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Will Florida Become the First Southern State to Legalize Medical Marijuana?

Posted by on Sep 11, 2014 in Blog, Florida Marijuana Law, Medical Marijuana | 0 comments

If Florida voters authorize medical marijuana in November, they’ll be the first state in the South to legalize the drug for therapeutic reasons. They’ll also make Florida, potentially the third largest market outside of California and New York, one of the only states in the country to enshrine medical marijuana in the state constitution. It would also become one of the only states giving doctors considerable discretion to recommend the drug outside of a specific set of diseases.

It’s on that last point that opponents of Florida’s Amendment 2 have focused the most attention, arguing the measure grants doctors too much leeway. And they’ve raised $3.2 million, mostly with cash from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, to put the measure down.

But supporters, who have raised even more money in large part with the resources of one sympathetic trial lawyer, appear to have public opinion on their side. Polls have fluctuated wildly, though. The most recent one, released Thursday, pegged support at 57 percent — tied for the lowest yet — but backers need to hit 60 percent to pass a constitutional amendment.  A Quinnipiac University poll in July put support at 88 percent, six percent higher than another Quinnipiac poll from November 2013.

Marijuana’s potential for relieving chronic pain is one of many therapeutic benefits cited by proponents, but there’s disagreement over the benefits and influential quarters of the medical establishment remain skeptical. The American Medical Association, for instance, doesn’t endorse recreational use or state-based medical programs, but the group — like others — supports changing the drug’s status as a highly controlled substance and expediting research. Critics of U.S. drug policy have long wanted the Food and Drug Administration to relax its position on marijuana, saying it discourages research and the kind of formal clinical trials needed to better establish legitimacy.

The University of California at San Diego’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, however, has performed clinical trials since California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996 and has found the drug provides relief from muscle stiffness and spasms among patients suffering from multiple sclerosis and from pain in patients suffering from serious disorders such as AIDS.

But while the U.S. has been more reluctant to formally study the medicinal benefits of marijuana, Israel has become a research powerhouse and established the drug as a treatment for conditions as varied as post-traumatic stress and Parkinson’s disease. Pollara argues the FDA’s reluctance shouldn’t hold back people who find relief in marijuana.

Florida was already caught up in a wave of recent state laws (many of them in the South) legalizing cannabis oil made from a part of the plant that doesn’t get users high but has gained a foothold in treating epilepsy. Advocates say other southern states will surely follow Florida’s lead, because there’s already visible support. “The Southern states have been slow to come around in terms of changing policy, despite majority support for medical marijuana, so passing an effective medical marijuana law in Florida would be a big step and hopefully help nearby states realize that it is time to enact compassionate legislation and that these programs can be regulated successfully,” said Morgan Fox, the spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project.

By legalizing medical marijuana that contains THC, the psychoactive ingredient, Florida would join 23 other states and the District of Columbia. Eleven of those states legalized medical marijuana in just the past four years, signaling growing acceptance among the American public, which now narrowly supports full recreational use as well.

All but a few, including California and Massachusetts, however, limit the number of diseases for which a doctor can recommend medicinal marijuana, such as cancer, AIDS, ALS and multiple sclerosis. The language Florida voters will see uses the words “debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician,” but in the full text of the amendment, which isn’t visible on the ballot, a debilitating condition is also defined as one “for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks.”

Opponents argued the ballot language is deceptive and will lead to de facto recreational legalization, but the state Supreme Court narrowly upheld the measure with the votes of three Democratic-appointed justices and one appointed by Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, who’s running against the current Republican officeholder, Rick Scott, for another chance at the governor’s mansion this year.

Florida legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes

Posted by on Jul 7, 2014 in Blog, Florida Marijuana Law, Medical Marijuana | 0 comments

Florida became the 23rd state in the nation to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 1030 (the “Charlotte’s Web” bill) back on June 16, with overwhelming support of Florida citizens and the Florida legislature. The bill passed 111-7 in the House and 30-9 in the Senate.

ABOUT SB 1030

In its most simple form, SB1030 decriminalizes a medical professionals’ recommendation and patient’s use of a particular strain of a low-THC cannibis for specific medicinal purposes. It means a doctor can ‘order’ the usage of a certain strain of cannabis for treatment of specific ailments as outlined in the bill. These ailments include cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, other physical medical conditions that chronically produce symptoms of seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms, and its original intended purpose – pediatric epilepsy (the strain named ‘Charlotte’s Web’ after Charlotte Figi, a five-year old who experienced a reduction of seizures after taking the drug.)

The physicians must be appropriately licensed and patients must be Florida residents. The physician must add the patient to the newly formed “compassionate use registry.”

It allows for five (5) companies to be licensed to cultivate, process and dispense the approved strain in an oil format. These companies would be based in four corners of the state, and one in the center of the state.

It does not allow a smokable form of marijuana; only the oil form is included in the legislation.

PROS

Florida is on the forefront of this issue, and it is setting a precedent for other Southern states, which traditionally may not support what is perceived as a ‘blue state’ issue. Florida has been bi-partisan in this initiative, and that is definitely a positive.

The bill opens the doors for doctors to recommend an effective treatment program for their patients that, according to a number of studies, can be cost effective; has fewer side effects; and strong healing possibilities.

The bill allows for our state universities with agricultural and medical programs to conduct research to develop new forms of treatment; a great opportunity for medical advancement to take place in Florida.

 

CONS

The Bill creates a monopoly in the hands of five businesses, severely limiting competition and free enterprise. More research and public inquisition needs to be done to determine exactly who these five companies are, what criteria is being used to select them, how they will be regulated, and to whom they report.

While the last minute expansion of the Bill allows for additional ailments to be covered, there are still hundreds of thousands of Floridians who will not be covered under the legislation, such as those with HIV/Aids, Alzheimer’s, dementia, mental disabilities (Post-traumatic stress disorder) and others.

The bill only allocates $1 Million to oversee the entire “cannabis” program; leaving room for potential corruption and mismanagement.

What are Cannabinoids?

Posted by on Apr 4, 2014 in Blog, Cannabinoids, Medical Marijuana | 0 comments

Confused about Cannabinoids? We thought we would help shed some light on what they are and how they work.

CBD, THC, CBN, CBC, CBG and about 80 other chemicals are all in a class of compounds known as cannabinoids, found in abundance in the cannabis plant.  Cannabinoids are responsible for many of the effects of cannabis consumption and have important therapeutic benefits.

Cannabidiol or (CBD) occurs in many strains, at low levels, <1%.  In rare cases, CBD can be the dominant cannabinoid, as high as 15% by weight. Popular CBD-rich strains (>4% CBD) include Sour Tsunami, Harlequin and Cannatonic.

  • It can provide relief for chronic pain due to muscle spasticity, convulsions and
    inflammation.  Offering relief for patients with MS, Fibromyalgia and Epilepsy.
  • Some researchers feel it provides effective relief from anxiety-related disorders.
  • CBD has also been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth when injected into breast and brain tumors in combination with THC.

Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol or (THC) is a psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for many of the effects experienced by the cannabis user.

  • Mild to moderate pain relief, relaxation, insomnia and appetite stimulation.
  • THC has been demonstrated to have anti-depressant effects.
  • The majority of strains range from 12-21% THC with very potent and carefully prepared strains reaching even higher.
  • Average THC potency is about 16-17% in Northern CA.
  • Recent research that suggests patients with a pre-disposition to schizophrenia and anxiety disorders should avoid high-THC cannabis.

Cannabinol or (CBN) is an oxidative degradation product of THC. It may result from improper storage or curing and extensive processing, such as when making concentrates.  It is usually formed when THC is exposed to UV light and oxygen over time.

  • CBN has some psychoactive properties, about 10% of the strength of THC.
  • CBN is thought by researchers to enhance the dizziness and disorientation users of cannabis may experience.
  • It may cause feelings of grogginess and has been shown to reduce heart rate.

Cannabichromene or (CBC) is a rare, non-psychoactive cannabinoid, usually found at low levels (<1%) when present.

  • Research conducted has shown CBC has anti-depressant effects, 10x those of CBD.
  • CBC has also been shown to improve the pain-relieving effects of THC.
  • Studies have demonstrated that CBC has sedative effects, promoting relaxation.

Cannabigerol or (CBG) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid.  It is commonly found in cannabis. CBG-acid is the precursor to both THC-acid and CBD-acid in the plant usually found at low levels (<1%) when present.

  • Researchers have demonstrated both pain relieving and inflammation reducing effects.
  • CBG reduces intraocular pressure, associated with glaucoma.
  • CBG has been shown to have antibiotic properties and to inhibit platelet aggregation, which slows the rate of blood clotting.

Florida State Bill (SB 1562) Filed Allowing For Recreational Marijuana Use

Posted by on Mar 2, 2014 in Blog, Florida Marijuana Law, Legal Marijuana | 1 comment

Florida Senate Marijuana Bill

In the latest twist in a debate about legalizing marijuana in Florida, Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, filed a proposal Friday that would allow the recreational use of marijuana. The bill (SB 1562) likely has little chance of passing the Republican-dominated Legislature.

But it calls for allowing people who are 21 or older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and also would allow them to cultivate up to six marijuana plants. The proposal also would create a regulatory structure that deals with issues such as the sale and taxation of marijuana.

The proposal comes as Florida voters prepare to cast ballots in November on legalizing medical marijuana. Also, lawmakers are considering proposals to legalize a marijuana extract that can help some children who have a form of epilepsy and suffer from severe seizures.

Dr. Mikuriya’s List of Treatable Diseases with Medical Marijuana

Posted by on Mar 1, 2014 in Blog, Health Benefits, Marijuana History | 3 comments

 

Dr. MikuriyaDr. Tod H. Mikuriya, a California psychiatrist who was widely regarded as the grandfather of the medical marijuana movement in the United States, began researching marijuana’s therapeutic possibilities in the 1960s. He maintained a list of more than 200 ailments whose symptoms it was said to relieve, including stuttering, insomnia, premenstrual syndrome, muscular dystrophy, poor appetite and some side effects of cancer treatment, among them nausea and vomiting.

Dr. Mikuriya saw his work, he often said, as a means of righting a historical wrong, namely the backlash against medical marijuana that began in the “Reefer Madness” era of the late 1930s. He was an architect of Proposition 215, the state ballot measure that in 1996 made it legal for California doctors to recommend marijuana for seriously ill patients. He was also a founder of the California Cannabis Research Medical Group and its offshoot, the Society of Cannabis Clinicians.

Dr. Mikuriya died on May 20, 2007 at his home in Berkeley, California. He was 73.

Below is a partial list of ailments and medical conditions whose symptoms it was said to relieve and could be treated with marijuana:

• Acquired Hypothyroidism
• Acute Gastritis
• Agoraphobia
• AIDS Related Illness
• Alcohol Abuse
• Alcoholism
• Alopecia Areata
• Alzheimer’s Disease
• Amphetamine Dependency
• Amyloidosis
• Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
• Angina Pectoris
• Ankylosis
• Anorexia
• Anorexia Nervosa
• Anxiety Disorders
• Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease
• Arthritis
• Arthritis (Rheumatoid)
• Arthropathy- gout
• Asthma
• Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)     
• Autism/Aspergers
• Autoimmune Disease
• Back Pain
• Back Sprain
• Bell’s Palsy
• Bipolar Disorder
• Brain Tumor- Malignant
• Bruxism
• Bulimia
• Cachexia
• Cancer
• Cancer-Adrenal Cortical
• Cancer-Endometrial
• Cancer-Prostate
• Cancer-Testicular
• Cancer-Uterine
• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
• Cerebral Palsy
• Cervical Disk Disease
• Cervicobrachial Syndrome
• Chemotherapy
• Chemotherapy Induced Anorexia
• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
• Chronic Pain
• Chronic Pancreatitis
• Chronic renal failure
• Cocaine Dependence
• Colitis
• Conjunctivitis
• Constipation
• Crohn’s Disease
• Cystic Fibrosis
• Damage to Spinal Cord Nervous Tissue
• Darier’s Disease
• Degenerative Arthritis
• Degenerative Arthropathy
• Delirium Tremens
• Dermatomyositis
• Diabetes-Adult Onset
• Diabetes-Insulin Dependent
• Diabetic-Neuropathy
• Diabetic-Peripheral Vascular Disease
• Diarrhea
• Diverticulitis
• Dysthymic Disorder
• Eczema
• Elevated Intraocular Pressure
• Emphysema
• Endometriosis
• Epidermolysis Bullosa
• Epididymitis
• Epilepsy
• Felty’s Syndrome
• Fibromyalgia
• Friedreich’s Ataxia
• Gastritis
• Genital Herpes
• Glaucoma
• Glioblastoma Multiforme
• Graves Disease
• Headaches-Cluster
• Headaches-Migraine
• Headaches-Tension
• Hemophilia A
• Henoch-Schonlein Purpura
• Hepatitis C
• Hereditary Spinal Ataxia
• HIV/AIDS
• Hospice Patients
• Huntington’s Disease
• Hypertension
• Hypertension
• Hyperventilation
• Hypoglycemia
• Impotence
• Inflammatory autoimmune-mediated arthritis
• Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
• Insomnia
• Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)
• Intractable Pain
• Intractable Vomitting
• Lipomatosis
• Lou Gehrig’s Disease
• Lyme Disease
• Lymphoma
• Major Depression
• Malignant Melanoma
• Mania
• Melorheostosis
• Meniere’s Disease
• Motion Sickness
• Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS)
• Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
• Muscle Spasms
• Muscular Dystrophy
• Myeloid Leukemia
• Nail-Patella Syndrome
• Nightmares
• Obesity
• Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
• Opiate Dependence
• Osteoarthritis
• Panic Disorder
• Parkinson’s Disease
• Peripheral Neuropathy
• Peritoneal Pain
• Persistent Insomnia
• Porphyria
• Post Polio Syndrome (PPS)
• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
• Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
• Prostatitis
• Psoriasis
• Pulmonary Fibrosis
• Quadriplegia
• Radiation Therapy
• Raynaud’s Disease
• Reiter’s Syndrome
• Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
• Rheumatoid Arthritis
• Rosacea
• Schizoaffective Disorder
• Schizophrenia
• Scoliosis
• Sedative Dependence
• Seizures
• Senile Dementia
• Severe Nausea
• Severe Pain
• Severe Vomiting
• Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
• Sinusitis
• Skeletal Muscular Spasticity
• Sleep Apnea
• Sleep Disorders
• Spasticity
• Spinal Cord Injury
• Spinal Stenosis
• Sturge-Weber Syndrome (SWS)
• Stuttering
• Tardive Dyskinesia (TD)
• Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
• Tenosynovitis
• Terminal Illness
• Thyroiditis
• Tic Douloureux
• Tietze’s Syndrome
• Tinnitus
• Tobacco Dependence
• Tourette’s Syndrome
• Traumatic Brain Injury
• Trichotillomania
• Viral Hepatitis
• Wasting Syndrome
• Whiplash
• Wittmaack-Ekbom’s Syndrome