Happy 420! Special 2019 Edition: Latin America




…and stay on top of the latest buzz on medicinal cannabis legalization in Latin America.

April 20 is an international cultural day when the pro-cannabis community traditionally gets together to express its thoughts on the legalization of cannabis in all its forms.

The term 420 has been used since about 1971, both referring to the date (April 20) and the time of day (4:20pm), as code for cannabis. It has been since adopted by the pro cannabis community, and is now used to bring attention to the issues of legalization and medicinal use.

A new dawn…

The end of the decade is bringing with it a new dawn for cannabis as a medicine. It is slowly but steadily transforming into a scientifically recognized medicinal substance and leaving its social stigma behind.

Currently, a lot of countries around the world are debating the possibility of legalizing cannabis for medicinal or recreational use, while some have already moved past the issue.

This new, worldwide debate has opened the doors for a new market full of possibilities since, until recently, cannabis was solely monopolized by the illegal market and violent criminal groups, which caused the quality of the products to be unsupervised and poor. However, legal cannabis would bring with it regulation and standards which would prevent quality issues that can cause negative health consequences (such as mold or chemicals in the plant making consumers sick).

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Cannabis and CBD in Latin America

Latin America has become an important player in the recent journey of worldwide cannabis legalization. Several Latam countries have taken steps, in recent years, to legalize and produce hemp and different cannabis strains for medicinal purposes, and they are expected to soon become extremely competitive in the international market of processed derivatives, like oils, creams, sprays, and all the different presentations currently available.

It is predicted that by 2028, medicinal cannabis will account for two thirds of the regional total value of the cannabis market, because production is about 80% cheaper than in the US, Canada or Europe.

There are currently more than 40 licensed cannabis producers in Latin America. Some countries, however, seem to be more ahead than others. For example, up until December of 2018, Colombia accounted for 44% of the world production quota.

The estimated total market value of cannabis in Latin America is 9.8 billion USD, and legal sales within the region are expected to rise to 12.7 billion by 2028.

Canada is currently the strongest market for cannabis, since it has fully legalized cannabis use for both medicinal and recreational purposes, and Canadian companies have invested more than 100 million dollars in Colombia for growing purposes. This means Colombia is positioning itself to become one of the largest cannabis exporters in the world.

Legalization

In Latin America, legalization has vast differences from country to country, which comes to show how culture varies from one to another, even if they are thought to be very similar.

The Latin American countries where medicinal cannabis is legal are:

Some insight into the most cannabis-relevant Latin American Countries

Uruguay

In 2013, Uruguay became the first, and so far only, Latin American nation to legalize adult cannabis consumption. Only registered Uruguayans are allowed to purchase cannabis, and it can only be sold by authorized pharmacies.

In 2014 it was made legal to grow up to 6 plants at home.

Brazil

Brazil has the highest cannabis consumption in Latin America.

In 2015, CBD was transferred from the list of prohibited substances to the list of controlled substances, and is now fully covered by the health care system. However, authorizations for the import of cannabis oils are individually evaluated for compassionate use, which means it’s only for patients whose condition is resistant to all other treatments available.

Mexico

Mexico has a history of conservative policies regarding cannabis; but in 2015, special access to CBD Oil was granted to a little girl, and in 2018, the country finally made it legal to grow for private personal use, and declared the prohibition unconstitutional, which suggests that legalization of non medical use will come in 2019.

Chile

Chile has the highest consumption rates per capita in Latin America. And, interestingly, out of all Latin American countries, it has the longest history with successful hemp cultivation for fiber, so the have a lot of experience on good growing practices and know the plant well.

Panama

In Panama, cannabis is still illegal, even medicinal. In 2016 a “legalization” bill passed, but regulation is pending. Only personal dose is allowed, and there are exceptional sanitary permits.

This year, the national assembly is due to vote on bill 595, which legalizes medicinal consumption, but prohibits domestic cultivation.

Like Panama, some Countries around the world have this strange phenomenon, where regulation is pending. Colombia had this issue in 1986, when a law was passed, which allowed regulation, but the regulations took a couple of decades to arrive.

Colombia

Colombia has quickly become one of the strongest countries when it comes to cannabis cultivation. And, at the moment, it’s the only one aggressively promoting cannabis exports.

It has several conditions that favor it in this particular industry, like:

  • A variety of climates.
  • 12 hour day/night cycle, which allows for year round outdoor cultivation.
  • Long culture of exportation.
  • Central location, which is good for commerce.
  • Fertile soil.
  • Existing legislation.
  • The government’s commitment.

In 2018, Colombia was granted a growing quota equivalent to 44% of the world production authorized by the International Narcotics Control Board.

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Legalization

Colombia had an interesting journey. Though legalization technically happened in 1986, the country’s issues with drug trafficking and violence prevented further regulation, which caused cannabis to still be treated as illegal. It took several years before any other legal disposition was made concerning cannabis. The timeline is as follows:

February, 1986: Colombia legalized manufacture, export, sales, medical and scientific use of cannabis. However, due to the lack of regulation, production could not be initiated.

1994: Consumption was decriminalized.

2009: The Constitution is modified, criminalizing possession and consumption, except with medical prescription.

2012: Possession is decriminalized (up to 20gr).

June, 2015: Home cultivation of up to 20 plants is decriminalized.

December, 2015: Cannabis is legalized for medical and scientific purposes.

May, 2016: The Ministry of Health defined licensing requirements for production and manufacture of cannabis derivatives.

June, 2016: The first manufacturing license was issued to a large-scale cannabis corporation.

July, 2016: Law 1797 established a regulatory framework for medical and scientific use of cannabis.

April, 2017: Decree 613 amended law 1787, ensuring government support for small growers, distinguishing between psychoactive and non-psychoactive cannabis, and creating regulations for seeds.

At the moment, Colombia is the only latinamerican country that distinguishes between psychoactive and non psychoactive medical cannabis. Psychoactive cannabis is only permitted in its processed form (oils, pills, and different topical presentations), but not as flowers or dried plants. Cannabis-based medication (like Sativex) is only available with a medical prescription, and can only be distributed in government authorized pharmacies.

Since November 2018, several cannabis licenses have been granted:

  • 19 for use of seeds
  • 62 for psychoactive cannabis cultivation
  • 89 for hemp cultivation
  • 73 entities were granted licenses for psychoactive cannabis derivative manufacturing (68 for export, 64 for domestic use and 28 for scientific research)

Colombia aims to grow as a cannabis derivative exporter, starting with the regional market before expanding to other countries, like Canada.

Foreign operators are welcome in the Colombian cannabis industry, and residency requirements have not been established, though the company must at least have a local branch or independent company within the territory, and is expected to comply with the local tax regulation.

At the moment, several major Canadian cannabis companies are already involved in Colombia. And the government has now granted benefits to small and medium growers, which benefit the country’s growing economy.

According to BBC Mundo, “Colombia has the best conditions in Latin America for investing in the [medical] marijuana industry.” And Canadian analyst, Michael McCune, a member of the Canadian lobbying group called iTrust Cannabis, said, “We see Colombia as a global leader in the cannabis industry, with enormous production and export capacity.”

This is an important view, since Colombia and Canada are currently the two main leaders of the cannabis market.

Colombia’s economy is slowly being reborn from the ashes of the conflict that has plagued it for decades. And it’s interesting to see how cannabis is one of the industries that has begun to take shape after the illegal drug-fueled conflict. Not to mention that the economic development brought by it is reaching some of the most conflict-affected areas of the country, like Valle del Cauca and Magdalena.

It’s perfect timing, since the government is questioning itself on how it can generate rural development without relying on hydrocarbons, which are now an unstable market. And by 2025, Colombia’s cannabis exports are predicted to exceed those of coal, while Procolombia also believes that the country is capable of quickly capturing one fifth of the cannabis market in the next few years.

The Change….

The punitive approach to cannabis in Latin America and the rest of the world is changing steadily due to the increasing number of patients who have been successfully treated with it; and that change will only be accelerated by the fact that the World Health Organization has recommended its rescheduling as a controlled substance. This encourages a debate between the medical and scientific world and those who still feel that it is necessary to maintain the punitive approach towards cannabis.

Each Latin American country has its own regulations, which vary depending on their individual culture and history. These regulations have different implications for companies that wish to enter the country’s economy or expand in it.

The two most commonly used business models for this industry in Latin America are:

  • Vertically integrated operations (a license-holder is allowed to produce, process, sell, and export their product).
  • Corporate model for agriculture (small and medium-sized producers sell their harvest to a company that processes, packages, and distributes the product).

This is something the region needs. An estimated 4.5 million Colombians and 60 million Latin Americans suffer from cancer, MS, or epilepsy. The region is in need of better, less harmful treatments that can help people have a better quality of life.

What will legalization bring to the table?

Legalization is a game changer. It brings with it regulations that keep products in check and set a standard for quality and good practices. It stops being a business lead by criminal organizations that take advantage of the low standards and becomes a market pushed forward by doctors, scientists and serious entrepreneurs who know how to provide good service and quality products.

It also opens the doors wider for medical and scientific studies, trials and research that will allow us to look into new treatments and even cures for devastating illnesses.  

Vicente Fox, board member of Khiron Life Sciences Corp. and former president of Mexico, believes that moving from prohibition to legalization is a good thing. It takes money and power away from violent, illegal organizations and gives it to entrepreneurs, farmers, the legal side of economy; it generates jobs, medical and scientific research, and accelerates development.

Though public opinion is quickly shifting and people are now less fearful than they have ever been about cannabis, this particular industry needs to be more careful than others. Every company needs to be on its best behaviour because one mistake can ruin everything. The cannabis industry hasn’t yet established credibility, so it is up to the new companies to do so.

If everything goes well, people will understand that there’s a big difference between an industry run by criminals and an industry run by doctors, experts, and farmers.

There seems to be a misconception about cannabis being an extremely harmful drug, but this is nothing more than a misconception, which will, in time, hopefully change.

“I have never heard of anyone dying from cannabis; on the other hand, billions have perished from alcohol, sugar excess, and cigarettes.” Vicente Fox

For it to work…

For this industry to succeed, different factors need to come into play.

  • The collaboration between different countries will surely bring the best of two worlds together, and result in a product that has outstanding quality and good manufacturing practices.
  • Operational costs must be maintained low for Latam countries to become competitive and maintain that competitiveness when others begin exporting.
  • Brands need to stand out globally and have exceptional quality and good practices.
  • It is important for companies to understand and adapt to the individual regulations in the countries they have chosen to work in, in order to avoid unnecessary legal issues.
  • t’s important to maintain supply, since demand can jump unexpectedly.
  • It is also necessary to stimulate home grown market and inform people on good home growing practices in order to avoid widespread health issues.
  • Cannaturism is also a broad opportunity for Latin Amercan countries while legalization moves forward.

2020s?

There’s a lot of hope for the 2020s! It’s the beginning of a new era for medicine, science, and society. A new era for less prohibition and more regulation in order to ensure quality and good practices in the marketing of cannabis products.

If regulations continue to advance, the next decade will possibly bring with it better medical treatments for painful, debilitating illnesses and a significant improvement in mood disorders, anxiety and depression.

Having a legal cannabis market will also serve as a strong blow to violent organizations that take advantage of circumstances and are not interested in the community’s well-being. They have caused a lot of harm to individuals and entire counties. So taking away some of their power, is bound to be a positive change…

Happy 420!

And here’s to a new era.   

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Endocannabinoid Deficiency Fibromyalgia: Is CBD the Answer?

Fibromyalgia has plagued the lives of many, both physically and emotionally. It causes disability and depression, making people feel isolated and unproductive. However, its cause, just like that of many other conditions, remains a mystery to sufferers and doctors… Could science be close to figuring it out?

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What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a mysterious illness that causes sufferers to feel pain in their body for no apparent reason. It is more prevalent in women, and it is currently the most common rheumatology diagnosis in the United States.

Often, people who suffer from it are dismissed as being over dramatic, or some claim their pain to be psychosomatic, which is why the diagnosis is fairly new, compared to other conditions.

However, in recent years, studies have shown that fibromyalgia is, in fact, a very real medical condition that not only causes unnecessary pain signals to be sent to the brain, but also alters the pain threshold, making people a lot more sensitive to these signals, which is referred to as  hyperalgesia.

In sufferers, fibromyalgia causes stress, anxiety, feelings of guilt, isolation, and even disability. It is part of a group of conditions referred to as subjective pain syndromes, which are difficult to identify, since there are no objective, observable signs and they are often resistant to medical treatment. It is characterized by painful trigger points, mostly in the shoulders and neck, that limit physical activity and generate frustration.

It is associated closely with depression and anxiety, but it isn’t clear if one causes the other or if they coexist because they have the same origin.

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Endocannabinoid Deficiency?

In our bodies, the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, has two basic tasks:

  1. Balance feelings of well-being
  2. Stimulating the body to heal from injury or illness

This system reacts to endocannabinoids (cannabinoids that are naturally produced by our bodies), which interact with it and keep it running as it should.

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome, CECD, happens when the concentration of these endocannabinoids, called anandamide and 2-AG, are lower than normal. This is a very new discovery, the initial theory having been proposed in 2001, and subsequent studies have backed it up.

Slowly, scientists and doctors are catching on to how this affects us, and have been shocked to discover that the effects are a lot broader and more significant than previously thought.

The origin of the theory came from the fact that many brain disorders are related to neurotransmitter deficiencies, so it was concluded that, considering its main function, chronic endocannabinoid deficiency should result in alterations in the sensations of pain, system imbalance and inflammation, since the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in those.

Conditions whose cause has been unknown for centuries now have a little ray of sunshine. Low levels of anandamide have been reported in people suffering from a number of illnesses whose cause was eluding the medical community.

If endocannabinoid deficiency proves to be the cause, these illnesses will now have better, more effective treatments that will make them more manageable, and they will be less likely to cause disability and depression.

Endocannabinoid Deficiency Fibromyalgia, Migraine, PTSD and IBS

Some of the conditions that have been observed to concur with clinical endocannabinoid deficiency are: fibromyalgia, migraines, PTSD and IBS, among others.

These three conditions have certain common characteristics:

  • Heightened sensitivity to pain, or hyperalgesia, which has been observed to be associated with endocannabinoid hypo-function (decreased function of the ECS).
  • Are accompanied by anxiety and depression
  • Have been labeled as psychosomatic
  • They coexist in the majority of cases, which suggests the same cause

Recently, it was discovered that people who suffer from fibromyalgia have a distinct deficiency of the endocannabinoid anandamide, which our body is supposed to produce naturally. Anandamide generates feelings of well-being and, in high amounts, can cause euphoria. However, if its concentration is too low, it has shown to have incredibly negative effects physically and emotionally.

When looking further into the issue, other illnesses were associated with this deficiency, which was officially named “clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome,” or CECD. And the main conditions it has been related to often overlap, supporting the theory that it is the possible cause.

Endocannabinoid Deficiency Fibromyalgia: Is CBD the Answer?

If anandamide deficiency proves to be the cause of some or all cases of fibromyalgia, there is a lot of hope for a successful treatment to be developed and standardized in the near future.

CBD is a phytocannabinoid, a cannabinoid that is produced in plants, which stimulates CB2 receptors, the same type of receptors that react to anandamide and cause feelings of wellness and pain relief. Theoretically speaking, CBD should be able to replace anandamide in people who have low concentrations of it, until eventually the body is able to regulate its production.

Interestingly, in a specific study, CBD showed an improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms that highly surpassed those of the usual medications prescribed for this condition (like duloxetine and milnacipran).  

In fibromyalgia and other CECD related conditions, cannabinoid treatment, mainly CBD treatment, has shown improved sleep, pain relief, and other benefits that support the influence of the deficiency in the symptoms.

In a few trials, THC was studied as a possible treatment, but the results were not as significant as the ones showed for CBD and whole plant cannabis, which showed decreased pain and stiffness almost immediately, as well as improvement in sleep and reduced anxiety.

The use of cannabis-based epilepsy medication, Sativex also proved to be highly effective for pain, which proves that CBD oil for fibromyalgia is the best option.

What is the cause of endocannabinoid deficiency fibromyalgia?

Humans have an optimal level of endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-AG) in the body, which interact with endocannabinoid receptors. When endocannabinoid function is lower than normal,a series of conditions will necessarily follow, such as:

  • Digestive issues
  • Mood alterations
  • Sleep alterations
  • General well-being will be disrupted

It is still unknown why these lower endocannabinoid levels occur, but the CED theory suggests that the cause could be genetic or congenital, or might even be acquired after a significant injury or illness that alters the balance of the endocannabinoid production.

Other illnesses that have been linked to CECD

The ones mentioned above are not the only conditions that seem to be linked to clinical endocannabinoid deficiency. Others that are being evaluated for their possible relation to CECD are:

  • Neonatal failure to thrive
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Phantom limb pain
  • Infantile colic
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Repetitive, unexplained miscarriages
  • PTSD
  • Bipolar disorder

These are just a few, though there are many others that could be part of this list.

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency is new, but very important discovery being studied currently that could help us understand different conditions that have mostly been a complete mystery to us.

It seems almost obvious when you think about illnesses being caused by the body being unbalanced. A lot of people have spoken about CBD oil and fibromyalgia. However, we are so used to having external causes to our ailments, that we have failed to see what was right under our noses.

Our bodies have lost balance, so we need to return it to them in order to be healthier and feel better. Hopefully CBD treatments are standardized and recognized as valid methods of improving the quality of life of those who suffer from fibromyalgia and have seen their lives altered by it.

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10 CBD Clinical Trials You Might not Know About

…and their importance in today’s health needs!

For the first time ever, we can say that several medical trials are being carried out to determine the benefits of CBD, and even THC, for humans.

A few years ago, these components were only considered for terminal patients, but now their many benefits are being explored for their possible applications in treatments of different conditions, both for children and adults. Furthermore, they are no longer being looked into as a last resort for terminal patients, but as a first option for conditions like epilepsy, autism, asthma, and even for cancer itself, not just for its symptoms.

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Some CBD clinical trials and studies of immense importance that have been or are being carried out, are:

1. CBD for Epilepsy

It’s no wonder, epilepsy is getting the most attention when it comes to CBD clinical trials, since, over the past decade, there have been countless cases of epilepsy patients who have benefited from CBD oil.

This study, carried out by the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the UM School of Pharmacy, aims to determine the benefits and safety of a CBD based medication for children with severe forms of epilepsy. And, though this trial still treats CBD as a last resort, qualifying it as “compassionate care”, it will be an amazing contribution for the medical community.

Ole Miss has an interesting history with cannabis. It was the first authorized cannabis grower for scientific research purposes, though the FDA recently opened up the possibility for other growers to become authorized. Since this is still a controlled substance, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) oversees the production and gives out the authorizations every year.

Why did CBD Clinical trials for epilepsy take so long to occur?

In most cases of severe epileptic disorders, the children who suffer from it usually don’t survive long enough to become adults. The goal with treatment is usually to prolong life expectancy and to maintain life skills (speaking, walking, eating) for as long as possible.

Though cannabis and CBD in particular have been shown to do wonders for these children, the social stigma and legal implications of giving it to minors have put a lot of pressure on parents and health professionals, and limit their options.

2. CBD for Asthma

Asthma is an allergic, inflammatory condition that affects the airways, and more than 26 million people in the U.S. suffer from it.

Together with the Hebrew University, an Israeli company is developing a cannabis based treatment for asthma that will benefit both children and adults. The researchers decided to look into CBD due to its well known anti inflammatory properties, though it might also have an effect on the allergic reaction itself, via the immune system. The idea with this research is to develop a supplement in tablet or inhaler form, that will be accessible to everyone.

Cases of severe asthma have been labeled as an “unmet clinical needs” by the World Health Organization, since it is usually treated with corticosteroids, which some people are resistant to, and from 1990 to 2015, the number of asthma cases doubled, which generates the need for better treatments, preferably natural ones that don’t produce harmful side effects. This is where CBD comes in.

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3. Movement Disorders

At the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California San Diego, a CBD trial will be carried out this year to establish possible beneficial effects of cannabis in a common movement disorder known as essential tremor (ET), which is characterized by involuntary shaking. However, if the results are positive, it is likely to have beneficial effects on all disorders of this type. This trial will focus on CBD and will include a low dose of THC.

Movement disorders, like essential tremor, Parkinson’s, dystonia, among others, affect around 42 million people in the U.S. They alter daily life and are extremely likely to cause anxiety and depression; so CBD shows promise as a treatment for people who suffer from this type of conditions, though so far research has been leaning particularly towards Parkinson’s, since it is so debilitating.

4. CBD for MS

Studies show that CBD reduces symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, such as fatigue, pain, inflammation, depression and spasticity, while increasing mobility.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the protective layers of the nerve fibers and spinal cord, causing failures in the nervous system’s communication to the brain. It can cause numbness, electric shock sensation, and mobility issues, among several other symptoms that significantly affect life and cause disability.

A trial was conducted in 2005, which demonstrated cannabis’ effectiveness at treating pain in patients suffering from MS, and a specific trial was carried out in order to compare the efficacy of two cannabis based medications for MS.

The positive results in these trials are probably due to the role of the endocannabinoid system in multiple sclerosis, which has been established by scientific studies.

5. Endometriosis

CBD is being looked into for its possible ability to treat endometriosis, an illness that affects about 180 million women in the world, and occurs when the lining of the uterus grows in other places around the pelvis, ovaries, or Fallopian tubes.

A new lab in Israel, set up by Israeli doctors with the purpose of carrying out medical research about cannabis’ medicinal properties, will begin an intensive study about the way CBD can benefit patients who suffer from endometriosis, since CBD has been proven to regulate the immune system, even preventing the spread of the disease.

The doctors commented on the current information there is about this particular illness, and stated that a lot more research is needed in order to understand how cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system relate to it.

6. CBD Clinical trials for Anorexia

The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research of UCSD has been pushing medical research forward, which is good news for everyone whose health could be benefited by CBD.

They will soo launch a trial that specifically looks into the effect of CBD in Adult Anorexia Nervosa, for which there is currently no proven medical treatment.

Cannabis has been observed to aid with anorexia for its appetite enhancing properties, and most of the effect has been attributed to THC. However, CBD shows significant promise in this area, since it not only targets appetite, but also helps reduce anxiety and depression, which are the core of eating disorders.

7. CBD for Early Psychosis

Though cannabis is usually not recommended for schizophrenia or psychosis in general, CBD on its own has shown anti psychotic properties.

A trial will begin in order to determine if the component can reduce symptoms and improve cognitive function in patients with early psychosis. It will also look into the biological response to stress, and the effect of CBD in eating behavior, which is altered by anti psychotic medication.

8. CBD Clinical Trials for Anxiety

An extensive clinical study that was carried out in 2015, evaluated CBD’s anxiolytic properties and its effect on anxiety related disorders. It was determined that CBD shows a broad range of potential relevant to the treatment of different symptoms of anxiety disorders, and has the advantage of not producing detrimental side effects even at higher doses.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, and around 40 million adults are affected by them. However, less than 40% of sufferers are receiving treatment for them.

In the past decades, CBD’s beneficial effects in neuropsychiatric disorders has been observed by the medical community through anecdotal evidence and scientific studies, which brings a lot of hope for the development of a successful medical cannabis-based treatment for these conditions.

9. CBD Clinical Trials for Chronic Pain

CBD has shown great promise for pain management, but specifically for chronic pain, it could even be considered a breakthrough.

This current study is examining the effects of both CBD and THC on chronic pain in adults (18-50 yrs.) and it’s related symptoms, and aims to compare the effects of different doses of THC/CBD, in order to determine the best combination. Hopefully this will shed more light on the individual and combined effects of these two cannabinoids.

Chronic pain sufferers develop depression, anxiety and are constantly troubled by inflammation. CBD has the potential of treating all of these issues with little to no side effects, which would allow chronic pain sufferers to have more active lives and care for themselves a lot better.

10. CBD Clinical Trials for Fibromyalgia

A medical study in 2016, suggested that clinical endocannabinoid deficiency could be the cause of chronic pain disorders and other illnesses, such as fibromyalgia, which shows the most evidence of having relation to this issue.

Significantly lower levels of endocannabinoids like anandamide in cerebrospinal fluid were seen in patients suffering from chronic pain. However, several CBD trials for fibromyalgia are still needed in order to determine its benefits, which could be several, since a common treatment for the condition are antidepressants, and it is currently known that CBD and antidepressants share some of their benefits, though work in a completely different way.

This trial showed that most patients experienced reduction of pain and stiffness in as little as two hours after they consumed the cannabis solution. And the beneficial effects were much higher in the ones taking the real cannabis than the control group.

The results concluded that cannabis is much more effective than the different prescription meds currently being indicated for fibromyalgia. Though it’s clear that it requires standardization and regulation for it to be as effective as possible.

Prospects for the future…

Thanks to all these medical studies and trials, we’re finally beginning to learn about the different benefits and possibilities that CBD and cannabis have when it comes to our health and well-being.

The world is currently dealing with an increasing number of medical conditions that are no longer deadly, but that affect quality of life significantly, since they reduce people’s ability to care for themselves and lead a full life.

CBD is showing a lot of promise in medical terms for the near future, not just for adults, but for children who suffer from debilitating conditions. So we’ll see…  

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CBD Testimonials: How CBD Saves Lives

You have probably heard a little about the different health benefits CBD can provide for us, such as pain relief, lowering inflammation, lessening irritation… However, at times, CBD does a little more than make our lives more comfortable; it can save people from devastating illnesses and improve their quality of life significantly. Could it be true?

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There are all sorts of stories like that, about patients who struggle with epilepsy, cancer, and other complicated conditions, and they or their families end up trying CBD oil as a last resort, having nothing to lose, only to be surprised by the almost unbelievable effects.

In the near future, we will probably continue to see countless stories like these before CBD is officially recognized as medicine…

CBD: 5 Real Life Stories

We have finally reached a time in history when the medical and scientific communities are being allowed to conduct serious studies and randomized trials on CBD, and cannabis in general, which are having a lot of positive results. And there are also a lot of individual stories where CBD has been a life-saver. Here are some of these stories:

1.  Hunter

Hunter Elwell is a young Australian teen who suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a severe and debilitating form of epilepsy. His first years of life were spent in a haze; between the seizures and medication, he slept through most days.

Right before his eighth birthday, his parents decided to try medicinal cannabis in order to reduce the seizures, which were causing him to deteriorate rapidly.

The supplement he’s taking now, as part of his routine, has reduced the frequency of his seizures and has reversed some of the cognitive deterioration he suffered because of them. He has become more aware of his surroundings, started recognizing people, and is relearning some of the skills he had previously lost. His mom, found it amazing that her son learned how to say “mom” all over again.

Currently, due to the positive effect CBD oil has had on epilepsy patients like Hunter, there is a lot more research being done about cannabidiol and other cannabinoids, since it has been suggested that several others might also be responsible for the positive effects of cannabis oil in patients.

2. Charlotte

Charlotte Figi is a young girl who is well known by those who have followed the journey towards legalizing medicinal cannabis. She, like hunter, also suffers from Dravet syndrome.

At five, this illness was causing the little girl to have around 300 seizures per week, significantly lowering her quality of life, and causing neurological deterioration. She first experienced a seizure at only 3 months old and, by the age of two, she was already showing signs of cognitive decline. Most children who suffer from this illness die before the age of 10, due to the devastating effects of the constant seizures.

At this point, her parents were able to find a doctor who recommended medicinal cannabis for the treatment of her condition. She began taking CBD oil made from a high CBD strain of cannabis, which had an immediate and almost unbelievable effect.

During her first week taking the prescribed amount, Charlotte had no seizures, which was a first for her. She began being able to participate in life, eat, and even play with her twin sister and her older brother.

3. Zaki

Zaki Jackson suffers from another severe form of epilepsy called Doose syndrome. At the age of nine, his mom was desperate for any treatment, since her son’s doctors had told her there was nothing else they could do.

When she first heard of CBD, it seemed like there was nothing to lose by giving a less than experimental treatment a chance, so she began the journey towards getting her son what he needed in order to lead a better life.

In 2013, Zaki celebrated his first one year anniversary without any seizures at all; something that had previously seemed unthinkable to his mom and his doctors.

4. Lachie

Lachie Davidson is a young adult who has had a rare, benign brain tumor since he was a child. The tumor causes him to have several “laughing seizures” throughout the day, and, every once in a while, it causes severe seizures.

Medication for his condition has affected his ability to speak, which is very frustrating for him. He is currently participating in a medical trial which aims to find evidence of the effects of cannabinoids in seizures, though he doesn’t know if he’s taking the placebo or the actual medication. So he’ll have to see…

5. Kalel

Kalel Santiago’s parents are some of the many who have been desperate to find something that could help their kids suffering from severe forms of autism. Kalel, at his worst, wasn’t able to speak at all and would have self harming behaviours like banging his head against hard surfaces.

After beginning his CBD treatment, which consists of spraying CBD oil into his mouth twice a day, he started speaking his first words and his behavior changed in an impressive way, probably due to being able to communicate more openly than before.

Studies have shown that autistic children have significant differences in their CB2 receptors, compared to non autistic children. Doctors came to the conclusion that the reason CBD works so well for autism is that it stimulates the CB2 receptors, improving certain functions related to communication. Research is still being carried out.

What about THC? – 3 Bonus Stories

Though THC requires a more careful management, since it produces psychoactive effects, it has been shown to have significant anti carcinogenic properties. Essentially, it has the ability to cause the death of cancer cells, which are then flushed by the body.

Though it’s not legal, a lot of patients who have no other options, opt for THC treatment, feeling like there’s nothing to lose; and a lot of them have obtained astounding results. Here are some of them:

1. Deryn

At the age of 10, Deryn Blackwell was diagnosed with leukaemia and went through chemotherapy in order to treat it. Two years later, he was diagnosed with an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer called Langerhans cell sarcoma, for which the only available treatment was bone marrow transplant.

After four unsuccessful transplants, and an unexpected infection his body had no way of fighting, doctors gave Deryn one week to live.

He planned his funeral and couldn’t wait for all the treatments and the illness to be over. He was tired of the pain and the emotional effects that came with it. At that point, the antibiotics were keeping him alive, the morphine had stopped working, and he was now on fentanyl and sleeping pills.

As a last resort, his mother managed to get her hands on cannabis tincture and decided to give it to her son in secret, in hopes that it would at least lessen his suffering, since he was in a lot of pain and was very anxious.

The effects were almost immediate; Deryn was a lot calmer and the pain had lessened. A few days later, the bloodwork showed new white blood cells. This meant that his body was now recovering and was beginning to be able to fight infection.

His mom wondered if it had just been a coincidence, so she stopped giving him the tincture, and his white cell count started going down again… Deryn is now perfectly healthy against all odds; he’s able to do regular activities, and wants to be a chef.

2. Joy

Joy Smith was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016. About a year later, after it was discovered that the cancer had spread to her stomach and intestine, she was told she only had six weeks to live… Think about that for a second; six weeks, less than two months. Sometimes we have holidays planned that are more than two months away. In an instant, she was pretty much told that it was over.

It has been almost three years since she was first diagnosed, and now she’s in remission. Why? She decided to try cannabis extract, which was still illegal in her home country.

She decided to stop chemotherapy and has only been taking the cannabis oil for a while. In her latest checkup, her doctor said that the cancer had almost entirely disappeared, only a little remaining in her stomach. And, even though she knows she could be accused of committing a crime, she decided to share her story publicly in hopes of helping others.

3. Rick

Rick Simpson is a relatively well known name in the world of medicinal cannabis. He came across it while looking for a way to treat symptoms that had been leftover from a work accident.

However, later he was diagnosed with a form of skin cancer and, rather than go on topical chemotherapy, he decided to use topical cannabis oil to treat it. He had heard about a study from the National Cancer Institute about THC, and chose not to expose his body to aggressive chemo.

He left a cannabis soaked bandage on the cancerous growths for a few days and, when he uncovered them, they were gone. He was so moved by the experience that he began making his own oil and giving it away to people who needed it.

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So, why are CBD and THC treatments still struggling to become recognized?

Scientists and doctors who believe in the medicinal properties of cannabis have different theories as to why these compounds have yet to be recognized and standardized as official medical treatments. Some theories point to the prevalent bad reputation that cannabis and hemp haven’t been able to shake, due to the recreational use for which they are better known.

However, others believe that the reason is more financial. Since CBD and THC are natural compounds easily obtained from hemp and other cannabis strains, they cannot be patented or kept as a secret formula, which implies that the financial gain that could be obtained from them by pharmaceutical companies is far less than the profits that come from other medication that is a lot less available.

Though we can’t really be sure of the ultimate reason behind the delay in regulating and recognizing the medicinal properties in CBD and THC, the truth is that this is rapidly changing. Real life stories about how cannabis can be an amazing alternative, are more and more common, so there will come a point where lawmakers around the world will have no choice but to regulate it.

Here in the US, for example, the FDA is currently working on the regulation of CBD, which is good news, but it’ll take a while before we get to see any official documents.

Cannabis on Valentine’s Day: an upgraded CBD recipe for couples (and us singles)

First of all, let’s make something clear: This is not just for couples, and not just for Valentine’s Day. As you probably know, CBD is very healthy for human bodies. So, if you are forever alone on this February 14th, keep on reading because this recipe will totally get your Endocannabinoid System working.

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And for the couples out there, this could be a unique way to celebrate Valentines Day. Instead of making a dinner reservation at a fancy and expensive restaurant, try cooking this very healthy and nutritive hemp recipe:

  • For main course, we have CBD pesto pasta with spicy shrimp.
  • And, for Drinks, a CBD Mezcal Margarita.

And do not fret, lovely readers: hemp has high levels of cannabidiol (CBD) and very low levels of THC, often less than 1%. So eating this recipe won’t get you high as a kite.

Yum! But before we get started, let’s have a closer look at hemp seeds and why they can be one of the most nutritious foods in the entire planet. It is often called the next “super food”.

Hemp seeds, or should we say, super food

The first thing we should say about hemp is how different this plant is from its sister, marijuana. There is often confusion thinking it’s the same plant. The misconception that hemp and marijuana were one and the same, led to the prohibition that has affected how society thinks about cannabis. Both hemp and marijuana are cannabis varieties. Hemp has very low THC levels: less than 0.3%, so it is not psychoactive. Also, it can easily adapt to extremely cold weathers.

According to records and cannabis historians, hemp has been cultivated for more than then thousand years. China was one of the first civilizations to grow hemp for paper and fiber.  Hemp was very important for the Chinese civilization, as well as others, in order to expand throughout the seas. Hemp’s fiber was used for a long time to make ropes used in ships.

The uses and knowledge of hemp expanded to other continents through trade. Greeks, Moorish Spain and the British started cultivating hemp in vast fields. Later, the British brought hemp to North America. During the colonial period, hemp was cultivated all around the 13 colonies.

In addition, hemp seeds have a huge range of nutritional properties. The USDA National Nutrient Database says hemp seeds are a great source of:

  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Healthy fats, like omega-3 and omega-6.
  • Carbohydrates
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Vitamines C, B, A and E

Impressive, right?

Let’s expand a little bit more on healthy fats. Hemp seeds are a great source of fatty acids like alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and omega-3 fatty acids. The body can’t produce enough essential fatty acids on its own, so you need to get it from external sources. And, besides fish, there is not much to get fatty acids from. Well, fish and hemps seeds.

Hope we have informed you about the health and nutritional properties of hemp.

Now, to the kitchen!

CBD Recipe for Valentine’s Day

Besides all the nutritional value of hemp, CBD also has a lot of benefits for your body. It can help you manage chronic pain, anxiety and it helps you boost your Endocannabinoid System. So this hemp recipe for Valentine’s Day is definitely the right choice. The recipe is for two people. So if you want to cook it just for yourself, or for a group of friends, adjust the measurements accordingly.

CBD Pesto Pasta With Spicy Shrimp

The main course consists of two parts: the pesto sauce and the spicy shrimp pasta. Let’s start with the pesto sauce.

CBD pesto sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup of basil
  • ½ cup of parsley
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 10 ml of CBD Oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

Wash and clean the spinach and the basil. After doing so, place all of the ingredients in a blender. Don’t forget the CBD Oil! Blend all of the ingredients until you have achieved the desired consistency. Add water if you think the sauce is too thick. Keep the sauce aside for latter.

CBD spicy shrimp penne pasta

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams of penne pasta
  • 250 grams of fresh and peeled shrimp
  • 200 grams asparagus
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper flakes
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

  1. For the pasta, use a large pot to boil the water in. Then, add the uncooked pasta. Boil for eight minutes.
  2. Wash the asparagus, cut them into little pieces and add them to the water along with the pasta for the last 3 or 4 minutos. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, heat butter and olive oil.
  4. Add the shrimp, previously flavored with salt, pepper and the red pepper flakes. If you like your food spicy, add an extra pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook until the shrimp is pink on both sides.
  5. When the shrimp are cooked, add the pasta along with the asparagus.
  6. Add the pesto sauce to the pan and cook for five more minutes on low heat. Let that pesto sauce add flavour to the shrimp.
  7. Remove from the heat and add cherry tomatoes, basil and parmesan cheese.
  8. Eat up!

CBD Mezcal Margarita

To make the experience complete, why not add a CBD cocktail to accompany that spicy pesto shrimp? This is an easy and quick to prepare cocktail,; the traditional Margarita, but with a little CBD on it. We are using CBD Tincture instead of CBD Oil because tinctures are alcohol based. When mixed with another drink, oil will float on top of the drink. However, for cocktails is better to choose tinctures because alcohol will integrate and mix perfectly.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces of mezcal
  • 2 ounces of aquavit
  • 1.5 cups of lime juice
  • 1.5 cups of agave syrup
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 15 mg of CBD tincture
  • If you like, add a cannabis leaf as decoration.

Preparation:

Shake all the ingredients together in a shaker full of ice. Garnish with a cannabis leaf and there you go! Now you have your pasta and your drink full of CBD and, obviously, love. Happy Valentine’s Day! Enjoy, And spread the love.

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Cannabis affects Men and Women differently: Here’s why

When it comes to the effects of cannabis, women and men are worlds apart. Though there is scientific research about how cannabis affects and interacts with our bodies, few of those clinical or preclinical studies analyze male and female subjects separately. And trust us, there is a whole universe to discover in how cannabis affects men and women differently.

Spoiler alert: as you will see throughout this post, one of the ways in which cannabis affects men and women differently is appetite. Apparently, and according to research, women don’t get such bad munchies as men. But before we get into the studies, research and tests, let’s talk about sex.

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Cannabis and sexual experience in women

It’s no secret that many ladies out there feel discomfort or even pain during sexual intercourse. And not just that: according to a study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, “women, regardless of sexual orientation, have less predictable, more varied orgasm experiences than men”. This is why companies are starting to develop products to enhance and improve sexual experience in women.

Foria is a company that develops suppositories for PMS, and also produces a “weed lube” to enhance women’s sexual pleasure. This product, as said on their website, “can increase arousal, promote natural lubrication, and heighten tactile sensation — making orgasms fuller, more intense, or easier to access”.

The endocannabinoid system also plays a major role in sex. Sex therapist Lawrence Siegel said on CNN that THC appears to target a brain area associated with sex arousal in females. “Our body’s natural endocannabinoid system is key in regulating sensations like pleasure, pain, relaxation and homeostasis. When it is activated by the cannabinoids in cannabis, it can leave people feeling relaxation, increased pleasure and decreased pain”.

Women experience cannabis differently because of estrogen, the sex hormone. Though it appears that cannabinoids such as THC and CBD work a whole lot better in women, there’s still a catch…

Cannabis and estrogen

To answer the question of why cannabis affects men and women differently, we have to talk about estrogen. Though all sex hormones, such as testosterone and progesterone, have an impact in how the body processes cannabinoids, the most important sex hormone in this particular area is estrogen. But why estrogen? Because estrogen is the sex hormone that interacts directly with the endocannabinoid system. It determines the strength of cannabinoids’ effect in our bodies.

Though men also have estrogen in their bodies, the levels are much lower. Estrogen plays an important role in women’s sexual development. And, along with another sex hormone called progesterone, it regulates the menstrual cycle, affecting the reproductive system.

Estrogen has a strong connection to the endocannabinoid system. In some brain regions, the amount of CB1 receptors varies with the amount of estrogen in the brain. Additionally, a study found that estrogen increases anandamide levels. Therefore, estrogen also strengthens the endocannabinoid system. Furthermore, another study found that, when estrogen levels are high in rats, the rodents are more affected by the effects of THC. Basically, they get higher! These findings suggest a correlation between CB1 receptor, THC, estrogen and the endocannabinoid system.

THC and estrogen are not such a good match

As we explained above, there is a strong connection between the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids and estrogen. But this connection is not a good one, it appears. When THC and estrogen interact whith each other, CB1 receptors get highly activated. Consequently, the endocannabinoid system becomes unbalanced. This unbalanced ECS can result in alterations in mood and anxiety because of a change in size in the amygdala, a nervous tissue located in the temporal lobe. Adolescent girls who are regular cannabis users have larger amygdalae than male cannabis users, study finds.

This could mean that women who are regular cannabis users are more likely to suffer anxiety in adolescence, as researchers conclude:

“Gender interactions may reflect marijuana-related interruptions to sex-specific neuromaturational processes and staging. Subtle amygdala development abnormalities may underlie particular vulnerabilities to sub-diagnostic depression and anxiety in teenage female marijuana users”.

Studies on how cannabis affects men and women differently

A 2011 study analyzed the effects of marijuana on driving performance. A total of 85 people participated in the study: 50 men and 35 women. Before getting to the driving simulator, researchers divided the group in two. One group received a placebo (0% of THC) while the other one got a 2.9% THC dose of marijuana. Interestingly, eight females and only one male decided not to finish the marijuana cigarette. And after consuming the cannabis (or placebo) cigarette, subjects were told to perform the test. To the driving simulator!

The first result that was different between male and female participants was in their level of “highness”. Scientists observed that women actually rated themselves as feeling “higher” than men, both in active THC dose and with the placebo. Also, women felt more sleepy than men after completing the driving test. And, long story short, it is not recommended to drive under the influence of high THC cannabis strains: “This study supports the existing literature that marijuana does affect simulated driving performance, particularly on complex tasks such as divided attention”.

Another research found that after giving a sublingual dose of THC, women and men had very different effects in spatial working memory performance. While men showed no changes at all, THC actually enhanced spatial working memory in female subjects.

Another study analyzed the differences between males and females in terms of cannabinoid-regulated biology.

The research focused mainly in homeostasis.Remember that the endocannabinoid system is present in every human and works to maintain balance, or, in other words, homeostasis. They found three important ways cannabis affects men and women differently:

  • Sex differences are fundamental to cannabinoid-regulated biology
  • Males are more sensitive to the appetite-stimulating (munchies) properties of cannabinoids
  • Sex steroid hormones have divergent roles in determining cannabinoid sensitivity

Women seek other things in cannabis

As you can see, women, biologically or physically, experience cannabis in a very different way than men. Women experience more intense effects than men because of the interaction between estrogen, CB1 receptors and cannabinoids, specially THC. But there are anthropological and sociological differences, as well.

According to a BDS Analytics report, women are more likely to use products like topicals and spend 35% less on cannabis products than men. According to Jessica Lukas, VP Consumer Insights at BDS, women seek different things when it comes to cannabis:

“there are some differences in the way females think and behave. We do see females a bit more likely to consume because of anxiety and physical ailments.”

There is so much more to investigate about how gender and physiology can affect the cannabis experience. Maybe next time you decide to use cannabis with friends, both male and female, you can analyze what is different and what is similar in terms of behavior or physical responses. Perhaps you can find some of the things you read here to be true among your friends.

But please, do us a favor and don’t get behind the wheel while you’re conducting the experiment.

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How CBD Products are the New Trend in Spas

If you follow or have any interest in the cannabis industry, you know that CBD products are trendy. From gummy bears and infused beverages, to full spectrum CBD medications for epilepsy. There’s even a bunch of products specially for pets such as dogs and cats. The market has it all. And it’s growing fast. 

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According to a recent Brightfield Group report, the CBD market could rise to $22 billion by 2022. Bethany Gomez, managing director for Brightfield Group, told Rolling Stone during 2018, that what they witnessed was the explosion of an industry:

“Face mask, bug bites, skin care, topicals. It’s being used for everything you can think of — sports, triathlons. People want to buy it for their grandma, for arthritis. Women get it for PMS and endometriosis — common things that people have been using over the counter medications”. At last, people have acknowledged that not all cannabis gets you high and that the plant itself has a wide range of medicinal uses. Consequently, CBD products are selling like hotcakes.

Therefore, health and wellness companies are also introducing CBD to their products and treatments. It is not random that Sephora or The Body Shop have their own CBD lines up on their shelves. And throughout last year, spas all over the United States have also given in to the trendiness of CBD products.

But before we go into the whole spa and CBD euphoria, let’s quickly look at some of the medicinal properties of this cannabinoid for the cosmetic industry.

CBD properties in cosmetics and stress relief

We know what you’re thinking. “Another medical benefit of CBD?”. Well, yes.

It turns out that cannabidiol is also really good for your skin. Hemp oil moderates oil production in your skin. It hydrates and regulates oil production. Therefore, CBD cream is good for acne prevention.

CBD oil is rich in vitamins A, C and E. Working all together, these vitamins will help your skin stay firm and healthy, it stimulates collagen production and it can even reduce the inevitable signs that come with age. Also, hemp oil is high in fatty acids such as Omega-6 and gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA. These type of fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and stimulate new cell skin generation.

On the other hand, CBD is becoming a very popular treatment for relaxation and stress relief. We’ll tell you why: this cannabinoid binds with 5-HT1A, a receptor in our brains that plays a major role in anxiety. Another receptor that CBD binds to is CB1. By doing so, the endocannabinoid system can maintain balance and keep the body relaxed and therefore, helping with anxiety.

CBD products and practices used in spas

CBD Oil massage

This one is the Prom Queen of CBD products in spas. The most popular one. At Spa Anjali, in Colorado, they have included the “CBD Massage”. As described on their website, the CBD hemp oil is “designed to hydrate and rejuvenate your skin while easing the inevitable aches and pains of an active lifestyle”. The massage also works for specific areas in your body to deal with tension, pain, injuries and chronic ailments. The cost is between $180 and $275.

Simply Massage, also based in Colorado, has offered massages since 2006. Last year, they included an upgrade that people can buy with a massage: CBD Massage. For an additional $22, they offer 100mg of “healing CBD oil that targets specific aches and pains”. They explain that THC and CBD are two very different compounds, and why you are not going to get high with their massage. They also give you a bit of CBD Oil used during the massage as a reminder. How cool is that?

The NOW Massage is another spa that has fallen in love with CBD. For just $10, you can enhance your experience adding a “deep and effective physical relief using peppermint infused CBD Balm”. They describe its benefits to reduce inflammation, ease stress and anxiety and increase sensory stimulation. Gara Post, Co-Founder of the company, said on Med Men how important CBD products and treatments have become to society: “With today’s fast-paced society and the stress from technology, anxiety is at an all-time high. People are looking for relief and we love that we are at the forefront and a part of the solution”.

Full body CBD experiences

The St. Julien Hotel has The Spa. Yes, that is its name but it is also that good. They have recently added the Ultimate Colorado Bliss CBD Experience. If you are a CBD lover, you must try this one. Although it is a little expensive ($295), the experience is totally worth it. You will get a scrub, wrap, and massage combination. The treatment will include a full body exfoliation with CBD body butter wrap, a hot oil scalp massage, a full body massage with CBD infused oil and, at the end, a complimentary CBD infused tea. There are cheaper options. Like the CBD Classic Massage for $160, or the CBD Tissue Massage for $175. This last one is specially good for pain or any other ache.

Spa Solage is another spa that has added CBD products. They are currently offering Healthy Lotus to their massages and other services like facials washes and scrubs. The best way to benefit from CBD is by taking the Mellow Me Out routine. In a two-hour experience, CBD is introduced in every step. It even includes hair treatment. But you want to know the best part? They also have CBD treats for your pet!

Since October 2018, the Ritz-Carlton Spa in Los Angeles added CBD to their options. They offer two different CBD treatments: CBD Healing Massage, which is customized, so that CBD can work better in each person. They offer to start the treatment with a drop of CBD tincture under the tongue to “encourage a sense of serenity, followed by a full-body massage”. This routine will include up to five hemp products. The 50-minute treatment costs $245, while the 80 minute massage costs $310.

CBD for facial rejuvenation and pedicure

The Ritz-Carlton Spa also offers a CBD pedicure. You can choose between two CBD infused “bath bomb soaks to promote relaxation and calm”. After that, your legs and feet will be “gently exfoliated” followed by a full cuticle care and polish. This one costs $120 for 50 minutes.

Ildi Pekar Wellness Studio will do wonders for your face. How? With the Ildi Pekar’s CBD Vibe Facial. After electric stimulation, your skin gets the treat of CBD oil to keep it hydrated and help with inflammation. On their website, they describe this routine as an “instant uplifting energy and illuminate the skin by combining the effects of CBD Oil, electric stimulation, and oxygen therapy”. If you have $400 to spend, you should definitely try it.

Dragontree Spa in Portland offers, as well as other spas above, the possibility of having a full CBD oil massage. However, they also included a CBD Custom Facial treatment. On their website, they describe some of its benefits, including “anti-inflammatory, high antioxidant content, an amazing ability to regulate the skin’s immune system, and its richness in omega 3 fatty acids, making it a perfect choice for clients concerned about acne, skin irritations, and premature aging” For a 60 minute treat, the price is set at $138. And if you’re already there, try the massage for an additional $125.

CBD is all about wellness

As you can see, wellness experts are looking into and adding CBD to their treatments and routines. Tamara Ische is the Ritz-Carlton Spa director, which, as read above, offers CBD massages and facials. She says that cannabidiol can expand and enhance what spas have being doing forever: “One small drop of CBD tincture under the tongue complements our massage therapy, enabling the spa team to bring a guest’s sense of serenity and relaxation to an entirely new level”, she told MedMen.

But beauty and relaxation are not the only benefits people are searching for in spas. People are often booking spa sessions and treatments to deal with chronic pain as well. Demetri Travlos is General Manager at Chillhouse, a cafe-spa in New York. For him, CBD is what really helps with pain management: “It’s wonderful as a pain management alternative, non-habit or tolerance-forming, and can be used in a targeted manner. Some cannabidiol oil or cream on your trouble spots each night before sleep can help with chronic pain and relax you enough to achieve a deeper sleep”.

The CBD tendency is growing fast. Dispensaries are not the only places where you can find and enjoy the benefits of these and other cannabinoids. As research and anecdotal evidence continues to grow, more and more businesses will include CBD as a way to deal with anxiety and chronic pain.

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Hemp Towns: 7 Cities in the World that Honor Hemp with their Names

Last year, just before summer was about to end, Mount Vernon’s community set upon the task of honoring George Washington. How? By growing Hemp. Just like the first president of the United States of America did in his old plantation house.

Hemp has been a part of the country’s history since colonial times. The Mid-Atlantic States grew it intensively. Hemp was used to create ropes used in ships, while others used it for textile purposes as a replacement for cotton.

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Thomas Jefferson even grew hemp on his plantation in Bedford County, Virginia.

Hemp was everywhere. And it has been for thousands of years. Not only in the United States, but all around the world. If you want proof, just take a closer look at the names of some places around Europe and the United States. Hemp was such an important plant that some cities and small towns were named after it.

Currently, the European Union allows hemp to be produced, and its derivatives to be sold. However, to be treated as hemp by the E.U., cannabis must contain less than 0.3% of THC.

Let’s take a quick look at how hemp became such an important crop and how some cities were named after the almighty plant.

A brief history of hemp

According to “Hemp Bound”, a book by Doug Fine published in 2014, China was the first civilization to grow hemp. The Chinese began using hemp to make rope and fishing nets on 4.500 B.C. It was a crop as important as, and cultivated along with, wheat, beans and rice. Yes, as important as rice!

The Chinese were also the first to transform hemp into paper. As hemp interest grew across agricultural communities in China, it was important to record plantation techniques. This is how the very first hemp paper industry was created.

Hemp arrived in Europe through the Mediterranean, through trade routes established across the sea. Ancient Greeks used it for textile purposes, while Moorish Spain created its first paper mill. The British Empire soon became one of hemp’s most important growers. Because of their naval domain, hemp was crucial for ropes used in ships. Fine says in his book that hemp was the most important crop in British economy. Along the coast, some cities were even named after Hemp, and when the British empire arrived in North America, they started growing hemp to fill the demand. These cities across the ocean were also named after the plant. But we’ll get to that in a bit.

Hemp crops later expanded to Germany and France. By the eighteenth century, hemp crops were present in Asia, Europe and North America. No wonder there are some places that honor cannabis in their own names, flags and coats of arms.

Hemp is now legal in the United States.

7 cities and towns named after hemp

Hempfield Township, Pennsylvania, United States

This small community from the Lancaster County was the mecca of hemp during the 18th century. It also included the small townships of East and West Hempfield. William Penn founded Pennsylvania in 1681 for one specific purpose: to produce hemp for the British. This is where the name Hempfield Township comes from. It is said that between 1720 and 1870, the Lancaster County had more than 100 mills to process hemp fiber.

Remember George Washington’s love for hemp? Well, the Founding Father personally visited and frequently inspected the mills to find new ways to improve his crops in Mount Vernon. You can even visit museums like Landis Valley Museum and Hans Herr House Museum, located in Lancaster County, and find some of the mills used during that time to process hemp.

Cañamares (Cuenca), Castilla La Mancha, España

As we explained above, Spain has also cultivated hemp for centuries. And there are small towns that even have the plant on their flag and coat of arms. Cañamares is one of them. Just a two-hour drive from Madrid, this town with a population of 700, built itself on hemp. The Cañamares economy was based on hemp production during the middle ages. Its name comes from “cáñamo”, the Spanish word for hemp. Although today there are few hemp crops, the town still honors the hemp days.

Santa Cruz de los Cáñamos (Cuenca), Castilla La Mancha, Spain

“Holy Cross of Hemp”, would be the direct translation. Located in the same region as Cañamares, this very small town, with a population of over 500 people, also honors hemp in its flag and coat of arms. The town was named after hemp in the sixteenth century because of the large crops of the plant present during that time.

Furthermore, hemp can return importance to this small Spanish community. The town is suffering from depopulation. With just 500 people, business and schools are suffering because, as time goes on, there are fewer people in town. A group of teenagers is looking to start cultivating hemp again to attract investment opportunities and create jobs.

Way to go, Santa Cruz!

Chennevières, France

This is also a small town that grew hemp for a living. The French word for hemp is “le chanvre”. And, translatied, the town’s name would be something like “people who grow hemp”. Chennevières is located in northern France and is part of Île-de-France or the Parisienne region. Its population is just over 300 people.

On the coat of arms, you can see that the hemp plant is at the center and is the main object in it. The importance of hemp in this small northern French town is more than obvious.

Hennef, Germany

The German word for hemp is hanf. This town, one of the largest of the North Rhine Westphalia, also is named after hemp. Hennef was first called Hannafo. Later, the name suffered some changes passing from Hannapha, Hanfbach and now Hennef. As you can see, the root hanf is present in all of them.

Hannef has hosted a lot of cannabis related events. It even hosted one of the first big events of cannabis called CannaBusiness Expo, from 1996 to 2003.

Kanepi, Estonia

Kanepi has an interesting history, related to hemp. Its name comes from the Balto-Slavic language, where the word for hemp is kanep. However, Estonia is not a Balto-Slavic territory. But it has a lot of words derived from it, as does Russia. In their language, hemp is called kanep. Kanepi means “town of hemp”.

This small town, near the Russian border, is one of the oldest towns that has a record of growing hemp in the region. For centuries, Kanepi grew hemp for clothing, ropes and oil. But in 2018, through an online poll, citizens decided to choose hemp as the new town flag and logo.

“Hemp-type cannabis has been used in practical ways for years and it has hundreds of uses”, said Kanepi council member Andrus Seeme.

Canepina, Italy

Last but not least, Italy! The town of Canepina owes its name to the Italian word for hemp, canapa. But the first name of this town from the Viterbo province was Canapina, an even more direct relation to the plant. During the seventeenth century, Canepina was surrounded by hemp crops. Out of hemp, Canepina made paper and textiles products, which were fundamental for the economic growth of the town.

Today, the importance of hemp is still very present. In 2016 and 2017, Canepina hosted an event called “I Love Canapina – La Canapa in Mostra”. There is also a very popular restaurant called Agriristoro Il Calice e la Stella, where the menu is based on hemp seeds and hemp oil.

Mamma mia!

Hemp, yesterday, today and always

As we saw, hemp is one of the most ancient plants cultivated for industrial uses. Paper, oil, textile and even ropes for ships were created from hemp. In the United States, you can see towns that have hemp on their names, such as Hempfield, Hemphill, Hempstead, NY, Hempfork, among others around the world. It all changed in 1937.

That year, Marihuana Tax Act banned its use, production and sale. This act did not differentiate psychoactive cannabis from non psychoactive cannabis, or hemp. A huge mistake that banned a plant that was fundamental for the economic growth during the colonial ages.

Late last year, President Trump signed the Farm Bill. This bill, among other things, will remove hemp (cannabis with less than 0.3% THC) from the Schedule I substance list. The significance is huge. It will reactivate hemp cultivation throughout the country.

According to Forbes, this bill will signify an explosive growth of the industry, which is expected to grow up to 10.6 billion by 2025. A new industry will emerge, thousands of jobs will be created and millions of dollars in tax will be harvested.

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What is Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome and How to treat it

Cannabis has gone mainstream. Prohibition is no longer an option. Patients, families and organizations all around the world are demanding legalization. Countries all over have legalized medical marijuana, with Canada and Uruguay legalizing it even for recreational purposes.

Cannabinoids, the compounds in marijuana, can be used to treat epilepsy, arthritis, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and as an anti-inflammatory agent.

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There are no reports of cannabis overdose, it produces no dependency and the worst side effect you can get is ordering an extra-large pizza… or two. It appears there is nothing harmful about cannabis. However, recent studies suggest there might be a condition related to long-term use of cannabis. People all around the United States are experiencing nausea, persistent vomiting, abdominal pain, and dehydration. Patients also have a compulsive tendency to take hot showers when symptoms are intense. Strangely, the symptoms stop when cannabis use is suspended. This condition is called Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome.

There are a lot of questions that patients, users and doctors have about Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. Is there enough evidence to support the fact that cannabis produces CHS? If so, why is it that cases are just recently being reported? Why does cannabis treat and at the same time, cause a medical condition? And, if cannabis is the cause, is there any treatment? Let’s find out…

What does research say about Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?

Although THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive effect of cannabis, it also has medicinal properties. It is widely used in the medical community to help with nausea, vomiting, as well as abdominal pain. Then why is the cure also the cause of these symptoms?

South Australian Research (2004)

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome was first mentioned in a 2004 Australian research. Scientists started investigating patients experiencing cyclical vomiting and their symptoms. They found that all 10 patients who were submitted to the test had one thing in common: chronic cannabis use.

The findings were:

  • Cessation of cannabis abuse led to cessation of the cyclical vomiting illness in seven cases.
  • Three cases did not abstain and continued to have recurrent episodes of vomiting.
  • Three cases who had abstained, returned to the habit after a significant period of abstinence and suffered a relapse of the illness.
    • Two of these cases abstained again, and became well again.
    • The third case did not abstain and remained ill.

Researchers also found an interesting pattern. Of the 10 patients, nine of them admitted to having taken hot baths when the symptoms were severe. Patients told researchers this practice would lessen the pain. Australian researchers concluded that: “chronic cannabis abuse was the cause of the cyclical vomiting illness in all cases, including the previously described case of psychogenic vomiting”.

Other reported cases

In 2009, a case study conducted in the United Kingdom, researchers described a 22 year old male with a history of chronic cannabis abuse who suffers from severe and recurrent vomiting, intense nausea and abdominal pain. The patient also reported having hot baths to ease his symptoms. The study concluded that if a patient with regular and chronic cannabis intake presents severe nausea and vomiting, together with abdominal pain, and compulsive hot bathing behavior, “a diagnosis of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome should be considered”.

Another study, also published in 2009, reported two cases showing identical symptoms. The first one was a 25-year-old woman who arrived at the ER reporting nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain that worsened throughout several days. Over the past five years, she had experienced the same symptoms on several occasions. And, what was the only thing that could calm those symptoms? A long, hot bath. After 48 hours in the hospital without consuming cannabis, her symptoms stopped and she was discharged.

The 2011 Temple University study

Even though previous studies showed a pattern worth considering, there was no further explanation of the Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome condition itself. A 2011 study from the Temple University explained in detail the stages of CHS and why regular cannabis intake might be a possible cause. Contrary to previous studies, researchers from Temple University established that “chronic cannabis use” is equivalent to a consumption rate of three to five times per day.

They identified 3 stages of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome:

Prodromal Phase

This early stage can begin months before heavy and intense symptoms of nausea and vomiting. In this phase, patients tend to feel morning sickness, mild abdominal pain, and nausea. Researchers found that patients tend to consume more cannabis to relieve nausea.

Hyperemetic Phase

This is where symptoms get serious. Patients star experiencing persistent nausea and vomiting, along with abdominal pain. Patients also suffer from weight loss and dehydration because of loss of appetite. During this phase, people begin taking hot showers compulsively.

Although there is no certain answer to why people suffering from Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome take hot showers, researchers had a hypothesis: “hot bathing may act by correcting the cannabis-induced equilibrium of the thermoregulatory system of the hypothalamus”

Recovery Phase

The only treatment researchers found to stop CHS is to stop cannabis use. Patients will start to recover in matter or days or weeks.

Researchers concluded that although cannabis is used successfully to treat nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, there is increasing evidence of its negative effects on the gastrointestinal tract and, therefore, Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome.

So… does this mean goodbye to cannabis?

Oh, hell no! Cannabis, as other substances like alcohol, has a biphasic effect. Low and high doses have different effects on the body. And every organism reacts differently to cannabis, as well as other substances. Dr. Bonni Goldstein, medical director of Canna-Centers, wrote about this in Project CBD.

He explains that it’s very possible that some people are more predisposed to this condition than others. Only a very small percentage of people who regularly consume high THC strains get this syndrome. He adds that low daily users of low dose THC are “unlikely” to develop CHS. As always, moderation is the way to go.

“In my experience, medical cannabis patients that are thoughtful in their use of THC-rich medicine are at very low risk for developing CHS. I have seen only two cases of CHS in the last decade of practice. That being said, CHS is quite easy to avoid if you are thoughtful about your use of THC and make sure to not over do it”.

And, to add more studies, here’s one to contradict the above. Two years after the 2004 Australian research was published, three fellow countrymen had something to say about it. According to their publication, the study lacks research and biological explanation.

“Cannabis has been consumed for many centuries and is currently used by millions of people in many countries. It is hard to believe that a distinctive syndrome caused by cannabis has never been noted before by users or clinicians”.

Are there other treatments for CHS?

As explained above, patients suffering from symptoms of CHS only find relief with a hot shower. When the pain is extreme, people tend to take hot baths up to six times a day. But there might be a better solution for both your gut and your wallet: red hot chili peppers.

Don’t think that listening to Californication with a hot bath is the only solution. A study published on January 2018 reported the case of a CHS patient whose symptoms improved after applying topical capsaicin (an active component of chili peppers). It appears that the heat produced by the capsaicin has a very similar reaction as the hot water.

Keeping your high low

Nevertheless, the truth is that there is no evidence to support either side of the story. Although there have been documented cases of patients that recover from Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome by suspending cannabis intake, it is still unclear how or why cannabis can both relieve and cause nausea and vomiting.

According to a doctor at Green Leaf Health Care, quoted on Leafly, the relationship with regular cannabis intake is more a chemical issue: “I’ve traveled through India and Asia extensively and know heavy long-term users without ever having issues regarding hyperemesis. Perhaps long term use and concentrated levels could produce these issues in certain susceptible individuals; however, I feel like it’s more of a chemical issue.”

There’s still a lot of research to be done to understand if there is a direct correlation between CHS symptoms and cannabis. As always, we recommend being responsible with your cannabis intake. Remember that when it comes to cannabis, whether you use it for medical or recreational purposes, less is more.

If you start to experience intense nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, suspend the use of cannabis and consult your doctor.

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State of the Leaf: 5 countries that legalized cannabis in 2018

“All I want for christmas is weed!” During 2018, cannabis legalization conquered the world. At least one country from each continent has now joined the green revolution. During the past five years, countries from all around the world have legalized medicinal cannabis. The perception is rapidly changing. From a drug considered and scheduled as bad as heroin and LSD, today we look cannabis with different eyes.

Only in 2018, five countries and three states in the United States legalized cannabis in some way. Canada set the tone when it legalized recreational marijuana, becoming the first G-7 country to do it.

Let’s travel the world and see which countries said “Yes!” to legal cannabis.

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United States -not the whole country, but some states- takes a step forward!

Cannabis was one of the big winners in this midterm elections. There are now 10 states, and the District of Columbia, that have legalized cannabis for medical and recreational purposes. On the other hand, two states approved bills to allow patients access to medicinal cannabis. And even more importantly, a recent bill is on the verge of legalizing industrial hemp on a federal level. Let’s take a quick look.

Michigan approved full cannabis legalization

On November 6, and in a very tight vote, the people of Michigan said yes to recreational marijuana. Proposal 1 allows adults 21 and over to use, posses and grow cannabis. Michigan, as from next year, will have a whole market created around cannabis. Dispensaries that want to become part of the green market will have to request a licence from the state. This will allow private companies to grow, process and sell recreational cannabis.

Utah passed the medicinal cannabis bill

Although medicinal cannabis legalization passed the November 6 ballot, there’s still a lot of uncertainty in the Beehive State regarding medicinal cannabis legalization. Even though Proposition 2 won with a 54.1%, politicians in favor and against the measure will write a new draft of the bill. Contradictors thought Proposition 2 was too light and that there was a very small margin for it to become a recreational ballot.

The result is a new bill. And a more restricted one. There will be only 6 dispensaries in the state, one of them public. Edibles and flowers are banned, just like home grown cultivation. The only cannabis products that you will find are capsules, tablets, concentrated oil, tinctures and sublinguals, among others. Wax or rosin will be allowed in very rare cases.

Missouri will allow cannabis for patients

Thanks to Amendment 2, patients will now have access to medical marijuana through licenced dispensaries. The only way for patients to buy medicinal cannabis is to present a doctor’s prescription. It will be illegal to sell cannabis to a patient without a prescription.

According to the bill, the state will start receiving applications for dispensaries no later than August 3.  Tax from cannabis will be destined to veterans. The tax amount will be around 4%.

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Hemp is going legal!

The best christmas present for cannabis advocates came from the United States Congress. On December 12, the House approved the 2018 Farm Bill. This bill, which is intended to boost and strengthen agriculture in the country, will also legalize hemp on a federal level. Why is this important? Because all cannabis strains with less than 0.3% THC levels will be removed from the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. Hemp, and all its derivatives, will be legal across the nation if President Donald Trump signs the bill.

This decision will boost the CBD and hemp market. This type of cannabis strain can be used in food, textile, fuel, and as a plastic and paper substitute. It will also open a window of possibilities to research CBD and its medicinal properties.

New York and the green hope

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he is pushing to legalize recreational marijuana in 2019. “Let’s legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all”, Cuomo said during a speech in Manhattan. The Governor explained that legalizing recreational marijuana will “generate more than 1.7 billion dollars in sales, and it will put New York in line with several neighboring states”.

If his determination is as good as his will, there will be 11 states with legal recreational marijuana in 2019.

Canada has said “Yes” to weed

Justin, you did it! Canada’s Prime Minister was dead serious when early this year he announced his intention of legalizing recreational marijuana. He made legalization one if his campaign’s big promises. On July, he wrote on his Twitter account:

“It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate”.

Three months later, exactly on October 17th, a cannabis fog settled across Canada. In just a few days, dispensaries ran out of weed. The law allows adults (18 or 19 depending on the state), to buy, use, possess and grow recreational marijuana. The only authorized stores to sell weed are dispensaries that have authorization from the Government to do so.

South Africa, “weed are free now”

One month before the big news came from North America, South Africa legalized cannabis use. “Weed are free now”, chanted the activists outside the Constitutional Court when the big announcement was made. South Africa’s highest court decided that growing marijuana for private consumption is not considered a felony.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said: “It will not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in private for his or her personal consumption”. But it is still illegal to publicly consume cannabis, as it is to sell it or supply it.

South Korea

South Korea became the first Asian country to legalize medicinal cannabis. On November 23, the Government approved a bill that will allow import and distribution of CBD cannabis oil to treat illnesses such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, cancer symptoms and chronic pain, among others.  Korea Orphan Drug Center will control the medicinal cannabis import and further distribution.

However, the process is not that simple. Patients will need a letter from their doctor, in which he or she describes in detail the condition and how CBD can be used to treat that condition. You have to send a letter to the Korea Orphan Drug Center, located in Seoul, and wait for approval.

Shin Chang-Hyun a politician from the Democratic Party introduced the bill. He said that cannabis legalization will be a solution for minorities and people of scarce resources:

“The approval of imports of cannabis-composition medical products for self-treatment will strengthen the safety net for social minorities such as those with rare and incurable patients who cannot see treatment benefits if they don’t get treated in a certain time frame”.

Medicinal cannabis for New Zealand

The Kiwis are following Luxembourg’s steps. Earlier this month, the Government passed a law to make medicinal cannabis available for patients. According to the Bill: patients that are suffering from terminal illnesses, could smoke recreational marijuana without being charged with a felony.

David Clarke, Health Minister, told The Guardian that this measure will benefit thousands of patients suffering from chronic pain and other illnesses: “People nearing the end of their lives should not have to worry about being arrested or imprisoned for trying to manage their pain. This is compassionate and caring legislation that will make a real difference to people … they can use illicit cannabis without fear of prosecution.” And just like Luxembourg, medicinal legislation was just the first step to legalize nationwide recreational marijuana.

During the 2020 general elections, citizens will also vote in a referendum to legalize recreational use of cannabis. First medicinal, then recreational. Not bad, right?

Luxembourg

Legalization in Luxembourg is the perfect example of how a step by step approach is a good way to convince people of cannabis benefits. It started back in 2017, when Health Minister Lydia Mutsch drafted a bill to start a two year pilot program for medicinal cannabis. After this period, the Government will review how many patients benefited from cannabis treatment and then make further decisions or modify the law.

The Congress approved the Bill in June 2018. According to Luxembourg News, the cannabis that will be used to treat patients all over Luxembourg will come from Canada and it will only be available upon prescription from a hospital pharmacy.

However, legalization didn’t stop here. On December 5th, the re-elected Government announced that they are moving forward to legalize recreational marijuana. If approved, Luxembourg will become the first country in the European Union to legally allow and regulate adult use of recreational marijuana.

Will Mexico join the club in 2019?

Mexico is facing a war against drug cartels. The elected president Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador is going to take a big step ahead where the drug wars are concerned. How? By legalizing recreational marijuana. His political party, National Regeneration Movement, has submitted a bill to legalize possession, public use, growth and sale of marijuana.

Mexico could be the third country, after Canada and Uruguay, to fully legalize recreational marijuana. For instance, it will also allow Mexicans to home grow up to 20 plants and produce 17 ounces per year.

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