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lethe

medical marijuana

740 posts in this topic

Many natural drugs such as MJ are used in parts of the world with no ill affects. I had a great-grandmother who smoked pot from her 20s till she died at 78 and she never went to harder drugs. I also had friends who smoke pot and went on to harder drugs who are in prison or dead. Some people can take Mirapex(also known as mirasex) with no problems and others it can ruin their lives. The main advantage to legal MJ is content can be better controlled, but like alchol there would still be a control issue.

 

 

The main problem for people with PD is that many also suffer fromm depression. MJ has an adverse affect on people who suffer from depression and that is something worth considering before trying MJ for medical purposes.

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I live in Colorado where MMJ is legal, but they don't recognize Parkinson's as a treatable condition, so my doctor had to write my MMJ recommendation for muscle cramps. I've discovered that a 50/50 blend of sativa and indica keeps my tremors to a minimum. Please don't let fear keep you from trying something that has been here forever and used by many people all over the world for many uses.

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I live in Colorado where MMJ is legal, but they don't recognize Parkinson's as a treatable condition, so my doctor had to write my MMJ recommendation for muscle cramps. I've discovered that a 50/50 blend of sativa and indica keeps my tremors to a minimum. Please don't let fear keep you from trying something that has been here forever and used by many people all over the world for many uses.

 

I'm glad you were lucky enough to find an open-minded Dr. It really makes me cringe and shake my head when I read stuff like over on the Dr forum, in response to a patient saying that he found MM good for dystonia, a Dr saying that marijuana was possibly dangerous and he recommends DBS, Botox(!) or a list of other poisons.....

 

It's good to see another MM patient here.

Edited by lethe

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MEDICAL MARIJUANA - 101 - 1(A) - FAQ

 

What is medical marijuana (MM)?

 

Medical marijuana is marijuana that is carefully cultivated to maximize positive effects and minimize unwanted ones. There are two types of marijuana, sativa and indica. Each plant is made up of a combination of these two types with one dominating. The sativa plant is the taller and lankier variety and indica is usually shorter and stockier. Sativa is considered an “upper” and is stimulating, uplifting and enhances creativity. Indica is more a “downer” or sedative, good for sleeping, eating and pain reduction. There are dozens of strains of each with a great deal of variety as to effects. Part of the joy and sense of discovery that goes with using MM is in getting to know each strains properties.

 

Some sativas are very clear-headed and stimulating, good for physical activity or working, others for relaxing and creative work.. A heavy indica may put you into a deep sleep within 15 minutes, while another may take 4 or 5 hours to put someone to sleep (called an “early evening” strain as it’s best taken early in the evening). Some strains are good for morning activity, some for reading, etc. Medical marijuana patients tend to use time-of-day designations to indicate the type of activity, strength, and level of clear-headedness of specific strains. As an example, the Jack Herer strain is considered a good “day” strain, an excellent “early-morning” strain because it is very clear-headed and good for physical or mental activity, and it won’t burn you out. It is not a night strain because if taken at night it might make it a little harder to sleep. Jack Herer has often been compared to a strong coffee.

 

In comparison, regular or commercial marijuana does not differentiate between “strains”. Even the growers do not k now the genetics of the plants they grow. Commercial marijuana has developed through “market” factors - an eye on profits. For this reason the commercial market is dominated by the faster growing, higher yielding indica plants, which tends to produce a more sleepy or “stoned” product It is also the reason why the subtle and more clear-headed sativa strains are just not seen on the commercial market - they are far more labour intensive with smaller yields. Another major difference is that with true medical marijuana the grower takes great pains to ensure quality, cleanliness and a healthy product for the patient.

 

(continued)

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Thank you lethe for taking the time to clarify exactly what MM is (as opposed to street grade 'weed'..)....the penny begins to drop. Over here in the UK, marijuana of all kinds is classified as illegal under a 'class' system...it's grading for exceptional use, even, means that it is only likely to be granted a liscence for scientific experiments.

 

I have only ever experienced street grade weed which is most usually smoked...something I am against for health reasons. But your previous comments on inhalation were interesting. I am presuming because of the higher quality, the costs are also higher.....but as I sit here looking at the citalopram that I have been prescribed for depression (yet another drug with a list of nasty side affects), I am wondering if there is indeed a better way....

 

I don't suppose that I will be able to benefit from any of your knowledge, given the laws here, but I think it great that you have persevered to bring some clarity to the issue.....and yes, it can and is in some cases addictive.....but this at least opens up the debate and allows people (in certain countries) to make a choice.

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Thanks for the post and the discussion. It was good to read both sides of the conversation. My home state is Delaware, which recently legalized MM. My Neuro here does think it would benefit me, and if I do return to the states to live, I will check out my options.

 

As far as my opnion, I do think that MM is something that is positive, many of the pain controling drugs that are prescribed are much more addictive and destructive to the body than marijuana. I think once the stigma is removed from this plant, you will see more people being open about the benefits. Like all of the drugs that fall into the catagory of pain/anxiety management, there are side effects and downsides. However, MM seems IMHO to be a much better more natural choice.

 

Just my 2 cents,

Will

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Marijuana and cancer:

 

This is a video of Robert Melamede of the University of Colorado:

 

 

The following is an article:

 

http://tinyurl.com/6d7emx4

 

Marijuana Cuts Tumor Growth by 50%

Health News | December 7, 2010

 

The active ingredient in marijuana cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread, say researchers at Harvard University who tested the chemical in both lab and mouse studies.

 

They say this is the first set of experiments to show that the compound, Delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), inhibits EGF-induced growth and migration in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expressing non-small cell lung cancer cell lines. Lung cancers that over-express EGFR are usually highly aggressive and resistant to chemotherapy.

 

marijuanaTHC that targets cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 is similar in function to endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body and activate these receptors. The researchers suggest that THC or other designer agents that activate these receptors might be used in a targeted fashion to treat lung cancer.

 

“The beauty of this study is that we are showing that a substance of abuse, if used prudently, may offer a new road to therapy against lung cancer,” said Anju Preet, Ph.D., a researcher in the Division of Experimental Medicine.

 

Acting through cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, endocannabinoids (as well as THC) are thought to play a role in variety of biological functions, including pain and anxiety control, and inflammation. Although a medical derivative of THC, known as Marinol, has been approved for use as an appetite stimulant for cancer patients, and a small number of U.S. states allow use of medical marijuana to treat the same side effect, few studies have shown that THC might have anti-tumor activity, Preet says. The only clinical trial testing THC as a treatment against cancer growth was a recently completed British pilot study in human glioblastoma.

 

In the present study, the researchers first demonstrated that two different lung cancer cell lines as well as patient lung tumor samples express CB1 and CB2, and that non-toxic doses of THC inhibited growth and spread in the cell lines. “When the cells are pretreated with THC, they have less EGFR stimulated invasion as measured by various in-vitro assays,” Preet said.

 

Then, for three weeks, researchers injected standard doses of THC into mice that had been implanted with human lung cancer cells, and found that tumors were reduced in size and weight by about 50 percent in treated animals compared to a control group. There was also about a 60 percent reduction in cancer lesions on the lungs in these mice as well as a significant reduction in protein markers associated with cancer progression, Preet says.

 

Although the researchers do not know why THC inhibits tumor growth, they say the substance could be activating molecules that arrest the cell cycle. They speculate that THC may also interfere with angiogenesis and vascularization, which promotes cancer growth.

 

Preet says much work is needed to clarify the pathway by which THC functions, and cautions that some animal studies have shown that THC can stimulate some cancers. “THC offers some promise, but we have a long way to go before we know what its potential is,” she said.

 

Source: PreventDisease.com

 

Update 11/04/2011: A few readers have asked for an additional source for this article. It’s hard to find any mainstream sources which carry the story, however I did find the article on a few science sites. The original author of the article, Staci Vernick Goldberg, has the following employment history on her linked in profile:

 

American Association for Cancer Research Inc

 

Johns Hopkins Children’s Center

 

Hayes , Domenici & Associates

 

Board Memberships and Affiliations Member

 

Public Relations Society of America

 

Member of the Public Relations Advisory Committee To the Board of Directors

 

American Red Cross

Edited by lethe

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Deaths from Rx Pain Meds Surpass Heroin, Cocaine

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor

Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on April 26, 2011

 

Deaths from Rx Pain Meds Surpass Heroin, Cocaine Disturbing new research finds that unintentional overdose deaths in teens and adults have reached epidemic proportions.

 

Experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the University of North Carolina and Duke University Medical Center report that in 2007, unintentional deaths due to prescription opioid pain killers were involved in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.

 

In fact, in 20 states, the number of unintentional drug poisoning deaths exceeded either motor vehicle crashes or suicides. Opioid pain medications were also involved in about 36 percent of all poisoning suicides in the U.S. in 2007.

 

The new research report seeks to give physicians information so that safeguards and interventions can be put in place to reduce the problem.

 

According to the researchers, approximately 27,500 people died from unintentional drug overdoses in 2007, driven to a large extent by prescription opioid overdoses.

 

Dr. Richard H. Weisler, M.D., adjunct professor of psychiatry at UNC, says that to put this in perspective, the number of 2007 U.S. unintentional drug poisoning deaths alone is about 4.6 times as many deaths as all U.S. fatalities in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan from the beginning of both wars through Feb 20, 2011.

 

The CDC sounded alarms regarding the issue in several reports last year. In June 2010, for example, the agency announced that the 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) found that 1 in 5 high school students in the United States have abused prescription drugs, including the opioid painkillers OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin.

 

Opioids are synthetic versions of opium that are used to treat moderate and severe pain.

 

Researchers believe there are several factors associated with the problem, including increased nonmedical use of opioids without a prescription solely for the feeling they create. The authors believe medical providers, psychiatrists and primary care physicians may fail to anticipate among their patients the extent of overlap between chronic pain, mental illness and substance abuse.

 

For example, 15 percent to 30 percent of people with unipolar, bipolar, anxiety, psychotic, non-psychotic, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders will also have substance abuse problems.

 

“Similarly, people with substance abuse are more likely to have another mental illness and a significant number of patients with chronic pain will have mental illness or substance abuse problems,” experts said.

 

Unfortunately, opioids, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and sleep aids “are frequently prescribed in combination despite their potentially harmful additive effects,” the authors point out.

 

And it’s the combinations of these drugs that are frequently found in the toxicology reports of people dying of overdoses.

 

In their recommendations to physicians, the authors suggest that before prescribing opioids, doctors should try non-narcotic medications as well as, when possible, physical therapy, psychotherapy, exercise, and other non-medicinal methods. These methods should be given “an adequate trial” before moving to opioids, they said.

 

“It is very important to screen patients with chronic pain who may require opioid therapy for substance abuse and mental health problems, especially depression and other mood and anxiety disorders, and address these problems adequately,” the authors state.

 

Source: University of North Carolina

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Doctors are prescribing deadly drug combinations for the elderly

June 24, 2011

 

Lesley Ciarula Taylor

STAFF REPORTER

 

Doctors are prescribing common drugs for elderly patients that are killing them, the first study of its kind reported on Friday.

 

“It goes against the Hipocratic Oath,” study lead author Dr. Chris Fox told the Star. “They are doing harm.”

 

A staggering 20 per cent of the 13,000 men and women involved in the study who were taking four or more anticholinergic drugs had died by the end of the two-year study, compared with only 7 per cent taking no anticholinergic drugs.

 

“This is a world first,” said Fox, clinical senior lecturer at Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia.

 

Doctors whose patients take handfuls of these drugs “are creating an illness,” he said.

 

The drugs also damaged brain activity, reducing cognitive function by more than 4 per cent, the study found.

 

That cognitive chaos could, for example, contribute to a car crash in an otherwise healthy senior with no signs of dementia of Alzheimer’s Disease.

 

Anticholinergic drugs span anti-depressants, allergy medicine, bladder medicine, tranquilizers, pain killers, antihistamines, Parkinson’s treatment and even eyedrops used for glaucoma.

 

Previous studies have revealed the drugs left the elderly confused or showing signs of memory loss. This is the first to connect them with death.

 

“We were surprised,” said Fox. “We were expecting to find delerium and confusion. We found mortality.”

 

As news of the study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, trickled out, Fox’s computer crashes under the weight of panicked elderly people sending emails listing all the drugs they took.

 

Why would doctors pile on powerful drugs for their patients over 65?

 

“More is better. There is a pill for everything. In the U.S., for example, doctors will prescribe two anti-depressants for a depressed patient for some bizarre reason.”

 

Fox warned people taking several drugs not to just stop taking the pills, which could cause serious problems.

 

The complex study gave each drug a ranking based on the strength of its anticholinegic activity then examined each of the thousands of patients against that. Several medical institutes, linked here and here, have produced charts to give patients some of that information.

 

The study’s analysis found a clear pattern: For every extra point on the rankings scale, “the odds of dying increased by 26 per cent.”

 

Another problem for doctors and patients, he said, is that some of those drugs such as Warfarin have no alternatives and need to be taken.

 

While elderly in the U.K. might take four or five of these drugs, some North American seniors are swallowing up to a dozen different drugs a day, he said.

 

Fox admitted doctors “are going to need a bit more evidence about whether it makes a difference” to use alternative drugs or mix and match differently. “There is not one way to solve the problem.”

 

Nevertheless, he said, “people should review the drugs they are taking at least every six months with their doctors.

 

“Some of these drugs are only meant to be taken for six months and people are still taking them two years later.”

 

The study, performed with researchers at the University of Cambridge, University College London and Indiana University, “is one of the largest so far,” said Fox.

 

Drug giant Glaxo Smith Kline, in a statement on the heels of the study, urged elderly patients to keep taking their prescribed medicine until advised otherwise by a doctor

 

GSK promised to “study the results.”

 

As well as a review, Fox urged governments to make combination tests a criterion for licensing, instead of the “one-disease, perfect patient” tests the drug companies do now.

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US Gov't knows benefits of cannabinoids ... and holds patent

 

source: http://www.google.com/patents?id=0pcNAAAAEBAJ

 

The US Government holds a patent (US Patent # 6630507) on cannabinoids and their antioxidant effects.

 

The Owner/Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services

 

It describes cannabinoids particular use as neuroprotectants, which limits possible neurological damage after an ischemic event, or an event that robs the brain of oxygen.

 

There's also reference to its use in treatment and prophylaxis of neurodegenerative diseases such as alzheimers, parkinsons, and HIV dementia.

 

Here's the Abstract:

 

Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention.

 

Patent number: 6630507

Filing date: Feb 2, 2001

Issue date: Oct 7, 2003

Inventors: Aidan J. Hampson, Julius Axelrod, Maurizio Grimaldi

Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services

Primary Examiner: Kevin E. Weddington

Attorneys: Klarquist Sparkman, LLP

Application number: 9/674,028

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Antidepressants May Up Risk of Relapse

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor

Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on July 20, 2011

 

According to a Canadian researcher, individuals who use antidepressants are much more likely to suffer relapses of major depression than those who use no medication at all.

 

The provocative paper is sure to add to the controversy over depression treatment. Dr. Paul Andrews, an evolutionary psychologist, believes that patients who have used antidepressant medications can be nearly twice as susceptible to future episodes of major depression.

 

Andrews is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behavior at McMaster University. The paper, for which he is the lead author, appears in the journal Frontiers of Psychology.

 

Researchers performed a meta-analysis combining the results from similar studies.

 

From the compilation, they found that people who have not been taking any medication are at a 25 per cent risk of relapse, compared to 42 per cent or higher for those who have taken and gone off an antidepressant.

 

The investigators reviewed dozens of previously published studies comparing the use of placebo to antidepressants.

 

They analyzed research on subjects who started on medications and were switched to placebos, subjects who were administered placebos throughout their treatment, and subjects who continued to take medication throughout their course of treatment.

 

Andrews said antidepressants interfere with the brain’s natural self-regulation of serotonin and other neurotransmitters, and that the brain can overcorrect once medication is suspended, triggering new depression.

 

Andrews believes antidepressants disturb the brain’s natural regulatory mechanisms, which he compares to putting a weight on a spring.

 

The brain, like the spring, pushes back against the weight. Going off antidepressant drugs is like removing the weight from the spring, leaving the person at increased risk of depression when the brain, like the compressed spring, shoots out before retracting to its resting state.

 

“We found that the more these drugs affect serotonin and other neurotransmitters in your brain — and that’s what they’re supposed to do — the greater your risk of relapse once you stop taking them,” Andrews said.

 

“All these drugs do reduce symptoms, probably to some degree, in the short-term. The trick is what happens in the long term. Our results suggest that when you try to go off the drugs, depression will bounce back. This can leave people stuck in a cycle where they need to keep taking antidepressants to prevent a return of symptoms.”

 

Andrews takes a contrarian view of depression, viewing the condition as a natural and beneficial — though painful — state in which the brain is working to cope with stress.

 

“There’s a lot of debate about whether or not depression is truly a disorder, as most clinicians and the majority of the psychiatric establishment believe, or whether it’s an evolved adaptation that does something useful,” he said.

 

Long-term studies cited in the paper show that more than 40 per cent of the population may experience major depression at some point in their lives. Most depressive episodes are triggered by traumatic events such as the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship or the loss of a job.

 

According to Andrews, the brain may cope with this trauma by enacting coping mechanisms altering other functions such as appetite, sex drive, sleep and social connectivity.

 

Just as the body uses fever to fight infection, he believes the brain may also be using depression to fight unusual stress.

 

Not every case is the same, and severe cases can reach the point where they are clearly not beneficial, he said.

 

Source: McMaster University

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Well, this is certainly food for thought. I am at the point of wondering if the severely disturbed sleep patterns I now have are worth the benefits of the anti depressants I have been prescribed. And to now read this article makes me even more uncertain. Thank you Lethe for posting this.

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I think that there are too many medicated kids for behavioural issues. I shudder at the thought of giving them marijuana cookies, but I try to keep an open mind.

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White House admits marijuana has ‘some’ medical value

By Stephen C. Webster

Monday, July 11th, 2011 -- 3:04 pm

 

Just days after the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) insisted that there is no medical value to marijuana, the White House appeared to contradict the position, saying in a report that there may actually be "some" medical value to "individual components of the cannabis plant" after all.

 

The statement was just a small part of the Office on National Drug Control Policy's yearly update on the progress of the drug war and its goals moving forward. Overall, the document only serves to affirm the federal prohibition of marijuana and what it calls "'medical' marijuana," which it still views as illegitimate.

 

But a single passage, under their "facts about marijuana," seems to loosen a bit from the generation-old line that there is no value to cannabis whatsoever.

 

"While there may be medical value for some of the individual components of the cannabis plant, the fact remains that smoking marijuana is an inefficient and harmful method for delivering the constituent elements that have or may have medicinal value," the report says.

 

Still, today's medical marijuana patients and proprietors don't have much to cheer in the report, as it goes on to insist that smoking the marijuana plant itself is harmful and dangerous, especially for teens, and perpetuates the largely discredited "gateway drug" theory.

 

Critics are likely to see the passage as offering a bit of wiggle room for major pharmesutical producers looking to grow marijuana to extract its psychoactive ingredient, THC, or other cannabinoid compounds that have been demonstrated to help abate symptoms of some chronic diseases, like wasting syndrome in AIDS patients or nausea in cancer patients.

 

In 2007, GW Pharmaceuticals announced that it partnered with Otsuka to bring "Sativex" -- or liquefied marijuana -- to the U.S. The companies recently completed Phase II efficacy and safety trials testing and began discussion with the FDA for Phase III testing. Phase III is generally thought to be the final step before the drug can be marketed in the U.S.

 

Sativex is the brand name for a drug derived from cannabis sativa. It's an extract from the whole plant cannabis, not a synthetic compound. Even GW defines the drug (.pdf) as marijuana.

 

Yet as the FDA is poised to approve the drug for Big Pharma, state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries that provide relief for thousands of Americans are under attack by other federal agencies.

 

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has warned just as much, claiming that federal authorities may be looking to shift policy slightly, if only to legalize marijuana-based medicines for Big Pharma only, which could step in and potentially eradicate the medical marijuana market.

 

The Obama administration said in a recent memo that it fully intends to enforce the federal ban on marijuana, regardless of whether individual states have legalized its use for medical purposes.

 

It added that a 2009 memo, which seemed to take the pressure off state-authorized medical marijuana clinics and patients, was merely a guidance on the best uses of federal funds and not actually a change in policy.

 

An ABC News poll found last year that eight in 10 Americans favor legalizing medical marijuana.

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Should children be removed from grow-op homes?

July 26, 2011

 

Theresa Boyle

HEALTH REPORTER

 

Children should not automatically be removed from homes where grow-ups have been discovered just because of an assumption that their health is at risk, according to new research from Sick Kids.

 

A study looked at 75 children who were removed from “drug-producing homes” in York Region between 2006 and 2010 and found that the majority were healthy and drug-free.

 

The study, published in the July 25 advance online edition of the Journal of Pediatrics, found that children may not be exposed to the alarming health risk widely believed to exist, says study author Dr. Gideon Koren, a senior scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children and director of its Motherisk program.

 

“Safety issues may require the child to be removed from the physical location of drug production and the child may also need to be seized from the parents for legal reasons. However, there is no medical justification to automatically separate them from their parents,” he says.

 

Children found in homes with marijuana-growing operations or makeshift methamphetamine laboratories in the Greater Toronto Area are routinely identified by police and referred to the local children’s aid society, which usually remove the children from the homes and separate them from their parents. These children are sometimes placed in foster care.

 

In 2006, the York Region Children’s Aid Society and York Regional Police asked Motherisk to study such children and assess their health.

 

The children, who ranged in age from two months to 15 years, came from 46 different homes. Eighty per cent of the homes were marijuana-growing operations or homes where large quantities of the drug were found. The remaining homes were engaged in cocaine or amphetamine production or had multiple different kinds of drugs being produced and stored.

 

While hair follicle testing identified exposure to illicit drugs in a third of the children, the majority showed no symptoms of this exposure. In fact, the health problems found in this population were actually fewer than those in the general Canadian population.

 

Previous research shows risks associated with a methamphetamine lab differ significantly from those associated with marijuana-growing operations where children are exposed primarily to plants. While meth labs may allow exposure to dangerous chemicals and possible explosions, grow-ops pose risks similar to those affecting children on farms.

 

“Making any generalization — either removing all these kids or none of these kids — should not be automatic. The decisions should be made following detailed assessment on a case-by-case basis,” Koren says.

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Marijuana DNA sequenced in $200,000 project

August 18, 2011

Meg Tirrell

WASHINGTON POST

 

 

NEW YORK —Kevin McKernan was leading Life Technologies Corp.’s Ion Torrent DNA-sequencing research when a new business opportunity caught his eye: marijuana.

 

A year later, McKernan, 38, has quit his job, formed a start-up run from his house in Marblehead, Mass., and announced Thursday that the company had sequenced the entire genome of the cannabis plant.

 

The project, which cost about $200,000, may lead to the development of treatments for cancer, pain and inflammatory diseases, he said. McKernan’s company, Medicinal Genomics, is making the data public using Amazon.com Inc.’s EC2 cloud- computing system. McKernan called the work a “draft assembly,” and it hasn’t yet been published in a peer-reviewed academic journal.

 

“This is the beginning of a more scientific approach to the genetics of the species,” Richard Gibbs, director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said in a telephone interview. “This is not really about marijuana; it’s about pharmacology.”

 

An important step to find a species’ potential utility is to map its DNA, the building block of life, according to Gibbs, who said he has known McKernan for more than 15 years.

 

McKernan worked on the Human Genome Project from 1996 to 2000, and started a commercial laboratory with his two brothers called Agencourt Bioscience, which was sold to Beckman Coulter Inc. in 2005. A spin-out of Agencourt that made sequencing technology, called Agencourt Personal Genomics, was acquired by Applied Biosystems Inc., which combined with Invitrogen Corp. in 2008 to become Carlsbad, Calif.-based Life Technologies. Life Technologies bought Ion Torrent last year for $375 million in cash and stock.

 

McKernan said his company’s goal is to allow researchers to find ways to maximize the cannabis plant’s therapeutic benefits and minimize its psychoactive effects.

 

“These pathways can be optimized in the plant or cloned into other hosts for more efficient biologic production,” Medicinal Genomics said in a statement. “It may be possible through genome directed breeding to attenuate the psychoactive effects of cannabis, while enhancing the medicinal aspects.”

 

The plant makes chemical compounds called cannabinoids, a class that includes tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive substance in marijuana. Another such compound called cannabidiol, or CBD, has shown promise in shrinking tumours in rats without the psychoactive effects, McKernan said.

 

“That one has been predominantly bred out of the plant as it’s been bred for recreational use,” he said. His company’s business model is to develop assays to enable regulators, government agencies or pharmaceutical companies to research cannabis’s gene pathways.

 

Donald Abrams, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who has done research into medical cannabis since 1997, said scientists have been able to study the plant without knowing the genome.

 

“We know what the active ingredients of the plant are already,” Abrams, chief of oncology at San Francisco General Hospital, said in a telephone interview. “You don’t need the genome; you need the plant.”

 

Companies such as GW Pharmaceuticals Plc, based in Salisbury, England, have developed cannabis-based medicines. GW sells Sativex for muscle spasms related to multiple sclerosis, using THC and CBD.

 

McKernan said he was initially convinced to pursue the research after seeing papers published in academic journals including Nature on the plant’s tumor-shrinking effects in rats.

 

“One in three people are going to get cancer, and one in four are going to die with it or from it,” he said. “So any compound, as preliminary as this may be, that’s non-toxic and shows hope there, we should be all over.

 

“The only way I knew how to do that was to sequence the genome.

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http://tinyurl.com/3nmygxs

 

Marijuana DNA sequenced in $200,000 project

August 18, 2011

Meg Tirrell

WASHINGTON POST

 

 

 

McKernan said he was initially convinced to pursue the research after seeing papers published in academic journals including Nature on the plant’s tumor-shrinking effects in rats.

 

“One in three people are going to get cancer, and one in four are going to die with it or from it,” he said. “So any compound, as preliminary as this may be, that’s non-toxic and shows hope there, we should be all over.

 

“The only way I knew how to do that was to sequence the genome.

 

It would be quite ironic if a cure for cancer is found in a plant that so much of our society has looked at with such disdain.

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It would be quite ironic if a cure for cancer is found in a plant that so much of our society has looked at with such disdain.

 

Marijuana has been the collective ""boogey-man" for society for the last 70 years or so, symbolizing the "dark, overpowering" chaos that conservatives fear so much...... ironically the reality of marijuana is the opposite of its image. All the "munchies" jokes associated with smoking grass (getting hungry) has hidden its great therapeutic value, giving people with AIDS, Parkinsons, or whatever, an appetite when nothing else does. Or the jokes made about smoking and getting "couch-lock" - sitting half-asleep on the couch, which is a blessing for those of us sleep-deprived. Or the myth its causes lung cancer, yes, only now to find it might actually destroy pre-canecrous cells!

 

All the jokes made dismissively about marijuana - the TRUTH is it's one serious herb.....

 

And all the doctors who have bad-mouthed and perpetuated the MJ myths should feel shame for their stubborn refusal to even consider the evidence.....

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Marijuana has been the collective ""boogey-man" for society for the last 70 years or so, symbolizing the "dark, overpowering" chaos that conservatives fear so much...... ironically the reality of marijuana is the opposite of its image. All the "munchies" jokes associated with smoking grass (getting hungry) has hidden its great therapeutic value, giving people with AIDS, Parkinsons, or whatever, an appetite when nothing else does. Or the jokes made about smoking and getting "couch-lock" - sitting half-asleep on the couch, which is a blessing for those of us sleep-deprived. Or the myth its causes lung cancer, yes, only now to find it might actually destroy pre-canecrous cells!

 

All the jokes made dismissively about marijuana - the TRUTH is it's one serious herb.....

 

And all the doctors who have bad-mouthed and perpetuated the MJ myths should feel shame for their stubborn refusal to even consider the evidence.....

 

I hesitate to get into politics because it can become so divisive. Just have to say in my opinion its not so much the "conservatives" that fear marijuana as it is the "people in power" and the people in industries such as the oil business and the pharmaceutical companies. I'm a Conservative (even though I don't always vote Republican). I know many others that are also conservative but yet feel that marijuana should be legal. The Ron Paul video you posted below makes some good arguments and he could hardly be labeled a Liberal. It's time for things to change....Like you said - the TRUTH is it's one serious herb...it's time that people who need it's benefits are able to use it, LEGALLY.

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Just got to be honest if marijuana was legal for me to use - hell i would not get anything done!

Jack

 

Hi Jack,

 

I'm far from being an expert on the stuff but I believe I've read somewhere that there are different strains of marijuana that

affect you in different ways. Personally I'd probably only use it to help me relax and sleep. I SO wish it was legal in my state.

I've heard that they decriminalized it in one city here. I think mainly so the tourists can enjoy it.

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So the evidence seems to be really compelling regarding mmj and neuroprotection. Possibly symptom relief, for bradykinesia, maybe tremor. Even for cell rescue in the early stages.

 

Have any of the national PD advocacy groups taken a position on mmj? Seems to me that a campaign is in order, along the lines of what the MS advocacy groups has done?

 

As of now, PD is in the approved list only in California. However, MS is in every state with mmj laws, and it seems like the science behind mmj for PD is at least as compelling, and overlaps quite a bit with the MS justifications. MS obviously is quite different, in terms of the need for pain management and relief from muscle spasticity. To make it legal for medical use for PD at the state level, it would be helpful to have a national medical advisory panel support it. Can anyone clue us in on whether such a panel exists or is being considered?

 

--pdBill

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So the evidence seems to be really compelling regarding mmj and neuroprotection. Possibly symptom relief, for bradykinesia, maybe tremor. Even for cell rescue in the early stages.

 

Have any of the national PD advocacy groups taken a position on mmj? Seems to me that a campaign is in order, along the lines of what the MS advocacy groups has done?

 

As of now, PD is in the approved list only in California. However, MS is in every state with mmj laws, and it seems like the science behind mmj for PD is at least as compelling, and overlaps quite a bit with the MS justifications. MS obviously is quite different, in terms of the need for pain management and relief from muscle spasticity. To make it legal for medical use for PD at the state level, it would be helpful to have a national medical advisory panel support it. Can anyone clue us in on whether such a panel exists or is being considered?

 

--pdBill

 

I've been searching on Google for the past hour to see if there is a medical advisory panel or PD advocacy group that is supporting mmj. I am coming up empty. If anyone has an answer to that question it will probable be Lethe. There has been a bill introduced to Congress. H.R. 2306, entitled the 'Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011 was introduced by Barney Frank back in June. No action has been taken on it yet. I won't hold my breath.

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Hi Jack,

 

I'm far from being an expert on the stuff but I believe I've read somewhere that there are different strains of marijuana that

affect you in different ways. Personally I'd probably only use it to help me relax and sleep. I SO wish it was legal in my state.

I've heard that they decriminalized it in one city here. I think mainly so the tourists can enjoy it.

 

just figures they would find a way to take the fun out of it!!

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