Pot for Parkinson’s? The Scientific Evidence Is Compelling

parkCould the very plant that for decades was accused of “frying” users’ brains be far superior to pharmaceuticals in treating the “incurable” neurodegenerative condition known as Parkinson’s disease?

Despite Continue reading

Documentary Discusses Challenges in the Legalization of Marijuana

mariStory at-a-glance −

CNN’s Sanjay Gupta makes the case for across the board legalization of medical marijuana in “Weed 3: The Marijuana Revolution”

The first study of marijuana’s therapeutic potential for PTSD has Continue reading

Cannabis for the Treatment of Epilepsy, and More

cannaStory at-a-glance −

Cannabis has been shown to be non-toxic, and has a robust safety profile

Cannabis often works when other medications fail, so not only is it generally safer than prescription drugs, cannabis preparations also tend to provide greater efficacy

Children with epilepsy can often find Continue reading

Magnesium Enemas and Marijuana Suppositories

suposiMagnesium Enemas and Marijuana Suppositories

Application of magnesium oil (chloride) to the outer skin and through the skin of the colon, are two different forms of transdermal medicine. The outer skin of the body is permeable. It can absorb minerals and other substances, which become bioavailable to the human body. Continue reading

Dosages for Natural Allopathic Medicine

dosagesnaturalOffering a revolution in medicine, that any  person, patient, doctor or alternative healthcare practitioner can practice,  Natural Allopathic Medicine offers hope in the 21st century to rich  and poor alike. This chapter is an overview of dosages for most of the Natural  Allopathic protocol.

Dosages are not an exact science for it  varies so much from person to person and from one medical situation to another.  Great weight differences need to be estimated in. Obviously infants cannot  handle what a full-grown adult could but do not tell that to pediatricians who  support vaccinationists who do not pay keen attention to medical Continue reading

Ten Steps to Understanding Natural Allopathic Medicine

edisonAnyone who cares to learn how to practice Natural Allopathic  Medicine principals can do so with ease. Natural Allopathic Medicine should be  taught to mothers who are in the front lines of medical care because they are  the ones who make most medical decisions for themselves and their families. It  should also be taught to high school students and Continue reading

Medical Marijuana

medicalmaReefer Madness

The world went mad  over marijuana demonstrating how nasty governments and mainstream institutions  can be. When the law turned against the marijuana plant, it turned its back on  truth, justice as well as the way of the American founding fathers who farmed and  smoked hemp. Continue reading

Medical Marijuana and ‘the Entourage Effect’

Icannan the early 1960s, a young postdoctoral student stumbled onto something that puzzled him.

After reading the literature on cannabis, he was surprised to see that while the active compound in morphine had been isolated from opium poppies 100 years before and cocaine isolated Continue reading

It Takes a Village to Keep Teens Substance Free

During high school the parents of teenagers’ friends can have as much effect on the teens’ substance use as their own parents, according to prevention researchers.

“Among friendship groups with ‘good parents’ there’s a synergistic effect — if your parents are consistent Continue reading

Juicing Medical Marijuana the Latest Trend in Amazing Cures

There have been a few articles written about the multitude of environmentally sustainable industrial applications of hemp. There have been perhaps many more written about the medical applications of cannabis. Now there is a formerly skeptical California doctor who has found the optimal method of using marijuana for health.

Unfortunately, the DEA, an arm of the U.S. Justice Department, has made sure marijuana remains as a Class I drug under federal law. This classification means that a drug can be easily abused without acceptable safety even under medical supervision and basically has no medicinal merit.

The DEA declared this despite the fact that 926 medical research studies on non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids recorded in PubMed on September 22, 2011 were mostly positive with their pharmacological findings. And another government agency, The Department of Health and Human Services has a U.S. research patent on CBD from 2003.

This is an excellent governmental example of government bureaucracy double think: It’s a dangerous drug that’s useless as medicine Continue reading

Holy Basil an Alternative to Medical Marijuana

Did You Know…that there’s an aromatic plant which offers an alternative that rival those of medical marijuana treatmentwithout the side effects or the necessity for a prescription? This same medicinal plant also protects against inflammation, stress, and even radiation poisoning.

In Asia, holy basil(Ocimum sanctum, O. tenuiflorum) has been cultivated for medicinal use for over 5,000 years.

Today, Western scientists have caught on to the herb’s natural anti-inflammatory properties. Chemically speaking, basil (in numerous tested varieties) contains compounds similar to those found in cannabis (also known as marijuana) and oregano.

This has led some doctors to suggest Continue reading

Cannabinoids in Cancer Treatment

THC has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration because medical science confirms its use in a broad variety of clinical situations. Specifically a THC-containing drug called Marinol is FDA approved though it does not come close to effectiveness of natural cannabinoids. Synthetic copies of natural substances rarely if ever maintain the same pharmacological effects as the original and we know this to be especially true in the case of marijuana and the chemicals the pharmaceutical companies manufacture to simulate natural cannabinoids.

Marijuana is a very special natural medicine that increases our chances of beating cancer, though contemporary oncologists are mostly interested in it for its ability to mitigate the nasty side effects of chemo and radiation therapy. They would never think of it as an important part of the actual treatment of cancer.

Marijuana, whose botanical name is cannabis, has been used by humans for thousands of years. It was classified as an illegal drug by many countries in the 20th century. Continue reading

Head and Neck Cancer Study Marijuana us at Brown University

Researchers at the Departments of Community Health, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA, have found that Cannabinoids, constituents of marijuana smoke, have been recognized to have potential antitumor properties. They wrote, “However, for the subjects who have the same level of smoking or alcohol drinking, we observed attenuated risk of HNSCC (head and neck squamous cell carcinoma ) among those who use marijuana compared with those who do not. Our study suggests that moderate marijuana use is associated with reduced risk.

Testimonies Document the Medicinal Properties of Cannabis and its Derivatives

Local research, testimonies document the medicinal properties of cannabis and its derivatives

Montana Kaimin

Deni Llovet, a family nurse practitioner, organized River City Family Health’s first medical marijuana clinic after a patient with chronic back pain committed suicide.

“Two and a half years ago, I had a client who was really suffering,” Llovet said. “We had tried everything and finally I said, ‘You know, I hear that marijuana could help.’”
When the patient asked if it was legal, Llovet said no. She did not know about the state’s exemption.

“She bought cannabis from her 27-year-old son and it worked wonders,” Llovet said. “But her family did not approve, so she killed herself because her pain was so great.

“I should have known it was legal. That’s when I realized that I was missing the beat.”

Nearly 700 medical studies of cannabis and its derivatives are published each year that confirm their useful medical properties, said Tom Daubert, who led the campaign to establish the Montana law and later founded the patient support group Patients and Families United.

In 2002, adjunct University of Montana professor and local neurologist Dr. Ethan Russo researched the long-term effects, positive and negative, of smoking marijuana as a medical treatment.

Russo’s team, which included a UM grad student, evaluated four remaining members of the FDA’s Compassionate Investigational New Drug program. Though the program no longer accepts new patients, the remaining four are provided with four to eight ounces of government-grown, cured marijuana each week as treatment for serious illnesses such as glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.

“The Missoula Study,” as it was nicknamed, concluded the medical use of marijuana relieved pain, muscle spasms and intra-eye pressure. The researchers recommended that the program be reopened or that states develop laws to accommodate patients in serious need.

“While some 13 American states allow medicinal use of cannabis for
 certain conditions, it remains illegal under federal law,” Russo said. “One possible
 solution to this situation would be FDA approval of a cannabis-based 
medicine so that it could be prescribed. Because of the side effects of smoking and variability in herbal
 cannabis without standardization, it is extremely unlikely that it could
 attain FDA approval.”

Most recent research delves into the relationship of phytocannabinoids found in marijuana plants, such as THC, and endocannabinoids, their counterparts produced in the human body. When a medical marijuana patient takes a dose, most of the phytocannabinoids engage with cells of the nervous system in conjunction with the endocannabinoids already present to produce a variety of effects, including pain relief.

Russo continued to research and synthesize these cannabinoids as senior medical adviser for GW Pharmaceuticals to help develop a cannabis-based oral spray. The product, called Sativex, is approved in Canada to treat cancer pain and multiple sclerosis.

But until it is approved in the U.S. or the cost of similar cannabis-derivatives decreases, physicians such as Llovet say they will continue to recommend the leafier medical counterpart.

Llovet said she prefers to recommend marijuana over opiate painkillers because it does not have the side effects, physical addictions or overdoses commonly seen among patients prescribed morphine or Oxycontin, for example.

“If you wanted to kill yourself with cannabis, you would have to smother yourself under bales of it,” Llovet said. “Overdose is easy with prescription pain killers.”
Using medical marijuana or its pharmaceutical derivatives in conjunction with other painkillers can provide superior relief and reduce the risk of developing a tolerance to opiate prescriptions, Russo said.

Sitting at Food For Thought, Llovet was wrapped up in her excitement. Her coffee grew cold as she talked about the clinics where she works with others to identify the best treatments, sometimes including medical marijuana.

Contrary to what she expected, Llovet said the clinics don’t see recreational users looking for a loophole.

“We see the little old ladies, the old man living out in the woods and once we went out to a car to help a quadriplegic. We are seeing people who haven’t seen a health care practitioner in 30 years,” Llovet said. “We really are providing a public service. Our job is to make sure they really do qualify, and we want to give them suggestions on how to improve their health, whether that includes medical marijuana or not.”

At River City Family Health, visiting the clinic costs $200 for the patient, who must also register for an appointment and submit medical records in advance, though qualifying individuals without records are also allowed to attend.

When a prospective patient arrives at the clinic, a nurse gives him a physical before passing the chart to Llovet, who speaks with each individual for at least 15 minutes about his medical history and suggests all possible treatments. The person and chart then move to the final stage for a consultation with Dr. Michael Geci, who may sign a physician’s recommendation for medical marijuana if he believes the patient legally qualifies and the treatment seems appropriate.

After receiving a physician’s recommendation, the person applies for a patient registry card with the state Department of Public Health and Human Services and can designate one person as a caregiver. Each patient is allowed to grow six plants for their medicine and possess one ounce of usable marijuana, and if they name a caregiver, that person can tend six plants and hold one ounce for each patient they assist.

“We are not affiliated with caregivers,” Llovet said. “We do recommend you enter into a relationship with a caregiver you trust.”

Daubert said many people designate a spouse or close friend as a caregiver, but often it is difficult initially because most people do not have experience growing cannabis.

“These are the only patients in the world growing their own medicine,” Daubert said. “Contrary to what a lot of people think, growing medical marijuana is not so simple. It takes months to grow a plant.”

In February, Daubert led a group of patients, caregivers, and activists to the state capitol, where they sought to improve the law’s functionality through Senate Bill No. 326, which died in a House committee after passing Senate.

“The House legislature was evenly divided (between parties) and a lot of bills couldn’t make it out of committee,” Daubert said. “It’s some part political fluke and partly because it was brand new information to many of the representatives. We got more support than I’d expected, however.”

The bill, created by Daubert and other PFU associates, sought to expand the law’s list of qualifying illnesses, allowing patients to obtain medicine from any registered caregiver, establish inventory audits under certain conditions, increase the amount of medical marijuana a patient and caregiver can possess and alter the definition of a mature plant to make it easier for patients to maintain a steady flow of medicine.

“We’ve likened our law to being allowed to have six tomato plants, but only one tomato and needing one in the fridge tomorrow to guarantee your medicine,” Daubert said. “Let me see you grow the plants and follow that rule. That’s what we are asking them to do.”

And for people who choose not to grow themselves, or who need larger amounts for relief, they rely on their caregivers to provide consistently as they, too, abide by the tomato rule.

Sometimes, an even flow of medicine cannot be maintained for other reasons.

Is Marijuana a Medicine?

Charlene DeGidio never smoked marijuana in the 1960s, or afterward. But a year ago, after medications failed to relieve the pain in her legs and feet, a doctor suggested that the Adna, Wash., retiree try the drug.

Ms. DeGidio, 69 years old, bought candy with marijuana mixed in. It worked in easing her neuropathic pain, for which doctors haven’t been able to pinpoint a cause, she says. Now, Ms. DeGidio, who had previously tried without success other drugs including Neurontin and lidocaine patches, nibbles marijuana-laced peppermint bars before sleep, and keeps a bag in her refrigerator that she’s warned her grandchildren to avoid.

“It’s not like you’re out smoking pot for enjoyment or to get high,” says the former social worker, who won’t take the drug during the day because she doesn’t want to feel disoriented. “It’s a medicine.”

For many patients like Ms. DeGidio, it’s getting easier to access marijuana for medical use. The U.S. Department of Justice has said it will not generally prosecute ill people under doctors’ care whose use of the drug complies with state rules. New Jersey will become the 14th state to allow therapeutic use of marijuana, and the number is likely to grow. Illinois and New York, among others, are considering new laws.

As the legal landscape for patients clears somewhat, the medical one remains confusing, largely because of limited scientific studies. A recent American Medical Association review found fewer than 20 randomized, controlled clinical trials of smoked marijuana for all possible uses. These involved around 300 people in all—well short of the evidence typically required for a pharmaceutical to be marketed in the U.S.

Doctors say the studies that have been done suggest marijuana can benefit patients in the areas of managing neuropathic pain, which is caused by certain types of nerve injury, and in bolstering appetite and treating nausea, for instance in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. “The evidence is mounting” for those uses, says Igor Grant, director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, San Diego.

But in a range of other conditions for which marijuana has been considered, such as epilepsy and immune diseases like lupus, there’s scant and inconclusive research to show the drug’s effectiveness. Marijuana also has been tied to side effects including a racing heart and short-term memory loss and, in at least a few cases, anxiety and psychotic experiences such as hallucinations. The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate marijuana, so the quality and potency of the product available in medical-marijuana dispensaries can vary.

Though states have been legalizing medical use of marijuana since 1996, when California passed a ballot initiative, the idea remains controversial. Opponents say such laws can open a door to wider cultivation and use of the drug by people without serious medical conditions. That concern is heightened, they say, when broadly written statutes, such as California’s, allow wide leeway for doctors to decide when to write marijuana recommendations.

But advocates of medical-marijuana laws say certain seriously ill patients can benefit from the drug and should be able to access it with a doctor’s permission. They argue that some patients may get better results from marijuana than from available prescription drugs.

Glenn Osaki, 51, a technology consultant from Pleasanton, Calif., says he smokes marijuana to counter nausea and pain. Diagnosed in 2005 with advanced colon cancer, he has had his entire colon removed, creating digestive problems, and suffers neuropathic pain in his hands and feet from a chemotherapy drug. He says smoking marijuana was more effective and faster than prescription drugs he tried, including one that is a synthetic version of marijuana’s most active ingredient, known as THC.

The relatively limited research supporting medical marijuana poses practical challenges for doctors and patients who want to consider it as a therapeutic option. It’s often unclear when, or whether, it might work better than traditional drugs for particular people. Unlike prescription drugs it comes with no established dosing regimen.

“I don’t know what to recommend to patients about what to use, how much to use, where to get it,” says Scott Fishman, chief of pain medicine at the University of California, Davis medical school, who says he rarely writes marijuana recommendations, typically only at a patient’s request.

Researchers say it’s difficult to get funding and federal approval for marijuana research. In November, the AMA urged the federal government to review marijuana’s position in the most-restricted category of drugs, so it could be studied more easily.

Gregory T. Carter, a University of Washington professor of rehabilitation medicine, says he’s developed his own procedures for recommending marijuana, which he does for some patients with serious neuromuscular conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, to treat pain and other symptoms. He typically urges those who haven’t tried it before to start with a few puffs using a vaporizer, which heats the marijuana to release its active chemicals, then wait 10 minutes. He warns them to have family nearby and to avoid driving, and he checks back with them after a few days. Many are “surprised at how mild” the drug’s psychotropic effects are, he says.

States’ rules on growing and dispensing medical marijuana vary. Some states license specialized dispensaries. These can range from small storefronts to bigger operations that feel more like pharmacies. Typically, they have security procedures to limit walk-in visitors.

At least a few dispensaries say they inspect their suppliers and use labs to check the potency of their product, though states don’t generally require such measures. “It’s difficult to understand how we can call it medicine if we don’t know what’s in it,” says Stephen DeAngelo, executive director of the Harborside Health Center, a medical-marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif.

Some of the strongest research results support the idea of using marijuana to relieve neuropathic pain. For example, a trial of 50 AIDS patients published in the journal Neurology in 2007 found that 52% of those who smoked marijuana reported a 30% or greater reduction in pain. Just 24% of those who got placebo cigarettes reported the same lessening of pain.

Marijuana has also been shown to affect nausea and appetite. The AMA review said three controlled studies with 43 total participants showed a “modest” anti-nausea effect of smoked marijuana in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Studies of HIV-positive patients have suggested that smoked marijuana can improve appetite and trigger weight gain.

Donald Abrams, a doctor and professor at the University of California, San Francisco who has studied marijuana, says he recommends it to some cancer patients, including those who haven’t found standard anti-nausea drugs effective and some with loss of appetite.

Side effects can be a problem for some people. Thea Sagen, 62, an advanced neuroendocrine cancer patient in Seaside, Calif., says she expected something like a pharmacy when she went to a marijuana dispensary mentioned by her oncologist. She says she was disappointed to find that the staffers couldn’t say which of the products, with names like Pot ‘o Gold and Blockbuster, might boost her flagging appetite or soothe her anxiety. “They said, ‘it’s trial and error,’ “she says. “I was in there flying blind, looking at all this stuff.”

Ms. Sagen says she bought several items and tried one-eighth teaspoon of marijuana-infused honey. After a few hours, she was hallucinating , too dizzy and confused to dress herself for a doctor’s appointment. Then came vomiting far worse than her stomach upset before she took the drug. When she reported the side effects to her oncologist’s nurse and her primary-care physician, she got no guidance. She doesn’t take the drug now. But with advice from a nutritionist, her appetite and food intake have improved, she says.

Other marijuana users may experience the well-known reduction in ability to concentrate. At least a few users suffer troubling short-term psychiatric side effects, which can include anxiety and panic. More controversially, an analysis published in the journal Lancet in 2007 tied marijuana use to a higher rate of psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia. But the analysis noted that such a link doesn’t necessarily show marijuana is a cause of the conditions.

Long-term marijuana use can lead to physical dependence, though it is not as addictive as nicotine or alcohol, says Margaret Haney, a professor at Columbia University’s medical school. Smoked marijuana may also risk lung irritation, but a large 2006 study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, found no tie to lung cancer.

Some studies and reviews examining the possible medical uses, and side effects, of marijuana are being conducted by.

    * Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, University of California

    * American College of Physicians

    * Institute of Medicine

To read more on Marijuana and its effectiveness, the following periodicals have spent time reviewing certain aspects of medical marijuana.

To treat pain:

    * Neurology

    * Journal of Pain

    * Neuropsychopharmacology

To treat nausea:

    * Annals of Internal Medicine

    * Cancer

    * Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior

To restore appetite:

    * Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

    * Psychopharmacology

To treat spasticity:

    * Neurologist

Overviews of Potential Side Effects:

    * Canadian Medical Association Journal

    * Clinical Toxicology

Mental Effects:

    * Neuropsychology Review

    * Lancet

Withdrawal:

    * Current Psychiatry Reports

    * Current Opinion in Psychiatry

Effects on Lungs

    * Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention