Wednesday, 26 April 2017

On medical marijuana - its supporters and opponents

Marijuana has always been part of medicine and shown itself to be effective against pain, tremors and cancer. For this reason the pharmaceutical and alcohol industries will always be against it unless they find a way to extract massive profits.


So meanwhile, people who are ill and in pain will be the victims of police harassment and arrest.

A Life Of Its Own:
The Truth About Medical Marijuana - Full length documentary




Director: Helen Kapalos
Producer: Helen Kapalos

A Life Of Its Own is based on Helen Kapalos’s personal quest to discover some medical truths about the life-giving and enhancing properties of marijuana. Her journey began after years as a senior reporter on a major commercial network and being moved by one young man’s anguish at his shame of having to resort to medical marijuana to treat his terminal illness. His story – detailed here in full – attracted the attention of government and prompted Australians to bravely speak out. The reaction was unprecedented.

This documentary takes the story further, contrasting Australia’s medical cannabis black market with Israel where the largest human trials of medicinal cannabis take place as a legal, federal program. It probes the socio, political and legal consequences of the debate and turns a scientific investigation into a compelling human narrative and a clarion call for change.


A Life of its own has its own Facebook page

Marijuana Legalization: Pharmaceuticals, Alcohol Industry Among Biggest Opponents Of Legal Weed


8 June, 2014

Opponents of marijuana legalization argue that decriminalizing pot increases crime, creates juvenile delinquents and can even lead to more marijuana-related deaths. But there is another reason for the crusade against marijuana that involves some people losing lots of money as the country becomes increasingly pot friendly, according to a recent report from The Nation and a study by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The biggest players in the anti-marijuana legalization movement are pharmaceutical, alcohol and beer companies, private prison corporations and police unions, all of whom help fund lobby groups that challenge marijuana law reform. In 2010, California Beer and Beverage Distributors funneled $10,000 to Public Safety First, a political action committee, or PAC, that led the opposition to California’s Prop 19. The initiative, if passed, would have legalized recreational marijuana in the state.

Corrections Corporations of America, one of the largest for-profit prison companies in the U.S., has spent nearly $1 million a year on lobbying efforts. The company even stated in a report that “changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances … could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.”

Among the largest donors to Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, a New York City-based nonprofit that campaigns against teen drug and alcohol abuse, are Purdue Pharma, makers of the painkiller OxyContin, and Abbott Laboratories, which produces the opioid Vicodin. Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, or CADCA, a Virginia-based anti-drug organization, also receives donations from Purdue Pharma, as well as Janssen Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson that manufactures the painkiller Nucynta, according to The Nation.

The reason for opposing marijuana reform is simple: Legal weed hurts these companies’ bottom lines. “There is big money in marijuana prohibition,” the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-profit research group based in Washington, D.C., notes in a recent series on marijuana lobbying efforts, including who funds legislation to keep the drug illegal.

Part of the missions of groups like Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and CADCA is to lobby Congress to maintain marijuana’s classification as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning the U.S. government considers the drug as having a high potential for abuse, has no medical use and poses risks to public safety. Nevermind that more than 22,000 people die every year in the U.S. from overdoses involving pharmaceutical drugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three out of every four pharmaceutical overdose deaths involve painkillers -- more than heroin and cocaine combined.

I think it’s hypocritical to remain silent with regard to the scheduling of hydrocodone products, while investing energy in maintaining marijuana as a Schedule I drug,” Andrew Kolodny, a New York psychiatrist and head of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, told The Nation. “I don’t think it’s inappropriate for them to be advocating on marijuana, [but] when we have a severe epidemic in America -- one the CDC says is the worst drug epidemic in US history -- it makes you wonder whether or not they’ve been influenced by their funding.”

The idea is that drug companies want to sell expensive drugs by downplaying the medical benefits of marijuana, alcohol and beer manufacturers do not want to compete for customers with legal pot, and private prisons need to fill their beds with convicted drug offenders. That means marijuana advocates have some pretty large -- and well-funded -- enemies to contend with. 




ELDERLY DISABLED VETERAN SENTENCED TO DIE IN PRISON FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA


On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in the case of Lee Carroll Brooker, an elderly veteran who is now serving a mandatory life sentence for growing his own medical marijuana.
Lee Carroll Brooker

21 April, 2017

The 75-year-old disabled veteran from Alabama had prior offenses in Florida from two decades ago, so when he was sentenced for growing approximately three dozen marijuana plants for his own use, he was hit with a mandatory life without parole sentence. Alabama, like three other states, has a mandatory sentence for marijuana possession with prior felony convictions.

Brooker maintained, and the state did not argue, that the plants were being grown for his own personal use dealing with his multiple chronic illnesses — yet he was charged with drug trafficking.

As he was growing the plants on his son’s property, his son Darren Lee Brooker was also charged. His sentence however was much lighter, five years of probation with a suspended five year prison sentence that will be dismissed as long as he does not violate his probation.

By any reasonable modern measure, imposing the second most severe punishment in the American justice system for such a minor crime as marijuana possession violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishments,” Jesse Wegman asserted in the New York Times.

iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZXnurWaDyEE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Even the sentencing judge claimed that he would have imposed a shorter sentence if he could have, and the state’s chief justice Roy Moore called the ruling “excessive and unjustified.” Yet, despite medical marijuana being legal in many states, and the majority of Americans supporting its legalization, the Supreme Court would not even consider reducing Brooker’s sentence.

The court has already banned mandatory death sentences andmandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles, both on the grounds that the Eighth Amendment must adapt to the “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.” By that standard, and given rapidly evolving public opinion on marijuana, no one should be sent to prison forever for possessing a small amount of marijuana for medical or personal use,” the Times editorial continued.

Currently, there are over 3,200 people who are serving life sentences for nonviolent crimes, the ACLU wrote in their report on the issue titled; “A Living Death.”


Marijuana: The Super Antibiotic Of The Future


26 June, 2015

A World Wide Emergency

Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era,” Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the Assistant Director General for the World Health Organization’s Health Security department, said last year after the WHO released its first ever global report on antibiotic resistance. “Common infections and minor injuries, which have been treatable for decades, can once again kill,” he continued, explaining how antibiotic resistant bacteria are now one of the top health concerns of the world.

Photo: Scanning electron micrograph of MRSA on dead human tissue. Via: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Photo: Scanning electron micrograph of MRSA on dead human tissue. Via: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The horrible irony is that the evolution of bacteria into “superbugs” is driven in large part by the antibiotics that were designed to treat them in the first place. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) for example, which causes over 10,000 deaths each year according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), is a direct byproduct of over-using antibiotics, which bred a stronger and more dangerous version of the common Staph aureus bacteria.

MRSA, which infects open wounds and increases the chance of death in patients by over 60 percent according to the CDC, is now wreaking havoc in hospitals and other facilities where it can spread easily between people in close contact.

Although MRSA is often associated with those with lowered immune systems, recently there have been outbreaks among healthy populations, including at a New York State high school and even among members of the Buccaneers professional NFL football team – guard Carl Nicks was injured so badly by the infection he had to undergo surgery and ended up losing his place on the team.
The situation has become so severe that in late 2014, President Obama issued anexecutive order devoted to combating antibiotic resistant bacteria, which he called “a serious threat to public health and the economy.”

Obama even allotted $1.2 billion to the annual budget for the establishment of a special task force devoted to the issue, one that would develop an action plan for stopping the fast spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria like MRSA.

A Game Changing Study

In 2008, however, a first of its kind study conducted by a team of British and Italian researchers had already found that one of the world’s most commonly cultivated plants could stop MRSA in its tracks: marijuana.

Specifically, the team tested five of marijuana’s most common cannabinoids against six different MRSA strains of “clinical relevance”, including epidemic EMRSA strains, which are the ones responsible for hospital outbreaks. They found that every single one of the cannabinoids tested showed “potent activity” against a wide variety of the bacteria.

Cannabinoids are substances unique to the cannabis plant that have wide-ranging medicinal properties: they fight cancer, reverse inflammation and act as powerful antioxidants. Now we know that they are also some of the most powerful antibiotics on earth.

Photo: Professor Giovanni Appendino (left) and Professor Simon Gibbons (right) shocked the medical world when they found cannabis compounds that shut down MRSA.
Photo: Professor Giovanni Appendino (left) and Professor Simon Gibbons (right) shocked the medical world when they found cannabis compounds that shut down MRSA.

Everything points towards these compounds having been evolved by the plants as antimicrobial defenses that specifically target bacterial cells,” said Simon Gibbons, one of the authors of the study and head of the Department of Pharmaceutical and Biological Chemistry at the University College London School of Pharmacy, in a follow up interview in the MIT Technological Review.

Amazingly, the cannabinoids even showed “exceptional activity” against a strain of the MRSA that had developed extra proteins for increased resistance to antibiotics, showing that cannabis remained effective despite the bacteria’s adaptations.

The actual mechanism by which they kill the bugs is still a mystery…” said Gibbons. “I really cannot hazard a guess how they do it, but their high potency as antibiotics suggests there must be a very specific mechanism.”

The researchers recommend cannabis as the source of new and effective antibiotic products that can be used in institutional settings right now.
The most practical application of cannabinoids would be as topical agents to treat ulcers and wounds in a hospital environment, decreasing the burden of antibiotics,” said Giovanni Appendino, a professor at Italy’s Piemonte Orientale University and co-author of the study.

Since two of the most potently antibacterial cannabinoids were not psychoactive at all and appear in abundance in the common and fast-growing hemp plant, producing the antibiotics of the future could be quick and simple.
What this means is, we could use fiber hemp plants that have no use as recreational drugs to cheaply and easily produce potent antibiotics,” Appendino concluded.

How is that for an action plan, Obama?

The Hidden History Of A Miracle Plant

But introducing cannabis into the formal healthcare system is nothing new; the plant has been used as medicine by different cultures for millennia. A 1960 paper by Professors Dr. J. Kabelik and Dr. F. Santavy of Palacky University in the Czech Republic entitled Marijuana as a Medicament is perhaps the most comprehensive look at marijuana’s traditional use around the globe ever written. Surprisingly, the authors claim that for most cultures and for most time periods, cannabis was used as an antibiotic and treatment for chronic illnesses first and foremost, while its narcotic use is limited to certain areas and historical periods.

All the information obtained from European folk medicine with regard to treatment with cannabis shows clearly that there do not appear to be any narcotic substances in it, or if there are then only in a negligible amount,” the authors claim. “Instead of that, emphasis has been laid on the antiseptic effect, hence on the antibiotic and to a small extent even on the analgetic (analgesic) effect.”

The same pattern was found in ancient Egypt, where “papyruses point fundamentally to antiseptic use” and in modern African tribes, where the “analgetic, sedative and antibiotic properties of cannabis in internal and external application are well known.”

One of the oldest medical documents in the world (1550 BC), the Ebers Papyrus contains a recipe for cannabis to treat gynecological problems. Via: Einsamer Schütze | Wikipedia — licensed by Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0.
One of the oldest medical documents in the world (1550 BC), the Ebers Papyrus contains a recipe for cannabis to treat gynecological problems. Via: Einsamer Schütze | Wikipedia — licensed by Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0.

In South American folk medicine, marijuana was used for everything from gonorrhea to tuberculosis, according to the paper, and in Southern Rhodesia “it is a remedy for anthrax, sepsis, dysentery, malaria and for tropical quinine-malarial haemoglobinuria.”

Even as late as the 19th century, cannabis was used by Western doctors to combat serious illnesses at home and abroad. An 1843 article in London’s Provincial Medical Journal, for example, chronicles an Irish doctor’s success in treating both tetanus and cholera in India by using cannabis in the form of crude hemp resin. Both these diseases are caused by bacteria and were major killers at the time.

A potent and commonly used medicine, cannabis was added to the official U.S. Pharmacopoeia in 1851, where it remained until it was removed in 1942. Coincidentally, the widespread manufacture and use of early commercial antibiotics — like penicillin, which was first isolated in 1929 but not mass produced until 1945 — happened at the same time as cannabis was taken out of medicinal use.

The next half a century saw the touting of antibiotics as miracle drugs while marijuana came to be almost completely associated with getting “high” — its potent medicinal properties obscured behind a cloud of fear and propaganda.
It is only in the last couple of decades that the failure of antibiotics and clinical medicine to address a fast growing number of serious illnesses has driven people to rediscover the miraculous healing powers of this ancient plant.

Shelley’s Story

Within a few months, Cannabis oil had done what years of antibiotics had failed to do, it had given me my life back,” writes Shelley White in the preface to her recently published book, Cannabis for Lyme Disease and Related Conditions: Scientific Basis and Anecdotal Evidence for Medicinal Use.

I most certainly believe it works as an antibacterial,” Shelley told Reset.Me. “I just am not comfortable calling it a cure due to the fact that the disease is so complex and each case is different.” Instead, Shelley says she is “symptom free” after nine years of battling the diseчase.

Confusion and mystery surround Lyme disease, which is now the most common vector borne illness in the United States according to the CDC, with 300,000 new cases reported each year. Caused by the spirochete bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and transmitted through the bite of tick, Lyme is treated by several weeks of antibiotics.

But the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) claims that at least 40 percent of Lyme patients end up with long term health problems, known as “chronic Lyme.” Not only has there never been a study that shows that antibiotics successfully treat chronic Lyme, but no accurate tests exist to indicate whether the bacteria has been eradicated or not after treatment, the ILADS website states. For chronic Lyme suffers, life becomes a nightmare without an end in sight.

I was completely debilitated, I could not walk or talk and I was in a wheelchair being spoon-fed.” Shelley says in a YouTube video she posted in September of 2013 that chronicles her healing journey with cannabis oil. “I did antibiotics for over a year” she states, “They did not work for me they worked against me.”

I took a shot in the dark and started using cannabis oil and it worked,” she explains.

The video went viral, as for many people who suffer from chronic Lyme, news of a successful treatment is like catching wind of a miracle. It was this response that inspired Shelley to write the book.
Photo: After nine years of suffering from Lyme disease, Shelley White has a new lease on life due to cannabis oil. Via: Shelley White.
Photo: After nine years of suffering from Lyme disease, Shelley White has a new lease on life due to cannabis oil. Via: Shelley White.

A story of personal healing that is also strongly grounded in scientific research; the book begins with an overview of the antibacterial properties of cannabis. Then, chapter-by-chapter, it looks at evidence supporting the plant’s ability to alleviate every symptom of the disease — from nerve pain and seizures to memory loss and depression.

Finally, Shelly shares her recipe for homemade cannabis infused coconut and olive oils, which can be made on the stovetop in under a half an hour by anyone with basic cooking skills. The trick is in not heating it over the boiling point to extract as much of the healing properties as possible.

A Medicine For The Masses

It turns out that Shelley’s simple oil extract is possibly the most potent form of marijuana medicine on earth. Olive oil is actually the “optimal choice for preparation of Cannabis oils for self-medication,” states Biologist Dr. Arno Hazekamp of Leiden University in Holland in a 2013 study entitled Cannabis Oil: chemical evaluation of an upcoming cannabis-based medicine.

The study tested cannabis infused oil olive against several other extraction methods, including the popular solvent based “Rick Simpson” extraction method, which uses either naphtha or petroleum ether, and an ethanol extraction process.
While the naphtha method did result in a product with the highest THC levels, the olive oil extraction not only yielded the highest overall cannabinoid levels, but higher levels of terpenes than the other processes.

Terpenes are the essential oil compounds responsible for the distinctly pungent aroma of cannabis. Common strong smelling kitchen herbs like oregano are known for their powerful antibiotic properties, which is due to their terpene content. Volatile and delicate, terpenes can be quickly destroyed when heated too high.
Photo: Cannabis contains hundreds of cannabinoids and aromatic terpenes that give it a full spectrum antibiotic power without rival. Via: Steve Photography | Shutterstock.
Photo: Cannabis contains hundreds of cannabinoids and aromatic terpenes that give it a full spectrum antibiotic power without rival. Via: Steve Photography | Shutterstock.

It can be concluded that it is not feasible to perform decarboxylation of cannabinoids, without significant loss of terpene components.” Dr. Hazekamp advises. The decarboxylation process, which heats marijuana to a point where the THC becomes psychoactive, happens automatically when cannabis is smoked, meaning tokers are not getting the full benefit of the herb’s medicinal power.

Likewise, expensive products that rely on processing marijuana, especially those that isolate certain cannabinoids, are also limiting its potential healing power. The terpenebeta-Pinene for example, which has been found to be anti-fungal and to synergistically fight MRSA, was completely absent in the naphtha based “Rick Simpson” style cannabis oil tested, which tries to extract as much THC as possible. It remained at high levels in the olive oil extraction however.

Retaining the full spectrum of terpenes present in fresh cannabis material should therefore be a major focus during optimal Cannabis oil production,” Dr. Hazekamp concludes. The wide array of cannabinoids and terpenes present in the plant in its natural state are what makes marijuana such a versatile remedy for a variety of conditions and an extremely potent antibiotic.

And although the White House just lifted many of the restrictions on medical marijuana research that had been in place since the 1990s, it is unlikely that science will ever come up with a more powerful marijuana based product than the simple homemade oil that can be used both topically and internally.

This means that even with a “post-antibiotic” era looming on the horizon and a growing tide of new mystery illnesses sweeping the land, the super medicine of the future remains right where it has been for most of the past — in nature, freely available for our use.





3 comments:

  1. Medical marijuana is not smoked but used as an aerosol - breathing it in.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was wondering if I could use this write-up on my other website, I will link it back to your website though.Great Thanks. medical marijuana evaluation san francisco

    ReplyDelete