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.

Continue reading here.

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The Marlboro Man Becomes the Marijuana Man

Altria Invests in Vaping Giant, Juul, a Week After Doing the Same in Cronos, a Marijuana Cultivator
(Alexandria, VA) – It’s official. Big Tobacco is continuing its efforts to monopolize the marijuana industry. Today, Altria, one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of tobacco products, announced it is investing $12.8 billion in vaping giant, Juul, a company that controls 68% of the e-cigarette market.
Here is why this is a big deal:
The move comes just a week after the Marlboro maker announced it is pumping $1.8 billion in Canadian marijuana grower, Cronos. It is also coming a week after we learned that pot vaping has risen significantly, up more than 50% among all age groups.
Juul has and continues to take heat for how its products are appealing to and getting into the hands of minors. The company is even the subject of a class action lawsuit alleging its marketing specifically targets minors. Sound familiar? Big Marijuana and its predecessor, Big Tobacco, are pros at targeting children.
“Big Tobacco is officially going all in with the marijuana industry now,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “The men in suits who once told America that nicotine is not addictive are now doing the same with marijuana, and laughing all the way to the bank. Big Tobacco’s involvement caused deaths from tobacco to skyrocket. With those same characters now cornering the pot industry, we can expect to see this addiction-for-profit industry become even more nefarious.”
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About SAM:
Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens opposed to marijuana legalization who want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. SAM has affiliates in more than 30 states.
Evidence shows that marijuana – which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades –  is addictive and harmful to the human brain especially when used by adolescents. In states that have already legalized the drug, there has been an increase in drugged driving crashes, youth marijuana use, and costs that far outweigh pot revenues.These states have seen a black market that continues to thrive, a black market that continues to thrive, sustained disparities in marijuana arrest rates, and tobacco company investment in marijuana.

For more information about marijuana use and its effects, visit www.learnaboutsam.org.

The Perfect Storm for Deregulation

Alcohol companies have a lot to say about regulations on alcohol.

Often through proxies, like politicians or journalists, they have successfully advocated for the gradual easing of alcohol regulations. Across the U.S., alcohol restrictions and regulations are getting removed by an industry bent on removing all barriers to profits—including the health and wellbeing of their customers.

Take, for example, the “America’s Dumbest Drinks Laws” report from the R Street Institute. In it, the R Street Institute takes aim at state laws that, among other things, prevent alcohol companies from portraying Santa in their ads.

Nothing says “adult-targeted advertisement” like Santa delivering miniature bottles of liquor under the tree and being rewarded not with cookies and milk but with a beer, right?

So why are so many law firms, politicians, and media outlets so eager to go along with these campaigns?

In a word, money.

Alcohol companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually in lobbying and campaign contributions, media companies stand to make millions in advertising revenues, and some law firms see these cases as moneymakers. Add in the profit incentive of alcohol companies themselves, and you’ve got a perfect storm for deregulation.

As public health advocates, it’s up to us to stand against those deregulation efforts. Staying in touch with advocacy organizations and your legislators can help you stay aware of these pushes for deregulation. Tools like the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org can also help you see industry trends across the nation.

It’s true, however, that some of the laws regulating alcohol are outdated. Those laws should be updated, not removed, in order to protect the health and wellbeing of our communities.

Many states, for instance, are struggling with mail order alcohol through retailers and apps, especially as teens have been abusing these services to get alcohol. Without state regulatory guidance, local governments are taking on these challenges themselves.

When those laws are outdated, prevention ought to have a seat at the table. We’ve got ideas that will prevent diversion to youth and protect the health and fabric of our communities. It’s up to us to bring those ideas to those tables.

Benchmark NIH Survey Finds Marijuana Use Significantly Higher Among 10th Graders, Vaping Also Significantly Increasing

Tenth grade marijuana use up 10% versus two years ago; vaping marijuana is up more than fifty percent among all age groups; edibles remain popular

(Alexandria, VA) – In the past few years, marijuana use is up significantly, by 10%, among 10th graders, and current vaping of marijuana is up 63% for eighth and tenth graders and 53% for twelfth graders, according to new numbers from the largest drug use survey in the United States. The 2018 Monitoring the Future survey, compiled by researchers at the University of Michigan and funded by the National Institutes of Health, is the benchmark for student drug use in the United States.

Over the past two years, marijuana use among tenth graders rose 10%, a significant increase. Additionally, despite common belief that nicotine use among youth is down, nicotine vaping rose 87% on average across all age groups.

“The marijuana industry’s efforts to glamorize and normalize marijuana appears to be working. After a decline in use, marijuana use is on the rise again over the past few years, particularly among 10th graders, and especially with respect to vaping,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president and founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, and a former three-time White House drug policy advisor. “And today’s marijuana isn’t what it used to be: THC levels can be 50 times higher than in the past, especially when vaped. We call on regulators to stop the sales of 99% THC vapes and edibles, the two most likely modes of administration after smoking, and to press pause on further proposals to commercialize THC.”

In addition, the study found that the percentage of youth who say they would use marijuana if it was legal has increased, and that 12th graders admitting to driving after using marijuana is significantly higher. Marijuana use has been known to more than double the chance of being in a car crash.

“The commercialization of the marijuana industry and its partnership with groups such as Juul and other Big Tobacco organizations like Altria is now cultivating youth-friendly methods of use, as evidenced by the huge increases in marijuana vaping rates. Legalization today is about enriching Big Tobacco, plain and simple.”

Today’s marijuana is especially harmful to adolescents and is known to have a whole host of damaging effects on developing brains. Adolescent marijuana use severely impacts the ability of our youth to learn, greatly increases the risk of serious mental illness, impairs memory, and can even result in a loss of up to eight IQ points.

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About SAM:

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens opposed to marijuana legalization who want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. SAM has affiliates in more than 30 states.

Evidence shows that marijuana – which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades –  is addictive and harmful to the human brain especially when used by adolescents. In states that have already legalized the drug, there has been an increase in drugged driving crashes, youth marijuana use, and costs that far outweigh pot revenues.These states have seen a black market that continues to thrive, a black market that continues to thrive, sustained disparities in marijuana arrest rates, and tobacco company investment in marijuana.

For more information about marijuana use and its effects, visit www.learnaboutsam.org.

 

www.learnaboutsam.org.

Ohio is relying on out-of-state workers to get medical marijuana program off the ground

As Ohio’s medical marijuana program fights to get off the ground, many businesses are relying on experience from out-of-state workers to run smoothly. But one Ohio-grown company is leaning on the business they did before Ohio’s program passed the legislature.

“Prior to cannabis legalization in Ohio, there was really only a handful of people living here in Ohio who actually had experience in the cannabis industry,” said Ohio Grown Therapies C.E.O. Andy Joseph.

Joseph happened to be one of them.

His company, Apeks Supercritical, is in Johnstown, Ohio and builds the machinery that processors in other states use to extract oils from marijuana. Because marijuana in any form was still illegal in Ohio, the company had to use beer hops to test their equipment.

Still, just building Apeks Supercritical created concerns locally.

Read more here.

Battelle imports marijuana for Central Ohio research with publicly traded cannabis company

Battelle has imported four batches of processed marijuana products since early October to secure facilities in Central Ohio for a federally approved research project with the world’s largest publicly traded cannabis company.

Canopy Growth Corp., based in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, has contracted with the $5 billion nonprofit research giant to help develop standardization and clinical research for its medical marijuana products and other cannabinoids, the company’s co-CEO Mark Zekulin said in a statement.

“These guys have a long history of being very well-structured in their research,” co-CEO Bruce Linton told me.

“If things are going to evolve globally, the U.S. needs to be involved,” Linton said. “We have had quite a few options that might have been faster and easier. This (Battelle) is the best one.”

Continue reading this article here.

Notes from the Field: Use of Electronic Cigarettes and Any Tobacco Product Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2011–2018

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery-powered devices that provide nicotine and other additives to the user in the form of an aerosol (1). E-cigarettes entered the U.S. marketplace in 2007 (1), and by 2014, e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. youths (2). Data from the 2011–2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), a cross-sectional, voluntary, school-based, self-administered, pencil-and-paper survey of U.S. middle and high school students, were analyzed to determine the prevalence of current use (≥1 day in past 30 days) of e-cigarettes,* current use of any tobacco product, frequency of (number of days during the preceding 30 days) e-cigarette use, and current use (any time during preceding 30 days) of any flavored e-cigarettes among U.S. middle school (grades 6–8) and high school (grades 9–12) students. Logistic regression (2011–2018) and t-tests (2017–2018) were performed to determine statistically significant differences (p<0.05).

Among high school students, current e-cigarette use increased from 1.5% (220,000 students) in 2011 to 20.8% (3.05 million students) in 2018 (p<0.001) (Figure). During 2017–2018, current e-cigarette use increased by 78% (from 11.7% to 20.8%, p<0.001). The proportion of current e-cigarette users who reported use on ≥20 of the past 30 days increased from 20.0% in 2017 to 27.7% in 2018 (p = 0.008). Among high school students, during 2017–2018, current use of any flavored e-cigarettes increased among current e-cigarette users (from 60.9% to 67.8%, p = 0.02); current use of menthol- or mint-flavored e-cigarettes increased among all current e-cigarette users (from 42.3% to 51.2%, p = 0.04) and current exclusive e-cigarette users (from 21.4% to 38.1%, p = 0.002).

Among middle school students, current e-cigarette use increased from 0.6% in 2011 (60,000 students) to 4.9% (570,000 students) in 2018 (p<0.001) (Figure). During 2017–2018, current e-cigarette use increased by 48% (from 3.3% to 4.9%, p = 0.001); the proportion of current e-cigarette users who reported use on ≥20 days of the past 30 days did not significantly change (from 12.9% to 16.2%, p = 0.26).

Read more of the data here.

Drug company raised price of lifesaving opioid overdose antidote more than 600 percent

As the nation struggled with the rising number of opioid deaths, a private drug company increased the price of an overdose antidote more than 600 percent, a Senate subcommittee says in a new report.

The increase has cost the federal Medicare and Medicaid health programs more than $142 million since 2014, according the Homeland Security permanent subcommittee on investigations.

Richmond, Virginia-based Kaleo  increased the price of its auto-injectable overdose-reversal drug EVZIO from $575 to $4,100, the subcommittee reported.

The company also changed its sales strategy and encouraged doctors to complete paperwork identifying it as a medically necessary drug, allowing them to bypass potentially cheaper generic versions of naloxone, the subcommittee reported.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who chairs the subcommittee, blasted the price hike.

“The fact that one company dramatically raised the price of its naloxone drug and cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in increased drug costs, all during a national opioid crisis, is simply outrageous,” Portman said in a statement.

Read more here.

The Price of Cool: A Teenager, a Juul and Nicotine Addiction

He was supposed to inhale on something that looked like a flash drive and threw off just a wisp of a cloud? What was the point?

A skeptical Matt Murphy saw his first Juul at a high school party in the summer of 2016, in a suburban basement crowded with kids shouting over hip-hop and swigging from Poland Spring water bottles filled with bottom-shelf vodka, followed by Diet Coke chasers.

Everyone knew better than to smoke cigarettes. But a few were amusing themselves by blowing voluptuous clouds with clunky vapes that had been around since middle school. This Juul looked puny in comparison. Just try it, his friend urged. It’s awesome.

Continue reading more here.

How to Talk With Your Kids About Vaping [GUIDE]

Vaping’s popularity exploded seemingly overnight, and it took many parents and families by surprise. Vaping, or Juuling as it is often referred to by teens and young adults (named after a popular vape device called JUUL), is the inhaling and exhaling of an aerosol produced by using a vape device.

According to the University of Michigan’s 2017 Monitoring the Future study, nearly 1 in 3 high school seniors tried vaping in the past year. Advertising is often geared toward teens and young adults, with brightly colored vape pens and thousands of flavors to choose from. Some kids vape marijuana, too. But for every story or article touting the benefits of vaping, there are an equal number raising concerns about the risks of vaping, especially for teens and young adults.

Read more here.