Tag Archives: medical

Marijuana Quota Gets A Jump Start By DEA For 2019

icon  23 Aug, 2018  /  icon  0        Author: Chloe

The DEA has put forward an increased marijuana quota for 2019. The Department is looking at allowing a higher amount of cannabis to be manufactured in the United States in 2019. However, this latest in California weed news does not mean much for California dispensaries, as the proposed quota applies to marijuana grown for research purposes and it is largely controlled by the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse).


Despite cannabis still being listed alongside hard drugs as a Schedule I substance, the U.S Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement has proposed to allow more manufacturing of it in 2019.


What does it mean to be a Schedule I substance in the U.S.A?


It means that the substance cannot officially have any medical properties and it is defined as a substance that has a large risk of abuse. Despite many states having legalized both medicinal and recreational marijuana, it has remained on the list. This has not prevented Proposition 64 to allow many California dispensaries from attaining recreational, medicinal or both types of licenses to sell marijuana.


What Does Schedule I Mean?

The DEA states that a Schedule I substance is classified as drugs that carry a high risk for abuse and “the potential to create psychological and/or physical dependence.”


Substances can be removed from the list, or rescheduled if a petition is made. Naturally, many petitions have been made yet marijuana has remained steadfast as a schedule I substance.


How Are The Substances Categorized?

According to the DEA, substances are scheduled depending on their rate of dependency, the potential of medicinal usage and also how likely they are to be abused.


What other substances are listed as Schedule I?

Marijuana shares space on this list with LSD, heroin, methaqualone, and ecstasy. This is despite reports claiming both science and FDA say Cannabis hold medicinal potential.


While marijuana has been on the Schedule I list since 1970, cocaine is classified as less dangerous as it sits on the schedule II list.


The DEA was established by President Nixon in 1970 and there are reports that share secret tapes of his time in the White House where he made it clear that he was aiming at locking down marijuana for the long haul. According to reports, Nixon had a stern stance on marijuana and therefore placed it in the schedule I listing- wanting to prevent the modern day reality of thriving California dispensaries.


Fast forward to the middle of 2018 and the DEA is proposing to increase the amount of the schedule I substance, marijuana, for 2019:


  • 2017 quota: 443,680 gr
  • proposed 2018 quota: 2,450,000


The War On The Opioid Crisis


While the Department has not shown signs of rescheduling marijuana, the increased quota does spell out the beginning of a long-awaited change. This is good news for those not only involved in the marijuana industry, but also for those affected by the opioid crisis.


The six highest used opioids have received a lower quota, by approximately 10%. This comes in the wakes of the current President’s “Safe Prescribing Plan.”


According to the NIH, approximately 115 people fatally overdosed on opioids every day. That’s every day. These opioids could be anything from heroin to regular prescription pain relievers. Here are some quick facts about the opioid crisis, and why President Trump and the DEA are turning to marijuana to help the problem:


  • 21 – 29% of patients using prescribed pain relievers misuse them
  • 8 – 12 % of patients go on to have a disorder related to the abuse of opioids
  • a further 4 -6 % of those patients misusing the opioids begin using heroin
  • approximately 80% of heroin addicts were initially addicted to opioids
  • in the time between mid-2016 to mid-2017, opioid overdoses increased by 30% in almost all the states


In March 2017, President Trump established the Presidents Commision in order to combat the opioid crisis in America and the latest proposed quota by the DEA is one step along the path to solving the crisis.


This is the third year that the opioid manufacturing reduction is put in place and is part of President Trump’s three year plan to bring the rate of opioid prescription down by one third in as little as three years.


There has been much contention among reports of the cannabinoids within cannabis, namely CBD and THC, and which should be unrestricted and which are dangerous and/or hole health benefits. While CBD derived from hemp plants has been legalized throughout the country, THC is more restricted due to its psychoactive properties. The conflicting studies and claims for the efficiency of THC, CBD and full spectrum cannabis products have been in the California weed news since the new marijuana movement begun.


The DEA has also proposed that they allow THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), 384,460 gems to be exact, for the following year. This number has not changed and remains the same for 2019 as it was for 2018. With the increased in cannabis manufactured, it is almost as if the THC could have been reduced and is more restricted.


While cannabis rose from half a ton to more than 2, 5 tons, the amount of THC remains the same. This means that the majority of the cannabis manufactured cannot contain THC.


The general increase for marijuana manufacture in 2019 could be a sign that previous legal barriers are being changed to embrace the new era of marijuana use. However, there are still complaints that the NIDA holds a monopoly on this cultivation and scientists struggle to acquire this marijuana for studies. In a statement by NORML Political Director, Justin Strekal, he says that the 28, 000 studies hosted on the NIDA should be viewed by Congress and that marijuana should not only be removed from the Schedule I listening, but from the “Controlled Substances Act altogether.”


The public will have access to the proposal once it is published in the Federal Register, and comments can be made for 30 days. After this time, the proposal can be amended before being made final.


Connecticut’s Mass Overdosing Incident Highlights the Dangers of Synthetic Marijuana

icon  20 Aug, 2018  /  icon  0        Author: Chloe

If there’s one thing that the recent New Haven Green mass drug overdosing episode has made clear, that’s to stay well away from using K2, a synthetic drug that mimics a marijuana high but with very dangerous consequences.

Six of the 71 people involved in the Connecticut incident nearly lost their lives. Most of the overdose victims were reported to have taken the K2 drug on the New Haven Green near Yale University. Luckily, no deaths have been reported to date.

K2 is definitely no Mr Nice Guy!

K2 is commonly labeled as aherbal mixture, incense or potpourri and is sold under names such as K2, Green Giant, Spice and Mr Nice Guy. But Mr Nice Guy it’s definitely not when considering the terrible side effects of this unstable syntheticdrug.

Chemical compounds present in K2 are linked to frightening life-threatening side effects like seizures, psychosis, agitation, confusion, nausea, vomiting, accelerated heartbeat, lethargy and severe headaches. And, if that’s not bad enough, K2 can cause death.

High profile cases involving K2

K2 has made headlines in recent years in a number of high profile overdose incidents. Earlier in 2018, this synthetic drug was said to be responsible for at least 22 cases in the Chicago area involving severe bleeding in the urine, as well as from the gums and nose. Last year, authorities were told about dozens of people were staggering about in a “zombie-like” trance in a Brooklyn neighborhood after taking K2. This occurred despite the fact that a ban on the sale and manufacture of all synthetic cannabinoid products had been imposed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2015. It was in that year, too, that the highest number of calls – 7,794 to be precise – related to the use of synthetic weed was received by poison control centers throughout the country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, specific synthetic cannabinoids have been banned by the federal government, while the Drug Enforcement Administration has found that K2 was responsible for the recent New Haven Green incident.

A closer look at K2

K2 has been around since the early 2000’s with manufacturers advertising the synthetic drug as “a safe alternative” to marijuana. K2 can be best described as a designer-drug that is packed with psychoactive compounds that are then sprayed onto plant material.

Users can smoke, drink, eat or vape K2 which mimics the effects of the THC compound inherent in marijuana and which is responsible for producing a high. However, K2’s chemical compounds aren’t disclosed to consumers,that increases the danger of toxicity levels andthe resulting bad side effects.

Alarm bells about K2

Alarm bells started ringing in 2017, when the Trends in Pharmacological Sciences journal published a review of studies on synthetic marijuana, concluding that this form of drug is more hazardous than weed. Researchers found that the compounds in synthetic marijuana produced “a variety of dangerous, acute and chronic adverse effects” and they concluded that synthetic marijuana’s side effects occurred more frequently and were more severe than with the use of genuine weed. They said K2/Spice products were “clearly not safe marijuana alternatives.”

Their findings were echoed by the Assistant Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Health, Dr Hillary Kunins, who described K2 as a “very risky substance” with significant health consequences. Dr Kunins, who was also the leader of the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Use Prevention, Care and Treatment, described synthetic marijuana as a drug with unpredictable and serious side effects and a substance that should never be used flippantly.

Her sentiments are supported by health officials nationwide who have appealed to consumers to steer clear of K2 products and to seek immediate medical assistance if suffering ill-effects after use.

Illinois lawmakers want to use marijuana to wean opioid addicts off prescription drugs

icon  22 Jun, 2018  /  icon  0        Author: Chloe

The Illinois House and Senate have approved Bill 336 that will allow marijuana to be administered to opioid addicts in attempts to wean then off prescription drugs.

If final approval is given by Governor Bruce Rauner, the new Bill will also scrap the necessity for patients to be fingerprinted or to undergo criminal background checks.

Half a million people died from drug overdoses

Close to 500,000 people died in the U.S. from prescription drug overdoses in a 10-year-period ending 2014, according to the Disease Control and Prevention Centers. In Illinois, 11,000 people have died from overdosing on opioids since 2008.

The cold hard facts are that no deaths have ever been reported from overdosing on marijuana, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Approval of the Bill will undoubtedly see a substantial increase in the use of weed in Illinois where there are only 37,000 registered medical marijuana patients at present compared with the staggering eight million prescriptions filled in the State in 2015.

No more fingerprinting or background checks

Apart from the tacit acknowledgement that marijuana has effective and far-reaching uses in the medical fieldthe Bill also addresses two thorny issues – that of medical marijuana patients being subjected to finger-printing and criminal background checks. These form part of Illinois’ Medical Cannabis Pilot Program that was launched in 2015 and ends mid-2020.

Officials in the Illinois Department of Public Health apparently support the move to end background checks because these cause bottlenecks and delay approving patients for medical marijuana programs, according to Senator Don Harmon, the original sponsor of Bill 336. Their co-operation, he says, could be an indicator that Governor Rauner may relent and sign his approval for the new Bill.

Harmon says he was impressed by testimony from patients at recent hearings in Springfield who had either reduced or totally eliminated their use of opioids such as Vicodin by switching to marijuana. Harmon says this testimony clearly underscored two facts – opioids kill, marijuana doesn’t.

If Bill 336 comes into play, medical patients will not be denied access to marijuana if they have criminal convictions and their doctors will be able to prescribe marijuana for collection at a registered dispensary, eliminating the present four-month wait for approval by State officials.

Whether or not Governor Rauner will sign the Bill only time will tell because he has sternly opposed any expansion of medical marijuana in the past.


Governor Rauner is opposing another Bill calling for the legalization, taxation and regulation of recreational marijuana. Political analysts predict that Rauner may, however, support Bill 336 because he will be opposing Democrat J.B. Pritzker, a supporter of decriminalizing pot for recreational use when voters go to the polls in November to elect a new Governor.

Fewer prescriptions are written for opioids and fewer deaths are recorded from overdosing in those States that have legalized medical marijuana, according to several studies.

Evidence proving the efficacy of marijuana in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions has been substantial, according to the National Academies of Sciences. Cannabis is being used in the treatment of conditions such as chemotherapy, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis and seizures.

But the FDA zero-tolerance stance remains unmoved.

Meanwhile, the Illinois General Assembly has given the go-ahead for the cultivation and processing of hemp plants containing less than 0.3 percent THC. Industrial hemp had wide production uses, ranging from concrete to textiles. Governor Rauner also has to put his stamp of approval on this decision