According to Arizona statue 36-2801, medical marijuana can be recommended for patients suffering from any of the following state-approved qualifying conditions:
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment for a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that causes:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe and chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
ALS – Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the selective loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord, brain stem, and motor cortex. An estimated 30,000 Americans live with ALS, which often arises spontaneously to afflicts otherwise healthy adults. More than half of ALS patients die within two and a half years of the onset of symptoms. A review of scientific literature reveals an absence of clinical trials investigating the use of cannabinoids for ALS treatment. However, recent preclinical findings indicate that cannabinoids can delay ALS progression, lending support to anecdotal reports by patients that cannabinoids may be effective in moderating the disease’s development and in alleviating some ALS-related symptoms such as pain, appetite loss, depression, and drooling. Writing in the March 2004 issue of the journal Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis & Other Motor Neuron Disorders, investigators at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco reported that the administration of THC both before and after the onset of ALS symptoms staved disease progression and prolonged survival in animals compared to untreated controls. Additional trials in animal models of ALS have shown that the administration of other naturally occurring and synthetic cannabinoids can also moderate ALS progression but not necessarily impact survival.[3-4] One recent study demonstrated that blocking the CB1 cannabinoid receptor did extend life span in an ALS mouse model, suggesting that cannabinoids’ beneficial effects on ALS may be mediated by non-CB1 receptor mechanisms. As a result, experts are calling for clinical trials to assess cannabinoids for the treatment of ALS. Writing in the American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine in 2010, a team of investigators reported, “Based on the currently available scientific data, it is reasonable to think that cannabis might significantly slow the progression of ALS, potentially extending life expectancy and substantially reducing the overall burden of the disease.” They concluded, “There is an overwhelming amount of preclinical and clinical evidence to warrant initiating a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of cannabis as a disease-modifying compound in ALS.” This article is from NORML.ORG
 Amtmann et al. 2004. Survey of cannabis use in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care 21: 95-104.  Raman et al. 2004. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: delayed disease progression in mice by treatment with a cannabinoid. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis & Other Motor Neuron Disorders 5: 33-39.  Weydt et al. 2005. Cannabinol delays symptom onset in SOD1 transgenic mice without affecting survival.Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis & Other Motor Neuron Disorders 6: 182-184.  Bilsland et al. 2006. Increasing cannabinoid levels by pharmacological and genetic manipulation delay disease progression in SOD1 mice. The FASEB Journal 20: 1003-1005.  Ibid.  Carter et al. 2010. Cannabis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: hypothetical and practical applications, and a call for clinical trials. American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine 27: 347-356.
Bloom believes education is a fundamental ingredient of success, so we created a unique database of available research on medical marijuana and treatments of Crohn’s disease. It is continually updated by our team of specialists. Also, we are working to produce the Bloom Continuing Medical Education Program – a series of educational CDs, DVDs, webinars and live dinner programs designed to increase awareness in the medical community regarding the safety, risks and benefits of medical marijuana and to better help patients get access to this powerful treatment option. Study: Medical Marijuana May Cure Crohn’s Disease ~
Bloom believes education is a fundamental ingredient of success, so we created a database of available research on medical marijuana. Our team of specialist continually updated this database. Also, we are working to produce the Bloom Continuing Medical Education Program – a series of educational CDs, DVDs, webinars and live dinner programs. These efforts are designed to generate increased awareness in the medical community regarding the safety, risks and benefits of medical marijuana and to help patients gain access to this powerful treatment option. Study: Marijuana Smoking Not Linked With Liver Disease Progression In Hep C Patients ~
Medical Marijuana and Glaucoma Treatment, Symptoms
Glaucoma is among the leading causes of blindness, affecting more than 60 million people worldwide. A leading cause of optic nerve damage due to glaucoma is intraocular pressure (IOP), which may be reduced by use of medical marijuana. Individuals with normal IOP can also lose vision due to glaucoma. In these cases, medical marijuana may help to halt or reverse deterioration of the optic nerve. Glaucoma is the name for several eye ailments that share the common trait of degeneration of the optic nerve leading to vision loss and eventual blindness. At the onset of glaucoma, symptoms may not be apparent. The types of glaucoma that affect adults are primary open angle glaucoma and angle closure glaucoma. Children can also get glaucoma. Normal tension glaucoma is another type of glaucoma, characterized by vision loss despite normal IOP. It can only be diagnosed by examination of the optic nerve. The last type of glaucoma is secondary glaucoma, which occurs after an eye injury, tumor, diabetes, or other eye condition weakens the optic nerve. Marijuana can effectively treat and manage all of these types of glaucoma. Medical marijuana’s primary benefit for glaucoma patients is its effect on intraocular pressure (IOP). In one study, more than 80 percent of patients who smoked marijuana using an ice-cooled water pipe experienced a reduction in IOP of 16-45 percent. Another study using cannabinoids derived from marijuana found a significant drop in IOP in patients who took THC and cannabinoid oil. A third clinical trial also found that marijuana reduces intraocular pressure, as well as blood pressure overall. Is Marijuana the Right Choice for Your Glaucoma Treatment? If you’re interested in trying marijuana for your glaucoma, you’re in very good company. Glaucoma is among the most common medical conditions treated with medicinal marijuana. There is no cure for glaucoma, but with your ophthalmologist’s guidance, you can combine marijuana with traditional glaucoma drugs to create an effective treatment plan to delay or avert surgical intervention. Begin by looking up your state’s medical marijuana laws and ensuring you can legally buy and use medical marijuana for glaucoma treatment. Once you’ve educated yourself on the relevant legislation, approach the ophthalmologist currently supervising your glaucoma treatment and say you want to try medical marijuana. If your ophthalmologist is not comfortable recommending medical marijuana, you may need to work with a medical marijuana specialist as well as your usual doctor. Ideally, you’ll find a doctor who is both a professional ophthalmologist and experienced in prescribing medical marijuana and supervising patients’ medical marijuana treatment.
horse” in your calf, you know that a muscle spasm can come on quick and last from a few seconds to a few hours. A muscle spasm is an involuntary contraction of a muscle and can be caused by muscle strain, dehydration, and loss of electrolytes. In some cases, spasms can affect multiple areas and organs of the body and are associated with Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spinal injuries, asthma, and other neurological impairments. Spasticity, or muscle tightness, can be present in many of these conditions and interferes with mobility and many other bodily functions. Cannabis has been used for a wide spectrum of muscle spasm related conditions throughout the ages. In fact, in the 19th century, Queen Victoria’s physician often prescribed a marijuana tincture for her menstrual cramps. Yes ladies, it does work! Talk show personality Montel Williams has become an advocate for medical marijuana legislation in New York and many other states. In 2009, he announced to his viewers that he had been struggling with multiple sclerosis for the past ten years. Montel later spoke out on his decision to use marijuana to deal with the painful symptoms of MS. Marijuana “is just like any other plant-based medicine on the planet” he says, and compares it to willow bark, or as most people know it, aspirin. Recent research has found the cannabinoid THC closely resembles anandamide, a chemical that “turns on” nerve receptors throughout the central nervous system. THC and CBD also act as neuroprotective antioxidants and reduce inflammation throughout the body. A recent study by the University of California found multiple sclerosis patients who smoked marijuana experienced improvements in spasticity and pain relief. Treatment-resistant spasticity in MS patients was reduced significantly in this 2010 study using a spray. More clinical trials are underway as awareness of medical marijuana as a viable treatment option grows. Which strains provide the most relief? I went to the source on this one and spoke with JuJu, who not only works with medical marijuana patients as Bloom’s patient concierge, but also suffers from chronic muscle spasms and pain due to irregular alignment of his vertebrae. Cannabis eases his spasms, controls the pain, and has changed his life in the process. He says while CBD is important, it is really about the characteristics in each strain as a whole that are important, not just one cannabinoid. For spasticity, JuJu recommends Papaya and Blue Dream but Katsu is his favorite. “Katsu is the most medically beneficial strain for my muscle spasms and pain. It completely relaxes my muscles which allows my stress and tension to release … it’s like sinking into a bubble of relaxation.”
Promising Results using Cannabinoids for Seizures
One of the biggest turning points in my understanding of medical marijuana was when I saw the documentary “Weed” by CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondant, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The Cannabis plant has been known as an anticonvulsant since ancient times, but the phytocannabinoids Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have been catching the attention of not only researchers, but patients and parents of epileptic children as well. Dr. Sanjay admitted that after traveling around the world interviewing patients, growers, experts, and medical leaders, he changed his stance on medical marijuana.
“I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.” -Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Seizures are abnormal electrical disturbances in the brain and may be a symptom of a variety of disorders. Our body has two known cannabinoid receptors on our cell membranes, heavily concentrated in our brain, distributed througout our immune system and perpherial organs. Cannabinoids have been shown to provide neuroprotection by decreasing the excitability of neurons in the brain and by regulating the flow of glutamate transmission. Dr. Sanjay introduces us to Charlotte Figi , who has Dravet Syndrome, a rare, treatment-resistant form of epilepsy, with seizures usually beginning in the child’s first year of life. Charlotte’s parents tried multiple drugs, therapies, and treatments, but by the age of five she was having 300 grand mal seizures a week. The Figi’s signed a do-not-resuscitate order and doctors were recommending a medically induced coma. Desperate, the Figi’s heard about medical marijuana as an alternative treatment and decided to try a high CBD cannabis oil. To everyone’s amazement Charlotte’s seizures lessened immediately. Last year Charlotte had a total of only four seizures and is finally living a normal life. Dr. Catherine Jacobson, PhD, and parent of an epiletic child, was inspired by stories of parents who were successfully using medical marijuana to reduce their child’s seizures. She led a study at Standford University looking at the effects of CBD-rich marijuana on the frequency of epileptic seizures in children. The group surveyed targeted members of an epilepsy facebook group that have used high CBD cannabis and/or extracts for their child’s treatment-resistant epilepsy. The results were impressive. Sixteen of the nineteen parents reported reductions in seizure frequency; two of the children became seizure-free, eight reported a greater than 80% reduction in seizure frequency, and six reported a 25-60% seizure reduction. When the researchers looked at the reported sides effects, a whopping 79% reported better mood, closely followed by increased alterness and better sleep. Dr. Jacobson is now part of a team at UCSF that has recently received FDA approval to begin clinical investigations on a high-grade CBD extract developed by GW Pharmaceuticals. They have recently raised 90 million dollars to fund further research on epilepsy. Juju, Bloom’s Patient Concierge, enthusiastically shared how well hemp oil has been working for patients.
“This is an important, much needed alternative for patients under 18 or patients who do not wish to experience the “psychotropic” effects of medical marijuana. It’s one of our most popular products, made from industrial hemp, and contains no TCH. To use the oil, put the recommended drops under your tongue, hold for 60-90 seconds, then swallow. This allows your body to build up CBD levels that work with your own endocannabinoid receptors to repair and bring about changes in how your entire body functions.”
For adult patients who prefer to smoke or vape, stick to a high CBD content marijuana strains and track to how your body reacts to each.
Severe and Chronic Pain
“Cannabis is the single most versatile herbal remedy, and the most useful plant on Earth. No other single plant contains as wide a range of medically active herbal constituents.” – Dr. Ethan Russo, Neurologist, Botanist and Cannabis Expert – Cannabinoid Research Institute
Chronic pain can result from an accidental injury, disease or medical therapy. To be defined as severe and chronic pain, the pain must last longer than three months. Of the 76 million Americans who suffer from severe and chronic pain, more than half cannot find relief despite seeking treatment. While cannabis has been used for thousands of years to treat pain, only in the past few decades have we begun to understand exactly how this amazing plant works. Cannabinoids not only act as natural painkillers, they contain powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that further reduce pain. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are just two of 85 known cannabinoids that work with our body’s own endocannabinoid system and receptors to regulate the immune system, peripheral organs and nervous system. I spoke with Stacy, a fibromyalgia patient who came to Bloom after suffering from chronic pain for over four years. Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread muscle pain, joint stiffness and fatigue. “All I was able to do some days was lie in bed in pain”, she told me. The side effects of her prescriptions drugs only added to her misery. Stacey heard about medical marijuana as an alternative therapy for chronic pain and decided to get her medical marijuana card in September of 2013. Since then, she has had remarkable success using marijuana to manage her fibromyalgia. Her pain levels have decreased tremendously and she has experienced many other beneficial effects. “I feel focused and awake. Marijuana helps me function and take care of my family- a few months ago I couldn’t do that,” she explains. Feelings of depression have lifted and a she has a more positive outlook on life. What you may not realize is that the emotional toll of chronic pain can also make pain worse. Although not a qualifying condition in Arizona, depression has been directly linked to over 50% of patients suffering from chronic pain syndrome- and over 73% of Arizona cardholders cited chronic pain as one of their reasons for getting a medical marijuana card. In a 2012 study, researchers found that the cannabinoid THC showed lower brain activity in response to negative stimuli and increased response to positive stimuli. More research is still needed, but this is a promising step in the right direction. The Reverse Gateway Hypothesis-The name may sound like an episode of The Big Bang Theory, but a large number of patients report being able to wean off and/or completely eliminate opiate usage while using marijuana. This theory has proved true for Stacey as well; she has been able to reduce her medications and dosages even after just a few months. What this means for Stacey and millions of patients is that not only is medical marijuana an effective tool for pain management, but it can also improve quality of life without the serious side effects of most prescription painkillers.
Bloom believes education is a fundamental ingredient of success, so we created a database of research on medical marijuana. Our team of specialists continually update the data. Also, we are working to produce the Bloom Continuing Medical Education Program – a series of educational CDs, DVDs, webinars and live dinner programs. These efforts are designed to increase awareness in the medical community regarding the safety, risks and benefits of medical marijuana and help patients gain access to this powerful treatment option. The following is a list of articles pertaining to how medical marijuana can help to reduce the affects of severe nausea: Study: Marijuana Use Associated With Decreased Symptoms Of Opiate Withdrawal In Methadone Maintenance Treatment Subjects ~