Tag Archives: THC

“…the riskiest pot is coming from the black market—which could be an argument for expanding legalization”

Marijuana: Why Dangerously Potent Pot Is Making People Lose Their Minds and Memories

Homegrown2017

By Jessica Firger On 10/19/17 at 4:44 PM

High-potency pot is causing psychiatric issues, including addiction and memory problems. New strains of the recreational drug have higher levels of the active chemical and not enough of another compound that keeps the drug safe. And as a new study this week documents, the riskiest pot is coming from the black market—which could be an argument for expanding legalization. 

The new report, published this week by Manchester Metropolitan University in the U.K., tested 50 samples of cannabis in the city of Manchester. The study was conducted by Volteface, a London-based policy think tank seeking reform for marijuana laws to improve safety of the drug by making it legal, and thus limiting demand on the local black market. All of the samples had high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of the drug that produces the “high,” and inconsequential amounts of cannabidiols (CBDs), the protective compound of the drug that prevents marijuana from becoming unsafe.

Pot that is high in THC carries a greater risk of psychiatric problems, including psychosis, addiction and memory impairment. One study, for example, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry evaluated cannabis use in 280 people and compared them to a control group of 174 non-cannabis users. The study found that people who experienced their first psychotic episode were more likely to have used a higher THC potency form of the drug.

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Amir Englund, an expert in cannabinoid psychopharmacology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London, tells Newsweek that the low levels of CBDs exacerbate the issues caused by high levels of THC. Additionally, frequent users often become tolerant to cannabis and slowly need a stronger product to get as high as they used to, he says.

“Because both THC and CBD are made from the same material in the plant, more of one means less of the other,” he says. Some recent research, he says, has shown that people using strains of marijuana that are also high in CBD—not just THC—are less likely to have mental health problems than those who opt for strains that have low CBD but high THC content. Some experiments he’s conducted show that CBD can counter the negative effects of high doses of THC in healthy volunteers.

Growers, he says, are cross-breeding plants to favor THC production over CBD. But the decision isn’t influenced only by the market’s demand. In many instances, it’s determined by the grower’s bottom line. “Some of the reasons why these varieties are more popular include the fact that they are more cost-effective to produce (more total drug-yield per plant) and more popular among frequent users,” says Englund.

A number of other factors also affect the potency of pot. According to Leafly, there will always be some variation when multiple growers cultivate the same strain because environment, growing technique and genetics all impact the composition of the plants.

A report published in 2015 by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment found the problem isn’t only with illegal sales. Labeling on regulated cannabis is often misleading, and the strain purchased could have higher or lower levels of potency than the label leads a consumer to believe.

“High THC, low CBD cannabis dominates the UK’s illicit market as it has a rapid growth period up to maturity and can be grown indoors,” the researchers write. “This enables those selling cannabis to make the greatest profit and presents the lowest risk. While popularity of this product is undoubtedly high, this may well be due to the fact that no other product is easily available and consumers have neither the access to nor the experience of any alternative.”

In other words, pot purchasers should look beyond the name—as nice as Black Beauty and Northern Lights may sound—and find out more about what they’re smoking. 

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Long-Term Marijuana Use Changes Brain at the Cellular Level, Say Scientists

The team behind the study hopes that their findings can eventually be used to treat people with cannabis use disorder, defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 as a “problematic pattern of cannabis use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress.”

By Yasmin Tayagon October 16, 2017

Filed Under Alcohol, Drugs, Neuroscience & Sex

In March, long-term marijuana smoker Woody Harrelson surprised fans by announcing he was giving up his chronic pot habit, saying it made him “emotionally unavailable.” Likewise, in June, notorious stoner Miley Cyrus did the same, saying she “wanted to be really clear” while making her new album. Long-term pot smokers who have quit cite similar anecdotal evidence about the chronic effects of weed, but scientists have only recently begun understanding what, if anything, it actually does to the brain.

In a study on mice published Monday in the journal JNeurosci, scientists report that long-term marijuana use does indeed change the brain.

In their study, the researchers from Brigham Young University’s neuroscience department, led by Jeffrey Edwards Ph.D., focused on the brain’s ventral tegmental area (VTA), a region rich with the dopamine and serotonin receptors that comprise the brain’s reward system, looking at how its cells changed as the teen mice they studied received daily THC injections every day for a week. Researchers know that drugs of abuse, like opioids, alcohol, and marijuana, act on the VTA, and it’s thought that the active ingredients in these drugs stimulate the release of dopamine in this area, thereby triggering the flood of pleasure that drugs (as well as friendship and sex) provide — and creating cravings for more.

In particular, they looked at a type of cell in the VTA known as a GABA cell that marijuana researchers hadn’t looked at before. The cells are named for the type of neurotransmitter they pick up — GABA, short for gamma-aminobutyric acid — which is well-known for its inhibitory properties. Imagine GABA as the high-strung friend who becomes anxious when the rest of the group has too much fun. When GABA is released in the brain, it regulates the levels of happy-making dopamine, making sure revelry doesn’t go overboard.In particular, they looked at a type of cell in the VTA known as a GABA cell that marijuana researchers hadn’t looked at before. The cells are named for the type of neurotransmitter they pick up — GABA, short for gamma-aminobutyric acid — which is well-known for its inhibitory properties. Imagine GABA as the high-strung friend who becomes anxious when the rest of the group has too much fun. When GABA is released in the brain, it regulates the levels of happy-making dopamine, making sure revelry doesn’t go overboard.

This friend is a bit of a buzzkill but seems to be necessary to prevent the brain from having too much of a good thing. But, as it turns out, GABA neurons can be incapacitated, too.This friend is a bit of a buzzkill but seems to be necessary to prevent the brain from having too much of a good thing. But, as it turns out, GABA neurons can be incapacitated, too.

As the researchers observed these cells in teen mice over their THC-filled week, they saw that the ability of the GABA neurons to regulate dopamine faltered as the trial went on. In contrast, mice who only received a single injection of THC — the Bill Clintons of the group — didn’t show any changes in their GABA neurons, suggesting that the effects seen in the chronic users are a consequence of long-term marijuana use. Those changes led dopamine to linger in the VTA longer than usual, which caused an abnormally drawn-out feeling of reward. And too much of those pleasurable feelings, scientists have found, is what leads to addiction.

The team behind the study hopes that their findings can eventually be used to treat people with cannabis use disorder, defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 as a “problematic pattern of cannabis use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress.”

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(MY COMMENT?  I know you all can see where this is going, right?)

Nevada’s new DUI marijuana testing is improvement but still poses concerns

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Ray Hagar, rhagar@rgj.com

The state of Nevada is poised to mandate the use blood tests and eliminate urine tests in DUI convictions for marijuana.

Although Washoe County already uses blood tests for pot, the state Senate this week gave the final vote of approval for the testing change for the entire state. Now, this measure only needs the final ‘John Hancock’ from Gov. Brian Sandoval to become law.

The final Senate vote floor vote comes less than two months before the July 1 starting date for sales of legal marijuana for “recreation” across Nevada for everyone 21 and over.

The blood-test/pot bill’s sponsor, Assembly Judiciary Committee Chair Steve Yeager, D-Las Vegas, sold the bill to fellow lawmakers as a “common sense” approach to DUI testing for pot. Current urine testing for pot is not reliable because it does not test for the psychoactive element that gets you high — THC, he said.

“A urine test will tell you if someone has ingested marijuana in the past,” Yeager said on Nevada Newsmakers. “But it does not tell you if the person is actually impaired at the time the testing is done.”

Blood tests can reveal THC in the blood, Yeager said. He called it “a step in the right direction.”

Yet this is not a perfect science. Determining marijuana impairment is more complicated than determining alcohol impairment, according to a study by the AAA, the nation’s largest auto club.

Yeager’s bill may be an improvement over the old method but it is still not a great way to test for marijuana intoxication, according to the AAA.

That study states it is not possible to set a blood-test threshold for THC impairment because there is no science that shows at what level drivers become high after ingesting THC, according to a CBS News story about the AAA report.

Some drivers with high levels of THC in their blood may not be impaired, especially if they are heavy pot users, the study stated. Others, who may not use marijuana often, could have relatively low levels of THC in their blood and be impaired for driving, according to the study.

In Nevada, however, almost any amount of THC in the blood will get you into trouble. The legal limit is 2 nanograms of active THC in the blood, which Yeager said is a very low limit.

“I’ll just say, our levels and laws are very, very low. So it is virtually impossible to test positive on a blood test and not be over the allowed limits under the (Nevada) statute,” Yeager said.

Nevada is about to embark on society-changing era where marijuana is legal. The AAA study, however is concerning. It suggests consuming this herb can make you a victim of a legal system that has no universally-accepted and accurate way of testing for DUI marijuana.

Perhaps Yeager’s bill will give Nevada a law based on the best technology available. It appears better than the current system.

Yet science marches on.

Yeager believes that the question of testing for marijuana DUI may need adjustments in the near future. It is a subject that the Legislature may need to revisit when better technology and testing methods become available, since this legal recreational pot business is projected to be popular and profitable in Nevada.

“I think everyone is open-mined about it,” Yeager said about marijuana DUI testing. “It (possible new state law) is a small step forward. But I think it is significant in that it gets us moving in the right direction. Hopefully, we’ll have some studies in the near future so we can continue to tweak these laws.”

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The Best Recipe for Maximizing the Medical Effects of Marijuana

CBD-only preparations lack the synergies available when marijuana’s other cannabinoids and its terpenes are kept in the game.

 

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By Phillip Smith / AlterNet

March 22, 2017

CBD (cannabidiol) is getting a lot of attention these days as the medicinal cannabinoid in marijuana. CBD-only products are all the rage in the ever-expanding medical marijuana market, and CBD-only medical marijuana laws are becoming a favorite resort of red state politicians who want to throw a sop to those clamoring for medical marijuana, but are hesitant to actually embrace the demon weed.

But is CBD the miracle molecule on its own? Or would users benefit from using preparations made from the whole pot plant? Not to knock CBD, which even by itself clearly provides succor for many people, but advocates of “whole plant medicine” make a strong case.

That case is based on the entourage effect, which posits an interactive synergy between the components of the plant, and not just the major cannabinoids, such as THC and CBC, but also the lesser-known but still therapeutically active cannabinoids, such as CBG, CBN, THC-a, and THC-v, and even the terpenoids, the molecules that make pot plants smell and taste lemony (limonene) or piney (pinene), earthy (humulene) or musky (myrcene). The entourage effect suggests that if people want to unlock the full benefits of medical marijuana, they need to be using whole plant medicine.

“CBD and THC seem to work better together. They lessen each other’s side effects,” said Eloise Theisen, RN, MSN, director of the American Cannabis Nurses Association.

“CBD has value, but its value can be enhanced with the whole plant and we can develop more individualized medicine,” said Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, MSN, and president and co-founder of Patients Out of Time.

And again, it’s not just the cannabinoids.

“THC seems to potentiate all the effects of CBD and conversely, CBD affects THC,” explained Dr. Perry Solomon, chief medical officer for HelloMD. “Dr. Ethan Russo further supports this theory by demonstrating that non-cannabinoid plant components such as terpenes serve as inhibitors to THC’s intoxicating effects, thereby increasing THC’s therapeutic index. This ‘phytocannabinoid-terpenoid synergy,’ as Russo calls it, increases the potential of cannabis-based medicinal extracts to treat pain, inflammation, fungal and bacterial infections, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, and even cancer,” he said.

“Terpenes act on receptors and neurotransmitters; they are prone to combine with or dissolve in lipids or fats; they act as serotonin uptake inhibitors (similar to antidepressants like Prozac); they enhance norepinephrine activity (similar to tricyclic antidepressants like Elavil); they increase dopamine activity; and they augment GABA (the ‘downer’ neurotransmitter that counters glutamate, the ‘upper’),” Solomon continued.

The entourage effect makes whole plant medicine the preferred means of ingesting therapeutic marijuana, the trio agreed.

“I think that any whole plant medicine is more effective than any CBD-only product,” said Solomon.

“Whole plant medicine is the only way to go,” echoed Theisen.

“It’s safer and more effective, and tolerance will develop more slowly—if at all,” Mathre concurred.

The traditional method of consuming whole plant marijuana has been to smoke it, but that’s not an especially favored route among medical marijuana advocates. And there are other options.

“Vaporization or tinctures of whole plants. Any sort of extraction method that isn’t going to deplete it,” said Theisen.

“Delivery methods vary greatly in terms of their efficiency and their effects. I heard a colleague say that smoking a joint for therapeutic effect is akin to opening your mouth in the rain to get a drink of water,” said Constance Finley, founder and CEO of Constance Therapeutics. “Our preferred methods are buccal (cheek) ingestion or sublingual ingestion, vaping from a vaporizer or vape pen whose hardware is safe to use with cannabis extracts, and topical for additional localized impact.”

With whole plant superior to single-cannabinoid preparations, people living in states that have only passed CBD-only laws are not able to enjoy the full benefits of medical marijuana. That’s a damned shame, said an exasperated Mathre.

“We have lawyers and politicians practicing medicine without a license—they don’t know what they are talking about,” she said. “Clearly there may be some patients who need little to no THC, but the vast majority will benefit from it. Patients should have all of the options open to them and research needs to continue to help determine how to best individualize cannabis medicine.”

Phillip Smith is editor of the AlterNet Drug Reporter and author of the Drug War Chronicle.

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“You can’t put the genie back into the bottle”

 

 

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(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Patrick McGreevyPatrick McGreevyContact Reporter

Warned of a possible federal crackdown on marijuana, California elected officials and cannabis industry leaders said Friday they were preparing for a potential showdown in the courts and Congress to protect the legalization measure approved by state voters in November.

The flashpoint that set off a scramble in California was a news conference Thursday at which White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the administration had no plans to continue the Obama administration’s permissive approach in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

“I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement,” he said, adding that the administration would continue to allow states to regulate the sale of marijuana for medical use.

The latest development could force California officials and marijuana industry leaders into an unusual alliance against the federal government, with billions of dollars in profits for businesses and taxes for state coffers at stake.

The state agency responsible for drafting regulations said Friday it was going ahead with its plans to start issuing licenses to growers and sellers in January.

“Until we see any sort of formal plan from the federal government, it’s full speed ahead for us,” said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation.

In Congress, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) plans to introduce legislation that could blunt Spicer’s threat by preventing the Department of Justice from enforcing federal laws against the recreational use of marijuana in states that have legalized it, a spokesman said Friday.

And industry officials warn that any federal crackdown in California and other states will result in many growers and sellers continuing to operate, but on the black market.

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra says he is ready to safeguard the rights approved by 57% of voters in Proposition 64, which allows California adults to possess, transport and buy up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use.

“I took an oath to enforce the laws that California has passed,” Becerra said in a statement Thursday after Spicer’s comments. “If there is action from the federal government on this subject, I will respond in an appropriate way to protect the interests of California.”

State lawmakers also say California should do what it can to preserve Proposition 64.

“We will support and honor the laws that California voters have democratically enacted,” said Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), an author of legislation creating the licensing system for medical marijuana dispensaries.

Becerra would likely be joined in any defense of the state’s marijuana policy by attorneys general in other parts of the country. Recreational use has also been legalized in Washington state, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada, home to a combined 68 million Americans.

Washington Atty. Gen. Bob Ferguson, who has worked with Becerra on opposing President Trump’s travel ban, said he and Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee last week asked for a meeting with U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions to discuss how the recreational marijuana use system is working in their state.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a leading supporter of Proposition 64, took a similar approach, sending a letter Friday to Trump urging him not to carry through with threats to launch a federal enforcement effort.

“I urge you and your administration to work in partnership with California and the other … states that have legalized recreational marijuana for adult use in a way that will let us enforce our state laws that protect the public and our children, while targeting the bad actors,” the Democrat wrote.

If the Justice Department starts arresting licensed marijuana sellers, the multibillion-dollar industry would join forces with the states that issue permits to challenge the action in court, said Amy Margolis, an attorney whose law firm has more than 200 clients in the marijuana industry, including businesses in California.

“This industry is so mature and it’s so far along that I have no doubt that if the Department of Justice started true enforcement actions against cannabis businesses, that they would go to court,” Margolis said. “I see joint actions between the states and the industry hoping to prevent those type of actions.”

Margolis would argue that it is a states’ rights issue.

“The argument would be that this is a situation where the states have the right to regulate and tax an industry the way they want,” she said, adding that states are gaining tax revenue to pay for government programs.

Although federal law does not outline a medicinal use for marijuana, Trump administration officials have made public statements indicating they recognize that such a benefit exists, which could help the industry in a potential court case, Margolis said.

However, the states may find their hands tied legally if they try to keep federal agents from raiding and shutting down marijuana growing and sales operations, according to Adam Winkler, a professor at UCLA School of Law.

“I imagine that California will mount a legal challenge to any crackdown on recreational marijuana,” Winkler said. “Yet there is not much California can do. Federal law is supreme over conflicting state law. Federal agents are entitled to enforce federal law anywhere in the country, including California.”

He said there are limits to federal power, but the courts have held that the federal government does have the authority to enforce federal drug laws.

Aaron Herzberg, an attorney for the industry, agreed that the state would face a tough fight. He cited the 2005 case Gonzales vs. Raich, in which the U.S. Supreme Court found that under the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, Congress may criminalize the production and use of homegrown marijuana even if states approve its use for medical purposes.

“Let’s face it: If the federal government wants to shut down recreational marijuana, they could quite easily accomplish it using federal law enforcement and taxation tools,” Herzberg said.

Others say one basis for legal action would be an argument that enforcing laws against marijuana would damage states that have put regulations in place and are depending on hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to pay for government programs.

States are too far down the path of regulating, licensing and taxing those who are making big investments in the sanctioned marijuana industry to pull the rug out now, said Richard Miadich, an attorney who co-wrote Proposition 64.

“Given the strict regulatory structure set forth in Proposition 64, that medical and adult-use regulations are being developed in concert, and that public opinion is squarely on the side of states’ rights on this issue, I think it is impractical for the federal government to reverse course now,” he said. “Not to mention the potential for great harm to individual states.”

Supporters of Proposition 64 say there is also a potential political solution.

In recent years, Rohrabacher and former Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel) won congressional approval of a rider to the federal budget that prohibited federal funds from being used to prosecute medical marijuana businesses that are in compliance with state laws.

Rohrabacher plans to introduce legislation that would expand the protection to businesses that comply with state laws allowing the growing and sale of marijuana for recreational use, according to spokesman Ken Grubbs.

The congressman is planning the legislation “because recreational use is an issue of individual freedom and should be dealt with legally according to the principle of federalism, a bedrock conservative belief,” Grubbs said.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) is also “reviewing options to counteract whatever the Trump administration’s plans” are for state marijuana laws, said senior advisor Jack d’Annibale.

Another option, though a long shot, would be for Congress to attempt to change the federal Controlled Substances Act to decriminalize the use of marijuana nationally.

Herzberg said reinstituting federal raids would be “a major setback for the industry.”

But the state could still go ahead with a licensing system for medical marijuana growing and sales in spite of a federal crackdown on recreational use, according to Hezekiah Allen, head of the California Growers Assn.

“A vast majority of California growers and cannabis business owners would choose to participate only in the medical marketplace if given the option, and some would choose to avoid licensure entirely if they were unable to distinguish themselves from adult-use businesses,” Allen said.

Because Spicer did not provide details on what an enforcement effort might look like, many in the industry hope it will focus on the illegal exporting of marijuana to other states, leaving alone state-licensed firms that grow and sell pot.

“The biggest crackdown we may see is on the increase of cannabis being illegally exported out of recreational states,” said Nate Bradley, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Assn.

State Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) said any change in federal enforcement policy on states that have legalized recreational use would be misguided.

“You can’t put the genie back into the bottle — marijuana regulation and enforcement can’t and shouldn’t go backwards,” he said.

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Time 4 Hemp Presents: Cannabinoid Profiles: A Crash Course

Time 4 Hemp

Crash-Course in CBGs

The Time4Hemp Network has set up a very educational and informative series which they are calling the “Cannabinoid Profiles Series”.

Anyone who needs or wants to review a course in Cannabinoids should start here!

 

Cannabinoid Profile: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

 

The LINKS for the series is below:

Cannabinoid Profiles Series

1. Meet Your CB Receptors

2. A Crash Course in THC

3. A Crash Course in CBD

4. A Crash Course in THC

5. A Crash Course in CBG

6. A Crash Course in CBC

7. A Crash Course in THC

8. A Crash Course in CBN

9. A Crash Course in CBDs

SOURCE LINK:

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.

      CONTINUE READING STORY HERE!

      Leukaemia and Cannabis Oil: The Story of the Late Ronnie Smith

       

       

      Above:  right to left Brian McCullough, Cher Ford McCullough, Richard Rawlings, Heidi Drake and Ronnie Smith aka Roland A Duby, taken at Reefer Rumble in Cincinnati circa 2001

       

      One of the all-stars of the cannabis counter culture, Ronnie Lee Smith ranks right up there with Rick Simpson, Jack Herer, and many others. Ronnie, at the age of 47 regretfully passed away in Colorado, on April 3rd 2014. The cause of death is said to be complications from leukaemia.

      That’s why Ronnie’s case is particularly important. That’s because Ronnie died of a disease for which he has supposedly treated others in similar situations. Ronnie, with his rocket-scientist in-the-rough intellect, was as familiar to You Tube viewers as Rick Simpson.

      I watched several of his videos months earlier. He was the go-to person when a patient needed help in either obtaining Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), or getting safe, reliable advice for their condition. He was also a professional comedian and a radio-show host. He was as compassionate as he was generous.

      If you had a cancer and needed RSO, he would provide it at no charge. The true sign of selflessness is giving. He certainly gave and claims to have treated hundreds of patients over the years. He even ran for sheriff in 2010 in Gallatin County Kentucky; indicating that if elected, he would provide free, on demand, cannabis oil to anyone in the county who needed it.

      Yet, everyone is asking the same question. If cannabis helps treat leukaemia, why did it fail to treat Ronnie, one of the most ardent supporters of health freedom using cannabis and other alternative strategies in America?

      As we know, some families seem particularly prone to cancers of many types. In Ronnie’s family cancer was running wild; his brother Lester died of lymphoma in 2003, his mother died of brain cancer—metastatic from decades of smoking and the development of stage IV lung cancer—which had spread to her brain, three days after his brother died. A couple of years after that, his father died of prostate cancer. Had any of them tried cannabis oil? It did not appear to help, if they had tried it. Which is very disappointing to say the least. But I’m only guessing since there are no further details.

      It would be of great benefit to know. I personally am trying to gather a database on the efficacy of marijuana in treating cancers but the existing data is so meagre and disorganized that, for the time being, I cannot make a determination. Those that make wild claims of treating cancers, especially those that actually run dispensaries or “clinics” like the ones located in the Bay Area of California, here in the US, are not willing to share their stories save for a few cases that end up on the internet. They say that they have treated hundreds of end stage cancer victims. If so, please provide the proof we need. Reveal these cases so that others may learn of these treatments. Being secretive does not help our cause.

      Ronnie Lee Smith was born on August 20, 1966 at the old St. Elizabeth North Hospital in Covington, Kentucky.

      Ronnie and Rick Simpson met around 2006. In 2007, Jack Herer enlisted Ronnie’s formidable brain in editing his now classic forthcoming book The Emperor Wears No Clothes. It was around this time when something odd happened.

      After Jack and Ronnie became friends, Ronnie would help out making bubble hash with trimmings from Jack’s grow operation. It was then that Ronnie Lee Smith had discovered cancerous lumps “in between each knuckle”, and “a lump hanging out of my rear.” He next describes an astonishing event. Ronnie continues:

      “While making the hash I would eat a spoonful on occasion, and I did that four or five times a day for a couple months. I noticed after a month that the lumps between my knuckles got softer and after 2 months, they were gone. Jack said that he wrote in his book about a college study where they killed cancer in rats with THC in the 70’s. His wife Googled the article and in the search, she found Rick Simpson and the story about the oil. This was 2006, and we called Rick, and Rick turned out to be a big fan of Jacks, so Jack had him on the Jack Herer TV show every week. Rick said he needed someone in America to make oil and I volunteered. He sent me referrals for 3 years before he got stuck in Europe. By 2010, I had cured over 200 people. I decided to run for Sheriff and make the cure available for free to anyone in my county. Ronnie Lee Smith co-starred in the hemp documentary about Jack Herer called [[The Emperor Wears No Clothes]], which was based on his popular book.”

      At this point it appears that Ronnie’s leukaemia was in remission. From discovering the nodules between his knuckles in 2006 to the year 2010 he was doing great. By his own admission he had treated over 200 people by then.

      Note, before we go any further, that Ronnie had initially used bubble hash which does not involve cooking or the use of heat. Therefore, Ronnie’s initial treatment stemmed from using the carboxylated (the acid) form of THC, CBD and the remaining cannabinoids. This is in sharp contrast to RSO which is a cooked formula and therefore de-carboxylated, and presumably the most powerful variation to take for medical conditions.

      In other words, these are very different oils, yet they may possess similar powerful effects. There is continuing debate on the use of acidic forms such as fresh-squeezed marijuana and hashish (eaten) versus the decarboxylated RSO-type preparations. They both seem to have potent curative properties but many insist that cancers be treated with RSO analogues. Most of what I have written about involves RSO or RSO-like essential oils.

      So what went wrong? Let’s examine what took place in the months preceding his premature demise.

      On April 24, 2013, while driving through Yavapai County, Arizona, Ronnie was pulled over, searched, and arrested for possession of marijuana. The Arizona State Patrol found 2 ounces of marijuana in the trunk of Ronnie’s car, plus cannabis oil (Phoenix Tears AKA RSO). It was during a protracted jail sentence that he was not able to use RSO and this ultimately may have led to his death. Sometime between April and June of 2013, while Ronnie was in the Yavapai County Jail for over 3 months, the State of Arizona never allowed Ronnie to take his medical marijuana to prevent his leukaemia from regenerating.

      On February 25, 2014, during a Bobby Pickles podcast, Ronnie Lee Smith explained how his cancer regenerated while he was in the Arizona jail. “I got arrested in Arizona and went to jail for my medical marijuana, which I told the cop was for cancer. So I was in jail for 3 months and developed hardcore leukaemia while I was in there, and then they had rushed me to Emergency Room and got me a [blood] transfusion. That was the only way I got out of jail, because they released me because I was dying and they didn’t want to pay the hospital bill.” … “They finally had to rush me to the hospital for a blood transfusion where they diagnosed me with leukaemia and said I would be dead in 2 weeks.”

      As I have written previously some forms of leukaemia appear to be treatable using cannabis oil. The acute leukaemia being more difficult while the chronic forms and the paediatric leukaemia are the easiest to put into remission.

      Do not underestimate the power of stress to induce illness or to reverse remissions in cancers. It’s the one problem that most people do not emphasize enough. Stress kills. Here’s a man with a deadly leukaemia which he had been able to keep in remission for at least six years. Now take away his medication and throw him into probably the unhealthiest, stressful, squalid condition possible and watch your cancer grow.

      Prison food is notoriously unhealthy. Lacking in micro-nutrients, high in pesticide residues, high in sugars and carbohydrate—the preferred food for cancer cells to grow, and lacking in living nutrients. It’s not too much of a leap to suggest that three months of processed junk food contributed to decreasing his immunity. Add to that lack of sunlight exposure. Vitamin D is a potent anti-cancer hormone.

      What I find astonishing is how law enforcement withheld his medication in a medical marijuana state. They knew that it could lead to a regrowth of his cancer and an early demise, yet did nothing.
      Lastly there is some speculation that some of the last cannabis oil Ronnie took may have been tainted. Ronnie’s ex-wife presumably had some analysed but there is no further information.

      Dr. Christopher Rasmussen

      Dr. Christopher Rasmussen

      Dr. Christopher Rasmussen MD,MS, an anesthesiologist with a Master’s degree in traditional Chinese medicine, is a professor, lecturer, seminar provider, and world authority on preventive medicine. For more information on preventive medicine see http://www.inflaNATION.com.

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      Michigan State crime lab accused of falsifying marijuana tests to support bogus felony charges

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      Written By Emily Gray Brosious

      Posted: 10/30/2015, 12:40pm

      Crime lab accused of helping prosecutors unlawfully slap medical marijuana patients with felony possession charges

      An attorney is accusing Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division crime labs of falsifying marijuana lab reports under a new lab policy that allows prosecutors to charge medical cannabis users with felonies they did not commit, according to a press release from the Law Firm of Michael Komorn and published by The Weed Blog.

      Komorn says prosecutors told scientists to report an unknown origin for THC contained in marijuana products with no visible plant material – like concentrates, oils and waxes. The substance would then be declared synthetic THC rather than marijuana, which turns a misdemeanor marijuana charge into a felony charge, as reported by MLive.

      “The crime lab is systematically biased towards falsely reporting Schedule 1 synthetic THC, a felony, instead of plant-based marijuana, a misdemeanor,” Komorn said.

      Komorn’s discovery stems from a client he represents in Ottawa County, Max Lorincz, who faces two years in jail for synthetic THC charges, and whose 6-year-old son has been placed in foster care due to the charges.

      Komorn says his client was initially charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession. When Lorincz would not plead guilty because he’s a registered medical marijuana user, the prosecutor withdrew the original charge and recharged him with felony synthetic THC possession, relying on the state crime lab report to do so, according to FOX 17.

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      “What is unique about this case is that they [the prosecution] are relying on the lab to report these substances so that they can escalate these crimes from misdemeanors to felonies,” said Komorn.

      Per MLive:

      Komorn used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain numerous emails from state police crime lab workers, some raising concern about the way they had to report THC cases. Others testified in court about the new policy of denying evidence of THC coming from a marijuana plant if no material is found.

      He contends that the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan (PAAM) and state Attorney General Bill Schuette, an opponent of medical marijuana, influenced state police policy.

      “It is scandalous, scandalous. How can you trust the state lab when they are influenced by politicians?” he said.

      The Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan’s President Michael Wendling told FOX 17 that the Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division sets its own crime lab testing and reporting policies, and “neither PAAM nor county prosecutors make those protocols.”

      A hearing in Lorincz’s case is set for Nov. 9, according to MLive.

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      Pot Shrinks Tumors – US Government Has Know Since 1974… Nixon Classified The Study Immediately

      By TNM News on September 4, 2015 Featured, Latest Headlines, News Feed, Politics, Science

      President Nixon was in need of more funding for the war on drugs, so he set up a study hopefully finding that THC caused cancer. Instead, the findings were exactly the opposite, they found that cannabis if ingested in concentrated edible doses attack abnormal cells, and shrinks tumors.

      THIS STUDY WAS BURIED AND CLASSIFIED as it would have seriously hurt Nixon’s War On Drug scheme to profit off of low level drug offenders, and support expansion of prisons. Only until recently with The Freedom of Information Act and a group of concerned and dedicated doctors and lawyers, did they have the information of this study released.

      Here is the full story as by alternet.org

      The term medical marijuana took on dramatic new meaning in February, 2000 when researchers in Madrid announced they had destroyed incurable brain tumors in rats by injecting them with THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.
      The Madrid study marks only the second time that THC has been administered to tumor-bearing animals; the first was a Virginia investigation 26 years ago. In both studies, the THC shrank or destroyed tumors in a majority of the test subjects.

      Most Americans don’t know anything about the Madrid discovery. Virtually no major U.S. newspapers carried the story, which ran only once on the AP and UPI news wires, on Feb. 29, 2000.

      The ominous part is that this isn’t the first time scientists have discovered that THC shrinks tumors. In 1974 researchers at the Medical College of Virginia, who had been funded by the National Institute of Health to find evidence that marijuana damages the immune system, found instead that THC slowed the growth of three kinds of cancer in mice — lung and breast cancer, and a virus-induced leukemia.

      The DEA quickly shut down the Virginia study and all further cannabis/tumor research, according to Jack Herer, who reports on the events in his book, “The Emperor Wears No Clothes.” In 1976 President Gerald Ford put an end to all public cannabis research and granted exclusive research rights to major pharmaceutical companies, who set out — unsuccessfully — to develop synthetic forms of THC that would deliver all the medical benefits without the “high.”

      The Madrid researchers reported in the March issue of “Nature Medicine” that they injected the brains of 45 rats with cancer cells, producing tumors whose presence they confirmed through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). On the 12th day they injected 15 of the rats with THC and 15 with Win-55,212-2 a synthetic compound similar to THC. “All the rats left untreated uniformly died 12-18 days after glioma (brain cancer) cell inoculation … Cannabinoid (THC)-treated rats survived significantly longer than control rats. THC administration was ineffective in three rats, which died by days 16-18. Nine of the THC-treated rats surpassed the time of death of untreated rats, and survived up to 19-35 days. Moreover, the tumor was completely eradicated in three of the treated rats.” The rats treated with Win-55,212-2 showed similar results.

      The Spanish researchers, led by Dr. Manuel Guzman of Complutense University, also irrigated healthy rats’ brains with large doses of THC for seven days, to test for harmful biochemical or neurological effects. They found none.

      “Careful MRI analysis of all those tumor-free rats showed no sign of damage related to necrosis, edema, infection or trauma … We also examined other potential side effects of cannabinoid administration. In both tumor-free and tumor-bearing rats, cannabinoid administration induced no substantial change in behavioral parameters such as motor coordination or physical activity. Food and water intake as well as body weight gain were unaffected during and after cannabinoid delivery. Likewise, the general hematological profiles of cannabinoid-treated rats were normal. Thus, neither biochemical parameters nor markers of tissue damage changed substantially during the 7-day delivery period or for at least 2 months after cannabinoid treatment ended.”

      Guzman’s investigation is the only time since the 1974 Virginia study that THC has been administered to live tumor-bearing animals. (The Spanish researchers cite a 1998 study in which cannabinoids inhibited breast cancer cell proliferation, but that was a “petri dish” experiment that didn’t involve live subjects.)

      In an email interview for this story, the Madrid researcher said he had heard of the Virginia study, but had never been able to locate literature on it. Hence, the Nature Medicine article characterizes the new study as the first on tumor-laden animals and doesn’t cite the 1974 Virginia investigation.

      “I am aware of the existence of that research. In fact I have attempted many times to obtain the journal article on the original investigation by these people, but it has proven impossible.” Guzman said.

      In 1983 the Reagan/Bush Administration tried to persuade American universities and researchers to destroy all 1966-76 cannabis research work, including compendiums in libraries, reports Jack Herer, who states, “We know that large amounts of information have since disappeared.”

      Guzman provided the title of the work — “Antineoplastic activity of cannabinoids,” an article in a 1975 Journal of the National Cancer Institute — and this writer obtained a copy at the University of California medical school library in Davis and faxed it to Madrid.

      The summary of the Virginia study begins, “Lewis lung adenocarcinoma growth was retarded by the oral administration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinol (CBN)” — two types of cannabinoids, a family of active components in marijuana. “Mice treated for 20 consecutive days with THC and CBN had reduced primary tumor size.”

      The 1975 journal article doesn’t mention breast cancer tumors, which featured in the only newspaper story ever to appear about the 1974 study — in the Local section of the Washington Post on August 18, 1974. Under the headline, “Cancer Curb Is Studied,” it read in part:

      “The active chemical agent in marijuana curbs the growth of three kinds of cancer in mice and may also suppress the immunity reaction that causes rejection of organ transplants, a Medical College of Virginia team has discovered.” The researchers “found that THC slowed the growth of lung cancers, breast cancers and a virus-induced leukemia in laboratory mice, and prolonged their lives by as much as 36 percent.”

      Guzman, writing from Madrid, was eloquent in his response after this writer faxed him the clipping from the Washington Post of a quarter century ago. In translation, he wrote:

      “It is extremely interesting to me, the hope that the project seemed to awaken at that moment, and the sad evolution of events during the years following the discovery, until now we once again Œdraw back the veil‚ over the anti-tumoral power of THC, twenty-five years later. Unfortunately, the world bumps along between such moments of hope and long periods of intellectual castration.”

      News coverage of the Madrid discovery has been virtually nonexistent in this country. The news broke quietly on Feb. 29, 2000 with a story that ran once on the UPI wire about the Nature Medicine article. This writer stumbled on it through a link that appeared briefly on the Drudge Report web page. The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times all ignored the story, even though its newsworthiness is indisputable: a benign substance occurring in nature destroys deadly brain tumors.

      Raymond Cushing is a journalist, musician and filmmaker. This article was named by Project Censored as a “Top Censored Story of 2000.”

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