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Benefits of Medical Marijuana

To Use or Not to Use? Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Cannabis

Stacey Wellington

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Cannabis During Pregnancy

For cannabis enthusiasts, indulging in this plant is one of the most fulfilling activities there is. However, there may come a time or a period of time when you would need to refrain from consuming the herb. Pregnancy and breastfeeding period are just some of these situations.

If you are wondering whether it is safe to use cannabis while pregnant or nursing, here’s what you need to know:

  • Cannabis Strains Today Are Stronger

Before we discuss the safety of using marijuana during pregnancy and while nursing, one important thing you should know is that buds today are much stronger than they were 40 years ago. According to psychiatry professor Christian Hopfer, today’s marijuana strains contain 5 times THC as compared to those in the 1980s and 1970s.

Hopfer’s longstanding research of the plant revealed that buds today have about 25% THC whereas it used to be 2% to 5% in the 70s to the 80s. Moreover, the cannabidiol content of marijuana is getting lower.

However, it is important to note that marijuana is the THC-rich variety of the cannabis plant, while hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is the CBD-rich variety

  • Cannabis During Pregnancy – Effects to Placenta

Research by reputable organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that exposure to CBD can increase the permeability of the placenta. The placenta is an organ that forms during the pregnancy and it essentially protects the baby. When it becomes more permeable, substances can easily penetrate this barrier, exposing the baby to substances (pharmaceutical or not).

Researchers discovered that the use of cannabis while pregnant can result in increased placental resistance and reduce placental circulation. This directly affects the fetus’ circulatory system. Moreover, THC is found to be able to cross the placenta and to make its way into the fetus’ fat and blood.

  • Cannabinoids Can Make Their Way into Breastmilk

Another important thing you need to know when determining whether or not it is advisable to consume cannabis when breastfeeding is that a woman’s body produces milk using fat. When a person smokes this plant, the cannabinoids are stored in fat cells. So, when a mother consumes the herb while nursing, there is evidence that cannabinoids can make its way into the breastmilk.

Is it safe to use Cannabis during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding?

The simple answer is no. Experts from the AAP and ACOG recommended that medical professionals should advise against using any cannabis products while pregnant or nursing. Cannabinoids may have an effect on the development of the fetus’ brain and other body parts. For breastfed babies, these substances can also have an effect on their motor functions, coordination, strength and cerebral functions. Meanwhile, nursing mothers can struggle from low weight gain and decreased awareness when taking care of the baby.

Aside from cannabis, pregnant and nursing mothers should also abstain from alcohol, tobacco, illicit substances and medications for non-medical reasons.

When it comes to carrying a baby to term and taking care of it once born, there is nothing wrong with sacrificing a bit of your indulgence. So, keep your baby healthy and happy by refraining from cannabis during these crucial periods of time.

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Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Demetrix Gains $50m in Series A Funding, Aims to Brew Cannabis

Stacey Wellington

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Demetrix Funds to Brew Cannabis

Demetrix Inc. recently announced its successful foray into the Series A funding round. Following this, the company garnered $50 million, which the business states will be used for researching and producing synthetic cannabinoids in the market.

The Series A funding round was led by Tuatara Capital, a New York-based investment group, together with Horizon Ventures, a Hong Kong-based firm. Based on the press release by the cannabis firm, Horizon Ventures also participated in the Series Seed round, contributing $11 million to the business.

Shaping the Future

Demetrix’s press release revealed that the global market for cannabinoids are slated to reach $100 billion comes 2029. Alongside the boom of this industry, Demetrix intends to “help the world benefit from nature’s rarest ingredients.”

Besides brewing, the startup is also looking to isolate the cannabinoids. The firm also looks to expand the business and commercialize its products in the future. With more than 100 cannabinoids being explored by the California-based startup, it believes that it can cater to different consumer product companies, including the pharmaceutical and supplement sector.

To achieve their goals, the California-based company reportedly intends to use baker’s yeast to yield a larger volume of cannabinoids. Through the company’s “industry-leading fermentation technology that accelerates the production of cannabinoid,” it hopes to shape the future of the field.

Continued Show of Support

Both Tuatara Capital and Horizon Ventures released statements revealing their promising futures by working with the cannabis firm. In the press release, Tuatara Capital partner, Marc Riiska shares that they believe Demetrix has what it takes to “consistently produce high purity, single cannabinoids in a process that easily scales to meet demands.”

Meanwhile, Patrick Zhang of Horizon Ventures state that “Demetrix is uniquely positioned to bring these compounds to market in a cost-efficient way.”

Industry Background

Demetrix chief executive officer Jeff Ubersax is planning to use technologies surrounding yeast genetics and biochemistry and applying this to cannabis. Although the business employs the same method of brewing beer, the fermentation process using the marijuana plant will produce synthetic cannabinoids instead.

While the company’s approach to making a larger volume of cannabinoids sounds promising, Tech Crunch notes the startup “has a long way to go before it becomes competitive with extracts from the marijuana plant.”

As of writing, the company has successfully raised a total of $61 million.

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Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Research Found Recreational Marijuana Users End Up Consuming the Plant as Medicine

Jordan Webber

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Recreational Marijuana

Many cannabis users who buy in Colorado adult-use cannabis dispensaries use the product as a medicine, a study revealed.

The study found that people who purchase items that are supposedly for fun have used them to treat specific health issues, like chronic pain and sleep disorders. The researchers led by Marcus Bachhuber of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York said customers of adult-use cannabis usually end up consuming it for symptom relief.

The combined research team from the New York-based college and the University of Miami polled 1,000 customers in two Colorado dispensaries between August 2016 and October 2016. Around 65% of the respondents said they used marijuana for pain relief, while 74% reported using the plant to promote sleep.

The study was recently published in the “Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.”

Potent Prescription Medicine Alternative

The respondents ended up using cannabis for medical reasons because of its potency. Many of the respondents who use marijuana for health reasons said that using the plant helped them to reduce the use of other medicines. More than two-thirds (82%) reported cutting or stopping their prescription medications.

Nearly 90% of those who purchased cannabis for pain relief said they had reduced or stopped taking opioid pain relievers. Meanwhile, 87% of users who use marijuana as a sleeping aid reported they minimized or halted their use of over-the-counter taking aids. Moreover, 83% of those taking medicine sleeping pills said cannabis helped cut down or stopped their use of these medications.

While the study has somehow shown the potency of cannabis for medical use, it has some limitations. Of the 1,000 study respondents, 90% were below the age of 50. Less than half (42%) of them were women while a little more than half (66%) were white.

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) deputy director Paul Armentano backed the findings of the study. In a press release, he said that the study proved the therapeutic efficacy of marijuana. He also acknowledged its possibility as an alternative medication to prescription medications, particularly opioids.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 130 people in the U.S. die following an opioid overdose. The agency admitted that the abuse and addiction to opioids, including prescription pain relievers, fentanyl, and other synthetic opioids is a national crisis. Prescription opioid misuse costs the U.S. $78.5 billion a year and affects not only public health, but also impacts social and economic welfare.

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Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Minnesota Approved Medical Marijuana for Alzheimer’s

Jordan Webber

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Minnesotta OK'd Medical Cannabis for Alzheimers

Starting July 1, all registered patients with Alzheimer’s disease can begin registering for Minnesota’s medical cannabis program. This will enable them to purchase medical marijuana from the state’s two manufacturers starting August 1, the High Times reported.

The recent approval marked Alzheimer’s disease addition to the 14 conditions that qualify patients for medical marijuana in Minnesota. This includes cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Tourette Syndrome, ALS, seizures (e.g. epilepsy), severe and persistent muscle spasms (e.g. multiple sclerosis), inflammatory bowel disease (e.g. Crohn’s disease), terminal illness, intractable pain, PTSD, Autism, and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Alzheimer’s disease is the only qualifying condition approved by Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm among the seven new conditions proposed by a citizen’s review panel. Conditions that didn’t make the cut includes hepatitis C, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, panic disorder, psoriasis, and traumatic brain injury.

“Any policy decisions about cannabis are difficult due to the relative lack of published scientific evidence,” said Health Commissioner Malcolm. “However, there is some evidence for potential benefits of medical cannabis to improve the mood, sleep, and behavior of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.”

Currently, there are more than 94, 000 people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s living in Minnesota, and 254, 000 people providing care for loved ones diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

For the next 30 days, the Minnesota Department of Health is expected to be working in registering Alzheimer’s patients to the state’s medical marijuana program. Among the requirements included for a patient to obtain medical cannabis is for a licensed health care practitioner to certify that the patient indeed has the disease.

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. It’s a neurodegenerative disorder that happens when plaques containing beta-amyloid develop in the brain. This leads to cognitive impairments, such as problems with one’s memory, thinking, and behaviour. As of today, there is still no available cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, various studies show that cannabis helps improve symptoms or slow the rate of decline in Alzheimer’s patients.

The recent move by Minnesota marked its entrance into the twelve U.S. states that have included Alzheimer’s disease in the list of their qualifying conditions for medical cannabis.

“I believe that advanced dementia patients with tremendous anxiety, restlessness, and pain will benefit,” wrote Dr. William Orr, a Minneapolis-based geriatric psychiatrist who supported the petition.

“Such patients are episodically distraught and become quickly angered and paranoid of staff trying to help them due to their confusion and inability to understand their circumstances,” he added.

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