NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- February 19, 2004

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- February 19, 2004
Posted by CN Staff on February 19, 2004 at 19:17:30 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
Inhaled Marijuana Beneficial For HIV-Associated Neuropathy, Study SaysFebruary 19, 2004 - San Francisco, CA, USASan Francisco, CA: Smoking marijuana significantly alleviates pain in patients suffering from HIV-associated neuropathy, according to the results of a pilot study presented last week at the 11th Annual Retrovirus Conference in San Francisco.
Sixteen patients with HIV-associated neuropathy (nerve pain) participated in the clinical trial. Volunteers smoked three marijuana cigarettes per day for seven days. Participants' reduction in pain were assessed using a 0-to-100 visual scale.By the end of the week, twelve of the 16 participants had achieved at least a 30 percent reduction in pain, researchers noted. A 30 percent reduction in pain is considered to be a clinically meaningful amount of pain relief.Although anecdotal reports regarding marijuana's pain-mitigating effects are abundant, few clinical human trails have been conducted. Nevertheless, after reviewing a series of animal trails on cannabinoids in pain in 1997, the US Society for Neuroscience concluded that "substances similar to or derived from marijuana ... could benefit the more than 97 million Americans who experience some form of pain each year."In addition, a 1997 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Workshop on medical cannabis concluded: "Neuropathic pain represents a treatment problem for which currently available analgesics are, at best, marginally effective. Since delta-9-THC is not acting by the same mechanism as either opioids or NSAIDS [non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs], it may be useful in this inadequately treated type of pain."A follow up randomized clinical trial in which participants will receive both marijuana and placebo is expected to begin shortly at the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at San Francisco.For more information, please contact either Paul Armentano or Allen St. Pierre of the NORML Foundation at (202) 483-5500. To download a list of CMCR-approved clinical trials, please visit: Eases HIV-Related Nerve Pain and Cannabis May Mix After All Study Finds No Harm to HIV+ Patients Jamaican Parliament Expected To Debate DecriminalizationFebruary 19, 2004 - Kingston, JamaicaKingston, Jamaica: A Jamaican Parliamentary committee is expected to recommend the full Parliament consider a proposal to decriminalize the possession and use of small quantities of marijuana.A resolution endorsed earlier this week by the Joint Select Committee on the Report of the National Commission on Ganja recommends, "That the relevant laws be amended so that the private, personal use of ganja be no longer an offense." The committee further recommends that the federal law "be amended so that the use of small quantities of marijuana in public be made a minor offense" punishable by a fine-only. The committee is expected to complete its deliberations at its next meeting.Last November, NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup spoke before the committee, testifying, "Responsible adult marijuana smokers present no legitimate threat or danger to society, and must not be treated as criminals." He added: "By stubbornly defining all marijuana smoking as criminal, including that which involves adults smoking within the privacy of their own homes, Jamaica is wasting precious police and prosecutorial resources; clogging the courts; filling costly and scarce jail and prison space that would otherwise house violent offenders; undermining drug education efforts; acting against the best interests of public health and safety; engendering disrespect for the rule of law; and needlessly wrecking the lives and careers of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens every year."The Report of the National Commission on Ganja had previously recommended in 2001 that Parliament decriminalize marijuana for adults for personal and religious purposes. Members of Parliamentary committee evaluating the report have expressed interest in enacting the Commission's recommendations by March 2004.For more information, please contact Keith Stroup of NORML at (202) 483-8751. Text of NORML's written testimony before the Committee is available online at: To Recommend Ganja Decriminalisation Victory for Ganja Smokers? Up for Ganja - Recommendations Set Announces Fifth Annual West Coast Benefit Party February 19, 2004 - San Francisco, CA, USAFundraiser To Be Held April 9 At SomArts Gallery In San FranciscoSan Francisco, CA: NORML's fifth annual west coast benefit party will take place on Friday, April 9 at the SomArts Gallery in San Francisco. Marsha Rosenbaum, executive director of the west coast office of the Drug Policy Alliance, and former San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan will co-host the event, which will feature a "who's who" of the California marijuana-law reform community, including spiritualist Ram Dass, Assemblyman Mark Leno, cultivation guru Ed Rosenthal, and others. The proceeds raised from the event will be used to expand NORML's legislative and educational efforts in California.NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup calls the benefit an opportunity for citizen activists to spend an evening in a relaxed setting with friends and colleagues who share their opposition to arresting marijuana smokers while raising money to advance marijuana-law reform efforts in California.This year's party will feature live entertainment from the Extra Action Marching Band and Stonetrout, as well as a silent auction of marijuana-related art.For more information on NORML's San Francisco benefit party, please contact NORML Associate Director Kris Krane at (202) 483-5500 or to register online, please visit: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: February 19, 2004Copyright: 2004 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin -- Feb. 12, 2004's Weekly News Bulletin -- Feb. 5, 2004
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