Marijuana Debate: Healing Herb or Dangerous Drug?

Marijuana Debate: Healing Herb or Dangerous Drug?
Posted by CN Staff on June 21, 2005 at 12:58:47 PT
By Victoria Gilman for National Geographic News
Source: National Geographic
USA -- Earlier this month, the United States Supreme Court ruled that federal drug laws trump policies in ten states that permit medicinal marijuana use. The decree reignites a smoldering debate among scientists, activists, and lawmakers about how to leverage marijuana's medical benefits while minimizing its potential for abuse.
Known by the scientific name Cannabis sativa, marijuana is an annual herb closely related to the hops used in beer brewing. Cannabis has been "used since antiquity for both herbal medication and intoxication," according to a 1999 study commissioned by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a Washington, D.C.-based component of the National Academy of Sciences. "There is scientific evidence that [marijuana] helps with pain relief and nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, for example, in terminal cancer patients," said John A. Benson, Jr., a principal investigator of the IOM study and a professor of internal medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. In addition, some HIV/AIDS patients suffering from decreased appetites use marijuana to "get the munchies," another oft-noted effect of the drug. Roger Pertwee, a professor of neuropharmacology at the University of Aberdeen's Institute of Medical Sciences in Scotland, noted that "cannabis contains lots of different chemicals called cannabinoids." The most active chemical is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC binds to specific receptors in the human brain to create the euphoric high associated with smoking pot. "Human THC"In the early 1990s Pertwee's research group helped to uncover human-produced chemicals similar to THC that stimulate our appetites and help us control pain. "We produce our own cannabis, in effect," he said. "It often seems to have a protective role." According to Benson, of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the debate should not be about whether marijuana works to relieve symptoms, but how to best deliver its chemical constituents. "Smoking is a terrible delivery system," he said. Aside from the potential risk of lung damage, the potency of smoked marijuana is difficult to measure, because THC levels vary widely from plant to plant. Currently, a synthetic version of THC is available to cancer and HIV/AIDS patients in the U.S. as an oral drug known by the brand name Marinol. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the drug (dronabinol) allows patients and doctors to control the amount of active compound that is delivered. Benson noted, however, that some patients prefer smoking pot to taking pills because the effects set in much faster. "When you inhale something into the lungs, it's very rapidly absorbed—you get an effect in five minutes," he said. "When you take a capsule, it may take an hour and a half." THC drugs would be more effective, Benson added, if they were delivered through a fast-acting oral spray similar to asthma inhalers.  Synthetic THCAccording to the 1999 IOM report, the legal status of marijuana has greatly colored the scientific debate over the plant's use in medicine. The broad U.S. federal drug law known as the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 lists marijuana as a Schedule I substance. The designation describes drugs with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin and LSD. In 1972 the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Legislation, a nonprofit advocacy group, unsuccessfully lobbied the U.S. government to relist marijuana as a Schedule II substance. That class includes drugs such as morphine and cocaine that are highly addictive but have well-established medical uses. Based on the IOM study, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) maintains that smoked marijuana should remain a Schedule I drug. Any medical effects from smoking marijuana cigarettes can be met more effectively with approved commercial drugs, the agency says. In fact, DEA has placed the THC drug Marinol in Schedule III—a less restrictive category—and supports research to find new delivery methods and therapeutic uses for cannabinoids. Pertwee, of the University of Aberdeen, believes the potential for patients to become addicted to manufactured cannabinoid drugs is relatively low. However, conflicting data exist as to whether long-term THC use leads to dependency. Benson also believes that medical marijuana, even when smoked by terminal patients, is unlikely to trigger addiction if use remains carefully monitored. "If you have a controlled distribution system for medical use, as with morphine, for example, I don't see the risk," he said. Court Ruling On June 6 the U.S. Supreme Court declared that federal drug law overrides policies in ten states that allow marijuana for medical use. The ruling upholds the federal government's right to destroy homegrown plants and to arrest anyone possessing the drug, even if they are using it following a doctor's advice. California passed the first medical marijuana law in 1996. Between 1999 and 2004, nine more states followed suit. Police in these states allow local doctors to recommend that special medical-marijuana-use licenses be issued to needy patients. The Supreme Court's decision doesn't overturn the states' liberalized stance. But Benson believes it will affect the drug's accessibility. "I think this ruling is going to inhibit physicians from recommending [marijuana]," he said, noting worries by some that the government could revoke doctors' licenses to prescribe other controlled substances. "But it will remain a drug purchased on the street, grown in cellars and backyards." Complete Title: The Marijuana Debate: Healing Herb or Dangerous Drug?Source: National Geographic (DC)Author: Victoria Gilman for National Geographic NewsPublished: June 21, 2005Copyright: 2005 National Geographic SocietyContact: newsdesk nationalgeographic.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Angel Raich v. Ashcroft News and Mirrors: Watched Pot Marijuana Decision Was a Bummer Case Addles Supreme Court 
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Comment #28 posted by medicinal toker on June 23, 2005 at 21:14:14 PT
"THC drugs would be more effective, Benson added, if they were delivered through a fast-acting oral spray similar to asthma inhalers."Cannabis works pretty good in its natural form. Not only are inhalers expensive, but the manufacturing process can't be good for the planet. Why take the long way when we have a shortcut? 
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Comment #27 posted by global_warming on June 22, 2005 at 15:19:53 PT
  1. Extortion of money or something else of value from a person by the threat of exposing a criminal act or discreditable information.  2. Something of value extorted in this manner.Has anyone ever given any thought about the subject of blackmail?I think, that blackmail is a cousin to shame and guilt, and related to the parts of this existence that are covered under the the heading of spirit.Blackmail has no special existence apart from law, and the rule of law, demands, that sentient creatures, abide by the terms of law.A slave, may at times question, the reason, of his indenture, the only current answers, reinforce the reasons of his indenture.Alternative explanations, are harshly withheld, and punished, the full extent of the law.There is coming a new morning, and that dawn will herald, the true emancipation of the human race.When that first light, peeks through the clouds, the universe shall shudder, and the gears and workings that drive this reality, will find new energy and the direction of this world, will apply a new unguent, a healing herb, a blessing, that will protect against those that usurp justice, those that hide in the shadows, for that new light will banish those who have aligned there souls, with the elements of darkness.The Catholic church has a ritual called confession, a process where you freely admit, before a witness and priest of the faith, your deepest spiritual problems.That old saying "confession is good for the soul" is more true than most of us understand.The priest may not have true abilities to forgive transgressions before the eyes of God, but, the priest, will now share your burden, and, in the social structures of our reality, it would be good if all the people who are held hostage, through blackmail and other forms of shame and guilt, come forward and let other people know the burden that they are carrying.If, more people could participate in this expulsion of these internal disorders, they might have a chance to heal the afflictions of their souls, and our
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Comment #26 posted by ekim on June 22, 2005 at 10:06:57 PT
Wait until China makes Ethanol from Cellulose
today on C-Span Wash. Journal the whole show was on the Energy Bill. The issue of Ethanol had a segment with a Lady writer explaining the issue. She went on to say that Ethanol from cellulose was being included as the amount of Ethanol will increase from 4 billion gals to 8 billion by 2012. 
 The first caller wanted to know if Hemp was being discussed for feed stock. The Lady said that no where was there any talk of Hemp by the lawmakers -- then she added cynically, probably because of what else Hemp is grown for--Lets see what else this plant is being used for--please remember while reading this next peice that this material is almost 4 years old. So the inclusion of China into the World Trade Org. and the removal of the Textile ban has increased the market substantially.  
 Chinese Hemp Industry has Boundless Potential 
Posted by FoM on November 05, 2001 at 09:01:46 PT
Business News 
Source: People's Daily As world fashion increasingly moves toward simplicity, comfort and health protection, experts point out that hemp, a major economic crop in China, could have great market prospects after the nation's entry into the World Trade Organization. 
Xia Jingyuan, a senior official with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture in charge of the extension of agricultural technology, said that the annual output of Chinese linen is worth over 10 billion yuan (about 1.2 billion US dollars). According to Xia, the ongoing upgrading of China's agricultural industry has given Chinese hemp a great opportunity. Environmentally friendly, high value-added and versatile, Chinese hemp products could be a major money-maker in market both here and abroad, said Xia. For example, ramie, once used as forage, could provide a new type of vegetable protein for livestock and boost stockbreeding of southern China. Red hemp used in paper making could prevent the felling of forests while clothing made from hemp is particularly comfortable to wear and poses no health hazard. Being one of the earliest fabrics used in China, hemp's heyday can date back 4,000 years when only nobles and royal families could afford to wear finely spun linen while coarse linen were favored by commoners. The production technology of linen has undergone constant improvement. In 1984, the country made a breakthrough in the degumming technology, bringing worldwide attention to linen products. Analysts say that to establish a modern linen manufacturing and processing system with Chinese characteristics, China should double its efforts in scientific research and international cooperation, because each breakthrough in relevant technology will greatly boost the sector's upgrading.Source: People's Daily (China)
Published: Sunday, November 04, 2001
Copyright: People's Daily Online
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Comment #25 posted by FoM on June 22, 2005 at 09:15:00 PT
I thought you might like to read this article.Born on the Fourth of July: The Long Journey Home:
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Comment #24 posted by FoM on June 22, 2005 at 07:19:48 PT
You were in that movie! That had to have been an experience to remember. My husband was in Vietnam when all this was happening and he didn't know about it since they wouldn't tell soldiers those things. Born on the Fourth of July is being repeated again today on the Discovery Times Channel at 12 ET. The Discovery Times Channel has been showing very important issues and I really am grateful that they are. I hope they keep pounding away at all that is or was wrong with our country. We desperately need truth to be seen and heard.
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Comment #23 posted by Patrick on June 22, 2005 at 07:09:39 PT
FoM comment #17
Born on the 4th of July - wow that brought back some memories. I was an extra in that movie when it was filmed in Dallas along with several friends from the acting department at the college I attended. Some of my old friends got some good face time on the camera. I could only see myself in the protest march for a split second. Anyway, those days of massive protest seem to be gone today but maybe the instant communication of the internet has replaced it too some degree?
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Comment #22 posted by jose melendez on June 21, 2005 at 22:52:18 PT
link from comment #21 
The longest day of the year . . . for prosecutors!
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Comment #21 posted by jose melendez on June 21, 2005 at 22:49:24 PT
prosecutors notice: restraint of trade unlawful
It is indeed ironic and Orwellian for a prohibitionist to claim marijuana ruins lives - yet insist on continuing to pad paychecks, pensions and otherwise profiteer from our wholesale arrests and asset forfeitures.Such false claims lead directly to otherwise unlikely and exorbitant profits paid by the federal government through Medicare and Medicaid to the distributors and manufacturers of far more harmful, defective and often deadly alternatives:June 21, 2005 at 9:46:33 PDTMedical marijuana activist released from jailBy Matt Pordum
LAS VEGAS SUNA licensed medical marijuana user who claims it's within his rights to grow and sell pot to other licensed users was released on his own recognizance Monday after prosecutors failed to file a criminal complaint.Pierre Werner, 33, was released from Clark County Detention Center on Monday afternoon but was ordered to return to court on July 28 by Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure to face charges from his June 15 arrest.The fact prosecutors had not filed a criminal complaint is not an unusual occurrence, but Werner's attorney, Ryan Mortier, said he was surprised because the charges were almost identical to those Werner is currently facing before District Judge John McGroarty.The prosecutors handling Werner's recent charges would not comment on why the complaint was not filed prior to Monday's hearing.
Why there's no comment: Drug war IS crime.
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Comment #20 posted by Hope on June 21, 2005 at 21:37:27 PT
Something we hear often...I think it's untrue...
Calvina said, "As an organization that has dealt with substance abuse for years, we have seen the devastation to lives caused by the use of marijuana."Does anyone know anyone who's life was ruined or devastated because of using marijuana? Of course I know THEY do their utmost to ruin anyone's life that they discover smoking and they are horribly successful at it quite often (prohibition and the persecution and prosecution of cannabis users is a crime against God and humanity, no doubt). But, I'm asking, other than repercussions brought on by prohibitionists, preventionists, law enforcement, and those they have induced join them in their misplaced hysteria, does anyone know anyone whose life was "devastated" from the effects...not prohibition related...of marijuana alone? I don't, personally and I know as many people as most people know.Maybe she IS talking about what they do to people over it...and then proceeded to try to do it to Dr. Grinspoon.
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on June 21, 2005 at 20:23:29 PT
Good Idea EJ
I have no idea how that could happen though. I do know it would be very is easy to tell if a person has smoke any Cannabis. The grin always gives a person away.
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Comment #18 posted by E_Johnson on June 21, 2005 at 19:44:23 PT
I have a suggestion for an experiment
Someone should do a double blind study on whether the average person can detect a state of so-called marijuana intoxication in another person just based on ordinary social interaction.
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on June 21, 2005 at 18:48:31 PT
Off Topic: Just a Comment
They are showing Born on the Fourth of July on the Discovery Times Channel right now. I saw this movie years ago but now with Iraq it brings it all back like the Vietnam War was yesterday. We still are fighting after all these years in so many ways.
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Comment #16 posted by mayan on June 21, 2005 at 18:18:48 PT
What Do They Know?
Congress, by failing to protect the sick and dying, blew their chance to regain some credibility with the American people. It's no wonder their approval rating is lower than Bush's. They act like they don't care about getting re-elected and Bush doesn't seem concerned about destroying the entire Republican party. Maybe they know there will be no more elections. The vast majority of Americans are not represented. Got tea?THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Eye Witness Hears Explosions at WTC; Scientific Group SPINE Provides Sophisticated Analysis: the flames of impeachment: & 9/11 - By Sibel Edmonds: Did the Trade Center Skyscrapers Collapse? Was an Inside Job - A Call to All True Patriots:
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on June 21, 2005 at 17:49:06 PT
I don't think it does. It's expensive but as far as dosing goes a person can use as much as they want but they'll run out and might need to wait to get another script. That's what I seem to think. 
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Comment #14 posted by runderwo on June 21, 2005 at 17:42:01 PT
Sativex is supposed to have a governor built into the inhalers that prevents the patient from abusing it. I don't know if this is true or not though.
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Comment #13 posted by runderwo on June 21, 2005 at 17:40:25 PT
whig's article
"still to be learnt about cannabis.  "Cannabis may be less addictive than, for example, cocaine or heroin, but it is still a drug."... for example, cocaine or heroin OR CAFFEINE OR NICOTINE OR ALCOHOL, but it is still a drug. Way to go with the associations, people."Given the brain effects and link between smoking and lung cancer, she questioned "why governments would want to decriminalise this drug"."Because "links" are meaningless in terms of showing cause and effect? Because prohibition is expensive and futile and causes other harms all of its own? Because it already has been decriminalized in several countries and society is hardly falling to pieces? Because more harmful drugs are legal?"This suggests that it may be easier to come to grief when you try heavy drugs if you have already sensitised your brain receptors with cannabis."This is unsubstantiated nonsense. Cannabis is the only psychoactive substance known to affect the cannabinoid receptors. How would "sensitizing your (cannabinoid) receptors" imply anything about other drugs? How about if I sensitize my nicotine receptors? They are stating this progression like it is common sense when in fact it makes no sense at all."The sites in the brain where cannabis act, called cannabis receptors, affect both the production of the brain's "feel good chemicals" linked with rewards."This fellow is clearly confused on the pharmacology of cannabinoids, which calls his research into question even further. Cannabinoids do not directly affect the dopamine system like cocaine does and thus do not short-circuit the brain's reward system. Any effect on the dopamine system is indirect, the same as the effect of any fun or pleasurable activity."Prof Hurd's experiments show that, after training to self administer heroin by pushing a lever, rats exposed to THC took more heroin as adults than those not given the chemical.  They were more sensitive to lower concentrations of heroin than unexposed rats and took more in response to stress."What a ridiculous experiment. Why is the control *nothing* as opposed to some other drug which can be abused, but mostly isn't, such as alcohol? All they have shown here is that a pattern of abuse established in individuals with nothing at all to do otherwise and no conscience will continue if drugs continue to be provided. Big effing surprise.The answer we really want to know is whether this intoxication seeking behavior overrides more biologically valuable activity, and also if RATIONAL creatures such as humans are able to moderate their intoxication seekign any better than rats. This fellow insinuates through using this experiment as a basis for prohibition that humans are nothing more than big rats, incapable of moderating their urges and are dominated by unexamined reaction.We know that occasionally people need outside intervention to cease a pattern of compulsive behavior. We are not rats in cages with a pleasure lever. The more these people try to get this across, the more harm is going to be done, because regardless of prohibition people are going to continue to use drugs, and if you keep sending them the message that they are powerless and have no control over the drug, what do you expect the outcome to be?
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on June 21, 2005 at 17:38:38 PT
Yes I did read that article on the ccc list. Here comes the spin!
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Comment #11 posted by WolfgangWylde on June 21, 2005 at 17:34:15 PT
Interesting propaganda (read: lies) about Sativex
There are an interesting bunch of articles coming out of Canada that state that Sativex doesn't get the user high. GW's own site states that it can, if used in sufficient quantities. Just like regular marijuana, the medical user controls the dose to avoid intoxication. The thrust seems to be that Sativex is "different" from plain marijuana, and is therefore "better".
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on June 21, 2005 at 17:33:33 PT
Only one thing came to mind when I read what Calvina Fay had to say and it's a song.***One way or another I'm gonna getcha, I'm gonna getcha, getcha, getcha, getcha, ***I'm glad I haven't spent my productive life trying to tear down people. It must not be a very happy or peaceful way to live.
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Comment #9 posted by MikeEEEEE on June 21, 2005 at 17:31:12 PT
By ruling NO
By denying sick people their medicine they’ve created a storm of media attention. This is the kind of attention the anti-prohibitionist cannot afford, but leave it to them to open the door of public scrutiny. In the court of public opinion they’ve lost, by their lack of compassion.They can only blame themselves when history judges them.
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Comment #8 posted by goneposthole on June 21, 2005 at 17:12:37 PT
Calvina Fay for Supreme Court 'Just Us'
... Prohibitionists. Here's her little ditty to the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Medicine:Dear Sirs:I am writing to you out of concern about the legal and ethical conduct of a physician who is reportedly licensed to practice medicine in the state of Massachusetts. It was reported in the August issue of the pro-drug magazine, High Times, in a portion of a report on the annual conference of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), that Dr. Lester Grinspoon had divulged his own personal use of marijuana. The article quoted him as saying "I was 44 years old in 1972 when I experienced my first marijuana high. Because I found it both useful and benign, I have used it ever since."As an organization that has dealt with substance abuse for years, we have seen the devastation to lives caused by the use of marijuana. We are keenly aware of the fact that marijuana not only destroys the health of the user, but it also impairs the user's ability to function in a logical and safe manner. Our knowledge of the effects of marijuana use causes us to question the wisdom of a doctor being allowed to practice medicine when he admits to using a dangerous, mind-altering drug.Doesn't Dr. Grinspoon's use of an illegal drug put his patients in danger and doesn't this in some manner violate the laws and code of ethics that govern the conduct of physicians in the state of Massachusetts?Regards,Calvina L. Fay,Executive Director, Drug Free America FoundationDr. Grinspoon's cogent reply:Re: Calvina FayDocket Number: 01-464Dear Ms. Shea,Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond to the complaint filed by Ms. Fay on behalf of the Drug Free America Foundation, Inc.The complaint was not brought by a patient of mine, nor by anyone who has had any personal contact with any of my patients. In my more than 40-year practice of psychiatry in Massachusetts, I have received only the most favorable feedback from my patients. The complainant here, the Drug Free America Foundation, Inc., is a private, highly partisan, political-advocacy organization whose positions on certain drug policy issues sharply conflict with those I have taken throughout my academic career at the Harvard Medical School. This complaint seems to be political in its aims, a cynical and inappropriate attempt to make use of the Board’s investigatory procedures to discredit me.With respect to the subject matter of the complaint, it does not allege any specific misconduct in the practice of medicine, inadequate medical care or patient harm. Rather, the complaint is based on the complainant's anachronistic belief that any use of cannabis “impairs the user’s ability to function in a logical and safe manner.” In “question[ing] the wisdom” of my “being allowed to practice medicine,” Ms. Fay has filed a complaint, which is both frivolous and lacking in merit.I respectfully request that the Board dismiss this complaint.Sincerely yours,Lester Grinspoon, M.D.More at:
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Comment #7 posted by afterburner on June 21, 2005 at 16:07:08 PT
Harms across the Ocean
UK cannabis opponents go bonkers 
by Jennifer Garner (19 Jun, 2005) Drug warrior Brits and those who love them great list of cannabis prohibitionists who would love to re-schedule cannabis back to Class B, despite scientific and police approval of Class C status. Watch out for these names and organizations in future quotes about the "harms" of cannabis. Plus, the real reason behind the so-called cannabis "rethink" scapegoat: the Downing Street Memo, in its entirety with links.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on June 21, 2005 at 15:38:11 PT
People that use amphetamines don't like to use Cannabis because it will help bring them down a little. Anything used with an amphetamine will get intensified for a little while but the amphetamine will override Cannabis for sure.
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Comment #5 posted by jose melendez on June 21, 2005 at 15:34:31 PT
three more points
1. Marinol is synthetic THC, lacking CBD and other 'active excipients.'2. Marinol is stronger than raw cannabis.3. Perhaps the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) maintains that smoked marijuana should remain a Schedule I drug, however it is possession, and not the act of smoking that the law addresses.
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Comment #4 posted by whig on June 21, 2005 at 15:26:21 PT
Couldn't they even pretend?
Couldn't they even just once pretend to know what they are talking about?Quote: "Prof Robin Murray, of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, said: "Clearly it needs to be replicated but there is already evidence that, in animals, cannabis and amphetamine show cross-tolerance. So that rodents given THC, the active ingredient of cannabis, show greater effects when given amphetamine."So, tolerance is now inversely defined as showing GREATER effects? I see. Actually, no. I don't.
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Comment #3 posted by runderwo on June 21, 2005 at 15:19:59 PT
good article
Just a few gripes:"In fact, DEA has placed the THC drug Marinol in Schedule III*a less restrictive category*"Of course, putting the DEA in charge of scheduling is letting the fox guard the hen house. They have an interest in being as conservative as possible because it guarantees them jobs."...and supports research to find new delivery methods and therapeutic uses for cannabinoids."Um, no. The DEA has been obstructing cannabis research for 20 years. They can SAY they support it all they want, but their actions tell a different story.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on June 21, 2005 at 15:11:19 PT
DPA: Next Up, Student Drug Testing Bill
Tuesday, June 21, 2005Your response to our campaigns over the last month has been amazing. Members of Congress are feeling the heat. They know the movement to reform our nation's draconian drug laws is gaining strength.Last week Congress voted on two important amendments. One, offered by Rep. Hinchey (D-NY) and Rep. Rohrabacher (R-CA), would have stopped the federal government from undermining state medical marijuana laws. It did not pass, but received 161 votes - more than ever before. The other, offered by Rep. Jackson Lee (D-TX), would have cut off federal funding to local anti-drug task forces that don't report the racial impact of their activities. It received 183 votes, but was short just 35 votes to pass. The steady increase in votes shows that your representatives in Congress are taking your calls and emails seriously, and it's important to continue to make your voice heard. Now, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) is offering an amendment this week to cut President Bush's ineffective student drug testing program and to instead use the money to fund the Reintegration of Youthful Offenders program. This is an opportunity to stop a punitive program that does more harm than good and to save a program that gives young people a second chance.The amendment will be offered when the U.S. House considers the Labor-HHS-Education funding bill, most likely on Thursday.What to Do: Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask to speak to your Representative. If you're not sure who represents you, the operator can tell you. You can also look up your Representative at by entering your zip code at the top.NOTE: If your Representative is Bobby Scott, you don't need to call him.What to Say: Once the operator transfers you to your Representative's office, give the person who answers the phone the following message: "Hi, I'm a constituent. I'm calling to urge my Representative to vote for Bobby Scott's amendment to the Labor-HHS-Education bill, which will be considered this week. His amendment would save the Reintegration of Youthful Offenders program by shifting $10 million from student drug testing to fund it. The House Appropriations Committee eliminated all funding to the Reintegration program. It's vital that we keep it alive. I would also like my Representative to send me a letter letting me know how he (or she) voted."Then forward this alert to friends, family, etc.More information:Few federal programs exist to help youthful offenders get back on their feet. One of the best programs, the Reintegration of Youthful Offenders program, was eliminated by the House Appropriations Committee. This program provides millions of dollars a year for re-entry services for young offenders. Most notably it helps youthful offenders get high-paying jobs by funding occupational training, on-the-job training, apprenticeships, internships, and other work-based learning opportunities; job placement efforts; reading and math remediation; and efforts to help youth offenders enter community colleges and four-year colleges.When the House considers the Labor-HHS-Education spending bill, Rep. Bobby Scott will offer an amendment to restore $10 million in funding to the program. He will pay for it by cutting $10 million from President Bush's student drug testing program. Although $10 million is only one-fifth the amount the Reintegration program was funded at last year, it is enough to keep the program alive in the House. It is hoped that the Senate will fully fund the program.The largest national study on student drug testing found no difference in illegal drug use among students in drug testing versus non-drug testing schools. Based on data collected between 1998 and 2001 from 76,000 students nationwide in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades, the study found that drug testing did not have an impact on illicit drug use among students, including athletes. The results of the national study are supported by numerous surveys that examine the effectiveness of different options for the prevention of student drug use.Student drug testing programs also alienate students. The collection of a urine specimen is a humiliating violation of privacy, requiring direct observation, usually by a teacher or coach. This practice unnecessarily injects school personnel into parental and medical realms. Since drug testing is often a condition of participating in an extracurricular activity, it can have the unanticipated effect of deterring students from participating in after school activities that would fill their time between 3 and 6 p.m. - a proven strategy for reducing drug use. Testing is not the best way to detect problems with alcohol and other drugs. In fact, it may provide a false sense of security among school officials and parents, who rely on it to identify students who abuse drugs. Testing detects only a tiny fraction of users and misses too many who are in real trouble. If we are truly intent on helping students, we must pay careful attention to signs such as truancy, erratic behavior and falling grades.To learn more about student drug testing, visit:
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Comment #1 posted by afterburner on June 21, 2005 at 14:32:31 PT
CSA Does Not Just Schedule 1 'Smoked Marijuana' 
CN BC: Column: Legalizing Pot Won't Happen Soon, But Thanks For Bringing It Up, Larry.
by Brian Paterson, 
Pubdate: Thu, 16 Jun 2005.
Source: Westender (Vancouver, CN BC)
"The contrast between the direction of American and Canadian drug policy was on vivid display last week. On June 6 the American Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that the feds can arrest medical marijuana patients and growers even in states that have legalized the herb for the sick. "Way to go, Team America! I'll sleep better knowing that tumorous tokers are finally going to do some hard time before they shuffle off to kingdom come. "Meanwhile here in laid-back Lotus Land, the City of Vancouver released an eerily rational public policy report: A Plan to Prevent Harm from Psychoactive Drug Use."More: 
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