Medicinal Cannabis in CT: What’s in a name?

 

Did you know that in the state of CT, the dispensaries carry cannabis medicine, and give it names that are unfamiliar  and unrelated to the common name for the product?   For instance, one of my favorite cannabis strains is called Bubblicious. This medicine helped to heal some of the neurological problems I was having, including double vision and eye droop.  If I were to move to CT and look for that medicine, it would be nearly impossible to figure out which one it is.

Here is the state law:

Sec. 21a-408-59. Brand Name

(a) A producer shall assign a brand name to each marijuana product. A producer shall

register each brand name with the department, on a form prescribed by the commissioner,

prior to any sale to a dispensary facility and shall associate each brand name with a specific

laboratory test that includes a terpenes profile and a list of all active ingredients, including:

(1) Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC);

(2) Tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA);

(3) Cannabidiols (CBD);

(4) Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA); and

(5) Any other active ingredient that constitutes at least 1% of the marijuana batch used

in the product.

(b) A producer shall not label two marijuana products with the same brand name unless

the laboratory test results for each product indicate that they contain the same level of each

active ingredient listed within subsection (a)(1) to (4), inclusive, of this section within a

range of 97% to 103%.

(c) The department shall not register any brand name that:

(1) Is identical to, or confusingly similar to, the name of an existing non-marijuana

product;

(2) Is identical to, or confusingly similar to, the name of an unlawful product or

substance;

(3) Is confusingly similar to the name of a previously approved marijuana product brand

name;

(4) Is obscene or indecent;

(5) May encourage the use of marijuana for recreational purposes;

(6) May encourage the use of marijuana for a condition other than a debilitating medical

condition;

(7) Is customarily associated with persons under the age of 18; or

(8) Is related to the benefits, safety or efficacy of the marijuana product unless supported

by substantial evidence or substantial clinical data.

(Effective September 6, 2013)

 

While I have often said that the names of the medicine such as “headbanger” and “blue dream” don’t sound very medicinal, the fact is that they absolutely are medicinal.  People should know what they are getting when purchasing the medicine without confusion.    It’s great that the content of the medicine is on the label for sure. That said, the medicine has been around a long time, and those who use it are often already aware of the strains that help them. Giving them other random names isn’t fair to the patient, who then has to navigate these names to determine what will work.  Is it simply a ploy to increase sales, just like big pharma? 

Yes, the pharmaceutical companies have been doing this for a long time. There is the chemical name and then the common name. For instance,  valium is actually diazepam and percocet is actually oxycodone with acetominophen.   Why are the drugs renamed by pharmaceutical companies?  I’ve attached an article below about that subject for you to read.  But make no mistake, when it comes down to it, it’s all about marketing and sales. Lets face it, long chemical names can be difficult for consumers to pronounce, and state out loud to the pharmacist or physician. I have to say here though, having to say the chemical name may in fact be helpful, reminding the individual that they are in fact putting chemicals in their body every time they take a drug.

So why would CT follow a pharmaceutical model, and rename cannabis strains?  We can speculate further,  but it’s more productive to move forward and work to change this.  When one is suffering with medical conditions that require medicinal cannabis for healing and reducing symptoms, why should one have to purchase medicine that may or may not help?  Especially when if one knew that actual strain names, one could make an informed purchase and not waste money, time and effort.   Is it about sales and greed? Is it about fear?  We don’t know, but at Bulldozer Health we are about to find out with the help of CT volunteers Joe Delaney and Cody Roberts. We will keep you posted about our conversations and work with the CT State Committees and Representatives.

This blog post, is a part of a series about our project to help patients in CT with this issue and much more! If you would like to volunteer in CT for Bulldozer Health Inc., please contact us via our website at http://www.bulldozerhealth.org

 

Peace,

Wendy Love Edge

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-04/fyi-how-does-drug-get-its-name

Use of Medicinal Cannabis in the Hospital

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I recently became ill with symptoms of chest pain, jaw pain/tooth pain, and scapular pain.  Since those can be signs of a heart attack, I thought I should pay attention.   I decided a long time ago, that while most Western Medicine practices just aren’t for me, I would go to the hospital if I had these particular symptoms. With my genetics, family history, and personal history of heart disease it is the wisest thing to do.

Going to the hospital is stressful in itself, but in my case, as in the case of the more than 2 million legal cannabis users nationwide (http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=005889), the stress is magnified because it is unlikely that the hospital will honor a legal user’s card and allow their medicine.  In my experience, they hide behind two policies. The first is that noone is allowed to bring in medicine of any kind from home.  While this is likely a good policy in many cases, the problem in this case is that you can’t bring it from home, and they don’t have it in their formulary for you either.  When I asked the MD in the ER at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester about it, she stated that they had “pharmaceutical drugs that acted the same way”.  That is not accurate information.  You just cannot replace the whole plant effect by isolating some of its compounds and administering them to the patient. Here is an explanation from Leafscience.com, Sept. 2014:

“Marijuana, unlike most modern day medicine, contains a wide range of chemical compounds. Scientists have identified over 60 unique molecules in cannabis known as cannabinoids, which include THC and CBD. Many other non-cannabinoid compounds are produced by the plant that also have regulatory effects.

For example, terpenes, the molecules responsible for marijuana’s smell, have been shown to block some cannabinoid receptor sites in the brain while promoting cannabinoid binding in others. As a result, terpenes are believed to affect many aspects of how the brain takes in THC or CBD, while offering various benefits of their own.

In fact, while THC has gotten most of the attention, studies suggest many of the compounds in marijuana work together to produce a synergy of effects. This is known as the ‘entourage effect.’”

The fact is, there is not one pill or injection in their formulary that can do what use of the whole plant cannabis can do for anxiety, depression, pain and inflammation.  But the doctors are still not educated on this fact despite the growing number of patients who utilize it daily for their health.

The other policy that they hide behind is their nonsmoking policy. The health professionals simply do not understand that there are other very effective routes to take with the medicine. Again, education of physicians is sorely needed to catch up with this important medicine and its health effects.

By the time I had left the hospital after my 5 day stay, my anxiety was at an all time high.  In the beginning, loved ones brought me tincture to take to keep the medicine in my system and doing its job.  But it was frightening when a nurse suggested that she smelled cannabis one night, so I stopped its use.  I really needed them to continue to determine what was wrong with my heart and complete their plan of care on that.  And I was afraid that they would ask me to leave. It just wasn’t the time to put up an argument about it.

Sure, I could have requested Valium or Xanax or something else that they had available.  For me though, that would have been a step backwards.  And while those pills may reduce the anxiety in the moment, the benefit to my health when taking them, just does not outweigh the risk, nor is the effect as therapeutic.

I’ve got to hand it to them though, if you need surgery on your heart, they sure know what they are doing.  Why not step up the treatment and not deny people necessary medicine for their other ailments when in the hospital?  It hardly was therapeutic for me to feel anxiety, fear and body pain during this problem with my heart.  I did take the opiods they offered once I realized I just wasn’t going to have the medicine I really needed.  I did so only when I really couldn’t bear the joint pain from the arthritis any longer. I was in bed much more than I ever would have been at home.  I was also unable to exercise, and my body was letting me know it wasn’t happy.  It makes little sense, and seems to me that the doctors just aren’t following their oath to “do no harm” when they deny a patient their prescribed necessary medicine and instead offer alternatives that can be very harmful.

I called the hospital after I left to get a clarification as to their exact policy on legal card carrying medicinal cannabis users.  After being bounced around department to department, I finally was sent to the patient advocacy office.  The person I spoke with did not know what the policy was. She was very polite and took my information though.  Upon her return call, she informed me that she took the question all the way to the top, and that “St. Vincent Hospital at this time does not allow medicinal cannabis of any kind in the hospital,  even from a legal patient who is registered with the state and has a prescription”.

I feel it is time that we stand up together, demand better, and fix this problem. After all, my experience was simply one example of what is happening across the U.S.  in legal states.  A legal cannabis patient should not be made to go without prescribed medicine for any reason, especially in a medical institution.  The medical establishment wouldn’t consider this for any other medication.

If you would like to join us and work on this issue, please contact wendy@bulldozerhealth.org

Take back your health America!

Peace,

Wendy Love Edge

http://www.bulldozerhealth.org