Could medical marijuana help older people with their ailments?


Medical marijuana may bring relief to older people who have symptoms like pain, sleep disorders or anxiety due to chronic conditions including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, neuropathy, spinal cord damage and multiple sclerosis, according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 71st Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, May 4 to 10, 2019. The study not only found medical marijuana may be safe and effective, it also found that one-third of participants reduced their use of opioids. However, the study was retrospective and relied on participants reporting whether they experienced symptom relief, so it is possible that the placebo effect may have played a role. Additional randomized, placebo-controlled studies are needed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic health condition.

“With legalization in many states, medical marijuana has become a popular treatment option among people with chronic diseases and disorders, yet there is limited research, especially in older people,” said study author Laszlo Mechtler, MD, of Dent Neurologic Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. “Our findings are promising and can help fuel further research into medical marijuana as an additional option for this group of people who often have chronic conditions.”

The study involved 204 people with an average age of 81 who were enrolled in New York State’s Medical Marijuana Program. Participants took various ratios of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to cannabidiol (CBD), the main active chemicals in medical marijuana, for an average of four months and had regular checkups. The medical marijuana was taken by mouth as a liquid extract tincture, capsule or in an electronic vaporizer.

Initially, 34 percent of participants had side effects from the medical marijuana. After an adjustment in dosage, only 21 percent reported side effects. The most common side effects were sleepiness in 13 percent of patients, balance problems in 7 percent and gastrointestinal disturbances in 7 percent. Three percent of the participants stopped taking the medical marijuana due to the side effects. Researchers said a ratio of one-to-one THC to CBD was the most common ratio among people who reported no side effects.

Researchers found that 69 percent of participants experienced some symptom relief. Of those, the most common conditions that improved were pain with 49 percent experiencing relief, sleep symptoms with 18 percent experiencing relief, neuropathy improving in 15 percent and anxiety improving in 10 percent.

Opioid pain medication was reduced in 32 percent of participants.

“Our findings show that medical marijuana is well-tolerated in people age 75 and older and may improve symptoms like chronic pain and anxiety,” said Mechtler. “Future research should focus on symptoms like sleepiness and balance problems, as well as efficacy and optimal dosing.”

The study was supported by the Dent Family Foundation.

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Materials provided by American Academy of Neurology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.



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Thursday, February 28, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News


New Hampshire's White Mountains are a sharp contrast between dark trees and stark-white snow.

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Thursday, February 28, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// New Hampshire gives initial approval to recreational pot (Washington Post (AP))

// Ottawa to unveil ‘no-cost expedited’ pardons for Canadians convicted of pot possession (The Record)

// FDA Head Reveals New Details About Agency’s CBD Regulation Plans (Marijuana Moment)


Today’s headlines are brought to you by our friends over at Eaze.com, California’s top one stop website for legal marijuana delivery. If you live in the golden state, swing over to Eaze.com to see if they are active in your area. With deliveries taking place in less than an hour, it’s never been easier to get legal California marijuana delivery. And of course, if you don’t live where Eaze delivers, you can still benefit from all the useful bits of industry insight and analysis they’ve developed using their properly aggregate and anonymized sales data stream.


// Lawmakers file bills to legalize and tax marijuana in Florida (WFLA 8 NBC)

// Curaleaf Choom Announce Expansion Acquisitions (Green Market Report)

// 4Front Strengthens Platform with Acquisitions in Massachusetts and Arizona (Green Market Report)

// Walmart Canada removes Canopy Growth’s cannabis vaporizer from website (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Gov. Holcomb admits to using marijuana in college not budging on opposition to legalization (Indy Channel)

// New York City Council Holds Joint Hearing On Marijuana Legalization (Marijuana Moment)

// Marijuana Decriminalization Approved By Hawaii House Committee (Marijuana Moment)


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Yeast produce low-cost, high-quality cannabinoids — ScienceDaily


University of California, Berkeley, synthetic biologists have engineered brewer’s yeast to produce marijuana’s main ingredients — mind-altering THC and non-psychoactive CBD — as well as novel cannabinoids not found in the plant itself.

Feeding only on sugar, the yeast are an easy and cheap way to produce pure cannabinoids that today are costly to extract from the buds of the marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa.

“For the consumer, the benefits are high-quality, low-cost CBD and THC: you get exactly what you want from yeast,” said Jay Keasling, a UC Berkeley professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and of bioengineering and a faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “It is a safer, more environmentally friendly way to produce cannabinoids.”

Cannabis and its extracts, including the high-inducing THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, are now legal in 10 states and the District of Columbia, and recreational marijuana — smoked, vaped or consumed as edibles — is a multibillion-dollar business nationwide. Medications containing THC have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to reduce nausea after chemotherapy and to improve appetite in AIDS patients.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is used increasingly in cosmetics — so-called cosmeceuticals — and has been approved as a treatment for childhood epileptic seizures. It is being investigated as a therapy for numerous conditions, including anxiety, Parkinson’s disease and chronic pain.

But medical research on the more than 100 other chemicals in marijuana has been difficult, because the chemicals occur in tiny quantities, making them hard to extract from the plant. Inexpensive, purer sources — like yeast — could make such studies easier.

Plus, he added, there is “the possibility of new therapies based on novel cannabinoids: the rare ones that are nearly impossible to get from the plant, or the unnatural ones, which are impossible to get from the plant.”

Keasling, the Philomathia Foundation Chair in Alternative Energy at Berkeley, and his colleagues will report their results online Feb. 27 in advance of publication in the journal Nature.

Plugging chemical pathways into yeast

Cannabinoids join many other chemicals and drugs now being produced in yeast, including human growth hormone, insulin, blood clotting factors and recently, but not yet on the market, morphine and other opiates.

One of the pioneers of synthetic biology, Keasling has long sought to exploit yeast and bacteria as “green” drug factories, eliminating the expensive synthetic or extractive processes common in the chemical industry and the often toxic or environmentally- damaging chemical byproducts.

Cannabis cultivation is a prime example of an energy-intensive and environmentally-destructive industry. Farms in northwest California have polluted streams with pesticide and fertilizer runoff and helped drain watersheds because marijuana plants are water-hungry. Illegal grows have resulted in clear-cutting and erosion.

Indoor cultivation under grow lights with ventilation fans uses a lot of energy, accounting for a growing percentage of annual power consumption. One study estimated that California’s cannabis industry accounted for 3 percent of the state’s electricity usage. Indoor grows have caused blackouts in some cities, and energy consumption can add more than $1,000 to the price of a pound of weed.

Hence Keasling’s interest in finding a “green” way to produce the active chemicals in marijuana.

“It was an interesting scientific challenge,” he admitted, that was akin to other challenges he and his team have successfully overcome in yeast: producing an antimalarial drug, artemisinin; turning plant waste into biofuels; synthesizing flavors and scents for the food and cosmetics industries and chemical intermediates for making new materials. “But when you read about cases of patients who have seizures and are helped by CBD, especially children, you realize there is some value in these molecules, and that producing cannabinoids in yeast could really be great.”

With approval and oversight by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency — cannabis is still illegal under federal law — Berkeley postdoc Xiaozhou Luo and visiting graduate student Michael Reiter, who led the project, started assembling in yeast a series of chemical steps to produce, initially, the mother of all cannabinoids, CBGA (cannabigerolic acid). In both marijuana and yeast, the chemical reactions involve the acid form of the compounds: CBGA and its derivatives, THCA and CBDA. They readily convert to CBG, THC and CBD when exposed to light and heat.

Turning yeast into chemical factories involves co-opting their metabolism so that, instead of turning sugar into alcohol, for example, yeast convert sugar into other chemicals that are then modified by added enzymes to produce a new product, such as THC, that the yeast secrete into the liquid surrounding them. The researchers ended up inserting more than a dozen genes into yeast, many of them copies of genes used by the marijuana plant to synthesize cannabinoids.

One step, however, proved to be a roadblock for Keasling’s group and competing groups: an enzyme that performs a key chemical step in making CBGA in the marijuana plant didn’t work in yeast.

Rather than engineer a different synthetic pathway, Berkeley postdoc Leo d’Espaux and graduate student Jeff Wong went back to the plant itself and isolated a second enzyme, prenyl transferase, that does the same thing, and stuck it in the yeast.

“It worked like gangbusters,” Keasling said.

Once they had yeast-producing CBGA, they added another enzyme to convert CBGA to THCA and a different enzyme to create a pathway to CBDA. Though the products the yeast produce are predominantly THC or CBD, Keasling said, each must still be separated from other chemicals present in tiny quantities.

They also added enzymes that made the yeast produce two other natural cannabinoids, CBDV (cannabidivarin) and THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin), whose effects are not well understood.

Surprisingly, Xiaozhou and Michael discovered that the enzymatic steps involved in making CBGA in yeast are flexible enough to accept a variety of starter chemicals — different fatty acids in place of the one used by the marijuana plant, hexanoic acid — that generate cannabinoids that do not exist in the plant itself. They also got the yeast to incorporate chemicals into cannabinoids that could later be chemically altered in the lab, creating another avenue for producing never-before-seen, but potentially medically useful, cannabinoids.

Keasling subsequently founded an Emeryville, California, company, Demetrix Inc., which d’Espaux and Wong later joined, that licensed the technology from Berkeley to use yeast fermentation to make cannabinoids.

“The economics look really good,” Keasling said. “The cost is competitive or better than that for the plant-derived cannabinoids. And manufacturers don’t have to worry about contamination — for example, THC in CBD — that would make you high.”



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Tuesday, February 26, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News


Clouds gather over the Caribbean island of St. Kitts.

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, February 26, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Another Caribbean nation to legalize medical cannabis, decriminalize adult use (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Denver just made a big change on social-use cannabis: It will be permanent (Denver Post)

// Tech Helps San Francisco Erase 8,000 Cannabis Convictions (Leafly (AP))


Today’s headlines are brought to you by our friends over at Eaze.com, California’s top one stop website for legal marijuana delivery. If you live in the golden state, swing over to Eaze.com to see if they are active in your area. With deliveries taking place in less than an hour, it’s never been easier to get legal California marijuana delivery. And of course, if you don’t live where Eaze delivers, you can still benefit from all the useful bits of industry insight and analysis they’ve developed using their properly aggregate and anonymized sales data stream.


// Fetterman: Pennsylvanians mixed on legalizing recreational pot (Trib Live)

// Iowa poll: 78 percent of adults want medical marijuana program expansion (KCRG 9 ABC)

// Limit on medical pot plants expiring (Albuquerque Journal)

// Firm that launched Colorado’s legal cannabis market wins Maine contract (Lewiston Sun Journal)

// Marijuana dispensary licenses outnumber QuikTrip and Starbucks combined (KTUL 8 ABC)

// Maryland Sets Sights on Cannabis Bills- 18 of Them (Leafly)

// Uh-Oh, California Could Run Out of Legal Cannabis by Summer (Leafly)


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Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Researchers measure product characteristics and associated effects with mobile app — ScienceDaily


Researchers at the University of New Mexico (UNM) recently solved a major gap in scientific literature by using mobile software technology to measure the real-time effects of actual cannabis-based products used by millions of people every day.

Contrary to popular media-reports and scientific dogma, the psychoactive chemical, tetrahydrocannabinol or “THC,” showed the strongest correlation with therapeutic relief and far less evidence for the benefits of relying on the more socially acceptable chemical, cannabidiol or “CBD.”

In a new study titled, “The Association between Cannabis Product Characteristics and Symptom Relief,” published in the journal Scientific Reports, UNM researchers Sarah See Stith, assistant professor in the Department of Economics, and Jacob Miguel Vigil, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, found that THC and CBD contents were the most important factor for optimizing symptom relief for a wide variety of health conditions.

The findings were based on the largest database of real-time measurements of the effects of cannabis in the United States, collected with the ReleafApp, developed by co-authors Franco Brockelman, Keenan Keeling and Branden Hall.

Since its release in 2016, the commercially developed ReleafApp has been the only publicly available, incentive-free app for educating patients on how their type of product (e.g., flower or concentrate), combustion method, cannabis subspecies (indica, sativa, and hybrid), and major cannabinoid contents (THC and CBD) affect their symptom severity levels, essentially providing invaluable user feedback on their health status, medication choices, and the clinical outcomes of those choices as measured by symptom relief and side effects.

The study aimed to address the practical questions of knowing how fundamental characteristics of currently available and frequently used cannabis products, characteristics that often influence consumer choices, affect health symptom intensity levels. The average patient, across the roughly 20,000 measured user sessions and 27 measured symptom categories ranging from depression to seizure activity, showed an immediate symptom improvement of 3.5 points on a 0-10 scale. Dried flower was the most commonly used product and generally associated with greater symptom improvement than other types of products.

Cannabis is rapidly gaining popularity as a mid-level analgesic and promising substitute for prescription opioids and other classes of medications, which often carry undesirable side effects, dangerous drug interactions and risk of death. Presently, federal barriers restrict researchers from conducting cannabis administration studies in the U.S.

“We were able to fill the most significant absence in the previous medical literature, understanding the ‘efficacy, dose, routes of administration, or side effects of commonly used and commercially available cannabis products in the United States,'” said Vigil, quoting from the recently released report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana.

By studying products containing both THC and CBD, the authors were able to analyze the relative importance of these cannabinoids for symptom relief and side effect prevalence, advancing previous research examining either chemical in the absence of the other. One of the most striking patterns in the current results was that THC was generally associated with a more intense user experience, as measured by symptom relief and the prevalence of both positive and negative side effects.

“Despite the conventional wisdom, both in the popular press and much of the scientific community that only CBD has medical benefits while THC merely makes one high, our results suggest that THC may be more important than CBD in generating therapeutic benefits. In our study, CBD appears to have little effect at all, while THC generates measurable improvements in symptom relief. These findings justify the immediate de-scheduling of all types of cannabis, in addition to hemp, so that cannabis with THC can be more widely accessible for pharmaceutical use by the general public,” said Vigil.

“More broadly understanding the relationship between product characteristics and patient outcomes is particularly important given the lack of medical guidance received by medical cannabis patients,” said Stith. “Most receive only a referral for cannabis treatment from their healthcare provider with all other treatment advice coming from prior recreational experience, the internet, social interactions, and/or often minimally trained personnel working in dispensaries.

“This is very different from how patients receive treatment using conventional pharmaceuticals that come with clear dosing instructions and a standardized, uniform product,” she added.

The authors caution that cannabis use does carry the risks of addiction and short-term impairments in cognitive and behavioral functioning, and may not be effective for everyone.

“However, I have seen many people use it as a primary medication for a full spectrum of health conditions as part of their broader desire to gain more control over their healthcare treatment,” says Vigil, a perspective that seems to gaining momentum as cannabis appears to be re-emerging as one of the most widely used medications in the U.S.

This investigation was supported in part by public donations to the University of New Mexico Medical Cannabis Research.



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Monday, February 25, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News


Oregon Governor Kate Brown speaks at a podium against a red wooden-paneled wall.

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Monday, February 25, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Five Governors Talk Marijuana And Hemp At Media Conference (Marijuana Moment)

// First Look: Spike Jonze And Jesse Williams Captivate In MedMen’s New Cannabis Commercial (Forbes)

// New Mexico Lawmakers Vote To Advance Two Separate Marijuana Legalization Bills (Marijuana Moment)


Today’s headlines are brought to you by our friends over at Eaze.com, California’s top one stop website for legal marijuana delivery. If you live in the golden state, swing over to Eaze.com to see if they are active in your area. With deliveries taking place in less than an hour, it’s never been easier to get legal California marijuana delivery. And of course, if you don’t live where Eaze delivers, you can still benefit from all the useful bits of industry insight and analysis they’ve developed using their properly aggregate and anonymized sales data stream.


// Florida Senator Wants To Let Voters Decide On Marijuana Legalization (Marijuana Moment)

// Colorado Cannabis Wants To Go Public But Not Everyone Is On Board (Colorado Public Radio)

// Atlantic Canadians still buying more pot than rest of Canada sales figures show (Global News)

// Chart: Adult-use marijuana sales spike 7% on Valentine’s Day (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Idaho State Police Are Not Required to Return Seized Hemp (Yet) (Canna Law Blog)

// ‘Inundated’ CA credit union suspends new applications from cannabis firms (Marijuana Business Daily)

// What’s former Mavericks coach Don Nelson been up to?: ‘I’ve been smoking some pot’ (Dallas News Sports)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Photo: Oregon Department of Transportation/Flickr



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CNMI Marijuana Legalization Bill Passes, Heads to Governor


The Northern Marianas’ Commonwealth Legislature has approved a bill to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult and medical use.

House Bill 20-178, titled the Taulamwaar Sensible CNMI Cannabis Act of 2018, will now be sent to Gov. Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres for his consideration.

The Senate approved the bill 6-0-2 on Thursday, and it was approved by the House 18-1-1 on August 8.

In summary, the legislation:

  • allows adults 21 and older and patients with certain medical conditions to possess limited amounts of marijuana (one ounce), marijuana-infused products (16 ounces in solid form, 72 ounces in liquid form), and marijuana extracts (five grams);
  • creates a Homegrown Marijuana Registry, through which adults and patients can register to grow a limited number of marijuana plants (six mature and 12 immature or up to twice that amount in the case of medical need) for personal use;
  • directs the legislature to enact taxes and fees on all marijuana sold by a producer, as well as an excise tax on retail sales of marijuana for adult use (medical marijuana is exempt);
  • provides for six types of regulated marijuana businesses: producers, testing facilities, processors, retailers, wholesalers, and lounges; and
  • establishes a five-member appointed CNMI Cannabis Commission, which will serve as the regulatory agency overseeing commercial marijuana and hemp.

detailed overview of the bill is available from the Marijuana Policy Project.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands would be the first U.S. territory to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. Such laws have been adopted by voters in eight states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Lawmakers in Vermont and voters in D.C. have adopted laws making marijuana possession and cultivation legal for adults, but not regulating commercial production or sales.

“We commend the lawmakers for taking this important step forward, and we hope Gov. Torres will join them in supporting a more sensible marijuana policy for the Northern Marianas,” said Gerry Hemley, co-founder of Sensible CNMI, in a statement. “This is an opportunity for the commonwealth to establish itself as a trendsetter on this issue and set an example for the states and other U.S. territories. This legislation will replace the illegal marijuana market with a system of regulated, taxpaying businesses. It will not only bolster our economy, but also improve public health and make our community safer.”

“This is a historic moment, as it is the first time a governing body in the U.S. has ever enacted legislation to both end marijuana prohibition and establish a system of regulation to replace it,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, in a statement issued earlier today.

“Adults and medical cannabis patients will finally be able to access marijuana safely and legally, and products will be regulated and controlled to ensure they are safe for consumers. This legislation will allow for the establishment of new businesses that create jobs and generate new tax revenue that can support important programs and services,” O’Keefe added.

Location of the Northern Mariana Islands, a commonwealth of the United States. (Wikimedia Commons)

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Delaware Governor Signs Marijuana Expungement Bill Into Law


Delaware’s Democrat Governor John Carney signed legislation into law today vacating past marijuana convictions.

Senate Bill 197, which took immediate effect, “provides mandatory expungement eligibility to individuals who were convicted of the possession [of one ounce or less], use or consumption of marijuana prior to Delaware’s decriminalization of these offenses.”

State lawmakers in 2015 enacted legislation reducing the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis from a criminal act to a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine only — no arrest, and no criminal record.

To be eligible for expungement under the new law, the defendant must have no other criminal convictions on their record.

In recent years, lawmakers in several states – including MassachusettsMarylandOregon, and Rhode Island – have enacted similar expungement laws following the passage of either marijuana decriminalization or legalization.

In California, legislation providing for mandatory expungement of past marijuana convictions is awaiting the Governor’s signature. An estimated 220,000 cases would be eligible for erasure or a reduction under the proposed law.

According to a nationwide poll released in June, 73 percent of Americans support the enactment of legislation “to automatically seal the records of individuals convicted of crimes related to the possession of marijuana.”

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Clean Slate Act to Seal Records Introduced to Congress


WASHINGTON, DC — This week, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Congressman Rod Blum (R-IA) announced the Clean Slate Act, HR 6669, along with 22 original cosponsors, to seal the records for marijuana charges one year after the sentence is completed.

The Clean Slate Act is important legislation that would ease the burden felt by those unjustly suffering the collateral consequences resulting from cannabis prohibition.

Individuals saddled with a marijuana possession conviction are disproportionately either people of color or at the lowest rungs of the economic ladder, and it is essential that they are not held back from being able to obtain employment, housing, access to higher education, and all of the other necessities of being an active participant in their community. Having been arrested for mere marijuana possession does not make one a bad person, but rather a victim of a cruel public policy.

“One of our roles in reforming our criminal justice system is to reduce recidivism and ensure that citizens re-entering society can lead productive lives and contribute to our economy. Yet, too often, sentences place a scarlet letter on those that have served their time – keeping people and their families trapped in a cycle of lifelong poverty.  For millions of Americans, an arrest or minor record can permanently put owning a home, getting an education, or earning a good-paying job just out of reach,” said Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. “The Clean Slate Act would ensure that anyone who has paid their debts and earned a second shot has the opportunity to create a better life and future for themselves. This bill will also help employers fill the over 6.7 million unfilled jobs in our country – a win for our economy and society.”

“Our criminal justice system is in need of reform. Of the 2.3 million estimated people who are incarcerated in the U.S., over 1.4 million are serving sentences for non-violent offenses. Data shows that over 76% of released inmates have found it difficult or near impossible to find work after serving their sentence,” said Congressman Rod Blum. “The issue is cyclical- if we do not remove barriers and create opportunities for these individuals to re-enter society, we are setting them up to fail. Statistically, these individuals are more likely to fall into habitual crime and end up incarcerated once again without jobs and a support system.”

Click here to send a message to your Representative and encourage them to cosponsor the bill. 

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Access to Marijuana Shows Promise in Combating America’s Opioid Crisis


In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day, NORML chapters around the country are taking action to highlight the positive that marijuana legalization can play in combating America’s opioid crisis.

Many NORML leaders are hosting community forums to highlight the growing evidence that regulated marijuana access is positively associated with decrease in opioid overdose fatalities, hospitalizations, dependency and use.

To amplify these efforts, NORML has created action alerts targeting local, state, and federal opioid task forces and committees — urging them to make marijuana regulation a part of their discussions and strategies.

Please take just two minutes to use our prewritten letters and send a message to each target:

Opioid-involved overdose deaths have increased five-fold since 1999 and were involved in over 40,000 deaths in 2016. Deaths involving benzodiazepines, a family of anti-anxiety drugs, have increased eight-fold during this same time period.

Several observational studies — such as those herehere, and here — find that medical marijuana regulation is correlated with reductions in opioid-related use, drug spending, abuse, hospitalization, and mortality. Separate data evaluating prescription drug use trends among individual patients enrolled in state-licensed medical marijuana programs is consistent with this conclusion, finding that many chronic pain subjects reduce or eliminate their use of opioids following enrollment.

The available data is consistent and clear. For many patients, cannabis offers a viable alternative to opioids. It is time for lawmakers to stop placing political ideology above the health and safety of the American public, and to acknowledge the safety and efficacy of marijuana as an alternative medical treatment.

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