September 2018

Boy could die unless given cannabis oil, says mum

Image caption Billy Caldwell, 12, has severe epilepsy

A severely epileptic boy suffered two more seizures overnight, his mother who wants to continue treating her son with cannabis oil has said.

Charlotte Caldwell, from County Tyrone, said she was “full of hope” that a solution would be found.

Her son Billy Caldwell, 12, began using cannabis oil in 2016 to control his seizures but his most recent supply was confiscated at Heathrow Airport.

According to MP Órfhlaith Begley, the Home Office has now released the oil.

In a tweet, the Sinn Féin MP said: “I’m delighted to say that I have just spoken with Charlotte to tell her that I have received official confirmation that Billy is going to receive his medication and it is on its way.”

The Home Office had earlier said it was in contact with Billy’s medical team.

In a statement to reporters on Saturday, Ms Caldwell, said she was “overwhelmed” by the professionalism and expertise of doctors at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, where Billy is being treated.

She said: “The hospital staff, Billy’s team and the Home Office are all working together. I’m confident we will find a solution. I’m praying for a miracle.”

According to Mrs Caldwell, when Billy uses the oil as his anti-epileptic medication, his “life-threatening” seizures are dramatically reduced.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Billy was admitted to hospital in London on Friday

Billy, from Castlederg, started the treatment in 2016 in the US, where medical marijuana is legal.

In 2017, he was prescribed the medication on the NHS. But in May this year, his GP was told he could no longer do so.

At the time the Department of Health in Northern Ireland said cannabis had not yet been licensed in the UK as a medicine.

Last Monday, Ms Caldwell tried to bring a six-month supply of the oil – to treat up to 100 seizures a day – into the UK from Canada but the substance was confiscated by officials at Heathrow airport.

His family said he was taken to hospital when his seizures “intensified” in recent days.

The Home Office said it was in contact with Billy Caldwell’s medical team to “carefully consider” options. A spokeswoman said it was “deeply sympathetic to the extremely difficult situation that Billy and his family are in”.

Ms Caldwell previously said the situation was “beyond cruelty”. She said: “We’ve now reached the point where Billy is too ill to travel to get his medication, but his medication is stored minutes away from where we’re now living in London.

“Despite the best and honest efforts of the NHS, frontline doctors are fighting Billy’s condition with both hands tied behind their back because the only medication that will be effective is the cannabis oil [with a banned component].”

She said doctors in Canada and Northern Ireland who were familiar with Billy’s case have described her son’s situation as life-threatening.

“The medicinal cannabis that he’s had access to the last 19 months had been doing an amazing incredible job at controlling his seizures, so this sort of has thrown me a wee bit,” she added.

“Medicinal cannabis for Billy was his anti-epileptic medication.”

On Friday, she said Billy had had “back-to-back seizures”.

“On his medication, which included the vital but banned THC component, he was seizure-free for more than 300 days,” she said.

“If Billy dies, which is looking increasingly possible, then the Home Office, and (minister) Nick Hurd, will be held completely accountable.”

Billy’s family later said he could now only be treated with hospital-administered medication because doctors said it was too dangerous to treat him with “rescue meds” at home.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cannabis oil is not licensed in the UK as a medicine

A Home Office statement said it was “deeply sympathetic to the extremely difficult situation that Billy and his family are in”.

“Billy is in the care of medical professionals who are best placed to assess the care and treatment that he requires,” it said.

“The Home Office is contacting Billy’s medical team. If the team treating Billy advise a particular course of urgent action, the Home Office will carefully consider what options are available to help facilitate that advice.”


Does cannabis have medicinal benefits?

CBD and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two types of cannabinoids found naturally in the resin of the marijuana plant.

A cannabis-based drug called Sativex has been licensed in the UK to treat MS. It contains THC and CBD.

Doctors could, in theory, prescribe it for other things outside of this licence, but at their own risk.

MS patients prescribed Sativex, who resupply it to other people, also face prosecution.

Another licensed treatment is Nabilone. It contains an artificial version of THC and can be given to cancer patients to help relieve nausea during chemotherapy.

Source: NHS Choices


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Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk

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Am I Stoned? New App Tells You How High You Really Are

Want to know how high you are? There’s an app for that. Or rather, there could be very soon.

While it is now perfectly legal to light up a spliff in nine US states (29 if you count medical marijuana), there is no accurate way to tell how stoned a person is. A drunk driver can be assessed with a breathalyzer but for several reasons, a similar device cannot be used to test for marijuana intoxication. 

So instead, the government is funding the development of an app, which they’ve simply called Am I Stoned?

Right now, it is just a prototype and there are still a few glitches to figure out (more on that later) but the results so far have been promising.

The app has been designed to work out how high a user is based on their performance on a series of digital tasks that can be completed on mobile or desktop. The tasks test the user on their cognitive speed, reaction time, fine motor ability, and memory, which the app then compares to the user’s baseline (created when they weren’t high).

In a double-blind study, researchers tested both the mobile and desktop versions on 24 volunteers. Some had been given a placebo, others a mild dose (7.5 milligrams) of THC, the psychoactive compound found in cannabis, and the rest were given a higher dose of THC (15 milligrams). 

The results were not perfect. The mobile app was able to accurately assess whether the user was impaired in just one of the four tasks. The desktop version did a little better and correctly predicted whether or not a user was high in three of the four tasks.

“The effects of THC on performance may be subtle, so we need highly sensitive tasks to detect impairments,” explained Elisa Pabon, a doctoral student at the University of Chicago who presented the results at the American Society for Pharmacology and Therapeutics on Tuesday.

“It is likely that the computer tasks, which took 15 to 20 minutes to complete, were more sensitive to THC impairment because they provided more opportunity to detect a drug effect.”

Aside from the obvious, there are a few other issues the researchers need to smooth out. For example, there are certain effects of marijuana, including vigilance and judgment planning, that are not currently being tested for and which would help the app accurately assess how high the user is. It also does not consider the fact that with a little practice a user could improve their performance over time and outsmart the app. 

For now, it seems, the users themselves might be the best measure of how stoned they really are. The study found that users were “generally aware” of whether they were high or not. 

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com

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The future of weed is microdosing. This company is ahead of the game

Pax CEOBharat Vasan and the Pax Era (not to scale), which will now help you microdose.
Image: pax

It’s rare that you find a company that specifically wants to help you use its product less, especially in the marijuana space. But that’s just what vaporizer maker Pax Labs is delivering in an update to its Pax Era device and app Tuesday: the ability to inhale cannabis in truly tiny doses.

This is unusual, because the era of pot prohibition was all about more: growers with limited space competed to give you a bigger and better high, packing their strains of weed with ever greater amounts of THC (and more recently the other major active ingredient, CBD). 

In the first flush of pot legalization, this extreme potency trend continued. Edibles were enormously strong (as columnist Maureen Dowd famously discovered to her chagrin), and the fashionable thing among some stoners was “dabbing” — superheating concentrated cannabinoid oil for a fast, insanely strong high. 

But with legalization spreading rapidly across the country — just yesterday, New York state got behind it — times have changed. The frontier of middle-class consumerism has opened up. Stressed suburban moms and busy executives are the new target audience, not stoners with high tolerance levels. 

Microdosing has been a thing for some time; it’s also an increasingly popular therapeutic way to take LSD. But when it comes to marijuana, establishing what doctors call the minimal effective dose has involved experimenting with tinctures or taking tiny amounts of edibles — not necessarily something a newbie has the patience or the gumption to do. 

Enter the Pax Era. Launched in late 2016, this $30 flash drive-sized vape uses concentrate-filled “pods” made by third parties (more than 250 kinds of pod are now available at dispensaries across the U.S.). If it looks just like the popular nicotine vape called the Juul, that’s because Pax Labs was spun off from the company that became Juul in 2017. 

Pax has been busy post-Juul. It brought on a new CEO, Bharat Vasan: steeped in Silicon Valley, Vasan was an executive at Electronic Arts, then co-founded a wearable device company that was bought by Intel for $100 million, then sold a smart lock and doorbell company before Pax came calling. The Era’s new microdosing ability comes via an update to its Bluetooth-linked app (iOS or Android) called Session Control. It marks Vasan’s first major impact on Pax’s direction.

The Pax Era’s new dosing options.

Image: pax

“Session Control make the vaping experience more predictable for people, especially those who are new to cannabis,” says Vasan. He and Jesse Silver, who is both Pax Labs’ VP of product and a prolific Burning Man artist, gave me an advance look at how it works. 

Up until now, the Pax app has allowed you to set the temperature of the vapor, allowing either for more subtle flavor or larger clouds from the Era. If that’s the horizontal axis (literally, on the app) Vasan and Silver see Session Control as the vertical axis controlling how much you get.

Turn the feature on and you have the options of micro, small, medium or large doses. A bar appears on the screen. Once you fill the bar with green by inhaling on the Pax Era, you’re done — or rather, you’re locked out of using the device for 30 seconds. 

Of course, you can just keep hitting the Pax again after 30 seconds if you want to defeat the purpose. (Or, if you’re not in the app, take the pod out and put it back in to disable Session Control.) But for those who are actively seeking moderation, or looking to eke out the contents of those expensive Pax Pods (which sell for anywhere between $30 and $100, depending on the strain), it’s an excellent constraint. 

The microdose is truly micro, and provides probably the most discreet, extremely low-level buzz you’ll ever feel. You could probably take a hit in the middle of a meeting and no one would notice. (Not that we’re recommending that.) 

How did Pax decide what a micro hit was? Technically, it’s all about the number of joules (not Juuls) of energy applied to the Pod by the Pax’s USB-chargeable battery. This is why you shouldn’t expect to see Session Control on Pax’s larger and more expensive vaporizer for cannabis flower, the $200 Pax 3; it’s harder to control the amount of energy provided to the Pax 3’s oven. That thing gets so hot, you can get high from it immediately after it’s turned off.  

But how did Pax decide how many joules were necessary? With the help of feedback from a large and enthusiastic beta testing community. This kind of feedback will determine where the company will go with Session Control technology in the future — possibly providing an “Extra Large” option, Vasan suggested, or an even more micro microdose. Or maybe allowing users with poor impulse control to change the amount of time they’re locked out of the device. 

Regardless, it’s an intriguing strategy that helps Pax in its goal to become what Vasan calls the iPhone of vaporizers: it just works, however you want it to work. Technically, encouraging people to use the product less (or in smaller doses) doesn’t affect Pax Labs’ bottom line, since the Pods are all filled by third parties. Pax just makes empty Pods and licenses their use.   

And if more people have a better, low level, more manageable experience while vaping weed, perhaps they’ll become long-term customers. And perhaps they’ll sample more Pax Pods now that they can effectively sip them. In this, as in so many other areas of consumption, less is more. 

Read more: http://mashable.com/

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Ex-Speaker John Boehner Joins Marijuana Firms Advisory Board

  • Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld also added
  • Watershed moment for cannabis as drug goes mainstream

The U.S. marijuana industry has a new spokesman: John Boehner.

The Republican former Speaker of the House has joined the advisory board of Acreage Holdings, a company that cultivates, processes and dispenses cannabis in 11 U.S. states. Boehner’s endorsement, after saying nine years ago he was “unalterably opposed” to legalization, could be considered a watershed event: Marijuana has gone mainstream.

“Over the last 10 or 15 years, the American people’s attitudes have changed dramatically,” he said in an interview. “I find myself in that same position.”

Sixty-four percent of Americans, including a majority of both Republicans and Democrats, want to legalize it, according to an October Gallup survey. That’s the most since the pollster began asking the question in 1969, when 12 percent of the population favored legalization.

Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld will join Boehner on the advisory board of Acreage, which holds 35 licenses for cannabis businesses in the U.S. Boehner, 68, was first elected to the House of Representatives from Southwest Ohio in 1990. He was Speaker from 2011 to 2015, when he resigned amid problems with an increasingly fractious Republican caucus.

Since then, he’s served as a board member for tobacco company Reynolds American Inc. and adviser for global law firm Squire Patton Boggs US LLP. Weld, 72, who was governor from 1991 to 1997, was the Libertarian Party’s candidate for vice president in 2016.

‘Immensely Positive’

“We view this advocacy that we get from these two gentlemen as immensely positive for the industry,” said George Allen, Acreage’s president.

The politicians are a sign of a watershed moment for the industry, according to Vahan Ajamian, an analyst at Beacon Securities Ltd.

“It is difficult to overstate the impact of this monumental event for the U.S. cannabis sector,” he said in a note Wednesday after Bloomberg broke the news.

The two former Republican politicians join Acreage as current officeholders vacillate on their support for weed. President Donald Trump has gone back and forth, while Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a longtime opponent. The Justice Department in January rescinded the Obama-era policies that allowed state legal pot markets to flourish.

Both Boehner and Weld say they’ve never tried the drug, but adult recreational use is legal in nine states and Washington, D.C. That means more than one in five American adults can partake. Twenty additional states allow for some form of medical marijuana. The legal market is expected to reach $75 billion by 2030, according to the investment bank Cowen & Co.

Still, the drug remains federally illegal and is classified as a Schedule I narcotic, the harshest of five government ratings.

Supported Referendum

Weld said he’s been in favor of medical marijuana since 1992 and supported the referendum that legalized recreational pot use in his home state in 2016.

“I was a little bit ahead of the field there,” he said in an interview.

Even so, his belief in the functionality of the plant has grown, he said, especially when it comes to easing the opioid crisis.

“Cannabis could be perceived as an exit drug, not a gateway drug,” he said.

Boehner said his perspective shifted after he saw the plant’s efficacy in helping a close friend deal with debilitating back pain. Marijuana’s potential use as a treatment for veterans helped sway him, too. Plus he’s been studying the problems of the U.S. criminal justice system for years.

“When you look at the number of people in our state and federal penitentiaries, who are there for possession of small amounts of cannabis, you begin to really scratch your head,” Boehner said. “We have literally filled up our jails with people who are nonviolent and frankly do not belong there.”

10th Amendment

On top of all those reasons to support the plant, Boehner and Weld say the debate over legalization is, at its core, a discussion of the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which allows states to do what they want.

“If some states don’t want marijuana to be legal, that’s their prerogative,” Weld said. “But that shouldn’t be dictated by the nanny state in Washington.”

Despite the GOP mostly lauding the amendment, Republican politicians have been split on the cannabis issue. Sessions’ harsh words for marijuana, and his decision to roll back Obama-era protections, didn’t deter Boehner or Weld’s decisions to get involved with the industry, they said.

“When I saw the announcement, I almost chuckled to myself,” Boehner said, referring to the policy reversal. “I don’t know why they decided to do this. It could be that the attorney general is trying to force the Congress to act.”

Winding Road

The politicians’ years in public office may help the company navigate the winding road to federal legalization.

“When it comes to an issue like this, that has what I’ll call murky legal issues and political issues, we’re there to provide advice to Acreage in terms of how they work with state and federal governments, how they work with local governments and advice on what states look promising,” Boehner said.

Neither Boehner nor Weld has made a financial investment in Acreage, though Weld says he’s considering it.

“Millennials who will inherit the kingdom before long, they are even more positive about cannabis than the populous at large,” Weld said. “You can look at the trend of millennial opinion and you can see the future.”

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/

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Trump Backs State-Level Marijuana Regulation, Lifting Pot Stocks

Trump Backs State-Level Marijuana Regulation, Lifting Pot Stocks

Updated on
  • Colorado’s Gardner says he received assurances from president
  • White House spokeswoman says Gardner statement ‘accurate’

President Donald Trump endorsed letting states decide how to regulate marijuana, in a major boost for the legal pot industry.

Colorado Republican Senator Cory Gardner said that as a result of Trump’s assurances, he’ll end a blockade of Justice Department nominees. Gardner held up the nominees after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an earlier Justice Department memo that shielded marijuana operations in states like Colorado from enforcement of the federal ban on the drug.

"Since the campaign, President Trump has consistently supported states’ rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana," Gardner said in a statement Friday. “President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Gardner’s statement is “accurate.” She didn’t elaborate.

“The president did speak with Senator Gardner yesterday and again today,” Sanders told reporters Friday at the White House, adding, "the president is a firm believer" in states’ rights.

Marijuana is legal for medicinal use in 29 states and for recreational use in eight.

Marijuana stocks surged on the news, which removed the threat posed by Sessions’s decision in January to rescind an Obama-era policy that helped states legalize recreational pot.

Canada’s Canopy Growth Corp., the largest cannabis producer by market value, jumped as much as 11 percent in its biggest intraday advance since March 5. Medical-marijuana supplier Aphria Inc. climbed as much as 21 percent in Toronto trading.

Gardner said he’s lifting his hold and working with colleagues on legislation that would protect marijuana operations in states that have legalized the drug. The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump offered qualified support for legalization while on the presidential campaign trail, saying that medical marijuana “should happen” and that laws regarding recreational usage should be left in the hands of the states.

Sessions, on the other hand, has been an outspoken opponent of state marijuana laws.

The Justice Department under President Barack Obama created guardrails for federal prosecution of the sale and possession of cannabis, which remains illegal under federal law, and allowed legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country. Under Sessions’s approach, U.S. attorneys in states where pot is legal were given approval to prosecute cases where they see fit.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/

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Trump now backs marijuana ‘states rights’ bill, senator says

President Donald Trump has reportedly lent his support to a U.S. senator from Colorado, promising to back legislation that “protects states’ rights” on legalized marijuana.

The president’s decision would represent a split from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who in January rescinded an Obama-era policy, known as “the Cole memo,” that gave states more leeway over the federal government on marijuana policy.

The name refers to former Deputy Attorney General James Cole, whose memo explained the policy.

In a statement Friday, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, said he’d received an assurance from the president on the states’ rights’ issue earlier this week.

“Since the campaign, President Trump has consistently supported states’ rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana,” Gardner said. “Late Wednesday, I received a commitment from the President that the Department of Justice’s rescission of the Cole memo will not impact Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.

“Furthermore,” Gardner added, “President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all.”

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., addresses reporters, Jan. 22, 2018.  (Associated Press)

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Gardner’s account of the president’s thinking — but Sessions’ reaction was not immediately known.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, candidate Trump said states should be able to decide their own marijuana policies. “I’m a states person, it should be up to the states, absolutely,” he told a television interviewer in Colorado that year.

However, a year earlier at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) in Maryland, Trump had said he supported medical marijuana but called recreational pot “bad.”

He singled out Colorado, the first state to allow recreational marijuana sales. “They’ve got a lot of problems going on right now in Colorado – some big problems,” Trump said then.

When Trump selected Sessions, a former federal prosecutor and U.S. senator from Alabama, as his attorney general, marijuana supporters girded for a crackdown. But Gardner said Sessions had promised him he’d do nothing to interfere with Colorado’s robust marijuana market.

Gardner said he was blindsided when Sessions made his announcement in January regarding pot prosecutions.

In retaliation, Gardner used his power as a senator to prevent consideration of any nominees for the Department of Justice — an extraordinary step for a senator to use against an administration run by another member of his party.

Recently, Gardner and Justice officials have been in discussions for months to get the holds lifted. Gardner has met with Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the official overseeing the Russia probe who has been the target of Trump’s ire.

In his Friday statement, Gardner said he had released some holds, but left others in place until he acquired “a full commitment that the guidelines of the Cole Memo would be respected.”

Meanwhile, legislation to protect states where marijuana is legal is still being drafted. Trump’s backing is seen as key to getting a bill through Congress.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Jake Gibson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

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Public shareholders got high today on Tilray, the first marijuana company to IPO on Nasdaq

Tilray, a five-year-old, British Columbia-based medical cannabis company that sells its products to patients, researchers, pharmacies and even governments, saw its shares get high (sorry) on the Nasdaq today, after the company priced 9 million shares at $17 apiece and watched them soar, closing at $22.39, a jump of slightly more than 32 percent.

It was the first cannabis company to conduct a U.S. IPO, and in the process it raised $153 million, capital it will reportedly use in part to fuel its marijuana growing and processing facilities in Ontario.

The momentum behind Tilray is a huge win for the cannabis industry, which has been growing like a weed (sorry again). Related startups attracted $593 million in funding last year, twice what they raised in 2016 and a meaningful jump from the $121 million invested in related startups in 2014, according to CB Insights. Among the different types of companies to garner investor dollars, shows CB Insights’ research, are: startups focused on research or distribution of medical marijuana products (as with Tilray); tools for ensuring compliance with state and federal marijuana laws; startups focused on payments for marijuana companies; startups collecting data and producing marketing insights about the industry; and companies creating novel strains and types of marijuana using new farming techniques.

Tilray’s performance today is also a very positive signal for Seattle-based Privateer Holdings, a private equity firm that owned 100 percent of the startup as it headed into its offering. In fact, Privateer’s CEO, Brendan Kennedy, is also the CEO of Tilray. (Cannabis companies are weird.)

Privateer has itself raised more than $200 million since its founding in 2010, including from Founders Fund and Subversive Capital, and it has used that money to finance, acquire and incubate companies. While it incubated Tilray, for example, it also owns Leafly, a large cannabis information resource that it acquired in 2011. Another of its portfolio companies is Marley Natural, a Bob Marley-branded cannabis line that it launched in partnership with Marley’s estate and that sells a line of cannabis strains, smoking accessories and even body care products.

It isn’t exactly clear how much Privateer had sunk into Tilray (we have a press request into the company). Tilray announced C$60 million in Series A funding back in February, money it said had come from a “group of leading global institutional investors.” But according to its S-1, it was solely owned until today by Privateer.

What we do know: Tilray remains unprofitable, reporting a net loss of $7.8 million last year. The company also cannot sell its products in the U.S. market, given that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, even though 30 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized it in some form. The reason: The U.S. government classifies marijuana as a schedule 1 drug, meaning it’s considered to have no medical value and a high potential for abuse.

That could change, but as this Vox explainer makes clear, a review process for the current schedule would need to be initiated by either the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services or the Attorney General, and current Attorney General Jeff Sessions despises marijuana, saying once that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.

He seems to be among a dwindling minority. According to a Gallup Poll published last October, 64 percent of Americans favor legalization.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com

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Meet Permit Patty, The Newest White Lady Getting Meme’d For Calling The Cops On An Eight-Year-Old Black Girl

Behold, we’ve got a BBQ Becky 2.0! An Oakland woman named Alison Ettel recently called the police on an eight-year-old girl who was selling water bottles outside of her apartment building on the grounds of her “not having a permit.” The internet immediately jumped all over the situation as a golden meme opportunity when it was released that Ettel is the CEO of a medical marijuana company for dogs. The most hilariously ironic detail of the whole situation is that she has reportedly been operating her business without the proper permit herself.

Let the Permit Patty memes commence!


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