Alibi V.28 No.45 • Nov 7-13, 2019

Baked Goods

Harvest Time

USDA Releases Hemp Regulations

Last week, the US Department of Agriculture finally released regulations for hemp farming. Hemp was legalized with the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, but regulations for a domestic hemp production program have taken some time to materialize.

Under the interim final rule—effective immediately—states and tribes are required to keep records on hemp-producing land, test THC levels and dispose of plants with THC levels over 0.3 percent. Producers must also get a license to grow hemp from the USDA.

Some hemp farmers are already calling foul on the regulations, though. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, THC testing procedures will have a negative impact on CBD manufacturers. Under the proposed regulations, crops must be tested for THC content 15 days prior to harvesting. Testing has to be done at one of the 180 federally approved facilities, raising concerns about whether testing delays will force farmers to forego harvesting.

News 10 in Oregon recently interviewed some hemp farmers who said the regulations will completely ruin the CBD market. They said they'd be forced to harvest early—at four to six weeks of flower time rather than seven to eight weeks—which could reduce the medical benefits of the final product.

The new rule is effective through Nov. 1, 2021. Not complying with the new rules will be considered a federal felony offense. The USDA has opened up a 60-day period for public comment on the proposed regulations that ends on Dec. 30, 2019. Comments can be made at regulations.gov.

The New Mexico Environment Department recently held a series of public meetings to discuss its own proposed state hemp regulations regarding the production, processing, extraction, transportation, warehousing and testing of the plant. Public input on these proposed rules may be submitted via email to hemp.program@state.nm.us.

DOH Proposes Rule Changes

The New Mexico Department of Health will be holding a public meeting on Friday, Nov. 22 at the Harold Runnels Building in Santa Fe to talk about a number of proposed rule changes to the Medical Cannabis Program.

The first big change they want to discuss is the introduction of guidelines for a reciprocity program that will allow medical cannabis patients from other states to take part in the program if they're staying here for extended periods of time. (This doesn't have anything to do with the weird nonresident patient rules that we've been discussing in these pages ad nauseum for the past few months.) The program would allow nonresident patients enrolled in other states' programs to purchase up to 8 ounces of cannabis from licensed dispensaries over a rolling three-month period.

The other biggie is a proposal for “the establishment and operation of cannabis consumption areas for qualified patients” operated by licensed nonprofit producers. Yes. You read that right.

Also being proposed are a number of revisions to licensing requirements for producers, manufacturers, couriers and laboratories including changes to testing and labeling requirements, fees, licensing standards and disciplinary actions and appeals.

The Santa Fe hearing will be held to take public comments on the proposed rule changes. Submit written comments by email before the meeting to MCP.comment@state.nm.us.

Cannabis and Pregnancy

A researcher at the University of Denver is studying the effects of marijuana use on pregnant women.

If you haven't noticed, it's become a hot-button issue that people just love to talk about these days. Whether they're swearing up and down that it's the best cure for morning sickness or they're warning that it might cause developmental problems or increase the risk of a preterm birth, people can get real passionate when they argue about the issue. The core of the problem is that there just isn't enough science on the subject.

University of Denver psychology professor Pilyoung Kim told Westword, “We realized scientific literature doesn’t have a for-sure answer about if cannabis is safe [to use during pregnancy]. It’s an important question, and no one else was really asking that question.”

Kim applied for funding from the National Institute for Drug Abuse and began meeting with women who are using cannabis while pregnant. She surveys them, asking how much they consume and their reasons for using it. After birth, the mother and child are sent to the University of Colorado Boulder for brain imaging.

The study won't be complete for a few more years.

Can Cannabis Treat Mental Health?

A new study has found that cannabis might not be as helpful with treating mental health problems as we thought.

According to “Cannabinoids for the treatment of mental disorders and symptoms of mental disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” published last month in The Lancet Psychiatry, there is little evidence that cannabis use can help mitigate symptoms associated with mental illness.

The review analyzed 83 studies looking at the effects of cannabis on a variety of mental health issues—42 studies looked at depression, 31 at anxiety, 12 at PTSD, 11 at psychosis, 8 at Tourette syndrome and 3 at attention deficit/hyper-activity disorder. Different forms of cannabis were used across the studies, including pharmaceutical THC (with or without CBD) and—in a few cases—pharmaceutical CBD alone.

The conclusion: “Pharmaceutical THC (with or without CBD) improved anxiety symptoms among individuals with other medical conditions … although the evidence GRADE was very low. Pharmaceutical THC (with or without CBD) worsened negative symptoms of psychosis in a single study. Pharmaceutical THC (with or without CBD) did not significantly affect any other primary outcomes for the mental disorders examined.” It did increase the number of people who had adverse effects or who left the study due to adverse effects.

 
Leaflet logo
Sign me up for Leaflet: news updates and product reviews from Alibi's crack team of medical cannabis journalists.