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Medical marijuana advocates look for big 2017

How marijuana measures could influence Texas


Mark Wiggins, KVUE 6:47 PM. CDT October 14, 2016
Medical marijuana advocates look for big 2017

AUSTIN - The latest polls show voters are poised to legalize marijuana in all five states with initiatives on the ballot this November. For marijuana advocates in Texas and elsewhere, the new year could begin with the wind strongly at their backs.


Texas passed its first "compassionate use" law in 2015, which allowed marijuana-based oil to treat intractable epilepsy. The Texas law restricts use to a special strain high in the chemical cannabidiol (CBD) and low in the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It was a tiny measure compared to medical marijuana laws in other states, but the bill's endorsement by Texas' rock-ribbed Republican leadership marked a political sea change.


One of the state's most high-profile advocates, ten-year-old Alexis Bortell suffered from terrible seizures before moving to Colorado to take advantage of the state's medical marijuana law. Parents Dean and Liza explained her first medical marijuana prescription was similar to the low-THC kind now legal in Texas.


"It was better than pharmaceuticals," Dean Bortell told KVUE. "We got 33 days and then she had a pretty bad seizure, not as bad as she had in Texas, but enough that the doctor said, 'You know what? Let's go ahead and push up the THC.' And now we're 573 days seizure-free today. So it's which is the greater good?"


The Bortells say they need a "whole plant" policy to be able to return to Texas. It's a complaint many medical marijuana patients expressed during the debate on the "CBD-only" bill passed by the Eighty-fourth Texas Legislature, and one they hope to rectify in the upcoming legislative session.

Big changes are already on the way in several other states. This November, Massachusetts, Arizona, California, Maine and Nevada are poised to legalize marijuana completely.


"It's an exciting time," said Marijuana Policy Project Texas political director Heather Fazio. "Win, lose or draw, we're going to see a historic night on election night here in the United States. And here in Texas, what that translates to is momentum."


"We haven't really stopped working since the last legislative session," said Fazio. "With the passage of the compassionate use act and now the rules being rolled out by the Department of Public Safety, we see a lot on the horizon. And patients want to see this program made more inclusive so that those with cancer, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, debilitating conditions like that have access to this medicine."


The business opportunities created by the proliferation of states relaxing marijuana restrictions have captured the interests of a whole generation of entrepreneurs. Yet slow movement at the federal level has made it difficult for state industries to fully flourish.



"When the federal government doesn't let you take tax deductions, when you can't go to your neighborhood bank and get a checking account, when you can't process credit cards, it keeps the industry in that grey area," said KIND Financial CEO David Dinenberg. "We all strive every day for this industry to grow up, become mainstream and become truly legitimate, and I wake up every day trying to solve those problems."


The California-based business offers compliance solutions for a budding industry, which is being actively monitored, state-by-state. "The states are all looking at each other and taking the best points of each law and trying to create a very robust regulatory market, which is important," explained Dinenberg. "Colorado just enacted labeling on all the edibles. Nevada was really the first state to have mandatory lab testing."


It adds up to big business: Providing more than $100 million in annual tax revenue in Colorado alone. 


"The job creation's real. The tax revenue's real," said Dinenberg. "But the access to the medicine is the most important thing."


That's why Dean Bortell argues, "Let the doctors run the show."


"It's a medical decision. It's different for every patient," said Bortell. "So for the legislators to sit down there without a medical license, most of them, and tell us what our doctor has to prescribe our children, it just doesn't make a lot of sense."


(© 2016 KVUE)

Edited by lethe
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Could Medical Marijuana Benefit Parkinson’s Disease Patients?


May 22, 2016


We are constantly learning of more and more conditions that might benefit from the use of medical marijuana. Since the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, it has become clearer how marijuana is able to benefit so many ailments. One of the less discussed is Parkinson’s disease.


The only time Parkinson’s gets much attention is when people are referring to celebrities like Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali – other than that, people don’t seem to talk about it much. Sure, there are dedicated scientists out there searching for the best way to medicate the disease, or even cure it – but not nearly enough research has been done on the possibility of cannabis therapy for Parkinson’s.


If you’ve never known someone with Parkinson’s, let me tell you it can get hard to watch sometimes. Knowing that the person’s ability to care for themselves or manage their own bodies will continue to decline, and watching their frustration because they can still think clearly enough that they know what they want to do, but they just can’t ever seem to do it, is heart-breaking.


My point is, these patients deserve to have all options explored, and there are tons of stories of Parkinson’s disease patients who have opted to self-medicate with cannabis, as well as dozens of small studies done that show a positive improvement in multiple areas of a Parkinson’s patient’s life. Multiple states list Parkinson’s on their list of qualifying conditions, and even more allow it under laws extending to “debilitating conditions” or similar wording.


Now, with all these states being able to recommend cannabis for Parkinson’s disease, you would think they would want a little more research done on the subject; in order to gain a better understanding of which what cannabinoids (THC or CBD) effects which symptoms (tremors, shaking, rigidity, pain, depression, etc) and how much medicine a patient needs to see an improvement.


Surprisingly, there have been few large-scale studies done on the effects of medical marijuana on Parkinson’s disease symptoms. However, there is enough evidence, backed up by studies performed by doctors and researchers as well as personal accounts, to convince many to give medical marijuana a chance to help them manage this condition. But for others, the lack of large-scale and controlled testing is enough to allow them to keep their reefer madness mindset guilt free, even if they themselves could benefit from it.


What Do We Know So Far?


Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that stems from a dopamine deficiency – current medications that are taken to help reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s generally attempt to replicate the missing dopamine, keeping the symptoms somewhat in check, at least until it’s time for the next dosage.

Currently, there is no known cure for Parkinson’s, but there are researchers who hope that the discovery of the endocannabinoid system could be a sort of “missing link” in figuring out how to stop the progression of this disease. To the surprise of some, studies on cannabis therapy show the potential to slow the progression of the disease, which could one day lead to a cure, with any hope.


A small patient study recognized that THC could be effective in slowing down the progression of degenerative conditions like Parkinson’s. It works by assisting the prevention of damage caused by free radicals and activating a receptor that promotes the formation of new mitochondria. There is evidence that both THC and CBD might be effective in this process.


Another study with 22 patients has found that THC might be beneficial in lessening symptoms such as rigidity, tremors, and other motor-control problems that patients with Parkinson’s live with on a daily basis. It is also shown that it may be helpful to reduce symptoms that stem from the Parkinson’s, such as depression and chronic pain – which also helps some patients qualify for cannabis therapy in states where Parkinson’s is not a qualifying condition but medical marijuana is legal.


There was also a slightly more controlled study which looked into CBD only, with 21 patients broken down into three groups. One group received a placebo, one received 75mg per day and the third received 300mg per day. The results found that the use of CBD made a significant improvement in the quality of life for patients with Parkinson’s disease, with slightly improved motor quality and improved sleep.


An observational study that took place in Israel showed significant improvements in generally associated symptoms, like rigidity, pain and tremors, around 30 minutes after inhaling marijuana. The subjects were all in their 60s and diagnosed with Parkinson’s for more than seven years. Patients claimed that those positive effects generally lasted around two or three hours after the initial onset – about as long as a good marijuana high lasts.


For now, these studies are all small and don’t cover one specific aspect of using medical marijuana in this situation. There is a definite need for more research on the subject, especially with results that even hint at the possibility of improving patients’ quality of life.


What Patients Have to Say


“Marijuana is a miracle plant that helps Parkinson’s patients and benefits people suffering from many other illnesses,” states PD patient and author of, “Marijuana for Parkinson’s Disease”


This statement comes from a blog belonging to Richard Secklin, a previous sheriff in Texas who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 50 in 2003. He started treatment with Levodopa, which is the standard medication for Parkinson’s patients. After a while, he decided to use cannabis in addition to the standard treatment.


Since most patients with Parkinson’s suffer from sleeplessness, depression and chronic pain, cannabis can work wonders as a secondary medication for patients due to its ability to successfully treat all of these conditions. According to Richard, he is able to sleep a full 6-7 hours a night and does not need antidepressants at all.


Sadly, stories like his are not published all that often – it was hard enough just to find his story, let alone others. If you or someone you know is treating Parkinson’s with cannabis, please spread your story if you are finding relief – it’s these stories that will prompt more studies on the condition and its responses to marijuana.


“Marijuana should never be thought of as a replacement for dopaminergic and other approved therapies for Parkinson’s disease.  Second, though most available large studies have not shown a benefit, that does not mean that there will not be a benefit.  Much more research will be needed to understand which patients, which symptoms, and how best to safely administer medical marijuana in Parkinson’s disease, especially over the long-term.  It may turn out that non-motor features such as depression, anxiety, and pain respond best, but studies are desperately needed to sort this out.”- by Dr. Michael S. Okun on the National Parkinson Foundation


Currently, Parkinson’s is a qualifying condition in Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico and New York. Under circumstances such as “conditions subject to approval” or “debilitating conditions”, it can also be obtained In Oregon, Washington, Rhode Island and Nevada. In many other states, including Alaska, Arizona, California, you can obtain medical marijuana for depression or chronic pain, which are both symptoms associated with Parkinson’s.


Unfortunately, there is just not as much information as I would have liked to find when researching this subject. After all, the condition is considered a qualifying one in multiple states and patients all over the world are medicating with it – but there are no studies done to give those who have no experience with marijuana a guideline of how to administer such a treatment.

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I saw a similar article but hesitated posting it until I saw it in a credible source.  It's rare and not life threatening.....






  What is Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?

By Sirius J  December 22, 2014


Often mistakenly called Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome, Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome is a rare form of cannabinoid toxicity that develops in chronic smokers. It’s characterized by cyclic episodes of debilitating nausea and vomiting. People who suffer from the syndrome often find that hot showers relieve their symptoms, and will compulsively bathe during episodes of nausea and vomiting. Symptoms stop after cessation of cannabis use.


Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome is different from Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome—though the symptoms are very similar. Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome is not caused by cannabis consumption.


This may sound scary, but it’s very rare. I’ve known many heavy smokers all my life and have only recently heard of it through research online. People are blaming the recent and increasing popularity of dabs for Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS), but CHS has been around since way before concentrates were popular. An Australian clinical study from 2004 looked into the syndrome in a group of 10 patients suffering from CHS, and all were marijuana smokers, not dabbers.


CHS develops in heavy, longtime consumers of cannabis; there is generally daily use in excess of three to five times a day for many years before the appearance of symptoms. A clinical study from Philadelphia, PA states that the average duration of cannabis use before the onset of symptoms was around 16 years, and the earliest symptoms had developed in a patient was after around three years of smoking weed.


People who suffer from CHS often find that hot showers alleviate their symptoms, and this provides another clue for the cause of the syndrome. According to the study from Philadelphia, “hot bathing may act by correcting the cannabis induced disequilibrium of the thermoregulatory system of the hypothalamus.”


While cannabis is revered for its nausea-calming (antiemetic) properties, it’s paradoxical that it causes severe nausea and vomiting in certain people. Due to its widely known antiemetic properties, people who develop CHS will often increase the amount of cannabis they consume in hopes that it will cure the nausea, but it never helps.  It goes to show how little we know about not only about the body, but also about the interaction between cannabis and cannabinoid receptors.  


CHS is a very rare syndrome and is easily cured by stopping the consumption of cannabis. This should not, by any means, hurt marijuana’s reputation for being the safest recreational drug around, but people need to be aware of the syndrome’s existence. If you know anyone with these symptoms tell him or her go to a doctor and stop smoking.

Edited by lethe
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I recently participated as a guest on a podcast to help raise awareness for cannabis and Parkinsons. Here's the link for those interested. Kind of casual and sometimes off topic but nonetheless the discussion starts around 1/2 hour in. Hope the link works.



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Hey Lethe, What strains do recommend for a parkie??? am looking for one that will help with my Dyskinesia....



  Welcome polyparkie - There are no strains specificly used for PWP - you have to sample a variety to figure which works best for you, but most likely a heavy indica would be best....

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  New Study Shows Strong Spike In Marijuana Use Among Baby Boomers


By Jon Hiltz on December 6th, 2016 at 2:28 pm  

| Updated: December 6th, 2016 at 4:52 pm


Marijuana News


A new study that surveyed over 47,000 American adults 50 and older, has discovered a rather intriguing trend among America’s baby boomers – they love getting high.


Dr. Benjamin Han, of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Care at NYU Langone Medical Center (NYULMC) said that “with the increased availability of legalized marijuana, there is an urgent need to understand the prevalence of its use and also its effects among older generations.”


Researchers assessed replies from 47,140 U.S. adults ages 50 and older, between 2006 to 2013. The findings showed that between 2006 and 2013, a 71 percent rise in baby boomer cannabis use correlated almost perfectly with ongoing marijuana reform.


Cannabis use for adults over the age of 65 has gone up very significantly as well. While seniors traditionally consumed less marijuana when compared to their slightly younger cohorts – ages 50-64 – their overall use “increased two and a half times over eight years.”


The preimrs-290x300.jpgvalence of past-year


the prevalence of past- yearcannabis use among people aged 50 and over grew significantly from 2006/07 to 2012/13. This includes a 57.8 percent increase for adults aged 50–64 and a 250 percent increase for those aged over 65.


Another recent study done by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows that in 2014, middle-aged parents were more likely than their teenagers to get high on a regular basis.


The data showed that 7.4 percent of Americans aged 12 to 17-years-old smoked pot regularly in 2014 and 8 percent of adults aged 35 to 44 years did the same thing. That percentage surpassed the number of teens for the first time since 2002.


The same study showed some other incredible numbers which pair well with the findings released by Dr. Han and his team.


The CDC report showed that since 2002, the increase in Americans aged 55 to 64 who enjoy marijuana regularly has risen a staggering 455 percent. Seniors contacted in this study clearly love the ganja as well, as the findings showed that cannabis use has increased 333 percent for those aged 65 and older.


The takeaway from both of these studies is that marijuana reform is as vast as the country is wide. It also clearly shows that cannabis has endured the decades-long prohibition that was unjustly dumped upon it.


Now that more than half the country has access to legal cannabis in some form, it seems timely to say that we have a marijuana majority. Let’s hope it stays that way.


Additional reporting contributed by Monterey Bud


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