Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission Investigates Whether Cannabis is Effective Against Opioid Addiction

maryland medical cannabis

We all know our country is struggling to find ways to battle the destructive opioid epidemic. The state of Maryland is facing its own battle with over 49,000 residents suffering from opioid use disorder (OUD). With over 30 states now on-bored with medical or recreational cannabis, some are considering it as a possible treatment for addiction to drugs like oxycodone and heroin. But does it work?

maryland medical cannabis

States that have implemented medical cannabis laws have seen a reduction in opioid prescriptions for patients on Medicaid and Medicare health plans. These states are also seeing a drop in opioid overdose deaths. So why isn’t Maryland including cannabis as a treatment for OUD? Here is an overview of what the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission recently reported.

Can Maryland Medical Cannabis Treat Opioid Use Disorder?

The growing anecdotal evidence is clear – medical cannabis can be a useful tool for treating opioid cravings and easing the uncomfortable symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal. Opioid patients also report that cannabis helps them sleep and reduces the intensity of cravings.

maryland medical cannabis doctor with flower and tincture

The fact is, cannabis poses less of a risk than current FDA-approved opioid-based treatments like methadone. Patients see better treatment outcomes when they have access to cannabis, and many health care providers have seen high-dose opiate patients significantly reduce or eliminate opiates with the use of cannabis. So why isn’t Maryland using cannabis is fight OUD?

Why isn’t Opioid Use Disorder a Qualifying Condition in Maryland?

The Maryland State Assembly considered adding OUD to the list of qualifying conditions that can be treated by medical cannabis, but some national groups were against the idea. Their concern was over creating additional drug dependency, and the lack of clinical evidence.

But here’s the catch…

The main reason there is a lack of clinical evidence on the benefits of cannabis for OUD is that it’s classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by the federal government. This classification has severely limited most medical cannabis research, forcing the cannabis community to rely on anecdotal evidence (what patients self-report).

Fortunately, the DEA’s view on cannabis and its medical potential is beginning to change. With the growing number of states that now have laws which allow medical or recreational cannabis use, the DEA acknowledges there is a need for serious medical research.

Cannabis for OUD isn’t a new idea, and a number of states in the US are considering adding cannabis as an addiction treatment. New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania have already approved cannabis for opioid addiction, which could promote the idea on a national level.

The bottom line?

As of now, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission acknowledges that even though there is mounting anecdotal evidence for using cannabis for addiction, the scientific evidence is not there yet. Based on their medical literature review, the commission’s position is that medication-assisted treatments with drugs like methadone and naltrexone are best.

maryland medical cannabis Remedy Columbia Team
Photo Source: Remedy Colombia Facebook Page

If you’d like to try cannabis for one of the many conditions that do currently qualify in Maryland, we’d love to help. Schedule a visit or just drop by. We can’t wait to see you!

What Patients Should Know About Cannabis for Palliative Care

Cannabis for Palliative Care

The role that cannabis can play in managing or treating a variety of conditions or symptoms is becoming clearer every day. With the rapid progress of legalization in the country, new and more effective products are being developed to alleviate pain and suffering. While more research must be done before cannabis can be definitively linked to curing certain illnesses, many patients who require comfort in the later stages of a terminal condition turn to cannabis for palliative care.

Cannabis for Palliative Care dropper and vial

The Pain-Relieving Properties of Cannabis

Cannabis is increasingly recognized by doctors and scientists alike for its potent analgesic properties. Within cannabis lies several chemical components that contribute to its ability to relieve pain, namely tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly called THC) and cannabidiol (referred to as CBD). Each plays a particular role in cannabis’s effectiveness in reducing pain and other distressing symptoms, such as vomiting and nausea.

THC is famous for its psychoactive properties, but the chemical has proven to be an ideal panacea for pain as well. As THC is responsible for the powerful high that often accompanies cannabis, high THC strains can be especially useful for patients in palliative care. For certain conditions that require extreme potency, large quantities of THC can be an effective tool for providing comfort and relief.

CBD, in comparison, does not instigate a recognizable cannabis high when applied in concentrated forms. Rather, CBD offers patients the anodyne qualities of cannabis without the associated high. For patients who desire the painkilling effects of cannabis without a psychoactive experience, CBD has become a popular option when available.

The Effectiveness of Cannabis for Palliative Care

While every patient will require a treatment suited specifically for them, cannabis can be the right option to alleviate suffering for those afflicted by a debilitating illness. In particular, the powerful properties of THC and CBD in combination with each other have been shown to assuage severe pain and anguish.

Cannabis for Palliative Care bud between oils

As opposed to traditional painkillers, patients seeking out cannabis for palliative care prefer a natural medicine without the negative side-effects that can accompany prescription drugs. Indeed, many patients choose cannabis as an alternative to potentially problematic medications like opioids.

Patients often find that cannabis offers the same or greater efficacy in pain management compared to pharmaceuticals. As more research is done into cannabis as medicine, the potential is clear for strides to be made in unlocking the healing power of its constituent chemicals.

Ideal Cannabis for Palliative Care

When considering the use of marijuana for serious or terminal conditions, patients must always consult a doctor to determine the course of treatment that is appropriate for them. Furthermore, employees at cannabis care providers will often be equipped with the necessary knowledge to connect patients with the products best suited for their individual ailment.

Cannabis for Palliative Care doctor with plant

In general, indica strains are known to be more potent than sativas and possess sleep-inducing effects can be ideal for patients suffering from chronic and debilitating pain. While strains vary drastically in both quality and effects, indicas typically provide an embracing body high capable of melting away physical distress.

Edibles (or “medibles”) are also a potential avenue of exploration for patients seeking cannabis for palliative care. As edibles are usually much stronger than other forms of cannabis, they can act as long-lasting pain relievers. In addition, many patients may have conditions that prevent them from inhaling cannabis smoke, thus making edibles a safer and preferable option.

Want to learn more? Stop by our Columbia, Maryland, Dispensary—our staff is happy to help!

MMCC Celebrates 1 Year, Plus Medical Cannabis Changes You Need to Know

Maryland medical cannabis program

The Maryland medical cannabis program has grown in leaps and bounds since its start on December 1, 2017. At that time, less than 18,000 patients were registered and only eight dispensaries were open. The Maryland market now counts nearly 52,000 patients going to 71 dispensaries.

maryland medical cannabis program stethoscope with flower

Because of this expansion of patients and dispensaries, Maryland’s medical cannabis industry ended its first year of operation with $96.3 million in sales of 730,000 individual products.

And the pace has not let up. Between 250 and 350 patients have been applying to the program each day.

“Every Monday, we come in to 1,000 new applications. … People have really started to take notice of the cannabis program in Maryland,” Joy Strand, executive director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC), said.

In this post, we’ll review how much MMCC has achieved and the challenges moving forward.

Maryland Medical Cannabis in Numbers

maryland medical cannabis program doctor holding vial

Since the program started, there have been 2 million transactions. Here is what drove this result in one year:

  • The number of dispensaries grew from 8 to 71.  
  • 1,187 medical providers have registered with the program.
  • The number of patients grew to 51,704 by the end of November 2018.
  • 14 cultivators, 14 processors and 5 testing labs provided safe access to medical cannabis products at dispensaries.
  • 4,659 people registered as caregivers — individuals who care for minors or disabled people using cannabis products.

Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission Challenges

maryland medical cannabis program vial with cannabis flower

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has faced some criticism regarding accessibility to contracts, cost of entry, and products. Specifically:

  • The Maryland medical cannabis program is experiencing high race and gender disparities in their access to state and private sector contracts and in those factors necessary for business success. Based on statistical and anecdotal evidence, it has been determined by the state that affirmative intervention is still needed.
  • In order to purchase medical marijuana in 2018, patients had the option of showing either their license and certification card or patient ID. Now patients have to purchase a $50 patient ID card, which many feel is unfair considering traditional pharmaceuticals don’t have this requirement. Existing patients have until April 1 to purchase the card.
  • Cannabis edibles were not available in Maryland dispensaries for the entire first year. MMCC acknowledged that many patients, especially seniors, prefer to use edibles as their delivery method. Now word has to get out that edibles are available at dispensaries like Remedy Columbia.

Remedy Columbia Proud to Offer Maryland Medical Cannabis

The Maryland Medical Cannabis program still has progress to make, but it also has good reason to celebrate its first year with increased dispensaries and many more registered patients and providers.

Maryland Medical Cannabis Remedy Columbia Team

If you’re just starting the process, Remedy Columbia welcomes all licensed Maryland Patients for walk-ins. We also have Patient Registration Appointments and Patient Education Appointments to help you get started. One of our team members will assist you along your way to becoming a Medical Cannabis Patient in Maryland. The best part? Our menu has a variety of flower, extracts, edibles, tinctures, topicals, and more to choose from, now including edibles. Everybody will find something for them.

Glaucoma and Marijuana: Is Cannabis an Effective Treatment?

glaucoma and marijuana

Over 3 million Americans — most of whom are over age 40 — live with Glaucoma. Glaucoma is a degenerative disease that progressively degrades the cranial nerves. The disease can cause severe damage to one’s vision and is one of the most common causes of blindness not only in the U.S. but in the world. In this article, we’ll address whether combining glaucoma and marijuana is helpful. First, let’s further explore glaucoma as a condition, including causes and risk factors.

Glaucoma is a hereditary disease. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, the heritability of glaucoma has thus far made it nearly impossible to find effective ways to prevent onset. Nor is glaucoma currently curable. However, with early detection and a treatment plan, patients can manage their symptoms and prevent severe vision loss and irreversible blindness.

While there are two primary forms of glaucoma — open-angle and angle-closureopen-angle is the most common diagnosis, affecting 95 percent of the patient population.

Remedy Columbia Glaucoma and Marijuana eye exam

Glaucoma Risk Factors & Causes

Glaucoma is associated with elevated eye pressure, specifically intraocular pressure (IOP). However, contrary to popular perception, high IOP isn’t the cause of glaucoma. People with normal eye pressure can be diagnosed with glaucoma, while people with high IOP may not be diagnosed with glaucoma. It is, however, a risk factor for developing glaucoma. It can also exacerbate symptoms, causing compression that can degrade or destroy the retina and optic nerves’ fibers.

What Causes Glaucoma?

What causes glaucoma largely depends on which of the three types of glaucoma you have. However, the precise causes of glaucoma have been hard to pinpoint. The most current research from MIT and Massachusetts Eye and Ear (a Harvard teaching hospital focused on ophthalmology) suggest glaucoma-related vision loss is caused by an immune response to early exposure of bacteria.

According to Dr. Dong Feng Chen, the lead vision scientist on the study, and Harvard Medical School professor, the autoimmune attack can cause nausea, severe eye pain, and vision disturbances.

“The fact is, eye pressure is only a risk factor, which means only a small percentage of people who have elevated ocular, or eye pressure, actually develop glaucoma,” claims Dr. Chen. “Our study actually shows that the elevated eye pressure does not naturally lead to glaucoma.’

Dr. Dong Feng Chen

While there’s currently no known cure for glaucoma, Dr. Chen’s research has made him optimistic that a cure is in sight: “Targeted manipulation of the immune response in the eye will help eliminate the disease.”

Risk Factors

  • Family history and genetics
  • Age (60+)
  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated eye pressure
  • Thin cornea
  • Persistent high-stress
Remedy Columbia Glaucoma and Marijuana eye exam male

Glaucoma and Marijuana

In most states where medical cannabis is legal, glaucoma is a qualifying condition, meaning glaucoma patients are eligible to become medical cannabis patients. But what does the science say? Is cannabis a viable treatment? Well, it depends on who you ask.

Studies into glaucoma and marijuana from the 1970s were promising; they found that cannabis does, in fact, lower IOP. However, as research has progressed and new medications have been developed, the current consensus in the ophthalmology community is that marijuana isn’t more effective than currently available drugs. Nor do most ophthalmologists believe cannabis should be used as a first-line or primary treatment.

Most ophthalmologists and researchers cite the short duration of cannabis and accompanying “side effects” as reasons why most patients should not use cannabis as their primary treatment. This reasoning makes sense. Patients need 24-hour treatment for glaucoma. Medicating for 24-hour cycles would require patients to use cannabis six to eight times per day to consistently lower their IOP levels, which could actually result in feelings of discomfort.

Does the current consensus mean patients shouldn’t consider cannabis as a treatment? Yes and no. As a primary treatment, the evidence is clear there are better options than marijuana. However, as an adjunctive or supplementary treatment, for some patients cannabis may be appropriate. As research has established, the data proves cannabis lowers eye pressure. Moreover, some patients find the effects of cannabis — both psychotropic and therapeutic — improve their quality of life.

When it comes to late-stage glaucoma, physicians are far more likely to endorse marijuana as a treatment. At that stage, treatment is less about targeting the disease and more about addressing symptoms.

Dr. Andrew Bainnson, a prominent New York ophthalmologist, provides an honest assessment:

“We’ve known for some time that medical marijuana is very effective for treating nausea and pain, but not so much for glaucoma. [However,] there are some patients with end-stage pain and nausea who may benefit [from medical cannabis], but not from the glaucoma point of view.”

Dr. Andrew Bainnson

Bottom line: Is cannabis appropriate for you or a loved one with glaucoma? That’s a decision between you and your health professional.

If you and your doctor decide cannabis makes sense for you, great! We’ve got plenty of strains and products we can suggest that are popular with other glaucoma patients. Keep in mind, of course, that our role isn’t to diagnose or prescribe medications. We’re here to help you on your treatment journey and be your go-to source for high-quality, lab-tested cannabis.

Ready to learn more about glaucoma and marijuana? Schedule an appointment for help becoming a registered Maryland Medical Cannabis Patient.

Muscle Spasm Treatment: Is Cannabis Effective?

Muscle spasm treatment

How many muscles do you think you have? 50? 100? 200? Incredibly, we have over 650 named muscles. When counting muscles within muscles, some estimates go as 840. That’s a lot of muscles! With so many muscles it’s not hard to imagine that our body works hard maintaining them at an optimal level. For people with particular medical conditions, however, severe or persistent muscle spasms are a part of their everyday life. Many turn to cannabis. However, can cannabis be an effective muscle spasm treatment for these individuals?

What Are Severe and Persistent Muscle Spasms?

A muscle spasm is the involuntary contraction of one or more muscles. They occur spontaneously. For most people, it’s not serious. Acute muscle spasms usually occur when muscles are stressed from overuse, dehydrated, deficient in magnesium or potassium, or when an individual has poor circulation.

When an individual regularly experiences severe muscles spasms or persistent muscle spasms that occur daily (or near-daily), it is often a symptom of a more serious condition.

Severe muscle spasms are usually the result of damage or extreme stress on nerves that disrupt nerve root signals from the spinal cord. That could be any number of things, including a spinal cord injury, hernia, or pinched nerve in your neck or back.

Persistent muscle spasms (daily or near-daily) are usually caused by an underlying medical condition that is systemic or neurological. They can also be related to vascular, hormonal, or toxic-metabolic problems.

What Medical Conditions Cause Persistent Muscle Spasms?

Muscle Spasm Treatment Neurological diseases nerve cells

Persistent muscle spasms are often the result of a movement or neurological disorder such as:

Can Cannabis Treat Muscle Spasms?

Medical cannabis muscle spasm treatment

Muscle spasms, especially those caused by MS, are usually treated with pain relievers (analgesics), anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-anxiety medication, muscle relaxers, or, in some cases, Botulinum toxin. However, many patients find these drugs produce intolerable side-effects or aren’t effective. This has lead to many patients turning to cannabis as a muscle spasm treatment.

Recent scientific research has proven cannabis and cannabis-derived drugs can help patients with persistent muscle spasms. After an extensive review of all available medical research, in 2018 National Academy of Sciences produced a report — The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids — that states:

“Conclusive or substantial scientific evidence has shown that marijuana products are effective at treating chronic pain, calming muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, and easing nausea from chemotherapy.”

National Academy of Sciences

The review identified substantial evidence that cannabis-derived oral cannabinoids are effective in treating spasms from multiple sclerosis. Further, both oral cannabinoids and inhaled cannabis can treat chronic pain in adults.

After reviewing substantial medical evidence, researchers report:

“Oral cannabis-based drugs contain THC, the intoxicating compound in pot, or cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating chemical in marijuana that appears to have some therapeutic benefit.”

National Academy of Sciences

However, they also cautioned that because THC and CBD levels can vary considerably between cannabis strains, unless researchers create standards it will be challenging to comprehensively assess the impact of different strains with variable THC and CBD levels.

But, Wait, There’s More!

For many years, Israeli researchers have been isolating integral chemical components in cannabis to study the effects of cannabis on numerous medical conditions.

A 2013 Israeli study published by the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology reported various naturally occurring chemicals found in cannabis might decrease spinal cord and brain inflammation. The study’s findings for people suffering from severe or persistent muscle spasms is encouraging.

Likewise, scientists from the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, San Diego have found compelling evidence to support cannabis as effective in treating muscle spasms.

In addition, anecdotal evidence offered by patients who have chosen to use medical marijuana to alleviate symptoms such as severe pain, muscle tremors and spasms generally tend to be positive. Patients who are using medical marijuana seem, as a majority, to believe they are receiving medical benefits as a result and they are achieving results that improve their quality of life.

Popular Strains for Muscle Spasm Treatment

According to crowd-sourced reviews on Leafly, users with muscle spasms report positive results from the following strains:

Muscle Spasm Treatment: Hybrids

  • ACDC (high-CBD)
  • Canna-Tsu (high-CBD)
  • Chemdawg 4
  • White Widow

Muscle Spasm Treatment: Sativa-Dominant

  • Amnesia
  • Great White Shark
  • Charlotte’s Web (high-CBD)
  • Sweet Diesel
  • Jamaican Dream

Conclusion

As patients find conventional medications ineffective, an increasing number turn to cannabis as their preferred muscle spasm treatment. Cannabis is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-reliever) with chemicals that interact with the endocannabinoid system to influence how the body interprets pain. Research thus far has been encouraging. However, does that mean cannabis is an appropriate muscle spasm treatment for you? That’s a highly personal decision that you should make with your preferred medical professional (hopefully one who is knowledgeable about cannabis).

If you decide to use cannabis as a muscle spasm treatment, we’re happy to help you find the right strain and ingestion method that works for you. You can visit our online dispensary menu to search for the type of cannabis product that you like, or schedule an appointment for assistance.

PTSD Treatment: Can Cannabis Help?

Cannabis PTSD treatment

“Cannabis is a [traumatic] memory eraser,” says Michael Krawitz, the head of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access. Krawitz believes cannabis is an indispensable PTSD treatment. Krawitz adds that the drugs patients are usually prescribed — such as antidepressants, powerful antipsychotic agents, and benzodiazepines — often leave patients “feeling like zombies.” Krawitz’ opinion is shared not only by rapidly growing number of veterans but also among staggering numbers of other individuals living with PTSD. For Krawitz and tens of thousands of other people living with PTSD, cannabis is an essential PTSD treatment.

The sentiments echoed by Krawitz and others is based on their personal experiences, not studies, therefore their perspectives are anecdotal. But what does science say about cannabis as a PTSD treatment? In this article, we’ll explain PTSD and address the issues and challenges patients face with cannabis as a PTSD treatment.

PTSD Defined: What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, more commonly called PTSD, is a potentially severely debilitating psychiatric disorder where patients can experience any or all of the following: intrusive thoughts, memories, disturbing dreams, and flashbacks; avoidance of people, places, and things that remind them of the traumatic event(s); re-living the traumatic experience; hyperarousal to triggering stimuli that reminds them of the event; negative thoughts, feelings, and distorted beliefs and perceptions of oneself; persistent anger, fear, guilt or shame.

PTSD is caused by exposure to severely traumatic events, such as war and combat, natural disasters, acts of violence, rape, abuse, or terrorism. The condition can affect nearly every aspect of a patient’s life, from their relationships and quality of life to their physical and emotional health.

With the continued normalization of medical cannabis, widespread legalization across the U.S., and increased access for patients, the number of patients using cannabis as a PTSD treatment is growing rapidly.

How Bad Is the PTSD Epidemic?

The National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R) estimates 3.6% of adults in the U.S. lived with PTSD over the past year. That translates to more than 12 million people.

PTSD treatment symptoms

The severity of symptoms — measured as “serious impairment,” “moderate impairment,” and “mild impairment” — was just about equal across the patient population. 36.6% of patients lived with serious impairment, while 33.1% experienced moderate impairment and 30.2% had mild impairment.

Is Cannabis an Effective PTSD Treatment?

Despite the fact more than two dozen states now allow PTSD patients to become medical cannabis patients and numerous patient testimonials, anecdotal experiences, case reports, lab studies, and observational studies, no large randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have yet to be published. The reason we don’t have large-scale RCTs is the status of cannabis as a DEA Schedule I drug — meaning the federal government sees cannabis being as dangerous and addictive as heroin. This makes it difficult to conduct medical studies, however, there is hope that this will change soon.

Until we have the types of large-scale randomized trials necessary for the mainstream medical community to fully embrace cannabis, we’re limited to preclinical studies that preclude medical professionals from claiming cannabis is an effective PTSD treatment.

However, the lack of endorsement from the mainstream medical community hasn’t stopped the tens of thousands of people who rely on it to improve their quality of life from swearing by cannabis as their preferred PTSD treatment. And if someone finds a treatment that works for them, they probably don’t care whether RCTs exist. It works for them, and in their perception, that’s what’s most important.

Are There Other Effective PTSD Treatments?

PTSD cannabis research binder

There’s no doubt PTSD can be difficult to treat, but with the appropriate treatment, the condition and its symptoms can be managed or eliminated. Unfortunately, many PTSD patients are only treated with pills. At best, these pharmaceuticals offer short-term benefits. At their worst, many patients experience severe side-effects or develop an addiction.

PTSD bad pharma

Research suggests that PTSD treatment is more effective when combined with psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral training (CBT). In fact, most studies conclude that CBT is the most consistently effective short and long-term PTSD treatment.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the following are examples of some of the most effective CBT treatments :

  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT): A form of CBT that utilizes cognitive therapy to evaluate and change trauma-related thoughts;
  • Prolonged Exposure (PE): Another form of CBT that relies more heavily on behavioral therapy techniques to help individuals gradually approach trauma-related memories, situations, and emotions;
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): A form of psychotherapy that involves processing upsetting trauma-related memories, thoughts and feelings;
  • Stress Inoculation Training (SIT): Another type of CBT that aims to reduce anxiety by teaching coping skills to deal with stress that may accompany PTSD.

Final Thoughts: Cannabis as a PTSD Treatment

Beyond pharmaceutical or cannabis-based treatments, the most effective course of treatment often includes lifestyle changes such as adopting a healthy lifestyle, exercising consistently, and socializing with friends and family in addition to psychotherapy.

As for the current state for cannabis research, the good news is that after years of seeking approval, we finally have one “gold standard” randomized-controlled study underway that could produce conclusions that would make the mainstream medical community more willing to fully embrace cannabis as a viable PTSD treatment. In the meantime, it’s fortunate that many states with medical cannabis programs consider PTSD to be a qualifying condition.

If you’re interested in pursuing cannabis as a PTSD treatment option, schedule an appointment to learn about becoming a Maryland Medical Cannabis patient.

Wasting Syndrome and Cannabis: Can it Help?

Cannabis for wasting syndrome feat

A Vice article, “Without Early AIDS Patients, The Medical Marijuana Movement Wouldn’t Exist,” says it all. Without the activists from this era who advocated for cannabis reform, we may very well not have cannabis as a treatment option. Back in the 1980s, many individuals with HIV/AIDS found relief from cannabis for their symptoms, particularly those associated with wasting syndrome. While wasting syndrome — also known as cachexia — doesn’t only affect patients with AIDS, it was these patients who became the most visible activists in the late 1980s. But has cannabis been shown to be a viable treatment for wasting syndrome?

What Is Wasting Syndrome (Cachexia)?

Wasting syndrome isn’t a specific disease. Instead, it’s symptomatic of a serious medical condition like cancer, heart failure, and advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It’s commonly defined as a progressive and unintentional loss of 10% or more weight that’s often accompanied by a lack of appetite, decreased strength, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, muscle loss, nutritional deficiencies, and weakness. Wasting syndrome increases the chance of dementia, opportunistic infections, and death.

What Causes Wasting Syndrome?

Wasting syndrome is a common symptom among many severe medical conditions. However, serious medical conditions aren’t the only causes of wasting syndrome. There are many issues that can lead to loss of appetite and weight loss, including:

  • Depression and low energy
  • Medication side effects such as nausea or changes in taste
  • Opportunistic infections
  • Your body’s failure to absorb all the nutrients you’re consuming
  • Damage to the lining of your intestines commonly caused by AIDS, HIV and other conditions

Can Cannabis Treat Wasting Syndrome?

What are some of the most common effects of cannabis? The munchies. Pain relief. Lessening nausea. The well-known effects of cannabis make it a near-ideal treatment for wasting syndrome. One caveat, though. Most medical professionals warn patients against smoking cannabis. Smoking can worsen respiratory issues like bronchitis or COPD. Instea, many patients prefer vaping or edibles, which doesn’t impact the respiratory like smoking.

Marinol (dronabinol), a synthetic form of THC, produces similar effects of cannabis. It can boost your mood and appetite and stabilize your weight. And it’s been approved for use by the FDA. However, many patients report that Marinol causes more side effects and is less effective than botanical cannabis. Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t cover medical cannabis, and many don’t cover Marinol either.

Remedy Columbia Wasting Syndrome and Cannabis patient and doctor

What Else Can be Done to Treat Wasting Syndrome Beyond Cannabis or Pharmaceuticals?

First and foremost, if you find yourself quickly losing significant weight, contact your physician. The same goes if you have severe diarrhea or you notice an infection that’s impacting your stomach or guts.

Make Dietary Changes

In addition, consider making some of the following changes to your diet (with the support of your doctor, of course):

  • Manage your diet: Monitor your diet, weight, and dietary habits. Make sure to eat on a schedule, whether you’re hungry or not.
  • Limit fat, insoluble fibers, whole grains, and vegetables: Consider limiting fat, insoluble fiber (found in some vegetables and whole grains), and lactose found in dairy products. Simple dietary changes can often prevent diarrhea or provide relief from it.
  • Eat more soluble fibers: Some fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, lentils, and oat bran can help your digestion.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and high-sugar sweets: All of these can only worsen your symptoms.
  • Take nutritional supplements: If you’re not getting enough nutrients you may benefit from protein supplements or nutritional supplements like Ensure and Advera.

Best Strains to Treat Wasting Syndrome

According to crowdsourced reports from medical cannabis patients, the strains below are the most popular among those living with wasting syndrome. This is far from an exhaustive list, but it gives you some ideas:

Wasting Syndrome and Cannabis buds
  • Ancient OG
  • Pure Afghan
  • Red Dwarf
  • Grapefruit Haze
  • Hawaiian Thunder F–K
  • Purple Tears
  • TJ’s CBD (high-CBD)

Our inventory often changes, so we don’t always carry all of these strains. You can check our online dispensary menu to see what is currently available. And if you come by Remedy Columbia, our team will be happy to suggest similar strains with comparable cannabinoid and terpene profiles as these strains.

Final Thoughts

Few things are more distressing than suffering from wasting syndrome or witnessing a close friend or family member endure the symptoms of wasting syndrome. While research is still ongoing, the fact that so many people report medical cannabis has helped them treat wasting syndrome should provide hope to the millions of people affected by this syndrome.

Whether cannabis is right for you is a highly personal decision that most patients make with a knowledgeable cannabis physician. If you decide to use cannabis as a treatment for wasting syndrome, we’d love to you help you. Our team is made up of people who are compassionate, well-trained, and eager to help our patients.

Schedule an appointment today to learn more.

Can Cannabis Work as a Treatment for Anorexia?

anorexia treatment

Anorexia is a lot more common than you might think, affecting almost one in 200 Americans at some point in their lives. While the word “anorexia” comes from the Greek words for “without appetite,” patients with this eating disorder don’t lose their hunger for food—they spend their days struggling to conquer it.

It’s no secret that cannabis has a notorious reputation for inducing the munchies, but can it be useful as an anorexia treatment? In this article, we will take a look at the evidence and how cannabis can help with this deadly disorder.

What is Anorexia and How Do Eating Disorders Develop?

Anorexia nervosa is a disorder characterized by self-starvation, excessive weight loss, and an intense fear of gaining weight. Aside from its dangerous and potentially deadly physical effects, it is considered a mental illness.

People who develop anorexia often use food restriction and weight loss as a way to gain a sense of control in their lives and to cope with emotional problems or unresolved trauma. They also tend to associate being thin with self-worth. External cues from the media starting at a young age can lead a susceptible person to lose weight and set in motion an obsession with body size and food restriction.

Anorexia treatment mom and daughter

Is Cannabis an Effective Anorexia Treatment?

While medication and talk therapy can be life-changing for many people with mental health disorders, anorexia has proven to be very difficult to treat. The idea that cannabis can stimulate the appetite and help someone gain weight seems obvious, but anorexia is a complex disease with no simple solutions. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of studies on the effectiveness of cannabis for anorexia, but what we do know looks promising.

A 2011 study found that an unbalanced endocannabinoid system is common among people with eating disorders. This imbalance can cause you to feel less pleasure from eating and develop negative associates with food. While more research is needed to better understand the relationship between the endocannabinoid system and eating disorders, this evidence suggests that activating the brain with cannabis could help people develop healthy food habits in place of bad ones.

While one study showed that a synthetic form of THC could help patients with anorexia gain weight, there might be a more useful role that cannabis can play. According to some theories, the key to anorexia treatment is addressing the root emotional trauma underlying the physiological symptoms. Medical marijuana may help relieve some of the anxiety and stress associated with the emotional and psychological trauma at the root of the problem.

Cannabis as anorexia treatment

While mainstream medicine is still on the fence about cannabis and anorexia, many credit medical marijuana with helping them beat the disorder. Cannabis shouldn’t be the only course of action for anorexia, but part of a toolset that includes behavioral modification, psychological counseling, and nutritional support. If you are interested in using cannabis to help treat an eating disorder, always consult a medical professional to discuss all your options as well as their risks and benefits. Schedule an appointment to learn more.

Seizure Treatment: The Effectiveness of Cannabis

We’ve all seen the stories in the news about children who suffer from debilitating forms of epilepsy who find relief with cannabis. People who searched for years to find a seizure treatment are discovering that medical cannabis can do for their loved ones what no other drugs have been able to do. In this article, we will explore the evidence that new scientific research provides about cannabis and epilepsy and how it could help millions of patients who suffer from seizures.

seizure treatment mom and daughter

What is Epilepsy and Why Does it Cause Seizures?

Seizures that start in the brain are known as epileptic seizures. While some seizures are caused by conditions like low blood sugar or a high fever, people who experience recurrent seizures typically suffer from epilepsy, which is a chronic disorder.

Epilepsy affects people of all over the world, from all ages, races, and ethnic backgrounds. About 2.3 million American adults suffer from epilepsy, along with 450,00 children and adolescents.

Sometimes epilepsy is triggered by a brain injury or trauma, but the cause is often unknown. Although seizures can affect different parts of the body, the electrical impulses that cause the event begin in the brain. When normal electrical and chemical activity in the brain becomes disturbed, neurons start to fire erratically and cause seizures. People with epilepsy don’t know when or where their next seizure will come on, which makes leading a normal life very challenging.

Is Cannabis an Effective Seizure Treatment?

Seizure Treatment CBD

Cannabis has received a lot of media attention in the last few years for its ability to treat people with epilepsy and reduce their seizure activity, but does it work? Over the years there has been a lot of anecdotal evidence about the effectiveness of cannabis as a seizure treatment. It was even one of the most popular treatments for epilepsy in the Victorian era. But only recently is science starting to take a serious look at its potential benefits.

What we currently know about how cannabis treats epilepsy can be attributed to the cannabinoids CBD and THC. Due to the intoxicating effects of THC, CBD has moved to the forefront of seizure treatment for children. In a 2018 analysis of 23 CBD trials involving children with severe forms of epilepsy, researchers found a significant reduction in the frequency of seizures.

One of the most impressive studies on the effectiveness of the CBD on seizures included 120 children with a rare drug-resistant form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome. The study found that over 14 weeks, children who received CBD experienced more than a 50% reduction in convulsive seizures compared to the placebo group.

Seizure Treatment thc

Science is still learning how CBD helps reduce seizure activity, but it likely involves the body’s endocannabinoid system. One of the primary functions of the endocannabinoid system is to keep all the systems in our body in a state of equilibrium. When our systems become so out of balance our natural endocannabinoids can’t return them to normal, cannabis might be able to help. The theory is that cannabinoids from medical marijuana can access the endocannabinoid system in a natural way and help bring the body back into a balanced state.

Although we are still learning how cannabis works as a treatment for seizures, there is promising evidence that it can improve the quality of life for people with epilepsy. If you are interested in learning more about the medical benefits of cannabis for treating seizures or other health conditions, we can help.

Please visit our appointment page for information and to learn how to become a new cannabis patient in Maryland.

How to Use Cannabis for Nausea

cannabis for nausea

Everyone experiences nausea from time to time and it’s no fun. Whether it’s from food poisoning, morning sickness, the flu, or chemotherapy, we can all agree that nausea is one of the most uncomfortable feelings when it comes on. If you suffer from severe nausea, it is even worse. While reaching for peppermint or ginger can be helpful for mild cases, it does little to help those who suffer from severe nausea. Chronic nausea can be caused by a variety of gut disorders or as a result of cancer treatment. Might cannabis for nausea help?

Why Does Nausea Happen?

Cannabis for Nausea woman ill

There are hundreds of things that can cause a person to feel queasy, from illness and poisoning to prescriptions and abdominal issues. The thing about nausea is that its actually a symptom, rather than an illness itself. It’s a sign that something is going on and the body is trying to remove toxins and invaders from the system.

Unfortunately, some people experience chronic nausea and vomiting due to chronic medical conditions — with no relief in sight. If you experience persistent nausea and aren’t sure why, it’s important that you consult your doctor to treat the underlying problem. With their diagnosis, and after exploring treatment options, you may find that cannabis for nausea may be helpful

How Does Cannabis Bring Relief?

It is believed that cannabis works with the central nervous system to bring relief. Unlike localized pain, nausea is an overall sensation that’s created by the nervous system and the endocannabinoid system. This means that cannabis can interact with the cannabinoid receptors to disrupt the nausea signal. Remember that cannabis won’t fix what’s causing the signal in the first place, but it is very effective at blocking the nausea sensation it creates.

Do I Have to Get High to Use Cannabis for Nausea?

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The good news is you can use cannabis to fight nausea even if you don’t want to get high. It turns out that the non-intoxicating cannabinoid CBD can work to ease nausea and vomiting without the intoxication associated with THC. A 2012 study found that CBD produced powerful anti-emetic effects due to its interaction with the body’s autoreceptors. CBD is also good at helping patients manage anxiety, which can be helpful in dealing with chronic nausea.

If you are up for a more intoxicating effect, THC also works well as an anti-nausea cannabinoid. It acts by binding to the CB1 receptors in the brain to significantly reduce vomiting. THC can also help promote a positive state of mind for people enduring difficult-to-treat health issues or treatments like chemotherapy.

Cannabis is already accepted by many physicians as a treatment for nausea caused by chemotherapy or radiation and is quickly becoming recognized as a treatment for other causes of queasiness. Although we are still working to understand all the mechanisms of action, cannabis is a well-tolerated and effective treatment.
If you are suffering from severe nausea and need help finding a suitable strain or cannabis consumption method, Remedy can help! Schedule an appointment today.