Tag: recommendation (page 1 of 9)

Patients Choosing Cannabis Over Opioids During Self-Funded Study

Dr. James Feeney is doing something incredible for cannabis medicine. He hopes to end the opiate epidemic by bluntly showing the effectiveness of cannabis over pharmaceutical alternatives.

Dr. Feeney is a surgeon and Director of Trauma Services at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford Connecticut. With his research partner Dr. David Shapiro, they approached the St. Francis administration, including the legal team and the chief of surgery with a proposal to test cannabis in direct competition with opioids.

No one objected, despite St. Francis being a Catholic hospital.

St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center: Hartford, CT.

So they took the proposal to St. Francis Hospital’s parent company, Trinity Health. According to Feeney, Trinity Health was supportive, and even wondered why they were not already conducting cannabis exams. Feeney describes the overall feelings revealed by those conversations: “Anybody that takes even a cursory look at the medical literature understands that this could be used to replace opiate pain medication.”

Dr. James Feeney (source)

Feeney first began seriously considering cannabis for his patients after multiple patients refused opioids, and said they would just use cannabis instead. After hearing this anecdotal information first-hand, and witnessing the positive reactions, Dr. Feeney felt the need to conduct a study.

Due to the current climate for cannabis in traditional medicine, Feeney had to secure external funding for the study. He proposed that he and his partner examine the effects of cannabis on acute pain, because a substantial amount of information already pointed to the efficacy of cannabis for chronic pain (15 studies).

An important aspect of Feeney’s study is that medical cannabis is already legal in Connecticut, meaning he and St. Francis can refrain from prescribing or distributing the Schedule I substance. This allows the doctors to conduct research without having to jump through the hoops of establishing approval for clinical trials.

Patients who already have their cards can elect to take place in the study, which allows them to choose opioids or cannabis to control their acute pain.

So far, every participant has chosen cannabis. Of course, all of the patients in the study have an existing familiarity with cannabis, but the fact that they choose cannabis over opioids when doctors give them the option is incredibly positive, and may change medical opinions across the country if the trend persists.

TheCannabis Reports database currently hosts 812 studies for 166 different medical conditions. Check it out!

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Medical Cannabis and PTSD: Techniques To Remedy Invisible Wounds

Generally, when people think of a seriously sick and suffering medical cannabis patient, they imagine a person that is bound to a wheelchair, fighting through cancer treatment, or another condition that is visually validated.

“Seeing is believing” is a widely accepted manner of thinking, but how can you see a condition that is as invisible as it is crippling and dangerous? I am talking about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Many people are under the misconception that PTSD only affects individuals that served in the Military. According to the National Center for PTSD, between 7 and 8 percent of people will experience PTSD symptoms at some point in their life.

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Contributing Author: Anthony Rangel

My PTSD is from abuse as a child, being forcibly drugged with pharmaceutical cocktails for 12 years, and being trapped for multiple years in a facility that attempted to re-program me to become someone different than I was.

As you can probably imagine, I have not had any intention of seeking help from our drug-crazed society of Western medicine. My chosen medical treatment is a mix of medical cannabis and mind-body medicine.

Through the use of these complimentary treatments, I have been able to not only live my life with minimal impact from PTSD, but also operate to my fullest potential as a collective founder, veteran/human rights activist, and a holistic caregiver.

Why Cannabis?

Cannabis has always been hailed for its ability to relax its users. This is due to the endocannabinoid system (eCB) relationship with the stress response system of the human brain. Stress decreases the production of anandamide (AEA), increases the production of 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG), and exposure to chronic stress reliably causes a downregulation or loss of cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors .

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Research suggests that the eCB signaling in humans regulates many of the same areas of the brain responsible for vulnerability to stress-related psychiatric conditions like depression or PTSD.

This is where paying attention to what type of cannabis you intake plays an important factor. When attempting to elevate a stress-related psychiatric condition, it’s important to use a strain that promotes relaxation. For some patients, this is an “Indica-dominant” strain like Blackberry Kush, Girl Scout Cookies, or Blueberry.

What is Mind-Body Medicine?

Mind-body medicine focuses on the powerful ways in which mental, emotional, social, and spiritual factors can directly affect health. One of my favorite methods is Yoga. Yoga is scientifically proven to increase cognitive functions, aid insomnia, reduces stress, and many more wonderful benefits.

An Artist Depicts Moksha

An Artist’s Depiction of Moksha

One of the core principles of yoga, according to David Gordon White, is an analysis of perception and cognition. Through deep breathing and stretching practices the practitioners are able to expanding their consciousness and even cleanse their internal perceptions to achieve the ultimate goal of yoga:  “moksha” (liberation).

Two Treatments Working Together

We have discussed both treatments individually, but how do they work together to help? One of the main triggers of PTSD is stress. Cannabis can be a very fast-acting relief to stress, similar to an inhaler for asthma sufferers, whereas yoga promotes long-term relaxation. This creates a very effective means of reducing the severity and frequency of anxiety attacks or PTSD “flare ups”. Both yoga and cannabis aid the body against insomnia.

It is believed that stress plays a role in sleeplessness and nightmares as well. If you decrease the amounts of stress on your body and mind, you are able to maintain peaceful thinking which may help decrease the frequency of nightmares during REM sleep. When you are well-rested, your mind and body will function better!

PTSD is a very real condition that many people around the world suffer from every single day. The most important thing to know is that you are not alone in your struggles, as personal as they may be. There are many different treatment options available and not all of them include you taking dangerous drugs. Before you decide that you’ve tried it all, give cannabis a try.

Cannabis helped myself and many other people regain control of life again.

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Anthony Rangel is the founder and president of Natures Remedy Collective in Livermore, California. Mr. Rangel is dedicated to making cannabis accessible to patients. He actively advocates for medical cannabis at Livermore city council to improve their laws on cannabis. Mr. Rangel is also a chapter president for the organization Grow for Vets.

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Clinical and Anecdotal Evidence: The Cannabis Industry Needs to Spread Information Responsibly

Cannabis is an incredibly powerful plant, but there is a lot of information being passed around the community that has no scientific basis. It is the responsibility of every patient, doctor, and industry worker to know fact from fiction when it comes to cannabis.

We are slowly accumulating clinical research from across the world that supports the medical efficacy of cannabis, but for the most part, the evidence that we rely on is anecdotal, meaning it is based on personal accounts rather than clinical studies.

People working in the cannabis industry need to be responsible for providing patients with the best possible information, but that is not always easy. Cannabis is incredibly complex as a plant, and the industry that is emerging is running into issues properly explaining how this plant interacts with our bodies.

So Many Cannabis Choices (source)

So Many Cannabis Choices (source)

Medical cannabis has been the foundation of legalization, over the last two decades, policymakers across America have been passing laws making cannabis available for medical patients. This social shift has been influenced in part by articles and interviews featuring the positive influence that cannabis can have on children with epilepsy, cancer patients, veterans with PTSD, and many other groups.

But anecdotal evidence is only the beginning of the conversation. It is important that there is scientific research to back up the personal experiences of individuals so that others can replicate the healing effects. Cannabis Reports currently lists data on 365 studies for 99 different conditions and diseases.

Despite mounting clinical research, the cannabis industry may be relying too heavily on anecdotal evidence. It is important that we do not pass around anecdotal evidence as scientific fact. Over-embellishing a reality before you can replicate the results is a sure-fire way to damage public trust in cannabis.

The reason for this article is a recent call we took on the Cannabis Reports hotline. The patient asked us to help her find a specific strain that a budtender told her was “the brain cancer strain.” Statements like these are increasingly common, but destructive nonetheless.

Can-cell-phones-cause-brain-cancer-We-asked-the-experts

This does not mean that cannabis cannot help with brain cancer, but presenting anecdotal evidence as medical fact is incredibly irresponsible. This patient was extremely disheartened to learn that there was no silver-bullet strain to help them and they asked, “Why would someone working at a dispensary tell me this strain would cure my cancer if that’s not how it works?”

Misinformation is rampant in the cannabis community, but the fact that a patient learned this from a representative of the industry shows the immediate need for all of us to step back and re-examine our approach. There is good information out there, and it is the responsibility of everyone in the industry to seek it out.

We are All Different, Just Like Cannabis

There is still a lot we have to learn about how cannabis works within us. Words such as “indica” and “sativa” are passed on to consumers as scientifically accurate, but are actually based on an outdated cannabis taxonomy. Still, many manufacturers and retailers alike are confident that this is scientific fact, and are unwilling to consider new evidence.

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One of the finest resources for anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of cannabis must read Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany. Robert C. Clarke and Mark Merlin provide one of the best accounts of the history and science of the human-cannabis relationship. The book took Merlin and Clarke fifteen years to write, and explores our approach and understanding to cannabis genetics.

Genetic variation appears in every living thing, and is considered the foundation of evolution. There are billions of people on the face of the planet, each walking around with a different set of physical traits, like height, eye color, and blood type. These traits are known as an organism’s phenotypical properties, and are unique to that organism.

Endocannabinoid System Diagram, from The Cannabis Health Index

Endocannabinoid System Diagram, from The Cannabis Health Index

Just like people, each cannabis plant has a different set of physical traits and tendencies that make it a unique organism. Every person has their own endocannabinoid system that is unique, just like their immune system, their digestive patterns, and their allergies. This endocannabinoid system responds differently to each cannabis phenotype, which in itself is a unique genetic variation.

Basically, there is this huge misconception that cannabis consumption can be a consistent process, and be applied in the same way as traditional pharmaceuticals. The desire to describe cannabis in these simple terms has actually caused the industry to take this to heart as scientific fact.

Full Plant Extracts More Effective Than a Single Cannabinoid (source)

Full Plant Extracts More Effective Than a Single Cannabinoid (source)

Due to a lot of miscommunication, the cannabis community firmly believes there are two types of flowering cannabis plants: indica and sativa. The Indica variety are considered to be shorter with wider leaves that leave you relaxed, while sativa is a taller plant with long branches and narrow leaves that provides cerebral stimulation.

Consumer Language is Not Always Based in Science

Consumer Language is Not Always Based in Science

This classification simplifies cannabis and is widely used as consumer language. The issue is that these effects are not universally felt by everyone. Flowers are increasingly being labelled with their cannabinoid content, which is far more valuable information than terms like “indica” or “sativa.”

Identifying a plant by its observable characteristics and then claiming that there are universal effects associated with those traits is a major overstatement. Clearly, humans are programmed to categorize things into neat little boxes, but the dichotomy of indica vs. sativa is holding  us back from a deeper understanding of cannabis plant science.

Only You Know How Cannabis Makes You Feel

There are an increasing number of medical practitioners beginning to enter the cannabis space, and international cannabis research is booming. Still, the cannabis industry is made up of a wide spectrum of people, all of whom have had their own personal experiences with cannabis.

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Patients must be aware that there is a lot of conflicting information being spread in the world: some of it is accurate, some of it is close, and some of it is scientifically impossible. It is up to each of us to educate ourselves to know the difference between clinical data, anecdotal evidence, and what is hearsay.

Educational materials are scarce but they certainly do exist, and many are free online:

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