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Sun Times Feature Story


Are Cannabanoids Safe Now?

By Marylynne Newmark

CBD signs are popping up all health centers, store fronts, and in some of the most unlikely places. Friends are aggressively recommending their use to others because of their own good results. But, are they safe?And are they right for everyone?“Cannabinoids(CBD)are safe and can be very helpful with some medical conditions,” says Dr. Barry Blumenthal, medical director at Miracle Leaf Health Services Centerin Hallandale Beach.“However, a professional health evaluation would be a better first step to determinesafety for the patient,the right type of CBD for each individual, the proper dosage and frequency, and the best method of taking it.”That is why it is important tofirst go toa physician who has been certified by the State of Florida after he has takena course and exam given by the Florida Medical Association or the Florida Osteopathic Association, ortoseek outa Health Service Center with a medical director who has qualified by the same process. Miracle Leaf on Hallandale Beach Blvd is one of those qualified centers.“All dispensaries are regulated by the state of Florida,” says Geovanny Tejeda, franchise owner of Miracle Leaf,” so it’s important to look for that certification before you purchase any CBDanywhere, so you can be assured that you are purchasing a quality CBD product.”But, even though CBD is so accessibletoday, is it ok for everyone? Would it affect any medicationsthat someone is already taking? The answer is yes. Reports have shown that CBD can impact blood thinners, anxiety and pain medications, among others. So, why would you risk just buying it over the counter?Anotherimportantreason to first go for professional opinion.Also, there are manystrains, dosagesand methods of usingCBD, eachwith unique values that have different effects on the body...and each body is different. So, how would you know where to start?RISE is a CDB dispensary that just opened in Hallandale Beach. “Our main aim is helpthe publicbecome moreawareof the benefitsand educate them as to the safe use of cannabis,” says Jared Postal, community and patient outreach coordinator.“We hope to erase the stigma that some may feel about CBD and medical marijuana.”Qualifying for medical marijuanais another situation. A certified physician must perform afull physical examination with history, testing and medication review.By state requirement, the physicianmust enter hisor her order for medical marijuanafor that patientinto the Florida State Medical Marijuana Registry. He or she mustindicate the dateof the order,the patient’s name, thedosage and whether the marijuana should be taken by mouth, under the tongue, to be inhaledorappliedtopically.The patient then mustapply for a Medical Marijuana card, which can be a tricky process. This is how the state can track the patient’s use, but there are many steps for approval. Certified Medical Marijuana Doctors ( in North Miami Beach offers that type of serviceto make the process easier. “Our mission is to get people certified as quickly as possible,” says Bob Gifford, manager consultant. “We are not a dispensary. We are a service."

Gifford, who is a cancer survivor, is also a medical marijuana patient. “I could not have gotten through my courses of chemo without it,” he says. At the time, medical marijuana was not legal in the state, so he had to obtain it through other means. “I can’t begin to tell you how quickly it relieved myhorriblenausea so I could drink water and eat,when prescribed medications only made me feel worse. I feel sad for the thousands of people who had to suffer, and even thoseimprisoned for possession throughout these last decades,because the drug was considered illegal.”We are already aware that cannabinoids are different from cannabis (marijuana). Although they are derived from the same plant (cannabis sativa), their essence isextracted from different parts.Both interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the body and brain, but the effects are dramatically different. CBD has the same chemical formula as the THC in cannabis, but the atoms are in a slightly different arrangement. THC has the psychoactive effect that we are familiar with marijuana use; CBD does not.As with Gifford, sincelegalizationof medical marijuanapassed in Florida this past year, very positive results have been reported in helping with pain that is neuropathic, chronic or cancer-related. Patients with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s . amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and epilepsy have experienced easing of their symptoms. Lessening of symptomseven has been reported by patients with acne and psoriasis. Positive results have also been reported by patients with type one diabetes, nausea, depression, anxiety, ADHD and schizophrenia, as well asfor unexplained inflammation.“I think cannabis products, including CDB show amazing results,” says Dr. Adrian Sagman, a chiropractor in Miramar who treats sports injuries and related conditions,and often recommends evaluations for relief with cannabanoidproducts.As we turn more and more to healthy lifestyles that bring us back to natureand alternativeremedies as opposed to artificial, chemical-laden and processedfoods and pharmaceuticals, cannabis and cannabinoid products seem to fit right in, bringing relief in a more natural way. However, it is importantto be sure it is right for you, so it is advisable to consult a physician first.

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