Amber speaking to Oceanside City Council regarding our Initiative to repeal the Medical Marijuana Ban in our City – Join us and help make a difference! North County Cannabis Coalition
Researchers find new role for cannabinoids in vision: Chemicals shown to improve low-light vision of tadpoles by sensitizing retinal cells
A multidisciplinary team of researchers has improved our understanding of how cannabinoids, the active agent in marijuana, affect vision in vertebrates.
As medical marijuana gains acceptance around the world, Israel is drawing interest from investors for its “botanical high-tech” medical cannabis. A Canadian producer has already entered into a partnership with an Israeli producer, Tikun Olam, for a cannabis variety that helps reduce the seizures of epileptic children, but has been especially grown to remove the “high.”Video provided by Washington Post
Source: As medical marijuana gains acceptance around the world, Israel is drawing interest from investors for its “botanical high-tech” medical cannabis. A Canadian producer has already entered into a partnership with an Israeli producer, Tikun Olam, for a cannabis variety that helps reduce the seizures of epileptic children, but has been especially grown to remove the “high.”Video provided by Washington Post
Marijuana may be able to curb opioid dependence for some people with chronic pain, reports new study – NaturalNews.com
Marijuana may be able to curb opioid dependence for some people with chronic pain, reports new study
The ‘munchies,’ or that uncontrollable urge to eat after using marijuana, appear to be driven by neurons in the brain that are normally involved in suppressing appetite, according to a new study.
Scientists have found preliminary evidence that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other compounds found in marijuana can promote the cellular removal of amyloid beta, a toxic protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Boosted by the legalization push, studying the effects of marijuana use appears to be a trend of its own. So much so that there seems to be a new report coming out every day. I can’t say that I read them all, but I came across one today that provides what is quite frankly the most shocking revelation that I have seen in recent times. I hope you’re sitting down for this one. Here is comes … Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Addiction Medicine have determined that using marijuana can be … wait for it … addictive.
I know, shocking isn’t it.
It found that 40 percent of those in an outpatient treatment program for pot use exhibited withdrawal symptoms — a hallmark of drug dependence.
“There’s a lot of misperception out there that marijuana is not addictive,” lead researcher John Kelly, of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Addiction Medicine, told Yahoo Health. “But it produces both a physical and psychological dependence in a similar way to that of other drugs, along with its own characteristic withdrawal symptoms.” The most general hint of addiction tends to be the psychological craving for more, he said, caused by the physical, neurobiological change in the brain as it becomes accustomed to the presence of the drug.
“I think it is relevant,” Kelly said. “What we know with alcohol and tobacco will be true with any drug: Make it cheaper and more accessible and consumption goes up. Do we want to introduce another drug with potentially negative social and health effects? Do the benefits outweigh the costs? The debate needs to be fully informed, and we need the clinical side saying, ‘This is not a benign substance. It’s not cornflakes.’ The neurocognitive impacts, especially with teens, have been shown to have lifelong implications.” Legalization of marijuana, he noted, is sure to bring millions of new cases of addiction. “The rates of addiction and harm will go up, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “People need to be prepared for that.”
Opponents have called marijuana the Devil’s Harvest, while proponents say it’s a Wonder Drug. Who’s right? The official jury is still out, but here’s another study that gives points to the pro side:
Findings of a preclinical study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, suggest very small doses of THC, a chemical found in marijuana, slow down the production of the beta-amyloid protein, which builds up to create plaques in the brain, an accumulation of which is a known hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation,” lead author Chuanhai Cao, of the University of South Florida’s Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute said in a release.
Similar studies have also pointed out the effectiveness of THC in fighting the formation of harmful brain plaques. Researchers in a 2006 study conducted by the Scripps Institute found that THC blocked the aggregation of plaques completely, even better than the best known inhibitors, found in existing Alzheimer’s drugs.
Researchers called THC “natural and relatively safe,” emphasizing that in very low doses, the benefits of the compound outweigh any potential harm.
As a person who’s grandmother is suffering from dementia, the possibility of what this study suggests is impossible to ignore. Add to her, the estimated 5.1 million Americans that have Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia. And consider that Alzheimer’s disease is listed among the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States alone. How can anyone continue to say that Schedule 1 is where this medication belongs?!
Along with all the commonly known benefits of medical marijuana, there is now a new study that shows states with legalized medical marijuana have a lower fatality rate amongst those who use legal opiate-based painkillers … AND it comes from a respected source that has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
A team of investigators from the University of Pennsylvania, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore conducted a time-series analysis of medical cannabis laws and state-level death certificate data in the United States from 1999 to 2010 — a period during which 13 states instituted laws allowing for cannabis therapy.
Researchers reported, “States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared with states without medical cannabis laws.” Specifically, overdose deaths from opioids decreased by an average of 20 percent one year after the law’s implementation, 25 percent by two years, and up to 33 percent by years five and six.
They concluded, “In an analysis of death certificate data from 1999 to 2010, we found that states with medical cannabis laws had lower mean opioid analgesic overdose mortality rates compared with states without such laws. This finding persisted when excluding intentional overdose deaths (ie, suicide), suggesting that medical cannabis laws are associated with lower opioid analgesic overdose mortality among individuals using opioid analgesics for medical indications. Similarly, the association between medical cannabis laws and lower opioid analgesic overdose mortality rates persisted when including all deaths related to heroin, even if no opioid analgesic was present, indicating that lower rates of opioid analgesic overdose mortality were not offset by higher rates of heroin overdose mortality. Although the exact mechanism is unclear, our results suggest a link between medical cannabis laws and lower opioid analgesic overdose mortality.”
In a written statement to Reuters Health, lead author Dr. Marcus Bachhuber said: “Most of the discussion on medical marijuana has been about its effect on individuals in terms of reducing pain or other symptoms. The unique contribution of our study is the finding that medical marijuana laws and policies may have a broader impact on public health.”
Added co-author Colleen L. Barry in USA Today: “[The study’s findings] suggest the potential for many lives to be saved. … We can speculate … that people are completely switching or perhaps supplementing, which allows them to lower the dosage of their prescription opioid.”
Realize that this should come as no surprise to our federal overlords who have banned it for everyone except themselves. Marijuana has a strong history in our nation’s pharmacopeia as being used for pain relief … up until Reefer Madness anyway.
Under the guise of compassion, 11 states have legalized CBD oils for specific illnesses but they’re missing the big picture … It’s not the just CBD’s guys! THC is equally beneficial for a wide variety of ailments but the politicians are keeping it on the shelf leaving thousands of people to suffer needlessly in the process. Some examples include:
Pain Relief. Though it sometimes gets a bad rap for its cerebral effects, THC is a powerful pain reliever that activates certain pathways in the central nervous system associated with pain. In fact, THC is the primary pain-relieving compound found in cannabis, as it blocks pain signals from being sent to the brain. THC is particularly beneficial for those who suffer from neuropathic, or nerve-related, pain, based on the findings of numerous studies.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Thankfully, much of this is now changing, which is good news for our nation’s war veterans, many of whom battle with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While the Veterans Association (VA) still prescribes SSRIs and other dangerous pharmaceuticals as treatment for this harrowing condition, emerging science is showing that the THC in cannabis is a safer, preferable alternative.
Nausea and vomiting. Believe it or not, a pill form of THC has been available as a treatment for nausea and vomiting since the 1980s. But the official government position is still one that views THC in natural plant form as having no medicinal benefits, despite evidence showing that this natural cannabinoid eases stomach pain while stimulating the appetite, which is especially helpful for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Appetite stimulant. THC can help reduce stomach pains and stimulate a person’s appetite, including in patients with cancer and HIV-associated wasting syndrome. THC can also help otherwise healthy individuals put on more muscle and boost their nutritional intake.
Asthma. Believe it or not, research dating back to the 1970s cites THC as a highly medicinal compound in the treatment of asthma. Trials have shown that smoking marijuana can actually calm asthma attacks, though ingesting cannabis via edibles or a vaporizer may be preferable to avoid agitating one’s lungs.
Glaucoma. One of the first conditions to be identified as a target of cannabis, glaucoma is another condition that responds exceptionally well to THC. Glaucoma sufferers have found that marijuana cannabinoids can relieve eye pressure in ways that no pharmaceutical ever could, all without causing any harm.
Sleeping aid. The THC in cannabis provides natural relaxation and calm that numerous studies have shown works much better at promoting truly restful sleep. THC has also been linked to improving nighttime breathing and reducing sleep interruptions, including in those who suffer from sleep apnea. And unlike synthetic pharmaceuticals, THC induces natural sleeping patterns that provide real rest, relief and recovery.
Read the whole article here: Natural News
As many of us know, cities throughout California have taken it upon themselves to ban medical marijuana dispensaries. Local politicians seem to most commonly say they’re concerned about the societal costs to their communities should they allow these “seedy” businesses move in. It turns out there are even greater costs to the cities that the council’s never thought of … financial. Now you might want to sit down before reading further, but San Bernardino’s City Attorney has just said that the city is spending too much money fighting the losing battle of justifying their ban in court and is calling for a special City Council committee to develop guidelines for allowing dispensaries to operate legally within the city limits.
San Bernardino City Attorney Gary Saenz said that the city’s pot shop prohibition has cost taxpayers dearly when it comes to defending City Hall in court and policing allegedly rogue collectives.
He wants a special City Council committee to develop a plan that would create parameters for legal medical sales within city limits.
In a prepared statement, Saenz said:
We will present a plan which essentially acknowledges the futility and high cost of attempting to completely eradicate marijuana dispensaries with our current system, by which we will continue to spend hundreds of thousands and eventually millions but will never significantly achieve success.
Yes, an elected law enforcement official just said that. There’s more:
Instead, by conceding to California’s policy of allowing marijuana use for medical purposes, and permitting dispensaries that are highly regulated, we can move the distribution of medical marijuana from the black market to the regulated market.
Three members of the council agreed to sit on a committee and help develop a dispensary legalization plan that could be considered by the City Council on August 4th.
Read the whole article: The 420 Times
We civilians know that marijuana legalization is moving along like a speeding freight train that simply can’t be stopped. More & more politicians and even police officers are seeing the light, but did you ever think you’d hear it from anyone in or near the DEA? I didn’t either, but I must tip my hat to Gary Hale. Here are some of my favorite excerpts from his recent op-ed …
Good governance is about good stewardship. Government executives always should consider how best to use the government’s vast assets, including personnel, money and materials. In this light, continued opposition by the Drug Enforcement Administration to the legalization of cannabis – marijuana – is not only a losing battle but a waste of taxpayer money, particularly when the president, Congress and an increasing number of state legislatures are responding to the will of the people by decriminalizing nonviolent marijuana use and possession. Our federal tax dollars would be better spent by responding to the current widespread increase of heroin use in ways that will prevent continued abuse, reduce harm to users and provide for greater public safety.
As a former DEA intelligence chief, I know that one of the tools policymakers in public safety and intelligence circles depend upon is predictive analysis, an over-the-horizon view of the landscape that enables them to allocate resources based on realistic threats. These analyses often involve the combination of hard numbers, such as dollars in the budget, and softer criteria that provide patterns and indicators needed to reach a strategic or policy decision. By using these same methods, an objective analyst can see a clearly emerging picture: Marijuana decriminalization and legalization have gone past being a trend and are settling in as federal policy, especially with costs outweighing the benefits of incarcerating so many otherwise nonviolent offenders.
The DEA is fighting an uphill battle by enforcing marijuana laws in the face of a new era of understanding, education and public sentiment, all of which represent a complete U-turn from long-held beliefs regarding the substance. The agency in which I worked for 31 years, many of them at a high level, must accept that the American people simply do not wish to have our federal government continue to spend time, money and resources fighting marijuana possession and use, especially in light of convincing evidence that cannabis provides alternative medicinal choices for epileptics, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, those suffering the pains of cancer and others.
Notwithstanding the enormous contributions the DEA has made to public safety since its inception in 1973, it is time for it to realign its strategic thinking and adjust its policies to adopt this new paradigm.
Read the whole article here: Houston Chronicle
WHAT?! Yep, you read that right and we couldn’t believe it either. It seems obvious that the pro-prohibitionists will do and say virtually anything to keep marijuana under their lock & key, but this one really takes the cake.
Dr. Nora Volkow (head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse) was recently interviewed by the Washington Post and it is here that her best quote so far was made. She stayed pretty true to the cue cards through most of it … until the reporter conducting the interview suggested that cigarettes are worse for a person than cannabis. That was apparently more than she could take. Her response:
“Wait a second. . . . Nicotine does not interfere with cognitive ability. So if you are an adolescent and you are smoking marijuana and going to school, it’s going to interfere with your capacity to learn. So what is worse, as an adolescent right now? To have basically something that is jeopardizing your development educationally or to smoke a cigarette that, when you are 60 years of age, is going to lead to impaired pulmonary function and perhaps cancer? . . . I would argue that you do not want to mess with your cognitive capacity, that that is a very large price to pay.”
There you have it, straight from the government’s mouth: If you’re going to smoke anything, smoke a Marlboro — doctor’s orders.
We all know that things are rarely black and white. All we can really do is just do our best to navigate through the many shades of gray. However, the State of Washington really seems like it’s gone out of its way to find every pothole filled road on its way to marijuana legalization … and the state’s citizens are the ones paying the price. Take for example …
Pete O’Neil saw Washington’s legalization of marijuana in 2012 as a path to retirement, or at least to his kids’ college tuition.
He’s paid tens of thousands of dollars in rent on possible locations for a pot-shop chain, hired lawyers and picked out flooring. But now the nation’s second legal recreational marijuana industry is about to start without him.
O’Neil struck out in Washington’s lottery for coveted pot-shop licenses. He has unsuccessfully tried to buy companies that scored a lucky number. In frustration, he’s turning what would have been his Seattle retail store into a medical marijuana dispensary.
“Our company is bleeding money, and I haven’t sold a single joint,” O’Neil says.
Granted, no one forced him to invest neck deep into a possible maybe, but the officials overseeing this program have forced the hands of all of the interested parties. They ran a lottery saturated with big money players filing multiple applications under various company names and then worked to determine their eligibility thus creating false hope among both the winners and losers. I mean really, they choose to issue retail licenses the day before you can legally start selling. You’ve got to be ready to go. And it’s not just on the store front …
Many industry hopefuls have found Washington’s delays maddening. Douglas Taylor spent $230,000 on land for his planned outdoor grow. The payments run $1,600 a month, and he says the board hasn’t even started reviewing his application. Meanwhile, he has missed the outdoor growing season — a revenue loss of about $500,000, he estimates.
Ed Rhinehart, 58, a retired businessman, counted on being licensed for an outdoor grow by April. He hired four workers, spent $22,000 on a required fence and dropped $10,000 on surveillance cameras. April 15, he laid everybody off. After months of back-and-forth with the board, Rhinehart expects to get his license soon. But he too will have missed the outdoor season.
So even if you manage to become one of the lucky few to get a license next week, the odds are you won’t have anything to sell. Is it ironic, intentional or just plain sad?
Every state that has legalized marijuana in any form (medical or recreational) see it purely as a new and solid revenue stream to help boost the coffers and make up for other losses. We understand that. It was kind of a given. BUT exactly how many different hands should we be expected to have in our pockets and exactly how deep should they be allowed to go? This question is coming up now in Santa Cruz County, CA where they are considering a tax that would charge dispensary owners 7% above and beyond all the other taxes being paid.
Local operators are crying foul, saying the proposed 7 percent rate is too high and would increase prices for patients.
“It’s a pretty significant disadvantage for these folks,” said attorney Ben Rice, who works with several pot clubs. “They’re all fine with paying money to make this work for everybody, but they also don’t want to be put out of business.”
Some form of taxation was anticipated as a way to pay for enforcement of a suite of new medical marijuana regulations that went into effect earlier this year. The proposal the county Board of Supervisors is likely to put before voters would allow an adjustable tax of up to 10 percent on the gross receipts of the dozen or so dispensaries operating in unincorporated areas of the county.
Chief Administrative Officer Susan Mauriello said those enforcement costs costs add up.
Khalil Moutawakkil, owner of the KindPeoples Collective, pointed out dispensaries pay sales taxes, payroll taxes and corporation taxes. Through storefront rents, they also pay local property taxes. And operators not only aren’t rich, he said, but they cannot take standard federal tax deductions available to other businesses.
“No dispensary director that I know of is wealthy,” Moutawakkil said.
If the county is going to tax dispensaries, operators want to be treated as equals to other businesses — they want permits. The new county rules grant limited immunity, but don’t recognize dispensaries as legitimate operations on par with flower shops or convenience stores. They are also asking for the right to grow pot on site, minimizing the need to buy from growers.
Another point of contention is growers aren’t being taxed, which could be trickier from a legal standpoint. Some counties have tried it, but it also represents a second layer of taxes that could drive up pot prices further. (read more here)
They want to have their cake (by taxing dispensaries to death) and eat it to (by not taking the steps to indemnify them as much as possible with county issued permits). I know times are tough and I understand that budgets need to be balanced, but one industry alone cannot do everything … and these municipalities should know better than to put all their eggs in one basket.
California is supposed to be one of the most progressive states in the country, yet a proposed law in San Jose would have the effect of shutting down all the collectives in town.
The ordinance, discussed at a community meeting this week, would require shops to be located in industrial zones away from schools, daycare centers, parks, libraries and houses of worship. They’d even have to be 500 feet from homes. 500 feet from homes too?! They may as well call this the Banning All Dispensaries ordinance!
But what has some in the San Jose MMJ community worried is a provision that would require collectives to produce on-site all the medicine they sell. And the cannabis could not be grown outdoors. Do they have any idea what this will do to the environment as well as the states power grid?! The proposal would also outlaw sales of concentrates such as wax. If they’re so clueless as to think that smoking or vaping is the only effective or even preferred method of medicating should they really have the authority to make rules of this nature?
According to the Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition:
Under the new regulations being presented to the San Jose City Council, no collectives will be able to operate in San Jose.
The group argues that the law, if passed, “will effectively force medical marijuana patients to resort to buying their medication on the black market.”
On Monday the coalition plans to file its own alternative language for collective regulation.
The SVCC’s John Lee says:
The Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition would like to see the council put in place reasonable regulations and create a commission to address any impact to the community. We need to move forward, not backward.
(Read more here: 420Times)
Retired Supreme Court Justice John Stevens recently made some news, and turned some heads, when he told NPR reporter Scott Simon that he thought the federal government should take lead from the states and put an end to the prohibition of marijuana. It went something like this:
SIMON: An increasing number of states are legalizing marijuana. Should federal law?
SIMON: You may have just made some news.
STEVENS: Yes. I really think that that’s another instance of public opinion [that’s] changed. And recognize that the distinction between marijuana and alcoholic beverages is really not much of a distinction. Alcohol, the prohibition against selling and dispensing alcoholic beverages has I think been generally, there’s a general consensus that it was not worth the cost. And I think really in time that will be the general consensus with respect to this particular drug.
You have to admit that, when you think of Supreme Court Justices, you pretty much think of old stodgy people who are way too far out of touch with current society that they really shouldn’t be in a position to make decisions that will affect us.
While you don’t typically hear personal opinions from sitting judges, Justice Stevens has been quite vocal on a variety of subjects since his retirement. While he’s the only one to publicly come out in support of marijuana legalization, earlier court opinions inferred it. Even back in the day, when writing for the court majority in a medical marijuana case, he noted that Congress had the authority to change the law to permit the use of medical marijuana. My favorite justice (Sandra Day O’Connor) wrote the dissent saying that the states should be able to set their own rules on these matters. (Read more here: CA Healthline) She had even gone on to say in a 2004 interview that homegrown marijuana is something traditionally regulated by states as it is for personal use and not intended for interstate markets. In that instance, she called it a limited exception as such non-economic use differs from the trafficking federal drug law is meant to thwart. Ruth Bader Ginsburg agreed. (Read more here: On The Issues)
Who knew they could be so hip?!
One of the arguments used by the anti-legalization crowd is that crime rates will go up. Well, Denver has just released their latest crime statistics for January and February:
Violent crime — including homicide, sexual assaults and robbery — have declined by 2.4%, according to the Denver Police Department. In fact, robberies fell more than 7% during the period, while sexual assaults declined by more than 12%. Homicide fell more than 66%. Aggravated assaults were the only violent crime category to rise in the first two months of this year, gaining nearly 4%. Property crimes overall fell nearly 15%. Burglary and larceny were both down approximately 2% while theft from motor vehicles fell over 43%. Auto thefts fell nearly 4%. However, perhaps ironically, arson cases more than doubled. (read more here: Main Street)
The report has blown holes in the District Attorney’s theory that violence was “exploding” in Denver as a result of the medical marijuana industry. It has also prompted other Colorado cities who had previously rejected the recreational sale of marijuana to reconsider.
I guess the sky didn’t fall after all.
With more and more states preparing to legalize marijuana in one form or another, all eyes are focusing hard on Colorado and Washington. Spectators on both sides of the fence want to know how this is all going to work. The pro side is aiming for success while the anti crowd is begging for failure. Sitting square on top of the fence is our government overlords who simply refuse to pick a side.
Skillfully teasing both sides, our elected officials are doing what they do best … pander to the beliefs of whoever they may be talking to at the time while being careful to note that they don’t have the ability to make any changes on their own … thus absolving themselves of the responsibility of actually doing something while probably still keeping their voter base intact.
Other government employees, however, are playing a far more dangerous game. The Department of Justice, overseer of the DEA and FBI, have publicly taken a “wait and see” approach but their minions are sending mixed messages that are seriously problematic.
Their latest move is one of the more confusing that I’ve seen. While the DOJ has stated that keeping the criminal element out of legalized marijuana is a top priority, the FBI is refusing to run national background checks for license applicants in the state of Washington. Even more perplexing is the fact that the background checks Washington is requesting are the same kind that they have provided in the state of Colorado. When asked why, FBI spokesman Stephen Fischer issued a one sentence written statement:
“To ensure a consistent national approach, the department has been reviewing its background check policies, and we hope to have guidance for states in the near term.” (read more here: Yahoo! News)
My hunch … They see the way the tides are turning and know that they need something drastic to keep their hold on the War on Drugs (otherwise known as their gravy train). I think they’re trying to set Washington up for failure. Washington is trying to do the best they can with the resources they have available to them but, without the nationwide background checks, it seems likely that some people could be approved for licenses when they really shouldn’t have been. And that is where the DEA will be waiting to pounce. Maybe there’s a little too much “conspiracy theorist” in this opinion, but it seems to me that providing a few strategic examples of the DEA finding a criminal element employed in the legal marijuana industry would serve them well in their pursuits. It would create their “See, I told you so.” moment and could cause less committed supporters to sway the other way.
Whether I’m right on target or way off base, it’s time for our government to take a position and allow legitimate business owners in a burgeoning industry a way to operate without fear. This is America after all.
For a “highly addictive drug with no medicinal value”, marijuana is the foundation of three separate medications that are currently on the market.
For the purposes of this article the first medication doesn’t really count because it’s not approved in the United States, but it’s still worth noting if only to point out how far behind our country is with regards to medicinal marijuana. Sativex is composed of both THC and CBD. It is currently being used in 25 countries to treat muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis.
Now for the meat of the story, the other two cannabis based medications available today have actually been approved by the FDA. Pharmaceutical companies AbbVie and Valeant (otherwise known as the highest bidders) have been approved to distribute Marinol and Cesamet. Both are used to treat the nauseous side effects of treatments such as chemotherapy and both are made of a synthetic form of THC.
The most interesting (and important) point to be stated here is that Marinol is classified as a Schedule 3 drug and Cesasmet is classified as Schedule 2. The irony here is that marijuana, the foundation for these lower scheduled drugs, is classified as a Schedule 1 by the DEA. (read more here: The Motley Fool)
What do the DEA schedules mean?
Schedule 1 is reserved for what the DEA considers to be the most dangerous of all drugs. they are said to have a high potential for abuse and no known medical value. Examples of schedule 1 drugs include heroin, LSD and marijuana.
Schedule 2 drugs are still considered to have a high potential for abuse, but they are also believed (by the DEA) to be less dangerous than Schedule 1 drugs. They are normally used to treat severe mental or physical dependence issues. Examples of schedule 2 drugs include cocaine, methamphetamine, Adderal and more. Yes, you read that right … our government considers cocaine and meth to be less dangerous than marijuana. Do they know how methamphetamines are made?!
Schedule 3 drugs are your standard prescription meds such as Vicodin, Tylenol with codeine, testosterone, etc.
(read more here: US Department of Justice)
Even more hypocritical is that the Department of Health and Human Services holds a patent on the use of CBD’s as a potential treatment for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. (read more here: US Patent 6630507) While I have a lot to say about our government holding a patent on a naturally occurring substance they have deemed illegal, that is another article for another day. For the purposes of this discussion, I’d like to question why there are so many different departments in charge of the taking different positions on the same thing. Keep in mind that it is a rhetorical question as we all know that our government can’t draw a straight line to anything, but it’s definitely time to start demanding more. There is no reason for there to be so many cooks in any kitchen … especially when the well being of American citizens are at stake.
After seeing this movie, I did some more research into the Dallas Buyers Club. I learned that the writers took quite a bit of dramatic license in the telling of this tale. For example, the characters portrayed by Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner were created exclusively for the movie. Those who knew the real Ron Woodruff have also said that Matthew McConaughey portrayed him as a little rougher than he actually was. All that aside, the overall point of film and real-life story remain the same … it provided yet another shining example of our government interfering and infringing on our private health care decisions.
At the time Ron Woodruff was diagnosed with AIDS, America was roughly 8 years into the epidemic yet there was still so much unknown about the illness. For those who haven’t yet seen the film; Ron started on the only medication approved and available in the United States at the time … AZT. It didn’t work for him and almost killed him so he decided to take his life into his own hands. He began researching findings and treatments that were being used in other parts of the world. Once he found what he thought would be the right mix of medications he began acquiring them from around the globe. Word got around and other victims of this disease started looking to get what he had … and the Dallas Buyers Club was born.
Here’s where things get interesting. The bigger the club got, the more attention it generated … In comes the FDA. Under the guise of concern about the dangers of these “unproven” medications, they began hassling Mr. Woodruff every chance they got. Going so far as to confiscate vitamins simply for not being labeled according to government specifications, the harassment went on for years. Ron went on a one-man crusade against the FDA that lasted right up until the day he died. When he wasn’t busy obtaining more of the life-saving drugs, he was busy informing the public of his struggles and pointing out the hypocrisy of the FDA and how they’re hurting the little people dragging their feet to research/approve anything that doesn’t have a big fat check attached to it.
Our main take-away from this movie, as well as the real Dallas Buyers Club, is that Ron Woodruff is right. This is supposed to be the land of the free, yet the government continues to interfere our ability to lead our own lives and control our own destiny. Just like the current status of medical marijuana research, the FDA defers to the big checks of big pharma so they can continue to push their chemical drugs all the while ignoring a natural healer that grows naturally right in our own backyards.
Read the article that started it all here: The Original Story About the Dallas Buyer’s Club, entitled Buying Time by Bill Minutaglio
Now keep in mind that we would never suggest giving marijuana in any form to a healthy child, but I also think that these stories are great examples of the wonders that marijuana can do … and without the psychoactive effects typically associated with its use.
Cash Hyde was diagnosed with recurring brain tumors when he was just 22 months old. His doctors gave him a 30% chance of surviving even five years and prescribed radiation therapy as a means of preventing his tumors from spreading. To combat the effects of the radiation treatments, he was put on a variety of drugs that included methadone, ketamine and morphine. Unhappy with the prospects, Cash’s parents sought a holistic alternative in the form of cannabis oil and the results have been miraculous to say the least. He successfully went through 30 rounds of radiation without the aide of any medications other than the cannabis oil and the tumors appear to be in remission. According to Cash’s father Mike: “Cancer is a terrible monster. “I was going to do anything to help my child.” (read more here: ABC News) UPDATE: Regrettably, Cash succumbed to his illness at the age of 4, but his parents insist that the cannabis oil provided their son a higher quality of life while he was with them than he would have had otherwise. (read more here: ABC News)
Charlotte Figi is indisputably the biggest example of the healing abilities of medical marijuana in the media today. This adorable little girl suffers from Dravet Syndrome. The extreme form of epilepsy is incredibly rare and was subjecting Charlotte to about 300 grand mal seizures every day. Struggling to find a solution for their child, Charlotte’s mother began researching alternative therapies. While the road was difficult, they ultimately received permission to try cannabis oil and the results were almost immediate.
Little Mykayla Comstock was a typical 7-year-old until she was diagnosed with leukemia. Initial treatments didn’t seem to be helping and her mother, Erin Purchase, didn’t waste any time seeking alternatives. Medical cannabis rushed to the top of the list and, surprising to no one, Mykayla’s doctors were less than supportive of the idea. After finding one who neither encouraged nor discouraged Mykayla’s mother’s chosen path, she began giving her daughter lime-flavored capsules filled with cannabis oil. Within a matter of months Mykayla’s leukemia was in remission. While no one can say for sure if it was the cannabis that worked or the traditional treatments just finally kicked in but, according to her mother “I don’t think it’s just a coincidence. I credit it with helping — at least helping — her ridding the cancer from her body.” (read more here: ABC News)
After being born with cortical dysplasia (a frequent cause of epilepsy), Zander was non-verbal and had seizures daily …. that was until his parents started giving him cannabis oil. They tried traditional medicine for years but after he had taken many medications and undergone two brain surgeries no progress had been made. In fact, he was facing a third brain surgery that would have left in paralyzed at best and in a vegetative state at worst. Zander’s parents notice marked improvement once the cannabis oil treatment began. Instead of seizures that would last up to 10 minutes every day, he had only in seven weeks. He also started developing some communication skills. Now, leave it to the government to get involved and try to force the child off the only medication that seems to be helping him. State officials in Arizona determined the products the oil was extracted from were classified as illegal narcotics which, therefore, made the finished oil an illegal narcotic as well. The parents have sued the state with the help of the ACLU. We’ll be watching this one! (read more here: GMA on Yahoo! News)
There’s Stockton May who, like Charlotte Figi, suffers from Dravet Syndrome. Her mother is pushing for a state law that would allow them to import cannabis oil from Colorado in order to help their daughter. (read more here: Yahoo! News)
Vivian Wilson is a 2 year old in New Jersey who is also stricken with the burden of Dravet Syndrome. Due to the states over-cautious approach to the voter referendum that authorized medical marijuana, Vivian’s parents are forced to wait for a dispensary to be approved for the part of the state they live in. They have even made a plea to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who flat out said that he was “not inclined to allow” this medicine to be dispensed to minors. (read more here” Philly.com)
And the the list goes on. My question is simply this … How many more children will have to suffer from debilitating illnesses that, at the very least, deprive them of a decent quality of life during their time on earth before our country catches up to the science and allows these children and their parents the relief they both seek and deserve?
As the legalization of marijuana progresses across the county I’ve been seeing more & more articles about DEA agents and other such law enforcement employees switching sides. Leaving their positions as anti-drug enforcers and entering the world of marijuana sales. To be perfectly honest … I find it absolute infuriating.
For example … Patrick Moen worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration for 10 years. Rising in the ranks busting drug offenders in Oregon, he recently quit his job to go to work for a marijuana industry investment firm. Now he spends his time helping his new employer maneuver around the legal hazards of working in an industry that he once swore to dismantle. (read more here: Yahoo! News)
My Two Cents …
Exactly who do these people think they are?!
While I do appreciate that they have started to see the light so to speak, I have serious problems with idea of people being allowed to profit from an industry they spent the first part of their careers trying to shut down. That they are now coming in to reap the financial benefits of a burgeoning industry after getting paid to arrest and imprison countless individuals non-violent drug related offenses. Unbelievable!
Did you know that, as of the end of December 2012, there were 196,574 sentenced prisoners under federal jurisdiction … 99,426 of which were serving time for drug offenses. (read more here: Drug War Facts)
How many people have these johnny-come-latelies put in jail for non-violent marijuana related crimes during their law enforcement careers and exactly what have they done to rectify that situation now that they’ve had a “change of heart”? Where is the restitution to the lives that were altered or even dismantled as a result of their previous positions?
It is my opinion that, until they can positively answer those questions, they should be kept on the sidelines.
State governments aren’t the only ones who realize that a legal marijuana industry can put big bucks in their coffers, corporate America is getting the game as well. Take a look at some of these new creatives to hit the airwaves …
Marketed as the “cure to mellow even the meanest manifestation of the munchies,” Jack in the Box’s Munchie Meal is only available in the overnight hours and, while they don’t come right out and say it, the ads certainly indicate who they’re targeting with this campaign.
It’s not a secret that Carl’s Jr. likes to push the envelope in their advertising and this is no exception. Along with their new breakfast signs, Carl’s Jr. employees have been given t-shirts with the slogan on it. I don’t think any subtlety is intended here and the campaign has marijuana users everywhere asking where they can get a Wake and Bake shirt of their own!
The home of the Grand Slam is now trying to tap into the younger generation with their new All Nighter menu. It’s said to target groups of friends out late after a movie or concert or whatever. It embraces the difficulty the latest economic downturn has created in our pocketbooks by having cheap menu items and goes so far as to sponsor new bands aimed at today’s college-goers. (read more here: QRS Magazine) However, one look at their ads for this hipper late-night dining experience says to me that their true target market may be a little outside the “official” statement.
Taco Bell has been offering up their Fourth Meal menu for quite some time now so you can’t really say that the legalization of marijuana has inspired this campaign. Officially, Taco Bell offers their late night menu for those of us who work odd hours and just happen to be looking for dinner at 1am. Unofficially, I think this franchise owner nailed it!
And it’s not just about the food either. With Colorado being the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, the travel industry decided to ante up as well. Spirit Airlines filled their latest ad with double entendres geared toward the pot smoking population. There’s a question how long they’ll be able to get away with this type of advertising since air travel is still regulated by the federal government, but we give them a thumbs up in the meantime. (read more here: CNBC)
I’ve often thought that the possible uses for the marijuana plant (both medically and commercially) were almost limitless, but here’s one that never crossed my mind …
Anyone who has ever grown their own know that, once you’ve taken the good stuff, there’s still a lot of plant matter that simply goes in the trash. Not because it’s of no value, but because you don’t have the means or knowledge to process it. Well, a Washington state pig farmer had the idea of feeding those leftovers to his pigs.
The concept was not new to him as he has apparently been feeding them the excesses from a local brewery. It was a great partnership. He got free pig feed and the brewery got rid of what would otherwise go into the garbage. Now he just gets to expand his options.
What effect does the marijuana have on the final product? Since he’s only using the waste, the meat will not get you high. Aside from that though, he says the meat does have a very distinct and pleasant flavor infusion that allows him to sell his “pot chops” at a premium.
OK. So this idea may not be groundbreaking or earth-shattering, but I thought it was interesting enough to share. (read more here: Yahoo! News)
Earlier this week the City Council of San Diego, CA passed the second set of medical marijuana regulations in 3 years and they still haven’t done a very good job at addressing patient concerns. Rather, they seem determined to keep the medical marijuana that California voters approved 17 years ago dangling around the fringe. Of course they made sure to throw in permit requirements that will bring the city a tidy profit at the same time.
Let’s take a step back to 2011 for moment. Although Prop 215 was passed in 1996, the city of San Diego has continually dragged their feet when it came to implementing rules for what had become a legal industry. This meant that valid medical marijuana patients were still put at risk when it came to obtaining their medication. Things looked up in March of 2011 when the city council voted to adopt an ordinance that would have allowed dispensaries to operate in industrial zones providing they were 600 feet from the standard places (parks, schools, churches, etc). That part wasn’t so bad, but they included a stipulation that all dispensaries currently operating in the city illegally would have to close before they would be allowed to begin the permit process … a process that could take up to a year to go through all the steps. (read more here: IndyBay)
Worrying that these restrictions would cause patients in need more trouble and put them at more risk than they may be able to handle, two pro-cannabis groups successfully petitioned the city to have the newly adopted ordinance repealed. This move essentially closed all dispensaries immediately and gave no legal way for any to open until a new ordinance was constructed.
That brings us to February 25, 2014 when citizens both for and against met at the council chambers in an effort to sway the powers that be their way. We listened to a lot of the commentary here in our office and I have to say that I was surprised at how much mis-information was being spouted as fact. Trying to weed their way through that sea of sewage could not have been an easy task.
When all was said and done, the San Diego City Council passed restrictions that most say are even more restrictive that those they put in place 3 years before. Here’s how it breaks down now:
- Dispensaries will not be allowed to operate within 1,000 feet of public parks, churches, child care centers, playgrounds, residential care facilities, schools and other dispensaries. Or within 100 feet of residential zones.
- Dispensaries will be required to get a conditional use permit from the city. According to civicsd.com, this permit will cost upwards of $10,000.
- Dispensaries will also be required to obtain an annual public safety permit from the San Diego Police Department. I couldn’t find a specific cost for this one, but I’m sure it’s a few hundred at least.
- Dispensaries will not be allowed to have doctors on-site. No “one-stop shops” as the council called them.
On top of all that, they’ve also included a cap that will limit the number of dispensaries that will be allowed to operate within any one district to 4. The location restrictions outlined above will also mean that there are some districts that won’t have any dispensaries at all. (read more here: Fox 5 San Diego).
This was not a great step forward in my opinion. I’m also wondering what the representatives in those dispensary free areas expect their constituents who are also medical marijuana patients to do in order to get the medicine they need and the state of California says they’re permitted to have.
It seems like every day a new state is coming out with their own efforts to legalize marijuana in some form or another. It might surprise you to learn that there are also still many states that are struggling to come to terms with the issue.
Take Minnesota for example …
Once again, legislation is before the state House of Representatives that would establish a program to legalize medical marijuana. Like other states that have already done this, patients would need to obtain a physicians recommendation in order to be able to possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana. They tried to do this once before but were thwarted by then Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty who vetoed the bill after it was passed by both state legislative houses.
Fast forward to today …
According to a survey taken late last year
“Researchers found 76 percent of respondents favor legalizing medical marijuana, while 20 percent oppose it and 4 percent don’t know. The 2013 survey was conducted Oct. 20-27 and was based on responses from 626 people across the state, with a margin of error of 4.5 percent. The survey found Minnesotans nearly evenly split on whether to legalize marijuana for general use. Forty-six percent support making recreational marijuana legal, while 48 percent oppose it and 6 percent don’t know.” (read more here: Kare11)
Along with voters securely supporting the legalization of no less than medicinal marijuana, the state is also now being led by Democratic Governor Mark Dayton who has already said that he is open to signing the bill should it pass.
So what’s holding it back you ask? While Governor Dayton has said he’d sign the bill, he has put a condition on that. He won’t do it without the consent of at least some of the state’s law enforcement agencies. While there are many police officers and police organizations that have come out supporting the legalization of marijuana, none of them happen to live in Minnesota. They haven’t gotten one group to sign on to it. Of course the official reason is pretty typical.
Their opposition, according to a report in local paper St. Cloud Times, is based on fears that marijuana’s medical benefits are still unproven, that any legalization effort will increase the drug’s availability to kids and that the bill is too broad in listing qualifying conditions. (read more here: Huffington Post)
But wait until you hear what the head of another police agency said. You might want to sit down for this one …
The head of one police agency put it another way: He openly admitted that he was worried legalizing weed for medical purposes might make it harder for police to get federal drug war dollars. Minnesota receives millions in anti-drug money from the White House every year, and asset seizures from drug raids have become an integral part of state police budgets, Politics In Minnesota reported earlier this month. (read more here: Huffington Post)
That’s right … He said it. Their opposition to legalization has nothing to do with the health and safety of the citizens of Minnesota. Instead, like most of us already know, it’s all about money. But I’m honestly wondering why no one is jumping on this. It seems like it should be obvious that these agencies will take a financial hit when the federal government finally accepts defeat and cedes the drug war, but when the head of any law enforcement agency comes right out and says that they need “asset seizures from drug raids” to fund their operations there’s an even bigger problem. I suggest that it is time these agencies start learning how to do without drug war funds because, whether they want it to or not, it will be coming to an end. However, if I were a resident of Minnesota, I would not only call for this officers immediate termination since he clearly does not have the best interest of the citizens at heart, but I would also demand an immediate audit of drug raids, asset seizures and arrests that have been conducted under his watch. Someone should be investigating whether or not these “assets” were obtained in good faith or just to bring in revenue.
Making two interstate moves in a matter of months, with two young children in tow, wasn’t something Moriah Barnhart had planned for.
But within weeks of her 2-year-old daughter, Dahlia, being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor, Barnhart packed the family’s bags. They moved from Tampa, Fla., to Memphis, Tenn., last June so her toddler could undergo treatment at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. While there, Barnhart’s research pointed her to medical marijuana as a worthy treatment to inhibit the cancer and mitigate the side effects of chemotherapy.
“It just was the safest and most viable, effective option,” she said. “But it was illegal in Tennessee and in Florida.”
So just before Christmas, the Barnhart family was on the road once again, this time to Colorado Springs, Colo. Now, Dahlia gets a small dose daily of a nonpsychoactive (i.e., one that doesn’t trigger a high) hemp oil strain called Phoenix Tears—and, Barnhart says, is back to being a happy toddler, even as her cancer battle and chemo treatments continue.
The Barnharts are just one of many so-called “marijuana refugees” who have relocated or are planning to move amid the shifting legal landscape on medical and recreational use. Currently, 20 states and the District of Columbia have given the green light to treat certain medical conditions with marijuana; Colorado and Washington residents voted in 2012 to decriminalize recreational use. Several other states, including New York and Florida, could see medical marijuana laws on the books this year.
It’s tough to gauge the rate of marijuana-inspired moves. Just 0.4 percent of people who moved in the year ended July 1, 2013, said they did so for health reasons, according to the Census Bureau. That’s down from 2 percent who said so in 2011. And although Census data put Colorado and Washington among the top 10 interstate move destinations last year, both states’ population growth rates are on par with those of previous years.
At least anecdotally, advocates say they’re hearing from plenty of families who want in. “As soon as we have the intake form up, we’re swamped with requests,” said Lindsey Rinehart, co-founder of Undergreen Railroad, which helps people raise money and organize interstate moves to medical marijuana-friendly states. Rinehart is herself a marijuana refugee, having moved from Idaho to Oregon last summer to treat her multiple sclerosis.
Since Undergreen Railroad’s start last fall, the group of nine volunteers has arranged four family moves—one each to California and Oregon, and two to Colorado—with six more in the works. “Idaho, Tennessee and Wisconsin are the states we get the most requests from, to leave,” said Rinehart.
Realm of Caring Foundation, whose nonpsychoactive cannabis strain Charlotte’s Web is popular among pediatric epilepsy patients, has seen even more demand. The nonprofit says more than 100 families have moved to Colorado for Charlotte’s Web, and nearly 200 more are on a waiting list with intent to move when more supply becomes available.
“These are people who don’t travel on vacation, they can’t even take a Make-a-Wish Trip … but they’ve had to move,” said spokeswoman Paige Figi. (Charlotte’s Web is named for Figi’s daughter, who used to have dozens of seizures a day. Now, with a daily dose of the oil, Charlotte might have just a few seizures a month, she said.)
Despite the interest, when push comes to shove marijuana refugees may find that relocating isn’t easy—or effective. State laws permitting medical marijuana use are often restrictive, limiting dispensary locations and approving use only for certain conditions, said Diane Fornbacher, publisher of Ladybud Magazine. That’s why she plans to move her family from one state with a medical marijuana law (New Jersey) to another (Colorado) this spring.
“I don’t qualify under New Jersey programs,” said Fornbacher, who has been diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder. “We’re moving for that reason. I would like to be medicated.” (PTSD isn’t covered under Colorado’s medical marijuana program either, but Fornbacher can legally buy her medicine from a dispensary licensed for recreational sales.)
Even in Colorado and Washington, where recreational use is allowed, some areas are more open than others.
“I’m bursting people’s bubbles on a daily basis,” said Colorado real estate broker Bob Costello. Costello, who bills himself as “the 420-friendly realty broker,” said many out-of-state residents who call to inquire about property listings are unaware of nuances in state law that limit growing to six plants—no more than half of which can be mature flowering plants—and that permit local governments to limit or ban pot retail.
For example, Douglas County, located between Denver and Colorado Springs, was the first county to ban marijuana operations back in 2012. “It’s very much middle-class suburbia,” said Costello, and that makes it attractive to many would-be residents. “But if you’re going to have the lifestyle, Douglas County is not the place for you.”
Consumers may also find exclusions of certain kinds of properties. Communities with homeowners associations might prohibit growing, and condo and co-op boards generally frown on any kind of smoke that seeps through ducts into neighboring properties, he said. Would-be tenants may also find that landlords prohibit smoking (pot or otherwise) on property.
Then, of course, there are the usual moving considerations. Families aren’t likely to be looking solely for proximity to dispensaries, said Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia.com. “Often, for lots of people in a home search, school districts and low crime are both important,” he said. Commute time to work, proximity to family and friends and overall affordability also matter.
That last attribute can be particularly tricky. Many marijuana refugees are already dealing with expensive medical conditions and need help from fund-raisers and sponsors to make the move. In some cases, the move splits families, with some members staying behind to hold down jobs, Figi said. “It’s a tough decision to make,” she said.
It doesn’t help that many of the states where marijuana use is allowed are also those that have higher costs of living. According to CNBC’s America’s Top States for Business 2013, none of the 10 states with the lowest cost of living has legalized marijuana. Of the 10 with the highest, nine have medical marijuana laws—Hawaii, Alaska, Connecticut, New Jersey, California, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland and Vermont—and the only holdout, New York, is taking steps to follow suit. Washington and Colorado aren’t cheap, either. In the rankings, just 14 states had a higher cost of living than Washington; 18 were pricier than Colorado.
(See chart below for median home prices in top U.S. metropolitan areas where medical or recreational marijuana use is legal.)
Home prices in cities where pot is legal
|U.S. Metro||Median price of homes listed for sale, 2013 Q4|
|San Francisco, CA||$838,000|
|San Jose, CA||$632,495|
|Orange County, CA||$559,000|
|Ventura County, CA||$489,900|
|Los Angeles, CA||$440,000|
|San Diego, CA||$425,950|
|Fairfield County, CT||$425,000|
|Middlesex County, MA||$389,900|
|Edison-New Brunswick, NJ||$299,000|
|Riverside-San Bernardino, CA||$275,000|
|Colorado Springs, CO||$219,900|
|New Haven, CT||$195,000|
|Lake County-Kenosha County, IL-WI||$189,900|
|Las Vegas, NV||$184,900|
|Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI||$154,900|
|Grand Rapids, MI||$119,900|
But it’s all relative, depending on where marijuana refugees hail from. “It’s ridiculous how much more space we’re getting,” said Fornbacher, who has narrowed her house hunt to the Denver suburbs. “Freedom is priceless, but the cost of living in Colorado doesn’t seem that extraordinary compared to New Jersey, which has some of the highest real estate taxes in the country.”
States may not be able to count on residents to put down roots, however. Advocates say they hope that it will be a matter of just a few years before interstate moves aren’t necessary—and many of those moving said they’d go back if laws change. “I want to come home,” Fornbacher said. “Moving breaks my heart, because this is the home we wanted to keep. I resent having to leave.”
Realm of Caring Foundation opened up a waiting list in late January for people who want to receive Charlotte’s Web once it’s legally available in their home state. “Within hours of putting that up, we had 580 U.S. residents and 60 more international sign up,” Figi said. The foundation has also been working to license dispensaries in seven more medical marijuana states.
Barnhart has been focused on the recent Florida Supreme Court ruling that will put an amendment to legalize marijuana for medical use on the ballot in November. “So we have eight months to beg people in Florida to vote for it,” she said. And if it passes? “We’ll be home with our family and friends the day they initiate it.”
Doctors in Colorado are sounding an alarm about the dangers of synthetic marijuana after seeing a surge of emergency cases tied to its use.
The products, sold under names like Black Mamba, Crazy Clown, K2 and Spice, sent at least 263 people for emergency treatment statewide over a one-month period last year.
“At the end of August, we started noting that patients were coming in with a very severe clinical illness,” said Dr. Andrew Monte, an assistant professor in emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver.
Monte said patients were delirious; they were fighting medical staff. Their pulses were racing and many went on to have seizures. Seven patients were put on ventilators in the intensive care unit after they developed trouble breathing. All survived.
Monte said the cases they counted before the outbreak ended Sept. 19 were probably just a fraction of the total.
“All these kinds of toxicologic outbreaks are far underreported, for a couple of reasons,” he said.
First, not everybody who got sick went to the hospital. Monte thinks most people would try to stay at home and wait out the bad reaction, especially if their symptoms weren’t as severe. Second, some patients probably weren’t asked about drug use or wouldn’t admit to it, making the final case count lower than it really was, he noted.
The surge in cases was reported in a letter published Jan. 23 in the New England Journal of Medicine and in the Dec. 13 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Colorado isn’t the only state to see a rise in poisonings tied to synthetic pot.
According to an earlier report from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of emergency department visits associated with use of synthetic pot more than doubled from 2010 to 2011, with the case count increasing from about 11,400 to more than 28,500 nationwide.
Synthetic marijuana is dried plant material that has been sprayed with laboratory-created psychoactive chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. It’s sold in gas stations and head shops as an herbal product. But experts say there’s nothing natural about it.
“This is much closer to meth [methamphetamine] than it is to marijuana,” said Mike Van Dyke, chief of environmental epidemiology and occupational health at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in Denver.
“This is not a natural product. This is a chemical,” said Van Dyke, who was involved in tracking the outbreak.
What’s more, Van Dyke said, consumers never really know what they’re buying.
“It’s different from batch to batch. The whole chemical can be completely different from batch to batch, and you just don’t know what you’re getting when you buy these things,” he said. “It’s very dangerous.”
Monte said most of the synthetic marijuana users treated in the ER last fall were men, and the majority were in their late 20s.
He said the typical user seems to be a person who needs to beat a drug test. The chemicals in synthetic marijuana aren’t easily detected in the blood or urine.
For that reason, both experts said they didn’t think synthetic marijuana use would drop now that the real thing could be legally purchased in the state.
Although synthetic marijuana is illegal under Drug Enforcement Agency law, Monte said the drug makers get around that by changing the chemicals and packaging.
From: Yahoo! Health
A naturally occurring hormone acts as spontaneous defense in the brain against the high caused by marijuana and could be useful in preventing addiction, researchers said Thursday.
French researchers studied lab rats and found that the steroid hormone pregnenolone reduced the activity of a particular brain molecule called the type-1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1).
The hormone, which was not previously believed to have any biological effect of its own, actually cancels out the “high” caused by THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, according to lead author Pier Vincenzo Piazza of the French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM).
“These researchers weren’t trying to be buzzkills,” said the journal Science, in which the study appears.
“Their discovery could lead to new approaches to treating marijuana intoxication and addiction — and it may allow researchers to isolate the medicinal properties of cannabis while blocking its behavioral and somatic effects.”
About 147 million people globally — or about 2.5 percent of the population — use cannabis, according to the World Health Organization.
While cannabis products can alleviate symptoms of depression, glaucoma, spasms, and nausea associated with cancer and AIDS, they are also known to impair brain development, memory and lung function, and some say they can lead to addiction.
Researchers discovered the previously unknown role of pregnenolone when they administered high doses of cannabis to lab rats, on the order of three to 10 times more than the typical human marijuana smoker might be exposed to, Piazza told AFP.
The high doses of cannabis raised the brain’s level of pregnenolone, which blocked the harmful effects of THC on the brain.
They also did tests in the lab on human cell lines — not human patients — that showed a similar blocking effect.
“We hope to be able to start clinical trials in people in a year to a year and a half,” Piazza told AFP.
If pregnenolone’s effect can be confirmed, it would mark “the first pharmacological therapy for cannabis dependence,” he added.
Posted From: Yahoo! News
Marijuana use buffers people from experiencing social pain, according to research published online on May 14 inSocial Psychological and Personality Science.
“Prior work has shown that the analgesic acetaminophen, which acts indirectly through CB1 receptors, reduces the pain of social exclusion,” Timothy Deckman of the University of Kentucky and his colleagues wrote in the study. “The current research provides the first evidence that marijuana also dampens the negative emotional consequences of social exclusion on negative emotional outcomes.”
The four-part study involved 7,040 participants and three distinct methodologies. Researchers examined cross-sectional data from major national surveys.
The first study, using data from the National Comorbidity Study, found that marijuana users who reported being lonely had higher levels of self-worth and mental health than non-marijuana users who reported loneliness.
The second study drew on the same dataset and found that marijuana users who experienced social pain were less likely to have experienced a major depressive episode in than last 12 months.
The third study began by surveying high school students regarding loneliness, lifetime marijuana use, and depression. Two years later, the researchers followed up, and they found that marijuana use predicted lower levels of depression among students who were lonely. For students who were not lonely, marijuana had little effect on depression.
The fourth study simulated social exclusion and rejection by using a computer-based game called Cyberball. The programmed 3-player game is designed to make participants feel excluded by consistently ignoring them. After playing the game, marijuana users had a smaller decrease in self-esteem.
“Marijuana has been used to treat physical pain, and the current findings suggest that it may also reduce emotional pain,” the researchers concluded. “This may reflect a poor way of coping with social pain, but it may also explain some of the widespread appeal of marijuana.”
From: Medical Daily
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week sent four epidemiologists to Colorado to investigate a rash of illnesses and three deaths connected to the consumption of synthetic marijuana products.
At least 75 people there have fallen ill recently from smoking blends of synthetic marijuana, often marketed online under the names “Spice” and “Black Mamba,” legal herbs laced with chemicals intended to mimic the active component of marijuana, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The investigators continue to work with state and local health officials to determine whether the illnesses are connected. “Several individuals were in intensive care, and three deaths are being investigated as possibly associated,” Dr. Tista Ghosh, Colorado’s interim chief medical officer, told reporters.
In one case, 26-year-old Samuel Alvarado Jr. began hallucinating after smoking a blend marketed as Strawberry, and was taken to the hospital by his parents. On Friday, Alvarado remained in a hospital inpatient bed, recovering from the episode, according to his father Samuel. “I really thought he was going to die on us,” the elder Alvarado told reporters. “He was just crazy.”
The University of Colorado Hospital, where Alvarado was taken, received five patients suffering the effects of synthetic marijuana during the latter part of the week, for a total of 50 in the past two weeks. A similar surge in illnesses related to synthetic marijuana has been seen in Denver hospitals.
Largely available online and at many retail locations, the synthetic marijuana blends are illegal under state and federal law, though Colorado and Washington recently legalized marijuana for recreational use. Typically distributed in small packages, the products carry no warnings and do not disclose ingredients. Colorado public health officials say they’ve seen periodic surges of illnesses related to the smoking blends.
“Don’t wait for the results of this investigation,” Ghosh said. “If you have synthetic marijuana, stop using it and destroy it.”
Presently, Colorado is one of only two U.S. states to permit the recreational use of marijuana, whereby people ages 21 and older may possess personal stashes no greater than one ounce, for consumption in private settings.
From: Medical Daily