State Cannabis Regulators Announce Application Deadline for Advisory Committee

The California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation (BMCR) has just announced the deadline of March 17, 2017, for submitting Cannabis Advisory Committee applications.

This committee will advise the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation and the other two licensing authorities—the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing and the California Department of Public Health’s Office of Manufactured Cannabis Safety—on the development of cannabis regulations that protect public health and safety, while ensuring a regulated market that helps reduce the illicit market for cannabis.

Committee members will be selected by and will serve at the pleasure of the director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The committee will consist of representatives from diverse backgrounds, including the cannabis industry, labor, state and local agencies, public health experts, representatives from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control who have expertise in regulating intoxicating substances for adult use, individuals with expertise in the medicinal properties of cannabis, and representatives from communities who have been disproportionately affected by past federal and state drug policy, among others.

Those interested in serving on the committee can access the online application here: bmcr.ca.gov/about_us/documents/commitee_application.pdf

For additional information about BMCR or to subscribe to their email alerts, visit the BMCR website: bmcr.ca.gov/

Weighing Out Diet Scams

weight-lossThe first month of 2017 is almost history, but a few of the resolutions you may have put on the list for this year may still not be crossed off—or started, for that matter. Getting more organized and saving money are goals that are easy to plan, while losing weight—a resolution that is at the top of many people’s lists—is one of the hardest to start.

Losing weight is a healthy and rewarding goal, however, beware of quick-fix weight-loss products and plans. Like other scams, if they sound too good to be true, they probably are.

At best, “miracle” weight-loss products won’t help at all and will only cause you to lose money. At worst, they can cause health issues. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that hundreds of dietary supplement products contain hidden active ingredients that may be advertised as “natural” and “safe.” As a result, the FDA has received numerous reports of increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, stroke, seizure, and even death as a result of taking these supplements.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), beware of weight-loss ads with tag lines like these:

  • Lose weight without diet or exercise!
  • Lose weight no matter how much you eat of your favorite foods!
  • Lose weight permanently! Never diet again!
  • Just take a pill!
  • Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!
  • Everybody will lose weight!
  • Lose weight with our miracle diet patch or cream!

The FTC says the best way to lose weight is to cut about 500 calories per day, eat a variety of healthy foods, and exercise regularly. Also, before beginning any weight-loss plan, consult your healthcare professional. To check the status of a doctor’s license, visit the Medical Board of California website at www.mbc.ca.gov.

Glaucoma Awareness Month: Guard Your Vision

Glaucoma. It’s called the “sneak thief of sight” because it can strike without symptoms and lead to permanent blindness.

The good news is that blindness from the disease is preventable. January is Glaucoma Awareness Month—a time to understand the disease and take important steps glaucoma-awareness-monthto guard yourself from its serious effects. Although there is no cure for glaucoma, if detected early, it can be treated with medication or surgery to slow down or prevent further vision loss.

According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF), as much as 40 percent of a person’s vision can be lost without noticing—that’s why regular eye exams from a licensed optometrist are key. The GRF says these five tests are part of a thorough comprehensive glaucoma exam:

The inner eye pressure Tonometry
The shape and color of the optic nerve Ophthalmoscopy (dilated eye exam)
The complete field of vision Perimetry (visual field test)
The angle in the eye where the iris meets the cornea Gonioscopy
Thickness of the cornea Pachymetry

Anyone can get glaucoma, but there are those who are at higher risk:

  • African Americans over age 40
  • Everyone over age 60, especially Hispanics/Latinos
  • People with a family history of glaucoma

You can learn more about glaucoma by visiting the GRF’s website at www.glaucoma.org and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/features/glaucoma-awareness/index.html. To check the license and license status of an optometrist, visit the Board of Optometry’s website at www.optometry.ca.gov.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Natl Immunization Awareness MonthShots aren’t just for kids—adults need them, too. Although the recent new State law, which went into effect July 1, highlights the importance of childhood shots, vaccines are vital for all ages. This is an important message from the National Immunization Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC).

Everyone should be vaccinated; the immunizations not only prevent you from getting sick, but it protects others as well by preventing the spread of illnesses. Adults should receive a flu vaccine each year, and vaccines for tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, and measles as recommended. A tetanus booster is recommended every 10 years. Adults 60 years of age and older should receive the shingles vaccine, and those 65 and older should receive one or more pneumococcal vaccine. Some adults may need vaccines to protect against hepatitis A and B, depending on their age, travel plans, and medical conditions.

There are vaccinations for different ages and health conditions, such as for pregnant women, babies and young kids, preteens and teens, and school-age children.

National Immunization Awareness Month is the perfect opportunity to check if you’re up to date on your shots, as well as to remind others—friends, family, co-workers—about getting vaccinated. Have your doctor assess your vaccination needs (for information on how to find a doctor or if you need to verify a license, visit the Medical Board of California’s website, www.mbc.ca.gov). Your local pharmacist may also be qualified to administer  vaccinations. Visit the Board of Pharmacy website (www.pharmacy.ca.gov) to learn more and to verify a license.

For more information about vaccinations and National Immunization Awareness Month, visit the NPHIC website at https://www.nphic.org/niam.

‘Fight the Bite’: Doing Our Part to Control Spread of Mosquito-Borne Viruses

mosquitoThe Zika virus may be all over the news, but don’t forget that West Nile virus is still a real threat.

“While a lot of attention has been given to Zika virus, West Nile virus killed more Californians in 2015 than any other year before,” said Senator Bob Wieckowski, chair of the Environmental Quality committee and author of Senate Concurrent Resolution 121 in a recent release.

Last year, the California Department of Public Health reported 783 cases of West Nile in California—544 cases developed into the more severe neuroinvasive form of the disease resulting in 53 deaths.

The Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California (MVCAC) reminds Californians to continue to “Fight the Bite,” stressing the importance of protecting themselves against mosquito-borne viruses, especially with summer around the corner. MVCAC’s recommendations include applying insect repellent and dressing in long sleeves and pants when outdoors. Around your home, install or repair broken screens on windows and doors, and be sure to empty any standing water. Standing water is considered any water that stands for a minimum of seven days around your home; for example, water in rain barrels, nonfunctioning swimming pools, flower pots, old tires, and buckets.

Learn more about prevention and protection methods against mosquitoes at the MVCAC’s website, www.mvcac.org.