Iowa legislative committee backs legalizing medical marijuana
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, September, 12th 2014 by THCFinder
DES MOINES — A legislative committee narrowly recommended allowing medical marijuana to be grown and sold in Iowa to help people with epilepsy.
The 10-member committee was formed to look at problems with a new law that was supposed to allow some epilepsy patients to get marijuana extract. On Thursday, the committee also backed changing state law to reclassify marijuana so it would be easier to get as medication, The Des Moines Register reported.
In May, lawmakers vote to allow people to possess marijuana extract, an oil that doesn't contain the chemical that makes people high, to treat seizures if it's prescribed by an Iowa neurologist. But the law didn't provide any way for people to make or distribute the extract in Iowa.
Parents who pushed for the bill have said in the months since that it's basically unworkable. Most states where medical marijuana is legal don't allow people from other states to buy it. And people from Iowa would have to break the law to bring it back home.
State Sen. Bill Dotzler, D-Waterloo, said he saw the original law as a giant step for families, but now it's clear that it needs to be fixed.
He and five other lawmakers voted to recommend the closely regulated production and distribution of medical marijuana for approved patients. It did not say what type of marijuana but did say it should not be taxed.
Four of five Republicans on the committee voted against the motion. The tie-breaking vote came from state Rep. Clel Baudler, a Greenfield Republican and retired state trooper who said the state needs to find a way to help people with severe epilepsy. He said he opposes expanding the law to let people possess marijuana for other conditions such as cancer or Crohn's disease. The committee voted against recommending such an expansion.
Study finds marijuana post-trauma benefits
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, September, 8th 2014 by THCFinder
Giving synthetic cannabinoids soon after a person went through a traumatic event can prevent -- in rats -- post-traumatic stress disorder-like symptoms caused by the trauma and by reminders of it. This was discovered by Nachshon Korem and Dr. Irit Akirav of the University of Haifa’s psychology department, which has just been published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.
“The importance of this study is that it contributes to the understanding of the brain basis of the positive effect cannabis has on PTSD. This thus supports the necessity of performing human trials to examine potential ways to prevent the development of PTSD and anxiety disorders in response to a traumatic event,” the researchers said.
About nine percent of the population suffer from PTSD; in some groups, such as Holocaust survivors, combat soldiers, prisoners, victims of assault and citizens in lines of confrontation, the prevalence is even higher. A common phenomenon among those who suffer from trauma is that exposure to a “trauma reminder” -- an event that is not essentially traumatic but evokes the memory of the experience of the traumatic event -- can further heighten the negative effects of the trauma. For example, for a person who has developed PTSD syndromes as a result of “Color Red” sirens (air raid sirens), a trauma reminder can occur following a loud car alarm.
In previous studies performed by Akirav, she discovered that the use of cannabinoids within a specific time window after the traumatic event occurred reduces PTSD symptoms in rats. In this current study with doctoral student n Korem, she aimed to examine whether the use of cannabinoids may also moderate the effects of trauma in cases of exposure to trauma reminders. The researchers chose rats because of their great physiological similarity to humans in the way they respond to stressful and traumatic events.
During the first half of the experiment, the rats underwent the traumatic event of getting an electric shock and were exposed to trauma reminders on the third and fifth days of the trial. After the event, and within the time window found in earlier studies, some of the rats were injected with a cannabinoid substance. The rats then went through extinction procedures for trauma (a conditional psychological procedure similar to exposure therapy in humans, the purpose of which is to cope with PTSD symptoms).
It became clear that the rats that were injected with the cannabinoid substance showed no PTSD symptoms such as impaired extinction learning, increased startle response, changes in sensitivity to pain and impaired plasticity in the brain’s reward center (the nucleus accumbens), compared to those not injected with the drug. The researchers added that the rats injected with the drug showed better results compared to rats who received the antidepressant drug sertraline, a substance used with limited success in reducing PTSD symptoms.
In fact, for some of the symptoms, the rats that were injected with the drug showed similar behavior to rats exposed to trauma but that were not exposed to trauma reminders. In other words, cannabis made the effects of trauma reminders “disappear.”
Read more: http://www.jpost.com
Free Marijuana For Low-Income Residents Under New Berkeley Law
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, September, 5th 2014 by THCFinder
A California city is offering a unique benefit for low-income residents: free marijuana.
Starting next summer, Berkeley residents who earn less than $32,000 per year (or $46,000 per family) and have a prescription for medical marijuana will be able to get it for free from one of the dispensaries operating within the city.
Under a law passed unanimously by the city council, dispensaries must set aside 2 percent of their pot for distribution to the poor.
Not everyone is on board with the plan.
“It’s ludicrous, over-the-top madness,” Bishop Ron Allen, head of the International Faith Based Coalition, told Fox News. “Why would Berkeley City Council want to keep their poverty-stricken under-served high, in poverty and lethargic?”
But supporters say that marijuana is recognized as a legal medicine in the state of California (although not federally). And as medicine, people who need it shouldn't be kept away from it due to lack of funds.
“Basically, the city council wants to make sure that low-income, homeless, indigent folks have access to their medical marijuana, their medicine,” Berkeley City Councilmember Darryl Moore told CBS San Francisco.
“There are some truly compassionate cases that need to have medical marijuana,” Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates told The New York Times. “But it’s expensive. You hear stories about people dying from cancer who don’t have the money.”
Despite the controversy, many dispensaries say this won't change much since they already set aside a certain amount of weed for compassionate (a.k.a. free) distribution.
“We do this on our own, so we certainly welcome the city mandating that all dispensaries create these sorts of programs,” Sean Luse, chief operating officer of Berkeley Patients Group dispensary, told Berkeleyside over the summer.
Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com
Finally, Some Hard Science on Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy Patients
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, September, 4th 2014 by THCFinder
A groundbreaking clinical trial may provide some answers to medical marijuana as a seizure treatment
For years, some parents have turned to medical marijuana to treat their children’s debilitating epilepsy, crediting the drug with dramatically reducing seizure activity. A groundbreaking clinical trial about to begin recruiting test subjects may finally provide some science to back their claims
n what is believed to be the first study of its kind, researchers at the University of Colorado, Denver will study the genes of those with a kind of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome who have been treated with a strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte’s Web. The study will attempt to determine if specific genetic components can explain why some epilepsy patients see positive results from ingesting Charlotte’s Web, while others do not.
The plant, grown by five brothers in Colorado through a non-profit organization called Realm of Caring, is low in THC, the compound that produces marijuana’s psychoactive effects, and high in CBD, a compound believed to reduce seizures in those suffering from certain forms of epilepsy. It is administered to epilepsy patients, including many children, in the form of an oil. The plant is named after Charlotte Figi, a young girl who was the first epilepsy patient successfully treated with the strain.
While anecdotal evidence suggests Charlotte’s Web can be highly effective in treating such conditions, scientific investigation of the product has been stymied by federal drug laws that severely limit marijuana research. Edward Maa, the principal investigator of the Charlotte’s Web study, says the new trial could be a first step toward building a body of research on how and why medical marijuana can be used to treat epilepsy. “This is the first attempt to get the information people are interested in that is observational in nature,” says Maa, an assistant professor at UC Denver and chief of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Programs at Denver Health.
The new study will recruit epilepsy patients who have already taken Charlotte’s Web. The patients will be divided into two groups—those who have seen seizure activity reduced by at least 50 percent on Charlotte’s Web and those who have had less dramatic or no results from taking the marijuana oil. Genetic analysis of the patients in both groups will then be performed in hopes of discovering what genetic components may cause a patient to be responsive to medical marijuana. Interventional studies, in which patients would be given Charlotte’s Web to measure its efficacy, are far more difficult to conduct. “That would be the Holy Grail,” says Maa.
Still, researchers on the UC Denver team will collect data on dosages used by patients in the study, for example, which could allow for further research down the line. “The more data we are able to collect in a large sample, the closer to the truth we will get,” says Maa. He says the study could allow children with Dravet Syndrome to be genetically screened before taking Charlotte’s Web so parents could know ahead of time if their children would benefit. It’s possible to conduct the study in Colorado because Charlotte’s Web is grown there legally and is home to many families who have moved to the state to specifically to access the marijuana strain.
Read more: http://time.com
Illinois Army Vet Among First Seeking Medical Marijuana
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, September, 3rd 2014 by THCFinder
Army veteran Jim Champion is among the first Illinoisans to sign up for a state program allowing the legal purchase of medical marijuana.
People with last names beginning with letters A through L were allowed to sign up starting Tuesday for a medical marijuana card, with everyone else able to apply on Nov. 1.
Champion, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, was among those who went to Springfield to lobby lawmakers to pass the bill.
"I felt vindicated. I felt wow, they were listening to me," Champion said.
Champion was diagnosed with MS in his 20s, and since then, his condition had steadily worsened. He says one day a relative suggested he try smoking marijuana to ease the effects of the disease.
"It would relax my muscles and my muscles wouldn't tremor, so if they don't tremor then I wouldn't have pain," Champion said.
Champion says for several years his wife, Sandy, had to find illegal ways to buy the marijuana.
"You can't call the police and say, 'Yea, my wife wants to buy some marijuana, can you go check on her for me,'" Champion said.
Now he's hoping he can soon go to a dispensary to get what he needs, whether it's edible food laced with marijuana, or marijuana cigarettes, which he says helps him most.
People who qualify for a medical marijuana card won't be able to get the drug until at least spring.
Illinois' medical marijuana law is considered one of the most restrictive in the nation with a maximum number of 21 cultivation centers allowed in the state. State bureaucrats have yet to approve and license the growers and sellers.
Under the law, adopted by lawmakers in 2013, patients must have a prescription from their physician and get a background check. The state must respond to a completed application within 30 days.
"I did my fingerprinting and background check last week and we got that out of the way and they haven't arrested me yet," Champion said.
Sheila Porter, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health, says the agency was expecting the number of applicants to run into the thousands over the next four months.
Read more: http://www.nbcchicago.com
Latest Poll Shows Medical Marijuana Winning In Florida
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, September, 3rd 2014 by THCFinder
Wait until 2016 they said. You can’t win in 2014 they said. I’m happy to report that national pundits and organizations that said Florida couldn’t win in 2014 have some explaining to do, as yet another poll has come out showing medical marijuana winning in Florida. The results of the poll aren’t as high as some of the previous polls which showed support as high as 88%, but the most recent poll shows Florida’s medical marijuana initiative winning by a landslide. Per the Orlando Sentinel:
Gravis Marketing, which has found voters hovering at or just below the 60 percent level needed to approve Amendment 2 in past surveys, found Floridians have passed that level now and 64 percent said they would “vote for the current amendment use of marijuana for certain medical conditions.” Just 26 percent were opposed and 10 percent said they were unsure.
Other polls have shown much greater support for medical marijuana in Florida — notably the Quinnipiac University poll, which found support as high as 88 percent. But the Quinnipiac Florida Poll did not ask specifically about Florida’s Amendment 2, but rather generically about medical marijuana.
The Gravis poll’s finding of a solid approval level strikes at Amendment 2 opponents argument that voters could overwhelmingly favor medical marijuana in principal without agreeing to the specific proposal on the Nov. 4 ballot.
I’m glad that Florida didn’t wait until 2016. Patients are suffering right now, and there is support to pass the medical marijuana initiative this year. I’m not guaranteeing victory on Election Day, because there is still a lot of campaigning to do, and polls are far from 100% accurate. However, with solid financial backing, support in the polls, and truth and compassion on the initiative’s side, things are looking promising. Florida requires at least 60% of the vote in order to pass a constitutional amendment.
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