Author Archives: David Coennen

2020: Best Year Ever – for Cannabis Reform

2020: Best Year Ever – for Cannabis Reform

Anyone concerned about the cannabis reform movement and the legalization efforts for both Medical and Adult-Use Cannabis programs across the country might find 2020 to have been one of the most effective years for reversing the stigma created by 70-years of lies and propaganda, and allowing expanded access to this highly beneficial plant medicine, while beginning to repair some of the damage created by the failed “war on drugs.”

By most accounts, 2020 was a year that we are all grateful has finally come to an end. An impeachment of the President Trump, the COVID-19 pandemic, mass protests, social unrest, economic collapse, a challenged presidential election and a suicide bombing; good riddance 2020.

As 2020 began, and the impeachment trial of President Trump was ending, rumors of a novel coronavirus in China were emerging, and by the Spring, the COVID-19 pandemic was in full effect. Despite some attempts to shut down the cannabis industry to help “slow the spread”, cannabis medicine emerged as an “essential business” in California and many other states. As threats of lockdowns drove huge cannabis sales numbers in every legal state, people who could afford it, were stocking up on their medicine or their “recreational” supply, preparing for the stay at home orders. 

Delivery laws were changed, dispensaries adapted to curbside pick-up where possible and social distancing and mask rules were in effect as sales continued to grow throughout the Summer. Isolated Seniors found some comfort in plant medicine. 

Then in the Fall, the election, and despite the close race at the top of the ticket and balance of power in question, one big winner emerged on election night: cannabis. Cannabis measures on ballots in five states all passed with huge margins. In fact, in most races, cannabis garnered more votes than any official on the ballot.

A majority of Arizona and New Jersey voters said yes on ballot measures to make adult-use marijuana legal. Voters in South Dakota approved marijuana for medical use, and a slim majority voted for adult-use. Mississippi voters approved an initiative to establish a medical marijuana program for certain patients with debilitating conditions, while voters in Montana voted for two initiatives to legalize, regulate and tax recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. We saw that cannabis is not a red or blue issue. Cannabis crosses all boundaries of politics, class and culture. 

And in the final weeks of 2020, the year where everything changed, the US House of Representatives passed the MORE Act, if enacted, would effectively deschedule cannabis and expunge the records of non-violent cannabis convictions, among other reforms. The vote marked the first time in 50 years that a chamber of Congress has revisited the classification of cannabis as a federally controlled and illegal substance.

The U.S. Senate separately approved a bill that would allow for the expansion of scientific research into cannabis derivatives including CBD. The bill, known as the “Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act,” was advanced by unanimous consent, however, it is unlikely the House will vote on this version. The House passed a similar measure, although provisions in that bill that would allow researchers to use cannabis products from state-licensed dispensaries are not included in the Senate proposal. The Senate version does nothing to change the federal scheduling of cannabis, nor does it allow for banking in cannabis. McConnell, a long-time prohibitionist, who currently leads the Republican-controlled Senate, is from a hemp-heavy state where some may think that cannabis normalization may conflict with the future financial gains of the emerging hemp industry. Maybe the Georgia run-off election will shift the balance of power in favor of cannabis reform and we will see greater gains with a new administration.

Overall, 2020 was one of the best years for cannabis reform and the cannabis industry, both medical and adult-use, and 2021 could be even better.  Despite President-elect Joe Biden’s long history as a prohibitionist and drug warrior, VP Harris has indicated decriminalization is definitely on the table. To what extent is yet to be determined, but the Progressive Caucus is pushing for action within the first six months. There are few things that the vast majority of Americans agree on, and cannabis reform is one of them.

Moving forward, in the states, programs voted for in 2020 will be implemented, some faster than others, with New Jersey opening the floodgates for the East Coast. State legislatures are making moves in many conservative states, including Texas and Nebraska, to legalize adult-use for tax revenue to pay off massive economic losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Decriminalization and expungement efforts for low level cannabis crimes will be expanded throughout localities and states including Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois on Thursday announcing more than 500,000 expungements and pardons for people with low-level marijuana offenses on their records.

On December 2nd, in a historic move, the United Nations descheduled cannabis in a 27-25 vote, with the United States among those voting in favor. Following a recommendation from the World Health Organization, the United Nations’ Commission for Narcotic Drugs voted to remove cannabis from Schedule IV (equal to the US Schedule I) of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This was a really big deal that barely made a blip in the news.

Look for 2021 to be another year of unprecedented expansion of access to cannabis, using the plant and its derivatives to address the opioid crisis, and the chronic conditions of aging. Researcher Christopher Kaufmann, assistant professor in the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego reports, “Pain, insomnia and anxiety were the most common reasons for cannabis use and, for the most part, patients reported that cannabis was helping to address these issues, especially with insomnia and pain.” 

And more seniors are using cannabis in 2020 and beyond for symptoms of dementia and polypharmacy, a trend we continue to see with our Farmacann family of facilities and clients.

Other interesting developments to look for in 2021 will be on using cannabis medicine for COVID symptoms, more states legalizing and expunging records and politicians using cannabis industry tax revenue for the recovery of desperate state budgets

Cannabis can save the world! As soon as the last few prohibitionists are convinced, like the vast majority of the American population on both sides of the political aisle, to support legalization.  A Gallup Poll released Nov. 9, 2020 indicated that 68% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana – double the approval rate in 2003. As we enter this new decade, the popularity and belief in the medicinal benefits of cannabis will grow exponentially, fed by the light of truth and tended by educators, activists , caregivers and the patients that use plant medicine to find relief.

Dave Coennen, Farmacann Education & Outreach

Study: Seniors with Chronic Conditions See Improved Quality of Life with Medical Cannabis

Study: Seniors with Chronic Conditions See Improved Quality of Life with Medical Cannabis

Researchers affiliated with Concordia University, Center for Gerontology in Illinois conducted a qualitative inquiry of state-registered medical cannabis patients 64 and older who reported that cannabis therapy improves their quality of life and reduces their use of pharmaceutical medications.

However, many of the subjects were frustrated with the lack of guidance on medical cannabis provided by their primary care physician. Whether due to lack of formal training on the subject or the fear of the Schedule 1 status of the plant, doctors and other healthcare providers are often hesitant to speak to their patients about cannabis therapy. 

According to the data published in the journal Clinical Gerontologist the majority of the study’s participants “reported satisfaction with being able to use medical cannabis to manage symptoms, get relief from pain, and have an improved quality of life all while lessening their dependence on pharmaceutical drugs.”

From the report: 

“Most of our participants were retired, unemployed, or receiving disability benefits due to a chronic condition, yet they did note improvements in their ability to manage symptoms and productivity. Pain control was consistently described as one of the most important outcomes of medical cannabis use, and this must be considered in relation to public policy, medical symptom management, and long-term care regulations.”

According to the clinical implications of the research findings:

      • Older adults need better information and assistance from clinicians about the use of medical cannabis (including products, packaging, use of dispensary).
      • Physicians must be prepared to understand how medical cannabis use impacts current treatment protocols and document use accordingly in the medical record.
      • Physicians should counsel on variability of quality and concentration of medical cannabis and related dosing and potential drug interactions (e.g., delayed time to effect after ingestion of oral cannabis).

Farmacann is providing solutions for clinicians to recommend cannabis in California

relief cbdSince 2011, Farmacann has been working with doctors and other healthcare providers trained and experienced with cannabis medicine in California’s North Bay area, developing products with the most effective ratios and dosages to give seniors the relief they are looking for, including, according to this study: “to manage symptoms, get relief from pain, and have an improved quality of life all while lessening their dependence on pharmaceutical drugs.” 

Farmacann clients, caregivers and their nursing staff consistently report on the efficacy of our products in managing chronic conditions, achieving pain relief and creating a general sense of well being; all with a significant reduction in polypharmacy, which is now a requirement in all facilities in California.

Farmacann is dedicated to the education of patients, health care providers and care facilities on the benefits as well as the precautions associated with cannabis therapy and will be launching the first of a series of free webinars on cannabis medicine.

Our first instalment premieres the week of January 11, 2021 – Cannabis Therapeutics in Residential Care Facilities & Introduction to Farmacann Concierge Service. 

Sign-Up here and learn how you or a loved senior in your life can benefit from cannabis medicine at home or in a care facility RIGHT NOW in California’s North Bay area, and soon in all of California.

Farmacann, Education & Outreach

GW Pharma Hopes to Bring Its Second Cannabis-Based Drug to Market in the U.S.

As big pharmaceutical companies vie to enter the medical cannabis space and establish a foothold with overpriced and inaccessible cannabis based drugs…

GW Pharma Hopes to Bring Its Second Cannabis-Based Drug to Market in the U.S.

“In June 2018, the FDA approved a cannabidiol (CBD) prescription medication for the first time. Called Epidiolex, it is approved specifically to treat seizures in two rare, severe forms of child-onset epilepsy in patients who are 2 and older.

This approval precipitated the removal of Epidiloex specifically from the Controlled Substances Act, allowing its sale and transport, with a doctor’s prescription, in every state in the US.

Now GW Pharma is trying to bring a second cannabis formulation to the United States, with Phase 3 trials now beginning for Sativex for for the treatment of MS spasticity. The cannabis based drug is also being studied by Kings College London for use by people living with dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s Disease.

Sativex known Nabiximols in the US, is a 1:1 formulation of CBD and THC:

“Nabiximols is a complex botanical medicine formulated from extracts of the cannabis plant that contains the principal cannabinoids THC and CBD and also contains minor constituents, including other cannabinoid and non-cannabinoid plant components, such as terpenes, sterols and triglycerides, according to company data. The product is administered as an oral spray.”

Since 2011, Farmacann has established itself as the leader in research and development of cannabis therapeutics based on evidence of efficacy in real world environments in Northern California Residential Care Facilities and in the homes of patients throughout the area.

And as California’s legal and regulatory environment has changed, so has Farmacann, by developing products and packaging that always meet or exceed the manufacturing, testing and regulatory requirements of the State of California, Medical Professionals and Licensed Care Facilities.

While the rest of the country waits for Big Pharma to enter the medical cannabis space, Farmacann is delivering relief to 7 counties in the Bay Area with the same ratio and established efficacy:

THRIVE Caps 1:1 CBD:THCTHRIVE – Monthly

Ratio CBD:THC: 1:1
Dosage: 5mg CBD and 5mg THC (each capsule)
Packaging: Pill Cards of 30 capsules, each that contain a total of 300mg of combined cannabinoids.

Ideal for: Patients seeking a balance between physical comfort and mental relaxation.

And with a monthly subscription at $81, inclusive of state and local taxes and delivery, this is cannabis medicine that is accessible now in Northern California, and soon the entire state and beyond.

Farmacann – Providing seniors & medical professionals with a technology platform that simplifies access to effective & affordable alternative cannabis choices

DC

THE EVIDENCE: CANNABIS THERAPY FOR ALZHEIMER’S AND DEMENTIA SYMPTOMS

THE EVIDENCE FOR CANNABIS THERAPY FOR SYMPTOMS OF ALZHEIMER’S AND DEMENTIA

BY Chela Coennen. www.alznotes.com

Did you know the U.S. Department of Health has held a patent on cannabis since 1998 as “…neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease…” patent #6630507B1.

A simple Pub-Med search reveals study after study after study that cannabis eases the terrible symptoms of dementia better than anything else available on the market. A documentary called “The Scientist” shows that every nursing home in Israel uses cannabis medicine for their elderly. Mainstream media sources show that there are a few facilities in Northern California and New York state  that are also currently using full-spectrum cannabis oil with people living with dementia. 33 State Departments of Health list Alzheimer’s Disease or other neurodegenerative diseases on their qualifying conditions for medical cannabis, with more states coming on board every year.

By far, the most effective treatment for Mom’s Alzheimer’s was a 1:1 ratio of balanced, full spectrum Cannabis oil – and we tried everything available on the market since 2010: Zyprexa, Ativan, Seroquel, Depakote, Trazadone, aricept and namenda! There’s NO known risk of sudden death or risk of organ failure, like the other meds used (mostly off label) to treat Alzheimer’s (and/or related dementias) symptoms!

Full-spectrum Hemp oil naturally void of the psychoactive ingredient some are looking to avoid, is known to be helpful for some people, in some cases. But for people living with dementia, researchers and clinicians in the field seem to agree that people living with brain change need some THC in their medicine. As explained by Dr. Ethan Russo in an interview we did with him in 2018:

Read the entire article in Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 

“CANNABIS THERAPEUTICS AND THE FUTURE OF NEUROLOGY”

October 18, 2018

[FTA]”…Initial trials of herbal cannabis for AD have begun sporadically, with a more focused effort in a California nursing home (Hergenrather, 2017). Patients were treated with a variety of preparations: THC-predominant (2.5–30 mg/dose), CBD predominant, and THCA, mainly in tinctures and confections. Marked benefit was reported on neuroleptic drug sparing, decreased agitation, increased appetite, aggression, sleep quality, objective mood, nursing care demands, self-mutilation and pain control.

Based on its pharmacology (Russo and Marcu, 2017), cannabis components may provide myriad benefits on target symptoms in this complex disorder:

    • Agitation: THC, CBD, linalool
    • Anxiety: CBD, THC (low dose), linalool
    • Psychosis: CBD
    • Insomnia/Restlessness: THC, linalool
    • Anorexia: THC
    • Aggression: THC, CBD, linalool
    • Depression: THC, limonene, CBD
    • Pain: THC, CBD
    • Memory: alpha-pinene (Russo, 2011Russo and Marcu, 2017) + THC
    • Neuroprotection: CBD, THC
    • Reduced Aβ plaque formation: THC, CBD, THCA

“Thus, an extract of a Type II chemovar of cannabis (THC/CBD) with a sufficient pinene fraction would seem to be an excellent candidate for clinical trials” (Lewis et al., 2018)…”

Dr. Russo was also recently interviewed for  Forbes

“Cannabis For Parkinson’s And Alzheimer’s Diseases – An Interview With Dr. Ethan Russo”

February 26, 2019

[FTA] “…The best results in PD were reported in a Czech study in 2004, in which patients ate raw leaves of cannabis for as much as three months and reported significant improvement in overall function, tremor, bradykinesia and rigidity, with few side effects…

The story in AD is even more intriguing. Both THC and CBD have been shown to interfere with the production of abnormal toxic matter in the brain of such patients. This is quite exciting, inasmuch as synthetic drugs designed for similar purposes have yet to advance in the clinic. Both THC and particularly CBD are known neuroprotective agents that hold the potential to slow or perhaps even halt the degenerative process. On the symptom side, THC as a single agent has proven beneficial in AD patients in reducing nocturnal agitation, improving sleep and appetite. Observations of nursing home patients in California with dementia have produced similar benefits as well as reducing the need for nursing intervention and amounts of other drugs…”

Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather is successfully using cannabis medicine in three RCFEs in the Santa Rosa, CA area and was recently interviewed for Next Avenue:

Can Medical Marijuana Help with Dementia?

SOME STUDIES, AND FAMILIES, SAY YES; SOME EXPERTS EMPHASIZE CAUTION
[FTA] ‘KIND OF A LIFESAVER’

“Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather, a general practice physician based in Sebastopol, Calif., and recent past president of the Society of Cannabis Practitioners, has been consulting on cannabis medicine since 1997. During that time, he says he has helped hundreds of patients with dementia improve their quality of life with cannabis.

“Typically, I’ll get a call from a family after the nursing home staff has gotten to a point where a patient’s inappropriate behaviors are too difficult to handle, and they are in agreement about administering a cannabis medicine. I’ll do the evaluation and, as needed, give this as an order to the staff to dispense,” Hergenrather says.

The scientific literature lists 29 agitated behaviors – such as yelling, repeated questions and violent behaviors – all of which, unlike other conventional medicines, are very well-managed with cannabis, Hergenrather says.

“It really is quite impressive to utilize cannabis and then see the patients actually push away from their other medicines. They know what the other medicines do for them and they’ll say that they don’t want to take them. But they will take the cannabis because they feel relaxed and happy and calm, and maybe even a little euphoric,” he says.

“It’s been kind of a lifesaver,” Hergenrather continues. “The patients are happier, the families are happier and it greatly helps the staff because the behaviors are so much easier to manage.”

Cannabis gave Mom clarity, calm, joy & a laissez faire attitude about losing her mind!

Cannabis made her “now” more satisfying and helped her communicate with us more easily. It helped us focus on the skills that mom still had remaining, and to make the best of what was happening.

Cannabis oil for behavioral issues. You can put it in food, a cookie, etc.

Israel has been researching cannabis for 50 years. They use cannabis in all of their nursing homes.

Global task force protocols for medical cannabis

“Global task force establishes protocols for medical cannabis use to treat pain”

It’s fairly well-known that medical cannabis is being used by patients to ease chronic pain, and many other hard to treat issues.

[FTA] “…There are limited randomized controlled trial data to guide clinicians on how to dose and administer medical cannabis,” Arun Bhaskar, MD, a pain medicine consultant with the Pain Management Centre at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London, said during a virtual PAINWeek presentation. “This evidence gap, coupled with the clinical reality that patients are receiving medical cannabis for chronic pain, highlights the demand for expert consensus guidance from experienced clinicians on how to safely and effectively dose and administer medical cannabis.”

The panel produced an often recommended “start low and go slow” approach  that you can find in the full “Helio” journal article. 

Have you asked your doctor about cannabis medicine for pain?

Created in California, FarmaCann is designed with patients in mind. With good manufacturing practices, efficacy, compliance, and ease of use for the facility or home caregiver, recommending medical professionals can feel confident that their patient will get what is intended. FarmaCann is medicine.

Does your doctor know about FarmaCann?

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#medicalcannabis #pain #seniors #cannabiseducation #cannabisismedicine

“Study Finds Older Adults Using Cannabis to Treat Common Health Conditions”

“Study Finds Older Adults Using Cannabis to Treat Common Health Conditions” – Times of San Diego

If medical cannabis is legal in most states, then why aren’t doctors required to learn about it in school or continuing education?

[FTA] “…The findings demonstrate the need for the clinical workforce to become aware of cannabis use by seniors and to gain awareness of both the benefits and risks of cannabis use in their patient population,” said Dr. Alison Moore, senior author and chief of the division of geriatrics at UCSD’s School of Medicine. “Given the prevalence of use, it may be important to incorporate evidence-backed information about cannabis use into medical school and use screening questions about cannabis as a regular part of clinic visits.”

Ask your doctor if they’ve had any training in how medical cannabis works with the endocannabinoid system to ease many of the hard to treat issues that seniors often face including aches and pains of arthritis, insomnia, anxiety, depression, polypharmacy, agitation, aggression in dementia, PTSD, and more.

If your doctor is looking to learn more about this medicine, perhaps show them this story or the report from UC San Diego Medical School published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society.

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doctor-recommendation

#cannabisismedicine #seniors #cannabiseducation #relief

“Medical Cannabis Doesn’t Cause Cognitive Decline in Seniors, Study Finds”

“Medical Cannabis Doesn’t Cause Cognitive Decline in Seniors, Study Finds” – Jerusalem Post

Study participants showed no real difference in brain function than the control group, and they had great pain relief with a low side-effect profile.

[FTA] “…Chronic pain affects 19%-37% of the adult population worldwide and medical cannabis has, in recent years, been raised by patients and researchers alike as a “highly effective” possible treatment….Our research findings may reduce concerns among physicians who deal with chronic pain and among patients suffering from it regarding the possible effects of cannabis on brain function,” the researchers added.

Of course more studies are always needed and welcome but CBD is legal all over the country and the majority of states have some kind of medical cannabis program.

Ask your doctor if they’ve read this story or the journal article that it was based on.

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Seniors seated on a panel high-fiving each other

#CannabisIsMedicine #CannabisEducation #seniors #care #painrelief #FarmaCann