Modern medicine has given us many great things that people couldn’t even imagine just a century ago. For all of its strengths and advancements, however, conventional medical science sometimes has no answers for suffering patients. Many patients with digestive disorders fall into this category, and for a number of those suffering, cannabis provides the only relief from their symptoms. Here are several diseases that are being treated with medical cannabis.
Celiac disease impacts the small intestine after consuming gluten. The immune system will begin to attack epithelial cells in the small intestine, causing pain for the patient and the inability to absorb nutrients. Those suffering from celiac disease are more likely to develop diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and cancer later in life.
Thankfully, cannabis can help. Research shows that cannabinoid receptors can heal damage caused to the intestinal lining in those with celiac disease. Because of this, researchers suggest targeting CB2 receptors in patients suffering from celiac disease. Many patients have experienced relief from their often wretched stomach pain and sometimes report being disease-free after medical cannabis treatments.
Leaky Gut disease
Leaky gut is another gluten sensitivity related disease. An excess of gluten can create a substance called zonulin, which removes the binding of stomach cells. The resulting space between cells will allow food particles to leak through. Moreover, undigested food particles can even enter the bloodstream and cause infections, potentially leading to something much worse.
Doctors will often prescribe patients with potentially harmful pharmaceuticals to help treat this ailment. Many patient testimonials suggest that cannabis can help heal the gut, which could bring much-needed relief.
Crohn’s is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the digestive tract. Symptoms of Crohn’s include abdominal pain, weight loss, diarrhea, anemia, and fatigue. Studies have shown that cannabis helps with most of these, but many mainstream medical professionals fail to consider treating Crohn’s with medical cannabis. Instead, steroids and cortisone might be prescribed to help heal swollen colons, common among Crohn’s patients. These drugs could cause harsh side effects and can often make a patient’s condition worse.
Patients might not be aware that cannabis can help them. Evidence and empiricism will continue to educate the masses. Thankfully, many patients in legal states have access to relief in the form of medical cannabis, but far too many often still face harsh penalties for daring to treat their digestive ailments in such a way.
Originally published: The Marijuana Times
Colorado adds another unique endeavor to its list of innovative and cutting-edge cannabis work with the first annual Institute of Cannabis Research (ICR) conference at Colorado State University in Pueblo. The Institute has partnerships with CSU Pueblo, the state of Colorado, and Pueblo County.
The academically-focused ICR 2017 conference took place the last weekend of April and brought together the best and brightest minds working with cannabis.
The international, multidisciplinary cannabis research conference demonstrated the vast reach of the new Institute with top docs traveling from all over the globe to southern Colorado for the conference. The most notable speaker was the world-renowned cannabis scientist, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam.
The international attendance also represents the culmination of the concerted effort amongst both the medical and scientific communities to build a wealth of information about the mysterious plant.
The father of cannabis in Pueblo
Dr. Raphael Mechoulam is an organic chemist by trade and recognizable to anyone who knows the history of cannabis. From his work at the Hebrew University in Israel, he’s published hundreds of scientific articles as well as dozens of patents from his work with cannabinoids.
CSU Pueblo President Lesley Di Mare introduced the legend. “We have the father of cannabis research,” she said, “Dr. Mechoulam a prominent figure in cannabis research and his discoveries are the basis for all research today. It’s a historical event and we are deeply appreciative.”
The audience was in for a rare treat as Mechoulam normally participates in U.S. conferences via Skype. This year, Mechoulam’s keynote speech was essentially a lecture on organic chemistry and cannabinoids.
When asked about his consistent calls for more cannabis research and whether scientific research is as encouraged as clinical, Dr. Mechoulam told me, “They are both very important but there are not enough people doing clinical trials.” Mechoulam’s words carry weight in the cannabis world and his call to action is conducting more clinical research.
The keynote lecture was appropriately called the Mechoulam Lecture and stands to be a staple of the conference for years to come.
CBD Outlook in Pueblo
Following the ICR 2017 conference, the Pueblo Convention Center was teeming with talent from the CBD sector at the third annual CBD Outlook. The separate, one-day CBD conference focused on CBD and Industrial Hemp. Expert speakers came to Pueblo, Colorado from the health and hemp industries. Professionals such as Martin Lee of Project CBD and the CEO of NuVue Pharma, Dr. Malik Hasan were in attendance.
“We are missing the clinical research to prove it works,” said Lee of Project CBD, but “cannabis as a treatment for opiate addiction in many ways could be a tipping point for lawmakers on the precipice of being open to reforming their local laws to allow it.”
From the CBD Outlook stage Dr. Hasan said the foundational work was complete for the research to begin at CSU Pueblo. He also adds that there’s still tons of potential to be tapped when it comes to creating a path forward for cannabis research.
Hasan’s impact on Colorado’s health
Dr. Hasan has a track record of success in Colorado. After decades of study at some of the world’s most prestigious schools, Malik Hasan started his own medical practice in Colorado. In a 1996 interview with PBS Frontline he revealed why he chose to put roots down in a small town two hours south of Denver.
“I felt it was somewhere that I could make my mark. That was what appealed to me,” he said. “There was nothing there!”
Since settling in Colorado, Hasan has become fluent in the health care business. In 1985, he formed Qual-Med HMO and has since bought, merged, and managed HMOs in New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, and California to great financial gains.
After acquiring an HMO “Dr. Hasan would install an aggressive medical director and tell him or her to shrink the medical-loss ratio,” Frontline reported. “The results offended some patients and doctors, but the approach was a financial success for Qual-Med.”
On the other hand, the medicine man has earned great accolades for developing a Neurology Services Department and a Neurointensive Care Unit at the Parkview Medical Center. His last name also adorns the CSU Pueblo campus, after donating millions of dollars to the CSU Hasan School of Business.
“His deep personal commitment to improving the lives of those who are less fortunate, and to providing the best medical care, possible speaks volumes about the true character of this remarkable man,”
said then-Representative Scott McInnis (CO-3) from the House floor in 1998.
Dr. Hasan has gone through extraordinary lengths to “enhance patient care and service in a geographical areas in dire need of assistance,” said McInnis.
At the time, McInnis represented the cities of Grand Junction, Durango and Pueblo. He was a politician from 1993 until 2005 when he lost his bid for the gubernatorial race amid scathing allegations of plagiarism, which ultimately cost him his political career.
The future is bright for cannabis
Hasan has great hopes with the current nomination for head of the FDA, Scott Gottlieb. He calls Gottlieb’s ideas on drugs ‘progressive’ – Trump, not so much. “The fact is, there’s a lot of pain in the country,” he said.
Under the Obama administration, he said the financial turmoil of 2008 was actually a full-fledged depression – not a recession. Also, the underlying cause never went away. That’s why he says President Trump was elected. Trump was elected “to represent that anger [Americans] picked the most angry candidate…and we will have to clench our teeth and go through this period,” said Hasan.
Originally published: The Marijuana Times
New data out of the state of Colorado shows that the number of marijuana DUIs dropped 33% when you compare the first 3 months of this year to the first 3 months of 2016. Of course, when voters in Colorado approved marijuana legalization some 4 ½ years ago, we were told by those who opposed that decision that Colorado roads would be clogged with stoned drivers wreaking havoc. It turns out that those predictions were a bit off.
And the numbers we are talking about are incredibly small. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), from January to March of 2017 there were 155 people cited for “marijuana-use-only” impairment while driving, compared to the 232 cited from January to March of 2016. Keep in mind that hundreds of thousands of people take to Colorado roads every single day.
And while this would seem like good news, some people are still worried. “We’re still troubled by the fact that marijuana users are still telling us they routinely drive high,” CDOT spokesman Sam Cole said. “We’re pleased with the awareness, but we’re not so pleased with the behaviors that are actually happening.”
It seems a study conducted by CDOT showed that 55% of respondents said they felt it was safe to drive under the influence of marijuana. But according to this new data, either less people are driving while under the influence of marijuana or those 55% are correct that the danger in minimal, especially when compared to alcohol.
Colorado law enforcement has never been more aware and on the lookout for “stoned” drivers than they are in the era of legalization. So either less people on the road are high, or marijuana users are driving well enough not to be noticed. In fact, since marijuana can stay in a user’s system for weeks after use, the number of DUI citations that actually caught someone under the influence of marijuana at the time is probably even lower.
This is not to say that I think you should burn down a blunt and get in your car for a drive; it just highlights that the doom-and-gloom predictions of prohibitionists are – once again – completely wrong.
“Are the citations going down? Yeah, but is the number of people using marijuana and then driving going down? I don’t know how to quantify that,”
said Nate Reid , a CSP (Colorado State Patrol) spokesman.
But if police are more alert to the issue and citations are going down, doesn’t logic dictate that less are using marijuana and driving? Or, again, are those that do just driving well enough not to be noticed?
Either way, “stoned driving” can be wiped off the board once and for all as a fear for those in states looking to legalize.
Originally published: The Marijuana Times
We all know that college is a time to experiment – it’s likely the first time away from home, with no one telling you what to do, when to go to bed or to wait until you’ve had dinner before digging into dessert. Apparently, it is now also the place young adults are most likely to try cannabis for the first time – in fact, those who are enrolled in college are twice as likely as their non-student peers to try cannabis at all.
“College is a time when there’s no parental supervision, there’s lots of free time, there’s often a party culture, and so these things can promote experimentation with drugs,”
said Richard Miech, the study’s lead author.
Roughly 1 in 10 people ages 19-22 who are working and living on their own are first-time cannabis users, whereas roughly 1 in 5 people (double) who are attending classes in that same age group were likely to give it a try. Whether this is because there is more opportunity while being a student (parties are plentiful and it’s become a popular way for people to self-medicate for general anxiety, and college is certainly a stressful time for anyone), or because young adults in college are more likely to indulge in recreational activities like smoking marijuana and drinking is unclear.
“I think what’s happening is that people are beginning to see marijuana more like alcohol – that it’s something you can do recreationally and that there’s not much immediate harm from it,”
What is clear, however, is the fact that more and more young people are seeing cannabis as socially acceptable – and consider recreational use to be something as normal as drinking. It also appears that the more honest views on cannabis (legal states especially are leaning towards the truth rather than scare tactics to keep teens from using cannabis) could be contributing to this trend, as well as the significantly lower number of high school students using marijuana.
Executive vice president of research and external relations for the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, Sean Clarkin said,
“What I’m tempted to infer from this is that what may be happening is that kids are starting marijuana use later, holding off until college experimentation that might have taken place in high school during previous decades.”
The study took a look over the last few decades, from 1977 until 2015 – but the most significant jump in first-time cannabis use for college students has been in the past few years. In 2013, just four years ago, only 31% of college students reported first-time marijuana use, in 2014 that increased by 10%, and in 2015 it jumped another 10% – ending with 51% of students reporting trying cannabis fro the first time. With more and more states moving towards more sensible cannabis policies, we’re likely to see this sort of trend continue.
Originally published: The Marijuana Times
Despite recent comments made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer that go as far as comparing cannabis to heroin, and suggesting that there is a lot of violence surrounding the cannabis industry, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security says that it’s not really something they are all that worried about when it comes to the War on Drugs. It was during a Meet the Press interview on Sunday morning with DHS Secretary John Kelley when host Chuck Todd asked him whether or not legalization would help or hurt their work at the border to keep drugs out of the country that prompted Kelley to make this comment.
“Yeah, marijuana is not a factor in the drug war,”
Rather, Kelley cited three drugs in particular as issues at the Mexican border and further south – including heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine. He claims that almost all the methamphetamine and heroin are being produced in Mexico and that cocaine is produced further south in Latin America – and that those are their main focuses. “You cannot put a price on human misery,” Kelley said, explaining further that those three drugs in particular lead to the deaths of around 52,000 people each year – and they also end up costing the United States about $250 billion a year.
Another part of the interview that gives hope to many activists who have been fighting against the drug war for years now is the fact that he appears to realize that incarceration is not the answer to the problems in the U.S., suggesting we focus on rehabilitation and reducing the demand for these drugs before we worry about law enforcement. After all, getting the drug dealers off the streets is a practically never ending situation because as long as people are still looking for drugs someone will be there to supply them.
“The solution is not arresting a lot of users,”
“The solution is a comprehensive drug demand reduction program in the United States that involves every man and woman of goodwill. And then rehabilitation. And then law enforcement. And then getting at the poppy fields and the coca fields in the South.”
However, the current policies of jailing are not the way to go when trying to treat addicts – rehabilitation is, and it’s good to see someone who is closely involved with the war on drugs to be bringing attention to this for a change. While the Department of Justice is set to review and consider adopting new marijuana enforcement policies, perhaps they will take the words of Secretary Kelley into consideration, remembering that there are much more harmful substances that we need to be worried about.
Originally published: The Marijuana Times