There is a new shift being observed with the federal government looking to increase cannabis cultivation for research purposes accompanied by an intention to curb opioid production, according to an article from Marijuana Moment published recently by Forbes magazine. During the latter part of the Obama administration, there was some movement toward expanding sanctioned cannabis cultivation for research, which the DEA under Jeff Sessions Justice Department resisted until recently. Along with this potential increase of cannabis resources for research, the DEA has announced an intention to restrict opioid production and monitor opioid distribution more closely than it has been. Opioids include oxycontin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and morphine. All of these opioids are addictive, dangerous, and potentially lethal. Ironically, marijuana has recently been used to effectively help opioid prescription drug addicts painlessly walk away from them permanently within weeks.
The biggest surprise in 2018 for news on the cannabis plant, is that seemingly out of nowhere, there is now a push for legalizing industrial hemp nationally. It has actually been passed in the Senate, but not as a stand-alone bill. Industrial hemp is known for its dense, strong fiber content that has many applications, such as making paper, cloth, rope, biodegradable plastics, and even strong, non-toxic building materials with their own innate insulation. The ramifications of its use for types of materials mentioned are more ecologically-sound. It’s also an agricultural asset. It’s a hardy cash crop that can be planted and harvested twice in moderate climates. It can be used by organic and conventional farmers as a rotating crop that helps enrich the soil as it requires no synthetic fertilizers. This is great news for farmers and advocates of using hemp for environmentally-sound consumer and building products, as well as CBD. It will create hemp independence from foreign hemp sources, which includes Canada and other nations. Currently, it is legal to import industrial hemp products, but illegal to grow it.
There are and have been a few major pro-marijuana bills introduced on the Congressional floor of Capitol Hill over the past several months. Some have been stalled, but an important one remains viable with bi-partisan support, and President Trump has mentioned that he'd probably sign it. This bill would eliminate the constant haggling of including the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, which comes under threat each year from being included in the annual spending federal spending bill. This amendment prohibits the Justice Department from using federal funds for intervening in state-approved medical cannabis activities under cover of federal laws superseding state laws. Earlier in 2017, Department of Justice (DOJ) head U.S. Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions pressured Congressional leaders to not include the amendment. This would allow the DOJ to unleash an uninhibited DEA open season for cracking down on all cannabis use regardless of state laws and its medical applications. The Roherbacher-Blunenauer protective amendment finally went through recently this year despite being blocked from being voted for on the House Floor even with bipartisan support in the House and Senate. Unfortunately, bills can be killed in legislative committees without going to a vote. However, this new bill would finally grant total states' rights to cannabis by federal law without having to be haggled over every year when the national budget bill comes up for discussion.
Study: Cannabis More Effective Than Pharmaceutical Drugs for Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases Like Alzheimer’s
The prevailing safety concerns about marijuana from mainstream medicine, mainstream media, and government officials are focused on the brain. Somehow getting “high on pot” is associated with brain damage. And brain damage is the battle cry of marijuana prohibitionists. An earlier Health Impact News article presented the truth about this myth and how it started. It also provides information that points out the fact that cannabis is a brain health herb. In fact, full spectrum cannabis with THC included has been reported empirically by individuals and scientific studies to do the opposite of damaging the brain: It apparently heals brain damage. A June 2016 in-vitro study titled, Amyloid proteotoxicity initiates an inflammatory response blocked by cannabinoids, published in Nature Partner Journal – Aging and Mechanics of Disease, used a cultured brain tissue to better study the biochemical and cellular mechanics involved. The study was conducted at the Salk Institute of La Jolla, California, and coordinated with the University of California in San Diego. The study was funded by The Burns Foundation, The Bundy Foundation, and, surprisingly, the National Institutes of Health (NIH). From the study: "Nerve cell death from the accumulation of aggregated or amyloid-like proteins is a common theme in most age-dependent neurodegenerative diseases. However, there are no drugs that significantly inhibit cell death associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s or Huntington’s diseases. Although other studies have offered evidence that cannabinoids might be neuroprotective against the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, we believe our study is the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells."
In late December 2017, the WHO (World Health Organization) issued a statement from its Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD): "Recent evidence from animal and human studies shows that its use could have some therapeutic benefit for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions. Current evidence also shows that cannabidiol is not likely to be abused or create dependence, such as for other cannabinoids (such as Tetra Hydro Cannabinol (THC), for instance)." Now that the WHO's own Expert Committee on Drug Dependence is heading for a final meeting in June to finalize its decision on CBD and review other whole-plant cannabis products for medical purposes, the FDA has been put into a position where it's forced to conduct a public survey for input on marijuana's medical efficacy and safety.
Due largely to increased vaccination demands and other toxic food and environment factors, the horror of life-long autism ruining families is constantly increasing. With mainstream medicine’s failure to even moderately improve those children’s quality of life, desperate parents of autistic children are finding that medical marijuana can sometimes offer amazing results, and mainstream media is starting to take note. On the last week of February 2018, Newsweek ran an article titled, “Is Marijuana the World’s Most Effective Treatment for Autism?” The question alone was controversial.
Mainstream Medicine Admits Medical Cannabis is Effective in Treating Leukemia – But Only Synthetic Patented Version
There has been a bit of a stir recently over mainstream medical analysis that supports cannabis for treating leukemia. Unfortunately, most of it involves cannabis as an adjunct or supporting treatment for chemotherapy, while the rest supports synthetic THC for leukemia. An example of this is a 2016 study referenced in a June 2017 issue of Herb in the article “Is Cannabis Effective Against Leukemia,” which surprisingly cautiously skirted the issue of curing leukemia with cannabis. The study referenced, "Dronabinol has preferential anti-leukemic activity in acute lymphoblastic and myeloid leukemia with lymphoid differentiation patterns," which basically examined the efficacy of a pharmaceutical drug called dronabinol, the active synthetic THC compound of Marinol . The study was very favorable, concluding: "Our study provides rigorous data to support clinical evaluation of THC as a low-toxic therapy option in a well defined subset of acute leukemia patients." So this synthetic THC drug dronabinol is okay with the FDA, and the DEA has it listed as a Schedule III controlled substance. Yet the whole plant cannabis commonly known as marijuana with its balanced assortment of 80 or so cannabinoids and terpenes and flavonoids that contribute to a safe synergistic entourage effect of healing is still listed as Schedule I, dangerous, addictive, and without medical merit.
As soon as President Trump announced his Attorney General (AG) appointee as Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama, there was tension among medical cannabis advocates. Would Trump honor his campaign comments about state’s rights regarding medical marijuana, or would his new Attorney General be unleashed to increase the war on drugs using cannabis as his first target? Unfortunately, Trump’s Attorney General appointee Jeff Sessions has been quoted as saying heroin is only slightly worse than marijuana and "good people don’t smoke marijuana." And as the United States Attorney General, he is head of the Department of Justice (DOJ), which houses the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). News reports this week revealed a letter Sessions sent to Congress last month seeking funding to go after medical cannabis operations in states where medical marijuana is legal. “I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” Sessions wrote in a letter to Republican and Democratic House and Senate leadership. “The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.” Sessions reasons for going after medical cannabis were quickly exposed as false by many in the media. Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham wrote: Sessions’s citing of a “historic drug epidemic” to justify a crackdown on medical marijuana is at odds with what researchers know about current drug use and abuse in the United States. The epidemic Sessions refers to involves deadly opiate drugs, not marijuana. A growing body of research (acknowledged by the National Institute on Drug Abuse) has shown that opiate deaths and overdoses actually decrease in states with medical marijuana laws on the books. With the well-known national epidemic of opioid prescription drug abuse spiraling out of control, and medical marijuana's documented evidence of reducing opioid addiction, one has to wonder if the pharmaceutical drug manufacturers are behind this new emphasis to go after medical marijuana? Is medical marijuana a threat to their legal opioid drug sales?
Opioid painkiller addiction is the fastest growing drug addiction in the United States today, and it was recently featured on the popular Dr. Oz TV show. Dr. Oz pointed out the astonishing statistics that 48 million Americans, one out of every 5, have reported that they have abused prescription drugs. 12 states have more opioid pain pill prescriptions than people. In states where marijuana is legal, however, opioid prescriptions are declining. Dr. Oz looks at the question: Is marijuana the new gateway drug OUT of opioid addiction?
How counter-intuitive can one get? Everybody knows marijuana users get the “munchies,” which are usually satisfied with high calorie low nutrient foods. It's also somewhat accepted by mainstream oncology that cannabis curbs chemo patients' nausea and boosts their appetites. Yet studies demonstrate that even recreational pot users have a considerably lower incidence of obesity and metabolic syndrome, which often leads to diabetes 2. These published peer reviewed studies are a small sampling of international studies from Israel, Spain, Italy, and the USA among others that have looked into various applications of cannabis for treatments for other diseases with positive results. Yet, the DEA Controlled Substance Schedule 1 rating for cannabis of dangerous, addictive, and without medical merit stands as of this writing. Apparently, the Justice Department that governs the DEA is trying to protect the pharmaceutical industry, not ordinary citizens.