Review Identifies 140 Controlled Clinical Trials Related to Cannabis

Marijuana researchScientists have conducted over 140 controlled clinical trials since 1975 assessing the safety and efficacy of whole-plant cannabis or specific cannabinoids, according to a new literature review published in the journal Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences.

A pair of German researchers identified 140 clinical trials involving an estimated 8,000 participants. Of these, the largest body of literature focused on the use of cannabis or cannabinoids in the treatment of chronic or neuropathic pain. Authors identified 35 controlled studies, involving 2,046 subjects, assessing the use of marijuana or cannabinoids in pain management. In January, the National Academy of Sciences acknowledged that “conclusive or substantial evidence” exists for cannabis’ efficacy in patients suffering from chronic pain.

Cannabinoids have also been well studied as anti-emetic agents and as appetite stimulants. Researchers identified 43 trials evaluating marijuana or its components for these purposes, involving total 2,498 patients. They also identified an additional 14 trials examining the role of cannabis or cannabis-derived extracts in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Researchers also identified several additional trials evaluating the use of cannabis or cannabinoids for Crohn’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, glaucoma, epilepsy, and various other indications.

A 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that new drugs typically gain FDA approval on the basis of one or two pivotal clinical trials.

Full text of the study, “Medicinal uses of marijuana and cannabinoids,” appears online here.

Pain relief without the high

Researchers have set ‘gold standards’ for developing new painkillers based on the medicinal effects of cannabis, but without some of its side effects.

Study: Cannabis Inhalation Improves Parkinson’s Symptoms

Marijuana researchInhaling cannabis improves symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, according to clinical data published online ahead of print in the European Journal of Pain.

Investigators at Tel Aviv University and the Rabin Medical Center in Israel assessed the impact of cannabis exposure on motor symptoms and pain parameters in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers reported that cannabis inhalation was associated with improved symptoms 30-minutes following exposure. “Cannabis improved motor scores and pain symptoms in PD patients,” authors concluded.

A prior Israeli trial evaluating the impact of cannabis on PD patients reported “significant improvement after treatment in tremor, rigidity, and bradykinsea (slowness of movement) … [as well as] significant improvement of sleep and pain scores.”

Over 20,000 Israeli patients receive cannabis under a federally regulated program. Over 90 percent of those participants report significant improvements in pain and function as a result of their medicinal cannabis use.

An abstract of the study, “Effect of medical cannabis on thermal quantitative measurements of pain in patients with Parkinson’s disease,” is available online here.

Study: Vaporized, Low-Potency Cannabis Mitigates Neuropathic Pain

The administration of vaporized, low THC cannabis is associated with reduced pain in subjects with neuropathy, according to clinical trial data published online by The Journal of Pain.

Investigators at the University of California, Davis Medical Center conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study evaluating the analgesic efficacy of vaporized cannabis in 39 subjects, the majority of whom were experiencing neuropathic pain despite traditional treatment. Subjects inhaled cannabis of either moderate THC (3.53 percent), low dose THC (1.29 percent), or zero THC (placebo). Subjects continued to take all other concurrent medications as per their normal routine during the 3- to 4-week study period. Spontaneous pain relief, the primary outcome variable, was assessed by asking participants to indicate the intensity of their current pain on a 100-mm visual analog scale (VAS) between 0 (no pain) and 100 (worst possible pain).

Researchers reported: “Both the low and medium doses proved to be salutary analgesics for the heterogeneous collection of neuropathic pain conditions studied. Both active study medications provided statistically significant 30% reductions in pain intensity when compared to placebo.”

They concluded: “Both the 1.29% and 3.53% vaporized THC study medications produced equal antinociception at every time point. … [T]he use of low doses could potentially be prescribed by physicians interested in helping patients use cannabis effectively while minimizing cognitive and psychological side effects. Viewed with this in mind, the present study adds to a growing body of literature supporting the use of cannabis for the treatment of neuropathic pain. It provides additional evidence of the efficacy of vaporized cannabis as well as establishes low-dose cannabis (1.29%) as having a favorable risk-benefit ratio.”

Previous clinical trials have indicated that inhaled cannabis can safety and effectively relieve various types of pain, particularly neuropathy — a hard-to-treat nerve condition often associated with cancer, HIV, spinal cord injury, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions. These include the following double-blind, placebo-controlled (FDA gold-standard) studies:

Ware et al. 2010. Smoked cannabis for chronic neuropathic pain: a randomized controlled trial. CMAJ 182: 694-701.

Wilsey et al. 2008. A randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of cannabis cigarettes in neuropathic pain. Journal of Pain 9: 506-521.

Ellis et al. 2008. Smoked medicinal cannabis for neuropathic pain in HIV: a randomized, crossover clinical trial. Neuropsychopharmacology 34: 672-80.

Abrams et al. 2007. Cannabis in painful HIV-associated sensory neuropathy: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Neurology 68: 515-521.

Wallace et al. 2007. Dose-dependent Effects of Smoked Cannabis on Capsaicin-induced Pain and Hyperalgesia in Healthy Volunteers Anesthesiology 107: 785-796.

Separate clinical trial data also reports that inhaled “cannabis augments the analgesic effect of opioids” and therefore “may allow for opioid treatment at lower doses with fewer side effects.”

Since 1999, US sales of opiate drugs have tripled in number and in 2010, a record-setting 254 million prescriptions for opioids were filled in the United States — enough to medicate every American adult around the clock for a month. (In particular, the manufacturing of the drug Oxycodone has increased from 8.3 tons in 1997 to 105 tons in 2011, an increase of 1,200 percent.) Overdose deaths from the use of prescription painkillers are also now at record levels, totaling some 15,000 annually — more than triple the total a decade ago.

Full text of the study, “Low-dose vaporized cannabis significantly improves neuropathic pain,” appears in The Journal of Pain.

San Jose Medical Marijuana 420 Evaluations Now Open to Help Patients Achieve Natural and Affordable Pain Relief


San Jose, CA (Vocus/PRWEB) March 07, 2011

Patients in need often struggle to find reasonably priced medication for their worst aches and pains. The mission of newly opened San Jose 420 Evaluations is to provide Bay Area residents with affordable medical marijuana recommendations, and a superior solution to their chronic condition. Getting a medical marijuana card has never been easier because San Jose 420 Evaluations provides care to anyone in need.

?Money should not interfere or prevent people from getting the recommendation they need,? said Eugene, who founded San Jose 420 Evaluations in July 2010. ?I always give discounts to Veterans and anyone else in need.?

At San Jose 420 Evaluations, a licensed physician personally reviews each case, ensuring patient?s security and comfort. Common ailments that warrant a doctor?s recommendation for medical cannabis include cancer, AIDS, anorexia, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, insomnia, PMS, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and substance abuse.

San Jose medical card carriers gain access to legal marijuana from a variety of dispensaries, all specializing in the holistic healing of pain. Under California State Law, a patient must have a physician recommendation to obtain a Medical Marijuana Card for access to Medicinal Marijuana. Medical Marijuana Recommendations are valid for one year.

To consult with a San Jose medical marijuana doctor and obtain a medical marijuana card, make an appointment with San Jose 420 Evaluations at (408) 916-1407. Walk-ins are welcome, so visit their practice at 115 North 4th Street, #106, San Jose CA 95112. San Jose 420 Evaluations can also be found online at http://www.sanjoseevaluations.com.

About San Jose 420 Evaluations:

San Jose 420 Evaluations is a Medical Cannabis clinic in San Jose and serving all of the South Bay. San Jose 420 provides efficient, and compassionate medical evaluations for those qualified to access Medical Marijuana. San Jose 420 is a physician owned and operated clinic offering evaluations given only by California MD?s.

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Related Medical Marijuana Doctors Press Releases

San Jose 420 Evaluations Outlines Recent Findings on Marijuana?s Usefulness in Treating Chronic Pain


San Jose, CA (Vocus/PRWEB) March 25, 2011

Medical marijuana advocates have known for a long time that cannabis is an effective treatment for their patients who suffer from chronic pain, and recently released scientific studies from UC San Diego?s Center for Medical Cannabis Research support this claim with solid evidence. San Jose 420 Evaluations, a medical marijuana dispensary, explains chronic pain and the various recent studies? conclusions about how marijuana helps alleviate its symptoms.

Pain, a signal from the nervous system to the brain that alerts it to possible injury, can be very useful. Chronic pain, wherein according to the National Institute for Health, ?pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years,? can cause terrible suffering in people?s daily lives. According to the American Pain Foundation, 50 million Americans suffer from persistent pain each year, causing sleep difficulties, absenteeism at work, social effects and other related hardships. According to an article in TIME Magazine, $ 50 billion is spent on it annually in this country. Chronic pain may result from an injury, come with age, or be associated with other ailments.

The National Pain Foundation explains that the human body contains cannaboid receptors in the brain, spinal cord and immune system. Cannaboids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a chemical compound found in marijuana, react with the cannaboid receptors to alleviate symptoms of pain.

Recent controlled studies have demonstrated marijuana?s effectiveness on treating chronic pain associated with a number of other diseases. UC San Diego?s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research found that, among other things,

2012: The Year In Review — NORML’s Top 10 Events That Shaped Marijuana Policy

#1 Colorado and Washington Vote To Legalize Marijuana
Voters in Colorado and Washington made history by approving ballot measures allowing for the personal possession and consumption of cannabis by adults. Washington’s law, which removes criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use (as well as the possession of up to 16 ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form, and 72 ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form), took effect on December 6. Colorado’s law, which allows for the legal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and/or the cultivation of up to six cannabis plants in private by those persons age 21 and over, took effect on December 10. Regulators in both states are now in the process of drafting rules to allow for state-licensed proprietors to commercially produce and sell cannabis.

#2 Most Americans Favor Legalization, Want The Feds To Butt Out
A majority of Americans support legalizing the use of cannabis by adults, according to national polls by Public Policy Polling, Angus Reid, Quinnipiac University, and others. A record high 83 percent of US citizens favor allowing doctors to authorize specified amounts of marijuana for patients suffering from serious illnesses. And nearly two-thirds of Americans oppose federal interference in state laws that allow for legal marijuana use by adults.

#3 Connecticut, Massachusetts Legalize Cannabis Therapy
Connecticut and Massachusetts became the 17th and 18th states to allow for the use of cannabis when recommended by a physician. Connecticut lawmakers in May approved Public Act 12-55, An Act Concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana. The new law took effect on October 1. On Election Day, 63 percent of Massachusetts voters approved Question 3, eliminating statewide criminal and civil penalties related to the possession and use of up to a 60-day supply of cannabis by qualified patients. The law takes effect on January 1, 2013.

#4 Schedule I Prohibitive Status For Pot “Untenable,” Scientists Say
The classification of cannabis and its organic compounds as Schedule I prohibited substances under federal law is scientifically indefensible, according to a review published online in May in The Open Neurology Journal. Investigators at the University of California at San Diego and the University of California, Davis reviewed the results of several recent clinical trials assessing the safety and efficacy of inhaled or vaporized cannabis. They concluded: “Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking.”

#5 Marijuana Arrests Decline, But Still Total Half Of All Illicit Drug Violations
Police made 757,969 arrests in 2011 for marijuana-related offenses, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report. The total marked a decline from previous years. Of those charged in 2011 with marijuana law violations, 663,032 (86 percent) were arrested for marijuana offenses involving possession only. According to the report, approximately 43 percent of all drug violations in 2011 were for cannabis possession.

#6 Long-Term Cannabis Exposure Not Associated With Adverse Lung Function
Exposure to moderate levels of cannabis smoke, even over the long-term, is not associated with adverse effects on pulmonary function, according to clinical trial data published in January in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Investigators at the University of California, San Francisco analyzed the association between marijuana exposure and pulmonary function over a 20-year period in a cohort of 5,115 men and women in four US cities. They concluded: “With up to 7 joint-years of lifetime exposure (e.g., 1 joint/d for 7 years or 1 joint/wk for 49 years), we found no evidence that increasing exposure to marijuana adversely affects pulmonary function. … Our findings suggest that occasional use of marijuana … may not be associated with adverse consequences on pulmonary function.”

#7 Cannabis Use Associated With Decreased Prevalence Of Diabetes
Adults with a history of marijuana use have a lower prevalence of type 2 diabetes and possess a lower risk of contracting the disease than do those with no history of cannabis consumption, according to clinical trial data published in the British Medical Journal. Investigators at the University of California, Los Angeles assessed the association between diabetes mellitus (DM) and marijuana use among adults aged 20 to 59 in a nationally representative sample of the US population of 10,896 adults. Investigators concluded, “Our analysis of adults aged 20-59 years … Showed that participants who used marijuana had a lower prevalence of DM and lower odds of DM relative to non-marijuana users.”

#8 Medical Cannabis Dispensaries Not Associated With Neighborhood Crime
The establishment of medical cannabis dispensaries does not adversely impact local crime rates, according to a federally funded study published in the July issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Researchers reported: “There were no observed cross-sectional associations between the density of medical marijuana dispensaries and either violent or property crime rates in this study.”

#9 Rhode Island Becomes The 15th State To Decriminalize Pot Possession Penalties
Governor Lincoln Chafee signed legislation into law in June amending marijuana possession penalties for those age 18 or older from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by one year in jail and a $500 maximum fine) to a non-arrestable civil offense — punishable by a $150 fine, no jail time, and no criminal record. The decriminalization law takes effect on April 1, 2013.

#10 Cannabis Reduces Symptoms In Patients With Treatment-Resistant MS
Cannabis inhalation mitigates spasticity and pain in patients with treatment-resistant multiple sclerosis (MS), according to clinical trial data published online in May in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association. Investigators at the University of California, San Diego assessed the use of inhaled cannabis versus placebo in 30 patients with MS who were unresponsive to conventional treatments. “Smoked cannabis was superior to placebo in symptom and pain reduction in patients with treatment-resistant spasticity,” authors concluded.

Bootcamp – QA: Best Marijuana Strain for Back Pain?

medicalmarijuanabootcamp.com Chubbs and Tang talk about the best cannabis strains for back problems.

medicalmarijuanabootcamp.com Chubbs and Tang talk about the future of medical marijuana.
Video Rating: 4 / 5



Cannabis Medicine – Pain 2 – Medical Marijuana

Chronic pain – Pain medication – DEA maliciously prosecuting doctors President Obama stop this nonsense – Legalize cannabis! www.hampapartiet.se Cut from ” High ”

best kept secrets in new mexico. who are the medical marijuana growers for the state and what do they have inside their facilities. kob eyewitness news 4 is the only station to ever take a camera inside a dispensary. and our kayla anderson was able to see how the non profit group takes the controversial drug from a seedling to medicine for patients. “southwest organic producers is one of 11 licensed medical marijuana producers in new mexico. we can’t tell you where their facility is. but you’ll be surprised to learn what kind of effort goes into growing safe and effective, high grade medical cannabis.” it’s marijuana like we’ve never seen it before. there are minute thumbnail 10:21 pm multiple, potent strains in this room … som- eight feet tall. and all of them with bulky, fragrant buds. “what you’re looking at is flowers, plants putting out flowers to attract pollen. by denying them pollen, we make them a more potent product, so much higher quality.” jacob white took us inside swop’s flowering room. from the ph balance to the nutrient levels… everything here is closely measured and monitored. the plants get a strict 12 hours of light and 12 hours of complete darkness. “they are essentially getting a whole summer’s and late fall’s worth of growth, in just a few short months, by the manipulation of the light cycles and the light spectrum.” clients of swop are licensed to receive medical cannabis. many of them have weakened immune systems… so swop works non-stop to



Cali420 Doctor Evaluation Opens San Jose Clinic to Aid Patients in Achieving Holistic Pain Relief


San Jose, CA (PRWEB) August 24, 2011

Cali420 was formed with a strong belief in the healing properties of Medical Marijuana to aid patients suffering from life-threatening diseases such as cancer, aids, to depression, stress and anxiety.

Cali420 has evaluated several patients from all over the South Bay and San Francisco Bay Area. In a short time, Cali420 has become a leading provider of medical cannabis evaluations in the San Jose area. The evaluation doctors at Cali420 are both trained as medical doctors usually with an Internal Medicine degree and also have been trained in medical marijuana treatment.

Under California State Law, patients that receive a Legal Medical Marijuana Card are granted access to Medicinal Marijuana from Cannabis Dispensaries and Holistic Medical Facilities. Furthermore, according to California State Law, Medical Cannabis patients are required to have a certified Medical Marijuana Doctor recommendation to acquire a Medicinal Marijuana Card. Presently Medical Marijuana Recommendations are valid for one year. Patients are required to renew their Medical Cannabis Cards after the annual period has passed.

Cali420 invites persons in medical need of Medical Marijuana to consult with Doctoral staff in order to obtain a medical marijuana card. Appointments can be made by calling Cali420 Doctor Evaluation at (408) 916-1401. Walk-ins are also welcome and patients can visit Cali420 Doctor Evaluation at 1711 Hamilton Ave Unit 1, San Jose CA 95125. Cali420 Doctor Evaluation can also be found online at

http:// http://www.marijuanadispensariessanjoseca.com

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Breaking: Clinical Trial Data Yet Again Affirms Cannabis’ Efficacy

Is it any wonder that the US government fights tooth-and-nail to hinder researchers’ attempts to conduct clinical trials assessing the therapeutic utility of cannabis as a medicine? After all, each and every time the federal government begrudgingly allows for such studies they’re faced with credibility-shattering results like this:

Marijuana relieves muscles tightness, pain of multiple sclerosis: Study
via the Toronto Star

Smoking marijuana can relieve muscle tightness, spasticity (contractions) and pain often experienced by those with multiple sclerosis, says research out of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

The findings, just published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, included a controlled trial with 30 participants to understand whether inhaled cannabis would help complicated cases where existing pharmaceuticals are ineffective or trigger adverse side effects.

MS is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain and spinal cord.

The disease attacks the myelin, the protective covering wrapped around the nerves of the central nervous system, and — among other symptoms — can cause loss of balance, impaired speech, extreme fatigue, double vision and paralysis.

The average age of the research participants was 50 years with 63 per cent of the study population female.

More than half the participants needed walking aids and 20 per cent used wheelchairs.

Rather than rely on self-reporting by patients regarding their muscle spasticity — a subjective measure — health professionals rated each patient’s joints on the modified Ashworth scale, a common objective tool to evaluate intensity of muscle tone.

The researchers found that the individuals in the group that smoked cannabis experienced an almost one-third decrease on the Ashworth scale — 2.74 points from a baseline score of 9.3 — meaning spasticity improved, compared to the placebo group.

As well, pain scores decreased by about 50 per cent.

We saw a beneficial effect of smoked cannabis on treatment-resistant spasticity and pain associated with multiple sclerosis among our participants,” says Dr. Jody Corey-Bloom of the university’s department of neuroscience.

To those familiar with medicinal cannabis research, the results are hardly surprising. After all, Sativex — an oral spray containing plant cannabis extracts — is already legal by prescription to treat MS-related symptoms in over a dozen countries, including Canada, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, and Spain. Further, long-term assessments of the drug indicate that in addition to symptom management, cannabinoids may also play a role in halting the course of the disease.

Nevertheless, the National MS Society — like the US government — shares little enthusiasm for cannabis medicine, stating, “Studies completed thus far have not provided convincing evidence that marijuana or its derivatives provide substantiated benefits for symptoms of MS.”

Patient advocacy organizations, like the MS Society, have a responsibility to represent the interests of their constituents and to advise practitioners regarding best treatment practices. Why then does this responsibility not extend to patients who use cannabis as an alternative treatment therapy or to those that might one day potentially benefit from its use?

This Week in Weed: March 4th-10th

This Week in Weed

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This week in weed: a recent study further illustrates marijuana’s effectiveness in treating chronic pain and a federal judge dismisses the NORML Legal Committee lawsuit against the federal government.

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Over Two-Dozen Controlled Trials Demonstrate Cannabinoids’ “Statistically Significant Pain Relieving Effects”

[Editor's note: This post is excerpted from this week's forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML's news alerts and legislative advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up here.]

Cannabis and its active constituents appear to be safe and modestly effective treatments in patients suffering from a variety of chronic pain conditions, including neuropathy (pain due to nerve damage), according to a literature review to be published in The Clinical Journal of Pain.

An investigator from New York University, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, conducted a PubMed search to survey the percentage of positive and negative published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) assessing cannabinoids as treatments for pain. Of the 56 hits generated, 38 published RCTs met inclusion criteria. Of these, “71 percent (27) concluded that cannabinoids had empirically demonstrable and statistically significant pain relieving effects, whereas 29 percent (11) did not.”

Cannabinoids appeared to be most effective in treating hard-to-treat neuropathic pain conditions. “[F]or notoriously difficult to treat conditions such as HIV neuropathy, … cannabinergic pain medicines, particularly inhaled cannabinoid botanicals, are one of the only treatments that have been shown to be safe and effective with the highest levels of evidence,” the review states.

Five to ten percent of the US population is estimated to suffer from neuropathic pain at some point during their lives.

The study concludes, “Overall, based on the existing clinical trials database, cannabinergic pain medicines have been shown to be modestly effective and safe treatments in patients with a variety of chronic pain conditions. … Incorporating cannabinergic medicine topics into pain medicine education seems warranted and continuing clinical research and empiric treatment trials are appropriate.”

A separate paper, published in January in the Harm Reduction Journal, concluded: “Prescribing cannabis in place of opioids for neuropathic pain may reduce the morbidity and mortality rates associated with prescription pain medications and may be an effective harm reduction strategy.”

Full text of the study, “Cannabinergic pain medicine: A concise clinical primer and survey of randomized controlled trial results,” will appear in The Clinical Journal of Pain.

Muscular Dystrophy Patient Seeks Cannabis to Alleviate Pain Tonight on ?Weed Wars?


San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) December 15, 2011

Episode 3 of ?Weed Wars,? the new Discovery Channel series about Oakland cannabis club Harborside Health Center, will air on Thursday, December 17th at 10 pm. This episode, according to Harborside, includes the moving account of a wheelchair-bound paraplegic patient with muscular dystrophy taking for first dose of medical marijuana to relieve her pain.

Muscular dystrophy is a hereditary condition marked by progressive weakening and wasting of the muscles that gets worse over time. Being religious and conservative, the patient never imagined she would use marijuana. But her prescribed medications ceased to deliver adequate relief, and in desperation, she came to Harborside Health Center for help.

The episode comes on the heels of an article on Time.com by health writer Maia Szalavitz that discusses the results of a new study that indicates patients can safely use cannabis while taking opioid painkillers, and the combination allows them to take fewer pills.

The research results, according to the article, were published in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. The study tracked 21 patients living with chronic pain who were taking either long-acting morphine or Oxycontin twice a day. Adding marijuana to these opioid drugs reduced patients’ pain by an average of 27%. The inclusion of cannabis also did not significantly affect blood levels of the prescription drugs. If marijuana had raised those blood levels, it could have increased overdose risk.

With rising concerns about opioid overdose?the death toll associated with prescription painkillers has recently surpassed that of traffic accidents?the new findings are striking. While marijuana won?t replace opioids for the most severe pain, cannabis has advantages. For one, people can?t overdose on marijuana. For another, the risk of becoming addicted to the drug are markedly lower than the risk associated with opioid use.

Harborside says further study should be conducted to determine which patients would benefit most, and to what extent marijuana can actually reduce opioid use. Unfortunately, the Obama administration is currently engaged in a crackdown on marijuana dispensaries in the 16 states that have legalized medical use. Harborside believes the money the government is spending on fighting the states could be used on research.

Not just a Bay Area medical marijuana dispensary, Harborside Health Center provides free services such as acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, yoga and counseling as part of Harborside?s holistic approach to patients? health. Currently, Harborside provides patients approximately 1,820 hours of holistic health services each year?which has an estimated value of $ 227,500, or 10 percent of the dispensary?s yearly net income.

Harborside assists patients who cannot afford the medicine they need. The Oakland medical cannabis club has donated over $ 643,000 in free medicine to its qualified low-income members over the past four years through its Care Package program. Harborside also offers weekly seminars to teach patients how to grow their own medicine.

Another way Harborside has helped patients financially is through its Rewards Card program. When the State Board of Equalization ruled in 2006 that dispensaries must pay sales tax, Harborside immediately implemented the program to help mitigate the extra cost the sales tax created.

Harborside believes in supporting the community and helping people stand up for their rights. Over the last four years, the health center has donated over $ 340,000 to other cannabis-related non-profit organizations and efforts to better the local community. At Harborside?s in-house Patient Activist Resource Center, patients are taught basics of activism and lobbying, and in turn, they receive a free gram of medicine for each hour worked.

These practices have earned Harborside industry-wide accolades and media attention. The New York Times calls Harborside ?a model for the medical marijuana industry,? while Fortune Magazine says Harborside is showing ?the rest of the nation how such an establishment could provide top-flight patient services, adhere to the letter of the law, and interact with the surrounding community beneficially.?

Discovery Channel?s ?Weed Wars? focuses on Oakland?s Harborside Health Center?which has set the gold standard for medicinal cannabis dispensaries in the nation?and the leadership behind Harborside: activist, founder and Executive Director Steve DeAngelo. DeAngelo?s lifelong mission has been to bring the truth about the cannabis plant to the American public.

The show follows the DeAngelo family and Harborside?s staff as they fearlessly wrestle with the complex issues they face every day. The series accurately captures the real-life drama and high stakes of the California-voter-approved business as federal agencies make increasingly harsher threats and IRS audits attempt to shut down the Oakland cannabis dispensary.

In addition to focusing on Steve DeAngelo, his family and the staff, ?Weed Wars? follows the journey of the plant itself from seed germination to harvesting. Audiences will meet the growers and ?patient farmers? whose job it is to provide the ?medicine? that will be eventually purchased and used by thousands of clients, many of whom feel their lives have been forever changed by the plant.

Discovery has announced it will rerun last week?s controversial episode ?Federal Crackdown? immediately prior to the new episode.

About Harborside Health Center:

Founded by national cannabis leader Steve DeAngelo in 2005, Harborside Health Center is the not-for-profit model medical cannabis dispensary in the country. The Oakland holistic healing center and medical marijuana collective offers its 94,000 registered patients free holistic health services, lab-tested medicine and education.

?Out of the shadows and in to the light? epitomizes DeAngelo?s mission to enlighten the public on the many medicinal and therapeutic benefits of the plant. DeAngelo is recognized as a national leader and strategist of the cannabis reform movement. He speaks and writes widely on the subject. Harborside and DeAngelo are featured on ?Weed Wars,? now airing on The Discovery Channel.

For more information about Harborside Health Center, call (510) 533-0146 or visit harborsidehealthcenter.com.

For more information about ?Weed Wars? or the information in this release, contact Gaynell Rogers at (415) 298-1114 or Linda Stokely at (707) 981-4407.

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Idaho, please understand: There’s California, then there’s 15 Medical Marijuana States

Click here for more coverage of IdahoMy father turns 70 this year.  He still lives in my birthplace, Nampa, Idaho.  He has some medical issues that include severe nerve damage to his feet and lower legs, leaving him with chronic neuropathic pain he treats with a regimen of many opioid painkillers.

Today he forwarded to me a local newspaper article about the push for a medical marijuana law in Idaho, which is abutted by four medical marijuana states – Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Montana.  Nampa’s news media, being in southwestern Idaho, focus primarily on Oregon’s medical marijuana system and, of course, the legendary excesses of California’s system.  Here are some of the comments that followed the article… this may give you some idea why “Radical” was a nickname that applied to my way of thinking while living there:

In state after state, city after city where medicinal marijuana has been legalized, adolescent use has also increased.

Not true.  Rise and fall of marijuana use does not seem to be affected by the laws allowing or preventing its use.  It’s true states with greater use rates have medical marijuana laws, but it’s because places with greater use are more supportive of liberalizing marijuana laws, not that liberalizing the law led to greater use.  Besides, according to 2009 data, Idaho had a higher monthly rate of marijuana use among 12-17-year-olds (7.44%) than did the medical marijuana states of Arizona (7.26%) and roughly the same as California (7.68%), Washington (7.73%) and Michigan (7.85%).

…marijuana use among our nation’s teens is at its highest rate in thirty years.

Not true.  In 1980, the US government’s Monitoring the Future Survey showed that 39.7% of 12th graders did not use marijuana in the past 30 days.  In 2010, that figure is 56.3%.  In 1980, 24.8% of 12th graders were smoking 40 or more times a month.  In 2010, that figure is 15%.  In other words, thirty years ago, before medical marijuana and during the “Just Say No” era, 3 out of 5 seniors were toking each month and 1 out of 4 was chiefing every day.  Now with medical marijuana and during the “Legalize It” era, less than half of seniors are toking each month and 2 out of 13 are chiefing every day.

But now comes New Jersey with a bill balancing control and compassion, a bill that could be the model for Idaho.

The New Jersey program, signed into law January 18, 2010 by outgoing Gov. Corzine, allows for the use of medical marijuana by people with less than 12 months to live.  Not a single patient has yet to get access to medical marijuana since then, because incoming Gov. Christie has blocked it every step of the way.  That means a lot of those terminally ill people died waiting for the will of the voters to be enacted.  Why would you model something that has yet to exist?

What medicine have voters ever voted for?

Well, during Prohibition, many alcohol users had prescriptions for it.  Then the legislatures of the states voted to repeal Prohibition.  Is that close?

This is what I call the “FDA Gambit”.  It’s the idea that nothing can be medicine unless the high priests of science in their white robes decree it is so, only after the sort of rigorous and deliberate testing that brought us FDA-approved Vioxx, phen-fen, and whatever other death-and-side-effects-laden pharmaceutical for which you’re seeing an ambulance-chasing lawyer’s class-action lawsuit informercial on late night TV.

Guess what?  Aspirin has never gone through that FDA process.  Yet no one reading this would deny its medical utility.  Nor have many other herbal and medical remedies, because they had so many hundreds or thousands of years of historically safe use, the people accepted them as medicines long before the high priests in the white robes showed up.

What medicine have citizens ever smoked?

Again, there is plenty of historical precedent for smoking cannabis as a medicine.  But broaden your understanding a bit.  Marijuana doesn’t have to be smoked; it can be eaten, vaporized, and used in tinctures and salves.  Even if it is smoked or vaporized, there are plenty of pharmaceutical drugs that are inhaled – ask any asthmatic.

What medicine have citizens grown in their backyard without any controls, dosage amounts, and safe delivery methods?

Uh… aloe vera, astragalus, bilberry, cayenne, chamomille, cloves, dandelion… here’s the whole list.

I am sure the law abiding, working tax payers do NOT support tax funded distribution of this highly addictive drug to the sick, lame and lazy that claim to have chronic pain.   Here is an example of the Impacts of the marijuana program in Oregon. In 1998 many Oregon voters approved the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program through a state ballot initiative and believed, because of misleading campaign ads that it was for a small percentage of people who were sick and dying. 12 years later, as of April 1 2011, there were over 40,000 marijuana cardholders. More than 35,793 (or 90%) of those cards had been issued for chronic pain and 35% of the cards were issued by one doctor, and an additional 59% by ten doctors.

This has to be the most oft-repeated scare tactic: 90% of Oregon’s medical marijuana patients are only using marijuana for so-called “severe pain”! (ASSUMPTION: They must be potheads faking it!)

FACT: Of Oregon’s 57,386 patients, it is true that 94.87% of patients indicate chronic pain as a qualifying condition. The catch? A patient can qualify and register under more than one condition. For example, 26.23% of patients register under “severe muscle spasms”, 14.25% register for “chronic nausea”, 3.64% register under “cancer”, and 2.46% register for “seizures”, and 1.29% register for “HIV/AIDS”. That’s 128.49%, isn’t it? Now, do you think something like Multiple Sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, brain cancer, epilepsy, and AIDS wasting syndrome just might cause a little bit of severe pain?

So, do the math… if every patient who qualifies under a non-pain condition also suffers from pain, then the baseline number of patients who could be getting medical marijuana for pain only decreases to 24,932, or just 43.45% of the patients. It could be more than that, as not every glaucoma sufferer, for instance, is going to indicate pain. So let’s say 15% of the non-pain patients don’t also register under pain… that still leaves us with just 50% of patients using marijuana to treat pain.

Here’s the irony: there is far more scientific medical literature backing up the use of marijuana for pain than any other condition people are using it for in Oregon. Especially neuropathic pain, which is shown to be very difficult to treat with conventional analgesics like opioid painkillers. Furthermore, studies have shown that patients using Oxycontin, Vicodin, Demerol, Flexaril, Percocet, and many other toxic, addictive, side-effect-laden, mind-altering opioids are able to reduce their dosages from one-third to one-half and a lucky few can even replace opioids entirely with marijuana.

Idaho needs to understand that there’s California, and then there are fifteen other medical marijuana states. Nowhere but California can one walk into a doctor’s office, complain of a backache, headache, insomnia, anxiety, or thick-wallet syndrome and walk out with a doctor’s permission slip to smoke weed. In every other state, including Oregon, the process is very tightly controlled.

First, you have to qualify under one of the very limited conditions listed – there is no anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, and other vague maladies listed. Second, even for severe pain, you must have visited a regular doctor within the past three years. You have to have chart notes from at least three visits documenting that pain. Third, upon receiving that doctor’s recommendation (except in Washington), you must fill out paperwork with the state where you give them your name and address, tell them where you’ll grow marijuana (if allowed, which Idaho’s bill wouldn’t), agree to abide by absurdly small limits, never smoke it in public view, and pay the state a fee (in Oregon, it’s $200).

So let’s just assume some pothead really did want to go to the trouble of seeing a doctor three times, collecting his medical records, seeing another doctor for the marijuana recommendation, filling out some state paperwork, and paying the state so he can smoke weed in peace without threat of arrest. This is the “abuse” critics of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program imply. Where you once had a pothead who smoked weed, we don’t know who he is, where he is, and he’s contributing nothing to the economy or the state… we now have a guy who tells us where he is, agrees to small limits, tells you where he’s growing, keeps clinic workers and doctors in jobs, and contributes $200 annually to the state in registration fees. This “abuse” was so rampant that the Oregon Legislature appropriated a million dollars of that “abuse” money in 2007 and once again used medmj program surpluses in 2011 to balance state budgets in other areas, like funding the Clean Drinking Water Program.

Regardless, one of the lynchpins in this “abuse” meme is the notion that Oregon’s medmj supporters “fooled” voters by saying it would only apply to 500 cancer and AIDS patients, and that now there’s 57,000 patients, so it must be “abuse”! It’s a flat-out lie: Stormy Ray, the quadriplegic proponent of Measure 67 back in 1998, was quoted in the official ballot text saying it “would help thousands of people”. It also begs the question: when you have a medicine that treats people’s pain effectively, how many users is too many?

According to a survey by the American Osteopathic Association, “Nearly 70 percent of Americans say that they or someone they care for experienced pain in the previous 30 days.”  They found that almost half believed no treatment would help their pain.  A third are afraid of becoming addicted, believe the side effects of pain killers are worse than the pain itself, and don’t think they could afford their pain killers anyway.

So, how many people using cheap, effective, non-toxic, non-addictive medicine whose worst side effects are dry mouth, red eyes, and the munchies to treat their pain is too many?

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