CREDIT and Small Business

I know some of this seems redundant from previous blogs I have done, but, it seems I need to repeat some of the highpoints (or low points depending on how you look at it). Here is short summary of what you need to get together.  

Remember this: Almost 90% of all bank loans get turned down. 

  • Check your credit BEFORE you apply. Places like www.creditchecktotal.com  will give you all 3 bureaus. 
  • CORRECT or explain anything that is negative.  
  • Create a marketing and game plan (in writing to present) 
  • Create a BUDGET  
  • Complete a PFS (personal financial statement) 
  • 3 years business and tax returns 
  • 3 years personal tax returns 
  • Profit and loss statement 
  • Cash flow is one of the primary things lenders look for-generally most lenders give around 20% of annual sales 
  • List number of clients (lenders like lots of clients-low number of clients means high risk to a lender 
  • Get your SBSS score (small business scoring service). You can get this at Nav.com  
  • If you are looking for an SBA loan: the requirements are a  minimum score of 140, most lenders will NOT provide a loan if SBSS score is under 160. The range is 0-300 
  • SBA loans are difficult to get and can be expensive and take up to 3 months or more to fund.  So, if you are in a hurry look elsewhere that is why we offer short and long-term loans. 
  • Personal FICO score-0-840 most lenders want 650 
  • D-UN-N-S number (Dun and Bradstreet-100 as the highest a score of 80 is good-free  
  • Most secondary lenders (non-bank) have very short terms and require daily or weekly ACH payments form your bank 
  • DO NOT apply at several banks or lenders at once or keep applying-every time you do this it pulls down your credit score-you will not get a loan. 
  • Most lenders require a minimum of 3 – 6 months in business and do not do startups. 
  • Have a website, subscribe to places like Yoast (SEO), Rankcrew.com for backlinks, make sure it is HTTPS (secure) you can have the greatest website but who cares if nobody can find it. 
  • Have engaging content-you only have around 2 seconds or so for someone to keep looking or come back to your site (like this-a blog) 

The old bait & switch,” get approved in seconds and get funded in hours”- in lending instant gratification can cost you a lot of money. High interest, short terms, and not as much as they promised or even turned down after they actually pull your credit. 

We hope this helps you, our goal is always to help businesses and individuals who want to start a business. 

We have realistic lending programs from established to start ups-Lendingcapital is a national direct lending platform. 

Regards 

Frank 

We are SSL Certified,-Malware & Google Blacklist secured  

Hard vs. Soft Inquiries

What is a soft inquiry?

Soft inquiries (also known as “soft pulls”) typically occur when a person or company checks your credit as part of a background check. This may occur, for example, when a credit card issuer checks your credit without your permission to see if you qualify for certain credit card offers. Your employer might also run a soft inquiry before hiring you.

Unlike hard inquiries, soft inquiries won’t affect your credit scores. (They may or may not be recorded in your credit reports, depending on the credit bureau.) Since soft inquiries aren’t connected to a specific application for new credit, they’re only visible to you when you view your credit reports.Common Question

Will checking my own credit scores result in a hard inquiry?

Yes it can. Even though this is reported as a soft inquiry, it may not lower your credit score, however, some bureaus report “excessive soft pulls” and will decline as they feel you are looking and being turned down...SO CAUTION on how many soft pills you do. You can check your VantageScore 3.0 credit scores from two major credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax, for free at creditkarma.

Examples of hard and soft credit inquiries

The difference between a hard and soft inquiry generally boils down to whether you gave the lender permission to check your credit. If you did, it may be reported as a hard inquiry. If you didn’t, it should be reported as a soft inquiry, again, many soft pulls can cause a lender to decline your application.

Let’s look at some examples of when a hard inquiry or a soft inquiry might be placed on your credit reports. Note: The following lists are not exhaustive and should be treated as a general guide.

Common hard inquiries

  • Mortgage applications
  • Auto loan applications
  • Credit card applications
  • Student loan applications
  • Personal loan applications
  • Apartment rental applications

Common soft inquiries

  • Checking your credit scores
  • “Pre-qualified” credit card offers
  • “Pre-qualified” insurance quotes
  • Employment verification (i.e. background check)

Keep in mind, there are other types of credit checks that could show up as either a hard or soft inquiry. For example, utility, cable, internet and cellphone providers will often check your credit.

If you’re unsure how a particular inquiry will be classified, ask the company, credit card issuer or financial institution involved to distinguish whether it’s a hard or soft credit inquiry.

How to dispute hard credit inquiries

We recommend checking your credit reports often. If you spot any errors, such as a hard inquiry that occurred without your permission, consider disputing it with the credit bureau. You may also contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for further assistance.

This could be a sign of identity theft according to Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus. At the very least, you’ll want to look into it and understand what’s going on.

Keep in mind, you can only dispute hard inquiries that occur without your permission. If you’ve authorized a hard inquiry, it generally takes two years to fall off your credit reports.How to dispute an error on your credit report

How to minimize the impact of hard credit inquiries

When you’re buying a home or car, don’t let a fear of racking up multiple hard inquiries stop you from shopping for the lowest interest rates.

FICO gives you a 30-day grace period before certain loan inquiries are reflected in your FICO® credit scores. And FICO may record multiple inquires for the same type of loan as a single inquiry as long as they’re made within a certain window. For FICO scores calculated from older versions of the scoring formula, this window is 14 days; for FICO scores calculated from the newest versions of the scoring formula, it’s 45 days.

Similarly, the VantageScore model gives you a rolling two-week window to shop for the best interest rates for certain loans. “That way, they only impact your credit score once,” the company says.


Bottom line

Your credit scores play a big role in your financial well-being. Before applying for credit, take time to build your credit scores. With stronger credit, you may improve your chances of being approved for the financial products you want at the best possible terms and rates.

To help you keep track of hard inquiries that may influence your credit scores, check your credit reports from TransUnion and Equifax . While one hard inquiry may knock a few points off your scores, multiple inquiries in a short amount of time may cause more damage.

Beware – Be Smart – Be Informed-Scams

An Update from the California Department of Business Oversight

 

Do Your Homework
In light of recent events, the Department of Business Oversight (DBO) urges consumers and investors to be alert to scams and unlawful activities in the investment and other financial services industries. The DBO encourages investors to carefully investigate any potential investment opportunities at a time when unscrupulous actors will likely try to exploit heightened economic anxieties. Consumers and investors can submit complaints to the DBO at https://dbo.ca.gov/file-a-complaint/.

Loan Modification and Foreclosure Scams 

Homeowners facing foreclosure should be aware of these common scams:

Deed-Transferring to Third Party – Scammers have told homeowners that by transferring the deed to their home to a third party, they will no longer be responsible for their mortgage payments. This is NOT true. Transferring a title does not relieve a borrower from their mortgage payments. Scam artists often ask for up-front fees to make the deed transfer and promise to rent the house back to the homeowner until the homeowner can afford to buy the house back. If you are facing foreclosure, investigate payment options with your mortgage servicer and do NOT sign your property away.

Intentional Default – Scam artists urge homeowners to not pay their mortgage in order to get a loan modification. While there is no right to a loan modification, the terms and standards for a loan modification are always determined by the mortgage loan servicer – no one else. If you are having difficulty making mortgage payments, you should contact your mortgage servicer directly or contact a HUD certified counselor (888-995-4673) for help.

Banks, credit unions, and mortgage lenders and servicers also have agreed to allow homeowners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to delay or reduce their mortgage payments for up to three months. See the DBO’s COVID-19 Updates page at https://dbo.ca.gov/2020/03/25/covid19/

Lending Scams

Advance Fee Scams – The DBO encourages consumers in need of cash to avoid advance fee scams in which fraudulent companies promise loans if a consumer pays a substantial up-front fee first. Do NOT pay anyone asking for upfront/advance fees for loan modification services or mortgage forbearance services. Contact the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) immediately at 877-373-4542 or at Ask.DBO@dbo.ca.gov. Advance fees for loan modifications are NOT legal in California. In addition, collecting late fees is prohibited while a loan modification application is under review, a denial is being appealed, or a borrower is making timely payments.

Potential Investment Related Scams

The DBO encourages investors to be wary of investment schemes promoting cures in connection with the current public health emergency, or other investment opportunities related to the economic downturn. Schemes may attempt to convince investors to liquidate their savings or sell their current holdings to purchase overvalued assets, assets that come with very high fees or assets of uncertain or questionable value, such as cryptocurrencies or precious metals.

Pension Advances – The scam involves investors who provide funds to make cash advances and pensioners who are willing to turn over future pension payments in exchange for an immediate lump sum cash payment.

Opportunity Zones – An Opportunity Zone is an economically distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. These types of investments are available only through a Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF). A QOF may invest in property or a business located in an opportunity zone. Investors considering these investments should consult with their qualified tax adviser because of the complex tax implications. Just because the property is located within an opportunity zone does not automatically make it a good investment. To the contrary, opportunity zones are economically distressed areas which pose additional risks.

Check Before You Invest

The Department of Business Oversight encourages consumers to check the licensing status of companies prior to transacting business. California consumers should contact the Department to check on the licensing of companies offering loans, investments, or other financial services. This can be done by visiting the Licensee listing on the DBO website or calling the Department’s toll-free Consumer Services Office at (866) 275-2677.

How to Protect Yourself:

·         Before investing in any investment, ask questions about the risks and fees involved. Conduct your own independent research or seek the opinion of a financial professional who is registered with your local securities regulator.

·         Never invest in something you don’t fully understand. Do not agree to participate in a general partnership or joint venture if you have no specific experience, knowledge or education in the type of business and would have to rely on others’ expertise.

·         Beware of sales techniques that include repeated phone calls, cold calls, or high-pressure sales pitches hyping the profitability of the deal or promising a sure thing.

·         Do not be fooled by professional-looking websites boasting current productivity levels and profits and featuring photos of new production sites.

Https://lendingcapital.net

SBA PPP Program

Visit our website: https://lendingcapital.net For more information & submit your application & upload required documentation and requirements.

We have several SBA approved lenders who are participating in the new SBA PPP Program. Fill out the application below along with the required documentation . Keep in mind that banks are presently only processing PPP loans for those who have an existing deposit or lending relationship with them (we do not have that rule). Banks also have certain statutory lending limits that our non-bank lenders do not – Many banks are not participating in the program

When do I Apply for the Loan?

  • Starting on April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorship’s can apply to receive loans to cover payroll and other certain expenses.
  • Starting on April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other certain expenses.

Applying for Loan Forgiveness

To obtain loan forgiveness through the PPP, you will need to provide verification to your lender for the number of full-time equivalent employees and pay rates, payments on eligible mortgage, lease, and utility obligations. You must certify that these documents are true and that you used the forgiveness amount to retain employees and made eligible mortgage interest, rent, and utility payments. The lender must make a decision on forgiveness within 60 days.

Important Things to Note About the PPP:

  • Loans will be made by lenders who are participants in the SBA’s Section 7(a) program and those lenders will also decide whether to accept a borrower’s application for forgiveness.
  • Detailed accounting and complete record keeping will be vital to taking advantage of these provisions.
  • The loan period for this program began on February 15, 2020 and will end on December 31, 2020.

Documents that will be required:

  • IRS Form – 940 (Annual Payroll) If you use a PEO instead, please request the payroll annual statement
  • IRS Form – 941 (Quarterly Payroll) We need all 4 quarters from 2019
  • IRS Form – W9 (For any 1099 employees)
  • Driver’s License Color Copy (For anyone with more than 20% ownership)
  • Voided Check for the business account.

In addition the following information must be provided

  1. Number of Employees as of December 31st, 2019
  2. Number of Employees as of February 15th, 2020
  3. 2019 Annual Gross Revenue for the Business
  4. 2019 Payroll Cost
  5. Date started business
  6. Monthly Rent or Mortgage

Don’t wait-it costs you nothing to apply…https://lendingcapital.net

 

 

eCommerce for CBD-Flower-SEED

CBD merchants tired of not being able to process credit cards to you site?

The banking and processing industry  has a stigma against cbd merchants in general-BUT ESPECIALLY FOR FLOWER merchants.

Well, we are happy to say that we can end your misery in that department…with great rates, terms, very few conditions, and NO LOOKING OVER YOUR SHOULDER waiting to be cancelled.

Check this out:

WE CAN ACCEPT PRE-ROLL + FLOWER +  SEED HEMP/CBD MERCHANTS

FLOWER MERCHANTS MUST BE PRODUCING MINIMUM $100,000 PER MONTH 

All rates are determined by underwriting…no applications will be processed until all information is complete – including any additional information we may request

* rate of 4.95- 6.95                                                                                                                                    (6.95 for start ups)  Reviewed every 90 days                                                                                  * $.35 transaction
* 10% reserve for 180 days under 50K Monthly volume
* 5% reserve for 180 days over 50k Monthly    Volume

No reserves over 100K Monthly Volume
* Interchange plus pricing over $200k Monthly Volume
* Visa/MasterCard
* 7 day approval time to go live

Our program has  a 90% plus approval rate and 90% plus no cancellations except for excessive chargebacks

 

CBD for ADHD?

I speak from first hand experience as one of my kids has ADHD-we took her off ADDERAL (horrible drug) and put her on CBD gummies & Oils-WOW! what a a difference!

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects millions of Americans and it disrupts the quality of life with an inability to focus on even the most mundane daily tasks. Anyone diagnosed with ADHD knows how much it can be a struggle at school, at work, and in relationships with family and friends. Prescription medications intended to treat ADHD can have unwanted side effects and can also be cost-prohibitive for many.

But, CBD for ADHD? Does it work?

CBD oil and similar CBD products present a safe and all-natural alternative that may provide much-needed relief and a better quality of life for those with ADHD.

There’s so much information out there and a lot of this information can be inaccurate. It’s so easy to be misinformed, especially when talking about the real benefits that CBD cannabidiol can bring to those who are diagnosed with ADHD. We’re here to keep things simple for you. We’ve broken down everything you need to know about the correlation between ADHD and CBD, as well as some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we get regarding this topic.

What is CBD?

CBD, a cannabidiol, is just one of the 113 chemical compounds that are cannabinoids and found in cannabis.  You’ve probably heard of THC, the compound that brings psychedelic effects and brings a high to those who smoke, ingest, or consume it in whatever way. CBD is not this. In fact, CBD is nowhere associated with THC and doesn’t get you high or “stoned” in any way. You can use something like CBD oil and be clear-headed 100% of the time.

Because CBD and CBD oil does not get you high, you won’t have to worry about feeling the “couch lock” feeling or any of the other negative effects that THC can bring you. Once more with feeling: CBD is not THC.

In fact, CBD is legal and can be bought anywhere. Have you seen those hemp ingredient skincare lines or supplements at your local health foods store? More than likely, those have CBD in them in some capacity. Because it doesn’t get you high, it’s legal!

What Is CBD Oil?

Derived from cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound touted as a “miracle cure” for its many healing and therapeutic effects. CBD products offer a natural anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, and it has been used effectively to treat everything from arthritis to depression and even epileptic seizures. While we still don’t have long-term studies supporting CBD treatment evidence, early and anecdotal evidence shows it to be an incredible natural healer. Researchers and scientists continue to devote studies to CBD to better understand how it works within our bodies and to discover new and innovative ways to use it in health care.

Our body produces its own cannabinoids (we have an “endocannabinoid system”) and CBD interacts with those in a way to lessen pain and address many other concerns. CBD acts on our bodies’ own receptors to create changes in bodily functions, which can ease the symptoms of many illnesses. CBD regulates our homeostasis and can enhance the quality of sleep, reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression, and contribute to overall health and well being. It is important to note that CBD differs from another cannabis compound, THC, in that is has no psychoactive effects: it does not produce a high when ingested, inhaled, or applied topically.

What Is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is most often associated with children, though many adults have undiagnosed ADHD. In the brain of someone with ADHD, chemical differences affect the way signals are sent, especially when it comes to attention and focus. These differences are likely linked to genetics and research is ongoing to understand this syndrome that affects millions of people.

The brain functions that regulate everything from memory to concentration are disrupted by ADHD and typical treatment usually involves both therapy and medication. While significant advancements have been made in

prescription medications intended to address ADHD, they are still associated with some troubling side effects. Users may experience decreased appetites and weight loss, difficulty sleeping, irritability, headaches, and stomachaches. Problems can occur when the medicine wears off or is used in incorrect dosages and the use of these medications can lead to stunted growth and circulatory issues as well. And as is often the case with prescription medications, addiction can be a danger for users. Plus, the cost of these medications can be prohibitive for some, along with the costs of therapy.

ADHD is a complex diagnosis and is, in fact, often misdiagnosed. Researchers have found differences in the way ADHD presents in males and females, adding to the complexity and challenges associated with addressing it. Before considering any medication—be it prescription or natural—it is best to seek out a clear and thorough diagnosis, which may require second or even third medical opinions.

How can CBD help with ADHD?

Those who have ADHD have a hard time of both dealing with anxiety and staying focused or concentrated on a certain task. Simply put, CBD oil can help with both of these common issues.  Not only does it decrease some of those negative symptoms that those diagnosed with ADHD experience, but it also helps increase one’s ability to focus and concentrate on a specific task at hand.

However, for those who are dreaming of big things, CBD cannot cure ADHD. Can it relieve negative symptoms associated with those who are diagnosed with ADHD? Yep. It just can’t cure it.

Because this “cure” factor is nonexistent, that means the oil or CBD will eventually wear off and you’ll begin to feel those negative symptoms again. Much like a medication (like aspirin when you have a headache), you’re going to need to use that CBD oil again if you’re experiencing horrible anxiety or need more focus.

The primary role of CBD when it enters our bloodstream is to restore homeostasis—basically getting our body back into normal order. This effect is certainly promising as it relates to ADHD, as well as a variety of other syndromes and disorders.

However, because it helps to level out your brain, you’ll soon be wishing you discovered CBD a long time ago.

Q: Are there other benefits to CBD or using CBD oil? Any others related to those who are diagnosed with ADHD?

A: There are literally a ton of benefits associated with CBD. Obviously, if you are diagnosed with ADHD, the ones you’re probably concerned with are concentration and anxiety (and CBD, as we discussed above, helps with both). However, that doesn’t mean that is all the benefits associated with CBD. In fact, just by using CBD oil, you can experience pain relief and a reduction of inflammation. CBD is also used for those who have a hard time sleeping and it can also help with reducing nausea!

CBD has also been known to help with acne, ADHD (as we discussed), bipolar disorder, stress, anxiety, depression, OCD, severe pain, chronic pain, cancer symptoms, and arthritis.

There are a ton of benefits that CBD can bring to your lifestyle; these are only a few. It can also treat many other symptoms and situations!

Q: What’s the best way to administer or ingest the CBD oil for my ADHD?

A: The best way to get the oil and CBD into your system is to use the dropper to place a few drops on your tongue—but don’t swallow! Instead, let the drops settle into your tongue, where it will very quickly reach your brain. This happens quite fast and you may feel the effects almost immediately. If you’re a first-time user, we highly recommend only using about one or two drops to find out what you need. The worst thing you can do is to use too many drops and then have horrible symptoms. Start small and see what your body needs! Everyone is different!

Q: Are there other ways and methods to use CBD without using the oil?

A: Yes! If you live in a state where smoking marijuana is legal, you can find certain strains that are high in CBD and smoke them in that format. And smoking in this capacity also brings about new methods, such as smoking a joint or using a bong (among others).

You can also use CBD in its pure (or isolate) form and put it in food. Because you can use CBD in this format that also means you can DIY your own little recipes if you’re feeling creative and more comfortable with CBD down the line. Whether it’s making your own tea, your own bath bomb, your own lotion, or your own skincare, CBD can be put in many different recipes to some really great results.

You can also find CBD patches, which are great for those who want that constant stream of pain relief flowing through their systems at all times. This is a great method for those who do have that chronic pain yet live quite busy lifestyles. It’s also great to use patches if you find yourself constantly forgetting to take your supplements or using your oil until the pain is back. Patches mean longer dosages (sometimes up to 96 hours), meaning it can be easier to function for some.

Q: What Kind of CBD Product Should I Try to Treat ADHD?

Again, let’s emphasize the most important point: you should discuss the use of CBD oil with a physician first, especially if it will be used by children or adolescents.

CBD oil derived from the hemp plant has minimal amounts of THC, though users may still test positive for THC without getting any kind of “high” from a product.

CBD oil can come in a variety of forms, from tinctures to capsules to edibles and “gummies.” CBD oil can be added to foods or beverages you consume daily. It can also be smoked using a vaporizer, or even applied as a topical cream.

Some of the CBD hemp oils reviewed for the use of ADHD treatment can be found here.

Final Tips

  • ADHD is a complex diagnosis that requires the consultation of a physician. There is no one-size-fits-all cure and some may benefit from prescription medication despite its side effects.
  • Before taking any medication, whether a prescription or a natural alternative, discuss with a doctor first!
  • Therapy may also play a significant role in retraining our brains to function with anyone diagnosed with ADHD.
  • CBD oil is a safe and natural treatment some may wish to consider for ADHD and other conditions. It has minimal side effects and may be cheaper than other treatment plans.
  • The benefits of CBD oil will extend beyond the treatment of ADHD as it functions in many other positive ways to promote overall health.

Mmjloans.net

Hemp Oil Is Not Mary Jane

The family name “Cannabis” is not known for its wide array of compounds. Instead, it is known for its most popular compound called Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the well-known substance found in marijuana which is psychoactive and causes the “high” feeling in people who partake in marijuana.

On the other side of this coin there is CBD (Cannabidiol). This is a natural substance which has been obtained from hemp plants. There are over 104 compounds in cannabidiol, but unlike the THC found in marijuana, CBD is not psychoactive.

Scientifically, the compounds look almost identical when you place them together. Organically, they couldn’t be more different to the user. CBD hemp oil contains little to no THC, which does not cause a “high” in the user. At most, CBD contains 0.3% of THC, which is still not enough to produce any effects, and is also the legal limit for this type of product.

In fact, Ernest Small wrote The Species Problem in Cannabis which determined a very controversial topic within the community when he said,

“There is not any natural point at which the cannabinoid content can be used to distinguish strains of hemp and marijuana”.

Essentially, he scientifically proclaimed the 0.3% THC in hemp was the main difference which separated hemp oil from marijuana.

The reason this oil has become so effective is how the cannabinoids found in CBD oil mimic the endocannabinoids our body naturally produces. This oil communicates with the receptors in the brain (the liquid precursors and neurotransmitters) which tell our brain there’s endocannabinoids in the body. This communication between the postsynaptic and presynaptic triggers allow the CBD to travel backwards, doing what it needs to do to complete its task.

Pretty neat huh?

Hemp contains all kinds of great things like omega 3, omega 6, and they are very high in fatty acids which can prove beneficial to the user.

When you think of hemp and/or marijuana, you always lean towards the idea that these are mostly used in human consumption. While this is the major truth for marijuana, it’s not true for hemp.

Hemp is used in all kinds of different things that isn’t meant to be consumed by a human. For instance, hemp can be grown as a renewable source for raw materials which can be incorporated into thousands of products people use every day.

The Main Differences of Hemp Oil

When you begin to understand the overall picture between hemp and marijuana, you can start to see smaller characteristics stand out more which make them different.

Some of these which stand out are the fact that hemp and marijuana are not the same plant. They are separate plants within the cannabis genus, and have very different characteristics.

Hemp has a low volume of THC and a high volume of cannabidiol. On the other end of this spectrum, marijuana has high volumes of THC and low volumes of CBD. Due to this high volume of THC, the marijuana plant offers psychotropic effects.

Finally, one of the most important aspects is marijuana and marijuana oil is regulated by different laws in each state, and in some, completely illegal to consume.

It’s important to stay updated on the legality of CBD oil, and I found a very informative article which shares the most recent laws in the United States. Remember, not all states have the same ideas as others. We can only hope that at some point in the near future, all CBD related products will be made available for those who need it or want to try alternatives to what they’re doing already.

In Conclusion

In short, CBD isn’t marijuana. While it may be directly related, there are specific differences which make the two stand out.

The CBD/Hemp oil movement is consistently growing and becoming more popular. As the growth of this plant becomes more prevalent in the lives of wellness-minded individuals, more knowledge is needed to ensure you are consuming the best quality derived hemp oil on the market.

 

Opioids vs. Medical Cannabis — Which Is Better for Chronic Pain? 

Opioids vs. Medical Cannabis — Which Is Better for Chronic Pain?

With his recent announcement that opioid abuse amounted to a public health emergency, President Trump acknowledged a fact already sadly apparent to millions of Americans. In 2016, 64,000 people died from drug overdoses (with prescription and illicit opioids responsible for the majority of drug overdoses). For Americans under 50, drug overdose is the leading cause of death.

With some 140 Americans dying each day from opioids — and the powerful dependency patterns long-term users develop — finding a solution is no simple task. (Notably, while opioid-induced fatal drug overdoses are skyrocketing, the Drug Enforcement Agency notes that no death from cannabis overdose has ever been reported.)

Given the comparative low toxicity and low potential for abuse of cannabis, is cannabis superior to opioids to treat chronic pain?

Medical Cannabis May Save Lives Lost to Opioid Addiction

From a public health perspective — given the relative safety of cannabis compared to opioid medications — it seems clear: With a much lower risk of dependence than opioids and virtually no risk of fatal overdose, cannabis trumps opioids. Hands down.

To underscore the point, earlier in 2017, WeedMaps, a California company that publishes an online dispensary rating guide, launched a creative billboard marketing campaign. On a simple black background on the billboards, the text read:

“States that legalized marijuana had 25% fewer opioid-related deaths.”

The message was stark and unforgettable, and it sparked heated controversy in some neighborhoods hard hit by the opioid crisis.

The WeedMaps data was based on a 2014 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Dr. Mark S. Brown and Marie J. Hayes, opioid abuse researchers and authors of the study, commented: “The striking implication is that medical marijuana laws, when implemented, may represent a promising approach for stemming runaway rates of unintentional opioid-analgesic-related deaths.”

Cannabis in History: A Long Track Record as Safe Medicine

Neither cannabis nor opium—the plant from which synthetic opioids are derived—are new additions to the medicine cabinet. Cannabis has been used to treat chronic pain, stomach ailments, anxiety and a host of other conditions for at least 4,000 years.

Opium’s medical use dates back even further, to at least 3400 BCE. If it was recognized early for its powerful pain-killing properties, it was also understood to be habit-forming by at least the 18th century, if not long before.

By comparison, cannabis remained in the American pharmacopoeia as an accepted folk remedy until the early 20th century, when the rising tides of both the Temperance movement and anti-immigrant sentiment—marijuana was widely linked with an influx of Mexican migrant workers—led to its being banned in most states, and eventually on the federal level in 1937.

Marijuana Medicine: Is it “Strong Enough” to Stop Pain Compared to Opioids?

While cannabis has a long and historical track record of being used to treat a variety of ailments, and the evidence clearly suggests cannabis is far safer, less addictive, and less potentially destructive than opioids, the question remains:

Can cannabis actually treat chronic pain more effectively than opioids?

With the wave of medical cannabis legalization showing no signs of stopping, a flood of research is uncovering cannabis’ potential as a treatment for chronic pain. And it turns out the physicians of millennia past were on to something.

Let’s look at the science:

Patients seem to prefer using cannabis in place of opioids, many claiming it works better for them than opioids. A paper published in the Journal of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research used data from a group of 2,897 medical cannabis patients.

  • 34 percent reported having used opioid pain medication in the previous six months. A majority of patients reported that cannabis was just as effective or more effective than opioids — but without undesirable side effects.
  • Of the patients reporting having used opioids, 97 percent reported having been able to reduce or eliminate opioids.
  • And, 81 percent reported using cannabis alone was more effective opioids.

The authors of the study concluded: “Cannabis can be an effective treatment for pain, greatly reduces the chance of dependence, and eliminates the risk of fatal overdose compared to opioid-based medications. Medical cannabis patients report that cannabis is just as effective, if not more, than opioid-based medications for pain.”

A 2015 Harvard-led review (a meta-analysis) of 28 studies examining the efficacy of cannabinoids to treat various pain and medical issues, drew similar conclusions. The authors concluded, “Use of marijuana for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is supported by high-quality evidence.”

The following year, a study by the University of Michigan found that cannabis, among other things:

  • Decreased the side effects from other medications
  • Improved subjects’ overall quality of life
  • Reduced use of opioids, on average, by 64%

Findings from recent research validate the vast amount of anecdotal evidence strongly supporting cannabis’ efficacy in treating chronic pain.

Cannabis Can Take a Little Trial and Error

While cannabis may seem like a godsend — and for many patients it is — for some it takes a little bit of trial and error to find the right cannabinoid ratio and intake method. Cannabis is not a single drug; it’s a highly complex plant with hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenes working together synergistically to influence its effects.

For chronic pain, we find most patients opt for products higher in THC. I caught up with Dr. Stephen Dahmer, Vireo’s chief medical officer, and asked him what most chronic pain patients experiences were like:

What we’ve seen in chronic pain is that a patient will gravitate a little bit more towards a higher THC product. They’ll move in that direction if they’re not responding to the treatment that’s given. So, generally, in terms of dosing, we’ll slide them towards higher THC, but also increase the amount of CBD. That could potentiate [extend the duration of] the THC while offsetting potential side effects.

In pain, most of the scientific research is going to back this up. If you look at the randomized double-blind control studies done specifically with neuropathic pain, it’s higher THC strains that have the best evidence behind them. But we will also find in practicality if a patient is not responding to increasing levels of THC, sometimes we’ll flip things upside down and give them a high CBD, and particularly in inflammatory disorders, patients might respond well to that, where they may not respond well to a higher THC.

So, a combination of science and trial and error, and a lot of feedback. Very close feedback with the patient, making sure they’re getting the most optimal effects with the fewest side effects.

So while most patients seem to respond better to products with higher THC levels, others find a 1:1 (THC:CBD) or a high CBD product works great. Likewise, some people prefer inhalation (finding vaporizing delivers the fast relief). Others find inhalation can exacerbate their pain and prefer oral administration (e.g. capsules or tinctures).

“There’s no “one size fits all,”

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