UC Studies Find Promise in Medical Marijuana

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  UC Studies Find Promise in Medical Marijuana

Posted by CN Staff on February 18, 2010 at 04:42:09 PT
By John Hoeffel 
Source: Los Angeles Times  

California -- With an innovative but little-known state program to study medical marijuana about to run out of money, researchers and political supporters said Wednesday the results show promise."It should take all the mystery out of whether it works. We've got the results," said former state Sen. John Vasconcellos, who led the effort to create the 10-year-old Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research.
The center has nearly spent its $8.7-million allocation, sponsoring 14 studies at UC campuses, including the first clinical trials of smoked marijuana in the United States in more than two decades.Much of the research is still underway or under review, but five studies have been published in scientific journals. Four showed that cannabis can significantly relieve neuropathic pain and one found that vaporizers are an effective way to use marijuana. Another study, submitted for publication, found that marijuana can reduce muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis patients.Dr. Igor Grant, a neuropsychiatrist at UC San Diego who is the center's director, called the pain studies "pretty convincing" and urged the federal government to pay for additional clinical studies.With the state stuck in a daunting budget crisis, even the center's advocates do not expect more support. "There is no state money at this time, unfortunately," said state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco).Since the center opened in 2000, medical marijuana use has spread rapidly in California, driven largely by doctors' willingness to recommend it for a wide range of ailments. But little research has been done on its effectiveness, in part because researchers must win approval from federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration.Grant said federal officials did not try to thwart the research, but noted that approval typically took 18 months. "We basically did a lot of the work for investigators in terms of jumping through the hoops," he said.The unusual scientific program, approved by the Legislature in 1999, was the result of negotiations between Vasconcellos and former Atty. Gen. Dan Lungren. The two were vigorous adversaries in the contentious debate over the 1996 initiative that approved the use of medical marijuana.Lungren, now a Republican congressman from Gold River, argued that Californians were moving ahead without the research needed to show whether marijuana was useful as a medicine. "I said at that time, if we had scientific evidence, we ought to be guided by scientific evidence," he said."I was shrewd enough to pick up on Lungren's 'Let's do research,' " Vasconcellos said. Lungren said he was shrewd enough to accept.Lungren said the results are helpful, but underscore that medical marijuana should be more tightly controlled and used only where it has been proven effective.The center funded a range of research, including six studies of whether marijuana reduces neuropathic pain, which is caused by a damaged or abnormally functioning nervous system. A UC San Francisco study of patients with HIV-related pain found that 52% of those who smoked marijuana experienced significant relief."I think that clearly cannabis has benefits," said Dr. Donald I. Abrams, a San Francisco oncologist who led that study. "This substance has been a medicine for 2,700 years; it only hasn't been a medicine for 70."Abrams doubts that the research will alter the debate over marijuana. "Science has not been driving this train for a long time now. I think it's all politics," he said.Grant was more optimistic: "We have a different administration, and they are looking at the science basis of many things."He said the research shows marijuana should no longer be classified as a Schedule I drug. "It is not a drug without value," he said.Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author: John HoeffelPublished: February 18, 2010Copyright: 2010 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 

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Comment #11 posted by FoM on February 22, 2010 at 16:28:08 PT
California News About Bryan Epis
California News About Bryan Epis 
Chico Pot Grower Must Return To Prison After Years of FreedomFebruary 22, 2010URL: Epis Protest Pictures and Articles:
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Comment #9 posted by rchandar on February 21, 2010 at 14:05:24 PT:

Aim For The Sky
Because eliminating Schedule I would be like overturning the Singel Convention Treaty. This is something where we would have to develop a massive case, one which could never be ignored in the press. Please understand that the Obama/Holder decision was one of jurisprudence, not law. To change that law will require a case before the Supreme Court, and some really good evidence.Peace.
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Comment #8 posted by rchandar on February 21, 2010 at 14:03:18 PT:

Okay, some ideas----an antitrust suit against pharmaceutical companies. One big carrot not yet in our hands is the contracting of these companies to prescribe MMJ (not Marinol).--a case in which Federal Agents basically killed a sick person whose only crime was smoking MJ.--a case in which legal pharmaceutical medicines killed or significantly injured patients without their knowledge of it (and this, is probably the easiest of the three).--rchandar
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Comment #7 posted by rchandar on February 21, 2010 at 14:00:37 PT:

Schedule I
This may be the hardest of our battles. Traditionally, all that usually happens is that this question is raised, and the DEA says they want to keep it that way. There have been a number of court cases, including Supreme Court cases in which the DEA was one of the plaintiffs, but such a hearing--before the Supreme Court--would have to demonstrate that pharmaceutical companies had basically destroyed the lives of patients and MMJ was the cause for prosecution. This would be a multibillion dollar suit--it would be a landmark.Otherwise, I could basically guarantee that an already troubled President won't second-guess his own people. Bring it to the court, and demonstrate clearly that A LOT of people were lied to and unfairly treated. Then we could end Schedule I.But it won't be pretty...--rchandar
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Comment #6 posted by Paint with light on February 18, 2010 at 22:43:13 PT

comment #5
One of the main critics was Joel Hay, PhD, professor of....pharmaceutical economics and policy.......No bias there.I wonder how much money he has sunk into pharmaceutical stocks?Legal like alcohol.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on February 18, 2010 at 15:37:21 PT

Medical Marijuana Has Merit, Research Shows
February 18, 2010URL:
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Comment #4 posted by dongenero on February 18, 2010 at 08:14:16 PT

as for the pharmaceuticals......'s not going so well.Government probes potential risks of cancer, flu, MS drugs Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday it was probing reports of hearing loss with Novartis cancer drug Gleevec, hypothermia with Roche's flu drug Tamiflu and pericarditis with Biogen Idec and Elan Corp's multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri.Others included rheumatoid arthritis drugs known as tumor necrosis factor (TNF blockers) for reports of demyelinating neuropathy, a neurological disorder. The FDA did not name specific TNF blockers, but the drug include Amgen and Pfizer's Enbrel, and Abbott Laboratories Inc's Humira.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on February 18, 2010 at 07:12:44 PT

That is so cool. I spent much of my life involved in a sport and mine was with horses. I admire people who focus on a dream and discipline themselves to achieve a goal but being a good sport is almost as important as winning. Shaun has sportsmanship and that really impressed me. He radiates loving life. I love his hair and smile. He got so high that it almost looked like he was flying. I couldn't believe it when I saw it.
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Comment #2 posted by Graehstone on February 18, 2010 at 06:59:11 PT:

Shaun ...
... actually lives right down the road a bit from me here in the area and we couldn't be prouder of our "Home boy" ... it was late but well worth staying up to see ... just phenomenal, history in the making ... again, lol.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 18, 2010 at 06:39:35 PT

This Is Really Good News
Off topic but wow was Shaun White great last night. He represents our culture and that makes his victory all the better. Michael Phelps was in a Subway commercial played during the Olympics. I guess they won't be able to say that marijuana takes a person's motivation away anymore.I can't imagine any other event that will be better then what Shaun did last night. What a sweet young man.Lots of Air, No Drama as Shaun White Takes Gold
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