Medical Marijuana Pharmacist in Pennsylvania

The Medical Marijuana Pharmacist in Pennsylvania

note: The Sanctuary Wellness Institute does not sell any marijuana products or CBD products

The Sanctuary Wellness Institute medical marijuana cards evaluations at locations in Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Newtown Bucks County, Chester Springs, Lancaster, Wayne and Camp Hill, PA

Call (484) 346-5140 to speak to a representative and start the process.

If you’re living in Pennsylvania, it’s not uncommon to get confused with the process of acquiring access to medical marijuana. It all starts by registering with the state and getting a medical marijuana card. Ultimately, a pharmacist will recommend to you the kind of marijuana you need for your condition along with usage and dosage instructions.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the entire process:

1. Registration

The first step in gaining access to medical marijuana in Pennsylvania is registering yourself in the Medical Marijuana Registry. This involves creating your profile on the  Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program website.

The registration process requires essential information like your legal name, address, and phone number. An official ID card or a Pennsylvania driver’s license will be required for your identity verification.

2. Certification

An obvious requirement of gaining access to medical marijuana in Pennsylvania is having a medical condition that justifies its use. A physician approved by the Department of Health, Pennsylvania, needs to certify that you have a condition which qualifies you for legal cannabis use. This certification will then be submitted by your physician directly into the Medical Marijuana Registry system online.

3. Apply for Your Marijuana Card

After getting certified by an approved physician, you need to return to the Medical Marijuana Registry to apply for a medical marijuana ID card. Usually, a $50 fee applies unless you’re a participant of certain assistance programs. After this payment, you will receive your marijuana card from the state in your mail.

4. Meet with a Pharmacist in a Marijuana Dispensary

You may choose to visit any medical marijuana dispensary within your reach. Take your marijuana card along, and a pharmacist will deal with you over there.

Rest assured, the pharmacists working at these dispensaries have undertaken special courses on medical marijuana as required by the law in Pennsylvania. These courses include knowledge of its potential risks and benefits as well. This is to ensure your safety when providing you with the drug. Moreover, pharmacists are also often involved in further research pertaining to the substance.

Interestingly, it is the pharmacist’s responsibility to recommend the form of cannabis that is suitable for your use according to your medical condition. While meeting with a physician is essential in the acquisition of medical marijuana, they will only identify your condition and help you with the certification process. The remaining evaluation of your condition that determines the appropriate cannabis treatment will be done by the pharmacist.

Take care to understand the dosage instructions given by your pharmacist. Medical marijuana usage is best done cautiously, so attention is required when the drug is being dispensed to you.

Once you have your very own cannabis, you should keep your symptoms under check. If at any time you suspect it’s not working for you, a physician or a pharmacist should be consulted for evaluation or dosage alteration.

Medical Marijuana Research

Medical Marijuana Research

note: The Sanctuary Wellness Institute does not sell any marijuana products or CBD products

While marijuana has been used for its therapeutic benefits since ancient times, it has largely been looked down upon as a harmful recreational drug. Interest in marijuana as a medicinal drug arose again in the 19th century, and that is when modern research began.

William Brooke O’Shaughnessy – A Distinguished Name in Cannabis Science

While the therapeutic use of marijuana dates back to at least a thousand years, the modern history of medical cannabis has a 19th-century Irish physician, William Brooke O’Shaughnessy, as a prominent character. He scientifically researched the drug’s benefits in India and introduced its healing properties to the Western world.

At a hospital in Calcutta, India, O’Shaughnessy conducted a series of experiments on animals (and even controlled trials on humans later on) by giving them marijuana and observing its effects, both positive and negative. His studies came to the conclusion that cannabis may be useful in a wide range of human diseases like cholera, rheumatic diseases, delirium, and infantile convulsions. He even tested out the drug on a patient with rabies, and while it didn’t save his life, it did decrease the severity of the symptoms before the patient passed away.

Michael Donovan’s Work on Cannabis and Neuropathic Pain

Michael Donovan, a chemist and licensed apothecary in a medical school in Dublin, executed and reported his medical marijuana research on cannabis in the 1840s. He presented an impressive series of cases where he had succeeded in using cannabis to alleviate pain in multiple patients suffering from migraines, neuropathies, or musculoskeletal ailments.

Present-Day Evidence-Based Applications of Medical Cannabis

While the future of medical cannabis seems quite promising, there are only a few conditions that have been thoroughly proven and supported by multiple studies to warrant its use. Its other potential uses are still being evaluated.

Multiple Sclerosis

Probably the best-documented evidence of the therapeutic use of medical marijuana that everyone seems to agree on is its use in alleviating multiple sclerosis-related pain and spasticity. A number of research has been done on the subject and the drug has been found to have a significant role in the relief of symptoms.

Nausea and Vomiting

The effects of medical marijuana in relieving cancer-related nausea and vomiting have also been studied with positive results. However, its use is again controversial since the introduction of other effective medications with better reputations and fewer potential side effects.

Many researchers are of the opinion that medical marijuana should be used as a last resort when no other relevant treatment seems to be working.

Loss of Appetite or Weight Loss

Another proven use of medical marijuana is in conditions with loss of appetite, like HIV or cancer. However, those creating controversies argue that AZT, the HIV treatment drug, can easily take care of appetite, so medical marijuana may not be needed.

Of course, since the drug itself has a reputation for causing addiction and withdrawal problems in the long run, physicians are hesitant in prescribing it at all. However, the composition of medical marijuana has only a fraction of THC, marijuana’s primary psychoactive component that is responsible for its bizarre psychoactive effects.

…And the Research Continues

Current research is evaluating the doubtful but potential role of medical marijuana in conditions such as:

Cancer

Though not strongly enough, previous research has hinted that medical marijuana might possess anticarcinogenic or antitumor properties. Cancer Research UK has, however, dubbed these claims ‘highly misleading’, and rightly so.

As this 2018 review summarizes the state of data on medical marijuana, making preposterous claims with the available research is not wise.

Epilepsy

There have certainly been claims of medical marijuana causing a decline in the frequency of seizures.

Stage-two trials of experimental treatment of epilepsy with Epidiolex, a cannabis derivative, were performed in the US in 2015. A similar research was conducted in 2017 as well, which while supporting the efficacy of medical marijuana also indicated its side effects like sleepiness and liver trouble.

Research is lacking and data is limited, though, maybe because of the advent of specific anti-epileptic drugs that make cannabis use as an adjunct unnecessary.

Other Conditions

Movement disorders (like Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s, and Tourette syndrome), dementia, diabetes, sleep disorders, and glaucoma are some other conditions that have been considered to respond well to medical marijuana treatment, but without enough evidence.

Hindrances in Research

Various federal regulations have made research on medical marijuana more challenging than it would be otherwise. One must seek the approval of and license from the authorities in charge before undertaking any such study. These formalities may take a month to a year.

The entire process of getting approval and the complication of steps required to become eligible to conduct research on medical marijuana delays the commencement of new researches and likely demotivates many who would have otherwise shown interest in the subject.

The Sanctuary Wellness Institute medical marijuana cards evaluations at 5 locations in Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Newtown Bucks County, Chester Springs, Lancaster and Camp Hill, PA

6 Diseases Medical Marijuana Is Used To Treat in Pennsylvania

6 Diseases Approved for Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania

note: The Sanctuary Wellness Institute does not sell any marijuana products or CBD products

1. Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a disease where nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed causing uncontrollable twitches in the legs or arms, more commonly known as seizures. Reports show that people with Epilepsy have claimed medical marijuana has helped to relieve symptoms of their epilepsy (4).

In the brain, there is a signaling system where small molecules called ligands to bind to cannabinoid receptors serving as messengers. Ligands enable cells to control the strength of input between nerve cells (5). Researchers from a study published in the Journal of Epilepsy Research 2017 suggest that CBD has anticonvulsant (anti-siezure) effects. CBD is thought to enhance the control input between nerve cells which may help to prevent or decrease the severity of seizures (6).

2. Gastrointestinal Disorders

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s’s Disease and colitis all fall under the classification of gastrointestinal disorders. Symptoms of these conditions include abdominal pain, cramping, inflammation of the lining of the large and/or small intestine, diarrhea, and weight loss.

Research has demonstrated that activating the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors can help improve the health of the gastrointestinal tract. The gut is abudant in endocannabinoid receptors, and so exogenous cannabinoids can help stimulate these receptors, causing a suppression in gastrointestinal motility, decreasing overstimulated bowels and aiding in healing epithelial tissue. Cannabinoids can also help to decrease inflammation, which plays a key role in the progression of gastrointestinal conditions (7).

3. Parkinson Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, resulting in slowed movements, tremors and muscle rigidity. Some conventional medicines are available to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s. But for now, there is no cure.

Within areas of the brain responsible for motor function, cannabinoid and dopamine systems regulate motor function by modulating the transmission between brain cells.

The consumption of medical marijuana has been reported to improve overall symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as reducing pain, tremors, and stiffness (8). Although the research looking at marijuana and Parkinson’s disease is still in its preliminary stages, it is currently hypothesized that cannabinoids can help by improving the transmission between nerve cells, alleviating symptoms of the disease (9). The ability of cannabinoids to decrease pain and inflammation (particularly CBD) could also help to improve symptoms.

4. Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative disease of the central nervous system. Patients suffering from multiple sclerosis experience inflammation, a loss of coordination and weakness in the muscles. As the disease progresses, patients can become permanently disabled and in a small number of cases, they can die directly from this disease.

Research on medical marijuana concluded that, “smoked cannabis was superior to placebo in reducing spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis and provide some benefit beyond currently prescribed treatment” (10). A survey indicated nearly one in two multiple sclerosis patients use medical marijuana therapeutically (11). Activating cannabinoid receptors may also be neuroprotective (12). Although more research needs to be done, the plethora of successful anecdotal reports speak for themselves.

5. Cancer/Gliomas

Gliomas are very aggressive brain tumors. Gliomas typically terminal and cause death within one or two years following diagnosis. With no reliable cure and treatments options, providing symptomatic relief tends to be the only viable course of action.

Researchers from Madrid’s Complutense University were the first to report delta-9-THC induced the death of glioma cells in culture (13). Further investigations reported that the administration of both THC and a synthetic cannabinoid agonist WIN 55,212-2 induced significant regression of malignant gliomas (14). Other studies verified that cannabidiol (CBD) inhibits the growth of glioma cells lines in a dose-dependent manner (15).

6. Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is a degenerative neurological disorder resulting in the progressive loss of learned behaviors and memory. There are no proven treatments or medications available to treat symptoms currently. Patients are likely to experience agitation, appetite loss, and depression amongst the primary symptoms of cognitive degeneration.

Preclinical studies have demonstrated the ability of cannabinoids to prevent neuronal cell death (16). Investigators who have written in the British Journal of Pharmacology concluded that cannabinoids help via neuroprotection and reducing neuroinflammation. Cannabinoids also may help Alzheimer’s patients by supporting the brain’s internal repair mechanisms which upregulate neurogenesis – the growth of new brain cells (17).

Summary

Medical marijuana seems to be both effective and safe for treating a range of diseases. Although this research is still in its infancy, medical marijuana seems to be a promising and viable alternative to conventional medication for some conditions.

The Sanctuary Wellness Institute medical marijuana cards evaluations at 5 locations in Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Newtown Bucks County, Chester Springs, Lancaster and Camp Hill, PA

Medical Marijuana Approved for Anxiety Disorder in Pennsylvania

Medical Marijuana Approved for Anxiety Disorder in Pennsylvania

note: The Sanctuary Wellness Institute does not sell any marijuana products or CBD products

The Sanctuary Wellness Institute medical marijuana cards evaluations at 5 locations in Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Newtown Bucks County, Chester Springs, Lancaster and Camp Hill, PA

The Pennsylvania Department of Health added anxiety disorders to its list of approved medical conditions for the state’s medical marijuana program. This change went in to effect as of July 20th 2019 and has been well received by patients in Pennsylvania.

Medical Marijuana Card Doctor Evaluations are available at the Sanctuary Wellness Institute. Our doctor will evaluate your condition and is authorized to issue your card. We have offices in Philadelphia, Newtown, Chester Springs, Lancaster and Camp Hill.

Call (484) 346-5140 to schedule.

Medical Marijuana and Anxiety

Medical marijuana is used in the treatment of a wide array of diseases such as chronic pain, cancer, arthritis, depression, diabetes, glaucoma, migraines, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.

Alongside legalization, comes increased research surrounding medical marijuana’s efficacy as a medicine. More and more people are turning to medical marijuana in hopes of relieving or managing anxiety. Research in this area is still sparse, although there are some anecdotal and scientific reports of medical marijuana relieving symptoms of anxiety and stress.

The global medical marijuana market is expected to reach a value of US$44.4 billion by 2024, with a predicted growth of 22.9 percent between 2019-2024 (1). Twenty-six countries and thirty-six states in the USA have now legalized medical marijuana; these numbers will only continue to rise.

What Is Anxiety?

There are different forms of anxiety disorders. These include social, phobic, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Diagnostic criteria and symptoms for each anxiety disorder differ. The WHO’s International Classification of Diseases note symptoms of:

  • Apprehensive thoughts, worrying about the future, difficulty concentrating and feeling on edge.
  • Motor tension, trembling, inability to relax, tension headaches, and restless fidgeting.
  • Autonomic overactivity, lightheadedness, tachypnoea or tachycardia, sweating, dizziness, dry mouth.

The prevalence of anxiety disorders globally ranges from 2.5 to 7 percent by country. There is estimated to be about 284 million people globally who experienced an anxiety disorder (2).

Typical Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Treatment for anxiety disorders depends on the form and individual preferences, but it is usually treated with medication and therapy.

Doctors typically recommend stress management techniques. Stress management is achieved by organizing timetables, relaxation techniques like yoga, exercise, meditation, breathing techniques and writing down positive and negative thoughts. Counseling is also offered with trained mental health professionals.

Medications can help control the mental and physical symptoms of anxiety. Although most come with nasty side effects such as weight gain, drowsiness, nausea, sexual dysfunction and can be addictive. Cessation of some medications can also cause withdrawal symptoms.

The Endocannabinoid System And Anxiety

The modulation of the endocannabinoid system through the ingestion of medical marijuana influences a range of functions in the body, including those associated with anxiety.

Endocannabinoids are lipids produced naturally by the body and act as a neurotransmitter. These lipids activate CB1 and CB2 receptors in areas of the brain known to affect behavioral and emotional reactions, learning, memory, homeostasis and decision making.

Researchers have previously examined the role of CB1 receptors and discovered they play a key role in anxiety. They found deficiencies in natural cannabinoids result in an increased risk for the development of post-traumatic stress syndrome and depression. Supplementing this signaling system with low-doses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – one of the active compounds in medical marijuana – helped to reduced symptoms of anxiety and increase patients resilience to stress (3).

Evidence For Medical Marijuana Relieving Anxiety

The interactions between the endocannabinoids system and anxiety disorders are not fully understood. More research is needed into whether medical marijuana is a suitable treatment for anxiety disorders.

During a recent study of 72 adults at a large mental health clinic in Colorado, researchers administered 25mg of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD in the participants. The researchers found that 79.2 percent of the participants reported improvements in their symptoms of stress and anxiety (4).

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric response to traumatic events. Evidence is mounting that cannabinoids might play a role in helping to decrease fear in people with this anxiety disorder, as well as have antidepressant effects (5). Some studies have reported a greater than 75 percent reduction of symptom scores following medical marijuana therapy (6).

Best Marijuana Strains For Anxiety

To properly treat anxiety, it’s important to use a medical marijuana strain with an appropriate ratio of CBD to THC. Although cannabis can decrease anxiety, in some people, excess THC consumption can exacerbate it due to the psychoactive effects of the plant.

THC is the compound which gives the psychoactive effect cannabis is most well known for. Consumed alone or in a higher ratio to CBD, THC can trigger the area of the brain called the amygdala, which is responsible for fear, which can induce fear and anxiety.

CBD, on the other hand, is non-psychoactive, meaning a user does not experience a “high” or any onset of euphoria after ingestion. CBD works antagonistically with THC, diminishing its psychoactive effects. In this sense, opting for strains with a higher or equal ratio of CBD to THC helps alleviate any anxiety giving properties of THC. CBD also has antipsychotic properties.

Summary

Medical marijuana has the potential for treating symptoms of anxiety. However, more research is needed in the area. The strain that works best will depend on the person using it. According to most anecdotes and scientific reports, CBD heavy strains tend to be best for reducing anxiety. Further research exploring the relationship between THC and CBD ratios is important so that doctors are able to effectively prescribe different strains to patients based on their needs.

Medical Marijuana and Chronic Pain

Can Medical Marijuana Help To Reduce Chronic Pain?

note: The Sanctuary Wellness Institute does not sell any marijuana products or CBD products

The Sanctuary Wellness Institute medical marijuana cards evaluations at 5 locations in Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Newtown Bucks County, Chester Springs, Lancaster and Camp Hill, PA

The medical marijuana industry is growing across the world. More than twenty-six countries and thirty-six American states have already legalized medical marijuana. As this trend continues, questions regarding its efficacy as a medicine arise.

As legalization for medicinal use continues to spread, researchers are also expanding their research on the cannabis plant. Clinical evidence has revealed chemicals naturally found in marijuana such as cannabidiol (CBD), and the psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can provide relief to patients suffering from chronic pain. In fact, the most common medicinal use of medical marijuana in the United States is for chronic pain. Globally, it is estimated that chronic pain currently affects more than 1.5 billion people. Every single year ten percent of the population are newly diagnosed with chronic pain

Globally, it is estimated that chronic pain currently affects more than 1.5 billion people. Every single year ten percent of the population are newly diagnosed with chronic pain.

A survey carried out between 1990 and 2013 by the Global Burden of Disease Study placed conditions associated with chronic pain among the top contributors to years lived with disability globally.

What Is Chronic Pain?

In retrospect to acute pain which simply warns us of disease or injury, chronic or persistent pain serves no adaptive purpose. The International Association for the Study of Pain states there is no biological purpose to chronic pain, as it will persist past normal tissue healing .

Typical Treatment for Chronic Pain

Mild chronic pain is usually treated with over the counter medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Patients with more severe chronic pain are prescribed opiates.

While this medication is effective at providing those suffering from chronic pain with relief, stronger medications such as opioids are also highly addictive and come with many negative side effects including dependence, an increased risk of heart disease, overdose risk and liver damage .

It’s no wonder that patients and medical professionals are turning to medical marijuana as a solution. Not only is medical marijuana effective, but it is also far safer for patients.

The Endocannabinoid System And Chronic Pain Relief

Medical marijuana’s efficacy as a pain killer is due to how it affects the endocannabinoid system, which plays a direct role in the regulation of pain.

The endocannabinoid system is comprised of endocannabinoids, and the receptors these chemicals bind to. These receptors are found throughout the body, in our organs, brain, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. The endocannabinoid system works on regulating homeostasis, or in simple terms, maintaining a stable internal environment.

Endocannabinoids are at the intersection of the human body’s various systems, allowing the coordination and communication between different cell types. As an example, at the site of injury, endocannabinoids and cannabinoids are found stabilizing the nerve by decreasing sensitizers and activators from the injured tissue to prevent excessive firing (which would cause pain). Endocannabinoids also calm nearby immune cells which prevent inflammatory compounds from being released.

These mechanisms could help explain why ingesting medical grade marijuana helps to alleviate chronic pain. During pain, nerves are firing unnecessarily, coupled with excessive inflammation which damages healthy cells. The cannabinoids found in medical marijuana resemble those produced by our body, and so may help the body maintain homeostasis and thereby relieve pain .

Clinical Evidence for Medical Marijuana Relieving Chronic Pain

Current evidence for medical marijuana decreasing chronic pain is strong. A study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association reviewed 28 randomized clinical trials. The researchers discovered patients experienced significant improvements in every pain-related study, and stated that the “use of marijuana for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is supported by high-quality evidence”. A research paper exploring the effects of medical marijuana on cancer pain discovered a 64 percent reduction in the use of opioids for pain .

Despite the plethora of evidence supporting marijuana for chronic pain, there is limited research surrounding strain specific recommendation for chronic pain. But we do have anecdotal evidence from surveys.

Best Marijuana Strains for Chronic Pain

There are three classifications of marijuana strains:

  • Cannabis indica
  • Cannabis sativa
  • Hybrids

An online survey featured in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicines found participants opted for indica strains for the management of pain, primary due to its sedentary effects which aided in promoting sleep .

In regards to pain management, those who completed the survey reported significant improvements when using indica varieties for:

  • Neuropathy
  • Joint pain
  • Spasticity
  • Non-migraine headaches

One of the two primary cannabinoids in marijuana – cannabidiol (CBD) – is non-psychoactive, meaning there is no euphoria or “high” after ingestion. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive cannabinoid) – attaches to receptors of the endocannabinoid system in the brain, producing a psychoactive effect. CBD instead affects CB2 receptors throughout the body, which helps to decrease inflammation and inflammatory-related pain .

Summary

Medical marijuana is clearly beneficial for people suffering from chronic pain. Which type of medical marijuana product is best for pain is subjective to the individual. However, based on the evidence, surveys indicate that CBD is likely best for inflammatory pain, as well as indica strains of cannabis which tend to be more sedative and beneficial for pain relief.

The Sanctuary Wellness Institute is committed to advocating for medical marijuana patients. We have 5 locations; Philadelphia, Newtown, Chester Springs, Lancaster and Camp Hill, PA