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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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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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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.

Veterans Group ‘Marijuana for Trauma’ Responds to Cutbacks in the Updated Policy on Medical Marijuana Coverage for Veterans

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TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Nov. 22, 2016) – Canada House Wellness Group Inc. (formerly Abba Medix Group Inc.) (“Canada House“) or the (“Company“) (CSE:CHV)(CSE:CHV.CN)(CNSX:CHV), the parent company of Marijuana for Trauma (“MFT“) is providing this update in response to the Government’s recently announced policy changes regarding medical marijuana coverage for veterans.

In response to Veterans Affairs Canada’s planned cutback of medical marijuana reimbursements to veterans, MFT has pledged to implement clinical programs and processes to help veterans to continue to receive their medically appropriate prescribed amount of medicine.

These changes, which suggest three grams per day to be the maximum reimbursable dose, contradict what thousands of veterans relying on cannabinoid therapy have found to be effective. In our view, appropriately prescribed dosage amounts, based on individual needs, drastically reduces or eliminates their dependence on many other more harmful prescription medications.

The proposed cutback, from ten to three grams daily, is to take effect May 21, 2017 and is “very disheartening to those who have served their country with the Canadian Armed Forces,” says MFT spokesperson and co-founder Mike Southwell, a veteran of 17 years as a military engineer. “A veteran patient consumes an average of six grams of medical marijuana daily and many lives have been restored with this therapy. As an added result, many families are healing and rebuilding their relationships. To compound matters, there is practically no veteran who can afford the gap in coverage that these changes and the associated costs expose them to” said Southwell.

Southwell notes that most veterans have reduced both their dependence on opiate-based medicines and clinical visits to health care professionals for PTSD and pain management, as a direct result of cannabinoid therapy. “This could represent a significant cost savings over prescription medications and with minimal side effects.” adds Southwell. “Veterans have become functioning and productive citizens once again, after being injured in the course of their military service. They are vitally interested in continuing their recovery from trauma. The government must reconsider.”

Without their appropriate allocation of medical marijuana, veterans are at risk of descending back into harmful and abusive forms of self-medication, predicts Andrew Brown, President of MFT Ontario and a 13-year veteran of the Canadian Forces. “Suicides could increase.” he warns. “Veteran Affairs Canada’s arbitrary decision appears to be more of a “knee jerk reaction”, while at the same time, seemingly ignoring data surrounding the decrease in pharmaceutical complications and related medical expenses. We spare no costs whatsoever in rescuing even one soldier from the battlefield when they are missing, wounded or trapped. When we come home injured, after having served our country, does the value of our lives decrease?”

The bedrock of MFT goes back to the founder’s vision of supporting all the needs of veterans in Canada.

MFT hereby commits to all veteran patients that we will do anything in our power to safeguard you from any adverse effect of this decision as we continue our mission to reach every veteran in need of this life-saving medicine.

Canada House Wellness Inc.

Canada House is the parent company of MFT, The Longevity Project Corp., and Abba Medix Corp. The Company’s goal is to become a marketplace leader through strategic partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions to create a fully integrated medical marijuana marketplace. For more information please visit www.abbamedix.com, www.mftgroup.ca and www.plantsnotpills.ca.

Cautionary Statements Regarding Forward-Looking Information

Certain statements within this press release relating to the Company constitute “forward-looking statements”, within the meaning of applicable securities laws, including without limitation, statements regarding future estimates, business plans and/or objectives, sales programs, forecasts and projections, assumptions, expectations, and/or beliefs of future performance, are “forward-looking statements”. Such “forward-looking statements” involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual and future events to differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to regulatory changes, timeliness of government approvals for the granting of permits and licenses, changes in medical marijuana prices, actual operating performance of facilities, competition and other risks affecting the Company in particular and the medical marijuana industry generally. The Company assumes no responsibility to update or revise forward-looking information to reflect new events or circumstances unless required by law. Neither the CSE nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the CSE) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

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Cannabis and Sleep Disorders

Cannabis and Sleep Disorders

“The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to”- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Ask most 100 year-olds about the secrets to their longevity and their answers are generally quite simple: good food and lots of sleep. In fact, a recent study by United Healthcare found that 70% of surveyed centenarians slept at least 8 hours a night.

But while we can all agree that a good night’s sleep is essential to wellbeing, millions of Canadians cannot sleep soundly through the night. According to a 2011 study by Laval University, 40% of adult Canadians suffer from sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome, sleep apnia and chronic insomnia.

The Laval University findings seem to be reflected in the number of prescriptions for benzodiazepines and other sedatives in Canada, which rose to more than 20 million in 2011, up from 16.4 million in 2006, according to market research firm, IMS Brogan. This statistic is particularly worrying when taking into consideration a 2012 study led by Dr. Daniel Kripke, co-director of research at the Scripps Clinic. Kripke’s study concluded that the risk of developing lymphoma, lung, colon or prostate cancer associated with hypnotics was greater than the effect from smoking.

Since medical cannabis has been available in Canada to those with diagnosed sleep disorders, thousands of Canadians have opted to use this natural alternative to prescription sedatives.

The science behind the efficacy of medical cannabis on sleep habits has to do with TetraHydroCannabinol (THC), one of the principal compounds of the cannabis plant.

According to a 2013 study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, “…Δ9-TetraHydroCannabinol (THC) stabilizes autonomic output during sleep, reduces spontaneous sleep-disordered breathing, and blocks serotonin-induced exacerbation of sleep apnea.”

Here at Plant Not Pills, we’ve had excellent feedback on a number of dried cannabis strains. One particular favourite is CannTrust’s Buddha Haze, a strong THC dominant (18%) sativa strain. Patients have also been enthusiastic about CannTrust’s 1:1 Cannabis Drops, a recent addition to their line of cannabis oils. For information about Buddha Haze or the 1:1 Cannabis Drops, call CannTrust directly 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.