Will You Trust Your Doctor?

The Medical Board of California has released guidance to its members with respect to when and why they might recommend cannabis. I wonder how many doctors follow such stringent protocols when deciding to prescribe dangerous, highly addictive pharmaceuticals. (Oh wait, those are federally legal, so it’s ok).

Prior to 1937, cannabis was prescribed by more than 100,000 doctors for treating hundreds of conditions. In the past 80 years, so much knowledge and understanding of this beneficial plant has been lost in the medical community. The human endocannabinoid system was discovered in the late 1980’s and today few doctors understand it, much less talk about it. As with overall nutrition, this is simply not a subject that is covered in medical school.  I find it an enormous disservice that a physiological system so vital to all our other systems is completely neglected and not understood by mainstream medical practitioners.

The notion of the Doctor-Patient Agreement to be provided and signed at the time of the recommendation, along with the simple chart included in the guidelines to help a doctor decide when cannabis might be a good choice infuriates me.  The guidelines state, “A patient need not have failed on all standard medications in order for a physician to recommend or approve the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes”. Yet, the sample flow-chart relating to pain management is clearly biased toward cannabis as a last resort, not as an viable and natural alternative to the dangerous narcotics being prescribed.

As a non-medical professional, it’s obvious to me that the first choice here is opioids and continuing to instill fear and mis-information to patients, by perpetuating the archaic belief that cannabis is highly addictive and dangerous.

But please don’t take my word for it, read the guidelines yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Did You Know? 1960-1970

In 1969, part of The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was ruled unconstitutional. In response, Congress passed the Controlled Substance Act in 1970 and placed cannabis into Schedule I on the advice of Assistant Secretary of Health Roger O. Egeberg. His letter to Harley O. Staggers, Chairman of the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, indicates that the classification was intended to be provisional.

In 1972, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse released a report favoring decriminalization of cannabis.

The Nixon administration took no action to implement the recommendation, and despite multiple attempts to reschedule, cannabis remains a Schedule I substance.

Cannabis for Constipation

Affecting millions, constipation is an uncomfortable and inconvenient condition that can become a serious problem for people of all ages. There are many reasons we become constipated, with the usual suspects being a low fiber diet, repeatedly ignoring the urge to go, not drinking enough water or a lack of exercise. Other causes include overuse of painkillers and supplements, or diseases such as hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and Parkinson’s.

Constipation is generally defined as not having a bowel movement in more than three days, or two or fewer bowel movements in a week, hard stool, straining and / or incomplete evacuation for 25% or more of the time. Symptoms of constipation include: infrequent or difficult bowel movements, swollen and / or painful abdomen, vomiting and just a general feeling of blah.

As cannabis becomes more accepted, people everywhere are discovering one of the positive side effects of using this remarkable plant on a regular basis. Cannabis has anti-emetic and powerful muscle relaxing properties which not only eases nausea, but has being shown to alleviate the constipation of intestinal reflexes. Constipation was one of the original uses for the herb as a medicine, cited by Shen-Nung five thousand years ago. Smoking cannabis works to produce the fastest result, often within minutes. In China, cannabis seed / hemp seed oils are widely used as laxatives and Ayurvedic practitioners mix raw hemp leaves with milk, sugar and spices to treat constipation.

A daily dose of cannabis along with a healthy diet and exercise can go a long way to preventing constipation. If inhalation is your therapy of choice, we suggest the following strains: Cheese – Berry White – Pink OG – Grapefruit Kush or Equinox.

For non-smokers using tinctures or drinking raw cannabis juice on a regular basis is a good choice for both treatment and prevention of constipation.

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Talking With Your Parents About Cannabis

Cannabis has been a hot topic for decades. Prop 215, which made use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in California legal, was passed in 1996. The camps for use tout the benefits that have been known for thousands of years. While the camps against tout the negative consequences that have been spread for the past 80 years . Separating fact from fiction can be daunting.

Many families and caregivers are asking about cannabis for their loved ones, but know very little about its true medicinal properties or how to go about obtaining and using it. With the passage of Prop 64 making cannabis for recreational use legal for adults in California as of 2018,  it is more important than ever that seniors who wish to explore using cannabis medicinally are armed with accurate and responsible information.

Why Talking About Cannabis Matters

Cannabis is a natural plant remedy that has been used around the world to bring relief to humans for hundreds of conditions. In the United States, a growing number of people over 50 are thinking about exploring medicinal cannabis as an alternative option for treating pain, sleep disruption, arthritis, stress, anxiety, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, cancer, end of life comfort or any other number of medical issues.

In the late 1980’s, scientists discovered the human body’s natural endocannabinoid system (ECS), a system that regulates and affects physiological processes including movement, mood, memory, appetite and pain. The ECS is what makes cannabis effective for so many conditions. The therapeutic use of cannabis is supported by 30,000 plus published studies on the ECS and more than 9,000 patient years of clinical trial data documenting successful use of cannabis for pain treatment.

Many seniors have either never used cannabis, or are coming back to it for the first time in 20 or more years. It’s a different world from the 40’s , 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s when your parents may have last used cannabis, if they ever did. Contrary to popular belief, smoking the herb, or flower as it is now commonly referred to, is not the only option. Today we are seeing more and more people using cannabis in ways it has been used for thousands of years before.

The reality is that much like the population of the nation, the majority of those who use cannabis are over 50, but most are in the closet because of the societal stigma. Today, it’s okay to drink alcohol or take dangerous pharmaceuticals, but as a society, there is still a very negative attitude toward cannabis. The good news is that perceptions are beginning to change. Become part of the evolution of medicinal cannabis users by taking steps to educate yourself.

Cannabis Implementation Plan

Learn more about the facts and best practices for implementing medicinal cannabis in an informed, safe and effective manner. Download the pamphlet today –>Talking To Your Parents 032517

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Backdoor Medicine: How Cannabis Suppositories Can Save Lives

You want me to put that where?!

This is a common reaction to the suggestion that cannabis can be used as a suppository. Rectal administrations (suppositories) have an unfairly bad reputation in North America, despite the diverse benefits they offer. And we have personally seen countless successes over the years including relief from simple hemorrhoid inflammation to IBS and even dimished size of tumors with prostate and rectal cancers. We can show you how to make your own using FECO oil or you can select ready to insert suppositories from CBD Alive.

This article aims to educate about the advantages associated with the rectal application of cannabis and provide a simple set of guidelines for the effective use of suppositories. Click here to read the full article.

As always, we’re here to guide you through the product selection process.

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Ten Reasons To Embrace Low THC

Over the past decade, we’ve heard all about how much stronger cannabis strains are today than they were in the 70’s and 80’s. And while we have seen growers produce strains in the 20-30% ranges, the fact remains that on average THC in most plants will range from 12-18%.

Many people select strains based on THC levels alone. For some, especially those with long time experience, high thresholds to pain or those who just want a heavier cerebral high, this can be the right approach. But we always educate and advocate for balance of cannabinoids and terpene profiles for medicinal purposes, as we understand how they work symbiotically to achieve maximum effectiveness. We’ve seen strains of 16% or lower be more effective and longer lasting than strains in the 20-30+% range.

Here are 10 reasons to consider a low THC strain:

  1. For those who are just coming back to using cannabis as medicine, or for those who are just beginning to experiment, low THC strains are a nice option, especially for anyone nervous about “being high”. When you find the right amount of “high”, it’s a good place to be.
  2. Take the edge off pain and anxiety, while keeping a relatively clear head during the day.
    -Lower THC allows for medicating during the day for greater pain relief without being overly sedated, especially when using indica strains, which generally bring more relief to the body.
    -Sativa lovers can enjoy the energy and euphoria without increased risk of paranoia or losing clarity of focus by being too spacey.
  3. Those with high anxiety levels find lower THC, combined with 10mg of CBD daily as a supplement provides very effective and fast relief.
  4. If you are battling depression, many sativa strains can provide the right amount of uplifting euphoria you seek. Delivering it in low doses of THC throughout the day can help stabilize your mood while maintaining a functional pace.
  5. Cannabinoids work symbiotically, putting the right ratios of THC and C-cannabinoids into your system will yield the best results over the long term.
  6. If you don’t enjoy the head high that comes from traditional THC, and CBD isn’t delivering enough relief, a low THC strain is often the right choice.
  7. Combining low THC with high CBD strains, you can create ratios that work best for your unique circumstances (we strongly encourage blending strains, but that’s another topic).
  8. As THC is the main cannabinoid responsible for appetite increase, or “the munchies”, lower THC may produce less of an appetite stimulator, while still inducing the relief you seek.
  9. Low THC strains are ideal for sex or intimacy. That’s because THC not only releases dopamine in the brain — causing the “high” — it actually replicates the effects of a sexy little naturally occurring neurochemical called anandamide. Too much THC can have you contemplating the universe or knock you out. Having just the right amount can enhance your mood and heighten your tactile senses for greater pleasure, while your focus remains on your partner ad your shared experience.
  10. For those who enjoy the ritual of smoking, you can take more inhales without becoming completely annihilated.

No matter what you choose, always start with a small inhale (or sip) and wait 10 minutes to assess how the strain makes you feel. If it is too intense, you’ll be back to normal within an hour. If it isn’t enough, simply take another puff or two. Once you’ve dialed in the dose that’s right for you, you’ve hit the jackpot.

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this article was published in Issue 2 March/April 2017 of The Highway California.
Click for a PDF HWYCALI-002-LOW-THC

Know Your CBD’s

It’s been nearly a decade since the first Cannabidiol (CBD) rich strains grown by Lawrence Ringo were brought to San Diego County. Back then, we couldn’t give it away. People would buy it and then call tell us it didn’t do anything for them. That’s because they were expecting the usual “high” effect that cannabis rich in THC will induce. As time went on, more and more people found the lingering effects of CBD use had decreased their pain, inflammation and anxiety. They reported an overall sense of calm, focus and wellness. In addition, those who tended toward paranoia with THC, found that it tempered the effects and made their cannabis use more enjoyable.

Fast forward to 2013 when Dr. Sanjay Gupta announced that he was wrong about cannabis and the societal stigma which surrounds it. This was quickly followed by the media coverage of little Charlotte Figi and her seizures and the cannabis strain, Charlotte’s Web, that was named for her. These events launched the CBD discussion and its merits began to be noticed and take hold.

Namely that CBD was undoubtedly a powerful analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety remedy, without intoxicating effects.

Today, people are seeing mail and advertisements in all forms touting the benefits of CBD oils. The trouble is that not all CBD is equal and many people are spending hard-earned money on products with little medicinal value. Ultimately, as with anything we put into our bodies—and especially with products being marketed as CBD oil—it’s vital to know what exactly we are buying, where it’s coming from, and what’s in it.

To fully understand the benefits of CBD, it’s necessary to first recognize the difference between hemp oil, hemp and cannabis. As a society, we use the terms interchangeably, thinking they are one in the same. While they may look similar when growing, hemp and cannabis plants are quite different in their phytochemical composition.

Hemp oil is derived from seeds and/or stalks of the hemp plant.
Hemp or Cannabis ruderalis is ideal for making clothing, textiles, paper, biofuel and more. While it does contain CBD, it lacks the additional therapeutic compounds found in cannabis.
Cannabis or Cannabis sativa/Cannabis indica is rich in cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes; CBD being just one of the naturally occurring compounds.

Hemp seed does not contain any of the compounds found in the hemp or cannabis plant. However, the seeds are very rich in omegas and proteins. From a nutritional perspective, studies have shown hemp seed to have outstanding value for our bodies. Molecule for molecule, Cannabidiol (CBD) derived from hemp or cannabis (aka marijuana) is exactly the same. What’s important to consider when looking to use CBD for medicinal purposes, are the additional compounds found in cannabis. It is the combination of all compounds such as CBG, THC, CBC and terpenes like beta-caryophyllene that work synergistically to activate our body’s natural endocannabinoid system. This process is commonly referred to as the entourage effect.

Here’s a quick checklist to use when selecting products labelled CBD oil:

Is the main ingredient hemp seed oil or hemp oil? If yes, the product is a nutritional supplement and won’t necessarily help with your medical complaints. Recently, a friend showed me a product she purchased online. The ingredients stated it contained 375 milligrams of hemp oil and 15 milligrams of CBD. While the CBD was hemp derived, there is nothing else in the capsules to fully activate the 15 milligrams of CBD.

Is the main ingredient Cannabidiol (CBD)? If yes, is it derived from hemp or cannabis? A challenge for consumers today is lack of transparency as to the origins of the hemp-derived CBD. Where and how the hemp is cultivated is critical. Hemp is used for phytoremediation because it absorbs contaminants and toxins from the soil. While this is fantastic for the planet, it’s not such a good thing to put into your body. For the safest and healthiest product, look for CBD that is organically grown in the U.S.

If the CBD is cannabis derived, it will most likely have small levels of THC, terpenes or other cannabinoids listed on the label. You will need a medical marijuana recommendation to purchase these products due to Cannabis’s classification as a Schedule I substance. Again, look for products derived from organically grown cannabis.

What other ingredients are in the oil? Do you really need vegetable glycerin, sugars, polysorbates, sodium benzoate or other chemical ingredients if you are taking CBD to feel better or combat disease?

 

 

Finally, don’t confuse Cannabidiol (CBD) with cannabinoids. All cannabis plants produce cannabinoids, Cannabidiol, being one of them. Many people say “I want the medicinal kind of marijuana, not the kind that gets you high”.  All cannabis is medicinal, it is simply the levels of cannabinoids, how it is consumed, and how much of it is consumed that will dictate the level of “high” you may experience.

As you begin your CBD journey, read the labels, ask the tough questions, and just be aware of what is in it and how it makes you feel. Whether it’s hemp or cannabis derived CBD, when you find the product in the right ratio for you, the natural relief can be extraordinary.

*The DEA continues to debate the legality of CBD and several lawsuits are in process with large producers of hemp-derived CBD.

Smart Medicine for Your Eyes

Vision is our primary sense, that we rely upon to achieve our biggest goals and to handle the daily minutiae of our lives; and everything in between. Yet we tend to take it largely for granted. We stare at computer and smart phone screens for hours on end without taking care for the proper nutrition and exercise our eyes need to serve our needs.

If you are unaware that exercise and especially nutrition can help to protect and improve your eye health, Dr. Jeffrey Anshel, a pioneer in the field of holistic optometry, wants you to  know that it  is imperative that you learn. Today.

Dr. Anshel has written six books and numerous articles on exactly how we can best protect our eyes and vision through nutrition and exercise as well as the judicious us of specific cannabis products.

One Minute Cannabist is proud to host Dr. Jeffrey Anshel for a workshop Tuesday, July 31st at 11:00 am.  Cannabis in Eye Health will focus on the latest research results demonstrating the effectiveness of CBD use in treating and preventing glaucoma, Macular Degeneration as well as improving over all eye health.

Please join us for this important discussion.

Dr. Jeffrey Anshel is a 1975 graduate from the Illinois College of Optometry. He has written numerous articles and seven books regarding nutritional influences on vision and computer vision concerns. Dr. Anshel is the principal of Corporate Vision Consulting, where he addresses the issues surrounding visual demands while working with computers. He lectures internationally to ergonomic professionals and eyecare providers on vision care topics. Dr. Anshel is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and Founder and Past President of the Ocular Nutrition Society. He maintains a private practice in Encinitas, CA.

 

Why Terpenes Matter

There are hundreds of compounds in a cannabis plant including cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenoids (commonly referred to as terpenes). Many people select their cannabis based strictly on cannabinoids levels, usually THC and more recently CBD. But there is an even more important component to consider: The terpene profile.

Terpenes are the essential oils that are naturally occurring in all plants. Just like lavender, rosemary and lemons have a distinct aroma and contain specific medicinal value, cannabis too has a terpene profile that simply put, sets the tone for how it is going to affect you. Throughout history, the Egyptians, Babylonians, Hebrews, Greeks, Romans and Chinese have all used essential oils and their terpenoid constituents medicinally. And now we’re coming full circle as more cannabis users become educated.

That distinct, earthy-pine aroma you get when you open a jar of freshly harvested OG Kush vs the sweetly pungent hue you get from Blue Dream comes from the terpenes in each variety. Each terpene delivers unique mental and medicinal benefits.

Beta-Caryophyllene has been proven to directly activate our CB2 receptors and has been described as a dietary cannabinoid enhancing our body’s natural response to absorb other terpenes, while delivering especially potent anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-hypertensive qualities. B-Caryophyllene has an added bonus in that it can block the CB1 receptor, reducing the intoxication and sometimes uncomfortable anxiety induced by some strains

Pinene, found in cannabis strains with that refreshing pine scent, is another potent anti-inflammatory as well as a natural bronchodilator, memory aid and anti-bacterial.

While Mycrene is anti-oxidant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory in nature, and because it potentiates the effects of THC, increasing its potency, Mycrene combined with THC becomes a very potent sedative, perfect for insomnia or high stress situations.

Selecting strains based on terpenes rather than just cannabinoids bring an entirely new dimension when shopping for cannabis. Not only will you find synergistic results for remedying a myriad of conditions such as pain, inflammation, insomnia, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections,  you’ll also be able to intelligently select new strains that are best for your body when your favorite is not available.

If you don’t have the terpene profile of a specific strain, follow your nose. Your body knows what it needs and selecting your strain by smell is the ultimate way to listen to what your body is telling you it needs.

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Medicinal Cannabis Terminology (in simple terms)

The world of cannabis can be confusing, not to mention overwhelming. This primer of terms is designed to help you understand terminology used in the industry.

The INDUSTRY

Pot Shop
A location where marijuana is dispensed or sold, with or without a recommendation, without
product guidance and without common sense
operational practices.

Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary, Cooperative or Collective
A professional establishment that currently dispenses cannabis pursuant to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Proposition 215), found at Section 11362.5 of the Health and Safety Code and operates with common sense business practices.

Cooperative or Collective
State law explicitly allows distribution of medical marijuana through non-profit “collectives” or “cooperatives.” This is the way Prop 215 compliant dispensaries are organized.

Dealer
A person who sells unlabeled, untested marijuana on the street, in the alley and at schools to any person who will buy it.

Physician’s Recommendation or Recommendation
“Physician’s recommendation” means a recommendation by a physician that a patient use cannabis provided in accordance with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Proposition 215), found at Section 11362.5 of the Health and Safety Code.

Cannabis is classified by the federal government as a Schedule I drug and doctors are unable to prescribe it to their patients. But physicians can recommend its use.

Cannabis or MMJ Patient
Term used widely in the cannabis industry to define a cannabis recommendation holder.

Qualified Patient
A person who possesses a valid California medical cannabis recommendation

Member
A person who holds a valid California medical cannabis recommendation and is part of a cooperative or collective. Medicinal cannabis dispensaries generally do not refer to those they serve as customers, but as patients, members or patient members.

Verification
The act of confirming that a medicinal cannabis recommendation is valid. This is done via a web portal or by telephone. Both the recommendation and the status of the license of the doctor issuing the recommendation are verified.

Pre-Verification
The act of verifying that a medicinal cannabis recommendation is valid, prior to engaging with a potential member. See verification.

Intake
Industry term used to confirm that a person is a qualified cannabis patient, is a resident of the state, is 21 or over and general questions to guide the converesation including experience level, reasons for use, therapy comfort, among others.

In-Person Dispensing
Selecting and receiving cannabis products at a dispensary and taking home the products.

Delivery Service
Act of delivering medicinal cannabis products ordered by phone or electronically to qualified patients at their home or office.

Dosing Guidance
The act of providing guidance with respect to how much, or usually how little, of a cannabis product to use.

Cannabis Therapies
Cannabis therapies or delivery methods are the various way a person can use cannabis. Delivery
methods include inhalation, sub-lingual, ingestible, topical, trans-dermal and anal.

The PLANT & The SCIENCE

Cannabis
The accepted botanical Genus name for the plant we know by so many other slang and colloquial terms.

Hemp
Hemp or industrial hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. Hemp does not have the same medicinal characteristics as cannabis.

Marijuana
Slang for Cannabis.

Pot, Weed, Buds, Gangja, Maryjane, Grass, Dope
Slang for Cannabis.

Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids are the primary active compounds in a cannabis plant and have numerous synergistic
interactions with one another. The most well known are:

Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the most well known cannabinoid and the most psychoactive. THC has the ability to alter behavior, mood, perception and consciousness. THC is a natural analgesic, appetite stimulant, bronchial dilator and reduces intra-ocular pressure.

Cannabidiol or CBD is not psychoactive. Studies have shown it to have anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-nausea, neuroprotective, blood pressure lowering and pain killing properties among many others. While CBD tempers the effects of THC, it also needs it to fully activate.

Terpenoids or Terpenes
The essential oils that are naturally occurring in all plants. Just like lavender, rosemary and lemons have a distinct aroma and contain specific medicinal value, cannabis too has unique terpene profiles.

Flavonoids
Flavonoids that are unique to cannabis are called cannaflavins, and they are pharmacologically
active. For example, cannaflavin A has been found to reduce inflammation by inhibiting the inflammatory molecule PGE-2, and it does this 30 times more effectively than aspirin. In addition,
flavonoids modulate the effects of THC.

Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
The endogenous cannabinoid system is one of two chemical systems in the human body that have survived more than 500 million years of human evolution. Although an understanding of the
endogenous cannabinoid system is far from
complete, two human receptors, CB1 and CB2, have currently been defined and a third receptor GPR55, is in the process of being characterized.

The job of the ECS is to regulate the flow of signals that are being sent between cells with the goal of maintaining balance, or homeostasis. Endocannabinoids are made and released by your cells on demand as a response to a trigger. Triggers include injury, illness, inflammation or other imbalances. The ECS determines how your cells try to right themselves when something goes wrong and
imbalance occurs.

Simply put, compounds in cannabis can stimulate our natural ECS and help us to regain balance.

 

The LAWS

Prop 215
Otherwise known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, is a California law allowing for the use and possession of cannabis for medicinal purposes. It was enacted, on November 5, 1996, by means of the initiative process, and passed with 5,382,915 (55.6%) votes in favor and 4,301,960 (44.4%) against.

SB 420
Passed into law in 2003, It clarified the scope and application of California Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, and established the California medical marijuana program. The bill’s title is notable because “420” is a common phrase used in cannabis culture.

Prop 64
The adult use of Marijuana act, which passed by 57.13% of the vote. Proposition 64 made it legal for individuals to use and grow marijuana for personal use on November 9, 2016. The sale and taxation of recreational marijuana went into effect on January 1, 2018.