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The Entourage Effect May Help Improve Health

“There is not enough research!” That is the cry heard around the country as medical marijuana proliferates the states. This is not about the long-running TV show centered on young actors trying to make it big in Hollywood, but the effect of the whole cannabis plant on our health. It’s called the “entourage effect” –a slick name for a simple concept: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. You may know this as synergy.

When we consume cannabis, we’re ingesting a collection of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, making up the group of ingredients sort of like an entourage that follows a celebrity. In the medical cannabis world, the “entourage effect” is widely advocated but narrowly–if at all–formally studied in research projects. That’s why it’s creating buzz in the industry and among our patients.

Many are touting their success by using a broad-spectrum or full-spectrum therapy.

They Work Together

As a patient, you are most likely aware of the two most famous compounds, THC and CBD. Organic Remedies Pharmacist Shannon Ye says, “I start off with the two primary cannabinoids, THC and CBD, and describe their properties and potential synergistic effect.” Then, Ye moves into a deeper realm by discussing strains.  “Afterwards, I explain the general differences between sativa, hybrid, and indica strains.”

Starting with strains is just the beginning of delving into the entourage effect of cannabis. Ye’s interest in the effect is helping patients make their way through what can be a daunting first experience and lead to a better overall cannabis therapy. Ye discusses hybrids then moves to terpenes saying, “I explain that cross-breeding over the years has led to many hybrid strains, and that the terpenes, the natural oils that provide aroma and medicinal value, greatly help to distinguish the potential effects and benefits.”

New Approach

This will be new territory for many first-time medical marijuana patients and going slow with the explanation goes well with the dosing mantra of “start low, go slow.”

Ye walks her patients through a major difference in their new medical therapy. We are working with a natural plant, not a synthetic compound developed in a lab. “With many patients only familiar with single compound synthetic pharmaceuticals and new to plant-based medicine, I distinguish cannabis as the ultimate combination medication.” Ye expands on that crucial difference between medical marijuana and synthetic meds. “Ultimately, I express that the benefits of cannabis do not rely on one component.  Rather, there may be a synergy when cannabinoids and terpenes are combined to deliver an enhanced pharmacologic effect.”

How Important is “Anecdotal” Evidence?

Ye agrees more research will help with defining and applying the entourage effect, but in the meantime, she’s seeing more patients benefitting from it. “I have observed from our patients that oftentimes the products containing a more abundant cannabinoid and terpene profile seem to offer greater benefits.”

Ye says the effects of cannabis are highly individualized. So too, are the effects of different products available at Organic Remedies. Ye says, “Many of our Organic Remedies’ extracted products are full spectrum concentrates because the specific cannabinoid and terpene profile of the plant is preserved during the manufacturing process.

Ye says patients can help a pharmacist dial-in a perfect entourage. “For example, one of my patients was having difficulty finding a capsule to help with sleep,” Ye says. “After a distillate 10 mg THC capsule was not effective, trying an indica-dominant full spectrum RSO 10 mg THC capsule finally provided the patient a good night's rest.”

Check Out the Terpenes!

Because of the entourage effect, patients may find that trying products with a different terpene profile creates a very different experience and can improve individual outcomes Ye relies on our lab’s work in extraction and production. “With patients, I often click on the product on our menu to look at the terpene contents obtained from the lab. Our Grape Cake dry leaf is an indica THC-dominant strain that is high in myrcene, a terpene that provides sedative effects.

Fortunately for patients, with the increasing number of strains, the various terpenes and new product forms coming to market, the benefits of the entourage effect can seem endless. “Our AK live crumble was created via an extraction process where the plant is fresh-frozen. It’s abundant in several terpenes. Also, check out strain-specific full spectrum tinctures which often provide a fuller "entourage" effect than our flavored tinctures.”

Research on the entourage effect includes the work of Dr. Ethan B. Russo. You can find his January 2019 study here: The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain,” No Gain (nih.gov)

An Organic Remedies Patient Care Consultant and Pharmacist are always available to answer your questions!

The Entourage Effect Overview horizontal business infographic illustration about cannabis as herbal alternative medicine and chemical therapy, healthcare and medical science vector.

Two is Often Better Than One

One thing you can always count on in the medical marijuana field is change. We are in a time of incredible advancement, development and innovative therapies involving cannabis. When perusing medical marijuana menus, you may come across a 1:1 product. This is usually a half and half combination of CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

The THC Component is Important

Combining THC with CBD is showing promising results. The University of Western Ontario showed in 2019 for the first time the molecular mechanisms of CBD at work, block the psychoactive side-effects of THC. Uncovering those “molecular mechanisms” in mice, allowed the team to isolate the reaction of those given a CBD/THC combination. They presented fewer anxiety behaviors and other negative side effects.

The National Institutes of Health reports the 1:1 combination of THC:CBD appears to allow for higher doses of THC without increasing the risk of adverse side effects. It appears that CBD acts to antagonize some of the psychoactive and sedative effects of THC without interfering with intended THC effects, such as muscle relaxation and reduction of spasticity.

I Don’t Want to get High, So Why the THC?

Organic Remedies COO and Pharmacist Tammy Royer says, “THC helps CBD bind to the receptors resulting in increased effectiveness of the CBD, while CBD lowers some of the euphoric effects of THC, without losing the value of THC. A one-to-one ratio has minimal euphoric effects, but can be very helpful for symptom relief for many qualifying conditions.”

Royer also points out an easy way for patients to open discussions about their treatment. All Organic Remedies products label the amounts of THC and CBD, “The higher the percentage of CBD to THC in a product, the less euphoria or psychoactive effect will be experienced,” says Royer.

CBD is beneficial as an anti-inflammatory, for nerve pain relief, and in relieving anxiety. Royer adds, “use of even minimal amounts of THC in a CBD product will mean greater levels of attachment to receptors and more relief, especially if taken regularly to saturate the receptors.”

Some Products to Consider

Organic Remedies offers several choices in a one-to-one formula, including Cherry CBD, Cherry CBD RSO, 1:1 Rest Tincture, and a 1:2 Cherry CBD Tincture.

Dialing in your own CBD:THC ratio and dose can have a learning curve, but Organic Remedies Patient Care Consultants and Pharmacists can help. Ultimately, the goal is finding the right ratio of CBD to THC.

Patients can start off adding 1mg of THC at a time with their normal CBD dose and slowly build up to a level that produces the best result. Organic Remedies Pharmacist Patrick Gladfelter says, “By titrating up slowly, the patient can determine an effective dose, while achieving the desired relief. At the same time, he or she can perform daily tasks with minimal unwanted side effects.”

While both compounds can help reduce symptoms, including inflammation, pain, anxiety, and nausea, the concentration of CBD:THC can affect the experience. Gladfelter says, “When choosing a product and initial dosing, in general, I base my recommendation on THC concentration to avoid unwanted side effects such as anxiety or euphoria. Then as CBD builds up during the 7to10-day loading phase, the synergy of THC and CBD really kicks in!”

Available research and anecdotal evidence show that CBD and THC are a complementary pair. Gladfelter adds, “As new information and data is collected, we are gaining a better understanding of cannabis and its many components. These two important cannabinoids not only work better together, but may also provide the same amount of relief, possibly better, with less euphoria compared to a THC product alone.”

Organic Remedies can help you find the right product and ratio depending on your preference.

An Organic Remedies pharmacist is always available to answer your questions!

A beautiful sheet of cannabis marijuana in the defocus with the image of the formula CBD

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Cannabis

A shocking, scary, or dangerous event can cause the body to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is natural to feel fear during and immediately after a traumatic situation. Split second decisions are made in the “fight or flight” response. But, when a person does not recover naturally from a trauma, the long-term effects can be devastating.

Step One: Talk to your Organic Remedies Pharmacist

If you have been diagnosed with PTSD and are considering medical marijuana therapy, Organic Remedies Pharmacist Shannon Ye says, “Information gathered from non-professional sources may not always provide the best results. Treatments can greatly differ among patients. Efficacy is closely tied to finding the appropriate dose and strains.”

While the most studied type of medications for treating PTSD are antidepressants, which may help control symptoms including sadness, worry, anger, and feeling numb inside, medical cannabis may also be helpful in alleviating many different symptoms as well. Other common problems associated with PTSD, that may be helped by medical cannabis, include loss of sleep and nightmares.

The National Institute of Mental Health says medical professionals and patients should work together to find the best medication or medication combination, as well as the right dose. Ye agrees that this is important with medical cannabis as well, saying, “For example, a dose too high in THC and pinene may worsen PTSD related symptoms therefore agitating anxiety and irritability. Having a traumatic experience from cannabis may not only worsen PTSD symptoms, but may also prevent a patient from trying cannabis again in the future.”

Individualized Therapy

The NIMH also recommends psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” for people with PTSD, but stresses every patient is different. What works for one, often does not work for another. “I always ask the patient about their goals of therapy and what dosage forms they may feel most comfortable using,” says Ye.  “Although more research is needed, there is evidence that supports cannabis alleviates difficult to treat symptoms of PTSD such as insomnia, nightmares, anxiety, and irritability. There is also evidence that cannabis can help a PTSD patient experience a "trigger" without an associated terror response.”

Not having that terror response to a particular “trigger” is key in treatment. Ye says, “The success in treating symptoms may be due to PTSD patients having changes in their endocannabinoid system. However, it is not realistic for patients to expect medical cannabis to cure their PTSD as it is not a substitute for conventional treatment.”

PTSD is Personal

PTSD diagnosis is based on many factors including re-experiencing symptoms, avoiding certain things, and changes in mood and cognition. With so many things to consider, both patient and pharmacist can work together to find a way to improve the quality of life.

Ye says every case is one-of-a-kind, “As an example, one of my recent patients I spoke to was suffering PTSD due to a car accident from 2 years ago. Ye says the symptoms were paralyzing, “They were experiencing anger that led to blackouts and anxiety that caused panic attacks when in a car. They have noticed significant improvement in managing PTSD symptoms since starting cannabis.”

Finding the Right Combo

Ye says finding a particular strain for PTSD patients is important but when she digs deeper into therapy, Ye finds hope in the terpenes. “It may be best to avoid strains high in pinene, as the alerting effects may be anxiety-provoking and memory-enhancing to past trauma. However, strains higher in linalool may be anxiolytic and calming.

With an Organic Remedies’ Pharmacist guidance, quality of life reports continue to improve with the help of cannabis. Ye’s patient from the car accident is getting results from a higher CBD strain during the day. “Any 1:1 (CBD/THC) may be a suitable option, especially during the day. Limonene is an uplifting, antidepressant terpene that may be preferable during the day as well.”

With quality of sleep ranking high in PTSD patients another treatment may help at night. Ye says, “higher THC indica-dominant "Kush" and "Purple" strains may be effective towards the evening in treating sleep disturbances.”

An Organic Remedies pharmacist is always available to answer questions.

RESOURCES

From National Institute of Mental Health:

  • Some factors that increase risk for PTSD include:
  • Living through dangerous events and traumas
  • Getting hurt
  • Seeing another person hurt, or seeing a dead body
  • Childhood trauma
  • Feeling horror, helplessness, or extreme fear
  • Having little or no social support after the event
  • Dealing with extra stress after the event, such as loss of a loved one, pain and injury, or loss of a job or home
  • Having a history of mental illness or substance abuse

Some factors that may promote recovery after trauma include:

  • Seeking out support from other people, such as friends and family
  • Finding a support group after a traumatic event
  • Learning to feel good about one’s own actions in the face of danger
  • Having a positive coping strategy, or a way of getting through the bad event and learning from it
  • Being able to act and respond effectively despite feeling fear

Free Brochures and Shareable Resources

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/helping-children-and-adolescents-cope-with-disasters-and-other-traumatic-events/

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/get-involved/education-awareness/shareable-resources-on-ptsd

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/index.asp

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/txessentials/clinician_guide_meds.asp

https://medlineplus.gov/posttraumaticstressdisorder.html

 

Head shape with PTSD Post traumatic stress disorder.

710! Downright Upside Down!

On the heels of the July 4th holiday weekend, we are headed into a big weekend in the cannabis industry. July 10th, known as 710, is National Dab Day. Cannabis concentrate lovers around the globe celebrate July 10. The day now includes the celebration of all cannabis concentrate forms. During extraction, organic plant matter is separated from the plant’s resin containing cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.

Here are some forms of cannabis concentrates:

  • Shatter
  • Wax
  • Crumble
  • Budder
  • Live Resin
  • Terp Sauce
  • Diamonds
  • Hash
  • Distillate
  • Oil
  • Isolate
  • Rosin

Organic Remedies is also adding a new dab called “sap.” Our Sap syringes are a combination of distillate and high terpene extract (HTE) oils, giving you the best of both worlds in THC and terpene content. It is fully activated and may be ingested or vaporized.

No matter what form you enjoy, 710 gives a nod to all cannabis concentrate forms.

710 is World-wide 

According to market research and consulting company,  Grand View Research, the global marijuana extract market size was valued at $7.3 billion in 2019. Grand View says there is no sign of slowing down. Growing medical and recreational markets around the world have increased the global presence and popularity of cannabis concentrates.

Why July 10?

710 has become a worldwide phenomenon due to legal cannabis markets’ introduction of cannabis concentrates to consumers. So, now under “concentrates,” we see a range from THC-potent wax to CBD-rich tincture that can be consumed orally or sublingually.

710 is now the unofficial designation for cannabis extracts solely because when you flip the 710 date upside down, it spells oil. (See the video!)

What is 710 Day?

Naturally, 710 Day turned into a special day to honor the resinous oil that comes from the cannabis plant. Every year, July 10th (7/10) is an international holiday for cannabis enthusiasts. People all over celebrate by vaporizing a wide selection of concentrates, and even the use of transdermal patches and creams fall under the “7/10” celebration.

It’s all in the number(s)

Like many things in the cannabis industry, the history of national oil day (7/10) is a mystery. 710 really took off with the legalization of cannabis in early-adopting states. As medical and recreational programs became popular, patients and grower/processors began to realize the benefits of a concentrated form of cannabis – or 710 in cannabis-speak.

710 became a mainstay in the cannabis community with the introduction of the 710 Cup in 2012, which takes place on the 10th of July. The event recognizes the best products in a number of categories including Distillate, Concentrate Sativa/Indica/Hybrid, CBD Concentrate, and more categories.

Since then, 710 has become an easy way to talk about dabs and dabbing, in general. 7/10 may not be as culturally significant as 4/20, but it is a great holiday to enjoy alone or with friends.

Do Not Confuse the Numbers!

By now, most cannabis patients and rec users know about 420. It refers to the decades-old marijuana holiday that occurs on April 20 (4/20). Cannabis users around the world gather to celebrate the psychedelic plant.  420 began in the early 70’s in California. A group of San Rafael High School students who referred to themselves as “The Waldos.” would meet up at 4:20 pm after school to search for a rumored weed stash on school grounds. It turns out, one of the Waldos, Dave Reddix, got a gig as a roadie for the Grateful Dead where the term started picking up steam. Eventually, the band produced flyers to invite fans to join them for some good tunes and smoke at, yes, 4:20 PM.

Happy 710 Day

7/10 events span far and wide in legal states such as Colorado, California, Oregon, and Washington. Check out your nearest dispensary and favorite cannabis business for steep discounts on product and gear. If you love Piña Coladas, you can also celebrate National Piña Colada Day on July 10th. Love cats and kittens? 7/10 is also National Kitten Day.

If you have any questions about concentrates, don’t think you have to ask on 710! Our Organic Remedies pharmacists are always available to answer your questions.

710

Medical Marijuana May Be Beneficial in Managing Alzheimer’s Disease

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, so we turn our spotlight on this insidious disease and how medical cannabis may help. While there is a wealth of information about Alzheimer’s Disease, treating it, living with a loved one coping with it, and helping those afflicted are continuing challenges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is teaming up with the Alzheimer’s Association in the Healthy Brain Initiative. The American Association of Retired People also offers a free “Staying Sharp Brain Health Assessment” in June.

Warning Signs

Common signs of AD are often first noticed by the person affected. Memory changes as we age, but certain types of memory loss are not typical. The CDC offers these guidelines for early assessment. People with one or more of these 10 warning signs should see a doctor to find the cause. Early diagnosis gives them a chance to seek treatment and plan.

·        Memory loss that disrupts daily life: forgetting events, repeating yourself or relying on more aids to help you remember (like sticky notes or reminders).

·        Challenges in planning or solving problems: having trouble paying bills or cooking recipes you have used for years.

·        Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure: having problems with cooking, driving places, using a cell phone, or shopping.

·        Confusion with time or place: having trouble understanding an event that is happening later or losing track of dates.

·        Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relations: having more difficulty with balance or judging distance, tripping over things at home, or spilling or dropping things more often.

·        New problems with words in speaking or writing: having trouble following or joining a conversation or struggling to find a word you are looking for (saying “that thing on your wrist that tells time” instead of “watch”).

·        Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps: placing car keys in the washer or dryer or not being able to retrace steps to find something.

·        Decreased or poor judgment: being a victim of a scam, not managing money well, paying less attention to hygiene, or having trouble taking care of a pet.

·        Withdrawal from work or social activities: not wanting to go to church or other activities as you usually do, not being able to follow football games or keep up with what’s happening.

·        Changes in mood and personality: getting easily upset in common situations or being fearful or suspicious.

We turn to Organic Remedies’ Pharmacist, Nick Signorella for answers to how therapy with medical cannabis may help. “A lot of our treatment with Alzheimer’s has to do with symptom management. Specifically, marijuana can help with food intake, agitation, sleep, and overall mood.” Signorella adds, “THC can help to increase food intake, help with agitation at lower doses, improve sleep, and improve mood/depression at lower doses.”

AD symptoms that may respond to cannabis include, sleep problems, paranoia, anxiety, dysphoria, pain, poor appetite, and weight loss. Signorella says AD patients may live a better lifestyle by examining a medical marijuana therapy. “For example, THC can inhibit acetylcholinesterase through the CB1 receptor, which theoretically could help to minimize the decline in cognitive function.” Signorella goes deeper, “Additionally CB2 receptor levels are increased in Alzheimer’s patients. The anti-inflammatory effects from CBD activating the CBD2 receptor could help reduce inflammation and neurotoxicity associated with Alzheimer’s.”

Dosage

Signorella would advise AD patients to turn to the many newly created cannabis delivery options including tinctures and capsules. But, he says, “caution should be used with higher doses of THC as this can actually cause increased agitation and disorientation. In general, the starting dosage for agitation and sleep should be around 2.5-5mg of THC depending on experience. CBD on the other hand can help with agitation, typically at lower doses, usually starting around 5mg of CBD.”  He adds, “I would typically start with a 1:1 ratio of THC:CBD, around 2.5mg or 5mg of each. It would depend on the specific patient, but generally lower to moderate doses of both THC and CBD would be used.”

Searching for Answers

Evidence is not as robust for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, but there is some anecdotal evidence cannabis can be beneficial. Many of the mechanisms in the prescription drug donepezil, commonly used to treat AD, are similar. Signorella says, “overall cannabis can help to improve quality of life for both the patient and caregiver, while potentially help to manage disease progression as well.”

During this June Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month, remember your Organic Remedies pharmacist may be able to help!

More info: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Alzheimer’s Association have created the Healthy Brain Initiative’s (HBI) State and Local Public Health Partnerships to Address Dementia: The 2018-2023 Road Map.

 

Senior with Alzheimer's or dementia has difficulty with puzzle pieces.

Help Make Permanent Changes to State’s Medical Marijuana Program

Thank you, Organic Remedies patients for stepping up and calling your lawmakers! Governor Wolf has extended the COVID Emergency Disaster Proclamation.

What it Means

The extension allows you to still pick up your medical marijuana curbside, to receive certifications via telehealth, purchase up to 90-day supplies, and for caregivers to serve more than 5 patients. All of which are very helpful options for many patients!

This is Temporary!

If you enjoy these services as a Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana patient and want to make them permanent, you must pick up the phone or send an email. We are going to make that simple for you. Please take a moment and urge lawmakers to make these temporary provisions permanent.

There is More to be Done

Right now, with Governor Wolf’s extension, we have an opportunity to make permanent changes.

How Can You Help?

It is easy. A bipartisan bill, HB1024, will allow some of the temporary provisions in the Commonwealth's medical marijuana program to remain after Governor Wolf's Proclamation ends.

We encourage you to contact your state representative and senator to ask them to vote Yea (Yes) on HB1024 to amend Act 16 to allow these changes to remain in place permanently.

Here is a Link to your Lawmaker:

Find Your Legislator - PA General Assembly (state.pa.us)

It is one simple click. Find your Senator or Representative by address, map, or name. Calling and emailing make a difference as often it is the only way your lawmaker is aware of your concern. They are sworn to vote with you, the constituent. Three-to-five minutes right now could make a lifetime of difference for you and all medical marijuana patients in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Here is What to Say When Calling
“The temporary changes that were made by the Governor during the pandemic to facilitate safety in the medical marijuana program for patients, caregivers and dispensary employees have worked well and need to be made permanent." It is that simple.

Here is What to Say When Writing

"I am writing to ask that you vote "yea" on HB1024 to amend Act 16 and make several temporary changes to the PA Medical Marijuana program permanent. The temporary changes made by the Governor during the pandemic to facilitate safety in the medical marijuana program for patients, caregivers and dispensary employees have worked well and need to be made permanent with an amendment to Act 16.”

You can also contact House Health Committee Chairperson Cathy Rapp at (814) 723-5203 to urge her to move this important bill through her committee.

Among the provisions most beneficial to patients and the overall well-being of the PAMMJ program are:

  • Use of telehealth for certification visits.
  • Increased maximum number of patients under a caregiver's care.
  • Allow for curbside pickups.
  • Allow for purchase of a 90-day supply of medicine instead of 30-day supply.

The use of telehealth for certification visits is beneficial to all parties in the program. It keeps costs to patients and doctors lower, and it helps patients who are extremely ill, bedridden, or otherwise have difficulty traveling to access their certifying doctor without enduring pain or trauma.

Allowing caregivers to assist more than five patients helps more patients who require assistance to access their medicine. Often, there is a shortage of certified caregivers (especially in rural areas). Limiting caregivers to only five patients creates a higher demand than what can be supported. This leaves people sick, in pain, and without the medicine that can alleviate some of their symptoms. If caregivers can be assigned to the number of patients they can support, rather than an arbitrary number of patients, the potential for patient suffering is reduced.

Continuing to allow curbside pickups and the purchase of a 90-day supply instead of a 30-day supply helps patients, caregivers, and dispensaries. Curbside pickup is especially helpful for patients with compromised immune systems, limited mobility, or conditions like PTSD, which could be triggered in a busy dispensary. Most prescription medications can be purchased in 90-day supplies; medical marijuana should not be treated differently.

Photo by Andy Feliciotti

Why You Should Ask a Pharmacist about Medical Marijuana

We tend to turn to our doctors for advice on health issues, and that is a good thing, but there is another person in your medical orbit that may have more answers—a pharmacist. The Organic Remedies team has more than 220 years of collective experience with medicinal products. In fact, most of the leadership team is made-up of pharmacists. They have varied backgrounds with many having held positions in traditional pharmacy as well as medical marijuana. Some have held executive level leadership positions in one of the largest drug chains in the United States for several years. When you choose your medicinal marijuana products, you can count on the advice of a pharmacist at Organic Remedies.

An Organic Remedies Pharmacist Knows More than just Medical Cannabis

Pharmacists may be an under-utilized resource. It seems these days, we are all paying closer attention to what goes into our bodies. Having the back-up of medical training behind any advice you receive is priceless. If you are adding a medical cannabis regimen to your health plan, asking a pharmacist about other medicines you take and how often, can make your experience with medical cannabis successful in improving your overall quality of life.

Pharmacists bridge the gap between doctor and patient, providing another level of health security to your well-being. Organic Remedies Pharmacist Nick Signorella says, “With new patients, it may take some time to really tune in to a proper dosage. Generally, we want instant gratification, especially out of our medication, and get disappointed when we do not see results immediately. This is not to say that we won’t see a relatively quick improvement, but especially with the oral forms of this medication, it can take time to build up in the body and see results. So, it may take a little bit of time, and we may have to make some adjustments, but we have plenty of options to work with to achieve positive health outcomes.”

It Matters What Else You Take

Many of our patients at Organic Remedies are dealing with more than one health issue and with that comes­—in many cases—more medications. So, the first question you may have when becoming a patient is “how will this new therapy affect my current regimen?”  For an answer you can trust, you can always turn to one of our pharmacists.

Organic Remedies pharmacist, Andrew Stehley says, “Drug interactions are important to consider, especially for patients who are on multiple medications. It is important that patients let their doctors and pharmacists know their complete list of medications so that they can look out for potential interactions.”

Signorella adds, “When it comes to pain and anxiety medications, many patients are coming into the dispensary to ideally get off these medications. One of my main concerns when combining medical marijuana with these types of medications is the potential for increased drowsiness and sedation, especially among older patients.”

There’s More in Your Medications Than You May Realize

We tend to focus on the main ingredient in our medications, whether it is medical cannabis or another prescription, but there is more to consider. Pharmacists study how medications are made into pills, patches, vapes, flower—basically any type of delivery system.

Signorella says, “One of the most important considerations with inactive ingredients relates to allergies and or sensitivities patients may have. For example, coconut oil can be irritating for some, so understanding which capsules have coconut oil as a base, or olive oil as a base, can be another tool we use to determine which product will have the greatest chance of comfort and success.”

Stehley agrees and adds allergies can be a serious concern, “Although inactive ingredients are not commonly thought of when selecting products by most patients, they can be important under certain situations.”

Our Pharmacists Help Manage Interactions

Pharmacists also specialize in tracking your medications, including knowing and understanding the side effects.

For example, if you are prescribed an anti-depressant or cholesterol-lowering medication, you may experience some side effects (for example a loss of sex drive while taking antidepressants or stomach pains from high cholesterol medications). Your Organic Remedies pharmacist studies how medications interact with other drugs and conditions—called pharmacodynamics. It basically means, our pharmacists are experts at managing multiple medications and understanding how medical marijuana may impact these side effects or in some cases, even help manage them

Signorella says it’s important to look at the patient as a whole, “The biggest concerns I have when dispensing medical cannabis to patients with comorbidities are drug interactions and increased heart rate. Most medications do not have strong interactions with marijuana so it is not a large concern, however, many patients with these comorbidities may be on anticoagulants which is something to monitor.”

Pharmacists Know Your History

Every time a patient visits an Organic Remedies dispensary, a pharmacist must sign off on every order. They track your medical marijuana regimen along with your other prescriptions, which will help you maximize your therapeutic treatment.

Both Signorella and Stehley agree, there are a lot of questions around the use of medical marijuana which illustrates the importance of pharmacist consultations. They say the patient interaction is what drives their desire to help. “Whenever a patient tells me that I have changed their life for the better, especially when they say I got them off a pain medication, it really makes my day,” says Signorella. “That’s the main reason I’m here, to help people and make a difference. I’m glad to say that I have had multiple instances of this happening, and every time it does, it reminds me of the great importance to our work.”

We look forward to answering all your medical marijuana questions at any Organic Remedies dispensary. See you soon and say hello to your pharmacist. They care!

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Parkinson’s Research Shows Promise in Medical Marijuana Therapy

We’re always excited to provide new information on research into the medical use of cannabis. Now, there’s news on research into Parkinson’s disease and medical marijuana. Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative brain disorder. Patients face the worst prognosis: there is no known cure for this debilitating disease. But, there is hope. The latest news from the Parkinson’s Foundation shows cannabis as a new treatment option. The Parkinson's Foundation announced the results of its medical cannabis and Parkinson's disease (PD) survey. The survey, Weeding Through the Haze: A Survey on Cannabis Use Among People Living with Parkinson's Disease in the U.S., was completed by 1,064 people with PD.

The survey asked specific questions about cannabis use ― from symptom management to motivation for use and side effects ― and questions for those who do not use cannabis and why. About a quarter of the respondents used cannabis within the previous six months. Less than 13 percent reported negative side effects from cannabis use. Interestingly, more than half of the respondents learned about cannabis use from the internet or from friends or other people with PD.

Organic Remedies is Helping Patients Find Answers.

At Organic Remedies, we turn to our pharmacists when questions arise. PharmD Shannon Ye, from our Enola, Pa. dispensary was pleased to see the new Parkinson’s Foundation study, but said “Unfortunately, few of the patients I speak with inquire about how medical cannabis could help manage and alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.”

The findings point to a different direction among Parkinson’s patients; they want to know what’s available to help them, but medical cannabis doesn’t always come to mind. “I am not surprised at this finding,” said Ye. “I can recall that the majority of initial patients I've spoken to who live with Parkinson's disease are unaware of key aspects of medical cannabis.  Many of these patients lack knowledge regarding the potential side effects and dosages of medical cannabis or may have learned from inaccurate or misleading sources.”

Parkinson’s Foundation Looking for Better Outcomes

"At a time when cannabis is legal in more states than ever before, we believe this survey provides new and critical information for the growing population of cannabis users who have Parkinson's disease," said James Beck, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Parkinson's Foundation. "Ultimately, our goal is better outcomes for everyone living with Parkinson's disease and we're committed to tackling issues that are a priority for the PD community."

The survey results show that there is a knowledge gap among people living with PD, which may be impacting their decisions about cannabis use. More than half of the respondents were not provided any information on how to use cannabis such as dosage, type and frequency of use. More than 60% had not received a cannabis recommendation from a licensed doctor or provider and overall, 89 percent said cannabis was not a replacement for their PD prescription medication.

Organic Remedies’ Superior Patient Experience

Those numbers may surprise you if you are a patient of Organic Remedies. A full 60 percent did not get advice from a medical professional. We offer a superior relationship between the patient and pharmacist. Ye says, “For new and current patients living with Parkinson's disease who have a medical marijuana certification, I highly encourage them to schedule a consultation.  As a pharmacist at Organic Remedies, my priority is in providing quality patient care and offering education and recommendations that may best accomplish my patients' treatment goals.”

Organic Remedies Research with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Organic Remedies’ vision is to be a leader in the advancement of medical cannabis therapy through innovative genetic programs, patient-focused care, and clinical research to realize the full potential of marijuana to improve overall wellness.

Our mission is to improve the overall wellness of our patients by producing and dispensing affordable quality medical marijuana products while continuing the advancement of medical marijuana therapies through genetics, collaborative research, and superior patient care. Right now, our research with PCOM is well underway.

While not focused on Parkinson’s disease, the quality of life surrounding medical marijuana use is central to Organic Remedies’ scientific approach. "As part of our research partnership with Organic Remedies, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) is investigating how quality of life may change in the year after patients initiate medical marijuana treatment," said Michelle Lent, PhD, associate professor of clinical psychology at PCOM. "Specifically, we are evaluating changes in their emotional, social, occupational, and physical functioning."

The Parkinson’s Foundation Conclusion

In the U.S., cannabis has become more widely available for medical and recreational use. Until now, there was insufficient data about the attitudes towards, and experiences with, cannabis use among those living with PD. This survey aims to address this disparity. The 1,064 survey respondents came from 49 states. The average age for respondents was 71, and the average time they have lived with Parkinson's is seven years.

Doctor writing word Parkinson's Disease with marker, Medical concept

MARIJUANA LAW SURVIVES PANDEMIC FOR 2021 REVIEW

If you missed it during the early winter, pandemically-challenged, holiday season; the U.S. Congress passed its first-ever marijuana legislation. If you follow this news regularly, you’d say “I knew that,” but what happened in December may now get political traction in the coming months as the vaccine roll-out continues and we return to a new sense of “normal.”

The MORE Act Clears Way for Medical Cannabis Research

It was just last December that the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, also known as the MORE Act. The measure calls for removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. It also creates criminal and social justice reforms. The December 4 passage marked the first time a chamber of Congress approved legislation to end federal marijuana prohibition.

Why Is This So Important To Me Now?

It’s important because removing marijuana from the list of scheduled controlled substances could be a game changer for healthcare professionals and those suffering from serious medical conditions, while at the same time opening up research on the benefits of medical marijuana and its therapeutic remedies.

“We support more accessibility because we believe in the plant,” said Tammy Royer, Chief Operating Officer of Organic Remedies, “and we can’t lose sight of the potential benefits of nationwide research into medical marijuana. Research on a national level may help us clarify the benefits of the plant rather than focusing on the assumed negative effects of marijuana.”

Pennsylvania’s Department of Health requires a registered pharmacist, a physician assistant, doctor, or a certified registered nurse practitioner to be onsite during business hours; however, other states, like Colorado, are already operating under a hybrid system, where one side of a dispensary is open to recreational customers while another dedicated part of the facility is exclusively for patients in the medical program. As a side note: some states waive or lower taxes on the medical side, while heavily taxing the recreational industry.

“A hybrid business model continues to allow patients to be treated under the guidance of a medical professional and may include different products more suitable to the medical application of marijuana,” said Royer.

Will We See More “MORE”?

Vanita Gupta, a long time ACLU attorney and Associate Attorney General Nominee under President Biden sent a letter late last year to help advance the MORE legislation. Gupta urged Democratic leaders to vote “yes” on the MORE legislation due to increased national dialogue over law enforcement and drug laws along with the fight against COVID-19. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act remains on the radar.

“We’re expecting the recreational market to open up, but there is still much to learn about how the plant is beneficial for a number of medical conditions,” said Royer. She says having a registered pharmacist or healthcare professional available at a marijuana dispensary would also contribute to a more beneficial recreational model. “If a recreational user has questions involving their health, a professional is just steps away. A pharmacist can answer the crucial questions for many patients involving drug interactions, dosage and product selection.”

The Organic Remedies Pledge

Helping our patients improve their quality of life is our first priority and the central focus of everything we do. As a life science research facility, we are cultivating dozens of high quality, therapeutic cannabis strains. Our exceptional team of scientists, botanists, horticulturalists and chemists are continuously working to identify new strains and cannabinoids that promote positive health outcomes for individuals. From detailed and deliberate research, to cultivation of premium strains, to offering high quality therapeutic products, we are devoted to delivering effective treatments to patients suffering from serious medical conditions.

Photo by Andy Feliciotti
Photo by Andy Feliciotti

MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARY COULD BE UP
AND RUNNING BY EARLY SUMMER IN ROSS TOWNSHIP,PA

OR-York-preview

March  11, 2021

A medical marijuana dispensary that will be housed in a former woodworking supply shop along McKnight Road in Ross Township, PA could be ready to open by early summer, according to the company’s president.

Organic Remedies Inc., which operates dispensaries in Chamberburg, Enola and York in South Central Pennsylvania received conditional use approval last month from the township commissioners to operate a dispensary in the former Rockler Woodworking and Hardware store at 7402 McKnight Road.