Much Better Choices Than Marijuana for Medical Use

  Much Better Choices Than Marijuana for Medical Use

Posted by CN Staff on February 23, 2006 at 06:59:12 PT
By Jeff Stone 
Source: North County Times 

California -- The ethical quandary that I have as a pharmacist is allowing lay people to open dispensaries for profit and supply marijuana to people without any quality control over what's dispensed or accountability to those being dispensed this potent drug. Can we ensure that marijuana is pure and unadulterated?In the 1960s, the active ingredient in marijuana (THC) had a potency of about 0.5 percent. With modern hybridization today, THC can exceed 25 percent!
Who will appropriately counsel patients on the effects of marijuana and potential dangerous drug interactions when mixed with other drugs, including alcohol? Who ensures that marijuana dispensed is truly for "medical needs" rather than sold for recreational use?Without these safeguards, I will predict that marijuana will become more prevalent in our schools, more abused by our youth, more fatal vehicular accidents will occur and crimes committed while under the influence will increase, including sexual assaults and homicides.I seriously question the efficacy of utilizing marijuana for certain medical conditions: The medical facts are clear and straightforward:Nausea: In studies, marijuana was found to be no more effective than an old anti-nausea prescription medicine called Compazine. Newer more effective anti-nausea medicines have been produced with fewer side effects.Weight loss prevention: Studies show that marijuana can increase appetite but has not been proven effective in increasing weight gain. Contemporary practitioners commonly use an inexpensive drug called megestrol, which better stimulates appetite and weight gain in 80 percent of patients treated.Spasticity: Studies have shown that patients with spasticity diseases, e.g. multiple sclerosis, perceived a decline in spasticity when, in fact, the spasticity was made worse.Glaucoma: Marijuana has never been shown to be equal or better than existing drugs to treat glaucoma, yet has significantly more side effects.THC has been concentrated in capsular form and is sold in pharmacies under the trade name Marinol. Via prescription, a physician can monitor the use and can quantify the dose for each patient under their care. The pharmacist can ensure compliance to the doctor's orders, can educate the patient on side effects, drug interactions, and warn patients about the potent pharmacological effects of the drug which may impair the patient's cognitive and or motor functions.The legal quandary that I face as a public official ---- sworn to uphold the laws of local, state, and federal government ---- is that state and federal law conflict. State law allows medical marijuana to be cultivated, dispensed, and used for medicinal purposes, while federal law still recognizes marijuana as an illegal drug placed in the same category as heroin.Under California law, pharmacists must observe the stricter of state or federal law. Under the supremacy clause in the U.S. Constitution, federal law is the supreme law of the land and may deem Proposition 215 a potentially unconstitutional initiative.To get a clearer understanding on the challenges we face ethically and legally, I'll ask the Board of Supervisors to join with San Diego County in seeking declaratory relief. Only then will we truly know how to respond to ensure we are not condoning the breaking of one law to enforce another.Jeff Stone, a Riverside County supervisor, is a doctor of pharmacology.Note: Jeff Stone - Proposition 215, "The Compassionate Use of Marijuana Initiative," has placed local government in a legal and ethical quandary. Source: North County Times (CA)Author: Jeff StonePublished: Wednesday, February 22, 2006 Copyright: 2006 North County Times Contact: letters nctimes.comWebsite: Related Articles: Put Right Issues On The Front Burner Decry Stone's Call for Medical Pot Suit Moves Marijuana Challenge To State Court

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Comment #29 posted by FoM on February 24, 2006 at 08:21:31 PT
Had Enough
My best friend's father when I was growing up was a Pharmacist. We would go in the back with him while he was putting together different drugs for people. I don't know if they do that anymore though. We called it mixing drugs. 
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Comment #28 posted by Had Enough on February 24, 2006 at 08:08:40 PT
Just to let you know, the term Pill Roller is what my dear pappy used to call pharmacists. I remember all the pills he used to have to take. There was grocery bag sized of prescribed medication. It just seemed to me, too many. He knew it too, and we talked about it at times. By the way, my father was the best man I’ve ever met.Your remake of the Rawhide thing is really good. Believe me; you have put a smile on a few faces today. Thank You.
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Comment #27 posted by FoM on February 24, 2006 at 07:48:04 PT
Too much! LOL!
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Comment #26 posted by Had Enough on February 24, 2006 at 06:57:53 PT
I like your rendition better. Thanks for cleaning it up for us. I’ll be grinning for a while today.
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Comment #25 posted by Hope on February 24, 2006 at 06:53:46 PT
"...have another drink, and think it over." 
Excellent, Jose. Excellent.
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Comment #24 posted by Hope on February 24, 2006 at 06:45:23 PT
Had Enough Comment 15 Loved it!
Rollin' Rollin' Rollin' Keep movin', movin', movin', Though they're disapprovin', Keep them pills a movin' Big Pharm! Don't try to understand 'em, Just get your new prescription.Roll em, throw and grab 'em, Soon we'll be living high and wide. Boy my heart's calculatin' My profit will be waitin', be waiting at the end of my ride. Move 'em on, head 'em up, Head 'em up, move 'em out, Move 'em on, head 'em out Big Pharm! Set 'em out, shove 'em in Take 'em in, let 'em out, Cut 'em out, sell 'em in Big Pharm. 
 Rollin', rollin', rollin' Rollin', rollin', rollin' Rollin', rollin', rollin' Rollin', rollin', rollin' Big Pharm! Rollin', rollin', rollin' Though your legs are swollen Keep them pills a rollin' Big Pharm! Rain and wind and weather Hell-bent for profit,Wishin' my scription was with me. All the things I'm missin', Good profits, cars, investin', Are waiting at the end of my ride CHORUS Move 'em on, head 'em up Head 'em up, move 'em on Move 'em on, head 'em up Big Pharm! Count 'em out, push 'em in, Push 'em in, count 'em out, Count 'em out, push 'em in Big Pharm! Keep movin', movin', movin' Though they're disapprovin' Keep them pills a movin' Big Pharm!Don't try to understand 'em Just buy, pay, and take 'em Soon we'll be living high and wide. My side effects calculatin' Cardiac Arrhythmia will be waitin', Be waitin' at the end of my ride. Big Pharm! 
                           Big Pharm!
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Comment #23 posted by jose melendez on February 24, 2006 at 03:54:28 PT
top down corruption
Dear Pharmacist Jeff, Read on, sir. Drug War IS crime. Game over.Any questions?CCCCP.org FDA Chief Joins Lobby ShopBy Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 8, 2006; Page A06Former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Lester M. Crawford, whose sudden resignation last fall after less than three months in office remains a mystery, has joined a lobbying firm that specializes in food and drug issues.Crawford is listed as "senior counsel" to the firm Policy Directions Inc. Among the companies and organizations listed as clients are Altria Group Inc. (formerly Philip Morris Companies), Merck & Co. Inc., the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA,) the Grocery Manufacturers of America and the American Feed Industry Association. A spokesman for the firm said neither Crawford nor anyone else wished to discuss his appointment. - - -“Our nation’s leaders have been playing a game for nearly 70 years . . . They have demonized marijuana and marijuana users, pushing people toward alcohol instead. Students and voters are finally standing up and saying, ‘The game is over.’”Steve Fox, executive director of Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) also: from: Response To Official 5 of 7URL: Mon, 23 Feb 2004Source: Press Journal (FL)Copyright: 2004, The E.W. Scripps Co.Contact: laurence.reisman scripps.comWebsite: Jose MelendezReferenced: TO OFFICIALHad they insisted cannabis has no medical properties under oath, the Office of National Drug Control's deputy director for demand reduction, Andrea Barthwell, and Sgt. Brad Fojtik of the Indian River County Sheriff's Office School Resource Team could be charged with perjury.At a minimum, such fraudulent testimony is correctly dismissed as ignorance. It is a fact that the THC and CBD in cannabis ameliorate symptoms of nausea, pain and stress far safer than almost every legal medication or intoxicant on the market, even if smoked.In fact, two studies prove carcinogenic tumors were reduced when exposed to cannabinoids. The mantra that medical marijuana is a cruel hoax on the sick and dying is absurd, perhaps criminal, when one notes that millions die from smoked cigarettes.That Ms. Barthwell and her paid cronies wage war on American citizens while turning a blind eye to pending FDA regulation of cancer sticks as medical devices ought to be the subject of antitrust investigations.Note also that treason is defined by the Constitution as waging war on us, or providing aid and comfort to our enemies. Marijuana is not legally prohibited, and compared to incarceration, asset forfeiture and legal poisons, is relatively harmless. If you really believe all drug use is abuse, have another drink, and think it over.Jose Melendez,DeLand 
Million Marijuana Lawsuits
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Comment #22 posted by kaptinemo on February 24, 2006 at 03:26:28 PT:
A pharmacist ought to know about delivery
systems...Having witnessed - and cleaned up the aftermath of - the misery that is attendent with chemotherapy, I have to ask the most obvious of questions: How does Dear Pharmacist Jeff expect someone who is barfing his or her guts out to keep a pill down?Presumably our Jeffery is a learned man of science, and doesn't hold with magical explanations. So we can rule out The Pope sprinkling holy water on his precious pills, or a rabbi praying over them, in order for them to cancel the godawful emesis a cancer patient experiences during and after treatment. So, if he's not willing to consider such metaphysics as having any effect, then let him answer the question. Like it or not, barring vaporization, smoking is the fastest way of delivering THC to the person whose system needs it. And I most fervently wish that I could drag each and every one of these dweebs into a cancer ward and have them explain to the patients, as the poison drips into their systems and they become increasingly queasy and ill, that by their being denied cannabis, which would surely reduce their misery, that they're suffering for the noble cause of keeping weed out of the hands of Johnny and Suzy...who laugh at anyone so foolish who believes that.To me, prohibs are like dogs that have never been properly housebroken, and they keep crapping on the carpet with their verbal manure. Like any puppy, they need to have their noses rubbed in the reality of the mess they help create so they can begin to associate their cloud-cuckooland fantasies of social proctorship with the reality of the pain and misery they aid and abet.
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Comment #21 posted by runderwo on February 23, 2006 at 23:39:16 PT
hey CQ
That's what these articles always miss, or deliberately gloss over. The set of side effects a drug gives you is different for every person. So they always generalize "pharms have less side effects than cannabis", which may even be true in the average case, but they don't bother to mention that there are still some or many people left over for whom cannabis has less side effects than many pharms. I don't understand why there is this mental block to evaluating it objectively like any other drug that would be considered for prescription. They always have to drag all this other stuff in which is at least as true for any other drug, yet cannabis is held to an unreasonably high standard for some reason.
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Comment #20 posted by Max Flowers on February 23, 2006 at 18:21:51 PT
While we're trashing pharmaceuticals & pharmacists
I just got a piece of junk mail today that really pissed me off. It was from Pfizer, whom I have no dealings with whatsoever. I was like "what the heck is this from Pfizer?" I noticed that the mail was addressed to me with my middle initial included, as it is on my bank card, which I think may mean that somehow they got my address from them somehow.Anyway I open it, and they are pushing some disgusting hypertension and cholesterol drug at me called Caduet. I don't have a medical problem of either type, so I'm wondering why they targeted me for this crap and where they got my name and address. It was a creepy, dirty feeling, the same as when a hard drug pusher oozes up to you on a city street assuming you want some heroin or coke. There should be a law against this kind of blatant pill-slinging. I immediately called their line to be removed from the mailing list (and it also pisses me off that they make you have to do something to be removed!), but as far as I'm concerned it's not over... I plan to call these people and ask them just how they got my address and tell them what I think of their sleazy pill pushing marketing campaign.It's a good thing it wasn't for Viagra---I would have been twice as pissed, and insulted too!
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Comment #19 posted by john wayne on February 23, 2006 at 16:14:58 PT
Jeff "Stone". Heh.
Sorry about the name Jeff. Don't take it out on cannabis users.
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Comment #18 posted by charmed quark on February 23, 2006 at 16:08:26 PT
On my soap box
I'm sorry, this article really steamed me. I know I should just ignore anything that starts talking about how much stronger today's marijuana is than your father's marijuana (although saying that 1960's pot was only 0.5% THC is REALLY pushing it).But what really bothers me are his statement that "we have a drug that can do xyz, so we don't need pot anymore". That is just out and out nonsense, especially coming from an alleged pharmacist. As an example, to treat one aspect of my disease, there are 4 broad classes of drugs that are standards, and many drugs within each class. People have to try drug after drug, plus endless combos of these drugs, to find the set that best controls their symptoms with tolerable side effects. I know people who have gone through 25 or more different drugs and combos, some with no success even after all of this. So to imply there needs to be only one drug for each condition is just utter nonsense. The real problem was the linking of medical cannabis to the drug war. There was no logical need to link the two. And ever since the discovery of the cannabinoid receptors it was obvious that science was going to back up some medical uses. But it's too late now, they linked the medical use to recreational use and feel if the medical aspect of the drug war fails it might bring down the recreational aspect of the drug war. I'll try to feel sorry for them.
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Comment #17 posted by charmed quark on February 23, 2006 at 15:38:03 PT
Incorrect information on MS
The original study did NOT find an increase in spasticity from cannabis. The patients said they felt less spasticity but it little or no decrease was found by objective measurement with 15 weeks of use. But it certainly did not indicate an INCREASE. Then a followup study was performed tracking patients for a longer period of time. After six months of use there was significant objective reduction in spasticity, as well as possible evidence that cannabis had slowed the progression of the disease.Thos pharmacist was simply distorting or even lying about the information in the original study. It makes me mad. The signal to noise ratio is low enough without out and out falsehoods.He could have said that there are other pharmaceuticals that reduce spasticity quicker or to a greater degree than cannabis. Of course, it is always better to have additional drugs to try in case the others don't work well on a given individual or have too many side effects. That's probably where cannabis fits into MS treatment.
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Comment #16 posted by runderwo on February 23, 2006 at 15:33:49 PT
"In the 1960s, the active ingredient in marijuana (THC) had a potency of about 0.5 percent. With modern hybridization today, THC can exceed 25 percent!"OH NO! Wait.. what's his point? What's the average potency of pharmaceuticals he sells?0.5 percent in 1960? so all those hippies weren't actually getting high, just cruelly deluded into thinking they were experiencing something out of the ordinary. But we were fighting a war on the counterculture anyway for some reason. Hmm.
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Comment #15 posted by Had Enough on February 23, 2006 at 15:21:51 PT
Rollin, Rollin, Rollin
We’ve been hearing an AWFUL lot from this Pharmacist (Pill Roller) lately.Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’, get them pills a rollin’. Count’em out, triple the price or more,Round up their insurance cardTell them anythingIt's not all that hard get them pills a rollin. RAWHIDE!!!
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Comment #14 posted by runderwo on February 23, 2006 at 15:18:29 PT
"Contemporary practitioners commonly use an inexpensive drug called megestrol, which better stimulates appetite and weight gain in 80 percent of patients treated."What a nice round number. A sample size of 5?
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Comment #13 posted by mayan on February 23, 2006 at 13:19:40 PT
Jeff Stone, a Riverside County supervisor, is a doctor of pharmacology.That damned pharmacist has no problem with sending the sick and dying to JAIL. Observer always hits the nail right on the head. At least Jeff Stone has a job to fall back on once the voters, who overwhelmingly disagree with him, oust him. Some people will say anything to keep the money machine rolling. Sickening. 
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Comment #12 posted by whig on February 23, 2006 at 12:54:14 PT
Pharmacists are police officers
We don't always recognize them because they wear a different uniform, but the function of a pharmacist is to enforce the law. How many times has a pharmacist provided you with helpful advice? In fact, it's standard operating procedure nowadays that when you go to pick up something at the prescription counter, they have you sign a sheet that says you don't need anything to be explained to you about the medication.The sole and entire purpose of the pharmacist is to make sure you get only those drugs, in such doses and quantities, as the state permits with a doctor's prescription.
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Comment #11 posted by observer on February 23, 2006 at 12:33:09 PT
Forgot to Mention Jail, Again
Much Better Choices Than Marijuana for Medical UseSays the "pharmacist". But the issue is one concerning the jailing of people. The issue is over whether or not government will jail sick people for using pot. The issue isn't over the relative effectiveness of various treatments. See how that was done? The reader was mislead. The issue of jail and prison, that evaporated. Poof. No mention of that in the article. The article wasn't titled anything remotely like, 'Much Better Choices Than Prison for Cancer Patients using Pot.' No. Words and images of prison and jail were studiously avoided. Keep the herd bewildered and diverted. Plenty of special pizza and olympics. Panis et circences. Obey and obey. Don't think too much. Obey. Denounce your neighbor to the thought-police, I mean the drug police, becauce they could be on drugs. Obey at work, obey at home, obey the police state continually: for it is thy master and thou art a slave.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on February 23, 2006 at 11:43:58 PT

What a Day
There have been rumors that Neil suffered another brain episode. I don't think it's true but it has the Rust List buzzing and then to see what that guy looks like from that one web site today is too much. I hope Neil is really ok. 
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Comment #9 posted by whig on February 23, 2006 at 11:21:25 PT

LOL. That was so true.
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Comment #8 posted by museman on February 23, 2006 at 11:13:32 PT

Sir You Are A Liar
Everythng that has been stated here is from the 'What to say about marijuana when the facts don't bear out' handbook. If you Mr. Jeff Stone actually believe these lies and misinformed biased 'studies' then you are a fool. If you deliberately deny the wealth of actual documented facts concerning the lies created in the Unconstitutional 'war on some drugs', then you are a liar of criminal proportion, pull your head out of your comfortable status quo posterior and join the human race.
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Comment #7 posted by BGreen on February 23, 2006 at 10:45:33 PT

I mean, look at all the profits I can make
Look, I can buy these little bottles of pills and mark them up by 300%, charging most of this to the federal government and insurance companies, and then I can pay for my HUGE house and vacation home.I've been getting "gifts" from these pharmaceutical companies since I was in pharmacy school, so I have an obligation to push their pills.I'm an expert on medicine, so even though I have NO CLUE about ANYTHING that has do with medical cannabis, I'll posture and try to convince you that all of these pills with pages upon pages of side effects, (ranging from insomnia, drowsiness, and loss of sexual desire to tuberculosis, liver failure, kidney failure and DEATH,) are MUCH SAFER THAN CANNABIS.Come on, trust me because I'm a "doctor" of pharmacology, and you are just a bunch of inbred idiots.Signed,Jeff Stone
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Comment #6 posted by whig on February 23, 2006 at 09:23:03 PT

Music for Max
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Comment #5 posted by Max Flowers on February 23, 2006 at 08:37:11 PT

He's obviously worried about the drop in business his pharmacy is going to experience when medical cannabis gets easier to get and becomes less criminalized. He doesn't care about what makes people feel better, he cares about how much money his damn pharmacy makes.I'm coming to believe that most medical professionals in America don't really want us to heal---they want us to stay ill so they can keep charging us for services and pharmaceuticals. It's appalling. 
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Comment #4 posted by mai_bong_city on February 23, 2006 at 08:30:04 PT

reading this pharm-assist's ridiculous assumptions cast-about as fact just makes me nauseous. how can a true man of science dispute fact? his allegiance is to the feds obviously and the pharmaceutical companies - he can't make money off marijuana, that's all.
an idiot.
they shouldn't have given him the space to speak such garbage. but free speech and all - still - truth in journalism would be nice. don't these reporters check on these statements before printing them as irrefutable to those that don't know any better to look beyond their msm-noses?
it's fueling the ignorant fire....
now i definitely need my morning medication.stay free, fellow world citizens! and enjoy -mbc
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Comment #3 posted by Max Flowers on February 23, 2006 at 08:26:09 PT

Hey Jeff Stone
We don't care how effective you say your precious pharmaceuticals are---we choose a safer, NATURAL treatment, in use for thousands of years as medicine, instead of icky synthetic chemicals, okay? Can you get that through your thick, government-loving, pharma-biased head?
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on February 23, 2006 at 07:29:30 PT

News Article from Snipped Source
Medical Marijuana is a Growing Controversy***February 23, 2006Stacy Hochanadel wakes up most mornings wondering if today is the day he'll get arrested.The 29-year-old is the owner of CannaHelp, a medical marijuana dispensary on El Paseo in Palm Desert. Every day he walks a fine line between California's medical marijuana laws, which say what he's doing is legal, and federal anti-drug laws, which say he's a criminal."Anything can happen," said Hochanadel, a medical marijuana user himself. "I could get arrested. I'm willing to do it."But today, what's preoccupying Hochanadel and the close to 500 clients at his dispensary is whether the Palm Desert City Council will vote at its meeting to revoke CannaHelp's business license.And if they do, dispensary supporters say, CannaHelp's future - and safe access to medical marijuana in the area - could be severely affected."He's providing (medical marijuana) for people who cannot obtain it by growing their own," said Lanny Swerdlow of Palm Springs, who heads the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, a patient support group. "Otherwise they'll have to turn to criminals back on the street."Complete Article:
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 23, 2006 at 07:25:46 PT

News Article from Snipped Source
Of Pizzas, Prop. 215 and (shhhhh!) Pot 
    February 23, 2006 In the pharmacopeia of medical pot, prescription pizza packs a healthy buzz. Consider this cheesy recipe for “Portobello Bacon Pizza,” posted on the Web site of Legal Ease Inc., the company whose San Marcos marijuana dispensary has been thrust into the North County news recently: 
 Complete Article:
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