The House Just Stripped Medical Marijuana States Of Protection From The DEA

By James McClure for Civilized Life

States that have legalized medical marijuana could soon get an unwanted visit from the DEA. Yesterday, Congress stunned the cannabis industry by rejecting the only legal protection preventing Attorney General Jeff “good people don’t smoke marijuana” Sessions from cracking down on those 30 states for violating federal cannabis prohibition.

Back in 2014, lawmakers passed an amendment to the federal budget to protect state-legalized medical marijuana industries and the patients they serve. The amendment prevented the DEA from spending a single penny on enforcing cannabis prohibition in those states. It didn’t overturn federal cannabis prohibition or legalize medical marijuana, but it did tie the Department of Justice’s hands by freezing their finances.

At the time, medical marijuana was legal in 21 states, a number that has grown to 30 since then. But they could all be shuttered soon because that amendment — which has to be renewed with every budget — was rejected yesterday by the House Rules Committee. That means the House can’t include the rider in their final version of the federal budget.

If the budget passes without that rider, budtenders, dispensary owners, doctors recommending cannabis and even medical marijuana patients could face prosecution for their involvement in the industry. And not just for what they’re doing right now. They could be charged with offences dating back to when they got involved in the state’s cannabis industry.

And Attorney General Sessions might do just that since he’s been itching to crackdown on those states. Since taking office, Sessions has ramped up anti-marijuana rhetoric in America. And last May, he asked Congress to drop the amendment so that he could unleash the DEA on medical marijuana states if he saw fit. His request was denied in July by the Senate Appropriations Committee, but it seems like his message resonated in the House.

The fight for the marijuana amendment isn’t over yet though. The budget has yet to reach the Senate, where the rider could be re-inserted with support from Senators Cory Booker (D – NJ), Mike Lee (R – UT), Lisa Murkowski (R – AK), Rand Paul (R – KY), Bernie Sanders (D – VT) and others.

But even if it does get reinserted and passed, the amendment only buys patients, doctors and businesses a small window of relief before they have to start looking over their shoulders for DEA helicopters again. The reality is that the industry won’t be safe until Congress listens to the 94 percent of Americans who support medical marijuana and changes the country’s criminally outdated cannabis laws.

 

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Is The Marijuana Study To Help Veterans With PTSD Being Sabotaged By The VA?


By Aaron Kesel for Activist Post

An Arizona study on medical marijuana and its benefits for veterans to combat PTSD is in danger of collapsing because researchers can’t find enough participants for the research, Military Times reported.

The first of its kind study funded by a $2.156 million grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) awarded to MAPS to sponsor the research, seeks to determine whether marijuana can help manage veterans’ PTSD.

The research has received wide-scale backing from the American Legion and other veterans organizations.

The study is being conducted in Arizona and Maryland and is overseen by Dr. Marcel Bonn-Miller, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and Dr. Sue Sisley, a leading researcher on using marijuana to treat PTSD, in Phoenix, AZ. The other half of the subjects will be treated by Dr. Ryan Vandrey at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.

Last year, the DEA approved the joint study on marijuana for veterans with PTSD giving formal approval to a controlled clinical trial to study the effectiveness of cannabis and cannabinoid use in patients.

The study then stalled after Dr. Sisley was fired allegedly for her views on medical marijuana, Medical Jane reported.

Sisley is being blamed for the study’s failing for not focusing enough on the study and putting more of her attention on the media, claims VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour.

“If the researcher is truly interested in finding veterans for her study, she should spend more time recruiting candidates and less time writing letters to the media,” Cashour said.

She denies the allegation that it’s her fault citing lack of VA cooperation and criticism from local and federal VA officials Sisley blames them for “not offering more assistance.”

At a White House press briefing in May, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin was asked about easing rules for medical research on cannabis to help broaden treatment options for veterans.

“Right now, federal law does not prevent us at VA to look at that as an option for veterans,” he said.

I believe that everything that could help veterans should be debated by Congress and by medical experts.

If there is compelling evidence that this is helpful, I hope the people take a look at that and come up with the right decision, and then we will implement that.

“There may be some evidence that this is beginning to be helpful and we’re interested in looking at that and learning from that,” he added.

Cashour has stated that Federal law restricts the VA’s ability to conduct the research or to refer potential candidates.

“Federal law restricts VA’s ability to conduct research involving medical marijuana, or to refer veterans to such research projects,” VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour said. “The researcher is free to work with veterans service organizations and state veterans officials who may not face such restrictions to identify candidates for her study.”

On the side of the DOJ, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has raised the bar on going after drug offenders ordering harsher sentencing and to go after states that legalized marijuana, claiming it causes “violence” despite the fact that the war on drugs has been a complete and total failure. Even Congress is against Sessions’ crusade against medical marijuana, allocating a total of 0$ for his plan to go after non-violent criminals and passing the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment in May which “allows states to carry on with crafting their own medical marijuana policies without fear of federal intervention.”

However, in July the House Committee GOP stopped the “Veterans Equal Access” amendment from moving to debate on the House floor by keeping the measure out of the VA funding bill for next year which would have allowed doctors to recommend medical marijuana as a substitute to big pharma’s opioids where the drug is legal for veterans, so there is poignant opposition as well.

If new participants for the research can’t be found by Oct. 1st, Sisley has said, they may have to shut down the work or expand the study to include non-veterans, which will alter the results she was hoping to collect to determine if marijuana is helpful to veterans suffering from PTSD.

“It was a seven-year saga with federal regulations just to get the study to this point,” she said. “I don’t want to see that lost.”

Maybe there would be more participants if veterans like Kristoffer Lewandowski weren’t being locked up for felony marijuana cultivation, which in Oklahoma carries an outrageous maximum sentence of life in prison for growing a plant.

But really it’s all about the profits and protecting big pharmaceutical companies as former “chief propagandist” for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Belita Nelson has admitted: “Marijuana is safe, we know it is safe. It’s our cash cow and we will never give up.”

Could the VA be in bed with Big Pharma? Is that really why they oppose the research?

Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post and is Director of Content for Coinivore. Follow Aaron at Twitter and Steemit.

This article is Creative Commons and can be republished in full with attribution. Like Activist Post on Facebook, subscribe on YouTube, follow on Twitter and at Steemit.

What Your Government Knows About Cannabis And Cancer — And Isn’t Telling You

[May 2011]

In fact, the first experiment documenting pot’s potent anti-cancer effects took place in 1974 at the Medical College of Virginia at the behest federal bureaucrats. The results of that study, reported in an Aug. 18, 1974, Washington Post newspaper feature, were that marijuana’s primary psychoactive component, THC, “slowed the growth of lung cancers, breast cancers and a virus-induced leukemia in laboratory mice, and prolonged their lives by as much as 36 percent.”

Senator Ted Kennedy is putting forward a brave face following his recent surgery but the sad reality remains. Even with successful surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy treatment, gliomas — a highly aggressive form of brain cancer that strikes approximately 10,000 Americans annually — tragically claim the lives of 75 percent of its victims within two years and virtually all within five years.

But what if there was an alternative treatment for gliomas that could selectively target the cancer while leaving healthy cells intact? And what if federal bureaucrats were aware of this treatment, but deliberately withheld this information from the public?

Sadly, the questions posed above are not entirely hypothetical. Let me explain.

In 2007, I reviewed over 150 published preclinical and clinical studies assessing the therapeutic potential of marijuana and several of its active compounds, known as cannabinoids. I summarized these numerous studies in a book, now in its third edition, entitled Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids: A Review of the Scientific Literature. (NORML Foundation, 2008) One chapter in this book, which summarized the findings of more than 30 separate trials and literature reviews, was dedicated to the use of cannabinoids as potential anti-cancer agents, particularly in the treatment of gliomas.

Not familiar with this scientific research? Your government is.

In fact, the first experiment documenting pot’s potent anti-cancer effects took place in 1974 at the Medical College of Virginia at the behest federal bureaucrats. The results of that study, reported in an Aug. 18, 1974, Washington Post newspaper feature, were that marijuana’s primary psychoactive component, THC, “slowed the growth of lung cancers, breast cancers and a virus-induced leukemia in laboratory mice, and prolonged their lives by as much as 36 percent.”

Despite these favorable preliminary findings (eventually published the following year in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute), U.S. government officials refused to authorize any follow-up research until conducting a similar — though secret — preclinical trial in the mid-1990s. That study, conducted by the U.S. National Toxicology Program to the tune of $2 million, concluded that mice and rats administered high doses of THC over long periods had greater protection against malignant tumors than untreated controls.

However, rather than publicize their findings, the U.S. government shelved the results, which only became public after a draft copy of its findings were leaked to the medical journal AIDS Treatment News, which in turn forwarded the story to the national media.

In the years since the completion of the National Toxicology trial, the U.S. government has yet to authorize a single additional study examining the drug’s potential anti-cancer properties. (Federal permission is necessary in order to conduct clinical research on marijuana because of its illegal status as a schedule I controlled substance.)

Fortunately, in the past 10 years scientists overseas have generously picked up where U.S. researchers so abruptly left off, reporting that cannabinoids can halt the spread of numerous cancer cells — including prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and brain cancer. (An excellent paper summarizing much of this research, “Cannabinoids for Cancer Treatment: Progress and Promise,” appears in the January 2008 edition of the journal Cancer Research.) A 2006 patient trial published in the British Journal of Cancer even reported that the intracranial administration of THC was associated with reduced tumor cell proliferation in humans with advanced glioblastoma.

Writing earlier this year in the scientific journal Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, Italian researchers reiterated, “(C)annabinoids have displayed a great potency in reducing glioma tumor growth. (They) appear to be selective antitumoral agents as they kill glioma cells without affecting the viability of nontransformed counterparts.” Not one mainstream media outlet reported their findings. Perhaps now they’ll pay better attention.

What possible advancements in the treatment of cancer may have been achieved over the past 34 years had U.S. government officials chosen to advance — rather than suppress — clinical research into the anti-cancer effects of cannabis? It’s a shame we have to speculate; it’s even more tragic that the families of Senator Kennedy and thousands of others must suffer while we do.

 

By Paul Armentano

for Huffington Post

Monsanto to MONOPOLIZE GMO cannabis?

From Mike Adams at Natural News

Monsanto may be planning to monopolize the cannabis industry with its evil, cancer-causing poisons and GMOs. The future of cannabis might be genetically engineered, glyphosate-doused WEED that’s toxic to humanity.

Learn more at http://Monsanto.news and http://NaturalNews.com

Mike, your diatribe at the end is contrary to the latest science:

What’s Happened In Colorado Since Marijuana Was Legalized?

A look at criminal charges, youth and adult use, traffic safety, and crime since marijuana legalization in Colorado

From Russ Belville for Weed News

The idea that legalizing marijuana would somehow lead to terrible outcomes is based on the faulty idea that legalization somehow invents marijuana. It doesn’t; marijuana has been around for quite some time and is very popular. If it causes serious issues with traffic safety, student performance, and crime, we would have already seen these problems increase and decrease in correlation to greater and lesser use of marijuana.


Colorado Marijuana Use Header
Use went up most for the age group that can’t buy weed from fellow students.

Every so often, some prohibitionist shill will erupt onto the internet some blather about how Colorado has gone to hell in a handbasket since the legalization of marijuana for adult use in 2012. Whether it is Kevin Sabet trying ensure pot smokers are forced by drug courts to become clients of Big Rehab or some elected official spouting reefer madness nonsense that was debunked decades ago, I can always count on somebody typing something stupid enough to goad me into dropping some science in response.
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New findings highlight CBD’s therapeutic potential for cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure, and more

From Alternet

By Martin A. Lee / Project CBD

Photo Credit: Clarissa A. Leon, Photographer — Creative Commons

 

During the last week of June, more than 400 scientists from 25 countries met in Montreal for the 27th annual symposium of the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS). Several presentations and posters showcased new findings about cannabidiol (CBD), the non-euphoric component of the cannabis plant that is transforming the medical marijuana landscape.

In her Young Investigator Award Presentation, Saoirse O’Sullivan, associate professor at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, discussed the cardiovascular effects of cannabidiol: “CBD causes both acute and time dependent vasorelaxation of rat and human arteries … and can improve endothelial function and vasodilator responses in a rat model of type 2 diabetes.” Moreover, a single dose of CBD was found to decrease “resting blood pressure and the blood pressure response to stress.” Other studies indicate that CBD limits brain damage in animal models of stroke. “Collectively, these data suggest that CBD is a compound of interest in the cardiovascular system and in cardiovascular disorders, which need to be tested in relevant patient groups,” O’Sullivan concluded.

A poster by Dr. Paula B. Dall’Stella, a neuro-oncologist with Sirio Libanes Hospital in San Paulo, Brazil, documented the antitumoral effects of CBD in two patients with Glioblastoma Multiforme (brain cancer) that were resistant to other therapies. Before and after MRI scans showed “a marked remission … not commonly observed in patients only treated with conventional modalities … that could impact survival.”

Several presentations focused on CBD and treatment-resistant epilepsy. Dr. Fabricio A. Pamplona, scientific director of of Entourage Phytolab in San Paulo, Brazil, compared the efficacy of a purified CBDisolate to a whole plant CBD-rich oil extract. Pamplona found the whole plant extract to be a superior option with higher potency and fewer adverse side effects than single-molecule CBD: “There were more reports of ‘improvement in seizures frequency’ in CBD-enriched extract compared to purified CBD,” a result that he attributed to the “additional compounds available in extracts (other than CBD) that may interact synergistically.”

Israeli researchers at the Technion institute in Haifa found that “not all high CBD extracts have the same anticonvulsant ability.” The Israelis noted that “the terpenoid content in the cannabis extracts are important for the anticonvulsant effect.” (Terpenoids are derived from terpenes, the aromatic botanical compounds that endow cannabis with a unique smell and confer specific medicinal effects.) “Not all cannabis extracts will be useful as a treatment for epilepsy,” the Technion researchers concluded, adding: “[T]he exact cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles are needed to evaluate the potential anticonvulsant properties of a cannabis extract.”

Another poster drew attention to the fact that daily use of CBD-rich cannabis oil extracts may lead to a positive THC finding in a drug test, a concern for many U.S. patients in so-called “CBD-only states” that have legalized CBD but not the whole plant. Unfortunately, this poster resurrected the thoroughly discredited (and financially motivated) theory that CBD may convert to THC in the stomach. A more likely explanation is that any whole cannabis plant extract that includes even a small amount of THC could generate a positive result from a drug test. Given the unregulated CBD products that proliferate online, it’s not surprising that some “CBD” oils contain higher THC concentrations than advertised.

Other scientists probed CBD’s mechanism of action with respect to nausea, neuropathic pain, anxiety, and other mood disorders. Researchers at McGill University in Montreal found that analgesic effects of acute and chronic CBD treatment are mediated by the serotonin 5HT1a receptor, but this is not the case for CBD’s antidepressant effects, which seem to be regulated via other molecular pathways.

The complex role of the 5HT1a receptor with respect to CBD’s therapeutic properties was addressed in a poster by Aidan J. Hampson and his colleagues at the National Institute of Drug Abuse. It was Hampson’s work, published in 1998, that formed that basis for the U.S. government’s patent on the antioxidant and neuroprotectant properties of cannabinoids (both THC and CBD). More recently, Hampson has shown that the anxiety-relieving effect of CBD can be blocked in vivo (in a living animal) by a 5HT1a antagonist, indicating that this receptor is in part responsible for mediating the anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol. Curiously, Hampson’s current data suggests that in addition to binding directly to 5HT1a, cannabidiol may also act as a positive allosteric modulator of 5HT1a – meaning that CBD can alter the functionality of this receptor (and other serotonin receptor subtypes) in such a way as to enhance its binding efficiency with the endogenous serotonin neurotransmitter. In other words, CBD may actually magnify the effect of serotonin, in addition to directly activating the 5HT1a receptor.

Scientists at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky have identified two new molecular targets of CBD – the receptors designated “GPR3” and “GPR6.” (GPR refers to G-coupled protein receptor, the family of receptors that includes cannabinoid, opioid, and several serotonin receptor subtypes.) GPR3 and GPR6 are both known as “orphan receptors” because the principal endogenous compounds that bind to these receptors have yet to be identified. Some of the potential therapeutic effects of CBD for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia may be mediated by GPR3and GPR6.

Amyloid beta plaque and tau protein tangles in the brain are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s dementia. Tim Karl from the Western Sydney University School of Medicine in Australia elaborated on CBD’s therapeutic potential for this neurodegenerative brain disease: “The phytocannabinoid cannabidiol possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties and prevents amyloid beta-induced neuroinflammation, and tau hyperphosphorylation in vitro. CBD also reverses cognitive deficits of pharmacological amyloid beta models. Thus, CBD may offer therapeutic value for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Another receptor, known as GPR55, is inhibited by CBD. This is significant because preclinical research has linked GPR55 activation to several aberrant conditions, including colon cancer and Dravet Syndrome, a severe seizure disorder. By functioning as a GPR55 “antagonist,” CBD may confer a tumor-suppressing and anti-epileptic effect, although clinical studies have yet to confirm whether this mechanism of action is applicable to humans as well as animals.

At the 2017 ICRS conference, numerous presentations focused on other areas of cannabinoid science that do not involve CBD but are nonetheless relevant for cannabis clinicians and patients. Some highlights:

  • Chronic cannabis use: Carrie Cutler, assistant professor at Washington State University, provided a much-needed rejoinder to scientifically dubious assertions that chronic cannabis use during adolescence causes brain damage and significant detrimental effects on cognition and IQ. Her study found that after controlling for confounding variables no “significant effects of cannabis use were detected on … measures of memory or executive functioning” other than “modest problems with verbal free recall (i.e., remembering lists of items) and prospective memory (i.e, remembering to do things in the future).” A second study presented by Cutler drew attention to marijuana’s stress-reducing effects: “[C]hronic cannabis use is associated with a blunted stress response and a reduced reliance on top-down attentional control that does not cause overall cognitive performance to suffer.”
  • Addiction: Vincenzo Di Marzo, a leading cannabinoid scientist at the Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry in Naples, Italy, gave a fascinating presentation on the cessation of nicotine addiction among cigarette smokers who suffer a traumatic brain injury. Di Marzo identified an endogenous lipid molecule, N-oleoyol-glycine (OlGly), which activates a receptor on the membrane of the cell’s nucleus, thereby reducing the rewarding effects of nicotine and nicotine-dependence in mice. In a separate study of morphine withdrawal, Di Marzo and a team of international researchers concluded: “Oleoyl Glycine is a newly discovered endogenous cannabinoid-like compound that may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of addiction.”
  • Pain relief: Temple University scientists found that “cannabinoids used in combination with opioids have the potential to reduce the dose of opioids needed for analgesia.” Jenny L. Wiley, a scientist with RTI International in North Carolina, and her colleagues at Washington State University reported encouraging results regarding the use of THC as a prophylactic treatment for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. “Preliminary data suggest that THC administered chronically during the course of paclitaxel treatment decreases the development of mechanical allodynia [heightened sensitivity to pain] in both male and female rats.”
  • Sleep: Gwen Wurm at the University of Miami reported that medical cannabis use is associated with a decrease in the use of prescription and over-the-counter sleep medications. Moreover, according Wurm’s poster, “There is a strong relationship between use of medical cannabis for sleep and for pain.”
  • The CB2 receptor: Tel Aviv University scientist Bitya Raphael identified an endogenous hormone H4(99-103) that activates the cannabinoid CB2 receptor, which regulates immune function, metabolic processes and the peripheral nervous system. This is the first study showing that an endogenous circulating peptide signals via the CB2 receptor. A poster presented by Makenzie Fulmer at East Tennessee State University described how CB2 receptor dysfunction increases plaque calcification in a mouse model of atherosclerosis.

There were many other significant presentations during the four-day ICRS conference in Montreal that warrant mention – too many to adequately address in this summary. Project CBD looks forward to further developments next year when the ICRS convenes again at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Study: Nearly Half Of People Who Use Cannabidiol (CBD) Products Stop Taking Pharmaceuticals

Eighty percent of respondents found CBD to be “very or extremely effective” in treating their conditions. …However, it should be noted that research has shown that CBD and THC are more effective when used in conjunction with one another.

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By Amanda Siebert for Straight dot com

New survey results about a well-known compound in cannabis are providing doctors with some exciting information.

Conducted by HelloMD, an online community of doctors and cannabis patients, and Brightfield Group, the survey asked 2,400 of HelloMD’s 150,000 members about their use of products containing cannabidiol (CBD).

CBD is a compound in cannabis that isn’t psychoactive, meaning it won’t provide users with the same ‘high’ or euphoria that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) does.

Research has shown CBD to possess analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety properties, and it has been found to be an effective treatment for a number of conditions including Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and PTSD, among others.

Participants in the survey revealed that they used CBD primarily to treat insomnia, depression, anxiety, and joint pain.

While most men preferred to use THC-dominant products, survey results showed that women made up 55 percent of CBD users.

What really caught the attention of survey administrators was this: Nearly half (42 percent) of CBD users reported that, not only did they stop using prescription drugs like Vicodin or Percocet after they began using CBD; they also avoided over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol and Advil.

When asked how effective patients found CBD to be in treating their condition, 80 percent responded with “very or extremely effective”, while just three percent found it to be ineffective or slightly effective.

A common complaint from patients was that CBD products derived from marijuana were far more expensive than products derived from hemp. Conversely, patients using hemp-derived products said it was less effective than marijuana-derived products.

As such, 90 percent of patients said they would only buy CBD products derived from marijuana.

The most popular method of consumption was vaporization, followed by smoking and then edibles. Patients also reported that they spent anywhere from $20 to $80 per monthon CBD products.

While HelloMD is based in the United States, this data could be useful to both Canadian physicians and patients who are interested in using cannabis as a way to treat certain conditions, but without the psychoactivity that comes with THC.

However, it should be noted that research has shown that CBD and THC are more effective when used in conjunction with one another.