In Pot We Trust ~ Showtime documentary

Without a doubt, the best medical marijuana documentary we have ever seen.  Enjoy!

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We couldn’t have said it better:

In Pot We Trust doesn’t make you want to smoke pot. It will make you want to give all your pot to Jacqueline Patterson. Jacqueline has celebral palsy, which manifests itself most notably in the form of a severe stutter. When she uses medical marijuana, Jacqueline can speak much more quickly and clearly, because the drug relieves her muscle tension. The difference is so obvious, I don’t know how anyone could watch this and say marijuana isn’t medicine.

In Pot We Trust tells the story of four medical marijuana patients, against the backdrop of last year’s Hinchey-Rohrabacher vote. The filmmakers follow MPP‘s Aaron Houston through the halls of Congress, then join the DEA as they uproot marijuana plants in the hills of California. Marijuana experts such asLester Grinspoon provide insight into the drug’s benefits, while prohibitionists Joe Califano and Robert Dupont explain why they’ve dedicated themselves to criminalizing sick people.

The film is invaluable because patients themselves make the best spokespeople for medical marijuana. The ulterior motives so often attributed to the medical marijuana legalization effort become irrelevant here, as we meet the actual people whose health and wellbeing lies at the center of this controversy.

I won’t ruin the ending, but in case you haven’t heard, patients who rely on medical marijuana to maintain their quality of life are still criminals under federal law. (from “Stop the Drug War“)

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If you only have a moment or two, be sure to watch the effects of marijuana on Jaqueline’s cerebral palsy, a clip from “In Pot We Trust”:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Then again, if you have only 2 minutes and need a good laugh, here is the issue taken up by Larry David on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”:

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Puffing is the best medicine

Customers Smoke in the BC Marijuana Bookshop

“I have yet to see a patient who preferred Marinol to smoked marijuana. Similarly, the commercial success of Sativex will largely depend on how vigorously the marijuana laws are enforced. It is not unreasonable to believe that drug companies have an interest in sustaining the prohibition against the herb.”

by Lester Grinspoon M.D.

The Food and Drug Administration is contradicting itself. It recently reiterated its position that cannabis has no medical utility, but it also approved advanced clinical trials for a marijuana-derived drug called Sativex, a liquid preparation of two of the most therapeutically useful compounds of cannabis. This is the same agency that in 1985 approved Marinol, another oral cannabis-derived medicine.

Both Sativex and Marinol represent the “pharmaceuticalization” of marijuana. They are attempts to make available its quite obvious medicinal properties — to treat pain, appetite loss and many other ailments — while at the same time prohibiting it for any other use. Clinicians know that the herb — because it can be smoked or inhaled via a vaporizer — is a much more useful and reliable medicine than oral preparations. So it might be wise to consider exactly what Sativex can and can’t do before it’s marketed here.

A few years ago, the British firm GW Pharmaceuticals convinced Britain’s Home Office that it should be allowed to develop Sativex because the drug could provide all of the medical benefits of cannabis without burdening patients with its “dangerous” effects — those of smoking and getting high.

But there is very little evidence that smoking marijuana as a means of taking it represents a significant health risk. Although cannabis has been smoked widely in Western countries for more than four decades, there have been no reported cases of lung cancer or emphysema attributed to marijuana. I suspect that a day’s breathing in any city with poor air quality poses more of a threat than inhaling a day’s dose — which for many ailments is just a portion of a joint — of marijuana.

Further, those who are concerned about the toxic effects of smoking can now use a vaporizer, which frees the cannabinoid molecules from the plant material without burning it and producing smoke.

As for getting high, I am not convinced that the therapeutic benefits of cannabis can always be separated from its psychoactive effects. For example, many patients with multiple sclerosis who use marijuana speak of “feeling better” as well as of the relief from muscle spasms and other symptoms. If cannabis contributes to this mood elevation, should patients be deprived of it?

The statement that Sativex, “when taken properly,” won’t cause intoxication hinges on the phrase “when taken properly.” “Properly” here merely means taking a dose — by holding a few drops of liquid under the tongue — that is under the level required for the psychoactive effect. As with Marinol, people who want to use Sativex to get high will certainly be able to do so.

One of the most important characteristics of cannabis is how fast it acts when it is inhaled, which allows patients to easily determine the right dose for symptom relief. Sativex’s sublingual absorption is more efficient than orally administered Marinol (which requires 1 1/2 to two hours to take effect), but it’s still not nearly as fast as smoking or inhaling the herb.

That means “self-titration,” or self-dosage, is difficult if not impossible. Further, many patients cannot hold Sativex, which has an unpleasant taste, under the tongue long enough for it to be absorbed. As a consequence, varying amounts trickle down the esophagus. It then behaves like orally administered cannabis, with the consequent delay in the therapeutic effect.

Cannabis will one day be seen as a wonder drug, as was penicillin in the 1940s. Like penicillin, herbal marijuana is remarkably nontoxic, has a wide range of therapeutic applications and would be quite inexpensive if it were legal. Even now, good-quality illicit or homegrown marijuana, which is, at the very least, no less useful a medicine than Sativex, is less expensive than Sativex or Marinol.

The “pharmaceuticalization” of marijuana has promise. No doubt the industry could produce unique analogs of the naturally occurring cannabinoids that would be useful in ways smoked cannabis is not. But for now, medicines such as Sativex provide only one advantage over the herb: They’re legal.

I have yet to see a patient who preferred Marinol to smoked marijuana. Similarly, the commercial success of Sativex will largely depend on how vigorously the marijuana laws are enforced. It is not unreasonable to believe that drug companies have an interest in sustaining the prohibition against the herb.

Geoffrey Guy, who founded GW Pharmaceuticals, claims his aim was to keep people who find marijuana useful out of court. There is, of course, a way to do this that would be much less expensive — both economically and in terms of human suffering.

LESTER GRINSPOON is an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the author of “Marijuana, the Forbidden Medicine” (Yale University Press, 1997).

Los Angeles Times
May 5, 2006
(source)

The DEA Position On Marijuana

The campaign to legitimize what is called “medical” marijuana is based on two propositions: that science views marijuana as medicine, and that DEA targets sick and dying people using the drug. Neither proposition is true. Smoked marijuana has not withstood the rigors of science – it is not medicine and it is not safe. DEA targets criminals engaged in cultivation and trafficking, not the sick and dying. No state has legalized the trafficking of marijuana, including the twelve states that have decriminalized certain marijuana use.

SMOKED MARIJUANA IS NOT MEDICINE

There is no consensus of medical evidence that smoking marijuana helps patients. Congress enacted laws against marijuana in 1970 based in part on its conclusion that marijuana has no scientifically proven medical value. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the federal agency responsible for approving drugs as safe and effective medicine based on valid scientific data. FDA has not approved smoked marijuana for any condition or disease. The FDA noted that “there is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful,” and “that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use.”

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Isn’t smoking marijuana worse for you than smoking cigarettes?

See also:

Smoking Marijuana does not cause lung cancer

“Pot is not like tobacco”

“The Effects of Marijuana Smoke”

There are many reasons why it is not. You may have heard
that “one joint is equal to ten cigarettes” but this is
exaggerated and misleading. Marijuana does contain more tar
than tobacco — but low tar cigarettes cause just as much
cancer, so what is that supposed to mean? Scientists have
shown that smoking any plant is bad for your lungs, because
it increases the number of `lesions’ in your small airways.
This usually does not threaten your life, but there is a
chance it will lead to infections. Marijuana users who are
worried about this can find less harmful ways of taking
marijuana like eating or vaporizing. (Be careful —
marijuana is safe to eat — but tobacco is not, you might
overdose!) Marijuana does not seem to cause cancer the way
tobacco does, though.

Here is a list of interesting facts about marijuana smoking
and tobacco smoking:

o Marijuana smokers generally don’t chain smoke,
and so they smoke less
. (Marijuana is not physically
addictive like tobacco.) The more potent marijuana
is, the less a smoker will use at a time.

o Tobacco contains nicotine, and marijuana doesn’t.
Nicotine may harden the arteries and may be
responsible for much of the heart disease caused by
tobacco. New research has found that it may also
cause a lot of the cancer in tobacco smokers and
people who live or work where tobacco is smoked.
This is because it breaks down into a cancer causing
chemical called `N Nitrosamine’ when it is burned
(and maybe even while it is inside the body as well.)

o Marijuana contains THC. THC is a bronchial dilator,
which means it works like a cough drop and opens up
your lungs, which aids clearance of smoke and dirt.

Nicotine does just the opposite; it makes your lungs
bunch up and makes it harder to cough anything up.

o There are benefits from marijuana (besides bronchial
dilation) that you don’t get from tobacco.
Mainly,
marijuana makes you relax, which improves your health
and well-being.

o Scientists do not really know what it is that causes
malignant lung cancer in tobacco. Many think it may
be a substance known as Lead 210. Of course, there
are many other theories as to what does cause cancer,
but if this is true, it is easy to see why no case of lung
cancer resulting from marijuana use alone has
ever been documented
, because tobacco contains
much more of this substance than marijuana.

o Marijuana laws make it harder to use marijuana
without damaging your body
. Water-pipes are illegal
in many states. Filtered cigarettes, vaporizers, and
inhalers have to be mass produced, which is hard to
arrange `underground.’ People don’t eat marijuana
often because you need more to get as high that way,
and it isn’t cheap or easy to get (which is the
reason why some people will stoop to smoking leaves.)
This may sound funny to you — but the more legal
marijuana gets, the safer it is
.

It is pretty obvious to users that marijuana prohibition
laws are not “for their own good.” In addition to the
above, legal marijuana would be clean and free from
adulterants. Some people add other drugs to marijuana
before they sell it. Some people spray room freshener on it
or soak in in chemicals like formaldehyde! A lot of the
marijuana is grown outdoors, where it may be sprayed with
pesticides or contaminated with dangerous fungi. If the
government really cared about our health, they would form an
agency which would make sure only quality marijuana was
sold. This would be cheaper than keeping it illegal, and it
would keep people from getting hurt and going to the
emergency room. (source)

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