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Yale study confirms that obtaining self medical records would be difficult than usual

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Anatomic pathology and clinical laboratories based groups that have been looking for procedures to improvise the overall customer experience need to provide high priority for ensuring patients get accurate, easy, and fast access to self-health records. This would surely set these groups apart from several hospital health service providers if a recent study conducted by the Yale University School of Medicine has served as a proper indicator.

The researchers at Yale evaluated medical records from August 1 to December 7 for the year 2017 as well as the processing policies by 83 top ranking hospitals that have been located at 29 different states. It was noted that patients that have been attempting to acquire copies of self-medical records at various hospitals generally experience confusing hurdles and unnecessary issues.

The research also located serious issues of non-compliance with Health Insurance Portability as well as Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The researchers published a complete report of the same at JAMA Network Open which is a medical journal that is published by Journal of the American Medical Association. Carolyn Lye, Yale School of Medicine’s medical student and study’s lead author stated that there were several inconsistencies with information that was relayed to the patients with regards to PHI. The research also noted that there was considerable noncompliance with federal and state regulations. This was also true for recommendations with regards to processing time and costs associated with provisioning access to their medical records.

The researchers followed a set to a protocol to complete their research. They acquired forms for release authorization from hospitals after calling each of the medical institute’s department of medical records. During this simulated experience for patients, the researchers questioned hospital policies with regards to request-able information. This section included complete medical records, lab test results, discharge summaries, medical history, consultation reports, and physician orders.

Not just this, the team also gathered information with regards to the available release paper formats such as mail, e-mail, fax, in-person pick-up, online portal, CD, etc. This was followed by an in-depth check of costs related to obtaining records as well as the processing time. The team located inconsistencies amid information provided at forms for written authorization with a simulated telephone call for patients. This also pointed to the fact that there was a lack in the transparency of the process. The fees exceeded federal recommendations with very few adhering to the set limit.

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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Cannabis

Kellyanne Conway stands strong by her claims that cannabis is being laced with fentanyl – But She is wrong!

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Kellyanne Conway

Image Source: img.thedailybeast

Kellyanne Conway, the presidential counsellor suggests that cannabis is laced with fentanyl.

“People are unwittingly ingesting it,” Conway said during a press conference in a discussion about fentanyl. “It’s laced into heroin, marijuana, meth, cocaine and it’s also just being distributed by itself.”

Kellyanne, a chief player in the Trump administration has it all wrong. Though fentanyl has been discovered in illegal drugs such as cocaine, pills, meth and heroin, there have been no reports or identification of cannabis laced with the potentially dangerous opioid.

When Conway was confronted regarding the misinformation, she resorted to defence and quoted the words of Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), from a speech he made last year, in which the scientist and psychiatrist claimed that fentanyl was being used to lace an array of drugs including marijuana.

NIDA refers to an “anecdotal report” from the Vancouver police in 2015 which claimed that cannabis users were getting killed by smoking fentanyl-laced flower. However, there were no proper evidence found which backed up the claims made by the police the following year.

While cannabis has been discovered in the user’s system in times of fatal overdoses, it was never solely responsible or an individual contributor to the harmful after math. It was rather the lethal combination of drugs consumed that triggered fatal conditions.

A lead chemist at the U.S. Durg Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently confirmed that fentanyl has not been identified in any of the cannabis that the federal agency has seized and nor the DEA could confirm any such instances where fentanyl was found in cannabis.

But the scaremongering didn’t stop. In March 2018, Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services tried to convince millennials at a White House event that weed is part of the opioid crisis.

“These are very sophisticated operators, and they are lacing other illegal drugs with fentanyl to get you hooked on opioids and bring you into their system. Marijuana laced with fentanyl, all kinds of other products laced with fentanyl”, said Azar.

Some experts also believe that the drug test strips are able to detect fentanyl in cannabis owing to their extremely sensitive ability to detect the drug to one billionth of a gram which is generating “false positives”.

Drug dealers who handle both cannabis and fentanyl could easily inadvertently transfer a micro amount of fentanyl to cannabis. But an expert says that the positive samples include negligible traces of the drug which is of no significant importance clinically. Also, these fragments are insufficient to produce any substantive effects on the user which ensures that there is nothing to worry about.

Another confusion lies between cannabis and “synthetic cannabis” aka K2 or Spice, which is misleading people into believing that it is cannabis and thus creating severe apprehensions about the substance. It is designed to look almost like cannabis, however is extremely harmful and dangerous for human consumption.

Users with large scale overdoses of the K2 or Spice drug have resulted in contradictory reports from first patients regarding the presence of fentanyl in the K2 or Spice drug. And with the ever changing concentration of the drug, it is almost becoming impossible to determine a correct value for the substance.

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Florida Makes It Legal to Smoke Medical Marijuana

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Medical Marijuana

With more than 70% voters supporting an act which legalized medical use of cannabis, medical cannabis use became legal in Florida in 2016. The act was known as the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Amendment 2.

However, in 2017 the Gov. Rick Scott signed into a law that curbed all forms of marijuana that were then available – only concentrates such as capsules, topicals, tinctures, and vapes were acceptable, but according to the new law, smokable pot was prohibited in the state.

This ban on cannabis usage was uplifted on Monday when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation to repeal it. It was shortly after Gov. Ron had took over the office in January, had he appealed the Florida legislature to send a bill that would legalize cannabis in the state by March 15.

“Over 70 percent of Florida voters approved medical marijuana in 2016,” DeSantis said in a Monday statement. “I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for working with me to ensure the will of the voters is upheld. Now that we have honoured our duty to find a legislative solution, I have honoured my commitment and filed a joint motion to dismiss the state’s appeal and to vacate the lower court decision which had held the prior law to be unconstitutional.”

Republican State Sen. Jeff Brandes co-sponsored the legislation with Democrat Linda Stewart.

“I have always been in favor of medical cannabis and believed that was what voters intended in 2016,” Brandes told CNN. He said that he was elated to give people what they had rightfully voted for three years ago.

Cannabis Legalization in Florida and its Impact

The newly enacted law favours marijuana for medicinal purposes. It allows patients to receive 2.5 ounces of whole flower cannabis in every 35 days. Patients under the age of 18 can smoke marijuana if they are suffering form a terminal condition, moreover, they can get a second opinion from a paediatrician regarding the dosage.

The Marijuana Policy Project, a group that seeks to decriminalize marijuana, said that the inception of the new law has opened up alleys for them to educate people about marijuana with in-depth research. They also said that it is a great step forward for the patients, giving them more options for their treatment.

“(Medical marijuana) should be an option available to patients and a decision for patients to make with their doctors, not one that should be made by government officials,” a spokesman for the group said.

While marijuana will now be available at medical stores and pharmacies, there will be a stringent dosage check which will allow patients to only buy marijuana if prescribed by a medical expert.

Marijuana has 2 key components- CBD and THC, the former is a non-psychoactive component which does not cause any “high” and comes with a gamut of health benefits.

Contrarily, THC (tetrahydro cannabinoid) has psychoactive capabilities which can trigger anxiety, depression, seizures and permanent mental disorders in severe cases. The legalized marijuana will have a specified amount of CBD component to ensure that it does not potentially harm patients.

Legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes – the next step

Brandes, one of the legislators behind the new law said that marijuana legalization for recreational purposes is a forthcoming decision which will likely be on the ballot in the upcoming elections.

“I think the likelihood that it passes is pretty good in 2022 or 2024, and we should prepare for its passage,” he said.

Cannabis-infused jelly beans, beverages, beauty products and edibles are right around the corner in other states. Florida is yet to see a new phase of legalization of marijuana where people can freely consume and possess cannabis for recreational purposes.

Multi-national companies and firms have already collaborated with cannabis-producing industries to create new line of cannabis-infused products to cater to the consumer market. The legalization of cannabis is predicted to give a boost to the business market across all verticals; beauty to medicinal, candies to drinks, all of it.

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High strength cannabis increases risk of psychotic disorders in users

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A recent cannabis study on multiple patients claims that high potency cannabis with varieties combined with frequent use tend to increase chances of mental health problems among users.

Experts have previously flagged the link between cannabis and psychosis, especially among vulnerable people who consumed cannabis in high dosage. Moreover, recent studies suggest that potency of the cannabis consumed has a vital role to play in how many new cases of psychotic disorders arise in the city.

Prohibiting the use of high-potency cannabis would result in lower mental disorder as per the study which estimated that 30% of first-time of psychotic disorders in south London, and half of those in Amsterdam, were all results of high-potency cannabis consumption. The team says that this equates to almost 60 fewer cases per year in south London.

“If you are a psychologist like me who works in this catchment area and sees first-episode psychosis patients, this has a significant impact at the level of services and, I would also argue, family and society,” said Dr Marta Di Forti, the lead author of the research, from King’s College London.

High-strength cannabis contains high levels of Tetrahydro cannabinoid, popularly known as THC which is responsible for the “high” that one might feel after inhaling cannabis. It is a psychotic component found in the cannabis plant which can cause mental disorders and create an imbalance of chemicals in the body leading to several diseases.

Skunk, a high-strength cannabis has levels of THC above 10%. According to the data released last year, 94% police cannabis seizures in the UK were of high strength varieties, entailing minute traces of cannabinoid aka CBD which is a non-psychoactive component that could possibly reduce the high or prevent it altogether.

Writing in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, Di Forti and an international team of researchers report how they studied patient data – including cannabis use- recorded between mid-2010 and mid-2015 about 901 adults under the age of 65 who visited mental health services in one of the 10 locations in Europe, or one in Brazil, and received their first diagnosis of a psychotic disorder which did not result into, for example, brain tumours or acute drug use.

After considering an array of conditions including drinking habits, smoking cigarettes, educational background and use of other drugs like ketamine, the team discovered that patients with psychotic disorders were more likely to have consumed cannabis at some point of time in their lives as compared to those who were healthy.

The team also concluded that the chances of having a psychotic disorder were higher by 40% in those who used cannabis frequently – more than once a week – as compared to those who did it rarely or occasionally. Moreover, the chances of having a psychotic disorder were thrice in people who consumed cannabis on a daily basis as compared to those who rarely took it.

The most severe case of mental disorders is linked to people who consumed cannabis at a high frequency combined with high potency as compared to those who never did it or rarely did.

Daily cannabis use linked with psychotic disorders in people can be observed in Amsterdam, where the chances were seven times higher than for people who never used cannabis. Almost all the cannabis sold in coffee shops in Amsterdam are of high potency. On the other hand, varieties of cannabis with 67% THC can be found in Netherlands.

Registered cases of psychotic disorders were found highest in Amsterdam that other locations studied, with only south London surpassing it.

“Daily use of high-potency cannabis and how this varies across Europe explains some of the striking variations we have measured in the incidence of psychotic disorder,” said Di Forti.

However, she duly noted that not every person who consumes cannabis on a daily basis is bound to suffer from a psychotic disorder, she said that there are multiple reasons and factors contributing to these mental disorders, cannabis alone, cannot be taken as the only reason causing psychosis.

The study had its own limitations owing to the fact that it was self-reported use of cannabis and a small number of participants were involved. Also, THC and CBD were not measured in exact proportions, however, cannabis with high potency combined with increased frequency was a common factor noted in majority of the cases.

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