Cannabis: The Key to a Better Life for Parkinson’s Patients

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Cannabis treatment is a powerful tool, one that may also help with mobility disorders, like Parkinson’s. Its performance so far is staggering. Considering how debilitating Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is, medical marijuana could dramatically improve the lives of countless Americans.

PD has a variety of treatments to combat its debilitating symptoms, but predictably, marijuana isn’t on that list. According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF), this degenerative “movement disorder” affects almost one million people in the United States.

Ironically, millions of dollars continue to be spent trying to find effective countermeasures. Yet judging by recent discoveries, the solution was right under our noses since the dawn of agriculture. Once again, medical cannabis appears to have the answer – with remarkable results.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

The PDF explains that Parkinson’s Disease involves the “malfunction and death” of neurons in the brain. Neurons play a variety of roles, with movement control being just one of them. Naturally, the death of these cells affects their associated functions. Symptoms worsen as time goes on, ultimately causing severe debilitation of movement control.

Parkinson’s symptoms include tremors in the extremities, jaw and face; slow movement (bradykinesia), body stiffness and issues with balance or coordination. Aside from drastically reducing quality of life, these afflictions have something else in common. They are all things that cannabis could reduce or alleviate.

A Case for Cannabis and Parkinson’s Disease

Despite significant push-back from the medical community, evidence mounts in favor of medical marijuana. Adding to the growing body of anecdotal evidence, this video all but seals the argument.

The video features “Larry,” a retired police officer who suffers from “Severe Parkinson’s” using cannabis – in this case, oil – for the first time. Naturally, he’s a bit nervous, but the people off camera talk him through it.

Within minutes, he goes from barely being able to speak or control his movements, to relaxed and still. He speaks clearly and even gives singing a brief try. The transformation is nothing short of shocking. Sadly, Larry laments that medical cannabis isn’t available in his home state.

Benefits of Cannabis Treatment

Although still lacking much peer-reviewed research, marijuana seems promising as a treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. For instance, a study in the U.S. National Library of Medicine explains: “Preclinical research in animal models of several movement disorders have shown variable evidence for symptomatic benefits but more consistently suggest potential neuroprotective effects in several animal models of Parkinson’s (PD) and Huntington’s disease (HD).”

In other words, not only could marijuana effectively mitigate symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, but it protects existing, healthy cells.

While the medical community continues to debate the benefits and drawbacks, the National Parkinson Foundation acknowledges the benefits of marijuana. They advocate how cannabis can help with “pain management, sleep dysfunction, weight loss and nausea” in Parkinson’s patients.

<h2>Parkinson’s Disease and Cannabis Risks</h2>

Individuals who intend to try medical marijuana for Parkinson’s have a great deal to gain; however, it’s important to be informed about potential side effects.

Obviously, the most prominent effect is the physical and mental impairment, or “high.” The National Parkinson’s Foundation also lists other symptoms, specifically “…dizziness, blurring of vision, mood and behavioral changes, loss of balance and hallucinations.”

They also warn that extended use could increase the chances of lung cancer; however, since cannabis comes in oral drops or pills, simply avoid things such as joints, pipes or bongs.

The Future of Cannabis and Parkinson’s Disease

Ultimately, only time will tell whether marijuana will be universally accepted as a treatment. As we see in “Larry’s” case, this potential discovery can’t be ignored. Hopefully, individuals with Parkinson’s Disease will be able to safely reap its benefits.

 

 

Our Very First Actively Managed Marijuana ETF May Be On Its Way

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US SEC CLEARS WAY FOR CANNABIS EFTs

On Friday, May 5th, Cambria Investment Management filed an N-1A form with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for not just one, but five new ETFs. The diverse basket of proposed funds cover a wide range of industries (real estate, cannabis, robotics and AI), and also include two tax optimized funds – one domestic and one foreign.

The stand-out of the bunch – and the one that is perhaps kicking up the most attention – is the Cambria Marijuana Industry ETF. The proposed fund, if successfully launched by Cambria, will be given the ticker “TOKE.”

Cambria’s Marijuana ETF will track publicly traded companies that support or directly work in the legal production of cannabis, including: companies that legally produce marijuana, those that conduct legal research into its medical or pharmaceutical use, and those that design and manufacture equipment used in the marijuana sector.

While it may be the first cleverly-named marijuana ETF, TOKE is not the first ETF to deal in cannabis-related stocks. The proposed fund will follow on the heels of the first-ever marijuana ETF, the Horizons Medical Marijuana Life Sciences ETF (TSX:HMMJ) – which launched at $10.00 per share last month and is now sitting at $9.59. While the fund trades in Canada, American investors have been able to get in on the action via its listing on the OTC.

Horizon’s ETF isn’t alone, either. In February, a filing popped up for a fund called the Emerging AgroSphere ETF. The proposed fund, which comes from New Jersey-based ETF Managers Group, will include companies exclusively in the medical marijuana space and – if approved – will list on the NYSE Arca.

Both HMMJ and the Emerging AgroSphere ETF are passively managed, meaning the indexes they are based on dictate their performance. This means that TOKE has the potential to be the first actively managed ETF in North America. At the time of writing, there is no indication yet as to when the two remaining ETFs might launch.

There is still no telling how well these (hopefully) soon-to-be-launched ETFs will perform in the market, especially considering the fact that HMMJ has declined by about four percent since it began trading. But, at the same time more and more states are legalizing medical cannabis, and – according to Arcview Market Research – sales in the marijuana sector as a whole grew 30 percent in 2016 alone. The industry is also projected to triple in size over the next four years.

Marijuana Goes Mainstream on Ellen

Marijuana goes mainstream on Ellen:

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Could consuming marijuana get any more mainstream and acceptable than Snoop Dogg playing a game of “Never Have I Ever” on Ellen with Martha Stewart and Anna Kendrick, and holding his “I have” sign up high when Ellen reads from the cue card, “Never have I ever been stoned on a talk show,” to the ensuing laughter of all three ladies as the studio audience cheers?

That might very well be more mainstream than the president of the United States saying “I inhaled,” when asked if he’d ever smoked marijuana, and joking, “That was kind of the point.”


The level of love, approval, and amusement in that Ellen studio late last fall was off the charts!

While not everyone makes the choice to consume marijuana even in the many states where it’s now legal, it’s a clear sign of the times that this beloved show with an average 4 million viewers per episode and the 16th most subscribed YouTube Channel on Earth, portrayed marijuana the way most people feel about it: as something that is harmless and fun.

If you haven’t clicked play on the clip above yet, give it a watch! It’s so good. And you’ll learn a couple things about Martha Stewart that might surprise you as well!

This isn’t the first time the well-mannered and extremely brilliant Martha Stewart (who is 75 years old) has crossed paths with rapper Snoop Dogg, who’s as famous as Willie Nelson is for having a voracious appetite for cannabis. In 2016 New York Magazine chronicled the history of Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg’s totally adorable if unlikely friendship. The two now have a cooking show together.

West Virginia Medical Marijuana Legalization Is The Tipping Point

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The legalization of medical marijuana in the state of West Virginia last week is a tipping point for the cannabis movement nationwide, an Ohio newspaper argued Thursday.

The Marietta Times of Marietta, Ohio, which is literally a stone’s throw from the West Virginia border, says now it’s time for the federal government to take a position on medical marijuana.

The Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants a crack down, while the Secretary of Homeland security supports medical marijuana and says recreational marijuana is not a priority. Meanwhile, the FDA has not taken an official position about medical marijuana.

The Times says with so many states legalizing marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes, the policy vagueness of the current administration is unacceptable.

The bill to legalize medical marijuana in West Virginia was signed last week by Governor Jim Justice after passing through the state’s House of Delegates 76 – 24 and sweeping through the state Senate 28 – 6.

As Reason Magazine notes, the new marijuana policy makes West Virginia the 29th state to legalize medical marijuana, and the sixth state to approve cannabis for patients in the last year.

Saving Lives with Medical Marijuana

In August 2016, the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy published a study with findings about West Virginia marijuana policy that make last week’s reform great news for the state’s deadly opioid addiction epidemic:

“Marijuana may potentially have a positive impact on West Virginia’s opioid-based painkiller and heroin epidemic by offering another, less-addictive alternative to individuals who are suffering from debilitating medical conditions.”

Cannabis is not only less addictive than opioid-based prescription painkillers and street narcotics. While consumers of marijuana may develop a “tolerance” (they may need more to achieve the same effect over time), the plant and its products do not cause “dependence” (minor to severe withdrawal symptoms after ceasing use).

That’s why in 2010 former US Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders (who supports marijuana legalization) had this to say: “Marijuana is not addictive, not physically addictive anyway.”

Not only is cannabis less addictive than opiates, it’s less dangerous. Far less dangerous. West Virginia leads the nation in the rate of fatal drug overdoses. Last year 818 people in the state died of a drug overdose, 86% of them due to opiates.

That was a West Virginian dying every 12 hours around the clock for the entire year. Last year not a single American died of an overdose of marijuana, because it’s impossible to overdose on marijuana.

The new laws in West Virginia will help make hurting people more comfortable and it will save lives. And 29 states into legalizing the plant, it certainly looks like a tipping point.