Cannabis Cure: Miracle or Myth?

Cannabis Cure: Miracle or Myth?
Posted by CN Staff on August 10, 2005 at 11:35:34 PT
By Laura McPhee
The use of drugs is not in itself an irresponsible act. Medical and scientific uses serve important individual and social needs and are often essential to our physical and mental well-being. Further, the use of drugs for pleasure or other non-medical purposes is not inherently irresponsible.Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse Report Commissioned by President Richard M. Nixon, March, 1972
What if the American government, after decades of study and volumes of published medical, scientific and legal research, knows that marijuana is not nearly as dangerous as it’s been made out to be, and actually does have proven medical benefits? It’s not difficult to imagine why President Nixon found the conclusions of his 1972 National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse an infuriating betrayal: “We would de-emphasize marihuana as a problem,” was not the recommendation the federal government was looking for as an evaluation of America’s perceived drug problem.For decades, marijuana had been associated with degradation, insanity, criminality, and social deviance. “A vicious racket with its arms around your children!” was how the 1938 government-sponsored film Reefer Madness described it, and neither Nixon nor the post-1960s conservative groundswell of anti-drug advocates were interested in any contrary evidence.Nixon ultimately ignored and suppressed the findings of the Commission, and more than 30 years later the American government continues to maintain positions and policies characterizing marijuana as a social ill with multiple dangers and no redeeming medical value. According to Indiana Congressman Mark Souder, the use of marijuana for medical purposes is “quackery” and “a myth.” As chairman of the House Subcommittee that oversees the nation’s drug policy, Souder’s opinion echoes that of federal agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). According to the DEA, “Marijuana is a dangerous, addictive drug that poses significant health threats to users. Marijuana has no medical value that can’t be met more effectively by legal drugs. Drug legalizers use medical marijuana as a red herring in effort to advocate broader legalization of drug use.” These statements are presented as fact, and are the basis for nearly all public policy and federal law concerning marijuana, not to mention the “evidence” cited by opponents of medical marijuana like Congressman Souder. Opposing viewpoints, indeed contradictory scientific, medical, and legal research, are rarely given credence. However, an examination of the facts about marijuana demonstrates that the most common and dangerous myths about America’s most widely used illegal drug and its medicinal value are actually those perpetuated by the federal government itself.The Most Dangerous Drug in America?Nearly all medicines have toxic, potentially lethal effects. But marijuana is not such a substance. There is no record in the extensive medical literature describing a proven, documented cannabis-induced fatality. This is a remarkable statement.Francis YoungChief Administrative Law JudgeUS Drug Enforcement AgencyOctober 1988Mike McCoy has Hepatitis C, an incurable and terminal disease that caused him to have both his pancreas and his spleen surgically removed. In the past 18 months, McCoy has twice been arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession and now faces felony charges as a “repeat offender” under Indiana law. Speaking from his rural Indiana home, the 64-year-old has neither fear nor shame about his use of marijuana as medicine, despite his arrests and possible conviction. “Since the surgery, I can barely eat. I’ve got no appetite and everything I put in my mouth tastes like dirt. But when I smoke, I can eat a little. Without marijuana, I’d probably just shrivel up and die. It’s the only thing that helps me keep food down,” he says with conviction.“They got me for two or three joints the first time. I figured they’d give me a ticket or something, I’d pay a hundred bucks and that would be the end of it. But six months later, a whole damn team of deputies surrounds my house and they find me with marijuana again.”Despite his age and medical condition, local authorities are going forward with their prosecution of McCoy.“I can’t work, but I get about $600 a month from Social Security. I’ve got a Public Defender, and he’s pretty good. I’ll probably be dead in a year — I know it, my doctors know it, my attorney knows it, and so do the cops. So the case will probably just keep getting postponed,” he says with a sigh, “and then I’ll die and it will all go away.” “The Harms Must Not Be Overstated”In 1996, the British government commissioned a study of all available data about the use of marijuana in response to growing calls for its legalized medical use. Two years later, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee issued its report “Cannabis: The Scientific and Medical Evidence.”In its conclusion, the report states “The harms must not be overstated: cannabis is neither poisonous, nor highly addictive. However, it is not harmless.” The following is a summary of the report’s findings. The complete report is available at• No one has ever died as a result of recreational or medicinal use of marijuana.• The occurrence of a so-called “anti-motivational syndrome” in users is now generally discounted.• There is no evidence that cannabis adversely affects human fertility, or that it causes chromosomal or genetic damage.• The consumption of cannabis by pregnant women has the same effect and consequences as the effects of smoking tobacco while pregnant.• Heavy cannabis smokers suffer from an increased incidence of respiratory disorders such as cough, bronchitis, and asthma; these are on par with tobacco use.• It can have adverse psychic effects ranging from temporary distress to the exacerbation of pre-existing conditions such as schizophrenia.• It increases the heart rate and lowers blood pressure, posing a risk to users with cardiovascular conditions.• It is possible, though not proven, that it increases the risk of cancer in the mouth, throat, and lungs.• Giving up or quitting cannabis use is relatively easy for the vast majority of users.The main argument against medical marijuana (aside from the fact that it is illegal) is the claim that the drug is so dangerous any good it could possibly do for terminally ill patients like McCoy is far outweighed by the harm it causes.In April 2004, Congressman Souder stated during a Congressional hearing on medical marijuana, which he chaired, “The negative benefits of marijuana are well known and have been proven in scientific studies. Among other things, the drug is addictive, impairs brain function, and when smoked, greatly increases the risk of lung cancer.”As part of its public awareness campaign against marijuana use, both recreational and medical, the DEA provides a pamphlet titled “Marijuana: The Facts.” The FAQ document begins with the question, “Does marijuana pose health risks to users?”Any discussion of the risks of marijuana must begin with the same fact DEA Judge Francis Young found so compelling nearly two decades ago — in the nearly 5,000 years of its recorded use, including at least 4,000 years of its use as an intoxicant, not one single death has ever occurred as a result of marijuana use. While this statistic, or rather lack of a statistic, is impressive enough, it becomes even more relevant when compared to the lethal occurrences resulting from legal drug use. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 400,000 Americans die each year from cigarette smoking. Another 100,000 die in alcohol related incidents. When intentional and unintentional deaths of prescribed medications and other legal drugs are tallied, the total exceeds one million deaths every year, including the thousands of Americans who die as a result of taking aspirin and other over-the-counter medications.Like all drugs, legal or otherwise, using marijuana does present health risks to the user [see “The harms must not be overstated” sidebar]. The most familiar short-term effect of marijuana is a state of intoxication. As a result, psychomotor and cognitive functions are impaired, and driving or operating heavy machinery would be both foolhardy and dangerous. But the majority of health risks detailed by opponents of marijuana are typically more ominous and more distorted.Congressman Souder and other opponents of medical marijuana frequently cite the risk of cancer as evidence of the drug’s dangers. The basis for the cancer claim comes from the logic that both marijuana and tobacco are smoked and since cigarettes cause cancer when smoked, marijuana “might” cause cancer when smoked. However, not a single documented case of cancer has ever been linked to marijuana smoking.According to a comprehensive study conducted by the British government, “While there are some reports of an increased risk of cancer in the mouth, throat, and lungs in cannabis users, no cause and effect relationship has ever been established.”Studies have shown, however, that heavy smokers of marijuana do suffer from an increased incidence of respiratory disorders such as cough, bronchitis, and asthma. But, as the British government reports, “these are on par with tobacco use.”Even the staunchest supporters of marijuana concede that it is not a harmless drug. Jay Burns of Indiana NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) is both an advocate for marijuana legalization and an outspoken critic of distorted health information about marijuana use.“No drug is ‘harmless,’ and groups like ours don’t claim that marijuana is harmless. But the fact is that marijuana is one of the safest drugs out there. And yes, smoking does cause health problems. But people who smoke cigarettes usually smoke one or two packs a day. People who smoke marijuana don’t smoke nearly that much. Any health risk that comes with smoking is a lot greater with cigarettes than pot.” According to scientific research, Burns is a lot closer to the truth than the federal government.The NIH cites a study conducted by researchers at the University of California concluding that “heavy” use of smoked marijuana results in respiratory problems. By the study’s own definition, these are people who have smoked three or four joints every day for more than ten years.According to a survey conducted by the US Department of Health and Human Services in 2000, approximately one-third of all Americans (83 million) over the age of 12 have smoked marijuana at least once in their lifetime.Of those who have tried marijuana, approximately 25 percent (21 million Americans) do so “occasionally,” meaning they have done so at least once in the previous year; 15 percent (12.5 million Americans) are “frequent” users smoking marijuana at least once in the previous month; and three percent (2.5 million Americans) are “regular” users who admit to smoking marijuana on a daily basis. Therefore, of the more than 21 million Americans smoking marijuana in a given year, an unknown and relatively small percentage (less than three percent) who smoke an average of three to five joints a day for more than ten years are at risk for developing respiratory problems. In another example, the DEA claims, “the risk of a heart attack is five times higher than usual in the hour after smoking marijuana.” What they fail to explain, however, is according to the full text of the Harvard University study cited, the “risk of a heart attack in the hour after smoking marijuana is five times greater for those with a history of angina or other cardiovascular disease.” Overall, the study concluded that the risk of a heart attack was both “minor” and “short-term.”Perhaps the most distorted argument against the use of marijuana is the claim that the drug is highly addictive. “Marijuana is highly addictive,” the DEA warns. “Users can become dependent on marijuana to the point they must seek treatment to stop abusing it. In 1999, more than 200,000 Americans entered substance abuse treatment primarily for marijuana abuse and dependence.”Like all drugs, there is a potential for abuse and addiction by those who smoke marijuana. But the government’s own statistics again prove that the allegations about marijuana’s addictive properties are grossly overstated.For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the DEA is correct and 200,000 Americans enter treatment for marijuana dependence annually (though this number is by the government’s own admission not for marijuana dependence alone, and does not account for those forced to enter treatment as a result of arrest whether they are dependent or not), the DEA’s 200,000 “addicts” represent less than one percent of 21 million Americans who use the drug each year and less than ten percent of those “regular” users smoking marijuana on a daily basis. As further evidence of the exaggeration, consider the CDC’s statistic that “more than 700,000 Americans receive treatment for alcohol abuse on any given day.” Even if all of these figures were accurate, this means that three times as many Americans seek treatment on a daily basis for alcohol dependence than the number of marijuana users seeking treatment each year.Certainly, abuse of any drug by any number of users is detrimental and dangerous. But potential addiction has never been the basis upon which drugs are banned in America. If it were, cigarettes, alcohol, painkillers and sleeping pills would have disappeared from our pharmacies long ago.Like all drugs, there are potential health risks and a potential for abuse with daily marijuana use. But, more than 30 years after the report commissioned by President Nixon, the real evidence continues to support the conclusion that, “The existing social and legal policy is out of proportion to the individual and social harm engendered by the use of the drug.”Not a Shred of Evidence?Modern cannabis research and traditional usages, along with modern anecdotal reports, indicate that cannabis may be the drug of choice for certain patients and conditions. For applications such as nausea and vomiting with cancer chemotherapy, anorexia and [wasting-syndrome] in HIV/AIDS, and muscle spacity in multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, there is strong evidence of medical benefits.Ryan N. Phillippe, Molecular Biologist and GeneticistUniversity of British ColumbiaJune 2005Jeanne Horton, a 45-year-old Indianapolis resident who has suffered from Chronic Progressive Multiple Sclerosis for more than 20 years, has been bedridden for nearly 15 years and will remain so for the remainder of her life.In 2001, an Indianapolis police officer smelled marijuana while on patrol near her home. Upon entering her residence and finding the illegal drug, police charged Horton with possession of marijuana and reckless possession of paraphernalia.After appearing at pretrial hearings on a gurney and in a wheelchair, the prosecutor’s office asked that she be disallowed to testify, claiming it would have added sympathy to the jury. The judge denied the petition, and the prosecutor eventually reduced the state’s charges against her. Horton served two years probation, but continues to use marijuana to reduce her suffering.“I’m just trying to make the pain I live with every day a little more manageable,” Horton explains somewhat reluctantly. “Marijuana does that for me. I don’t care what the government says. The truth is it works, and it’s the only thing I’ve found that does.”One of the world’s first pharmacy books, the Pen Ts’ao published in China around 2800 BC, recommends cannabis as a medical remedy for nearly every ailment, and the earliest references to its intoxicating properties appear in the Atharva-Veda, a sacred Indian text dating back to 2000 BC. The Greeks and Romans also cultivated cannabis for its fibers, seeds and medicinal applications, most notably as an anesthetic for menstrual cramps and the pain accompanying childbirth. Throughout the Middle Ages and into the nineteenth century, cannabis was grown throughout Europe and eventually in America. In fact, the first law concerning marijuana in the United States was passed in 1619 by the Virginia assembly and required all households to grow it as a matter of national necessity. Eventually, most of the colonies allowed cannabis to be used as legal tender, and George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were among the Founding Fathers who grew cannabis on their estates.The medical applications of cannabis did not begin to appear in the Western world until a surgeon with the British East India Company documented its use in India as an analgesic in 1839. Word of the drug’s medicinal properties quickly spread, and for the next century cannabis was widely used for a variety of medical purposes including muscle spasms, menstrual cramps, rheumatism, convulsions, impotency, bronchitis, and deliria throughout Europe and America. Because cannabis did not lead to physical dependence, it was found to be superior to opiates for a number of therapeutic purposes; and by 1900 cannabis was a main ingredient in over 100 different medicines available from America’s most respected pharmaceutical companies. Cannabis products first began to appear in Eli Lilly pharmaceutical catalogues in 1877 and continued to be sold through 1937. They grew marijuana on a plot of land known as the “Lilly Farm” just north of Indianapolis. Additionally, the company ordered and received the drug from all parts of the world including India, Mexico, Madagascar and Germany. The cannabis grown in Indianapolis, however, was touted as unsurpassed in quality. According to Lilly’s promotional claims, “Through advanced methods of seed selection and cultivation, the LILLY FARMS now produce a Cannabis of high potency, enabling us to offer a fluid extract equal in strength to that made from the Indian drug!”The earliest price catalogue in the company’s archives from October 1877 lists “Cannabis Indica Fluid Extract” as their only medicinal product containing cannabis. By the turn of the century, however, Eli Lilly and Company was selling dozens of pills, powders, elixirs, syrups, tinctures and tablets containing cannabis. In 1937, Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act, effectively outlawing the possession, sale and use of cannabis for any purpose. Most historians credit the diminished popularity of medical marijuana on the increased use of the drug for recreational purposes — particularly among “undesirable” populations.Marijuana was depicted as an alien intrusion into American life, capable of transforming healthy teenagers into sex-crazed maniacs, and turning otherwise decent citizens into criminals “capable of the most unspeakable crimes.” The same moralistic and religious forces that succeeded in the prohibition of alcohol from 1920-1933 criticized the drug’s psychoactive properties, and eventually these forces prevailed.During the hearings conducted before the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act, the lone opponent was a representative of the American Medical Association (AMA), who was summarily chastised by committee members who questioned why the medical profession had not been more aggressive in fighting the “menace” of marijuana. Nonetheless, the AMA argued that any law banning marijuana should at least exempt it for medical purposes.“There is positively no evidence to indicate the abuse of cannabis as a medicinal agent or to show that its medicinal use is leading to the development of cannabis addiction. Cannabis at the present time is slightly used for medicinal purposes, but it would seem worthwhile to maintain its status as a medicinal agent... There is a possibility that a re-study of the drug by modern means may show other advantages to be derived from its medicinal use.”Over the American Medical Association’s objections, cannabis was made illegal, and it disappeared from the American pharmacopoeia in 1938. In 1988, after four years of hearings involving hundreds of witnesses and thousands of pages of documentation, Francis Young, Chief Administrative Law Judge for the DEA, issued a 69-page ruling concerning both the safety and medical benefits of marijuana.“One must reasonably conclude,” he writes, “that there is accepted safety for the use of marijuana under medical supervision. To conclude otherwise, on this record, would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.” Nearly a decade after the DEA inquiry that led to Judge Young’s legal ruling, Barry McCaffrey, then director of the US Office of National Drug Control Policy (aka the Drug Czar), told a CNN reporter, “There is not a shred of scientific evidence that shows that smoked marijuana is useful or needed. This is not medicine. This is a cruel hoax.”In its 2001 “Medical Marijuana Report,” the AMA provided evidence that “smoking marijuana contributes to weight-gain in patients suffering from HIV wasting syndrome; provides symptomatic relief in patients with spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and other causes of muscle spacity; benefits patients suffering from headaches, menstrual cramps, and the abdominal pain associated with tubal ligation; alleviates chronic pain; and reduces the number of vomiting episodes and the duration of nausea episodes in patients undergoing chemotherapy.”The report concludes, “Based on the current science base... the AMA calls for further adequate and well-controlled studies of marijuana and related cannabinoids in patients who have serious conditions for which preclinical, anecdotal, and controlled evidence suggests possible efficacy.”The AMA’s call for further studies highlights one of the biggest intentional obstacles to medical marijuana usage created by the federal government and used to prevent the “legitimate” scientific evidence needed to dispel myths like those Indiana Congressman Mark Souder continues to propagate.Marijuana is a “Schedule I” drug. According to the federal laws that classify it as such, marijuana has a high potential for abuse, no acceptable medicinal use, and no safe level of use under medical supervision — all dubious claims at best.What the overwhelming majority of proponents of medical marijuana seek is a re-classification of marijuana to a “Schedule II” drug, allowing doctors to prescribe it to patients under medical supervision. This is, in fact, what states that have passed medical marijuana have done, in defiance of federal law.Only the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the authority to reclassify or approve drugs in the United States, and, as Souder points out, “The FDA’s excellent scientists have never determined that smoked marijuana is safe and effective.”What Souder doesn’t acknowledge, however, is that the FDA has never conducted or sanctioned clinical research to determine whether smoking marijuana is a safe and effective medical treatment. Sidebar: Who is Mark Souder?U.S. Representative Mark Edward Souder was first elected to Congress in 1994. He represents the Indiana 3rd District in and around the Fort Wayne area.Congressman Souder is Chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources. The Subcommittee is responsible for authorizing legislation for the Office of National Drug Control Policy and its programs as well as general oversight for all U.S. government drug control efforts (including international and interdiction programs, law enforcement, and prevention and treatment initiatives). According to The Center for Responsive Politics, the following PACs and lobbying groups have contributed the most money to his political campaigns: American Medical Association, United Parcel Service, Indiana Farm Bureau, National Rifle Association, National Beer Wholesalers, SBC Communications and Eli Lilly and Co.Fort Wayne Office:E. Ross Adair Federal Building, Room 3105 1300 South Harrison Street Fort Wayne, IN 46802 Phone: (260) 424-3041 or 1-800-959-3041 Fax: (260) 424-4042 Washington Office:U.S. House of Representatives 2231 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Phone: (202) 225-4436 Fax: (202) 225-3479Medical Marijuana Already Exists?There might be some patient populations, e.g. cancer patients experiencing nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy, for whom smoking marijuana might offer advantages over the currently available capsule formation... The testing of smoked marijuana to evaluate its therapeutic effects is difficult, but not an impossible task.National Institutes of Health“Report on the medical uses of marijuana”August 1999Since 1976, the federal government has essentially refused to fund or approve studies of the medicinal benefits of smoked marijuana. This ban has created the circular logic used by Souder and others to argue against medical marijuana.The FDA has never sanctioned the research of smoking marijuana for medical purposes; therefore, the FDA has never determined that smoking marijuana is medically safe and effective; because the FDA has never determined that smoking marijuana is medically safe and effective, the FDA has never approved smoking marijuana for medical use.The revived interest in the medical uses of cannabis arose at least partly from its popularity as a recreational drug in the 1960s and 1970s. Anecdotal reports from young cancer patients who smoked marijuana claimed that it relieved the nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.Modern chemistry also increased interest in the use of at least one constituent of cannabis, when two Israeli scientists isolated and synthesized the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana known as THC in 1964. Since the 1970s the only FDA “approved” study of cannabis and nearly all studies funded and sanctioned by the federal government have been the research of synthetic THC by major pharmaceutical companies.Unlike marijuana itself, synthetic drugs replicating the most active ingredient in marijuana, THC, are already approved and accepted by the federal government as having medical value. As Congressman Souder and the DEA are fond of saying, “Medical marijuana already exists. It’s called Marinol.”This produces the contradiction that, according to the federal government, marijuana has no medicinal value and is banned as a psychoactive drug. At the same time, THC, the principal substance that makes marijuana psychoactive, is a “legitimate” drug approved and endorsed by the federal government.Marinol is the only synthetic THC pill prescribed in the United States. It was approved by the FDA for treating chemotherapy patients experiencing nausea and vomiting as a result of chemotherapy in 1985, and in 1992 received approval as a treatment for anorexia and AIDS patients to help increase appetite. New Jersey pharmaceutical company Unimed developed the THC pill with the financial support of the NIH, and the US government partially funded the research necessary for FDA approval.While Marinol has been shown to help some patients, study after study has demonstrated that patients report a more significant decrease in symptoms with smoking marijuana. Hard To SwallowStudies conducted by state health departments under research protocols approved by the FDA compared smoking marijuana with the use of synthetic drugs with cancer patients. The studies concluded that marijuana was effective in all cases and more effective than other drugs for the majority of patients.New Mexico: The study concluded that marijuana was not only effective, but “clearly superior to Marinol.” More than ninety percent of the patients who received marijuana “reported significant or total relief from nausea and vomiting.” In conclusion, “the data accumulated over all five years of the program’s operation do show that smoked marijuana resulted in a higher percentage of success than does [synthetic] THC.” Michigan: More than 70 percent of the patients who received marijuana reported no to moderate nausea. Only 8 of 83 patients randomized to marijuana chose to alter their mode of therapy. This was almost the inverse of patients randomized to synthetic THC where more than 90 percent — 22 out of 23 patients — elected to discontinue use and switched to marijuana. Tennessee: The study found an overall success rate of 90.4 percent for marijuana inhalation therapy. In comparison it found a 66.7 percent success rate for THC capsules. In the under 40-age group, the study found a 100 percent success rate for marijuana inhalation therapy. New York: Three of the five hospitals conducting the study reported marijuana was effective as treatment in 100 percent of their patients, the other two hospitals reported successes of 93 percent and 90 percent. The report concludes: “approximately ninety-three (93) percent of marijuana inhalation treatment episodes are reported to be ‘effective’ or ‘highly effective’ when compared to other anti-emetics.” Georgia: Researchers found that both THC and marijuana were effective in providing anti-emetic relief for patients who were previously unresponsive. Patient controlled smoking of marijuana was successful in 73 percent, and synthetic THC was effective in 76 percent of the cases. California: In 1981 the California Research Advisory Panel reported: “Over 74 percent of the cancer patients treated in the program have reported that marijuana is more effective in relieving their nausea and vomiting than any other drug they have tried.” In 1982, a 79 percent effectiveness rate was found for smoked marijuana. By 1983 the report was conclusory in its findings stating: “Marijuana has been shown to be effective for the majority of cancer chemotherapy patients.”Despite the government’s claims that it makes smoking marijuana unnecessary in relieving symptoms, there are several significant complaints about Marinol that keep the medical marijuana debate alive. First, patients suffering from debilitating nausea and vomiting frequently find it difficult to swallow and/or keep down an oral medication. Additionally, for those who don’t throw it up, Marinol can take up to three hours before patients gain any kind of relief. Smoking marijuana, as studies have shown, relieves nausea rather than causing it, and the effects are immediate — allowing patients to use a very small dosage and achieve immediate results.Another significant drawback to Marinol is the average cost of more than $2,000 for each round of treatment — more than ten times the cost of marijuana for the same use. Additionally, Marinol has a relatively high incidence of side effects due to its potency, particularly anxiety and depression.The only other FDA approved synthetic THC is Nabilone, manufactured by Eli Lilly and marketed in the UK, Canada and Australia. Exceedingly more powerful than Marinol, Nabilone is only prescribed and distributed to patients in a hospital.According to the information given patients by Cambridge Laboratories, the British company that distributes the drug in the UK, “Nabilone can cause mood changes such as euphoria, depression, or anxiety. You should be with a doctor, nurse, or hospital pharmacist when you take Nabilone. Other side effects include shaking, palpitations, loss of appetite, and stomach pains. A few patients have had hallucinations... This is why it is best to take Nabilone in the hospital.”After receiving FDA approval, Eli Lilly determined that high occurrence of side effects and the need for tightly controlled and supervised dosage would greatly reduce the drug’s profits. Given its potential risks, Nabinol has never been marketed in the US, but it has had limited use in the UK. According to the British government report cited previously, “As many as fifty percent of patients have derived some pain relief from Nabilone, but a significant number of patients are unable to tolerate the side effects of the drug, and the overall success rate is about 30 percent” Therefore, Nabilone is used very infrequently, “less than marijuana itself.”Pressed for answers concerning the superiority of synthetic THC pills like Marinol and Nabilone over smoked marijuana, even the FDA has a hard time maintaining the position that “Marijuana has no medical value that can’t be met more effectively by legal drugs.”Testifying before Souder’s Congressional Committee in April of 2004, Robert Meyer of the FDA begrudgingly admitted, “I think maybe that there certainly are patients who do not seem to respond even to the best of our pharmaceutical cannaboids... So there may be, and I’m not saying there are, but there may be circumstances where a smoked drug such as marijuana in very limited circumstances could be found to be overall safe and effective.”Medical Marijuana is a Red Herring?They catch somebody like me, an old man who’ll be dead in a year, smoking in my own home, not hurting anybody, and they want to put me in jail. It’s just crazy. It just doesn’t make any sense to me, it really doesn’t.Mike McCoyMitchell, INAugust 2005According to Congressman Souder, people like Mike McCoy and Jeanne Horton “use marijuana as a red herring in an effort to advocate broader legalization of drug use.” He has even gone so far as to call supporters of medical marijuana “potheads with an agenda that has nothing to do with medicine.”Despite their arrests, McCoy and Horton continue to believe in the medical benefits of marijuana based on their own experience. Horton laughs at Souder’s description of her motives.“I’m not having wild parties. I’m not growing it. I’m not selling it. I smoke marijuana because it helps with things that my other medications simply don’t. If there were other drugs that worked as well, I’d take them. But there aren’t. At least none of the ones I’ve tried.”Jay Burns of Indiana NORML is left temporarily speechless by the accusation. “Other than to say that it’s absurd, I’m not sure how to respond.” But after a pause, Burns continues. “Look, I’d be lying if I said there weren’t groups like that out there, people who want all drugs legalized, because there are. And a lot of people who want to join our organization are disappointed when they find out that’s not what we’re about, and we’ve probably lost millions of dollars in funding because of it.“But all you have to do is take a look at our name — National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws — and a big part of that reform is to help people who are suffering.”Mike McCoy, Jeanne Horton and Jay Burns are typical of the supporters of marijuana for medical use, just as Congressman Mark Souder is typical of those who oppose it. In Souder’s words, people like McCoy and Horton are “deviants” and someone like Burns who is fighting on their behalf is “an articulate advocate for an evil position.”It’s beyond rational dispute that marijuana presents minimal risks to the vast majority of its users and provides real and much needed medical benefits for many seriously ill patients. But the distinction between legal and illegal drug use in America is clear. Taking a synthetic pill that is frequently ineffective and often unaffordable is sound medicine. Smoking marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, and a variety of debilitating diseases is immoral and wrong. “Go ahead and call me a criminal,” Mike McCoy says. “It doesn’t matter to me. I’m just trying to stay alive for my wife, my kids and my grandkids. And if that means I have to smoke marijuana, then by God I’ll keep doing it.” What is NORML?The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) supports the right of adults to legally use marijuana responsibly, whether for medical or personal purposes. Indiana NORML3601 North Pennsylvania StreetIndianapolis, IN 46205Contact: inorml inorml.orgFor legal information or assistance contact Steve Dillon at 317-923-8103For general information about Indiana NORML contact Jay Burns at 317-223-8103For national information and for information outside of Indiana contact: (IN)Author: Laura McPheePublished: August 10, 2005 Copyright: 2005 Nuvo Inc. Contact: lmcphee nuvo.netWebsite: Cannabis Museum CannabisNews -- Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #23 posted by global_warming on August 13, 2005 at 13:19:47 PT
That was an excellent link. Perhaps in some day, Marc Emery may qualify for sainthood.In the meantime, the problem of "corruption" in our world remains largely ignored.Question: Is there any way a person can free themselves from this disease and/or corruption?I have been reading about Cindy,.. Cindy in 2008, as Bush drives by, he may have caught a glimpse of those white crosses and the face that might change this world.Amazing how each new dawn, brings a new caste, some slight difference a new view, guess that is why they call it the New Dawn.
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Comment #22 posted by dongenero on August 12, 2005 at 07:06:27 PT
What makes Souder tick
I've wondered for years what makes this idiot Souder tick. This article provided some insight.
This is in line with the general theme of prohibition:
Follow the Money."According to The Center for Responsive Politics, the following PACs and lobbying groups have contributed the most money to his political campaigns: American Medical Association, United Parcel Service, Indiana Farm Bureau, National Rifle Association, National Beer Wholesalers, SBC Communications and Eli Lilly and Co."Of particular note, of course, are National Beer Whlesalers and Eli Lilly. These contributors obviously have a stake in the cannabis prohibition game. Oh, and he's also the subcommittee chairman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Interesting that there is no conflict in taking money from Big Pharma and the Beer industry while preaching against cannabis.Interesting too, that Eli Lilly used to market pharmacological cannabis.You always new Souder smelled funny, right? It's the smell of hypocrisy.
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Comment #21 posted by kaptinemo on August 11, 2005 at 18:59:41 PT:
Hope, you've got mail
Sorry I didn't answer you sooner.
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Comment #20 posted by global_warming on August 11, 2005 at 16:56:31 PT
Excuse Me, while i vomit,
Throwing up my guts, This big business of cannabis,Like those tie-dyed tee shorts,Will never come close to terrorists,Who have high tech nuclear bombs.Maybe a cannabist, might be late for some payment,Maybe a cannabist, might forget,But, when that fatal bomb falls,It will not be some cannabist,It will be some financed zealot,Some deranged human, who believes that his little profit of silver, will save his soul.This zealot, is unable to see the larger picture, how we all are part of that larger picture, how we all can serve , nurture and heal.Jealousy, Greed, Fear, Blackmail, are the true tools of evil, and those that are afflicted with such diseases, should quickly commit suicide, for that is the easiest way to end their bargain with the devil.
 That is the best legacy, they can offer, to save this world, for their children.
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Comment #19 posted by Jim Lunsford on August 11, 2005 at 12:54:31 PT
Thanks The GCW
for the link. The one over-riding message in that article that really struck home with me is how we need to "OVER GROW" the vote. Not just throw out a pile of seeds onto the ground; but seriously look for areas to grow weed. Not just to grow it, but to grow it in the nazi's faces. Not in some federal forest, but in every area possible in a town/city/whatever so that it would overwhelm the police in such a manner that it would be futile for them to keep the war against humanity going. Instead of fighting with guns or law, let's fight with the best weapon of all time: the marijuana seed! Over grow the vote. The legal system is a sham anyway. An old Scottish Border Reiver once said that English law was designed so the weak could take away from the strong. And since law is created by these nazis, what chance does weed have in court? About as much chance as a Jew in Nazi Germany.Guns are not the answer. At least not in my opinion. That will only create more harm than good. One civil war for a country is enough. Besides, weed and violence don't go well together. Imagine the possibilities if just a few of us did such a thing. And then imagine if all of us did it. In this crazy world where anything can become a national obsession overnight, imagine what we could do for Marc and everyone else if we said screw the lobbying, screw the legal system, screw your violence, and just quietly (while telling as many as possible) planting seeds wherever you find a politically appropriate spot. Remember; it's not enough to grow one in a national forest. Plant it right in their face. Let them start destroying them. Let them invade people's yards and start uprooting plants from everywhere. How long do you think that would last if the cops had to go through people's yards to rid it of weed? Let the people choose which is better: Weed or Nazis? Thanks for the link GCW. Sorry for the long rant, but it was inspiring. Reverend Jim Lunsford
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Comment #18 posted by dongenero on August 11, 2005 at 07:30:57 PT
The article from Marc Emery is a good read. Thanks GCW.
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on August 11, 2005 at 06:46:34 PT
News Brief from The Chicago Tribune
Village Court To Hear Marijuana CasesVictoria PiercePublished August 11, 2005OAK LAWN -- People caught with a small amount of marijuana may now find themselves facing a judge in Oak Lawn village court rather than Cook County Circuit Court.The Village Board on Tuesday made possession of marijuana a violation of a local ordinance that is subject to a $100 to $750 fine.Village Atty. Michael Jurusik said the change would allow local authorities to better handle marijuana cases. At the Circuit Court, where hundreds of such cases come up nearly every day, marijuana violations are sometimes dismissed or overlooked because of the huge volume of criminal cases before judges, he said.At the village level, it's less likely that a case involving less than 30 grams of marijuana would be dismissed because an officer was unable to make it to court, Jurusik said. Also, the entire fine would remain in village coffers rather than being divided into state, county and local funds.Felony cases involving larger amounts of marijuana would still be heard by a Circuit Court judge.Copyright: 2005 Chicago Tribune,1,6890520.story?coll=chi-newslocalssouthwest-hed
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on August 11, 2005 at 06:39:44 PT
Thanks for the link.
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Comment #15 posted by The GCW on August 11, 2005 at 05:18:42 PT
Good morning FoM,
This is at Cannabis Culture there is talked about what Marc Emery has or has not done...This is from Him and is very informative.Marc Emery: My message to you 
by Marc Emery (11 Aug, 2005) 
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Comment #14 posted by potpal on August 11, 2005 at 04:36:31 PT
To post more than one to a entry...simply cut and paste the link address (or type it out, be sure to include the http://) with spaces around it. It appears its the only piece of html the cnews s/w recognizes and acts upon. Example:
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Comment #13 posted by CorvallisEric on August 11, 2005 at 04:28:32 PT
runruff: comment #12 and multiple URL's
Type them just like you see in comment #7 (or like the next paragraph). You need to have a space immediately before and after the URL, or put it on a line by itself.The link in comment #12 should probably have been: (cocaine and CIA).
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Comment #12 posted by runruff on August 10, 2005 at 21:11:02 PT:
Last one. Whew!
I've been posting all over the internet. Trying to get the
word out For all the good it will do. Never the less I can't not do something. I'm compelled. Obssessed. A Libra. I hate injustice. I crave balance. I got a bas'aball jones
Heh. Heh.
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Comment #11 posted by runruff on August 10, 2005 at 20:59:20 PT:
I ment URL.
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Comment #10 posted by runruff on August 10, 2005 at 20:56:54 PT:
I only know how to post one ural at a time.
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Comment #9 posted by runruff on August 10, 2005 at 20:53:59 PT:
I tol' you an' I tol' you!
So here read it for yooursef.Good evening everone.Namaste
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Comment #8 posted by global_warming on August 10, 2005 at 18:36:33 PT
Subject II
This is a very dangerous time as their power is at stake and they won't go down without trying to take down all who oppose them. There is no fence to sit on as we will all stand to be counted or we will fall."...Falling and falling, amok, in this turbidity, of judicial certainty, the jaws of reality will bite and consume the flesh of this uncertainty.The the hand that offers water, healing balms, honey wrapped jelly rolls with cannabis filled bracelets , that will nurse those thorns, and gently herald, the new dawn.Become a gentle Human.
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Comment #7 posted by mayan on August 10, 2005 at 17:55:05 PT
Great Article!
It seems that everyone who's job is not directly dependent on the prohibition of cannabis is strongly turning against said prohibition! The neo-con's house of cards is falling on all sides as all of their lies are being exposed simultaneously. This is a very dangerous time as their power is at stake and they won't go down without trying to take down all who oppose them. There is no fence to sit on as we will all stand to be counted or we will fall. We are now at the crossroads where the future will be decided. THEY DID IT ONCE... Four Star General Fired For Organizing Coup Against Neo-Cons? Reporter suggests Brynes discovered plan to turn nuke exercise into staged terror attack: Star Army General Fired For Alleged Sexual Misconduct; Some Say He May Have Been Ousted For Attempting To Thwart The Bush Administration Plans To Strike Iran: Army General Sacked - Nuclear Exercise Link? Builds Against Cheney's 'Guns Of August': devising scenarios for martial law in US:! New Yorkers: Get A ***king Clue! CAN DO IT AGAIN!
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Comment #6 posted by Sam Adams on August 10, 2005 at 17:02:55 PT
The Heartland
Always refreshing to get an update on how the good Christians treat each other in the Bible Belt.  Tell me again which part of the Bible details Jesus' or God's instructions on persecuting and attacking the sick people? Was that the 11th Commandment or something? The one against herbal medicine?My heart goes out to anyone who has to live in a fundamentalist state, especially the sick people. 
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Comment #5 posted by global_warming on August 10, 2005 at 16:27:32 PT
How did this happen?How did this world become a police state, a police world?When did a Doctor of Medicine, become a second class citizen?When did a Cop become more important than a Doctor of Medicine?I understand that every DEA agent, will visit a Doctors Office, and every Cop will need the help of a Doctor at some stage of their Life.How did a High School Grad, become more important than a PHD?I do not know what the education requirements are, to become a dRug Enforcement Agent, maybe they have attended many DARE Lectures, surely there are people that are Doctors and Engineers who work for the DEA, and prefer to remain in the more sterile area's of research.Those hard and head busting agents that harvest the human population, raiding, and breaking down doors, of sick and dieing people, taking away there 2 or 3 plants, and subjecting these terribly sick people, to lawyers, courtrooms, will be recorded in the morning docket.When did a cop, making a drug bust, become more important?When did it become OK, that Doctors, who have studied medicine for many years, take a back seat to this invasion of cops, with little more than an associated's degree, when did the people who like to shoot and kill innocent prey, get control of our medicine, our Doctors, our society, our world?This can change. Change comes in many forms, that old grass roots movement, is a phrase that needs to be better understood.Grass Roots, is what you have, when you talk to your neighbor, that person that is in front of you at the market place, that person who waves a thank you in traffic, that person who is writing some words that you can understand.Hopefully, the Doctors will summon their strength, and confirm their dedication to the Healing Arts, hopefully, the people who have glimpsed the brutality of a human being nailed to a wooden cross, will see with eyes opened, hopefully.Does anybody reading believe in Magic?There is Good Magic and Bad Magic, Magic, that aspect of reality that defies logic and explanation.If someone were to utter a curse on Mr.Souder, not some effing words but some spiritual curse, something like, seeing each face that was taken away into some human prison, by force, forced to live the rest of their life, to the words, thoughts, and feelings of their prison guard. The curse, would clearly say, every sick and dieing human being, who has been raided, arrested, and subjected to this horror we know as the jUdicial System, The Honorable Mr. Souder, would relive and while Eternity has a lot of Time, that soul AKA as Souder, will at some Time, visit a Doctor.Perfect Symmetry.
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Comment #4 posted by Gary Storck on August 10, 2005 at 16:09:58 PT
Fantastic article!
Kudos to Indiana NORML for getting this accomplished. So much truth in just one article!
Is My Medicine Legal YET?
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Comment #3 posted by potpal on August 10, 2005 at 13:51:17 PT
Great run down. Now this is where a chain letter would work to our advantage. Every one reading this send this link... every one they know and then some. Tell them that if they send in to 5 more people a wish will come true...;-)
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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on August 10, 2005 at 13:05:26 PT:
This is the kind of reportage that OUGHT to happen
Fact after fact...and naming villain after villain. Where's the MSM? Why aren't they doing this kind of research and reporting? Maybe because they fear for their meal tickets?One very good thing about this: apparently, Ms. McPhee is based in Indiana...Mark Souder's State. That's two articles so far from people in his home State showing him up as the modern version of the Prohibition 1's icon of "Mr. Dry" (see these old cartoons to see what I am talking about: )
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on August 10, 2005 at 12:40:59 PT
DPA Press Release
Medical Marijuana Advocates Work to Protect Patients and Shape DebateWednesday, August 10, 2005Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has put out a call to patients who have been cited or arrested for possessing medical marijuana, in an effort to track law enforcement encounters. Since the Supreme Court decision was handed down on Raich, giving the federal government the legal right to arrest and prosecute medical marijuana patients, organizations across the country have been fighting to ensure that states protect their citizens. ASA is worried that in California, local law enforcement will be patients' biggest problem.Drug Policy Alliance executive director Ethan Nadelmann contributed to the discussion about medical marijuana recently with an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle and a presentation at a public forum. The forum, hosted by the Alliance, along with the Mayor’s Office, the San Francisco Medical Society and the Jewish Community Center, was called “Is San Francisco Going to Pot?” and can be viewed here. San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom gave introductory remarks about the city's medical marijuana issues before a large audience that included media outlets. The mayor surprised everyone by stating that “access is imperative” and endorsing proposals to protect and legitimize medical marijuana distribution in San Francisco. 
The forum came on the heels of the reinstatement of California's medical marijuana identification card program. The program, which was suspended last month by the California Department of Health Services, was restarted a few weeks later after the ACLU and the Alliance threatened to sue the governor's office. The registration program, which is voluntary, provides cards to help patients more easily demonstrate that they possess marijuana legally if they are stopped by state or local law enforcement. If you are a medical marijuana patient and have been cited or arrested by local or state police, please call the ASA office at (888) 929-4367 or (510) 251-1856. You can also download ASA's law enforcement encounter form, fill it out, and fax it to them at (510) 251-2036.
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