Cancer

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Cayman Islands: Hospital Begins Dispensing Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A hospital in the Cayman Islands has begun dispensing medical marijuana oils almost six months after Gov. Helen Kilpatrick signed the medical marijuana bill into law, according to a CNS Business report. Grand Cayman’s CTMH Doctors Hospital & Cayman Pharmacy Group will prescribe and dispense the cannabis oils for various serious, chronic medical conditions such as cancer and epilepsy, and as a pain reliever for rheumatoid and osteoarthritis symptoms.

The hospital is being supplied by Canada’s CanniMed Therapeutics Inc., since the law does not allow medical cannabis products to be cultivated or produced on the islands. Initially, cannabis oils will be dispensed to a small number of physician-selected patients as they seek to educate themselves and track patient progress.

“There will be follow-up phone calls from the pharmacists themselves to closely monitor each patient. The pharmacist will also provide feedback for the physicians and together they will work towards an individually tuned treatment plan,” the hospital said in a press release. “Professional Pharmacy will consider prescriptions for cannabis oil from all licensed prescribers. Patients are encouraged to seek medical advice on this therapy directly from their physicians.”

Iowa: Legal Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Iowa Senate

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A bill legalizing medical marijuana for several ailments passed Monday night by the Iowa Senate, although it's not expected to win approval in the Iowa House.

Senate File 506 was passed on a 45-5 vote. It would allow patients with a variety of medical conditions to receive a medical marijuana card after getting written approval from a doctor. The card would enable patients to get medical marijuana from a dispensary in Iowa.

Sen. Thomas Greene, R-Burlington, a pharmacist who was the bill's floor manager, urged support for the measure. An estimated 12,555 Iowans have medical conditions that could benefit from medical marijuana, he said.

"We want Iowans to know we care about them here," Greene said.

Medical conditions eligible for medical marijuana would include: cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, AIDS or HIV, hepatitis C, glaucoma, Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, any terminal illness subject to certain conditions, intractable pain, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, complex regional pain syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and any other chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its medical treatment approved by state officials.

U.S.: Pharma Company That Spent $500,000 To Fight Marijuana Legalization Just Got DEA Approval For Synthetic Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Insys Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company that was one of the chief financial backers of the opposition to marijuana legalization last year in Arizona, just received DEA approval for Syndros, a synthetic marijuana drug.

Insys donated $500,000 to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy last year, the group opposing marijuana legalization in Arizona. The donation amounted to roughly 10 percent of all money raised to fight marijuana legalization in Arizona, a fight which they ultimately won.

Syndros is a synthetic formulation of THC, marijuana's psychoactive component. It was approved by the FDA last summer to treat nausea, vomiting and weight loss in cancer and AIDS patients. The DEA approval places Syndros and its generic formulations in Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act, indicating a “high potential for abuse.” Other Schedule II drugs include morphine, cocaine and many prescription painkillers.

Insys was the only pharmaceutical company known to be giving money to oppose legalization last year. “It appears they are trying to kill a non-pharmaceutical market for marijuana in order to line their own pockets,” a spokesman for Arizona's marijuana legalization campaign said last year.

Florida: Medical Marijuana Bill Would Outlaw Smokable And Edible Pot

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Last year, 72 percent of Floridians voted to amend the state constitution to make medical marijuana legal for patients with certain qualifying illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer's. The Florida Legislature must now come up with medical marijuana rules.

Fort Myers Rep. Ray Rodrigues introduced the first medical marijuana regulations yesterday, and they would ban patients from smoking marijuana or using edibles. Only patients that are terminally ill would be allowed to vaporize.

"It goes further than the current statute in terms of restricting medical marijuana," says Ben Pollara, United for Care's campaign director. "There was unanimous agreement that the new amendment would expand use."

Rodrigues' bill defines the "medical use" of cannabis as "the acquisition, possession, use, delivery, transfer, or administration of marijuana authorized by a physician certification."

Specifically, however, the bill says medical use does not include "possession, use, or administration of marijuana in a form for smoking or vaping or in the form of commercially produced food items made with marijuana or marijuana oils, except for vapable forms possessed, used, or administered by or for a qualified patient diagnosed with a terminal condition."

South Carolina: Bills Introduced To Legalize Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Bills were recently introduced in South Carolina to legalize medical marijuana for certain qualifying conditions.

The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act would allow those with a physician's recommendation to use and possess marijuana and marijuana-related products if they have a qualifying condition.

Those conditions include glaucoma, cancer, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, HIV/AIDs, ulcerative colitis, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD, autism, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Parkinson’s disease and neural-tube defects.

The bills are being introduced, “to improve the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of South Carolina patients who can benefit from alternate courses of treatment instead of pharmaceutical,” says David Newsom, head of Government Affairs for SC Compassion, a nonprofit medical cannabis group that has been working with the lawmakers to help draft the bills.

Georgia: House Passes Medical Marijuana Expansion

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Georgia House on Wednesday backed a broad expansion of the state's medical marijuana law.

House Bill 65, sponsored by state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, would double the list of illnesses and conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana in Georgia to include AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, autoimmune disease, epidermolysis bullosa, HIV, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette’s syndrome.

The bill will remove a one-year residency requirement.

It will also allow people with registration cards from other states with similar low-THC cannabis oil laws to also possess the oil in Georgia.

Under Georgia’s 2015 law, patients and, in the case of children, families who register with the state are allowed to possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil to treat severe forms of eight specific illnesses, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

The oil can have no more than 5 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the component of marijuana that causes a "high."

Federal officials still consider the oil an illegal drug.

Texas: State Could Lose Millions Of Tax Dollars If Medical Marijuana Not Implemented

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Governor Greg Abbott signed the Texas Compassionate Care Act into law on June 1, 2015, but it looks now as if the state may not implement its medical marijuana program, and could miss out on collecting millions of dollars in potential tax revenues.

A major obstacle delaying the program in Texas is that the law requires a doctor to write a prescription for medical marijuana. The problem is that doctors can't legally write a prescription for marijuana, because it remains federally illegal, and a controlled substance. Also, prescriptions must be filled by a pharmacy, not a dispensary. The law would need to be amended so that doctors could recommend medical marijuana, not prescribe it. Heather Fazio of Texans for Responsible Marijuana said that legal medical cannabis in Texas may "not ever get off the ground, if we're not able to change that language in the law."

So far, the only disease approved to be treated by medical marijuana in Texas is intractable epilepsy, leaving cancer patients, pain sufferers and veterans with post traumatic stress disorder unable to legally get the medicine. A bill has been introduced in both the Texas House and Senate to expand the list of qualifying conditions.

Georgia: Medical Marijuana Expansion Moves Ahead In State House

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A broad expansion to Georgia’s medical marijuana law passed a House panel Monday, coming closer to a floor vote before Friday's deadline for passage.

House Bill 65, sponsored by state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, would double the list of illnesses and conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana in Georgia to include AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, autoimmune disease, epidermolysis bullosa, HIV, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette’s syndrome.

The bill would also allow people who have registration cards from other states that similarly allow possession of certain low-THC cannabis oil to also possess the oil in Georgia.

The bill passed on a 7-3 vote, and the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee made changes that would require annual reporting by doctors who oversee medical marijuana patients. They also removed post-traumatic stress disorder from the proposed list of newly eligible diseases.

Under Georgia’s 2015 law, patients who register with the state are allowed to possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil to treat severe forms of eight specific illnesses, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

The oil can have no more than 5 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the component of marijuana that causes a "high".

The bill must win passage from the House by Friday to have a clear path to becoming law.

Florida: Medical Marijuana Available Starting Today

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Today marks the first day that patients in Florida have access to medical marijuana, and doctors are experiencing an influx of patients the new law is bringing in.

Doctors will not be handing out marijuana immediately, however. Doctors and state health officials have up to six months to create a plan for distributing the drug, under the new law.

Qualified physicians who have completed an eight-hour training course regarding medical marijuana will be allowed to prescribe two types of marijuana. Patients with cancer or a condition that causes chronic seizures or muscle spasms may qualify to receive low-THC marijuana, which has very low amounts of the psychoactive ingredient THC and does not usually produce the “high” commonly associated with marijuana.

If a patient has been determined to be terminally ill by two physicians, they may qualify for medical marijuana which contains significant levels of THC.

Some conditions that may qualify a patient for one of the treatments include cancer, seizures, muscle spasms, AIDS, glaucoma, and Parkinson's disease.

Texas: Bill Filed To Legalize Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Texas state Senator Jose Menendez filed a bill today that would allow people with chronic and debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana to treat those conditions through a prescription from a doctor.

Senator Menendez says if traditionally conservative states like Montana, North Dakota and Arkansas can pass such a measure, Texas should follow suit.

Illnesses like cancer, PTSD, nausea, Parkinson’s, autism, HIV and severe pain are a few of the ailments that would qualify.

Political science professor Doctor Paul Fabrizio told KIDY the road to approval for this bill is a difficult one. If passed in both the House and the Senate, there’s still one huge obstacle.

“If they were to get it passed, they’re gonna have to convince the governor. The governor has been very outspoken in saying he does not support legalization of medical or recreational marijuana. Therefore, he’s not going to sign a bill,” Fabrizio said.

New York: Chronic Pain Added To List Of Approved Conditions For Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New York just added chronic pain to the list of conditions that can qualify a patient for medical marijuana in the state.

The New York Department of Health issued a statement saying a regulatory amendment outlining the addition of chronic pain and its conditions has been drafted and will be published for public comment soon.

“After conducting a thorough review of the scientific literature, it became clear that there may be certain benefits in the use of medical marijuana by patients suffering from chronic pain,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker in the statement. “Medical marijuana is already helping thousands of patients across New York State, and adding chronic pain as a qualifying condition will help more patients and further strengthen the program.”

The state’s laws already allow medical marijuana for those suffering from cancer, HIV/AID, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to spinal cord nervous tissues, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, and Huntington’s disease.

Arkansas: Medical Marijuana Legal In First Bible Belt State

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Arkansas officially legalized marijuana for qualifying medical patients on Tuesday in a vote of 53.2% to 46.8%, according to the New York Times, making it the first Bible Belt state to legalize the plant.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, or Issue 6, is an amendment to Arkansas' state constitution that officially legalizes the distribution and possession of medical marijuana. The new amendment is specifically meant for patients who have any of 17 qualifying conditions, which include cancer, Tourette's syndrome, Chrohn's disease, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder and HIV/AIDS. Patients with a written statement from a doctor certifying they have a qualifying condition will be able to purchase medical marijuana from dispensaries, and will not be permitted to grow their own marijuana plants.

Arkansas voted on the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Question in 2012, but it was struck down in a vote of 51.4% to 48.5%. A separate medical marijuana proposal, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, or Issue 7, was also initially slated to be on the ballot in 2016, but was later disqualified due to invalid signatures.

Idaho: Marijuana Activists Launch New Campaign For Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Idaho Secretary of State's Office has approved a petition that could create a medical marijuana program in the state.

Current marijuana laws in Idaho are harsh, especially when compared to neighboring states which allow some sort of medical use of the drug or have outright legalized it like Washington and Oregon. In Idaho, possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense and the state doesn’t approve the medical use of the drug.

If the initiative qualifies for the ballot and is passed, Idaho will join 25 other states that have a medical marijuana law. The initiative includes a long list of qualifying conditions that encompasses cancer, glaucoma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and others. Patients that qualify for the program would be allowed to legally possess 24 ounces of usable marijuana and 12 plants.

“We didn’t want to leave anything out,” says Angela Osborn, board secretary for the Idaho Medical Marijuana Association, or IMMA, the group sponsoring the petition. “We didn’t want to leave a patient out; we didn’t want to leave a disease out. We want it super simple and to help as many people as possible.”

Florida: New Ad Campaign Says Marijuana Isn't Medicine

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The anti-marijuana group Drug Free Florida released a 30 second ad Thursday which opens with a prescription for Marinol, which the group says offers the same benefits as medical marijuana.

Marinol is a pharmaceutical tetrahydrocannabinol, a drug which contains the principal psychoactive component of cannabis. 

The ad then goes on to slam medical marijuana for not being regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and for not being prescribed by a doctor.

The group says amendment 2 is a “scam” which would make medical marijuana legal. “You don’t smoke medicine,” the ad says, while pictures of young people smoking marijuana flash on the screen. 

The ad is the latest in the fight against Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana in Florida for patients with “debilitating conditions.”

Conditions covered under the amendment would include cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, and for other conditions which a physician feels using medical marijuana would outweigh the potential health risks for a patient. 

There are differences between Marinol and marijuana. Marinol contains only THC, and can take about an hour to take effect, while smoked or vaporized THC takes effect in a matter of seconds or minutes. Marinol is often used to treat cancer patients, HIV/AIDS patients, and people undergoing chemotherapy.

Ohio: Medical Marijuana Becomes Legal Thursday

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

It was 90 days ago Thursday that Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a bill into law that legalizes medical marijuana. Medical marijuana finally becomes legal in the state tomorrow, making it the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana in some form.

The law allows patients to use marijuana in vapor form for certain chronic health conditions, but bars them from smoking it or growing it at home.

The Ohio Department of Commerce, State Medical Board and Board of Pharmacy will supervise the use of medical marijuana in the state.

ResponsibleOhio put a proposed constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot last year that would have legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use and granted exclusive growing rights to 10 investor groups bankrolling the campaign. Voters rejected the proposal. But polls showed that 80 to 90 percent of Ohioans favor legalizing medical marijuana.

The list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana in Ohio includes AIDS, ALS, Alzheimer’s, cancer, chronic pain, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, spinal cord conditions, Tourette’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury and sickle cell anemia.

Michigan: Melissa Etheridge Smokes Weed On Stage For The First Time

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Rock star Melissa Etheridge performed at the High Times Medical Cannabis Cup in Clio, Michigan recently, where she fired up a joint on stage for the first time ever.

“This is my first time ever, smoking while performing,” Etheridge stated, just before lighting up the spliff. Etheridge whipped out a 'doob tube', complained about the difficulty of opening it, shared with the crowd that she prefers a sativa strain, then lit up and blew smoke into the air.

Etheridge performed on stage at the Auto City Speedway, where hundreds of vendors and thousands of patients braved temperatures as high as 96 degrees to enjoy the first day of the annual High Times celebration.

Before her performance she took the time to discuss her battle with cancer and how she used medicinal marijuana as a treatment option and as a way to control side effects of other treatments in a Q and A session.

The Medical Cannabis Cup continues on Sunday, ending with an awards ceremony which should take place without the rain which has plagued past Cup events. It should also take place in more moderate temperatures, as the high for the day is anticipated to not exceed 76 degrees.

Photo courtesy the Compassion Chronicles

Kansas: August Hearing Set In Cancer Patient's Felony Medical Marijuana Case

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A motions hearing for a Kansas cancer patient facing felony marijuana charges has been scheduled for August to provide more time for review of his medical history.

Retired science teacher Terry Lynn Rugg, 64, of Ottawa, Kansas, is charged with marijuana cultivation, possession with intent to distribute, and possession of drug paraphernalia, all of which are felonies, reports Doug Carder at the Ottawa Herald. He was arrested on October 29, 2015.

Rugg's attorney, John Boyd, had already said he would provide the Franklin County Attorney's Office with Rugg's medical history, in hopes of reaching a plea bargain.

The prosecutor's office has indicated it wants to review Rugg's full medical records, which would require more time, Boyd said at his client's status conference on Monday morning.

Rugg has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, bladder cancer and urethral cancer, according to Boyd.

Canada: Man's Letter To Prime Minister About Marijuana Is Going Viral

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

David Murphy is a 27-year-old farmer in Nova Scotia who uses cannabis to treat his brain cancer. He says that Canadian Prime minister Justin Trudeau, who campaigned on a promise to legalize marijuana, has not helped efforts to implement an effective medical system and reform marijuana laws in the country fast enough.

Murphy sent a letter to Trudeau, describing a recent raid against a dispensary he happened to witness and requested that the prime minister clarify Canada drug policy so that patients are not left without marijuana in the event that legal dispensaries are shut down by law enforcement officers. Although medical marijuana is legal in Canada, raids to dispensaries continue to happen across the country.

"I am a young, epileptic, brain cancer patient (astrocytoma type 2a left temporal lobe) who is prescribed and uses medical marijuana," Murphy wrote. "I was on site for a police raid of our local dispensary yesterday, december third. The events there were a great demonstration of how urgent our need for progressive changes is."

Canada: Current Oncology Mag Devotes Special Issue To Cannabis For Cancer Patients

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The treatment of cancer and its symptoms has been recognized as one of the most critical advances in cannabinoid therapeutics. Now, a special issue of Current Oncology magazine highlights the use of marijuana for cancer patients. The supplement is aimed at informing the medical community in Canada about the role that medicinal cananbis and cannabinoids can play in cancer management./

The special issue is guest edited by Dr. Mark Ware, director of clinical research, Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit, McGill University Health Centre, and executive director of the nonprofit Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids (CCIC). The issue is sponsored by Mettrum Health Corp., a vertically integrated producer of cannabis products.

"Finding answers to the questions regarding cannabis and cancer will require a concerted effort by patients, scientists, clinicians and the industry," said Dr. Ware. "We at CCIC are proud to have stimulated this discussion, and we urge all stakeholders to move forward with the needed research to address an issue that really is a matter of life and death.

Ohio: Group Releases Specifics of New Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana could be on the November's ballot in Ohio if 305,291 signatures of registered voters are collected.

The plan, which could provide medicinal cannabis to an estimated 215,000 Ohioans with qualifying medical conditions by 2018, is backed by the D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, which has been successful with ballot initiatives in other states, reports Alan Johnson at The Columbus Dispatch.

A year after Ohioans overwhelmingly rejected a for-profit plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state, the MPP is counting on the differences in the plans to mean success this time. ResponsibleOhio's plan would have handed over control of commercial cannabis cultivation in the state to a dozen wealthy investors who backed the campaign.

MPP will be working locally through a group called Ohioans for Medical Marijuana.

“The Ohio initiative is similar to the medical-marijuana laws in 23 states and the District of Columbia,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the MPP, reports Meghan Matthews at WBNS-10TV. “The Ohio initiative will allow patients with a list of medical problems to use, possess, and grow their own medical marijuana if they have the approval of their physicians.”

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