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THIS WEEK's HEADLINES

What's “medical” about marijuana?
Bud and breakfasts. Can luxury marijuana hotels be far behind?
How can media be held accountable?
Marijuana may damage hippocampus of teen users,
resulting in long-term memory loss

 
What's “medical” about marijuana?

Kudos to two journalists this week who traveled the road not taken by most of today’s media (see “How can media be held accountable? below). Writing for International Business Times, science writer Amy Nordrum explains why pot is not medicine. “While it’s been handed out to more than a million so-called patients in 23 states,” she notes, “marijuana bears no resemblance to anything else in their medicine cabinets.”
 
Its use is neither well-understood nor well-regulated, she continues. This puts state health agencies charged with regulating it and practicing physicians whose patients request it in the awkward position of distributing and recommending an untested, unproven, poorly regulated substance. States regulate everything but the drug itself, she notes, rarely requiring marijuana to be tested for potency, contaminants, dosage levels, or regimens. One of the more twisted regulatory anomalies occurs in Colorado, which requires recreational marijuana, but not medical marijuana, to be tested for contaminants and potency. Read “What Is Medical Marijuana? It’s A Misnomer, Even As Congress Considers An Endorsement.”

Matt LaBash, senior writer for The Weekly Standard, takes the medical marijuana industry apart piece by piece. He enrolls in Med Grow Cannabis College, a new school in Detroit that teaches “students” how to grow medical pot. While there, he interviews everyone in sight: the school’s owner, its “students” and “professors,” a dispensary owner, and a marijuana delivery business, all of whom are bending if not breaking the law. In example after example, Mr. LaBash reveals just how wink-wink-nod-nod the whole “medical” marijuana phenomenon really is. Read “Gone to Pot: The Medical Marijuana Charade”

Editor's note: Some marijuana components have been approved by FDA as safe and effective. Other components are seeking FDA approval in clinical trials and still more may be in the pipeline. None of the marijuana products that states have legalized for medical use have been approved by FDA as safe or effective.
Bud and breakfasts.
Can luxury marijuana hotels be far behind?
 
Legalizing pot for medical use leads to full legalization later, a pattern that has occurred in the four states – Colorado, Washington state, Oregon, Alaska – and the District of Columbia that have legalized retail pot to date. And full legalization leads to a massive, commercial industry with investors, cultivators, processors, retail outlets, new product developers, and all the ancillary industries that support marijuana commerce.

The phenomenon of marijuana bed and breakfasts began in Washington and Colorado, where an overnight stay includes in-room pot paraphernalia and marijuana-infused breakfasts in the morning. Now, an enterprising developer is laying plans for a chain of luxury 420 hotels in legal pot states (420 is a code word for marijuana). “Each location would have chefs on hand to create marijuana-infused menus. Rooms’ mini-bars would include an assortment of marijuana amenities such as 10 kinds of pot and cannabis-imbued confections, as well as all the tools guests would need to prepare their own joints,” the owner explains. Read “Marijuana Industry Reaches New Heights With Gourmet Kitchens, Day Spas And Maybe Even Luxury Hotels”
 How can media be held accountable?
 
Imagine a business magazine like Forbes introducing a new blog to promote the tobacco industry and the entrepreneurs who built it. Or a daily newspaper like the Denver Post devoting an entire website, called The Tobacconist, to all things tobacco. Or the New York Times featuring a column by a pediatrician, asked to advise parents about which is safer for their adolescents to use, tobacco or alcohol, and he says neither, but if forced to choose, tobacco.
 
The media (and the pediatrician) wouldn't do that because nearly everyone understands that tobacco is an addictive drug that damages the body and can cause physical illness. Instead of promoting tobacco, the media goes after its billion-dollar industry that keeps targeting children to become new customers.
 
Yet the opposite is happening with marijuana, an addictive drug that damages the brain and can cause mental illness. Instead of going after a marijuana industry that targets children to become new customers, the media increasingly promote it.
 
Cases in point include the Denver Post’s website The Cannabist, which reviews marijuana strains and promotes all things marijuana. If you haven’t seen it, click here
 
Two days ago, the New York Times published a column by pediatrician Arron E. Carroll, MD, who advises parents that neither alcohol nor marijuana is safer for kids to use, but if forced to choose, he would pick pot. This N of 1 apparently trumps an N of 65,000 members of the American Academy of Pediatricians who wrote that the Time’s call for legalizing marijuana would threaten children’s health, a response the Times declined to print. Dr. Carroll has his own YouTube channel on which he occasionally opines that pot should be legalized. See it here.
 
And now Forbes has introduced a new blog by Judy Weed (really?) that will promote the legal pot industry, an industry she says is on fire. “The ‘Green Rush’ includes marijuana growers, testers, and store owners. Others are creating pot delivery services, tourist activities, smokeless vaporizers, pot-infused edibles, and niche after niche of other marijuana-related paraphernalia and service (sic)," she says. Ms. Weed promises to cover it all. Read “Introducing A Blog About The Legal Marijuana Industry (Which Is On Fire)”
Marijuana may damage hippocampus of teen users, resulting in long-term memory loss
 
People who used marijuana daily for up to three years during adolescence were found to have brain damage and long-term memory loss in their 20s, two years after stopping their marijuana use. The hippocampus, a part of the brain important to memory, in each of 97 research subjects was misshapen, and the longer each used marijuana chronically, the more abnormally shaped the hippocampus of each was. Because this study was done at one point in time, a longitudinal study is needed to verify causality, say the Northwestern University researchers. However, they add the evidence showing that the longer marijuana was abused, the greater the difference in hippocampal shape suggests marijuana is responsible for the changes in brain structure and memory loss. Read about the study here

To Our Subscribers
 
With this issue we welcome many new subscribers. We hope you find our e-newsletter will keep you up to date on the marijuana story. More than 21,000 readers have clicked through to read the health report from Colorado featured in the February 4th issue of The Marijuana Report. Many of you shared that issue with others and apparently so did they. More than 9,500 readers have clicked through to the Colorado public safety report featured in our February 11th issue. Thank you for being such effective, committed networkers. For those who missed the report in the February 4th issue, click here; in the February 11th, click here.
 
National Families in Action and partners, Project SAM and the Treatment Research Institute, welcome our new readers. We hope you enjoy this weekly e-newsletter to keep up-to-date with all aspects of the marijuana story. Visit our website, The Marijuana Report.Org, and subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter The Marijuana Report to learn more.

National Families in Action is a group of families, scientists, business leaders, physicians, addiction specialists, policymakers, and others committed to protecting children from addictive drugs. We advocate for:
  • Healthy, drug-free kids
  • Nurturing, addiction-free families
  • Scientifically accurate information and education
  • A nation free of Big Marijuana
  • Smart, safe, FDA-approved medicines developed from the cannabis plant (and other plants) 
  • Expanded access to medicines in FDA clinical trials for children with epilepsy
What is our call to action?
  • Ask your leaders to establish FDA expanded access to Epidiolex® for children with epilepsy.
  • To protect children, adolescents, and young adults, ask your leaders not to legalize marijuana.
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