How Colorado Has Shown Marijuana Legalization Can Be Successful, If It’s Done Right

Marijuana, for most of its recent history, has been defined by skepticism and negative stereotypes. And why wouldn’t it be? Its use, along with LSD, is tied closely to the hippie counterculture of the 60s and 70s, which rejected mainstream societal structure and values and looked to these drugs for expanding consciousness. The 1980s’ War on Drugs, supported by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and various parents organizations, soiled its reputation further, persuading the American public that using it will sap motivation, lead to experimentation with harder drugs, and cause criminality.

For many years the public bought into this story. The majority of Americans perceived marijuana in a  light consistent with that of marijuana opponents and the 1980s War on Drugs. Support for legalization went from about a third of Americans in 1978 to 16 percent in 1990; their lowest point in history, according to a CNN/ORC poll. Since then, however, slowly but steadily that support has grown, and in 2014 it commanded the majority for the first time in history, with 53 percent of Americans saying it should be legal, the Pew Research Centerfound.

This support represents a sea change in the way people are viewing marijuana. And with tomorrow being April 20, or 420 as so many users know it — a day for celebrating weed — it’s never been more apparent that marijuana is shedding its countercultural image and going mainstream. Soon, marijuana opponents will no longer see it as a dangerous drug but as one that, when legalized, has few negative effects on public health and safety and a wide range of benefits. There’s already proof.

A Look At Recreational Pot’s Success

Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized weed so far. Colorado led the charge in 2012, voting in favor of Amendment 64, which required the state to set up legal, regulatory, and tax frameworks for people to cultivate, process, and sell marijuana not only to those who had been getting it for medical purposes for over a decade, but to anyone 21 and older. The state was followed soon after by Washington, and then last November by Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C.

While D.C. is experimenting with its own version of legalization, the other states have modeled or will model their own laws around Colorado’s, and for good reason. The law was implemented flawlessly despite Governor John Hickenlooper’s opposition. With the help of a task force consisting of 34 standing members and numerous other members assigned to working groups — from health care and law enforcement to businesses and labor — Hickenlooper ensured that both industry and government would work together to form a sustainable, regulated recreational marijuana industry that everyone could get behind. These efforts came to fruition on Jan. 1, 2014, when Colorado’s first recreational weed dispensaries opened.

Teen marijuana use has actually been dropping throughout the country, even as more states legalize weed. In Colorado specifically, the percentage of high school students who used marijuana dropped from 39 percent in 2011 to 37 percent in 2013, Forbes reported. Though insignificant on their own, these statistics represent a downward trend that’s persisted despite having medical marijuana available in the state since 2001. And while it’s far more likely recreational pot will be diverted to teens than medical pot, dispensaries are required to sell only to those 21 and up. At the same time, Hickenlooper noted that “one of the reasons so many people voted to legalize it was [that] it’s been pretty easy to get it for decades,” meaning those teens who want it will find a way to get it anyway.

Highway fatalities have been another major concern among opponents, who argue that more people will get into crashes while driving high. Indeed, states that have legalized medical weed have experienced surges in traffic fatalities, including Colorado. But it’s inaccurate to attribute a surge in traffic deaths entirely to marijuana. Unlike alcohol, which remains in the body for only as long as the person’s intoxicated, marijuana can be detected for days or even weeks after it’s used. A person who tests positive for marijuana metabolites following a driving death may not have been high when their car crashed.

It’s unclear why these fatalities increased elsewhere, but in Colorado, they quickly dropped to below 2000 levels and have remained there ever since. What’s more, traffic deaths were nearly identical in 2013 and 2014, suggesting legalization had no effect.

Beyond these concerns, recreational weed sales have raked in $53 million in tax revenue, some of which is being allocated to upgrade or rebuild schools. The state’s also saving upwards of $40 million to $60 million in law enforcement costs, as some 10,000 people cited or arrested for possession can carry the drug freely — decriminalization in other states also saves money and reduces unnecessary arrests. None of that money has to go toward fighting an uptick in crime either, because there hasn’t been one. In fact, crime has gone down, with dispensary robberies at their lowest in three years.

It’s Not All Marijuana And Rainbows

It would be nice to say recreational weed has been a complete success, but legalization has stumbled as well. For one, tax revenue in Colorado didn’t meet the projected $70 million because taxes and fees kept some users buying from the black market — similar issues are striking Washington as well. Medical patients who were expected to switch over to recreational (because it involves less hurdles) also stuck with medical due to lower taxes.

The new law has also given people a new reason to visit Colorado if not for the scenic mountain views and snow. But with little knowledge of marijuana edibles, such as brownies, cookies, and gummy candies, some have overdosed. The New York Times’ columnist Maureen Dowd was one of these tourists; after eating an entire candy bar meant to be split into 16 pieces, she experienced intense paranoia, anxiety, and hallucinations — all common symptoms of a marijuana overdose. Another 19-year-old college student visiting the state and trying weed for the first time leapt to his death from his hotel’s fourth-floor balcony after consuming edibles. Other instances in which edibles have been implicated in people’s deaths have occurred, too. And just as concerning, there’s been a rise in pediatric emergency room visits as more children get their hands on these marijuana-infused food products.

Government and industry have already made efforts to curb these incidences, which are relatively few and far between. Starting in February, Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division started incentivizing companies to package their products in doses of 10 milligrams of THC — the active ingredient in marijuana. Packages that contain higher doses are also required to denote how much constitutes a 10-milligram dose, which is recommended, and more explicit warnings and labels will go on the more child-resistant packaging.

“We are concerned about the uneducated consumer who may have had a bad experience with edibles, because that means they may not use our products in the future,” Joe Hodas, chief marketing director for the marijuana product manufacturer Dixie, which is producing a watermelon-flavored drink with 5 milligrams of THC, told the Huffington Post. “So educating that consumer and making sure they know how to use them is of great importance to the rest of the industry.”

The Future

Ultimately, it’s going to take a positive image to influence the public and policymakers to back recreational weed. While recreational success in Colorado and the other states will be surely be a factor in this, an even larger factor is medical marijuana.

Going back to that Pew poll, of the 53 percent who favored marijuana legalization, roughly 40 percent said their opinion on it had been different in the past. And when all of them were asked why they supported legal marijuana, 41 percent said it was because of the medicinal benefits while 36 percent said it was no worse than other drugs, with many explicitly mentioning cigarettes and alcohol — both of which are more addictive than marijuana and kill tens of thousands of people each year.

Medical marijuana works. According to a survey from the Public Health Institute, 92 percent of California patients who used medical marijuana agreed that the drug was beneficial, alleviating symptoms associated with serious medical conditions, including chronic pain, arthritis, migraine, and cancer. The researchers wrote the drug was used “equally by many groups of people and is not exclusively used by any one specific group,” meaning that both men and women, young and old, were using it.

Advances in research and approaches to medical marijuana will push its benefits to new heights. Doctors are already recommending medical marijuana patients replace their joints, blunts, and other smoking apparatuses with a high-tech vaporizer, such as the VapeXhale Cloud Evo, which heats the plant just enough to release active chemicals without burning the plant — other forms of smoking that involve burning the plant risk releasing carcinogens as well as causing bronchitis and other respiratory issues.

Recent studies have also supported anecdotal evidence regarding the positive effect of cannabis oil on children with treatment-resistant epilepsy. Cannabis oil is a concentrated extract of marijuana’s active ingredients. Researchers found that children given the extract rich in cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound, experienced fewer seizures each month — and none of them got high. Such advances promote marijuana’s use beyond anything recreational and focus on administration of the drug while causing as little harm as possible.

Medical marijuana’s success may be a deciding factor in the way America perceives the drug, but recreational pot will be what brings opponents and proponents together. States where medical marijuana is the status quo can benefit from the transparency provided by legalization. In California, for example, it’s incredibly easy to get a medicinal marijuana card — so much so that San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo admitted to NBC Bay Area that the system is closer to recreational than medical use. Legalization would ensure both the regulators and regulated have a clear idea of the rules, and could possibly reduce resentment among law enforcement officials and increase perceived legitimacy  among those who see it as a threat to people’s health and safety.

Inciting change takes time, but with determination it can and will happen. It’s already begun. So, while you may be taking a break from the real world tomorrow, get out there on Tuesday and show the world you defy stereotypes and that legal weed can exist in a functional society.


Nine things to know about legal pot

People who’ve never been high are suddenly wondering how much an eighth really is. And those that could spot an eighth of weed from across a room can now, in some places, walk into a store and buy it. (Try Mary Mart, Bud Commander or the Happy Crop Shoppe — all stores in Washington.)

But rules are still hazy about where you can buy pot and who can smoke. It gets more complicated for those who want to sell it.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Anyone over 21 can buy marijuana in Colorado and Washington.
There are 833 recreational pot shops in Colorado and 123 in Washington.
10 things pot buying
2. You can smoke it legally in Alaska, D.C. and — by the end of the year — in Oregon, as long as you’re older than 21.
But it won’t be legal to buy it in those states for at least another year while lawmakers hammer out the details. It could take longer in D.C.
3. No one can smoke weed in public, anywhere.
4. Medical marijuana is legal in 24 states, and D.C.
10 things pot legal states
Click the map to see where recreational and medicinal pot is legal.
5.You can still be fired for smoking marijuana.
Even if you show up for work stone cold sober, you can be fired for flunking a drug test in most states. But that’s being challenged in court.
6. There is actually one government-run pot store.
The profits from a shop in Washington State called Cannabis Corner will go to special city projects, like upgrading the local playground.
cannabis corner
7. There’s still a black market for pot, even where it’s legal.
That’s because it’s cheaper. Pot sold legally in stores is taxed heavily. In Colorado the rate is 28%.
8. Everyone in Colorado could get a pot tax refund.
Thanks to Colorado’s new pot tax and a quirky state law, residents may get a special one-time tax refund next year. It’s expected to be about $58 million distributed among 5.4 million residents.
high profit weed 3 small
9. Banking is still a huge problem for pot shops.
Pot is illegal on the federal level, which means many shops can’t get bank accounts, since banks are regulated by the feds. Retailers have to pay employees and taxes in cash, which makes the business dangerous. But there is legislation has been proposed to make banking easier for selling medical marijuana sellers.

Cannabis goes on sale in Colorado

David Martinez, manager of 3D Cannabis Center in Denver, on 31 December 2013
Shops selling cannabis have been preparing for a huge influx of customers on their first day of trading

The US state of Colorado is making history by becoming the first to allow stores to sell cannabis.

As many as 30 stores around the state are expected to start selling the drug for recreational purposes from 1 January, dubbed Green Wednesday.

Colorado, along with Washington state, voted to legalise the use and possession of cannabis for people over the age of 21 in November 2012.

Washington is not expected to allow the sale of it until later in 2014.

Colorado and Washington are among 20 states to have approved marijuana use for medical purposes. The drug is still illegal under federal law.

‘Who knows?’

Store owners had stocked up, prepared celebrations and hired extra security in preparation for their opening on Green Wednesday.

“Start Quote

It’s almost the worst of both worlds”

Kevin Sabet Smart Approaches to Marijuana

Under the new law, cannabis will be sold like alcohol. Residents will be able to buy up to one ounce, while those from out of the state can purchase up to a quarter of an ounce.

Cannabis can only be smoked on private premises, with the permission of the owners.

The sale of the drug will be taxed in the same way as alcohol, and state officials have said they expected it to raise millions – the first $40m of which will be used for school construction, The Denver Post reports.

It was not clear exactly how many shops were expected to open on New Year’s Day, though around 30 were listed by The Denver Post.

A total of 136 stores have been given licenses to sell marijuana. Most of the shops are based in Denver. Some communities elsewhere in Colorado have exercised their right not to have the stores.

Supporters of legalising cannabis have praised Colorado’s move.

Rachel Gillette, of the Colorado branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the state “has found an exit strategy for the failed drug war and I hope other states will follow our lead”.

But critics say it sends the wrong message to the nation’s youth and fear it will lead to serious public health and social problems.

“There will still need to be a black market to serve people who are ineligible to buy on a legal market, especially kids,” said Kevin Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “It’s almost the worst of both worlds.”

Dean Karnazes: the man who can run for ever.

Most runners have to stop when they reach their lactate threshold, but Dean Karnazesmuscles never tire: he can run for three days and nights without stopping. What’s his secret?

From club runners to Olympians, every athlete has a limit. Scientifically, this limit is defined as the body’s lactate threshold and when you exercise beyond it, running rapidly becomes unpleasant. We’ve all experienced that burning feeling – heart pounding, lungs gasping for air – as your muscles begin to fatigue, eventually locking up altogether as your body shuts down. However, there is one man whose physiological performance defies all convention:Dean Karnazes is an ultrarunner from California and, at times, it seems as if he can run forever.

Karnazes has completed some of the toughest endurance events on the planet, from a marathon to the South Pole in temperatures of -25C to the legendary Marathon des Sables, but in his entire life he has never experienced any form of muscle burn or cramp, even during runs exceeding 100 miles. It means his only limits are in the mind.

“At a certain level of intensity, I do feel like I can go a long way without tiring,” he says. “No matter how hard I push, my muscles never seize up. That’s kind of a nice thing if I plan to run a long way.”

When running, you break down glucose for energy, producing lactate as a byproduct and an additional source of fuel that can also be converted back into energy. However, when you exceed your lactate threshold, your body is no longer able to convert the lactate as rapidly as it is being produced, leading to a buildup of acidity in the muscles. It is your body’s way of telling you when to stop – but Karnazes never receives such signals.

Dean Karnazes running

“To be honest, what eventually happens is that I get sleepy. I’ve run through three nights without sleep and the third night of sleepless running was a bit psychotic. I actually experienced bouts of ‘sleep running’, where I was falling asleep while in motion, and I just willed myself to keep going.”

While supreme willpower is a common trait among ultrarunners, Karnazes first realised that he was actually biologically different when preparing to run 50 marathons in 50 days across the US back in 2006. “I was sent to a testing center in Colorado,” he recalls. “First, they performed an aerobic capacity test in which they found my results consistent with those of other highly trained athletes, but nothing extraordinary. Next, they performed a lactate threshold test. They said the test would take 15 minutes, tops. Finally, after an hour, they stopped the test. They said they’d never seen anything like this before.”

As Laurent Messonnier from the University of Savoie explains, the difference is that your aerobic capacity is a measure of your cardiovascular system performance, while your lactate threshold is your ability to clear lactate from your blood and convert it back into energy.

“If you take a high-level runner and you train that guy for a long time, his cardiovascular system will improve until a certain point where it will be very difficult to improve it further, as it’s determined by the heart and the blood vessels. So if you carry on training that guy, you will not improve his aerobic capacity but his performance will still improve, because the lactate threshold is not limited by the cardiovascular system – it’s determined by the quality of the muscles.”

Your body clears lactate from the blood via a series of chemical reactions driven by the mitochondria in your muscle cells. These reactions transform lactate back to glucose again and they are enhanced by specific enzymes. The clearance process also works more efficiently if your mitochondria have a larger capacity, increasing their ability to use lactate as a fuel.

Years of training will improve both your enzymes and mitochondria and so improve your clearance, but there is a limit to how much you can improve your lactate threshold by training alone. If you inherit these enzymes and a larger mass of mitochondria genetically, your personal limits will be far higher.

Karnazes fell in love with running from an early age, and at high school he began to show endurance capabilities which far surpassed those of his peers. At one charity fundraiser, while his fellow runners were able to manage 15 laps of the track at most, Karnazes completed 105. But in his mid-teens he stopped altogether until experiencing an epiphany on his 30th birthday. Gripped by a powerful desire to run once more, he set off into the night.

After 15 years of no training, most of us would not have been physically capable of getting too far, but Karnazes did not stop until 30 miles later. Although the blisters were excruciating, his muscles showed little sign of fatigue.

“Many elite distance runners will show some improvements in their ability to clear lactic acid from the system due to the ‘training effect’, but that only goes so far,” he says. “The rest, as I am told, is left up to heredity. They say the best thing you can do as a long-distance runner is to choose your parents well!”

However, genetics alone does not tell the full story. Karnazes believes that his lactate clearance abilities could also be down to low body fat, low sweat rate, a highly alkaline diet and low exposure to environmental toxins. Genetics can give you the propensity for a natural advantage but you express your genes differently depending on your environment and your lifestyle.

The intriguing question is whether Karnazes’ lactate clearance abilities would be the same now if he had not done so much running at an early age.

“If you take two twins – one grows up in Africa and one grows up in northern Europe – their athletic performance will potentially be very different, because they will express their genes differently as the environment, food, everything is different,” Messonnier says.

An interesting experiment could be to repeat the lactate threshold test with Karnazes’ brother.

“He plays competitive volleyball but has never really done an extensive amount of running,” Karnazes says. “I would be curious if he exhibits some of those same abilities to clear lactic acid from his system.”


More Kids Accidentally Ingesting Marijuana Following New Drug Policies.

1st US High Times Cannabis Cup

At least 18 states allow medical marijuana, and the likelihood that more kids will encounter it at home only increases with Colorado and Washington’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana.

Beginning nearly four years ago, the federal government decided not to investigate those involved in using and distributing medical marijuana who complied with state laws; the more lenient stand spurred a boom in dispensaries and requests for personal use in states where it was allowed.

But around that time, doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado noticed kids were coming into the emergency room after accidentally ingesting marijuana. Were the cases directly due to the fact that young children were finding more marijuana at home, or were the doctors simply more aware of the exposures because of the more relaxed policies?

To find out, they analyzed emergency room visits for kids under 12 seen for poisonings and ingestions of any kind between 2005 to 2011, using the fall of 2009 — when new enforcement guidelines were issued — as a dividing line.

From Jan. 2005 through Sept. 2009, there were no marijuana-related visits among 790 patients, according to the research, which was published in JAMA Pediatrics. Between Oct. 2009 to Dec. 2011, however, 14 of 588 children were seen for marijuana exposure — eight involving medical marijuana and seven from food containing the drug.

The researchers say that homemade brownies speckled with pot may not pose a significant threat to kids, but commercial products formulated for medical use — as well as loose-leaf marijuana grown for medicinal purposes — could be more concerning, since they contain concentrated amounts of THC, the chemical that induces a high.

“They’re sold as edible products and soft drinks that kids will eat or drink because they don’t know it’s any different,” says Dr. George Wang, the study’s lead author and a medical toxicology fellow at the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center. “If they’re going to eat a whole cookie with 300 mg of THC, they will get much more symptomatic and sick and have to be admitted to the hospital.”

Tracing the poisonings to marijuana, however, wasn’t always easy. In some cases, parents didn’t want to admit or didn’t know that their child had gotten into their marijuana stash; in several cases, the marijuana belonged to grandparents. Young children who are exposed to high levels of THC can hallucinate, be difficult to arouse and have trouble breathing — symptoms that can be hard to narrow down. At least one child had an unnecessary lumbar puncture and another underwent a CT scan while doctors tried to pinpoint the cause of the problems..

“We’re in this new age of allowing marijuana and we are seeing things we haven’t seen before,” says Wang, who is also a clinical instructor in the department of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “We need to educate families to keep it out of the reach of kids. Treat it like a drug because it is a drug.”

Parents aren’t the only ones who need to be more vigilant about the potential new risks of marijuana exposure, however. Researchers who wrote an editorial accompanying the study called for more training of pediatricians and emergency medicine physicians, who aren’t necessarily able to recognize toxic reactions to marijuana, particularly among young children, because they aren’t expecting high dose THC exposure in patients so young.

In Colorado, where voters recently legalized recreational marijuana use, Wang and a Poison Control colleague persuaded the legislature to include wording to require child-resistant packaging for edible marijuana products in a bill about marijuana regulation. If the bill passes, Wang believes Colorado would be the first state to require such measures, though a doctor from Boston Children’s Hospital recently testified to the Massachusetts legislature about the need for similar requirements. “It’s hard to argue with,” says Wang. “It’s common sense.”

More packaging could drive up costs, but Dixie Elixirs & Edibles, a Colorade-based medical marijuana purveyor, is on board with the proposal.

“As a parent and a businessperson, I wholeheartedly support the legislation,” says Christie Lunsford, who as Dixie’s marketing director is overseeing its plans for upgraded packaging. “We take this issue so seriously.”

In July, the state is expected to release its preliminary requirements for new packaging. But Dixie has already informed its packaging provider that it intends to place orders for child-proof containers so that no unsuspecting tots are tempted by its medicated chocolate truffles, which Dixie’s website describes as offering “sweet, creamy relief” or their crispy rice treats, in which the classic, nostalgic match of gooey marshmallow and crispy, puffed rice gets a euphoric lift.” With the range of tempting marijuana-laced foods likely to increase, such pre-emptive strategies for protecting young children from potentially dangerous exposures — just as they’re safeguarded from prescription and over-the-counter medications — seems to make sense.


Ex-Microsoft manager plans to create first U.S. marijuana brand.


A former Microsoft executive plans to create the first U.S. national marijuana brand, with cannabis he hopes to eventually import legally from Mexico, and said he was kicking off his business by acquiring medical pot dispensaries in three U.S. states.

Jamen Shively, a former Microsoft corporate strategy manager, said he envisions his Seattle-based enterprise becoming the leader in both recreational and medical cannabis – much like Starbucks is the dominant name in coffee, he said.

Shively, 45, whose six years at Microsoft ended in 2009, said he was soliciting investors for $10 million in start-up money.

The use, sale and possession of marijuana remains illegal in the United States under federal law. Two U.S. states have, however, legalized recreational marijuana use and are among 18 states that allow it for medical use.

“It’s a giant market in search of a brand,” Shively said of the marijuana industry. “We would be happy if we get 40 percent of it worldwide.”

A 2005 United Nations report estimated the global marijuana trade to be valued at $142 billion.

Washington state and Colorado became the first two U.S. states to legalize recreational marijuana when voters approved legalization in November.

Shively laid out his plans, along with his vision for a future in which marijuana will be imported from Mexico, at a Thursday news conference in downtown Seattle.

Joining him was former Mexican President Vicente Fox, a longtime Shively acquaintance who has been an advocate of decriminalizing marijuana. Fox said he was there to show his support for Shively’s company but has no financial stake in it.

“What a difference it makes to have Jamen here sitting at my side instead of Chapo Guzman,” said Fox, referring to the fact he would rather see Shively selling marijuana legally than the Mexican drug kingpin selling it illegally. “This is the story that has begun to be written here.”

Shively told Reuters he hoped Fox would serve an advisory role in his enterprise, dubbed Diego Pellicer after Shively’s hemp-producing great grandfather.

The sale of cannabis or marijuana remains illegal in much of the world although countries mainly in Europe and the Americas have decriminalized the possession of small quantities of it. A larger number of countries have decriminalized or legalized cannabis for medical use.


Shively acknowledges that his business plans conflict with U.S. federal law and are complicated by regulations in both Washington state and Colorado. He said he is interested in buying dispensaries that comply with local and state rules and are less likely to attract the scrutiny of authorities.

“If they want to come talk to me, I’ll be delighted to meet with them,” he said of federal officials. “I’ll tell them everything that we’re doing and show them all our books.”

Washington state’s marijuana consultant, Mark Kleiman, said he was skeptical of Shively’s plans, and feared that the businessman is seeking to profit off others’ addiction.

“It’s very hard for me to understand why anybody seriously interested in being in the marijuana business, which after all is against the federal law, would so publicly announce his conspiracy to break that law,” said Kleiman, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle, referred questions to the Department of Justice headquarters. Department officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Washington state Representative Reuven Carlyle, a Seattle Democrat, sees promise in Shively’s initiative. Any industry emerging from the shadows will inevitably undergo consolidation – and thereby simplify the task of regulators, he said.

“The fact that an entrepreneur is publicly pushing the envelope around a branding and value-based pricing opportunity, I would say that’s in the water in Seattle,” said Carlyle, chairman of the House Finance Committee. “That’s in our DNA … We could have predicted that as much as the rain.”

Shively said he has already acquired the rights to the Northwest Patient Resource Center, a medical marijuana operation that includes two Seattle store fronts. He added that he was close to acquiring another dispensary in Colorado, as well as two more each in Washington state and California, with the owners given the option to retain a stake in their businesses.

“We’ve created the first risk-mitigated vehicles for investing directly in this business opportunity,” he said.

Shively said he ultimately plans to create separate medical and recreational-use marijuana brands. Shively said he also plans to launch a study of the effectiveness of concentrated cannabis oil in the treatment of cancer and other illnesses.

Source: Yahoo news


Online Access to Personal Health Records Increases Use of Services .

Patients with online access to personal health records unexpectedly increased their use of most clinical services, according to a JAMA study. Previous studies found the opposite effect.

The retrospective cohort study involved some 44,000 users of Kaiser Permanente Colorado‘s MyHealthManager who were matched to members who did not establish accounts. Matching was based on members’ history of office visits.

Compared with nonusers, users had an increased rate of office visits in the year following activation of their MyHealthManager account, a difference of 0.7 per member per year. Similarly, telephone encounters, after-hours clinic visits, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations all rose significantly. Among patients with coronary artery disease, use of services did not increase.

Editorialists call the findings “sobering for patient portal enthusiasts.” They speculate that the reason for the discrepancy between this and earlier studies may have to do with regional differences in healthcare delivery.

Source: JAMA