Saturday, 24 August 2013

Man credits 130,000 joints over 30 years with saving his life

A stockbroker with a crippling bone disease who has smoked more than 130,000 joints in his lifetime credits the relaxing drug for his long life.

Irvin Rosenfeld, 60, says he would not be alive if he hadn't been issued with 12 daily government-supplied marijuana cigarettes for more than 30 years, for the treatment of the rare bone disorder, multiple congenital cartilaginous exostosis.
Mr Rosenfeld, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is the longest surviving patient to be assigned to the federal medical cannabis program, which began during the HIV epidemic in the 1970s, and is sharing his experience with lawmakers in a push to get it legalised.

He said he was diagnosed with the rare disease, which causes lumpy bone formations to grow along lengths of existing bone causing significant pain, at age 10.
After numerous operations and unsuccessful treatments, he discovered in 1971 that smoking a joint helped relieve his pain.
Mr Rosenfeld was one of a small number of lucky patients to be signed up to be studied as part of a 'Compassionate Investigational New Drug' program with marijuana.

The Florida resident is now one of only four remaining survivors on the program and he is taking his story to law-makers in Kentucky in a the latest drive to get the treatment legalised.
He told 'As the longest-surviving federal medical cannabis patient in the country, the federal government has been giving me this tin can of medical marijuana, 300 marijuana cigarettes for every 25 days, for over 30 years. So, I'm living proof how well cannabis works as a medicine.'
More than 200 bone tumours had grown, painfully stretching muscles and veins, and causing dangerous haemhorrage. Since he began the treatment, he says he's not needed any other pain treatment and no new bone growths have formed.
Colorado is the first to decriminalise possession of the herb. The state has allowed those over 21 to possess an ounce of cannabis legally.

Twelve other states are also in the process of considering loosening the laws around cannabis possession and use, including Kentucky.
Senator Perry Clark and members of the group Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana brought Rosenfeld from Florida to Kentucky for their campaign.
Rosenfeld's medical history has been studied by the government for the last 30 years and Mr Clark and the group want him to address senators and representatives at the interim joint committee on health and welfare, on Wednesday, at the capitol annex.
The IND program with cannabis was closed to new entrants by the George H. W. Bush administration, in 1992, due to the growing number so AIDs patients and the subsequent demand to be assigned to the program.

At its peak, the program had thirty active patients.
Mr Rosenfeld is one of four survivors, and the only one to have the rare bone disorder. The other patients who have been treated with cannabis since the early 1990s, suffer from multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and nail-patella syndrome.
On his website, Mr Rosenfeld says thanks to the program he has had a full life and has achieved a lot.
'I work in investments for my clients, both conservative and speculative. My two major hobbies are playing softball on Sunday mornings with my guys, and either sailing at Shake-A-Leg Miami, or teaching disabled and/or disadvantaged kids and adults how to sail.
'However, my major passion in life is trying to get medical cannabis legal for all patients. That is why I wrote my book and have this website.
'I have been able to do accomplish all of this, because I have the right medicine,' he says.
Mr Rosenfeld, who has been married for 35 years, says he strives to educate people of the benefits of the drug, which be believes 'should be allowed to be used under a physician’s care'.