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“My fellow conservatives should protect medical marijuana from the government” – U.S. CONGRESSMAN DANA ROHRABACHER

http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/commentary/conservatives-medical-marijuana-veterans-ptsd-20170906.html?mc_cid=3df8db3886&mc_eid=cd290ff91e

by Dana Rohrabacher

Not long ago, a supporter of mine visiting from California dropped by my Capitol office. A retired military officer and staunch conservative, he and I spent much of our conversation discussing the Republican agenda.

Finally, I drew a breath and asked him about an issue I feared might divide us: the liberalization of our marijuana laws, specifically medical marijuana reform, on which for years I had been leading the charge. What did he think about that controversial position?

“Dana,” he replied, “there are some things about me you don’t know.” He told me about his three sons, all of whom enlisted after 9/11.

Two of his sons returned from the battlefield whole and healthy. The third, however, came home suffering multiple seizures each day. His prospects were bleak.

His medical care fell under the total guidance of the Department of Veterans Affairs, whose doctors came under federal restraints regarding the treatments they could prescribe. (Among the treatments allowed were opioids.) Nothing worked.

Finally, a sympathetic doctor advised our young hero to see him in his private office, where he could prescribe medication derived from cannabis. The prescription worked. The seizures, for the most part, ceased.

“Dana,” said my friend, “I could hug you right now for what you’ve been doing, unknowingly, for my son.”

What had I been doing? With my Democratic friend Sam Farr, the now-retired California congressman, I wrote an amendment to spending bills that prohibits the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana cases in states where voters have legalized such treatment. The amendment passed two consecutive years, the second time with a wider margin than the first, and has been extended through continuing resolutions and an omnibus spending bill.

Surprisingly, given the Obama administration’s generally liberal approach to marijuana, its Justice Department tried to interpret the amendment in such a convoluted way as to allow counterproductive raids on marijuana dispensaries. The courts — most recently the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit — repeatedly ruled that our amendment meant exactly what it said.

Unfortunately, my longtime friend Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, has urged Congress to drop the amendment, now co-sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D., Ore.). This despite President Trump’s belief, made clear in his campaign and as president, that states alone should decide medical marijuana policies.

I should not need to remind our chief law enforcement officer or my fellow Republicans that our system of federalism, also known as states’ rights, was designed to resolve just such a fractious issue. Our party still bears a blemish for wielding the “states’ rights” cudgel against civil rights. If we bury state autonomy in order to deny patients an alternative to opioids, and ominously federalize our police, our hypocrisy will deserve the American people’s contempt.

More than half the states have liberalized medical marijuana laws, some even decriminalizing recreational use. Some 80 percent of Americans favor legalization of medical marijuana. Only a benighted or mean-spirited mind-set would want to block such progress.

Despite federal efforts to restrict supply, studies continue to yield promising results. And mounting anecdotal evidence shows again and again that medical marijuana can dramatically improve the lives of people with epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, arthritis, and many other ailments.

Most Americans know this. The political class, not surprisingly, lags behind them.

Part of the reason is the failure of too many conservatives to apply “public choice economics” to the war on marijuana. Common sense, as well as public choice theory, holds that the government’s interest is to grow, just as private-sector players seek profit and build market share.

The drug-war apparatus will not give ground without a fight, even if it deprives Americans of medical alternatives and inadvertently creates more dependency on opioids. When its existence depends on asset seizures and other affronts to our Constitution, why should anti-medical-marijuana forces care if they’ve contributed inadvertently to a vast market, both legal and illegal, for opioids?

I invite my colleagues to visit a medical marijuana research facility and see for themselves why their cultural distaste might be misplaced. One exists near my district office at the University of California, Irvine, another at the University of California, San Diego.

Better yet, they might travel to Israel — that political guiding light for religious conservatives — and learn how our closest ally in the Middle East has positioned itself on the cutting edge of cannabis research. The Israeli government recently decriminalized first use, so unworried is it about what marijuana might do to its conscript military.

My colleagues should then return to Washington and keep my amendment intact, declaring themselves firmly on the side of medical progress. Failing that, the government will keep trying to eradicate the burgeoning marijuana business, thereby fueling and enriching drug cartels. Trust me: Hugs from grateful supporters are infinitely better.

Republican U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher represents California’s 48th District. He wrote this for the Washington Post.

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How cannabis patients despite the prescription are harassed by the police – by BENEDICT NIESSEN

How cannabis patients despite the prescription are harassed by the police

BENEDICT NIESSEN
Aug 25, 2017, 12:48 pm

Symbolfoto: imago Christian Mang

Anxious doctors, skimpy coffers, inexpensive grass, empty pharmacies. The medical cannabis legislation: a first gloomy conclusion.

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Glockenbachviertel in Munich, a sunny spring day in May. The 31 year old Christoph sits with two girlfriends on a meadow on the Isar. “Somehow I had to take my medication,” says Christoph. Its medications are joints. He has ADHD. A few minutes later four civilian policemen are standing around the group. “One of them immediately took the joint away and they began to search me,” recalls Christoph.

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He tells the policeman that in his left handbag he finds his prescription for cannabis . “After they finally looked at it, a policeman imprisoned me for prescription.” The policemen then search his companions. Christoph asks for the reason for the search. “One of the policemen just said, ‘Other junkies have knives and syringes.'” Then the policemen let him run. For Christopher, however, the case is not finished. He lodged a complaint “on the grounds of unlawful and disproportionate police action, damage to my property, and insult to my person by police officers 21”. The policeHas answered him that the Bavarian LKA is now checking whether the police have acted illegally, and whether Christoph is entitled to compensation. It is the normal normal madness for German patients, who since March cannabis can get by law as medicine.

This is how a prescription for medical cannabis looks (Photo: private)
Alone at the Barmer, the AOK and the Techniker Krankenkasse asked nearly 6,000 patients around cannabis on the prescription and a reimbursement, writes the star . Christoph has been using a cannabis recipe since April. “I am hyperactive and very sensitive to the sound,” he says. “During the day, I need the THC to be able to focus, but I’m tired in the afternoon because of my basic activity.” Unlike the current ADHD drug Ritalin – which Christoph took since his 13th year of age – cannabis has no side effects. The new cannabis law would actually help him – if he came to his medicine.

“Since I have my prescription, the varieties that my doctor has prescribed for me are not available,” says Christoph. “Since June there was nothing left, so I had to wait three weeks.” Substitutes such as the oral spray Sativex had been incorrectly dosed. Christoph earned his money as a software developer. “I have to go to work and can not be on such a downer means, where I run around in the afternoon like a zombie.”

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“The supply bottlenecks for physically prescribed cannabis exist nationwide and can theoretically occur in each of the approximately 20,000 pharmacies,” writes the German Association of German Pharmacists (ABDA) on demand from VICE. After all, “Some retailers will probably be available again from September.” German pharmacies are still ordering cannabis in the Netherlands and Canada until next year’s production is due to start. “For four or five weeks, we are witnessing the first big supply bottleneck, but there will probably be bottlenecks again in the future because demand is constantly increasing,” explains Deputy Managing Director of the German Hanfverband (DHV), Florian Rister. There are further problems with the bottlenecks.

Also with VICE: The cook, the grass keeps alive.

Since March 10, patients should be able to get cannabis – actually. “It is still unclear for the patients whether the health insurance funds pay because the law was so spongy,” says Rister of the hemp association. Because there is no exact definition of disease images, the cash desks themselves can decide whether to pay or not. Barmer, AOK and Techniker Krankenkasse, according to their own data, granted only about half of the nearly 6,000 applications.

Another problem: since the law change, the prices of medicinal cannabis blossoms have doubled . This price explosion included, among other things, the fact that cannabis has to be labeled as a prescription drug and not as a finished drug , and pharmacies can make a 100 percent purchase price. “The prices are currently 24 euros per gram for private individuals, who have to pay themselves. For the coffers, such a price explosion is also a burden,” says Rister. The high prices also deter the doctors. “While many doctors have never been involved in cannabis, other people are afraid to break their practice budgets with these high costs and to be reconsidered .”

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Because many patients do not find a doctor, one of the leading German specialists for cannabis has been in hunger for a week . Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen wants to draw attention to the criminalization of cannabis patients. “The law is a great step in the right direction, but many patients still have to provide their medicine illegally,” says Grotenhermen to VICE. He calls for a change of law. “The prosecution of patients who have a doctor certified the need for a therapy with cannabis must be terminated.”

Christoph, despite the bottlenecks in pharmacies, has not yet returned to a dealer on the road. He was lucky and managed to get last doses of cannabis blossoms at pharmacies in Munich. Even if his health insurance does not pay his ten prescribed daily dues. Christoph, however, also knows of patients who had to get their medicine different because of the bottlenecks. If they are caught, they are threatened with an advertisement. At the Deutscher Hanfverband, other patients who, like Christoph, were searched or arrested by the police, despite a prescription for cannabis use. “Personal injury, house searches, insults” are the accusations against the officials in at least four cases, which the DHV Munich collected so far.

Icon image: Christoph is not the only cannabis patient who is criminalized by the police (Photo: imago | IPON)
In an open letter to the Minister of Health and the Drug Commissioner, The Left Party already drew attention at the beginning of June to pimpling coffers and the price explosions for cannabis blossoms. The federal government stated in a reply that it had requested a report to the top association of statutory health insurance (GKV). However, because the Federal Government did not set any time limits, the problems could be protracted. “The government needs to cut prices by law in the interests of patients,” the Frank-Tempel drug spokesman said on the website of his party , “We need short-term solutions and can not wait any longer.”

Just a week ago, the Federal Government’s Drug Commissioner, Marlene Mortler (CSU), published the sobering drug and addiction report 2017 . In it, the passionate grass-adversary warned against a trivialization of cannabis and demanded an active anti-cannabis policy in the federation. Specialist Franjo Grotenhermen says he would like to talk with Mortler about the dangers. “I would like to invite her, but she would never accept anything like this.” Mrs. Mortler would look embarrassed if she would talk to me because she can not do anything but “Drugs are dangerous.” He does not believe in a quick solution. “At the moment I am simply desperate and try to draw attention to the failures with this hunger strike.”

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Christoph also hopes for change. Since the incident with the police, he is careful, he says. “I was pretty done now, I’m always watching where I can take my medication every day.” After all, ten doses a day – ten joints – were prescribed for him. “Should I hide, so that I may be well? That is not the point.” Yet he believes in the law. “I would be glad if it finally helped us,” he says. “I just hope I get the right drugs soon, pay my health insurance and I do not have to be afraid of the police.”
https://www.vice.com/de/article/j55bgb/wie-cannabis-patienten-trotz-rezept-von-der-polizei-schikaniert-werden?utm_medium=link&utm_source=vicefbde
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The chairman of the German Association for Cannabis as Medicine Dr. Franjo Grotenherman, has entered an “indefinite” hunger strike until Germany “decriminalize all citizens who need cannabis to treat their serious diseases.”

On August 17, 2017, I entered an indefinite hunger strike. The objective of refusing to accept any food is to decriminalize all citizens who need cannabis to treat their serious diseases.

On March 10, 2017, a much-debated law on cannabis as a medicine went into effect in Germany. It was the declared aim of the legislature to allow all patients who need a therapy with cannabis medicines to do so. The law, however, proves itself in practice as bureaucratic. Therefore, a treatment with cannabis and cannabinoids is unattractive for doctors who in principle support such therapy. Many patients do not find a doctor who allows them legal access to the needed treatment.

The legislator has taken a great step into the right direction. However, many patients are still dependent on a still as illegal regarded treatment. They face criminal sanctions. This is no longer acceptable. Therefore a basic clarification in the narcotics law must be established. The prosecution of patients to whom a doctor has certified the need for a therapy with cannabis must end.

Already today, the German Narcotics Law allows prosecutors to stop a criminal case in the case of a „minor debt“. This possibility is mainly applied in cases of possession of small amounts of cannabis. I urge that criminal proceedings should in principle also be stopped if accused citizens need cannabis for medical reasons. The need for a cannabis therapy should not be judged by the judiciary, a government agency or a health insurance company, but, as with other medical treatments, also by a doctor.

I also strongly support the uncomplicated access of patients to standardized preparations from the pharmacy. In this respect, it is necessary to improve the existing law. However, the prosecution of the remaining losers of the legal situation must also be ended. I am not aware of a convincing argument by which patients‘ prosecution can be maintained. A corresponding amendment to the Narcotics Act is, therefore, logical and unavoidable.

Franjo Grotenhermen, born in 1957, studied medicine in Cologne. Medical practice in Rüthen (NRW) with a focus on therapy with cannabis and cannabinoids. Grotenhermen is the chairman of the German Association for Cannabis as Medicine (ACM), Executive Director of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM) and Chairman of the Medical Cannabis Declaration (MCD), as well as author of the IACM-Bulletin, which is available in several languages ​​on the website of the IACM. Grotenhermen is an associate of the Cologne nova-Institut in the department of renewable resources and author of numerous articles and books on the therapeutic potential of cannabis and cannabinoids, their pharmaco logy and toxicology. Among others, since 2008 he has been an expert on debates in the Health Committee of the German Bundestag on the medical use of cannabis products, most recently in September 2016.

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ALGAE DYNAMICS CORP ENTERS INTO A LETTER OF INTENT WITH BONIFY TO PRODUCE UNIQUE CANNABIS OIL PRODUCTS; ACCELERATES GO-TO-MARKET STRATEGY

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ALGAE DYNAMICS CORP ENTERS INTO A LETTER OF INTENT
WITH BONIFY TO PRODUCE UNIQUE CANNABIS OIL PRODUCTS;
ACCELERATES GO-TO-MARKET STRATEGY

TORONTO--August 16, 2017--ALGAE DYNAMICS CORP (OTCQB: ADYNF) (the "Company"), a
company focused on the development of unique health products and pharmaceuticals utilizing cannabis
and algae oils, today announced that it has further refined its relationship with 6779264 Manitoba Ltd dba
Bonify (“Bonify”) in a Letter of Intent (“LOI”) dated August 10, 2017. Bonify is a Licensed Producer,
pursuant to the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations in Canada, with the capability to
grow multiple strains of cannabis in its state-of-the-art 320,000 square foot facility.
The Company previously announced a Memorandum of Understanding with Bonify on May 9, 2017, in
which Bonify agreed to supply raw cannabis plant material for processing into cannabis oil for sale and
for use in research. In the recently completed LOI, the Company and Bonify have outlined the following:
1) The purchase and installation of cannabis oil extraction equipment by the Company in Bonify’s
facility;
2) The processing of cannabis material supplied by Bonify and other Licensed Producers in the oil
extraction facility;
3) The supply of cannabis oil and algae omega-3 oils to The University of Waterloo and University of
Western Ontario to support the Sponsored Research Agreements that the Company has in place with
the two universities; and
4) The sharing of direct expenses, and, after adjustment for the market value of cannabis material
supplied by Bonify and third parties, sharing of revenues from the sale of cannabis oil and algaecannabis
oil products.
The term of the agreement is for three years from the commencement of operations and is renewable by
mutual agreement. The Company and Bonify agree to use best efforts to complete formal documentation of
the agreement by September 30, 2017. Upon termination of the agreement, the Company agrees to transfer
title of the equipment to Bonify. The Company has engaged investment bankers to assist with the raising of
necessary capital to purchase and install the extraction equipment.
Given the favorable terms of this agreement, the Company does not anticipate moving forward with its
previously announced joint venture with ARA – Avanti Rx Analytics Inc. in which it was contemplated that
oil extraction would be done utilizing the latter’s facility.
Assuming that all regulatory approvals are in place, initial revenues are expected within six to nine months
following completion of financing,
Paul Ramsay, Chairman and President of Algae Dynamics Corp, stated, “We believe this Letter of Intent
gives us an improved pathway to early revenues as well as a reliable high-quality source of cannabis oil for
the universities to support our important algae-cannabis oil research. We look forward to expeditiously
completing this agreement.”
Jeff Peitsch, President and CEO of Bonify, commented, “Our team is pleased to be working with Algae
Dynamics Corp in support of the Company’s ongoing research and product development work with
universities. We see many benefits to working together with innovative companies such as Algae Dynamics
in this burgeoning cannabis market.”
About Bonify
Bonify is a Canadian-owned Licensed Producer and leading provider of medical cannabis. By maximizing
research findings and strictly adhering to best-in-class practices, quality standards and procedures, Bonify
produces medical cannabis products to help individuals get the most out of life each and every day. With
over 1,000,000 square feet of potential productive capacity at its present site in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada,
when at full scale, Bonify will be capable of growing over 100,000 kgs of cannabis annually.
About Algae Dynamics Corp
ADC is engaged in the development of unique health products and pharmaceuticals that utilize hemp,
cannabis and algae oils. We have engaged two Canadian universities to provide research into the use of
extracts from cannabis oil, which we plan to use to develop products that combine the significant health
benefits of Omega-3s derived from algae oil and extracts from cannabis oil. Our research is focused on the
use of cannabis oil in the context of cancer, and the use of cannabis derivatives for the development of novel
pharmacotherapies for mental health.
For more information, visit http://www.algaedynamics.com
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in Section 27A of the
Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this press
release which are not purely historical are forward-looking statements and include any statements regarding
beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future. Such forward-looking statements include,
among other things, use of proceeds and the development, costs and results of current or future actions and
opportunitiesin the sector. Actual results could differfrom those projected in any forward-looking statements
due to numerous factors. Such factors include, among others, the inherent uncertainties associated with new
projects and development stage companies, our ability to raise the additional funding we will need to
continue to pursue our exploration and development program, and our ability to retain important members
of our management team and attract other qualified personnel. These forward-looking statements are made
as of the date of this news release, and we assume no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or
to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements.
Although we believe that any beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are
reasonable, there can be no assurance that any such beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions will prove
to be accurate.
Investors should consult all the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factors disclosure
outlined in our annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year, our quarterly reports on Form
10-Q and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
INVESTOR RELATIONS CONTACT:
Jack Eversull, President
The Eversull Group, Inc.
jack@theeversullgroup.com
972-571-1624
COMPANY
CONTACT:
Paul Ramsay, President
Algae Dynamics Corp
ramsay@algaedynamics.com
416-704-3040

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Cannabis And The Elderly: A Neurophysiological And Pharmacological Review

by Gaurav Dubey

The elderly population, a term which is generally agreed to mean any individual age 65 or older, is a uniquely diverse and often complex demographic to treat

The aging baby boomers now include many frail and elderly individuals, as Knickman and Snell put in their 2002 review discussing, among several items, “the potential burden an aging society will place on the care-giving system and public finances” (Knickman & Snell, 2002).

Devastating neurodegenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s disease, as well illnesses such as cancer and chronic pain are more prevalent in older populations and require a multimodal treatment approach. Such treatment can involve hospice care when patients are diagnosed as “prospectively dying” and are the often given very high doses of narcotics, such as morphine, to help ease this pain (Ber-sala et al., 2013) (Scitovsky, 2005).

However these powerful comfort drugs carry serious side effects that can be incredibly detrimental to one’s quality of life (Meier, 20111). A study by Ber-sala and colleagues, however, is one among several emerging studies that also indicate significant alleviation of symptoms in the elderly upon cannabis consumption (Ber-sala et al., 2013). I have discussed previously works that clearly demonstrate the efficacy of cannabis in the treatment of various disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Chronic Pain, conditions with a high prevalence in the elderly population. To this end, this article will focus on a new 2017 study by Katz and colleagues that demonstrably shows the utility and efficacy of cannabinoids in the elderly while using other related and supporting data (Katz et al., 2017). Providing safe, effective and therapeutic care for our senior citizens and adequate end of life care for hospice patients is the hallmark of a successful healthcare system and compassionate society. As such, further investigation into cannabis and cannabinoids for the elderly population is a vital responsibility for the medical community and it’s healthcare providers.

The elderly population, which is steadily increasing in numbers, is the demographic with the highest prevalence of disease and suffering (Parker et al., 1997). The need for adequate care and allocation of resources to treat this diverse population presenting with an even more diverse palette of pathologies is a critical one. Elderly patients typically consume a large amount of prescription drugs, all with varying risk and side effect profiles (Katz et al., 2017).

“Comfort Drugs” used in hospice care, such as hydrocodone, morphine and fentanyl, while generally effective at treating pain, can cause significant drowsiness and even respiratory depression, leading to death, upon overdose (Chau et al., 2008). Chau’s study also describes how normal physiologic aging can significantly alter the pharmacokinetic mechanisms of such drugs in the elderly population, which requires even greater care by the prescribing physician (Chau et al., 2008). With the mounting clinical evidence regarding the efficacy of cannabis to treat a wide variety of pathologies, including many that significantly affect the senior population, special attention should be given to the potential of adding cannabis to the arsenal of drugs to help treat the elderly.

When used simultaneously with opioids, “cannabinoids have been shown to successfully lead to a greater cumulative relief of pain” leading to patients using fewer opiods and experiencing fewer side effects (ref). Perhaps more fascinating from a neuropharmacological standpoint is the fact that cannabinoids seemed to also “prevent the development of tolerance to and withdrawal from opiates” and is even able to essentially cause a weaker dose, that wasn’t working as efficaciously for pain relief for the patient before, to become effective once again (Lucas, 2012). The reduced side effect and high safety profile both present cannabis as a compelling alternative or adjunct to these drugs as well.

In a new 2017 review analyzing clinical evidence for the utilization of cannabinoids in the elderly by Katz and colleagues, the beneficial effects of cannabis in the elderly is implicated by just some of the major conditions cannabis is known to effectively treat in the elderly: Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and Cancer (Katz et al., 2017).

pensioner cannabis

Image credit- Mass Roots

Furthermore, in discussing the safety of cannabis, Katz and colleagues state, “Cannabinoids present a relatively safe profile of action in elderly patients. Hence, cannabinoid treatment should be considered more readily when other options fail, even in cases of scarce data” (Katz et al., 2017). In fact, I strongly believe that due to the relative safety of cannabis (no reported overdoses/deaths), it should often be considered a first line treatment if possible, over the use of an opioid analgesic, for instance, which carries significantly greater risks. In a population that is often already overmedicated, the possibility of using cannabis, a compound known to be relatively safer than some of the other drugs used to treat chronic pain and illness, should be seriously considered as a mainstay treatment as more data becomes available (Katz et al., 2017).

Indeed, my article regarding cannabis use reducing the individual consumption of prescription drugs speaks to this point well.

As mentioned above, cannabis has been identified to have beneficial and therapeutic properties for several diseases with high prevalence in the elderly. One such condition that cannabis has been indicated for is Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Indeed, Volicer et al. demonstrated in a placebo-controlled crossover-designed study that treatment with a THC analogue (Dronabinol) attenuated behavioral disturbance in Alzheimer’s patients (Volicer et al., 1997).

While critics of this study claim the lack of quantitative data make the results difficult to adequately validate, a systematic review by Woodward and authors, reporting on “the largest studied cohort of dementia patients treated with Dronabinol to date”, was able to confirm these findings. They reported that Dronabinol could serve as an efficacious “adjunctive treatment for neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia” (Woodward et al., 2014).

Furthermore, Katz and colleagues, in reviewing this clinical data, concluded that cannabinoids seem to be a safe and effective treatment for therapy “to manage behavioral disturbances in patients” (Katz et al., 2017). Neurodegenerative disorders such as AD are debilitating and often require a multidimensional approach to treatment. Similar challenges arise when considering Parkinson’s disease, another common neurodegenerative illness prevalent in the elderly.

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is another illness commonly associated with elderly patients and is primarily characterized by death of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra. It often presents with symptoms such as: tremor, rigidity, gait abnormality and non-motor related clinical symptomology (Katz et al., 2017).

While the etiology of PD is still largely unknown, emerging research has uncovered that our own endocannabinoid system seems to play a significant role in the mechanism of the illness (Katz et al., 2017). This is pharmacologically fascinating as there is a lack of CB1 receptors (one of two main cannabinoid receptors in the body/brain) in the dopaminergic nigostriatal (this is spelt correctly?) neurons that are being damaged due to this serious illness.

canada cannabis

It’s currently presumed this occurs due to the fact that the endocannabinoid system modulates GABA and glutamate transmission (two other major neurotransmitter systems in the brain not part of the endocannabinoid system) (Katz et al., 2017). The ability of our own intrinsic endocannabinoid system to play a key role in the mechanisms of this disease holds promise for the future treatment of PD with cannabis.

A common feature of both PD and AD along with other neurodegenerative disorders prevalent in the elderly is dementia, a debilitating phenomenon that has shown significant receptivity to the therapeutic applications of cannabis (Walther & Halpern, 2010). In regards to PD, cannabis has been shown to provide “significant amelioration also in rigidity, tremor, bradykinesia, pain and sleeping problems with no significant adverse effect” (Lotan et al., 2014). Furthermore, a small cohort of 22 PD patients treated with cannabis and surveyed 30 minutes after use reported “a significant improvement of 9.9 points in the mean score Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (P<0.0001)” (Katz et al., 2017).

Another common morbidity and co-morbidity among the elderly population is cancer. Chemotherapy is a common mainstay of cancer treatment and is well known to carry seriously averse side effects that are difficult to manage for patients. A recent 2016 review by Dr. Abrams states “Cannabis is useful in combatting anorexia, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, pain, insomnia, and depression” induced by chemotherapy (Abrams et al., 2016).

In a study with 211 patients, of which 131 had a second, follow-up interview, “all cancer or anticancer treatment-related symptoms showed significant improvement (P < 0.001). Aside from memory lessening in patients with prolonged cannabis use, “no significant adverse events” were reported (Ber-sala et al., 2013). Having worked in an oncology ward for 4 summers and in my training as an EMT in Miami-Dade, I’ve personally witnessed the immense suffering of cancer patients. It’s difficult not to want to provide anything and everything to assist them, especially if they are in their final years and moments before the inevitable. Narcotics such as morphine for pain and adderall to combat the drowsiness from the morphine are common balancing acts in regards to hospice care medications.

As stated by Nersesyan & Slavin, “Stimulants such as methylphenidate or caffeine can increase alertness in patients who are experiencing somnolence on a dose of morphine that provides sufficient pain control” (Nersesyan & Slavin, 1998). With cannabis having a significantly lower side effect profile and a lower chance of adverse drug events as mentioned above, it is time to seriously consider easy access of cannabis to elderly patients suffering from these conditions, especially those in hospice care. Perhaps the pharmacokinetic mechanisms of the drug are not completely understood, however, enough compelling data exists, combined with the fact there has never been one singlepurported overdose/fatality from cannabis that serious consideration need be given to this modality of treatment.

cannabis weight loss

The safety profile of cannabis next to some of the other drugs used to treat this patient population isn’t even comparable when considering potential for fatalities (that already occur every day) from opioids alone. For this and so many other reasons, it’s time to make a change.

So why restrict access to cannabis if it is beneficial for elderly and it improves their quality of life? Ber-sala, in his study, states that cannabis induced relief of symptoms in their study may in part be due to its euphoriant properties. He points out that, “from a medical point of view, the general improvement in the level of distress is important as an end-point for palliative studies, and the cause is less important (Ber-sala et al., 2013).

There is no doubt that the use of potent narcotics such as morphine and hydromorphine create powerful and potentially addicting “highs” as well, but their use is often times warranted in this situation. Thus, holding cannabis to a different standard due to this side effect is in fact holding a double standard and disrespecting science and evidence. In fact, if you’re sick and dying of cancer on your deathbed, the idea of “feeling good” is a powerful one I think many people, especially those in the medical profession, can relate with.

Another reference in regards to cannabis in popular culture is the “munchies”, essentially, the appetite-stimulation effects of cannabis use. While the data is scarce on this topic in the elderly, preliminary findings show promise (Katz et al., 2017). A few small studies (<40 people) using Dronabinol as a treatment found small changes in weight gain or increased consumption of food over shorter time intervals (Katz et al., 2017). Furtherore, when considering the “entourage effect” (define that) and the beneficial effects of, for instance, Sativex (a 1:1 THC:CBD ratio, whole plant cannabis formulation) over other synthetic cannabinoid compounds such as Dronabinol and Marinol, it begs the question about whether whole plant cannabis formulations would be even more beneficial to patients over synthetics compounds (Russo, 2008).These results call for further investigation as proper nutrition is vital to this population of patients.

The stigmatization of the “high” of cannabis and the social satire of the “muchies” can often detract from the medical necessities of these effects for cancer patients, many of whom report as truly depending on these characteristics of cannabis to help them through such illnesses (Waissengrin et al., 2015). Overwhelming data shows this population could potentially benefit greatly from cannabis use and only more research and more science can help change public perception.

The elderly population is one that suffers from an increased prevalence of a variety of severe pathologies, not the least of which including neurodegenerative disorders, cancer and chronic pain. A recent 2016 study found that “medical expenses more than double between ages 70 and 90” and that “ the government pays for over 65 per cent of the elderly’s medical expenses” (De Nardi et al., 2016). If the effects of cannabis can be reproduced in bigger trials, FDA approved treatments and therapies that are efficacious and successful can be implemented, healthcare costs and the benefit to society overall could improve. With a healthcare crisis already underway in our country, perhaps a paradigm shift such as this one is a promising one. Maybe the question we should be asking is not “can we afford to do this?” but rather, “can we afford not to?”

[Featured image credit- Endoca]

Gaurav Dubey | August 15, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Tags: Cannabiscannabis elderlyCannabis studyMedical Cannabis studyPensioners | Categories: FeaturedHealth | URL: http://wp.me/p8nEcz-H9
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“It’s California in 1995 All Over Again, Man” – Opportunities and Problems Piling Up in the European Cannabis Market – from Cannabis Business Executive magazine / Philip J. Cenedella IV

“It’s California in 1995 all over again, man.”

That was a comment I overhead during a conversation between an American and a German entrepreneur at the Mary Jane Berlin event held in Berlin in the second week of June, 2017.

Indeed, there may not be a better way to sum up the current state of the state here in Europe’s most populous country. Having been on the frontlines of the grassroots efforts in San Diego last century, it is fun to see how our industry is now growing in Germany and throughout Europe.  And like California back then, or now, the struggle is not always easy.

Here’s another interesting quote of the month:

“European markets are increasingly important to the cannabis sector. Each has a well-funded medical system, residents who seek natural and complementary therapies, and a government-supported mandate to stop the rising tide of opiate addiction related to chronic pain treatment.”

-Benjamin Ward, CEO, Maricann Group, Inc.

As of August, 2017 starts, the medical marijuana patients in Germany are experiencing “sold out” conditions nationwide, and the two exclusive importing countries (Canada and the Netherlands) are anticipating further bottlenecks as their in-country supply needs change. This is a significant problem – but also an opportunity for GMP-certified growers to fill the gap. If, and how, the German government opens up alternative supply to support their medical patients will be the top story in Germany this year.

From the patients perspective, there are two bad things about the current state of affairs: Little to no choice in their required medicine and their insurance companies are now refusing to cover the costs for the medicine as stipulated in the federal law.

Of course, lawyers are now getting involved and insurance companies are starting to be forced into approving valid claims from their policy-paying customers. But it is a silly, slow process to say the least.

The solution the German government is pursuing is to award 10 grow licenses to companies that will then produce 200 lbs. cannabis ​each within the country. The first bud from those plants are not scheduled to be picked until sometime in 2019, which is simply too long for patients to wait.

Some of the companies that have been publicly mentioned as potential winners of a grow license are Spektrum Cannabis, which is the Canopy Growth company formerly known as MedCann; Maricann GmbH, which is the new German subsidiary of its Canadian parent, Bedrocan, that has been a leader in the industry but recently run into a dispute with their Canadian licensee, Bedrocan International; Aurora Cannabis from Canada, which recently acquired the German firm Pedianos adding an EU-wide, medical marijuana distribution capability; and ABCann of Canada, which touts the “Father of THC” Dr. Raphael Mechoulam as a key member of their board of directors.

Homegrow options in Germany are currently not permitted, and existing indoor/outdoor farm operations are not yet able to be registered, licensed and taxed.

The black market continues to win, and patients continue to lose.  Cannabis business executives worldwide need to effectively work with the German government to develop the solutions we all know exist.  Three organizations that are key to this effort are the BfArM (www.bfarm.de )  the DHV (www.hanfverband.de )  and the GTAI ( www.gtai.de )

My personal comment is the government, politicians and regulators here in Germany need to listen to their constituents who support our industry by over 60 percent nationwide, according to a recent poll. The total quantity of flower to be delivered by the 10 licensees is probably less than what my buddy Butch has in his building back in California to handle his patients which live within five miles of the office.

Yes I am joking, Butch usually has less, but the point is – ​it simply is not enough for a population twice the size of California.

With all the talk about Germany, it is also important to remember that it is one of 18 countries within Europe that currently allow for some form of medical marijuana.  Besides Germany, there are provisions for the distribution and use of medical products in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and, the most recent addition, Poland.

This is an interesting list that, again, shows these are historic times here in Europe.

Sadly missing from the list above is the United Kingdom, and that has affected people we know. Our friend Vera Twomey, and her entire family had to leave the U.K. last month just to take care of their young daughter with Dravet’s Syndrome. In the U.K. their daughter suffered from up to 30 grand mal seizures a day while taking a regimen of pharmaceutical drugs.

Think about that for a moment – 30 grand mal ​seizures a day.

Now living as “medical refugees” from their homeland, the Twomey’s and their daughter are now dealing with zero grand mal seizures a day thanks to her medical marijuana.

30 grand mal seizures a day, now zero a day – everyday for the past 3-4 weeks.

The United Kingdom calls medical marijuana illegal. Patients and advocates call that thinking arcane, unjust, and possibly criminal itself. They are now petitioning the Human Rights Commission of the European Union in Brussels for help. I am positive their efforts will be successful – it is just a matter of time.

Vera and her family hope it comes within her daughter’s lifetime. That is all for now. Have a successful rest of the summer, rest up and get ready because I believe that Q-4 of 2017 is going to be a busy one for our industry and your company.

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Cannabis Shows Great Promise in Treating Cancer—Let’s Not Wreck It With Hyperbole

DR. DAVE HEPBURN – LEAFLY

There’s no topic like cancer to inspire cacophonous claims of a cure, pegged to everything from the rinds of fruits nobody has ever eaten to powders drawn from Micronesian beaches no one has ever visited. As such, claims of miracle cures for cancer typically cause the medical establishment to roll their eyes and avert their attention.

This is why it’s so important to eschew such cure-related hyperbole when discussing the cancer-treating components of cannabis, which could all too easily be lumped into the same National Enquirer“wonder cure” category.

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Government-Run Cancer Institute Quietly Acknowledges That Cannabis Kills Cancer Cells

Such talk is especially counterproductive given that there is little doubt that cannabis plays a very important role as a treatment option for cancer—a fact even government agencies are ready to acknowledge, issuing statements on cannabis and cancer that are profoundly encouraging.

The National Cancer Institute has said that “Cannabis has been shown to kill cancer cells in the laboratory.” (Presumably it does something similar outside of the laboratory, but taking cannabis from lab to bedside is an exercise in Schedule-I bureaucratic frustration.) In addition, the NCI states that “[c]annabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their non-transformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death.”

Anecdotes of success in treating cancer with cannabis can’t be ignored—they’re what’s driven the medicalization of cannabis for a long time.

This is because cannabis is what’s known as “pro-apoptotic.” Apoptosis means that a cell commits suicide. Cannabis encourages this in some cancer cells while protecting non-cancer cells from the same fate. As any oncologist will tell you, killing cancer cells while not affecting normal tissue is one of the Holy Grails of treatment. Cannabis can also prevent cancer cells from further dividing, spreading, and growing.

Even the National Institute of Drug Abuse—an organization historically devoted to vilifying cannabis—has gotten on board, stating that “marijuana extracts may help kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others.” Not even they can ignore the science.

Anecdotes of success in treating cancer with cannabis can’t be ignored—they’re what’s driven the medicalization of cannabis for a long time. But anecdotes aren’t enough to support touting cannabis as a miracle cure. As always with cannabis and its 144 cannabinoids, the range of effects and variations is vast. Medical cannabis is still the wild west. One size simply does not fit all. There are just too many permutations.

So let it be said, loudly and often: Cannabis is not a cure for cancer. It is not a panacea that has been evilly suppressed by greedy pharmaceutical corporations.

Exaggerations such as these do nothing but sabotage the potential of cannabis. T-shirts emblazoned with “Cannabis Cures Cancer” and assorted leafy greens simply give the appearance of Rastafarian snake oil.

Let’s not further embolden biased clueless conservatives, who look for reasons to further vilify cannabis and stigmatize cannabis users. Now is the time for common sense and reason rather than common screech and rhetoric. Overcoming stigma means reversing ideas that are all too often loosely formed yet firmly held.

Progress in cannabinoid science is truly exciting and packed with great promise If we are to advance, the focus needs to be on objective science and studies. Let’s keep it that way.