Monthly Archives: September 2018

Jamaica makes First Shipment of Medical Marijuana Extract Oil to Canada

The Honourable Audley Shaw, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, is pleased to announce Jamaica’s first legal export of medical marijuana extracted oil to Canada. The shipment to Canada was authorized through an import permit issued by the Government of Canada through Health Canada for Jamaica and an export permit issued by the Ministry of Health in Jamaica. The shipment marks the first step in positioning Jamaica as the medical marijuana hub for the world.

According to Minister Shaw, “Jamaica is uniquely positioned to be a global player and we are committed to providing the leadership and resources required for opening the international markets including Canada and Europe for our licensed and regulated Jamaican companies.”

The Minister’s statement was endorsed by Lincoln Allen, CEO of the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) who has also identified international export opportunities as a major target for the CLA.
According to the CEO, the CLA is fulfilling its mandate as well as a commitment to enabling the timely development of a regulatory framework to position Jamaica as a global leader for the export of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes.

The Import permit from Health Canada was obtained on behalf of Jamaican-based Licensed Producer Timeless Herbal Care who was then granted an export permit by the Ministry of Health in Jamaica.

According to Courtney Betty, President and CEO of Timeless Herbal Care, “Timeless continues to be a trailblazer in Jamaica and the accomplishment of landing the first shipment of extracted oil which was cultivated and extracted at our facilities in Jamaica is a fulfillment of a mission we began five years ago. This was made possible by our commitment to the development of small farmers and local communities and through partnerships such as our Research at the University of Technology. Our international partners such as Open Vape and Mount Sinai Hospital are also helping to guide us in producing the highest grade extracted oil which can be used for clinical trials leading to the development of medicinal products for the world.”

With this announcement and the commitment of the Government of Jamaica as well as several other key programmes to be announced shortly, Jamaica is rapidly moving to take its rightful place in the fast growing medical marijuana industry globally.

To read more visit:

Everything you need to know about investing in Canadian marijuana stocks

Here’s your complete guide to investing in Canadian marijuana stocks. Marijuana stocks have become a hot commodity over the last couple of years. And there’s one country above all where the stocks are the hottest: Canada.

Canada has become the center of attention for the marijuana industry because, unlike the U.S., marijuana is legal at the federal level. The cannabis industry in the country has exploded, with many Canadian marijuana stocks skyrocketing as well. What’s going on now with marijuana in Canada? What threats exist for the cannabis industry? What are the best ways for investors to profit from the rapidly growing marijuana market? Here’s everything you need to know about investing in Canadian marijuana stocks.

Overview of the Canadian marijuana market

The first thing for investors to know is that there are two Canadian marijuana markets: medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. Canada legalized medical marijuana in 2001. However, the then-current regulations were geared toward patients growing marijuana for their own medical use.

In 2013, though, new regulations called the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) dramatically changed how medical marijuana could be obtained. Under these regulations, Canadians could no longer grow marijuana at home but instead had to obtain medical marijuana from licensed producers.

The MMPR didn’t stay in effect for very long. In February 2016, a Canadian federal court ruled that the regulations were unconstitutional because they prohibited Canadians from growing medical marijuana at home. As a result, yet another set of regulations was passed, Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), which retained the licensed producers but also allowed individuals to grow medical marijuana at home. The ACMPR went into effect in August 2016.

In 2015, then-candidate Justin Trudeau promised to legalize and regulate marijuana for recreational use by adults if he was elected Canada’s Prime Minister. Trudeau did go on to win the election. He also made good on his campaign pledge. The Canadian Senate voted a final time to legalize recreational marijuana on June 19, 2018. Under the Cannabis Act (also known as bill C-45), Canadian adults will be able to purchase marijuana for recreational purposes starting on Oct. 17, 2018.

As is the case with medical marijuana, recreational marijuana will be supplied by licensed producers or can be grown by Canadians for their own use. Canadian provinces are allowed to establish their own regulations about how recreational marijuana will be distributed and sold.

Not all types of recreational marijuana will be permitted beginning in October 2018, though. The rules permit the legal sale and use of dried cannabis, cannabis oil, and cannabis seeds. However, cannabis edibles and cannabis concentrates used for vaping were excluded — at least temporarily. Health Canada, the federal agency in Canada responsible for public health, felt that more time was needed to develop regulations for these types of cannabis products. Finalization of these regulations is expected sometime in 2019.

Impact of legalization

Red Canadian maple leaf cut-out next to marijuana buds and pack of recreational marijuana cigarettes

The number of patients receiving medical marijuana in Canada increased quickly to nearly 270,000 in 2017. This figure is expected to grow to more than 285,000 patients in 2018.

As a result, medical marijuana has become a relatively large business in Canada. Last year, total sales were estimated to be around $600 million. However, it seems likely that medical marijuana sales won’t continue to increase very much and could even taper off somewhat as Canada’s legal recreational marijuana market opens.

But the recreational marijuana market is expected to soar. Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics project that recreational marijuana sales between Oct. 17, 2018, and the end of the year will approach $700 million. By 2022, this total could increase to nearly $5 billion.

The potential for such tremendous sales has attracted more marijuana growers, even prompting produce growers to convert greenhouses to growing marijuana. It’s also generated considerable interest in the Canadian recreational marijuana market, with major beverage makers looking to market cannabis-infused beverages.

Changing relationships with banks

Although the Canadian marijuana market really began to blossom in 2013, raising money was a challenge for some marijuana-related businesses. Most banks wouldn’t touch marijuana growers with a 10-foot pole because of concerns that they could be penalized for doing so. This left marijuana growers with limited options for obtaining the capital needed to fund expansion.

One alternative used by many marijuana growers was bought-deal financing, a type of stock offering where an underwriter commits to buy all of the stock being offered. These deals also often included warrants and convertible debentures — loans that can be converted later to stock. Some companies also were able to secure loans from credit unions.

Bank of Montreal (BMO) cracked the door open somewhat, though, earlier this year with its capital-markets business leading a round of equity financing for Canopy Growth. BMO CEO Darryl White called Canopy “a bona-fide business operating within the boundaries of the law.” He also raised the possibility that BMO could do similar transactions with other marijuana businesses as long as they met the bank’s criteria for such deals.

But it took the passage of the Cannabis Act in July to really throw the doors open for banks to work with the Canadian marijuana industry. BMO again led the charge soon after the law was passed by agreeing to a major debt facility for Aurora Cannabis(NASDAQOTH:ACBFF).

Threats to the Canadian marijuana industry

Raising capital could continue to be problematic for some members of the Canadian marijuana industry. Although banks will be more amenable to doing business with the major marijuana growers, it could be a different story for smaller players.

There’s also a lingering threat from the way that some marijuana businesses structured their bought-deal financing in the past. Companies that heavily used convertible debentures — loans issued that can be converted into stock — could face a ticking time bomb. If investors convert those debentures to stock, companies could experience significant dilution in the value of existing shares.

Probably the most worrisome threat for the Canadian marijuana industry, though, is the possibility of a supply glut within a few years. Marijuana growers have scrambled to increase their production capacity in anticipation of tremendous demand once the recreational marijuana market opens. The problem is that the top five Canadian marijuana growers alone are on track to have annual production capacity within the next couple of years that is much greater than even the most optimistic demand projections.

This prospect has led some in the Canadian marijuana industry to predict a “squeeze” scenario. As supply catches up to and surpasses demand, the laws of supply and demand dictate that prices will fall. Marijuana growers with higher production costs would likely struggle in this scenario. A natural consequence would be a wave of consolidation within the industry as smaller players are gobbled up at bargain prices by larger marijuana growers.

These problems could be exacerbated if growth in the Canadian recreational marijuana market isn’t as strong as expected. One potential way that growth could fall short of projections is if the Canadian government doesn’t finalize regulations for cannabis edibles and concentrates next year.

Future of the Canadian marijuana industry

While the total marijuana market in Canada is likely to increase rapidly over the next several years, the real future of the Canadian marijuana industry is probably going to focus on other countries. Several of the leading Canadian marijuana growers are already forming partnerships and establishing operations in Europe, Australia, and South America.

Germany is currently the biggest and most important marijuana market outside of North America. The country claims the largest population in the European Union. Germany legalized medical marijuana last year. Most of the largest Canadian marijuana growers now have subsidiaries in Germany or partnerships with German medical cannabis distributors.

Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics project that the global medical marijuana excluding Canada and the U.S. will total $3.1 billion by 2022. Over time, though, this market could increase well above that amount. BDS Analytics CEO Roy Bingham thinks that the global cannabis market will top $100 billion over the long run even without any movement in Asia to legalize marijuana.

But the biggest wild card for the Canadian marijuana industry is what happens with the country’s neighbor to the south. The United States still has federal laws in place that outlaw the use and sale of marijuana. However, medical marijuana is now legal in 30 states plus the District of Columbia. Nine states plus D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana. And those numbers are likely to increase, as four other states will vote on the legalization of either medical or recreational marijuana in November.

The major Canadian marijuana growers are staying away from the U.S. for now. All of the largest marijuana businesses have their stocks listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, which prohibits members from establishing operations in any jurisdiction where marijuana is illegal at the federal level.

However, the possibility exists that the U.S. could change its laws. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican whose home state of Colorado allows the legal use of medical and recreational marijuana, is promoting a bipartisan bill that would prevent the federal government from interfering in states that have legalized marijuana. President Trump has indicated that he will likely support this legislation.

Should laws change in a way that allows Canadian marijuana growers to expand into the U.S., the future of the industry could be very bright indeed. The projected U.S. cannabis market in 2022 is nearly three times the size of the combined marijuana market in the rest of the world, including Canada.

Different ways to invest in Canadian marijuana stocks

There are three primary approaches for investing in Canadian marijuana stocks:

  • Buy “pure play” marijuana stocks
  • Buy stocks of companies outside of the marijuana industry that have ties to the industry
  • Buy marijuana exchange-traded funds (ETFs)

“Pure play” marijuana stocks are those of companies that derive all or nearly all of their revenue from the cannabis industry. Investing in these stocks comes with significant risk because of the threats mentioned earlier. However, the stocks also have the potential for nice returns — especially if global marijuana markets open up more quickly than expected.

For investors wanting to dip their toes into the Canadian marijuana industry without taking on quite as much risk, buying stocks of companies that have ties to the industry but aren’t in it directly is an alternative. Perhaps the best example of this type of stock right now is Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ). Although Constellation Brands is a large alcoholic beverage company, it has a presence in the cannabis industry thanks to its multibillion-dollar investment in Canopy Growth.

Companies like Constellation Brands see an opportunity to create a new class of cannabis-infused beverages. Constellation and Canopy, for example, plan to develop a wide variety of low-calorie drinks mixed with different cannabinoids. Some of these drinks would be nutraceutical products containing cannabidiol (CBD), which has some medical benefits but isn’t psychoactive. Even beverage giant Coca-Cola is reportedly interested in developing CBD-infused beverages for relief of cramping, inflammation, and pain.

ETFs provide a way for investors to buy a basket of marijuana stocks. Buying an ETF offers the ability for investors to spread their risk across a large number of stocks. However, the downside of ETFs are that they charge annual fees that investors don’t have to pay when buying individual stocks. There are currently two primary marijuana-focused ETFs that have holdings consisting largely of Canadian marijuana stocks: Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF and ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF.

To read more visit:

Board Certified Physician, Dr. Michael Rothman, Releases a Series of Articles Supporting Medical Cannabis in Medicine

Wall, NJ, USA – September 27, 2018 – Dr. Michael Rothman is a board-certified physician from New Jersey and he has proudly announced the publication of his all-new ‘Medical Marijuana Series’. The informative series comprises of Dr. Rothman’s years of research and experience, and it covers the use of cannabis in the medical industry, in an effort to guide the reader amidst all the misconception in the media. This series is a collection of well-researched articles that are getting a phenomenal response from medical industry practitioners and the general public worldwide.

“Cannabis has successfully been used in medicine since 1937 and this demonstrates that marijuana use in medicine is not something new or ‘out of the box’.” Reports Dr. Michael Rothman of MD Wellness, while talking about the medicinal use of marijuana and its historic significance. “This Medical Marijuana Series is all not only about the common misconceptions regarding the use of cannabis in medicine, but also an in-depth look at its effectiveness with each article backed by research and evidence.” Dr. Rothman has been dedicatedly serving as a physician for more than two decades now and he has shared his in-depth knowledge, experience, and understanding of the issue in this informative series.

According to Dr. Michael Rothman, studies have shown that medical marijuana can be very useful for decreasing various types of pain among his patients. These pains include chronic pain caused by cancer, pain resulting from various neurologic diseases and pain created by muscle spasticity and much more. In addition to his practice within the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program, Dr. Rothman has been treating an overwhelming number of patients in the past 20 years as an emergency room physician and Director of MD Wellness, a holistic medical group.

“Most people are not aware with historical facts that cannabis or marijuana has been used medicinally in the United States since the mid-1800’s until 1937,” said Dr. Michael Rothman, while talking about the medicinal use of cannabis. “The aim of this series is to clarify the misconceptions as I am only uncovering the already discovered information regarding cannabis use in medicine,” he added. The physician has surfaced several other key facts and useful information to give people a better understanding of using cannabis-based medicine.

This recently published Medical Marijuana Series is already getting raving reviews from the medical community worldwide, and the feedback from readers has been encouraging and positive. The articles published in this series thoroughly discuss many diseases and the effects of cannabis-based medicine in their effective treatment. From anxiety-based disorders to cancer and more complicated diseases, the scientific information revealed in this series is an inspiring service by Dr. Rothman to the industry.

Canada’s recreational cannabis market could hold key to future medicines

The legalized cannabis market in Canada could hasten western adoption of plant-based medicines, opening up new frontiers in health care, advocates say.

“I feel that cannabis is the first step toward a lot of our issues in health care and mental health,” said Salimeh Tabrizi, clinical counsellor and organizer and founder of the 2018 Cannabis Hemp Conference and Expo. “With the public perspective changing, there is a lot more room for other plant and fungi medicine coming through.”

The conference, slated for September 28–30 at the University of British Columbia’s Chan Centre and Nest, is in its fourth year. As event capacity and interest has grown, it has begun to shift its focus to the possible effects a mature recreational market might have on the development of medicine and treatments.
New to the conference this year is the exploration of research and treatments with ayahuasca, psilocybin, DMT and other plant medicines and psychedelics.

Ayahuasca is a brew made out of various plant-based ingredients that induces hallucinogenic, emotionally charged episodes that have been regarded as a catalyst in spiritual reconciliation and healing of past mental traumas, both known and unknown to the user. Psilocybin is the naturally occurring psychedelic compound produced by more than 200 species of mushrooms that generates mind-altering effects.

Tabrizi is among advocates of the idea that psychedelics and naturally grown plants and fungi hold certain agents that can be developed into medicinal treatments for an array of widespread ailments – and they are campaigning for public support.

Investors, too, are seeing promise in cannabis beyond the recreational market.

Nanaimo-based cannabis grower Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY) recently recorded a USD$16 billion market cap in one-day trading. Aurora Cannabis (TSX:ACB) recently recorded a market cap of $11 billion.

The ability to produce cannabis-infused consumer products like beverages and food have already caught the eye of multinational companies, infusing more dollars into the research and development capabilities of cannabis giants.

Recently, Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE:STZ) announced plans to invest $5 billion into Canadian licensed producer Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED; NYSE:CGC) and increase its ownership stake in the company to 38%. Additionally, Corona beer maker Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) announced a $4 billion stake in Canopy Growth.

“Obviously, [the investment] helps fuel [Canopy’s] balance sheet,” said Neal Gilmer, research analyst at Haywood Securities Inc. “Not only can they fund their expansion across various international jurisdictions but, I would also expect that Canopy is going to use that for various research and development activities.”

“At the end of the day, [cannabis] is an ingredient and I think that the expansion is one part of the growth or the cultivation and another part is in the development of unique product formulations.”

On the research side, Tilray recently announced that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had given its approval to export cannabis to the U.S. for clinical studies on neurological disorders.

“There is a tremendous amount of speculation, investment money, venture capital –

whatever we are going to call it,” said M-J Milloy, research scientist with the B.C. Centre on Substance Use. “Tilray is investing in clinical research, Canopy has been investing in research and so there is both – from the government and private industry and private firms, there has been support of research.”

Research on plant-based medicines was flourishing in the first half of the 20th century but, according to Milloy, the war on drugs and certain high-profile research failures stalled progress that only now is starting to regain momentum. However, Milloy said people should be wise to distinctions.

“It is important that people understand the differences between cannabis and other plant-based medicines,” he said. “One of the things to remember is the relatively benign side-effect profile of cannabis.”

At the University of British Columbia, Milloy has been researching the therapeutic effects of cannabis and its potential to treat HIV. He was recently awarded $1 million from National Green Biomed Ltd., a medicinal cannabis firm, for research funding.

To read more visit:

High Times Buys Dope, Leafly CEO Ousted

Longtime cannabis publication High Times has acquired print magazine Dope Media in a deal valued at $11.2 million. The deal is a combination of stock and cash. High Times has been building a portfolio of cannabis titles including Green Rush Daily and Culture.

“DOPE is a very strategic acquisition for our portfolio offering key complementary assets to our existing platforms and opening the opportunity for economies of scale to improve the performance of all our entire publication group,” said Adam Levin, CEO of High Times. The statement also noted that Dope holds its largest Dope Cup events in Seattle and Portland and the company sees this as an additive event to the existing Cannabis Cup events where High Times earns a majority of its revenue.

High Times said that there would be no staff changes at this time. DOPE’s CEO, George Jage, founders Dave Tran, James Zachondi, and Evan Carter will all remain. Jage, was once the President of Marijuana Business Daily and the driving force behind Marijuana Business Conference [MJBizCon], has received numerous distinctions for his work including the Nevada Entrepreneur of the Year award from In Business Magazine, Jerry Valen Award of Distinction “Hospitality & Convention Executive of the Year” and most recently was on the cover of Trade Show Executive in May 2017 following receiving the award for the Fastest Growing Tradeshow in the U.S. for two consecutive years.

“This is the perfect marriage of two like-minded businesses. As the largest cannabis consumer media company, High Times offers immense visibility across the country, and globe, like no one else in the space,” said George Jage, CEO of DOPE Magazine. “Utilizing their expertise we will be able to rapidly expand our footprint across the country and offer state-specific advertising solutions at a speed that wouldn’t have been possible before.”

Scott McGovern, the founder of Green Rush Daily was named Executive Vice President at High Times when his company was acquired. However, McGovern is already out of the company and only worked at High Times for about a year. He is now the Co-founder of a blockchain news site call Blockler.


Just a week ago High Times said that it had received subscriptions and funds in excess of $5,000,000 from investors which enabled it to complete the $5 million financial milestone in its proposed maximum $50.0 million Regulation A+ offering of up to 4,545,454 shares of Class A common stock at an offering price of $11.00 per share.  High Times also decided to extend its deadline for investing in the company to October 31, 2018.

Levin said the company had received support and purchases from over 6,000 investors. With 6,000 investors only bringing in $5 million, many of these investors must be on the small side. The company did not provide clarification on the average amount invested.

High Times never did close on its deal with Origo Capital. If you’ll recall, Origo Acquisition Corp. (OACQ) filed to change its name to High Times Media on December 29, 2017, and convert from a Cayman Islands company to a Nevada corporation and change its symbol. Origo merged with High Times Holding Corp., the publisher of High Times Magazine in July of 2017. Following the merger, the company has applied to be listed on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol HITM. Its been months since the two companies announced a merger, but it has yet to close. The deal deadline continues to be extended. Levin has said it could still happen.

Leafly Ousts CEO

Separately GeekWire reported that cannabis review website Leafly ousted its CEO Chris Jeffrey, who wasn’t even in the position for a year. Privateer Holdings that owns Leafly issued this statement to Geekwire,

“This morning the Board of Directors of Leafly removed Chris Jeffrey from his role as Chief Executive Officer. The Board made the decision to replace Mr. Jeffrey as CEO after careful consideration due to concerns about his management of the company. The Board has full confidence in Leafly’s senior leadership team and has initiated a search for a new CEO. Out of respect for CJ and the contributions he has made to Leafly, we are not going to go into detail about the circumstances surrounding his departure.

Leafly is experiencing rapid growth with more than 150 employees on the ground in 5 countries and 7 states. The health of Leafly’s business and the strength of the company’s team are stronger than ever before. Leafy has positive momentum and we have never been more excited about the global growth prospects in front of the company.”

Leafly has been receiving a lot of attention as its fellow Privateer company Tilray (TLRY) has taken the cannabis stock market by storm. Cowen & Co. analyst Vivien Azur has said she believes that Tilray’s access to Leafly’s data will help the company stay on top of consumer trends.

Leafly hasn’t been able to deliver as big of a footprint as its competitor WeedMaps, but then Leafly has chosen to not work with unlicensed operators. Jeffery cut back on headcount when he came to the company and boosted engineers to improve the company’s technology.

To read more visit:

US gov’t approve importation of pot drug for tremor study

SAN DIEGO — In a rare move, the US government has approved the importation of marijuana extracts from Canada for a clinical trial, highlighting a new avenue for American researchers who have long had trouble obtaining the drug for medical studies.

The University of California San Diego’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research announced Tuesday the Drug Enforcement Administration has OK’d its plans to import capsules containing two key cannabis compounds — CBD and THC — from British Columbia-based Tilray Inc . to study their effectiveness in treating tremors that afflict millions of people, especially those over 65.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and researchers aren’t allowed to simply obtain it through providers licensed under state law. The US has a program for supplying it for research through the National Institute on Drug Abuse, with cannabis grown by the University of Mississippi, but scientists have long complained about the difficulty of obtaining it, as well as the quality and limited variety of the pot available.

The University of California San Diego researchers spent years planning and seeking approval for their study from the DEA and the Food and Drug Administration. Paul Armentano, deputy director of the marijuana law reform organization NORML, said that illustrated how badly American researchers need alternative sources for cannabis.

“It’s very telling that you have researchers in the U.S. willing to exert the patience and go through the regulatory hurdles to make this happen at the same time the United States has its own domestic supply source,” Armentano said.

Medical marijuana is federally legal in Canada, and the country will allow recreational sale and use beginning next month.

Marijuana compounds have been imported for clinical trials before, including by Britain-based GW Pharmaceuticals, which won approval this year to sell its purified CBD capsule, Epidiolex, to treat severe forms of epilepsy — the first cannabis drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. While GW Pharmaceuticals developed that drug in-house before bringing it to the US for testing, Tilray, which recently became the first marijuana company to complete an initial public stock offering in the US, said it can work with researchers to develop the cannabis formulations they hope to study.

“It’s a really big milestone for Tilray and also just for the whole industry,” said Catherine Jacobson, Tilray’s director of clinical research. “Researchers in the U.S. have really been limited to doing research using dried flower. We have been able to prove to the FDA that we can manufacture investigational study drugs containing cannabinoids that meet their standards.”

Neither the FDA nor the DEA had immediate details on how often the agencies have approved the import or use of foreign-made cannabis drugs in research, but DEA spokeswoman Katherine Pfaff says: “It is done. There are definitely situations where, when there’s no source in the U.S., a registrant can import a cannabis-derived drug from another country.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse usually provides marijuana as bulk flower or joints to be vaporized or smoked.
NIDA, which does intend to expand how much marijuana the University of Mississippi grows for research, does not yet provide marijuana compounds in capsules, said Don Stanford, assistant director of the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the university.

Researchers say it’s tough to measure the dose someone receives when they inhale pot. Dr. Fatta Nahab, a neurologist at the University of California San Diego Health’s Movement Disorder Center, is the principal investigator on the tremor study. He said he worried that the seniors he expected to recruit as participants wouldn’t want to inhale marijuana, and the researchers have spent the past two years on paperwork and regulatory hurdles to obtain the capsules.

There is no specific drug to treat essential tremor, a shaking condition. Unlike Parkinson’s disease, which causes shaking when someone is not moving, people with essential tremors shake when they are, making everyday activities like writing, drinking and speaking difficult. The condition afflicts 10 million people nationally and millions more across the globe, according to the International Essential Tremor Foundation.

Many patients try to control the shaking by repurposing other drugs, such as blood pressure medicine, with limited success.

“There is a huge need to come up with something,” Nahab said.

Nahab said he started looking into whether marijuana could be used to treat essential tremor after two patients showed sudden improvement after smoking pot or consuming CBD purchased online.

The FDA application outlined the drug formula — a 20:1 ratio of CBD to THC, to minimize any high study participants might feel — as well as its purity, toxicity, shelf life and other details. They also had to get safety approvals from the university and present their plans to a California research advisory panel.

The university is still recruiting patients and hopes to have 16 to 20 enrolled. Researchers monitor the tremors with a device placed on the wrist and will record changes in the severity of the shaking, among other things.

Tilray is providing the drug and limited financial support but said it will have no role in reviewing the study’s results.

“Essential tremor is ten times more common than Parkinson’s and yet nobody really knows about essential tremor,” Nahab said. “That we’re finally getting to a potential therapeutic option in an area that is untapped is a big deal.”

To read more visit:

Is psilocybin next for drug reformers after cannabis legalization?

Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a U.S. Senate candidate, delivered fired up comments about marijuana, Botham Jean’s killing by police and the racially discriminatory drug war.

Activists in Denver, Colorado and Oregon took steps this month toward qualifying ballot measures allowing psilocybin use.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who has a history of saying mean-spirited and inaccurate things about people who use cannabis, took a dig at marijuana consumers in an unrelated comment about fighting back against climate change.

  • “We either do nothing and smoke marijuana because it’s legalized, or we put our shoulder to the plow and do everything we can.”


The Trump administration is organizing a drug policy event outside of this month’s United Nations General Assembly, according to leaked documents.

The Department of Justice convened a meeting in Denver for U.S. attorneys to discuss marijuana policy.

Congresswoman Mia Love (R-UT) said she’s undecided on the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure, while her Democratic challenger supports it.

Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and his Democratic opponent are taking differing positions on rescheduling marijuana.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) discussed marijuana policy while sampling CBD-infused beer.

The U.S. Senate bill to encourage the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of five.

The U.S. House bill to protect federal employees from getting fired for state-legal marijuana use got two new cosponsors, for a total of three.


Here’s an advance look at the details of New Jersey’s soon-to-be-filed marijuana legalization billGov. Phil Murphy (D) supports a higher tax rate than is proposed in the bill, but said he’s “not ruling anything out.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) spoke about his support for expanding marijuana research.

Utah’s lieutenant governor asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to remove a medical cannabis initiative from the state’s ballot.

California’s treasurer tweeted, “We’re exploring a public cannabis bank so biz don’t have to operate purely in cash. Carrying around thousands of dollars paints a target on legal biz & increases violence in communities. Until DC takes action, CA will lead on legalized cannabis.”

Missouri appeals court affirmed a judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit that one medical cannabis campaign filed seeking to remove a competing measure from the ballot.

Here’s a look at where Minnesota gubernatorial candidates stand on legalizing marijuana.

Illinois Democratic attorney general candidate Kwame Raoul said he supports legalizing marijuana but wants to regulate edibles.

Alaska regulators certified changes to rules on marijuana advertising and promotions.

Massachusetts regulators will consider granting marijuana retail, cultivation and manufacturing licenses on Thursday.

Here’s a look at where New York is on the path to legalizing marijuana.


Manhattan’s district attorney spoke at a marijuana industry event, saying he wants cannabis entrepreneurs to “be successful and legal.”

The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City Council adopted ordinances regulating medical cannabis businesses.


The South African government and lawmakers reacted to a court ruling overturning the prohibition on using and growing marijuana for personal use.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says the death sentence of a man convicted of selling medical cannabis oil should be reviewed.


A study “demonstrated rapid and durable improvement in social anxiety symptoms in autistic adults following MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.”

A majority of participants in a trial on CBD’s effects on severe epilepsy are seeing improvement in seizures.


A poll found that Maryland residents support legalizing marijuana, 62% – 33%.


Aurora Cannabis Inc. addressed reports that it is in talks with the Coca-Cola Company about making CBD beverages together.


Actress Kristen Bell said she likes to vaporize marijuana and watch 60 Minutes.

Comedian Chelsea Handler tweeted, “Coca-Cola is supposedly considering cannabis-infused drinks. Just a reminder: there are still people in prison because of marijuana. Let’s address that first.”

Maine restaurant Charlotte Grill thinks it’s more “humane” to blow marijuana smoke into a box of lobsters before boiling them to death.

To read more visit:

Cannabis 101: A guide to CBD oil, what it is, how it works, who can use it

This is part of an on-going series of Sun-Times info guides about cannabis. Today, we look at CBD oil: what it is; how it works; what it treats plus the legal issues surrounding CBD use in Illinois.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-intoxicationg chemical compound that comes from the cannabis sativa plant.  CBD is one of over 100 such compounds, known as cannabinoids, that are found in the plant.

Unlike THC — or tetrahydrocannabinol, another cannabinoid — CBD doesn’t get users stoned. In recent years, CBD has grown increasingly popular, with patients and experts reporting that it can be used to treat a range of health conditions, including epilepsyCrohn’s disease and even anxiety in dogs.

Here’s everything you need to know about the trendy drug treatment:

What is the history of CBD?

CBD was first discovered in the 1940s by Roger Adams, the former head of the chemistry department at University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. In his research, Adams isolated CBD from hemp but couldn’t determine what exactly he’d found. In addition to CBD, Adams also synthesized analogs of THC and another cannabinoid, showing their relationship to CBD.

In the 1960s, Israeli chemist Raphael Mechoulam and his team took the research further, eventually synthesizing cannabinoids — including CBD, THC and others — and describing their chemical structures for future research. Mechoulam, a professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, still studies cannabis to this day.

Is CBD legal in Illinois?

Much of the confusion over CBD stems from its murky legal status.

Because the DEA still lists hemp and marijuana as dangerous Schedule I drugs, along with heroin and ecstasy, CBD remains illegal under federal law. Congress is now is considering the 2018 Farm Bill, which would legalize industrial hemp across the country.

Despite some confusion, the Agriculture Act of 2014 didn’t legalize hemp-based CBD products nationwide, but only allowed for states and universities to grow hemp. Nevertheless, hemp-based CBD is already widely and freely available throughout most of the country.

Illinois is among 37 states that have legalized marijuana-based CBD for medical use, while nine other states have fully legalized pot and its derivatives. Four other states — Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota — still prohibit the medical use of pot-based CBD.

Last month, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed off on a bill that legalized industrial hempcultivation in Illinois and established rules to test crops’ THC levels. Like the bill being considered by federal lawmakers, the legislation in Illinois bars hemp-based CBD from containing more than 0.3 percent THC.

What is CBD used to treat?

In a study released last year, the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence said CBD may benefit people diagnosed with:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Pain
  • Psychosis
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Cancer
  • Nausea
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Infection
  • Inflammatory bowel and Crohn’s disease
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Diabetic complications

In the report, the committee noted that “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.” Other health care professionals are also using CBD to treat other medical issues, like autism, sleep problems and other mental health conditions.

CBD started gaining national exposure when media outlets began profiling Charlotte Figi, an 11-year-old girl from Colorado with Dravet syndrome, a severe form of intractable epilepsy.

At age 5, Figi’s parents, Matt and Paige Figi, had exhausted all traditional options in their quest to control the hundreds of grand mal seizures their young daughter was experiencing every day. They ultimately turned to the Stanleys, a group of brothers who grow pot in Colorado, who then developed a groundbreaking hemp-based CBD oil they dubbed “Charlotte’s Web.”

Since she began taking the oil, Figi has experienced far fewer seizures and is able to enjoy a more normal childhood. However, evidence from cases like Figi’s remains largely anecdotal as researchers continue to pin down CBD’s exact scientific effects. 

What are the effects of CBD?

Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t get users high, an important distinction that has helped drive the popularity of the drug compound.

Traditional medications tend to target the symptoms of a specific condition, but CBD goes after the cause of those symptoms, according to Ronald Aung-Din, M.D., a renowned Florida neurologist.

Pharmaceuticals generally stimulate or block receptors to provide their function, but CBD and other cannabis-based treatments interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which naturally binds to chemicals like CBD and THC. This biological effect reportedly enables CBD to treat such a wide range of medical conditions.

A European study published last year by the National Center for Biotechnical Information listed tiredness, diarrhea and changes in weight and appetite as possible side effects of CBD. Most of the research was conducted on patients with epilepsy or psychotic disorders.

Are there different types of CBD?

Yes, there are several different types including:

Marijuana-based CBD:

CBD products that come from the marijuana plant tend to have higher amounts of THC, a combination that some experts claim increases the CBD’s healing effects. As a result, CBD strains with higher amounts of THC can cause both euphoria and stony side effects, like anxiety, paranoia and dizziness, according to Leafly.

To buy marijuana-derived CBD from an Illinois dispensary, qualifying patients must first obtain a medical cannabis card by following the steps outlined in this Sun-Times guide to medical marijuana in Illinois.

Once a patient has been approved for the state’s medical program, they can go to the dispensary they selected during the application process to buy CBD and other cannabis products.

Hemp-Based CBD:

Hemp-based CBD products can be bought over-the-counter at wellness centers and bong shops in most of America, including Illinois.

There are a pair of options for hemp-based CBD users: Products that only contain CBD and others that contain a full range of hundreds of cannabinoids, including cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG) and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), as well as CBD and a minuscule amount of THC.

All the different chemicals found in the cannabis plant are said to have various healing effects. For example, non-intoxicating CDG apparently helps with sleep and inflammation and kills bacteria.

A new study predicts the market for hemp-derived CBD could eclipse the rest of the legal pot industry to reach $22 billion by 2022. 

Pharmaceutical CBD:

In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first prescription CBD drug, a move that will almost undoubtedly spur more research into what else it can treat. 

The drug, a strawberry-flavored syrup called Epidiolex, is used to treat two rare forms of childhood epilepsy. During their research, FDA officials found that Epidiolex reduced seizures when it was combined with other epilepsy drugs.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said his agency had supported research on cannabis-derived products for “many years,” but warned against the use of CBD products with “unproven medical claims.”

“The promotion and use of these unapproved products may keep some patients from accessing appropriate, recognized therapies to treat serious and even fatal diseases,” Gottlieb said.

Before Epidiolex can go to market, the Drug Enforcement Administration must formally reclassify CBD into a federal drug category with medical approval. The FDA has previously approved synthetic cannabinoids to treat severe weight loss in patients with HIV.

To read more visit:

Canada: How will the legalization of cannabis affect athletes? It’s hard to say

While there’s been plenty of discussion around the pending legalization of cannabis, its effect on athletes hasn’t been part of the conversation. One of the reasons for the absence of dialogue is marijuana’s reputation for impairing, not improving athletic performance, which makes cannabis a poor workout partner.

The other reason that athletes have been left out of the discourse is the inclusion of marijuana on the World Anti Doping Association’s (WADA) list of substances banned during the competitive season, thereby limiting its use among elite athletes. Yet despite these factors, marijuana is reported to be the second most popular drug among athletes, after alcohol. It replaces tobacco, which ranks No. 2 among the rest of the population.

Prohibited by WADA for in-season use since 2004, marijuana is considered a “risk to health” of athletes and “in violation of the spirit of sport.” Yet the legalization of cannabis in Canada may lead to a change in how our athletes, both recreational and elite, view marijuana.

“Changing social attitudes and cannabis policies around the world may play an important role in changing use patterns of cannabis among athletes,” said a team of Montreal researchers led by Mark Ware.

Ware, who recently took a leave from his role as associate professor of family medicine and anesthesia at Montreal’s McGill University Health Centre to accept the position of chief medical officer at a medical marijuana company, addressed with his team the issue of cannabis and the health and performance of the elite athlete in a review paper published this month in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.

Getting a clear picture of how marijuana affects performance as well as the pattern of use among athletes isn’t easy. There are ethical issues around getting athletes to participate in studies given the existing laws concerning the use of marijuana as well as those instituted by sporting organizations. And given that the potency of cannabis varies depending on the strain and how it’s used and that much of the data compiled in studies as early as a decade ago may reflect a substance far different from the one sold today, there’s some question about the veracity of the information we do have.

In the meantime what we do know is that cannabis use increases heart rate and blood pressure while reducing physical work capacity, none of which are conditions consistent with winning gold.  As such, it’s unlikely that athletes use cannabis with the expectation that it’s going to result in an immediate boost in performance. Instead its use is likely related to its secondary affects. Marijuana has been used to ameliorate pain and concussion symptoms, improve sleep, spark appetite and reduce the stress associated with competing at the elite level.

“Self-reported use of cannabis for pain and concussion management among elite athletes is increasingly being reported,” said the Montreal research team.

Also reported by a separate team of researchers is that athletes involved in individual sports such as snowboarding, skiing, surfing, sailing and kayaking are more likely to use marijuana than team sport athletes.

Yet despite how athletes regard marijuana, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport is clear that it will continue to be prohibited during competition even after legalization. To help clear up any confusion, they have published a Cannabis in Sport information guide geared to elite athletes subject to drug testing and doping violations.

Still, Ware believes that legalization creates conditions that are ripe for more research on the use of marijuana within the athletic community. That said, there are safety considerations worthy of acknowledgement. Recreational users have been known to experience deficits in memory, coordination and judgment and chronic use in youth is thought to have long-term negative consequences. Episodes of paranoia and/or psychosis have also been linked to high doses of cannabis, hence WADA’s concerns regarding the safety of athletes who use the drug.

Ware hopes that given concerns about safety and the changing views and laws on marijuana, the opportunity to find out more about the real world use of cannabis within the athletic community shouldn’t be ignored.

“Legalization (of marijuana) allows us to have more honest and open conversations with athletes,” said Ware.

Those conversations, combined with more targeted research on how marijuana use impacts athletes, could lead to more evidence-based information so that athletes of all ages and abilities can make informed choices about how cannabis affects their training and performance. Athletes, like the rest of the country, need information based in science, not assumption, regarding the recreational and medical use of cannabis given its new legal status.

Until we know more about marijuana, athletes are warned that in-season use could lead to a doping violation. And for recreational athletes, the knowledge that cannabis impairs physical and mental capacity over the short term means that caution should be taken when it comes to use prior to training or a workout.

To read more visit:

Want to buy legal pot on Oct. 17? Here’s what you need to know

With just a month left to go until recreational pot is legal across the country, here’s what you need to know if you want to partake.

Where can I get some of that legal weed?

On Oct. 17, there will be just one B.C. Cannabis Store in the entire province. The government shop will be located in Kamloops at the Columbia Place Shopping Centre. There will also be online sales through the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch.

What about all those private dispensaries in cities like Vancouver?

There’s no indication these will be shut down right away. The province’s new Community Safety Unit has pledged a crackdown, but only after more legal outlets are available.

The B.C. government says it’s received more than 100 applications for retail shops across the province. It’s possible some of those could be approved in time for Oct. 17.

In Vancouver, which began licensing illegal pot dispensaries in 2015, pot shops will need a development permit, a provincial retail licence and a new municipal business licence if they want to stay open.

Who’s allowed to partake?

Like alcohol, the minimum age for possession has been set at 19. But unlike liquor stores, anyone under the age of 19 is banned from entering a cannabis dispensary, even if they’re with an adult.

What can I buy?

For now, only dried cannabis, seeds and oils will be legally available, along with accessories like rolling papers, pipes and bongs.

What about edibles?

All those pot-infused brownies and cookies will still be illegal on Oct. 17. The plan is for legal edibles to be available within a year.

And vaping?

Cannabis concentrates and vape juice won’t be legal on Oct. 17, either. Health Canada says it needs more evidence about the risks.

How much pot am I allowed to have?

Adults can possess up to 30 grams of weed in public places, and grow as many as four plants per household — as long as the home isn’t being used as a daycare. Those plants must not be visible from public spaces.

Vaping is not just for tobacco. In California, nearly a quarter of sales from 2016 were for cannabis vape cartridges.

Where can I smoke up?

Toking will be banned everywhere that cigarette smoking is, as well as in vehicles, and places where children commonly gather, including school properties, playgrounds, sports fields and skate parks.

What are the potential penalties for breaking those rules?

Selling cannabis to minors will still be a federal crime, punishable by up to 14 years in jail. B.C. has also introduced some new cannabis offences, with fines ranging from $2,000 to $100,000 and jail time of three to 12 months.

What are the restrictions around driving?

Anyone in the graduated licensing program won’t be allowed to have any THC in their system. For everyone else, the province says it’s giving police “specialized training” and tools to identify drugged drivers. Potential penalties include a 90-day driving ban.

Both drivers and passengers are prohibited from smoking inside vehicles.

To read more visit: