Many Canadians Use Medical Marijuana for MS

  Many Canadians Use Medical Marijuana for MS

Posted by CN Staff on November 17, 2004 at 09:58:13 PT
By Helen Fields 
Source: U.S. News & World Report  

After other treatments fail to relieve a chronic condition, many patients turn to alternative medicine—including, for some disorders, medical marijuana. Researchers in Canada, where it is much easier to use marijuana for medical purposes without breaking a law, asked multiple sclerosis patients about their patterns of cannabis use.What the researchers wanted to know: How many patients are using marijuana for multiple sclerosis?
What they did: The researchers sent questionnaires to 220 people with multiple sclerosis in Halifax, Nova Scotia; 205 were returned. The patients answered questions about their symptoms and any marijuana use.What they found: Thirty-four patients, or nearly 17 percent, reported ever having used marijuana for medical reasons. Most of them had also used it recreationally, and they were also significantly more likely to smoke tobacco and to be male. Most users said the drug helped alleviate stress, improve sleep, and lessen spasms and pain.What the study means to you: A lot of people at this one multiple sclerosis clinic use marijuana for their disease, and most of them think it helps. But medical evidence on whether it works is mixed.Caveats: This is a small survey in one area. And it's Canada—it's unlikely that as many American patients smoke marijuana.Find out more: The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has a page of medications used for MS.The American Academy of Neurology publishes the journal this article appeared in.Read the article: Clark, A. J., et al. "Patterns of Cannabis Use Among Patients With Multiple Sclerosis." Neurology. June 8, 2004, Vol. 62, pp. 2098–2100.Abstract online: Complete Title: Pain Relief: Many Canadians Use Medical Marijuana for Multiple SclerosisSource: U.S. News & World Report (US)Author: Helen FieldsPublished: November 17, 2004Copyright: 2004 U.S. News & World ReportContact: letters usnews.comWebsite: News Canadian Links -- Canada Archives

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Comment #5 posted by afterburner on November 21, 2004 at 07:35:24 PT
Posted LTE:Top court:health care not a right
Name: afterburner 
Occupation: programmer 
Location: Wawa 
{ If the federal government would stop fighting against medical cannabis, herbal remedies and other health care alternatives, there would be plenty of money in the provincial health program coffers. Instead of focusing solely on expensive sickcare, the governments should focus on adding preventative care, wellness, and alternative health care, instead of delisting chiropractic and burdening families in their daunting task of dealing with autistic children. Then, the Supreme Court would not need to consider cases like this one. } Top court: health care not a right OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada refused to elevate health funding to a constitutional right in a ruling that was a stunning setback for families of autistic children asking the state to pay for expensive treatment. Sound Off!
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Comment #4 posted by afterburner on November 21, 2004 at 05:54:35 PT
Richard Cowan's Latest MMAR Update
Top Story: Canadian Medical Cannabis Patients Denounce Health Canada’s War On Sick And Dying As New Survey Shows “MARIJUANA LAWS A TOTAL FAILURE” 
Posted by Richard Cowan on 2004-11-17 16:20:00
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on November 19, 2004 at 12:56:43 PT

News Article from Vive le
Subject: An American's Take on Canucks (Worth the Read) Friday, November 19 2004 Contributed by: David Jones-CookI couldn't tell if you George sent this to you also?.. An American Perspective on Canada ... By Samantha Bennett Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette You live next door to a clean-cut, quiet guy. He never plays loud music or throws raucous parties. He doesn't gossip over the fence, just smiles politely and offers you some tomatoes. His lawn is cared-for, his house is neat as a pin and you get the feeling he doesn't always lock his front door. He wears Dockers. You hardly know he's there. And then one day you discover that he has pot in his basement, spends his weekends at peace marches and that guy you've seen mowing the yard is his spouse. Allow me to introduce Canada. The Canadians are so quiet that you may have forgotten they're up there, but they've been busy doing some surprising things. It's like discovering that the mice you are dimly aware of in your attic have been building an espresso machine. Did you realize, for example, that our reliable little tag-along brother never joined the Coalition of the Willing? Canada wasn't willing, as it turns out, to join the fun in Iraq. I can only assume American diner menus weren't angrily changed to include "freedom bacon," because 
nobody here eats the stuff anyway. And then there's the wild drug situation: Canadian doctors are authorized to dispense medical marijuana. Parliament is considering legislation 
that would not exactly legalize marijuana possession, as you may have heard, but would reduce the penalty for possession of under 15 grams to a fine, like a speeding ticket. This is to allow law enforcement to concentrate resources on traffickers; if your garden is full of wasps, it's smarter to go for the nest rather than trying to swat every individual bug. Or, in the United States, bong. Now, here's the part that I, as an American, can't understand. These poor benighted pinkos are doing everything wrong. They have a drug problem: Marijuana offenses have doubled since 1991. And Canada has strict gun control laws, which means that the criminals must all be heavily armed, the law-abiding civilians helpless and the government on the verge of a massive confiscation campaign. (The laws have been in place since the '70s, but I'm sure the government will get around to the confiscation eventually.) They don't even have a death penalty! And yet . nationally, overall crime in Canada has been declining since 1991. Violent crimes fell 13 percent in 2002. Of course, there are still crimes committed with guns -- brought in from the United States, which has become the major illegal weapons supplier for all of North America - but my theory is that the surge in pot-smoking has rendered most criminals too relaxed to commit violent crimes. They're probably more focused on shoplifting boxes of Ho-Hos from convenience stores. And then there's the most reckless move of all: Just last month, Canada decided to allow and recognize same-sex marriages. Merciful moose, what can they be thinking? Will there be married mounties (they always get their man!)? Dudley Do-Right was sweet on Nell, not Mel! We must be the only ones who really care about families. Not enough to make sure they all have health insurance, of course, but more than those libertines up north. This sort of behavior is a clear and present danger to all our stereotypes about Canada. It's supposed to be a cold, wholesome country of polite, beer-drinking hockey players, not founded by freedom-fighters in a bloody revolution but quietly assembled by loyalists and royalists more 
interested in order and good government than liberty and independence. But if we are the rugged individualists, why do we spend so much of our time trying to get everyone to march in lockstep? And if Canadians are 
so reserved and moderate, why are they so progressive about letting people do what they want to? Canadians are, as a nation, less religious than we are, according to polls. As a result, Canada's government isn't influenced by large, well-organized religious groups and thus has more in common with those of Scandinavia than those of the United States, or, say, Iran. Canada signed the Kyoto global warming treaty, lets 19-year-olds drink, has more of its population living in urban areas and accepts more 
immigrants per capita than the United States. These are all things we've been told will wreck our society. But I guess Canadians are different, because theirs seems oddly sound. Like teenagers, we fiercely idolize individual freedom but really demand that everyone be the same. But the Canadians seem more adult -- more secure. They aren't afraid of foreigners. They aren't afraid of homosexuality. Most of all, they're not afraid of each other. I wonder if America will ever be that cool.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on November 18, 2004 at 08:41:28 PT

News Article from The Canadian Press
Compassion Club Pot Supplier JailedNovember 18, 2004 
WINNIPEG -- A judge, who said he is tired of a medical marijuana crusader's continued flouting of the law, sentenced the man yesterday to six months in jail. Chris Buors of Winnipeg was also placed on three years supervised probation and will face an even stiffer sentence if he's convicted again, warned Queen's Bench Justice Alan MacInnes. "Whether one agrees with his position, one must respect his right to express it. However, advocacy has limits," said MacInnes. Buors, 46, pleaded guilty last month to possession for the purpose of trafficking but asked for leniency because he was supplying pot to people who are ill or in pain. "This is way too harsh in my opinion. But we are living in the Bible Belt," Buors said as he was led out of court to begin his sentence. Several members of the Compassion Club he operates filed letters of support and were in court for the hearing, including one man in a wheelchair. MacInnes agreed Buors "was providing a service to these people." But MacInnes said he couldn't overlook a previous conviction or the fact that Buors appeared to be trying to restart his grow operation just days after his arrest.
 Copyright: 2004 Canadian Press
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 17, 2004 at 21:17:36 PT

News Article from The Canadian Press
RCMP Commissioner Signed Papers Approving B.C. Legislature RaidsDirk MeissnerNovember 17, 2004 VICTORIA (CP) - The RCMP in British Columbia sought the written approval of the top Mountie in Canada before conducting a raid on the B.C. legislature last December, documents obtained from a federal Access to Information request show.A government of Canada document marked with the security classification Protected B contains the signature of RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli. It was signed on Dec. 23, 2003. The raids, part of an ongoing drug, corruption and proceeds of crime investigation, occurred Dec. 28, 2003.A second document, marked RCMP and also stamped Protected B, details RCMP policy that requires the approval of the commissioner in advance of a search within the precincts of Parliament or a provincial legislature.The RCMP document obtained by The Canadian Press is signed by Supt. Peter German, director-general, financial crime. It is dated Dec. 23, 2003.Both documents show that the investigation that led to the legislature raid and other arrests in Victoria, Vancouver and Toronto is code named: Every Which Way.The government of Canada document reveals the series of steps the Mounties took prior to requesting Zaccardelli's permission to conduct the legislature raid."The background material included in this package include the informations to obtain search warrants (which have already been approved by Crown counsel), a three-page briefing note from E Division outlining the background of the case which commenced in 2002 and which provides rationale for proceeding with searches pursuant to proceeds of crime and corruption," says the letter to Zaccardelli from Garry Loeppky, deputy commissioner operations.RCMP spokesman John Ward said RCMP policy requires the commissioner's approval prior to any police investigation inside a provincial legislature or the federal Parliament."We have to go through that protocol if we are going to enter any Parliament buildings for a criminal investigation," he said. "For us to be able to go in there and do our work in conducting investigations we have to get the authorization of the commissioner to do that."Ward said the Mounties are rarely required to conduct investigations within legislatures or Parliament buildings.David Basi, the former ministerial aide to Finance Minister Gary Collins, was fired the day after police raided his legislature office and seized files.Basi has since been charged with marijuana production and possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.Basi's next court date on the drug charges is Dec. 20.A summary of the information to obtain the search warrant released last fall said the legislature raid involved allegations that Basi and colleague Bob Virk traded government inside information on the privatization of B.C. Rail for job recommendations with the federal Liberal government. Virk, a former ministerial assistant to former transportation minister Judith Reid, has been suspended without pay since the raid.The allegations, which have not so far resulted in charges, were contained in search warrants and accompanying sworn information that resulted in several police raids. The documents were released last September by Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm after eight months of court hearings on an application by news outlets to unseal the warrants. Special prosecutor Bill Berardino, who's handling the separate case involving Basi and Virk, said earlier the police investigation is still underway and he will make a decision on charges before the end of the year. The police have consistently said their investigation does not involve any elected officials. The police documents reveal how delicate the RCMP considered the issue of conducting police work at the B.C. legislature."It should be noted that Assistant Commissioner (Gary) Bass and E Division staff are aware of the sensitivities of the searches, including issues such as documents which may be a cabinet confidence," the documents say.The documents say the RCMP put in place a pre-raid notification strategy that included a personal meeting between the RCMP and Claude Richmond, the speaker of the legislature.Solicitor General Rich Coleman was given the task of notifying Premier Gordon Campbell about the raids, the documents say.Campbell said in interviews following the raids that Coleman advised him he may be getting a call about an undisclosed matter while he was on his annual Christmas vacation in Hawaii."Further, a media strategy is in place to deal with media concerns when the media becomes aware that searches have been done."The document to Zaccardelli ends: "Given the seriousness of the investigation, it is my recommendation that the request be approved."The three-page RCMP document also seeks approval of a police raid at the legislature."This request relates to serious criminal investigations, in which substantial information has been accumulated, supporting the position taken by "E" Division that searches within the British Columbia legislature are warranted."The documentary basis for the searches has been reviewed by Crown counsel and the division is cognizant of the care which must be exercised when conducting the searches."
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