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Florida: Convicted Murderer Granted Judicial Permission to Use Medical Marijuana

Sat, 11/25/2017 - 18:26
A schizophrenic man convicted of murder in 1999 has been granted permission from a judge to legally take part in Florida’s medical marijuana program.

Miguel Valdes

According to the Miami Herald, 34-year-old Miguel Valdes was previously convicted for a 1999 gang-related murder, and was released on probation in 2010. Despite Valdes’ murder conviction, a Miami judge has granted him permission to legally use medical marijuana, given he follows the rules and guidelines established by state law. The judge’s ruling came amid strong objections from prosecutors and the state’s attorney.

“It keeps me mellow,” says Valdes, who currently lives with his girlfriend and 6-year-old son. “I really need it for my sleeping. When I’m not taking it, I wasn’t sleeping and I’d wake up in a bad mood. I feel better now.”

“Probation is one of those areas in which a lot of states lacked foresight when they crafted these medical marijuana programs,” says David Mangone, a lawyer for the medical cannabis advocacy group Americans for Safe Access.

According to Valdes’ attorney, the state’s medical marijuana law explicitly allows his client to vaporize marijuana for medical use.

“If his doctor prescribes something that has for thousands of years of history, everyone agrees is safe, [he] should be allowed to take it,” Attorney Bruck said at the hearing.

 

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Study: Cannabinoids Have Potential Therapeutic Use in Alcohol-Related Problems

Fri, 11/24/2017 - 11:30
Cannabinoids hold potential therapeutic use in alcohol-related problems, according to a new study being published in the journal Alcohol, and epublished ahead of print by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

“Case reports and observational studies suggest that the use of Cannabis sp. mitigates problematic ethanol consumption in humans”, states the study’s abstract. “Here, we verified the effects of the two main phytocannabinoid compounds of Cannabis sp., cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in the expression of ethanol-induced locomotor sensitization in mice.”

For the study, male adult mice “were exposed to locomotor sensitization by daily intraperitoneal injections of ethanol (2.5 g/kg) for 12 days; control groups received saline.” After the acquisition phase, “animals were treated with cannabinoids: CBD (2.5 mg/kg); THC (2.5 mg/kg); CBD + THC (1:1 ratio), or vehicle for 4 days with no access to ethanol during this period.” One day after the last cannabinoid injection, “all animals were challenged with ethanol (2.0 g/kg) to evaluate the expression of the locomotor sensitization.”

According to researchers; “Mice treated with THC alone or THC + CBD showed reduced expression of locomotor sensitization, compared to the vehicle control group.”

The study concludes by stating; “Our findings showing that phytocannabinoid treatment prevents the expression of behavioral sensitization in mice provide insight into the potential therapeutic use of phytocannabinoids in alcohol-related problems.”

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Study: Cannabis Associated With Decreased In-Hospital Mortality In Heart Failure Patients

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 03:28
A history of cannabis use among patients with heart failure is associated with reduced odds of in-hospital mortality compared to similarly matched individuals who don’t use the plant, according to a new study published online by the journal Circulation.

For the study, researchers examined data from over six million heart failure patients over a seven-year period. They found that patients with a history of cannabis use were less likely to suffer from atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), experienced shorter hospital stays, and most importantly were less likely to die during hospitalization as compared to non-users.

“Our study showed that cannabis use lowered the odds of atrial fibrillation in patients with heart failure,” states researchers. “There was also reduced in-hospital mortality among patients admitted for the primary diagnosis of heart failure in DU (cannabis dependent users) and NDU (non-dependent cannabis users) which was not explained by comorbid conditions and demographic data. This study provides important opportunity to explore the preventive mechanism of cannabis on atrial fibrillation and its therapeutic potential in heart failure patients.”

The results of the study are similar to research published last year in the journal Cancer Medicine which found that the “Odds of in-hospital mortality were significantly reduced among marijuana users compared with non-users in all hospitalized patients as well as cancer patients.”

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Police Arrest Elderly Couple for Hibiscus Plant Mistaken for Marijuana, Couple Sues

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 09:46
A Pennsylvania couple is suing their local police department and Nationwide Insurance Co. after they were arrested when an insurance agent mistook their hibiscus plants for marijuana, reports the Associated Press.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday by 69-year-old Edward Cramer and his 66-year-old wife, Audrey, claims that an insurance agent showed up at their home in Buffalo Township on October 5th to investigate a fallen tree. According to the Cramers, the agent took photos of their flowering hibiscus plant and sent the images to police.

Two days later on October 7th police arrived up at their home brandishing assault rifles. Believing the hibiscus plant to be marijuana, police arrested the couple and held them for several hours inside a police cruiser. This is despite the Cramers telling the officers multiple times that the plants were hibiscus, not marjijuana.

According to the lawsuit the Cramers are seeking monetary and compensatory damages and court costs. Neither Buffalo Township police nor Nationwide provided comment.

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UK: CBD Use Doubles in One Year

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 09:32
According to a new report the number of people in the United Kingdom who use cannabidiol (CBD) oil has doubled since last year.

According to the report from the Cannabis Trades Association U.K. (CTAUK), 250,000 people currently use CBD oil to help treat a variety of medical conditions. These numbers are up from 125,000 last year, an 100% increase. According to CTAUK, there are approximately 1,000 new people each month who use CBD oil.

The increase comes after the U.K. government officially recognized CBD as medicine, stating that it has “restoring, correcting, or modifying” properties. The statement opened the door for companies to obtain licenses to distribute CBD oil.

According to CTAUK, 65% of those in the UK who use CBD oil are women, with some of the primary conditions its used to treat being epilepsy, anxiety and pain.

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Peru President Signs Medical Cannabis Bill Into Law

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 05:58

A bill legalizing medical cannabis oil has been signed into law by Peru President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

Peru’s flag.

President Kuczynski’s signing of the bill comes roughly a month after Peru’s Congress gave overwhelming approval to the measure with a vote of 68 to 5. The new law allows cannabis oil to be legally produced, imported and sold for throughout the South American country.

Passage of the new law comes with widespread support among Peru residents; a recent Ipsos poll found that 65% support legalizing cannabis for medical purposes. According to Alberty Belaunde, a lawmaker in the ruling party who supported the measure, regulations for producing and commercializing cannabis oil will be written within 60 days.

Peru now joins several of its Latin American neighbors who have also legalized cannabis for medical purposes, including Mexico, Chile and Colombia.

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Study: Alcohol 10 Times More Likely to Cause Fatal Accident than Cannabis

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 05:44

By Bruce Barcott, Leafly.com

Researchers who examined drug tests from drivers involved in more than 3,600 auto crashes have found that alcohol is about ten times more likely to cause a fatal crash than cannabis.

In a study published earlier this month in the journal PLOS-One, scientists at the University of Lyon looked at data from all fatal accidents that occurred in France during 2011. They estimated the heightened risk of driving under the influence of various substances and found that “drivers under the influence of alcohol are 17.8 times more likely to be responsible for a fatal accident,” when compared to completely sober drivers. Drivers under the influence of cannabis, by contrast, are 1.65 times more likely to be responsible for causing a fatal accident.

Those findings are in line with most recent studies of alcohol and cannabis and driving risk. Earlier this year David Bienenstock investigated the sciencebehind drugged driving estimates, and found that THC-positive drivers have a 5% greater crash risk than drivers with no drugs or alcohol in their system. That figure came from the largest domestic case-control study to date, which was published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a federal agency. That same study found that drivers with a blood alcohol level of .08, the legal limit in most states, were 293% more likely to be involved in a crash. Texting drivers were 310% more likely to crash. 

Past investigations “have shown a decreased capacity of drivers under the influence of cannabis, in particular a decrease in attention, increased reaction time and reduced ability to control direction,” the French researchers noted. Drivers under the influence of alcohol “tend to drive faster, which goes hand in hand with an over-estimation of their own capacities,” the researchers added, “whereas drivers under the influence of cannabis tend to drive more cautiously.”

For a deeper look at the most widely respected and cited studies on driving under the influence, check out David Bienenstock’s feature, “Taking Drugged Driving Seriously: What Does the Science Say?” published earlier this year by Leafly.

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Michigan: Enough Signatures Gathered to Put Marijuana Legalization to a Public Vote

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 23:15
Marijuana legalization advocates in Michigan have gathered enough signatures to place the issue to a vote of the people during the November, 2018 general election.

The Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol announced this week that it’s gathered over 360,000 signatures on their initiative to legalize marijuana for everyone 21 and older. This is well more than the 252,523 valid signatures required by state law to place a ballot initiative on the ballot. However, before the group can submit the signatures they must first pay $30,000 to professional signature gatherers in order to obtain the petitions, something spokesperson Josh Hovey says should be accomplished by Thanksgiving.

The proposed initiative would legalize the possession, cultivation and use of marijuana for those 21 and older, while establishing a system of licensed marijuana retail outlets. Cannabis would be taxed with a 10% excise tax and a 6% sales tax, with funding going towards schools, local governments and road repairs.

If the initiative is placed on the ballot (which will come after the state verifies the signatures) and is passed by voters, Michigan would become the 9th state to legalize marijuana for personal use.

The Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is a partnership between the Marijuana Policy Project, the ACLU of Michigan, the Drug Policy Alliance, the National Patients Rights AssociationMichigan NORMLMI Legalize, the Michigan Cannabis Coalition, and lawyers from the State Bar of Michigan Marijuana Law Section.

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Study Finds Cannabinoids May Effectively Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 02:25
Results of a new study “support the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in patients with OSA [obstructive sleep apnea]”.

For the study, published in the journal Sleep and epublished ahead of print by the National Institute of Health, “73 adults with moderate or severe OSA received either placebo (N=25), 2.5mg dronabinol (N=21) or 10mg dronabinol (N=27) daily, one hour before bedtime for up to 6 weeks.” Dronabinol, also called Marinol, is a synthetic THC meant to mimic the effects of natural, cannabis-based THC.

‘These findings support the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in patients with OSA” states the study’s abstract. “In comparison to placebo, dronabinol was associated with lower AHI [Apnea–hypopnea index], improved subjective sleepiness and greater overall treatment satisfaction. Larger scale clinical trials will be necessary to clarify the best potential approach(es) to cannabinoid therapy in OSA.”

The full study can be found by clicking here.

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Hemp Foods Now Legal in Australia

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 02:16
As of yesterday, November 12th, hemp food products are legal in Australia.

Toasted hemp seeds.

The new changes to the Food Standards Code were approved in April. The changes legalizes sale of low-THC hemp seed for use as food or to be placed in food products (such as cereals and baked goods). For hemp seed to be legally used as food, it  must contain less than 0.5% THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient found in the cannabis plant and found in minuscule amounts in hemp plants.

“Historically, hemp has been used as a source of fibre and oil”, states a press release from the Australian government. “Hemp seeds and oil are used in other countries, including in Europe, Canada and the United States of America, in a range of foods. Hemp seeds contain protein, vitamins, minerals and polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly omega-3 fatty acids.”

In Australia hemp has been legal for some time now for various uses including textiles and body care products. However, now is the first time hemp has been legal for consumption.

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Study: CBD a “Therapeutic Candidate for Stroke Prevention”

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 09:00
Cannabidiol (CBD) may help to prevent strokes, according to a new study published by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates functions throughout human physiology, including neuropsychiatric, cardiovascular, autonomic, metabolic, and inflammatory states”, begins the study’s abstract, which was published in-print by the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. “The complex cellular interactions regulated by the ECS suggest a potential for vascular disease and stroke prevention by augmenting central nervous and immune cell endocannabinoid signaling.”

Cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychoactive constituent of Cannabis, “is an immediate therapeutic candidate both for potentiating endocannabinoid signaling and for acting at multiple pharmacological targets.” According to reseachers, this “speculative synthesis explores the current state of knowledge of the ECS and suggests CBD as a therapeutic candidate for stroke prevention by exerting favorable augmentation of the homeostatic effects of the ECS and, in turn, improving the metabolic syndrome, while simultaneously stalling the development of atherosclerosis.”

The full study, conducted by researchers at Mayo Clinic’s Department of Neurology, can be found by clicking here.

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New York Governor Signs Bill Allowing Medical Cannabis for PTSD

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 20:21
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a bill that allows the medical use of cannabis for those with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The bipartisan legislation (A7006) adds PTSD to New York’s medical cannabis program, allowing those with the condition to become legal medical cannabis patients. As with other conditions that are part of the state’s medical cannabis program, those with PTSD will need to receive a recommendation from a physician and register with the state before they can legally purchase and use medical cannabis. Governor Cuomo signed the bill today, on Veterans Day.

A7006 received widespread, bipartisan support in New York’s Legislature. It was approved by the Assembly in May with a vote of 131 to 8, and was subsequential passed by the Senate 50 to 13. New York now becomes the 28th state to allow medical cannabis for PTSD.

“We thank Gov. Cuomo for his support of this compassionate bill. No one should have to leave the state to have access to a treatment that might help them have a better quality of life,” said Landon Dais, political director for the Marijuana Policy Project of New York.

Assembly Health Committee chair Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of the bill, said, “Governor Cuomo’s action reflects growing recognition of the value of medical marijuana, and is another welcome step in the expanding and strengthening of New York’s medical marijuana program.”

“Gov. Cuomo should be applauded for helping thousands of New York veterans find relief with medical marijuana,” said Bob Becker, legislative director for the New York State Council of Veterans Organizations. “PTSD is a serious problem facing our state, and now we have one more tool available to alleviate suffering.”

Twenty-eight of the 29 states with medical marijuana programs will now allow patients with PTSD to qualify. In the only state that does not, Alaska, marijuana is legal and regulated for adults 21 and older. Bills to add PTSD to state medical marijuana programs were signed into law in Colorado, New Hampshire, and Vermont this year.

“Now, PTSD patients will have access to medical marijuana everywhere it is legally available,” Dais said. “Over the past two years, New York has made important strides toward having an inclusive, workable medical marijuana program. We urge legislators, Gov. Cuomo, and the Department of Health to continue improving the program. To better serve patients, the state should expand qualifying conditions, allow patients to use the type of cannabis products that work best for them, and reduce burdensome rules that drive up prices.”

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Cannabis May Treat Migraines, Finds New Study

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 06:59
Findings from a new study published in the journal European Journal of Pharmacology shows that cannabis may serve as an effective treatment for migraine headaches.

“Current anti-migraine treatments have limited efficacy and many side effects”, begins the abstract of the study. “Although anecdotal evidence suggests that marijuana is useful for migraine, this hypothesis has not been tested in a controlled experiment.” Thus, the present study “tested whether administration of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) produces anti-migraine effects in the female rat.”

The results from the study “suggest that: 1) THC reduces migraine-like pain when administered at the right dose (0.32mg/kg) and time; 2) THC’s anti-migraine effect is mediated by CB1 receptors. These findings “support anecdotal evidence for the use of cannabinoids as a treatment for migraine in humans and implicate the CB1 receptor as a therapeutic target for migraine.”

The full study, conducted by researchers at Washington State University and Washington State University Vancouver, can be found by clicking here.

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Voters in Athens, Ohio Vote to Depenalize up to 200 Grams of Marijuana, 10 Grams of Hash

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 04:14

By NORML

The Athens Cannabis Ordinance – better known as “TACO” – to completely remove all penalties for possessing, cultivating, and gifting of up to 200 grams of marijuana was approved by voters on election day by a vote of 77 percent to 23 percent.

In November 2016, four Ohio municipalities – Newark, Logan, Roseville, and Bellaire – passed similar depenalization ballot measures. Under Ohio state law, minor marijuana possession offenses are classified as a minor misdemeanor, punishable by a fine, but no jail time or criminal record.

“Voters overwhelmingly approved of TACO because the continued criminalization of adult marijuana use is out-of-step with the views of the vast majority of adults in the United States, 64 percent of whom now endorse legalizing and regulating cannabis,” said Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director. “While politicians continue to drag their feet, citizens are showing leadership at the local and state level in jurisdictions where the ability to achieve marijuana reform is possible at the ballot box.”

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Study: Low-Doses of THC May Reverse Cognitive Impairment in Aging Humans

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 10:17
According to an important new study published by the journal Neurobiology of Aging has found that low-doses of THC “may provide a safe and effective treatment for cognitive decline in aging humans”.

“This study was designed to test our hypothesis that an ultra-low dose of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) reverses age-dependent cognitive impairments in old mice and to examine the possible biological mechanisms that underlie this behavioral effect”, states the study’s abstract. “Old female mice aged 24 months that had been injected once with 0.002 mg/kg THC (3-4 orders of magnitudes lower than doses that induce the conventional cannabinoid effects in mice) performed significantly better than vehicle-treated old mice and performed similarly to naive young mice aged 2 months, in 6 different behavioral assays that measured various aspects of memory and learning.” The beneficial effect of THC lasted for at least 7 weeks.

The study states that; “The single injection of THC increased the level of Sirtuin1, an enzyme that has been previously shown to be involved in neuroprotection and neuroplasticity, in the hippocampus and in the frontal cortex of old mice”.

The study concludes by stating that; “These findings suggest that extremely low doses of THC that are devoid of any psychotropic effect and do not induce desensitization may provide a safe and effective treatment for cognitive decline in aging humans.”

The study, epublished ahead of print by the U.S. National Institute of Health, can be found by clicking here.

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Study: Cannabis May Treat Parkinson’s Disease and Other Movement Disorders

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 10:09
Cannabis have be an effective treatment option for those with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, according to a new study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

“Cannabis and related compounds have recently been studied as promising therapeutic agents in treatment of neurodegenerative and movement disorders including Parkinson’s disease”, begins the study’s abstract. “In this review we have examined the potential benefits of medical marijuana and cannabinoids in the treatment of both motor and nonmotor symptoms as well as in slowing the progression of the disease. We have looked into any scientific evidence that indicates the potential use of marijuana and/or related compounds for the treatment of PD.”

According to researchers; “Current treatments of PD provide only relief of motor symptoms and are associated with adverse effects such as dyskinesia. In addition, these therapies do not slow the progression of the disease.” Therefore, “there is an urgent need for safer drugs that can treat both motor and nonmotor symptoms of PD as well as drugs that slow the progression of the disease.”

The study states that research studies “have provided evidence for the potential effectiveness of medical marijuana and its components in the treatment of PD as cannabinoids act on the same neurological pathway that is disrupted in Parkinson’s disease. Involvement of the endocannabinoid system in the regulation of motor behavior, the localization of the cannabinoid receptors in areas that control movement, and the effect of cannabinoids on motor activity indicate that cannabinoids can be potentially used in the treatment of movement disorders.”

Researchers claim that cannabis “has been shown to improve nonmotor symptoms of PD such as depression, pain, sleep, and anxiety. Moreover, components of cannabis have been demonstrated to have neuroprotective effect due to their anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and antiexcitotoxic properties.”

The study concludes that; “Due to combination of the above mentioned beneficial effects, cannabis may provide a viable alternative or addition to the current treatment of Parkinson’s disease.”

The full study can be found by clicking here.

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Wisconsin Senate Unanimously Approves Bill to Legalize Hemp

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 09:46
The Wisconsin Senate has unanimously approved a measure that would legalize the production and cultivation of industrial hemp.

The Senate approved the hemp legalization measure with a vote of 33 to 0, sending it to the state’s Assembly. The Assembly is expected to pass the bill, which could happen as soon as today. If approved by the Assembly the measure would be sent to Governor Scott Walker who would have the option of signing it into law, allowing it to become law without his signature or vetoing it (though a veto could be overturned by a 2/3rds vote in the legislature).

Under the proposed law, a system of state licenses would be established that could be obtained by farmers in order to legally grow and cultivate hemp. The legislation initially labelled hemp as having no more than 1% THC, but the Senate amended it so that the maximum THC is 0.3%; hemp being grown above this level would be illegal.

If the measure becomes law, Wisconsin would join theover 30 states that have legalized hemp.

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New Jersey Governor-Elect Vows to Legalize Marijuana in First 100 Days

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 07:34
New Jersey voters have elected Philip D. Murphy as their next governor.

New Jersey Governor-elect Philip Murphy.

The election of Governor-elect Murphy comes as amazing news to advocates of marijuana legalization; the former Wall Street banker says he has a plan to legalize marijuana in his first 100 days in office. If successful, New Jersey would become the 9th state to legalize marijuana for personal use.

Governor-elect Murphy’s position on legalizing marijuana couldn’t be further from the position of outgoing Governor Chris Christie, who staunchly opposes legalization and has done everything in his power to weaken the state’s medical cannabis program. Christie is leaving office with the lowest approval rating for a governor in New Jersey history.

In May, State Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) unveiled a proposal that would legalize marijuana for those 21 and older, establishing a system of licensed and regulated cannabis retail outlets and cultivation centers. According to statewide Rutgers-Eagleton poll, 58% of voters in New Jersey support the move to legalize marijuana for adults.

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California Initiative Would Legalize Magic Mushrooms

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 19:44
Proponents of a California initiative to legalize psilocybin (“magic”) mushrooms have been cleared by Secretary of State Alex Padilla to begin collecting signatures.

Psilocybin mushrooms.

Advocates of the California Psilocybin Legalization Initiative (Initiative 17-0024) are aiming to place the initiative on the 2018 general election. To do so, they must collect signatures from 365,880 registered California voters by the end of April.

If placed on the ballot and passed into law by voters, the initiative – introduced by Marina mayoral candidate Kevin Saunders – would eliminate all criminal penalties associated with magic mushrooms for those 21 and older. This includes removing penalties for “possessioin, sale, transport and cultivation of psilocybin”. If approved, California would become the first state in the U.S. to legalize magic mushrooms.

Under current law, those caught possessing magic mushrooms – even a small amount for personal use – can be charged with a misdemeanor and imprisoned for up to a year.

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Study: Those Who Use Psychedelics Less Likely to Commit Crimes

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 19:33
Consumers of psychedelics drugs such as magic mushrooms are less likely to commit various crimes, according to a new study published by the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Psilocybin (“magic”) mushrooms.

“Some evidence suggests classic psychedelics may inhibit criminal behavior, but the extent of these effects has not been comprehensively explored”, states the study’s abstract. “In this study, we tested the relationships of classic psychedelic use and psilocybin use per se with criminal behavior among over 480,000 United States adult respondents pooled from the last 13 available years of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2002 through 2014) while controlling for numerous covariates.”

Lifetime classic psychedelic use “was associated with a reduced odds of past year larceny/theft, past year assault, past year arrest for a property crime , and past year arrest for a violent crime.” In contrast, “lifetime illicit use of other drugs was, by and large, associated with an increased odds of these outcomes. Lifetime classic psychedelic use, like lifetime illicit use of almost all other substances, was associated with an increased odds of past year drug distribution.”

According to researchers; “Results were consistent with a protective effect of psilocybin for antisocial criminal behavior.”

The study concludes by stating that; “These findings contribute to a compelling rationale for the initiation of clinical research with classic psychedelics, including psilocybin, in forensic settings.”

The full study can be found by clicking here.

 

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