Marijuana use does not cause brain abnormalities

Weiland graphic

By Fred Gardner November 9, 2015 

Dr. Dale Deutsch has forwarded an important study from the Journal of Neuroscience showing that marijuana use does not cause structural brain changes.  This is a reversal of the conventional wisdom —a Tashkin-level expose. (UCLA pulmonologist Donald Tashkin and colleagues reported in 2005 that smoking marijuana does not cause lung cancer.) And just as Tashkin’s findings were buried by the Biomedical Establishment and corporate media,  so, too, has the paper by Barbara J. Weiland and colleagues at the University of Colorado and the University of Louisville —published in January— been actively ignored.

Reviewing the papers purporting to show that marijuana use alters brain morphology, Weiland et al note serious inconsistencies—

“Marijuana use has been associated with both increased (Cousijn et al., 2012) and decreased (Yücel al., 2008; Demirakca et al., 2011; Solowij et al., 2011) volumes of subcortical structures, or both (Battistella et al., 2014).”

and a serious limitation:

“Importantly, these studies were not designed to determine causality (i.e., that marijuana use causes morphological changes), which would require a longitudinal design to establish temporal precedence.”

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MMRSA (sounds like MRSA)


On Oct. 9, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law California’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA). The political insiders call it “mersa.” No physicians were involved in the drafting process, obviously, or they wouldn’t be calling it by the name of a deadly pathogen (MRSA, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, for which some compounds in Cannabis might provide a treatment). It’s almost like the truth sung by Mose Allison.

Mersa consists of three separate bills, each addressing —according to the legislators who wrote them— a problem supposedly stemming from the passage of Proposition 215. . The language directly affecting doctors who approve cannabis use by patients is found in Senate Bill 643, which was introduced by Mike McGuire, a Democrat who represents North Coast counties. Here’s the money shot.  —FG read more

Breyer to DOJ: Acts of Congress Matter

By Fred Gardner, October 24, 2015

“This court has a lengthy history with this defendant on these issues,” wrote US District Judge Charles Breyer in an order filed October 19 allowing the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana to reopen because Congress has changed its spending priorities.

MAMM proprietor Lynette Shaw first appeared before Breyer in 1998, when the US Attorney for the Northern District of California sought an injunction to close hers and five other dispensaries (including the San Francisco and Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Clubs).

Back then Breyer granted a preliminary injunction on the grounds that the federal Controlled Substances Act took precedence over the medical marijuana law enacted by California voters.

Some of the dispensaries remained open, however, arguing that they were serving patients whose cannabis use was a matter of necessity. This argument was rejected by Breyer, then accepted by the Ninth District Court of Appeal, then rejected by the US Supreme Court. Breyer issued a permanent injunction in 2002, but Shaw stayed open for business in the small Marin County city of Fairfax. MAMM had thousands of members and a business license from the city. read more

Educating a Congress person


By Carl Olsen

My Meet­ing with Con­gress­man Young — 9/22/2015

I met with Con­gress­man David Young (R. IA-3) on Tues­day, Sep­tem­ber 22, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. I gave him a series of doc­u­ments and had a short dis­cus­sion on each one. I asked him a few ques­tions. One of the things that impressed me right away is that he remem­bered meet­ing me at a leg­isla­tive forum with my state Sen­a­tor Jack Whitver and my state Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kevin Koester back in Jan­u­ary of 2015 shortly after he took office. He remem­bered what I was wear­ing that day. So, this shows the impor­tance of attend­ing local leg­isla­tive forums. Know­ing your state sen­a­tor and state rep­re­sen­ta­tive can be help­ful when you are talk­ing to your fed­eral con­gress person.

The first document

The first doc­u­ment I gave him is the set of con­di­tions for each of the five sched­ules in the Con­trolled Sub­stances Act. I under­lined the phrase “accepted med­ical use in treat­ment in the United States” in each of the five sec­tions and I asked Con­gress­man Young if there is any con­nec­tion between this phrase and forty (40) state med­ical mar­i­juana laws. He said he was unsure. So, this is crit­i­cal. By say­ing he was unsure, he gave me the oppor­tu­nity to explain it to him. I can­not stress how impor­tant this is as the ini­tial step. read more

2016 ‘Control, Regulate and Tax’ Initiative Filed

Dale Gieringer

By O’Shaughnessy’s News Service October 4 

Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, was elated when the “Control, Regulate and Tax Cannabis Act of 2016” was filed with the Attorney General  on Friday October 2. (None dare call it “legalization,” except among themselves.)  Gieringer was heavily involved in the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, which drafted the measure. An interview extract follows:

DG: It was filed at 4:22 p.m. This is a first filing. Then public review for a few days. Then we refile. Then we need to get $1.6 million together to start the petition campaign. Then legislative hearings. Then the campaign and the election. 

O’S: How will the initiative interact with the package of bills now on Brown’s desk?

DG: It doesn’t repeal the medical marijuana regulations (which don’t take effect till 2017) because we didn’t want to deprecate the legislature’s hard work.  But it has fewer obnoxious restrictions. Anyone in the business will want to go with this new licensing regime.

O’S: Why might Brown not sign the bills?  

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Brown Weighing MMJ Regulations


On Saturday, Sept. 26, Jeffrey Hergenrather, MD, flew down to LAX to take part in the “State of Marijuana” forum in Santa Monica. The one-day event was organized by activist Susan Soares. Speakers included three of the politicians who drafted the package of bills known as the Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, now sitting on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk. Brown has until October 11 to sign them into law. 

 There were also panels featuring doctors, lawyers and concentrate makers, and three sessions devoted to business:  “Brand advice from top experts,” “Entrepreneur Pitch Session,” and “Economic Analysis of a Growing Industry.”

O’Shaughnessy’s asked Hergenrather his impressions on the ride back from OAK. This is an extract of his rap.  read more

The APA: Official Sponsor of ‘Cannabis Abuse’

DSM-5_3D copy

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

rick musty at podium

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

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, 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  

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clerical workers

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Squirrel Days

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sativa indica contents

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