Wednesday 19 April 2017
I pride myself on being a fairly waste-not-want-not person. I like to reuse, regrow, repurpose, or redistribute any time I can. After many months' batches of Cannabis oil, I had quite a collection of little balls of cheesecloth filled with oily plant material. Each had a different shade based on leaf to bud content or time in the oven decarboxylating. I decided to practice some alchemy.
Alchemy, noun: "a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life." ~Merriam Webster Dictionary
My pooch is gettin up there in years. By the 7x dog to human conversion, Molly would be 70 years young. She's spry for her age, likely because she's been on the herbal for about four years now. Aside from second-hand Cannabis smoke and the odd stem or nug she may eat off the floor in the smoking room, we've been giving her Cannabis oil for several years now.
Thunderstorms and fireworks are Molly's kryptonite. Oh, and the monthly fire alarm test. She would sit vibrating for hours sometimes. But now, she immediately goes and stands by the cabinet where I keep the oil and waits to be given her dose. If I don't see her, she'll stomp in place tapping with her nails til I look. Within 20 minutes, she's grabbing her ball to play.
Cannabis improves Molly's quality of life.
I decided to take the left over and now oil soaked Cannabis mashes and mix them with some turmeric for its incredible anti-inflammatory powers and peanut butter to please the patient. In my trusty double boiler I added all ingredients with some added coconut oil to manage consistency.
1+ cup Cannabis mash
2 Tbsp Creamy Peanut Butter
Mix together well and heat on low until desired consistency, that being like thick gravy. Coconut oil hardens at room temperature and these will be stored in the fridge. Pour out into a baking pan or tupperware dish and store overnight in fridge. Portion accordingly starting with very small pieces until you know the effects.
I don't imagine there is much THC in the mash but there are other compounds that sedate like Cannabinol or CBN. This cannabinoid is actually the result of age and oxidization of THC. So there are times and for some conditions where the older, dryer, and shakier the product you're using, the better. The research is still out as to how long you'd have to leave your buds to oxidize before conversion takes place. Add that to the list of needed studies. People suffer needlessly daily due to sleep problems and insomnia. Cannabis can help.
***This article and the products referred to herein, is Molly approved.
Wednesday 12 April 2017
A dog barks three blocks away and Sarah suddenly wakes. Like bubbles rising slowly up the side of a glass of pop, her consciousness comes to. Within seconds she remembers that tomorrow is a work day and the tsunami begins. In a rush it starts below her stomach and up into her heart--it feels like it skips a beat. She's now wide awake, feels like she's drowning, must breath purposefully and deeply. Soon begins the nausea and that dull, unwavering ache deep in her stomach, pushing on her lungs.
Sarah used to suffer badly and she still suffers, but at least now she's found something that will help her in the moment, whichever moment it happens to be. The pills they prescribe for anxiety are oftentimes overly sedative and addictive. And one wonders, how can one medication treat all of the many opposing symptoms that come along with an anxiety diagnosis?
As Sarah learned very quickly through this investigation into medicinal Cannabis, the Canna she uses to treat the anxiety she feels at 3 am is not the same Canna she should use to treat her anxiety at 8 am. Sarah's early early morning anxiety requires Tetrahydrocannabidiol to put her thoughts to bed. While her before work anxiety requires Cannabidiol or CBD only because CBD is an anxiolytic, meaning it treats anxiety.
For we anxiety sufferers, this revelation of separating these two medicinal compounds for certain situations was life altering. And for many of us, the process is simply putting different Canna in the bowl, vape, doob, or drop of oil. No big deal!
And of course, it's not quite this simple either. I mean, all of the magic in the Cannabis plant is not only due to these two cannabinoids. There's a whole supporting cast, a whole team of back up singers, a band of brass or woodwinds. And, those two cannabinoids do behave differently when in the company of different ratios of these oftentimes silent partners in the healing. Most mornings, Sarah chooses a CBD only sativa dominant strain or the Oil made thereof. The terpenes and other cannabinoids in a sativa helps to wake her up and begin to think about things other than barfing. While at 3 am she'll choose an indica dominant strain to sedate the body and induce sleep.
The Canna-World is evolving so quickly and mad-scientist/ tree-huggers are seed-breeding their little hearts out creating new ratios of indica/sativa dominance in the Cannabis you can buy. In doing this, they're almost custom making medicine hand-in-hand with Mother Nature. Now, that's a team I'd like to be on!
Tuesday 11 April 2017
I work in a clinic that assesses patients for medical cannabis. Our doctors also respect your right to grow. The gardeners are coming out of the woodwork to partake in some horticultural therapy. A patient was given a grow script a few weeks ago and in conversation about growing asked me how a person avoids getting mold, mildew, or spider mites. I told her plainly from my own limited experience but also the knowledge I'd been given by friends and articles I've read that you can keep any botanical ailment at bay with careful daily inspection.
I grew up in rural Farmerville Ontario with horses, so I learned a lot about animal husbandry. At some point in time I was told an old adage that is more like a way of life than a mere saying:
"The farmer's eye fattens the cow."
The best farmers spend time with their animals getting to know each one. These are humans who see farming as a partnership not a master-dominant industry. And just like cattle, ensuring your green Goddesses are healthy requires among others, two major things: time and your attention.
This is one of the main reasons why I herald the new home cultivation rules of the ACMPR. Not only is growing therapy for the grower, but it saves us money too. Some are worried that the average Canadian can't grow this plant safely but growing 5 to 20 plants is much different than growing enough plants to fill a factory! Careful daily inspection is a bit harder to perform when you're talking about 100's of plants. And outside in the sterilizing rays of the ultra violet Sun mold is not the same problem that it is inside a factory. The Sun kills the harmful microorganisms while it gives power and vigor to others that feed on them! Any time we can take the strain off of the legal producer program, it's a good thing. And growing your own leaves you with so many more usable parts of the plant! From leaf to root there's medicine.
Growing can also be purely selfish and that's okay too. Great effort must have some reward or it would never be repeated. There is therapy in sharing energy with a plant such as Cannabis. It grows like it's its job! Each cycle growers revel in the sheer speed of growth seen by many strains out there. Others treat gardening like a courtship, getting to know each plant's evolving personal watering preferences. Weeks later they harvest and repeat the whole thing over again. It reminds me of the construction and then the destruction ritual of the Tibetan Sand Mandalas.
There is ritual in that cycle of life however bounteous the harvest. The time a Cannabis grower invests in his or her crop can often be immeasurable though. But the benefits of the time spent can be therapy that evens it all out in the end. One gardening rule stays: the closer the attention, the better the outcome.
Monday 3 April 2017
Millions of Canadians are prescribed medications that are paid for by insurance coverage. For many of them, this coverage is what allows them to take the prescriptions their doctors prescribe, as they simply couldn’t afford them otherwise. Coverage encourages prescription compliance, and the studies are there to prove it.
In 2012, CMAJ published an article that researched the effect of cost on adherence to prescription medications in Canada. They found that approximately 1 in 10 Canadians report cost as being a reason they don’t fill their prescriptions. When they considered respondents with insurance coverage, their findings were clear, “After multivariate adjustment, we found that lacking insurance for prescription drugs was associated with a more than fourfold increase in the odds of cost-related nonadherence.” There are even statistics that show a direct correlation between co-pay fees and adherence. The lower the co-pay, the more likely that prescription will get filled.
As more and more retirees show interest in cannabinoid therapy, they’re faced with the shocking truth that switching from pharmaceuticals to Cannabis means a few hundred dollars out-of-pocket a month. That's a hard pill to swallow when you've had almost everything covered for years. Cost is a definite roadblock for many who want to try Cannabinoid therapy. Not so single-payer after all eh?
Statistics from 2012 state that 2.3 million working-age Canadians were on disability, a quarter of which were considered severe. Cannabinoid therapy works very well for many severe disabilities like chronic pain, Fibromyalgia, MS, some cancers even. So as it stands today, if any of these income-limited citizens wants to try cannabinoid therapy they have to pay for it out of their disability payments. Many juggle food and medicine each month, rationing everything at all times. This undoubtedly affects country-wide healthcare costs. As long as Health Canada refuses to consider medical cannabis a medicine, both patients on disability and patients with insurance coverage will have to pay out of pocket for their cannabis.
Insurers say they cannot cover our medical marijuana prescriptions because Cannabis has no drug identification number (DIN). And, at least by the standards Western medicine has set thus far, they’re right. Is this one little acronym going to keep safer medicine out of the hands of Canadians?
Upon further inspection I learn that the DIN has much less to do with how the drug affects you, and much more to do with tracking, categorizing, and marketing. The number itself is computer generated and upon search, will tell you everything from the manufacturer to the mode of administration. But since a DIN is granted only after testing is done, the DIN in effect, ensures that the product has undergone sufficient testing. You see the problem. No one wants to pay for studies on something that they’re not going to reverse engineer. And as far as the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled, we have the right to use this plant however we see fit (aside from using organic solvents).
Pharmaceutical companies spend millions proving the safety, efficacy, and detriment of the chemical concoctions they sell. But with successful medicines, these companies reap the rewards. If most LP’s deem themselves a part of this industry, shouldn’t we expect the same from them? It must be choking for some pharmaceutical companies who only sell pills, to see certain LP’s posting profits, hiring celebrities, buying mobile units, and trading on the stock market for selling something that they spent no funds to prove or create. Who else would we expect should pave the way to not only societal acceptance through studies, but to attain insurance coverage for their patients?
We seem to be at a standstill in Canada where studies are concerned. So many are done on animals not humans. So many are done in other countries, where standards differ from our own. But who better to perform these crucial human studies than the ones who have all the plant product! They’re literally growing more every day! And as time flies by, some of these LP’s are even opening storefronts where information and assistance can be attained. Those outlets would be a great place for data recovery and study product distribution. Sort of like study headquarters for participants to report to. All under the strict guidelines that the ACMPR demands of the Licensed Producers.
From a Licensed Producer’s viewpoint, I want you to adhere to your doctor’s authorization, and have a recurring monthly order with me. But from a patient perspective who sees the prices LP’s charge, I can tell you that isn’t likely to happen every month. ACMPR patients supplement their medicine by buying elsewhere, meaning the LP’s are missing out on revenue. Putting in the time, resources, and might that is required to legitimize this medicine to the point of insurance coverage is good for their bottom line. Insurance coverage encourages compliance, and Cannabis compliance may just have more to do with convenience than with price or quality.
Like Pharmaceutical companies, Licensed Producers just want the bill paid. If a DIN or the equivalent thereof is required for that to occur, it just seems logical that the Licensed Producers themselves be the ones to foot that bill. I foresee a CDIN (Cannabinoid Drug Identification Number) perhaps grouped by ailment identifying ranges of cannabinoids and terpenes found therein. Or one umbrella DIN to cover the whole team.
In the end I believe that this DIN argument is simply a foot-dragging attempt to delay progress. Someone is profiting, so why change the status quo? Because the status quo isn’t benefiting the average Canadian. When we adhere to our prescriptions, the country’s health care costs go down. We need to demand coverage for all insured and all those on social assistance. We know what needs to be done.