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Warmer temperatures might be slowing coronavirus transmission

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It is a known fact that warmer temperatures tend to reduce the transmission rates of majority of the viruses. Particularly, the ones related to respiratory issues, e.g. Influenza. A recent speculation suggests that the same is true for coronavirus.
 
In the past 8 months, coronavirus has spread to almost every country on the globe. Effecting more than half a million people and causing thousands of deaths, the virus is still actively spreading. Forcing nations into lockdown, the crisis has caused an economic crisis, along with a severe epidemic.
 
Based on the behavior of respiratory viruses, it is possible that warmer temperature might be affecting the coronavirus transmission. The impact can play a vital role in predicting if the following months would be better.

Research study

A research team from Mount Auburn Hospital, studied the effects of precipitation, temperature and UV index on the spread of the coronavirus. The analysis was primarily based on the death rate during the spring months.
A medical journal, Clinical Infectious Diseases, published the findings. Results indicated that the transmission rate of coronavirus did slow down up till 52 degrees Fahrenheit. However, increasing the temperature further had no impact on the virus.
 
Further, a greater UV index also reduced the average number of new cases per day. However, the impact was not that significant. Precipitation had no effect on the virus whatsoever.
 
The researchers evaluated regular reported instances of the coronavirus cases over the period of 2.5 months, from 22 January to 3 April. John Hopkins University’s Dashboard for coronavirus was the primary source for the data. Information about the environmental factors was taken from the National Centers for Environmental Information.

Results

Researchers analyzed the two datasets using advanced data science techniques. However, the results did not show any promise as to a possible slowing down of the disease. According to Shiv T. Sehra, Director Internal Medicine Residency Program at the hospital, it is unlikely that the coronavirus’s spread would slow down in the summers due to the increasing temperatures.
 
The study divided the data into five possible scenario categories: < 30 degrees, 30 – 40 degrees, 40 – 50 degrees, 50 – 60 degrees and > 60 degrees. All temperature measurements were in Fahrenheit. The team observed the maximum number of new cases on days when the temperature was below 30 degrees. Similarly, the least number of new cases were observed when the average temperature was above 50 degrees.
 
As per the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, as fall and winter draw near, the crisis may get worse. The drop in temperatures will most likely cause a surge in the number of cases. Sehra stated, “We also caution that the disease may get worse in the fall and winter months.”

Limitations

Even though, the research did not show promising results, it is to note that there were a lot of limitations in the process. The study extrapolated the climate related data for the whole nation. Further, the data was from a time period when the overall temperatures were below 70 degrees. Temperature in summers is generally higher in most states.
 
Moreover, there is no guarantee that the number of cases depicted the correct value. Everyday, there are hundreds of cases that go unreported. Hence, adding a bias to the results. Geographical data was also ignored, which could potentially have a vital impact on the number of cases.
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Cannabis

New DEA guidelines promote weed farms supplying for scientific research

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DEA

When it comes to marijuana, the United States is among the most regressive developed nations. With no major reforms in cannabis legislature in decades, it’s certainly no surprise. Furthermore, the decades-long War on Drugs spurred in the 80s hasn’t completely abated either. Widespread arrests on weed dealers, users and even possessors contributed to several minority communities descending deeper into poverty. What’s more, the overall hostile attitude of the ruling conservatives resulted in America missing potentially billions of dollars profit from regulating cannabis distribution. At the moment, only a select few states allow recreational or medicinal weed, unfortunately. Chiefly among the major opponents of cannabis is the Drug Enforcement Authority (DEA).

This federally-backed body is essentially the group that executed the War on Drugs, with government support. The DEA’s main aim is to crackdown on unlawful drugs, such as methamphetamine and prescription pills, used recreationally. This, unfortunately, extends to cannabis and even hemp (despite its near-negligible CBD/THC content). Whenever a substance directly violates an FDA or state law, the DEA can legally seize and arrest those responsible. While preventing dangerous drugs like opiates coming into the hands of minors is understandable, forcefully banning weed is a ridiculous stance. However, recent DEA announcements might show a small glimmer of hope for 2021.

An official announcement mentioned the expansion of legal cannabis farms in 2021

Several pro-cannabis activists and small-time weed farmers noticed a new update to the official DEA site. The federal report, published here, shows a revision made to the legal farms program. This program comprises farms backed by federal legislature to produce cannabis for scientific research purposes. After all, you cannot attempt to justify the total ban of something and not test out its properties in your labs, right?

Currently, the DEA uses the University of Mississippi as its official hub of research. Here, scientific studies and analyses, conducted for official government and FDA considerations, happen. In the official document, released on December 18, 2020, the DEA notes that the requirement for more test cannabis spurred the revision. In the new updates to the code, they mention the possibility of expanding the current number by 3 to 15 more marijauna farms. You can take a look at it for yourself, here.

In addition, they also stated new terms of qualification to become an official DEA bulk supplier of cannabis. Those official terms were not completely detailed out, but some expect upcoming details on this program. Some companies, hoping to gain a spot on the DEA’s payroll, already submitted applications. So far, at least 30 different applicants are under process.

The news shows a more tolerant side of the traditionally hardline DEA

It is best to temper expectations, of course. The cannabis produced will 100% go straight to laboratory experiments or wasted. Nowhere in this document or otherwise does it mention any changes in policy towards medicinal or recreational cannabis. However, this program marks a watershed moment according to several experts.

The way the DEA is more open to carry out transactions with farmers, and the program to further understand the plant’s properties, bode well. The increased number of supplying farms may also reflect greater demand; the hope is that maybe in 2022 that number will rise again. And of course, the more sway scientific testimonies of cannabis having positive health effects gain, the more credibility goes to tireless pro-marijuana activism.

For more on cannabis legislation, DEA stances and scientific research on weed, stay tuned!

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Cannabis

Epidiolex – Can A CBD Based Medication Treat Epilepsy?

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Epilepsy

CBD (cannabidiol) is a chemical derived from hemp plants and cannabis. It can be used to treat numerous medical conditions, including epilepsy with varying heights of efficacy. Research and anecdotal evidence has backed up the benefits of CBD as a treatment, which has resulted in its popularity.

According to recent research, while CBD may help epileptic patients, it can also cause some side effects. Currently, Epidiolex is only one CBD-based epilepsy medication in the market, which is also approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Epidiolex was initially approved as a treatment for 2 rare types of epilepsy in individuals aged 2 and older-

  • Dravet Syndrome
  • Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome

This year, the FDA authorized the use of Epidiolex for individuals aged 1 and older. Moreover, the FDA also authorized its use for the treatment of tuberous sclerosis complex. As children and teenagers are the general patients of these seizure conditions, Epidiolex is also prescribed to epileptic children.

FDA Approval for Epilepsy Medication

While the FDA does not conduct direct testing for these products, the product’s manufacturer makes are their products undergo human, laboratory, and animal clinical testing. The FDA then reviews the received results and decides the basis of approval. According to their website, their eligibility for approval is if “the benefits outweigh the known risks for the intended use”.

The gold standard for these trials would ideally be double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled studies. This would ensure the reduction of any chances of bias, with the inclusion of a control. These studies were successfully conducted on Epidiolex and its effects on the 2 rare types of seizures. The results suggested a reduction in the frequency of the seizures, owing to Epidiolex. However, the potential side-effects of the medication were not ignored.

Medical cannabis

Medical cannabis also consists of CBD and may show effectiveness in treatment. However, it’s comparison f effectiveness with CBD alone, is unclear. There is room for further research, specifically on the other cannabinoid found in cannabis –THC. This cannabinoid may also be addictive and the reason for unwanted reactions, if taken in a higher dosage.

However, a meta-analysis from 2018, compared the difference of effectiveness between pure CBD and medical cannabis rich in CBD. The tests were conducted on treatment-resistant epilepsy. The results concluded that CBD-rich cannabis showed more effectiveness in reducing the frequency of seizures, in comparison to pure CBD. However, the authors agreed that further research was needed to come to a solid conclusion.

CBD

While CBD is the primary active ingredient of Epidiolex, store-bought CBD wouldn’t have the same effects as Epidiolex. As it is a pharmaceutical product, it is tested with higher manufacturing standards in comparison to commercially available CBD, which is not regulated by the FDA.

Different studies have been conducted, with one recent study showed a 39% decrease in seizures for patients taking prescription CBD and a 70% increase in seizures for patients taking artisanal CBD. However, a reason for the increase in the frequency of seizures could be the varying amount of THC present in artisanal CBD which possibly does not undergo testing. However, with the limitations, the retrospective study was conducted on 31 subjects with only 9 consuming artisanal CBD.

Usage for epilepsy

The dosage of Epidiolex, an oral solution, may vary based on several factors such as the severity of the symptoms, and the bodyweight of the individual. Based on the bodyweight of the child, the following dosage has been recommended-

  • STARTING DOSAGE – 2.5mg per kg
  • MAINTENANCE DOSAGE – 5mg per kg
  • MAXIMUM DOSAGE – 10mg per kg

*All of the above dosages are to be taken by mouth twice daily.

 

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Overview of State Laws for Marijuana in California

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legal cannabis in Arizona

California was one of the first states to develop laws for marijuana legalization. The American state passed Proposition 64, the Adult Use Marijuana Act (AUMA), in November 2016. The change allowed for recreational marijuana use for adults 21 years of age or older. Moving on the regulations were implemented from January 2018. California began the public sale of Marijuana officially all over the state.

However, the state of California still holds its importance because it is one of the first ones to develop regulations. The state has a lot of rules concerning marijuana which can serve as an example for newer states in this market. In addition, marijuana is an amazing frontier but it comes with its own problems. The states need to have a robust and well-thought-out framework for implementing marijuana laws.  Otherwise, the negligence will lead to serious loss.

With the recent US election, one thing is pretty clear, its that the public image of marijuana is changing and legalization is going to spread. However, before we move to the newer states we must first evaluate the ones that did legalize. Several states voted for marijuana legalization in the recent elections. The lawmakers throughout the US are having a hard time right now since a lot of these votes got approved.

Since this type of legislation has never been done before, authorities are taking extra care in making decisions. Meanwhile, for those of you wondering how the final laws might look like we have an in-depth analysis of state laws for marijuana in California. The laws of California and how they affected the population can provide a good example to the lawmakers.

Limits on Possession :

In California individuals, 21 years or older can possess up to 28.5 grams (g) of marijuana flower and up to 8 grams (g) of marijuana concentrate. Adults can also have up to six cannabis plants in their private residences. This means that if you have government identification which confirms your age over 21 you have the right to possess marijuana. However, the limit per person is different in the case of patients. A qualified medical patient or primary caregiver can only have eight ounces of marijuana.

Limits on Purchase:

The weed laws of purchase are similar to those of possession under the Adult Use Marijuana Act. Adults 21 years of age or older with a valid, government-issued ID can purchase up to 28.5 grams (g) of marijuana flower and up to 8 grams (g) of marijuana concentrate. Similarly, Medical users can only purchase up to 8 oz. of cannabis daily.

Qualifying Medical Conditions:

The state of California has defined a set of medical conditions for participation in its Medical Marijuana Identification Card Program. The diverse medical conditions eligible for the newer form of medical treatment include AIDS, anorexia, arthritis, cachexia (wasting syndrome), cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, migraine, persistent muscle spasms (e.g. spasms associated with multiple sclerosis), seizures (e.g. epileptic seizures), severe nausea.

In addition, people with any other chronic condition that limits their ability to do one or more of major life activities. The federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, gives a comprehensive list of these disabilities.

Moving on, you do not have to be a resident of California to apply for a medical card. Anyone in the state of California is eligible for a medical cannabis card. It does not matter if you’re from California or not. If you have the medical cannabis card you have all the privileges associated with it. The out of state residents will also have to pay the required taxes on marijuana products.

Driving with Marijuana in Your System:

Although recreational cannabis is legal in the state of California driving under the influence of marijuana is still illegal.  Since the government passed AUMA, that law enforcement authorities keep a close watch on drivers for cases of driving after using marijuana. the State laws clearly state that any instance of driving under the influence is punishable. The punishments vary with the severity of the offense and can range from, informal probation, fines/license suspension, or even jail time. In addition, the punishments become strict with each conviction.

Therefore, it lies in the public to use their cannabis responsibly. There are extreme risks of driving under the influence of marijuana and that’s why it has strict punishments.

Transporting and Export of Marijuana:

Adults 21 years of age or older can transport up to 28.5 grams (g) of marijuana flower and up to 8 grams (g) of marijuana concentrate. However, in order to legally transport marijuana, it should be kept in a child-proof container out of direct reach of the driver. In addition, It is illegal to transport an open package or container of marijuana products. The rules apply uniformly for all passengers inside the vehicle. The passengers also need to be outside of the car in order to smoke marijuana.

Since cannabis is illegal in federal territory exporting cannabis out of the state of California remains illegal. It is also illegal to send marijuana to a state by mail even if that state has legalized marijuana.

Marijuana Plants:

The state of California allows for six plants per household. Despite the number of individuals, only Six plants are allowed per residence. The marijuana plants must be kept in a locked place away from public reach.

That is it for the State Laws for Marijuana in California. However, there are a few things wrong with California’s implementation of cannabis laws and we must talk about that as well. First of all legalization in any state means the end of business for previous black market dealers. However, These black market dealers continue to work even after government legalization cutting off the government’s tax revenues.

On the subject of tax revenues, the state also charged obnoxious amounts in terms of tax at every stage of the marijuana industry. The increased costs are one of the major factors pushing people away from legal sources of marijuana. Because of higher taxes, the legal cannabis market can’t keep us with the black market prices resulting in fewer legal sales and revenues.

Lastly enforcing the laws and ensuring public compliance is an important factor. Only with the proper enforcement of laws, people will turn to legal sources and benefit the cannabis industry. The government needs to work on several factors such as faster commercial license provisions, better taxation amounts, good quality control measures, and laws on public consumption.

The State Laws for Marijuana are the next important step to take after passing the vote for legalization. they are of utmost importance and determine the future of cannabis in the set. It is therefore important that newer states working on legislation implement cannabis laws derived from the examples of states like California.

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