Alibi V.26 No.23 • June 8-14, 2017 

Baked Goods

Cannabis Still Winning, Despite Pressure

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Rob M.

The best thing about living in the first year of Our Lord Trump is that—for once—demonization is actually helping cannabis. We here in the media are so quick to hate anything coming from Camp Trump that nearly every major news source is printing pro-cannabis headlines every week. And if I haven't stressed it enough already: That's never happened before.

In April, CBS News reported that support for cannabis legalization in America was at a whopping 61 percent—an all-time high. Their poll also showed that 88 percent favored medical marijuana use, 71 percent were against federal intervention in cannabis sales where it's legal, and 65 percent thought marijuana is less dangerous than other drugs.

Only 23 percent thought legalizing marijuana leads to an increase in violent crime, despite Attorney General Jeff Sessions' beliefs to the contrary.

So what does this tell us? That the great Donald Trump, King of Frogs and Master of Covfefe, is doing what half a century of activists couldn't: He's making America love cannabis again.

God bless you, Donald Trump.

Head of VA Suggests Support of Medical Cannabis Research

But there's one person in the administration who's not playing right. In his “State of the VA” report during a White House briefing, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said, “There may be some evidence that this is beginning to be helpful and we're interested in looking at that and learning from that.” This follows hot on the heels of a public plea made last month by the American Legion—a traditionally conservative veterans' organization—to President Trump to reclassify cannabis and allow for research on its medical benefits.

All of the fuss over veterans and medical cannabis comes from evidence that cannabis can help alleviate the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (In fact, it's one of the approved conditions for entry into the N.M. cannabis program.)

“If there is compelling evidence that this is helpful I hope that people take a look at that and come up with the right decision,” Shulkin said.

N.M. Cannabis Sales Rising in 2017

According to the N.M. Medical Cannabis program's quarterly revenue report, the first three months of cannabis sales in 2017 reached $19 million. That's an 86 percent increase over the first quarter of 2016. Six producers had total sales over $1 million for the first quarter of 2017, compared to only one in the first quarter of 2016, according to a press release issued by Ultra Health, who reported earning $1,963,849 in the first quarter. The top five producers accounted for 38 percent of total sales. Record sales came in on 4/20: An estimated $800,000 in medical cannabis was sold in the state—three times the revenue brought in the year before.

And it should come as no surprise since about 8,000 residents have joined the program since Jan. 1, bringing the total number of patients to 40,000, an 84 percent increase since March 2016. That's almost 2 percent of the population!

Medical cannabis is clearly one of the fastest growing industries in the state. Now: Just imagine how much money would be going into our schools and infrastructure if a certain governor would quit blocking progress.

Brain Candy?

So that old cliché about forgetful potheads is in question now that a study has been released showing that cannabis might improve memory in older patients.

In the study, which was published in Nature Medicine last month, researchers implanted pumps into mice in three age groups: young, fully-grown and elderly. The pumps released THC—the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis—into the mice every day. They were then given tests that measured learning and memory. The young mice performed worse, while the older mice did better.

According to team leader Andreas Zimmer at the University of Bonn, Germany, the findings show that both too much and too little stimulation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS)—a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in our brains and throughout our nervous systems—is harmful. The ECS is most active in young mice and people, so extra THC may overstimulate it. While in older mice and people, the endocannabinoid activity declines, meaning some THC will restore its levels.

Zimmer’s team is planning human trials to discover at what age the addition of THC becomes beneficial. The trials will use purified THC rather than cannabis.