Sunday, December 31, 2017

ASA Activist Newsletter


December 2017




In the December 2017 Issue:

Veterans Administration Loosens Cannabis Policy
Federal Protections for Patients Extended to Jan. 19
ASA Releases State Policy Blueprint for Medical Cannabis
WHO Initial Report Says CBD Needs No Restrictions
PFC Trainings and Talks Span the U.S. in December
Activist Profile: Amy Catterton, North Carolina
ACTION ALERT: Save Federal Patient Protections!
Veterans Administration Loosens Cannabis Policy




Veterans will now be able to speak a bit more freely about medical cannabis with their Veterans Health Administration (VHA) doctors. On December 8, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) updated their policy, encouraging VHA health care providers to discuss cannabis use with veterans. VHA physicians are still barred from completing the state paperwork required for veterans to register, but the new directive states “[v]eterans must not be denied VHA services solely because they are participating in state-approved marijuana programs.”

VHA Directive 2017-1315 replaces a 2011 directive (VHA 2011-004) that technically expired in 2016 but remained department policy. The new directive encourages allows VHA providers to discuss cannabis with any Veteran seeking information about it, including how using it to treat medical or psychiatric conditions may relate to other medications or aspects of overall care.

“This change in policy is a victory for veterans because it encourages open and honest conversations between VA doctors and veterans about cannabis use,” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access. “For veterans suffering from PTSD, chronic pain, and a variety of other ailments, cannabis cannot be left out of the discussion as a safe and effective treatment. We would like to see the VA continue to make steps forward that will improve both access and research for veterans.”

VHA providers are still barred by the policy from completing state forms or providing formal recommendations to veterans for state approved medical cannabis programs. All doctors and other professionals have a protected First Amendment right to recommend medical cannabis to patients, thanks to the US Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in the Conant case.



The VA will still neither pay for nor provide cannabis for veterans, nor can veterans possess cannabis while on VA property. If a veteran reports cannabis use and/or participation in a state-approved program to a member of VHA clinical staff, that information is entered into the “non-VA/herbal/Over the Counter (OTC) medication” section of the veteran’s record.

The American Legion surveyed veterans about medical cannabis last summer, finding more than 80 percent of veterans and veteran households favored legal medicinal use and said they would want it as an option. The survey also indicated that 22% of veterans are currently using cannabis as a treatment, with the most prevalent conditions being chronic pain and PTSD.

“I applaud the VA in taking this bold move toward treating veterans and also fulfilling resolutions passed by The American Legion,” said Denise Rohan, National Commander of the American Legion (pictured). “We do not support recreational use of drugs, but we do think the medicinal possibilities of cannabis should not be ignored by the VA. We are all about putting the health of veterans first.”

Veterans are twice as likely to succumb to accidental opioid overdose than non-veterans. Medical cannabis is effective as a substitute or adjunct to opioids.

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Federal Protections for Patients Extended to Jan. 19
Third Stopgap Funding Bill includes Cannabis Amendment


On December 21, Congress approved stopgap legislation to keep the government funded until January 19, averting a government shutdown and extending medical cannabis protections until then.

The short-term spending bill extends government funding under the last fiscal year’s levels and rules, including the amendment that prohibits the Department of Justice (DOJ) from prosecuting medical cannabis patients and providers. The fate of medical cannabis protections will be decided by negotiations between the House and Senate on FY18 Appropriations.

Earlier this year, the amendment was blocked from being considered by the House Rules committee. First introduced in 2001, the bipartisan amendment has been part of the DOJ budget since 2014.



To show the strong bipartisan support for the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, Americans for Safe Access worked closely with other advocacy groups to get 66 members of the House to sign on to a letter to congressional leadership urging continued protections for state medical cannabis programs. The letter was signed by 28 Republican representatives and 38 Democrats.

ASA also led a similar letter to appropriations leadership from concerned patient groups, including The Michael J. Fox Foundation, US Pain Foundation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Epilepsy Foundation, Tourette Association of America, National Women’s Health Network, and Realm of Caring.

The amendment is opposed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who in May sent his own letter to Congress, stating: “It would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.”

This is the third Continuing Resolution since September used to keep the government open. The latest also includes short-term funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which ran out of money at the end of September.

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ASA Releases State Policy Blueprint for Medical Cannabis



Americans for Safe Access has released a guide for state policymakers on how medical cannabis can combat the opioid epidemic. The report, “Medical Cannabis as a Tool to Combat Pain and the Opioid Crisis: A Blueprint for State Policy,” covers legislative and regulatory solutions that states can utilize.

One-third of the U.S. population is living with chronic pain, but just two percent participate in state medical cannabis programs, despite its demonstrated efficacy. Clinical trials have shown cannabis to be more effective than opioids for treating some types of chronic pain. Cannabinoids also work synergistically with opioids, making them more effective at lower doses. That may explain why unintentional overdose deaths from opioids drop 20-30 percent when states make medical cannabis legally available.

“I am excited to introduce this book to potential bill sponsors in my state,” said Jamie Lowell, a medical cannabis advocate and organizer in Michigan. “Medical cannabis allowed me to wean myself off of opiates, and I’m hopeful that by introducing this model legislation, we can reduce some of the barriers to medical cannabis and help even more Michigan patients.”

The report features model legislation, an emergency proclamation, and flow charts that help lawmakers identify barriers to access that medical cannabis patients in their states are facing. It also highlights the state of Michigan as a case study to illustrate how many individuals are potentially excluded from state medical cannabis programs. Michigan filed emergency regulations December 4th, which will improve product safety standards through testing and security.

“ASA’s legislative toolkit will help lawmakers be ready to introduce legislation in their upcoming sessions that will not only improve their state cannabis programs, but lower the instances of opioid addiction and overdose deaths. In the nearly two months since the opioid crisis was declared a public health emergency, there has been no effort to provide federal funds,” said Steph Sherer, ASA Executive Director. “It is clear that states will have to take healthcare outcomes into their own hands, and a well-regulated medical cannabis program can play a central role.

This report comes on the tail of the President’s Commission on Drug Abuse and Combating the Opioid Crisis report issued on November 1, 2017. The Commission’s report identified over fifty solutions to the crisis, but failed to include how cannabis can help. The opioid crisis claimed 65,000 lives in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Elements of ASA’s model legislation are being implemented in the District of Columbia in an effort to reduce opioid overdose deaths.

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WHO Initial Report Says CBD Needs No Restrictions




The initial report from the World Health Organization (WHO) holds promise for international access to cannabidiol (CBD). The WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence announced that it had determined that CBD does not require international scheduling, the classification system that restricts access to drugs. The committee’s announcement on CBD was part of findings and recommendations on more than a dozen substances.

The initial findings lay the foundation for a full review of CBD and other “cannabis related substances” in 2018. The committee notes that “recent evidence from animal and human studies shows that its use could have some therapeutic value for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions.” They also note that it “is not likely to be abused or create dependence.”

This matches the expert recommendations released before the committee’s November meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. The May 2018 meeting will include a “Special Session on Cannabis” to cover the cannabis plant and resin, extracts and tinctures, and THC and its isomers, as well as CBD.

Findings about drug safety and efficacy by the WHO have influence on federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and Health and Human Services. Drug scheduling in the U.S. is tied to international treaties.

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PFC Trainings and Talks Span the U.S. in December


At the beginning of December, leaders from Americans for Safe Access and its Patient Focused Certification program were in attendance at the annual Emerald Cup, California’s premier medical cannabis event, receiving awards and giving talks.

ASA Executive director Steph Sherer, who founded the organization 15 years ago, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement award. During her acceptance speech, as activists held up signs from ASA’s “End Pain, Not Lives” campaign, she took the occasion to remind attendees that the work continues.




ASA Chief Scientist and PFC Director Dr. Jahan Marcu gave an invited talk at the Emerald Cup and participated in a panel on standards alongside a laboratory operator and a manufacturer. The 90-minute talk on cannabis extraction, regulation and safety, which covered general issues and information, was an excerpt of the full, more detailed PFC course on extraction and safety.

PFC certifications and evaluations continued last month, with three more dispensaries in Maryland and cultivation, dispensary, and laboratory operations in California.

This month, Dr. Marcu was one of seven scientists selected for scholarships to attend the American Chemical Society (ACS) annual meeting in New Orleans in March. The scholarship for the Cannabis Chemistry Subdivision of Chemical Health and Safety of the ACS is sponsored by Heidolph Instruments, which said it is intended to “serve as a beacon and support for good science happening in the cannabis field around the world.” Dr. Marcu will be presenting a talk on cannabis science and its application to new technologies.

Endocannabinoids and human health was the topic for a new ASA webinar Dr. Marcu co-hosted with Dr. Jeffrey Block, an award-winning anesthesiologist who is also a botanist. The discussion of how cannabinoids regulate physiological functions will be posted on the ASA youtube channel.

Next month, a new episode of Cannabis Science Corner will air on Facebook live Wednesday, January 3 at 4pm Eastern. These monthly events are a chance to ask Dr. Marcu your questions.

PFC will also be holding a new training in Fulton, Maryland on January 29-30. The training course includes Cannabis as Medicine; Business Operations; Understanding the Law; State and Legal Compliance Training; and National Cannabis Standards Training (NCST) in the areas of Cultivation and Processing, Distribution, Manufacturing, and Laboratory. Interested individuals can sign up now. Register before December 31, and you’ll get an extra registration free.

Find out more and register online at http://www.safeaccessnow.org/events.

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ASA Activist Profile: Amy Catterton, North Carolina

Pain and nausea have been part of Amy Catterton’s life since 2015. That’s when, at age 28, she was diagnosed with stage-3 invasive breast cancer. The mother of five had a mastectomy and 32 lymph nodes removed, 19 of which showed cancer. That led to more surgeries and four rounds of chemotherapy with doxorubicin, a drug known as the Red Devil. Amy and her husband Greg decided to try cannabidiol (CBD) to mitigate the intense nausea, even though their state of North Carolina had approved CBD use only for childhood epilepsy.




“I don’t know how the old people do it,” says Amy. “I was 29, and it knocked me down.”

The CBD allowed her to tolerate the chemo without other anti-nausea medications and only limited use of opioid painkillers.

In August, 2017, Amy was hit by intense pain throughout her body. The cancer had metastasized into inoperable stage-4 bone cancer. Her doctors advised acting fast, which meant 18 rounds of chemo over 10 weeks and Percocet and fentanyl patches to control the pain.

“It did her in really, really bad this time,” said Greg. “I was watching her decline in front of me. She was basically lying in bed dying.”

Greg researched making cannabis oil extracts and got a donation of two ounces of cannabis. Within five days of using the extract he made for her, Amy stopped taking the Percocet. Within a week, she said she wanted to get off the fentanyl patches. Two weeks after starting whole-plant therapy, Amy was off all the opioids with minimal withdrawal.

“Medical cannabis has been such a blessing from God sent to me and my family,” Amy says. “My children are able to sit and do homework with me, and my husband can enjoy some of my cooking again because of medical cannabis.”

After that, Amy switched to a high-potency RSO extract and saw her cancer cell count drop, but it has been hard to maintain a supply. She ran out for a week and had to restart narcotic painkillers after three days. It took five days of cannabis to get back off.

Amy has a recommendation from oncologist to use cannabis, but the state of North Carolina does not yet recognize cancer as a qualifying condition, nor does it allow whole-plant medicines. After attending ASA’s Unity Conference in Washington, D.C., Greg began lobbying his state and federal elected officials, sharing the story of Amy’s success with cannabis and what it has meant for their young family.

“We have the medical evidence from Amy’s treatment that full-plant extract works,” says Greg. “For them to want to push opiates with this opiate epidemic just doesn’t make sense.”

North Carolina saw a trio of bills -- HB 185/SB 648 and SB 579 -- introduced during the 2017 session that would have created a robust medical cannabis program recognizing a variety of medical conditions. Advocates are hopeful similar measures may pass in 2018.

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ACTION ALERT: Save Federal Patient Protections!

Take action TODAY to continue federal protections for medical cannabis patients and their providers, or those protections may be lost.

Since 2015, participants in state programs have been protected from federal interference by the CJS Medical Marijuana Amendment, but it has to be renewed each year. This year, the Senate passed it, but the House leadership blocked it from coming to a vote. That means Congress will have to “reconcile” the two versions of the FY2018 appropriations package, and the amendment may not survive.

Attorney General Sessions says he intends to enforce federal law. So if Congress doesn’t tell him otherwise, he may shut down medical cannabis programs everywhere!

Congress has until January 19 to negotiate a deal, so your help is critical to ensuring patient protections continue in 2018. Contact your Senators and Representative today and demand action! http://safeaccessnow.org/cjsaction.



December 28, 2017 | William Dolphin
http://www.safeaccessnow.org/asa_activist_newsletter_december_2017

Friday, December 29, 2017

Medical Cannabis Benefits: Treating Cancer



Medical cannabis offers many benefits for patients facing cancer.
Relief From Cancer Symptoms and Treatment Side Effects

When used properly, cannabis can be a safe and effective treatment for nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy1, chronic pain2, and insomnia3. Animal studies have shown that cannabinoids can prevent the development of neuropathic pain, a common side effect of chemotherapy.4,5,6,

Patients can often achieve significant improvements in quality of life with minimal side effects using very low doses of cannabinoids, in the range of 10-60mg per day (less than half a gram of herbal cannabis). A combination of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids in various ratios can be used to fine-tune the benefits and minimize the side effects of cannabinoid treatment. Medical cannabis can help patients tolerate conventional cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiation, and can be used as an adjunct to these treatments with low likelihood of drug interaction7. For patients with terminal cancer, cannabis offers numerous benefits in palliative care at the end of life8.
Use Cannabis to Fight Cancer and Promote Healing

In addition to the symptom relief and improvement in quality of life for cancer patients, cannabinoids have also demonstrated anti-cancer oncologic effects in numerous animal models.9 A large body of anecdotal evidence suggests that human cancers also respond to treatment with cannabinoids.10,11 Several patients have reported slowing or arresting the growth of tumors, while others have experienced full remission of aggressive cancers while using cannabis extracts.12

To achieve these powerful anti-cancer effects, most patients require a higher dose than what is needed for symptomatic relief, often 200mg – 2,000mg cannabinoids per day, the equivalent of up to 1-2 ounces of herbal cannabis per week. While this level of treatment may be cost effective, especially if the cannabis is grown outdoors, acquiring this amount of medicine from a medical cannabis retailer could incur significant costs (see below). At these high doses, a knowledgeable medical provider must monitor the treatment to prevent side effects and interactions with conventional cancer treatment. While any medical treatment carries certain risks, even high-dose cannabis is non-lethal and much safer than conventional chemotherapy, though the efficacy of high-dose cannabis for cancer has not been studied in humans.

If you have cancer, and are interested in learning more about the use of cannabis, please make an appointment with a doctor or nurse practitioner that specializes in cannabinoid medicine.

I recommend reflecting on the following questions before your visit:
What is your prognosis? How likely is success with conventional treatment?
Are you interested in cannabis-based symptomatic treatment or a more aggressive anti-cancer approach?
Are you willing to follow up with your oncologist to monitor the changes in your condition?
How comfortable are you with mortality and death? Are you making fully informed medical decisions based on your personal preferences, or based on fear?
If you decide to pursue a high-dose cancer treatment protocol, be prepared for the costs:
Medical costs: initial and follow-up visits with your oncologist, your cannabinoid medicine specialist, and perhaps other complementary providers such as an acupuncturist or Reiki practitioner.

Cannabis costs: most adult patients will have to spend $100-$1,000 per week for a potent cannabis concentrate. Each batch will require laboratory testing for cannabinoid content ($25-$75 in most cannabis analytic labs). While many cannabis producers are working hard to create appropriate formulas, some patients may have to purchase herbal cannabis in bulk and prepare their own concentrates.

Supplements and natural medicines: Most integrative oncologists and many cannabinoid medicine specialists will recommend natural medicines that are not covered by health insurance to promote health, fight cancer, reduce side effects, and enhance the benefits of cannabis. Average cost $25-$100 per week.

The use of cannabis in the treatment of cancer is an emerging field in medicine, and your cannabinoid medicine specialist should admit to knowing very little about the optimal dosage of the various cannabinoids. By staying up to date on the research and collaborating with other leaders in the field, providers like my colleagues and myself can continue to meet the needs of real patients who choose not to wait for the federal government to stop obstructing human research on cannabis and cancer. Medical cannabis can be a part of an integrative plan that addresses your mind, body, spirit, family, and community.

For a comprehensive review of the anticancer effects of cannabinoids, with numerous personal success stories, I suggest Justin Kander’s book “Cannabis for the Treatment of Cancer: The Anticancer Activity of Phytocannabinoids and Endocannabinoids,” available online. By Dustin Sulak DO


Beneficial Cannabinoids and Terpenoids Useful for Treating Cancer
The following chart denotes which cannabinoids and terpenoids also work synergistically with each other for possible therapeutic benefit. It may be beneficial to seek out strains that contain these cannabinoids and terpenoids.






Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) - Nature’s Answer For Cancer


The term “Rick Simpson Oil – RSO” refers to extremely potent decarboxylated extracts produced from strong sedative Indica strains, which have THC levels in the 90% range. This harmless non addictive natural medication can be used with great success, to cure or control cancer, MS, pain, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, infections, inflammations, blood pressure, depression, sleeping problems and just about any other medical issues that one can imagine.

Learn About RSO from Rick Simpson (FAQ ABOUT RSO)
The description of The Rick Simpson Process of Producing RSO you can find here. *Before you are making your own oil, please read carefully everything that has been written on his website.* We advise you to watch the process in the documentary  Run From The Cure.


Americans For Safe Access Condition-based Booklets
These booklets summarize the history of medical cannabis and the recent research used to treat a variety of conditions, including Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Pain, Arthritis, Gastro-Intestinal Disorders, Movement Disorders, HIV/AIDS, and conditions related to Aging. (About Americans For Safe Access)

Cancer



Cannabis has been found to help cancer patients with the symptoms that usually accompany cancer such as pain, nausea, wasting, and loss of appetite.



A Patient's Guide to Medical Cannabis




This guide for patients who use medical marijuana (cannabis) covers everything you need to know. Created by Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a non-profit advocacy organization, this publication will help individuals who are using or considering cannabis treatments to better educate themselves, their families and their physicians. ASA has been developing information resources about medical marijuana (cannabis) for patients, their families, doctors, and elected officials for over a decade.


Article: "How to Qualify for Medical Cannabis in New Mexico"


Resources: 

Roni Stephenson, a Health and Cannabis Educator has a great website on cannabis and cancer. Roni is a stage 4 cancer survivor and she has helped guide people with their cannabis medicine for over 7 years. She teaches and consults from personal experience with medical professionals and clients about pain, cancer, nausea, anxiety and more. With cannabis, whole food and natural herbs as medicine we can help improve on your quality of life.​

Her website is Health Cannabis Cancer at https://www.healthcannabiscancer.com/




References


1 Machado Rocha, Francisco C., et al. “Therapeutic use of Cannabis sativa on chemotherapy‐induced nausea and vomiting among cancer patients: systematic review and meta‐analysis.” European journal of cancer care 17.5 (2008): 431-443.

2 Portenoy, Russell K., et al. “Nabiximols for opioid-treated cancer patients with poorly-controlled chronic pain: a randomized, placebo-controlled, graded-dose trial.” The Journal of Pain 13.5 (2012): 438-449.

3 Russo, Ethan B., Geoffrey W. Guy, and Philip J. Robson. “Cannabis, Pain, and Sleep: Lessons from Therapeutic Clinical Trials of Sativex®, a Cannabis‐Based Medicine.” Chemistry & biodiversity 4.8 (2007): 1729-1743.

4 Ward, Sara Jane, et al. “Cannabidiol prevents the development of cold and mechanical allodynia in paclitaxel-treated female C57Bl6 mice.” Anesthesia and analgesia 113.4 (2011): 947.

5 Naguib, Mohamed, et al. “Prevention of paclitaxel-induced neuropathy through activation of the central cannabinoid type 2 receptor system.” Anesthesia and analgesia 114.5 (2012): 1104.

6 Burgos, Elisa, et al. “Cannabinoid agonist WIN 55,212-2 prevents the development of paclitaxel-induced peripheral neuropathy in rats. Possible involvement of spinal glial cells.” European journal of pharmacology 682.1 (2012): 62-72.

7 Stout SM, Cimino NM. Exogenous cannabinoids as substrates, inhibitors, and inducers of human drug metabolizing enzymes: a systema0c review. Drug Metab Rev. 2014 Feb;46(1):86-95.

8 Green, Anita J., and Kay De‐Vries. “Cannabis use in palliative care–an examination of the evidence and the implications for nurses.” Journal of clinical nursing 19.17‐18 (2010): 2454-2462.

9 Sarfaraz, Sami, et al. “Cannabinoids for cancer treatment: progress and promise.” Cancer research 68.2 (2008): 339-342.

10 Singh, Yadvinder, and Chamandeep Bali. “Cannabis Extract Treatment for Terminal Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia with a Philadelphia Chromosome Mutation.” Case reports in oncology 6.3 (2013): 585-592.

11 Kander, J. “Cannabis for the Treatment of Cancer: The Anticancer Activity of Phytocannabinoids and Endocannabinoids” 2015.

12 Gardner, F. “Doctors stress need to document anti-cancer effects of Cannabis ‘oil’.”O’Shaughnessy’s: The Journal of Cannabis in Clinical Practice. Winter/Spring 2013.

Medical Cannabis Benefits: Treating Sleep Disorders



Insomnia, a clinical sleep disorder, is characterized by the sufferer’s inability to fall asleep and or stay asleep. The disorder comes in two forms: Primary Insomnia where the individual’s sleep problems are not the result of another ailment or disorder, and Secondary Insomnia where the sleep problems are the result of another ailment, disease, or disability - examples include chronic pain conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia; anxiety and or depression; epilepsy; recovery from chemotherapy; HIV/AIDS; recovery from addiction; psychological issues; stress, and even some side effects from medication can result in Insomnia.

Insomnia can be very debilitating and can lead to drastically lowered energy levels and tiredness throughout the day, difficulties concentrating, problems with memory, irritability, and it can even cause and or exacerbate depression. At the worst, chronic lack of sleep or sleep deprivation can cause neurological problems in the brain.

There are a number of medications and treatments that help tackle insomnia, and it is relieving to know that some cases of insomnia may not even need medical intervention.

Using Cannabis to Treat Insomnia


Cannabis is a complex medicinal plant that may actually be used to treat a variety of debilitating symptoms caused by a surprisingly large number of ailments. Its usefulness as a non-lethal medicine cannot be overstated and its versatility in terms of how it can be consumed and as to how it can be useful for so many illnesses is something to be excited about. However, it is important to remember that consulting with your primary care physician should be your first priority when considering incorporating cannabis into one’s medical regiment and that cannabis is to be used as an adjunct therapy and not a replacement. It is also your responsibility to communicate with your doctor as to how your use of cannabis has affected your health and of your progress with utilizing medical cannabis.

Much of the recent research surrounding cannabis and its usefulness in treating insomnia is focused on the sedative effects of both Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabinol (CBN), and even Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is important to note, however, that the sedative effects often associated with THC are due to the synergistic terpenoids that work with it to provide a therapeutic effect useful for insomnia.

Overall, exciting studies have shown that cannabis may be quite useful for treating individuals suffering from Insomnia for the following reasons: assisting with falling asleep and overall quality of sleep; helping to manage possible anxiety and or depression; and with protecting the brain from possible damage and degeneration.

FINDINGS: EFFECTS OF CANNABIS ON SLEEP DISORDERS
Studies have shown that cannabis can improve the quality and duration of sleep and help treat various sleeping disorders. A major cannabinoid found in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), effectively reduces the amount of time it takes those with insomnia to fall asleep. One study found that regular consumers of oral THC fell asleep faster and without difficulty compared to non-consumers. Another study found that cannabis, when administered acutely, eased the falling asleep process and increased the duration of stage 4 sleep.

THC has also been shown to decrease the number of awakenings throughout the night. An animal trial found that a synthetic cannabinoid similar to THC was effective at attenuating seratonin-induced apnea by relaxing a muscle in the chin and tongue that has been implicated in the cause of the disorder. Studies have also found that cannabinoids are effective for treating nightmares in military personnel with PTSD.

A cannabis-based medication, containing both THC and another major cannabinoid found in cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD), demonstrated in numerous studies to have positive effects on sleep. One study found that acute CBD treatments were effective in increasing total sleep time.

Most studies, however, have found that CBD possesses alerting properties. One study found that CBD, when consumed while the lights were on, effectively increased wakefulness. As a result, cannabis high in CBD could potentially help in the management of sleep deprivation and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Medical cannabis patients commonly use cannabis specifically for treating sleep disorders. One study found that nearly half of the adults purchasing medical cannabis at a cannabis dispensary were doing so to help manage insomnia. Most of those individuals reportedly preferred strains of cannabis with significantly higher concentrations of CBD.

STATES THAT HAVE APPROVED MEDICAL CANNABIS FOR SLEEP DISORDERS
Currently, no states have approved medical cannabis for the treatment of early morning disorder. However, in Washington D.C., any condition can be approved for medical cannabis as long as a DC-licensed physician recommends the treatment. In addition, a number of other states will consider allowing medical cannabis to be used for the treatment of early morning disorder with the recommendation from a physician. These states include: California (any debilitating illness where the medical use of cannabis has been recommended by a physician), Connecticut (other medical conditions may be approved by the Department of Consumer Protection), Massachusetts (other conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician), Nevada (other conditions subject to approval), Oregon (other conditions subject to approval), Rhode Island (other conditions subject to approval), and Washington (any “terminal or debilitating condition”).

RECENT STUDIES ON CANNABIS’ EFFECT ON SLEEP DISORDERS
Cannabinoid significantly reduced nightmares in military personnel with PTSD.
The efficacy of nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, in the treatment of PTSD-associated nightmares: A preliminary randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over design study.
(http://www.psyneuen-journal.com/article/S0306-4530(14)00413-2/fulltext)

Synthetic cannabinoid similar to THC found to potentially treat obstructive sleep apnea.
Intranodose ganglion injections of dronabinol attenuate serotonin-induced apnea in Sprague-Dawley rat.
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3880550/)

THC shown to have sedative properties. CBD found to have alerting properties and effective at counteracting sleepiness.
Effect of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol on nocturnal sleep and early-morning behavior in young adults.(http://journals.lww.com/psychopharmacology/pages/articleviewer.aspx?year=2004&issue=06000&article=00011&type=abstract)

Cannabis effective at improving mood, pain, muscle spasms, and sleep.
A survey of cannabis (marijuana) use and self-reported benefit in men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4277530/)


Beneficial Cannabinoids and terpenoids Useful for Treating Insomnia

The cannabis plant offers a plethora of therapeutic benefits and contains numerous cannabinoids and terpenoid compounds that are useful for managing insomnia.

The following chart denotes which cannabinoids and terpenoids work synergistically with each other for possible therapeutic benefit. It may be beneficial to seek out strains that contain these cannabinoids and terpenoids.





Americans For Safe Access Condition-based Booklets
These booklets summarize the history of medical cannabis and the recent research used to treat a variety of conditions, including Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Pain, Arthritis, GastroIntestinal Disorders, Movement Disorders, HIV/AIDS, and conditions related to Aging. (About Americans For Safe Access)

A Patient's Guide to Medical Cannabis




This guide for patients who use medical marijuana (cannabis) covers everything you need to know. Created by Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a non-profit advocacy organization, this publication will help individuals who are using or considering cannabis treatments to better educate themselves, their families and their physicians. ASA has been developing information resources about medical marijuana (cannabis) for patients, their families, doctors, and elected officials for over a decade.

Article: "How to Qualify for Medical Cannabis in New Mexico"



References

Understanding medical cannabis.Elemental Wellness Center, 2014 Jul.

Cannabis and insomnia.Tringale, Rolando, et al.

O’Shaughnessy’s, 2011 Apr, 31-32.

The modulatory role of endocannabinoids and sleep.Murillo-Rodriguez, Eric.

Revisita de Neurologia, 2008, 46(3): 160-166.

The role of the CB1 receptor in the regulation of sleep.Murillo-Rodriguez, Eric.

Progress in Neuro-Psycopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 2008 Aug 1, 32(6): 1420-1427.

Cannabis, pain, and sleep: lessons from therapeutic clinical trials of Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine.Russo, Ethan B., et al.

Chemistry & Biodiversity, 2007 Aug 21, 4(8): 1729-1743.

Cannabidiol, a constituent of cannabis sativa, modulates sleep in rats.Murillo-Rodriguez, Eric, et al.

FEBS Letters, 2006 Aug 7, 581(18): 4337-4345.

Effects of ?-9 tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol on nocturnal sleep and early-morning behavior in young adults.Nicholson, Anthony N., et al.

Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 2004 Jun, 24(3): 305-313.

Pharmacology of cannabinoids.Grotenhermen, Franjo.

Neuroendocrinology Letters, 2004 Apr, 1-2: 15-23.

Anandamide enhances extracellular levels of adenosine and induces sleep: an in vivo microdialysis study.Murillo-Rodriguez, Eric, et al.

Sleep, 2003 Aug, 26(8): 943-947.

Established and potential therapeutic applications of cannabinoids in oncology.Walsh, Declan, et al.

Supportive Care in Cancer, 2003 Mar, 11(3): 137-143.

Functional role for cannabinoids in respiratory stability during sleep.Carley, DW, et al.

Sleep, 2002, 25(4): 391-398.

Medical Cannabis Benefits: Treating Pain (Neuropathic)




Chronic Pain, classified as pain that persists for longer than three to six months is a common debilitating condition that affects hundreds of millions of people each and every day.

Chronic Pain is also a symptom of over 200 other debilitating health conditions.

The severity of chronic pain varies but extreme cases can be completely incapacitating. Due to how long Chronic Pain can persist, both an emotional and physical toll is taken on the sufferer. Common causes and examples of chronic pain include but are not limited to: headaches; joint pain (arthritis); pain from injuries or accidents; back pain resulting from complications of the spine; tendonitis; carpal tunnel syndrome; pain caused by other ailments or infections; and even some medical therapies and treatments may result in long lasting, substantial pain. Oftentimes anger, anxiety, and depression accompany Chronic Pain.

Neuropathic pain is characterized as a pain state caused in the sufferer’s nervous system. With this condition, an individual’s nerves may be damaged, dysfunctional, or separated completely. Causes and examples of Neuropathic Pain include but are not limited to: alcoholism, amputation and the resulting phantom limb syndrome, skeletal and muscular problems (pinched nerves), chemotherapy, diabetes, genetics, HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, shingles, spinal injury, and even surgery.





Using Cannabis to Treat Neuropathic Pain

Cannabis is a complex medicinal plant that may actually be used to treat a variety of debilitating symptoms caused by a surprisingly large number of ailments. Its usefulness as a non-lethal medicine (you cannot die from an overdose of cannabis) cannot be overstated and its versatility in terms of how it can be consumed and as to how it can be useful for so many illnesses is something to be excited about. However, it is important to remember that consulting with your primary care physician should be your first priority when considering incorporating cannabis into one’s medical regiment and that cannabis is to be used as an adjunct therapy and not a replacement. It is also your responsibility to communicate with your doctor as to how your use of cannabis has affected your health and of your progress with utilizing medical cannabis.

With that said, studies have shown that cannabis may be quite useful for treating individuals suffering from Neuropathic Pain for the following reasons: significantly reducing the pain itself; assisting with sleep should the pain cause insomnia; and with dealing with possible depression and or anxiety should the individual suffer from it.




Beneficial Cannabinoids and Terpenoids Useful for Treating Neuropathic Pain

The cannabis plant offers a plethora of therapeutic benefits and contains cannabinoids and terpenoid compounds that are useful for treating pain in general. In fact one study that analyzed both Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) published in a 2008 article in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management states that, “Cannabinoid analgesics have generally been well tolerated in clinical trials with acceptable adverse event profiles. Their adjunctive addition to the pharmacological armamentarium for treatment of pain shows great promise.”

The following chart denotes which cannabinoids and terpenoids work synergistically with each other for possible therapeutic benefit. It may be beneficial to seek out strains that contain these cannabinoids and terpenoids.







End Pain, Not Lives


Americans for Safe Access, the U.S. Pain Foundation, and many others have launched a new campaign to address the opioid epidemic.

The Opioid Epidemic in the US is claiming 91 American lives a day. Current policies focus on downstream strategies and criminalizing patients and medical professionals. Research shows a nearly 25% decrease of opioid overdose deaths in states with medical cannabis laws. However, medical cannabis is not option for all patients due to the federal-state legal conflict, inadequacies in state laws, and lack of medical professional and patient education.

It is critical that our nation's lawmakers understand and respond to medical cannabis’ potential role in mediating this crisis.

CAMPAIGN GOALS
States: Pass new regulations and legislation to make it easier for people with Pain, Chronic Pain, and Opioid Use Disorder and their medical professionals to utilize medical cannabis in their treatment plans

Federal: Leverage cannabis therapies in combating opioid crisis to pass the CARERS Act and other legislation like CJS amendment

Education: Increase education of medical professionals, service providers, and patients

Research: Conduct clinical trials on cannabis and opioids


Chronic Pain Condition-based Booklet




A note from ASA; We are committed to ensuring safe, legal availability of cannabis for medical uses. Today over one million Americans are legally using medical cannabis—or "cannabis," as it is more properly called—under the care of their medical professional, and more than 40% of the nation lives in a state where this treatment is an option.

This publication series is intended to help medical professionals, patients and policymakers better understand how cannabis may be used safely and effectively as a treatment for many medical conditions.

You will find here information about:

Why Cannabis is Legal to Recommend

Overview of the Scientific Research on Medical Cannabis

Cannabis and Chronic Pain

Comparison of Medications: Efficacy and Side-Effects

Why Cannabis is Safe to Recommend

Testimonials of Patients and Doctors

History of Cannabis as Medicine

Scientific and Legal References

While the federal prohibition of cannabis has limited modern clinical research and resulted in considerable misinformation, a scientific consensus on its therapeutic value has emerged, based on a growing body of successful clinical trials and preclinical research. The experience of patients, medical professionals and research has revealed that cannabis can safely treat a remarkably broad range of medical conditions, often more effectively than conventional pharmaceutical drugs. For some of the most difficult to treat conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain, cannabis often works when nothing else does.


Article: "How to Qualify for Medical Cannabis in New Mexico"







Thursday, December 28, 2017

Medical Cannabis Benefits: Treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)



Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD for short, is a mental disorder in a person who undergoes a severe traumatic experience which may or may not involve physical harm. Events that occur in war, vehicular accidents, injuries, domestic violence, rape, the death of a loved one and so on can all potentially cause PTSD in an individual. The disorder can cause chronic and inexplicable fear, feelings of helplessness, anxiety, insomnia, nervousness, uncontrollable anger, and even crippling guilt. The disorder makes it difficult for those who suffer from PTSD from living a normal life and can persist for months, years, and even the lifespan of some individuals.

While there are numerous psychological therapies out there, along with various medications available to those diagnosed with PTSD, there is no known effective cure, and oftentimes the particulars of PTSD as a mental disorder is so specific to the individual that it can be difficult to diagnose and properly treat.

Using Cannabis to Treat PTSD

Cannabis is a complex medicinal plant that may actually be used to treat a variety of debilitating symptoms caused by a surprisingly large number of ailments. Its usefulness as a non-lethal medicine (you cannot die from an overdose of cannabis) cannot be overstated and its versatility in terms of how it can be consumed and as to how it can be useful for so many illnesses is something to be excited about. However, it is important to remember that consulting with your primary care physician should be your first priority when considering incorporating cannabis into one’s medical regiment and that cannabis is to be used as an adjunct therapy and not a replacement. It is also your responsibility to communicate with your doctor as to how your use of cannabis has affected your health and of your progress with utilizing medical cannabis.

With that said, much of the current research surrounding cannabis as a potential treatment for PTSD has been focused on the usefulness of Cannabidiol (CBD) - recent lab tests with animal models, individual case studies, and even statewide surveys in New Mexico showcase that this specific cannabinoid is vastly helpful to those utilizing it as a treatment for fear, traumatic memories, anxiety, and even helping with troubled and restless sleep.

Overall, many exciting studies have shown that Cannabis may be quite useful for treating individuals suffering from PTSD for the following reasons: relieving anxiety; enhancing one’s mood to combat depression; helping to manage possible nausea associated with “episodes”; preventing possible psychosis; and significantly aiding with sleep.


STATES THAT HAVE APPROVED MEDICAL CANNABIS FOR PTSD
Currently, 24 states have approved medical cannabis specifically for the treatment of PTSD. These states include: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.

A number of other states will consider allowing medical cannabis to be used for the treatment of other conditions, including PTSD, with the recommendation by a physician. These states include: California (any debilitating illness where the medical use of cannabis has been recommended by a physician), and Massachusetts (other conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician).

In Washington D.C., any condition can be approved for medical cannabis as long as a DC-licensed physician recommends the treatment.

RECENT STUDIES ON CANNABIS’ EFFECT ON PTSD
PTSD patients saw a 75% reduction in PTSD symptoms, as measured by the Clinical Administered Post traumatic Scale, when they were using cannabis compared to when they were not.
PTSD symptom reports of patients evaluated for the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program.
(http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02791072.2013.873843?needAccess=true)

Evidence from human studies indicates that CBD found in cannabis has considerable potential as a treatment for anxiety disorders.
Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders.
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171/)

A review of published evidence finds that cannabinoids help PTSD patients manage the condition’s three major symptoms (re-experiencing, avoidance and numbing, hyperarousal) and helps improve sleep in those PTSD patients suffering from insomnia and nightmares.
Use and effects of cannabinoids in military veterans with post traumatic stress disorder.
(http://www.ajhp.org/content/72/15/1279.long)


Beneficial Cannabinoids and Terpenoids for Treating PTSD

The cannabis plant offers a plethora of therapeutic benefits and contains cannabinoids and terpenoid compounds that are useful for a variety of ailments. Once again, many of the current studies surrounding cannabinoids and PTSD are focused on CBD, but do remember that the other possible compounds in cannabis do possess other beneficial properties. The following list denotes which cannabinoids and terpenoids work synergistically with each other for possible therapeutic benefit in treating the symptoms of PTSD.





Americans For Safe Access Condition-based Booklets
These booklets summarize the history of medical cannabis and the recent research used to treat a variety of conditions, including Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Pain, Arthritis, Gastro-Intestinal Disorders, Movement Disorders, HIV/AIDS, and conditions related to Aging. (About Americans For Safe Access)

A Patient's Guide to Medical Cannabis




This guide for patients who use medical marijuana (cannabis) covers everything you need to know. Created by Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a non-profit advocacy organization, this publication will help individuals who are using or considering cannabis treatments to better educate themselves, their families and their physicians. ASA has been developing information resources about medical marijuana (cannabis) for patients, their families, doctors, and elected officials for over a decade.

Veterans



Veterans of military service have a disproportionately high rate of certain debilitating medical conditions as compared to the general population. Some of those conditions may result from injury or exposures to toxins, but not all.


Article: "How to Qualify for Medical Cannabis in New Mexico"


References
Understanding medical cannabis.Elemental Wellness Center, 2014 Jul.

PTSD symptom reports of patients evaluated for the New Mexico medical cannabis program.Greer, George, et al.

Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 2014 Mar 14, 46(1): 73-77.

Targeting the endocannabinoid system to treat haunting traumatic memories.Akirav, Irit

Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2013 Sep, 7: 124-132.

Elevated brain cannabinoid CB1 receptor availability in post-traumatic stress disorder: a positron emission tomography study.Neumeister, Alexander, et al.

Molecular Psychiatry, 2013 Sep, 18(9): 1034-1040.

Cannabidiol enhances consolidation of explicit fear extinction in humans.Das, Ravi K, et al.<

Psychopharmacology, 2013 Apr, 226(4): 781-792.

The endocannabinoid system as a possible target to treat both the cognitive and emotional features of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).Trezza, Viviana, et al.

Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2013 Aug 9, (online article).

The endocannabinoid system provides an avenue for evidence-based treatment development for PTSD.Neumeister, Alexander

Depression and Anxiety, 2013 Feb, 30(2): 93-96.

Medical marijuana for the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder: an evidence review.Campos-Outcalt, et al.

The University of Arizona: Mel And Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, 2012, (online article).

Multiple mechanisms involved in the large-spectrum therapeutic potential of cannabidiol in psychiatric disorders.Campos, Alline Cristina, et al.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 2012 Dec 5, 367(1607): 3364-3378.

On disruption of fear memory by reconsolidation blockade: evidence from cannabidiol treatment.Stern, Cristina A J, et al.

Neuropsychopharmacology, 2012 Aug, 37(9): 2132-2142.

Mitigation of post-traumatic stress symptoms by cannabis resin: a review of the clinical and neurobiological evidence.Passie, Torsten, et al.

Drug Testing and Analysis, 2012 June 26, 4(7-8): 649-659.

Cannabinoids prevent the development of behavioral and endocrine alterations in a rat model of intense stress.Ganon-Elazar, Eti, et al.

Neuropsychopharmacology, 2011 Sep 14, 37: 456-466.

Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report.Crippa, Jose Alexandre, et al.

Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2011 Jan, 25(1): 121-130.

The effects of intra-hippocampal cannabinoid implants on memory, plus-maze anxiety and contextual fear conditioning - implications for post traumatic stress disorderSoproni, Krisztina

FENS, 2006, 3.

Enhancing cannabinoid neurotransmission augments the extinction of conditioned fear.JP, Chhatwal, et al.

Neuropsychopharmacology, 2004 Dec 22, 30: 516-524.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Danes, Vikings, Hemp and Cannabis



According to historians, the Viking Age started in 790 A.D. and continued up until 1066 A.D., when the Normans finally conquered England. From around A.D. 800 to the 11th century, a vast number of Scandinavians left their homelands to seek their fortunes elsewhere. These seafaring people–known collectively as Vikings or Norsemen (“Northmen”)–began by raiding coastal sites, especially undefended monasteries, in the British Isles. Viking actually means 'pirate' in Old English, which is to say that it is an action or a profession. The Norseman were Danes at home in their Scandinavian where the Danes were farmer. Over the next three centuries, they would leave their mark as explorers, pirates, raiders, traders and settlers on much of Britain and the European continent, as well as parts of modern-day Russia, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland - and maybe even Minnesota (discovery of the Kensington Rhinestone).


WHO WERE THE VIKINGS?

Contrary to some popular conceptions of the Vikings, they were not a “race” linked by ties of common ancestry or patriotism, and could not be defined by any particular sense of “Viking-ness.” Most of the Vikings whose activities are best known come from the areas now known as Denmark, Norway and Sweden, though there are mentions in historical records of Finnish, Estonian and Saami Vikings as well. Their common ground–and what made them different from the European peoples they confronted–was that they came from a foreign land, they were not “civilized” in the local understanding of the word and–most importantly–they were not Christian.

Nearly 500 years before the birth of the Conqueror Christopher Columbus, a band of European sailors left their homeland behind in search of a new world. Their high-prowed Viking ship sliced through the cobalt waters of the Atlantic Ocean as winds billowed the boat’s enormous single sail. After traversing unfamiliar waters, the Norsemen aboard the wooden ship spied a new land, dropped anchor and went ashore. Half a millennium before Columbus “discovered” America, those Viking feet may have been the first European ones to ever have touched North American soil.

Some believe that the Vikings used cannabis solely for making textiles and ropes. The Viking culture relied heavily on their ships, which needed a strong material to endure the hard climate they lived in. Hemp was that strong material, with fibers sturdy enough to support their sails and its ability to be weathered. Contrary to this belief, some also found that the Vikings used cannabis for a number of other reasons including to relieve pain for toothaches and women during childbirth. Women also arguably smoked cannabis to promote childbirth during fertility rituals. Also, even though not necessarily used in their religion, many German tribes worshipped the same gods as Vikings while using cannabis.


Site of Sosteli Farm


HEMP AND THE VIKINGS

On a secluded Iron Age farm in Southern Norway, archaeological findings show that it was common to cultivate hemp and cannabis in the Viking Age. The question is how the Vikings used the fibers, seeds and oil from the versatile plant.

For more than fifty years, samples from archaeological excavations at Sosteli Iron Age Farm have been stored in the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, according to an article on research portal Forskning.no.

Analysis show that in the period between the years 650 and 800 AD, i.e. the beginning of the Viking Age, hemp was cultivated on the remote mountain farm. This is not the first time there are found traces of cultivation this far back in time, but Sosteli stands out. Sosteli is located much less central than other places where similar findings are made, indicating that cannabis cultivation was common throughout the Viking Age.

Previously, there had been several findings of hemp seeds in Eastern Norway, including in the Hamar area, that dated back to the 400s AD. In another find, the Oseberg ship burial mound there was found a little leather pouch full of cannabis seeds belonging to an elderly women aged between 70 and 80.

The skeleton reveals that she had various health problems – most likely cancer that caused her death – and it is not unlikely that the seeds were used as painkillers.




CANNABIS FOUND IN VIKING SHIP GRAVE

The Oseburg burial mound was excavated by an archaeologist from Norway named Haakon Shetelig and Swedish archaeologist named Gabriel Gustafson in 1904 A.D. After a farmer near Tønsberg in Vestfold, Norway discovered evidence of a large gravesite. The Oseberg burial mound dating back to 834 AD is the richest Viking burial site ever found. It was excavated in 1904 and contained a Viking ship with two women, an elderly aged between 70 and 80 years old, and a younger about 50 years old.

One of the women in the Oseberg ship was found with a little leather pouch full of cannabis. Scientists ask themselves: How would she use them?

Amongst the everyday items and artifacts could be found bed posts, wooden chests, figurines, tools, woolen garments, silk, tapestries and leather pouches containing cannabis. The site was well preserved, mostly because of the large mass of clay surrounding the objects. Baskets of fruit and even bread dough were discovered. Historians have determined that the women were probably rulers, since normal individuals would not have been buried with so much treasure.

The cannabis in question was probably given to the older women to treat cancer, since DNA evidence shows that she probably died from the disease. The Vikings were very proficient in herbalism, and knew that various plants could cure illnesses, treat pain and induce psychoactive effects. This isn’t the first time Vikings have been found growing cannabis.

The older woman was carrying a leather pouch that has received much attention due to its content, Ellen Marie Næss, associate Professor at the Museum of Cultural History told Norwegian media. She had lots of pain due to illness and the cannabis found in her pouch must have eased her pains. At the same time, if she was a religious leader (Old Norse “Völva”) she needed to get in touch with the gods and cannabis would help her get in contact.

It is a fact that the Vikings were well aware of which plants that could provide intoxication. They had great knowledge of what the plants could be used for. Some would make them intoxicated while others would cure diseases and alleviating pain. In the Viking Age people used cannabis to make clothes and rope, so it may have been a symbol of an important plant, Næss said.

Some Scandinavian historians believe that Viking 'Bezerker Warriors' ingested Amanita muscaria mushrooms before going into battle. Wasson writes:

"No one who discusses the fly agaric in Europe can ignore the debate that has been carried on for almost two centuries in Scandinavia on this issue. First Samuel Odman in 1784 and then Frederik Christian Schubeler in 1886 propounded the thesis that those Viking warriors knows as 'beserks' ate the fly-agaric before they 'went beserk'; in short, that 'beserk-raging' was deliberately caused by the ingestion of our spotted amanita."



5 Facts About How Cannabis Was Used By The Vikings


END OF THE VIKING AGE

In 1066, Harold Godwinesson, the son of King Edward’s most powerful noble, laid claim to the throne. Harold’s army was able to defeat an invasion led by the last great Viking king–Harald Hardrada of Norway–at Stamford Bridge, near York, but fell to the forces of William, Duke of Normandy (himself a descendant of Scandinavian settlers in northern France) just weeks later. Crowned king of England on Christmas Day in 1066, William managed to retain the crown against further Danish challenges.

The events of 1066 in England effectively marked the end of the Viking Age. By that time, all of the Scandinavian kingdoms were Christian, and what remained of Viking “culture” was being absorbed into the culture of Christian Europe. Today, signs of the Viking legacy can be found mostly in the Scandinavian origins of some vocabulary and place-names in the areas in which they settled, including northern England, Scotland and Russia. In Iceland, the Vikings left an extensive body of literature, the Icelandic sagas, in which they celebrated the greatest victories of their glorious past.


Vikings Official Trailer | History Channel 2013


VIKINGS on HISTORY CHANNEL

The History Channel’s epic TV series “Vikings” is based on a Scandinavian tale, The Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok, which follows the adventures of Ragnar and his family, particularly his sons. (Side note of little consequence: Ragnar's name translates to "hairy breeches.")

A saga is a historical account in the broadest sense, but we need to remember that sagas weren't recorded until long after the actual events went down and are filtered through the time in which they are written.

This means they are based on oral history, passed down by descendants and are more historical fiction than fact, more legendary than accurate depictions of the past of great heroes and warriors.

While the Ragnar of the History Channel's series probably really existed, what we know about him is colored through years of storytelling and retelling and might not be the most historically accurate depiction of actual events.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The​ ​Second​ ​Amendment​ ​and​ ​Medical​ ​Cannabis​ ​Patients




In a 1755 letter to the Pennsylvania General Assembly Ben Franklin wrote “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." However, while its original context, which related to tax policy, may not apply, the words lend themselves to a conversation that lawmakers should be having. How should our country address liberty, but also safety, when it comes to firearms and cannabis?

Recently, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 allowing for individuals to receive reciprocity for state issued concealed carry permits allowing them to carry a concealed weapon in another state that permits the concealed carrying of firearms. To be eligible for a universal carry permit, the individual must be able to possess, transport or receive a firearm under federal law. For over 2 million medical cannabis patients, this creates an unworkable impasse.

A short time before the voting on H.R. 38, the Honolulu Police Department issued 30 letters to gun owners that they had to turn in their firearms in 30 days, indicating that the use of medical cannabis disqualifies and individual from the ownership of firearms and ammunition. This policy was reversed only a short time as it was initiated, as possession of a medical cannabis card doesn't automatically equate to using cannabis. Hawaiian officials expressed confusion over the original decision to go after medical cannabis patients, including Retired Supreme Court Justice Steven Levinson who states “I’m a little puzzled as to why the distinction between medical marijuana and medical opioids.”

Currently, medical cannabis patients (and caregivers) are forced to choose to follow a doctor's recommendation or retain their Second Amendment rights. For some this is an easy choice. But for others giving up the liberty of gun ownership means also giving up their livelihood or means of defending their families. The Gun Control Act of 1968 (18 U.S.C. § 922) prohibits the sale of firearms from federally licensed dealers, to among other categories, any “unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance.”

In a 2011 letter the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (“ATF”) wrote that “Any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her State has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.” It is worth noting that since 2011, thirteen states have passed comprehensive medical cannabis programs.

On forms, including Form 4473, the ATF warns that “the use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal lax regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.” The 2011 ATF letter warns that if gun dealers are aware that a potential buyer simply possesses a medical cannabis card, then this is “reasonable cause to believe” that the person is an unlawful user of a controlled substance.



Controlled substances as defined by federal law include cannabis, but do not include distilled spirits, wine, beer or other alcohol. A federal firearms law only restricts firearm ownership to those who are using controlled substances “unlawfully”, but aside from a medical cannabis card, this metric is nearly impossible to detect, and severely under reported for other substances. Users of alcohol and opioids will typically have no problem obtaining a firearm, unless they are visibly intoxicated at the time of purchase. Additionally, while some states have passed laws preventing alcohol abusers from obtaining firearms, alcoholism and alcohol abuse is not something that is widely looked into during the federal background check process.

There is an undeniable safety component that comes into play when any firearm user is under the influence of a substance, even if the substance is doctor recommended. In providing supposed justification for denying medical cannabis patients firearms, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that while “[i]t may be argued that medical marijuana users are less likely to commit violent crimes, as they often suffer from debilitating illnesses, for which marijuana may be an effective palliative… those hypotheses are not sufficient to overcome Congress’s reasonable conclusion that the use of such drugs raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.”

Despite the statements of Attorney General Sessions and other opponents, cannabis does not lead to violence in the same way alcohol and other substances do. A January 2016 Study published in the Journal of Drug Issues, found that “There is no evidence of negative spillover effects from medical marijuana laws on violent or property crime. Instead, we find significant drops in rates of violent crime associated with state medical marijuana laws” For comparison, in an average month, an estimated 8.9 to 11.7 million firearm owners binge drink, and among men, deaths from alcohol-related firearm violence equal those from all alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes.

The Founding Fathers envisioned a country that would be based on limited government, individual liberty, and the principle that the right to bear shall not be in arms infringed. Forty-six states have passed some form of medical cannabis program, and it is a certainty that each of these programs has gun owners who participate as patients or caregivers. We must reconcile the ability of a doctor, under the First Amendment to recommend medical cannabis for a debilitating condition with an individual's right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. Is there some form of safety risk when a gun owner is under the influence of any substance whether it be alcohol or opioids or cannabis? Without question. But is this safety risk worth the price of individual medical choice and liberty? Unlikely.


December 20, 2017 | David Mangone | Americans For Safe Access



Saturday, December 23, 2017

Give The Gift of Americans For Safe Access Membership


And Give The Gift of Advocacy And Education




This time of year many of us are reflecting on the people and things in our lives that are important to us. If the work that we do is meaningful to you, then we hope you will consider giving the gift of ASA membership to someone you value this year. To make this a new holiday tradition, we would also like to offer you the option to give that gift for free!

Give the gift of an ASA membership this holiday season!

If you begin or renew your membership between now and January 1st, we will give you an additional membership for you to share with someone else. You can think of it as a buy one get one or as half price, but the important thing is that you can take this opportunity to give the gift of ASA membership(and avoid a trip to the mall)!

If you do not personally know of someone in need of an ASA membership, we work with patient advocates on very limited incomes and would be happy to donate your extra membership to someone who could not afford it otherwise.

Our members decide to join ASA because they value the work that we do, and supporting us as an organization gives them the pride of knowing that they contribute directly to that work. Members working together is how this organization functions and how we fight for patients every day.

Join Americans For Safe Access and help prevent the Trump Administration and Attorney General Sessions, who oftentimes spreads false information without supporting any of his claims with any science like this;

“Marijuana is a cure for opiate abuse? Give me a break!... Maybe science will prove I'm wrong.”

Jeff Sessions’ 5 Craziest Quotes On Cannabis



Please take advantage of this opportunity to share that sense of pride with someone else.




About Americans for Safe Access

The mission of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use and research.

ASA was founded in 2002, by medical cannabis patient Steph Sherer, as a vehicle for patients to advocate for the acceptance of cannabis as medicine. With over 100,000 active members in all 50 states, ASA is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. ASA works to overcome political, social and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, research, grassroots empowerment, advocacy and services for patients, governments, medical professionals, and medical cannabis providers.



ACTION. EDUCATION. POLICY. CONSUMERS SAFETY. RESEARCH.
ASA and our members have moved public policy forward by incorporating strategies across many disciplines. ASA has brought together policy experts, public health experts, attorneys, lobbyists, scientists, industry associations and medical professionals to create the campaigns, projects and programs that have broken down political, social, academic, and legal barriers across the US.

ASA occupies a seat at the table for medical cannabis patients in policy matters.

ASA changed the national dialogue about medical cannabis.

ASA created a global patient network.

ASA has passed local, state, and federal laws.

ASA has fought and won in state and federal courts.

ASA has provided quality legal and medical education for medical cannabis stakeholders.

ASA brought cannabis back into the Herbal Pharmacopeia.

ASA has created product safety standards for medical cannabis products.

ASA has built the worlds first International Cannabis and Cannabinoid Institute.

ASA has trained thousands of patient advocates on civil engagement.

ASA has created accredited education programs for doctors, patients, and providers.

Everyday ASA staff are on the frontline of the medical cannabis movement working with our members to shape policy and public opinion moving toward our goals. By participating in this movement, you are helping create the future of medical cannabis in your city, state, and nation. By donating to ASA, you can help ensure that we will reach our goals!

Until there’s safe access, we are Americans for Safe Access.

Welcome to the movement.


The Gift of Giving

For as little as $5, you can make a one-time tax-deductible donation to ASA Foundation, or begin a monthly contribution for someone you love. By giving a donation in the name of someone you care about to ASA, even as little as $10, $25, or $50 a month, you are letting them know you care about their future and the future of medical cannabis. With a contribution level of $250 or more, we will send you or whoever you choose a free printed copy of our report: Medical Cannabis in America - The Medical Cannabis Briefing Book.

Happy Holidays from the whole ASA team!

Steph, Debbie, Jahan, Geoff, Beth, David and Marissa

#TeamASA

http://www.safeaccessnow.org/