Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Medical Patients’ Voices Must Be Represented In Cannabis Legalization

The Medical Patients’ Voices Must Be Represented In Cannabis Legalization
By Jason Barker (Medical Cannabis Patient & Organizer -LECUA Patient’s Coalition Of New Mexico)( 2016)
      A review of recent headlines in a number of states with medical cannabis highlights the huge financial profits. And the same around the cannabis legalization discussion within some of the biggest national cannabis advocacy groups.  What’s missing? The voice of the medical cannabis patients and those in the medical cannabis community.
The current debate and coverage focuses on legalization and regulation combining the interests of everyone from big pharma to big AG to recreational users to growers to government. Without the interests of medical cannabis patient community represented in this debate, we all run the great risk of establishing a future framework that is setup to take away patient cultivation rights, fails to protect the medical patient, and will require further modification.
The pharmaceutical industry both has much to gain and much to lose from legalization of the cannabis plant in its various natural forms.  What that industry does not want is to be competing with a natural plant that anyone can grow in their backyard, which actually works better than very expensive pharmaceuticals without side effects.
The absence of the medical cannabis patients voice has been furthered silenced by groups who have strayed from their original mission such as Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).  George Soros’ Open Society Foundation is listed as a major financial supporter of DPA in its annual report of 2013.  As the influence of theses financial donations from companies the vast majority of medical cannabis patients want nothing to do with, in May of this year, Bayer AG, the giant German chemical and pharmaceutical company, made a bid to buy Monsanto.  According the Wall Street Journal these merger talks have picked back up, with Bayer increasing its purchase offer,  as of  July 19th 2016.  
Both companies are said to be working on a synthetic cannabis-based extract. In 2003 the German Bayer AG then signed an agreement with GW Pharmaceuticals for joint research on a cannabis-based extract. In 2007, Bayer AG agreed to an exchange of technology with . . . Monsanto . . . . Thus Monsanto has discreet access to the work of the cannabis plant and its genetic modification. In 2009 GW Pharmaceuticals announced that it had succeeded in genetically altering a cannabis plant and patented a new breed of cannabis according to the Cannabinoid Research Institute division of GW Pharmaceuticals. Billionaires George Soros and the late Peter Lewis have bankrolled much of the cannabis legalization movement since 2012, providing Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) the bulk of their funding.
Look what happened in Washington state on July 1st 2016 when patients lost safe access to medical cannabis- that new approach to their program was funded by George Soros and his influence on DPA as revealed by the Seattle Times on September 22, 2012. George Soros is one of the biggest and most important shareholders of Monsanto Agrochemical Company and Halliburton. Peter Lewis got his source of great wealth from Progressive Insurance. The following chart, from The Washington Times, shows how this funding was provided in further detail.
The debate about cannabis legalization is complex and encompasses many different aspects from dispensary/producer models, to the rights of medical cannabis patients, from America's right to freedom of choice, to large-scale big pharma and big AG commercialization into cannabis. When the legalization conversation does include medical cannabis issues, much of the focus is on profits from the medical cannabis dispensaries.  Highlighting these profits now in a cannabis industry which origins stemmed from a grassroots movement based on the medicinal values of cannabis - not profits.
Natural health writer Mike Adams warns:

“[W]ith the cannabis industry predicted to generate over $13 billion by 2020, becoming one of the largest agricultural markets in the nation, there should be little doubt that companies like Monsanto are simply waiting for Uncle Sam to remove the herb from its current Schedule I classification before getting into the business.

. . . [O]ther major American commodities, like corn and soybeans, are on average between 88 and 91 percent genetically modified. Therefore, once the cannabis industry goes national, and that is most certainly primed to happen, there will be no stopping the inevitability of cannabis becoming a prostituted product of mad science and shady corporate monopoly tactics.” (Sounds like Ultra Health in New Mexico if you ask this patient.)
As legalization of cannabis has spread, now these fears of large corporate ownership of the emerging cannabis industry are upon the cannabis community.  Arizona, California, and Nevada are some of the states heading to the voting booth this fall to vote on legalization and regulation of cannabis. Now is the time to put forth efforts in the medical cannabis community to make sure the legacy growers in California’s legendary Emerald Triangle remain a core part of the market. The time to ensure medical cannabis patient grow rights are protected from bad laws like the 25 mile no grow law in Arizona, where as medical cannabis patients can not grow if they live within 25 miles of a dispensary.
In New Mexico there are more headlines currently of the medical cannabis producers profits than of the law breaking administrative delays by the state of New Mexico’s Department of Health Medical Cannabis Office, that started in late February 2016. This violation of New Mexico law in the Lynn & Erin Compassionate Use Act, 2007 (LECUA), requires the state Department of Health to process and issue a medical cannabis patient id card in 30 days, while patients are waiting 60 days or more and this continues to disrupt safe access to medicine. Anita Briscoe (MS, APRN-BC), of Heal My Mind, said in April 2016 and May 2016 alone there were  84 of her patients that had experienced these delay exceeding 50 days.  
Fundamental to this discussion are the interests of the more than 25,000 New Mexicans who use medical cannabis and know how best to monitor medical cannabis to safely and effectively treat themselves, the state of New Mexico’s medical cannabis history started in 1978. In the United States, as of a March 2016 study on, there were over 1,246,170 million legal medical cannabis patients. Thats an average of 8.6 patients per 1,000 state residents in each state; Arizona 13.1 per 1000, California 19.4 per 1000, Colorado 19.8 per 1000, New Mexico 12.5 per 1000*, Oregon 19.2 per 1000, Nevada 5.0 per 1000 and Washington 19.2 per 1000 state residents. (*June 2016 NM DoH MCP Report)
To understand medical cannabis, it helps to understand the path to choosing it. Medical cannabis can be a last line of treatment for those who have unsuccessfully tried pharmaceuticals. When pharmaceuticals are successful, the side-effects of treatments -- for 21 health conditions classified by Department Of Health in New Mexico eligible for medical cannabis -- can be especially intense and unbearable causing patients to either seek other options, or incorporate cannabis into their regimen to ease these symptoms.(KOAT Albuquerque-May 6, 2016)
For example, a person living with multiple sclerosis (MS) may change treatments three or more times because the side-effects are excruciating, including recurring hot flashes, tissue degradation, digestive problems or hair loss. On the other hand, patients may avoid pharmaceutical treatments altogether, opting for a more "natural" option -- as is their choice.
The medical industry works hard to ensure treatments are safe and effective, but sometimes the results are not optimal and another option is examined and prescribed. Throughout this process, physicians need to be able to look after patients' best interests without fear of recommending medical cannabis and the lack of understanding by doctors of cannabis as a medicine must become non-existent. You, the patient, will always be your best advocate for your health and the medical profession all to often forgets we; as medical cannabis patients we hired them to work for us and our health.
We need to define a model for cannabis legalization, that keeps medical cannabis and puts patients first as well, and allows their physicians to provide the same level of care with medical cannabis as they do with other medications.
Prohibition of cannabis in the United States has largely denied the medical community the chance to study the effects this plant has on the human body so we have quite a bit of catching up to do. Patients need more trained nurses and health professionals with the ability to guide patients in the right direction, to support them on their journey to wellness with medical cannabis.
Understanding where your medication comes from and what exactly is in it is critical. While understandable that the current legal landscape discourages dispensaries from disclosing their sources, this is one thing that must change in order for us to progress toward medical standardization. If we are to treat medical cannabis as a true medicine, then we must adhere to the golden rule in medicine, “first, do no harm” or “primum non nocere”.
Patients are critical to the success of future legalization and regulation of cannabis in the United States, and specifically medical cannabis. The needs of 1,246,170 million medical cannabis patients reported by March 2016,  who rely on medical cannabis as their primary medicine are the fundamental criteria that will guide and help shape a positive trajectory for legalization. This should be the real true focus, not big pharma and big AG throwing money at advocacy groups to influence policy to favor profits over the medical cannabis patient community.
(Why you should speak up in favor of  Medical Cannabis -
Lastly, it’s important for all people within OUR medical cannabis community to know THEY are the power; the government, legislators & policy makers are lead to us and WE have the power to change the laws and government - people in it, policy being written, and overturning rules & regulations that disrupt safe access to our medicine. Not one state’s medical cannabis law is perfect, they are working pieces of democracy and this is where WE can establish patient lead policy in New Mexico and throughout the United States. We have the science, the research, the knowledge - the information the policy makers don’t have and we need to get it in front of legislators.
These patients' needs and experiences regarding medical cannabis must be represented and fully considered by those we vote and elect into office as they make decisions on regulations for a legal cannabis marketplace for both cannabis and medical cannabis.  “The best advocate is an informed advocate. The history of medical cannabis advocacy is a rich one, filled with brave individuals like you. The key to being an effective advocate is a firm understanding of our history, the political landscape in which you are operating, the rules of engagement and the ability to articulate your needs.” - Americans For Safe Access
Get Involved Now Your Medical Cannabis Community Needs You:
LECUA Patient’s Coalition Of New Mexico Advocacy Group
LECUA Patients Coalition of New Mexico Community Page
Find My New Mexico Legislator
Americans For Safe Access

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Medical Cannabis and A Healthy Diet

Medical Cannabis and A Healthy Diet
By Jason Barker(Medical Cannabis Patient & Organizer -LECUA Patient’s Coalition Of New Mexico)

A major cause of illness and death in our country is nutritional deficiency. We all know that lack of food makes us feel weak and tired with a loss of stamina and short term energy. And as medical cannabis patients, we strive to ensure that those producing our medicine do so in the safest manner free from toxins and unwanted chemical pesticides. We should also take this same approach to our own personal diet, as eating healthy is another way you can get more benefits from the medical cannabis. A healthy diet will improve the body’s ability to best process your medical cannabis intake in all forms and this will provide improvement with your health condition(s) and overall health.

Humans have long sought food from our earth’s bounty and have found protein and carbohydrates and sugars in large enough quantity to sustain and enlarge the human race.
But what is the best food? The perfect diet to follow? What can be paired with cannabis?

For Health:
1. Blueberries- one of the most powerful disease fighting foods because of all the beneficial
fiber and antioxidants they contain. In addition, they are packed with Vitamin C and are easy
to find because they are available all year round. Blueberries are a favorite for many when making raw cannabis smoothies or health cannabis blueberry muffins.

2. Salmon- this cold water fish is a superb source of protein and is packed with heart-healthy
omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association advises eating salmon and other omega-3
rich foods twice a week for benefits that go beyond heart health.

3. Soy Protein- Inexpensive, packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, this high-quality protein
has all the ingredients for a heart-healthy meal. A diet rich in soy protein can lower triglycerides which help prevent cardiovascular disease and keep your heart strong and healthy. Soy Protein can be used in juicing of raw cannabis and cooking recipes for cannabis.

4. Oatmeal- My dad used to say it “sticks to your ribs” and he was right! A warm bowl of oatmeal will provide nourishing whole grains that contain cholesterol lowering fiber, vitamins and minerals and will sustain you for hours because of its high fiber content.

5. Spinach- the powerhouse of the veggie kingdom and Popeye’s “transforming superfood” is rich in vitamins, minerals (especially iron and folate) and many disease-fighting phytochemicals. Spinach is a must have ingredient when juicing raw cannabis.  “Phyto” means plant. Phytochemicals are nutrients derived from plants, and they are healthy buzzwords in nutrition and cancer research. Phytochemicals appear to stimulate the immune system, exhibit antibacterial and antiviral activity,, and in general, help your body fight cancer.  Some foods these are found in are onions, garlic, leeks, chives, carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, tea, coffee, citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower), berries, beans, and whole grains.

6. Mangoes- The chemical compounds that have been found within mangoes have been discovered by science to be able to increase, strengthen, and even lengthen the medical effects felt after smoking. This is due to a chemical compound known as myrcene terpenes, most often used in fragrances, can be found within cannabis and marijuana as well as many other various plants such as lemongrass, hops, and of course mangoes.

To Speed Up Your Metabolism
1. Water helps nutrients flow through your body. And for medical cannabis smokers, a increased water intake is needed as the smoking is dehydration to the entire body.  Even MILD dehydration will slow down one's metabolism as much as 40%. One glass of water shuts down hunger pains for almost 100% of dieters. Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. Keep a BPA free water bottle in sight all day.

2. Lean proteins such as poultry, fish, bison, and egg whites are all good sources. These proteins
keep you feeling satisfied while helping your body burn energy faster, resulting in higher
calorie burn. Hemp protein is a industrial byproduct from hempseed where the seeds (balanced macronutrient profile) have their oil extracted into Hempseed oil, and the remaining seed meal that is high in protein relative to the seeds is then processed into Hemp protein supplements. Proteins are made from building blocks called amino acids. Amino acids are a major component in the hundreds of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These compounds enable brain cells to communicate with each other. Examples of neurotransmitters you may be familiar with include dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Try to eat a portion of protein with every meal.

3. Fiber is in complex carbs (oatmeal, wheat germ, bran, and flaxseed) and provides steady, long
lasting energy without the crashes that accompany simple carbs. Hemp Seed is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Eating the seed whole is the perfect way to get your daily fiber needs. All dietary fiber is either soluble or insoluble. Both types are actually equally important to health, digestion, and aiding in keeping many diseases at bay including diabetes, obesity, diverticulitis, and constipation.

4. Dark Pinon coffee or green tea are both good for boosting metabolism. Dark Pinon coffee ( in moderation ) raises metabolism, increases concentration, and improves heart health. Green teas that are high in antioxidant content raises metabolism better than coffee.  And both are healthy ways to medicate by adding a cannabis tincture to the drink.

5. Spices such as hatch green chile, jalapeno, habanero, and cayenne have thermogenic
properties that speed up the heart rate and heat up the body; the body must then burn more
calories to cool down.  While eating spicy foods may cause you some temporary pain, applying capsaicin topically is known to alleviate it. Capsaicin helps alleviate pain in part by depleting your body's supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain. It also works by de-sensitizing sensory receptors in your skin and this compliments the medical cannabis benefits.

6. B Vitamin Complex includes thiamine, riboflavin, niacin/niacinamide, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid, and pantothenic acid. The B vitamins help with nervous system functioning, and being under a lot of stress can deplete your levels. A deficiency can lead anxiety, fatigue, and mood problems. Studies have found Vitamin B helpful in treating anxiety disorders, particularly agoraphobia and obsessive thoughts. Some of the best sources of vitamin B6 are poultry, seafood, bananas, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, potatoes, and fortified cereals. And several of those sources can be added to juicing raw cannabis or making smoothies.

7. Get Outside-Getting exposure to light in the morning will only help you wake up, but may help keep you slim, research from Northwestern University. Happily, bright light, just as for cannabis and hemp- the natural sun is the best for us, it sets your body clock, a key player in regulating every system of your body, including a speedy or sluggish metabolism. Humans make 90 percent of our vitamin D naturally from sunlight exposure to our skin – specifically, from ultraviolet B exposure to the skin, which naturally initiates the conversion of cholesterol in the skin to vitamin D3.  Studies have indicated   a relationship between low levels of vitamin D in the blood and depression.

Healthy Diets
When maintaining a healthy diet-perhaps to address a chronic disease or condition being treated with cannabis-you can follow the functional medicine perspective. This perspective considers how various nutrient dense foods in a healthy diet interact with the systems of the human body for better health to compliment you medical cannabis use.

1. The Mediterranean diet is a modern nutritional recommendation originally inspired by the
traditional dietary patterns of Greece, Southern Italy, and Spain. The diet also recognizes the importance of being physically active, and enjoying meals with family and friends.
• Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts
• Replacing butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil
• Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
• Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
• Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
• Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)

2. The Paleo diet is based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food. Several websites now feature cannabis edible recipes with paleo ingredients. Cannabis and hemp both would fit in well with paleo living because it comes from nature and is not chemically produced or made. It seems to fit into the spirit of being paleo more so than modern medicine.
3. Farm to Table diet: essentially, it’s food that’s like it was 100 years ago, when people lived on farms and grew their own fruits and vegetables, raised their own chickens for eggs, milked their own cows–before agribusiness, pesticides, bovine growth hormones and grain-fed meats. It’s food that’s about the same as when it was pulled out of the ground, plucked from a tree, or harvested in the field. It’s the food that helps your body run best, burn fuel most efficiently, feel more energetic, and heal health issues. And this diet has many great benefits, not only complimenting the cannabis culture but provides many items to pair with raw or cooked cannabis.
Some guidelines for a Farm Food diet:
•Foods free of additives, preservatives, colorings, artificial ingredients, or other chemicals.
•Organic foods that are seasonal in your region, and those that grow within a few hundred miles of your home whenever possible.
•Animal products that come from chickens, cows, and sheep that roam in pastures and eat grass
•Single-ingredient, unprocessed foods (that means organic oat groats, rather than oat puffed cereal with cane juice—even if it’s organic).
•Food that has little or no labeling or packaging.
•Foods that are free of gluten and common allergens like corn, dairy, and soy (because those crops aren’t what they were 100 years ago).
•Foods that work for you, individually, to help you keep your body in its best condition.

4. The Asian diet is one to create wellness thru certain eating habits.
• Limit cold drinks with meals, green tea or other tea before a meal supports enzymatic activity
to better improve digestion.
• Have soup often, it is a nutrient dense food option and Asian style soups are a healthy choice
over traditional style soups.
• Eat a 3:1 ratio of vegetables to meat
• Eat with the seasons... temperatures of foods should not be overlooked. Eating warm foods in cold weather and cool foods in hot weather. This common-sense rule of thumb is barely spoken in Asia because it's simply practiced. Cold drinks and cold foods such celery, melons, and cold salads are not eaten in the middle of winter. Hot soups and stews with meat are preferred because this is what the body needs in cold weather. A hot summer day is the perfect time for watermelon or a cooling drink made with aloe and cucumber. Every food has an energetic temperature and acts on the body accordingly. Eating the right temperature foods during the various season of the year is an important part of a healthy diet.

Follow the 80/20 Rule
This is a tip with a built-in reward. No one can eat healthy all the time; sometimes you’ll have a hard time sticking the plan, or may not feel well. If you can make healthy selections 80% of the time, you can allow yourself to make less healthy choices 20% of the time. Knowing you have some wiggle room allows you to make healthier choices long term and not feel constricted or deprived.

by Jason Barker
Medical Cannabis Patient
Organizer for LECUA PAtients Coalition of New Mexico
Owner -Duke City Fitness & Wellness