Scientific Objectivity

Posted: June 4, 2013 in Cannabis, Law, Science

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An article posted on The Daily Chronic stated that the US First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston sided with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and rejected University of Massachusetts-Amherst scientist Dr. Lyle Craker’s appeal of the agency’s decision to deny him a license to grow medical marijuana for research purposes. Dr. Craker has been trying to secure an independent license to grow material for medical research since 2007. The license was approved by the agency at that time, and then it was rescinded for some unknown reason by the same agency.

As of November 2012, it is legal in the State of Washington to be in possession of up to 1 ounce of cannabis or 16 ounces of infused products and the definition is expanded. If government agencies are going to allow a change in the laws and regulate the industry, then there needs to be a 3rd party independent company conducting cannabis research. The cannabis industry needs an objective scientific point of view in order to answer the never-ending questions facing the policy makers throughout the United States. As of now, the only known facility that is producing cannabis for the government and its National Institute Drug and Addiction is Coy W. Waller Laboratory Complex on the campus of the University of Mississippi. NIDA is about negative side effects of cannabis or marijuana, as they refer to it.

If the states are going to allow cannabis legalization and regulate it, then objective research should be conducted to discover positive side effects, as well as negative. To provide an objective scientific point of view, you need to conduct objective research. American tax dollars already fund marijuana gardens for governmental research, which seems to be bias and quick to out the harmful side-effects. Why not fund research on what the plant can do to cure diseases and save lives, while improving the overall well-being of others? If you’re going to regulate the industry, then it’s important to get all facts and not just a bias opinion. In order to obtain objectivity in the cannabis

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Over the last few years, I have educated myself on the cannabis plant and its different compounds. Specifically, there are two main compounds that people are familiar with and refer to, and that’s CBD: Cannabidiol and THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol. As you may or may not know, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound versus THC, a psychoactive compound found in the plant. Both of these are the most popular compounds researched that we know of today and are only a couple among thousands of other chemical compounds we have yet to identify in the plant. We recently started doing some reserach on CBC which stands for cannabichromene which is said to act as an anti-inflammatory effect but that remains to be seen.

 The current research suggests that there is a difference between the effects of activated vs. acidic THC and CBD. When these two cannabinoids are heated decarboxylation, also known as activation occurs. As the cannabinoids are activated through decarboxylation, they turn into activated forms of THC and CBD. The heating can occur from vaporizing, smoking, extracting or heating the compound in an edible mixture.  

It is important to remember that the physiological effects of THC-acid and an activated THC are different, and the importance of how each will be used varies from person to person dependent on the ailment being treated. THC-acid which is not activated is non- psychoactive and it will not leave you feeling high. For example, juicing with raw cannabis is known as the THC- acid form; you will get the medicinal effects without feeling intoxicated. This feeling is different from the activated THC, which tends to leave you feeling intoxicated in the head.  

Pure analytics reports that patients report that the benefits, although vary person to person, between the acidic vs. activated is incredible. It seems that people prefer an acidic cannabinoid therapy for the overall balance effect to the endocannabinoid system, over the activated THC therapy.      

People should know that although THC-acid and CBD-acid is favorable over the THC activated, the acidic cannabinoid therapy does not deliver immediate pain relief. If you are looking for immediate pain relief, research suggests you will want activated THC and CBD therapy through heating. Please remember that activated THC is psychoactive and may leave you feeling anxious but neither acidic nor activated CBD will leave you feeling uneasy or intoxicated. 

It’s good to hear that patients are becoming proactive in their cannabis treatment and looking for new ways to treat their ailments. Many patients are turning to a combined therapeutic approach to enjoy the benefits of both acidic and activated cannabinoid therapy.

The law on driving and cannabis

Posted: June 4, 2013 in Cannabis, Law

In the state of Washington, a police officer is normally not allowed to search your vehicle. However, there are several exceptions that you must know of: if an officer observes you trying to conceal or throw something out the window they may legally search your car. If the officer has reasonable suspicion you are armed and dangerous, or involved in criminal activity he or she can frisk you (pat you down).  Even if the officer doesn’t have reasonable suspicion, once you are pulled over you will be scrutinized.

Soon Washingtonians will be given the “how to” policies by the state on how cannabis will be produced, distributed and consumed. So, I think that it is important that to remember that in the state of Washington a person is guilty while driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any other drug; or while the person is under combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug.

So, be smart and have a designated driver if you plan on attending a party, plan on partaking in recreational activities or need to medicate to alleviate your pain.

For more information: Check out the state law on Driving under the influence. and Washington Drugged Driving.

Wrong advice can kill!

Posted: June 4, 2013 in Cannabis

Yesterday, I connected with a patient who has serious medical issues. I cried after ending the call with them because the difficult treatment she continues to experience resonated with me and my past experiences. I was moved by her heartbreaking story to the point that I want to help her feel better physiologically and emotionally.

To protect the privacy of our patient, I obviously will not reveal the name but I will state that they have a series of medical problems of which include pancreatitis. According to the Mayo Clinic, Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. It’s an organ that produces several enzymes that aid in the digestion of foods, as well as the hormone insulin that controls the level of sugar in the blood. It’s located in the upper abdomen behind the stomach and when there is inflammation, the body is not able to absorb the nutrients it needs.

A pancreatic pain attack can last hours, days or years and the disease can transmute into pancreatic cancer. The common symptoms are severe abdominal burning pain that radiates to the back causing nausea, and vomiting. The top three causes of the disease are alcohol, gallstones and abdominal surgery but smoking and certain medications have also been listed in the list.

The patient suffered for numerous years, and exhausted all forms of traditional medicine before her treating physician explained to her that there is no cure for some of her medical conditions. The patient’s doctor provided her with a recommendation to use cannabis for alternative treatment. She took her recommendation and went to a Seattle access point to pick up medicine to help alleviate her symptoms. The bud tender recommended she use cannabis concentrates and sent her home with an Isopropyl alcohol oil extract in a syringe.

I’m not a doctor but research conducted at the University of Maryland Medical Center indicates that a person with pancreatic disease should NOT take any medicine or drink that has alcohol as an ingredient; it could be dangerous and even deadly. Sadly, the people who helped the patient did not know what they were talking about when they recommended she take the Isopropyl alcohol oil in a syringe home with her. She trusted them and consumed it only to become extremely ill from it.

You should not pretend to know what you think may work on a patient with serious medical issues, if you haven’t done your research on their illness or the medicine you recommend they use. If you know that someone has pancreatic disease, you should probably do some research and find out what you need to avoid so that you don’t hurt the patient by making them feel sicker or worsen their health condition or worse; kill them.

I sat and listened to the patient tell me her horrifying story and it broke my heart. It’s important for patients to understand that individuals who work in access points do not know everything about cannabis treatment and the products they hold on their shelves. We are all just learning and some of us hold a vast knowledge of cannabis, treatment options and the products while others do not.

I think that it’s important to understand our own limitations of what we know about serious medical conditions. It is equally important that the patient consult with a physician about the ingredients in certain cannabis products so they are not hurt by them. It is our ethical and moral obligation to educate ourselves and the patients while providing them with the purest and safest medicine to consume.

LCB outlaws Cannabis Oil

Posted: June 4, 2013 in Cannabis

Recent Washington State news brings the need for the cannabis community to unite and address the draft rules and regulations for the cannabis community. The Liquor Control Board (LCB) has drafted rules that outlaw the sale of hash, hash oil and shatter from the cannabis market. The state will, however, allow cannabis infused products so long as they are not sold in its concentrated pure form.

I’m not sure the LCB understand how important it is for patients to have access to concentrated forms of cannabis oil to manage their severe pain and other illnesses. In addition, concentrated forms of cannabis oil may also be rubbed onto skin rashes and other skin problems that need relief. Some patients need concentrated forms of cannabis oil in order to alleviate their pain. There is a particular patient who has smoked cannabis flower, ate medibles, consumed tinctures, and vaporized with cannabis oil but the only cannabis product that helps alleviate her chronic pain is Shatter, a hard candy-like consistent form of oil. If the LCB outlaws the oil products then patients will have to resort to unhealthy treatment options like the opiates prescribed by doctors. Most patients that I talk to do not want to consume opiates, codeine or any other hard pharmaceutical drug to alleviate their pain, because she feels that the drugs are harsh on her body.

If the cannabis community allows the state to outlaw cannabis oil concentrates, then we will have a life-safety issue at hand. The market will dictate the demand, and if the state does not regulate the oil and allow manuacturers to produce it the market will push the product into the black market, and we will have people producing cannabis in an unregulated and unsafe environment. Not too long ago, the owner of a reputable cannbais company blew himself up and part of his apartment building he was using to manufacture the oil; he was badly hurt but noone was killed or hurt, but that is not the point. The point is that whether the state likes it or not, there is a market for the oil and it will be produced illegally if it is not regulated by the state.

The cannabis community needs to come together and think about the patient’s safety, and access to their preferred choice of cannabis products.

Profiteering in the Gene Market

Posted: May 15, 2013 in Science

Myriad Genetics performed genetic testing that isolated the gene that could cause cancer In Angelina Jolie’s body. Yesterday, Angelina Jolie announced to the world that she had a double breast mastectomy due to the gene Myriad discovered in her body that could cause to develop in her breast and ovaries. I think that it’s great that she was able to afford the research and testing to isolate the gene that could ultimately end her life: she is fortunate.

However, there is great controversy over the testing performed by Myriad Genetics. Other researchers claim that Myriad is monopolizing the gene market and trying to collect genes of every one of us; the other debate is that Myriad is keeping a “Black Box” on gene patents in order to be the main profiteer, but the biggest concern is that Myriad does not allow their research to be debated, challenged in the scientific community. What this means is that if a patient undergoes Myriad’s gene testing, they are not able to secure a second opinion on Myriad’s findings from another doctor because they do not allow any other researchers to validate their testing results. It’s not in the best interest of the public for Myriad to monopolize research that could potentially save many more lives.

Angelina Jolie underwent a drastic procedure in order to prevent cancer. Of course, it’s her choice to have the procedure performed but without a second opinion, that is risky. I, personally, would not undergo such a drastic procedure without getting a second opinion. We are told to get a second opinion when it comes to life-altering decisions and this procedure would not be any different for me. I just hope that people do not look at what Angelina Jolie did to save herself and think that it’s okay for them to undergo drastic changes without a second opinion.

Pot is Porn?

Posted: May 15, 2013 in Cannabis, Law, Politics

It has been reported on the Daily Chronic that the state of Colorado is attempting to censor the cannabis (also known as marijuana) industry by signing a bill that would require cannabis magazines be displayed behind the counter at outlet retail stores. I understand why people want to keep the magazines away from children but that is a moral issue not a legal one: Porn is different than a plant.

The state wants to categorize magazines such as High Times, Dope and in the Northwest- NW Leaf as pornographic material but I believe that it may violate the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. I’m not an attorney but I do not believe that you can censor a privately-held company unless the magazine is publicly-owned, and cite John Stuart Mill’s social “greater good” of society.

The public wants to censor the cannabis industry because of its content and lack of morals that it brings to the “greater good” of our society. But there are many trashy magazines that are on the shelves that border pornography, not to mention the offensive television shows and movies that have offensive propaganda. Yet, the public sector choose to view a plant as offensive as pornographic material.

The irony is that High Times started out as a parody to Playboy magazine and its centerfold. Rather than focus on the sexual prowess of a woman as their centerfold, High Times decided they would adopt the cannabis plant as their centerfold. And as a result of the parody, the magazine found its audience and became an overnight sensation changing the image of cannabis.

Some supporters of marijuana legalization say that cigarettes and alcohol are not held to the same public discourse as cannabis magazines but I beg to differ; cigarettes are socially unacceptable and as a result of that social change, they do not publish many Ads, and alcohol has its restrictions as well within magazine Ads.

It’s a bit hypocritical for people to vilify a plant in their anti-drug law campaigns when there are many people that are being harmed by harmful drugs such as meth, cocaine or heroin: again, that is just a moral issue. The fact is that under the First Amendment of the Constitution you can’t censor an individual and I believe that protection extends to privately-owned companies.