Medical Marijuana Use Increasing in Patients Aged 50+

By: med_admin Published: May 30, 2018

medical-alternatives-clinics-mmj-womanResearch shows that Americans 50 years old and older today are 20 times more likely to use marijuana than people in that age bracket were three decades ago. The use rate of younger generations remained about the same across those thirty years. Researchers found people born prior to World War II very rarely used marijuana at any point, but among subsequent generations usage was significant, especially among Baby Boomers born from the late 1940’s through the early 1960’s. This is the generation who grew up using marijuana in their teen years, and as with many youthful habits, this habit dies hard.

Today, as the Baby Boomers advance into their 50s, 60s, and beyond, many return to the substance that was popular but illegal in their youth, but is now legally available in over half the states in the country. According to the National Council for Aging Care, a study in 2013 revealed that four out of five doctors approve of medical marijuana and more than 90 percent of medical marijuana patients say that medical marijuana has helped treat their conditions. Seniors were the largest age group in the study with more than 2,300 respondents.

Part of the reason medical marijuana is gaining such popularity among the silver-haired set is its effectiveness in relieving pain without psychoactive side effects or the need to ingest the plant to achieve relief. Arthritis, joint pain, back pain, nerve damage, headaches, and muscular tension can all be alleviated through the use of topical forms of medical marijuana such as lotions, rubs, and creams. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s Disease, and degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease and multiple sclerosis respond well to treatment using marijuana. The nausea and vomiting that often accompany cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation can also be lessened with the help of medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana is also effective at treating eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia, which are common among seniors. Many lose the desire to eat as they age, whether due to poor body image or other psychological reasons, with nearly 80 percent of deaths among the elderly being due to anorexia. These disorders are often treated with antipsychotics and antidepressants, which have been reported to actually worsen symptoms rather than relieve them. Many doctors are beginning to view medical marijuana as a safer alternative to prescription drugs, which carry with them risky side effects.

In addition to pain relief, medical marijuana may offer benefits for the senior brain. Studies done in Germany showed a group of older mice performed better than younger mice in cognitive tests after THC was introduced, suggesting medical marijuana may help increase cognition in the elderly.

Among the Baby Boomer generation, the objections to using some form of medical marijuana to ease pain, lift depression, and quell anxiety are considerably less than with the generation that went before them. After all, many Boomers used marijuana at some point in their youth, and usage no longer carries the stigma of being socially unacceptable.

For the over 50 crowd, medical marijuana offers many attractive benefits over prescription drugs. Cannabis is safer and more cost efficient than many prescription drugs, with far fewer negative side effects, it offers significant pain relief, and helps many seniors who struggle with insomnia to achieve a good night’s sleep without using sleeping pills.

If you have questions about how medical marijuana may help relieve your chronic pain, contact Medical Alternatives Clinic today at (719) 246-0393 to speak with an MMJ Doctor in Colorado Springs, or email us at hello@medicalalternativesclinics.com with your questions, or to set up an appointment. We are your first choice for MMJ/Medical Marijuana Doctors Colorado Springs, here to assist you in any way we can. We are happy to provide you with copies of any paperwork necessary for your records.

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Medical Marijuana Could Help Fight Opioid Issues in America

By: med_admin Published: May 23, 2018

PharmaThere is no denying America is currently struggling with an opioid epidemic which has been described as “the worst self-inflicted epidemic in the history of our country,” but research shows there is hope in the midst of the problem, and it comes from medical marijuana. Studies published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine suggest that legalizing marijuana could help turn the tide of the world’s worst opioid epidemic, as medical marijuana can be used to treat many health issues currently treated with opioids without the negative side effects of chronic opioid usage.

University of Georgia Professor David Bradford, a lead author of one recent study showing that states with laws allowing medical marijuana have seen significant drops in prescription opioids, stated ‘cannabis clearly has medical applications’ and that there’s good reason to be hopeful that cannabis might be one tool out of many we could use to address the opioid epidemic.’

Melissa Moore, New York deputy state director for the Drug Policy Alliance, noted a growing body of scientific literature suggests access to legal medical marijuana can result in the use of opioids in general, and a drop in opioid related overdose deaths. CNN recently reported opioid overdose has been implicated in over 500,000 deaths since 2000, with more than 42,000 Americans dying per year from opioid overdose according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Clearly, we are a country in crisis.

In a May 2018 publication Marijuana as Medicine, The National Institute on Drug Abuse stated that although the FDA has not yet approved marijuana as medicine, scientific study of cannabinoids, the chemicals in marijuana, has led to two FDA-approved medications containing cannabinoid chemicals in pill form. The publication went on to state that recent animal studies have shown marijuana extracts may help kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others.

Conditions for which opioids are typically prescribed include chronic pain, something marijuana has been proven to alleviate, both in studies and via anecdotal evidence. Further clinical studies need to be conducted to determine the viability of using marijuana as medicine, but the tide of public opinion appears to be turning.

If you have questions about how medical marijuana may help you conquer opioid issues, contact Medical Alternatives Clinic today at (719) 246-0393 in Colorado Springs, or email us at hello@medicalalternativesclinics.com with your questions, or to set up an appointment. We are your first choice for MMJ/Medical Marijuana Doctors in Colorado Springs, here to assist you in any way we can. We are happy to provide you with copies of any paperwork necessary for your records.

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How to request access to your patient registration in the Medical Marijuana Registry

By: Admin Published: May 14, 2018

request-access-to-patient-registrationPatients that received their medical marijuana card (red card) in the past through the mail-in process will likely have their information already stored in the registry system.

This means that when they now try to submit an application online at https://medicalmarijuana.colorado.gov they may receive a red error message saying social security number is already in use or similar.

To correct this and get access to your account, please follow the steps outlined in this document: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ifCzBYIihn1NJ-ElrJ0Z80aZ0FI1Znw5/view

 

 

 

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Awaiting Physician Certification – how to attach the Physician Certification to your MMJ application?

By: Admin Published: May 14, 2018

First step is to go to the Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry login page and to log into your account: https://medicalmarijuana.colorado.gov

1. Click on “Awaiting Physician Certification”

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2. Click on the “Physician Certification” tab

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3. Click on the “+New” button

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4. Click on the dropdown

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5. Select the value from the dropdown

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6. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and hit the “Save” button

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How to set cultivation information on your medical marijuana card?

By: Admin Published: May 4, 2018

Cultivation information helps the state determine how a patient will be obtaining their medicine. In most cases, patients will be purchasing from a dispensary, in which case the first option (“Center”) is selected on the form. Other options include growing your own medicine or through a caregiver. Patients with extended plant counts that grow their own medicine should consider “assigning” a portion of their plants to a dispensary (on the form, this is the “Self and Center” option) – what this does is ensure they have access to medicine in case their own grow does not produce enough.

Below are the steps to set Cultivation Information on your medical marijuana application:

First step is to go to the Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry login page and to log into your account: https://medicalmarijuana.colorado.gov

1. Click on “Cultivation Information”

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2. Click on the “Cultivation Information” tab

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3. Click on the “+New” button

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4. Set the appropriate cultivation information and hit “Save” at the end

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How to pay for your medical marijuana card?

By: Admin Published: May 4, 2018

First step is to go to the Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry login page and to log into your account: https://medicalmarijuana.colorado.gov

1. Click on “Awaiting Payment”
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2. Click on the “Payments” tab
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3. Click on the “+New” button
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4. Click on the “Click Here to Pay” button. The next page will then walk you through entering your credit or debit card information, and once payment is complete your card will be active within 3 business days.
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How to get and print your medical marijuana card?

By: Admin Published: May 4, 2018

First step is to go to the Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry login page and to log into your account: https://medicalmarijuana.colorado.gov

1. Click on “Active”

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2. Click on “Print Card”

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3. Your card will download as “card.pdf”

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4. When you click on “card.pdf”, it will open in a new browser window or just open as a pdf document. You can now print your card.

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Here is what a sample card looks like: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/PatientSampleCard.pdf

Remember to print both pages of your card when going to a dispensary.

 

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What is CBD? (summary of what CBD is and how it is medically beneficial)

By: Admin Published: April 11, 2018

Flour hemp in spoon with oil and bag on board

Cannabidiol, or CBD as it is commonly known, is just one of over 100 compounds in the cannabis plant which can help you or a loved one who may be suffering from pain or illness, both physical and mental. Unlike THC, this compound is not psychoactive, therefore there is no “high” as with THC. When it comes to cannabinoids, CBD is one of the most well-known compounds for treating pain without the psychoactive side effects of THC, and is gaining popularity for its pain relieving properties. The fact that CBD can ease pain and allow an individual to carry on with activities of daily living with little to no pain and avoid the “high” associated with THC has been a major factor in the increased interest in CBD among medical marijuana patients. A wide range of conditions can be treated effectively through the use of CBD, including:

• Epilepsy in both children and adults
• Joint and muscle pain
• Insomnia
• PTSD
• TBI
• Fibromyalgia
• Arthritis
• Degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Multiple Sclerosis

Evidence suggests that CBD can lessen or neutralize the THC high, depending on how much of each compound is present in a given strain or product. Although several studies have shown that many individual cannabinoids are effective on their own, the “entourage effect” is the idea that all cannabinoids work best together. The basic idea is that all cannabinoids present within the cannabis plant possess a synergy, and for this reason whole plant extractions work better than individual cannabinoids. However, many users prefer to use CBD on its own, as they wish to avoid any potential of experiencing the psychoactive effect of THC.

One of the fastest growing demographics for cannabidiol usage is the senior population, which is discovering the pain relieving benefits of CBD for conditions such as arthritis, muscle stiffness, and fibromyalgia. Various degenerative diseases including Parkinson’s Disease, which manifests with motor symptoms such as tremor of the hands, arms, legs or jaw; muscle rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk, slowness of movement (bradykinesia), and /or impaired balance and coordination, have responded well to treatment with CBD.

Medical Alternatives Clinics offer physician medical marijuana evaluations whether you are seeking individual cannabinoid treatment, whole plant extractions, or are not sure which medical marijuana treatment will work best for you. Contact us today at (719) 246-0393 or hello@medicalalternativesclinics.com with any questions, or use our convenient online portal to schedule an appointment for an evaluation at our clinic.

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How Medical Marijuana Can Treat PTSD

By: Admin Published: March 18, 2018

medical-alternatives-clinics-ptsdPost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is defined as severe anxiety that results from exposure to events that may cause severe psychological trauma. For those suffering from PTSD, treating it can often be difficult mainly because each case is very much dependent on what the individual has experienced and what the level of psychological trauma is.

Symptoms of PTSD are wide and varied based on individual cases but some of the common ones can include re-experiencing or onslaught of intrusive memories (which includes flashbacks or nightmares of the traumatic event), avoidance of locations, people or anything that could potentially bring back those feelings, extreme changes in moods, thoughts, and attitude as well as extreme physical or emotional reactions to triggers.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, PTSD affects almost eight million Americans. Though PTSD’s effect is unfortunately vast and wide, it is especially common among veterans. Generally, treatments of PTSD revolve around a combination of psychotherapy and medication. However, one common treatment that has seen success across mild and severe cases is the use of medical marijuana to control symptoms and episodes of PTSD.

With any treatment, the effects are largely based on the individual themselves, but there is indeed support that medical marijuana is worth trying as part of a treatment plan. Studies have demonstrated that the cannabinoid system and memory have an extremely strong connection.More specifically, it is tied to the extinction of memory – an integral component that PTSD treatment aims to accomplish.

Veterans for Medical Cannabis state that medical marijuana’s ability to potentially extinguish traumatic memories is incredibly important for preserving long-term mental health in patients suffering from PTSD. Medical marijuana could “help patients reduce their association between stimuli (perhaps loud noises or stress) and the traumatic situations in their past,” according to the article.

For the best use of medical marijuana for treating PTSD, low to moderate doses are recommended, according to Veterans for Medical Cannabis. It is also important to monitor blood levels for general anxiety and stress before starting medical marijuana in order to establish a baseline. Having an initial number to work with will be better when introducing medical marijuana as a treatment option, and monitoring blood levels will help in deciding if it as an effective treatment option.

The first recommendation is to start using oral cannabis for stable blood level production, especially right before bed in order to encourage normal sleeping patterns and lowering overall anxiety and stress levels. The article goes on to state that this might change depending on the end of goal of cannabis usage for PTSD. For example, if cannabis being used to extinguish traumatic memories, the dosage might vary. Low to moderate doses might be needed before exposure to the trigger over repeated sessions in order to see the best results.

Continue to monitor stress and anxiety blood levels in order to fully decide whether to continue with medical marijuana. It is important to note that much of the evidence is anecdotal, and there have not been a sufficient number of trials and experiments conducted to truly establish medical marijuana as a sole treatment plan. Instead, it is better to work with a mental health professional to see if this is a viable option.

The Virginia Department of Defense currently recommends that treatment provider should not “ignore marijuana use in their PTSD patients” and that instead, recommendations should include a combination of “evidence-based treatments” concurrently based on the individual and their previous history.

Perhaps it is best to consider including medical marijuana as a part of a plan that includes psychotherapy and medication and evaluate accordingly before making any decisions. Again, it is important to note that this recommendation will vary based on individual cases, so it is vital to consult with a medical professional before doing so.

If you would like to learn more and speak with our doctors about medical marijuana treatment for PTSD please call Medical Alternatives Clinics (719) 246-0393  or email hello@medicalalternativesclinics.com

References:
https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/co-occurring/marijuana_use_ptsd_veterans.asp
https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/PTSD-overview/basics/symptoms_of_ptsd.asp
https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/posttraumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd
http://veteransformedicalmarijuana.org/content/general-use-cannabis-ptsd-symptoms

 

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Extended Plant Count – Philosophical Considerations – Part 2

By: Admin Published: March 15, 2018

medical-alternatives-clinic-extended-plant-countContinuing from a previous post: The Extended Plant Count – Philosophical Considerations Part 1

In primary care, we often make recommendations to our patient based on population-level data. We may prescribe an antibiotic that is not traditionally first line, based on local bacterial resistance patterns. We may recommend a Hepatitis C screening to a baby-boomer, despite limited or non-existent risk factors for that individual, because it is a level A recommendation. Or, we may write for 40mg tablets for a patient who only needs 20mg per day because it will cost them half the price, trusting that they will break the tabs in half. Often we will dreadingly prescribe a medication with worse efficacy because a patient’s insurance plan will not pay for the one we know will work better for that patient. Seldom, but certainly true, we may prescribe a different formulation of a drug to patients due to national shortages of another formulation.

The medical marijuana industry has introduced a new potential conundrum, which might warrant a discussion of recommendation habits/patterns based on considerations outside of those inherent only to the patient. As with the last example above, our patients’ access to medicine depends on the capability/ability of manufacturers (or, for our purposes, growers) to supply an adequate amount. The following phenomenon does not occur in traditional-western medicine because of the ability to prescribe EXACT dosing.

However, in the medical marijuana industry, one patient’s pattern of consumption might actually “eat into” another patient’s recommended medication supply. If patient A assigns his/her standard 6 plants to a dispensary/care-giver but decides to make edibles with his/her product, the dispensary will have to dig into patient B’s plants to supply patient A, hoping that patient B uses less than what they were “prescribed”.

Therefore, it is conceivable, that a smaller dispensary and/or caretaker with only a few patients, may run into trouble with their supply if they go through a season with several types of “patient A”. In theory, any patient with a legitimate plant count might actually be under-supplied by their grower if other patients (who maybe just got the standard count because of cost constraints, knowing they’d consume more than 6 plants can possibly sustain) consumed more than their recommended plant amount. Would it be fair, therefore, for us as physicians to consider making a recommendation to an individual patient based on population trends to assure that our patient has access to adequate medication? And would doing so be much different than what we do in traditional-western medicine based on population-level trends?

Is it justified to recommend a plant count to a patient not just based on their individual consumption needs but also on the consumption patterns of the patient population that is assigned to that patient’s grow/dispensary/care-giver?

If a patient only consumes 50 plant equivalents but their care-giver asks them to request 65 because there was a problem with the last harvest (i.e. fungus/pest infestation, over-consumption by another patient, influx of new patients whose plants have not been planted yet, etc.) so they can have an adequate supply, is this a population-level consideration that would be fair to make; just as we make them in the traditional-western medicine examples above?

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