This newsletter comes with a warning. 

Unlike the paper itself, which somewhat lulled me into a false sense of security, I’d like to give you the heads up that part of my intro today involves some pretty graphic content. One story that captured my attention this week was a case study about penile self-amputation due to cannabis-induced psychosis. (Please be warned that there are photos included in the report).

Was I feeding a morbid curiosity when I clicked on the study’s title? Perhaps. Should the words “penile self-amputation” and “case study” have been treated with more care? Yes. Did I quickly learn my lesson? You bet I did. Nevertheless, I did think it was a good example of the need to consider balance – and a rallying call for more (balanced) research into the adverse effects of cannabis.

There is a lot of positive press about cannabis, which means it’s easy to get lulled into another false sense of security: that cannabis is a “cure-all.” Just consider recent headlines circulating about the link between CBD (and other cannabinoids) and COVID-19. If some of these were to be taken at face value, people might think they could smoke a joint and get some protection from the virus…

In fact, one of the authors of a paper I shared last week, Marsha Rosner, has since highlighted that her team’s findings do not suggest CBD would have the same preventative effect in humans, and instead simply makes the case for a clinical trial. Unfortunately, as she says, “My message is not something people want to hear.”

To put it bluntly, there are many things we don’t know about the interactions between drugs and human beings – cannabis-induced psychosis is just one example, but it’s a good one. I hope this has sparked your own thoughts on the topic. If it has, I’d love to hear from you:

Until next time,

Lauren Robertson, Deputy Editor


Essential Reading

More cannabis and psychosis…

In another study published this week, researchers reviewed five hundred and ninety-one papers and found that both high- and low-frequency cannabis use were associated with a significantly increased risk of schizophrenia. The study looked at all the material published on the topic between 2010 and 2020, with a focus on research looking at adolescents. They found that those who used cannabis were six times more likely to develop schizophrenia later in life, whether or not they used it frequently or not. Of course, there are limitations to this study – for example, the definition of “high-” or “low-” frequency cannabis use varied greatly across studies, and this was not taken into account by the review.

Swimmers at risk (again)

Bad news – there’s more evidence that cannabis could impact male reproductive health. In a new paper, Jamie Lo and her team at the Oregon National Primate Research Center looked at how chronic exposure to THC impacted male testes and reproductive health in rhesus macaques. The monkeys were fed a THC edible once a day over the course of seven months, and their semen samples collected for analysis. The researchers found that testicular size decreased by as much as 58 percent and serum sex steroids also decreased significantly. The effects also appeared to get worse as THC dose was increased. The findings are an interesting reflection on Lo’s previous work on the impact of THC on female reproductive hormones and menstruation. In both cases, it would be interesting to see the results assessed in humans.

Weekly Spotlight

Agilent scientists make a huge advance in ensuring product safety. The analysis of heavy metals in cannabis has been difficult for many labs because of a lack of official methods in the industry. AOAC has granted approval for methods of metals analysis in cannabis products using Agilent ICP-MS.


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All Brawn and No Pain?
01/27/2022 | Lauren Robertson
Does CBD have the potential to reduce inflammation without hampering tissue regeneration?
The Cannabis Scientist Power List 2022: Nominations Now Open!
The Power List 2022 will once again showcase the most influential figures in the cannabis industry across five categories. Who will you nominate?
Webinars: On-Demand

Moisture Content Determination in Hemp and Hemp Flower
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Cannabis Analysis Challenges: One Size Does Not Fit All
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Cannabinoid Quantitation via Rugged and Adaptable HPLC/UHPLC Method Development
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Product Profile
Video: Ultra-pure synthetic cannabidiol to build a healthier world

At JM, we utilise our scientific and manufacturing expertise to develop and commercialise ultra-pure synthetic cannabinoids that meet the quality requirements demanded by the pharmaceutical industry. Watch our video to learn more

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Join us at The Emerald Conference 2/27-3/1 in San Diego at the Loews Coronado Resort, where the greatest minds in cannabis will convene to move the industry forward. Save 10% with TCS10 at checkout! Learn more...

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Research + Medicine 

First-of-its-kind clinical trial to study effect of synthetic cannabinoid, Nabilone, on treatment of obesity receives Toronto Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research Consortium funding. Link 1,2  

Recreational cannabis companies continue to market products to adolescents on social media despite state-based prohibitions. Link 

Cannabinol found to protect neurons from oxidative stress and cell death, signaling need for more research as potential treatment for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders. Link

Plant Science + Genetics 

Could Pseudomonas bacteria improve cannabis plant productivity? New research highlights potential as crop inoculant. Link 

Business + Regulation 

Caribbean nation of Saint Vincent exports first shipment of medical cannabis after receiving license for export to Germany. Link

Whitney Economics survey finds biggest issue facing cannabis operators is lack of banking, followed by market volatility, big business competition, and taxes. Link 

Thailand removes all parts of cannabis plant from its list of controlled drugs, but gray area remains around recreational use. Link

Dark Heart Industries, a cannabis genetics company, reveals first seedless triploid cannabis for commercial growers. Link 

THC BioMed, one of Canada’s oldest active licensed cannabis companies, granted new license by overseas government to cultivate cannabis for medical and scientific use. Link

And Finally...

Forget cigarettes after sex…

According to a new study conducted in Spain (and to balance our coverage of rhesus macaques earlier), smoking the odd spliff could mean better orgasms and overall sexual function. 

Previous research on this topic has been contradictory, finding both benefits and disadvantages with cannabis use. So, researchers from the University of Almeria, Spain, decided to take a look for themselves and found that, for adults aged 18-30, cannabis use resulted in increased desire, arousal, and orgasm – an effect often associated with decreased anxiety and shame around sex. If nothing else, the results highlight the need for more research into the link between cannabis and sexual health.

Events for 2021

We work with event organizers from all around the world to help bring our growing industry together, from large congresses to intimate meetings that fit around a table. Discover some of the events that we partner with and stay up-to-date with the latest developments.

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