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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Tue, 06 Mar 2018 04:20:21 PST

Study: Inhaled Cannabis Augments Analgesic Efficacy Of Opiates

New York, NY: The co-administration of inhaled cannabis and sub-therapeutic doses of oxycodone produces enhanced analgesic effects in human subjects, according to clinical trial data published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

A team of investigators from the United States and Australia assessed the efficacy of inhaled cannabis and low doses of oxycodone on experimentally-induced pain in a double-blind, placebo-controlled model. Researchers assessed subjects' pain tolerance after receiving both substances separately or in concert with one another.

While neither the administration of cannabis nor oxycodone alone significantly mitigated subjects' pain, the combined administration of both drugs did so effectively. Authors determined, "Both active cannabis and a low dose of oxycodone (2.5 mg) were sub-therapeutic, failing to elicit analgesia on their own; however, when administered together, pain responses ... were significantly reduced, pointing to the opioid-sparing effects of cannabis."

They concluded, "Smoked cannabis combined with an ineffective analgesic dose of oxycodone produced analgesia comparable to an effective opioid analgesic dose without significantly increasing cannabis's abuse liability."

The findings are similar to those of a 2011 clinical trial determining that vaporized cannabis interacts synergistically with opioids to induce pain relief and therefore "may allow for opioid treatment at lower doses with fewer side effects."

In jurisdictions where marijuana is legally available, patients frequently acknowledge reducing their use of conventional medications, particularly opioids and benzodiazepines, after engaging in cannabis therapy.

Full text of the study, "Impact of co-administration of oxycodone and smoked cannabis on analgesia and abuse liability," appears in Neuropsychopharmacology.

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging Federal Marijuana Prohibition

New York, NY: A federal district court judge in Manhattan on Monday granted the government's motion to dismiss a lawsuit that sought to challenge the constitutionality of cannabis' prohibited status under federal law.

Presiding Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein opined in a 20-page ruling that the plaintiffs lacked any "fundamental right" to use cannabis as a medicine, and that they had failed to exhaust all potential administrative remedies available prior to challenging the constitutionality of the federal law in court. "Judicial economy is not served through a collateral proceeding of this kind that seeks to undercut the regulatory machinery on the Executive Branch and the process of judicial review in the Court of Appeals," he ruled.

With regard to the question of whether the plaintiffs legitimately benefited from cannabis therapy, the judge argued that the merits of this claim were beyond the scope of the court. "Plaintiffs' amended complaint, which I must accept as true for the purpose of this motion, claims that the use of medical marijuana has, quite literally, saved their lives," he wrote. "I highlight plaintiffs' experience to emphasize that this decision should not be understood as a factual finding that marijuana lacks any medical use in the United States, for the authority to make that determination is vested in the administrative process." He added, "Even if marijuana has current medical uses, I cannot say that Congress acted irrationally in placing marijuana in Schedule I."

Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case have said that they plan to appeal the ruling.

Text of Judge Hellerstein's ruling is available online.

Meta-Analysis: Studies Refute Claims That Medical Cannabis Access Encourages Teen Use

New York, NY: The enactment of statewide laws regulating the use and distribution of cannabis for medical purposes is not associated with increased marijuana use among young people, according to a review of relevant studies published online ahead of print in the journal Addiction.

Investigators from Columbia University, the RAND Corporation, the University of California at Davis, and the Boston School of Public Health reviewed 11 studies developed from four ongoing national surveys. The studies were published between the years 1991 and 2014. None of the studies identified any significant changes in youth use patterns that could be attributable to changes in marijuana's legal status.

Authors concluded: "[A]ll estimates of pre-post changes in past-month marijuana use within MML (medical marijuana law) states from these studies were non-significant. ... In summary, current evidence does not support the hypothesis that MML passage is associated with increased marijuana use prevalence among adolescents in states that have passed such laws."

One of the study's senior authors, Dr. Deborah Hasin, further stated in an accompanying press release, "For now, there appears to be no basis for the argument that legalizing medical marijuana has increased teens' use of the drug."

The findings are consistent with those of numerous prior studies, including a federally funded 2015 study published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry that assessed marijuana use patterns of over one-million adolescents in 48 states. That paper concluded, [C]oncerns that increased marijuana use is an unintended effect of state marijuana laws seem unfounded."

Separate studies report that teens' use of marijuana and access to cannabis have declined significantly over the better part of the past two decades - during the same time that the majority of states enacted medical marijuana access programs. Data from states that regulate the adult use and sale of cannabis similarly fail to report any associated uptick in either youth use or marijuana access.

Full text of the study, "Medical marijuana laws and adolescent marijuana use in the United States: A systematic review and meta-analysis," appears in Addiction.

San Diego: County Officials Move To Dismiss Thousands Of Past Marijuana Convictions

San Diego, CA: County officials in recent weeks have either reduced or vacated the convictions of several hundred past cannabis offenders. Their actions are similar to those recently announced by the district attorney's offices of San Francisco and Alameda County, both of which are in the process of reviewing and dismissing thousands of past marijuana convictions.

According to media reports, San Diego county officials have already taken steps to either reduce or dismiss an estimated 700 past convictions. Another 4,000 cases are awaiting action. County officials are also seeking relief for several offenders currently incarcerated for marijuana-related violations.

"We want to be pro-active," said county interim district attorney Summer Stephan. "It's clear to us that the law was written to allow this relief, and it's important that we give full effect to the will of the people, especially for those immediately affected."

Provisions in the state's 2016 voter-approved marijuana law allow those with past marijuana convictions to petition the court for expungement. Legislation is pending in the California Assembly, AB 1793, to make this process automatic for anyone with an eligible past cannabis conviction.

For more information visit California NORML.

Study: Cannabis Use Associated With Immunological Benefits In HIV Patients

Seattle, WA: Cannabis use in patients with HIV is associated with reduced inflammation and immunological benefits, according to clinical data published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Investigators from the University of Washington, Seattle and the University of California, San Francisco assessed the impact of cannabis use on immune cell frequency, activation, and function in 198 HIV-infected patients.

Authors reported: "[W]e found that heavy cannabis use ... in HIV-infected, ART-treated individuals was associated with lower frequencies of activated CD4 and CD8 T cells compared to frequencies of these cells in non-cannabis using individuals. This novel finding is important given that elevated levels of T-cell activation have been associated with lower CD4 T-cell gains following ART (anti-retroviral therapy) and with mortality in this population."

They concluded, "[O]ur work suggests that cannabinoids may have an immunological benefit in the context of HIV infection, as lowering the frequency of activated T cells could limit the risk of development of non-AIDS-associated comorbidities."

Full text of the study, "Cannabis use associated with reductions in activated and inflammatory immune cell frequencies in anti-retroviral therapy-treated human immunodeficiency infected individuals," appears in Clinical Infectious Diseases. Additional studies assessing the safety and efficacy of cannabis in patients with HIV/AIDS is available online.

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