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University of California, San Diego Awards Grants for Cannabis Research

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The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) at University of California San Diego School of Medicine has awarded five new research grants for cannabis studies. In total, $3 million has been awarded to these new projects.

The funding is to be divided between five Colorado-based research teams who will study how medical cannabis works as a supplementary and primary treatment for schizophrenia, rheumatoid, arthritis, insomnia, alcohol dependence and anorexia associated with anxiety. The new studies will all mostly focus on CBD. “Within the medical community, there is a lot of interest in the role of medical cannabis and CBD,” said Igor Grant, MD, who is a distinguished professor in the Department of Psychiatry and CMCR director. “There is a hope that it could be yet another useful agent in some of these conditions, which are difficult to treat or disabling.”

These grants are all funded by Proposition 64, the famous ballot measure that legalized recreational cannabis in California. The measure also set aside tax money for research on new treatment options that come from cannabis, as well as health and safety programs related to cannabis. This is the first time the CMCR has given out such funding, but the hope is that these five grants will establish a future for more research.

“Sleeping pills are moderately safe, but they can also be habit-forming, and they do have side effects, particularly in older people,” said Grant regarding the insomnia study. “So, many people are prescribed sleeping pills, so there’s good reason to look for something that might be safer and not have that side effect profile.”

Since public perception started to change regarding cannabis, there have been many more studies looking at how cannabis helps things from chronic pain and anxiety to hospice treatment and serious mental illness. As the stigmas continue to disappear and barriers to research fall away, even more will be learned about cannabis and the way it can heal.

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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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