The War on Medicine

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and the Leaves of the Tree are for the Healing of the Nations…

Although used for centuries as medicine by varied cultures across the world, in the US, medical marijuana became part of mainstream medicine in 1850, when it was added to the US Pharmacopeia. Physicians prescribed the use of cannabis broadly for a range of indications including (but not limited to) pain, emesis, migraine, insomnia, epilepsy, and opium withdrawal (Birch, 1889; Potter, 1917; Grinspoon and Bakalar, 1997; Booth, 2003).

Reefer Madness

It remained widely available until 1937, when the marijuana tax law criminalized use of the substance.  As anti-marijuana sentiments grew across the country, it was removed from the pharmacopeia in 1942 and in 1970, the passage of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) declared marijuana a Schedule I substance and the cultivation, possession, and distribution of marijuana became prohibited.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Schedule I drugs are those

“with no currently accepted medical use, no demonstrated safety profile and a high potential for abuse…[they] are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence” (dea.gov2; Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 19703).

Marijuana > Heroin & Cocaine?

This classification deems marijuana more dangerous than other substances including cocaine, methamphetamine, and opiate-based drugs, which ironically are responsible for approximately 30,000 deaths per year (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). In fact, opioid overdoses are now considered a national epidemic; the rate of opioid overdose deaths, including those related to both prescription pain relievers and heroin, has nearly quadrupled since 1999 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015).

Given its Schedule I classification, research studies exploring both potential risks and benefits of medical marijuana have faced numerous obstacles, forcing policy to outpace science in recent years. As the national climate warms toward marijuana, research is slowly pushing forward. However, much is left to be explored before the gap between science and policy can begin to close.

Excerpted with minor changes from Gruber SA, Sagar KA, Dahlgren MK, Racine MT, Smith RT and Lukas SE (2016) Splendor in the Grass? A Pilot Study Assessing the Impact of Medical Marijuana on Executive Function. Front. Pharmacol. 7:355. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2016.00355

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Marijuana Medicine’s Near-Miraculous Healing Powers Require the Whole Plant—Not Just One Oil Extract

CBD-only laws are a pretext to extend marijuana prohibition under the guise of ‘protecting the children.’

The case of Jayden David, a child stricken with Dravet’s Syndrome, is instructive. In 2011, five-year-old Jayden, who had been on 22 pills per day, was given a CBD-infused tincture, which his father obtained from the Harborside Health Center, a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland. The CBD remedy worked wonders. For the next several months the boy with intractable epilepsy was largely seizure-free. Featured on national television, the story of Jayden’s transformation was the first broadcast that drew attention to the remarkable medicinal properties of cannabidiol.

But the story doesn’t end there. In due course, it became evident to Jason David, Jayden’s devoted father, that sometimes his son responded better when more THC was added to the cannabis solution. If Jayden lived in a state with a CBD-only law rather than cutting edge California, he’d be out of luck, unable to legally access the medicine that keeps him alive. Many pediatric epilepsy patients would not be well served by CBD-only legislation. Nor would cancer patients, chronic pain suffers, and people with Alzheimer’s and autoimmune disorders.

Scientific research has established that CBD and THC interact synergistically and potentiate each other’s therapeutic effects. And marijuana contains several hundred other compounds, including flavonoids, terpenes, and dozens of minor cannabinoids in addition to CBD and THC. Each of these compounds has particular healing attributes, but when combined they create what scientists refer to as an “entourage effect,” so that the therapeutic impact of the whole plant exceeds the sum of its parts. Therein lies the basic fallacy of the CBD-only position.

http://www.alternet.org/drugs/marijuana-medicines-near-miraculous-healing-powers-require-whole-plant-not-just-one-oil?paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark

WATCH: Biologist explains how marijuana drives tumor cells to ‘suicide’

WATCH: Biologist explains how marijuana drives tumor cells to ‘suicide’ (via Raw Story )

A December 2013 video that has been picking up attention in medical marijuana advocacy circles points out the benefits of the drug’s active ingredient in cancer treatments. “We observed that the cannabinoids were very effective in reducing tumor…

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Marijuana: The High and the Low

Fun Facts:

1.  The Queen of England smoked it!  (Another bowl, Your Majesty?)

2.  Our bodies make it!

 

Cannabis is one of the oldest psychotropic drugs in continuous use. Archaeologists have discovered it in digs in Asia that date to the Neolithic period, around 4000BCE. The most common species of the plant is Cannabis sativa, found in both tropical and temperate climates. Marijuana is a Mexican term that first referred to cheap tobacco and now denotes the dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant. Hashish is Arabic for Indian hemp and refers to its viscous resin. An emperor of China, Shen Nung, also the discoverer of tea and ephedrine, is held to be among the first to report on therapeutic uses of cannabis in a medicinal compendium that dates to 2737 BCE. In 1839, William O’Shaughnessy, a British doctor working in India, published a paper on cannabis as an analgesic and appetite stimulant that also tempered nausea, relaxed muscles, and might ameliorate epileptic seizures. His observations led to widespread medical use of cannabis in the United Kingdom; it was prescribed to Queen Victoria for relief of menstrual discomfort.

Many who make public policy or are associated with interest groups respond to marijuana research according to the views of these groups: their interpretations say more about their own biases than about the actual data. For example, prohibitionists contend that THC often appears in the blood of people involved in auto accidents; yet they omit the fact that most of these people also had been drinking alcohol. Antiprohibitionists cite research that showed no sign of memory problems in chronic marijuana smokers; but they do not mention that the cognitive tests were so easy that even an impaired person could perform them.

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