El pasado jueves 21 de marzo, el senador José Miguel Insulza se reunió con Fundación Daya para manifestar su irrestricto apoyo a la Ley Cultivo Seguro, modificación al Código Sanitario permitirá que la prescripción médica sea autorización suficiente para el cultivo y cosecha personal de cannabis, para limitar las facultades de detención o incautación, cuando no hay antecedentes de tráfico. En la instancia, el senador por la región de Arica y Parinacota relevó la importancia de esta iniciativa, ya que protege a los miles de pacientes que han elegido el cannabis como su tratamiento, evitando la vulneración de sus derechos. Es importante recordar que el senador se desempeñó como secretario general de la Organización de los Estados Americanos, lugar donde pudo comprender los peligros reales de la prohibición y la importancia de las regulaciones para detener el narcotráfico y resguardar la salud de los y las ciudadanas. El año pasado, el senador ya había expresado su apoyo a la #LeyCultivoSeguro en el III Seminario de Cannabis Medicinal de Arica, instancia que reunió a más de 100 personas y ocho expositores que abordaron diversas temáticas sobre los usos medicinales del cannabis. #LeyCultivoSeguro se está discutiendo en la Comisión de Salud del Senado, luego de ser aprobado con amplia mayoría, por un 88%, por la Cámara de Diputados.    


The Differences Between Hemp Seed Oil and Hemp CBD Oil

With the recent buzz around legal hemp, the wellness market has been flooded with goods like “hemp seed oil” and other hemp products that don’t contain CBD, writes Becky Garrison. What specifically are the benefits of these products and how are they used?

According to Joy Beckerman, principal at consulting firm HempAce International, these hemp seed oil and hemp-derived CBD products are completely different and have little to do with each other. “What we have here is hemp seed oil and hemp extract, which people often mistakenly call ‘hemp oil,’” she says.

Hemp seed oil and hemp extract are also processed differently. Hemp seed oil is cold pressed from the seeds of the hemp plant similar to canola, sunflower, or olive oil. Meanwhile, hemp extract, which contains CBD, is extracted from the flowering buds, resin and leaves of the hemp plant, via C02, ethanol, or industrial solvents.

Due to this confusion in which “hemp seed oil” is often mistakenly called “hemp oil,” consumers should check the label to ensure they are purchasing the correct product for their needs. If you’re looking for CBD, hemp seed oil isn’t what you want; and if you’re looking for hemp-based products for their nutritional content, then you may be disappointed in a hemp oil CBD product. Hemp extract also tends to be more expensive than hemp seed oil, so unknowing consumers may fall prey to higher price tags attached to products they’re confusing with what they actually need.

Becca Recker – sales and marketing lead for Frogsong Farm, a vertically integrated craft hemp farm in Oregon – points to the differences in growing and processing hemp-derived CBD and hemp seed oil. “You can’t get much CBD from hemp grown for seeds,” she says. “High quality CBD is extracted from the flowers of female-only plants, which have been protected from male plants to avoid pollination. This unpollinated state means the plant puts its energy into producing big, juicy, resinous flowers and in effect produces high levels of the CBD, THC, other cannabinoids, and terpenes we seek in the full-spectrum CBD industry.”

Full-spectrum CBD means that in addition to CBD, the product contains all the other cannabinoids present in hemp, including CBG (Cannabigerol), CBN (Cannabinol, and THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin).

Conversely, Recker notes, “In order to get hemp seeds, you need to grow female and male plants for pollination to occur and for seeds to be produced.” Plus, she adds, the flowers of seedy hemp plants have far inferior cannabinoid profiles.

Even though hemp seed oil does not interact with receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system like hemp extract does, hemp seed oil can be a beneficial addition to a healthy diet. In fact, hemp seeds contain about 80 percent polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. According to Marissa Fratoni, holistic registered nurse, yoga teacher, and wellness coach, “hemp seed oil is a superior resource of omega-3 (linolenic acid) and omega-6 (linoleic acid) fatty acids. It has the perfect ratio (3:1) of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids recommended by the World Health Organization for optimal health.” Other prominent nutrients found in hemp seed oil include vitamins A and E, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium.

With its light nutty taste, hemp seed oil can also be used in lieu of vegetable oil in marinades, sauces, and dressings. However, it should not be heated above 120°F lest it start to lose its beneficial properties. Meanwhile, dried hemp seeds can be viewed as a superfood similar to flax and chia seeds, which are a great addition to cereals, yogurts, smoothies, and the like.

Like any plant extract, hemp seed oil can be beneficial when applied topically as a moisturizing oil in reducing dryness and rejuvenating the skin. “Essential fatty acids help build cell membranes throughout the entire body,” Fratoni notes. “Skin is no exception. These nutrients are protective as they produce the skin’s natural moisture barrier, which ensures that the skin is well-hydrated.”

She also points to other skin care benefits availed through the vitamins and minerals present in hemp seed oil. Vitamin A protects against sun damage, bolsters collagen production and prevents breakdown, which results in aging. Vitamin A also promotes cell production which ensures that skin is not only doing its job as a part of the immune system, but also maintains its suppleness. Vitamin E, on the other hand, is a powerful antioxidant (like vitamin A) that protects against UV damage from the sun. Calcium plays a significant role in cell renewal, too, while magnesium helps to cleanse and balance the skin’s own oil production. And zinc is a powerful antioxidant that reduces damage caused by free radicals and helps the skin glow.  

In addition to nutritional uses, hemp seed oil can be used in household cleaning products, as well, such as laundry detergent, and as a cosmetic ingredient in personal products such as shampoo and soap. It can also be used in the manufacturing and production of plastics, paints, lubricants, and construction materials, and as a source of biodiesel fuel.

There are numerous benefits to hemp beyond hemp seed oil. In parts of Europe, for instance, industrial hemp is being used to make biodegradable plastics for car parts and packaging. The fiber could be used for paper and fabric. “Hemp grows faster and in more diverse growing conditions than most industrial crops like cotton, paper trees, and so on,” says Reckler, “making it a very promising renewable resource.”

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Religious leaders in South Carolina voice support for medical marijuana

Lawmakers in South Carolina are currently considering a new bill that would legalize medical marijuana. So far, the bill has seen support both among legislators and the general public.

And now, the bill has formally received support from a potentially important social group. This week, a group of leaders from a number of different religious organizations voiced their support for South Carolina’s Compassionate Care Act.

The support could help propel the state’s bill forward. And more generally, it could signal growing acceptance of medical marijuana among some religious groups.

Religious Leaders Support Medical Marijuana

Faith leaders in South Carolina got together this week to formally voice support for the state’s Compassionate Care Act. This bill, which is currently working its way through the legislative process, would legalize medical marijuana in the state.

In particular, if this bill passes into law, doctors will be allowed to recommend medical marijuana to patients. And on the patient side, those with a recommendation would be allowed to purchase up to two ounces of medical cannabis every two weeks.

Originally, the bill was introduced by two Republican lawmakers. In many ways, that is a big deal. Typically, Republicans tend to oppose such bills. But with Republican backing already in place, many think South Carolina’s bill has a strong chance of passing.

And those chances may have improved even more this week thanks to the support of faith leaders. As reported by the Associated Press, a group of clergy from a coalition of religious groups held a press conference this week.

At the event, they formally urged for the passage of the Compassionate Care Act. Specifically, the group said that the law is important for those dealing with serious illness.

Baptist minister and state lawmaker Terry Alexander told the AP that medical marijuana should not be a religious or political issue. “Folks are beginning to see it,” he said. “It’s not a religious thing. It’s not a drug thing. It is a relief thing to me, basically.”

South Carolina’s Medical Marijuana Bill

The bill has so far received broad bipartisan support. And as demonstrated by the state’s faith leaders, it is also receiving a lot of public support.

Importantly, the bill has already passed through early stages of legislation. Specifically, a state Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee has already made some revisions to the bill and then granted its approval.

Now, the Compassionate Care Act is moving on to a full committee review and discussion. From there, it will presumably be passed onto the next rounds of legislation before potentially being moved into law.

Religious Leaders and Medical Marijuana

While many faith leaders in South Carolina are now supporting medical marijuana legalization, religious organizations in other places have been less open to the idea.

Perhaps most notably, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), commonly known as the Mormon Church, has been a longstanding and vocal opponent of legalization efforts in Utah.

Last year, voters in Utah approved an initiative to legalize medical marijuana. Almost immediately–and at urging from the Mormon Church—state lawmakers overwrote that initiative with a controversial alternative medical marijuana program.

Now, multiple advocacy groups are suing the state. In particular, advocates are working to reinstate the original medical marijuana program, as approved by voters last fall.

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Michigan medical marijuana board inundated with applications before deadline

There was a mad scramble at the Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Board meeting Thursday, as about 50 unlicensed medical marijuana businesses have just 10 days before the state orders them to shut down.

With applications for 118 marijuana business licenses up for consideration, including many of the dispensaries facing a March 31 deadline, the board faced its biggest agenda since it began meeting last May. And it was a bittersweet moment for the five-member board, which will most likely be abolished on April 30 in favor of a new state agency — the Marijuana Regulatory Agency — making the decisions on who will and won’t get a license.

“I’ve had enough, to be honest with you,” said former Speaker of the House Rick Johnson, R-Leroy, who is the chairman of the board. “But what we’ve done to this point is create a good, solid foundation.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order earlier this month to abolish the board and have the same state bureaucracy make regulatory and licensing decisions for both the ongoing medical marijuana and the recreational marijuana market, which is expected to come online sometime early next year.

“I’ve been involved in this type of stuff for a long time and sometimes it’s political and some of the time, it’s not,” Johnson added. “Every new governor who comes in has their ability to do things the way they want to do it.”

The board has operated in fits and starts, with some meetings having only a handful of licenses to considerand others, like Thursday’s meeting, jam-packed. Whitmer has said the new agency will make the licensing decisions more efficient and consistent.

The five-member, politically appointed board, which has been criticized for the slow pace of approving licenses, shrunk to four members earlier this month when David Lamontaine resigned from the board. But board member Donald Bailey, a retired Michigan State Police officer, said there was plenty of blame to go around for delays in licensing decisions.

He pointed to an applicant who first submitted an application in August 2018 and didn’t supply all the necessary information to the state until January.

“One of the culprits is the applicant, not us,” he said. “Anyone who wants to complain that we haven’t done our due diligence can look at this applicant. There’s enough blame to go around for everyone.”

Andrew Brisbo, director of the Bureau of Marijuana Regulation, said the looming deadline for unlicensed marijuana businesses to shut down was the key to the lengthy meeting, which lasted for more than three hours.

“Obviously, we had a lot of responses from applicants with the March 31 deadline,” he said. “That’s usually a motivating factor to get people to send us the things we need.”

On March 31, the unlicensed businesses — about 50, with the vast majority being dispensaries — will get cease and desist letters from the state and potential follow-up from law enforcement if they don’t shut down.

“There’s always the potential that there could be criminal follow-up with someone who is operating unlawfully,” Brisbo said.

Since beginning to consider applications for growers, processors, transporters, testing facilities and dispensaries in July, the board has approved 148 licenses. Of those, 110 businesses  — 35 growers, 11 processors, 58 dispensaries, four testing labs and five transporters — have paid their state regulatory assessments and actually been awarded licenses.

Another 91 license applications were given pre-approval status Thursday, including a dispensary tied to VB Chesaning, a large marijuana grow operation in Chesaning that is owned by Benedetto and Vincenzo Celani, the sons of prominent metro Detroit businessman Tom Celani of Bloomfield Hills, who has interests in casinos and owns the Michigan Lottery Freedom Hill Amphitheatre. One of the partners in the VP dispensary is M. Scott Bowen, the Michigan Lottery Commissioner from 2008-17.

The deadline for unlicensed dispensaries to get approved for a state license has been a moving target since September. In order to ensure there was enough access to products for medical marijuana patients, that deadline moved to October, then to Dec. 15, Jan. 1 and finally March 31. Now that there are 55 dispensaries operating in the state and another 13 that were approved for licenses on Thursday, the state believes there are enough facilities around the state to accommodate the nearly 293,000 medical marijuana patients in Michigan.

So the March 31 deadline is not expected to be extended again.

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Malaysia can be the world’s biggest marijuana producer. Here’s how.

While Thailand recently became the first in Southeast Asia to legalize medical marijuana, its neighbor Malaysia is still mulling.

Now Jeram assemblyman Mohd Shaid Rosli is trying his best to make his fellow politicians realize the money making capabilities of the herb.

Despite laughter, the lawmaker has proposed that parts of the Kuala Selangor constituency be turned into an agricultural hub to cultivate and research the marijuana plant for medical purposes.


Marijuana can be a booming business should governments decriminalize the plant.

“Let me give you an example. You can get RM3,000 an acre per year for palm oil. Ganja brings in RM9 million a year… one acre with three harvests can get you RM9 million a year.

“If Selangor can produce (ganja) across more than 100 acres, we will be the world’s biggest (ganja) producer. This can put Selangor on the world map and make us famous,” Mohd Shaid says.

Despite a strict drug law, Malaysia’s Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 however allows government agencies and departments to plant marijuana for medical purposes.

Currently, there’s a local company that has planted the herb for medical research and export purposes by collaborating with the National Poison Centre Director, Professor Mohamed Isa Abd Majid.


Marijuana has been used as alternative medicine by some to treat chronic illnesses.

The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia lawmaker adds that since Malaysia’s Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad is the member of parliament for the Kuala Selangor constituency, the opportunity is for the taking.

Yet, there were some who were against the proposal. Ijok assemblyman Dr Idris Ahmad is one of them who warned the lawmakers that regulating the herb would be a challenge.

“Historically, ganja was used as a medicine but it has been abused, just like opium and morphine. These are dangerous drugs that must be controlled. Even simple medication classified by the Health Ministry is difficult to control.

“I’m a doctor, I know this problem regarding controlled medicine. We need better enforcement,” Dr Idris explains.


Muhammad Lukman was sentenced to death in August last year for selling cannabis oil to cancer stricken patients.

Recently, talks to make medical marijuana legal have been discussed in the open – a positive sign nonetheless despite the conservative stance by many against the herb.

In fact, the plant was one of the catalyst which led Malaysia to abolish its death penalty five months ago following uproar over the death sentence of a man found guilty for selling cannabis oil for medical purpose.

Muhammad Lukman was distributing medical marijuana to several cancer stricken patients. His death sentence was eventually dropped following a review.

Yet, the question still remains: Should the plant be legalized for medical purposes?

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Medical marijuana advances in South Carolina Senate

A key Senate subcommittee has passed the Compassionate Care Act, which legalizes marijuana for medical purposes.

The subcommittee, chaired by the bill’s author, State Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, voted 5-1 for the bill. The one dissenting vote was state Sen. Tom Corbin, R-Greenville.

The subcommittee added amendments to the bill that Davis and other supporters hope will soften opposition from groups like the State Law Enforcement Division, the S.C. Sheriff’s Association, the S.C. Medical Association and Attorney General Alan Wilson.

The amendments include banning certain transportation workers from participating, working toward a better detection method for driver’s under the influence and tightening the definition of a debilitating condition.

“I want to thank the law enforcement officials, business leaders and physicians who worked with members of this subcommittee to ensure that this medical cannabis bill reflects the will of the overwhelming majority of South Carolinians … but to also draw a bright line against the recreational use of cannabis,” Davis said.

But March E. Seabrook, president of the S.C. Medical Association, said his group still opposes the bill. “The bill, even as amended, continues to circumvent the safe practices established for bringing new drugs to market, which potentially puts patient health at risk,” Seabrook said.

“There is a method to conduct the testing necessary for physicians to understand indication, usage, and dose for marijuana and its compounds: reschedule marijuana, allowing for significant, controlled, and replicable clinical testing. Without this process, the state legislature effectively establishes itself as the FDA for South Carolina.”

Polling has consistently shown more than 70 percent of South Carolinians support legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, but a majority also oppose recreational use.

Last year the bill made it to the floor of both the S.C. House and Senate, but the session ended before the bill could be debated by either chamber as a whole.

This year, Davis has resubmitted the bill with renewed vigor. He has met with its chief opponents vetting amendments as chair of the subcommittee.

He hopes the changes he is working through will make the bill more palatable to opponents as well as his more doubting colleagues and Gov. Henry McMaster.

He is promising “the most socially conservative, strictly regulated medical cannabis bill in the country,” one that allows marijuana to be consumed to treat “a very tightly defined universe of debilitating conditions.”

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Cannabis UK: When will medicinal cannabis be available? Why has it been delayed?

It was revealed doctors in the UK would be able to prescribe cannabis-derived medicine.

The drug is banned in the UK, but it was announced the rules would be relaxed about cannabis products due to a number of health benefits.

But the excitement was short lived as virtually no patients seeking medicinal cannabis on the NHS have been able to access it.

And now the access to medical cannabis is could be delayed further.

England’s Chief Medicinal Officer Dame Sally Davies called for robust scientific trials to check the safety of the medicine in Parliament on Monday.

Cannabis UK medicinal cannabis available delay

Cannabis UK: When will medicinal cannabis be available? Why has it been delayed?

“The unlicensed medication can be prescribed for patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome (both rare forms of epilepsy)”


When will medicinal cannabis be available?

Medicinal cannabis is technically already available – but only to a limited number of patients.

The thought was to mostly prescribe them to children with severe epilepsy.

Now Davies is calling for more trials to test the safety of the medicine – but it could take years.

The medicines used to be illegal, which means clinical trials have not been done in the past.

Currently medicinal cannabis is mostly unlicensed – this means doctors can only prescribe it in extreme circumstances.

The medication Epidiolex is currently going through a licensing system, but can be prescribed in rare circumstances.

The NHS says: “The unlicensed medication can be prescribed for patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome (both rare forms of epilepsy).”

Currently doctors are reluctant to prescribe it without more guidance and solid evidence.

Why has there been a delay?

Despite medicinal cannabis being hailed as a sort of “miracle drug”, it can’t be used a lot before widespread trials have been completed.

Before then, Davies has said it should only be prescribed as a “last resort”.

The Chief Medicinal Officer has “concerns about safety”, and that is why things are taking so long.

She told the Health and Social Care Select Committee on Monday: “I think we have opened a Pandora’s box and there is a belief that it works for many conditions. I do have concerns about safety.”

The main problem with medical cannabis, according to Davies, is that there is a risk of products containing THC (the chemical that gets you high).

Cannabis UK medicinal cannabis available delay

Cannabis UK: It was available on prescription from November 2018

The risks are not currently clear, according to the NHS, which is why clinical trials are needed before they can be used.

Davies continued: “THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) we know has an impact on the brain and causes depression, schizophrenia, brain development problems in young and adolescents.

“If a pregnant mother was taking it I’d be very worried. So we need more data on that.”

Dame Sally has said she agrees with doctors who are hesitant to dish out the cannabis-based drugs without good evidence from trials.

Cannabis UK medicinal cannabis available delay

Cannabis UK: There needs to be more testing, says England’s Chief Medicinal Officer

What conditions can medicinal cannabis help with?

Cannabidiol () is one of the main ingredients in medical marijuana.

It is different to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the substance that makes people high.

The substance is used in cannabis oil, and can be used to promote sleep, boost appetite and reduce stress, anxiety and depression.

It is also said to benefit those with mental health problems, epilepsy, Alzheimers, eczema and psoriasis.

Sativew is one of the few cannabis-containing medicines which will be prescribed on the NHS.

This can be used to relieve the pain of muscle spasms for those suffering from multiple sclerosis.

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Pot sector players welcome edibles tax change, disappointed medical tax remains

Cannabis industry players welcomed the change in the Federal Budget to tax edibles, extracts, oils and concentrates based on the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol rather than weight, as it could ease pricing for some products and potentially boost product availability.

However, licensed producers and a patient advocate group say they are disappointed that medical cannabis will continue to be taxed, despite a campaign calling on Ottawa to exempt patients.

Organigram’s chief executive officer Greg Engel said under the new framework, prices for some of these next-generation cannabis products, depending on potency of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, could see some relaxation.

“Ultimately for the consumer, they’re only going to be paying … for what is in the final product, not how it was produced,” he said.

The Liberal government on Tuesday laid out its 2019 budget which proposed that cannabis edibles, extracts, topicals and oils — which Ottawa has said will be legalized by no later than October of this year — be subject to excise duties based on the total quantity of THC, in the final product, rather than by weight of the cannabis used as an input.

Since Canada legalized cannabis for adult recreational use last October, dried cannabis flower and cannabis oils are subject to an excise tax of one dollar per gram or 10 per cent of the final retail price, whichever is higher. The tax rate is higher on flowering material, and lower on non-flowering material, such as stem.

But for the next generation of cannabis products, such as edibles, Ottawa has proposed an excise duty of one cent per milligram of total THC. Cannabidiol or CBD, the active ingredient found in cannabis and hemp that does not produce a high, is exempt from the excise tax.

Tax changes ‘ease the supply crunch’

The Cannabis Council of Canada’s executive director Allan Rewak adds that this taxation change would also make it more economical for licensed producers to use low-grade, low-THC cannabis in their inventory that is not suitable for sale to produce edibles and other products once legalized.

Under the old regime, licensed producers were incentivized to use high-potency plants rather than this low-grade unfinished inventory as it would require large volumes to yield enough THC and would be taxed accordingly, he added.

“Now, with this revision … we can utilize all that grade-three trim, hemp product, all of that wonderful material, in a viable way,” he said. “And allow us to ease the supply crunch by getting more high-grade dried flower to the people who want to consume it via combustion.”

Engel said despite the incentive, many producers were sending much of their high-grade bud to consumers due to high demand, and using trim and other leftovers for extracts and oils.

Removing the excise tax for medical cannabis is a very important step we have not seen yet- Peter Aceto, chief executive of CannTrust

The tax change also simplifies licensed producers’ accounting, said Michael Armstrong, a professor at Brock University. Rather than having to track the different inputs for each product throughout the manufacturing process for tax purposes, it will only require testing what ends up in the final product, he added.

“It will be easier to verify in an audit, as a lab test could confirm the THC content in the bottle,” Armstrong said.

While this tax tweak was generally heralded as a positive step, the lack of change for medical patients was met with disappointment.

“Removing the excise tax for medical cannabis is a very important step we have not seen yet,” said Peter Aceto, chief executive of CannTrust, adding that the licensed producer has 66,000 patients who rely on cannabis as medicine and “the cost can be prohibitive.”

Tax stigmatizes medical cannabis, advocates say

Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana, or CFAMM, said it appreciates the government’s move to reduce taxation on certain products, but basing taxation on THC content continues to stigmatize those who rely on the psychoactive ingredient to treat conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease and multiple sclerosis.

Max Monahan-Ellison, a spokesman for the patient advocacy group, said while the stereotype is that THC is deemed to be for a “high” and CBD is used for therapeutic purposes, it is much more complex for a medical user.

Taxes can increase the cost of medical cannabis by as much as 25 per cent, depending on the province, making it difficult for patients to manage their treatment costs, he added.

Many licensed producers such as Organigram and CannTrust are absorbing the excise tax for medical patients.

Last month, CFAMM launched an official campaign to call on the government to remove all taxes on medical cannabis. This wasn’t reflected in the latest budget, but the organization is hopeful that there is still opportunity for change with the federal election approaching.

“There just shouldn’t be tax on medicine, because it ends up hurting patients in the long run,” he said.

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Michigan: Proposed changes to medical marijuana rules worry some caregivers, dispensary owners

“The state will vote on that resolution Thursday. Now if it passes dispensaries like this one in Ypsilanti tell me they’re worried they’re going to end up paying a lot more for product they once bought directly from caregivers.”

Owner of Sticky Ypsi Jake Abraham says all of his product now, is from caregivers — personal growers allowed 72 plants for up to 6 patients. Abraham buys their excess product.

If the state’s medical marijuana licensing board approves a resolution from LARA- the state’s regulatory arm, the excess product would first need to go to a licensed grower and processor to be state tested.

“I’ll have to overpay for my product and it will be about half the quality of what I’m getting now.”

According to the LARA, new testing requirements aim to keep patients safe.

This caregiver, who asked we not show his face, says if the new rule goes into effect… people like him will be pushed into the black market.

“It’s gonna up the value the product and make it cost way more money than it should because there’s gonna be three hands dipping in the pot.”

If the caregiver market, which right now is 44,000 strong, goes underground, some patients are worried about supply.

“The issue that we’ve kind of been running into in this state lately is just places closing down,” says medical marijuana patient Carmen Tubbs.

“They need to extend the deadline for legs dispensaries to buy from caregivers for at least another year and then revisit the situation to see where the state’s at.”

If the resolution is agreed to, the proposed changed would take effect April 1.

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Canada: Consumers are replacing pharmaceuticals with medical marijuana

Overdoses due to prescription drugs is the top leading cause of accidental deaths in America. Over the years, prescription drugs, especially opioids have been used, overused, and abused. Unfortunately, it has moved from a crisis to a full-blown nationwide epidemic.

Although certain U.S. states have taken a stricter approach regarding the prescribing and re-filling of opioid orders, the consumption of these addictive and harmful painkillers continues. However, as more states, regions, and countries legalize cannabis, numerous cannabis consumers are choosing to transition away from pharmaceutical medications including opioids and move towards cannabis instead. Why is this the case though, how many people are really making this switch, and what impact have legal cannabis programs had on the consumption of opioid painkillers?

Increasing Number of Legal Cannabis Programs & Cannabis Consumption Over Opioids

Despite the accumulation of opioid overdoses over the years, on the bright side, various states have moved forward with cannabis legalization measures. By now, more than half of America’s fifty states have legalized cannabis to some degree. Whereas, America’s northern neighbor, Canada, has already federally legalized the plant. As a result, many people who have had the option to use opioids as their painkiller of choice also have the option to purchase and consume cannabis products.

In recent years, certain states that have medical and/or recreational cannabis programs in place have experienced decreases in the number of opioid overdoses. Specifically, one study found that U.S. states with operating medical cannabis programs had much lower state-wide opioid overdose mortality rates. Then, another study discovered that the incorporation of effective medical cannabis programs resulted in a decrease of 1,826 daily doses for opioid pain alleviation filled per doctor each year. How many people are actually taking advantage of consuming a natural medicine like cannabis as opposed to opioids though?

Research Findings that Support the Consumption of Cannabis Rather Than Pharma Meds

To learn more about the link between substituting pharmaceutical medications like opioids with cannabis and cannabinoids like Cannabidiol (CBD), survey data was collected from 271 individuals who were enrolled in Canada’s MMPR program.

Specifically, the 271 participants were patients who purchase medical cannabis from Privateer Holding’s owned-Tilray. About 63 percent of patients mentioned that they consume cannabis in place of traditional pharmaceutical medications. Then, around 30 percent of participants replaced opioids with cannabis, 16 percent replaced benzos with cannabis, and 12 percent replaced antidepressants with cannabis.

Why is this though? Most participants chose the more natural route because cannabis delivers less negative side effects and because it’s safer as compared to many pharma meds. However, some participants picked cannabis because it was more effective in treating their primary symptoms. Overall, though, the majority of participants expressed that cannabis is an effective treatment method for different medical conditions, and pain and mental health struggles were at the top of the list as reasons for consuming cannabis.

Besides pharmaceutical medications, numerous participants chose to use cannabis over other commonly-consumed substances like tobacco, alcohol, and other illicit drugs. In particular, 25 percent of participants chose cannabis over alcohol, 12 percent replaced cigarettes/tobacco products with cannabis, and three percent replaced illicit drugs with cannabis.

Additional Noteworthy Research Findings

In addition, not only are the operation of numerous medical and recreational cannabis programs beneficial and useful to those participating in them, but the existence of such programs has helped people transition away from addictive opioids. Aside from the research findings mentioned above, a 2019 study was conducted recently and published in the Harm Reduction Journal, which focused on surveying 2,000 adult Canadian medical cannabis patients who were registered with Tilray.

It was discovered that 70 percent of Canadian participants consumed cannabis as a substitute medicine for different prescription drugs. In particular, 59 percent of participants who consumed cannabis as an opioid replacement medicine reported complete opioid termination. Whereas, roughly 20 percent of cannabis consumers expressed that they decreased their standard opioid usage by at least 75 percent.

When the Canadian participants were asked why they switched to consuming cannabis rather than pharma meds, their main reasons consisted of cannabis’s safety profile, the plant’s few adverse side effects, and the efficacy of cannabis for symptom management purposes.

Additionally, the Canadian cannabis study’s researchers released the following statement about the reported findings:

“The findings provide a granular view of patient patterns of medical cannabis use, and the subsequent self-reported impacts on the use of opioids, alcohol, and other substances adding to a growing body of academic research suggesting that increased regulated access to medical and recreational cannabis can result in a reduction in the use of and subsequent harms associated with opioids, alcohol, tobacco, and other substances.”

Let’s rewind to 2016 when it was found that 80 percent of medical cannabis users reported substituting cannabis in place of prescribed medications, especially patients with pain-related conditions.

Now, fast forward to this year when interesting findings were released in BDS Analytics’ latest consumer surveys report. In the report, it was mentioned that opioid drug usage declined up to 30 percent in states with functioning medical cannabis programs.

Plethora of Cannabis’s Medicinal and Therapeutic Benefits

Although opioid painkillers are often prescribed to this day, cannabis and various cannabinoids can naturally combat and relieve pain and many other symptoms without delivering significantly negative side effects.

Some benefits of cannabis and the widely consumed cannabinoid, CBD include but aren’t limited to the following: analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasm, anti-epileptic, anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, antioxidant, anti-tumoral, and neuroprotective benefits.

On a similar note, the following statement was released about cannabis’s benefits over those of opioids: “Cannabis can be an effective treatment for pain, greatly reduces the chance of dependence, and eliminates the risk of fatal overdose compared to opioid-based medications. Medical cannabis patients report that cannabis is just as effective, if not more, than opioid-based medications for pain.”

If you’re given the option to consume pharmaceutical medications like addictive opioid painkillers or a natural alternative form of medicine like cannabis and/or CBD, which one would you choose and why? Let us know in the comments below!

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