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Cannabis and Stroke: Linked or Not?
The American Council on Science and Health is an organization of scientists whose aim is to inform the public and policymakers of good science while debunking the junk. The Council takes on scientific issues of all kinds, including studies of marijuana effects.
It evaluates Cannabis, Tobacco, Alcohol Use, and the Risk of Early Stroke:  A Population-Based Cohort Study of 45,000 Swedish Men, a new study in the journal Stroke. It faults the study for a misleading title in the study’s press release: “Tobacco, but not pot, boosts early stroke risk.” First, the press release title is an imprecise conclusion of the study itself. And the title downplays significant flaws and limitations in the study, says Jamie Wells, MD, FAAP, the scientist evaluating the study for the Council.
“The goal of the work was to determine whether there is an ‘association between cannabis use and early-onset stroke, when accounting for the use of tobacco and alcohol,’” notes Dr. Wells.
The main problem in the study is that the cannabis users also used tobacco and alcohol. “The authors used ‘crude modeling’ to eliminate those confounding factors which reflects math magic more than actual reality,” she says. “The ideal study would compare full-on abstainers as a control group to only-cannabis users to only-tobacco users to only-alcohol users by quantifying their varying degrees of use.”
Other studies controlling for alcohol and tobacco use show marijuana increases the risk of stroke among those who use the drug heavily. This study doesn’t tell us much because of its limitations, Dr. Wells concludes.
Read story here.
What to Do When the Health Authority Requires Rigorous Testing for Pesticides in Pot?
Get Rid of It.
The Oregon legislature passed a law to test pot for pesticides, giving the Oregon Health Authority the task of created a testing program to protect public safety. The program, designed to prevent users from being exposed to pesticides contained in medical and recreational marijuana smokables and edibles, went into effect October 1, 2016.
The marijuana industry complains that the program is too rigorous, not enough testing labs have been certified to meet demand, and businesses are shutting down because they do not have enough product to sell. Others say the supply constraints are forcing them to hike prices.
The Health Authority acknowledges the complaints, but says although there could be more testing labs, there are enough to meet demand. The industry maintains that the new testing regulations are too strict, resulting in 40 percent to 60 percent of contaminated product.
Adding to the confusion is the beginning of recreational marijuana sales October 1 and a law that forbids medical marijuana shops from selling to recreational customers as of that date.
Legislators in the 2017 state legislative session which will begin February 1 are looking to fix the problem by disbanding the Oregon Health Authority and creating an Oregon Cannabis Commission to oversee the state’s medical marijuana program. It would also add members of the retail marijuana industry to the commission.
Should the legislature do this, Oregon marijuana users might question who is more likely to look after their health—the Oregon Health Authority or the marijuana industry.
Read story here, here, and here.
Legal Marijuana States See Flood of New Weed Products as Cannabis Goes Mainstream
Editor’s note - Like the tobacco industry in the past, the marijuana industry grows bolder at insisting marijuana is healthy when science shows the drug has many harms.
Marijuana is going mainstream, according to companies who say they are targeting the upscale audience for medical and recreational marijuana.

“We always talk about mainstreaming this industry, and we run everything in that regard,” said Adam Bierman, CEO of MedMed, a California company. “We’re pretending it's tomatoes, and we’re utilizing the best practices in technology and agriculture. If it’s the structure and manufacture, we’re using real science and extraction methodologies from the petroleum industry. And if it’s retail, we look at it like retail. We’re bidding at the highest average, and that starts with the layout of the store, and then it flows into everything from customer service and offerings and everything else that goes into retail. So we don’t look at this like we’re selling pot. We look at it like we’re building a grocery store or we’re building a store with electronics. It doesn’t matter what it is, we’re building it all with the same practices, the same principles.”
Peter Barsoom is creator of the edible brand 1906, which specializes in luxury chocolates that taste sweet and whose rapid THC release, he says, is felt within 15 minutes. Infused marijuana food products normally take from 30 to 90 minutes to take effect. “What we set out to do is create a brand and a company that caters to responsible health conscious adults,” Barsoom says.
Missy Bradley owns a marijuana-infused tea company, Stillwater. She believes more education on marijuana’s uses, effects, and proper dosing will bring the plant into the mainstream. 
Read story here.
Colorado’s Pot Czar Quits
to Open Consulting Firm
Andrew Freedman, director of marijuana coordination for Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, is leaving his post. He has opened a consulting firm, Freedman & Koski, LLC, which specializes in advising state and local governments on how to best implement marijuana legalization.
Pictured upper right is Lewis Koski, deputy senior director of enforcement with the Colorado Department of Revenue, a position responsible for five separate programs including the marijuana enforcement division, the liquor enforcement division, the division of gaming, the division of racing and the auto industry division. Mr. Koski is co-founder and partner of Freedman and Koski.
Pictured lower right is John Hudak, cofounder and senior advisor of Freedman and Koski. Mr. Hudak is deputy director of the center for effective public management and a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution and presumed objective voice in the media about marijuana legalization.
Read more about Freedman and Koski, LLC here.

The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter published by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Visit our website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.
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About National Families in Action (NFIA)
NFIA consists of families, scientists, business leaders, physicians, addiction specialists, policymakers, and others committed to protecting children from addictive drugs. Our vision is:
  • 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 
About SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)
SAM is a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens who want to move beyond simplistic discussions of "incarceration versus legalization" when discussing marijuana use and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalizes the drug. SAM supports a treatment, health-first marijuana policy.  SAM has four main goals:
  • To inform public policy with the science of today's marijuana.
  • To reduce the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, such as lifelong stigma due to arrest.
  • To prevent the establishment of "Big Marijuana" - and a 21st-Century tobacco industry that would market marijuana to children.
  • To promote research of marijuana's medical properties and produce, non-smoked, non-psychoactive pharmacy-attainable medications.
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