Monthly Archives: January 2013

Billions of Dollars can be saved by Marijuana Legislation in B.C.

In Blog // on January 31st, 2013 // by // No comment

According to a new study, the medical marijuana purchase rate in British Columbia is about half a billion dollars per year. The pro-legalization researchers are on the debate on the current law status regarding medical cannabis and talking about the government which is skipping a chance to gather revenue on taxes.

The Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia have produced research results, which include an annual value between $ 443 million and $ 563 million regarding the black market marijuana that is sold solely to the B. C. Residents in the first place.

The lead author of the study, Dan Werb, states that it is essential to follow the stats which conclude how many of B. C. Residents are using the drug, how much of it is used by them, and how much is the total worth. Also the co-founder of the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy, Werb confirms that this data is able enough to the drive the policies.

The study is a result of the researches made by the campaign associated by the experts of law and health. This growing campaign is aiming at influencing the B. C. Politicians for finding out an alternative to the present status.

Since the votes in Colorado and Washington have affected legalization of the activities regarding marijuana, the campaign has been inspired and the researchers of the study are already into the act of the arriving implementation regarding medical cannabis Canada.

An interesting data provided by the Health Canada and the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C., the population of the users of medical marijuana Canada is near about 3, 66,000. And, about $ 7.50 per gram of cannabis is the retail cost, as the data is compiled by the specialists.

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Decriminalizing of Marijuana in today’s Canada

In Blog // on January 31st, 2013 // by // No comment

The war on drugs is becoming an economic issue for Canada, as stated by the economists of the country. The Union of B. C. Municipalities supports the public leaderships of British Colombia regarding the decriminalization of medical marijuana. A federal responsibility, the Criminal Code, is run by the provincial jurisdiction government, while the policies are applied by the municipal members.

From city streets to schools and other public places like bars and casinos, criminals are gunned down every now and then. And the criminals are born again within the children. On the other hand, the war on drugs is becoming a harsh breakdown.

The UBCM resolution in the midst is the sign of conclusion to the war on drugs. Its credible jurors are making the choice shortened for Stephen Harper, the prime minister; where he will have to pick one between the criminal activities and the medical cannabis possessions.

Important Stats

The report of B. C. Vital Statistics says that about 8146 people died in the country for addictive reasons in 2006. About 7958 of 8146 were addicted to alcohol along with tobacco. About 188 were associated with drug overdose, of which about 146 were linked to cocaine and heroin.

Another B. C. report of the same year on 220 deaths regarding illicit elements gives death percentage of cocaine identification in 79.5%, opiates of 60%, 14.1% of methadone, amphetamine or methamphetamine of 5.9%, 22.7% of alcohol, 10.5% of antidepressant, 3.6% of benzodiazepines, 78.6% of 2 or more substances and 34.5% of 3 or more substances. The most common was that of the poly substance usage.

These stats show that medical cannabis Canada is not a reason for addiction related deaths. In other words, marijuana is regarded as a less serious issue than alcohol. However, the governments are spending money on discouraging medical marijuana Canada while inspiring the increment of crime activities. As a matter of fact, the policies applied are encouraging the criminal acts in the country.

A lot of unemployed people are given the facilities of free health care, social service and education by the B. C. marijuana cartel. The Frazer institute says that about $ 7 billion has been spent on the industry. And the taxpayer is given an overwhelming amount of bill regarding policies, corrections and court orders. And numerous young people are going for brutal and exploitative life at the same time.

As far as the brutal life is concerned, the number of deaths since decades has increased as well. The late teenagers are shot down and killed viciously, which has become one of the most common phenomena in the country these days. In fact, the war on drugs has not only taken away money, it has also taken away dreaming and youthful guns of the bright future from the society.

Now the major question lies on how more long the war on drugs is going to be allowed by the federal government body. If the authorities are not going to take any further steps regarding this, another war of demands by the people will be created. The demand is to the government for ordering strictly to stop the war.

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A new system proposed by Health Canada for treating marijuana

In Blog // on January 31st, 2013 // by // No comment

A new system of regulations has been proposed by the Health Canada for marijuana production, possessions and distributions. With this new proposal, marijuana is to be treated like a medicine and thus its production and distribution is to be commercialized. The new system is designed to create a licensed regulated commercial market for licensed marijuana producers. Also, the price of Medical Marijuana is likely to increase with the new system. The current price is about $1.80 to $5 per gram but the increased price could be up to $8.80 per gram.

The necessity of the new proposed system

According the Minister of Health in Canada, the current system of regulations for using medical marijuana is open to abuse. Therefore, a new system is needed to control any illegal activities yet allowing access to patients who have genuine medical needs. Thus, a right balance will struck between the public safety and access to patients.

Prior to the new system of using marijuana by people

Before the proposed new system, people who wished to use medical marijuana had to apply to the government for a permit. With this permit people were allowed to grow the marijuana themselves or could buy them from the government growers or medical dispensary.

New system of using marijuana by people

Under this proposed system, individual production of marijuana in the homes of people will be eliminated. Also, patients will not be required to apply to the Health Canada; they will no more be required of submitting their medical documents to the government. There will be a regulated system of commercial market where producers will be licensed to supply marijuana. The only requirement for patients is to have medical document or a prescription from the health care practitioners for obtaining Medical Marijuana from the commercial supplies. In addition to the health care practitioner the patients will not be required to consult any other specialists. With this new proposed system, the role of Health Canada in the process of authorization in the individual productions, possessions, supplies and distribution of marijuana is put to an end.

Requirements for becoming a licensed producer

In order to become a licensed marijuana producer, on is required to have valid security clearance which is authorised by the Minister of Health in Canada. It is required for the producer to employ persons with quality assurance. The employed people must be given proper training and have experience and knowledge as well. The producers of Medical Marijuana Canada must have their production at production site in indoors but not in their own private residences. The access to the production site must also be restricted. Along with this, 24 x 7 security camera systems and alarm systems must be employed. The producers are also required to provide their notification of application and details like the location of the site and other requirements to the government officials, the local police and the fire officials.

Thus, the Health Canada is taking a huge step for curbing out illegal activities on use of marijuana.

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Dispensaries are Valuable

In Blog // on January 16th, 2013 // by // No comment

There have been a lot of phone calls coming into Westcoast Medicann Society with serious concern about the new proposal the federal government has released in regards to medical marijuana and designated growers.  I thought the best way to talk about this issue is to respond directly to statements released by the media in an article from CTV news published Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012 with files from the Canadian Press.

CTV News in bold.  Westcoast Medicann’s thoughts in regular text.

The federal government is getting out of the medical marijuana-production business, opening the market to companies that meet “strict security requirements,” Health Canada said Sunday in announcing sweeping proposed changes to the medical marijuana system.

Although there is a program in place, (the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations program) the federal government has been relatively non-supportive of the ‘medical marijuana-production business’ (giving even licensees a hard time at nearly every angle) including the expansion of accessibility that could benefit so many patients in BC and across Canada.  Handing the market over to “secure companies” really means they are halting the production and distribution of medicine from already established and licensed growers to turn ‘business’ inward, creating guaranteed government profit by way of huge tax and other monetary benefits from big pharmaceutical corporations.

The federal agency’s goal is to treat marijuana as it does any other narcotic used for medical reasons. Doctors will essentially fill out a medical document similar to a prescription, which patients can take to a licensed producer.

This is exactly the process that patients need to go through now to obtain their medicine.  Doctors (of several varieties) fill out paperwork that is needed in order for patients to grow for themselves, get a designated grower, or become members of not-for-profit dispensaries.  Shrinking the methods to obtain medicine not only hurts the patient, but it revives the stigma of ‘weed’; ripping cannabis out of the natural, therapeutic and holistic realm of medicine and throwing it back into the big empty black hole of medical narcotics (which is a category medicinal marijuana does not belong to).

Currently, patients apply to Health Canada to take part in the Marijuana Medical Access Program. When their application is accepted, they are able to either grow the marijuana at home or purchase it from a government producer.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said Sunday that under the new guidelines, patients will no longer apply to Health Canada for medical marijuana, and home production will be phased out.

If a doctor gives the OK, why apply to Health Canada as well?  Because their validation helps those suffering feel they are supported in finding relief within our country’s ethical point of view.  However, stopping home production is an invasion of the Constitution of Rights as private citizens who have found a way to provide for themselves natural, life-giving medicine.

“Under our new rule, only facilities that meet strict security requirements will be able to produce marijuana for medical purposes,” Aglukkaq told reporters at a news conference in Maple Ridge, B.C.

“And because it will no longer be produced in homes, this may make it easier for local municipalities to pass zoning bylaws, for example, requiring any commercial production to take place outside of residential neighbourhoods.”

Major marijuana production is a major undertaking: it takes a lot of energy, just like any other large-yielding production.  Support to build such production facilities is needed – but not in an effort to disable existing producers or home growing patients.

Aglukkaq said the changes are partially a response to concerns raised by doctors and patients about red tape. However, some groups criticized the proposed changes.

Right now, some doctors are prescribing medicinal marijuana and some are not prescribing medicinal marijuana, they are ‘recommending’ it.  If the government is accepting these recommendations, there should be no reason why there is any red tape, or that doctors should feel threatened.  If it is understood, on some levels, that medicinal marijuana is a needed prescription to those suffering from a whole range of illnesses, than it should be understood on all levels.

On Sunday, the Canadian Medical Association said the government has a role to play in regulating a substance for which there is little clinical evidence of efficacy.

Little clinical evidence of efficacy… then why is the government looking to ‘outsource’ the production and distribution of the medicine to ‘secure companies’ and limit prescriptions to certain medical doctors if there is no medical efficacy?  The government wouldn’t be looking for ways to cash in if it didn’t work, and people weren’t becoming more educated to realize how well it works.

“There’s huge potential for harm to patients and the federal government’s decision is equivalent to asking doctors to prescribe while blindfolded,” said CMA president Dr. Anna Reid.

And this is why more education is needed for the doctors who will be able to prescribe the medication – and for the public to note the worth of medicinal cannabis.

As well, other groups expressed concern that the changes will mean higher costs for patients.

As the federal government gets out of the medical marijuana business, taxpayers will no longer be subsidizing its sale.

Under the current program, the marijuana costs about $5 per gram. Under the proposed changes, that price will rise to about $8.80 a gram.

As it stands right now, there are very few people who purchase their medicinal marijuana through Health Canada.  The cost per gram at most dispensaries varies from $8 – $15 per gram.  If the federal government gets out of the medical marijuana business hopefully some extended medical plans will help to alleviate some of the added costs that will incur if the subsidizing from taxpayers ceases.

Rade Kovacevic, the president of the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries, which supports community cannabis dispensaries, said he “remains concerned that patients will continue facing barriers to access.”  According to Kovacevic, more than 50 per cent of medical marijuana users get their supply from dispensaries.

Dispensaries are absolutely necessary for those looking for relief and have made the decision with their doctor to pursue cannabis therapy.  There are aspects within the dispensary itself that aids patients exponentially as opposed to ordering their medicine on-line or through the limited government programming.  Dispensaries specialize in cannabis treatment and offer holistic methods of recovery.  Patients develop relationships with the staff and sometimes come to visit simply to maintain a sane routine to their day.  They also appreciate seeing what they are buying.  In many cases, they don’t have the option of purchasing online because they don’t have access to a computer, a credit card, or are new to the medicine, or have questions that websites cannot provide answers to, Licenced growers also prefer to have dispensaries dispensing for them.  Donating to a dispensary is win-win solution for everyone.  Dispensaries keep it a health care service – not a commercial business.

In 2002, fewer than 500 patients were authorized to take part in the Marijuana Medical Access Program, a number that has since grown to more than 26,000 patients, Aglukkaq told reporters.

The rapid growth of the program has led to skyrocketing costs that are “unsustainable,” Aglukkaq said, making the changes necessary.

What are the ‘unsustainable’ costs?  If there is more need for production and more opportunity for patients to purchase their medicine, isn’t this a mutually beneficial situation?  Unfortunately, the unsustainable part means to me the government isn’t getting a big enough cut.

“Under the program, individuals will be able to choose their licensed producer based on strength, price, quality and customer service,” Aglukkaq said.

Which is essentially what dispensaries are offering now.

The health minister also told reporters the proposed changes were a response to law enforcement concerns about the potential for criminal activity.  Jim Chu, Chief Constable of the Vancouver Police, spoke Sunday on behalf of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, which praised the announced changes.  Chu said the association’s drug abuse committee has documented “many negative consequences” of the medical marijuana program. For instance, even licensed growers hire unlicensed plumbers and electricians to help them set up their operation, which can increase the risk of fires and flooding, Chu said.

This is a weak argument against the benefits of the program.  Growers need support to build their production facilities properly.

Chu also said some individuals abuse the system by applying for multiple licenses, while others sell the marijuana when they grow more than they can use. Growers are also at risk from criminals who would rather just steal marijuana to sell.

If individuals are given multiple licenses, the program isn’t doing it’s due diligence.  There are crooks in every field of service.  Dispensaries are actually helpful by being accountable to whom and where the product is coming from.  If everyone stays above board, the quality of the program can only increase, and a shared sense of responsibility would help the protection of livelihoods and lives.

“These changes are necessary to reduce the risk of abuse and exploitation by criminal elements,” Chu told the B.C. news conference.

The government’s goal is to have the new guidelines in place by March 31, 2013, with the new system fully implemented by April 2014. However, Canadians have the opportunity to weigh in on the proposed changes over a 75-day comment period that ends on Feb. 28.

A hastened push to implement this new system is an unfair way to progress any sort of medical marijuana health service in Canada.  Please post your comments and help fight this ridiculous proposal.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/health-canada-proposes-changes-to-medical-marijuana-system-1.1081641#ixzz2GvxtHrxh

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How to deal with the effects of your medicine

In Blog // on January 11th, 2013 // by // No comment

It may be a big decision for some patients to choose marijuana as a therapeutic and medicinal treatment; knowing that the plant has those fun-loving THC molecules, there is often worry about the psychoactive effects that accompany its intake.

There is an overwhelming agreement that cannabis lessens nausea and pain.  Many patients report it helps them fall asleep, build an appetite, relax, reduce anxiety and unlock hidden creative energy.   But for the first time users, the experience may be life-changing – and it’s important to remember that this is a good thing!

There are generally 3 categories of medicinal marijuana: indica, sativa and hybrids.

Indica strains generally yield a higher CBD count than sativas.  CBDs (Cannabidiols) have sedative effects and therefore indica strains are suggested for evening or bed-time use.  They help relax the lymbic system which can result in a heavy, stony sensation of the body.  Medically, the CBDs in indica strains have shown to relieve inflammation, anxiety and slow cancer cell growth.

A beginner user should start off slowly when smoking or otherwise ingesting indica strains.  I have experienced the feeling of being underwater, or immersed in a tub of Jell-o.  My tongue has felt swollen and my vision took a while to catch up with what my eyes were focusing on.  If a patient feels the same thing, relax.  It’s OK.  Find a comfortable chair or lay down and allow the furniture to relax with you.  Indicas are a great way to get a full night’s sleep.  Set yourself up for true enjoyment of this strain by turning off your phone and allowing yourself to be without responsibility before taking your medicine.

Sometimes indicas can make a person ‘couch-locked’, or induce the feeling of paralysis.  Because the body feels like it is slowed down so much, patients may become panicky if not prepared.

A few things to remember in this event: your heart will not stop.  Take deep breaths and remember it is physically impossible to overdose on marijuana.  Your metabolism just has to ride it out, and you will feel animated in a few hours.  Focus on the absence of pain, nausea and don’t worry.

Sativa strains usually have higher THC counts than indica.  THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive part of the cannabis plant.  It can alter visual, auditory and olfactory senses, bring on fatigue and appetite, create marked relaxation or, more often, energize patients.  It will usually makes one feel euphoric or happy!  A wonderful relief from depression.

In comparison to indicas, sativas are the day time medication.  Some activities to do while using sativa strains: draw, paint, go for a walk, watch a movie, write in a journal, eat and savour every morsel.  Sativas will help those who have been experiencing poor appetites make the act of eating a very pleasurable thing to do.  Beginners may feel their heart rate increase, or have sensitivity to light and touch – but again – it is physically impossible to overdose on marijuana and it only takes a few deep breaths and a gentle reminder that the medication is used to help, not harm.

Hybrids offer the best of both worlds.  A more even amount of THC to CBDs can be found in most hybrid strains and they are usually a more well-rounded approach to the alleviation of several symptoms.  Hybrid edibles are most common as bakers will use a combination of indica and sativa strains to make butter.  Edibles can be very potent, so even if you have become used to the effects of either sativa, indicas or both, an edible can change the experience.  Always start with a small amount of edible cannabis product and allow some time (even an hour) to pass before attempting more medication.  Drink lots of water.

The truth is, every patient reacts differently to their medicine, but when controlled and used to improve the quality of life, medical cannabis is an excellent and healthy choice.  Discuss your reactions with people you trust, your doctor and the staff at the dispensary.  Finding your perfect strain fit can be a wonderful adventure.

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Importance of finding the right treatment

In Blog // on January 6th, 2013 // by // No comment

Working in the Westcoast Medicann Society, the change in individuals after treating their health issues with medicinal marijuana is pronounced.  Often though, it takes time to figure out the best way of medical administration for our patients.  We recognize that each person has individual needs and will react to medicinal cannabis in individualized ways.

There are several approaches to using cannabis for medical purposes, and each method differs in patient reaction.  Here are some options:

Smoking medicinal cannabis is a very fast and efficient way to access the effects.  When inhaled, the medicinal and psychoactive properties of the plant move quickly into the blood stream.  Physical effects can be felt in minutes – which is very helpful in controlling the amount of medicine one intakes.  Smoking works rapidly for relieving nausea or muscle spasms, and the relief can last for a few hours.  There are compelling emotional effects when smoking, due to the THC, which levels depend on the varying strains available.

Vaporizing is another form of inhalation. The vapour produced comes from heating the plant material to a temperature just shy of combustion.  Vaporizing is ideal for those who need quick relief but cannot handle the irritation of smoke on the throat and lungs.  Compared to smoking, patients have described vapour producing different emotional effects, where there is a greater clarity of thought.  Because vapour is essentially odorless, it’s also a fabulous choice for those needing to medicate in more public places.

We can eat cannabis too.  The active ingredients can be extracted into butters, oils, or milk.  The pain reducing, mind-calming and overall feelings of well being can be enhanced when combined with other fatty foods because the medicinal properties are fat soluble.  The effects are strong and last longer when eaten, but the onset of physical and emotional change can sometimes be unpredictable.   Ingesting medicine is completely suitable for chronic pain or other persisting symptoms.  It takes practice to find the right dosage.  Anxiety and feelings of distress are most reported after eating.  On the other hand, those with a certain metabolic makeup find little to no effectiveness.

Although cannabinoids don’t really work in water (that is, cannot be brought to full potential), cannabis tea is a less potent alternative, but an alternative with unique properties that some people find very comforting and calming.  It takes a teabag amount for soft effects, which can be quite a bit of herbal medication for those on a tight budget.

Mouth sprays are absorbed through the mouth’s membranes, but also swallowed which means the effects may come at different stages – from immediate relief to feelings of alleviation several hours later.

Topical creams are both soothing and have physical healing properties – where the medicine attacks diseased cells and prompts regrowth of healthy cells.  Usually made with essential oils and delicious aromas, creams, ointments, tinctures and gels can be a welcome change to the heady feelings of inhalation or ingestion.

There is a real importance to finding the right treatment for our patients.

First of all, there are profound feelings that accompany successful therapy that we strive to share with our patients.  When the medicine targets chronic pain, or nausea, feelings of debilitating anxiety, or any other symptom of illness that a patient has been struggling with, the relief is indescribable.  It’s truly like a miracle.  This is the ambition of medicinal cannabis and it can be achieved!

There are several general factors that can be identified, but there are also subtle nuances in individual patients that take time to get to know and craft a prescription for.

We are often asked about timing – when does one start to ‘feel it’?

How long does it last and what should one expect to feel?

What will target pain?

What will make one sleepy?

What will make one hungry?  Or happy, or creative?

Will one become more anxious?

Will one become debilitated or completely lethargic?

The truth is, the effects of using medicinal marijuana can be strange and even frightening to those who are new to the medication, but there are ways to use cannabis with real success.

Look forward to the next blog discussing how to deal with the effects of medicinal marijuana and how to medicate as comfortably and as effectively as possible.

Also, check out http://heretohelp.bc.ca/factsheet/medical-use-of-cannabis for this incredibly helpful website with excellent articles.

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