Is Weed the New Almond?

From NYT

Broccoli, beef, and perhaps most notably almonds have all come under fire in the past year for sucking up too much of California’s scarce water. Now you can add another crop to the tally of alleged water-guzzlers: marijuana.

A raid last week in California’s Mendocino, Humboldt, and Trinity Counties targeted marijuana growers not for growing the drug per se but for their illegal water use, reports Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones. Mr. Harkinson also writes that marijuana uses about six gallons of water per day per plant, while the notoriously water-intensive cotton uses just ten gallons per plant for the whole season.

Some have put marijuana’s water consumption lower or higher than the six-gallon figure. According to an analysis by Swami Chaitanya, a member of the Mendocino Cannabis Policy Council, which advocates for sustainable cannabis farming, an eighth of an ounce of marijuana takes 1.875 gallons of water to produce. That’s much less than it takes to produce a pound of beef (1500 gallons, according to Mr. Chaitanya), a bit less than it takes to grow a head of broccoli (5 gallons), and a bit more than it takes to grow a single almond (1 gallon).

Whether or not Americans will now give up weed the way some have been boycotting almonds is an open question. Ultimately, though, individual consumption decisions are less important than California’s ability to sustainably regulate its water — which, with respect to weed, it’s trying to do.

The California water board, along with the state’s Department of Fish & Wildlife, is developing a system of permits that would require cannabis growers to properly manage pesticide runoff and construction waste and get authorization to draw and store water. The goal is to mitigate the environmental impact of marijuana cultivation, and to get growers out in the open where their water use can be measured and regulated.

The regional water board for California’s North Coast, which includes Humboldt County, is set to adopt the permits in August, with the Central Valley likely to follow suit later this year.

The state isn’t doing a great job of measurement even when it comes to licit water use, but bringing weed growers into the state’s water system would help.

So would legalizing marijuana. As Samantha Page notes at ThinkProgress, growing weed for medical use is legal under California state law, but growing it for recreational use is “in a gray area of law enforcement.” Illegal growers tend to plant in remote wooded areas in Northern California, where the waterways are habitats for endangered and threatened fish species.

“Cannabis farming doesn’t happen out in the woods in Humboldt County because that’s a good place to grow things,” said Cris Carrigan, the director of the state water board’s office of enforcement. “It happens because you can hide there.”

If growing weed became fully legal in California, growers might shift to places where their crop’s environmental impact was less severe — especially since, absent the threat of raids, growing in the woods isn’t necessarily cost-effective.

Getting a permit system in place now will prepare California for the potential of legalization in the future, said Mr. Carrigan.

And it might make one of California’s most famous crops a little kinder to the state’s drought-stricken environment.

AMA: “use of marijuana for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is supported by high-quality evidence”

Culturally, the fight is over. We won. The pro-cannabis side has conquered the culture. Now politics is catching up.
Coleen Whitfield

The nation’s top medical organization released a major series of papers on medical cannabis last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in a move that constitutes a small step for the AMA, but a giant leap in cannabis medical history.

In five key papers, teams of researchers systematically reviewed dozens of clinical studies of marijuana, speaking in clear language that the “use of marijuana for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is supported by high-quality evidence.”

The review validated what doctors and patients in California have risked their freedom to say for twenty years. The findings also directly refute critics who maintain that “marijuana is not medicine.” Continue reading

Journal of the American Medical Association concludes: Marijuana Is Medicine

Via SFGate

Marijuana is one hundred percent a form of medicine, researchers conclude in a bombshell series of reports released today by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Cannabis — which has been used medicinally for thousands of years — reduces nausea, and vomiting, and pain, as well as spasticity, a panel of researchers conclude, after reviewing a total of 79 trials.

“Use of marijuana for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is supported by high-quality evidence,” one of the reports found.

Researchers bemoaned the lack of high-quality trials of marijuana. That situation that can be laid at the feet of cannabis prohibition. The federal government maintains cannabis is a highly dangerous drug with no medical use. Researchers must cut through more red tape to research a pot plant than any other substance on the planet, doctors say.

However, this week, the federal government slightly reduced the regulatory hurdles to study cannabis — down from eight layers of review, to seven.

More than 750,000 Americans will be arrested for cannabis this year. The Obama administration has spent an estimated $300 million interfering with state medical marijuana programs and patients, including arresting and prosecuting patients and caregivers. Thirty-five states have medical cannabis laws, and some members of Congress are working to de-fund federal attacks on medical marijuana.

White House Takes Huge Step Forward In Fight Over Marijuana Research

From Ryan Grim @ HuffPost

WASHINGTON — The White House took a major step forward on Monday to support research into the medical properties of marijuana, lifting a much-maligned bureaucratic requirement that had long stifled scientific research.

By eliminating the Public Health Service review requirement, the Department of Health and Human Services will help facilitate research into the drug.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers had called for the requirement to be lifted.

The requirement had long outgrown today’s marijuana politics. Even opponents of legalization have called for it to be lifted. As HuffPost’s Matt Ferner reported earlier:

Currently, marijuana research that is not funded by the government must go through a Public Health Service review — a process established in 1999 by the federal government after a 1998 Institute of Medicine report called for more scientific research into the medical value of marijuana.

It’s a process that no other substance classified by the government as Schedule I is subject to and one that researchers and lawmakers alike have criticized.

Under the Controlled Substances Act, the U.S. has five categories for drugs and drug ingredients. Schedule I is reserved for what the DEA considers to have the highest potential for abuse and no medical value. Marijuana has been classified as Schedule I for decades, alongside other substances like heroin and LSD.

Drug czar spokesman Mario Moreno Zepeda said, “The Obama Administration has actively supported scientific research on whether marijuana or its components can be safe and effective medicine. Eliminating the Public Health Service review should help facilitate additional research to advance our understanding of both the adverse effects and potential therapeutic uses for marijuana or its components.”

Rick Simpson on Hemp Oil (“Caravan To Midnight” radio show)

Biochemist Dennis Hill interview; Cannabis oil as a cure for cancer

Background; Dennis Hill is a biochemist who graduated from the University of Houston Texas, doing his Graduate Work at Baylor Medical School.Employed as a researcher at the renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas.
Five years ago Dennis was diagnosed with aggressive stage 3 prostate cancer, Thanks to cannabis oil he is now cancer free.
In the following video interview by Natalie Mazurek (2nd year chemistry student UTS Sydney), Dennis explains in chemistry terms, how the essential oil derived from cannabis kills cancer cells.
In the interview Dennis states “how it was trivial process using cannabis oil to cure himself of stage 3 prostate cancer.
No side effects, just a feeling of well being”
In this enlightening interview, Dennis explains in detail as only a biochemist could, how the cannabis works with the human bodies endocannabinoid system to kill cancer cells.

Interview by Natalie Mazurek, chemistry student UTS Sydney.

Interview glossary
Continue reading

Medical Marijuana Does Not Increase Kids’ Use of Pot, Study Says

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 5.12.54 PMVia attn

As medical marijuana continues its path towards legalization, one of the most common worries is that relaxed drug laws will end up preying on our most vulnerable population, unleashing droves of weed-crazed youths into the streets. But the notion that legalized medical pot encourages youngsters to try the drug may be as misguided as the one that claims pot has no medical benefits at all, new research shows.

In fact, the data published Monday in the journal Lancet Psychiatry show that in states with legalized medical marijuana laws, there was little to no change in the number of young people who tried the drug after the law passed. Continue reading