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Brazil Legalizes Home-Grown Medical Cannabis  – Cannabis News, Lifestyle

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Brazil’s Superior Court has effectively legalized medical cannabis for home-grown use. The decision is likely to set a precedent for similar cases. The Brazilian government has not yet responded to the court’s decision.

What Happened

The five-judge panel unanimously agreed that Brazil’s patients should have access to home-grown medical cannabis. The three patients on trial can grow cannabis and extract its oil for medicinal uses. Brazil’s current medical cannabis laws do not permit home-growing. All medical cannabis products are imported from abroad.

The decision is similar to Canada’s experience with medical cannabis, where the courts have often stood for patients’ rights while governments undermined them. 

Judge Rogério Schietti defended the decision, saying the Brazilian government has failed to take a reasonable position on medical cannabis. Another Judge called Brazil’s medical cannabis laws “deliberately backward action toward obscurantism.”

Brazil Legalizes Home-Grown Medical Cannabis Despite Anti-Cannabis Government

The president of Brazil is Jair Bolsonaro, facing reelection in October. In June 2021, he openly stated he was against home-growing cannabis for medical purposes. He is also against legalization.

The Brazilian government has not yet responded to the court’s decision. Protests for medical cannabis occurred on June 11, bringing out thousands of Brazilians.

So far, Uruguay is the only South American country to have legalized cannabis for medical and recreational use.

Argentina approved a law to regulate medical cannabis, including setting up a new bureaucracy to control how patients source their seeds and derivative products.

Why the Courts and Not Democratic Government?

Brazil Medical Cannabis

Brazil’s essential legalization of home-grown medical cannabis is, like Canada’s, a decision made by the court. The government must abide by it less they perceive their authority to overstep the rule of law, which many governments do.

And this isn’t a problem with 2nd-world countries like Brazil. In so-called 1st world countries like Canada, when the courts ruled that cannabis patients had a right to oils and edibles, Conservative MP Rona Ambrose called the decision “outrageous.” When medical cannabis patients won their right to home-grow in Allard, the Harper government planned to appeal.

People recognize courts as unbiased arbitrators of complex legal issues until they make a decision the government doesn’t like.

And anyone following politics without absurd fantasies about “democracy” knows that lobbyists pull more weight than a mass of faceless voters. Voters are often manipulated into accepting options A or B while blissfully unaware (and not informed by the corporate press) that there are options C, D, and E. 

How Courts Used to Work

Before people had the power to elect a new King every four years, we used to rely on free-market courts.

In the past, the West incorporated many overlapping, competing legal jurisdictions. Tax-supported courts of monopolistic jurisdiction are an entirely new phenomenon. 

There used to be hundreds of courts: shire, manorial, urban, ecclesiastical, mercantile, etc. These courts had fluid jurisdictional boundaries and collected their fees from the litigants, so they competed with each other for business. 

Even the royal courts consisted of competing courts: the king’s bench, common pleas, exchequer, and chancery. Only with the Judicature Act of 1873 and the Appellate Jurisdiction Act of 1876 did the British government monopolize the courts into a single hierarchical structure, with American and Canadian courts following suit soon after.

That move was a mistake and is one of the more significant reasons this system is as dysfunctional as it is.

This is especially true with the Canadian court cases on medical cannabis like Allard or R v. Smith. 

Patients must fight for their right to reasonable access through the monopolistic court hierarchy that the government forces taxpayers to finance.

In other words: patients represented by Allard were also funding the government’s appeals.

And it’s not just with cannabis; in every conflict with government authority, citizens have to finance both sides of the issue.

Will Brazil Legalize Home-Grown Medical Cannabis Despite Anti-Cannabis Government?

What will happen in Brazil? Will Brazil legalize home-grown medical cannabis despite an anti-cannabis government? Or will President Bolsonaro appeal the decision or choose to ignore it entirely? (He did jail his political opponents at one point, so it’s not out of the question he’ll overstep his authority with the courts).

Only time will tell, but the tide is moving toward legalization. And not just in Brazil but worldwide. Unfortunately, the arbitrary authority of government over private, personal affairs is also growing.





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Amending the Cannabis Act – Cannabis News, Lifestyle

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Amending the Cannabis Act? The Canadian government says they will review and amend it as soon as possible. But the deadline to begin the review is eight months passed. Scheduled for October 2021, Health Canada won’t comment on when the review will occur, only that any amending will come from a “credible, evidence-driven process.”

Health Canada also said the review could take up to 18 months. The latest federal budget promised a cannabis industry roundtable, but no details have been released. However, some remain skeptical that meetings between government bureaucrats and industry insiders will do anything except help out the larger producers at the expense of the smaller craft companies.

Forward Regulatory Plan

Amending the Cannabis Act

But will a review and amendment of the Cannabis Act work out in everyone’s favour? So far, the federal government plans to update the Cannabis Act through some regulatory changes that Health Canada will be taking the lead on.

These regulatory changes include:

  • Cutting back on regulatory paperwork “to simplify and reduce requirements related to record keeping, reporting and notifications, and to provide more flexibility in meeting certain requirements related to matters such as antimicrobial treatment.”
  • Amending the regulations to “facilitate cannabis research for non-therapeutic purposes.”
  • Increasing the possession limit for cannabis beverages (no indication of raising the THC limit or abandoning it altogether).
  • Allowing the sale of certain health products containing cannabis without a prescription
  • Amending Cannabis Act regulations to “restrict the production, sale, promotion, packaging, or labelling of inhaled cannabis extracts with certain flavors, other than the flavor of cannabis.”

Health Canada says these changes are unlikely to be ready until the end of the year.

Buying cannabis health products without a prescription is a step in the right direction. But the typical attitude of Health Canada bureaucrats is that public health and safety trump your personal autonomy. So the agency will now be targeting cannabis producers promoting terpene profiles that they’ve decided are not “flavors of cannabis.”

Why Bother Amending the Cannabis Act?

Why bother amending the Cannabis Act when the government should scrap it altogether? The entire Liberal Legalization scheme has insulted the Western legal tradition of free markets and the rule of law. 

All they needed to do was remove cannabis from the Criminal Code. We already have laws on the books that facilitate peaceful associations. Tort and criminal law provide security, while contract, property, and commercial law facilitate cooperation and exchange. Politics doesn’t need to enter the picture. Politicians certainly don’t need to draft new legislation and create roles for their already inflated taxpayer-funded bureaucracy.

The three major hurdles for small craft producers are:

  1. Barriers to entry because of the high costs of bureaucracy
  2. Arbitrary rules on some products, such as THC limits on edibles and capsules
  3. How the LPs can tap equity markets and starve out their competition who are malnourished because,
  4. Excise taxes ensure Canada won’t ever have a middle-class of cannabis producers.

Will an industry roundtable consisting of large producers and government bureaucrats solve these issues? Or will they only address the excise tax since even the larger producers send half their revenue to Ottawa?

Time will tell, but LPs and bureaucrats seem to think the roundtable will be a cure-all.

I have my doubts. If you want some insight into what this “cannabis industry table” is going to be about, look at who supports it. If you want some insight into what amending the Cannabis Act will look like, take a gander at everything else this government has (or hasn’t) done.

A true, small L, classical liberal cannabis market won’t occur until Justin’s Liberals are out of power.





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Cannabis & Hospitalization

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Cannabis and hospitalization go hand-in-hand, according to a new study. Cannabis consumers are 22 percent more likely to visit emergency rooms and require hospitalizations. Led by researchers at Unity Health Toronto, they surveyed 4,800 cannabis users over 12 months. They compared the data with 10,000 people who had never used cannabis.

Despite the observational nature of the study, the lead author of the study, Dr. Nicholas Vozoris, told CTV that:

“Our analyses are adjusted and controlled for all of these other factors, making it less likely that the other factors explain the positive emergency department visit and hospitalization finding.”

Observational vs. Experimental Research 

Among the reasons for hospitalizations or ER visits, cannabis users reported acute trauma (15%) as the most common cause. Followed by respiratory problems (14%) and gastrointestinal issues (13%).

But the study was observational and therefore unable to say that cannabis use causes higher hospitalization rates. This was a correlational study. Despite the lead researcher’s claim, this study did not test a specific intervention against a control group. All they did was look at the data on particular groups and then form a conclusion.

Observational research can give us insight into what types of connections exist between lifestyle and risks of a specific disease. But all they can do is show correlation. Even the researchers admitted as much, given their small sample size. They said further research is needed to confirm the “possible link between all-cause mortality and respiratory illness.” 

Cannabis & Hospitalization Study Bias 

Cannabis & Hospitalization

Because this was an observational study with no control group, the claim that the study controlled for other factors of hospitalization, like alcohol use, opioid use, prescription drug use, underlying mental health or medical conditions, is patently false. 

The study did not compare rates of ER visits and hospitalizations among cannabis consumers to rates among users of alcohol, opioids, prescription drugs, or other substances. The lead researcher, Dr. Vozoris, said he’s unaware of existing research comparing these rates.

Vozoris hopes this study will inform the public that cannabis is not risk-free. But what exactly has this study proven, if anything at all? 

The Problem with the Cannabis & Hospitalization Study 

Dr. John Ioannidis, a professor at Stanford University, criticizes observational study research. In his paper, “Why Most Published Research Findings are False,” he explains that “research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.”

And that seems to be the case here.

There’s nothing in this study to indicate why cannabis users would have higher rates of hospitalization and ER visits.

Suppose there are factors the researchers haven’t considered. The only way to truly determine a cause between two variables is to do an experimental study like a randomized control trial. Plenty of observational studies can confirm that cannabis users have higher hospitalization rates. But, without randomized control trials, this correlation tells us nothing.

It’s like the correlation between Nicolas Cage movies and swimming pool drownings. No serious researcher would publish a paper highlighting this correlation, concluding that more observational research was needed, and then remind people that “Nicolas Cage movies aren’t risk-free.”

That’s essentially what has happened here. 

That’s why studies like this always call for “further research.” All they have to do is claim a possible connection between cannabis and hospitalization. But with observational research, it is impossible to say x causes y. If anything, “further research” will increase the number of studies claiming a relationship between cannabis and hospitalization, muddying the waters for researchers doing real science.





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Compassionate Cannabis Consumers? – Cannabis News, Lifestyle

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Are cannabis consumers naturally compassionate? Can cannabis make you a more understanding person? A study, the first of its kind, seems to have answered that question. And all signs point to yes. According to the study, cannabis consumers exhibit higher levels of empathy.

Cannabis and compassion have gone hand-in-hand since the discovery of the plant. But now, the concept of “compassionate cannabis consumers” has scientific backing.

Compassionate Cannabis Consumers?

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, was led by researchers from the University of New Mexico. It’s the first study to demonstrate the non-clinical benefits of cannabis among healthy adults. 

Researchers analyzed the psychology of 146 college students using cannabis with varying levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). They controlled for age, ethnicity, sex, class, and childhood experiences. Researchers found cannabis consumers scored higher on prosocial behaviour measures. 

They concluded that cannabis consumers are more compassionate and empathic and have high standards for moral fairness. 

Male cannabis consumers scored higher on “agreeableness” than women. Still, men and women scored higher on the compassionate scale than THC-free individuals. 

Groundbreaking Study

Compassionate Cannabis Consumers?

Researchers believe THC’s role in creating compassionate cannabis consumers is momentary based on how much time has passed since consumers last used cannabis. 

“The transience of the effects supports that cannabis is triggering behavioural and perceptual changes rather than that cannabis users and non-user differ fundamentally in their baseline approaches to social interactions,” said co-author and associate professor Sarah Stith, UNM Department of Economics.

In other words: there isn’t a fundamental difference between consumers and non-consumers. Cannabis makes people compassionate, but once the effects of THC wear off, so does the higher level of agreeableness.

Tiphanie Chanel, another co-author in UNM’s Psychology department, called the study “groundbreaking.” She hopes it leads to more research on the “effects of cannabis on human interactions and well-being.”

Nothing New About Compassionate Cannabis Consumers

Studies that focus on cannabis as a treatment for chronic pain come to the same conclusion. A 2021 study from Harvard found improvements in the moods of patients using cannabis for chronic pain. 

This Harvard study, published in the journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, correlated daily cannabis consumption with improved sleep, mood, anxiety and quality of life.

Likewise, a 2022 Canadian study involving over 7,000 patients found “statistically significant improvements” when patients used cannabis to treat anxiety and depression.

“There were statistically significant improvements between baseline and followup scores … with larger improvements seen for patients who were actively seeking medical cannabis to treat anxiety or depression,” the authors wrote.

How Does Cannabis Make Someone Compassionate? 

Compassionate cannabis consumers are a complex topic and more research is needed. But knowing how cannabis works, one can make some assumptions.

THC interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS regulates our mood, appetite, sleep, pain responses, and immune system. There are natural cannabinoids that bind to our receptors, like anandamide. Anandamide is called the “bliss molecule.” If you’ve ever gone for a run or an intense work-out, and afterward you feel incredibly relaxed and content – that’s anandamide working through your system.

THC is an external cannabinoid that binds to cannabinoid receptors and mimics the effects of anandamide. Being “stoned” is like getting a runner’s high without running. Fortunately, the body doesn’t treat external cannabinoids as toxins but works with them as medicinal healers. That’s why you can’t overdose on cannabis. 

With THC mimicking the bliss molecule, the brain and body are relaxed. With a serene biological system, a person can slip into a relaxed state of mind. And when one is calm and content, one becomes more compassionate. 





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