US Marijuana Laws Clamping The Lid on Pot Research

US Marijuana Laws Clamping The Lid on Pot Research
Posted by CN Staff on December 06, 2006 at 18:56:13 PT
By Brian Vastag
Washington, DC -- There are few large-scale studies on medical marijuana users.A decade after California became the first US state to legalize medical marijuana, one small survey estimates that doctors have recommended the drug to about 350,000 patients. But continuous legal wrangling with the federal government has scared researchers away from tapping into this vast pool to understand how the drug works.
"No one wants to do a bunch of research if medical marijuana is just going to disappear," says Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, co-director of the Drug Policy Research Center at the nonprofit RAND Corporation. As a result, she says, the past decade has been "a huge uncontrolled public health experiment."The California law took effect in November 1996 without an accompanying patient registry or any monitoring scheme. The law grants immunity from state laws to individuals in California who have a recommendation from a physician. But in 2005, the US Supreme Court ruled that those individuals are not protected from federal prosecution.In October, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency arrested 15 medical marijuana providers and users at eight California cannabis dispensaries, which are legal under the state law.However, according to the new survey, published in November in O'Shaughnessy's, self-described as "a medical journal/political tabloid," some California doctors are convinced that marijuana has medical value. The 18 physicians and one network of clinics surveyed had provided recommendations to 140,000 individuals during the past decade, a figure extrapolated to the state. About 95% of them had used marijuana medically before seeking a doctor's approval.One surveyed specialist, Redding-based Philip Denney who is president of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, identified the 'typical patient' as a male in his mid-40s with chronic low back pain. Among Denney's 18,900 recommendations for medical marijuana, roughly 50% were for chronic pain, 15% for gastrointestinal disorders, 15% for psychiatric disorders and 10% for neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis. "What makes cannabis so attractive as a medicine is its safety," Denney says. "There's no such thing as an overdose."In the survey, respondents consistently reported that cannabis helped reduce their reliance on opiates. "A typical story I hear is from the patient who was taking 260 milligrams of oxycontin a day and now with cannabis is down to 10 milligrams," Denney says.California in 2002 also funded the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, housed at the University of California, San Diego. Among the fourteen clinical trials completed or underway: a placebo-controlled double-blind study of cannabis for neuropathic pain in individuals with HIV/AIDS, a study of cannabis versus the tranquilizer lorazepam for neuropathic pain, and a study of how well cannabis controls spasticity in multiple sclerosis. Researchers funded by the center are also studying how cannabis affects the immune system in those with HIV/AIDS."The state of California took a real chance on this," says Igor Grant, director of the center. "We're on our way to getting some answers."Preliminary results in 50 individuals with HIV/AIDS show, for instance, that cannabis reduces neuropathic pain better than a placebo. As results from small trials trickle in, some observers lament the lost opportunity to conduct large-scale studies. Says Robert MacCoun, a law professor who studies drug policy at the University of California-Berkeley, "It's one consequence of this crazy system we have."Source: (UK)Author: Brian VastagPublished: December 1, 2006Copyright: 2006 Nature Publishing Group Contact: News Nature.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #9 posted by Truth on December 09, 2006 at 08:59:36 PT
Weeds is fictional, very fictional.
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Comment #8 posted by msegesta on December 08, 2006 at 08:10:34 PT:
Didn't realize my story so typical
"A typical story I hear is from the patient who was taking 260 milligrams of oxycontin a day and now with cannabis is down to 10 milligrams," Denney says.That's MY story (400 to 10 mgs.) and I'm stickin' to it:)Mike Segesta
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Comment #7 posted by afterburner on December 07, 2006 at 11:19:51 PT
I thought that 400 figure sounded too low. Thanx for the info.
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Comment #6 posted by whig on December 07, 2006 at 10:58:47 PT
From Wiki:The DEA is headed by an Administrator of Drug Enforcement appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the US Senate. The Administrator reports to the Attorney General through the Deputy Attorney General (Title 28, C.F.R., Part 0.102). The Administrator is assisted by a Deputy Administrator, the Chief of Operations, the Chief Inspector, Assistant Administrators for the Operations Support Division, Intelligence Division, and Human Resources Division. Other senior staff include the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Counsel. The Administrator and Deputy Administrator are the only Presidentially-appointed personnel in the DEA; all other DEA officials are career civil servants. DEA's headquarters is located in Arlington, Virginia across from the Pentagon. It maintains its own DEA Academy located on the United States Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia along with the FBI Academy. It maintains 21 domestic field divisions with 237 field offices and 80 foreign offices in 58 countries. With a budget over fourteen billion dollars it employs over 11,000 people to include over 5,000 Special Agents.
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Comment #5 posted by afterburner on December 07, 2006 at 10:46:44 PT
Shame Shame Shame
Shame on the US Federal government for their absurd opposition to the miracle plant. The same political persecution and obstinate refusal to take cannabis medicine seriously continues in Canada as the Conservative minority government has cancelled research. The former Liberal government was dragged into grudging support for medical cannabis only by Court action.BTW, if Weeds is right that there are only 400 DEA agents worldwide, for such a small group they sure do lots of damage to patients, spiritual seekers and those favoring a Safer recreational experience.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on December 07, 2006 at 07:45:55 PT
News Brief from All Headline News
120-Year-Old Woman Claims Smoking Pot Everyday Is Her Secret To Long Life***December 4, 2006 Komfie Manalo - All Headline News CorrespondentNew Delhi, India (AHN) - A 120-year-old woman claims that smoking cannabis every day is her secret to long life. Fulla Nayak, from India, says she reached the age of 120 by smoking pot and drinking strong palm win in her hut everyday. She is living with her 92-year-old daughter and 72-year-old grandson. Nayak told The Sun newspaper, "I don't know how I've survived so long. Many relatives much younger than me have died." 
 Copyright: All Headline News
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Comment #3 posted by doc james on December 07, 2006 at 06:48:13 PT:
and there u have it...amen!
I suffer from chronic low back condition that controls the whole of my life. Using this herb greatly reduces the amount of opiates (morphine), I must take, to allow me to get through the day. Ive been using cannabis for 40 years, 20 of them recreationally and the other medicinal. 
Why didnt our all knowing all seeing and oooooh so powerful government follow up on the legal patients back when they had the IND program? MONEY! Not the lack of it either.
Cannabis just about helps any affliction that a human can be stricken with! BUT, the pharmaceutical industry does not want this plant legalized in any form or fashion, they have to much money to lose. They would for the most part go, "out of business," overnight! Good riddance to them and their poisons. The side effects of even a simple arthritis medicines are astounding. This herb needs to be legal recreationally for adults as well as a medicine to anyone that may be helped by it, no matter which state in the ussa the reside in. We have a great country but the way our country is run makes me sicker........and sicker, how about you?
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Comment #2 posted by ekim on December 06, 2006 at 21:04:47 PT
 Paulpeterson comments about 12 step
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on December 06, 2006 at 19:53:40 PT
And there You have it.
"A typical story I hear is from the patient who was taking 260 milligrams of oxycontin a day and now with cannabis is down to 10 milligrams,"-Pharmaceutical companies, mostly owned by stock holders donít want anything getting in the way of profits. Period, end of story. They have paid lobbyists to insure cannabis stays illegal for that reason alone. And there are other reasons cannabis / hemp is prohibited also...People that play in the stock market sometimes have portfolios and those portfolios have a high chance of containing stocks that would suffer if cannabis is re-legalized. Many people are more interested in their profit margin than the good of man kind.Same thing with hemp. Re-introducing hemp as a component of American agriculture would cost investors deeply. So communist Chinese farmers grow hemp, free American farmers may not.
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