Obama, What About “Free and Open Scientific Inquiry” for Medical Marijuana?

By John Schwarz, co-founder of ‘Superstring Theory’ and Theoretical Physics professor at California Institute of Technology

From Huffington Post Nov 1, 2012

Being a physicist, not a physician, I don’t usually comment on issues in medical science. But I can no longer remain silent while people in my family and profession run the risk of federal arrest so that they can follow the recommendations of their doctors. Medical marijuana offers relief to people I care about, yet it remains illegal in the view of the United States government.

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Five Scientific Conclusions About Cannabis That The Mainstream Media Doesn’t Want You To Know

Please see the first comment below to get a fuller picture
Alternet

July 27, 2012
While studies touting the purported dangers of cannabis are frequently pushed [3] by the federal government and, therefore, all but assured mainstream media coverage, scientific conclusions rebutting pot propaganda or demonstrating potential positive aspects of the herb often tend to go unnoticed [4]. Here are five recent examples of scientific findings about pot that the mainstream media (and the Feds) don’t want you to know about.

1. Cannabis use is associated with lower mortality risk in patients with psychotic disorders

In the years immediately prior to the passage of the federal Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, exploitation journalists routinely, yet unfoundedly, claimed that cannabis use triggered psychotic and violent behavior. For example, a news story from the July 6, 1927 edition of the New York Times pronounced, “A widow and her four children have been driven insane by eating the Marihuana plant, according to doctors, who say there is no hope of saving the children’s lives and that the mother will be insane for the rest of her life.” While virtually every American readily dismisses such absurd claims today, nonetheless, decades later many of these same sensationalistic contentions continue to make their way into the mainstream press. A case in point: within hours after the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, ABC News Philadelphia reported [5] that shooter James Holmes’ rampage was likely brought on by smoking marijuana. Similarly, weeks earlier, various media outlets speculated [6] that cannabis may have motivated the unfathomable actions of Rudy Eugene, the so-called “Miami Cannibal,” after toxicology reports found trace levels of marijuana byproducts in his system.

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Study finds no long-term negative cognitive effects from marijuana

From Raw Story By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, July 11, 2012

While cognitive performance is negatively affected by cannabis use, the negative effects appear to completely wear off within a month, according to research published in the Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology in late June.

“With the number of cannabis users both illicitly and licitly increasing, the question of any potential lasting impact from cannabis use is increasingly important,” Amy M. Schreiner and Michael E. Dunn of the University of Central Florida wrote in their study.

Numerous studies have found that cannabis use affects memory, attention, perceptual-motor tasks, and other cognitive processes, but studies on how long these effects last has been inconsistent. The studies were complicated by the fact that psychoactive compounds in marijuana can linger in the body for days.

In hopes of better understanding the long-term, lasting effects of cannabis use, the researchers used a meta-analysis, a statistical procedure that allows researchers to mathematically summarize the results of a number of different studies.

Schreiner and Dunn’s study included two of these meta-analyses. The first was comprised of 33 studies that examined the cognitive effects of cannabis use after intoxication had worn off. The second was comprised of 13 studies that also examined the cognitive effects of cannabis use after intoxication had worn off, but this group of studies tested users after at least 25 days of abstinence.

The study found that cannabis use caused small impairments in attention, learning, and other cognitive processes that persisted after intoxication. However, the researchers said it was unclear if these minor impairments “translate[d] into practical impairments in functioning.” But the second meta-analysis suggested that these minor impairments don’t last longer than a month.

“While the first meta-analysis revealed a small significant negative effect for general performance and a number of cognitive domains, the clinical significance remains unclear,” Schreiner and Dunn explained. “A second meta-analysis focusing on studies with longer abstention periods was conducted and indicated no lasting residual effects on neurocognitive performance as a result of cannabis use… Whether differences seen in the initial days or weeks of abstinence are due to drug residue effects or withdrawal effects, after approximately 1 month these effects do not persist for the moderate to heavy user.”

Several cannabinoids present in marijuana are proven to be POTENT anti-carcinogens

(Editor’s note: The following was left on the Wikipedia “Medical Cannabis” discussion page. We’ve reprinted it here. Enjoy!)

ANTI-CANCEROUS, ANTI-PROLIFERATIVE, ANTI-NEOPLASTIC, ANTI-INVASIVE TARGETING EFFECTS OF CANNABINOIDS USED IN A NON-SMOKED FORM TO FIGHT CANCER NEEDS TO BE ELABORATED

So, please, stop with the tip-toe bullshit of the subject. Stop acting like its only for “pain relief” for people undergoing chemotherapy. Hexahydrocannabinol, HU-331, Quinone, and several other chemicals present in cannabis are PROVEN to be POTENT ANTI-CARCINOGENS. IT GOES BEYOND PAIN RELIEF, and is PROVEN BY SCIENCE TO SHRINK TUMORS and trigger APOPTOSIS IN CANCER CELLS.

There is a REASON why cannabis is ILLEGAL, and THIS IS WHY. The only slant in my argument is a hunger for TRUTH and anger against people who hide this truth for the purpose of PROFIT.

From PUBMED, RUN BY THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. A simple search of “Cannabinoids Anticancer” turns up THESE RESULTS:

1. Novel hexahydrocannabinol analogs as potential anti-cancer agents inhibit cell proliferation and tumor angiogenesis.

Thapa D, Lee JS, Heo SW, Lee YR, Kang KW, Kwak MK, Choi HG, Kim JA.
Eur J Pharmacol. 2010 Oct 13. [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 20950604 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Related citations

2. Cannabinoids inhibit cellular respiration of human oral cancer cells. Continue reading

Updated NORML Report Reviews Nearly 200 Studies On The Therapeutic Use Of Cannabis

Cannabis female flowers closeup with trichomes...

“As we continue to sort through the emerging science of cannabis and cannabinoids, one thing remains clear: a functional cannabinoid system is essential for health.”

NORML has recently posted online the fourth edition of its popular and comprehensive booklet, “Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis & Cannabinoids: A Review of the Recent Scientific Literature.”

Updated and revised for 2011, this report reviews approximately 200 newly published scientific studies assessing the safety and efficacy of marijuana and its compounds in the treatment and management of nineteen clinical indications: Alzheimer’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), chronic pain, diabetes mellitus, dystonia, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal disorders, gliomas and other cancers, hepatitis C, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hypertension, incontinence, methicillin-resistant Staphyloccus aureus (MRSA), multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, pruritus, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, and Tourette’s syndrome.

Explains the report’s lead author, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano: “The conditions profiled in this report were chosen because patients frequently inquire about the therapeutic use of cannabis to treat these disorders. In addition, many of the indications included in this report may be moderated by cannabis therapy. In several cases, preclinical data and clinical indicates that cannabinoids may halt the progression of these diseases in a more efficacious manner than available pharmaceuticals.

The updated report also features a new section, authored by osteopath and medical cannabis specialist Dr. Dustin Sulak, highlighting the significance of the endocannabinoid system and its role in maintaining mental and physiological health.

 

Illustration from the Vienna Dioscurides

Beyond treating symptoms, beyond even curing disease, can cannabis help us prevent disease and promote health by stimulating an ancient system that is hard-wired into all of us? I now believe the answer is yes.”

“As we continue to sort through the emerging science of cannabis and cannabinoids, one thing remains clear: a functional cannabinoid system is essential for health,” writes Dr. Sulak. “From embryonic implantation on the wall of our mother’s uterus, to nursing and growth, to responding to injuries, endocannabinoids help us survive in a quickly changing and increasingly hostile environment. As I realized this, I began to wonder: can an individual enhance his/her cannabinoid system by taking supplemental cannabis? Beyond treating symptoms, beyond even curing disease, can cannabis help us prevent disease and promote health by stimulating an ancient system that is hard-wired into all of us? I now believe the answer is yes.

Full text of the report is now available online here. Hard copies will be available for purchase shortly. Print copies of the third edition of this report will be made available at a reduced rate for those seeking bulk orders. (Please e-mail NORML for further details.)

Read the original article on the NORML blog.

Risk of Marijuana’s ‘Gateway Effect’ Overblown, New Research Shows

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ScienceDaily (Sep. 2, 2010) — New research from the University of New Hampshire shows that the “gateway effect” of marijuana — that teenagers who use marijuana are more likely to move on to harder illicit drugs as young adults — is overblown.

Whether teenagers who smoked pot will use other illicit drugs as young adults has more to do with life factors such as employment status and stress, according to the new research. In fact, the strongest predictor of whether someone will use other illicit drugs is their race/ethnicity, not whether they ever used marijuana.

Conducted by UNH associate professors of sociology Karen Van Gundy and Cesar Rebellon, the research appears in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

“In light of these findings, we urge U.S. drug control policymakers to consider stress and life-course approaches in their pursuit of solutions to the ‘drug problem,’ ” Van Gundy and Rebellon say.

The researchers used survey data from 1,286 young adults who attended Miami-Dade public schools in the 1990s. Within the final sample, 26 percent of the respondents are African American, 44 percent are Hispanic, and 30 percent are non-Hispanic white.

The researchers found that young adults who did not graduate from high school or attend college were more likely to have used marijuana as teenagers and other illicit substances in young adulthood. In addition, those who used marijuana as teenagers and were unemployed following high school were more likely to use other illicit drugs.

However, the association between teenage marijuana use and other illicit drug abuse by young adults fades once stresses, such as unemployment, diminish.

“Employment in young adulthood can protect people by ‘closing’ the marijuana gateway, so over-criminalizing youth marijuana use might create more serious problems if it interferes with later employment opportunities,” Van Gundy says.

In addition, once young adults reach age 21, the gateway effect subsides entirely.

“While marijuana use may serve as a gateway to other illicit drug use in adolescence, our results indicate that the effect may be short-lived, subsiding by age 21. Interestingly, age emerges as a protective status above and beyond the other life statuses and conditions considered here. We find that respondents ‘age out’ of marijuana’s gateway effect regardless of early teen stress exposure or education, work, or family statuses,” the researchers say.

The researchers found that the strongest predictor of other illicit drug use appears to be race-ethnicity, not prior use of marijuana. Non-Hispanic whites show the greatest odds of other illicit substance use, followed by Hispanics, and then by African Americans.