Science

United States: Broad Public Support For Legalizing Medical Marijuana

Modest Rise in Percentage Favoring General Legalization

United States: Broad Public Support For Legalizing Medical Marijuana

With a growing number of states moving to legalize medical marijuana, nearly three-quarters of Americans (73%) say they favor their state allowing the sale and use of marijuana for medical purposes if it is prescribed by a doctor, while 23% are opposed. Support for legalizing medical marijuana spans all major political and demographic groups, and is equally high in states that have and have not already passed laws on this issue.

There are public concerns about legalizing medical marijuana. For example, 45% say they would be very or somewhat concerned if a store that sold medical marijuana opened near other stores in their area. And roughly the same percentage (46%) says allowing medical marijuana makes it easier for people to get marijuana even if they don’t have a real medical need – though just 26% of Americans say this is something that concerns them. These concerns are highest among opponents of legalizing medical marijuana, but are no higher or lower in states that already allow marijuana for medical purposes.

Far more Americans favor allowing marijuana for prescribed medical purposes than support a general legalization of marijuana. But the proportion who thinks the use of marijuana should be legal has continued to rise over the past two decades.

Global: Professor Raphael Mechoulam - Discovery of THC and Beyond

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Staff

There is a truth that must be heard! Raphael Mechoulam is an Israeli professor for Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. While working on research at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Michoulam succeeded in the isolation, structure elucidation and total synthesis of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main active principle of cannabis. He and his research group have also succeeded in the total synthesis of the major plant cannabinoids delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabigerol and multiple others. Another research project initiated by him led to the isolation of the first described endocannabinoid anandamide which was isolated and characterized by two of his postdoctoral researchers, Lumír Hanuš and William Devane.

Over the past few years, Professor Mechoulam, has become a great inspiration to activists, doctors, scientists and citizens worldwide for his dedication and continual striving to find cures to devastating human ailments, such as PTSD and chronic pain.

Professor Mechoulam has been awarded several prizes from the Heinrich Wieland Prize to the Ulf von Euler Lecture in Physiology. In 1999, the International Cannabinoid Research Society established the "Raphael Mechoulam Annual Award in Cannabinoid Research".

Canada: Research for the Production of Cellulosic Ethanol from Sustainable Feedstock Begins

Naturally Advanced Technologies Agrees with the National Research Council of Canada to Collaborate on Research for the Production of Cellulosic Ethanol from Sustainable Feedstock

This Research is Intended to Develop New Enzyme Technology for Cellulosic Ethanol Manufacturing

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Staff

Naturally Advanced Technologies Signs Amended Agreement with the National Research Council of Canada to Collaborate on Research for the Production of Cellulosic Ethanol from Sustainable Feedstock Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. (NAT) amended its agreement with the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada to include collaboration on cellulose technology research for the production of cellulosic ethanol from sustainable feedstock, such as corn stalks and straws, the unexploited byproduct in agri-food production. In my opinion, this is a huge step toward sustainability and mankind's ultimate survival.

Research Timeline

* The NAT - NRC collaboration began in 2004 and was extended in 2007 for the design and construction of advanced enzyme technology for the extraction and cleaning of industrial hemp fiber for the textile sector, as spearheaded by Dr. Wing Sung. (See Video Below)

* As this research is in the final stages, the two parties have agreed to divert existing funding commitments to pursue additional opportunities for the advanced enzyme technology, namely in cellulosic ethanol.

California: Medical Marijuana Has Merit, Research Shows

Although Research Shows Medical Mariuana Works, Critics Say California Center's Research Is Flawed

By Kathleen Doheny, WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

California: Medical Marijuana Has Merit, Research Shows Marijuana can be a promising treatment for some specific, pain-related medical conditions, according to California researchers who presented an update of their findings Wednesday to the California Legislature and also released them to the public.

"I think the evidence is getting better and better that marijuana, or the constituents of cannabis, are useful at least in the adjunctive treatment of neuropathy," Igor Grant, MD, executive vice-chairman of the department of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, tells WebMD.

"We don't know if it's a front-line treatment. I'm hoping the results of our studies will prompt larger-scale studies that involve a much more varied population."

"This [report given to the Legislature] sets the stage of larger-scale studies,'' he says.

Some experts who reviewed the report say some of the studies are flawed and that they worry about the long-term health effects of marijuana smoke.

Perspective: Medical Marijuana Research

Rhode Island: Accredited Medical Cannabis Therapeutics Conference - April 2010

Rhode Island: Accredited Medical Cannabis Therapeutics Conference - April 2010 The Sixth National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, co-sponsored by the School of Medicine, University of California at San Francisco; the Rhode Island State Nurses Association and Patients Out of Time will be held on April 15 - 17, 2010 at the Crowne Plaze Hotel in Warwick, RI.

Continuing education credits will be available through the University of California's Office of Continuing Medical Education.

Nursing contact hours have been applied for through the Rhode Island State Nurses Association and are pending approval.

Agenda - Sixth National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics

Thursday April 15, 2010

7pm Reception & Exhibits

Friday, April 16, 2010

7:30 - Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:00 - Al Byrne - Welcome/Opening Remarks – Donald Abrams, MD (UCSF), Jesse Stout (RIPAC) and Donna Policastro, RN (RISNA)

8:30 - Raphael Mechoulam, PhD – Cannabis:Opening New Vistas in Both Therapy and Chemical Biology

9:10 - John McPartland, DO – A Molecular View of the Synergistic Shotgun

9:35 - Robert Melamede PhD– Endogenous Cannabinoid System Review

10:00 Break

10:20 - Gregory L. Gerdeman, PhD – Cannabinoids and the Neurobiology of Reward, Habit Formation and Addiction

10:45 - Andrea Hohmann, PhD – Endocannabinoid System & Neuropathic Pain

11:10 - Heather Bradshaw, PhD – The Endogenous Cannabinoid System and Reproductive Pain

Research: Marijuana Eases Spasticity in MS Patients

Studies Show Marijuana Extracts May Have Therapeutic Value for Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

By Bill Hendrick, WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Research: Marijuana Eases Spasticity in MS Patients Dec. 4, 2009 -- Marijuana extracts may reduce spasticity symptoms in people with multiple sclerosis, a new study shows.

The review, by Shaheen Lakhan, PhD, and Marie Rowland, PhD, of the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation in Los Angeles, found that five of six published studies they analyzed reported a reduction in spasticity and an improvement in mobility in MS patients treated with marijuana extracts.

Lakhan tells WebMD in an email that the extracts were administered orally. The reviewed studies included the use of cannabis extracts delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and cannabidiol, or CBD, in people with MS.

"We found evidence that combined THC and CBD extracts may provide therapeutic benefit for MS spasticity symptoms," Lakhan says in a news release.

Involuntary muscle spasms (spasticity) are common symptoms of MS. The researchers say that many existing therapies for this condition are difficult to obtain, ineffective, or associated with intolerable side effects.

Side effects varied greatly and depended on the amount needed to limit spasticity, the researchers write. However, side effects also were seen in people in placebo groups.

UK: House Of Hemp And Straw Passes Fire Test

A house built from straw-bales and panels of hemp has passed an industry standard fire safety test which exposed it to temperatures above 1,000C.

By BBC News Writer

UK: House Of Straw And Hemp Passes Fire Test BaleHaus@Bath is part of a new research project at the University of Bath into how renewable building materials can be used for homes of the future.

The house is made from prefabricated cells of timber filled with straw or hemp, rendered with a lime-based coat.

TV presenter Kevin McCloud will officially open the straw house later.

During the fire resistance test for non-loadbearing elements, the panel had to withstand heat for more than 30 minutes.

Eco-friendly

After more than two hours it had still not failed.

A panel had previously been put through structural tests for loadbearing elements and had passed.

Researchers Dr Katharine Beadle and Christopher Gross, from the University's Building Research Establishment Centre in Innovative Construction Materials, will be monitoring the house for a year.

Canada: Vegreville Centre Sheds Light on the Industrial Applications of Hemp

By Krista Allan, News Writer

Canada: Vegreville Centre Sheds Light on the Industrial Applications of Hemp Alberta is going green, but not in the way some might think. Just outside the town of Vegreville, the Alberta Research Council is working to add hemp farming to Alberta’s list of lucrative industries.

The Vegreville nursery is home to the largest research and production facility of hemp in North America. Industrial hemp grown in Alberta can be used in a number of products ranging anywhere from textiles to fibreglass. Products made from hemp have less environmental impact than those made from glass or plastics, and in many cases are more energy efficient.

Jan Slaski, breeder and plant physiologist at the Vegreville facility, explained why this is the case.

“Bio composites produced from hemp are more environmentally friendly. Replacing glass fibre with bio-fibre produces a much lighter product. A lighter product means that your car, boat, or airplane is lighter and uses less fuel. High-end European car manufacturers, particularly German manufacturers, use bio-composites in their panels,” he said.

Historically, hemp has been grown in Canada for hundreds of years, but was banned in 1938 due to the associations hemp has with marijuana. This ban was later lifted in 1998. Industrial hemp, unlike marijuana, does not contain high levels of THC, the compound in marijuana that causes intoxication.

According to Slaski, Canada has very strict guidelines for hemp farmers.

California: Mother Gives Son Marijuana to Treat His Autism

More Research Is Needed, But Difficult to Fund Due to Stigma, Experts Say

By Joseph Brownstein, GMA

California: Mother Gives Son Marijuana to Treat His Autism Given the many challenges involved in raising an autistic child, parents are willing to try a variety of potential remedies, many of which are controversial and unproven.

But one potential treatment that has gained attention recently is one that was controversial well before its first mention in connection with autism.

"At first I did some research, and I found a doctor who actually had a protocol for medical marijuana in children diagnosed with autism," Mieko Hester-Perez of Fountain Valley, Calif., told "Good Morning America."

Hester-Perez made her decision to try giving her 10-year-old son, Joey Perez, medical marijuana after his weight had become dangerously low due to his unwillingness to eat. She said that at the time she began the approach, he weighed only 46 pounds.

"You could see the bones in his chest. He was going to die," she said.

United States: AMA Calls for Feds to Review Marijuana Restrictions

By Stephanie Condon, CBS News

There is a truth that must be heard! The American Medical Association on Tuesday adopted a resolution calling for the government to review its classification of marijuana, in order to ease the way for more research into the use of medical marijuana.

While the AMA, the largest physician's organization in the U.S., explicitly states it does not endorse any current state-based medical marijuana programs or the legalization of marijuana, the move is a significant shift that continues a trend toward support for easing restrictions against the drug.

"Our American Medical Association (AMA) urges that marijuana's status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines," the AMA's statement (PDF) reads. "This should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug product."

United States: American Medical Association Rethinking Prohibition

By Daniel Tencer

There is a truth that must be heard! The American Medical Association on Tuesday issued a cautious but historically significant call to change America's marijuana prohibition laws, urging a "review" of the drug's status as a Schedule I drug.

At a meeting in Houston, the AMA's House of Delegates adopted a new policy that calls for "marijuana's status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods."

That does not mean the AMA supports the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana.

Schedule I drugs are those considered to have no medical benefit and to be harmful when used under any circumstances. As such, marijuana is currently grouped by the federal government with drugs like heroin and LSD. By comparison, cocaine and methamphetamines are classified as Schedule II drugs, which may have some clinical benefits when used in the proper circumstances. The AMA's stance could simply result in the rescheduling of marijuana as a controlled substance that has some medical benefit.

However, Aaron Houston, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project, calls the move "historic" all the same, noting that it comes from "what has historically been America's most cautious and conservative major medical organization."
Story continues below...

Canada: Unconventional Crop – Hemp – Could Sprout New Industry

There is a truth that must be heard! EDMONTON, AB — As combines mowed farmers’ fields across Canadian prairies this fall, there was a scene near Edmonton right out of a time warp: – a crew of workers actually using their hands to harvest plants.

The workers were taking down three-metre-tall hemp plants at a breeding nursery outside of Vegreville, AB. The plants, which dwarfed the workers, were being bundled, numbered, bagged and transported to researchers, who see a high-tech future for the ancient plant.

The Alberta Research Council (ARC) is working to help hemp find its way into everything from homes to cars to clothes. It’s part of a campaign to see our agriculture and forestry industries compete in the global push for sustainable products.

“ARC is evaluating hemp as a fibre crop for mature, large-scale industries looking for green products,” ARC crop and plant physiologist, Jan Slaski said. “Alberta’s soil and climate are perfectly suited for growing hemp crops.

“We analyze the seed and plant for biomass and fibre yield, as part of the breeding program for creating the perfect industrial hemp,” he added. ARC uses advanced breeding techniques to develop traits such as water- and nitrogen-use efficiency, with no useable trace of the psychoactive compound THC, which is found in marijuana. It is hoped the breeding program will ultimately lead to a stronger plant with a bigger yield.

Colorado: University of Colorado/Denver - Medical Marijuana Lecture

By Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director There is a truth that must be heard! The University of Colorado/Denver recently hosted physicians Kevin Boyle and Eric Eisenbud to present a lecture on medical cannabis’ historical, legal and policy considerations; Scientific research and new cannabinoid pharmaceuticals; Clinical applications. (Complete Lecture Video) Family Medicine Grand Rounds http://connect.ucdenver.edu/p89594111/
Source: http://blog.norml.org/2009/10/18/medical-marijuana-sunday-school/

Global: The Botany of Desire: Cannabis - Intoxication

"In every culture and in every age of history, an enormous amount of human energy has gone into the production, distribution and consumption of psychoactive plants." – Dr. Andrew Weil in The Botany of Desire

There is a truth that must be heard! Plants have always excelled at the science of biochemistry, drawing sustenance by converting the sun's energy into organic compounds, discovering ways of poisoning or sickening their predators, evolving sights, tastes and smells that enlist animals in their reproduction. But a few plants have hit upon an especially ingenious approach to ensuring their survival, producing chemicals that have the power to alter how humans experience the world.

Cannabis—more commonly known as marijuana—seems to have long ago adopted a strategy of tying its fortunes to humans, appealing in particular to our innate desire to alter consciousness, a desire that spans nearly every culture and historical period. In exchange, humans have gone to extraordinary lengths, often at their own peril, to help the plant grow and reproduce.
Just what is the knowledge held out by a plant such as cannabis--and why is it forbidden?

Though marijuana has been in use in one form or another for as long as history has been recorded, the plant has undergone its greatest transformation only in the last few decades. Ironically, that change occurred just at the moment when the future of the plant seemed most in doubt.

California: Marijuana Proven Effective In Treating Different Types Of Cancers

By Dave Stancliff, Times-Standard

There is a truth that must be heard! Marijuana opponents in the federal government are up against the wall and the wall is crumbling. The feds have fought marijuana use for decades, disregarding its medicinal applications, in a senseless war against the herb.

The demonized killer weed is turning out to be anything but that. As myths about this ancient herb are dispelled, scientists are using it to treat everything from chemotherapy-induced nausea to different cancers.

In August, The British Journal of Cancer published the results of a study that found THC (the main active component in marijuana) is effective in fighting prostate cancer. Reportedly, pot attacks prostate cancer cell types that do not respond to the usual hormone treatments.

A recent study by a team of Spanish researchers discovered THC kills various brain cancer cells by a process known as autophagy. Michigan's new law regarding marijuana use went into effect in April. Patients, with doctor's prescriptions, get a state-issued ID Card (a lot like California's) which allows them to grow and use marijuana to treat pain and other symptoms of cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Research: CBD and Cancer - Cannabidiol Treatment For Cancer

Part 2 in Storm Crow's look at the little known but highly effective medical ingredients in cannabis.

By Storm Crow, Salem-News.com

There is a truth that must be heard! (NORTHERN Calif.) - There is a lot more to cannabis than just THC. Although the press and science have focused on THC because of its effects on the brain, the other cannabinoids are potent medicines in their own right. Studies reveal that CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, may affect cancer cells of many types. Breast cancer, leukemia and glioma (a rather nasty brain cancer) are all slowed, or even killed by CBD.

I usually put in something amusing into my articles, but I find nothing amusing about cancer. Both of my grandmothers died of it. So please forgive me if I do not amuse you this time, but "cut straight to the chase".

In 2006, a study called "Anti-tumor activity of plant cannabinoids with emphasis on the effect of cannabidiol on human breast carcinoma," (see: Breast cancer: Antitumor Activity of Plant Cannabinoids with Emphasis on the Effect of Cannabidiol on Human Breast Carcinoma) compared the effect of five different compounds found in cannabis on an aggressive breast cancer. CBD was the clear winner.

Research: William B. O'Shaughnessy - History Of Medical Marijuana Research Evidence Case Studies

By Dev Meyers, Pittsburgh Neighborhood History Examiner

There is a truth that must be heard!Medical Marijuana has proven scientific factual records dating back to 2337 B.C. when Chinese Emperor Shen Neng included marijuana in his Pharmacopoeia.

If you would like more information on this history, California Cannabis Research Medical Group has an interesting website.

The William B. O'Shaughnessy Archive establishes the credentials of a brilliant surgeon, physician, professor of chemistry and scientist who was also an expert in the fields of botanical pharmocology, chemistry, telegraphy, galvanic electricity, and underwater conduction.

He was also an excellent writer. Not the dry, hard to read, scientific papers of today, O'Shaughnessy's writing is enjoyable to read.

On the preparations of the Indian hemp, or gunjah gives the reader an historic perspective. The evidence is well-presented and compelling. The following is but one case example. Inquiring minds may want to dig right in and read the whole paper. It's fascinating.

I now proceed to notice a class of most important uses, in use in which the results obtained are of the character which warrants me in regarding the powers of the remedy as satisfactorily and incontrovertibly established. I allude to its use in the treatment of traumatic tetanus, or lock-jaw, next to hydrophobia, perhaps the most intractable and agonizing of the whole catalogue of human maladies.

United States: 'Becoming Granny Storm Crow'

Scientific studies report facts. Forget the all the urban myths and rumors, and make up your own mind using facts. Cannabis is medicine! Educate yourself!

By 'Granny' Storm Crow, Salem-News.com

There is a truth that must be heard! (NORTHERN CALIFORNIA) - I am a well-respected teacher's aide in my 60s. I start my day with 8th grade math. I quilt, paint, sculpt and am an avid genealogist. I enjoy posting on several websites. My husband is disabled and on SSI. We live in a tiny rural town in California with our two adult sons. Our lives are filled with computers and books. We are all compulsive educators- a family of quiet, intellectual geeks.

I lead a double life.

I am a secret, international, medical cannabis activist.

Even though I am "California legal", I hide in the shadowy world of the internet. As the mysterious "Granny Storm Crow", I influence cannabis-using people worldwide. Mostly what I do is I tell people about medical studies, but even so, I must hide my "secret identity".

Why all the smoke and mirrors? Simple- It would cost me my job if it were known that "Ms. Crow" even uses cannabis. As "Granny", I'd be lucky to just get ridden out of town on a rail! The educational field has little tolerance for "illegal" drug use, even when it's "legal". So why am I risking my job to use cannabis? And not only use it, but become an advocate for its medical use?

California: Scientists Hunt For Green Building Materials

By Michael Torrice, Mercury News

There is a truth that must be heard! The plank looks like a polished piece of plywood, and someday people may build coffee tables with it. But this wood was not grown in a forest — it was born from the greenhouse gasses seeping from landfills.

The Stanford University researchers who produced this wood alternative are part of a movement to support greener buildings by developing construction materials that are created and disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.

Green buildings are not only about replacing standard light bulbs with fluorescent bulbs or toilets with low-flush alternatives. Because manufacturing traditional building materials requires large amounts of energy and emits greenhouse gases, finding green alternatives will improve a building's overall environmental footprint.

However, inventors still must convince the construction industry that these products can replace centuries-old building materials.

"When it comes to construction and the environment, structural engineers make a mess and environmental engineers clean it up," said Sarah Billington, the Stanford researcher who leads the wood project. "We wanted to fix the mess from the start."

Building materials are responsible for about 20 percent of the greenhouse gasses emitted by a building during its lifetime, said Brent Constantz, founder of Calera, a company that is producing green cement.

North Dakota: NDSU Gets Half of Needed Funds for Hemp Research Security Facility

By Sue Roesler, Farm & Ranch Guide

There is a truth that must be heard! North Dakota State University needs to find another sponsor before it can build a security facility to proceed with its hemp seed research.

Half of the funding requested for the security system was approved May 14 at the North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) quarterly meeting in Bismarck, N.D.

NDSU asked for $80,000 and received $40,000 from the commission.

Earlier, D.C. Coston, vice-president for Agriculture and University Extension at NDSU, estimated the cost of the facility at around $80,000 to $90,000 to meet the Drug Enforcement Administration requirements.

John Schneider, executive director of APUC, said the commission felt the other half should be raised as a matching grant.

This is the third time NDSU has requested funds to build a security facility to begin hemp research. It was fully approved in 2003, but NDSU continued to request extensions because it had not received a memorandum of understanding from DEA, Schneider said.

“We don't want funds out there not being used when other projects could be using them,” he said. Finally, the funds were returned.

NDSU again requested funds last year but didn't have the memorandum in place so it was turned down by the commission, Schneider said.

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