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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  • 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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  • Lower Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines for Canada (LRCUG)

    A Narrative Review of Evidence and Recommendations
    Benedikt Fischer, Victoria Jeffries, Wayne Hall, Robin Room, Elliot Goldner & Jürgen Rehm
    Canadian Journal Of Public Health
    September/October 2011

    More than one in ten adults – and about one in three young adults – report past year cannabis use in Canada. While cannabis use is associated with a variety of health risks, current policy prohibits all use, rather than adopting a public health approach focusing on interventions to address specific risks and harms as do policies for alcohol. The objective of this paper was to develop ‘Lower Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines’  (LRCUG) based on research evidence on the adverse health effects of cannabis and factors that appear to modify the risk of these harms.

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  • The return of the underground retail cannabis market?

    Attitudes of Dutch coffeeshop owners and cannabis users to the proposed ‘cannabis ID’ and the consequences they expect
    Dirk J. Korf, Marije Wouters and Annemieke Benschop
    Bonger International Bulletin
    Volume 1, Number 1, September 2011

    The sale of cannabis to persons aged 18 or older is permitted in the Netherlands under certain conditions in commercial establishments called coffeeshops. The present Dutch government has proposed that access to coffeeshops be restricted to persons holding a cannabis ID, a mandatory membership card known colloquially as a ‘weed pass’ (wietpas). Recent interviews with 66 Amsterdam coffeeshop owners reveal that they expect mainly detrimental effects from the proposed measure. In particular, they predict customer resistance to compulsory registration, the discriminatory exclusion of tourists and other non?members, and a resurgence of cannabis street dealing.

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  • Légalisation contrôlée du cannabis

    Rapport du Groupe de travail parlementaire de députés SRC
    June 15, 2011

    The parliamentary report recommends “controlled legalisation” of the cultivation and consumption of cannabis in France. The report, compiled by a working group of the Socialist Party, headed by the former minister of the Interior Daniel Vaillaint, recommends that the cultivation and sale of cannabis should become a state-controlled activity, like the sale of alcohol and tobacco, and concluded that the government cannot continue to “advocate the illusion of abstinence”.

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    application-pdfConclusions and Recommendations in English (PDF)

    See also: Légaliser le cannabis, mode d’emploi, Journal du Dimanche, 16 Juin 2011 (in French)

  • Cannabis social clubs in Spain

    A normalizing alternative underway
    Martín Barriuso Alonso
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 9
    January 2011

    Cannabis social clubs (CSC) are noncommercial organisations of users who get together to cultivate and distribute enough cannabis to meet their personal needs without having to turn to the black market. They are based on the fact that the consumption of illegal drugs has never been considered a crime under Spanish legislation. Taking advantage of this grey area, private clubs that produce cannabis for non-profit distribution solely to a closed group of adult members have existed for years.

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