With all the things that have happened this summer, it’s no surprise that people missed the marijuana headlines.

In recent months, there have been new regulations, lawsuits, state laws, and celebrities surrounding marijuana products.

Celebrity support

For starters, actress Jane Fonda and entrepreneur Martha Stewart both publicly endorsed CBD (cannabidiol) products. CBD is a compound found in the cannabis or marijuana plant and advertised as a natural remedy for many common diseases.

Ms. Fonda is an ambassador and spokeswoman for a company that makes hemp oil and CBD products such as skin creams and body washes. In a statement on the company’s website, Ms. Fonda said, “Wellness has always been incredibly important to me and these hemp-based products have recently caught my eye. They are environmentally friendly, cruelty free, and most importantly, effective! “

Martha Stewart, head of her own home decor and DIY empire, has launched her own brand of CBD gums, or as she calls it, Pâte de Fruit. The gummies come in berries (raspberry, blueberry, and black raspberry) and citrus flavors (Meyer lemon, kumquat, and blood orange).

CBD gummies got into hot water this summer too. Two plaintiffs have filed civil lawsuits against PetSmart, the pet supplies retailer. The lawsuits alleged that the company was selling pet CBD oil and gums that were not properly approved or effective. Both cases have been dropped, reported Hemp Industry Daily.

But CBD gummies, whether or not suitable for pets, are not widely available. During the summer there were some movements in various states to legalize medicinal or recreational marijuana.

Cannabis on the ballot

Montana will vote in November to legalize marijuana for people over 21. The governor’s budget and programming bureau estimated that the 20% sales tax on marijuana would raise over $ 3 million in 2022.

Montana is not alone. According to Marijuana Moment, an online news site, Mississippi will vote on medical marijuana this year. Arizona, for legal recreational use; South Dakota on both; and New Jersey on legalization. Nebraska and Idaho both tried to legalize their November elections but failed.

There are 33 states with legal medical marijuana laws and 12 states with legal recreational marijuana laws. If New Jersey, Montana, South Dakota, and Arizona vote in favor, that would bring the total to 16 states with legalized marijuana. Of course, South Dakota voters could either just legalize medical marijuana or reject both proposals.

Health effects?

But is marijuana healthy? In August, an article was published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation calling for marijuana to be removed from the Schedule 1 drug category for researchers to study.

List 1 drugs cannot be investigated because the label means that they are likely to be misused and have no medical use. Heroin and LSD are also List 1 drugs. This is not an endorsement of cannabis, the newspaper authors said.

“Cannabis may have therapeutic benefits, but few are cardiovascular. Conversely, many of the health effects of cannabis include cardiovascular disease, although they may be mediated through delivery mechanisms, ”they wrote.

This means that while marijuana may be medicinal, it is not necessarily good for your heart and it certainly does not smoke.

The study’s authors believe more research is needed as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – another natural compound found in the cannabis plant – could even have negative effects on the heart.

Although marijuana legalization may increase in November, people who are watching their heart health or are hoping to use marijuana medicinally should speak to their doctor first until further research is done.

It’s not all bad news in the marijuana health world. Over the summer, researchers at the University of Augusta (Ga.) May have found a use of CBD to fight lung damage from COVID-19. Although it’s almost fall, there will certainly be more cannabis news before the end of the year.

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Sabrina Emms is a science journalist. She began as an intern on a health and science podcast on Philadelphia public radio. Before that, she worked as a researcher studying the way bones are formed. When she is not in the laboratory and at her computer, she is in the moonlight as an assistant to a pig veterinarian and bagel baker.