Good Medicine

Good Medicine
Posted by CN Staff on July 11, 2007 at 06:44:54 PT
By Paul Armentano
Source: Hartford Courant
Connecticut -- When Gov. M. Jodi Rell vetoed legislation last month that would have allowed citizens with debilitating medical conditions to use medical cannabis under their doctor's supervision, she alleged that there was no proof of pot's therapeutic effectiveness and that legal alternatives are available by prescription. Now, a just-released clinical trial by researchers at Columbia University in New York is making the governor's statements ring hollow.
On June 21, just 24 hours after Gov. Rell's veto, the online database for the National Library of Medicine posted an abstract from a forthcoming study in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes that reports, "Smoked marijuana ... has a clear medical benefit in HIV-positive [patients] by increasing food intake and improving mood and objective and subjective sleep measures." But that's not all investigators found. In a "first" for HIV/AIDS clinical research, scientists not only compared the efficacy of inhaled cannabis to a placebo (in this case, marijuana lacking the compound THC), but they also tested pot against doses of the so-called "legal marijuana pill" known as dronabinol (aka Marinol). For those unfamiliar with dronabinol, it's a gelatin capsule containing synthetic THC in sesame oil that was approved by the FDA in 1992 specifically to treat HIV/AIDS-related cachexia (weight and appetite loss). So just how did the nearly $1,000-a-month synthetic alternative compare to the real McCoy? According to the study, subjects experienced increased appetites after smoking cannabis or taking Marinol. Patients also experienced equivalent weight gains after using both drugs (a little more than 1.1 kilograms over a four-day period). Here's the kicker, though. Investigators reported that patients needed to take "eight times" the recommended daily dosage of Marinol to equal the same therapeutic relief they achieved after smoking relatively low-strength (2 percent or 3.9 percent THC) pot! In other words, a few hits of the U.S. government's herbal "schwag" (the use of federally grown pot is required in all FDA-approved marijuana trials) was as efficacious as a mega-dose of Uncle Sam's synthetic pot pill. Clinicians further reported that smoking higher-strength marijuana - that's the 3.9 percent pot for this study's purposes - subjectively improved patients' sleep better than oral THC. Perhaps more important, authors reported that HIV patients made far fewer requests for over-the-counter medications while using cannabis. Scientists reported that most of these requests were to treat subjects' gastrointestinal complaints (nausea, diarrhea and upset stomach) - conditions that have long been reported by patients to be alleviated with medical pot. Of course, among those living with HIV/AIDS, scientific trials like the Columbia study only reinforce what they've already known for decades. (According to various surveys, between 25 and 37 percent of HIV/AIDS patients in North America self-report using cannabis medically to combat both symptoms of the disease as well as the side effects of antiretroviral medications.) That for many with debilitating and life-threatening diseases, pot as a medicine works. It's just unfortunate that Gov. Rell chose to take her marching orders from drug warriors in Washington rather than to heed the advice of those patients and doctors who know far better.Paul Armentano is the senior policy analyst for The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and the NORML Foundation in Washington. He grew up in Connecticut and is a 1990 graduate of Simsbury High School.Note: Study: Medical Marijuana Smokes `Legal Alternative'Source: Hartford Courant (CT)Author: Paul ArmentanoPublished: July 11, 2007 Copyright: 2007 The Hartford CourantContact: letters courant.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:NORML Vetoes Bill To Legalize Medical Marijuana Marijuana Bill in Rell's Hand
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Comment #5 posted by RevRayGreen on July 11, 2007 at 15:22:28 PT
Just read the afternoon news
my email inbox..........I feel the heat of a new sun, a new nation..............From: carl.olsen
To: iowa
Sent: Tue, 10 Jul 2007 12:40 pm
Subject: Please call Congress about medical marijuanaWould you please take one minute to call your member of Congress and ask him or 
her to vote in favor of the medical marijuana amendment that the U.S. House of 
Representatives will be voting on next week?It's easy: Just call the Capitol switchboard operator at (202) 224-3121. Give 
the operator your zip code and ask to be connected to your U.S. House member; 
you don't even need to know your congressperson’s name to do this.When the receptionist for the congressperson — not the Capitol switchboard 
operator — answers, say something like: "Hi, this is [name]. I live in [city], 
and I'm calling to ask that my representative vote for Rep. Maurice Hinchey's 
[HIN-chee's] medical marijuana amendment to the Justice Department's spending 
bill, which I understand will be considered on the House floor next week. The 
amendment would prohibit the Justice Department from spending taxpayer money to 
arrest medical marijuana patients in the 12 states where medical marijuana is 
legal."Please call now: (202) 224-3121Then, please follow up by using MPP's easy online legislative system to e-mail 
your member of Congress. Calling and e-mailing take only one minute each.The House of Representatives has voted on this amendment the last four 
consecutive summers, but — since last November’s midterm elections provided 
the most favorable conditions for passing federal medical marijuana legislation 
since MPP was founded 12 years ago — this year the amendment has the best 
chance it has ever had of passing.If you agree that sick and suffering patients should not have to live in fear of 
armed federal agents breaking down their doors, this is your chance to do 
something about it. Please call your member of Congress now.And if you haven’t donated to MPP this year, please consider making a donation 
today in support of our lobbying efforts. MPP's staff is working around the 
clock, making our final push on Capitol Hill. Our lobbying and grassroots teams 
are fully deployed, connecting constituents with their members of Congress and 
sending the message loud and clear: Americans want Congress to stop the DEA from 
arresting seriously ill patients who are using medical marijuana in compliance 
with state law.Would you please take one minute to call your congressperson today? Doing so 
could have a huge impact on the outcome of next week's medical marijuana vote.Sincerely,Aaron Houston
Director of Government Relations
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.
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Comment #4 posted by user123 on July 11, 2007 at 14:51:07 PT:
Tired of it All/SOSDD
.....making the governor's statements ring hollow." You mean just like the sound her head makes? .............."So just how did the nearly $1,000-a-month synthetic alternative compare to the real McCoy?" What's to compare? A pharmaceutical made $1000 and that's all that matters to them. End of story.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on July 11, 2007 at 08:24:58 PT
Gov. M. Jodi Rell 
I would expect this of a Republican governor.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on July 11, 2007 at 08:09:53 PT
I've been worried and I'm glad it is a computer modem problem. We miss you when you aren't here.
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Comment #1 posted by afterburner on July 11, 2007 at 08:00:23 PT
Canada Rules
Canada: Canadian Pot Use Four Times Global Rate, National Post, (10 Jul 2007), ongoing modem problems are restricting my Internet use greatly. I'll be back.
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