Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in the U.S. however some of the state's medical marijuana regulations have proven to be more limiting than many other states'. PTSD is considered a qualifying condition for medical marijuana in over 20 states, yet Colorado legislators have tried and failed again and again to add PTSD to the list. This week the push for PTSD received a 5-0 vote by a state Senate committee in favor of including the condition. While some are concerned about the lack of available studies, the anecdotal evidence exists allover the U.S. and the consensus is that victims of PTSD, often veterans, can likely benefit from medical marijuana. Current drugs given to PTSD patients often include side effects involving suicide, a major problem for those already suffering. Advocates say it's time to let doctors use medical marijuana as one of their many tools to treat patients. SB 17, which heads to the full Senate for consideration, is the latest attempt – of many – to include PTSD as a medical marijuana qualifying condition in Colorado, joining the likes of diseases and conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, seizures, severe nausea and severe pain. “Why do we want to continue giving them medications that have suicidal thoughts as part of their side-effects,” she said. More than 20 states, plus Washington, D.C. and two U.S. territories have an allowance for medical marijuana to be used in treating PTSD
Delaware decriminalized marijuana 2 years ago and has since only opened 1 medical marijuana dispensary, meaning every patient in the state must travel to a single location for their medicine. The first dispensary located downstate Delaware is set to open in two months, but the location remains a secret from the public. The medical marijuana program created in 2011 in Delaware allows patients with qualifying conditions and a doctors recommendation to purchase up to 3 ounces of cannahis every 14 days and possess up to 6 ounces total. Advocate legislators say there is much support for cannabis among lawmakers and that a bill fully legalizing th drug will be introduced at the end of March, potentially legalizing recreational marijuana in only a few months time. The Sussex Compassion Center, operated by First State Compassion Center, will start providing cannabis to patients in March, according to the Division of Public Health. It will be near Lewes, although the exact location has not yet been revealed to the public. Meanwhile, two years after passing a bill to decriminalize cannabis, Delaware could legalize the drug in the upcoming months: Sen. Henry plans to introduce legislation to that end in March. Questions still remain about how exactly the bill will look, such as if it will establish a tax, but Sen. Henry said she “knows” there is enough support among lawmakers to legalize cannabis.
For the last 6 years the Indiana legislature has refused to even hear proposed medical marijuana bills, let alone discuss and pass them. 2017 marks a transition for Indiana as the first medical marijuana bill was heard by a Senate committee and over 10 more bills involving medical marijuana have also been proposed. The bill heard by the Senate committee would create a limited medical marijuana program in the state to allow some children with epilepsy to use 'hemp oil' which does not get the user high as it's low in THC and high in CBD. Indiana remains one of the few U.S. states to still heavily prohibit the drug, but advocates say this low-THC bill is the state's best chance to begin marijuana law reform. With veterans on their side, marijuana advocates are ready to educate legislators who have believed misinformation for far too long. There are more than 10 Indiana bills that have been proposed this session pertaining to medical marijuana in some form or another. But advocates say the best chance of making any headway in the conservative state is by pushing for passage of a law that would allow for limited access to the low-THC, high-CBD extracts. Though he recognizes medical marijuana may be a long way away, he says if Indiana politicians are going to listen to a voice, they’re going to listen to their veterans. “We’re the protectors of our country, we are the enforcement of democracy,” he said. “And we come back and you don’t want to fight for our rights? I don’t think so.
Due to marijuana's limited legality throughout the US, many who greatly benefit from the drug are forced to make a choice - remain in pain in their home, or leave family behind to seek a legal medical marijuana state. Luckily, residents of Florida no longer have to worry about such problems as the state has made great strides over the last few years in legal marijuana availability. Trulieve is one company making a huge effort to reach out to patients in Florida and make their products available to anyone in need. Opening it's third location this week in Tampa, Trulieve hosts an inventory of THC and CBD capsules, tinctures, and liquids, which are often used to treat conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease and fibromyalgia. Trulieve, one of seven companies in Florida authorized to grow marijuana and produce and sell cannabis pills and oil, opened in a former fitness gym at 8701 N Dale Mabry Highway. It's Trulieve's third location in Florida — the others are in Clearwater and Tallahassee — and the latest in a plan to expand to all of the state's major markets, said chief executive officer Kim Rivers. A St. Petersburg location is expected to open later this year. The goal is to improve access for patients, Rivers said. Trulieve, which has a growing and production facility near Tallahassee, already delivers anywhere in the state, but patients can avoid a delivery fee by picking up their medication in person. "We think it's very, very important for dispensing organizations and dispensaries to be located close to patients so they can develop a relationship with that particular dispensary," she said
An important part of Proposition 64, California's ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana, also includes a clause lowering the cost of county-issued medical marijuana cards. Nevada County patients will soon have access to cheaper medical marijuana cards by visiting the Public Health Department by appointment only. The previous price for a medical marijuana card was $170, but the new rate will be an even $100. Discounts of $50 are available to members of MediCal, and the fee is waived for those in the County Medical Services Program. Those with a county-issued medical marijuana card will also be exempt from paying taxes on their medical marijuana, but a physician's marijuana recommendation by itself does not qualify for the exemption. Prop 64, which legalized the adult recreational use of marijuana, exempts medical cannabis from sales tax. Qualified patients must have a county-issued medical marijuana card to receive the tax exemption. A physician’s recommendation isn’t enough to waive the tax, Blake said. Nevada County residents can receive a medical marijuana card from the Public Health Department, 500 Crown Point Circle, Grass Valley, by appointment only. According to Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, Prop 64 makes the county-issued ID cards more valuable because they’re required to receive the tax exemption. There was no tax exemption before the proposition.
New Mexico's medical marijuana program has been doing so well that patient numbers have nearly doubled in a years time, but current regulations are limiting the supply of cannabis. A proposal made by a New Mexico Senator would increase the number of plants a cannabis producer can grow at one time, as well as increase the amount of medical marijuana a patient can possess. Currently, growers can have up to 450 plants at once, but if the bill is passed that number would increase to 1000. Patients are given up to 8 ounces of cannabis for a 90-day span, but the new law would allow them up to 5 ounces in only 30 days. A lawmaker wants to increase the amount of marijuana that licensed medical-cannabis producers in New Mexico can grow. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the proposal by Democratic Sen. Cisco McSorley of Albuquerque also would increase the amount of marijuana that the program’s participants can possess. Officials said in November that the number of participants had grown from 18,600 to nearly 33,000 in a year’s time. The large patient volume also has strained supplies
While Arkansas did not legalize recreational marijuana, the state did expand on it's medical marijuana program with new regulations being implemented this year. Officials say they need more time to finish preparing regulations, so a unanimous vote pushed back the deadline for regulations from March until May. The deadline to begin accepting dispensary applications will also move back from June to July 1st. Another proposal would stop dispensaries from selling candy-like products that might appeal to kids, as wellas halting any and all advertising The House voted Tuesday to delay the launch of the state’s voter-approved Arkansas medical marijuana program and ease a restriction on doctors who certify a patient is eligible to use the drug. “They obviously do need an extra 60 days to get it done, so I don’t have a problem with that,” David Couch said. House said he’s working on other bills, including one that would direct the independent commission regulating the dispensaries to restrict the sale of candy-style products and another that would restrict dispensary advertising.
The National Academy of Sciences is not the first organization to request cannabis be reclassified down from a Schedule 1 drug and they probably wont be the last. Just last week, the academy published a report analyzing 10,000 scientific abstracts on medical marijuana use and came to almost 100 conclusions justifying the medical value of cannabis and cannabis products. The report called The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research finds that “cannabis has both therapeutic value and public health risks.” These papers underline the same theme being preached by marijuana advocates for years, loosen restrictions to allow cannabis research, then educate the public. Even the few available studies for medical marijuana have found great value in the drug as a treatment specifically for chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and symptoms of chemotherapy. The report entitled The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research went on to conclude that “cannabis has both therapeutic value and public health risks.” The report recommends more research and noted that the classification as a Schedule 1 drug impedes research and that researchers can't get the cannabis they need in order to address specific research needs. They suggest “political and non-political strategies to resolve regulatory barriers to cannabis research, an objective and evidence-based analysis of cannabis policy is necessary.” The committee found evidence to support therapeutic uses of cannabis to treat chronic pain in adults. For adults with multiple sclerosis-related muscle spasms, they said there was substantial evidence that short-term use of certain oral cannabinoids improved symptoms. They also found that cannabinoids helped adults with chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting.
Due to marijuana's Schedule 1 classification it is extremely difficult to get approved for research on the drug, so in the meantime anecdotal evidence will have to be enough when patients are considering cannabis to treat their illness. In medical marijuana states, patients need a recommendation from their doctor to purchase marijuana, but doctors cannot write a prescription for a specific strain or cannabis product due to the gaps in research and policy. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is one of many conditions where current treatments just aren't enough to tame painful symptoms, leading many to search for other options like cannabis. While they wait for a license to research a Schedule 1 substance, the Integrative Neurophysiology Laboratory at Colorado State University is taking it upon themselves to survey MS patients and allow them to self report their findings with and without cannabis use. So far the submitted data is showing that 66% of respondents are currently using cannabis, and 78% of those cannabis users have lowered their dose of other medications or stopped taking the other medications due to marijuana. My lab's long-term goal is to determine whether cannabis can safely and effectively treat MS symptoms. But because of current federal regulations our lab can conduct only observational studies at this time. To conduct clinical trials with a Schedule 1 substance, investigators must have a special license, which my lab is in the process of applying for. At the moment, this means we study only people who are or are about to use cannabis and we do not provide cannabis to anyone for our studies.Our preliminary results indicate that people with MS using cannabis have greater physical activity levels, leg strength and walking speed, while also having less spasticity, fatigue and a lower perceived risk of falling. It is of note that these individuals are rarely using only cannabis to help control their symptoms. They are often using cannabis alongside traditional medications. The answers to these questions will provide guidelines for health care providers and people with MS on cannabis use. If these studies can demonstrate that cannabis effectively relieves and treats MS symptoms, they could help establish the medicinal value of cannabis. That could make a case for rescheduling cannabis, making it easier for physicians and researchers to establish cannabis' true benefits and risks.
Indiana's Republican dominated legislature has repeatedly denied even a hearing of a medical marijuana bill, but a new voice is speaking up in hopes to change a state's old views. Last year the national American Legion asked congress to remove marijuana from the list of drugs with no medical purpose, and this last week Indiana's American Legion followed suite in voting to ask the Indiana legislature to reclassify marijuana and recognize the potential benefit in cannabis. Veterans are a large portion of patients who use medical marijuana and politicians listen to what the veterans have to say. A veteran of the Marine Corps and leading advocate for medical marijuana in Indiana, Jeff Staker, says cannabis can help patients avoid addictions to harmful painkillers like oxycontin. On Sunday, the Indiana American Legion approved a resolution supporting the national American Legion's position and calling on Indiana's legislature to "remove restrictions from marijuana and reclassify it in a category that, at a minimum, will recognize cannabis as a drug with potential medical value." “Politicians listen to veterans,” he said. Staker and others contend that marijuana can prevent wounded veterans from getting addicted to pain medication and can help combat-related mental health issues such as post traumatic stress disorder. "I said I want to challenge him to prove one thing and one thing only: that marijuana has no medical benefits whatsoever,” Staker said. “It’s been a month or a month and a half and I haven't heard back."
Medical marijuana will be in the spotlight at the sports medicine forum scheduled for Feb. 1 with the focus on whether or not marijuana can have a "proper place in professional sports." The event will be sponsored by Vapen CBD and Merry Jane with tickets available to the public for $65. The NFL will be directly addressed as well as research on cannabis and pain relief, concussion symptoms, and other injuries. Former NFL athletes attending the event include: Jim McMahon, Kyle Turley, and Nate Jackson. "It's time the discussion is brought to the national stage where it belongs," said Rory Mendoza, CEO of Cannabis in Professional Sports and organizer of the event. Inhaler manufacturer Vapen CBD and cannabis media and culture company Merry Jane will join forces with Doctors for Cannabis Research to sponsor the sports medicine forum scheduled from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 1 at Revention Music Center, 520 Texas Ave. Open to the public, tickets are available for $65.
The Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee was established in Colorado when voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2012. By the end of last year the committee recommended the research grants that have now been approved by the state of Colorado. 7 studies have been chosen to look at marijuana and public health and safety, with studies on the topics of: Duration of Marijuana Concentration in Breast Milk, The Adverse Effects of Edible Cannabis Products, The Cardiovascular Effects of Marijuana in At-Risk Patients, and Comparative Assessment of Driving Impairment on Occasional Versus Heavy Marijuana Users, and more. Officials are pushing for marijuana research in the state to fill the gaps still being enforced by federal prohibition. The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment announced the grants at the end of 2016. A total of $2.3 million will go to seven projects. The state already has approved $9 million in research over the past few years. “This research will be invaluable in Colorado and across the country,” Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer for the department, said in the statement. “The findings will inform our public education efforts and give people additional information they need to make decisions about marijuana use."