Friday, November 20, 2009

Tobacco-Related Health Costs: $800; Booze-Related Health Costs: $165; Pot-Related Health Costs: $20

Health-related costs per user are eight times higher for drinkers than they are for those who use cannabis, and are more than 40 times higher for tobacco smokers, according to a report published in the British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal.

According to the report, “In terms of [health-related] costs per user: tobacco-related health costs are over $800 per user, alcohol-related health costs are much lower at $165 per user, and cannabis-related health costs are the lowest at $20 per user.”

The review, authored by researchers from the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia at the University of Victoria and the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse at the University of Ottawa, stated: “Alcohol is used by a very large number of people with the vast majority of these using in low- or moderate-risk ways. Conversely, cannabis and tobacco are used by far fewer people. The majority of cannabis use is low- and moderate-risk, however, while the majority of tobacco is high-risk.”

The study reported that social costs applicable to marijuana are primarily “enforcement-related.”

The authors concluded: “The harms, risks and social costs of alcohol, cannabis and tobacco vary greatly. A lot has to do with how the substances are handled legally. Alcohol and tobacco are legal substances, which explains their low enforcement costs relative to cannabis. On the other hand, the health costs per user of tobacco and alcohol are much higher than for cannabis. This may indicate that cannabis use involves fewer health risks than alcohol or tobacco.

“These variations in risk, harms and cost need to be taken into account as we think about further efforts to deal with the use of these three substances. … Efforts to reduce social costs related to cannabis, for example, will likely involve shifting its legal status by decriminalizing casual use, to reduce the high enforcement costs. Such a shift may be warranted given the apparent lower health risk associated with most cannabis use.”

According to a recent Rasmussen national poll of 1,000 likely voters, Americans believe by more than two to one that alcohol is “more dangerous” than marijuana

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Is cannabis a treatment for brain tumours? : Cancer Research UK : CancerHelp UK

Research into cannabis as a cancer treatment

In the past few years cannabis has been the subject of a lot of medical research. There were many media reports in August 2004 about very early stage research into the use of chemical cannabinoids to help treat a type of brain tumour called glioblastoma multiforme. Cannabinoids are the active ingredients in marijuana. Complutense University in Madrid and the University hospital of Tenerife jointly carried out the research. Their results were published in the medical journal 'Cancer Research' on August 15th 2004.

The research found that cannabinoids interfere with the activity of genes needed to produce a chemical called ‘VEGF’. VEGF stands for ‘Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor’. It helps to make new cells grow.

VEGF is one of the most important chemicals controlling blood vessel growth. Doctors call the growth of new blood vessels ‘ angiogenesis’. As they get bigger, cancers need to grow their own blood vessels. Without its own blood supply to bring food and take away waste from cells, a cancer can’t grow bigger than a pea. If doctors could block VEGF, this could limit the growth of blood vessels supplying tumours and so they won’t be able to grow. This is called anti VEGF treatment.

The researchers first tested cannabinoids in the laboratory, with some promising results. They then looked at the effects of injecting cannabinoids into the brain tumours of two people with advanced glioblastoma multiforme. The researchers at the University hospital of Tenerife then used injections of cannabinoids into the tumours of 9 patients. The substance seemed to slow the growth of the tumours but more research is needed before we know whether cannabinoids may really be helpful in treating brain tumours.

Clinical trials

As far as we know, there are no trials at the moment. Further trials may take place. There are already several other anti VEGF inhibitors in clinical development for several types of cancers. It is all very early research and it may be many years before we know for sure how safe and effective anti VEGF treatment really is for people with cancer.

Clinical trials test new drugs in humans. They test drugs that have already shown potential in the laboratory. Trials initially recruit a small number of patients and if the treatment shows promise, the researchers will go on to plan larger trials. If you would like to read more about clinical trials, there is information about understanding clinical trials on CancerHelp UK. If you are looking for trials that are open and recruiting patients in the UK, go to our clinical trials database. Pick your type of cancer from the drop down menu of cancer types.

More information about brain tumours

There is information about brain tumours and their treatment in the brain tumour section of CancerHelp UK.

Cannabis destroys cancer cells

Research at Barts and The London, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry reveals

01 March 2006

Researchers investigating the role of cannabis in cancer therapy reveal it has the potential to destroy leukaemia cells, in a paper published in the March 2006 edition of Letters in Drug Design & Discovery. Led by Dr Wai Man Liu, at Barts and the London, Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, the team has followed up on their findings of 2005 which showed that the main active ingredient in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, has the potential to be used effectively against some forms of cancer. Dr Liu has since moved to the Institute of Cancer in Sutton where he continues his work into investigating the potential therapeutic benefit of new anti-cancer agents.

It has previously been acknowledged that cannabis-based medicines have merit in the treatment of cancer patients as a painkiller; appetite stimulant and in reducing nausea, but recently evidence has been growing of its potential as an anti-tumour agent. The widely reported psychoactive side effects and consequent legal status of cannabis have, however, complicated its use in this capacity. Although THC and its related compounds have been shown to attack cancer cells by interfering with important growth-processing pathways, it has not hitherto been established exactly how this is achieved.

Now Dr Liu and his colleagues, using highly sophisticated microarray technology – allowing them to simultaneously detect changes in more than 25,000 genes in cells treated with THC – have begun to uncover further the existence of crucial processes through which THC can kill cancer cells and potentially promote survival. Further, Dr Liu found that the mechanism of cannabis may be independent of the presence of receptors – proteins found on the surface of cells to which other signalling molecules bind. Binding of molecules to receptors elicits a response in the cell, be it growth or death. The finding that cannabis action may not require the presence of these receptors introduces the possibility that the drug may be used more widely as the cancer cell’s dependence on the cannabis receptor is removed.

Whilst leukaemia treatment is on the whole successful, some people cannot be treated with conventional therapy - 25 per cent of children with leukaemia fail to respond to traditional treatment leaving their prognosis outcome poor. Dr Liu’s research findings provide a crucial first step towards the development of new therapies that can eradicate a deadly disease which affects millions of children and adults worldwide.

Dr Liu said: “It is important to stress that these cannabis-like substances are far removed from the cannabis that is smoked. These novel compounds have been specifically designed to be free of the psychoactive features, whilst maintaining anti-cancer action. Ultimately, understanding the fundamental mechanisms of these compounds will provide us with insights into developing new drugs that can be used to effectively treat cancers.”

For further information, please contact:

Alexandra Fernandes
Deputy Head of Communications
Queen Mary, University of London
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7882 7910

Notes to Editors:

Queen Mary, University of London

• Queen Mary is one of the leading colleges in the federal University of London, with over 11,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students, and an academic and support staff of around 2,600.

Queen Mary is a research university, with over 80 per cent of research staff working in departments where research is of international or national excellence (RAE 2001). It has a strong international reputation, with around 20 per cent of students coming from over 100 countries.

The College has 21 academic departments and institutes organised into three sectors: Science and Engineering; Humanities, Social Sciences and Laws; and the School of Medicine and Dentistry.

It has an annual turnover of £200 million, research income worth £43 million, and it generates employment and output worth nearly £400 million to the UK economy each year.

• Queen Mary’s roots lie in four historic colleges: Queen Mary College, Westfield College, St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College and the London Hospital Medical College.

Institute of Cancer, Barts and the London, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry

Created in 2003 the Institute of Cancer brings together some of the most eminent cancer research teams in London across six research centres. Under the leadership of the Director, Professor Nick Lemoine, and supported by an Executive Board of senior investigators, it is creating the academic environment fitting for an internationally recognised, comprehensive cancer centre. Its Cancer Research UK Clinical Centre – the first such international centre of excellence to be established in the UK - is the largest group of Cancer Research UK clinical and translational groups in London. The Institute is supported by a host of charities, research councils and industry with grants awarded totalling more than £5million per annum.

Microarray technology

A microarray is a slide on which have been embedded thousands of probes specific for all the genes found within a cell. Dr Liu’s data showed that certain pathways involved in cell survival were acted upon by cannabis, resulting in the death of the cell.

BBC NEWS | Health | Cannabis compound 'halts cancer'

Cannabis compound 'halts cancer'
cannabis plant
The CBD compound found in cannabis is non-toxic
A compound found in cannabis may stop breast cancer spreading throughout the body, US scientists believe.

The California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute team are hopeful that cannabidiol or CBD could be a non-toxic alternative to chemotherapy.

Unlike cannabis, CBD does not have any psychoactive properties so its use would not violate laws, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics reports.

The authors stressed that they were not suggesting patients smoke marijuana.

They added that it would be highly unlikely that effective concentrations of CBD could be reached by smoking cannabis.

This compound offers the hope of a non-toxic therapy that could achieve the same results without any of the painful side effects
Lead researcher Dr Sean McAllister

CBD works by blocking the activity of a gene called Id-1 which is believed to be responsible for the aggressive spread of cancer cells away from the original tumour site - a process called metastasis.

Past work has shown CBD can block aggressive human brain cancers.

The latest work found CBD appeared to have a similar effect on breast cancer cells in the lab.

Future hope

Lead researcher Dr Sean McAllister said: "Right now we have a limited range of options in treating aggressive forms of cancer.

"Those treatments, such as chemotherapy, can be effective but they can also be extremely toxic and difficult for patients.

"This compound offers the hope of a non-toxic therapy that could achieve the same results without any of the painful side effects."

Dr Joanna Owens of Cancer Research UK said: "This research is at a very early stage.

"The findings will need to be followed up with clinical trials in humans to see if the CBD is safe, and whether the beneficial effects can be replicated.

"Several cancer drugs based on plant chemicals are already used widely, such as vincristine - which is derived from a type of flower called Madagascar Periwinkle and is used to treat breast and lung cancer. It will be interesting to see whether CBD will join them."

Maria Leadbeater of Breast Cancer Care said: "Many people experience side-effects while having chemotherapy, such as nausea and an increased risk of infection, which can take both a physical and emotional toll.

"Any drug that has fewer side-effects will, of course, be of great interest."

But she added: "It is clear that much more research needs to be carried out."

Shawn AIDS Update #5 - Rick Simpson Hemp Oil 8/26/09

Shawn - AIDS Update #4 - Rick Simpson Hemp Oil 6/1/09

Shawn - AIDS Update #3 - Rick Simpson Hemp Oil 5/10/09

continued from part 2 same day

Shawn - AIDS Update #2 - Rick Simpson Hemp Oil 5/10/09

This is part 2 of Shawn's attempt to cure his aids with cannabis

Ex-minister Peter Baume backs cannabis regulation

Professor Baume says some groups will oppose his softer approach.

Professor Baume says some groups will oppose his softer approach. (Reuters: Mark Blinch)

Former Fraser government minister Peter Baume has endorsed an international report which proposes regulating illegal drugs in the same way as pharmaceuticals.

Professor Baume says prohibition has not worked and is only putting tax-free money into the hands of criminals.

Professor Baume spent 17 years in the Australian Parliament. During the Fraser government he was the minister for health, the minister for Aboriginal affairs and the minister for education.

After politics he became the ninth chancellor of the Australian National University.

This morning he endorsed a report - by the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation - which showed how to regulate all the drugs which are currently illegal.

Professor Baume says prohibited drugs could be regulated by governments the same way as pharmaceuticals.

"At the moment you're getting corruption, diversion of money," he said.

"Prohibition isn't working; the Americans dismissed prohibition of alcohol because it didn't work. Why do they think prohibition of illicit drugs will work any better?"

Decriminalising drugs

Professor Baume says several countries are decriminalising the possession of drugs.

"Take Holland for a good example. There isn't a massive drug problem in Holland and the roof hasn't fallen in because they've done that," he said.

"We want our schools and our communities to be safe for our kids and our families and at the moment we're not going about it very well."

Holland is well known for its marijuana cafes, were people can drop in and buy an amount of any type of marijuana, much like buying a cup of coffee.

Professor Baume says he does not know if such cafes work or not.

"What I would like to see is that we have strict regulations - no sales to juniors - the same as tobacco," he said.

"And I know tobacco's harmful, but I look at tobacco and I look at cannabis and I think, which is worse at the present time?

"Which of the arrangements we've got are better and which are worse? And honestly I think we could do better than we're doing."

Professor Baume says he knows some groups will oppose his softer approach to drug possession.

"The criminals won't want a bar of it and they never have because they're doing very nicely out of the present system," he said.

"The people who are winning from the present system won't want any change. Zealots and warriors won't want any change.

"The first thing we've got to do is get a good debate going. I mean there are millions of different ways of organising things. Let's have a debate about which is the best."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Is cannabis very harmful? Don't be a dope

PA Cannabis Is cannabis very harmful? Don't be a dope
The Government's message on cannabis has been unclear

The Government's drugs policy is a mess. Who says so? No less an authority than Professor David Nutt, the Government's chief adviser on drugs, who has been sacked for his temerity. His dismissal has been followed by the resignations of another member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), which he chaired. Prof Nutt's offence was to say that cannabis causes less harm than alcohol and tobacco – not just to the health of the individual consumer but also in a wider sense, especially the violence associated with binge drinking. Since this is a fact, attempts to traduce him as the nutty professor are absurd.

He did not say cannabis is harmless; certainly today's stronger varieties are associated with psychotic behaviour. Nor did Prof Nutt suggest cannabis should be legalised. His point was that if you are going to have a classification system based on relative harms, then it is a bit odd to put cannabis on a par with more dangerous substances. Those who dispute this do so because they do not like the louche lifestyles of recreational drug users; but disapproval does not change the facts.

Prof Nutt's mistake was to imagine that this was a scientific issue when it is a political one. Government ministers believe that the public will not accept anything that looks like they are being soft on a particular drug, especially the most widely used variety. This is simply not true. A YouGov poll, one of the largest surveys conducted in this country on drugs policy and carried out for the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) drugs commission, on which I sat, showed that most people would be happy to see the personal use of cannabis decriminalised or penalties for its possession lowered to the status of a parking fine.

However, since this is not going to happen any time soon, you have to ask why the Government moved cannabis from B to C in the first place. This story is an object lesson in how to mess things up and finish in a worse position than where you began.

The classification system was laid down in the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act to provide a matrix of potential and relative harms linked to a penalty scale. That is where the law stood until October 2001, when David Blunkett, then Home Secretary, announced that he wanted to move cannabis from B to C. Since the law then specified that possession of a Class C substance was a non-arrestable offence, this meant the police would be free to deal with "harder" drugs, such as heroin and crack cocaine, which caused most of the crime problems.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs agreed with Mr Blunkett and cannabis was duly downgraded in 2004.

In the first year, there was no increase in use of cannabis, and arrests for possession fell by one third, saving an estimated 199,000 police hours. It did not take long, however, for the aims of the policy to be lost in a fug of confusion. Shortly before the general election in 2005, a new Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, asked the advisory council to carry out another review – a cynical device to get Labour through the election campaign. The council, unsurprisingly, reached the same conclusion as it had the year before and, safely back in office, Clarke agreed to keep cannabis in Class C.

The classification system itself was then questioned by the Commons Science Select Committee. It produced a table of harms, placing alcohol fifth on the list, ahead of some class A drugs, while tobacco was ninth. Cannabis was 11th. Interestingly enough, when people were asked by YouGov to do their own non-scientific drugs classification, they also put alcohol and tobacco ahead of cannabis.

Then Gordon Brown became Prime Minister and decided he wanted a drugs policy showing he possessed a "moral compass". So the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs was sent off to think again, a disgraceful use of an independent advisory body. Once more, it recommended cannabis should be Class C, but was overruled by Mr Brown, who had made up his mind to return it to Class B, whatever the scientific evidence.

There is an argument, and one that is not confined to far-out libertarians, that if cannabis, heroin and cocaine were legally available they could be controlled much more effectively and their supply – which has expanded despite massively expensive efforts to shut it down – removed from the hands of criminals. But that is not going to happen. Any government that proposed it would be crucified. Furthermore, there are international obligations operating through the United Nations that Britain, as a signatory, must uphold. These require certain drugs to be illegal and in this country are enshrined in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

In that case, it behoves governments to implement laws in as effective and coherent a way as possible, which means sending out clear messages and deploying punishments and penalties consistently. Yet in recent years, where cannabis is concerned, the message has been anything but clear. Indeed, ministers have made such a pig's ear of the law that you have to wonder whether they were smoking the stuff themselves.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Kings Cross Times: Cannabis/schizophrenia link 'minimal' -- UK study

While we are saturated with assertions that cannabis causes psychotic mental illness, prohibitionists always act as if the evidence is concrete and stay very quiet about the very small numbers of users who actually have the disease.

And the numbers are very small. A new UK study looked at it the other way around -- How many people would you have to prevent from using cannabis to prevent one case of Schizophrenia?
The study found it would be necessary to stop 2800 heavy cannabis users in young men and over 5000 heavy cannabis users in young women to prevent a single case of schizophrenia. Among light cannabis users, those numbers rise to over 10,000 young men and nearly 30,000 young women to prevent one case of schizophrenia.
This shows how exaggerated is the moral panic on this subject, when many other activities acceptable to society carry FAR higher risks*. Of course the study stops short of describing the deeper fallacy in prohibitionist ideology -- where is the evidence that prohibition prevents anyone from using cannabis, let alone the millions that might be required to significantly reduce schizophrenia?

Professor David Nutt, who heads the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, also says cannabis does not cause major health problems and repeats his claim that ecstasy is no more dangerous than riding a horse.

The UK government ignored the advice of the ACMD and upgraded cannabis into the Class B category, attracting higher penalties, in a move that Professor Nutt described as "devaluing scientific research". The Liberal Western Australian Government has just made a similar move, also against the advice of its own research body. In both places, cannabis use had reduced during the period the drug was subject to lighter penalties.

WA brought its crackdown just as Dr Norm Stamper was in the state with his message of legal regulation. He reports in the Huffington Post on the rude reception he met in Parliament, the refusal to listen to evidence and the political paranoia of the lawmakers.

Check the letter below from one of the WA Liberal politicians. Every statement in it is demonstrably wrong. Truly, as Arthur Miller said, ideology is "the principled denial of fact".

Reply from WA politician Hon Nick Goiran MLC to a letter re repeal of the Cannabis Control Act 2003.


21 October 2009

Dear Mr X


Thank you for your letter regarding Premier Colin Barnett's announcement to introduce legislation to repeal the Cannabis Control Act 2003.

The State Government recognises that illicit drug use is a significant problem which affects the lives of users, their families, friends and the wider WA community and cannabis-related legislation is sending a clear anti-drugs message to the community.

Research shows that cannabis use can lead to a mass of health and mental health problems including respiratory problems and cancer risk, abnormalities in reproductive functioning and schizophrenia.
Drugs are an insidious threat to the fabric of our society. l have personally seen how people are enslaved, threatened and exploited because of drug debts and addiction. Illegal drugs ruin lives, shatter families and can create a downfall on our community foundation. We should seek to protect our fellow West Australians and these initiatives will crackdown on the plague of illicit drugs in our State.

From what you have written, you support a policy of 'Harm Minimisation'- a strategy to ameliorate the adverse consequences of drug use while drug use continues. I firmly believe that harm minimisation strategies communicate a message condoning drug use, a message I do not espouse. Furthermore, in my view harm minimisation strategies have been an abject failure.

Accordingly, l strongly support the Premier's announcement and the use of criminal law to deter drug use and look forward to voting in favour of the proposed legislation.

Yours sincerely

Hon Nick Goiran MLC

Member for the South Metropolitan Region


* Activities which carry FAR higher risks than using cannabis: Playing football (especially Gridiron); mountain-climbing; night yacht racing; rock fishing; riding a pushbike or motorbike; flying ultralight aircraft etc etc.

Shawn – Rick Simpson Hemp oil – update #1 April 26,2009

more about "Shawn – Rick Simpson Hemp oil – updat...", posted with vodpod

Saturday, September 12, 2009

New Antidepressant Drug Increases 'Brain's Own Cannabis'

ScienceDaily (Dec. 13, 2005) — Researchers have discovered a new drug that raises the level of endocannabinoids -- the 'brain's own cannabis' -- providing anti-depressant effects. The new research published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), suggests the new drug, called URB597, could represent a safer alternative to cannabis for the treatment of pain and depression, and open the door to new and improved treatments for clinical depression--a condition that affects around 20% of Canadians.

New Antidepressant Drug Increases 'Brain's Own Cannabis'

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kings Cross Times: Drug laws create major social injustice

If prohibition is a false and failed instrument -- and this blog shows there is a very strong case for that proposition -- then all the people arrested, jailed, injured or killed in its name are the victims of a social injustice that ranks with any of the more visible progressive causes.

Concerned and caring people fight for the rights of minorities oppressed because of their race, gender or religion etc, but the victims of prohibition remain a relatively unseen class, even though their numbers overlap hugely with the more readily identified oppressed groups.

This is explained carefully in an article by Harry G. Levine, author and professor of sociology at Queens College, City University of New York. He shows how the 430,000 arrests in New York for possession of small amounts of cannabis since 1997 are often carried out under false pretenses by police, who also discriminate heavily against blacks and hispanics.

This is happening even though the possession of less than one ounce of marihuana is explicitly decriminalised in New York State.

And the same is happening here. While we don't seem to have professors doing the research, it's obvious enough on the streets of Kings Cross. Here police routinely stop people they don't like the look of, demand ID without legal grounds to do so, publicly search people and target particular people with sniffer dogs, while pulling the dogs off others who have been indicated.

These are not wild accusations -- I have photographs of this happening. Pictured above is a policeman clearly pulling a sniffer dog on a tight leash to a Koori man in Springfield Plaza. The man was unconcerned and the dog did not indicate. I also have photographs of several police with two sniffer dogs running down a man who was walking along the street, before putting the dogs onto him. No drugs were found, as usual.

I took this up with a previous local commander who surprised me by claiming that this was legal procedure. I had naïvely thought that the dogs operated like random breath testing for alcohol, simply trotting around until they smelt drugs on someone. But no, it seems they are an active tool of discrimination.

No-one in progressive politics seems to care about this except to a small extent The Greens who, unfortunately, have retreated from their previous policy of regulated supply in the pursuit of more middle class votes. Tough luck for the oppressed minorities, I guess.

PS 18 Aug 09: Here's a fiery talk from Ethan Nadelmann, founder of the Drug Policy Alliance in the US, speaking at an NAACP conference on prohibition as an instrument of racial oppression.

Kings Cross Times: Drug laws create major social injustice

Kings Cross Times: NCPIC Director exposed as 'prohibitionist'

Professor Jan Copeland, highly paid Director of The National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC), has been described as "a very enthusiastic supporter of prohibition" on the UKCIA blog.

The writer, who says he has heard Professor Copeland speak three times at forums in the UK, claims her input into NCPIC publicity is slanted and easy to spot. This opinion resonates with this blog's sharp criticism of NCPIC's output since its inception.

Questions must be asked about a supposedly evidence-based public organisation which is seen to be driven by the personal ideology of its director. Our tax dollars should be spent on establishing the truth, not selectively interpreting evidence to support a preordained ideology.

The public has a right to assume that information presented as scientific is unbiased and reliable, especially when it comes from a Professor and they are paying for it.

And credulous media accepting NCPIC's media releases as authoritative need to look a little further into the facts, or at least seek opposing comment, before amplifying such propaganda. I name The Sydney Morning Herald and 702 Radio's Deborah Cameron as guilty in this regard. At least Professor Copeland's inaugural essay on the ABC blog was open to comments and was factually flamed.

To see previous posts on this subject, with links to the abovementioned material, just type NCPIC into the blog search field above.

Kings Cross Times: NCPIC Director exposed as 'prohibitionist'

Global tide turning against the War on Drugs

Michael Gormly
Thursday, 3 September 2009


Except for the occasional glimmer of light, consumers of Australian media can be forgiven for thinking the dark age of drug prohibition is not only justified but securely incumbent.

While our media, most politicians and even some health experts continue to regurgitate an evolving panoply of drug myths usually traceable to ultra-conservative US elements, truth will out and the international tide is on the turn against prohibition.

One of these myths is the one about cannabis and psychosis. New strains of skunk are X times stronger than the weed baby-boomers smoked in the 60s, and it's sending today's teenagers crazy, right?

Wrong. The perpetrators of this myth have funded a swag of dodgy research to link cannabis and psychosis, and our media faithfully regurgitate the moral panic. But they fail to explain why rates of psychosis have not significantly risen since pot became popular in the West over the past four decades; and anyone who thinks the drugs of the 1970s were not potent either wasn't there or had no personal experience of them.

Yet research still shows links between cannabis and psychosis. It drives horror headlines variously claiming that smoking pot results in a 40 or even a 200 per cent increase in the risk of mental illness, depending on the shrillness of the source. But what they don’t tell you is that this dramatic increase in risk is limited to far less than one percent of smokers. While a 40 percent increase in risk sounds alarming, 40 per cent of nearly nothing is no reason for a worldwide War on Drugs which directly kills countless thousands of people each year.

Other recent marijuana myths claim that it shrinks your brain, makes your teeth fall out and gives you cancer. Horrid little Frankensteins are still injecting people and rats with pure THC (an active ingredient of cannabis) to prove it is toxic, even though no-one has ever died directly from cannabis.

Locally we now have the lavishly funded National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC) to foment panic. It published a minor study claiming that cannabis makes people violent “ pure Reefer Madness nonsense. It has now conducted an evidence review to support a new campaign claiming that driving stoned is the same as driving drunk. But this is not backed up by NCPIC's own report, which concludes that great variations and inconsistencies in the findings detract from the likelihood of a clear synthesis of results.

None of these cannabis plagues actually show up clearly in population studies, which is why authoritative bodies like the British Government's Scientific Advisory Panel advised against reclassifying pot into the more serious Category B. This was ignored by Gordon Brown, who went ahead anyway in a desperate pursuit of political points. The privately funded Beckley Commission recognises dangers of cannabis but concludes that prohibition is disproportionate and ineffective.

A recent Cato Institute study assessed Portugal's progress since it decriminalised all drugs including the hard ones in 2001. Cannabis use is down among teens and HIV transmission has been slashed.

This is awkward stuff for prohibitionists who always assert that going soft on drugs will unleash a tsunami of drug abuse and mental illness. They also have trouble with solid world-wide evidence that liberal harm minimisation practice“ needle exchanges, supervised injecting centres and the like“ is the best way to reduce HIV transmission among injecting drug users and does not increase drug use.

It is this HIV factor which is turning the United Nations away from the US-driven War on Drugs towards a new approach based on harm minimisation.

This is despite the still-powerful influence of Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and a keen prohibitionist.
In 1998 his organisation declared it would make the world drug-free by 2008. Despite the spectacular failure of this ambition, he has recommended another ten years of War on Drugs. Given that the global illicit drug market rivals the oil industry in size, and any kid can still score pot in any town in Australia, his defence is reduced to nonsense sound-bites such as Drugs are not harmful because they are controlled, they are controlled because they are harmful. Sounds neat, except that drugs are not controlled and prohibition clearly makes them more harmful ” as we are repeatedly told by police who warn against buying ecstasy pills because you never know what's in them.

Costa ignored a recent global email campaign urging him to explain why, if prohibition was effective, cannabis usage in the Netherlands (where it is freely available) is around one-third the rate in the prohibitionist US, which jails more people for possession than any other country. The US has five per cent of the world’s population but 25 per cent of its prisoners, most of them black or Hispanic. No-knock raids on homes by armed para-military police are common there, frequently resulting in the death of innocent people because information was wrong or police just got the wrong house.

Fortunately for the world, Costa is outranked by UN General Assembly resolutions in support of harm minimisation, echoed by WHO.

The election of Barak Obama is also significant. While he is not dismantling US prohibition, he has stopped Federal law enforcers busting people for medical marihuana use in the growing number of states which have legalised it.

Mexico has just decriminalised personal possession of most drugs with nary a peep out of the Obama Administration, in sharp contrast to the last time Mexico tried this route only to backtrack under intense pressure from the Bush administration. Now Argentina has also decriminalised cannabis, and the cocaine-producing nations of South America are calling for a change of strategy as their countries are being ripped apart by drug cartel warfare without any reduction in cocaine production which is fuelled, ironically, by the huge profits to be made in the US market..

Respected journal The Economist is campaigning against prohibition while the idea of regulated supply is making the opinion pages of leading newspapers including The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian.

Even police in the US have a 16,000-member organization, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which has erected roadside billboards announcing Drug abuse is bad “ the Drug War is WORSE

But here in backward Sydney, the Miranda Devines, Fred Niles and the Christian Right keep singing from the same old songbook and this supposedly global city is embarrassed when travellers from progressive countries are confronted by the sight of police with sniffer dogs searching people in the street like a scene from some hardcore American cop show or an Iron-Curtain police state. This is no longer the free country we have fought so many wars to defend.

All inner city residents suffer the fallout from prohibition “ from syringes in the street to muggers, beggars and burglars feeding addictions, to less obvious problems such as police focusing on easy drug busts instead of, say, high-visibility policing in late-night entertainment precincts where a stronger presence would reduce actual violence.

It's time we got real.

by Michael Gormly

PS The latest study to question the cannabis-schizophrenia link, and a host of other current Drug Law Reform information, is blogged on my Kings Cross Times site.

Global tide turning against the War on Drugs « Alternative Media Group

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Cannabis chemicals may help fight prostate cancer

LONDON - Chemicals in cannabis have been found to stop prostate cancer cells from growing in the laboratory, suggesting that cannabis-based medicines could one day help fight the disease, scientists said Wednesday.

After working initially with human cancer cell lines, Ines Diaz-Laviada and colleagues from the University of Alcala in Madrid also tested one compound on mice and discovered it produced a significant reduction in tumor growth.

Their research, published in the British Journal of Cancer, underlines the growing interest in the medical use of active chemicals called cannabinoids, which are found in marijuana.

Experts, however, stressed that the research was still exploratory and many more years of testing would be needed to work out how to apply the findings to the treatment of cancer in humans.

"This is interesting research which opens a new avenue to explore potential drug targets but it is at a very early stage," said Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, which owns the journal.

"It absolutely isn't the case that men might be able to fight prostate cancer by smoking cannabis," she added

The cannabinoids tested by the Spanish team are thought to work against prostate cancer because they block a receptor, or molecular doorway, on the surface of tumour cells. This stops them from dividing.

In effect, the cancer cell receptors can recognize and "talk to" chemicals found in cannabis, said Diaz-Laviada.

"These chemicals can stop the division and growth of prostate cancer cells and could become a target for new research into potential drugs to treat prostate cancer," she said.

Her team's work with two cannabinoids -- called methanandamide and JWH-015 -- is the first demonstration that such cannabis chemicals prevent cancer cells from multiplying.

Some drug companies are already exploring the possibilities of cannabinoids in cancer, including British-based cannabis medicine specialist GW Pharmaceuticals.

It is collaborating with Japan's Otsuka on early-stage research into using cannabis extracts to tackle prostate cancer -- the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men -- as well as breast and brain cancer.

GW has already developed an under-the-tongue spray called Sativex for the relief of some of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, which it plans to market in Europe with Bayer and Almirall.

Other attempts to exploit the cannibinoid system have met with mixed success. Sanofi-Aventis was forced to withdraw its weight-loss drug Acomplia from the market last year because of links to mental disorders.

Cannabis chemicals may help fight prostate cancer

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Melanoma in Australia expected to rise

Lucky for us that Hemp Oil rubbed directly onto melanoma's has been known to cure them in as fast as 2 weeks just apply a small amount of hash oil made from female cannabis flowers to your melanoma then cover with a band aid. Repeat every 12 - 24 hours for 5 days. 2 weeks after the end of treatment be sure to go back to your specialist to be re-checked so you can make sure that the cancer is infact gone and tell them how you cured your own skin cancer.


"Melanoma in Australia expected to rise"

Doubt cast on cannabis, schizophrenia link

A British study has cast doubt on the supposed link between cannabis use and schizophrenia, but at least one Australian researcher says the study needs more evidence.

Previous research has suggested cannabis use increases the risk of being diagnosed with either psychosis or schizophrenia.

This latest study, led by Dr. Martin Frisher of Keele University, examined the records of 600,000 patients aged between 16 and 44, but failed to find a similar link.

"An important limitation of many studies is that they have failed to distinguish the direction of association between cannabis use and psychosis," the authors write in the September edition of the journal Schizophrenia Research.

They point out that "although using cannabis is associated with a greater risk of developing psychosis, there is also evidence of increased cannabis use following psychosis onset."
Not as predicted

Frisher and colleagues compared the trends of cannabis use with general practitioner records of schizophrenia and psychosis.

They argue that if cannabis use does cause schizophrenia, an increase in cannabis use should be followed by an increase in the incidence of schizophrenia.

According to the study, cannabis use in the United Kingdom between 1972 and 2002 has increased four-fold in the general population, and 18-fold among under-18s.

Based on the literature supporting the link, the authors argue that this should be followed by an increase in schizophrenia incidence of 29 per cent between 1990 and 2010.

But the researchers found no increase in the rates of schizophrenia and psychosis diagnosis during that period. In fact, some of the data suggested the incidence of these conditions had decreased.

"This study does not therefore support the specific causal link between cannabis use and the incidence of psychotic disorders," the authors say. "This concurs with other reports indicating that increases in population cannabis use have not been followed by increases in psychotic incidence."
Study 'just a start'

Prof. Joseph Rey of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sydney, whose previous research has identified a link between cannabis and schizophrenia, is skeptical of the study's results.

"Not showing that there is a link does not mean there is no link," he says. "There might be other factors at play that may reduce the incidence of diagnosed schizophrenia."

According to Rey, "this study is just a start and the evidence suggesting that cannabis use does increase the risk of schizophrenia is quite strong. We need more evidence to counteract what we already know."

The authors of the study say that while they cannot completely dismiss all alternative explanations of their data, such explanations "do not appear to be plausible."
Doubt cast on cannabis, schizophrenia link

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Its time to Legalize Cannabis in Australia

It is time for the Australian government to legalise cannabis in Australia immediately. The Australian government has continued to ignore any real evidence related to cannabis and they seem to still be under the belief that it is bad for you, regardless of the multitudes of information and evidence out there proving the exact opposite.

Now i don't know what news and medical reports they are reading but if you go through the Archive of my blog for example you will see quite a few very interesting headings there, and if you take the time to read the articles and the source information you will see that even in a short time i have been able to accumulate massive amounts of legitimate medical and non-medical studies showing, proving that cannabis is a safe natural medicine and far safer that other medicine's on the market today and also that cannabis is a far safer form of recreational activity that alcohol and other recreational drugs.
These are studies from some of the biggest names in medicine like Dr. Donald Tashkin, Dr. Robert Melemede CEO of "Cannabis Science", studies and reports from the United States law enforcement community LEAP "Law Enforcement Against Prohibition". Independent studies from United Kingdom.


I also provide links and resources to the real world of cannabis the truth untainted by Government greed and political opinion. There are now even money making organisations popping up trying to reap peoples hard earned $$ to spread further lies about cannabis like NCPIC "National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre" who clearly state on their website that:

There is limited research on the long-term effects of cannabis. On the available evidence, the major probable adverse effects are:

    * increased risk of respiratory diseases associated with smoking, including cancer (WRONG & WRONG READ DR DONALD TASHKIN'S REPORT & THIS REPORT ON CANCER)
    * decreased memory and learning abilities (WRONG READ THIS MEDICAL REPORT ON CANNABIS'S IMPACT ON BRAIN FUNCTION)
    * decreased motivation in areas such as study, work or concentration(WRONG ESPECIALLY IF THE USER HAS ADD OR ADHD READ THIS REPORT)

Lets pause a second and look at NCPIC's Information statement

    "One of the key goals of the Centre is to provide the Australian community with access to evidence-based information on cannabis and related harms."

Wow i am seeing a real lack of evidence so far but wait there's more

    "Not only is it important that this information be accurate and up-to-date, it is also vital that it is easily accessible to a range of target audiences. As a result, NCPIC has endeavored to provide as much of this information in an electronic form on the website as possible."

And there it is they are spreading lies and making money. It is time we put a stop to the lies and propaganda and start to tell Australians the truth about cannabis.

We as Australians supporting Australians are calling for the following:

• to re legalise and regulate cannabis for personal, medical and industrial uses.

• to allow for health education, home growing, and regulated sales through registered outlets which will separate cannabis from the criminality of the black-market and end consequent associated corruption.

• to allow medical use, utilising cannabis' painkilling, relaxing, anti nausea and healing properties.

• to establish a commercial hemp industry producing fuel,fibre, paper, textiles, food, oil and other environmentally sound products.

• to release all those imprisoned for cannabis alone and the removal of all records of previous criminal cannabis convictions.

civil rights

If you are seriously interested in cannabis legalisation and are brave enough please join the Australian HEMP Party we need all the members we can get. I know your out there according to studies 11% of Australians use cannabis now. Its time to re-educate Australia from the lies that are being spread to Australians about the worlds most powerful plant.

Please take the time to see this well presented video on the Truth about cannabis

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

High: The True Tale of American Marijuana PT1

"I smoked Marijuana since I was to young but I never became a drinker and never got hooked on any other drugs. In fact Marijuana probably kept me from looking any further and exploring other drugs because I all ready felt happy with weed. It helped me through physical back pain, and also a period in my life when I had anxiety. Its been 20 years of occasional use now I do not have cancer and I am not addicted and use it maybe 6 times a year" by bonzaibb12

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Union: the business behind getting high

A very well built documentary about cannabis and drug prohibition by Producer Adam Scorgie a non-cannabis user. Does the drug prohibition work? Have a look and think for yourself.

see also an interview with Producer Adam Scorgie


United States
New Research Shows Here Seems to Be Something in Pot That Actually Undermines Cancer, Instead of Causing It. -- And the Media Are Doing Their Best to Ignore It.

One in three Americans will be afflicted with cancer, we are told by the government ( as if it's our immutable fate and somehow acceptable ). Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the U.S. and lung cancer the leading killer among cancers.

You'd think it would have been very big news in June 2005 when UCLA medical school professor Donald Tashkin reported that components of marijuana smoke -- although they damage cells in respiratory tissue - -- somehow prevent them from becoming malignant. In other words, something in marijuana exerts an anti-cancer effect!

Tashkin has special credibility. He was the lead investigator on studies dating back to the 1970s that identified the components in marijuana smoke that are toxic. It was Tashkin et al. who published photomicrographs showing that marijuana smoke damages cells lining the upper airways. It was the Tashkin lab's finding that benzpyrene - -- a component of tobacco smoke that plays a role in most lung cancers -- is especially prevalent in marijuana smoke. It was Tashkin's data showing that marijuana smokers are more likely than non-smokers to cough, wheeze, and produce sputum.

Tashkin reviewed his findings in April 2008, at a conference organized by "Patients Out of Time," a reform group devoted to educating doctors and the public ( as opposed to lobbying politicians ). Some 30 MDs and nurses got continuing medical education credits for attending the event, which was held at Asilomar, on the Monterey Peninsula.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse, which supported Tashkin's marijuana-related research over the decades, readily gave him a grant in 2002 to conduct a large, population-based, case-controlled study that would prove definitively that heavy, long-term marijuana use increases the risk of lung and upper-airways cancers.

What Tashkin and his colleagues found, however, disproved their hypothesis. ( Tashkin is to marijuana as a cause of lung cancer what Hans Blix was to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction -- an honest investigator who set out to find something, concluded that it wasn't there, and reported his results. )

Tashkin's team interviewed 1,212 cancer patients from the Los Angeles County Cancer Surveillance program, matched for age, gender, and neighborhood with 1,040 cancer-free controls. Marijuana use was measured in "joint years" ( number of years smoked times number of joints per day ).

It turned out that increased marijuana use did not result in higher rates of lung and pharyngeal cancer, whereas tobacco smokers were at greater risk the more they smoked. Tobacco smokers who also smoked marijuana were at slightly lower risk of getting lung cancer than tobacco-only smokers.

These findings were not deemed worthy of publication in "NIDA Notes." Tashkin reported them at the 2005 meeting of the International Cannabinoid Research Society. They were published in the October 2006 issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.

Without a press release from NIDA calling attention to its significance, the assignment editors of America had no idea that "Marijuana Use and the Risk of Lung and Upper Aerodigestive Tract Cancers: Results of a Population-Based Case-Control Study" by Mia Hashibe1, Hal Morgenstern, Yan Cui, Donald P. Tashkin, Zuo-Feng Zhang, Wendy Cozen, Thomas M. Mack and Sander Greenland was a blockbuster story.

I suggested to Eric Bailey of the L.A. Times that he write up Tashkin's findings -- UCLA provided the local angle if the anti-cancer effect wasn't enough. Bailey said his editors wouldn't be interested for some time because he had just filed a marijuana-related piece. The Tashkin scoop is still there for the taking!

Tashkin Defends His Findings

Investigators from New Zealand recently got widespread media attention for a study contradicting Tashkin's results. "Heavy cannabis users may be at greater risk of chronic lung disease - -including cancer- compared to tobacco smokers," is how BBC News summed up the New Zealanders' findings.

The very small size of the study -79 smokers took part, 21 of whom smoked cannabis only- was not held against the authors. In fact, the small New Zealand study was given much more coverage by the corporate press than the large UCLA study that preceded it.

The New Zealand study was portrayed as the latest word on this important subject. As if scientific inquiry were some kind of tennis match and the truth just gets truthier with every volley.

Tashkin criticized the New Zealanders' methodology in his talk at Asilomar: "There's some cognitive dissonance associated with the interpretation of their findings. I think this has to do with the belief model among the investigators and -I wish they were here to defend themselves- the integrity of the investigators... They actually published another paper in which they mimicked the design that we used for looking at lung function."

Tashkin spoke from the stage of an airy redwood chapel designed by Julia Morgan. He is pink-cheeked, 70ish, wears wire-rimmed spectacles. "For tobacco they found what you'd expect: a higher risk for lung cancer and a clear dose-response relationship. A 24-fold increase in the people who smoked the most... What about marijuana? If they smoked a small or moderate amount there was no increased risk, in fact slightly less than one. But if they were in the upper third of the group, then their risk was six-fold... A rather surprising finding, and one has to be cautious about interpreting the results because of the very small number of cases -- fourteen-- and controls -- four."

Tashkin said the New Zealanders employed "statistical sleight of hand." He deemed it "completely implausible that smokers of only 365 joints of marijuana have a risk for developing lung cancer similar to that of smokers of 7,000 tobacco cigarettes... Their small sample size led to vastly inflated estimates... They had said 'it's ideal to do the study in New Zealand because we have a much higher prevalence of marijuana smoking.' But 88 percent of their controls had never smoked marijuana, whereas 36% of our controls ( in Los Angeles ) had never smoked marijuana. Why did so few of the controls smoke marijuana? Something fishy about that!"

Strong words for a UCLA School of Medicine professor!

As to the highly promising implication of his own study -that something in marijuana stops damaged cells from becoming malignant-- Tashkin noted that an anti-proliferative effect of THC has been observed in cell-culture systems and animal models of brain, breast, prostate, and lung cancer. THC has been shown to promote apoptosis ( damaged cells die instead of reproducing ) and to counter angiogenesis ( the process by which blood vessels are formed --a requirement of tumor growth ). Other antioxidants in cannabis may also be involved in countering malignancy, said Tashkin.


Much of Tashkin's talk was devoted to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, another condition prevalent among tobacco smokers. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are two forms of COPD, which is the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States. Air pollution and tobacco smoke are known culprits. Inhaled pathogens cause an inflammatory response, resulting in diminished lung function. COPD patients have increasing difficulty clearing the airways as they get older.

Tashkin and colleagues at UCLA conducted a major study in which they measured lung function of various cohorts over eight years and found that tobacco-only smokers had an accelerated rate of decline, but marijuana smokers -even if they smoked tobacco as well- experienced the same rate of decline as non-smokers.

"The more tobacco smoked, the greater the rate of decline," said Tashkin. "In contrast, no matter how much marijuana was smoked, the rate of decline was similar to normal."

Tashkin concluded that his and other studies "do not support the concept that regular smoking of marijuana leads to COPD."

Breathe easier, everybody.


Editor's Note: There is a groundswell of attention in the news to marijuana's role in causing and preventing various types of cancers. Last week, AlterNet published an article from the Marijuana Policy Project about a new study finding that pot smokers have a lower risk of head and neck cancers than people who don't smoke pot. Earlier this year, the corporate media pounced on a study suggesting that men who had been using marijuana at least once per week and who had started smoking pot prior to age 18 had an elevated risk of testicular cancer known as nonseminoma, which makes up fewer than half of one percent of all cancer cases among men.

Head, neck and testicular cancers are of course quite serious ailments to deal with, but what about cancer of the most obvious organ at risk with pot smoking, the lungs? Where's the science on that? The article below by Fred Gardner, editor of the medical marijuana research quarterly journal O'Shaughnessy's, shares the results of a major medical study the media completely ignored, and his conclusions are quite blunt on the matter: Smoking pot doesn't cause lung cancer. In fact, the study found that cigarette smokers who also smoked marijuana were at a lower risk of contracting lung cancer than tobacco-only smokers.

Source: NORML-

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Seminar at the Opera House Make All Drugs Legal

Human Brains Make Their Own 'Marijuana'

U.S. and Brazilian scientists have discovered that the brain manufactures proteins that act like marijuana at specific receptors in the brain itself. This discovery may lead to new marijuana-like drugs for managing pain, stimulating appetite, and preventing marijuana abuse.

"Ideally, this development will lead to drugs that bind to and activate the THC receptor, but are devoid of the side effects that limit the usefulness of marijuana," said Lakshmi A. Devi of the Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and one of the senior researchers involved in the study. "It would be helpful to have a drug that activated or blocked the THC receptor, and our findings raise the possibility that this will lead to effective drugs with fewer side effects."

Scientists made their discovery by first extracting several small proteins, called peptides, from the brains of mice and determining their amino acid sequence. The extracted proteins were then compared with another peptide previously known to bind to, but not activate, the receptor (THC) affected by marijuana. Out of the extracted proteins, several not only bound to the brain's THC receptors, but activated them as well.

"The War on Drugs has hit very close to home," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "Last year, scientists found that our skin makes its own marijuana-like substance. Now, we see that our brain has been making proteins that act directly on the marijuana receptors in our head. The next step is for scientists to come up with new medicines that eliminate the nasty side of pot—a better joint, so to speak."


Journal reference:

1.Ivone Gomes, Julia S. Grushko, Urszula Golebiewska, Sascha Hoogendoorn, Achla Gupta, Andrea S. Heimann, Emer S. Ferro, Suzanne Scarlata, Lloyd D. Fricker, and Lakshmi A. Devi. Novel endogenous peptide agonists of cannabinoid receptors. FASEB J, DOI: 10.1096/fj.09-132142
Adapted from materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

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Marijuana-inspired Painkiller? New Chemical Pathway Discovered

Marijuana can be an effective painkiller, but social issues and unhealthy smoke inhalation complicate its use. As a result, researchers have focused great attention on understanding the biochemical system involved so they might manipulate it by other means. Toward that end, scientists have definitively identified a chemical pathway that, in mice, imitates marijuana's painkilling effect. The work could enable the development of new pain treatments.

Marijuana kills pain by activating a set of proteins known as cannabinoid receptors, which can also regulate appetite, inflammation, and memory. The body also has chemicals known as endocannabinoids that naturally activate these same receptors, namely N-arachidonoyl ethanolamine (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).

These natural components of the cannabinoid system remain the focus of intense efforts to develop new treatments not only for chronic pain, but also for obesity, anxiety, and depression. However, until the new paper (citation below) specific methods to study 2-AG signaling have been lacking.

AEA's activity has been well understood for years. In past research, Cravatt and his team identified an enzyme called fatty acid amide hydrolase, or FAAH, that breaks down AEA, effectively reducing its pain killing activity. A number of compounds are now in clinical development that target and breakdown FAAH, allowing AEA to build up, reducing pain. However, FAAH does not control 2-AG metabolism in vivo, and therefore, the potential biological functions and therapeutic potential of this second endocannabinoid have remained largely unknown.

Teasing out 2-AG's specific impacts have proven challenging. Comparable to FAAH, an enzyme called monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) breaks down 2-AG. But, despite numerous attempts, no group had been able to develop a chemical that inhibits MAGL specifically.

"The tools—selective and efficacious MAGL inhibitors—just weren't there, " says Jonathan Long, a graduate student of the Scripps Research Kellogg School of Science and Technology who is a member of the Cravatt lab and a first author of the new paper.

But now, a MAGL-specific inhibitor is finally available, thanks to the lab's new work. Key to this success was Activity-Based Protein Profiling, a unique chemical technique the group devised and has used fruitfully in other inhibitor hunts. This system enables the rapid engineering and testing of chemical compounds against many members of enzyme families, in hope of finding effective and selective inhibitors.

For this project, the group developed about 200 compounds and found that one was a highly effective block for MAGL. The scientists dubbed the compound JZL184, named after Long's initials and the order in the series of potential inhibitors tested. JZL184 effectively blocks only MAGL among more than 40 related brain enzymes, which opened the door for the first definitive study of 2-AG's activity.

A New View of 2-AG

Unlike increased AEA, which causes only reduced pain sensation, the team found that MAGL inhibition using JZL184, and the resulting increase in 2-AG concentration, not only reduced pain in mice, but also induced other effects associated with the cannabinoid receptors, namely hypothermia and decreased movement.

"This really does suggest a sort of segregation of labor, if you will," says Cravatt of the differential effects of elevating AEA versus 2-AG as part of the overall function of the cannabinoid system. "That, I think, is a truly unique result."

While treatments based on inhibiting FAAH show great promise for controlling pain, manipulating MAGL levels could also be a boon for treatment development, especially if 2-AG's other effects, such as hypothermia, can be managed.

"There are so many different types of pain," Cravatt says, "that it's possible some types could be more effectively treated with one treatment than another."

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Helen L. Dorris Child and Adolescent Neuro-Psychiatric Disorder Institute, and the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology.

Journal reference:

1. Long et al. Selective blockade of 2-arachidonoylglycerol hydrolysis produces cannabinoid behavioral effects. Nature Chemical Biology, Online November 24, 2008; DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.129

Adapted from materials provided by Scripps Research Institute, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Marijuana-inspired Painkiller? New Chemical Pathway Discovered

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cannabinoids in bipolar affective disorder: a review and discussion of their therapeutic potential

Department of Psychiatry, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Bipolar affective disorder is often poorly controlled by prescribed drugs. Cannabis use is common in patients with this disorder and anecdotal reports suggest that some patients take it to alleviate symptoms of both mania and depression. We undertook a literature review of cannabis use by patients with bipolar disorder and of the neuropharmacological properties of cannabinoids suggesting possible therapeutic effects in this condition. No systematic studies of cannabinoids in bipolar disorder were found to exist, although some patients claim that cannabisrelieves symptoms of mania and/or depression. The cannabinoids Dgr9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) may exert sedative, hypnotic, anxiolytic, antidepressant, antipsychotic and anticonvulsant effects. Pure synthetic cannabinoids, such as dronabinol and nabilone and specific plant extracts containing THC, CBD, or amixture of the two in known concentrations, are available and can be delivered sublingually. Controlled trials of these cannabinoids as adjunctive medication in bipolar disorder are now indicated.

C. H. Ashton, P. B. Moore, P. Gallagher, A. H. Young

Friday, August 28, 2009

Schizophrenia link to cannabis denied

A STUDY by North Staffordshire academics has rejected a link between smoking cannabis and an increase in mental illness.

The research found there were no rises in cases of schizophrenia or psychoses diagnosed in the UK over nine years, during which the use of the drug had grown substantially.

Pro-cannabis campaigners seized on the results as supporting the legalising of cannabis, and claimed the report had been suppressed.

But the leading expert behind the study said it could be too low-key to re-ignite the debate on whether restrictions should be removed from soft drugs.

From their base at the Harplands Psychiatric Hospital in Hartshill, the four experts reviewed the notes of hundreds of thousands of patients at 183 GP practices throughout the country to look for any changing rate in cases of schizophrenia.

The work had been set up to see if earlier forecasts from other experts had been borne out, that the mental disorder would soar through the growing popularity of cannabis.

Published in the Schizophrenia Research journal, a paper on the study said: "A recent review concluded that cannabis use increases the risk of psychotic outcomes.

"Furthermore an accepted model of the association between cannabis and schizophrenia indicated its incidence would increase from 1990 onwards.

"We examined trends in the annual psychosis incidence and prevalence as measured by diagnosed cases from 1996 to 2005 and found it to be either stable or declining.

"The casual models linking cannabis with schizophrenia and other psychoses are therefore not supported by our study."

The research was conducted by Drs Martin Frisher and Orsolina Martino, from the department of medicines management at Keele University; psychiatrist Professor Ilana Crome, from the Harplands academic unit, who specialises in addiction; and diseases expert Professor Peter Croft, pictured below, from the university's primary care research centre.

Its findings come shortly after the Government reclassified cannabis from Class C to Class B, which invokes heavier penalties.

Yet Dr Frisher revealed last night that the study had been partly commissioned by the Government's advisory committee on the misuse of drugs.

He said: "We concentrated on looking into the incidence of schizophrenia during those years and not specifically at cannabis use.

"It was relatively low-key research so I don't believe it will re-ignite the debate on whether the drug should be legalised."

Hartshill-based Dilys Wood, national co-ordinator of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance, said that so far the report had been published in medical journals and would have a far-reaching reaction if it surfaced more widely.

She added: "I believe that if it had found a causal link between cannabis and schizophrenia it would have been all over the press.

"The public needs to know the truth about drugs; not more Government-led propaganda."

And Alliance press officer Don Barnard said: "It is hard to believe the then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith did not know of this very important research when deciding to upgrade cannabis to Class B."

The team said a number of alternative explanations for the stabilising of schizophrenia had been considered and while they could not be wholly discounted, they did not appear to be plausible.
Thursday, August 27, 2009, 09:20

BIG JOINT to blow in on NCPIC Powerhouse Conference.

To confirm the arrangements which will govern the protest activity planned by your organisation (Nimbin Hemp Embassy) to take place on Monday and Tuesday, 7th and 8th of September 2009 in the Sydney CBD

Timings: Assemble 8am outside the Power House Museum, Harris Street, Ultimo and hold a rally in relation to raising issues concerning the regulating of cannabis for medical use. Pamphlets to be handed out. Disperse by 6pm each day.

Agreed Conditions:

It is anticipated the number of participants will not exceed 50 persons at each assembly point.
from within that number the organisation “Nimbin Hemp Embassy ” are to nominate marshalls to guide and maintain a level of control over the gathering
all marshalls are to be readily identifiable to police
all participants are to obey the lawful directions of police
The assembly are not to encroach upon the roadway.
participants are not to block footpaths, stairs or entry or exit points so as to obstruct the free movement of other pedestrians or traffic.
participants are not to block the entrance to any building at any time
participants are not to engage in criminal or anti social behaviour
reasonable use of a small, portable public address system is permitted
reasonable use of hand held megaphones by marshalls is also permitted
use of an inflatable `Big Joint’ is permitted, however, must not block pedestrian traffic or encroach on the roadway.
The assembly will disperse by 6.00pm.
Small banners are to be used only and are not to contain offensive language or obscene slogans or pictures during the event/rally.
The NSW Police Force considers the burning of any article, flag or effigy a public safety hazard. The Police Force reserves the right to take any such action/s as may be necessary to ensure the safety of participants. The general public and police officers, should such activity occur.
The event/rally organiser is to ensure that no damage is occasioned to public or private property. Should such damage occur, the organizer to the best of his/her ability is to assist police in identifying those responsible for such damage.
The organiser is to assist Police identify any persons responsible for commission of any offence.
Notification of the protest activity to the Power House Museum must be completed prior to the activity by contacting them by phone or email.

The Duty Officer for that date, working from City Central Police station will contact you a short time prior to the protest activity commencing.
Reprinted information from NSW Police in the interest of public safety. Nimbin HEMP Embassy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More Cannabis Rally info

Please don’t smoke the walls

It is absolutely amazing the diversity of materials we are using these days as building materials for our homes and business. As we move further into a world looking for sustainability and ways not to damage the environment around us the ideas are coming hot and heavy about even newer materials. Considering that in the US buildings account for thirty-eight percent of the CO2 emissions the demand for carbon neutral and/or zero footprint building the demand for building materials to meet these needs will only increase.

One new (to the United States) material that is getting a lot of attention is from a UK-based business, Lhoist Group, and their Tradical® Hemcrete® concrete substitute. This a product made from mixing hemp, lime and water and is 7x as strong as normal concrete as well as being carbon negative.