Correa in Context

THM '99 in Acapulco

We live in a twittery world. A state senator, a rightwing Democrat from Orange County named Lou Correa, introduces a bill at the behest of law enforcement lobbyists to “regulate” the medical cannabis industry. Some dispensary operators whose profitable niches would be secured by the bill meet with the state senator and discuss modifications. At the urging of Don Duncan of ASA, The Society of Cannabis Clinicians drafts a letter to the senator, diplomatically expressing their members’ objections to the bill. The letter ends with a long list of suggested changes to the wording. 

Because it’s a twittery world, the merits of the Correa bill are debated without reference to the relevant background. And because the SCC doctors have their credibility as professionals to uphold, their letter cannot simply say, ”It is against the state constitution for you and your cronies to weaken an initiative passed by the voters. We suggest you ask attorney Bill Panzer to testify on this point —he’s the lawyer who helped draft Prop 215. He will explain why, if your bill passes, it will be thrown out by the courts. It’s too bad that we, the people, can’t sue legislators who intentionally waste our money with bills that please their lobbyist/backers but won’t pass muster legally. Your bill is the political equivalent of malpractice.” read more

Remembering Ringo

April 5, 2014 By Fred Gardner    Lawrence Ringo died yesterday. Cancer. Cigarettes. Not yet 60. 

He was a tough guy in love with life, fulfilled by what his own life contained: plants and music, friends and family.

I met him in the winter of 2008/09 through Samantha Miller of Pure Analytics lab, who’d heard we were on the lookout for CBD-rich plants. I interviewed him that day  for the Anderson Valley Advertiser. Unlike most growers and plant breeders, who are understandably reticent when it comes to describing their work, Ringo was bold and forthright. He (and Samantha) gave Project CBD a great boost in those bygone days when we still felt it necessary to define cannabidiol for readers of the AVA. 

Sour Tsunami Stabilized! 

For the first time, a California plant breeder has “stabilized” a strain of Cannabis high in cannabidiol —CBD, the non-psychoactive cousin of THC that has medical benefits of its own. 

Lawrence Ringo, 54, runs the Southern Humboldt Seed Collective. He started growing marijuana at 15.  On his way to school one day he found a sapphire gold ring and a snub-nosed .38 and a film can of cocaine. He threw away the coke and returned the ring and the pistol to the local head of the Hell’s Angels.  “Come on in little brother,” said the grateful biker. When he asked what he could do by way of thanks, Lawrence pointed to a big Sativa plant he saw growing in the back yard and said, “I want to learn how to grow that!” read more

Realm of Caring Comes to California

By Fred Gardner   There is a point at which a story achieves critical mass —it goes from being a matter of interest to a fraction of the public to one that everyone’s talking about, inescapable in the media. That point in the medical cannabis story was reached last August when Sanjay Gupta, MD, narrated an hour-long “Special Report” on CNN that provided dramatic examples of Cannabis exerting beneficial effects. Most memorable was the return to health of a five-year old in Colorado Springs, Charlotte Figi, afflicted with Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.

Charlotte’s parents told Gupta how her condition worsened as every conventional treatment failed. She was having hundreds of seizures a day and the doctors were considering inducing a coma to save her life. Her dad, a Special Forces soldier deployed to Afghanistan, researched epilepsy treatments on the web and learned about CBD. Desperate, the Figis bought $800 worth of CBD-rich Cannabis at a dispensary and a friend helped them extract the medicine for under-the-tongue application. Charlotte’s seizures went down to one a week and and she began recovering!  read more

Dr. Goldstein on Caring for Kids With Epilepsy

By O’Shaughnessy’s News Service February 24 2014   Bonni Goldstein, MD, flew into San Jose yesterday to address some 120 serious, devoted, desperate, courageous parents on the subject of “CBD and Pediatric Epilepsy.” Goldstein is 40-something and could be Bette Midler’s body double (or vice versa).  The seminar was held at the Embassy Suites hotel in Milpitas, and was organized by Realm of Caring California, a foundation associated with the Stanley Brothers of Colorado. An extract from the Stanleys’ CBD-rich plant provided dramatic seizure relief to a little girl named Charlotte Figi, whose improvement was reported to the world by Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN last summer. The strain was dubbed “Charlotte’s Web.” Many of the parents who came to hear Goldstein are on a waiting list to get oil made from Realm of Caring plants being grown by Ray Mirzabegian, who also spoke.

 Goldstein is the medical director of Canna-Centers, a chain of clinics. She had previously given seminars in concert with Realm of Caring in Santa Monica and Irvine. “There’s a lot on the internet that’s opinion,” she said, “I’m here to give you the facts.”   read more

San Francisco Narcs Get a Small Come-Uppance


February 28, 2014   San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr says he’s “shaken” by the federal indictment of five SFPD narcotics officers. Bwa bwa bwa, as Dennis Peron used to say.  The criminal behavior perpetrated by Suhr’s troops was standard operating procedure and he knows it. He’s shaken that the men got caught on camera doing their thing —ripping off poor people and planting drugs— and that the feds did not give them a pass. Chris Roberts wrote about Chief Suhr’s response to the indictment in yesterday’s San Francisco Examiner. Nobody on the Police Department’s command staff is suspected of wrongdoing,” according to Suhr (according to Roberts), and “there is no evidence of a systemic problem throughout the SFPD.”

Greg Suhr is himself a former SFPD narcotics officer and a longtime honcho in the narco-clique that, for about a decade starting in 1996, did not completely rule at the Hall of Justice. (Terence Hallinan was DA, Willie Brown mayor, and Fred Lau and Heather Fong running SFPD in this interlude. Gavin Newsom restored Suhr to power as he left for Sacramento to become Lieutenant Governor.) read more

Dr. John Merritt’s Call to Reschedule Marijuana

It’s Black History Month (we knew her when she was Negro History Week) and O’Shaughnessy’s is honoring some African Americans whose contributions to the abolitionist cause have been under-publicized. 
In July 1976, Washington, D.C. Superior Court Judge James A. Washington —a former dean of Howard University Law School— ruled that Robert Randall, a D.C. resident in his 20s who was going blind from glaucoma, had a right by way of “medical necessity” to use marijuana. Key testimony came from a UCLA opthalmologist who had observed Randall’s response to the available pharmaceuticals and found that only marijuana lowered his intraocular pressure.  Following Judge Washington’s ruling, the Food and Drug Administration agreed to provide Randall with marijuana grown at the University of Mississippi for the “research purposes” of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
First, however, Randall had to find a Washington-area opthalmologist willing to prescribe the “investigational new drug” and supervise his treatment with it. (The opthalmologist who had previously treated him wanted nothing to do with marijuana.) Coincidentally, in August ’76, John C. Merritt, MD, an assistant professor of Opthalmology at Howard University College of Medicine, notified the National Eye Institute that he wanted to study the effect of marijuana on glaucoma. NEI told NIDA, and doctor and patient were hooked up.

read more

Too far ahead of his time (Judge James A. Washington)

Judge James Washington

By Fred Gardner   February 2, 2014     The fact that people of color are punished disproportionately by drug prohibition is now widely acknowledged in the United States. Just last week the New Yorker quoted President Obama stating: “Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do. And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.”

 Still unacknowledged, however, is the role that African Americans have played not as victims but as leading opponents of prohibition. This being Black History Month (I knew her when she was Negro History Week) O’Shaughnessy’s is honoring some men and women whose contributions to the abolitionist cause have been underappreciated or overlooked.  Starting with… read more

The Meaning of Mistletoe


By Fred Gardner

Why does the presence of mistletoe —a parasitic plant that roots in oaks and other host trees— confer the right to kiss whoever you’re with?

The answer occurred to John Lee, MD, a family practitioner in Mill Valley, back in 1967. Lee was then editing the Marin Medical Society Bulletin and on the lookout for topics for his monthly column. He came across an article in a Harvard alumni publication describing the pagan rituals of the Celts  who lived in the British Isles in the millennium before Christ. For their winter solstice celebration, the Celtic priests —Druids— would collect berries from trees bearing mistletoe. read more

The Year of Disimplementation

When Prop 215 passed, many optimists thought it would mean the beginning of the end of a destructive, costly prohibition. They assumed the significance of the vote was unmistakable —the people of California had told the government to lay off citizens who were using marijuana for medical purposes. These optimists clung to the naive belief that the United States is a democracy and that laws created by the people will be implemented. 

 But the law created by the passage of Prop 215 was viewed by Attorney General Dan  Lungren and the law enforcement lobby as a mistake by the people that they would have to rectify.  Lungren instructed police and prosecutors to keep arresting and charging people who used marijuana, even if they had the approval of a physician. 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 VaporNation Newhead News Political allies CRAFT Law Office Omar CBD specialists
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The Second Column

Honest Talk About Heroin

graphic by Jungyeon Roh April 17   A great musician named Robert Aaron was arrested by publicity-seeking New York City cops shortly after Philip Seymour Hoffman died in early February. Aaron was …


Deputy AG James M. Cole Leaders of the marijuana industry greatly appreciated the line Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole took in 2013 when he told Congress: “The Department of Justice expects that states …

WeedMaps Billboard Banned From Times Square

CBS_Super_Screen_NADA_1000 By David Downs in the East Bay Express, April 15   Even though polls show that most Americans support the legalization of marijuana, corporate America continues to censor pot-related …

Frankel to San Diego: Extracts are Essential

Dr. Frankel From Allan Frankel, MD, April 13:   I was asked to either attend a City Council meeting in San Diego or write a letter. The city is looking to …

The Taming Role of NGOs

Arundhati Roy April 9  The renowned Indian novelist and essayist Arundhati Roy explained on Democracy Now today how non-governmental agencies —foundations and other non-profits— move in on indigenous reform efforts, …

Shack Attack (add CBD strains)

ShackAttack-week9_2 From David Bonvillain in Colorado, April 10: In honor of the mentor I never got to meet in person —thought I would share my latest results from some …

Gerdeman to Florida Pols: The Science is Indisputable

Greg Gerdeman By Gregory Gerdeman in the Tampa Bay Times April 8 The science is indisputable: marijuana is medicine There appears to be growing support in the Legislature to legalize …

Michelle Leonhart and the scandal that wasn’t

leonhart_thumb April 5   DEA Michelle Leonhart, addressing a law-enforcement conclave in March, expressed misgivings about the Obama Administration’s supposedly lenient approach towards marijuana. Pro-cannabis activists  were shocked —shocked— …

A Tribute to Ringo

Ringo in the sun. From Kerry Reynolds of KMUD  April 5, 2014     Here’s a link to my Cannabis Consciousness episode in February, when we just found out about Ringo. Ringo …

CBD for Dental Pain

Dr. Frankel Case note from Allan Frankel, MD, April 3, 2014 In the past few days I have been following a 59-year-old woman with severe pain following gum surgery. An …

Deadliness of Downers Documented

Lunesta By O’S News Service, April 3, 2014   Pharmaceutical downers are “associated with premature mortality” (meaning they can kill you dead).  A gold-standard study which came to that ominous …

LA to Realm of Caring: We Don’t

Serious Ray April 2, 2014   The dispensary that Ray Mirzabegian planned to use as headquarters for Realm of Caring California —read the background here— has been ordered to close …

Is Kannaway’s CBD-rich Hemp Oil Legal?

cibdex from HempMedspx An email from S.D., March 31, 2014Subject: CBD hemp oil products selling in USAMessage: Are you saying that the companies, including the new MLM, Kannaway, who are marketing CBD …

Dodger Stadium Adds Vapor Lounge

Dodger Stadium from on high. From Brett Stone, April 1 2014  It was a press conference like no other before it. The Los Angeles Dodgers made MLB history on Monday when they announced the …

DeAngelo: Civil Disobedience Should not be Dissed

Raphael Mechoulam and Steve DeAngelo, April 2010 By Steve DeAngelo in the Huffington Post March 27:  American history shows over and over again that sometimes the only way to change an unjust law is to …

Plants Can “Detect” Gas Leaks

Illustration by Marko Turunen From O’S News Service  March 29   A few years ago in San Bruno, California, eight homes were destroyed and 38 people killed when aging underground pipes carrying …

UN Commission Re-evaluates Drug Prohibitions

Sativex March 20, 2014  From Dale Gieringer in Vienna, Austria     Cannabis medicine scored an impressive debut at the UN Commission on Narcotics Drugs, as the government of Austria …

NIDA Approves Sisley’s PTSD Study (At Long Last)

SueSisley March 14, 2014      This is a big, big breakthrough. Here’s the relevant background. And here’s the latest from Evan Halper (from Washington) and Cindy Carcamo (from …

SCC Docs to ASA: Don’t Accept Restrictions on Us

ASA's Don Duncan March 17, 2014  From Jeffrey Hergenrather, MD, president of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, to Steph Sherer and Don Duncan of Americans for Safe Access I appreciated seeing …

“The literature” is catching up to the SCC

Fig. 1. Potential targets and mechanisms of CBs involved in the improvement of IBD. Natural and synthetic CBs act via intestinal CB1 and CB2 receptors to regulate epithelial permeability, motility, secretion (via the enteric nervous system), as well as leukocyte migration, recruitment and apopto-
sis. As the site with the highest CB1 expression (but also some CB2 expression), the brain may modulate motility, the sensation of pain and unpleasantness, thus positively influencing the inflammatory process. By Jeffrey Hergenrather, MD  March 17, 2014    “Cannabis Finds Its Way Into Treatment of Crohn’s Disease” was the title of a recent paper by R. Schicho (University …