Can a Minor Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Colorado?

By: med_admin Published: June 30, 2017

In the state of Colorado minors can legally use medical marijuana based on specific criteria if they are being treated for a qualifying medical condition. First, the minor must reside in Colorado and have a parent or legal guardian also residing in Colorado. The minor’s parent or legal guardian must provide consent in writing to serve as the minor’s primary guardian. Consent must be from each parent residing in Colorado. Two medical marijuana doctors must have concluded and documented that the minor applicant has been diagnosed with a qualified debilitating medical condition. One of the doctors must have a bona fide physician-patient relationship with the minor. Additionally, one of the doctors consulted must have explained the possible risks and benefits of medical use of medical marijuana to the minor applicant and each of the minor applicant’s parents residing in Colorado.

To apply for the card, the Colorado resident applicant must have a valid Social Security number and include the documentation about the qualifying medical condition, the physician certification forms, a copy of the applicant’s Colorado driver’s license, and a $15 check or money order with the application. If you have any questions about some common reasons to get a medical marijuana card, schedule an appointment, or anything else please call us at (719) 246-0393.

The use of medical marijuana by minors has been successfully documented in Colorado through the story of Charlotte Figi. Charlotte was just three months old when she experienced her first seizure. The seizures became exceedingly frequent, with Charlotte experiencing up to 300 grand mal seizures a week, leaving her little body battered and weak, and causing her to be hospitalized often. The Figis spent years looking for an effective treatment that wouldn’t further diminish her quality of life. After extensive research, desperation, and a leap of faith, the Figis decided to try cannabis, due to the debilitating effects of the seizures, the frequency, and side effects from treatments they had already tried.

When Charlotte’s condition responded favorably to cannabis, the family sought out the Stanley Brothers, one of the state’s largest marijuana growers and dispensary owners. The brothers created a CBD-rich hemp oil extract, known as Charlotte’s Web, that her parents introduced to Charlotte’s diet, and which significantly reduced the seizures she experiences. Today, Charlotte is a thriving, active child enjoying life like any other child her age, and only experiences a few seizures a month, almost solely in her sleep.

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Groups that Help Veterans Access Medical Marijuana

By: med_admin Published: June 8, 2017

For many veterans, medical marijuana can mean the difference between being able to function normally, cope with daily stress, and handle difficult medical situations, or suffering, often in silence. There is a growing movement to convince the federal government to remove cannabis from the Schedule I substance list, and permit research into its effectiveness in treating such medical situations such as chronic pain, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition many veterans deal with as a result of their time serving our country.

In early 2017, the American Legion, our nation’s largest veterans service organization, sent a letter to the White House requesting a meeting with President Donald Trump to discuss critical veterans’ issues, including suicide and opiate addiction, and asking the administration to “clear the way for clinical research in the cutting edge areas of cannabinoid receptor research”. In 2016, the Department of Veterans Affairs noted in the VA Suicide Prevention Program’s document entitled “Facts about Veteran Suicide” that an average of 20 veterans died from suicide each day in 2014.

American Legion officials stated that they are not advocating the legalization of marijuana, but rather the rescheduling of cannabis so that quantifiable, scientific medical research can be done that might support the use of marijuana in a medical environment. Officials believe there is compelling anecdotal evidence which supports the efficacy of medical marijuana in treating veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBI), PTSD, and other medical issues.

Several groups exist that offer support to veterans in their quest to access medical marijuana for treatment. One such group is Weed for Warriors, a California-based organization which works with cannabis growers, who donate their products to the organization, and groups like the Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance, to provide veterans with medical marijuana information and access to free medicine. The Weed for Warriors Project was started in the San Francisco Bay area by a Marine veteran who found relief from disabilities connected to his military service through medical marijuana and the fellowship of other likeminded veterans within the cannabis community.

Another group supporting the call for further research into the medical use of marijuana is the non-profit organization, Veterans Cannabis Project. This organization offers education, advocacy, research support and partnerships with likeminded organizations, as well as promoting career opportunities for veterans within the growing marijuana industry. Their stated purpose is to “ensure that veterans today and in future generations can improve their quality of life through access to medical marijuana”.

With veterans representing just 7% of the American population but accounting for 20% of suicides in our nation, it is obvious to many that the various assistance and pharmaceutical prescription programs currently available for veterans are not working. Many of the drugs prescribed to treat depression and suicidal thoughts are highly addictive, and carry with them their own set of problems. The groups promoting medical marijuana as a natural, viable treatment believe it can prevent suicide and save lives by helping to restore the confidence, mental health, and ability to lead normal, healthy lives.

For recommendations on which cannabis products may be best for your situation, contact Medical Alternatives Clinic today at (719) 246-0393 in Colorado Springs, or email us at info@medicalalternativesclinics.com with your questions, or to set up an appointment. Our MMJ doctors in Colorado Springs 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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Relief Without the Haze: The Magic of Marijuana Topicals

By: med_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: med_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: med_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: med_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: med_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: med_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: med_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: med_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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