Florida Kratom Bill – Looking Better

As many of you may know, a new maverick congresswomen decided to make her first bill proposal ever: to ban kratom in FL. Luckily, this bill was shot down. Instead, they have proposed to enact some research on kratom and decide in around one year’s time what to do about the plant. You can read the full article here

http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/kratom-bill-now-proposes-research-not-ban-7557773

This is good news, and hopefully by the end of the year, they’ll enact reasonable regulations, or none at all, instead of an outright ban.

What is a Kratom Hangover?

Although I spend most of my time on this blog posting about my beloved cannabis, today I’d like to talk about my other lesser known plant ally, kratom. Although I could talk for days about the benefits of kratom, such as pain relief, mild euphoria, focus, etc, today I’m going to talk about the lesser known subject of a kratom hangover.

For those who haven’t heard of kratom, hangover like effects are very rare, and I wouldn’t want to scare you off. In fact, for almost everyone who has tried kratom, only a very miniscule portion ever experience a kratom hangover, and I experienced my first one with over a year of kratom use, hence this post.

kratom hangover

 

What is a Kratom Hangover?

While I will attempt not to go into too much depth about kratom hangovers (if you want depth, check out this article) I’d like to go over the basics. The first thing to note is that a kratom hangover is not like an alcohol hangover, and the mechanism of action is completely different: no acetaldehyde in this one. Instead a hangover from kratom only resembles a hangover in a few effects, some of which include

  1. Mild Headache
  2. Lethargy
  3. Nausea (rare)

These side effects typically only occur after a heavy night of kratom usage, much more than the suggested doses. Additionally, it seems from my experience that these effects tend to occur more in stimulating varieties of kratom and may have to do with dehydration. I am a very hydrated individual (love me some water), and this may account for the fact that I hadn’t experienced a kratom hangover until several days ago.

How to Avoid One

From my experience combined with the reports of others who have experienced this phenomenon, it is quite easy to avoid a kratom hangover. There are a few common sense tricks to avoid these hangovers.

1. Stay Hydrated

While this should go without saying, keeping hydrated is key when it comes to avoiding a kratom hangover. This is especially important when using more stimulating strains, like maeng da or thai, as they tend to make you sweat a little bit more, and you tend to expend more energy.

2. Avoid Overuse

One of the key reasons that people get a kratom hangover is because they overdo kratom. This isn’t necessary for a few reasons, the first reason is that it doesn’t tend to make the kratom experience more enjoyable or euphoric, and additionally, more side effects occur at higher doses, making it fairly useless to take more than a reasonable dose. Definitely check out this video on dosage for new users.

3. Know your Body

This one ties in with avoid overuse pretty well. Before deciding to use a massive dose of kratom, it is a good idea to know exactly how your body reacts to kratom. By starting with smaller doses and working your way up, you’ll find a sweet spot and exceeding that amount can cause side effects. By doing this, you’ll have a much better gauge and keep from getting a kratom hangover.

By following these rules, you should be able to avoid a kratom hangover fairly easily.

 

Pros and Cons of Wildcrafted and Plantation Kratom

I recently read a post, you can guess the forum, where a few individuals were debating what is better — wildcrafted or plantation kratom. Now, obviously there is a big variability in the methods that these plants are grown and picked, but each one has their own benefits and downsides.

Wildcrafted Kratom

Before I start, I will say that my absolute favorite type of strain (LTM) is wildcrafted, so in my book that is a big plus. However, to be fair, some of the worst I have had was also wildcrafted. The problem, and also the benefit, of wildcrafted kratom is that it varies dramatically from location to location and from supplier to supplier. There are some individuals who are lucky to live quite close to an ideal environment for kratom growth, and can get some very strong leaf. The problem, however, is that some wildcrafters aren’t too selective in their methods.

 

Plantation Kratom

From my personal experience, plantation kratom is far more standardized than its wildcrafted brother. This lends to a dramatically increased stability in potency from batch to batch. My second favorite variety of kratom is a plantation kratom, so there is plenty potential in it. If it is done right, plantation kratom can be great for daily use, as you will know what to expect and how it will affect you much more than its wildcrafted alternative, however, you won’t experience the massive highs, but also not the massive lows.

Both varieties of kratom are unique and are definitely worth their salt, so the difference depends on each individual. Would you prefer highs and lows or a dependable variety? I say both.

Keep Plants Legal

Anyone watching the news recently knows how the war against plants has been inflated to ridiculous proportions, and while the content of this website is primarily about cannabis and medical marijuana, I feel it would be good to switch gears and take a more broad stance toward the illeglization of medicinal herbs, cannabis still being the primary focus.

The other plant we’ve seen under fire recently is known as kratom, latin name Mitragyna Speciosa.  Kratom has been used for thousands of years as an effective painkiller and is part of the rubiceae coffee family. Kratom has been effective for thousands who deal with chronic pain and even has a great record of helping opiate addicts break their addiction.

Despite these beneficial properties, kratom has fallen into negative media publicity and several states have enacted laws to prohibit the use of kratom and some states have even made kratom illegal within their confines, as the pharmaceutical industry nudged congressmen to include kratom in with the various “bath salt” acts to fend off potential competition.

You can expect I will be providing some more information on the legal status of kratom along with information about marijuana, feel free to offer your opinions.

Medical Marijuana and Dr. Oz: Shame for Misinformation Propaganda

dr oz marijuanaDr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com

Dr. Oz, you probably are a good surgeon but Marijuana therapeutics is obviously NOT your forte.

(MOLALLA, Ore.) – Dr. Oz, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read The Oregonian Dec. 15, 2010 with the headline for your article Medical Marijuana Is Not An All-Purpose Healer. I have no idea who flummoxed you into writing this but as a physician from Turkey you should know better. Marijuana has been used as medicine in your country, Turkey, for at least 1000 years. Here for only 200.

I have been a Pharmacology & Toxicology professor for 50 years. I’m going down your list and correcting you about Marijuana’s usefulness:

(1) for Cancer pain it is better than most opiates

(2) for nausea of Cancer and HIV/AIDS it is better than most anti-emetics AND anti-nausea medicines

(3) for anorexia of Cancer and HIV/AIDS it can’t be beat

(4) for nerve pain it is better than most opiates

I will continue to correct you as I follow your article. It can be smoked (not recommended – use a vaporizer instead!) and can be eaten in lemon bars or any other cookie or cake. “Hand rolled” joints are passé – use a vaporizer, it’s much better.

Marijuana/Cannabis does cause vasodilation and recent medical articles indicate it IS good for high blood pressure. It is excellent for diabetic neuropathy which is very painful. It has been found useful for Alzheimers rage.

Marijuana/Cannabis has effectively supplemented many standard pharmaceuticals (search my article Marijuana Replaces Many Drugs).

You refer to Marijuana Carcinogens. Using a vaporizer eliminates them producing beneficial medicine ONLY. Tobacco kills millions. Marijuana never killed anybody.

Modern U.S. medical literature sponsored & paid for by U.S. Government prints only bad stuff about Cannabis. I have about 5000 Medical Marijuana patients and none ever reported anything about heart attacks. As far as “brain drain” is concerned it is a mild inebriant, call it tipsy. I had about 50 Multiple Sclerosis patients. They prefer it to ANY other medicine.

Weakend Immunity System has been studied in HIV/AIDS patients. Marijuana is probable neutral on this.

Lung damage is another “red herring”. Use a vaporizer and eliminate this.

You tout Marinol pills. In effective doses, it causes anxiety reactions and panic attacks. These are not helpful.

Dr. Oz, you probably are a good surgeon but Marijuana therapeutics is obviously NOT your forte.

Lawmakers Reject Christie Administration’s Draconian Medical Marijuana Regulations

chris christieSenate lawmakers voted on Monday, December 13 in favor of a concurrent resolution that forces the Department of Healthand Senior Services to revise draft regulations regarding the implementation of the New Jersey Compassionate Medical Marijuana Act. Assembly lawmakers had previously approved the resolution in November.

The Department now has 30 days to rewrite the regulations. (You can read NORML’s critique of the draft regulations here.) “Failure to publish proposed rules that are consistent with the intent of the legislature may result in the legislature passing a concurrent resolution to prohibit those proposed rules from taking effect in whole or in part,” the resolutions states.

Lawmakers, patients, and reform activists took issue with several aspects of the draft regulations, which they argued violated the intent of New Jersey’s yet-to-be implemented medical marijuana law. These included provisions:

  • requiring qualifying patients to establish that their diagnosed condition has proven resistant to all other conventional therapies;
  • capping the number of state-licensed medical cannabis producers to no more than two;
  • restricting the varieties of marijuana available to patients to six strains, and capping the plant’s THC content at ten percent;
  • prohibiting the dissemination of any edible medical cannabis product;
  • mandating that doctors who authorize their patients to use marijuana must “make reasonable efforts” at least every three months to wean them off the drug.

Earlier this month, Gov. Chris Christie – who has previously voiced disapproval of the state’s nascent medical cannabis law – agreed to allow for establishment of six licensed facilities to produce and dispense marijuana to authorized patients, and loosen the eligibility requirements for specific patients. The Senate’s vote today indicates that lawmakers will demand the administration to make additional changes regarding how the law is ultimately implemented.

Chris Goldstein of New Jersey NORML and the Coalition for Medical Marijuana – New Jersey said: “[We are] pleased that the New Jersey Legislature heard the concerns of severely ill residents in the continued fight for fair and legal access to marijuana. The vote today sends a strong message to the Department of Health and Senior Services as well as Governor Christie that officials need to craft more reasonable rules for the medical cannabis program. This can only be accomplished by engaging in a transparent process that involves patients and advocates.”

NORML would like to thank everyone who wrote e-mails or called their NJ state lawmakers and urged them to support this important resolution.

For more information or to get involved, contact NORML New Jersey or the Coalition for Medical Marijuana – New Jersey.

Sincerely,
The NORML Team

Marijuana Compounds for Multiple Sclerosis

marijuana for multiple sclerosisMedical marijuana has a variety of potential uses. For multiple sclerosis patients, I found 12 clinical trials listed at http://clinicaltrials.gov involving marijuana for the treatment of muscle spasticity or neuropathic pain. The drug forms include Sativex, Marinol, smoked cannabis, and standardized cannabis extract.

Spasticity is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis. It is characterized by an involuntary increase in muscle tone or rapid muscle contractions. Neuropathic pain is associated with many conditions. Inflammation of the neurons has been reported to be a possible cause of symptoms in multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune conditions.

Drugs currently in use provide symptom relief for some patients withmultiple sclerosis, but are not effective for everyone. Side effects further limit their usefulness. Marijuana is commonly used as an alternative therapy. Studies with animal models suggest that the cannabis ingredients may provide neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory benefits to reduce symptoms.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are two ingredients of marijuana which are available in the prescription drug Sativex, which is approved for use in the United Kingdom but still in clinical trials in the United States. A recent review article reports that the combination may reduce symptoms of spasticity in patients withmultiple sclerosis. This conclusion is based on the analysis of six double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials. The authors note that careful monitoring of symptoms and side effects is important to find the optimum dose for each individual.

Synthetic THC alone is legally available in the United States in the drug Marinol. Some therapeutic benefit has been reported in multiple sclerosis patients, but the side effects were a significant concern. CBD is reported to reduce the levels of THC in the brain and produce a more tolerable treatment with less of a psychotropic side effect. Many patients report that smoked marijuana provides better therapy than THC pills. The Sativex combination drug, which is available as an oral spray, is an attempt to correct the limitations of the Marinol pill.

If you have multiple sclerosis and live in the United States, you may want to ask your doctor about the clinical trials for marijuana that are still recruiting participants.

Marijuana Not as Dangerous as Most Legal Drugs

marijuana not as dangerous as legal drugsI sat on my couch for more than 30 minutes, trying to come up with a great introduction to segue into my actual argument for this column, but I really have no other way to start this than to just come out and say what I think: the federal government needs to legalize pot.

There. Now that I can officially be branded a stoner, a hippie, young liberal trash or a drug advocate — none of which I actually am — I can present a few reasonable, mature points as to why marijuana should be made legal for the good will and sake of American society, not because it just sounds like a fun thing to do.

Medical marijuana use is currently legal in 15 states, including Washington, D.C., since Arizona voters approved the drug last month, according to a Nov. 14 Associated Press article. The benefits of using THC to combat pain caused by disease have been documented numerous times in recent decades.

A study conducted in February 2009 by the Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology called “Smoked Medicinal Cannabis for Neuropathic Pain in HIV” found that 46 percent of patients suffering with pain due to HIV experienced at least a 30-percent reduction in their physical pain after being treated with cannabis.

The fact that marijuana has a bad reputation for being a recreational street drug is overshadowing the actual scientific evidence that marijuana can easily and safely attach to the brain’s cannabinoid receptors and effectively reduce pain to those who are suffering.

We as a nation use opiates like those found in heroin to treat pain; we give our children Ritalin, which is practically a mild dose of cocaine, to treat attention deficit disorder; we expose ourselves to radiation to treat cancer; and we will willingly inject all number of things into our bodies simply for cosmetic purposes.

And that is OK. These products work and are effective for millions of people. Where would we be without hydrocodone pills after an injury or surgery? I am glad these drugs are available in this great country of ours. But when looking at the chemicals and active ingredients in many of the most popular pain relievers, how are they any better or worse for you than a hit of pot?

In fact, studies have shown that marijuana use is actually less damaging to the body than either alcohol or tobacco. There are almost no cases of lung cancer being caused by marijuana, whereas tobacco accounts for the majority of lung cancer cases, according to the May 12, 2009, CBS News column “Make Marijuana Legal” by Ethan Nadelmann, the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

In addition, marijuana has not been found to be addictive, it is not associated with violent behavior and people who smoke weed have not been shown to be sexually reckless. It is difficult to say this for other substances, especially alcohol, which is not even remotely close to being taboo anymore. In 1988, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s administrative law judge, Francis Young, went as far as to make the statement, “Marijuana may well be the safest psychoactive substance commonly used in human history.” Just because it is illegal does not mean that it is a bad idea to reverse marijuana’s status at a federal level.

Some critics might argue that legalizing cannabis would just encourage more drug use and make Americans into lazy potheads. Here’s the cold fact: people smoke weed anyway.

The July 11, 2008, online Time Magazine article, “Smoking Pot: An American Pastime” by Sarah N. Lynch, states that 42 percent of people in America have smoked pot at least once in their lifetime. That’s nearly half of the entire population. According to an April 20 CBS News article by Stephanie Condon, 44 percent of Americans think that marijuana should be taxed and regulated, just like alcohol or cigarettes.

If marijuana were legal, there would be less danger with people sneaking it around and selling it; more people who are in need of pain management would have a new, more natural option; and the economy would benefit from the extra tax revenue.

The biggest issue with marijuana in America right now is the fact that is isn’t legal, and therefore, it automatically gets grouped into an unwholesome category without even being given a second thought. It is time to face the facts and realize that legalizing pot is not just an incentive to get stoned and throw a Woodstock revival every weekend. There are many benefits that the United States as a nation could reap from putting aside our speculations and preconceived notions about weed and treat it like we do so many other substances available to the public.

Breaking News: Christie Gets His Way on NJ Medicinal Marijuana

chris christie3I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that today New Jersey’s bully Governor Chris Christie issued a press release about the state’s medical marijuana program. The public comment hearings scheduled by the Department of Health and Senior Services were also cancelled without explanation.

The full press release is below, please read:

Governor Chris Christie Announces Bi-Partisan Agreement on Medicinal Marijuana

For Immediate Release    Contact: Michael Drewniak

Friday, December 3, 2010 Kevin Roberts 609-777-2600

Trenton, NJ – Governor Chris Christie today announced a bi-partisan agreement with the Assembly primary sponsor of the state’s medicinal marijuana law on regulations that will ensure timely access to medicinal marijuana for qualified patients while at the same time ensuring the program has adequate safety and security controls.

Governor Christie applauded Assemblyman and Deputy Majority Leader Reed Gusciora for working with the Governor’s Office and staff at the state Department of Health and Senior Services to reach the accord on the medicinal marijuana regulations.

“Our agreement with Assemblyman Gusciora is an example of how reasonable minds can come together and craft solutions that are in the best interests of our state,’’ Governor Christie said. “Working together, we have come to an agreement that will prevent further delay to patients who need relief from the symptoms of debilitating illnesses.  At the same time, we are protecting the interests of all residents of the state of New Jersey by preventing some of the abuses that we have seen in other states.”

The agreement reflects a good-faith compromise between the Administration and the primary sponsor of the legislation on the best way to move forward with a responsible, medically-based program that will avoid the significant fraud and criminal diversion problems experienced in states like California and Colorado.

The key changes in the regulations as a result of bi-partisan agreement are:

* Six Alternative Treatment Centers – two each in the north, central and southern regions of the state—will be permitted and each will be able to both dispense and grow medicinal marijuana.

* Home delivery and satellite locations for the Alternative Treatment Centers will no longer be allowed.

* Only the debilitating conditions originally contained in the law will be subject to the provision that all conventional therapies have been exhausted before a physician can recommend a patient for medicinal marijuana.

The rules still require a maximum THC level of 10 percent.  Physicians still must have an ongoing relationship with a patient. Over the course of the first two years of the program, the Department of Health and Senior Services will evaluate many different aspects of the program and consider changes as necessary or appropriate.

“This is a reasonable and fair resolution that will keep implementation of the program on track without unnecessary delay,” said Assemblyman Gusciora.  “I appreciate the Governor’s willingness to work with me on reaching this agreement, which meets our respective concerns.  The most important outcome is that those most in need of the benefits of medicinal marijuana will get the relief they need and are entitled to under the law.”

“As a physician, it remains important to me that patients who are recommended for medicinal marijuana must have an ongoing relationship with a bona fide physician – who continues to monitor not only their underlying medical condition but their response to medicinal marijuana,” said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Dr. Poonam Alaigh. “These changes preserve the integrity of the physician-patient relationship.”

The Department of Health and Senior Services had scheduled a public hearing on the original rules for Monday in the War Memorial. That hearing has been cancelled because of today’s agreement on changes to the regulations.
# # #
www.nj.gov/governor/

The fact that they are still limiting the percentage of THC to 10% is absolutely ridiculous. What about patients who need higher daily dosages? And not allowing edibles is another slap in the face to patients and advocates. I really think Christie is a piece of garbage and has been highly influenced by the prison system and the pharmaceutical companies, I really do. Any moron that understands right from wrong understands that something that grows in the ground, quickly heals stomach pains and cannot kill you matter how much you take, knows that cannabis should be legal. And by the way, it shouldn’t be taxed either. The more I learn, the more I feel this country is doomed. Our governor doesn’t want to do what’s right for humanity. The pharmaceutical companies don’t want to cure anything. The healthcare system is just a middle man that costs us billions. And the president isn’t turning out to be the person I voted for. But who knows? “I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change.”

Legislature is Right to Kill Christie’s Pot Rules

chris christieTen months after the medical marijuana law was passed, with a poll now showing 82 percent of New Jerseyans favor it, you’d think suffering patients would be getting relief. But passing the bill was the easy part. Now the Legislature has to force Gov. Chris Christie to implement it.

Christie seems intent on wrecking this program with restrictive regulations. His Department of Health has drafted rules that would restrict marijuana use, availability and potency.

No fan of the law, Christie is misusing his power to draft rules to subvert it. He wants to cap the levels of THC, forcing patients to use an ineffective Pot Lite. The governor also wants to ban dispensaries within 1,000 feet of a school, all but ruling out most of the state’s cities.

The law limits illnesses that can be treated with pot, but allows the Department of Health to amend the list. A problem: Christie’s rules would prohibit changes for two years.

The governor demands doctors must try every three months to get patients off marijuana to prevent them from becoming addicts – even terminal patients. This regulation, and others aimed at doctors, will discourage many from participating.

The governor, as usual, is refusing to budge, forcing the Legislature to fight him. The Senate recently came close to rejecting the rules, but Sen. Brian Stack yanked his vote at the last minute, asking for clarification on how distributors would be screened and how many distribution sites there would be. But those rules are written by the administration.

This excuse is so bogus it leads us to believe Stack cut a deal with the governor.

Scutari says he won’t need Stack’s vote when the measure is voted on by the full Senate on Dec. 13. (The Assembly passed the resolution.)

Rejecting the rules will delay implementation, and that’s a pity. But the governor forced this fight. His regulations could keep the program from launching, and certainly would prevent it from being effective.

New Jersey’s Crazy Medical Marijuana Proposals

medical marijuanaOpinion by NORML

(October 06, 2010) in Society / Drug Law

By “Radical” Russ Belville” – who I think personally is an asshole.

New Jersey – the No Garden State – is already America’s most restrictive medical marijuana state for not allowing patients to grow their own medicine. The carefully crafted medical law won’t allow for patients with chronic pain to use cannabis and most patients will have to be virtually on their deathbed to get medical marijuana.

But now, Republican Gov. Christie, who despises the law, and his allies in the Assembly are working to draft regulations for the fledgling program that would make the operation of the program nearly impossible and ineffective for most patients.

(NBC New York) Sen. Scutari is taking particular exception to how the rules deal with the six combination manufacturing and distribution Alternative Treatment Centers that the law calls for (two in North Jersey, two in Central Jersey and two in South Jersey).

Instead, Scutari said he was told two of the centers will be just for growing the marijuana, while the sale of the product will be allowed only in the other four.

Scutari is also worried about proposed restrictions on potency and ingestibility, noting “We wrote the most stringent, conservative law in the country.”

“I hope these rules are not so stringent that they strangle it,” Scutari said, adding “That’s my fear right now.”

Here are some of the regulations being proposed for New Jersey’s program:

– Qualifying conditions: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, muscular dystrophy, or inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease, terminal illness (<12 months to live), positive status for AIDS, HIV or cancer.
– You may also qualify if other treatments don’t work for seizure disorder, including epilepsy; intractable skeletal muscular spasticity; or glaucoma.
– The registration fee for patients is $200 and will be valid for two years.
– Your doctor must have seen you for a year and documented four visits for the debilitating condition and must see the patient for follow-up visits.  Because poor folks can easily afford a $200 reg fee + four doctor visits in a year.
– You can only have a maximum of two ounces in any 30 day period.
– You may not share or give away your medicinal marijuana, even to another patient.
– Marijuana should be available in July 2011 (sorry for you folks with terminal diseases and <12 months to live…)
– Caregivers can only take care of one patient and can not have any possession convictions in their past, as determined by a mandatory criminal background check and fingerprinting.
– Only four dispensaries in the whole state, supplied only by two dispensary-growers for the whole state, and you can only shop at the one you designate.
– Your medical marijuana card will have your name, photo, and home address on it.  Let’s hope you don’t lose your wallet and some marijuana-stealing home invaders don’t find it.
– A dispensary license costs $20,000, and $2,000 of that is non-refundable if your application is turned down.
– No eating or drinking at a dispensary (WTF?)
– Drug testing for dispensary employees.
– Marijuana available at dispensaries shall have a THC level not to exceed 10 percent.
– An dispensary shall cultivate no more than three strains of medical marijuana.
– Dispensary marijuana cannot be packaged in larger amounts that one quarter ounce.
– Dispensaries have to keep log books of the patients’ self-reported pain every three months.
– Dispensaries can only keep on hand two ounces per patient registered for that dispensary… and must destroy any excess!
– Dispensaries must keep $1,000,000 worth on insurance on any delivery vehicles.
– A dispensary delivery cannot be made on the same day the patient orders the medicine.
– Dispensaries must tell patients not to engage in “extraneous conversations” with the delivery personnel.  (Again, WTF?)
– Dispensaries ads must only be black text on white background, no illuminated signs, no t-shirts or other promo items.
– Patients cannot get their medical marijuana delivered if they live within a “Drug Free School Zone” (usually 1,000 feet from a school, or as most of us call it, “anywhere in a city”.

That’s most of the ridiculous proposals in the 97 pages of draft regulations.  This is clearly designed to prevent the medical marijuana program from working at all… just like Gov. Christie wants it.

Study Contends Marijuana Isn’t a Gateway Drug

marijuanaMarijuana is thought by some to be a gateway drug among young people who eventually go on to try stronger substances. But that may be the exception rather than the rule, a new study finds.

Researchers from the University of New Hampshirelooked at data from a random group of 1,286 children, teens and young adults who were in Miami-Dade public schools in the 1990s. Among the study participants, 26% were African American, 44% were Hispanic, and 30% were non-Hispanic white.

They were asked about their substance use and about exposure to major events and traumas that occurred before age 13. Some questions included, “Did you ever fail a grade at school?”, “Did your parents ever divorce/separate?” and “Were you regularly emotionally abused by one of your caretakers?”

Education played a role in use of other substances–those more likely to have used marijuana as teens and other drugs as young adults didn’t graduate from high school or go to college. Employment factored in as well, since those who smoked pot as teens and were out of work after high school were more apt to use other drugs.

Researchers also discovered that if young adults became involved with other substances after using marijuana as teens, that link didn’t hold once the sources of stress, such as not working, went away.

Age was yet another issue. Researchers discovered that after the age of 21, the gateway effect seemed to disappear.

The results could have implications for drug policy, the study authors argue. “Employment in young adulthood can protect people by ‘closing’ the marijuana gateway,” said lead author Karen Van Gundy, in a news release, “so over-criminalizing youth marijuana use might create more serious problems if it interferes with later employment opportunities.”

The study appears in the September issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

– Jeannine Stein / Los Angeles Times

Cannabis, An Effective Treatment For Chronic Pain

cannabisMarijuana, or cannabis, may be an effective treatment for chronic pain, a Canadian researcher suggests.

Dr. Mark Ware of the McGill University Health Center and McGill University in Montreal says marijuana may offer relief to patients suffering from chronic neuropathic pain.

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, not only finds medical marijuana at a low dose offered modest pain reduction in patients suffering from chronic neuropathic pain, but also improved patients’ mood and improved sleep. Effects were less pronounced in marijuana strains containing less than 10 percent of the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol.

“The patients we followed suffered from pain caused by injuries to the nervous system from post-traumatic — e.g. traffic accidents — or post-surgical — e.g. cut nerves — events, and which was not controlled using standard therapies,” Ware says in a statement. “This kind of pain occurs more frequently than many people recognize, and there are few effective treatments available. For these patients, medical cannabis is sometimes seen as their last hope.”

Ware and colleagues conducted trials in which patients who smoked marijuana at home — using a pipe three times daily over a period of five days — were monitored daily for their responses.

Medical Marijuana Allowed in Airports

Medical marijuana is now allowed in airport terminals. Medical marijuana patients report no problems as they boarded with carry-on luggage and cannabis plants. Under the new regulations, patients can fly with their cannabis. They can even change planes in states where it’s illegal. The TSA told us state laws supersede what it would do in the aviation secor and it would be up to the local law enforcement officials to determine the action they would take based on whatever the person was trying to bring on board an aircraft. There are restrictions. The final destination must be medical marijuana friendly, and passengers in possession can’t leave the terminal in states that haven’t legalized it.

By Heidi Meili

Cannabis Alleviates Crohn’s Disease Symptoms

cannabisBelow is a repost of an August 2005 press release from Bath University in the United Kingdom.

Researchers investigating anecdotal evidence that cannabis relieves some of the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have discovered a potential new target for cannabis-derived drugs for treatment of the disease.

This finding, published in the journal Gastroenterology today, could bring new hope for the UK’s 90,000 – 180,000 sufferers of diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis* with the possibility that cannabis-derived drugs may help to heal the gut lining, which is damaged during the course of disease.

Both Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis – often referred to under the umbrella term of IBD – cause patients’ immune systems to go into overdrive, producing inflammation in different areas of the gastrointestinal tract.

This inflammation can cause pain, urgent diarrhoea, severe tiredness and loss of weight, and is most commonly diagnosed in young adults of both sexes between the ages of 15 and 25.

Patients with IBD who are also users of cannabis often report that their symptoms are alleviated following cannabis use, suggesting that the gut is able to respond to some of the molecules found in cannabis.

Investigating this phenomenon, Dr Karen Wright and Professor Steve Ward from the University of Bath worked with colleagues at the Royal United Hospital in Bath to look at the interaction of cannabis with specific molecules, known as receptors, found on the surface of cells in the gut.

Examining gut samples from healthy people and IBD patients, the researchers looked at two specific receptors, called CB1 and CB2, which are known to be activated by the presence of molecules found in cannabis.

They discovered that whilst CB1 is present in healthy people, the presence of CB2 increases in IBD patients as their disease progresses.

The researchers believe that the presence of CB2 receptor only during the disease-state may be linked to its known role in suppression of the immune system. In other words, it is part of the body’s natural mechanisms that attempt to restore the normal healthy state of the gut.

If so, this makes it an ideal candidate for the development of new cannabis-derived drugs to help IBD patients. They also found that the CB1 receptor helps to promote wound healing in the lining of the gut.

“This gives us the first evidence that very selective cannabis-derived treatments may be useful as future therapeutic strategies in the treatment of Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis,” said Dr Karen Wright from the University’s Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology.

“This is because some extracts from cannabis, known as cannabinoids, closely resemble molecules that occur naturally in our body, and by developing treatments that target this system, we can help the body recover from some of the effects of these diseases.”

Ordinarily, CB1 and CB2 have the task of recognising and binding to a family of substances called “endocannabinoids” that occur naturally in our bodies. Once these receptors have detected the presence of specific molecules in their surrounding environment, a chain of biochemical signals is activated which culminates in switching immune responses on or off – depending on what their function is.

“The normal job of the CB1 and CB2 receptors is to help moderate diverse responses throughout the body, but their presence in the gut means that they could be useful targets for the development of cannabis-derived drugs for controlling the progression of IBD,” said Dr Wright.

“The research shows that whilst cannabis use may have some benefits for patients with IBD, the psychoactive effects and the legal implications associated with herbal cannabis use make it unsuitable as a treatment. Targeting drug development to components of the in-built cannabinoid system could be the way forward.”

Cannabis-based medicines that help alleviate the pain endured by Multiple Sclerosis patients have already been given a licence for use in Canada, and Salisbury-based GW Pharmaceuticals is pioneering many of the advances in this field.

The research was funded by the Wellcome Trust and an NHS Research Grant.

Notes

*Figures from the National Association for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease. There is no national database of people with Crohn’s or Colitis – the figures are taken from estimates published by the British Society for Gastroenterology in 2004.

Cannabis Cures Skin Cancer

cannabis skin cancerThe information I have found on marijuana and it’s effects on cancer during the first three months of writing this blog has been astounding. The more I learn, the more I realize how much money the war on drugs, big pharma and the prison system would lose if cannabis were made legal.

Now I’ve found a fully documented case of cannabis curing skin cancer. The fact that this has been known for decades by the U.S. government and the American Cancer Society is depressing. If you type “marijuana” into the search bar at the American Cancer Society’s website you’ll notice that there is not one mention of cannabis in a positive light, only negative reports, in some case flat out lies. It makes you wonder who really cares about our health. Watch the video after the break.

If you have lost anyone in your life to cancer, take a few minutes and watch the video, it’s worth your time. We have to open our eyes and start asking our doctors and our government why they have ignored the facts for so many years.

THC Protects Against MDMA Induced Brain Damage

thc mdma damageTourino, Andreas Zimmer, and Olga Valverde published a provacative article demonstrating that THC can protect against MDMA (ecstasy) induced brain damage. The authors note that the negative effects of long term MDMA use  arise from it’s metabolism. High temperatures cause  “the formation and uptake of MDMA toxic metabolites that increase oxidative stress, causing nerve terminal damage…and eventually axonal degeneration.”

Basically current research suggests that taking MDMA (ecstasy) and going dancing may increase brain damage associated with long term use.

The authors also site evidence that MDMA is often consumed with cannabis (1) (2). They point out that THC has been widely reported to lower body temperature, decrease inflammation, and is a potent anti-oxidant. Interestingly, in animal models of drug abuse THC and MDMA appear to “counter balance” each other. THC is able to attenuate many effects of MDMA including hyperthermia (overheating), hyper-locomotion, and anxiety. However, these authors are the first to explore if THC can actually protect brain cells from MDMA’s toxic effects.

This image shows a vehicle or untreated brain compared to MDMA and THC treated brains. Notice the pale complexion of the MDMA brain slice? This decrease in staining indicates a reduction in important brain proteins, this unwanted protein reduction is prevented when THC is given to the mice.

They also discuss some of the implications of their findings:

The frequent co-use of both drugs makes it particularly interesting to study the effects of their combination Indeed, previous studies describe the effects of THC and MDMA together in animal models of locomotor activity, temperature, anxiety, reward and THC-dependence. However, the neuroprotective effects of THC on MDMA neurotoxicity have never been reported. In addition, the dose of THC used in this  study (3 mg/kg, i.p.) could be considered a dose consumed by regular moderate cannabis users, and for that reason similar doses are used in the previously reported animal studies.”

So what does this mean to humans?

A few clinical studies on polydrug use have shown that use of cannabis and MDMA leads to deficits in brain function. Yet, the authors point to three studies which suggest that MDMA users that also consume THC have less ‘brain problems’ than “pure MDMA users.” (1) (2) (3)

MDMA also has a therapeutic role in diseases such as PTSD.  Given that THC may reduce possible negative effects associated with MDMA use, i.e., hyperthermia and listening to techno music. Future clinical studies that are examining a therapeutic role for MDMA, should consider including groups of patients that receive a measured dose of both drugs.

Cannabis for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

cannabis for ocdIt was all Judy Mendoza could take. She was driving towards their garage when all of a sudden, her 12-year-old son Ryan came out from their front door, ran towards her and threw himself on the hood of her car asking her to just kill him. Ryan decided on that day that he no longer wants to live with his illness: severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  For Judy, it was too much suffering to see her son wanting to die, and she finally decided to do whatever it takes to cure him. She took the one way that perhaps many others would not: medical marijuana.

In her state, the use of marijuana is considered legal when administered by a doctor. Instead of the typical marijuana consisting of dry leaves being smoked, medicinal marijuana comes in a liquid form (a “tincture”) which is then mixed on food or can be directly applied under the tongue of the patient for a more rapid effect.

True enough, after Ryan’s first encounter with marijuana, his condition greatly improved. He was able to go to the beach and just be normal like any other boy of his age. A year earlier, Judy swears no one can take him for he feared that a tsunami might strike him.

Marijuana has been classified as an illegal drug, and so it has never been tested for its medicinal benefits. Dr. Lester Grinspoon, a professor at the Harvard Medical School, says that there’s no guarantee that it can be effective for OCD or other diseases, but it cannot be harmful as it is remarkably non-toxic.

The effect of marijuana to the brain is still a subject that needs to be further assessed. While further testing is still a thing to be done, it becomes irrelevant for those who favor its administration, especially for parents who only wish to end what their child might be enduring for the longest time.