Saturday, May 11, 2013

Treatment of Disease with Cannabis and Restrictions to Research


Since the medicalization of cannabis in seventeen states, the number of disorders and diseases that have been legitimately found to respond to the use of medical marijuana has grown exponentially.  While the medical community originally assigned those with Cancer and AIDS as most benefited, and therefore the first to be prescribed medical marijuana, other diseases quickly followed, such as Hepatitis and Multiple Sclerosis.

Only because of social media has the anecdotal evidence of the many diseases helped by cannabis become so prolifically available.  In fact, many social phenomenons have been discovered through the study of social media. Some studies claim that the largest demographic of social media is the 30+ age group, which is also the age group most likely to be parents of school-age children.  Therefore, the largest number of "social" posts would be related to the lives of this demographic. On searching the internet, it is obvious that social media goes beyond Facebook and Twitter and into very specific issues, including medical information. 


Searching the term "ADHD BLOGS" on BING brings up nearly eleven million results.  Simply "ADHD" has nearly twenty six million results.  The search for "AUTISM BLOGS" resulted in 16.6 million responses.  That is 16 million social media sites for the collection of anecdotal data on Autism ( ) .  A search for "AUTISM" alone resulted in 42.2 million sites that discuss Autism.  According to the Autism Research Institute,  Marijuana has been used successfully to treat autism in many patients.  Their only warning to cannabis use is regarding the legality.

California's renewed medical distribution regulations in 2004 placed the determination of benefit at the discretion of the prescriber; Arizona's regulations allow for a strict schedule of qualifying diseases.  Until the regulation of cannabis is either removed or becomes universal (Federal), no standard usage and prescribing protocol can be implemented.



The lack of reliable research is one primary reason for the variance in states' prescribing regulations. "Current restrictions on marijuana research are absurd" wrote the editors of Scientific American.  Explaining the process, they argue: 
Any researcher attempting to study marijuana must obtain it through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The U.S. research crop, grown at a single facility, is regarded as less potent--and therefore less medicinally interesting--than the marijuana often easily available on the street. Thus, the legal supply is a poor vehicle for studying the approximately 60 cannabinoids that might have medical applications.

Even with medicalization, and even should state-level permission and funding be provided for such research, the working institution would be at risk of seizure of assets and prosecution by the Federal Government.  Still, the University of California hosts the Center for Medicinal Cancer Research (CMCR), a three year project funded by state legislation.  Just this week, the Governor of Arizona signed a bill into law allowing for Marijuana research at the three Arizona public universities (2013 Brewer signs...). Besides removing a regulation that prohibited marijuana on any of the universities, even if by a registered medical patient, the new law will allow University of Arizona physician Susan Sisley, to perform a rarely approved federal research project on the effect of cannabis on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  It is hoped this will pave the way for further federally approved research on cannabis treatment and other pschological and psychiatric disorders (2013 Arizona Governor...).  

The Green Association for Sustainability

Friday, May 10, 2013


If you had the power to change one thing in the world that did not affect you personally (forget stuffing your bank account with millions), what would it be? Why would you change it? What’s the most eloquent argument against changing it? What makes you believe the change would be for the better?  What would be the effect on a specific group of strangers?  What would be some possible unintended consequences?

Writing prompt: Gerard, Philip. Writing a Book that Makes A Difference. 2000. Storypress.  Cincinnati, Ohio. pg. 29.


If I had the power to change one thing in the world, it would be that Cannabis (Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis) was completely decriminalized and globally accepted as a legitimate agricultural, medicinal and industrial product. Cannabis flowers have extensive health properties that our ancestors used to heal and to thrive. The stalks of the plant can be used for tools, clothing, and shelter. The seeds are a nutritional foodstuff, contain all twenty-one amino acids and can be made into flour, oil, and nut butter. The Cannabis Plant has evolved next to humans, and has a natural and prolific environmental niche. The Cannabis plant is nature’s survival kit for humans.

The elimination of cannabis from the diets and consumption by humans may have contributed to the increase in certain illnesses and disorders that parents’ groups and scientists claim are from questionable etiologies. This includes allergies and asthma, and certain psychiatric disorders, such as ADD, hyperactivity syndrome, and Autism. The rise in these disorders and the increased efforts to eliminate cannabis use correlate statistically, which is the general rule by which alternative hypotheses are measured. The governments tight restrictions on cannabis purposely and strategically make research by even reputable universities and organizations nearly impossibly.

Even with the large increase in acceptance of cannabis, and the slow but general turn in the perception of cannabis as a healing substance, there are still many who passionately agree with the government’s reasons for not legalizing cannabis. Even though their arguments are often proved specious, the paradigms are deep rooted. For example, the “gateway theory”, or the idea that “marijuana leads to harder drugs” has been found to be untrue and after many years, is now a generally accepted premise. Still, this fact must be reminded to the public at every advocacy chance, in order to keep “urban myths” from spreading. The “DARE” program instituted by G.H.W. Bush, and still taught in elementary schools, is responsible for creating and spreading much of the misinformation about marijuana, and in 2012, the program wisely eliminated any mention of cannabis in the DARE program.

The abuse of any substance is a primary concern for those who are against cannabis legalization, and many medical marijuana supporters are against the general public legalization schemes. Their concern is valid: As a medication, cannabis is invaluable to many of them, and “legalization” threatens the medical paradigm. An example of this is the media portrayal of pot users as lazy hippie throw backs who are always high. A paradox lies in this imaging and the reality of cannabis use.  In reality, the benefits of cannabis as a medicine, a food source, or a sustainable material, outweigh any perceived risks.  The most notable risk of cannabis use lies only in it’s legal status, and the risk that the police will arrest, assault, or shoot you.  Decriminalization of marijuana would effectively eliminate the risk of death by cannabis use.    

The “regulation of cannabis like alcohol” is a popular legalization model, and has already been successfully passed by voters in two states: Washington and Colorado.  These states have very different alcohol regulations; however, Washington is a “closed” alcohol state, where all alcohol is sold and distributed directly by the state.  Colorado recently passed a bill implementing the rules for personal possession and commercial licensing, and plans for implementation are scheduled for 2014. Washington State is a “closed” alcohol state, and recently made news when the State solicited for and hired a Marijuana Specialist to administer the state-run dispensaries.  Both sides of the aisle are curiously and cautiously watching how cannabis will be distributed differently in the state-run alcohol system of Washington versus the private ownership model of Colorado regulations.  

While these regulatory schemes seem to be the only avenue to loosen the governmental grip on cannabis, they still provide complete governmental control and prosecutorial threat to users of cannabis, and do nothing to industrialize hemp.  The reintroduction of hemp would have a positive environmental sustainability impact on the world, but would compete with other industries, including the powerful cotton lobby and those industries responsible for massive deforestation. 

Cannabis Sativa, Indica and ruderalis are valuable plants inherent to the successful evolution of human beings.  The global state control of cannabis is a phenomenon of twentieth century politics, and its prohibition has no basis.  In fact, the loss of cannabis consumption by humans may have had deleterious effects on the human immune system, as well as psychological and spiritual well being.  Simply granting “concessions” is a small attempt at correcting the generational errors made in the early 1900’s.  The regulations that have snowballed into prohibition were originally racially and politically motivated, and furthered through fuel, agricultural and other global industrial interests.  Nothing short of the reversal of the racially and politically motivated regulations that created prohibition is required for the sustainability of humans in the coming age. 


c 2013 K Rojas