For Parents Who Want To Get High, Microdosing Weed Could Be The Answer

Caitlin McCormackOn Assignment For HuffPost Canada

Brenda Burke enjoys the pleasant effects of using cannabis, but finds that sometimes even a single puff on her vape pen can produce an overwhelming high.

Which is why she's looking forward to the upcoming legalization of weed on Oct. 17, 2018. Burke, who lives in Toronto and asked that her name be changed for privacy reasons, believes that the availability of cannabis products in regulated, precise microdoses will be beneficial for treating her anxiety.

"If I can get access to measured microdoses in some form, it might increase my consumption come fall, but I feel it would lower my alcohol consumption as well. I'd like to replace my occasional glass of wine with a microdose," Burke told HuffPost Canada.

"Ideally, I'd like to see more options for edibles as I would prefer not to smoke if I can as I worry about carcinogens, and I do feel like a bit of a teenager sitting on my balcony smoking weed."

Burke is not alone in her desire to use cannabis while parenting. According to a recent study conducted by Van der Pop in partnership with Canadian Viewpoint, 38 per cent of moms who participated in the survey admit that using cannabis helps them be more patient and playful with their children, and 35 per cent use cannabis as a substitute for alcohol.

Microdosing is recommended for novice users

Microdosing refers to the act of dosing cannabis medicine in the lowest available denominations, such as 1 mg or 2.5 mg, Dr. Rachel Knox, co-founder of the American Cannabinoid Clinic, told HuffPost Canada. For novice users, starting out with microdosing is highly recommended, Knox added.

"Often times, less is more when it comes to cannabis medicine. By starting with high doses, people can easily miss their therapeutic window, which lies somewhere between the minimum effective and maximum tolerated dose," Knox said.

"When users increase their dose slowly, and over time, they are more likely to discover their optimal therapeutic dose."

Microdosing also allows a person to avoid unwanted side effects that come with cannabis products, particularly those with THC, which produces the stereotypical "high" feeling associated with cannabis use, Knox said.

Another reason Knox finds microdosing to be a good option for people, particularly parents, to enjoy is that it allows them to avoid the two-phase effect of cannabis use.

"There comes a point at which higher doses no longer treat a condition, but exacerbate it," Knox said.

The ability to control the effects of marijuana is desireable

For Burke, this ability to control dosing is key for her desire to use and enjoy cannabis.

"I know exactly how I'll feel after one glass of wine or beer, but cannabis is totally different, because I feel it's less regulated," she said. "I want to be able to relax after my son is asleep, but if I'm worried that the effects might be too heavy, it causes me even more anxiety, so what's the point in that?"

Burke says despite her low tolerance, if she can strike the right balance with the right strain, the effects are pleasant. Between raising a toddler and running her own communications consultancy, she says she is exhausted at the end of the day, but still has trouble quieting her mind.

Microdosing is often the most sufficient and efficient method of dosing for conditions or symptoms that are simple to moderately complex, such as anxiety or other mood disorders, non-complex pain disorders (including headaches), nausea, and anorexia, Knox said.

For accurate doses, she recommends novice users try tinctures and dose pens, which are vape pens that deliver precise dosing per pull. Another popular method for microdosing, especially with women, is through edibles. Statistics Canada's most recent National Cannabis Survey found that 41 per cent of women used edible cannabis products in the most recent quarter, compared to just 26 per cent of males.

It's important to know how much you're getting

Online Canadian cannabis retailer Budderweeds prides themselves on providing consistent, high-quality microdose edibles to consumers. Company spokesperson Paul Rock told HuffPost Canada there's a lot of math and science that goes into each batch of edibles the company makes.

He does acknowledge that while his company is stringent with testing and quality control, consumers must be wary when it comes to purchasing from untrusted sources. Rock finds that a lot of consumers nowadays aren't necessarily trying to get blitzed out of their minds, but just want to relax and calm themselves after a long day.

"It's no longer any different from having a beer. You know exactly how much alcohol is in a beer, coast to coast," Rock said. "You know what your limit is, and what works perfect for you."

More from HuffPost Canada:


Warning: Kids Can't Tell The Difference Between Edibles And Junk FoodCanadian Companies Are Getting Creative When It Comes To Pot EdiblesMoms Who Use Marijuana To Unwind Say It's An Effective Coping Strategy

But, as with any substance, there are considerations to take into account before a parent dives in. In June, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada warned women not to use marijuana while breastfeeding or pregnant. And doctors have expressed concerns about parenting while high, specifically because marijuana impairs your judgment.

"Just like we don't want people using marijuana and getting behind the wheel of a car, we don't want people using marijuana and trying to parent as well. Your young children need you to be at your mental best, so doing anything that impairs your judgement is not going to be in the best interest of your child," Dr. Michael Dickinson, the former head of the Canadian Paediatric Society, told HuffPost Canada previously.

Burke hopes that with legalization set for this fall, that the stigma around cannabis consumption and parenting is reduced.

"We have 'mommy needs a glass of wine' and 'mom and baby' wine events all over town. Maybe mom just needs a little bit of weed at the end of a long day of parenting."

MEDICAL MARIJUANA & BREAST CANCER: What you need to know

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What is medical marijuana?

Marijuana, also called cannabis and quite a few other names, is a plant grown around the world that has been used in herbal remedies for centuries. There are a number of biologically active compounds in marijuana, which are called cannabinoids. The two most-studied compounds in marijuana are:

  • delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes marijuana’s high

  • cannabidiol (CBD), which doesn’t cause a high

Each cannabinoid offers different benefits. Many people diagnosed with cancer feel that CBD is better at controlling pain than THC.

While marijuana is federally illegal in the United States, more than half of the states, as well as the District of Columbia, have passed laws legalizing the use of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions.

So medical marijuana means using marijuana or its cannabinoids for medicinal purposes.

What conditions is medical marijuana used for?

It’s extremely important to know that marijuana is not a treatment for breast cancer. People use marijuana to ease the side effects of treatment and pain caused by the cancer.

Still, because marijuana is federally illegal, research on marijuana to manage cancer treatment side effects is limited.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that marijuana may ease:

  • pain

  • nausea/vomiting

  • hot flashes

  • loss of appetite

  • anxiety

  • insomnia

caused by a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

“It’s important for people to know that anything they ingest that produces a change in their bodies is acting like a drug, and it has the potential for side effects, interactions with other drugs, as well as benefits,” said Virginia F. Borges, M.D., MMSc., professor of medicine and director of the Breast Cancer Research Program at the University of Colorado Cancer Center. She specializes in treating young women diagnosed with breast cancer. “People have to be as diligent about researching medical marijuana as they would be with any other supplement or drug they were taking. The hard reality is that because marijuana is illegal at the federal level, your treating doctor, who works under federal guidelines, isn’t going to be your primary source for information on this topic. Your doctor will only be able to report what she or he has observed in patients, and that may be very limited information depending on where you live.”

Because marijuana has been legal for both medical and recreational use in Colorado for a number of years, Dr. Borges has a number of breast cancer patients who use or have used medical marijuana to ease treatment side effects.

“I’ve mainly seen it used in conjunction with prescription drugs to control pain and other side effects in patients living with metastatic disease,” she said. “It’s rare that a person living with metastatic breast cancer would have only one side effect to manage. So, by adding in medical marijuana, it often allows me to cut back on the number of drugs I prescribe. With a high-quality source for medical marijuana and knowing how it affects an individual, using medical marijuana can put more control back in the hands of my patient. If someone is feeling good, she may only need to take one or two drops per day. If she’s not feeling good, she may need three or four drops per day. Many of the prescription drugs don’t have this flexibility. Any time you can give control back to a person when their living with cancer, it’s a good thing.”

What to expect when using medical marijuana

Medical marijuana comes in a variety of strains and each has different levels of active compounds and potency. This means the effects of medical marijuana will be unique to each person and can be hard to predict.

Medical marijuana products come in many different forms, including:

  • edibles, such as cookies, candy, mints, or brownies

  • dried leaves or buds for smoking

  • oils for vaporing or mixing into tea, honey, or other food

  • creams and other products that are applied topically

  • sprays or tinctures that are used under the tongue or along the gum line

Many oncologists would prefer that their patients not smoke anything. At the same time, many women diagnosed with breast cancer are trying to prevent weight gain/lose weight related to treatment. So, oils, sprays, or tinctures may be a better option than edibles or dried leaves or buds. Still, every person’s situation is unique and the best form of medical marijuana will vary from person to person.

Again, because research on medical marijuana and cancer is limited, information on side effects is also limited. Reported side effects of medical marijuana include increased heart rate, low blood pressure, dizziness, fainting, hallucinations, and paranoia.

Important things to consider before trying medical marijuana

  • Always tell your doctor about any vitamins, supplements, herbs, and over-the counter medicines you are using, including medical marijuana. If you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal and you’d like to talk to someone who is successfully using medical marijuana to treat breast cancer side effects, you may want to ask your care team if they can connect you with another patient.

  • Medical marijuana is NOT covered by insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. The cost of medical marijuana can start at about $100 per month and can be much higher, depending on how much is needed. The bottom line is that medical marijuana can be expensive.

  • THC and CBD are present in different levels in different strains of marijuana. THC and CBD each offer different benefits. For example, CBD may be better at easing pain, while THC may be better at controlling nausea.

  • You will likely have to do a lot of research on your own to figure out the ratio of CBD to THC that works best for controlling your side effects. This can take quite a bit of trial and error. What works for someone else may not work for you.

  • You may have to go to several medical marijuana dispensaries until you find one that you’re comfortable with and has staff members that can answer all your questions about the levels of CBD and THC in the strains available. Depending on the laws in your state, some dispensaries may cater more to recreational users than medical users. Medical dispensaries tend to be more clinical and have staff members who are more likely to have experience helping people with cancer use medical marijuana to treat side effects. It can be helpful to call the dispensary and explain the side effects you’re having, as well as any experience you’ve had with marijuana, and ask if you can schedule a consultation appointment with a staff member. If you’re at all uncomfortable, go to a different dispensary.

  • Some doctors who regularly prescribe medical marijuana suggest asking the dispensary staff member some general questions before you start talking specifically about your side effects:

    • Is your marijuana grown using pesticides?

    • Are your items stored and handled properly to avoid spoilage and contamination?

    • Are your items tested for fungus and bacteria? What are the results?

    • Are your items tested for levels of pesticides?

    • What is your training and experience in recommending medical marijuana?

    • Have you worked with cancer patients before?

  • Some oncologists have recommended that their patients go to a medical marijuana dispensary, rather than an outlet that caters to recreational users. There is no research on whether recreational marijuana is just as safe and useful for cancer patients as the usually more expensive medical grade variety, though some dispensaries take extra care to ensure there are no pesticides or mold in their medical medical-grade cannabis.

  • If you work for the federal government, a federal government contractor, or an employer that conducts regular drug tests, you may face disciplinary action for using medical marijuana. Always check your employer’s medical marijuana policy before you start using it.

  • If you are part of a clinical trial, it is very much unknown how the compounds in medical marijuana may interact with any experimental drugs. It makes good sense to talk to the doctor coordinating the trial before you try medical marijuana.


Ask Mayo Clinic: Medical marijuana option raises questions

Dear Mayo Clinic: Medical marijuana is now legal in the state where I live. What conditions can it be used for and how effective is it? Do people who use medical marijuana need to be concerned about addiction?

A: Medical marijuana, also called medical cannabis, can be helpful in treating a variety of conditions. The specific disorders it can legally be used to treat vary from state to state. To date, it appears to be most effective for treating muscle spasms, chronic pain and nausea. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a form of medical cannabis to treat severe childhood epilepsy. There is no convincing evidence that cannabis used to treat medical conditions leads to cannabis dependence.

Marijuana comes from the Cannabis plant. In its leaves and buds are substances called cannabinoids. The plant contains more than 100 cannabinoids, but two are of particular interest for medical purposes: THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is the primary mind-altering ingredient in marijuana that makes people "high." CBD does not trigger changes in the brain that lead to a high.

Possession of marijuana is illegal under federal law in the U.S. However, 30 states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing medical cannabis in some form. To obtain medical cannabis in those states, your health care provider certifies that you have a condition that allows you to buy medical cannabis from an authorized dispensary.

The conditions that qualify for treatment with medical cannabis differ considerably among the states where it's legal. Some states have only a few qualifying conditions, while others have dozens.

A recent report from the National Academies of Science reviewed and summarized the medical literature published about medical cannabis, specifically examining its effectiveness and safety. It concluded that medical cannabis was particularly effective for easing chronic pain, especially pain caused by nerve damage. It can effectively control nausea and vomiting and is often used to manage those symptoms in people undergoing chemotherapy. Medical cannabis also has been shown to be useful in relieving painful muscles spasms caused by conditions such as multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries.

The drug approved by the FDA for epilepsy is a liquid medication that's sold under the brand name Epidiolex. It can be used for patients age 2 and older to treat two rare and severe forms of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Epidiolex is a pharmacy-grade product composed almost entirely of CBD. It's the first FDA-approved drug that contains a purified drug substance that comes from marijuana.

Examples of additional conditions that may benefit from treatment with medical cannabis, and are approved for its use in some states, include anxiety and depression, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), inflammatory bowel disease, Tourette syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and autism. Additional study is needed to further define the specific benefits medical cannabis may have for these and other related disorders.

If you are interested in exploring medical cannabis as a treatment option for a disease or condition you have, talk with your health care provider. If your provider isn't familiar with it, ask if there's another clinician in his or her practice who can answer your questions. In states where medical cannabis is legal, the state's department of health often has a website with details and resources to help patients who want to learn more about the benefits and risks of medical cannabis.

To submit general comments or questions, see www.mayoclinic.org/forms/comments

How Do Cannabis Terpenes Affect the Body?

For many people the word “terpene” is a strange and unfamiliar term, but it won’t be for much longer. As science and technology carry us to better understandings of cannabis, we’re beginning to see that there’s a lot more to marijuana than its cannabinoid content. To get a hint of the other therapeutic compounds in your strain, just give it a sniff.

Terpenes are fragrant oils that give cannabis its aromatic diversity. They’re what give Blueberry its signature berry smell, Sour Diesel its funky fuel flavor, and Lavender its sweet floral aroma. These oils are secreted in the flower’s sticky resin glands, the same ones that produce THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. Terpenes are by no means unique to cannabis; they can be found in many other herbs, fruits, and plants as well.

Click on the infographic to enlarge it.

Like cannabinoids, terpenes bind to receptors in the brain and give rise to various effects. The above infographic outlines properties of six common cannabis terpenes along with a few strains that tend to express notable levels of each.

When choosing a strain based on its terpene content, keep in mind that different harvests may demonstrate dramatically different terpenoid profiles due to variances in growing and curing techniques. Lab-tested products are the only surefire way of knowing a strain’s terpene potency – without it, you’ll have to rely on your nose to guide you.

Lastly, when choosing your method of ingestion, keep in mind that the beneficial qualities of terpenes can be seriously damaged if heated past their boiling point. It is best to try a ‘low-heat’ device such as a Dr. Dabber Ghost Vaporizer pen or an adjustable eNail to extract the full benefit and flavor of your terpenes.

Study: Medical Marijuana Relieves Range of Symptoms With No Serious Side Effects

People suffering from a variety of health conditions experienced a reduction in the severity of their symptoms after consuming marijuana.

By Alexa Lardieri, Staff Writer Sept. 11, 2018, at 11:23 a.m.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA CAN provide relief from symptoms from dozens of health conditions with minimal negative side effects, according to new research.

Two studies published recently in the journals Frontiers in Pharmacology and Medicine found that patients with health conditions such as chronic pain and insomnia saw "statistically and clinically significant therapeutic benefits" when they used medical cannabis, according to a press release from the University of New Mexico.

Researchers from the university studied data obtained through the Releaf App. This app, developed by several of the studies' authors, is "the largest repository of user-entered information on the consumption and effect of cannabis use in the United States," the release states. It has almost 100,000 entries.

The app is designed to record how using marijuana corresponds to changes in the intensity of symptoms and any side effects a person experiences. It helps "track and learn which types of cannabis, dosing and ingestion methods work best."

The study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology found that users suffering from 27 different health conditions with symptoms ranging from seizures to depression reported a mean reduction in symptoms of 2.8 to 4.6 points on a zero to 10 point scale after consuming cannabis in various forms, including concentrates and topicals. People using the drug to treat anxiety- and depression-related symptoms reported more relief than people with pain symptoms.

In the second study, researchers examined how cannabis buds treated insomnia. Cannabis users on the Releaf App experienced a reduction of symptom severity of an average 4.5 points on a zero to 10 point scale. According to the study, people who consumed the drug via pipes and vaporizers experienced greater relief of symptoms, and those who vaped experienced fewer negative effects.

According to the release, data from the app showed that an overall 94 percent of cannabis users suffering from a variety of health conditions reported that the intensity of their symptoms was reduced after consuming the drug. Additionally, use of marijuana was associated with non-serious side effects.

"If the results found in our studies can be extrapolated to the general population, cannabis could systematically replace multi-billion dollar medication industries around the world. It is likely already beginning to do so," Jacob Vigil, co-author of the studies, said in the release.

Because many prescription medications have negative side effects, medical marijuana has been gaining popularity, especially among older patients and those with significant health conditions, the release states. Marijuana has been studied as potential treatment for a number of health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer, chronic pain and epilepsy.

23 Science-Backed Health Benefits Of Marijuana

States around the country — 29 of them, plus Washington DC — have legalized medical marijuana. 

The American public largely supports the legalization of medical marijuana. At least 84% of the public believes the drug should be legal for medical uses, and recreational pot usage is less controversial than ever, with at least 61% of Americans in support.

Even though some medical benefits of smoking pot may be overstated by advocates of marijuana legalization, recent research has demonstrated that there are legitimate medical uses for marijuana and strong reasons to continue studying the drug's medicinal uses.

Even the NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse lists medical uses for cannabis.

There are at least two active chemicals in marijuana that researchers think have medicinal applications. Those are cannabidiol (CBD) — which seems to impact the brain without a high— and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — which has pain relieving properties and is largely responsible for the high.

But scientists say that limitations on marijuana research mean we still have big questions about its medicinal properties. In addition to CBD and THC, there are another 400 or so chemical compounds, more than 60 of which are cannabinoids. Many of these could have medical uses. But without more research, we won't know how to best make use of those compounds.

More research would also shed light on the risks of marijuana. Even if there are legitimate uses for medicinal marijuana, that doesn't mean all use is harmless. Some research indicates that chronic, heavy users may have impaired memory, learning, and processing speed, especially if they started regularly using marijuana before age 16 or 17.

For some of the following medical benefits, there's good evidence. For others, there's reason to continue conducting research.

Jennifer Welsh contributed to an earlier version of this story.

The best-supported medicinal use of marijuana is as a treatment for chronic pain.

A recent report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine said there was definitive evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids (which are found in the marijuana plant) can be an effective treatment for chronic pain.

The report said that is "by far the most common" reason people request medical marijuana.

There's also strong evidence medical cannabis can help with muscle spasms.

That same report said there's equally strong evidence marijuana can help with muscle spasms related to multiple sclerosis.

Other types of muscle spasms respond to marijuana as well. People use medical marijuana to treat diaphragm spasms that are untreatable by other, prescribed medications.

It doesn't seem to harm lung capacity, and may even improve it.

There's a fair amount of evidence that marijuana does no harm to the lungs, unless you also smoke tobacco. One study published in Journal of the American Medical Association found that not only does marijuana not impair lung function, it may even increase lung capacity.

Researchers looking for risk factors of heart disease tested the lung function of 5,115 young adults over the course of 20 years. Tobacco smokers lost lung function over time, but pot users actually showed an increase in lung capacity.

It's possible that the increased lung capacity may be due to taking a deep breaths while inhaling the drug and not from a therapeutic chemical in the drug.

The smokers in that study only toked up a few times a month, but a more recent survey of people who smoked pot daily for up to 20 years found no evidence that smoking pot harmed their lungs, either.

The National Academies report said there are good studies showing marijuana users are not more likely to have cancers associated with smoking.

 

It may be of some use in treating glaucoma, or it may be possible to derive a drug from marijuana for this use.

One of the most common reasons that states allow medical marijuana use is to treat and prevent the eye disease glaucoma, which increases pressure in the eyeball, damaging the optic nerve and causing loss of vision.

Marijuana decreases the pressure inside the eye, according to the National Eye Institute: "Studies in the early 1970s showed that marijuana, when smoked, lowered intraocular pressure (IOP) in people with normal pressure and those with glaucoma."

For now, the medical consensus is that marijuana only lowers IOP for a few hours, meaning there's not good evidence for it as a long term treatment right now. Researchers hope that perhaps a marijuana-based compound could be developed that lasts longer.

It may help control epileptic seizures.

Some studies have shown that cannabidiol (CBD), another major marijuana compound, seems to help people with treatment-resistant epilepsy.

A number of individuals have reported that marijuana is the only thing that helps control their or their children's seizures.

However, there haven't been many gold-standard, double-blind studies on the topic, so researchers say more data is needed before we know how effective marijuana is.

It also decreases the symptoms of a severe seizure disorder known as Dravet's Syndrome.

During the research for his documentary "Weed," Sanjay Gupta interviewed the Figi family, who treated their 5-year-old daughter using a medical marijuana strain high in cannabidiol and low in THC.

The Figi family's daughter, Charlotte, has Dravet Syndrome, which causes seizures and severe developmental delays.

According to the film, the drug decreased her seizures from 300 a week to just one every seven days. Forty other children in the state were using the same strain of marijuana to treat their seizures when the film was made — and it seemed to be working.

The doctors who recommended this treatment said the cannabidiol in the plant interacts with brain cells to quiet the excessive activity in the brain that causes these seizures.

Gupta notes, however, that a Florida hospital that specializes in the disorder, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Drug Enforcement agency don't endorse marijuana as a treatment for Dravet or other seizure disorders.

A chemical found in marijuana stops cancer from spreading, at least in cell cultures.

CBD may help prevent cancer from spreading, researchers at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco reported in 2007.

Other very preliminary studies on aggressive brain tumors in mice or cell cultures have shown that THC and CBD can slow or shrink tumors at the right dose, which is a strong reason to do more research.

One 2014 study found that marijuana can significantly slow the growth of the type of brain tumor associated with 80% of malignant brain cancer in people.

Still, these findings in cell cultures and animals don't necessarily mean the effect will translate to people — far more investigation is needed.

It may decrease anxiety in low doses.

Researchers know that many cannabis users consume marijuana to relax, but also that many people say smoking too much can cause anxiety. So scientists conducted a study to find the "Goldilocks" zone: the right amount of marijuana to calm people.

According to Emma Childs, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago and an author of the study, "we found that THC at low doses reduced stress, while higher doses had the opposite effect." 

A few puffs was enough to help study participants relax, but a few puffs more started to amp up anxiety. However, people may react differently in different situations.

THC may slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease

Marijuana may be able to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, a study led by Kim Janda of the Scripps Research Institute suggests.

The 2006 study, published in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics, found that THC (the active chemical in marijuana) slows the formation of amyloid plaques by blocking the enzyme in the brain that makes them. These plaques kill brain cells and are associated with Alzheimer's.

A synthetic mixture of CBD and THC seems to preserve memory in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Another study suggested that a THC-based prescription drug called dronabinol was able to reduce behavioral disturbances in dementia patients.

All these studies are in very early stages, though, so more research is needed.

The drug eases the pain of multiple sclerosis.

Marijuana may ease painful symptoms of multiple sclerosis, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Jody Corey-Bloom studied 30 multiple sclerosis patients with painful contractions in their muscles. These patients didn't respond to other treatments, but after smoking marijuana for a few days, they reported that they were in less pain.

The THC in marijuana seems to bind to receptors in the nerves and muscles to relieve pain.

 

It seems to lessen side effects from treating hepatitis C and increase treatment effectiveness.

Treatment for hepatitis C infection is harsh: negative side effects include fatigue, nausea, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and depression. Those side effects can last for months, and lead many people to stop their treatment course early.

But a 2006 study in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that 86% of patients using marijuana successfully completed their Hep C therapy. Only 29% of non-smokers completed their treatment, possibly because the marijuana helps lessen the treatment's side effects.

Marijuana also seems to improve the treatment's effectiveness: 54% of hep C patients smoking marijuana got their viral levels low and kept them low, in comparison to only 8% of nonsmokers.

Marijuana may help with inflammatory bowel diseases.

Patients with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis could benefit from marijuana use, studies suggest. 

University of Nottingham researchers found in 2010 that chemicals in marijuana, including THC and cannabidiol, interact with cells in the body that play an important role in gut function and immune responses. The study was published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

The body makes THC-like compounds that increase the permeability of the intestines, allowing bacteria in. But the cannabinoids in marijuana block these compounds, making the intestinal cells bond together tighter and become less permeable.

But the National Academies report said there isn't enough evidence to be sure whether marijuana really helps with these conditions, so more research is needed.

It relieves arthritis discomfort.

Marijuana alleviates pain, reduces inflammation, and promotes sleep, which may help relieve pain and discomfort for people with rheumatoid arthritis, researchers announced in 2011.

Researchers from rheumatology units at several hospitals gave their patients Sativex, a cannabinoid-based pain-relieving medicine. After a two-week period, people on Sativex had a significant reduction in pain and improved sleep quality compared to placebo users.

Other studies have found that plant-derived cannabinoids and inhaled marijuana can decrease arthritis pain, according to the National Academies report.

Marijuana users tend to be less obese and have a better response to eating sugar.

A study published in the American Journal Of Medicine suggested that pot smokers are skinnier than the average person and have healthier metabolism and reaction to sugars, even though they do end up eating more calories.

The study analyzed data from more than 4,500 adult Americans — 579 of whom were current marijuana smokers, meaning they had smoked in the last month. About 2,000 people had used marijuana in the past, while another 2,000 had never used the drug.

The researchers studied how the participants' bodies responded to eating sugars. They measured blood-sugar levels and the hormone insulin after participants hadn't eaten in nine hours, and after they'd eaten sugar.

Not only were pot users thinner, their bodies also had a healthier response to sugar. Of course, the study couldn't determine whether the marijuana users were like this to begin with or if these characteristics were somehow related to their smoking.

While not really a health or medical benefit, marijuana could spur creativity.

Contrary to stoner stereotypes, marijuana usage has actually been shown to have some positive mental effects, particularly in terms of increasing creativity, at least in some contexts. Even though people's short-term memories tend to function worse when they're high, they actually get better at tests requiring them to come up with new ideas.

Researchers have also found that some study participants improve their "verbal fluency," their ability to come up with different words, while using marijuana.

Part of this increased creative ability may come from the release of dopamine in the brain, which lowers inhibitions and allows people to feel more relaxed, giving the brain the ability to perceive things differently.

Cannabis soothes tremors for people with Parkinson's disease.

Research from Israel shows that smoking marijuana significantly reduces pain and tremors and improves sleep for Parkinson's disease patients. Particularly impressive was the improved fine motor skills among patients.

Medical marijuana is legal in Israel for multiple conditions, and a lot of research into the medical uses of cannabis is done there, supportedby the Israeli government.

Marijuana may help veterans suffering from PTSD.

In 2014, the Colorado Department of Public Health awarded $2 million to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (one of the biggest proponents of marijuana research) to study marijuana's potential for people with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Naturally occurring cannabinoids, similar to THC, help regulate the system that causes fear and anxiety in the body and brain.

Marijuana is approved to treat PTSD in some states already — in New Mexico, PTSD is the number one reason for people to get a license for medical marijuana.

But there are still questions about the safety of using marijuana while suffering from PTSD, which this study — which has taken a while to get off the ground — will hopefully help answer.

Animal studies suggest that marijuana may protect the brain after a stroke.

Research from the University of Nottingham shows that marijuana may help protect the brain from damage from a stroke by reducing the size of the area affected by the stroke — at least in rats, mice, and monkeys.

This isn't the only research that has shown neuroprotective effects of cannabis. Some research shows that the plant may help protect the brain after other types of brain trauma.

Marijuana might even protect the brain from concussions and trauma.

Lester Grinspoon , a professor of psychiatry at Harvard and marijuana advocate, recently wrote an open letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. In it, he said the NFL should stop testing players for marijuana, and that the league should start funding research into the plant's ability to protect the brain instead.

"Already, many doctors and researchers believe that marijuana has incredibly powerful neuroprotective properties, an understanding based on both laboratory and clinical data," Grinspoon wrote.

Goodell said he'd consider permitting athletes to use marijuana if medical research shows that it's an effective neuroprotective agent.

At least one recent study on the topic found that patients who had used marijuana were less likely to die from traumatic brain injuries.

It can help eliminate nightmares.

This is a complicated one, because it involves effects that can be both positive and negative. Marijuana disturbs sleep cycles by interrupting the later stages of REM sleep. In the long run, this could be a problem for frequent users.

However, for people suffering from serious nightmares, especially those associated with PTSD, this can be helpful, perhaps in the short term. Nightmares and other dreams occur during those same stages of sleep. By interrupting REM sleep, many of those dreams may not occur. Research into using a synthetic cannabinoid — similar to THC but not the same — showed a significant decrease in the number of nightmares in patients with PTSD.

Additionally, even if frequent use can be bad for sleep, marijuana may be a better sleep aid than some other substances that people use. Some of those, including medication and alcohol, may potentially have worse effects on sleep, though more research is needed on the topic.

 

Cannabis reduces some of the pain and nausea from chemotherapy and stimulates appetite.

One of the most well-known medical uses of marijuana is for people going through chemotherapy. There's good evidence that it's effective for this, according to the National Academies report.

Cancer patients being treated with chemo suffer from painful nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. This can cause additional health complications.

Marijuana can help reduce these side effects, alleviating pain, decreasing nausea, and stimulating the appetite. There are also multiple FDA-approved cannabinoid drugs that use THC, the main active chemical in marijuana, for the same purpose.

Marijuana can help people who are trying to cut back on drinking.

Marijuana is safer than alcohol. That's not to say it's risk-free, but cannabis is much less addictive than alcohol and doesn't cause nearly as much physical damage. 

Disorders like alcoholism involve disruptions in the endocannabinoid system. Because of that, some people think cannabis might help patients struggling with those disorders.

Research published in the Harm Reduction Journal found that some people use marijuana as a less harmful substitute for alcohol, prescription drugs, and other illegal drugs. Some of the most common reasons patients make that substitution are that marijuana has less negative side effects and is less likely to cause withdrawal problems.

Some people do become psychologically dependent on marijuana, and it is not a cure for substance abuse problems. But from a harm-reduction standpoint, it can help.

Still, it's worth noting that combining marijuana and alcohol can be dangerous, and some researchers are concerned that this scenario is more likely than one in which users substitute a toke for a drink.

Medical marijuana legalization seems to reduce opioid overdose deaths.

While there are a number of factors behind the current opioid epidemic, many experts agree that the use of opioid painkillers to treat chronic pain has played a major role. It's very risky to take powerful drugs that have a high risk of causing overdose and high addiction rates. Marijuana, which can also treat chronic pain, is far less risky.

Several studies have shown that states that allow medical marijuana have fewer opioid deaths. This effect seems to grow over time, with states who pass these laws seeing a "20% lower rate of opioid deaths in the laws' first year, 24% in the third, and 33% in the sixth," according to Stat News.

It's hard to say that deaths went down because of medical marijuana legalization and not other reasons. But because the effect seems to get stronger the longer marijuana remains legal, researchers think marijuana is a likely cause of the decline in opioid deaths.

Read the original article on Business Insider. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Copyright 2017.

The Importance of Community-Based Training in Legal Medical Cannabis States

newsletter • august 31, 2018 • wwwmycannx.com (1).png

Medical cannabis use is on the rise as 30 states have now legalized cannabis for medical use, while 9 states have legalized cannabis across the board.

There are 201,345,903 users of medical cannabis in the legal medical states, and the number is on the rise as more people turn to cannabis for issues like pain management, neurodegenerative disorders, epilepsy, woman’s health issues, and support through cancer treatment, just to name a few qualifying medical conditions.

Sadly, despite medical cannabis being on the rise, there are still so many misconceptions about cannabis, and why medical cannabis users have turned to it.

MyCannX is seeking to change this.

By offering comprehensive and FREE training to medical doctors, community groups, schools, retirement homes, and any organization that could benefit from cannabis education, MyCannX seeks to increase the public literacy on cannabis, so that medical cannabis users can access and use their medicine – without stigma.

Sensitivity Training

So many cannabis education programs work on the pretense that those who undergo the training do so because they are amongst “the converted”. As our CEO Shawnta says, “Cannabis users don’t exist in a vacuum”, and deserve to live in a society free of judgment and stigma.

Cannabis has sadly been under prohibition so long that it’s often difficult to change the prohibitionist attitudes of those who are anti-cannabis: these are the people that MyCannX wants to reach through our training programs.

Sensitivity training involves not only helping people understand cannabis itself but why medical cannabis users have chosen cannabis as a medical treatment. Medical cannabis users have long been under the stigma of “just wanting to get high”, when, many are not using cannabis for its psychoactive effects, but rather its medicinal benefits.

When the public undergoes sensitivity training, they may not have to emerge as converted cannabis users, but rather those who are tolerant, understanding, and accepting for the cannabis community. Through those who have undergone sensitivity training, they can help be the voice against stigma for cannabis users.

Knowing their Options

Everyone deserves to know their options for medical care, but sadly, many doctors are not at the point where they are comfortable prescribing cannabis.

MyCannX helps educate all stakeholders in a language they understand and know. We work with doctors, hospitals, medical centers, patient drop-in centers, and clinics to spread knowledge on medical cannabis: why patients are using it, and why it is a viable option, and alternative to often harmful prescription drugs.

Community-based cannabis education also reaches the masses, to show them how they can access affordable medical cannabis programs, regardless of socioeconomic status.

At MyCannX, we believe that no one should have to choose between a medical path that is no longer working for them and natural options like cannabis therapies. Therefore, we have created an affordable registration process for legal access.

Cannabis is a Community Issue

MyCannX decided to offer training in community-based settings so to recognize that cannabis IS a community issue that requires an understanding by all levels of society, not only decision-makers.

Offering cannabis education to the masses takes the discussion about cannabis out of ivory towers, clinical settings, and into the real world, where real lives are affected. By offering training to everyone we remove the gaps between stakeholders in cannabis, to truly approach medical cannabis as a privilege for everyone, not just the government or a select few.

We educate not only about safe and responsible cannabis use, but how to ensure that all cannabis use is conducted within the legal confines of medical cannabis programs.

We are in this Together

Cannabis belongs to everyone, and everyone has the right to know about their options for their health and wellness. MyCannX is available and eager to spread the word on cannabis education in both formal and informal settings.

Connect with MyCannX today if your group could benefit from FREE medical cannabis training- we look forward to partnering with you!

“It’s Definitely Not A Get Rich Quick Scheme” 11 Insider Tips With Shawnta Hopkins-Greene, Founder of MyCannX

“While we are experiencing a “green rush” it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be successful and sustainable. It’s definitely not a get rich quick scheme.”
— Shawnta Hopkins-Greene
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What is your “backstory”? How did you first get into this business or get interested in the business?

Myinspiration for founding MyCannX and MMJ Advocates Group comes from a very personal journey. As a mother of a special needs child and witness to family members finding tremendous benefits from the use of medical marijuana, the issue of safe and legal access kept coming to the forefront in my life. Seeing the benefits of medical marijuana and knowing there is still quite a way to go in the movement across the nation, I was personally motivated to be part of the change. That’s when I started MyCannX with the mission to provide safe, legal and affordable access to medical marijuana treatment for those suffering from chronic illnesses.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

The most interesting thing that has happened since starting this business has been meeting a 93-year-old patient and her children who have been risking arrest and prosecution to transport medical cannabis from the West Coast to treat their mother who has Alzheimer’s. This family’s story is not unique; however, I was struck by their conscious decision to create a fund to pay legal fees and daily expenses for any family member who found themselves in legal trouble as a result of obtaining and transporting this medication that they felt was providing their mother with a quality of life previous treatment had failed to provide. These people were al professionals with children of their own and everything to lose. On the day they brought their mother to the office to obtain her Washington D.C. medical marijuana card, all five of her children were present and it was a very emotional experience for the whole family.

What do you think makes your company stand out?

Enrollment in our program grants clients unique access to a network of compassionate physicians who understand the benefits of medical marijuana. By working closely with a network of physicians, patients, dispensaries and departments of health, we ensure patients get discreet, dignified and educational guidance on their medical marijuana program. Our physicians offer a wide range of specialties, including cardiology, gastroenterology, pain management, general family medicine and psychiatry.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?

My non-biological dad, who raised me since I was six months old, has done any and everything to help me succeed. I am so grateful that he took on this role — even though he didn’t have to — because his support has been a god send and has helped me become the strong, resourceful person I am today. Now, I’m looking for ways through my business and the cannabis industry to repay him so that he can retire from being a corrections officer.

Are you working on any exciting projects now?

We are developing a proprietary software program that is going to take MyCannX to the next level. The platform will enhance all aspects of our operations, including lead generation, digital education and partner support by deploying state-of-the-art technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?

What excites me most about the cannabis industry is being part of a movement that provides people with access to medical marijuana so that they can improve the quality of their lives in partnership with their physician. I’m also excited about seeing the benefits of cannabis come to fruition as we put more resources toward the science, especially as it relates to Autism, as this impacts my son. And, I’m passionate about all of the opportunities that the cannabis industry is creating for entrepreneurs.

But, there also are a few things that concern me. First, I’m worried that not everyone is as responsible as they should be with cannabis. Instead, they are taking advantage of the “green rush” to make money and are sometimes being careless in the way that they treat patients by not providing them with proper education. Also, I believe that everyone deserves a chance and the cannabis industry should provide one for them. I think that people with prior convictions for selling marijuana shouldn’t be locked out of the industry because it will hurt them even further. They deserve a chance to have a legitimate career in the cannabis industry if they want one. Lastly, I’m concerned that mom-and-pop operations will lose out to big business and big pharma trying to get into the industry if they don’t act fast.

Can you share your top “5 things you need to know in order to succeed in the Cannabis industry”? Please share a story or example for each.

1. If you want to be successful in this industry, you have to treat it as a legitimate business because it is one.

2. It’s critical to have a strong team and organizational structure in place with a significant compliance function.

3. Lead your business with education. The cannabis industry is a new one, so you have to be willing to spend the time educating people on its benefits and proper usage.

4. While we are experiencing a “green rush” it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be successful and sustainable. It’s definitely not a get rich quick scheme.

5. The same rules of professionalism apply to this industry as would apply to any other. Meaning being impaired is never acceptable in the work place and we must maintain a zero tolerance policy.

In our experience when people are passionate about what they do they are more successful. Where does your cannabis passion come from?

As I mentioned earlier, I am a mother to a special needs child with Autism. Because there is no cure for Autism it can take an emotional tool on the family because of the child’s unpredictable behavior.

As I talk to more and more people, there is a large, anecdotal collection of successes and a lot of grassroots activism from parents who have used cannabis to help their autistic children. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of research on the topic so I’m passionate about helping more parents realize the benefit that medical marijuana can provide their children and families.

Where do you see your business going in the next 5 years? Where do you see the cannabis industry going in the next 5 years?

I see MyCannX growing over the next 18 months to serve every state where medical marijuana is legal. While we currently serving Maryland, Washington D.C., Ohio and Pennsylvania, with the new software we are developing it will be easy and efficient for us to expand nationally.

As far as the cannabis industry as a whole, I believe that full adult use or recreational use is coming and will be legalized throughout the country. But, I think it will be important for states to continue to have medical programs to provide proper dosages and incentives for people with chronic illnesses.

Are you able to identify any rising stars at your company or in your industry that people need to keep an eye on?

Chanda Macias, PhD, is the owner of National Holistic Healing and Chairwoman of the Board for Women Grow. Chanda brings a unique perspective to the industry as she is a scientist who has studied cell biology and her approach to cannabis treatment is deeply rooted in her scientific background.

Leah Heise is a Maryland-based regulatory compliance attorney and former CEO of Women Grow. In her current roles as Chief Experience Officer of Mission Wellness and Chief Compliance Officer of 4Front Ventures, Leah has hit her stride and is definitely someone on the rise in the cannabis industry. She’s immersed herself in the industry ever since Maryland passed medical cannabis legislation. She’s a true advocate for educating, connecting and empowering other leaders in the cannabis industry.

I also feel that Joshua Crossney, CEO & Founder of Cannabis Science Conference, is doing some amazing things to advance the awareness of legal, medicinal cannabis across the U.S. His meetings and roundtables include topics to help educate patients, physicians, policy makers and other interested parties on the proper use of medical marijuana.

What growth sectors should most people be paying attention to that they might not be currently?

Big data is playing an enormous role in the medical cannabis industry. By applying predictive algorithms to data, medical marijuana companies and sellers can predict trends, assist sales and even make growers and dispensaries maintain their operations within state and federal regulations. Big data is in its infancy in the cannabis industry but will have many benefits in the years to come.

Seniors are the largest growing patient demographic in the medical cannabis industry and I think this trend will continue as more of our population ages. It’s important that dispensaries and physicians have the proper messaging and education tools to meet the needs of this group.

Also, quality training for employees is another area of the cannabis industry that people need to consider both from a critical need and a business opportunity. To effectively treat patients, we need to make sure that all employees who work with physicians and at dispensaries have the proper training to meet the needs of patients. Also, for those who know how to train medical marijuana employees, they can build a lucrative practice by sharing their knowledge and processes.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)

I really admire Angela Rye, CNN political commentator, NPR political analyst and owner of IMPACT strategies, a political advocacy firm in the nation’s capital. She’s honest, opinionated and extremely driven, and her passion for human, women and minority rights is unmatched. She’s not afraid to take on hard topics and issues and uses her platform to benefit others. I would be honored to spend time with her — to have real conversations about our nation’s future and get her thoughts on the cannabis industry.

Terry Kushner

CANNABIS COULD TREAT COLITIS AND CROHN'S DISEASE, STUDY IN MICE SUGGESTS

BY KASHMIRA GANDER ON 8/13/18 AT 4:00 PM

Cannabis could ease the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to research in mice.

Marijuana is already used to treat a range of conditions, from pain and nausea to mental disorders such as schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder. And some users have reported it eases their symptoms of IBD, according to the authors of the study. They discovered that a molecule in cannabis bore a resemblance to one naturally released by the body to relieve gut inflammation.

IBD is an umbrella term used to describe serious conditions where the gastrointestinal tract is chronically inflamed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are the most common forms. While the former affects the colon and the rectum, the latter can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, but most often the area of the small intestine before the large intestine or colon.

Symptoms of IBD include diarrhea, stomach pain, blood in stools, weight loss and tiredness. Currently, those with IBD can take medications to treat their symptoms, while some may need surgery to remove the damaged parts of the gastrointestinal tract.

By studying mice, the researchers concluded that gut inflammation is regulated by two constantly changing processes that respond to conditions in the intestinal tract. The first causes the immune system to respond aggressively to dangerous pathogens but can also harm the intestinal lining if it is too zealous. 

In the second process, which the researchers described for the first time, special molecules are transported across the epithelial cells of the gut (which are the first line of defense against harmful bacteria and viruses) to switch off inflammation. The process removes toxins from the inflamed cells in the intestinal cavity.

What interested the scientists was that this involves a molecule called endocannabinoid, which is produced by the body and bears similarities to those found in cannabis.

An absence of endocannabinoid can mean inflammation occurs indiscriminately, causing the immune system to attack the intestinal lining.

Related: How soon is it safe to drive after smoking cannabis? California study aims to find out

As the study was carried out in mice, it will now need to be replicated in human subjects. But the researchers hope their findings could one day help create new treatments for people with digestive disorders.

Beth McCormick, vice chair and professor of microbiology and physiological systems at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and a co-author of the study, which was published inThe Journal of Clinical Investigation, said, "There's been a lot of anecdotal evidence about the benefits of medical marijuana, but there hasn't been a lot of science to back it up.

"For the first time, we have an understanding of the molecules involved in the process and how endocannabinoids and cannabinoids control inflammation. This gives clinical researchers a new drug target to explore to treat patients that suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases, and perhaps other diseases, as well," she said.

Randy Mrsny, a co-author of the study and professor at Britain's University of Bath Centre for Regenerative Medicine, told Newsweek that as a result of the findings, "there is now some support for those individuals who may have felt social pressures or uncertainties about the rationale of using medical marijuana to treat intestinal inflammatory diseases, by framing a scientific understanding of how endocannabinoids function to suppress inflammation in the intestine."  

However, Mrsny cautioned IBD sufferers against using the results as an excuse to self-medicate and shunning current best practices for IBD that have undergone rigorous clinical trials in a way that cannabis hasn't for treating these conditions. 

"We are concerned that individuals will avoid current best practices for treatment of their IBD condition and rely on self-medicating solely with cannabis-derived agents, eschewing therapeutics validated through rigorous clinical trials," he said. 

Study: CBD From Marijuana Plus Chemotherapy Tripled Cancer Survival Rates

Mice with pancreatic cancer treated with a combination of cannabidiol (CBD) and chemotherapy survived nearly three times longer than those treated with chemotherapy alone, according to a new study that spotlights the potential for human treatment.

CBD, the non-psychoactive (non-intoxicating) compound in marijuana, has already been shown to improve side effects of chemotherapy like nausea and vomiting. The latest results provide more justification for testing in humans, building on prior animal research that uncoveredpossible anti-cancer properties of the compound.

"Cannabidiol is already approved for use in clinics [in the UK], which means we can quickly go on to test this in human clinical trials,” said lead researcher Marco Falasca from Queen Mary University of London.

 

While human trials involving CBD as a cancer treatment may move faster in the UK, similar efforts could face obstacles in the U.S., where CBD derived from marijuana is still considered an illegal (Schedule 1) substance under federal law. Progress is being made, however, with the US FDA approving the first drug comprised of CBD to treat severe forms of epilepsy in June of this year.

Pancreatic cancer is among the deadliest forms of cancer in the world in terms of overall survival rates. According to the American Cancer Society, for all stages of pancreatic cancer combined, the one-year relative survival rate is 20%, and the five-year rate is just under 7%. It’s the 12thmost common cancer globally, with the highest incidence occuring in developed countries.

"The life expectancy for pancreatic cancer patients has barely changed in the last 40 years because there are very few, and mostly only palliative care, treatments available,” Dr. Falasca added in a press statement. “Given the five-year survival rate for people with pancreatic cancer is less than seven percent, the discovery of new treatments and therapeutic strategies is urgently needed."

While this study hasn't yet been replicated in humans, the results underscore the importance of continued research involving marijuana compounds. As we’ve seen since the legalization movement started its push forward, studies have linked the compounds to multiple promising results, from easing migraine symptoms to improving stroke recovery to decreasing seizure severity, among others.

The more we learn about the potential of these compounds, the more it seems clear that decades of research being blocked by federal law deprived us of medical advances that are only now starting to surface.

The study was published in the journal Oncogene.

 

David DiSalvo Forbes Contributor

Medical Marijuana a Hit With Seniors

Seniors are giving rave reviews for medical marijuana.

In a new survey, those who turned to it for treating chronic pain reported it reduced pain and decreased the need for opioid painkillers.

Nine out of 10 liked it so much they said they'd recommend medical pot to others.

"I was on Percocet and replaced it with medical marijuana. Thank you, thank you, thank you," said one senior.

Another patient put it this way: "It [medical marijuana] is extremely effective and has allowed me to function in my work and life again. It has not completely taken away the pain, but allows me to manage it."

Study co-author Dr. Diana Martins-Welch said, "The impact of medical marijuana was overwhelmingly positive. Medical marijuana led them to taking less medications overall -- opioids and non-opioids -- and they had better function and better quality of life." Martins-Welch is a physician in the division of geriatric and palliative medicine at Northwell Health, in Great Neck, N.Y.

The biggest complaint the researchers heard about medical marijuana was the cost. "It's an out-of-pocket expense. Insurance doesn't cover it because it's federally illegal," Martins-Welch explained.

As for unwelcome side effects, Martins-Welch said sedation was what she heard about the most. "A lot of people don't like feeling sleepy," she said.

It's also important to work with your doctor to find the right dose, since pain experts say that too little or too much doesn't ease pain.

Thirty-one states have some type of medical marijuana law on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

"Every state has its own laws, like what a qualifying condition is. There are a lot of differences. And you can't take a product from one state and cross another state line," Martins-Welch said.

According to federal law, medical marijuana is still illegal in the United States. "There are legal fears. Some practitioners worry that the DEA [U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration] might come after them," she added.

Medical marijuana is different than just picking up some pot and smoking it.

"The goal with medical marijuana is to find the dose that gives a therapeutic benefit without a high, or slowing reaction time or causing sedation," Martins-Welch said. "To find that right dose, we start low and go slow."

In fact, it's important to work with a doctor because there's a "therapeutic window" with THC, the active component in marijuana that causes the high, according to Dr. Mark Wallace, a board member of the American Pain Society.

If you get a dose that's within that window, the pain is relieved. If you get too little, you won't get pain relief, and if you go over the therapeutic window, pain is actually worsened, Wallace explained.

The study included a 20-question survey of nearly 150 seniors who had used medical marijuana for chronic pain. The seniors had received their medical marijuana from dispensaries in New York or Minnesota.

The average age of the seniors was 61 to 70, and 54 percent were female. Many (45 percent) used a vaporized oil in an e-cigarette device. Twenty-eight percent used a medical marijuana pill.

Twenty-one percent said they used medical marijuana daily, while 23 percent said they used it twice a day. Another 39 percent said they used it more than twice a day, the researchers noted.

About half the time, medical marijuana had been recommended by a doctor. One-quarter of the seniors decided to try medical marijuana at the urging of a friend or family member. Almost all -- 91 percent -- would recommend medical marijuana to someone else.

When asked how medical marijuana affected their pain levels, the seniors reported going from a 9 (on a pain scale of zero to 10) down to 5.6 a month after starting the medical marijuana.

Wallace said he's seen many positive results from the use of medical marijuana in his patients.

"The geriatric population is my fastest-growing patient population. With medical marijuana, I'm taking more patients off opioids," he said.

"There's never been a reported death from medical marijuana, yet there are 19,000 deaths a year from prescription opioids. Medical cannabis is probably safer than a lot of drugs we give," Wallace said.

Medical marijuana can also stimulate appetite, Martins-Welch said, which is a "godsend for cancer patients," though extra eating may not be a welcome side effect for everyone.

Martins-Welch said it's best to discuss potential drug interactions with your doctor, but it's usually OK to mix marijuana and opioids. She said she'd caution against mixing medical marijuana with alcohol.

The study findings were presented recently at the American Geriatrics Society meeting in Orlando, Fla. Studies presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until they've been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Serena Gordon HealthDay Reporter THURSDAY, July 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) 

The Latest in Cannabis Research: Summer 2018

The pace of cannabis research continues to escalate as we’ve hit midway through 2018. Perhaps unsurprisingly, cannabidiol (CBD) continues to be a hot topic in medicine. Here are five medical research studies from the last quarter that made particularly important strides.

Studies at a Glance:

CBD Treats Brain Changes Caused by Regular Cannabis Use

Regular THC-rich cannabis use can change the way the brain functions. These changes are not always for the better, and they often involve changes to a particular brain region known as the hippocampus.

CBD could be a promising therapeutic or preventative tool to combat some of the long-term negative consequences of THC.

The hippocampus is involved in many brain functions including cognitive performance, control over anxiety, and resilience to stressors. Studies that have imaged the brain by MRI have revealed that regular THC-rich cannabis use alters the structure of the hippocampus. However, it’s becoming increasingly appreciated that CBD can protect the brain against THC’s effects, and therefore, may serve as a protective tool to prevent THC-induced changes or help the brain recover.

Neuroscientists from Australia tested whether CBD (administered in four 50mg capsules/day) affected hippocampal anatomy in regular cannabis consumers. As expected, parts of the hippocampus were smaller than those of cannabis-abstinent subjects. But after 10 weeks of CBD treatment, many of those regions markedly increased in size. Furthermore, those who had more CBD in their plasma at the end of the 10 weeks had greater brain changes.

Importantly, consumers continued to use cannabis throughout the study, suggesting that CBD can rescue some of the harmful effects of THC without abstinence.

CBD’s ability to recover hippocampal size is significant for a number of reasons. For one, it suggests that CBD could be a promising therapeutic or preventative tool to combat some of the long-term negative consequences of THC. These findings also highlight CBD as a promising treatment for a range of clinical disorders such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease that are associated with an impaired hippocampus.

Transdermal CBD for the Treatment of Non-Opioid Addictions

CBD-rich cannabis has emerged as a promising strategy to combat opioid addiction. However, it’s unclear if CBD’s anti-addiction abilities extend beyond opioids to other drugs of abuse.

CBD reduced impulsive decision making and anxiety, two core features the promote drug relapse.

In a recent study, scientists investigated CBD’s ability to protect against factors that promote relapse to alcohol and cocaine use. Several factors promote relapse to drug seeking, including heightened impulsive behavior and profound withdrawal symptoms like anxiety. Since CBD doesn’t have any addictive properties, it could be a promising anti-addiction tool if it helps reduce impulsive decision making and dampen anxiety that stems from drug withdrawal.

This study administered CBD transdermally (i.e., similar to a gel or patch in humans), which makes it unique from the standard injection method often used in rodent research. The scientists found that CBD reduced impulsive decision making and anxiety, two core features the promote drug relapse.

Critically, CBD also reduced the animal’s cocaine or alcohol seeking when returned to the environment they initially received the drug. (That’s like if an alcoholic trying to quit was less likely to drink if returned to their favorite bar.)

Plant-Derived Cannabinoids Improve the Efficacy of Cancer Treatment

Cannabinoid-based cancer treatments just got a supportive boost. One of the limitations in the cannabis-cancer research field is that most studies have been conducted on cultured cells, and not in live rodents or humans.

Mice that received a combination of cannabinoids and radiation therapy had smaller tumors and better survival than untreated animals or those who only received one form of treatment.

A recent study investigated the effect of cannabinoids on cancerous pancreatic and lung tumor growth and animal survival in mice. They sought to answer whether cannabinoids affected the effectiveness of the traditional radiation treatment strategy and identify delivery methods that could optimize cannabinoids’ anti-tumor properties.

Scientists used a novel drug delivery mechanism that slowly released cannabinoids into the body which increases the amount of time they come in contact with the tumor cells. Mice treated with radiation therapy or slowly-released cannabinoids had better overall survival than untreated animals, but those who received both forms of treatment had the best outcomes. Mice that received a combination of cannabinoids and radiation therapy had smaller tumors and better survival than untreated animals or those who only received one form of treatment.

The scientists also found that animals had better outcomes when administered with the slow-release technique, as opposed to being injected directly into the tumor itself. Together, these findings from live animals suggest that cannabinoids have promising abilities to enhance the efficacy of traditional anti-cancer treatment strategies, and these effects can be improved through emerging techniques that slowly release cannabinoids into the body.

CBD’s Fast-Acting, Long-Lasting Antidepressant Effects in Rodents

It is estimated that 20% of the global population is affected by clinical depression. Yet, current pharmacological treatment approaches for depression remain sub-optimal. Nearly a third of patients don’t respond to treatment, and if they do, it takes weeks before their therapeutic effects are felt.

Within the last few years, CBD has been emerged as a promising antidepressant. However, this claim was only supported by a small number of limited studies, and there has been little insight into the changes in brain chemistry that would promote its antidepressant effects.

These antidepressant qualities were observed after just a single dose of CBD, and they persisted for seven days after treatment.

Scientists based largely in Brazil recently published the most comprehensive report on CBD in pre-clinical rodent models of depression. CBD reduced behaviors associated with depression across a range of behavioral tests in different strains of mice and rats, some of which were “depression-prone.” Importantly, these antidepressant qualities were observed after just a single dose of CBD, and they persisted for seven days after treatment.

The antidepressant effects of CBD were associated with changes in brain chemistry in regions linked to depression. CBD increased levels of the brain chemical BDNF in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. It also increased the number of connections between brain cells. Both of these factors are reduced in depression and their restoration are hallmarks of effective treatments.

This is the first study to establish CBD’s antidepressant benefits across a range of rodent and behavioral models, and provide mechanistic insight for its effects. CBD’s effectiveness after just a single dose may be an improvement over other strategies that take weeks to kick-in.

Cannabis-Based Pharmaceutical Improves Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

Despite the growing body of evidence supporting the benefits of cannabis for clinical use, the field still generally lacks the convincing double-blind, placebo controlled randomized trials that are the gold standard for clinical medicine. One area of medicine where cannabis is making its mark with these clinical trials is in otherwise treatment-resistant medical conditions.

Cannabis used as an add-on therapy led to more than double the number of MS patients who responded positively to treatment and substantially reduced spasticity by the second week of treatment.

A recently completed double-blind, placebo controlled randomized trial compared cannabis (Sativex, which is an oromucosal spray of THC and CBD in a 1:1 ratio) to a placebo for treatment-resistant muscle spasticity in multiple sclerosis (MS). Spasticity is a chronic symptom of MS that becomes more profound with the progression of the disease and greatly worsens the patient’s quality of life. It’s also associated with pain, impaired sleep, bladder dysfunction, and is strongly associated with the development of anxiety and depression.

Cannabis used as an add-on therapy led to more than double the number of MS patients who responded positively to treatment and substantially reduced spasticity by the second week of treatment. It also improved measures associated with spasticity including a reduction in pain and less sleep disruption.

Because cannabis was used as an add-on therapy (ethical concerns necessitate the requirement), it remains unknown if cannabis alone could allay these symptoms, but either way, this study strongly supports the clinical integration of cannabis-based treatment strategies for symptoms of MS.

JOSH KAPLAN Leafly.com

Josh Kaplan earned his Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience from Oregon Health & Science University in 2015. He is currently a freelance writer and a senior fellow at the University of Washington conducting medicinal cannabis research.

MyCannX Looks to Form Medical Cannabis Network Built on Outreach, Education

MyCannX, a Maryland-based company focused on community outreach and education around medical marijuana, is making the move to Ohio.

As the state nears its September 8 deadline to make the drug available to patients, MyCannX — currently operating in Maryland and Washington D.C. — is beginning to establish its Ohio network of potential patients, physicians and dispensaries. Headed by Columbus native Shawnta Hopkins-Greene, the company will take up residence in German Village next week.

Hopkins-Greene, 45, happened into the medical marijuana field in the midst of research on the drug. She’d heard already that marijuana could be used effectively as a treatment for Autism and was looking further into it as a possibility for her 12-year-old son Marcus Tyler, who was diagnosed with Autism at age 5.

During this period of exploration, Hopkins-Greene was solicited as an investor in the burgeoning medical marijuana industry in Maryland. Already an entrepreneur buying and selling precious metals at home parties, she took her business savvy and launched MyCannX in 2013, the year Maryland legalized marijuana for medical use.

MyCannX’s purpose: create a network that connects prospective patients to qualified physicians and dispensaries that put education first — “places that have medical directors, a medical focus,” Hopkins-Greene says.

The company partners with clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and senior living centers to conduct face-to-face (and free) community outreach with patients and caregivers.

“One of the things we’re focusing on is veteran and children’s education,” she continues. “We go out and provide free training about the laws in the state, the different uses [of the drug], consumption methods — anything related to medical cannabis.”

They also educate physicians on the concept of strain alignment, or knowing which strain of marijuana should be used to treat any given ailment.

“Cancer, for example. There’s an oil out there that’s high in THC and CBD that’s proven to shrink cancer cells,” she says. “Or for seizures, there’s a strain called Charlotte’s Web, which is low in THC and high in CBD, and CBD doesn’t give you that head high feeling.”

In their outreach, MyCannX shows individuals how to enroll in Ohio’s medical marijuana program, connects interested patients to physicians that can prescribe the drug, and directs them to dispensaries that have medically trained personnel on-site for assistance. If a dispensary lacks such expertise, MyCannX will train the staff.

At the core of the company is the goal to destigmatize the drug and build up a trusting and informed patient base. Contracting with dispensaries with either a medical focus or sufficient training from MyCannX, the company is able to provide the free community outreach and education that will lead to a booming medical cannabis market.

To start, MyCannX will partner with Ohio dispensaries that also have operations in Maryland, which include Grassroots and Greenleaf, both in northeast Ohio.

While the State of Ohio admitted that it likely would not meet the September 8 deadline to have medical cannabis on the shelves for needy patients, MyCannX will establish their Columbus headquarters next week in German Village.

 

Original post July 10, 2018 1:13 pm Lauren Sega

https://www.columbusunderground.com/mycannx-looks-to-form-medical-cannabis-network-built-on-outreach-education-ls1

4th of July Marijuana Recipes – Take Mary Jane to the Patriotic Party!

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Ripe juicy summer strawberries are dipped in creamy white chocolate, then dipped blue sugar sprinkles, for an easy to make treat that looks super impressive on your party buffet table.

 

 

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Lemon Haze Berry Trifles in a Jar

This is my new favorite dessert! Not only are these delicious, you can make them ahead of time, and they are easy to store and transport as each one is made and served in it’s own individual jar. I used half pint Mason jelly jars to make 10 individual servings.  The jars are always handy to have around as they provide a better place place to store your marijuana stash than the typical plastic baggie or prescription bottle. Of course the red, white and blue color scheme of this recipe makes it perfect for an Independence Day barbecue or picnic, but these are  fabulous medicated desserts to serve all summer long. Experiment with favorite fruits as they come into season – blackberries, strawberries, peaches, and mangos make wonderful alternative choices to the blueberries and raspberries depicted here.  This dessert looks spectacular and always elicits oohs and ahhs from anyone you serve it to, yet it is super easy and takes no special decorator’s skills in order to achieve impressive results! Leftovers will keep in their covered jars for 3 or 4 days in the fridge.

 

 

Very Berry Cheesecake Pops

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Creamy frozen pops, studded with brightly colored raspberries and blueberries are healthy enough  to eat for breakfast, but why not save them for a dessert treat?  The recipe as written is not overly sweet, perfect for those who like tart yogurt.  If your tastes run towards the sweeter side, add in some Stevia or other no calorie sweetener. Using full fat yogurt and cream cheese will yield a richer flavor, but those watching their weight will still enjoy the lower fat version.  Your choice!

 

 

Patriotic Popsicles

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Triple layers of flavor will cool you off in these homemade medicated ice pops that feature fresh raspberries, blueberries, lemon, lime, canna honey and canna almond milk.  YUM!  And they look great too!

 

 

 

Patriotic Marshmallow Ganja Treats

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The classic crisp rice cereal treat gets a double makeover with an infusion of cannabis and festive red, white, and blue colors.

 

 

 

 

BHO Barbecue Sauce

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The BHO Barbeque sauce recipe contributed by Badfish extracts to High Times makes it easy to determine your desired dosage, since the consistent, liquid nature of sauce makes it easy to measure. With some simple math, you can create easy-to-dose sauce at home, provided you know the THC percentage of your starting material as determined by lab testing.  You can use this sauce on all kinds of grilled and smoked foods, so it’s a good medicated staple to have around on the 4th of July or anytime.

Dave Chappelle Convinces Maryland Gubernatorial Candidate to Support Marijuana Legalization

By Joseph Misulonas  |  Jun 18, 2018  |  CulturePolitics

Many politicians in recent months have evolved on marijuana legalization for several reasons, but only one politician can say he changed his mind thanks to one of the greatest comedians of all time.

Dave Chappelle appeared on MSNBC to make his first political endorsement of his life. He said he supports Maryland Democrat Ben Jealous in his bid to become governor of the state. Jealous and Chappelle have apparently been friends for a number of years, and Chappelle's spent much of that time trying to convince the politician to support marijuana legalization. Apparently all those arguments finally worked as Jealous decided to include legalization as part of his gubernatorial campaign.

"I didn’t start out on this journey over a year ago planning on [marijuana legalization] being a big issue in my campaign, but Dave has made the argument to me for almost a quarter century,” Jealous said.

If being friends with Dave Chappelle isn't enough of a credential to convince you to vote for him, Jealous is also the former CEO of the NAACP and has spent decades working to help improve the lives of disadvantaged people across the United States.

Jealous is considered one of the top two candidates for the Democratic nomination for governor. His main opponent, Rushern Baker, actually opposes legalizing marijuana, so this is one of the rare instances where Democratic candidates are divided on the issue. Incumbent Republican Governor Larry Hogan, who is running for re-election this November, also opposes marijuana legalization, but he's also passed expansions of the state's medical marijuana program as well. 

Most experts predict Hogan will win re-election this November, but perhaps they weren't counting on Dave Chappelle getting involved.

Greenhouse Wellness, a Maryland Medical Marijuana Dispensary, First in Industry to Win Best Workplace Award

COLUMBIA, Md., May 31, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Greenhouse Wellness, a medical marijuana dispensary in Columbia, Maryland, won one of the top awards in the Baltimore Business Journal's Best Workplaces' micro category (10-24 employees). Best workplace nominees compete in categories based on number of employees (micro, small, midsize, and large), and winners are selected based on the results of an objective workplace survey conducted by Quantum Workplace.

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Ashley Smith, Ciara Dubbe, and Kait LeDonne of Greenhouse Wellness accept a top workplace award in the micro category at the Baltimore Business Journal's Best Places to Work Award Ceremony.

The Quantum workplace survey assessed several factors in selecting award participants including work/life balance, wages, overall environment, and "neat perks." Both full-time and part-time employees were surveyed.

Among many of the reasons Greenhouse Wellness was selected to win the award, the Baltimore Business Journal noted the dispensary offers generous time off and salary, a diverse and inclusive family-like environment, and perks like catered lunches and other fun employee outings. The dispensary is the only medical marijuana business to be featured in the program, and the first in the state to win an award of this nature. 

Gina Dubbé, Managing Director of Greenhouse Wellness says, "Winning this award isn't just a big deal for the dispensary, it's a validation for the entire medical marijuana industry. As a newer industry that can be met with speculation, we knew that receiving this award will help the public and the business community see our work as we do—providing medicine that treats those who are sick and feeling hopeless."

About Greenhouse Wellness:

Greenhouse Wellness is a medical cannabis dispensary located in Ellicott City, Maryland. The dispensary offers one of the largest menus in the state and focuses on educating patients about the science of cannabis and options for treatment.  

Greenhouse is led by Medical Director and licensed physician Dr. Leslie Apgar and employs personnel trained in the medical uses and benefits of cannabis.  Treatment options are based on a unique medically derived matrix.

About Baltimore Business Journal Best Workplaces:

To be nominated for the Best Workplaces Program, companies must have at least 10 employees to participate and have a workforce located in Baltimore City or Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford or Howard counties. Both full-time and part-time employees were included in the survey.

 

 

Related Links

https://www.greenhousewellness.com

Medical Oncologists’ Beliefs, Practices, and Knowledge Regarding Marijuana Used Therapeutically: A Nationally Representative Survey Study

Thirty U.S. states have enacted medical cannabis laws, and all but one of them include cancer in the list of conditions allowed. Such laws give cancer patients across the country access to a substance that remains illegal under federal law.

Anecdotal reports suggest marijuana is helpful in managing symptoms of chemotherapy, like pain and nausea. But it's unlikely curious patients are getting clear guidance from their doctors on whether they should try marijuana, which form might work best and how much to take. A new survey of 237 oncologists from around the country finds that while roughly 80 percent talk with their patients about marijuana, fewer than 30 percent feel they have sufficient knowledge to advise them about its medicinal use.

Despite their shaky knowledge of the drug, nearly half of all oncologists do recommend medical cannabis to their patients, according to the study, which was published Thursday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. But more than half of those suggesting it, don't consider themselves knowledgeable to do so, says Dr. Ilana Braun, a cancer psychiatrist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mass. and the study's lead author.

"Unfortunately, at this time, the evidence base to support medical marijuana's efficacy in oncology is young," Braun says. "So, often oncologists are borrowing from clinical trials for other diseases, or extrapolating from evidence on pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids."

The survey only asked about medical marijuana, defined as non-pharmaceutical cannabis products that providers recommend for therapeutic use. It did not include pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids, such as a synthetic analog of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is FDA-approved for the treatment and prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

The study found most of the conversations about medical marijuana were initiated by the patient. This is not at all surprising, says Dr. Jerry Mitchell, a medical oncologist at the Zangmeister Cancer Center in Columbus, Ohio, who was not affiliated with the study. He says he gets asked about medical marijuana by patients several times a week.

"This is a product that is well-known," says Mitchell. "It's a product cancer patients think will help them, and they're going to ask their doctors about it, which is what they should be doing. They should be advocates for their own health."

Mitchell, who serves on his state's medical cannabis advisory board, says he can't be the one to initiate those conversations because there is currently no legal outlet to obtain the drug in Ohio. Although Ohio passed a law in 2016 to create a medical cannabis program, dispensaries don't open there until September of this year.

Oncologists' ignorance about medical marijuana leaves many cancer patients to go it alone in figuring out which cannabis products — and what dosages — might work best to help them manage the debilitating symptoms that often come with chemotherapy.

Larry Lenkart, 60, was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer last September. He experiences severe pain, stomach cramps and nausea that lasts as long as 10 days following each round of chemotherapy. He's had 11 rounds so far.

"Chemo feels like the worst flu you've ever had — just ongoing and ongoing," says Lenkart, who lives in Springfield, Ill.

His oncologist readily agreed to certify that he had a qualifying condition for his state's medical cannabis pilot program, but did not offer additional guidance on what to do once he received his medical cannabis card.

So Lenkart sought out information online and received advice from friends and staff at the dispensary. After four months of trial-and-error, he says he's still trying to figure out what works: edibles, oils, vape pens or marijuana buds.

"The dosing part is what you have to really fiddle with," says Lenkart.

In the end, Lenkart says, marijuana is helping with his symptoms of nausea, pain and mental fogginess. "It makes an unbearable situation bearable," he says.

In the absence of rigorous evidence, anecdotes like this may be affecting medical practice.

Mitchell says there's a lack of high-quality evidence to support the use of medical cannabis for cancer-related illnesses, and this could explain why many providers feel ill-equipped to guide patients on the matter. Randomized controlled trials simply do not exist.

But, Mitchell says he suspects many oncologists consider recommending medical cannabis after weighing the available evidence — including anecdotal — against what is known about the alternatives.

For example, for chronic pain treatment: "You've got opioids, which clearly have problems," Mitchell says. "You've got nonsteroidals, which can work but are sometimes not effective for substantial cancer pain. Well, that's all we have in our toolbox. And if that's the case, then you have to back up and say, 'Well, perhaps I'm okay with anecdotal evidence.' "

Indeed, Braun and her colleagues found roughly two thirds of oncologists believe medical marijuana is useful in combination with standard treatment for symptoms including pain, poor appetite and unwanted weight loss.

They also found oncologists in states with medical marijuana laws were more likely to feel knowledgeable about medical marijuana compared to their peers in states where it remains outlawed. But in either case, they were just as likely to recommend medical marijuana to their patients.

Providers in western states were more likely to discuss and recommend medical marijuana compared to those in the south. Working in an out-patient setting and having a higher practice volume were also variables that made a provider more likely to recommend medical marijuana.

Braun says she does not know why these discrepancies exist, but she plans to drill down into those questions in follow-up studies.

She is also planning to conduct clinical trials to study the use of medical marijuana for cancer-related symptoms.

In preparation for those studies, Braun says she has come face-to-face with the challenges associated with doing research on a Schedule 1 drug, which is considered, along with heroin and LSD, to have no medical use and high abuse potential.

"I'm in the process of installing an alarmed safe behind locked doors" in order to store the controlled substance, she says. "It's complicated."

Braun says she "strongly believes federal restrictions should be loosened to facilitate medical marijuana's potential beneficial attributes, not just its risks."

Mitchell agrees.

Without randomized controlled trials, he says it's hard for oncologists to know the tradeoffs they're making when they recommend medical marijuana over treatments that are "standard of care."

"And that's a big problem," Mitchell says. "That's a big knowledge gap."

This story was produced in partnership with Side Effects Public Media, a news collaborative covering public health.

Follow Christine on Twitter: @CTHerman

MyCannX CEO Named among Cannabis’ Leading Ladies

Women have always been a force for equal rights and influential change. As new legal fights come to the forefront, so do the inspirational women waiting right behind to lead the charge. In an article by Leafly, in honor of Women’s History Month, they chose to name the eight women who are helping to pave a brighter future for the legalization of cannabis.

The list below names just a few of the women, from all walks of life, including lawyers and entrepreneurs. Their continued dedication is sure to improve the quality of life for millions of citizens, especially those unnecessarily charged with misdemeanors and felonies for possession.

Diane Goldstein
She dedicated 21 years working as the first female lieutenant for the Redondo Beach Police Department in Southern California. The drug arrests Diane made in her time greatly helped to shape her perspective on the war on drugs, particularly cannabis, especially after an arrest made on a family member. She is an Executive Board Member for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and regularly writes and speaks on the benefits of cannabis legalization.

Jasmine Hupp
After serving as Director of Digital Media for Women 2.0, which helps women start their own high-growth businesses, she became the founder and CEO of Women Grow. This group was created as a community for women to feel empowered in the cannabis industry. The business has a national leadership summit and local branches in more than 30 cities.

Renee Gagnon
She is the first, and only, transgender woman CEO who created a cannabis company and made it public. Thunderbird Biomedical Inc., was founded in 2013, even before receiving her license under the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations from Health Canada in February 2014. The company was bought out in 2015, after which she began working with Gill Polard, a fellow female cannabis entrepreneur. They co-founded a supply chain known as International Cannabis Centres Inc.

Kate Brown
The Governor of Oregon has been extremely receptive to the positive benefits of cannabis legalization. In addition to supporting it for medical and adult-use, she signed legislation that allows the sale of edibles and that lets banks and credit unions work with cannabis companies without the fear of criminal liability.

Hilary Bricken
An attorney at Harris Bricken, PLLC since 2010, she became an advocate for cannabis legalization in Seattle. She created the firm’s Canna Law Group and is the chair. Hilary was named “Deal Maker of the Year” by Puget Sound Business Journal and “Industry Attorney of the Year” by Dope Magazine.

Julie Netherland, Shawnta Hopkins-Greene, and Melissa Mentele, are among the list that have fought for the push in passing cannabis legislature. They have created companies, run for office, and helped pass policies all in attempt to better the lives of those impacted negatively by the justice system. Their continued efforts are an inspiration to those still trying to add their voice to the cannabis battle. And with the fight far from over, there is plenty of room for more voices!

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