3. MEDICAL MARIJUANA UPDATE
The California legislature is still trying to pass a medical marijuana regulation bill, the ground looks fertile for another initiative in
Arkansas, a Michigan bureaucrat overrides his advisory panel and refuses
to allow PTSD as a qualifying condition, and more. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2015/sep/09/medical_marijuana_update
5. CHRONICLE AM: FL LEGALIZATION INIT TO ROLL OUT, DARK WEB'S LARGEST
DRUG MARKET SHUTS DOWN, MORE (8/27/2015)
The controversial ResponsibleOhio legalization initiative continues to
make news, a Florida legalization initiative kicks-off tomorrow, the
Dark Web's biggest drug marketplace is shutting down -- at least
temporarily -- and more. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2015/aug/27/chronicle_am_fl_legalization_ini
6. CHRONICLE AM: MI REJECTS MEDMJ FOR AUTISTIC KIDS, US REJECTS
AFGHANISTAN OPIUM ERADICATION...FOR NOW, MORE (8/28/2015)
California could still see a medical marijuana regulation bill this
year, a Michigan officials ignores his own advisory panel and bars
medical marijuana for autistic kids, California counties strike out in
an effort to make Big Pharma pay for damages related to prescription
opiates, and more. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2015/aug/28/chronicle_am_mi_rejects_medmj_au
7. CHRONICLE AM: MA LEGALIZATION INITS GET GO-AHEAD, DC NEEDLE EXCHANGES
CUT HIV INFECTIONS, MORE (9/8/15)
Two sets of Massachusetts legalizers get the go-ahead for signature
gathering, Denver activists will negotiate with the city over social
marijuana use, Hillary Clinton unveils drug policy proposals, DC HIV
infections drop thanks to needle exchanges, and more. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2015/sep/08/chronicle_am_ma_legalization_ini
8. CHRONICLE AM: PSYCHEDELICS COULD TREAT ANXIETY, PTSD; BRITISH MPS TO
DEBATE MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION, MORE (9/9/15)
Another Indian tribe will grow marijuana, Arkansas voters want medical marijuana, British MPs will debate marijuana legalization, psychedelic
drugs may have value in treating some mental conditions, and more. http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2015/sep/09/chronicle_am_psychedelics_could
Stoned: A Doctor's Case for Medical Marijuana, by Dr. David Casarett
(2015, Current Press, 289 pp., $27.95 HB)
Medical marijuana is now legal in about half the US (even more if you
include those states that have now passed limited CBD cannabis oil
laws), but it still remains a controversial medical treatment. Many
people still assume that it's a joke or, more nefariously, a charade
designed to pave the way for the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Dr. David Casarett was one of them. He admits in the opening pages of
Stoned: A Doctor's Case for Medical Marijuana that that he thought it
was joke and that when he talked about medical marijuana as a treatment,
he always mentally added quotation marks around "treatment." But in
those same opening pages, he is introduced to "Caleb," a 40-something
man from Michigan suffering from rectal cancer who has traveled to
Colorado in search of medical marijuana and who swears by it.
"Caleb" has a shelf full of prescription medications, including heavy
opiates, but he tells Casarett he doesn't want to use them because of
the side effects and that marijuana works better at relieving his pain
and making him tolerable to be around. The doctor has found himself a
real life, bona fide medical marijuana patient.
But Casarett, a physician, researcher, and tenured faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, knows that
anecdotal evidence isn't the same as good science. Ideally, "Caleb"
would have been in a peer-reviewed double-blind clinical study along
with hundreds of thousands of other patients. Casarett wants the science
to be there, but it isn't yet, and he examines the reasons for that.
One of them is political. For years, the DEA has been an obstacle to
research on marijuana's medical applications, all the while claiming
that marijuana has "no accepted medical use." And with the DEA blocking
the doorway, that means funding and implementing medical marijuana
studies is more difficult.
But another reason is the nature of marijuana itself. It's a plant, not
a synthesized chemical, and it contains hundreds of cannabinoid
compounds. Western medical science will want to tease out and test each
of those compounds in isolation, but it also needs to deal with the
synergistic effects of the cannabinoids on each other. And then there
are terpenes, the organic compounds that create essential oils, and are
linked to psychoactive and medicinal effects as well. Western science
doesn't want to deal with whole plants, but if it's going to address
medical marijuana, it's going to have to.
As Casarett undertakes his year-long search for the truth about the
plant and its medical applications, he takes the reader on a sometimes surprising, sometimes outright amusing tour of medical marijuana. We
meet a young couple who turned to it to treat their two-year-old
daughter's seizures, a young man who used it to deal with PTSD after a
violent assault, an Israeli nursing home volunteer using it to treat
anxiety and confusion in patients with dementia.
We also meet leading scientists and researchers in the field, such as
Dr. Donald Abrams, the San Francisco-based oncologist, who warns
Casarett of quackery surrounding claims that marijuana can cure cancer.
While there are some promising research results, the science just isn't
there yet, and when hope and hucksterism collide, the results can be not
only sad, but tragic.
Casarett comes away convinced that marijuana does indeed have proven
medical uses -- he cites neuropathic pain and nausea -- as well as
conditions that may well be helped by it, such as insomnia, PTSD, or the symptoms of dementia or Parkinson's, but that it also has dangers.
Casarett worries about marijuana's addictive potential, which he calls "substantial," and he think marijuana impairs drivers as much as alcohol
does. He also notes the danger of psychotic episodes or, possibly, schizophrenia, as a result of marijuana use.
Even-handed observer that he is, he notes that the danger of pot
addiction or the miniscule chance of developing psychosis is "trivial"
with patients with serious, life-threatening and/or terminal medical conditions, but he also notes that many patients are young people not
suffering from life-threatening conditions, and the long-term dangers
are worth watching.
One of Casarett's most interesting contributions is to call for
marijuana to be treated not like a medicine, but like an herbal remedy:
"It's essentially plant-based stuff with numerous active and inactive ingredients, only some of which we understand," he writes. That's not a
fatal flaw, he argues, pointing to the widespread use of herbal remedies
like black cohosh, Echinacea, Gingko Biloba, and St. John's Wart.
He also calls for marijuana's cannabinoids to be placed in Schedule II
of the Controlled Substances Act. This approach seems eminently
sensible. Leave the raw plant alone, schedule the chemical compounds.
That way, marijuana can be medicalized without leaving non-medicinal
consumers looking for a prescription to get high. With Stoned, Dr.
Casarett has embarked on a knowledge-seeking journey, and he has found
much to mull over. Readers who are game enough to join him are going to
learn some things and have a good time along the way. Highly recommended.
bliss -- Cacao Powered... (-SF4ever at DSLExtreme dot com)
bobbie sellers - a retired nurse in San Francisco
"It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the beans of cacao that the thoughts acquire speed,
the thighs acquire girth, the girth become a warning.
It is by theobromine alone I set my mind in motion."
--from Someone else's Dune spoof ripped to my taste.