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 

Louisiana’s Medical Marijuana Patients Are Finding Costs of Cannabis Too High

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Three months after medical marijuana became available in Louisiana, doctors and clinics say some patients are finding the cost for therapeutic cannabis too high for treatment, pricing them out of a medication they waited years to obtain.

Nine pharmacies dispense medicinal-grade pot and set their individual prices. Dispensary owners say their charges reflect an industry with startup charges, small patient numbers and lengthy regulatory hurdles to meet.

In August, Louisiana became the first Deep South state — and one of more than 30 states nationwide — to dispense medical marijuana, four years after state lawmakers agreed to give patients access. Now, the state is grappling with the growing pains of a new medical market and a patient group that can’t use health insurance to cover costs.

Kathryn Thomas, CEO of The Healing Clinics, said a third of the medical marijuana patients across its five clinics in Shreveport, Monroe, Baton Rouge, Houma and Lafayette can’t foot the bill for the product.

“They can’t afford ongoing treatment,” Thomas said. “It’s becoming the program for the elite.”

The only cannabis currently available comes in a flavored liquid tincture, a bottle containing a dropper to use. One bottle can range from about $90 to $220, depending on concentration and pharmacy, according to medical marijuana advocates.

Dr. Victor Chou, who has a medical marijuana clinic in Baton Rouge with more than 600 patients, said many of his patients take a dosage of about one bottle per month and are finding relief from chronic conditions. But one-quarter of his patients, Chou said, can’t afford the medication.

“The average chronic pain patients would be spending maybe $1,000 a month at current prices for what they need,” he said.

About 3,500 people have received medical marijuana since the program began, according to the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy. Under state law, Louisiana is allowing cannabis to treat a long list of diseases and disorders, such as cancer, seizure disorders, epilepsy, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder and Parkinson’s disease.

“We’re now working through the real kinks of a startup business and industry,” said Jesse McCormick, with the Louisiana Association for Therapeutic Alternatives representing the nine dispensaries. “They’re just like everybody else out here, trying to stay open and keep the lights on.”

Only the agricultural centers at Louisiana State University and Southern University are authorized to grow medical marijuana.

GB Sciences, LSU’s grower, is the only one currently providing product. John Davis, president of GB Sciences Louisiana, wouldn’t disclose its wholesale prices, but said pharmacies determine their own markups.

McCormick said the pharmacies have higher tax liabilities and banking costs than other businesses, and he said some Louisiana dispensaries built facilities and carried costs for months with no income waiting for cannabis products.

“I finally came up with our prices the night before we opened. It really was based on our expenses and what we had spent and lost, and what we needed to recover in five years,” said Doug Boudreaux, a pharmacist and co-owner of the Shreveport medical marijuana dispensary Hope Pharmacy.

Pharmacies say if they get more patients, prices will go down. They say any addition of new products also will help, such as plans to offer dissolving strips taken by mouth and topical creams.

Doctors and patients hope the addition of a second grower would drive down costs.

Southern’s grower, Ilera Holistic Healthcare, is setting up operations, with plans to have medical marijuana on pharmacy shelves next year. Ilera CEO Chanda Macias said the company will have a manufactured-suggested retail price for products and will stress customer affordability to pharmacies.

Chou’s hopeful the cost difficulties some patients are having will be addressed.

“I want to be clear: there are a lot of people who are getting a really, really good benefit out of this. I have many people who tell me they’ve been totally pain free for the first time in years,” he said.

By Green Miles Buds

How To Stay Elevated In The World Of Cannabis Advertising

Close your eyes and imagine you have just been struck by an entrepreneurial lightning bolt of an idea for a new company. Your keyboard can’t keep up with your fingers as the business plan dances across your laptop’s screen. And as you begin researching the marketing strategy, the typing comes to a grinding halt. That’s because you are writing a business plan for cannabis.

The cannabis space is like the Wild West. I recently attended Hall of Flowers, a free-wheeling weed convention in Northern California that attracts everyone from OG growers to DTC venture capitalists. It’s exciting and wide open. There are booths with brands exhibiting their wares like Big Al’s Exotics, Space Coyote, Hollyweed, Legion of Bloom and my personal favorite, Terp Hogs. It’s a strange blend of a Stanford MBA mixer meets Comic-Con, where half of the attendees are stoned and the other half are euphorically buzzing from the entrepreneurial possibilities of becoming the next big bud brand. THC-infused root beer? Sure. Farm to edible vegan truffles? Great. 500-count pillowcases infused with CBD? Awesome. But a rude awakening awaits on the marketing side of the business. That’s because cannabis brands like Big Al’s Exotics can’t say the word cannabis or even show the product in most ad units.

The global legal marijuana market is rapidly growing, and is projected to break $40 billion by the end of 2024, creating a massive opportunity for entrepreneurs to profit in this rapidly evolving industry. But for advertising agencies, cannabis brands and marijuana dispensaries, marketing brings its own set of problems. FTC regulations, corporate compliance, major tech platforms and decades-old biases restrict what cannabis brands can say and where they can say it.

Let’s start with the big tech platforms. Google, YouTube, Facebook and Instragram’s guidelines all prohibit cannabis advertising. Google’s guidelines prohibit “ads for substances that alter mental state for the purpose of recreation or otherwise induce ‘highs.’” Interestingly, both Facebook and Google do not permit non-psychoactive CBD advertising as well, describing it as “an illegal pharmaceutical,” but “do allow for content to promote the use of CBD and hemp.” Confused? We are just getting started.

How about TV? Not when the FCC is involved. Network and cable stations are regulated by the FCC, which, you guessed it, is a branch of the federal government, which considers possession and distribution of cannabis a felony. The potential exception is at the ZIP code level, where inventory is so small the FCC does not regulate the category. Another potential option is digital TV on closed networks such as hotels, and certain states allow cinema spots during R-rated movies.

OK, so now we may be getting somewhere. We pair limited TV, cinema, radio, outdoor a thousand feet from schools, a cat-and-mouse game of subtle editorial Instagram posts, print and content housed on a hosted YouTube page.

Now, let’s do some killer creative in this awesome emerging space. Remember that local TV buy? The cable company is not letting you say the word cannabis or show the plant. Back in the summer of 2018, my agency Mekanism was given this very brief. MedMen, a Los Angeles-based cannabis retailer, wanted to create the world’s first cannabis TV commercial, but we could not say or show any product sold in their stores. This required some creativity.

In the two-minute film “The New Normal,” directed by Spike Jonze, we open on George Washington standing in his hemp farm, holding up a five-leaf non-psychoactive hemp plant while the voiceover cryptically says that “a president grew his own.” In the first five seconds of the ad, the creatives established a contextual cannabis reference while throwing a head fake at the FCC restrictions.

But 48 hours before it was to air, the spot was banned from appearing on television. Not because we ran afoul of any rules, but because the compliance team at the cable provider simply “felt” that the spot was problematic. No history-making prime time for MedMen. Welcome to the Wild West of cannabis advertising.

So, how do cannabis brands creatively stick it to the man when the Feds, corporate compliance and media obfuscation can harsh the green-rush mellow?

1. Avoid weed tropes in the creative.

Flagrant references to kind nugs, 420 gags and bong water only contribute to compliance’s reefer madness hysteria, so keep the creative clever, well designed and subtle.

2. Lean into earned media ideas.

Unexpected partnerships, smart editorial and celebrity endorsements will complement and elevate impressions above a foundational media plan.

3. Embrace the fundamentals.

Human insights that are informed by smart strategy and data will always spark the big idea.

As a judge for the 2019 Clio Cannabis Awards, I can see how nascent and exciting the category is. It reminds me of the golden age of digital advertising in the early 2000s, when small upstart dot-coms broke through with brilliant creative. We are in a time when nationwide federal regulation, reactionary compliance and corporate cannabis can buzzkill the creative and entrepreneurial spirit. But I’m optimistic that creativity and weed will rise above and we’ll look back at 2020 as the golden age of cannabis advertising.

MEDICAL CANNABIS PRESCRIPTIONS IN CANADA

As medical marijuana continues to blaze its path all throughout Canada and the rest of North America, demand for its products and accessories continue to grow. Recent waves of legalization have opened up new opportunities for patients who have long been suffering from various illnesses and disorders of all types. CBD hemp treatments have shown great promise and effectiveness in helping people with a broad range of issues.

Not only has this form of therapy become a popular agent for physical problems such as chronic pain, insomnia, and fibromyalgia, as well as the side effects from cancer treatments, it has also been effective in treating neurological conditions including Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. And that’s not all; psychological disorders such as Anorexia, ADHD, and bulimia, have been shown to respond well to medical cannabis prescriptions, as have even some emotional conditions like depression and anxiety.

The first step to beginning this course of therapy is to apply for and receive approval for a medical marijuana prescription. The process is not a difficult one, but it needs to be done correctly all the way from filling out the paperwork accurately and sending it to the proper agencies which handle the applications, to having the medical professional’s recommendation for this type of treatment for your condition.

Obtaining a Prescription

The first thing that is needed before you have your initial consultation regarding medicinal cannabis therapy and whether or not it is the right choice for you, is a copy of your medical file and treatment history. This can be acquired by a simple request to your current personal or family physician. Often times patients may be hesitant or nervous about asking for such a document for fear of having to answer a bunch of questions or justify their request. There is no need to feel this way.

 

These are your records concerning your body. You have a legal right to access them at any time without providing any reason or further information regarding why you need them. The worst case scenario is that your doctor might require a written, formal request for the purposes of record keeping. Other than that, you should face no further issues. While this is not necessary if your primary physician is the one you will be consulting with regard to the possibility of medical cannabis treatments, for people seeking other opinions these files will be necessary.

Working with Specialty Clinics and Doctors

It can be advantageous to partner up with health facilities that specialize in this form of therapy as their superior knowledge in the field, and access to larger varieties of specific strains can be much more helpful when deciding which particular medication would be best for your condition(s). For medical practitioners who offer CBD products as only one of many options, their lack of expertise can often times result in an inefficient treatment program.

Filling Your Prescription

As previously mentioned, this is another advantage of working with one of the specialized health and wellness centres whose doctors and staff focus solely on medical cannabis. In addition to the fact that many of them have years of experience studying various medical conditions and how different individual strains work to treat and manage each symptom, they also have access to Licensed Providers which offer a higher quality grade of medicines than are available in retail outlets and dispensaries.

In addition to the fact that these clinics take the guesswork out of which strands to purchase for the patient, they also continue to work with them all throughout the course of the treatment, monitoring their progress and making any changes or adjustments that may be necessary, such as trying different prescriptions or adjusting the dosage based on the individual’s evolving needs.