(Natural News) Many parts of the United States are still stuck in the stone ages when it comes to their antiquated stance on cannabis (marijuana), and the World Health Organization (WHO) has a message for them all: stop prohibiting it already!
Not only is the WHO recommending that legislators take a “more rational” approach to laws dealing with cannabis, but the international agency is also stressing the fact that, contrary to the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) official position on the matter, cannabis is medicinal.
The WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) recently made an official proposal that cannabis be rescheduled – constitutionally speaking, it should be de-scheduled entirely – in light of new scientific findings demonstrating an extensive array of medical benefits.
Last fall, the committee held its first formal discussion on cannabis laws since the advent of the International Drug Control Conventions in 1961. This one discussion brought to bear the obvious: that it’s basically a crime against humanity to keep cannabis illegal.
“The Committee recognized the public health harms presented by these substances, as well as their potential for therapeutic and scientific use,” reads an official press release from the committee following the meeting.
“As a result, the Committee recommended a more rational system of international control surrounding cannabis and cannabis-related substances that would prevent drug-related harms whilst ensuring that cannabis-derived pharmaceutical preparations are available for medical use.”
It’s time for all countries, states, and municipalities to finally “free the weed”
Among the emerging research in favor of ending cannabis prohibition is a 2015 study which found that cannabis is at least 114 times safer than alcohol, as well as a study published last year which found that nobody has ever died from using cannabis.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people die annually from drinking toxic alcohol, which damages the liver and other vital organs from normal use.
We also now know that in states were cannabis is legal, opioid use is way down – as opposed to prohibition states where abuse of opioids and other damaging drugs is on the rise.
Studies also show that cannabis is highly beneficial for the brain and nervous system, helping to slow brain aging and even reverse it.
Cannabis really is God’s medicine – and the Bible supports this claim
This and so much more proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that cannabis really is nature’s medicine – the literal fruit of one of God’s seed-bearing plants, which he declared to be goodin Genesis 1:29.
“These recommendations are of monumental importance as they may lead to the overcoming of barriers to research, enhance access of patients to cannabis-based medicine, and allow free commerce of cannabis products internationally,” stated Ethan Russo from the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute in response to the WHO’s new official position on cannabis.
Michael Krawitz, a global policy adviser at the non-profit cannabis advocacy group FAAAT, agrees, having told Newsweek that the WHO’s placement of cannabis in the 1961 Convention was a “terrible injustice.”
“The WHO has gone a long way towards setting the record straight,” he’s quoted as saying in response to the news.
“It is time for us all to support the World Health Organization’s recommendations and ensure politics don’t trump science. Advocates thank the WHO Experts for their work, and WHO leadership for consistently defending the medical needs of our world.”
To learn more about the many health benefits of medical cannabis, including its potential role in the natural treatment of cancer, be sure to check out MarijuanaToday.news.
The success story of one woman who replaced her pills with plants.
Sharmila Clee; Photograph by Ceasar Ron
After drug use caused Sharmila Clee’s parents to lose custody of her and her siblings in 1998, Clee said she was squarely against anything related to drugs or alcohol, including cannabis.
“An anti-drug and alcohol mantra became my identity for years,” she said.
Once her parents and extended biological family’s rights were terminated, Clee and her siblings were put up for adoption. She and her sister were separated from their special needs brother, who needed extended care.
“It was difficult finding a home willing to take in three children with a history of trauma,” Clee shared. “My experience started my passion to become the best social worker in the world, and help other children like us.”
Her brother was eventually returned to her biological parents; Clee started experiencing panic attacks soon after.
“I was barely managing, receiving calls in the middle of the night from my brother, with reports of our dad drunk and violent,” she recalled. “I was three hours away at college and felt powerless, but it propelled me to move forward with vengeance and purposes, after witnessing so much social injustice—in the world, then through the eyes of my brother.”
Clee learned to push down her feelings of panic and anxiety by numbing herself with a Valium habit that began in the Fall of 2001 while at graduate school. She was diagnosed with latent Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She remembers it disrupting her studies with random visions of her turbulent childhood, yet, she says, she managed to pull A’s in all subjects.
Her goal of climbing the corporate ladder was achieved. But she found that her new bureaucratic life was not all she had hoped for. She dreaded the monotony of wearing suits, the grueling commute, and her life in a cubicle.
Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Southern California
Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states as of November 2018. Yet the federal government still insists marijuana has no legal use and is easy to abuse. In the meantime, medical marijuana dispensaries have an increasing array of products available for pain, anxiety, sex and more.
The glass counters and their jars of products in the dispensary resemble an 18th century pharmacy. Many strains for sale have evocative and magical names like Blue Dream, Bubba Kush and Chocolope. But what does it all mean? Are there really differences in the medical qualities of the various strains? Or, are the different strains with the fanciful names all just advertising gimmicks?
I am a professor in the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy. I have lived in California a long time and remember the Haight-Ashbury Summer of Love. While in graduate school, I worked with professor Alexander Shulgin, the father of designer drugs, who taught me the chemistry of medicinal plants. Afterwards, while a professor at USC, I learned Chumash healing from a Native American Chumash healer for 14 years from 1998 until 2012. She taught me how to make medicines from Californian plants, but not marijuana, which is not native to the U.S. Currently, I am teaching a course in medical marijuana to pharmacy students.
If there is one thing about marijuana that is certain: In small doses it can boost libido in men and women, leading to more sex. But can marijuana really be used for medical conditions?
What are cannabinoids?
New research is revealing that marijuana is more than just a source of cannabinoids, chemicals that may bind to cannabinoid receptors in our brains, which are used to get high. The most well-known is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Marijuana is a particularly rich source of medicinal compounds that we have only begun to explore. In order to harness the full potential of the compounds in this plant, society needs to overcome misconceptions about marijuana and look at what research clearly says about the medical value.
The FDA has already made some moves in this direction by approving prescription drugs that come from marijuana including dronabinol, nabilone, nabiximols and cannabidiol. Dronabinol and nabilone are cannabinoids that are used for nausea. Nabiximols – which contain THC, the compound most responsible for marijuana’s high and cannabidiol, which does not induce a high – are used to treat multiple sclerosis. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is also used to treat some types of epilepsy.
Marijuana, originally from the Altai Mountains in Central and East Asia, contains at least 85 cannabinoids and 27 terpenes, fragrant oils that are produced by many herbs and flowers that may be active, drug-like compounds. THC is the cannabinoid everyone wants in order to get high. It is produced from THC acid – which constitutes up to 25 percent of the plant’s dry weight – by smoking or baking any part of the marijuana plant.
THC mimics a naturally occurring neurotransmitter called anandamide that works as a signaling molecule in the brain. Anandamide attaches to proteins in the brain called cannabinoid receptors, which then send signals related to pleasure, memory, thinking, perception and coordination, to name a few. THC works by hijacking these natural cannabinoid receptors, triggering a profound high.
Tetrahydrocannabivarinic acid, another cannabinoid, can constitute up to 10 percent of the dry weight. It is converted to another compound that probably contributes to a high, tetrahydrocannabivarin, when smoked or ingested in baked goods. Potent varieties like Doug’s Varin and Tangie may contain even higher concentrations.
Medical properties of marijuana
But not all cannabinoids make you high. Cannabidiol, a cannabinoid similar to THC, and its acid are also present in marijuana, especially in certain varieties. But these do not cause euphoria. The cannabidiol molecule interacts with a variety of receptors – including cannabinoid and serotonin receptors and transient receptor potential cation channels (TRP) – to reduce seizures, combat anxiety and produce other effects.
Many different varieties of marijuana are on the market and are alleged to treat a range of diseases. The FDA has no oversight for these claims, since the FDA does not recognize marijuana as a legal product.
Strains of marijuana are grown that produce more THC than cannadidiol or vice versa. Other varieties have abundant monoterpenoids. How do you know that the strain you choose is legitimate with probable medical benefits? Each strain should have a certificate of analysis that shows you how much of each active compound is present in the product you buy. Many states have a bureau of cannabis control that verifies these certificates of analysis. However, many certificates of analysis do not show the monoterpenoids present in the marijuana. The analysis of monoterpenoids is difficult since they evaporate from the plant material. If you are looking for a strain high in myrcene or linalool, ask for proof.
Marijuana can improve several conditions, but it can also make others worse and can have nasty side effects.
As recreational use has become more widespread, marijuana hyperemesis syndrome is becoming more of a problem in our society. Some people vomit uncontrollably after smoking marijuana regularly. It can be treated by rubbing a cream made from capsaicin, from chili peppers, on the abdomen. Capsaicin cream is available in pharmacies.
For some of these conditions, studies show that eating or topically applying marijuana products rather than smoking is recommended.
Clearly, more research is needed from the scientific community to help guide the appropriate, safe use of marijuana. However, the FDA does not recognize the use of medical marijuana. This makes funding for research on marijuana difficult to find. Perhaps the cannabis industry should consider funding scientific research on marijuana. But conflicts of interest may become a concern as we have seen with drug company-sponsored studies.
(Natural News) Marijuana is stepping in where prescription pharmaceuticals have been unsuccessful, particularly among members of the 55-and-up crowd, who appear to be ditching pills in favor of the controversial herb. An article in TheGlobeandMail.com explored the use of medical marijuana among senior citizens. The report found that marijuana use is becoming increasingly common particularly in Canada. The article noted that while some seniors are reacquainting themselves with cannabis after years of recreational use in the psychedelic ’60s, still more are first-time users who have turned to the herb for relief from chronic pain, arthritis, and other medical conditions.
Among those first-time users is Hope Bobowski, who told TheGlobeandMail.com that she takes cannabidiol (CBD) oil every day for her back pain caused by osteoarthritis. Because CBD is the non-psychoactive component in cannabis, it serves a purely medicinal purpose, and those who take it do not get “high”. Bobowski shared in the article that she saw CBD oil as a natural alternative to the codeine-spiked narcotic analgesics and opiod pain medications prescribed by her doctor.
It is no surprise then that the popularity of cannabis among seniors has been — and continues to be — on the rise. In May 2016, CBSNews.comreported a rise in marijuana use among seniors saying that the number of adults taking cannabis jumped from 2.8 million to 3.4 million within a year.
Marijuana has been found to have many medicinal uses, both for common afflictions, as well as more serious health conditions — many of which are common among the elderly.
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In a story in Prevention.com, top doctors from the American Cancer Society and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine studied marijuana in small amounts to determine its health benefits. The doctors found that marijuana is an effective treatment for nausea, nerve pain, and multiple sclerosis. They also found that it could potentially treat or at least alleviate symptoms of conditions such as epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s, and cancer.
In fact, cannabis’ association with cancer treatments is one of the strongest arguments in favor of nationwide medical marijuana legalization. According to the American Cancer Society, some studies have found that smoking marijuana can help ease the nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Further, there are also scientists who have found that CBD and THC (marijuana’s psychoactive component) can slow down or kill certain types of cancer cells grown in lab dishes. Such findings are a breakthrough in the world of cancer research, bringing scientists closer to finding promising alternatives for mainstream cancer treatments.
There has even been evidence that suggests that marijuana can help treat mental health disorders. An article in DailyMail.co.uk reports on a study published in the European Neuropsychopharmacology journal. According to the story, researchers administered THC and a placebo to test subjects who were active marijuana users. Upon comparing, they found that those with THC in their bloodstream had reduced negativity in the emotion-processing parts of the brain, suggesting that it could be a possible treatment for depression.
Scientists and doctors continue to work in an effort to destigmatize marijuana. Current legislation indicates that attitudes towards the herb have relaxed, albeit not entirely. At the moment, marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and is only legal to varying degrees in 29 states.
Given this, it would appear that more evidence of marijuana’s medical properties is needed — though for the seniors that have taken to using the herb, their improved health is all the proof they need.
“A 2015 study, published in the journal, ‘Scientific Reports,’ suggests that smoking cannabis is roughly 114 times safer than drinking alcohol. Ironically, out of all the drugs that were researched in the study, alcohol was actually the most dangerous, and it was the only legal drug on the list.”
In a study published earlier this year by researchers at the National Institute of Scientific Research at the University of Quebec, cannabis can actually help counteract the harmful effects of alcohol to some degree.
The study found that cannabis use significantly lowered the odds of liver diseases like hepatitis, cirrhosis, steatosis, and even hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer. Researchers formed these conclusions based on the medical records of roughly 320,000 patients who had a history of alcoholism.
According to the study:
“Abusive alcohol use has well‐established health risks including causing liver disease (ALD) characterized by alcoholic steatosis (AS), steatohepatitis (AH), fibrosis, cirrhosis (AC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Strikingly, a significant number of individuals who abuse alcohol also use Cannabis, which has seen increased legalization globally. While cannabis has demonstrated anti‐inflammatory properties, its combined use with alcohol and the development of liver disease remain unclear.”
Researchers have not determined why alcoholics who used cannabis had less of a chance of developing liver disease, but many suspect that it has something to do with the proven anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis.
These findings support the results of another study last year which concluded that cannabis helps with non-alcoholic liver disease as well.
According to last year’s study:
“It can be hypothesized that marijuana use may have potential beneficial effects on metabolic abnormalities such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Whether marijuana use plays a role in NAFLD pathogenesis via modification of shared risk factors, or by an independent pathway remains uncertain. In this population-based study, we assessed the association between marijuana use and NAFLD in the US.”
Despite the proven health benefits of cannabis and the fact that it becoming legal in new states every year, lawmakers and mainstream media pundits refuse to give up on the reefer madness hysteria that they built their careers on.
Just after these studies were published, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control banned the sale of cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages, totally ignoring the science that this actually makes the alcohol less harmful.
This attitude can be seen in the hysteria that was created when Elon Musk took a hit of cannabis on the Joe Rogan Podcast, after spending two hours drinking liquor. Of course, even though the herb is legal in the state where they recorded, and it is far less harmful than alcohol, people decided to focus on the cannabis use because of the stigma against it.
A 2015 study, published in the journal, ‘Scientific Reports,’ suggests that smoking cannabis is roughly 114 times safer than drinking alcohol. Ironically, out of all the drugs that were researched in the study, alcohol was actually the most dangerous, and it was the only legal drug on the list.
Just behind alcohol, heroin and cocaine were listed as the next most dangerous, followed by tobacco, ecstasy, and meth. The criteria that these drugs were arranged by, was according to the likelihood of a person dying from consuming a lethal dose.
“The results confirm that the risk of cannabis may have been overestimated in the past. At least for the endpoint of mortality, the [margin of exposure] for THC/cannabis in both individual and population-based assessments would be above safety thresholds (e.g. 100 for data based on animal experiments). In contrast, the risk of alcohol may have been commonly underestimated,” the report states. “Currently, the MOE results point to risk management prioritization towards alcohol and tobacco rather than illicit drugs. The high MOE values of cannabis, which are in a low-risk range, suggest a strict legal regulatory approach rather than the current prohibition approach,” the report continues.
While this is not the first study to rank marijuana very low in terms of danger, it comes at a time when the debate surrounding marijuana legalization is more heated than ever before, with more and more people agreeing that it is time to end prohibition.
As cannabis products enter the mainstream, two markets remain largely untapped: women’s health and sexuality.
While various compounds in cannabis have long been thought to alleviate symptoms associated with pain and stress from menstruation, there hasn’t been a lot of research to back it up.
Foria Wellness, a startup based in Venice Beach, California, is seeking to change that. It released a line of products – including lotions, sprays, vaporizer pens, and marijuana suppositories – designed to help women with everything from treating menstrual pain to having orgasms.
While Foria’s Relief product has been nicknamed a “weed tampon,” it’s not exactly that. Rather than a cotton device, it’s a suppository pill that when inserted into the body quickly gets absorbed.
“Women have been saying it works for 10,000 years,” Foria CEO Mathew Gerson told Business Insider in a recent interview, referring to cannabis. “And I don’t think men have been listening.”
Foria’s suppositories are forming the basis of an observational study of 400 women to see how marijuana-based products affect the symptoms associated with periods.
So far, Foria has raised $2 million in a funding round led by Gotham Green Partners, a cannabis-focused venture-capital firm. The company’s THC-containing products are available in Colorado and California, where cannabis is legal for adult use, and will be available in Canada once legalization goes into effect later this month.
Though the legality of CBD is something of a gray area, products containing it are widely available in most states, as long as they don’t contain THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana responsible for a high. (Foria’s Relief product has both CBD and THC.)
According to Gerson, Foria’s products are effective because of what’s known as the “entourage effect” of the active compounds in marijuana.
“We now know that the minute you break this plant apart into its component parts, you lose some of the magic,” Gerson said. “And that sounds like hippie speak, but this is proven out again and again, in study after study, that the entourage effect as we understand it is real.”
“Our findings show that we can safely rule out that medical marijuana laws and the associated marijuana use cause increased crime. The strong correlation between marijuana use and criminal activity is mostly spurious.”
“Our study provides robust evidence that medical marijuana legislation does not contribute to crime, and possibly helps to reduce it. This conclusion may relieve a major concern for countries considering to legalise medical marijuana, including New Zealand and Canada.”
Senior Lecturer, Victoria University of Wellington
Those who oppose medical marijuana legislation often cite the strong association between marijuana use and criminal activity. This includes the US federal government, which continues to classify marijuana as a schedule one drug.
We analysed city-level data from states across the US and found that medical marijuana laws have little effect on violent or property crime in nearly all medical marijuana states. In the case of California, the crime rates actually show a substantial decrease of around 20%.
Medical marijuana laws represent a major change in marijuana policy in the US. Since California passed the first medical marijuana law in 1996, 30 US states and the District of Columbia have legalised medical marijuana.
Several recentstudies have found that marijuana use has increased among the general population (including non-patients) in medical marijuana states. It is difficult to disentangle causal effects of marijuana use from spurious correlations because of individual heterogeneity. Individuals who choose to use marijuana are likely different from those who don’t.
The perception that marijuana use leads to crime can be traced back to the 1930s. In an effort to gain public support for marijuana prohibition, the Narcotics Bureau chief Harry Anslinger collected dubious anecdotes of marijuana causing crime and violence in his infamous Gore Files.
There is indeed a strong correlation between marijuana use and criminal activity. For example, the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program shows that more than half of adult male arrestees tested positive for marijuana use. Financial needs can lead to property crime for some heavy users.
Nevertheless, such correlation could be entirely spurious because marijuana users have a higher propensity to commit crimes. Only people who are willing to break laws would use marijuana under prohibition.
Effects of medical marijuana laws on crime
In our paper, we used data on criminal offence, spanning more than 25 years (1988–2013). We analysed relatively large cities with at least 50,000 residents. In addition to traditional regression analysis, we adopted the state-of-the-art synthetic control method that allows us to estimate the effects of medical marijuana laws in each city.
To make cities with and without medical marijuana laws comparable, we created a synthetic city from a pool of cities without medical marijuana laws. That way the pre-law crime rates in the synthetic city and the city of interest are as close as possible.
We then used the post-law crime rate in the synthetic city as an estimate for the medical marijuana city’s counterfactual crime rate – the rate you would expect if the medical marijuana law had not been passed. The difference in post-law crime rates between the synthetic city and the medical marijuana city is the causal effect of medical marijuana law on crime.
We found that the actual crime rates in medical marijuana cities generally move closely with the synthetic cities. This suggests no substantial effect on both violent and property crime. The results remain similar when we look at specific crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and theft.
Our findings show that we can safely rule out that medical marijuana laws and the associated marijuana use cause increased crime. The strong correlation between marijuana use and criminal activity is mostly spurious.
Violent and property crime rates dropped by 20% since California passed medical marijuana legislation more than two decades ago. It was reported that there are more marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks or McDonalds in cities like Los Angeles.
California’s medical marijuana law may have shrunk the marijuana black market and its associated violence. It may have helped to reallocate police resources towards deterring crime instead of enforcing drug laws. The presence of dispensaries may also deter crime. They are required to deal in cash and thus invest heavily in security.
Another study found a similar decrease in violent crime in states bordering Mexico, including California. It argues that medical marijuana legislation reduced crime associated with drug trafficking through Mexican cartels.
The US experience suggests that most stigmas associated with marijuana use are not supported by empirical evidence. Although medical marijuana laws increase heavy marijuana use among non-patients, they do not lead to negative social outcomes.
Our study provides robust evidence that medical marijuana legislation does not contribute to crime, and possibly helps to reduce it. This conclusion may relieve a major concern for countries considering to legalise medical marijuana, including New Zealand and Canada. The US experience is unique, especially because of its war on drugs. But the main conclusion that increased marijuana use does not cause more crime likely applies in other countries.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone