Colorado Tourists Flock to Buy Marijuana

by Mike Miller January 31, 2014

Tourists are flocking to the Rocky Mountains. They are flooding the state by car, flying in from all over the United States and even from Europe. Are they here to ski? Not quite! The reason tourists are inundating the state is that recreational marijuana is for sale.

On January 1, 2014, the first day stores began to sell recreational marijuana, the lines were long. How long? Would you be willing to stand in line and wait more than three hours in sub-freezing temperatures? If you wanted to buy weed, you might.

Despite stocking up on supply, many stores ran out completely. Within two hours of opening, all stores began limiting the amount each customer could buy. It was lunacy, but not bedlam. Patrons were calm and orderly despite the long wait, cold temperatures and limited quantities.

Just how well legal marijuana will go in Colorado remains to be seen. It was estimated that more than $5 million worth of weed was sold in the first three days alone. And this is from the 20 or so stores that held a license to sell it.

We will continue to monitor the situation in Colorado. Will this be an experiment that fails? Is this a long-term solution to financial woes? Will the state see a dramatic increase in overall drug use and abuse? Only time will tell and we will be here.

Alaskans Could Use a Drug Class Before Legalizing Marijuana

by Mike Miller January 26, 2014

Many folks in Alaska are worried about marijuana, and for good reason. Alaska is set to be the next state, after Washington and Colorado, to legalize cannabis for recreational use.

This year Alaskans are slated to address the issue of possibly legalizing marijuana. What I haven't seen from the other states that have voted on this issue is any type of educational requirements prior to getting the "right" to use this drug. Why do you think that is? Is it because we already get the privilege to use alcohol in this country just because we reach the age of 21? Is it because we are used to being reactive rather than proactive? As reported in www.adn.com.

The cynic in me believes it is a revenue generator for the legal system and its representatives?

We have to pass a written test and a vision test as well as a driving test in order to get our driver's licenses. Most people attend some kind of schooling and have someone teach them how to operate a motor vehicle prior to actually taking the tests. We are taught the rights, responsibilities and penalties associated with getting a license. Why not do the same for psychoactive substances?

My suggestion would be to require drug educational classes (even online ones) and passing a test as any part of legalization of marijuana. In addition, I would have the applicant sign a type of waiver stating that he or she is aware of the dangers associated with using marijuana and will take full responsibility if any of these dangers are realized and not put the burden on society.

As the educational director for both in-class and online marijuana classes I find it difficult to believe that many people do not realize the many negative side effects associated with marijuana use, especially chronic use. I would hope that even proponents of legalization would agree that an individual should be aware of all potential aspects of use prior to engaging in any use.

What do you think about this topic? I look forward to hearing from you.

Marijuana Class Discusses the Potential Hazzards of Medicinal Marijuana

by Mike Miller January 21, 2014

What are your thoughts and opinions about the medicinal value of marijuana? Given that more than half of those polled believe that the drug should be legalized for medicinal purposes and 20 states and the District of Columbia have already done so, show that the nation’s sentiments are in favor of medical weed.

Marijuana’s best-known ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is responsible for the high, desired by recreational users. But many people who try smoking marijuana to relieve a health problem, are distressed by its psychoactive effects. As reported in well.blogs.nytimes.com.

Options Other Than Smoking THC-Laden Weed

Physicians who believe in the medicinal value of marijuana think that some people would do better with a derivative of marijuana that offers therapeutic action without the mind-altering baggage. A more precise dose, free of unwanted contaminants, would be safer, and its effects would be reproducible.

Still, access to purified and well-tested drugs derived from marijuana would be a far better approach. One such drug, Sativex, is currently in Phase 3 trials in the United States for the relief of neuropathic pain. It is a combination of CBD and THC in a ratio that minimizes the appetite stimulation, drowsiness and anxiety induced by THC while magnifying painkilling and anti-tumor properties.

The drugs Marinol and Cesamet are THC compounds in pill form, approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and AIDS-related anorexia and wasting. Their action is slowed by having to pass through the digestive system before reaching their target.

Sativex, the THC-CBD combination, is available in Canada to treat cancer pain and neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis. It is sprayed under the tongue for quick entry into the bloodstream, as happens when marijuana is smoked.

It will be interesting to see how the future of medicinal marijuana unfolds. As always I am interested to hear your thoughts on the topic.

Medicinal Marijuana Should Require an Online Drug Course

by Mike Miller January 17, 2014

Do you know someone who thinks marijuana is safer to use than alcohol? If so, you are not alone. The public perception of marijuana has come a long way in the past 30 or 40 years.

Despite being classified by the federal government alongside other dangerous and addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin, marijuana’s danger has been diminished, at least in the public eye. Twenty states have legalized it for medicinal purposes and there is a strong push to legalize recreational use on a national level. Both Washington and Colorado already have legalized it and just last month so did the city of Portland, Maine. As reported in well.blogs.nytimes.com.

But what true medicinal value does cannabis have?

Medical marijuana is widely recognized as being effective against nausea and appetite loss caused by chemotherapy, although there are better treatments are available. But preliminary research and anecdotal reports have suggested that marijuana might be useful in treating a number of other conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, migraine, cancer growth, abnormal heart rhythms, Alzheimer’s disease, Fibromyalgia, incontinence, bacterial infections, osteoporosis, intense itching, Tourette’s syndrome and sleep apnea.

In future blogs, we will continue to address the truths of marijuana's medicinal value. Keep in mind, it is still classified as a dangerous and addictive substance and is illegal under federal law.

Educate Yourself Before Trying Molly

by Mike Miller January 13, 2014

Have you ever heard of the drug “Molly?” Odds are if you go to clubs, raves or have a teenager you have. This dangerous drug, more commonly known as Ecstasy, has been blamed on the deaths of at least four teenagers recently.

Molly — short for "molecule" — is billed as a purified form of MDMA, the main ingredient in Ecstasy. It boosts both serotonin and dopamine, making a person feel happy, and enhancing the pleasure of touch. But Harvard Medical School professor John Halpern warns that the side effects can range from dehydration to even over-hydration. How is that possible? As reported in www.npr.org.

While the high during use may be great, the day after is equally bad. The crash after using the drug can be so severe that Molly hangovers have been dubbed "Suicide Tuesdays."

What is even scarier, is the fact that users don't really know what they are using. Realistically, this stuff is dangerous and deadly, and you are playing Russian roulette. Often what people think is Molly is often partly — or completely — something else.

College campuses have also been cautioning students -- as the popularity of Molly keeps growing.

Popular artists, like Rhianna, mention the drug in songs further glamorizing the drug. This works against authorities who are trying to educate people and discourage it's use. Adding to the challenge is that Molly is odorless and easy to conceal.

The only way to prevent these tragedies, is to educate our youth on how dangerous it is. Few people would risk their lives if they knew they were doing it. Do yourself and those you care about a favor – take an alcohol and drug educational class so you can make smart and healthy decisions.

Molly’s Are Dangerous – Take a Drug Awareness Class and Learn More!

by Mike Miller January 9, 2014

A pig is a pig regardless of what you call it. Ecstasy is ecstasy even if you call it “Molly.” As a counselor for drug and alcohol awareness classes, I hear about new drug names all of the time. When a student mentioned her favorite drug was molly I was perplexed.

However, after a brief description of the drug’s effects I knew exactly what she was talking about. She claims she had no idea she had taken MDMA, otherwise known as Ecstasy, a club-drug popular at raves and other social events. As reported in www.npr.org.

Despite its cute name, it is a very dangerous drug. There have been a recent string of deaths in the Northeast as a result of Molly. Authorities believe that a purified form of Ecstasy is what killed four young people in just over a week, and sent many others to emergency rooms. Incidents involving this drug have stretched from Boston to New York and Washington, D.C.

One of the scariest things about Molly is how easy is is to get. Couple that with the fact that it is cheaper than a 6-pack of beer and disaster could be looming.

The spike in Molly use parallels the resurgence of electronic dance music at raves, clubs and festivals.

We will take a more in-depth look at Molly in our next blog. In the meantime I urge you to take a drug class to learn more about the dangers of MDMA before experimenting with such a deadly drug.

If You Use Marijuana, Please Educate Yourself!

by Mike Miller January 6, 2014

Despite its growing popularity both culturally and socially it is important to remember that marijuana is still considered an addictive drug. The legal line with marijuana is getting blurrier all the time with 20 states and the District of Columbia now making it legal for medicinal purposes and Colorado and Washington legalizing for recreational purposes.

Did you know that in 1970 Congress classified marijuana as an illegal Schedule I drug, defining as having a potential for abuse and addiction with no medical value. As reported in well.blogs.nytimes.com.

Does marijuana have medicinal value? So far the American Medical Association (AMA) has yet to issue a single illness for which they recommend cannabis.

There is evidence that several common disorders, including epilepsy, alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder, involve disruptions in the endocannabinoid system, suggesting that those patients might benefit from marijuana or its ingredients.

The strongest evidence for the health benefits of medical marijuana or its derivatives involves the treatment of chronic neuropathic pain and the spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis.

We will continue to look at the medicinal value of marijuana in future blogs. Keep in mind that recreational drugs are for the weak of mind. If you or someone you care about has a problem with marijuana, please educate yourselves with an online marijuana class.

Is it Risky to Legalize Marijuana Without Requiring Drug Education?

by Mike Miller January 2, 2014

I am not sure which is a greater problem in America today marijuana or prescription medication. What do you think? The trend currently is to legalize marijuana with a couple of states – Washington and Colorado – legalizing it for recreational use, and to make prescription medications more difficult to obtain.

Marijuana has been used medically, recreationally and spiritually for about 5,000 years. Did you know that marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals from 18 chemical families. More than 2,000 compounds are released when it is smoked, and as with tobacco, there are dangers in smoking it. As reported in well.blogs.nytimes.com.

The first state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes was California back in 1996. Despite being legal, the medical marijuana industry did not take off for a number of years – primarily because doctors only were prescribing it for the very limited medical needs for which the bill required. These included AIDS, glaucoma and cancer.

Currently, medical marijuana clinics operate in 20 states and the District of Columbia. A Gallup poll conducted last month found that 58 percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana.

We will continue to look at medical marijuana in future blogs. In the meantime, keep in mind that marijuana is a dangerous and addictive drug. If you or someone care about is using marijuana please educate yourself by taking a marijuana awareness class. If you prefer to take it from home, there are online addiction awareness classes too.

Toronto Mayor Should Have Taken a Drug Awareness Class

by Mike Miller December 29, 2013

One would like to believe his elected officials are not total party animals. I remember 23 years ago when Marion Berry, the mayor of Washington DC was busted for smoking crack in a room full of prostitutes.

Despite admitting his transgression the uber-intelligent intellectuals of our nation’s capital voted him back into office just four years later. As reported in www.cnn.com.

Will Toronto residents be as kind to its mayor, Rob Ford?

Despite the call for him to step aside after he publicly admitted Tuesday using crack cocaine, Ford said he will not step down and will run for re-election next year. I sure hope the wise folks in Toronto show better judgment than those in DC.

His excuse for smoking crack – he was in a drunken stupor! Gee that makes it all ok!

He promised the people of Canada's largest city that his mistakes will never happen again. I certainly do not believe he deserves a second chance. There is no way this Chris Farley look-alike would ever have admitted to his transgression had it not been caught on video.

The 44-year-old Ford was caught on tape smoking a crack pipe.

I do not thing there is an iota of remorse in the man. Ford said no one he was close to knew of his drug use, not even his brother, Doug, a city councilor, and was quoted as saying now that his drug use was “out of the bag” that he feels “like a thousand pounds have been lifted off (his)shoulders."

This guy needs a professional alcohol and drug class in addition to rehab. Until he seeks help for everything that ails him, he cannot be trusted to honestly govern his city.

Will Tighter Controls Curb Need for Drug Abuse Classes?

by Mike Miller December 26, 2013

The time has finally come that the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is clamping down on prescription medication refills. Don’t you agree this is long overdue?

Get this, in 2011, about 131 million prescriptions for hydrocodone-containing medications were written for about 47 million patients, according to government estimates. That amounts to about five billion pills. As reported in www.nytimes.com.

The major change is the number of times a prescription can be refilled. Currently patients can refill prescription for six months. Under the new regulations that time-frame will be cut in half to 90 days.

In recent years, the question of whether to tighten prescribing controls over drug medication containing hydrocodone, has been the subject of intense lobbying.

Last year, for example, lobbyists for druggists and chain pharmacies mobilized to derail a measure passed in the Senate that would mandate the types of restrictions that the F.D.A. is now recommending.

At the time, the lobbying arm of the American Cancer Society said that making patients see doctors more often to get prescriptions would impose added burdens and costs on them.

Would you agree that if you are needing chronic pain therapy you should be see your prescribing physician every few months?

I am unsure what the answer is to curb the growing addiction problem our nation has to pain medication, but this seems to me to be a step in the right direction.