Monday, July 30, 2018

Who We Elect in the New Mexico State Legislature

Form follows function and policy makers in New Mexico and the US for that matter- they need to stop using the debate surrounding legalization of cannabis for recreational use to obscure the science and policy regarding the harm reduction achievements of decriminalizing cannabis and the medical use of cannabis. In today’s era of how legalization, cannabis taxation and financial profits of cannabis has spread, the distinction matters and this behoves policy makers to follow a process that achieves the greatest harm reduction. 

Average Term of Service by State Legislators
New Mexico State Senate members (42 Total) have an average of 13 yrs in the State Senate with 16 of the 42 members having currently served between 13 - 41 years and 7 State Senate members have an average of 8.5 years of service from the House membership. 

New Mexico State House members (70 Total) have an average of 9 years in the House chamber with 19 of the 70 members having currently served between 10 - 45 years. 

New Mexico Senate | Occupation Listed by Senate Members (Top 5)
Attorney 5
Business Owner 5
Insurance 3
Consultant 3
Small Businessman 2

New Mexico House of Representatives | Occupation Listed by Representatives (Top 5)
Attorney 13
Retired         7
Business Owner 5
Educator 5
Engineer 4

Between both chambers in the roundhouse, 18 members are lawyers with most of them in leadership roles. 

Representative Schmedes is the only practicing licensed medical professional (UNM surgeon) in the roundhouse.  

Between both chambers in the roundhouse, 5 members list Farmer or Rancher

Between both chambers in the roundhouse, 10 members list Teacher or Educator

The Legislative Health & Human Services Committee has only one member with a medical background as a physical therapist. 

The National Conference of State Legislatures list a daily per diem average of $161 per day for New Mexico’s legislators in the states ‘Citizen Legislature’. 

Members of a Citizen Legislature on average spend 57% of time on the job compared to hybrid or full-time legislatures which spend on average 80% of their time on the job. 

Current Legislators (LEG) vs. New Mexico Adult Population (STATE)
        LEG        STATE
Millennial 0%         31%
Gen X 22% 26%
Baby Boom 59% 31%
Silent 17%    11%
Greatest         2%         1%

Top 5 Business Sectors for New Mexico since 2016
Health Care & Social Asst.
Retail Trade
Accommodation & Food Svcs 
Educational Services 
Public Administration

Most Common Occupations in New Mexico since 2016 (Top 10) 
Retail Salespersons
Personal Care Aides
Secretaries & Admin. Assistant; Example- Legal, Medical, Executive Services
Combined Food Prep. & Serving Workers, Including Fast Food 
Waiters & Waitresses
Registered Nurses
General & Operations Managers
Customer Service Representatives 
Janitors/Cleaners; Example- Maids & Housekeeping
Supervisors of Offices & Administration Support Workers

Related Article: 'New Mexico Should Reform The State LegislatureHemp, Geothermal Energy, Solar, Wind and a Paid State Legislature'

Who we elect is not reflective of our State.
Please register to Vote! 

To register to vote, you must be:
1) A U.S. citizen;
2) A New Mexico resident;
3) At least 18 years old.
4) Have Your Registration Done 30 days Before The Election Date

Register to vote or update your current voter registration online now for the November 6th 2018 General Election!  Or Call Toll Free: 1.800.477.3632 
Click This Link for Online Registration:

For policy makers, in Albuquerque, around the state and in the Roundhouse, their priority should be so it’s clear, it should be removing the public health risks of cannabis prohibition. Those public health risks, like putting people in jail for victimless crimes, jeopardizing people's access public schools and to financial aid for higher education, jeopardizing people’s employment, and exposing people to a underground market that would increase their potential to access more harmful drugs like we see with the state’s opioid epidemic. 

All of those areas of harm reduction are ones that communities in our state can see a public health improvement in, through the decriminalization of cannabis and expansion of the states medical cannabis program.

In 2019 during the Legislative 60 day Session : Pass a bill to Fix & Expand the Medical Cannabis Program, Pass a bill for Decriminalization for the State, Pass a bill for Medical Cannabis Research and get the Industrial Hemp program going with a bill for medical hemp research for the states medical cannabis program.

Today the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program has over 57,000 registered participants (most all of whom are voters) with 35 licensed non-profit producers or LNPP’s now growing 14,550 medical cannabis plants, as the program hits the end of its 10th year. The Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) was created in 2007, as the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, under chapter 210 Senate Bill 523. New Mexico’s medical cannabis history started in 1978, after public hearings the legislature enacted H.B. 329, the nation’s first law recognizing the medical value of cannabis…the first law.

NM Workforce Solutions (2018 Workforce Report)

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Affordable and Accredited Medical Cannabis Education Resources

Resources for Medical Patients, Professionals, and Researchers

The medicinal properties of cannabis are varied given the multiplicity of physiological roles of the endocannabinoid system, a ubiquitous molecular signaling system at which compounds in cannabis have robust receptor-based actions. Here is information on medical cannabis practice policies and procedures, as well as scientific and practice ethics information.

In This Section ( Highlighted Embedded Links Go To Educational Materials )

PFC Brochure

Introducing ASA's independent certification program for medical cannabis industries, Patient Focused Certification

AHPA Industry Standards

Founded in 1982, AHPA is the oldest of the non-profit organizations that specializes in service to the herbal industry. It is the voice of the herbal products industry and the recognized leader in representing the botanical trade. With more than 300 members, AHPA's membership represents the finest growers, processors, manufacturers, and marketers of botanical and herbal products.

Guide to Regulating Industry Standards

ASA has created the Patients Focused Certification (PFC) program. PFC is a non-profit, third party certification program for the medical cannabis industry and the nation’s only certification program for the AHPA and AHP standards. PFC is available to all qualifying companies cultivating, manufacturing, or distributing medical cannabis products, as well as to laboratories providing medical cannabis analytic services. PFC offers a comprehensive program that includes employee training, compliance inspections, ongoing monitoring, regulatory updates and an independent complaint process for consumers.

Scientific History of Medical Cannabis

Cannabis was a part of the American pharmacopoeia until 1942 and is currently available by prescription in the Netherlands, Canada, Spain, and Israel in its whole plant form...
Cannabis Safety

One of marijuana's greatest advantages as a medicine is its remarkable safety. It has little effect on major physiological functions. There is no known case of a lethal overdose; on the basis of animal models, the ratio of lethal to effective dose is estimated as 40,000 to 1.

Medical Cannabis Research

Cannabis has immense medical value; we have collected research on cannabinoids and the therapeutic use of cannabis.

Condition-based booklets

In-depth information on the use of cannabis to treat HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, Arthritis, Gastro-Intestinal Disorders, Movement Disorders, Cancer, Chronic Pain, and issues associated with Aging.

State-by-State: Recommending Cannabis

State-specific laws that pertain to medical cannabis for medical professionals.

Physician’s code of Ethics and Medical Marijuana

Excerpted from the AMA’s current opinions on the physician’s code of ethics

The Answer Page

One stop shopping for quality CME credits on medical marijuana. This content is jointly sponsored by the Massachusetts Medical Society and The Answer Page and approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credits.™

Medical Marijuana Access in The U.S.

ASA is proud to announce the 2017 release of our report analyzing and comparing medical cannabis programs across 45 jurisdictions.

Medical Cannabis in America- The Medical Cannabis Briefing Book, 115th Congress

This briefing book is intended for the members of the 115th Congress and the President of the United States to help them make informed decisions on medical cannabis policy.

Medical Cannabis Access for Pain Treatment

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has created this document to educate and inform legislators and regulators of the growing need for an alternate treatment for the millions of patients suffering from pain every day.

Patient Cultivation

Medical cannabis patients need patient cultivation for a variety of reasons. This report explains why.

About Americans for Safe Access

The mission of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use and research.

ASA was founded in 2002, by medical cannabis patient Steph Sherer, as a vehicle for patients to advocate for the acceptance of cannabis as medicine. With over 100,000 active members in all 50 states, ASA is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. ASA works to overcome political, social and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, research, grassroots empowerment, advocacy and services for patients, governments, medical professionals, and medical cannabis providers.

Ensuring safe and legal access to cannabis means:

International, federal and state laws and regulations recognized cannabis as a legal medicine.

Medical professionals recommend medical cannabis options as a frontline treatment option or an adjunct therapy.

Patients and their caregivers have the information they need to make educated choices about medical cannabis therapies.

Patients and medical professionals can incorporate a diverse group of products and delivery methods to create required personalized treatment regimen.

Patients can trust labels on products and that medicines are free of pesticides and contaminates.

Medical cannabis treatments are covered by insurance.

Become a part of history! Join us today. 


ASA and our members have moved public policy forward by incorporating strategies across many disciplines. ASA has brought together policy experts, public health experts, attorneys, lobbyists, scientists, industry associations and medical professionals to create the campaigns, projects and programs that have broken down political, social, academic, and legal barriers across the US.

ASA occupies a seat at the table for medical cannabis patients in policy matters.

ASA changed the national dialogue about medical cannabis.

ASA created a global patient network.

ASA has passed local, state, and federal laws.

ASA has fought and won in state and federal courts.

ASA has provided quality legal and medical education for medical cannabis stakeholders.

ASA brought cannabis back into the Herbal Pharmacopeia.

ASA has created product safety standards for medical cannabis products.

ASA has built the worlds first International Cannabis and Cannabinoid Institute.

ASA has trained thousands of patient advocates on civil engagement.

ASA has created accredited education programs for doctors, patients, and providers.

Everyday ASA staff are on the frontline of the medical cannabis movement working with our members to shape policy and public opinion moving toward our goals. By participating in this movement, you are helping create the future of medical cannabis in your city, state, and nation. By donating to ASA, you can help ensure that we will reach our goals! Until there’s safe access, we are Americans for Safe Access.
Welcome to the movement.
National Office

1624 U Street NW
Suite 200
Washington, D.C. 20009
Phone: (202) 857-4272
Fax: (202) 618-6977


The American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) is a national organization dedicated to expanding the knowledge base of endo-cannabinoid therapeutics among nurses. It was founded by a small group of dedicated nurses who saw the need for an organization to bring nurses together in a collegial and informational capacity to discuss the growing use of cannabis in medicine.

The American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) and TMCI Global have collaborated to develop the first comprehensive online medical cannabis curriculum for nurses. Topics include the Endocannabinoid System, Dosing, Psychiatry, Medical Risks and Legal Implications. The curriculum features 12 lessons from 11 different authors.

To access the three medical cannabis modules in PDF format please follow these links: Medical Cannabis: An Introduction to the Biochemistry & PharmacologyMedical Cannabis: Evidence on Efficacy, and Medical Cannabis: Adverse Effects and Drug Interaction.

The Medical Cannabis Institute - Offering a large variety of courses including many presentations from the National Clinical Conferences on Cannabis Therapeutics sponsored by Patients Out of Time

Medicinal Cannabis and Chronic Pain Project - A project of the University of Washington Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute -’s goal is to create a positive and supportive community of like-minded medical cannabis users. We aspire to be your transparent, trusted source of cannabis information, a respected authority on its safe and smart use. Dustin Sulak, D.O. is a renowned integrative medicine physician based in Maine, whose practice balances the principles of osteopathy, mind-body medicine and medical cannabis. Regarded as an expert on medical cannabis nationally, Dr. Sulak educates medical providers and patients on its clinical use, while continuing to explore the therapeutic potential of this ancient yet emerging medicine.

American Cannabis Nurses Association
10200 West 44th Avenue Suite 304

Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
Phone: 720-881-6047


Want to be a Research Participant?
The MCRF is currently seeking research participants for the following research studies:
Project Title: The Impact of the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program among People with Chronic Debilitating Health Conditions

Principle Investigator: Jacob M. Vigil, PhD

Specific Requirements: Current enrollment as a patient in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program.

Contact: Dr. Jacob Vigil; E-mail

Web Link:

The Releaf App

Releaf is a patent pending app that enables you to track your live sessions with cannabis and record exactly how it’s helping you. It can then provide intelligent reporting to help you learn what types of cannabis and intake methods are working best in treating your symptoms. Share these reports with doctors and/or budtenders to discuss your treatment and identify your best options.

Web Link to download:

Sweet Releaf: The Latest Cannabis App Is Changing How Patients Receive Their Plant Knowledge

It’s amazing what can happen in just two years. The recent partnership announced between the cannabis app Releaf and the nonprofit Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is proof that patience, and dedication to the consumer, is a virtue in the green space.

“Americans for Safe Access has been an important champion for cannabis patients since 2002. [Releaf is] very excited to work with such a well-respected organization, and we’re honored that they recognize our sincere passion for empowering patients,” says Franco Brockelman, CEO and founder of Releaf.

The joint venture between the Washington, D.C.-based app and the longtime cannabis patient nonprofit organization will improve how users and dispensaries share cannabis knowledge, as well as the quality of medical data for researchers across America.

So, what exactly is Releaf? It’s the first cannabis app to allow patients to record and report their medicine and how it makes them feel — in real time.

While currently there exists digital products for tracking sales data and for recommending cannabis-ingesting products like pipes, currently there exists nothing to document how everyday patients are testing medical cannabis. That’s where Releaf comes into the equation. At present the people behind the app are at the stage where they are taking data to researchers, doctors and scientists to build resources to further help patients.

Here’s How The Releaf App Works

The Releaf App can help anyone track their own medical cannabis consumption in an organized and secure way. Instead of relying on online strain reviews or solely on the name of the strain, Releaf’s symptom-specific data is used by dispensaries for better recommendations to patients. Releaf reps also say the company is on the verge of rolling out a new geo feature to better serve users, with custom recommendations based on the bud available by location.
When you’re ready to medicate, here’s what you do:
  1. Download the app.
  2. Enter the name of or select the cannabis strain you’re about to try.
  3. Record how you are treating your symptoms — i.e., did you vape or enjoy an edible? — and the outcome — i.e., how did the plant make you feel?
  4. Use the results to find the best product for whatever ails you.
“Releaf is bucking the system of how we choose our marijuana,” explains Brockelman, “by cutting through all the fancy marketing and old slang terms to inject efficacy and optimization in how we shop for cannabis.”

With Colorado currently considered the mecca of cannabis business in the USA, Brockelman reveals to Big Buds Magazine that Releaf is relocating from DC to Denver, and is excited to be working alongside cannabis industry leaders, researchers, and universities, like Colorado State University and its Institute of Cannabis Research (CSU-Pueblo).

“It’s much easier to meet up and network. It’s always better meeting someone face-to-face to get a sense of what they’re all about.” says Brockelman of the big move to the Centennial State.

Released mid-2016, the app has nearly two years’ worth of valuable medical cannabis data. But there’s value for recreational users, too, thanks to the app’s concentration on wellness. Indeed, Releaf was conscientious of using the term “wellness” in place of “recreational” because the former suggests self-improvement and a more goal-oriented result than what recreational use of the plant suggests.

Releaf has already partnered with medical cannabis dispensaries like Takoma Wellness, one of DC’s original medical shops, and is always looking to partner with more.

“Most dispensaries simply don’t know that much about their menu right now,” Brockelman says. “Currently, there’s no other way to approach the cannabis menu with confidence — our app scales that up.”

Weekly in-app reports on symptoms and best patient-reported cannabis varieties ensures Releaf is bringing confidence to patients, one menu at a time. The reports are batch specific, so budtenders and shop owners can buy and sell according to what is working for their patients.

“Real-time tracking is very important and patients appreciate it as they get more involved with it,” adds Brockelman. “The feature also collects more accurate data by encouraging patients to pay close attention to their feelings.”

Releaf allows users to track up to four symptoms. For example:
  • Stress
  • Back pain
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
The real-time tracking element is a game-changer for medical cannabis patients, and is invaluable because there’s so much to communicate when medicating that it can be difficult to remember every feeling throughout the medication session. Perhaps we can all agree that relying on memory for cannabis tracking isn’t exactly reliable, and real-time tracking ensures that self-reporting is not an afterthought.

The app is constantly evolving as patient input pours in, suggesting new feelings to choose from and new feature ideas. Releaf is passionate about the user experience and seeks to gain the trust of patients by listening to their concerns and honest feedback. It’s how the developers make the app better. After all, it was their initial goal to build a trustworthy company for patients as they approach the new and sometimes intimidating world of legal cannabis.

Demystifying the cannabis experience lies in the unique data sets that include the precise products from participating menus. Basically, the data being collected isn’t only the name of the strain but the testing, or the so-called fingerprint of the cannabis variety or product. This helps us to learn not only what range of effects a particular strain may have, but the particular effects of that strain’s batches as well.

Partnered dispensaries are also able to integrate their live menu into the app, which creates an important feedback loop for the industry.

“I’m thinking of what [patients] need, how to make it the most functional and beautiful,” says Brockelman. “It’s thinking through many concepts and models of how things work — that’s where our team at Releaf excels.

“The Releaf partnership with ASA elevates the patient experience at dispensaries hoping to provide enhanced services to their patients and staff,” he adds, bringing the conversation full circle.

Wondering how the company got the attention of some of the most respected medical nonprofits in the green space? Brockelman explains it was down to the honesty in Releaf’s mission statement and level of professionalism.

Remembering his company’s first demo day in Philly a couple of years ago, Brockelman recalls, “The representatives at ASA always liked our [cannabis convention] booths and honesty with our project and it kept evolving to the point where we agreed that we could really help each other by teaming up and fighting for patients together. Now, we both stand to benefit from each other’s networks and extend our reach.”

Nowadays, data rules — and it’s the most important weapon cannabis advocates have in their arsenal. ASA works with research groups and others interested in Releaf’s data, and in turn ASA sees Releaf as a patient-focused and progressive tool serving as a natural extension of its own patient-focused education.

In this era of state-legal cannabis laws, there remain setbacks that will continue to arise, such as the negative tone recently set by the likes of anti-cannabis Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Fortunately, strong voices and big data are fighting back.

As world-renowned travel writer, longtime cannabis advocate, and National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML) board member Rick Steves told lawmakers in Washington, DC in February, “It’s not 2010, we have years of [cannabis] data that is showing from my home state of Washington that regulation works.”

Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, invited Steves to DC to set the record straight to legislators about legal cannabis. “We are thrilled to welcome him to Capitol Hill as we continue to educate members and their staff about the importance of addressing this issue now,” Blumenauer said. The Cannabis Caucus is dedicated to developing and promoting sensible cannabis policy reform, and works to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.

“You don’t need Jeff Session to give the okay to gather data,” adds Brockelman. “If we help people track their experiences and feelings, we can show evidence of efficacy and help cannabis be further thought of as medicine.”

Releaf is available for download at the App Store and at Google Play.

By Kelly Johnson for Big Buds

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Take Action Today! Contact your Senators and Representatives today to ask them to support Medical Cannabis.

Please Ask them to support the CARERS Act, STATES Act, and to ensure that veterans in the United States have equal access to medical cannabis!

Credit: Merry Jane

Democracy is not a spectator sport, it requires your engagement and your vote.  Americans For Safe Access and Safe Access New Mexico believes that good policy is created when those who are most affected are at the table. Just because you are medical cannabis patient, it doesn't mean that you automatically have a degree in public policy. ASA has always been committed to demystifying political systems and providing advocates the tools they need to participate in the processes in a meaningful way.

It’s really important for all people within OUR medical cannabis community to know THEY are the power; the government, legislators & policy makers are lead to us and We have the power to change the laws and government - people in it, policy being written, and overturning rules & regulations that disrupt safe access to our medicine. Not one state’s medical cannabis law is perfect, they are working pieces of democracy and this is where WE can establish patient lead policy in New Mexico. We have the science, the research, the knowledge - the information the policy makers don’t have and we need to get it in front of state legislators and members of Congress. 

All you have to do is get involved...VOTE, INFORM, EDUCATE, ADVOCATE, NETWORK, UNITE, and GROW!

The focus today is to get members of New Mexico’s US Congressional Delegation to support and co-sponsor federal cannabis policy. Please Contact Your US Congressional Members Today!
​ ​

Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act of 2017 or the CARERS Act of 2017  (Senate Bill 1764 and House Bill 2920)

This bill amends the Controlled Substances Act to provide that the Act's regulatory controls and administrative, civil, and criminal penalties do not apply to a person who produces, possesses, distributes, dispenses, administers, tests, recommends, or delivers medical cannabis in compliance with state law.

The bill also:

  • excludes "cannabidiol" (CBD) from the definition of "cannabis ";limits the concentration of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in CBD to 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis; and deems cannabis  grown or processed to make CBD, in accordance with state law, to comply with the THC concentration limit unless the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) determines state law to be unreasonable.
  • The bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to terminate the Public Health Service's interdisciplinary review process that is used to evaluate applications for medical cannabis  research. 
  • The DEA must license manufacturers and distributors of cannabis for medical research; HHS must register practitioners to conduct research; and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must authorize VA health care providers to provide recommendations and opinions to veterans regarding participation in their states' cannabis  programs.

Currently Senator Tom Udall and Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham are both Co-Sponsors of the CARERS Act; New Mexico needs to get Senator Martin Heinrich and Representative Ben Ray Lujan to support and co-sponsor the CARERS Act. None of the New Mexico Congressional delegation members are on board with the STATES ACT yet. 

Senator Martin Heinrich and Representative Ben Ray Lujan will support and co-sponsor the CARERS Act - IF -  they hear from YOU, the medical cannabis community. Safe Access New Mexico spoke with both office on Monday, June 11th 2018 - They want to hear from YOU! 
Please take action now!

Congressional Contact: Pass the CARERS Act of 2017!


Strengthening Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act - STATES Act
(Senate Bill. 3032 / House Bill 6043)

The bipartisan STATES Act allows each state, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico, as well as several tribal governments, to determine their own policy when it comes to cannabis laws without interference from the Department of Justice or other federal agencies. This bill does not legalize cannabis at the federal level but rather allows states the power to set policies approving or prohibiting cannabis. The STATES Act also resolves many of the issues of taxes and banking that have hindered the medical cannabis industry.

Congressional Contact: Pass the STATES Act!


Veterans Deserve Safe Access to Medical Cannabis

Veterans deserve equal and safe access to medical cannabis. Join us and tell your Member of Congress to support equal access for all veterans!

Veterans of military service have a disproportionately high rate of certain debilitating medical conditions as compared to the general population. Some of those conditions may result from injury or exposures to toxins, but not all. The correlation between military service and higher rates of certain conditions are clear and well-documented, but the cause is not known for many.

Cannabis has been found to help many patients suffering from conditions that can afflict veterans as a result of their service, including chronic pain, cancer, ALS, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and phantom limb pain.

Click the link below to ask your members of Congress to support any bills or legislative language that would ensure greater access to medical cannabis for all veterans.

“The U.S. Congress made the possession of marijuana in every state — and the distribution — an illegal act. If that’s something that’s not desired any longer, Congress should pass a law to change the rule."  -Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Please Take Action Today!

The Medical Cannabis Advocate's Training Center
Learn all about grassroots organizing, citizen lobbying, media spokesperson training, and much more. Click Here:

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Have you heard that CBD is 'non-psychoactive'? It's not true

It's a common misconception, researcher says

If there was any doubt that cannabidiol has officially gone mainstream, this should settle it.

A recent feature on the cannabis-derived chemical compound in the New Yorker magazine describes New York City's sudden "CBD craze" as having "already reached Dadaesque levels of consumerism — hundred-dollar tinctures to treat anxiety in pet cats and dogs; CBD-laced room service at the NoMad location of the James Hotel, in Manhattan."

But even The New Yorker, a publication known for fastidious fact-checking, got one thing wrong. The article describes cannabidiol as "a nonpsychoactive chemical," and that's simply not true.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines "psychoactive" as something, especially a drug, that affects the mind. There's no doubt CBD meets that definition, but the misconception persists.

Longtime cannabis researcher Dr. Ethan Russo sees it everywhere. He's been interested in CBD since the 1960s, when its chemical structure was first identified.

Neurologist and cannabis researcher Dr. Ethan Russo worked with GW Pharmaceuticals for years. 

"The first misconception about cannabidiol was that it was inactive," said Russo, a neurologist who serves as director of research and development for the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute.During early research on CBD and its euphoria-inducing cousin THC, Russo said, "all the hubbub was about THC, because of it being the, quote 'active ingredient,' unquote, but that's a misconception, as well."

"What people should think of, is that the primary intoxicating molecule in cannabis is THC," he said.

Since CBD was non-intoxicating, many researchers initially lost interest in the the compound.

"During the '70s, some people were working on it. It was noted to be an anti-inflammatory; there was some work done in Israel and Brazil about its anti-convulsant effects in the '70s, and then things pretty much sat for the next 20 years."

Research on CBD picked up again in the 1990s, Russo said, for which he largely credits Britain's GW Pharmaceuticals. (Russo worked for GW first as a consultant and then as a senior medical adviser, from 1998 to 2014.)

"Very simply stated, what is clear about CBD is that it must be considered psychoactive because of its ability to act as an anti-anxiety agent and an anti-psychotic agent," Russo said.

Recent clinical trials "have shown the safety and efficacy of cannabidiol in treating schizophrenia," he added.

"So clearly, that's got to be considered a psychoactive drug. But again, simply stated, it is not intoxicating in the way THC is, it does not produce a high, nor does it produce any craving or withdrawal effects. So it has no drug abuse liability that's been observed."

Perhaps the most straightforward way to describe CBD is that it "doesn't create a euphoric high," said UBC psychology professor Zach Walsh, who studies cannabis and mental health.

"It doesn't create cognitive alterations that are obvious or overt," he explained.

Walsh thinks the ongoing confusion over whether CBD is psychoactive has to do, in part, with "people struggling with the destigmatization of cannabis."

"I see a lot of people come to me, usually cannabis-naive people, often people from a generation where cannabis was more highly stigmatized, and they're like, 'I heard there's a new cannabis that doesn't get you high, can I try some?'"

"Because they're ambivalent, they want to partake in the potential benefits (that they've heard about), but at the same time they don't want to go insane in a 'reefer madness' kind of a way, or they don't want to be incapacitated or altered in a way that they've come to associate with moral failings, or just inappropriate behaviour," said Walsh.

"They want to have the cake and eat it too.... If there's a cannabis that's not really cannabis, I think that's pretty appealing to some people."

A bottle of Epidiolex, GW Pharmaceuticals' cannabis-based CBD medication for certain forms of epilepsy. (Associated Press/Kathy Young, File)

Russo thinks educating the public about CBD requires an approach that's both "top-down and bottom-up."

"What I mean by that is, there's a woefully inadequate treatment of not only cannabis and its pharmacology in medical schools, but also the endocannabinoid system that underlies a lot of its activity. So we need better-educated doctors that are going to understand this."

The recent FDA approval of GW Pharmaceuticals' CBD-based epilepsy medication Epidiolex could play a role in improving doctors' knowledge, he said, as could ongoing efforts by medical cannabis users themselves to educate their health-care providers.

In the meantime, Russo continues to see CBD improperly described as "not psychoactive," not only in the media, but also in scientific publications he peer-reviews.

"People like simple explanations, but anything about cannabis deserves paragraphs, not single phrases," he said.

"So when you're trying to distil the essence of these pharmacological concepts in single words, it's easy to run afoul."


Updated on Monday, July 23, 2018 at 12:56 PM CDT: Changes headline

Sunday, July 22, 2018

How cannabis affects appetite: Brain changes

New research on how cannabis use alters eating behavior could lead to treatments for appetite loss in chronic illness, according to experts at Washington State University. Using a new procedure to dose lab rats with cannabis vapor, the researchers found how the drug triggers hunger hormones. They also identified specific brain regions that shift to 'hungry' mode while under the influence, according to a report they shared this week at the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, an international meeting of scientific experts on eating.
"We all know cannabis use affects appetite, but until recently we've actually understood very little about how or why," explained Jon Davis, Ph.D., researcher in the Department of Integrative Physiology and Neurosciences at Washington State. "By studying exposure to cannabis plant matter, the most widely consumed form, we're finding genetic and physiological events in the body that allow cannabis to turn eating behavior on or off."

A recent wave of cannabis legalization for both medical and recreational purposes has stimulated research on its therapeutic potential. A family of compounds called cannabinoids, particularly delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are responsible for its psychological effects. The ability of THC to stimulate appetite is valuable since many illnesses cause extreme appetite loss which reduces quality of life and slows recovery.

For these new studies the scientists designed a vapor exposure system to mimic how people often consume cannabis. This allowed precise control of dosage while rats' meals were closely monitored throughout the day. Brief exposure to cannabis vapor stimulated a meal even when rats had recently eaten, suggesting that inhaling cannabis tricks appetite circuits in the brain into hunger mode.

"We found that cannabis exposure caused more frequent, small meals," stated Davis. "But there's a delay before it takes effect." That delay provided a clue to how the drug may act. Ordinarily, when the stomach is empty it releases a hormone called ghrelin, a message to the brain that it's time to look for food. The researchers found that the cannabis dose triggered a ghrelin surge. When they gave a second drug which prevented the ghrelin surge, cannabis no longer triggered eating. They also found changes in how the brain responds to the message. In small region of the hypothalamus responsible for sensing ghrelin, cannabis changed the genetic activity of brain cells that respond to the hormone.

The researchers are optimistic that deciphering that ways cannabis acts in the body to alter appetite can lead to new treatments for illness-induced anorexia. Severe appetite loss is a common symptom of many chronic illnesses, and is especially problematic in cancer, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, and some metabolic disorders. A targeted treatment that offers the beneficial effects on appetite without the broader effects on the mind and body could increase quality of life and speed recovery.

Source: Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. "How cannabis affects appetite: Brain changes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2018. .

Friday, July 20, 2018

United Kingdom Drug Policy Committee Calls For Legalization of Medical Cannabis

The U.K. is looking to take steps toward the legalization of medical cannabis. The Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs issued some “short-term advice,” declaring that cannabis has medicinal advantages and that doctors should be able to prescribe it. The committee also went as far to suggest that cannabis should be rescheduled under the misuse of drugs legislation.

Dr. Owen Bowden-Jones, the chair of the ACMD stated: “The ACMD advises that clinicians in the U.K. should have the option to prescribe Cannabis-derived medicinal products that meet the requirements for medicinal standards to patients with certain medical conditions.” He added “It is important that clinicians, patients, and their families are confident that any prescribed medication is both safe and effective.” The committee chair also said that standards for medical cannabis therapies and protocols for their use should be established, though these would be determined by the Department of Health and Social Care. The advice from the ACMD was the result of the second stage of a review of the medical use of cannabis called for by Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

The review came after the case of 12-year-old Billy Caldwell, a Northern Ireland boy with severe epilepsy, which made international news. The Home Office recently granted Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley, boys who have rare forms of epilepsy, a short-term licence to allow them access to cannabis oil, which their parents say helps to control their seizures.

The Council's advice is that only products meeting definitions decided on by the Home Office and the Department of Health will be moved out of schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 into schedule 2, which allows them to be prescribed by clinicians.

Schedule 1 includes drugs not used for medical purposes, such as hallucinogenic drugs, raw opium and cannabis.

The Council said there were still potential risks if cannabis-derived medicinal products were prescribed inappropriately and these needed to be carefully considered to avoid harm to patients.

Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, chair of the ACMD, said: "At present, cannabis-derived products can vary greatly in their composition, effectiveness and level of impurity.

"It is important that clinicians, patients and their families are confident that any prescribed medication is both safe and effective.

"The ACMD recommends that an appropriate definition be agreed by DHSC and MHRA promptly.

"Only products meeting this standard and definition should be given medicinal status."

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Five Things All Medical Cannabis Patients Should Know

Although there are medical cannabis programs of some kind in 47 states, DC, Guam, and Puerto Rico, medical cannabis still remains a mystery to the vast majority of Americans today. Using medical cannabis is an approach that is supported by research and medical professionals, and has demonstrated positive public health outcomes. While it may feel like an overwhelming experience for many new patients, it does not have to be, to help new patients feel comfortable entering the world of medical cannabis, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country’s largest medical cannabis patient advocacy group created Cannabis Care Certification, a medical cannabis education program for patients and caregivers. To help you start out this process, here is a list of top 5 things that all patients should know when considering medical cannabis as part of their health care regime.   

1. Learn you state medical cannabis laws

Every state has different laws and regulations regarding medical cannabis. Before becoming a medical cannabis patient, you should become familiar with your state and local laws regarding possession limitations, eligible conditions, consumption restrictions, age limits, and reciprocity. To find out what your state medical cannabis laws are, click here and fill out “Let’s Get Started” for a FREE legal overview and a list of requirements for your state Medical Cannabis Program.

2. Educate your doctor

We usually turn to Doctors as the experts. However, not all doctors are educated on medical cannabis and not all of them are for medical cannabis. Let your doctor know that this is an option you would like to explore and encourage them to do the same. Let them know that there IS medical professional education they can turn to in order to learn more about how cannabis works with the endocannabinoid system within our bodies. Medical professional education and CME credits can also be found out

3. Know your rights

As a legal medical cannabis patient or caregiver, you have rights, and you should know exactly what they are before you buy any product. It is important to understand, for example, if medical cannabis can be used in the workplace or in your home. It is also important to know how to handle any interaction with a law enforcement officer. As a legal medical cannabis patient, you do have rights, and you should not ever be afraid to use them.
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4. Know your options

When most people think about cannabis, they think about smoking cannabis. However, there are many different preparations and forms of administration; oils, tinctures and capsules with varying concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), that produce different effects. Learn about the different options and what might work best for you.

5. Learn how to talk about medical cannabis with others

Many people still associate a bad stigma with cannabis. It is important to have strategies to talk to people. Medical cannabis users should have a plan for talking to family, friends and employers about their cannabis use. It is important to help spread the knowledge that this is a real medicine that is helping you.

For more information about about medical cannabis or the Cannabis Care Certification patient education program, check out and

For 50% off the Cannabis Care Certification Patient and Caregiver Education Program, use coupon code: CCC50 at check out!

June 22, 2018 |  Debbie Churgai | Americans For Safe Access

New Mexico Warns Medical Cannabis Dispensaries on Cannabidiol Sales

The state is making it known that out-of-state CBD sources will not be allowed.

SANTA FE, N.M. — State health officials are warning medical cannabis dispensaries against selling cannabidiol produced outside of New Mexico or from hemp plants grown outside the state.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Medical Cannabis Program director Kenny Vigil wrote to dispensaries June 7 that the practice is "in violation of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act and must cease."

The act forbids businesses licensed in New Mexico from bringing cannabis or cannabis-derived products into New Mexico. The New Mexico Department of Health says cannabidiol, or CBD, falls into that category.

Ultra Health CEO and President Duke Rodriguez says the CBD question in New Mexico is headed for further legal challenges, along with limits on the number of plants licensed growers are permitted and limits on dispensary locations.

What the Department of Health did was a good thing for the medical cannabis program community by preventing hemp CBD products with a unknown origin and by addressing the quality and safety of the products being sold/used in a medical program...what the letter to medical cannabis dispensaries reveals the great need for the Department of Health to employ a peer reviewed, third party certification program for the medical cannabis industry in New Mexico that is Patient Focused.

Patients have the right to know how their medicine has been produced, that is free of contaminants and should be confident that the medicine they are receiving has been handled with the highest quality of care and these hemp CBD products have no standards in New Mexico to ensure this like other medical cannabis programs or other state Hemp laws.

The Department of Health also needs to, double the plant count allowed to be grown by the program licensed non profit producers and set a required standard plant count number for Cannabis CBD plant production or allow CBD plants to be exempt from any count. When you have over 55,000 medical cannabis patients and only 14,500 medical cannabis plants - that math does not equal "adequate supply" or allow for "beneficial use" of medical cannabis which is the foundation of the Lynn & Erin Compassionate Use Act, 2007.

The State’s Medical Cannabis Program expansion is now “Medically Necessary”and the State needs to allow the Department of Health to open the application process, the State needs to increase the LNPP plant count, add more licensed non-profit producers, in conjunction with other measures to ensure safe access to medicine and to be compliant with the law. 

Currently there is less than ⅓ of a cannabis plant per one person in the medical cannabis program.

New Mexico has the highest licensing fees in the nation, and some of the lowest plant counts allowed. Licensed Non Profit Producers pay the state $200 for each plant they intend to grow, and can only grow up to 450 plants and are paying $90,000 licensure fee. Hemp stores in New Mexico selling CBD products from out of state are side skirting licensure fees and this lack of regulation is unfair to the medical cannabis producers in the program.  

“Hemp Derived CBD vs. Cannabis Derived CBD”

“Most Cannabidiol Oils Sold Online Mislabeled”
“Inadequate Regulation Contributes to Mislabeled Online Cannabidiol Products”