Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a somber time for many Americans: a time to remember those lost in the 9/11 tragedy. Now, President Obama has decreed that September is also a time to acknowledge yet another tragedy – a silent but prolific killer: the second leading cause of cancer related deaths among men in the U.S.

Our nation’s fathers, sons, husbands, boyfriends and grandfathers are not immune to this disease and according to Obama, “studies show certain factors– including age, race, and family history– may increase the likelihood of developing the disease.  African Americans, in particular, are at a higher risk than men of other backgrounds.  I encourage all men, especially those who are at an increased risk, to talk to their doctors about ways they can reduce their chances of developing prostate cancer.”

At MediCann, we are always promoting safe, natural, medicine in the treatment of disease. We also support (and prescribe) nutrition as medicine, complementary care, exercise and relaxation (which reduces stress). What we know: stress and excess cortisol is a killer. Men in our society have much greater stress on their systems (and cortisol flowing through their veins) than their fathers did: many pull longer hours in the office, hold mortgages, and watch their 401K’s tank (and subsequently, their children’s college tuition). College grads are entering a jobless climate and boomerang back to Mom’s basement. A few recently graduated young men I treat have stated that this is one of the most stressful times in their lives, and they have little hope for the future where work is concerned. This mindset, added to uncertainty in an increasingly volatile world where job security is a distant memory, does not make for a balanced life style. Now more than ever, men need an action plan to get in front of the odds, increase their chances of prostate health, and improve their overall quality of life.

What can you do to hedge your bets against this insidious disease? A few suggestions that require no treatment, and a modicum of determination:

  1. Arm Yourself: with information. The Mayo Clinic is the gold standard for cancer research. Log on….
  2. Be a Quitter: Smoking causes cancer and exacerbates prostate cancer survivors in remission. Quit now.
  3. Low Fat Nation: Countries who ingest higher levels of fat have more incidences of prostate cancer. Eliminate it.
  4. Lean, Mean and Green: Green leafy, and dark red fruits (especially tomatoes) and veggies are rich in B vitamins (folate), antioxidants and lycopene, which lowers risk (and are delicious to boot!)
  5. Watch the Sauce: 2 drinks per day is the limit, alcohol increases risk.
  6. Omega Man: Omega-3 is your friend – found in fish, (not steak). So start your pescatarian lifestyle today…
  7. Green Scene: Green Tea is a powerful de-toxifier and diuretic, and whisks those unwanted toxic guests right out of your body. Drink it throughout the day.
  8. Breakfast of Champions: Quaker isn’t kidding – oatmeal is an internal exfoliant that also whisks away the toxins and fat and leaves you feeling full and satisfied.
  9. Fight Back: Exercise fights obesity, and fit people are less at risk than couch potatoes. Grab your racket, your basketball, or just take the stairs and walk that extra mile if you can.
  10. Meditation Station: Calming the mind calms the nerves, reduces inflammation and creates a happier outlook. It really works, and can be as easy as 10 minutes at your desk at lunch.
  11. 8 hours of Shut Eye: Mom was right: sleep and eating right is the key to everything. Get these two down and the rest becomes just a little bit easier.
  12. Check it: Men hate going to the doctor, many subscribe to the ignorance is bliss theory. Ignorance can be a death sentence – knowledge is power. Know thyself and get a prostate check up with a specialist.

A great source of cancer information is the MayoClinic.com. Log in for more ideas on how to get in front of this disease and improve your overall health score.

Yours in Health,

Dr.  Jean Talleyrand

Posted in Conditions and Diseases, News | 1 Comment

Cannabis Relieves Pain for Stress-free Holidays

Quality Time Begins with Relaxation and Rest
By Dr. Jean Talleyrand

We all know that cannabis is safe and natural medicine, offering pain relief to those suffering from debilitating disease such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, lower back pain and more. Cannabis is a wonderful herb that offers the chance for patients to participate in the activities they love and add more meaning and texture to their time off.

Spending quality time with our loved ones is one of the best parts about holiday weekends. Spending them without pain is even better. Alleviating stress and anxiety ensures relaxation and enjoyment of your time off, as well as the much needed rest that is key to a healthy lifestyle – a win-win all around!

Some of the top conditions medical cannabis relieves:

Anti-Nausea

Cannabis helps end nausea and vomiting caused by gastrointestinal conditions, prescription drug reactions, or chemotherapy. Holiday weekends with family and friends often involves food, and if you’re undergoing treatment, you most likely can’t even smell or look at food. Using cannabis in these situations helps you enjoy food, family and lets you engage in enjoyable activities again.

Muscle Spasms

If you suffer from multiple sclerosis you’re most likely self conscious about exhibiting muscle spasms or seizures in a social situation such as a picnic or barbecue. You may be apprehensive about attending for fear of ‘ruining the event’ or alarming the host if the worst-case scenario occurs. Medical cannabis has been shown to alleviate these symptoms 40% of the time, which is social insurance and one more reason to get out of the house and connect with your loved ones.

Appetite

Holidays mean family, and family means food. For patients suffering from AIDS, wasting syndrome, or undergoing chemotherapy, THC has been shown to be effective in maintaining body weight, and increasing appetite. It’s natural that those who love you will pressure you to “Eat! EAT! You’re too thin!” This time, you’ll be ready for them….

Analgesic

Holiday sports include: volleyball, softball, Ultimate Frisbee and surfing. For those suffering from lower back pain, these activities can be challenging. Cannabis offers pain relief and freedom of movement. When your nephew grabs the tennis racket and heads in your direction, you can rest assured that you’ll be knocking balls over the net with the best of them.

Anti-Inflammatory

Swelling disks in your lower back, arthritis or stiffness in joints impedes movement and range (which would prevent you from pushing your 3-year old granddaughter on the swing set). Cannabis relieves inflammation and helps you keep up with some of your largest concerns (movement) as well as your smallest ones (your grandchildren!).

Have a happy and healthy Labor Day Everyone!

Yours in health,
Dr. Jean Talleyrand

Posted in News, Patient Resources | 1 Comment

MediCann’s Compassion Program is One in a Million

MediCann Gives away One Million Dollars Annually to those Less Fortunate

By Dr. Jean Talleyrand

MediCann has always taken a deep interest not only in our patients but also in the community outside of our practice, especially those less fortunate. Many people, and certain members of the media believe that medical cannabis physicians are in this branch of medicine merely because its profitable, and that this sentiment overshadows the real deal: which is to heal. If more people knew the reasons why I started this collective of compassionate care clinics, they might take a different view.

I’m a third generation physician and my family comes from Haiti – the first country in the western hemisphere in which African slaves gained independence and self-sovereignty. Haiti is also the poorest country in the western hemisphere, yet we are a group of people that have been to the mountaintops and suffered in the deserts. In fact, there’s an old saying describing Haiti’s hilly countryside: Beyond mountains, there are mountains again. Which is both a comment on the topography and a lovely metaphor to describe life’s journey. Our journey as medical cannabis doctors is a difficult climb, but reaching the top is as rewarding in equal measure. One thing is for sure: there is always another mountain to climb.

The mountain I climb today is the medical establishment.  I’ve been involved in an industry that chooses the financial bottom line over the health and well being of a person most of the time. The best example of this is the relationship between physicians and the pharmaceutical industry (interestingly, my mother was a pharmacist!).  Pharmaceutical companies have strong-armed physicians into relying on their industrially produced drugs as treatment. They make it streamlined and profitable for doctors to over prescribe medicines that keep a person sick longer (because it’s more profitable for a person to be sick longer, isn’t it?). Ideally, a medicine should be prescribed with the intention of limiting or stopping its use, and should mean that you’ve gotten better. How many older people are on a list of medications to be used forever? The result is that more people die in United States hospitals from prescription medicine than from illegal drug use.

Cannabis is a plant.  It comes directly from nature with minimal intervention by pharmaceutical industries. And perversely enough, the pharmaceutical industry knows how powerful and beneficial cannabis is, to the extent that they are endeavoring to create synthetic cannabinoids to cash in on one of mankind’s oldest pain relievers! The use of medical cannabis has been documented throughout history since 6000 BC.  It’s only in the last 70 years that cannabis has lost its popularity as medicine, the reasoning more political than medical. Cannabis has analgesic properties that eases pain, it shrinks tumors, and for the terminally ill, makes their last time on earth more conscious and far less traumatic than opiates, allowing them to spend quality time with their loved ones. Cannabis is safe, natural, medicine.

So why am I telling you about my background, climbing mountains, and the plight of natural vs. pharmaceutical medicine? Because it’s important that you know why we do what we do. At MediCann, we seek to right the wrongs of a medical industry gone awry and it truly is an uphill climb. MediCann physicians seek to teach people how to use medicines that complement treatment or provide alternative treatments that get you well enough to render medications obsolete.  In the end, the only treatments a healthy person should be using are food, exercise and companionship.

So where does that leave us as medical cannabis physicians with too many pharmaceutical options, and the media storm that’s ever pointed in our direction?

We turn the other cheek, we lead by example, and we show compassion toward those less fortunate who seek safe, natural medicine but can’t justify or afford the expense (medical cannabis is not covered by traditional healthcare programs).

In 2011, MediCann has given over one million dollars towards those in need through our Compassion Program.

Here are a few of the people we help with our Compassion Program:

These patients will always be seen for free.

The Terminally Ill – Those with a six months to live diagnosis.

• Indigent/homeless

Patients who already receive discounts:

• War Veterans – receive automatic discount

• Low income - receive an automatic discount, and are usually on MediCal or MediCare.

Compassion Has Perks!

Renewal patients receive a compassionate (free) visit if they bring in 2 New Patients.

This program seeks to level the playing field in health care. I don’t think you’ll see too many physicians at Kaiser involved in this level of patient care. But then again, if you were truly in it for profit over patients, why would you set up a Compassion Program? My team and myself really care about our community and believe that cannabis is a wonder drug that improves lives.

I’ve shared a lot of personal information with you about myself and what I do. But equally important is why I do it: why I started this organization, and what drives me to offer alternative medicine as a legitimate health care choice, and then decide to give it away in the toughest economic environment I’ve seen in my adult life. It’s expensive to give, but it’s more expensive not to give if you see people in pain that you could have helped.

Yours in health,

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How Cannabis and Medical Cannabis are Becoming Mainstream

From Miss USA to HBO – Medical Cannabis is Having a ‘Moment’
By Dr. Jean Talleyrand

The Miss USA Pageant is about as mainstream and American as apple pie and Barbie dolls. Little girls tune in to see the most beautiful and community-minded young women compete for the annual title. Each year, the runners-up are asked the same questions: how would they end war, starvation, and what do they want to ‘be’ when they graduate from college? Clearly this was a banner year for trick questions from pageant officials,when they asked Los Angeles, California native, Allyssa Campenella her views on legalizing cannabis. A trick question indeed, and a ‘third rail’ topic for lesser contestants, and although it could have cost her the crown, she stood up, took the mic and delivered the quote heard ‘round the world:

“Well, I understand why that question would be asked, especially with today’s economy, but I also understand that medical marijuana is very important to help those who need it medically,” she said during the pageant.

“I’m not sure if it should be legalized, if it would really affect, with the drug war,” she said. “I mean, it’s abused today, unfortunately, so that’s the only reason why I would kind of be a little bit against it, but medically it’s OK.”

Miss USA has launched a cultural missile into the safety and normalcy of the American mindset, skewering a time-honored tradition, but also upholding what it means to be American: the right to free speech. Paradigm shifts such as these are necessary for smashing pre-conceived notions of seemingly ‘taboo’ subjects; sunlight is the best antiseptic to bring issues and common sense to light.

Remember, if you can, when homosexuality was sequestered into the doorways and backrooms of ‘certain’ parts of town, in ‘special bars,’ and entire lives were lived behind closed doors. Nowadays, every other lifestyle show on Bravo, Food Network or HGTV has yet another fabulously talented gay host, educating us in matters of taste. TV shows such as Queer as Folk, The L Word, and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, broke new ground (as well as stereotypes); entertaining and enlightening us about a life that we may not live, but should in all fairness, respect. Gay programming became the new norm, Ellen DeGeneres got her own show, gay marriage is legal in increasingly more states, and coming out and living openly gay is more widely accepted in under a decade.

The cultural Zeitgeist has flexed it’s muscle and there is increased pressure on the White House to legalize gay marriage, keep the government out of our bedrooms, and better fund AIDS research. This is testament to the power of myth busting through social trends and cultural shifts in perception. Many times this is achieved through entertainment vehicles and collectivization on social networks, not legislation. Once an issue is ‘on-trend’ becomes synonymous with what’s hip, cool, and an indicator of ‘the new mind set.’ So what does the gay experience in popular culture have to do with medical cannabis and cannabis?

Because in the same way that gay programming and conversations became a part of the cultural Diaspora, cannabis is having a similar cultural ‘moment’ right now:

• First to market shows such as Showtime’s Weeds, which focuses on dealer/grower culture, was racy in the sense that it showcased a shadow industry that many of us knew nothing about. It should be noted that although most medical cannabis doctors might find this show entertaining, the reality is, that we are traditionally trained doctors who see patients in offices, (not back alleys), and make evaluations based on patient conditions. We are about as far away from the Weeds scenario as your local school principal!

• New shows such as FX’s lighthearted Wilfred, with Elijah Wood features a troubled young man who used medical cannabis for depression and anxiety accompanied by a life-sized dog who teases him relentlessly. The show advisor is a cancer survivor who used medical cannabis and wanted to get the tone right.

The Big C on Showtime stars award winning Laura Linney, who plays Cathy, a stage-4 cancer sufferer who has decided to throw caution to the wind and enjoy what’s left of her life with an insouciant attitude towards the little things that vexed her previously. The show has broken new ground: it’s a ‘cancer comedy’ of sorts, and Cathy uses cannabis from time to time to deal with her chemo.

Bill Maher of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher never wastes an opportunity to speak of the ‘miracle drug that is cannabis’ – bringing Representatives Barney Frank and Ron Paul together at last. On a recent show, in response to these ‘odd bedfellow’s’ agreeing on such a thing, Maher stated, “Marijuana, [cannabis] is there anything you cannot do?”

Change starts with a shift in perception, and the changing of hearts and minds – the media is a huge part of that. When Cold War-era Senator Joe McCarthy erroneously targeted and black listed several Hollywood celebrities (and other public figures) as members of the Communist Party in a flagrant abuse of power, ruining careers and reputations. Although some actors and citizens stood up, many were too scared to suffer the consequences of the tide of fear-based public opinion and remained silent. Also, communication was more one-directional (and dimensional), there were less homes with television sets, radio was relied upon heavily, and of course, there was no Internet.

Today, news and entertainment media team up with social media to spread ideas, concepts and points of view. Although there is much more noise to reckon with than back in the day, one thing is sure: news and ideas travel fast, and outmoded concepts are dismantled as quickly as Egypt’s corrupt leaders.

To quote Russ Belville of Alternet.com

We don’t know his or her name, but somewhere in one of sixteen states and the District of Columbia is America’s 1,000,000th legal medical marijuana patient. We estimate the United States reached the million-patients mark sometime between the beginning of the year to when Arizona began issuing patient registry identification cards online in April 2011.

We sense a paradigm shift afoot: in our society, culture and healthcare system. Medical cannabis is a wonder drug with myriad uses. Is medical cannabis ‘having a moment in the mainstream?’ We certainly hope so! Maybe it will take a half a dozen popular TV shows to bring this truth to light, but at the end of the day, medical cannabis – a safe, natural, medicine – will be at the center of many conversations, and if we have anything to do with it, effective treatment plans.

Until then,

Yours in health

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Evaluation 101: Your First Evaluation – What to Expect

By Dr. Jean Talleyrand

It’s your first evaluation and you’re not sure what to expect. There are many opinions about medical cannabis and it’s use, but it’s human nature to question future, unknown experiences based on your past. Since this question is asked so frequently, we decided to create a primer for patients, to help take the guesswork out of what happens on your first evaluation, what to bring, and answer any questions and concerns you may have:

• Will I be seen by a ‘real’ doctor?

• Will the office run in a similar fashion to the one I used to go to at Kaiser?

• Are all the health care providers licensed professionals?

• Is the clinic in a safe area of town?

• Will my doctor follow the regular medical procedure for first time patients?

• Will my doctor prescribe my medicine?

• Where will I get my medicine, can I purchase it on the premises?

• Is this a ‘regular’ doctors office with ‘regular’ office hours?

• What do I need to bring? Can I sign up online to save time?

• Is this legal? My parents and friends are concerned.

First Visit to Medical Cannabis Clinic on YouTube

All of these questions are valid and thank you for asking!

First of all, all of our doctors are ‘real,’ and really talented, dedicated and compassionate! MediCann is the largest physician-driven and owned medical cannabis evaluation company in the country.  We have operated since 2004 and have seen over 250,000 patients in that time. Our offices are safe, clean, friendly and open during regular business hours. We pride ourselves on choosing locations that are easy for patients to get to with an eye on their comfort and safety – not all clinics can say the same.

The most burning question many of our patients ask us is: is it legal? It is, if you have a recommendation by one of our licensed physicians. But first we need to evaluate your condition to ascertain if medical cannabis is the right treatment for you. We believe it is a miracle drug, used since the dawn of time, alleviating pain, reducing inflammation and tumors, and even helping the people with debilitating diseases such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis rejoin the celebration of living. There is no drug that has so many positive and measurable effects on disease that we know about, and as scientists and healers, we seek to explore new ways to expose these benefits to better serve our patients. Is medical cannabis right for you? Let’s schedule an appointment and see. Medical cannabis and alternative medicine is not for everyone, but it could help your condition and help you live a more robust life as a result.

So what happens at your first evaluation?

Evaluation 101 – The Steps

MediCann takes the stress and fear out of obtaining a medical cannabis recommendation and ID card. Your well being is our primary concern. You’ll be impressed with the courteous service, comfortable surroundings and highly trained professional physicians at all MediCann clinics.

Many Patients either come to us through referrals from their own doctor or are evaluated by MediCann physicians at our clinics. Upon verification of an illness, disease or physical problem for which cannabis may provide benefit, you will be issued verification papers–your recommendation–that you can use to obtain cannabis at a dispensary or to show to law enforcement agents, if necessary.

The first appointment is like any other doctors appointment. You will be seated in a private, comfortable examination room and be seen by one of our physicians. Remember, we are doctors and went to medical school right alongside many of the traditional practitioners you may have seen up until this appointment. The process is the same: We will take our time to understand what your condition is by referring to your previous medical records, examine you, and interview you on your specific issues and concerns and take notes.

After our physical has evaluated you, he will ask you if you have questions about medical cannabis, it’s benefits, use, and any potential side effects. This is a great opportunity to really find out how medical cannabis can help your condition, so don’t hold back! We want to make sure you are comfortable with your treatment plan what you are taking the drug for, and why. When we are satisfied that you are in full understanding of this, will issue you a letter of recommendation. Although we cannot recommend a particular dispensary, we can point you to online resources so that you can find a convenient dispensary close to home or work, allowing you to purchase medical cannabis legally.

What to Bring

You will need to provide verified proof of identity and California residency. Accepted methods of verification include:

  • Valid California ID (DMV issued California driver’s license or Identification card)
  • Valid Passport or Out of State ID with proof of California residency (utility bill, lease, car or voter registration
  • Valid Passport or Out of State ID with temporary DMV form
  • Expired California ID with temporary DMV form
  • Valid Government-issued ID
  • Valid Resident Card for California
  • Temporary DMV form with any photo ID
  • Military Card with proof of residency
  • Any “other” ID must be Government issued
  • We do not accept Birth Certificates.

You will also receive a MediCann ID card following your visit that will be mailed to an address that you provide. The MediCann ID card is provided at no extra cost to all MediCann patients.

Patient Participation – Welcome!

Just this month we have launched our Online Scheduler so you can make appointments online at your convenience. Once you are a patient, you have the added benefit of being able to review your custom recommendations to better monitor your health goals.

Inform Yourself and Decide

We are excited to be able to show you the future of what safe, natural medicine looks like and it starts with you. We welcome you to our site, our community and our Facebook page, where you can investigate further our point of view, see how others have benefitted from treatment, and decide if medical cannabis is a good fit for your condition.

Yours in health

Posted in MediCann, News, Patient Resources, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Tale of Two Counties

Dr. Jean Talleyrand

This tale has no conclusion – or happy ending, It’s an ongoing debate riddled with confusion. Tempers flare, and everyone has an opinion on the seemingly ironic Prop. 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act.

Interstate 5, Northern California is a remote, quiet road leading through a dry yellow valley that bisects the emerald-green Shasta National Forest. Driving north you’ll encounter Tehama county and then Shasta county, the primary industries predominately forestry, logging and growing cannabis. Red Bluff and Redding are the major cities in Tehama and Shasta, respectively.  In these towns sit the county seat, where the drama unfolds.

In 1996, Californians voted into law the Compassionate Use Act – The law allowing the compassionate use of cannabis for medical purposes.  It also created exponential growth and awareness of a shadow industry. People have been growing, smoking and selling cannabis in Northern California for decades.  The practice peaked in the 60s and 70s, went underground, continued through the 80s and early 90s, and was made quasi-legitimate in 1996 with the passing of this law.

The dualism in this tale is exposed not only by the location of these two counties, but by the very uses of cannabis – the plant itself.  Cannabis has been used for industrial purposes since as early as 8000 B.C.  Canvas was derived from cannabis.  As well, it is dated as early as 2700 B.C. in a Chinese pharmacopeia called the pen-ts’ao ching , that the plant was used for treatment of rheumatic pain, intestinal constipation, disorders of the female reproductive system, malaria, and other conditions.  In 1937, our government seemed to forget its history and tried to outlaw the plant as a vicious and harmful narcotic by enacting the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.  This was re-affirmed in 1970 by placing the plant on a list of substances that were deemed Schedule I (substances with no medicinal value).  A short 26 years after our government attempted to restrict the plant from use; we once again have legal access to cannabis.  However, the question still remains: Is cannabis an illegal recreational product or is it truly medicine?

No one really considered the question until Prop 215.  The Compassionate Use Act created a distinction between the two uses.  Only those who had bona-fide medical conditions could have access to the plant.  On the surface, it seemed a friendly law.  The flip side of the law is that those who don’t have medical conditions who would also like to use the cannabis – for industrial purposes, [cloth, rope, industrial oils] or for personal use continue to face roadblocks.

Recent scientific discoveries indicate that cannabis has remarkable medical uses including: as an anti-inflammatory, an analgesic, and in recent studies, the possibility that it inhibits angiogenesis (slowing cancer cell growth). Ancient trial and error proves cannabis has very low toxicity.  In fact, it’s safer than aspirin.  If you tried to communicate this to government officials in Tehama and Shasta Counties you might be confronted with blank stares of denial, or flat out hostility along the lines of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Confusing response?  Not really.  The county officials know that that cannabis is grown in their counties for economic reasons.  Humboldt County, Mendocino County, Butte County Shasta County, Tehama County and others that have earned their primary revenue through logging, but have supplemented their income through cannabis growth and sales for years. If people can support themselves and their communities economically, it’s less of a drag on the counties welfare system.  Turning a blind eye to this reality, while enjoying the fruits of a booming economy where no one is really complaining and everyone’s fat and happy. Predictably, these counties must feel like the kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar (except the kid is also told that he can have the cookie as long as he regulates his use).  What ensues is confusion, denial and hypocrisy.  The whole purpose of stealing the cookie was an effort to avoid regulating use. Legitimate medical cannabis growth and sales is a different industry than illegal recreational growth and sales (i.e. the cookie thief).  These are the growing pains of the cannabis industry in its quest to become a legitimate product in Northern California.

This is the part in the tale when the two counties diverge.  Tehama County rejects the idea of legitimate medical cannabis dispensaries.  After more than a year of discussion and deliberation through several study sessions and planning commission meetings, the Board of Supervisors in Tehama County decided to adopt a resolution to ban zoning for medical cannabis dispensaries. Source: http://bit.ly/mVLvkX.

Did the board reject cannabis because they see it as an illegal substance or did they want to maintain the illegal nature of cannabis, keeping the current black market (and extremely profitable) cannabis industry alive?  Has anyone considered the patients? Tehama County Supervisor George Russel offers an answer,  “There doesn’t seem to be a problem with people getting what they need [cannabis] and Redding is not that far away.” Opposers of the ban were concerned that patients would go underground for their medical needs.  In addition, it seems that the county simply did not have enough resources to regulate the ban [See KQED Republic of Cannabis http://bit.ly/pqNAtj. . . or maybe they just didn’t want dispensaries.

Shasta County, on the other hand, tackled the problem head on and missed.  Instead of Shasta supervisors claiming that they really did not want the cookie (like Tehama County), they over compensated.  They decided not only going to regulate medical cannabis use, but to track every ounce of medicine possessed and sold in their county.  Recently, Shasta County passed an ordinance that would allow medical cannabis to be dispensed.  Source: http://bit.ly/161A7m. Shasta officials turned to the doctors to attend to the cookie jar.  The state Compassionate Use Act allows doctors to determine who could possess cannabis, however, it did not accurately indicate how much, leaving it to the doctors to decide.  Unwittingly, Shasta County officials made a mistake:  the California Medical Association specifically instructs doctors not to indicate a specific amount of cannabis to their patients. As well, herbal medicine is different than pharmaceutical medicine.  Plants often have less toxicity and can easily be self titrated by effect (how a patient feels by self administering) rather than having an amount dictated by a physician or pharmacist.  In essence, with all this regulation, the cookie jar is still left unattended.  Confusion ensues.  Redding Councilwoman Missy McArthur, who originally supported the ordinance, switched her vote and remained opposed.  “I do believe we do need an ordinance,” McArthur said. “But all of this is in flux and in question. To act now seems in haste.”  Councilwoman McArthur also expressed concerns about the police force having enough resources to regulate an ordinance.

When and how does this tale of two counties end?  Someone’s got to attend to the cookie jar.  It’s a hot topic, and at the center of it is cannabis: a very pricey cookie jar filled with millions of dollars at stake.  Will the gatekeepers be the doctors,  local government officials, or the patients?  Mr. Jones, another Shasta County official, sums it up the best.  “I don’t get to pick and choose which laws I get to abide by,” Jones said. “I generally support the ordinance, if not for the federal law.”  He’s right. In the end, the federal government will have to decide, but they have not yet caught up with the science and health benefits of medical cannabis, and have stalled this process for nine years. They haven’t quite stepped up to the plate and a curve ball is coming right at them as scientists present the evidence.

Meanwhile, the game continues . . . Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?

Yours in Health

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Health Access Report: MediCann releases new online feature that revolutionizes how patients view their health

Beginning July 18, every existing MediCann patient or potential patient will be able to schedule their own medical appointment and view their own medical record online, with our new MediCann Online Scheduling System!

The process is simple, intuitive and efficient:

  1. Go to the MediCann home page (www.medicann.com).
  2. Click on the large “Make an Appointment” button at the upper right side of the screen.
  3. You will need to register by submitting your DOB, Medical Record number or Patient ID # (if you have one), and email address.
  4. Select Verify and a password will be email to you immediately.  Use the password to sign in to the system and you can begin!

See below to follow a step-by-step tutorial of our Online Scheduling feature.

Once you’ve signed, in you will be able to perform the following functions:

• Online Appointment Scheduling – Schedule your appointment anytime of the day or night at your convenience.  There is no need to wait on the phone any during regular office hours.  Choose your own time appointment time based on your schedule and appointment availability.  Can’t make the appointment? Sign back in and change it, easy and breezy!

• Your Medical Record in Real Time – Ever wonder what your doctor is writing down on the clipboard during an exam? Wish you had ‘the medical story of you’ in one convenient place?  Now you can have access to your own health information with the click of a mouse or smart phone.  Forgot your treatment plan? No problem. Simply sign in and navigate to your last visit: all your notes and recommendations are expertly organized by date, so you don’t have to worry, its right at your fingertips.

Fill out your Medical History Form in Advance – Tired of filling out paper work every time you see a new doctor?  In a rush?  Save valuable time by filling out your Medical History Form ahead of time.  If you are a renewing your recommendation, there is no need to rewrite your name and address.  You can simply scroll through the form and update items that are new or have changed. Convenience with just one click….

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 * http://1.usa.gov/10rYD. It addresses the privacy and security concerns associated with the electronic transmission of health information.

HITECH seeks to improve American health care delivery and patient care through an unprecedented investment in health information technology.   All legitimate and responsible physician practices are required to create a digital record system in order to be able to transfer medical information rapidly and efficiently.  Better communication saves time, which is critical to saving lives!  The HITECH Act also institutes provisions for electronic signatures.

MediCann is a physician-driven health corporation providing medical cannabis evaluations and alternative health practices. We have evaluated over 250,000 patients since we began in 2004.  We support the nationwide goal for every American to benefit from an electronic health record, as part of a modernized, interconnected, and vastly improved system of care delivery. By developing tools and technologies, we aim to create deeper connectivity with our patients: offering convenience, saving time and valuable access to their medical histories. Participatory patient care is what we do best, and our MediCann Online Scheduler is just another example of how we are always anticipating ways to better serve our patients.

1. To login go to  medicann.com/patient-login

2. New Patients select the tab that states New Patients

3. On the next screen enter the required information


4. Once information is entered, click on “Verify”

5. You should see a Thank You Screen

6. You should receive a verification sent to your email address.

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7. For existing patients select “unregistered patients”.

9. Insert the required information and select “verify”.

10. You should see a Thank You screen and receive a verification sent to your email address.

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Dispensing Health – The Difference in Dispensaries

“It’s really important that people have safe access to consistent and quality medicine that is safe and natural.” - JoAnna LaForce, Founder The Farmacy

Dispensing Health - The Difference in Dispensaries
By Carolyn Gerin

Angela, a 65-year old office manager and arthritis sufferer, walks with difficulty down a busy city street and into a darkened alley. She hears music pumping, and raucous voices in the background. She’s not sure if she’s in the right place, as it sounds more like a concert than the location where she is to pick up her medicine. She clutches her purse (and her medical cannabis recommendation) closer to her body and continues on. She’s sure she has the correct address: it’s the location of the dispensary that is closest to her home. She arrives at the door to find 3 guards in baggy jeans, hoodies, chain wallets, and tattoos. They are nice enough, but visually alarming, especially to someone advanced in years. A chained pit bull strains and sometimes barks at newcomers entering the main area. Pot leaf posters festoon the walls and a pretty girl in a low-cut shirt, cracking gum, asks if Angela has been helped. Other dispensary clients and employees look on as this quiet, self-conscious senior citizen is expected to speak above the noise about her condition. Angela displays her recommendation letter, pays in cash, shoves her medicine to the bottom of her bag and practically flees the area, feeling guilty, foolish, self conscious, and most alarmingly, frightened.

It’s just another day at the office at anydispensary.com……

Granted, this may be a bit of an oversimplification, but if the idea of walking into a dispensary in any urban city, past guards and attack dogs just to get your prescription filled makes you nervous, imagine how a senior citizen must feel?

Because many dispensary owners most likely learned their trade outside of pharmacy school, they may not be as emotionally equipped or trained to deal with the variety of medical conditions (and the people that attached to them) that walk in the door. So, if their world has been informed by hip-hop music, scantily clad females and Sumo-sized security guards, then chances are, their dispensary will too. It’s possible that they are  more concerned with turning a profit than truly being a compassionate care center for patients, especially in the case of the elderly. To offer information, a sympathetic consultation, and create a comfortable sanctuary for patients, costs money. To create a dispensary that offers community, patient reward plans, and educational seminars requires compassion. Fostering an environment where people aren’t treated as potential thieves, (referencing many dispensaries’ need for an overabundance of security), but as individual patients with unique health conditions, requires a deep understanding that cannabis is medicine. These additional services cost money which comes out of the bottom line….

Not all dispensaries are created equal, however. I was lucky enough to interview pharmacist JoAnna LaForce, founder and “La Force” behind The Farmacy. Here’s what she has to say on the subject:

“The elderly have been faced with 70 years of propaganda, so they really need to feel safe when coming into a dispensary.  They are already nervous (about aging, being sick, and possibly trying a medicine that has been taboo.  They do not want to feel like a criminal seeking help for their ailments.  They love the idea of a warm and inviting atmosphere, similar to the old-fashioned apothecary.”

CG: How is The Farmacy different from other dispensaries?
JL :
• We are “Very Open” — we do not have locked doors with 2 guards searching our patients before they can enter.
• Our Mission is to OPEN the Gateway to Herbal Medicine -Medical cannabis is just one of the myriad of plant-based medicines and complementary and alternative medicine services that we offer.
• We are committed to choosing Organic and offer only products whose integrity and quality we consider impeccable.
• Our staff consists of qualified, professional, and well trained, including herbalists, nutritionists and and educated in CAM (complementary and alternative medicine).
• We are known for our compassionate care services…

CG: What other amenities do you offer?
JL :
• 16% of our gross revenue goes to compassionate care programs for our patient members and our community.
• Being a collective member, patients receive other benefits as well: we are constantly working directly with collective member growers to lower the cost of producing medicine; hence, we pass the savings onto our members….
• Alternative Dosage Forms – a large part of our membership is composed of senior citizens and seriously ill patients who do not wish to inhale.  Our oldest patient member just turned 107 years of age!  We showcase standardized dosage forms, tested for active active cannabinoids, potency and consistency.  We are proud to offer tinctures and lozenges rich in Cannabidiol (CBD) that are potent relievers of pain, anxiety, and inflammation without the psychoactive effects.

CG: How did you get into running a compassionate care center and dispensary?
JL : I think that sometimes, we tend to forget about the reason we all became involved in the business, which is compassionate care, and it all started with HIV/AIDS patients….

Being a Registered pharmacist for over 30 years, I never felt comfortable in a retail environment. There was never enough personal attention to people in need.  Repeatedly, elderly people would come into the pharmacy and become confused or feel rushed as to what medicine to choose.  I vowed that at The Farmacy, no one would be ignored. We are focused on patient service.  We help them make the right decision for them, the individual, whether it’s cannabis or non-cannabis herbs and services…

Also, I have spent the past 20 years as a Certified Geriatric Pharmacist and clinical consultant to Hospice for management of pain.  There I saw the amazing value of herbal medicine, especially medical cannabis, to relieve pain and anxiety associated with dying. With the addition of cannabis, we could lower the amount of narcotic analgesics a patient was taking; thus decreasing their side effects like constipation, extreme drowsiness, lack of appetite and depression.  The patient became more coherent and shared a much more normal life with their family and friends in their time remaining on this earth.

JoAnna LaForce, renowned pharmacist and founder of The Farmacy will be a featured speaker at the Cannabis as Medicine CANNABIS AS MEDICINE a Medical Cannabis Symposium, June 30, 2011, 6 – 10 PM The Grand Event Center. 4101 E. Willow St. Long Beach. http://pitch.pe/154841

Carolyn Gerin is a freelance writer and author who writes in the travel, lifestyle and human-interest space.

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News Flash: New Bill in Congress Could Signal the End of Federal Prohibitions on Marijuana

News Flash:
New Bill in Congress Could Signal the End of Federal Prohibitions on Marijuana

A new bill was introduced to congress last week by Representatives Barney Frank and Ron Paul. Co-sponsors John Conyers, D-Mich., Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. also stepped up to the plate to say that they would like to see the end of federal prohibitions on marijuana. The bill requires that the only policing of marijuana by federal officials should be to limit smuggling – not limit someone trying to get a prescription filled. The states, in theory, would then be in charge of dictating how medicinal cannabis would be regulated within state lines. Read More: http://bit.ly/kz5Pt4

Expert Opinion:
MediCann Weighs in on New Bill in Congress Regarding Federal Prohibitions on Medical Cannabis

At the start of the Obama Administration, President Obama proposed that the DEA stop raiding dispensaries. His was an attempt to keep the federal government from wasting their resources by potentially arresting patients using cannabis for medical purposes. Despite Obama’s proposal, the DEA continued to raid dispensaries, stating that they are simply approaching businesses that are suspected of not paying taxes. This is an old trick utilized by Federal authorities since the days of Al Capone and alcohol prohibition. Since our laws regarding the growing, taxing, transportation and dispensing of medical cannabis are still unclear; our federal (and state) government officials have many excuses to use when they are questioned after arresting and prosecuting medical cannabis patients and their support systems.

Barney Frank and Ron Paul have taken the issue to U.S. Congress proposing a bill that essentially removes cannabis as an illegal substance and prevents federal agencies from pursuing their attacks on the cannabis industry. The bill shifts the power onto the state level, allowing states to decide individual cannabis laws yet preventing the transportation of cannabis between states or from out of the country.

For nearly half a century, teachers, media, and doctors have been warning us about the dangers of drug abuse.  Through shows like Intervention, we’ve all seen that yes, there’s a reason for concern – not only with drugs like heroin but with many pharmaceutical drugs that people abuse beyond extreme. Due to kids trying to find new ways to get high off of cough syrup, it makes it difficult for many to see that medicinal cannabis should not be part of the hysteria. Imagine a day when you could know that not only could you fill your prescription, but be able to transport it without worry. A day where someone with anxiety might be able to actually fly on the plane due to being able to use their cannabis on board. It’s a dream we’ve all had for a long time, and there’s a glimmer that maybe one day it will become a reality.

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Why do patients choose medical cannabis?

Why do patients choose medical cannabis?

Avoiding adverse events associated with pharmaceutical drugs is one big reason.

As reported by the AMA in the June 20, 2011 edition of the American Medical News, adverse drug events account for an estimated 4.5 million outpatient visits annually.  And this number may just be the tip of the iceberg because it does not include the whole group of patients who have prescription drug-related problems but who do not follow up with a doctor.

To put this number in perspective, the common problems of strep throat and pneumonia account for 4.4 million and 4.2 million annual outpatient visits, respectively.  Problems and complications with pharmaceutical drugs are much more likely to occur in seniors and patients taking more than six medications.

It’s no wonder that patients would seek out a more natural herbal medicine that has been used safely by millions of patients over thousands of years.  In addition to having fewer side effects than many pharmaceutical drugs, medical cannabis often works better as well.

Mark L. Rabe, MD, ABIHM
Director of Health Services/Chief Medical Officer

MediCann, Inc.
The Leamington Building
1814 Franklin Street, #300
Oakland, CA 94612
Cell: 619.573.2570
Fax: 858.274.4334
Email: m.rabe@medicann.com

Visit us at: www.MediCann.com
Appointments: 1.866.632.6627

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