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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

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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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.

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

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

Clean and Green Medical Marijuana Usage

Go Green

By Kirsten O’Brien

Safe disposal of medical marijuana containers is important as your marijuana is a controlled narcotic. The following are some basic guidelines for how to be clean and green when disposing of your medical marijuana apparatus.

Clean Out Containers
After removing (or ingesting) the marijuana that was in your container, it is important that you turn it upside down and tap it on a hard surface. This is done in order to remove any leftover debris from the buds themselves so that they do not end up spreading to the other garbage. Once you have removed most of the debris from the container, rinse it with warm water. If you are concerned about smell, a quick wash with some dish soap should help to get rid of any sort of smell.

Remove Personal Information
It is important to remove any personal information from the outside of your container. The easiest way to do this is to completely remove all labels from the containers themselves. By soaking your containers for a few minutes in hot water, the labels should be easily removable. If you cannot remove the labels themselves, you can use a permanent black marker to black out any personal information on the labels.

Recycle
Most medical marijuana prescription containers are recyclable, and can be put in with the regular recycling for pick up.

If you have any questions regarding Medical Marijuana cultivation, licensing or use, please don’t hesitate to contact Plants Not Pills at info@plantsnotpills.ca or call 1-844-473-6060 

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Medical Marijuana and Safe Pesticide Use

Ladybugs are used as a natural pesticide by many Licensed Producers as they kill aphids and spider mites.

By Kirsten O’Brien

One of the most common arguments against medical marijuana is the use of pesticides in its cultivation, yet many people are unaware that Medical Marijuana is tested rigorously before it is sold to patients. In the event that one particular crop tests too high for pesticide levels, every plant in that crop must be destroyed. If a licensed producer is found to be using unapproved pesticides, they run the risk of not only having to destroy their crop, but also losing their license for production and sale. To give you an idea of which pesticides are approved by Health Canada, we’ve compiled a detailed list along with descriptions of what they do.

Fungicides

Fungicides are pesticides that fill or prevent the spread of spores of many fungi that can attack a cannabis plant. The fungicides that are currently approved for use are:

  • MilStop® Foliar Fungicide
  • Actinovate® SP Fungicide
  • Rootshield® HC Biological Fungicide Wettable Powder
  • Rootshield® WP Biological Fungicide

Insecticidal Soaps

Insecticidal soaps are pesticides used to control small pests that would normally eat the cannabis plants. Insecticidal soaps have a very low impact on mammals, which is why they are considered safe for use on plants consumed by humans. The insecticide soaps that are currently approved for use are:

  • Opal Insecticidal Soap
  • Kopa Insecticidal Soap
  • Neudosan Commercial

Predatory Bugs

Predatory bugs are insects that eat only the pests that would damage the cannabis plants themselves. Depending on which pest is found on the plants, different predatory bugs are used for each one. Orius insidiosus (commonly referred to as the insidious flower bug) will aggressively hunt for mites, aphids, and other pests that can completely destroy crops. After the pests have been destroyed, the predators are left to die off and removed from plants before sale.

If you have any questions regarding Medical Marijuana cultivation or licensing, please don’t hesitate to contact Plants Not Pills at info@plantsnotpills.ca or call 1-844-473-6060