Myth: Marijuana makes people lazy and unmotivated to exercise

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Have you heard the age-old critique that marijuana leads to laziness? The medical marijuana card-holding runners, bikers, hikers and yogis of Maitri defy this myth every day. And now a new study may support what we’ve seen on our team since day one: marijuana consumers are actually quite motivated.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder surveyed 605 cannabis users in states with legal adult use (i.e. recreational) marijuana programs to examine the relationship between cannabis consumption and exercise. The study’s findings are pretty fascinating: 81% of respondents who reported consuming cannabis before and/or after exercising averaged 159 minutes of exercise each week. However, respondents who reported no marijuana consumption before and/or after exercising averaged only 103 minutes of weekly exercise.

Additionally, not only did the marijuana consumers report exercising more than the non-consumers each week, but 70% of them also reported enjoying their workouts more because of their consumption. Even more, 77% reported that cannabis enhanced their workout recovery, and over half of co-users agreed or strongly agreed that cannabis increases their motivation to exercise.

For context, consider this: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise weekly for adults, but less than 50% of adults meet this.

So, what does this mean for those of us looking for guidance on how to bolster our fitness programs with marijuana? According to the University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Bonn-Miller, vaping is an ideal route of administration, because of the fast-acting and titratable characteristics of inhalation. Bonn-Miller supports marijuana consumption prior to long, repetitive aerobic exercise, but not with heavy weight-lifting or complicated workouts, because THC can affect coordination and depth perception. Finally, Dr. Bonn-Miller recommends medicating with cannabis products high in CBD soon after exercising for the anti-inflammatory benefits.

Do you incorporate medical marijuana into your fitness regimen? Let us know in the comments!

Let's concentrate on concentrates: here are Maitri's 710 specials

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Happy 710, Maitri family!

If you’re new to the cannabis scene, you may not know about 4/20’s slightly lesser known sister holiday, 7/10. The concept behind the day is delightfully simple: 710 upside down looks like “oil.”

If you’ve been thinking about medicating with concentrates, now is a great time to start: we’ve discounted over 60 quality concentrate products as part of the celebration, and our amazing team of patient advisors and pharmacists are ready to answer questions for any first time concentrate consumers. See you on 7/10!

PITTSBURGH SPECIALS:

Please note prices below are regular retail price—discount will be applied at time of sale.

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UNIONTOWN:

Please note prices below are regular retail price—discount will be applied at time of sale.

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Today is National HIV Testing Day: Do you know your status?

It’s been more than three decades since the first HIV diagnoses were made, yet stigma remains a barrier to addressing HIV in the United States. 

There are so many ways to get tested for HIV—in your home, at a provider’s office, or even with a friend. Today at Maitri Pittsburgh, we’re working to eliminate barriers by offering free home HIV test kits for those seeking to learn their status. Join us in supporting our community to continue normalizing HIV testing and prevention education.

HIV testing is recommended as part of routine health care, but many of us are not following this recommendation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in seven people living with HIV in the U.S. today don’t know their status. Symptoms are not a reliable indication of HIV--many people who test positive can feel and appear healthy.

Type your zip code into the location-based search tool below to search for testing services, housing providers, health centers and other service providers near your current location.

Regardless of your status, if you are looking for more information about including medical marijuana in your treatment plan, we welcome you to contact us for a private consultation with a Maitri pharmacist.

Resources

AIDS Free Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania 211 Directory of HIV Testing and Counseling

Prevention Point Pittsburgh


Myth: All marijuana causes the munchies

Maitri menu items that contain THCV, the appetite suppressing cannabinoid

Maitri menu items that contain THCV, the appetite suppressing cannabinoid

We’ve all heard it before: consuming marijuana leads to excessive eating, also known as “the munchies.”  It’s true that THC, one of the primary chemical compounds in marijuana, can increase appetite. THC activates neurons in the brain that are usually shut down when you are full, causing feelings of hunger. THC also promotes release of a hormone called ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, and of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which regulates enjoyment of eating. But, there’s more to the story. 

In fact, some cannabis strains contain cannabinoids and terpenes that can actually reduce the appetite-inducing effects of THC or even suppress the appetite. Take tetrahydrocannabivarin, or THCV. This cannabinoid can be found in popular sativa-dominant strains like Durban Poison, Jack Herer and Blue Dream, and blocks THC from binding receptors that induce appetite.

Similarly, products higher in CBD can exert a similar effect to THCV, again by blocking THC from binding and stimulating appetite. Strains such as Harlequin, Lemon G, and Blueberry CBD contain significant amounts of CBD, as do a number of capsules, tinctures, and RSOs.

Similarly, terpenes can play a role in appetite suppression. Take humulene, a cannabis terpene also found in hops, sage, ginger, and ginseng. Prominent in strains such as Super Lemon Haze and GG #4, humulene can suppress the brain’s appetite and satiety pathway, reducing desire to eat, and is currently being studied as a weight loss aid.

The kicker? Some studies have found that on average, regular marijuana consumers have lower rates of obesity, smaller waist circumferences, and lesser risk for Type II diabetes than the general population. Though this association does not prove causation, it is an area of interest for further research.

How has cannabis impacted your eating habits? Let us know in the comments!

Further reading:

https://news.yale.edu/2015/02/18/mulling-marijuana-munchies-how-brain-flips-hunger-switch

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/20/health/why-weed-causes-munchies-food-drayer/index.html

https://www.nature.com/articles/nature14260

https://terpenesandtesting.com/thcv-coveted-appetite-suppressing-cannabinoid/

http://adai.washington.edu/marijuana/factsheets/appetite.htm

Get certified at the Yoga Hive in Pittsburgh on Sunday, June 23

Inside the Yoga Hive’s Penn Avenue studio space.

Inside the Yoga Hive’s Penn Avenue studio space.

We are excited to team up with Kimberly Musial and the Yoga Hive team in Pittsburgh’s Garfield neighborhood to host educational programming and medical marijuana card certification opportunities.

To kick off this partnership, the Yoga Hive will host Maitri pharmacists and the Medical Marijuana Specialists team on Sunday, June 23 from 12:30pm - 4:30pm for education and certifications.

Walk-ins will be accepted, but appointments are encouraged. To schedule your appointment and prepare your medical records, contact Shelly at shelly@mms4relief.com or 833.667.4665

Listening, learning and loving: what PRIDE means to us

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It’s PRIDE month, and we love showing support for the LGBTQ+ community with rainbows galore. Plus, we’re pumped to be tabling at Pittsburgh PrideFest this weekend--stop by our booth in the Mylan Wellness Village on Saturday and Sunday!

But beyond the swag and festivities lies a significant story often overlooked, and perhaps even unknown to many of our younger patients. In fact, the history of the medical marijuana legalization movement is strongly rooted in the LGBTQ+ community, who fought for access to the medicine throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

Many of us remember when news of the AIDS epidemic began to spread in the 1980s and 90s. People were in pain, dying from Wasting Syndrome, and suffering from the side effects of the drugs used to treat it. But LGBTQ+ pioneers like Dennis Peron, Mary Jane “Brownie Mary” Rathbun, and John Entwistle fought for them to access medical marijuana, compassion, and relief from their suffering. Their tireless advocacy culminated in San Francisco’s passage of Proposition P in 1991, followed by Proposition 215 in 1996, making California the first state in the United State to legalize access to medical marijuana.

So what does PRIDE mean to us? The way we see it, inclusion and acceptance are directly connected to our mission towards achieving elevated wellness. We believe cannabis, diversity, PRIDE, and inclusion are critical to and interconnected in the bigger picture of holistic health.

Today, we are honored to continue our journey of listening, learning and loving. Organizations like Prevention Point Pittsburgh, the Positive Health Clinic, Central Outreach Wellness Center and activists like Joey Suarez are fighting for access to healthcare for the LGBTQ+ community, and we are honored to call them our friends and partners.

Happy PRIDE month, Maitri family! Keep sharing your stories with us - we are all on this journey together.


Discounted certifications for veterans available at June 15 Breakfast Buds event

We are pleased to announce that the Medical Marijuana Specialists team will offer discounted certifications to veterans at the next Breakfast Buds event, taking place on Saturday, June 15, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Uniontown Country Club, located at 25 Bailey Lane, Uniontown, PA 15401. The fee will be $100 for new certifications and $75 for renewals.

To make your certification appointment, contact 833.667.4665 or shelly@mms4relief.com

Operation 1620 brings veterans together to enjoy a hot breakfast, receive medical marijuana education from dispensary staff, and build community.

Maitri is proud to be the dispensary sponsor for Operation 1620’s expansion into Pennsylvania.

Click here to register for the June 15 breakfast.

It’s National Women’s Health Week: let's talk about women, pain and medical marijuana

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In honor of National Women’s Health Week, we’re talking all things women and medical marijuana. As a women-owned and operated dispensary and cultivator, we know it’s critical to formulate products, a retail experience, and an approach to patient care that meets the complex healthcare needs of women. We are also cognizant of women in the cannabis space continuing to face social stigmas about their medical marijuana consumption, and remain committed to breaking down these barriers.  

First, let’s talk numbers. According to this report, women currently make up 38 percent of cannabis users, but that is expected to increase to 50 percent by 2022. In fact, the total number of female cannabis consumers grew by 92 percent in 2018.  

What’s bringing women through our dispensary doors? The answer shouldn’t surprise many: chronic pain, often related to endometriosis, fibromyalgia, and even menstrual cramps, among others. Take a look at some of the research our pharmacy team compiled: 

Women’s reproductive organs + the endocannabinoid system

In this comprehensive review of the endocannabinoid system’s role in the female reproductive system, researchers concluded that endocannabinoids play a significant role.  According to the authors, “the endocannabinoid system may represent an important task for researchers dealing with diseases of the female reproductive system characterized by increased invasiveness and proliferation of the endometrium. Among these diseases, endometrial cancer does certainly have a primary role, but also benign pathologies such as endometriosis could benefit from the results of such research. Indeed, the evaluation of chemical compounds acting on the endocannabinoid system will pave the way to develop alternative pharmacological strategies for a disease that, at present, heavily relies on surgical treatments.” 

Endometriosis + medical marijuana 

According to this survey of 484 women between the ages of 18-45 with endometriosis in Australia, cannabis was highly effective in pain reduction. Cannabis, heat, hemp/CBD oil, and dietary changes were the most highly rated in terms of self-reported effectiveness in pain reduction. Physical interventions such as yoga/pilates, stretching, and exercise were rated as being less effective. Authors wrote that “women using cannabis reported the highest self-rated effectiveness.”

Fibromyalgia + medical marijuana

Cannabis rich in THC may be useful in the treatment of fibromyalgia, according to this

experimental placebo-controlled study with three different strains of cannabis. On four different occasions, 20 patients with fibromyalgia received a strain with either 22 mg THC, 13 mg THC and 18 mg CBD, 18 mg CBD, or a placebo. The two strains containing THC caused a significant increase in pressure pain threshold relative to the placebo. CBD inhalation increased THC plasma concentrations but diminished THC-induced analgesic effects, indicative of synergistic pharmacokinetic but antagonistic pharmacodynamic interactions of THC and CBD. Authors wrote that this “experimental trial shows the complex behavior of inhaled cannabinoids in chronic pain patients with just small analgesic responses after a single inhalation.”

In another observational cross-over study with 31 patients suffering from fibromyalgia and lower back pain, a treatment with marijuana had a beneficial effect. The patients were screened, treated with three months of standardised analgesic therapy with opioids and duloxetine. Following three months of this therapy, the patients could opt for additional use of cannabis and were treated for a minimum of six months with cannabis.

While standard treatment led to minor improvements as compared with baseline status, the addition of marijuana allowed a significantly higher improvement in all outcomes at three months after initiation of cannabis treatment and the improvement was maintained at six months. Authors concluded that their study demonstrates an advantage of medical marijuana in fibromyalgia patients with low back pain as compared to standard treatment.

Menstrual cramps + medical marijuana

In this study of myometrium tissue from 78 women, researchers found that the severity of dysmenorrhoea (menstrual cramps) were associated with the level of CB1 receptors in women’s endocannabinoid systems. Authors wrote that these “data suggest that cannabinoid receptor CB1 may be involved in the pathogenesis of dysmenorrhea in adenomyosis and may be a potential therapeutic target.”

In layperson’s terms, this means that the endocannabinoid system’s role in women’s reproductive health and fertility is significant and merits further investigation.

Chronic pain in women + medical marijuana

Medical marijuana was rated the most effective alternative treatment for relieving chronic pain, according to the results of a survey of over 2,400 women in chronic pain. Given a choice of 11 different alternative therapies, many women said they had tried several treatments in the past year. While cannabis was one of the least used alternative therapies, it quickly rose to the top when women were asked about the effectiveness of treatments they had tried. Nearly 80 per cent of the 431 women who used cannabis said it helped relieve their pain.

Marijuana Listening Tour to visit Allegheny County on Saturday, May 11

Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman at the Maitri Medicinals grand opening in East Liberty. Photo by Matt Dayak.

As part of his statewide listening tour, Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman will make two stops in Allegheny County this Saturday, May 11. See times and locations below.

The Lieutenant Governor has visited over 50 of the state’s 67 counties to gather feedback on the possibility of an adult use marijuana program in Pennsylvania. His office has documented over 35,000 responses from Pennsylvania citizens.

Those who cannot attend in person are encouraged to submit feedback online here.

Allegheny County -- Central
Saturday, May 11
1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Community Empowerment Association
7120 Kelly Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15208

Allegheny County -- South
Saturday, May 11
4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Penn State Greater Allegheny
Wunderly Gymnasium
4000 University Drive
McKeesport, PA 15132

Birds of a Feather: A Maitri Patient Appreciation Celebration on April 20

Join us for an all day celebration of our patients • Food • Drinks • Free certifications for veterans • Education • Community • 4/20 menu to be announced later this week.

In Pittsburgh, the following food trucks will offer discounts for Maitri patients outside our dispensary at 5845 Centre Avenue:

In Uniontown, BeeYou Cafe and the Yoga Garden have teamed up to offer free massages and discounted food and beverages for Maitri patients:

  • Free chair massages for patients at Maitri’s Uniontown dispensary, 27 West Main Street, courtesy of the Yoga Garden

  • Gourmet pasta bar by Justin Renne at the BeeYou Cafe, 39 West Main Street

  • The Green Green Juice: Spinach, cucumbers, celery, apple and lemon at BeeYou Cafe

  • The Highly Caramelized Latte: Caramel latte with caramel whipped cream and caramel drizzle at Bee You Cafe

  • MariMatcha: A sweet vanilla matcha latte at BeeYou Cafe

Operation 1620 Breakfast Buds Pennsylvania Kick Off: Breakfast and Free Medical Marijuana Card Certifications for Veterans:

  • 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Operation 1620’s Breakfast Buds program brings veterans together to enjoy a hot breakfast, receive education from dispensary staff on medical marijuana products and dosing, and visit a dispensary. Click here to RSVP for the breakfast.

  • Hosted at Ascender, 6401 Penn Avenue, Suite 300 (less than one mile away from Maitri’s Pittsburgh dispensary). Ascender is handicap accessible and has plenty of parking.

  • Breakfast catered by Kate Romane of Black Radish Kitchen

  • Medical marijuana product and dosing questions and answers session, led by Maitri Director of Pharmacy, Terri Kroh

  • Dr. Metcalf of Medical Marijuana Specialists will certify veterans with qualifying conditions for their medical marijuana card, free of charge. Please call 1.833.667.4665 or email kayla@mms4relief.com to make your appointment.

Visit Maitri at Cannabis Education Day at the Millvale Community Library:

  • 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. Maitri Pharmacist Annie Conner will do a Medical Marijuana 101 presentation for community members

  • This event is free and hosted by the Millvale Community Library at 213 Grant Avenue in Millvale. Learn more by clicking here.

  • If you can’t make the event, check out the live stream on Facebook at www.facebook.com/millvalelibrary

Maitri partners with national veterans’ group to launch Pennsylvania chapter

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4/8/19 UPDATE: Dr. Metcalf and Nurse Shelley of Medical Marijuana Specialists have generously agreed to provide FREE medical marijuana card certifications for veterans who bring documentation of qualifying conditions to the breakfast event at Ascender. They will be on-site at Ascender, located at 6401 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206 from 9am - 12:30 pm. Veterans interested in getting certified at this event should call 1.833.667.4665 or email kayla@mms4relief.com

Maitri is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Operation 1620, which will kick off in Pittsburgh on Saturday, April 20.

Operation 1620 brings awareness, education and support for veterans medicating with cannabis as an alternative to pharmaceuticals. Founded in Chicago in 2016 and now operating in seven states across the US, these veterans come together to create life-long relationships with like-minded peers, an experience they often lose upon leaving the service.

Operation 1620’s Breakfast Buds program brings veterans together to enjoy a hot breakfast, receive education from dispensary staff on medical marijuana products and dosing, and visit a dispensary.

“We are thankful for the support that the Maitri family is sharing with our organization and look forward to making a positive impact in the community,” said Caleb Masoner, Operation 1620’s Executive Director. “Our Breakfast Buds program is designed to bring veterans and their families together to build relationships and share experiences, things like successes and challenges. This partnership with Maitri will help facilitate healing for veterans statewide while driving connection in our digital community between events.”

The April 20 Breakfast Buds event will be the program’s debut event in Pennsylvania. Maitri’s pharmacy team will lead an educational question and answer session in a safe, private space, empowering veterans to gain the knowledge they need as they embark on their medical marijuana journey towards health and wellness.

“Getting to know our patients in Uniontown and Pittsburgh has reaffirmed for us how cannabis brings together people from across all life experiences. We’ve seen medical marijuana provide hope for so many of our veterans, and are honored to partner with Operation 1620 and give back to this key part of the Maitri community,” said Corinne Ogrodnik, Maitri CEO and Cofounder.

The April 20th kick-off breakfast will take place at 9 a.m. at Ascender, located less than a mile from Maitri’s East Liberty Dispensary at 6401 Penn Avenue, Suite 300, Pittsburgh, PA 15206, and will be catered by Black Radish Kitchen. The building is handicap accessible and has plenty of parking available in the lot.

RSVPs are strongly encouraged - click here to register.

Epilepsy Awareness: Seizure First Aid 101

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Across the world, families and communities celebrate March 26 as Purple Day, an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy.

At Maitri, we’ve been privileged to learn about this common neurological condition from some of the very people whose hard work and advocacy led to the legalization of a medical marijuana program here in Pennsylvania. Scroll down for links with more information about the effects of medical marijuana on patients with epilepsy.

It is currently estimated that 1 in every 100 people worldwide have epilepsy. In fact, epilepsy is one of the most common chronic neurological disorders. Do you know how to respond if someone in your life were to have a seizure?

For most seizures, basic seizure first aid is all that is needed. The steps are simple, and anyone can do them. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, the key words to remember are Stay, Safe, and Side:

  1. STAY with the person and start timing the seizure.

  2. Keep the person SAFE by guiding them away from harmful or sharp objects, and asking others to clear the space around the person seizing.

  3. Turn the person onto their SIDE if they are not awake and aware.

Additionally, it is important to note you should never try restraining someone who is having a seizure, or try to put anything in their mouth.

Further reading and links to studies

Living with Multiple Sclerosis: Deanna’s story

Photo by Matt Dayak

Photo by Matt Dayak

March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. The latest research reveals that nearly 1 million people are living with MS in the U.S. In Pennsylvania, MS is one of 21 conditions that qualifies patients for medical marijuana.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society “supports the rights of people with MS to work with their MS health care providers to access marijuana for medical purposes in accordance with legal regulations in those states where such use has been approved. In addition, the Society supports advancing research to better understand the benefits and potential risks of marijuana and its derivatives as a treatment for MS.”

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated disease where the immune system mistakenly perceives myelin, which is the protective sheath around nerve fibers in the central nervous system, as an intruder and attacks it. Overtime, repeated episodes of this inflammation cause scar tissue to develop around the nerve cells, which results in slower, or blocked, nerve functioning. Human functions and processes such as vision, speech, walking, writing, and memory, can all be impacted by this breakdown, though symptoms manifest differently from patient to patient.

In recognition of MS Awareness Month, we are honored to support the work of our local chapter of the National MS Society, and to help raise awareness by highlighting one of our own team members. Deanna was diagnosed with MS in 2016, and has bravely shared her story with us below.

Tell us about how you got from diagnosis to becoming a patient in the PA program:

“I actually had never consumed cannabis before I got this diagnosis. But as soon as I heard Pennsylvania was legalizing a medical program, I registered, because I wanted to be sure to try every possible thing that was available to help me. Cannabis is part of a larger, holistic plan for me which includes Tecfidera, which is an immune modulator, as well as meditation, diet, and sleep.

The thing about MS is most of the traditional pharmaceuticals that are available in the US are immune modulators, but there really aren’t a ton of treatment options for symptom management. There are some pharmaceuticals like Sativex that have been approved in other countries, but from what I’ve found, medical marijuana is one of the best options for symptom management available in the US right now.” 

What’s working for you so far?

“I’m still on my cannabis learning journey figuring out which strains are best for me. I started out with Indica strains but have actually found that Sativas seem to work better for me, especially for my depression.

I’ve found that I like vape cartridges the best. Because of my spasticity issues, titrating with tinctures just didn’t work well for me. I like Raspberry Cough as a general once a day vape in the morning to help me get going. I also like the Strawberry Fields and Mowie Wowie cartridges. I haven’t tried Harlequin yet, but it’s a big one in the MS community.” 

It’s great to hear medical marijuana is working for you. What makes you want to recommend it to others living with MS?

“I love the control and flexibility I have with medical marijuana, because MS is one of those diseases that really varies in terms of how it affects people. It’s nice to have a remedy where I can control the strains I try and dosages I administer, because there is no predictability of which symptoms will face me at different times.

This disease is just so unpredictable. You never know when an exacerbation will happen. You never know what days you may be challenged with mobility, or have these random cognitive issues where you can’t think clearly. The cognitive issues can be horrible - sometimes I just can’t find the right words to use in a totally basic conversation.

Just as everyone’s MS experience is unique, so is medicating with medical marijuana. There are so many strains that affect all of us differently.”

What’s been your biggest win since starting medical marijuana?

“The most significant thing for me has been being able to wean completely off of Zoloft, the SSRI I was on for my depression. Depression is one of the most common symptoms affecting MS patients. Some studies show that it’s even more frequent among people with MS than it is in the general population or with many other chronic illnesses.”

 I know you’re an avid researcher. What’s struck you most the more you read about MS? 

“There are so many interesting things. For many years, research showed that a lot of the people diagnosed with MS are middle aged, Caucasian women. But more recent research indicates there are possibly up to twice as many people in the US living with MS than previous studies indicated. So, the demographics of who is affected by the disease may be more diverse than previously believed.

What’s also interesting is a lot of people who have MS live in more northern latitudes, so there is some belief in the research community that environmental factors could be a contributing factor to root cause. Because of this, a lot of us in the MS community regularly take Vitamin D. Pittsburgh is actually a hot spot for MS, and considering how little sunlight we see here compared to other US cities, it’s another thing that, to me, points towards there being environmental influences on the disease.” 

What’s been your biggest challenge since being diagnosed?

“The unknown is the worst part. It’s scary to think that I don’t know what the future of this disease is, that I don’t know what my future holds. I don’t know if I will develop worse cognitive or physical challenges. There is no natural progression with MS that researchers have identified.  

The other thing is that MS is considered an invisible illness. Sometimes when I’m out in public dealing with day-to-day stuff, I wish I could just tell the person at the grocery store or wherever I am that I’m struggling because of this disease.  It’s a reminder to treat others with kindness because you have no idea what they are privately dealing with in their lives.”  

Is there anything you want to add?

“If there is one thing I’d say in closing, it’s just that we are so fortunate in Pennsylvania to have a medical marijuana program and access to this medicine. It’s helping so many of us dealing with this disease and many others.”

Lastly, a word from our Pharmacist:

“There’s a large body of international research and anecdotal reports coming from the clinical trials that were done on Sativex that informed Maitri’s development of a customized dosing and titration regimen specific to patients with MS,” said Terri Kroh, Maitri’s Director of Pharmacy.

Further reading and research on multiple sclerosis and marijuana

●      A 2012 study by the MUSEC group demonstrated the superiority of cannabis extract over placebo in the treatment of muscle stiffness in MS.  Adverse events in participants treated with CE were consistent with the known side effects of cannabinoids. No new safety concerns were observed.

●      A 2018 study concluded that THC:CBD oromucosal spray provided better and clinically relevant improvement of resistant MS spasticity compared with adjusting first-line antispasticity medication alone.

●      The National MS Society prepared this 2017 Cannabis summary which includes additional research and key points relevant to MS and cannabis

New study reveals therapeutic benefits of THC

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A new study out of the University of New Mexico has created a buzz around the wide range of medicinal benefits THC may offer marijuana consumers. The study was published last month in the journal Scientific Reports, and can be read in its entirety here.

The researchers reviewed 20,000 user sessions and 27 symptom categories entered into the popular app, ReLeaf, the largest database of the effects of marijuana in the U.S.

“Despite the conventional wisdom, both in the popular press and much of the scientific community, that only CBD has medical benefits while THC merely makes one high, our results suggest that THC may be more important than CBD in generating therapeutic benefits. In our study, CBD appears to have little effect at all, while THC generates measurable improvements in symptom relief. These findings justify the immediate de-scheduling of all types of cannabis, in addition to hemp, so that cannabis with THC can be more widely accessible for pharmaceutical use by the general public.” — Jacob Miguel Vigil, study co-author, via EurekAlert

The study also revealed that dried flower was the most commonly used marijuana product, and generally associated with greater symptom relief than other types of cannabis products.

Read the full study

On Black Balloon Day, Maitri remembers those lost to opioid overdose

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Black Balloon Day is a national day of remembrance of not only those lost to the disease of addiction, but the friends and family of the loved ones left behind. The event was originally organized by Diane and Lauren Hurley in remembrance of Greg Tremblay, a father of four and brother-in-law of Lauren, who died of a drug overdose at 38 years of age on March 6, 2015

Maitri is joining communities across the nation to publicly display black balloons outside of our dispensaries. The balloons are a sign that an individual or community have been affected by drug addiction or an overdose death. The balloons also symbolize that “we are all in this together,” while generating greater awareness of the opioid and heroin epidemic. The Maitri team is no stranger to this issue, having lost many of our own friends and loved ones to the crisis.

At Maitri, we hear stories every day from patients who are weaning off opioids with the help of medical marijuana. Contrary to the popular misperception that cannabis is a gateway drug, we see it acting as an exit drug for many patients of all ages and backgrounds. Below is a list of links with more information about the epidemic, and some studies that point to cannabis as an effective treatment option for those struggling with addiction.

Further reading and links to studies

Click here to read the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Response to The Heroin and Prescription Opioid Crisis. Medical marijuana is discussed starting on page 44.

Click here to read Pennsylvania House Resolution 90 declaring March, 6, 2019 Black Balloon Day.

Click here to watch a video produced by the Pennsylvania Department of Health demonstrating how to administer naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. Naloxone is available at all Pennsylvania pharmacies, and per the standing order issued by Dr. Rachel Levine, no prescription is needed to purchase it.

Click here to read the 2010 study by Marcus A. Bachhuber, MD; Brendan Saloner, PhD; Chinazo O. Cunningham, MD, MS; Colleen L. Barry, PhD, MPP that showed states with medical marijuana laws had a 24.8 percent lower average annual opioid overdose death rate compared to states without such laws.

Click here to read about the trio of recent studies that bolster the argument that legal marijuana can help combat the opioid epidemic.

Click here to watch The Exit Drug, a documentary created by Weedmaps that investigates how cannabis could play a major role in ending the opioid crisis, a public health emergency that kills an average of 115 U.S. citizens a day.

Click here to learn about how to join the battle in removing the stigma associated with the chronic disease of addiction.

Marijuana listening tour to visit Westmoreland, Fayette Counties on March 4-5

Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and Maitri Medicinals CEO Corinne Ogrodnik at Maitri’s Pittsburgh dispensary. Photo by Matt Dayak.

Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and Maitri Medicinals CEO Corinne Ogrodnik at Maitri’s Pittsburgh dispensary. Photo by Matt Dayak.

Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman will visit Westmoreland and Fayette Counties as part of his statewide marijuana listening tour. Fetterman has committed to visiting each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties to get public input on the possibility of Pennsylvania legalizing recreational use of marijuana, also known as adult use.

In a news release announcing Fetterman’s listening tour, Gov. Tom Wolf said, “More and more states are successfully implementing marijuana legalization, especially those surrounding Pennsylvania, and we should learn from their efforts, and better understand the potential fiscal impacts of this reality before taking any collective action.”

The times and locations of next week’s events are below. Maitri encourages those who are able to attend and make your voice heard on this important issue. Those who cannot attend can submit feedback online at www.governor.pa.gov/recreational-marijuana-feedback/.

Westmoreland County 
Monday, March 4, 2019
6-7:30 PM
Greensburg Garden & Civic Center
951 Old Salem Road
Greensburg, PA 15601

Fayette County
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
6-7:30PM
Penn State Fayette
Swimmer Hall
2201 University Drive
Lemont Furnace, PA 15456

Marijuana listening tour to visit Washington, Greene Counties on February 18-19

Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and Maitri Medicinals CEO Corinne Ogrodnik at Maitri’s Pittsburgh dispensary. Photo by Matt Dayak.

Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and Maitri Medicinals CEO Corinne Ogrodnik at Maitri’s Pittsburgh dispensary. Photo by Matt Dayak.

Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman has announced stops next week in Washington and Greene Counties as part of his statewide marijuana listening tour. Fetterman has committed to visiting each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties to get public input on the possibility of Pennsylvania legalizing recreational use of marijuana, also known as adult use.

In a news release announcing Fetterman’s listening tour, Gov. Tom Wolf said, “More and more states are successfully implementing marijuana legalization, especially those surrounding Pennsylvania, and we should learn from their efforts, and better understand the potential fiscal impacts of this reality before taking any collective action.”

The times and locations of next week’s events are below. Maitri encourages those who are able to attend and make your voice heard on this important issue. Those who cannot attend can submit feedback online at www.governor.pa.gov/recreational-marijuana-feedback/.

Washington County 
Monday, February 18, 2019
6-7:30 PM
The CENTER on Strawberry
59 E Strawberry Ave
Washington, PA 15301

Greene County
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
6-7:30PM
Waynesburg University
Alumni Hall (3rd floor of Miller Hall)
51 West College Street
Waynesburg, PA 15370

Erik Asher: From Disabled Veteran to Medical Marijuana Trailblazer

Erik Asher waiting outside Maitri’s Pittsburgh dispensary at the grand opening. Photo by Matt Dayak.

Erik Asher waiting outside Maitri’s Pittsburgh dispensary at the grand opening. Photo by Matt Dayak.

On Saturday, January 26, hours before the Maitri Medicinals grand opening in Pittsburgh, one passionate medical marijuana patient was determined to be the first through the dispensary’s doors. He arrived at Maitri hours before the ribbon was cut. He greeted Maitri CEO Corinne Ogrodnik and her team, Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, and several fellow patients who had begun to line up. His energy and enthusiasm were contagious. A disabled veteran and passionate marijuana advocate, this is Erik Asher’s story.

Life after Desert Storm

When Erik got out of the US Army in 1992 after fighting in Desert Storm, he was experiencing a range of health challenges, including PTSD, depression and many physical ailments.  By 1994, he ended up homeless, and sought refuge in the old VA on Highland Drive, where they began treating him.

“I was on tons of pills—opiates, antidepressants, you name it. And yet I still felt terrible; nothing was improving.”

His health continued declining through the 90s until he started self-medicating with cannabis. At this point, he had moved to Florida, and it was there his real cannabis journey took off. He became an advocate, and even participated in Florida’s legalizing Amendment 2, their medical program.

A new beginning in Pennsylvania

Erik Asher and his father, J Asher. Both are disabled veterans and proud MMJ patients.

Erik Asher and his father, J Asher. Both are disabled veterans and proud MMJ patients.

In 2016, Erik returned to Pittsburgh, just in time for the state’s legalization of Act 16. J Asher, Erik’s father, was also a veteran, having served in the US Marine Corps in the 1960s. He and Erik shared many of the same symptoms. J inspired Erik to get his card, and overtime, Erik went from being on 10 different medications to just two.

“I haven’t had to take an opiate or anti-anxiety pill since becoming a medical marijuana patient. I can’t overstate how dramatically cannabis has improved my life.”

Erik eventually translated this passion into work. He began studying solventless extraction and discovered he had an aptitude for it.

“As a disabled vet I don’t work, but I don’t want to sit around doing nothing. Becoming a part of this program has honestly given me a new purpose. I love promoting the health benefits and freedoms it offers people.”

Erik says his favorite strains tend to be heavier indicas because of their effects on his arthritic pains and insomnia. He loves Afghan Double Chunk, Dark Blue Dream and many of the OG strains because of the pain relief they offer.  

Why Maitri?

Erik making the first ever purchase at Maitri’s Pittsburgh dispensary. Also pictured: Maitri Patient Advisor Robert Fazzolare.

Erik making the first ever purchase at Maitri’s Pittsburgh dispensary. Also pictured: Maitri Patient Advisor Robert Fazzolare.

Erik first heard about Maitri’s Uniontown location from a friend who had noticed the large flower selection on the menu.

“I went online to look at your menu and my jaw dropped. I couldn’t pass it up! On New Year’s Eve, I made the drive to Uniontown, and when I experienced the environment, between the staff and the design and the prices on the menu, I couldn’t believe it.

More than anything, it’s the amazing group of people working for you—in both locations—that set you apart. This is what I feel makes or breaks a dispensary: the staff. No one ever rushes me at Maitri. I always feel valued and important. This is what distinguishes Maitri the most in my eyes.”

Maitri thanks Erik and J for sharing their stories with our community. 

Learn more about Erik

Follow Erik on YouTube to learn more about his medical marijuana journey.

 

Pittsburgh Grand Opening Announcement

GRAND OPENING ANNOUNCEMENT

We are thrilled to announce our grand opening is this Saturday, 1/26/19. Doors open at 10am at 5845 Centre Avenue.

PARKING

Maitri is pleased to offer free parking to our patients two lots down from our dispensary at 5803 Centre Avenue. Look for the lot with the big grey building. See the below image.

PREPARING FOR YOUR VISIT

To expedite your visit, we recommend downloading and filling out the Patient Intake Form and Consent Form prior to arrival.

APPOINTMENTS AND PATIENT REGISTRATION

While appointments are not required, we strongly recommend those who are new to medical marijuana call ahead at 412.404.7464 to schedule an appointment with one of our pharmacists.

HANDICAP ACCESSIBILITY

Maitri staff are happy to assist patients with special needs. Patients can be dropped off in the loading zone in front of the dispensary and a Maitri team member will assist them into the building. Please call ahead at 412.404.7464 for more information.

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