Study: Long-Term Cannabis Use Not Associated With Changes In Brain Morphology

AUSTRALIA: The use of cannabis, even long-term, is not associated with changes in the cortical surface of the brain, according to data published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology.

A team of investigators from Australia and the Netherlands assessed the relationship between cannabis use and brain morphology in a cohort of 261 subjects (141 cannabis users and 120 controls). Researchers reported “no significant effects on cortical surface morphology” that could be attributable to subjects’ cannabis use, dependence, or age of initiation.

Authors concluded, “Our lack of finding in a well-powered study suggests that cortical surface morphology may be less associated with cannabis use than previously assumed.”

The findings are consistent with other recent brain imaging studies – such as those herehere, and here – and are largely inconsistent with those of a well-publicized 2014 study purporting that even causal cannabis exposure was linked to changes in the brain in young people.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Cortical surface morphology in long-term cannabis users: A multi-site MRI study,” appears in European Neuropsychopharmacology. Further information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, “Marijuana Exposure and Cognitive Performance.”

Tilray Completes First Bulk Medical Cannabis Export To Australia Under New Regulations

CANADA: Tilray, a global leader in medical cannabis research and production, today announced it has completed its first import of medical cannabis products into Australia under the country’s new import regulations. The products were produced at Tilray’s federally licensed, GMP-certified facility in Canada and can be dispensed to any patient with a valid prescription.

“We are proud to be able to offer Australian patients in need access to high quality, pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis products in accordance with quality standards mandated by the Australian government,” said Brendan Kennedy, Tilray President. “We commend the Australian government on its recent steps to legalize and regulate medical cannabis as well as to ensure patient access.”

With the bulk shipment of Tilray products now warehoused in Australia, Tilray can serve patients as soon as they become authorized to receive medical cannabis under Australian regulations. Importing in bulk reduces costs and ensures Tilray can provide products faster to patients in need. Tilray is currently providing oils containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and/or cannabidiol (CBD) in Australia. The company plans to introduce capsules containing THC and/or CBD in the coming months.

Earlier this year, Tilray announced that it had successfully exported medical cannabis products to the state of Victoria for 29 children with severe epilepsy, who became the first patients in the state to legally access medical cannabis. Currently, Tilray is able to supply medical cannabis products to authorized patients in every Australian state and territory. Tilray also serves authorized patients in New Zealand, North America, Latin America, and the European Union.

Tilray became the first medical cannabis producer in North America to be GMP certified in December 2016. GMP certification is the most rigorous standard that manufacturers of medical products must meet in their production processes, and it provides regulators and health care providers in countries new to medical cannabis with certainty that Tilray products are the safe and smart choice.

GMP certification is enabling Tilray to expand international distribution of its products for commercial, clinical research, and compassionate access purposes. In 2016, Tilray made history by becoming the first company to legally export medical cannabis products from North America to Australia and the European Union.

Tilray is also committed to advancing the science and safety of medical cannabis products by supporting clinical research. In Australia, Tilray has partnered with the University of Sydney and New South Wales Government to study medical cannabis as a treatment for symptoms of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Tilray supports additional clinical trials focused on pediatric epilepsy at SickKids Hospital in Canada and post-traumatic stress disorder at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

Australia To Lift Ban On Medical Cannabis

AUSTRALIA: The Australian government has announced plans to allow cannabis to be legally grown for medical and scientific purposes.

Under current laws, marijuana is classified as an illegal drug, and while penalties vary from state to state, people who grow, use, possess or sell it can be fined or sent to prison.

In a statement Saturday, the government said the Narcotics Drugs Act 1967  would be amended to allow the drug to be grown locally, without breaching the country’s international obligations as a signatory to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961.

“This Government is incredibly sympathetic to the suffering of those Australians with debilitating illnesses and we want to enable access to the most effective medical treatments available,” Health Minister Sussan Ley said in a statement.