Marijuana News in Arizona and World
Marijuana use for the treatment of chronic pain has had a long history with many written references of its use dating back to around 2700 B.C.E. The first records from the nineteenth century were noted by an Irish doctor who described the use of marijuana in the treatment of cholera, rabies, tetanus, menstrual cramps and delirium tremens.
Recently, research has been done around marijuana therapy in the treatment of chronic pain with very promising results.
“Medical marijuana is a very effective therapy for chronic pain patients because it affects people’s perception of pain, has the ability to mitigate the inflammatory process, and has been shown to affect voltage-gated sodium channels in nerves in a way similar to lidocaine,” reports Dr. Mark Rabe, Medical Director of Centric Wellness.
The ability of marijuana to help relieve chronic pain rests in the cannabinoid receptors – cannabinoid receptor type-1 (CB1) and type-2 (CB2). Studies show that CB1 receptors are located all over the body, however they have particularly high concentration in the central nervous system in areas that control pain perception. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are primarily located in areas of the body that control immune function, such as the spleen, white blood cells, and tonsils.
The fact that these receptors are found in the two major body systems responsible for producing the sensation of pain, the immune system and the nervous system, is what gives marijuana its therapeutic relevance in the chronic pain space. Additionally, and importantly, there are a lack of cannabinoid receptors in the brainstem region, the area of the brain responsible for controlling breathing, thus the dangerous side effect of respiratory depression found with high dose opioid use, is not a factor with marijuana use.
Dr. Rabe reported that: “We have many patients who come in on higher doses of opioid medications. Through using cannabis, in conjunction with other therapies, they are able to lower their daily opioid requirement.”
Numerous studies support these findings, including a 2011 study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics which showed that vaporizing marijuana increased the patient-reported analgesic effect of opioids, without altering plasma opioid levels. Moreover, there is an emerging body of research whose findings suggest marijuana can be used as an effective substitution therapy for patients with opiate abuse issues.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 213-210 Thursday to defeat an amendment that would allow doctors at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals to discuss the use of medical marijuana with patients.
The Veterans Administration prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding the use of marijuana for medical purposes, even in states where medical marijuana is legal. The defeated amendment would have prevented funds made available to the VA from being used to implement this prohibition, which would have, in effect, struck it down.
“While there is no single approach to aiding our nation’s veterans, medical marijuana is proven to help in treating post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries frequently suffered by veterans,” stated Rep. Blumenauer. “States are listening to their residents on the benefits of medical marijuana, including veterans, and are changing their laws. It is unacceptable for our wounded warriors to be forced out of the VA system to simply seek a recommendation on whether or not medical marijuana is a good treatment option.”
“Let’s lift the gag order. We owe it to our veterans to give them complete information when they ask for it, even if the means discussing medical marijuana,” noted Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA).
Studies have shown that medical marijuana can help treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), illnesses typically suffered by veterans. A growing body of anecdotal evidence suggests that marijuana offers relief when nothing else has and can be a more effective alternative to other and sometimes addictive prescription drugs.
A portion of this year’s NFL draft class appears to be pro-marijuana. Of the draft class, a pair of highly regarded defensive prospects, Shane Ray and Randy Gregory, are prized for their abilities to get to opposing quarterbacks, and both have also admitted to marijuana use. Ray admitted just days before the draft.
NFL teams must now weigh their evaluations of the players’ abilities against their concerns about character issues and possible future suspensions for marijuana use because it is banned in the NFL. For some teams, decisions on Ray and/or Gregory, who failed a drug test at the NFL draft combine in February, will come down to how they feel about usage of the drug in question.
One unidentified general manager gave some insight into his team’s thinking: “My estimate is 30 to 40 percent of players in this draft class use marijuana regularly. That’s right in line with our league. Publicly teams act shocked, disappointed about marijuana. Privately we know a lot of guys smoke and we’re far from shocked.”
In fact, the GM’s “30 to 40 percent” estimate may be low. A former defensive lineman, whose 10-year career ended in 2006, told the Associated Press last year that half the players in the NFL use marijuana, at least occasionally.
Another former NFL player stated: “It’s not, let’s go smoke a joint. It’s, what if you could take something that helps you heal faster from a concussion, that prevents your equilibrium from being off for two weeks and your eyesight for being off for four weeks?”
Many NFL players use marijuana to help treat chronic pain and inflammation instead of painkillers which are addictive and have many other negative side effects.
The New York Department of Health announced it has opened the application process for businesses to register for a license to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana.
The state plans to award five licenses to private marijuana cultivators, who will each be permitted to open up to four medical marijuana dispensaries. State officials estimate it will take about nine months to cultivate the marijuana before it’s ready for sale.
Acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said the start of the application process is “an important step in implementing the medical-marijuana program. We have laid out an ambitious timeline in getting the program up and running and we are meeting our goals. Once the applications are in, we can begin our review and move to the next step of selecting the registered organizations this summer.”
Applicants for state’s medical marijuana licenses are required to provide detailed plans about their operations and must pay a $10,000 non-refundable application fee as well as a $200,000 registration fee. The $200,000 registration fee will be refunded to applicatnts that are not issued a license.
The 2016 presidential field is beginning to take shape, and some of the candidates have revealed their stance on marijuana legalization.
Below is a roundup of what some of the declared presidential candidates have said about marijuana. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.
Hillary Clinton (Democrat)
The former first lady, secretary of state, and U.S. senator has openly stated that marijuana has medical value and that she wants to see states move forward with their own laws. Her comments on marijuana include:
– “I think we need to be very clear about the benefits of marijuana use for medicinal purposes.”
– “I don’t think we’ve done enough research yet, although I think for people who are in extreme medical conditions and who have anecdotal evidence that it works, there should be availability under appropriate circumstances.”
– “On recreational, you know, states are the laboratories of democracy. We have at least two states that are experimenting with that right now. I want to wait and see what the evidence is.”
Ted Cruz (Republican)
The U.S. senator from Texas opposes any marijuana legalization because the substance is federally illegal. His comments on marijuana include:
– “The Obama administration’s approach to drug policy is to simply announce that across the country, it is gonna stop enforcing certain drug laws. I think most disturbingly, watching President Obama’s approach to drug laws is that he hasn’t tried to start a discussion, a dialogue about changing the laws. He simply decreed he’s not gonna enforce laws he doesn’t agree with.”
Rand Paul (Republican)
The U.S. senator from Kentucky is one of the only current candidate who has actually worked to reform marijuana laws. For instance, he is an original sponsor of a bill that would effectively end the federal war on medical marijuana, but opposes marijuana legalization.
– “I’m not really promoting legalization, but I am promoting making the penalties much less severe and not putting people in jail for 10, 20, 30 years.”
– On marijuana legalization: “I would let states choose. And I don’t know what’ll happen, whether it’s going to end up being good or bad. But I would let the states choose because I believe in federalism and states’ rights.”
– On marijuana in general: “Even though it may not kill you I don’t think it’s good for you. It’s not good for studies, it’s not good for showing up for work” and “people who use marijuana all the time lose IQ points.”
Marco Rubio (Republican)
The U.S. senator and former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives opposes legalization and decriminalization. His comments on marijuana include:
– “We live in a country that already has problems with substance abuse. We already see the impact that alcoholism is having on families, on drunk driving, on all sorts of things. And now we’re gonna add one more substance that people can use?”
– “When something is legal, implicitly what you’re saying, ‘it can’t be all that bad. Cuz if it’s legal it can’t be bad for you.’ The bottom line is I believe that adding yet another mind-altering substance to something that’s legal is not good for the country.”
– “Marijuana is illegal under federal law. That should be enforced. I understand that states have decided to legalize possession under state law, and the trafficking, the sale of these products. I mean, that’s a federal crime.”
Find AZ Marijuana Doctors
Find all Arizona medical marijuana doctors via the links below. Contact each doctor office to inquire about current discounts and to see if you qualify for medical marijuana in Arizona.
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Before the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, Big Pharma companies like Eli Lilly and Parke-Davis and Squibb of Bristol-Myers Squibb were marketing marijuana medicines – such as extracts and tinctures – labeled as “uniformly effective at dose levels of 10 mg.”
Back then, most medicines had the same universal characteristics, so drug companies had to rely on marketing and brand recognition to sell products.
According to the Antique Cannabis Book, 6% of all manufactured drugs at the time contained marijuana in one form or another, whether in powder, tablets, fluid extracts or tinctures. Some call that period, from the turn of the century to 1937, the “Golden Age of Medical Cannabis” as marijuana products flourished with little to no stigma or legal ramifications.
Then, like now, marijuana was prescribed for a variety of ailments including migraines, epilepsy, stomach worms, mental illnesses and some addictions. It was also used by veterinaries for pets.
While smoking was not very common, tinctures and extracts were developed on a regular basis. The pharmaceutical companies had the benefit of their own expertise in standardizing and establishing dosing and responses. They initially used marijuana grown in India, but soon realized growing their own was more reliable. In doing so, they learned about sinsemilla (seedless) cultivation.
Parke-Davis (now owned by Pfizer) worked with Eli Lilly to create its own plant strain called Cannabis Americana, a domesticated Indica strain.
According to Forbes, Parke-Davis did not stop with weed. It sold various types of cocaine before it became illegal, developed ketamine and held the patent for PCP.
The DEA’s chief administrator, Michele Leonhart, will resign next month. The news prompted cheers from the marijuana industry because she aggressively opposed marijuana legalization and the industry in general.
Leonhart had fallen out of favor with President Barack Obama’s administration long ago for insubordination and mismanagement issues. She became disliked throughout the marijuana industry because she would continually “resist federal rules relaxing enforcement on marijuana as states have moved to legalize the drug for medicinal and recreational use,” stated a recent article.
Her resignation, which is effective in May, could open the door for a more marijuana-friendly replacement.
“From interfering with voter-approved state marijuana laws to mismanaging broader agency scandals, it’s long been time for her to go,” stated a marijuana industry businessman.
Recently, Leonhart has been under fire due to sex party scandals in Colombia involving DEA agents and prostitutes paid for by the cartels.
Marijuana prohibition is quickly dissolving in the U.S., but it probably won’t vanish all at once. Even if Congress repeals federal marijuana prohibition, certain states will likely ban marijuana on a state level.
If Congress acts, it will probably wait until a majority of states have implemented some type of marijuana legalization law. The legalization process is already well underway and should continue to gain momentum by election day in 2016.
Here is a list of 9 states that will most likely be the last to legalize or possibly never legalize marijuana:
1. Alabama – This Bible Belt state still has several dry (alcohol prohibited) counties and about a third of the counties in the state are either partially dry or have localities that are completely dry.
2. Idaho – This Mormon-influenced state has passed a no-/high- law, but campaigners for medical marijuana haven’t been able to qualify a measure for the ballot.
3. Kansas – A Republican dominated state with no initiative process and little support for marijuana legalization.
4. Louisiana – The state has some of the country’s harshest marijuana laws, including up to 20 years in prison for repeat possession offenders and up to life in prison for marijuana possession if the person has a previous felony.
5. North Dakota – The agricultural state has approved industrialproduction (in part because North Dakota farmers can see their Canadian counterparts just across the border profiting from it), but is unwilling to move even on medical marijuana, let alone legalization.
6. Oklahoma – The state is dominated by Republicans and is one of the most conservative in the country.
7. South Carolina – There is no initiative process here, so it will be up to the legislature, which is controlled by Republicans.
8. South Dakota – The state has the initiative process, but it also has the dubious distinction of being the only state to twice defeat medical marijuana at the polls.
9. Utah – The Mormon heartland, another state where Republicans dominate the government and where the only legislative concession to marijuana law reform has been the passage of a no-THC/high-CBD marijuana oil bill.
CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has returned with more revelations about medical marijuana with his latest documentary, “Weed 3: The Marijuana Revolution,” which originally aired on April 19 (and can be viewed below).
The documentary discusses medical marijuana and examines the lives of families that benefit from it. Gupta also gives viewers an insider’s look at the politics behind medical marijuana research.
Weed 3 also focuses on the efforts of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), whose researcher Dr. Sue Sisley is attempting to get federal approval to study marijuana’s effect on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), after a series of bureaucratic setbacks.