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Study: Majority Of Chronic Pain Patients Replace Opioids With Cannabis

NORML Blog - Tue, 06/05/2018 - 12:40

More than two-thirds of chronic pain patients registered to legally access medical cannabis products substitute marijuana for prescription opioids, according to data published in The Journal of Headache and Pain.

Investigators from the United States and Canada assessed the use of medical cannabis and prescription drugs in a cohort of over 2,000 Canadian patients licensed to access marijuana products. Among those patients with a primary diagnosis of chronic pain, 73 percent reported substituting cannabis in place of opioids. Among those patients diagnosed specifically with headache/migraine, cannabis was frequently reported as a substitute for other medications – including opiates (43 percent), anti-depressants (39 percent), NSAIDS (21 percent), triptans (8 percent), and anti-convulsants (8 percent).

“Most patients in the pain groups reported replacing prescription medications with medicinal cannabis, the most common of which were opiates/opioids across all patient groups,” authors concluded. “This is notable given the well-described ‘opioid-sparing effect’ of cannabinoids and growing abundance of literature suggesting that cannabis may help in weaning from these medications and perhaps providing a means of combating the opioid epidemic.”

The study’s findings are consistent with those of numerous others finding that patients in medical cannabis access programs significantly reduce or eventually eliminate their use of opioid analgesics over the long-term.

Full text of the study, “Patterns of medicinal cannabis use, strain analysis, and substitution effect among patients with migraine, headache, arthritis, and chronic pain in a medicinal cannabis cohort,” appears online here.

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S.C.: Next Tuesday is Primary Election Day

MPP Blog - Tue, 06/05/2018 - 11:18

Review our South Carolina Voter Guide before casting your ballot.

South Carolina’s Primary Election Day is next Tuesday, June 12, and voters’ choices could have a huge impact on the future of cannabis policy in the state. Lawmakers will again consider legislation next year that would establish a compassionate medical cannabis program. South Carolinians should take a close look at whether candidates will stand up for patients.

We’ve done some of the work for you. We sent out a short questionnaire for candidates running for seats in the South Carolina House of Representatives and the governor’s office, and we’ve posted their responses here. Our voter guide also includes public comments from the gubernatorial candidates. For incumbent representatives, it also includes committee votes on medical cannabis (where applicable) and if they co-sponsored the bill.

The deadline to register to vote in the primary passed on May 13. For those who are registered, you can find more about Primary Day here, including where you can cast your ballot and when voting locations will be open.

If you are a resident of South Carolina, please forward this message to your networks so your family and friends can also make informed decisions, and be sure to vote! Let’s spread the word that South Carolina can join the dozens of states that have already adopted sensible, comprehensive, and compassionate medical cannabis programs.

The post S.C.: Next Tuesday is Primary Election Day appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Want to know where Maryland candidates stand on cannabis legalization?

MPP Blog - Tue, 06/05/2018 - 09:58

While we are disappointed that the General Assembly did not allow Marylanders to vote on cannabis legalization this fall, Marylanders will be able to vote on them — all members of the legislature are up for election this year. We want to make sure that voters are informed about the candidates’ views on cannabis policy, so we published this voter guide.

If your candidate of choice hasn’t responded to our survey, please ask them to do so! Their contact information will be listed in the guide, and late responses will also be published. Remember, you can only vote in the primary of the party you belong to (you can check your registration here). If you are a Democrat, please check out the Marijuana Policy Project’s Voter Guide for the Gubernatorial Primary as well.

If you’re a Maryland resident, learn more about the candidates’ positions, and share this message with your friends and family in Maryland.

The post Want to know where Maryland candidates stand on cannabis legalization? appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Louisiana governor signs medical marijuana bills into law

MPP Blog - Tue, 06/05/2018 - 09:41

Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed HB 579 and HB 627, which expand the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana! These two bills add a variety of new conditions including autism, PTSD, and intractable pain.

This is a great step towards Louisiana having a functional medical marijuana program. Next session, we are hopeful the legislature will allow the vaporization of medical marijuana so that patients can finally have real access to the medicine they need.

Congratulations to Sensible Marijuana Policy for Louisiana and all the activists that showed up to the statehouse and contacted their lawmakers in support of these reforms!

The post Louisiana governor signs medical marijuana bills into law appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Weed the People

DrugWarRant - Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:20

New York Daily News editorial today: End the war on pot: We welcome the push to legalize and regulate marijuana

After many decades of treating as a crime the personal possession and use of a drug that is a negligible threat to public safety, New York is awakening to the folly of — and racial disparities widened by — its approach.

We are part of this awakening, which is why we welcome the push to legalize and regulate marijuana. By every honest measure, the substance has more in common with alcohol and tobacco than it does harder drugs that are rightly illegal.

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Playing flamingo

DrugWarRant - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 14:32

I’ve been away from the couch for a bit, as I somehow managed to significantly pulverize the bones in my left leg just from falling off a bicycle. I’m home now, trying to figure out how to do everything in a wheelchair with an extended leg brace (the only other option is standing on one leg).

For those interested in the details of my little adventure, I have written a story in the form of a letter to my Aunt Betty:

A little tale of a bicycle… trip

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Absurd ideas from the White House

DrugWarRant - Mon, 03/19/2018 - 13:13

The ACLU weighs in:

The White House announced a new proposal today for policies that respond to the opioid addiction crisis, including possibly imposing the death penalty for those charged with dealing drugs.

Jesselyn McCurdy, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office, had the following reaction:

“The opioid crisis is a serious problem that requires a serious solution. But the draconian law enforcement provisions included in this proposal are unconstitutional and absurd. […]

“The administration has, once again, put out a potentially disastrous and ill-thought-out policy proposal into our national discussion. The idea of executing people who sell drugs is ineffective, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle understand that.”

This was a completely moronic idea 20 years ago. Now it’s moronic and tone-deaf.

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DEA twitter account promotes Anslinger

DrugWarRant - Fri, 03/09/2018 - 08:27

Via Tom Angell

Harry Anslinger helped bring drug law enforcement into the modern age. He served as head of US drug enforcement for 5 presidents from #Hoover to #Kennedy, retiring in 1962 More: https://t.co/OTLWiT6ZL7 Visit the @DEAHQ Museum: https://t.co/9WNOT5ZSLR #TBT #ThrowbackThursday pic.twitter.com/trZfqb29iL

— DEA HQ (@DEAHQ) March 8, 2018

Tom responds

https://twitter.com/tomangell/status/971840775939149824

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Legalizing Marijuana May End the Opioid Crisis, Say Scientists

DrugSense Blog - Fri, 12/01/2017 - 12:28
As we reported previously, scientists from the University of New Mexico have been studying how access to marijuana may help alleviate the opioid crisis, declared a national emergency by President Trump. Their study has now been published in the journal PLOS One, with the researchers concluding that there is “clinically and statistically significant evidence” that […]
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Associations between medical cannabis and prescription opioid use in chronic pain patients

DrugSense Blog - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 10:14
The clinically and statistically significant evidence of an association between MCP enrollment and opioid prescription cessation and reductions and improved quality of life warrants further investigations on cannabis as a potential alternative to prescription opioids for treating chronic pain. Study: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0187795
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Federal marijuana legislation clears House of Commons, headed for the Senate

DrugSense Blog - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 10:11
MPs passed the Liberal government’s bill to legalize cannabis Monday evening, sending the legislation down the hall to the Senate for further study and debate. The legislation was largely supported along partisan lines, although it secured the support of the NDP and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. The final vote was 200 MPs in favour, […]
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More Evidence of Tragic Pot Ignorance

Dr. Tom O'Connell's Blog - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 17:41
A long article in last Friday's New York Times detailed a remarkable saga of the monumental greed, stupidity, and ineptitude that characterize both sides of the illegal drug markets Richard Nixon created in 1970 with his spiteful Controlled Substances Act.

It recounts the improbable rise and fall of a huge multinational cannabis business that was created by a French-Canadian entrepreneur named Jimmy Cournoyer. Jimmy started with marijuana grown in western Canada and arranged to have it ferried east by Hells Angels, then across the Saint Lawrence by Mohawk Indians from Upstate Hew York, using either speed boats or snowmobiles depending on the weather.

From there it was trucked down to the lucrative urban markets that have long existed in New York City's environs. Cournoyer, whose greed is apparently without limits and whose organizational skills are considerable, somehow managed to cobble together a veritable UN of criminal helpers:"a company of criminals that came to include Native American smugglers, Hells Angels, Mexican money launderers, and a clothier turned cocaine dealer" plus others almost too numerous to mention.

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Debunking the false "Drugs abd Alcohol" mantra

Dr. Tom O'Connell's Blog - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 18:16
Mark Kleiman is a Professor of Public Policy at UCLA; he has long specialized in drug policy and has achieved a position of considerable prominence by claiming to be a moderate, while really taking a position that fully supports our lunatic drug war. Ironically, he came to my attention early in my own career as an activist opposing it. As I've mentioned before, it was an Op-ed on meth that Kleiman– then at Harvard– co-authored with psychiatrist Sally Satel in 1995 that brought him to my attention. While I've yet to meet Dr. Klieman, I've kept track of his maddeningly disingenuous position on American drug policy over the years and have marveled at how uninformed it is– particularly on the subject of marijuana. In a nutshell, he takes Richard Nixon's Controlled Substances Act seriously and thus considers use of marijuana and alcohol to be synergistic, while– in fact they are antagonistic, a common error stressed ad nauseam by "antidrug" ads on TV that inevitably link "drugs and alcohol"

In fact, chronic pot smokers do not drink much. The late Dr. Tod Mikuriya published about a "substitution" effect; what my more recent interrogation of users uncovered was the mechanism by which that happens. It's first necessary to reject another false assumption: the "age of consent" at which youngsters are allowed to drink (21) or use tobacco (18) legally are observed by most. To the contrary, the more emotionally troubled pubescent teens are, the more they feel impelled to experiment with drugs. Alcohol and tobacco are usually the first two because they are both "legal' and thus more available, but cannabis has been a close third since the Sixties.

Although exact figures are hard to come by, it's no secret that most youngsters start experimenting with cigarettes and alcohol at age twelve, or even younger. What my data show, however, is that the most common consequence of becoming a repetitive pot user is that interest in alcohol is quickly reduced and those who were already smoking cigarettes begin trying to quit. Rather than a "gateway" into drug use, cannabis is a gateway out of problematic use.

The reason has to do with the most obvious therapeutic effect of inhaled cannabis on those who respond to it: it's a feeling of "relaxation," that comes from feeling more comfortable in one's own skin.

As it turns out, the same provocative factors that operate in childhood to impel prepubescent youngsters to try drugs lead them to try the most available first: cigarettes and alcohol since 1900 and before, and cannabis since the early Sixties.

Unfortunately smoking is the quickest way for any psychoactive agent to reach the brain and watching youngsters smoke is an almost universal turn-off for adults. For that reason, even after cannabis is "legalized," a more acceptable delivery system will have to be found for it to become as accessible as will be needed.

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The Long Term Efects of a Police Shooting

Dr. Tom O'Connell's Blog - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 11:30
My voluntary editing of an online newsletter devoted to America’s “Drug War,” for the four years between 1997 and 2001 provided me with an intense education in the injustice that had become so intrinsic to American policy shortly after passage of Richard Nixon’s Controlled Substances Act of 1970. While the policy had never been an intelligent response to the problems posed by addiction, Nixon’s contribution literally turned what had been disaster into a global catastrophe so progressive that it ranks high on the list of imminent dangers now threatening our feckless species; many of which may have seemed like good ideas at the time.

My antipathy toward police had its beginning with the shooting of a 22 year old African immigrant named Amodou Diallo in the Bronx by four NYC policemen on February 4, 1999, when they riddled him with 19 shots– simply because he ran from them to seek refuge in the vestibule of his apartment. Diallo had reason to run; he was black; an illegal immigrant from Guinea who was making a precarious living as a street vendor. He was also unarmed. The cops were all white and in civilian clothes. They were members of an elite Street Crime Unit that had been created by then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani (and was subsequently disbanded because of multiple charges of excessive force). At the time, the story of Diallo’s slaying enraged so many citizens that all four shooters were arrested and charged with murder. After a motion for change of venue was granted, the trial was moved to Albany and all four were acquitted. Only one– Kenneth Boss– remained on the force but was forbidden to carry a gun. That restriction proved so intolerable that he sued the City three times to have it rescinded.

Finally, in 2012 his persistence was rewarded and his right to carry a gun was restored by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Of considerable interest to me was the reference to Ms Diallou's friend, Ms Bah, whose mentally disturbed 28 year-old son had been shot by NYC police in a setting that was eerily similar to their killing of Amadu Diallo in 1999.

Is there a pattern to these fatal shootings? What a stupid question. The only ones who doubt it are red state Republicans, police officials, and overbearing meat heads like Sean Hannity.

Doctor Tom
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A Suspicious New Claim

Dr. Tom O'Connell's Blog - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 11:41
This morning, a new claim was made on behalf of Officer Darren Wilson, the man who killed an unarmed black teen named Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, an event that has provoked a degree of unrest and interest that is almost unprecedented. In brief, it's the unsubstantiated claim that Officer Darren Wilson, the policeman named as Brown's killer, sustained an orbital blow-out fracture just before he shot Brown. If so, it would be powerful mitigation of the claim that the shooting was either unprovoked or motivated merely by the theft of a box of cigars.

Blow out fractures are well known; they are produced by direct trauma to the eyeball and its surrounding bony orbit. They are often complicated by troublesome double vision (diplopia) from the herniation of a small fat pad that supports the eyeball and which usually requires surgical correction. Such an injury would constitute such a powerful rebuttal of the claim that Wilson's killing of Brown was either unprovoked or motivated merely by the theft of a box of cigars that its delayed release is- at the very least– highly suspicious.

A blowout fracture would also be expected to produce a black eye, noticeable misalignment of the eyeballs and x-ay evidence of a fracture, all of which are objective and, by themselves, would have at least mitigated the growing unrest.

Given the abundant evidence that similar shootings of young males by US police have become remarkably common, further developments in this case should continue to be of great interest. To see a list of this month's shootings, simply clicking on "August" in the drop-down menu for 2014 will reveal the known details on the 46 such events (including Michael Brown's) that have been listed so far this month. Most of the HTML links to media sources are live.

Doctor Tom
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Nixon's Impact on the Modern World 1

Dr. Tom O'Connell's Blog - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 09:30
It may come as a surprise to many, but the modern American President who has had the biggest impact on the contemporary world is almost certainly Richard M. Nixon, the least respected and the only one ever forced by his own dishonesty to resign.

Nixon did accomplish a lot in his six years in the White House, most of it was through ad-hoc measures that were not carefully thought out, but are still affecting us adversely. A good example was his unilateral decision to take the US off the gold standard, thus changing a multinational policy that had been adopted at the Bretton Woods Conference in New Hampshire in the immediate aftermath of World War Two and had been working reasonably well.

The consensus is that Nixon's move encouraged OPEC to raise oil prices and brought about the first "oil shock" in 1973. A second "oil shock" followed in 1978.

In 1971, Nixon tried to force North Vietnam to make concessions in Geneva by ordering the secret bombing of the Ho Chi Minh trail, a campaign that not only failed to discourage its use to transport supplies and reinforcements to South Vietnam, but left behind a plethora of unexploded anti-personnel weapons that continued to kill and maim children decades after America was forced to withdraw its forces in an ill-advised war.

Neverteless, Nixon's greatest crime against humanity should eventually be seen as the "War on Drugs" he committed us to with the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, a transparently dishonest piece of legislation that– unaccountably– continues to be enforced as both US and UN policy despite its universal record of failure and generally disastrous consequences.

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Progressive American Embarrassment

Dr. Tom O'Connell's Blog - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 18:10
America is being progressively embarrassed in the eyes of the world; does our establishment even get it? Probably not. As I’ve been trying to point out for the past several days there’s a site on Wikipedia documenting that the callousness and stupidity now being exhibited by police in Ferguson MO is nothing new. To a shocking degree, it’s been standard police operating procedure for years when the “bad guys” are people of color, especially young males.

The demonstrations in Ferguson now seem to be taking on a mind of their own. I don't think they will stop until a majority of America's black citizens feel that they are being taken seriously and respected as citizens by their oppressors in America's police establishment. In my view, that will also require serious modification of our inane and destructive drug policy and the grossly unfair way it is enforced. I will soon have some suggestions in that regard with respect to realizing the marvelous potential of cannabis and turning it into an asset.

These are areas where Obama cannot remain the passive defender of the status quo he has been for five years. It's his moment to rise above the painful mediocrity with which he has governed thus far. He has the brains and the rhetorical skills; it's time he found some better advisers and used the "Bully Pulpit" of the Presidency with insight and conviction.

Doctor Tom
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A Long-Overdue Protest in Ferguson

Dr. Tom O'Connell's Blog - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 10:33
On July 19th, I referred to a phenomenon that has long been a consequence of our destructive drug war: the militarization of American police agencies. In the last sentence, I included a link to a database that lists the shooting victims of American law enforcement. I'm still not sure how, or by whom that database was started, but it seems to have been well maintained since 2009, at least. It contains both the identities of the victims and the circumstances under which they were shot; usually with links to press or TV accounts. Just browsing it is a revelation: the great majority of victims were young males of color who were shot early during an encounter with their local police. There are often links to media accounts of the shootings that include protests from friends or family disagreeing with the "official" interpretation– often stridently. A substantial number of the incidents were formally investigated and the police use of deadly force was almost always found to be justified.

In fact, the current ruckus over the killing of Michael Brown by police in the Saint Louis suburb of Ferguson is rather typical of the group; except that it's generating far more media coverage than any similar event within recent memory.

One has to go back the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police which was caught on amateur video and became an oversight sensation when released to the media.

In the aftermath of the King verdict, in which the cops were all acquitted, prompting three days of rioting that produced over fifty deaths, and in which the LAPD did not distinguish itself by either its intelligence or its courage. There were additional costs: Rodney King was a chronic alcoholic who eventually died suspiciously after being enriched by a large settlement for the beating administered by the LAPD.

Some accurate and careful analyses have been written since Michael Brown's death, such as the one by Jewelle Taylor Gibbs that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. My only disagreement with her is relatively minor: I hold Richard Nixon far more culpable than Ronald Reagan; it was Nixon who (literally) dreamed up the Controlled Substances Act. All Ronnie did was to follow Tricky Dick's script (with appropriate coaching from Nancy).
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A Brand New Concern

Dr. Tom O'Connell's Blog - Thu, 08/07/2014 - 13:59
For some time, I've been frustrated by the fact that my country is the source of a failing global policy of drug prohibition; also that the species I'm a member of had been endorsing that policy for decades, despite its obvious record of failure.

Today I'd planned to post more analysis of the nuclear threat we humans had somehow avoided during the 50 year Cold War we'd been engaged in with the now-defunct Soviet Union. However, a more pressing existential threat has just come up: an outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa that has already claimed about 2000 lives and been disseminated to both Europe and the US in the form of sick patents being transported for treatment.

Whatever risk was implicit in breaking the quarantine of Ebola within Africa had thus been taken by the humanitarian decision to fly two Americans to Atlanta and a Spanish priest to Spain for treatment. It's unlikely that any quarantine would have held, in any event

That's not to say that "Marijuana" prohibition is any less ridiculous today than it was yesterday; only that the threat of globalized Ebola is much more immediate and deserves precedence.

As it happened, I'd read Richard Preston's gripping description of Ebola about ten years ago. It convinced me we'd be hearing about the Ebola virus again. The strain Preston wrote about was eventually found to infect only monkeys; not humans– but the collateral information he supplied in his detailed analysis left little doubt that Ebola, like Anthrax and Smallpox, would not disappear spontaneously.

The timing for the emergence of human Ebola couldn't be worse. Not only is our overheated, overpopulated home planet trying to cope with the mystery of two missing airliners; we have an existential viral threat as well.

Beyond that, the decision to treat three known human cases outside Africa violated the most basic rules of quarantine for a disease we know relatively little about. However, that risk had already been taken; not just in the US, but in Europe and is believed by experts to have been minor.

The good news is that we should begin to have some answers in the next 8-31 days, which seems to be the incubation period for Ebola in humans.

The bad news is that West Africa was the same place where another unknown virus HIV/Aids emerged less than 40 years ago.

Doctor Tom
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