Category Archives: Medical Cannabis

Department of Defense Sidestepping FDA on MMJ for Soldiers on the Ground

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Congress has presented President Donald Trump with a bill that could provide an avenue for DoD to give active service members access to medical cannabis

A new defense bill could open the door for active duty soldiers to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. The National Defense Authorization Act (HR-2810) gives the Department of Defense, rather than the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the authority to approve drugs and medical devices.

The bill is designed “to reduce the number of deaths or the severity of harm to members of the armed forces… caused by a risk or agent of war.” It doesn’t specifically list medical marijuana, yet it could be used to allow military members serving outside the United States the freedom to use non-FDA-approved substances including cannabis. In other words, it would give the Pentagon the authority to distribute medical marijuana.

After being approved the U.S. House of Representatives on November 14, and then agreed to by the Senate on November 16, the measure was sent to President Donald Trump, who hasn’t given any indication as to whether he plans to sign the bill.

As of now, the FDA has the sole power to authorize medical drugs and devices. Federally, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance and therefore illegal, prohibiting Veterans Affairs (VA) from discussing and recommending medical cannabis.

Section 732 of HR-2810 would allow the Department of Defense to sidestep the FDA and marijuana’s Schedule I status to sign off on cannabis as a medical treatment to those serving the country overseas.

Lawmakers supporting the bill, including House armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), said the bill is long overdue and necessary, claiming the FDA isn’t acting swiftly enough to provide troops with the medical support they need.

“The chairman has perfect moral clarity on this provision, and there is no doubt in his mind that it is the right thing to do for the troops,” said House Armed Services spokesman Claude Chafin.

“This bill is the result of a lengthy, bipartisan process to ensure that United States military’s needs are properly met,” said Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee.

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Ready to Join Organized Marijuana Medicine?

Robert Lowes

November 20, 2017

There’s a professional society for seemingly every kind of medical specialist, even cannabis clinicians.

Or medical marijuana physicians. Or pot doctors, in street parlance.

And just as there’s a choice of what to call physicians who use the plant to treat everything from pain to multiple sclerosis, there’s a choice of three different medical associations to represent them. Their emergence over the past 15 years coincides with the legalization of medical marijuana in 29 states and Washington, DC, and recreational marijuana in eight states and DC.

The three associations amount to friendly rivals that strive for professional respectability, which hasn’t always attended their field. David Bearman, MD, a board member of the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine (AACM), castigates medical marijuana dispensaries that have hired bikini-clad young women to lure passersby inside for a quick visit with an on-site clinician.

“We wanted to marginalize those people,” Dr Bearman told Medscape Medical News about the formation of his group.

The AACM, the Society of Cannabis Clinicians (SCC), and the American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association (AMMPA) all want to educate the public and the medical profession alike about marijuana and its therapeutic chemicals and see more research in this field. Despite strong headwinds from the federal government, one being an unsympathetic attorney general, they have high hopes for their work, which they say could become a bonafide medical specialty.

They have their own electronic medical marijuana record, for crying out loud.

Branching Out From California Roots

The SCC is the oldest of the three marijuana physician societies, formed in 2004 by the California Research Medical Group. That organization, in turn, was created by the late Tod Mikuriya, MD, who helped write the seminal 1996 ballot resolution in California that legalized medical marijuana and caught fire in other states.

Of the group’s roughly 350 members, about half are physicians in specialties as diverse as geriatrics, pediatrics, emergency medicine, and psychiatry, SCC President Jeffrey Hergenrather, MD, told Medscape Medical News. Membership, which costs $150 a year, is open to any clinician, be it naturopath or nurse practitioner, who is authorized by his or her state to “recommend” medical marijuana (prescribing is reserved for legal drugs).  Membership has spread from the West Coast across the country and abroad.

The group offers, among other things, courses on medical marijuana good for continuing medical education (CME) credits, online quarterly meetings, and a collection of case reports on the group’s website (“Neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer, was treated with cannabis after failure of conventional therapy. Cancer disappeared after 4 years of regular cannabis use.”).

Physicians like Dr Hergenrather would argue that human beings are made for medical marijuana, given the body’s recently discovered endocannabinoid system. Endocannabinoids are retrograde neurotransmitters that attach to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system and help regulate pain, appetite, memory, immune response, and other bodily functions. Marijuana plants contain more than 100 biological cousins called phytocannabinoids — chief among them tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) — that work like natural endocannabinoids to bring the body into balance, said Dr Hergenrather, a self-styled “cannabis consultant” in Sebastopol, California. Marijuana also contains molecules called terpenes that can reduce anxiety or control seizures, he said, but phytocannabinoids inspire the most medical interest.

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"It’s the height of hypocrisy,"…

FDA Is Open To Medical Marijuana For Vets, But Other Agencies Stand In The Way

Mona Zhang , Contributor

Dr. Sue Sisley, a medical marijuana researcher, speaks at the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at the Capitol in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned cannabidiol producers against making medical claims about cannabis products, it seemed par for the course for any federal agency. Cannabis is simply not considered medicine in the eyes of the government.

But the FDA actually appears pretty open to considering the potential of marijuana as medicine. “We’ve had good experiences working with the FDA,” said Brad Burge, communications director at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). The non-profit is currently conducting the first FDA- and DEA-approved clinical trial on whole-plant marijuana and enrolled its 30th participant on October 26.

“We have a long relationship with the FDA — a lot through our MDMA research. They’ve been open to approving research protocols into Schedule I drugs,” said Burge. “It’s other regulatory agencies that have been standing in the way.”

It’s certainly unhelpful that the National Institutes of Drug Abuse have a monopoly on growing research cannabis. The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Justice Department aren’t helpful on this front either. But the lack of support for the study from Veterans Affairs (VA) is even more egregious.

Dr. Sue Sisley, the trial’s lead researcher, says she’s determined to focus on veterans for this study. She plans to examine the effects of cannabis on 76 subjects with treatment-resistant PTSD. Her main motivation in focusing on veterans is the epidemic of veteran suicides in the U.S. The VA estimates that about 22 veterans commit suicide every day – Sisley thinks that number is probably higher.

“As a scientist, I’m skeptical of subjective claims,” said Sisley. “[But] we have a mountain of anecdotal reports from veterans claiming that cannabis is lifesaving.”

The implications go beyond saving their lives – Sisley has heard plenty of military spouses and children sing the praises of the drug. “The kids will say, ‘I got my dad back’ after years of [him] being disengaged, irritable and mean,” she said.

Now, her main challenge is recruiting enough veterans who fit the study criteria and are able to participate on-site in Phoenix, Arizona. Sisley estimates that the Phoenix VA hospital has 20,000 veterans in their system who meet the study’s eligibility requirements. But the hospital is refusing to provide information about the study to its patients.

“[In] some of the states that have put in appropriate controls [for medical marijuana], there may be some evidence that this is beginning to be helpful,” said VA Secretary David Shulkin at a White House press briefing in May. “We’re interested in looking at that and learning from that.”

But Sisley says that Shulkin has so far refused to express support for her study: “It’s the height of hypocrisy,” she said.

“The VA Secretary could make a call to the Phoenix VA, and we could start sharing information with these patients,” said Sisley. “Why does it take political courage to defend a federally legal study? Not even defend it, just fast-track it. We’ve been stonewalled at every turn.”

The researchers have paid for various types of advertising and hired a veteran to oversee recruitment efforts. Still, “the issue for us is [getting] cooperation from the Phoenix VA hospital,” said Sisley. Recruitment has dwindled to a “pretty slow trickle.”

If the study fails to recruit 46 more veterans in the next couple of months, “we’ll have to reevaluate,” she said. “We fought for so many years and the veteran community has stood shoulder to shoulder with us, helping us kick down the doors… Many of them have adopted this trial as their own.”

The American Legion, a veterans organization that has more than 2 million members, called on the VA to support the clinical trial in September. “We ask for your direct involvement to ensure this critical research is fully enabled,” wrote the organization’s National Commander Denis Rohan in a letter to Shulkin. “[The study] could potentially produce scientific evidence that will enhance, improve, and save the lives of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.”

But Shulkin has remained mum on the issue.

“I’m assuming that [Attorney General] Sessions has created an atmosphere of fear around the word ‘cannabis’ and so nobody’s willing to step out,” said Sisley. “The FDA deserves major commendation because they at least are responsive.”

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Insurer says it shouldn’t have to pay for medical marijuana

The Maine supreme court is wading into the issue of medical marijuana and workers’ compensation

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine supreme court on Wednesday began considering whether a paper millworker left suicidal by narcotic painkillers should receive workers’ compensation for medical marijuana.

It’s the first time the court has considered the question of insurance reimbursement for medical marijuana.

Madawaska resident Gaetan Bourgoin won a ruling from the state’s Workers’ Compensation Board two years ago saying the paper mill’s insurer must reimburse him for medical marijuana. He contends marijuana is cheaper and safer than narcotics.

But Twin Rivers Paper Co. and its insurer appealed the ruling, arguing that paying for pot use, even for medical purposes, could expose the companies to prosecution since marijuana still is illegal at the federal level.

With medical marijuana legal in Washington, D.C. and 29 states, insurers across the country have been confronted with the same dilemma. Uneven state laws on reimbursement further complicate the issue.

Five states — Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey and New Mexico — have found medical marijuana treatment is reimbursable under their workers compensation laws, according to the National Council for Compensation Insurance. Florida and North Dakota, meanwhile, passed laws this year excluding medical marijuana treatment from workers’ compensation reimbursement.

Members of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court posed hypotheticals to the attorneys arguing the case. One asked Bourgoin’s attorney what he’d do if a client needed cocaine for pain treatment, and another asked Twin Rivers’ attorney whether she believes the federal government will start prosecuting insurers for medical marijuana reimbursement.

Justice Donald Alexander repeatedly questioned whether marijuana use should remain illegal under federal law and contrasted the drug with opioid-based painkillers, which he said drug companies have lobbied Congress to protect.

“Opioids are killing people every day in Maine,” he said.

Bourgoin’s case dates to 1989, when he hurt his back as a 29-year-old at the paper mill now known as Twin Rivers.

His attorney, Norman Trask, said Bourgoin pays for medical marijuana out-of-pocket and receives reimbursement from Twin Rivers’ insurer. Bourgoin previously took opioid-based painkillers, which caused other problems.

“At one point he was on such high dosages that they were concerned about his oxygen levels at night,” Trask said. “He became suicidal.”

Twin Rivers attorney Anne-Marie Storey said paying for medical marijuana puts the company in violation of federal law. The company contends that Maine’s medical marijuana law does not explicitly require an insurer to cover the cost of medical marijuana.

“This is not a case about making judgment over whether someone should use or not use marijuana as a matter of personal choice,” she said. There’s a scarcity of research on medical marijuana, and “nobody knows” how safe it is, she said.

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DeKalb father sues AG Jeff Sessions over marijuana

Christopher Hopper, WXIA 11:45 PM. EDT July 27, 2017

A DeKalb County father is suing the federal government, namely Attorney General Jeff Sessions over marijuana.

Sebastien Cotte, Stone Mountain, is named in a federal lawsuit filed Monday, July 24 in a U.S. District Court in Manhattan challenging the Controlled Substances Act.

Cotte has a 6-year-old son Jagger who suffers from a terminal neurological disorder called Leigh’s Disease.

Cotte has been giving Jagger cannabis oil for nearly three years and believes it has extended his life.

“Usually 95 percent of them do not make it past 4-years-old,” said Sebastien Cotte, suing the federal government.

In September Jagger will turn seven.

Around the time most kids die from this chronic disease, Cotte moved his family to Colorado and Jagger started cannabis oil.

He no longer takes oxycontin or morphine.

“It’s been game changing for him it’s one of the main reasons he’s still alive today,” he said.

Cotte said marijuana’s medical benefits are keeping Jagger alive, and that’s why he’s a plaintiff in this lawsuit.

Browser does not support iframes.

It’s 90 pages long and is against Attorney General Jeff Session and the federal government for classifying marijuana in a category with heroin and LSD, highly addictive drugs with no accepted medical use.

Cocaine and methamphetamine are Schedule II drugs and are considered less addictive and dangerous compared to marijuana.

Cotte said that Schedule I status is what’s keeping Georgian’s who can legally use cannabis oil from being able to buy marijuana grown here.

“To be able to get it here in Georgia, get a safe legal tested product here in which we could get if cannabis wasn’t a Schedule I substance, that would be life changing for Jagger and thousands,” he said. “You know we have over 2,000 people on the registry right now.”

There are several plaintiffs in the lawsuit in addition to the Cotte’s including a former NFL player and a combat veteran with PTSD.

PDF DOCUMENT OF LAWSUIT HERE

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Senators introduce bill to end federal medical marijuana prohibition

Sessions asked Congress in May to allow the Justice Department to prosecute businesses and individuals in states with medical marijuana laws

Congress took a step toward easing its stance on medical marijuana on Thursday.

U.S. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Corey Booker (D-New Jersey) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) introduced a bill that would end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana and take steps to improve research.

The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States, or CARERS, Act would effectively change the Controlled Substances Act, allowing the possession, production and distribution of medical marijuana in states with established marijuana laws.

Twenty-nine states, as well as the District of Columbia, have already legalized marijuana, but the CARERS Act would prevent the federal government from prosecuting businesses and individuals in states where medical marijuana is legal, since federally marijuana is still illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.

“The reintroduction of the CARERS Act is the first of many steps we hope this Congress will take to end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana,” Don Murphy, director of conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. “Polls show overwhelmingly strong support for medical marijuana, and it spans the political spectrum.

“The federal government should not be meddling in state laws that allow it or obstructing research into its many medical benefits.”

The introduction of the bill comes days after news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote a letter to leaders of Congress asking that they undo protections for the industry under the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment. That amendment, which is tied to the federal appropriations bill, prevents the Justice Department from using federal funds to enforce federal prohibition in states with legal marijuana laws.

Don’t miss: The marijuana industry could be worth $50 billion annually by 2026

The act, which was first introduced in 2015, would also allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in states where its legal and it would give researchers more access to cannabis to conduct studies, which has been an issue in the industry.

Marijuana is made up of a multitude of cannabinoids — the two most prominent being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). While THC is the main psychoactive component, researchers believe CBD has potential medical uses. The CARERS Act would remove CBD from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of Schedule I drugs, according to Leafly, which would allow states to import it.

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Review Identifies 140 Controlled Clinical Trials Related to Cannabis

Thursday, 08 June 2017

Cannabis Controlled Clinical Trials

Hurth, Germany: Scientists have conducted over 140 controlled clinical trials since 1975 assessing the safety and efficacy of either whole-plant cannabis or specific cannabinoids, according to a literature review published in the journal Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences.

A pair of German researchers identified 140 clinical trials involving an estimated 8,000 participants. Of these, the largest body of literature focuses on the use of cannabis or cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic or neuropathic pain. Authors identified 35 controlled studies, involving 2,046 subjects, assessing the use of marijuana or cannabinoids in pain management. In January, the National Academy of Sciences acknowledged that “conclusive or substantial evidence” exists for cannabis’ efficacy in patients suffering from chronic pain.

Cannabinoids have also been well studied as anti-emetic agents and as appetite stimulants. Researchers identified 43 trials evaluating marijuana or its components for these purposes, involving a total of 2,498 patients. They identified an additional 14 trials examining the role of cannabis or cannabis-derived extracts for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Researchers also identified several additional trials evaluating the use of cannabis or cannabinoids for a number of other diseases, including Crohn’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, glaucoma, and epilepsy.

A 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that pharmaceutical drugs typically gain FDA approval on the basis of one or two pivotal clinical trials.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Medicinal uses of marijuana and cannabinoids,” appears in Critical Reviews of Plant Sciences.

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TRUMP’S DHS CHIEF JUST FLIPPED! WHAT HE SAID ABOUT THE WAR ON DRUGS IS GAME-CHANGING!

 

Untitled

The Next News Network

Published on Apr 18, 2017

MORE INFO: http://CannaSense.com | Email Jordan jpage@cannasense.com | Sub for more: http://nnn.is/the_new_media | Eliot Nelson for the Huffington Post reports, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said that marijuana “is not a factor in the drug war,” placing him at odds with a number of other Trump administration officials.
Take action MORE INFO: http://CannaSense.com
Email Jordan jpage@cannasense.com
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Good morning! My name is Virgil Anderson, and I’m a mesothelioma cancer patient at The National Cancer Institute.

 

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March 15, 2017

Good morning!

My name is Virgil Anderson, and I’m a mesothelioma cancer patient at The National Cancer Institute.

I was reading through kyusmjparty.weebly.com, and I was hoping you had a minute to check mesothelioma.net. Mesothelioma dot net is the world’s most comprehensive informational site on mesothelioma treatment.

Because of this cancer’s very poor prognosis, our site cover a wide range of therapeutic treatment options, including medicinal marijuana and CBD oils. You can read more at mesothelioma.net/medical-marijuana-mesothelioma/.
In fact, we have over 1000 pages on health therapies alone, ranging from nutritional to naturopathic therapy.

Ultimately, I was hoping you could take a minute to review some of that information and consider consider linking back to our site. If you need additional literature, or would like to hear about other treatment options, please let me know. I’d be delighted to chat.
I applaud your work at kyusmjparty.weebly.com, and I appreciate your time in advance. Anything you can do to help would go a long way.
Hope you’re off to a good start in 2017, and God Bless.
Virgil
Virgil Anderson
Cancer Patient @NCI
Mesothelioma.net

Health care refugees: Medical marijuana and new hope

By Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent
Video produced by John Bonifield, CNN

Updated 12:16 PM ET, Mon November 28, 2016

Paramedics transport Abby Muszynski to the air ambulance that will fly her from Florida to Colorado.

 

This is the second part of a series on health care refugees. Read the first part here.

(CNN)Rich and Kim Muszynski know when their 5-year-old daughter, Abby, is about to have a grand mal seizure because her pupils enlarge, and she’ll seem to fixate at something in the distance that only she can see.

Then it starts. Abby’s extremities shake. She gasps for air.

By the time she turned 3, Abby had tried about eight different anti-seizure medications. None of them worked very well. Panicked to see their daughter getting worse and worse, the Muszynskis drove three hours to Orlando to see Dr. Ngoc Minh Le, a board certified pediatric neurologist and epileptologist.

Le told them that chances of another anti-seizure drug working on Abby were tiny. He recommended medical marijuana. The timing was right: Just months before, Gov. Rick Scott had legalized the use of a type of non-euphoric cannabis called Charlotte’s Web.

The formulation had been a miracle for a little girl with epilepsy named Charlotte Figi. The Muszynskis had seen her story on Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s CNN documentary “Weed.”

Charlotte’s Web did help Abby, but not as much as it had helped Charlotte. She still was having about two grand mal seizures a week, each lasting about eight to 10 minutes.

Le explained to Kim and Rich that Charlotte’s Web has only tiny amounts of THC, one of the psychoactive ingredients in marijuana. Medical marijuana with higher levels of THC was Abby’s best hope, he told them.

But at this point, in 2015, high-THC marijuana wasn’t legal in Florida for Abby. To get it, the Muszynskis would have to move, leaving behind their friends and family, including two older children.

    Kim thought about Colorado, where Charlotte Figi lived. She’d checked with parents of disabled children there, and they told her the state had a fair and efficient Medicaid program.

    Getting to Colorado would be a challenge: Abby’s doctors said it wasn’t safe for her to fly on a commercial plane or to take a long car ride across the country.

    The Muszynskis began their final fight with Florida Medicaid — one that would leave Kim and Abby homeless for several days.

    Kim says that in mid-August, she started talking to Medicaid officials about getting an air ambulance to Colorado. On September 19, Rich drove the family car out to Colorado. They planned for Kim to attend the closing on their house in Boynton Beach on September 23 and leave on the air ambulance with Abby that afternoon.

    Kim had emailed and spoken with various Florida officials, and it seemed to her that everything was in order. “Please give a call today so we can finalize travel arrangements!” Mary Joyce, a senior registered nurse supervisor at Children’s Medical Services at the Florida Department of Health, wrote in an email to Kim on September 20.

    But then several days passed, and there was still no final approval for the transport.

    Their house sold, Kim and Abby were homeless. They moved in with Kim’s best friend and her husband. All of Abby’s equipment, like her bed with guardrails, was with Rich on their way to Colorado. Kim slept with Abby on the floor.

    Abby’s cries at night kept Kim’s friends awake. Kim wrote emails begging Florida officials for help. But for the first time, she added someone not previously included on the email: this CNN reporter.

    Three days later, she learned that the transport had been approved.

      A spokeswoman for Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration gave this statement:

      In this case relocation services are not covered by Medicaid, per federal Medicaid guidelines. However, thanks to Safety Net funds made available by Governor Scott and the Legislature, the state supported this family by covering the costs to provide relocation services via the air ambulance of the mother’s choice. Working with the family, the state arranged transport as quickly as possible,” wrote the spokeswoman, Mallory McManus.

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