Growing Trend: Stratos the Latest Dispensary Brand to Embrace Hemp

The CBD water is warm, and investors are ready to jump in. Some of those investors are coming from established marijuana dispensary brands and are now diving into the hemp and CBD-only pools, buoyed by their experience with the plant and dealing with much tougher regulations.

Stratos, a marijuana-infused product company known for tablets as well as its medically focused outreach, is one of the latest established pot businesses to try its hand at CBD. We caught up with Kate Heckman, Stratos vice president of branding and marketing, to talk about what CBD can do for its wide target audience.

Westword: Stratos has been around for a few years now. Why jump in the hemp and CBD-only arena?

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Kate Heckman: We started creating THC products with CBD for the recreational and medical market in 2014, and very quickly saw the demand skyrocket around CBD products. People wanted to reap the medicinal benefits of CBD without the high you get from THC. We decided to leverage our experience in the cannabis space and launch a CBD-only product line that could be sold online and shipped anywhere.

Are CBD tablets and other products intended for recreational use as well?

Absolutely. The purpose of CBD is not exclusively to treat some sort of health condition. People can take CBD to unwind, just like you would a glass of wine to help relax at the end of the day. Where THC-heavy cannabis products can make some people feel sleepy, CBD can offer a relaxing effect without drowsiness.

Stratos has been actively reaching out to senior citizens to educate them about medical marijuana products and their potential benefits. How can CBD further help that demographic?

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At every Cannabis 101 for Seniors event that we did, we heard the same thing over and over, which was: “I don’t want to feel high. So how can cannabis help me?” CBD tablets are the perfect option for seniors, because they’re familiar with the pill-delivery method, and it’s also sugar-free, gluten-free, smoke-free and vegan, so it can fit in within the medical requirements of an individual’s health regimen.

What’s the difference between CBD oil and full-spectrum hemp oil?

Where we are right now in the industry, CBD oil and full-spectrum are essentially considered the same thing. Where the buyer needs to beware is understanding that measuring the “hemp oil” content doesn’t necessarily equate to how much CBD is in the product. If you’re looking for CBD without any THC, find products containing CBD isolate. Full-spectrum hemp oil offers full-plant potential by extracting cannabidiol (CBD), phytocannabinoids, fatty acids, flavonoids and trace amounts of THC. CBD isolate distills the full-spectrum extraction and strips out all other properties except CBD.

With looming oversight from the Food and Drug Administration and reports of New York City’s health department cracking down on CBD edibles, how do you see CBD products such as yours being labeled and regulated for national consumption going forward?

We currently use FDA regulations for guidance on how we manufacture, package and label our products. Our team is adept at working within strict regulatory environments, so we feel confident about being able to adapt to any necessary adjustments. For now, we’ll have to wait for the specifics of the FDA language.

How will selling and buying CBD in Colorado be different from the rest of the country, or states that haven’t legalized recreational cannabis?

As the first market to become recreationally legalized, the Colorado market is highly competitive and very sophisticated. Patients and customers have also had access to cannabis and CBD longer, making them very knowledgeable and also discretionary when it comes to what they buy. Having that kind of market insight and customer feedback really helps us fine-tune our approach and product offerings. Regardless of where people purchase, we encourage them to be judicious in their research. Confirm that the product is tested for pesticides, residuals, solvents and microbial growth; that the product was grown in the U.S; and that it actually contains the amount of CBD listed on the label.

Toke of the Town

Seniors Slow to Embrace Online Access to Doctors

WEDNESDAY, May 30, 2018 — Many doctors have internet portals to help patients manage their care. But that doesn’t mean older folks will use them.

A University of Michigan poll found only about half of patients 50 to 80 years old have set up an online account with their health care provider.

“The health care system has provided patient portals as an efficient way for patients to communicate with their providers. But many older adults are uncomfortable with electronic interactions substituting for a phone call or in-person conversation,” co-associate poll director Sarah Clark said in a university news release.

Researchers found that better educated patients with higher incomes are most likely to use these systems. But poorer people with less education often have more health-related needs, the researchers said.

People over 65 were more likely than those in their 50s and early 60s to say they don’t like using the computer to communicate about their health. They were also more likely to voice discomfort with technology in general.

Among those who hadn’t linked up to a patient portal, 52 percent cited concerns about using the internet to monitor their health information.

Half said they didn’t see the need for this kind of access to their health information. And about 1 in 4 said they hadn’t gotten around to setting up their account. These folks tended to be in their 50s and early 60s.

The poll included more than 2,000 older adults.

Over the past several years, the U.S. government has required hospitals, health systems and other health care providers to offer patient portals to patients if they want extra funding from Medicare.

This gives patients access to records and test results that are part of electronic medical records.

Of those who have set up online accounts, 84 percent have viewed results from blood or other tests, the researchers found.

Far fewer patients use other functions available online. For instance, only 43 percent refilled prescriptions online, 37 percent scheduled an appointment online and just over a quarter used the portal to get advice about a health problem.

Nearly half of patients said speaking with their doctor was a better way to explain their problem.

“Many older adults still prefer telephone contact with their providers,” said poll director Dr. Preeti Malani, a professor at the university’s medical school. “We hope providers, and health systems, will take these findings into consideration when designing the ways patients can interact with them.”

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging talks about doctor-patient communication.

© 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: May 2018 – Daily MedNews

Weed Scene Elated as City Appears to Embrace Pot Shop Permits

Monday, August 7, 2017 at 6:03 a.m.

Weed Scene Elated as City Appears to Embrace Pot Shop Permits

File photo by Susan Slade Sanchez/L.A. Weekly

In a proposal that was widely panned by pot shops and legalization advocates, the city in June revealed possible regulations for Los Angeles cannabis businesses that would have continued the problematic policy of treating even the most legit enterprises with “limited legal immunity.

Many cannabis folks were up in arms. Voters in March approved Proposition M, which was pitched as an initiative that would finally grant licenses to weed sellers and producers. But the measure ultimately left the fine print up to City Hall. The groups representing collectives in town opposed the limited-immunity approach in proposed regulations forwarded as a way to implement M. This week, City Council president Herb Wesson submitted additions to those regulations that would endorse full licenses for pot businesses.

Wesson requested the changes in a letter to the city’s planning director. The proposed rule changes will be weighed by the Planning Commission in September before heading to the full City Council for its consideration. “After a complete and thorough review of the relevant legal issues, a licensing/permitting system as indicated in Proposition M that provides certainty under the zoning code is the best and only way to proceed toward regulating the commercial cannabis industry,” Wesson wrote.

“After carefully listening to Angelenos, we have requested adjustments to our draft ordinance that reflect the concerns voiced during the 60-day public comment period,” Wesson said via email. “We will continue to weigh different viewpoints in the coming months to regulate this emerging industry and protect city residents in the best way for Los Angeles.”

Marijuana business groups appeared to be elated.

“The members of UCBA [United Cannabis Business Alliance] are heartened by the thoughtful letter from council president Wesson,” Javier Montes, vice president of the trade association, said via email. “It is clear he has heard from the public at large and understands that a license is essential to a successful launch of the cannabis industry in Los Angeles.”

In a phone interview, leaders of the organization appeared to be confident licensing would become the law of the land for legit cannabis concerns in the city. “It’s a clear step forward,” Montes says.

Adam Spiker, executive director of the Southern California Coalition, the largest marijuana business organization in town, argues that the limited legal immunity approach established under voter-approved Proposition D in 2013 backfired for legit dispensaries because it created a legal gray area without protections for good actors. He said the number of fully illicit shops has mushroomed; many claim to be legal because the definition of “legal” is so murky. Some even proudly displayed tax certificates issued by the city before the City Council pulled the plug on issuing such documents to illegal storefronts last year.

“If you’re going to take their taxes, you also have to give them the same protections as other licensed businesses,” Spiker says. “We need to make it clear who are the legit operators under Proposition M and who aren’t, so that law enforcement and the City Attorney’s office know who to go after and treat like a regular licensee.”

Indeed, pot shop operators have long been hoping for a new day in which they could proudly flaunt licenses or permits that would repel police. California’s Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) originally contained what Gov. Jerry Brown called a dual-licensing system, where city permits would be required. That’s essentially how Proposition M, placed on the ballot by the City Council, was pitched to voters.

But the final version of those state rules nixed the local licensing requirement, and the June rollout of L.A.’s own proposed regulations reverted to the “limited legal immunity” model.

The Los Angeles rules were intended to allow not only medical marijuana shops but other businesses, including growers and product producers, to achieve legality in the city under the state’s own laws. It’s also expected that some if not most retailers will switch to recreational cannabis sales for the 21-and-older crowd, approved by voters under California’s Proposition 64 in November.

Wesson is proposing another change to allow “safe volatile manufacturing” in the city. June’s proposed regulations would have outlawed the predominant process for creating a concentrated marijuana products like dabs, wax and oils used in vaporizers. The products have rapidly gained in popularity at dispensaries and are responsible for 30 percent of sales statewide, according to one estimate. The rule would have essentially shut out the making of such products in L.A., critics said.

In recent years, there have been several explosions stemming from amateurs using butane to extract concentrated THC from marijuana. But industry experts say extraction can be done safely if it’s regulated like other industries that use volatile chemicals. Wesson agrees, saying in his letter, “I am confident that the city of Los Angeles has the inspection, safety and regulatory expertise to allow for safe volatile manufacturing.”

“It’s something we’ve been supportive of,” says Montes of the UCBA. “This type of manufacturing has been
done in various other industries for decades.”

Wesson is asking that the draft regulations be considered on an emergency basis so that city license applications will be available late in the year, ahead of the expected rollout of state licenses in January.

Toke of the Town

Senior Citizens Embrace Medicinal Cannabis: Use up 250%

Far from a gateway drug, marijuana helps today’s senior citizens exit the vicious cycle of pharmaceuticals and addiction. Although marijuana was once considered a dangerous recreational drug by many senior citizens, today’s elderly are among the fastest growing demographic within the cannabis industry. Another sector demonstrating elevated use, those adults aged 50-65 increased their overall […]

Netflix and HBO Fully Embrace Marijuana Culture With New Scripted Shows

Now that the stigma of smoking marijuana has disappeared almost entirely, it’s high time our pop culture reflect that societal shift. As a community of marijuana aficionados, we deserve better than the lazy ways Hollywood has portrayed stoners for decades. The writing in every weed movie, or at least for most “stoner” characters, feels unbearably […]

‘Granny hair’ vogue: women embrace trend by going many shades of grey

(Reuters) – While many people try to hide their grey hair, spending hours eradicating the signs of advancing age, going grey may no longer mean reaching out for the dye bottle as “granny hair” is in vogue.

Fashion designers such as Jean-Paul Gaultier, Chanel and Gareth Pugh have all styled their models with silver hair and many have since followed suit.

Spotted on celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Pink, Rihanna, Nicole Ritchie and Kelly Osborne, the grey, white or lavender trend has been embraced by women worldwide with thousands posting pictures on social media sites under “#grannyhair”.

“Granny hair is basically silver hair, any tone of grey in your hair: steel grey, silvery grey, really, really white, platinum-ish with either violet or silver undertones,” New York hair stylist Jan-Marie Arteca said. “That’s the trend.”

Many fashion blogs and magazines say the look is the “hottest” hair color trend for 2015 while website boredpanda asked women to post pictures of their “granny hair” on a page that has since been viewed over 500,000 times.

“I love the grey. Ever since I first saw it in a magazine, I was fascinated,” Jackie, 27, said at the Jeff Chastain Parlor salon during an appointment to dye her dark brown hair grey.

“It’s like something that comes out, like a spark.”

The process can be long however, taking at least two hours to bleach the natural hair and then add the new color. For Jackie, it took seven hours – three bleaches and two color applications – to complete the look.

“Granny hair” does not come cheap – costing from $ 200 up to $ 700, depending on hair color and condition. Touch-ups are required about every four weeks.

(Reporting by Angela Moore and Reuters Television in New York; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Doctors, Patients Embrace Technology in Medicine

Sept. 22, 2014 — Technology is quickly changing many parts of medicine, giving people more power to take charge of their health care.

Many patients and doctors are embracing these changes, a new Medscape/WebMD survey finds.

The findings are part of the WebMD/Medscape Digital Technology Survey, which included more than 1,100 patients and 1,400 health professionals, including 827 doctors. Questions focused on issues related to the evolution of medical care — including using smartphones to assist in the diagnostic process, clearness about what a procedure costs, the right to review medical records, radiation risks from imaging tests, and genetic testing.

Eric Topol, MD, editor-in-chief of Medscape and the chief academic officer of Scripps Health, says the report is unique. There hasn’t been a large survey that’s asked the same questions of doctors and patients.

“Technology is really democratizing all aspects of the doctor’s visit,” Topol says.

Today, people can use smartphones to track their blood sugar. And soon, apps and accessories may be available that check cholesterol or track the heart’s electrical activity.

Instead of the doctor’s office or lab being a place to begin gathering information about their health, people could soon be showing up for checkups with the info already in hand.

 In the survey:

  •  A majority of both groups — 84% of patients and 69% of doctors — said they embrace technology to enhance and aid the diagnostic process.
  • Both groups — 64% of patients and 63% of doctors — agreed that the smartphone can be a useful diagnostic tool in regard to blood tests. 

About 40% of patients liked the idea of using technology to identify health concerns without a trip to the doctor, while only 17% of doctors endorsed that method.

Areas Where Both Sides Agree

In addition to the use of new technologies, there were other parts of health care where doctors and patients agreed.

Nearly 100% of both groups said patients should have the right to know the full cost of a medical procedure before they decide whether to have it. The vast majority of patients and doctors also said patients should have access to the prices charged by different health care providers for the same medical procedure so they could comparison shop. Only about half of doctors said they were prepared to compete on the basis of cost, though.

And nearly all patients and doctors said they support the use of genetic testing to, for example, diagnose problems in a fetus, identify and treat diseases, or spot drug side effects.

Issues Where Doctors and Patients Differ

Confusion crept in when questions turned to medical records, physical exams, and radiation risks.

Nearly all patients and doctors agreed that patients have a right to review their medical records. But neither group seemed to be sure who medical records belong to. About half of consumers — 54% — believe they own their medical records, while 39% of doctors said physicians own the records they keep on patients.

WebMD Health

Golden Calls: Will China embrace a champagne iPhone?

A visitor tries out an iPhone at an Apple store in Beijing April 2, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

A visitor tries out an iPhone at an Apple store in Beijing April 2, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

BEIJING | Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:18pm EDT

(Reuters) – If Apple hopes to woo more Chinese by adding a glitzy coating – some call it champagne, some gold – to its next iPhone, it may be in for a surprise.

While gold is hugely popular as a safe haven and a status symbol – China is set to overtake India as the world’s biggest gold consumer this year – shoppers at an Apple store in Beijing weren’t all convinced it should be coupled with that pinnacle of mobile gadgetry.

Ni Suyang, a 49-year old worker at a Beijing state-owned enterprise, said that color mattered less to her than the glass surface and silver metallic finish.

“A gold color looks high-end but is a little tacky,” she said.

Gold and mobile phones are not strangers. Britain’s Gold & Co makes gold-plated iPhones, iPads and BlackBerrys which it also sells in India and China.

In Shenzhen many small local brands make gold-plated feature phones and smartphones. The less well-heeled can adorn their devices with jewel-studded and gold phone covers.

Apple’s decision to add a champagne or gold covered iPhone to its range – confirmed by supply chain sources in Taiwan – would be a departure from its black and white norm.

Apple could be not reached for comment.

Commercially it makes sense, said Jerry Zou, Senior VP and Partner at FleishmanHillard, a public relations firm in Beijing. New colors would add “novelty and variety, both of which are key to winning over fickle Chinese consumers”.

A champagne color “would convey an image suggesting high-end luxury but a bit more restrained and subtle”.


But browsers at Apple’s Xidan store weren’t so sure – even on which gender would like it.

“Gold is for guys, I think,” said 22-year old Meng Xiang, a retail buyer working in Guangzhou, who said she preferred pink and white. “I would consider buying a gold iPhone for my boyfriend.”

Cui Baocheng, a 48-year-old bank manager, disagreed. “I prefer black to gold,” he said. “Men usually like black. Champagne might be very ugly.”

Indeed, there’s a danger that by trying to broaden its appeal Apple may end up undermining what makes the iPhone so desirable in the first place.

Younger Chinese see gold as old-fashioned and tacky, and are increasingly opting for platinum – dubbed “white gold” in Chinese – for weddings and gifts.

“An iPhone with more colors means that Apple is adapting to consumers’ tastes, especially a gold color that Chinese people like,” said Xu Fang, a 28-year old real estate agent. “However, I think this might undermine the value and uniqueness of the brand.”

Apple’s sales in Greater China, its second biggest market, slumped 43 percent in April-June from the previous quarter. Its market share has almost halved since last year to below 5 percent, according to industry researcher Canalys.

The bigger problem, says Shanghai-based product designer Brandon Edwards, is that while gold added “cultural relevance on top of Apple’s inherent brand value” and may attract premium users from other brands, “Apple’s main issue in China and emerging markets is centered around acquiring new customers, and this doesn’t hit those people at all”.

Indeed, consumers in India, where Apple’s market share is just over 2 percent, were just as skeptical. Mumbai phone retailer Manish Khatri said he did occasionally get customers asking for gold-colored phones, but the biggest deterrent to buying an iPhone for most of them was cost.

For others, gold is something to buy, not to slap on a mobile device.

Said Vikas Jindal, a 35-year old Delhi businessman and a regular buyer of gold: “I’ll look stupid if I carry a gold-colored phone. A phone should be simple and sober. “

(Reporting by Beijing bureau; Additional reporting by Lee Chyenyee in Singapore, Matthew Miller in Beijing and Devidutta Tripathy in Delhi; Editing by Jeremy Wagstaff, Emily Kaiser and Alex Richardson)

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Kinect to Officially Embrace Modders This Spring

Less than a week after release, Kinect was already hacked so that it could be used when hooked up to a computer. From there, we’ve seen all sorts of incredible uses for it, including flying machines, self-driving mini-cars, and Minority Report-style hand detection — and that was all accomplished in less than two months. Microsoft promised that official PC support would be coming, and today it has revealed that it will indeed soon be making Kinect development much easier by releasing a full software development kit to the public.

Rather than be forced to jump through the same hoops that modders have been dealing with for the past several months, the SDK will “meet the needs of higher-level people who don’t care how the camera works.”

Windows 7 users will be able to get their hands on it sometime this spring for non-commercial use. It’ll be really exciting to see what people can come up with now that Microsoft is providing the SDK. Even better, support will be coming at a later date for those who want to sell what they develop for Kinect, which opens the door for some really high-quality apps and software.