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Recreational Weed Reduces Demand for Codeine Says New Study



cannabis for codeine

Opioids are potent, addictive, and dangerous pharmaceutical medications. This class of medicines are made with chemicals that are designed to relax the body and thus, relieve pain.


Prescription opioids are given to patients of various conditions for treating moderate to severe pain. However, due to its extremely addictive qualities, many patients have become addicted to opioids and this has notoriously led to many fatalities around the country. The opioid crisis has taken thousands of lives over the past few years, yet doctors and pharmacies are still there, doling it out.


Some common examples of opioids include codeine, morphine, oxycodone, methadone, and hydrocodone. Thankfully, the rise of cannabis legalization has helped to curb the opioid crisis.


In one of the latest studies, data shows that recreational cannabis laws have been linked to a reduced demand for codeine. The study, which was published in the journal, Health Economics, was conducted by researchers associated with New York’s Cornell University together with the George Mason University in Virginia. They sought to understand how recreational cannabis laws affected, if any, the distribution of opioids to pharmacies and hospitals.


The researchers discovered that there was a 26% decrease in demand for distribution of codeine to pharmacies in 10 states and Washington DC. They also found that pharmacy distribution of codeine dropped even further to 37% after these laws have been around for four years. The study’s authors state that this is one of the first studies to explain the effects of recreational cannabis laws to the shipment and distribution of opioids to distributors including hospitals and pharmacies. They analyzed data from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Automation of Reports and Consolidation Orders System, which monitors the flow of controlled substances.


“Among prescription opioids, codeine misuse is especially high,” explains study author, Coleman Drake, who is also an assistant professor of health policy and management in the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health. He adds that the study’s findings suggest that people may be using recreational cannabis as an alternative to codeine.


“A reduction in the misuse of opioids can save lives,” adds Shyam Raman, another study author and a doctoral candidate for Cornell’s Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy. “Our research indicates that recreational cannabis laws substantially reduce distribution of codeine to pharmacies, an overlooked potential benefit to legalizing recreational cannabis use.”


However, even if they saw a reduction in demand for codeine, they didn’t see any significant decreases in oxycodone, morphine, and hydrocodone distribution.


“This finding is particularly meaningful,” said Drake. “Where previous studies have focused on more potent opioids, codeine is a weaker drug with a higher potential for addiction. It indicates people may be obtaining codeine from pharmacies for misuse, and that recreational cannabis laws reduce this illicit demand,” he adds.


Whether for pain or as a recreational drug, there are many benefits for substituting cannabis for codeine and other opioids.


Misuse and abuse of opioids can lead to hypoxia, a medical condition that arises as a result of too little oxygen reaching the brain. As a result, individuals can suffer from slowed breathing which in turn leads to brain damage, or even a coma and eventual death.


Another recent review of longitudinal studies conducted by researchers out of Montreal, Canada found similar results, that cannabis legalization laws have been associated with a reduction in prescription opioid consumption. The review, which was published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, involved analyzing 32 longitudinal studies assessing the public health outcomes among states with recreational cannabis laws and compared it to states without such laws.


“Most research articles included in this topic were evaluated as having high-quality evidence,” said the researchers. “As such, the evidence is sufficient to establish a potentially beneficial association between recreational marijuana legalization and prescription opioid patterns,” they wrote.



Cannabis Over Opioids


These are just some of many studies which all share similar findings. It’s not surprising, given that cannabis has so many more benefits compared to opioids, which are dangerous and addictive.


For patients who are struggling with chronic pain, cannabis does a better job at treating it. A study conducted by researchers from the State University of New York at Albany and New York State Department of Health analyzed how medical cannabis impacted opioid consumption of 8,000 patients with chronic pain. These patients were being prescribed with opioids (long-term opioid therapy or LOT), and were studied for 8 months.


The researchers found that the morphine milligram intake (MME) of patients reduced after they were given cannabis. These statistics were found to decrease even more as time went on. “In this cohort study of patients receiving LOT, receiving MC (medical cannabis) for a longer duration was associated with reductions in opioid dosages,” wrote the researchers. “These findings contribute robust evidence for clinicians regarding the potential benefits of MC in reducing the opioid burden for patients receiving LOT and possibly reducing their risk for overdose,” wrote the researchers.


Meanwhile, another study from January reported that almost 1 in every 3 patients with chronic pain turn to marijuana for treatment. Additionally, many of them do so as an alternative to opioids. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, who polled 1,724 adults with chronic pain living in states with medical cannabis laws.


Given the consistency of these findings, it’s clear that patients are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of marijuana as well as the risks of opioids. Whether you need medication or a recreational drug, cannabis is always the safer alternative.





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I Vote with My Bong




voters vote for legalization regardless of party

Cannabis Consumers are non-partisan, they vote for weed!


Election season is upon us once again, which means one thing – it’s time for politicians to make big promises in exchange for your vote. Like a one-night stand, they whisper sweet nothings about all the wonderful things they’ll do for you. But once the ballots are counted, they crawl back into bed with their true love – corporate special interests and lobbyists.


Cannabis policy is no exception to this quadrennial political pandering. In recent years, as public support for marijuana legalization has soared, candidates have been quick with flashy public gestures and statements backing reform. But a closer look reveals that much of it is just smoke and mirrors, with little tangible progress made once elections are over.


However, a fascinating new poll conducted by NuggMD, a medical marijuana telehealth company, suggests cannabis consumers are growing wise to these panderous tricks. The survey of likely voters who regularly use marijuana found that party affiliation takes a back seat for this voting bloc. A solid majority – 59% – said they would vote for a pro-cannabis candidate regardless of party. Only 14% were locked into voting along party lines.


This flexible, policy-focused mindset among cannabis voters is something candidates in both parties should take note of heading into the 2024 elections. Empty promises and token gestures likely won’t cut it. As the number of regular cannabis consumers continues to grow into a formidable chunk of the electorate, delivering real reforms may become essential to earning their critical and increasingly coveted votes.


The marijuana voting bloc has the power to swing elections – but they won’t be easily swayed by transparent pandering. Politicians across the aisle would be wise to back up their cannabis-friendly overtures with substantive action, or risk seeing this key demographic walk away unimpressed.


A Deeper Look into the Mind of the Cannabis User


The NuggMD poll provides an illuminating glimpse into the political mindset of American cannabis consumers. The survey, conducted from March 25 to April 3, 2023, collected responses from 755 likely voters who regularly use marijuana. With over-indexing in key swing states like Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, the results carry heightened electoral significance.


On the question of cannabis policy as a voting issue, the poll found that marijuana reform is far from a fringe concern. A combined 53% said cannabis policy is either “the only issue I care about” (6%) or “one of several issues I care about” (47%). This suggests that candidates’ stances on marijuana legalization and regulation could play a pivotal role in shaping the choices of this voter segment.


The poll also probed cannabis consumers’ views on the two major political parties. Neither party scored a ringing endorsement, with only 27% viewing Republicans as having better ideas for the country and 38% favoring Democrats. A sizable 35% saw no difference between the parties. On cannabis policy specifically, 56% believed Democrats have better ideas compared to just 16% for Republicans. However, a notable 28% felt the parties were the same on this issue.


These lukewarm partisan preferences were reflected in the hypothetical matchups. In a generic Democrat vs. Republican contest, cannabis voters broke 38% for the Democrat, 21% for the Republican, with a large 33% saying it depends and they could go either way. The current expected matchup of Biden vs. Trump yielded a 43-36% edge for the incumbent president among these voters.


Perhaps most tellingly, the poll laid bare cannabis consumers’ dismal views of politicians’ grasp on marijuana issues. A staggering 88% said elected officials need to understand cannabis markets and culture to effectively legislate, but 73% felt officials lack even a basic understanding of these areas. Respondents overwhelmingly pointed to younger politicians as more likely to “get it” on cannabis.


This disconnect between politicians and their cannabis-using constituents could stem from a broader crisis of confidence in the political system among this group. When asked why marijuana hasn’t been federally legalized despite strong public support, the top answers were all variations on a theme of governmental dysfunction and unresponsiveness: legislators don’t care what voters want (36%), the legislative process moves slower than public opinion (41%), interference from anti-legalization interests (39%).


In this context of mistrust and frustration, it’s little wonder that cannabis voters are increasingly prioritizing concrete policy results over party loyalty. Politicians who hope to win over this growing voter bloc in 2024 and beyond will need to move beyond vague 420-friendly platitudes. Demonstrating a true understanding of cannabis culture and delivering meaningful reforms will likely be key to unlocking the marijuana vote going forward.


The NuggMD poll underscores that cannabis consumers are a rapidly evolving political force that defies simplistic partisan categorization. As their numbers swell, these voters seem poised to reshape electoral dynamics around marijuana policy in the years to come. Whichever party – and candidates – successfully appeal to this bloc could see a significant boost at the ballot box.


Time for New Blood: The Old Guard’s Grip is Slipping


For too long, our political and economic systems have been built on a foundation of prohibition, warfare, and exploitation. But the cracks in this crumbling edifice are growing harder to ignore. The masses are waking up to the reality that these archaic structures serve the interests of a powerful few, not the greater good. Nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of cannabis policy.


The government’s stubborn resistance to marijuana reform, despite overwhelming public support, has become a glaring emblem of how out of touch our leaders are. One can’t help but wonder if their real motivation for clinging to prohibition is fear – fear that a population with expanded consciousness might see through the illusions of the status quo.


Cannabis has a way of breaking down barriers and binary thinking. It encourages a more nuanced, holistic perspective that prioritizes human well-being over partisan loyalties. In a political landscape increasingly defined by polarization and tribalism, this mindset is a radical departure. And it terrifies those who profit from division.


But the tides are turning. As more people experience the benefits of marijuana firsthand, the stigma and scaremongering of the past are losing their potency. The rise of the cannabis voter bloc, as highlighted by the recent NuggMD poll, is a clear sign that business as usual is no longer cutting it. People are hungry for bold, authentically pro-cannabis leadership.


Imagine a candidate who not only pledged to legalize marijuana but also articulated a vision for America as a global leader in the cannabis and hemp industries. A candidate who recognized the potential for these plants to revolutionize medicine, environmental sustainability, and social justice. Such a figure would surely be met with a groundswell of grassroots enthusiasm.


Unfortunately, it’s hard to picture any of our current crop of politicians taking on this mantle. They’re too deeply entrenched in the old ways, too beholden to the corporate masters who pull their strings. The half-hearted nods to cannabis reform we hear from them now ring hollow, like bread and circuses meant to placate the masses without fundamentally challenging the status quo.


But change is coming, with or without them. As younger generations who have grown up with legal marijuana come of age, they’re bringing a new paradigm of politics and leadership. One that puts people and planet above profits and power games. One that recognizes the value of plant medicines like cannabis in healing our society’s wounds.


So when you hear the latest cannabis promises from on high, take them with a grain of salt. The old guard may talk the talk when backed into a corner, but they’re unlikely to walk the walk. Their time is running out.


The era of politicians who represent only the interests of their corporate patrons is coming to an end. The future belongs to leaders who truly stand with the people – and the plants. In the coming years, expect to see a new breed of candidates who don’t just pay lip service to marijuana reform, but who embody its principles of compassion, freedom, and unity. The rise of the cannabis voter is just the beginning of this great awakening.





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Tripping Balls in Color for the First Time




psilocybin color blind

Psychedelics have long been associated with inducing vivid visual experiences, often described as “trips” or “visions.” These mind-altering substances, such as LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, and DMT, have intrigued scientists, philosophers, and artists alike for their profound effects on consciousness.


However, amidst the fascination with their psychoactive properties, an intriguing question arises: Could psychedelics potentially benefit eyesight?

Understanding Psychedelics and Visions

Before delving into the potential effects of psychedelics on eyesight, it’s essential to grasp how these substances interact with the brain to induce altered states of consciousness. Psychedelics primarily target serotonin receptors in the brain, particularly the 5-HT2A receptor. By binding to these receptors, psychedelics alter the functioning of neural circuits, leading to changes in perception, mood, and cognition.


One of the hallmark effects of psychedelics is the induction of visual hallucinations or “visions.” Users often report seeing intricate geometric patterns, vibrant colors, and surreal landscapes during a psychedelic experience. These visions are thought to arise from disrupting the brain’s default mode network, leading to heightened sensory processing and altered perception of reality.

The Potential Link Between Psychedelics and Eyesight

While the psychedelic experience is primarily a product of altered brain activity, some researchers have speculated about the potential effects of these substances on visual perception and eyesight. The hypothesis stems from anecdotal reports of enhanced visual acuity and clarity during psychedelic trips.


Some users claim to perceive details with greater precision, experience heightened color perception, and even report temporary improvements in visual clarity. However, the scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited and mostly anecdotal.


Controlled studies specifically investigating the impact of psychedelics on eyesight are scarce. Additionally, the subjective nature of the psychedelic experience makes it challenging to draw definitive conclusions about their effects on vision.

Research on The Effects of Psychedelics On Color Blindness

Color blindness stems from genetic mutations altering structures within our eyes known as cones. These structures are responsible for detecting light and transmitting signals to the brain. Cones contain pigments sensitive to red, green, or blue light. Some individuals lack one type of cone altogether.


The most prevalent form, deuteranomaly, affects individuals who possess all three cones but with defects in one. This condition, associated with an X-chromosome mutation, disproportionately affects men.


Approximately 1 in 20 men are estimated to have deuteranomaly. Diagnosis typically involves the Ishihara test, which employs patterned and colored plates to reveal numbers. High scores indicate normal vision, while lower scores suggest varying degrees of color blindness.


A case report authored by researchers from the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Behavioral Health, Neurological Institute in Ohio, looks into the potential benefits of psilocybin for color blindness.


Published in the journal Drug Science, Policy and Law, the report references a self-study by a colleague who noted vision enhancement after psilocybin use. It also underscores the need for deeper exploration into the therapeutic applications of psychedelics, given previous reports hinting at their potential.


The Study

In a recent investigation, an individual with mild red-green color vision deficiency (deuteranomaly) undertook a self-administered Ishihara Test to gauge the extent and duration of color vision enhancement following the ingestion of 5 grams of dried psilocybin magic mushrooms.


According to the subject’s self-reported Ishihara Test findings, there was a partial enhancement in color vision, peaking at eight days and persisting for at least 16 days post-psilocybin intake. This study underscores the imperative of delving deeper into the potential therapeutic applications of psychedelics in addressing color blindness.


The Ishihara Test results reveal the scores on questions 1–21 following psilocybin self-administration, except the final evaluation at 436 days post-administration.


The participant in the study had prior encounters with psychedelics, including one instance of MDMA usage, two instances of psilocybin mushroom usage, five oral LSD ingestions, and seven inhalations of DMT. Following these episodes, the participant noted increased enhancements in color vision for several months.


Before consuming the psilocybin mushrooms, the participant self-administered the Ishihara Test. This test comprises a sequence of graphics composed of a mosaic of colored dots of various sizes and colours.


The cards of the test are designed to conceal images from individuals with color blindness that would be noticeable to those with normal color vision. For instance, a graphic containing red and green dots might show “3” only with red dots, visible to most individuals but not to those with color blindness.


In the initial Ishihara Test, the participant scored 14 on plates 1-21, indicating mild red-green color blindness. Additionally, four cards indicated deuteranomaly, a variant of CVD where greens appear more similar to reds.


After ingesting psilocybin, the participant reported a heightened perception of colors but only exhibited marginal improvement in the Ishihara Test score after 15 at 12 hours post-administration. However, by 24 hours post-administration, the score increased to 18, marginally surpassing the 17 threshold required for normal color vision. The score peaked at 19 on day eight and persisted within the normal range four months later.


The researchers assert that the visual effects induced by psychedelics likely stem from alterations in brain activity rather than a direct impact on the retina or peripheral vision. The observed time lapse between psilocybin consumption and color vision enhancement suggests that the mushroom may have initiated a learning process regarding color interpretation. This potentially influenced the connection between different visual regions of the brain.


The authors highlight that although color blindness typically results from a genetic anomaly, the enduring partial improvements in color vision following a single psilocybin use imply that psilocybin could potentially induce enduring changes in visual processing in specific individuals.


They advocate for future investigations to explore whether psilocybin can elicit similar enhancements in more severe instances of color blindness, analyze the correlation between psilocybin dosage and improvement, and elucidate the underlying mechanism of this intriguing phenomenon.


While psychedelics have long fascinated researchers and enthusiasts for their profound effects on consciousness, the potential link between these substances and eyesight remains intriguing yet understudied. Recent research, particularly on the effects of psilocybin on color blindness, suggests a need for further exploration into the therapeutic applications and mechanisms underlying such a situation.





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Foreign Investment in U.S. Cannabis: Five Key Considerations




Cannabis investments are difficult enough when the investor is a U.S.-based person or entity. But things can get immensely more complicated when foreign investment is on the table. Today I want to highlight some of the top considerations for foreign investors and U.S. cannabis companies alike.

1. Legality could cause serious headaches

To this day, cannabis remains federally illegal. State legality has zero effect on federal law. Even the possible rescheduling to schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) will not make cannabis federally legal. Things are clearly a mess.

In our cannabis team’s experience, a huge number of foreign investors do not appreciate the nuances between state and federal law and how it could effect them. For example, federal tax laws are unforgiving and don’t allow standard deductions for marijuana businesses. Additionally, federal illegality means that businesses will be siloed without interstate commerce, can’t get access to banking, can’t get access to basically anything for market rate, and so on.

All of these things mean that investments are simply unlikely to net big returns. Sadly to say, lots of investors end up writing off their investments. While federal legality alone isn’t the only reason that businesses, and by extension foreign investments, fail, it’s certainly a big one.

2. Cannabis investment may not be compatible with home country laws

This is actually probably more important than point 1. Cannabis is still illegal in most places in the world. There are still places where possession of cannabis can lead to the death penalty. While possession in a such a country is different from investing into the U.S., the governments in those countries may not see eye to eye, and such investments could lead to a host of different penalties. I’ve spoken with attorneys and business people from other countries who have said that foreign investment directly into a cannabis company is simply not possible.

What this can often lead to is investment into adjacent or ancillary companies in overly complicated deals. And when something is ancillary to the industry and/or a deal is overly complicated, netting a healthy return on investment is even more unlikely.

3. The cannabis industry and immigration law do not mix

Probably the first issue that comes up when looking at foreign investment is immigration and visa status. Immigration law is the province of the federal government. That means that it does not mix well with cannabis. If you’ve been in this space long enough, you’ll have heard of things like denial of naturalization petitions, denial of visas, arrests, and even lifetime bans on entry into the states. So for foreign investors who plan on relocating to the U.S. or even visiting to see the company they are investing in, there are huge risks.

4. Disclosure will likely be required

All states with legal cannabis markets require disclosure of certain people affiliated with a cannabis business. In many states, this includes investors, lenders, or people with other financial interests. Sometimes, the disclosures can be relatively benign, and in other cases much more aggressive.

For reasons expressed in points 2 and 3 above, a lot of foreign investors aren’t exactly thrilled to learn that they have to give personal data (and maybe undergo background checks) over to a state agency. This is yet another reason why foreign investments are often made into ancillary companies — to avoid disclosures. But even that isn’t always likely to fix the issue, and again, overly complicated investments into ancillary companies aren’t necessarily great.

5. Investment targets may get things wrong

Foreign investors often make a critical mistake in assuming that their targets know what they are doing. I’m not talking about operational issues — though a lot of companies clearly need help there — but about legal structures. It’s not unheard of for an investor to want to invest into a company that promises something it legally cannot do — like sell stock to a foreign investor in a state with a residency requirement. Yet things like this do happen from time to time, and once a foreign investor gives money over, it’s a lot harder to get it back.

Foreign investors who know what they are doing usually work with lawyers or other professionals experienced in their target jurisdiction, not only to diligence the target’s operations, finances, etc., but also to make sure that the fundamental aspects of the investment won’t trigger massive legal liabilities.

For some of our older posts on foreign investment in the U.S. cannabis industry, see below:

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