Tag: France

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Study Finds Cannabis Inversely Associated With Hypertension In HCV Patients

We previously reported that a peer reviewed study in France determined that medical cannabis use was associated with a lower BMI in patients diagnosed with hepatitis C (HCV). A separate study from France also found that cannabis is inversely associated with obesity among HCV patients.

It is estimated that as many as 58 million people suffer from hepatitis C worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that roughly 1.1 million deaths occurred in 2019 due to hepatitis B and C, and their effects include ‘liver cancer, cirrhosis, and other conditions caused by chronic viral hepatitis.’

Hepatitis C is spread by contact with contaminated blood, such as from sharing needles or from people using unsterile tattoo equipment. Yet another study in France examined cannabis and HCV, and the results of this latest study indicate that cannabis use is inversely associated with hypertension in HCV patients. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Marseille, France: HCV (Hepatitis C virus)-infected patients who consume cannabis are less likely than non-users to suffer from either hypertension or other metabolic disorders, according to data published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine.

French researchers assessed the relationship between current and/or lifetime cannabis use and metabolic disorders in a cohort of 6,364 subjects infected with HCV.

Investigators reported, “Former and current cannabis use were both inversely associated with hypertension in both analyses (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 0.74 and 0.45).” They also possessed fewer metabolic disorders (e.g., obesity, diabetes, etc.) than did those with no history of cannabis consumption.

They concluded: “In a large cohort of people with chronic HCV infection living in France, current or former cannabis use was associated with a lower risk of hypertension and a lower number of metabolic disorders. … Future research should also explore the biological mechanisms underlying these potential benefits of cannabis use, and test whether they translate into reduced mortality in this population.”

Prior studies have identified an association between cannabis use and lower rates of diabetes and fatty liver disease in Hep-C infected subjects. Other studies have consistently identified a relationship between marijuana consumption and lower rates of obesity.

Full text of the study, “Cannabis use inversely associated with metabolic disorders in Hepatitis C-infected patients,” appears in the Journal of Clinical Medicine. Additional information on cannabis and Hepatitis C is available from NORML. Additional information on cannabis and hypertension is available.


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Study Associates Cannabis Use With Lower BMI Among Those With HIV/HCV

As of 2020, it was estimated that roughly 38.4 million people around the world have HIV. HIV is a very serious health condition that causes AIDS and interferes with the body’s ability to fight against infections.

It is estimated that roughly 58 million people around the globe have hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is a viral infection that can cause the liver to become inflamed, and if not properly treated, hepatitis C can lead to serious liver damage in suffering patients.

Many people that are diagnosed with either HIV or HCV also suffer from the other condition as well. As with virtually every health condition, having a healthy body mass index (BMI) is important. A recent study in France found that medical cannabis use was associated with a lower BMI in patients diagnosed with HIV and HCV. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Marseille, France: People co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C who consume cannabis are at a lower risk of being overweight, according to data published in the journal AIDS Education and Prevention.

French investigators assessed the relationship between cannabis use and body mass index (BMI) in a cohort of 992 HIV/HCV patients. Consistent with prior research, they reported that a history of marijuana use was “inversely associated with BMI.”

Prior studies involving HIV/HCV subjects have also identified a link between cannabis use and a lower risk of diabetesfatty liver disease, and early mortality.

Other case control studies have consistently reported that those with a history of marijuana use are less likely than abstainers to be obese or to suffer from type 2 diabetes.

Full text of the study, “Cannabis use as a protective factor against overweight in HIV-hepatitis C virus co-infected people,” appears in AIDS Education and Prevention. Additional information on cannabis and HIV/AIDS is available from NORML.


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Emmanuel Macron’s Left Flank Presses Him On Full Cannabis Reform

31 senators challenged President Macron on the pages of Le Monde last week to implement full cannabis legalization – but what does this really mean for reform in France?

Cannabis usually exists, still, in the political fault lines, just about everywhere.

That is certainly true in France at the moment. Last Monday, thirty-one federal French senators published a letter in Le Monde, one of the most popular newspapers in France, calling for full legalization. Decrim, as they argued, is a cynical half step.

It is a fascinating development – and for several reasons – both about and beyond the legalization discussion specifically. On the cannabis front, it comes during the first year of France’s much delayed medical trial. It is also happening in a country which has already helped set European cannabis policy – on CBD.

Apart from this, however, the political impetus behind this declaration is absolutely a challenge to the status quo – and from a place that sitting president Emmanuel Macron cannot ignore. Namely, despite the fact that he has repeatedly said he would never implement recreational reform, this new challenge is coming from a group he needs to stave off the extreme right wing – both of whom are anti Europe and cannabis – after he lost a majority in Parliament this summer.

Despite the fact that Macron has repeatedly shown that he is a politician who can only be moved by increments, the fact that this bloc has also called for him to speed up, rather than incrementally implement the cannabis reform process says a great deal about the political climate locally, beyond just cannabis reform.

France’s Role in the European Cannabis Bloc

Right now, Germany is very publicly debating how it might implement recreational cannabis reform without violating the international treaties on drug control that, of course, also cover cannabis. The one that is most mentioned in Europe is the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This is why three countries (so far) – namely Germany, Luxembourg, and Malta – have begun to meet on a multilateral basis to discuss how to proceed.

France as the bloc’s second largest economy, no doubt, should join that table. And Macron, as a committed pro EU politician, is going to have little wiggle room to completely ignore this development. This will be even more true as other countries begin to join this conversation – from Portugal and Italy to Greece and Spain beyond that.

One thing is for sure. France may not be on the leading edge of the revolution, but it is certainly joining the party – despite the wishes of its top politician.


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French Senators Tout Benefits Of Cannabis Legalization

France, like every other country on planet earth, is home to adult-use cannabis consumers and medical cannabis patients. Whether the government in France regulates cannabis or not, people are still going to consume it. That is a point that is not lost on a group of Senators in France who recently published an op-ed in Le Monde calling for national legalization.

The op-ed’s text was provided by ‘a collective of 31 senators from the Socialist, Ecologist and Republican group, led by Gilbert-Luc Devinaz’ according to the subheadline of the article. The goal of the op-ed, as described in the same subheadline, is ‘to launch a consultation process in order to table a bill to legalize cannabis.’

What Legalization Provisions Are The Senators Calling For?

The Senators started their op-ed by citing statistics from a National Assembly ‘Recreational Cannabis Progress Report‘ regarding the rate of cannabis use in France. The report estimates that nearly 18 million people in France have tried cannabis at least once in their lives and that roughly 1.5 million people in France use cannabis ‘regularly.’ For reference, France is home to roughly 67 million people.

“In this context, we must get out of the lax trial regularly made to the proponents of an evolution of the legal framework. We, socialist senators, face reality: the situation is untenable. The French are ready to debate the consumption of so-called recreational cannabis.” the op-ed stated (translated from French to English).

The Senators describe prohibition as being “ineffective, inefficient and unjust.” The main crux of their proposal seems to hinge on regulating cannabis products to reduce the size and influence of the unregulated market and to help mitigate issues related to youth consumption. The op-ed briefly discussed decriminalization prior to declaring it insufficient and instead called for outright legalization.

Mounting Pressure Along The Border

For many years the cannabis reform discussion in France largely took place inside a political vacuum. Those days are long gone. Multiple countries that share a border with France are actively pursuing meaningful cannabis reform, not the least of which is Germany. Lawmakers in France are facing the inevitable – pursue domestic cannabis reform measures or watch cannabis consumers go from France to Germany to make their legal cannabis purchases and miss out on the economic benefits that come with it.

Lawmakers in France would be wise to get things moving in a swift manner, as the country is already well behind Germany and other nations when it comes to crafting cannabis policies and industry regulations. Just as the Senators that published the op-ed pointed out, people are going to consume cannabis in France regardless of what the laws are.

The only real question that remains is whether their consumer and patient dollars will go into a regulated system in France or not, and the only way that consumers will ever make legal purchases in France is if lawmakers step up. If they choose to keep dragging their feet, France will likely miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.


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CBD Use Associated With Reduced Tobacco Intake

A question has perplexed cannabis advocates since the dawn of cannabis prohibition – why is tobacco legal and cannabis illegal given how much more harmful tobacco is compared to cannabis?

Worldwide, tobacco use is responsible for killing over 7 million people every year. However, cannabinoids alone have never killed anyone in humanity’s entire recorded history.

This is not to villanize people that consume tobacco. Many tobacco users are victims of deceptive marketing practices and historically loose tobacco industry regulations. It’s also a personal choice as long as second-hand smoke exposure is mitigated.

With that being said, given how many people die annually from tobacco use and that the same cannot be said about cannabis, the findings of a new study demonstrating that CBD may be able to help reduce tobacco intake is a great thing. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Paris, France: Vaporizing a liquid formulation of CBD is associated with reduced cannabis/tobacco intake, according to data published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry.

A team of French investigators assessed the impact of vaporized CBD on daily cannabis consumption patterns in a cohort of 20 daily consumers. Nearly all of the subjects in the study smoked cannabis mixed with tobacco in joints. Prior studies have previously demonstrated that CBD administration mitigates smoker’s desire for tobacco cigarettes.

Of the nine patients who completed the 12-week trial, six of them reduced their daily consumption of cannabis/tobacco joints by 50 percent.

Authors concluded: “This research provides evidence in favor of the use of CBD in CUD [patients with cannabis use disorder] … and illustrates the interest of proposing an addictological intervention targeting at the same time tobacco and cannabis dependence in users who are co-consumers. … A double-blind, randomized, multi-center, placebo-controlled clinical trial is still needed to assess the efficacy of inhaled CBD in CUD.”

CBD consumption has previously been associated with reductions in alcohol intake as well as reductions in cue-induced cravings and anxiety in subjects with a history of heroin use.

Full text of the study, “Efficacy of inhaled cannabidiol in cannabis use disorder: the pilot study Cannavap,” appears in Frontiers in Psychiatry.

CBD, France, tobacco

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Cannabis Inversely Associated With Obesity In Hepatitis C Patients

It is estimated that as many as 58 million people suffer from hepatitis C worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that roughly 1.1 million deaths occurred in 2019 due to hepatitis B and C, and their effects include ‘liver cancer, cirrhosis, and other conditions caused by chronic viral hepatitis.’

Hepatitis C is spread by contact with contaminated blood, such as from sharing needles or from people using unsterile tattoo equipment. Researchers in France recently examined the effects of cannabis use among hepatitis C patients. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Paris, France: Cannabis use is inversely associated with obesity in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, according to data published in the Journal of Cannabis Research.

A team of French researchers assessed the relationship between lifetime cannabis use and obesity in a cohort of over 6,300 HCV patients.

Authors reported, “[F]ormer and, to a greater extent, current cannabis use were consistently associated with smaller waist circumference, lower BMI, and lower risks of overweight, obesity, and central obesity in patients with chronic HCV infection. … To our knowledge, this is the first time that such associations have been highlighted for HCV-infected patients.”

The study’s findings are consistent with those of analyses of other cohorts – such as those herehere, and here – reporting that marijuana use is typically associated with lower BMI and with lower rates of obesity.

Full text of the study, “Cannabis use as a factor of lower corpulence in hepatitis C-infected patients: Results from the ANRS C022 Hepather cohort,” is available in the Journal of Cannabis Research. Additional information on cannabis and HCV is available from NORML.


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French Presidential Candidate Comes Out Against Cannabis Legalization

According to data from 2019 France was tied with Spain for the greatest cannabis consumption rate per country in Europe. It is estimated that roughly 11% of adults in France consume cannabis at least once a year.

Despite being a co-continental leader in cannabis consumption, France’s cannabis policies lag behind those of many of its European counterparts.

It wasn’t until the beginning of this month that France legalized commercial medical cannabis production, and it did so with seemingly little political fanfare.

Whereas some countries in Europe have either legalized cannabis nationally for adult-use (Malta) or launched adult-use legalization pilot programs (Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark), or at the very least are trending in that direction (Germany, Luxembourg, Italy), France doesn’t appear to be moving towards ending prohibition any time soon.

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen seems to be OK with the status quo, recently indicating that she is “completely against” legalizing cannabis, as seen in this tweet that was included in a recent Marijuana Moment newsletter:

If someone were to rely on Le Pen’s word alone, cannabis legalization sounds like a very scary thing. However, Le Pen’s claims are easily refuted by looking no further than the three countries that have legalized cannabis for adult use at a national level.

Uruguay legalized cannabis for adult use the better part of a decade ago, and the sky is still intact over Uruguay. Canada legalized cannabis for adult use in 2018, and there has been no brain damage epidemic outbreak due to cannabis the last time that I checked.

Malta has also now legalized cannabis for adult use, and on the European continent no less, although sales are still prohibited unlike in Uruguay and Canada.

Regardless, a cannabis doomsday scenario has yet to materialize in Malta so far, and the same would be true in France if/when their lawmakers finally decide to get on the right side of history and end cannabis prohibition. Needless to say, if you are a cannabis advocate in France do not vote for Marine Le Pen.


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Medical Cannabis Production Becomes Legal In France

The decree, published in the Official Journal on February 18 will enter into force as of March 1

Quite quietly, France is moving into the medical cannabis discussion. As of March 1, it will be legal to cultivate cannabis for medical purposes. The change in the law was published in the official government register, the Official Journal, several weeks ago and comes into force this week.

France has been slowly dipping its toe into the entire discussion, dragged less by governmental enthusiasm for the sector much less reform, and more by political pressure. In addition to this, the legal discussion in France has been so fraught that case law, namely the Kanavape case, opened up the discussion on an EU level.

That said, there is clearly a long way to go before the industry comes anywhere close to normalizing here. The decree itself, according to French legal experts, is just as flawed as the recent decree to begin sales of cannabis products but banned cannabis flower. Last month, the Conseil d’Etat the country’s highest administrative court, put a temporary stay on the prohibition of hemp flowers.

On top of this, there is no guarantee that the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM, or the French FDA), may not want a competitive market. There is precedent for this in Europe. In Germany, BfArM, the equivalent in ANSM here, put out a competitive bid for the cultivation of medical cannabis in the country, limited to just three companies and excluding German firms. They also created a monopoly on the distribution of these flowers – giving only one German distributor, based in Frankfurt, the right to distribute the same.

There is no reason that the French government will be any more interested in promoting a robust, and competitive industry by opening the doors to wider cultivation.

ANSM has been running a highly limited medical cannabis program for a year that continues until March of next year. External producers are required to provide cannabis flower, products, and associated products, like vapes, for free. According to the agency, it has set up a temporary scientific committee to define the specifications for national medical cannabis medicines. The group consists of 11 members, drawn from ministries including the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment and the Conseil Order of Pharmacists.

France may indeed be moving with the rest of Europe if not the world to finally accept the medical efficacy of the drug. That said, recreational reform is still a long way off here, despite high levels of illicit consumption. The lower house of the French Parliament rejected a bill last month that introduced the idea of a controlled adult-use market.

Be sure to keep up to date with the rolling cannabis reform efforts now afoot across Europe. Book your tickets to the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference events in Barcelona, Berlin, and Zurich!


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How Long Will The Cannabis Fight Take In France?

The left-wing France Unbowed party is taking the fight to a still resistant government as recent polls show public opinion shifting towards cannabis legalization

Last week, French legislators discussed a bill to legalize cannabis. Put forward by the France Unbowed party or LFI, it is widely seen to be a legislative attempt to put the conversation in the national air rather than pass anything even though there was clear support for reform from five parliamentary groups including even the ruling party (LREM). The government so far has been widely resistant to full cannabis reform, implementing both a much-delayed medical trial only last year as well as finally regulating the CBD business which, as of January 7, will include the sale of flowers. This is a major victory over the government in the first week of the year as the country’s Supreme Court also just overturned the ban on cannabis flowers put forward by the government on December 30 in the plan to regulate the CBD industry.

The last such attempt put forward in 2014 was also rejected by the government. But times they are obviously a’changin’. Beyond the victory on CBD recently, as of June 2021, an Ifop survey showed that 51% of the French public was in favour of at least decriminalization – the highest number since the issue has been tracked (1970).

Things are certainly getting interesting in the French conversation. The question is, with the CBD conversation now formalized in France and a medical trial underway on a national level, how fast can cannabis reform happen on a national level here?

The Need for A Trigger…

It is not just France that is now on the edge of further reform. Germany has yet to even formalize its CBD industry, even though the new coalition here has made cannabis reform an issue for its plank of projects to get accomplished. These two countries, along with Italy, now also poised for a legislative mandate on the topic this year, are far more than say Malta or Spain, are absolutely the bellwether countries for cannabis reform in Europe, simply because they have the most economic clout.

That said, the inevitable is clearly in the air. Full and final cannabis reform is no longer an outlandish but rather a mainstream topic in every European country.

The question is what will be the exact trigger to force the widespread legalization of the plant. It could be Switzerland’s market, due to kick off this year. It could be that legalizing formal industries in places like Portugal and the seed market in Luxembourg will also pave a path.

But no matter what “it” is, at least talk of full and final reform will be abloom in every European political capital this spring.


Eiffel Tower in Paris France

France Formalizes Its CBD Rules – But The Fight Is Just Beginning

The country issued new guidelines right before the new year – but while it spells good news for manufactured products, cultivators are up in arms.

In a significant move for not only France but a wider European conversation beyond that, the French authorities moved to formalize rules on CBD at a national level at the end of 2021. That they did so at the very end of the year, on December 30, has not quelled the already bubbling controversy.

Here is why. Broadly, the French Ministry of Solidarity and Health issued an order to implement Article R. 5132-86 of the Public Health code which now authorizes the CBD market. There are some winners in this – namely every producer who does not sell flowers directly (which includes herbal teas). The losers? Every cultivator and product producer who sells the leaves directly to the public, even though the regulation also allows the increase of THC in hemp cultivation from .02 to .03% as well.

That is a huge segment of the market – not only from a cultivator but also retail sales perspective. The professional organization of CBD Purveyors, the Union des Professionals du CBD, has stated that flower sales are currently 70% of their market, and of course is leading the charge against the new flower sale ban.

Importance In the Discussion

This is not the first time the strange path to legalization in France has sparked attention. The country has been moving achingly slowly forward to recognize medical use. In the meantime, CBD is being lumped, as it is in places like Germany, in an odd place where the raw flower is frequently also banned, outright. In Deutschland, hemp tea has also been on the front end of legal fights over the last few years that are still unresolved, even in the face of recreational reform simply because cannabis remains in the German Narcotics Act.

That said, the fact that now France (and Switzerland) have clearly amended their Narcotics Acts to allow the sale of both CBD and in Switzerland’s case THC, also spells an end to futile arguments on the German side of the border about how difficult dealing with this issue is. Namely, all that must be done is to do it, and further in a way that now three European countries have now done. See Malta.

It was also France where the Kannavape case (which this is also the direct result of) created a European precedent on the cross-border sale of CBD (and further for smoking).

It is in other words, no matter how strangely piecemeal, France, where the CBD market for Europe may first be nationally defined, despite all the kicking and screaming.


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