Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Australian 'Legalise and tax marijuana' to drive out drug underworld

Thanks to NORML Australia for bringing this article to my attention I have said this before in my blog as long as the government supports prohibition the support drug cartels and drug dealers.

PROSECUTING the marijuana trade makes no financial sense in a market with an almost infinite supply, a leading US drugs campaigner says.

A better path is to regulate the drugs and impose taxes on their supply, given drugs are more easily available in larger quantities and at cheaper prices, says Ethan Nadelmann, director of New York-based Drug Policy Alliance.

In Australia to discuss drug policy, Mr Nadelmann told the National Press Club yesterday support was building for decriminalisation of marijuana use in the US, with approval from 44 per cent of the population, a marked hike from

36 per cent five years ago.

Mr Nadelmann said high school students in the US claimed it was easier to get their hands on marijuana than alcohol, and spending a fortune on policing and jailing those in the trade was wasting money.

Sydney-based drug reform campaigner Alex Wodak agreed that prohibition of drugs was not working, and there had been a rise in violence associated with the drugs underworld that could be curtailed by legalising the industry.

Mr Wodak said cannabis was the only drug that could be controlled in Australia by Mr Nadelmann's regulate and tax model.

Opponents of Mr Nadelmann's model note the increasing potency of cannabis and marijuana compared with decades ago and refute the notion it is comparatively harmless.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Marijuana To Control Alcohol Abuse

New Strategy Uses Pot To Control Alcohol Abuse

A new research effort has a provocative outcome as University of California-Berkeley researchers suggest substituting cannabis for treatment of heavy alcohol abuse.
Research published in BioMed Central’s open access Harm Reduction Journal features a poll of 350 cannabis users, finding that 40 percent used cannabis to control their alcohol cravings, 66 percent as a replacement for prescription drugs and 26 percent for other, more potent illegal drugs.
Amanda Reiman carried out the study at the UC-Berkeley Patient’s Group, a medical cannabis dispensary.
She said, “Substituting cannabis for alcohol has been described as a radical alcohol treatment protocol. This approach could be used to address heavy alcohol use in the British Isles – people might substitute cannabis, a potentially safer drug than alcohol with less negative side effects, if it were socially acceptable and available.”
Reiman found that 65 percent of people reported using cannabis as a substitute because it has fewer adverse side effects than alcohol, illicit or prescription drugs, 34 percent because it has less withdrawal potential and 57.4 percent because cannabis provides better symptom management.
Reiman believes this discovery brings up two important points.
“First, self-determination, the right of an individual to decide which treatment or substance is most effective and least harmful for them. Secondly, the recognition that substitution might be a viable alternative to abstinence for those who can’t or won’t completely stop using psychoactive substances.”
Speaking about legalization of cannabis, Reiman added, “The economic hardship of the Great Depression helped bring about the end of alcohol prohibition. Now, as we are again faced with economic struggles, the U.S. is looking to marijuana as a potential revenue generator.
“Public support is rising for the legalization of recreational use and remains high for the use of marijuana as a medicine. The hope is that this interest will translate into increased research support and the removal of current barriers to conducting such research, such as the Schedule I/Class B status of marijuana.”

Monday, November 22, 2010

Psychomotor Impairing Effects Of Cannabis Are Nominal In Experienced Users, Study Says - NORML

November 18, 2010 - Maastricht, The Netherlands

Maastricht, The Netherlands: Experienced marijuana consumers become tolerant to the substance's impairing potential on psychomotor skills, according to clinical trial data published online in the journal Psychopharmacology.

Investigators at Maastricht University in The Netherlands and Goethe University in Germany assessed the neurocognitive effects of cannabis and alcohol in 21 experienced marijuana consumers (defined as smoking more than four days per week.) Subjects completed various driving simulator performance tests, including measures of perceptual motor control (critical tracking test), dual task processing (divided-attention task), motor inhibition (stop-signal task), and cognition (Tower of London).

Researchers determined that alcohol dosing significantly impaired subjects' critical tracking, divided attention, and stop-signal performance. By contrast, investigators reported that smoking THC cigarettes "generally did not affect task performance."

"THC did not affect performance of heavy cannabis users in the critical tracking task, the stop-signal task, and the Tower of London," authors wrote. "These tasks have previously been shown to be very sensitive to the impairing potential of THC when administered to infrequent cannabis (users). The lack of THC on these tasks basically confirms the previous notions that heavy cannabis users can develop tolerance to behaviorally impairing effects of THC."

Authors did report that subjects' performance on the divided-attention task was affected by both THC and alcohol, and their combination.

Investigators further reported that heavy marijuana use did not produce cross-tolerance to the impairing potential of alcohol alone or the synergistic effects of alcohol and cannabis when used concurrently.

A previously published study from July also found that experienced cannabis consumers overall performance accuracy on episodic memory and working memory tasks was not significantly altered by marijuana. Researchers in that study concluded: "This pattern of effects is consistent with results previously reported by other researchers studying the acute effects of marijuana on cognitive performance of regular users. ... The observation that frequent users' response accuracy is not altered after marijuana smoking to the same extent it is for infrequent users ... suggests that near-daily marijuana smokers may have developed tolerance to some marijuana-related behavioral effects."
For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, "Tolerance and cross-tolerance to neurocognitive effects of THC and alcohol in heavy cannabis users," appears online in the journal Psychopharmacology. For additional information regarding marijuana and psychomotor skills, please see NORML's white paper, "Cannabis and Driving: A Scientific and Rational Review" here:

Dr Melamede Responds to DEA agent's lies

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cannabis May Protect the Brain Against Alcohol Damage

Compounds in cannabis may protect the human brain against alcohol-induced damage, according to clinical trial data published online by the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology.

Investigators at the University of California at San Diego examined white matter integrity in adolescents with histories of binge drinking and marijuana use.

They reported that binge drinkers (defined as boys who consumed five or more drinks in one sitting, or girls who consumed four or more drinks at one time) showed signs of white matter damage in eight separate regions of the brain.

By contrast, the binge drinkers who also used marijuana experienced less damage in seven out of the eight brain regions.

“Binge drinkers who also use marijuana did not show as consistent a divergence from non-users as did the binge drink-only group,” authors concluded. “[It is] possible that marijuana may have some neuroprotective properties in mitigating alcohol-related oxidative stress or excitotoxic cell death.”

In 2005, researchers at the National Institutes of Mental Health reported that the administration of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) reduced alcohol-induced cell death in the hippocampus and etorhinal cortex of the brain in a dose-dependent manner by up to 60 percent. “This study provides the first demonstration of CBD as an in vivo neuroprotectant … in preventing binge ethanol-induced brain injury,” investigators concluded in The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

Commenting on the findings, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said, “Alcohol and cannabis appear to have contrasting effects on the body,” he said. “Ethanol is clearly toxic to healthy and developing cells whereas cannabinoids appear to be relatively non-toxic and possibly even neuroprotective.”

San Diego, CA–(ENEWSPF)
August 27, 2009.


Study Explains How Marijuana Kills Cancer Cells

Nov 6, 2003, Steve Kubby

A new study published in Nature Reviews-Cancer provides an historic and detailed explanation about how THC and natural cannabinoids counteract cancer, but preserve normal cells.

The study by Manuel Guzmán of Madrid Spain found that cannabinoids, the active components of marijuana, inhibit tumor growth in laboratory animals. They do so by modulating key cell-signalling pathways, thereby inducing direct growth arrest and death of tumor cells, as well as by inhibiting the growth of blood vessels that supply the tumor.

The Guzman study is very important according to Dr. Ethan Russo , a neurologist and world authority on medical cannabis: "Cancer occurs because cells become immortalized; they fail to heed normal signals to turn off growth. A normal function of remodeling in the body requires that cells die on cue. This is called apoptosis, or programmed cell death. That process fails to work in tumors. THC promotes its reappearance so that gliomas, leukemias, melanomas and other cell types will in fact heed the signals, stop dividing, and die."

"But, that is not all," explains Dr. Russo: "The other way that tumors grow is by ensuring that they are nourished: they send out signals to promote angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels. Cannabinoids turn off these signals as well. It is truly incredible, and elegant."

In other words, this article explains several ways in which cannabinoids might be used to fight cancer, and, as the article says, "Cannabinoids are usually well tolerated, and do not produce the generalized toxic effects of conventional chemo-therapies.

Usually, any story that even suggests the possibility of a new treatment for cancer is greeted with headlines about a "cancer cure" - however remote in the future and improbable in fact it might be. But if marijuana is involved, don't expect any coverage from mainstream media, especially since mainstream editors have been quietly killing this story for the past thirty years.

That's right, news about the abilility of pot to shrink tumors first surfaced, way back in 1974. Researchers at the Medical College of Virginia, who had been funded by the National Institutes of Health to find evidence that marijuana damages the immune system, found instead that THC slowed the growth of three kinds of cancer in mice -- lung and breast cancer, and a virus-induced leukemia.

The Washington Post reported on the 1974 study -- in the "Local" section -- on Aug. 18, 1974. Under the headline, "Cancer Curb Is Studied," it read in part: "The active chemical agent in marijuana curbs the growth of three kinds of cancer in mice and may also suppress the immunity reaction that causes rejection of organ transplants, a Medical College of Virginia team has discovered." The researchers "found that THC slowed the growth of lung cancers, breast cancers, and a virus-induced leukemia in laboratory mice, and prolonged their lives by as much as 36 percent."

"News coverage of the Madrid discovery has been virtually nonexistent in this country. The news broke quietly on Feb. 29, 2000 with a story that ran once on the UPI wire about the Nature Medicine article," complained Marijuana editor Richard Cowan, who said he was only able to find the article through a link that appeared briefly on the Drudge Report Web page. "The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times all ignored the story, even though its newsworthiness is indisputable: a benign substance occurring in nature destroys deadly brain tumors," added Cowan.

On March 29, 2001, the San Antonio Current printed a carefully researched, bombshell of a story by Raymond Cushing titled, "POT SHRINKS TUMORS; GOVERNMENT KNEW IN '74." Media coverage since then has been non existant, except for a copy of the story on Alternet .

It is hard to believe that the knowledge that cannabis can be used to fight cancer has been suppressed for almost thirty years , yet it seems likely that it will continue to be suppressed. Why?

According to Cowan, the answer is because it is a threat to cannabis prohibition . "If this article and its predecessors from 2000 and 1974 were the only evidence of the suppression of medical cannabis, then one might perhaps be able to rationalize it in some herniated way. However, there really is massive proof that the suppression of medical cannabis represents the greatest failure of the institutions of a free society, medicine, journalism, science, and our fundamental values," Cowan notes.

Millions of people have died horrible deaths and in many cases, families exhausted their savings on dangerous, toxic and expensive drugs. Now we are just beginning to realize that while marijuana has never killed anyone, marijuana prohibition has killed millions.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010



To help educate and have a say in the ending of prohibition for Hemp and Medical Marijuana in Australia

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rick Simpson Exiled

Hemp Medicine´s Emperor´s Political Exile in Europe
- a message from Rick Simpson

On November 25th, 2009, one day before I was crowned the Freedom Fighter of the Year 2009 at the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, I received a word that I have been raided again by the RCMP. I contacted Tim Hunter at the Amherst attachment and asked I was being charged. Of course, he refused to give me straight answer. All he would say was that the RCMP wanted to talk to me.

After openly growing hemp in my backyard this past summer and announcing this fact to the public on tom Young´s open line talk show in June, how could the RCMP not be aware of my activities? The truth is they knew exactly what I was doing. RCMP officers were even sending people that needed help to me. I can only surmise that the purpose of this raid was to keep me from returning to Canada.
full story here

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cannabis 'easier to buy than pizza'

Cannabis is easier to buy than pizza, one drug expert claims, calling for it to be legalised and taxed to benefit all Australians

Dr Alex Wodak, director of the Alcohol and Drug Service at Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital, says cannabis will soon be Australia's smoke of choice.

"Experts are calling for the legalisation and taxation of cannabis"

"In a few years time, we'll have more Australians smoking cannabis than we have smoking tobacco and by default that market is largely taken over by criminals," Dr Wodak said.

"Having a black market of that size is not good for anybody and inevitably big black markets can only survive if there's significant police corruption."

Dr Wodak delivered the keynote address at the Australian Drug Law and a Civil Society symposium at the Lismore campus of Southern Cross University on Thursday.

He also heads the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation.

Drug trade run by criminals

"At the moment, we have no control over cannabis at all because the trade is run by criminals," he said from Lismore.

"By taxing and regulating it, we would start to have some influence over the way people use cannabis.

"Overall, the aim should be to try and reduce the harm."

Cannabis prohibition was expensive and ineffective, Dr Wodak said, with surveys showing up to 2.5 million Australians will smoke cannabis in 2010.

"It's easier for most Australians to purchase cannabis than to buy a pizza - it's a readily available substance," he said.

Dr Wodak said legalising cannabis and regulating it could be carried out similar to what happens in the alcohol and tobacco industries.

Warning labels, age restrictions

"We could have warning labels on packets, we could have age restrictions - we could also have help-seeking information if you're trying to cut down or stop," he said.

Dr Wodak said research had shown punishing people for possessing cannabis does not inhibit their desire to keep using the drug.

"We've proved that we've stimulated a huge black market for cannabis in Australia by prohibition," he said.

He quoted polls in the United States showing support for legalising cannabis had climbed from 12 per cent in 1969 to 44 per cent in 2009.

"I think the minute that politicians start to see that 51 per cent of the population is supporting the taxation and regulation of cannabis, they'll take 10 seconds to work out that's what they want too," Dr Wodak said.

He also expects a legal international trade in cannabis to develop one day, but acknowledged making cannabis a legal drug in Australia and overseas will happen incrementally.

Cannabis will stay on banned list

WORLD Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey says he resents the use of the term "recreational drug" and has defended his body's stance on cannabis.

Fahey claims it violates at least two of the three requirements to be a banned substance.

In response to calls from leading trans-Tasman drug experts for WADA to review its policy on recreational drug use following the lifetime ban given to a rugby league player on the Gold Coast, Fahey gave no indication the policy on cannabis would be altered.

Writing in The Australian today, Australian Drug Foundation CEO John Rogerson, Australian National Council on Drugs executive director Gino Vumbaca and New Zealand Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell claimed WADA's stance on cannabis has the potential to ruin careers and inexorably alter lives.

The trio also suggest the policy is too repressive. Only last month, player unions representing footballers and cricketers in England also called for recreational drugs to be removed from WADA's prohibited list. Fahey, however, was unmoved by the calls for change.

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"I resent the word recreational drug," Fahey said. "Nobody can say marijuana is a recreational drug. The cemetery is full of people who started on marijuana. It's illegal. They may be what society is using, but that doesn't make it legal.

"To try to say recreational drug, to me is a misnomer. There are only two types of drugs -- the legal drugs that we get under prescription or otherwise . . . and illegal drugs.

"The prohibited list contains a combination of both. In my view, the only recreational drugs that I would concede are entitled to that description are alcohol and tobacco.

"The rest are illegal drugs -- they breach the criminal code and let's call them just that. For me, it tries to dilute the message of the seriousness of drugs that are outside the law.

"To me, I think that's most unfortunate that people describe them as recreational drugs. They are illegal drugs."

Cannabis has been on WADA's list of banned substances since 2004.

In September, the agency's executive committee approved a new version of the list for next year, still banning cannabis.

Fahey stressed marijuana met two of the three arms of the WADA code, in it was a risk to the health of an athlete and contravened the spirit of sport. The code describes the spirit of sport as a celebration of the human spirit, body and mind, and is characterised by values including health, respect for rules and laws, and respect for self and other participants.

"The second condition is that the use of the substance represents an actual or potential health risk to the athlete," Fahey said.

"Nobody could argue that particular condition hasn't been met. If anyone wants to argue marijuana is not a potential risk to the athlete's health, I would doubt they would get many supporters.

"The third arm is if the use of the substance violates the spirit of sport. Nobody could argue against that one. The two (requirements) are there."

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Alternate Cures for Cancer