Medical cannabis

25% fewer overdose deaths from opiate pain killers in states with legal medical cannabis

25% fewer overdose deaths from opiate pain killers in states with legal medical cannabis

That’s right folks, the science has been clear for a long time.  And now there’s even more evidence that low-toxic medical cannabis saves lives for folks in chronic pain.  This time it’s the heavy hitting Journal of the American Medical Association stating “states allowing the medical use of cannabis have lower rates of deaths resulting from opioid analgesic overdoses than states without such laws”.   It’s important for people to remember that medical cannabis is the least toxic of any pain reliever, and patients don’t need to smoke it or get a head high to experience low-toxic pain relief.

Opioid prescription deathsThe substitution of less harmful medicines in lieu of more harmful drugs is compassionate and intelligent medicine. Cannabis is the least toxic of any pain reliever by almost any measure. It has never caused a single death, ever. Cannabis does not have to be smoked to be effective, and medical cannabis patients don’t have to get ‘high’ to experience pain relief. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen kill more Americans than most people are aware.

As citizens become more attuned to the benefits of cannabis as an inexpensive natural pain reliever that doesn’t have death as a side-effect, many forward thinking doctors are recognizing the amazing benefits of low-toxic cannabis for all types of pain and inflammation, including mild and moderate pain.

The following comes from the IACM:

On average, states allowing the medical use of cannabis have lower rates of deaths resulting from opioid analgesic overdoses than states without such laws. A new multi-institutional study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine examined the rate of deaths caused by opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2010. Results reveal that on average, the 13 states allowing the use of medical cannabis had a 24.8 percent lower annual opioid overdose mortality rate after the laws were enacted than states without the laws, indicating that the treatment with cannabis may be safer for patients suffering from chronic pain related to cancer and other conditions.

Approximately 60 percent of all deaths resulting from opioid analgesic overdoses occur in patients who have legitimate prescriptions. While noting that evidence for the pain-relieving properties of cannabis is limited, some studies have suggested “it may provide relief for some individuals,” said lead author Dr Marcus A. Bachhuber. “In addition, people already taking opioids for pain may supplement with medical marijuana and be able to lower their painkiller dose, thus lowering their risk of overdose.” Additional results of the study show that the relationship between lower opioid overdose deaths and medical cannabis laws strengthened over time; deaths were nearly 20 percent lower in the first year after a state’s law was implemented, and 33.7 percent lower five years after implementation.

A proper cannabis recommendation for pain requires more than just a few minutes of a doctor’s time, and includes information on cannabinoid content, strain selection, and delivery methods. If you’re not getting this information from your doctor, you’re not getting a true cannabis consultation and are missing information on the full value and healing potential of the plant.

If you know of someone who is looking for low toxic options for their chronic pain, feel free to forward this article to them.  Prospective patients can also call me at 206-795-6044 to see if they might be a good candidate for medical cannabis.  There is no charge for this service. If you or anyone you know would like more information about me and my naturopathic services you can visit my website here: http://www.drjakefelice.com/

All my best in health,

-Dr. Jake Felice, ND, LMP

Seattle, Washington

 

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Got Science? Dr. Jake’s comments to the Washington State Board of Health

Got Science? Dr. Jake’s comments to the Washington State Board of Health

The challenge to the public is that since the 1940s, medical bureaucrats and legislators have ignored the science pertaining to the use of cannabis as medicine. It is my concern that the same will be true for our Washington State Board of Health. If regulators do not understand the existing and emerging science of cannabis, they will be making poor decisions that not only do not benefit the health and well being of citizens; but could also arguably be causing harm in preventing citizens from accessing one of the least toxic forms of pain relief known to science.

Cannnabis patientSince the 1940s the federal government has commissioned expert medical panels to review scientific information about medical use of cannabis; and has done this almost every decade starting with the LaGuardia commission report in the 1940s, and continuing up to the most recent Institute of Medicine report in 1999. All of these reports repeatedly present the same conclusions based on the most up-to-date science available at the time their publication. They contain informative and straightforward information, stating the clear conclusion that scientific evidence indicates the safe and therapeutic effects of cannabis for pain.

Low toxic cannabis SanjayIf the Board of Health’s goal is to protect our citizens, the substitution of less harmful medicines in lieu of more harmful drugs, is compassionate and intelligent medicine. Cannabis is the least toxic of any pain reliever by almost any measure. It has never caused a single death, ever. Cannabis does not have to be smoked to be effective, and medical cannabis patients don’t have to get ‘high’ to experience pain relief. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen kill more Americans than most people are aware.

Healthy coupleAs citizens become more attuned to the benefits of cannabis as an inexpensive natural pain reliever that doesn’t have death as a side-effect, many forward thinking doctors are recognizing the amazing benefits of low-toxic cannabis for all types of pain and inflammation, including mild and moderate pain.

Cannabis is a botanical containing hundreds of pharmaceutical compounds that provide three major advantages over single molecule synthetic drugs: 1) The therapeutic effects of primary active ingredients of botanicals may be synergized with other compounds, 2) the side-effects of primary active ingredients may be mitigated by other compounds in the plant, and 3) botanicals in general, and cannabis in particular, have much lower toxicities than those of single molecule drugs.

Cannabis is a plant-based botanical medicine with extremely low toxicity. The Board of Health should understand that because of the unique nature of botanicals, the FDA actually considers botanical drugs to be in a different regulatory class from the regulatory policies applied to single molecule drugs. These federal policies are grounded in sound science, and can be referenced through the white paper published by the Department of Health and Human Services and the FDA.

Recently the Board of Health asked for public comments regarding the development of guidelines for physicians around medical cannabis. I wonder if anybody will be listening. Click here to read a copy of my letter to the board.

Thoughts or questions about this topic? I welcome your comments.

Most sincerely,

Dr. JakeDr. Jake Felice, Redmond, Washington

As a post script, I’d like to say that I wish I would have added more information to the board regarding the synergy between opiate medications and cannabis. Cannabis not only helps opiate medications work better, it also helps patients use less of this highly toxic class of drugs.

Below are a few more peer reviewed references supporting this fact:

Synergistic interactions between cannabinoid and opioid analgesics http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14706563

Synergy btw THC and morphine in the arthritic rat http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17498686

Cannabis reduces opiate use in the treatment of non-cancer pain http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12782429

Synergistic and additive interactions of the cannabinoid agonist CP55,940 with mu opioid receptor and alpha2-adrenoceptor agonists in acute pain models in mice. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15778704

Additionally, there is a lot of good science showing synergistic effects between the molecule CBD and THC that I did not have time to explore in this letter. Feel free to comment or email me if you have any questions regarding these synergistic effects.

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Medical cannabis for kids???

Medical cannabis for kids???

Do you think medical cannabis is just for stoners?  Take a look at this little girl who uses large amounts of medical cannabis to treat her epilepsy.  You might just find yourself shedding a tear.

Cannabis offers effective, low toxic options for patients with seizure disorders and can even be helpful for petiatric patients.  Newer strains of high-CBD, low-THC cannabis such as Charlotte’s Web provide safe, effective seizure relief that can really work.  -Dr. Jake Felice

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How cannabis drives tumor cells to sucicide

How cannabis drives tumor cells to sucicide

Check out this very interesting video on cannabis and cancer.  Emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors.  -Dr. Jake Felice

From Cannabis Planet on Vimeo.

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Cannabis modulates the immune system and is NOT an immune suppressant

Cannabis modulates the immune system and is NOT an immune suppressant

Many media outlets bash cannabis as lowering our immune system.  The use of these words misleads patients and is a sophisticated form of reefer madness.

immunesysThe word “immune suppression” scares patients and its use is a form of anti-cannabis propaganda.  The key thing to understand about cannabis is that it is an immune modulator, and NOT an immune suppressant.  Most cannabis shifts the immune system surveillance away from fighting bacteria, while at the same time stimulating the body’s ability to fight cancer, viruses, and auto-immune disease.  The latter are much more important in the case of chronic disease from which most patients suffer.

Cannabis certainly may not be beneficial in acute infection, or in immune compromised or in those patients taking immune suppressing medication such as prednisone.  Of great note, is that certain strains of cannabis possess antibacterial properties.  Thank goodness!

-Dr. Jake Felice

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Patients say ‘yes’ to cannabis for MS

Patients say ‘yes’ to cannabis for MS

The science supporting the use of cannabis for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is absolutely compelling.  Click here for a list of peer reviewed scientific references.

Patients everywhere should have the right to access the best medicine for their illness.  As of now, 20 states now have medical cannabis laws for patients who need safe non-toxic cannabis for their health conditions.

This video highlights the inspirational story of Gary Cooper, an MS patient.  His story, more than all of the scientific evidence referenced above makes a compelling case for the use of low-toxic medical cannabis.

Gary states about cannabis:  “It takes away my discomfort, it enhances my very being.”

Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks the central nervous system causing inflammation, muscle spasm and loss of motor coordination, as well as muscle weakness.  Over years, the disease progresses, and MS patients can become permanently disabled.  Multiple sclerosis is typically a progressive disease and it can be fatal.  Medical cannabis can be very helpful for MS.  According to the US National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 200 people are diagnosed every week with MS in the United States, and it most frequently targets those 20 to 40 years of age.  Multiple Sclerosis is particularly prevalent in the Pacific Northwest.

My patients with MS find remarkable benefits from it’s low toxic properties.  I hope that you enjoyed this post, please feel free to comment as I’d love to hear from you.  In health,  -Dr. Jake Felice

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