Dispatches

Raphael Mechoulam gets the biopic he deserves

RM w plant

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, reviews Mechoulam’s role in discovering and elucidating the endocannabinoid system.

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Beyond CBD: Martin Lee on the Importance of THC

sealSenate

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.

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All About EVOO

old olive tree david monteleone

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.

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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

Joe Lacob is Creepier Than Donald Sterling

The Warriors’ great Klay Thompson pumped as if to shoot. Trevor Ariza (6′ 7″, 225 lbs) leaped to block the shot, but Thompson stayed bent down instead of rising up and Ariza’s left knee clipped him with full force behind the right ear. Thompson fell to the floor in pain. He was taken to the locker room, woozy,  with a laceration  behind his ear. The Warriors’ medical staff  “could not find evidence of a concussion” and sent him back out to report for action. But as he sat on the bench, blood started trickling from behind Thompason’s ear, down his neck, and he returned to the locker room for stitches. He was not put back in the game. The statement issued by the team afterwards said: no concussion. read more

Simon Grinspoon

Simon Grinspoon

A Remembrance by Lester Grinspoon

My father was born in Russia in 1898. There is some uncertainty about where in Russia; his death certificate lists Moscow as the place of birth, but there is some reason to believe that it was somewhere in the Pale. Apparently some months before his birth his father, Louis, left for America with the understanding that he would send for his wife, whom I called Bubbe, and the children to join him once he was settled. In 1900 Bubbe and her two children, Sarah who was four and Simon, now two, set out for the United States, and the family was reunited in West Newton where my grandfather now owned a dairy farm. read more

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Best newspaper in America Dr. Tod – The Movie The Society of Cannabis Clinicians was formed as a project of the California Cannabis Research Medical Group in the Autumn of 2004. Project CBD is a non-profit educational service dedicated to promoting and publicizing research into the medical utility of cannabidiol (CBD) and other components of the Cannabis plant. News and political analysis Dr. Lester Grinspoon, M.D. is Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Grinspoon was senior psychiatrist at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston for 40 years. Moving Sustainable Medicines Forward Consultant Newhead News Political allies Whole plant medicinal extracts Law Office Great artwork, incisive politics Omar CBD specialists

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The Second Column

NY Times op-ed lauds mj dispensaries

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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 the director of hospice …

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

Medicare nyt july 9

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, …

Cannabis Counters Parasitic Worms

The American Journal of Human Biology has published a paper by Washington State University anthropologist Ed Hagen and colleagues suggesting that male Aka foragers in the Congo (pygmies, a peaceful and …

AMA wants immunity for MJ recommenders

Jun 09, 2015  by  Gale Scott forwarded by Brett Stone Balking at the concept of calling any use of marijuana “medical” delegates to the American Medical Association’s annual …

Scientific Journals are Increasingly p.r.-oriented

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June 1  A front-page story in today’s NYT by Noam Scheiber contains an astonishing bit about Science Magazine: “One of the things the American Association for the Advancement of Science”— …

The Shortage of Black Doctors

Damon Tweedy, MD

African Americans account for 13% of the population and five percent of US physicians. The NY Times ran a terrific piece by Damon Tweedy, MD, a psychiatrist affiliated with Duke University, about …

‘Lucky, Jr’ Makes the Cover of Time!

Photo-illustration by Brobel Design for TIME. Mouse: Getty, Lighter, Joint, Smoke: iStockphoto

The May 25 Time Magazine cover photo is of a white rodent smoking a joint —an offspring of Lucky, the Lab Mouse, who we interviewed for O’Shaughnessy’s in 2010.  The Time story by …

Study Looks at the Contact High

photo: dailytech.com

May 14    A group of addiction specialists from Johns Hopkins University have proved that second-hand smoke from marijuana can have an effect on those who inhale it. …

Neurology With a Vengeance

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May 5 2015  Child Protective Services —with backing from a prejudiced medical establishment— has moved against so many American parents that an organized nationwide opposition has formed. An SCC member forwards this …

A New Study From Drs. Nelson and Haggard

Willie and Merle

April 27    Cannabis as an alternative to alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs is the theme of a new study from musicologists at the University of Texas-Bakersfield. Prohibition was costly to Willie Nelson and …