Arkansas First Ever Medical Marijuana Dispensary Now Open

The first legal medical marijuana dispensary in state history is now open in Arkansas.

It took 2.5 years after voters legalized the medicine, but Arkansas’ first medical marijuana dispensary opened its doors on Saturday, reports the Associated Press.

Doctor’s Orders RX in Hot Springs was the first dispensary to be officially licensed by the state, and it is currently the only one operating. It sold marijuana to a patient Friday to test its software and officially opened Saturday.

Read moreArkansas First Ever Medical Marijuana Dispensary Now Open

Medical Marijuana vs. Recreational Marijuana

By Kathy T. Cooley

With new ailments making their way to the ‘list of deadly diseases’, the inclination towards alternative medicine has increased. People are ready to take the risk and are exploring alternatives, rather than sticking to good old allopathy. Cannabis shrouded in mystery and skepticism for years has now resurfaced as more than just a recreational drug. As the lines between medical and recreational cannabis begin to blur, drug abuse is at an all-time high.

Reason? Many of us do not understand the workings of this complicated drug. In an attempt to clarify the general misconceptions surrounding marijuana, we bring you the differences between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.

Medical Marijuana vs Recreational Marijuana :

While the legalization of Marijuana is still a subject of taboo, many states across the world have decided to give it a shot, owing to its medical benefits.

Medical Marijuana :

Medical Marijuana is usually referred to the unprocessed cannabis itself. The focus is mainly on the two out of 100 chemicals known as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol(CBD).  The former being a psychoactive compound responsible for the ‘high’, while the later doesn’t carry any psychoactive effects.

So what makes it different from its recreational cousin? Medical marijuana usually offers a high content of CBD, cutting out on the euphoric effects.

Recreational Marijuana :

Microdosing psychedelics is nothing but cannabis or other psychedelic substances consumed without any medical advice or justification. Recreational marijuana comes with a higher level of THC and is meant to provide consumers with the ‘high’ which comes as a side effect to its consumption. For the budget-conscious cannabis consumer budget buds are a great option!

History of Recreational Marijuana Vs Medical Marijuana :

The Marijuana that you find in drug stores is usually labeled and marketed as hemp oil or hemp seeds. An excellent source of protein and fiber, medical marijuana seeds have come a long way from being used by ancient Chinese pharmacologists in 2737 BC to being listed as an ‘acceptable medical product’ in the U.S in the 1940s.

Contrary to popular belief, recreational marijuana is not comparatively a recent concept. Though the fashion of using marijuana for recreation caught up late, it has always been there with human civilization. The 1920s saw Mexican immigrants bringing with them the Marijuana Cult. Consumers increased exponentially, up until it faced a ban in 29 states across the U.S. With the advent of the 21st Century, many states took a softer approach toward the subject and voted to decriminalize the use of marijuana. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational cannabis.

Major differences between Medical Marijuana and Recreational Marijuana :

  1. This is one basic difference. Medical cannabis contains a higher concentration of CBD, unlike its recreational counterpart. So you don’t necessarily feel ‘the high’.
  2. Medical marijuana is strictly prescription based and consumed under doctor’s advice. Recreational marijuana, on the other hand, doesn’t need a qualifying condition for purchase.
  3. If you live in the states and are looking for medical marijuana, you have to be over 18 years of age, to get it from a dispensary. Whereas if you want some good old pot a.k.a recreational marijuana, the qualifying age to buy legal marijuana is set at 21 years. If you are a total beginner, try Weed Vaporizer instead of digging all into cannabis rolls.
  4. Indica Vs Sativa :

Indica and the sativa are the two major types of cannabis plant containing different levels of THC and CBD. Indica Contains more CBD which makes one feel heavy. It has a short dense plant structure, synthesized for medicinal purpose. Whereas Sativa has a higher THC content and gives you the desired euphoria. The plant structure is rather skinny and tall.

Now that we know the basic differences between Medical and Recreational Marijuana, let’s shift the focus to – why use such a complicated, unpredictable plant for a medicinal purpose at all?

  1. Medical Marijuana treats diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s, Glaucoma and sclerosis. It is also used in the treatment of Eating disorders, Muscle spasms and even (shockingly) Cancer.
  2. Although the results aren’t guaranteed and the treatment often shady, marijuana is also used to provide relief in case of chronic pain and nausea resulting from chemotherapy.
  3. It has also been proven to help with the treatment of nausea in AIDS patients. Research at St. John’s Hospital, Tulsa claimed that around 38 percent of patients consuming five mg of Marinol (synthesized marijuana used for the medicinal purpose) felt a drastic reduction in nausea over a six week period.
  4. Medical marijuana is useful for patients suffering from diabetes and spinal cord injuries and provides relief from nerve pain.
  5. Marijuana, rich in CBD, also assists in the treatment of epilepsy and schizophrenia in children

Getting your hands on Medical Marijuana Vs Recreational Marijuana :

For obtaining medical marijuana, you need to get a physician’s recommendation in a Marijuana-legalized state. Your disease/condition must qualify for the weed-based treatment and you should ideally carry a medical pot ID card duly authorized and renewed. Getting your hands on recreational marijuana is easier, provided you live in a place where weed is legalized. All you need is to be 21 and a little adventurous.

Researches on medical marijuana seem promising but are yet to yield safer and guaranteed results. With many people opting for this little bad guy over conventional alternatives, could Marijuana, in its safest, best and cherubic form, prove to be the cure of the century?

How Does Medicare Cover Arthritis?

According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is the leading cause of disability among adults in the U.S. It’s estimated that roughly 54 million adults have been doctor-diagnosed with arthritis.

Click to enlarge.

The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis – roughly 31 million Americans are affected by this type. Although the second type, rheumatoid arthritis, is less common, the number of women affected by this form of arthritis far outnumbers men.

Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage between the joints to deteriorate. Rheumatoid arthritis causes the lining of the joint to grow inflamed and swollen. Symptoms of arthritis may vary depending on what form of arthritis you have, but common symptoms include joint stiffness, pain, swelling in the joints and decreased body mobility.

Not only is living with arthritis physically painful, managing your arthritis can also be a pain and financial burden to your bank account, especially if you are retired or about to retire. Good news for those Americans with arthritis about to retire – Medicare does, in fact, help cover the cost to treat and manage your arthritis.

How will Medicare cover an arthritis diagnosis?

Diagnosing arthritis can be done by a variety of tests and doctor visits. Some of these tests may include x-rays, blood work, MRIs and CT scans. If you go to get tested either by a primary physician or a specialist such as a rheumatologist, these tests and doctor’s visits are considered “outpatient medical services.”

Medicare Part B covers medically necessary outpatient care for arthritis.  According to Medicare, a medical service is considered medically necessary if it is “needed to diagnose or treat an illness, injury, condition, disease, or its symptoms and that meet accepted standards of medicine.”

Although most people qualify for premium-free Part A, Medicare Part B is not premium-free. In 2019, most people pay $135.50 in monthly premiums for their Medicare Part B coverage. Once you meet the Part B annual deductible of $185, Part B covers 80% of expenses for outpatient medical services and you pay 20%.

It’s important to know that Medicare Part B doesn’t have an out-of-pocket spending cap, so you will have to continue to pay 20% of costs every time you use your Medicare Part B insurance. If you buy a Medicare Supplement plan, also known as a Medigap plan, you’ll have secondary insurance that pays your 20% after Medicare pays its share.

How will Medicare cover arthritis treatment?

Treatment for arthritis depends heavily on the type of arthritis you have. However, treatments for both types come in forms of surgery, medication and alternative medicine.

If your treatment plan requires surgery, Medicare Part A covers your in-patient hospital services such as your room, meals, and recovery. Part B pays for doctor services related to your surgery.

Medicare Part D covers most prescription drugs you take at home, but always confirm that the prescriptions you need are listed on the formulary. Common prescriptions for treating arthritis are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, analgesics, and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

Most Part D plans used a tiered copayment system; generic drugs are in the bottom tier and cost less out of pocket. DMARDs, biologics, and other specialty drugs are typically at a higher tier, so you’ll have a larger copayment.

Medical marijuana treatment

Currently, there are 23 states that have legalized medical marijuana to be used for certain medical conditions. Of those 23 states, only some have legalized it to be used for paint treatment in arthritis patients. Other countries whose legalization on medical marijuana are less strict such as Canada and Australia, have said that more than 1/3 of medical marijuana users use it for arthritis.

However, because the FDA hasn’t approved medical marijuana as a safe and effective medical treatment, Medicare will not cover it. On the other hand, the FDA has begun to recognized the potential of cannabis products. So, perhaps we will see a change in the future.

Is physical therapy covered under Medicare?

Yes! As long as physical therapy is medically necessary to treat your arthritis, Part B covers it. There are no spending caps for physical therapy services as of 2019. Before 2019, Medicare only paid about $2,000 for physical therapy services, but you don’t have to worry about that going forward.

Even though Original Medicare pays many costs associated with diagnosing and treating arthritis, you still have financial exposure. If you’re concerned about your out-of-pocket costs under Part A and Part B, you may want to consider a Medicare Supplement Plan.

Alternatively, you may find you come out ahead financially with a Medicare Advantage plan. These plans usually have lower copayments and coinsurance amounts, and your Part D prescription drug coverage is usually included. Plus, you’ll generally have just one deductible as opposed to separate deductibles for Part A and Part B. Many arthritis sufferers find that a Medicare Advantage plan makes more financial sense for them.

Florida Legislature Approves Bill to Establish Agricultural Hemp Program

Florida’s full legislature has passed a bill to establish a program for hemp as an agricultural commodity.

The Senate unanimously passed the bill, which has already passed the full House of Representatives. It now goes to the desk of Governor Ron DeSantis, who is expected to sign it into law – he also has the option of allowing it to become law without his signature, or vetoing it (though there’s enough support to override a veto).

“Today is an exciting, historic and bipartisan day for our agriculture community,” said Senator Rob Bradley (R). “There has been a lot of struggles in our agriculture community over the last several years, from citrus greening to the hurricanes, and they’ve had a devastating effect on many of our farmers. This is a lifeline. This is an emerging agricultural crop that can make all the difference.”

Read moreFlorida Legislature Approves Bill to Establish Agricultural Hemp Program

Study: Most Health Professionals (Doctors, Pharmacists and Nurses) Support Medical Marijuana

According to a new study published in the journal PLoS One, the majority of health professionals, which includes pharmacists, nurses and doctors, support the use of medical cannabis in clinical practice.

For the study researchers at Queensland University of Technology in Australia and the University of Auckland in New Zeland reviewed over 100 studies assessing health professionals’ opinions with regard to medical cannabis.

Reseacrehrs found that in the most recent studies support for medical marijuana has grown substantially among health professionals. The study states that “health professionals [are] relatively supportive of the use of medicinal cannabis in clinical practice.” it continues; “This notion was consistent across the three predominant professional populations of medicine, pharmacy, and nursing.”

Read moreStudy: Most Health Professionals (Doctors, Pharmacists and Nurses) Support Medical Marijuana

Canada: Marijuana Body Gives Recommendations to Boost Industry

According to Reuters, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) on Thursday made several recommendations that address issues affecting the Canadian province’s booming marijuana industry, including having a common excise stamp to help cannabis makers ship their products smoothly.

The industry body also recommended bolstering Health Canada, the country’s health regulator, so that it can issue licenses to facilities at an “accelerated rate” without compromising the inspection process.

Ontario is home to more than half the licensed producers of recreational cannabis in Canada and a majority of employment, said Michelle Eaton, vice president of communications and government relations of the OCC.

Read moreCanada: Marijuana Body Gives Recommendations to Boost Industry

Illinois Bill Would Legalize Marijuana

Legislation that would make Illinois the 11th state to legalize marijuana has been officially introduced.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and several state lawmakers have introduced a long-awaited bill that would legalize and regulate the use and sale of recreational marijuana in the state next year, reports the Associated Press.

Under the measure – which can be found by clicking here – was announced by Pritzker on Saturday and is expected to be introduced today. It would allow adults 21 and over tolegally purchase marijuana for recreational use from licensed retailers. Those 21+ would also be allowed to grow up to five plants for personal use, and would expunge the records of people with minor cannabis convictions and direct funding to communities most affected by the prohibition of the drug.

Read moreIllinois Bill Would Legalize Marijuana

Marijuana Use Not Associated with Psychosis in Young People Finds Study

A history of marijuana use in young people is not independently associated with an increased risk of psychosis, according to a new study published in the journal Adicciones, and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

“The purpose of this study was to analyze the relationship between psychotic-like experiences and cannabis use in a representative sample of adolescents from the general population”, states the study’s abstract. “A total of 1,588 students (M=16.13 years, SD = 1.36), 739 men (46.5%), selected by stratified random sampling by conglomerates from 98 classes in 34 schools participated in the survey.”

For the study, researchers with the University of La Rioja in Spain explored the relationship between psychotic-like experiences and cannabis use in a representative sample of over 1,500 Spanish adolescents.

Read moreMarijuana Use Not Associated with Psychosis in Young People Finds Study

New York City Council Votes to Ban Pre-Hire Marijuana Tests for Most Jobs

The New York City Council has passed landmark legislation that would allow most job-hunters to avoid a drug test for marijuana.

The City Council passed the measure, which would ban pre-employment testing for marijuana, on Tuesday, reports the Associated Press. The measure now moves to the desk of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

According to supporters of the measure , which would be the first proposal of its kind to be passed into law, would knock down a barrier that blocks people from jobs because of private behavior, not professional ability. Supports also note that marijuana can show up  on a drug test days, or sometimes longer, after the high wears off.

Read moreNew York City Council Votes to Ban Pre-Hire Marijuana Tests for Most Jobs

Police Haven’t Seen an Uptick in Those Driving High on Marijuana Post-Legalization

According to Canadian law enforcement agencies, there has been no noticeable increase in arrests for driving under the influence of marijuana since the nation legalized the plant for everyone 18 and older.

A survey by the Canadian Press of the country’s police forces  has  found that most have seen no rise in DUI cannabis arrests, reports High Times.

“[M]ost police departments are still really focusing on the drugs that we know that are killing people, the opiates and methamphetamines that are causing major concerns across the country,” says Chief Constable Mike Serr, who is co-chairperson of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police’s drug advisory committee.

Read morePolice Haven’t Seen an Uptick in Those Driving High on Marijuana Post-Legalization