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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Medical Marijuana Shows Great Promise

Jun 30, 2014 06:16PM ● By Raquel Skidmore

On November 4, Florida voters will decide whether to accept Amendment 2, which would legalize cannabis medicinal use, as has already been done in 22 states. An opinion poll conducted by the bipartisan team of Anzalone Liszt Grove Research and Public Opinion Strategies reveals support by 70 percent of the electorate.

A new strain of cannabis promises to impart powerful healing properties in treating a number of illnesses without the psychoactive properties usually associated with the drug.

The strain of marijuana known as Charlotte’s Web, created in 2011 by traditional crossbreeding methods, is the first of its kind.

Namesake Charlotte Figi was 2 years old when she was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome, a severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy, and was experiencing at least 300 grand mal seizures a week. Her symptoms were so grave that her parents placed a do not resuscitate order in her medical chart. After completing the legal requirements to administer the potent herb, the seizures were reduced to four a month and she is successfully engaging in normal childhood activities.

Florida residents may soon have the option to find similar relief. Amendment 2 has very strict guidelines and regulations that will ensure only those needing the alternative medicine for legitimate medical conditions will receive it. The official definition of the genus Cannabis will no longer cover plants with .5 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the element that induces the high, and also more than 15 percent cannabidiol (CBO) which is the element that has shown great results in alleviating epileptic seizures and severe muscle spasms.

According to the bill, the patient must see the same physician for six months, and during that time be seen for the same chronic problem three times within 90 days while maintaining permanent residency in the state and exhausting other alternative treatment options. After completion, the physician will add the patient to a “compassionate use registry” list. If a patient is under the age of 18, a second physician must be consulted to further determine the benefit of medical-grade marijuana while ensuring all other treatments have been analyzed.

All physicians that plan to prescribe medical marijuana are required to keep strict documentation of all prescriptions and treatment plans and submit them quarterly to the University of Florida College of Pharmacy to maintain proper control. Cannabis presents great promise for the medical community and gives patients suffering from chronic conditions new hope that modern medicine does not.

Source: Dr. Raquel Skidmore, M.D., Gulf Coast Holistic and Primary Care, 756 Harrison Ave., Panama City. For more information, call 850-640-1530, email [email protected] or visit   GulfCoastHolisticAndPrimaryCare.com. Also visit UnitedForCare.org.

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