News On The Green: In The Light

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In the Light

Earlier in the week, a US House Committee on Energy and Commerce subcommittee held a historic, first-of-its-kind exploratory hearing on American cannabis policy.
As reported by CNN, the health subcommittee convened its “Cannabis Policies for the New Decade” hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 16. That hearing ultimately lasted three and a half hours and although no votes were cast nor were any definitive policy decisions made, the process proffered insight into legislators’ political temperatures regarding cannabis legalization as well as “the actions undertaken to-date by a trio of government agencies [DEA, FDA, NIH] wielding significant influence over how cannabis is researched, possessed and consumed.” Witnesses who provided testimony include: Matthew J. Strait, Senior Policy Advisor of Drug Enforcement Administration’s Diversion Control Division; Douglas Throckmorton, MD, Deputy Director of Regulatory Programs at the Food and Drug Administration Center for Drug Evaluation and Research; and Nora D. Volkow, MD, Director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse. Legislation presented includes: HR 171, the “Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marihuana Act” or “LUMMA”; HR 601, the “Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2019”; HR 1151, the “Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act”; HR 2843, the “Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act”; HR 3797, the “Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2019”; and HR 3884, the “Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019” or the “MORE Act of 2019.” Access key documents, witness testimony and video of the hearing in its entirety at

On Impulsivity

Incremental changes to drug policy in the US⁠—namely state law and legal recreational or medical use of cannabis⁠—and a growing number of American cannabis users indicates the necessity of studying ways that cannabis use and intoxication have the potential to manifest within our country as public safety issues. Research
published earlier this week by Harvard’s Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery (MIND) Program in peer-reviewed medical journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence explores whether heavy cannabis users who started using the drug early display inferior driving habits when compared with heavy cannabis users who started later or individuals who don’t use cannabis. The authors of “Recreational cannabis use impairs driving performance in the absence of acute intoxication” concluded that residual driving impairment was observed in non-intoxicated cannabis users, especially those with a history of early onset cannabis use. While previous studies of acute cannabis intoxication have observed a slower style of impaired driving behavior, this study suggests that earlier onset cannabis users demonstrate an impulsive driving style that may be related to the characteristics inherent in those who engage in earlier substance use, such as enhanced impulsivity. Regarding the study methodology, researchers ensured their subject groups were well matched in age and IQ scores, but not in terms of gender. While the study control group boasted six men and 10 women, the cannabis-using group was comprised of 23 men and only five women.

Drug and Alcohol Dependence

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