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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Why More Athletes are Using Marijuana

By: Admin Published: February 25, 2018

medical-alternatives-clinics-sportsWhen you’re putting your body through five to ten workouts a week, there’s bound to be some wear and tear, and many athletes are looking for alternative treatments to traditional medicines to help them deal with the aches, pains, and inflammation that accompanies, lifting, jumping, running, or whatever else they do to stay in shape. Enter marijuana, which along with its recreational properties, contains chemical compounds that can be beneficial to an athletic regimen.

How CBD and THC Work on the Body and Brain

Pot gets you stoned, right? Well, yes, in most cases that’s entirely true. Smoking reefer will usually get you high, but that’s mostly because of the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) contained in the cannabis sativa plant. CBD (cannabidiol), on the other hand, is also found in marijuana, but doesn’t affect your psyche the way that THC does. For an athlete, getting high before training and competitive events may not be ideal. That’s why medical marijuana suppliers have been experimenting with strains of pot that have higher concentrations of CBD and there has been increased demand for CBD vape oil.

What Are the Athletic Benefits of CBD?

Among other things, CBD:

  • reduces pain and soreness
  • decreases inflammation
  • alleviates anxiety (which can be beneficial during competition)
  • improves sensory perception (visual acuity and hearing)
  • works as a sleep aid


Many athletes who use cannabis either recreationally or around their training regimen claim that it actually enhances their performance.

How Does Marijuana Compare to Alcohol?

While there’s a strong case for either smoking CBD-rich strains of pot or using CBD weed-vape oil, a lot of serious athletes just use it as way to unwind when they’re not training. Let’s see how it compares to tossing back a few alcoholic drinks in the off time:

  • Alcohol dehydrates – Ethyl alcohol is a diuretic and increases your urine production. Weed isn’t metabolized the same way.
  • Hangovers – Getting drunk can ruin the next day’s training. The CBD in cannabis makes a good night’s sleep more likely.
  • Calories and Carbs – Depending on what you’re drinking, you can be loading unhealthy sugars that will impede your training. Both pot and weed vape are calorie and carb free. Maybe not some of the edibles, though.

It’s only fair to note that smoking cannabis can have a detrimental effect on the lungs, but that can be partially mitigated by using a cannabis vaporizer.

Who Shouldn’t Use Cannabis While Training?

There are some drawbacks to cannabis use. Many people complain of increased appetite as a side effect to marijuana use. If you are struggling to keep your weight under control, cannabis can work against you. Also, in many sports, cannabis is a banned substance, as well as CBD oil and other compounds that come from marijuana. So, smoking can get you banned. Finally, you should always avoid brushes with the law and get a prescription from a licensed physician. Remember, not every doctor is on board with cannabis, CBD, or vape oil, so do your research.

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How to Request Online Access – Medical Marijuana Registry

By: Admin Published: February 21, 2018

RequestOnlineAccessPatients that received their medical marijuana card (red card) in the past through the mail-in process will likely have their information stored in the registry system. This means that when they now try to register online at https://medicalmarijuana.colorado.gov they may find they cannot submit their application due to reasons such as social security number already being in use. If you receive a red error message when submitting your online application saying the your number is already in use or similar and you cannot proceed further, please follow the steps below to correct this:

1. Download, print, and complete the Request Online Access form

2. Ensure you have chosen a unique Username. If you like, you can use your email address as a Username.

3. Take a picture of the completed form

4. Take a picture of your Colorado ID

5. Email both the picture of the Request Online Access form AND your Colorado ID to medical.marijuana@state.co.us. In the subject of your email write “Request Online Access

6. The registry will respond to you in the next few business days. If you need to reach them, please call 303-692-2184

 

If you have any questions about this process please call (719) 246-0393 or email hello@medicalalternativesclinics.com

 

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My application is Awaiting Correction – what now?

By: Admin Published: February 9, 2018

One of the reasons the CDPHE may not have been able to approve your medical marijuana card is that your Colorado ID may not have been successfully uploaded or was missing from your application. Below are the steps you need to take to correct this. After you have successfully completed these steps, your application should then be in “Pending Staff Review” status. If you do still run into problems, please email hello@medicalalternativesclinics.com or call us (719) 246-0393.

1. Click on Awaiting Correction

Medical-marijuana-awaiting-correction-medical-alternatives-clinics-1

2. Click on the Corrected Documentation tab

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3. Click on the +New button

Medical-marijuana-awaiting-correction-medical-alternatives-clinics-3

 

4. Click on the Browse button and select the picture of your ID. Next, enter your signature, and then hit Save at the bottom of the page.

Medical-marijuana-awaiting-correction-medical-alternatives-clinics-4

 

5. Finally click on the Patient Registration tab and scroll to the bottom of the page to Save & Resubmit Registration

Medical-marijuana-awaiting-correction-medical-alternatives-clinics-5

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Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry System Improvements are here

By: Admin Published: February 1, 2018

colorado-medical-marijuana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Colorado Medical Marijuana Registry Systems are now in place and include the following important changes:

  • Medical Marijuana applicants can now edit from within their account their:
    • name
    • social security number
    • date of birth
  • Applicants can upload a Colorado ID when submitting the application
  • Applicants can change cultivation information without having to email/call the state
  • Applicants can submit corrected documentation through their account without having to email/call the state

These are great improvements that many applicants will certainly take advantage of.

If you need help with the Medical Marijuana Registry system, give us a call (719) 246-0393 or email us at hello@medicalalternativesclinics.com and we will help you with the entire process so that you can get your medical marijuana card (red card) online in 3 business days or less.

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Impacts Jeff Sessions’ Recent Crackdown Could Have on Legal Marijuana

By: Admin Published: January 20, 2018

jeff_sessions_marijuanaAttorney General Jeff Sessions and Colorado Republican Senator Corey Gardner went toe to toe over legal marijuana in Colorado on January 10, 2018. The Attorney General has been threatening a federal crackdown on legalized marijuana for some time now, and the Republican Senator, among politicians from both sides of the aisle, takes issue with the Attorney General’s stance. CBS Denver interviewed Adam Orens, Founder of Marijuana Policy Group, about the effect a crackdown might have on Colorado, whose system of handling legalized marijuana is a model for other states and major cities across the U.S. that are learning how to regulate legalized marijuana. Orens states that a federal crackdown could affect the willingness of investors interested in getting involved in the industry, for fear of what increased federal scrutiny could mean to their profits.

Senator Gardner has vowed to continue to block all DOJ nominees from confirmation until the Attorney General Sessions abandons his efforts on marijuana enforcement. Gardner stated that Sessions assured him marijuana would not become a priority once he was confirmed by the Senate, but that has not been the case. Gardner released a statement in which he reiterated that he believed individual states’ rights were being infringed on through the Attorney General’s actions. Even with the Department of Justice returning its focus to criminal prosecution of marijuana, more states are pressing toward legalization. Orens stated he did not believe legalization would be slowed down at all, and that states would continue to move forward with their individual efforts to legalize, despite recent events.

The Senate is currently considering drafting language into the pending appropriations bill to ban the use of federal funds to penalize retail marijuana outlets in states that have passed laws allowing it. During the Obama administration in 2013, a directive known as the Cole memo was issued to federal prosecutors, instructing them to use their prosecutorial discretion not to place priority on prosecuting legitimate marijuana dispensaries and retail outlets in states where cannabis is legalized, but rather to focus on illicit enterprises that sold drugs to children, released marijuana into the black market, operate with criminal gangs, or sell marijuana across state lines. However, the Attorney General’s policy change rescinded that directive. If the Department of Justice holds firm and does not change course on this issue, Congress may have to act to protect states with marijuana laws on the books, by banning the use of federal funds going toward enforcement. This issue is likely to polarize both Democrats and Republicans who favor ending the federal prohibition on marijuana and leaving the question to each state. According to Newsweek, at least a dozen states are poised to consider marijuana legalization this year. The Executive Director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws stated that he believed the momentum behind marijuana law reform will not only continue but increase as 2018 progresses. With the latest Gallup poll showing 64 percent of American adults favoring legalization of marijuana (including a majority of Republicans), this year could be a game changer.

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The Extended Plant Count – Philosophical Considerations

By: Admin Published: December 28, 2017

Extended Plant CountA concept well known to individuals familiar with the industry, the Extended Plant Count (aka. EPC or Higher Plant Count) seems to be the 800-pound gorilla in the room; an obvious limiting reagent to the industry’s ability to supply the medicinal demands of its patients while offering little legal framework for comfortable navigation of its use by key players in the life cycle of the medical marijuana plant. From the patient who needs them and the doctor who recommends them to the cultivator who grows them, Extended Plant Counts keep people looking over their shoulders.

In the absence of clear State-level guidelines regarding EPCs, patients and their doctors are engaging in the marijuana-mambo, dancing around the topic of how many plants a patient actually needs to meet the demands of their medical condition. The black-hole of data regarding dosing, strain-specific benefit profiles, individual patient metabolism genetics, and about another dozen unknowns further complicates the issue, making it hard to find physicians who are willing to take the dance floor.

Fortunately for the industry, there are pioneers in the field who have taken on the issue of Extended Plant Counts, offering a broad spectrum of potential tools and solutions to give clarity to the otherwise nebulous matter. From the Extended Plant Count Calculator by MedRec to the advice offered by RX MARYJANE here (https://cannabispatientsalliance.org/2016/08/10/why-is-determining-a-patients-plant-count-so-difficult/), key industry members can rest assured that there is a force of advocacy working in the background to facilitate the conversation surrounding Higher Plant Counts now and into the future. And in as much as the tools provided above can be used today to legitimize the process for all, we think there is value to be had in some philosophical exploration by contemplating physician-recommendation habits in the well established realm of Western medicine to what might be used as a decision factor for determining high plant counts in the future.

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How to Apply for Your Medical Marijuana Card in Colorado

By: Admin Published: November 29, 2017

Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy TreatmentApplying for your medical marijuana card is simple, as long as you prepare all the correct information ahead of time. Applications using the online registration process at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment get approved in 1-3 business days, as long as there is no missing or incorrect information. To make the process as easy and painless as possible, we’ve outlined all the necessary information for you below.

Who Qualifies for a Medical Marijuana Card?

Colorado has set forth certain criteria regarding age, residency, and medical conditions that must be met to qualify for a card. Be sure you fall into this set of criteria before applying. These are:

Adults:

  • Be a Resident of Colorado
  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Suffer from a qualifying medical condition

Minors:

  • Primary parent must be a Colorado resident
  • Must have a qualifying medical condition

Qualifying Medical Conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Cachexia
  • Persistent Muscle Spasms
  • Seizures
  • Severe Nausea
  • Severe Pain
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

What Doctor Can Approve Use of Medical Marijuana?

Not every doctor is eligible to recommend the use of medical marijuana. Be sure your physician meets the following criteria:

  • Physician must be licensed in Colorado and be in good standing.
  • Physician must be a Medical Doctor (M.D.) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.).
  • Physician must be registered online to be allowed to submit certifications.

Minor Patients:

  • Minors must see two different physicians and each must submit a certification.
  • Minors suffering from PTSD must have at least one of the following doctors submit a certification – Board Certified Pediatrician, Board Certified Family Physician, or Board Certified Child Psychiatrist. This physician must be part of their primary care team and be the one to diagnose the condition.

What Documents are Needed to Apply?

Colorado requires documentation of who you are and who is caring for you before they will approve the use of medical marijuana. Be sure to have the following information available:

Adults:

  • Colorado Driver’s License or State ID
  • If applying with your Caregiver, they need to provide their Caregiver Registration ID
  • Credit Card or Bank Account & Routing Number to pay for the application fee

Minors:

  • Primary Parent’s Colorado Driver’s License or ID
  • Certified Copy of the Minor’s Birth Certificate
  • Caregiver Registration ID if the parent is not the primary caregiver
  • Credit Card or Bank Account & Routing Number to pay for application fee
  • Documentation of Secondary Parent Status. This can be done through 1) Secondary Parent’s State ID, 2) Certified Copy of Secondary Parent’s Death Certificate, or 3) Copy of Court Issued Sole Custody Order.
  • Notarized Minor Patient Consent Form. This is available for download through the CDPHE website.

Legal Representative of Adult:

  • Patient’s Colorado Driver’s License or State ID
  • Legal Representative’s Colorado Driver’s License or ID
  • Copies of Legal Representative Documentation, such as Power of Attorney or Court Order
  • Caregiver’s Registration ID if the Legal Representative isn’t the caregiver
  • Credit Card or Bank Account & Routing Number to pay application fee

How to Complete and Submit an Application

Once you have doubled checked that all ID’s are current, registration numbers are correct, and documents are certified or notarized, it is time to apply. The CDPHE requires you to create an account through their online system. Follow these steps:

  1. Login – Access to account creation and the application are found on the CDPHE website, here. If you’ve never used this system before, you will need to register.
  2. Click “New” – Both new patients and renewal patients who are new to the online system should click “new” after logging in.
  3. Enter Patient Information – If you plan to purchase your medical marijuana from a dispensary or center, be sure to choose YES when you reach this question.
  4. Add Physician Certification
  5. Enter Cultivation Information – You can skip this step if you will purchase from a dispensary.
  6. Pay the Application Fee

After you finish the application, you will receive an email telling you to login to your account when your card is ready. You can print the card or choose to display it on your phone or other mobile device. You will NOT get a card in the mail when you apply online.

The CDPHE reserves mail-in applications for those who have no access to the Internet. Mailed applications take 6-8 weeks to process.

Application Assistance

If you gather all the necessary information and documentation ahead of time, applying for your medical marijuana card is quick and simple. However, if you still find the process confusing or would like assistance at any point, we are here to help. Please call us at 719-246-0393.

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