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Top Cannabis Science Headlines: April Roundup

Every month, we carefully curate the top stories from across the fields of medical research, testing, processing, and plant science. We also bring you the latest in the world of cannabis business and legislation. Want it all in your inbox? Sign up here.

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Pesky pesticides

Researchers from the University of Toledo, Ohio, US, have designed a new pesticide exposure tool that measures pesticides in human plasma to protect inexperienced cannabis farmers. Using biocompatible solid-phase microextraction paired with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (aka bio-SPME-LC-MS/MS – a bit of a mouthful, I know!), this method can detect 79 pesticide residues in human blood plasma at “ultra-trace” levels. In the press release, one of the authors added, “Assessing pesticide exposure quickly and thoroughly is crucial for the health and safety of workers and their families, to correct malpractices in pesticide storage and application, and to prevent further exposure.” 

Hemp genetics

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, Virginia, US, has received a  US$600,000 grant to study the regulation of the genes responsible for cannabinoid biosynthesis in industrial hemp. According to the researchers, the work could help support improved selection or modification of hemp plants with particular cannabinoid content, increasing profits (by boosting concentrations of sought after cannabinoids) and reducing risk for farmers (by keeping THC concentrations below 0.3 percent). 

What else is going on?

Research + Medicine

Legal recreational cannabis markets are associated with 10 percent increase in motor vehicle accident deaths – but 11 percent decrease in opioid overdose deaths, according to study. Link

Survey reveals significant increase in overall cannabis use from 2013–2019 in US veterans – with one in ten veterans reporting past-year cannabis use. Link

According to the American Heart Association, cannabis use is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases – as well as heart attacks and strokes. Link

Study reveals that negative effects of THC on male fertility may be reversible. Link

Testing + Processing 

Researchers quantify airborne drug concentrations in Auckland, New Zealand – revealing that nicotine and caffeine concentrations are higher during weekdays, while methamphetamine and THC are more prevalent on weekends. Link

Business + Regulation 

With growing calls to crack down on cannabinoids that are not fully understood, Finland bans of hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) – and Sweden will follow suit. Link

US bipartisan House and Senate lawmakers file bills to legalize medical cannabis for military veterans. Link 

Czech Republic puts forward draft bill allowing individuals to buy up to five grams of recreational cannabis per day, and users would register officially, while growers and sellers would pay annual fees. Link 

NBA and National Basketball Players Association reach deal allowing players to invest in cannabis companies and be free from THC drug testing. Link 

US congressional committee launches investigation into FDA’s decision not to regulate CBD products. Link

Germany scales back previous plans to allow cannabis sale in shops and pharmacies – but adults will be able to grow and consume recreational cannabis privately or through non-profit members’ clubs. Link 

US House bill may grant cannabis companies federal tax relief. Link 

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