Saturday, 31 August 2013

Studies: Marijuana May Help Hepatitis C Sufferers



Hepatitis C is an often-fatal viral disease of the liver afflicting about four million Americans. Chronic hepatitis C infection causes fatigue, depression, joint pain and liver impairment, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. There is no cure.

Interestingly, patients diagnosed with hepatitis C often report using cannabis to treat both symptoms of the disease and the nausea associated with antiviral therapy, and there’s some science to back it up.

“An observational study by investigators at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) found that hepatitis C patients who used cannabis were significantly more likely to adhere to their treatment regimen than patients who didn’t use it,” writes TheAnswerPage.com today. TheAnswerPage.com is co-sponsored by The Massachusetts Medical Society, publisher of the New England Journal of Medicine, as part of their continuing medical education of physicians.

“Preclinical data indicate that the endocannabinoid system may moderate aspects of chronic liver disease and that cannabinoids [– the active ingredients in pot -] may reduce inflammation in experimental models of hepatitis,” TheAnswerPage.com writes.

“Cannabis use improves retention and virological outcomes in patients treated for hepatitis C,” one study concludes.

“Writing in the October 2006 issue of the European Journal of Gastroenterology, investigators from Canada and Germany concluded that cannabis”potential benefits of a higher likelihood of treatment success [for hepatitis c patients] appear to outweigh [its] risks.’

“Nevertheless, no clinical trials assessing the use of cannabinoids for this indication are available in the scientific literature,” TheAnswerPage writes, and “some experts discourage the use of cannabis in patients with chronic hepatitis, until further studies are performed.”

Maine Marijuana Poll Gives Voters Hope for 2016

           


It’s a bright new day for marijuana supporters in the state of Maine. Yesterday, a new poll was released indicating that the good people of Maine would rather legalize marijuana than not. The Public Policy Polling data indicates that of the nearly 1,000 registered Maine residents that were recently polled, 48% of the voters felt pot should be legal for adult use. Conversely only 39% were of the opinion that marijuana should remain illegal and punished accordingly. As is true with most polls – the devil’s in the details. Not surprisingly (this is America after all) – an astounding 14% claimed not to have an opinion…Or they were just too afraid to speak up (Shhh… the “cops” could be listening.)

Understanding that demographics play a large role in how people view marijuana, the poll demonstrated nearly every age group showed strong support for marijuana legalization, with the exception of those over 65, the fearful, and the brainwashed.

Respondents 18 – 29 cultivated the highest support, boasting a potent 54% support, slightly less elevated were those people between 30 – 45 who fired up a respectable 52%. Our middle aged group, those from 46 – 65 germinated a noteworthy 51% support.

Not surprisingly those subjected to the most propaganda – those over the age of 65 – were also the most hesitant, with 49% remaining paranoid, believing weed should remain illegal – 17% were unsure, and only 34% were down with making pot legal.

As to be expected, Democrats yielded the greatest support at 58%, with 14% uncertain. While 57% of Independents gave a ‘green thumbs’ up to the chronic idea. Of course, Republicans trailed the pack showing a paltry 25% support for common sense and marijuana legalization.

While Maine has contemplated this question before, only to be narrowly rejected – activists have announced plans to put a legalization initiative on Maine’s ballot for 2016.













Friday, 30 August 2013

Can The Cannabis Component Cannabidiol (CBD) Cure Schizophrenia?


A component of the cannabis plant known as cannabidiol (CBD) is receiving much attention after Dr. Sanjay Gupta aired his special “Weed” on CNN highlighting the advantages of treating a form of childhood epilepsy with the cannabinoid. The documentary was groundbreaking news for sufferers and their families in that it that it revealed a highly effective alternative to treatment that was not previously known to a majority of the public. Now it appears that schizophrenia may be yet another disorder that could benefit from cannabidiol.

Dr. F. Markus Leweke of the University of Cologne in Germany has conducted clinical research showing that CBD was just as effective as the antipsychotic medication amisulpride with little or no side effects. While research is continuing, these initial results are a precursor of what could be a natural treatment for various forms of psychosis.

The Wikipedia description of schizophrenia is “a mental disorder characterized by a breakdown of the thought processes and by a deficit of typical emotional responses. Common symptoms include auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social and occupational dysfunction.” (Citation 1)

Schizophrenia, like other types on mental disorders, varies and often manifests into personality changes and bizarre behaviors that impede social activity and acceptance. The disorder also carries a negative stigma in society as many associate psychotic behaviors to those prone to violent criminal activity. And yes, schizophrenia can lead to violence and other harmful behaviors.

Sufferers need new treatments that allow them to remain or become productive members of society without having to take powerful medications, many of which can have negative side effects. This is why researching and finding efficacy in natural compounds like CBD are so important.

Maia Szalavitz reported in her article on Time.com that “[r]esearchers led by Markus Leweke of the University of Cologne in Germany studied 39 people with schizophrenia who were hospitalized for a psychotic episode. Nineteen patients were treated with amisulpride, an antipsychotic medication that is not approved in the U.S., but is comparable to other medications that are.

The rest of the patients were given cannabidiol (CBD), a substance found in marijuana that is thought to be responsible for some of its mellowing or anxiety-reducing effects. Unlike the main ingredient in marijuana, THC, which can produce psychotic reactions and may worsen schizophrenia, CBD has antipsychotic effects, according to previous research in both animals and humans.”

“The results were amazing,” says Daniele Piomelli, professor of pharmacology at the University of California-Irvine and a co-author of the study. “Not only was [CBD] as effective as standard antipsychotics, but it was also essentially free of the typical side effects seen with antipsychotic drugs.”

Antipsychotic medications can potentially cause devastating and sometimes permanent movement disorders.” (Citation 2)



It’s difficult to fathom how such a promising treatment could have been overlooked for so long due to the stereotypes surrounding the cannabis plant. What many don’t know is that CBD is legal in all 50 of the United States and can be obtained from Medical Marijuana, Inc’s (MJNA.PK), PhytoSPHERE Systems and its intellectual property holder, CannaVest Corp. (OTC: CANV). I recently wrote about the compounds availability in the previous article “Medical Marijuana, Inc. and Subsidiary Partners Offer Legal CBD Now!” One of the more appealing attributes of CBD is that it appears to be highly effective without having any of the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana. The MJNA companies and subsidiary partners produce high quality CBD which is made from the hemp plants seed and stalk.

Treatments using CBD allows for powerful medications with unwanted side effects to be avoided. Antipsychotic medications are associated with reduced pleasure and motivation, and more serious effects such as loss of mobility and higher risks of diabetes.

While traditional research is the only way to validate medical efficacy, CBD as a natural constituent of the cannabis plant is available to be consumed as a dietary supplement. The MJNA companies and partners have actually anticipated the market and currently produce CBD that is delivered in advanced packaging systems that come with a Certificate of Analysis.

Some prominent CBD products that and available today are Dew Drop Hemp Oil Supplements, CanChew gum and Real Scientific Hemp Oil (RSHO). The product descriptions are listed below:

Dew Drop Hemp Oil Supplement – Dew Drops sublingual tincture from Dixie Botanicals offers hemp oil support to promote overall wellness and offer relief from the effects of everyday stress and anxiety. This unique Dixie Botanicals hemp oil product is available in both refreshing cinnamon and natural flavors and is offered at two different concentrations. Our 2 fl oz tincture is 2.5 times more concentrated than our 1 fl oz tincture. (Citation 3) Lab Results

CanChew Gum – CanChew is a delicious, all-natural gum infused with CBD from hemp oil. It’s a first-of-its-kind CBD product—a patented chewing gum containing naturally-occurring cannabidiol (CBD) from the hemp plant. Each piece of CanChew contains 50mg of CBD-rich hemp oil and approximately 10mg of CBD. (Citation 4) Certificate of Analysis

Real Scientific Hemp Oil – Real Scientific Hemp OilTM (RSHOTM) contains the highest quality hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD) in the industry. Our 98%+/- CBD-rich hemp oil is currently available in the BLUE Decarbox Pack. Additional varieties of non-decarboxylated and filtered decarboxylated RSHO will be available soon. (Citation 5)

The RSHO™ and CanChew™ gum come in high-quality packaging that outlines specific amounts of CBD for those looking for certain concentrations. The convenient, measured delivery of CBD offered by Medical Marijuana Inc. and subsidiaries is available to both researchers and the general public. In fact, CBD can be ordered direct from the companies or on online through their websites, respectively.

Information about the benefits of CBD is spreading at a faster pace since Dr Gupta’s documentary “Weed” aired. I believe many government leaders were listening to the doctor and may be very close to removing many barriers to research and industrial hemp farming. US Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy just announce that there will be a Congressional hearing on the conflicts between federal and state marijuana laws on the upcoming September 10th.

While CBD is currently legal to buy, opening the door to more research through legalization will be the true catalyst to tremendous growth for early adopters of this industry such as MJNA and its subsidiaries.

Disclosure: I am an investor in MJNA and (OTC: CANV) and this article was written on behalf of Medical Marijuana, Inc.

Citations

Citation 1 - Website link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophrenia





Justice Department won't sue Colorado and Washington over marijuana laws


Thursday, 29 August 2013

Cannabis has many benefits, has gotten a bad reputation.



In the late 1930s, a campaign to criminalize cannabis resulted in marijuana and hemp being classified as Schedule 1 drugs, along with heroin and methamphetamines. Gross misrepresentations and fear tactics prompted federal legislation that made possession, cultivation or use of any form of cannabis a federal offense punishable by imprisonment. For more than 70 years, cannabis — in all of its forms — has received a bad rap.

Empirical evidence as well as solid research shows marijuana is effective for a wide range of medical conditions. It has been shown that inhaling or ingesting cannabis has many health benefits. Unfortunately, it has side effects, such as a mild state of euphoria and possibly inhibiting short-term memory.

In the state of Colorado, the medical marijuana registry information lists several conditions for which cannabis has proved effective, including glaucoma, pain, spasms, and relief from the effects of cancer treatment — including nausea and pain. There is research indicating certain elements in marijuana inhibit the growth of certain types of malignant tumors. The nonpsychoactive CBDs are showing to be effective as antineoplastic agents, i.e., they inhibit cancer growth.

While the federal government maintains marijuana has no medical benefits, it retains patents on marijuana for its beneficial medicinal properties. How is it the federal government can maintain patents on marijuana’s medical use and at the same time continue its classification as a Schedule 1 narcotic?

Marijuana is safer than tobacco, alcohol, prescription narcotics and other illicit drugs. According to an article in the Coloradoan on Aug. 22, “Is marijuana OK for you? Research stunted, even in Colorado,” last year in Larimer County alone, 27 people died from prescription opiates overdose, heroin killed 11, alcohol 2, meth 2 and cocaine 1. There have been zero deaths related to marijuana use or overdose.

Another issue that’s related to cannabis is the question of industrial hemp.

An unfortunate side effect of marijuana prohibition in the 1930s is it shut down agricultural practices related to hemp.

Hemp can be developed into thousands of sustainable, beneficial and healthy products. It can provide renewable fuel, food and the strongest natural fiber known. Hemp fibers could be used in clothing, building products, paper products, and structural reinforcement in concrete, plastics and resins. Hemp seeds are a rich source of protein and high-quality oils for nutritional purposes. Hemp oil is also a renewable biofuel. Hemp is a great source of cellulose, which could be used to produce ethanol.

The potential financial benefit of hemp far exceeds the revenues from selling and taxing medical or recreational marijuana.

Agricultural hemp is a sustainable commodity that will boost our local economy including farming, manufacturing and sales of products ranging from fuel to food to textiles to building materials.

It is a social injustice that cannabis is classified as a Schedule 1 drug.

Declassifying cannabis as a Schedule 1 narcotic would:

• Allow research to be done to determine the extent of the medical benefits of cannabis.

• Develop industrial hemp, including research in the development of the thousands of products.

• Allow for the nationwide regulation of marijuana, including local cultivation and seed-to-sale administration. Revenues from collected taxes can be used for mental health programs, drug education programs, drug rehabilitation and to help balance the budget.

• Redirect the billions of dollars spent on the failed drug war.

The time has come to end the 70-year prohibition on cannabis.

Source: http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20130828/OPINION04/308280029/Soapbox-Cannabis-has-many-benefits-has-gotten-bad-reputation?nclick_check=1

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Should Your Aging Parent Try Medical Marijuana?























It started  with chronic insomnia. Alice, my 91 year old mother in law is generally willing to try new things, especially if she has hope that it will help with a problem.  She was tired of sleeping pills and the side effect of grogginess.

Her family talked her into trying out medical marijuana for her long standing insomnia.  In CA CA -2.07%, it’s legal to use marijuana if you have  approval and a recommendation from a physician. An in-person exam is required. She had to ask two doctors, but one finally approved her.  She learned where the nearest marijuana dispensary was, got a dose of the edible kind and she tried it out.  She isn’t a patient person, and when it didn’t work the first time, she didn’t pursue it very far.  She had no qualms about using it, but she didn’t think it was effective.

Alice recently came to visit us on vacation. She’s doing very well for 91, and was able to get on a plane and make the trip by herself.  We all had a fine time. She needs help with distance walking but otherwise she exercised in the pool, went out to dinner, sat by the beautiful lake, played games and went to the casino. However, just before the week ended, she fell in the bathroom and landed on her tailbone. Ouch!  She was in pain.  She doesn’t like narcotic pain medication, as it doesn’t agree with her. The usual anti-inflammatories didn’t help enough.  Her son suggested she try edible marijuana for the pain.  She got some, the kind that is in a sort of chocolate bar.  She took a tiny piece and it helped some. Increasing the size of the piece worked exceptionally well.  We all went to the movies that night and she sat through the movie without having to get up even once.

She also slept well that night and was able to survive the plane ride home. We did have concerns about her carrying the weed-laced candy through the airport.  We were hoping not to get a call from anyone telling us Alice was stopped before boarding because someone thought she looked suspicious and smelled like marijuana. Can you imagine the scene?  She gets a wheelchair escort to the plane so maybe that threw off any suspicions.  The edible kind of weed has no odor to speak of and you don’t smell like a doper if you eat it.  Besides, she doesn’t look like an elderly
pothead at all. She called us after she landed and a friend picked her up at the airport. Whew!  Glad the Feds and their sniffer dogs weren’t hanging out at airport security.

Her home is close to a legitimate medical marijuana dispensary and her helper will take her there to get enough of this medicine to last for as long as the pain in her backside lasts. What we see so far is that it helps her mood, as well as the tailbone pain.  She got better relief from a tiny piece of medical marijuana in a candy form than she did from standard narcotic pain medication.  She had no side effects from the edible marijuana.  I thought it was great.

I am sure there are some of you reading this who will disagree. I am not advocating using medical marijuana if you are against the idea or fearful of it.  But I do see that pain relief is a very good argument for it, especially when I see how helpful it is to Alice. And it does not have the difficult side effects of drugs she would be prescribed by her medical doctors. She is only a few days past her injury and she is doing better already. She still has some pain, but now she has a reasonable, effective way to control it.  She doesn’t get high, She doesn’t act weird.  She’s not craving the stuff. She is able to do what she normally does at home. Her helper is doing the lifting and grocery shopping while she recovers.  So far, so good.

Undaunted by the fall incident, Alice intends to keep her plans to go stay at the beach with one of her girlfriends next month.  Her friend is younger, drives at night and is more able-bodied than Alice.  It will probably work out all right.  She loves the beach.  We’ve encouraged her to lay in a supply of those marijuana chocolate bars as needed.  As long as the condo where she’s staying has no drug sniffing dogs, we expect she’ll do just fine.

Medical marijuana rules approved

HARTFORD -- By the spring, hundreds of patients will be able to shop at licensed dispensaries and buy Connecticut-grown marijuana in what state officials believe will be the tightest-controlled, best-regulated program in the nation for the medicinal use of the psychoactive plant. 




After two-and-a-half hours of tough questioning Tuesday, the General Assembly's Regulation Review Committee approved the new regulations. Supporters of the law, who filled a Legislative Office Building meeting room, burst into applause.

For Tracey Gamer Fanning, the approval was like a birthday present. The West Hartford woman and medical marijuana advocate has been battling a brain tumor.

"The day I started using marijuana was the day that I got my life back, literally," she said. "I really regained what the cancer had stolen from me."

She said that it won't be long before she and thousands of others in the state will stop going to the underground market for pain relief.

Gone, she said, will be the stigma of illegal drug use.

Committee members who opposed the 2012 law questioned the implications of legalizing a drug that the federal government opposes. But in the end, in a voice vote, the bipartisan committee approved the 75 pages of regulations, including more than 100 last-minute changes.

Now, potential marijuana growers and dispensers eager to get into business will wait for state Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein to solicit proposals.

Sen. Andres Ayala Jr., D-Bridgeport, co-chairman of the committee, said it was clear all along that the regulations were going to be approved.


"We definitely had the votes to pass it," Ayala said. "It went through extensive, extensive, extensive questions and answers. There were legitimate concerns about the issue, but I think the Department of Consumer Protection did a phenomenal job."

Opponents warned that the law could bring the wrath of the United States Justice Department.

"You don't tug on Superman's cape," said Sen. Leonard A. Fasano, R-North Haven, noting the legal exposure Connecticut could face if the federal government chose to shut down the program and even arrest state officials. He invoked a scenario that has not taken place in any state where the drug has been legalized.

Fasano, who voted against the medical marijuana bill in 2012, questioned the state officials for 100 minutes on issues ranging from the chemical makeup of the drug to who will determine what strain of marijuana will be recommended for the eligible ailments.

Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, had opposed medical marijuana in earlier votes, but said the law is now crafted to prevent people from using it if they're not eligible.

"There are much stricter laws in place," Duff said after the vote. "So I felt comfortable today that the law and the regulations will make Connecticut have the strictest medical marijuana law in the country and we're a model."

Tens of thousands of state residents with debilitating ailments, including cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Crohn's disease or post-traumatic stress disorder could be eligible. They need certification from a physician.

Since October, 881 patients have been certified by state doctors and 600 have received ID cards that allow them to possess marijuana without legal ramifications. Eighteen states have medical marijuana programs and two more have approved similar laws.

Joseph Palmieri, of Easton, a farmer and environmental clean-up contractor who wants to start a marijuana-growing operation in Bridgeport, said the committee vote was encouraging.

"It's a milestone here that we hit and we're going to be in a new industry," he said after the vote. "The whole issue has been reviewed very thoroughly."

Palmieri has been growing tomatoes in his Bridgeport cultivation operation, eager to show the Department of Consumer Protection his plans for becoming one of 10 designated growers in the state.

By next spring, patients will be able to buy Connecticut-grown marijuana in licensed dispensaries in what state officials believe will be the tightest-controlled, best-regulated program in the nation.

Rubenstein succeeded in his pitch to the committee for immediate adoption of the rules.

"In short, we have been diligent, faithful and have hewed faithfully" to the 2012 law that enacted the program, he said. If the committee had rejected the regulations, which were put in motion by last year's legislative approval of medical marijuana, it would have dealt the program a major setback.

In a second, unanimous vote, the committee agreed to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug with no medical benefits, to a Schedule II substance like other pharmaceuticals. The reclassification was necessary for the program to move forward.

Fanning, who is president of the Connecticut Brain Tumor Alliance, considered the approval a birthday present -- Tuesday was her 43rd birthday -- and a breakthrough in Connecticut medicine.

She uses marijuana in edible, smokeable or in a vapor, depending on her symptoms, she said, and credits the drug with freeing her from heavy narcotics that confined her to bed. Her brain tumor has stayed the same size for many months now, she said.

"It helps me get out of bed," Fanning said. "I don't suffer from unspeakable pain and I can actually talk, take care of my kids and have a life."













Tuesday, 27 August 2013

US Senate Committee Will Take Up Marijuana Laws In September





























The White House said last week that Obama is not yet ready to change the law on marijuana, but Congress may be. With at least two bills pending in the House to amend federal marijuana law, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D) has scheduled a hearing for Sept. 10 on the subject.


He will call upon Attorney General Eric Holder to testify, seeking clarity on the administration’s policy since Holder said in December and February that an announcement would come “relatively soon.” When asked by a CNN reporter just last week about the administration’s position on marijuana policy, White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said “the administration’s position on this has been clear and consistent for some time now. While the prosecution of drug traffickers remains an important priority, the president and the administration believe that targeting individual marijuana users, especially those with serious illnesses and their caregivers, is not the best allocation of federal law enforcement resources.”


But while Earnest’s statement echoes Obama’s previous statement that federal prosecutors will not prioritize state-compliant “users” of marijuana, the administration’s position is not clear with respect to prosecution of distributors or growers. Leahy also worries about prosecution of state officials who oversee the licensing of these producers and dispensaries, something the administration has also not addressed.


Leahy has been asking the White House for clarity on its policy since December, when it sent a letter to then-Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske seeking policy guidance, and suggesting that Congress might want to amend federal law to exempt prosecution of state-compliant actions, or decriminalize possession at the federal level. In January remarks declaring the failure of the War on Drugs, Leahy said when he worked as a prosecutor, he “found more important things to do” than prosecute marijuana offenses, such as focus on murders and robberies.

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing will focus on reconciling federal and state marijuana laws, which have led to confusion and unpredictable federal crackdowns of those in the medical marijuana community. The issue has become even more pressing as Washington and Colorado near implementation of licensing systems for growers and dispensaries of recreational marijuana. 

Bipartisan bills introduced in the House would exempt those state-compliant actions from federal prosecution, or even end the federal prohibition on marijuana. The Ending Federal Prohibition On Marijuana Act of 2013 would remove all forms of marijuana from the schedules in the Controlled Substances Act, meaning marijuana would not only be legal under federal law, but that the door could also be open to federal research funds, a legal supply of marijuana for research, and allowing pharmacies to dispense medical marijuana. Either of these bills would not only eliminate the threat of prosecution; they would also lift a range of other logistical obstacles to medical marijuana dispensaries’ operations.


Source: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/08/26/2528541/senate-committee-marijuana-laws-september/

Israel's cannabis scientist. Much of what we know about cannabinoids and medical marijuana stems from the groundbreaking work of this courtly Israeli.



JERUSALEM — An award-winning professor of medicinal chemistry and natural products at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Raphael Mechoulam is a trim gentleman who wears tweed jackets and silk scarves.

He is no slacker. At 82, he still works full-time. 

Despite Mechoulam's respectability, his greatest fame stems from two scientific breakthroughs that may earn him a warm welcome among denizens of /r/trees.

In 1964, he was the first person to synthesize THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal active ingredient in weed. That leap is what has enabled the scientific study of cannabis.

Before him it was all myths and smoke.

Mechoulam is almost universally referred to as the father of research on cannabinoids. (But no, he has never partaken in the stuff, he says.)

In fact, CNN's Sanjay Gupta spent a few days in Mechoulam's lab while researching what became his very public about-face this month on the usefulness of medical marijuana.

In 1992, almost three decades after synthesizing THC, Mechoulam identified anandamide, a naturally occurring human cannabinoid neurotransmitter, (translation: the stuff that makes you feel high when you haven't ingested anything.)

Given the opportunity to name it, Mechoulam turned to the Sanskrit word ananda, meaning supreme bliss.

Parallel to these achievements, Mechoulam has spent the better part of a lifetime trying to secure approval for scientific experiments — only to crash into the disapproval of officialdom. "An academic lab is an open place," he says, "and to have young people in the lab working with illegal stuff… How can the head of a lab determine whether the kid who is working on it isn't taking a bit under the table?"

When just starting his research, in the early 1960s, Mechoulam found some unlikely allies: the narcs. He had a few friends who were cops: "Someone would say 'hey, could you give him 5 kilos of hash? I know the guy.'"

Et voila: his career was launched.

Mechoulam is still fighting. He recently helped save Israel's groundbreaking medical cannabis program from yet another assault by Health Ministry bureaucrats, who tried in late June to limit the forms and varieties of medical cannabis available at legal clinics.

Among other things, the ministry threatened (but failed) to ban Avidekel, a locally developed strain of cannabis containing less than 1 percent THC, the element that gets you high, and 16 percent CBD, a palliative cannabinoid that has no side effects. In other words, it doesn’t get you high.

The ministry's principal concern was that CBD has yet to be isolated and tested in laboratory conditions, in the way that paracetamol, for example, was tested. "Scientists do not like to work with an unidentified mélange when evaluating a compound," Mechoulam explains.

Dr. Boaz Lev, the ministry's Associate Director General, says "remember that what we all want is the best for these patients, a medication that we know and understand and can responsibly prescribe them."

It is easy to giggle about a bum subspecies of weed like the Israeli-developed Avidekel, but for a child undergoing chemotherapy who hopes to keep going to school, non-narcotic cannabis is no laughing matter.

One medical professional said the ministry was thwarted "because Mechoulam stood beside us and never budged, and in the end they couldn't say no to him."

By any measure, he is one of Israel's most renowned scientists.

His groundbreaking article on the synthesis of THC was published almost 50 years ago, in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Since then, he has been a recipient of numerous research grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health, in Washington, DC.

An experiment he supervised 15 years ago at Jerusalem's Sha'arey Tzedek Hospital had the remarkable result of diminishing the side effects of chemotherapy on "every single child" who was given TCH in drops, under the tongue. "The nausea and vomiting simply stopped. And when the chemo ended, we stopped the treatment," he recalls.

Despite this, legal complications stemming from illicit nature of marijuana have almost completely prevented ongoing research on the effects of THC on cancer patients.

Mechoulam says this is "tragic." Others in Israel are calling it criminal.

The beneficial effects of cannabis for pain relief and in combating chemotherapy's side effects have long been documented. But now, experiments on cancerous growths themselves, conducted by the Spanish researcher Manuel Guzmán, show outstanding results in reducing the size of tumors in human beings.

Professor Avinoam Reches, a Hadassah Hospital professor of neurology, who as chairperson of the ethics committee of the Israel Medical Association has presided over numerous discussions on the use of medical cannabis, prescribes cannabis to patients with diagnoses known to benefit from its palliative treatments such as Parkinson's Disease and Tourette's Syndrome.

Asked to name any colleagues in the world of Israeli medicine who oppose this use of cannabis, Reches replied "no one comes to mind. I can't think of anyone."

"I use cannabis in routine ways in my patients, according to the directives that are part of the medical consensus," he said, underscoring his practice of prescribing cannabis to long-term patients whose case histories he knows well, and mentioning the wariness he feels towards "people who I have never before met, who come in with specific complaints, asking for cannabis. These people do not always tell the truth," he says, "and have a tendency towards over-use or abuse of the drug."

Reches said he found it "astonishing" that questions presented to the NIH regarding scientific research on medical marijuana are directed to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Mechoulam is looking ahead. "Governments," he says, "should set aside the recreational aspects and find a way to allow scientific research to advance." 


Monday, 26 August 2013

U.S. Government Funding $1.86 Million Study in Attempt to Link Cannabis to Domestic Violence



The National Institute on Drug Abuse is funding a nearly $2 million study in an attempt to find a link between cannabis consumption, and domestic violence: We have little doubt that it’s going to backfire, and conclude that cannabis reduces violence among partners.

For the study, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is granting the University of Buffalo $1.86 million to conduct 4 years of research; the study will be titled Proximal Effects of Marijuana in Understanding Intimate Partner Violence.

According to a university press release; “[Maria Testa, Ph.D, lead researcher for the study] says that despite the commonly held belief that marijuana suppresses aggression, many studies have found a positive association between marijuana use and intimate-partner violence.”

This statement has no legitimate science to back it up; in fact, a recent study published in the journal Neuropharmacology has found that cannabis reduces aggression (as well as improves social interactions).

All-in-all, this study – at least to us – is an indication of how desperate prohibitionists are becoming, as they attempt to find any negative effect that cannabis might have, in order to use when debating against legalization.

We hate to say it NIDA (actually, that’s a lie, we enjoy saying it), but you’re never going to be able to legitimately use the argument that cannabis causes domestic violence.







Sunday, 25 August 2013

New Study: Cannabis May Help Heal the Brain After Injury



A new study published in the journal Cerebral Cortex has found evidence that activation of the body’s cannabinoid receptors mayoriginal lead to neuroprotective benefits which can help heal the brain after a traumatic injury.

According to researchers for the study; “The results provided the first evidence for the involvement of ECS [endocannabinoid system] in the neuroprotective action of minocycline on brain edema, neurological impairment, diffuse axonal injury, and microglial activation, since all these effects were prevented by the CB1 and CB2 receptor antagonists.”

These findings suggest that activiation of the body’s cannabinoid receptors (such as consuming cannabis) is vital in bringing about the neuroprotective effects of the drug minocycline. The results indicate that activation of the cannabinoid system may increase the beneficial effects of a number of other prescription drugs, and may, on its own, have vast neuroprotective capabilities.

These findings, though not directly related, help to validate a study released earlier this year which found that even miniscule amounts of cannabinoids (in this instance, THC) may protect the brain after injuries from things such as seizures, toxic drug exposure and a lack of oxygen.