Category Archives: Medical Cannabis

Presenting Lau Ola’s Team, Progress, Obstacles

On January 25, we gave a presentation about Lau Ola to the Hawai‘i State Legislature’s medical marijuana legislative advisory committee. I thought I’d share it here, as well.

Lau Ola

Aloha Everyone,

My name is Richard Ha, CEO of Lau Ola.

When I was asked if I would consider joining Lau Ola’s team, I said I would under three conditions:

  1. My workers would have first shot at the jobs.
  2. In addition to the required security, my neighbors would have external cameras monitoring traffic going up and down the road.
  3. My position would be a meaningful one, where I have influence over the direction Lau Ola goes.

Lau Ola presentation

Lau Ola is a triple bottom-line sustainable business. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says that in order for a company to be sustainable in needs to be:

  • environmentally sustainable
  • economically sustainable
  • socially sustainable

And that’s what Lau Ola is.

Lau Ola presentation
Our small team

The four of us on the left have on-the-ground ag experience in Hawaii. Three have financial management skills. Chris and I farmed hydroponic tomato and vegetables for more than 10 years. We got 20 cents an ounce for high-end tomatoes and we had to fight all the insects and pests.

It’s not automatic that Lau Ola is going to make money. We take nothing for granted.

We are extremely proud of the three woman on our team. They are really good at what they do. 

Lau Ola presentation

These are our people:

Jenea Respicio    

  • Administration
  • Master of multi-tasking and organization

Chris Respicio

  • Worked with me for 16 years
  • We know and trust each other

James Rushing

  • Master’s degree from UH Hilo
  • Specializing in genetics and soil

Dylan Shropshire, COO

  • Went to Hilo Intermediate and Hawaii Preparatory Academy
  • Degree from Shidler College of Business
  • Dual major in international business and finance
  • Has worked in production agriculture since he was a baby

Autumn Karcey

  • Born on Maui
  • Built, designed and consulted on construction of Lau Ola-sized and bigger facilities in over 10 states and three countries

Nelson Makua

  • Graphic designer
  • Strong sense of place
  • I’ve worked with Nelson for nearly 20 years

Jaclyn Moore,  Pharm D (doctor of pharmacy)

  • Community pharmacist licensed in Hawai‘i
  • Experienced in implementing systems and procedures for compliance, security and patient safety

Our team feels good about where Lau Ola is heading.

Lau Ola presentation

Our progress:

  • We’ve had a neighborhood, informal Hibachi potluck get-together at the farm
  • We are members of the community associations
  • We have scheduled small group talk story sessions — with Rotarians, Chambers of Commerce, Kiwanis, cancer support groups and others
  • All of the electricity generated by Hamakua Springs will be used (previously only half was used).
  • We are very conscious about waste disposal
  • And we have lots of other things going on, too

Lau Ola has also formed relationships with industry leaders in research and patient care. We are proud to align ourselves with these organizations.

To highlight that progress, let me introduce Tracy Ryan of Cannakids.

Lau Ola presentation

Lau Ola presentation

 Some of our obstacles and challenges:
  1. Banking. Holding lots of cash is scary.
  2. Lab Standards. Quality testing before first harvest, so we have time to adjust our procedures.
  3. Education of doctors. Maybe as part of their continuing education credits.

Thank you.

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M.D. Says Imported Hemp CBD Products Unregulated, Unsafe for Medicinal Use

Honolulu ophthalmologist Clifton Otto wants a ban on imported hemp CBD products – cannabidiols – being  sold in Hawai‘i health food stores and smoke shops as “dietary supplements,” or at the very least have such products subjected to the same regulations that apply to other controlled substances.

“This is non-pharmaceutical grade CBD that is being extracted from the stalks, and sometimes even the flowers,” he says,  “of hemp strains (THC of 0.3 percent or less) that are being grown in other countries and other states that allow this activity.”

He says they are being classified as “dietary supplements” because a product labeled with a medical use is considered a new drug and has to go through Food and Drug Administration approval process.

“The problem is that CBD is not a dietary supplement,” he says. “It’s a chemical that’s being used exclusively for medical purposes to treat seizure and arthritis inflammation and even cancer.”

Why is he concerned? Because the hemp is not being produced for medical use, he explains, it’s not undergoing the manufacturing practices all drugs go through. He says medical patients are using something that’s untested and of unknown purity. He adds it could also contain contaminants we don’t know about.

In addition, he talks about some 2007 medical studies done with CBD in simulated gastric environments. “They found that CBD can be turned into not only tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but some other metabolites as well,” he says.

“They’re proposing this might be part of the reason why children, these medical refugees who are going to Colorado to gain access to hemp CBD, are having unusual reactions. Because some of the CBD is being converted into THC in their stomachs, which is making them tired and disoriented and can sometimes stimulate seizure activity. That’s something I don’t think people are that aware of yet.”

He says he recently heard about someone who failed a pre-employment drug screening test because he tested positive for THC. The applicant told the doctor he’d only used hemp CBD products.

Richard and Jaclyn Moore, who is a pharmacist on Lau Ola’s team, visited with Honolulu ophthalmologist Clifton Otto the other day. “He’s a passionate proponent for patient’s rights,” says Richard.

Research and Law

Otto’s  interest in medical marijuana began a few years back when a family friend used it while undergoing treatment for colon cancer.

He says his first exposure to medical marijuana was a real eye-opener.

“I realized if my friend hadn’t been using marijuana during the chemotherapy before and after surgery, he probably would’ve lost a lot of weight and developed secondary infections. And he probably would have died from that before he died from the cancer.

“I started doing some research online,” he says, “reading some of the peer-reviewed articles, and it’s just amazing how much information is available. Even how much research was done back in the ’70s before this was all shut down by the war on drugs.”

Then, he says, he started looking at the law.

“That’s when I started to become a patient advocate. I just couldn’t believe how our patients were being treated in terms of lack of access and being harassed by law enforcement.”

It led him to look into the “scheduling” of marijuana at the state and federal levels. That, he says, is the crux of the problem.

CBD is a Schedule 1 controlled substance:

Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are:

heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote

Marijuana is illegal on a federal level. But medical marijuana is legal in the state of Hawai‘i. The federal government is not currently enforcing its law. Otto says that’s what led to the importation of unregulated hemp-based “dietary supplements.”

Bigger Picture

He is not against medical marijuana, and in fact provides patients with written certification to obtain it. He just wants to know that what’s out there, used medicinally, is safe.

“One of the reasons I’m interested in this is because of this whole potential for being able to produce a locally sustainable health care system for Hawaii. I believe cannabis can be a centerpiece of that because of all its medical benefits,” he says.

“I think this hemp CBD products issue is important because it points out the opportunity the state has to benefit from the purely intra-state production of cannabinoids. We could have cancer patients coming from all over the world to be administered CBD at high doses for anti-cancer treatment.

“I’m not sure that the state realizes that about the potential yet, ” he says, “because of how biased we are towards federal law and the federal policy towards marijuana.”

He has spoken to the state Public Safety Department (PSD), which issues controlled substance certificates to doctors, about his concerns over hemp CBD products as “dietary supplements.” Someone there recommended he contact the governor’s office directly, which he did about four months ago. He hasn’t heard back yet.

“I asked PSD to offer a rescheduling recommendation, because PSD has the authority to make scheduling recommendations to the legislature every year when we match up our state-controlled substance acts with the federal-controlled substance acts. They wrote back to me and said, ‘Actually, we’re not going to do that because we are following the federal schedule.’”

Someone there recommended he contact the governor’s office directly, which he just did. He hasn’t heard back yet.

“We just don’t know if it’s safe,” he says. “It’s certainly not being used as intended.”

photo: Clifton Otto

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Cannabis Education – ‘Not a Group of Stoners’

June and I are in Las Vegas for some cannabis education. We are attending the 6th annual Marijuana Business Conference & Expo. And what I find so interesting is that everybody here is well-groomed and in business attire. You wouldn’t know this isn’t Washington D.C.

This is not a group of stoners with long hair and wild colors. The industry is maturing. These are business people walking around. There is a lot more regulation, and the more regulation the more uniformity and safety there is.

session

The conference website calls it the longest-running, biggest and most respected conference for the cannabis industry, with 7,500 cannabis industry leaders attending. “The entire marijuana business ecosystem under one roof,” they call it.

Impressions from my first day

  • We really don’t know what all we don’t know. The possibilities of using cannabis medicinally are great. It is so exciting to be on the cutting edge.
  • We all (humans and many animals, too) have an endocannabinoid system, which is a series of receptors that accept cannabinoids only. It’s the reason our bodies so easily process cannabis. The way the cannabis plant and our endocannabinoid system interacts is really interesting. Read the Beginner’s Guide to the Endocannabinoid System to learn more.
  • Terpenes, which cause cannabis’ odor among other effects, interact with other compounds in cannabis. But we don’t yet know what the entourage effect is when terpenes interact with the various cannabinoids. “Cannabis is inherently polypharmaceutical,” Dr. John McPartland, DO, noted in the journal Phytomedicine, “and synergy arises from interactions between its multiple components.”
  • Indica vs. Sativa – it’s not that simple! Those are the two main cannabis species, but as a speaker at the Marijuana Science Convention in Portland pointed out, there are an incredible number of hybrids and crosses from from combining the two. When they showed all the dots indicating all the different combinations on a screen, it looked like the Milky Way on a dark night above Mauna Kea.

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agenda2

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There are so many things we don’t know yet. This is mainly because marijuana has been illegal and so we haven’t been able to do the studies.

Science is how we will make sense of it all. It’s very exciting and the potential is tremendous.

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Ceremony for Lau Ola Groundbreaking a Success

We gathered at the farm yesterday for a Lau Ola groundbreaking ceremony. We stood where the 25,000-square-foot facility for our medical marijuana growing operation will be built.

It was a nice turnout; around 60 people. It was great to look around and see so many of our friends and neighbors from the community.

Lau Ola groundbreaking

I spoke about how we are a triple bottom-line company. I said we believe in sustainability, and for our company to be sustainable it must be socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. “Socially” includes our workers and our neighbors, and I told the people there I want them to be comfortable coming to talk to me any time they need. I really mean that.

Keahi Warfield set an inclusive tone while he gave the blessing. He chanted while he and I walked the dirt where the new growing facility is going in and he blessed it with pa‘akai.

Lau Ola groundbreaking

We took some pictures with shovels and invited everyone to take a shovel and be a part of it.
Lau Ola groundbreaking

Lau Ola groundbreaking Lau Ola groundbreaking

It was really a nice gathering. Everyone felt great afterward. We are off to a good start.

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Part Four: Strong Medical Cannabis Research Happening in Israel

When it comes to cutting-edge medical cannabis research, Israel is the hot spot.

Recreational marijuana is illegal in Israel, but the Israeli government encourages the use of cannabis therapeutically. The Ministry of Health there oversees the growing and distribution of medical marijuana.

Last year, doctors in Israel prescribed medical marijuana to about 25,000 patients with cancer, degenerative diseases, epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress.

The big push on medical cannabis research in Israel right now? A purified form of cannabis that can be administered in precise doses and with minimal side-effects.

Federal law here in the U.S. makes it difficult for scientists to study the plant and its medicinal potential. Israel, though, doesn’t have the same restrictions. And unlike in other countries, human clinical trials on medical cannabis are allowed in Israel.

In fact, an Israeli biochemist is the world’s pioneer and foremost expert on medical marijuana research. In the 1960s, Raphael Mechoulam determined the structure of cannabis’s component cannabidiol (CBD). He also isolated tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for the first time.

He also identified the brain’s first endogenous cannabinoid and found a compound in the body that activates cannabinoid receptors. Although he retired years ago, the octagenarian still goes to work to conduct his medical marijuana research.

Working Together

American and Canadian pharmaceutical companies, tobacco companies, and producers work with Israel researchers and organizations. Even the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) funds research in Israel. The NIH has helped fund Mechoulam’s medical cannabis research for almost 50 years.

The Hebrew Unversity of Jerusalem recently opened a cannabis research center. There are now 20 such research centers in Israel. And this year, Tel Aviv hosted the second annual international conference on medical cannabis, CannaTech.

Watch The Scientist (1:02), a documentary about Dr. Mechoulam.

“The Scientist” is a documentary that traces the story of Dr. Mechoulam from his early days……as a child of the Holocaust in Bulgaria, through his immigration to Israel, and his career as the chief investigator into the chemistry and biology of the world’s most misunderstood plant. Dr. Mechoulam ascertained that THC interacts with the largest receptor system in the human body, the endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

Also in this series:

Part 1: The History of Cannabis

Part 2: How Cannabis Works

Part 3: Who Takes Medical Marijuana?

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Part Three: Who Takes Medical Marijuana?

Cannabis has a long history of easing medical symptoms or conditions. The cannabinoids within cannabis have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.

Who takes medical marijuana? People trying to treat a great number of conditions.

They take it in various ways: as edibles, in capsules, as a lozenge, dermal patch, oral or dermal spray, in a liquid tincture, or by vaporizing or smoking dried buds.

In some countries, including the U.S., there are also synthetic cannabinoids available by prescription. These include Marinol (Dronabinol) and Cesamet (Nabilone).

Seizure Disorder

Dr. Jim Berg, of Hilo, talks about the now-famous case of a little girl in Colorado named Charlotte. The toddler, who had a severe form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome, was having 300 grand mal seizures a week.

Doctors tried every possible medication, but none helped. Finally, when she was five, her desperate parents Paige and Matt tried medical cannabis.

From CNN:

Paige found a Denver dispensary that had a small amount of a type of marijuana called R4, said to be low in THC and high in CBD. She paid about $800 for 2 ounces – all that was available – and had a friend extract the oil.

She had the oil tested at a lab and started Charlotte out on a small dose.

“We were pioneering the whole thing; we were guinea pigging Charlotte,” Paige said. “This is a federally illegal substance. I was terrified to be honest with you.”

But the results were stunning.

“When she didn’t have those three, four seizures that first hour, that was the first sign,” Paige recalled. “And I thought well, ‘Let’s go another hour, this has got to be a fluke.’ “

The seizures stopped for another hour. And for the following seven days.

“It was extremely low in THC and very high in CBD,” says Berg. He says this was key. “With that ratio, you can take it in much higher doses, much more therapeutically. You would never be able to do that with high THC because you would get too stoned from it.”

Like CBD, the cannabinoid CBG is not psychoactive. “It seems to have very strong anticancer properties,” says Berg. “There’s a lot of hope regarding various cancers including brain stem tumors, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. There’s been a series of studies done on those specifically for CBG.”

Medical Marijuana in Hawai‘i

In Hawai‘i, medical use of marijuana is permitted for “alleviating the symptoms or effects of a qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition.”

Hawaii Senate Bill 862 defines debilitating medical conditions as:

Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or the treatment of these conditions;

A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe pain; severe nausea; seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis; or

Any other medical condition approved by the department of health pursuant to administrative rules in response to a request from a physician or qualifying patient.

“And it also looks like CBD is probably going to be good for things like Alzheimer’s disease and for Parkinson’s Disease,” says Berg. “We’ve had many studies showing that it’s helpful. It’s probably both related to its pain-relieving qualities but especially its neuroprotective qualities.

“It seems to help the nervous system function better, both in the big picture of working between the structures in the nervous system in the brain and at a very local level both, in the peripheral nerves.”

Next week, a look at state-of-the-art medical cannabis research in Israel.

Also in this series:

The History of Cannabis

How Cannabis Works

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Are You Familiar with the Concept of Security Cows?

Ben Adlin wrote a story on our new cannabis operation for leafly.com and in it he talks about our security cows.

Leafly calls itself “The world’s cannabis information resource” and publishes news and other information about the cannabis industry.

Here’s the article:

‘Security Cows’ Will Guard This Hawaiian Cannabis Farm

To keep his licensed medical cannabis crop safe, Hawaii farmer Richard Ha is going beyond the security measures — surveillance cameras, an alarm system — mandated by the state. He’s hired cows. Security cows. 

It’s not quite what neighbors had in mind when they asked whether guards would patrol the grounds of his new grow site, one of the first to be awarded a state license. But Ha believed that armed guards would do more harm than good. 

“We’re not going to have armed guards,” he told his neighbors, “because we’d end up shooting ourselves.”

…The grow site for Ha’s medical cannabis venture, Lau Ola, sits on a 40-acre plot lush with branches and undergrowth — ideal camouflage for burglars. The cows, he says, will act as enormous bovine lawnmowers, clearing brush and increasing visibility. 

“We know cattle ranchers,” Ha said. “It’s a win-win for us and them. They get to raise their animals, and we don’t have to do the weeding and maintenance, grass-cutting and things like that.”

Ha knows the cows aren’t exactly watchdogs. So to up the intimidation factor, sometimes Ha refers to the cattle as “wild bulls.” He even plans to post signs to that effect.

“Everybody’s afraid of bulls,” he explained dryly. “Nobody wants to be caught in a pasture with a wild bull.”

Lau Ola, security cows, Richard Ha

Read the rest of the story to get the full picture.

Lau Ola, security cows, Richard Ha

photo by Pikaluk – Flickr: One Gorgeous Cow, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1460977

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Part Two: How Cannabis Works

Scientists understand more about how cannabis works these days than they used to.

Cannabis affects our brain the same way as does a naturally occurring brain chemical. Compounds in cannabis attach to cannabinoid receptors and help with pain and inflammation.

Researchers first identified the body’s cannabinoid receptors in the 1980s. At least two types of receptors, known as CB1 and CB2, are found throughout the body. Mostly they are in the brain and immune system.

“The most medicinal part of the plant is in the flower,” says Big Island physician Jim Berg. “That part of the plant produces most of the medicinal agents.”

Those medicinal agents in cannabis primarily fall into two categories – cannabinoids and terpenes.

Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that act upon cannabinoid receptors in the brain. According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Natural Products, researchers have isolated at least 113 different cannabinoids in cannabis. They all have different effects.

  • Perhaps the best known cannabinoid is THC, which is cannabis’s primary psychoactive compound. This is what people who smoke marijuana for the “high” are reacting to.
  • Another cannabinoid is cannabidiol (CBD). “CBD is not very psychoactive,” says Berg. “So that’s the one that has a lot of medicinal properties without being intoxicating in any way.”

Terpenes

Terpenes, on the other hand, are volatile essential oils. The plant produces these primarily to protect itself from both insects and UV light. These essential oils have an odor, which is what gives cannabis its smell and flavor.

“Many other types of plants have terpenes as well. Some of the terpenes are found in mango, black pepper, and hops,” says Berg. Terpenes have medicinal properties wherever they are found. “Black pepper is strongly anti-inflammatory,” he says. “It can be used both topically and internally for that. Mango definitely has some of the properties, too.”

How cannabis works is by attaching to cannabinoid receptors. CB1 receptors are primarily in the brain, as well as the male and female reproductive systems, the eye and the retina. These impact the psychological effects of THC.

CB2 receptors are mostly in cells of the immune system, where they increase some immune responses and decrease others. Non-psychotropic cannabinoids can be a very effective anti-inflammatory.

Last week: The History of Cannabis
Next week: What conditions is medical marijuana commonly used for? 

Photo at top: Cb1 Cb2 structure. By Esculapio at the Italian language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14390100

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The History of Medical Cannabis

Take away all the politics and cannabis is just another plant. The history of cannabis being used medically is extensive, though; people have used it for its medicinal qualities for thousands of years.

So what’s the difference between “cannabis” and “marijuana?”

“Cannabis” is an old word. It’s the name of the genus of the flowering plant that is indigenous to Central and South Asia, and the Greek, Persian and Hebrew languages all have variants of it.

The more recent term “marijuana,” a word used more commonly in the U.S., probably derives from slang. The 1937 U.S. Marihuana Tax Act legitimized the word.

Whatever you call it, the history of cannabis use, both for medicine and ritual, goes back thousands of years.

Ancient History of Cannabis

In around 2700 BC, the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung was prescribing cannabis tea to treat gout, rheumatism, malaria, and poor memory. Hindus in India and Nepal used it thousands of years ago. Ancient Assyrians used it in religious ceremonies.

Just twelve years ago, in China, archaeologists found a leather basket full of cannabis leaf fragments and seeds next to a mummified shaman they dated at around 2,500 to 2,800 years old. There’s evidence of cannabis use in Egyptians mummies that lived in around 950 BC.

And the South African Journal of Science says that, more recently, pipes dug up from William Shakespeare’s garden in Stratford-upon-Avon contained cannabis.

Jim Berg, M.D., who has offices in Kona, Ocean View and Hilo, is physician to about half the Big Island patients with medical marijuana cards. He says the ancient Chinese used cannabis for what they called “unsettled spirit.”

Long Ago Experts

“The Chinese had some interesting ways of calling schizophrenia and bipolar, mental illness, ‘unsettled spirit,’” he says. “So cannabis would settle the spirit and help calm people down, and help them get better sleep.

“The Chinese really had some interesting names. Like they said that hot phlegm obscured the portals of the mind. They used cannabis to clear the hot phlegm and to clear the portals.”

He says that by the time of Huangi, the “Yellow Emperor” of China who reigned from about 2697 to 2597 BC, “they had a very sophisticated system and their pharmacy was actually quite advanced.

“I would put their pharmacists up against our pharmacists any day, because we’re scientifically based but they were practically based. They would go pick their plants. They would have to prepare all their medicines and use them, and then they would get the direct feedback from the people.” The history of cannabis, he says, includes its use for childbirth in the Middle East.

In America

In 1619, King James I decreed that every colonist in the Virginia Company grow 100 hemp plants. Hemp is a non-psychoactive variety of the Cannabis sativa plant. Its fibers made rope, sails and clothes. Hemp was legal tender in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland.

Cannabis was used extensively in medicines and was extremely commonplace in the U.S. between 1850 and 1937, says Berg. “We have well-documented use of it being used by doctors then,” he says. “In fact, we can easily say it was the most prescribed medicine in this country for people before 1937.”

“It was used for sedation and as an anesthetic for doing basic procedures. It was used for depression, and it was used, most importantly, for sleep. It was in sleep tonics. It was in pain medicines. I think sleep and pain are probably the most traditional reasons cannabis were used over the years in this country – people trying to deal with their pain issues.

“And this is all stuff that was totally legal at the time. People could just buy from the guy down the street, or the guy in the wagon. Of course, there were probably many people who got addicted to the opiate in it. That was probably why it got to be such a big seller.”

Cannabis was mixed with other herbs, and often with opiates.

“Eventually, both the opiates and the cannabis became illegal, but until then they were used by moms and pops, by kids. It was in cough syrups. It was in good, old-fashioned tonics, just to help you feel better.”

Government Changes

When the U.S. Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, there was suddenly an excise tax on cannabis. People could only use it for authorized medical and industrial uses.

In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act passed, replacing the 1937 Tax Act. That’s when drugs were classified into different schedules for the first time. Cannabis and some other drugs became “Schedule 1.” This meant they had a high potential for abuse, had no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and there was a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision. It became illegal at the federal level to use a Schedule I substance.

(However, a synthetically prepared type of cannabis, Marinol, is commonly used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy and appetite loss caused by AIDS. It went on the Schedule III controlled substances list.)

Eye-Opening

It was significant to the way many Americans view medical marijuana, says Berg, when neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta went on CNN a couple years ago. He did a series of investigations about cannabis and its medical properties. Among other things, he showed kids with seizures treated with cannabis that has high-dose CBD (the compound with medical benefits) and low-THC (the psychoactive part). Their seizures responded remarkably.

For instance, a young girl named Charlotte went from having 300 seizures a week, some of them two to four hours long, to just one or two a month.

“There is now promising research into the use of marijuana that could impact tens of thousands of children and adults,” writes Gupta, “including treatment for cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s, to name a few. With regard to pain alone, marijuana could greatly reduce the demand for narcotics and simultaneously decrease the number of accidental painkiller overdoses, which are the greatest cause of preventable death in this country.”

Hawaii’s legislature voted to make medical marijuana legal in 1999. This change took effect in 2000.

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Treating Girl’s Seizures With Medical Marijuana

If you only watch one video all year, you should watch this about medical marijuana.

Jari Sugano is a hardworking and serious extension agent at UH Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. I respect her a lot.

Some years back, I heard she had a child with severe seizures.

I wondered how she handled that while working hard as an extension agent. But she did. Her reputation never diminished.

Then I heard marijuana was helping her daughter MJ. I considered Jari the least likely person to grow marijuana. I continued to follow her story from afar.

When it seemed like we might get a dispensary license, I wanted to acknowledge Jari’s story. She was my inspiration. The week before licenses were awarded, I took several of my team members to meet Jari. It was important for me to go before licenses were awarded.

Whether or not we got a license was not as important as acknowledging Jari’s strength and inspiration.

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