Spain To Test Cannabis as Aid for Patients 

Spain To Test Cannabis as Aid for Patients 
Posted by CN Staff on February 05, 2005 at 18:51:09 PT
By Ben Sills in Madrid and Jo Revill
Source: Observer UK
Spain's socialist government has given the go-ahead for the most wide-ranging trial of therapeutic cannabis ever conducted, putting the country at the forefront of drug policy. Four hospitals, 60 pharmacies and up to 1,500 patients in Catalunya will take part in a year-long pilot programme sponsored by the regional government to establish the drug's effectiveness in treating a range of conditions.
'Experts agree cannabis has interesting therapeutic possibilities,' said Rafael Manzanera, Catalunya's director of health resources. 'We want to evaluate its efficacy across different groups of patients. That has never been done before.' Patients will be prescribed cannabis capsules for four conditions: multiple sclerosis (MS); the side effects of chemotherapy; lack of appetite among Aids sufferers; and pain not eased by existing therapies. The move follows decisions around the world to overcome anti-drug sentiments and carry out more studies into cannabis, many years after research first showed it could relieve pain. In the next few weeks Canada is expected to approve the use of Sativex, which delivers cannabis derivatives into the bloodstream via a mouth spray. It is the world's first prescription drug made from marijuana, and is manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals. There is growing frustration in the UK among people with chronic pain, such as MS sufferers, that nothing similar has been allowed here. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has asked GW for a confirmatory study of the product, although it does not dispute its safety or efficacy. In most European countries, including Spain, cannabis remains illegal, although authorities often turn a blind eye to those using it for therapeutic purposes. The plan for a trial using a marijuana compound was initially blocked by Spain's conservative government but won support after José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's socialists came to power last March. Zapatero has set an unapologetically left-wing social agenda since taking office. He has angered Spain's conservative establishment with bold reforms on gay marriage, social housing and religious education, and his drugs policy is expected soon to include a programme of heroin prescription for long-term addicts. Therapeutic cannabis use is widespread in Spain, but users have to rely on informal networks for support and information about the drug. And with no controlled source, supplies can vary considerably in strength. 'The majority of the people we spoke to said using cannabis had improved their quality of life,' said Rafael Borràs, a committee member at the College of Pharmacists. 'But there was a real lack of information. So we proposed this pilot.' Montse Domenech, of the Association of Breast Cancer Patients in Barcelona, says her group gets three or four calls a day from women all over Spain looking for advice about cannabis. But while its use is widespread among her members, it remains frowned upon. 'We're older women and we have our hang-ups,' she said. 'When I started I had my oncologist's support but I didn't tell my husband.' She says most oncologists in Barcelona will give patients the go-ahead to try cannabis, even if they won't admit it publicly. 'We might as well provide support and control, since people are going to take it anyway.' British patients could be included in the Spanish programme if they registered at one of the participating hospitals, but they wouldn't receive NHS funding. 'The prescription will be tightly controlled,' said Manzanera. 'But if patients from outside Spain meet our criteria, they will be included.' Source: Observer, The (UK)Author: Ben Sills in Madrid and Jo RevillPublished: Sunday, February 6, 2005Copyright: 2005 The ObserverContact: letters Articles & Web Site:GW Pharmaceuticals Prescribing The Miracle Weed Plans Cannabis Prescriptions Approves Cannabis Drug
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on February 06, 2005 at 22:59:19 PT
News Article About Bob Marley
Over 300 000 Celebrate Marley's 60th Matthew Lee February 7, 2005 More than 300 000 music fans, Rastafarians and the merely curious swarmed central Addis Ababa on Sunday, turning the capital's huge Meskel Square into a sea of red, green and yellow to celebrate what would have been reggae legend Bob Marley's 60th birthday.As Ethiopia's blazing sun turned into a distinctly chilly night, crowds thronged the square for a free concert where the country's former Marxist leadership once paraded its military might, as hundreds of heavily armed soldiers, some on horseback, and police stood by.The crowd was well-behaved if loud, even as "The Marleys" — Bob's sons, led by Ziggy — ripped into "I Shot the Sheriff" while automatic-weapon toting troops in blue camouflage patrolled the perimeter.Copyright: 2005 iafrica.comComplete Article:
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on February 06, 2005 at 10:47:19 PT
john wayne 
It really is sad how it is now.
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Comment #1 posted by john wayne on February 06, 2005 at 10:46:04 PT
wasn't so long ago
that spain was fascist and we were free. Then Franco died and Reagan won.
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