Scientists Map the Receptor That Makes Weed Work – Nick Stockton July 6 2017

Cody Rasmussen/Getty Images

Add marijuana to humans, and you get some fairly predictable results: euphoria, hunger, introspection, anxiety, and a whole panoply of other effects. Also known as being high. Most of that complicated reaction is thanks to a single cellular structure known as cannabinoid receptor 1. Your body has CB1 receptors lacing the surfaces of cells in the brain, liver, lungs, fat, uterus, and sperm. And whenever your … friendsmokes, dabs, or eats an edible, the tetrahydrocannabinol molecules therein bind to these sites, stimulating the cells to release a cornucopia of chemical signals.

For a long time, scientists thought CB1 receptors worked like lock and key with THC and its chemical cousins—one size fits one. However, new research shows that CB1 receptors are actually quite malleable, stretching to fit a wider range of molecules. That could be useful knowledge as researchers try to synthesize chemicals that mimic the desirable effects of cannabis (such as pain relief) without the side effects (such as anxiety, weight gain, addiction, or federal prosecution).

“People have been using cannabis for a variety of therapeutic indications for centuries,” says Alexandros Makriyannis, director of Northeastern University’s Center for Drug Discovery, and a co-author of this new research, published in Nature. In the 1960s, scientists finally started to figure that out as well. And by the 1980s, Eli Lilly had developed a synthetic THC knockoff called Nabilone. “It was a good quality drug used for nausea from chemotherapy, and also pain,” says Makriyannis. But other THC-based synthetics never took off, in part because pharmacologists couldn’t eliminate all the unwanted side effects.

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On The Line: Nilo Tabrizy and Allie Conti Discuss Synthetic Marijuana – Vice News Published on Nov 9, 2015

VICE News journalist Nilo Tabrizy ( and VICE staff writer Alli Conti ( joined On The Line to discuss “The Dangerous Rise of K2: America’s Cheapest High.” –

K2 — the street name for plant matter sprayed with synthetic chemicals, designed to mimic the effects of marijuana’s active ingredient — is currently America’s cheapest way to get high. But the drug’s dangerous side effects have taken a toll on a wide variety of communities, particularly in New York City.

In “The Dangerous Rise of K2: America’s Cheapest High,” VICE News gets a glimpse of the challenges New York City is facing with K2 through the lens of volunteer ambulance corps and harm reduction specialists in its outer boroughs.
VICE News and On The Line want to hear from you! Let us know your questions on Twitter with the hashtag #ontheline, or send us a video message on Skype.

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Hillary Clinton calls for marijuana to be reclassified By ALI BRELAND 11/07/15 04:50 PM EST


Hillary Clinton is now on a similar page as her 2016 Democratic rivals in regard to marijuana laws. | Getty

Hillary Clinton is now on a similar page as her 2016 Democratic rivals in regard to marijuana laws. | Getty

Hillary Clinton calls for marijuana to be reclassified

Hillary Clinton on Saturday called for marijuana to be reclassified from a Schedule I drug to Schedule II, citing medical research.

“I do support the use of medical marijuana,” Clinton said to a predominantly African American audience at a town hall meeting at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. “And I think even there we need to do a lot more research so that we know exactly how we’re going to help people for whom medical marijuana provides relief.

“I want to move from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 so researchers can research what’s the best way to use it, dosage, how does it work with other medications,” she added.

The 2016 Democratic frontrunner declined to offer a position on marijuana during CNN’s Democratic presidential debate in October.

Bernie Sanders, her closest opponent in the polls, said at the debate that he would support state legalization of marijuana. The comments were a prelude to his announcement later in October calling for the federal government to take marijuana off its schedule entirely.

Democratic hopeful Martin O’Malley has also called for the drug’s reclassification.

Rescheduling marijuana would allow researchers to investigate the drug’s medicinal properties without seeking clearance from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.


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Ohio’s marijuana legalization ballot measure, explained – Vox – Updated by German Lopez on October 30, 2015, 10:40 a.m. ET

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This November, Ohio will vote on whether to become the biggest state to fully legalize marijuana. But the measure is very different from what’s come out of other legal pot states — and not in a good way, according to drug policy experts and legalization advocates.

Ohio is already an unexpected candidate for full legalization compared with the four legal pot states. It isn’t especially progressive like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington state, or libertarian like Alaska. It doesn’t even have medical marijuana yet, although it was one of the states to decriminalize pot back in the 1970s.

But what’s truly unusual is how Ohio’s Issue 3, as the legalization measure is called, is structured. It doesn’t just legalize marijuana for medical and recreational purposes; it puts the wealthy contributors for the legalization campaign in charge of growing all the pot in the state — as an explicit gift for their support. That hasn’t just rankled opponents of legalization, it has also pushed away some of the major national advocacy groups that would typically back a marijuana legalization measure.

The distinction has left even supporters of legalization wondering: Is ending the failed war on marijuana worth locking Ohio into a potentially disastrous system of legalization?

Ohio’s measure puts the campaign’s wealthy donors in charge of all the state’s pot farms

Nick Lachey, who has rights to one of Ohio's marijuana farms, speaks to Extra.D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra
Nick Lachey’s next business endeavor could be marijuana.

Under the measure, Ohioans 21 and older will be able to possess up to an ounce of marijuana in general and, with a $50 license, up to four flowering marijuana plants per household and up to 8 ounces of pot in their homes. Ohioans won’t be able to use pot in public spaces. The limits are fairly typical for a pot initiative — Alaska, for instance, allows adults 21 and older to possess up to 2 ounces of pot and up to six marijuana plants, and doesn’t allow public consumption.

Where Ohio’s measure really differs from other states is how marijuana is commercially produced.

Knowing that a ballot measure would be very expensive, ResponsibleOhio, the group behind the state’s legalization measure, structured its initiative to reward the top contributors to the campaign — and therefore get them on board. As a result, the state will only allow 10 marijuana farms, and more than 20 wealthy contributors signed on to the campaign will get guaranteed licenses to all 10 sites. These contributors vary — ranging from 98 Degrees band member Nick Lachey to the local Taft family.

The contributors and future pot farm owners vary — ranging former 98 Degrees band member Nick Lachey to the local Taft family

These 10 farms will then sell marijuana to more than 1,100 retail outlets, nonprofit medical dispensaries, and manufacturers. The measure charges a regulatory commission with overseeing all of these businesses, with a particular focus on making sure that Ohio’s demand for marijuana is met by the industry.

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California Enacts New Rules on Medical Marijuana, Growers Pretty Cool With It – By Beth Ethier OCT. 10 2015 4:18 PM

Tim Blakeley, manager of Sunset Junction medical marijuana dispensary, fills a marijuana prescription on May 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

California has implemented a series of regulations aimed at one of the state’s booming agricultural products—medical marijuana—and far from balking at government interference, producers seem pleased that lawmakers are ready to treat them as a real industry.

The Los Angeles Times reports that three bills, creating a system of oversight for the production of marijuana for medical purposes, were signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday:

The new laws create a state Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation to issue and revoke licenses for the cultivation, storage and sale of cannabis and collect fees to pay for the agency’s work.

Cities and counties will also have the power to issue and revoke local permits, adopt tougher restrictions on dispensary operations and ask voters to approve taxes on marijuana growers and dispensaries to pay for local public safety expenses.

Currently, some cities and counties have ordinances allowing them to license and limit the number of dispensaries. The new laws preserve the ability of Los Angeles to prosecute businesses that violate rules set by voters in 2013.

The Sacramento Bee notes that while the governor’s approval was expected, since his office was heavily involved in drafting the bills, an unlikely coalition of support had sprung up among some of the state’s most powerful interests, from labor unions seeking worker protections to the head of the state association of police chiefs.

And the target of this regulatory intrusion, proprietors of marijuana businesses, have made it known that they don’t mind the new rules. One grower told the Los Angeles Times that, even though he’ll have to modify his plans for a new indoor cultivation facility in order to comply, he welcomed “this well-thought-out set of guidelines.”

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Smugglers’ Dilemma – THOMAS PETER / REUTERS September 2, 2015

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On a February evening in 2012, officers with the U.S. Border Control spotted a lone, sand-colored go-kart bumbling through the desert near Yuma in Arizona. By the time the officers chased down the vehicle, its owner had fled, leaving behind a small tractor fitted with off-road tires and packed with 217 pounds of marijuana. Drug traffickers and money launderers have gotten creative in transporting their goods across borders. From instant oatmeal to Mr. Potato Head, here are the most unusual attempts at passing off illicit items as innocent ones.

GOP contenders just saying no to fight against pot – By Alexander Bolton September 01, 2015, 06:01 am


`GOP presidential candidates are by and large staying away from the debate marijuana legalization, an issue once embraced by Republican occupants of the White House.

They have stayed largely silent as support for legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana has gained public support.

Fifty-three percent of adults nationwide say marijuana should be legal while 43 percent say the opposite, according to CBS News poll from April.

A Pew Research Center poll from March found a similar margin.

Colorado, Washington State, Oregon and Alaska have legalized marijuana for recreational use while another five will vote on the question in 2016.

Only New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and long-shot candidate Rick Santorum support a federal crackdown on state policies legalizing cannabis, which is still classified as a Schedule I drug — the most dangerous category, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Christie delivered residents of Colorado, which passed a legalization initiative in 2012, a blunt warning earlier this summer.

“If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it. As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws. That’s lawlessness,” he said.

Other candidates have soft-pedaled the issue, preferring to focus on the economy, the federal deficit, national security and immigration.

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