Fallacies on Hemp and CBD.....

So, I was reading a recent article by ProjectCBD.org by By Martin A. Lee & Zoe Sigman On May 22, 2019 .

It is a great article on 5 fallacies of hemp, we are talking about the industrial hemp plant that is used to make fiber, construction material, etc… I think it is important to understand these myths because people blindly purchase products because the producer says it’s great…but in reality they are not as effective or tranparent by putting the important information on the labels of the products that clearly tell the consumer how much of each cannabinoid is in the product. There is ALOT of misinformation out there and people that I know think that CBD oil is all the same….WRONG!! They still don’t know the difference between hemp derived CBD oil and a tincture made from the whole plant of a cannabis strain which contains so much more CBD than hemp. Here is one of the myths Martin Lee from ProjectCBD talks about…..please read this short article and please share it with your friends and family so they can be educated on the subject!

Elizabeth

Fallicy #5 - Industrial hemp is a good source for extracting CBD oil.

The CBD molecule is exactly the same whether extracted from industrial hemp or other forms of cannabis. But the quality of the CBD products made from industrial hemp that’s grown for fiber or seed protein is typically inferior to the products made from CBD-rich “drug” plants that are grown specifically for medicinal oil extraction.

The quality of the CBD products made from industrial hemp is typically inferior to the products made from CBD-rich “drug” plants.

CBD is the most common cannabinoid present in industrial hemp, but the CBD levels top out at about 3.5% by dry weight – much less than the remarkable varieties of CBD-rich cannabs flower grown for medicine that can reach as high as 20% CBD by dry weight. Because industrial hemp produces relatively small amounts of CBD, a huge amount of hemp biomass is necessary to produce a significant quantity of CBD oil. (This equals more land and more waste!)

Such a large amount of plant material means there’s a greater likelihood that toxic contaminants will be concentrated in the CBD oil extracted from industrial hemp, which will suck up and absorb any pesticides or heavy metals present in the soil through a process known as “bioaccumulation.” This is excellent for cleaning up a toxic waste site, but not so good for medicinal oil extraction and production. Industrial hemp and its extracts usually aren’t subject to stringent (state-level) regulations governing pesticide and solvent residues, and these contaminants end up in CBD products manufactured by unscrupulous producers.

It’s noteworthy that the phrasing of the 2018 Farm Bill refers to “hemp” rather than “industrial hemp.” The decision to drop the word “industrial” from legislative parlance is a reflection of the primacy of CBD in the brave new world of legal hemp. Industrial hemp cultivated for fiber and seed isn’t CBD-rich. But new high-resin cannabis cultivars are becoming available that have been bred specifically to produce copious quantities of CBD with less than 0.3 percent THC, thereby satisfying the federal government’s absurd legal criteria for hemp.

I will post the other fallacies Martin Lee talks about in the following blogs….

Terpenoids..what are they?

Terpenoids, sometimes called Terpenes are naturally occurring essential oils that are found in the cannabis plant, but also in other areas of nature such as trees, plants, flowers. Terpenes give plants its particular odor and flavor. How many terpenoids are found in the cannabis plant? According to Dr. Bonni Goldstein in her book "Cannabis Revealed" there are over 200 terpenoids in cannabis alone! Below she says some important facts about terpenoids:

* They are genetically controlled

*Production increases with light exposure

*Production decreases as soil fertility decreases

*U.S. FDA recognizes Terpenoids as safe

*Terpenoids vaporize near the same temperature as THC

*Concentrating cannabis into hash or wax may reduce the terpenes content and may cause medicinal effects to change

*Terpenoid lab analysis is the only way to know about a certain product's terpenoid levels.

Each terpene has its own effect. So for example the terpene "Limonene" is found in lemons and other citrus fruits. It it known to have powerful anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects as well as anti-tumor. Some other terpene effects are: anti-bacterial, Bronchodilator, anti-convulsant, sedating, anti-cancer, muscle relaxant, anti-inflammatory and the list goes on!

Phytocannabinoids and terpenoids work synergistically to provide therapeutic effects and the terpenoids work synergistic with each other enchancing medicinal effects.  Below is a  page from Steep Hill Labs showing the terpenoids that they test for in cannabis and the relating effects of each one. Nature is truly amazing!!

Terpenes

PTSD & CANNABIS FOR VETERANS, FIRST RESPONDERS & PEOPLE WITH STRESS

The following article is from the online website called Leafly.com, it did not list the author but I think it is a very important topic as so many military personnel have had these issues. We must not forget other jobs that entail stress such as first responders, law enforcement, firefighters to name a few. They are in stressful and sometimes traumatic situations on a daily basis and not only take physical assaults, but also mental ones. Although the underlying trauma needs to be addressed, cannabis has showed great promise that these individuals affected can at least cope and carry on their daily living and have better control over their lives.

For those Veteran's that live in the SF Bay Area and want to learn more about cannabis for PTSD, please visit the Veterans Cannabis Group for more information.

Here is the article:

CANNABIS & POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)

Throughout its prohibition, cannabis has been considered a self-medicated “coping” drug, especially in individuals with anxiety disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Government funded studies examining the link between cannabis and PTSD frequently use the term “marijuana abuse disorder,” a co-occurring problem in need of rehabilitation.

There is overwhelming evidence that PTSD and cannabis go hand-in-hand. But while most studies point out the prevalence of marijuana abuse among PTSD patients, a minority of emerging research is looking at the question in reverse: could cannabis be effectively treating PTSD?

Living with PTSD

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is an anxiety condition caused by disturbing episodes, such as military combat or sexual assault. Three classes of symptoms characterize PTSD: re-experiencing, avoidance, and hyper arousal (e.g., flashbacks, social isolation, insomnia). The persistence of PTSD over time is attributed to changes in brain chemistry that occur at the time of the trauma, when adrenaline and stress hormones are hyper-responsive.

Since age nine, Ben Nichols has experienced debilitating PTSD symptoms, and with it came a tangle of other issues like insomnia and ADD. Ben takes Adderall to help with concentration difficulties caused by PTSD, but turns to cannabis to treat the anxiety.

“It helps with daily tasks like school, work, and relationships,” Ben said. “My mind races and cannabis helps me slow down and think through the trauma rather than hide from it. I can tell it's helping me because my sleeping patterns are normal and I don't have anxiety attacks.”

Ben is fortunate to live in a state with legal medical cannabis, but not all PTSD sufferers have access to its unprecedented relief. Combat veterans have an especially high propensity for PTSD, and statistics show that about 1 in 5 military personnel deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan experience it. Given cannabis’ federally prohibited status, veterans are instead steered toward antidepressants and antipsychotics, medications that have had very little success in treating severe PTSD symptoms.

“The drugs that they were giving them … they couldn’t get up in the mornings,” said Army first sergeant Gregory Westbrook. “Most of the guys weren’t the type of soldiers who had issues before Iraq or even in Iraq, but they bring them back and put them on these drugs, and they’re falling asleep in the chair. There was no way they could function, especially in a civilian job. So maybe marijuana is an alternative.”

How Cannabis Can Help Treat PTSD

Currently there are no specialized, effective medications available for PTSD patients, but with new discoveries in our body’s therapeutic hotspot -- the endocannabinoid system -- research is beginning to pave new avenues of understanding and treating PTSD.

One investigator of PTSD and cannabis is the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Martin Lee is a MAPS affiliate and director of Project CBD, and has studied PTSD and cannabinoids in depth.

“Researchers found that people with PTSD had lower levels of anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid compound, compared to those who did not show signs of PTSD,” Lee wrote, “Innate to all mammals, anandamide (our inner cannabis, so to speak) triggers the same receptors that are activated by THC and other components of the marijuana plant.”

In other words, one pillar of PTSD is an endocannabinoid deficiency: the body stops producing enough endocannabinoids to fill receptor sites, and this is where the cannabinoids found in marijuana play a therapeutic role. By replenishing these missing endocannabinoids with those found in cannabis, researchers think marijuana pharmaceuticals might bring PTSD patients relief from their memories.

“Scientists have determined that normal CB-1 receptor signaling deactivates traumatic memories and endows it with the gift of forgetting,” Lee said, “But skewed CB-1 signaling, due to endocannabinoid deficits (low serum levels of anandamide), results in impaired fear extinction, aversive memory consolidation, and chronic anxiety, the hallmarks of PTSD.”

Accessing Medical Marijuana for PTSD

PTSD patients are advised to first consult a medical professional before treating symptoms with cannabis. Consumers unaccustomed to marijuana may find that THC aggravates anxiety symptoms. Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is a marijuana cannabinoid that counteracts some of THC’s effects, including paranoia and anxiety. Further research examining the relationship between THC and CBD could lead to more tolerable variants of cannabis pharmaceuticals for high anxiety individuals.

The damage caused by PTSD cannot be fully unraveled by any medication, but for some, cannabis provides respite when nothing else can. Despite a strong need for development of more effective medication without adverse side effects, the promising pharmaceutical possibilities in cannabis are continually dismissed by government-backed research organizations. However, forward momentum builds as education about cannabis’ healing properties spreads.

 

Source: http://www.leafly.com/knowledge

Cannabis as a Solution to the Opioid Epidemic- Treatment Guidelines

I am reposting this transcript because it is an important one. Many people have a goal to get off of their opioids and cannabis is certainly a great alternative. This article also talks about dosing and this is one of the biggest questions people have about cannabis...how much should I take? Since I am not a doctor, I am grateful for Dr. Sulak's expertise in this area...please visit his website www.healer.com for more info.....

The following is a transcript of Dr. Sulak’s Opioid Event:

Now that you understand the science behind my claims that cannabis can be used to reduce and replace opioids, treat the withdrawal, and prevent dosage escalation, I’m going to show you how to do it. 

We’re going to start with some general dosing terminology around cannabis. And I’m going to show you a few caveats that are unique to medical cannabis compared to other medications. And we’ll go straight into what I recommend for people who are new to cannabis and for people that are experienced with cannabis, and then we’ll go to specific guidelines for cannabinoid opioid combination treatment. Finally, we’ll wrap it up with case studies and patient narratives.

Dosing Terminology

So clinical dosing terminology – it’s important to have a language to talk about this stuff, especially if you’re new to cannabis. So here is a pipe with herbal cannabis in it. That’s for smoking. A lot of you probably recognize it. When we talk about dosing with smoking we’re usually referring to how many puffs a person is taking a certain number of times per day. And you’ll find people that are smoking a whole joint which might be 20 or 30 puffs, and you find people that are taking just one puff off of a pipe. So there’s quite a range in how people use it. And also quite a range in how big those puffs are or how much of the actual medicine is absorbed versus is exhaled.

Here we have a liquid extract of cannabis, often called a tincture, which by definition is an alcohol extract, but also people call other liquid cannabis medicines tincture as well, even though that name isn’t exactly right on for it. Often these are being made with oils. And these can be dosed by the drop. So someone might know with this particular potency of the liquid medicine I’m going to take five drops or eight drops.

Dosing by the Milligram

Over here we have a tube of cannabis concentrate, actually in a syringe, you’ll notice there’s no needle (which is a good thing) because that syringe can be squeezed to express just a small amount of this very potent concentrate. These concentrates can be up to 50 percent cannabinoids by weight. So even something the size of a pinhead can be a really substantial dose when you’re dealing with this stuff. And for people that aren’t prepared this can cause some overdose reactions, which are safe, but quite uncomfortable. And here we have a close up of the cannabis flower.

So as a physician, when I talk about dosing medications, I usually like to talk about milligram dosing. And right now, in cannabinoid medicine we’re talking about milligrams of THC and milligrams of CBD, primarily. There’s other trace cannabinoids and acidic cannabinoids that we refer to in certain cases, but in general we’re talking about how many milligrams of THC and CBD.

Biphasic Dose-Response

So, when I look at the dosing range, the effective dosing range in my practice, it’s unlike any other medication. We’ve seen when dosing by body weight – just to orient you – we’ve seen responses as low as .015 mg per kg of body weight per day, all the way up to 30mg per kg of body weight per day. Now it doesn’t make a lot of sense to dose and adult by their body weight, but I wanted to put it into this perspective for you. This means someone about my size might do well at the very low end taking 1mg of cannabinoids per day versus somebody taking over 2,000mgs. That’s the safe, effective dosing range. It’s an incredibly broad range but it’s still well below the lethal dose – if there even is one. Now, some of you know that researchers have really tried to kill animals with incredibly high acute doses of THC; they haven’t been able to do it. So here we have 300 times the maximum dose I see in my practice, and monkeys are still surviving. But I don’t think they’re having a pleasant experience.

Now within that broad dosing range, we have non-linear dose response curve. So this is unlike the dose response I showed you of morphine and pain earlier. This is, on the bottom here, we have a low dose to high dose and on the side, low benefit up to high benefit. What we often see (not always, but often) in cannabinoid medicine is that if someone starts at a low dose and gradually increases, they get more and more benefit up until a certain point. Beyond that point, as they increase their dose, they actually start getting diminished benefits and when they use high doses, sometimes they’re barely feeling anything at all. Often, when they use ultra-high doses, this curve will come back up again, way at the other end of that extreme.

Now, this has been shown in animal studies, not just my clinical observation. So here’s loco-motor activity in rats. This is how much the rats are running around basically. And here’s there’s baseline level. Given a very low dose of THC, so this is .2mg per kg, the activity is going down quite a bit. This activity level could be analogous in treating a human to something like spasticity or anxiety. Then, as the dose of THC increases the activity level actually goes up. Then as the dose increases even more, the activity level goes back down again. But you’ll notice up here, at 5mg per kg, they didn’t get as strong of a result as they got at 0.2mg. What they did get was the emergence of a side effect, in this case catalepsy, which means remaining still in an unusual position.

So what this shows is that at the very low doses – doses that are so low that some rats or some humans might not even start that low, they might overshoot it, and start up here and think they’re getting an efficacy at an optimal level by the time they get up to the high doses. We’ve been finding in our practices, that ultra-low doses can work very well for some people. And this has been shown in humans. So here was a study on 263 people that were already receiving opioids for the treatment of chronic pain, and they were given that standardized cannabis preparation I mentioned … which is about a 1:1 ratio of CBD: THC. Here’s their baseline pain level at the top. Here’s how much pain relief they got from a placebo, which I’d like to mention is really powerful. So, our bodies have an internal pharmacy. If we use the power of our mind and the power of our belief to make ourselves better, we actually get better. It’s not just that we think we’re better – we don’t just think we’re better – we actually do get better. We can change our physiology, we can change the structure and function of our bodies, or our brains, just using our mind-power. And it’s been shown that endocannabinoids, the molecules that we make that are very similar to the substances in the cannabis plant that are therapeutics, cannabinoids have an important role in the placebo effect.

But anyway, back to the study, the 20mg group had this much reduction in pain. The 52mg group had just a little bit better than placebo. And the 83mg group really didn’t do much better than placebo. So this clearly shows that with cannabis, less can be more; lower dose is often more effective, a higher dose can be less effective.

So now you know some of the basics. I just want to walk you through how we approach our patients, both patients that are new to cannabis and patients that have experience with cannabis.

Dosing Guidelines

New to Cannabis

So starting off with new to cannabis: I have a picture here of my grandmother, Elaine Sulak. She just passed away a couple of months ago at age 91. But for the last six or so years of her life, she was using a cannabis tincture quite effectively. And during that time, her mind became clearer; she had reduced pain, improved function, and better mood, her entire quality of life changed. It was really incredible. And she didn’t know what she was getting the whole time. She didn’t have any side effects from it because we were very careful with our dosing strategy. We were able to achieve this incredible improvement in quality of life without any side effects. So what do we do if someone comes that’s brand new to cannabis? The trick is to start sub-therapeutic, and this requires a little bit of patience on the part of the patient because some of them want instant results. We say, we want you to intentionally start at a dose that’s below your optimal dose, obviously. And then we increase very gradually to the minimum noticeable effect. So you start sub-therapeutic, you gradually work up until you can just feel a little bit of something, a little pain relief, a little anxiety relief, and then you hang out at that dose for three days. During those three days something really interesting is happening. And I’m not going to bore you with the science behind it, but the body is actually getting more sensitive to cannabis. And patients will find that staying at the same dose, on day three, they’re actually getting more relief then they got on day one. But then on day four, go ahead and increase to the dose that you find most effective. And we give instructions on how to do that, especially something that I call the “inner inventory,” which is a very quick self-awareness technique for checking in and figuring out how am I feeling right now, how have I responded to that dosage of cannabis that I just took. You can find all of this on healer.com, free patient education with videos that will literally walk you through step-by-step or walk someone through who’s brand new to cannabis. We have a shopping guide that helps them figure out how to get the right cannabis when they go to the dispensary or when they talk to a caregiver. We really want to make it easy for people to have great results – like my grandmother – without the side effects.

Experienced Users

With experienced users we have a few other strategies. So the first is what I call the “sensitization protocol.” And the purpose of that six-day protocol is to take people from here and get them back to here. And the thing is, everyone has a different optimal dose. I can’t pick you out and say “here’s your optimal dose,” I’m going to tell you what it is, you can dose cannabis in that way and you’re going to do just fine. But what I can tell you is a methodology for how to find that optimal dose. And almost – not almost all – but quite a few of the patients that are experienced cannabis users coming into our practice, they want to use cannabis for symptom relief or real medical treatment figure out that they’re actually here, and by reducing their dose they’re able to get more benefits, they’re able to spend less money on the cannabis, they’re having less side-effects from the cannabis. If they’re inhaling, they’re saving their lungs from that exposure. It’s just better for everyone when they do the sensitization protocol.

And on the next slide I’ll show you some of the results. But before I go there, a lot of patients that are experienced users have only inhaled cannabis via smoking or via a vaporizer. In switching to a liquid extract, and oral mucosa absorption, so the medicine is actually getting absorbed through the blood vessels in the mouth and tongue, and then some of it’s getting swallowed and being absorbed through the digestive tract, that’s a really wonderful delivery method that can often be used to prevent symptom instead of chasing symptoms around. And when patients figure out how to best use the oral mucosa delivery, they’re often having improved quality of life, less symptoms, better function. And finally, a lot of experienced cannabis users haven’t explored CBD yet. CBD, as I mentioned earlier, is that sister molecule to THC. It’s non-psychoactive but it tends to enhance the benefits and reduce the side effects of THC. They work really well together. So for people that haven’t tried it, we recommend that they do try different ratios of CBD and THC, perhaps to find something that works well during the day so that they can get symptom relief without having any impairment. And then they can use something else at night or weekend that might create a little bit of a psychoactive affect, which I’ll cover later in this talk because there are some real benefits to the psychoactivity of cannabis as well.

So here is the sensitization protocol, again it’s just six days, and it’s basically two days of cannabis abstinence followed by four days of very specific dose titration. The program is free on healer.com/programs. We surveyed 48 of our patients that did it a couple of years ago: 90 percent of them successfully reduced their dosage, and the ones that did, reduced their dosage on average 56 percent. So they’re using less than half the cannabis they were using previously and getting equal or greater benefit, usually with less side effects.

Specific guidelines for cannabinoid-opioid combination treatment

Those are the basics. Now let’s talk specifically about what to do for people that are using opioids that want to try combination cannabinoid-opioid therapy. So, the first rule is to take a small amount of oral or oral mucosa cannabis with every single dose of opioids. Don’t allow those opioids to pass your lips unless you’re taking some cannabis at the same time. It’s really basic from a scientific perspective. It makes sense. We know these medications synergize with each other. We know that the cannabis can widen their therapeutic index and prevent tolerance building. But so many people approach this in the exact opposite way. They think they’re going to use their cannabis or they’re going to use their opioids, that it has to be one or the other. No. Please use them together, and it can be as little as 1mg of THC. So a dose of THC that’s not high enough to reduce pain, that’s not strong enough to cause any psychoactivity, can still potentiate the opioids. I also mentioned that “inner inventory,” so use the inner inventory in healer.com to find the minimal effective dose. Again, you don’t have to do a lot of cannabis. Figure out what you’re minimal effective dose is and then combine that with every single administration of the opioid. If you’re doing a long-acting opioid like a fentanyl patch, for example, then you’ll probably going to want to do an oral or an oral mucosa dosing every four to eight hours, depending on how long the effects last for you, which can be highly individualized with cannabis.

So that’s the mainstay of the treatment, is this oral dosing. Then you can use inhaled cannabis for breakthrough symptom management and to reduce cravings. So you’re doing the opioids, you’re doing the cannabinoids, if a craving comes up and you get that thought “man I wish I could take that next pill right now instead of waiting four more hours, that’s something I’m considering doing”; don’t do it. Reach for the cannabis. You can inhale cannabis. It has such a rapid onset when it’s absorbed through the lungs, that one minute later you’ll be feeling better. It’s a great solution to problems with craving. It can really change your mindset, reduce your pain, and take you off that track, shift you to something else. Now you’re suddenly looking at where you were two minutes ago, and realizing, wow that’s how I was thinking, that’s how I was feeling just two minutes ago, I was considering taking an extra pill when I knew I’d be out at the end of the month (or whatever). Cannabis patients always tell me, cannabis can change that, shift their perspective and help them see themselves in a new light.

If it is available, I’d recommend selecting some combination of CBD and THC, again, to enhance the benefits and decrease the side effects. A 1:1 ratio, so equal parts of CBD and THC, works very well. It’s broadly effective and well tolerated. It’s still a little bit psychoactive, but it’s not very strong. And I just want to mention, because I know a lot of people with opioid addiction also have Hepatitis C, that’s been contracted through IV drug use, there’s some information that high doses of THC in people that have liver fibrosis or inflammation – when the liver disease is active – high doses of THC can potentially make that process worse. We have evidence that suggest this. So for those people, I recommend more CBD than THC, at least a 2:1 ratio. We also have evidence that CBD will do the exact opposite, it actually protects the liver in some situations where there is inflammation or scarring going on, and it can prevent progression of liver disease. So CBD is a great choice for people that have Hepatitis C and other liver conditions.

A lot of people don’t have the luxury that some of us have where we can just go shopping and figure out, I’m going to get something with a 1:1 ratio and I know how many milligrams per millimeter it has and that’s how many drops I should take to follow my doctor’s advice. It’s not always that easy, but it’s getting easier and easier all the time. I just want to point out for people that are dealing with herbal medicine, you can’t just look at it and smell it and know what it has in there. You can’t just look at the morphology and recognize it as a THC strain or a CBD strain. You actually have to get it analyzed and that’s what we’ve been doing in our lab.

So here’s a few examples: here’s a cannabis flower that’s really just THC dominant and barely has any CBD or any of the other cannabinoids in it. Here is a cannabis flower that looks almost identical. I’m not sure how it smells in comparison but you wouldn’t be able to tell the two apart. But the contents are actually vastly different. So this strain has a little more CBD than THC. This would be an excellent choice for someone that’s working with recovering from addiction. And then here’s another strain that looks very similar. This is almost all CBD with barely any THC at all in it. So these three cannabis flowers are going to have vastly different effects if they were prepared in a liquid form, than those three different oils or tinctures would have different effects. And you need to know what’s in there before you can get optimal results in most cases.

So continuing on, on how to combine these two medicines. So cannabis can be used to enhance other health-promoting activities. I strongly recommend this, our patients come back telling us it really enhances the effects of exercise, meditation, prayer, journaling and reflecting, and psychotherapy. And there’s actually some experimental evidence that suggests both CBD and THC, in two separate studies, can improve the response to fear extinction training, which is basically a model of how to get out of that PTSD reaction mode, and no longer be afraid of something that’s not present in front of us. I put these on the slide because these are really important things, a very effective lifestyle approaches to managing both chronic pain and addiction, or both. So, exercise is huge, even if you’re in pain I’m sure there’s something you can figure out how to do that you can tolerate with the body that you have. On healer.com I have a whole page of wellness activities, very simple breathing exercises that will actually get your heart rate going, simple Qigong and yoga-based practices that I make very accessible. The videos are short, two to five minutes, and I promise that everyone can find something that they can do for exercise. And if you’re going to be healthy, if you’re going to recover from opioids, you need exercise in your life. You need a time to reflect. And I really recommend journaling. It’s amazing. It’s not about what’s going into the journal, it’s about what’s going on up here while you’re holding the pen. And that process of reflecting and thinking about what’s important about my day today and then getting ready to write that down helps us gather information, helps us learn from our experiences, and really can help us literally turn the page on our limitations, and start the next day in a new way.

Finally, use cannabis to promote regular sleep patterns – using sedating strains only in the evening. Those of you who know cannabis, know that there’s different strains that have different effects. Some cannabis is better for pain. Some is better for muscle spasms. Some is better for anxiety. All these different strains have different ratios of the various components. So there’s the cannabinoids, there’s the terpenoids (which are molecules that give cannabis its smell, its aroma), and all of those have physiologic effects. So the unique blend from each of these different varieties gives it a different effect in the body. There’s some strains that will clearly keep people awake. And they might be great for late-night creativity sessions, but don’t do it if you’re trying to recover or if you’re dedicating yourself to a healthier life that’s free from opioids or if you’re working to reduce and stabilize your opioid dosage, trust me getting regular restorative sleep is going to be one of your best assets. So you can use cannabis to promote great sleep.

Now we’ve seen clinically when patients are cannabis-naïve, they have excellent responses to starting this combination treatment. So “cannabis-naïve” means they haven’t used cannabis ever or haven’t used it in a long time. They come in on a bunch of opioids, their pain is not well controlled, we get them started on that approach I showed you for the new user – sub-therapeutic, work up slowly, stay there for three days, and then work up a little bit more – they use that approach and they come back and they say within the first two weeks I reduced my opioid dosage by 50-80 percent. It’s just incredible when they get they right dose of cannabis how much they can reduce the opioids in the first couple of weeks. Progress after that first couple of weeks continues, but it’s a bit slower. Really there’s no rush. This is a long-term change. We’re not trying to rush people off their opioids. But really, take advantage of that therapeutic window in the first couple of weeks. When I first started this, before I even knew what was happening, before I recognized these trends in my patients, people were coming back saying I just started cracking those tablets in half because they felt too strong. They literally, when I was taking them with cannabis, they were too strong for me. I couldn’t tolerate the dose that previously wasn’t enough.

For experienced cannabis users that are currently using opioids, before you start to decrease your opioids dose, I recommend first going through the cannabis sensitization program – that six-day protocol. And what this will do is tonify your cannabinoid system, it will up regulate your cannabinoid receptors, it will get your body to start creating cannabinoids and make you more sensitive to the medicine, so that the cannabis can have the optimal effects in helping you with your opioid taper. Stay at the optimal dose to avoid building tolerance throughout the taper, which means if you get to the point where you notice, well I’m needing more and more cannabis to get me the same results, you might consider doing another sensitization round to reset your sensitivity to cannabis. And for people that are only inhaling cannabis, I really will strongly encourage you to try the oral and oral mucosa delivery routes, figure out what your optimal dosage using those delivery routes, before you start tapering the opioids. So you want to really arm yourself with the best tools to be successful in reducing or discontinuing opioids.

Now, I’m describing using cannabis to slowly reduce opioids, and this is what works best for everyone. But I’ve also seen a number of patients that are so fed up with their addiction, they don’t want the slow process, they’re ready for a rapid change. And that’s probably just a personality thing. It could be better for some people to have an abrupt change that. Maybe they’re changing a lot of things in their life all at once, which has been shown scientifically to promote lasting changes. So for those people, they can just get everything ready on the cannabis side, go cold turkey on the opioids, use cannabis at probably than their maintenance dose to treat the opioid withdrawal symptoms, and then after the withdrawal symptoms are gone they can reduce their cannabis dose and use it for maintenance to prevent cravings, to treat pain, to help with whatever reason they have for getting into opioids in the first place.

For some patients, low dose cannabis is not effective. But for most patients, it is. I have had several reports of people that are using extraordinarily high doses of cannabis concentrate to help them reduce and discontinue the opioids. And it seems to me that for the patients that don’t respond well to the low-dose approach this actually works well and it can be safe if you do it carefully. So, as I mentioned earlier, one pinhead of this would probably be a very strong dose for most people in this room. But if you start at a tiny dose of this cannabis concentrate, most people would just put a small amount in between their gum and their cheeks to gradually absorb through the oral mucosa, and do that two or three times a day. Over the course of a month and gradually work up to a bigger and bigger amount, up to even 100-500mg of cannabinoids per dose – this is expensive, but if you access to it, it can be very effective and people can use this to get through those really challenging times with opioid taper and opioid abstinence.

More and more in the clinic, we’ve had people coming in that are brand new to cannabis who not only want to try cannabis cautiously, they don’t want to get high. They want no psychoactive experience with their cannabis use. And as I mentioned, that’s totally achievable. You can do that with CBD, in combination with THC. You can do that using THC alone, in very controlled doses. And we have a whole program on that on healer.com, the non-psychoactive strategies for using cannabis. But I want to just mention that the psychoactivity can be quite beneficial and not to fear it, but to embrace it. It’s one of the gifts of cannabis. And when people experience that psychoactivity, this is what they’re reporting – positive mood, relaxation, laughter, socializing, distortion of time (which can be quite helpful for people that have had trauma, that are always thinking in the past about that trauma or worrying about the future), it brings people into the present moment. Intensification of ordinary experiences, things like eating, listening to music, watching films, having sex – these things can feel better under the influence of cannabis. People have reported this from separation of symptoms and suffering, where prior to using cannabis all of their suffering was like in one big ball and they just saw it as this thing that was nagging them or destroying their life or limiting their function. And then after they used cannabis, they can start to separate it out. Here’s the signaling of pain from this area of my body, but at first it’s a neutral signal, it’s coming from, say, an arthritic knee up to my brain, but then my brain is perceiving it as pain and then it’s actually judging that pain as a bad thing, and then I’m attaching some suffering to it because I’m experiencing a bad thing and having anxiety about having more pain in the future. And then all this behavior that goes into how I deal with the pain and what I want to do to treat the pain. That’s all one big ball, separating it out into these different levels is incredibly helpful for patients and that’s another one of the gifts of the psychoactive aspect of cannabis, which again is mostly dependent on the THC. People report increased self-awareness, a sense of connection to the universe, viewing oneself from a different vantage point, fostering acceptance, helping people find creative solutions to their problems – people have these ideas that they never would have thought of without the help of cannabis, so they report. And promoting mental, emotional, and physical flexibility and capacity to change. I put it like that “mental, emotional, and physical flexibility” because they often go together. And as people start feeling more loose and relaxed in their body, as they start maybe doing a bit of yoga or some of the exercises on healer.com, and getting greater range of motion in their body and literally in their nervous system, their thought starts changing, their emotional flexibility increases. So the other things about these gifts from cannabis consciousness, is that they outlast the acute effects of cannabis. I was speaking with a patient recently who told me that under the influence of cannabis she suddenly had this realization that everything in the universe is connected to everything else, and she saw the underlining fabric of reality. And after the cannabis wore off, she took that lesson with her and was able to relate to people in a new way, to connect with nature in a new way, to accept that everything is connected, and that gave her great peace in her life. So some of these lessons will stay with us.

Case Study and Patient Narratives

So let’s move on to a case study. This is kind of the bread and butter of our practice at Integr8 Health, we see a lot of different conditions, but about 70 percent of our patients have chronic pain. And I chose this case because it’s fairly typical of what we see, and I think a lot of you can relate to it. So, a 43-year-old man with chronic pain, a victim of a hit and run motor vehicle-pedestrian accident at age 25, resulting in spinal disc herniation. When he first came in he had already tried cortisone injections, chiropractic, physical therapy, and prescription medications. (I’ll show you his medication list on the next slide.) He did not have satisfactory improvement. He saw an orthopedic specialist who recommended surgery based on the patient’s physical exam, which included weakness in one of his legs, and that is an indication for surgery. But the patient didn’t want surgery at age 43; he wanted to postpone it as long as possible.

He was a high school graduate and worked at an electronics store and at the time he had a 15-month old, first-born child. He came in with an average pain level, 6-7 out of 10. He had a little cannabis history, tried it at age 16, but hadn’t used it in 20 years. He didn’t have any history of adverse affects with cannabis. He simply wasn’t using it. And here’s his medication list: He was on muscle relaxants, two anti-inflammatories, tramadol (which is an opioid pain reliever), hydrocodone (which is another opioid pain reliever), an anti-nausea drug because the pain relievers cause nausea, blood pressure medication, and cholesterol medication. He had previously tried gabapentin (which is an anti-convulsant medication and often used to treat pain and Lyrica, which is in that same category).

So he came back in six months, after cannabis certification. He started using edible cannabis in the form of cookies – not something I typically recommend, I like standardized dosing better where you know how many drops you’re taking or you know how many milligrams – but he was able to access cookies. And then he was also smoking cannabis, not every day, but two to three times weekly, just taking two to three puffs for breakthrough symptoms. Initially he had an adverse affect from the edible, from the cookie, again because it’s really hard to know what the dosage is, but once he adjusted the dosage he was able to use the cookie without any side effect.

At six months, he had stopped hydrocodone and tramadol, the two opioids, and also stopped one of the anti-inflammatories. The anti-muscle spasm medication that he was using daily, he was now using around once a month, just when he needed it. His average pain was 3-4 out of 10, instead of 6-7 out of 10. He had a significant decrease in muscle spasms. And, his physical exam improved. He was actually walking normally, when the first time he came in he had weakness in his leg that made the surgeon want to schedule him for surgery. Now he had normal strength in his lower extremities. Perhaps that’s because he had improved function, perhaps that’s because the muscle spasms had been under control for so long his spine was able to get back into alignment, perhaps it’s because cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties itself and reduced the inflammation that was pressing on that nerve root – probably all of the above. He reported that he was able to carry his son, was able to enjoy fatherhood. And that’s an incredible result!

When I was in my medical training, if I would have seen that happen, I would have thought I was in some alternate reality. How did this patient get such good results? How did he actually come off of all his opioids and medications? This is normal for us now. We see this all the time.

As part of the survey data that I showed earlier, we also invited patients to submit their narratives. We received over 100 very compelling narrative reports of what patients were doing with combining cannabis and opioids. I chose three to share with you, but there is many more that I wish I could share with you, and sometime maybe we’ll compile all of that and give you an overview.

So here’s one of them. I’m just going to read it. “I was in a car accident about 13 years ago. I had a hip injury that was deemed permanent and a severe head injury. I was immediately placed on 24-hour opiate painkillers. Throughout the 12 years, I’d been prescribed just about every different type. I was also on several other mediations ranging from nerve pain meds to blood pressure meds. I became determined to get off the opiates because they truly never eliminated the pain. I use medical cannabis to help me withdraw. It was quite a substantial process due the length I’d been taking them, 24-hours a day for 12 years. It made the withdrawal much easier. I’ve been in much less pain and was able to eliminate all the other medications I was on at the time. It gave me my life back. It was amazing. I credit cannabis for much of my success.”

“I am 38-years-old and I struggled with opiate and alcohol addiction for about 15 years, long hours as a chef and a couple of minor surgeries where I was prescribed opiates, led me to become dependent on them to get through my day. Pretty soon I was fully consumed by addiction. Even after going to two detoxes and a 28-day rehab in 2010, I still struggled to stay clean for the next two years. The 12-step meeting that I was going to several times a week discouraged cannabis use, so I tried to do it their way and didn’t use any. That didn’t work, and it led me to several relapses. In 2012, I decided to start using a little bit of cannabis before bed to help me get a good night sleep and when I was getting stressed, angry, etc. It was very effective in keeping me centered and on the path to recovery, although I didn’t feel comfortable – and still don’t – sharing this with fellow addicts at meetings. I had been a cannabis smoker on-and-off since age 18 and always enjoyed the effects. In the throes of my opiate addiction, however, I got out of the routine of regular cannabis using. I believe that this is because cannabis use tends to magnify my own problems and shortcomings in my mind when I use it, and no drug addict wants to take such an honest look at themselves. As of right now, I have been free of active addiction from January 2012. I’ve also been a patient of Interg8 Health since 2012. Cannabis is the only thing that I am currently prescribed, and the only substance I use for pain, stress, etc. I don’t know if I would be here today, and sober, if it wasn’t for cannabis. I use cannabis throughout the day and before bed, and live a happy, healthy, and productive life with my wife and two daughters.”

I just want to comment on a couple of great issues that he brought up. The acceptance – or non-acceptance of cannabis in recovery circles – Martin touched on this earlier, it’s really important that we start bringing this out in the open because for those of you that are in recovery, and you look around the room at the meetings, there’s probably several other people there that are either using cannabis secretly or have an idea that cannabis could be helping them. It’s time to bring that conversation out into the open. I’ve heard it called the “green recovery treatment” option. It’s something that’s becoming more well-known and more talked about in recovery circles. We have a long ways to go. Meanwhile, people are drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes, let’s replace even some of those things with cannabis – healthier option, cannabis. And then this part where he was looking at himself. Yes, cannabis forces us to do that. And it can look really ugly sometimes. But if we don’t take a solid look at ourselves then we can’t change. That inner awareness, that connection with who we really are – because people that are addicted to opioids lose track of who they are. I’ve seen people go from very strong and capable to very weak and very limited. You know, their whole lives changed. And, some people that used to be able to help others, and get a lot done, and feel like they were in service to their community, suddenly find themselves in the situation where they’re dependent on others, where they feel like they’re sucking the energy and the time from the people around them, and they’ve changed that dynamic. Yes, we need to look at that. And if you use cannabis, even if you use it in the way that I’ve described in this presentation, it might show you something that you don’t want to see. But trust me, you need to see it to make that change.

I’m going to offer one more narrative. “I took opiates for 15 years, along with various forms of benzos [again those are the anti-anxiety and anti-muscle spasm medications like valium]. I had legitimate pain. I fractured my back in three places when I was 19. I healed from the initial injury, but the pain got worse over the next few years, to the point where I was drinking to get by. I had an uncanny knack for being able to walk into a doctor’s office and get almost anything I asked for, due to my injury. Anyway, I took opiates to the tune of two Oxycontin 80s and 12mg Dilaudids for PRM [which means as needed, that’s quite a high dose]. At some point, it wasn’t just about the pain anymore, it had become more about the addiction. In retrospect, the opiates were only working on the emotional pain, not the physical pain. So to make a long story short, I’ve been to detox 27 times since I was 27. I’ve been in three 30-day rehabs from here to Ohio. I tried halfway houses, Suboxone treatment, etc. It’s been 21 months since my first visit to your office, and I literally have not used an opiate since. Thank you. P.S. I truly believe that medical marijuana has saved my life.”

That’s incredible. We’ve got a lot more of those, too. So, because I know that this information is now in your hands but it may not be in the hands of your doctor, and that’s an important next step to take, not just for yourself but for all the other patients that your doctor treats, on healer.com we have a free download that’s a succinct summary of what a healthcare provider needs to know if they’re taking care of a patient that’s using medical cannabis. I also want to promote the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, this is a professional organization for people that are practicing cannabis medicine, and I invite you to check out their website that’s full of great resources.

Source: http://healer.com/cannabis-as-a-solution-t...

INSOMNIA AND CANNABIS

I recently received this article from Green Flower Media regarding Insomnia and using cannabis as a natural sleep aid. There are many many reasons why people can't sleep, stress, pain, anxiety and many more. Please pass this on to anyone you know that is having issues with sleeping OR want to get off medications like Ambien.  This article was written by Seshata, a journalist and researcher specializing in medical, cultural, and geopolitical aspects of cannabis.   Elizabeth...PiantaTinta

How insomniacs find sleep with cannabis – not pharmaceuticals.

Estimates suggest there’s up to more than a billion insomniacs the world over, and for severe cases, the effect on health can be catastrophic.

Lack of sleep has been associated with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity – not to mention an inability to keep up with daily tasks and an increase in motor vehicle incidents.

In the United States alone, approximately one-third of all adults will experience insomnia at some point in their lives. Women are afflicted at twice the rate of men, and about half of all seniors over 65 suffer from the condition.

So that means that in the U.S., there are between fifty and seventy million adults afflicted with sleep disorders. At least nine million of them regularly take prescription sleep aids in the effort to keep heads on pillows.

But the massive irony is – most of these prescription medicines have dangerous, debilitating side-effects, and the vast majority don’t really do very much anyway!

For example, Ambien (the biggest selling sleep aid in the U.S.) has never been proven to be effective at maintaining sleep, except when delivered in a controlled-release form (so the drug stays in the system for longer).

But this controlled-release form is associated with dangerous levels of morning drowsiness, which has led to motor vehicle accidents on numerous occasions. On top of that, users are also taking on a scarily high risk of addiction, violent psychosis, blackouts and suicidal thoughts!

Your alternative to this prescription medicine madness

No need for dangerous pharmaceuticals like Ambien when cannabis is proving to be so much more effective.

For centuries, if not millennia, people have been using cannabis as an all-natural sleep aid, reporting that they are able to get to sleep more quickly and ultimately feel more rested.

To understand more about cannabis and healthy sleep cycles, we spoke with the esteemed physician and medical journalist Uwe Blesching. Uwe is the author of The Cannabis Health Index as well as a new online course on cannabis and insomnia.

“Insomnia is a disease that affects millions, and is the number one reason that women turn to cannabis" he says.

It’s also clear that when used properly, cannabis can certainly help an insomniac get a much better night’s rest, and with practically zero risk or side-effects compared to current drugs.

The mechanism via which cannabis influences sleep in humans is extremely complex and far from being fully understood. However, it’s clear that several cannabinoids have an important role to play in sleep cycles.

So which cannabinoids can help, and how?

As we expand our understanding of cannabinoid science, we learn how to better use this plant for many illnesses or ailments – including insomnia.

Uwe explains that THC causes an increase in “deep” sleep and a decrease in REM sleep (the “dream” stage of sleep).

In fact, during withdrawal from THC, REM sleep goes back up and deep sleep goes down. This ties in with the common belief that tolerance breaks lead to an increase in dreams.

THC also appears to increase initial sleepiness and make the user fall asleep faster. However, it has also been repeatedly associated with feelings of lethargy the next day (an effect also commonly found in prescription meds!).

CBD appears to have a twofold effect. When attempting to fall asleep, CBD can mitigate against the possible anxiety-inducing effects of THC, allowing the user to feel relaxed, calm and peaceful.

On the other hand, CBD can also increase feelings of alertness and wakefulness, so when combined with THC in the correct ratio, it can decrease the likelihood of feeling that next-day “hangover”.

Finding the right combination of THC and CBD could potentially get you to sleep quicker and leave you much more refreshed in the morning!

THC and CBD are just the beginning!
We also now know that several lesser-studied cannabinoids such as cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabigerol (CBG) can have a sedative effect. In fact, Steep Hill Labs says: “Of all the cannabinoids, CBN appears to be the most sedative.”

There are over a hundred unique cannabinoids in cannabis, and even more important organic compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids, which can act together in countless different ways, to produce a range of unique effects.

Several terpenes commonly found in cannabis, such as myrcene, linalool and citral, have been shown to have sedative or relaxant effects. For more information, check out Green Flower’s fantastic resource on cannabis terpenes!

How Stress is Fundamental to Insomnia

Cannabis, when properly administered, can also help you tackle underlying issues that cause insomnia, particularly stress.

According to Uwe, “The most common cause for primary insomnia is so universal that it is almost synonymous with the condition itself: STRESS – especially chronic stress. More specifically the kind of stress that builds up in the form of worries, fears, emotional distress, heartaches, longings, or simply bad news.”

Targeting the symptoms of stress, as well as directly manipulating sleep cycles, should therefore prove to be a far more effective approach than the current standard in healthcare.

Currently, doctors may look at your medical history and run a few diagnostic tests, but it is unlikely that they will explore the causes of your stress in-depth. What’s far more likely is that they’ll throw a prescription sleep aid at you and move on to the next patient.

Instead, many of us now have the information and the high-quality, legally-accessible cannabis medicine with which we can begin to tailor our cannabinoids to suit us best.

Finding the Right Blend For You

This THC-free terpene oil is a great example of how we are expanding access to different formats of cannabis medicine.

More research into cannabinoid and terpene ratios could lead to the development of seriously effective, individually-targeted insomnia medications – which will reduce stress, keep the user asleep for longer, and wake up more refreshed and less “hungover” than any existing pharmaceutical! As well as – perhaps most importantly – cutting out practically all of the potential health risks.

The key to the puzzle is finding your “subjective therapeutic window,” as Uwe puts it. Your optimal dosage, in other words.

Individual genetics, state of health – these crucial factors determine what your body needs at any given time. Meeting those requirements with the correct cannabinoid profile is, in essence, finding that subjective therapeutic window.

Why is this so crucial? Uwe says: “Because taking too little is sub-optimal, while too much can actually increase the very symptoms you are attempting to treat.”

 

Source: http://greenflowermedia.com/article/treati...

Whole plant CBD extract vs. synthetic single molecule

Back in February of this year a excellent Israeli study was done documenting the superior therapeutic properties of whole plant CBD-rich Cannabis extract as compared to synthetic, single-molecule cannabidiol (CBD) which is made in the lab. The notion that botanical extracts are "low grade and crude" as opposed to pure single molecule synthetic compounds made by the pharmaceutical companies is what was challenged. The study was Published in the journal Pharmacology & Pharmacy (Feb. 2015).

The study showed that administration of pure, single-molecule CBD resulted in a bell-shaped dose-response curve, that means when the amount of CBD exceeded a certain point its therapeutic impact declined dramatically. “Healing was only observed when CBD was given within a very limited dose range, whereas no beneficial effect was achieved at either lower or higher doses,” the authors observed. This characteristic of single-molecule CBD—manifested as a bell-shaped dose response—imposes serious obstacles that limit its usefulness in a clinical context.

The Israeli team sought to determine whether the administration of a whole plant CBD-rich extract would also generate a bell-shaped dose-response curve when administered to mice. Or would cannabidiol extracted from CBD-rich Cannabis avoid this liability? But a different dose response pattern was observed when the whole plant extract was administered to mice. Rather than showing a bell-shaped curve, where a therapeutic effect could only be achieved at a certain concentration of pure CBD, the whole plant CBD-rich extract caused a direct, dose-dependent inhibition of pain, inflammation, and TNFa production.

Moreover, the Israeli researchers found that a small amount of CBD in the whole plant extract was needed for significant pain relief compared to the much larger amount of pure single molecule CBD required to achieve the same analgesic effect. And whereas pure, single-molecule CBD precipitated a dramatic drop in efficacy if more than a specific dosage was administered, an “overdose” of whole plant CBD-rich extract did not undermine its therapeutic potency.

The body recognizes and can utilize substances that are natural, from nature. That is how we are made.  Anything that is synthetic is hard for the body to know what to do with it, yes, it can have an effect but in my opinion not as great an effect. The whole plant has not only cannabinoids, but terpenes and flavinoids and many other compounds which all work together synergistically and have positive effects in the body.

We here at Pianta Tinta are proud of our High CBD tincture in that we use the whole plant to extract out as much cannabinoids and other compounds to make the best medicine we can!

The above is just a small portion of the study done, if you wish to read the actual study click here.

A thank you to projectcbd.org for originally posting the article!

Elizabeth Knight, Pianta Tinta

 

Rossmoor Seniors Fired up about Cannabis....

Recently I attended an event at Rossmoor, in Walnut Creek. Little did I know that they have a senior community of 10,000. How great it was to see acceptance, education and people TALKING about medical cannabis!! There was a report on site, Joe Garofoli and this is the article that came out in the SF Chronicle.

by Joe Garofoli

Updated 1:59 pm, Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Doug Stiles shows a bottle of liquid cannabis in his home at the Rossmoor retirement community in Walnut Creek. Stiles takes 20 drops before bed to help with his anxiety and help him sleep.

Pot was for fun in Rossmoor resident Doug Stiles’ youth. Now he takes it in liquid form to ease anxiety and help him sleep.

There is a club for Bay Area marijuana enthusiasts where most members don’t want to get high. Mostly because they’re afraid of falling. Or getting too disoriented.

The club is in Rossmoor, the senior citizen community of 10,000 near Walnut Creek.

With an average age of 76, Rossmoor is the kind of place where smoking is banned, though many puff cigars in plain sight on the golf course. But before the Rossmoor Medical Marijuana Education and Support Club held its first meeting in 2011, marijuana was rarely seen, smelled or discussed on the facility’s surgically trimmed grounds.

Since then, the club has grown into a 250-member juggernaut, illustrating the growing acceptance of marijuana in America by seniors — and their growing frustration with mainstream pharmaceuticals prescribed for pain relief.

In 1986 — the heyday of the nation’s War on Drugs — 9 percent of the generation of Americans born between 1928 and 1945 supported legalizing marijuana. That has jumped to 29 percent among that demographic, according to a Pew Research report released this month.

The survey also showed that it might be time to dig through Grandpa’s golf bag: 19 percent of Americans over 70 have tried weed, including 2 percent in the last year.

That might be an undercount, according to some Rossmoor weed aficionados. Many residents are cultivating more than azaleas at home.

“Oh, sure, I’ve got a plant. A lot of people here do,” one woman said after a club meeting last week in Rossmoor. “But I can’t give you my name.”

Changing times

That’s a common sentiment. One club member asked to remain anonymous because “my son owns a business near here.” A few still haven’t told their kids they’re members because they have spent the last 50 years telling them not to smoke dope.

Perhaps because of the reluctance of seniors to discuss their marijuana habits, neither AARP nor the Marijuana Policy Project could provide any studies of cannabis use by seniors. AARP doesn’t have a policy on medical cannabis, even though it is now legal for medicinal use in 23 states and Washington, D.C.

Appropriately, it was on a Rossmoor golf course where the club held its first clandestine meeting four years ago. Twenty cannabis-curious pioneers set up folding chairs near the first tee box at 4 p.m., when they knew most of their golfing neighbors would have already left for cocktail hour, which, like many things in Rossmoor, starts a little early.

“People were still not sure if they wanted to be out about (marijuana) then,” said Renee Lee, a 63-year-old retired therapist who is president of the club. “There was still a stigma about it.”

Lee was among those who wanted to call themselves the 420 Club, but that reference to the weed smokers’ holiday of April 20 never stuck because, as Lee said, “a lot of people didn’t know what it meant.”

They went six months without a name. But club members quickly bonded over their shared disappointment in pharmaceuticals they had been prescribed. Either the pills weren’t helping them or the side effects were more onerous than their actual ailments.

Their knees and elbows and backs creaked. They had trouble sleeping. They were anxious. All they wanted was some relief.

So why not try a little pot?

Highly recommended

Sometimes it was their adult children who suggested it. More often the notion came from a medical-cannabis-card-carrying neighbor, who would offer a weed-infused lemon drop or a dab of a topical cream. It was a leap of faith for seniors who never tried pot — or hadn’t indulged since the Kingston Trio was topping the charts.

“The most common thing they say is, 'I’m not doing this to get high,’” said Rachna Patel, a Walnut Creek osteopath who has treated about 100 Rossmoor residents who use cannabis for pain relief. “A lot of them will first say, 'I can’t believe that I’m doing this.’”

But many are soon smiling at the results. Doug Stiles hadn’t partaken in years until he moved to Rossmoor about four years ago. Then he started rubbing a cannabis-infused topical solution into his wife’s knees to help with her arthritis. Four months later, she was moving more easily. Now Stiles takes cannabis-infused drops at night to soothe his anxiety and help him sleep.

Back in the day

That’s not how he used marijuana during his occasional indulgences as a young man.

“I remember at a party smoking with a brother-in-law, then going out to the liquor store. But we had to pull over in the park because we were laughing so hard,” Stiles said. But “now it’s about pain — and feeling better.”

What initially “surprised me,” said Eloise Theisen, a nurse practitioner in Lafayette who helps dozens of Rossmoor residents manage their health conditions with cannabis, “is how open they’ve been to trying new things.”

But club members aren’t your typical stoners. “Everybody always shows up 15 minutes early for the meetings,” said Lee, who used cannabis to help her with the aftereffects of acoustic neuroma surgery.

Dozens of Rossmoorians are now smoking or vaping or nibbling at edibles, mostly in the quiet of their homes.

Just for fun

Nobody smells weed outside. Unless maybe it’s coming from members of Rossmoor’s other cannabis club — a group focused less on education and support and more on enjoying the herb’s recreational pleasures. Unlike the Rossmoor Medical Marijuana Education and Support Club, the other group is not officially recognized by the administration.

The harder question for some is one that’s rarely been uttered in the half-century history of this 1,800-acre enclave: How can I score some weed in Rossmoor?

Medical cannabis dispensaries are banned in Walnut Creek, and there are few east of the Caldecott Tunnel.

And forget getting pot through that newfangled smartphone technology. The app-based marijuana delivery service Eaze — which promises cannabis within minutes for card-carrying Bay Area users — said only 2 percent of customers are seniors. Eaze is launching a pilot program with a San Diego senior community to learn how to make it easier for seniors to get deliveries.

'Untapped market’

“There’s definitely an untapped market there,” said Eaze spokeswoman Caroline Vespi. “There’s still that perception among some seniors that the only place you can get (cannabis) is from the dealer on the corner.”

After accepting an invitation to speak to the club a couple of years ago, the Harborside Health Center arranged for a tour of the Oakland medical cannabis dispensary. Now it counts dozens of Rossmoor residents as customers.

But nurse practitioner Theisen said venturing unaccompanied into a dispensary can be overwhelming for some seniors.

So, many Rossmoor residents get their weed from what once might have been an unlikely source: their grown children. State law allows medical cannabis patients to designate someone as a caregiver.

As the general public’s attitude toward marijuana has warmed over the past few years, the club’s membership has swelled, and some of the region’s top cannabis figures have appeared before them.

Last week’s meeting drew a record 81 members to hear John Malanca, founder of United Patients Group, a website that offers news and information about medical cannabis.

“How many people here think the only way to take marijuana is to smoke it?” Malanca asked the audience.

Not a hand went up.

“Wow,” Malanca said, rocking back a step. “When I was here a few years ago, 60 percent of the people raised their hands.”

After the meeting ended, Malanca said, “When I asked that, people just looked at me like, 'That was the most boneheaded question.’ But that’s why when I visit retirement communities around the country, I tell them about the amazing things going on at Rossmoor.”

Orange County aficionados

But while Rossmoorians are becoming weed sophisticates, they still lag behind their demographic peers at the Laguna Woods Village — formerly known as Leisure World — in Orange County. Cannabis-using residents there have established a relationship with a Humboldt County grower and created a distribution network in the community that has the administration’s blessing.

Down there, if Laguna Woods Village Cannabis Club organizer Lonnie Painter wants to smoke a joint outside his residence, he just sparks one up.

“Oh, sure,” said Painter, a 69-year-old retired restaurateur. “I do that almost daily.”

Joe Garofoli is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: jgarofoli@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @joegarofoli

Source: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Ross...

Traveling with Cannabis???

United Patient Group website recently had an article on traveling with Cannabis. This has been a question for some of our members and I thought it would be a good idea to post the article in full. So wherever you are traveling to, do some research ahead of time to find out the specific laws for the states, countries that you will be visiting......

 

Traveling with Medical Marijuana

It can be a challenge to travel for medical marijuana patients. In addition to concerns brought on by their condition, traveling with medical marijuana can be difficult, especially for out of state trips. Even in certain areas of the country, in-state travel can present problems when local ordinances vary. Patients should consider the following factors before traveling with their medication.

 

 

 

Traveling Within the Same State

Medical marijuana patients who are appropriately registered with their state should not encounter problems if they are traveling locally. Patients may have their medication on their person when they are walking and driving within their own county. For out-of-county trips, patients should be aware that some counties set their own laws regarding maximum medical marijuana amounts, though, in California, all counties must allow at least the state minimum. Patients should know their state’s laws and, as a rule of thumb, avoid traveling to unfamiliar areas with more than the allowed minimum.

If a patient is traveling out-of-county and the state’s recognized minimum is not sufficient, it may be possible to arrange temporary dispensary privileges in the area where the patient is staying. Patients should ask the dispensary they are currently using for advice, or check their state's website for the rules.

Whether in state or out of state, medical marijuana patients should never travel with marijuana plants. Even in states where it is legal to grow medical marijuana plants, their transportation is highly restricted. In California, for example, there are only three situations where it is appropriate to travel with these plants:

 

  • When a patient or caregiver is bringing plants from a dispensary to a residence.
  • When a registered caregiver is moving plants from one patient’s residence to another.
  • When a patient is moving residences.

Except for these situations, avoid traveling with medical marijuana plants to minimize the chance of legal complications.

 

 

 

Out of State Trips

Travel to different states for medical marijuana patients is difficult because they cannot legally bring their medical marijuana in most cases. Patients should note these guidelines:

 

  • States without medical marijuana laws can arrest patients under possession laws, even if the patient is registered in their home state.
  • Federal authorities can arrest patients under federal drug trafficking laws if medical marijuana crosses state lines.
  • In states that recognize medical marijuana cards issued by the patient’s home state (called reciprocity), the patient usually still needs to register in the state that they are visiting and acquire any medical marijuana needed there, rather than bringing it with them.
  • In the above situation if patients plan to bring their own medical marijuana, they should make sure that the states border one another so that they are not traveling through states where medical marijuana is illegal.

 

 

 

Traveling by Ground vs. Flying with Medical Marijuana

The safest mode of transportation for traveling patients is by car. Private bus and train companies may remove passengers at their own discretion who appear under the influence or are known to possess medical marijuana, even with a medical marijuana card or valid physician’s letter.

As for flying, airports and airplanes are federal jurisdictions, and patients can be detained and arrested when going through security. Federal authorities do not recognize the medical marijuana laws or cards of any state. There are some airports that are medical marijuana ‘friendly’ and allow patients with correct documents to board with the amount deemed necessary for personal consumption. 

For more detailed information on this, read our article: Can I Fly with Medical Marijuana? 

Always check the laws of your home state and the state that you will be visiting before taking a trip with your medication. Though it is very helpful to patients, medical marijuana is not yet legal in all areas and even in states where medicinal use of marijuana is legal, state and local laws vary. Know your rights and responsibilities as a patient, and always ask an authority if you are unsure of the law.

 

For more information on Flying with Medical Marijuana, here is a direct link to TSA's policy.

Source: http://www.unitedpatientsgroup.com/resourc...

Mercola interviews Dr. Frankel on Medical Cannabis

I am posting this excellent article and video by Dr. Mercola that is from March 9th, 2014. If you are confused about what is medicine and what isn't, or cannabis versus hemp, strength and dosage, then please read on and take some time to watch the interview!! A big thank you to Dr. Joseph Mercola and the wonderful service he provides for those of us that choose holistic health care.....

Elizabeth

By Dr. Mercola

Marijuana has been legalized in a number of US states; 20 states have legalized cannabis for medical purposes; two states—Colorado and Washington state—also permit recreational use. Certain forms of cannabis are actually very potent medicine, with few or no psychoactive effects.

In California, medical marijuana has been legal for 18 years. Dr. Allan Frankel, a board-certified internist in California, has treated patients with medical cannabis for the past seven years.

By and large, cannabis is highly favored by people across the US. According to Dr. Frankel, 85-95 percent of Americans are in favor of medical cannabis, and 58-59 percent are in favor of legalizing marijuana.

The federal government, meanwhile, wants to get rid of all medical use of marijuana, which of course begs the question: Why? According to Dr. Frankel, the answer is simple. "They want it. This is a huge market," he says.

And yes, medical cannabis is clearly competition to the pharmaceutical industry, as the cannabis plant can take the place of a wide variety of synthetic drugs, especially for mood and anxiety disorders. The last thing they want is a therapy that's going to take away from their bottom line.

Cannabis as Medicine

Dr. Frankel initially learned about medical cannabis through glaucoma trials and cancer work performed at UCLA in the 70s and early 80s.

"I've always seen it as a medicine," he says. "Eventually, I got interested in it. I thought my tool box was getting too small for typical issues with patients related to anxiety, pain, or the common issues where we just had inadequate medications.

I saw the cannabinoid future was something that was bright. Seven years ago, I kind of picked up my formal white coat and sprayed a little green on it..."

Green Bridge Medical is his professional corporation where he sees patients, performs research, and provides physician and patient education and outreach. For all its benefits, using cannabis in lieu of other medicines has many challenges.

"It's a complicated process, as a physician in particular, working inside the medical system, to work outside the medical system to make these dose-consistent extracts available."

Many may find the idea of medical cannabis abhorrent or somehow "wrong," as we've been indoctrinated to view marijuana as a dangerous gateway drug that will lead you down a path of illicit drug use.

Many fail to realize that prescription drugs actually have FAR greater potential to turn you into "a junkie." Legal drug addiction is also taking lives in record numbers. In the UK, one million people are addicted to over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription painkillers and tranquilizers.

That's significantly more than the number addicted to illegal drugs.1 In the US, there were four times more deaths among women from prescription painkiller overdose than for cocaine and heroin deaths combined in 2010.2

Pharmaceuticals in general are among the leading causes of death in the US, and some medicines have killed tens of thousands of individuals. The painkiller Vioxx is one classic example, which killed over 60,000 before being pulled off the market.

The diabetes drug Avandia is another, and most recently, a study estimated that in a five-year span, some 800,000 people in Europe were killed from inappropriate use of beta-blockers in non-cardiac surgery patients. Deaths attributed to cannabis barely registers in comparison.

"I think that any intervention, regardless of how benign (I would say in my 35 years of medical experience, cannabis should be considered a benign substance overall), there are potential uses and abuses," Dr. Frankel says.

"For me, we're just talking about the real solid indications. The issue of abuse and neglect is there, but I think it's relatively small. I think the claim that it is a gateway drug has been pretty soundly proven not to be correct.

Even if cannabis to some extent is a gateway drug (which I do not believe it is), even if it is, it should be legalized to protect the gateway [drug] issue, because legalization opens up communication."

Natural health physician and Mercola.com founder Dr. Joseph Mercola interviews Dr. Allan Frankel about the medical uses of marijuana or cannabis.

What's the Difference Between Medical and Non-Medical Marijuana?

According to Dr. Frankel, cannabis has been cultivated in Northern Europe since before the last Ice Age. Even back then, there were two very distinct groups of strains. One is cannabis; the other is hemp. There's plenty of confusion about the similarities and differences between these two plants. While they are subspecies of the same plant species, they look very different, and are extremely different in ways that really matter when it comes to medicinal use.

The thing they have in common is that they both contain cannabidiol (CBD), which has medicinal properties. The amount of CBD however, differs greatly between the two. Dosing, therefore, is dramatically different where you to try to use hemp in lieu of cannabis, as the latter, cannabis, is up to 100-fold more potent. Another difference that appears to matter in terms of its usefulness as medicine relates to differing terpene profiles. Hemp contains very little of these valuable medicinal compounds.

Lastly, there's the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. THC is the psychoactive component of marijuana; it's the molecule that makes you feel "stoned." (While cannabidiol (CBD) also has certain psychoactive properties, it does NOT produce a high.) By legal definition, hemp cannot have more than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in it. So to summarize:

  • Hemp has less value for medicinal uses, as it only contains about four percent CBD and lacks many of the medicinal terpenes and flavonoids. It also contains less than 0.3 percent THC, which means it cannot produce a high or get you stoned. However, for many disease processes, THC is very much indicated and required. So, for many disease processes, CBD alone has much less value.
  • Cannabis is potent medicine courtesy of high amounts (about 10-20 percent) of CBD, critical levels of medicinal terpenes, and flavanoids, as well as THC in varying ratios for various diseases. The higher the THC, the more pronounced its psychoactive effects

How Marijuana Got a Bad Rap

"What happened in the '60s and '70s was that due to desires for psychedelia, the changes in the war in Vietnam, and the war on drugs with Nixon, the types of strains that were available and the demand for psychedelia changed. Before we knew it, CBD—due to a lack of 'stoniness'—was bred out of the plant," Dr. Frankel explains.

As a result of growers breeding out the all-important CBD, marijuana became known primarily as a plant that gets you high. Its original medicinal properties and uses largely fell by the wayside. Things are changing however.

"Five years ago, California Physicians, and other groups around the world, didn't really know if we would find CBD-rich strains anymore, but we have. Now there's many different varieties of it. We keep bringing back new CBD rich strains every month or two. These plants genes' haven't seen the light of day for God knows how long."

CBD is currently a Schedule 1 controlled substance, which means:

  • The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse
  • The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the US
  • There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision

There's no doubt that CBD needs to be rescheduled, as each of these three points are blatantly wrong. Dr. Frankel actually thinks cannabis should be de-scheduled altogether, as a plant really does not belong on any schedule of a controlled substance.

"How could we have a plant on a schedule? What if it's an all-THC plant? What if it's an all-CBD? What if we find some other psychoactivity? If you take the Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR) and look at every product, none of them looks like a plant to me. This is the only plant, and it's not just one medicine. One entry with one data ID or MDI cannot be applied for cannabis. For example, we're actually right now making different medicines with cannabis plants based upon harvest time.

As the plants mature, the flowers get darker and darker. There's a traditional time when you're just supposed to pick them. Of course, what we've done is we picked them at different times in large amounts, ground them all together so we can get very representative samples, and see what happens in the last few weeks of flowering. The medicine changes a lot in the last three weeks. You can make more sedating medicine by letting it just stay on the vine three weeks longer. Even how long you let it grow makes it a very different medicine, a noticeably different medicine," he says.

Who's a Good Candidate for Medical Cannabis?

In his medical practice, Dr. Frankel treats a wide variety of patients with medical cannabis, which has become his specialty. Despite the many claims of cannabis performing miracles, he's reluctant to think of it as a cure for anything. Occasionally, however, patients will experience very dramatic results. For example, he has seen tumors virtually disappear in some patients using no other therapy except taking 40 to 60 milligrams of cannabinoids a day. The most common thing he sees in cancer patients, however, are tumors shrinking, or a metastasis disappearing. Sometimes tumors will shrink or vanish, only to reemerge in other areas, months later, and then shrink or vanish again... Other common ailments being treated with cannabis include:

  • Mood disorders
  • Pain disorders
  • Degenerative neurological disorders such as dystonia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • PTSD
  • Seizure Disorders

He recounts how two dystonia patients with severe myofascial spasms were able to return to normal life after taking two milligrams of whole-plant CBD three times a day for a little more than one week. This is quite astounding, considering each of them had spent more than a decade undergoing neurosurgeries and taking multiple medications.

Dr. Frankel is very focused on trying to develop accurate dose-consistent medicine. The Patient Access Centers he consults with create a diverse collection of dose-consistent oral-buccal sprays. He also believes it's very important to open up and start talking about dosing—what works, what doesn't. It is his belief that some patients, in large part due to lack of education about the medicine, may be taking 10, or even 100 times higher dosage than is really needed to treat their ailment. Unfortunately, many doctors in this still highly controversial field are afraid to recommend dosages, for fear of the repercussions.

"There's this false notion (I think I can very safely say it's false) that doctors cannot recommend dosage because of this federal [law against] aiding and abetting with cannabis. It's not true. It's just not true," he says. "There are no [cannabis] medications that we dose by body weight. We now have about 120 kids with seizure disorder, and if you look at the surveys, across the board, the average dose is 37 milligrams [of whole-plant CBD] per day, and there's no relationship with body size."

More Information

A British pharmaceutical company called GW Pharmaceuticals has a cannabis product that is distributed in Canada and five other countries. It's a 1:1 CBD-THC whole plant extract. "It's a very good medicine," Dr. Frankel says. "But it's expensive. That's the problem with pharmaceutical [companies]." Dr. Frankel also consults with various states that are interested in growing medicinal CBD, i.e. cannabis with a high CBD content and hemp-level (extremely low) THC. He even gives the CBD seeds away. "I make the offer: if any governor in the 50 states wants, absolutely free – as long as I can do it legally – any of these high-ratio CBD strains, I can make it happen. No cost," he says.

"This is one of the important points I'd to emphasize: I think we're going to find ultimately that CBD is a nutritional supplement for everybody. I think we were all using [cannabis] 100 years ago... I think then, if they had hemp for food, there was CBD in it. Again, I wasn't there, but my guess is that everybody had CBD in their diet up until 100 years ago or so. CBD appears in some of the newest data to help protect your DNA epigenetic layer. That's important stuff for all of the toxins that we have in our environment. I think we have more toxins now, and we're missing one of the major protectants that we used to use for this. That's a double whammy."

Source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles...