Can Rick Simpson oil help treat cancer?

Rick Simpson oil is a cannabis extract that takes its name from the medical marijuana activist who created it. Simpson claims that applying the oil to cancer spots on his skin cleared the spots within days.

Rick Simpson oil (RSO) is unique in that it contains higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than other medical cannabis extracts.

Although there is some evidence to support the use of cannabis for aiding cancer treatment, the medical community needs more direct evidence of its safety and effectiveness in humans before making any firm claims.

Full story at Medical News Today

Task Force Calls for Better Enforcement of Mental Health and Addiction Parity Law

A presidential task force has made recommendations to ensure people with addiction and mental illness do not face discrimination in treatment, according to NPR.

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, passed in 2008, requires larger employer-based insurance plans to cover psychiatric illnesses and substance use disorders in the same way they do illnesses such as cancer and multiple sclerosis. There has been lax enforcement of the law, and little guidance for the public about how to file a complaint, the article notes.

The task force called for $9.3 million in funding to improve enforcement of the parity law.

Full story of better enforcement of mental health and addiction parity law at drugfree.org

Insurers Urged to Ensure Parity on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment

Health insurance companies should do more to ensure parity for substance abuse and mental health treatment, members of a congressional subcommittee said at a recent hearing.

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which requires larger employer-based insurance plans to cover psychiatric illnesses and substance use disorders in the same way they do illnesses, such as cancer and multiple sclerosis, was passed in 2008 and went into effect for most plans in 2010.

Full story of parity on substance abuse and mental health treatment at drugfree.org

Global Sales of E-Cigarettes and E-Liquids Nearly Doubled Last Year

The global market for e-cigarettes and e-liquids almost doubled, to $6 billion, from 2013 to 2014, a new report finds. During that same period, cigarette sales decreased 0.4 percent, according to CBS News.

The report on e-cigarettes and e-liquids was issued by the market research firm Euromonitor International. The United States, with $2.8 billion in sales last year, accounts for about half of all global sales. Demand for e-cigarettes is also strong in Europe, especially the United Kingdom, Italy, Poland and France.

Shane MacGuill, a tobacco analyst at Euromonitor, says the growth in e-cigarettes is partly fueled by the perception that they are healthier than traditional cigarettes. Because they are not yet taxed at the same high rate as cigarettes, they are significantly less expensive, he added.

Full story of sales doubling in e-cigarettes and e-liquids at drugfree.org

FDA Scientists Question Snus Maker’s Proposal to Modify Cancer Warnings

At a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hearing this week to consider whether the smokeless tobacco known as “snus” is less harmful than cigarettes, government scientists questioned a proposal to modify cancer warning language on the product’s packaging.

The scientists also said they have concerns about how snus manufacturer Swedish Match studied its product, according to the Associated Press.

Swedish Match has requested that its General brand of snus be certified as “modified risk.” The company wants to be able to claim snus products are addictive but much less risky than smoking. Swedish Match wants to be able to remove one of the required health warning labels about oral cancer. The company has sold snus in the United States since 2007.

Full story of Snus proposal to modify cancer warnings at drugfree.org