Thousands Of UK Patients Will Be Given Cannabis In Groundbreaking Study

The UK’s first large-scale cannabis study and biggest marijuana health investigation in European history has been announced, raising hopes that many of the country’s health professionals will finally be swayed on the efficacy of the drug for use in treating seven different health conditions.

Substance reform organization Drug Science is administering the investigation, which is called Project TWENTY21. Neuropsychopharmacologist David Nutt, previously of the University of Bristol, will be in charge of the study, which will examine cannabis’ effects on chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, anxiety disorder, and substance abuse.

Earlier this year, media reports found that many UK hospitals were refusing to recommend medical cannabis based on “the risk of serious side effects.” Pain management clinic staff members were quoted saying, “We would welcome high-quality studies into the use of cannabis-based medicinal products for pain treatment.”

All the more reason to be excited about the Project TWENTY21 study, which will fund medical cannabis treatment for 20,000 patients by the end of 2021. The project has previously announced that it will be doing work in the fields of prison population harm reduction and the use of cannabis as a counterweight to drug addiction.

 

“I believe cannabis is going to be the most important innovation in medicine for the rest of my life,” commented Nutt. “There are children who have died in this country in the last couple of years because they haven’t had access to cannabis. It’s outrageous, it’s unnecessary and we want to rectify it.”

Although Health England has been extremely slow to endorse cannabis as medication, Project TWENTY21 has the co-sign of the British Pain Society, United Patients Alliance, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

“The College welcomes this pilot project which it hopes will make an important contribution towards addressing the paucity of evidence for the use of cannabis-based medicinal products,” commented the institution’s president Wendy Burn.

“We hope that this project, along with other research such as more much-needed [randomized] control trials, will continue to build the evidence on [cannabis-based medicinal products],” she continued.

Cannabis in the UK

It’s not the only cannabis study being conducted in the UK. University of Westminster researchers recently released the results of an investigation that concluded CBD could be a useful tool in the fight against antibiotics resistance, which currently costs the lives of some 5,000 people in England every year, according to the country’s public health agency.

Medical cannabis has been legal in the UK since October 2018. But the issue of medical marijuana has been of much debate in the country, its urgency exacerbated by the mounting problem of opioid addiction.

A prime motivator in the case of Great Britain has been the drug’s efficacy when it comes to sick kids. Young people like eight-year-old epilepsy patient Alfie Dingley and five-year-old Indie-Rose Montgomery, whose cannabis oil to treat her seizures was confiscated at London Stansted Airport in July, have shown the public how the issue is affecting fellow Brits.

 

By The Green Miles Buds

Trump Wants To Raise The Purchasing Age Of Vape Products To 21

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Friday his administration will pursue raising the age to purchase electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21 in its upcoming plans to combat youth vaping.

Trump told reporters his administration will release its final plans for restricting e-cigarettes next week but provided few other details.

“We have to take care of our kids, most importantly, so we’re going to have an age limit of 21 or so,” said Trump, speaking outside the White House.

Currently the minimum age to purchase any tobacco or vaping product is 18, under federal law. But more than one third of U.S. states have already raised their sales age to 21..

Administration officials were widely expected to release plans this week for removing virtually all flavored e-cigarettes from the market. Those products are blamed for soaring rates of underage use by U.S. teenagers.

However, no details have yet appeared, leading vaping critics to worry that the administration is backing away from its original plan.

Trump resisted any specifics on the scope of the restrictions.

“We’re talking about the age, we’re talking about flavors, we’re also talking about keeping people working — there are some pretty good aspects,” Trump said.

Underage vaping has reached what health officials call epidemic levels. In the latest government survey, 1 in 4 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the previous month.

Fruit, candy, dessert and other sweet vaping flavors have been targeted because of their appeal to underage users.

On Thursday, Juul Labs, the nation’s largest e-cigarette maker, announced it would voluntarily pull its mint-flavored e-cigarettes from the market. That decision followed new research that Juul’s mint is the top choice for many high school students who vape.

With the removal of mint, Juul only sells two flavors: tobacco and menthol.

Vaping critics say menthol must be a part of the flavor ban to prevent teens who currently use mint from switching over.

Juul and other tobacco companies have lobbied in support a federal “Tobacco 21” law to reverse teen use of both e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco products. The effort also has broad bipartisan support in Congress, including a bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The logic for hiking the purchase age for cigarettes and other products is clear: most underage teens who use e-cigarettes or tobacco get it from older friends. Raising the minimum age to 21 is expected to limit the supply of those products in U.S. schools.

Delaying access to cigarettes is also expected to produce major downstream health benefits, with one government-funded report estimating nearly 250,000 fewer deaths due to tobacco over several decades.

Still, anti-tobacco groups have insisted that any “Tobacco 21” law must be accompanied by a ban on flavors, which they say are the primary reason young people use e-cigarettes.

By Johnny Evans 

Marijuana Legalization In Illinois Won’t Apply To People Living In Public Housing

Once again, a major failing in the current model of state-by-state marijuana legalization has been exposed. In Chicago, the public housing agency has released a memo clarifying that residents may not partake in the state’s soon-to-be-legal cannabis industry in the comfort of their homes.

Chicago Housing Authority, which is the third largest agency of its kind in the country with over 20,000 households in its system, had this to say in a communication sent to housing voucher recipients:

“While federal law prohibits marijuana use and possession in federally subsidized housing, the CHA is working to educate and inform residents so they understand all applicable laws related to cannabis and federally-funded housing. The CHA will work with the City of Chicago as it develops rules and regulations in accordance with existing state and federal laws in order to ensure a safe and responsible implementation of legalized cannabis in Chicago on January 1, 2020.”

The memo was a reminder of an issue that has plagued many of the five million public housing residents across the country, of whom one quarter are disabled and 35 percent are elderly. Since many such programs are federally funded, federal law applies to the properties. That means residents can be evicted for consuming state-legal cannabis, even if they have been approved as medical marijuana patients.

Residents Face Evictions

Such regulations can be disastrous, particularly for public housing residents whose age or health condition leave them with limited mobility, and echoes similar restrictions on residents of federally subsidized nursing homes. In upstate New York, an elderly man was evicted from his public housing after authorities discovered he had been taking medicinal marijuana for his chronic pain condition. 78-year-old John Flickner wound up in a homeless shelter, even though he has a New York medical cannabis card.

A similar incident took place in California’s Humboldt County, where a woman and her teenage daughter were evicted after a maintenance worker discovered a small bag of the woman’s medicinal marijuana in their apartment. That woman’s lawsuit against the federal government over the matter was dismissed by a judge this summer.

The issue has not gone unchallenged in Washington, D.C. U.S. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced the latest bill that would permit medical marijuana use in public housing this spring. She presented a similar proposal during the last session that did not make it out of committee.

“Individuals living in federally funded housing should not fear eviction simply for treating their medical conditions or for seeking a substance legal in their state,” Norton commented upon bringing up the legislation earlier this year.

Illinois will become the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana on January 1, after Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the legislation into effect in June. It is estimated that cannabis sales could pull $250 million in tax revenue by 2022.

The legislation has a special focus on social equity programs, and will prioritize business applications from entrepreneurs hailing from communities negatively affected by the War on Drugs as well as facilitate the expungement of thousands of past cannabis-related crimes.

This summer, the state’s medical cannabis program also underwent an expansion that added 11 new qualifying conditions for patients and guaranteed the permanent status of the system, among other changes.