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Cannabis Research Expansion Proposed by DEA

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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced a new proposal on March 20 that would open up more cannabis research opportunities in the United States.

The proposal, called the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, was published on March 23 in the Federal Register. It will provide a foundation for cultivators who want to participate in cannabis research opportunities in the future. “The Drug Enforcement Administration is proposing to amend its regulations to comply with the requirements of the Controlled Substances Act, including consistency with treaty obligations, in order to facilitate the cultivation of marihuana for research purposes and other licit purposes,” states the Federal Register summary. “Specifically, this proposed rule would amend the provisions of the regulations governing applications by persons seeking to become registered with DEA to grow marihuana as bulk manufacturers and add provisions related to the purchase and sale of this marihuana by DEA.”

The DEA hopes that this proposal will help to increase the number of research participants in the country, as well as a variety of cannabis that could become available as research material. This will also allow the DEA to give further consideration to the 37 pending applications waiting to be considered as a research option. “The Drug Enforcement Administration continues to support additional research into marijuana and its components, and we believe registering more growers will advance the scientific and medical research already being conducted,” said DEA Acting Administrator Dhillon, according to a press release.  “DEA is making progress to register additional marijuana growers for federally authorized research, and will continue to work with other relevant federal agencies to expedite the necessary next steps.”

Public comments are welcomed by the DEA, and may be submitted through standard mail or electronically here, by referencing [RIN 1117-AB54/Docket No. DEA-506].

The DEA states that there has been a 58 percent increase in “the number of active researchers registered with DEA to conduct research with marijuana, marijuana extracts, and marijuana derivatives” with 377 in January 2017 to 595 as of March 2020. It also notes that more than 70 percent of the organization’s “total schedule I research registrant population” is currently registered with cannabis research in mind. In result, the DEA has increased its cannabis production for research from just 472 kilograms in 2017 to approximately 3,200 kilograms this year.

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Strain of the Week: Orange Cookies

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January is known for a few things. First, New Year’s resolutions (that tend to fade in interest after about 30 days), second is honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., and of course, third is the annual return of Girl Scout Cookies. Having been in the cookie business since the 1920s, the Girl Scouts have consistently built up a cookie empire to help break countless Americans from their lofty goals of eating healthy and losing weight. This year, the organization unveiled a new cookie, called “Toast-Yay!” that offers a crunchy cinnamon flavor inspired by arguably the best breakfast foods—French Toast. While the hype for cookies is ever present, the year-long obsession with cookies-related strains is hard to beat.

There are numerous strains that are made famous through sporting the “Cookies” name, such as Orange Cookies. Not only identifiable as a flavor that the Girl Scouts organization doesn’t embrace (they offer some lemon flavors instead), but this strain also offers a beautifully light orange blossom scent as well. The large, dense buds that made up our sample of Orange Cookies was bright green, and nearly oozed trichomes by the look of the white sheen that covered its surface. As a result, it’s sticky in every sense of the word.

Upon inhalation, the smoke is smooth and pleasant, and brings on an interesting cerebral buzz that settles into full blown euphoria as it spreads throughout the body. While your muscles are soothed and relaxed of nearly all tension, your body is calm and relaxed—but that doesn’t mean that you will be completely sedated or disoriented. Orange Cookies not only has a unique flavor profile, but it also helps in alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression for some consumers. It’s the perfect way to sit inside and count the days until a warm spring day arrives.

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Legal Cannabis Linked to Increase in Junk Food Sales

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A look at the consumption habits of Americans has revealed that high-calorie food sales tend to increase in places where cannabis is legal.

Published in the journal Economics & Human Biology, a Georgia State University study examined the link between food sales of high-calorie and high-sugar snacks and in places where cannabis was legalized. Headed up by economist Alberto Chong and Michele Baggio, the study showed that junk food sales increased by 6.3 percent in sales when cannabis was legal in the region.

“You think marijuana does no harm—that’s pretty much the consensus today,” Chong told The Academic Times regarding the recently published study and the implications behind it. “But there are unintended consequences, and one of them is the fact that you really get very hungry and you start eating crap.”

The study looked at three states with legal cannabis, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. It compared cannabis data to the Nielsen Retail Scanner Data in those states before and after cannabis was legalized, looking for sales of junk food in drug stores, convenience stores, and grocery stores. It noticed a marked increase across the board following legalization.

The research was originally published in a paper in 2019, and recently released in a journal. Specific spikes in sales they tracked include chip sales increasing by 5.3 percent, cookie sales by 4.1 percent, and ice cream by 3.1 percent.

Those involved in the research product hope that these trends will be taken into consideration for future legalization ventures. Previous studies by Chong and Baggio looked at how cannabis increases sexual activity and raises the birth rate. Additionally, they tracked a decrease in alcohol sales due to cannabis legalization.

Statistical information about how cannabis impacts things like sexual activity, alcohol use and cannabis use are important to crafting the best policies for regulation as cannabis moves forward.

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Europe Cannabis Testing Market Expected to Reach $770 Million By 2027

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The European cannabis testing market is expected to grow to a little over $770 million USD from $431.58 million in 2019. The market is expected to grow with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.7 percent from 2020 to 2027.

A new report, “Europe Cannabis Testing Market to 2025 – Regional Analysis and Forecasts by Type ; Services ; End User and Country,” outlined the growth of the industry to 2025. The growth of the market can be attributed to the European government funding cannabis research for doctors as well as the increasing demand for researching cannabis quality. The report mentions non-medical uses of cannabis and problems with CBD oil products are likely to have a negative impact on the growing market.

The European cannabis testing market is split into three segments: testing laboratories, drug manufacturers and research institutes. In 2019, the testing laboratories held the largest share of the market and is expected to continue growing due to testing performed in the reference labs for various diseases.

In February 2019, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) passed a joint resolution supporting medical cannabis. The resolution allows doctors to use their best judgment in prescribing cannabis-based medicines, and calls on MEPs to address barriers that prevent cannabis research. The aim is to clearly distinguish between what is considered medical-use cannabis and what is considered non-medical.

Currently, there are no countries in the European Union that allow smoking cannabis or home-growing for medical purposes. The World Health Organization has previously recommended that CBD should not be classified as a controlled substance. The European Union has already approved a CBD-based medicine that helps treat severe seizures.

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