Cenedella.de

Patient Advocate since 1977.


Leave a comment

The Five Biggest Marijuana Myths and How To Debunk Them – by Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and a Senior Policy Advisor at Freedom Leaf

MYTH 1: Legal Cannabis Is Responsible for the Opioid Epidemic

Recent claims by the Trump administration that marijuana use is leading to the alarming rise in opioid abuse are not supported by the available evidence. In reality, numerous studies have found just the opposite.

Specifically, researchers have linked legal marijuana access to lower rates of opioid use and of hospitalization and mortality from it. A 2016 study by the University of Michiganreported that chronic-pain patients reduced their opioid use by 64% when cannabis became available.

In Israel, researchers found similar results in a cohort of patients with treatment-resistant pain, reporting a 44% reduction in participants’ opioid consumption after medical cannabis was introduced. That substitution can result in saved lives. In March, the authors noted in Drug and Alcohol Dependence that medical-marijuana legalization was associated with significant reductions in opioid-related hospitalizations.

Similarly, a 2014 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine determined that legalizing medical cannabis is associated with a reduction of as much as 33% in deaths attributable to the use of prescription opiates and heroin.

marijuana mythsMYTH 2: Consuming Marijuana Lowers Intelligence

The source of this often-repeated claim is a 2012 longitudinal study by Madeline Meier and colleagues that associated the persistent use of cannabis prior to age 18 with lower IQ in middle age. However, a separate review of that data, published in the same journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, , disputed any direct link between cannabis use and declining IQ. It argued that Meier’s team had failed to properly control for potential confounding factors, such as subjects’ socio-economic status. After accounting for those variables, the author theorized that the true effect of early-onset cannabis use on IQ “could be zero.”

More recent longitudinal studies also dismiss the notion that cannabis use impairs IQ. A 2016 British study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology assessed IQ and educational performance among a cohort of 2,235 marijuana-using teens and non-users. “[T]he notion that cannabis use itself is causally related to lower IQ and poorer educational performance was not supported in this large teenage sample,” the authors concluded.

In 2015, researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Minnesota evaluated whether marijuana use was associated with changes in intellectual performance in two cohorts of adolescent twins. Participants were assessed for intelligence at ages nine to 12, before they had any involvement with marijuana, and again at ages 17 to 20. Investigators found no dose-response relationship between cannabis use and IQ decline. They also saw no significant differences in performance between marijuana-using subjects and their non-using twins.

“In the largest longitudinal examination of marijuana use and IQ change… we find little evidence to suggest that adolescent marijuana use has a direct effect on intellectual decline,” they concluded. “[T]he lack of a dose-response relationship and an absence of meaningful differences between discordant siblings lead us to conclude that the deficits observed in marijuana users are attributable to confounding factors that influence both substance initiation and IQ rather than a neurotoxic effect of marijuana.”

marijuana myths freedom leafMYTH 3: Cannabis Smoke Exposure Is More Damaging to the Lungs Than Tobacco Smoke

While some studies have linked chronic marijuana-smoke exposure to higher instances of cough, phlegm and bronchitis, science has refuted claims that cannabis inhalation causes the sort of serious respiratory diseases commonly associated with smoking tobacco.

Specifically, the largest case-controlled study ever to investigate the respiratory effects of marijuana-smoking reported that it was not associated with lung-related cancers, even among subjects who reported smoking more than 22,000 joints over their lifetimes.

“We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use,” the study’s lead researcher, UCLA pulmonologist Dr. Donald Tashkin, stated in 2006. “What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect” among marijuana-smokers—who had lower incidences of cancer than non-users.

Cannabis consumers can mitigate their exposure to the toxic gases produced by burning plant matter by using a vaporizer, which heats marijuana flowers to a point where cannabinoid vapors form, but below the point of combustion. Clinical studies assessing vaporization report that these devices all but eliminate subjects’ potential exposure to gaseous toxins and are “an effective and apparently safe vehicle for THC delivery.”

marijuana myths freedom leafMYTH 4: States with Regulated Marijuana Markets Experience Surges in Violence

Contrary to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ claim that “there’s more violence around marijuana than one would think,” states that license the production and distribution of marijuana have not seen an uptick in violent crime. In fact, many jurisdictions have had less violent crime since legalization.

2014 study published by researchers at the University of Texas reported that the enactment of “medical-marijuana laws precedes a reduction in homicide and assault…. In sum, these findings run counter to arguments suggesting the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes poses a danger to public health in terms of exposure to violent crime and property crimes.”

A 2012 federally funded study published by UCLA researchers also reported that the proliferation of medical-cannabis retailers in urban areas “was not associated with violent-crime or property-crime rates.” It speculated that the dispensaries might actually reduce neighborhood crime, since many hire their own door security, have security cameras and take other steps to deter would-be criminals.

Data from states that regulate recreational marijuana sales yield similar results. In Washington, after voters legalized adult use in 2012, violent crime declined 10% statewide. In Colorado, which legalized adult use the same year, rates of violent crime and property crime dropped in Denver afterwards. Crime rates have similarly decreased in Portland, Ore., according to the libertarian Cato Institute. (Oregon legalized adult use in 2014.) Overall, Cato’s researchers concluded that concerns about legalization leading to more crime have largely been exaggerated.

marijuana myths freedom leafMYTH 5: Cannabis Legalization Is Linked to a Rise in Traffic Fatalities

While some studies have found that THC-positive only drivers have a slightly higher risk of motor-vehicle accidents than drug-free drivers, it’s still significantly lower than the risk of accidents associated with driving after consuming alcohol. According to a study of 2,000 fatal crashes published in Injury Epidemiology in March, drivers who tested positive for alcohol were more than 10 times likely to have an accident than drivers who tested positive for THC. (Drivers who tested positive for both were more than 15 times as likely.)

Most importantly, data from states that have liberalized marijuana’s legal status show no uptick in motor-vehicle crashes. “[O]n average, medical-marijuana law states had lower traffic fatality rates than non-MML states,” researchers at Columbia University reported in the December 2016 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. “Medical-marijuana laws are associated with reductions in traffic fatalities, particularly pronounced among those aged 25 to 44…. It’s possible that this is related to lower alcohol-impaired driving behavior in MML-states.”

A 2011 assessment of traffic-fatality data from Colorado yielded a similar conclusion: Legal medical marijuana was “associated with a nearly 9% decrease in traffic fatalities, most likely due to its impact on alcohol consumption.”

In March, a Congressional Research Service report, “The Marijuana Policy Gap and the Path Forward,” concluded that there was “no trend identified in the percentage of drivers testing positive for marijuana,” either by itself or in combination with other drugs/alcohol, “for those involved in traffic fatalities and who were tested for drugs or alcohol” in Washington state after legalization. A similar review of motor-vehicle crash data by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, issued in December 2016, noted that the “risk of crashes while driving under the influence of THC is lower than drunk driving.”

If you enjoyed this Freedom Leaf article, subscribe to the magazine today!

About Paul Armentano

Paul Armentano is the Deputy Director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and a Senior Policy Advisor at Freedom Leaf. He also serves on the faculty of Oaksterdam University. Mr. Armentano’s writing and research on marijuana policy have appeared in well over 750 publications, scholarly and/or peer-reviewed journals, as well as in more than two dozen textbooks and anthologies. He is the co-author of the book Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? (2009, Chelsea Green), which has been licensed and translated internationally, and more recently, The Citizens’ Guide to State-by-State Marijuana Laws (Whitman Books, 2015). Mr. Armentano is the 2013 Freedom Law School Health Freedom Champion of the Year and the 2013 Alfred R. Lindesmith award recipient in the achievement in the field of scholarship.

Visit My Website

67


Leave a comment

Leafly Launches German-Language Edition

Leafly German

Leafly.de is a medical cannabis information resource and knowledge portal

BERLIN–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Leafly, the world’s cannabis information resource, has arrived in Germany with the launch of www.Leafly.de, a German-language medical cannabis information resource and knowledge portal. The new German-language version of Leafly capitalizes on the expertise Leafly has cultivated over the past seven years as the world’s most visited cannabis website. As one of Leafly’s most prominent international ventures to date, Leafly.de formalizes Leafly’s commitment to providing reliable, accessible information about cannabis to people in Germany and around the world.

Leafly’s arrival in Germany was celebrated this week at a launch event in Berlin. Medical cannabis patients and representatives from the media joined Leafly’s editorial team to participate in a lively exchange on the topic of medical cannabis. Leafly’s inaugural German-language editorial team includes a range of healthcare experts, including science journalists, researchers, and a doctor. The launch of Leafly.de follows Leafly’s appearance at Berlin’s annual Hanfparade last year. Hanfparade is the largest pro-cannabis and hemp event in Germany that has taken place every year since 1997.

Leafly is the world’s leading cannabis website and mobile application, generating more than 12 million unique visits per month and more than 60 million page views. Approximately 70 percent of Leafly’s traffic comes from the United States and 30 percent originates from international destinations, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. With the launch of Leafly.de, Leafly is now available in English, Spanish, French, and German.

Leafly.de initially will focus on several subject areas of immediate concern to medical cannabis patients and their healthcare providers. Visitors to the site can learn more about Germany’s recent medical cannabis reforms, how those changes affect them, and how they can become medical cannabis patients. News and analysis regarding medical cannabis laws and the supply of licensed cannabis-derived medicines will also be covered. In addition, Leafly.de will serve as a guide for doctors, pharmacists, and other medical professionals to learn more about the medical use of cannabis for conditions such as chronic pain.

Leafly.de taps into Leafly’s global coverage of cannabis science, medicine, and patient trends. Visitors will find the latest scientific research, patient surveys, and breaking news. The site also features a comprehensive cannabis dictionary featuring information from the anatomy of the cannabis plant to breaking policy news in Germany. The depth of Leafly’s expertise is why millions of people around the world visit Leafly every month for cannabis news and information.

Visit http://www.Leafly.de for more information.

About Leafly

As the world’s largest cannabis information resource, Leafly’s mission is to help patients and consumers make informed choices about cannabis and to empower cannabis businesses to attract and retain loyal customers through advertising and technology services. Learn more at http://www.leafly.com or download the five-star rated Leafly mobile app through Apple’s App Store or Google Play.

Original press release: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170512005681/en/Leafly-Launches-German-Language-Edition

 


Leave a comment

Why is Big Pharma fighting Medical Marijuana so hard? A new report published in Health Affairs found that if all states had legalized medical cannabis in 2014, Medicaid could have saved $1 billion in spending on prescriptions…could be one of the reasons.

If all states had had a medical marijuana law in 2014, we estimated that total savings for fee-for-service Medicaid could have been $1.01 billion. 

I write about retail and cannabis.

A new report published in Health Affairs found that if all states had legalized medical marijuana in 2014, Medicaid could have saved $1 billion in spending on prescriptions.

The study by Ashley C. Bradford and W. David Bradford examined whether states with medical marijuana laws saw changes for prescription drugs among Medicare Part D enrollees. Their analysis covered data between 2007 to 2014 and found that patients did indeed substitute medical marijuana for FDA-approved prescription drugs in these states.

“Total estimated Medicaid savings associated with these laws ranged from $260.8 million in 2007 to $475.8 million in 2014,” the study states. Granted this is only 2% of the total Medicaid drug spending for 2014, which was $23.9 billion, but it is still substantial savings. The Bradfords estimate that if all states had legalized medical marijuana in 2014, “The national savings for fee-for-service Medicaid would have been approximately $1.01 billion.” This works out to an average per state savings of $19.825 million a year.

However, only 26% of Medicaid customers are enrolled in the fee-for-service program. The study notes that if they applied their analysis equally to Medicaid managed care, then the savings could jump to a whopping $3.89 billion. Again, this is only if all states legalized medical marijuana.

Granted the savings are mostly enjoyed by private insurers that run the plans, but the Bradfords suggest that state governments could reduce their payments to the insurers as prescription drug costs fall.

The study only looked at conditions that could be treated with medical marijuana and the prescription drugs that would be affected. This included anxiety, depression, glaucoma, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders and spasticity. According to the study, “the differences ranged from a 42% reduction for prescriptions used to treat nausea to a 15% reduction for spasticity.” The Bradfords also found a 13% decline in depression drug prescriptions, a 12% drop in psychosis drug prescriptions and an 11% slide in pain drugs. There was no significant drop in drugs used for anxiety, glaucoma or sleep disorders.

The Bradfords noted that their study was challenged by the fact that states keep changing their medical marijuana laws and expanding approved conditions. Furthermore, they only had data available from fee-for-service Medicaid prescriptions. Managed care patient data was inconsistent. Thus, their findings are really lower than what the true savings could really be, suggesting it could be in the billions.