Review Highs and Lows of Medical Marijuana
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Review Highs and Lows of Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on April 12, 2010 at 15:34:09 PT
Gazette Opinion
Source: Billings Gazette
Montana -- Marijuana has been shown to improve some medical problems in patients who weren’t helped by prescription drugs. But research also indicates that marijuana use may cause or aggravate other health problems. This balanced assessment of medical marijuana comes from the April Harvard Mental Health Letter, a publication of Harvard Medical School.
Marijuana has been in Montana news a lot lately, mostly because of the growing use of the state’s medical-marijuana law, which was enacted by voters approving an initiative. Several Montana cities are considering restricting the businesses that are springing up to serve as “caregivers” for some of the 10,000 Montanans who have obtained permission under the law to possess an ounce of marijuana (or six plants) for treating specific medical problems.In Billings, 53 medical-marijuana businesses have obtained city licenses. The City Council created a medical-marijuana committee to make recommendations on possible zoning restrictions or other regulation of these businesses. The committee held its first meeting last week.The Harvard Mental Health Letter focused on use of marijuana in treating psychiatric disorders. Montana law doesn’t include any psychiatric disorders in its list of ailments for which an individual may obtain a medical-marijuana card. However, the Harvard report sheds some light on overall risks and benefits of marijuana used medicinally — or recreationally.In 1999, the Institute of Medicine conducted a comprehensive review of medical marijuana and concluded that the drug may be helpful in nerve pain relief, appetite stimulation for people with AIDS, and control of nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients. However, the IOM recommended that marijuana be considered only for patients who weren’t helped by other drugs.“There’s no question that recreational use of marijuana produces short-term problems with thinking, working memory and executive function (the ability to focus and integrate different types of information).” the Harvard report said. “Long-term use of marijuana may cause subtle, but lasting impairments in executive function.”The report made these key points:• There is not enough evidence to recommend medical marijuana as a treatment for any psychiatric disorder. The psychiatric risks are well documented, and include addiction, anxiety and psychosis.• The drug appears to induce manic episodes and increases rapid cycling between manic and depressive moods in people who have bipolar disorder.• Limited research on marijuana and depression is inconclusive. Some reports suggest that marijuana has antidepressant effects; other studies indicate that daily marijuana use may actually increase depression symptoms for some people and may even promote development of depression.• Observational studies suggest that one in nine people who smoke marijuana regularly becomes dependent on it.• Smoking marijuana exposes the lungs to multiple chemicals and poses many of the same respiratory health risks as smoking cigarettes.• The concentration of THC, the chemical that makes marijuana users high, has increased in the drug sold on the street. Lower doses of THC can be sedating, but at higher doses, the chemical can induce anxiety. Although marijuana reportedly calms some users, for 20 percent to 30 percent of recreational users it causes anxiety and panic attacks.The Montana medical-marijuana law requires a licensed Montana physician to weigh the risks and benefits for a particular patient before recommending marijuana as a treatment — a recommendation that allows the individual to get a state medical-marijuana card for a year. As Montanans grapple with the growth of medicinal marijuana, they must be aware of the serious risks. Marijuana may be good medicine for certain individuals with certain ailments, but its negative side effects are numerous.Source: Billings Gazette, The (MT)Published: Monday, April 12, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Billings GazetteContact: speakup billingsgazette.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on April 13, 2010 at 09:15:16 PT
this article is pure propaganda
All this proves is that if Big Pharma pays enough to doctors and scientists they'll say ANYTHING.It's likely that long-term use of cannabis actually prevents "senility" or cognitive decline due to aging.Of course cannabis smoking "can cause" some of the same respiratory effects of tobacco smoking. However, wouldn't you think that most people would be interested in knowing that tobacco kills 400,000 per year and cannabis cannot kill you? Wouldn't that be more important than side effects such as dry mouth or a little coughing???
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on April 12, 2010 at 19:26:33 PT
I think Alaska is a beautiful state and man can't conquer it. They can try but they just can't succeed. I would love to go on a cruise and see Alaska. 
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on April 12, 2010 at 19:10:40 PT
Lots of interesting and entertaining stories about Alaska and living there, came down to Texas in those days, as I recall. Alaska was the last wild and free frontier and people always painted a romantic picture of it, trying to lure people up there. 
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 12, 2010 at 19:00:57 PT
I remember seeing what was going on in Alaska on the rare news we got back in the 70s. We talked about it with friends and it was very interesting. The logic went something like this. Why not let Alaska do what it wants and experiment if they want because who cares about Alaska. It only had lots of snow and who would want to live there but diehard people. That's what the news implied. How could they grow it too was said. 
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on April 12, 2010 at 18:48:43 PT
Irwin Ravin
He did some good.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 12, 2010 at 18:14:29 PT
Irwin Ravin, Alaska Marijuana Rights Activist Dies
RIP Mr. Ravin and thank you for working so hard to bring change to Alaska.***April 12, 2010Alaska -- The man who fought "the man" in the 1970s -- by setting himself up to be busted for marijuana, then successfully challenging his case, resulting in a precedent-setting privacy rights court ruling in Alaska -- has died. 
Irwin Ravin, 70, died Sunday night at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage after suffering a heart attack, according to Dean Irwin, his son, Monday.URL:
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on April 12, 2010 at 16:11:35 PT
Just show us the bodies or go away!After seeing cannabis up close and personal for the last 40 years I would like to rubut these claims with a resounding POPPYCOCK!
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