University Drops Out of Pot for PTSD Study; Vets Demand Answers

Though cannabis is legal in the District of Columbia, there isn’t much medical marijuana access in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area. Virginia is still a no-go zone, and four years after lawmakers in Maryland approved medical marijuana, would-be patients in that state are still waiting for the first delivery.

Keep in mind that the area around the nation’s capital is full of military veterans. Post-traumatic stress disorder affects between 10 and 30 percent of vets, and PTSD is one of the conditions for which medical cannabis in Maryland is available—but until that state’s cannabis program becomes active later this summer, at the earliest, one of the only options for area combat vets to (legally) try cannabis for PTSD was through a study.

Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore was one of two research institutions in the U.S. to receive funding to see if smoked marijuana helped combat-related stress, as a growing body of anecdotal evidence suggests.

Read more at High Times

Oxford University Green Lights MMJ Study

The prestigious University of Oxford recently announced a new partnership with a biomedical research company to study the effects of medical marijuana on several health conditions. The university’s Cannabis Research Plan will investigate the use of cannabinoids to treat pain, cancer, inflammatory diseases and neurological disorders.

In a public statement announcing the plan, Dr. Ahmed Ahmed, professor of gynecological oncology at Oxford, said: “Cannabinoid research has started to produce exciting biological discoveries, and this research program is a timely opportunity to increase our understanding of the role of cannabinoids in health and disease. This field holds great promise for developing novel therapeutic opportunities for cancer patients.”

The Cannabis Research Plan will pair the university with Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies (OCT), a bio-med startup funded by venture capital firm Kingsley Capital Partners. Neil Mahapatra, a managing partner at Kingsley, explained the strategy behind the company’s initial investment of £10 million ($12.5 million).

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New Report: CBD Is Good for Anxiety

Have a public speaking engagement you’re a bit stressed about, or about to board a plane despite your claustrophobia, recent viewing of Final Destination, and crippling aversion to paying $20 for bad WiFi? Pop some CBD—you’ll be in the same situation, but you’ll feel better, a researcher contends.

Earlier this year, a researcher based in the UK found a lack of evidence for earlier contentions that cannabis use by itself may create anxiety disorders. Now, a second researcher believes there’s ample evidence to support the idea that cannabidiol—or CBD, the magic cure-all compound in marijuana—may help solve anxiety.

Carl Stevenson is a neuroscientist and researcher at the University of Nottingham. Stevenson is the co-author of a new review of existing marijuana-related research. When all the resulting data from studies conducted on humans is compiled, there’s evidence to suggest CBD reduces fear by changing brain activity, as Live Science reported.

Read more at High Times

China Launches First CBD Research Firm

China is to get its first company dedicated to research, development and marketing of medicinal products based on cannabidiol, or CBD.

The firm, dubbed XiBiDi Biotechnology Co, will operate out of Pudong Technology Park, part of the Shanghai Pilot Free-Trade Zone. It will initially offer hemp-derived CBD oil, as well as hemp-based foods and beverages, according to a press release from ChineseInvestors.com, or CIIX. The Chinese character “XiBiDi” is homophonic to “CBD” in English.

XiBiDi Biotechnology will be the operator of CIIX’s recently launched online store, ChineseCBDoil.com, which will focus on marketing “legal, hemp-based CBD nutrient and health products to Chinese-speaking customers worldwide.” CIIX is also preparing to open a retail store based in the predominantly Chinese community of San Gabriel, California.

Read more at High Times

4 Things to Know about Anti-Addiction Vaccines

Drug addiction is a massive menace that has resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives across the globe. Drugs like heroin, cocaine and crack affect the functioning of the brain, temporarily giving it a feeling of joyous bliss or euphoria. The neurotransmitters and receptors associated with pleasure are activated by these drugs, giving users the intense feeling of happiness.

But, this feeling cannot be sustained by the brain for long, and it tries to normalize things by increasing the receptor activity required to give the ecstasy. This reaction of the brain triggers what we call “drug tolerance” in users, who respond by increasing dosage to get the same results.

Vaccines are being developed to block the entry of drug molecules into the brain and prevent the “high” response in users, thus making drugs less rewarding. Here are a few things you need to know about a vaccine that has been in the making for several years but is now nearing the human trial phase.

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Raw Cannabinoids Bring Their “A” Game

The ancient, uncharted world of raw cannabis acids.

Imagine humanity’s first conscious encounter with the cannabis plant — the first sentient human mind to ponder its verdant foliage and pungent flowers. This unique plant must have left quite an impression on our inquisitive ancestors. And that first interaction between humans and the cannabis plant very likely ended with our ancient ancestor eating it — our species’ go-to field test for toxicity and nutritional value at the time.

That external application or consumption of raw cannabis hasn’t seen much use throughout modern history, where the psychoactive properties of dried cannabis flowers have been the primary focus. But interest in the medicinal properties in raw cannabinoids — THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) and CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) — is now seeing a resurgence as more and more people explore and embrace the vast untapped potential of cannapharmacology.

Read more at Cannabis Now

Federal Agency Stops Asking If Medical Marijuana Is Real

Earlier this month, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) updated its web page on medical marijuana. The change is subtle, but significant.

For several years, NIDA’s primer on medical cannabis started with a fundamental question: “Is marijuana medicine?” before diving into the ensuing discussion. The conclusion one could draw, without reading a word further, was that nobody was really sure one way or the other; the question was an open one.

Since then, a majority of states across the country have gone ahead and answered with a resounding “Yes.”

Read more at High Times

The Age of the Mass—Against Your Consent—Drug Test

Even if you refuse to pee in a cup and never submit to a drug test in your life, authorities can still check your effluvia for drugs, as a recent episode in Auckland, New Zealand has demonstrated.

Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city—and Auckland has a serious methamphetamine problem. No citizen can deny it: They’ve provided the evidence, currently flowing underneath them through the city’s sewers. 

Auckland has more than 1.6 million people. Drug-testing each and every one of them would be a titanic undertaking (as well as a mass invasion of privacy), but researchers at Massey University hit upon a way to test everyone’s pee without having them pee into 1.6 million individual cups. Researchers went instead to the city’s two wastewater treatment plants, where wastewater was tested for evidence of 17 illegal drugs—excluding cannabis, but including codeine, cocaine and meth.

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Puff, Puff, Pass: New Vaccine Could Help Herpes-Suffering Stoners

Communal joints and blunts have long been a pillar of the weed tradition, and even if you grew away from them toward bongs and pipes, there is always the memories of rolling and passing blunts late at night with friends. You probably also remember the negative side—a wet blunt from someone’s lips, passed around to multiple people, accumulates and spreads germs.

Generally, we assume there’s low risk here—sure, you might catch the sniffles that your buddy has been nursing for a week or two, but that’s a low risk compared to the high return of friendship and camaraderie. However, there’s a more sinister risk lurking beneath your friends’ skin: oral herpes.

“If you have oral herpes and a cut on your lip, you could easily spread the disease by sharing blunts or joints,” said Dr. Carolyn Cegielski, a gastroenterologist from Mississippi.

Read more at High Times

Feed Your Head

Music and marijuana — The neuroscience of listening.

Marijuana and music have a longer history together than peanut butter and jelly. But does modern science actually support this pairing? It turns out that while there is no conclusive evidence cannabis can make you a better musician, a growing body of neuroscience now suggests it helps with musical appreciation.

A number of studies, many from Canada and the UK, have measured the the brain changes occurring when someone tokes up. A mild blurring of senses is one such effect found in a 2011 study, which showed modulations in brain function areas that process auditory and visual stimuli. Known as synesthesia, this phenomenon can lead cannabis users to visualize sound.

Read more at Cannabis Now