Marijuana Helps Patients Stay on Medication

Marijuana Helps Patients Stay on Medication
Posted by CN Staff on September 13, 2006 at 11:07:28 PT
By Reuters
Source: Reuters 
Washington, DC -- Recovering drug addicts who are infected with hepatitis C virus may stick to their medications better if they are allowed to use marijuana, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday.Smoking or eating cannabis may help them tolerate the side effects of the antivirals, which can clear the virus but often cause fevers, chills, and muscle and joint aches, the researchers said.
Diana Sylvestre and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco tested 71 recovering substance users given interferon and ribavirin to treat their hepatitis C -- which is common among injecting drug users.About a third of the patients also used marijuana.Half of the marijuana users were successfully treated with the antivirals, versus 18 percent of those who did not use cannabis, the researchers reported in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.And just 14 percent of the cannabis users relapsed, compared to 61 percent of non-smokers."It may in fact be an ironical truth that those persons who contracted hepatitis C virus through a form of illicit drug use may be aided in ridding themselves of this potentially fatal virus by the use of another drug in addition to their HCV therapy," Benedikt Fischer of the Center for Addictions Research of British Columbia in Canada wrote in a commentary.The hepatitis C virus damages the liver and can kill people if not treated. A combination of interferon, to boost immune response, and ribavirin, to attack the virus, can help clear it from the liver, but it can take months."The majority of patients develop significant treatment-related side effects, with almost 80 percent experiencing an initial flulike syndrome that includes fevers, chills, and muscle and joint aches," the researchers wrote.They are often given a range of drugs to treat the side effects, including medications to stop vomiting, analgesics, antihistamines and sleeping pills.NORML: Hepatitis C: Reuters (Wire)Published: September 13, 2006Copyright: 2006 Reuters Related Articles:Study: Pot Helps Hepatitis Treatment Aids Therapy
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on September 13, 2006 at 18:58:37 PT
I see where you are coming from and that is an interesting take on it all.
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Comment #3 posted by Universer on September 13, 2006 at 18:47:53 PT
Just maybe...
Couldn't it be that pot-smokers tend to be responsible people, whereas those who engage in truly risky behaviors -- by which they likely contracted Hep C in the first place -- aren't as probable to be responsible, even in the administration of their own medication?Could it be that pot-smokers ain't that damn dumb?I'm stereotyping, but hey, they're statistics. They're meant to convey trends and thereby induce the occasional stereotype now and then.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on September 13, 2006 at 14:29:07 PT
Press Release from The Drug Policy Alliance
Medical Marijuana Discussion Draws Crowd in L.A.***Wednesday, September 13, 2006Despite an array of obstacles, California's medical marijuana movement is still going strong. That was the message at a community discussion hosted by Drug Policy Alliance Southern California earlier this week. The group invited leaders in the medical marijuana movement to explore the evolution of the movement since the passage of Proposition 215, which permits medical use of marijuana on a doctor's recommendation, ten years ago.Over dinner, more than 100 community members listened to a moderated panel discussion followed by an open question and answer session. During the first segment, the group highlighted major achievements--for example, the fact that ten other states have passed medical marijuana laws since the watershed passage of Prop 215 in California. They also discussed the road blocks facing the movement: a number of California cities have banned dispensaries, and a few counties are suing to strike down Prop 215. However, the panelists met these obstacles with optimism. The prevailing sentiment was that the movement is making important progress and will win its current battles.The question and answer period gave the floor to an engaged audience representing a cross-section of the medical marijuana movement, from icons who have been involved for years to younger college students just getting started. Margaret Dooley with DPA Southern California, who moderated the panel, said, "It was exciting to see movement veterans optimistic about the state of medical marijuana in California and the nation. You could see how energizing this was to the audience members who are more recent to the movement."The diverse backgrounds of the panelists brought a range of perspectives to the issue. Dale Gieringer, state coordinator of California NORML, reflected on how far the law has come in ten years and gave a positive forecast for the next decade. Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, talked about the growing movement of patient activists and the importance of creating pressure from the federal level down to the most local. Don Duncan, long-time dispensary operator and organizer, shared best practices for dispensary operators, who he said must be both business people and diplomats. Rebecca Bernhardt, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, elaborated on important legal precedents, and enlightened the group on the importance of forcing representatives and the justice system to abide by those precedents.The event took place at DPA's Southern California office in Los Angeles, and was coordinated by DPA's Yazmin Trujillo.URL:
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Comment #1 posted by whig on September 13, 2006 at 14:01:35 PT
Nasty stuff, I think.
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