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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

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.

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

Season’s Greetings from Plants Not Pills!

Season's Greetings from Plants Not Pills!

Season’s Greetings from Plants Not Pills!

With the holiday season approaching, Plants Not Pills wants to make sure you are giving yourself the gift of amazing cannabis. This is why we’ve put together a short holiday guide below featuring all the newest, stand out strains that our patients and staff have been raving about.

If you or someone you know is not yet licensed, please note that Plants Not Pills is currently offering a $25 dollar discount on its admin fees. Simply register with the holiday promo code HAPPY16 and we will automatically subtract $25 off any admin fees associated with licensing.

If you feel like trying any of the strains below, please contact patientservices@nlphysicians.com or call 226-456-1497 and we will help you add or switch your Licensed Producer free of charge.

From all of us at Plants Not Pills, we wish you the best of health and a very Happy Holiday Season!

Buddha Haze
(THC: 18%, 0.4%)
CannTrust
$10.50/gram This strong sativa, THC- dominant strain is getting great reviews as a second-to-none sleep aid.
Learn More
 

Platinum Mint Cookies
(THC: 17-20%, CBD: 0.1%)
D.S. & FITZ
$12.00/gram Platinum Mint Cookies is an OG Kush and Durban Poison premium hybrid that takes its users to euphoria’s top floor.
Learn More
Blueberry Kush
(THC: 16%, CBD: 0.4%)
CannTrust
$10.50/gram A potent Indica for those looking for a rich body buzz and serious pain relief. Serious relaxation guaranteed!
Learn More
Great Bear
(THC: 16%, CBD: 0.4%)
Aphria
$5.99/gramCurrently Aphria’s strain of the month, Great Bear is an effective and economical sativa dominant, high THC strain… 
Learn More
Embrace 
(THC: 6.1%, CBD: 9.8%)
D.S. & FITZ
$8.00/gram A Sativa-dominant strain, Embrace is known for its ability to relax without sedation, to relieve without …
Learn More
Wilbur
(THC: 2.5%, CBD: 5.88%)
Aphria
$7.20/gramA vigorous THC/CBD sativa dominant strain that is a perfect pick-me-up for the winter blues and also an effective strain for pain relief…
Learn More
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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Medical Cannabis

ibs

By Dr. L Tennant, Ph.D

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is an increasingly prevalent health issue in Canada, with over 5 million Canadians affected. It is a chronic, functional bowel disorder characterized by predominant diarrhea (IBS-D types), constipation (IBS-C types) or alternating patterns of both (IBS-M). Patients experience abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas and nausea with episodes that can last from days to months. In addition to uncomfortable and sometimes debilitating symptoms, many patients suffer anxiety and depression associated with the syndrome, which is known to exasperate the gastrointestinal symptoms.

Despite significant research efforts, the underlying physiological cause of IBS is not fully understood. Theories include previous GI infection, food poisoning, previous medication, hormonal or neurotransmitter imbalances. More recent research points to visceral sensitivity as the root cause of the painful symptoms associated with the syndrome, due to abnormal endogenous pain processing. In order to manage IBS, patients can be prescribed an array of medications including anti-spasmodic, anti-diarrheal or laxatives, pro-secretory agents (to increase the amount of fluid in the bowels), analgesics and antidepressants (at low doses for diarrhea and cramping, at higher doses for anxiety or depression relating to the disorder).

In lieu of or as an adjunct to these treatment regimens, many patients turn to medical cannabis for symptomatic relief.

Medical cannabis has been used by humans for centuries to alleviate abdominal pain and gastrointestinal dysfunction. The theory is that cannabis products contain active molecules that can interact directly with the receptors of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), and provide relief by modulating it’s activity. The ECS is made up of families of receptors located throughout the brain and central nervous system of mammals that, through interaction with endogenous, natural or synthetic molecules, control a number of physiological processes including pain sensation, appetite, mood and memory. In the mammalian gut, the ECS produces endocannabinoid compounds “on demand” in order to auto-regulate and restore gut function and this regulation is mediated via the cannabinoid receptors. The cannabinoid molecules found in medical cannabis have been found to act in the same way as the ‘auto-regulatory’ or endogenous molecules and act thorough the same receptors. The most predominant and widely studied receptors of the ECS are CB1 and CB2.   CB1 receptors are expressed in the central nervous system and in the enteric nervous system of the gut whereas CB2 receptors are located on peripheral tissues and some types of immune cells.

In the gastrointestinal system, CB1 is involved in a number of important processes that are implicated in IBS including:

Gut motility and transit: Studies in several mammalian species have shown that activation of CB1 receptors slows down gut motility and inhibits muscle contraction transit, and that blocking CB1 receptors has the reverse effect, suggesting a role for cannabinoids with stimulating (agonist) or blocking (antagonist) effects for treatment of motility disorders. Furthermore, in a study of IBS-D patients, drobinol was shown to effectively reduce colonic motility and that this effect is mediated by the CB1 receptor.

Visceral pain relief: Studies in rodents demonstrated that treatment with certain cannabinoids had an analgesic effect on artificially induced visceral pain, again via stimulation of the CB1 receptor.

There is a growing body of data that suggests that subtle fluctuations in the levels of endocannabinoids in the gut are implicated in IBS. Studies in rodent models showed that low levels of endocannabinoids contribute to hyperalgesia and abdominal pain as well as changes in gastrointestinal mobility and that both were improved by increasing levels of endocannabinoids (endogenous or synthetic).

Furthermore, in humans, a study from the University of Calgary in 2013 showed a correlation between pain-related symptoms and the levels of endocannabinoids and endocannabinoid-like fatty acids in the blood of IBS-C and IBS-D patients.

Here at Plants Not Pills, we have received excellent patient feedback from two strains from the Peace Naturals Project. The first is Raphael, a high THC (18.7%) Indica dominant strain which many of our patients claim to be strong and to work well on cramping. This product also provides a little bit of appetite stimulation. Another strain offered by the Peace Naturals Project is Infiniti, which again works on the bloating/cramping feeling and pain that comes with the illness. For more information on either strain, please call the client care team at the Peace Naturals Project at 1-(888) 64-PEACE (73223)

For help with medical cannabis licensing or to sign up for a free medical cannabis consultation, please register on our website using the promo code RELIEF16 

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Why Cannabis Stimulates the Appetite

Top view of group of people having dinner together while sitting at the rustic wooden table

One of the most common effects of cannabis is appetite stimulation, which for some patients, may be one of cannabis’s most important benefits.

Hunger, Cannabis and the Brain

Inside the incredible hard wiring of our brains is an area called the hypothalamus that is tightly packed with neurons (cells that directly communicate messages to our nervous system). Every millisecond of every day, the hypothalamus is regulating the body’s basic processes, including heart rate, sleep cycles, temperature, sexual impulses and hunger by picking up signals from the organs and turning them into hormones.

In addition to neurons, the hypothalamus also contains cannabinoid receptors. According to findings published in the Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome Journal, “The activation of central CB1 receptors, particularly in hypothalamic nuclei and in the limbic system, is involved in the regulation of feeding behavior, and especially in the control of the intake of palatable food.”

A 2012 study published in the science journal, Neuropharmacology confirms that, “THC increases sucrose palatability,” a probable explanation for why cannabis use often results in cravings for sweet foods.

For patients suffering from a dysfunctional hypothalamus as a result of head trauma or a genetic disorder, THC can be a game-changer. The same goes for cancer patients whose hypothalamus has been compromised by chemotherapy and resulted in extreme appetite/weight loss.

Appetite stimulation is vital to many patients’ health, but it must go hand-in-hand with an emphasis on nutrition. Though the body’s natural impulse may be to reach for sweets, it is essential that anyone with a compromised immune system stock up on nutrient-rich foods to promote to aid in the establishment of optimal health.

For patients in need of strains high in THC, we recommend the licensed producer, CannTrust. Not only does CannTrust carry a wide variety of affordable dried cannabis strains, but they also have THC Drops, THE ONLY pharmaceutical STANDARDIZED cannabis oil ideal for patients who prefer an alternative to smoking their medical cannabis. For questions about CannTrust’s THC strains or cannabis oils, feel free to call their customer service department at 1-855-794-2266.

For help with medical cannabis licensing or to sign up for a free medical cannabis consultation, please register on our website using the promo code PLANTS710.

Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR)

Health Canada

By Kirsten O’Brien

The new Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) has sparked a flurry of questions and debate. Here is a basic breakdown of what the ACMPR entail and what they mean for Cannabis users across Canada.

On August 11, 2016 Health Canada announced that the current MMPR regulations will be replaced by the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purpose Regulations (ACMPR). These regulations include new guidelines for patients to be able to grow their own marijuana for medical purposes, or designate someone else to grow their cannabis for them. Patients will still be required to hold a valid prescription from a physician when growing their own medical marijuana, and purchase their plants/seeds through a Licensed Producer.

There have already been a lot of conversations going on between physicians and patients alike, wondering just what this will mean for patients in Canada. The only real difference is the allowance for patients to grow their own cannabis. The number of plants a patient will be allowed to posses will correlate directly with the number of grams per day that they are prescribed, as well as the location in which they are growing. Patients will still be required to have a valid medical marijuana prescription, no different than the prescriptions that are currently being issued.

Some important things to consider about these new regulations:

Cost

The savings for any patient are negligible. Medical marijuana can currently be purchased for as low as $2.75 per gram. The cost of growing can be much higher if a patient chooses to grow indoors as well.

Quality

Patients will be unable to have their strains tested which means that the exact amounts of THC/CBD will not be determinable. Licensed Producers are required to test their products for not only the THC/CBD content, but also contaminants. This may lead to a strain being much weaker than anticipated and/or full of contaminants, which will make it a less effective or even harmful medication.

Safety

There are several safety concerns with patients growing their own medical marijuana. Contaminants (i.e. mold), electrical fires, and an increased risk for burglary are all things that need to be considered when choosing to grow your own cannabis.

Physicians

Physicians need to be able to closely monitor their patients that are prescribed medical marijuana in order to work on future treatment plans. If a patient is only using home-grown marijuana, it will not be possible for their physician to provide any insight on future treatments. As the home-grown strains cannot be tested, it would be difficult for a doctor to determine exactly what a patient is ingesting and make future treatment recommendations.

Time

Growing marijuana can be a time-consuming endeavor. Not only does it take months for the plants to grow to maturity, they require a lot of care and a close eye in order to produce anything that could be consumed as medication. Maintenance of both the setup and the crop can take many hours per day to ensure that the medication does not become contaminated or completely useless to the patient.

It is important to keep in mind that until August 24, 2016 these new regulations are not in place, so the only legal way to obtain your medical marijuana is through one of the Licensed Producers. You are still required to have a valid prescription from a health care practitioner, and you still cannot legally purchase from any dispensary or compassion club.

If you would like information on licensing, Register Today at www.plantsnotpills.ca or contact us by email at info@plantsnotpill.ca

Sweet Embrace Smoothie

Blueberry-Smoothie

By Kirsten O’Brien

The term ‘gut health’ hardly paints a pretty picture, but any medical professional will tell you that it is vital to your well being. This is because the ‘gut’, otherwise known as the ‘digestive tract’, is essential for supporting and maintaining your immune system as well as processing all the foods, both good and fried, that you put in your body. If you are suffering from intestinal problems, it is crucial that you make careful choices when it comes to your diet. Among the key elements to a healthy gut are bacteria cultures that aid in the digestive and eliminative processes. In the spirit of maintaining a clean and flourishing digestive tract, below we have shared a medicated morning smoothie recipe featuring a THC/CBD strain called Embrace from our favourite label – D.S. & FITZ.

Embrace is an ideal choice for many patients suffering from inflammatory issues in the gut as CBD helps reduce inflammation and THC can help with pain or discomfort. This recipe also features Greek yogurt and flax seeds, which are staple ingredients in any gut-conscious diet.

Sweet Embrace Smoothie

1 cup of vanilla Greek yogurt

½ of soy milk

¼ cup of blueberries (frozen or fresh)

1 tbsp of flax seeds

2 tsp of all natural honey

0.5 grams of medical marijuana (Embrace by D.S. & FITZ)

Decarboxylate the marijuana. This is essential for the marijuana to have any effect when put into any edible.

How to Decarboxylate: Preheat the oven to 240° F. / 115° C, and break up the cannabis using your hands into smaller pieces if it is not already in small pieces. Place the marijuana evenly in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Once the oven is fully pre-heated, bake the cannabis for 60 minutes. Keep a close eye on the colour of the cannabis as it should be darker or a medium/light brown when it is finished. It shouldn’t feel wet, and should be fairly crumbly when you pick it up. Carefully grind the cannabis so that you are left with a finished product that is coarsely ground.

Combine the ingredients in a blender, including the marijuana, and blend until desired consistency is reached.

If you would like information on how to access the best medical marijuana strains for your health condition, please contact us by email at info@plantsnotpills.ca or call 1-844-473-6060