Marijuana concentrates defined

AZMMJ Concentrates Challenged

By Lindsay Howard
   The end of June marked a big shake up for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program and all who belong to it, regarding ‘hashish’ and subsequently cannabis concentrates.  The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled in case: State of Arizona vs. Jones, because Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) failed to mention ‘hashish’ specifically, it is therefore illegal as are any extraction of the plant.  (6/27 email State v Jones) Let’s take a look into, hashish, and marijuana concentrates along with how both are utilized for their medical benefits, as well as how they are made.

Traditional Hash and Kief

The most simple and widely made form of concentrates, made by running the buds, or flower, over silk screens allowing the trichomes to fall through and collect is referred to as: Keif.  Another form of Hashish is Bubble Hash, in this process the buds are mixed with ice and water (as the THC will not dissolve in the icy water) rather it will freeze and raise to the top for extraction, then sifted through bubble bags for farther filtering of the final product.  Bubble Hash is typically darker in color and much more concentrated usually found in a more  compacted block than its precursor, (loose) Keif.  Patients have found both Bubble Hash, and Keif,  beneficial for instant relief of various symptoms systematically (via edibles), and a solvent-free method of maximizing mother nature overall!

Oil Wax Shatter

     When compared to Hashish, Cannabis concentrates yield a higher THC percentage (40%-90%) as all forms utilize a solvent for extraction.  The most commonly used solvents are butane, and CO2. Either must be fully purged from the plant matter before eligible for consumption. Opponents of Marijuana concentrates tend to doubt the purging such solvents, causing the cannabis extraction industry to mainly lean towards CO2 extraction over butane.  Oils that are typically found in vaporizer cartridges and made into various tinctures,  have gained popularity for the ease of use with discretion and little to no odor. Tincture is the easiest method to consume cannabis (or any other herb) with precise dose with out having to inhale anything at all.  Vaporizer Cartridges deliver an instant affect with out the carcinogens related with smoking. Wax is the most commonly found cannabis

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Marijuana legalization could help offset opioid epidemic, studies find

(CNN)Experts have proposed using medical marijuana to help Americans struggling with opioid addiction. Now, two studies suggest that there is merit to that strategy.

The studies, published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, compared opioid prescription patterns in states that have enacted medical cannabis laws with those that have not. One of the studies looked at opioid prescriptions covered by Medicare Part D between 2010 and 2015, while the other looked at opioid prescriptions covered by Medicaid between 2011 and 2016.
The researchers found that states that allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes had 2.21 million fewer daily doses of opioids prescribed per year under Medicare Part D, compared with those states without medical cannabis laws. Opioid prescriptions under Medicaid also dropped by 5.88% in states with medical cannabis laws compared with states without such laws, according to the studies.
“This study adds one more brick in the wall in the argument that cannabis clearly has medical applications,” said David Bradford, professor of public administration and policy at the University of Georgia and a lead author of the Medicare study.
“And for pain patients in particular, our work adds to the argument that cannabis can be effective.”
Medicare Part D, the optional prescription drug benefit plan for those enrolled in Medicare, covers more than 42 million Americans, including those 65 or older. Medicaid provides health coverage to more than 73 million low-income individuals in the US, according to the program’s website.
“Medicare and Medicaid publishes this data, and we’re free to use it, and anyone who’s interested can download the data,” Bradford said. “But that means that we don’t know what’s going on with the privately insured and the uninsured population, and for that, I’m afraid the data sets are proprietary and expensive.”

‘This crisis is very real’

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“As somebody who treats patients with opioid use disorders, this crisis is

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Cannabis might work as a treatment for opiate addiction. A state anti-opiate hotline won’t recommend it

Cannabis might work as a treatment for opiate addiction. A state anti-opiate hotline won't recommend it.

Using cannabis instead of opiates could save lives, studies say, but Arizona’s new opioid hotline for health care providers — and, soon, for the public — won’t recommend it as an alternative.

The free Arizona Opioid Assistance and Referral Line is set to go live in a few days. It will be “one of the nation’s first real-time, comprehensive hotlines for healthcare providers seeking consultation for complex patients with pain and opioid use disorder,” according to a state news release.

But one treatment option the health care providers and patients won’t hear about on the hotline is medical marijuana.

“It’s not part of the protocol,” said Dr. Dan Brooks, medical director for the Banner Poison and Drug Information Centers. “We don’t have any initial plans to talk about marijuana” as a treatment option.

The hotline is viewed as one possible piece to solving a crisis that has caused bodies to pile up at morgues around the country. More people than ever are dying from the abuse of heroin, pills like OxyContin, or synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Arizona alone had 942 suspected opioid deaths from June 15 to February 22, according to the state’s Opioid Epidemic web page.

“Preventing opioid overdoses and deaths in our state needs a multifaceted approach, and the new hotline is a major step forward as it will give medical providers immediate access to experts who can help to ensure safe prescribing and to identify treatment options for patients, which may or may not include opioids,” Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, says in the release.

“No two patients are the same and treatments vary based on individual needs, so we need to make sure we are providing tailored resources to our medical community.”

The state DHS and Poison and Drug Information Centers plan to create new advice for health care providers. Recommendations will include “specific opioid-related information for providers, such as safe prescribing limits for opioid-naive patients, identification of potentially dangerous drug combinations, and chronic pain treatment options,” the release says.

For some patients, the hotline experts may advise the use of drugs like methadone or Vivitrol but not marijuana

Not that the nurses, doctors, and pharmacists who answer the 24-hour hotline won’t talk about cannabis at all.

“If they have questions about marijuana, we’ll answer questions,” Brooks said.”I don’t know anyone who’s advising marijuana as an alternative.”

Yet cannabis, some experts point out, has been effective in treating pain, and could be considered an advisable substitute for opiates.

Studies show that states with medical-marijuana and adult-use legalization laws have seen sharp drop-offs in their opiate overdose deaths. (None of the studies have so far included a look at Arizona’s statistics, it seems.)

Will Humble, former state DHS director and executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, stopped short of saying the hotline should recommend cannabis as a specific treatment option for specific patients. But clearly, he said, the staff should talk about its potential benefits as an opiate alternative.

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