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California Marijuana Boom
Destroying 25% of Stream Flows

A lack of enforcement of illegal marijuana grows on public lands and a years-long drought have combined to create an environmental crisis in California. The state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates that illegal marijuana production on public lands on the northern coast has increased from 55 percent to 100 percent in the past five years.
 
In a pilot test of four streams, illegal grows consumed from 20 to 30 percent of water during the low-flow season, a crucial period for salmon and other species, resulting in potential habitat damage.
 
“All of these operations are taking water directly from streams, sucking away water from endangered Coho salmon, steelhead, tailed frogs, and other stream-dwellers, while damaging the banks of the streams,” says Peter Moyle, a fisheries expert at the University of California Davis.
 
The governor earmarked $3.3 million in last year’s budget to reduce illegal grows in order to slow water depletion, but the legislature has not appropriated the funds. The legislature plans to offer voters a recreational legalization ballot initiative next year, but the initiative contains no provisions for protecting the environment.
 
Read the Breitbart News story here.
Researching Marijuana for Therapeutic  Purposes:
The Potential Promise of  Cannabidiol (CBD)

Writing in The Huffington Post, Nora Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), helps us understand the confusing issues surrounding cannabidiol (CBD).
 
CBD is one of some 100 cannabinoids (chemicals unique to the cannabis plant) that marijuana contains, along with 400 more chemicals about which little is known, she explains. “Different cannabinoids can have very different biological effects,” she says. Unlike THC, CBD does not make you high and “there is reason to believe it may have a wide range of uses in medicine” in the future.
 
Most cannabinoids, she says, interact with specific targets on cells in the body—the CB1 and CB2 receptors. “CB1 receptors are found mainly in the brain and are important for learning, coordination, sleep, pain, brain development, and other functions; CB2 receptors are found mostly in the immune system.”
 
CBD’s actions on the body are not well understood; it has little effect on these receptors but appears to involve other signaling systems, including a serotonin receptor.
 
That marijuana “can speak the body’s chemical language” is not unique to marijuana, she continues. Other plants such as the opium poppy, tobacco, and coca are similar. “Extracting and amplifying the medicinal benefits of such plants and minimizing their potential harms can lead the way to effective medications, but are also a major scientific challenge,” she points out.
 
Future medicinal uses will most likely lie in “drugs based on cannabinoid chemicals or extracts with defined concentrations that can be reliably produced,” she says. But research needs to accelerate, and bureaucratic hurdles must be reduced to allow that to happen.
 
Parents whose children suffer from rare forms of epilepsy and other serious brain disorders are desperate, either moving to states that have legalized marijuana for marijuana use or breaking the law to obtain CBD extracts. In the current unregulated market, “these extracts may be of questionable quality and content,” she says.
 
Several pharmaceutical companies are developing CBD-based medications. One, Epidiolex, is in FDA clinical trials. In addition, the drug is being given to some 400 children with epilepsy via FDA expanded access (“compassionate use”) programs. More research exploring potential medical use of CBD is occurring at other NIH institutes in addition to research taking place at NIDA.
 
Read Dr. Volkow’s article here.
New York Doctors Just Say No to Medical Marijuana

Last week, the New York Department of Health announced the names of the five companies that will grow, process, and distribute marijuana for medical use at a limited number of dispensaries throughout the state.
 
A provision of the new law requires that doctors who are actually treating people must be the ones to recommend marijuana to their patients who have the diseases or conditions for which the state allows marijuana to be used. Another provision requires that physicians who recommend marijuana must take a training course, which has not yet been set up. (The law requires medical marijuana businesses to open by January 1, 2016.)
 
Now New York doctors are mostly saying no to medical marijuana. An Internet group called MarijuanaDoctors.com, which offers a state-by-state directory of doctors willing to recommend marijuana to patients, did a survey of New York physicians. It found only one in the state willing to recommend marijuana for medical use.
 
Some say their malpractice insurance does not cover medical marijuana. Others say they are concerned about the drug’s federal Schedule I status. Still others say they fear losing their federal Medicare and Medicaid payments if they recommend a drug that is illegal under federal law.
 
Although the article does not include this point, most doctors, as we saw in the Journal of the American Medical Association a few months ago, believe there is not enough evidence to warrant giving marijuana to patients for any but a handful of diseases or conditions.
 
Read Crain’s New York Business article here.

To Our Subscribers
 
Corrections: We search multiple databases to select, summarize, and post stories daily to The Marijuana Report.Org website. We then select from that week’s stories two to three to send out with our comments in The Marijuana Report e-newsletter. Nearly all of the articles in the databases have been published within the past 24 to 48 hours. Somehow, a November 2014 story about the annual marijuana Gallup Poll found its way into last week’s databases, and we led with it in last week’s e-newsletter. We apologize for not catching the story's date.
 
Two sentences in our summary should have read: Opposition [to marijuana legalization] is highest among conservatives (69 percent), lowest among liberals (27 percent), and in between among moderates (42 percent). Opposition is also highest in the Midwest and South (55 percent and 53 percent, respectively) and lowest on the East and West coasts (43 percent each).

July 1 marked the first-year anniversary of The Marijuana Report e-newsletter. A huge thank you to all our readers who share their copy of The Marijuana Report with others in their networks!
 
Please note: Until further notice, please ignore any email you might receive from TheMarijuanaReport@gmail.com. The address has been appropriated by a group of legalization proponents in Canada who are using it to impersonate various staff members and volunteers of National Families in Action. Their goal is to intimidate those who oppose legalization but are reaching for other policy solutions based on science and public health. We are working with Google and the Internet Crime Complaint Center to stop this illegal behavior and will let readers know when we gain possession of this G-mail address. If you receive an email from anyone using TheMarijuanaReport@gmail.com, it would be helpful if you would forward it to srusche@nationalfamilies.org. Thank you for helping us reclaim our organizational identity. 
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.
  • Ask your leaders to find a middle road between incarceration and legalization of addictive drugs.
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