Tag Archives: marijuana

Marijuana – The Truth – Part 5

In the book that I co-wrote with my good friend, Donal O’Mathuna, Ph.D., Alternative Medicine: The options, the claims, the evidence, how to choose wisely, we wrote an evidence-based article on marijuana. Here’s our fourth excerpt of that information:

In earlier excerpts, we discussed “What It Is,” “The Claims People Make about Marijuana,” “Study Findings,” and “Cautions.” In this, our final excerpt will review “Our Recommendations.”

Continue reading

Marijuana – The Truth – Part 4

In the book that I co-wrote with my good friend, Donal O’Mathuna, Ph.D., Alternative Medicine: The options, the claims, the evidence, how to choose wisely, we wrote an evidence-based article on marijuana. Here’s our fourth excerpt of that information.

In earlier excerpts, we discussed “What It Is,” “The Claims People Make about Marijuana,” and “Study Findings.” In this excerpt, we’ll discuss, “Cautions.” Next week, our final excerpt will review “Our Recommendations.” Continue reading

Marijuana – The Truth – Part 3

In the book that I co-wrote with my good friend, Donal O’Mathuna, Ph.D., Alternative Medicine: The options, the claims, the evidence, how to choose wisely, we wrote an evidence-based article on marijuana. Here’s our fourth excerpt of that information:

In earlier excerpts, we discussed “What It Is,” and “The Claims People Make about Marijuana.” Today we’ll review the “Study Findings.” Next week,  we’ll discuss, “Cautions,” and in the final week, our final excerpt will review “Our Recommendations.” Continue reading

Marijuana – The Truth – Part 2

In the book that I co-wrote with my good friend, Donal O’Mathuna, Ph.D., Alternative Medicine: The options, the claims, the evidence, how to choose wisely, we wrote an evidence-based article on marijuana. Here’s our second excerpt of that information:

In the first excerpt, we discussed “What It Is.” Today, we’ll discuss “The Claims People Make about Marijuana.” In future installments, we’ll discuss, “Study Findings,” “Cautions,” and finally, “Our Recommendations.” Continue reading

Marijuana – The Truth – Part 1

Marijuana – The Truth – Part 1

In the book that I co-wrote with my good friend, Donal O’Mathuna, Ph.D., Alternative Medicine: The options, the claims, the evidence, how to choose wisely, we wrote an evidence-based article on marijuana. Here’s an excerpt of that information:

In this first excerpt, we’ll discuss “What It Is.” In later installments, we’ll address “Claims about Marijuana,” “Study Findings,” “Cautions,” and finally, “Our Recommendations.” Continue reading

Medical Marijuana Update #2

The use, abuse, and prescription of medical marijuana is, no doubt, an evolving landscape. I have a chapter on medical marijuana in my book, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook (endorsed by the Christian Medical Association). Now, here’s an excellent update to that chapter by Matthew J. Seamon, PharmD, JD, which was published in MedScape: Continue reading

US government declares marijuana of no use medically

The Los Angeles Times reports, “Marijuana has been approved by California, many other states and the nation’s capital to treat a range of illnesses, but a decision announced the federal government ruled that it has NO accepted medical use and should remain classified as a highly dangerous drug like heroin.” Continue reading

Smoking pot hastens onset of mental illness

This headline is not a new one, but another study reminds us that smoking marijuana has been linked with an increased risk of mental illness. Now researchers are saying that when pot smokers do become mentally ill, the disease starts significantly earlier in life than it would if they didn’t smoke pot. Continue reading

Study says smoking marijuana may have long-lasting effects on brain development

USA Today reported, “Teenagers respond differently to drugs than adults, and early use may lead to long-lasting effects on brain development, according to new research.”

Staci Gruber, of Harvard Medical School, presented the study “at the Society for Neuroscience meeting, in San Diego,” noting “people who start using marijuana at a young age have more cognitive shortfalls.”

Gruber “evaluated 29 non-smokers and 35 chronic marijuana smokers,” and said she found that “while the smokers performed tasks quickly, they did not learn from their errors when corrected — a hallmark that the part of the brain that governs executive function is impaired.”

Notably, “functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) backed that up.”

Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that “marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the US with 25.8 million Americans ages 12 and older reporting at least one instance of abuse in 2008.”

Here’s are some of my other blogs on marijuana:

World’s first fully approved cannabis drug on sale in UK

A medication called Sativex has become the first drug fully approved for multiple sclerosis that is made from natural cannabis according to a report in WebMD. Here are the details:

The United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved the drug, an oral spray, earlier this year. The drug has been available in Canada on a limited basis since 2005 for the relief of neuropathic pain and advanced cancer pain, and also to a small number of patients in Spain. It is expected to be approved more broadly in Spain later this year.

Sativex is approved by prescription only for multiple sclerosis patients in the U.K. It targets the effects of spasticity, a symptom of multiple sclerosis caused by damage to nerves in the central nervous system. Loss of mobility and painful spasms may result from this involuntary stiffening of muscles.

The drug is sprayed into the mouth on the inside of the cheek or under the tongue, said Bayer Schering Pharma, the pharmaceutical company launching the product. Cannabis plants grown in a controlled environment give rise to the extracts that are the active ingredients of the drug.

The Multiple Sclerosis Trust, a U.K. charity, supported the launch of this medication.

In clinical trials, only about half of study participants with multiple sclerosis found that it relieved spasms and cramping associated with spasticity. For this sort of research, that’s a good result, said Mark Rogerson, spokesman for GW Pharmaceuticals, which developed the drug.

There is no evidence of long-term dependence or tolerance; patients have not reported needing to take more of the spray, and many say they’ve reduced the dose over time, Rogerson said. Common side effects include dizziness and fatigue.

The cost is 125 British pounds for a pack of the spray,  or about $185, which works out to 11 pounds per day, or about $16, for the average patient, Rogerson said.

In the United States, the only medical marijuana treatment available is a prescription drug called Marinol, whose active ingredient is synthetic THC — making it distinct from the natural cannabis plant extracts in Sativex.

In the U.S., cancer patients may take Marinol to relieve nausea and vomiting side effects of chemotherapy, and AIDS patients may use it to help with loss of appetite, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Marinol comes in the form of a pill, although other delivery methods such as inhaler or patch, are being explored.

Sativex is in phase II clinical trials for cancer patients in the U.S., Rogerson said. He estimated that it will be about two years before it could get U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.

Rogerson noted a difference in the political climate surrounding medical marijuana in the two nations.

“U.K. public opinion is quite ready for a cannabis-based medicine. There’s really very little sense of, ‘Oh gosh it’s cannibis, it’s a bad thing,'” he said. “People understand that it’s different from recreational drug-taking, and also that it’s a treatment for a number of people who suffer from a very, very debilitating illness.”

Of course, in the U.S. there are significant concerns about “medical marijuana.” You can see my blogs on the topic here:

Teen pot use linked to psychosis

Australian researchers have identified a possible link between long-term marijuana use And psychoses in teens in a study of nearly 4,000 young people. The use of marijuana was associated with an increased risk of hallucinations, delusions and other psychoses.

In the study, whose findings were published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers at the University of Queensland followed 3,801 people born in Brisbane between 1981 and 1984.

About 17.7 percent reported using cannabis for three or fewer years, 16.2 percent for four to five years and 14.3 percent for six or more years.

Those who had six or more years of use were twice as likely as those who never used cannabis to develop a psychosis, such as schizophrenia, and four times as likely to get high scores in clinical tests of delusion.

Of the 1,272 subjects who had never used marijuana, 26 (2 percent) were diagnosed with psychosis. Of the 322 who had used it for six years or more, 12 (3.7 percent) were diagnosed with the illness.

The authors point out that further study is needed as their research did not take into account such factors as family history and a predisosition to psychosis before marijuana use began.

However, encouraging your kids to avoid all illicit drugs, including marijuana, is a step toward helping them become and stay highly healthy. By the way, you can mean more about marijuana in my book Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook.

Long-term marijuana use can double risk of psychosis in young people

Young people who smoke cannabis or marijuana for six years or more are twice as likely to have psychotic episodes, hallucinations or delusions than people who have never used the drug according to recent research. The findings adds weight to previous research which linked psychosis with the drug — particularly in its most potent form as “skunk” — and will feed the debate about the level of controls over its use. (BTW, I have an entire chapter analyzing marijuana in my book, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook.)

Here are some of the details of the research from Reuters Health: Despite laws against it, up to 190 million people around the world use cannabis, according to United Nations estimates, equating to about 4 percent of the adult population.

John McGrath of the Queensland Brain Institute in Australia studied more than 3,801 men and women born between 1981 and 1984 and followed them up after 21 years to ask about their cannabis use and assessed them for psychotic episodes. Around 18 percent reported using cannabis for three or fewer years, 16 percent for four to five years and 14 percent for six or more years.

“Compared with those who had never used cannabis, young adults who had six or more years since first use of cannabis were twice as likely to develop a non-affective psychosis (such as schizophrenia),” McGrath wrote in a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry journal.

They were also four times as likely to have high scores in clinical tests of delusion, he wrote, and a so-called “dose-response” relationship showed that the longer the duration since first cannabis use, the higher the risk of psychosis-related symptoms.

A study by British scientists last year suggested that people who smoke skunk, a potent form of cannabis, are almost seven times more likely to develop psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia than those who smoke “hash” or cannabis resin.

Previous studies had also suggested smoking cannabis can double the risk of psychosis, but the British study was the first to look specifically at skunk. Skunk has higher amounts of the psychoactive ingredient THC which can produce psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions and paranoia.

McGrath said, however, that “the nature of the relationship between psychosis and cannabis use is by no means simple” and more research was needed to examine the mechanisms at work.

As part of his study, McGrath and his team looked at links between cannabis use and psychotic symptoms among a group of 228 sibling pairs and found the association still held. This suggests other influences like genes or the environment were less likely to be responsible for the psychosis, they said.

A international group of drug policy experts published a book earlier this year arguing that laws against cannabis have failed to cut its use but instead led to vast numbers of arrests for drug possession in countries like Britain, Switzerland and the United States, which cause social division and pointless government expense.

Why Obama cannot support Abortion and Marijuana

Our local newspaper, the Gazette, opines, “It seems too good to be true, this new quote from the White House. Unless President Barack Obama denounces it, and humiliates White House Spokesman Nick Shapiro, he must back off his support of the radical pro-abortion Freedom of Choice Act. He must oppose any federal gun ban that might counter a state law. If the statement is true, Obama supports states rights more than federal control.” And this is great news for those who are pro-life.

More Information: Continue reading

Medical Pot Ineffective as Acute Pain Treatment

HealthDay News is reporting that oral cannabis (a form of medical marijuana) was ineffective in treating certain types of acute pain and actually increased sensitivity to some other kinds of discomfort.

My Take?

This small study, from researchers at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria, is among many others that you’ve seen me report that are slowly driving a nail in the concept of safe or effective medical marijuana. You can read more about this in my series on marijuana here on this blog. Or, pick up a copy of my book, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook.

Dr. Walt’s Take on the Health Headlines – June 4, 2008

Here are my takes on some of today’s health headlines.

If Dad is not involved in child care, can we blame the mom?

Here’s one the major news outlets haven’t touched. Continue reading

Marijuana – Concerns

Four recent medical news stories bring home the truth about the many dangers of smoking marijuana.

The first is a White House report that links smoking marijuana to addiction, mental illness, and depression. The report says that depression, teens, and marijuana are a dangerous mix that can lead to dependency, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts. Continue reading