Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Posts Tagged ‘medical marijuana

Cannabis compound may stop metastatic breast cancer

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Good news. Of course, farmers can’t even get DEA permission to grow industrial hemp, so I suggest the DEA will fight tooth and nail the growing of cannabis for medical purposes.

A non-toxic, non-psychoactive compound in marijuana may block the progress of metastatic breast cancer, according to a new study by researchers in California.

“This is a new way to treat a patient that is not toxic like chemotherapy or radiotherapy. It is a new approach for metastatic cancer,” said lead researcher Sean D. McAllister, an associate scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco.

The compound found in cannabis, called cannabidiol (CBD), inhibits a gene, Id-1, that researchers believe is responsible for the metastatic process that spreads cells from the original tumor throughout the body.

Opting for a musical metaphor, senior researcher Pierre-Yves Desprez likened Id-1 to “an [orchestra] conductor. In this case, you shoot the conductor, and the whole orchestra is going to stop. If you shoot the violinist, the orchestra just continues to play.”

In humans, the Id-1 gene is found only in metastatic cancer cells, said Desprez, a staff scientist at the institute. Before birth, they are present and involved in the development of human embryos, but after birth, they go silent — and should stay that way, he said.

But in metastatic cancer “when [the genes] wake up, they are very bad,” he said. “They push the cells to behave like embryonic cells and grow. They go crazy, they proliferate, they migrate.” Desprez said, “We need to be able to turn them off.”

According to the study, CBD does exactly that.

“We are focusing on the latest stages of cancer,” Desprez added. The cancer cell itself is not the problem, because a tumor can be “removed easily by surgery,” he said. The problem is the development of metastatic cells which is “conducted” by Id-1.

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Written by Leisureguy

19 November 2007 at 3:07 pm

Posted in Health, Medical, Science

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John Cole and James Joyner: two excellent posts

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I want you to click through and read two posts:

First, one by John Cole.

Second, one by James Joyner (which post Cole also links to).

There’s a point at which stupidity and lack of compassion becomes criminal, and the DEA passed that point long ago. We now have thugs and criminals acting as police. Not good.

Written by Leisureguy

28 October 2007 at 11:33 am

Cannabis as analgesic

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Opponents of medical marijuana point to how few studies have been done, overlooking (or ignoring) the fact that the DEA is loathe to approve studies, which might result in findings that they won’t like. But some studies do get done. Here’s one:

Smoked cannabis eased pain induced in healthy volunteers, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Center for Medical Cannabis Research (CMCR.) However, the researchers found that less may be more.

In the placebo controlled study of 15 subjects, a low dose of cannabis showed no effect, a medium dose provided moderate pain relief, and a high dose increased the pain response. The results suggest a “therapeutic window” for cannabis analgesia, according to lead researcher Mark Wallace, M.D., professor of anesthesiology at UCSD School of Medicine and Program Director for the UCSD Center for Pain Medicine.

[This is interesting, because it strongly suggests that the best way to administer the drug is through inhalation—smoking or using a vaporizer—so that the amount administered can be easily titrated. Oral administration runs the risk of missing the therapeutic window altogether—either falling short or overshooting it. – LG]

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Written by Leisureguy

25 October 2007 at 11:05 am

Posted in Drug laws, Medical, Science

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Michigan Medical Marijuana Initiative

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From the Marijuana Policy Project:

The Marijuana Policy Project needs your help to place a landmark medical marijuana initiative on the Michigan ballot.

Landmark? Yes, because if Michigan voters are given the opportunity to pass the initiative in November of next year, Michigan will become the first state in the Midwest where patients will be able to use, possess, and grow marijuana legally for medical purposes.

And we can pass the initiative, because the only two public opinion polls that have been conducted in recent years show that between 59% and 61% of Michigan voters support the initiative. And this polling is accurate, because five out of five Michigan cities have passed local medical marijuana initiatives with an average of 64% of the vote since 2004.

I want to thank the 44 generous supporters who made a financial donation after my last message about this campaign. But now I need your help, too.

Would you please donate $10 or more today, so that we can afford to pay our hard-working petitioners who are working furiously to collect the remaining signatures that are needed to place the initiative on the November 2008 ballot?

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Written by Leisureguy

23 October 2007 at 1:14 pm

Posted in Drug laws, Election

Tagged with ,

You can help directly

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Letter from the Marijuana Policy Project:

John Lehman has suffered from AIDS for the last 10 years. The pain medicine he takes kept him unfocused and mainly in bed, keeping him from his work as a writer. “It was frustrating, to say the least, when vague thoughts of stories danced in my head and there was nothing I could do to put them onto a page,” he says.

Luckily, John lives in Montana, where voters passed MPP’s medical marijuana ballot initiative in November 2004. Since then, patients like John have been permitted to use and grow their own marijuana legally for medical purposes. However, with no income, John couldn’t afford the $50 fee to register with the state’s medical marijuana program and obtain the ID card that would protect him from arrest.

Fortunately, MPP was able to help. Through our medical marijuana scholarship program, we paid John’s registration fee so that, now, he doesn’t need to fear being arrested by state and local police.

Here are John’s own words:

Fewer pain pills to pop plus using medical marijuana to alleviate my discomfort equals the opportunity to write again. Medical marijuana also stimulates my appetite when keeping my weight is threatened. In turn, this enables me to go out into the community and give back.

If anyone can help continue the phenomenal work of the Marijuana Policy Project by a kind donation, please do. Other patients like me need your help.

Won’t you please help other low-income patients get the protection they need by paying a full or partial registration fee?

A donation of $50 will keep one patient out of jail in Montana or Vermont; a donation of $75 will do the same in Rhode Island; and a donation of $110 or $200 will do the same in Colorado or Nevada, respectively. If you can’t afford those amounts, please give what you can.

After MPP’s recent lobbying campaigns in Vermont and Rhode Island and our ballot initiative campaign in Montana, these three states now allow patients to possess and grow their own marijuana. But many seriously ill patients have little or no income and are unable to afford fees for the required state medical marijuana ID cards. In response, MPP created a financial assistance program to help pay the registry fees for patients who cannot afford it — and has since paid the registration fees for 90 financially needy patients.

Would you please sponsor a low-income medical marijuana patient today? Your donation can prevent medical marijuana patients from being arrested and jailed simply because they cannot afford to pay the registration fee.

Whether it’s $10 or $1,000, cancer, AIDS, and other seriously ill patients are hoping you will give the most generous gift you can to help them. Please give now, while it’s fresh in your mind. Thanks so much.

Written by Leisureguy

16 October 2007 at 9:04 am

Posted in Daily life, Drug laws, Medical

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Raising the issue

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I think the effort to bring the issue of medical marijuana up for discussion is worthwhile. Too often candidates just skip taking a stand on issues if they possibly can, yet the election campaign should allow the voters to understand the candidates’ position on a wide variety of issues. From an email:

The Marijuana Policy Project’s campaign to pressure the presidential candidates to take positive positions on medical marijuana just hit a new level.

Check out this CNN footage of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) avoiding Clayton Holton, a muscular dystrophy patient in New Hampshire who has used medical marijuana illegally.

And you can see a fuller video clip of the encounter here.

CNN ran its coverage of the encounter over and over again on Monday, in addition to putting it on the front of its Web site, which led to the video clip becoming one of the most watched news stories of the day on

This led to ABC News putting the video on its Web site, as well as a raft of critical blog coverage, including this from Andrew Sullivan and this on Boston Magazine‘s blog, which starts with this …

Don’t you hate it when reality comes barging into your ideological Neverland and mucks everything up? That’s what happened to Mitt Romney last weekend. At a campaign stop in Dover, NH on Saturday, the Mittster found himself confronted by Clayton Holton, an 80-pound man stricken with muscular dystrophy who says he is “living proof medical marijuana works.” Romney wasn’t having any of it …

Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana is MPP’s nine-month campaign to pressure the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates to take strong, public, positive positions on medical marijuana in advance of the New Hampshire primary — the first in the nation — expected to be no later than January 8, 2008.

Would you please consider funding our pressure tactics in New Hampshire?

And the fallout from our confrontation with U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) keeps getting worse for him. On September 30, he rudely dismissed Linda Macia, a New Hampshire resident with multiple sclerosis, by arguing that the government isn’t arresting “the dead” for medical marijuana.

We featured the video coverage of this encounter in an e-mail alert to you on October 4. But check out this column in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune, which blasts McCain for his heartlessness.

We have awarded McCain, Romney, and four other Republican presidential candidates a grade of “F” for their inhumane stances on medical marijuana. On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve awarded two Republican candidates — Congressmen Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) — “A+” grades.

And, of course, our campaign has already succeeded in getting all eight Democratic presidential candidates to speak out in favor of ending the federal arrests of medical marijuana patients in the 12 states where medical marijuana is legal under state law.

Please visit for our complete voting guide. You’ll find statements from each of the candidates, as well as a grade for each.

MPP is the only drug policy reform organization that’s systematically influencing the presidential candidates to take positive positions on medical marijuana — and punishing those who don’t.

Written by Leisureguy

11 October 2007 at 10:05 am

Posted in Drug laws, Election

Tagged with ,

Reply from Senator Feinstein

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I have less and less respect for Dianne Feinstein, based in part on her voting. But today I received a response from her with regard to my complaint regarding medical marijuana. It included this:

I understand the concerns you raise about the current legal classification of marijuana and the conflicts between state and federal laws. While I do not support the legalization of any narcotic drug for recreational use, please know that I do recognize that marijuana may have medicinal properties that could alleviate conditions such as AIDS-related wasting and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

The only problem: marijuana is not a narcotic (narcotic = opium or opium-derived), nor is it classified as a narcotic (coca and coca-derived drugs (e.g., cocaine) are not narcotics, but are classified as narcotics in the Controlled Substances Act).

Her ignorance is somewhat surprising, given the California actions taken to support medical marijuana. So it goes.

Written by Leisureguy

27 September 2007 at 8:10 am

DEA running amuck

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What’s the point of things like this? From an email:

Right now, the DEA is currently raiding the River City Patient Center in Sacramento, California — the longest established medical marijuana dispensary in the city. Protesters have gathered outside the building in support of the collective.

And yesterday, the DEA began threatening landlords in the Santa Barbara area who lease space to medical marijuana dispensaries — activity that’s legal under California state law — with federal prison time and forfeiture of their properties. Several dispensaries closed right away.

This follows a similar move in Los Angeles in July — a maneuver that was condemned in a Los Angeles Times editorial as “a deplorable new bullying tactic.”

No matter what state you live in, will you please take a few minutes towrite all three of your members of Congress to protest this federal interference in state law? MPP’s action center is easy to use: You can send one of our pre-drafted letters, or you can personalize the letter.

This is just the latest in the campaign of terror the DEA is waging on the sick. In June and July, the DEA conducted extensive medical marijuana raids in several California counties and in Oregon, including raids on at least 10 Los Angeles clinics in late July. Most were aimed at medical marijuana dispensaries operating legally under state and local laws, and in several cases the DEA detained and terrorized individual patients.

If this outrages you like it does me, would you help MPP hire a new grassroots organizer in California, as well as to retain a lobbyist to help push legislation in Sacramento to protect these dispensaries? If enough supporters on this e-mail list donate today, MPP will be able to fully pay for both positions.

These reprehensible DEA attacks — which run counter to state law, as well as the 78% of the American people who support “making marijuana legally available for doctors to prescribe in order to reduce pain and suffering” — are preventing effective local regulation of medical marijuana: Cities and counties in California are passing ordinances to ensure that medical marijuana dispensaries follow the law and serve patients properly. But by treating all who provide medical marijuana to the sick as common drug dealers, the DEA has become the single largest obstacle to effective regulation of these establishments.

A major Los Angeles raid actually occurred at the exact moment that members of the city council were holding a press conference to discuss an ordinance to regulate medical marijuana providers.

Local officials and major newspapers are outraged by the DEA’s actions. After the July raids in Los Angeles, L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine — a Republican and former police officer with the L.A. Police Department — said, “I am greatly disturbed that the Drug Enforcement Administration would initiate an enforcement action against medical marijuana facilities in the City of Los Angeles during a news conference regarding City Council support of an Interim Control Ordinance to regulate all facilities within the City. This action by the DEA is contrary to the vote of Californians who overwhelmingly voted to support medicinal marijuana use by those facing serious and life threatening illnesses. The DEA needs to focus their attention and enforcement action on the illegal drug dealers who are terrorizing communities in Los Angeles.”

After a series of DEA medical marijuana raids in San Francisco, the city’s health director, Dr. Mitchell Katz, wrote to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, “These actions have resulted in 4,000 persons with chronic illness left without access to critical treatment upon which they rely. Certainly in this post-September 11 environment, it seems that a DEA priority punishing organizations for distributing cannabis for medical purposes to chronically ill individuals is misplaced.”

Written by Leisureguy

26 September 2007 at 2:43 pm

Posted in Drug laws

Tagged with ,

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