis by linking it to a mainstream sport – golf! All of the proceeds from the tournament will go to charity. Tickets for the Cannabis Charity Open are on sale now and food, drink, and a gift bag are included with a ticket purchase. Teams tee-off on July 27th from 1:00 until 7:30 pm at the Denver Park Hill Golf Club.
This year’s sponsors are rooted in providing education of the health benefits of hemp-derived CBD and medical marijuana. THC Magazine is one of the go-to publications in Denver for the latest on industrial hemp and cannabis, and High Rollers dispensary is a high-end medical cannabis boutique shop in the heart of South Pearl Street in Denver.
High Rollers is all about benefitting the larger community, and in order to help foster a healthy community (instead of just turning a profit), they regularly engage in community-based services like fund-raisers and charity events. For instance, last year’s Cannabis Charity Open brought in more than $2,000 to benefit the Denver Colorado AIDS project. Managing dispensary partner Luke Ramirez explained that the dispensary is a great way to encourage connection within the Denver communities.
“Communities thrive when individuals thrive, and we seek to help our neighbors find balance in their lives however we can – one way we do this is through the healing power of cannabis,” he said. Another way is putting on charitable events like the 2017 Cannabis Charity Open. Ramirez is no stranger to cannabis. Since 2009 he has been actively involved in multiple cannabis trade organizations, lobbying efforts, and advocacy groups. Active in cannabis ventures nationwide, Ramirez also served as a former board member of the National Cannabis Industry Association.
Giving back to SSDP supports their outreach to students who are going to change the way the world thinks about and polices drugs. “Students are at the forefront of the movement to legalize cannabis and end the War on Drugs, and SSDP has been organizing, guiding, and raising the voices of young activists for 19 years,” according to their mission statement. A donation to SSDP mobilizes and empowers young people to participate in the political process, pushing for sensible policies to achieve a safer and more just future.
Originally published: The Marijuana Times
Last month, it was announced that an early start to adult use marijuana retail sales slated to begin on July 1st in Nevada. Under the plan, established medical marijuana dispensaries were to apply for licenses to sell cannabis to anyone over the age of 21.
Now it looks like those plans will be put on hold after a judge issued a temporary restraining order that prohibits the state’s Department of Taxation from enforcing an application deadline for dispensaries wishing to participate in the program. This comes after the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada argued that the Nevada marijuana legalization measure gave liquor wholesalers exclusive rights to adult use marijuana distribution licenses for the first 18 months of sales.
The judge ruled:
“The statute clearly gives a priority and exclusive license to alcohol distributors, in order to promote the goal of regulating marijuana similar to alcohol.”
According to the Nevada tax department, they put out the word to liquor distributors to see if anyone was interested in the marijuana distribution licenses; they say not a single distributor even submitted a business plan until very recently. That’s why they opened up the application process, lest they not have anyone able to actually deliver the marijuana from growers when the time came.
To be fair, you can’t blame the liquor distributors for wanting exclusive rights for the 18 month span – that’s a pretty sweet gig with no competition. But why wait so long to express interest? It’s been 8 months since Question 2 passed in Nevada, that’s plenty of time to let authorities know you want to participate in the activity you claim that measure passing gave you the rights to.
For their part, dispensary owners say the exclusive distribution rights scheme will end up making the entire supply chain longer and more difficult than it needs to be. Companies that have growing and retail centers on the same property would have to use a liquor middleman to deliver cannabis from one room to another in the same building.
Treating cannabis like alcohol means to treat them similar in a legal sense. It doesn’t mean that the alcohol industry has to be literally involved in the legal marijuana industry. If that were the case, why not sell cannabis at liquor stores? Or staple dime bags to 6-packs of Bud Light?
The legal cannabis industry is already fighting an uphill battle in many ways; making things even more difficult for no reason makes no sense.
Originally published: The Marijuana Times
For quite some time now, cannabis has been examined as a treatment for cancer – which has very few therapy options, all of which come with a whole slew of unwanted side effects. Currently, medical marijuana is mostly used as a way to curb the side effects that come with treatments like chemotherapy, such as nausea, pain and loss of appetite. However, there are a number of studies which suggest that cannabis has far more potential in the fight against cancer.
There is plenty of evidence already that shows that some strains of cannabis have the ability to kill or shrink cancer cells naturally, without the need for radiation treatments. Now a combined effort from CURE Pharmaceutical, CannaKids and Technion Israel Institute of Technology is attempting to determine which strains will work to kill which kinds of cancer cells, and help to treat other symptoms related to cancer.
“This research partnership with Technion, which has one of the leading cannabis laboratories in the world, is a crucial step in our goal to bring new cancer-fighting cannabinoid molecules to market,” said Rob Davidson, CEO of CURE.
The idea is to figure out which strains are best suited to shrink or kill cancer cells, and which particular compounds react to which kinds of cancer. Once they know which strains have a positive effect they will be able to isolate which cannabinoids and terpenes are actually causing the tumors to shrink. This will hopefully help to refine the way we use cannabis as a treatment for cancer by providing people with information on which strains of cannabis will be more helpful for their particular form of cancer.
“In this work the Technion team aims to clarify the antitumor effects of phytocannabinoids and terpenes on various cancer-driving mutations and pathways, as well as further elucidating the mechanism of the cannabinoid-mediated antitumor effects. This will allow not only the identification of new drug candidates but also will create the ability to optimize cannabis treatment options for patients. Together these options further efforts toward the creation of personalized medicine.”
Though this research is only in its earliest stages right now, in a matter of time we will have a far better understanding of how cannabis is able to fight cancer without the need for expensive – and often painful and uncomfortable – radiation and chemotherapy treatments. While this research is being done overseas in Israel, where cannabis research is federally legal, their success will likely lead to studies around the globe, including the U.S. Perhaps in time, we will finally have a real cure for cancer.
Originally published: The Marijuana Times