Medical Marijuana Milestones

A study published today in the journal Neurology confirms anecdotal reports that smoked cannabis is effective in alleviating HIV-related neuropathic pain, which is often difficult to treat with FDA-approved medications. In a group of 50 patients, those who smoked marijuana experienced a median reduction in pain of 72 percent from the first joint, compared to 15 percent for those who smoked a placebo (a joint from which the cannabinoids had been removed). Over the course of the study, the patients who smoked the real stuff experienced twice as much daily pain relief (a median reduction of 34 percent, compared to 17 percent for the control group). As for safety, "no serious adverse events were reported."

This government-approved study, carried out with government-supplied marijuana (which, given the reputed quality of Uncle Sam's pot, makes the results especially impressive), is an important step in rigorously demonstrating the medical utility of cannabis. California NORML's Dale Gieringer reports that DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner today endorsed another important step, urging the agency to give permission for private production of research marijuana to compete with the government's monopoly. But don't get too excited: This decison comes nearly two decades after another DEA administrative law judge, Francis Young, recommended rescheduling marijuana so doctors could legally prescribe it.  

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  • JPWalters||

    Yes, b-b-b-b-b-but GatewayDrug!,-SmokeCausesCancer!,-TheChildren!,-PleasureIsImmoral!,bbbbpppfffftttpth, blither...

  • That Dude||

    I'm sorry. I'm all for legalizing pot but does anyone else think that medical marijuana is kinda overrated? People treat weed like it's this amazing cure-all. I'm sure it has various chemicals in it that might actually treat a few diseases here or there i.e. glaucoma. But it seems like most of the people who it helps have chronic diseases that make them feel like crap... so they use a drug that gets them high and dulls the crappiness of life. Which is the same reason non-sick people take it, right?

  • ||

    Pot has been legal here in Antarctica for years . . . millinia actually. But it is hard to buy and even harder to grow. Still, Dennis Prager tried to convince us to ban the stuff.

  • ||

    "Pot has been legal here in Antarctica for years"

    My friend Tom did several years on the ice and yes, it is legal (they grow it at the Pole). But ya know, Antarctica really, really sucks and as such, will never replace Amsterdam as a tourist destination.

  • ||

    I find the figures quantifying pain relief a bit hard to swallow. How does one measure something subjective like pain?

    I don't doubt that the stuff works. I just doubt the claims of a 72 percent reduction in pain are particularly accurate.

    Of course, I could be wrong, and there may be a scientific way to measure such things.

  • Charlie||

    All pain is subjective.

  • ||

    Who cares if it does anything? The stuff is safer than water (and any prescription drug I can think of). This is just more proof that the Jesus Freaks are very much in control of this country.

  • ||

    The scientific way of measuring it is just to ask people, "how much pain are you in?" If they report more pain relief than the control group the medication in question is effective. The key is in the double-blind study.

  • Harry J Anslinger||

    Blame the Jesus Freaks.

    Drug prohibition is a Progressive policy.
    Read some fuckin'history.

  • ||

    This is just more proof that the Jesus Freaks are very much in control of this country.

    Highly intelligent. Everything is the fault of the Jesus Freaks (except when it's the fault of the Joos, or the Muslims).

  • ||

    "All pain is subjective."
    I don't have a pain managment problem, I have a pain problem.

  • Gimme Back My Dog||

    The key is in the double-blind study.

    Because there is no way for a test subject to tell whether or not his joint has cannabinoids?

    Of course, they should legalize it, but a test with a narcotic drug versus a non-narcotic placebo loses a lot of its objectivity.

  • libtard||

    Republican Jesus Freaks cause ALL the problems.

    Elect John Edwards(or Hilary or Obama) and he will end the military draft and legalize MJ.
    No more war and the enviorment will be clean. The world will love us and everyone will be prosperous except for those evil corporations and rich people. Minorities and women will be richer 'cause they get the reperations payments for Rape and Slavery.
    I'll be so stoned I won't care.

  • ||

    Drug prohibition is a Progressive policy.
    Read some fuckin'history.



    I don't care about the 1920's. It's illegal now because of the religious nutjobs running this country today. It's legal in only the most "progressive" places in this country... also, the least religious (ie: more intelligent people). Besides, marijuana IS safe. There's no question about that. Religious people (ie: Jesus Freaks) are always trying to ignore science and live in their own, twisted, fucked up fairy-tale world.

  • brian423 (not Brian24)||

    libtard,
    I think you speak for a lot of people, unfortunately.

  • brian423 (not Brian24)||

    Isn't it ironic that libtard perpetuates the "Republican" lie about amotivational syndrome?

  • brian423 (not Brian24)||

    Frank,
    If unreligious people are automatically on the moral high ground, how do you explain Josef Stalin? Anyone, religious or not, can be dangerously self-righteous.

  • Paul||

    I'm sorry. I'm all for legalizing pot but does anyone else think that medical marijuana is kinda overrated?

    Yes.

  • Paul||

    I find the figures quantifying pain relief a bit hard to swallow. How does one measure something subjective like pain?

    You don't. Which is why "alternative medicine" types tend to stick to areas of medicine that can't, or are difficult to quantify. No one's curing cancer with acupuncture, but they're relieving pain and helping people quit smoking...maybe.

  • Conserva-tarian||

    b423,

    There is some truth to the lie-the irony was intended.Libtard speaks, with only a little hyperbole, for far too many people including many who are old enough to know better.

    Few seem to realize the extreme difficulty the Republicans have in turning out those "fundy god-bags" to vote at all.The idea they are working collectively enmasse to impose a Christian Fascist Theocracy is absurd.

    I wouldn't like to see the Progressive Left get what they are after-when we have gone that far it will either be "too late" or awfully bloody to say the least.

  • Robert||

    How were all analgesics discovered? Someone tried and found it stopped hurting. Why is that at all difficult to conceptualize?

    The need for subject blinding is reduced in a situation like this, where the object is to test the subject's level of discomfort. There is, however, a protocol proposed which uses different potencies of cannabis. That way the subjects know they're getting something, but they don't know whether they're getting a low or a high dose, and you look for dose dependence of the effect.

  • Conserva-tarian||

    I'm not looking for Government distributed, regulated ,and taxed drugs. I'm not looking for any particular drug at all. I just want my God Damn Property Rights back.The presumed (likely) return of civil lierties, reduced expenditure, and diminished crime etc. are just positive "externalities".

  • ||

    I find the figures quantifying pain relief a bit hard to swallow. How does one measure something subjective like pain?

    One could try it oneself... :)

    Seriously, pain is subjective, but I think one way to look at it is what is the overall behavior of the individual? Do they appear more able to go about their daily lives without interference from pain? Sure, cannabis is an intoxicant, but so is severe and/or chronic(no pun intended) pain. I'd rather drive next to a pothead than a guy with a back spasm any day.

  • Laricot||

    Prohibition is bipartisan, alas. On the right, you have folks fretting about immorality, of course. However, on the left, there is a big strain of paternalism, of not wanting people to be able to make choices that might hurt them. I'd certainly say that crackdowns on tobacco and alcohol as more of a liberal than a conservative issue.

  • Larry A||

    I find the figures quantifying pain relief a bit hard to swallow. How does one measure something subjective like pain?

    If the patients are walking around smiling instead of lying down screaming, whatever you gave them works.

  • ||

    which, given the reputed quality of Uncle Sam's pot

    I haven't heard the reports about the quality of Uncle Sam's pot--is it supposed to be low in cannabinols?

  • ||

    smoked cannabis is effective in alleviating HIV-related neuropathic pain

    This is the kind of information that only hurts the legalization movement. The people who are dead-set against pot are also the people who are dead-set against anyone who has HIV (homosexuals and junkies).

  • Robert||

    I forgot to mention something to correct the last line in the article: doctors, and anyone else, can already legally prescribe marijuana, and anything else.

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