Medical Marijuana
Technology Trends in the Medical Cannabis Field Tags: technology trends medical cannabis mmj

As more and more states begin to legalize cannabis in some way or another from total recreational legalization, to medical marijuana laws in varying degrees to decriminalization, the industry is ripe for technological advances in terms of how patients receive treatment, how they find their medicine and even in wearables that track a patient’s responses to various strains high in CBDs or through the consumption of oils and edibles.

It is a fledgling industry, not yet available in all 50 states but there are currently 24 states with legalized medical or recreational cannabis on the books, 6 more on the ballots for November and then there is the nation’s capital, the District of Columbia that went legal in recent times. So what then are the technology trends in the medical cannabis field that are having a profound impact on patients? Here are a few.

Digital Connection with Patients

Google, just last year, mandated that everyone with a website should go mobile friendly or be penalized because more people search via mobile devices than via desktop PCs. In fact, walk into any electronics store or even at the computer department of Walmart and you will see maybe one or two ‘all-in- one’ desktops but a wide array of laptops and tablets. You will also find a huge selection of smartphones. This is how cannabis patients search for dispensaries where they can get their medicine and if they are in a new area of their state, it is an invaluable asset to have a mobile friendly site.

However, that is not the only way in which the industry connects with consumers. Almost every dispensary on the face of the earth has a minimum of a Facebook and Twitter account and so the industry uses technology to go social. Information is passed on in this manner for the safe consumption of medical marijuana and specialists in healthcare informatics can track key metrics to gauge where there are high concentrations of patients so as to have a better idea of stocking to supply a need.

Speaking of Metrics – Health Informatics Is a Key Issue

A very large part of getting medical cannabis on the ballot is in providing key metrics to be analyzed by local and state authorities. Being that medical marijuana is a ‘new’ industry, these metrics are critical in measuring a need within society in terms of how people are using the plant and if there is a great enough acceptance within the population to warrant looking into the matter of legalization.

Leading universities offer health informatics graduate degrees and these are the professionals who have the expertise to develop applications that track the success and/or failure of cannabis in treating patients based on a given diagnosis. University of Illinois health informatics is one program that has produced career oriented professionals who have the expertise to design and develop health informatics platforms to assess the needs of cannabis patients in real time.

So then, you could say there are two very distinct ways in which technology trends are impacting the medical cannabis industry. The first is in the dissemination of information to the general public in terms of locating a dispensary and in educational literature as to the pros and cons of medical vs recreational use. However, the biggest impact to the industry is healthcare informatics that provide key metrics in real time that improve patient care as well as provide real and ongoing statistics for analysis by local, state and federal governments. A degree in computer science with a health care focus is without a doubt on the cutting edge of the medical cannabis industry and is one degree in need of concerned healthcare workers and techies alike.

Study Finds Marijuana Users Have Better Cognitive Skills Tags: marijuana cognitive skills legalization study

The arguments about marijuana have raged on for a long time; should it be legalized? Can it help people manage pain? Is it addictive? Should it be classed the same as other much harder drugs? There have been many studies done into its different affects and uses, but it has generally been agreed upon that marijuana impairs user’s cognitive abilities, now there’s a study that seems to disprove that.

The Study

The study in question can be found here. The researchers, in 2014, at the University of Minnesota, compared the test results of those not using marijuana, with those who had been using since before the age of 17. The results found no difference in memory or verbal learning in the two groups, the users scored lower in tests on decision making, engagement and verbal memory, but the study claims users scored better when it came to processing speeds.

Criticisms of this Study

  • There were only 35 people in each group. This is a relatively small group, and cannot be said to give a true representation of users generally.
  • Everyone tested was between 18 and 20, it is stated that this is because those are the ages when marijuana is thought to affect cognitive abilities most, but no referencing is given to support this, nor is it fully explained for how long these people have been users. 
  • The group was told not to use for 12 hours before the study. While this is a fair way of testing in this case, generally those that use marijuana daily, won’t ever go 12 hours without, so will be affected differently.
  • No mention is made to the IQs of these people, how do we know the marijuana users weren’t just more intelligent than the other group?
  • The study seems to gloss over the fact that users scored lower in many areas, calling them “discrete” impairments. These impairments include verbal memory and decision making. These seem like quite important cognitive skills. This to me implies the researchers could be bias towards a use of marijuana. 

Further Discussion

All this study really suggests, is that more study is required to fully understand how marijuana use affects cognitive abilities. To give any definitive proof, more people would need to be tested, as well as different age ranges of people (perhaps against non-users in the same age bracket as themselves). It would also be useful if the users could be tested both while under the influence, and after a much longer period without. if these studies were done, there could be more definitive evidence of marijuana’s effects on cognitive abilities.

If you have an interest in healthcare issues such as these, and hold a relevant degree, you might want to consider a doctor of nursing practice online degree course to further your learning.

Marijuana usage will continue to be discussed, and researched for a long time, at the moment there is a lot of conflicting evidence and opinions. If you would like to be a part of this research, look into a doctorate in nursing practice.

How Online Degrees Are Helping People with Chronic Pain Towards a Better Life Tags: online degrees chronic pain medical marijuana fibromyalgia

One of the groups that benefit most from the use of medical marijuana are people who experience chronic pain. Whether it is pain from an injury, a back problem, or a condition like fibromyalgia, experiencing pain regularly or all the time can be hugely debilitating, and can stop a lot of people from doing the things they want to do. One area where it can hold people back is in education, as it makes it difficult for sufferers to commit to things like going away to college to do a degree or masters program.

Online Studying

Fortunately, the internet can offer a lot of help for people who want to undertake further education but find that chronic pain – even with the help of medical marijuana and other medications – stops them from being able to reliably attend school. Some of the top colleges in America offer a vast range of online degrees, including both bachelors and masters programs like the MBA or the masters in social work.

Studying Around Your Condition

With good pain management, most people with chronic pain have some times in their day when they can comfortably study, without the pain limiting their ability to sit still for a period or distracting them from taking in what they are reading. If you understand the times when you feel best, it can be good to use these times to focus on studying, and to schedule your exams at times when you feel you are most likely to have your pain under control. With an online degree like an MSW online, you can work at your own pace, so even if it takes you longer to finish your course than it would for a student full time on a campus, you can still get there.

Career Prospects

You can, of course, do a degree just because you find it interesting and want to expand your knowledge and gain confidence. However, if you feel like in the future you will be able to work – whether full or part time, or even from home – then your online degree or masters will be a huge asset. It can also be a good way to change careers, if you previously had an active career you can no longer do because of your condition. You can study to start a new career that you can do from home or which requires less physical activity, for instance accountancy or web design. It has been shown that the vast majority of employers (91% and rising according to a 2014 Gallup poll) believe that it is the knowledge your degree represents that is important rather than where you got it, so having an online degree will prove no less valuable than one you did on campus when looking for work.

If you feel held back in your education or career by chronic pain, take a look at the online degrees available to you, and you may well find the future you want is within your reach.

The Scientist Medical Marijuana Documentary Tags: medical marijuana documentary

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