May 29, 2020

In today’s top cannabis stories, cannabis may be having a positive effect on opioid prescription numbers, pet owners are saying CBD is for the dogs…and cats too, and we have the latest on a new legalization push in the Northeast and Midwestern U.S.

The Morning Buzz presented by TRICHOMES brings you late-breaking news that tells you what’s happening within the cannabis industry.

A New Study Shows States with Medical Cannabis Saw a 20% Drop in Some Opioid Prescriptions

According to Marijuana Moment, states with active medical cannabis laws saw certain opioid prescription rates drop nearly 20 percent compared to prohibition states, found by a first-of-its-kind study out of Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center. The study authors said the findings underscore the importance of providing patients with pain management alternatives, such as cannabis, in efforts to reduce opioid use.

Drug overdoses remain a leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 68 percent of those deaths involve illicit or prescription opioids. The new study examines opioid prescriptions made specifically by orthopedic surgeons, who it notes are the nation’s third-highest prescribers of opioids.

“Although our study does not support a direct causal relationship, these population-level findings show that legalization of medical cannabis and patient access to dispensaries may be associated with reductions in opioid prescribing by orthopedic surgeons,” the study’s authors concluded, and went on to say “the observed trends reported in this study may be a reflection of growing availability of alternative pain management options for patients.”

The study also cautions that its results only mean so much. Because it relied on population-level data and didn’t track individuals’ opioid or medical cannabis use, they could not make any conclusions about any direct effect of substitution of opioids for cannabis by patients on prescription trends.

** Next, The Booming Pet CBD Market Sees Highs in Sales and Adoption by Brick-and-Mortar Retailers

According to Hemp Industry Daily, in just two years, the number of specialty pet stores that carried Colorado-based Functional Remedies’ CBD products increased dramatically, going from 100 to 500 – underscoring the fast growth of a market that’s now reaching mass-market retailers like Petco and PetSmart.

“More and more people are understanding how CBD and how hemp-based products can enhance wellness, not only humans but in pets,” said Tim Gordon, Chief Science Officer at Functional Remedies, headquartered in Boulder.

The growth comes even as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – which oversees pet foods and drugs, as well as those for human consumption – has yet to authorize CBD for pets. The FDA’s 2019 review of CBD products included those for pets, though the results of the review are still pending.

The American Veterinary Medical Association asked for guidance from the FDA on whether cannabinoids can be safely given to pets and farm animals during an agency hearing last May.
“The FDA should clearly articulate where various cannabis-derived products fall,” Dr. Ashley Morgan said.

Morgan inadvertently got the whole 500-seat room laughing when an FDA panelist asked if veterinarians are giving pet owners CBD. “No,” Morgan said. After a long pause, she added, “Not legally.”

** The National Association of Cannabis Businesses Pushes a Regional Cannabis Legalization Strategy as States Reopen

As reported by Cannabis Business Times, the National Association of Cannabis Businesses (or NACB) is urging the governors of seven Northeastern and seven Midwestern states to adopt a regional cannabis legalization strategy as states reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic in a move that Mark Gorman, the association’s Executive Vice President, and COO, says will provide states with a new source of revenue as they face budget deficits in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

“Their budgets are going to be really stressed, jobs are going to be hard to come by and this is an industry … that can be an economic engine to bring some vitality back to the economy,” Gorman said.

While the NACB is currently drafting its specific recommendations for a regional legalization strategy, Gorman said consistent tax policies and rules governing the sale of cannabis would be a good place to start.

“These aren’t big, aggressive, new ideas—we’re just trying to get sensible rules to allow people to continue to make a living,” he said. “I think it’s time somebody in this industry tries to bring some unity to the task of writing rules and regulations to govern this industry” Gorman explained.


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