Healthier Alternatives to Smoking Medical Marijuana


Alternative non-smoking ways for patients to use medicinal marijuana

Some patients cannot smoke medical marijuana and need to find alternative methods.

Some patients cannot smoke medical marijuana and need to find alternative methods.

By Angela Morrow, RN

The medicinal use of marijuana is now legal in a growing number of U.S. states, and other states might eventually join this list. Some patients, however, might be unable to smoke medical marijuana because of their illness, disease, symptoms, treatments and/or other factors. This article explores the alternatives to smoking marijuana that might prove healthier or more viable for patients who’ve received a prescription for medical marijuana.

Marijuana Use for Medicinal Purposes

Requiring a doctor’s prescription and secured from legal vendors, medical marijuanacan help relieve numerous symptoms, such as pain, glaucoma, migraine headaches,nausea and weight loss.

While there are various pros and cons to using medical marijuana, it’s important to understand that the use of marijuana is not without potential side effects. For example, conventional or “street” marijuana might contain harmful fungus and/or pesticides, which can prove especially dangerous for patients with a compromised immune system.

Moreover, the fact that marijuana is usually smoked — either in cigarette form, or through the use of tobacco or water pipes — introduces additional concerns. Burning marijuana leaves and buds, for example, can produce 50% to 70% more carcinogens versus traditional or “analog” tobacco cigarettes. In addition, patients who have never smoked before, or those receiving other treatments that can interfere with their ability to smoke, might find smoking marijuana difficult or simply impossible.

I found that to be a case with a patient with whom I once worked:

Mr. C was a 79-year-old man suffering from lung cancer and COPD. He suffered from chronic bone pain, nausea and severe weight loss. He asked his doctor about medical marijuana and received the necessary prescription. When I came to see him, he held a joint, but he didn’t know how to use it. It was immediately clear that because of his inexperience, and because he was using oxygen and was already suffering from a forceful cough, smoking a marijuana cigarette would not be the best method for him.

Alternative Non-Smoking Medical Marijuana Options

It’s important to again stress that medical marijuana is a physician-prescribed treatment and should only be used according to a doctor’s instruction. If you, or someone you care for, receives a prescription for medical marijuana use but cannot smoke marijuana, your non-smoking options might include:

Edible Marijuana: Medical cannabis can be heated and made into oils, butters and tinctures. Many “cannabis clubs” sell pre-made cookies, brownies, lollipops and teas. Savvy patients — those willing to take the time to empower themselves through research and knowledge — can also find recipes to make their own marijuana tincture, oil or butter.

Eating or drinking marijuana’s main or active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is certainly preferable to many patients rather than smoking it, but these alternative methods can also create problems. When consumed via food or drink, THC does not absorb into the bloodstream as quickly as when it is smoked.

This can make it more difficult to control the effectiveness of the drug or how much is consumed. In addition, patients who suffer from decreased appetite or nausea might not tolerate eating or drinking marijuana.

Vaporizers: Another option is to inhale marijuana using a vaporizer. This method involves heating the marijuana to a high enough temperature to vaporize the THC but not burn the plant. Patients can then breath in the vapor from a bag without inhaling the harsh and potentially toxic smoke.

Vaporizing marijuana is much healthier for your lungs and also produces the highest THC content of any smoking-related method. This allows patients to use a smaller quantity of marijuana at a time, which can potentially save money.

Vaporizers range from battery-powered, handheld devices to larger plug-in units. The quality and prices of marijuana vaporizers vary widely, so it is wise to shop around and read user reviews online before purchasing one.

Ultimately, my patient found a healthier alternative to smoking marijuana, too:

Mr. C experimented with edible marijuana. He found he enjoyed the marijuana brownies he was able to get at a cannabis club, but as his appetite waned, he found it difficult to stomach the rich chocolate taste. He didn’t want to invest in a vaporizer because his life expectancy was short. However, through the people he met at the cannabis club, he was able to strike a deal with another medical marijuana patient and split the cost of a vaporizer — with the agreement that the other patient would inherit the device after Mr. C’s death. It was an unusual arrangement, to be sure, but it allowed Mr. C to continue using medical marijuana for several more weeks.

Complete Article HERE!


Medical Marijuana Could Save Medicare $470 Million Annually, Study Shows


Is medical cannabis the answer to lowering prescription drug costs and reducing opioid-related overdose deaths?

By Sean Williams


This could potentially be a groundbreaking year for the marijuana industry.

In November, residents in up to a dozen states could be voting on whether or not to legalize recreational or medical marijuana. This comes after Pennsylvania and Ohio passed laws legalizing medical marijuana in their legislatures this spring. As it stands now, half of the country has legalized the use of medical marijuana, and four states (plus Washington, D.C.) allow for the sale of recreational marijuana to adults ages 21 and up.

Arguably just as exciting is the possibility that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency could reclassify medical marijuana in a matter of weeks. The Food and Drug Administration has already submitted its opinion to the DEA, with the DEA now conducting its own investigation into the safety of medical marijuana. If the agency were to reclassify medical marijuana as anything other than schedule 1, which means an illicit drug, medical marijuana could be prescribed by physicians, and insurers may even begin covering the substance.

But that isn’t all. The good news just keeps streaming in for the cannabis industry.


Cut Medicare’s expenditures with… medical marijuana?

Last week, Ashley Bradford and David Bradford, both of the Department of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Georgia, published findings that examined a possible correlation between medical marijuana prescription use in legal states between 2010 and 2013 and Medicare prescription use under Part D over the same timeframe. The authors’ work can be found in the online journal Health Affairs.

What the study authors found was a correlation between medical marijuana prescription use and lower prescription drug use under Medicare for ailments commonly treated by medical marijuana in states where medical marijuana is legal. For instance, medical marijuana is often prescribed to treat anxiety, depression, nausea, seizures, sleep disorders, and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. In states where medical marijuana is legal, the authors found a marked reduction in Part D expenses for FDA-approved drugs to treat these ailments. Prescription drug use under Medicare Part D for ailments that medical marijuana isn’t used for did not see a drop in these same medical marijuana-legal states.

What’s more telling is the amount of money the authors calculated that medical marijuana saved Medicare Part D in 2013. Per their estimates, it was about $165 million. According to the authors’ extrapolated estimates, they believe a nationwide legalization of medical marijuana would result in about $470 million saved annually by Part D.

One final positive is that no marijuana overdoses have led to any deaths. The same can’t be said for opioids, which are commonly prescribed as painkillers. Opioid overdoes, which include heroin, killed more than 28,000 people in 2014, and at least half of all of these deaths involved a prescription opioid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thus, it’s possible that if cannabis were incorporated into the care regimen for seniors, or all patients for that matter, it could reduce the costs for Medicare and Medicaid, as well as prevent unnecessary opioid-related overdose deaths.

Hold your horses

But before you get too excited that medical marijuana will save Medicare and Medicaid, keep a few things in mind.

First, saving money is great for Medicare Part D, but we’re talking about $470 million in savings on an estimated $88 billion in drug spending for 2016, per the Kaiser Family Foundation. Don’t get me wrong, saving money would be a good thing for the Medicare program, with the Hospital Insurance Trust expected to deplete its spare cash reserves by 2028. But we’re really only talking about one-half of one percent based on 2016’s spending estimates. With prescription drug costs seemingly rising by a mid-to-upper single-digit percentage each year, medical marijuana isn’t going to be Medicare’s white knight.

Secondly, we have no clue what the DEA is going to do with marijuana when it makes its ruling in the coming weeks. The DEA could decide to do nothing and leave it as an illicit schedule 1 substance. It could also de-schedule the drug completely, putting it on par with tobacco and alcohol, which seems like a longshot.

More reasonably, the DEA could reschedule medical cannabis as a schedule 2, 3, 4, or 5 drug, implying that a medical benefit exists, but suggesting that addiction to the substance exists, too. Labeling cannabis as a schedule 2 drug could prove to be a nightmare for the industry, with regulatory costs soaring. Schedule 2 means the FDA coming in and controlling package labeling, ensuring that manufacturing standards remain consistent, and potentially requiring medical marijuana companies to run clinical studies to support their claims that cannabis treats certain ailments. A rescheduling may be a victory in name only for the cannabis industry.


Finally, we still have federal restrictions on the cannabis industry, which are making life tough, if not impossible, for investors trying to take advantage of marijuana’s growth. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill don’t look anywhere near ready to change their tune on marijuana, which means inherent disadvantages for businesses involved in the cannabis industry will continue for the foreseeable future.

For starters, access to basic financial services is hit-and-miss. Only 3% of the nation’s roughly 6,700 banks are currently willing to work with cannabis-based companies for fear of federal prosecution down the line. This means few businesses have access to business checking and savings accounts, or lines of credit to buy product and expand.

Additionally, marijuana businesses get the short end of the stick come tax time. IRS tax code 280E, in its simplest form, disallows businesses that sell illegal substances from taking normal business deductions. As long as the marijuana plant is considered an illicit substance on Capitol Hill, cannabis companies will be paying tax on their gross profits instead of net profits, thus forking over far more than they should in taxes. It’s simply not an investor-friendly environment.

Although things appear to be moving in the right direction for cannabis, you’d be wise as an investor to avoid the industry altogether until these inherent disadvantages disappear.

Complete Article HERE!


Pets on pot: is medical marijuana giving sick animals a necessary dose of relief?


As owners tout benefits and usage in compassionate care, the battle for legalization mirrors humans’ own medical marijuana fight in 1990s California



The Georgiadis’s dog, Bernie, who hasn’t had a seizure in four months.

Bernie, a 130-pound Swiss mountain dog, began having grand mal seizures when he was six months old. About once a week he would violently convulse, foam at the mouth, and urinate on himself for several minutes before recovering an or so hour later. The medication he was given seriously disoriented him, was harmful to his liver and for the most part didn’t work.

At the end of their rope, Bernie’s parents decided to put him on a pet supplement derived from cannabis. Gradually, his seizures became less severe and less frequent, before disappearing altogether.

Despite a large amount of promising anecdotal evidence like Bernie’s story, and a growing industry of cannabis-based pet products, many people have a hard time taking medical marijuana for pets seriously.

“It sounds ridiculous, until you experience it yourself,” said Bernie’s owner, Anthony Georgiadis, who says his dog hasn’t had a seizure in four months.

Living in Florida, where medical marijuana is illegal, Georgiadis orders Bernie’s supplement online from a California company called Treatibles. He is allowed to do this because Treatibles products are derived from legal hemp and contain little to no THC (the intoxicating ingredient in marijuana).

Many pet products are not made from hemp, though, but rather straight marijuana containing trace amounts of THC. So anyone wanting these products for their animal’s chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, appetite stimulation, or epilepsy have to live in a state where medical marijuana is legal – and even then, they need to have a prescription for themselves just to enter a dispensary.

Last year, Tick Segerblom, a Nevada state senator, introduced a bill to create a medical marijuana registry for pets.

“They thought it was a joke,” Segerblom said of his senate colleagues. “It was the talk of the country for a while.”

“Look at this moron!” Dennis Miller screamed on the O’Reilly Factor, deriding the senator’s bill, calling it “the end of culture as we know it”.

“I have fish at home that want medical marijuana,” O’Reilly joked. “I’m not exactly sure how to deliver that to them, because if you put the cigarette in there it all gets wet.”

Despite the public ridicule, Segerblom said, he had been looking forward to the issue being debated in a hearing, but that hearing never happened. In the end, he said, “it went to a committee headed by a person who hates marijuana, and he made sure that it died”.

Amanda Reiman, manager of marijuana law at the Drug Policy Alliance, said that today’s battle over animal medical marijuana mirrors the clash over human medical marijuana in 1990s California.

“When we first started talking about the idea of using marijuana as a medicine, people laughed about it,” she said. “But they’ve come around, because when you know someone who was helped by cannabis it’s not funny anymore.”

n 2013, Reiman’s cat, Monkey, was diagnosed with terminal intestinal cancer. The chemotherapy and medication caused Monkey to lose her appetite, not sleep and become lethargic. The situation reminded Reiman of the countless scenarios she’d encountered with humans after a decade of working in medical marijuana, so she decided to mix a very small amount of cannabis oil in Monkey’s food.


In 2013, Reiman’s cat, Monkey, was diagnosed with cancer.

“It brought her energy back, she was eating and playing – she was actually acting healthier than she had been before she was diagnosed with cancer,” Reiman said. “I knew it wasn’t a cure for her, and in the end she passed away several months later. But I really do feel it gave her a quality of life at the end; instead of just fading away, she stayed strong right up until the end.”

Veterinarians caution against pet owners taking matters into their own hands, because finding the correct dose can be tricky. While many pet medicines are just human drugs in different doses, the weight ratios between humans and animals can make it easy to accidentally give your pet an overdose. And pets overdosing on cannabis is already a serious problem in states where marijuana is legal.

001As with children, it’s common for pets to stumble upon a high potency marijuana edible, eat it, and become incredibly ill and intoxicated.

“We’ve seen some serious poisonings of animals [from marijuana] and even a couple of deaths,” says the medical director at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, Dr Tina Wismer.

When it comes to pet meds, Wismer says it’s not uncommon for a human medication to be applied to animals purely on the basis of anecdotal evidence. She believes more studies need to be done on the therapeutic use of cannabis on animals to find the right dose.

Dr Sarah Brandon, a veterinarian and cofounder of Canna Companion, a hemp-based pet supplement company, says that over the last 18 years, she has administered cannabis to more than 4,000 animals, and is currently analyzing data before offering it to the medical community.

“Right now, veterinarians have no guidance on this,” she says. “There’s a lot of fear out there, and they are scared to come out and recommend [cannabis]. A veterinarian can recommend a hemp-based product as a supplement, but they cannot encourage them to use marijuana.”

Dan Goldfarb, owner of Seattle-based Canna-Pet, describes the differences between hemp and marijuana: “It’s like dog breeds: you can have a chihuahua or a great dane, both of which are dogs but are bred to exude very different characteristics.”

Canna-Pet, Treatibles and Canna Companion are all strictly hemp-based, so they are allowed to sell their products outside of marijuana dispensaries – even online to states where marijuana is illegal – without the need of a prescription. This also affords them deniability when people like Dennis Miller say they just want to get their pet stoned. But there are a handful of companies who use straight marijuana in their pet products, who say that hemp is too limited.

“We’ve seen better results with a little THC,” says Alison Ettel, founder of Treat Well, who has been using cannabis on a variety of animals for ten years and was recently invited to treat seals at the Marine Animal Center in Sausalito, California. She says that hemp works for some ailments like anxiety, but doesn’t contain a number of medicinal properties that marijuana does, like appetite stimulation, and that hemp can be harmful to an animal with a compromised immune system. “We believe hemp can have more negative effects than positive.”

Ettel adds that while her products contain psychoactive properties, if used in the right dosage in proportion to the animal’s size, there is no reason they should ever become intoxicated by it.

Brian Walker’s California company, Making You Better Brands, offers a marijuana based doggie shampoo for pain relief (along with similar products for horses). Walker says that the marijuana is never activated with heat, a process necessary for making the plant psychoactive.

But his company is still regulated like any other in the cannabis industry, meaning pet owners can only buy it in a dispensary with a (human) prescription, and can’t take it out of state. Walker said the lack of information available about the differences between hemp, active cannabis and inactive cannabis has prevented acceptance among veterinarians of medical marijuana.

“They picture a dog eating a brownie and being high for two days,” he said. “But with non-active cannabis they’re not going to get high – they’re going to get well.”

 Complete Article HERE!


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Florida and Pennsylvania Work on New Medical Marijuana Bills and Jamaica Makes History on Bob Marley’s Birthday



The tide is turning in favor of cannabis and the electrifying results are creating new and unexpected conundrums. Welfare for cannabis? What will become of drug-sniffing dogs? Get a move on, Australia! All that and more in this week’s legalization roundup:

U.S. Updates


Colorado is currently considering a ban on using Electronic Benefits Cards (EBTs) at marijuana businesses. Liquor stores, casinos, and gun shops already carry such a ban, and by extending the ban to include marijuana dispensaries, this helps cannabis businesses avoid federal intervention if there is any evidence that public benefits are being used for marijuana.

A similar bill was proposed in 2014 but failed on the basis that many dispensaries are in low-income neighborhoods and dispensary ATMs may be the closest source for those without a bank. However,Washington state enacted a similar law in 2012 that blocks all businesses exclusively for adults (strip clubs, bars, and now retail cannabis shops) from letting people use EBTs to withdraw cash, a law that has been enforced through ATM codes and has thus far been mostly successful.


Two bills, House Bill 6703 and House Bill 6473, have been proposed to the medical_marijuana1Connecticut legislature that would legalize, regulate, and tax retail cannabis in the state. The bills are lacking details on regulation and enforcement, but House Deputy Majority Leader Representative Juan Candelaria (say that five times fast, I dare ya!) said that, as a sponsor, he hopes this bill will start a new conversation about cannabis after the state previously decriminalized in 2011 and legalized medical cannabis in 2012.

This bill serves to gauge interest from the legislature and the community about legalization efforts in New England, an area that has been predicted as the next major hub for legalization efforts.


Senator Jeff Brandes just filed a major medical cannabis bill that would allow seriously ill patients access to medical-grade cannabis. The bill is very similar to Amendment 2, the medical marijuana bill that shoulda-woulda-coulda been but lost by 2% of the vote during the 2014 mid-term elections.

Senator Brandes, who openly opposed the previous amendment, said he did so because he believes that the Legislature should be in charge of driving such a major change to the healthcare system in Florida. The real question now is whether Governor Rick Scott would sign it, veto it, or allow it to become law.


major-health-benefits-of-medical-marijuanaWith the new governor handing out growing and dispensary licenses, the time is ripe for change and the Illinois General Assembly just introduced two proposals, both of which would eliminate jail time for simple marijuana possession. House Bill 218 would replace any criminal charges and jail time with a $100 “Uniform Cannabis Ticket” and a petty offense, while Senate Bill 753 would legalize the possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis and the personal cultivation of up to five plants by adults 21 years of age and older.


Baltimore City Delegate Curt Anderson has introduced legislation toexpand the decriminalization bill that was enacted last year. The bill reduced the penalties for possession of less than 10 grams of cannabis from one year in jail to a simple civil fine of $100. Unfortunately, the law did not change for the possession of paraphernalia, which this new law aims to alleviate, as there are still police in rural Maryland arresting people on paraphernalia charges. The new bill would help reduce overcrowding in Maryland jails, which is a fairly serious concern and was an incentive for passing the decriminalization bill in the first place.


State Representative John Rogers introduced House Bill 33 that could legalize the use of cannabidiol for “persons who have been diagnosed with a seizure disorder.” There were eight other co-sponsors, including Representative Wes Retherford, who stated that his intention to sponsor this bill was inspired by the Benton family, whose two year-old daughter Addyson suffers from such intense seizures that the family moved from Ohio to Colorado seeking cannabidiol oil to combat her symptoms. This is a great step in the right direction but leaves thousands hanging who could potentially benefit from an expanded medical marijuana program.


Since Oregon voters approved Measure 91 to legalize retail cannabis in the state, Oregon police agencies have begun phasing out and reassigning their drug-sniffing dogs. Springfield was one of the first agencies to begin the trend; when they finally got a drug detection dog, they made sure that the dog was trained to detect heroin, methamphetamines, and cocaine, but marijuana was eliminated from the detection list. Other dogs that have already been trained to detect cannabis will be put to use in more large-scale investigations, as cannabis in large quantities and in certain locations is still illegal.An Initiative To Legalize Marijuana In California To Appear On Nov. Ballot

Washington state patrols have already made the decision to stop training K9 units for marijuana detection, but it’s difficult and time-consuming to “untrain” a dog and carries mixed results. Furthermore, dogs can’t make a distinction between the different types of detected drugs, which makes their role in future drug investigations uncertain.


Pennsylvania nearly passed Senate Bill 1182 last year, which would have legalized medical marijuana in Pennsylvania – it passed overwhelmingly in the Senate but never made it to the House for consideration. This year, the Pennsylvania legislature is making sure that the newest bill sees its day in the House. The bill, which is nearly identical to the previous bill, currently boasts 25 co-sponsors, the backing of Governor Tom Wolf, and some support from key Republicans just for good measure. Senator Daylin Leach said the bill will likely undergo some major changes before being enacted into law, but he wants to make sure that seriously ill patients have the options that they legitimately need.


Republican lawmakers will be introducing two bills that will expand the previously enacted bill that allows the use of CBD oil for seizure disorders. When the bill was passed last year, the legalization of CBD oil was immediate, but there was no way for patients to obtain it – there is no manner of production in South Carolina and it’s federally illegal to cross state lines with any extracted forms of cannabis, legally obtained or not. Senator Tom Davis and Representative Jenny Horne are teaming up to release an expanded medical marijuana bill that will broaden the qualifying conditions for medical cannabis, outline how the plant will be grown, processed, and regulated, and lay out guidelines for how it will be dispensed. Can I get an “Amen” for progress in the Deep South!


Washington has had legalized retail cannabis for more than two years, but many cities and counties have placed such restrictive moratoriums on the cannabis industry that it is incredibly difficult to get your hands on it without traveling out of the area. This, in turn, makes the black market continue to thrive in areas where access is limited – a vicious cycle if there ever was one. Washington lawmakers are hoping to break this cycle by offering tax revenue as an incentive for cities that allow retail cannabis shops to open. This is an approach they’ve modeled after Colorado, where they’ve seen some success (and let’s face it, Washington should be following Colorado’s lead – they’re doing good work down there).

International Updates


Professor David Penington at Melbourne University, one of the top professors at a prestigious university, published a paper in the Medical Journal of Australia arguing that medical cannabis should be legalized, citing examples in the United States, Israel, Holland, and the Czech Republic for their overall success with the legalization of cannabis for medical conditions. The New South Wales government is planning clinical trials on the effectiveness of medical marijuana, but Professor Penington says that this approach is inappropriate for patients who are suffering and that doctors should have the ability to prescribe cannabis in the same manner that they would prescribe any other painkiller.

The NSW government has not begun the trials yet, as they are examining options to import cannabis or grow it under controlled government conditions. Thank you for the clarity, Professor Penington.


A Guam attorney who had challenged the voter-approved initiative to legalize medical marijuana has agreed to drop his federal lawsuit after a judge ruled that he had no legal standing in the case. Attorney Howard Trapp and Guam Election Commission attorney Jeffrey Cook signed an agreement to dismiss the lawsuit. We are really digging this trend of judges upholding voter rights and respecting legal protection for medical marijuana patients!


A recent opinion poll found that while 90% of respondents say they rarely or never consume cannabis, over a third of those surveyedbelieve that cannabis should be legalized regardless. When broken down by age group, more than half of participants ages 15-24 believe cannabis should be legalized, while 36% of those age 20-49 years old share the same belief.


Jamaica’s Senate passed a landmark decriminalization bill that just so happened to coincide with what would have been Bob Marley’s 70th birthday. The bill decriminalizes the use and possession of cannabis as well as legalizes cannabis for medical or religious purposes. What a lovely gift to the late, great Bob Marley!
Complete Article HERE!


State: Get that medical marijuana to sick kids ASAP


Jacksonville, FL

It’s sort of a pot rush, even if the type of weed that will soon be spreading across the state supposedly doesn’t get users high.

The Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use this week hurriedly published a revised rule governing everything from stems and seeds to serving the substance to sick kids. The latest version of the rule included tweaks to who can own the five “dispensing organizations” that will eventually get licensed by the state to grow, process and distribute newly-authorized strains of cannabis.medical_marijuana1

The Legislature, in approving a pot law this spring, required each applicant to have a valid registration from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to cultivate more than 400,000 plants, be operated by a nurseryman as defined by state law and have operated as a registered nursery in the state for at least 30 continuous years. At least 60 nurseries meet the criteria.

A preliminary rule floated by health regulators would have allowed nurseries to have just 25 percent ownership in the entities applying for a license. That option drew a rebuke from the Legislature’s Joint Administrative Procedures Committee, which helps oversee state regulations. The original proposal also neglected to specifically address whether the nursery would be required to have a continued role in running the pot operation.

Under Tuesday’s revised proposal, a nurseryman would have to “serve as the operator,” alleviating some concerns that growers would have little or nothing to do with the grow operation despite lawmakers’ intention that the nascent pot business be controlled by companies with a long agricultural history in Florida. The proposal would require a nursery to have at least 25 percent ownership of the organization that gets a license, but also would offer another alternative that would allow “100 percent of the owners of a nursery” to fulfill that 25 percent requirement.

That ownership change appears aimed at appeasing some nursery owners who expressed concerns about financing the marijuana operations. Because pot is still illegal under federal law, nearly all banks are refusing to lend money to marijuana-related businesses. Converting other areas of operations into cash-only business could pose major problems for growers interested in participating in the medical marijuana start-ups, a lawyer for Costa Farms told the Department of Health at a day-long public hearing last week.

With Scott’s blessing, lawmakers this spring legalized marijuana that contains .8 percent or less of euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and more than 10 percent cannabidiol, or CBD. Supporters believe the compound, which hasn’t been approved by the feds, can eliminate or drastically reduce life-threatening seizures in children with severe forms of epilepsy. Under the law, doctors can also order the low-THC, high-CBD substance — usually delivered in paste or oil forms — for patients with other spastic disorders or cancer, as long as they have exhausted all other treatments.

Many GOP lawmakers jumped on the “doesn’t get you high” pot bandwagon this spring hoping to thwart Amendment 2, a proposed constitutional change that would legalize “traditional” medical marijuana.

While the state moves toward getting the low-THC, high-CBD regulatory framework in place by Jan. 1, the battle over Amendment 2 — bankrolled heavily by Orlando trial lawyer and Democratic fundraiser John Morgan — is starting to smoke.

The “Vote No on 2” campaign recently nailed down the backing of seven former Florida Supreme Court justices, who joined associations representing Florida sheriffs and police chiefs in opposition. And the amendment’s foes are planning to spend $1.6 million on television ads, slated to start running in October, condemning the proposal. Like all constitutional proposals, at least 60 percent of the voters must approve the amendment for it to pass.

“We want every voter to know the dangers of this amendment and that it is not about the sick, it is about legalizing pot for anyone and for any reason,” spokeswoman Sarah Bascom said.

Polls have shown widespread support for legalizing medical marijuana, but that support is expected to drop in the wake of a full-frontal attack. Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has pledged to double the $2.5 million he’s already dropped on the Drug Free Florida political committee, launched by Tampa Bay developer Mel Sembler. Both are mega-GOP money men.

“When your basic position runs completely counter to public opinion, millions in misleading advertising is the only strategy available. But no amount of advertising can overwhelm the basic facts,” said Ben Pollara, campaign manager at United for Care, a group spearheading the amendment. “Floridians know the benefits of medical marijuana are real, and the people of this state are deeply compassionate. We believe the overwhelming majority will vote to make sure patients no longer have to risk incarceration for listening to their doctors and seeking relief from debilitating diseases and medical conditions.”

Complete Article HERE!


Does medical marijuana help with pain, MS and appetite loss?


By Chris Woolston

While recreational marijuana is legal in just two states (for now), 20 states plus the District of Columbia already allow marijuana for medicinal uses, and up to nine other states may soon follow suit. Many patients swear that cannabis helps ease their symptoms, but the drug has never gone through anything close to the testing required for prescription drugs. One reason: Marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug (a federal classification of the most dangerous drugs, including heroin and LSD), so researchers have to jump through a lot of hoops to even get it into their labs.medical_marijuana1

So just how medicinal is medical marijuana? Here’s a look at the current evidence.

Pain: Marijuana is a proven pain reliever. Studies show that it works against pains of many sorts, including neuropathic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and cancer-related pain. However, the relief can be underwhelming compared with prescription medications, and many users report side effects such as dry mouth, dizziness and sleepiness.

Multiple sclerosis: Several studies over the years have shown that marijuana and its compounds can offer at least some relief for muscle spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis. Sativex, a mouth spray that combines two compounds from marijuana, is already available for MS patients in Europe and Canada and is undergoing studies in the U.S.

Appetite: Marijuana’s well-known tendency to induce the “munchies” could potentially be helpful for patients who have lost their appetite because of cancer, chemotherapy or infection with HIV. Few studies have looked at smoked marijuana to improve appetite, but Marinol, a synthetic drug that mimics one of the compounds in marijuana, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating weight loss in patients with HIV and relieving nausea and vomiting in cancer patients.

Complete Article HERE!