New Study Shows Medical Value of Marijuana

New Study Shows Medical Value of Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on February 22, 2007 at 06:51:04 PT
By Rob Kampia, AlterNet
Source: AlterNet 
California -- Ever since California and other states began passing medical marijuana laws in 1996, the federal government has claimed that -- as a 2003 White House press release put it -- "research has not demonstrated that smoked marijuana is safe and effective medicine." A new study, just published in the journal Neurology, definitively refutes that claim and underlines the urgent need for the federal government to change its prohibitionist policies.
The study, conducted by Dr. Donald Abrams of the University of California at San Francisco, found marijuana to be safe and effective at treating peripheral neuropathy, which causes great suffering to HIV/AIDS patients. This type of extreme pain, which is caused by damage to the nerves, can make patients feel like their feet and hands are on fire, or being stabbed with a knife. Similar pain is seen in a number of other illnesses, including multiple sclerosis and diabetes, and cannot be treated effectively with conventional pain medications. Standard pain medicines -- even addictive, dangerous narcotics -- have little effect on this type of pain.Marijuana doesn't cure neuropathy, but in the UCSF study marijuana was clearly shown to give relief. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (the design that's considered the "gold standard" of medical research), a majority of patients had a greater than 30 percent reduction in pain after smoking marijuana. For many, that level of relief means having a bearable quality of life.This result is all the more remarkable because researchers like Abrams are only allowed to test government-supplied marijuana, which is of notoriously poor quality. There's every reason to believe the results would be even better if scientists were permitted to study a better-quality product.Abrams' study is only the latest in a growing mountain of research showing that medical marijuana can provide real -- and potentially even life-saving -- benefits. In a study published last year of patients being treated for the hepatitis C virus (HCV), those who used marijuana to curb the nausea and other noxious side effects of anti-HCV drugs were significantly more likely to complete their treatment. As a result, the marijuana-using patients were three times more likely to clear the deadly virus from their bodies -- in other words, to be cured -- than those not using marijuana.Clearly, the White House and its drug czar, John Walters, should abandon their rigid, unscientific rejection of medical marijuana and start reshaping federal policy to match medical reality.Unfortunately, this is unlikely; what's more likely is that the Bush administration will ignore the scientific data during its last two years in power, just as it has for the past six years.That puts the ball in Congress's court. There are a number of actions Congress can take to put federal medical marijuana policy on a path toward sanity.The first, and simplest, is to prohibit the Drug Enforcement Administration from spending money to raid and arrest medical marijuana patients and caregivers in the 11 states where the medical use of marijuana is legal under state law. This taxpayer-friendly act would remove the cloud of fear that now hangs over tens of thousands of desperately ill Americans and those who care for them.But that should be just the beginning. Everything about federal medical marijuana policy should be reconsidered. That includes the arbitrary rules that needlessly hamper research, as well as the absurd law that classifies cocaine and methamphetamine as having more medical value than marijuana, which is grouped with heroin and LSD as having "no currently accepted medical use."The guiding principle must be to handle medical marijuana as science, common sense, and simple human decency dictate. Recent research leaves no doubt that our government's war on the sick and dying must end immediately. Note: New research gives more ammunition to those hoping to change federal marijuana policy. Rob Kampia is executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, DC. Source: AlterNet (US)Author:  Rob Kampia, AlterNetPublished: February 22, 2007Copyright: 2007 Independent Media InstituteContact: letters Website: Articles & Web Site:Marijuana Policy Project Marijuana Can Ease HIV-Related Nerve Pain Supports Medicinal Marijuana SF Study Finds Pot Helps Ease Pain
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Comment #4 posted by Toker00 on February 23, 2007 at 03:29:53 PT
Those shows are violent for a purpose. To make us think that we are a violent society with no hope and in need of constant protection. That is a lie. Program non-violence and watch us mellow out. Violence and hatred and anger have been romanticized on television. There IS violence in our society. Most is caused not by violent people, but by laws allowing dangerous drugs to be sold legally/illegally (prohibition). If a drug causes you to do anything other than mellow out, stop hurting or heal, it is a flawed drug and should be re-designed. Or eliminated. When a drug causes more damage than benefits it should be listed as a poison, not a medicine. Bad laws restrict and frustrate people to anger/violence also. The PTB want the U.S. society to be viewed by the world as violent and dangerous. No one is afraid of a gentle giant. Kudos to Amy Goodman.Toke. 
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Comment #3 posted by ekim on February 22, 2007 at 18:43:31 PT
amy goodman -----today -- toke
had show on tv show 24 and how many times it has filmed sceens showing someone being hurt. 
gets one thinking about more love is what is needed.
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Comment #2 posted by Toker00 on February 22, 2007 at 14:28:56 PT
OT: Investigate the Torture and make sure it stops
Dear (You),Tonight at 9:30pm (EST) HBO will be airing "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" — a stark and moving chronicle of abuses that were the predictable outcome of policies that began at the highest levels of the Pentagon and the White House.For a preview and more information about "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib,” go to: or believe "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" reinforces why this issue still demands full investigation, accounting and correction.As many of you know, in response to the revelations shown in the documentary, Human Rights First launched its End Torture Now campaign to put an end to the United States’ abusive policies. And thanks to your efforts, together we have made steps toward that goal. But our work is not finished.With your ongoing support, Human Rights First will continue its campaign:  * Building and sustaining a coalition of more than 40 retired U.S. generals and admirals who believe the best national security strategies are those that protect human rights. Their voices helped to pass the Detainee Treatment Act banning cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment;  * Seeking legal accountability of the former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for his role in authorizing and failing to prevent and punish acts of torture of detainees;  * Seeking legislative fixes of the misguided and unconstitutional portions of the recently-passed Military Commissions Act, including its purported elimination of habeas corpus; and  * Ensuring that the CIA complies with the ban on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and does not engage in secret detention and the use of so-called "alternative interrogation procedures."Thank You,Jill Savitt
Director of Public ProgramsToke.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 22, 2007 at 11:19:36 PT
Press Release from The Drug Policy Alliance
CT Residents: Contact Legislators to Support Medical MarijuanaFebruary 22, 2007We just learned that the medical marijuana bill in Connecticut, HB 6715, is coming up for a public hearing in the Joint Committee on Judiciary on Monday, February 26!This is the first public hearing on HB 6715. Legislators on this committee need to hear from all of us on this bill, to get the message loud and clear that Connecticut residents support medical marijuana access for seriously ill people!The Joint Committee on Judiciary is meeting on Monday, February 26, 2007 at 2 p.m. The meeting will be in Room 2C of the Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Avenue, in Hartford.There are five things you can do right now to make sure this bill is passed out of the committee on Monday:1. Send a message to the committee legislators now, urging them to support medical marijuana.2. Come testify at the Capitol on Monday in support of HB 6715. The Committee members need to hear from Connecticut residents about this important legislation. If you can come to testify, please email me directly at gsayegh If you can't come testify, but would like to submit testimony in support of the bill, please contact me and we can prepare a testimony to submit to the committee on Monday. You can reach me by email or phone: 212-613-8048.3. Forward this action alert to five of your friends. Every time a person contacts their legislator about HB 6175, it increases the likelihood that the bill will pass!4. Help us get in contact with sympathetic doctors and patients. This is especially important. If you know of a doctor or patient who will help, contact me by email or call 212-613-8048.5. This Friday, The Alliance Connecticut, a coalition of which the Drug Policy Alliance Network is a member, is meeting in Hartford to discuss HB 6715 and the hearing on Monday. The Alliance Connecticut will also be giving an update on legislation to reform the state's school zone laws. Join us! The meeting is Friday, February 23, 2007, at 12:30 p.m. Location: A Better Way Foundation, 127 Martin Street, Hartford, CT (map). Call (860) 293-0626 for more information.That's it for now. Remember, please send a message to the Judiciary Committee today, and forward this message to five of your friends and family. With your support, we will pass HB 6175 and win compassionate medical marijuana legislation in Connecticut in 2007!If you have any questions about medical marijuana in Connecticut, contact me at gsayegh for all you do.
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