Dispatches

The APA: Official Sponsor of ‘Cannabis Abuse’

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By Fred Gardner 

The new O’Shaughnessy’s has a piece about Zenia Gilg’s lawsuit challenging the validity of marijuana being on Schedule 1. The federal government’s rationale was explicitly stated —it all comes down to potential for “abuse” as defined by The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The DSM, published by the American Psychiatric Association, is often called “The Bible” of the profession. It assigns a definition and a number to every ailment of the mind and spirit for which psychotherapists provide treatment, MDs prescribe medication, and insurance companies reimburse. The double purpose of the DSM is to endow the field of Psychiatry with a facade of rigor while facilitating billing. read more

Richard E. Musty —a founder of the ICRS

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By John McPartland and Fred Gardner, July 29, 2015

The longtime executive director of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, Rik Musty, died July 26, at home in Wacouta, Minnesota, at the age of 72.

Rik was born in Minnesota, earned a BA from Carleton College in 1964, and a PhD in Psychology from McGill in 1968. He joined the University of Vermont faculty that year, and chaired the Department of Psychology from 1975 to 1987. He mentored 31 Masters and Doctoral students, and served on the committees of 20 additional theses and dissertations.

His cannabinoid research began in 1973, as a Visiting Professor in Sao Paulo Brazil, working with Karniol and Carlini. That fruitful collaboration continued through 2006, bolstered by sabbatical leaves to Brazil in 1981 and 2004. PubMed lists 25 publications. Musty also wrote a dozen book chapters —including two published in 1984 on the anti-anxiety effects of cannabidiol.  read more

Raphael Mechoulam gets the biopic he deserves

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By Fred Gardner   Many of us who get interested in cannabis as medicine get very interested and want to learn more about how it works. One of the first facts you pick up is that the chemical structure of THC was worked out and published in 1964 by Israeli pharmacologists Raphael Mechoulam and Yechiel Gaoni.

It’s not so well known that Mechoulam, now 84, has been conducting and guiding cutting-edge cannabinoid research all these years.  Zach Klein’s beautifully filmed documentary, The Scientist, recounts Mechoulam’s role in discovering and elucidating the endocannabinoid system, and proposing clinical applications. Here is a review from the new O’Shaughnessy’s  

read more

Beyond CBD: Martin Lee on the Importance of THC

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June 24 From O’S News Service

A special hearing on cannabidiol (CBD) was held June 24 by the U.S. Senate Caucus on International Drug Control, and Martin Lee, director of Project CBD, contributed written testimony. 

After briefly recounting the medical potential of CBD, Lee challenged the simplistic notion that it’s the “good” cannabinoid, as opposed to bad THC:

…But a CBD-rich remedy with little THC doesn’t work for everyone. Parents of epileptic children have found that adding some THC (or THCA, the raw unheated version of THC) to the CBD oil helps with seizure control in many instances. For some epileptics, THC-dominant strains are more effective than CBD-rich products.

read more

All About EVOO

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By O’Shaughnessy’s News Service

People in Greece, Southern Italy, and Spain have lower rates of colon, breast, prostate, and ovarian cancer than Northern Europeans. This is attributed to differences in diet. In the Mediterranean diet, the primary source of fat is extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO); the Northerners use butter and lard.

The EVOO benefit is dramatic —an almost 50% lower rate of colon cancer, for example. Extra-virginity is important because the polyphenols in freshly pressed olive oil degrade with aging and re-processing. read more

New Cannabis Encyclopedia Immediately Useful

April 9  By Fred Gardner   A beautifully produced 596-page “Cannabis Encyclopedia” by Jorge Cervantes arrived just as we were looking for a graphic to run with a letter to O’Shaughnessy’s from  a grower bedeviled by Russet Mites up where the Klamath River runs into the ocean.  

The Encyclopedia provided two usable pix —a blown-up photomicrograph of the disgusting little creatures, and a photo by Karl Hillig showing them on a leaf petiole.

read more

Is Cannabis-Based Medicine a Viable —and Valid— Specialty?

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March 25, 2015  By Fred Gardner   

A spectre is haunting California physicians who have been practicing Cannabis-based Medicine: the likelihood of “legalization” in 2016. The economic viability of their specialty may depend on how the new law is worded.

If legalization involves a steep tax on cannabis sold for recreational use, many people will continue visiting MDs to confirm that their use is medical. This is the situation in Colorado, where a doctor’s authorization letter effectively confers a 25% price break from dispensaries, and cannabis-oriented medical practices are flourishing.

But what if the tax is not steep enough to induce cannabis users to get a doctor’s approval? How many people using the herb to treat common conditions such as pain, depression and anxiety will feel the need to seek annual renewals? read more

Notes From Prison

DC Costa and friends

By Dustin Costa   The prison camp in Florence, Colorado is about as decent as prison gets. I arrived here a little over four years ago, transferred from the Federal Prison in Big Spring, Texas.

The prison complex lies just outside of town along route 67.  My first impression on seeing the camp on the hill above the highway was that it looked like a high school campus.

Across the way was the medium security facility, which looked a lot like the camp, except for all the razor wire surrounding it. Just past the shoulder of the highway, four-foot-tall reinforced concrete spikes jutted out of the ground, about six feet apart. It looked like they could stop a tank.

Finally, after nearly five years in prison, I was coming to a camp. I was still a prisoner, but I felt like a kid opening presents at Christmas. This would be paradise compared to where I’d been. That’s what I thought then. I still pretty much feel that way, but it’s still prison. The government still owns me…

Here’s DC’s complete dispatch, laid out for the Spring 2015 O’Shaughnessy’s.

The Launch of Phytecs

By Fred Gardner   

When Raphael Mechoulam entitled his 2012 talk to the International Cannabinoid Research Society, “Planning Research for the Next Half a Century,” he did not anticipate an ambitious start-up taking him literally. 

Los Angeles attorney Gary Hiller has engaged Mechoulam, professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem —and the co-discoverer of THC and CBD in 1964, and of anandamide in 1992—  to help develop the research agenda of a new company called Phytecs. (Synthesized from Phyto, which is Greek for “plant,” plus EndoCannabinoid System.)

In his ICRS talk, Mechoulam suggested that investigators might profitably explore new applications for CBD, the uses of the CB-2 receptor, and the role of numerous fatty acids that are close chemical relatives of the body’s own cannabinoids.  “I am glad that my work has played a catalytic role in drug development,” he commented in a March 1 email.    read more

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The Second Column

What’s Your Handicap?

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From O’S News Service August 29    Golfers taking part in the “420 Games” were the subject of a story by Eric Kuhli in today’s Oakland Trib.  About 100 people …

Sativa and indica genetics gap quantified

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By O’S News Service August 29, 2015 It has long been assumed that the difference between plants considered by cultivators to be Cannabis sativa and plants considered C. indica was the result …

Introducing the new O’Shaughnessy’s

Autumn 2015 cover

 A movie review is the cover story in our content-packed Autumn 2015 issue. (Scroll down to see the line-up.)  CONTENTS  U.S. weighs rescheduling as CBD-rich cannabis proves helpful to children with epilepsy and …

Brownie Mary Democrats get a Seat at the Table

Mary Rathburn, Dennis Peron in BG. Photo by Fred Gardner

Some hip graduate student looking for a thesis topic should consider writing the life of Mary Rathbun, the fearless radical best known for the crime of bringing home-baked marijuana …

California Med Board Update

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A report to the Society of Cannabis Clinicians by Joe D. Goldrich, MD, August 6 2015.  The California Medical Board met at the San Francisco airport Marriott Hotel, July 30 …

AB-266 —the latest version

Assemblyman Rob Bonta drafted SB266 with help from Law Enforcement and the League of Cities.

Note to the SCC August 13, 2015 Here is the latest draft of AB-266, 63 pages of bureaucratese, some of it troubling. Dale Gieringer of California NORML has been following the …

Nora Volkow on the “Potential Promise” of CBD

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The director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Nora Volkow, has just published an essay in the Huffington Post entitled “Researching Marijuana for Therapeutic Purposes: The Potential …

A Film that Needs to be Made

Breht ASA 2015

By Fred Gardner (no relation), July 30, 2015 Breht Gardner has devoted the past year to filming doctors, scientists, and patients for a documentary about the cancer epidemic and …

NY Times op-ed lauds mj clinic staffers

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From O’S News Service, July 28   “The Weed Dispensary’s Lessons for Doctors” is the lead op-ed in today’s New York Times.  The author, David Casarett, MD,  is …

NSAIDS Kill —underplayed story of the year

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Danger! Danger! Danger!  Of all the big stories buried in the New York Times in 2015, none seems bigger than this item that ran at the bottom of …

Telemedicine Marches On

MD by Skype

A front-page story by Amy Goodnough in the New York Times July 12 discusesses the advent of Skype consultations, mainly from a financial perspective.  (As Dr. Allan Frankel says, …

Marijuana Study Counters ‘Gateway’ Theory

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By Dennis Thompson in HealthDay News, July 10 Marijuana may not be the “gateway drug” some believe it to be, a new study contends. Instead, teens smoke pot …

What Would Brownie Mary Do?

Mary Rathburn, Dennis Peron in BG. Photo by Fred Gardner

 An exchange with Lanny Swerdlow, founder of the Brownie Mary Democratic Club.  Lanny was responding to a complaint by Brett Stone, who runs an invaluable clipping service for …

Medicare will pay for end-of-life counseling

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Note to the SCC from the managing editor June 9, 2015 The steps involved in changing Medicare’s criteria for reimbursement are laid out in a front-page story in today’s New …

The Trip Back from Nova Scotia

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How many times have you seen TV news reports of people stranded in airports, and thought, “Thank God that’s not me?” Usually the flight cancellations are attributed to the …

Note to the SCC re: Diet Clinics

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Because the Affordable Healthcare Act reimburses doctors treating the disease of Obesity —defined by the American Medical Association as a body mass index of 30 or higher— obesity clinics …

‘Pot Bad, Wine Good’ in the AVA

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By Will Parrish in the June 10 AVA In the last two weeks, the State Assembly and State Senate have passed three drought-related bills to regulate the watershed …

Where are the prohibitionists when we need them? 

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What do you want?  A healthy diet! When do you want it?  In three years! The Food and Drug Administration is giving the food industry three years to …

Hall Monitoring the Future

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By O’S News Service June 23 Teenage marijuana use does not increase as a result of a state passing a marijuana law. That was the key conclusion of …

Why Melatonin Works

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 From PubMed, as supplied by the publisher: Chronobiol Int. 2015 Jun 10:1-6. [Epub ahead of print] Rhythmic control of endocannabinoids in the rat pineal gland. Koch M1, Ferreirós N, …