Study Shows Therapeutic Benefits 

Study Shows Therapeutic Benefits 
Posted by FoM on August 10, 2001 at 11:50:15 PT
NORML's Weekly News Bulletin
Source: NORML
Missoula, MT: A battery of medical tests on a cohort of chronic, legal medical marijuana smokers reveals no significant physical or cognitive impairment attributable to marijuana, according to preliminary results of a recent study. All four patients examined in the study are participants in the FDA/NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) Compassionate Investigational New Drug (IND) program, and have been smoking government-grown pot daily for more than a decade.
 "This data agrees with the results of other chronic use studies performed in the 1970s in Jamaica, Costa Rica and Greece that found no significant attributable health problems in cannabis smokers. However, this study is the first of its kind to examine chronic cannabis usage in medical patients using a consistent source of medicine of known potency," said Dr. Ethan Russo, who headed the study.  Russo did observe "mild changes in pulmonary function" in three of the four patients, but noted these changes weren't significant nor was there any evidence of malignancy. He speculated that the changes could be at least partially due to the weak potency of government-grown marijuana and its large content of fibrous material.  No other tests, including MRI brain scans, chest X-rays, neuropsychological tests, immunological assays, and EEGs showed any significant adverse side-effects attributable to marijuana.  In addition, the study affirmed pot's therapeutic value for a variety of symptoms. The results demonstrate clinical effectiveness in these patients in treating glaucoma, chronic musculoskeletal pain, spasm and nausea, and spasticity of multiple sclerosis, the study's authors wrote. They maintain that all four patients are stable with respect to their chronic conditions, and are taking many fewer standard pharmaceuticals than before they began using medical cannabis.  This study is believed to be the first to examine the overall health status of medical marijuana patients in the IND program. That program began distributing medical pot to patients in 1976, but was closed to new applicants in 1992. Seven surviving patients remain in the program, though their health status is monitored by their individual physicians. Neither the FDA nor NIDA has previously published any follow-up studies on this group of patients.  The study was funded in part by grants from MAPS (The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), philanthropists John Gilmore and Preston Parish, and the Zimmer Family Foundation.  For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751. Dr. Ethan Russo may be contacted at (406) 327-3372. A full report of the study will appear in the January 2002 issue of The Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, published by Haworth Press.Complete Title: Study Shows Therapeutic Benefits, No Adverse Effects in Long-Term Marijuana UsersNORML's News Bulletin - August 9, 2001 Articles & Web Sites:MAPS Out of Time Pot in the Garden City Pot-Use Study: No Ill Health Effects of Cannabis Therapeutics
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Comment #3 posted by Dan B on August 11, 2001 at 18:40:17 PT:
This study is an important step forward
Although the effects of cannabis use have been tested in some studies over the past 40 or so years, nobody has bothered to study a carefully controlled sample of patients who are legally using cannabis in the United States until Dr. Russo et al. decided to conduct this study. With this study, per Dr. Russo's comments on another post, we can expect full documentation of the study's results (which show that cannabis use has not harmed these patients), along with a great deal of ammunition, both from the results of this study and from the historical record of other such studies, that will bolster the average anti-prohibitionist's claims that prolonged, chronic use of marijuana is not nearly as detrimental as the prohibs would like for us to believe--even for those using it for a variety of medical purposes.This is the study NIDA didn't want to do because it undermines its highly politicized opinion that all cannabis use, including medical use, is detrimental to one's health. I, for one, applaud all of the doctors who worked on this study, and I am proud that at least one such doctor makes regular appearances here at Cannabis News. Thanks, Dr. Russo.Dan B
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Comment #2 posted by meagain on August 10, 2001 at 16:11:16 PT
More studies...again.
Geee didn't they do this like decades ago???? Haven't several studies already been done??? This is a waste of time and money. The U.S government has results of several studies clear back to the Nixon administration saying to de-criminalize. 
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Comment #1 posted by skipin on August 10, 2001 at 12:49:59 PT
Dont tell the pharmaceutical companies!
"They maintain that all four patients are stable with respect to their chronic conditions, and are taking many fewer standard pharmaceuticals than before they began using medical cannabis."Dont tell the pharmaceutical companies that(or half of our polititions including bush who own stock in all the majer pharmiceutical companies) that if cannabis was legal ppl could grow it for free and would need fewer phamiceutical drugs!no you can start to see why cannabis is ilegal in the first place! cuz its good for the ppl not for Comercial Industry!
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