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).

 

Kauai Talk Story–You’re Invited–This Saturday

The Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii would like to invite you (and your friends) to a special event on Kauai (in Lihue)!

KauaiWe are hosting a “Talk Story” session. It’s free!

(And, we will provide light refreshments and drinks)

All are invited to attend – if you have colleagues/friends/family that are caregivers, patients or doctors, they are more than welcome to attend.

In this 2-hour session you will be given information about:

  1. The newest changes made to the medical marijuana (cannabis) program.
  2. What is happening with legislative efforts (getting a dispensary system is one of them).

We will discuss what bills may be introduced and we would like to hear your thoughts about that– as we move forward with improving the medical cannabis laws here in Hawai‘i.

YOUR INVITATION

When: Saturday, January 24, 2015        Time: 1 pm – 3 pm

Cost: Free!

What: Talk Story: A chance to ask about Hawaii‘s medical cannabis laws and Legislative Updates.

The information panel is : Rafael Kennedy, (Director) and Wendy Gibson, R.N. (Organizer) from the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii.

Where: Lihue Public Library–4344 Hardy Street—between Kaana & Umi Street.

Please contact the Medical Cannabis Coalition if you have questions at (808) 853-3231 or e-mail at info@mcchi.org.

All of our meetings are 100% confidential—but open to the public—so no video, photography or sound recordings please.

  • Mahalo and we look forward to seeing you on January 24th !

HEARINGS start on January 28th for Proposed Administrative Rules Changes–Medical Marijuana Program

save the dateSince Hawaii’s Medical Marijuana Program has been transferred from the Department of Safety to the care of the Department of Health (DOH), the Administrative Rules MUST be changed.

THE DOH posted a Notice of Public Hearing for DOH Administrative Rules on December 20, 2014. Links to the entire DOH notice are below.

Some highlights of the notice:

The public hearings are scheduled to start January 28, 2015 on the Big Island (Hilo) and will continue on Oahu February 2nd, on Maui February 3rd and on Kauai February 5th.

 

The TOPICS WILL include administrative rules and the procedures for :

** Application processing, registrations, monitoring, and disciplinary actions.

** Maintaining confidentiality for patients and caregivers.

** Petitioning to add a disease or health condition to the list of qualifying  conditions.

**  Physician requirements for issuing written certifications and maintaining medical records.

 

Please NOTE: Topics will NOT include the medical marijuana dispensary system or the task force recommendations.

The DISPENSARY IS A SEPARATE ISSUE and and the way to give your input for that is through the legislative process –which starts ON January 21, 2015.

 

Also note that these RULES are required to implement the EXISTING LAWS and CANNOT CHANGE any element of it (for instance they cannot increase plant limits).

 

The public does have an opportunity to weigh in (details are BELOW) and all of your comments, positive or negative are equally important and encouraged.

 

Once all of the administrative rules are approved, the proposed changes can be officially implemented. These include initiating a process for DOH to add NEW CONDITIONS and improving the program by implementing a fully-electronic system.Clock

 

Please realize that ADMINISTRATIVE RULE making is cumbersome, time-consuming and requires going through many bureaucratic hoops. It can take many months to finalize the rules, especially if substantive changes are made.

 

 

Excerpt from the Public Hearing Notice:

Pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 91, notice is hereby given that the Department of Health (DOH) will hold a public hearing for the proposed adoption of Chapter 11-160, Hawaii Administrative Rules, Medical Use of Marijuana.

This proposed new chapter would establish the medical marijuana program at DOH, including A NEW process for DOH to approve debilitating medical conditions, physician requirements to participate in the medical marijuana program, registration of qualifying patients and primary caregivers, monitoring and corrective action, administrative procedure, and confidentiality of information.

 

 

HEARING DATES and LOCATIONS:

Big Island–Date: Wednesday, January 28, 2015 Time:10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Place: State Office Building, Conference rooms A, B and C 75 Aupuni St. Hilo, Hawaii, HI 96720

 

Oahu--Date: Monday, February 2, 2015 Time:10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Place: Diamond Head Health Center 3627 Kilauea Ave.,Room 418 Honolulu, HI 96816

 

Maui— Date:Tuesday, February 3, 2015 Time: 10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Place: State Office Building 54 South High Street, Third Floor Conference Room, Wailuku, Maui, HI 96793

 

Kauai — Date: Thursday, February 5, 2015 Time: 10:30 to noon

Place: State Office Building 3060 Eiwa St., Basement Lihue, Kauai, HI 96766

 

All WRITTEN testimony must be received no later than February 6, 2015, at 4:30 p.m.

 

 

PUBLIC TESTIMONY– All interested persons shall be afforded the opportunity to submit testimony, orally and/or in writing, on the proposed administrative rules at the time of the public hearing. Persons who are not able to attend the public hearing may submit written testimony to DOH: by mail at: 4348 Waialae Avenue, #648, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816; or by email at medicalmarijuana@doh.hawaii.gov

 

Any person requiring a special accommodation (e.g., assistance of a sign language interpreter) at the public hearing shall file a request with DOH by email at medicalmarijuana@doh.hawaii.gov  or by calling (808) 733-9010 or via relay, at least ten business days before the public hearing.

 

To see more information on the hearing, please click Public Hearing Notice.

To read the proposed rules, please click Proposed Administrative Rules.

 

 

EVENT: Talk Story January 17th in Waianae: You’re Invited

The Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii would like to invite you (and your friends) to a special event in Waianae.

We are hosting a “Talk Story” session.

It’s free! And, we will provide light refreshments and drinks.

ID-100249180

All are invited to attend – if you have colleagues/friends/family that are caregivers, patients or doctors, they are more than welcome to attend. In this 2-hour session you will be given information about:

  1. The newest changes made to the medical marijuana (cannabis) program,
  2. What is happening with efforts to get a dispensary system.

We will discuss what bills may be introduced and we would like to hear your thoughts about them– as we move forward with improving the medical cannabis laws here in Hawai‘i.

YOUR INVITATION

When: Saturday, January 17, 2015        

Time: 1 pm – 3 pm            Cost: Free!

What: Talk Story: A chance to ask about Hawaii‘s medical cannabis laws and Legislative Updates. The information panel is: Rafael Kennedy, (Director) and Wendy Gibson, R.N. (Organizer) from the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii.

Where: Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center,  86-260 Farrington Highway, Waianae.

Directions: From Farrington Highway, turn onto Mailiilii Rd (a Stoplight).

Just past the Bus stop turn LEFT, at the Main Entrance–down the long driveway and park.

Go up the ramp to the 2nd floor of the Administration Building.

Please contact the Medical Cannabis Coalition if you have questions at  (808) 853-3231 or e-mail at info@mcchi.org.

All of our meetings are 100% confidential—but open to the public—so no video, photography or sound recordings please.

Mahalo and we look forward to seeing you on January 17th !

  • SAVE THE DATE
  • 2015 JANUARY
    SUNDAY MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY
            1 2 3
           
    4 5 6 7 8 9 10
                 
    11 12 13 14 15 16 17   Talk Story 1-3p

     

Is MORE Research on medical cannabis needed? Always.

Laboratorium-biologia-molekularna

“More research is needed” are words that you will find written at the end of most scientific research articles.

You will probably hear it a lot if you are talking about using cannabis as medicine.

The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) recently echoed these words, along with a position statement and a request for the RECLASSIFICATION of marijuana as a Schedule I drug.

Currently research is restricted by a big ROADBLOCK which has to be removed. It is the (mis)classification of marijuana as a SCHEDULE I drug—a classification which is supposed to be for drugs that have NO medicinal value.

This severely limits who can conduct research and who gets to have access to the government’s supply of marijuana.

The AAN announced that they “support all efforts to conduct rigorous research to evaluate the long-term safety and effectiveness of marijuana-based products”.

And they added: “The AAN, for research purposes, requests the reclassification of marijuana-based products from their current Schedule 1 status so as to improve access for study of marijuana or cannabinoids under IRB-approved research protocols”.

WHAT ABOUT MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS?

While others are still saying “More research is needed”, The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has gone ahead with making recommendations to physicians on the use of–certain forms of–cannabis products to treat qualifying multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. They also have a patient guide.

And, MS is one of the approved conditions in many medical marijuana programs, in many states including Hawaii.

UNITED STATES PATENTS on CANNABIS

Enough research has been done that the United States Government has multiple patents on cannabis as a therapeutic agent. One is a 2003 patent of cannabis as a neuroprotectant.  And there are more than 80 other U.S. patent (or applications for patents) HERE

And the Good News is that More US. research is coming!

In December of 2014 the state Colorado health officials awarded $8 million in research grants on to study the use of medical marijuana in the treatment of symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease, childhood epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder.

 

While we welcome more research and wait for it,

we can follow ongoing research in Israel—

The world leader in cannabis research.

 

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this Site is for educational purposes only. This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Please consult a physician before beginning any treatment program or making any adjustments in your healthcare, diet, and /or lifestyle.

Do not remove yourself from any prescribed medications or treatments without consulting your doctor.

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

money lock

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

Wanted: Medical Marijuana Dispensary System for Hawaii

 

Do YOU think that having a Medical Marijuana Dispensary System for qualified patients in Hawaii is a good idea?

You are certainly not alone.

The State of Hawaii Auditor’s conclusion is a resounding “YES we do”. One of the reasons: to protect the public from potential harm. The auditor recognizes that the current system forces patients to either grow their own or seek out black markets. The Auditor’s report (a Sunrise Analysis) reviewed the need and explains the potential benefits of having a medical marijuana dispensary—if a bill is passed.

The Auditor explained:

“Because the sale of marijuana is illegal under state law, there is no place within the state to legally obtain marijuana, which forces qualifying medical marijuana patients to either grow their own (MMJ) or seek out black market products,” the report reads. “For this overriding reason, we conclude that regulation of dispensaries is needed to protect the public from potential harm.”

The report goes on to say that without a system of regulated dispensaries, “patients’ health is jeopardized because a product’s strength, strain and lack of contaminants cannot be verified”

The AUDITORS full report can be viewed at the Public Policy Center at UH Manoa website.

If you read the whole report it refers to House Bill 1587 (a 2014 bill which didn’t pass). The findings are still very important, especially for legislators when reviewing a dispensary bill which WILL be introduced in 2015.

The content of the bill will be based on recommendations by the (HCR-48) Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Force members who have been working on this for several months.

You can see the minutes from past meetings HERE.

One of the Dispensary Task Force members, State Senator Josh Green, M.D., (D-Kona), who chairs the Senate Health Committee, offered this hopeful sentiment to West Hawaii Today:

He said that he is confident a [dispensary] bill will pass and it will be signed by Governor David Ige. He also offered that “The program needs to be very tightly regulated . . . And, it should be about the patients who need it the most having access.”

This is encouraging to those working on making medical marijuana dispensaries a reality.

 Want to know more?

ON December 16, 2014, You can watch the DISPENSARY TASK FORCE in action when they meet to give their recommendations–at the State Capitol (9-11 A.M.).

 

 

Medical Marijuana Certifications Need to be RENEWED BEFORE December 15, 2014

The State of Hawaii Department of Health has not assumed management of the Medical Marijuana program yet–but sent this notice for Qualified Medical Marijuana Users.

DOH MM prgm logoDEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
DAVID IGE
GOVERNOR
KEITH YAMAMOTO
ACTING DIRECTOR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    Dec. 2, 2014

QUALIFIED MEDICAL MARIJUANA USERS URGED TO RENEW THEIR CERTIFICATION BEFORE DEC. 12, 2014

BLACKOUT PERIOD PLANNED FROM DEC. 12 – 31

AS PROGRAM TRANSITIONS TO HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
 

HONOLULU – Hawaii patients whose medical marijuana certification is expiring by the end of December are urged to renew their certification with the Department of Public Safety before Dec. 12, 2014.

A patient with a debilitating medical condition must obtain a signed physician’s medical statement that the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the qualifying patient before applying for a written certification from the Department of Public Safety.

The medical marijuana program has been in operation for 14 years and, as required in Act 177, is being transferred to the Department of Health, effective Jan. 1, 2015.

There will be a planned blackout period from Dec. 12 to 31, 2014 in which no certifications will be issued to prepare for this transition.

Although federal law prohibits the use of marijuana, Hawaii is one of 23 states and the District of Columbia that has legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, acknowledging the health benefits of medical marijuana use.

Certifications are good for 12 months and are issued on an annual basis. Patients must possess a current certification that allows lawful cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana for medical purposes. This certification must be available to law enforcement officials at any time to avoid potential legal action. The Department of Health will honor all current Department of Public Safety medical marijuana certifications through their expiration date.

The current registration fee to receive a medical marijuana card from the Department of Public Safety is $25. In keeping with Act 177, commencing Jan. 1, 2015 medical marijuana applications will be submitted through an online process to the Department of Health and the registration fee will increase to $38.50 including the portal fee. Online payment will be available and is encouraged for faster services.

For questions about the transition, patients may call the Medical Marijuana Information Hotline for recorded messages at 733-2177.

Toll free numbers have also been established for neighbor island residents: Hawaii Island residents may call 974-4000, ext. 32177; Maui residents may call 984-2400, ext. 32177; and Kauai residents may call 274-3141, ext. 32177.

For the most up-to-date information, visit the new Department of Health, Medical Marijuana Program’s website at health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana.

 

Free Workshops on Maui and the Big Island!

The Public Access Room (PAR) is offering FREE training for anyone who wants to be effective in using the legislative process to change laws. legis

In MAUI on December 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. On the Big Island the following week.

For details –Please see the website and 2014 Maui outreach flyer

Maui Workshops: Dec 2014
Mon Dec 8 3 p Lahaina Kaunoa West Maui Senior Ctr
788 Pauoa St., off Lahainaluna Road
Tue Dec 9 12 noon Pukalani Tavares Community Ctr
91 Pukalani St. (meeting room by the pool)
Wed Dec 10 6 p Kihei Community Ctr
Kihei Community Center303 E. Lipoa St. (small mtg room, by hall)
Thur Dec 11 6 p Wailuku Public Library
251 High St.
Fri Dec 12 12 noon Kahului Community Ctr
275 Uhu St. (in Kahului Community Park)
Hawaii Island Workshops: Dec 2014
Schedule in development, tentatively set for December 15-20.

Phone Red

And, please call them if you would like to have group or individual instruction: Maui  (808) 984- 2400 (extension 7-0478), Big Island (808) 974-4000 (ext. 7-0478), Oahu (808) 587-0478.

 

New Housing Protections for Medical Cannabis Patients to take effect November 1st.

Landlords and Renters (in the private sector), please take note:

Housing rules are changing to afford better protection for medical marijuana patients in Hawaii. Now patients who rent in the private sector will have some new protections against being evicted for their lawful use of medical cannabis. This will not necessarily affect all medical cannabis patients, and if you are being threatened with eviction, you should contact a lawyer, but it is still a big step in the right direction!

This takes effect NOVEMBER 1, 2014.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE PRESS RELEASE

Download the PDF file .