Modern Medicine and the Individual

One of the promises of advanced medical research is the concept of “personalized medicine” and possibly better treatment outcomes based on tailor-made treatments and interventions. The idea that a treatment can be developed and deployed on an individual basis to target a specific condition is fascinating and straight out of science fiction.

Advances in medicine have improved quality of life for scores of millions of people over the years. Treatments for previously incurable disease have been developed, and life expectancy continues to extend. Some disease has even been all but eradicated thanks to vaccinations and preventive care.

But medical advances come with their own set of concerns. Side effects, quality of life, and cost factors all play a part in a persons decision to work with their doctor for certain treatments. For example: if you are a parent or caretaker for a young one, deciding on the importance and participation of vaccination programs can be a major undertaking. Information from “Anti-Vaxer’s” and real scientific study often collide and confound the situation. Vaccines DO help the public well-being, and there are some devastating diseases that have been kept in check due to vaccination programs. Vaccines can be freely administered, or could be cost-prohibitive to some. They can address disease of major concern, or could prevent minor illness in some while preventing the spread to other more “at-risk” individuals.

The vaccine for the Human papillomavirus (HPV) has brought its own concerns and champions, as well as much more conflicting evidence on the effectiveness and necessity of the HPV vaccine. Thankfully, real research happening on HPV and the vaccination by independent studies. Additionally, thanks to the advances in cannabis research, there is some promising data that shows cannabis may be helpful in addressing some of the potential side effects of the HPV vaccine. This is only one example of significant cannabis research, but it is easy to see how an increase in valid cannabis research may yield bigger and better things for our global community.

Rock ON, Maryland!

This morning, there was a wonderful interview on 98 Rock with one of my favorite people in the cannabis industry, Leah Heise of Chesapeake Integrated Health Institute. She is the CEO of this medical cannabis dispensary, opening in Maryland.

Leah does a great job of helping the “gang” understand the pitfalls of opiate addiction during treatment, and let’s us know her dispensary is on track to open before the end of 2017!

Give it a listen:

From The Office of The Governor of Maryland July 6, 2017

Governor Larry Hogan Announces Appointments to Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission
Fills 3 Vacancies, Replaces 6 Commission Members With Expired Terms, Doubles Minority Representation.
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today announced ten appointments to the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission. The commission oversees the development of policies, procedures, and regulations to ensure that medical cannabis is available to qualifying patients. With the initial application phase complete, the commission is focused on the successful implementation of Maryland’s medical cannabis program.
Charles P. LoDico, M.S., F-ABFT, is currently a senior chemist/toxicologist for the Department of Health and Human Services. He received his master’s in pharmacology/toxicology from Long Island University, School of Pharmacy. LoDico, who has been widely published in peer-reviewed journals, was nominated by the University of Maryland Medical Center. His appointment fills a vacancy for a scientist with experience in the science of cannabis and nominated by a state research institution on the commission.
Barry G. Pope is the drug rebate manager and PBM clinical pharmacist for Conduent State Healthcare, LLC. He has been a registered pharmacist for 20 years, where he has experience servicing large Medicaid populations. Mr. Pope received his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the Arnold and Marie Schwartz School of Pharmacy. Pope was recommended for this appointment by the Maryland Pharmacy Association, and fills a vacancy for a licensed pharmacist in the state on the commission.
Brian P. Lopez is a partner and the executive vice president for Osprey Property Company, where he oversees the company’s multi-family and affordable housing portfolio. Prior to joining Osprey Property Company, he was a loan officer for AGM Financial Services, Inc., and a project manager for Safeway, Inc. Lopez received his master’s in Real Estate Development from Johns Hopkins University. Lopez fills a vacancy for a member of the public or a patient who supports medical cannabis position on the commission.
Alvin W. Davis, M.D., currently serves as a partner at the Cumberland Anesthesia and Pain Management Associates, where he specializes in cardiac/thoracic anesthesia. He received his medical degree from the George Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Davis fills one of the three licensed physician positions on the commission.
Jeffrey R. Gahler is the Harford County Sheriff, a position he has held since 2014. Prior to being elected sheriff, he served 28 years with the Maryland State Police where grew from a cadet to a captain. Gahler received his masters of science in management from Johns Hopkins University. Sheriff Gahler fills the law enforcement representative position on the commission.
Charles Smith III has served as the state’s attorney for Frederick County since 2007. Smith is also a member of the Frederick County Substance Abuse Council and is chair of the State’s Attorneys’ Coordination Council. Smith received his law degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law. Smith fills the member of the Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association position on the commission.
Rachel Rhodes is the horticulture associate agent and master gardener coordinator for the University of Maryland Extension – Queen Anne’s County, where she provides horticultural and environmental education classes. Rhodes received her masters of environmental science from Wesley College. Rhodes fills the representative of the University of Maryland Extension position on the commission.
Ehsan Abdeshahian, M.D., currently serves as a staff physician with specialties in pain and sports medicine for Advanced Pain Management Specialists. Dr. Abdeshahian received his medical degree from St. George’s University in Grenada, Spain, and completed his residency at the State University of New York – Downstate University Hospital. Dr. Abdeshahian fills one of the three licensed physician positions on the commission.
Scott Welsh is the owner of Maryland Flower and Foliage, where he maintains 160,000 square feet of greenhouse space and 100,000 square feet of outdoor growing areas, manages the day-to-day operations, and works closely with local growers and farmers to produce cuttings, seedlings, and finished products for resale throughout the state. Welsh fills the position of an individual with experience in horticulture and recommended by the Department of Agriculture on the commission.
John T. Gontrum, Esq., serves as the assistant comptroller for the Office of the Comptroller of Maryland, and previously served as the director of legislative affairs and as a constituent services officer for the Comptroller. Mr. Gontrum received his J.D. from the University of Maryland School Of Law. Gontrum is being reappointed to the commission for a term starting October 1, 2017, and fills the representative of the Office of the Comptroller position on the commission.

A Celebration of Independence

Happy Independence Day, to our readers in the USA!
A celebration of our statement of independence, and the war that resulted in the sovereignty of the United States of America.
People also tend to use the 4th of July as a day to show gratitude to the men and women who have given up a part of themselves (some, even more) in defense of our rights and liberties. And, we use it as a way to, generally, say “Happy Birthday, America!”

These are all great sentiments. The movement of an entire group of people, standing up for their freedom and liberties, and declaring a strict opposition to tyranny and unjust taxation, demanding to be seen as a sovereign nation in the eyes of the world. A nation born under freedom, for all white men and their property to be protected from the taxation and oversight of a king in a far away land.

This is not a bitter post, nor a critique of what it took the United States, as a nation, to be born and thrive through the ages. Yes, there is truth that the reason we exist as a nation is because our forefathers didn’t want to pay the King of England any more taxes. But that is simplistic, and not a fair shot to take at our country on our birthday. There were more far-reaching reasons why the Declaration of Independence was formed and distributed.

Now, lets fast forward to today, July 4, 2017: 241 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. What is our country like today? Well, since the signing in 1776, we have abolished slavery, granted ALL men, and later women, the right to vote. We have sent people to the moon, we have built monuments, we have achieved greatness. We have also fought wars in other countries, engaged in illegal activities to subvert other governments to create instability, and most recently, elected an unfit president, with allegations of foreign and internal tampering with our elections.

And, let’s not forget the continued waste of life and resources that is the War on Drugs. Unfairly waged against minorities and groups that were seen as “subversive”, the War on Drugs has prevented us from moving forward as a nation and a planet for far too long.

In this modern US of A, we have about half of all states agree and legislate for sensible medical cannabis laws. We have another handful of states (and the District of Columbia) that agree adult-use of cannabis should be made safely available. And we have a federal government (not just the current administration) which refuses to accept science and common sense, classifying cannabis as a Schedule 1 Narcotic with no medical benefit. Drug prosecutions continue. People are still stopped and harassed, and sometimes murdered, as a result of being the wrong race or possessing the wrong plant. This is not progress, nor is it freedom from tyranny. However, we do have a lot of “awakened” individuals in this nation of ours. Some even sit in positions of power, and can help shape and change outdated and biased laws. And, there are a LOT of us.

So, what can we do on this 4th of July… this Birthday for our Nation? We can celebrate a fun summer holiday with friends and family. We can remember those who gave of themselves for our nation, and we can be thankful to whomever we choose for the right to celebrate life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We can also remain vigilant, and open about what we see and how we want to change it. Refusing to give in to “old” methods and excuses, in favor of truth and an openness to hear new ideas. We can organize and stand tall, knowing that we DO make sense, and that we CAN change things. We can continue to shine a light on the wrongs that occur, refusing to live in fear and acting out of hate of the unknown.

And, we can love. Love for your family, love for your friends, love for your neighbor, love for the person in need. Light, love and honesty. Sounds a little better to me than, “Light Fuse and Get Away.”