Posts Tagged ‘chronic pain’
Patients in California with a physician’s recommendation are predominantly using cannabis to treat symptoms of pain, insomnia, and anxiety, according to population data published in the present issue of the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.
Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz analyzed data from 1,746 consecutive admissions to nine medical marijuana assessment clinics operating throughout California.
Authors reported, “[R]elief of pain, spasms, headache, and anxiety, as well as to improve sleep and relaxation were the most common reasons patients cited for using medical marijuana.” Patients typically reported that cannabis provided them with more than one therapeutic benefit, and four in five (79.3 percent) reported having first tried other medications prescribed by their physicians, almost half of which were opiates.
Of those sampled, three-fourths of the patients were male and three-fifths were Caucasian. Compared to the US Census of California, the patients in this sample were on average “somewhat younger, report[ed] slightly more years of formal education, and [were] more often employed.” Two-fifths of patients in the sample “had not been using marijuana recreationally prior to trying it for medicinal purposes.”
Investigators also reported that patients’ use of tobacco was “somewhat higher than in the general population, but [that their] prevalence of alcohol use was significantly lower” than that of the general population. Patients use of other illicit substances, including cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin was also lower than that of the general population.
Over 80 percent of the patients in the sample reported consuming cannabis via inhalation (86.1 percent). Twenty-five percent of patients sampled consumed cannabis orally. Twenty-two percent vaporized cannabis and approximately three percent said that they used the substance topically.
Most patients (40.1 percent) reported consuming up to three grams of cannabis per week. Thirty-six percent of patients reported using four to seven grams of cannabis, and 23.3 percent said they consumed more than seven grams of marijuana per week. A majority of respondents (56.1 percent) said they used cannabis prior to sleep.
Authors concluded: “Compared to earlier studies of medical marijuana patients, these data suggest that the patient population has evolved from mostly HIV/AIDS and cancer patients to a significantly more diverse array. … This suggests that the patient population is likely to continue evolving as new patients and physicians discover the therapeutic uses of cannabis.”
For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Full text of the study, “Who are medical marijuana patients? Population characteristics from nine California assessment clinics,” appears in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.
The Shoreline City Council heard from medical marijuana patients and providers Monday night. The cannabis supporters want the Washington city to stop its plans to shut down local dispensaries.
|Photo: Q Fox 13|
|Dennis Ryder, medical marijuana patient: “We need a place”|
In 2009, the Obama Administration announced a new federal policy regarding marijuana in states in which medical marijuana has been legalized. The policy statement instructed federal prosecutors not to devote federal resources to prosecuting those who use or supply medical marijuana in strict compliance with state law. At the time, Ilya and I praised the new policy, though Ilya was quite skeptical it would make much difference.
Since the policy it was announced, it appears the policy has been difficult to maintain, and prosecutions of medical marijuana distributors has continued, largely because the federal government fears that some marijuana distributors are serving more than the medicinal marijuana market. As the NYT reports, federal prosecutors appear to be escalating efforts to go after marijuana distributors in medical marijuana states.
As some states seek to increase regulation but also further protect and institutionalize medical marijuana, federal prosecutors are suddenly asserting themselves, authorizing raids and sending strongly worded letters that have cast new uncertainty on an issue that has long brimmed with tension between federal and state law. . . .
Letters so far have gone out to governors in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, prompting some states — including Rhode Island and Montana, in addition to Washington — to revise or back away from plans to make the medical marijuana industry more mainstream.
In Washington, Ms. Gregoire asked for guidance from the state’s two United States attorneys, Mike Ormsby and Jenny Durkan. In a reply to the governor last month, they said the federal government would prosecute “vigorously against individuals and organizations that participate in unlawful manufacturing and distribution activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law.”
The changes have angered supporters of medical marijuana, who say the federal government is sending mixed signals, even as they argue that it has not technically changed its position.
The Justice Department claims there has been no change in policy. Marijuana has remained illegal under federal law, and prosecutors have continued to pursue larger and more conspicuous dispensaries without much regard for state law, prompting increasing conflict with state officials. In the meantime, state level efforts to decriminalize medical marijuana continue apace. There’s now talk of a ballot initiative here in Ohio. So the federal state tension will continue.
Is there a better way? Yes, but it would be difficult to implement without legislation. Here’s what I suggested in 2009:
The Justice Department has to set prosecutorial priorities, as there are more federal crimes on the books than federal prosecutors can ever hope to prosecute. The aim should be to focus federal resources in those areas where there is a distinct federal interest, or where the federal government has a comparative advantage of state and local law enforcement. Where federal law conflicts with state law, prohibiting activities state laws allowed, federal efforts should still focus on those instances of alleged lawbreaking where there is a distinct federal interest, including spillover effects on neighboring jurisdictions.
The federal government has a legitimate interest in controlling interstate drug trafficking, but no particular interest in prosecuting those who seek to provide medical marijuana to local residents pursuant to state law. So it only makes sense for the Justice Department to tell federal prosecutors to focus their efforts on those who are not in compliance with state law, such as those who use medical marijuana distribution as a cover for other illegal activities, interstate drug trafficking in particular. California should be free to set its own marijuana policy, but the federal government retains an interest in preventing California’s choice from adversely affecting neighboring states.
Ideally, the federal government would treat marijuana like alcohol, retaining a federal role in controlling illegal interstate trafficking but leaving each state entirely free to set its own marijuana policy, whether it be prohibition, decriminalization, or somewhere in between.
Toronto, Ontario–(ENEWSPF)–April 8, 2011. Schizophrenic patients with a history of cannabis use demonstrate “superior neurocognitive performance” compared to non-users, according to the findings of a meta-analysis to be published in the journal Schizophrenia Research.