First US Clinical Study Assessing Hemp-Derived Cannabinoid Supplementation In Recovery From Traumatic Brain Injury Begins In Colorado

COLORADO:  The Flowering HOPE Foundation and Clover Leaf University have just announced sponsorship and collaboration on the first US clinical study to be approved to investigate plant-derived cannabinoid supplements in recovery from brain injury. 

The study will analyze quantitative EEG brain activity and a cannabinoid-sensitive salivary biomarker in 40 subjects with mild traumatic brain injury and controls who currently take hemp-derived botanical supplements on a regular basis (i.e. phytocannabinoids). The study is recruiting adults age 18 to 55 to participate in the year-long trial. 

Jason Cranford, Founder of the Flowering HOPE Foundation, a Colorado registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports the medicinal use of plant-derived cannabinoids, called phytocannabinoids, described the motivation for sponsoring the study: “We hope to provide scientific support for the benefits of the natural plant-based compounds contained in hemp and move a step closer towards the unrestricted availability of non synthetic cannabinoid therapeutics.”

Cranford is a pioneer in the emerging cannabis industry with more than 25 years experience in cultivation, extraction and formulations. His know-how allowed him to breed a unique hemp strain selected for a blend of phytoterpenes and phytocannabinoids designed to alleviate treatment-resistant epilepsy in children without psychoactive side effects. The resulting strain, called Haleigh’s Hope, was formulated into a supplement offered by the FHF (2013). 

The FHF has partnered with Clover Leaf University to study brain injury. The President and Founder, Chloe Villano, received accredited approval for CLU in 2013 by the Colorado Department of Higher Education’s Private Occupational School Board. Villano is a pioneer in the cannabis and hemp industry and prioritized brain injury for the study.

“This historic study is the first of its kind and it is a privilege to work with the Flowering HOPE Foundation to address the problem of brain injury and collaborate with a neuroscientist who understands the brain endocannabinoid system, such as Dr. Cooper. There are currently no effective treatments for traumatic brain injury or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, but phytocannabinoids may be a good candidate, based on the established science of anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective mechanisms. Clover Leaf University is excited to take the lead in clinical studies that will improve and save lives,” said Villano.

The lead neuroscientist responsible for the study,  Don Cooper, Ph.D, is President of Real-Time Diagnostics Ventures Inc. He has published 45 peer reviewed papers on neuronal memory formation/plasticity and has studied brain cannabinoids since 2000, when he received his first NIH grant. 

“I never thought it would take almost 20 years from when I started working on the brain cannabinoid system to have the first approved clinical study on phytocannabinoids and brain injury. We have convincing preclinical data showing that phytocannabinoids are neuroprotective and may be critically important for restoring neuronal function after brain injury,” stated Cooper.

For more information contact the study Clinical Coordinator at TBIstudy@protonmail.com.

Tilray Announces Successful Medical Cannabis Harvest In Portugal; Provides Update On European Operations

CANADA: Tilray, a global leader in cannabis research, cultivation, production and distribution, announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Tilray Portugal Unipessoal Lda. has completed a successful harvest of medical cannabis at the Company’s European Union (EU) Campus in Portugal.

Tilray_LogoTilray’s EU Campus in Portugal is a multi-faceted production facility that includes indoor, outdoor and greenhouse cultivation sites, as well as research labs, processing, packaging and distribution sites for medical cannabis and cannabinoid-derived medical products. To date, Tilray has invested approximately €20 million in the facility, which totals nearly 250,000 square-feet with additional room to expand. Tilray’s EU Campus also serves as a hub supporting Tilray’s clinical research and product development efforts across Europe. Tilray’s EU Campus currently employs 100 people, and that number is expected to double by the end of 2019, with production ramping up and multiple harvests anticipated in the coming months.

“Our harvest in Portugal is an exciting milestone for the company as we continue to build our multinational supply chain of high-quality medical cannabis,” said Sascha Mielcarek, Managing Director, Europe. “We look forward to utilizing the capacity of Tilray Portugal to supply the medical cannabis market in Europe as we expand our operations.”

Tilray was the first licensed medical cannabis producer to successfully import medical cannabis products into the EU and the first licensed medical cannabis producer in North America to obtain Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification in accordance with the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) standards. Tilray has established sales and distribution arrangements to distribute medical cannabis through major pharmaceutical distribution channels throughout Germany and the European Union. The Company has also formed a global alliance with Sandoz AG, a worldwide leader in generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars and a part of Novartis group, to increase availability of high quality medical cannabis products around the world in jurisdictions where regulations permit.

In addition to its EU Campus in Portugal, Tilray currently operates multiple state-of-the-art production and processing facilities in Canada. Tilray looks forward to hosting an official ribbon-cutting event at its EU Campus in Portugal later this spring.

Ohio Medical Marijuana Sales Figures — March 3, 2019

Update from the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program

Update from the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program

OHIO:  The following are program sales totals from 1/16/2019 to 3/3/2019:

Total sales: $1,520,381
Total volume of product sold: 201 pounds

The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program will provide weekly sales figures through April 1st after which a monthly report will be made available.

Patient registration information will continue to be reported on a monthly basis.

Ohio Board Of Pharmacy Awards Dispensary Certificate Of Operation In Coshocton

State_of_Ohio_Board_of_pharmacy_logo2C

OHIO: The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy today awarded a Dispensary Certificate of Operation to Ohio Cannabis Company, located at 23024 County Road 621, Ste. 1, Coshocton.

For a list of all Dispensary Certificates of Operation, please click here.

Arizona: Federal Judge Rules Medical Cannabis Patient’s Firing Violated State Law

MJLegalThe case is Whitmire v. Walmart Stores Incorporated

ARIZONA: A private employer acted improperly when it fired a state-registered medical cannabis patient for failing a urinalysis drug screen, a federal judge ruled last week.

United States District Judge James A. Teilborg opined that Walmart violated Arizona law by terminating an employee solely for testing positive for the presence of THC metabolites in her urine. The carboxy-THC metabolite is an inert breakdown product of THC which may remain present in urine for weeks or even months following cannabis exposure.

Under Arizona’s voter-initiated medical cannabis access law, an employer may not discriminate in hiring or firing based solely upon a patient’s “positive drug test for marijuana components or metabolites, unless the patient used, possessed or was impaired by marijuana on the premises of the place of employment or during the hours of employment.”

According to the US Department of Justice, urinalysis tests “detect drug use but not drug impairment. A positive test result … does not indicate abuse or addiction, recency, frequency, or amount of use, or impairment.”

In recent years, judges have similarly upheld patient protections in other jurisdictions, including ConnecticutMassachusetts, and Rhode Island.

The case is Whitmire v. Walmart Stores Incorporated.


cFor more information, contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500.

 

Study: Majority Of Medical Cannabis Patients Are Seeking Pain Relief

MICHIGAN: Most US patients registered to access medical cannabis cite chronic pain as their primary qualifying condition, according to data published in the journal Health Affairs.

Investigators from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor reviewed patient registration data from the majority of states that provide medical cannabis access. (Some states, notably California and Maine, possess voluntary registries and therefore do not compile patient profile data.)

They reported that in 2016, chronic pain was the most common qualifying condition reported by patients (65 percent). They added, “Of all patient-reported qualifying conditions, 85 percent had either substantial or conclusive evidence of therapeutic efficacy,” as defined by the 2017 report published by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The authors of that report concluded that there exists conclusive or substantial evidence for the effectiveness of cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain, nausea and vomiting, and spasticity.

Separate studies indicate that legal cannabis access is typically associated with reduced rates of opioid use and abuse. Studies have also identified a reduction in the prevalence of opioid-related mortality following statewide marijuana access.

Authors concluded: “[O]ur data show that the number of medical cannabis patients has risen dramatically over time as more states have legalized medical cannabis. … [W]e believe not only that it is inappropriate for cannabis to remain a Schedule I substance, but also that state and federal policy makers should begin evaluating evidence-based ways for safely integrating cannabis research and products into the health care system.”


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Qualifying conditions of medical cannabis license holders in the United States,” appears in Health Affairs. Additional information is available in NORML’s fact-sheet, “Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids.”

Harvest Health & Recreation Acquires Six Additional Licenses In Home State of Arizona

ARIZONA: Harvest Health & Recreation Inc, a vertically integrated public cannabis company with one of the largest footprints in the U.S., has entered into a binding agreement providing for it to acquire six additional licenses in Arizona. Upon closing, Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. (Harvest) will control 16 licenses throughout its home state of Arizona, the country’s third largest cannabis market. Before this transaction, Harvest was already the largest operator in Arizona.

“Arizona is a logical place for us to continue to grow for a variety of reasons,” said Harvest Executive Chairman Jason Vedadi. “We have already acquired locations for the future stores and look forward developing dominant footprints in a number of states. Arizona is one of them; it’s a great market with significant upside.”

With 16 vertically integrated licenses, 11 open dispensaries, two cultivation facilities and one processing facility upon closing, Harvest expands what is already the largest footprint in Arizona. Harvest’s agreement is with Devine Hunter, Inc., formerly the state’s second-largest license holder, for an undisclosed amount of cash, stock and other consideration. With the closing of this transaction, Harvest controls licenses for 86 dispensaries, 23 cultivation facilities, and 22 processing facilities across the country.

Patients Frequently Substitute Cannabis For Anti-Anxiety Drugs

CANADA: Patients authorized to legally use medical cannabis frequently substitute it in place of benzodiazepines, according to a pair of new studies. Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs primarily used for treating anxiety. According to data compiled by the US Centers for Disease Control, benzodiazepines were attributed to over 11,500 overdose deaths in 2017.

In the first study, Canadian researchers assessed the relationship between cannabis and benzodiazepines in a cohort of 146 patients enrolled in the nation’s medical marijuana access program. They reported that 30 percent of participants discontinued their use of anti-anxiety medications within two months of initiating cannabis therapy and that 45 percent did so by six months.

“Patients initiated on medical cannabis therapy showed significant benzodiazepine discontinuation rates after their first follow-up visit to their medical cannabis prescriber, and continued to show significant discontinuation rates thereafter,” authors concluded.

In the second study, investigators at the University of Michigan surveyed over 1,300 state-registered medical cannabis patients with regard to their use of opioids and benzodiazepines. They reported that 53 percent of respondents acknowledged substituting marijuana for opioids, and 22 percent did so for benzodiazepines.

The studies’ findings are consistent with numerous other papers — such as those hereherehere, and here— documenting patients’ use of cannabis in place of a variety of prescription drugs, particularly opioids and anti-anxiety medications.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Reduction of benzodiazepine use in patients prescribed medical cannabis,” appears in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. Full text of the study, “Pills to pot: Observational analyses of cannabis substitution among medical cannabis users with chronic pain,” appears in The Journal of Pain. Additional information is available in NORML’s fact-sheet, “Relationship between marijuana and opioids.”

Ohio Medical Marijuana Sales Figures – February 10, 2019

Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program

OHIO: The following are program sales totals from 1/16/2019 to 2/10/2019:

  • Total sales: $732,395
  • Total volume of product sold: 97.88 pounds

The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program will provide weekly sales figures through April 1st after which a monthly report will be available.

Patient registration information will continue to be reported on a monthly basis.

Survey: Three Of Four Military Veterans Would Consider Using Medical Cannabis

NEW YORK: Seventy-five percent of military veterans say that they would consider using either “cannabis or cannabinoid products as a treatment option,” according to member survey data compiled by the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). The organization represents over 400,000 veterans nationwide.

Under existing federal regulations, physicians affiliated with the Department of Veteran Affairs are forbidden from providing medical cannabis recommendations, even in jurisdictions that legally permit private practitioners to do so.

Overall, 83 percent of respondents expressed support for legalizing medical cannabis access, and 68 percent believe that the Department of Veterans Affairs “should allow for research into cannabis as a treatment option.” Proposed federal legislation to direct the agency to conduct clinical trials on the use of cannabis for PTSD and for other conditions is currently pending in the US House and Senate.

Twenty percent of veterans surveyed acknowledged having previously used cannabis for medical purposes. Other studies have estimated that as many as 41 percent of veterans acknowledge having consumed cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Available data documents that cannabis is effective in the treatment of chronic pain and may potentially mitigate symptoms of post-traumatic stress, along with other conditions veterans commonly face.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at: (202) 483-5500. Additional information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, “Marijuana and Veterans Issues.”