CannaVans, A solution to Medical Marijuana

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Q: How do you get around federal law that prohibits researching medical marijuana? A: You drive to it with Cannavans, of course.

University of Colorado-Boulder is using CannaVan, a mobile laboratory, to research the effects of medical marijuana. Scientists drive the van to house calls and tests patients in their van. This eliminates having to request for on-site laboratories that are more expensive and require funding from the government.

“Instead of being able to bring the cannabis to the lab, we bring the lab to the people,” Cinnamon Bidwell, an Assistant Professor at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Cognitive Science and lead investigator of the study said to CBS Denver.

The Colorado Department of Public Health has given the university a $839,500 grant to study the effects of high potency cannabis. They have tested medical marijuana users on their motor skills and cognitive abilities, comparing the effects before and after they have taken marijuana. Marijuana is bought by the medical marijuana users themselves, who use it at their homes before they get into the van to be inquired by the team of researchers.

The research team said they are not prepared to release any findings yet, due to still needing more time to finalize reports.

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Breast Enlargement With Weed, Without Surgery


Here’s some good news for ladies who’d like to have their breasts enhanced without surgery. A side effect of marijuana may be a cause of breast enlargement or gynecomastia, which is greek for “woman-like breasts.” On the flip side, most men do not consider feminine breasts a blessing, but cannabis may have the same effect on them. Some men are reportedly suffering from the condition and having their breasts reduced through painful surgery.

One of the most common reasons for enlarged breasts is the use of marijuana according to a report by The Washington Post. Paul G. Ruff IV,  a Washington cosmetic surgeon who specializes in treating gynecomastia, said that men from 18-35 years are suffering from the condition due to  frequent use of pot. Ruff said that marijuana is an estrogen stimulator and could affect areas like breasts tissues.

Besides excessive pot use, other causes of enlarged breasts are due to a hormonal imbalance, but it can be induced from using prescription drugs.


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Epilepsy CBD Treatment Launched in Texas


A CBD oil by the name of “Zeltor” will be ready for sales in Texas as a treatment for a rare condition of epilepsy called “intractable epilepsy.”

Scott Klenet, spokesman for Cansortium Texas, said Zeltor would cost $90 for 30-milliliter of Zeltor containing 600 milligrams of CBD. Another dispensary, called the Compassionate Cultivation, is also planning on a brand of CBD oil, which will have neutral, cherry, and mint flavor, reports American-Statesman.

The Epilepsy Foundation Texas said the number of Texans with intractable epilepsy is around 150,000 people, but only a few Texan doctors have registered to prescribe CBD. This is largely due to worries about federal law and doubts about whether CBD is effective.

Three dispensaries were granted licenses under Texas’s 2015 medical cannabis law, called the Compassionate Use Act.

There were doubts whether the CBD oils would launch after the doom of Jeff Sessions rescinding the Cole Memo, but it doesn’t seem to have deterred the people that really need the treatment. Companies and consumers understand the fact that CBD oil will be sold to patients in Texas sooner or later.

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Meet Dr. Knox


If you’re struggling to find a medical marijuana clinic that doesn’t treat you like the DMV, then visit the American Cannabinoid Clinic. Dr. Rachel Knox is the proud owner and founder of this patient focused clinic. 

Medical marijuana is still illegal under federal law, making it difficult for doctors and researchers to study it. Knox is finding alternative ways to research and truly understand the benefits of cannabis.  She delves into the “endocannabinoid system” to understand more about how receptors in the body and brain react to cannabis and regulate liver function and the production of insulin, reports Washington Post.

“We want our patients to come to us for guidance, not this card,” Rachel Knox said to Washington Post, “We’re not here to see a patient every five minutes.” Instead of leaving it up to patients to decide for themselves whether to use edibles or smoke marijuana, she may suggest alternatives such as vaporizing.

This is a family run operation for the Knox family in Portland, Oregon. With her husband and two sisters, she hopes to change medical marijuana by establishing professional standards that are hard to find in most medical marijuana clinics. While there’s more money in cycling through patients, Rachel Knox and her family focus efforts on consulting their patients to maximize all benefits of treatment. 

Knox retired from anesthesiology, then got a job writing prescriptions for medical marijuana, but knew nothing about marijuana. Although she studied at the University of California at Berkeley, she was not properly trained to prescribe marijuana. She decided to study medical marijuana by herself after finding that patients were not the typical ‘stoner,’ but suffered from serious diseases such as cancer and epilepsy, and were seeking alternative treatment.

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11-Year-Old Girl Allowed to Use Medical Marijuana at School


An 11-year-old Chicago girl suffering from occasional seizures, is now allowed to use medicinal marijuana at school, based on a federal court ruling this Friday.

Ashley Surin is a 6th grader at Hanover Highlands Elementary School, and was diagnosed with leukemia in December of 2008. To fight her leukemia, she underwent chemotherapy which caused her to have regular seizures. The recent Illinois ruling, allows her to use medical cannabis at school as treatment for her seizures. Ashley wears a patch on her foot and uses oils on her wrists, and her parents report her seizures have greatly decreased in number. The path to earn that right, came with a fight.

Ashley’s parents, Jim and Maureen Surin, filed a lawsuit against the Schaumburg school district and the state of Illinois, demanding for her to be able to take medical marijuana at school to treat her seizures. The parents claim the state’s ban on medical marijuana use in school is in violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Following the hearing on Friday, the sixth grader was granted permission to take her medication while at school, lawyers for both parties will meet next week to draft a long-term plan for Ashley, according to NBC Chicago.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, the judge said, “no one’s saying she wants to fire up a bong in math class.”  

Ashley became the first person in Illinois allowed to use medical marijuana in schools, paving the way for other parents to seek legal aid in similar cases. While it is still illegal to bring medical marijuana on school grounds in Illinois, only 3 states, New Jersey, Maine and Colorado, have legalized medical marijuana for use in school.

Ashley Surin had to be absent from school for the past 2 weeks, but is now able to return, thanks to Friday’s ruling.

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Pesticide Positive Marijuana to be Labelled ‘Not Tested’


If you’ve been reading The Nectar, you’d know by now that California is the largest state to legalize recreational marijuana. Besides the headache of navigating new regulations, the rush to get weed in legal shops has caused concern that marijuana may be contaminated with pesticides.

Brian Melley of the Associated Press reported that marijuana sold at the start of the year has not passed regulation standards, therefore containing pesticides, molds, and contaminants. “Buyer beware,” warned Donald Land, a chemistry professor at University of California, Davis, also a chief scientific consultant at Steep Hill Labs Inc., which tests marijuana in several states. Land has tested marijuana samples from 15 dispensaries in Southern California and found that 93 percent of the samples had pesticides.

Consumers are usually protected from dubious products by the U.S Agriculture Department or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however, Land said this is not true for cannabis. Although regulations and test requirements are mandatory next year, state officials have allowed for growers and sellers to sell leftover inventories for at least six months. They believe it would be unjust for pot businesses to suddenly have to meet required standards by the start of the year. However, crops that have been newly cultivated since the Jan.1, will be tested for contaminants and potency.

In the meantime, to protect consumers from pesticides, products that have not been tested will have the required label “Not Tested.” Testing could protect consumers from contaminants and pesticides, however this could cause lower yields.

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Increase of Marijuana Use in Pregnant Ladies


A research study discovered weed use is increasing in pregnant women, especially with teen mothers. There are no compelling reasons to the increase of use except for the fact that weed is becoming legal. Researchers say the rate is alarming, since cannabis use during pregnancy is likely to be dangerous. 

“Marijuana use in pregnancy may be on the rise in part because the legalization of medical marijuana has made people think of the drug as less dangerous, even during pregnancy,” said Barbara Yankey, a public health researcher at Georgia State University in Atlanta told Reuters.

Reuters reported that 22 percent of mothers younger than 18 used weed in 2016 compared to 13 percent in 2009.  For women between ages 18-24, there is 19 percent use, an increase from 10 percent use in 2009. In all age groups, marijuana use during pregnancy increased from 4 percent 7 percent. She added that although debatable, marijuana use during pregnancy comes with increased chances for preterm labor, fetal growth restriction, preterm birth, stillbirth, low birth weight.

The study was led by Kelly Young and Dr. Nancy Goler from Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland who said they are studying trends in prenatal marijuana using data from the California healthcare system, screening mothers on prenatal marijuana use. They have screened for marijuana on 279,000 pregnant women. A few flaws exist in the study as marijuana can be detected in the urine for up to 30 days. So, mothers tested for marijuana in their urine might have stopped marijuana use before becoming pregnant, but the results will still test positive. 

The Cannabist reported that due to unclear research into marijuana’s effects during pregnancy, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists told moms not to use weed at all to cure morning sickness or nausea.

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CBD Is Safe & Medically Beneficial: WHO


After months of investigation, the World Health Organization (WHO) eventually concluded the cannabidiol, CBD, carries no health risks.

The public health agency of the United Nations also ruled that marijuana is not addictive, disproving the outdated mindset of the past.

According to a preliminary WHO report published in November, CBD is considered an effective treatment for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, psychosis and epilepsy in adults, children and animals.

“In an animal drug discrimination model, CBD failed to substitute for THC. In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential,” the report reads. “To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

Despite mounting evidence in favor of its benefits, cannabis is still on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of Schedule I drugs for having “a high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use.” The category puts marijuana alongside heroin, LSD and ecstasy.

WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence pushes for CBD to no longer be classified as a scheduled I drug.

The committee said it will release a complete review of cannabis and its related substances in May 2018.


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Pot for Pets? Vets Urge Marijuana Research For Sick Animals


BEND, Oregon — On a shelf of Dr. Byron Maas’ clinic in Bend, Oregon lies survey-based marijuana supplements for dogs. Maas said the products are on high demand.

The ‘Up and Moving’ is for joint and pain and the ‘Calm and Quiet’ is for getting rid of dogs’ anxiety.

Pet parents have turned to CBD-infused products to relieve their four-legged friends’ suffering; but little do they know whether it really works or if any negative side effects exist.

Inside his Bend Veterinary Clinic, Maas said his clients have reported CBDs positively helping to relieve pain, arthritis, anxiety, loss of appetite, epilepsy and inflammation in their pets. However, more research on marijuana for domesticated animals is needed.

“Unfortunately there’s not a lot of research out there, especially on animals, on CBD compounds,” Maas told Associated Press. “The research is really necessary to help us understand how to actually use these compounds on our pets.”

The blame is to the authorities.

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration said last year that cannabis extracts with CBD, either with or without THC, are a Schedule I drug. The category is defined by drugs that are illegal, has high potential of abuse and unaccepted for medical use in any treatment.

Numerous legal actions are being considered by Food and Drug Administration against companies that sell marijuana products online, at pet shops and animal hospitals. They were told that they’re violating laws by offering “unapproved new animal drugs.”

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch became an unlikely leader pushing to remove the barrier.

While firmly standing against recreational marijuana use, the conservative Republican introduced a bill in September that would open the path for more clinical research.

“We lack the science to support use of medical marijuana products like CBD oils, not because researchers are unwilling to do the work, but because of bureaucratic red tape and over-regulation,” Hatch said.


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If All You Want is a Snort: Colorado Company Launches Cannabis Nasal Spray


Eat, smoke or snort. Now you have even more options thanks to Verra Wellness Nasal Mist.

For many years, cannabis nasal sprays have been used for medical treatments as it can quickly stop a seizure for epileptic patients. However, Colorado-based cannabis company, Verra Wellness, has commercially released its latest product Nasal Mist. It’s advertised for how it leverages purified THC and CBD which results in long-lasting effects for up to three hours.

The product offers fast-acting results within three ratios: THC to CBD 10:1, 1:1 and 1:100.

Is there a difference between snorting from the spray, smoking and eating pot? Definitely

“Transmucosal delivery of cannabinoids by nasal spray is very different than smoking; It is safer and does not contain pyrolytic products (caused by heating) of a variety of compounds present in raw plant material,” Verra Wellness’ co-founder Paul Johnson replied in an email to Kaleigh Rogers, contributor of Vice.

David Casarett of Duke University, who has researched medical marijuana, said nasal consumption changes the way cannabinoids are absorbed into the human body. It does not initially pass through the metabolism process like it does when weed is smoked or eaten.

According to Verra Wellness’ official site, Nasal Mist’s new users are recommended to only ingest one to three sprays per nostril. While, experienced users can take the same amount, then wait for 10 minutes before repeating the activity.

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