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AMA urges clinical studies of marijuana

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By Sheilah Downey

The American Medical Association may have helped push marijuana further into the medical mainstream when it urged the federal government to allow the herb to be used for studies in the development of cannabis-based medicines.

In a meeting in Houston on Tuesday, the AMA voted to urge the changing of marijuana from a Schedule 1 controlled substance, the same category as heroine, cocaine and methamphetamine, so that access to the herb would be easier for scientific studies.

The AMA statement was clear in suggesting marijuana's change of status -- for reasons of science -- and distancing itself from other uses currently in fashion.

"This should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs," the statement reads, "the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription product."

Marijuana was first criminalized with passage of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Many activists and marijuana legal scholars have claimed for years that pot is illegal because major pharmaceutical companies would lose profits once people learned of the medical benefits of pot.

Marijuana has been slowly sliding into mainstream America for years, perhaps beginning with the legalization of medical marijuana in California in 1996. Medical marijuana has since been legal in 13 other states as well as Canada, Spain, the Netherlands and Austria.

In 2004, the United Nations estimated that 162 million people throughout the world use marijuana annually, and more than 2.5 million people use it everyday.

The scientific community has also taken notice. Early in this decade there was a trickle of scientific studies done on cannabis, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

In 2008, says their website, there were 2,100 published scientific studies on the potential medical uses and benefits of marijuana, all published on the National Library of Medicines PubMed website.

Besides combating nausea and treating pain, its two most common uses, scientists are also looking at the role of cannabis in treating Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Lou Gehrigs disease, and as an anti-cancer drug.

An emerging pharmaceutical cannabis company, Cannabis Science Inc., based in San Francisco, has been trying to get public health officials to "take medical cannabis seriously," according to CEO Steven Kubby.

In a statement last month, Kubby discussed the company's efforts to market a cannabis-based lozenge for treatment of the H1N1 virus.

"For decades, governments have ridiculed and suppressed overwhelming evidence that cannabis has many important medical uses," said Kubby, "but in the present public health crisis we should no longer tolerate this malign neglect. Our government ought to take medical cannabis seriously, just as voters in 14 States have voted overwhelmingly for medical marijuana legalization."

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Subscribe to comments feed Comments (13 posted):

Brandon on 11/12/2009 04:40:43
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About Time!
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Pill Maker Guy on 11/12/2009 04:58:54
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On behalf of everyone who works in the pharmacological development industry- Thank You Pot Heads for spending your time and money to address the issue of whether or not marijuana can and should be used for treating pain or illness!

You guys have made a difference and now the big boys will take care of it, you can go home and smoke your illegal marijuana all you want.

The DEA, FDA, Drug Industry and Agriculture giants will take over from here. pst...your still going to prison for possession of illegal drugs, yes even if they require a prescription to get them, which will now make you eligible for a new felony Possession of a Legend Drug when carrying "medical grade" marijuana.

When will you people learn? Smoking Pot is not good for your brain power. Stoners.

Oh yeah, see today's statement by the DEA and the associated press about medical marijuana growers being taken down.
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Logical Poster on 11/12/2009 05:09:54
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The A.M.A.'s statement is not intended to support the smokable medical marijuana movement in any way. Call them. They are reclassifying marijuana to Schedule II so that it is legal for research to be done into developing drugs using cannabinoids. IE: The major drug companies all benefit, and chains of pharmacies like Wal Mart, CVS, Walgreens and the like will be selling FDA approved cannabinoid drugs- NOT INDOOR GROWN MARIJUANA FROM ILLEGAL DRUG DEALERS

How could you possibly not have seen this coming?

Marijuana will NEVER be legalized for recreational use- EVER.

You want to smoke pot go to Amsterdam, hippie.
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Ouroboros on 11/12/2009 07:07:20
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Wow Phil, such hostility towards those who smoke a little Cannabis. I bet your a drinker tho right. You like to kick back and have a few drinks to relax after a day of work at your desk. You pop open that can of bud light and drink one after another not knowing or caring that alcohol kills 90,000 people in the US every year. Not knowing or caring how many violent crimes or vehicle accidents are the direct cause of being under the influence of alcohol. Well hey it's legal, so obviously alcohol is great and pot is bad.

There are studies now that are proving that while smoking Cannabis does effect short term memory temporarily it actually stimulates brain cells and does not kill brain cells. So smoking Cannabis hasn't proven to be good or bad for your brain, where as alcohol has been proven time and time again to be bad for not only your brain but many other organs in your body.

But hey you ignore this, pop open your beer chug it down and enjoy it. I won't judge you for your drug of choice and you don't judge me for mine simply because it's illegal.

You should look at the history of Cannabis and find out exactly why it was made illegal in the first place, it's an interesting read. I'll give you a hint, it had nothing to do with medical reasons and everything to do with money.
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workingman1 on 11/12/2009 11:50:58
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Hey Pill are you scared you can't control a controlled substance? It's OK. Keep it illegal if you're so scared about it. People will use the distribution system currently in place. No problem! The government can still control it by...what??? Catching about 5 to 10 percent of the product distributed? That's how it's currently 'controlled'. BTW, If you can't keep it out of a prison, what makes you think you control anything. Either way, people will still get anything they want within a couple of hours. Period. No questions asked. No one carded. No ID's presented. No taxes collected. And all proceeds go into the drug gang's or Mexican cartel’s till. It's OK. That’s your way to handle it right? Business as usual. Pil you act like it's going away. It's not going anywhere, you just drove it back underground. Oh, by the way, China called and they want you to quit spending their borrowed money on your stupid prohibition. They're nervous and might call in their loans to us. Business as usual.
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Watcher Man on 11/12/2009 11:51:20
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Now Banned in 71 Cities and Towns in California for Good Reason:

"Teenagers are using the shield of the law to buy and sell marijuana to other kids"
WM

Medical marijuana to be banned in city

By Will Goldbeck,

Published: Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The City of Parlier has taken the first step towards prohibiting medical marijuana.

The first reading of Ordinance No. 2009-05, which would prohibit the establishment of medical marijuana within the City of Parlier was approved 5-0 at the Nov. 4 City Council and Redevelopment Agency meeting.


"Chief Solis reported that youngsters are able to obtain the marijuana cards that are given to those who can use marijuana for medical reasons. "The kids are able to obtain eight ounces of marijuana. They are selling it off and using the profits to buy more. They are buying it illegally and selling it illeally. It is difficult to prosecute them because they have the card."

You guys have gotten what you apparently wanted, children using drugs.

Thanks
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workingman1 on 11/12/2009 12:18:04
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Hey Pill Maker the fact is that the medical marijuana debate serves to illustrate so much about the absurdity of marijuana prohibition as a whole. Critics of medical marijuana advocacy often complain that it hasn’t been approved by the FDA and that the whole concept of medicine by referendum is absurd, as though there exists any other path for advocates to take. It really shouldn’t be necessary to explain all the ways in which endemic and entrenched anti-pot prejudice across numerous government agencies renders preposterous any notion that people could just play this out by the usual rules. Marijuana can't be treated like other medicines, because it's nothing like them. It was here first and it's vastly cheaper, safer, and more versatile than its modern pharmaceutical counterparts. It's a bush that just grows out of the ground and what we want is for the government to stop arresting people who've found ways to use it. There's nothing even the least bit complicated or disingenuous about that. But we all know where you’re coming from Pill Maker… people just might stop buying those expensive manufactured medicines your company is peddling and YOU might lose your job! Those who now lament the cascading political momentum of medical marijuana as some sort of grand conspiracy have it exactly backwards. Marijuana was prohibited through a vicious series of outrageous lies and perversions of science. We all know the history of racism, demagoguery, and blind hysteria that somehow turned a helpful plant into a scary satanic death bush. From the very beginning, there has never been a time when any of this made sense while tobacco and alcohol use goes on its merry way. Yes, there is a massive lie at the center of this debate, but advocates for medical marijuana are NOT the ones telling it. The crux of it all is the billions of taxpayer dollars WASTED to fund narco enforcement, lawyers, judges and jails. The drug war itself is the true Trojan Horse that masquerades as a symbol of health and safety, while harboring destruction within its folds.
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Boots on 11/12/2009 13:13:26
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University of Haifa shows that marijuana helps with PTSD, among other things.

Israeli Yohai Gild explains quite a bit in this story..
Marijuana Soothes Pain in Israel; Can It Bring Peace?
http://vjmovement.com/truth/445

Anyways, I live in a city where marijuana is LEGAL (Amsterdam).. more hippies in San Fran than this city. The majority of people who smoke recreationally are the tourists who can't get it legally back home (i.e. from N. America)...hmmm
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stevenboyd on 11/12/2009 14:00:51
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I agree with the rest of you guys. Phil sucks.
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TYC on 11/12/2009 15:16:54
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Everywhere I look I see more and more people recognizing the indisputable fact that the prohibition against cannabis is a complete failure. Its continued myopic prosecution by law enforcement is a symptom of insanity. Another noble experiment with deadly, unintended consequences. Cannabis prohibition has introduced more people to cannabis than if they had just left it alone and not said anything about it. I can almost hear Anslinger spinning in his grave. Serves him right!

People like Pill Maker Guy, Logical Poster, and Watcher Man are clearly in the minority with their insane suggestions. Just read their responses. Name calling and baseless suggestions concerning children. How can you argue with that type of insanity? How can you argue that an alcoholic needs a doctor but a cannabis user needs a cage. Logic? Reasoned debate? No, not with a prohibitionist. It's like arguing with a trash can...nothing good comes out of it.

BTW, Workingman1 and the other positive posters are right. Keep it up, friends!
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DownWithDogma on 11/12/2009 15:49:09
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@Watcher Man:

Hahahaha. "You guys have gotten what you apparently wanted, children using drugs."

1. Children were already using drugs. Cannabis use among teens has been fairly constant for decades. (On a side note they use alcohol even more. To much more disastrous consequences)

2. Your logic is false. I won't dispute there are probably a tiny percentage of people who think placing marijuana in the hands of kids is a good idea... just like there are a tiny percentage of muslims who think strapping a bomb to thier backs and walking in to a school is a good idea. The vast majority of us agree that giving it to children is a bad idea.

As you obviously agree availability = condoning underage usage, I ask, are you a supporter of alcohol prohibition? No? Well congratulations, you must be getting what you want then: Alcohol in the hands of teen drivers. Sicko. (See? This is stupid logic. Neither issue is this simple.)

3. This is an emotional pretense from a police chief who wants to obfuscate the state laws. In no place in the California Medical Marijuana laws does it state that a card holder is free to dispense marijuana purchased for medical use. There are special licensing requirements for that. This is a 'For the children' bogeyman argument. Semantically null, it creates an emotional reaction intended to outweigh any rational thought.

4. "It's often difficult to prosecute them because they have the card"... Really? It's tough to prosecute someone who is distributing because they have a card which ok's them for posession? Really? If it's difficult, then chances are you didn't catch them DISTRIBUTING. Since legal posession is not a crime, it would be very difficult to convict them for posession.

5. Show me NUMBERS. Has cannabis use among the teens in that school district skyrocketed? How many card holding teenage 'distributors' have you arrested? I don't even care about convicted... Otherwise, this is purely a dogmatic argument.

I'm not going to blow sunshine up your @ss.. any intoxicant has the power to be dangerous. Cannabis is no exception (although I would posit it has fewer negative consequences than most 'legal' intoxicants). Children are especially vulnerable to both physical and emotional damage as a result of them. But prohibition is not, has not, and will not work. Cannabis has been illegal for 70 years in this country and has only increased in popularity.

The definition of insanity has often been described as “doing the same thing and expecting a different result”. Well, we’ve had three generations of ‘doing the same thing’. The result is a criminal population larger than China’s. The result is a $100 billion dollar global drug market. The result is an collection of warring cartels who virtually own south and central America, including a full-on para-military war in Mexico. The result is a border that’s so full of holes the CRIMINALS tell us when potential terrorists are crossing the border. The result is what we have today.

There will be negative consequences to decriminalization or legalization policies. The question is, will those consequences be better or worse than what we have today? All I know is it’s time to stop being insane, and find something new to try. If that doesn’t work, we keep trying until we find something does. What we shouldn’t do, is what we’ve always done. It didn’t work then. It doesn’t work today. It won’t work tomorrow. It is insane.
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Baker on 11/28/2009 15:14:45
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For all those without the brain capacity to research something b4 posting. What cannabis smokers want is legalization, medical cannabis is a different story all together, it is to help those with medical conditions. Ever see someone with MS before and after smoking? Its incredible.

So the fact that people are are selling medical cannabis is akin to the Oxycontin problems we have today. Only difference is one is an opiate, the other is less addictive and dangerous then coffee.

But i digress, we want legalization, you want kids off drugs. Well decriminalized and legalized models actually reduce usage rates, look at he Netherlands vs USA. Netherlands has almost half the usage rates in teens then that of the USA.

Will the ignorant please educate themselves so we as a society can move forward?
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