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

 

STEP 1: SCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT

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.

SCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT ONLINE

 

STEP 2: GET REGISTERED

REGISTER NOW

Register via Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission website.

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

REGISTRY INSTRUCTIONS

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.”

STEP 3: GET YOUR MEDICINE

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.

 

POT POSSESSION EXPUNGEMENT BILL FINALLY BECOMES LAW IN MARYLAND

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

PLEASANT TOWNSHIP, Ohio

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: http://www.10tv.com/article/pleasant-township-talks-over-potential-medical-marijuana-grow-site

'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  https://www.civilized.life/articles/history-of-marijuana-in-maryland/

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.

Source: 

By Amanda Chicago Lewis

September 5, 2017 http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/medical-marijuana-how-to-talk-to-your-family-about-pot-w500709

 

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.

ecox@baltsun.com

twitter.com/ErinatTheSun

 

Original Source: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-marijuana-grower-license-20170814-story.html

Cannabinoids may soothe certain skin diseases, say researchers

Cannabinoids contain anti-inflammatory properties that could make them useful in the treatment of a wide-range of skin diseases, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

The new study, published online recently in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, summarizes the current literature on the subject and concludes that pharmaceuticals containing cannabinoids may be effective against eczema, psoriasis, atopic and contact dermatitis.

Currently, 28 states allow comprehensive medical cannabis programs with close to 1 in 10 adult cannabis users in the U.S. utilizing the drug for medical reasons. As researchers examine the drug for use in treating nausea, chronic pain and anorexia, more and more dermatologists are looking into its ability to fight a range of skin disease.

"Perhaps the most promising role for cannabinoids is in the treatment of itch," said the study's senior author Dr. Robert Dellavalle, MD, associate professor of dermatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

He noted that in one study, eight of 21 patients who applied a cannabinoid cream twice a day for three weeks completely eliminated severe itching or pruritus. The drug may have reduced the dry skin that gave rise to the itch.

Dellavalle believes the primary driver in these cannabinoid treatments could be their anti-inflammatory properties. In the studies he and his fellow researchers reviewed, they found that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) the active ingredient in marijuana, reduced swelling and inflammation in mice.

At the same time, mice with melanoma saw significant inhibition of tumor growth when injected with THC.

"These are topical cannabinoid drugs with little or no psychotropic effect that can be used for skin disease," Dellavalle said.

Still, he cautioned that most of these studies are based on laboratory models and large-scale clinical trials have not been performed. That may change as more and more states legalize cannabis.

Dellavalle said for those who have used other medications for itch and skin disease without success, trying a cannabinoid is a viable option especially if it has no psychotropic effect. He did not recommend such medications for cancer based on current evidence.

"These diseases cause a lot of problems for people and have a direct impact on their quality of life," he said. "The treatments are currently being bought over the internet and we need to educate dermatologists and patients about the potential uses of them."

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Colorado Anschutz Medical CampusNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Jessica S. Mounessa, Julia A. Siegel, Cory A. Dunnick, Robert P. Dellavalle. The role of cannabinoids in dermatologyJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.jaad.2017.02.056

WASHINGTON D.C. ALLOWS MEDICAL MARIJUANA RECIPROCITY

The D.C. Council has approved a measure that would allow medical marijuana users from other jurisdictions to use their out-of-state registration cards to buy medical cannabis in the District.

The bill, which received unanimous support from the D.C. Council on Tuesday, will make it easier for patients visiting the nation’s capital to get the medicine they need.

“Reciprocity can actually help reduce transfer of marijuana across state lines as patients are not forced to bring medical marijuana obtained in their home states with them when they travel,” said Kaitlyn Boecker, policy coordinator with the Drug Policy Alliance in Washington D.C.

“By allowing patients to purchase their medicine in the District, patients will no longer have to worry about violating federal law by transferring marijuana across state lines,” she explained.

This Medical Marijuana Reciprocity Amendment, introduced last year, also eliminates the cap on the number of plants cultivators can grow and allows MMJ cultivation centers to expand onto adjacent property with community notice.

Passing the amendment, some advocates believe, will send a signal that Washington D.C. will continue to move forward on legal reform, despite the relentless opposition in the U.S. Congress.

“Allowing qualified medical marijuana patients from other jurisdictions not only benefits the individual patient’s health while they are away from home, but also shines a positive light on the welcoming nature of our capital city,” said Robert Cappechi of the Marijuana Policy Project, reported the Washington Times.

Washington D.C. is among a growing number of jurisdictions in the United States that are simply ignoring federal prohibition. As of this coming November 8, we’re hoping the list will grow.

“The lesson here is pretty straightforward. When enough people say ‘no’ to the federal government and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations or mandates down our throats,” writes Michael Boldin, executive director of the Tenth Amendment Center.

However, not all reciprocity is created equal. It’s always wise to check before you travel to another state.

Original Source: High Times By Maureen Meehan

Should Virginia decriminalize marijuana? State wants your feedback

Virginia officials are accepting comments by email until Aug. 25 about whether simple possession of marijuana should no longer be a crime, and advocates for changing the law are encouraging participation.

The study being conducted this year by the Virginia State Crime Commission came at the request of the legislature. Comments or material relevant to the study can be emailed to the Crime Commission at vsccinfo@vscc.virginia.gov.

The commission will present study findings on Oct. 5.

Jenn Michelle Pedini, the executive director of Virginia NORML, which advocates for reform of marijuana laws, said the group wants the state to hear the concerns of everyday people.

“Seventy-eight percent of Virginians support this type of reform,” she said.

Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr., R-James City, led the effort for a study and has said he’s open to decriminalization.

What’s being discussed is changing the penalty for possession of small amounts from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil fine. Some lawmakers have said they are concerned about the impact of giving someone a criminal record.

“I think that Senator Norment outlined some very salient points to look at. He’s perfectly aware of the data so he wasn’t shooting in the dark,” Pedini said.

Virginia NORML wants people to avoid diatribes in comments to the state.

“What we do want is for you to include a brief personal account of how a marijuana possession charge has collaterally impacted yourself and/or your family,” the group wrote in an email to followers this month. “Did you lose your scholarship? Your job? Your housing? Your children? Have you had difficulty finding meaningful employment simply because you have a misdemeanor possession conviction?”

The state’s Joint Commission on Health Care is studying whether marijuana oil is beneficial for treating certain diseases and whether it has any detrimental effects.

The General Assembly has already allowed people with intractable epilepsy to legally use those oils.

In this year’s governor’s race, Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam, the Democratic nominee, said he supports decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana.

Libertarian candidate Cliff Hyra wants to legalize marijuana and put it “on a level playing field with tobacco and alcohol, thus generating tax revenue,” according to his website.

GOP candidate Ed Gillespie is opposed to decriminalization but wants to study penalties and may be open to marijuana for medical use.

 

University of Maryland's School of Pharmacy creates program on medical marijuana

BALTIMORE (ABC7) — Medical marijuana training is now part of the curriculum at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

The School of Pharmacy in Baltimore has already signed up 24 people for online courses and hopes to signs thousands more.

 

"Let's educate these individuals to do it properly, says pharmacy Professor Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner. "The training is specifically geared toward the staff, that by the Maryland law, are going to be dispensing or cultivating the medical marijuana."

The school is partnering with the group Americans for Safe Access, a D.C.-based medical cannabis advocacy organization.

The Washington Post says ASA is providing instructors and the curriculum, which the school "vetted and adjusted," according to the paper.

"We here in Maryland, and a lot of other states now, are getting on board with really having a medical model," says Krissy Bernazani, the clinical director of 'Freestate Wellness', which hopes to open a medical cannabis cultivation and dispensary facility in Jessup by this fall.

The training comes as Maryland's medical marijuana industry is just beginning to take root.

Just last week, the state's first licensed dispensary, operated by the Wellness Institute of Maryland, opened in Frederick.

The company is already accepting patient referrals, although cannabis won't be available until September, perhaps later.

"I think that's perfectly acceptable," says Neil Perry, a Jessup resident. "Just like any other medicine that comes from plants... it should be used, and should be allowed."

Rodriguez de Bittner emphasizes the training is not geared toward medical providers, but for staffers working at medical marijuana facilities.

Thirty-hour certification courses will cost between $450 and $750.

Among the subjects: patient safety, cultivation, dispensing, and policies and procedures.

Some offerings sound like business school classes.

"It would be quality assurance, record keeping, what records you keep when you dispense, what process you use when you dispense," Rodriguez, also the executive director of the school's Center for Innovative Pharmacy Solutions, says.

Bernazani says Freestate Wellness wants to hire around 40 to 50 people by the end of 2018.

They will be taking the UMD course for help in understanding the law and the product.

"Most folks think about cannabis as pot, marijuana, something you're smoking in your dorm room," she says. "It's not that anymore."

A year ago, state officials issued 15 preliminary growing licenses and 15 preliminary processing licenses.

About 102 companies across Maryland are hoping to open dispensaries.

Published reports say as many as 9,000 people have signed up to register to take part in the medical marijuana program.

"It may relieve pain, it may relieve nausea, people who go through anxiety," says Barbara Guy, of Jessup. "There's so many conditions out there."

But don't look for a medical marijuana drive-thru.

There are no patient walk-ins.

First off, a doctor who is registered with the program must approve a patient's record for medical marijuana use.

If that's approved, a patient must show a "cannibis registration card" or have an ID that shows he or she is on the Maryland medical marijuana program.

Bernazani says her facility will have 'traditional flower products' but she says there are safer alternatives.

"They can use a vape pen, oral products, whether it's a capsule you can swallow or a tablet you can chew or dissolve," she says. "Topicals have proven to be extremely effective for painful conditions, arthritic conditions. Our dispensary will carry all those products."

Rodriguez de Bittner is hoping that thousands, including prospective workers from outside the Baltimore-Washington area will sign up for the courses.

"It would be like quality assurance," she says. "Safety is our number one priority."

Bernazani says her company has invested a lot of money to prepare the Jessup facility.

She believes the medical cannabis industry is turning a corner.

"When someone has a loved one who has cancer, or they have a child with intractable seizures... that's when it hits home and that stigma goes away pretty quick."

Charm City Medicus Begins Buildout

We have some exciting updates from Charm City Medicus, a dispensary opening this fall in Baltimore County, Maryland! Construction for the dispensary in Dundalk is to begin within the next two weeks and JP2 Architects has provided renderings of the beautiful CCM interior and exterior. The 3,600 square-foot space will include a beautiful and comfortable waiting room, as well as sales and consultation areas.

On Wednesday, CCM’s president Bryan Hill discussed the dispensary’s next steps and his personal reasons for getting into the cannabis industry in the Baltimore Business Journal this Wednesday. You can read the article online or in the print edition out today. We look forward to seeing this beautiful dispensary come to life in the next few months! To stay up to date on the buildout’s progress, sign up for the Charm City Medicus newsletter here.

Maryland approves first medical marijuana dispensary

Regulators approved Maryland's first medical marijuana dispensary on Wednesday, authorizing a Frederick company to open its doors immediately even though the drug will not be available for months.

The Wellness Institute of Maryland plans to start seeing patients Thursday and take what owner Michael Kline called "pre-orders" for cannabis.

"We are fully equipped to deliver medicine as soon as we have it," Kline said minutes after the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission approved his license.

Although Maryland legalized medical marijuana more than four years ago, just one firm is authorized to grow it. That first crop is not expected to be ready until after Labor Day. 

The commission also on Wednesday delayed a vote to authorize a second grower, Curio Wellness in Baltimore County. A commissioner said the panel has requested additional information from Curio, but would not discuss the issue publicly.

Curio CEO Michael Bronfein called the move "regrettable," and said the commission never made him aware of any missing information. He said state inspectors approved his facility on June 14. 

"Our state of the art facility is ready," Bronfein said in a statement. "Every day the commission fails to provide our stage two license delays patients access to safe, reliable, and effective medicine."

The remaining companies picked to launch Maryland's marijuana growing and processing industry have just six weeks to secure a final license or risk losing out on the state's lucrative market.

A year ago, the commission awarded 15 preliminary growing licenses and 15 preliminary processing licenses. If those firms are not granted final licenses by Aug. 15 — a year from when they were selected — the commission could revoke the companies' opportunities to work in Maryland's medical marijuana industry.

"The clock is ticking," said Patrick Jameson, the commission's executive director.

Jameson said the commission plans to meet more frequently in the coming weeks to approve those licenses after each applicant undergoes a final state inspection. The commission also picked 102 companies to open dispensaries across the state, but they do not face the same Aug. 15 deadline.

The state's medical marijuana program has been beset by controversy and lawsuits over how the state picked winning firms and whether minority-owned companies could fairly compete for the licenses. Some state lawmakers are pushing to remake the commission and award more licenses.

The limited supply of growers and the broad base of potential patients made Maryland a highly sought after market that attracted hundreds of applications to launch the program. Already, nearly 9,000 patients have signed up to register with the state, and that count does not include the out-of-state patients who are permitted by law to buy marijuana here.

Regulators, concerned about potential fraud, are reconsidering regulations governing how out-of-state patients are allowed to register with the cannabis commission. Jameson said they hope to have a resolution soon.

Meanwhile, fewer than 300 doctors have registered to recommend the drug — less than 2 percent of the state's 16,000 physicians.

Last month, a new law took effect that further broadened access to the drug — authorizing dentists, podiatrists, mid-wives and nurse practitioners to recommend marijuana. So far, fewer than 20 of those providers have signed up to do so.

In Frederick, Kline and his team plan to offer home delivery of medical marijuana to qualified patients once it is available.

Wellness Institute of Maryland, he said, will operate more like a doctor's office than a retail store. Patients' consultations with cannabis professionals will take about an hour and they will be asked to keep an electronic diary, he said. The company doesn't plan to advertise to the public.

"Many, if not most people, won't be interested in our model," Kline said. "They would like to go in like it's a strip mall or a 7-Eleven."

Kline said his niche is to appeal to patients who might be apprehensive about taking a federally controlled substance. The firm plans to counsel each patient on what strains might be best and how to administer the lowest dose that's effective.

"For example, is it appropriate to use a vape pen? How do you do that?" Kline said.

Patients can sign up for an appointment by visiting Kline's website or calling the company. Even though the drug won't be available until September at the earliest, Kline said his firm is ready to take on "all the paperwork that's doable."

ecox@baltsun.com

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(original post here)

Amy Mellen: How Medical Cannabis Saved My Life

Every person has their own unique story of how cannabis heals. For some, the journey is a brief one, but for others, the road is long and dark. Meet Amy Mellen, who shares her story of pain, hardship, dependence, healing, and hope.

Amy’s life before

Amy Mellen has been through more in her 47 years on earth than most. Born in Nebraska and raised in Oregon, she grew up in a family that espoused sports, activities, and the typical wholesome American image.

I did not smoke weed, drink alcohol, party, skip school, nada. None of it. There were certain expectations of me. I WAS going to college, I WOULD have a career. I think a lot of it was just the way it was in the 70’s and 80’s, it was a different world back then. I happened to looked down at anyone that smoked weed, they were considered lazy and worthless.

Marijuana was the Devil’s drug and was used to get high and ruin your life. Well isn’t that what Nancy Reagan was saying with the DARE program? We were brainwashed into thinking that nothing good could come of this plant and that’s what I believed until about 18 months ago.

Amy married in 1990 and graduated from college with her Bachelors in 1991. Her first child was born in 1997, and her second a year later. Hormonal migraines from her second daughter had her doctor give her Percocet for the first time in her life.

I always wanted to be a wife and a mom. I had what I thought was the American Dream.

Then a horrendous rollover crash on the way home from a vacation changed her life.

I spent the next four years going through surgeries, physical therapy, and hundreds of dressing changes. I still have some glass and road debris left in my body.

Medications and side effects

From the earliest moments, I was placed on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, blood thinners, muscle relaxers, opiates, ibuprofen, and more. Because of the trauma my body was going through, my blood sugars shot up and they sent me home on insulin November 2007; now I was a Type 2 diabetic.

Through the years, I took almost every opiate out there for pain. My body didn’t respond to morphine so they placed my on Oxycontin which is long-acting and time released; the strength varied depending on pain. I used Percocet for breakthru pain in between the Oxycontin.

From pain management to physical dependence

For 18 months, Oxycontin was a way of life, until she saw new stories of its dangers. To wean her off it, doctors placed her on methadone instead. Going from bad to worse, she was now a synthetic heroin addict, without even knowing. The side effects were so profound that she tried to quit.

After trying to detox off the methadone, her fits of emotional overload became so intense that they caused a crisis with her children, and she went back to Oxycontin.

A vicious cycle

Amy hated how the drugs changed who she was, even to her family, and began to attempt to detox every spring, as the nerve pain was the worst in the fall and winter. But opiates weren’t her only demon.

In 2009, I found myself in a detox of a different kind, one of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds. A doctor that I spend 90 minutes with changed my Cymbalta to Prozac and Klonipin to Lorazepam. They work totally different in the body and I went into a serotonin overload.

The dramatic change threw her system into chaos, and for the first time in her life, she became suicidal to the point that she had to be admitted to an inpatient mental health hospital. It took months, but therapy helped her gat back on her feet.

It wouldn’t be easy. Her relationship with her husband had been so strained by her bouts with physical dependence and his medical issues that recuperating together in a small house became unbearable. They grew apart, and in 2010, they divorced.

A new life, and a final straw

Amy met her new husband, Todd, the next summer. His positivity helped her through more surgeries and infections, as well as some significant weight loss. In 2012, they married, and even with her medical complications, Amy’s life seemed to be looking up.

In October of 2014, her medications jarred her life again, in an unexpected way. She blacked out at the wheel while driving, with kids in the car. She was cited for the accident but found out later that her medication, Neurontin (Gabapentin), was the culprit. Other people had experienced the same side effect.

I lost my license and had to take public trans to all my physical therapy appointments. It was a 5 hour trip that was stressful and got my PTSD going. I was not in control when riding a bus, could not hold on with my left hand and my balance wasn’t so good. One day running for the bus I tripped, injured my good arm and ended up with a hematoma on my arm! That was it, no more pills!

Behold cannabis

Todd knew a gal whose husband had got his medical marijuana card and decreased the amount of opiates he was taking for chronic pain. So one day my husband texts me on his way home from work, says bring a lighter and meet him at the driveway. We drove out somewhere on backroads and he hands me a bag containing a new glass pink pipe and a little bag of weed.

That’s where it started. I began smoking Raspberry Kush in the beginning. The pipe was harsh so he surprised me with a bong that can take ice; much better for me back then. I began keeping my pain journal with the cannabis, just like I did with my pain meds for years. What did I take, how many milligrams, what kind of pain, etc.

So with the cannabis I recorded what strain, how much did I smoke, how long for the effects, what effects, how long did they last, etc. I wanted to figure out if this could really work.

The full spectrum of healing

Another friend of Amy’s new husband had opened a medical dispensary in Portland, and he introduced her to topicals. Nothing she had tried before worked like this.

I could literally feel my arm warming up, getting the blood circulating and touching my nerve pain. This was crazy, relief within minutes!

From PTSD and a facial tic developed after the accident, the sheer volume of her conditions demanded more. As she weaned off her meds, other conditions came to light, including Tourette’s. In May of 2015, after learning about Rick Simpson Oil, she bought her first dose.

Homeostasis

Things quickly began to turn around for Amy. The cannabis oil dropped her blood sugars, and in 2 months she was free from diabetes medication. Even her doctor was astounded.

The best way I can describe it…the cannabis just went in and found homeostasis in my body. One by one I was able to start cutting out other meds and supplements I was using to deal with the original side effects. Water pill, stool softener, laxative, liver and kidney detox supplements and so much more. They were gone! The more healing it did the better I felt.

The pain of withdrawals

Oh my, if you’ve never dealt with opiate withdrawals or Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, you just can’t understand why other’s don’t get clean. It’s the darkest scariest place I have ever been in my life! This was my 27th detox, so I already knew what I was in for. But, I was not prepared for what my nerves were going to experience from going off the Neurontin.

To sum it up, the process was worse than hell. Her doctor had mentioned the potential addiction aspects of opioids but had never told her about PAWS, or what it would do to her.

Back to life

In this horrible time, it was cannabis, family, friends, and surprisingly a newfound interest in heavy metal music that helped her pull through the darkness. The aggressive, ‘been through hell but never give up’ sentiment struck a chord with her own life. She would sit in a rocking chair on the porch, bare feet in the grass and headphones cranked, and find serenity and strength.

I was able to return to the work force in July 2015. I would have to say this was MONUMENTAL to my healing! I realized I COULD be a productive member of society again, it was very self-empowering. Just two weeks into my job and I was able to take my last Percocet on July 31, 2015 at 9pm.

I am now opiate free. In fact my family has a hard time getting me to take a Tylenol or Ibuprofen now.

Cannabis lessons learned

Unlike prescription medications, cannabis is rarely covered by insurance, leaving the entire bill up to patients.

This whole process has taken a huge toll on our finances. Since I knew nobody who grew plants, made oil, medibles, etc. we did this all through dispensaries. We have invested over $15,000 in less than a year. Plus we maxed credit cards, skipped bills, got behind, all just to heal me.

When I went from my rx meds of approximately $100 a month to $100 a day on cannabis, it hit hard. At my highest I was consuming 3g a day of RSO; at $35 a gram that’s spendy. Add on the $50 tubs of rub I was using each week and the $20 a day I was eating in medibles. At one point I was purchasing almost $1,000 a week in oil, it was outrageous!

Tweaking to maximize efficiency

It wasn’t until Amy started going to seminars on cannabis oil that she realized she had been doing it all wrong. Her body wasn’t absorbing the medicine efficiently, causing her to use far more than necessary. Amy had always kept a journal of her medications, and could instantly see her mistakes.

She learned about the blood/brain barrier, the role of the liver, and how carrier oils help cannabis oil absorb more efficiently.

We started making capsules out of flaxseed oil and the RSO in August 2015. After learning of the blood barrier, I started making sure I had food in my stomach whenever ingesting my oil capsules; wow, what a difference. It was, and IS little things like this, that I have learned on my own along the way.

I listen to my body, I record, I reflect, I revaluate when necessary. People have to remember this is a plant, they are each unique.

Where Amy stands now

Now Amy pays around $1,500 a month in medical expenses, not including the oil. One issue she has is that her conditions respond better to indica strains, but most dispensaries carry sativa or sativa-dominant hybrids. Medibles have the medicine that works best, but the excess sugar is a concern for many patients.

Amy has recently moved to Washington state because of the rent wars in Portland and says the restrictions there are problematic, at the least. She wants people to know that voting for access is not the same as making medical cannabis accessible.

Amy Mellen: From apathist to activist

Amy’s mind and body are going to take years to recover from the damage of her accidents, and the medications she was put on by doctors that didn’t realize the potential of cannabis as a safer alternative. Cannabis is helping her heal faster, but the process continues. She takes cannabis oil with flaxseed in caplets twice a day and uses edibles for sudden increases in pain like she once did with Percocet.

Amy purchased her own Magical Butter machine and hopes to make most of her medicine at home or with a friend for a fraction of the cost. She has gone from thinking of cannabis as “The Devil’s Lettuce” to advocating for it in front of the Oregon Health Association, attending hearings at the State capitol, and reaching out to others to lend support.

Amy hopes to bring awareness to the healing powers of cannabis for substance addiction and chronic pain. She also strives to spread the word on the dangers of opiates and struggles of people dealing with PAWS.

Originally Posted by HERB.co http://herb.co/2016/08/09/amy-mellen/