The promise & threat of cannabis discussed at BGSU public health symposium

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Cannabis offers a promise for addressing forms a dementia, a researcher said recently at a public health symposium at Bowling Green State University. Dr. Norbert Kaminski, a researcher from Michigan State University, has studied possible use of cannabinoids in treating the dementia that arises in HV/AIDS patients, and that may extend to other diseases that affect the brain. Milan Karna, of the Wood County Prevention Coalition Milan Karna and Kyle Clark, from the Wood County Prevention Coalition, issued a strong warning that the use of marijuana itself was a danger to the minds and bodies of local youth. Both presentations were part the public health symposium on the topic: “Is Marijuana Good for Public Health?” That question almost caused Kaminski to decline the invitation to speak. He’s a researcher, and is not interested in issuing judgments. Kaminski was the Ned Baker Keynote Speaker. “I don’t care what therapeutic agent you have, it will have its beneficial effects as well as detrimental effects. I don’t know any therapeutic agent that doesn’t have those properties,” he said. “As a scientist I don’t think about cannabinoids as recreational. I think that they may be able to help people who have various illnesses.” THC has anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers found that this helped to fight the inflammation in the brain of those suffering from AIDS hat caused dementia. AIDS patients first took cannabis medically as an appetite stimulant.  The inflammation in the brains of AIDS patients, Kaminski said, is similar to that found in those suffering from Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, and other neurodegenerative diseases.  “There’s a  potential that some of these cannabinoid compounds that we’re studying may help individuals with those conditions as well,” Kaminski said. “It’s not a cure. It would just slow the progression of those diseases.”  Karna said that tobacco and alcohol companies once used health claims to market their products. Cannabis has been cited as a treatment for more than 20 conditions, according to Kaminski. Medicinal properties of hemp were first noticed in the first century AD in China. Karna showed a documentary video where someone went online and consulted with a doctor who gave him a prescription for medical marijuana and the drug was delivered to his door within an hour. That ease of access is troubling, said Clark. Increased access leads to increased use by youth. He compared it to the opioid epidemic that started with the abuse of legal pain killers. The same pharmaceutical companies involved in that crisis are now looking at marijuana. Ohio has taken a more conservative approach in legalizing medical marijuana, Clark said. It doesn’t allow smoking or cannabis in the form of candy.  Still an incident in Cleveland earlier this year shows the danger. A student brought gummy bears suspected of being laced with marijuana to school and shared them with fellow students, ages 5 to 9, who were sickened.  Karna said that, though, touted as a medical treatment, marijuana does not go through the same rigorous testing by the Federal Drug Administration that other drugs do. Levels of THC, the hallucinogenic element, varies greatly, and producers are working to increase the potency of marijuana, he said. Using statistics from the group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, Clark cited, irreversible drops in IQ and a rise in addiction rates among those who start consuming marijuana when they are young.  “I’ve always been under the assumption,” Clark said, “when we make policies and laws, we always make them in terms of adults and only after the fact do we find concerns with youth … because we realize it’s harmful. ……

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Wood County Hospital welcomes two New Year’s babies

By BG INDEPENDENT NEWS It was a boy, and then it was a girl at Wood County Hospital on the second day of 2019. The first baby of the year born was Adrian Jacari Lofton, son of Caitlin Blunk and William Lofton, of Bowling Green. He arrived Jan. 2 at 8:24 a.m. Anne Bechstein An hour later Anne Bechstein, daughter of Adam and Jana Bechstein, of Bowling Green, was born. In both cases the mothers were scheduled to deliver by Cesarean section. Bechstein’s operation came on schedule, not so for Blunk. She was scheduled to deliver on Jan. 10 but at about 3 a.m. Wednesday her water broke. She was staying with her mother Karah Thomason, who got her to the hospital. Adrian joins a 4-year-old brother Jaiden Nuzum, who is quite the proud brother, his mother said. “He thinks it’s his baby.” Adrian weighed in at eight pounds, eight ounces and measured 20.5 inches. Anne weighed seven pounds, seven ounces and 19 inches in length. She joins three siblings in the Bechstein household, Michael, 9, who was born on New Year’s Eve in 2009, Joseph, 3, and Mary, 22 months.  Lisa Barndt, the hospital’s head of obstetrics, said the parents of the first born baby were treated to a fine meal by the hospital’s head chef.  The families also received hand knit hats from Donald Navarre, a blanket knit by Retonia Westray, and special outfits made by Amanda Barndt.

Calico, Sage & Thyme to offer gut health, oils & praise moves sessions

From CALICO, SAGE & THYME Calico Sage & Thyme, 115 Clay St., Bowling Green, is offering  a free “Let’s Gut Healthy,” a series of wellness classes. Sessions on gut health will cover: “The Gut-Brain Connection”;  “The Gut Cause of Inflammatory & Autoimmune Diseases”; “SIBO, Candida, & Leaky Gut”; “Gut Food Addictions?”;  “Digestive Enzymes, Probiotics & Bone Broth”; and “Gluten, Gliadin & Opiates.” Classes will be held Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. starting Jan. 10 and continuing through Feb. 28 with no classes Jan. 24 and 31 and Feb. 7).    Call 419-352-5417 to reserve a spot. Young Living Essential Oils Classes will also be offered Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.“Reflexology & Essential Oils” with Marie Bowerman will be offered Jan. 15, and Feb. 19.    “Got Oils? Now What?”  Bring your oils and your questions! Will be offered Jan. 8, Feb. 12, Feb. 19, and Feb. 26. Praise Moves! An  alternative to yoga taught by Laurette Willis will be offered Wednesdays 9 a.m. There’s a $5 for the one hour workouts.

Free New Year’s rides offered in Bowling Green

From SAFE COMMUNITIES OF WOOD COUNTY Wood County Safe Communities will again be providing free rides in Bowling Green on New Year’s Eve from 11 p.m. on Dec. 31 until the last person is home safe on New Year’s Day. In Wood County, 21 percent of fatal crashes involve alcohol compared to 26 percent statewide.  Four percent of all crashes in Wood County as well as statewide involve alcohol. We need to do whatever we can to make sure that these numbers do not increase over the New Year’s holiday. If you are in Bowling Green, call 419-823-7765 for a ride home.  We will provide rides within the city limits of Bowling Green and the surrounding 10-mile area.   Thayer Chevrolet, Wood County Committee on Aging, Wood County Hospital and Wood County Emergency Management have provided continued assistance.  This program would not be possible without the coalition members, local businesses, and volunteers who give of their time to make sure this program is a success.

Medical marijuana dispensary in BG expected to open in March

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Many Ohioans are still waiting to be able to buy medical marijuana – though 2018 was supposed to be the year when state residents with certain medical needs got full access to the drug. It appears unlikely that the state will meet that timeline. However, the delays will pay off in the long run, according to the man opening up the medical marijuana dispensary in Bowling Green. Mark Jacobs, who will operate the dispensary called Glass City Alternatives on North Main Street, said the state is doing a good job trying to iron out all the kinks in the new medical marijuana program. That attention to detail should mean smoother operations once the dispensaries are up and running, Jacobs said last week. “The more regulations now, the more we won’t have to go back later for changes,” he said. “We are learning it all together,” Jacobs said. “The time up front will be well spent.” Some dispensaries in Ohio are planning to be in operation in January. Jacobs is planning for mid-March for the Bowling Green site. The location, formerly the Glass City Credit Union Building at 1155 N. Main St., still needs about eight to 10 weeks of construction work, according to Jacobs. Wood County Chief Building Inspector Mike Rudey said the plans for the medical marijuana dispensary in Bowling Green include controlled entries into the building and a fenced-in area in the back where deliveries will be made. The marijuana product will be stored in the old bank safe in the building, Rudey said. The medical marijuana provision in Ohio was signed into law by Gov. John Kasich in 2016. The effort missed its Sept. 8 deadline as growers, processors, testers and dispensary operators got bogged down in regulations. The timetable also lagged for the program’s patient and caregiver registry, which went live earlier this month. According to the Associated Press, doctors have submitted nearly 4,500 recommendations for the medical marijuana patient and caregiver registry. There is an online portal where certified doctors can recommend patients and caregivers. One of the final pieces of getting marijuana to patients — the approval of a testing facility — came late last week. The state is still working with cultivators and processors, Jacobs said. “That would be problematic,” if the dispensaries opened with no product, he said. There are no legal cultivators registered in Wood County, Jacobs said. There is one in Lucas County and multiple cultivators in the Cleveland and Columbus areas, where Jacobs may be purchasing from. “The whole process is kind of fluid,” he said. Jacobs said he is unsure how much of a demand will be seen at the dispensary in Bowling Green. However, if the other 36 states that already allow medical marijuana are any indication, there will be enough demand to make the local dispensary worthwhile. “I don’t know why Ohio would be any different,” Jacobs said. “We’re excited about being in Bowling Green,” he said. Earlier this year, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy awarded 56 medical marijuana provisional dispensary licenses from a total of 376 applications. The state had been divided into four quadrants for medical marijuana sales – with Northwest Ohio to have 10 dispensaries. The region was broken into districts, with Wood, Hancock and Henry counties being combined into one district to be allowed one dispensary. No applicants filed for locations in Hancock or Henry counties. So that left Wood County to host a dispensary. The North Main Street location beat out the other applicants, one on Napoleon Road in Bowling Green and…

Gardner talks funding, water, guns and abortion at town hall

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Since the lame duck session of state government usually brings some hasty legislative decisions, State Senator Randy Gardner spent Saturday morning conferring with his constituents. Always a history teacher at heart, Gardner tried to put the present in perspective by explaining past decisions. For two hours, he answered questions at his town hall meeting, then spent another hour talking with citizens individually. Though they didn’t always like his answers, the citizens at Saturday’s town hall meeting appreciated the willingness of the senator to hold a public gathering. “The next three weeks will be a really challenging time with big decisions,” said Gardner, a Republican from Bowling Green who has rotated between the state representative and senate seats since 1984. Adding to the unpredictability of the lame duck session will be the number of amendments tacked onto bills at the last moment. “Amendments will change the outcome of bills,” Gardner said. And it’s not unusual for amendments to present competing interests in the same bill, he added. Gardner has two of his own issues pending in the lame duck session. The Sierah Joughin bill creates a statewide database for law enforcement listing convicted violent offenders living in their jurisdictions. The bill is in response to the death of a 20-year-old woman from Fulton County, who was killed by a convicted violent felon. “I’m pretty optimistic,” this will pass, Gardner said. This bill has its critics, he said. Some feel the database could impede the rehabilitation of convicts. To better understand that criticism, Gardner said he met with Eddie Slade, who spent 31 years in prison for murder and burglary. “I have extra respect now for people who struggle to turn the lives around,” he said. But Sierah’s Law is in the best interest of communities, he said. Gardner’s other pending bill would “finally” see movement to get funding for the preservation of a healthy Lake Erie and help the agricultural community at the same time. Following are some of the other topics Gardner was asked about during the town hall. Hot button issues – guns, abortion and petitioning Marilyn Bowlus, of Pemberville, asked Gardner about pending house bills on “Stand Your Ground” gun laws and abortion rights. “It seems like Ohio is going backward,” Bowlus said. States that make it easier for people to justify firing a gun at someone often see higher levels of gun violence, she said. “It seems like we should be trying to lessen gun violence,” Bowlus said. Gardner said Ohio’s current laws on using a gun for defense are stricter than some other states. He also said that despite public perception, violent crimes with guns have dropped since 1993, though they have seen an uptick in the last four to five years. At that point in the town hall, a woman interrupted Gardner and asked about the frequency of mass shootings. “We’re not going to do that,” Gardner said to the woman, asking that she wait her turn. The woman abruptly left the meeting. “There are some things in that bill right now that I’m not for,” he said of the “stand your ground” bill. Gardner said he’s hopeful the bill can be modified before it goes up for a vote. Gardner also pointed out that while 20 to 40 students are killed each year in school shootings, more than 4,000 die from suicide. Both issues need attention. “I think we need to be about both,” he said. On the abortion issue, Gardner was less willing to look for compromises….

County dental center to fill gap in local medical services

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Many Wood County families cannot afford dental insurance, or cannot find dental offices willing to accept Medicaid patients. So for many, dental care is put off until the pain is unbearable. But soon, local residents will have a place to turn to for help at the new dental center at the Wood County Community Health Center. The center, with its sliding fee scale, will not turn away anyone due to lack of insurance or funds. “Nobody will have to go without dental services because of an inability to pay,” said Alex Aspacher, community outreach coordinator at the health department. “There’s a large need for those in the Medicaid community.” The dental center will target women, children and the uninsured, but anyone will be accepted. “As soon as you’re ready for your first checkup, till you don’t have a need for us anymore,” said Kami Wildman, outreach and enrollment specialist at the Wood County Health Department. The dental clinic has five exam chairs, a lab, and will offer services such as X-rays, minor surgeries and preventative care. The addition of the dental services makes the community health center a comprehensive “patient-centered medical home,” Wildman said. The center provides a primary care physician, dental, pharmacy and behavioral health all in one building, Aspacher said. The dental facility provides a patient service that has been identified as an important missing piece for decades. “Dental has been a consistent need in the county going back some time,” Wildman said. “It’s easy to put it off until you have pain.” And like many other health issues, poor dental care can lead to or worsen other health problems. More and more correlations are being identified between poor dental health and diabetes and heart issues. “It’s possible if we help people with oral health, that other benefits will follow,” Aspacher said. By reaching children at a younger age, local public health officials hope to help promote healthy dental habits early on. The opening date for the facility is still unknown. The dental center has hired its program coordinator and an hygienist. Still to be hired is a dentist, two assistants and two support staff. An open house at the dental center is planned for Dec. 6, from 4 to 7 p.m. “We’re really thinking once people get in here to see it, they will be impressed,” Aspacher said. Community health assessments have repeatedly shown unmet dental needs as a top health problem for local residents. The health department was able to secure $825,000 from the federal government for the dental facility that extends off the east end of the health department at 1840 E. Gypsy Lane Road, Bowling Green. More than a decade ago, local officials who cared about public health and about children met at the county health department to discuss the lack of dental care for local children. At that point there was one dentist in the county who freely accepted Medicaid patients. The problem wasn’t an easy fix with a clear culprit. Dentists are reimbursed at a lower rate by Medicaid than through private insurance. And the Medicaid patients often have significant dental needs because they have delayed treatment due to the expense. They often wait till the pain is unbearable, and the cost is escalated. Since then, the county offered a Band-Aid solution that has been a lifesaver to some residents. Once a month, the Smile Express parked its RV-size mobile dental unit outside the Wood County Health District to treat patients who otherwise would go without care. Though it made a difference in many…