Doctors recommend nearly 2,000 in Ohio medical marijuana registry

State officials say doctors have submitted nearly 2,000 recommendations in the medical marijuana patient and caregiver registry for Ohio.

The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy on Monday announced that the total number of recommendations totaled 1,948, with about 1,062 people completing the information online and activating registration e-cards.

The registry is the online portal where doctors certified to recommend medical marijuana can register patients and caregivers. It went live Dec. 3.

After the state confirms who they are, recommended patients and caregivers can get registration e-cards. The cards allow them to get medical marijuana from dispensaries once they open.

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Ohio medical marijuana: First dispensary given green light to open

A medical marijuana retail outlet in the eastern Ohio village of Wintersville on Wednesday became the first dispensary to receive the green light to open from state regulators.

Cresco Labs’ CY+ dispensary – near Steubenville, about 240 miles northeast of Cincinnati – was the first of 56 state-licensed medical marijuana retail outlets to receive a certificate of operation from the state after a final inspection late last month.

“Receiving the first approval to operate is a major milestone in the transformation of the cannabis program in Ohio,” said Charles Bachtell, CEO of Chicago-based Cresco Labs. The company also runs a 50,000-square-foot growing and cultivation facility in Yellow Springs.

But even with a certificate to operate, the dispensaries can’t start selling medical marijuana until their products have been tested at state-certified testing labs for quality and potency.

So far, none of the five testing labs that have been granted provisional medical marijuana licenses in Ohio has been approved to start testing.

Two small-scale growers have already harvested their first crops, and a large-scale grower planned to harvest its first crop early this month. Marijuana must be dried and cured, which takes a couple weeks, before it can be tested.

Hocking College’s testing lab is scheduled for a final inspection Dec. 18. Lab director Jonathan Cachat told the Enquirer he expects the lab will pass and could begin collecting samples to test on Dec. 19. The lab will have a three-day turnaround for dried flower, longer for lotions, edibles and other products that likely won’t be manufactured until next year.

So if all goes according to plan, Cachat said, there may be a very small amount of marijuana buds for sale by the end of the year.

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One month of abstinence from cannabis improves memory in adolescents, young adults

A Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) study finds that one month of abstaining from cannabis use resulted in measurable improvement in memory functions important for learning among adolescents and young adults who are regular cannabis users. The study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry is one of the first to prospectively track over time changes in cognitive function associated with halting cannabis use.

“Our findings provide two pieces of convincing evidence,” says Randi Schuster, PhD, director of Neuropsychology at the Center for Addiction Medicine in the MGH Department of Psychiatry, lead author of the paper. “The first is that adolescents learn better when they are not using cannabis. The second – which is the good news part of the story – is that at least some of the deficits associated with cannabis use are not permanent and actually improve pretty quickly after cannabis use stops.”

The authors note that the use of cannabis among adolescents is common, with more than 13 percent of middle and high school students reporting cannabis use in a recent survey and rates of daily use increasing between grades 8 and 12. But adolescence is a critical time for brain maturation, specifically for brain regions that are most susceptible to the effects of cannabis. A 2016 study from the same research team found that cannabis users aged 16 and under had difficulty learning new information, a problem that was not observed in users age 17 and older.

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Shaken not slurred: James Bond had ‘a severe chronic alcohol problem,’ public health experts say

Dry martini.

Lemon peel.

Shaken — not stirred.

James Bond is unmistakably known for that cocktail and a variant, the Vesper.

But the fictional British Secret Service agent was no stranger to other drinks, including celebratory champagne and even the occasional beer. In fact, in two dozen movies over the past six decades, Bond — James Bond — was seen sipping on alcohol precisely 109 times, according to a new study published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Public health experts at the University of Otago in New Zealand analyzed Bond films from 1962 to 2015 to better understand his patterns of alcohol use.

Their findings? Bond had a “severe” and “chronic” drinking problem — and he performed some pretty risky maneuvers while under the influence of alcohol.

“Chronic risks include frequently drinking prior to fights, driving vehicles (including in chases), high-stakes gambling, operating complex machinery or devices, contact with dangerous animals, extreme athletic performance and sex with enemies, sometimes with guns or knives in the bed,” lead author Nick Wilson said in a statement.

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Older Americans Are Flocking to Medical Marijuana

Oils, tinctures and salves — and sometimes old-fashioned buds — are increasingly common in seniors’ homes. Doctors warn that popularity has outstripped scientific evidence.

Shari Horne broke her toes a decade ago, and after surgery, “I have plates and pins and screws in my feet, and they get achy at times,” she said.

So Ms. Horne, 66, applies a salve containing cannabidiol, derived from the cannabis, or marijuana, plant. It eases the pain.

The salve didn’t help when she developed bursitis in her shoulder, but a tincture of cannabidiol mixed with T.H.C., the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, provided relief.

Using a pipe, she also smokes “a few hits” of a cannabis brand called Blue Dream after dinner, because “I think relaxing is healthy for you.”

Many of her neighbors in Laguna Woods, Calif., a community of mostly older adults in Orange County, where she serves on the City Council, have developed similar routines.

“People in their 80s and 90s, even retired Air Force colonels, are finding such relief” with cannabis, said Ms. Horne. “Almost everybody I know is using it in one form or another” — including her husband Hal, 68, a retired insurance broker, who says it helps him sleep.

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Barclays lets mobile banking users block gambling and drinking

Barclays has become the first high street bank to allow customers to block payments with certain types of retailers in an effort to give people struggling with addictions more control over their spending.

The feature will be available from Tuesday for customers using the bank’s mobile app and could help those dealing with gambling problems to cut off their spending in betting shops and on gambling websites. People can also block their own spending in pubs, bars, supermarkets and on premium-rate websites and phone lines.

A button within the Barclays mobile banking app enables customers to choose which types of retailers they are able to spend with. Attempted payments that fall within the “turned off” category will be declined automatically.

The feature is available to all Barclays debit card customers and will be rolled out to credit card holders in the near future.

Barclays said the move would help all its customers take greater control over where their money can be spent, as well as making them less vulnerable to fraud and scams.

The bank’s work has used research from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute set up by personal finance journalist Martin Lewis. It also worked with the Money Advice Trust to identify the types of customer who would benefit from the initiative. These include people with mental health issues and addictions as well as those who rely on carers or a guardian to handle their finances.

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Sobering Thoughts About Alcohol Sales At College Stadiums

The college football bowls are upon us, raising the big question of the season–will they sell beer at the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl?  “Yes” is a good bet. In fact, this year saw a rapidly increasing number of universities allowing fans to buy alcohol at on-campus sporting venues.

Ten years ago, fewer than a dozen big-time football universities permitted beer sales in their stadiums. Today more than 50–about a third of all Division I FBS schools–sell beer at their football venues, and a growing list of smaller schools are also bellying up to stadium bars. Several universities are going a step further, allowing brewers to place university brands and logos on their products. At the University of Texas, Longhorn fans have a new slogan – “Horns Up, Limes In” – the result of UT’s partnership with Corona.

In-venue alcohol sales are now permitted at most postseason bowl games, and the NCAA (never known to let a cash cow go un-milked) no longer bans alcohol sales at its championship events.

Of course, there is no secret as to why an increasing number of schools have jumped on the beer-sales wagon. At most universities, attendance and revenue at athletic events are down as more and more fans stay home and turn on HDTV instead of trekking to the stadium. As one marketing executive explained, “The parking is free in my driveway. The bathroom is eight steps away. I have all the cold beer I can drink in my fridge and, if this game is bad, there are another 25 games I can see.” Beer companies are eager partners; beer sales are down relative to wine and spirits, so brewers also are looking for any new opportunity to pour more.

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A fraternity hazing ritual killed our son. Now, we’re making sense of his senseless death.

In some ways, 10 years is a long time. In others, it’s gone in an instant.

We were married in the fall of 1984. Ten years later, we were busy raising two boys: Hayden, age 6, and Carson, age 4. Another decade later, these two happy and healthy young men were just a few years away from being ready to leave the nest and conquer the world.

Then, on December 2, 2008, everything changed. Less than two decades after Carson came into our lives, he died following a Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity hazing initiation ritual where he was compelled to drink large quantities of Everclear and other hard alcohol — unresponsive, unmonitored, and abandoned on a mattress. He was only 18.

In 20 minutes, the son we’d raised from an infant to a fine young adult was gone, for reasons we’d grapple with, come to peace with and that ultimately would drive our mission in life. It was a tragic and needless sacrifice — a wound that will never truly heal for our family. But, without question, it has also opened our minds and hearts in ways that would change everything we knew and, unexpectedly, in ways that would illuminate what Carson’s life was about.

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State loans medical marijuana program $2.1 million

A state board authorized a $2.1 million loan Monday afternoon to Ohio agencies that are running the medical marijuana program, which is experiencing delays getting product on shelves.

The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program is expected to be self-supporting from license fees from cultivators, dispensaries, testing labs and other medical marijuana-related enterprises. The businesses are to start paying the fees once they receive certificates of operation from state regulators, Mark Hamlin, senior policy adviser for Ohio’s Department of Commerce, told the Ohio Controlling Board, made up of lawmakers and representatives of Gov. John Kasich.

But few certificates of operation have been awarded, due to a series of delays that have prevented the program from being fully operational Sept. 8, the deadline specified under the Ohio law that legalized medical marijuana.

Meantime, the state has faced a handful of lawsuits from medical marijuana businesses that didn’t win licenses, which has run up legal fees, Hamlin said. Some cases are being appealed.

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Ohio medical marijuana regulators seek public input on THC nasal sprays

Medical marijuana isn’t yet available in Ohio but the state is considering new ways of administering the drug – specifically through nasal sprays.

Regulators are asking for patients and caregivers to share experiences about the sprays and mists.

Several months ago a member of the public petitioned the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to include the sprays in the list of allowable forms of medical marijuana.

Current allowable forms of medical marijuana include oils, edibles vape oils, patches, lotions, creams, ointments and plant material for vaporizing. Smoking marijuana is prohibited in Ohio law.

On Thursday, Erin Reed, a Board of Pharmacy attorney, told the Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee that regulators are trying to research nasal sprays with THC, but haven’t been successful in amassing a lot of information. They’ve reached out to medical marijuana nasal mist manufacturers and others, and haven’t heard back. They are interested in why someone would use a nasal spray as opposed to another allowable form.

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