Medical Marijuana and Sports: Can the It Help Athletes?

April 24th, 2018

 

The tide is slowly but surely turning for marijuana consumption in the country, at least for medicinal purposes. 


As more states continue to adopt medical marijuana legislation, we look towards the application and effectiveness of the drug in sports and athletics.


Opinions on Cannabis Consumption in Sports


In recent history the use of cannabis for physical enhancement began during the Second World War. Research suggests that American, British, 

German and Japanese militaries dispensed amphetamines to their soldiers to counter fatigue, raise spirits and improve endurance.


Athletes adopted the soldiers and began taking drugs like amphetamine, steroids and marijuana during the 1950s. Their objective was to enhance performance, build up mass and increase metabolism.


The sporting world has a mixed reaction to cannabis, compared with other banned enhancement drugs. Some supporters argue that cannabis should not be included in the list of banned substances because cannabis does not actually enhance performance or destroy the spirit of the sports in any way. Medical marijuana can actually be beneficial for athletes to reduce pain, help them relax before and after a sporting event and improve metabolism.


Proponents of banning the drug argue that cannabis can enhance performance for athletes in certain conditions. The drug is also believed to be detrimental when consumed in large quantities. Lastly, athletes are upheld as role models. Critics argue that consumption of marijuana can lead to setting bad examples for kids who look up to these athletes.

Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy

Epilepsy

March 30th, 2018

Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder that affects more than 65 million people all over the world. In the U.S. alone, around 3 million people suffer from epilepsy. 


In this piece, we examine the disorder, its symptoms, causes, complications and treatment options available for patients.


Epilepsy is a disorder that occurs due to problems with the nervous system. It is a chronic disease where the patient suffers from recurrent and unprovoked seizures. 


A person is diagnosed with the disorder when they have multiple seizures with the possibility of more without any discernible cause. 


Seizures caused by epilepsy are mainly of two types. A generalized seizure affects the entire brain. A partial or focal seizure, on the other hand, only affects one region of the brain.


Some patients suffer from a mild seizure, which pose difficulty in the diagnosis. A mild seizure could last just a few seconds and the person going through it may not even realize that they have had a seizure.


Not every seizure is caused by epilepsy. You can also suffer a seizure due to a high fever or very low sugar levels in your blood. An accident that causes head trauma can also lead to both, a seizure as well as a concussion. Heavy drinkers suffering from alcohol withdrawal can also experience a seizure. 

Marijuana and Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain

March 23rd, 2018

Suffering is a part of human existence. To live and go through life means that you will suffer pain, hardships and anxiety from time to time. Everyone around you goes through similar experiences. 


Marijuana therapy is considered especially effective for chronic pain, given its effectiveness in dulling the senses and anti-inflammatory properties. In this blog, we will take a look at various conditions of chronic pain, the symptoms, treatments and the success of the medicinal herb in reducing chronic pain.  


Chronic Pain


Pain is not necessarily a bad thing. When you get cut by something, get hit or suffer from trauma, your body reacts by sending signals to the brain about the affected area. The mechanism of feeling pain is crucial to the existence and survival of humans because it lets the brain make decisions on how to react and avoid the pain producing activity. 


Pain informs our brains that some part of the body is under threat or experiencing problems. If you put your hand in fire, tiny neurons and nerve cells in the hand immediately inform the surrounding nerve cells that the hand is getting burned. 


These neurons inform the other connected nerve cells in the forearm and so forth. The signal gets transmitted up the arm, and spinal cord, all the way to the brain. The conscious part of the brain immediately sends the signal back the hand to move away from the fire. 

If we did not feel pain, our brain would not be able to react to adverse external circumstances.


However, chronic pain is something different. In this condition, the affected person suffers from unending pain for extended periods of time. The problem could become unbearable as the affected person continues to suffer not just for weeks, but months and even years. In some cases, people tend to become suicidal and end their own lives, just to escape the feeling of constant, unending pain. 

Medical Marijuana Blogs on Conditions

Cancer

Rainbow Cancer Ribbons

December 12th, 2017


There are several reasons why patients that have cancer resort to recommendations/certifications for medical marijuana. There is still uncertainty about whether cannabis can effectively cure or treat cancer. However, there are several ways in which cannabis has been proven to have benefits for patients that suffer from cancer. This article covers nine ways in which cannabis has helped patients.


1. Pain Relief


One of the most debilitating effects of cancer and its treatments is chronic pain. This chronic pain is also one of the reasons why patients try to acquire recommendations for medical cannabis. 




Neuropathy

Marijuana Neuropathy

February 9th, 2018


Given the anti-inflammatory properties of marijuana, the herb is considered an effective method of treating neural disorders of all types, especially peripheral neuropathy and diabetic neuropathy.


In this blog, we examine various types of neuropathic disorders, their symptoms, causes, treatments and the potency of marijuana in reducing the symptoms of Neuropathy.


Overview of Neuropathy


The nervous system is made up of two parts. The first component is the central nervous system, which consists of the brain and the spinal cord. The second component is the peripheral nervous system which is spread all over the body. It is this peripheral system which transmits messages between the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. 

Neuropathy is a condition where this peripheral nervous system becomes damaged. The disorder affects a person’s ability to actively move muscles, perceive stimuli as well as the involuntary organ activity.


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD Medical Marijuana

February 2nd, 2018


Fighting PTSD With Medical Marijuana 


People suffering from PTSD are always in a state of mental anxiety and react with a fight or flight attitude to most stressful situations. PTSD patients also display suicidal tendencies and could be a potential threat to themselves and others around them. 


PTSD is quite common in veterans returning from active duties. Stats show that roughly 15 percent of Vietnam Vets suffered from PTSD while 11 to 20 percent vets from U.S. engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD.


Although there is no permanent cure for the medical condition, many veterans suffering from PTSD claim to have received positive benefits from Marijuana treatment. 



Huntington's Disease

Huntington's Disease Medical Marijuana

January 18th, 2018


Huntington disease is a progressive disorder of the brain. The disease has a large impact on a person’s functional abilities and causes involuntary movements, cognitive disabilities, and emotional problems.


The disease is mostly inherited from a parent and people affected by it develop symptoms in mid life between the ages of 30 to 40. In some cases, it has been observed to emerge earlier.


Although there are medications available to improve the symptoms of Huntington’s disease, there is no known permanent cure.  



HIV

THC HIV AIDS


A lot of people wonder if Marijuana helps relieve the stress caused by HIV or even control the disease. 


Many patients suffering from pain and stress caused by HIV have reported improvement and positive relief after using Marijuana medication.


HIV patients are one of the largest groups of people who are reportedly using marijuana for medical purpose. Here, we take a look at what AIDS is, how it can affect a person, some of the medical treatments that are being used to fight this disease and how medical marijuana can help. 



Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain Medical Marijuana

December 26th, 2017


One of the most common reasons that people use medical marijuana is to alleviate chronic pain. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) published a report in January that gave a great deal of weight to this perception.


The report is an extremely comprehensive one and takes into consideration all the available and up-to-date research that has been done on cannabis. One of the most definite conclusions that the report makes is that there is a great deal of evidence that favors the perception that cannabis or cannabinoids in the marijuana are extremely effective for treating instances of chronic pain.

Medical Marijuana Testing and Labeling Process

Medical Marijuana Testing

March 16th, 2018

 

Medical Cannabis testing and labeling allows consumers to understand what they are buying and make informed decisions about purchasing medical marijuana.


Accurate testing is important for patients who are looking for specific therapeutic effects from their medicine.


Medical marijuana products available in the market vary on the basis of their THC and CBD content. Some of these products are mixed with other compounds like alcohol or herb extracts which further differentiates them from one another.


State laws require that manufacturers must clearly label the content, potency and residual levels of their products for general awareness.


Consumers looking to purchase medical marijuana might be wary of the products in the market. We are giving a brief overview of the extraction process as well as the testing and labeling mandated by state legislation that should be followed by medical marijuana pharmacies and laboratories.

Women Empowerment in Cannabis

Women Empowerment Cannabis

March 8, 2018

 

There is no struggle in the world that can succeed without the support and active participation of women. The same is true for the marijuana legalization movement. Women activists and professionals have played an important role in the fight to legalize medical marijuana.  


Marijuana has many therapeutic effects and it can help women in certain medical conditions. For instance a recent study found that more women are using medical marijuana during pregnancy to ease nausea, morning sickness or anxiety.


Another research from the JAMA journal showed that use of medical marijuana in soon-to-be-moms jumped from 4.2% in 2009 to 7.1% in 2016.


These reports show that women form a substantial part of the marijuana consumption market. But how much representation do women have in the marijuana production and distribution channels?


Representation of Women in Marijuana Industry


The medical marijuana industry is still in its infancy stage. Despite being a relatively new industry, it offers a large number of opportunities for people looking to make a business out of it.


One encouraging sign is that the number of women leaders in the marijuana industry is very significantly high. Female entrepreneurs and executives have taken an active role in the growth, extraction, distribution and marketing effort of medical marijuana. 


According to one study, women make up more than 36% percent executives in the marijuana industry in the country. The majority of these roles are in the testing labs. A large number of female lab technicians work in the extraction of marijuana. They help create the marijuana infused products that are later shipped to dispensaries. Women hold nearly 50% of key decision making positions in the labs and processing departments.


Apart from technical roles in pharmacies and drug dispensaries, women are also highly involved in the marketing departments for cannabis businesses. Female marketing executives and models make up a substantial portion of workers in this industry.

Dealing with Medical Cannabis in the Workplace

February 27th, 2018

The rising efforts of marijuana legalization in the country have led to new questions for the banned drug’s consumption in various social settings. 


One area that has received increasing interest is the consumption of medical marijuana in the workplace.


We are moving towards a situation where the state law says one thing about the drug and the federal law says another. This could lead to a situation where organizations and employees are left confused with each party taking on their own interpretation of the contradictory legislation.


In this blog we review some of the implications that legalization of medical marijuana will have in workplace social setups.


The Problem for the Future


While everyone agrees that employers should have the right to impose workplace policies and rules, a question that has gained traction is whether employers should be allowed to discriminate on the basis of disabilities. Employee hiring and firing policies have come under increased scrutiny in the backdrop of unfair practices and discrimination lawsuits.


It has been argued that while employers should be allowed to safeguard their interests, they should ensure that employee interests of equal opportunity and fair treatment are also upheld. Employees with medical disabilities should not be denied a work opportunity as long as they can perform the job as good as any other worker; and employers do not need to make special adjustments for the employee.


The changing laws around medical marijuana present an interesting scenario. Legislation is still being

debated and written for medical marijuana and many things are still up for interpretation, which could pose problems in the future.

Cannabis Through The Ages

February 20th, 2018

The history of cannabis usage and cultivation is as old as human history itself.


The oldest known traces of cannabis come from 12,000 BC. Historical data suggests that the first cannabis plants evolved in central Asia, in the regions of Mongolia and Siberia.


It is surprising that despite its long history with humans, we know so little about the drug and its healing properties.


Chinese Usage of Cannabis


The earliest specimen of cannabis plants have been discovered in Chinese graves from the period of 5,000BC to 3,000BC.  The economy of Yangshao across the Yellow River made extensive use of the cannabis fiber in hemp clothing, pottery and cordage.


China also happens to be the first place where we find historical evidence that the drug was used for medicinal purposes. 

Around 2700BC, the Red Emperor Shen Nung wrote “The Herbal”, a medical treatise on using several herbs for curing disease and ailments.


Cannabis is mentioned in this medical treatise for production of rope, paper, food, clothing and even arrows. The herb is also mentioned for preparing a special tincture or tea called Ma. The elixir is mentioned to have properties of Yin and Yang, i.e. male and female.


The yang portion of cannabis was described to have therapeutic effects on consumption. The text suggests that the tea was believed to have a positive effect on skin, stomach, long hair as well as regaining energy and inducing hunger. 


Hemp became prominent in ancient Chinese culture and literature from the warring states period suggests knowledge of cannabis and its dual therapeutic effects.

Medical Marijuana: The Effects of Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid

February 13th, 2018

When deciding to select the right medical marijuana strain to help bring relief for your medical condition, it is important to understand the difference of each marijuana species and how it can be helpful for you as a patient. Marijuana is classified into two main types of species: Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. When you visit dispensaries, you will notice that they organize each of strain type by Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid. A hybrid is a blend of both cannabis species, typically described by the percentage mix of Indica and Sativa. With such a large diversity of strains that have varying amounts of potencies, medicinal effects and aromatic/flavor profiles (known as terpenes), it can be overwhelming to choose the right medical marijuana strain for you. 


Patients will find Indica strains to be more potent in THC and more popular for insomnia, chronic pain, appetite stimulation, and anxiety. With higher THC levels, Indica strains can give more narcotic effects, meaning a full-body medicating feeling that brings great relief but also makes a patient less active and more sedated.

Layman's Guide to The Endocannabinoid System

Alex Grey Marijuana

February 2nd, 2018

Throughout history, Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes around the world. The herb has great healing properties which were recognized by early and medieval herbal doctors and medical practitioners.


However the drug received a lot of negative coverage and active interference by governments to suppress its usage. The U.S. government had particularly been opposed to it and put in draconian legislation that interfered not just with the consumption of cannabis but medical research as well. 


While other developed nations like Canada, EU and even China have become more open to researching the medical properties the U.S. government continues to block researchers from accessing the herb for study. Individual states in the country have taken a more positive stance, with 29 states now allowing access to marijuana for medical purposes.


Marijuana Effectiveness 


Marijuana Medication has been quite effective in the treatment of a number of conditions, especially those related to inflammation, insomnia and chronic pain. A number of people don’t understand the reason why Marijuana works so effectively.


The drug has proven to work because of the endocannabinoid system present in every human as well as most mammals. To understand Marijuana treatment, we would first need to understand the endocannabinoid system.

Tips on How to Use Medical Marijuana

January 5th, 2018

Are you attempting to consume medical marijuana for the first time? And are you finding yourself at a complete loss on how to do it? Well, don’t worry anymore, because this article presents a complete guide on the methods of consuming marijuana, which will make you an expert before you even know it! There are a variety of methods through which you can consume it. Here are some of the most popular methods.

Medical Marijuana vs Recreational Marijuana

Medical Cannabis Jar

December 19th, 2017

The Difference Between Medical Marijuana and Recreational Marijuana


Medical Marijuana


The various effects of consuming marijuana are due to the presence of natural chemicals in the plant known as cannabinoids. The marijuana plant has over a hundred cannabinoids. People often refer to using the entire unprocessed plant when they talk about the usage of medical marijuana for alleviating symptoms of given medical conditions. It is pertinent to note that the FDA does not recognize or approve using the unprocessed plant for medicinal purposes.


Each of the 100 cannabinoids contained in the plant have varying effects on the human body. However there are two cannabinoids which are used in varying combinations for medicinal purposes.


THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol


THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid and is responsible for the psychotropic effects that

consuming marijuana causes. Higher concentrations result in more potent “highs”.


CBD or Cannabidiol


CBD is the cannabinoid that is more popularly known for its medicinal benefits. Consuming it

does not result in any psychotropic effects.


Medical marijuana usually contains a higher concentration of CBD, which is why consuming it doesn’t

lead to a person getting “high”.


Recreational Marijuana


Recreational marijuana is essentially, marijuana that is consumed without the intent to alleviate a

medical condition. Recreational marijuana frequently contains a higher concentration of THC, compared

to its medical counterpart, as the THC is responsible for the feeling of euphoria upon consumption.


Primary differences between both types


There are several differences that exist between both kinds of marijuana. Some of the primary differences include:


  1. Medical marijuana comprises of a higher CBD concentration, compared to recreational marijuana. So whenever a person consumes medical marijuana, they won’t get the “high” that results from consuming recreational marijuana. There’s no real difference between the main plant and the concentrates, but usually the potency of medical edibles is significantly higher. The THC content in recreational marijuana is significantly higher compared to that in medical marijuana. Recreational use of marijuana is for the purpose of the psychotropic effects it confers.
  2. In order to acquire medical marijuana, a recommendation is necessary. Marijuana of the recreational variety can be purchased by anyone. For medical marijuana, you need to have a medical condition that has been qualified by the state’s medical marijuana program. Every state that has legalized medical marijuana, has created a list of health conditions for which the program permits the consumption of medical marijuana for treatment. The recommendation has to be regularly renewed as well. There is no need for a recommendation for consuming recreational marijuana. You can visit any dispensary that sells marijuana for recreational purposes, and purchase what you need. However, you would need to check your state laws for the minimum age in which recreational use is permitted, and provide documentary proof at the dispensary. Apart from that, there is no need for the recommendation of a medical practitioner, for getting recreational marijuana.
  3. You have to be over 18 years old to be able to buy medical marijuana from any dispensary. However, even if you need to be 18 years of age for purchasing medical marijuana, there are special circumstances in which individuals who are under 18 years of age, can file an application for a medical marijuana card. The legislature that details these circumstances, varies from state to state, so it is important that you do your research for this. In order to be able to buy recreational marijuana, an individual has to be over 21 years old. If you reside in a state where consuming marijuana for recreational purposes is legal, you have to prove your age at the dispensary. In this case, even a driver’s license is accepted as sufficient proof. In states where recreational consumption is legal, you are permitted to possess marijuana and even grow the plant if you are over 21 years of age.
  4. Medical marijuana can be purchased from any state regulated medical marijuana dispensary. If consuming marijuana for recreational purposes is legal in your state, then you can go to any recreational marijuana dispensary for buying it.

What is the difference between CBD and THC?


As mentioned before, medical marijuana usually contains a higher concentration of CBD, compared to

THC. This section discusses in detail, the main differences between these two cannabinoids, to provide

understanding about why this is so.


Psychotropic Effects


As mentioned before, THC is responsible for the high that you get from consuming marijuana.

CBD does not have psychotropic effects. When you’re consuming the drug for its medical

properties, you’re doing it to treat a medical condition rather than getting high. This is why

marijuana strains that have a higher concentration of CBD are beneficial from a medical point of

view. There are far lesser side effects, compared to the effects that marijuana with high THC

concentration can cause. However, you should remember that just because the CBD content is

higher in medical marijuana, doesn’t mean that there is no THC in medical marijuana at all. 


Anti-Psychotic Properties


Not only is CBD non-psychoactive, it has shown to counter the psychotropic effects of THC.

Moreover, when CBD is consumed on a standalone basis, it has been shown to retain its anti-

psychotic properties and has the potential to treat individuals with mental illnesses.


Anxiety


It has been observed that individuals who consume high amounts of recreational marijuana

begin to report feelings of anxiety and paranoia. Studies have revealed that CBD can facilitate in

reducing or even eliminating the anxiety that THC causes. Other studies have also shown that

CBD can also alleviate general anxiety.


Sleep


There are several reports of individuals that claim that consuming marijuana enables them to

acquire a good night’s sleep. It is postulated that the THC is responsible for creating this effect. It

is thought that CBD contains an agent that induces an individual to wakefulness. This has

created much interest, as varying combinations of THC and CBD have resulted in varying effects.

There are strains of marijuana that are reputed for their ability to induce sleep, while others

have the reputation of inducing energy.


Appetite


CBD can be an appetite suppressant, which will help patients who need the medicinal relief but do not want the "munchies" associated with using medical marijuana. The "munchies" is a well known side effect of THC which increases the appetite of patients making them feel extra hungry.  Patients like those dealing with anorexia, who need to gain weight may choose a medicinal marijuana product with higher THC. 

9 Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Cancer Patients

Cancer Ribbon Circle Logo

December 12th, 2017

  

There are several reasons why patients that have cancer resort to recommendations/certifications for medical marijuana. There is still uncertainty about whether cannabis can effectively cure or treat cancer. However, there are several ways in which cannabis has been proven to have benefits for patients that suffer from cancer. This article covers nine ways in which cannabis has helped patients.


1. Pain Relief

  

One of the most debilitating effects of cancer and its treatments is chronic pain. This chronic pain is also one of the reasons why patients try to acquire recommendations for medical cannabis. According to a survey that was conducted using 271 Canadian cancer patients who consumed medical cannabis, 60% of the patients preferred the use of cannabis to manage their symptoms, compared to other pharmaceutical drugs.


Out of those 60%, 30% reported their preference for cannabis over prescription painkillers. Doctors frequently prescribe painkillers to cancer patients for managing their pain, in spite of the fact that cannabis, which is considered to be non-toxic and less addictive, is available as an option for potential treatment.


2.   Alleviation of Nausea and Vomiting


Radiation and chemotherapy treatments are, without a doubt, one of the most grueling treatments for cancer. Extreme vomiting and nausea are two of the most crippling side effects of the treatment. Numerous studies on humans have revealed that a number of cannabis compounds possess antiemetic properties and can reduce nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, successfully.

These cannabis compounds have been extremely successful to the extent that there are pharmaceutical companies which have synthesized versions of these, so that they can be legally sold to patients who are undergoing therapy. The drug is known as Marinol.


3.   Irritation of Skin


Itchiness and skin rashes are common ailments that patients undergoing traditional cancer treatments suffer from. Cannabinoids are natural compounds that occur in cannabis, that possess potent anti-inflammatory properties. This makes them extremely helpful for soothing moderate allergic reactions such as allergic dermatitis.


Research conducted through interviews of cancer patients who were undergoing treatments that utilized medical cannabis, revealed that patients experienced relief from itchiness. Most of the patients that were interviewed, consumed the cannabis via edibles or smoking. However, cannabis can be applied in the form of salves or balms as well. Topical application of cannabis does not cause its psychotropic effects.


  

4. Managing Weight and Appetite


One of the major side effects of chemotherapy is a severe loss of appetite as well, apart from nausea, pain and vomiting. Cannabis is well known for causing “munchies” or hunger pangs upon consumption. This can be a welcome relief for patients who have cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy.


Cannabis not only interacts with receptor systems in the cells that trigger a release of ghrelin, which is known as the main hunger hormone, it also stimulates the pleasure centers that are triggered in the brain, while responding to food. This enables cancer patients to feel hungrier as well as derive more pleasure out of eating. 


5. Overall Well-Being and Mental Health


Severe illnesses, especially life threatening ones, can severely have an impact on an individual’s mental health. Cannabis is well known for its mood stimulating and euphoric properties.

Cancer patients that suffer from mental health issues frequently opt for strains of cannabis that have a high concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The cannabinoid is psychotropic and is responsible for the “high” that comes with consuming cannabis. However, it is postulated that even the non-psychoactive cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) improves the mood of patients and results in a sense of well-being.


Studies on rodents by scientists have revealed that CBD results in rapid boosts of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter associated with the sensation of pleasure. Popular antidepressant drugs frequently target serotonin for their effects. Usually antidepressants take weeks for their effects to manifest, these studies show that the positive effects of CBD manifest after a single dose.


THC in lower doses has also been seen to increase the levels of serotonin, which give it an antidepressant effect.


6. Sleeping


Consumption of cannabis is popularly known to cause drowsiness. Certain cultivars of cannabis have a greater likelihood of causing drowsiness compared to others. As a general rule of thumb, indica strains or varieties that come under the Kush umbrella supposedly encourage sedation and sleepiness.


Research conducted on THC reveals that the cannabinoid helps patients in falling asleep more quickly and for a longer duration. It is also theorized that consumption of cannabis extends the duration for which a person is in deep sleep. Deep sleep is considered to be the phase of the sleep cycle which is restorative.


7.  Digestive Problems


Conventional cancer treatments also cause the side effects of diarrhea and constipation. Constipation is typically associated with bacterial imbalances that occur in the intestinal tract. According to research, cannabis compounds can change the proportion of bacteria in the intestinal tract, which leads to a more balanced ecosystem internally.

The sensation of being “plugged up” is also an occurring side effect of cancer medicine, especially pain medications that contain opioids. As stated above, several cancer patients prefer consuming cannabis over painkillers that are prescribed, which allows them to decrease the dose of the pharmaceuticals and subsequently easing the associated side effects.


Inflammation in the intestines leads to diarrhea, and can be a potential side effect of conventional treatments for cancer. According to research that was published at the National Academy of Sciences Proceedings, consuming cannabis can result in decreasing the inflammation that is responsible for causing intestinal distress.


8. Chronic fatigue


Different strains of cannabis have different effects; there are some that induce drowsiness while others can cause stimulation and an increase in activeness. Even though every strain of cannabis is unique, the sativa category of cannabis strains is generally regarded as causing stimulating effects that are similar to the effects that a cup of coffee has in the morning. The sativa strains can thus be an effective antidote to lethargy and apathy. 


There are currently no clinical studies that have proven this conclusively, but it has been shown that symptoms related to chronic fatigue can be controlled through the use of cannabis. As mentioned above, consumption of cannabis can allow patients to stay in deep sleep for longer, which effectively combats symptoms of chronic fatigue.


9.  Anti-Cancer Properties


One of the most remarkable properties of the herb is its anti-cancer properties, in addition to the relief it provides from most symptoms of cancer. Cannabis compounds have shown to possess the ability to kill tumor and cancer cells. This ability is being extensively explored by research institutions and biopharmaceutical companies.


In studies conducted in the lab and animals, THC and CBD have been observed to cause cell death and prevent cancer cells from spreading. THC and CBD have also been seen to successfully curb the formation of blood vessels in tumor cells.

Veterans With PTSD Look To Medical Marijuana

December 05, 2017

There remains only one more bureaucratic obstacle in the way of researchers acquiring approval for the first exploration of how medical marijuana is beneficial for veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which is working with the backing of the College of Medicine in University of Arizona, are in the process of initiating a three-month study of combat veterans who have served time in Afghanistan and Iran. The plan is currently on hold and its initiation depends on the agreement of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Public Health Service for selling the marijuana necessary for the research. The other scenario in which the plan can be initiated is if it becomes legal to import marijuana.


The study requires a triple blind and a placebo controlled environment. The proposal was meticulously prepared and begins with recommending a sample size of 50 veterans. These have to be veterans whose PTSD symptoms have shown any signs of improvement using conventional medical practices. All the participants have to refrain from using marijuana for at least thirty days prior to participating in this experiment. Once the program begins, the veterans will be asked to only consume a maximum of 1.8 grams in a day, via smoking or vaporizing. The test group will be supplied on a weekly basis with different strains of marijuana which will have THC content that ranges from 0-12%. The objectives of the study are twofold. According to Sisley, who is one of the researchers, they would be in a position to figure out which symptoms the marijuana can help alleviate and what would be the optimal dosage. Sisley is also aware of the public opinion that prevails regarding medical marijuana. According to her, they will not be taking any liberties if they get the chance to conduct the study. She said that the study was extremely rigorous and controlled, and it wasn’t being done for the purpose of “getting vets high”.


The acceptance of the calming properties of marijuana amongst soldiers who were psychologically scarred would be a thing of the past, if anecdotal evidence was regarded as sufficient. Statistical evidence for supporting that particular hypothesis can be acquired from the state of New Mexico where marijuana is a legal prescription provided for soldiers with PTSD. As a matter of fact, having PTSD is the criteria for the state to issue a license for medical marijuana, which is a significant 27% of the total. The statistic was not really surprising for Sisley, but she stated that circumstantial evidence was insufficient to persuade the range of government agencies that she interacts with. According to her, it was necessary that politics should be superseded by science. She stated that the approach to treating PTSD had to be multidisciplinary and that drugs such as Paxil and Zoloft had proven to be inadequate.


In Colorado, the legislature of the state could not pass a proposal that was the equivalent of the proposal in New Mexico. Colorado’s significant veteran population was prohibited from citing PTSD on applications for medical marijuana. Brian Vicente, who belongs to the Sensible Colorado organization, has become an advocate for medical marijuana for veterans, once the rejection had taken place. According to Brian, the federal government was divided in a number of ways. The Veterans’ Administration has had some positive stances on veterans using medical marijuana. However, there is NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) and DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), and other such organizations that have created an obstacle to the research that other government agencies have allowed. This is a scenario that Sisley is also familiar with on a first hand basis.


While the American government agencies remain divided over the issue, other countries have taken the lead in providing arguments that favor Sisley’s theory. The Israeli University of Haifa has published a study that shows that marijuana administered on rats within a day of experiencing trauma, effectively halted the development of PTSD. The study was conducted by Dr. Irit Akirav’s, and also revealed that there is a certain period of time that has to be considered. According to Akirav, there is a certain period of time immediately after the trauma and during that period, the administration of medical marijuana can aid in preventing symptoms that resemble those of PTSD, in rats. The experience is not erased, but the development of symptoms can be halted. In Spain, Switzerland and Germany, there are actually programs, some of which have been funded by the government, that are exploring the use of MDMA for inhibiting PTSD symptoms.


The lack of decisiveness on part of the government has resulted in unforeseen consequences, for medical practitioners. One of them is Dr. Phil Leveque, a veteran of World War 2. His medical license was revoked. The basis for this was a big number of medical marijuana permits that he had authorized for veterans with PTSD. Leveque has estimated that he had authorized approximately a 1,000 permits and using the best of his judgment. 100% of his patients claimed that it was a much better solution compared to any other drug that they had used, whether they had been veterans from World War 2, Vietnam, Korea or any of the more recent conflicts. There are sixteen states along with the Colombian District that have legislation that allow the usage of marijuana for medical purposes. However, physicians of Veteran Affairs have been categorically forbidden from recommending any patient to enroll in any state’s program for medical marijuana.


Data from Veterans Affairs has revealed that from 2002-2009, there were approximately 1 million troops that left their active duties in Afghanistan or Iraq and were qualifying for VA care. This number will continuously rise and shows that there is a need for treatment for PTSD that is more effective. PTSD is a very significant consideration for troops that are still on duty in Afghanistan. Approximately 6-11% of the troops are suffering from PTSD. The numbers increase for Iraq war veterans ranging between 12-20% for veterans that have returned. These are statistics that have been published by government agencies. Veterans Affairs is cognizant of the fact and has been funding unconventional studies of PTSD, such as using yoga and therapy dogs.



Marijuana in Washington, D.C.

AUGUST 17, 2017

Washington DC Flowers

It is one of the goals of our organization to keep abreast of all the latest developments in the medical marijuana industry as best possible.  Doing so requires frequent dialogue with others involved with medical marijuana and learning of their travels at home and abroad.  Time and time again, I keep hearing the same thing from people traveling through our nation’s capital; that a particular, unmistakable aroma often permeates the air.  That smell is undoubtedly marijuana, and Washington, D.C. clearly reflects one of the more unique cases of marijuana legislation to-date.


In 2014, a voter-approved ballot initiative passed legalizing the possession (up to 2 ounces), cultivation (up to 6 plants) and gifting of a certain amount (1 ounce) of recreational cannabis but not the selling of it ¹. This moved Washington, D.C. from a medical marijuana realm to the start of a recreational locale.  Recreational sales of marijuana were however prohibited a month after this passage by a clause put forth by Congress for a budget proposal limiting the city from using any funding to regulate recreational marijuana ². Recreational marijuana thereby became legal in many ways except for its sale.  Therefore, a region which has no voting power in Congress, only an at-large delegate that does not having voting rights, was effectively stymied from pursuing a recreational sales system for marijuana as seen in states such as Colorado and Washington.


The frustration espoused by the current mainstay slogan adorning Washington, D.C. license plates, “no taxation without representation,” is for many echoed with the decision by Congress to prohibit the will of Washington’s residents on this subject while still subjecting them to all federal taxes and without full, unrestricted Congressional representation ³.  This is a topic of contention as the point of view of Congress would parallel that of the federal government as a whole, that marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance pursuant to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).  Federal employees, of which the district has a very large percentage, are still entirely prohibited from using marijuana.  Understandably, many in Congress and their respective constituents would probably not be fond of federal employees paid with taxpayer dollars using marijuana for other-than-medical reasons.  It would also be quite the contradiction for the headquarters of our federal government to be simultaneously declaring marijuana outright illegal while allowing its recreational sale.

Of significant note, it must be pointed out that possession of marijuana is still completely illegal on federal property, which constitutes roughly a third of the city, and no one can legally smoke marijuana in public ⁴.


Do not expect anyone to openly be using marijuana on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial anytime soon!


DE O’Connell, MD
President & CEO
Paladin MD Services


References


  1. Garcia, M. (2017, July 30). D.C. Marijuana Market: Stuck In A Gray Zone. Retrieved August 15, 2017, from http://www.npr.org/2017/07/30/537324044/d-c-marijuana-market-stuck-in-a-gray-zone
  2. Images, A. W. (n.d.). Marijuana Is Now Legal in Washington, D.C. – So Why Is No One Acting Like It? Retrieved August 15, 2017, from http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/12/washington-dc-americas-least-fun-pot-mecca.html
  3. Condon, S. (2013, January 15). After years of pressure, Obama limos to feature “Taxation Without Representation” plates. Retrieved August 15, 2017, from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/after-years-of-pressure-obama-limos-to-feature-taxation-without-representation-plates/
  4.  Silber, M. (2017, July 03). It’s summer, and Washington smells like weed. Everywhere, all the time. Retrieved August 15, 2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/its-summer-and-washington-smells-like-weed-everywhere-all-the-time/2017/07/03/10d3461a-578a-11e7-b38e-35fd8e0c288f_story.html?utm_term=.cfbc74b4312d

Synthetic Marijuana Is Not Marijuana

August 08, 2017

Recently, a tragic event took place in Manhattan. On Thursday, May 18th, 2017, a troubled man named Richard Rojas steered his vehicle onto a busy Times Square sidewalk, killing a young woman from Michigan and injuring 22 people¹. He was overheard at the scene saying that he wanted to “kill them” and even ran toward a police officer saying this before being wrestled to the ground by police and bystanders. Eyewitnesses reported seeing a suspect highly agitated, screaming, running and jumping around before being bravely apprehended. Rojas was subsequently revealed to having had a dubious past, having been discharged from the military for disciplinary problems and previously arrested twice over for DUIs. Only a week prior to the incident occurring May 18th, he was cited for pointing a knife at a notary, having accused him of stealing his identity (he pleaded guilty to a harassment violation². Law enforcement sources later notified news outlets that after being taken into custody, Rojas had reportedly tested positive for synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 or spice³.


Synthetic marijuana is not marijuana; it is a combination of chemicals sprayed onto dried, shredded plant material, such as oregano⁴. The activity of these lab-produced cannabinoids can be a hundred times stronger (or more) than that of marijuana itself and cause intense paranoia and delusional thinking. All of the synthetic chemicals used to produce synthetic marijuana are illegal to sell, possess and use. Ironically, some people purchase this illicit substance thinking it is safer because it is not actually marijuana. Do not be this person! Synthetic cannabis is highly dangerous and all efforts to keep it out of United States dispensaries and elsewhere should be fully encouraged and assisted.


DE O’Connell, MD
President & CEO
Paladin MD Services


References


  1. Stanglin, D. (n.d.). Driver in Times Square rampage shouted ‘I wanted to kill them,’ prosecutors say. Retrieved August 08, 2017, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/05/19/times-square-accident-vehicle-rams-charges-filed/101868394/
  2. Nelson, S. C. (2017, May 19). Times Square Crash Driver ‘Was High On Synthetic Marijuana Spice’. Retrieved August 08, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/times-square-crash-driver-charged-with-murder_uk_591edfcde4b03b485cb0c5fb
  3. Berke, E. B. (2017, May 18). The Times Square driver was reportedly high on synthetic marijuana – here’s what it is. Retrieved August 08, 2017, from http://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-synthetic-marijuana-k2-times-square-car-crash-2017-5
  4. Anon, (2017). [online] Available at: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2015/08/18/the-dangers-of-synthetic-marijuana[Accessed 8 Aug. 2017].

The NFL And Medical Marijuana

August 01, 2017

NFL Marijuana


A topic of great interest currently rests with the usage of medical marijuana in the NFL.  Currently, the official position of the NFL is that medical marijuana is overall not appropriate for players to treat pain.  The NFL bans using medical marijuana and disciplines its players when random tests show 35 nanograms per milliliter in their system or more.  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has stated that the NFL is actively working with medical advisors and “…to date, they haven’t said ‘this is a change we think you should make that is in the best interest of the health and safety of our players.’ If they do, we’re certainly going to consider that.  But to date, they haven’t really said that.” The official policy of cannabis in the NFL in 2017 is that it remains listed along with other items in the category of substance abuse as Commissioner Goodell is insinuating ¹.


That being said, the Washington Post published yesterday a piece detailing a recent letter written by the NFL to the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) requesting to work in tandem to study medicinal marijuana².  This appears a step in the right direction to clarify the concerns the NFL has about marijuana being a substance prone to abuse amongst its players should it be allowed.  When anonymously surveying the players themselves, it would seem the real concern rests with the usage of opioids and their addictive potential more than medical marijuana ³.  Certainly, a collective bargaining process between the NFL and NFLPA will help shed light on what is the best policy to have for players as a whole.


Indica MD continues to be an advocate for former players of the NFL and other professional sports leagues who have suffered concussions, often multiple, and other injuries that lead to chronic pain.  In states that have legalized medical marijuana for chronic pain purposes, that meet a specific duration of time amongst other qualifiers, headaches attributable to traumatic brain injury (TBI) would qualify one to initiate the process to seek a doctor’s recommendation or certification.


DE O’Connell, MD 

President & CEO 

Paladin MD Services


References


  1. NFL offers to work with players’ union on study of marijuana as pain management tool. (2017, August 01). Retrieved August 01, 2017, from http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/20217643/nfl-reaches-nflpa-study-marijuana-pain-management-tool-players
  2. Maske, M. (2017, July 31). NFL offers to work with players’ union to study marijuana for pain management. Retrieved August 01, 2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2017/07/31/nfl-offers-to-work-with-players-union-to-study-marijuana-for-pain-management/?utm_term=.e1800076b0f3
  3. Nation, N. (2016, November 02). Cannabis Confidential: NFL players weigh in on medical marijuana vs. painkillers. Retrieved August 01, 2017, from http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/17938762/nfl-players-weigh-medical-marijuana-vs-painkillers

Advancing Medicinal Marijuana to a Higher Standard

July 25, 2017

Good morning! On behalf of myself and the rest of the IndicaMD staff, we would like to welcome you to our educational website, weekly blog and recommendation and certification service. The rapidly changing landscape with regard to medicinal marijuana warrants timely updates and thoughtful insights into a substance frequently misunderstood and often relegated by providers in the United States and many other nations. The goal of the IndicaMD program is to firstly educate others on the role of cannabinoids in the modern pharmacopeia, secondly to inform patients about the medicolegal aspects of medicinal marijuana usage and thirdly to evaluate patients to ascertain if they will benefit from cannabis. This evaluation also entails thoroughly gauging to see if no significant contraindications preclude usage and then to appropriately recommend/certify for using medicinal marijuana for the ailment(s) in question. Although cannabinoids promise benefit in a large number of maladies, many of which remain controversial, they can only be recommended for patients that qualify by virtue of state-specific guidelines. As strong supporters of the federalist system in place in our great nation, IndicaMD abides by all laws regarding any transaction involving cannabinoid recommendations/certifications (this website has no association whatsoever with producing or obtaining cannabis).


The ongoing story of medicinal marijuana in the state of Nevada is a case in point entwined with the laws passed forth from Nevada’s state capital, Carson City. At seemingly warp speed, the state of Nevada approved the sale of recreational marijuana starting on July 1st, 2017. Within days, state dispensaries were experiencing a shortage of cannabis due to sales even higher than the very high sales expected. Although Nevada dispensary owners and others predicted massive interest with the debut, even this was not fully foreseen. Recently, the governor of Nevada has gone so far as to consider declaring a “state of emergency” given the anticipated plunge in available cannabis in storefronts from Las Vegas to Reno¹.


In many ways, the story of hemp parallels the story of the United States. I will save extensive details about the history of cannabis for other blog posts but what is quite relevant today is its ongoing relationship with our federalist system of government. Simultaneously, there are federal regulations and state regulations that we seek to respect, honor and carry out. Our organization and employees adhere to the law in full and therefore you may see subtle and not-so-subtle differences in management of patient logistics based upon locale. Although human physiology and the endocannabinoid system remain essentially unchanged from person to person, state laws have considerable variation. The anticipated expansion of recreational marijuana programs in states in which they are permitted furthers known differences in the manner in which cannabis is discussed, produced and obtained. 


Commenting on the nature of medicinal marijuana in California, I can discuss my own experience as a neurologist having seen rapidly escalating interest in cannabis to treat various ailments. Truly, over the course of the most recent academic year, interest seems to have tripled. There are some days in clinic when the topic of medicinal marijuana comes up 3-4 times before close of business.


It is with pride that I state both of my alma maters, UC-Irvine and UCLA, are at the forefront of cannabis education in the United States. The Orange County Register recently announced that UC-Irvine is on its way to developing the first ever multi-disciplinary cannabis research center in the world². It was also this calendar year that UCLA hosted its Inaugural 2017 Cannabis Research Symposium, a heavily attended event that is sure to draw an encore presentation in 2018³.


An area of considerable interest in the medicinal marijuana community remains that of using cannabis to treat pediatric patients. This website alone has already shown itself of sustained interest to concerned parents/grandparents and their very young dependents. These dependents are seeking to try medicinal marijuana given the failure of other treatment regimens with regard to autism and a host of other concerns commonly encountered in the pediatric world. Unfortunately, until greater insight is gained by myself and the other physicians on staff, or we hire a pediatric consultant with growing expertise in this domain (which is proving itself a very difficult task to find such a specialist), we will continue to outright deny recommendations/certifications to any patient under the legal age of adulthood (18).


Nonetheless, we strongly encourage concerned parents and guardians to reach out to us and see what can be done for their loved ones. We are in the process of seeking out a network of competent and capable providers in the pediatric realm willing to, at minimum, provide information relevant to pediatric patients that we adult practitioners do not currently possess. However, we fully expect our knowledge base to expand and adapt with time. Please follow our website as we look to augment our knowledge base and roster of available practitioners.


One of IndicaMD’s many aims is to make sure America’s veteran defenders have access to medicinal marijuana when and where appropriate. IndicaMD will continue to offer an appreciation discount for all of the men and women who have bravely volunteered to stand in harm’s way on behalf of the United States. We honor the sacrifice you have made for us and it only makes sense that we offer an appreciation in return. In addition to former members of the armed forces, IndicaMD would also like to extend our appreciation rate to our domestic heroes, those who have served in either the police or fire departments of the municipalities we service. Please directly notify your IndicaMD physician of your status with the service to make them aware when you first log in.


IndicaMD is and always will be a physician-run organization. At this moment in time, every member of IndicaMD’s health care staff is a physician. We have great respect for physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) but at this time IndicaMD positions are only open to medical doctors. This means that every encounter for every patient will involve, at a minimum, a face-to-face telehealth visit or in-person visit with an IndicaMD state-licensed physician.


For women of childbearing age, do not be alarmed if your IndicaMD consultant physician asks about pregnancy or breastfeeding. In fact, it is of utmost importance that we counsel female patients of childbearing age to stop using medicinal marijuana in the advent of pregnancy or a period of breastfeeding. There is a known association between mothers who use cannabis and low birth weight infants, and given that we know medicinal marijuana can potentially be transferred via breast milk, we advise breastfeeding mothers to also suspend medicinal marijuana during the period of breastfeeding.


Another significant contraindication to the usage of medicinal marijuana is a history of schizophrenia in oneself or a first-degree relative. A first-degree relative is a brother, sister or parent (mother or father). The category of second-degree relatives includes uncles, aunts, grandparents, nephews, nieces and half-siblings. Although a history of schizophrenia in any of these second-degree relatives is not an absolute contraindication to using medicinal marijuana, it should be paid close attention. There is a believed association between eliciting a schizophrenic break in individuals who could be “on the edge” of developing the disease should they use, particularly smoke, THC-rich cannabis. Anyone with a more tertiary family history of schizophrenia should be made aware of this fact in case they observe in their family members (or themselves) anything remotely along the lines of psychotic behavior. Although this still remains a highly unlikely, almost reportable occurrence, it is good to be made aware of the possibility.


Generally speaking, there are not many absolute contraindications to using medicinal marijuana. A topic of further discussion is cardiac concerns, of which many guides referencing medicinal marijuana will explicitly recommend against cannabis usage (particularly smoking THC-rich cannabis) in patients with active, unstable heart disease. Patients with severe coronary artery disease (CAD) with any recent history of a heart attack (also known as “myocardial infarction” (MI)) are at special risk. Patients who have had coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery are often placed in a special concern bracket and restricted cannabis for medicinal purposes, as are those who have had a significant number of percutaneous stents placed in their coronary arteries. Understandably, regardless of having these risk factors or not, any patient experiencing chest pain after using medicinal marijuana is asked to cease consumption immediately. This also remains an incredibly rare occurrence and is essentially only reported in individuals smoking THC-rich cannabis. Regardless, if this does occur and chest pain persists, emergency services should be promptly notified.


One final note to make clear with the IndicaMD program is the near sacred commitment IndicaMD employees have to preserving patient confidentiality. Our database is fully HIPAA-compliant and your information will be kept private. In our short time since formulating the service, we have already seen a couple of patients who are well-known in their fields and recognizable by many on a national level. We already include in our patient panel athletes, musicians and actors who many would never guess are medicinal marijuana patients. Rest assured, your privacy will be kept. IndicaMD employees are well aware of the extremely strict guidelines we have set preserving patient confidentiality and the very harsh repercussions for anyone violating the company code. The only people who will have any idea as to your patient status will be the IndicaMD physician you see online (1), the staff member helping to arrange logistics and mail your recommendation/certification if approved (2) and myself if the IndicaMD partnered physician in question requests secondary confirmation to see if a patient merits approval and for what duration (3). There do exist occasions when relative contraindications to medicinal marijuana warrant our request for patients to follow-up with us on a sooner basis often with arranged appointments with trusted specialist physicians in the interim. This can be done with or without a conditional medicinal marijuana approval in hand.


In summary, IndicaMD is a medicinal marijuana physician-run company that is very much by the people, for the people. If there are any questions, comments or concerns please do not hesitate to call us at the number listed on the front page of the website (844-307-9950) or email us at your leisure (hello@indicamd.com). We are here first and foremost for you! 


DE O’Connell, MD

President & CEO
Paladin MD Services


References


  1. Fuller, T. (2017, July 13). Nevada Rushes to Address Shortage of Newly Legalized Marijuana. Retrieved July 25, 2017, from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/us/nevada-legal-marijuana-shortage.html
  2. Staggs, B. (2017, May 07). UC Irvine developing an interdisciplinary cannabis research institute. Retrieved July 25, 2017, from http://www.ocregister.com/2017/05/05/uc-irvine-developing-an-interdisciplinary-cannabis-research-institute/
  3. News Releases. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2017, from https://www.uclahealth.org/april-20-inaugural-ucla-cannibis-research-symposium