“Weed to the Wise: The May Scoop”
Welcome to the May edition of the curated PLAYBOOK for emerging medical cannabis research for seniors! We take the newest or most important information that has surfaced in the last month and condense it for your learning. We also remind you of just how sacred nature is and share ideas for living well. Next month: With June being Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, our Playbook next month will focus on cannabis effectiveness with dementia.
EMERGING MEDICAL CANNABIS RESEARCH
NEUROPATHY (This section is included for multiple friends attending the Senior Matters “Weed to the Wise” presentation this week)
1. The Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation has a webinar panel online (4/20/19) discussing the medical use of cannabis and CBD.
I’m mentioning this resource mostly because several people mentioned struggling with neuropathy yesterday at the Senior Matters presentation. They do mention some strains being more effective like AC/DC, Harlequin, White Harmony (for pain, sleep, anxiety, cramps) and Northern Lights (for fatigue). This conversation includes 2 patients, one researcher, and one budtender/researcher from VT. There is also a comprehensive explanation of the endocannabinoid system, CBD, and terpenes.
2. Columbia University Receives National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Grant to Study Impact of Medical Cannabis on Opioid Use in Collaboration With Columbia Care. The grant research will build upon Columbia Care’s pilot data demonstrating that 62 percent of neuropathy patients decreased or stopped opioid use while taking Columbia Care’s dose-metered cannabinoid medicines. This information is to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology Meeting in May 2019. Adults who were an average age of 81 experienced relief in chronic pain, sleep, neuropathy, and anxiety with medical cannabis. Overall, 69% of participants experienced symptom relief, largely improvements in pain (49%), sleep (18%), neuropathy (15%), and anxiety (10%).
BEST CBD OIL AND LAB RESULTS
Because the biggest risk in the use of CBD oil, tincture, or gummies is the lack of lab testing and reliable results, I’m including this source. (I also noted from the Dr. Sulak training, his source found that Lazarus gummies had 4xs the amount of pesticide and 2/4 gummies had less CBD in that testing. Danis Doll House gummies had no CBD in them. So it is important to find reliable lab results.) They evaluated each company’s business practices and customer service, sent samples out to a third-party lab for testing, and compared the potency and price for each product and also used a blind tasting process to eliminate bias and get authentic reactions to each product. www.cbdhacker.com
Results for CBD oils: 1. Lazarus Naturals, 2. PlusCBD Oil, 3. Infinite CBD (isolate), 4. Charlotte’s Web (full spectrum.)
CANCER: CAUTION WITH IMMUNOTHERAPY
Cannabis is used for relief from chemo; nausea, pain, seizures, and insomnia with usually low doses (10-60 mg a day) with combined THC:CBD to maximize the benefits with the low dose. You can work up to high doses (200-2000 mg a day) or 1-2 oz of flower a week to promote healing and fight cancer. A physician needs to monitor treatments for drug interactions and use a blend of strains because different strains impact different cancer cells. Much research needs to be done! With immunotherapy, use the lowest dose sparingly, no marijuana 2 days before treatment or 5 days after treatment and monitor closely. Cannabis doesn’t usually suppress the immune system but always use caution.
With 93 autism controls in one Israeli study (which I don’t have a reference for but comes from my course study) who had lower levels of endocannabinoids, and using 16mg per kilo of CBD for 2 months, self-injury decreased in 67%, hyperactivity decreased in 68%, and sleep improved in 71% of the controls.
As recently as this year, Schleider published a study on cannabis for 188 children diagnosed with the disorder. “We saw that more than 90% of patients who suffered from agitation, aggressive behavior, and restlessness reported improvement in those symptoms,” she said. Some even reduced their use of other pharmaceutical medications.
Colorado has just recently approved medical marijuana for autism.
THE JOURNAL OF PALLIATIVE MEDICINE (Call for papers) is devoting its entire issue to the use of cannabis, in Oct. 2019. Stay alert!!
THE GREAT CONVERSATION
John Harvey, The Stillness of the Living Forest: A Year of Listening and Learning, 2018. http://foreststillness.com
“The flowers, the trees the birds, the squirrels, and now the moss, fungi, and spiders all seemed to live with purpose and grace. The world of lunacy, the world of dysfunctional thoughts and disconnected feelings, and bizarre behavior seemed entirely out of synchrony with the harmonious world of nature. ‘I realized, of course, that in the forest, any traces of lunacy would be quickly culled. A delusional red squirrel would never survive its first winter…in the life of birds and animals, there is no margin for error, no tolerance for lunacy. But in humans, mental illness is both present and persistent, a source of much suffering for the person affected and for his or her loved ones. Was mental illness the price we paid for a brain that seemed to stand outside of nature…?”
Julie J. Morley, “Sentience,” Parabola Magazine, Summer, 2019, p. 14, 19.
“Earth scholar and theologian Thomas Berry noticed that we humans have stopped listening, stopped conversing with the greater world: ‘We are talking only to ourselves. We are not talking to the rivers; we are not listening to the wind and stars. We have broken the great conversation.’* The great conversation continues all around us and within us; being oblivious to the rhythm of that conversation alienates us, makes us out of tune. Attuning to the deep language and music present everywhere heals our world from the inside.” ” Humans are not special; rather, every species, and every individual in that species, has its unique personality and voice in the great conversation. Every being has its special instrument to play. If we listen deeply, we understand when and how to play our part, and how better to improvise together.” *Thomas Berry, “The Great Work: Our Way Into the Future,” 1999, p. 46.
Nicole Richter, “The Spiritual History of Cannabis,” www.marijuanabreak.com
TIPS FROM YOUR GUIDE
FIRST-TIME-CONSUMERS: Let’s begin with a few basics (I get these questions a lot which is why we are doing field trips)
MY FIRST TRIP TO A DISPENSARY What to expect:
- At least in Colorado, you can expect to be carded (with acceptable ID such as driver’s license or passport or other official government identification) before anyone will even talk to you.
- Do your homework and find out the most highly rated shops and their specialties, as well as what products they carry. Leafly.com is a good resource for this information and their app is even used by dispensary salespeople. Also, ask friends for recommendations.
- Expect to wait to be helped.
- Ask if they carry organic or pesticide-free products and do they have independent lab testing for strength and contamination.
- Use the budtender to tell you what others use for your medical condition.
- Do your own medical research for up to date information i.e. (https://grass4geezers.com ). In other words, be informed.
- You pay in cash and most shops carry ATM machines on-site or close by.
- Don’t feel pressured and do feel free to say “No thanks.”
- Do go online and post your feedback about the service.
WARNING TO SENIORS: Edibles are popular with seniors who don’t want to smoke and want longer lasting relaxation for sleep. Edibles are also very difficult to dose, especially if you or someone else is making them (i.e. brownies or at-home gummies) and they can take as long as 1-2 hrs to feel the psychoactivity. Also, edibles are the high-risk product for seniors because they taste good and people eat a second too soon, not realizing that the first just hasn’t manifested yet, then they end up over-dosed and in the ER with heart palpitations and anxiety. GO LOW, GO SLOW!
WHAT ARE DOSING RANGES FOR EDIBLES: These would be commercial edibles and in Colorado, the regulation is one serving contains 10 mg of THC. Bear in mind that the sage advice is always to start low, go slow, and be sensitive to your body/mind reaction.
STRATEGIES FOR THOSE NEW TO CANNABIS: Start sub-therapeutic and gradually increase the dosage to widen the therapeutic window, improve your sensitivity to the benefits, and feel confident in your relationship to this medicine.