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  • Cannabis ingredient holds promise as antipsychotic medicine

    The next steps are to carry out larger trials of CBD to confirm these initial promising findings, and to assess the effectiveness of CBD in other types of patient
    Reuters (UK)
    Friday, December 15, 2017

    An ingredient in cannabis called cannabidiol or CBD has shown promise in a clinical trial as a potential new treatment for psychosis, scientists said. Scientists conducted a small trial of people with psychosis and found patients treated with CBD had lower levels of psychotic symptoms than those who received a placebo. Psychosis is characterized by paranoia and hallucinations. The study found that they were also more likely to be rated as “improved” by their psychiatrist and there were signs of better cognitive performance and functioning. (See also: An ingredient in cannabis may be useful for treating psychosis – new study)

  • Norway decriminalizes drug use

    According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (SIRUS) there are over 10,000 drug addicts in Norway, most of them heroin users
    The Nordic Page (Norway)
    Wednesday, December 13, 2017

    Drug use will no longer be punished, but treated in Norway. The majority in the Storting (Norwegian Parliament) aggrees on the historic transformation of Norwegian drug policy. "The majority will stop punishing people who struggle, but instead give them help and treatment," said Nicolas Wilkinson, the Socialist Left (SV) health spokesman in the Parliament. Wilkinson says it’s a march order to the government to shift the first-line reaction to drug addicts from the courtroom to the health service. In February, the Health Committee in the Storting will have a study trip to Portugal, which has implemented a similar reform with decriminalization.

  • World Health Organization: Initial review of CBD doesn’t warrant scheduling

    WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence announced plans to undertake a fuller review of cannabis in 2018
    The Cannabist (US)
    Wednesday, December 13, 2017

    whoCBD, for now, should not be subject to international drug scheduling, a World Health Organization committee determined in an initial review of the cannabis compound. WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) released findings and scheduling recommendations for more than a dozen substances reviewed at its annual meeting on November 6-10 in Geneva. As part of those findings, the ECDD announced plans to undertake a fuller review of cannabids in May 2018. The initial official guidance on CBD falls in line with expert recommendations. Plans for a deeper review of CBD in May by ECDD will coincide with a "Special Session on Cannabis" evaluating of the cannabis plant and its components, scheduled for May 2018.

  • Following marijuana legalization, teen drug use is down in Colorado

    The new federal data shows that adolescent marijuana use fell nationwide in 2016
    The Washington Post (US)
    Monday, December 11, 2017

    Following legalization, the rate of adolescent marijuana use in Colorado has fallen to its lowest level in nearly a decade, according to new federal survey data. State-level numbers from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that a little more than 9 percent of Colorado teens age 12 to 17 used marijuana monthly in 2015 and 2016, a statistically significant drop from the prior period. That's the lowest rate of monthly marijuana use in the state since 2007 and 2008. And it's not just marijuana: Rates of teen alcohol, tobacco and heroin use are down sharply in the state, as well.

  • Yes, legalizing marijuana breaks treaties. We can deal with that

    Dave Bewley-Taylor Martin Jelsma Tom Blickman John Walsh
    Ipolitics (Canada)
    Monday, December 11, 2017

    Buzzing in the background of Canada’s debate on cannabis legalization is the issue of the three UN drug control treaties, and what to do with them. The issue arose during the House of Commons’ consideration of Bill C-45, and may well come up again now that the bill is coming under Senate scrutiny. There is no doubt that legalizing and regulating cannabis markets for non-medical use will mean Canada is no longer in compliance with the obligation under the treaties to restrict cannabis to “medical and scientific” purposes. And Canada will need to address those treaties — in due time.

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  • How Uruguay made legal highs work

    The South American country’s move to full legalisation of cannabis has so far proved a success, especially for its 17,391 users
    The Guardian (UK)
    Sunday, December 10, 2017

    Uruguay’s switch to a legal marijuana market has not been without its hitches. Notably the resistance of most pharmacists to act as outlets for the recreational marijuana (medical marijuana remains illegal in Uruguay). Only 12 of the country’s 1,100 pharmacies have signed up so far to supply the 17,391 government-registered consumers served by the system, which explains the long queues outside. The low price and slim profit margin partly explain their reticence. “But the main problem is that banks have threatened to close the accounts of pharmacies selling marijuana,” said one chemist who sells marijuana in Montevideo, but who did not want to reveal his name for fear of such bank intervention.

  • Justice ministry manipulated studies into cannabis policy

    Officials deleted research questions, made notes in the margins of the study and removed an entire chapter with conclusions and recommendations on how government policy could be improved
    Dutch News (Netherlands)
    Thursday, December 7, 2017

    Senior justice ministry officials directly interfered with independent research into the ministry’s own cannabis policy, current affairs programme Nieuwsuur said. Researchers altered unwelcome conclusions and reformulated research questions at officials’ request. The aim was to manipulate the findings to ensure they supported existing policy rather than criticised it. Nieuwsuur based its findings on conversations with a whistleblower, who made a complaint in 2014, and on internal ministry documents. The programme looked at research carried out by the ministry’s independent research unit WODC into coffee shops and nuisance caused by drugs tourism and on the legalisation of cannabis cultivation. (See also: Dutch officials influence results of independent research: report)

  • Blowing up: Britain’s cocaine glut

    The drug has become more plentiful — and more potent
    The Economist (UK)
    Thursday, December 7, 2017

    “It's as easy as buying a drink from an off-licence.” That is how Ellen Romans, a recovering drug addict, describes picking up cocaine near where she lives in London. And today top-notch blow is much cheaper than it was five years ago, when she started using it heavily. David McManus, her treatment worker at Blenheim, a rehabilitation charity, agrees. Pubs and bars are “flooded” with the stuff. Dealers know that their product is no longer scarce. They are more tolerant of hagglers and are resorting to gimmicks, including Black Friday discounts, to boost sales. Though overall use has not increased, supply seems to have soared and dealers are offering a purer product. (See also: Mixed messages: Is cocaine consumption in the U.S. going up or down?)

  • A comeback for the gateway drug theory?

    What the medical community knows about addiction has evolved significantly since the 1930s
    The New York Times (US)
    Thursday, December 7, 2017

    Scientists and politicians still debate whether using “soft” drugs necessarily leads a person down a slippery slope to the harder stuff. Critics note that marijuana has, in some cases, been shown to actually prevent people from abusing other substances. But new research is breathing fresh life into the perennially controversial theory, and the timing seems apt. As marijuana legalization and the opioid epidemic sweep across the country, parents are once again questioning the root causes of addiction. And politicians opposed to legalization, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, have routinely used the gateway effect as their chief argument against reform.

  • California’s limit on big growers just vanished. Here’s why

    The abrupt shift took many in the industry by surprise, and it comes on the heels of costly, intensive lobbying on behalf of some of the state’s most powerful cannabis businesses
    Leafly (US)
    Wednesday, December 6, 2017

    In an unexpected move that has small cannabis farmers and some state lawmakers up in arms, California regulators have created a licensing loophole that could allow large-scale cannabis growers to operate farms of unlimited size. Under the new regulations, only small and medium-size grow licenses will be issued between 2018 and 2023 (for up to quarter-acre and one-acre grows, respectively). While medium-size licenses are limited to one per person or organization, however, there is now no limit to the number of small-size licenses any person or commercial entity may obtain. That opens a way for larger commercial operators to effectively stack small-size licenses into commercial-scale farms. (See also: California’s small cannabis farms are facing the end of an era)

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