Who is Katie Sly? [00:49]
Katie’s thoughts on the Utah Medical Marijuana experience for patients [05:41]
Will Medical Marijuana ever be covered by health insurance in Utah? [08:22]
How Tim sees his work evolving if Utah moves to legal recreational use [9:10]
More info about the use of open flames when consuming Medical Marijuana [10:45]
Katie’s thoughts on cannabis, Crohn’s disease, and hydration [25:02]
Results of Utah Therapeutic Health Center surveys [28:05]
Are patients noticing more benefits than they expected? [34:03]
What is the best way to consume cannabis for Crohn’s disease? [35:39]
A tip for reusing already vaporized herbs [40:26]
Tim’s education schedule [47:19]
Katie works at Utah Therapeutic Health Center and is the younger sister of Tim. Her primary role is to provide education and training to patients, including helping them with using the medicalcannabis.utah.gov/ site.
When Utah Therapeutic Health Center opened in March, there was an immediate demand for help in signing up for Medical Marijuana Cards. The first day, the team had a hundred missed calls. The Department of Health was not set up to provide Medical Cannabis to patients in a user-friendly way. Katie immediately joined the team to help with this demand.
Katie and Tim grew up in a conservative household. Her first experience with cannabis occurred in ninth grade.
As a sophomore, she went to a party where her and a friend consumed cannabis and alcohol. After getting caught, she was kicked off of her high school drill team.
In order to rejoin the drill team, she was told to no longer consume cannabis and to distance herself from her friend. She self describes as a “rule follower,” and complied with this.
Also during her sophomore year, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and had hundreds of kidney stones. To deal with the pain, a doctor prescribed her Lortab and told her to take it once per day.
She decided not to use the medication and, after visiting another doctor, had surgery to remove the kidney stones. This experience opened her eyes to the fact that opioids do not have to be the first choice for pain relief, and that there are often safer alternatives for treatment.
Many clinics are not set up to help their patients. Tim and Katie’s primary goal with Utah Therapeutic Health Center is to help the patients. Not just with handing out Medical Cannabis Cards, but ensuring that they stay connected with the patient.
The experience for patients to perform a 90-day renewal can be a frustrating one. Katie works to make this experience easier by helping patients adjust dosing, and making other recommendations for treatment.
The team has taken it upon themselves to be the primary educator for patients, which would typically be the state’s responsibility.
Tim has seen states, such as New York, begin to push insurance companies to cover the visits. Utah Therapeutic Health Center actually has a staff member who is credentialing for insurance to prepare for when Medical Marijuana would be covered by health insurance in Utah. He believes it will take a year or two before this occurs in Utah.
People have told time that if legalization occurs then they will be put out of business. However, Tim believes that Utah Therapeutic Health Center and UtahMarijuana.org will still be the experts that patients turn to for help. In fact, the majority of their patients are novice users, so there will still be a need for education and for expert help even if recreational use becomes legal.
When consuming Medical Marijuana in Utah, you are not allowed to consume using an open flame. Tim clarified this to say that combustion at a high temperature is the issue. For example, a car cigarette lighter does not have an open flame. However, it is the combustion at a high temperature that prevents patients from consuming Medical Marijuana with a joint or pipe.
For someone with Crohn’s disease, or any digestion disease, Katie says that the best side effect of smoking cannabis is being thirsty. Typically with digestion diseases, doctors will recommend that patients stay hydrated. Because Medical Marijuana could cause you to become thirsty, a benefit of this side effect could be to encourage you to stay hydrated. Also, if you have issues with nausea, Medical Marijuana could help prevent vomiting when drinking water.
Utah Therapeutic Health Center sends 90-day surveys to better understand their patients’ experience by asking questions, such as “what are you using” and “what is working?”
About 100 patients have completed the survey. They are currently going through the data to identify patterns. One pattern they found is that patients are seeing a decrease in anxiety and insomnia.
The goal of these surveys is to use the information to better educate patients and provide more effective treatments. Also, they can use this data to help push legislators for updates to laws and qualifying conditions.
The data is always HIPAA compliant and secure. None of this data will be shared with anybody else and no personal identifying information is associated with the data.
Tim and Katie have noticed that patients are seeing other benefits of cannabis use, including reduced anxiety and improved sleep.
Tim compared plant treatments vs. traditional treatment via pharmaceuticals. With traditional treatments, doctors focus on one symptom, one treatment. For example, a poorly-functioning thyroid is treated with thyroid medication. But, there is not a focus on treating the whole patient.
Plant medicines not only help treat the immediate symptoms, but also provide additional benefits to treat the patient holistically.
Vaping, either with vape cartridges or a dry herb vaporizer, is a great way to consume cannabis because it is fast acting. Oral delivery could work better in some cases because it acts directly on the gut, but effects are not as immediate.
Once herbs are vaporized, the cannabinoid CBN is released. Katie received a tip from a patient to take already vaporized herbs from a dry herb vaporizer and sprinkle it on peanut butter toast. Tim has also heard from patients that they will reuse already vaporized herbs and sprinkle it on foods or bake it and turn it into an oil.
Tim will be speaking on July 16th at a CBD shop in Kaysville. Tim will also do a lecture in August that will be recorded.