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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
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- Wed, 15 Mar 2017 04:20:21 PST

Medical Marijuana Legalization Associated With Fewer Opioid-Related Hospitalizations

San Diego, CA: The enactment of statewide legislation permitting medical cannabis access by qualified patients is associated with a reduction in opioid-related hospitalization, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

A researcher from the University of California at San Diego assessed the association between medical cannabis laws and hospitalizations related to opioid pain relievers. The author reported both immediate and longer-term reductions in opioid-related hospitalization following changes in law.

"This study demonstrated significant reductions on OPR- (opioid pain reliever) related hospitalizations associated with the implementation of medical marijuana policies. ... We found reductions in OPR-related hospitalizations immediately after the year of policy implementation as well as delayed reductions in the third post-policy year."

The author also dismissed contentions that liberalized marijuana laws were associated with any subsequent increase in marijuana-related hospital admissions, concluding: "While the interpretation of the results should remain cautious, this study suggested that medical marijuana policies were not associated with marijuana-related hospitalizations. Instead, the policies were unintendedly associated with substantial reductions in OPR related hospitalizations."

The findings are consistent with those of other studies reporting that medical cannabis legalization is associated with lower rates of opioid abuse, mortality, and prescription drug spending.

Full text of the study, "Medical marijuana policies and hospitalizations related to marijuana and opioid pain reliever," appears in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.


Israeli Cabinet Endorses Marijuana Decriminalization Plan

Jerusalem, Israel: Israeli lawmakers have signed off on legislation decriminalizing offenses involving the possession of personal use quantities of marijuana.

Under the new policy, first and second time possession offenders will face a fine, but no criminal penalties.

"The Cabinet approval is an important step on the way to implementing the new policy that will put emphasis on explaining and treating rather than on criminal enforcement," explained Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.

The medical production and distribution of cannabis for medical purposes is already legally permitted in Israel as part of a program governed by the Ministry of Health. About 25,000 Israelis receive medical marijuana as part of this program.


Study: CBD-Dominant Cannabis Extracts Reduce Seizure Frequency

Falmouth, ME: The administration of whole-plant cannabis extracts rich in the cannabinoid cannabidol (CBD) is associated with reduced seizure frequency in patients with refractory epilepsy, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior.

Researchers performed a retrospective chart review of the clinical records of 272 patients who were taking whole-plant CBD extracts.

Eighty-six percent of those treated observed some clinical benefit (a reduction in seizure frequency) while ten percent experienced a complete clinical response. The remaining patients were either not responsive to treatment or reported an exacerbation of seizures during therapy.

Beneficial side effects, such as improved mood, better sleep quality, and increased appetite were reported.

"The cannabinoids' novel mechanisms of action are an attractive consideration for possible seizure control," authors concluded. "In patients with refractory epilepsy that have a low likelihood of responding to a subsequent AED (anti-epileptic drug), a trial of artisanal cannabis formulas may be indicated."

Full text of the study, "The current status of artisanal cannabis for the treatment of epilepsy in the United States," appears in Epilepsy & Behavior. Additional data regarding the efficacy of cannabinoids as anticonvulsants appears in NORML's library.


Pennsylvania: Auditor General Says State Lawmakers Should Regulate The Marijuana Market

Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania's auditor general on Monday publicly advocated for the legalization and taxation of retail marijuana sales, arguing that such a policy would bring new jobs and tax revenue to the state.

Speaking at a news conference at the state capitol, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said: "The regulation and taxation of the marijuana train has rumbled out of the station, and it is time to add a stop in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I make this recommendation because it is a more sane policy to deal with a critical issue facing the state. Other states are already taking advantage of the opportunity for massive job creation and savings from reduced arrests and criminal prosecutions. In addition, it would generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year that could help tackle Pennsylvania's budget problems."

However, Gov. Tom Wolf said that state lawmakers should not go forward with regulating the adult use marijuana market at this time. Instead, he expressed support for decriminalizing the possession and personal use of the plant.


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