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Marijuana News in Arizona and World

THC

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is one of the primary ingredients found in marijuana, and is responsible for the “high,” that most marijuana strains cause.

But getting high is not all that it’s good for. THC also has a wide range of medical benefits, and is commonly reported to relieve pain, nausea, and depression, among many other things.

Scientific research on THC began decades ago in Israel, and has since spread to many countries across the globe. Yet its status as an illegal drug has made information about this marijuana compound hard to come by. Here are six unknown and amazing facts about THC:

1. THC doesn’t always come with a “high.”

Most people know of THC because of its ability to induce euphoria, or a high. Interesting enough, THC does not always have this effect on its own.

That’s because THC is mostly present in the cannabis plant as THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), its acidic precursor. THCA is not psychoactive, which is why ingesting cannabis raw is unpopular among recreational users. On the other hand, medical users commonly take raw preparations, since THCA possesses some of the same therapeutic benefits as THC.

THCA is typically converted to THC when exposed to heat, through a reaction known as decarboxylation. However, when plants are stored, small amounts of the acid may be converted to THC over time.

2. THC is one of more than 60 active ingredients in cannabis.

Despite being the most recognized ingredient in marijuana, THC is just one of many compounds in the plant with known medical uses.

THC belongs to a unique class of compounds called cannabinoids. Since Dr. Mechoulam’s discovery, more than 60 other cannabinoids in cannabis have been identified.

THC and CBD are the two cannabinoids usually found in the highest concentrations.

3. THC was discovered in 1964.

THC was first isolated and synthesized from the cannabis plant by a scientist in Israel named Dr. Raphael Mechoulam.

As a postdoctoral student in the early 60s, Dr. Mechoulam noticed that the active compounds in morphine and cocaine had been isolated, but no one had isolated the active ingredient in marijuana.

Dr. Mechoulam was in such a rush to conduct his research that he actually broke the law by obtaining marijuana from his friends in the police department. But the scientist still managed to isolate THC in 1964, marking the start of a long career dedicated to cannabis research.

The discovery of THC paved the way for later discoveries and earned Dr. Mechoulam numerous honors, including a NIDA Discovery Award in 2011.

4. THC is used in FDA-approved pharmaceuticals. – While THC is still illegal in the U.S. and most countries around the world, synthetic versions of the chemical have been legally prescribed for decades.

The first THC-based pharmaceutical, a pill sold as Marinol (scientific name: dronabinol), was developed by a company called Unimed Pharmaceuticals with funding from the National Cancer Institute. In 1985, Marinol received FDA approval as a treatment for chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting.

Since then, other pharmaceuticals containing THC have also been developed. These include Cesamet (nabilone), a synthetic isomer of THC, and Sativex (nabiximols), a whole cannabis extract administered as an oral spray.

5. Chemicals similar to THC are found in the body.

Following the discovery of THC, scientists searched for decades for similar chemicals in humans that might explain its effects. In 1992, Dr. Mechoulam and his team made another breakthrough when they discovered a molecule called anandamide.

As it turns out, anandamide is one of a few cannabinoids produced in various parts of the body, including the brain. Similar to the way opioids work by mimicking their natural counterparts (endorphins), chemicals in marijuana mimic naturally occurring cannabinoids called endocannabinoids.

Both anandamide and THC act on pathways in the body called cannabinoid receptors. In the brain, anandamide works to regulate mood, sleep, memory and appetite.

6. THC can protect brain cells and stimulate their growth.

Contrary to popular belief, THC has been proven to have a number of positive effects on brain cells. Whereas most recreational drugs are neurotoxic, THC is considered a “neuroprotectant,” meaning it can protect brain cells from damage caused by things like inflammation and oxidative stress.

What’s more, scientists have even shown that THC can promote the growth of new brain cells through a process known as neurogenesis. This effect was first discovered in 2005 by researchers at the University of Saskatchewan.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Xia Zhang, noted in an interview with Science Daily: “Most ‘drugs of abuse’ suppress neurogenesis. Only marijuana promotes neurogenesis.”

Senate Bill Medical Marijuana

A new Senate bill being introduced would protect medical marijuana patients, doctors and businesses from federal prosecution in states where marijuana has been legalized for medical purposes. It would also remove marijuana from being listed as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has no benefits, to a Schedule II drug, which means it has an accepted medical use.

The bill would be a huge victory for marijuana in the U.S and would stop the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from prosecuting medical marijuana patients, doctors, growers, and dispensaries in states with medical marijuana laws. The bill would also give military veterans in medical marijuana states easier access to marijuana by allowing Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend marijuana for medical purposes.

“This bipartisan legislation allows states to set their own medical marijuana policies and ends the criminalization of patients, their families, and the caregivers and dispensary owners and employees who provide them their medicine,” stated Michael Collins, of the Drug Policy Alliance.

To date, 23 states have legalized medical marijuana and a dozen other states have legalized marijuana with low-THC for medical purposes. All these states would be protected under the new Senate bill. Four states – Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington – and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for adult recreational use.

Marijuana Anxiety

Studies show that the endocannabinoid system – the body’s natural cannabinoid system – plays a major role in regulating a person’s anxiety. Cannabinoid receptors – the binding sites of cannabinoids – are highly concentrated in certain parts of the brain that are responsible for anxiety, including the amygdala and hypothalamus.

Interestingly, patients experience higher levels of anxiety when cannabinoid receptors are blocked. Likewise, regular marijuana users report that marijuana helps to reduce their anxiety levels.

Research has also linked the endocannabinoid system to the extinction of bad memories, supporting its potential role in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as the growth of new brain cells (neurogenesis), which is believed to improve anxiety levels.

On the other hand, paranoia and anxiety attacks are some of most commonly reported side-effects of marijuana use, especially in new and infrequent users. Indeed, studies have revealed a complex link between cannabinoids and anxiety, suggesting that marijuana’s effect on anxiety depends on both the dosage taken as well as the type of cannabinoids that are present.

Users revealed that consuming indica or hybrid marijuana strains (instead of sativas) and/or marijuana with low-THC levels helps decrease anxiety and paranoia side effects. studies have found CBD to play a major role in regulating anxiety and have even suggested that it may be a more effective treatment than THC for anxiety disorders.

WA Dispensary

The nation’s first government-run recreational marijuana dispensary is opening this week.

Revenues from the dispensary will benefit the town of North Bonneville, WA. The town noted that they are opening the dispensary because their town could really use the cash.

“There is one gas station. There is one restaurant. There is a golf course. And there is the Bonneville Hot Springs Hotel,” said John Spencer, a former city administrator.

Not long ago the town of about 1,000 residents stopped watering parks and other public places to save money. And a few months ago it had to start turning off streetlights to cut down on its electricity bill.

“The city is on its knees financially,” Spencer said. “They have run negative numbers in the general fund multiple months in a row because they have no retail sector here and in Washington State you’re dependent on a retail sector because of the sales tax. And this store could very well make a town that is otherwise going to fail.”

The dispensary will be called The Cannabis Corner, and will be the nation’s first recreational dispensary owned and operated by a municipality.

North Bonneville’s Mayor, Don Stevens, embraces the title of “The Marijuana Mayor.” So much so that he ordered a personalized license plate for his car that reads “MJMAYOR.”

Adam Scott Buds Marijuana

NBC might soon have a sitcom about a fictitious Denver marijuana dispensary. The show, being dubbed as “Buds,” will be about the day-to-day happenings inside a legal, recreational marijuana dispensary somewhere in Denver.

There is still a lot of speculation as to whether the show will be more along the lines of “Seinfeld,” “Mad Men” or a mix of the two.

According to various outlets, “Buds” is a part of NBC’s 2015-16 development cycle. Its executive producers are Adam Scott (of NBC’s “Parks and Rec” show), Naomi Scott (his producer wife) and Mande. It’s the first sale since the Scotts’ production company Gettin’ Rad Productions signed a first-look deal with Universal TV in 2014.

Iceland Marijuana

10. Jamaica
Use: 9.86% of the population.
Status: Illegal, but soon to be decriminalized

9. Australia
Use: 10.3% of the population.
Status: Illegal

8. Spain
Use: 10.6% of the population.
Status: Legal for personal use. Illegal to produce, sell or use in public.

7. Canada
Use: 12.2% of the population.
Status: Illegal for recreational use. Legal for medical use.

6. Nigeria
Use: 14.3% of the population.
Status: Illegal

5. New Zealand
Use: 14.6% of the population.
Status: Illegal

4. Italy
Use: 14.6% of the population.
Status: Illegal to produce or sell. Decriminalized for personal possession.

3. United States
Use: 14.8% of the population.
Status: Legal medical use in 23 states. Legal recreational use in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Washington D.C.

2. Zambia
Use: 17.7% of the population.
Status: Illegal

1. Iceland
Use: 18.3% of the population
Status: Illegal

Arizona Dispensary

A poll performed by Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy polled Arizonans about marijuana issues in Arizona and found that 45 percent support adult-use recreational marijuana legalization, while 42 percent support the current medical-use-only marijuana law. Only 13 percent of Arizonans want marijuana completely outlawed in the state.

The poll questioned over 700 Arizonans statewide.

“It is important to keep in mind this research polled a sample of all Arizona adults, not just voters or likely voters,” said David Daughery, the associate director of the Morrison Institute. He went on to mention that “since this issue would be decided by voters, the opinions of those who will not vote are of no consequence to a ballot measure.”

If Arizonans vote to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana in 2016, Arizona would have similar laws to Colorado, where adults can use and possess small amounts of marijuana – purchased from state-regulated dispensaries – for recreational use.

The ASU poll can be read here.

Marijuana Edibles

1. Wait How Long? – The most vital fact about edibles is that it takes time for the effects to hit you. Too many have fallen prey to the “I didn’t eat enough” illusion when they actually didn’t wait long enough. Most dispensaries suggest ingesting 5mg or 10mg your first time, or if you’re more seasoned try 10mg-20mg. One hour is a good amount of time to wait before considering eating more edibles.

2. Sativa, Indica or Hybrid? – Just like with smoking different types of marijuana strains, there are different kinds of edibles too. Sativa, like when smoked, is more of a head high which usually makes you motivated and energetic. Indica creates a lethargic body high and is usually used to help insomnia and pain relief. Hybrids are the in-between leaving your body relaxed and your mind awake. It’s important to take note of which kind of edible you’re eating so you know how your body will most likely react.

3. Strong Scent? – When you first crack open the seal of a really good edible you’ll get a whiff of sweet marijuana. The stronger the smell the stronger the dose and the more precaution you should take.

4. Medical or Recreational? – If in Colorado, medical dispensaries sell more potent edibles than recreational dispensaries. Most recreational dispensaries only go up to 100mg or 200mg while medical dispensaries sell up to 300mg. The heavier the dose the smaller the amount you should eat – especially if you’re new to edibles.

5. When and Where? – You should be in a comfortable and safe environment. Do not take before you have to drive and it’s not a good idea to consume just before going somewhere. Many first-timers experience paranoia in public.

Denver Dispensary

The Denver dispensary, 3D Cannabis Center, is up for sale. The dispensary gained worldwide media attention when it conducted what is regarded as the country’s first state-legal recreational marijuana sale.

The asking price for the Denver dispensary is $2 million and includes a recreational retail license, cultivation license, cultivation equipment, intellectual property rights, and more.

Owner Toni Fox said she “had five walk-throughs (on Tuesday), and they’re all industry people – It’s going to go quick.”

Fox said $2 million will barely cover the debt she has accrued since starting the business in 2010, when they opened as a medical marijuana dispensary.

“It’ll be just enough to pay back my remaining creditors and pay off my IRS liability, so I’ll be basically probably walking away even,” Fox said. “But I’m fine with that. I know more people (in the marijuana industry) that have lost everything and are operating in the black right now.”

D.C. Marijuana

Despite warnings from congressional members, Mayor Muriel Bowser allowed D.C.’s marijuana legalization law to take effect on Feb 26.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, told Bowser that if she continued with implementing marijuana legalization she would face “very serious consequences.” Chaffetz also stated: “You can go to prison for this” and “we’re not playing a little game here.”

Bowser was undeterred by the threat and stated that “We are acting lawfully. I have a lot of things to do, being in jail wouldn’t be a good thing.”

Almost two thirds of D.C. voters approved Initiative 71 last November. Under Initiative 71, any person age 21 or older will be allowed to possess two ounces or less of marijuana, be able to use marijuana on privately owned property, and donate one ounce or less of marijuana to another person as long as no money, goods or services are exchanged.