Clear Evidence That Cannabinoids Are Useful For The Treatment of Various Medical Conditions

“There Is Now Clear Evidence That Cannabinoids Are Useful For The Treatment Of Various Medical Conditions”

By: Paul Armentano  NORML Deputy Director, August 9, 2012

 

Source: http://blog.norml.org/2012/08/09/scientific-review-there-is-now-clear-evidence-that-cannabinoids-are-useful-for-the-treatment-of-various-medical-conditions/

 

For the second time in recent months, a scientific paper published in a peer-reviewed journal has thoroughly rebutted the present Schedule I status of cannabis under US federal law, which states that the plant and its organic constituents possess a “high potential for abuse,” and that they lack “accepted medical use” and “accepted safety … under medical supervision.”

According to a just published review in the German scientific journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, scientific findings from over 100 controlled clinical trials involving either cannabis or its constituents provide “clear evidence that cannabinoids are useful for the treatment of various medical conditions.”

Investigators from the nova-Institute and the Hannover Medical School in Germany reviewed over 100 controlled trials assessing the safety and efficacy of cannabis and cannabinoids.

Researchers reported: “Knowledge about the therapeutic potential of cannabis products has been greatly improved by a large number of clinical trials in recent years. … There is now clear evidence that cannabinoids are useful for the treatment of various medical conditions,” including chronic neuropathy (nerve pain), multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, and other indications.

Regarding the safety profile of cannabis and cannabinoids, investigators determined: “The most common side effects of cannabinoids are tiredness and dizziness (in more than ten percent of patients), psychological effects, and dry mouth. Tolerance to these side effects nearly always develops within a short time. Withdrawal symptoms are hardly ever a problem in the therapeutic setting.”

Authors did express concern that cannabis could pose additional health risks for adolescents and/or pregnant or breast-feeding women, as well as individuals diagnosed with Hepatitis C, severe cardiovascular disease, addictive disorders, or those vulnerable to certain psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia.

Investigators acknowledged that cannabis dosing may adversely impact psychomotor skills. However, they noted, “Patients who take cannabinoids at a constant dosage over an extensive period of time often develop tolerance to the impairment of psychomotor performance, so that they can drive vehicles safely.”

They concluded, “No acute deaths have been described that could be unequivocally attributed solely to cannabis consumption or treatment with cannabinoids.”

This most recent paper follows the publication of a similar review, published in May in The Open Neurology Journal. In that paper, investigators with the University of California at San Diego and the University of California, Davis concluded: “Evidence is accumulating that cannabinoids may be useful medicine for certain indications. Based on evidence currently available, the (federal) Schedule I classification (of cannabis) is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking.

In 2011, the Obama administration — via the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — formally denied a nine-year-old administrative petition filed by NORML and a coalition of public interest organizations calling on the agency to initiate hearings to reassess the present classification of marijuana as a schedule I controlled substance. In her denial of the petition, DEA administrator Michele Leonhart alleged: “[T]here are no adequate and well-controlled studies proving (marijuana’s) efficacy; the drug is not accepted by qualified experts. … At this time, the known risks of marijuana use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy.”

In June, Ms. Leonhart testified before Congress that she believed that heroin and marijuana posed similar threats to the public’s health because, in her opinion, “all illegal drugs are bad.”

Coalition advocates are presently appealing the DEA’s denial of their petition in federal court.

Full text of the most recent study, “The therapeutic potential of cannabinoids,” is available online here.

Reprinted with permission from NORML.

Source: www.weedlist.com

Read more @ http://www.weedist.com/2012/08/scientific-review-there-is-now-clear-evidence-that-cannabinoids-are-useful-for-the-treatment-of-various-medical-conditions/

Science Says: Lungs Love Weed

By Oliver Lee

Breathe easy, tokers. Smoking marijuana in moderate amounts may not be so bad for your lungs, after all.

A new study, published in this month’s Journal of the American Medical Association, tested the lung function of over 5,000 young adults between 18 and 30. After 20 years of testing, researchers found some buzzworthy results: regular marijuana smokers (defined by up to a joint a day for seven years) had no discernable impairment in lung activity from non-smokers.

In fact, researchers were surprised to find marijuana smokers performed slightly better than both smokers and non-smokers on the lung performance test. Why? The most likely explanation seems to be that the act of inhaling marijuana—holding each puff in for as long as possible—is a lot like a pulmonary function test, giving marijuana smokers an edge over their cigarette smoking counterparts.

For most of human existence, cannabis has been considered a medicine. Queen Victoria used it to alleviate her menstrual cramps. Extracts were prescribed by doctors and available at every pharmacy in the U.S. According to Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser, attitudes toward cannabis only shifted when Americans began to notice and object to its use by immigrants around the turn of the 20th century. Said Schlosser in a PBS interview:

“What’s interesting is if you look at origins of the marijuana prohibition in this country, it coincides with a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment. . . really since the early years of this century, the war on marijuana has been much more a war on the sort of people who smoke it, be they Mexicans or blacks or jazz musicians or beatniks or hippies or hip-hop artists. It’s really been a war on nonconformists and the laws against marijuana have been used as a way of reasserting what are seen as traditional American values.”

Attitudes are changing, however. Sixteen states now offer medicinal weed legally for patients, and the number is growing. More students are nowsmoking marijuana than binge drinking or smoking cigarettes. Weed-friendly communities like Oaksterdam, unthinkable a decade or two ago, are sprouting up and campaigning to have marijuana revenue regulated and taxed like alcohol.

As marijuana enters the mainstream, studies like the one published in JAMAmight dispel false assertions about the plant’s deleterious health hazards and promote its medicinal benefits. According to Dr. Donald P. Tashkin, a marijuana researcher at UCLA medical school, THC is known to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may prevent lung irritation from developing into the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that frequently devastates the lungs of tobacco smokers. Since inhaling the unfiltered smoke of a combusted marijuana plant isn’t exactly the best delivery system for this panacea, he suggests that those who want to unlock its chemical potential find lower impact ways to get high.

“The smoke in marijuana contains thousands of ingredients, many of which are toxic and noxious and have the potential, at least, to cause airway injury,” said Tashkin in TIME. “In an ideal world, it would be preferable to take it in another form.” Volcano, anyone?

Article created by Oliver Lee

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