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US WA: Column: Marijuana Is Medicine

MAP - Cannabis - Wed, 04/29/2015 - 07:00
Seattle Weekly, 29 Apr 2015 - Last week, Gov. Inslee signed a bill that will essentially destroy Washington's medical-marijuana system. You might not care, but you should. When the team behind Initiative 502 wrote their marijuana law, they left the already well-established medical dispensaries and collective gardens out of the equation, assuming they'd be dealt with at a later date. Well, they were dealt with, all right-last week the Governor signed a bill to eliminate both entirely.

US MI: Column: Drug-Free Living

MAP - Cannabis - Wed, 04/29/2015 - 07:00
Metro Times, 29 Apr 2015 - A year ago, Kimberly Cole was taking 11 different prescription drugs to try to control her epileptic seizures, neuropathic pain, and other health issues. Then, on her doctor's advice, she tried marijuana. Today she doesn't take any of those 11 drugs.

Maine Secretary of State Gives Approval to Cannabis Legalization Initiative

The Joint Blog - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 23:18

The organization Legalize Maine has received approval from Maine’s Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap to begin collecting signatures on their initiative to legalize cannabis. The group is now required to collect 61,123 valid signatures to put the proposal to a vote of the people next year.

If placed on the ballot and approved into law, the initiative would legalize the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis, and would authorize cannabis social clubs where individuals could buy and use the therapeutic substance. Cannabis would be taxed at 10%.

A separate cannabis legalization initiative, also aiming for the 2016 ballot, was filed last month by the Marijuana Policy Project. Their initiative – which is modeled after Colorado’s Amendment 64 – would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis and the personal cultivation of up to six plants, in addition to authorizing state-licensed cannabis retail outlets.

TheJointBlog

 

Initiative Campaign to Legalize Cannabis in Maine Underway

Maine’s Secretary of State Gives Approval to Cannabis Legalization Initiative

Cannabis Legalization Initiative Given Approval by Maine Secretary of State

Maine: Advocates Begin Collecting Signatures on Initiative to Legalize Cannabis

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Indonesia Executes Eight People for Drug Offenses

The Joint Blog - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 22:41

An Indonesian police firing squad boards a boat heading to an island where eight drug-related executions took place (photo: CNN).

Today, eight people were executed in Indonesia for drug offenses ranging from transporting heroin to intent to distribute cannabis.

Despite repeated pleas for mercy from family members, human rights organizations, the United Nations, and government officials around the world, Nigerians Martin Anderson, Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, Raheem Agbaje Salami, Okwuduli Oyatanze, and Silvester Obiekwe Nwolise, Indonesian Zainal Abidin and Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte were killed by firing squad today, just past midnight in Indonesia’s timezone.

Serge Atlaoui from France, who was facing execution was given a temporary reprieve, and Mary Jane Veloso from the Philippines was given a last-minute reprieve after it was discovered that she may have been framed.

“Indonesians should be ashamed of their government’s atrocity earlier today”, said Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. ” The execution of these eight people for non-violent drug offenses will do nothing to reduce the availability of drugs in Indonesia or other countries, or protect people from drug abuse.  All it demonstrates is the savagery of which governments are capable.”

He continues; “One can only hope that the eight will not have died in vain.  The protests by foreign governments and international organizations and even the UN Secretary General were unprecedented, hopefully giving not just Indonesia but also China, Iran and other governments that execute people for non-violent drug offenses good reason to reconsider their inhumane policies.”

According to the United Nations, there are over 30 countries around the world that use the death penalty for drug-related crimes.

TheJointBlog

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Cannabis Oil Bill Passes Oklahoma Legislature

The Joint Blog - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 22:14

Cannabis oil.

Oklahoma’s full Legislature has passed House Bill 2154, a bill to allow the use of cannabis oil by those with epilepsy who receive a recommendation from a physician. The measure was passed unanimously, 46 to 0, by the state’s Senate, and was approved 85 to 5 by the state’s House of Representatives.

The proposal would authorize university medical centers to produce, dispense and study the medicine, which advocates say can be helpful for a wide range of conditions, especially seizure disorders such as epilepsy.

The proposal has been named Katie’s Law, in honor of State Representative Jon Echols’ niece who suffers from Dravet syndrome, a form of epilepsy.

Though Governor Mary Fallin remains opposed to legalizing cannabis, she is expected to sign House Bill 2154 into law.

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Colorado Bill to Allow Those on Probation or Parole to Use Medical Cannabis Passes Legislature, Heads to Governor’s Desk

The Joint Blog - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 21:56

House Bill 1267, a proposal to allow those on probation or parole to use medical cannabis, has been passed by Colorado’s House of Representatives and Senate, sending it to Governor John Hickenlooper for consideration.

“If it’s in the constitution, you should have the right to use it on probation,” says Representative Joe Salazar (D-Thornton), the bill’s primary sponsor.

If signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper, or allowed to become law without his signature, the bill would make Colorado the 3rd state in the U.S. – joining Arizona and Rhode Island – that allow medical cannabis patients to use their medicine while on parole or probation. California allows those on parole to seek permission from the courts to use medical cannabis after being released from prison or jail, but the courts have the full authority to deny that request.

Governor Hickenlooper has yet to say what action, if any, he’ll take on the measure.

TheJointBlog

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Pennsylvania Senate Committee Passes Bill to Legalize Medical Cannabis

The Joint Blog - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 19:13

[Correction: Senate Bill 3 has not actually passed the full Senate, it’s passed the Senate State Government Committee and currently sits in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The CBS News article that we link to is incorrect. We apologize for the mistake.]

Pennsylvania’s Senate has passed Senate Bill 3, a proposal to legalize medical cannabis, sending it to the state’s House of Representatives for consideration, according to CBS News.

The bipartisan measure, sponsored by 27 state lawmakers, would allow those who receive a recommendation from a physician to possess and use cannabis for medical use. The proposal would establish a system of state-licensed production and distribution centers, which will provide patients with a means of safe access to their medicine. Conditions that would qualify an individual to become a legal medical cannabis patient includes cancer, seizure disorders, glaucoma, post traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis and.several others.

Unfortunately, patients would be prohibited from actually smoking cannabis, meaning they would need to rely on cannabis oils, vaporizers, tinctures and topicals (such as lotions).

In January, Governor Tom Wolf said he will sign Senate Bill 3 into law if given the chance.

TheJointBlog

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Poll Finds Strong Support for Legalizing Cannabis in Rhode Island

The Joint Blog - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 18:43

A strong majority of voters in Rhode Island support legalizing cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol, according to a new poll conducted by Public Policy Polling, and commissioned by Regulate Rhode Island.

According to the survey of 762 Rhode Island voters, 57% support legalizing, regulating and taxing cannabis

Regulate Rhode Island is pushing for passage of bills in the state’s House and Senate – introduced last month – sponsored by Senators Joshua Miller Representative Scott Slater, which would legalize cannabis for those 21 and older while establishing a regulatory framework for its legal distribution.

“From Cumberland to Narragansett, there is exceptionally strong support for ending marijuana prohibition in Rhode Island this year,” says Regulate Rhode Island Director Jared Moffat. “The Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act creates a responsible alternative that proactively controls for public health concerns while allowing adults 21 and older the freedom to legally use marijuana if they choose. Taking the marijuana market above board will create taxpaying jobs and allow the state to tax the distribution and sale of marijuana.”

This new poll shows that Rode Island voters favor legalizing cannabis at a slightly higher level than the national average; two national polls this month – one by the Pew Research Center, and one by CBS News – found 53% of Americans to be in support of cannabis legalization.

TheJointBlog

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Bipartisan Legislation Introduced in New York to Expedite Access to Medical Cannabis

The Joint Blog - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 18:05

Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb Join as Co-Sponsors

Patients & Families Rally in Albany to Demand Emergency Access Before More Loved Ones Die

Albany–(Drug Policy Alliance Press Release)–Patients, family members and activists stood with legislators today as they announced the introduction of Assembly bill A.7060 that would direct the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medical marijuana as soon as possible. The bill, introduced by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb, comes 298 days after Governor Cuomo signed the medical marijuana bill into law on July 5, and nine months after the Governor urged the Health Commissioner to do everything in his power to get medical marijuana to children suffering from life-threatening forms of epilepsy. To date, not one patient has received medical marijuana, and at least three children who might have benefitted from medical marijuana, have died since the bill was passed.

“This bill would create emergency access to medical marijuana for patients with the most urgent needs – including children suffering from severe epilepsy,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of the original medical marijuana bill.  “Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb and I introducing this bill shows the broad, bipartisan support for emergency access. It is good and compassionate public health policy. If ever there was a basis for emergency action, the suffering of these children is it.”

“Thousands of patients in New York State deal with excruciating pain each day and simply can’t wait for the wheels of government to turn. Bureaucracy should not stand in the way of relief for people suffering from debilitating illnesses and diseases,” Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb said. “Assistance is well within reach. The Department of Health must be diligent in building the medical marijuana program, but that does not preclude the state from offering immediate assistance to people in dire need.”

“The Governor announced in January 2014 that he was reactivating the 1980 Olivieri medical marijuana ‘research’ program, and 15 months later nothing has come of it,” added Gottfried.  “There are New Yorkers suffering right now whose lives could be made better by access to medical marijuana.  If the Department of Health does not believe it can have the 2014 Compassionate Care Act system fully up and running before 2016, the least it can do is offer emergency relief to the patients who need it most.”

On April 15, the Administration adopted final regulations for the medical marijuana program. It would make New York’s program one of the most restrictive in the country and could inhibit patients from obtaining the relief they need. Those regulations did not include provisions for expediting access for those suffering from terminal or life-threatening illnesses.

“No parent should have to watch their child suffer and die while remaining powerless to help,” said Nathan Nocera of Niagara Falls, father of Donella, who passed away at eight years-old in December due to an aggressive brain tumor. “Not a single day goes by without me thinking of Donnie and reliving the enormous hurt of her death. I am deeply grateful to the leadership of Assemblymen Gottfried and Kolb in taking action to make emergency medical marijuana access a reality in New York and bringing meaning to my daughter’s life as well as her passing.”

“As a four time cancer survivor, I know that there are people in critical need of accessing medical marijuana now,” said Nancy Rivera of Troy. “I’ve come to know and love many of the children across the state suffering from severe forms of epilepsy. They and others simply cannot wait until next January for relief. In fact, we already lost some precious children since the bill was signed. I urge the legislature to move on this emergency access bill quickly so that no others die needlessly.”

Although there were more than a thousand public comments on the draft regulations, many of them calling for emergency access for the sickest patients, the Administration made no substantive changes and rejected calls for emergency access. Instead, the Health Department says that patients must wait until at least January 2016 when they estimate that the program will be operational.

“Every day that my son Oliver has to wait to try medical marijuana is a day he loses ground due to the multiple seizures he endures daily,” said Missy Miller of Atlantic Beach whose son Oliver suffers from life-threatening seizures. “It’s been almost nine months since Governor Cuomo directed the Health Commissioner to do everything in his power to get children, like Oliver, access to medical marijuana, and, to date, not one child has been helped. Governor Cuomo himself asked to get this expedited for the children and it has not been done. WHY? Thankfully, Assemblymen Gottfried and Kolb are taking action and seeking creative solutions to insure that no more children suffer or die needlessly.”

Since July, advocates have been pressuring the Cuomo Administration to create an interim emergency access program for patients who may not survive the eighteen months or longer that the Governor has said he needs to get the full medical marijuana program up and running. The Gottfried/Kolb bill offers critically ill patients a ray of hope in the face of inaction by the Cuomo Administration.

“I’ve already outlived the median survival age for my cancer,” said Beverly McClain of New York City, a stage four metastatic cancer patient. “I don’t know how much longer I have, but I do know that medical marijuana could help me right now to better tolerate the treatments that are keeping me alive. I and other patients may not have until January 2016 when the state says the full program will be operational. We need access to medical marijuana now, which is why I’m so pleased that Assemblymen Gottfried and Kolb have introduced this bill.”

“Families in New York are desperate for access,” said Kate Hintz of North Salem whose daughter, Morgan, suffers from a treatment-resistant form of epilepsy. “While I’m thrilled that families in other states are finding relief, I continue to be frustrated by the inaction and lack of compassion in New York. I want to offer my thanks to Assemblymen Gottfried and Kolb for sponsoring this bill and urge the legislature to act without delay. The lives of our children depend on it.”

Currently, those with terminal or critical illnesses and their families are forced to break the law, move to a state where medical marijuana is legally available, or watch their loved ones suffer knowing that there is a medication that could help them.

“I am grateful that Assemblymen Gottfried and Kolb have introduced legislation to create emergency access to medical marijuana,” said Dr. Amy Piperato of Thiells.  “As a mother of a child with a severe epileptic disorder, our family needs access to this medicine as soon as possible. As a physician, I know that there are patients across New York who cannot wait until the full program is up and running.”

The bill, which passed the Assembly Health Committee today, would instruct the state to establish an emergency program for critically ill patients so that they can start receiving medical marijuana as quickly as possible. Frustrated with bureaucratic and legalistic excuses from the Cuomo Administration, families and patients are putting their hopes in the New York State legislature.

“When my daughter Amanda and I stood with Governor Cuomo at the bill signing for the medical marijuana law in July, we believed that he really wanted to help our family,” said Maryanne Houser of Suffern. “More than nine months later, Amanda and other children who need medical cannabis to treat their seizures still don’t have access. I urge the legislature to move swiftly to pass this bill before our children lose even more ground, or God forbid, another child dies.”

Recently, Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia swiftly signed a medical marijuana law to help children with severe epilepsy and announced the system should be up and running in the next 30 to 60 days. He went further and issued temporary patient cards to seven families who had moved to other states as they awaited action so that they could return home without fear of being prosecuted.

“The failure of the Cuomo Administration to act in the face of the suffering of the terminally and critically ill and the deaths of at least three young children is unconscionable,” said Julie Netherland, PhD, deputy state director at the Drug Policy Alliance. “It’s heartening to see Assemblymen Gottfried and Kolb taking steps to help these patients. I hope that Assembly and Senate will move quickly to pass this bill so that the patients who so desperately need this medication can get it.”

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CN ON: Pot Lounge Braces For Crackdown

MAP - Cannabis - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 07:00
Standard Freeholder, 28 Apr 2015 - OTTAWA - Wayne Robillard has opened a stoner lounge just east of downtown. It's hard to describe it any other way. Even Robillard, 51, acknowledges his business, BuzzOn, isn't exactly legal.

CN ON: Pot Lounge Braces For Crackdown

MAP - Cannabis - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 07:00
The Sun Times, 28 Apr 2015 - OTTAWA - Wayne Robillard has opened a stoner lounge just east of downtown. It's hard to describe it any other way. Even Robillard, 51, acknowledges his business, BuzzOn, isn't exactly legal.

CN ON: Check Out This Joint

MAP - Cannabis - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 07:00
Ottawa Sun, 28 Apr 2015 - Vanier Business Owner Rolls Out Marijuana Lounge to Local Smokers The fuzz showed up at Wayne Robillard's new joint exactly when he was rolling it out to reporters Monday. Two polite cops walked into BuzzOn at 29 Montreal Rd. to collect information about the pot smoking "lounge" in Vanier.

CN ON: Pot Lounge Braces For Crackdown

MAP - Cannabis - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 07:00
The Observer, 28 Apr 2015 - OTTAWA - Wayne Robillard has opened a stoner lounge just east of downtown. It's hard to describe it any other way. Even Robillard, 51, acknowledges his business, BuzzOn, isn't exactly legal.

Federal Amendment Announced to Allow Veterans to Use Medical Cannabis

The Joint Blog - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 06:18

This week, when the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to consider an appropriations bill related to military construction and Veterans Affairs, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) plans to offer an amendment to make it easier for qualified veterans to access medical cannabis. The amendment will be cosponsored by Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY), Sam Farr (D-CA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

“While there is no single approach to aiding our nation’s veterans, medical marijuana is proven to help in treating post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries frequently suffered by veterans,” said Congressman Blumenauer in a Monday press release. “States are listening to their residents on the benefits of medical marijuana, including veterans, and are changing their laws. It is unacceptable for our wounded warriors to be forced out of the VA system to simply seek a recommendation on whether or not medical marijuana is a good treatment option. We should not be preventing access to medicine that can help them deal with these injuries to survive and thrive. I encourage my colleagues to show compassion to our veterans and pass this amendment.”

Currently, the Veterans Administration (VA) specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a Veteran’s participation in a state medical cannabis program. Congressman Blumenauer’s amendment ensures that no funds made available to the VA can be used to implement this prohibition, which would, in effect, strike it down.

A bill filed in February by Representative Blumenauer, the Veterans Equal Access Act, would allow VA physicians to recommend medical cannabis to patients. A separate bill filed earlier this month would reschedule cannabis on the federal level.

TheJointBlog

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New York Opens Application Process for Medical Cannabis Producers and Dispensers

The Joint Blog - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 01:33

New York’s State Flag.

New York’s Department of Health announced it is accepting applications from those wanting to operate organizations that manufacture and dispense medical cannabis in the state.

The announcement comes over 9 months after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation into law that allows those with certain medical conditions to possess and use cannabis medicines if they receive a recommendation from a physician. The law doesn’t allow patients to smoke cannabis, meaning they’ll be required to consume it through other means such as oils, tinctures, vaporizers and edibles.

“This represents an important step in implementing the medical marijuana program in New York State,” said New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker in a Monday press release. “We have laid out an ambitious timeline in getting the program up and running and we are meeting our goals. Once the applications are in, we can begin our review and move to the next step of selecting the registered organizations this summer.”

Applicants are required to pay a $10,000 non-refundable application fee in addition to a $200,000 registration fee.

The state plans to have the companies registered by July.

TheJointBlog

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Congress: House Members Re-Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Prevent Federal Prosecutions Of State-Compliant Marijuana Consumers, Businesses

NORML Blog - Mon, 04/27/2015 - 23:10

California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, along with five other Republicans and six Democrats, has reintroduced legislation to prevent the federal government from criminally prosecuting individuals and/or businesses who are engaging in state-sanctioned activities specific to marijuana.

HR 1094 states, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this subchapter related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.”

Representative Rohrabacher sponsored a budgetary amendment last year to limit federal interference in states with marijuana regulation schemes. (That provision expires this fall.) However, the Department of Justice has recently claimed that the law does not prevent the government sanctioning individuals or businesses in states where marijuana is legal.

“The American people … have made it clear that federal enforcers should stay out of their personal lives,” Rohrabacher said in a statement upon the bill’s reintroduction late last week. “It’s time for restraint of the federal government’s over-aggressive weed warriors.”

According to national survey data released today by Fox News, 51 percent of registered voters say that they favor “legalizing marijuana.” The figure is an increase of five percentage points since Fox pollsters asked the question in 2013. It is the first time that a majority of respondents have favored legalization in a Fox News sponsored poll. The poll is the latest in a series of national surveys showing majority support for legalizing and regulating marijuana

To learn more about HR 1940, or to contact your elected officials in support of this or other pending legislation, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

Initiative to Legalize Cannabis on Next Week’s Ballot in East Lansing, Michigan

The Joint Blog - Mon, 04/27/2015 - 20:23

On May 5th, an initiative to legalize cannabis will be voted on in East Lansing, Michigan. Similar proposals have been approved by voters in the Michigan cities of Lansing, Detroid, Ferndale and others.

The initiative, if passed into law by voters, would legalize the possession use and transfer of up to an ounce of cannabis for those 21 and older. Consuming cannabis in public, and cannabis distribution, would remain illegal.

According to polling released this week by Marketing Resource Group, 51% of likely Michigan voters support legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes. A separate poll released in January by SurveyUSA found even higher support, with 64% in favor of legalizing cannabis.

TheJointBlog

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Poll: Majority of Michigan Voters Support Legalizing Cannabis

The Joint Blog - Mon, 04/27/2015 - 18:23

Fifty-one percent of likely Michigan voters say they would support the legalization of cannabis for recreational use if it were to be regulated and taxed like alcohol, while 45 percent oppose the idea, according to the latest statewide poll conducted by Marketing Resource Group (MRG).

According to a press release from MRG; “Geographically, the strongest support came from the Suburban Wayne County area (57 percent support, 41 percent oppose) and Macomb County (52 percent approve, 40 percent oppose). The City of Detroit (44 percent support, 50 percent oppose), West Michigan (48 percent support, 46 percent oppose), and the Tri-City Thumb area (49 percent support, 48 percent oppose) are split on the issue and voters in the Upper Peninsula (26 percent support, 69 percent oppose) oppose the idea.”

The actual wording and full results of the question is as follows:

Would you support or oppose the legalization of marijuana for recreational use if it was regulated and taxed like alcohol? [IF SUPPORT/OPPOSE, ASK:] Would that be strongly [SUPPORT/OPPOSE] or just somewhat [SUPPORT/OPPOSE]?

Strongly Support: 36%
Somewhat Support: 15%
Neither (VOLUNTEERED): 2%
Somewhat Oppose: 9%
Strongly Oppose: 37%
Don’t Know: 2%
Refused: 0%

TOTAL SUPPORT: 51%
TOTAL OPPOSE: 46%

TheJointBlog

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New Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research Journal Launching in the Fall

The Joint Blog - Mon, 04/27/2015 - 17:46

Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, a new peer-reviewed, open access journal, will launch this fall as the world’s first journal dedicated to the scientific, medical, and psychosocial exploration of clinical cannabis, cannabinoids, and the biochemical mechanisms of endocannabinoids.

“Launching in fall 2015, the Journal will be the premier open source for authoritative cannabis and cannabinoid research, discussion, and debate” states a recent press release from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., the publishing company behind the new journal, which will be published “under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY) license to ensure broad dissemination and participation.”

According to the release; “Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research will publish fully peer-reviewed, evidence-based original articles, review articles, and perspectives on cannabis, cannabinoids, and the endocannabinoid system. The Journal will publish a broad range of human and animal studies including basic and translational research; clinical studies; behavioral, social, and epidemiological issues; and ethical, legal, and regulatory controversies.”

Topics in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research will include:

  • Biochemical process of the endocannabinoid system
  • Cannabinoid receptors and signaling
  • Pharmaceuticals based on cannabis and cannabinoids
  • Optimal dosing and drug delivery
  • Short- and long-term effects on the brain and behavior
  • Toxicological studies
  • Analgesic effects, including neuropathic pain and chronic nerve injury
  • Neurological disorders, including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma
  • Use of cannabis as antinauseants and antispasmodics
  • Immune function and chronic inflammation, including HIV
  • Cancer and cancer-related treatment
  • Screening and assessment for marijuana misuse and addiction
  • Social, behavioral, and public health impact
  • Ethics, regulation, legalization, and public policy

TheJointBlog

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