Cannabis oil stopped his seizures but may keep him from his football dream

In a disappointing ruling, the NCAA has decided to rule CJ Harris, a high school football player in Georgia, ineligible to play D1 Football at Auburn University next season because he takes low THC-high CBD (cannabidiol) oil to manage his epileptic seizures, assisting him in quality of life. This ruling is particularly disappointing as in 2018 the World Anti-Doping Agency has removed CBD Oil from its Banned Substances List, allowing athletes who play in leagues monitored by the International Agency to use CBD based substances to assist in their health and wellbeing during organized sports. Though CJ's medicine has less than 0.3% THC in it - which would mean that the medicine is non-psychoactive - the NCAA has decided that while taking this medicine, CJ will not be able to play D1 sports - a decision that is unfair to him as an athlete and as a person. 

It is my hope that one day individuals like CJ will not be discriminated against because of his method of medicating, as CBD has shown significant promise in allowing individuals with medical issues to manage their symptoms in such a way which allows them to participate actively in society - just like with CJ Harris.  

Read more about CJs story on CNN. Here are some excerpts from the article: 

"A high school football player who takes cannabis oil to prevent his seizures has been ruled ineligible to play in college, a decision that has sparked outrage from advocates, lawmakers and sports fans.

A former Big Ten Coach of the Year sharply criticized the decision, saying "it's not fair to the kid" and urging the NCAA to reconsider.

C.J. Harris, a standout strong safety, helped lead Warner Robins High School to the Georgia state championship game and committed to play for Auburn University next season. But he was recently notified by Auburn coaches that the NCAA will not allow him to play if he remains on cannabis oil, according to CNN affiliate WGXA.


Harris planned to attend Auburn, his "dream school," as a walk-on next season. "I saw everything lining up perfectly for me," he told WGXA. 

But that dream was shattered when he was notified by Auburn staff that the NCAA ruled him ineligible if he stayed on cannabis oil.

"You're taking something away from a kid who worked so hard his whole life to get there, and you're just taking it away because he's taking a medication that's helping him with a disability," father Curtis Harris told WGXA."

Source: CNN



MedReleaf to collaborate with CFL Alumni Association in studying benefits of medical cannabis in managing chronic pain

MARKHAM, ON, May 24, 2018 /CNW/ - MedReleaf Corp. (TSX:LEAF) ("MedReleaf" or the "Company"), today announced it will collaborate with the Canadian Football League Alumni Association ("CFLAA") in conducting an observational study on the benefits of medical cannabis in treating chronic pain and related ailments in retired professional athletes.  

MedReleaf and the CFLAA recognize the opportunity to collaborate on this important study which will bring greater awareness to the potential health benefits of using medical cannabis in the treatment of ailments that include chronic pain. The joint observational study is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2018 with volunteer CFLAA member participants.   

"We are excited to collaborate with the CFL Alumni Association on this significant observational study with legends in the Canadian athletic arena," said Neil Closner, MedReleaf CEO. "Through ongoing research, our understanding of the benefits of medical cannabis has grown significantly and we welcome the opportunity to apply our expertise in validating new patient therapies and contributing to positive patient outcomes for this exceptional group of former athletes."  

"The CFLAA has always sought to make a difference by providing support to our alumni, many of whom experienced medical challenges following their athletic careers," said Leo Ezerins, CFLAA Executive Director.  "In collaborating with MedReleaf we hope to gain further insight into the benefits of medical cannabis in managing chronic pain - insight that could be invaluable to our almost 2,000 alumni members."

Health Canada and the Canadian Hockey League announce public education partnership to help youth understand the facts about cannabis

From: Health Canada

News release

The #FocusedOn campaign encourages youth to make positive and healthy lifestyle choices

May 22, 2018 - Ottawa, ON - Health Canada

The current approach to cannabis does not work. Canada has some of the highest rates of cannabis use in the world, especially among youth and young adults. That’s why the Government of Canada introduced Bill C‑45, the proposed Cannabis Act, to keep cannabis out of the hands of youth while keeping profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime. As part of its public health approach to the legalization and strict regulation of cannabis, the Government has launched a robust public education campaign to inform Canadians, especially youth, about the health and safety facts of cannabis use.

Today, Health Canada is announcing a new partnership with the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) to extend its public education campaign on the facts about cannabis. The CHL’s #FocusedOn initiative provides another opportunity for the Government of Canada to engage young Canadians, young adults, parents and adults in the discussion on the facts about cannabis and will encourage youth to make healthy lifestyle choices to help them stay focused on their goals.

As part of this partnership, Health Canada and the CHL will work together to create videos and dynamic social media content as well as in-arena fan-based activities. CHL players will share their personal experiences about making positive choices to reach their personal goals. Health Canada will also work with the CHL to engage billet families to ensure that they have the support they need to talk to players and their own children about cannabis use. Through this partnership, the CHL and Health Canada will update and create new education materials on drugs and make it available to all players and their families.

The Government of Canada is working with the provinces and territories, public health and health professionals, community organizations and Indigenous organizations to collectively communicate with Canadians about the health and safety facts of cannabis and to encourage Canadians to make informed choices.


“I am pleased to announce our partnership with the Canadian Hockey League to extend our public education campaign on the health facts about cannabis targeted at Canadian youth and young adults. Through innovative partnerships such as with the CHL’s #FocusedOn campaign, we are engaging Canadians in an ongoing dialogue to help equip them with the information they need to make informed choices about cannabis.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health 

Quick Facts

  • The CHL comprises 52 Canadian teams from the three Canadian major junior hockey leagues: the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League, and the Western Hockey League. The CHL also includes 8 additional teams based in the United States.

  • Despite the fact that cannabis is illegal, 12% of Canadians reported using it at least once in 2015, according to the latest Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey. That rate is even higher for young people, with usage as high as 21% among youth, aged 15 to 19, and 30% among young adults, aged 20 to 24.

Canada is facing mounting pressure to grant mass pardons for weed possession

Glancing at the faces of executives at the growing number of legal cannabis businesses in Canada or those speaking on industry panels, Carolyn Tinglin is hard-pressed to find many who look like her.

“I’m just not seeing black women or black men involved in this space or being seen as experts,” Tinglin said over the phone from Chilliwack, British Columbia. As president of the National Association of Cannabis Professionals — a non-profit for cannabis health consultants with a predominately black female board — she’s taken on advocating for the inclusion of people of colour in the country’s future recreational cannabis market expected to be worth billions. 

It’s just one example of the pressure building across the country urging the federal government to proactively grant pardons for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians convicted of simple marijuana possession — something that will be legal later this year. Currently, those with criminal records may apply to the Parole Board of Canada for a pardon, officially known as a record suspension, five years after the completion of their sentence, at a cost of more than $600.

Read more at:

Why Athletes Are Ditching Ibuprofen for CBD

Andrew Talansky is almost always sore. The 29-year-old spent seven years as a professional cyclist racing for Slipstream Sports. He recently switched to triathlon and now spends hours training both on and off the bike. “I’m using muscles I haven’t used in years,” Talansky says. “My body is constantly inflamed.” Many athletes in his situation rely on common pain relief like ibuprofen, but when Talansky strained a hip flexor last fall, he reached for a bottle of cannabidiol (CBD), an extract from the cannabis plant, instead. 

“I took it for a couple of weeks, and there was a noticeable difference immediately,” Talansky says. “And it wasn’t just that my hip was feeling better. I was less anxious, and I was sleeping better.”

Marijuana has long been considered an alternative pain medication, with THC, the principle psychoactive compound in the plant, getting most of the attention. CBD is another active component and could offer some of the same medical benefits (anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, analgesic), but without the side effect of getting high. CBD interacts with serotonin and vanilloid receptors in the brain, which affect mood and the perception of pain. It also has antioxidant properties. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from its list of banned substances in January, which prompted many professional athletes, including ultrarunner Avery Collins and mountain biker Teal Stetson-Lee, to eschew ibuprofen for CBD. Some believe it’s a safer alternative to drugstore pain relievers and anti-inflammatories. 

Read More at:

Black and Indigenous people are overrepresented in Canada’s weed arrests


By Rachel Browne via Vice News Apr 18, 2018

Black and Indigenous men and women have been overrepresented in cannabis possession arrests across Canada in the years since Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister, according to a VICE News investigation based on police data obtained through freedom of information requests. 

It’s the first public set of statistics of its kind, as national arrest and charge numbers broken down by race do not exist in Canada, and police are under no obligation to proactively disclose them. The exclusive data provides further evidence that racial disparities in cannabis possession arrests are an issue in Canada, just like in the U.S. 

Read More at:

The green gold rush: Could Africa be on the verge of a weed race?

Several African governments are considering tapping a lucrative natural resource. 

More than 10,000 tons of cannabis are produced on the continent each year, according to a UN survey, which advocates believe could be worth billions of dollars in a rapidly expanding global market for legal weed. 

African governments have not yet followed the trend of legalization seen in Europe and the Americas. But Lesotho's recent announcement of the continent's first legal license to grow marijuana is part of a wider shift toward more liberal policies. 

From Morocco to South Africa, there is growing interest in cashing in on a valuable crop. But in each case there are unique challenges to face.

Find out  more at:

Will cannabis become an economic catalyst in Alberta?

Legal cannabis has changed a few things in Denver, but for the marijuana media mogul who covers the scene in Colorado, it's what hasn't changed that's most noticeable.

"One of the most striking things is how normal it is," said Cassandra Farrington, in an interview Friday on The Homestretch

"You can't really tell a difference of pre-[recreational] and post-recreational cannabis," she said. "You drive past a dispensary [and] it's like driving past a liquor store.

"It's a completely normalized thing that people don't even think about anymore."

Prior to her appearance on CBC Radio, Farrington was part of a forum held by the Calgary Chamber of Commerce that focused on the economic impact of cannabis on Alberta.


Legal cannabis has created a lot of jobs in Denver, says Cassandra Farrington, the Colorado-based co-founder and CEO of Marijuana Business Daily. (Denis Dossman/CBC)

"The job creation piece of it [has been huge]," she said. "And it's not just among retailers or growers — but there is so much opportunity for innovation and business development all around this industry that is fuelling huge job growth down in the U.S. and I'm sure will do the same here in Canada."

Farrington acknowledged there will undoubtedly be unforseen surprises in Alberta, as there were in Colorado when cannabis was legalized.

"One of the biggest issues was figuring out the regulation. There were some things in place that they had to work through — what didn't work, what was working well and what needed to be strengthened — and then managing those transitions," she said.

Read More at:

CBD for the Win - What Weed Has To Do With The Future of Sport

I know what you're thinking: Why is Akeem writing about weed? Is he a high, crazy or deluded young professional? Is he telling our children to do drugs? 

The answer: NO.

But today I do want to acquaint readers with cannabidiol, or CBD for short - one of at least 113 active cannabinoids found within cannabis and hemp. CBD is a chemical that has no psychoactive properties and is poised to have a significant impact on the health and well-being of people globally. This is due to its potential use as a key ingredient in medicine, providing the ability to help treat diagnoses like inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, decreasing the need for the prescription of opioids. For this reason, scientific studies like the one found here, and recommendations such as this, have become more prominent in recent years. As an increasing amount of doctors and scientists have become consumed by the unlimited potential of this chemical an increasing number have become motivated to find ways to unlock its full capabilities. 

My interest in CBD was made firm last year when the World Health Organization (WHO) made a preliminary report that there was no public health risk or abuse potential for those who use it (WHO Report). Further, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has decided to take CBD off its Banned Substances List for 2018. This means that athletes participating in competition regulated by the WADA drug code - including the Olympic Games, FIBA Basketball World Championships, FIFA World Cup, etc. - will no longer be suspended for using CBD as an instrument for maintaining health, reducing inflammation, rehabilitation, and training. More information about this decision can be found in this article and in WADA's Summary of Modifications.

In my opinion, these two decisions made by international regulatory bodies will have a notable impact on the future studies of cannabidiols and medicine and its use as an active ingredient in sport; though more research and evidence is needed, findings thus far are promising. Eventually, CBD based medicine will take over the market for athletic therapy as professional athletes will aim to decrease recovery time in athletic training, limit opioid use, and assist in player safety in contact sports, for example, by decreasing the threat of brain damage in professional football.  

Recently released Market Data from Stats Canada shows that across the nation there is an increasing amount of Active Registrations for Cannabis for Medical Purposes. As the stigma surrounding this powerful plant begin to soften, the social value of its uses will become more prominent - and these are some of the changes I will be paying attention to.

To wrap up and be clear: I AM NOT ADVOCATING FOR YOUTH RECREATIONAL USE OF CANNABIS. The government of Canada, when the legalization of recreational marijuana passes, will put age limits on the ability to purchase similar to what we see with alcohol; and as a former university athlete, I understand how cannabis use would have limited both academic and athletic development if I was a daily recreational user in my youth. Instead, what I am proposing is that readers be prepared for change and for you to do your own due diligence on the subject instead of blindly dismissing it. The stigma attached to smoking shouldn't be attached to CBD itself as there are many alternative routes of administration (i.e. it can be ingested as an oil, or rubbed on your skin as a topical).

One day soon it will be a CBD-infused product that sporting fans can thank for keeping our top athletes healthy so that we can go to sporting events, be entertained, and root for our local sports franchises to bring our cities championships. And that's why it's important we pay attention to the changes occurring around us, continue to learn and continue to cheer: CBD for the Win!

- Akeem Gardner, HB.A., LL.B.

**Note: Clicking on italicised words will take you directly to the source**