Pubdate: Thu, 16 Jul 2015
Source: Ukiah Daily Journal, The (CA)
Copyright: 2015 The Ukiah Daily Journal
Author: Carole Brodsky


NOTE: This is the fourth in a series of articles covering the 
establishment of one of the first tribal cannabis farming projects in 
the United States. The Pinoleville Pomo Nation is providing readers 
of The Ukiah Daily Journal with a first-hand, exclusive look at the 
people, the processes and the philosophical underpinnings of this 
groundbreaking medical cannabis project.

Prana is a Sanskrit word roughly translated as "universal life 
force." It is the balancing and enhancement of the body's life force 
- - its prana, via the human endocannabinoid system that the medical 
cannabis products developed by United Cannabis Corporation are targeting.

"We produce Prana Bio-Nutrient Medicinals," says Tony Verzura, chief 
technical officer for United Cannabis.

The products, currently available only in Colorado, will soon be 
produced at and distributed from the Pinoleville Medical Cannabis 
Project at their reservation north of Ukiah.

"Long before Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported on the efficacy of medical 
cannabis, we were creating CBD cannabis oils, like everyone else," he 
continues. "From there, we developed a standardized matrix for 
strains with specific phytocannabinoid and cannabinoid profiles."

The Prana Line consists of a variety of cannabis medications, 
formulated from different plant strains addressing a plethora of 
medical issues. The products utilize specific routes of entry 
capsules, sublinguals, transdermals and even essential aromatherapy 
massage oils.

"When someone says they have 60 days to live, we provide a list of 
GMO and hormone-infused foods to avoid, eliminating sugars, balancing 
PH and using full-plant, full-spectrum cannabinoids, placing them 
into a variety of delivery systems," says Verzura.

"Half of our product line is non-psychoactive. We did that 
intentionally, because a lot of people don't want a psychoactive 
effect," says Verzura. There are nighttime and daytime protocols, 
with the daily cost for treatment averaging between $2 and $10 per 
day, depending on patient need.

To help standardize care and improve the products, Verzura developed 
the ACT Now (Advanced Cannabinoid Therapy) program. "This is an EHR 
(electronic health record), software-based therapy guide for 
physicians, nurses, practitioners and medical centers."

The program assists physicians in determining optimum cannabis 
therapies, outlines cannabinoid ratios, provides accurate dosing 
guides and offers delivery method options.

"Since 2013, the ACT Now program has helped thousands of patients 
reduce pharmaceuticals and increase or even extend their quality of 
life," says Verzura.

Together, the Prana line and ACT Now program support patients with 
chronic pain, opiate dependency, inflammatory conditions, glaucoma, 
PTSD, neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, 
seizures, epilepsy, paralysis, autoimmune disorders, autism, HIV/AIDS 
and several types of cancer.

"Let's say a new patient is an 11-year-old boy, weighs 75 pounds and 
suffers with severe non-verbal autism. The ACT Now software allows us 
to track patient-driven data in a HIPAA-compliant, cloud-based 
platform, so the physician or consultant can compare cannabinoid 
sequencing charts from a global database of matching patient conditions.

"This establishes the most effective program for that patient. Each 
patient always produces a slightly different cannabinoid sequencing 
chart, but physicians have to have a starting point or guide  and 
true understanding of the products, if they are going to create 
effective protocols for patients," Verzura continues.

"To make the medicine available to a wider population, we needed to 
take the project out of Colorado, because we couldn't transport 
medication across state lines. That's why we're here in Ukiah," says 
Chad Ruby. COO of United Cannabis. He states the Pinoleville site 
offers many positive features.

"We will be growing sun-driven, organic plants, with a focus on 
biodynamic processes. We are utilizing solar-powered wells already on 
the reservation and will have no GMO products in any aspect of 
production. All of our amendments are 100 percent natural, 
non-manufactured materials such as worm castings and bat guano - 
locally sourced amendments you use in your own garden," Ruby 
explains. "There is no point in making plant medicine without 
following these protocols."

By next year, state-of-the-art greenhouses outfitted with 
supplemental lighting will be the homes for growing plants. Once 
harvested, an on-site, solvent-free processing facility will 
transform the plants into medicine. "There is no butane. No CO2. We 
are creating high-quality extracts which are as pure as can be 
without harsh solvents," says Ruby.

A testing facility will be located on site. "You can't have a medical 
product that's contaminated with anything. When you walk in a 
dispensary you may have no idea if the cannabis product you're 
purchasing has been sprayed with pesticides. We will be actively 
testing our products to provide consistent medicine and to eliminate 
the risk of harmful contamination," says Ruby.

He expects to engage with many local farmers. Staff will assist those 
who wish to grow for United Cannabis to meet the stringent product 
standards. The tribal collective will have an on-site clone bank to 
provide farmers with the cannabis strains utilized in the medicinal 
formulations. "We will be testing all products for mold, pests, 
cannabinoid content and heavy metals to verify that it is organic," 
Ruby continues.

"We already know some local farmers because we have history here. 
These are not just friends. Everyone involved with this project is 
putting their neck out there. This is an alliance between the 
community, the tribe and our farmers," says Verzura. "This project 
brings local farmers and the tribe together  unity in the community. 
This is why we call ourselves United Cannabis," says Verzura.

"Six years ago, I started a company as a cannabis patient with three 
borrowed lights, a few 'so-so' clones and no money. I wanted to help 
others like myself who benefited from medical cannabis. Those 
founding principles were always my 'rock.'

"These days, I feel the industry has been compromised. It's time to 
make the necessary changes to reinstate that spirit. That's why we're 
here. We're making medicine at the pharmaceutical level without the 
pharma. We're taking the harm out of pharm," Verzura concludes.

Next: "Growing" green: Pinoleville cannabis project will support 
tribal infrastructure, community non-profits.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom