Long Covid sufferers using medical cannabis to ease symptoms with demand on the rise

Long Covid sufferers using medical cannabis to ease symptoms with demand on the rise

More than two million people are thought to be battling long Covid symptoms which can include a shortness of breath, tiredness, difficulty sleeping and joint pain

People suffering from long Covid are finding medical cannabis can ease their debilitating symptoms, the People can reveal. And services allowed to prescribe the drug say demand is on the rise.

Medical cannabis was made legal in the UK three years ago. Under MHRA guidelines, it can only be prescribed by a specialist when other licensed treatments for a condition are proven not to have worked or are unsuitable.

As long Covid is a new disease, sufferers are unlikely to meet this criteria yet. But pain consultant Dr Jean Gerard Sinovich, medical director at Cannabis Access Clinics, said enquiries for long Covid treatment were on the rise.

The online prescriber has heard from 65 long Covid sufferers in four months.

Sharron Brothwell is among those with long Covid who claim medical cannabis eased symptoms.

The mum-of-three, of Blackpool, Lancs, was prescribed the drug to treat chronic fibromyalgia. After contracting Covid in March 2020 she became reliant on inhalers – but says she no longer needs them thanks to her £380-a-month cannabis prescription from Sapphire Medical Clinics.

Sharron said: “I constantly felt like I had jet lag. That has all changed now. The other day I was able to take my dog out on my own to the park for a ten-minute walk there and back which I never could have done a few months ago. It is amazing.”

Another patient, a grandfather aged 50 from Flintshire, Wales, was prescribed the drug 15 months ago by Cannabis Access Clinics for arthritis.

He upped his dose after a bout of Covid in September left him with long-term breathlessness and fatigue.

He said: “I was wrecked, absolutely drained. But I found that using my vaporiser more frequently helped open my airways and reduced muscle pain.”

More than two million people in the UK are thought to be battling long Covid, in which symptoms persist at least four weeks after the initial virus.

Dr Sinovich said: “I’ve seen patients who have long Covid and seen improvements in sleep and fatigue levels.

“There’s scope to use this as an extra armour if we want to treat long Covid. It is exciting.”

Dr Simon Erridge, Sapphire’s head of research and access, said there was “no evidence that can directly suggest medical cannabis is better for long Covid symptoms.” But he added: “Lots with long covid have muscular aches and pains, abdominal pain, neuropathic pain. We’ve seen positive effects with medical cannabis in these conditions.”

He expects to see further research into long Covid and the role medical cannabis can play.



UAE eases drug laws: No more jail for travellers bringing in cannabis

UAE eases drug laws: No more jail for travellers bringing in cannabis

The UAE has eased some of its harsh drug laws, relaxing penalties for travellers who arrive in the country with products containing THC, the main intoxicating chemical in cannabis. The new law, published on Sunday in the UAE’s official gazette, says people caught carrying food, drinks and other items with cannabis into the country will no longer land in prison if it’s their first time. Instead, authorities will confiscate and destroy the products.

The law marks a noteworthy change for one of the world’s most restrictive nations when it comes to importing common drugs for personal use, from cannabis to over-the-counter medications like narcotics, sedatives and amphetamines. UAE strictly prohibits the sale and trafficking of drugs, with drug use punishable by four years in jail.

Other changes include reducing minimum sentences from two years to three months for first-time drug offenders and offering convicts rehabilitation at a detention facility separate from other felons. Foreign drug users who are caught are typically deported to their home countries after imprisonment, but the new law leaves that decision up to the judge.


The reforms come as part of a wider legal overhaul announced as the UAE celebrates a half-century since its founding and seeks to boost its image as a cosmopolitan hub attractive to tourists and investors. For decades, the nation’s penal code, based on Islamic law has routinely landed expats and tourists in jail for offences that few Westerners would otherwise consider crimes.



Here’s the chemistry behind marijuana’s skunky scent

Here’s the chemistry behind marijuana’s skunky scent

Newly identified sulfur compounds in cannabis flowers give the plant its telltale funky odor

Scientists have finally sniffed out the molecules behind marijuana’s skunky aroma.

The heady bouquet that wafts off of fresh weed is actually a cocktail of hundreds of fragrant compounds. The most prominent floral, citrusy and piney overtones come from a common class of molecules called terpenes, says analytical chemist Iain Oswald of Abstrax Tech, a private company in Tustin, Calif., that develops terpenes for cannabis products. But the source of that funky ganja note has been hard to pin down.

Now, an analysis is the first to identify a group of sulfur compounds in cannabis that account for the skunklike scent, researchers report November 12 in ACS Omega.

Oswald and colleagues had a hunch that the culprit may contain sulfur, a stinky element found in hops and skunk spray. So the team started by rating the skunk factor of flowers harvested from more than a dozen varieties of Cannabis sativa on a scale from zero to 10, with 10 being the most pungent. Next, the team created a “chemical fingerprint” of the airborne components that contributed to each cultivar’s unique scent using gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy and a sulfur chemiluminescence detector.  

As suspected, the researchers found small amounts of several fragrant sulfur compounds lurking in the olfactory profiles of the smelliest cultivars. The most dominant was a molecule called prenylthiol, or 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol, that gives “skunked beer” its notorious flavor. 

The sulfur compounds have been found in nature, but never before in cannabis, says Amber Wise, an analytical chemist with Medicine Creek Analytics in Fife, Wash., who was not involved in the study.

Oswald was surprised to find that prenylthiol and many of the other sulfurous suspects in cannabis share structural similarities with molecules found in garlic. And like these alliaceous analogs, a little goes a long way.

These compounds “can be in very low concentrations on the flower, but still make a huge impact on the smell,” Oswald says. The sulfur molecules are most abundant in cannabis flowers when they reach maturity and during the curing process.

Smell psychologist Avery Gilbert of Headspace Sensory, a startup company in Fort Collins, Colo., that specializes in quantifying the many scents of cannabis, is excited to see the molecules added to marijuana’s chemical repertoire. “The spectrum of cannabis odor is just amazing,” he says. “I think it beats the pants off of wine.”

The discovery of prenylthiol in marijuana, Gilbert says, is the first step to masking its nuisance odor — or maximizing its perversely pleasant stink.

Prenylthiol has a “polarizing scent,” Oswald says. While many people think it reeks, some cannabis users will pay top dollar for skunky grass, which some consider an indicator of quality.




Cannabis growers to be taxed at 20%

Cannabis growers to be taxed at 20%


JERSEY’S cannabis-growing industry will be taxed at 20%, following a vote in the States Assembly.

Under previous rules, any revenue from cannabis companies in the Island would have been subject to the standard 0% rate of corporate income tax, but this will change to the higher rate from next year.

States Members voted overwhelmingly – by 37 to four – to approve the new approach.

The taxation of companies in the industry was ‘one of the measures that has been forecast to help balance budgets by 2024’, according to the proposal, which was lodged by Treasury Minister Susie Pinel. Taxing the growing and processing of cannabis forms part of a strategy to raise around £10 million in the proposed Government Plan, alongside other measures.

But the proposal added: ‘It is not yet possible to forecast how much tax will be raised from these measures because the industry is in its early stages and forecasts would be speculative.’

Addressing States Members, Deputy Pinel called her proposition a ‘simple set of regulations’ that should come as ‘no surprise to Members’. She also suggested that the industry could provide a ‘new use for redundant glasshouses’, while Environment Minister John Young also said that cannabis growing would be a ‘good use of former glasshouse sites’ and that having a tax framework for the industry was a ‘sensible way forward’.

Deputy Pinel said she wanted to reassure politicians that it was a ‘highly regulated’ industry and that the benefits were three-fold: supporting the government’s rural economy strategy, developing ‘a high-value ancillary business sector encouraging inward investment’, and the generation of revenue through taxes.

However, a Scrutiny panel said there was a risk to taxing the emerging sector at a 20% rate, adding that any profits ‘may be minimal for several years’ because of high initial investment costs.

The Economic and International Affairs Scrutiny Panel published a report before yesterday’s debate, warning that, unlike in Guernsey, companies engaged in more than one type of activity could find their income from other business activity, such as standard farming, taxed at the same higher rate.

Speaking during the sitting, panel chairman Deputy David Johnson said there was little data on the ‘immediate impact’ of taxing the cannabis-growing industry.

He said: ‘It is a speculative proposition, or hope, that we are going to receive high amounts of income in the near future.’

But Deputy Johnson added that his panel was ‘happy to support the proposition’.

Constable Karen Shenton-Stone said: ‘This 20% seems to have been plucked out of the air.’

Mrs Shenton-Stone also raised concerns that the evolving industry would be a ‘blight on the countryside’. And she added that as the produce would be exported, it would contribute no GST to the Island.

Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham said no promises had been made about ‘massive returns’ from the fledgling industry, but he said there was ‘great potential here’. He explained that while companies would be restoring redundant glasshouses ‘to their former glory’, they ‘must not allow over-industrialisation’, and denied there would be damage to the countryside.

Constables Mike Jackson, Sadie Le Sueur-Rennard and Karen Shenton-Stone and Deputy Kevin Lewis voted against the proposition.



Study Shows Most Physicians Lack Knowledge Of Medical Cannabis

Study Shows Most Physicians Lack Knowledge Of Medical Cannabis

A study of more than 400 health care professionals has revealed that most physicians lack knowledge of medicinal cannabis, with 65% saying that they have been asked about medical marijuana as a treatment for chronic pain but were unable to answer their patients’ questions.

The quantitative research study, which was commissioned by cannabis healthcare brand Cannaceutica, surveyed 445 physicians who treat chronic pain, including general practitioners and specialists in fields such as orthopedics, rheumatology, and sports medicine, about their knowledge of medical cannabis. Physicians who participated in the study had from two to 35 years of practice and were at least somewhat knowledgeable about medical cannabis and at least somewhat likely to recommend it to their patients with chronic pain, assuming medical marijuana was legally available. 

Vast Majority Of Doctors Asked About Medical Cannabis

An overwhelming majority (84%) of the health care providers surveyed said that their patients had requested or asked about cannabis for chronic pain, with 72% reporting that they had been asked in the previous 30 days. Dr. Daniele Piomelli, the director of the Institute for the Study of Cannabis at the University of California, Irvine and a member of the UCI Institutional Review Board that approved the research, said in a press release that the study “emphasizes both the public interest around cannabis as an analgesic and the lack of reliable data and/or medical education about its correct use.”

“In 2017, a National Academy of Science expert panel concluded that there was ‘substantial’ but not ‘conclusive’ evidence that cannabis and cannabinoids are effective in treating chronic pain in adults,” Piomelli continued. “Five years later, we are still lacking the data needed to put this issue to rest, one way or another. It’s time we fill this gap.”

The study, which has not yet been published or peer reviewed, also found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of physicians said that patients themselves were their dominant source of information about cannabis, followed by the internet (44%) and medical journals (40%). The survey reveals a glaring lack of knowledge about the therapeutic uses of cannabis among health care professionals, most of whom receive little to no education on medical marijuana or the endocannabinoid system in medical school.

Research is revealing increasing evidence and support for the therapeutic use of cannabis for chronic pain. However, cannabis regulatory changes are outpacing the type of evidence many physicians need to feel confident about recommending cannabis to their patients. The survey of health care professionals found that 81% of physicians believe that cannabis will play a role in the management of chronic pain in the future, but only one in four said that they were very likely to recommend medical marijuana for chronic pain today.

Challenges For Doctors And Patients

Mikhail Kogan, M.D., medical director of the GW Center for Integrative Medicine and associate professor, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, has treated and recommended cannabis to more than 3,000 patients, about half for chronic pain. But he says that he is a significant exception, as the lack of formal education makes it difficult for doctors to recommend medical cannabis to their patients.

“We struggle with this question for good reason. We don’t send patients to a website to learn about their medications, so we shouldn’t send a patient to a website to learn about cannabis,” Kogan writes in an email. “Patients can read books and research papers or talk to budtenders in a dispensary for guidance, but none of these are good options. It’s not even a Band-Aid solution, because self-medicating can lead to unwanted side effects.”

Kogan adds that there is also too much trial and error in self-medicating with cannabis, which can create complications or a discontinuation of the therapy because of a lack of information or dosing guidelines. And when he does recommend medical marijuana, Kogan notes that inconsistencies in available products also present problems for patients and providers.

“A patient could walk into a dispensary asking for a specific strain or product that works for them and either the dispensary doesn’t have it or there are inconsistencies between batches, and they can’t find the exact same product,” says Kogan.

Until regulation of marijuana catches up with its current use, Kogan says that both health care providers and patients will continue to face challenges with the therapeutic uses of cannabis.

“Standardization in education is critical, but so is standardization when it comes to cannabis products for pain to ensure that the patient gets the same exact medicine every time,” he explains.


Taliban Announces Deal To Grow Cannabis In Afghanistan Amid Questions Over Company’s Involvement

Taliban Announces Deal To Grow Cannabis In Afghanistan Amid Questions Over Company’s Involvement

The Taliban regime in Afghanistan announced on Tuesday that it had contracted a company called Cpharm to grow and manufacture cannabis products—but an Australian firm of that name later denied it is involved with the project after being mentioned in local media reports. Taliban officials later clarified that they’re working with a separate German company.

Social media posts from the Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs said that a company called Cpharm agreed to make an investment worth more than $400 million to set up a cannabis production factory in the country.

The project “will be officially launched soon and hundreds of people will get job opportunities,” the ministry said in a tweet.

But after regional media organizations reported that the Australian company Cpharm was involved, that firm later said it has no idea what the Taliban is talking about.

“We have become aware overnight of numerous media articles stating that Cpharm in Australia has been involved in a deal with the Taliban to be involved in the supply of cannabis in a cream,” a press release said. “We DO NOT manufacturer or supply anything. We provide a medical advice service to the pharmaceutical industry within Australia. We have no products on the ARTG. We have no connection with cannabis or the Taliban. We have no idea where the Taliban media release has come from and want to assure everyone that it should not be connected to Cpharm Pty Ltd Australia.”

Qari Saeed Khosty, a spokesperson for the Taliban, which seized power from the Afghan government this summer following the U.S. military withdrawal, tweeted on Thursday to clarify that the deal was instead with a German company also called CPharm.

Earlier in the week, Khosty had provided details in a Twitter thread about the cannabis deal.

“Yesterday, officials from the Ministry of Interior’s Counter-Narcotics Department met with a representative of the company (Cpharm),” he said, according to a translation. “The company wants to build a cannabis processing plant in Afghanistan, which will create all cannabis products.”

“In Afghanistan, only this company will be legally contracted,” he said. “By establishing this factory, Cpharm Company will use cannabis produced in Afghanistan to make spices and a kind of cream.”

The Taliban spokesperson added that the contract will “create jobs for many citizens.”

The deal, if it were to play out, might seem unusual given the regime’s harsh treatment toward people who use illicit drugs. Shortly after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, the Associated Press reported on clandestine raids where drug consumers were threatened with violence if they did not agree to enter into treatment.

The Taliban also banned the production of opium prior to the U.S. military invasion in 2001.

But when it comes to marijuana, Al Arabiya reported that the plant served as a major source of revenue for Taliban insurgents during the U.S. occupation. Now it seems they see economic opportunities again—but through a more professional, regulated market.

Marijuana Moment reached out to Cpharm of Australia for comment, but a representative did not respond by the time of publication.



Uber takes its first step into the cannabis market

Uber takes its first step into the cannabis market

Uber is making its first foray into the marijuana market, as Uber Eats users in Ontario, Canada will soon be able to order cannabis products on the app.


Customers will be able to place orders in a dedicated section of the app for cannabis retailer Tokyo Smoke and then pick them up at a nearby store.


The firm refused to be drawn on whether it will roll out the offering further across Canada and the US.


Canada’s marijuana market is worth around CAD$5bn (£3bn; $4bn) a year.


Uber Eats users will have to verify their age on the app and then will be able to pick up their orders within an hour, the company said.


Under Canadian law, although marijuana use has been legal since 2018, it is still illegal to deliver it.


Uber has had its sights set on the booming cannabis market for some time now.


In April, chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said the company will consider delivering cannabis once it is permitted under US law.


Despite the sale of cannabis for recreational use becoming legal in Canada three years ago, illegal producers still control a large share of sales. This is something the government has been trying to remedy.


Uber said that its partnership with Tokyo Smoke will help adults in the country buy safe, legal cannabis, combatting illegal sellers.



A man is accused of killing his girl friend whilst in a cannabis induced rage

Man ‘killed girlfriend after eating cannabis cake’


Lauren Bloomer, 25, was stabbed more than 30 times and died at the couple’s home in Tamworth, in November 2020.

Jake Notman denies murder, saying he did not form the necessary intent due to his mental state.

The prosecution said it was believed he had suffered an adverse reaction.

However, opening the case at Stafford Crown Court, prosecutor Deborah Gould said that did “not provide a defence” in law.

Ms Gould said university student Ms Bloomer had started recording on her phone “like something out of the movie Scream” after seeking advice on the internet about the “bad weed trip” suffered by her boyfriend.

The jury was told the near-17-minute audio recording “captured the moments leading up to, including and after the murder” in the early hours of 20 November at their home on Bingley Avenue.

It “shows the defendant as he began to attack” her, “at first with his bare hands”, the court heard.

‘Please help me’

“She was just trying to care for him in this state of being disordered through cannabis,” Ms Gould said.

“At the start of the recording you will hear her laughing and the defendant accusing her of laughing at him.”

Mr Notman, the court heard, became aggressive nine minutes into the recording, about a minute before his girlfriend is heard saying “please help me” to his aunt in a call on a second phone.

“The audio recorded Lauren’s screams and it recorded her calls for help,” Ms Gould told the jury.

She said Ms Bloomer “stops screaming” and the defendant “is then heard shouting ‘I will never… see you again’.”

The court was told Mr Notman was then heard saying “I am going to make sure”, before the sound of a revving engine is heard, followed by a thud.

He was seen by neighbours as he ran over his partner’s body, and took no steps to help her, before heading back into their house, the prosecution said.

The defendant dialled 999 at 01:32 GMT, telling the operator he had “been told I have killed my girlfriend”.

Ms Gould said: “A disordered intention caused by self-induced ingestion of an intoxicant is as good as a sober intention.”

Defence barrister Andrew Fisher QC said Mr Notman had suffered an “extreme florid psychiatric episode in the course of which he totally lost touch with reality and became wholly delusional”.

The trial continues. 


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