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In the ever-evolving landscape of cannabis research, a remarkable discovery has recently emerged: a spotlight shines upon a lesser-known cannabinoid known as Tetrahydrocannabivarin, or THCV. Unlike its more renowned counterpart, delta-9 THC, THCV appears to offer stimulating effects without the notorious “munchies” or fatigue often associated with marijuana consumption. This revelation stems from a groundbreaking double-blind clinical study conducted jointly by Phylos, a leading cannabis genetics company, and People Science, a prominent marijuana research firm.
On a momentous Tuesday, Phylos, a pioneering cannabis genetics company, joined forces with the esteemed marijuana research firm People Science to unveil the findings of their groundbreaking study. This research endeavor heralded a significant breakthrough, showcasing the remarkable effects of a THCV product on enhancing energy, activity levels, motivation, and overall well-being, distinctly surpassing those of a placebo.
Often dubbed as “diet weed” due to its intriguing lack of appetite-inducing properties, THCV stands out amidst the plethora of cannabis constituents saturating the market. Its emergence has sparked a wave of curiosity and excitement within the scientific community and beyond.
Under the auspices of an Institutional Review Board, researchers meticulously orchestrated a study involving 78 participants. These individuals were administered various formulations, including unmedicated placebo gummies, delta-9 THC-only gummies, and gummies infused with Phylos’s innovative THCV-dominant plant extract, aptly named “Get Sh!t Done.”
The outcomes were nothing short of remarkable. Analysis revealed that a notable 20 percent of participants who received THCV-infused gummies reported heightened feelings of vigor and vitality compared to their counterparts who received placebos. Furthermore, a staggering 40 percent expressed increased enjoyment in their daily activities following consumption of this novel cannabinoid.
In stark contrast, half of the participants who consumed the standard THC-only gummies reported experiencing heightened hunger—a phenomenon conspicuously absent in the THCV group. Moreover, those in the THC-only cohort were three times more likely to report feelings of fatigue compared to their THCV-consuming counterparts.
Both THC-only and THCV-infused gummies demonstrated significant enhancements in activity levels, exercise performance, motivation, and overall well-being compared to the placebo, as attested by Phylos.
Although the study employed a rigorous double-blind methodology, it awaits publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, underscoring the need for further scrutiny and validation within the scientific community.
Alisha Holloway, Chief Scientific Officer at Phylos, lauded the study as a pivotal moment for the cannabis industry, emphasizing its profound implications for understanding the synergistic effects of THCV in conjunction with THC. She hailed the “Natural Natural THCV study” as a cornerstone in advancing targeted cannabis products, poised to redefine the landscape of natural cannabinoid therapeutics.
Indeed, this research endeavor marks a transformative juncture, propelling the cannabis industry into uncharted territories of innovation and discovery, poised to revolutionize the understanding and application of natural cannabinoids.
Whitney Conroy, the Chief Commercial Officer at Phylos, underscored the burgeoning demand among consumers for access to natural, science-backed wellness products. “Consumers are seeking and deserve access to natural, plant-based wellness products that are backed by science,” Conroy emphasized, articulating a sentiment that resonates deeply within the industry.
She elaborated on the commitment of “Natural Natural” to forging partnerships with the crème de la crème of growers, extractors, and brands. This collaboration aims to ensure that consumers are not only aware of the products they purchase but also assured of their impeccable quality and proven efficacy. By prioritizing transparency and integrity, “Natural Natural” endeavors to set a gold standard in the realm of natural cannabinoid-based therapeutics.
Meanwhile, within the scientific community, researchers are diligently exploring the untapped potential of minor cannabinoids such as THCV. As awareness surrounding the therapeutic benefits of individual components of marijuana continues to expand, there is a growing impetus to unravel the multifaceted properties of these compounds.
For instance, a recent peer-reviewed study delved into the therapeutic potential of lesser-known cannabinoids derived from both hemp and marijuana. The study, published last year, shed light on the possibility of compounds like THCV offering promising avenues for the treatment of dermatological ailments such as psoriasis, eczema, and acne, signaling a paradigm shift in medical cannabis research.
Despite the growing body of research, the exact mechanisms underlying THCV’s unique effects compared to delta-9 THC remain a subject of intrigue. While the latest study did not delve into these mechanisms, prior research suggests that THCV, particularly in lower concentrations, may act as an antagonist rather than an agonist of the CB1 endocannabinoid system receptor. This distinction potentially enables consumers to circumvent certain common effects associated with delta-9 THC, such as increased appetite.
Moreover, recent revelations from researchers at Washington State University (WSU) have illuminated the intricate neural pathways through which cannabis stimulates appetite. Specifically, they unveiled how cannabis activates a specific cluster of neurons in the hypothalamus region of the brain, providing invaluable insights into its appetite-stimulating properties.
In essence, the convergence of scientific inquiry, industry innovation, and consumer demand underscores a transformative era in the realm of cannabis research and therapeutics, poised to redefine wellness paradigms and pave the way for enhanced health and well-being.
Exploring the world of cannabis unveils a rich tapestry of scents, flavors, and effects intricately woven by nature’s aromatic compounds known as terpenes. These organic molecules not only define the olfactory experience but also contribute significantly to the nuanced effects of various cannabis strains. In this comprehensive exploration, we embark on a journey to understand the intricate mechanisms behind terpene production in cannabis plants and unveil the top 10 most abundant terpenes, each with its distinct characteristics and potential therapeutic benefits.
Terpenes represent significant constituents within marijuana resin, paralleling their prevalence in the aromatic essential oils found abundantly across various plant species. These oils, comprising the essence of most flowers, herbs, and spices, bear the distinctive hallmark of terpenes. A mere pinch of a cannabis bud releases these fragrant molecules, a sensory cue familiar to connoisseurs. Whether encountering the citrus zest of Grapefruit, the earthy allure of Silver Haze, or the fruity notes of Blueberry, each aroma hints at the ensuing psychoactive experience. Notably, terpene production escalates as the plant prioritizes reproduction, amplifying the bouquet as flowering advances. From the subtle whispers preceding blossoming to the robust fragrance enveloping mature buds, terpenes serve as heralds of cannabis’s developmental journey.
As Cannabis Progresses Through Its Reproductive Stages, It Initiates The Synthesis Of Terpenes Within The Glands Enveloping Its Flowers.
Image source: Ed Rosenthal
Terpene concentrations ascend during the nocturnal phase, peaking just before dawn, only to dissipate throughout the day, permeating the surroundings with their distinct aroma as a natural deterrent against potential threats. Come dusk, both terpene and cannabinoid levels ebb to their nadir.
The aromatic symphony we attribute to plants predominantly owes its existence to terpenes and flavonoids. While perceptible to our senses of smell and taste, these compounds wield influence beyond mere sensory perception. Terpenes, in particular, exert a nuanced impact on brain function, subtly altering the psychoactive effects of THC. This modulation extends to mood, sensitivity, and cognitive faculties, encompassing realms like balance and pain perception.
Certain terpenes exert their influence by binding to specific receptor sites in the brain, thereby modulating neurotransmitter release or altering membrane permeability, thereby regulating the influx of THC. Others intervene in neurotransmitter systems like serotonin and dopamine, modulating their activity and dynamics. This intricate interplay of terpenes orchestrates a diverse array of effects on mood, cognition, and bodily sensations.
The amalgamation of terpenes, as found in natural plant oils, engenders a complex interaction wherein each constituent contributes to the overall impact on brain function. Some combinations synergize, enhancing desired effects, while others may act antagonistically. Nevertheless, the unique composition of terpenes in each botanical blend crafts a distinctive “recipe” that shapes individual mood states and emotional experiences.
More Than A Hundred Terpenes Have Been Discovered In Cannabis.
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More than a hundred distinct terpenes have been cataloged within the cannabis plant. Yet, this number belies the true diversity when considering the myriad variations of each terpene. Take, for example, the unmistakable citrus scent present in fruit rinds; while oranges and lemons emanate differing aromas, their terpenes, known as limonenes, exhibit near-mirror images of each other. These subtle discrepancies stem from variations in limonene quantities and other contributing compounds within citrus fruits.
Terpenes, synthesized within the trichomes of cannabis, share the same biosynthetic origin as THC. Comprising approximately 10-30% of marijuana smoke resin, these aromatic compounds exist in a complex array, with some terpenes sporadically appearing while others remain consistently present. The composition and proportions of terpenes vary widely among cannabis cultivars, manifesting in distinct olfactory profiles that discerning enthusiasts readily discern.
Interestingly, parallels between cannabis terpenes and those found in common herbs like black pepper have been noted by researchers, suggesting a broader botanical convergence in terpene production. This synthesis occurs within the trichomes, where THC production also takes place.
The cyclical rhythms of cannabis growth further influence terpene production, with plants typically harboring higher terpene levels following the dark period. Environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and light exposure play pivotal roles, with terpene concentrations fluctuating in response. Notably, terpenes evaporate readily under sunlight and elevated temperatures, resulting in diminished levels during peak daylight hours.
Moreover, environmental conditions, including climate, soil composition, and cultivation practices, profoundly impact terpene and flavonoid expression. Even within a single cannabis variety, variations in terpene profiles can arise, reflecting the intricacies of cultivation methods and environmental influences.
In essence, the captivating symphony of cannabis terpenes unfolds against a backdrop of dynamic environmental interactions, shaping the nuanced aromatic and therapeutic qualities cherished by cannabis aficionados worldwide.
Presented Below Are 10 Terpenes Typically Found In Abundance Within Cannabis.
Variations among individual plants are considerable, not only in the overall terpene content but also in the ratios of these aromatic compounds.
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Cineole, the predominant compound found in eucalyptus oil, emits a distinctive camphor-minty fragrance reminiscent of pulegone. Beyond its association with eucalyptus, cineole is also encountered in various other aromatic plants. Moreover, while present in minor quantities, traces of cineole can be detected within marijuana, contributing subtly to its overall aroma and flavor profile.
Image source: leafwell
Pulegone is characterized by its invigorating minty-camphor aroma and flavor, which are frequently utilized in the confectionery industry to impart a refreshing taste sensation. Despite its subtle presence, pulegone can be discerned in trace amounts within marijuana, contributing a nuanced layer of its unique essence to the overall olfactory and gustatory profile of the plant.
Image source: hydroponique
Linalool emanates a delicate floral scent reminiscent of the blossoms of spring, particularly evoking the fragrant allure of lily of the valley, complemented by subtle spicy undertones. Derived from sources such as lavender, neroli, and various essential oils, this aromatic compound possesses a remarkable potency, with humans capable of detecting it in the air even at minute concentrations of one part per million (ppm). Noteworthy is linalool’s pivotal role as a primary component in numerous calming essential oils revered for their sedative effects, further underscoring its significance in aromatherapy and wellness practices.
Image source: botanyfarms
Delta-3-Carene exudes a tantalizingly sweet aroma with subtle pungency, evoking the resinous essence of pine and cedar. Widely distributed across various plant species, including rosemary, this terpene is recognized for its potential role in eliciting the sensation of dry eyes and mouth commonly associated with marijuana consumption.
Image source: true-blue
Borneol exudes an aroma reminiscent of the menthol-like fragrance commonly associated with camphor, with the capacity to easily convert into this compound. Although found in modest quantities within various essential oils, borneol is frequently sourced commercially from plants such as artemisia, including wormwood, and certain cinnamon species.
The discernible camphor-like notes discerned in Silver Haze varieties serve as a distinct indicator of borneol’s inclusion, contributing to the characteristic olfactory profile unique to these strains.
Image source: greengoddesscollective
Terpineol emanates a fragrance reminiscent of lilac, citrus, or apple blossom infused with notes of lime. While it constitutes a minor fraction of numerous plant essential oils, it serves as a coveted ingredient in perfumery and soap-making for its aromatic properties.
Commercially sourced terpineol is often derived through the processing of other terpenes, further augmenting its versatility and applicability in various industries.
Image source: 2fast4buds
Pinene evokes the recognizable scent of pine trees and their resinous compounds. While prominently present in various plant essential oils, including rosemary, sage, and eucalyptus, pinene contributes to their distinctive aromatic profiles.
It is probable that pinene plays a significant role in imparting the characteristic odor to certain cannabis varieties, particularly those bearing a resemblance to the pungent aroma of skunk.
B-Caryophyllene emerges as a prominent terpene present in various botanical sources such as black pepper (15-25%), clove (10-20%), and cotton (15-25%). Characterized by its sweet, woody aroma reminiscent of dry cloves, this terpene offers a palate of flavors ranging from peppery spiciness to hints of camphor and astringent citrus undertones. Its inclusion significantly contributes to the robust spiciness associated with black pepper and finds industrial application in enhancing tobacco flavor profiles.
Ingested in significant quantities, B-Caryophyllene acts by blocking calcium and potassium ion channels, thereby mitigating pressure exertion by heart muscles. Furthermore, when applied topically, it demonstrates analgesic properties, making it a preferred ingredient in clove oil, a well-known remedy for toothaches. Notably, B-Caryophyllene interacts with CB2 receptor sites, the same targets for cannabidiol, suggesting potential anti-inflammatory effects. Its subtle woody essence adds depth to the overall flavor profile.
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Abundant in the zest of citrus fruits and various other botanical sources, limonene ranks among the top terpenes found in cannabis resin, occupying the second, third, or fourth position depending on the strain. The unmistakable aroma of citrus rinds, released in a burst of fragrance upon peeling, owes its identity to the intricate structure of limonene.
Renowned for its multifaceted therapeutic properties, limonene exhibits potent antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities. Its efficacy in combating fungal pathogens and potential carcinogens present in cannabis smoke streams underscores its significance in promoting respiratory health. Moreover, limonene acts synergistically to enhance the absorption of other terpenes by facilitating their penetration through cell membranes.
In humans, limonene demonstrates remarkable bioavailability, swiftly traversing the blood-brain barrier to elicit physiological responses. This includes an elevation in systolic blood pressure, indicative of heightened alertness and restlessness. Additionally, various analogs of limonene hold promise in modulating cognitive states, ranging from enhancing libido to fostering a sense of buoyancy or focused attention.
Notably, limonene-based sprays have emerged as a therapeutic intervention for depression, harnessing the terpene’s mood-lifting properties to alleviate symptoms and enhance emotional well-being.
Image source: 2fast4buds
Among the plethora of terpenes found in cannabis, myrcene stands out as the most abundant across various strains. Beyond its prevalence in marijuana, myrcene is also notably present in significant quantities in hops, lemongrass, West Indian bay tree (utilized for bay rum production), verbena, and the plant from which it derives its name, myrcia. This versatile terpene is also detected in trace amounts within the essential oils of numerous other plant species.
Characterized by its complex aroma, myrcene exhibits notes reminiscent of cloves, earthiness, nuttiness, green vegetation, and citrus. These diverse scent profiles arise from subtle variations in the overall composition of essential oils. Indeed, these aromatic nuances are frequently employed to describe the distinctive fragrance of cannabis.
Interestingly, ripe mangoes are known to contain elevated levels of myrcene. Consuming a slightly overripe mango approximately 20 to 30 minutes prior to using marijuana allows myrcene to enter the bloodstream, potentially facilitating its interaction with THC. While the exact mechanism remains speculative, it is proposed that myrcene may aid THC in crossing the blood-brain barrier, thereby intensifying and hastening the onset of the psychoactive effects. This synergistic interaction between THC and myrcene is believed to culminate in a more potent and expeditious high.
In the same way that there is no universally agreed-upon favorite flavor of ice cream, there isn’t a single perfect combination of terpenes for everyone. Individual tastes, preferences, and circumstances all play a role in determining the ideal terpene profile for each person at any given time. However, by taking note of scents that are either favored or despised, individuals can better navigate toward cannabis strains that suit their specific preferences and needs.
As we unravel the complex interplay of terpenes within the cannabis plant, it becomes evident that these aromatic compounds are far more than mere fragrances—they are the architects of the enthralling sensory experience and the guardians of therapeutic potential. By understanding the distinct characteristics and effects of each terpene, cannabis enthusiasts and medical users alike can navigate the diverse landscape of strains with newfound appreciation and insight, unlocking the full spectrum of nature’s botanical treasures.
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A recently published legal opinion, prepared by a team of attorneys, challenges the longstanding assertion by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that international drug treaties present a barrier to rescheduling marijuana within the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The legal experts, affiliated with Porter Wright LLP and Vicente LLP, argue that contrary to the DEA’s position, these treaties do not obstruct the placement of marijuana into Schedule III, a recommendation put forth by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The opinion contends that elevating marijuana to Schedule III not only aligns with the nation’s international obligations but also serves to advance broader public health and safety goals. Highlighting the failures of the war on drugs, particularly its disproportionate impact on communities of color, as well as the inherent risks associated with illicit markets, the opinion suggests that reclassifying marijuana would better safeguard public health, safety, and welfare compared to its current classifications under Schedules I or II.
In a direct rebuttal to the DEA’s stance articulated in a 2016 denial of a prior rescheduling petition, the legal memo emphasizes the flexibility embedded within existing international drug treaties. According to the document, these treaties afford member nations the latitude to adjust their drug scheduling frameworks in response to evolving scientific and medical evidence, even if such changes entail moving away from prohibitionist approaches.
Commissioned by the Coalition for Cannabis Scheduling Reform, a diverse alliance representing various cannabis-related businesses and advocacy groups, the legal opinion aims to challenge the narratives propagated by proponents of prohibition. Co-chair Adam Goers underscored the importance of disseminating the opinion publicly to dispel misconceptions, affirming that the nation’s treaty obligations do not present an insurmountable barrier to the rescheduling of cannabis to Schedule III.
Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) recently voiced concerns regarding treaty obligations that could impede the rescheduling of marijuana to Schedule III. In a letter addressed to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram, Harris asserted that any reclassification of marijuana outside of Schedules I or II would violate the terms of the 1961 United Nations (UN) Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, commonly referred to as the Single Convention.
However, a coalition of 12 senators countered this argument in a separate correspondence to Milgram, highlighting the UN’s updated stance on global cannabis scheduling policies. These senators emphasized that other member states, such as Canada, have been permitted to legalize and regulate marijuana without facing repercussions. Encouraging the DEA to consider full legalization, the senators underscored the evolving interpretations of international drug treaties.
In support of their position, the authors of the legal opinion pointed to examples from Canada and Uruguay, where international drug treaties have not hindered the implementation of comprehensive regulatory frameworks for cannabis. These countries’ approaches, including full adult-use legalization, demonstrate that treaty obligations need not be viewed as barriers to progressive drug policies aimed at promoting public health and advancing scientific research.
The legal opinion also highlighted the DEA’s previous actions regarding Epidiolex, a pharmaceutical derived from marijuana containing purified CBD. Despite initially classifying CBD as a Schedule I controlled substance, the DEA adjusted its scheduling following FDA approval of Epidiolex, eventually descheduling the drug entirely after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. This precedent, according to the opinion, provides a blueprint for rescheduling marijuana to Schedule III while ensuring compliance with treaty obligations.
Despite the DEA’s assertion of final authority over rescheduling decisions, the agency has yet to provide clarity on the status of its review process, prompting calls for transparent communication from lawmakers such as Rep. Earl Bluemauer (D-OR). As discussions around marijuana rescheduling continue, the legal opinion advocates for a clear and proactive approach consistent with past DEA precedents and evolving international drug policy norms.
In addition to asserting that drug treaties do not prohibit the reclassification of marijuana to Schedule III and that such a move aligns more closely with the spirit of international agreements, the legal opinion also contends that member countries retain sovereignty to act in accordance with their domestic constitutional frameworks, even if it means diverging from treaty obligations.
This aspect of international law holds particular significance in the context of existing adult-use marijuana markets legalized under U.S. state laws. The legal team argues that the treaties include exceptions when a party is constrained by constitutional limitations, emphasizing that enforcing treaty provisions to shut down state adult-use marijuana markets would encroach upon states’ core police powers protected under the U.S. Constitution.
The attorneys involved in crafting the opinion include Shane Pennington of Porter Wright, along with Shawn Hauser, Jason Adelstone of Vicente, and contributions from Brandon Adkins, also associated with Vicente. Pennington was among the first to highlight comments made by a senior legal advisor from the State Department during a United Nations drug commission session last October.
Patt Prugh, the primary counsel for the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, emphasized during the session that global drug conventions adopt a respectful stance toward member states’ domestic policies not directly linked to international concerns, suggesting that states’ obligations should be balanced against their duty to safeguard human rights.
Pennington and others view these remarks as potentially indicative of a significant shift in the U.S. interpretation of global drug treaty obligations amid the ongoing DEA rescheduling review. Pennington previously argued, alongside colleague Matt Zorn, that the provision of the Controlled Substances Act imposing treaty requirements on the rescheduling process may itself be unconstitutional.
In the event that the DEA maintains that drug treaties prohibit rescheduling below Schedule II, Pennington suggests that constitutional arguments could serve as the basis for challenging the agency’s decision in federal court. He notes that courts have recognized the obligation of the DEA to adhere to scientific and medical findings from the Department of Health and Human Services without compromising compliance with international treaties.
Furthermore, the authors underscore a legal distinction between a final order and a final rule in DEA rescheduling actions. They emphasize that a final rule entails a public participation process, including notice and comment periods and administrative hearings, leading to the issuance of a formal rule. This distinction is crucial in understanding the procedural aspects of DEA rescheduling decisions.
However, according to the opinion, if the DEA were to cite its treaty obligations, regardless of its decision on the scheduling, the agency could bypass the rulemaking process by issuing a final order.
Shane Pennington noted, “When DEA invokes the treaties and issues a final order like it did with Epidiolex, it can do so without public participation.” Shawn Hauser, a co-author of the opinion, stated that there is ongoing debate among various member states regarding the flexibility of the treaties in interpreting them to align with domestic laws.
Hauser emphasized that many member countries acknowledge the treaties’ allowance for certain latitude on various issues, including drug regulation for medicinal and research purposes. She suggested that this existing flexibility should suffice to justify moving marijuana to Schedule III, as she believes the U.S. has already indicated on the international stage.
However, Hauser predicted that as more member states adopt alternative approaches to prohibition, international drug treaties may need revision to better suit a post-drug-war era. She questioned whether existing treaties are flexible enough or whether updating them is necessary to accommodate modern drug policies.
Regardless, the legal opinion asserts that current treaties not only permit but also endorse rescheduling cannabis to Schedule III. It argues, “The DEA can clearly meet its obligations under the Treaties by controlling Marijuana in Schedule III and amending current regulations to meet Treaty reporting, quota, and other requirements.”
Since the news first emerged last August regarding the HHS rescheduling recommendation, advocates have been pushing to uncover more details about the review, including its legal and medical rationale. Last month, health officials released over 250 pages of medical review and related documents in response to numerous public records requests and a lawsuit, marking the federal government’s formal acknowledgment of the accepted medical benefits of marijuana.
However, it remains uncertain when the DEA will act on this advice. In recent comments to Marijuana Moment, a Biden administration official dismissed rumors of an imminent rescheduling decision. Prior to the release of the rescheduling-related documents, only a highly redacted version of the HHS rescheduling memo and a single page of the recommendation revealed last October were made public.
In other developments, a coalition of 12 Democratic state attorneys general urged the DEA to proceed with federal marijuana rescheduling, emphasizing it as a “public safety imperative.” Conversely, 29 former U.S. attorneys called on the Biden administration to maintain cannabis in Schedule I.
Moreover, two GOP senators introduced legislation late last year to prevent federal agencies from rescheduling cannabis without congressional approval. Additionally, a coalition of 14 Republican congressional lawmakers urged the DEA to reject the top federal health agency’s recommendation to reschedule marijuana.
A recent poll found that approximately one-third of marijuana consumers would revert to the illicit market if cannabis were only available as an FDA-approved prescription drug. Another survey suggested that President Joe Biden could gain significant political advantages if marijuana is rescheduled under his administrative directive, though the final decision is beyond his direct control.
President Biden has highlighted his 2022 scheduling directive and issued a mass pardon for individuals convicted of federal marijuana possession offenses. Vice President Kamala Harris also referenced the administration’s efforts to reform federal marijuana laws in a new video aimed at young voters, although the video contained inaccuracies regarding current state marijuana laws. Harris previously cited the pardons as evidence of the administration’s commitment to delivering for Americans, particularly young and Black voters, who could be pivotal in Biden’s reelection bid this year.
In conclusion, the ongoing debate surrounding the rescheduling of marijuana underscores the complex interplay between domestic law, international treaties, and evolving societal attitudes. While legal opinions advocate for flexibility within treaty obligations to accommodate progressive drug policies, the final decision lies with the DEA. As stakeholders continue to advocate for various positions, the outcome will undoubtedly shape the future landscape of marijuana regulation in the United States and beyond.
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In a landmark study recently published, the efficacy of medical cannabis in ameliorating symptoms of depression has emerged as a beacon of hope for those grappling with this pervasive mental health condition. The findings present a compelling case for the viability of cannabis as a sustainable therapeutic avenue for chronic depression, underscoring the need for further exploration in this burgeoning field.
Conducted by researchers at LVR University Hospital in Essen, Germany, in collaboration with Algea Care, a pioneering cannabis telehealth platform in Europe, this seminal study, featured in the esteemed peer-reviewed journal Pharmacopsychiatry, illuminates a path toward transformative treatment modalities. The results elucidate a tangible improvement in depression symptoms among patients utilizing medical cannabis, with a notable reduction in the reported severity of their condition. Crucially, the study highlights the absence of severe side effects associated with medical cannabis use, reaffirming its safety profile and potential as a therapeutic agent.
According to Mayo Clinic, Major Depressive Disorder, also known as clinical depression, manifests as enduring feelings of sadness and a diminished interest in once-enjoyable activities. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2020 revealed that 18.4% of adults in the United States have received a diagnosis of depression, highlighting its widespread impact across various domains of life, from home to work and school. Although conventional treatments such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers are commonly prescribed, their efficacy is often limited. Many patients fail to respond adequately to these interventions, leaving a significant portion unable to attain remission from their depressive symptoms.
Drawing from a cohort of 59 patients afflicted with chronic depression, the study represents a concerted effort to address the limitations of traditional pharmacotherapy. With conventional treatments yielding limited success, and a substantial proportion of patients failing to achieve remission, the imperative for alternative therapeutic interventions has never been more pronounced. Against this backdrop, medical cannabis emerges as a promising frontier, offering a glimmer of hope to those ensnared by the relentless grip of depression.
Central to the study’s methodology was the anonymized evaluation of medical cannabis as a novel treatment modality for chronic depression. Patients, having exhausted traditional prescription medications without success, embarked on an 18-week journey of cannabis therapy, facilitated through vaporization of medical cannabis flowers. Through meticulous self-assessment, participants gauged the severity of their depression on a numerical scale, with striking improvements observed over the course of the study duration.
Noteworthy is the remarkable trajectory of symptom alleviation witnessed among study participants. Initial depression severity, quantified on a scale from 0 to 10, witnessed a discernible decline from an average score of 6.9 points to 3.8 points after 18 weeks of medical cannabis use. Notably, a subset of patients experienced a halving of depression severity within a mere six-week timeframe, attesting to the rapid onset of therapeutic effects conferred by medical cannabis.
In consonance with the study’s findings, the incidence of side effects associated with medical cannabis use was minimal, with the majority classified as mild and transient. Dry eyes, dry mouth, and increased appetite featured prominently among reported side effects, with a minority of patients reporting transient cognitive disturbances and gastrointestinal discomfort. Importantly, no serious adverse events, such as psychosis, were documented, affirming the safety and tolerability of medical cannabis as a therapeutic intervention for depression.
As the curtain falls on this epochal study, the clarion call for further research resounds with resounding urgency. Propelled by a commitment to scientific rigor, researchers advocate for prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials, with an emphasis on expanding the study population to derive evidence-based recommendations for the integration of medical cannabis into depression therapeutics.
In echoing resonance with the study’s findings, Dr. Julian Wichmann, founder and CEO of Algea Care, lauds the results as “extremely promising and encouraging,” envisioning a future replete with expanded vistas of psychiatric care. With each revelation, the horizon expands, beckoning forth a realm where healing and restoration intertwine, empowered by the transformative potential of medical cannabis.
The conclusions of this study align with previous research investigating the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis in managing depression. For instance, a study published in the journal Psychiatry Research in 2022 conducted a comprehensive survey involving over 7,000 patients exhibiting symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. The results revealed sustained improvements in their conditions subsequent to cannabis use. Additionally, another study published last year in the journal Biomedicines highlighted the efficacy of prescribed cannabis products in mitigating various ailments among elderly patients. Notably, sustained utilization of these products correlated with noteworthy reductions in pain, depression, and reliance on opioids, underscoring the multifaceted benefits of cannabis-based interventions in geriatric healthcare.
In conclusion, this groundbreaking study emphasizes the promising role of medical cannabis in alleviating chronic depression symptoms, offering a beacon of hope for those resistant to traditional treatments. With its demonstrated efficacy and favorable safety profile, further research holds the key to unlocking its full therapeutic potential, paving the way for evidence-based integration into psychiatric care.
In a recent legal development, the Biden administration, through the Department of Justice (DOJ), has urged a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the cannabis industry, aiming to challenge the enforcement of marijuana prohibition against state-legal activities. The administration’s legal argument is multifaceted, touching on the ongoing process of cannabis rescheduling, the lack of standing for the industry to pursue the challenge, and the constitutional basis for federal intervention in intrastate marijuana activities. This article delves into the complexities of this legal showdown and the implications it holds for the burgeoning cannabis industry.
The Department of Justice has petitioned a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit initiated by the cannabis industry, aiming to impede the enforcement of marijuana prohibition within state-legal activities. Citing a nuanced perspective, the Justice Department asserts that the court should refrain from preempting a potential decision regarding the rescheduling of cannabis currently under consideration.
In a formal submission to the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Western Division, attorneys representing Attorney General Merrick Garland articulated that Congress, in its wisdom, established an administrative framework for the rescheduling of controlled substances. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), as part of this structured mechanism, is presently evaluating a recommendation forwarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) advocating for the rescheduling of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
Highlighting the importance of respecting this ongoing administrative process, the Department of Justice underscored that the courts should refrain from disrupting or preempting its trajectory. The submission emphasizes the commitment to allowing the DEA’s careful consideration of the HHS recommendation before any legal interventions transpire.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has asserted that the cannabis businesses initiating the lawsuit lack the standing to pursue their challenge, emphasizing the absence of direct injury due to federal prosecution under prohibition policies. Notably, the DOJ underscores a decade-long congressional rider preventing the use of federal funds to intervene in state-legal medical cannabis laws.
While acknowledging that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) initially served legitimate government purposes, the plaintiffs argue its irrationality. They contend that Congress’s allowance for federal territories to enact marijuana legalization laws, coupled with restrictions on the Department of Justice’s spending to impede state medical marijuana laws, has rendered the CSA illogical. In response, the DOJ posits that these legislative choices aim to foster state and local experimentation with marijuana laws while directing federal law enforcement resources towards activities significantly impacting federal interests.
The government asserts that a 2005 Supreme Court ruling, known as Raich, sets a precedent negating the plaintiffs’ argument regarding the Commerce Clause’s application to bans on interstate marijuana commerce. Describing the case as a “transparent entreaty to overrule” Raich, the DOJ contends that federal regulation of intrastate marijuana activities is constitutional, as these activities substantially affect interstate commerce.
Addressing the plaintiffs’ claims of substantive due process violations, the DOJ maintains that no fundamental right exists to distribute, possess, or use marijuana. Consequently, the CSA is subject only to deferential rational basis review, which the DOJ argues it easily withstands. The motion to dismiss underscores the necessity for plaintiffs to demonstrate a substantial risk of future enforcement in a pre-enforcement challenge. Contrary to this requirement, the plaintiffs allege the government’s policy is non-prosecution for conduct complying with state marijuana laws, thus lacking substantial risk.
Even if the court sympathizes with the plaintiffs’ challenge to the Gonzales v. Raich holding, the DOJ invokes stare decisis, urging adherence to the precedent until overturned by the Supreme Court. Additionally, the motion asserts that the plaintiffs fail to provide evidence of a substantial risk of prosecution, and their allegations negate the existence of such a risk. Moreover, the DOJ underscores the Department of Justice’s policy of prosecutorial discretion, focusing federal law enforcement on conduct interfering with vital federal interests while relying on state and local authorities to address marijuana-related activity.
The submission emphasizes that a policy of prosecutorial discretion in federal marijuana cases, akin to the Obama-era Cole memo rescinded under the Trump administration, is deemed a judicious approach. In the broader legal challenge, the plaintiffs contend that sustaining prohibition within state markets is constitutionally unsound. They argue that this perpetuation poses undue public safety risks and impedes licensed marijuana businesses from accessing crucial financial services and tax deductions available to other industries.
In response to the DOJ’s recent filing, the plaintiffs expressed their anticipation of demonstrating standing before the Federal District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts. Their statement outlined the injury inflicted by the federal government’s ban on intrastate marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution. The lawsuit’s primary objective is to halt the enforcement of this allegedly unconstitutional ban, safeguarding the interests of the plaintiffs and others in similar circumstances. The plaintiffs asserted that the particulars in their complaint distinguish the case from Gonzales v. Raich, a 2005 Supreme Court decision still relied upon by the government.
The government’s submission comes approximately a month after the Justice Department and the plaintiffs, comprising a coalition of marijuana businesses represented by prominent law firms, mutually agreed to seek an extension for the deadline to file initial briefs. Spearheaded by multi-state operator Verano Holdings Corp., Massachusetts-based cannabis businesses Canna Provisions and Wiseacre Farm, and Treevit CEO Gyasi Sellers, the lawsuit challenges the federal ban on marijuana enacted through the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
Notably, the DOJ sought permission to submit a new 25-page memorandum, surpassing the standard 20-page limit, on Monday. The legal representation for the plaintiffs is provided by the law firms Boies Schiller Flexner and Lesser, Newman, Aleo & Nasser LLP. David Boies, the chairman of the former firm, has an extensive history of representing diverse clients, including the Justice Department, former Vice President Al Gore, and plaintiffs in a case pivotal to overturning California’s same-sex marriage ban.
The lawsuit contends that while Congress initially banned marijuana under the CSA to eliminate interstate commerce, the subsequent rise in state legalization indicates an abandonment of that mission by lawmakers and the executive branch. Describing the lingering federal criminal prohibition on intrastate marijuana as an unjustified vestige, the complaint argues that it harms the plaintiffs and adversely affects the communities they serve without rational purpose.
A recurring theme in the lawsuit is the financial plight faced by state-licensed marijuana businesses. Despite the federal government’s hands-off approach to cannabis in recent decades, these businesses grapple with unique challenges, including limited access to banking services, credit cards, and federal tax deductions under the IRS code 280E. The lawsuit underscores that this financial disadvantage, coupled with the reliance on cash transactions due to a lack of electronic payment options, heightens public safety risks, making state-regulated marijuana dispensaries vulnerable to robberies. The existing CSA ban is deemed an unconstitutional encroachment on state sovereignty, asserting that Congress lacks the authority to govern marijuana within intrastate commerce under the Commerce Clause or the Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution.
The legal challenge delves into the historical trajectory of cannabis laws in the United States, highlighting that the recent policy shift towards prohibition follows over a century of permitted use and cultivation to varying extents. Examining the federal government’s rationale for marijuana prohibition under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), as argued in the 2005 Supreme Court case Gonzales v. Raich concerning medical cannabis access for California patients, the plaintiffs assert that this justification no longer holds merit.
Companies argue that despite Congress annually renewing an appropriations rider preventing the Justice Department from intervening in state medical cannabis programs, the federal government’s inconsistent policies persist. The lawsuit contends that the initial federal crusade against cannabis has transformed into an ambiguous set of policies, some aimed at reducing federal interference with state marijuana regulation.
Emphasizing the federal government’s abandonment of the goal to eliminate marijuana from commerce, the complaint argues that Congress lacks a comprehensive, consistent, and rational approach to marijuana regulation. This inconsistency, described as a patchwork approach, provides no justifiable basis for Congress to regulate intrastate marijuana.
This sentiment aligns with the viewpoint expressed by conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 2021, criticizing the contradictory and unstable state-federal marijuana policy conflicts resulting from the federal government’s “half-in, half-out” approach.
Plaintiffs highlight the potential harm caused by the continued enforcement of the CSA, undermining state efforts to establish safe and regulated intrastate marijuana markets. The lawsuit draws attention to the adverse impact on low-income communities, citing the ban on intrastate marijuana commerce as a barrier to delivering cannabis products to public housing facilities in Massachusetts.
The lawsuit underscores the severe consequences of the prohibition for the industry, particularly small businesses that face challenges due to the lack of diversification and economies of scale. Josh Schiller, a partner at the Boies Schiller Flexner law firm representing the plaintiffs, emphasizes the strategic decision to seek a legislative solution and simultaneously pursue a permanent change through the courts. The evolving ideological dynamics in the Supreme Court, characterized by a more “federalist” viewpoint, are seen as potentially bolstering their case.
The lawsuit aims to establish a new precedent allowing states, exclusively, to regulate and foster the growth of marijuana businesses under their regulations. Ascend Wellness Holdings, TerrAscend, Green Thumb Industries, Eminence Capital, and Poseidon Investment Management are acknowledged as foundational supporters of the legal action.
As the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) conducts a review into marijuana scheduling following the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommendation to move it from Schedule I to Schedule III under the CSA, the lawsuit contends that such rescheduling could address certain tax-related issues but wouldn’t legalize the plant or permit intrastate commerce.
The federal criminalization of safe, regulated marijuana commerce in states where it is legal is viewed as unjust, burdening legal operations, encouraging the production and sale of illegal, unregulated marijuana, and imposing discriminatory taxes. The lawsuit, grounded in the belief that cannabis should be subject to reasonable state regulation, challenges the federal government’s authority to prohibit intrastate cannabis commerce, citing outdated precedents and changed circumstances.
Plans to file the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of enforcing criminalization of intrastate marijuana activity were initially described by cannabis business executives last year. The seriousness and potential success of the legal action, spearheaded by a leading constitutional law firm, underscore its significance in prompting legislative action and cannabis banking reforms. The hope is that this legal challenge serves as a catalyst for congressional attention and action on the broader issue.