MyCannX Celebrates Acceptance and Celebrates Life This January

January is an important month. We’ve already talked about the importance of honoring January as Cervical Health Awareness Month, but there are two more important days in January that deserve recognition.

January 20: International Day of Acceptance

There was a time where people with disabilities were not able to be socially included and struggled with isolation through lack of accessibility. Those days are over.

January 20 has been designated the International Day of Acceptance, where we are encouraged to reflect on abilities and what has been made possible through acceptance and empowerment of persons with disabilities.

International Day of Acceptance was created by the late Annie Hopkins, who made it her life goal to show people that she wasn’t going to let her disabilities hinder her. She began 3E Love, a company that brought the heart symbol to the wheelchair symbol to that sought to unify people with disabilities and ignite conversation between people of all abilities.

Annie passed away in 2009 from complications from a medical procedure, but her message lives on and serves as an inspiration for her brother Steve, who took on her vocation, and all those who continue to celebrate January 20 in Annie’s honor.

Cannabis and People with Disabilities

MyCannX highlights International Day of Acceptance because we recognize that medical marijuana has a role to play in the lives of people with disabilities. Here are a few ways that MyCannX is advocating for medical marijuana access for those with disabilities:

·         Epilepsy. We have been amazed at the ways medical marijuana has been providing a better quality of life for children and adults suffering from epilepsy. We are encouraged by the emergent studies that examine seizure reduction, especially when it comes to the lives of children, who are experiencing dramatic changes through cannabis, allowing them to live carefree lives away from the fear of their seizures.

·         Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s Disease can be an often-debilitating disease that keeps those suffering from it from being socially included due to the severity of their tremors. We are encouraged by the emergent research suggesting that cannabis has neuro-regenerative properties that are showing promise for possibly reversing the severity of the disease.

·         Pain Management. People with disabilities may suffer from chronic pain issues. MyCannX has stepped up to advocate for medical marijuana as an alternative pain management approach, with CBD (cannabidiol) being an active component in interrupting the pain signals to our brains.

·         Anxiety and Depression. When the physical limitations of one's body prevent social participation, anxiety and depression can become real problems. The mental health community is being encouraged by the emergent research on how CBD rich strains can help the brain receive serotonin through the endocannabinoid receptors, naturally boosting mood.

As the medical marijuana community grows, we look forward to becoming an important voice for those with disabilities who can see the benefits of medical cannabis for their lives.

Those who live with disabilities and may be interested to get their cannabis card are encouraged to reach out through MyCannX, so we can be your guide for medical care and access.

January 22: Celebration of Life Day

Isn’t life beautiful? Celebration of Life Day is a day that encourages people of older generations to celebrate the lives of their children and grandchildren. It’s also a day to celebrate life at any age.

Celebration of Life Day asks us to take a pause to reflect on the beauty, and miracle of life. In a world that is often fraught with stories of illness, death, and bad news, this day encourages us to look at the bright side and the miracle of life.

It asks people to look at their family members and honor them, make it known how special they are, and their integral role in making this world a better place. It asks us to honor and cherish the dignity that each person deserves just by virtue of being alive.

Bringing Cannabis into Celebration of Life

Celebration of Life Day encourages us to spend quality time with our loved ones, marveling in the miracle of life.

For many, cannabis may be the one thing that is adding quality of life when other medical treatments have failed. This is something that needs to be talked about.

Perhaps Celebration of Life Day can be the day that you reflect on all the components of your life that add to its quality: family, friendships, health, enjoyment of life, and how cannabis has taken its place in lifestyle and health care.

Here are a few tips on how to broach the topic of cannabis and how it brings about quality of life with your loved ones on January 22, Celebration of Life Day:

·         Reflect on the advances that cannabis has made in health care, and how cannabis can help people achieve their best selves;

·         Discuss together how the legal cannabis movement has provided quality of life for many citizens, and how you, together, can advocate for more access for people;

·         Commit to spreading the word on how cannabis has changed lives; share the success stories, break the stigmas, and show your support for this miracle plant

·         Discuss how getting your cannabis card can help increase the enjoyment and quality of life of those suffering from debilitating medical conditions. This can be your moment for cannabis education, citing all the ways that cannabis has been able to change lives. You can read some uplifting stories on the MyCannX blog.

January 20 and January 22 both represent opportunities in which we can hold important and meaningful dialogues about life, health and ensuring that everyone has access to the supports, like cannabis, that provide quality of life for people. Be sure to use MyCannX as a resource as you explore cannabis, and allow us to be your link to getting medical care through cannabis.





January is Cervical Health Awareness Month: Where Does Cannabis Come In?

Congress declared January as Cervical Health Awareness Month as a method of raising literacy on the various health issues facing women. MyCannX is interested to share in this exploration of cervical health by exploring the ways that cannabis and cervical health, and cervical cancer, have been linked in the cannabis community discourse.

Cervical Health and Cervical Cancer

January became Cervical Health Awareness Month due to the fact that nearly 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and nearly 4,000 women will die from this devastating disease.

Cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer for women worldwide and is usually diagnosed between the age of 35 and 55 years of age. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is found to be within 99% of cases of diagnosed cervical cancers (but not all women with HPV develop cervical cancer), recognizing the importance of sexual health and prevention.

Perhaps different from other cancers, cervical cancer is thought to be a disease that develops over time, giving women opportunities to intervene to slow the development of the disease and inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

The Link Between Cannabis and Cervical Cancer

MyCannX helps people explore the medicinal benefits of cannabis for the often-harsh side effects of going through cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. We recognize the existing body of research that points to cannabis as providing anti-nausea, anti-inflammatory, and in some-cases anti-tumor properties that are causing people to wonder why cannabis hasn’t always been the answer to tackling the epidemic of cancer.

While we wait for more research to emerge that supports the often-reported miraculous effects cannabis is having on the actual disease itself, stories are emerging that support how cannabis could seriously affect cancer’s place within health care. Cervical cancer, in particular, is taking its place among the medicinal cannabis discourse as evidence builds that cannabis may inhibit cervical cancer cell growth.

Last year scientists at North-West University in South Africa used in vitro methods to test the efficacy of CBD (cannabidiol) in killing cervical cancer cells. It was observed that that CBD induced a process called apoptosis, where cancer cells literally kill themselves.

This study is extremely promising in terms of the ways we see the potential for cannabis to treat cancer, yet we must continue to replicate these findings so to grow the body of research surrounding cannabis and cervical cancer.

Other Ways Cannabis is Affecting Women’s Health

There has been a strong emergent movement in support of raising awareness to all the ways cannabis can benefit women’s health. Here are a few important ways that cannabis is proving to be a perfect pairing for a woman’s unique body:

·         Providing relief for reproductive pain. Most women will be able to share their account of menstrual pain and cramping, but many women are also suffering from chronic pain conditions. One common condition is dysmenorrhea which manifests with extreme cramping. Other debilitating conditions and diseases affecting their reproductive system include endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which causes extreme pain. Cannabis can provide pain relief by working with the endocannabinoid system to interrupt the pain signals to the brain.

·         Taking the edge off in menopause. Middle-aged women will be able to find relief through cannabis for symptoms of menopause. Women going through menopause can experience hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings, which can bring severe discomfort for the menopausal woman.

·         Using cannabis as a nutritional supplement. Cannabis leaves contain so many essential nutrients including omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids that can provide an extra boost to a woman’s diet. When you place cannabis leaves (decarboxylated) into your diet, you experience the overall health benefits of antioxidants, protein, and cannabinoid (CBD).  Why not juice it, or toss some into your morning smoothie?

Talk to your cannabis doctor, and learn more about how cannabis is providing women with a slew of health benefits for overall health. Discuss your particular stage in life and the ways that your reproductive health is affecting your overall well-being. Consider the ways that you can bring cannabis into your daily lifestyle as a health supplement while exploring the various ways that the cannabis plant is promoting women’s health.

What Can You Do for Cervical Health Awareness Month

Congress declares certain months as awareness months in an effort to spread the word about prevention and early detection of diseases that can be treated and prevented.

What can you do in honor of Cervical Health Awareness Month? MyCannX offers a few tips:

·         Talk to your doctor about scheduling a Pap Test (also known as a Pap Smear) to be able to screen for the presence of cancerous or pre-cancerous cells on the cervix;

·         Discuss HPV and how you or your young daughter can take steps towards prevention through vaccinations;

·         Talk to your doctor about the emergent discourse on cannabis and cervical health and share what you’ve learned;

·         Consider getting your cannabis card within your state to explore how you can use cannabis as a regulator of your health, or if you have cancer, to explore how cannabis can help you manage the symptoms of the disease and its treatment

·         Spread the word about cervical health – help thousands of women avoid diagnosis and early death.

Connect with MyCannX

MyCannX understands that there is a lot more research that needs to be conducted to understand the link between cannabis and cervical cancer, and we are dedicated to helping spread the information that we know.

If you have experiences with cervical cancer and cannabis therapies, connect with MyCannX to share your story. If you’re curious about how you can talk to a cannabis doctor about treating the symptoms of cervical cancer and its treatments, we can help you explore booking an appointment to get your cannabis card.

We are here on your journey with you and we remain dedicated to advancing what we know, and exploring what we’re yet to find out, about the possibilities of cannabis for cervical health.


Let Cannabis Be Your Companion to Achieving Health-Related New Year Resolutions

Whether its losing weight, exercising more, eating healthy, getting a hold on treating persistent medical concerns, or taking steps towards our mental health self-care, the start of a new year is an opportunity to turn a new page and begin important steps towards improving and maintaining your optimal health.

Sadly, only 8% of people stick to their New Year Resolutions, which is why it always pays to be proactive with your plan of attack for maintaining your focus towards health-related resolutions.

Cannabis can help. Here are some important ways that cannabis can accompany your journey towards health in the new year, making it easier (and more fun) to stick to those resolutions:

THCV to Support Weight Loss

It’s important that a balanced diet is important of any lifestyle. Cannabis has been long-associated with “the munchies” which is a stereotype that has kept the weight-conscious away from the plant.

It’s true, cannabis can have an effect on your appetite, which is why it’s been an important support for those with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, which can kill the appetite. Appetite stimulant strains are excellent in these contexts.

However, for the individual whose barrier to maintaining a balanced diet and healthy weight is issues with food and making unhealthy choices, there are appetite-suppressing strains that can help curb the desire to open the fridge or snack cupboard.

Cannabis cultivators are becoming interested in the cannabis molecule called THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin), which is showing to act as a very strong appetite suppressant.

Certain medical marijuana strains contain higher levels of this THCV. An example is Black Beauty, which contains 7% THC and 4% THCV, known to give users an energizing “high” while decreasing your desire to snack. Strains like these allow you to focus on productive activities rather than allowing idle hands to find their way to the ice cream freezer.

Microdosing Cannabis to Support the Fitness Experience

Fitness and physical activity is part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and overall health. This year, cannabis will begin to emerge stronger in the community of athletes and fitness enthusiasts as more discover the promises of cannabis for maintaining fitness goals.

More major sports communities, like the World Anti Doping Agency, have removed CBD as a banned substance for major athletes around the world. This comes with the recognition that this form of medical marijuana is an important alternative to opioids for pain management and muscle inflammation.

Those who practice high-intensity fitness activities sometimes turn to cannabis as a way to gain the energy required to get “in the zone” for fitness but are using through a method called microdosing to enjoy the benefits of energy-producing cannabis strains without a strong high.

Microdosing involves taking periodic, small doses of your medical cannabis over an extended period of time rather than large amounts in a session. Through microdosing at various parts of your fitness experience, you allow your body to enjoy the benefits the cannabis without necessarily having to experience strong psychoactive effects of the THC. Microdosing is very much about taking the “less is more” approach to cannabis use.

Infuse Cannabis into Your Diet

It’s important that your diet is balanced to include many vitamins and minerals that promote your overall health. Did you know that your cannabis can be infused into your meals as a way to deliver the amazing health benefits of cannabis right to your endocannabinoid system?

Cannabis dining with executive chefs has exploded in legal cannabis markets, where people are going to great lengths to combine cannabis and the culinary experience.

There is a reason why the edibles market was the fastest-growing market in 2017 in the legal cannabis market: people love eating their cannabis.

It’s important for those who are interested in cannabis edibles to note that there are differences in methods of ingestion for cannabis, and edibles posses powerful differences compared to combusting (smoking) cannabis. When ingested, cannabis edibles are stronger since they go right into your bloodstream and endocannabinoid system, which is ensuring that the legal cannabis market adheres to strong compliance standards for labeling and packaging.

When exploring edibles, it’s important to understand dosage and the products you’re ingesting to ensure you’re taking the right amount for your body and desires with your medical marijuana.

People are using DIY oil infusers like the LEVO infuser while exploring how cannabis oils, market edible products, and juicing cannabis leaves can benefit both their overall health and their diets.

Cannabis as a Support for Mental Health

The dialogue about cannabis and mental health is a strong one, with the general belief that high-THC strains are not overly productive for the brain that struggles with depression and anxiety.

However, there is a strong emergent discourse on the way CBD-rich strains can increase the effectiveness of the serotonin levels of the brain as well as help in the regeneration of neurons. These are both brain functions that are targeted by the pharmaceutical market’s anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications.

Cannabis is taking a strong place in the mental health struggle as many people don’t find the current pharmaceutical approach to be effective enough in treating mental health disorders without harmful side effects.

Taking the medical cannabis approach to mental health involves understanding the powerful ways the CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system.

Exploring Cannabis as an Alternative to Pharmaceuticals

There’s no denying that we live in a society where doctors are too quick to prescribe, and pharmacists are all to quick to fill prescriptions of pharmaceuticals that may cause more harm than good.

Have you ever gone through what you’re being prescribed and wondering if what you’re taking is actually benefitting you?

Since medical cannabis took off, the cannabis community has been sure to share the ways that people have been able to replace certain* medications with medical cannabis. People are strongly emerging in support of replacing opioids with cannabis, a recent North American study citing that 30% of those surveyed were successful in doing so. Anti-inflammatories and benzodiazepines are also seeing some replacement by the mighty plant.

Cannabis is also a strong analgesic and anti-inflammatory, which is why so many athletes are using CBD rather than the painkillers and anti-inflammatories you can find both over the counter and by prescription.

Can Medical Cannabis Set You On Path for a Healthy 2018?

Maintaining overall health means being dedicated to taking a balanced approach to the way you see your health. It’s all about what you do, and how you approach the various aspects of a healthy lifestyle that can determine your success. While cannabis won’t be the thing that changes your 2018, it can significantly support you in your goals towards overall health.

MyCannX is dedicated to ensuring you have all the information necessary to understand how medical cannabis can help you achieve overall health in 2018. Connect with us to get your cannabis card and understand the ways cannabis can be your companion as you use the year to achieve the healthiest version of yourself.

*Note that it’s extremely important to discuss any medication changes with your health care professional before proceeding to explore cannabis as an alternative

FAQ: What you need to know about medical marijuana in Maryland

Medical marijuana is now available in Maryland, more than four years after the General Assembly passed a law legalizing it.

Standing up the industry — with growers, processors, dispensaries and doctors — took longer than expected. The law needed to be tweaked, rules to needed to written and legal battles fought over who won licenses.

Here’s what prospective users need to know about medical marijuana.

Who is eligible to get a prescription for medical marijuana in Maryland?

State law says the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission “is encouraged to approve” medical marijuana prescriptions for:

  • Patients with chronic or debilitating diseases or medical conditions who have been admitted to hospice or are receiving palliative care;
  • Patients with a chronic or debilitating disease whose symptoms include (or for which the treatment produces side effects that include) cachexia, anorexia, or wasting syndrome; severe or chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures; or severe or persistent muscle spasms; and
  • Patients who are diagnosed with any condition that is severe, for which other medical treatments have been ineffective, and for which the symptoms “reasonably can be expected to be relieved” by the medical use of marijuana.
  • The commission specifically lists glaucoma and post-traumatic stress disorder as qualifying conditions.

    What’s the process to get a prescription?

    Consumers first must register online as a patient with the commission. In addition to Maryland residents, non-Maryland residents who are in the state receiving medical treatment are eligible to register.

    Patients must submit an electronic copy of a government-issued photo identification (driver’s license, passport or military ID), proof of address, a clear recent photo and the last four numbers of their Social Security number. More information about the process is available on the commission’s website.

    For minor patients under age 18, a parent or legal guardian age 21 or older must first register with the commission as a caregiver before registering the patient.

    After registering, patients must obtain a written certification (recommendation) from a provider registered with the commission. The provider will need the patient’s commission-issued Patient ID number to issue the certification through the commission’s secure online application. If a certification is not used to purchase medical cannabis within 120 days, it becomes null and void.

    Patients also can purchase ID cards for $50 from the commission after receiving a written certification. ID cards are not required to buy medical marijuana.

    More than 17,000 consumers in Maryland have registered for medical marijuana.

    Do I need to go to a special doctor to get one?

    Like patients seeking medical marijuana, doctors and other medical providers recommending medical cannabis to patients also must be registered with the commission.

    More than 500 providers — including doctors, nurses and dentists — have signed on to the program, according to recent data from the commission.

    MedChi compiled a list of member doctors by region who are licensed by the Board of Physicians, licensed by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission and who asked to be listed. also provides a list of verified medical marijuana doctors in the state.

    Where can I get it?

    Five of the state’s 10 licensed dispensaries are currently open in Cumberland, Bethesda, Rockville, Ijamsville and Frederick, and most have limited supplies. Here’s a map.

    The others, including locations in Columbia and Ellicott City, are expected to open in the coming weeks.

    And more are in planning and development, but by law there can be no more than two dispensaries in each of the state’s 47 legislative districts (not including licensed growers, which may also hold dispensary licenses).

    Are different strains or products available at different dispensaries?

    Yes. Many dispensaries offer different strains of dried marijuana with different properties designed to help treat various ailments. In addition to the dried plant, some dispensaries also offer liquids that can be vaporized, oils, concentrates, topical ointments, wax, pills and accessories. Some extracts can be added to foods at home, but edible marijuana products are not available from Maryland dispensaries.

    How much does it cost?

    The price varies. At Kannavis, a dispensary in Ijamsville, dried product sells for about $50 to $60 per eighth-ounce, or $100 to $112 per quarter-ounce. A half-gram vape cartridge of extract from the shop costs $90.

    Will insurance pay for it?

    ealth insurance companies are not required to cover medical cannabis costs, but private health insurers can develop policies that will cover medical cannabis.

    Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States does not cover medical marijuana, according to a spokesman. Coverage information for UnitedHealthcare and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield was not immediately available.

    The federal government still classifies pot as an illegal drug. What impact does that have here?

    Customers cannot travel to other states with medical marijuana from Maryland. The Transportation Security Administration does not screen for marijuana, but it likely will be confiscated if found during a search.

    Can patients or doctors grow their own medical marijuana?


    How much medical marijuana can I possess at one time?

    Patients can carry up to 120 grams (about four ounces) unless a physician determines a patient needs more. In extract forms, ustomers are allowed to obtain up to 36 grams of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) per month.

    What happens if I am stopped by law enforcement and carrying medical marijuana?

    Patients do not have to consent to a search, nor do they have to disclose that they possess medical marijuana. If medical cannabis is found during a search, the patient should present their patient ID card or direct law enforcement officials to the marijuana commission’s database.

    What about workplace drug tests?

    aryland law does not prevent employers from testing for marijuana use, and it does not protect employees who test positive for any reason.

    Is there a chance recreational marijuana use could be legalized in Maryland?

    Several Democratic state lawmakers introduced a bill during the 2017 General Assembly session to hold a statewide referendum on whether to legalize recreational marijuana use in the state, while regulating and taxing it. The bill didn’t get much traction, but the issue isn't going away. Several states that legalized its recreational use are seeing significant revenue from marijuana sales.

    What’s next for medical marijuana?

    Baltimore City Circuit Judge Barry Williams said a trial should determine whether state regulators acted outside the law when they chose which companies won lucrative licenses to grow the drug. A trial date has not yet been set.

    Meanwhile, lawmakers are expected to address concerns about the lack of minority ownership among the companies that won licenses, which could mean an increase in the number of authorized growers and/or processors. From a consumer’s prospective, that eventually could lead to greater supply of the drug and potentially lower costs.

    Regardless, the current medical marijuana law calls for the cannabis commission to evaluate whether there are enough growers in the state to meet demand and to issue however many licenses are necessary after June 1, 2018.

  • BY: Sarah Meehan Contact Reporter


Medical marijuana has arrived in Maryland, and sales have begun

By Fenit NirappilRachel Siegel and Aaron Gregg December 2

At least 200 would-be customers were lined up outside Rockville’s first medical marijuana dispensary Friday afternoon when one of the owners announced that a cannabis shipment — including elixirs, tablets and flowers — had arrived.

Bill Askinazi promised that everyone in line would go home with at least some marijuana, then said computer issues were delaying the start of sales, and rushed back inside.

Call it a soft opening for Maryland’s long-awaited medical marijuana program, with at least two stores opening Friday after nearly five years of bureaucracy and delays.

In addition to Askinazi’s Potomac Holistics, Allegany Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Cumberland, near the Pennsylvania border, served its first customers late that night.

Five other dispensaries also told The Washington Post that they plan to start selling cannabis products in coming days. Wellness Institute of Maryland, in Frederick, said it had already made limited sales through a trial program but declined to provide further details.

Some people drove for more than an hour to get to the Rockville dispensary. Denise Broyhill came from Annapolis and was the dispensary’s second customer. She exited the store just after 5:30 p.m., holding a newly bought cannabis flower and 20 yellow tablets.

Broyhill, who spent $104, said she is seeking pain management for a neurological problem, and was excited — and “relieved” — to be able to try something “new and different.”

David Johnson, 38, who suffered nerve damage during a surgery nearly a decade ago, was third in line after arriving at 10:20 a.m. “I’m looking forward to no pain, no stress,” he said. “I know you can’t smoke it in the parking lot, but I won’t make it too much past here.

The launch of the industry doesn’t mean medical marijuana will be easy to buy. Because of low supply and high demand, dispensaries are limiting initial sales to patients who preregistered. And cannabis entrepreneurs say the first batches may be especially expensive because quantities are limited, only a few growers are ready to deliver, and businesses want to recoup hefty start-up costs.

“After six months, we’ll be on par with what people will be paying in the black market,” said Charlie Mattingly, who runs Southern Maryland Relief dispensary in Mechanicsville. “I just need my foot in the door; I’m not trying to gouge anybody in the first year . . . Every new market and new state starts a little bit high.”

Health insurance plans do not cover the drug, which is illegal under federal law.

Allegany Medical said in a Facebook post that pot would cost $680 for an ounce, about a one-month supply. That’s several times the cost in states like Colorado, California, Washington and Oregon, which have the country’s largest legal marijuana markets. Sajal Roy, manager of Allegany Medical, said he expects the price to drop to about $560 by January. Michael Klein, who runs Wellness Institute of Maryland in Frederick, said his dispensary would sell medical marijuana for between $440 and $520 an ounce when it opens Monday. Mattingly said his prices would start at $400 per ounce and gradually drop.

Medical marijuana is now legal in more than half of U.S. states and the District. But in Maryland, for now, there are few places to buy it.

Ninety-two dispensaries that received preliminary licenses from the state nearly a year ago have yet to win final approval, and their deadline to do so is a week away. It’s unclear whether the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission — which on Friday announced the appointment of health care executive Joy Strand as its third executive director in as many years — will extend the deadline.

Advocates say the launch of the program in Maryland is still a cause for celebration.

Green Leaf Medical LLC chief executive Philip Goldberg, right, and his brother and general counsel, Kevin Goldberg, walk through one of the company’s flower rooms Wednesday in Frederick, Md. The facility is one of 14 growing Maryland’s medical marijuana.

“The most important thing is that patients will be getting an opportunity for a new class of therapeutic drugs that will continue to expand as the science continues to expand,” said Del. Dan Morhaim (D-Baltimore County), a physician who led the charge in the state legislature for medical marijuana.

Darrell Carrington, a lobbyist for medical marijuana companies, said some dispensary owners have been struggling to secure zoning approvals from local governments and to find landlords willing to rent to their businesses.

“It’s going to be a little bit more drama, regrettably, at the beginning,” he said. “However, everyone is over the moon that we finally have a program,” he said.

In Frederick County, Kannavis of Ijamsville said it was planning to open Saturday.

Southern Maryland Relief said it would start sales Sunday, depending on the timing of shipments, while Peninsula Alternative Health on the Eastern Shore was looking at a Monday opening. Two dispensaries in Howard County planned to open later in December.

The Facebook post from Allegany Medical that listed the $680-per-ounce price prompted a variety of reactions.

“Guess I’ll stick with black market,” one Facebook commenter responded.

“I’ll pay to be legal,” another posted.

The opening of marijuana dispensaries angered some who oppose legalization. DeForest Rathbone, a resident of St. Mary’s County and founder of the National Institute of Citizen Anti-Drug Policy, accused Maryland of creating “a de facto drug cartel . . . to promote and enable lucrative marijuana businesses to sell their dangerous, addictive, mind-altering, child-brain-poisoning, family-destroying pot products throughout the entire state of Maryland.”

Although medical marijuana has won support from both Democrats and Republicans, who see the industry as a source of jobs and an alternative to addictive opioids, the opening of dispensaries has stirred opposition in some communities.

At Allegany Medical in Cumberland, the phones kept ringing and customers stopped in frequently all afternoon, only to learn that the armored truck carrying the drug hadn’t arrived yet. One receptionist joked she would need a bottle of wine at the end of the night.

A security employee stands by a case of marijuana distribution devices while waiting for the first patients to arrive at Allegany Medical Marijuana Dispensary on December 1, 2017 in Cumberland, Md. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

At 5:08 p.m., general manager Mark Van Tyne announced bad news: The shipment of marijuana, originally expected at 5 p.m., was delayed to 7:30 p.m. Even though the dispensary was supposed to close at 6 p.m., he promised that patients who had orders placed and couldn’t wait would still get their drugs.

Walter Elliott, who is being weaned off opioid pills for chronic back pain, was among the few willing to stick it out. “I wouldn’t miss it,” the 60-year-old Frostburg resident said. “I haven’t even smoked marijuana in 20 years or more, but you have to do something to help people get off the opioids.”

The shipment arrived around 7:30 p.m., but lags in the computer system tracking marijuana slowed sales for another few hours. At least 25 people were still waiting in the lobby just before 10 p.m. as the first order was being packaged.

Soon after, the Cumberland dispensary made its first sale. Elliott left with his marijuana at 12:30 a.m.

The dispensary, in a building across the street from Interstate 68, had giant “medical marijuana dispensary” signs unfurled outside. The lobby had a Christmas tree in the corner and wreaths hanging on the wall alongside posters of the drug.

5 Influential Women Cannabis Entrepreneurs To Pay Attention To

Despite the data showing a dip in women CEOs in the cannabis industry, women in cannabis have come out strong both in support of the mighty plant and the advancement of women in the workplace. Here are 5 women cannabis entrepreneurs who are taking the cannabis industry by storm. These are artists, visionaries, clinicians, educators, and mothers who have all stepped out to end the stigma around cannabis while using their fine business savvy to cultivate their own economic growth.

Bess Byers

Her name is Bess Byers but people call her CannaBess, the woman who is taking over the cannabis photography world by storm. While pursuing a career in politics, she found herself in DC where she learned to grow cannabis. There, she found the opportunity to blend her love for photography with the cannabis industry’s needs for branding, lifestyle shoots and professional photography for growers and labs. CannaBess has supported her own interests in politics through her photography and cannabis enthusiasm, and her end goal is to be in politics where she can be an agent for change in the de-scheduling of cannabis.

Jeanine Moss

For the woman who likes to carry around her marijuana and all her top accessories without giving herself away with the wafting smell of dank buds, there are AnnaBis handbags. Founded by Jeanine Moss after realizing that she had nowhere to store her cannabis products on a night out, the medical marijuana patient was moved to blend high-end fashion and handbag design with cannabis. The high-end, classy bags come in beautiful designs and colors and uses a special technology that uses thin layers of resin film that is typically used in the medical, food and electronics industries to line the bag. It’s designed to keep aromas in the bag while being easy to clean. A portion of the sales of bags goes to Realm of Caring, which provides support services and resources to provide a better quality of life for those affected by disorders and diseases like cancer, MS, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy and Parkinson’s through the use of cannabinoid extracts.

Jessica Peters

The brainchild of Jessica Peters, a clinician specializing women’s health, Moxie Meds produces cannabis tinctures for women specifically for aiding in the relief of symptoms of menstrual cramps, hormonally-related stress, menopause, and other reproductive concerns. Jessica has an impressive resume in specializing in pediatric care and women’s reproductive health. She has been a CBD Specialist at Harborside Clinic and has become a cannabinoid and terpene specialist through her Research and Development work. Moxie Meds created their products based on tinctures being the most ancient method of consuming cannabis for medicinal purposes with the most precise method of dosing. Her products focus on two aspects of the woman’s health experience: relief and recovery.

Jessie Gill

Jessie Gill is the cannabis nurse and the brand personality behind, a brand that seeks to break cannabis stigma through education while promoting cannabis as a part of a healthy and active lifestyle. As a hospice nurse, Gill learned many lessons about how to truly live when she was faced with her own tragedy. She turned to marijuana after wanting something different than the huge number of opioids and painkillers she had to take. Marijuana changed her life. Her brand is built on her amazing personality and ability to bring relatability to any mom exploring cannabis or who has been a long-time user. She has some great “mom approved” gifts that she recommends while cultivating an extensive recipe resource for all things cannabis edibles.

Shawnta Hopkins-Greene

Shawnta Hopkins-Greene is the ultimate connector for the cannabis industry among curious patients in emerging cannabis states and physicians able to provide a marijuana recommendation. MyCannX LLC seeks to end stigma, while educating both physicians and new and curious patients on the benefits of cannabis.  At her community level, she has partnered with the National Holistic Healing Center in Washington DC where she and her partner Chanda Macias collaborate to engage comminutes of color in discussions on the war on drugs as well as facilitating “cannamoms” in discussion groups. Hopkins-Greene’s advocacy work is based on seeing the number of Cannabis Patient Registrations increase while helping people break down the barriers to understanding cannabis and its benefits for health.

Do Women Rule Cannabis?

If you ask any woman, there really is no “grass ceiling” needing to be broken within the cannabis industry, but women are still coming out fiercely as brands, influencers, and entrepreneurs to make their mark on the industry. As more female-led and driven cannabis brands to emerge within the industry, women are banding together under supportive networks like WomenGrow and Women of Cannabiz, who are dedicated to elevating the role of women entrepreneurs in the industry.

18 Things Medical Marijuana Does (Because It's Not About Getting 'Stoned')

Editor’s note: Medical marijuana/cannabis is not legal in all states and countries. For a list of states where medical marijuana is legal, click hereThis piece is based on the experience of individuals. Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

There’s a stigma that anyone who uses marijuana is just trying to get “high.” But that characterization isn’t exactly fair when it comes to medical marijuana. People with chronic health conditions may use it to treat pain, nausea and other debilitating symptoms — getting “stoned” is not the goal.

Labeling medical marijuana users as simply looking for a high adds to the stigma, making it more difficult for people with chronic illnesses to try it and see if it helps relieve any of their symptoms. So we asked our Mighty community to share why they’ve tried medical marijuana and how it affects them. Hint: it’s about treating illnesses, not searching for a high.

Here’s what our community told us:

1. “I use it because it’s safer and more effective than medications I’ve tried and comes in a number of useful preparations for all of my needs. Apart from Fentanyl and Tramadol (which gives me night terrors), cannabis is the only thing that has helped relieve pain (nerve, muscular, surgical, etc.). It has also been excellent for almost all of my other issues: insomnia, nausea, lack of appetite, depression/suicidal thoughts, anxiety, etc.”

2. “I’ve had three brain tumors as a result of pituitary Cushing’s disease and kidney failure so it has helped me with my headaches, nausea, pain, sleeping, appetite — everything. It also helps keep me calm which keeps my cortisol levels fairly in check. People think I’m joking when I say I would be dead without it, but I couldn’t be more serious.”

3. “I started because of endometriosis and really bad cramps. I then started having digestive issues. Ended up diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in October 2015. Cannabis helps with pain and nausea that Crohn’s, and the medications I take to treat it, give me. Broke my ankle two months ago and been using higher CBD cannabis to help the inflammation, pain, and swelling… I use vaporizers and make edibles. The edibles last longer pain-wise and help out my guts keeping inflammation down. Added bonus side effect: helps my anxiety out.”

4. “I use it as a topical and I smoke. I like using the topical for my joint pain and back pain. It really does help. And you can get it without THC if need be. I smoke it with THC to help me sleep. It works so well.”

5. “The only cannabis I’ve had access to try is grown for recreational use to get people high, and that worsens my pain. It’s horrible. It would be awesome if the medical stuff actually helped but maybe I have the wrong brain chemistry. I wouldn’t know because it’s not available where I live… so far my experience with marijuana has only been negative… I’m glad it can help some people with chronic illnesses though.”

6. “I am not pharmaceutical friendly (I have bad reactions to many prescriptions) and this seemed like it was a healthy more effective way of getting pain relief and helping many of my symptoms from my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome that include seizures, fainting, tachycardia, pain in almost all my joints and bones, shaking, and many more. Marijuana helped more then any other medication I’ve been on.”

7. “I have been using marijuana regularly since I was 19 and had kidney failure. It assisted with pain management from surgeries, eased my mind from anxiety, gave me back my appetite and gave me the comfort I needed in a very uncomfortable situation. Vaping concentrates is my preferred method to avoid smoking while getting a quick dose of cannabis.”

8. “I was taking three different pain medications and they weren’t doing much other than taking the edge off. With marijuana I’ve noticed huge improvement with daily pain, as well as my mood and general outlook on life! I actually feel hopeful again.”

9. “Sadly, I tried it and it did not help me. I tried different plant types and different forms. I always had a bad reaction. Made my limbs feel like they were on fire. I also had a bad episode with a brownie… hallucinations. Never again. Tried the CBD oil drops too. It did nothing for pain but just made me numb. I still felt the pain pushing through. I am not against it if it helps someone in tremendous pain. For me it was a bad experience.”

10. “I use it for migraines; it changed my life in a positive way. Pain was less and less every day. Finally after 21 years of daily pain I have control over my life.”

11. “I have used medical marijuana several times and several different strands and in several different forms. For me, it didn’t work at all. For the amount of money it was costing me out of pocket it was not nearly worth it. I do know it does work for people though and power to them. I really was hoping that it would work and it would help me get off of my narcotic prescriptions. I just wasn’t one of those people unfortunately.”

12. “It doesn’t work for my pain at all, gives me terrible anxiety, and makes me non-functional. I get frustrated because no matter how many times I try different kinds in different forms people never fail to tell me I just haven’t tried the right strain or type in the right form. Plus, it’s very expensive. I have no income and am disabled. I couldn’t afford it even if it did work. I’m totally pro marijuana and I fully support its use and legalization, but it’s really frustrating when everyone treats it as a cure-all magic drug that works for everything and everyone.”

13. “It allows me to relax the muscles and joints that are in constant pain. I can sleep, eat without having the stomach issues and I feel more like the old me before my body was invaded by these autoimmune issues.”

14. “Tried CBD, it did nothing for my pain. I was disappointed and was hoping something could give me some kind of relief but I guess I wasn’t lucky enough in the dosage I was at. Just gave me terrible dry mouth.”

15. “I have used medical marijuana for nearly a decade because it is by far the best medication for my fibromyalgia pain, as well as helping to relax my body enough to be able to sleep. I honestly don’t know if I would still be here if it weren’t for this remarkable miracle plant.”

16. “I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome so there’s a lot of chronic pain and chronic fatigue (lots of other stuff but that was the basics) and the few times I’ve used medical marijuana I was able to be productive, cheerful, and active for days and days afterwards even after only using a little bit of medical weed.”

17. “I tried it because I wasn’t getting any help from doctors as far as pain relief for quite some time. Decided to try smoking marijuana after advice from several people. I thought it may help my anxiety as well, but it didn’t help anything at all. I was just more tired. I also tried lollipops with hemp, but they didn’t help pain either.”

18. “I have endometriosis and fibromyalgia. Lyrica and the other approved drugs for fibromyalgia never helped me and I cannot take ibuprofen because of high blood pressure. Taking a 10 mg 1:1 pills every eight hours is the only way I can be remotely functional during my period. It’s also helped me combat painsomnia.”


Erin Migdol

Healing Our Heroes - Veterans Day Event

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Women Grow Maryland & Charm City Medicus Present: Healing Our Heroes

This free educational event takes place on Veteran’s Day, November 11th from 1-4pm. Healing Our Heroes will be held at Charm City Medicus, a medical cannabis dispensary opening up late this fall in Baltimore County.

Veteran’s Day is especially meaningful to the Charm City Medicus team. CCM is proud to provide quality medical cannabis to Maryland veterans at discounted rates every day. Cannabis has shown great promise in treating a variety of ailments including PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, insomnia and chronic pain. 

To serve those that have served us, "Healing Our Heroes" provides the opportunity for veterans to learn about the plant's medicinal properties, receive guidance on the patient registration process and tour the Charm City Medicus dispensary. This event is free! 

Register now to receive a free gift bag upon entry (while supplies last).

Light refreshments provided. 

Non-veterans are also welcome to attend! 

Learn More

How to Register for Maryland's Medical Cannabis Program

Become a Patient or Caregiver



Visit a registered physician to see if medical cannabis could be the alternative treatment option for you.

A patient needs an in-person visit with a registered physician with whom the patient has a “bona fide physician-patient relationship.” 

If the patient meets the physician’s criteria for treatment with medical cannabis, the physician will issue a written certification.

The physician records the written certification on the Commission’s website.

You may show your government issued ID when purchasing your medicine. A physical patient ID card is not required but you may request one when you receive your written certification for $50. Replacement cards are $100.





Register via Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission website.

Please refer to the following document for instructions of how to successfully complete your registration. 


Once registered, a patient will go to the scheduled doctor appointment. Our doctors have also registered with the Commission. Patient will obtain a “written certification.”


After your visit to a registered physician to receive your written certification you may visit one of premier Maryland Dispensaries to pick up your medicine. (coming soon)

Here’s What Research Says About Breast Cancer and Cannabis

Breast cancer awareness month is winding down, and by now most people have seen an enormous amount of outreach soliciting donations for research and treatment. While conventional treatment has come a long way,  40,000 women in the United States are expected to die from breast cancer in 2016, and besides lung cancer, the breast cancer death rates are higher than any other cancer. Cannabis may be a novel method of dramatically lowering these deaths and has already offered hope to many patients who have used cannabis extracts alone or alongside conventional treatment.

Real Research, Real Scientists, Real Results

Preclinical research has indicated that both THC and CBD hold promise for several different forms of breast carcinomas. A 2010 study conducted by Cristina Sánchez and Manuel Guzmán Complutense University in Spain found that THC strongly reduced tumor growth in animals. Interestingly, 41% of control animals developed 4 or more tumors, compared to 0% in the THC-treated group. This growth reduction was associated with THC’s ability to induce apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in breast cancer cells, as well as inhibit the growth of blood vessels to tumors and impair proliferation. The cannabinoid also decreased metastasis of the cancer cells to the lungs.

Another study published one year later by a group in Boston, Massachusetts found that CBD could induce apoptosis in both estrogen receptor-positive and estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer cells. Unlike THC, which elicits its anticancer effects largely through cannabinoid receptor activation, CBD was shown to work independently of CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Research Unveils Answers and Hopeful Future

Another powerful way that CBD fights breast cancer is by blocking expression of the Id-1 gene, which promotes proliferation and invasion of breast cancer cells, as well as other forms of cancer.  

In 2007, Dr. Sean McAllister with the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco showed that CBD was significantly effective at inhibiting Id-1 expression. Researchers stated, “CBD represents the first nontoxic exogenous agent that can significantly decrease Id-1 expression in metastatic breast cancer cells leading to the down-regulation of tumor aggressiveness.”

The preclinical evidence that plant-based cannabinoids fight breast cancer is important, but other research bolsters the possibility that cannabinoids would work in humans. First, the Sánchez and Guzmán study indicated that normal human breast tissue has no significant CB1 or CB2 receptor expression. However, cancerous tissue expressed slightly higher levels of CB1, and much higher levels of CB2. HER2-positive breast cancer was associated with especially enhanced CB2 expression. As with other pathological phenomena, cannabinoid receptors may increase as a defense mechanism against the continued progression of cancer. This notion is more likely given that both anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol, our primary endocannabinoids, have been shown to inhibit breast cancer cell proliferation at least partially through cannabinoid receptor activation.

Results Go Beyond The Laboratory

Anecdotally, many patients have reported stunning results by using cannabis for breast cancer. This year, a January 2016 article described Kate Kytle’s experience using a myriad of CBD-rich medicines alongside antibody therapies for HER2-positive breast cancer. Within five weeks of this combined therapy, the tumors nearly completely disappeared. “It’s amazing what happened, Kytle said. It literally stopped my cancer from spreading.”

There is still a long way to go, and more research is needed to determine the limits of cannabis extract medicine’s effectiveness as well as ways to maximize it. However, that’s not stopping some people from self-medicating. One woman, Susannah Patch, was diagnosed in July 2011 with an invasive form of breast cancer. She was eventually pronounced terminal and began taking cannabis oil alongside chemotherapy. After a few months of the combination, she dropped the chemotherapy in favor of a cannabis-only treatment. After over six months, several metastatic areas had regressed or stayed stable, an impressive result for cancer that was pronounced terminal by her doctors.

Unfortunately, Ms. Patch passed away on March 28, 2016. This was still far more time than she had been given, and in a world where new chemotherapy drugs are approved on the basis of extending life for a few additional months, it can still be said that cannabis offered real benefit. The article on her passing stated, “For what it’s worth, Susannah Patch believed that cannabis helped keep her cancer in remission for as long as it was. A friend said ‘it gave her hope’ in the face of a terminal prognosis in 2011.” Indeed, even when cannabis oil does not completely eliminate cancer, it often dramatically extends life and improves quality of life.

Experts In Cancer and Cannabis Weigh-in

Mara Gordon of Aunt Zelda’s has worked with hundreds of cancer patients and offered this statement:

“Many with breast cancers have been helped with the addition of THC and CBD to their standard treatment plans. It is important to communicate with your oncologist about all cannabinoids and supplements being taken as there can be potential interactions. With simple adjustments, the synergy between cannabis, chemotherapy, and radiation is far greater than the sum of its parts.” – Mara Gordon, Aunt Zelda’s

We’ve interviewed dozens of health experts on the subject of cancer and cannabis. One thing is constant, total healing is best achieved with a combination of factors, including nutrition, exercise, stress-reduction techniques like meditation, cannabis extracts, and conventional treatment. When patients give it their all and follow a plan with the input of their oncologist, outcomes can improve tremendously.



Maryland’s Senate Bill 949 went into effect on October 1. The long-debated bill will make it easier for people who have been convicted of marijuana possession to clear their records.

Prior to the bill’s passage, anyone convicted of cannabis possession was required to wait 10 years before applying for expungement, despite the fact that Maryland decriminalized possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana in 2014.

Now, the waiting period to apply for expungement has been reduced to four years following conviction.

Senator Brian Feldman, who sponsored the piece of legislation, said the bill aims to help people who were convicted for using or possessing marijuana before it was decriminalized.

“We shouldn’t have folks, particularly younger folks, prejudiced,” Feldman said. “This is real-world stuff, and it just seems incongruent to have on the books prospectively that this is no longer a crime and yet have thousands of young Marylanders hampered with this criminal record.”

In addition to outrageously long jail sentences, the hundreds of thousands of people who are arrested each year in the United States for marijuana possession—well over a half million in 2016—are saddled with the arrest on their record for years.

The collateral consequences of having a simple pot possession charge on your record can cripple your prospects for jobs, loans, student financial aid for college, acceptance for housing rentals, denial of professional licenses, as well as numerous other social and financial benefits.

And, marijuana possession arrests disproportionately affect people of color, hitting black communities the hardest.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), marijuana arrests account for over half of all drug arrests in the United States. Of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88 percent were for simply having marijuana.

Recent FBI crime data revealed a consistent trend: significant racial bias. Despite roughly equal usage rates, blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana.

Now, in Maryland, people can start the process of cleaning their marijuana arrest records, then go on with their lives.

Pleasant Township talks over Potential Medical Marijuana Grow Site


An out of state cultivation company is looking to the Grove City area to start growing medical marijuana, but not everyone is on board with the plan. National Holistic Healing consultants met with neighbors in Pleasant Township Tuesday night to talk it over.

Cultivators were approached about the potential grow site at Lambert Road and London Grove Port Road, just west of Grove City.

At a Q&A inside the Pleasant Township Office, members of the community had a passionate discussion about medical marijuana.

"I'm not sure that I like the idea yet. In fact, I probably don't," resident Linn Horn said.

The company National Holistic Healing out of Washington D.C. and Maryland has its eye on a piece of land on Lambert Road.

"It's a multi-billion dollar industry and we are bringing it here for the very first time. What we want to do is make sure the community is comfortable with having this type of facility in their neighborhood," National Holistic Healing consultant Shawnta Hopkins-Greene said.

The company was approached by the property's owner with a plan to potentially start cultivating medical marijuana.

The property was once a greenhouse and nursery owned by a local family. The business had to close several years ago and now the 9-acre property is sitting empty.

National Holistic Healing said it will apply for a level two cultivator license next week, meaning the space to grow medical marijuana would be smaller.

"There are 10 foot high fences with barbed wire, there are motion sensors, concrete fortified buildings, bulletproof glass," Hopkins-Greene said.

Neighbors packed a town hall meeting to ask the experts questions and address some of their concerns.

"My concern was that it could be without proper security It could be a magnet for people who want free and easy cannabis," Horn said.

Some who supported the idea wanted to learn more.

"Fine. It's a pretty rural area so she's not coming into a subdivision. It's not lots of homes around here," Michelle Marshall said.

A second town hall meeting is scheduled for this Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Pleasant Township Office on Norton Road.

National Holistic Healing says the next step, is looking for a dispensary location in Grove City.

Original Source:

'This plant is a healing plant:' Olivia Newton-John spruiks the benefits of medical marijuana on US Today show as she battles breast cancer for the second time

She's the entertainment icon who is currently battling breast cancer for a second time.

And Olivia Newton-John has again espoused the benefits of medical marijuana,saying that it was a 'healing plant.'

Olivia, 68, made the admission during an appearance on the US Today show, where she challenged misconceptions about the maligned plant.

The History of Marijuana in Maryland

The History of Marijuana in Maryland

Support for marijuana legalization in Maryland is currently strong, possibly due to the fact that the state has a history with the drug that dates back to 1619. In 1619, the Virginia Assembly passed legislation requiring every farmer to grow hemp, which was exchanged as currency in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The laws eventually changed though, as Maryland became less kind to cannabis and its consumers. In 2010, Maryland was listed among the states with the most marijuana possession arrests, with one of the highest fiscal expenditures enforcing possession laws.

After arresting such high numbers for marijuana possession, the state finally decriminalized the drug in 2014. That same year, the state also legalized medical marijuana, allowing Maryland patients to obtain legal medical marijuana from licensed dispensaries. In order to qualify for the program, patients must have a condition listed by Maryland’s department of health services, then they must receive a medical marijuana card from a licensed physician. Once these qualifications are met, patients are able to purchase up to 120 grams of medical marijuana. Though a step forward for legalization, this process is one of the slowest medical marijuana rollouts of any state.

Source: By Morgan Roger  |  Sep 19, 2017

Medical Marijuana: A Beginner's Guide

From talking to your family about medical weed to knowing which products will – and won't – get you high

This week, I finally convinced my father to try a cannabis salve for his arthritis. You would think after four years of reporting on the marijuana world, I would have made headway on this long ago. After all, like over 85 percent of Americans, my dad supports the medical use of marijuana in a general way, and has been complaining about his achy joints for several years. Weed topicals don't even get you high. But somehow it just never happened.

Then, on Sunday morning, he texted me: "I put the rub on my knees. It works!"

"Duh!" I responded. Cannabis is a powerful medicine, even if we still know very little about what conditions it works for and why. As baby boomers like my father struggle to figure out how to age gracefully, it's very possible that legal pot could play a major role in alleviating a wide range of pains and discomforts, from chemotherapy to throwing out your back.

And yet people over 65 are the least likely to support cannabis legalization. Not every grandma gets gently handed a bong and turned into a YouTube star. Even the people who are cool with weed often don't know very much about how they might go about integrating cannabis into their own wellness routines.

So I wanted to offer up some of the collected wisdom I've managed to gain during years of conversations with scientists, doctors, patients and caregivers. Just as I hoped a few weeks back that my fellow stoners might help spread the gospel about how to be a good weed citizen with their canna-curious friends, this guide aims to provide you with the tools to help introduce someone to the world of medical marijuana.

Considering the information available online about medical pot is all over the place, here's a sort of cheat sheet for anyone trying to navigate conversations with reluctant parents, relatives and friends – regardless of access to a legal dispensary. Perhaps after listening to your grandmother ramble on in too much detail about her psoriasis, you'll feel emboldened to take her aside and suggest a calming cannabis cream. Maybe you'll talk to your insomniac uncle about acquiring a vape pen. It may sound difficult at first, but remember: taking a few minutes to have this conversation could vastly improve someone's quality of life.

Start simple: acknowledge that cannabis has medical properties.
A lot of people are under the impression that the "medical" part of medical marijuana is a euphemism – an excuse to legalize the drug so that hippies and stoners can get high. To a certain extent, this is politically true. Activists in the 1990s knew that AIDS and cancer patients were more sympathetic than all of the young black men being disproportionately fucked over by the war on drugs, and hoped that a California ballot initiative for medical use would ultimately open the door to full legalization. They were right, but by allowing wink-wink doctor's recommendations for everything from anxiety to a stubbed toe, they managed to convince a whole lot of people that medical cannabis was a joke. As a result, as recently as last year we still had reporters for major newspapers out here asking stupid questions like "Is there a legitimate reason for people to get medical marijuana?"

I've found that it helps to recognize the political realities before pivoting to explain that the therapeutic use of pot and its constituent compounds are a very real thing. Just because California has had a de facto recreational use market going for two decades under the auspices of medical use, doesn't mean that medical cannabis as a whole is fake. Remind people that lots of powerful medications – especially opioids – can both help with pain relief and be used recreationally. Heroin ruins lives by making people feel good, but morphine is still a useful and valuable drug.

If the people you're talking with still aren't convinced that medical marijuana is real, get them to watch Sanjay Gupta's Weed, a very persuasive 2013 documentary about how CNN's chief medical correspondent came to change his mind about the therapeutic use of cannabis.

Recognize that there are very few downsides.
Even if you are giving your dad shitty brick weed from a dealer that gets shipments from a Mexican cartel, there are hardly any potential negative health consequences to trying marijuana. Here's what we know, for sure: pot is considerably less addictive than pretty much every other drug out there, legal or illegal. It's not going to kill you, under any circumstances. It's not a gateway drug; one spray of a tincture is not going to lead your cancer-stricken aunt to suddenly want methamphetamine. And perhaps most relevant to the views of your skeptical relative: cannabis is 114 times less harmful than alcohol.

But be familiar with the downsides
So, before I review some potential safety issues with cannabis, I want to make it clear that many conversations with experts over the years have led me to believe that none of these are significant enough to deter a truly sick person from seeking relief with pot. Think about the long list of side effects at the end of most commercials for prescription drugs. Even the very worst cannabis is not that bad.

That being said, here are the concerns you might want to take into account: A) Consuming too much at once can lead to a very, very uncomfortable situation. If someone is inexperienced, they shouldn't take more than a few milligrams of THC at first. B) Edibles or capsules or tinctures on an empty stomach can lead to some discomfort. Anyone new to these forms of the plant might need a meal first. C) That gold, viscous stuff that you see in vape pens likely contains concentrated pesticides and other chemicals. If your relative is considering vaping hash oil over smoking because they believe that will be healthier, they should be aware of the trade-off.

Remember that doctors receive no education about medical marijuana.
Unfortunately, most primary care physicians know almost nothing about the receptors in the body that respond to the active compounds in marijuana, or about what kinds of pot to buy for which diseases. So if your mom is waiting for the go-ahead from her doctor before she starts lighting up to deal with her glaucoma, let her know she could be waiting a while. She should feel free to ask her doctor's opinion, but keep in mind that they are likely not up to date on the research. Even in states with legal markets, many doctors are afraid to recommend pot because it remains federally illegal.

We are living through crazy times, and it's completely bananas that the federal government still considers marijuana to have no medical value while a majority of states have legalized pot for medical use and the FDA is fast-tracking trials of a cannabis drug. This situation sucks, but ideally in a decade or so we'll have a lot more research, regulation and legal access to this very important plant. Then, and only then, will more doctors suggest using it.

Stop talking about "medical grade" marijuana. That's not a thing.
A friend called me last year after his mother was diagnosed with cancer, asking if he should bother getting her pot from a dealer in their (black-market) state, or if it was worth it to make a trip to Cali to get some "medical grade" cannabis.

Sadly, there is no such thing as medical grade pot. The dispensaries in medical states are carrying the exact same bud as the dealers in Brooklyn or Atlanta or Dallas. If you're referring to the super strong pot that's become available in recent decades, like the frosty stuff with 25 to 30 percent THC content, be aware that that came along because the black market pushed weed farmers underground and indoors, leading to innovations in lighting and grow techniques that created increasingly powerful marijuana. It had nothing to do with medical markets or doctors.

Now, it's entirely possible you'll find stronger pot in dispensaries than from your dealer, especially if the weed had to get smushed and smuggled to get to you, but for the most part the whole thing is a crapshoot. Cultivators and dispensaries mislabel things to push shitty cannabis on patients and customers all the time. So please, retire this phrase from your vocabulary, and know that if you're just looking to help someone going through chemotherapy feel less nauseated, there's no reason to make a pilgrimage to Colorado.

Consumption doesn't have to mean coughing.
A lot of people just hate the feeling of smoke in their lungs. Fortunately, there are now myriad non-joint options available for anyone interested in trying medical marijuana. People with access to dispensaries can pick up pot-infused mintsbalmstruffles, or tinctures. And even if your Iraq veteran cousin lives in a black-market state, and all she has access to is the green stuff, she doesn't necessarily need a bong to relieve her PTSD. She could try a flower vaporizer, like the PAX, or buy a Nova or a Magical Butter machine and make her own edibles.

Not every medical cannabis option involves getting high.
In the future, you'll probably think of shopping for medical marijuana as akin to shopping for frozen yogurt. You go to the store with your friends; everyone chooses and mixes different flavors and toppings; and when you walk out, it's hard to even recognize that you're all eating a single product. Peanut butter froyo mixed with cheesecake froyo topped with chocolate chips is most definitely not the same thing as plain yogurt topped with kiwis and blackberries. In the same way, cannabis can be broken down into separate compounds that create different smells and perform different functions. THC, the compound that gets you high, is the most famous of the plant's components, but several other compounds have huge medical potential and are not psychoactive. CBN, for example, seems to help people sleep. THC-V seems to suppress your appetite. CBD seems to be a powerful analgesic and anti-convulsant.

So if your uncle is suffering from some intractable medical issue like Parkinson's or MS, but he's totally freaked out at the prospect of using medical cannabis, make sure he knows that not all of the options will get him stoned.

Also, just going to say this again, because it's important: you cannot get high through your skin, so even if a cream or a salve has THC in it, it's totally safe for sober relatives to use.

When you look up info about pot online, consider the source.
As with all Internet research, do a little digging into who is giving you information. Are they selling something themselves? Many of the people spouting pro-pot propaganda online are doing so because they themselves own cannabis businesses.

Nothing is legal in all 50 states.
A number of products these days, especially those containing CBD derived from industrial hemp, advertise themselves as legal in all 50 states. Please be advised: even if they come from hemp, these compounds are illegal. The DEA has made this abundantly clear.

This doesn't mean your grandfather is going to get arrested for ordering CBD products online. He almost certainly isn't – not least because most of the conservative states that don't yet have legal marijuana do have  allowing for the use of CBD. But still, don't lie to your grandfather about what is and isn't legal. That's a jerk move.

Temper your expectations, and the expectations of those around you. 
Don't make huge promises. A lot of people talk about marijuana like it's some kind of magical cure-all that is going to clear up your acne and eliminate your migraines and save your life. I mean, it might do some of those things. But it's certainly not guaranteed. So when you're introducing your friend or your dad or your friend's dad to the medical uses of cannabis, don't oversell the thing. Emphasize the fact that it works for some conditions, in some people, some of the time – just like most pharmaceuticals.

Acknowledge that mice are not people.
One of the hardest things about medical marijuana is that we have oodles of anecdotal evidence and a lot of promising research in mice but not many clinical trials in humans. And a lot of the clinical trials that have been done involved extremely small populations. Therefore, it can be difficult for reasonable people to agree on the veritable and unexaggerated benefits of the plant.

My favorite extreme example is that some people think that marijuana cures cancer, and other people think that marijuana causes cancer. To be honest, after years of hearing stories and seeing evidence in mice, I'm tentatively convinced that some combination of cannabinoids might be able to shrink tumors, but I would never try to push anyone to believe that or open a conversation about medical cannabis with that point, because it just straight up sounds crazy. People who go around evangelizing pot's ability to "cure" anything, let alone one of the biggest public health challenges of our time, are likely turning off more people than they're bringing in. Besides, at this point, it's sort of impossible to know anything for sure, so don't overstate your case when talking to someone about trying pot for medical reasons. Outsized claims are not a good look.

And if it helps your skeptical relatives, explain that we know so little precisely because cannabis is federally illegal, and the government has made doing research nearly impossible.


By Amanda Chicago Lewis

September 5, 2017


Maryland’s medical marijuana is finally growing

At long last, Maryland’s first legal marijuana crop is growing.

With 19 companies cleared to grow, process and sell the plant, the seeds of the medical marijuana program have literally been planted, four years after the state legalized cannabis for medical use.

In coming months, plants will flower in heavily secured facilities, and be harvested and taken to an independent laboratory for quality testing, with some processed into oils, creams and capsules. They’ll end up available for purchase on dispensary shelves around the start of the new year, according to industry officials.

“This program is launched now,” said Patrick Jameson, executive director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. “We have growers, processors and a dispensary, and we have a lab. The market will determine how this moves forward.”

So far, only one dispensary — or medical pot store — has been licensed in Maryland, which because of bureaucratic missteps and legal disputes has been slower to launch its program than most of the other 27 states where medical cannabis is permitted. About 100 prospective dispensaries have received preliminary licenses and have until December to get set up, pass employee background checks and undergo final inspections.

Jennifer Porcari is cautiously optimistic that she’ll soon get cannabis oil or a patch to ease her 10-year-old daughter’s epilepsy. Parents of children with epilepsy have long seen medical marijuana as a way to reduce seizures and improve quality of life; some have even moved to Colorado and other states so they can legally obtain the drug.

But Porcari, who has spent years lobbying for legalization, said she won’t celebrate until she has the cannabis in her hands.

[How to get medical marijuana in Maryland, and other FAQs]

“When we are able to go to a dispensary anywhere and pick it up, we are all ready for it,” the Cheverly resident said. “They have spent so much time on it, it’s going to be a great system. We just need it to go, go, go.”

Nearly 13,000 patients have signed up to be able to purchase marijuana, and 428 health-care providers have registered to certify the patients’ need for the drug, according to the commission. But hurdles remain.

Darrell Carrington, a lobbyist for marijuana companies, said some dispensaries are struggling to find landlords willing to lease to a type of business that is still considered illegal under federal law.

And while cultivation and processing centers are generally in more secluded areas, dispensaries are in neighborhoods where they are more likely to face “not in my back yard” resistance — opposition that marijuana businesses and advocates say is misplaced.

“We are talking about places that are going to have less dangerous and toxic things than CVS and Walgreens,” Carrington said. “These are not like coffee shops in Amsterdam where people can go in and hang out for hours. They purchase their medicine and they go.”

Carrington described the sole dispensary that has been fully licensed by the state so far — Wellness Institute of Maryland, in Frederick County — as an “upscale” doctor’s office. It will offer mobile delivery service in high-demand neighborhoods for patients too sick to leave their homes.

But it and other cannabis companies still operate with a hint of intrigue. Wellness Institute’s owner, for example, asked not to have his full name published in this article for fear of drawing unwelcome attention. He said the dispensary will screen out patients who seem to be gaming the system to get high instead of treating illnesses.

At least two of the dozen cultivators that Maryland has licensed currently have marijuana plants growing: ForwardGro, of Anne Arundel County, and Curio Wellness, of Baltimore County.

ForwardGro has been sharing photos of its plants on social media, but executives there declined to say when the company would be ready to sell product to dispensaries.

Curio Wellness, which says its primary focus is research and development, also has marijuana growing.

Chief executive Michael Bronfein said his goal is to have high-quality products that include tinctures — alcohol-based cannabis extracts — and vaporizing pens on the market by mid-December, ahead of any would-be competitors. He’s awaiting approval to open a dispensary that would not only have shelves stocked with cannabis products, but would also have acupuncture rooms and massage therapy rooms.

“It’ll look more like a day spa, very high-end in terms of physical attraction, with a very heavy emphasis on patient education, physician education and product selection,” Bronfein said.

In Frederick County, black privacy shrouds cover a barbed-wire fence surrounding the Green Leaf Medical center. Armed guards escort visitors into a hallway where a sign reminds employees, who must be drug-tested, “No drugs at work.”

Except, of course, for the marijuana plants that soon will be growing by the hundreds in flower rooms just down the hall. They’ll develop in molten-rock cubes (instead of bug-friendly soil), on top of rows of gray benches connected to an irrigation system that delivers water and nutrients.

Chief executive Philip Goldberg wore sunglasses Friday as he walked into the “flower” room, which blazed with golden light emanating from about 100 lightbulbs of 1,000 watts each. He expects to have an annual power bill of about $500,000.

“We have a pharmaceutical-grade facility here, but this plant can grow outside in a ditch. It’s like a weed,” said Goldberg, who decided in 2014 to try to enter the legal cannabis industry. “What we are doing in here is making sure it grows in the fastest, safest and most efficient way possible.”

He said he started his last major company, creating websites and software for businesses, with $2,000 in seed money. He was drawing customers within two months, he said.

For this latest venture, he said, his company has raised $8.7 million in investment so far. And the business has not brought him a single dime of revenue.

Goldberg estimated that he’ll start by producing 320 pounds of marijuana a month. He has signed sales deals with 23 dispensaries.

“We knew it was going to take time. Did we think it was going to take four years? No,” Goldberg said. “But it feels really good to finally be able to put seeds in the ground and start growing.”

By Fenit Nirappil and Aaron Gregg Washington Post


Maryland regulators approve eight new medical marijuana growers


Maryland’s medical marijuana regulators approved final licenses for eight growing companies on Monday, allowing them to start cultivating the drug.

Several companies said they are ready to begin growing immediately, while others say they will take weeks to get started.

“Now, we have a real industry,” said Cary Millstein, CEO of newly licensed grower Freestate Wellness in Howard County.

Until Monday, just one of the 15 selected firms had received final permission to start cultivating medical marijuana, which was first legalized in the state in 2013. Even at full capacity, one firm could not produce nearly enough to support 102 planned dispensaries.

Marijuana industry research group New Frontier estimates Maryland’s market will be worth $221 million annually by 2021.

Millstein whooped as the commission approved his license, the first of several outbursts punctuating an otherwise staid government meeting in Harford County. Members of Temescal Wellness of Maryland’s team fist-bumped — one man danced in his seat and started rapidly texting champagne bottle emojis — as the company’s license to start growing in Baltimore was approved.

Some firms raced to meet Monday’s deadline to become operational.

Curio Wellness of Baltimore County, which also received its license Monday, has been waiting for more than two months for final approval to bring plants into its nine high-tech, climate-controlled growing chambers in a 56,000-square-foot Timonium warehouse.

“As with any start up industry, you’re bound to have bumps in the road,” Curio CEO Michael Bronfein said in a recent interview.

The last-minute approvals follow the rocky start to an industry that has been beset by lawsuits, controversy and delays.

State courts are reviewing two cases that allege Maryland regulators improperly picked which companies could grow the drug, and state lawmakers have weighed issuing more licenses to make sure some go to firms owned by African-Americans, who don’t own any of the 15 firms selected for preliminary growing licenses.

Del. Cheryl Glenn, the Baltimore Democrat who chairs the General Assembly’s Legislative Black Caucus, has called for the commission to stop issuing licenses.

Meanwhile, patients have been waiting. As of Monday, 12,000 people had signed up to become eligible for medical marijuana and 400 medical providers had signed up to recommend it to them.

Brian Lopez, the newly appointed chairman of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, said there was still a lot work to be done to bring online the remaining growers and all of the marijuana processors and dispensaries hoping to open across the state. Only one dispensary, in Frederick, is licensed. More than 100 others are pending.

Monday was the deadline for growing companies to be operational, or risk losing their licenses. Nine companies are now permitted to grow medical marijuana. Another two underwent final inspections on Monday. The future of the remaining four is not clear.

The commission’s executive director Patrick Jameson said the panel will weigh whether to grant extensions to those companies on Aug. 28.

Jameson said he thought having trouble with local zoning laws was a valid reason to seek an extension, but failing to raise capital or otherwise execute a business plan was not.

The commission also approved the state’s first marijuana processors Monday, granting final licenses to four firms, three of which will also grow the drug.

The eight growers approved Monday join Anne Arundel County-based ForwardGro — the first company to receive a final license — and they represent a wide array of approaches to capitalize on the market.

Some plan to exclusively be wholesalers. Others have launched operations to grow and then process the drug. Others plan to open dispensaries that will sell specially branded products grown and processed in house.

In addition to Freestate Wellness and Temescal, the commission granted final growing licenses to Harvest of Maryland in Washington County, as well as to Green Leaf Medical and HMS Health, which are both in Fredrick County. Grower and processor licenses went to Curio Wellness in Timonium, Holistic in Prince George’s County and Carroll County’s Grassroots of Maryland, a company that has done business as Maryland Compassionate Care and Wellness. Blair Wellness of Worcester County also won a final license to process medical marijuana.

Jameson, the commission’s executive director, said Grow West LLC and SunMed Growers received a final inspection from the state on Monday.


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