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Cannabis compared to ‘heroin and crack cocaine’ by addiction specialist

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Campaigners in Ireland have raised concerns after cannabis was compared to heroin and crack cocaine by a leading addiction specialist.

Education around cannabis is ‘sorely lacking’ in Ireland according to campaigners, who spoke out after it was compared to drugs such as heroin, benzodiazepines and crack cocaine.

A story in the Irish Examiner, highlighting how large quantities of cannabis had been seized by police, carried quotes from a leading addiction specialist at Cuan Mhuire – Ireland’s largest voluntary provider of addiction treatment services.

Michael Guerin is quoted as saying those who attended treatment centres for cannabis abuse were  “in as bad a shape coming into treatment as anyone using anything else — cocaine, heroin, benzodiazepines, crack cocaine — all of it.”

He went on to say that the psychological ‘devastation’ associated with long-term use would ‘rival any other substance’, although he admitted that those affected were in the ‘minority’.

Mr Guerin told the Examiner: “There is a psychological implosion that happens in somebody who is addicted to cannabis. It brings them to their knees. People are hospitalised from it and need in-patient psychiatric services for psychiatric-induced psychosis. These people are in the minority but they’re there.”

Campaigners were quick to raise concerns about the comments, saying they only serve to further stigmatise medical cannabis patients in the country.

Nicole of the Cork Cannabis Activist Network – who asked us not to use her surname to protect her identity – said: “For an apparent addiction specialist to confidently compare a non-toxic and inherently medicinal plant to the likes of heroin, benzodiazepines and crack cocaine proves that education is sorely lacking in Ireland surrounding cannabis.”

She added: “As long as comments like these are published in the media and backed up by An Garda Síochána, cannabis consumers and patients will continue to be targeted, stigmatised, criminalised and marginalised. We cannot allow this to continue.”

A 2010 study led by Professor David Nutt of Imperial College London on behalf of Drug Science, the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs in the UK, measured the harms of the misuse of illicit drugs.

Heroin, crack cocaine, and metamfetamine were found to be the most harmful to individuals, with cannabis scoring significantly lower.

Prof Nutt also highlighted an Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) report on the physical and mental health risks associated with cannabis, following the rescheduling of cannabis as a Class B drug in 2009.

The report concluded that although cannabis can be harmful, particularly to ‘vulnerable individuals’, it is less harmful than other Class B drugs and evidence supporting a link between cannabis use and psychosis ‘should be regarded with caution’.

Prof Nutt, who is chair of Drug Science commented: “All the evidence shows that cannabis – even when it leads to dependence – is less harmful than other drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. It is also clearly less harmful than alcohol.”

When approached by Cannabis Health, Michael Geurin said the views expressed in the article were his own and not an organisational position of Cuan Mhuire.

“The comments in the Examiner refer to cannabis dependent individuals and the undesirable effects that they can suffer as a consequence,” he stated.

“Neither the article or I have expressed a view as to the efficacy or otherwise of cannabis for medicinal purposes.”

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Industry

Molson Coors brings first CBD beverage to US

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Photo: Truss CBD

Mega brewer Molson Coors has announced its new line of non-alcoholic, sparkling CBD beverages in the US and it expands ‘beyond the beer aisle’.

The joint venture between brewing giant Molson Coors Beverage Company and Canadian cannabis firm HEXO Corp has announced its first US CBD drink will hit the market this month. 

Launched by Truss CBD, Veryvell is a new line of non-alcoholic, sparkling CBD beverages, available exclusively for consumers in Colorado. 

It marks the company’s first entry into the American CBD market since its inception and is another example of Molson Coors’ moves to cultivate the company’s beverage offerings. 

“Last year we redefined ourselves as Molson Coors Beverage Company and in doing so, laid out a clear vision of leveraging the competitive strengths of our storied foundation in beer to grow in new spaces beyond the beer aisle,” said Pete Marino, president of the emerging growth division for Molson Coors.

“Truss’ entry into the CBD market in Colorado and the launch of Veryvell, a brand we believe will resonate well with Colorado consumers, is another example of Molson Coors’ expansion into new beverage categories.”

Veryvell has been described as having a crisp taste, containing zero calories, zero sugar and comes in three distinct varieties, each infused with 20mg of hemp-derived, non-psychoactive CBD and adaptogens.

These include, Focus, a combination of grapefruit and tarragon, Mind & Body, a blend of strawberry and hibiscus and Unwind, a mix of blueberry and lavender with ashwagandha and L-Theanine.

Jane Armstrong Hockman, Truss CBD USA general manager commented: “Whether you’ve dabbled in CBD before or are curious to try something new, Veryvell invites a moment of self-care to your day through a refreshing and balanced mix of hemp extracts and natural flavours.

“Each beverage in the product line offers a unique blend of CBD and adaptogens, giving consumers the freedom to pick the combination that best meets them in the moment. We are thrilled to bring our beverage expertise and commitment to quality to this emerging wellness category.

Veryvell is produced and distributed exclusively within Colorado, following the state’s established regulatory framework for hemp-derived CBD in food and beverages. 

The diversification of the Molson Coors portfolio also includes an exclusive agreement with The Coca Cola Company to manufacture, market, and distribute Topo Chico Hard Seltzer in the US as well as an expanding roster of non-alcoholic innovations. 

This includes a new energy drink being launched by a multi-faceted team of fitness, health and beverage industry change makers including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Follow @liveveryvell on Facebook and Instagram or visit www.trusscbdusa.com/

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Lifestyle

CBD and anxiety: What the research says

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A number of studies suggest CBD could be useful for managing symptoms of anxiety

With more and more people reporting the use of CBD to ease stress and anxiety in these uncertain times, is the research there to back it up?

With a global pandemic raging, and many of us cut off from our friends and loved ones, it is no surprise that levels of anxiety and stress are at a high right now. 

With many of our traditional stress-relieving activities – going to the gym, seeing a friend, travelling –  out of bounds, and concern mounting about a rise in alcohol use, people are increasingly looking for alternative ways to relax.

A number of recent developments have once again highlighted the value of CBD in treating anxiety – so much so that a Canadian firm is developing a prescription drug based on the compound.

EmpowerPharm Inc is currently developing a unique prescription drug containing synthetic CBD as the active pharmaceutical ingredient to treat anxiety.

Pending the results of clinical research, it is thought the drug may help the thousands of Canadians who suffer from anxiety, as the firm has identified a growing need for innovative therapies as alternative treatments to avoid the addictive prescription products currently prescribed.

Meanwhile, CBD is also growing in popularity among those using it on a more recreational basis; almost half of UK users have increased their consumption since the pandemic.

A recent poll has found that more than a third (33 per cent) of Britons have tried CBD products, while 42 per cent have increased their usage since the outbreak of Covid-19, with anxiety the most common reason for using them.

While CBD has long had a reputation for promoting relaxation, research is still ongoing. 

A landmark study in the US – billed as the first of its kind – was launched in October last year to investigate CBD’s use as a formal anxiety treatment.

The Cannabinoid Anxiety Relief Education Study is targeting millions of CBD and cannabis users across the US to assess the potential role of cannabinoids in reducing anxiety and other co-morbid conditions, such as insomnia and depression.

Such large-scale research is especially relevant given high Covid-19-caused anxiety levels, with many state and local governments deeming cannabis businesses “essential” and thus able to remain open during restrictions.

However, there are concerns that, while CBD can certainly help to relieve anxiety in the short-term, it is nothing more than a ‘sticking plaster’ solution. 

Studies conducted by a team at Washington State University, led by phycology professor Dr Carrie Cuttler, analysed data from hundreds of people who recorded their symptoms before and after cannabis consumption.

Findings showed that in people who self-reported as having PTSD, cannabis reduced the severity of intrusive thoughts by about 62 per cent; for irritability it was 67 per cent and anxiety by 57 per cent.

However, researchers also found that there is no indication that cannabis reduced symptoms in the long-term.

Dr Cuttler cautioned: “We see a general theme that immediately after using cannabis most of the symptoms of these conditions are reduced by just over 50 percent.

“The bottom line is that it can work as an effective mask of the symptoms temporarily but it’s not benefiting the individuals in the long term.” 

Such research points to the fact that, whole CBD may not be a solution for long-term anxiety, it is a useful took for treating shorter spells of stress – such as those caused by the pandemic.

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Industry

US cannabis veteran launches pure CBD range

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Jason Navarrete is introducing a new range of products through Pure Craft CBD

Cannabis entrepeneur, Jason Navarrete, who has almost two decades of experience in the sector, has launched a range of highly bio-available CBD products. 

After selling his multi-million cannabis empire, US businessman, Navarrete has announced the launch of his new CBD range. 

Navarrete is well-known in the industry having built a huge cannabis conglomerate in Southern California over the last 18 years.

Worth more than $250 million, the 120,000 square feet facility, across three industrial warehouses, focuses on high-tech hydroponic indoor cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and retail.

He sold the empire in early 2020 and transitioned from cultivating cannabis to creating what he claims are the purest CBD products on the market with his newest venture, Pure Craft CBD.

Pure Craft products are 90 percent bio-available, where most of those on the market are no more than 18 percent.

The company says being highly bio-available means Pure Craft products enter the body at a much quicker rate and are more effective than other products because they are broken down into particles that the body can absorb immediately.

Navarrete worked closely with MIT researchers to cultivate the cannabis and develop the line that includes nano-optimised broad spectrum water-soluble CBD tinctures along with soft gels, vegan gummies, CBD pet tincture, CBD broad spectrum oil and CBD with melatonin to promote sleep.

The team is also working on a full line of nano water-soluble tinctures from 600 – 3,000mg, in peppermint, tropical, strawberry mojito, orange cream, blueberry and vanilla flavours. 

Navarrete believes the CBD industry is lacking the experience of cultivation experts, such as himself.

“When it comes to CBD, a lot of companies online are looking at the money aspect of an emerging industry,” he says. 

“I’ve been cultivating cannabis for eighteen years. This industry is sorely lacking cultivation experts. That’s why scientists have reached out to work with me in their research.”

 Navarrete explains a key factor in how he oversees his “seed to sale” process. 

“We only partner with farmers that understand the importance of genetics and science in regard to cultivating premium hemp biomass.

“Our products are made following the strictest guidelines and quality control measures, allowing us to call them pharmaceutical grade.”

He is also sharing that wisdom with young entrepreneurs as an adjunct professor at the Center for Entrepreneurship at California State University, Fullerton, where he teaches young entrepreneurs about business basics.

“I’ve learned these lessons the hard way,” he explains.

“Teaching these young students the insights, skills and tricks of the trade makes me feel as if I am contributing to their entrepreneurial dreams to help them become more successful faster. The way I look at it, everything is a game and how much money you make is how you keep score.”

Pure Craft CBD offers 16 different cannabis products, which all  come with third-party lab COAs (Certificates of Analysis) so consumers know exactly what’s in them and how they were tested every time. 

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