NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - May 1, 2008

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - May 1, 2008
Posted by CN Staff on May 01, 2008 at 15:17:48 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
  New Study Indicates Cannabis-Associated Psychosis Risk Is Minimal  May 1, 2008 - Albany, NY, USAAlbany, NY: There is little increased risk of incidences of psychosis or schizophrenia stemming from the use of cannabis, according to clinical data to be published in the journal Human Psychopharmacology.
The study found that participants who used cannabis, but no other illicit substances did not score higher on a Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) compared to those respondents who used legal drugs only. However, those participants who used cannabis and other illicit drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine did score higher on the SQP tests.The study’s results contradict widely reported news reports alleging that marijuana use is associated with a much higher risk of psychosis."Some previous work on the link between marijuana use and psychotic symptoms has not controlled for other drug use at all," said NORML Advisory Board member Mitch Earleywine, who co-authored the study. "Other studies only use rough measures of lifetime use of a few drugs. We focused on nine different drugs and emphasized the stimulants, which work in a neurotransmitter system linked closely to psychosis."A prior review of cannabis and psychosis conducted by Britain’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) stated in a 2006 release that, "the current evidence suggests, at worst, that using cannabis increases lifetime risk of developing schizophrenia by one percent." Earleywine concurs with that assessment. "In my opinion, if cannabis has any impact on psychosis at all it would only appear in folks who have a genetic predisposition who also use heavily early in life," he said.NORML published a white paper last May which called for the regulation of cannabis as a means to discourage its use by patients who may be predisposed to certain mental illnesses.Advocates for tougher marijuana laws in Britain have been trumpeting the pot-and-psychosis link as a major impetus for Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s expected move to elevate cannabis from a Class C to a Class B drug. The ACMD declined to back the move in a recent meeting on April 4, with 20 out of the panel’s 23 experts deciding there was not sufficient new scientific evidence to justify a change.For more information, please contact NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano at:  paul Full text of the study, "Polydrug Use, Cannabis Use, and Psychosis-Like Symptoms," will appear in Human Psychopharmacology.DL:  More Than 230 Cities, 35 Countries To Hold Marijuana Rallies This Weekend  May 1, 2008 - New York, NY, USANew York City, NY: Marijuana law reform activists in over 230 cities across the globe will hold marches this weekend to protest the criminal prohibition of cannabis. The worldwide event, known as the "Global Marijuana March," will be held on Saturday, May 3rd. Over 400 cities since 1999 have participated in the event, which is coordinated by Cures-Not-Wars in New York City and Cannabis Culture Magazine in Vancouver.The following NORML affiliates are participating in this year's marches: University of Arkansas NORML, Arizona NORML, Bakersfield NORML, Cascadia NORML, Dallas/Fort Worth NORML, Houston NORML, Humboldt State University NORML , Maui NORML , Illinois NORML, Maine-ly NORML, MassCann NORML (MA), Missouri NORML, Oregon NORML, Philly NORML, Greater St. Louis NORML, Texas NORML, Willamette Valley NORML, Nevada NORML, New Zealand NORML, NORML Canada, NORML Saskatchewan, and Norway NORML.A full list of cities participating in this year's event, along with contact information, is available online at:   Hepatitis C Patient Denied Transplant Based on State and Doctor Approved Medi-Pot Use  May 1, 2008 - Seattle, WA, USASeattle, WA: University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) officials have denied a 56-year-old hepatitis C patient from receiving potentially life-saving surgery because of his state-approved medical cannabis use, according to a news wire report by the Associated Press. According to the report, Timothy Garon may die within days without a liver transplant. Previously, Garon has used medical cannabis under his doctor’s supervision – and in accordance with state law -- to treat his hepatitis C related nausea, abdominal pain, and lack of appetite. Garon’s physician has stated that he was not aware that his patient’s medicinal cannabis use would deny him transplant eligibility.UWMC said it would reconsider its denial if Garon enrolled in a 60-day drug treatment program. After Garon’s attorney urged the hospital to reevaluate its position, given that Garon would likely not survive a 60-day program, UWMC reaffirmed its prior decision.Individual hospitals adopt their own criteria for transplant eligibility, as there are no national or statewide standards."Marijuana, unlike alcohol, has no direct effect on the liver," said Dr. Robert Sade, director of the Institute of Human Values in Health Care at the Medical Univesity of South Carolina, in an AP interview. Dr. Jorge Reyes, chief of the transplant division at UWMC, said that is not the only issue at hand. "The concern is that patients who have been using [medicinal cannabis] will not be able to stop." While declining to comment on Garon’s case specifically, a statement released by the hospital said, "The committee looks at the period of abstinence the candidate has demonstrated to date, efforts made to maintain this abstinence and the potential to abuse again."Doctors generally try to discourage smoking after transplant surgery because of the increased risk of infection from the administration of immunosuppressant drugs.Garon was arrested in December for cannabis cultivation, which he states is legal under Washington State’s medical marijuana law. Washington’s statute provides allowances for a ’60 day supply’ but does not define that term. "I’m not angry, I’m not mad, I’m just confused," Garon said last Thursday after hearing of the committee’s decision. Garon’s son, Lennon, is concerned that similar scenarios may occur in the future. "He’s not the first person that this happened to. He’s not going to be the last person until these policies are changed." For more information, contact NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre at (202) 483-5500.DL: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: May 1, 2008Copyright: 2008 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives 
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on May 03, 2008 at 07:30:20 PT
OT: Derby Day
Since I am a horse person I am looking forward to watching the Kentucky Derby later today. Here's a nice song about The Derby and Barbaro.Have a great weekend everyone!
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Comment #5 posted by afterburner on May 01, 2008 at 23:01:21 PT
Timothy Garon
More blood on the hands of the prohibitionists! Sorry, but this type of bureaucratic callousness brings me to anger at the continuation of this anti-cannabis hoax. I know I'll feel compassion for this mistreated human brother after my reason drifts toward sleep and emotions haunt my dreams.
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on May 01, 2008 at 22:19:43 PT
Timothy Garon.
That's so sad.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 01, 2008 at 21:12:19 PT
Timothy Garon RIP 
Medical Marijuana User Dies for Lack of Liver TransplantMay 1, 2008 SEATTLE -- A man died Thursday after being denied a liver transplant because he used marijuana with medical approval under Washington state law.The death of Timothy Garon at Bailey-Boushay House was confirmed by Alisha Mark, a spokeswoman for Virginia Mason medical Center. Virginia Mason operates Bailey-Boushay, an intensive care nursing center.The 56-year-old musician was ailing from hepatitis, which he believes he contracted four decades ago while sharing needles as a teenager.In recent years he was granted approval to use pot under Washington state's medical marijuana law, which is not recognized by the federal government.Despite that approval, Garon was told a week ago that because of his marijuana use, he had been denied a spot on the University of Washington Medical Center's liver transplant list.Copyright: 2008 Associated Press
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on May 01, 2008 at 20:46:24 PT
Illinois: Video From ABC Newschannel 15
Group Proposes Changes To Medical Marijuana Legislation 
 Stricter Medical Marijuana Pilot Program Thursday, May 1, 2008
 A new pilot program called "Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana" is having lawmakers make changes to the proposed law on marijuana--to be stricter. Story Provided By ABC Newschannel 15 Video:
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Comment #1 posted by observer on May 01, 2008 at 17:03:28 PT
SPQ: Supernatural Belief Screening Test
The study found that participants who used cannabis, but no other illicit substances did not score higher on a Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) compared to those respondents who used legal drugs only. However, those participants who used cannabis and other illicit drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine did score higher on the SQP tests.Looking at the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) questions, it seems to be (partially at least) a supernatural belief system screening test. If one professes knowledge about or especially belief in any topic that touches on supernatural phenomenon, then that will cause one to score high on the SPQ. So people in the L.A. area for example, tend to score higher. (Which is of course not evidence of anything amiss in the case of inhabitants of L.A. But if one wishes to prove this or that group is more 'psycho' than another, then the same results seem to make a splendid argument.) So basically, a major portion of the SPQ is a supernatural belief test. You profess a belief in a supernatural topic? That proves it: you must be schizo. 
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