The status of cannabis in the UN drug conventions is controversial. It is now scheduled among the most dangerous substances. How and why did cannabis in the conventions? Does it belong there? What are the options to review the status of cannabis according to current scientific data? Is making cannabis subject to a control regime similar to harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco a solution?
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  • Cannabis production and markets in Europe

    European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction
    Insights 12
    June 2012

    This study brings together available evidence to provide a comprehensive analysis of cannabis production and markets across the EU. It combines information from EMCDDA routine reporting — data on patterns of prevalence and use, seizures, police reports, drug-law offences, cannabis potency and retail market prices — with literature on cannabis markets to create an in-depth analysis of the issue in a European context.

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  • Cannabis as an Adjunct to or Substitute for Opiates in the Treatment of Chronic Pain

    Philippe Lucas
    Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 44:2, 125-133
    June 2012

    There is a growing body of evidence to support the use of medical cannabis as an adjunct to or substitute for prescription opiates in the treatment of chronic pain. When used in conjunction with opiates, cannabinoids lead to a greater cumulative relief of pain, resulting in a reduction in the use of opiates (and associated side-effects) by patients in a clinical setting. Additionally, cannabinoids can prevent the development of tolerance to and withdrawal from opiates, and can even rekindle opiate analgesia after a prior dosage has become ineffective.

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  • Marijuana compound treats schizophrenia with few side effects

    Clinical trial
    Time Magazine (US)
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012

    A compound found in marijuana can treat schizophrenia as effectively as antipsychotic medications, with far fewer side effects, according to a preliminary clinical trial. Unlike the main ingredient in marijuana, THC, which can produce psychotic reactions and may worsen schizophrenia, cannabidiol (CBD) has antipsychotic effects, according to previous research in both animals and humans.

  • The neuroscience of pot

    Researchers Explain Why Marijuana May Bring Serenity Or Psychosis
    Alice G. Walton
    Forbes (US)
    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Marijuana has been shown to have both anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects and to induce anxiety and psychosis in certain people. In schizophrenics, it can increase symptoms, and in healthy people it can increase the risk of schizophrenia. Now, new study shows that the two active ingredients in pot, ?9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) may have quite opposite effects on the brain – and behavior – and could explain why pot’s effects can be unpredictable.

  • Prescribing Cannabis for Harm Reduction

    Mark Collen
    Harm Reduction Journal 2012, 9:1
    January 2012

    Neuropathic pain affects between 5% and 10% of the US population and can be refractory to treatment. Opioids may be recommended as a second-line pharmacotherapy but have risks including overdose and death. Cannabis has been shown to be effective for treating nerve pain without the risk of fatal poisoning. The author suggests that physicians who treat neuropathic pain with opioids should evaluate their patients for a trial of cannabis and prescribe it when appropriate prior to using opioids. This harm reduction strategy may reduce the morbidity and mortality rates associated with prescription pain medications.

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  • Marijuana may both trigger and suppress psychosis

    Time Magazine (US)
    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    New research finds that the two main ingredients in marijuana have opposing effects on it. The study examined 15 normal men who had previously smoked cannabis only a few times. Researchers exposed the men to each of the two most psychoactive ingredients in marijuana — delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) and compared their effects with those of a placebo while the participants performed a mental task.

  • Ten Years of Medical Marijuana in Canada

    The Ottawa Citizen (Canada) special website
    December 2011

    In Canada, possession of medical marijuana is controlled under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations, which came into effect in the summer of 2001. The regulations allow people with severe diseases to use marijuana to relieve their symptoms when the usual treatments for these conditions have failed. What is the situation a decade later? A five-part series and data-journalism project coordinated by the Ottawa Citizen, with The Vancouver Sun, Edmonton Journal and Postmedia News Service.

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  • What can we learn from the Dutch cannabis coffeeshop system?

    Robert J. MacCoun
    Addiction (2011) 106(11):1899-910
    November 2011

    In 1976 the Netherlands adopted a formal written policy of non-enforcement for violations involving possession or sale of up to 30 g of cannabis. The ‘gateway theory’ has long been seen as an argument for being tough on cannabis, but interestingly, the Dutch saw that concept as a rationale for allowing retail outlets to sell small quantities. Rather than seeing an inexorable psychopharmacological link between marijuana and hard drugs, the Dutch hypothesized that the gateway mechanism reflected social and economic networks, so that separating the markets would keep cannabis users out of contact with hard-drug users and sellers.

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  • How hemp got high: Canadian scientists map the cannabis genome

    Physorg
    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Canadian researchers have sequenced the genome of Cannabis sativa, the plant that produces both industrial hemp and marijuana, and in the process revealed the genetic changes that led to the plant's drug-producing properties. Detailed analysis of the two genomes suggests that domestication, cultivation, and breeding of marijuana strains has caused the loss of the enzyme (CBDA synthase), which would otherwise compete for the metabolites used as starting material in THCA production. The article describing the research findings, "The draft genome and transcriptome of Cannabis sativa," was published in the journal Genome Biology.

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  • Breaking the Silence

    Cannabis prohibition, organized crime and gang violence in British Columbia
    Report prepared by the Stop the Violence BC Coalition
    October 2011

    This brief report outlines the links between cannabis prohibition in British Columbia (Canada) and the growth of organized crime and related violence in the province, and is the first report of a coalition of concerned citizens and experts known as Stop the Violence BC. The report also defines the public health concept “regulation” and seeks to set the stage for a much needed public conversation and action on the part of BC politicians.

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