Major Drug Test Manufacturer Sidelines Marijuana for Fentanyl Detection

Published 3 months ago Safety & Education Ryan Spegal
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In light of the evolving legal landscape of cannabis across the United States, Psychemedics, a leading manufacturer of drug testing technology, has introduced an innovative screening panel that shifts focus from marijuana detection to identifying the presence of fentanyl and other controlled substances. This strategic pivot addresses the "relentless change and the pressing need to adapt" to the changing drug policies as more states embrace the legalization of cannabis.

The Advanced 5-Panel Drug Screen, as it is named, is poised to revolutionize how organizations ensure the safety and well-being of their workplaces. Psychemedics emphasizes that the updated screening panel places precedence on the critical threat posed by fentanyl, while concurrently enhancing the precision in detecting substances such as cocaine, opioids, PCP, and amphetamines. The company has confirmed that this revamped drug test has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Psychemedics, established in 1987 and a pioneer in hair testing technology, underscored the necessity for this evolution in a recent press release. The company cited the persistent labor shortage and the transformation of marijuana laws in 49 states as catalysts for this change. Traditional 5-panel drug tests, Psychemedics argued, are outdated and ineffective against the backdrop of today's drug market, particularly in detecting the increasingly prevalent drug, fentanyl.

Brian Hullinger, the President and CEO of Psychemedics, highlighted the dramatic shift in the workplace dynamics between marijuana and fentanyl. He stated that the Advanced 5-Panel has been crafted to bridge this gap and adapt to the changing landscape.

The announcement comes at a time when several legal cannabis states have implemented protections for employees who consume marijuana during their personal time. These laws prevent employers from taking punitive actions related to state-approved cannabis use. For instance, California and Michigan have recently passed policies that restrict employers from inquiring about or conducting pre-employment drug tests for marijuana use, respectively. Similarly, Washington State and Nevada have enacted legislation to prevent employment discrimination based on lawful marijuana use.

At the federal level, efforts to cease drug testing for marijuana among federal job applicants have faced obstacles, particularly in the House Rules Committee. Conversely, the Senate passed a defense bill in July, including provisions preventing intelligence agencies from denying security clearances based solely on past marijuana use. Additionally, a bipartisan bill was passed last month by the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, aiming to eliminate federal employment or security clearance denials based on past cannabis use.


The Symphony of Cannabinoids: Understanding TAC in Cannabis Usage

Published 3 months ago Safety & Education Ryan Spegal
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In the dynamic discourse surrounding cannabis, a term that is often overshadowed yet holds critical significance is Total Active Cannabinoids, or TAC. This term serves as a comprehensive indicator of the potency and diversity of cannabinoids in a cannabis product, providing users with a holistic understanding of their experience.

TAC is pivotal in the context of the ever-growing conversation around cannabis. It doesn't merely denote the presence of individual cannabinoids such as THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol) but encapsulates the entire array of active cannabinoids. TAC offers an aggregate measure that enlightens users on the potential range of effects, therapeutic advantages, and flavor profiles of their chosen cannabis products.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a prominent cannabinoid, known for its therapeutic properties and non-psychoactive nature. It provides relief from ailments such as chronic pain, anxiety, and epilepsy, making it an essential component of the TAC.

Cannabigerol (CBG), albeit found in smaller amounts, is regarded as the "stem cell" of cannabinoids. It acts as a precursor for other cannabinoids and is crucial to the plant's biology. Its potential health benefits include antibacterial properties and a role in cancer treatment and glaucoma management.

Cannabinol (CBN) evolves from aged THC and has mild psychoactive properties. It stands out for its sedative attributes, making it valuable for individuals seeking restful sleep.

Cannabichromene (CBC), though often overlooked, is believed to possess benefits such as anti-inflammatory and antidepressant properties without contributing to the psychoactive high.

Cannabidivarin (CBDV), closely related to CBD, is being explored for its potential in treating neurological conditions, adding a subtle yet crucial element to the TAC.

TAC is more than just a numerical measure; it narrates the diverse capabilities of the cannabis plant. Acknowledging TAC leads to a deeper comprehension of the plant's complexity and facilitates a more informed choice for both recreational and medicinal users.

The allure of cannabis extends beyond the pursuit of a high. Understanding TAC is crucial as it guides users to an enriched experience that encompasses pain relief, relaxation, creativity, and focus. The "Entourage Effect" emphasizes the synergistic interaction of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, enhancing the overall cannabis experience.

Relation and Differences Between TAC & THC

While THC has been the primary focus due to its psychoactive effects, TAC provides a broader perspective, reminding users of the multitude of active compounds present. TAC and THC together create a harmonious interaction, producing varied effects and experiences.

TAC Accuracy

Ensuring the accuracy of TAC is vital in a market flooded with diverse cannabis products. Purchasing from credible sources that provide third-party lab testing and Certificates of Analysis (COA) is crucial for ensuring product quality and consumer safety.

Concluding Thoughts

It's important to recognize that cannabis can interact with medications, potentially leading to side effects. Therefore, consulting a healthcare professional is recommended before combining cannabis with other treatments. A comprehensive understanding of TAC is essential for ensuring safe and effective use.

Cannabis is akin to a symphony, with each cannabinoid playing a distinct role. Prioritizing TAC allows users to fully appreciate the collective performance of these compounds. However, the pursuit of the ideal cannabis experience extends beyond knowledge; it involves trust in the products and suppliers. Accurate TAC labeling is crucial, emphasizing the need for reliable and transparent vendors.

As our understanding of cannabis evolves, TAC emerges as a pivotal chapter in the narrative of cannabis connoisseurship. It's not merely a statistic but a story, where users are the authors, protagonists, and critics. By making informed choices and understanding the nuances of TAC, users can fully immerse themselves in the enriching journey that cannabis offers.



The Positive Impact of Cannabis Retail on Michigan's Communities

Published 3 months ago Safety & Education Ryan Spegal
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Cannabis legalization is a topic that has occupied debates and discussions for many years. The state of Michigan stands at a crossroads, where understanding the history, nuances, and current data can guide informed decisions for the betterment of its communities. With an in-depth look, the advantages of embracing retail cannabis become unmistakably evident.

Local Economic Boost through Cannabis Retailers

Cannabis retailers are more than just outlets; they're integral small businesses. These establishments operate similarly to any other retail store, accepting both cash and debit card payments. Their collaboration with local banks and credit unions not only encourages financial growth but also boosts the circulation of money within the community. This symbiotic relationship aids in reinforcing the local economy.

Safety, Regulation, and Community Welfare

The safety of Michigan's residents remains a primary concern. Retail cannabis outlets uphold rigorous standards, necessitating a valid ID for adults 21 and above. Furthermore, Michigan state ensures a thorough monitoring process, overseeing every product right from its growth phase to its sale. This meticulous oversight surpasses even that of many local liquor stores, safeguarding the younger generation and the broader community.

Debunking Crime Myths

Contrary to some critics' beliefs, there's no evidence linking the rise of cannabis retailers to an uptick in crime. Comprehensive data from numerous Michigan communities indicate that crime rates have remained consistent despite the influx of cannabis retail establishments. These statistics underscore the potential of a harmonious coexistence between cannabis retailers and their surrounding communities when proper regulations are in place.

An Investment in Education and Infrastructure

2023 saw a remarkable contribution from the Marihuana Regulation Fund. A sum of $59.5 million was allocated to 224 municipalities and counties. Moreover, both the School Aid Fund for K-12 education and the Michigan Transportation Fund received a substantial $69.4 million each. Such considerable funds underscore the potential financial boost that communities could receive by welcoming cannabis retail ventures.

Community Financial Advantages and Employment Opportunities

Michigan communities that give the green light to cannabis retail can expect an influx of over $50,000 annually from every licensed cannabis outlet. Beyond this, the Community Benefits programs, initiated by retailers and their affiliated organizations, pledge annual donations for public utilities, parks, and community welfare schemes. Collaborations between retailers and non-profit organizations have also burgeoned, fostering charitable contributions, volunteering, and fundraising endeavors.

The introduction of cannabis retailers is synonymous with local job creation, offering employment avenues without unduly straining the city’s infrastructure or traffic flow.

Addressing Historic Social Injustices

Historically, the narrative around cannabis has been tainted by racial and societal prejudices, with the 1937 ban being a stark reminder. By championing cannabis initiatives, communities are not only bolstering economic growth but also mending long-standing social disparities. Over the years, racial inequalities have persisted, using cannabis prohibition as an instrument. Correcting this wrong is long overdue.

A Bright Future with Cannabis

Embracing the cannabis industry in Michigan translates to dismantling outdated misapprehensions and recognizing its numerous benefits. This sector has already showcased its positive influence on Michigan’s economy. To truly harness its potential, it's crucial to eradicate the stigmas around this well-regulated commodity. By doing so, Michigan can ensure economic prosperity and promote inclusivity and equity for all its residents. The time has come to focus on the future and appreciate the immense promise this burgeoning industry holds for Michigan's economic landscape and the well-being of its communities.


Tracing Marijuana's Journey in Michigan Through Science and History

Published 3 months ago Safety & Education Ryan Spegal
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The marijuana plant, renowned for its psychoactive properties, has recently garnered legal status in Michigan. As the acceptance and use of cannabis increase, it prompts a myriad of questions about its origin, biology, and the historical context associated with it.

On the evening of October 10th, Marquette residents and enthusiasts congregated at Blackrocks Brewery. They were there for Northern Michigan University's (NMU) esteemed “Science on Tap” series, a monthly initiative held every second Thursday. Sponsored by the Department of Biology and the Department of Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences (EEGS), these sessions present an array of educational insights. In October, Lex Koltowicz, an industrial hygienist with TriMedia Environmental & Engineering Services, stepped in with a comprehensive and intriguing discourse on the history, botany, and intricate biology of cannabis.

Koltowicz's exploration began with hemp's ancient roots. The origins of this versatile plant remain a topic of debate. Nonetheless, historical records depict its journey through Afghanistan, its maritime shipment from Portugal, and its notable utilization across regions like Southeast Asia. He delved further into a genetic examination of the cannabis plant, shedding light on the diverse variants stemming from each geographical area.

Highlighting cannabis as one of humanity's most ancient crops, Koltowicz elucidated its multifaceted anatomy. Beyond its renowned psychoactive traits and oil extraction capabilities, its stems played a pivotal role in creating cords, fabrics, paper, and several other products. This enlightening session sparked a flurry of queries from NMU students.

Witnessing a burgeoning interest in cannabis programs at NMU, more students are veering towards specialized fields like medicinal plant chemistry. For many, “Science on Tap” was not just another event but a chance to deepen their understanding and incorporate newfound knowledge into their academic pursuits. One such student, Cole Edgcombe, in his third year at NMU and enrolled in the cannabis law course, found the session particularly enlightening.

Edgcombe's revelations from the session were twofold. Firstly, he was captivated by the plant's genetics and the ease with which marijuana could be cloned. Secondly, the intricate association between the origins of cannabis and the historical slave trade was an unexpected revelation. He emphasized the cruciality of dispelling misconceptions surrounding marijuana, especially in the academic environment of Michigan. “In this evolving era with pervasive cannabis presence, we must transcend existing stigmas. It's paramount to be well-informed, especially given NMU’s extensive programs. It helps in understanding what our peers are delving into,” Edgcombe remarked.

The “Science on Tap” series has consistently served as an enlightening platform, with the latest session on marijuana being testament to its success. From contemporary research to intricate debates on cannabis use, anatomy, and proliferation, attendees were privy to a wealth of information. For those eager to continue their academic journey, NMU's “Science on Tap” promises more insightful sessions in the coming months. Details of forthcoming events can be gleaned from NMU’s official “Science on Tap” webpage.


Rare Cannabis Syndrome Cases Surge in Michigan Post-Legalization

Published 4 months ago Safety & Education Ryan Spegal
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In the aftermath of marijuana legalization in Michigan, a local hospital has reported a notable surge in cases of a scarcely diagnosed cannabis-related condition, according to a recent study.

The condition, named cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS), is primarily seen among long-term cannabis users. CHS manifests with acute symptoms such as intense vomiting, nausea, significant weight loss, and severe abdominal pain. One of the challenges in studying CHS is the absence of a specific International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) code, making its tracking especially intricate. This was shared by Dr. Brittany Tayler, FAAP, the Alice Hamilton Public Health Scholar at Michigan State University-Hurley Children’s Hospital, during her presentation at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition.

Working alongside Jenny LaChance, MS, the research director at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan, Dr. Tayler delved into a comparative analysis of CHS cases among adolescents and young adults, assessing the frequency before and after the state's 2018 marijuana legalization.

Post-legalization, Dr. Tayler noted a more open dialogue from patients about their cannabis consumption. “Following legalization, it became evident that patients weren’t receiving the care they deserved. The challenge lies in the perception that since it’s cannabis-induced, patients are somehow at fault for their condition,” Tayler shared in an interview with Healio.

The research involved a thorough chart review spanning from 2017 to 2022. By searching the electronic medical records for the ICD-10 code R11, linked to “nausea with vomiting, unspecified,” and the broader term "cannabis-related disorders", the duo pinpointed 275 CHS cases among patients aged 13 to 26. The data revealed that out of these, only 30 were diagnosed before marijuana legalization, while a staggering 245 were identified post-legalization.

In terms of demographic data, approximately half of each group were identified as African American or Black. Interestingly, the researchers did not uncover any significant variation in documented marijuana use, both pre- (90%) and post-legalization (81.2%). Moreover, the reported alcohol consumption remained relatively consistent, with 37.9% pre-legalization and 28.9% post-legalization. However, a striking discrepancy emerged when it came to tobacco or e-cigarette usage. Before legalization, every participant identified as a smoker, which sharply decreased to 2.4% post-legalization. Dr. Tayler hypothesizes that this could be an indirect indication of their cannabis use prior to legalization, suggesting, “People might have been more transparent about their cannabis use, previously alluding to it through vaping or e-cigarette documentation.”

The findings have bolstered the call for ICD-10 to allocate a unique diagnostic code to CHS. Dr. Tayler stressed the importance of shedding light on the potential side effects of cannabis, especially with prolonged and heavy consumption. “The prevailing notion is that marijuana is harmless. However, this isn’t the case,” Tayler remarked. “With the evolving societal norms placing cannabis alongside alcohol and tobacco, it's crucial that as medical professionals, we stay informed about potential harms and ensure our patients are well-aware too.”



How Legal Cannabis is Changing Michigan's Educational Scene

Published 4 months ago Safety & Education Ryan Spegal
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In recent times, the discourse surrounding the legalization of marijuana has gained prominence, particularly as states like Michigan witness burgeoning sales at legal cannabis dispensaries. While advocates of the movement emphasize the robustness of sales controls, concerns persist, especially regarding the accessibility of legally purchased marijuana to the younger generation.

A Shift in Students' Perception

A visit to Hazel Park High School in Michigan painted an interesting picture. Junior Landon Schlack and senior Dayanna Reed, among others, commented on the noticeable shift in students' attitudes towards marijuana. With the emergence of dispensaries at nearly every corner in Michigan, the ease of accessibility is undeniable. Although Schlack and Reed personally abstain, they've observed frequent 'pot parties' amongst their peers.

Driving through Michigan, it's hard to miss the numerous billboards advertising cannabis. For instance, Hazel Park alone boasts of eight active cannabis stores, with a ninth one soon to be operational.

Addressing Cannabis in Educational Institutions

The ripple effect of this growing cannabis culture has penetrated school environments. In a bid to combat this, Hazel Park High School has implemented vaping sensors in bathrooms, designed to detect THC, marijuana's psychoactive component. When activated, these sensors alert security teams, leading to immediate action.

Yet, with the evolving forms of marijuana, detection isn't always straightforward. School Resource Officer Detective Xavier Piper highlighted the challenges, especially with detecting marijuana scent on students who reside in homes where cannabis is used legally.

In terms of incidents, Principal Tammy McHenry reported a rising trend. The school recorded 23 marijuana-related incidents in 2021 and 29 in the following year. In the current year, as of September, there have already been six cases. Projections suggest a potentially significant increase by year-end.

A Mixed Picture Nationwide

While Michigan grapples with these challenges, broader studies from reputable sources such as the National Institutes of Health and the Journal of the American Medical Association present a nuanced view. Some findings indicate either a negligible effect or even a decline in youth marijuana consumption post-legalization.

Considering other states, since Colorado's inaugural retail cannabis store opened approximately a decade ago, the state's Department of Education noticed fluctuating trends in school suspensions linked to marijuana. Concurrently, California's Department of Education has reported a decrease in student cannabis usage since its 2016 legalization.

Local Discipline Measures and Need for More Resources

Back in Michigan, amidst the apparent rise in cannabis usage among students, stringent disciplinary measures are in place. A 10-day suspension awaits Hazel Park students caught using, followed by an intensive review process determining their readmission.

Despite these repercussions, and even after witnessing peers adversely affected by potent cannabis strains, many students persist. This trend underscores the need for more comprehensive educational programs, akin to past initiatives targeting alcohol abuse.

Interestingly, the relationship between Hazel Park Schools and cannabis business proprietors is harmonious. The latter actively contributes to community welfare. Furthermore, a federal grant has recently been secured by Hazel Park, aiming to enhance marijuana-centric educational initiatives for students.