American Legion Resolves In Support Of Expanding Veterans' Access to Medicinal Cannabis
Washington, DC: The American Legion, the nation's largest wartime veterans service organization, has adopted a resolution calling on federal officials to expand veterans' access to medical marijuana.
The resolution, passed last week at the Legion's annual convention, urges the "United States government to permit V.A. medical providers to be able to discuss with veterans the use of marijuana for medical purposes and recommend it in those states where medical marijuana laws exist."
The language is similar to pending legislation in Congress, H.R. 1820: The Veterans Equal Access Act. In July, members of the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 24 to 7 to include similar language as an amendment to the 2018 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. Identical language in the House was blocked from consideration by House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX).
Last year, majorities in both the US House and Senate voted to include similar language as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 MilCon-VA bill. However, Republicans sitting on the House Appropriations Committee elected to remove the language from the bill during a concurrence vote.
Federal policy prohibits V.A. doctors - including those residing in legal medical cannabis states - from providing the paperwork necessary to complete a recommendation, thus forcing military veterans to seek the advice of a private, out-of-network physician.
Both the American Legion and AMVETS issued public calls last year in support of federal marijuana law reforms. Veterans are increasingly turning to medical cannabis as an effective alternative to opioids and other conventional medications to treat conditions like chronic pain and post-traumatic stress.
FDA Seeking Public Comments With Regard To Cannabidiol
Washington, DC: The US Food and Drug Administration is soliciting public comments with regard to the therapeutic utility and abuse liability of various substances, including cannabidiol (CBD). The agency will consider these comments prior to preparing a formal response to the World Health Organization, which is considering placing the substances within their international drug scheduling code.
Cannabidiol is defined by the US Drug Enforcement Administration as a schedule I controlled substance, despite its therapeutic properties and lack of abuse potential. Seventeen states explicitly recognize CBD as a therapeutic agent by statute. Safety trials have determined the substance to be non-toxic and well-tolerated in human subjects and even the head of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse has publicly acknowledged that CBD is "a safe drug with no addictive effects."
Those wishing to share their comments with the FDA may do so here.
The agency is accepting public comments on this topic until September 13, 2017.
Study: No Link Between Cumulative Cannabis Use And Kidney Disease
San Francisco, CA: Neither current nor the long-term cumulative use of cannabis is associated with negative effects on the kidneys, according to longitudinal data published online ahead of print in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Investigators at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco assessed the impact of past and current marijuana use over a ten-year period on estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) - a screening measurement used in the early detection of kidney damage.
Authors reported, "[O]ur findings did not demonstrate a longitudinal association between marijuana use and eGFR change, rapid eGFR decline, or prevalent albuminuria (the presence of albumin in the urine, typically as a symptom of kidney disease)."
Full text of the study, "Marijuana use and estimated glomerular filtration rate in young adults," appears in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Review: Marijuana Use Associated With Reduced Mortality
South Bend, IN: Marijuana use is associated with reduced rates of obesity, diabetes, opioid abuse, and other conditions that may lead to premature mortality, according to a scholarly review paper published by the biology department chair at the University of Indiana, South Bend.
According to the review, an estimated 23,500 to 47,500 premature deaths could be prevented annually if marijuana was legally regulated nationwide.
An abstract of the paper, "Cannabis use is associated with a substantial reduction in premature deaths in the United States," appears online.