Category Archives: History

Is it really Medicine? A NOT so brief (but interesting) History of Medical Marijuana

If you are a Medical Marijuana (cannabis) patient then you know the answer is “YES” when someone asks “Is marijuana really a medicine?” It’s a question that some people are still asking—so here’s a little background of how marijuana has been used throughout history.

The oldest documented use of marijuana (cannabis) as medicine goes back to about 2900 BC in China.

What about use in the United States?

1652: The British Herbalist Nicholas Culpeper wrote about medical uses for Hemp (the cannabis plant). George Washington did too,  between 1745 and 1775.

1850 to 1937: many patented marijuana preparations were sold in apothecaries (pharmacies).Cannabis Indica as medicine

The Pharmacopoeia

In 1851: Cannabis was included in the United States Pharmacopoeia, the book used to identify and standardize (the then mostly botanical) drugs in medical use.

Marijuana was listed as useful for treatment for numerous afflictions including: neuralgia, alcoholism, opiate addiction, tetanus, typhus, cholera, dysentery, leprosy, incontinence, gout, convulsive disorders, tonsillitis, insanity, and excessive menstrual bleeding.

The supplies (indica flowers) used in making the medicine came mainly from India. These supplies were interrupted by World War I.

1913: the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it had succeeded in growing domestic cannabis of equal quality to the Indian cannabis. By 1918, about 60,000 pounds were produced annually, from pharmaceutical farms.

1920s through 1940’s: Reefer Madness was born. Driven by industrialists, racists and law enforcement media hype–the public responds with mass hysteria about the dangers of Marijuana to society. Alcohol prohibition ends and Marijuana begins to take its place.

1937: The American Medical Association opposes the passage of the Marihuana (Stamp) Tax Act, which  charged doctors, pharmacists and producers for sales. The required stamps are expensive to buy and only a few are issued, discouraging everyone involved in cannabis sales. Cannabis products disappeared from pharmacy shelves and in 1943 cannabis was removed from the Pharmacopeia.

1964: Dr. Rafael Mechoulam and colleague, Dr. Yehiel Gaoni, identified and synthesized delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

1970: Marijuana becomes illegal and classified alongside heroin as a Schedule I drug—a class of drugs that are considered to have NO medicinal value.

1976: The Federal Governments recognizes that marijuana has medicinal use. The Investigational New Drug (Compassionate Use) Program (IND) is created to allow Robert Randall to use marijuana to treat his glaucoma. Other patients enroll and also receive 300 rolled marijuana cigarettes per month to treat their conditions.

1978: Individual states begin recognizing marijuana as useful medicine. New Mexico becomes the first state to create a medical marijuana program.

1980: Marinol, a synthetic version of THC is fast-tracked as a prescription medicine, primarily for AIDS and cancer patients.

1990sScientists discover two types of Cannabinoid receptors in the human brain (CB1 and CB2 ) which buffer the effects of THC.

1992: Scientists Discover Endocannabinoids –your body’s natural cannabinoid system. The ECS controls central and peripheral nervous system functions, energy intake, processing and storage, the immune response, reproduction and cell fate production system. New era for medical research begins!ECS neurons

1999: The IND program is shut down to new applicants (by President Ronald Reagan) after too many (hundreds of) patients applied. Although officially terminated, the 13 remaining patients continue to receive government-issued marijuana

2000: Hawaii Legislators recognize that marijuana is medicine and create the Medical Marijuana Program.  Qualifying conditions include: cancer, glaucoma, HIV (+) status, chronic or debilitating disease: Severe pain, severe nausea, seizures (epilepsy), severe & persistent muscle spasms (from Multiple Sclerosis or Crohn’s Disease), severe weakness, malnutrition or weight loss (wasting syndrome & cachexia).

2003: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services receives Cannabinoids Patent (patent (US 6,630,507 B1)  for the therapeutic use of “cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants, suggesting it may be useful in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.”

TODAY (2015): MANY MEDICAL PRACTICES INCLUDE

MARIJUANA AS A MEDICINE

In Israel, cannabis therapy is incorporated into clinical, hospital, and nursing home settings. In Canada, physicians can approve a specific amount of cannabis for their patients which is delivered to their home. There are TEN PHARMACEUTICAL drugs based on chemicals found in the cannabis plant.

In the United States: 23 States have medical marijuana programs. The Department of Health assumed administration of Hawaii’s Medical Marijuana program, making improvements immediately.

Health Care Professionals are attempting to educate other Health Care Professionals and Patients. This includes the work of the  Society of Cannabis Clinicians, the American Cannabis Nursing Association, and the United Patients Group.

So, NOW if anybody still wonders if you think that Marijuana is really medicine—please tell them that this question was answered a very LONG time AGO…. and please help them find educational resources (like this article).

 

What if they gave a war (on cannabis) and nobody funded it?

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In a HUGE VICTORY this weekend, U.S. Senators voted to stop funding the war on cannabis—by cutting FEDERAL funding to the Department of Justice for enforcement.  Last Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted the same way.

That’s two strikes on the war on cannabis. What is the phrase “Three Strikes, you’re out”? The third strike needed is President Obama’s signature.

So, if he signs the $1.01 trillion spending bill (and it’s expected that he will), what does this mean?

The Federal Department of Justice can no longer use federal funds to interfere with medical marijuana operations in States which have legalized marijuana for medical use.

This provides protection for the state-sanctioned use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.

That means no more FEDERAL DRUG RAIDS on state-legal medical marijuana dispensary operations.

A Huffington Post article notes that  “The bill protects medical marijuana programs in the 23 states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, as well as 11 additional states that have legalized CBD oils, a non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that has shown to be beneficial in some cases of severe epilepsy. “

It adds: Americans for Safe Access (ASA) called the measure “historic” and said patients’ rights advocates believe it “will dramatically impact DOJ enforcement, including ending federal medical marijuana raids, arrests, criminal prosecutions, and civil asset forfeiture lawsuits.”  And, according to a report released last year by ASA, the Obama administration has spent nearly $80 million each year cracking down on medical marijuana, which amounts to more than $200,000 per day.

 

What this really means is THAT the will of the people is being heard and acted upon.

Congress is listening to the vast majority of Americans (78 percent) who support states’ right to allow access to medical cannabis.

This attachment to the spending bill was applauded by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and many other common sense drug policy reform groups.

See WHATS IN THE SPENDING BILL

International drug law reform expert to speak in Honolulu 11/1/13

The Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii is co-founder of the Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii – congratulations on 20 years serving Hawaii!

“Celebrating 20 Years of Science, Reason and Compassion ”

The Drug Policy Forum of Hawai`i’s 20th Anniversary Event
Friday, November 1, 2013
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Kapi`olani Community College
4303 Diamond Head Road
Ohelo Building ~ Ka`ikena Laua`e Room

HONOLULU – Thursday, October 17, 2013 – In the last twenty years, Hawai`i has enacted drug policy reforms on issues ranging from medical marijuana to treatment-instead-of-incarceration for nonviolent drug law violations with the support of the voters and the legislature. Join us to celebrate the work of those individuals and organizations that have tirelessly worked towards drug policy based on concern for human dignity, effective outcomes, public health considerations, and the well-being of individuals and communities.

Speaking will be Ethan Nadelmann Ph.D., JD., Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance – The Nation’s Premiere Drug Policy Organization . Mr. Nadelmann’s talk will be on “Ending the War on Drugs: Are We Really at the Tipping Point? ”

For more than two decades, Nadelmann helped build a broad-based movement for reform on the strength of a strategic insight that’s both simple and profound: The fight against repressive drug laws isn’t about championing the rights of drug users – even of a substance as popular as marijuana. It’s about fighting against federal overreach and the needless human toll of drug prohibition. Read more about Ethan at:http://dpfhi.org/2013/06/14/the-most-influential-man-in-the-battle-for-legalization-is-a-wonky-intellectual-in-dad-jeans/.

The dinner will also honor Professor of Law Emeritus and former Dean, University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law, Richard “Dick” Miller. Miller has never shied away from the new or the controversial. He arrived in Hawai`i to help establish the new law school at UH in 1973 and in 1993, 20 years later, he was one of the first Board members of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai`i. His guidance and sharp legal mind is still a beacon for the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai’i in the roiling seas known as the war on drugs.

Tickets are $50 at the door and include a full dinner buffet and desserts. Limited seating is still available for the November 1 event. For further information, or to reserve a seat, please RSVP to info@dpfhi.org or call (808) 988-4386 .

The Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii was founded in 1993 and remains Hawai`i’s voice
for pragmatic drug policies that minimize economic, social, and human costs.
http://www.dpfhi.org

Dr. Sanjay Gupta reverses position on MMJ, upcoming special: Weed

Watch the special, “Weed” on Sunday, 8/11/13: http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/bestoftv/2013/08/05/gupta-weed-promo.cnn

 

Read the article: http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/08/health/gupta-changed-mind-marijuana/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

In a stunning and personal reversal of his long-held skepticism of the health benefits of cannabis, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon and Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN apologizes for spreading “misinformation” and supports real, independent research on medical cannabis.

“I am here to apologize.

I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.”

“Looking forward, I am especially intrigued by studies like those in Spain and Israel looking at the anti-cancer effects of marijuana and its components. I’m intrigued by the neuro-protective study by Lev Meschoulam in Israel, and research in Israel and the United States on whether the drug might help alleviate symptoms of PTSD. I promise to do my part to help, genuinely and honestly, fill the remaining void in our knowledge.”

Midweek Magazine profiles Dr. David Barton – “Medical Cannabis: Safe, Effective”

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http://www.midweek.com/medical-cannabis-safe-effective/

A common-sense backgrounder on medical marijuana in Hawaii and the nation. Improvements to Hawaiiʻs law are needed to minimize government intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship and to improve safe access to the medical marijuana program for Hawaiiʻs patients.

“Thankfully, the Hawaii State Legislature took a bold stand more than a decade ago, in the face of great political pressure, which still exists, and allowed for legal use by chronically ill and disabled people.

Chronic pain is the No. 1 medical condition in the United States, with an estimated 75 million to 100 million Americans living with it. At least 20 million to 25 million Americans live with severe pain. In Hawaii, it is conservatively estimated that more than 100,000 live with moderate to severe pain from all causes, including arthritic degeneration, trauma, metabolic conditions such as diabetes, and cancer or its treatment.”

Welcome to the Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawai’i (“MCCHI”)!

MCCHI is your support group–a free, private group for medical cannabis patients and caregivers – shaped by your needs. Listen, learn, network, and share best practices with others from around Hawai‘i and know that you are not alone!

Join MCCHI (itʻs free and confidential) to:

  • Stay informed about the latest developments in Hawaii’s medical cannabis program,  including proposed changes or threats to existing law.
  • Learn how you can help expand the medical cannabis program, and fight back dangerous restrictions.
  • Share best practices with other patients, caregivers and doctors.
  • Access information on the latest medical cannabis laws and research in Hawai‘i and from around the world.
  • Receive a yearly reminder via email, phone, or mail–whatever works best for you–when your medical cannabis registration is due to be renewed.
  • Have the opportunity to amplify YOUR voice to ensure that the medical cannabis program effectively serves the people of Hawai‘i.