Texas expansion of medical cannabis nears finish line after Senate approval

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The 86th Legislature runs from Jan. 8 to May 27. From the state budget to health care to education policy — and the politics behind it all — we focus on what Texans need to know about the biennial legislative session.

Marijuana advocates were handed an unlikely victory Wednesday after the Texas Senate advanced a bill greatly expanding the list of debilitating medical conditions that can legally be treated by cannabis oil in the state.

Although the upper chamber’s leadership once opposed bills that would relax the state’s pot policies, the Senate unanimously voted in favor of a bill by state Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, that expands the state’s Compassionate Use Program, which currently allows the sale of cannabis oil only to people with intractable epilepsy who meet certain requirements.

The bill now heads back to the Texas House, where lawmakers can either approve the Senate changes or opt to iron out their differences in a conference committee before lawmakers adjourn in five days. Klick did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether she’d accept the Senate changes to her bill.

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What experts have to say about the Endocannabinoid System

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“For decades, scientists and mental health physicians tried to figure out how THC worked on the brain and body,” explained Dr. Paul Song, Chief Medical Officer of Calyx Peak Companies via email. A significant breakthrough came with the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

Additional research has since identified endocannabinoids as the cannabinoids produced within our own bodies. The endocannabinoid system regulates and interprets a series of processes in the body, including memory, pain, reproduction, appetite, immune function and many others. The two major endocannabinoids to be identified today are Anandamide and 2-AG, or Arachidonoylglycerol.

In an email to High Times, Katie Stem, CEO of Peak Extracts, gave a brief overview of the endocannabinoid system. “The system consists of two main receptor types: CB1 and CB2. The endocannabinoids are lipid-based neurotransmitters that elicit effects on the entire nervous system, from your brain to your fingertips.”

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5 Cannabis Moms Who Changed the Game

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Like every other mother on this list, Dr. Marsha Schuchard, PhD, never set out to become a cannabis activist, never mind one capable of changing the game. Her call to action came in the form of a birthday party that she and her husband hosted at their suburban Atlanta home in 1976. The guest of honor was their thirteen-year-old daughter, who’d lately been “moody” and “indifferent” towards her parents—both liberal-leaning English professors.

Other parents stepped forward, at great personal risk, to tell a different story about cannabis and children, one about profound healing.

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Here’s Every State That Has Legalized Marijuana

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In the mid-1600s, hemp was a cash crop for European settlers who had recently arrived in what would become the United States. It remained an integral part of the colonies’, and later independent country’s economy for centuries, until the early 1900s, when Americans started to change their attitude toward cannabis.

The budding marijuana movement of the present day has overcome enormous obstacles in its long, winding attempt to end cannabis prohibition, from the fear that was ingrained into society by Harry Anslinger, the infamous 1936 drama “Reefer Madness,” and the war on drugs initiated by the Nixon administration in the 1970s.

Cannabis legalization hasn’t spread across the U.S. in a linear fashion, though. Aside from a few exceptions, notably Colorado, medical marijuana legislation took root on the West Coast, followed soon after by the Northeast.

Prohibition received its first series of blows when California, Oregon, and Washington legalized medical cannabis during the 1990s. Voters in these three Pacific Coast states were also among the first to legalize recreational cannabis, starting with Washington. Then, as if the enthusiasm behind weed legalization decided to board an airplane and fly east,  the next wave of legalization began in the Northeast, with a layover in Colorado.

Gradually, cannabis prohibition has been withering, now that 10 states have legalized adult-use cannabis, also known as recreational use, and a total of 33 have medical marijuana legislation in place. Some states without any form of legal cannabis are starting to allow medical use of cannabidiol (CBD) products with low amounts of THC.

The federal government also is starting to embrace the plant that was a vital part of the U.S. economy. The 2018 Farm Bill, signed Dec. 20, 2018, removed hemp‘s status as a controlled substance and legalized industrial hemp production.

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Amended medical marijuana bill passes committee unanimously

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Austin, Texas – A bill which would expand Texas’ medical marijuana program has passed out of the House Committee on Public Health with unanimous support.

HB 1365, filed by Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D-Brownsville), would expand the Texas Compassionate Use Program (TCUP) to include more qualifying conditions and would allow more doctors to work with patients in the program. The legislation currently has the bi-partisan support of 56 state legislators as both authors and coauthors.

Conditions which would now qualify for participation in TCUP include cancer, autism, PTSD, and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Tourrette syndrome. Other diseases include Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, muscular dystrophy, and multiple sclerosis.

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A Physician’s Perspective on Optimal Cannabis Dosing

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Dosage is the key factor in achieving the most benefits and least adverse effects of cannabis. After following thousands of patients using medical cannabis for eight years, I’ve observed that dosing cannabis is unlike any therapeutic agent to which I was exposed in my medical training. A basic understanding of the key characteristics of cannabis dosing can empower you to make the most of this incredibly versatile, safe, and effective herb.

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Medical Marijuana for Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain: How to Talk to Your Doctor

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Have you ever discussed cannabis with your doctor? Despite the fact that 29 states plus the District of Columbia have decriminalized the use of marijuana for the treatment of certain medical problems, research published in September 2017 in Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that nine out of ten doctors were unprepared to prescribe it to their patients. “Most doctors don’t know much about it, even in the states where it is legal,” says Rav Ivker, DO, a holistic family physician in Boulder, Colorado and author of Cannabis for Chronic Pain: A Proven Prescription for Using Marijuana to Relieve Your Pain and Heal Your Life.

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Medical Marijuana Users Are Quitting Prescription Drugs in Huge Numbers

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As the U.S. witnesses a cascade of new laws that lift the prohibition of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, more people have made an exodus from their prescription drugs to the counters of their local dispensaries. This trend is only expected to gain momentum as medical cannabis users testify to the glowing results of their substituting marijuana for traditional pharmaceuticals, according to data released in a new report published by the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

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