Friday 9 December 2016

There Is No Such Thing As A Cannabis Emergency

This is a common sentiment, even in the Cannabis industry.  When patients run out of their mail-order only medicine, it is indeed an emergency.  In my opinion, those who don't see this, do not truly see Cannabis as medicine.

When I was on antidepressants many many years ago, I used to run out sometimes.  Money hindered access to those as it does for many, and for all intents and purposes, I was addicted to them.  Prozac, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Cymbalta ... all highly addictive.  I remember once making my way to the pharmacy for help.  The brain zaps were extreme that day, zapping me every few moments, my brain screaming for those meds.  The pharmacist took pity on me and gave me enough to get me by.  I felt such intense gratitude that day, and within about half an hour of taking one caplet, the zaps subsided.

There is no pharmacist or dispensing site for emergency supplies of Cannabis in Canada though.  If you are in the ACMPR and you order incorrectly, you'll be out of your meds and expected to be fine with that.  You'll be told to plan better next month.  Cannabis emergencies happen daily in Canada. People who say they don't exist likely don't use Cannabis as medicine yet.

You see, when you have an untreated or an under-treated illness and you finally find a medicine to treat it, you'll do almost anything to maintain access.  I know patients who are currently cancelling cruises and trips South because the U.S. doesn't respect this program or this medicine.  They refuse to live without it now.  For over fifteen years I did this.  I bought from whomever I could buy from, putting my own safety, freedom and health at risk.  But it was worth it to turn off the negative chatter in my brain.  I broke the law for many years just to feel human.

Right now in Canada, running out of Cannabis is an emergency for many patients for one major reason:  to access it in between mail-orders, you have to step into your criminal skin and buy it illegally.  A Cannabis emergency means the patients turn into criminals just to ease their pain, depression, or the bazillion other things Cannabis is prescribed for.

Medical Cannabis production is now a highly restricted, highly regulated industry that is run by pharmaceutical companies.  Many have stocks being traded on the stock market.  Yet we can't buy this medicine in storefronts.  When you really look at this mail-order process in its full functionality, you see very clearly that the entire program is a Cannabis emergency in itself.

Legalize safe medicine now.

Sunday 4 December 2016

Opioids: Approved ~ Cannabis: Denied

Over the past few years, Canadian Veterans have learned a lot about pot.  Mostly from one another, or other grassroots-minded friends or relatives.  Over the past year, so many Veterans have been educated on, experienced, and realized the benefits of Cannabis that the spike in use has alerted the officials.  Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr was shocked to see the math.  I guess he hasn't heard: the Veterans want plants not pills.

I'd love to know how long it took them to decide to cap coverage to a measly 3 grams per day maxed at $8.50 per gram.  That's $6.50 less per gram than what VA was usually paying prior to this.  And, some producers have assured their Veteran patients that they can remain using the same trusted strains, as they'll gladly absorb the difference.  Wow.  That's some profit margin.  That's like quadruple the profit margin that's in a Hyundai Accent for frig's sake!  But you must understand, they're supplying us with medicine that none of us can be trusted to grow safely ourselves.  Oh the smoke-screen is thick.  Must be all those Health Canada approved pesticides left in the bud!  That is, if you can keep it lit!  But I digress.  I want to know how long it took them to cap coverage when people have been dying from Opioid deaths in every province for years now, and no one is capping coverage for the reverse-engineered heroin!!

I demand that Kent Hehr do the math again, this time including all of the variables, carrying all of the 1's.  The average Veteran has been prescribed dozens of pharmaceuticals, all covered by VA.  Many of those meds are to treat the side effects of the first ones.  Many disrupt bodily processes.  Many disrupt peace of mind, the one thing they're supposed to treat.  But that's the thing isn't it?  As yet, we don't have any pharmaceuticals for which the sole purpose and treatment is PTSD.  That's how complex it is, even the white-coats haven't figured out how to treat it.  And they're pissed that this plant does.  They're also pissed that patients everywhere are ripping up scripts and lighting up doobs. Let's be clear, Cannabis is replacing Pharmaceuticals.  Maybe we need to check stock portfolios of those making the rules here.  What is it to anyone what a patient uses to ease his or her illness?

This plant helps all of the body's processes because each of us has a naturally occurring receptor system that accepts its compounds.  This system also accepts hormone-like compounds made within our bodies, but shaped like cannabinoids.  I dare say, anthropologically speaking, we're meant to use this plant.  And anthropologically speaking, we are not meant to take pills made in petrie dishes in a lab!  Yet we're allowing them to make it so.  We're allowing them to remove our right to use what we believe works, because of financial disparity?  Not good enough.  I and millions like me still believe that profit should have no place in healthcare or medicine.

Whichever stamp the VA worker uses:  APPROVED or DENIED, are they really able to separate themselves from the human who's life they've affected?  Do they hear the Veterans that say,
"I can't believe the emotion I feel now, or the sleep that I get now, or the dreams that no longer disrupt my days now that I'm using this plant."  Can our Honourable Minister Hehr hear these words?

A few weeks ago we once again, in countrywide accordance, vowed to never forget.  It seems we have some poor memories in Parliament.  You're forgetting every time you ignore another Veteran's plea for coverage of Cannabinoids.  You're forgetting every time you side with capitalism instead of with our heroes.  You're forgetting every single day that you allow the Legalization task force to drag their feet.  Remembering what our Veterans have done for us, is legalizing and encouraging gardens for heroes, and covering all the costs.

Thursday 1 December 2016

Marketplace Tickles the Low-Hanging Cannabis Fruit

I love the program Marketplace, and the host Erica Johnson and I are tight.  Well not really, but we did have a nice email interaction last year regarding a local restaurant who takes tips from servers for breakage.  For the most part, Marketplace gives voice to the average Canadian citizen, and outs the greedy corporate capitalist time and time again.

However, in their most recent episode titled "Superweed:  What's in Today's Marijuana?", I can't help but feel disheartened.  Like I felt at the end of LOST.  Like they just rushed it all in, using over-simplifications to push an already shaky and often-countered opinion.

They may surprise me though.  I mean, if I know there are other dangerous substances being pushed on our youth, then Marketplace must know this too!  Maybe next week they'll have one titled:

"SuperBooze:  What's in Today's Alcohol?".

We want to discuss recreational substances and the growing mind.  I'm game!  My niece is 13 and I fear for her and her peers.  Do you have any idea how much research and engineering goes into making booze taste like fruit and candy in order to disguise the taste of the ethanol?  Some youth have no idea what Passion Fruit tastes like until they take a sip of a Passion Fruit cooler!  Peach, Chocolate, Green Apple, Pear, Pineapple-Mandarin-Orange too!  Are we sure we're looking out for the kids?  Or are we creating these flavours WITH the kids in mind?  Yet no one is worried that the taste of the ethanol is disguised?!

Instead, we're worried that today's Cannabis is super weed compared to what was ingested at Woodstock in 1969. Speaking of booze, the act of drinking is a norm while smoking is not.  More kids will drink ethanol than will smoke Cannabis!  The potential for abuse is greater because Alcohol tastes good and has a delayed onset meaning by the time your little darling is drunk, he or she has drank too much.  Interestingly enough, there is no lethal dose of Cannabis because it does not act on the central nervous system the way Alcohol does.  Which is more dangerous?  The one that can kill you or the other one?

I also look forward to another episode titled:

"SuperBenzos:  What's in Today's Pediatric Meds?".

Remember Liam McKnight?  The CBC has reported on his success with medicinal Cannabis many times.  Well before Liam found Cannabis Oil, he'd already tried ten different Benzodiazapenes. Watch this video to see Liam's journey to reclaiming his health with the help of his family.  See him shaking in that one scene?  He's withdrawing from Benzos.  And we're worried about the Cannabis on the streets?  Benzodiazapenes and Neuroleptics are heavily prescribed pharmaceuticals that are all well known to be addictive.  The process to wean off of meds like this is dangerous, time consuming, and hellish to experience.  In fact, the risk of death from gran mal seizures during withdrawal is greater with Benzos than it is with Alcohol.  And the white coats are giving these out like they contain hope!!

And still another one I'd love to watch:

"SuperOpioids:  What's in Today's Pediatric Pain Killers?".

In 1969, when a child had their adenoids and tonsils removed, they got a popsicle and an aspirin. Yet a friend told me of an 8 year old relative who was just given a script for liquid morphine for that very same routine procedure.  Cherry flavoured no doubt!  Why?  Has our pain tolerance lessened in the past 50 years?  Have procedures become more painful?

What's my point?  My point is, if we're going to be real about the dangers of recreational Cannabis then we have to also be real about all of the other clear and present dangers to the growing mind! There are young medicinal users illegally self medicating their depression, anxiety, adhd, stutters, and pain with this plant.  They are replacing conventional medications that they've already tried, but found no therapeutic effects from.  I and aunts, parents, and grandparents the country over are tired of the over-drugging of our youth.  It's time to be real.  Study all of these substances regardless of profits made.  Our youth are worth more than this rhetoric.

Thursday 24 November 2016

Doctors Bridging the Gap

I took part in attending our local Health City event on Tuesday.  It was a bit of a rally, a call to action to members of the Healthcare industry in Ontario.  Our single-payer healthcare system in Ontario is at risk.  Privatization of all kinds of industries is always edging at us, and now the Ontario Government has put forth  Bill 41.

Please sign this online petition #CareNotCuts.  I listened as a black-suited bureacrat used words like "targets" and "corporate model" to explain how less administration will mean better patient care. Let's be real here.  None of us are fooled.  I think the patients would agree that letting valuable healthcare workers go in the process is not acceptable.  Cut costs from above, not below.

My main motivation for attendance was an info session on Medical Cannabis with Psychotherapist Dr. Janet McCulloch.  As you can read by her bio Dr. McCulloch specializes in Neurofeedback and has much experience with trauma and PTSD.  According to google, neurofeedback is defined as "a computer-aided training method in which selected parameters of the patient´s own brain activity, which can normally not be perceived, are made visible to the patient. Via monitor and loudspeaker the brain is shown what it is doing at the moment (feedback)."

Dr. McCulloch gave me great hope on Tuesday.  She held up her fingers in the peace sign and asked us if we knew what that meant.  There was silence so I said, "Peace!".  Without missing a beat she explained that without peace in your life, in your outlook, in your thoughts ... you can never be mentally healthy. She gave us a list of things that do help PTSD, and Doctors are not on the list. Nor are SSRI's or other pharmaceuticals.  The list included exercise, healthy relationships, pets, nature, and Cannabis.

If you were to begin today to learn about Medical Cannabis, you'd think that the 30+ Licensed Producers growing our medicine started things.  But you'd be wrong.  This plant dates back to pyramids and mummies and has stayed with humanity until today.  For some the plant is taboo; while for others it's a way of life.  Dr. McCulloch gave credit where credit is due.  She feels that it is thanks to the grassroots movement of patients that we realize today that Cannabis is medicine. These are patients who took their health into their own hands after being prescribed too many pills.  She said that she feels immense guilt for prescribing so many neuroleptics and benzos.  This Doctor and others like her could bridge the gap between we the patient and the medical industry.  As one Veteran in attendance stated, there is a massive need for a team of Doctors to teach other Doctors about Cannabis.  As one local Doctor stated simply, "it's just another medicine.  Once you understand it, it's just prescribing."

PTSD, trauma, and depression need treatment.  The conventional therapies for these conditions vary in action, none of which are successful for everyone.  For some of us, none work.  In my own words, I'd say that those medicines are gut-sterilizing, orgasm-stealing, zombifyers.  I know from experience. So, in the absence of safe and effective conventional meds, the grassroots movement of cannabis ingesting humans have proven time and time again that this plant is medicine.  It's amazing the ways patients are using Cannabis to heal themselves.  Corrie Yellend cured her anal and skin cancer with Cannabis oil infused suppositories that she made in her kitchen and stored in her freezer.  Tommy Chong uses them, countless others too.  Brave Mykayla is now in remission from Leukemia because Cannabis oil was used in conjunction with conventional treatments.  Coltyn Turner is in remission from debilitating Crohn's disease. And the three Veterans who were also in attendance at this talk prove to themselves, their families, and their Doctors that Cannabis treats PTSD every day.

A separation and a growing animosity exists between many patients and Doctors.  There is a gap that needs to be bridged.  In speaking to fellow Cannabis patients, I sometimes feel like they're stuck in fight mode.  They don't realize we've won and are winning.  Some go to well-meaning Cannabis clinics and berate the very Doctors who have put their licenses on the line for us.  We need to work like Cannabinoids ... that is better as a team!

Wednesday 16 November 2016

CAA & Modern-Day Reefer Madness

**This piece was featured here on the cannabis life network site.

We live within days of denial.  It's everywhere that it shouldn't be, like in the making of regulation.
One topic where evidence appears elusive, is the attempt to prove or disprove that recreational Cannabis legalization will lead to more impaired driving.  Now, you'll never hear me say that driving while under the influence of anything is wise.  But as someone who was a recreational cannabis user who doesn't have a driver's license, I shudder to think that this kind of fear tactic will influence future regulation for me and the millions of others who don't even drive.  What are these deniers trying to gain here?  Is their end-game to slow or stop legalization of this safe plant?

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) has decided to be the latest to raise the red flag of fear where this is concerned, and just in time as our legalization task force readies itself to present a committee report at month's end.  Thing is, the CAA may have opened up a can o' worms it didn't expect.  Kind of like when Dr. Lester Grinspoon attempted to prove cannabis was a danger to health and kind of like when Sanjay Gupta looked closer at Cannabis and seizures.  They all realized that the evidence proves them wrong.  In 1971 Grinspoon wrote the much praised "Marihuana Reconsidered", and in 2013 Gupta began the first of three amazing documentaries titled Weed, Weed 2, and Weed 3. And still bureaucrats and governments say, "evidence?  what evidence?".

Out of this can of worms climbs a 2015 study that has been called "the most precisely controlled study of its kind yet conducted".  Organized by the National U.S. Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this 20 month, 10,000 participant study found no "significant increased risk of crash involvement from cannabis use".  And another wiggles out, this one from 2010 deemed "the largest population-based study involving nine European Union countries" where the risk for Cannabis impairment was deemed "not statistically significant".

When I speak on this topic, I am all about questions with few answers.  However, it is a fact that new users feel stronger impairment than regular and experienced users.  This is one way that I dare say the CPSO's recommendation to cap thc levels of new users, may help us out.  With thc being the only psychoactive compound in the plant, it goes to reason that controlling its levels will deter impairment from the source.

When Irvin Rosenfeld gets his tin of pre-rolled doobies from the U.S. Federal Government each month, it has no driving impairment warnings on it.  In the documentary "In Pot We Trust", you can see Irven smoking a doobie like a cigarette as he drives down the road.  He doesn't feel impaired, he feels medicated.  The stresses and stiffness, the pain and traumatic memories aren't clawing him when he's medicated.  Similarly I look at patients with Parkinson's, any form of Palsy, Tourettes, or stutters ... when medicated they are most definitely better drivers because they have no tremors or spasms! Anxiety meds are fine to drive on, but CBD only strains impair me?  CBD is an anxiolytic drug that is replacing all kinds of antidepressants and benzos on the daily with few to no negative side effects.

In the end, I pray that we be real about this or we're going to effectively ground thousands of people from driving and living active lives.  Is this what CAA wants?  Don't they profit from insuring drivers?  Fewer drivers means fewer insured subjects and that's bad for their bottom line.  Of course if their motivation is to keep legalization from happening, they can simply take a seat.  The train to Legalizationville has lost its breaks.

Monday 7 November 2016

Canadians Are Re-Claiming Their Health

Depression of the central nervous system is a risk of prescription opioid pain killers and many other commonly prescribed medications.  Breathing and heart rate slows, consciousness is lost, death or coma results.  That's a serious side effect.

There are no cannabinoid receptors in the brain stem so Cannabis doesn't do this and yet we're still trying to decide if it's safe enough to legalize.

Opioid pain killers are killing people.  Ironic isn't that?  They were so good at killing the pain and now they're killing everyone.  The problem is so big that the CPSO is investigating 86 doctors who were found to be major over-prescribers.  Those same doctors likely refuse to refer their pain patients to Cannabis clinics every day.

And of course the problem is multi-faceted.  Many chronic pain-sufferers are now stressed that this and any other push to reprimand over-prescribers would result in them being cut off.  These are people who's pain rules their lives.  These are people who would not be able to function without pain medication.  And they are people who would be forced to look elsewhere were they to be cut-off.

The problem starts somewhere though, and that's where it must be curbed.  No one having dental surgery requires an opioid medication though many are told even before the surgery date that they'll get Percocet for the pain.  I myself was given Tramadol for a gall bladder surgery that for many others required mere Ibuprofen.  It blows my mind that the medical industry can't see the great dangers in introducing opioids to the young and growing mind.  Yet no care is really given to that.
What a sad irony when you think about the fact that Ottawa's health agency is recommending that the minimum age for recreational cannabis will be 25.  That's six years after one is allowed to legally ingest alcohol, from which 75,000 Canadians die every year.

Introducing opioids to the growing mind is a recipe for addiction if you ask me.  Opioids can feel good. Opioids can numb feelings and emotions and traumas. Opioids are reverse-engineered morphine.  This is serious shit and yet many over-prescribers only see opioids as pain killing medicine, as though none other exist.  Those doctors need to read a book!  I see crystal clearly how dangerous it would be to allow any youth to feel something that can do so much.  Are doctors afraid to say no?  Are they so soft to pressure?  From a very early age, kids learn from older kids how good opioids feel.  Curiosity kills.

Thousands and thousands of chronic pain sufferers all over Canada are singing the same tune. They're tired of opioids and other harmful meds.  They're tired of risking their health.  They're tired of trading pain relief for nausea or constipation or the inability to fully function!  To these people, the term "natural" is a positive. They've tried the pills, and they are now convinced that their biology can't accept only pills anymore.

Canadians are finding their voices and many are stopping at nothing to learn about Cannabinoid therapy and the ACMPR.  If we keep up the push and keep on educating, the medical industry and the doctors therein will have no choice than to comply with patient referral requests.  Every new patient starts with the hope of one day using only this natural medicine to ease many of their ills.  And our nation's highest court backs the desire to do this.

Death: The Side Effect to Top Them All

Depression of the central nervous system is a risk of prescription opioid pain killers and many other commonly prescribed medications.  Breathing slows, heart rate slows, consciousness is lost, death or coma results.  That's a serious side effect.

Cannabis doesn't do this and yet we're still trying to decide if it's safe enough to legalize.

Opioid pain killers are killing people.  Ironic isn't that?  They were so good at killing the pain and now they're killing everyone.  The problem is so big that the CPSO is investigating 86 doctors who were found to be major over-prescribers.  Those same doctors likely refuse to refer their pain patients to Cannabis clinics every day.

And of course the problem is multi-faceted.  Many chronic pain-sufferers are now stressed that this and any other push to reprimand over-prescribers would result in them being cut off.  These are people who's pain rules their lives.  These are people who would not be able to function without pain medication.  And they are people who would be forced to look elsewhere were they to be cut-off.

The problem starts somewhere though, and that's where it must be curbed.  No one having dental surgery requires an opioid medication though many are told even before the surgery date that they'll get Percocet for the pain.  I myself was given Tramadol for a gall bladder surgery that for many others required mere Ibuprofen.  It blows my mind that the medical industry can't see the great dangers in introducing opioids to the young and growing mind.  Yet no care is really given to that.
What a sad irony when you think about the fact that Ottawa's health agency is recommending that the minimum age for recreational cannabis will be 25.  That's six years after one is allowed to legally ingest alcohol, from which 75,000 Canadians die every year.

Introducing opioids to the growing mind is a recipe for addiction if you ask me.  Opioids can feel good. Opioids can numb feelings and emotions and traumas. Opioids are reverse-engineered morphine.  This is serious shit and yet many over-prescribers only see opioids as pain killing medicine, as though none other exist.  Those doctors need to read a book!  I see crystal clearly how dangerous it would be to allow any youth to feel something that can do so much.  Are doctors afraid to say no?  Are they so soft to pressure?  From a very early age, kids learn from older kids how good opioids feel.  Curiosity kills.

Thousands and thousands of chronic pain sufferers all over Canada are singing the same tune. They're tired of opioids and other harmful meds.  They're tired of risking their health.  They're tired of trading pain relief for nausea or constipation or the inability to fully function!  To these people, the term "natural" is a positive. They've tried the pills, and they are now convinced that their biology can't accept only pills anymore.

Canadians are finding their voices and many are stopping at nothing to learn about Cannabinoid therapy and the ACMPR.  If we keep up the push and keep on educating, the medical industry and the doctors therein will have no choice than to comply with patient referral requests.  Every new patient starts with the hope of one day losing their fear of that one last side effect:  death.

Monday 24 October 2016

What Pill Is the Pot Replacing?

"Back in my day if you wanted to be with the pretty girls, ya stayed away from the drugs", says my buddy Art.  He's explaining to me how crazy it is that today he uses Cannabis and Cannabis alone for his chronic pain.  After the accident and the subsequent leg amputation, Art took whatever pain pills the Doctors would give him.  The pain was unbearable.  When finally, after almost ten long years of killing the pain with opioids, Art found out there was something else he could try if he was willing. Some people may call him a druggie.  But at this point with the addiction to the nauseatingly zombifying pills, he didn't much care what anyone thought.

One night he was at a buddy's house when it came time to take his meds but he'd forgotten them at home.  With much hesitation Art agreed to eat half a Cannabis infused ginger-snap cookie.  He breathed deeply as the Cannabis smoke his friends exhaled lingered in the room, and sat amazed. For hours.  Pain-free.

Unfortunately, the health care industries worldwide, don't see what Art sees or what I see or what millions of Cannabis users worldwide know.  Health Care industries are heavily influenced by the makers of those zombifying pills.  They think Art should just keep on taking those pills day after day after day.  There's a very good reason why a huge portion of patients who are taking opioid pain medications will do anything to stop taking them.

I'm a call-taker at a cannabis clinic and I speak to patients every day who's main motivation for calling me, is to stop taking so many pills.  And not just one kind of pill.  With the average senior on at least six different prescriptions, it's a full time job trying to organize them all.  Each with their own long list of side effects.  Swallowing that many pills alone can be an ordeal!  And they go down into our stomachs wreaking pain and havoc, sterilizing gut microbiome hindering proper digestion and nutrient absorption.

The side effect from the one pill soon requires that you take another, and before long you don't even feel human!  It's no wonder the right to smoke our medicine has been of foremost importance to we patients.  A million bleeding stomach ulcers challenge the theory that pills are the best mode of ingestion every day.

Safe ingestion of cannabinoids is of huge debate in the medical system and has been for years.  After they deemed smoking unsafe, we came up with vaporization, an inhalation method much like an asthma inhaler.  Vaporization offers no risk or damage to the lungs and yet it too is deemed too risky to be allowed in-hospital.  Ironically, cannabinoid vapor would likely be the only medicinal compound under a hospital roof with a zero death toll.

A new friend of mine has fibromyalgia at the young age of 23.  She recently read about cannabis and how it's helping others with her condition.  The pain is so severe that her GP has prescribed her a 50 mcg and now a 75 mcg Fentanyl patch which she refuses to use.  But getting approved to use medicinal cannabis under the age of 25 is a heavily scrutinized process to say the least.  The theory being that the human brain isn't finished growing until 25 and they fear that cannabis may hinder proper development.  But ... a 75 mcg Fentanyl patch is okay for the growing mind?

What about Benzos for children?  Or Ketamine, a horse tranquilizer!  These are common meds for seizure disorders in children.  Why do we trust that Adderall (amphetamine) or Ritalin (methyphenidate) or Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine), all of which are prescribed to children aged 3 and older, are safe for the growing mind?

I myself was given Lithium at 20 from my pill-pushing doctor, along with the Proz@c he'd talked me into months before.  So, a SSRI whose action is only THEORIZED is safe for my young brain but this unprocessed plant is not?

Do YOU believe that?  We're far too often told what to believe, especially when it comes to pharmaceuticals.  Challenge that whenever you can!

Another new friend aged 74 with severe arthritis has also been easing her pains with cannabis oil. She remembers the first time she asked her long-time GP about medicinal cannabis.  She was tired of the morphine and how barfy and loopy it made her feel.  It hindered her ability to be active in her community as she didn't feel safe driving on it though there were no driving precautions on the bottle. She asked her doctor and he simply stared at her quietly, and then making a notation in her file, he dismissively said, "No, you're fine with the morphine."  End of discussion.  Too many discussions end this way.  Too many of us are ignored or intimidated into prescription compliance. The patient-doctor relationship should not be akin to bullying!

We're seeing a real shift in healthcare right now, especially where cannabis is concerned. This plant and the personal freedoms its use requires is shaking the very foundations of Western medicine. Humans everywhere are weaning themselves off of their pills and choosing cannabinoid therapy instead.  Who says safe medicine only comes in a pill?

I personally medicate myself in many ways.  I take oil I make myself out of my legal cannabis.  I smoke doobies and bongs too.  I use a discreet portable vaporizer when I'm on break at work.  And every day I'm learning more ways to get it in and get it workin'!

So before any of us judge the legitimacy of anyone else's cannabis use, we need to ask one question:

What pill is the pot replacing?

Thursday 20 October 2016

You're Legal, Now Let's Save You Some Money!

Becoming legal to use medicinal cannabis in the ACMPR is gaining in popularity and all kinds of clinics are opening to aid in the process.  Canadian Cannabis Clinics is one that will complete the entire process free of charge, payment via your valid provincial health card.  Now that's single payer healthcare!

Unfortunately though, the legality of Cannabis doesn't change the price.  Legal or not, you're paying a lot for something that insurers refuse to cover.  Patients trying medicinal cannabis are shocked to learn they'll pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket each month when they used to have full coverage for their meds.  I advise all patients to keep proof of all Cannabis purchases and all equipment purchases to be claimed on their taxes as a healthcare expense.  For many, getting legal is a step towards relief but in the meantime, how do you afford to pay for your mail order cannabis?

So many Canadians were prescribed pills and now they're taking pills for the side effects of the other pills and it's effecting their overall quality of life.  Our country's disability, pensions, and assistance programs will cover all other medications including addictive opioids but they balk when asked to cover this doctor-prescribed medicine, quoting the lack of a DIN (drug identification number) as a reason to refuse.  I'm grateful that Veteran's Affairs is covering the Veterans' cannabis but what about the rest of us?  Is VAC not governed by the same need for a DIN??

Yet I hear there are patients getting coverage.  The persistent, daily-calling patients who refuse to give up-- can you be one of those?  All it will take is one ... one insurance company to say yes to everyone thus treating Cannabis like the legitimate medicine that it is.  That one company will be the new world leader of insurance coverage.

For Ontarians on ODSP, there is a form called "Request for an Unlisted Drug Product" that some
people have used to get their Cannabis covered.  If you know anyone on ODSP, please share this form with them.  In addition to this, many patients on ODSP have gotten coverage for a vaporizer by asking their doctor to write them a recommendation to use one.  And lastly, if you have health coverage through work, ask if you have an "Health Spending Account".  These are offered through most major insurance companies and are one more opportunity for coverage.

In September, the government announced the new ACMPR and with it, the ability for patients to grow their own Cannabis.  I have friends who grow legally now and they boast a price per gram of .35 to .50 cents when grown outdoors. Perhaps a bit higher for indoor, but in reality, the best way to save money in this program is to grow your own cannabis.  Or in other words, practice some Horticultural Therapy!

This process to get legal to grow your own is as simple as 1-2-3:

1). Get an original Medical Document aka Prescription from a Doctor.
2). Complete and print the online application.
3). Mail these two to Health Canada.

It's important to note here that many Cannabis clinics are refusing to write grow-your-own prescriptions citing quality concerns even though the Supreme Court of Canada deems it safe.
Rest assured, other clinics are here for you.  For example, Canadian Cannabis Clinics respects your right to grow your own medicine.

In the meantime, many of the producers of our medical cannabis have stepped up with compassionate pricing discounts for we patients.  Depending on your provider, you could get from 10 to 30% off when you provide a NOA showing between $24k and $30k, but others are judging discounts on an individual basis.  Many offer discounts for anyone on government pension or assistance.  It's in your best interest to discuss these discounts with your producer's customer service people.  Discounts mean a happy and satisfied customer, the producers want this in you.

Here are links to the sites for the producers who offer compassionate pricing at this time:

ABcann - Aurora - Bedrocan - Broken Coast - Canna Farms - CanniMed - CannTrust - Delta 9 Bio Tech - Emerald - Maricann - MedReleaf - Mettrum - Organigram - Tweed

Let's switch now to how you can make your medicine last, thus saving money.  Whether they're paying $5 or $15 a gram, a lot of patients try to ration their medication by adding tobacco to it. Please don't do this.  What's the sense of saving money if you're harming your lungs?  This study from 1973 in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that cannabinoids dilate the bronchial by almost 40%.  If you're mixing tobacco with your cannabis, all of that nicotine and tar goes deep into the alveoli allowing for further damage and impairment.  What you can do though, is purchase trim from your producer.  Not all sell their trim, but some producers sell theirs for as little as $2.50 a gram!  No more mixing tobacco;  use trim instead.

For those of you non-smoking and non-vaping patients, the oil provided by the producers is a great choice but can be costly.  A one gram per day prescription allows you 3 bottles of this oil per month. Ranging from $95 to $185, that can add up fast.  It's much much more economical to make your own oil infusions.  All this means is that instead of buying the oil, you'll buy the desired strains of dried cannabis with the cannabinoid profile best suited to your health condition and with as much skill as it takes to bake cookies and make stew in a crock pot, you can have your very own cannabis infused oil. For those of us with mild pain levels, the trim mentioned above is a very affordable way to make butter or oil infusions to be used in cooking.  I've been making oil infusions for many years starting with stocks and stems.  It's all medicinal!  Here is a blogpost I wrote showing one of many simple ways to infuse the oil of your choice with Cannabis.

Another invention very worthy of mention here is the Magical Butter machine:  the bread-maker of cannabis infusions.  You literally toss it all in together and choose the appropriate setting and in 2 to 8 hours your medicine is infused.  Strain and medicate.

I have a friend with a lot of chronic pain that she legally treats with medicinal cannabis.  She went home one day in between errands with a friend so she could medicate.  As she stood in the kitchen munching on a muffin, her friend asked if she was going to medicate so they could get going.  She said, "yep ... I'm almost done."  She eats her medicine.  Every single day.  That's right, it's Canada circa 2016, we have a balanced parliament and we like to eat our cannabis!

I'm a legal medicinal cannabis patient and I struggle with the cost of my medicine every single month like so many of you.  I truly believe that the prices will soon begin to lower.  This industry of 35 players is growing fast and the bar for reasonable affordability is currently being decided as more and more of these producers routinely run out of $5 grams.  I say the patient has spoken, we need more $5 grams!

In the meantime, call your producer!  Ask them about their compassionate pricing discounts.  Ask questions of those in the know, read blogs and forums too.  To make sure you're buying the right strains for your condition, check out the Canvasrx site to see what the producers have to offer.  And finally, keep receipts of all things Cannabis so you can claim them on your taxes.

This transition will be costly, but taking back your own health is priceless.

Monday 17 October 2016

Change Your Default Thinking

I had another CBT session today and wow ... incredible sometimes.

When we think of ourselves, or when our self-esteem is considered, we all have sort
of a "default" way of seeing ourselves.

It's in the thoughts we have when we don't know we're thinking.

Most of us are now hyper critical of ourselves, so these thoughts
aren't often kind or encouraging.

My default is and has always been that....

I am wrong
I am stupid
I am less than
I am not enough

I don't show that here and that's why I love writing, but when
I'm told I've made an error, my default is that I'm a stupid
idiot who doesn't deserve the job.

And it happens in a fraction of a second, but no matter, the
corresponding emotion is now there and making me

less than
not enough

How do we fix the default?

That was the topic today.

Even if it takes writing love notes on the mirror with our old
lipstick, we have to tell ourselves that we are worthy and
love-able and knowledgeable and good.

No automatic alt text available.

We live in a world that shuns self love as bragging or narcissism
or pride.

We've made it a negative to be prideful.

Who ever thought that would be a good message?

And most of us will defend others long before we'll defend
ourselves, but I say stop that and be a cat.

You ever see a cat defend themselves?

It's quick
It's sure
It's immediate

Defend yourself and love yourself.
Congratulate yourself for being!

On paper I am this;  but in my mind I am that.

Get it on paper every single day then.

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Saturday 8 October 2016

Double-Standards Harm Society

I learned something sad this week.  I was speaking to an educated person on my city's addiction problems.

Did you know that every single over-dose death is reported as a suicide?
So does that mean Health Canada is unaware of how many over-dose deaths we see?

Even patients on methadone who try to catch a buzz or some relief with street cannabis are being murdered because the douchebags are lacing the cannabis with powdered fentanyl.

If cannabis were legal and sold in regulated shops, these people could continue on their addiction treatment AND enjoy some relaxingly therapeutic cannabinoid therapy.

Smoking anything may not be completely healthy, but life is full of unhealthy habits:

I can smoke cigarettes with 500+ man-made chemicals.

I can smoke cigars made with 3 different leaves selected for their high nicotine content.

I can smoke pipe tobacco that has chemically-made flavours, humectants to keep it moist, and antifungals to keep the moistness from molding!

And ... I can buy each of these and others in storefronts in every Canadian city.

But I can't buy the one smoke-able plant that by toxicity is still free from any historical death-toll.

Je ne comprend
I don't understand

I'm confused in both official languages.


Monday 3 October 2016

Are Indoor Growing Practices Creating Cannabis' Version of MRSA?

**This piece was published by Cannabis Life Network here.

The super sterilization of the medical industry has given us MRSA, methicilin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.  This is a stealthy bacterium that causes infections that are resistant to all of our antibiotics.  It's a strong little beast and is growing stronger every day as we continue to over-prescribe antibiotics, and consume meat from animals that have been fed antibiotics daily as preemptive care for illness.  It's said that a lot of the water in our Great Lake O is contaminated with many forms of antibiotics too.  They're everywhere, sterilizing stomachs and causing imbalances in our own flora every single day.

Nature has a balance.  Super-sterilization disrupts the balance lending power at times to the wrong micro-organism.  Our western system believes that it can win this fight, yet MRSA proves them wrong.  I believe that the super sterilization of how our medical cannabis is being produced is what has given us the need for gamma radiation and other pasteurization techniques used by our licensed producers.

Here's a thought, what if the plant knows we're trying to fool her.  What if her genetics are weakening because electric lumens aren't the same as the sun's rays.  Plant leaves filter the air.  What if we're starving her with our uber-filtered air that is void of anything nutritious?  Plants thrive on interacting with millions of microbes in the air.  As stated in one study, "Just like humans, plants have recently been recognized as meta-organisms, possessing a distinct microbiome and revealing close symbiotic relationships with their associated microorganisms".  It's thought that each specific species fulfills important functions for the host plant.  Can we really replicate that indoors for the host or its microbiome?

Most of our medicinal cannabis is grown in factories these days, warehouses with lots of dark corners for molds to grow.  The difference between growing here, and growing in a greenhouse is night and day;  natural and unnatural.  The Sun not only feeds the plant all that she needs at each hour of the day, but it also kills many harmful microorganisms that dare grow on her bud or leaves or in the air. The heat of Sun kills dangers in the soil as well.  The Sun is to the plant, what breast milk is to the babe.  It's what she's meant to have to thrive to her potential.  And here we are wasting time, effort, and hydro when the Sun shines for free.  It's high time that Cannabis growers all over Canada take back the great outdoors!

Fear and lack of education are to blame here, as they so often are.  The medicinal Cannabis regulations and its illegality are what push the human to do what's so unnatural;  hide the garden inside. These are regulations made from lack of research, lack of knowledge, and lack of foresight. We cannot fulfill Canada's need for medicinal cannabis by growing it indoors.  Not only is it not sustainable, but it's giving the patient inferior product that needs gamma radiation to make it safe to consume.

Come on Canada, we have great minds and green thumbs ... why aren't we using them?

Monday 12 September 2016

Today Our Cannabis; Tomorrow Your Garden

This post was published on the site "Cannabis Life Network"~ Today Our Cannabis;  Tomorrow Your Garden.

I sit here on my couch legal to use medicinal cannabis under the ACMPR (Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations).  I buy my cannabis through the mail now, tracked digitally as is the credit card payment for said regulated product.  I had hoped to be able to slow down on that, hoped I could grow my own as ruled by the Supreme Court of Canada.  It  never ever occurred to me or to any of my friends that we'd once again be stuck searching for a doctor to sign for us.  But here we are.

I got legal through a clinic called Canna Connect who have now decided across that board to refuse to sign anyone to do what our highest court has ruled is a human right.  I pay $5 a gram for my medicine and if I grew it, I could get that price down to $1 or less.  Others pay $8 to $15 as different medical conditions require different strains.  Imagine what your monthly medical cannabis bill would be if your condition were only helped by the cannabinoid ratio in a $15 strain.  It's not even like it costs that much more to grow that strain.  The seeds may be more rare and thus more costly, but when you're talking lights, water, and nutrients, one plant does not require that much more money to grow it when compared to another--time yes;  money no.

I was one of the lucky ones to get a year long prescription with no THC cap.  But if I want to grow my own cannabis, I risk running into a Doctor with more conservative ideas about what's safe and what's not.  I run the risk of having my daily dose lowered and being burdened with a THC cap where I would be forced to purchase strains having THC below a certain %, in turn making it even more difficult for me to find an affordable strain.  Tetrahydrocannabinol and I are buddies, I need no protection from this compound.  I sat last week with some comfort that at least I'll be able to find a designated grower to grow the strains I choose and sell to me at a reasonably agreed-upon price.  But the DG's too are searching for that document to send to Health Canada with their application to grow.

I grew up with gardening genius parents who still start hundreds of seeds indoors every February.  It starts in the basement and works it's way up to the window sills then eventually to the greenhouse and finally to the gardens.  What a process.  And one that my father and millions of Canadians have safely excelled at for hundreds of years.  What happens when the powers-that-be start taking away the right to grow Petunias and Marigolds, Tomatoes and Squash?  What if they win in convincing law-makers that growing any plant indoors is a hazard to our health and the framework of your property?  What if they say that you have to buy your seeds and plants from only certain authorized dealers?  What if they start controlling what you grow?  Sounds so awful doesn't it?  Welcome to our lives ... today our Cannabis plants;  tomorrow it could be your Tomatoes or your Cukes, herbs too.  The doctors are citing concerns of quality while activists are crying capitalism as this clearly places an almost contractible value on every patient's head.  In fact, this stance is completely counter to that of our Canada Health Act, which states:

"It is hereby declared that the primary objective of Canadian health care policy is to protect, promote and restore the physical and mental well-being of residents of Canada and to facilitate reasonable access to health services without financial or other barriers. 1984, c. 6, s. 3."

The good news is that some doctors are indeed signing, and applications to grow have indeed been approved.  But not quickly enough.  Patients in need of legal access to cannabinoid therapy are not getting legal quickly enough either.  We have an overly bureaucratized legalization and registration process for a plant that in terms of toxicity remains the safest and most versatile medicine known to man.  And frankly, it's putting Canadian lives in danger.

Health NOT Profit

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Coconut-Cannabis Alchemy~ Apartment Style

**** the oil from this process was fairly weak.  If you have been ingesting Cannabis or oil made with it for a while, you may want to increase the amount of product used.  If you are a brand new user or are planning on feeding this to your pet, this recipe is a safe place to start.

All Cannabis used was cured and stored using Boveda technology.  To read more about how
this salt-water slurry and the process of osmosis can keep your buds fresh & pungent, read here.

Infusing Cannabis into a fat is a surprisingly straight forward process.  It involves two distinct steps that rely on strict heat control and timing.  There are a bazillion different methods and for small batches I've come up with this one.  Mainly, you need to set aside about 4 hours of your time and voila ... you just made your own medicine.

Cannabinoids bind to any fat, I prefer coconut oil.  I made some oil a few nights ago in my small apartment.  It yielded me about half a cup of medicine that I take sublingually (under the tongue).

I used:

2 grams Cannabis buds
1.5 grams Cannabis trim
1/2 cup Coconut oil

You will also need:

Heat-safe gloves/mits
A double boiler or a crock pot.
medium sized mason jar (not needed if using a crock pot)
ceramic dish with lid (optional--helps keep odor in for apartment dwellers)
thermometer that goes over 200F
cheese cloth

The first process is called "decarboxylating" or "activating" your Cannabis:

To put it simply, in their natural form many of the medicinal cannabinoids in Cannabis are like jigsaw puzzle pieces that don't fit into our body's receptors.  Everything from sea sponges to humans have an endocannabinoid system~ a naturally-occurring system of receptors that accept this plant's compounds.  By burning or heating the Cannabis, you break off an excess piece of the jigsaw so now it easily fits.

For my fellow cooks, you're basically roasting here.  Pre-heat the oven to 250F.  While it heats, the Cannabis will exude an herby, almost onion-y scent.  Wrapping it in a little pouch of parchment paper definitely reduces the smell and also ensures even heating of the buds.

Break the buds apart with your fingers to cranberry sized pieces.  Many recipes tell you to grind, but there's a new train of thought suggesting that the cannabinoids leach out of the Cannabis more easily left intact than when ground into the organic material.  Halfway through the Coconut oil simmer, the buds easily mash up with pressure from a wooden spoon.

Place the parchment pouch inside a ceramic or glass baking dish with a lid (or foil in a pinch).
Roast for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, melt 1/2 cup Coconut oil in a mason jar.  If using a crock pot, you'd melt the oil in there first.  Watch the temps on crock pots as they can get pretty warm even on the 'keep warm' mode. Ideally, we don't want our oil to rise above about 200*F or we risk losing some of our active compounds.

Add your "activated" Cannabis.  At this point, I took the mason jar out of the
water and placed it into the ceramic dish so that if any buds fell too quickly,
they would be in that dish and easy to scoop out. Obviously, much easier if 
using a crock pot.

Halfway through, remove the oil from the double boiler and gently mash the
buds around to allow for effective leaching.

Simmer for 3 hours being careful that water doesn't boil dry underneath (kept
at #5 on my stove-top burner.)
Use a thermometer and ensure that the oil doesn't go above 220F.
The double boiler is a control measure as it's difficult to get the oil above 210F
or so.  At this point, the Cannabinoids need more time than heat to leach out into
the fat.

Strain when oil is cool enough to ring out with hands.
I always keep the bud in a waste-not-want-not fashion.  I usually add it to
my next batch.  It keeps for a long time in your fridge in a baggie.

And ... voila!  All you need now is a dropper/syringe measuring ml's.
Start low and go slow.  Dose on a full or partially full stomach.
Start by taking .25 ml held under the tongue and held for 30 seconds, then swallowed.
Wait 2 hours and judge how you feel.  Wait 4-6 hours before re-dosing at this point.

You can start increasing often when needed by .05 intervals until you reach the
proper dose.  This could take several days.  Go slow!  Each of us must find that
sweet spot.  If you cannot stand the taste,  gelatin caplets can be purchased online
or at any health food store.

As always.... comments, questions, and suggestions welcome in the comment section!

"It's home-made, so it'll be better!"--my 13 year old niece & future Masterchef, Madelyn.

Tuesday 2 August 2016

It's Time to Unite the Two Worlds: Western Medicine & Cannabinoid Medicine

**This post was published on the site "Cannabis Life Network" here.

There's a side effect to this thing we see happening in healthcare today.  People are learning that Cannabis is medicine and the doctors aren't all so eager to agree.  It's no wonder, who is teaching them?  The thing of which I speak, is the growing distrust or animosity between doctor and patient. This bad relationship makes the patient lie to the doctor.  I know of hundreds of patients who started ingesting cannabis and didn't tell their doctors.  Until tumors started shrinking, and vomiting subsided.  When the tests start coming back showing improvements, it's not easy to keep calm and quiet.

The side effect is healing and this healing comes from the conjunction of these two amazing forms of medicine:  western medicine and cannabinoid medicine.

I believe as so many do, that the relationship between a healer and their patient should be sacred.  It should be gut-wrenchingly honest and truthful.  It should always and only be for the good of the patient where he or she takes part in deciding every single aspect if they can, and the healer should be eager to comply.

This relationship transmutes over time to teacher and student as the healer must advise and instruct us;  help us understand why our bodies are doing this.  But they should be eager to listen, to learn, to know how the medicine made us feel.  They also learn from us.  We at times are the teacher and they the student.  Or at least it was like this at one time.

Of course, many of we patients are tired of the pills and have disclosed our cannabis use to our doctors.  What I think has happened is that many medical doctors haven't then disclosed to Health Canada that their patients admitted to using cannabis, leaving us with a health ministry that has no idea how many illegal medical cannabis users Canada really has.  Should that question be part of the census?  It pertains to our health after all.

I wonder how many doctors there are who have success stories tucked away in personal files in their office?  Have they ever told Health Canada about the patients who swear that cannabis heals?  Or would the patient-doctor confidentiality thing hinder the transfer of this crucial information?  This is confusing because I keep hearing about all of these success stories and you think, surely that doctor has enough clout with Health Canada to get them to study it!  One doctor, two doctors, three doctors, four.

Thing is, we're having great success when cannabis oil is consumed during cancer treatments. It goes above quelling nausea and raising appetite, cannabinoids are protecting the body from the chemo. Cannabis has been shown in studies and in anecdotal evidence to make opioids work better, allowing the patient to lower their dose.  Crohn's patients are being put into remission every day.  Certain cannabinoids lower inflammation so the medicine can get to where it needs to be.  I have friends with MS and Fibromyalgea who simply would not be able to live the active life that they live if it weren't for cannabinoid therapy.  These are all people who have tried the gamut of pharmaceutical options and found that they didn't work for their biology,

I know of a little boy named Liam whose Dravet's syndrome is managed today with cannabis oil alone.  He's one of our youngest legal MMPR patients.  Mommy makes the oil with cannabis grown by the legal growers.  Oh what this little boy's experience with pharmaceuticals alone, could teach the medical industry.

I know of little girl named Mykayla whose Lymphoblastic Leukemia is in remission today because her parents started giving her whole plant cannabis oil alongside her chemotherapy.  She went into remission a mere six days after her first caplet of this dark and gooey concentrate.

If I could have every healer's ear for a moment I would say this:  You're missing out on miracles!!

You're missing out on watching plant compounds annihilate cancer cells.  You're missing out on watching cannabis oil stop seizures in their tracks by simply rubbing it on kids' gums.  You're missing out on chronic pain sufferers and trauma sufferers regaining the ability to feel emotions again with Cannabis when they stop or lessen opioids and anti-anxiety meds.  You're missing out on Crohn's patients going into remission for the first time ever.

And yet ... Health Canada still doesn't recognize Cannabis as medicine.

Calling all doctors, surgeons, shamans, nurses and nurse practitioners too ... hurry up, you're missing out on miracles.

Monday 25 July 2016

The Squeaky Wheel

I've been emailing and blogging to my parliamentary reps
and my mayor for months now.

I wasn't sure if they were reading,
I wasn't sure if they were annoyed.

But I'm an over-communicator so that's what I do.
Well guess what?  That's what they want us to do!

I just got off the horn with my MPP Sophie Kiwala's office.
She appreciates my input and is asking for more.

If you're not in the cannabis law reform movement, it may as
well be a cult.  Media separates the users as though we're a different

But we're not. We are one. Unite!

Our reps love, feel loss, hope for the future too.

It would truly suck to be the leader hearing silence behind you.

This symbiotic relationship needs both of us to come to work,
to listen and learn, and to feel what each of us feels.

We are all crucial spokes in the wheel of legalization.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease ....

Raise your squeak, we can't hear you yet!

Monday 18 July 2016

Cannabinology: A New Medical Specialty?

There's some bitterness towards the white coats of late,
I have felt it, written about it, let it burn in my gut.

But these days I've been assessing things a bit more.  I've been
looking at things through their eyes, and I've been lucky
enough to meet a few docs who are as thirsty for knowledge
as I am.

For instance, my prescribing doctor asked me how to turn buds into oil.

He asked me the entire process of decarboxylating the THC, the temps,
the times, the oils I use .... this all happened AFTER he legalized me for
one full year at 3 grams a day.

He then asked about ABV cannabis (abv=already been vaped).

He said he had just been at a conference where they were
discussing it.  So there I went on a shpeal about using every
bit that you can, in tree-hugging waste-not-want-not fashion.

That one doctor, and my own GP who said "he thinks he'll learn a
lot from me", have instilled hope in me that healers do still exist.

I have three healers now. One is green and two are not.  But
that doesn't make them any less awesomely shamanic to me.

And I now completely understand why my young general practitioner
"wasn't comfortable recommending medical marijuana to me at this time".

He knows NOTHING about cannabis other than what yours truly has printed
out and given to him to read.

Him signing for me would have been like the plumber signing my electrical
ticket on my word alone.

Most white-coats work a lot of hours.  They got a lotta bills.
That white coat wasn't cheap.

So when are they supposed to learn about cannabinoid medicine?

Maybe they don't need to after all.

Maybe we just need specialists and to give an overall knowledge course
on the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid medicine in med school.

Not every doc knows how to treat cancer, there are oncologists.
Not every doc knows how to treat the digestive system, there are gastroenterologists.
Not every doc knows how (or should even try) to treat mental illness, there is psychiatry
and psychotherapists.

See what I mean?

Do we want to muddie the knowledge?

I think Cannabinoid Therapy deserves its own specialty.

Wednesday 13 July 2016

Canada Post Strike Profits Street Dealers

Many thousands of Canadians get their medicinal cannabis through the mail these days, and this
Canada Post strike has been a hot-topic.  My experience with CP has been shitty to say the least and so I really didn't think Purolator could be much worse.  But I spoke too soon.

I sit today, day three of waiting for my cannabis to be delivered by Purolator.  I ordered Saturday and the shipping label was created Monday.  My sweet buds of medicine have been "In Transit" since mid-Monday.  It's now late Wednesday.

Here's the issue:  Purolator, unlike Canada Post offers seven levels of priority that you can request and of course pay extra for.  That's seven choices above the standard shipping choice I chose on Saturday.  At that time, I could have raised my shipping rate from $10 to $30 for a package weighing less than a pound.  But I didn't because I didn't know I had to.  None of us did.

Of course Purolator has a handy tracking system that for me and my order, is stuck at "In Transit" and the last time it was logged in was Monday when it "arrived at sort facility" in Toronto.  My big fear is that it sits there with all of its buddies waiting for a ride home.  I bet they stink up the place too, stinky little trichome-coated flowers.  I'm afraid that these packages of factory-grown cannabis have been set aside as low-priority and will stay that way until Purolator gets caught up.

I feel that once again medicinal cannabis users have been left in the dark.

I wonder when the great minds at Health Canada considered the impact of the Canada Post strike on patients in the MMPR, did they consider how those seven priority shipping levels would effect us? That means that seven other groups of packages are taking priority over ours.  Likely Am@zon orders for all we know, while orders carrying medicinal cannabis sit and wait like hopeful passengers on the last-minute seat-sale list.

All they told us was to expect delays.  What did that mean?  Stock up?  How are we supposed to legally stock up to avoid delays in delivery when our medicine is only legal when delivered by mail?

This is medicine!!!  This is REPLACING pharmaceuticals for almost every one in the program.  If we all had to buy our meds online, I would imagine Health Canada would be forewarning patients to priority post their orders so they don't miss any doses.  At least that would have been the responsible thing to do.

Thanks Health Canada for misinforming us all again.  Thanks for allowing the Licensed Producers to decide on their own which courier companies they'll use, effectively creating such a huge increase of volume for some, that this headache occurs.  Thanks for not recognizing this as medicine though you allow LP's to export to countries who do.

The MMPR is an effort at control without the foresight of effective construct or regulation.  I sit here at 4 pm wondering if the big red and white truck will come to my building before 5 pm.  Or will I have to step once again into my criminal skin and call my buddy to help me out?  This strike is going to profit the street dealers, the very people regulation is supposed to starve.

Safe access?   Try no access or .... lost in the mail.

Tuesday 12 July 2016

My Mail-Order Cannabis is Lost in the Mail .... Again.

We really need storefronts, even ones selling LP cannabis.

Soon I hope, it will be just another way to buy your plant.

My legal medicinal cannabis is sweating its trichs off as we speak,
jostling around in the back of the courier truck.

I ordered Saturday. I thought I had enough time.
I always think I have enough . . . . . .

This has to stop guys.

Hey, all you current and past antidepressant users:
imagine that you had to order your meds a few days in advance
and that you had to wait around all day for days afterwards just
to be sure you don't miss that delivery.

Imagine knowing that you're gonna get the dt's. That's a great
feeling, isn't it? Like waiting for the nightmare to begin.
Cuz we all know what happens when you miss a dose
or a day of doses of any medication.

Now, missing doses of cannabis doesn't really leave us with
dt's. But it's the moments without that show you how valuable
this plant's medicine is.

Stress and worry brings the negative bias out.
Stress and worry brings the stomach juices out.
Stress and worry brings the krakken out.

If Medreleaf had a storefront in town, I could walk over right now.

This is not safe access.

Sunday 10 July 2016

Non-Adherence to Employment Standards Harms the Economy

I'm a call-taker at a local taxi company.  I get 32 hours every weekend.  Last Friday, I woke to a spinning room and called in to see if anyone could cover that shift.  The acting office manager returned my call saying she covered that shift and covered my Saturday and Sunday shifts as well. Apparently, my employer feels that they have the right to do this, though employment standards disagrees.  I begged for those hours back, guaranteeing I would be able to come in, to no avail.

Because of this, my pay was short.  Because of that my rent was short.  Now I'm sure one late tenant will not bankrupt Homestead, but as you can see, an employer's non-adherence to the labor laws affects more than just the employees.

Ontario's Employment Standards operate on a complaint basis.  There is no oversight to ensure hard-working employees are treated fairly and lawfully.  Instead, adherence is only enforced if and when an employee files a complaint.  The complaint process is anything but simple and almost always ends with the employee being fired, though the law disagrees with that as well.

The problems are many, and like many other problems, they are due to lack of education.  Most employees don't know the standards, most managers don't know the standards, and most employers don't know that the standards apply to them.  Labor laws are what separate Canada from countries where employees have no rights, and yet they seem to be optional here.

One would assume that upon starting a business, a person would have to educate themselves on all things lawful in business.  But they don't.  It seems that anyone can be a manager these days.  It takes no training to manage others day in and day out?

So why is the employer more important to law-makers than the employee?  We are the many.  We are the front line of their business responsible for the day-to-day transactions with their loyal patrons. We're not important enough for oversight?

What happens is a lot like parenting.  As an employee you choose your battles.  I work 12 hour shifts and I should by law get two un-paid half hour breaks and two paid 15 minute breaks.  But I don't.  I get one paid half hour break and the ability to get up and go to the loo when I want.  And that's it.
I choose my battles because it could be worse elsewhere.  Isn't that a sad state of affairs?

So while many of us stretch paychecks to make ends meet, we're too often faced with less than we're due.  How many rent or mortgage payments are late or low because of broken employment standards?  How much credit card interest is tacked on because we can't make the full payment each month?  How many medications are rationed because we can't afford the whole month's pills?  How many purchases are not made because employers are breaking laws and effecting your income to build up their own?  The answer is, "far too many".  Far too many of us have employers who don't know the law and if they do know it, they don't follow it.  And the ministry has no idea.  The only way they'd know, is if I or YOU voice these facts.  The shunning of employment law is hindering our precious economy.  And we're letting it happen.

Is employment standards a worthlessly inefficient and ineffective ministry?  Yes in my opinion it is. The entire program relies on self-regulation, and we all know how well that works for the people.  In true blog form, I have no answers to give, I'm only hear to tell my tale.  But as I sit here and mentally prepare myself to go to into this hell-hole, I just keep thinking . . . . . . .

....this is Canada ... we are more than this!

Friday 8 July 2016

Thoughts on Police Shootings

Melancholy flows through me today, leaking down my cheeks.

It's that feeling of defeat.
. . . . that feeling of helplessness.
 . . . . . . . . . . . that feeling of giving in.

Powerlessness is my kryptonite, the one thing that keeps me down.

From here, I feel impotent to act.
I can only post hashtags of #peace ... hashtags of #equality.

In full transparency, I feel it all.

I feel the rage that pulled those triggers,
I feel the angst that fueled that wrath.

But from here in Canada, I also feel like hiding, like ignoring, like waiting for it to be over.

And I could do that.  I still could.   But I can't.

My family watched "The Help" at Xmas with my 12 year old niece.

We paused it many times to explain this racism thing, explaining it in full and honest detail.

We felt we could be direct with her because racism is a part of our past.

We've once again proven that it's very much alive in 2016.

New hashtag . . . .  #PrayingForPeace

Wednesday 6 July 2016

My Request to My MPP to Announce Bill 12: Protecting Employees' Tips Act

Attn Sophie Kiwala, MPP for Kingston and the Islands:

Hi there,

Below is a link to the announcement of a very important bill that effects servers and bartenders in our awesome city.  A friend of mine has worked at a very popular and long-standing restaurant on Princess street for many years.  According to my friend and others who have worked there, every single server agrees to pay 1% of total sales in cash to the owner each shift.  Cash means there's no record of that transaction.  My friend estimates she's given up thousands of dollars to her employer over the years.  The reason given is as insurance for possible dine & dash incidents and for breakage of plates and glasses.  This is a VERY common practice all over Kingston and all over Ontario and has been for years and years.

As of June 10th, this practice is illegal.  They can require you tip-out to co-workers, but they can
no longer take money from you for what is deemed as 'business expenses'.

But does anyone know this?  Have the servers been paying this every shift since June 10th?  Do the restaurant owners who do this, know that it's now illegal?  Or is the entire thing at the discretion of the employee to report any incidents to employment standards, risking their job status?

Here is an announcement from a group called "Restaurants Canada", but does anyone really
read those announcements let alone follow them?  Were business-owners notified by any governmental agencies about this huge change?

I think you should make an announcement Sophie.  Our city thrives because of our servers and bartenders ... the heart of our incredible and world-renowned food and beverage industry.  They
work incredibly hard serving the every whim of tourists and locals, solidifying Kingston's reputation as a great place to vacation on Lake O.  They deserve our support and they deserve every penny of gratuity that they receive.

In my opinion, it's shameful that servers and bartenders get paid less than minimum wage.  Being paid a fair wage should not be dependent on the customer.  So, the fact that some also have to give up a portion to pay for the "business needs" of their place of employment is asinine to me.

I hope you consider making an announcement to inform all of those involved.  In reality, informing the business-owners now will prevent the on-flux of employment standards claims we're surely going to see.

Thanks for hearing me out Sophie ... Kingston and area is lucky to have you!

Friday 1 July 2016

TD Bank Funds Assault Rifle Manufacturers

Around the time of the Wall Street protests, there began a big push all over social media to leave your bank and join a credit union.  I was with TD at the time.  When I got to the counter and told the smiling clerk that I wanted to close my account, she just nodded and punched the keyboard.  I was so nervous.  I almost lost my courage to give her the shpeal, until an older man beside me asked to close his account as well.  I took that as a sign, and, with shaking voice I told the poor teller something like "I am closing down my account in protest of the poor practices and gross capitalism of TD."  I had rehearsed it as I walked across the field to the bank that day, feeling like maybe I could be a droplet in the ocean who's tiny waves push change.

The next day I joined a local credit union where a portion of my initial deposit purchased a certain number of stocks therein.  I now own a wee minuscule portion of my bank.  My fees are about a third what they were.  I was given overdraft of $500, and they helped me re-establish my credit rating.

I knew TD was evil like the others, pissing and moaning about potential losses and then suddenly posting massive profits.  I knew that they all profit from our need.  Our monthly shortfalls becoming their bread n' butter.  One transaction fee at a time.  But I had no idea that they were this evil.

I learned this today with my niece when we walked downtown.  There was one lone man educating people about this in front of the TD Bank.  (Brave~ you'd never do that in the U.S.)  My niece is a curious 13 and a nosey people watcher so she wanted to know what it was about too.  It seems that Toronto Dominion Bank led the pack in a June 2015 deal that gave up to $280 million in loans to the gun-maker Smith & Wesson.  These maniacs and feeders to the NRA, are the same gun maker that supplied far too many of the recent mass shootings.  And for those of you who believe some of those were staged, that matters none.  These rifles were used, means nothing to me who uses them.

And I'm not here to demand that any of you surrender your weapons.  I know there's a purpose for guns.  I grew up in a major hunting community.  My father owned guns, though he didn't use them much.  I had horses and believe you me, if any animal had threatened them I would not have hesitated to act.  I don't even have a problem with handguns when they're purchased properly.  But there is no purpose for any citizen to own or need an assault rifle in my opinion.  Their entire purpose is to annihilate their target.  These guns were made for war.  Regulation has to tighten in my opinion, and for my American readers, I know your 2nd Amendment is in your DNA and I respect that.  But even that mentions a "well regulated militia".

Here's the thing with me, you may be like this too.  There are very few things that I can control nowadays.  My word, my actions, and how I spend my money.  Our dollar is our voice.  For instance, I refuse to buy anything apple because of how they treat their employees.  I refuse to buy anything JoeFresh because of the poor Bangledeshi women who were crushed to death a few years ago, who's family got zero compensation.  I now refuse to drink Starbucks after they recently came out in full support of Mons*nto's fight against GMO labeling.  If I had time, I'd give you all links for these examples, but I don't have time.  My point is, where you bank is included in that little bit of power you have.  Use it.  Own stocks in your bank! Pay fewer frikken fees!  All credit unions offer similar products as banks and all report to credit bureaus so it's truly a win-win for you.  I just find that at my credit union, my detriment is their concern, not how they profit.

As the fellow activist I met today implied with his hand-made sign, TD is a BLOODBANK.
When I mentioned the possibility of blogging about this he looked skeptical.  Not all do this for fun I guess :-)  I gave him a card so he can check me out though and perhaps he would oblige us with even more info about this disgusting revelation in the comments below.

You put your hard earned money into a big bank and they use it for whatever purpose they see fit.  If
that matters to you, switch to a credit union.  Your dollar is your voice.