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Cannabis Contact High: Should You Be Concerned?

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A contact high – or second-hand high, is the term given to the idea of a person getting stoned, or getting THC in their system, due to the secondhand exposure to cannabis smoke. While this may not be a concern for cannabis smokers, questions arise in the mind of nonsmokers, regarding the possible harmful effects of secondhand cannabis smoke.

According to the 1999 researchers from The British Journal of Anesthesia, it was reported that the amount of THC absorbed depends on the smoking style. However, approximately 50% of the THC and other cannabinoids that are present in a typical cannabis cigarette, will also be present in the mainstream smoke.

Moreover, virtually all of the cannabinoids in present in the mainstream could enter the bloodstream, inexperienced smokers – due to deep inhalation and prolonged presence of smoke in the lungs before exhalation. Older studies from the 1980s on secondhand highs, cannot be relied on completely because of how cannabis has changed since then. The potency of cannabis has increased over the years, which is why the results hold less relevance today.

On the contrary, a comparatively recent study suggests an even lesser percentage. “Pharmacokinetics of cannabinoids”, conducted in 2005, suggested that the variability of THC in plant material (0.3% to 30%) will eventually lead to the variability in tissue THC levels from smoking. It further added that it is a highly individual process. Hence, it leads to the bioavailability average of THC to be 30 percent.

Irrespective of the possible effect that length and duration of the inhalation may have on absorption, THC could still be present in exhaled cannabis smoke. But even with any amount of presence of cannabinoids in secondhand cannabis smoke, the question is if it is enough to stone a person or affect a drug test.

A study titled “Non-Smoker Exposure to Secondhand Cannabis Smoke II” was conducted in 2015, where researchers experimented with ventilation. Minor but detectable, levels of performance impairment on some cognitive assessments were found, along with minor increases to hart rate. Under very extreme conditions, non-smokers did get high. Meanwhile, in ventilated spaces, no detectable levels of cannabinoids were found in the blood 30 minutes prior to the exposure.

In certain studies, trace amounts of THC and it’s derivatives THC-OH and THC-COOH were found in the blood, saliva, and urine tests of some of the participants, immediately after exposure to second-hand smoke. However, these amounts of THC disappeared within one to three hours after exposure and were not exceeding the limits ( 50 nanograms per milliliter) that are set by the government. Although the derivatives could be present in the body for up to 14 hours due to their slower metabolism, they were still not enough to cause any psychoactive effects.

However, secondhand cannabis smoke can still be potentially harmful, even if it doesn’t make someone feel high. Combustion smoke is still harmful nevertheless and generates harmful byproducts and toxins that can damage the lungs, circulatory system, and tissues.

While vaping can eliminate the toxins from combustion, it has it’s own hazards – such as the uncertain and questionable ingredients in cannabis oils, and the metal toxins that could leak from the vape pen battery.

As long as you’re in a ventilated space, you are safe from any cannabinoids showing up on a drug test. Nonetheless, smokers are expected to still be considerate about their smoke. No one should have to be exposed to second-hand smoke against their will, and it is advisable for smokers to smoke in ventilated spaces where non-smokers have the option to leave if need be.

Lastly, while secondhand smoke may not have much effect on adults, it can be dangerous for pets and children.

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Researchers Say that Hemp Oil Can Treat Chronic Neuropathic Pain

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The effectiveness of the consumption of hemp oil which is derived from the cannabis plant is being studied by researchers with the use of a severe neuropathic pain animal model. Researchers at The University of New Mexico have concluded that licensed cannabis hemp oil reduced the mechanical pain responsiveness for many hours in mice with existing persistent post-operative neuropathic discomfort.

Hemp, while unique from its still widely criminally banned cousin, refers to cannabis plants that have 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol. Furthermore, under federal law, production, and consumption of hemp are legal in the majority of regions across the U.S, due to the Hemp Farming Act. The U.S. Congress introduced the Act and President Donald Trump signed it into legality in 2018.

Millions of Americans are given the accessibility to an organic, effective, and comparatively safe alternative for the treatment of chronic pain, due to the major step in cannabis prohibition.

Traditional pharmacological drugs, or particularly opioids, have been the leading figures of preventable deaths while traditional medicinal faults are the third leading cause of death in the US.

The University of New Mexico carried a range of recent researches that have examined the effectiveness and safety of the consumption of the cannabis plant. However, this would be the first research to estimate the healing potential of legal hemp oil with low THC levels.

Co-researcher and associate professor in the UNM Psychology Department, Dr. Jacob Miguel had explained the research. He explained that despite cannabis plants with low THC being psychoactive, they allow serious and prompt aid from symptoms such as pain, anxiety, and depression while ending in fewer psychedelic experiences.

Researchers used a chronic neuropathic pain model to study how hemp oil impacts temporary pain sensitivity to the afflicted region. The model gave mice the vulnerability to post-operative neuropathic pain, which was equal to many years of chronic pain in human clinical patients. The mice showed efficient pain relief, even numerous hours after cannabis consumption. Hence, they neared the mechanical pain sensitivity of the control mice that didn’t experience the surgical procedure.

One of the lead investigators, Dr. Karin N. Westlund; Department of Anesthesiology, explained the research in their article. The article was titled “The Therapeutic Effectiveness of Full Spectrum Hemp Oil Using a Chronic Neuropathic Pain Model” and was published in the journal, Life.

Due to their ability to avoid human biases and likelihood outcomes, or perceptual and cognitive results to entry in cannabis-themed trials, researches in animals could potentially be superior to clinical trials. Numerous researches estimating the outcomes of cannabis in humans involve observation of subjects with statements of psychedelic experiences, irrespective of them receiving the actual cannabis agent or not, commonly regarded as the placebo effect.

The research focused on the effectiveness of “LyFeBaak” hemp oil, manufactured by Organic Energetic Solutions. LyFeBaak is legally available for purchase in New Mexico since 2019. The co-author and hemp grower, Anthony L. Ortiz, explained that their company grows hemp with optimized conditions to release the plant’s utmost health and vitality, with the help of hypermineralization techniques.

He adds that however, the growth of plants in a state of fight-or-flight is common in the cannabis industry. He continued that these techniques have supported them to produce effective hemp products for patients, who have stated its effectiveness for several mental and physical health problems. Anthony has stated that the new variations in hemp laws will now help them put these claims to the test.

However, long-term use of hemp oil is warned by the authors, mostly focusing on the traditional federal prohibition laws in the U.S. Vigil claims that the legal accessibility for an ordinary citizen, to an organic and effective medication with easy and cost-effective production, makes this an extremely intriguing time in advanced medical discovery.

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New U.S. Stimulus Bill – Cannabis Businesses to Get Banking Access

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With gravity, the U.S. government stimulus program has aimed to support smaller firms in the nation to hold on until reopening seems likely. Possibly the most apparent example is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Provision of over $600 billion in forgiveness loans, is intended by the PPP, to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). SMBs dealing with authorized cannabis are one of the ineligible SMBs for PPP loans.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that an initial high demand was seen in licensed cannabis businesses, for their wares, after the start of the pandemic, and additional sources of funding weren’t required. Director of global expansion at DNA Genetics Inc. and California-based cannabis producer, Rezwan Khan reported to the paper that the public stockpiled cannabis like toilet paper.

Despite the differing degrees of the legalization of cannabis in  33 states, the federal government still declares it as illegal. Furthermore, legal cannabis firms were declared ineligible for funds by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The struggles for the continuation of operations are growing for the cannabis industry, like any other business landscape that is controlled by smaller firms. Consequently, Congress has extended support for licensed cannabis businesses.

The plan is to allow access to conventional banking ways that are currently closed to cannabis businesses due to their sales being labeled as a criminal operation by the federal government. Consequently, cannabis companies have been compelled to trade in cash only.

However, a $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act was recently established by the U.S. Democrats. The plans to potentially support cannabis companies for loans and access to conventional banking services were also added.

Contents from the proposed Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Act were added to the HEROES Act, by the Democrats. This could lead to cannabis businesses gaining access to the conventional U.S. banking system.

Last September, the House passed the SAFE Act. However, it hasn’t evolved into a law. Instead, ever since, it has been held up in the Senate controlled by Republicans.

However, Section 11006 of the HEROES Act, entitled “Safe Banking,” has declared that federal laws will permit banks and other monetary services to assist cannabis companies and will hold them accountable on transactions or interests across deposits, checking and lending.

Furthermore, with the potential hope towards the cash element of the cannabis industry, there are other intriguing factors. The proposed legislation has further states that its purpose is the increase and privatization of public safety with the certainty of access to monetary services to licensed cannabis-related businesses and service providers. It also stated its aim for the decline of the amount of cash at such businesses.

A letter was signed by thirty-four attorneys general and addressed to Senate and House Congressional leadership. The AGs disputed that in reference to legal cannabis, there are 3 key respects with which the legislative relief was distinctly directed by the coronavirus pandemic.

They further recorded that competence can be improved in the accumulation of tax revenue, for state and local governments. They further added that there has been an escalation in threats to public safety due to the cash-intensive business models claiming for it to be the common target of criminal activity.

However, the AGs further addressed that law enforcement, tax regulators, consumers, and patients, are all susceptible to an intensified risk of the vulnerability to the deadly virus, due to the presence of huge cash sales.

However, there is ambiguity in its fate in the Republican-majority Senate, despite the passing of the HEROES Act by the Democratic-controlled House. The measure was called “a list of pet priorities” by the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, stating no urgency of immediate action.

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Ontario Begins Virtual Inspections for Cannabis Stores During Lockdown

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The regulator of Ontario is credited by cannabis store contractors, regarding its prompt transition to a virtual examination government, in the middle of the global pandemic. Cannabis store contractors have said that the aim has been essential in raising the number of licensed stores in Ontario which is facing a grave retail shortage.

Hundreds of virtual investigations were conducted by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). The inspections were virtual due to the statewide lockdown, two months ago, which came at a crucial time for the cannabis business.

Furthermore, Ontario received numerous store applications after the process was presented for all comers, earlier this year. While currently Ontario is held on a few dozen stores, it is aiming to increase the number.

Traditionally, the licensing process of a store holds the inclusion of several in-person meetings and investigations. While despite the implementation of the emergency order, Ontario didn’t hold back any store openings. Hence, the AGCO moved towards Apple’s FaceTime app to manage inspections.

The AGCO spokesman, Raymond Kahnert stated that they started the virtual-inspection process within seven days after the declaration of the emergency order in Ontario.

A statement was reported by the spokesman for The Hunny Pot cannabis store in Toronto, Cameron Brown, which explained how the industry would be closed down if it weren’t for these virtual investigations.

Brown further explained how promptly the government managed to make the transition. He added that this was a prominent switchover with the use of technology. He continued that this is beneficial for the increase in licensed stores in the province, and how its absence could set us behind by a few months.

Vice president of strategic partnerships in the British Columbia office of Cova, Anne Forkutza, stated that virtual inspections are conducted over FaceTime for clients of the cannabis retail software provider.

She explained that AGCO acknowledges the bearing of several retailers sitting on rent payments with stores ready to open. She added that the retailers have shown variation in allowing investigations and practicing social distancing simultaneously.

210 preinspection actions have been conducted by the AGCO virtually, as of May 14. Educational sessions were included along with reauthorization investigations. Moreover, there were further 17 reopening investigations conducted virtually.

The 2 essential steps to the process –

  •  Submission of an appeal for or acquirement of Retail Operator License (ROL)
  • Submission of an appeal for a Retail Store Authorization (RSA) with an intended area, by the ROL applicant/licensee.

The virtual process –

  • An informative session between the applicant and an AGCO compliance official.
  • After the completion of the store and a public-notice period with no complaints, the AGCO will start final investigations; a pre-authorization investigation, and a preopening investigation.

AGCO’s Kahnert stated that safety is a priority for their employees and stakeholders. This leads to them relying on virtual technology for safe interactions.

The initial virtual investigation proved to be interesting and challenging according to Chris Jones, president of the Star Buds retail chain in Ontario. However, initially, the potential standstill of the licensing process due to the pandemic concerned Jones.

He explained how the first investigation held ambiguity due to uncertain expectations led by the physical absence of the compliance officer. He added that it eventually became easier significantly due to fully informed expectations and the level of aspects that were essential during a virtual investigation.

An incredibly supportive experience was reported by Helen Vassos, owner of Canvas Cannabis stores.  The inspection on FaceTime lasted for 45 minutes.

She explained how vigilant regulators and entrepreneurs have to be for the sustenance of progress in recent months. She continued to explain the importance of the inspection for the operation of the license.

Vassos said that prompt adaption is needed for retailers now.

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