En Fr

The Origins of Prescription Opioids

Plants Not Pills

The search for a perfect painkiller is as old as humankind. For thousands of years ancient societies pressed herbs and flowers to try find a cure for chronic pain, but it wasn’t until the 19th century that the discovery of a “miracle drug” changed the course of history like no other drug before.

In the early 1800s, a pharmaceutical assistant named Friedrich Wlhelm Sertürner began experimenting with opium poppies in northern Germany . By then it was well known that the sap from opium poppies could provide effective pain relief. The problem was that not all poppies (or sap for that matter) are created equal. Sometimes the sap wasn’t strong enough. In other cases it was so strong it would prove fatal. What Surtürner discovered was that by isolating a specific alkaloid found in opium, he could administer pain relief in precise doses.

A new drug was born: morphine.

In 1827, the owner of the Engel-Apotheke in Darmstadt, Germany, Emanuel Merck, began to supply morphine on a large scale. The success of his venture led to the foundation of the Merck pharmaceutical company, the first in what would become one of the world’s most powerful industries. Soon afterwards, doctors discovered that injecting the liquid morphine provided quicker and stronger results. The Civil War created an increased demand for the powerful analgesic. From that time on, morphine became a staple on battlefields around the world. Before long it had penetrated the civilian population. Beverages containing morphine were widely sold in US pharmacies. In 1897, a chemist at the Bayer company found and patented another morphine derivative called “Heroin” which was widely used as a cough medicine for children. In addition to opioids, Germany was quickly becoming the world’s largest supplier of cocaine, importing almost all of Peru’s production of the raw stuff for processing and sale.

The reason for Germany as the hub for pharmaceutical production was that it had (and still has) a high concentration of chemists and engineers. Germany also desperately needed to build up a powerful homegrown business that did not rely on foreign imports. Unlike Great Britain, France or Belgium, Germany did not have colonies to rely on for commerce.

World War I would prove another boon for the pharmaceutical industry (war always does), but it had some unexpected after shocks. Addiction to opioids and amphetamines sky rocketed around the world. At the time, pharmaceutical companies were happy to keep up with demand. Not coincidentally, this is the era when we find the first pharmaceutical lobby groups starting to align themselves with politicians, particularly in the US, to ban cannabis, a substance deemed amoral and deadly.

Ironically, long before opioids entered the mainstream market, cannabis in dried and oil form was sold in pharmacies to relieve migraines, indigestion and other common conditions. To give it a more foreign sounding and nefarious connotation, US politicians, with the help of the media, adopted the colloquial name for cannabis used by Mexican immigrant workers: marijuana. Ad campaigns against the substance featured immigrants and minorities, a way of making sure it was associated with race and bred discrimination. In the 1940s, cannabis was federally banned in the US, but opioids in all their ever changing forms have remained legal to this day. The same companies continue to flourish and sell prescription opioids rich in oxycodone. Merck famously supported lobby groups that tried to block legislation limiting the prescription of Oxycontin. 

But Canadians now have an alternative to opioids in the form of medical cannabis. Unlike opioids, which are responsible for thousands of fatal overdoses across Canada each year, there has yet to be a single death recorded as a result of cannabis use. In addition Licensed Producers are far more regulated than pharmaceutical companies and offer safe, effective cannabis in dried, oil and topical forms.

If you or a loved one would like to start accessing safe, effective medical cannabis under Canada’s ACMPR guidelines, then contact Plants Not Pills by clicking here or email info@plantsnotpills.ca

Get Cannabis Covered Under Your Health Benefits

Get Your Cannabis Covered

As many of you have already experienced, we’ve had continued success over the past 12 months in establishing coverage for medical cannabis under major health insurance plans.

We would like to ensure that this service is offered to anyone using cannabis therapy. Please contact us if you have health benefits through your employer, or are covered under a spouse’s plan and wish to have medical marijuana considered for reimbursement as part of your entitlements.

Once successfully approved, your insurance company may cover up to 100% of the cost of dried medical cannabis or cannabis in oil form.

Many patients have reported better outcomes without having the financial stress or burden associated with paying for their medicine.

Feel free to extend this offer to anyone else you know that may be interested.

Highlights

  • NO COST, FEES or COMMITMENTS associated with the process
  • Simple, fast and pleasant. It can take as little as one week to determine coverage
  • You qualify regardless of where and with which Doctor you received your current cannabis authorization
  • If your cannabis prescription is expired it may be renewed as part of the process
  • All your information is kept 100% confidential

                               ___________________________
Please contact us early to begin the process as the clinical staff will work on the order of
requests. Special consideration will be made for patients that have difficulty affording
cannabis therapy. We can be reached by email coverage@plantsnotpills.ca or phone at
1-844-473-6060 or text message 519-317-7701.

Alternately, click here to fill out our coverage registration form and a Plants Not Pills team member will be in touch with you shortly regarding the next steps towards getting your cannabis covered. 

 

Claim Your Cannabis As a Medical Expense

Claiming Cannabis As A Medical Expense

Don’t forget to claim your medical cannabis as a medical expense when you do your 2016 taxes (due on or before April 30, 2017). Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Get Your 2016 Receipts

Most Licensed Producers (LPs) have a section on their websites where you can view your past orders and print your receipts. If you can’t find it, please contact your LP directly as it is their legal obligation to provide you with your receipts.

Step 2: Fill Out Your Tax Forms

When you fill out your tax forms, make sure you include the total amount you spent on medical cannabis over the course of the year on your 2016 tax return.

A complete rundown on claiming medical expenses can be found at Canada Revenue Agency’s Website.

For more information, please email info@plantsnotpills.ca or call us directly at 1-844-470-6063

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Russian Wisdom, Anxiety and CBD

Overcoming Conventional Russian Wisdom And Treating Anxiety With CBD

By J. Lehmann

As the daughter of old-school Russians, I was raised to believe that sadness, anxiety and insomnia were simply self-indulgences that resulted from having too much time on my hands. A typical exchange with my mother might go like this:

Me: “I can’t sleep at night and I worry all the time.”

Mom: “You should get a second job. More work and you’ll feel better.”

I’m not putting down my mother’s hardy Russian wisdom. It often proved valuable when it came to child-birthing, skin care and plotting major acts of revenge. But in the arena of mental health, I knew I couldn’t rely on her for guidance.

The disappointment I felt in myself at not being able to control my anxiety probably exacerbated it, and despite a successful career and wonderful relationship, the constant feeling of dread I carried wouldn’t go away. If I could define my anxiety in a single sentence, I’d say it’s the instinct to treat any perceived fear, negative thought or worst case scenario as if it were 100% certain to come true.  From having a panic attack over missing the opening credits of a movie to being convinced that my pilot harbours some terrible secret that will result in our plane going down, I was Chicken Little forever screaming, “The sky is falling!”

On the recommendation of a good friend, I started seeing a therapist. To my surprise, she was reluctant to prescribe Zoloft or Lexapro. Instead, she suggested that I get licensed for medical marijuana and start taking cannabidiol (CBD) oil. She recommended me to Plants Not Pill, who got me licensed in less than a week. After doing my research on Licensed Producers, I signed up with CannTrust. Within a few days of taking 25 mg in the morning before bed, I started noticing an internal shift. I wouldn’t call it a numbness as I was still highly functional, but at the risk of sounding cheesy, it felt like what ‘peace of mind’ is supposed to feel like. For the first time in a long time, I’d find myself losing track of time while reading, cooking or going outside. The guilt and worry that I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing went away. I was no longer stressing about the next item on my to-do list or imagining tragic accidents. Life has become about experiencing the ‘now’ as opposed to ‘what next?’

As for Russian wisdom… while there is something admirable about having an iron will and innate steeliness against adversity, I don’t believe it’s realistic. And even if it were, I think it’s a lot healthier to face life’s challenges with a little CBD.

If you or a loved one would like to start accessing safe, effective medical cannabis then contact Plants Not Pills by clicking here or email info@plantsnotpills.ca. Use the promo code Health17 and take advantage of a $25 discount on all fees associated with licensing.

 

 

Why Licensing Will Matter When Legalization Happens

Tax Free Medical Cannabis

Anyone who lives in Ontario understands the burn of having harmonized sales tax (HST) added to nearly every retail purchase. Even when we don’t see the tax, it’s still there. Booze is a perfect example. On top of the LCBO’s significant mark up on imported wines, HST is also added into the price. The result is that what amounts to a $4 bottle of wine in Spain mysteriously turns into a $30 bottle once it hits Canadian shelves. We mention the LCBO because by many accounts (and if Premier Wynne has her way), this is the model the government will implement on recreational cannabis once it is legalized.

On the other hand, medical cannabis under a “Shopper’s Drug Mart” framework will likely be treated as all other medications which by law do not incur any federal taxes. Therefore, medical marijuana license holders may enjoy significant savings in this respect, though in many ways they already do considering they have access to strains for as little as $3,50/gram, compassionate pricing programs and are able to claim their medical marijuana as a tax deductible expense.

Recently, a high profile case has brought up another highly likely scenario: medical marijuana license holders may qualify for partial or even full insurance coverage of their medical marijuana. Imagine…millions of Canadians being able to treat their myriad of health conditions without paying a dime out-of-pocket for their safe, natural medicine…. Now wouldn’t that be something?

If you or a loved one would like to start accessing safe, effective medical cannabis then contact Plants Not Pills by clicking here or email info@plantsnotpills.ca. Use the promo code Health17 and enjoy a $25 discount off all fees associated with licensing.

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Medical Marijuana and Parkinson’s Disease

Viruses attacking nerve cells, concept for Neurologic disease and brain surgery.

By Dr. L.Tennant

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disorder that affects over 100,000 Canadians today, with around 6,600 new cases being reported each year. The hallmark symptoms of the disease are tremors, rigidity, bradykinesia and postural instability. In the brain, the disease is characterized by the degradation of a specific type of cell, the nigrostriatal dopamine neurones, which causes in a deficiency in dopamine and leads to the motor, cognitive and neuropsychological impairments associated with the disease.

Current medications aim to restore the balance in dopamine levels to provide relief of motor symptoms, but they do not address the cause or the progression of the disease. For many patients, these medications produce side effects such as dyskinesia (abnormal involuntary movements) which needs to be controlled with further medication.

Medical cannabis and some of the active molecules derived from the Cannabis sativa plant are being investigated as potential therapies for PD both for the alleviation of motor and non-motor symptoms and for the potential to slow the progression of the disease. In this article we highlight some of the key findings in the clinical and experimental research of medical marijuana in PD, that was reported in a scientific article last year. To read the complete article click here.

Cannabis contains over 500 components and is one of the most studied plants chemically. Although many of the plants components can be found in other species, a group of chemicals called the phytocannabinoid compounds are unique. Of the phytocannabinoids, the most deeply studied and most abundant are delta-9Tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9 THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Delta-9 THC is a psychoactive and is the compound that is primarily responsible for the ´high’ of marijuana, it is also a potent analgesic and muscle relaxant. CBD works differently, it is not psychoactive, rather it seems to counteract delta-9 THC activity and reduce side effects of anxiety, tachycardia and hunger. At the cellular level, we know that the effects of phytocannabinoids are brought about by their interactions with the family of cannabinoid receptors and that these receptors orchestrate a wide number of cellular processes throughout the body. Relevant to PD, we now know that components of the cannabinoid system (the collective name for the endogenous cannabinoid compounds and their receptors) are abundant in the brain and are involved in regulating dopamine activity and motor functions. In PD the normal pathways of the endocannabinoid system are disrupted. Given the similarities between human (endogenous) and plant derived cannabinoids, it comes as no surprise that the phytocannabinoids have been proposed as potential therapies thanks to their ability to mediate the pathways involved in PD.

Using Cannabis for the treatment of the motor symptoms of PD is not new. In fact, the first reported case of successful treatment of PD patients with a Cannabis tincture was reported in 1888 by Dr William Gowers in his book ‘A Manual of Diseases of the Nervous System’. In the last decade a number of clinical studies have evaluated the effectiveness of medical marijuana and cannabinoids for the treatment of PD motor symptoms. For example, in 2004, a clinical study carried out in 339 patients with PD showed that 46% of patients that used marijuana experienced improvements in general PD related symptoms and in specific symptoms including resting tremor (31%), rigidity (38%), reduced bradykinesia (45%) and alleviated dyskinesia (14%). Symptomatic improvement was directly related to the concentration of THC metabolites in the urine. These findings have been seen in additional studies, where improvements in sleep and reduction in pain were also recorded. Follow this link to read the study reports.

While these studies focussed on motor symptoms, research has shown that medical marijuana can improve the quality of life of PD patients through the relief of non-motor symptoms including:

  • Pain, the analgesic properties of cannabinoids are clinically well documented
  • Depression, moderate use of cannabis can provide relief from depression
  • Sleep disorders, the majority of PD patients suffer from sleep disorders and this negatively impacts their quality of life. Sleep problems can be caused by several factors including neurodegeneration and medication side effects.

Finally, research in-vitro and in mouse models of PD are examining the ability of cannabinoids to slow disease progression. Cannabinoids appear to have neuroprotective effects due to anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative activity and their ability to suppress exitotoxicity (a process that causes nerve cell damage). As we understand more about the intricate mechanics of the endocannabinoid system in humans and how these are disrupted in PD, phytocannabinoids could offer much needed new therapeutic options for patients.

If you or a loved one would like to start accessing safe, effective medical cannabis then contact Plants Not Pills by clicking here or email info@plantsnotpills.ca

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Medical Cannabis and Anorexia

Feet on bathroom scale with the word HELP on screen. Signifies either overweight or underweight health problems.

By Dr. François Halle, Cannabinoid Therapy Specialist

The root cause of anorexia nervosa, known simply as anorexia remains a mystery to the medical community. For decades researchers have tried to prove there is a genetic component or pinpoint a specific cultural trigger. The general consensus is that the disorder usually begins with a specific traumatic incident and is more prevalent in cultures in which higher value is placed on being thin. While traditional treatment has focused on intense counselling and nutritional reprogramming, medical cannabis has proven to be effective in treating several symptoms associated with anorexia.

Medical Cannabis and Anorexia

Tetradydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive compound in cannabis is effective at stimulating hunger and increases the pleasure felt when eating (Cota, et al., 2003). In a double-blind study, THC has also shown to increase average weight gain compared to a placebo (Andries, et al., 2014).  THC has also shown to significantly stimulate appetite in patients that have cachexia related to cancer (Nelson, Walsh, Deeter & Sheehan, 1994), (Jatoi, et al., 2002) and (Nauck & Klaschik, 2004). In addition, it has demonstrated effective at increasing appetite and stabilizing body weight in AIDS-cachexia patients (Beal, et al., 1995). The decayed product of THC (CBN) has also shown to increase appetite, which suggests it could assist in the treatment of cachexia and anorexia, and help improve eating desires in those with anorexia nervosa, cancer or HIV/AIDS (Farrimond, Whalley & Williams, 2012).

If you or a loved one would like more information on medical cannabis licensing, register with Plants Not Pills using the promo code Change17, email info@plantsnotpills.ca or call 1-844-473-6060.

10 Reasons to Get Licensed in 2017

Green marijuana background vector illustration. marihuana background leaf pattern repeat seamless repeats. Marijuana leaf background herb narcotic textile pattern. Different vector patterns.

Check out these top ten reasons on why you should get licensed for safe, effective medical marijuana in 2017! Drum roll please…

10. Despite plans to announce the legalization framework, the Government will not make cannabis readily available until at least mid 2018.

really

9. Medical Cannabis is available in several varieties including high potency cannabidiol (CBD) oil and high THC oils as well as milled bud for capsules and edibles.

fantastic

 

8. Pesticides which are not approved for use by licensed producers can seriously damage your health and are often found in dispensary and/or street product.

hell-no

7. Medical cannabis is cheaper with some strains priced at only $3.50/gram!

happy-dance

6. Licensed producers’ staff are educated to help patients with strains specific for their medical conditions.

knowledge5. Licensed producers are heavily regulated for consumer safety. All strains are tested whereas in  dispensaries they are not.

rules

4. Get your cannabis delivered to your doorstep! You don’t even have to leave the house.

delivery

3. Vaporizers and other accessories are available at a reduced price through licensed producers.

vaporizers

2. For all you Green Thumbs… getting licensed for your ACMPR Grow Permit allows you to grow cannabis at home!

sesame-grow

1. Medical cannabis is cultivated specifically for your health condition.

wow

Start accessing medical marijuana today by registering with Plants Not Pills using the promo code HAPPY17 and take advantage of a $25 discount on all fees associated with licensing. To register, click here

For more information on cannabis and medical marijuana licensing, email info@plantsnotpills.ca or call 1-844-473-6060

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Medical Marijuana and Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual Cramps and Cannabis

By Kirsten O’Brien

As much as I’d love to lie in bed, watch rom-coms and eat copious amounts of mint chocolate chip ice cream when cramps hit, I simply don’t have the time. Like many women, I need to “get on with it” and for the past five years medical marijuana has helped me and thousands like me do exactly that.

Medical Marijuana and Menstrual Cramps 101

One of the main non-psychoactive (meaning it won’t get you high) compounds found in cannabis is Cannabidiol (CBD), which is now widely used in cannabinoid therapy regimens specifically to treat chronic pain. With the implementation of Canada’s MMPR then ACMPR system, women who suffer severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms are now legally allowed to access cannabis strains from licensed producers.

For alleviation of menstrual cramps, I recommend strains that are high in CBD for their anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant properties. In fact, several studies have shown that high CBD/low THC strains are more effective in treating symptoms that menstrual medications.

In some cases, patients find that ingesting edibles provides longer lasting relief than vaporizing. As edibles take approximately 1 hour to kick in, vaporizing a high CBD/low THC strain while you are waiting for the edible to take effect is an option for those seeking immediate relief. Some patients also find that strains with an even balance of CBD/THC work better for evening time as they aid not only with pain management but also sleep disorders.

Some strains to try for your menstruation symptoms:

D.S. & FITZ’s Embrace (dried cannabis), Canntrust’s CBD #1 (dried cannabis), or CannTrust’s CBD Drops (edible oil) for relief of cramps throughout the day

D.S. & FITZ ‘s Ambrosia (dried cannabis), Canntrust’s Pennywise (dried cannabis), or CannTrust’s 1:1 Drops (edible oil) for pain relief and insomnia.

Start accessing medical marijuana for your menstrual cramps today by registering with Plants Not Pills using the promo code NOCRAMPS17 and take advantage of a $25 discount on all fees associated with licensing. To register, click here

For more information on cannabis and medical marijuana licensing, email info@plantsnotpills.ca or call 1-844-473-6060

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Cannabis for Cancer Patients: Past, Present and Future

Cannabis and Cancer

By Dr. Laura Tennant

Ancient cultures across the globe used Cannabis sativa for a variety of medicinal and recreational purposes and many examples have been discovered by archaeologists and historians during the examination of ancient documents and artefacts. For example, the Ancient Egyptian Ebers Papyrus is one of the most complete preserved medical documents, dating back to the eighteenth century BC. It documents the ingredients and preparation of medicinal remedies used by the ancient Egyptians and includes a number of recipes containing Cannabis sativa for ailments including inflammation and pain. In Ancient China, legend has it that the Emperor Shen Neng (c. 2737 B.C) prescribed teas made from medicinal cannabis for a variety of illnesses and the first documented use of cannabis as an analgesic was recorded in 140-208 in China by the surgeon Hua Toa, who gave his patients powdered extracts of the plant combined with wine prior to surgery.

In the context of cancer, whilst the prescribed use of medicinal cannabis for cancer is relatively new to Oncologists in current times, its origins date back thousands of years.   In 1993, the mummified remains of a young woman, estimated to be at least 2,500 years old, were found in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. Amongst the items placed in her burial chamber, archaeologists found a pouch of Cannabis, known to be used as an analgesic in ancient times. Further investigation of the remains by MRI revealed that the woman had been suffering from advanced metastatic breast cancer and so the researchers hypothesize that the woman used cannabis to provide relief from the pain and symptoms of her illness.

Today´s Clinical Practise

The Pharmaceutical industry are developing drugs based on active components of Cannabis sativa and two drugs are currently approved in several countries for cancer related pain: Drobinol (synthetic Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol -THC- the most psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis) and Sativex (a blend of the leaf and flower of two strains of cannabis, cultivated with controlled proportions of THC and Cannabidiol). Not surprisingly, most of the clinical trial evidence supporting the use of cannabis for cancer patients comes from the development process of these drugs rather than from trials with the botanical and since clinicians rely heavily on clinical trial data, some remain sceptical about the efficacy of medicinal cannabis.

This year, in two peer-reviewed publications directed at medical professionals, Oncologist Dr D.I. Abrams at the University of San Francisco made a compelling argument for the inclusion of medicinal cannabis in modern clinical cancer care protocols. He argued that whilst the evidence from clinical trials of the botanical in controlled conditions often lacking or inconclusive, experience from clinical practise clearly demonstrates that it helps patients coping with cancer and improves their quality of life. In particular he supports the use of medicinal cannabis for relief from chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain, insomnia, nausea and loss of appetite when conventional treatments have failed and when side effects of pharmaceutical outweigh the benefits of the drugs. To access the publications, click the following link.

 

What does the future hold?

Given the evidence from clinical practice, there is a clear need for data from extensive clinical studies of medicinal cannabis to support its use in cancer patients for alleviating the symptoms associated with cancer. However, the botanical may hold the key to more than just symptomatic relief. There is a growing body of evidence from pre-clinical research in cell and animal models that suggest that some of the active components of cannabis may have direct anti-tumour activity. For example, in laboratory studies of glioma cells, cannabinoids were shown to induce cell death (apoptosis) and stop cell growth (proliferation). These activities were also observed in rat and mouse models and reductions in tumour sizes were recorded. The complex molecular mechanisms behind the cannabinoid activity are still being unravelled, although the CB1 receptor is thought to be involved. This research is now advancing towards clinical studies (see publication). There are several other examples of exciting preclinical data in other tumour types; the research is reviewed in detail in the following publication. This research is still at early stages and needs to be translated into humans, however, the future of cannabis in the field of Oncology certainly looks promising.

If you or a loved one would like more information on medical cannabis licensing, register with Plants Not Pills using the promo code NOW16, email info@plantsnotpills.ca or call 1-844-473-6060.