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Feds Favor Anti-Pot Research

April 8th

As the nation’s only truly legal supplier of marijuana, the U.  S.  government keeps tight control of its stash, which is grown in a 12-acre fenced garden on the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

From there, part of the crop is shipped to Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina, where it’s rolled into cigarettes, all at taxpayer expense.

Even though Congress has long banned marijuana, the operation is legitimate.  It’s run by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the U.  S.  Department of Health and Human Services, which doles out the pot for federally approved research projects.

While U.  S.  officials defend their monopoly, critics say the government is hogging all the pot and giving it mainly to researchers who want to find harms linked to the drug.

U.  S.  officials say the federal government must be the sole supplier of legal marijuana in order to comply with a 1961 international drug- control treaty.  But they admit they’ve done relatively little to fund pot research projects looking for marijuana’s benefits, following their mandate to focus on abuse and addiction.

“We’ve been st. . . . . READ MORE

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Marijuana Research Hampered by Access from Gov.

March 24th

Millions of ordinary Americans are now able to walk into a marijuana dispensary and purchase bags of pot on the spot for a variety of medical ailments. But if you’re a researcher like Sue Sisley, a psychiatrist who studies post traumatic stress disorder, getting access to the drug isn’t nearly so easy.

That’s because the federal government has a virtual monopoly on growing and cultivating marijuana for scientific research, and getting access to the drug requires three separate levels of approval.

Marijuana offers hope for 6-year-old girl with rare condition: In marijuana, Lydia Schaeffer’s family members think they might have found a treatment that works. Now, they are trying to help legalize the drug.

Sisley’s fight to get samples for her study — now in its fourth month — illuminates the complex politics of marijuana in the United States.

While 20 states and the District have made medical marijuana legal — in Colorado and Washington state the drug is also legal for recreational use — it remains among the most tightly contr. . . . . READ MORE

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Despite Legalization, Not Much Known About Effects

October 28th

Even though 20 states, including Illinois, have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana, swayed in part by thousands of personal testimonies, current research hasn’t nailed down exactly if, and how, marijuana alleviates all the specific diseases the drug is being legalized to treat, experts say.

A number of proponents believe marijuana could benefit people with everything from glaucoma to cancer, and it’s been legalized in Illinois to aid patients with some 40 medical conditions. But opponents of its medicinal use believe the risks of smoking medical marijuana outweigh the benefits, while others question whether patients really improve or only feel like they improve.

Marijuana’s best-known compound is THC, but the plant actually has 105 unique cannabis compounds with potential for medicinal use, proponents say. THC has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration in synthetic form to help patients with nausea and decreased appetite.

Some scientists believe the plant’s other compounds — called cannabinoids — could have equal promise. Although research has increased in recent years as more sta. . . . . READ MORE

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Medical Cannabis: Safe, Effective

May 31st

Where did you receive your schooling and training?

I have been a medical physician for more than 29 years since graduating from the University of Utah School Of Medicine.  I completed training in general surgery in Los Angeles and plastic surgery in Utah.  During my general surgery training I completed a one-year plastic surgery research fellowship at the University of Southern California.  I finished my board certifications in both general surgery and plastic surgery, and set up private plastic surgery practice in Las Vegas.  I practiced plastic and reconstructive surgery for six years until I underwent cervical spine surgery for herniated discs in the neck.  The surgery left me with neck pain and bodily muscle pain that prevented me from returning to the practice of surgery.

After five years, I was well enough to re-train in pain medicine at the University of Utah under a group of renowned pain-medicine physicians, who have served as current and past presidents of prominent pain academies and societies in the United States.  I hold memberships in the American Academy of Pain Medicine, the International Cannabinoid Research Society and the American Telem. . . . . READ MORE

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MMJ Ingredient Prevents Brain Damage in Mice

May 31st

The words “marijuana” and “brain damage” usually go in that order in medical literature. An Israeli researchers has flipped them around, finding that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, may arrest some forms of brain damage in mice. The loco weed already is favored by those who suffer from chronic diseases, not to mention fans of Cypress Hill, Bob Marley and the Grateful Dead.

But pharmacologist Josef Sarne of Tel Aviv University found that a minuscule amount of tetrahydrocannabinol may protect the brain after injuries from seizures, toxic drug exposure or a lack of oxygen.

The amounts wouldn’t qualify as much more than a second-hand whiff of kine bud – the quantity of THC is an order of 1,000 to 10,000 lower than that in a whole spliff.

The new dope on marijuana was published in Behavioural Brain Research and Experimental Brain Research, which are professional journals, not nicknames for HempCon or Burning Man.

Other researchers didn’t tend to Bogart the joint as much. They suggested using high — their word — doses within about half an hour after such injury. Sarne. . . . . READ MORE

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Study To Look at Whether MMJ Really Helps Users

May 27th

A $2.2-million federally funded study soon will help answer the question: Does medicinal marijuana really help? The grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse funds a four-year project that began this monthat the University of Michigan. Researchers will track the progress of 800 recipients of medicinal marijuana prescriptions.

Michigan, where more than 135,000 patients are now in a 4-year-old statewide registry of approved medical marijuana users, is one of 20 states in which medical marijuana is used to ease pain and symptoms from cancer, seizures, glaucoma and other conditions, according to the researchers. Michigan voters approved a measure allowing medical marijuana in 2008.

Past research on medical marijuana’s effect has mostly focused on lab studies where participants are given different levels of marijuana or a placebo, then report whether their pain is lessened.

But those studies tend to last hours or a few days, and they fall short of determining whether the marijuana has a long-term effects on their lives in more practical wa. . . . . READ MORE

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Some Dispensaries Not Too Thrilled By Legal Pot

May 8th

Medical marijuana groups are wary of a bill that would legalize and tax marijuana in Maine.

Estimates nationwide suggest if marijuana were legal, much of the profit gained by medical retailers and black-market criminals would disappear.

That worries Glenn Peterson, the owner of Canuvo, a Biddeford medical-marijuana dispensary.  He also serves as president of the Maine Association of Dispensary Operators, a trade group made up of five Maine dispensary owners.

Peterson said his group is concerned that the bill could “eliminate the medical marijuana industry” in Maine.

“I tend to be libertarian,” he said.  “On the other hand, I am quite protective of my dispensary.”

Paul McCarrier, a lobbyist for Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, an advocacy group for state-licensed caregivers who grow marijuana for small groups of medical patients, said his group is opposing the bill.  McCarrier said it would favor dispensaries through licensing requirements, which could regulate small-time growers out of existence.

“The scope of protections for the individual to cultivate for themselves is too limited,” he said.

The head of a national group that has supported the. . . . . READ MORE

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