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Medical Marijuana

The Disaster Of CBD-Only Medical Marijuana Legislation

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, June, 23rd 2014 by THCFinder
cbd-only-extract-oilSince the premiere of Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentary “Weed” back in August, the general public has quickly come to understand the miraculous healing power of cannabidiol, or CBD.  The political perception of medical marijuana changed forever when parents saw little Charlotte Figi, the girl with intractable epilepsy, go from hundreds of seizures a week to just one or two, thanks to CBD treatments.
 
But that change in perception isn’t a good one.  For now there are two types of medical marijuana – CBD-Only and “euphoric marijuana”, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie calls medical marijuana that contains THC.  Just as “We’re Patients, Not Criminals” cast non-patients as criminals, the lobbying for these new CBD-Only laws relies heavily on pointing out that CBD is a “medicine that doesn’t get you high”, which casts THC at best as a medicine with an undesirable side effect and at worst as not a medicine but a drug of abuse.
 
This is a disaster both politically and medically; let’s begin with the former.  Politically, whole plant medical marijuana (the kind with THC in it) began in 1996 in California and from that point, it took eleven years before there were a dozen whole plant medical marijuana states in America.  CBD-Only medical marijuana began in March in Utah and from that point, it’s taken only four months to put us on the brink of a dozen CBD-Only medical marijuana states.
 
Also consider that of those first dozen whole plant states, eight of them were passed by citizen ballot initiative.  All twelve of the CBD-Only laws were passed by state legislatures, often by unanimous or near-unanimous votes.  Every legislature that has taken up the issue of CBD-Only medical marijuana has seen the legislation fly through the committees and both chambers (except Georgia, and that state was only derailed by some parliamentary shenanigans by one legislator).  Take North Carolina this week as an example.
 
On Tuesday, a committee of the North Carolina House of Representatives cancelled a meeting to discuss a CBD-Only bill.  No rescheduled date for the meeting was announced.  Local newspapers on Wednesday posted headlines that the bill’s passage was unlikely.  The Senate wasn’t likely to pass the bill in this short session that ends next week.  There would be no good reason for the House to move forward with the bill.
 
But on Wednesday afternoon, the meeting was suddenly rescheduled and the CBD-Only bill passed unanimously.  This morning (Thursday) the bill was heard by a second committee and passed immediately.  This afternoon it was heard and amended on the House floor where it passed 111-2.  It now awaits passage by the state Senate.
 
By the end of this week, it seems North Carolina could become the 12th CBD-Only state, joining Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri (awaiting governor’s signature), New York (governor’s executive order), South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.  Why are legislators so fast to pass these CBD-Only bills?  It’s fair to assume politicians are moved by the plight of epileptic children.  With CBD-Only, there’s no downside of being the guy or gal who voted for legalizing something that “gets you high”.  But even so, how do these bills move so fast and garner little to no opposition?
 
Because CBD-Only bills are political cover.  Voting for the CBD-Only bill allows the politicians to say they’re sympathetic to the plight of sick people and want to help patients get any medicine that will ease their suffering.  But they can also still play the “tough on drugs” game and maintain their support from law enforcement and prison lobbies.  Their vote garners headlines that a politician formerly considered “anti-medical marijuana” has “changed his mind” or “altered her stance” on medical marijuana.  Best of all, it gets the sick kids and their parents out of the legislative galleries and off the evening news.  For the politicians in these conservative states, it makes the medical marijuana issue go away, or at least puts the remaining advocates in the “we want the marijuana that gets you high” frame where they are more easily dismissed.
 
Medically, the CBD-Only laws are also a disaster.  Cannabidiol is just one constituent of cannabis and by itself, it doesn’t work as well as it does with the rest of the plant.  Dr. Raphael Machoulem, the Israeli researcher who discovered THC (the cannabinoid that “gets you high”), called it “the entourage effect”, the concept of many cannabinoids and other constituents working in concert, synergistically.  To make an overly-simple analogy, it’s as if we discovered oranges have vitamin C in them, but banned oranges completely and only allowed people with scurvy to eat vitamin C pills.  Yes, those pills can help you if you’re vitamin deficient, but any nutritionist will tell you eating the whole orange will not only allow your body to absorb the vitamin C better, the fiber from the orange is also good for your body, and oranges taste delicious, which makes you a little happier.  Plus, if oranges are in your diet, you’re not going to get scurvy in the first place.
 
The authors of these CBD-Only bills aren’t writing them for optimal medical efficacy, however, they’re writing them for political cover.  The parents treating their children in Colorado with CBD oil will tell you that it takes quite a bit of tinkering with the ratio of CBD to THC in the oil to find what works best for their child’s type of seizures.  Some of these kids need a higher dose of THC.  But the legislators write the laws mostly to ensure that the THC “that gets you high” is nearly non-existent.
 
The North Carolina law, for instance, mandates that the oil contains at least 10 percent CBD and less than 0.3 percent THC.  That’s a CBD:THC ratio of at least 34:1.  For comparison, an article by Pure Analytics, a California cannabis testing lab, discusses the high-CBD varietals most in demand by patients are “strains with CBD:THC ratios of 1:1, 2:1, and 20:1.”  The article explains how a breeding experiment with males and females with 2:1 ratios produced 20:1 ratio plants about one-fourth of the time.  It also describes a strain called “ACDC” that “consistently exhibited 16-20% CBD and 0.5-1% THC by weight.”  That’s one variety with a range of 16:1 to 40:1.  But you must only use the ones that are 34:1 or higher.
 

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Medical Marijuana Could Help Treat Sickle Cell Disease

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, June, 17th 2014 by THCFinder
sickle-cell-disease-could-be-helped-by-medical-cannabis
People who suffer from sickle cell disease have to deal with a lot of pain. Patients with sickle cell disease have crescent shaped blood cells, compared to disc shaped blood cells in people who don’t suffer from sickle cell disease. These cells block blood flow, which causes pain, fatigue, and organ damage. I’ve heard people that suffer from sickle cell disease describe the pain as being like nails poking their entire body.
 
Doctors usually prescribe opiate based pain killers like morphine for sickle cell disease. Opiate prescriptions have a lot of side effects including respiratory issues, damage to organs, and addiction to name a few. Compare that to medical marijuana, which has far less harmful side effects, especially if consumed in food or vapor form. Patients should have the option to choose medical marijuana if they want to. From Minnesota Daily:
 
School of Dentistry professor and pain expert Donald Simone, who is also working on the research project, said opiates sometimes have “problematic” side effects, such as respiratory depression. And Gupta said patients sometimes receive incorrect dosages of the drugs because their exact amount of pain is unknown.
 
Medical marijuana is promising for sickle cell patients because it has a pain-relieving effect without as many severe side effects as morphine, Simone said.
 
Right now researchers in California are teaming up with researchers at the University of Minnesota to find out how medical marijuana can help those suffering from sickle cell disease. Right now, sickle cell patients can get safe access to medical marijuana if they are in California. However, patients in Minnesota will have to wait until the condition is added to the list of approvable conditions in Minnesota, which could take awhile.
 

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Colorado To Grant Nine Million Dollars For Medical Marijuana Research

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, June, 16th 2014 by THCFinder
mmj-research-fundedColorado is about to start the largest state-funded effort to research medical marijuana. A bill was signed earlier this year that approved millions of dollars for marijuana research in Colorado. The bill should result in roughly 9 million dollars in research grants being handed out over the next five years.
 
Marijuana research has always been hindered by the federal government, who does it’s own research in secret and tries to fight attempts by others. There have been privately funded research projects, but those projects are always limited by funding. California has spent 8.7 million dollars on research over the last twelve years, which is some of the most solid information ever released and is relied upon by many people in the industry.
 
It’s great to see the State of Colorado step up research, which will not only benefit Colorado, but also other states that will get to look at the results of the research. Marijuana supporters have always wanted scientific studies, and are willing to let the truth speak for itself. The same cannot be said for marijuana opponents, who deep down know that the scientific results will make it harder to spread their propaganda. That’s why they fight so hard against it. Per the Denver Post:
 
“Our intent is to be rigorous scientifically, but to also act with some expediency because these are products that a large percentage of our population is using today,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, the executive director and chief medical officer of the health department. “We want to make sure that what’s happening out there in everyday practice isn’t harming people.”
 
The future of marijuana science is bright. I can’t wait to see what information the Colorado research turns up. Suffering patients will benefit from the information, as will future marijuana reform campaigns. I wonder how Kevin Sabet will try to spin this into a bad thing?
 

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Denver may shut down dozens of medical-marijuana businesses on July 1

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, June, 10th 2014 by THCFinder
denver-may-shut-down-dozens-of-mmj-casesDenver officials could soon shut down as many as 41 medical marijuana businesses as the city cleans up outstanding license applications that have been pending for years.
 
All medical marijuana businesses in the city must be licensed by July 1, and the city has sent letters to dozens of businesses ahead of the deadline, warning that they must cease operations if they don't get their licenses by then.
 
"Failure to comply may result in law enforcement and administrative action," cautioned a letter sent to the businesses last week.
 
Ashley Kilroy, Denver's coordinator for marijuana policy, said city officials have also visited the businesses — mostly cultivation facilities — to urge them to finish up the licensing process.
 
"We hope that they'll be in compliance and, if not, we'll have to figure out how we go about enforcing the order to cease operations," she said.
 
The issue reaches back to the genesis of Colorado's regulated marijuana industry. Marijuana businesses in Colorado need both a state and local license to operate.
 
When state and city officials began licensing medical marijuana shops in 2010, they allowed stores and affiliated businesses that were already operating to stay open while their applications were being reviewed. In regulatory parlance, such businesses were "operational pending."
 
Dozens of businesses remained in that licensing limbo for years, and state and city regulators have only in the past year significantly chipped away at the backlog. When Denver officials sent a letter about the July 1 deadline earlier this year, it went to 101 businesses that still needed a city license.
 
That number is now down to 41, though almost none of them are stand-alone businesses. Three of the still-unlicensed businesses applied to make marijuana-infused products. The remaining 38 are cultivation facilities that are attached to already-licensed stores.
 

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Judge Orders Arizona To Add PTSD To List Of Medical Marijuana Conditions

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, June, 9th 2014 by THCFinder
mmj-ptsdPhoenix, AZ – After years of hard-fought efforts a coalition of patients, medical professionals, and advocates succeeded in demonstrating the medical safety and efficacy of marijuana for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the Administrative Law Judge who heard the case. The Arizona Dept. of Health has denied all petitions submitted previously.
 
On Wednesday, June 4, 2014 Judge Thomas Shedden issued his ruling saying that “a preponderance of evidence shows medical marijuana provides palliative benefit to those suffering from PTSD.” The decision is now in the hands of Will Humble, Director of Arizona Dept. of Health Services;  Humble has until July 9th, 2014 to accept or appeal Judge Shedden’s decision.
 
The Drug Policy Alliance’s Freedom to Choose campaign, which advocates for veterans’ access to medical marijuana contributed a compilation of published studies and personal testimony from psychiatrists in New Mexico and veterans who use medical marijuana to alleviate symptoms of PTSD. “The pioneering effort to add post-traumatic stress to New Mexico’s medical cannabis program in 2009, and the work that veterans and advocates did to protect PTSD as part of the program in 2012, has led to this swell of support around the nation,” says Jessica Gelay, Policy Coordinator, in the New Mexico office of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Veterans and all people who have suffered from serious trauma and violence deserve the freedom to choose the safest treatment for their debilitating conditions. When our veterans come home they deserve access to the medicine that works for them.”
 
Arizona’s veteran population is 530,693, ranking it thirteenth among states with the largest veterans’ populations. Emerging evidence from on-going studies in Israel, supported by the Israeli government, show that marijuana is effective for combat veterans experiencing symptoms of PTSD that are treatment resistant.
 
Veterans like Ricardo Pereyda of Tucson, who fought in combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom 2 and testified in the hearing are elated. “Being able to treat multiple symptoms from post-traumatic stress with cannabis has been instrumental in my ability to lead a full and productive life,” said Pereyda, “Judge Shedden showed that politics does not have to trump science, and doing so showed his compassion for combat veterans and others who have suffered from traumatic events.” Pereyda served in the U.S. Army and Military Police Corps.
 
“Cannabis medicine is natural, gentle, non-toxic, and should be available to PTSD sufferers in Arizona,” said Heather Manus, president of the Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association.  “Many PTSD patients in neighboring states are successfully finding relief of symptoms through the use of cannabis.” The AZCNA filed the petition with the Arizona Department of Health Services on behalf of veterans and other PTSD sufferers to add PTSD as a debilitating condition under the state’s medical marijuana law. “This ruling could help a lot of Arizonans. Not just combat veterans, but people with chronic illness and pain who can’t find relief from other medications.”
 
The judicial ruling in Arizona puts it on the road to becoming the twelfth state to permit people suffering from PTSD to legally access medical marijuana. In fewer than twelve months four states (OR, ME, MI, NV) added PSTD to their medical marijuana programs. With Arizona coming on board people in twelve of the twenty-two states with medical marijuana laws would have legal access if they suffer from PTSD.
 

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New Study: Marijuana Doesn't Increase Risk Of Psychosis, Alcohol Does

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, June, 5th 2014 by THCFinder
mj-vs-alcohol-issues
A study published in last month’s issue of the journal Schizophrenia Research has found that cannabis use, regardless of how much and how often, does not increase an individual’s risk of psychosis.
 
For the study, “170 people at CHR of psychosis were assessed at baseline on severity of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis using the Alcohol and Drug Use Scale. Participants were recruited across three sites over a four year period as part of the Enhancing the Prospective Prediction of Psychosis (PREDICT) study. Predictors of conversion to psychosis were examined using Cox proportional hazards models.”
 
After conducting the study, researchers found that “low use of alcohol, but neither cannabis use nor tobacco use at baseline, contributed to the prediction of psychosis in the CHR sample.”
 

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