Relief Without the Haze: The Magic of Marijuana Topicals

By: admin Published: May 19, 2017

Marijuana topical treatments are extremely popular with people of all ages seeking the healing effects of marijuana, but who would rather do without the “high”. Since our skin is our largest organ, it only makes sense to take advantage of a form of pain relief that is applied directly on the surface of the skin. New and interesting ways of consuming cannabis to relieve chronic pain are being developed daily, and these medicinal, topical treatments are providing relief to some of the most unlikely consumers, including senior citizens. Our medical marijuana doctors in Colorado Springs and Pueblo have seen great results with marijuana topicals in many patients.

The healing properties of marijuana topicals are available in a wide variety of applications, including balms, ointments, lotions, creams, oils, and salves, all imbued with the active pain relieving ingredients marijuana is known for, and designed to bring relief to seniors without the “haze” associated with ingesting marijuana via smoking or eating. Because they are non-psychoactive, marijuana topicals are a great choice for treating chronic, localized physical pain, like the stiffness, swelling, and achy joints that come with arthritis.

Topical applications containing cannabis are absorbed through the skin and offer a solution for localized pain, joint and muscle soreness, tension, and inflammation. When a person’s range of motion becomes limited due to the pain and swelling of arthritis, marijuana topicals can provide a practical alternative to traditional medications for treating these symptoms, due to the anti-inflammatory and pain relief abilities of these radical new therapies.

Marijuana topicals work by binding to the body’s CB2 receptors found throughout the body. These receptors are activated by cannabis compounds, and even if a topical treatment contains active THC, the user will not experience the intense “high” associated with ingesting cannabis, as the cannabinoids only penetrate to the system of CB2 receptors, and do not enter the bloodstream. The exception to this rule is the transdermal patch, which does deliver cannabinoids to the bloodstream.

In addition to finding a new way to relieve the pain and stiffness of arthritis, senior citizens are discovering that marijuana topicals can provide relief of headaches and muscle cramps. Many manufacturers are blending natural scents such as peppermint, lavender, and wintergreen into their topical products to produce a treatment that not only provides pain relief, but leaves a pleasant scent that lingers on the skin after application. Contrary to popular belief, which is changing daily with more and more states legalizing medical marijuana, these cannabis-infused topical treatments can be extremely effective in alleviating chronic pain, and will not become physically addictive with repeated use.

For recommendations on which marijuana topicals may be best for your chronic pain, contact Medical Alternatives Clinic today at (719) 246-0393 in Colorado Springs or Pueblo with your questions, or to set up an appointment. We are here to assist you in any way we can, and will provide you with a copy of any paperwork necessary for your records.

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Colorado Officially Approves Medical Marijuana for PTSD

By: admin Published: May 10, 2017

Colorado has added Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Acute Stress Disorder to the list of qualifying conditions, and the first psychological conditions, eligible for treatment by medical marijuana, as reported in the April 28, 2017 online edition of 5280, Denver Colorado’s Mile High Magazine. Colorado state lawmakers decided that physicians should be allowed to recommend medical marijuana in treating PTSD symptoms in adults, but also decided that there should be additional safeguards in place when it comes to allowing children under the age of 18 to be similarly treated.

Although there are several forms of treatment for the disorder, including various types of therapy, exercise, dietary interventions, and medications, currently there is no cure for PTSD, and Colorado has one of the highest suicide rates in the country. Prior to the passage of Senate Bill 17-017, Colorado was the only state to formally deny a request to add PTDS to the list of approved conditions for the use of medical cannabis. One of the issues bogging the bill down was language allowing medical marijuana to be recommended for patients under the age of 18 who were diagnosed with PTSD.

An amendment to the bill sponsored by Representative Timothy Leonard stipulates that two physicians, one of whom must be a board-certified pediatrician, a board-certified family physician, or a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist who is part of the family’s medical care team, must prescribe medical marijuana for any person under the age of 18, and each of the patient’s parents residing in Colorado must consent to this treatment in writing to the state health department, with one parent consenting in writing to serve as the patient’s primary caregiver.

On the Colorado General Assembly website SB17-017, which was sponsored by Senator Irene Aguilar and Representative Jonathan Singer, a summary of the bill states that “The bill creates a statutory right to use medical marijuana for a patient with acute stress disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder. The bill creates the same rights, limitations and criminal defenses and exceptions as the constitutional right to use medical marijuana.”

5280 reports that Matthew Kahl, executive director of the 501(c)4 nonprofit Veterans for Natural Rights, has been a vocal advocate for this policy change. After serving two tours in Afghanistan, Kahl was tormented by intense PTSD flashbacks and says marijuana is the most effective treatment he’s found to ease his otherwise debilitating symptoms. He was among a cohort of veterans who pleaded their cases for using marijuana to ease PTSD symptoms before the Colorado Board of Health in July 2015. He and a group of veterans and other individuals living with PTSD also advocated for SB17-017, and brought a lawsuit against the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to appeal the Board’s 2015 decision.

With the passage of SB17-017, Colorado joins twenty other states, Guam and Puerto Rico in approving PTSD as a qualifying medical condition for access to medical marijuana.

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Medical Marijuana for Spinal Cord Injuries

By: admin Published: April 25, 2017

As stated in a 2016 SCI (Spinal Cord Injury) Data Sheet put out by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), approximately 17,000 new spinal cord injury cases occur each year. It is estimated that up to 347,000 people live with a spinal cord injury today.

Suffering a spinal cord injury can have devastating effects on a person’s quality of life. Those affected with this harsh injury are often plagued with a range of symptoms from pain and muscle spasms, known as spasticity, to insomnia and depression.

The spinal cord is comprised of a bundle of nerves responsible for sending and receiving messages between the body and the brain. When injury and trauma result in damage to the spinal cord, most often a fracture or compression of the spinal cord occurs, which causes the axons of the cord to be crushed or destroyed. When the axons are damaged, permanent changes in strength, sensation, and functioning can occur below the site of the injury. There are two primary types of spinal cord injuries. The first is a complete spinal cord injury, which is a total loss of functioning and sensation below the injury. The second is an incomplete spinal cord injury, which results in partial functioning and sensation below the point of injury.

While there is currently no way to reverse spinal cord injuries, one focus of treatment is to control and manage symptoms to help patients live as comfortably as possible. Research into the use of medical marijuana to relieve symptoms from spinal cord injuries has shown significant promise. Cannabis and its cannabinoids have even demonstrated they can provide neuroprotective capabilities if administered shortly after a spinal cord injury. One study showing this neuroprotective response when certain cannabinoids were stimulated noted how it limited damage.

While studies continue to help learn more about the protective use of cannabinoids immediately following a spinal cord injury, those with existing injuries can find relief from pain and muscle spasticity using medical marijuana. Cannabis has been shown to be very effective for treating neuropathic pain associated with spinal cord injuries. One such study featured in The Journal of Pain showed positive results when evaluating vaporized cannabis in the treatment of pain from spinal cord injuries.

For treating spasticity in spinal cord injury sufferers, many studies have shown how both synthetic cannabinoids and those from cannabis offer relief from spasticity. One study from the Switzerland based Centre for Spinal Cord Injuries concluded that THC is an effective and safe drug in the treatment of spasticity.

Medical marijuana has also been shown to help treat other symptoms spinal cord injury patients experience such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression. With continued research into how medical marijuana can benefit and treat patients with spinal cord injuries, and the positive results showing the effectiveness of cannabis on symptoms like neuropathic pain and spasticity, the advantages of marijuana continue to progress scientifically and in practice for those in need.

If you have spinal cord injuries and think seeing an MMJ doctor in Colorado Springs could help, call us today at (719) 246-0393 to set up an appointment.

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The Dangers of Moldy Marijuana and How to Prevent It

By: admin Published: April 6, 2017

Smoking moldy marijuana can be very dangerous and in extreme cases cause death. Those at the greatest risk are people with immune system issues, asthma, or respiratory conditions. Moldy marijuana is more common than many would expect and can occur when there is enough moisture for mold to breed on buds and leaves. Mold can thrive on buds that still contain moisture in them and are packaged, cured, or stored in air-tight containers, which create perfect conditions for mold growth. Our MMJ doctors in Colorado Springs want to help you keep your medical marijuana medically viable and not dangerous to your health.

The most common effects associated with smoking moldy marijuana can include flu-like symptoms and breathing conditions, as well as the following:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Increased trouble breathing
  • Aspergilloma – Mold growth in the lungs
  • Pneumonitis – Inflammation of the walls of the alveoli in the lungs

It is important to be aware of these serious health problems that can occur with inhaling moldy marijuana and equally important to know how to avoid them by being able to detect mold on marijuana. Mold is often difficult to see with the naked eye, especially if it has not had time to spread, but an indication of mold can be black spots, dark green spots, white and grayish stringy matter, or other unusual coloring. The best tool to use to detect mold is a black light. Mold spores will appear as a distinctive green hue under a black light. Another indication of moldy marijuana is its smell, such as a musty or unpleasant smell.

Mold needs just 15% moisture to thrive and survive. The best way to prevent mold on marijuana is to make sure it is completely dried out before storing it. If stored in air-tight containers to keep it fresh, make sure you open the container at least once a day to allow fresh air to circulate and prevent moisture build up. Use extreme caution if you are attempting to rehydrate dried out marijuana. Water obviously increases moisture and the popular method of using orange peels can create very fertile breeding environments for mold. If you suspect mold, or want to be as safe as possible, put marijuana on a baking sheet in an oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, which will kill some of the most common strains of mold.

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The Benefits of Consuming Raw Cannabis

By: admin Published: March 22, 2017

Nearly 75% of all Americans advocate the legalization of cannabis, at least for medical use. With all the debate and drama behind marijuana, the true benefits behind the plant are often overlooked. One little known fact about cannabis is that when consumed raw, it provides a host of nutritional benefits.

Like other green leafy plants we eat, raw cannabis is filled with vital nutrients like fiber, iron, and calcium. It also contains essential fatty acids, is loaded with antioxidants, and contains every essential amino acid. And, like other green, leafy plants, raw cannabis is not psychoactive, meaning it does not inhibit the mind or body. However, when heated, the nutritional value is lost, as is similar with other plants and vegetables. As long as cannabis remains in its raw form, the plant offers incredible health benefits that cannot be found if heated.

One unique nutritional benefit of raw cannabis of interest to vegetarians is there are many fatty acids present that are typically found in meats only, and not in plants. Dr. J.C. Callaway, of the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Kupio in Finland, notes in Hempseed as a nutritional resource: An Overview that hempseed contains about 25% of protein. Uncommon for a plant, the protein content in cannabis is unique. Low in carbohydrates, many would consider this low-carb, high-protein source of nutritional value a benefit to the food industry.

In fact, hemp seeds, also called hemp hearts, are sold in many supermarkets and health food stores. Consumers can eat them as is, like sunflower seeds, blended into smoothies and shakes, or added to salads and pasta. They can also be made into a paste, similar to peanut butter, known as “canna-butter”, and is considered quite flavorful.

Raw, fresh cannabis leaves can be used in salads, juiced, or used as a dried seasoning, like oregano. Cannabis oil is also very popular, and can be found as cannabis coconut oil and cannabis olive oil. In addition to being used as a food source, cannabis oils can be found in salves, balms, and medicated skin creams.

Consuming raw cannabis is considered a very efficient way to gain nutritional value by many people. Packed with vitamins, minerals, essential and fatty acids, and protein, raw cannabis provides a healthy dose of nutrition without any psychoactive effects.

Call our MMJ doctors in Colorado Springs today at (719) 246-0393 to find out how medical cannabis can help you!

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The Future of CBD

By: admin Published: March 9, 2017

The future of cannabidiol (CBD) use in medicine looks promising. The non-addictive, non-toxic, and non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in the marijuana plant, is being heavily researched in labs around the world for its potential medical benefits. Many strains have been bred for medical marijuana use that are very high in this cannabinoid. The chief medical officer of HelloMD wrote in an article about the compound called CBD: The Medicine of the Future, “…recent research has shown that cannabidiol may present more health benefits than any single manufactured drug that’s being prescribed today.”

That is a bold claim, but one with a lot of advocates. However, there is a rather big roadblock that keeps CBD from the prominence that many believe it deserves. CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant, and though the compound is not physically or psychologically addicting, the federal government and Drug Enforcement Agency are not likely to move the plant from a Schedule I drug to a legally obtainable drug in the foreseeable future.

Nonetheless, scientists and researchers continue to study CBDs, and pharmaceutical companies are taking stock of some of the positive findings by producing CBD-based medications. In fact, U.K.-based biotech, GW Pharmaceuticals, is seeking FDA approval for their CBD-based drug used to treat rare forms of epilepsy. The company’s leading product, also marijuana-based, is approved to treat sclerosis spasms and cancer pain in 22 countries, but not the U.S.

The federal government’s disconnect between separating the benefits from any perceived negatives about CBD use is one many hope will be filled with the science and positive discoveries being noted about the drug. Time will tell, but if anything, that patient advocates for the compound have led to the legalization of marijuana in many states, at least for medical use, is a sign of the times. And, with more doctors and scientists noting the benefits of CBD for treating a wide range of conditions, from autoimmune diseases to arthritis, there is hope that CBD will find its place in the medical world.

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Medical Marijuana for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

By: admin Published: February 24, 2017

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the question of whether marijuana should be used to manage the debilitating symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) including pain, tremors, and muscle spasms, is complex and not easily answered. Although more than 400,000 Americans suffer with MS, and many are turning to medical marijuana to ease their symptoms, there are side effects to be considered when contemplating the use of cannabis to treat MS.

The Society supports the rights of people with MS to work with their health care providers to access medical marijuana in those states where it has been approved. There are several studies of note on the effects of cannabis in those with MS symptoms, and supporters hope to soon prove its viability as a treatment, as those treatments currently available often fail to provide real relief.

Although legal in 28 states as of 2016, marijuana use is still illegal at the federal level. However, in 2015 federal legislation was passed clarifying that the federal government would no longer use federal funds to enforce federal marijuana laws in states that voted to permit medical marijuana use. This new legislation overturned a 2005 Supreme Court ruling allowing the federal government to prohibit and prosecute possession and use of medical marijuana, even in the states where it was legal.

Many patients swear by medical marijuana when it comes to finding relief from their symptoms, some even dubbing it “a miracle cure” for MS. Unfortunately, a true cure for MS is yet to be found. Dr. Thorsten Rudroff, a Colorado State University neurophysiologist who has conducted observational studies on the effects of marijuana in treating multiple sclerosis symptoms, states that anecdotal reports touting the benefits of marijuana in treating common symptoms like fatigue, muscle weakness, anxiety, and sleep deprivation are growing in number, but these reports are not yet verified by scientific research to date.

Cannabis research has faced heavy opposition, and scientists have had a difficult time conducting clinical trials necessary to determine dosing guidelines and the efficacy of cannabis sativa in treating symptoms in MS patients, because of its current status as a Schedule 1 drug. Scientists who want to study cannabis must seek approval from federal, state, and local agencies for their research, and are only able to get their samples from a single lab.

Dr. Rudroff believes the medical benefits of marijuana stem from the CBD (cannabidiol) present in the plant. CBD binds to the receptors in the human body and alters the way they act to the body’s natural signals. In MS, there is too much activity of the immune system, and Dr. Rudroff believes that CBD may inhibit this increased activity, which may result in medical benefits.

To learn more about the application of medical marijuana for your situation or if you have the right reasons to get a medical marijuana card, please contact the Colorado Springs MMJ doctors from Medical Alternatives Clinics at (719) 246-0393. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please visit our online portal. We offer same day appointments for current and prospective medical marijuana patients.

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Changing Laws May Have Major Impact on Medical Marijuana Patients

By: admin Published: February 21, 2017

With medical marijuana gaining in popularity across the U.S. and several marijuana initiatives passing in 2016, the marijuana industry is expected to continue to grow in 2017. Colorado State Senate Bill 14, which passed in May of 2015 and became effective on January 1, 2017, limits medical marijuana caregivers to only grow a total of 99 plants for a maximum of five patients. This measure is cause for concern for some. Roger Martin, Founder of Grow for Vets USA stated that Senate Bill 14 will force medical marijuana patients to purchase their medical cannabis from the retail market, so that the state can generate tax revenue from these sales.

Caregivers who grow more than 36 plants are also required to register their grow location as a result of Senate Bill 14, as well as their patient numbers and any extended plant counts. Martin states one factor that is not taken into account under the new regulations is the fact that certain patients require more than one type of medical marijuana to adequately address their medical needs. “It has a direct impact on how much medical cannabis a patient can get and it may or may not be sufficient to take care of their medical needs,” Martin said. According to law officers, a number of huge grow operations aren’t legitimate and are disguising themselves as caregiver outlets. Enforcement could definitely be on the rise in the near future, with more scrutiny regarding caregiver licenses.

In California, where voters legalized recreational marijuana by passing Proposition 64, big changes in enforcement may be on the way. The state will issue licenses to growers, distributors, and sellers, who will be required to adhere to certain rules and regulations. For instance, distributors will have to disclose exactly what is in their product with labels that will closely resemble nutrition labels currently required on food products.

If you have a qualifying condition, come see our MMJ doctors in Colorado Springs today! Call us now at (719) 246-0393 to schedule your appointment.

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Five Marijuana Industry Predictions for 2017

By: admin Published: January 24, 2017

The 2016 elections green-lighted marijuana initiatives in states across the nation. With the added exposure, business legitimacy, and medical research associated with the marijuana industry, predictions for what the industry will bring in 2017 are plentiful. Here are five common themes that stand out amongst predictions from multiple sources.

  1. Industry Maturation and Professionalism. With more than half of the states in the union legalizing marijuana, regulatory adoption, business practices, financing, and market logistics will continue to grow in sophistication. With bipartisan support during 2016, and a greater exposure to legal pot throughout the country, the product has never been more openly discussed as a legitimate business venture. Many sources hint at a multi-state, self-governing body to promote the strength of the industry and encourage best practices.
  2. Secondary Market Growth. As new and larger markets prepare for legal use of recreational and/or medical marijuana across the country, such as in California, Florida, and Massachusetts, businesses supporting the green industry will see considerable growth. Product manufacturing for marijuana accessories, software and technical platforms to support business management and data analytics, and plant farming and harvesting logistics and technology are just some areas that will see growth and development in support of the industry.
  3. Synthetic Cannabinoid Focus. Though cannabinoids (CBD) continue to be seen as a safe and viable medical pain relief alternative, particularly in the wake of a nationwide opioid epidemic, federal regulatory agencies still see hemp-based CBD as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Fear of legal repercussions may cause a growth in demand for synthetic CBDs, which do not have the same regulatory restrictions as the plant-based version.
  4. More Marijuana on TV. With less stigma and greater acceptance of marijuana as a legitimate product and business venture, taboo surrounding weed has dissipated. Expect mainstream television to reflect this change in view with more marijuana-themed shows coming to the small screen.
  5. Professional Sports to Accept Marijuana. A bold prediction, more than one source believes a professional sports league will accept marijuana as a medical treatment alternative to treat injury-related pain. Many players already use cannabis to treat injuries, preferring it to the harmful effects of prescribed opioids. Those players in states that legalize medical marijuana believe they should have access to it without league repercussion.
    1. MMJ Doctor in Colorado Springs or Pueblo, call us today at (719) 246-0393.

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Medical Marijuana for Patients Receiving Radiation Therapy

By: admin Published: January 2, 2017

Radiation therapy, also known as radiation oncology, is the use of targeted high energy radiation to kill cancer cells. Approximately half of all cancer patients receive some type of radiation therapy during the course of their treatment. It is often used in conjunction with chemotherapy to help eradicate cancer cells present in the body, and may be administered prior to or after surgery, or as a standalone modality. Radiation therapy damages cancer cells by destroying the genetic material that controls how these cells grow and divide. Unfortunately, good, healthy cells are often destroyed in the process.

Cannabinoids (the active chemicals found in Cannabis that produce drug-like effects) have been proven to help alleviate the pain and side effects – specifically nausea and vomiting – that are caused by radiation therapy and chemotherapy. In addition to pain, other side effects include loss of appetite, inflammation, fatigue, skin conditions, and diarrhea. Cannabinoids act on cells in the central nervous system, and can be inhaled, ingested via edibles, or taken in sublingual form. Cannabis has also been shown to kill cancer cells. With growing support across the U.S., obtaining cannabis for medicinal purposes is becoming easier with each passing year.

Although recent strides have been made in developing drugs that can treat the pain and negative side effects caused by radiation therapy, many people choose to follow a more natural route by using medical marijuana to treat the disease and its associated symptoms. Medical marijuana has proven to be an affordable, natural alternative for thousands of cancer patients seeking to alleviate the pain and other debilitating side effects of radiation therapy.

In order to acquire legal access to medicinal cannabis, there are three requirements set forth by the Medicinal Marijuana Association. They are:

  1. Establish proof of residence. Assuming you reside in a state that has legalized medical marijuana, a valid driver’s license is usually all that is required. If you do not have a driver’s license, a state-issued I.D. or passport should suffice.
  2. Established eligible condition. There are several eligible medical conditions that qualify for a medical marijuana prescription. These normally include conditions such as a severe, debilitating, or terminal illness like cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS. Other conditions which may be covered include PTSD, fibromyalgia, depression, migraines, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, Crohn’s Disease, Tourette’s Syndrome, muscular dystrophy, Hepatitis C, seizures, persistent muscle spasms, peripheral neuropathy, anorexia and other eating disorders, and wasting syndrome. Eligibility varies by state, so be sure to verify what the local law is on this subject. Often, if you can prove through a doctor’s diagnosis that you have chronic, intractable pain because of a condition not on the eligibility list, you may still qualify to receive medical marijuana.
  3. Doctor’s documentation. Although the use of Cannabis for medicinal purposes dates back to ancient times, many physicians do not feel qualified to prescribe it for their patients with pain, or may not feel there is sufficient clinical proof to do so. Some may object on moral grounds. There are an increasing number of physicians who do recognize the benefits of medical marijuana, however, and finding a doctor in your area may not prove as difficult as you might imagine.

Find a whole list of reasons to get a medical marijuana card in Colorado on our site. We have seen a wide variety of conditions come through our office that can be treated by MMJ!

If you anticipate the need for, or are currently undergoing radiation therapy and wish to learn more about the application of medical marijuana for your situation, please contact Medical Alternatives Clinics at (719) 246-0393. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please visit our online portal. We offer same day appointments for current and prospective medical marijuana patients.

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