Emmy award winning journalist, Mike Sugerman, is a registered medical marijuana patient in the state of California. Recently, while suffering from a bacterial infection in his aorta, he was medicating with cannabis, and realized he did not know exactly what was in the medicine he was smoking and eating. He decided to purchase $600 in cannabis flowers, concentrates and edibles for a CBS San Francisco report to have them lab tested in order to satisfy this curiosity. Unfortunately for the medical marijuana world in California, the findings were not good.
The Federal Drug Administration is not permitted to regulate the cannabis industry because the plant is still classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which means it is considered to have no recognized medical use in the United States. It cannot be government regulated until it is re-classified or unclassified all-together. As of October 2014, all cannabis sold at dispensaries in Colorado must be lab tested, but California has no such regulation.
Sugerman realized through ingesting cannabis edibles that the effects produced were inconsistent. Sometimes he would not feel any relief from eating a certain amount of marijuana edibles, while another day eating the exact same amount would cause him to feel overly medicated. The same amount did not result in the same effect.
The investigation included products purchased at 12 different dispensaries throughout San Francisco and Oakland. This $600 worth of medical marijuana buds, edibles, and shatter wax were taken to Steep Hill Labs in Oakland for thorough testing.
An Edipure brand edible scored the worst during testing. According to the label, this particular item contained 100 milligrams, but when lab tested, it only contained 1.3. That is off by 98.7 percent. Chief research officer at Steep Hill, Dr. Kymron Decesare, told Sugerman that they tested this particular item multiple times because of the extreme misrepresentation. Other tested edibles were off by 25 and 50 percent. Steep Hill Labs also concluded that gummy bears and lozenges sold in the same package were not consistently dosed because the measure milligrams varied from piece to piece.
The cannabis flowers that were tested also produced worrisome results for medical marijuana smokers in California. Both mold and pesticides were abundant, and over 40 percent of the flowers tested would not be sold under Colorado regulations. Molds like aspergillums and penicillin contain deadly toxins that could result in death.
The cannabis shatter, a concentrated form that is used for dabs, also tested poorly. Steep Hill found that 15 percent of this product contained benzene. Benzene is a hydrocarbon component of gasoline that is not approved for human consumption.
Unfortunately, this means that medical marijuana patients in California, specifically in San Francisco and Oakland, may not know what they are purchasing. A lab testing fail of this magnitude will hopefully spawn regulation reform in the state of California in the very near future.
photo credit: Dank Depot
Stacey Hutflies of northern California received shocking news one week before her twenty-sixth birthday. She was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer, and had no choice but to begin chemotherapy immediately. Breast cancer and chemo therapy is a deadly combination that Stacey told KRCR 7 News that she would not have survived without the help of medical marijuana,
“Its honestly what got me through chemotherapy, hands down.”
Everything happened so quickly for Stacey. One day she was planning her birthday, and the next, she was going through the worst experience of her young life.
The chemo caused Stacey to lose all of her hair, and made her feel sick all of the time. As a result, she was not able to eat or sleep, and her skin tone was showing signs of a body in distress. She lost so much weight that she did not even weight one-hundred pounds anymore, and her doctor warned that if she did not start eating, she may die. Stacey also began suffering from severe anxiety, buckling under all of the unbearable physical and mental anguish.
Stacey’s oncologist prescribed her what she called “the kitchen sink,” a term she used to describe every pharmaceutical medication available that was classified as cancer treatment drug. The kitchen sink prescription on top of the already horrible experience of going through chemotherapy made it difficult for Stacey to stay positive.
Skeptically and luckily, she decided to try medical marijuana. The moment Stacey introduced medical marijuana into her life, she felt a wave of positive feelings, both physical and mental. Her appetite returned, she was suddenly able to sleep at night, and as a result, she started to regain strength. On top of the physical benefits that she experienced, she reported that smoking cannabis also improved her mood, and gave her the will power to fight. The severe anxiety that she developed, also, melted away with marijuana.
Studies have shown that cannabis can help to slow the spread of cancer, and even shrink the size of tumors. For Stacey, the physical benefits experienced were life changing, but it was the improvements in her mental state, experienced from smoking marijuana, that gave her the strength to keep fighting for her life. Today, Stacey is in remission.
Below are before and after photos of Stacey Hutflies.
photo credit: Federacion de asociaciones cannabicas, KRCR 7
The CannaMoms and CannaBabes landed back in Florida last night after spending two weeks in San Francisco, California on a mission for medical marijuana education and treatment.
These moms have been forced to seek medical marijuana treatments for their children outside of their home state because the plant is not currently legal in the state of Florida, even for medical use. The CannaMoms, along with many others, are hoping that will change after election day next week when Floridians have the opportunity to Vote Yes on Amendment 2. Amendment 2 will allow medical marijuana dispensaries to cultivate, produce and distribute medical marijuana to patients with qualifying medical conditions. These families just want safe, consistent access to medical marijuana for their children, and they want it to be available in their home state of Florida to avoid having to move or travel just to obtain medication.
The CannaMoms organization consists of a “group of passionate mothers advocating for the right and option to utilize cannabis in the care of their critically ill children.” The three strong moms who started the organization, Jacel Delgadillo, Moriah Barnhart and Renee Petro have children who suffer from severe medical conditions such as brain tumors and different types of epilepsy, and they are frustrated with the horrible side effects caused by the pharmaceutical medications prescribed by physicians to treat their children’s symptoms.
During an interview with 5KPIX San Francisco at the Steep Hill Lab, Renee Petro explains some of the harm caused by pharmaceutical medications given to her son, Brandon, who suffers from epilepsy. She explained that when Brandon is on the pharmaceutical benzo drugs he has bad side effects that make him want to commit suicide. He has asked her several times to kill him, but with the medical marijuana treatment, at night, he asks for a bag of Cheetos instead.
Back in Florida last night, at the Tampa airport, Petro shared the good news about Brandon (pictured below) with WFLA,
“He’s been seizure free for two weeks!”
Brandon has been using a mist spray form of medical marijuana that contains equal amounts of CBD and THC. Petro was filled with feelings of both thanks and anger because there is an injustice that no one realizes, which she explained to WFLA,
“It was very upsetting not knowing what I know now, that something could have possibly spared him the amount of pharmaceuticals he has taken and the horrible side effects. It angers me, why something that is available in other states, that is available and legal, is not legal here [in Florida].”
Moriah Barnhart and her young daughter, Dahlia, who has a brain tumor, were also on the trip to California for medical marijuana education and treatment. Dahlia has also seen success in using cannabis oil treatments while in California. After landing at the Tampa airport in Florida last night, Barnhart told WFLA that they have seen immediate results in Dahlia that include,
“Sleeping through the night, eating and she is no longer being threatened with a feeding tube.”
Floridians against medical marijuana fear that the risks are too high to vote yes on Amendment 2. For the CannaMoms and many others, the only risk associated with Amendment 2 is if it is not approved by voters next week. Not allowing the use of medical marijuana in the state of Florida risks a future filled with a good quality of life for these children and many others who suffer from debilitating medical conditions.
photo credit: steephilllab, Facebook/Cannamoms