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Legal Marijuana Coming to New Jersey and Virginia?

Legal Marijuana Coming to New Jersey and Virginia?

Author: Justin Mckibben

The elections held this past Tuesday may not have directly addressed the status of marijuana, but voters in multiple states did elect officials who are adamant about making legal marijuana more available.

Next Year in New Jersey

One of those states is New Jersey, who’s outgoing governor is Chris Christie, chairman of the White House commission on opioids.

Last week Democrat Phil Murphy, who made legal marijuana one of the cornerstones of his campaign, won the state over. This creates a radical change for the state. For years Chris Christie has blocked attempts to legalize cannabis, and even maintains his opposition to it while fighting to help the country get a grip on the opioid epidemic.

Phil Murphy has been pretty open about his support for marijuana legalization. According to Forbes, Murphy even talked about it during his primary night victory speech saying,

“The criminalization of marijuana has only served to clog our courts and cloud people’s futures, so we will legalize marijuana,”

“And while there are financial benefits, this is overwhelmingly about doing what is right and just.”

Apparently, it isn’t just Murphy in the state that is looking forward to pushing this legislation along. The Democratically-controlled state Senate is expecting to bring up legal marijuana as early as next year. In regards to the topic, earlier this year Senate President Stephen Sweeney said,

“We are going to have a new governor in January 2018. As soon as the governor gets situated we are all here and we intend to move quickly on it.”

Voters in Virginia

Voters in the Commonwealth of Virginia also elected an official who advocates for loosening restrictions on marijuana. Current lieutenant governor Ralph Northam is in favor of decriminalizing marijuana possession. While it may not be as liberal a stance as Murphy, it is still a big step in a lot of people’s minds. Northam writes,

“We need to change sentencing laws that disproportionately hurt people of color. One of the best ways to do this is to decriminalize marijuana. African Americans are 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Virginia.”

But it isn’t just about the individuals. Northam also points out the resources going to this issue. He has written to the Virginia State Crime Commission as part of its review of the effects of marijuana decriminalization.

“Virginia spends $67 million on marijuana enforcement—enough to open up another 13,000 pre-K spots for children,”

Again, not that he is pushing for complete legalization, but to stop stiff penalties for those with small amounts of marijuana. Northam also advocates for research into the medicinal uses of marijuana. According to Richmond Times-Dispatch, he has stated,

“As a doctor, I like to make the point to people, over 100 of the medicines that we use on a daily basis come from plants,” he said in an interview Monday. “So I think we need to be open-minded about using marijuana for medical purposes.”

He isn’t alone in Virginia either. Even the Republican state Senate leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. questioned whether or not small amounts of marijuana should remain a crime.

Marijuana in More Areas

But it isn’t just these two offices that indicate there may be more change coming for marijuana policy. In other areas around the country, there are other notable shifts that may dramatically impact marijuana policy.

  • Athens, Ohio

77% of voters in the college town eliminated fines and court costs for possessing or growing up to 200 grams of marijuana.

  • Wayne County, Michigan

In an area that includes Detroit, voters now allow cannabis businesses to operate in more areas and to stay open longer. Michigan is expected to have a marijuana legalization bill on the 2018 ballot.

  • Philadelphia

Lawrence Krasner won the election for District Attorney. Krasner has been outspoken about the benefits of marijuana reform. According to Krasner,

“One of the things we see in other jurisdictions is that, where marijuana is readily available, there’s a 25% reduction in opiate/opioid overdose deaths.”

“So if Philadelphia is looking at 500 opiate/opioid overdose deaths a year, a district attorney, by choosing not to enforce against marijuana usage, can potentially save 125 lives. That’s what a district attorney should exercise his or her discretion to do.”

It seems between lightening the punishments for possession, expanding programs for legal marijuana, and electing officials that will advocate for its use, marijuana may have already seen some real change this November.

What to Remember about Legal Marijuana

It is important to note for anyone who has a history of substance use disorder that the legal status of a substance does not make it safer. You could argue that marijuana is much safer than opioids like prescription drugs or heroin. While marijuana is not as lethal concerning overdose deaths, it still should not ignore the risks.

Marijuana reform has the potential for some positive and negative outcomes. Ultimately voters will have to consider weighing the pros and cons of reform. Either way, it is important to remember that any substance, legal or not, can be addictive. While marijuana may become more accepted on a legal level, it is still unhealthy to abuse this drug. If you find yourself abusing this or any drug it is very important that you seek safe and effective treatment resources.

Because drug abuse is always destructive, marijuana abuse is no exception. If you or someone you love are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please seek help. Regardless of whether a drug is legalized or not, losing control of your use can lead to something much worse. We want to help. You are not alone. Call toll-free now. 

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California says NO to Pot Delivering Drones

California says NO to Pot Delivering Drones

Californians expecting to get their marijuana delivered via drone should not hold their breath. A new set of regulations will make it harder for California businesses who try to deliver pot in unique ways.

The legalization of marijuana has raised a host of controversy. For one, the question of who has the right to distribute pot is already a complex issue. However, now there is the question of how these products get delivered.

Pot Drones? Should they be allowed?

California legislators are hoping to get these questions answered before issuing dispensary licenses next year. They came together this month to lay down the rules. Ultimately, it was decided that marijuana could NOT be delivered by drones.

The decision was part of the Commercial Cannabis Business Licensing Program Regulations released by the state.

“Transportation may not be done by aircraft, watercraft, rail, drones, human-powered vehicles, or unmanned vehicles,” the regulations read, according to Ars Technica.

While deliveries will be allowed, they must adhere to the following guidelines:

Deliveries may be made only in person by enclosed motor vehicle. Cannabis goods may not be visible to the public during deliveries. Cannabis goods may not be left in an unattended motor vehicle unless the vehicle has an active alarm system. Vehicles used for delivery must have a dedicated, active GPS device that enables the dispensary to identify the geographic location of the vehicle during delivery.”

The news will be a major disappointment to the handful of businesses in California who already promised future pot deliveries by drone. One company, MDelivers, said the opportunity to deliver marijuana via drone was “unmistakable.”

Nevertheless, the company CEO did not count on lawmakers forbidding drone deliveries:

After navigating the complexities of medical marijuana permitting, the state and FAA licensing process was actually pretty simple. Nobody can jump in at the 11th hour and rewrite the laws of aerodynamics,” Chris Boudreau, CEO and founder of MDelivers said in a blog post before the regulations were announced.

With the new policies in place, there is no telling how entrepreneurs will get marijuana to their customers. Even if drones are off the table, there are a variety of other new, interesting methods being considered.

We may see a vending machine attached to a self-driving car before we see a drone,” Marshall Hayner, CEO of Trees Delivery, told Mashable.

As California prepares to expand its cannabis market, there continues to be challenges among those against marijuana legalization, especially when it comes to the products crossing state lines illegally. This has already been a major concern for states where port had been legal for recreational use such as Colorado and Oregon.

Surrounding states are trying to address the marijuana diversion issue by requiring pot businesses to track their product from “seed to store.” Time will tell how these sorts of issues will be regulated.

Furthermore, there remains to be conflicting ideologies on whether or not marijuana use is beneficials. While there has been proven benefits of marijuana use, there are also negative effects of marijuana use. Like any drug, marijuana has the potential to be abused.

As more and more states legalize marijuana, logistical challenges remain such as how the products can be delivered. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, where it’s still classified as a controlled substance. This results in a variety of challenges in states like Colorado where recreational marijuana is legal.

The federal government requires that Colorado and any state that legalizes marijuana work together to prevent:

  • Distribution of marijuana to minors.
  • Transporting marijuana from states where it’s legal to other states.
  • Growing marijuana on public lands.
  • Marijuana possession or use on federal property.
  • Other criminal activity or violence associated with the sale of marijuana.

It is important to remember that like any drug, marijuana has the potential to be abused. Do not feel shame for feeling out of control of your marijuana use. Stigma should not prevent you from seeking treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please reach out today. Do not wait. Call toll-free now.

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Trump Administration May Take Action against Legal Marijuana States

Trump Administration May Take Action against Legal Marijuana States

Author: Justin Mckibben

It is no secret that President Trump has not been exactly consistent with his views of drugs, specifically legalized marijuana. During the course of the campaign for President he flip-flopped a lot on whether or not he would support or oppose legalization. While a wave of marijuana reforms have continued to blossom in several states, it seems those inconsistencies are again cropping up. Now one can only guess what is going to come of the Trump administration and their strategy on marijuana.

Just this Thursday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer came to speak on behalf of the Trump administration. Here he suggested the federal government may soon crack down on recreational marijuana use across the country. Not just as part of the “law-and-order” stance of the plan for the Trump administration, but even in states that have already legalized marijuana for recreational use.

Timeline on Trump’s Back and Forth

So just to give us an idea of how this back and forth goes, we will set a timeline of notable changes in Trump’s attitude toward marijuana.

  • The 90s

Back in the early 90s Donald Trump actually stated that he believed the United States should legalize all drugs and use the funds from sales to educate people on the dangers of drug use. During an interview he stated:

“We’re losing badly the war on drugs,” he said. “You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars.”

  • 2016

Then, during the campaign of 2016 the attitude began to slip and slide at all sides of the spectrum. In June he stated he was adamantly opposed to legalization of marijuana. He still kind-of-sort-of supported medical marijuana at the time. His comments during the June CPAC Conference:

“I say it’s bad. Medical marijuana is another thing, but I think it’s bad, and I feel strongly about it,”

These comments come after a period in which he had stated he was a long-time supporter of marijuana for medical purposes.

  • 2016… Again

During the same campaign, Trump was at a rally outside a casino in Reno, Nevada where he stated the government should use Colorado as a “litmus test” to properly assess the dangers of recreational marijuana. So he went from strongly opposing legalized marijuana, to supporting marijuana reforms, pending further review.

  • 2016… Another One

Later, the soon-to-be-President Trump had stated on the campaign trail he would only support marijuana legalization at the state-by-state level, essentially affirming he would allow the states to make up their own mind about how to handle marijuana reform.

  • This Week

Spicer’s comments during this week’s White House press briefing came in response to a question from a local Arkansas reporter. Spicer was asked whether President Donald Trump was OK with Arkansas’ medical marijuana law, which recently approved its regulations by the state’s Medical Marijuana Commission.

Sean Spicer now tells reporters that Trump does approve of medical marijuana use, which could help provide relief to the chronically ill. However, he is now more firmly opposed to recreational use. The notable addition to this stance is when Spicer says,

“There is still a federal law that we need to abide by … when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature,”

It is notable because now not only has President Trump done a more deliberate shift to stand against recreational use, but now the concept of “state-by-state level” seems to be out the window too. Many are outraged, Marijuana Majority founder Tom Angell saying:

“On the campaign trail, President Trump clearly and repeatedly pledged that he would leave decisions on cannabis policy to the states.”

Because the federal government still considers marijuana an illegal drug, these comments indicate they plan on enforcing those rules regardless of any state’s decision.

Obama Era on Marijuana

These changes in policy are almost the exact opposite of every move made by the previous administration to combat the negative impacts of the failed War on Drugs.

Back in 2014 U.S. Congress approved legislation preventing the DEA from carrying out any raids, arrest, or prosecutions of patients using medical marijuana. It blocked law enforcement agencies under the Justice Department from consuming federal dollars in efforts to enforce federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized the use of medicinal marijuana. Under former President Barack Obama, the Department of Justice did not pursue action against states that legalized recreational marijuana use, including:

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Massachusetts
  • Oregon
  • Washington

In fact, the field of politics was shifting back in 2015 when a bipartisan effort was put forth in Congress to block the DEA from using federal funding for aggressively pursuing marijuana in the states where it was legalized.

Trump Administration “Taking Action”

Yet, this week Sean Spicer suggested the Trump administration and the Justice Department will no longer turn a blind eye to those states. In fact, he states it will be “taking action” against these states. Contradicting all the talk of states’ rights and rolling back federal enforcement to attack states who have their own legislations in place.

Even worse, these comments are completely contradicting a stance Sean Spicer announced on a different issue.

Earlier in the briefing, Spicer said federal guidance telling states to allow transgender students to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity was a violation of states’ rights. In fact, Spicer had literally just moments before said:

“If a state wants to pass a law or a rule, or if an organization wants to do something in compliance with a state rule, that’s their right,” Spicer said about transgender bathroom use. “But it shouldn’t be the federal government getting in the way of this.”

To recap, the Trump administration is telling us transgender rights should be left up to the states to decide, but those same “states’ rights” do not apply to recreational marijuana use, despite the fact these states have already done their due diligence through democratic process to make these choices.

Opinion

While Sean Spicer and the Trump administration don’t seem to want to compare those two subjects, Spicer is happy to relate it to another; the opiate epidemic. During the briefing the press secretary actually suggested there was some relation between states’ decisions to legalize marijuana to the opioid crisis.

The question is how is the Trump administration going to take action? Will the DEA raid dispensaries and shut down businesses and imprison business owners who are working in accordance to their state law? Will they be refusing funding to these states or providing some other form of punishment?

The Trump administration is still willing to support medical marijuana, so the people who it helps most may still be OK.

As an advocate for recovery, and as a recovering drug addict, I understand people want to feel the government is doing something to stop the rising rates of addiction. I just think there is a better place to start; education and treatment.

When it comes to the drug problem in America though, we have to address this issue rationally. The legal status of a drug does not make it any less dangerous to those who struggle with addiction. Alcohol and prescription drugs can prove that any day of the week. If we are really focused on trying to fix the problem, how about we start with those industries? The answer to the opiate crisis or general drug problem is probably more education, prevention, treatment and support.

On one hand, one could say it is good that Trump is malleable in his views so he can develop them overtime with more knowledge and reasoning. What do you think? Either way, abusing any substance is a serious issue, whether it is legal or not. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

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Could the Cannabis Transdermal Patch Be Abused?

Could the Cannabis Transdermal Patch Be Abused?

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

The growth of medical marijuana reform in America continues to make headway. Some new states are beginning the process of establishing new regulations and policies concerning medical marijuana, and others have already begun to debate fringe issues like drugged driving or workplace drug tests. Medical marijuana is no longer as taboo as it once was, and now innovations are beginning to reinvent the way marijuana is used medically. Something else you may not know about medical marijuana technology is the cannabis transdermal patch.

A few months ago there was the story of the new cannabis inhaler, utilizing the same kind of device that people use for asthma. This unique method of administration has nothing else like it so far. There is enthusiasm about how this could change how people utilize medicinal marijuana to fight cancer and other serious diseases. It may even change how some people view the use of cannabis for medical reasons. So looking at the concept of cannabis transdermal patch, it sparks some curiosity.

Cannabis Transdermal Patch: How Patches Work

To explain, a transdermal patch is basically an adhesive attached to the skin which allows medication to be absorbed through the skin. Of course, transdermal patches already exist for all types of other medications. The nicotine patch is probably one of the most popular forms of transdermal medication. The extremely potent and potentially lethal drug Fentanyl has also been used in the patch form before.

The cannabis transdermal patch would release certain chemicals over time to combat the neurological nerve pain for many patients. According to initial reports from one company, Cannabis Science, so far the research has shown no notable negative side effects.

Cannabis Transdermal Patch: Mary’s Medicinals

This actually isn’t a brand new concept. Since 2013, Mary’s Medicinals is a company that has been focused on medical cannabis. The company was the first to ever offer a cannabis transdermal patch as a method of delivery.

The cannabis transdermal patch from Mary’s has actually won numerous awards at the CannAwards in 2015. In defense of their intentions with the product, they have even said,

“We don’t cater towards the recreational market”

One report says that 80% of the companies products don’t even contain THC. THC is the chemical in marijuana responsible for the “high” people experience.

Cannabis Transdermal Patch: Cannabis Science

The cannabis transdermal patch was created by a company called Cannabis Science. According to one statement from the company about the cannabis transdermal patch,

“An advantage of a transdermal drug delivery route over other types of medication delivery, such as oral, topical, intravenous, intramuscular, etc. is that the patch provides a controlled release of the medication into the patient, usually through body heat melting thin layers of medication embedded in the adhesive which will be containing high potency cannabinoid (CBD) extract that slowly enters into the bloodstream and then penetrates the central nervous system of the patient delivering the pain relief sought.”

So essentially the idea is to create a controlled dosage system for medical cannabis extract that can eliminate other complications of administration. The CEO of Cannabis Science also states,

“The development of these two new pharmaceutical medicinal applications are just the tip of the iceberg,” then later adding, “We are also busy researching more potential needs for cannabis related medical applications and developing the methods for delivery of these medications.”

So it would seem that this team believes the future of medical marijuana could very well be in finding new ways to apply the substance and administer it in a medicinal capacity.

Cannabis Transdermal Patch: Can it be Abused?

So as an individual in recovery and when looking at news in the field of drug abuse, medication and addiction treatment, of course my question is could these patches be abused. As with most people, when you hear anything to do with marijuana you have the stigma attached to it that has become so standard. But in reality, we have seen science support that there are uses for the substance medically.

Same can be said for Xanax or OxyContin, but these are still powerful drugs and with the nation facing an opioid crisis it is probably safe to say that even legal medicine with good intention has the capacity to destroy lives.

So, can the cannabis transdermal patch be abused?

Surely some could be. Depending on the chemical make-up the patch could probably be used as a sneaky way for people to get high. Surely there will be people who go out of their way to figure out how to misuse the cannabis transdermal patch. Still, for most companies the idea behind them has been to specifically develop a method of administering medical marijuana extracts without the “high” side effects.

Regardless of the legal standing of a medication, marijuana or otherwise, the dangers of substance abuse are very real. So perhaps as the use of the cannabis transdermal patch becomes more relevant more research about abuse.

Any substance can be abused and develop into an addiction, even marijuana. If you are struggling with marijuana addiction, do not hesitate to get help today. You are not alone! If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now.

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The World’s First Cannabis Inhaler Hits Mainstream Market

The World’s First Cannabis Inhaler Hits Mainstream Market

Thanks to the recent upsurge of marijuana reform in many states there are now more ways than ever to use marijuana. Both through medical and recreational means. Electronic cigarettes are now a commonly used method of smoking cannabis oils, while some have converted the substance to capsules. Edibles and beverages also make up part of the marijuana menu these days. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more diverse, a new product emerges- the cannabis inhaler!

The world’s first-ever cannabis inhaler is starting to make its way to mainstream markets. The name of the first official brand of cannabis inhaler is Vapen Clear, and they claim there is nothing else out there like it.

What is Vapen Clear?

The Vapen Clear title product looks like a typical asthma inhaler. The product is also used in the same way too. The difference is Vapen Clear isn’t loaded with the medicine albuterol.

The cannabis inhaler releases THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana, instead of asthma prescription medication. The makers of the cannabis inhaler state:

“It packs a powerful 10mg expenditure per puff, which equals to 100 total puffs per cartridge but can be toned down to meet your needs.”

The makers of the cannabis inhaler also point out the aspects of their product that sets it apart from other marijuana accessories. With the vaporizer pens that have become increasingly popular the device heats the contents in order to create smoke. With the Vapen Clear the makers say it doesn’t heat the THC. Instead, the cannabis inhaler uses a propellant to blast the “medicine” directly into the lungs.

This would probably make the most sense for the individuals who are trying to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Some people want to avoid the smoke entirely, and it can’t be good for you anyway.

Cannabis Inhaler Marketing

The Vapen Clear cannabis inhaler is already at an advantage for being the first of its kind. Still, the marketers have decided to expand the strategy, and utilize the preferences associated with marijuana to sell different brands of the Vapen Clear. So far they advertise three different designs based on a different marijuana strain. For example:

  1. The “Daytime” inhaler comes with THC from a Sativa strain, because they claim Sativa marijuana produces energy.
  2. The “Nighttime” inhaler comes with an Indica strain to provide a more mellowing effect.
  3. The “Afternoon” inhaler is described to provide a more steady feeling from a hybrid (blended strain) of the two.

So far, the Vapen Clear cannabis inhaler is only available in Arizona at select specialist centers. However, their site claims that soon the new Vapen Clear products will be available in multiple other states, including:

As enterprises involved in the expanded market of legalized marijuana evolve, there is sure to be more and more developments such as this to expose a wider population to various means of marijuana consumption. The only question is, is this necessarily a good thing for everyone?

The Cons

While there is a fair amount of support for the progression of marijuana reform, especially for medical reasons, there is still a fair amount of risk involved.

For one, does it make it easier for the drug to be abused? Not only does the design keep it discrete for those who might have legitimate access to it, but also for those who do not. Then, with the new method of administration, will there be an increase chances of abuse?

Also, with this new method of consumption, could there be unforeseen health risks?

With any drug there are risks, even if there is a movement to legalize and de-stigmatize marijuana. Marijuana may not be considered as dangerous as heroin or other illicit narcotics, but to addicts a drug is a drug. Could there be an adverse impact resulting from this new cannabis inhaler? Is this new device a piece of drug-abuse-enabling technology?

Any substance can be abused and develop into an addiction, even marijuana. If you are struggling with marijuana addiction, do not hesitate to get help today. You are not alone! If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now.

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