Why Canadian Insurers Are Wary of Covering Medical Marijuana

Sun Life Financial, Canada’s No. 2 insurer, recently started covering medical marijuana in its Canadian health insurance plan – more than 17 years after the country first legalized it.

The coverage, which requires employers to pay a premium, extends only to a handful of conditions as a last resort.

“It’s not medical marijuana for any purpose,” said Dave Jones, senior vice-president of group benefits at Sun Life. “It’s for specific conditions and symptoms where the evidence is clear that medical cannabis has enough value to outweigh risks.”

Sun Life’s cautious approach reflects concern across Canada’s health insurance industry over the potentially high costs of covering medical marijuana – in many cases higher than established pharmaceuticals – and thin clinical evidence for its efficacy.

– Read the entire article at Reuters.

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Task Force Recommends Regulating Recreational Cannabis in New York

With New York now bordered by several states (Massachusetts, Vermont) and one country (Canada) that have legalized marijuana, the state’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in January, assembled a task force to look into doing just that in the Empire State. The task force, under the auspices of the state’s Department of Health, issued its report on July 13. The findings are stunning:

“The positive effects of a regulated marijuana market in New York State outweigh the potential negative impacts.”

• “Areas that may be a cause for concern can be mitigated with regulation and proper use of public education that is tailored to address key populations. Incorporating proper metrics and indicators will ensure rigorous and ongoing evaluation.”

• “Numerous New York State agencies and subject matter experts in the fields of public health, mental health, substance use, public safety, transportation and economics worked in developing this assessment.”

“No insurmountable obstacles to regulation of marijuana were raised.”

• “Regulation of marijuana benefits public health by enabling government oversight of the production, testing, labeling, distribution, and sale of marijuana. The creation of a regulated marijuana program would enable New York State to better control licensing, ensure quality control and

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Study: Cannabis Causes Death of Colon Cancer Cells

According to a new study published by the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health, cannabis can cause the death of colon cancer cells, implying that it may be a potential treatment option for the disease.

“Colorectal cancer remains the third most common cancer diagnosis and fourth leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide”, begins the abstract of the study. “Purified cannabinoids have been reported to prevent proliferation, metastasis, and induce apoptosis in a variety of cancer cell types. However, the active compounds from Cannabis sativa flowers and their interactions remain elusive.” This study was “aimed to specify the cytotoxic effect of C. sativa-derived extracts on colon cancer cells and adenomatous polyps by identification of active compound(s) and characterization of their interaction.”

For the study, ethanol extracts of C. sativa were “analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatograph/mass spectrometry and their cytotoxic activity was determined using alamarBlue-based assay (Resazurin) and tetrazolium dye-based assay (XTT) on cancer and normal colon cell lines and on dysplastic adenomatous polyp cells.”

Researchers found that “The unheated cannabis extracts (C2F), fraction 7 (F7), and fraction 3 (F3) had cytotoxic activity on colon cancer cells”. Moreover, the extracts induced cell death of polyp cells.”

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New York Health Department Announces Emergency Rules Allowing Medical Marijuana as a Replacement for Opioids

The New York State Department of Health announced today the filing of emergency regulations adding any condition for which an opioid could be prescribed as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.

Effective immediately, registered practitioners may certify patients to use medical marijuana as a replacement for opioids, provided that the precise underlying condition for which an opioid would otherwise be prescribed is stated on the patient’s certification. This allows patients with severe pain that doesn’t meet the definition of chronic pain to use medical marijuana as a replacement for opioids, states a press release from the Health Department.

In addition, the regulation adds opioid use disorder as an associated condition. This allows patients with opioid use disorder who are enrolled in a certified treatment program to use medical marijuana as an opioid replacement.

Plans to add opioid replacement as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana were first announced last month.

“Medical marijuana has been shown to be an effective treatment for pain that may also reduce the chance of opioid dependence,” said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “Adding opioid replacement as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana offers providers another treatment option, which is a critical step in combatting

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13 Powerful People Who Changed Their Mind About Weed

Changing your opinion can invoke a lot of scrutiny. And if you happen to have power, people will inevitably put your words and position under a microscope. If your changed opinion is on the hot topic of weed, then it’s bound to make headlines. Powerful people change their mind all the time. Here’s an important list of powerful people who changed their mind about weed, for better or worse.

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Doctor and TV personality

When a TV doctor says “Don’t do it; it’s bad for your health,” viewers listen. And when that same doctor backtracks on what he said previously, viewers will listen too. Thankfully, after Dr. Sanjay Gupta was shown the light in lighting up, he exercised his celebrity power and wrote Senator Jeff Sessions a letter about his newfound faith in cannabis.

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John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives

Of all the powerful people who have changed their mind about weed and marijuana policy reform, this once-adamantly opposed politician put up more stink than a lingering smoke cloud. But like many politicians, once he recognized the medicinal potential to veterans and others in medical need,

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Injured Workers in Ontario Advised to Seek Opioids Instead of Cannabis

Injured workers in Ontario, Canada who wish to treat their conditions with cannabis are being forced to use opiates instead. According to the CBC, the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is refusing to cover cannabis for patients licensed to use medical marijuana.

Some private insurers in Canada began offering coverage for medicinal marijuana in health plans last year. And earlier this year, Sun Life Financial became the first major Canadian insurance company to pay for medical cannabis.

Pills or Pot?

David Newberry, an attorney with the Injured Workers Community Legal Clinic in Toronto, said that the WSIB often denies workers’ claims for cannabis coverage. Instead, the insurer pays for far more dangerous drugs.

“You often end up with these absurd scenarios where the WSIB is happy to pay for opiates and antidepressants that are not effective, that the worker does not want to take,” Newberry said.

Maurice Sagle, 60, is a former carpenter who was injured in a workplace accident that left him with a compressed spine, several crushed discs, and a ruptured leg muscle. The opiates that doctors prescribed caused side effects including depression that left him homebound. When he felt that he was becoming addicted, he

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Ohio Now Has 185 Doctors Certified to Recommend Medical Marijuana

Ohio is still months away from opening medical cannabis dispensaries to patients. But the state is taking steps to ensure that when sales begin, every aspect of the program is in place.

Since April, the Ohio State Medical Board has been reviewing applications from physicians seeking approval to recommend medical marijuana. So far, the board has approved 185 physicians, adding 46 doctors to the growing list on Wednesday

What It Takes To Become a Physician Who Can Recommend Medical Marijuana in Ohio

Before certified physicians can make a medical cannabis recommendation, they have to do their homework.

First, doctors must complete two credit hours of continuing education on medical cannabis and the state’s qualifying medical conditions.

But the requirements go further. In addition to their education requirements, any recommending physician must certify in writing that they have a real relationship with their patient.

That requirement alone could limit access to legal medical cannabis for patients who don’t go to one of the 185 approved physicians.

Approved doctors are also required to dig into their patients’ substance use histories. Beyond discussing the pros and cons of cannabis use, doctor’s must also check whether their patient has a history in Ohio’s controlled

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Maine Legislature Overrides Governor’s Veto of Medical Cannabis Expansion Bill

Maine’s Legislature has voted to override Governor Paul LePage’s veto of legislation allowing doctors to recommend medical cannabis for any condition they deem appropriate.

Recently Maine’s Legislature voted overwhelmingly to pass LD 1539, which removes the state’s list of qualifying medical cannabis conditions, instead allowing doctors to recommend the medicine to anyone they feel could benefit of it. The measure makes several other changes, including increasing the number of dispensaries allowed in the state from eight to 14.

Despite passing by a combined vote of 144 to 31 in the House and Senate, Governor LePage  – a staunch opponent of marijuana and efforts to liberalize the laws surrounding it – vetoed the measure.  Thankfully the bill had well more than the 2/3rds support it needed in the legislature for them to override the veto, which they have now officially done.

The full text of LD 1539 can be found by clicking here.

In Maine, medical marijuana has been legal since 1999. The state legalized cannabis for recreational purposes in 2013.

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Aceh – An Indonesian Landrace

An increasingly rare strain that’s becoming more and more difficult to track down in the West, Aceh is a land race strain you’re guaranteed to pronounce wrong the first few times. However, what you really need to know is that it’s a superb 100% Sativa strain that first emerged from the heart of Indonesia in the Aceh province.

Aceh Strain Flavour

Aceh is something of a classic in every way. From its fragrance to its flavour profile and the high it delivers, it’s almost like the quintessential ‘textbook’ Sativa experience. The aroma is gorgeous herbal, with plenty of freshly dug earth and a sweet pungency to it. When smoked, the flavour is dominated by ridiculously delicious tropical and wooden notes, which stick around for such a long time after you’re done.

Aceh Effects

The high also follows the Sativa rulebook to the letter. There’s an immediate, soaring uplift that energises and inspires, prompting total positivity and the kind of motivation you’ll want to hang onto. Though it’s a hard, heavy and immediate impact, Aceh is nowhere close to overpowering and isn’t likely to take the inexperienced over the edge. Relaxation is part and parcel of the deal with

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Nimbin, Australia is the Home of MardiGrass and The Hemp Olympics, But Weed is Still Illegal

The streets of Nimbin are lined with people with dreadlocks and rainbow clothing, weed leaves decorate the shop fronts, and bud smoke fills the air. On corners, in parks, and in cafes everyone’s blazing up—all of whom, the law states, are criminals. Hippies arrived in Nimbin, Australia, in the state of New South Wales, in 1973 for the Aquarius festival and never left. They bought up the butter factory, a bunch of buildings in town and set up communes, intent on settling in. Over the following decades, whilst the rest of the world played their hand at the Monopoly board of Neoliberal Capitalism, the hippies worked on forming community, chasing dreams and sharing joints.

The hub of bud in Nimbin is the Hemp Embassy, where you can get every bit of weed merchandise you can imagine —everything but the weed. Consultation on the medicinal benefits of cannabis is part of the service here and patients talk candidly about their need for relief. Here I meet Michael Balderstone, Hemp Embassy President and full-on weed enthusiast. He’s been in Nimbin for a few decades and is now one of the spiritual fathers of the town. He is succinct in his description of

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