Safest medicine on the planet

Pete Guither:

Apparently people are having complicated and heated discussions regarding how much marijuana a medical marijuana patient should be allowed to possess.

I find it difficult to get very interested in that debate, although I understand that it’s important for the patients.

Here’s what I do think, however.

  1. Law enforcement does not have a dog in this race. The patient can have a valid opinion. So can the doctor. But not the cop.
  2. It seems to me that the amount that a patient is allowed to have should be at least the amount that the patient needs. Since that varies for each patient, there should be no set limit.
  3. If you really have to set a limit, then I’d decide it based on safety and place it just under the amount that would cause a fatal overdose*. That way, you wouldn’t have to worry about anyone getting hurt.

Cannabis treats glioma

Read more.

Best wishes for Ted Kennedy and his family.

Ending the war on medical patients


In response to recent questions from The Chronicle about medical marijuana, Obama’s campaign – the only one of the three contenders to reply – endorsed a hands-off federal policy.

“Voters and legislators in the states – from California to Nevada to Maine – have decided to provide their residents suffering from chronic diseases and serious illnesses like AIDS and cancer with medical marijuana to relieve their pain and suffering,” said campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt.

“Obama supports the rights of states and local governments to make this choice – though he believes medical marijuana should be subject to (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) regulation like other drugs,” LaBolt said. He said the FDA should consider how marijuana is regulated under federal law, while leaving states free to chart their own course

LaBolt also said Obama would end U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration raids on medical marijuana suppliers in states with their own laws.

Medical news from Pittsburgh

Parental guidance suggested — mature subject matter

New report on marijuana addiction

Abstract: We found marijuana addicts showed a varied profile of dangerous and potentially lethal withdrawal symptoms. 82% of them went from being psychologically healthy to showing clear clinical signs of anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress, or obsessive compulsive disorder. These varied psychological withdrawal effects were less responsive to conventional treatment. Patients whose marijuana addiction was concurrent with cancer additionally suffered nausea, vomiting, an increase in pain sensitivity, increased growth rates of tumors and increased morbidity. Marijuana addicted AIDS patients showed a severe reaction that included nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, wasting, and an inability to comply with medication regimes, which was worse than heroin withdrawal. In addition, marijuana withdrawal caused more subtle effects on music perception and brain function, with many of the musicians and music lovers moving from various abstract, creative genres, to smooth jazz and pop-country, and a decreased tendency to notice and ability to play polyrhythmic music. These withdrawal effects clearly and conclusively show the dangers of marijuana, and demonstrate a particular concern for marijuana in cancer and AIDS patients.

by commenter TomK @ Drug WarRant.

Read more.


Nanoemulsion Mechanism of Action Against Microbes

(svc clic)


If you are feeling severely depressed, consider a dose of Aurum metallicum, 30C.

So the homeopaths say

Drew Carey visits the Farmacy

(h/t Monkeyfister)

Modesto, California


At potencies above 12C, no atoms of the original substance remain. At 30C, yet there is potency.

Hypothesis: A psychedelic remedy with physical effects caused by psychosomatic transference.

A Dream of Organon

AARP is one of the good ones, in America

(h/t Maha)

Kaneh Bos, Etz Chaim

Free the press

Thanks to whoever it was that sent this article to me.

Dosing Medical Marijuana: Rational Guidelines on Trial in Washington State
Posted 09/11/2007

Sunil K. Aggarwal, MS III, PhC, BS, BA; Muraco Kyashna-Tocha, PhD; Gregory T. Carter, MD, MS

The medicinal value of cannabis is well documented in the medical literature.[1,2] Cannabinoids, the active ingredients, are found in the resin-producing pistillate inflorescences of the Cannabis sativa plant.[3] Since the early 1900s, cannabis has been referred to as mari(h/j)uana, a pejorative term derived from Mexican Spanish-Portuguese colloquial slang. Cannabinoids have many distinct pharmacologic properties. These include analgesic, antiemetic, antioxidative, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory activity, as well as modulation of glial cells and tumor growth regulation.[1] We now know that there is an endogenous molecular signaling system in our bodies that is run by cannabinoids. The discovery of this endogenous cannabinoid system with specific receptors and ligands has led to the progression of our understanding of the therapeutic actions of cannabis from folklore to valid science.[4] It now appears that the cannabinoid system evolved with our species and is intricately involved in normal human physiology, specifically in the control of movement, pain, appetite, memory, immunity, and inflammation, among others. The detection of widespread cannabinoid receptors in the brain and peripheral tissues suggests that the cannabinoid system represents a previously unrecognized, ubiquitous network in the nervous system. On that basis, exogenous cannabinoids appear to have tremendous potential in treating neurodegenerative disorders.[5,6] For example, in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), there is animal model evidence that exogenous cannabinoids have disease-modifying potential.[7-12] Further, in a large survey, ALS patients reported that marijuana relieved the major symptoms of the disease better than prescription medications.[13] The most common reason cited by ALS patients for not considering using cannabis to treat their symptoms was lack of access.[13]

Dense cannabinoid receptor concentrations have been found in the cerebellum, basal ganglia, and hippocampus, accounting for the effects of cannabis on motor tone, coordination, and mood state.[4] Low concentrations are found in the brainstem, accounting for the remarkably low toxicity of cannabis. Of note, lethal doses for cannabis in humans have not been described. So far, we know of at least 2 molecular receptor proteins (CB1 and CB2) and 2 endogenously produced lipid cannabinoids (anandamide and 2-acylglycerol) found in numerous tissues throughout the body, including neural and immune tissues, which comprise the endogenous cannabinoid system.[1,3,4] The cannabinoid system helps regulate the function of other systems in the body, making it an integral part of the central homeostatic modulatory system — the check-and-balance molecular signaling network in our bodies that keeps us at a healthy “98.6.” Despite all of the advances in understanding the physiology and pharmacology of cannabis and cannabinoids, there remains a strong need for developing rational guidelines for dosing cannabis. We (Gregory T. Carter [GTC] and Muraco Kyashna-Tocha [MKT]) have previously attempted to address this issue, deriving a dosing scheme with the available known chemistry and pharmacology of cannabis.[14] However, it would appear that there is still considerable controversy over this issue. Read the rest of this entry »

Obama To End Federal Medical Marijuana Raids; Democratic Candidates Now Unanimous

MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE — In his first public statement on the subject, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama pledged to end medical marijuana raids in the 12 states that have medical marijuana laws Tuesday at a campaign event during a Nashua Pride minor league baseball game.

The Illinois senator’s statement means all eight Democratic candidates have now voiced support for the 12 states with medical marijuana laws. Republican candidates Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson have all vowed to end medical marijuana raids as well.

On Friday, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who signed legislation in April making his the 12th medical marijuana state, wrote to President Bush asking him to end federal raids in medical marijuana states.

“Respected physicians and government officials should not fear going to jail for acting compassionately and caring for our most vulnerable citizens,” Richardson wrote. “Nor should those most vulnerable of citizens fear their government because they take the medicine they need.”

Obama’s pledge came as a response to a question from Nashua resident and Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana volunteer Scott Turner, who asked the senator what he would do to stop the federal government from putting seriously ill people like Turner in prison in states where medical marijuana is legal.

“I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users,” Obama said. “It’s not a good use of our resources.”

“For the first time in history, the leaders of one of our nation’s major parties have unanimously called for an end to the federal prosecution of medical marijuana patients,” GSMM campaign manager Stuart Cooper, from Manchester, said. “New Hampshire voters and medical professionals effectively sent a clear message that we would not support a candidate who would arrest – rather than protect – our nation’s most seriously ill citizens. Compassion and reason are finally overcoming politics and propaganda.”

Federal intrusion into medical marijuana states has been on the rise this summer, with DEA raids taking place in several counties in California and Oregon. Recently, the DEA also began threatening landlords who lease space to medical marijuana dispensaries – legal under state law – with seizure of their property, a move condemned in a Los Angeles Times editorial as “a deplorable new bullying tactic.”

Based in Manchester, New Hampshire, Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana is a grassroots coalition of New Hampshire patients, medical professionals and activists. GSMM is organizing during the New Hampshire presidential primary campaign to raise awareness of the need for federal action to protect medical marijuana patients. For further information, please see:


Couldn’t companies do a better job of advertising recalls?

The Consumerist:

Hey, contact lens wearers, according to a CDC survey, more than half of you have no clue that Advanced Medical Optics recalled their Complete MoisturePlus lens cleaner. The multipurpose solution fails to protect users from an amoeba that can cause acanthamoeba keratitis. Over 25% of users who contracted the infection required a corneal transplant, and if that doesn’t scare you, consider this quote from the CDC:

“This is just as serious as the fusarium outbreak,” said Lola Russell, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, referring to an outbreak of fungal eye infections last year that was linked to Bausch & Lomb’s ReNu with MoistureLoc lens cleaners.

Acanthamoeba keratitis

Prescient and correct

I like Barack Obama, and I wish he would agree with his colleagues Hillary Clinton and John Edwards that the federal raids on California medical marijuana providers, dispensaries and patients must end.

Hat-tip Corpus Juris @ Watching Those We Chose for the video.

Update: Obama To End Federal Medical Marijuana Raids; Democratic Candidates Now Unanimous

Yes, that is a tasty beverage

Recipe edited July 21, 2007. This originally called for twice as much cassia, but I found it to be excessive. Black pepper is a very good addition with turmeric.

1 tsp turmeric powder

1/4 tsp cassia powder

twist of black pepper

1 tsp raw honey

8 oz cool water

Stir and enjoy.

It’s not who votes, it’s who counts the votes that counts


A California judge is likely to order a Berkeley city initiative back on the ballot because of local officials’ mishandling of electronic voting machine data, a public-interest lawyer arguing the case said Friday.

In a preliminary ruling Thursday, Judge Winifred Smith of the Alameda County Superior Court indicated she would nullify the defeat of a medical marijuana proposal in Berkeley in 2004 and order the measure put back on the ballot in a later election. A hearing on Friday morning in advance of a final ruling brought out nothing that indicated Smith would deviate from her preliminary decision, said attorney Gregory Luke, who is representing Americans for Safe Access. The medical-marijuana advocacy group is suing the county, assisted by the technology rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The case points to the dangers of electronic voting systems, which make it harder to ensure fair elections, Luke said. Electronic voting machines have been widely adopted in the U.S. since the disputed presidential election of 2000. Laws in California and some other states now require paper records of all votes, but the California law wasn’t in place for the Berkeley election.

Pass the Hinchey amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With a vote on medical marijuana looming in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has adopted a formal policy position calling for removal of criminal and civil penalties for seriously ill patients using marijuana with their doctor’s recommendation. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is the second largest cancer charity in the U.S., and the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services.

Michael Moore accuses Doctor Sanjay Gupta of lying

Hat-tip Alan Breslauer @ BradBlog, who has parts 2 and 3 of this interview.

Related post:

Cannabis has clear medical benefits for HIV+ patients

New York, NY: Inhaling cannabis significantly increases daily caloric intake and body weight in HIV-positive patients, is well tolerated, and does not impair subjects’ cognitive performance, according to clinical trial data to be published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS).

Investigators at Columbia University in New York assessed the efficacy of inhaled cannabis and oral THC (Marinol) in a group of ten HIV-positive patients in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. All of the subjects participating in the study had prior experience using marijuana therapeutically and were taking at least two antiretroviral medications.

Researchers reported that smoking cannabis (2.0 or 3.9 percent THC) four times daily “produced substantial … increases in food intake … with little evidence of discomfort and no impairment of cognitive performance.”

On average, patients who smoked higher-grade cannabis (3.9 percent) increased their body weight by 1.1 kg over a four-day period. Researchers reported that inhaling cannabis increased the number of times subjects ate during the study, but did not alter the average number of calories consumed during each meal.

Investigators said that the administration of oral THC produced similar weight gains in patients, but only at doses that were “eight times current recommendations.” The US Food and Drug Administration approved the prescription use of Marinol (a gelatin capsule containing synthetic THC in sesame oil) to treat HIV/AIDS-related cachexia in 1992.

Subjects in the study reported feeling intoxicated after using either cannabis or oral THC, but remarked that these effects were “positive” and “well tolerated.”

Although not a primary outcome measure of the trial, authors reported that patients made far fewer requests for over-the-counter medications while taking either cannabis or oral THC than they did when administered placebo. Most of these requests were to treat patients’ gastrointestinal complaints (nausea, diarrhea, and upset stomach), investigators said.

Patients in the study also reported that smoking higher-strength marijuana subjectively improved their sleep better than oral THC.

“The data demonstrate that over four days of administration, smoked marijuana and oral [THC] produced a similar range of positive effects: increasing food intake and body weight and producing a ‘good [drug] effect’ without producing uncomfortable levels of intoxication or impairing cognitive function,” authors wrote.

They added, “Smoked marijuana … has a clear medical benefit in HIV-positive [subjects] by increasing food intake and improving mood and objective and subjective sleep measures.”

A previous preliminary trial by Columbia investigators published in the journal Psychopharmacology in 2005 also reported that inhaling cannabis “produce[s] substantial … increases in food intake [in HIV+ positive patients] without producing adverse effects.”

Survey data indicates that an estimated one out of three HIV/AIDS patients in North America use cannabis therapeutically to combat symptoms of the disease or the side-effects of antiretroviral medications.

Clinical trial data published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2003 reported that cannabis use by HIV patients is associated with increased CD4/T-cell counts compared to non-users. A separate study published in JAIDS in 2005 found that HIV/AIDS patients who report using medical marijuana are 3.3 times more likely to adhere to their antiretroviral therapy regimens than non-cannabis users.

Most recently, investigators at San Francisco General Hospital and the University of California’s Pain Clinical Research Center reported this year in the journal Neurology that inhaling cannabis significantly reduced HIV-associated neuropathy (nerve pain) compared to placebo.

The Columbia University study is one of the first US-led clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of smoked cannabis to take place in nearly two decades, and it is the first to compare the tolerability and efficacy of smoked marijuana and oral THC in HIV patients.

Sunday night movie

Prohibitia-chloride, take as directed.

How does it make you feel?

Video by Demetrius, Renee’s husband (in Ohio).

Jodi Rell

Your veto is recorded.

When you are one day in more pain than you’ve yet experienced, ask someone for help.

Good luck.

Comparison of therapeutic approaches to treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

From the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies:

In November 2004 the American Psychiatric Association (APA) published Practice Guidelines for the treatment of PTSD (1). The three psychotherapeutic interventions recommended for established PTSD are:

  • Cognitive and behavior therapies
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy

Although the APA endorses the above therapies in their Practice Guidelines, it is noteworthy that they also imply the need for research into more effective treatment techniques, with their statement that “there is a paucity of high-quality evidence-based studies of interventions for patients with treatment-resistant PTSD….” (1). The APA practice guidelines state that the goals of PTSD treatment “include reducing the severity of … symptoms…(by) improving adaptive functioning and restoring a psychological sense of safety and trust, limiting the generalization of the danger experienced as a result of the traumatic situation(s) and protecting against relapse.” It goes on to say that “…factors that may need to be addressed in patients who are not responding to treatment include problems in the therapeutic alliance; the presence of psychosocial or environmental difficulties; the effect of earlier life experiences such as childhood abuse or previous trauma exposures…” (1) Despite significant differences between these types of therapy, including MDMA-assisted therapy, they all share some important theoretical underpinnings. Moreover, some of the therapeutic experiences that occur with any of these approaches are very similar. This is not surprising, since each approach, in its particular way, is stimulating universal, innate healing mechanisms. For instance, the nondirective approach of MDMA-assisted therapy often leads to the spontaneous occurrence of many of the kinds of experiences that are more directly elicited and thought to be therapeutically important in these other approaches. As noted previously in this treatment manual, the therapists’ role is first to prepare participants for this likelihood by encouraging a non-controlling and open attitude toward experiences that arise and then to support the unfolding and the subsequent integration of these experiences. MDMA can act as an important catalyst to this process.

Table 1 briefly compares the major therapeutic approaches for treating PTSD, including the therapeutic elements discussed in the APA guidelines, in Dr. Edna Foa’s excellent manual of cognitive-behavioral therapy for PTSD (2), and in the protocol outlined in this treatment manual.

Table 1. Comparison of Therapeutic Approaches for PTSD

Therapeutic Element Cognitive Behavioral Therapy EMDR Psychodynamic Psychotherapy MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy
Prolonged exposure (either in vivo exposure or trauma reliving in therapy) For in vivo exposure, develop a hierarchy list of situations, and assign specific homework involving exposure to these situations. For imaginal exposure, ask the patient to describe the trauma in detail in the present tense. This is done repeatedly over a number of visits. A target image related to the trauma is used as a starting point, with a non−directive approach to what follows. Patient is encouraged to “let whatever happens happen.” Discussions with the therapist are intermittent. The traumatic events are discussed, but the specific approach of prolonged exposure is not included. (In practice psychodynamic psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are often combined.) Non−directive approach to the way trauma comes up and is processed, with encouragement to stay present rather than distracting from difficult memories and emotions. Discussions with the therapists are intermittent. (Note that a contract is made before the session that if the trauma does not come up spontaneously the therapist will bring it up, but thus far trauma has always come up spontaneously; in effect, prolonged exposure happens spontaneously.
Cognitive restructuring − Identify “negative thoughts and beliefs/cognitive distortions. − Challenge them using Socratic method. − Modify them by arriving at rational response. Cognitive restructuring often occurs spontaneously and may be catalyzed by therapist’s adding “cognitive interweave,” if needed. Focus on the “meaning of the trauma for the individual in terms of prior psychological conflicts and developmental experience and relationships…” (1) Cognitive restructuring often occurs spontaneously, with minimal therapist intervention in this regard. Elements of both cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic approaches may be used in follow-up integration sessions, but always in response to the way the experience is continuing to develop for the subject rather than according to a predetermined structure.
Anxiety management training (AMT), including stress inoculation training (SIT) Relaxation skills are often taught at outset of treatment, such as breathing exercises, deep muscle relaxation, imagery. EMDR protocol includes establishing an effective relaxation method at outset — often guided visualization. Not a specific element of psychodynamic therapy, but clinically is often combined. Subjects are taught relaxation, often using diaphragmatic breathing.
Increased awareness of positive experiences, including present safety May be part of cognitive restructuring, or may occur spontaneously after prolonged exposure. Often occurs spontaneously, most often toward end of session. May occur as a result of examining present and past relationships and experiences. Typically happens later in therapy. Usually occurs spontaneously, often early in the first MDMA session. May provide a sense of safety and well-being that provide a platform for deeper processing of painful experiences later in the session or in a subsequent session.
Clearing of tension in body and other somatic symptoms Therapist directs attention to the body. Therapist directs attention to the body. Not generally considered as part of psychodynamic psychotherapy. Mentioned in preparatory sessions and treated as an important therapeutic component that may be inadequately addressed in usual talking therapies. MDMA-assisted psychotherapy tends to bring this somatic component to awareness and allows for its release, often spontaneously and sometimes by: the therapist directing attention to body symptoms (as is done in Dr. Foa’s examples of imaginal exposure p.167), or by using the kind of focused body work described in Appendix B.
Transference and countertransference issues Not a focus, but therapists should be aware of them. Not a focus, but therapists should be aware of them. Interpretation of transference may be important part of the intervention. Not a focus, but therapists should be aware of them and the fact that they can be heightened in non-ordinary states such as that induced by MDMA. Should be addressed openly and honestly and inquired about if there seems to be a significant unspoken dynamic. Therapists are self disclosing and collaborative. Transference is addressed early rather than letting it build, as can happen in psychodynamic therapy.
Difficulties with therapeutic alliance − a possible obstacle to successful treatment Time and attention are given to developing alliance, with some limitations in time- limited therapeutic protocols (Dr. Foa recommends 9 sessions with the possibility of 3 more and mentions that, “there is a point of diminishing returns” with patients who have not responded to that course of treatment.) Time and attention are given to developing alliance. Time and attention are given to developing alliance. Time and attention to are given to developing alliance. Both the set and setting of the treatment model and the effects of MDMA promote a sense of trust and therefore development of a therapeutic alliance in a relatively short time.
“The effect of earlier life experiences such as childhood abuse or previous trauma exposures…” (1) as complicating factors that may cause treatment resistance May be addressed in cognitive restructuring. May come up spontaneously in EMDR sessions. Discussing this may be a focus of psychodynamic psychotherapy. Early experience of abuse or lack of support often comes up spontaneously in MDMA sessions, typically with insight about connections between this early experience and PTSD. This insight and the concomitant emotional connection and processing often occur with little or no intervention from the therapists.


  1. Urasano J et al, American Journal of Psychiatry Supplement, v 161, n. 11, November 2004
  2. Foa E and RothbaumB, Treating the Trauma of Rape, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for PTSD, The Guilford Press, New York, NY, 1998

If you use antibiotics on food, they will become ineffective as medicine

Medical marijuana round-up

Thehim summarizes:

Already Legal: California, Oregon, Alaska, Washington, Hawaii, Colorado, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia.

New Hampshire: A bill failed in the House.

Connecticut: A bill has passed the legislature and is on Governor Rell’s desk. It’s not known whether she’ll sign.

New York: A bill may be passed by the Assembly this week.

New Jersey: Hearings have been held in the legislature but no bills have been voted on.

Maryland: A 2003 bill allows for an affirmative legal defense for medical marijuana users, but it’s still technically illegal.

Michigan: The Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care is collecting signatures to force a vote in the legislature.

Illinois: A bill failed in the State Senate.

Wisconsin: A bill is expected to be introduced this summer.

Minnesota: A bill died in the State House.

Texas: Legislators failed to get a bill introduced.

Even in the states where it’s been legalized, though, the federal prohibition on any use of marijuana still exists and puts medical marijuana users across the country in a state of legal limbo. You can check here and here for updates.

Related post:

Medical marijuana in New York

New York Daily News:

[New York Governor Eliot] Spitzer, who during his campaign argued against making it legal to prescribe marijuana, said his views on the topic changed after he met with medical experts and patients who told him pot helped them cope with chronic ailments.

“We have taken a hard look at it over the past number of months, and I’m open to signing a bill, if it’s properly structured for appropriate use, based upon the evidence that has been presented to me,” said Spitzer, who has acknowledged he smoked marijuana as a college student.

As to his altered view, Spitzer said: “You learn, you study, you evolve. This is one where I had, as a prosecutor, a presumption against the use of any narcotic. … Now there are ways that have persuaded me it can be done properly.”

It’s a race with Connecticut to become the 13th state to end cannabis prohibition and begin a process of sensible regulation.

It didn’t harm Bob Dylan’s performance


New York, NY: Experienced marijuana users perform tasks as accurately after having smoked cannabis as they do sober, according to clinical trial data published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology.

Related post:

Etz Chaim


Heal the nation.

This state of independence shall be

Pawtucket Times, Rhode Island:

PROVIDENCE – Following in the footsteps of Wednesday’s House vote, the Senate approved legislation Thursday to make the state’s medical marijuana law permanent. The vote was 28-5, far exceeding the three-fifths vote required to survive the veto Gov. Donald Carcieri says is likely to come.

How about don’t veto it? Have some compassion. What kind of signal are you trying to send when you would want to deny safe and effective medicine to treat suffering people?

Medical procedures save lives

Abortion can be necessary.

Hat-tip Ellroon.

Press release

From the Drug Policy Alliance, today:

Your work is paying off–Connecticut’s Compassionate Use medical marijuana legislation, House Bill 6715 (HB 6715), passed the Joint Judiciary Committee in March and will be considered by the General Law Committee tomorrow

Let’s make sure the committee passes the legislation tomorrow morning – please take action now!

HB 6715 would allow seriously ill patients access to medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. A 2004 University of Connecticut poll found that 83% of Connecticut residents support allowing patients to access medical marijuana for relief of symptoms associated with debilitating conditions such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. Of particular note, three legislators who voted “no” in 2005 actually voted “yes” this year. This is a strong indication that your faxes, letters, and testimonies are having a positive effect. Great work!

Support for Compassionate Use legislation continues to be strong, largely due to the continued pressure we have been applying to the CT legislature. We hosted a a successful press conference with Montel Williams in March 2007 and Connecticut Governor, M. Jodi Rell, has indicated possible support for Compassionate Use legislation. In addition, the Hartford Advocate recently featured Compassionate Use activist Mark Braunstein, in an article decrying opposition to HB 6715.

Help move HB 6715 forward! Please send a message to the Connecticut General Law Committee members, urging them to support this important legislation.

The General Law Committee will vote on HB 6715 tomorrow, Tuesday, April 24, at 10:30 AM, in Room 1D of the Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT. Please take action now, and forward this email to five people you know today-the more of us who take action, the more likely we’ll win Compassionate Use in Connecticut this year.

Thanks for all you do.

Gabriel Sayegh
Drug Policy Alliance

A treatment for lung cancer


Harvard University researchers have found that, in both laboratory and mouse studies, delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cuts tumor growth in half in common lung cancer while impeding the cancer’s ability to spread.


Vaporized medicinal cannabis contains plenty of THC and contains none of the oxidized smoke and tar which can cause irritation. Smoked cannabis has not been shown to cause a higher incidence of lung cancer, but vaporized cannabis is likely to shrink tumors and restore lung function.

Related post:

Health assurance, not insurance

Government should not be run as a business. Let’s realize that now and move on, because the Republicans tried it, and it always happens that way when people in pursuit of private gain seek to control the public purse.

I’m hearing lots of ideas about health care reform, single payer Medicare-for-all is one proposal. I want to consider it from a number of perspectives, to see whether it makes sense to me and under what conditions. I will say first off that it would currently be highly unpopular to the professional classes of people who have the highest cost private health care, and some of the sickest people who are very dependent upon knowing that their private insurer is going to continue to pay the costs of their ongoing treatment.

You cannot tell me to cancel my current insurance without a whole lot of assurance that I’ll retain my same quality of care. It was very, very hard to get myself covered in the first place. I don’t want to lose that.

There is a place for private insurance and many, perhaps most people may prefer it right now. If public health assurance becomes better, and people trust the system, more people will switch. Offer Medicare for all, but do not require people to subscribe, then improve Medicare so that people will want to subscribe. Could anything be simpler?

I’m going to say something about Kaiser Permanente now. I’m very happy with them. While this may seem inapposite, where I came from, the HMO policies that were available were not very good. I had the highest cost Blue Cross plan, it was the only plan that provided me adequate coverage. I didn’t know what it would be like in this system, but I like my doctors and can communicate with them all by KP e-mail, which is fantastic. It might not be the best system for everyone, and Medicare could be every single bit as good. We could even find a way to make them share codes and doctors, like the airlines do. Is Kaiser Permanente not-for-profit? Indeed…

For the want of a reply…

Cannabis is neither physically addictive nor toxic in any demonstrated way, it is beneficial to health for people who have conditions that it treats, and no possibility of overdose fatality exists. It is, in short, perhaps the safest medicine known to humankind.

Those who, like myself, suffer from chronic pain, and use cannabis under a doctor’s recommendation, will use it every single day, because we benefit from having pain relief, and it does not impair our function. To the contrary, we are less functional without it because we then have untreated pain.

You cannot honestly say that it would be better to take some prescribed opiate or over-the-counter drug that causes liver damage. Cannabis does not cause organ damage.

Those who have no pain to begin with will have no need of cannabis, but those who are addicted to other drugs would be well advised to switch, were it only legal to do so. Cannabis can treat cocaine, heroin and other dependency, by helping make withdrawal less difficult. Those other drugs can kill, and have very serious withdrawal symptoms that can be dangerous, making their addictiveness truly horrific.

Cannabis is benign, it is beneficial, it is good. It is not for everyone, some will dislike it (and I dislike broccoli, so there). I would not give it to children unless a doctor thought it was appropriate to recommend. There is no real harm in adults using cannabis, except for the harms consequent to prohibition. These are points you may wish to contest, and the social consequences of cannabis are important considerations as well. I’m looking forward to having that conversation with more of you.

The joy of hemp

On blogonomics

Melissa McEwan, my friend who runs Shakesville (formerly Shakespeare’s Sister), has an excellent post about how we as a blogging community might sustain ourselves. Obviously we can do this out of our pockets and free time for only so long, but we do not want to become compromised by anyone for the sake of a coin. Advertisers will limit what you can or cannot say. Mimus Pauly wrote a long but very good post about this the day before yesterday. For him this must be always a part-time endeavor, his advice — don’t quit your day job (he hasn’t).

But good writers should have a way to write full-time. Good bloggers should be able to make this a profession, and afford to feed themselves and their families without selling out. The alternative is that you will have no good bloggers that do it for a long time, and eventually our whole ecosystem will be corporate shills like we have on the mainstream media today.

We need patronage, we need to do some things to make a network of bloggers that can rate one another in terms of worthiness, and help new bloggers get connected with a source of funding. We need a structure that is more than each of us having a donation box, as patrons may not know about more than a few of the larger blogs, and some of us blog semi-pseudonymously for good reasons.

Cannablog is a blog about cannabis, and I am a medical marijuana patient in California. This is information I have made public and I feel no great concern about my safety in saying so. California law protects patients. The federal government may have other ideas, and that is something that needs badly to change. Though I feel safe now, I am not safe forever, if it does not. But in other states, medical patients who are living and not dying because they take cannabis are constantly at risk of arrest and imprisonment by local and state officials now. If they want to be bloggers and honestly talk about how cannabis helps them, they cannot use their names. This needs to change.

I want to ensure that they can be funded somehow, to be given help so that they can afford to live, so they can feed their families. They are capable of being great writers and bloggers, and if you think otherwise, if you think this blog is substandard in any way, then I would ask you to please leave a comment and tell me what you’d like to see me do better.

This is, for me, a labor of love. I do it because I must do it. I do it because it is more important to try to stop war than anything else I can do, and this is how I can help to achieve that objective. But I must eat. All must eat.

Montel, today

Montel Williams From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today. Hat-tip Cannabis News.

Medical use of marijuana should be legalized
By Montel Williams

You probably know me as a talk show host and, perhaps, as someone who for several years has spoken out about my use of medical marijuana for the pain caused by multiple sclerosis. That surprised a few people, but recent research has proved that I was right: right about marijuana’s medical benefits and right about how urgent it is for states to change their laws so that sick people aren’t treated as criminals. The Illinois General Assembly is considering such a change right now.

If you see me on television [10 a.m. weekdays on Channel 4 in St. Louis], I look healthy. What you don’t see is the mind-numbing pain searing through my legs like hot pokers.

My doctors wrote me prescriptions for some of the strongest painkillers available. I took Percocet, Vicodin and Oxycontin on a regular basis, knowingly risking overdose just trying to make the pain bearable. But these powerful, expensive drugs brought me no relief. I couldn’t sleep, I was agitated, my legs kicked involuntarily in bed and the pain was so bad I found myself crying in the middle of the night.

All these heavy-duty narcotics made me nearly incoherent. I couldn’t take them when I had to work, because they turned me into a zombie. Worse, these drugs are highly addictive, and one thing I knew was that I didn’t want to become a junkie.

When someone suggested I try marijuana, I was skeptical. But I also was desperate. To my amazement, it worked after the legal drugs had failed. Three puffs and within minutes the excruciating pain in my legs subsided. I had my first restful sleep in months.

I am not alone. A new study from the University of California, published in February in the highly regarded medical journal Neurology, leaves no doubt about that.

You see, people with MS suffer from a particular type of pain called neuropathic pain: pain caused by damage to the nerves. It’s common in MS but also in many other illnesses, including diabetes and HIV/AIDS. It’s typically a burning or stabbing sensation, and conventional pain drugs don’t help much, whatever the specific illness.

The new study, conducted by Dr. Donald Abrams, looked at neuropathic pain in HIV/AIDS patients. About one-third of people with HIV eventually suffer this kind of pain, and there are no FDA-approved treatments. For some it gets so bad that they can’t walk.

This was what is known as a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, the “gold standard” of medical research. And marijuana worked. The very first marijuana cigarette reduced the pain by an average of 72 percent, without serious side effects.

What makes this even more impressive is that U.S. researchers studying marijuana are required to use marijuana supplied by the federal government, marijuana that is famous for its poor quality and weakness. So there is every reason to believe that studies such as this one underestimate the potential relief that high-quality marijuana could provide.

In my case, medical marijuana has allowed me to live a productive, fruitful life despite having multiple sclerosis. Many thousands of others all over this country — less well-known than me but whose stories are just as real — have experienced the same thing.

Here’s what’s shocking: The U.S. government knows marijuana works as a medicine. Our government actually provides medical marijuana each month to five patients in a program that started about 25 years ago but was closed to new patients in 1992. One of the patients in that program, Florida stockbroker Irvin Rosenfeld, was a guest on my show two years ago. If federal officials come to town to tell you there’s no evidence marijuana is a safe, effective medicine, know this: They’re lying, and they know it.

Still, 39 states subject patients with illnesses like MS, cancer or HIV/AIDS to arrest and jail for using medical marijuana, even if their doctor has recommended it. It’s long past time for that to change.

Illinois state Sen. John Cullerton, D-Chicago, has introduced a bill — SB 650 — to protect patients like me from arrest and jail for using medical marijuana when it’s recommended by a physician. Similar laws are working well in 11 states right now.

The General Assembly should pass the medical marijuana bill without delay. Sick people shouldn’t be treated as criminals.

Television talk show host Montel Williams is the author, with Lawrence Grobel, of “Climbing Higher” and other books.

Special to the Post-Dispatch

Do you prefer plagues of locusts?

Doctors from University of London revealed one year ago: “Cannabis destroys cancer cells”

01 March 2006

Researchers investigating the role of cannabis in cancer therapy reveal it has the potential to destroy leukaemia cells, in a paper published in the March 2006 edition of Letters in Drug Design & Discovery. Led by Dr Wai Man Liu, at Barts and the London, Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, the team has followed up on their findings of 2005 which showed that the main active ingredient in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, has the potential to be used effectively against some forms of cancer. Dr Liu has since moved to the Institute of Cancer in Sutton where he continues his work into investigating the potential therapeutic benefit of new anti-cancer agents.

It has previously been acknowledged that cannabis-based medicines have merit in the treatment of cancer patients as a painkiller; appetite stimulant and in reducing nausea, but recently evidence has been growing of its potential as an anti-tumour agent. The widely reported psychoactive side effects and consequent legal status of cannabis have, however, complicated its use in this capacity. Although THC and its related compounds have been shown to attack cancer cells by interfering with important growth-processing pathways, it has not hitherto been established exactly how this is achieved.

Now Dr Liu and his colleagues, using highly sophisticated microarray technology – allowing them to simultaneously detect changes in more than 25,000 genes in cells treated with THC – have begun to uncover further the existence of crucial processes through which THC can kill cancer cells and potentially promote survival. Further, Dr Liu found that the mechanism of cannabis may be independent of the presence of receptors – proteins found on the surface of cells to which other signalling molecules bind. Binding of molecules to receptors elicits a response in the cell, be it growth or death. The finding that cannabis action may not require the presence of these receptors introduces the possibility that the drug may be used more widely as the cancer cell’s dependence on the cannabis receptor is removed.

Whilst leukaemia treatment is on the whole successful, some people cannot be treated with conventional therapy – 25 per cent of children with leukaemia fail to respond to traditional treatment leaving their prognosis outcome poor. Dr Liu’s research findings provide a crucial first step towards the development of new therapies that can eradicate a deadly disease which affects millions of children and adults worldwide.

Dr Liu said: “It is important to stress that these cannabis-like substances are far removed from the cannabis that is smoked. These novel compounds have been specifically designed to be free of the psychoactive features, whilst maintaining anti-cancer action. Ultimately, understanding the fundamental mechanisms of these compounds will provide us with insights into developing new drugs that can be used to effectively treat cancers.”

For further information, please contact:

Alexandra Fernandes
Senior Communications Officer
Queen Mary, University of London
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7882 7910

When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.

Bill Richardson for president

He hasn’t declared yet, but if he does decide to run, I think many people will be favorably disposed.

Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson, poised to sign a bill making New Mexico the 12th state to legalize medical marijuana, said Thursday that he realizes his action could become an issue in the presidential race.

“So what if it’s risky? It’s the right thing to do,” said Richardson, one of the candidates in the crowded 2008 field.

Source: AP via Creature.

A song of seeds, the food of love

“She’s trying to stop me from helping you!” Click the video to watch it elsewhere, it won’t embed.

All life is intelligent

Consider a simple plant, which knows at a deep cellular level how to find and transform water, air, sunlight and a few minerals into complex forms of great beauty and practical utility. You may not know how to communicate with all life, but all life communicates in its own way. Herbs put forth scents and spices, which give us pleasure and medicine at once, and we think it an evolutionary accident only if we presuppose no intelligence prior to our emergence as humans.

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Hat-tip Tanya.

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