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Medical Marijuana, Inc. Introduces Nutritious Hemp Foods to Store

You can now shop for a full line of nutritious hemp seed hearts, hemp protein powder, hemp snacks, and hemp seed oil supplements on our online store.

As part of our mission to bring all the health benefits of cannabis plant to our customers, Medical Marijuana, Inc. has expanded our line of hemp products to include hemp foods. This line of foods and supplements, created with the seeds of the hemp plant, offer health conscious consumers a natural way to boost the nutritional value of their diet each day.

Hemp is considered a superfood because of its high levels of important building blocks to a healthy body like essential vitamins, minerals, proteins, omega fatty acids, and more. You can find more information about the full nutritional benefits of hemp seeds here.

Medical Marijuana, Inc.’s online store now carries hemp food products from well known brands like Bob’s Red Mill, Larabar, Nutiva, and more, including hemp seeds, hemp snacks, hemp seed oil, and hemp protein, giving you a wide range of options for adding the nutritional benefits of hemp to your diet.  

Hemp Seeds & Snacks

Hemp seeds are a valuable nutritional source, providing high levels of plant-based protein, fiber, omega fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals. In most cases, hemp seeds are shelled, or hulled, to expose the softer inner “heart.” These hemp seeds and hemp hearts can be eaten by themselves or added to your favorite healthy foods, like salads, smoothies, yogurt, cereals, oatmeal, and more. In the Larabar Blueberry Lavender Hemp Bar, hemp seeds are combined with blueberries, dates, apple, almonds, and lavender oil in an all-natural energy bar.

Hemp Protein Powder

Hemp protein is a valuable natural plant-based source of protein. Made from milled hemp seeds, hemp protein comes in the form of powder. Hemp protein can be mixed into smoothies and liquids or used as a partial flour substitute in many recipes for baked goods.

Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein (available in chocolate, vanilla, and unflavored) provides 15 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber per serving. Nutiva’s high fiber Organic Hemp Protein delivers 12 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein in each serving.

Navitas Naturals Organic Hemp Powder is 50% protein by weight and includes all the essential amino acids that make a complete protein, as well as hemp’s many vitamins and minerals.

Bob’s Red Mill Hemp Protein Powder provides you with 14 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber in each ¼ cup serving.

Carrington Farms Organic Flax Hemp Blend, made with milled hemp seeds and milled flax seeds to provide the best of both uniquely nutritious seeds, can be used like traditional hemp protein products.

Hemp Seed Oil

If you’d rather add the nutritious benefits of hemp to your diet with an easy to take supplement, then Hemp Oil Capsules from Deva Vegan Vitamins are right for you. A nutrient dense hemp seed oil soft capsule, add them to your existing daily vitamin and supplement routine to seamlessly incorporate the benefits of hemp to your diet.

Shop the Medical Marijuana, Inc. store to find our full line of hemp food products or to learn more about the benefits of adding hemp to your diet, click here.

The post Medical Marijuana, Inc. Introduces Nutritious Hemp Foods to Store appeared first on Medical Marijuana, Inc..

Cannabis as a Superfood: The Benefits of Adding Hemp to Your Diet

Hemp is a nutrient dense superfood that makes it easy to get the important vitamins, minerals, and more that you need to be healthy each day.

More and more, consumers are turning to all-natural products to boost the nutritional value of their diets. It is hard to find a more nutrient dense source than hemp. For that reason, hemp has been increasingly found as an ingredient in products from natural food stores and neighborhood grocery stores around the world.

Hemp has been an important source of nutrition for humans for thousands of years thanks to its significant nutrient content. Considered a superfood for its nutritional content, hemp foods continue to be popular as a way for health conscious consumers to supplement their diets with the vitamins, minerals, and more necessary for a healthy body.

Hemp seeds can be eaten by themselves for a healthy snack or added to smoothies, yogurt, salads, acai bowls, and more to give them a nutrient boost. Hemp seeds, the most popular source of hemp food products, have a light, nutty flavor that can compliment a number of meals. Hemp seeds can also be used to produce food products like hemp milk, hemp seed oil, and hemp-based protein powder.

Here, we look at the nutritional benefits of hemp, the hemp food products available in our store, and unique ways to add hemp to your diet.

What Nutrients Does Hemp Provide?

Hemp contains an extensive list of naturally occurring vitamins, including vitamins A, C, and E. Also present are B complex vitamins like riboflavin, thiamine, and niacin. Hemp further contains vitamins that are not sufficiently present in most modern diets, like beta carotene, helping users gain the nutrients they need to maintain health. Hemp is likewise a source of minerals like zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium.

Protein in your diet is essential in the receiving of amino acids, but it’s important that we obtain protein from the right sources. Eating even small amounts of red meat has been warned against by health officials. Instead, essential amino acids can be obtained through plant sources like hemp, which contains all 20 amino acids – including the 9 essential amino acids our body can’t make on its own.

The one fat you can never get enough of is Omega 3, but modern diets typically use other, less healthy fats. While both Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are essential to human health, they should ideally be consumed at a close ratio of around 3:1. Eating the right kind of Omega 6 fatty acids, like gamma linolenic acid (GLA), a plant based Omega 6 fatty acid found in hemp at the 3:1 ratio suggested, can reduce the negative effects of high fat diets.

The shelled seeds of the hemp plant contain about 35 percent essential fatty acids and 33 percent plant protein. They are also rich in soluble and insoluble fiber. These high levels of protein, fiber, and healthy omega fatty acids mean that using hemp foods can help aid proper digestion and promote healthy eating patterns.

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one tablespoon or 30 grams of hemp seeds contains:

  • 166 calories
  • 9.47 g of protein
  • 14.62 g of fat
  • 2.6 g of carbohydrates (including 1.2 g of fiber and 0.45 g of sugar)
  • 21 mg of calcium
  • 2.38 mg of iron
  • 210 mg of magnesium
  • 495 mg of phosphorus
  • 360 mg of potassium
  • 2.97 mg of zinc

You can learn more about the nutritional benefits of hemp seeds here.

What Type of Hemp Foods are Available?

Medical Marijuana, Inc. carries hemp food products from well known brands like Bob’s Red Mill, Larabar, Nutiva, and more, including hemp seeds, hemp snacks, hemp seed oil, and hemp protein, giving you a range of options for adding the nutritional benefits of hemp to your diet. You can find the following products now in our store.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds, harvested from the flowers of the hemp plant, are a valuable nutritional source. These small brown seeds have a mild nutty flavor. Hemp seeds can be eaten whole and have a crunchy texture that make them a tasty, health conscious snack, perfect for a nutritious boost between meals.

In many cases, though, hemp seeds are shelled, or hulled, to expose the softer inner “heart.” These hemp hearts can also be eaten by themselves or added to your favorite healthy foods, like salads, smoothies, yogurt, cereals, oatmeal, and more.

Nutiva Organic Shelled Hempseed are pure, organic, raw and shelled hemp seeds that provide 10 grams of protein and 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per serving.

hemp seeds

Navitas Organic Hemp Seeds are nutrient-dense hulled hemp seeds that are packed with plant-based protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

dark chocolate hemp seeds

Himalania Dark Chocolate Hemp Seeds feature toasted hemp seeds that are dipped in premium dark chocolate and pink salt for a tasty twist on the nutritious hemp seed.

Hemp Snacks

The Larabar Blueberry Lavender Hemp Bar combines hemp seeds with blueberries, dates, apple, almonds, and lavender oil in a delicious energy bar. Pack one in your purse or laptop bag for a healthy snack between meals or bring one to the gym or on your next hike to give you the energy you need to hit your next peak.

Hemp Protein

Hemp protein is a valuable hemp food or supplement for those mainly interested in a natural plant-based source of protein. Made from milled hemp seeds, hemp protein comes in the form of a nutty flavored powder that can be dissolved in liquids and blended into smoothies. Hemp protein can also be used as a partial flour substitute in many recipes for baked goods.

In the Medical Marijuana, Inc. online shop, you’ll find some of the best hemp protein products from Nutiva, Navitas Naturals, Bob’s Red Mill, and Carrington Farms.

hemp protein

Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein (available in chocolate, vanilla, and unflavored) is non-GMO, vegan, and USDA organic, and provides 15 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber per serving. Nutiva also has a high fiber Organic Hemp Protein, which delivers 12 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein in each serving.

Navitas Naturals Organic Hemp Powder is 50% protein by weight, and includes all the essential amino acids that make a complete protein. Navitas Naturals uses non-GMO, vegan, and USDA organic hemp protein.

hemp protein powder

Bob’s Red Mill Hemp Protein Powder is a nutritional powerhouse of plant protein. Each 1/4 cup serving provides you with 14 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber.

Carrington Farms’ hemp protein product combines milled hemp seeds with milled flax seeds to provide the best of both uniquely nutritious seeds. Carrington Farms Organic Flax Hemp Blend can be used like traditional hemp protein products.

Hemp Seed Oil

If you’d rather add the nutritious benefits of hemp to your diet with a supplement, then Hemp Oil Capsules from Deva Vegan Vitamins are right for you. A nutrient dense hemp seed oil soft capsule, add them to your existing daily vitamin and supplement routine to seamlessly incorporate hemp to your diet.

How to Use Hemp in Your Daily Diet Plan

Hemp seed hearts and hemp protein powder are versatile ways to add important vitamins and minerals, fiber, protein, and fatty acids. You can sprinkle hemp hearts on any meal or snack that you want to boost the nutrition of. Similarly, you can mix hemp protein powder into foods and beverages or even as a partial flour replacement for making baked goods.

Here are just a few suggestions on how to add these products from the Medical Marijuana, Inc. store to your diet each day.

Hemp Seed Hearts:

  • Top on salads
  • Sprinkled on avocado toast
  • Top on acai bowls or yogurt and fruit
  • Blended into oatmeal and cereals
  • Added to sandwiches
  • Sprinkled on English muffins
  • Topped on a baked potato
  • Or added to anything you want to boost with nutrients, protein and fiber

Hemp Protein Powder:

  • Baked into muffins and breads
  • Blend into smoothies
  • Mixed into oatmeals and cereals
  • Bake into brownies
  • Add to pancake or waffle batter
  • Or anything you want to boost with nutrients, protein and fiber

Is Hemp the Same as Marijuana?

Both hemp and marijuana are part of the cannabis family of plants. The two plants share many similarities, but differ on an important point. While marijuana contains high levels of THC, the compound in cannabis that gets users high, hemp contains only trace levels of THC. That means that adding hemp to your diet won’t get you high and is safe for everyone in your family to eat.

Unlike marijuana, which is grown to be used medically and recreationally to have high levels of THC, hemp is grown for its nutrient rich seeds, its CBD oil, and its strong fibers. Marijuana is federally illegal and closely regulated by specific states. Hemp foods, on the other hand, are legal in all 50 states.

Shop for Hemp Food Products

You can find the complete line of Medical Marijuana, Inc. hemp food products now in our online store.

The post Cannabis as a Superfood: The Benefits of Adding Hemp to Your Diet appeared first on Medical Marijuana, Inc..

Seminario cannabis y Derechos Humanos: los derechos de los pacientes deben ser el centro

Con gran asistencia se llevó a cabo este 23 de mayo de 2019 el Seminario «Uso medicinal del Cannabis, persecución penal y Derechos Humanos: hacia un nuevo paradigma” actividad organizada en conjunto con Asociación Pensamiento Penal y realizada  en el Auditorio de la Escuela de Derecho de la Universidad Diego Portales (UDP). El Seminario comenzó con las palabras de la directora del Centro de Derechos Humanos de la UDP, Lidia Casas, quien destacó que en nuestro país, es urgente que el debate en torno al cannabis se ponga a tono en el debate a nivel mundial, entendiendo que es una discusiòn necesaria en un país que reclama modernidad. El ministro de la Corte Suprema de Justicia, Lamberto Cisternas, centró su intervención, en la necesidad de que en los procesos judiciales que involucren a pacientes de cannabis medicinal, debe haber una serie de requisitos precisos en los cuales “el tema de la prueba deba estar pre-constituída”, como un camino para asegurar la protección de los derechos de los imputados. La actividad continuó con la presentación de Mario Juliano; Fundador Asociación Pensamiento Penal Argentina y juez de la provincia de Necochea, quien compartió su experiencia en el país trasandino. En ese sentido, llamó la atención respecto que se pone acento en el tráfico al menudeo (microtráfico), dejando de lado el tráfico mayor. Así mismo, en el caso de las personas que trasladan droga en sus cuerpos, mayoritariamente mujeres, él está en la línea de considerar a dichas personas como víctimas de trato de personas y no sólo como infractoras de ley. Luego fue el turno de Ana María Gazmuri, quien repasó la historia y fracaso del prohibicionismo recalcando en la necesidad de nuevas regulaciones que eviten la vulneración de derechos humanos de pacientes usuarios de cannabis, protegiendo y garantizando el acceso a cannabis y a los cannabinoides para recibir tratamiento médico supervisado por un médico, independientemente de su condición social, nivel de vida o recursos económicos. La perspectiva de los pacientes y sus familias fue entregada por Paulina Bobadilla, presidenta de Mamá Cultiva, quien en una sentida intervención resaltó el modo en que el cannabis ha cambiado para bien la vida de miles de pacientes y su entorno. Y que esas familias necesitan poder cultivar sin riesgo a ser objeto de persecución. Claudio Fierro, Jefe de la Unidad de Corte de la Defensoría Penal Pública, puso énfasis en los precedentes sentados por distintos fallos absolutorios emitidos por la Corte Suprema de Justicia, insistiendo en que estos reflejan un enfoque de los Derechos Humanos de los pacientes que cultivan. Sobre el mismo tópico, manifestó que “uno esperaría que los fallos de la Suprema se irradien al resto de los tribunales de la República”. Finalmente, Pablo Villar, defensor público y miembro de Asociación Pensamiento Penal Chile destacó los diferentes derechos que son vulnerados al criminalizar a un paciente usuario de cannabis medicinal, entre los cuales mencionó la libertad ambulatoria, el derecho a la honra, a la integridad física y psíquica, finalizando con una defensa a la presunción de inocencia. Cerró su intervención, destacando la necesidad de que se unifiquen criterios entre la doctrina de los fallos de la Suprema y las acciones del Ministerio Público. Una vez finalizada la actividad, hubo coincidencia entre asistentes y expositores en cuanto a que la instancia viene a llenar un necesario espacio de debate para poner el acento en los derechos de los pacientes de cannabis medicinal, antes que otro tipo de consideraciones.  

La entrada Seminario cannabis y Derechos Humanos: los derechos de los pacientes deben ser el centro aparece primero en Fundación Daya.

Retired NFL star Chris Long opens up about his cannabis use

Former National Football League (NFL) star Chris Long is speaking out about his cannabis use.

The recently retired Philadelphia Eagles player, 11-year NFL veteran and two-time Super Bowl champion made an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show this week to discuss his consumption of the drug, which he says he uses for pain management and stress.

“I certainly enjoyed my fair share on a regular basis through my career,” Long said during his appearance on the show. “If not for that, I’m not as capable of coping with the stresses of… the NFL life.”

Long pointed out what he sees as the hypocrisy of players using alcohol, the consumption of which is permitted by the NFL when players are off the clock, versus the ban on cannabis use.

“We should be headed to a place where we allow players to enjoy what I would not even call a drug,” Long said. “You know, it’s far less dangerous than guzzling a fifth of alcohol and going out after a game. Chances are the player won’t even make it to the club (laughs) to do this sort of thing that we all kind of wag our finger at when we hear about a guy getting in a fight or a DUI. You’re never going to read about him sitting on the couch and binge-watching ‘Game of Thrones’ again.”

Long claims that cannabis is rampant in the league, and his view is that the NFL doesn’t so much care about cannabis consumption as the appearance of propriety.

“I’ve heard many NFL executives and coaches not give a damn about whether or not their players smoke weed,” said Long.  “They just care if a guy is dumb enough to get caught, because players know the test is coming. Believe it or not, the testing period (incredibly!) begins on Apr. 20 and continues through Aug. 9. That’s when players are tested for what the league calls ‘substances of abuse’ and marijuana is included in that.”

The NFL has made recent inroads with regard to cannabis research. A new collective bargaining agreement  could mean the end of the league’s prohibition of medical cannabis, possibly by the start of the 2021 season.

Still, critics say the league is late to the party, with numerous current and former players vehemently opposing the current ban.

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UFC will study effects of CBD on athletes

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has announced a multi-year partnership with Canadian cannabis company Aurora to test CBD products on the performance of UFC athlete participants, in pursuit of advancing science to better support the health and wellness of competitors in one of the most physically testing sports on the planet.

The multi-million-dollar deal the companies are calling a “global partnership” will specifically focus on hemp-derived CBD. They hope it will significantly advance clinical science around how hemp-derived CBD impacts athlete recovery, given that the faster and better MMA fighters can recover between training sessions, the bigger a threat to their opponents they will be on fight night.

With the info that comes out of the partnership, Aurora expects to further develop products specifically to fit fighters’ needs and further educate them on best practices revealed in the forthcoming data pool.

Studying CBD’s Effects on Athletic Performance

The research will take place in an unlikely center of scientific progress: Las Vegas. There, the UFC’s sports performance team will actually conduct all the research with athletes that are willing to participate. The main areas research will focus on initially are pain management, inflammation, recovery and mental well-being.

Dr. Jason Dyck, a professor at the University of Alberta and a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Medicine, will take the lead on Aurora’s end for the project. Dyck also serves on the board of Aurora, where he provides oversight into the company’s scientific projects.

UFC President Dana White has had a mixed relationship with cannabis over the years, but times are changing.

“Since the day we opened the Performance Institute, our primary goal was to offer UFC athletes the best possible training, nutrition, and recovery services,” White said in a statement announcing the deal. “This partnership with Aurora is an extension of that goal, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with Aurora to find new ways to improve the health and safety of athletes who compete in UFC.”

Terry Booth, CEO of Aurora, also weighed in on the deal in the statement.

“This global partnership places focus squarely on the health and well-being of UFC’s talented and highly trained athletes,” Booth said. “The Aurora-UFC research partnership creates a global platform to launch targeted educational and awareness campaigns, while creating numerous opportunities to accelerate our global CBD business.”

UFC & CBD: A New Partnership After a Complicated History

Over the last three years, UFC fighters have been dabbling in CBD for recovery openly, since the famous post-fight press conference in August 2016 where Nate Diaz claimed he was smoking a vape pen filled with CBD. Others would claim it wasn’t CBD, and since he had already taken his post-fight drug test, we’ll never know — unless you believe his brother Nick, who claimed it was not CBD. But regardless of what was in that vape, the CBD-in-MMA cat was out of the bag.

Diaz would later receive a public telling off from the U.S. Anti-Doping Association. “It don’t matter,” Diaz told the Bob Costa of MMA, Ariel Helwani, eight months after the original incident. “I banked out in the cannabis industry from it… It was a good move and it was organic.”

These days, a spread of MMA’s biggest names and champions find themselves sponsored by CBD companies. At a Bellator event last fall, Ricardo Arona power bomber, Pride legend and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson credited Nate Diaz with turning him on to CBD. He also credited one of this year’s UFC Hall of Fame class members, Suga Rashad Evans, with hooking him up with a sponsor.

MMAFighting asked Rampage how important CBD is now to fighters.

“I’m glad [Nate Diaz] stood up for us and made it legal for MMA fighters,” Rampage replied. “Dude, it’s incredible. It’s been helping me out a lot.” According to Rampage, the effect has been so significant he’s doing pushups again.

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Kansas Governor signs CBD/THC Bill into law

Early this week Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signed Senate Bill 28 into law, which provides an affirmative defense against prosecution for possession of certain cannabidiol products containing tetrahydrocannabinol in specific circumstances.

Senate Bill 28 is also known as “Claire and Lola’s Law” after the daughters of Gwen and Scott Hartley. Both girls were born with microcephaly, a medical condition in which the brain does not develop properly. Unfortunately the condition claimed the life of older sister Claire who died last year. The Hartley’s were the driving force behind the bill, and believe CBD oil could greatly improve surviving daughter Lola’s quality of life – perhaps even extending it.

“We are so incredibly grateful & elated!!!,” said the Hartleys of the news of the bill becoming law. “There truly are no words adequate enough to thank everyone for their kindness and gratitude in helping make this happen.”

Under the bill, a cannabidiol treatment preparation is defined as an oil containing cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol, with a THC concentration of no more than 5 percent relative to the CBD level. The concentration must be verified through testing by a third-party, independent laboratory.

The bill covers debilitating medical conditions defined chronic disease or medical conditions causing a serious impairment of strength or ability to function, including one that results in seizures. The patient is required to be under current and active treatment by a physician licensed to practice medicine and surgery in Kansas, and that physician must provide a diagnosis letter. The physician’s letter and third-party lab testing results must be carried with the CBD oil at all times.

As well as providing an affirmative defense, Claire and Lola’s Law also  prohibits state agencies and political subdivisions from commencing child removal proceedings based on the possession or use of cannabidiol treatment by a parent.

The bill will take effect on July 1st, 2019

“This is the first step in addressing the health needs of many Kansans, but we still have a long way to go,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “I’m hopeful the legislature will review this issue comprehensively next session.”

Last month Governor Kelly also signed an industrial hemp bill into law, which allows for hemp derived cannabidiol oil to be used in some products.

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Ministry of Health in Israel makes medical cannabis more accessible

Israel already has a robust and widespread medical cannabis program for its citizens, although bureaucracy and red tape have been overly oppressive. But that’s hopefully about to change.

Patients in Israel who have cancer, IBS and other bowel issues, and Parkinson’s are entitled to apply for a medical cannabis permit directly from the Ministry of Health. It can take more than a year for a new patient to be approved, mainly because until now, the process had many steps and needed special approval that only a handful of doctors were able to provide. That’s mostly because cannabis has been classed as a dangerous drug officially and has been subject to criminal proceedings, fines and even jail time.

Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman has always been opposed to legalizing cannabis in Israel. He does, however, understand that it helps a lot of people who could otherwise be taking opioids and other dangerous medications from doctors, instead of an all-natural, herbal solution. Litzman told reporters last Thursday that he intends to expand the medical cannabis program and to cut out some of the red tape.

The change will mean that instead of needing to meet with a specialist doctor and attend a designated center to collect the medication, medical cannabis and CBD will soon be available for pick up at participating pharmacies for patients with a prescription. 

The new reform will cover people suffering from a range of illnesses treatable with cannabis, who are over 18 and require no more than 40 grams a month. For their part, the Ministry of Health is currently drafting guidelines as to how the new process will work; due to be released to the public in the coming weeks.

medical cannabis israel

Israel is set to allow easier access to medical cannabis in the near future

The other exciting change in official Israeli government policy is that CBD and CBD products will be released from the Drug Ordinance, and thus, according to the report, “Products that do not include THC (such as products containing CBD alone) will be excluded from the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance.” That means that the production or import of CBD, as long as there’s no THC inside, will be completely legal. 

In the words of Minister Litzman, according to the Israeli cannabis.com site, “I have decided to adopt the position of professionals in the Health Ministry to allow a prescription instead of a license for certain medical conditions for which diagnosis is clear. I emphasize that this is not legalization and that a person who is not medically allowed to use it will not be able to receive the drug at the pharmacy. But this is a process that will make it easier for bureaucratic procedures to be made available to the sick public,” he said.

At the same time, the director general of the Ministry of Health, Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov, said, “Israel is leading the use of cannabis for medical purposes. This step is another step in relieving patients and turning medical cannabis into a medical product like any other product. We will continue to monitor the application and make it easier for patients while ensuring that those who need to receive the easiest way. “

While it remains to be seen how the technical details of this bureaucratic reform will pan out, it’s excellent news for Israeli patients who want to medicate with cannabis or CBD. It could also pave the way for other countries to consider improving their medical cannabis programs too.

Whatever the case may be, there’s a strong tide of cannabis legalization in the world today, as big pharma exerts as much pressure as they can to keep natural remedies like cannabis off the shelves and to keep them packed with money-making and addictive alternatives.  

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Worrisome diagnosis: lack of prescribing physicians causing Australian medical cannabis program to fail

Although the use of medical cannabis is legal in Canberra, touted as Australia’s culture capital, patients are reporting they are being forced to purchase their medication on the street as it’s nearly impossible to find physicians in the city willing to prescribe the drug.

ABC News Australia reports that Canberra grandmother and chronic pain sufferer Kerrie-Ann Trembath Forster has had serious difficulties gaining access to the country’s medical cannabis program because of a lack of people prescribing related medications. Trembath Forster has said she would rather access cannabis legally through the “access scheme”, but said she has had no choice but to purchase the drug from illicit sources.

Although Trembath Forster practices yoga and meditation to help deal with the pain, which she finds helpful, it’s not always enough to manage her illness.

“None of us want to be stoned. We just want to be a part of life,” she said.

Her search for pain relief has made her wary of local medical professionals. “I just realized how many doctors are ignorant and arrogant,” she said. “They are willing to put you on all sorts of drugs, and then they have a thing about cannabis.”

While Trembath Forster said her own family doctor was open to the idea of medical cannabis, she was told she would have to travel to 286 km to Sydney to see a physician who would allow her to get on the program. For a patient frequently unable to leave her bed, the lack of local prescribers has rendered access extremely challenging.

“That’s where I’m going to be doing it… there’s nowhere in Canberra,” Trembath Forster said. Many patients with limited mobility and/or financial resources report similar experiences.

Australian law requires medical cannabis to be prescribed by an authorized prescriber, that is “medical practitioners who are approved to prescribe unapproved therapeutic goods for a particular condition or class of patients in their immediate care without further [Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)] approval.”

To qualify as an authorized prescriber, a physician must “have the training and expertise appropriate for the condition being treated and the proposed use of the product; be able to best determine the needs of the patient” and “be able to monitor the outcome of therapy.”

Executive director of Chronic Pain Australia Benjamin Graham shared similar concerns to those of Trembath Forster. “[Patients] hit a brick wall when they see their GP,” he said.

“The GP either doesn’t know too much about it. They really aren’t comfortable about it, or they say there’s no research or evidence to support medical cannabis.”

Dr. Antonio Di Dio, president of the Australian Medical Association, said the primary barrier is “education and training for the GPs to prescribe” medical cannabis, but as more patients request it, he believes more physicians will be incentivized to participate in training.

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Texas (yes, Texas!) will have a medical marijuana program — Sort of

In a stunning turn of events, the Texas Senate unanimously approved the expansion of the state’s medical marijuana program to include more qualifying conditions and make the process easier for patients. The bill had previously passed in the House and now awaits final legislative approval before heading to Gov. Greg Abbot’s desk for his signature.

Pending those final steps, the Compassionate Use Act, which previously provided low-THC cannabis oil for patients with intractable epilepsy, will now include access for those with autism, terminal cancer, all forms of epilepsy, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, incurable neurodegenerative diseases, and more. In addition, the bill as currently constructed would strike the provision that patients need approval from two different doctors and instead will only need one.

“This bill is about compassion,” said state senator Donna Campbell, who sponsored the bill, to The Texas Tribune. “For patients participating in the [Compassionate Use Program], they have had a remarkable and life-altering change because of this. That’s compassion.”

However, the bill represents a small step for medical marijuana advocates in Texas rather than a large one. A THC-cap of 0.5% will remain for all marijuana products provided under the Compassionate Use Act. Nor will those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) qualify under the bill. Finally, the legislation strikes a previous provision that called for a research program to better understand marijuana’s efficacy for treating these various ailments.

As the Texas Observer noted, this “wasn’t the wide-ranging medical cannabis bill that Democrats and marijuana advocates wanted.” Instead it represents a half-measure that still leaves behind many and dramatically restricts those with the most serious illnesses from receiving the proper medicine.

“This kind of policy should have been one that passed without need for much conversation because of how limited it is,” Heather Fazio, director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, told the Texas Observer. “We are still disappointed and kind of in dismay that the Legislature continues to fail the most sick Texans.”

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Federal law complicates medical marijuana for veterans

Nearly 70 percent of Missouri voters approved medical marijuana in November.

The Show-Me State became one of 33 that has legalized medical marijuana, but the plant is still illegal in every form on the federal level.

That puts states with marijuana allowances at odds with the U.S. government and it complicates the medical treatment for some of the very people medical marijuana was supposed to benefit – military veterans.

A disabled Air Force veteran, who wants to remain anonymous because marijuana is still illegal to use in any form in Missouri, says he currently uses it for medicinal purposes. He says his chronic pain treatment got out-of-hand.

“They increased my medicine again. One doctor called it a ‘life-threatening dose,’ I was on 360 oxycodone a month,» the man said. «And then they give you all the supporting medicines that go along with that like one for sleep, one to keep you up, one for your mood. And so you end up with just a big grocery bag full of medicine every month.»

A disabled U.S. Army veteran, who also wishes to remain anonymous, says she too got upside-down in her prescription drug treatments for multiple sclerosis. She said, “I was taking a lot. I was taking the medication for the MS, which was an injection, and I had reactions (to the injection). I was taking in one day about 30 pills, and an injection. And I just I said I can’t do this anymore.»

Both veterans say they use marijuana medicinally and that it has helped alleviate their many symptoms and improved their quality of life.

A study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs in 2014 showed patients with post-traumatic stress disorder experienced a 75 percent decrease in their symptoms using medical marijuana. The study did say further studies are needed and there was also a danger of addiction or misuse with self-medicating patients.

Voters approved Amendment 2 with the promise of tax revenue from marijuana sales benefiting veterans’ services. But, veterans who live in any of the state’s seven veterans’ nursing centers, including the one in Mexico, will not be allowed to medicate with marijuana.

Some say it seems paradoxical that some veterans cannot take advantage of a program designed for their benefit. 

The STATES Act, Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States, is a bipartisan bill that would effectively end the federal government’s prohibition of medical marijuana and leave the issue up to individual states.

As far as Missouri’s federal delegation on their support of the STATES Act, Sen. Roy Blunt’s office says he hasn’t read the bill, and Kelli Ford from Sen. Josh Hawley’s office sent ABC 17 News this statement:

“Senator Hawley respects the will of the voters and is supportive of medical marijuana so long as there are sufficient protections to limit its use to medicinal purposes. Senator Hawley does not support the recreational use of marijuana.”

Republican representatives Vicky Hartzler and Blaine Luetkemeyer didn’t respond to a request for a comment on their positions.

The Missouri Veterans Commission says it’s bound by federal restrictions and will not allow veterans to medicate with marijuana. The commission says the federal government considers marijuana a Schedule I controlled substance.

The commission said in an email to ABC 17 News, “Unless there is a change in Federal law, our Veterans homes may not permit the use of medical marijuana as it would be considered a drug offense and would prevent us from receiving the VA per diem grants.”

ABC 17 News also worked to learn if a privately-run veteran’s assistance center will allow residents to medicate with marijuana. Welcome Home in Columbia said, “Welcome Home does not have a response or position on this issue at this time.”

Both disabled vets in this report say it should be left up to the states and say the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs should allow the VA to be able to recommend and even prescribe medical marijuana.

video
Joey Parker’s extended conversation with two disabled veterans

Both veterans are also gun owners. They say they may decide not to apply for a medical marijuana certificate from the state, because they said it would interfere with their Second Amendment rights.

Regardless of its pending legality, firearms dealers will still abide by federal rules and deny gun sales to anyone with a medical cannabis card.

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