NIH Study Suggests Using Cannabis While Trying To Conceive May Reduce Pregnancy Chances

MARYLAND:  Women who use marijuana could have a more difficult time conceiving a child than women who do not use marijuana, suggests a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. Marijuana use among the women’s partners—which could have influenced conception rates—was not studied. The researchers were led by Sunni L. Mumford, Ph.D., of the Epidemiology Branch in NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The study appears in Human Reproduction.

The women were part of a larger group trying to conceive after one or two prior miscarriages. Women who said they used cannabis products—marijuana or hashish—in the weeks before pregnancy, or who had positive urine tests for cannabis use, were around 40% less likely to conceive per monthly cycle than women who did not use cannabis. The authors noted that although the findings suggest cannabis could affect women’s fertility, they should be tempered with caution as the study observed a relatively small number of cannabis users. However, the authors say their results suggest that women trying to conceive should exercise caution with cannabis use until more definitive evidence is available.

The researchers analyzed data from a broader study of more than 1,200 women ages 18 to 40 with one or two pregnancy losses. The women participated in the study for up to six monthly cycles while attempting pregnancy and throughout pregnancy if conception occurred. After enrolling in the study, the women responded to a questionnaire asking if they had used marijuana, pot, or hashish in the past 12 months, with responses ranging from never, rarely, occasionally, sometimes, often, to daily. Each woman also provided urine samples for analysis when they first entered the study and after six months if they did not conceive or at the time of positive pregnancy test if they conceived.

A total of 62 women (5%) either had a positive urine test or responded that they had used cannabis before conception.

For each monthly cycle, women who had used cannabis while trying to conceive were 41% less likely to conceive than non-users. Similarly, a smaller proportion of cannabis users than non-users became pregnant during the study—42% versus 66%. The authors found no differences in miscarriage rates between users and non-users who had achieved pregnancy.

The authors noted that, compared to non-users, cannabis users also had differences in reproductive hormones involved in ovulation. These differences could potentially have influenced their likelihood of conception. Specifically, users had higher levels of luteinizing hormone and a higher proportion of luteinizing hormone to follicle stimulating hormone.

The authors also noted that animal studies had found that cannabis use could alter the lining of the uterus, making it less likely an embryo to implant and establish a pregnancy. Until more information is available, the authors said, women trying to become pregnant should be aware that cannabis could potentially affect their pregnancy chances.

Reference
Mumford SL et al. Cannabis use while trying to conceive: a prospective cohort study evaluating associations with fecundability, live birth, and pregnancy loss. Human Reproduction. 2020. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deaa355

About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): NICHD leads research and training to understand human development, improve reproductive health, enhance the lives of children and adolescents, and optimize abilities for all. For more information, visit https://www.nichd.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit https://www.nih.gov.

Cannabis & CBD Retail Market To Reach $33 Billion In 2024

MARYLAND:  U.S. retail sales of cannabis and CBD products reached $14 billion in 2019, and are on pace to increase 18% per year to $33 billion in 2024, according to data published in Cannabis and CBD: U.S. Retail Market Trends and Opportunities, the latest report by leading market research firm Packaged Facts.

Cannabis products can be segmented by delivery format—i.e., the method by which the product’s desired compounds are ingested:

  • The most common delivery format, flower—smoked in the form of buds or pre-rolled cigarettes—accounts for nearly 40% of retail sales.
  • Another smokable product, vaporizer cartridges with concentrated THC or CBD compounds, comprises the second largest share. However, this share is falling as concerns about vaping-related lung illnesses rise and as states increasingly restrict sales of both nicotine- and cannabis-infused vaping products.

The fastest annual gains are projected for those delivery formats—namely edibles and topicals—that stand to benefit the most from federal legalization of hemp-based CBD. Major retailers—including foodservice establishments in certain states—are increasingly offering CBD-infused food, beverages, cosmetics, and toiletries that appeal to consumers because these products have the therapeutic benefits of CBD without the psychological effects of THC.

Other major delivery formats include tinctures, pills and capsules, and ingestible oils, which are used for both marijuana- and hemp-based products. Ingestible oils made from hemp seed oil (which does not include CBD or THC) have been available for decades and are used by health-conscious consumers for their purported nutritional benefits.

For more information on this emerging market purchase the report from our website.

Maryland: Baltimore Prosecutor To No Longer Target Marijuana Possession Offenses

STATES ATTORNEY BALTIMORE

MARYLAND: Officials will no longer prosecute marijuana possession offenses in Baltimore, according to a newly announced public policy by the office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City.

Under the plan, which takes immediate effect, the office will also move to expunge the criminal records of an estimated 5,000 citizens previously convicted of cannabis-related offenses. The office’s decision to cease targeting minor marijuana violations is similar to actions recently taken by prosecutors in a number of other major cities, including St. Louis, MissouriWestchester, New YorkPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania; and Norfolk, Virginia.

State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said that the new policy will provide “a major step forward in making Baltimore city safer, fairer, and more equitable, and even more just.”

The Office will continue to take action against felony cases involving the possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, though prosecutors will refer all first-time offenders to diversion programs.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

NIH: Teen Marijuana Use Not Increasing Despite Legalization

MARYLAND: Self-reported marijuana use by adolescents has failed to increase in recent years despite the majority of states legalizing it for either medical or adult use, according to the latest data compiled by the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future survey, which is commissioned by the US National Institutes on Drug Abuse. NIDA is a part of the US National Institutes of Health.

Summarizing the findings in a press release, the agency acknowledged: “Rates of marijuana use by teens have been of great interest to researchers over the past decade, given major social and legislative shifts around the drug; it is now legal for adult recreational use in 10 states plus the District of Columbia, and it is available medicinally in many more. Fortunately, even as teens’ attitudes toward marijuana’s harms continue to relax, they are not showing corresponding increases in marijuana use.”

Marijuana use prevalence by young people did not change significantly between 2017 and 2018, the survey reported. Between the years 2012 and 2018, both rates of lifetime marijuana use and rates of annual marijuana use by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders have declined. Ten states have enacted laws regulating adult marijuana use during this same period of time, and several others have legalized medical cannabis access.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Further data is available from NORML’s fact-sheet, “Marijuana Regulation and Teen Use Rates.”

 

Maryland Medical Cannabis Forum Is Thursday, November 8, 2018

Presents an In-Depth Discussion of MMJ Research and Practice

MARYLAND – Maryland doctors can enhance their knowledge about medical cannabis treatment at the inaugural Maryland Medical Cannabis Forum (MMCF), on Thursday, November 8th in Baltimore.  The MMCF was created to provide to the Maryland medical community current and credible information on the state of medical cannabis research and practices–and how it affects the 35,000-and-growing Maryland MMJ patients. Discussion topics for the evening include:

  • The endocannabinoid system and its relation to treating diseases
  • Cancer case studies utilizing cannabis for symptom relief and pain management
  • Cannabis treatment for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and autism
  • Cannabis and reduction in opioid dependency and other prescription medications
  • Proper dosing and understanding common side effects

The evening kicks off at 5:00 p.m. with a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. with featured speakers Dr. Jokūbas Žiburkus (Canntelligence) and Dr. Dustin Sulak (Healer.com), followed by a panel discussion hosted by CNBC’s Tim Seymour and including Sid Taubenfeld of Tikun Olam’s TO Pharma and Joy Strand, Executive Director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, among others.

The MMCF is proud to have the support of MedChi (the Maryland State Medical Society), and sponsors including global medical cannabis brand Tikun Olam, MariMed Advisors and Kind Therapeutics to establish this event as a comprehensive and trustworthy forum for up-to-date information on medical cannabis for Maryland doctors to provide their patients. The registration fee for MMCF is $75, $50 for MedChi members; visit www.medicalcannabisforum.org.

FDA Calls for Public Comments Regarding International Classification Of Cannabis

MARYLAND: The US Food and Drug Administration is seeking public comments specific to whether changes ought to be recommended regarding the international classification of cannabis as a controlled substance. Members of the public have until October 31, 2018 to submit their comments to the FDA for consideration.

fda-logo

The FDA says that the comments “will be considered in preparing a response from the United States to the World Health Organization regarding the abuse liability and diversion” of marijuana and certain other substances.

In April, in response to a similar FDA request, NORML collected and hand-delivered over 10,000 comments to the agency calling on it to recommend a lifting of international restrictions criminalizing the plant.

In NORML’s latest comments to the FDA, it opines that “cannabis be removed from the international drug conventions so that nations that wish to do so may further expand their regulations governing cannabis’ use, possession, production, and dispensing for either recreational or medical use.”

SUBMIT A COMMENT


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

IGC To Enter California Market With Hyalolex

MARYLAND: India Globalization Capital (IGC) has designated California as a priority market for Hyalolex, its lead cannabis-based supplement for treating and managing Alzheimer’s patients.

“The cannabis market is showing explosive growth and we are aggressively moving forward with our vision of owning and marketing the leading brands for large medical indications such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, PTSD, pain, veterinary medicine and cancer. With 8 patents filed, IGC has made significant strides towards achieving these goals and building value for our shareholders as a NYSE American listed company,” stated Ram Mukunda, CEO of IGC.

“California is considered to be the largest addressable U.S. market for cannabis with an environment that strongly embraces its acceptance. This represents a significant opportunity for Hyalolex and our brands, as such we are currently coordinating the necessary steps to efficiently and rapidly introduce our product to high-density regions in the state. It should be noted that according to U.S. Census data, California has an estimated population of 39.54 million and that total is larger than all of Canada,” continued Mukunda.

IGC’s management team has been actively meeting with California-based manufacturers and distributers to assemble the requisite combination of partners to efficiently bring Hyalolex to dispensaries, patients and caregivers in California. Our “Drops of Clarity” marketing program will highlight the potential benefits of Hyalolex as a supplement to cannabis physicians as well as to caregivers and patients via both a digital format and through grassroots outreach.

FDA Approves First Cannabis-Based Epilepsy Drug

MARYLAND: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in patients two years of age and older. This is the first FDA-approved drug that contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana. It is also the first FDA approval of a drug for the treatment of patients with Dravet syndrome.

CBD is a chemical component of the Cannabis sativa plant, more commonly known as marijuana. However, CBD does not cause intoxication or euphoria (the “high”) that comes from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is THC (and not CBD) that is the primary psychoactive component of marijuana.

“This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies. And, the FDA is committed to this kind of careful scientific research and drug development,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “Controlled clinical trials testing the safety and efficacy of a drug, along with careful review through the FDA’s drug approval process, is the most appropriate way to bring marijuana-derived treatments to patients. Because of the adequate and well-controlled clinical studies that supported this approval, prescribers can have confidence in the drug’s uniform strength and consistent delivery that support appropriate dosing needed for treating patients with these complex and serious epilepsy syndromes. We’ll continue to support rigorous scientific research on the potential medical uses of marijuana-derived products and work with product developers who are interested in bringing patients safe and effective, high quality products. But, at the same time, we are prepared to take action when we see the illegal marketing of CBD-containing products with serious, unproven medical claims. Marketing unapproved products, with uncertain dosages and formulations can keep patients from accessing appropriate, recognized therapies to treat serious and even fatal diseases.”

Dravet syndrome is a rare genetic condition that appears during the first year of life with frequent fever-related seizures (febrile seizures). Later, other types of seizures typically arise, including myoclonic seizures (involuntary muscle spasms). Additionally, status epilepticus, a potentially life-threatening state of continuous seizure activity requiring emergency medical care, may occur. Children with Dravet syndrome typically experience poor development of language and motor skills, hyperactivity and difficulty relating to others.

Lennox-Gastaut syndrome begins in childhood. It is characterized by multiple types of seizures. People with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome begin having frequent seizures in early childhood, usually between ages 3 and 5. More than three-quarters of affected individuals have tonic seizures, which cause the muscles to contract uncontrollably. Almost all children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome develop learning problems and intellectual disability. Many also have delayed development of motor skills such as sitting and crawling. Most people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome require help with usual activities of daily living.

“The difficult-to-control seizures that patients with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome experience have a profound impact on these patients’ quality of life,” said Billy Dunn, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “In addition to another important treatment option for Lennox-Gastaut patients, this first-ever approval of a drug specifically for Dravet patients will provide a significant and needed improvement in the therapeutic approach to caring for people with this condition.”

Maryland Hemp Distribution Bill Signed Into Law

MARYLAND:  Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has signed legislation into law expanding the state’s hemp production program.

House Bill 698 expands the state’s existing pilot program to explicitly permit for the distribution, marketing, and sale of hemp – both in state and out of state. Lawmakers had overwhelmingly passed the bill by a vote of 182 to 1.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Puerto Rican Alzheimer’s Patients To Be First In U.S. To Obtain Cannabis-Based Relief

MARYLAND: Alzheimer’s patients in Puerto Rico will be the first in the United States to obtain Hyalolex, IGC’s proprietary cannabinoid based formulation aimed at relieving many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, such as agitation, anxiety, sleep disorder, as well as caregiver distress, among others.

Pursuant to an agreement between IGC and DaMa Pharmaceutical and its affiliates, Hyalolex will be on the shelves in April, and available to patients in ten of Puerto Rico’s 30 dispensaries, including the two premier dispensaries in San Juan, the largest city in Puerto Rico. Under the licensing terms DaMa will help produce Hyalolex in Puerto Rico, and market Hyalolex to medical dispensaries and end users. Hyalolex will be prescribed as a liquid supplement in twice-daily doses for mild to moderate Alzheimer patients, and thrice-daily doses for moderate to advanced patients.

“We are very pleased to work with the DaMa Pharmaceutical team to bring Hyalolex to Puerto Rico, which has a long history of developing premier pharmaceutical products,” said Ram Mukunda CEO of IGC. He noted that the Puerto Rican government has been a supporter of a comprehensive medical cannabis program. “We are proud to be a contributor to Puerto Rico’s economic development and to the wellbeing of its Alzheimer’s patients”, he said. According to alz.org, Hispanics are approximately one and one-half times as likely to have Alzheimer’s as non-Hispanic whites.

“This is a decisive step in delivering our cannabis intellectual property to patients, after many years of development. It is particularly important as part of our effort to establish a distribution network to productize our IP,” Mukunda said.

This partnership represents a significant opportunity to provide those afflicted with Alzheimer’s with potential relief from a very difficult diagnosis and ease the burden of their caregivers who attend to them. It also represents a significant opportunity to collect data on Hyalolex’s performance within a diverse patient set”, said Mukunda. IGC will deploy a QR code-based product assurance, information dissemination, and data collection system as a step towards a more robust block chain-based product assurance system.