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Legal Cannabis Reduces Prescription Codeine – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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States with legal recreational cannabis see a reduction in demand for prescription codeine, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Cornell University.

Codeine is an opioid medication that binds to the opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. Like other opioids, it can cause physical and psychological dependence.

The authors concluded: “We find that RCLs [Recreational Cannabis Laws] lead to a reduction in codeine dispensed at retail pharmacies. Among prescription opioids, codeine is particularly likely to be used non-medically. Thus, the finding that RCLs appear to reduce codeine dispensing is potentially promising from a public health perspective.”

Indeed, people swapping out opioids for cannabis is excellent news. But how soon should we be celebrating? This study wasn’t a randomized control trial. It used a two-way fixed-effects regression.

So what’s the verdict? Does legal cannabis reduce prescription codeine?

Cannabis & Codeine: The Study’s Methodology

Cannabis & Codeine: The Study's Methodology

A two-way fixed-effects regression is a statistical method that researchers use to analyze the relationship between two variables where both variables have fixed effects. “Fixed effects” means that the variables are not randomly assigned but are inherent characteristics of the studied units.

In this example, the relationship between recreational cannabis laws and prescription codeine. This method is popular for controlling for unobserved heterogeneity in panel data studies. However, there are several downsides to using a two-way fixed-effects regression in a study:

  1. Complexity: Two-way fixed-effects regressions can be more complex to estimate and interpret than other regression models, such as a one-way fixed-effects or a random-effects model.
  2. Assumptions: Two-way fixed-effects regressions rely on certain assumptions about the underlying data, such as the independence of the errors and normality. The regression results may be biased or unreliable if researchers do not meet these assumptions.
  3. Limited inference: Researchers typically use two-way fixed-effects regressions to estimate within-unit associations and make inferences about the population of units. It may not be possible to generalize the findings to a larger population or to make causal claims.
  4. Power: Two-way fixed-effects regression is computationally intensive. Thus it may require a large sample size to have enough power to detect statistical significance. This could be a problem with limited datasets (but is irrelevant to this codeine and cannabis study).
  5. Data availability: Two-way fixed-effects regression requires panel data, which is a type of data that contains observations on multiple units over time. This type of data may not be available for all research questions.

The researchers analyzed data from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Automation of Reports and Consolidation Orders System (ARCOS).

Details of the Study

opioid addiction treat with cannabis

If this study’s results are accurate, this is certainly news worth celebrating. The researchers found that in states where cannabis was legal:

  • A reduction of 26% in the pharmacy-based distribution of codeine and as much as a 37% reduction after recreational cannabis laws have been in effect for four years. 
  • Minimal impact on the distribution of other opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine in any setting.
  • Minimal impact on codeine distribution by hospitals that often have less permissive policies than pharmacies.

“This finding is particularly meaningful,” said senior author Coleman Drake, Ph.D., in a press release. “Among prescription opioids, codeine misuse is especially high. Our findings suggest recreational cannabis use may be a substitute for codeine misuse.”

“Increasing legal access to cannabis may shift some consumers away from opioids and towards cannabis,” said Johanna Catherine Maclean, Ph.D., George Mason University. “While all substances have some risks, cannabis use is arguably less harmful to health than the non-medical use of prescription opioids.”

Indeed, whether the study is describing reality or confirming its bias, the conclusion should always be: legalize it.





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More Weed, More Problems? – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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More weed, more problems? As in, if you smoke all day, everyday, your life is likely a hot mess with no hope of redemption? According to recent research from CU Boulder, the answer to “more weed, more problems” is no.

According to researchers, legalizing recreational cannabis at the state level does not lead to an increase in substance use disorders. Or even increased use of illicit drugs among adults. In fact, it may even decrease issues related to alcohol abuse.

A study involving over 4,000 twins from Colorado and Minnesota found no correlation between cannabis legalization and any increases in cognitive, psychological, social, relationship, or financial problems.

“We really didn’t find any support for a lot of the harms people worry about with legalization,” said lead author Stephanie Zellers. “From a public health perspective, these results are reassuring.”

The study, published in Psychological Medicine, was conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota, CU Boulder and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. The study used data from two of the nation’s most extensive and longest-running twin studies: one located at IBG and the other at the Minnesota Center for Twin Family Research.

What Are Twin Studies? 

More Weed, More Problems?

Can twin studies prove that more weed doesn’t equal more problems? Well, what are twin studies?

Twin studies are research designs that compare identical (monozygotic) and fraternal (dizygotic) twins. The idea is that identical twins share all their genes, while fraternal twins share only about half of their genes.

So any differences between the two types of twins can help researchers identify which traits or conditions are likely influenced by genetics and which are likely influenced by environment. Researchers can use twin studies to study a wide range of topics, including genetics, development, and health.

IBG stands for Institute of Behavioral Genetics, a research center at the University of Colorado Boulder. The Minnesota Center for Twin Family Research located at the University of Minnesota.

Both centers conduct twin studies and have been collecting data over the years. And both centers are among the nation’s most prominent and longest-running twin studies. They provide researchers with a wealth of data on genetic and environmental factors related to human behaviour and development.

The Problem with Twin Studies

Of course, Twin studies are not without their critics.

  1. Assumption of equal environments: Twin studies sometimes assume that identical and fraternal twins are raised in similar environments, but this may not always be the case. For example, identical twins may be treated more similarly than fraternal twins, which could affect the results.
  2. Limited generalizability: Researchers often conduct twin studies on small, specific samples, such as twins from a particular country or region. This limits the generalizability of the findings to other populations.
  3. Missing heritability: Twin studies estimate the proportion of variation in a trait or condition due to genetics. But they do not account for all the genetic variation that may influence the trait or condition.
  4. Complexity of human behaviour: Many complex human behaviours and conditions, such as mental disorders or intelligence, likely result from multiple genes and environmental factors. Twin studies may not fully capture these interactions.
  5. Selection bias: Twins who volunteer for studies might differ from twins who do not volunteer, which can bias the results.

Twin Studies Disprove More Weed, More Problems? 

More Weed, More Problems?

The researchers of this “more weed, more problems” study compared the 40% of twins who reside in states where recreational cannabis is legal to those who live in states where it remains illegal to understand the overall impact of legalization.

Researchers have been tracking the participants, who are now between the ages of 24 and 49, since their adolescence. They’ve been gathering information on their use of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and several other illicit drugs, as well as assessing their overall well-being.

By specifically comparing twins within 240 pairs, in which one twin lives in a state with legal cannabis and the other where it is not, the researchers aimed to identify any changes caused by cannabis legalization.

The researchers previously found that identical twins residing in states where recreational cannabis is legal tend to use it around 20% more often than their twins living in states where it remains illegal.

So does that mean more weed, more problems?

To answer this question, the team compared survey results that examined 23 indicators of “psychosocial distress.” Including the use of alcohol and illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin, psychological distress, financial difficulties, cognitive issues, unemployment, and relationship issues both at home and at work.

“We included everything we had data on with the goal of getting a well-rounded look at the impacts on the whole person,” said Zellers. “Big picture, there’s not much there.”

No, More Weed Does Not Equal More Problems

More Weed, More Problems?

So is “more weed, more problems” debunked?

Researchers found no relationship between legal cannabis and an increased risk of “cannabis use disorder” or dependency.

For years, critics have called cannabis a “gateway” drug to harder substances like cocaine and heroin. The researchers found no changes post-legalization.

“For low-level cannabis use, which was the majority of users, in adults, legalization does not appear to increase the risk of substance use disorders,” said co-author Dr. Christian Hopfer.

Not only does this study question the “more weed, more problems” narrative, but it also shows legal cannabis’ benefit. People in legal states are less likely to develop alcohol dependency problems, including driving drunk.

“Our study suggests that we should not be overly concerned about everyday adult use in a legalized environment. But no drug is risk-free,” said John Hewitt, professor of psychology and neuroscience at CU Boulder.

While the study found no adverse effects on the daily lives of cannabis-consuming adults, the study also found no evidence that legal cannabis benefited people’s cognitive, psychological, social, relationship, or financial status.

Overall, the study seems to suggest the same thing we have before. Substances are neutral. It is the person who can choose to use or abuse them. But the drugs themselves have no innate power of control.





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Health Canada: Let’s Ban Potent Cannabis Extracts  – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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Despite a healthcare system already on the verge of collapse pre-COVID, Health Canada bureaucrats have focused on cannabis companies selling extracts.

Health Canada recently requested federally licensed cannabis companies to discontinue the sale of cannabis products the bureaucracy considers mislabeled. Health Canada is concerned adults are consuming products labelled “extracts” as “edibles.”

The move is expected to cost cannabis companies millions of dollars. And it comes at a time when most publicly traded cannabis producers are still losing money.

Why target products that have been on the market for three years? Health Canada has not responded to any media on the topic, including Cannabis Life Network’s request for clarification.

Health Canada: Let's Ban Cannabis Extracts 

While Health Canada’s targeting of cannabis extracts surprises many, others, like CLN, have been expecting this move for a while.

In the letter seen by MJBizDaily, Health Canada said that “upon further review of the products in question, Health Canada has assessed that this product is edible cannabis and, consequently, it contains a quantity of THC that exceeds the allowable limit of 10 mg per immediate container.”

The letter goes on to define “extract,” “edible,” and “food.”

“Health Canada has determined that (the products in question) are consumed in the same manner as food, and therefore fit the definition of edible cannabis,” the Health Canada letter says.

Cannabis extracts cannot exceed 1,000 milligrams per container, one hundred times more than Health Canada permits in the edible class. Ergo, companies would instead produce extracts than edibles.

However, the line has gotten blurred, and this is likely what concerns the bureaucracy’s busybodies. For example, New Brunswick-based cannabis producer Organigram has a “Jolts” product advertised as a lozenge. While each candy is 10mg, the entire pack of 100mg.

Likewise, Redecan has a cannabis extract containing 800 to 1000mg of THC per bottle. However, the oral dispensing syringe caps each “dose” at 8-10mg. 

Are these the products Health Canada wants discontinued?

Health Canada On Extracts: Useless

Health Canada: Let's Ban Cannabis Extracts 

Why Health Canada? And why now? Why at all?

Industry sources expect to lose tens of millions if Health Canada demands extracts and lozenges get pulled from the Canadian cannabis market. They also expect the illicit and legacy markets to fill the void.

Regardless of what you think about public health and safety or an individual’s freedom to consume as much THC as they want, there’s significant concern about how Health Canada is going about this.

This kind of regulatory enforcement is akin to banana republics. Health Canada has already approved these products. Organigram’s “Jolts” have been on the market for over a year.

Producers of these extracts followed all the rules and regulations. And now Health Canada will arbitrarily limit (or ban) these products because… what? Canadian consumers prefer potent extracts over weak-ass edibles?

The lesson here is to remove all THC limits, not bring the hammer down on companies producing legal products. This is not how you regulate an industry.

Infantilizing Adults

While Health Canada hasn’t responded to a request for comment, I suspect the justification will likely be over “public health” and “increased hospitalizations from high-THC products.”

Another way of saying: we’re so bad at delivering health care that instead of improving it, we’re going to start controlling the behaviours that may lead people to need a hospital bed.

That’s the most insulting part of all of this. Health Canada treats adult cannabis consumers like children by limiting their autonomy and decision-making.

Actions speak louder than words. Health Canada bureaucrats (who live off our taxes) lack trust in cannabis-consuming adults to make their own choices and take responsibility for their actions.

When regulations are not based on evidence or are not well-reasoned, they are an infringement on personal liberty and autonomy.

Even with “conventional thinking,” in which government regulations are effective and immune to corruption and politics, it’s essential that regulators balance the need to protect public health and safety with the need to respect adults’ autonomy and decision-making abilities.

Health Canada’s crackdown on cannabis extracts clearly violates that balance. 

This situation would be like if Health Canada discovered that vodka and whiskey were stronger than beer. And so they order distilleries across the nation to arbitrarily limit their alcohol content and take the products off the shelves.

Health Canada has no business regulating cannabis. 

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10 Ways Most Cannabis Research is False – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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Most cannabis research is false. A bold statement. So what does it mean? In 2005, Stanford University professor John Ioannidis published the paper “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.”

In it, he argued that most published research findings are false due to a combination of factors such as small sample sizes, inadequate adjustment for multiple comparisons, and conflicts of interest.

The paper made quite an uproar in the scientific community. While some criticized Ioannidis for simplifying the problem, most agree there is a replication crisis in scientific literature. For example, one study may find cannabis increases the risk of heart attacks. But if no other research can replicate its findings, is the study telling us anything authentic or valid?

The replication crisis doesn’t only affect sociology, medicine or psychology. It also affects cannabis studies. Leading to an uncomfortable conclusion: most cannabis research is false. 

Most Cannabis Research is False

Most Cannabis Research is False

Is most cannabis research false? The replication crisis has led to calls for more transparency and rigour in the research process. But ultimately, the only way out is to evaluate studies based on their replication rate.

Can adolescent cannabis use lead to psychosis or an increased risk of developing schizophrenia? Are cannabis consumers less likely to abuse opioid-based pain medication? Does cannabis make you a more compassionate person? Can it lead to poor cardiovascular health? Will cannabis impair your driving?

Some studies answer in the affirmative, others in the negative. Prohibitionists and public health busybodies like to cite studies that show cannabis’ negative qualities. Proponents of cannabis tend to mention the positive studies.

But most cannabis research is false, whether it confirms your bias or not.

10 Ways Most Cannabis Research is False

The replication crisis has affected studies on cannabis in several ways, including:

  1. Lack of replication: Many studies on cannabis have been criticized for their inability to be replicated. This calls into question the validity of their findings.
  2. Lack of standardization: There is a lack of standardization in the way cannabis is used and administered in studies (not to mention the strains used, their specific cannabinoid content, etc.). This makes it impossible to compare results across different studies.
  3. Small sample sizes: Many studies on cannabis have small sample sizes, which can lead to unreliable results.
  4. Lack of control groups: Some studies on cannabis have lacked proper control groups. This makes it difficult to determine the specific effects of cannabis.
  5. Uncontrolled variables: Many studies on cannabis have not controlled for other factors that could affect the results, such as tobacco use or poor diet. Sometimes, researchers won’t even account for underlying medical conditions.
  6. Limited generalizability: Some researchers conduct studies on cannabis on specific populations, such as patients with a particular medical condition, which can limit the generalizability of the results to the general population.
  7. Publication bias: There is a tendency for researchers to publish positive or negative results than inconclusive results. This leads to an over-representation of “findings” in the literature.
  8. Funding bias: Studies funded by industry stakeholders, such as pharmaceutical companies. This makes the study more likely to produce favourable results than studies funded by other sources. This ultimately creates a bias in the literature.
  9. Lack of transparency: Some studies on cannabis have been criticized for lack of transparency in their methods and results. This makes it challenging to evaluate the robustness of their findings.
  10. Prevalence of observational studies: There is a high prevalence of observational studies in cannabis research, which are prone to bias and confounding. They are less substantial than RCTs (randomized controlled trials) in determining causality.

This overreliance on observational studies means most cannabis research is false. Just as funding bias results in slogans like “Follow the Science,” which is ultimately synonymous with “Follow the Money.”

Studies Say” is the Modern Equivalent to, “The Scriptures Say…”

Most Cannabis Research is False

We’re not here to bash anyone’s spiritual beliefs. If you find solace in Holy Scripture, then all the best. But if you try and argue that your interpretation of the scriptures is describing a reality we all must follow, we’re going to have a problem.

Likewise, we won’t call out anyone using research studies to help navigate the world. You may be on a vegan diet and, therefore, like reading studies confirming the lifestyle’s benefits.

But, once you begin arguing with others that the vegan lifestyle is the only way to live, and you support these opinions by referring to “studies,” then it’s time to step back and reassess.

Both “scriptures” and “studies” express authority or provide evidence for a particular belief or claim.

Scriptures refer to religious texts or teachings considered sacred or authoritative by those who follow that faith. 

Studies, on the other hand, refer to scientific research findings. These are supposed to be based on empirical evidence and subject to rigorous testing, verification, and replication

The failure of much modern research, including cannabis research, to replicate findings is no small matter. That is why most cannabis research is false.

When you read: “Randomized controlled trials evaluating the therapeutic use and safety of marijuana are lacking, but a growing body of evidence suggests that marijuana consumption may be associated with adverse cardiovascular risks.”

You can roll your eyes. There is no “growing body of evidence” because, without RCTs, there is no evidence. Without replication, all you have is an opinion.





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