Dispatches

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

Jeff in Croatia3

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

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

Med Board Update

MBC logo

By Fred Gardner   January 30, 2015

Joe D. Goldstrich, MD, and I drove out to a meeting of the medical board’s Enforcement Committee in Sacramento yesterday. We had been alerted by Frank Lucido, MD, that medical marijuana was going to be on the agenda. At the previous meeting, the board discussed revising the guidelines concerning medical marijuana approvals it adopted in 2004 (eight years after the passage of Prop 215).

Read the proposed changes here. 

Also attending yesterday’s session was R. Stephen Ellis, MD, of San Francisco who has for years been urging the board to crack down on doctors who conduct only cursory exams before authorizing patients to use marijuana. read more

Teflon Bill Bennett Preaches Anti-Pot Gospel

Family Research Council Hosts Voter Values Summit

February 1, 2015  By Fred Gardner

Bill Bennett, who had been Secretary of Education under Reagan and Drug Czar under George H.W. Bush, is on the talk shows this morning plugging his new book, “Going to Pot: Why the Rush to Legalize Marijuana Is Harming America.” Co-author Robert White is a former federal prosecutor.

An obsequious piece about the book in the Washington Times refers to “Mr. Bennett’s research revealing that more Americans are admitted to treatment facilities for marijuana use than for any other illegal drug…”  As Bill Bennett well knows, almost everyone receiving “treatment” for marijuana is court-mandated or parent-mandated or job-mandated. In other words, forced.  Very few marijuana users consider themselves in need of treatment.  And  nobody gives up their drug of choice until they themselves really want to, according to the 12-steppers’ collective wisdom. read more

McPartland’s Correct(ed) Vernacular Nomenclature

Screen shot 2015-01-06 at 9.05.21 AM

January 4, 2015  By O’S News Service

An ambitious call to standardize the names used by non-scientists in reference to Cannabis plants —to create an accurate vernacular nomenclature— was made by Dr. John McPartland at the 2014 meeting of the International Cannabinoid Research Society and will be published in O’Shaughnessy’s upcoming print edition. McPartland’s ICRS paper, co-authored by Dr. Geoffrey Guy, used “DNA barcodes” to determine whether or not Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa are separate species. The answer was not. C. indica and C. sativa are subspecies —separate varieties of one Cannabis species. read more

Jim Clark Could Give Marijuana Smugglers a Bad Name

Sheriff Jim Clark

From O’Shaughnessy’s News Service January 5, 2014 

A new movie recreates the March 7, 1965 civil rights march in Selma, Alabama that was violently suppressed by law enforcement and shamed Congress into passing a voters’ rights bill. 

Howard Zinn had spent time in Selma with SNCC organizers whose voter-registration drive led up  to the march. (SNCC, pronounced Snick, was the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.) Their nemesis was Sheriff Jim Clark, the personification of racist law enforcement. A big man, 6’ 2”, 22o lbs, Clark was quick to use cattle prods on demonstrators and wore a button that said “Never” to express his position on integration.  read more

Anatomy of a CHP Pot Bust

From the Anderson Valley Advertiser, December 17, 2014

[Ed note: The bustee’s name has been changed since no charges were filed against him.]

Arrest/investigation report, August 8, 2014.

Location: Southbound Highway 101 North of Nelson Ranch Road near Hopland.

Arrestee: James B. Teknes, San Diego, a white male, age 27. Driving a rental car.

Report of Arresting CHP Officer: C. Ramsey

On August 8, 2014 at approximately 9:25 AM I was traveling northbound on US 101 north of Lake Mendocino Drive in the number two lane. I was driving a fully marked California Highway Patrol vehicle. The patrol car was equipped with an Applied Concepts Inc. DSR radar system unit #BS041956. I checked the function of the radar system prior to beginning my shift and it was working properly. The radar system was independently calibrated on August 12, 2013.

My attention was drawn to the suspect’s vehicle, a white Ford Focus. The Focus appeared to be traveling well over the maximum speed of 65 mph. I visually estimated the vehicle to be traveling approximately 85 mph. read more

Support O’Shaughnessy’s

"From each according to their ability, to each according to their need." 

Our Entourage

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

O’S Available Here

O’S First E-Book – Available Now!

Recommended Reading

Double-click to edit content...

Plugs

Prop 215 Ballads – Fred Gardner’s CD Medical Cannabis Videos
"There's marijuana, then there's marijuana."
—Dianne Feinstein

The Second Column

Senate Bill Would Move Cannabis to Schedule II

Official Portrait

Hanya Barth, MD, forwards a press release announcing a Senate bill introduced March 10 —the “CARERS” Act— that has been endorsed by leading drug policy reform groups, including Americans for Safe Access …

Dr. Malka Joins KPIX Attack on 420MD

Screen shot 2015-03-17 at 9.07.35 AM

By Fred Gardner March 17   KPIX, the Bay Area’s CBS affiliate, is covering the prosecution of a “potdoc” chain called 420MD. Read the background here.  Last night …

NYPD Chief Says Marijuana Causes Murder

Bratton Oregano Platt

 March 9   A front-page article  in the New York Times was given a rare two-sentence headline.   Back in November 2014 Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police …

Phrenology in the 21st Century

marijuana-brain

March 12, 2015   Nancy Sajben, MD, forwards a meant-to-frighten story from the Daily Mail based on a paper just published in Hippocampus by psychiatrists at Northwestern University.  The headline and subhead: Smoking …

Pill Pushers Preying on Women

abilify

In 2010 Julie Holland, MD published an excellent anthology called “The Pot Book.” Lester Grinspoon, MD, and SCC president Jeffrey Hergenrather, MD, were among the clinicians and researchers who …

Tylenol kills, Statins ‘associated with’ diabetes (ho hum)

tylenol

This snippet is from the British Medical Journal 3/3/15:  “…The true risks of taking the drug [paracetamol in England,  acetaminophen in the US, brand name Tylenol] may have been underestimated, …

The Case Against 420 MD

Ambush of Brown

From O’Shaughnessy’s News Service February 27, 2015 It was classic “gotcha” TV news: a 30-something blonde reporter with a big KPIX mike thrust forward has ambushed a 60-something …

Infant Deaths in Alaska

alaska

Note to the SCC February 19, 2015 An article in Counterpunch today suggests that a spike in infant deaths in Alaska might be attributable to fallout from Fukushima. I was …

California Assembly Planning MMJ Regulation

Asemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer

Note to the SCC 2/17/2015     At its March 8 meeting in Huntington Beach the Society of Cannabis Clinicians will hear from Los Angeles Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (or …

Addiction to Synthetic Vitamins

For those of us lucky enough to have a farmers market nearby —and time to shop there.

From O’S News Serve 2/15    During the NBA’s all-star weekend, the “USA” team of first- and second-year players lost to the “World” team. Basketball fans who once attributed the superiority …

How efficient is smoking a joint?

smoking a joint

Dr. Jeffrey Raber and colleagues at the Werc Shop in Pasadena have published a paper in the journal Natural Products Chemistry and Research showing that the average joint …

Bonta Touts His (Prospective) Medical Marijuana Bill

Rob Bonta photo by Rick Saez

By Eric Robinson  New measures aimed at improving the safety and legitimacy of medical marijuana might be hitting California in the future as state lawmakers consider a bill that would …

More on Cannabis Suppositories

Jeff Hergenrather

From Jeffrey Hergenrather, MD, February 8, 2015 In my previous note, it would have been more accurate to say that there is very little data pertaining to the megadose use of …

How Efficient are Cannabis Suppositories?

Jeff Hergenrather

Jeffrey Hergenrather, MD, in response to a question from a cancer patient’s caregiver,  February 7, 2015 I have checked the literature to see if there are any pharmacodynamic/pharmacokinetic …

Cannabis and Pregnancy

PregnancyFoetus-1024x744

Note to the SCC February 8   Here are responses to a question posed after Dale Gieringer, PhD, a close ally of the SCC’s and a trustworthy source of …

Medical Board Weighing Changes to Marijuana Guidelines

MBC logo

From O’Shaughnessy’s News Service      At its Fall 2014 meeting in San Diego the Medical Board of California approved three recommendations of its Marijuana Task Force. Below are minutes …

The Entourage Effect Wins Again

Okoboi_Artemisia_2007_small

Ground-up artemisia plants, from which the anti-malaria drug artemisinin is derived, appear to work much better than the refined drug does by itself, according to a recent New York …

Black History Month Lesson Plan

Pops

Are you a student looking for a topic on which to write a paper in connection with Black History Month?  O’Shaughnessy’s has published material you might find useful. When …

Lariam is to Artemisia as Accutane is to Cannabis

Okoboi_Artemisia_2007_small

By O’Shaughnessy’s News Service  An anti-malaria drug given to U.S. troops, Lariam (mefloquine), is a synthetic designed to mimic the effects of a plant compound (quinine). “Mefloquine has …

Arguments for a Harmfulness Tax

Wonder Woman with Scales of Justice

An essay by Drs. Lester Grinspoon and James B. Bakalar, published in the Journal of Drug Issues in 1990, recently caught the eye of a tax-policy specialist named …