Brain damage is a major issue that marijuana prohibitionists point out as a primary reason to ban cannabis. Throughout the "Drug War" declared by then President Nixon in 1971, which has been continued through subsequent presidential administrations, there have been a few outrageous attempts at proving brain damage from cannabis. However, anecdotal and clinical application reports of recoveries from brain damage or neurological diseases have contradicted what most formally funded academic studies report regarding effects on the brain. Studies not funded by American government agencies, however, are reporting that the brain damage fears are at least exaggerated, if not completely unfounded.
Despite newly appointed Attorney General Jeff Session’s unfounded proclamations that marijuana destroys families and lives, the steady march of medical marijuana successes and greater access to patients continues internationally. North and south of the U.S. borders, making medical marijuana available to patients who need it is making strong advances. Since its start in 2000, Canada’s nationwide medical marijuana system has evolved into a more accessible program for patients today, and 2018 is arriving with even more improvements. April 2017 is when Mexico’s Congress overwhelming passed a bill approved by its Senate last year to allow cannabis as medicine, allowing national research to proceed as well as decriminalizing its use among citizens. Mexico’s president Enrique Pena Nieto has fully supported this action, suggesting even more access to medical marijuana. Despite this and international research proving the merits of medical cannabis, our United States national government agencies continue promoting false "Reefer Madness" fears.
Among medical marijuana proponents there has been a lot of discussion about the various ways of combining coconut oil and cannabis as an ideal carrier for combining cannabis' external cannabinoids with the body’s internal cannabinoid system for healing. At first this combination was used to facilitate suppositories that when inserted rectally would somehow allow those who are THC intolerant to absorb full spectrum plant cannabis' benefits to be absorbed without the high. Then the coconut oil with cannabis was contained in capsules to create standardized cannabis edibles for medical consumption. This is what 77 year old Stan Rutner used to cure his terminal lung and brain cancer during hospice under his daughter Corrine’s and son-in-law John Malanca’s custody in California.
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?
Profitable Opioid Painkillers and Synthetic Pot Patents: Big Pharma’s Motivation to Keep Marijuana Illegal
Last year’s November elections included several state ballots to either introduce medical marijuana or expand beyond permissible medical applications and allow “recreational” use for adults. Former marijuana resistant states Florida, North Dakota, Arkansas, and Montana passed medical cannabis measures by popular vote. States that had medical marijuana allowances already in place, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Maine approved adult recreational marijuana. But the biggest surprise for many was Arizona voters' rejection of an adult recreational use measure, Proposition 205. Arizona was the only state that refused to advance from its current cannabis status at the polls. Arizonians for Responsible Drug Policy (ARDP) was the major front group for hire that publicly opposed Arizona's Proposition 205. And its main donor of a half million dollars was a pharmaceutical company based out of Arizona known as Insys Therapeutics. Was Insys Therapeutics' motivation to oppose legal marijuana its lucrative opioid painkiller market, or its recent approval for a patent to make a synthetic form of marijuana?
Two bills have been introduced to protect consumer access to cannabidiol (CBD). We have a growing opioid painkiller epidemic in this country—one that has followed the scandal of so many heart-health-destroying or cancer-causing pain relievers being approved by the FDA. There is a natural alternative, and of course the government is intent on banning it for no reason at all—other than to clear the way for a blockbuster new drug. Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) has introduced two bills, the Legitimate Use of Medical Marijuana Act (HR 714) and the Compassionate Access Act (HR 715), both aimed at removing federal obstacles that prevent patient access to CBD, a medicinal extract of the marijuana plant. These bills follow a recent move by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) that classified marijuana and all its extracts as Schedule I controlled substances—a category that includes heroin, LSD, mescaline, and MDMA. Note that none of the CBD extracts contains significant amounts of the psychoactive chemical in marijuana—only the non-psychoactive painkilling chemicals. Although “CBD” or “cannibinoids” are not mentioned in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)—the legislation that the DEA must follow in creating rules related to controlled substances—the agency nonetheless lumps CBD and all other constituents of the plant into the definition of “marijuana.”
Tuesday, December 13th, was a day of victory for the Schwab family, and their advocate Jennifer Winn is calling it "a miracle." When Raymond and Amelia Schwab walked into the Riley County Courthouse in Kansas Tuesday morning, it looked like they were going to lose their children. Child Protective Services' social workers had made it clear that they were pushing for termination of parental rights during the 3 day permanency hearing. Instead, the judge ruled that there will be no termination, but instead, they are to be reunified with their children. Raymond Schwab told Health Impact News: "They really were attempting to terminate, and they failed." It has been 18 long months since 5 of their 6 children were first seized by Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) over false allegations. (Their oldest was already of age.) Raymond, a Navy Gulf War veteran, went on a hunger strike last spring in the hopes of getting his children home. Like many military veterans, Raymond suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and when pharmaceutical products were used to treat his symptoms, he developed a heroin addiction. He was prescribed medical marijuana to break his heroin addiction, and the family was living in Colorado homeschooling their children where medical marijuana is legal. The family was happy, and Raymond had successfully returned to the work force. But while visiting Kansas where marijuana is not legal, false allegations led to CPS taking custody of their children. The Schwab family case gained national media attention over the civil rights of military veterans and medical marijuana users.
The heroin and opioid painkiller overuse, addiction, and resulting death toll that averages out to 78 deaths per day has become an epidemic that continues to grow, except in states that have liberal medical marijuana laws. The CDC concedes that at least half of those statistics are fueled by opioid painkiller prescriptions of Oxycodone, as used in OxyContin®, Hydrocodone, with Vicodin® for example, and Methadone, ironically often prescribed under several brand names to assist those withdrawing from heroine. Those addicted to opioids are now taking advantage of medical marijuana legalization and using cannabis for pain instead of opioids.
Obama Adminstration’s DEA Ignores Marijuana Therapeutic Research – Keeps Status Illegal to Protect Big Pharma
The recent 2016 DEA decision to keep cannabis as a controlled substance Schedule I drug came amidst high hopes that it would be placed as Schedule II or below. Schedule I means the substance is dangerous, addictive, and has no medical merit. Marijuana or cannabis is therefore still ranked with heroin, and LSD. Heroin is an addictive and dangerous opiate that in other opioid forms such as morphine is used to suppress pain with legal prescriptions. Yet on the federal level, doctors cannot prescribe marijuana, in spite of so much evidence of its therapeutic value. At the same time, however, in what appears as an obvious hypocritical move that benefits only Big Pharma, the DEA, while not removing the criminal legal status on marijuana, did relax the laws regarding medical research on marijuana which will soon benefit drug companies looking to patent drugs that mimic what the plant already does.
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.