------------------------------------------------------------------- NORML Weekly News Release (Researchers Tout Marijuana's Medical Benefit As Pain Reliever At Annual Neuroscience Conference; British Doctors Praise Marijuana's Medical Properties, Argue For Change In Law; New Hampshire Legislator Prepares To Introduce Bills Allowing For Medical Marijuana, Domestic Hemp Cultivation In 1998) From: NORMLFNDTN@aol.com Date: Tue, 2 Dec 1997 17:38:25 -0500 (EST) Subject: NORML WPR 12/2/97 (I) A NON-PROFIT LEGAL, RESEARCH, AND EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION The NORML Foundation 1001 CONNECTICUT AVENUE NW, SUITE 710 WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036 T 202-483-8751 o F 202-483-0057 E-MAIL NORMLFNDTN@AOL.COM Internet http://www.norml.org . . . a weekly service for the media on news items related to marijuana prohibition. December 2, 1997 Researchers Tout Marijuana's Medical Benefit As Pain Reliever At Annual Neuroscience Conference December 2, 1997, Washington, D.C.: Several of the nation's top researchers in pain management unveiled new evidence indicating that some of the active chemicals found in marijuana may serve as safe and effective analgesics to patients suffering from chronic or severe pain. Scientists from the University of California at San Francisco, the University of Texas, Brown University, and elsewhere presented their findings at the 27th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience on October 26. "Cannabinoids, at least in animal models, can reduce pain," said Dr. Ian Meng, a pharmacology expert at the University of California at San Francisco. Meng noted that the effectiveness of specific cannabinoids as pain relieving agents appeared comparable to those of opiate-based drugs like morphine. Researchers added that the use of cannabinoids like THC and other chemical compounds found in marijuana did not appear to carry the risks associated with the use of opiates, such as addiction and tolerance. For example, a team of Brown University scientists reported that low doses of cannabinoids were not pleasure reinforcing in animals, while high doses were aversive -- causing animals to avoid the place where cannabinoids were given. Researchers from the University of Texas reported that the localized injection of anandamide -- a cannabinoid-like chemical present in the brain -- greatly relieved the inflammation associated with arthritis. An additional team of scientists from the University of Minnesota found that certain cannabinoids can also block the onset of an extreme sensitivity to pain called hyperalgesia, a condition often associated with nerve disease and spinal cord injuries. "These results suggest that local administration of ... cannabinoid[s] to the site of injury may be able to both prevent pain from occurring and reduce pain which has already occurred without producing side effects," University of Texas researcher Dr. Kenneth Hargreaves said. NORML board member Dr. John Morgan of City University of New York (CUNY) Medical School said that these latest findings may hold larger implications for medical marijuana research. "Not only do the studies provide strong support for the use of cannabinoids -- including THC -- as analgesic medications, but they also demonstrate that cannabinoids are minimally subject to misuse and dependence." Many of the neuroscientists attending the annual conference agreed that marijuana's apparent utility as a painkiller would broaden the drug's appeal as a medicine. "People who have serious illnesses will take the steps they feel they have to take," explained Brown University psychologist J. Michael Walker. "Certainly the new research [presented at the conference] would lead people in that direction." NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. said that the findings directly challenge the federal government's position that marijuana is without medical value. "To continue to deny medical marijuana to seriously ill patients in light of growing medical evidence of the drug's therapeutic value is unjustified and inhumane," Stroup said. Presently, federal law forbids the medical use of any cannabinoid other than THC. For more information, please contact either NORML board member Dr. John Morgan @ (212) 650-8255 or Paul Armentano of NORML @ (202) 483-5500. Abstracts of cannabinoid studies presented at the Society for Neuroscience conference are available from The NORML Foundation upon request @ (202) 483-8751. *** British Doctors Praise Marijuana's Medical Properties, Argue For Change In Law December 2, 1997, London, England: The British Medical Association announced its support for legal changes to allow for the legalization of chemical compounds in marijuana found to have medical value. The BMA's recommendations appeared in a comprehensive report published by the Board of Science and Education entitled: "The Therapeutic Uses of Cannabis." The 80-page review concluded that "present evidence indicates that [cannabinoids -- active chemical compounds in marijuana] are remarkably safe drugs, with a side-effects profile superior to many [conventional] drugs." Consequently, the Association is urging that marijuana prohibition be lifted to facilitate further cannabinoid research and to allow cannabinoids to be prescribed to seriously ill patients. "The Government should consider changing the Misuse of Drugs Act to allow cannabinoids to be prescribed to patients with particular medical conditions whose symptoms are being inadequately controlled under present arrangements," a November 18, 1997, BMA press release stated. The BMA further suggested that law enforcement take a lenient view of those currently using marijuana for medicinal reasons. "While research is under way, the police, the courts, and other prosecuting authorities should be made aware of the medical reasons for the unlawful use of cannabis by those suffering from certain medical conditions," the report stated. Recommendations from the BMA traditionally springboard a drug into federal acceptance. Presently, the BMA represents the interests of over 100,000 physicians worldwide. For more information, please contact either Paul Armentano or Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. *** New Hampshire Legislator Prepares To Introduce Bills Allowing For Medical Marijuana, Domestic Hemp Cultivation In 1998 December 2, 1997, Keene, NH: State legislator Timothy Robertson (D - Cheshire) intends to introduce legislation legalizing the use of marijuana for medical and industrial purposes in 1998, the Associated Press reported on Monday. Robertson previously backed a marijuana decriminalization bill this spring. "I just think prohibition doesn't work," Robertson told the AP. He said that he believed the use of alcohol and tobacco cause greater societal harm than marijuana. Presently, New Hampshire is one of a handful of states that allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for serious illnesses. However, because the law is in direct conflict with federal restrictions prohibiting the use of marijuana as a medicine, state-licensed physicians who prescribe the drug may face federal penalties. In addition, the federal government does not presently allow pharmacies to issue the drug. As a result, many legislators are now examining ways to protect patients who may be using marijuana medicinally from state criminal charges. Robertson said that he hopes his legislation encourages politicians to examine the medical marijuana issue. "When they hear the testimony, some of it will stick in their head and what they think one year will change the next year," he said. Robertson said that he will also introduce legislation allowing state-licensed farmers to cultivate hemp for industrial purposes. This year, at least Legislatures discussed measures pertaining to the cultivation of industrial hemp, the largest number since the federal government first outlawed the plant in 1937. Often described as marijuana's misunderstood cousin, industrial hemp is from the same plant species (Cannabis sativa) that produces marijuana. Unlike marijuana, however, industrial hemp has only minute amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana much of its euphoric and medicinal properties. Currently most of Europe and Asia grow hemp for industrial purposes. Both Australia and Canada engage in hemp cultivation for research purposes. Robertson said that he anticipates the House's Environmental and Agriculture Committee to approve the bill shortly after the Legislature begins on January 1, 1998. For more information, please contact Paul Armentano of NORML @ (202) 483-5500. -END- MORE THAN 11 MILLION MARIJUANA ARRESTS SINCE 1965 . . . ANOTHER EVERY 49 SECONDS!
------------------------------------------------------------------- Plea To Legalize Marijuana (Canadian AIDS Sufferer Plans Lawsuit Against Ottawa For Medical Marijuana) Date: Wed, 3 Dec 1997 12:57:35 -0500 (EST) From: Roddy Heading
To: Chris Donald cc: Carey Ker , matt list , email@example.com Subject: Re: G&M story:? Finally Mention Ottawa RCMP vs Sick People debacle? Dec.02/1997 Globe and Mail (Toronto) Plea To Legalize Marijuana Health Canada's promise to consider marijuana as a medicine offers little hope to people dying of aids says a man who intends to sue Ottawa over the issue. Jim Wakefield appealed to Health Minister Allan Rock yesterday asking him to help decriminalize the drug for medicinal use.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Marijuana In Arizona And California ('Liberty' Online Magazine Features NORML's Paul Armentano Discussing Feds' Attack On Voter Initiatives) Date: Tue, 02 Dec 1997 09:23:28 -0800 From: Liberty Unbound
Newsgroups: talk.politics.drugs Subject: Medical Marijuana in Arizona and California The January issue of Liberty magazine just hit a newsstand near you...but Liberty Unbound is just a hyperlink away, and you can get a glimpse of this issue's exciting articles. A year after successful initiatives for medical marijuana in Arizona and California, growers and patients are still not secure in their rights from federal interference. Paul Armentano of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws chronicles the government's campaign to overturn legal medicinal marijuana. Liberty Unbound can be found at http://www.libertysoft.com/liberty. .... Jon Kalb Webmaster, Liberty Unbound webmaster@LibertySoft.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Undercover Buy Busts 'Medical' Pot Club ('Honolulu Star-Bulletin' Reports Hawaii Narcotics Enforcement Division Popped Unnamed 35-Year-Old Man After Seeing Classified Ad In Unnamed Newspaper) Date: Thu, 4 Dec 1997 12:57:15 EST Subject: DND: US HI: Undercover Buy Busts 'Medical' Pot Club (fwd) Subj: US HI: Undercover Buy Busts 'Medical' Pot Club From: Don Topping Date: Wed, 03 Dec 1997 07:23:07 -0500 Source: The Honolulu Star-Bulletin Pubdate: December 2, 1997 Contact: editor@StarBulletin.com UNDERCOVER BUY BUSTS 'MEDICAL' POT CLUB About 10 grams of marijuana delivered to a state Narcotics Enforcement Division undercover agent for $300 spelled the death knell for the Honolulu Medical Marijuana Buyers Club. State investigators arrested a 35-year-old man yesterday following a three-week investigation, which involved responding to a classified newspaper ad for a non-profit Medical Marijuana Buyers Club. An undercover investigator also met with the suspect to discuss a purchase Nov. 15. The investigator purchased five grams for $100, and the suspect required the undercover investigator to disclose what his medical condition was. The suspect advised the investigator his distribution of marijuana was illegal and also said he has numerous clients belonging to his marijuana buyers club. The suspect was booked at the District Court cellblock yesterday, with bail set at a total of $2,000 for two counts of promoting a dangerous drug.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Herbs To Kick Heroin (Britain's 'Financial Times' Reports Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore Will Test Heantos, Made Up Of 13 Natural Products Grown In Vietnam, Invented By Tran Khoung Dan - Advocates Claim It Ends Dependency Within Five Days) Subject: MN: Herbs to Kick Heroin Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family
Article from "Financial Times" (London) Dec. 2, 1997 Author: Khozem Merchant Republished in World Press Review, February, 1998, p. 41 HERBS TO KICK HEROIN A Vietnamese herbal-based treatment for heroin addiction is about to be tested in the U.S. Its advocates claim that it ends dependency on the drug within five days. Heantos, made up of 13 natural products grown in Vietnam, was invented by a Hanoi construction worker who says he was determined to find a cure for an addiction that has brought great hardship to his family. Since 1991,the Vietnamese government says, 4,000 heroin, opium, and cocaine addicts have been successfully treated with Heantos, from the Greek meaning "plant." The discovery has excited the government in Vietnam and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which is investing $400,000 as seed capital to fund tests of the treatment, The Vietnamese government is contributing $100,000. Heantos's advocates say it is a detoxification treatment to end dependency, unlike Western drug substitutes such as methadone. Roy Morey, director of the UNDP in Washington and a former UNDP head of mission in Hanoi, told a congressional committee that "initial tests had demonstrated that Heantos is effective against recidivism." He said the cost per patient was $70, cheap compared with Western treatment. The UNDP describes Heantos as an "interesting idea that deserves encouragement." That may now come from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, which has agreed to conduct experiments on Heantos and establish a protocol designed to meet international standards. Johns Hopkins's participation is seen as a coup for the Hanoi government, which seeks to win global recognition for Heantos as a prelude to commercial exploitation. Scientists from Vietnam have presented their research to the U.S. Congress and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), whose approval remains the ultimate target. Few Asian herbal-based treatments for drug addiction have been exposed to the scrutiny of the FDA. This is the first time U.S. and Vietnamese scientists have cooperated on such a venture. The main operational tests will soon begin in the U.S. and Vietnam and could cost between $3 million and $4 million over three years. Hua Toan, director of Hanoi's Institute of Chemistry, which has been leading the tests, says: "Heantos is a triumph for traditional medicine. It is a good medication, and we are hopeful [for its use] in Vietnam--and elsewhere." Yet there are serious doubts within the international scientific community. Scientists are skeptical of the claims but agree that any drug that offers some hope of curing heroin addiction should be investigated. The UNDP mission in Hanoi admits that much of the evidence supporting the Vietnamese government's claims is anecdotal and that without internationally recognized clinical testing, commercial exploitation of Heantos may prove elusive. An internal paper from the United Nations' World Health Organization reflects these concerns. It states that "no controlled clinical trials [were] ever conducted; no control human studies were conducted; no animal safety data is available; and efficacy [was] based on clinical experience and anecdotal reports of individual cases." Edouard Wattez, head of the UNDP mission in Hanoi, says risks must be taken in the battle against drugs, which in the U.S. alone gives rise to indirect and direct costs of $70 billion to $80 billion annually. "If the UNDP does not take the risk," he asks, "who will?" Heantos's exact ingredients remain a secret known only to a select few led by its inventor, Tran Khoung Dan. Dan sold his home and spent a decade traveling to Thanh Hoa province in the Vietnamese uplands, where opium is grown and where he became an addict. He says many opium growers are addicts and have developed substitutes for use during poor harvests. "ln Asia we have a philosophy of traditional medicines," says Dan. He developed Heantos initially as a syrup; it is now available in capsule form. Heantos is applied in two stages: first, to help abandon drug intake within a week and second, after a month, to prevent a resumption of drug use. Patients are treated at a clinic in Hanoi.Typical is Nguyen Van Son, 37, an addict for two years, who took Heantos and is now recovered. He says three powerful forces--the clinic, his mother, and his own determination-coalesced around the new drug and ensured his successful treatment. "My family and I were surprised. We thought it would just lead to a reduction in dosage [of heroin consumption]," says Son, who has resumed work at the family's scrap-iron business. "I tried other treatments, but I suffered side effects. I tried Heantos a year ago and have not suffered a relapse." -------------------------------------------------------------------
Comments, questions and suggestions.Reporters and researchers are welcome at the world's largest online library of drug-policy information, sponsored by the Drug Reform Coordination Network at: http://www.druglibrary.org/
to the 1997 News page.
This URL: http://www.pdxnorml.org/120297.html