Medical research suggests that cannabis may help improve mood, but users also seem to suffer higher rates of depression.
Marijuana is sometimes referred to as ‘green Prozac’ due to the fact that many users find it helpful in lifting their spirits. But can it actually be an effective treatment for depression?
Interestingly, the idea that cannabis can be used to improve mood goes back hundreds of years. And many people today still agree.
“A lot of people report using cannabis effectively to treat depression,” says Zachary Walsh, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia who heads a research lab focused on marijuana and mental health.
But whether cannabis has actually been proven to help with depression can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. The answer is more complicated because there are different types of depression, explains Walsh.
Generally speaking, depression is defined as the feeling of sadness or hopelessness over an extended period of time.
Studies on Marijuana and Depression
For depression that is caused by chronic stress, components of marijuana may be an effective treatment, according to a 2015 study by University of Buffalo scientists. The findings showed that stress caused a decrease in cannabis-like molecules naturally found in the brain, leading to behavior that mimicked depression.
Another study published in 2007 by a team at McGill University showed that administering low doses of THC could work like an antidepressant by increasing serotonin. However, in high dosages, THC decreased serotonin and seemed to worsen depression.
“These findings confirm what has been reported by people who smoke cannabis,” explains Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, who co-authored the McGill study. “Often it produces euphoria, calmness, sociability, but in other circumstances it can produce bad dreams and negative feelings.”
Overall there hasn’t been enough research in the field, Dr. Gobbi says, adding that the type of research needed to confirm whether marijuana can effectively treat depression is quite complex.
“Not only do we have to determine the dose-effect of cannabis on depressive people, but also which kind of cannabinoid may have a positive effect on mood.”
Cannabinoids are a class of molecules found in cannabis, which include THC and CBD. Over 60 different cannabinoids have been identified in marijuana, making it difficult to determine the drug’s overall effect on depression.
Higher Rates of Depression
While medical literature suggests that cannabis can improve mood, studies involving recreational users often show that people who use cannabis are more depressed, says Walsh.
“What those studies have noted is that they can’t really determine what comes first,” he explains. In other words: “Does cannabis cause depression? Do depressed people try to use cannabis to help with depression? Those are questions that are out there.”
An important factor in the answer could be the age of the person consuming cannabis.
According to research conducted by Dr. Gobbi in 2009, daily use of marijuana can cause depression and anxiety in teens.
“Cannabis, when consumed by adolescents, induces depression and anxiety later in adulthood, even if the people did not have any susceptibility for these mental diseases,” she says.
Cannabis vs. Antidepressants
While researchers can’t completely confirm if marijuana is effective for treating depression, Walsh points out that other medicines fall into the same problem.
He says that in some cases, typical antidepressants are no more effective than a placebo and have side effects that may be more severe than those of marijuana.
Dr. Gobbi explains that in order to declare a drug effective for a certain disease, it must go through different stages of clinical trials, which marijuana has not.
“If we want to take a rational approach about medicinal cannabis, we should go through systematic clinical studies and finally determine its efficacy in treating specific diseases and its safety compared to standard antidepressants,” she says.
Walsh agrees that further research should compare cannabis to commonly used antidepressants. “Then I think people can make the choice,” he concludes.
Nearly a month after Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of the rights of four defendants to cultivate and consume marijuana without legal repercussion, the government has announced that it will take up the issue of nationwide legalization in the next legislative session.
The Associated Press reported earlier this week that Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong has revealed plans to hold a national debate on the concept of bringing the nation out of prohibitionary times. This discussion will include public hearings and a number of forums, some of which will be broadcast over the Internet.
Although Mexico has decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, lawmakers are expected to weigh in on exactly what might be expected in terms of health and public safety under a fully legal rule. The overall goal is to push the prohibitionist mentality into a more progressive thought process and eventually lead the country to support a taxed and regulated marketplace.
Unfortunately, on the heels of this major announcement, Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto has come out in full force against the issue.
On Wednesday, during a press engagement for a new children’s program, Pena Nieto told the crowd that one of his kids recently asked him if they would soon be able “to light up a joint” in his presence. The president then proceeded to explain that he remains against marijuana legalization because he fears it will destroy the youth of the nation.
“I am not in favor of consuming or legalizing marijuana,” Pena Nieto said. “I am not in favor because it has been proven, demonstrated, that consuming this substance damages the health of children and youths.”
Yet, many supporters of the movement to establish a nationwide cannabis industry have suggested that ending cartel violence should be one of the primary motivations for moving in this direction. However, President Pena Nieto disagrees, arguing that, in no way, would legalization stop the cartels.
“It isn’t valid, and I don’t agree, that this legalization would make it easier to fight organized crime, by reducing the illicit income and profits from this activity,” he said. “That would beg the question, should we put the health of Mexican children and youths at risk in order to combat organized crime?”
What do you think? Could the legalization of cannabis destroy the youth?
As the cannabis industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, it can feel overwhelming to keep up-to-date with the constantly-changing federal and state regulations. Advertising regulations are especially strict, as many marketing platforms restrict or outright ban cannabis advertisements due to the substance’s federal status.
We put together a state-by-state guide to cannabis advertising regulations that should help cannabis businesses adhere to the guidelines set forth by both the state they’re operating in as well as any states in which they want to advertise. Be sure to check back constantly as we update this guide to reflect new changes and restrictions.
Click on a state to jump down to its list of cannabis advertising regulations:
Final advertising regulations for retail cannabis are to be determined. For more information, please refer to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Division of Public Health.
There are currently no advertising regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries in Arizona. For more information, please refer to the Rules & Statutes for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program.
Refer to section 2525.5. of the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act:
(a) A person shall not distribute any form of advertising for physician recommendations for medical cannabis in California unless the advertisement bears the following notice to consumers:
NOTICE TO CONSUMERS: The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 ensures that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use cannabis for medical purposes where medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician who has determined that the person’s health would benefit from the use of medical cannabis. Recommendations must come from an attending physician as defined in Section 11362.7 of the Health and Safety Code. Cannabis is a Schedule I drug according to the federal Controlled Substances Act. Activity related to cannabis use is subject to federal prosecution, regardless of the protections provided by state law.
(b) Advertising for attending physician recommendations for medical cannabis shall meet all of the requirements in Section 651. Price advertising shall not be fraudulent, deceitful, or misleading, including statements or advertisements of bait, discounts, premiums, gifts, or statements of a similar nature.
Refer to the Colorado Retail Marijuana Regulations:
R 1102 – Advertising General Requirement: No Deceptive, False or Misleading Statements
A Retail Marijuana Establishment shall not engage in Advertising that is deceptive, false, or misleading. A Retail Marijuana Establishment shall not make any deceptive, false, or misleading assertions or statements on any product, any sign, or any document provided to a consumer.
R 1104 –Advertising: Television
A. Television Defined. As used in this rule, the term “television” means a system for transmitting visual images and sound that are reproduced on screens, and includes broadcast, cable, on-demand, satellite, or internet programming. Television includes any video programming downloaded or streamed via the internet.
B. Television Advertising. A Retail Marijuana Establishment shall not utilize television Advertising unless the Retail Marijuana Establishment has reliable evidence that no more than 30 percent of the audience for the program on which the Advertising is to air is reasonably expected to be under the age of 21.
R 1105 –Advertising: Radio
A. Radio Defined. As used in this rule, the term “radio” means a system for transmitting sound without visual images, and includes broadcast, cable, on-demand, satellite, or internet programming. Radio includes any audio programming downloaded or streamed via the internet.
B. Radio Advertising. A Retail Marijuana Establishment shall not engage in radio Advertising unless the Retail Marijuana Establishment has reliable evidence that no more than 30 percent of the audience for the program on which the Advertising is to air is reasonably expected to be under the age of 21.
R 1106 –Advertising: Print Media
A Retail Marijuana Establishment shall not engage in Advertising in a print publication unless the Retail Marijuana Establishment has reliable evidence that no more than 30 percent of the publication’s readership is reasonably expected to be under the age of 21.
R 1107 –Advertising: Internet
A Retail Marijuana Establishment shall not engage in Advertising via the internet unless the Retail Marijuana Establishment has reliable evidence that no more than 30 percent of the audience for the internet web site is reasonably expected to be under the age of 21. See also Rule R 1114 – Pop-Up Advertising.
R 1108 – Advertising: Targeting Out-of-State Persons Prohibited.
A Retail Marijuana Establishment shall not engage in Advertising that specifically targets Persons located outside the state of Colorado.
R 1109 – Signage and Advertising: No Safety Claims Because Regulated by State Licensing Authority
No Retail Marijuana Establishment may engage in Advertising or utilize signage that asserts its products are safe because they are regulated by the State Licensing Authority.
R 1110– Signage and Advertising: No Safety Claims Because Tested by a Retail Marijuana Testing Facility
A Retail Marijuana Establishment may advertise that its products have been tested by a Retail Marijuana Testing Facility, but shall not engage in Advertising or utilize signage that asserts its products are safe because they are tested by a Retail Marijuana Testing Facility
R 1111– Signage and Advertising: Outdoor Advertising
A. Local Ordinances. In addition to any requirements within these rules, a Retail Marijuana Establishment shall comply with any applicable local ordinances regulating signs and Advertising.
B. Outdoor Advertising Generally Prohibited. Except as otherwise provided in this rule, it shall be unlawful for any Retail Marijuana Establishment to engage in Advertising that is visible to members of the public from any street, sidewalk, park or other public place, including Advertising utilizing any of the following media: any billboard or other outdoor general Advertising device; any sign mounted on a vehicle, any hand-held or other portable sign; or any handbill, leaflet or flier directly handed to any person in a public place, left upon a motor vehicle, or posted upon any public or private property without the consent of the property owner.
C. Exception. The prohibitions set forth in this rule shall not apply to any fixed sign that is located on the same zone lot as a Retail Marijuana Establishment and that exists solely for the purpose of identifying the location of the Retail Marijuana Establishment and otherwise complies with any applicable local ordinances
R 1112– Signage and Advertising: No Content That Targets Minors
A Retail Marijuana Establishment shall not include in any form of Advertising or signage any content that specifically targets individuals under the age of 21, including but not limited to cartoon characters or similar images.
R 1113 – Advertising: Advertising via Marketing Directed Toward Location-Based Devices
A Retail Marijuana Establishment shall not engage in Advertising via marketing directed towards location-based devices, including but not limited to cellular phones, unless the marketing is a mobile device application installed on the device by the owner of the device who is 21 year of age or older and includes a permanent and easy opt-out feature.
R 1114 – Pop-Up Advertising
A Retail Marijuana Establishment shall not utilize unsolicited pop-up Advertising on the internet.
R 1115 – Advertising: Event Sponsorship
A Retail Marijuana Establishment may sponsor a charitable, sports, or similar event, but a Retail Marijuana Establishment shall not engage in Advertising at, or in connection with, such an event unless the Retail Marijuana Establishment has reliable evidence that no more than 30 percent of the audience at the event and/or viewing Advertising in connection with the event is reasonably expected to be under the age of 21.
Sec. 21a-408-66. Marketing: prohibited conduct, statements and illustrations; commissioner review of advertisements
(a) There shall be no direct or indirect cooperative advertising between or among two or more of the following: a producer, dispensary facility personnel, or physician where such advertising has the purpose or effect of steering or influencing patient or caregiver choice with regard to their selection of a physician, dispensary or marijuana product.
(b) An advertisement for marijuana or any marijuana product shall not contain:
(1) Any statement that is false or misleading in any material particular or is otherwise in violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, section 42-110b et seq., of the Connecticut General Statutes;
(2) any statement that falsely disparages a competitor’s products;
(3) any statement, design, or representation, picture or illustration that is obscene or indecent;
(4) any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration that encourages or represents the use of marijuana for a condition other than a debilitating medical condition;
(5) any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration that encourages or represents the recreational use of marijuana;
(6) any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration related to the safety or efficacy of marijuana unless supported by substantial evidence or substantial clinical data;
(7) any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration portraying anyone under the age of 18, objects suggestive of the presence of anyone under the age of 18, or contains the use of a figure, symbol or language that is customarily associated with anyone under the age of 18;
(8) any offer of a prize or award to a qualifying patient, primary caregiver or physician related to he purchase of marijuana or a certification for the use of marijuana; or
(9) any statement that indicates or implies that the product or entity in the advertisement has been approved or endorsed by the commissioner, department, the State of Connecticut or any person or entity associated with the State of Connecticut.
(c) Any advertisement for marijuana or a marijuana product shall be submitted to the commissioner at the same time as, or prior to, the dissemination of the advertisement.
(d) The submitter of the advertisement shall provide the following information in addition to the advertisement itself:
(1) A cover letter that:
(A) Provides the following subject line: Medical marijuana advertisement review Package for a proposed advertisement for [Brand Name];
(B) Provides a brief description of the format and expected distribution of the proposed advertisement; and
(C) Provides the submitter’s name, title, address, telephone number, fax number, and email address;
(2) An annotated summary of the proposed advertisement showing every claim being made in the advertisement and which references support each claim;
(3) Verification that a person identified in an advertisement as an actual patient or health care practitioner is an actual patient or health care practitioner and not a model or actor;
(4) Verification that a spokesperson who is represented as a real patient is indeed an actual patient;
(5) Verification that an official translation of a foreign language advertisement is accurate;
(6) Annotated references to support disease or epidemiology information, cross-referenced to the advertisement summary; and
(7) A final copy of the advertisement, including a video where applicable, in an acceptable format.
(e) Advertising packages that are missing any of the elements in subsection (g) of this section, or that fail to follow the specific details for submissions, shall be considered incomplete. If the department receives an incomplete package, it shall so notify the submitter.
(f) The commissioner may:
(1) Require a specific disclosure be made in the advertisement in a clear and conspicuous manner if the commissioner determines that the advertisement would be false or misleading without such a disclosure; or
(2) Make recommendations with respect to changes that are:
(A) Necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare; or
(B) Consistent with dispensing information for the product under review.
(3) If appropriate and if information exists, recommend statements for inclusion in the advertisement to address the specific efficacy of the drug as it relates to specific disease states, disease symptoms and population groups.
Sec. 21a-408-67. Marijuana advertising; requirements for true statements and fair balance
(a) All advertisements for marijuana or marijuana products that make a statement relating to side effects, contraindications and effectiveness shall present a true statement of such information. When applicable, advertisements broadcast through media such as radio, television, or other electronic media shall include such information in the audio or audio and visual parts of the presentation.
(b) False or misleading information in any part of the advertisement will not be corrected by the inclusion of a true statement in another distinct part of the advertisement.
(c) An advertisement does not satisfy the requirement that it present a “true statement” of information relating to side effects, consequences, contraindications, and effectiveness if it fails to present a fair balance between information relating to side effects, consequences, contraindications and effectiveness in that the information relating to effectiveness is presented in greater scope, depth, or detail than is the information relating to side effects, consequences and contraindications, taking into account all implementing factors such as typography, layout, contrast, headlines, paragraphing, white space, and any other techniques apt to achieve emphasis.
(d) An advertisement is false, lacking in fair balance, or otherwise misleading if it:
(1) Contains a representation or suggestion that a marijuana strain, brand or product is better, more effective, useful in a broader range of conditions or patients or safer than other drugs or treatments including other marijuana strains or products, unless such a claim has been demonstrated by substantial evidence or substantial clinical experience;
(2) Contains favorable information or opinions about a marijuana product previously regarded as valid but which have been rendered invalid by contrary and more credible recent information;
(3) Uses a quote or paraphrase out of context or without citing conflicting information from the same source, to convey a false or misleading idea;
(4) Uses a study on individuals without a debilitating medical condition without disclosing that the subjects were not suffering from a debilitating medical condition;
(5) Uses data favorable to a marijuana product derived from patients treated with a different product or dosages different from those approved in Connecticut;
(6) Contains favorable information or conclusions from a study that is inadequate in design, scope, or conduct to furnish significant support for such information or conclusions; or
(7) Fails to provide adequate emphasis for the fact that two or more facing pages are part of the same advertisement when only one page contains information relating to side effects, consequences and contraindications.
(e) No advertisement may be disseminated if the submitter of the advertisement has received information that has not been widely publicized in medical literature that the use of the marijuana product or strain may cause fatalities or serious damage.
Sec. 21a-408-68. Marijuana marketing; advertising at a dispensary facility; advertising prices
(a) A dispensary facility shall:
(1) Restrict external signage to a single sign no larger than 16 X 18 inches;
(2) Not illuminate a dispensary facility sign advertising a marijuana product at any time;
(3) Not advertise marijuana brand names or utilize graphics related to marijuana or paraphernalia on the exterior of the dispensary facility or the building in which the dispensary facility is located; and
(4) Not display marijuana and paraphernalia so as to be clearly visible from the exterior of a dispensary facility.
(b) A producer shall not advertise the price of its marijuana except that it may make a price list available to a dispensary facility.
Refer to the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act:
(k) No person may advertise medical marijuana sales in print, broadcast, or by paid in-person solicitation of customers. This shall not prevent appropriate signs on the property of the registered compassion center, listings in business directories including phone books, listings in trade or medical publications, or the sponsorship of health or not-for-profit charity or advocacy events.
(l) A registered compassion center shall not share office space with nor refer patients to a physician.
(m) A physician shall not refer patients to a registered compassion center or registered designated caregiver, advertise in a registered compassion center, or, if the physician issues written certifications, hold any financial interest in a registered compassion center.
District of Columbia
5105.2 A medical marijuana certification provider shall include the following subjects in its education training program; which shall be submitted to the Department for approval:
(f) Advertising, promotion, and marketing of medical marijuana;
CHAPTER 58 ADVERTISING
5800 SIGN ADVERTISING
5800.1 Advertisements relating to the prices of medical marijuana shall not be displayed in the window of a registered establishment.
5800.2 Advertisements relating to medical marijuana shall not be displayed on the exterior of any window or on the exterior or interior of any door.
5800.3 No sign advertising medical marijuana on the exterior or visible from the exterior of any registered establishment or elsewhere in the District shall be illuminated at any time.
Advertising regulations for Florida authorized distribution centers are to be determined. For more information, please refer to the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014.
Georgia’s medical marijuana advertising regulations are to be determined. For more information, please refer to House Bill 1.
Final dispensary regulations are to be determined. For more information, please visit the State of Hawaii Department of Health Medical Marijuana Registry Program.
TITLE 68: PROFESSIONS AND OCCUPATIONS
Section 1290.455 Dispensary Advertisements
a) No registered dispensing organization shall place or maintain, or cause to be placed or maintained, an advertisement of cannabis or a cannabis-infused product in any form or through any medium:
1) Within 1,000 feet of the perimeter of a school grounds, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park or library, or any game arcade admission to which is not restricted to persons age 21 years or older;
2) On or in a public transit vehicle or public transit shelter; or
3) On or in a publicly-owned or-operated property.
b) This Section does not apply to a noncommercial message.
There are currently no advertising regulations for registered dispensaries or caregivers in Maine. For more information, please refer to the Rules Governing the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program.
Final medical marijuana regulations are to be determined. For more information, please refer to the Maryland Laws & Regulations FAQ.
(L) Marketing and Advertising Requirements
(1) A Registered Marijuana Dispensary (RMD) may develop a logo to be used in labeling, signage, and other materials. Use of medical symbols, images of marijuana, related paraphernalia, and colloquial references to cannabis and marijuana are prohibited from use in this logo.
(2) RMD external signage shall not be illuminated except for a period of 30 minutes before sundown until closing, and shall comply with local requirements regarding signage, provided however that the Department may further specify minimum signage requirements. Neon signage is prohibited at all times.
(3) A RMD shall not display on the exterior of the facility advertisements for marijuana or any brand name, and may only identify the building by the registered name.
(4) A RMD shall not utilize graphics related to marijuana or paraphernalia on the exterior of the RMD or the building in which the RMD is located.
5) A RMD shall not advertise the price of marijuana, except that it shall provide a catalogue or a printed list of the prices and strains of marijuana available at the RMD to registered qualifying patients and personal caregivers upon request.
(6) Marijuana, Marijuana Infused Products (MIPs), and associated products shall not be displayed or clearly visible to a person from the exterior of a RMD.
(7) A RMD shall not produce any items for sale or promotional gifts, such as T-shirts or novelty items, bearing a symbol of or references to marijuana or MIPs, including the logo of the RMD.
(8) All advertising materials and materials produced by a RMD and disseminated pursuant to 105 CMR 725.105(K) or (L) are prohibited from including:
(a) Any statement, design, representation, picture, or illustration that encourages or represents the use of marijuana for any purpose other than to treat a debilitating medical condition or related symptoms;
(b) Any statement, design, representation, picture, or illustration that encourages or represents the recreational use of marijuana;
(c) Any statement, design, representation, picture, or illustration related to the safety or efficacy of marijuana unless supported by substantial evidence or substantial clinical data with reasonable scientific rigor, which shall be made available upon the request of a registrant or the Department; or
(d) Any statement, design, representation, picture, or illustration portraying anyone under 18 years of age.
(9) Inside the RMD, all marijuana shall be kept in a limited access area inaccessible to any persons other than dispensary agents, with the exception of displays allowable under 105 CMR 725.105(L)(10). Inside the RMD, all marijuana shall be stored in a locked, access controlled space in a limited access area during non-business hours.
(10) A RMD may display, in secure, locked cases, no more than one sample of each product offered for sale. These display cases may be transparent.
(11) The Department shall maintain and make available a list of all RMDs, their dispensing location, and their contact information.
There are currently no restrictions on advertising (although there are restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries) in Michigan. For more information, please refer to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Program.
There are currently no restrictions on advertising for medical marijuana manufacturers and distribution centers. For more information, please refer to Minnesota Statutes 2012, Subdivision 22, Medical use of cannabis data.
Refer to the Montana Code Annotated 2015 – Montana Marijuana Act:
50-46-341. Advertising prohibited. Persons with valid registry identification cards may not advertise marijuana or marijuana-related products in any medium, including electronic media.
Refer to Chapter 453A – Medical Use of Marijuana:
NAC 453A.402 Approval required before use of name, logo, sign and advertisement. (NRS 453A.370) A medical marijuana establishment shall not use:
1. A name or logo unless the name or logo has been approved by the Administrator of the Division; or
2. Any sign or advertisement unless the sign or advertisement has been approved by the Administrator of the Division.
(Added to NAC by Div. of Pub. & Behavioral Health by R004-14, 3-28-2014, eff. 4-1-2014)
The department shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, governing alternative treatment centers and the manner in which it shall consider applications for registration certificates for alternative treatment centers, including, but not limited to:
(12) Advertising restrictions, including a prohibition of misrepresentation and unfair practices.
Leafly has reached out to officials with the State of New Jersey Department of Health’s Medicinal Marijuana Program and are waiting for more comprehensive information on advertising regulations.
For more information, please refer to the state’s Medicinal Marijuana Program.
New Mexico currently does not have advertising regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries. For more information, please see the Licensing Requirements for Producers, Couriers, Manufacturers, and Laboratories.
§1004.16 Medical marihuana marketing and advertising by registered organizations. Restricts the marketing and advertising of medical marihuana.
(d) All advertisements, regardless of form, for approved medical marihuana products that make a statement relating to effectiveness, side effects, consequences, and contraindications shall present a true and accurate statement of such information.
(e) An advertisement does not satisfy the requirement that it presents a “true and accurate statement” of information relating to effectiveness, side effects, consequences, and contraindications if it fails to present a fair balance between information relating to effectiveness, side effects, consequences, and contraindications in that the information relating to effectiveness is presented in greater scope, depth, or detail than is the information relating to side effects, consequences and contraindications, taking into account all implementing factors such as typography, layout, contrast, headlines, paragraphing, white space, and any other techniques apt to achieve emphasis.
(f) An advertisement is false, lacking in fair balance, or otherwise misleading if it:
(1) contains a representation or suggestion that one marihuana brand or form is better, more effective, useful in a broader range of conditions or patients or safer than other drugs or treatments including other marihuana brands or forms, unless such a claim has been demonstrated by substantial scientific or clinical experience;
(2) Contains favorable information or opinions about a marihuana product previously regarded as valid but which have been rendered invalid by contrary and more credible recent information;
(4) Uses a study on persons without a debilitating medical condition without disclosing that the subjects were not suffering from a debilitating medical condition;
(5) Uses data favorable to a marihuana product derived from patients treated with a different product or dosages different from those recommended in New York State;
(g) False or misleading information in any part of the advertisement shall not be corrected by the inclusion of a true statement in another distinct part of the advertisement.
(h) An advertisement for any approved medical marihuana product shall not contain:
(1) any statement that is false or misleading;
(2) any statement that falsely disparages a competitor’s products;
(3) any statement, design, or representation, picture or illustration that is obscene or indecent;
(4) any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration that encourages or represents the use of marihuana for a condition other than a serious condition as defined in subdivision seven of section thirty-three hundred sixty of the public health law;
(5) any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration that encourages or represents the recreational use of marihuana;
(6) any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration related to the safety or efficacy of marihuana, unless supported by substantial evidence or substantial clinical data;
(7) any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration portraying anyone under the age of 18, objects suggestive of the presence of anyone under the age of 18, or containing the use of a figure, symbol or language that is customarily associated with anyone under the age of 18;
(8) any offer of a prize, award or inducement to a certified patient, designated caregiver or practitioner related to the purchase of marihuana or a certification for the use of marihuana; or
(9) any statement that indicates or implies that the product or entity in the advertisement has been approved or endorsed by the commissioner, department, New York State or any person or entity associated with New York State provided that this shall not preclude a factual statement that an entity is a registered organization.
(i) Any advertisement for an approved medical marihuana product shall be submitted to the department at least 30 business days prior to the public dissemination of the advertisement.
(j) The submitter of the advertisement shall provide the following information to the department in addition to the advertisement itself:
(1) A cover letter that:
(i) provides the following subject line: Medical marihuana advertisement review package for a proposed advertisement;
(ii) provides a brief description of the format and expected distribution of the proposed advertisement; and
(iii) provides the submitter’s name, title, address, telephone number, fax number, and email address;
(2) an annotated summary of the proposed advertisement showing every claim being made in the advertisement and which references support for each claim;
(3) verification that a person identified in an advertisement as an actual patient or health care practitioner is an actual patient or health care practitioner and not a model or actor;
(4) verification that a spokesperson who is represented as an actual patient is indeed an actual patient;
(5) verification that an official translation of a foreign language advertisement is accurate;
(6) annotated references to support disease or epidemiology information, cross-referenced to the advertisement summary; and
(7) a final copy of the advertisement, including a video where applicable, in a format acceptable to the department.
(k) Advertising packages that are missing any of the elements in subdivision.
(j) of this section, or that fail to follow the specific instructions for submissions, shall be considered incomplete. If the department receives an incomplete package, it shall so notify the submitter.
(l) No advertisement may be disseminated if the submitter of the advertisement has received information that has not been widely publicized in medical literature that the use of any approved medical marihuana product may cause fatalities or serious damage to a patient.
(m) A registered organization, its officers, managers and employees shall not cooperate, directly or indirectly, in any advertising if such advertising has the purpose or effect of steering or influencing patient or caregiver choice with regard to the selection of a practitioner, or approved medical marihuana product.
(n) The department may:
(1) require a specific disclosure be made in the advertisement in a clear and conspicuous manner if the department determines that the advertisement would be false or misleading without such a disclosure; or
(2) require that changes be made to the advertisement that are:
(i) necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare; or
(ii) consistent with dispensing information for the product under review.
(2) The function, duties, and powers of the commission in sections 3 to 70 of this Act include the following:
(g) To regulate and prohibit any advertising by manufacturers, processors, wholesalers or retailers of marijuana items by the medium of newspapers, letters, billboards, radio or otherwise.
Q. What signage must dispensaries display at their sites?
NOTE: All required signage is available on the Forms and Signage page.
A registered dispensary must post the applicable entry sign on the exterior of the dispensary in a conspicuous location that can be easily seen by the public from outside the dispensary at any point of public entry, in bold, 80 point Times New Roman font.
- If a dispensary is only transferring marijuana and immature plants to OMMP patients and caregivers, the dispensary must post a sign that reads: “Medical Marijuana Patients Only.”
- If a dispensary has properly notified the Authority that it intends to sell limited marijuana retail products, the dispensary must post signs that read: “Medical Marijuana Patients and Persons 21 and Older Permitted” and “NO PERSON UNDER 21 PERMITTED ON THE PREMISES WITHOUT AN OMMP CARD.”
Point of Sale Signage
A registered dispensary that has notified the Oregon Health Authority that it is conducting retail sales must also post the following signs at the point of sale:
- Pregnancy Warning Poster
- Poisoning Prevention Poster
- A color copy of the “Educate Before You Recreate” poster (Source:whatslegaloregon.com).
Marijuana Information Card
Distribute to each individual at the time of sale a Marijuana Information Card, prescribed by the Authority, measuring 3.5 inches high by 5 inches.
There are currently no advertising regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries in Rhode Island. For more information, please refer to the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act.
There are currently no advertising regulations for dispensaries in Vermont. For more information, please refer to the Vermont Marijuana Registry.
(1) Advertising by retail licensees. The board limits each retail licensed premises to one sign identifying the retail outlet by the licensee’s business name or trade name that is affixed or hanging in the windows or on the outside of the premises that is visible to the general public from the public right of way. The size of the sign is limited to sixteen hundred square inches.
(2) General. All marijuana advertising and labels of useable marijuana and marijuana-infused products sold in the state of Washington may not contain any statement, or illustration that:
(a) Is false or misleading;
(b) Promotes over consumption;
(c) Represents the use of marijuana has curative or therapeutic effects;
(d) Depicts a child or other person under legal age to consume marijuana, or includes:
(i) Objects, such as toys, characters, or cartoon characters suggesting the presence of a child, or any other depiction designed in any manner to be especially appealing to children or other persons under legal age to consume marijuana; or
(ii) Is designed in any manner that would be especially appealing to children or other persons under twenty-one years of age.
(3) No licensed marijuana producer, processor, or retailer shall place or maintain, or cause to be placed or maintained, an advertisement of marijuana, usable marijuana, or a marijuana-infused product in any form or through any medium whatsoever:
(a) Within one thousand feet of the perimeter of a school grounds, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, library, or a game arcade admission to which it is not restricted to persons aged twenty-one years or older;
(b) On or in a public transit vehicle or public transit shelter; or
(c) On or in a publicly owned or operated property.
(4) Giveaways, coupons, and distribution of branded merchandise are banned.
(5) All advertising must contain the following warnings:
(a) “This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming.”;
(b) “Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug.”;
(c) “There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product.”; and
(d) “For use only by adults twenty-one and older. Keep out of the reach of children.”
The gradual legalisation of cannabis across US states is a triumph for the American Dream, says Sarah Dunant.
I’ve recently returned from the west coast of Canada, where a fiery gold autumn was the perfect backdrop for an outpouring of national optimism after the Canadians elected the 43-year-old Liberal leader Justin Trudeau as their prime minster. Greeting voters on the subway next morning, trick-or-treating with his children – the arrival of this dynamic newcomer, sprinkled with dynastic fairy dust, ended almost a decade of Conservative government during which Canada suffered something of an identity crisis. For a country that successfully defined itself as not being the United States, his predecessor’s policies on tax, foreign affairs and the environment severely blurred that distinction. As one Vancouverite put it: “I used to make a point of saying I was Canadian, not American, when I travelled. In recent years I haven’t bothered.”
But if Trudeau is to make his mark by being different, there’s one area where he’ll be learning by example from the US, or at least a handful of them. His election platform included legalisation of marijuana for recreational use (it’s legal for medical purposes now), which means that he and his policy makers will be busy studying Washington State, Oregon and Colorado, all of which have done so already.
In the fraught international conversation about drugs, there’s one thing everyone agrees on, though some politicians might close the door before they say it – 50 years of war hasn’t worked. Instead it has produced international crime syndicates, financed terrorism, destabilised governments of the countries that produce the drugs and clogged up the justice system and prisons of those that consume them. When it comes to cannabis some of the loudest critics of the law are law enforcers themselves. As an ex-chief of police in Vancouver said in a recent CBC documentary: “The only thing prohibition achieves is putting revenue into organised crime.”
It’s taken more than plain-speaking police chiefs to bring about the change in the US. Admittedly Oregon, Washington and Colorado are liberal-leaning states, but the underlying social and political forces that moved them towards legislation also exist in the rest of the country. To understand them you have to go back to those much-quoted words from the Declaration of Independence: “The inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” To which one might add – not even that cynically – “…and profit”.
First happiness. During a book tour in 2010, I visited Colorado just after the state granted commercial licences to grow cannabis for medical purposes. In the town of Boulder I met a friend of a friend who had set up a warehouse factory. Sitting together at the bar, I ordered a cocktail, while he had water. “‘Fraid I over-medicated last night,” he explained with a wry smile. I remember I laughed out loud. Over-medicated. It was the first time I’d ever heard the term. It wouldn’t be the last.
Risks associated with cannabis
- It affects the ability to drive – a French study found that drivers who had been using cannabis were more than twice as likely to cause a fatal car crash
- If smoked, cannabis can be harmful to the lungs; like tobacco, it contains cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens) that increase the risk of lung cancer, and it can also make asthma worse
- Cannabis can harm mental health – regular use is associated with an increased risk of developing a psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia, and the risk is higher if you start using cannabis in your teens and if you have a family history of mental illness
- Cannabis may affect fertility, and if you’re pregnant, cannabis may harm your unborn baby
To medicate – take some kind of drug to make oneself feel better. As befits a country with private health care, legal pharmaceuticals are mega-business in the US. While mind-altering substances have been around throughout history, on the journey from pain to pleasure the US has played a starring role. She was the first country to successfully use analgesics in an operation (Boston in the 1840s, when under ether a man had a tumour cut out of his neck). One hundred and fifty years later she was also was the first to embrace Prozac. As physical agony diminished, we could start to address mental and emotional suffering, often equally disabling. Life was a crapshoot – depressive DNA, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, rising poverty and the ever-accelerating pace and toxicity of modern life. It’s no surprise if we need a little mental massaging at times. If there is a drug to address depression or anxiety, to make one happier, why on earth not take it? To medicate. As soon as the word became aligned to cannabis it heralded a subtle but powerful shift in moving the drug out of the darkness of illegality into the light, first of the doctor’s office and the dispensary, and then into the brighter surroundings of retail therapy.
Enter profit. Colorado, where cannabis has been legal for almost two years, is the site of a modern gold rush – a late flowering of the American dream. A whole new industry, mixing horticulture and science, run by energetic young entrepreneurs (everyone is a business graduate these days) is out to make a killing through investment and hard work.
As with all start-ups, market lore prevails. Lore and language. No more Cheech-and-Chongs with reefers and doobies. Instead, company directors talk of “exciting new user demographics” and “the high-end luxury consumer package good” and that most magic consumer word of all – choice. The little bag of weed or lump of hash changing hands on the street has grown into a shop wall of dozens of varieties, quantities and strengths. There are tinctures and oils, patches and lotions, infused tooth-picks. But the big commercial breakthrough has been the edibles market – snacks, candy bars, mints, bread, ice cream and beverages, from cannabis cola to latte. Professional chefs cook marijuana dinners and out-of-state visitors take cannabis tours, factory-to-tasting, one ending in a painting class to show enhanced – or at least less repressed – creativity.
Jobs created, profits flowing and taxes rolling. Of course there are regulations. As with alcohol you have be to 21 to buy and have the ID to prove it. You can only get an ounce at a time and there’s no smoking in public, though I doubt police officers check takeaway latte on the street. Other rules are stranger. Armoured trucks transfer bags of tax money (it’s a strictly cash-only business) to the appropriate government building because banks, operating under federal law, can’t touch drug money. This year’s tax revenue is estimated at $97m (£64m) – a welcome addition to an economy struggling out of a recession.
With more states voting on the issue every year, the legislation of cannabis, like gay marriage, appears to be gaining political traction. There is also pressure from another direction. The US is panicking about its prison population. At present it incarcerates more of its citizens per capita than any other country bar the Seychelles. At last count 51% of all inmates in federal prisons were in for drug-related crimes and 27% of those for non-violent ones concerning marijuana. Only this month President Obama released 6,000 prisoners, the result of a retroactive sentencing bill, reducing penalties for drug offences in the future.
The message is clear. It costs society too much, in all senses, to criminalise so many people – and disproportionately young black or Latino men – for doing something which, legalised, could create jobs and help balance the budget. Canada’s most bizarre moment this year came when hells angels roared up outside parliament protesting that legalisation would destroy their livelihoods. Imagine a chain of coffee shops all staffed by retrained biker baristas? The image makes one stoned already.
This is probably the moment for full and frank disclosure. Legalisation of marijuana interests me not only because I’m an observer of political and social change but because I’ve been using it on and off for 40 years. Throughout my adult life it has relaxed and invigorated me, enriched my friendships, peopled my solitude, rendered me helpless with laughter and, when writing, oiled the hinges on the doors of perception. Though I agree that enhanced strains – particularly when taken by teenagers – can be dangerous, in my experience it’s a manifestly less dangerous drug than tobacco or alcohol, and regulated in terms of age of consumption and quality would be even safer.
When all us self-indulgent hippies sat lighting up at rock festivals dreaming of a brave new world, legalising pot was only one of many changes we envisaged (the end of the Vietnam war along with sexual and racial equality were also on the agenda, though no-one remembers such things now because our houses have gone up so much in price).
However, be careful what you wish for. Faced with the prospect that in my lifetime I could be shopping in cannabis stores, confronted with the same mind-numbing choice as say shampoo or yoghurt, with two for one offers, or early-bird discount on names such as Kool Aid Kush, Jack Flash and Blue Dream sold by cheery assistants urging me to have a good day – I find myself, well, less than ecstatic.
Doubtless it’s the last vestige of the rebel in me. Perhaps a little radicalism would help. Remember the lottery? That sly tax to fund sport and heritage initiatives. How about using cannabis revenue to top up the NHS? Or help fund higher education?
Now there’s an idea that could give an old stoner joy. Or in the new argot, add enhanced pleasure to the process of self-medication.
More from the Magazine
Cannabis is illegal and yet in the UK shops selling cannabis paraphernalia operate openly on the High Street. The “head shop” is an institution that shows no sign of going away.
CHICAGO — The green-typeface slogan “WE’ED like to be your doctor!” —unmistakably weed-friendly — has attracted hundreds of medical marijuanapatients in less than a year to Dr. Bodo Schneider’s clinics in southern Illinois and suburban Chicago.
In New Jersey, Dr. Anthony Anzalone has a similar following at his three clinics, marketed online with a marijuana leaf logo and a “DrMarijuanaNJ” web address.
The two marijuana-friendly doctors in states with similar laws face starkly different treatment by government regulators. When it comes to oversight of boundary-pushing doctors, enforcement practices vary in the 23 states allowing medical cannabis.
Illinois has taken a tough posture. Schneider, a former emergency room doctor, may get his license revoked in a medical board case getting underway Tuesday. Accused of charging patients for marijuana recommendations without a legitimate doctor-patient relationship, he’s the third Illinois physician to face punishment related to medical marijuana in a state where legal sales only started this month.
“I understand why they don’t want everybody and their uncle opening up a marijuana stand,” said Schneider’s attorney, Luke Baumstark. “But I think the regulators have gone after a very high percentage of the people who have tried to use this law at all. It’s over-aggressive.”
New Jersey has taken no disciplinary action against Anzalone, a gynecologist, or any other doctor related to medical marijuana since sales started three years ago, according to Jeff Lamm, spokesman for the state’s Board of Medical Examiners.
“The state’s been very good to me,” Anzalone said in a phone interview. “We’re complying with the law as best we can. … All I’m doing is the job other doctors don’t want to do.”
Indeed, pot doctors fill a void left by physicians unfamiliar with marijuana’s health benefits and fearful of endorsing what the federal government regards as a controlled substance, cannabis advocates say.
Schneider is a “godsend to patients” in southern Illinois, where two major health care organizations actively prevent their doctors from recommending marijuana, said Dan Linn of the Illinois chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Writing a law to restrict how doctors recommend marijuana is tricky. Lawmakers in Illinois, New Jersey and other states have tried to avoid California’s drop-in, instant exams by attempting to define in legislation a legitimate doctor-patient relationship. Laws commonly call for a “bona fide” relationship with a physical exam and review of medical records. New Jersey doctors must register in a publicly viewable database and take courses in addiction medicine and pain management.
Even in two more tolerant states — Colorado and California — how governments oversee pot doctors has become an issue.
In Colorado, where medical marijuana has been legal since 2000, more than 115,000 people hold medical recommendations because they’re either too young to buy recreational pot or because they prefer a lower tax rate and higher possession limits. Colorado health authorities have grappled for years with ways to curb suspect pot recommendations.
Colorado physicians are barred from working out of dispensaries or having any financial stake in the marijuana business. As in other states, they’re required to examine patients in person once a year.
The Colorado Medical Board says it has sanctioned at least six physicians since 2009 for violating pot regulations, though details of those cases aren’t public. In 2013, one physician received three years’ probation after being convicted of making an improper pot recommendation to an undercover police officer.
In notoriously permissive California, a “Get Baked Sale” of marijuana food products in June had doctors on hand to provide on-the-spot patient recommendations. The state, which was the first to legalize medical cannabis, has disciplined only eight doctors in 20 years for improper marijuana recommendations.
California’s laid-back approach may change. The state recently enacted legislation to require the Medical Board to crack down on doctors who write recommendations without a proper patient exam or valid medical reason.
In Illinois, regulators alerted doctors soon after the medical marijuana law passed in 2013 that one doctor shouldn’t set up shop to treat all the eligible medical conditions, which range from glaucoma to HIV and cancer.
“The Department will continue to closely scrutinize instances where a physician’s practice exists solely to offer medical cannabis certifications,” said Terry Horstman, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
Supporters fear that Illinois’ harsh stance discourages mainstream doctors from participating and that this pushes patients into the arms of a few pot doctors who may be unmotivated to follow up on patients’ overall health concerns.
Said Chris Lindsey of the Marijuana Policy Project, a national group that supports legally regulated marijuana: “Having a few well known clinics in the state that clearly follow the rules can be a valuable resource, both to patients who otherwise have few options, and for doctors who would prefer to make a referral.”
A research team at Washington State University has been developing a breathalyzer that could accurately detect whether a driver is under the influence of marijuana.
Police officers use blood tests to determine if a driver has THC in their system, usually administered at the police station. Blood tests can take up to 24 hours for results.
In Washington state where recreational marijuana is legal, Initiative 502 set the legal limit for 5 nanograms of active THC per mililiter of blood.
Currently, police officers are limited in their choices of reliable portable THC measurement technology in the field. Washington state cops have indicated they would be open to a new portable breathalyzer, but only if it was accurate and reliable.
WSU Chemistry professor Herbert Hill is leading the research team through a second round of testing with the goal of making their marijuana breathalyzer available in 2016.
Hill says the test is designed for immediate accurate results for THC, not the metabolite that is more likely to stay in a person’s system for weeks, and can give false positives.
New research on the cannabinoid THCV shows that it may reduce the effects of THC.
While almost all marijuana users are familiar with the effects of THC, new findings show why you may want to pay attention to another compound known as tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV).
THCV is one of many cannabinoids found in cannabis and is often measured during laboratory testing. But up until now, little was known about the effects of THCV — both psychological and otherwise.
Interestingly, a new study published Nov. 17 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology seems to show that THCV works against THC to dampen the high.
While the sample size was small — the study only involved 10 participants — the results showed that combining doses of THCV with THC overwhelmingly resulted in a high that felt “less intense” compared to THC alone.
THCV also seemed to protect against other common effects of THC, including memory impairment and increased heart rate.
Interestingly, THCV seemed to have no psychoactive effect when taken alone. In fact, participants in the study were unable to distinguish doses of THCV from a placebo.
The authors — a group of scientists from King’s College London — say that this seems to contradict older research published in the 1970s, which suggested THCV might have weak psychoactive properties.
Nevertheless, the latest findings suggest that THCV may offer a similar sort of protection as CBDwhen it comes to reducing the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
According to testing results from the 2014 High Times Cannabis Cup in Seattle, many sativa strains have noticeable levels of THCV. In fact, this may explain the uplifting and energizing effect that sativa strains are known for.
So, for the growing number of people seeking marijuana with a less potent high, strains with significant THCV levels may be a good place to start.