Portland NORML News - Page 2, Thursday, March 18, 1999
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Marijuana Has Medicinal Value, Panel Says (The Associated Press version in
the San Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune)

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 23:43:07 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: Marijuana Has Medicinal Value, Panel Says
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Jo-D Harrison Dunbar
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Mar 1999
Source: San Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 1999 San Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune
Contact: wgroshong@telegram-tribune.com
Address: P.O. Box 112, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406-0112
Website: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/
Author: Randolph E. Schmid, Associated Press

MARIJUANA HAS MEDICINAL VALUE, PANEL SAYS

Drug's Ability to Provide Relief For AIDS, Cancer Patients Should Be Studied

WASHINGTON -- Marijuana has medical benefits for people suffering from
cancer and AIDS and should undergo scientific trials to see how it works
best, a panel of medical experts concluded Wednesday in a report to the
federal government.

The drug remains illegal under federal law, despite ballot measures
approving its use in Alaska, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and
Washington. The new report is sharpening debate over its use.

The Institute of Medicine, an affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences,
said marijuana's active ingredients can ease pain, nausea and vomiting. It
urged the development of a standard way to use the drug, such as an inhaler.

The conclusion was greeted warmly by most marijuana advocates, but opponents
said they worry the report will encourage marijuana use.

"Let us waste no more time in providing this medication through legal,
medical channels to all the patients whose lives may be saved," said Daniel
Zingale of AIDS Action.

But Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla., who led the fight to get the House to
condemn medical marijuana last fall, said he is "deeply concerned" the
report might encourage people to smoke marijuana.

It's known that some of the chemicals in marijuana can be useful, he
acknowledged, but their place is in inhalers or pill form. "We should not
sanction smoked marijuana because there is no way to control that," McCollum
said.

"Providing good medicine -- not marijuana -- is the compassionate response
to patients' pain and illnesses," said Robert Maginnis of the conservative
Family Research Council. He insisted doctors have other medicines to treat
any ailment that marijuana can help.

White House drug adviser Barry McCaffrey said the findings are unlikely to
send pharmaceutical companies scrambling to do research on marijuana. "Our
experience is there is little market interest," McCaffrey said.

Ironically, the new analysis was requested and paid for by McCaffrey's White
House Office of National Drug Control Policy, after an expert panel formed
by the National Institutes of Health concluded in 1997 that some patients
could be helped by marijuana, mainly cancer and AIDS victims.

At the White House, spokesman Joe Lockhart said: "What we found out is that
there may be some chemical compounds in marijuana that are useful in pain
relief or anti-nausea, but that smoking marijuana is a crude delivery
system. So I think what this calls for ... is further research."

That's already under way at the NIH, which is running three studies of
smoked marijuana and expects to approve a fourth this year.

One study looks at marijuana's safety in people with AIDS, a second is
checking the extent of medical marijuana use by patients of health
maintenance organizations and the third is studying marijuana's ability to
reduce nausea. Nearing approval is a study of marijuana's effect on pain.

The National Cancer Institute is looking into the comparative value of a
pill form of marijuana vs. a hormone in reducing nausea.

Breaking ranks with the pro-medical marijuana groups was the National
Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, which condemned the report as
"tepid."

"Clearly, the time has come for this administration to amend federal law to
allow seriously ill patients immediate legal access," said Allen St. Pierre,
executive director of the NORML Foundation.

The arguments over using marijuana as a medication have grown particularly
intense in the last few years in western states where supporters got
initiatives on the ballot to legalize the practice.

Voters in Alaska, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington have
approved measures in support of medical marijuana.

But the drug remains banned by federal law and doctors may be wary of
prescribing it, even in those states.

In its report, the Institute of Medicine said that because the chemicals in
marijuana ease anxiety, stimulate the appetite, ease pain and reduce nausea
and vomiting, they can be helpful for people undergoing chemotherapy and
people with AIDS.
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Let Science Run Marijuana Debate (A staff editorial in the San Mateo County
Times, in California, says this week's Institute of Medicine report on
medical marijuana should send a message to the feds that it's time to start
letting science - not politics - steer the debate. The federal government is
finding itself defending a less and less defensible position. It's time for
policy makers to get smart - and compassionate - and allow clinical studies
to move forward.)

Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 01:02:19 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: Editorial: Let Science Run Marijuana Debate
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: tjeffoc@sirius.com (Tom O'Connell)
Pubdate: Thur, 18 Mar 1999
Source: San Mateo County Times (CA)
Copyright: 1999 by MediaNews Group, Inc. and ANG Newspapers
Contact: eangsmc@newschoice.com
Website: http://www.newschoice.com/newspapers/alameda/smct/

LET SCIENCE RUN MARIJUANA DEBATE

THIS week's Institute of Medicine report on medical marijuana should send a
message to the feds that it's time to start letting science - not politics -
steer this debate.

The report concluded that marijuana may ease pain and nausea while
stimulating appetite. It also found no evidence that smoking pot leads to
other drug abuse. Commissioned by the White House Office of National Drug
Policy, the study included analysis of previous research as well as
interviews with patients, doctors and prescribers.

To the voters, patients, doctors and others who have long advocated the
medical use of marijuana, the study's conclusions don't come as a surprise,
but simply confirm what many have already learned through experience and
anecdotal evidence.

The report is important because it is so comprehensive and because the
Institute of Medicine is an independent and respected organization, an
affiliate of the National Academy of Science. The office that paid for it,
ironically, is run by Mr. War on Drugs himself, Barry McCaffery.

We can only hope that those factors lend the study some weight and
credibility, because it's at the federal level where California faces its
toughest battles in making the compassionate use of marijuana legal.

With new Attorney General Bill Lockyer in charge, we finally seem to have
some rational leadership on this issue at the state level. Rejecting the
obstructionist stance of his predecessor, Dan Lungren, Lockyer has ordered
medical marijuana advocates and law enforcement officials to come together
and find a way to make Proposition 215 work.

Proposition 215 allowed the used of marijuana for medical purposes, but
Lungren and zealous federal authorities shut down any organized attempts to
provide marijuana to the ill.

Now, the two sides are finding areas of agreement despite their adversarial
relationship in the past. But whatever recommendations they come up with
could be useless if the federal law doesn't change.

Lockyer has said he'll lobby Washington to reclassify the drug, a job that
could be made easier if he's armed with scientific data.

Unfortunately, there are probably those who won't be able to see past the
"Reefer Madness" hysteria that surrounds marijuana and scores easy political
points. Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla., who led the fight to get the House to
condemn medical marijuana last fall, has already expressed fears that the
Institute of Medicine report could encourage marijuana smoking.

The report, however, suggests studying ways of delivering the active
ingredients of pot without smoking, which can lead to respiratory and other
problems. It also points out that such studies could take several years, and
that clinical studies should be designed to last six months or less for
patients who could get some relief from smoking marijuana.

The federal government is finding itself defending a less and less
defensible position. It's time for policy makers to get smart - and
compassionate - and allow clinical studies to move forward.
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Re: Let Science Run Marijuana Debate (A letter sent to the editor of the San
Mateo County Times from a local physician says the newspaper's hope that the
Institute of Medicine report would allow reason and evidence to control
implementation of California's medical marijuana law is na´ve. For one thing,
General McCaffrey has already flatly stated even though a pure aerosolized
cannabinoid is not available, "smoked marijuana" will remain illegal on the
grounds that it is unhealthy - never mind that many of the patients who gain
unique relief from it are already dying and most have no other effective
alternative. "There is absolutely no evidence that the requisite amount of
smoking has ever produced one cancer - in other words, the smoking objection
is entirely theoretical.")

Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 23:37:57 -0800
To: dpfca@drugsense.org, maptalk@mapinc.org
From: "Tom O'Connell" (tjeffoc@sirius.com)
Subject: DPFCA: Sent to SMCTimes
Sender: owner-dpfca@drugsense.org
Reply-To: "Tom O'Connell" (tjeffoc@sirius.com)
Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/

Subj: Science and Medical Marijuana, March 19

San Mateo County Times
To the Editor:

Your naive hope that the IOM report would allow reason and evidence to
control implementation of California's medical marijuana law is almost
certainly forlorn. For one thing, General McCaffrey has already flatly
stated even though a pure aerosolized cannabinoid is not available,
"smoked marijuana" will remain illegal on the grounds that it is unhealthy -
never mind that many of the patients who gain unique relief from it are
already dying and most have no other effective alternative. Furthermore,
there is absolutely no evidence that the requisite amount of smoking has
ever produced one cancer- in other words, the smoking objection is entirely
theoretical.

In truth, the IOM report is unduly timid in its conclusions, which are
substantially no different than those of every blue ribbon panel (there
have been many) to look at the issue since Britain appointed its India Hemp
Commission in 1896: all have found marijuana to be innocuous, non
addictive, and undeserving of criminal sanctions. Indeed, in order to
continue our present policy, President Nixon was forced to completely
ignore his own panel, the Shafer Commission, which recommended
decriminalization of RECREATIONAL marijuana exactly 27 years ago this
month.

Our federal reefer madness has never been driven by science or logic, so a
watered down report by a craven bureaucratic panel is not about to change
things. As for Bill Lockyer, the same sick patients charged under Lungren
are either in prison or being prosecuted; new ones have been charged,
usually for cultivation, even though that's the only option our courts have
given them.

It will take a lot more than pious hopes to reverse reefer madness.

Tom O'Connell. MD
[Contact info snipped]
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Remove The Roadblocks To Medicinal Marijuana (San Jose Mercury News columnist
Joanne Jacobs discusses the scientific aspects and political ramifications of
the Institute of Medicine report on medical marijuana. Scientific data shows
that the active ingredients in marijuana, known as cannabinoids, may relieve
pain, control nausea and vomiting and stimulate appetite. And "The
psychological effects of cannabinoids may contribute to their potential
therapeutic value.")

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 13:24:46 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: MMJ: Remove The Roadblocks To Medicinal Marijuana
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Danny Terwey (prohibitionsucks@hotmail.com)
Pubdate: Wed 18 Mar 1999
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 1999 Mercury Center
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/
Author: Joanne Jacobs
Note: Joanne Jacobs is a member of the Mercury News editorial board.

REMOVE THE ROADBLOCKS TO MEDICINAL MARIJUANA

TUNE in to science. Turn away from propaganda. Drop the nonsense about
marijuana being medically useless.

When Californians legalized medicinal marijuana in 1996, national drug
policy director Barry McCaffrey sneered at the notion that smoking a
joint could help people suffering from cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis
and other diseases. He told the National Academy of Science's Institute
of Medicine: Show me the evidence.

Wednesday, the institute released its report, ``Marijuana and Medicine:
Assessing the Science Base.'' (Go to www.nap.edu or call 1-800-624-6242.)
It concludes that medicinal marijuana advocates aren't just blowing
smoke.

Scientific data shows that the active ingredients in marijuana, known
as cannabinoids, may relieve pain, control nausea and vomiting and
stimulate appetite.

``The psychological effects of cannabinoids may contribute to their
potential therapeutic value.'' (Getting high can make the patient feel
better.)

``Except for the harms associated with smoking, the adverse effects
of marijuana use are within the range of effects tolerated for other
medications.''

There is ``no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana
are causally linked to subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.'' The
first ``gateway'' to drug abuse is underage use of tobacco and
alcohol. In addition, ``there is no evidence that approving the
medical use of marijuana would increase its use among the general
population, particularly if marijuana were regulated as closely as
other medications with the potential to be abused.'' McCaffrey is
stressing the report's anti-herb message: ``The future of cannabinoid
drugs lies not in smoked marijuana but in chemically defined
(cannabinoid) drugs.''

Compounds produced in the lab ``are preferable to plant products
because they deliver a consistent dose and are made under controlled
conditions,'' the report concludes.

The ideal would be smokeless ``cannabinoid delivery systems'' that
offer smoking's rapid effect without long-term risks. ``Something like
an inhaler would deliver precise doses without the health problems
associated with smoking,'' said University of Michigan researcher
Stanley Watson, co-principal investigator of the Institute of Medicine
study.

But patients shouldn't have to wait years for an inhaler. In addition
to clinical trials, the report recommends allowing short-term use of
smoked marijuana for patients who are terminally ill or have
debilitating symptoms that don't respond to other medications.

``We are delighted that science is the basis of the discussion of this
issue, as it must be,'' said the press release from the drug czar's
office.

The delighted czar should now recommend moving marijuana in the
federal regulatory scheme from Schedule I (high risk of abuse, no
known medical benefits) to Schedule II (high risk of abuse, some
medical use), which would let doctors prescribe marijuana under strict
controls, as they do cocaine and morphine. Schedule III, for less
dangerous controlled drugs, would be the best fit but that's too much
delight for one czar.

Politics has trumped science up till now.

Last fall, the House voted 310-93 for a resolution declaring marijuana
a dangerous, medically useless drug.

The Clinton administration opposes reclassification. As the president
who smoked marijuana, but never inhaled, Clinton would rather be
stupid than soft on drugs.

The safe stand is to call for more studies, and then ignore the
results. So far, federal agencies are authorizing clinical trials on
the risks of marijuana, but denying approval for studies on the
potential benefits. That means researchers can't get legal marijuana
grown on the government's research farm. If they try to proceed with
private financing and grow-your-own marijuana, they risk arrest.

If marijuana were a Schedule II drug, doctors could recommend it under
California's medicinal marijuana law without fear of reprisals, says
Nathan Barankin, spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

When Dan Lungren was attorney general, he worked with the feds to
threaten doctors and close cannabis clubs, driving patients to the
black market.

Lockyer voted for Proposition 215, saying that he'd seen his mother
and sister die of leukemia.

He's named a task force headed by Sen. John Vasconcellos, D-San Jose,
and Santa Clara County District Attorney George Kennedy, which is
looking for ways to solve critical problems with the law: How can
marijuana be grown, transported and distributed to genuinely sick
patients? Who verifies patients' legitimacy? Who decides how much
marijuana is enough?

``We're optimistic we can reach consensus,'' says Rand Martin,
Vasconcellos' aide. ``The question is whether it will make any
difference with the feds.''

If federal regulators keep marijuana in Schedule I, denying doctors
the right to prescribe it under any conditions, we'll have that answer.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Clearance For Marijuana? (A staff editorial in the Orange County Register
notes the Institute of Medicine already found marijuana to be medicine in
1982. The most significant policy implication of the IOM report released
yesterday is that marijuana does not belong in Schedule I of the Controlled
Substances Act, which by law is reserved for substances with a high potential
for abuse and no accepted medical use. The study should give the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, the firepower it needs to
rule favorably on Jon Gettman's rescheduling petition - and soon.)

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 13:26:45 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: Editorial: Clearance For Marijuana?
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John W. Black
Pubdate: March 18, 1999
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Website: http://www.ocregister.com/
Section: Metro page 6

CLEARANCE FOR MARIJUANA?

Few people who have informed themselves will be surprised that the
federal government's Institute of Medicine's report on medical uses of
marijuana concluded that there is solid evidence that the plant can be
therapeutic for certain conditions and that more research should be
done to refine medical knowledge. After all, the same institute issued
a report in 1982 - before much was known about cannabinoids and
cannabinoid receptors in human brains - that came to much the same
conclusion.

Now it's up to the federal government to redesign drug policy so it
fits what is known scientifically rather than being based on myths,
fears and out-right falsehoods.

The conclusions probably weren't the ones desired by "Drug Czar" Barry
McCaffery, who commissioned this report two years ago, after
California and Arizona passed initiatives to authorize the use of
marijuana by patients with recommendations from licensed physicians.
He said at the time he was doing so not to delay implementation, but
so that decisions about drug policy could be based on science rather
than popular opinion influenced by political contributions.

Now he has his report. Among other things, it concludes: "the
combination of cannabinoid drug effects (anxiety reduction, appetite
stimulation, nausea reduction and pain relief) suggests that
cannabinoids would be moderately well-suited for certain conditions
such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and AIDS wasting" and
more clinical trials should be conducted. It concludes that the risks
associated with marijuana use are modest, though more research about
the risks of long-term use is needed. It concludes that the risk of
developing dependence is slight.

The report also concludes that there is no evidence whatsoever that
marijuana is a "gateway" drug whose use leads inevitably to the use of
harder and more dangerous drugs. In fact, it says that "because
underage smoking and alcohol use typically precede marijuana use,
marijuana is not the most common, and is rarely the first, 'gateway'
to illicit drug use. There is no conclusive evidence that the drug
effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of
other illicit drugs."

So a policy that takes science into account would have to abandon the
hoary "gateway drug" myth so often used by drug warriors.

Also important, public sentiment is shifting on the issue. Initiatives
similar to California's Prop. 215 passed in Alaska, Nevada, Oregon and
Washington last year.

The most significant policy implication of this report is that
marijuana does not belong on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances
Act, which by law is reserved for substances with a high potential for
abuse and with no currently accepted medical use. Others in the
category are heroin, LSD and PCP. The Institute of Medicine makes it
clear that marijuana does not fit these criteria. The designation is
key because it would by virtually impossible to conduct the scientific
research the report recommends if the substance were kept on Schedule
I.

We talked to John Gettman in Virginia, who filed a petition to have
marijuana rescheduled in 1995. It was referred to the Department of
Health and Human Services in December 1997. The Drug Enforcement
Administration is required by law to accept HHS determinations on
medical and pharmacological issues. This study should give HHS the
firepower it needs to rule favorably on this petition - and soon.

In California, Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who ran as an advocate
of the medical use of marijuana, was cautious in his response to the
study and what it might mean for Prop. 215. "Current federal law
prohibits doctors from prescribing marijuana and has made medical
research difficult," Lockyer said in a statement. "We look forward to
the federal government building on this report's findings so that we
can wisely implement Prop. 215."

Mr. Lockyer should be bolder in representing the wishes of
Californians - and his own stated position - and place his support
behind the petition to reschedule the drug and open the way for
research and use by patients who need it.

We would also recommend that no politician or political candidate
utter a word on drug policy until reading the report in its entirety.

The report can be read online at (www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/marimed)
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Scientists Urge Study Of Medicinal Marijuana (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
in Missouri, summarizes the Institute of Medicine report released yesterday.)

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 04:45:54 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US MO: Scientists Urge Study Of Medicinal Marijuana
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: unoino2
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Mar 1999
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Copyright: 1999 Post Dispatch
Contact: letters@pd.stlnet.com
Website: http://www.stlnet.com/
Forum: http://www.stlnet.com/postnet/index.nsf/forums
Note: Local comments are towards the end of this item

SCIENTISTS URGE STUDY OF MEDICINAL MARIJUANA

To Ease The Pain Of Patients With Cancer, Aids Marijuana; Rebut That It
Leads To Other Drugs

Marijuana has medical benefits for people suffering from cancer and
AIDS and should undergo scientific trials to see how it works best, a
panel of medical experts concluded Wednesday in a report to the
federal government.

The drug remains illegal under federal law, despite ballot measures
approving it for medicinal purposes in Alaska, Arizona, California,
Nevada, Oregon and Washington. The new report is sharpening debate
over its use.

The Institute of Medicine, an affiliate of the National Academy of
Sciences, says marijuana's active ingredients could ease pain, nausea
and vomiting. It urged the development of a standard way to use the
drug.

The conclusion was greeted warmly by most marijuana advocates, but
opponents said they worry that the report will encourage marijuana
use.

The institute said in its report that because the chemicals in
marijuana ease anxiety, stimulate the appetite, ease pain and reduce
nausea and vomiting, they can be helpful for people undergoing
chemotherapy and for AIDS patients.

It also said there was no evidence that use of marijuana leads to
other drug use. But the panel warned that smoking marijuana could
cause respiratory disease and called for the development of
standardized forms of the drug, called cannabinoids, that can be
taken, for example, by inhaler.

Even so, the panel said, there may be cases where patients could in
the meantime get relief by smoking marijuana. The panel's report
immediatelly spurred debate.

"Let us waste no more time in providing this medication through legal,
medical channels to all the patients whose lives may be saved," said
Daniel Zingale of AIDS Action.

But Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla., who led the fight to get the House to
condemn medical marijuana last fall, said he was "deeply concerned"
that the report might encourage people to smoke marijuana.

Barry McCaffrey, the White House drug adviser, said the findings are
unlikely to send pharmaceutical companies scrambling to do research on
marijuana.

"Our experience is, there is little market interest," McCaffrey
said.

Ironically, the new analysis was requested and paid for by McCaffrey's
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, after an expert
panel formed by the National Institutes of Health concluded in 1997
that some patients could be helped by marijuana, mainly cancer and
AIDS patients.

White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said, "What we found out is that
there may be some chemical compounds in marijuana that are useful in
pain relief or anti-nausea, but that smoking marijuana is a crude
delivery system. So I think what this calls for ... is further research."

That is already under way at the National Institutes of Health, which
is conducting three studies of smoked marijuana and expects to approve
a fourth this year.

The National Cancer Institute is looking into the comparative value of
a pill form of marijuana, as opposed to a hormone, in reducing nausea.

Breaking ranks with the pro-medical marijuana groups was the National
Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, which condemned the report
as "tepid."

"Clearly, the time has come for this administration to amend federal
law to allow seriously ill patients immediate legal access," said
Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the NORML Foundation.

Ben Cohn, president of St. Louis chapter of NORML, said he was glad
that the report counters claims that marijuana is a gateway to harder
drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Cohn said the report's authors also
"recognize that marijuana has strong medical capabilities."

But he said he was "a little disapointed that there is so little focus
on smoked marijuana as a way of helping those people."

"We think it is quite evident that mountains of anecdoctal evidence
and clinical evidence show that smoking marijuana helps people
medically right now and is available right now without further years
of research," Cohn said.

Ken Bush, a spokesman for the Missouri Libertarian Party, said the
report is a vindication for the party, which has long advocated the
legalization of drugs.

"This will be a campaign issue in the next election," Bush said,
adding that "the report and its adoption would absolutely" be a step
toward legalization of marijuana.

"It's a very positive step," Bush said. "Even during the height of
prohibition, we didn't ban the industrial and medical uses of alcohol."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Medicinal Marijuana Bill Dead In 1999 Legislature (The St. Paul Pioneer Press
says Minnesota, state senator Pat Piper, DFL-Austin, the chief Senate author
of a medical marijuana bill, asked for an indefinite postponement of a
committee vote Wednesday night, citing a lack of consensus, effectively
ending any hope of passing the legislation this year.)

Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 17:48:36 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US MN: MMJ: Medicinal Marijuana Bill Dead In 1999 Legislature
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: compassion23@geocities.com (Frank S. World)
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Mar 1999
Source: Saint Paul Pioneer Press (MN)
Copyright: 1999 St. Paul Pioneer Press
Contact: letters@pioneerpress.com
Website: http://www.pioneerplanet.com/
Forum: http://www.pioneerplanet.com/watercooler/
Author: Patrick Sweeney

MEDICINAL MARIJUANA BILL DEAD IN 1999 LEGISLATURE

Lacking Consensus, Sponsor Withdraws House Legislation

A bill to remove criminal penalties for Minnesotans who use marijuana
to cope with pain and other symptoms of serious illness is dead for
this legislative session.

On Wednesday night, Sen. Pat Piper, DFL-Austin, the chief Senate
author of the legislation, asked for an indefinite postponement of a
committee vote on her bill. Because the Legislature has a Friday
deadline for initial committee action on most bills, Piper's bill will
not officially come back before lawmakers for a vote until at least
next January.

Piper said she and representatives of Gov. Jesse Ventura plan to spend
the next 10 months or so trying to work out an acceptable compromise
that would allow Minnesota to remove its criminal penalties for the
medicinal use of marijuana -- and also protect patients from exposure
to federal anti-drug laws. She said hearings may be held on the
legislation this summer and fall.

``I believe we will be able to have something that will go into law in
the future,'' Piper said.

Charlie Weaver, Ventura's public safety commissioner, said: ``We have
pledged the administration will work with her.''

Weaver said a new federal study performed by the Institute of
Medicine, and commissioned by the President's Office on National Drug
Control Policy, might help win a federal waiver for a Minnesota
research project on the use of marijuana as a medicine.

But Darrell Paulsen, a South St. Paul man who said he smokes marijuana
to relieve symptoms of cerebral palsy, denounced Weaver's insistence
on a federal waiver as unrealistic.

Paulsen, who once was sentenced to probation on state marijuana
possession charges, drove his motorized wheelchair into Weaver and
Piper's joint news conference and accused Weaver and Ventura of
failing to make good on the governor's campaign pledge to support
medicinal use of marijuana.

``This is not reality, folks,'' Paulsen said, referring to Weaver's
discussion of a federal waiver. ``That is not going to happen, as much
as he would like it to happen.''

Paulsen, who was a candidate for lieutenant governor on the Grassroots
Party ticket last fall, said he is one of 165 plaintiffs in a federal
lawsuit in Philadelphia that challenges the application of federal
drug laws to the medicinal use of marijuana.

In large part, Piper's decision to postpone a vote was a recognition
that its passage this year was a long shot. Without strong support
from Weaver and Ventura, the bill would have faced stiff opposition in
the Legislature, especially in the Republican-controlled House.

But Weaver said the Institute of Medicine study, released Wednesday in
Washington, might spur federal approval of Minnesota-based clinical
studies of marijuana.

``It certainly indicates the federal government may be more inclined
to take down some of the roadblocks, at least to research,'' he said.

Piper's bill would have removed criminal penalties for possession of
up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana by people who suffered from serious
illnesses and whose doctors had recommended the drug.

But Weaver repeatedly said that those patients could face federal
prosecution, and anyone who sold them the drug could face both state
and federal charges.

``As it is today, I can't support it, and neither can the governor,
because it forces Minnesotans to become criminals,'' Weaver said in an
interview Wednesday afternoon before the postponement was announced.

Patrick Sweeney, who covers state government and politics, can be
contacted at psweeney@pioneerpress.com or (651) 228-5253.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Panel Touts Marijuana - Without The Smoke (The Wisconsin State Journal
version)

Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 07:31:38 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US WI: Panel Touts Marijuana - Without The Smoke
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: General Pulaski
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Mar 1999
Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI)
Contact: wsjopine@statejournal.madison.com
Website: http://www.madison.com/

PANEL TOUTS MARIJUANA - WITHOUT THE SMOKE

The active ingredients in marijuana ease pain and nausea in AIDS and
cancer patients and "should be tested rigorously" in scientific
studies, a medical panel advising the federal government said Wednesday.

The 11-member panel for the Institute of Medicine warned against
permitting smoked marijuana for such patients - as some advocacy
groups want - and instead proposed development of an inhaling device.

"Marijuana has potential as medicine, but it is undermined by the fact
that patients must inhale harmful smoke," said Dr. Stanley J. Watson
Jr., one of the principal investigators.

"Until researchers develop a safe and effective delivery system,
care-givers must consider the health problems that can result from
smoking when deciding whether to recommend marijuana to patients,"
said Watson, co-director of the University of Michigan's Mental
Health Research Institute in Ann Arbor.

The institute said that for people undergoing chemotherapy and those
suffering from AIDS, chemicals in marijuana stimulate the appetite,
ease pain and anxiety and reduce nausea and vomiting.

But the panel said marijuana, touted by some advocates as a treatment
for glaucoma, reduces eye pressure accompanying the disease only
temporarily.

The study proposed development of drugs derived from the chemicals in
marijuana called "cannabinoids" that could be delivered through an
inhaler. The Food and Drug Administration has approved only one such
medication, Marinol, currently available in pill form, for use by
seriously ill AIDS patients or those with cancer undergoing
chemotherapy.

The report said smoked marijuana should be permitted only in a few
circumstances until alternatives are available.

The report could mark a step in the right direction, said Rep. Tammy
Baldwin, D-Wis., who while a member of the Wisconsin General Assembly
introduced legislation to legalize the use of marijuana for patients
under the care of a doctor.

"This is an area where I think it's so important that doctors and
scientists make the decisions rather than politicians at the federal
level," the Madison Democrat said. "If scientists and physicians
believe that a drug can be used to alleviate pain and suffering, then
I believe they should be able to prescribe it."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Marijuana Is Boosted As Benefit To Patients (The Detroit Free Press version)

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 21:17:32 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US MI: MMJ: Marijuana Is Boosted As Benefit To Patients
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Richard Lake 
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Mar 1999
Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)
Copyright: 1999 Detroit Free Press
Contact: editpg@det-freepress.com
Website: http://www.freep.com/
Forum: http://www.freep.com/webx/cgi-bin/WebX
Author: USHA LEE MCFARLING Free Press Washington Staff
Note: Sidebar below: What Conditions Can Be Helped

MARIJUANA IS BOOSTED AS BENEFIT TO PATIENTS

Report Backs Some Use In Cancer, AIDS Cases

WASHINGTON -- Entering the debate about the medical benefits of
marijuana, a new study commissioned by the government recommended
Wednesday that marijuana cigarettes be made available for short
periods to help cancer and AIDS patients who can find no other relief
for their severe pain and nausea.

The report, the most comprehensive analysis to date of the medical
literature about marijuana, said there was no evidence that giving the
drug to sick people would increase illicit use. Nor is marijuana a
gateway drug that prompts patients to use harder drugs like cocaine
and heroin, the study said.

The authors of the study, a panel of 11 independent experts at the
Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences,
cautioned that the benefits of smoking marijuana were limited because
the smoke itself was so toxic. Yet at the same time, they recommended
that the drug be given, on a short-term basis under close supervision,
to patients who did not respond to other therapies.

Officials with the Department of Health and Human Services immediately
responded by saying they would not dispense marijuana to patients
until more clinical research showed it was safe.

Still, the report was seen as a victory by many who advocate the use
of marijuana as medicine. The response from drug-fighting groups was
subdued.

An explosion of recent scientific work, as well as patient anecdotes,
shows that compounds in marijuana have the potential to ease some of
medicine's most intractable problems, the Institute of Medicine report
said.

But its authors warned that smoking marijuana carries its own health
hazards -- including lung damage.

To avoid the smoke, researchers called for new delivery systems, like
inhalers, and for the development of pharmaceutical drugs made from or
modeled after the active ingredients in marijuana --
cannabinoids.

"Marijuana's future as a medicine does not involve smoking," said Dr.
Stanley Watson, a neuroscientist and substance abuse expert from the
University of Michigan who coauthored the report. "It involves
exploiting the potential in cannabinoids."

The endorsement pleased groups that have been working to make
marijuana available to patients. "It's a discreet but clear call to
make marijuana available," said Ethan Nadelman, who directs the
Lindesmith Center, a New York-based drug-policy think tank.

Other advocates, including the National Organization for the Reform of
Marijuana Laws and Harvard Medical School professor Lester Grinspoon,
said it ignored the fact that many patients have successfully used
marijuana as medicine for years with few harmful effects.

Battles about the medical benefits of marijuana have raged across the
nation since 1996, when California passed a ballot initiative that
removed any state penalties from people who used marijuana for
medicinal purposes. Since then, Arizona, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada and
Washington state have passed laws permitting the use of marijuana for
medical purposes.

Many mainstream medical organizations, and the relatively conservative
New England Journal of Medicine, have endorsed the medicinal use of
marijuana.

But last fall, Congress passed a resolution condemning the medical use
of marijuana, and because federal law still outlaws marijuana use,
many physicians are reluctant to prescribe it.

"There are so many strictures on doctors, so much uncertainty on the
part of licensing boards ...that nothing's happened," said Dr. John
Benson Jr., a former dean of the Oregon Health Sciences University
School of Medicine and the report's other author.

Only eight patients in the United States have federal government
permission to smoke marijuana for their conditions. They once received
government-grown marijuana in cigarettes under a "compassionate use"
program, which no longer exists.

On Wednesday, Dr. Randy Wykoff, associate commissioner of the Food and
Drug Administration, said individual patients were not likely to
receive marijuana until it is proven "safe and effective."

Marijuana advocates predicted change is more likely to come with
state-by-state ballot initiatives.

Patients like Jim Harden, 48, a Vietnam veteran from Virginia who uses
a wheelchair and who smokes pot illegally to ease the pain of cancer,
liver disease and a back injury, says he lives in fear of a jail
sentence. "Every day, I live in fear of the police coming, arresting
me and taking my kids away," he said at a press conference in Washington.

The federal government's most visible opponent of medical marijuana
has been White House drug czar Gen. Barry McCaffrey.

McCaffrey, who heads the Office of National Drug Control Policy,
commissioned the institute's $900,000 report in response to calls that
federal drug policy on medical marijuana be changed.

In a statement, McCaffrey said he would study the report's
conclusions. He emphasized that there is some evidence that marijuana
is addictive and can lead to further drug use. He left it to the
nation's health agencies to judge whether more patients should be
provided with marijuana cigarettes.

The study disarms some of McCaffrey's arguments. Its authors found no
evidence that medical use brought increases in recreational use.

Other anti-drug groups seemed to signal a softening in their strong
public stance against medical marijuana.

"We support all the recommendations," said Steve Dnistrian, an
executive vice president of the Partnership for a Drug Free America, a
nonprofit organization that creates anti-drug public service
announcements. "Who are we to contradict what the doctors and
scientists say?"

WHAT CONDITIONS CAN BE HELPED

Research indicates that the active ingredients of marijuana can be
helpful in treating a wide array of medical conditions. Here is a
summary of findings from recent studies of the medical use of marijuana:

Pain relief: Three studies on cancer pain have shown that THC, an
active component of pot, is as effective as codeine in reducing pain.
The studies also showed that THC curbed nausea and enhanced feelings
of well-being.

Nausea and vomiting in cancer patients: Marijuana components can
reduce the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, but
clinical trials show they are not as effective as newly introduced
anti-nausea drugs. For patients who do not respond to standard
therapy, marijuana may be a good alternative.

Rapid weight loss in AIDS patients: The standard treatment of appetite
stimulants has not proven successful in some AIDS patients who rapidly
lose weight. Marijuana is a promising treatment for wasting because it
helps control nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety.

Multiple sclerosis and movement disorders: There is some evidence that
marijuana compounds can reduce spasticity, but more proof is needed.
THC might help patients with multiple sclerosis, who can suffer from
intense and lengthy muscle spasms.

Alzheimer's disease: One study showed THC improved appetite and
reduced disturbed behavior in some Alzheimer's patients, suggesting
more studies should be done.

Glaucoma: Both marijuana and THC reduce the eyeball pressure that increases
risk of glaucoma and blindness, but the effect lasts only a few hours and
requires high doses. Other treatments, including topical drugs and surgery,
are more effective.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Drug Czar's Study Supports Uses For Medical Marijuana (The Chicago Tribune
summarizes the Institute of Medicine report on medical marijuana released
yesterday.)

Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 12:00:02 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: MMJ: Drug Czar's Study Supports Uses For Medical Marijuana
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Steve Young (theyoungfamily@worldnet.att.net)
Pubdate: 18 March 1999
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Section: Sec. 1, p.1
Copyright: 1999 Chicago Tribune Company
Contact: tribletter@aol.com
Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/
Forum: http://www.chicagotribune.com/interact/boards/
Author: V. Dion Haynes

DRUG CZAR'S STUDY SUPPORTS USES FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA

LOS ANGELES -- A study commissioned by the federal government offers
scientific evidence that supports what advocates of medical marijuana
have said for years: Marijuana can be effective in treating pain for
some terminally ill patients and legalizing it for medicinal use would
not lead to widespread abuse.

In issuing the report Wednesday, the National Academy of Sciences'
Institute of Medicine contradicted U.S. drug policy director Barry
McCaffrey's repeated assertions that "not a shred of scientific
evidence" exists to support medical marijuana and that legalizing it
would send the wrong message to young people.

McCaffrey had called for the study in early 1997 after California
voters approved a ballot measure legalizing marijuana for some medical
purposes. Since then, McCaffrey has sought, unsuccessfully, to defeat
similar initiatives in Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
He said the study would help him base future policies on science and
remove politics from the debate.

At a news conference Wednesday in South-Central Los Angeles, McCaffrey
praised the study as "the most comprehensive analysis of medical
marijuana ever done" and supported its conclusions.

He urged the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug
Administration to conduct clinical studies on marijuana and pressed
pharmaceutical companies to develop alternatives to smoking it, such
as inhalers, patches and suppositories, that could deliver to patients
the active ingredients in marijuana more safely.

But whether the study will spur policy changes or simply add fuel to
the political controversy is uncertain.

A 1980s federal study of marijuana led to development of a pill,
called Marinol, that uses the active ingredients of marijuana. But
McCaffrey said studying marijuana generally is a low priority for the
federal agencies and that pharmaceutical corporations have little
interest in working with it.

"I want the National Institutes of Health to look carefully and
respectfully at the findings. What we will aggressively support is
continued research," McCaffrey said. He noted that developing a new
drug usually takes 10 years and costs $200 million to $300 million.
"Our experience is that there is little commercial interest for this
drug," he said.

The 290-page study, "Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base,"
was quickly attacked by opponents of medical marijuana.

Robert Maginnis, director for national security and foreign affairs
for the Family Research Council, said, "Marijuana legalizers are
making serious gains across America by using the issue of `medical'
marijuana and the vehicle of compassion to buy sympathy votes.

"Sick and dying people do not need marijuana. They need good medicine,
which our doctors have available for every ailment marijuana allegedly
helps."

Advocates of medical marijuana said the study may help efforts to
reclassify marijuana from a Schedule 1 to a Schedule 2 drug. The
government considers Schedule 1 drugs dangerous and without medical
benefits, making them extremely difficult to obtain for research.

"This report undermines the claims that marijuana is dangerous and has
no medical value," said Bill Zimmerman, executive director of
Americans for Medical Rights and author of the book "Is Marijuana the
Right Medicine for You?"

"The report will launch legal efforts and political efforts.
Government agencies, medical schools and Congress will debate this,"
Zimmerman added. "There will be mounting pressure on the Clinton
administration to reschedule (marijuana)."

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) already has introduced a bill that would
eliminate some of the hurdles for researchers.

The report suggests that marijuana can be effective for people
suffering from chemotherapy-induced nausea and AIDS-related weight
loss. Balancing those benefits, researchers said, are disorientation
and other unpleasant psychological effects for some patients,
particularly older people. The researchers acknowledge that users can
become dependent on marijuana, but less so than for cocaine, opiates
or nicotine.

As with tobacco, smoking marijuana can cause cancer, lung damage and
low-birthweight babies for pregnant women, the report noted.

"We see little future in smoked marijuana for medical use," said Dr.
John A. Benson Jr., dean of the Oregon Health Sciences University's
school of medicine and author of the study. "The goal . . . is to
develop safe delivery systems from the compounds found in marijuana."

Because development of such methods would take years, the report said
that, under certain restrictions, smoked marijuana still could provide
relief for terminally ill patients with debilitating conditions who
have found little help from other medications. Use of smoked marijuana
should be monitored closely by a physician and limited to six months
or less.

Contrary to popular practice, the study said, marijuana should not be
used to treat glaucoma. It concluded that glaucoma patients can derive
only short-term benefits from smoking marijuana, gains not worth the
problems associated with long-term use.

While marijuana may relieve muscle spasms associated with multiple
sclerosis, the report asserted that marijuana does little for patients
suffering from Huntington's and Parkinson's diseases.

The report discounted arguments that marijuana is a "gateway" drug,
leading to harder drugs. "There is no conclusive evidence that drug
effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of
other illicit drugs," the report said. "It does not follow from those
data that if marijuana were available by prescription for medical use,
the pattern of drug use would remain the same as seen in illicit use."

As for suggestions that legalizing medicinal marijuana would lead to
widespread abuse of marijuana, the report said: "At this point, there
are no convincing data to support this concern. The existing data are
consistent with the idea that this would not be a problem if the
medical use of marijuana were as closely regulated as other
medications with abuse potential."

Keith Vines, a prosecutor in San Francisco who has been smoking
medicinal marijuana to help restore appetite lost from AIDS, said he
supports further clinical study. "But in the meantime, the federal
government should speed the process to allow (patients) to smoke it in
a controlled way."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Institute Advocates Medical Use Of Pot (The Akron Beacon-Journal, in Ohio,
summarizes the Institute of Medicine report on medical marijuana released
yesterday.)

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 10:04:12 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US OH: Institute Advocates Medical Use Of Pot
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project
http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Richard Lake (rlake@mapinc.org)
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Mar 1999
Source: Akron Beacon-Journal (OH)
Copyright: 1999 by the Beacon Journal Publishing Co.
Contact: vop@thebeaconjournal.com
Website: http://www.ohio.com/bj/
Forum: http://krwebx.infi.net/webxmulti/cgi-bin/WebX?abeacon
Author: Usha Lee Mcfarling, Knight Ridder Newspapers

INSTITUTE ADVOCATES MEDICAL USE OF POT

U.S. Health Organization Say Marijuana Cigarettes Should Be Made Available
To Cancer, Aids Patients

WASHINGTON: Entering the fractious debate over medical marijuana, the
nation's Institute of Medicine recommended yesterday that marijuana
cigarettes be made available for short periods to help cancer and AIDS
patients who can find no other relief for their severe pain and nausea.

Officials with the Department of Health and Human Services almost
immediately responded by saying they would not dispense marijuana to
individual patients until more clinical research showed it was safe.

Still, the report was seen as a victory by many who advocate the use of
marijuana as medicine. The response from drug-fighting groups was subdued.

An explosion of recent scientific work, as well as patient anecdotes, shows
that compounds in marijuana have potential to ease some of medicine's most
intractable problems, the Institute of Medicine report said.

The Institute of Medicine is a private, nonprofit organization that
provides health policy advice under a congressional charter.

But its authors warned that smoking marijuana carries its own health
hazards -- including lung damage and low-birth-weight babies -- and should
be used only as a last resort after standard therapies have failed.
Addiction was seen as a relatively minor problem likely to affect only a
few users.

To avoid the smoke, they called for new delivery systems, like inhalers,
and for the development of pharmaceutical drugs made from or modeled after
the active ingredients in marijuana, chemicals known as cannabinoids.

``Marijuana's future as a medicine does not involve smoking,'' said Dr.
Stanley Watson, a neuroscientist and substance abuse expert from the
University of Michigan who co-authored the report. ``It involves exploiting
the potential in cannabinoids.''

The endorsement pleased groups that have been working to make marijuana
available to patients. Many were expecting a blander call for further
research. ``It's a discreet but clear call to make marijuana available,''
said Ethan A. Nadelman, who directs the Lindesmith Center, a New York-based
drug policy think tank.

Other advocates, including the National Organization for the Reform of
Marijuana Laws and Harvard Medical School professor Lester Grinspoon, were
more critical of the report. They said it ignored the fact that many
patients have successfully used marijuana as medicine for years with few
harmful effects.

Battles over medical marijuana have raged across the nation since 1996,
when California passed a ballot initiative that removed any state penalties
from people who used marijuana for medicinal purposes. Since then, Arizona,
Alaska, Oregon, Nevada and Washington have passed laws permitting the use
of medical marijuana.

Many mainstream medical organizations, and the relatively conservative New
England Journal of Medicine, have endorsed the use of medical marijuana.

But last fall Congress overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning the
medical use of marijuana and because federal law still outlaws marijuana
use, many physicians are reluctant to prescribe it, even in states that
have passed initiatives.

Only eight patients in the United States have federal government permission
to smoke marijuana for their conditions. They receive government-grown
cigarettes under a ``compassionate use'' program no longer in existence.
Yesterday, Dr. Randy Wykoff, associate commissioner of the Food and Drug
Administration, said individual patients were not likely to receive
marijuana until it is proven ``safe and effective.''

Marijuana advocates predicted change is more likely to come with
state-by-state ballot initiatives.

Patients like Jim Harden, 48, a Vietnam veteran from Virginia who uses a
wheelchair and who smokes pot illegally to ease the pain of cancer, liver
disease and a back injury, says he lives in fear of a jail sentence.
``Every day, I live in fear of the police coming, arresting me and taking
my kids away,'' he said, speaking at a press conference organized by the
Marijuana Policy Project, which praised the report.

The federal government's most visible opponent of medical marijuana has
been White House drug czar Gen. Barry McCaffrey. In campaigning against
state marijuana initiatives, he said there was no proof marijuana had
medical benefits, that marijuana was a gateway drug that led to abuse of
drugs like heroin and that allowing marijuana to be used as medicine would
increase illicit recreational marijuana use.

McCaffrey, who heads the Office of National Drug Control Policy,
commissioned the institute's $900,000 report in response to calls that
federal drug policy on medical marijuana be changed.

The study disarms some of McCaffrey's arguments. Its authors found no
evidence that marijuana use caused people to progress to harder drugs or
that medical use brought increases in recreational use.

The report concluded that marijuana compounds hold the most potential for
easing pain and nausea caused by AIDS, chemotherapy and nerve damage and
would likely benefit only those who do not respond to standard drugs, which
work in a majority of patients. It also said side effects like euphoria can
enhance patient well-being.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Research: Pot Helps Ill, Study Finds (The Dayton Daily News version)

Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 12:21:06 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US OH: Research: Pot Helps Ill, Study Finds
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: General Pulaski
Pubdate: Thur, 18 Mar 1999
Source: Dayton Daily News (OH)
Contact: edletter@coxohio.com
Website: http://www.activedayton.com/partners/ddn/
Forum: http://www.activedayton.com/entertainment/forums_chat/

RESEARCH; POT HELPS ILL, STUDY FINDS

WASHINGTON - The active ingredients in marijuana can help fight pain and
nausea and thus deserve to be tested in scientific trials, an advisory panel
to the federal government said Wednesday in a report sure to reignite the
debate over whether marijuana is a helpful or harmful drug.

The Institute of Medicine also said there was no conclusive evidence that
marijuana use leads to harder drugs.

In the past few years, voters in Alaska, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon
and Washington have approved measures in support of medical marijuana, even
though critics say such measures send the wrong message to kids.

Congress has taken a hard line on the issue, with the House last fall
adopting by 310-93 vote a resolution that said marijuana was a dangerous and
addictive drug and should not be legalized for medical use.

Asked to examine the issue by the White House drug policy office, the
institute said that because the chemicals in marijuana ease anxiety,
stimulate the appetite, ease pain and reduce nausea and vomiting, they can
be helpful for people undergoing chemotherapy and people with AIDS. The
institute, an affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences, provides the
federal government with independent scientific advice. It is paid by the
organizations requesting its advice, in this case the drug-policy office.

But the panel warned that smoking marijuana can cause respiratory disease
and called for the development of standardized forms of the drugs, called
cannabinoids, that can be taken, for example, by inhaler.

"Marijuana has potential as medicine, but it is undermined by the fact that
patients must inhale harmful smoke," said Stanley Watson of the Mental
Health Research Institute at the University of Michigan, one of the study's
principal investigators.

Even so, the panel said, there may be cases where patients could in the
meantime get relief from smoked marijuana, especially since it might take
years to develop an inhaler.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said it would
carefully study the recommendations.

{KEYWORDS} MEDICINAL MARIJUANA

Pot as medicine

A summary of findings from recent studies of the medical use of marijuana:

* PAIN RELIEF: Three studies on cancer pain have shown that THC, an active
component of pot, is as effective as codeine in reducing pain.

* NAUSEA AND VOMITING: Marijuana components can reduce the nausea and
vomiting associated with chemotherapy, but clinical trials show they are not
as effective as newly introduced anti-nausea drugs.

* AIDS PATIENTS: Marijuana is a promising treatment for wasting because it
helps control nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety.

* MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS: THC might help patients with multiple sclerosis, who
can suffer from intense and lengthy muscle spasms.

* EPILEPSY: Despite anecdotal reports that marijuana controls epileptic
seizures, there is little evidence to support this.

* ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE: One study showed THC improved appetite and reduced
disturbed behavior in patients, suggesting more studies should be done.

* GLAUCOMA: Both marijuana and THC reduce the eyeball pressure that
increases risk of glaucoma and blindness, but the effect lasts only a few
hours and requires high doses. Other treatments, including topical drugs and
surgery, are more effective.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Study: Marijuana Can Be Medicinal (The Cincinnati Enquirer version)

Date: Sat, 27 Mar 1999 08:00:35 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: Study: Marijuana Can Be Medicinal
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: General Pulaski
Pubdate: 18 Mar 1999
Source: Cincinnati Enquirer (OH)
Copyright: 1999 The Cincinnati Enquirer
Contact: letters@enquirer.com
Website: http://enquirer.com/today/

STUDY: MARIJUANA CAN BE MEDICINAL

Panel of experts urges clinical trials

Marijuana has medical benefits for people suffering from cancer and AIDS
and should undergo scientific trials to see how it works best, a panel of
medical experts concluded Wednesday in a report to the federal government.

The drug remains illegal under federal law, despite ballot measures
approving its use in Alaska, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and
Washington.

The Institute of Medicine, an affiliate of the National Academy of
Sciences, said marijuana's active ingredients can ease pain, nausea and
vomiting. It urged the development of a standard way to use the drug, such
as an inhaler.

"Let us waste no more time in providing this medication through legal,
medical channels to all the patients whose lives may be saved," said Daniel
Zingale of AIDS Action.

But Dr. Rebecca G. Bech-hold, a Cincinnati oncologist, said many
anti-nausea medicines for chemotherapy patients are as good as or better
than marijuana.

"Most of my patients don't even want to eat and I can't imagine that they
want to sit there and suck on reefer," she said. "If they can just take a
pill, that's a whole lot easier than having to light up."

Dr. Bechhold said marijuana seems to be more successful with AIDS patients,
as an appetite stimulant.

White House drug adviser Barry McCaffrey said the findings are unlikely to
send pharmaceutical companies scrambling to do research on marijuana.

"Our experience is there is little market interest," he said.

The analysis was requested and paid for by Mr. McCaffrey's White House
Office of National Drug Control Policy, after an expert panel formed by the
National Institutes of Health concluded in 1997 that some patients could be
helped by marijuana, mainly cancer and AIDS victims.

The NIH is running three studies of smoked marijuana and expects to approve
a fourth this year. Meanwhile, the National Cancer Institute is looking
into the comparative value of a pill form of marijuana vs. a hormone in
reducing nausea.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Medicinal Marijuana Uses Seen (The Boston Globe version)

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 13:31:24 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US MA: Medicinal Marijuana Uses Seen
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Richard Lake (rlake@mapinc.org)
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Mar 1999
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.
Contact: letters@globe.com
Website: http://www.boston.com/globe/
Page: A01
Author: Dolores Kong, Globe Staff

MEDICINAL MARIJUANA USES SEEN

Scientific study commissioned by President Clinton's antidrug policy
adviser has found that marijuana can be useful in treating people with
AIDS, cancer, and other diseases, adding fire to the already
politically charged issue of whether to legalize the drug for
medicinal purposes.

The Institute of Medicine report, released yesterday, also found no
evidence to support the theory that marijuana is a ''gateway'' to
harder drugs of abuse, and urged further study of marijuana's active
ingredients in treating pain, nausea, and other ailments.

The $896,000 study was commissioned in 1997 by retired Army General
Barry R. McCaffrey after he and other US officials criticized state
ballot measures legalizing medical marijuana, calling them `hoax
initiatives,'' and dismissed reports on the drug's benefits as a
''Cheech & Chong show,'' referring to a pair of actor-comedians who
have glamorized drug use.

The Institute of Medicine is a private nonprofit organization that
provides health policy advice under a congressional charter.

Its report concludes that the future of the drug's medicinal use lies
not in lighting up joints, since smoking can lead to lung damage and
low-birthweight babies, but in the development of pharmaceuticals or
other drug delivery systems, like a vaporizer, that would be based on
marijuana's active ingredients.

In the meantime, the report did support interim solutions for some
sick and dying patients who do not benefit from approved painkillers
and anti-nausea drugs.

''There are limited circumstances in which we see recommending smoked
marijuana for medical uses,'' said Dr. John A. Benson Jr., former dean
of Oregon Health Sciences Unversity and one of the two principal
investigators for the report. But he said this would be only in the
context of a carefully controlled study in which patients are told of
the potential harmful effects.

Thousands of patients with nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, for
example, could be among those who could benefit from smoked marijuana
in carefully controlled trials, Benson said during a news conference.

McCaffrey told the Washington Post he endorsed the report
''thoroughly,'' and called it a ''significant contribution to
discussing the issue from a scientific and medical viewpoint.'' He
said he wouldn't oppose studies of smoked marijuana until a less
harmful way of inhaling the substance's active ingredients is found.

''I would note, however, that the report says `smoked marijuana has
little future as an approved medication,''' McCaffrey said. ''You
should not expect to go into an ICU (intensive care unit) in 15 years
and find someone with prostate cancer with a `blunt' stuck in his face
as a pain-management tool.''

The report did not find evidence to support the use of marijuana to
reduce some of the eye pressure that comes with glaucoma, however,
even though people have reported it to be helpful.

One scientist asked by the institute to review the report, Dr. Lester
Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School and author of ''Marihuana: The
Forbidden Medicine,'' said he found fault with the glaucoma finding and
other conclusions, but overall backed the report because ''it does say
unequivocally that marijuana has medicinal capacities.''

Yesterday, other supporters of the legal use of marijuana for medical
purposes also welcomed the report. And AIDS groups used the report to
demand that federal officials immediately allow experimental access to
medical marijuana.

''I think this report is General McCaffrey's worst nightmare,'' said
Bill Zimmerman, executive director of the California-based Americans
for Medical Rights, which has sponsored successful medical marijuana
initiatives in seven states, mostly out West, and has put one on
Maine's ballot for November.

''Most of what the government has been telling us is false ... It's
not a gateway to heroin and cocaine. It has proven medical value,''
said Zimmerman. ''I think from both a scientific and moral standpoint,
government has no choice but to make it available for patients who
need it,'' he said.

Antidrug activists generally called the report an objective
evaluation, but continued to oppose the state initiatives as political
ploys by people seeking to have all marijuana use legalized.

''General McCaffrey has been wonderfully responsible and responsive to
fund this report and to get the medical community injected into this
issue,'' said Steve Dnistrian, executive vice president for the
Partnership for a Drug-Free America, a private nonprofit organization
known for its national antidrug advertising campaigns. ''The best
thing is to have this issue pulled out of the political arena, and put
into the scientific arena.''

But Dnistrian said the report's findings could send the wrong message
about marijuana to children. Imagine a situation in which a parent
discusses marijuana with a son and discovers that the teenager ''has
just been offered a joint at school, and a friend tells him, `It can't
be so bad, sick people use it.'''

`It's going to be inherently more difficult for that parent to talk to
that kid persuasively about marijuana,'' Dnistrian said. ''It's not
impossible to deal with, it just makes it all the more
complicated.''

He also disputed the conclusion that marijuana does not play a role in
teenagers progressing to harder drugs.

While the Institute of Medicine report supports limited use of smoked
marijuana for some patients, federal agencies, including the White
House Office of National Drug Control Policy that McCaffrey heads up,
remained silent on whether they would expand experimental access to
the drug outside of some small federally approved programs.

''We will carefully study the recommendations and conclusions
contained in this report,'' said McCaffrey, who then deferred to the
US Department of Health and Human Services.

Health and Human Services, in its own statement, said the National
Institutes of Health, which it oversees, ''will continue to consider
any grant applications it receives on the medical utility of marijuana
and its constituents, and is prepared to fund those applications that
meet the accepted standards of scientific design and are found, on the
basis of peer review, to be competitive with other applications that
qualify for funding.''

Globe correspondent Louise D. Palmer contributed to this report, which
also includes material from the Associated Press.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Scientific Report Backs Medical Marijuana (The Associated Press version in
the Standard-Times, in New Bedford, Massachusetts)

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 17:10:09 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US MA: Scientific Report Backs Medical Marijuana
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: John Smith
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Mar 1999
Source: Associated Press
Copyright: 1999 Associated Press
Source: Standard-Times (MA)
Copyright: 1999 The Standard-Times
Contact: YourView@S-T.com
Website: http://www.s-t.com/
Author: Randolph E. Schmid, Associated Press writer

SCIENTIFIC REPORT BACKS MEDICAL MARIJUANA

WASHINGTON - Marijuana has medical benefits for people suffering from
cancer and AIDS and should undergo scientific trials to see how it
works best, a panel of medical experts concluded yesterday in a report
to the federal government.

The drug remains illegal under federal law, despite ballot measures
approving its use in Alaska, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and
Washington. The new report is sharpening debate over its use.

The Institute of Medicine, an affiliate of the National Academy of
Sciences, said marijuana's active ingredients can ease pain, nausea
and vomiting. It urged the development of a standard way to use the
drug, such as an inhaler.

The conclusion was greeted warmly by most marijuana advocates, but
opponents said they worry the report will encourage marijuana use.

"Let us waste no more time in providing this medication through legal,
medical channels to all the patients whose lives may be saved," said
Daniel Zingale of AIDS Action.

But Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla., who led the fight to get the House to
condemn medical marijuana last fall, said he is "deeply concerned" the
report might encourage people to smoke marijuana.

It's known that some of the chemicals in marijuana can be useful, he
acknowledged, but their place is in inhalers or pill form. "We should
not sanction smoked marijuana because there is no way to control
that," McCollum said.

"Providing good medicine -- not marijuana -- is the compassionate
response to patients' pain and illnesses," said Robert Maginnis of the
conservative Family Research Council. He insisted doctors have other
medicines to treat any ailment that marijuana can help.

White House drug adviser Barry McCaffrey said the findings are
unlikely to send pharmaceutical companies scrambling to do research on
marijuana. "Our experience is there is little market interest,"
McCaffrey said.

Ironically, the new analysis was requested and paid for by McCaffrey's
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, after an expert
panel formed by the National Institutes of Health concluded in 1997
that some patients could be helped by marijuana, mainly cancer and
AIDS victims.

At the White House, spokesman Joe Lockhart said: "What we found out is
that there may be some chemical compounds in marijuana that are useful
in pain relief or anti-nausea, but that smoking marijuana is a crude
delivery system. So I think what this calls for ... is further research."

That's already under way at the NIH, which is running three studies of
smoked marijuana and expects to approve a fourth this year.

One study looks at marijuana's safety in people with AIDS, a second is
checking the extent of medical marijuana use by patients of health
maintenance organizations and the third is studying marijuana's
ability to reduce nausea. Nearing approval is a study of marijuana's
effect on pain.

The National Cancer Institute is looking into the comparative value of
a pill form of marijuana vs. a hormone in reducing nausea.

Breaking ranks with the pro-medical marijuana groups was the National
Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, which condemned the report
as "tepid."

"Clearly, the time has come for this administration to amend federal
law to allow seriously ill patients immediate legal access," said
Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the NORML Foundation.

The arguments over using marijuana as a medication have grown
particularly intense in the last few years in western states where
supporters got initiatives on the ballot to legalize the practice.

Voters in Alaska, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington
have approved measures in support of medical marijuana.

But the drug remains banned by federal law and doctors may be wary of
prescribing it, even in those states.

In its report, the Institute of Medicine said that because the
chemicals in marijuana ease anxiety, stimulate the appetite, ease pain
and reduce nausea and vomiting, they can be helpful for people
undergoing chemotherapy and people with AIDS.

It also said there is no evidence that use of marijuana leads to other
drug use.

But the panel warned that smoking marijuana can cause respiratory
disease and called for the development of standardized forms of the
drugs, called cannabinoids, that can be taken, for example, by inhaler.

Even so, the panel said, there may be cases where patients could in
the meantime get relief by smoking marijuana.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Study Backs Marijuana's Medical Use (The Hartford Courant version)

Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 12:22:34 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CT: Study Backs Marijuana's Medical Use
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: General Pulaski
Pubdate: Thur, 18 Mar 1999
Source: Hartford Courant (CT)
Copyright: 1999 The Hartford Courant
Contact: letters@courant.com
Website: http://www.courant.com/
Forum: http://chat.courant.com/scripts/webx.exe
Author: ANDREW JULIEN And WILLIAM HATHAWAY

STUDY BACKS MARIJUANA'S MEDICAL USE

Take two tokes and call me in the morning.

A long-awaited national study released Wednesday concluded that marijuana
can offer relief to people who suffer from the debilitating effects of AIDS
or chemotherapy, giving new momentum to groups pressing for the legalization
of the drug's medicinal use.

While warning of potential dangers from smoke, the study by the Institute of
Medicine concluded that marijuana's active components can help reduce pain
and nausea. It also said there was no evidence to support the widely held
notion that marijuana use leads to harder drugs.

``For patients who do not respond well to other medications . . . short-term
marijuana use appears to be suitable in treating conditions like
chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, or the wasting caused by AIDS,''
said John Benson Jr., a co- author of the study.

The findings reignited the debate over the use of marijuana nationally and
in Connecticut, where a state law has been on the books since 1981 that
allows for possession of marijuana if prescribed by a physician for certain
medical conditions.

The law, however, is widely regarded as virtually meaningless because it
conflicts with federal law and because there is no system to legally
distribute marijuana. Advocates of medicinal marijuana say that the new
report underscores the need for a change in state drug policy and that they
will step up their efforts on that front.

``You have law enforcement making decisions doctors should be making,'' said
Jelani Lawson, executive director of the Connecticut Drug Policy Leadership
Council. ``You have well-respected individuals from all over the country
saying this is medicine and this is working.''

Lawson said he became acutely aware of the importance of the issue last
year, as his mother tried to cope with tremendous pain in a losing battle
with cancer.

``It was so hard to watch her there in the hospital in so much pain when she
was really sick,'' Lawson said. ``If someone's in pain, we need to be . . .
doing things to comfort them in their last moments.''

Chief State's Attorney John M. Bailey said that while there may be
legitimate uses of marijuana for medical reasons, any delivery or
distribution system would have to be closely monitored to prevent abuse.

``You have to strictly control the distribution for medical reasons,''
Bailey said. Otherwise, he said, there will be abuse.

The report, prepared at the request of the White House drug policy office,
said the potential for beneficial effects warranted testing marijuana in
clinical trials, the way most prescription drugs are tested before being
approved for use.

But the institute, an affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences, also
said that efforts should be made to find new ways - inhalers, for example -
to deliver the active ingredients while avoiding the potential dangers of
smoking. The study warned of increased cancer risk, lung damage and
pregnancy problems.

``Marijuana has potential as medicine, but it is undermined by the fact that
patients must inhale harmful smoke,'' said Stanley Watson of the Mental
Health Research Institute at the University of Michigan, one of the study's
principal investigators.

The report also said that in the treatment of glaucoma, the use of marijuana
appears to offer only temporary relief.

While support appears to be growing in the medical community for the use of
marijuana in limited and controlled settings, the political debate continues
to spark conflicting responses.

In several states, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and
Washington, voters have approved measures supporting medical marijuana. On
the other hand, the House of Representative voted 310-93 last fall on a
resolution that said marijuana was a dangerous and addictive drug.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said it would
carefully study the recommendations.

``We note in the report's conclusion that the future of cannabinoid drugs
lies not in smoked marijuana, but in chemically defined drugs'' delivered by
other means, the office headed by retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey said in a
statement.

The report was praised by the Washington-based Marijuana Policy Project, an
advocacy group. ``The scientific evidence in the IOM report shows that
marijuana is relatively safe and effective medicine for many patients,''
said Chuck Thomas, co-director of the policy project.

A Boca Raton, Fla., stockbroker who has smoked marijuana supplied by the
federal government for 27 years becaiuse of a rare medical condition, also
praised the report.

``It's taken a long time, but I feel like now, people will stand up and
listen,'' said Irvin Rosenfeld. ``When you have a devastating disease, all
you care about is getting the right medicine . . . and not having to worry
about being made a criminal.''

But for all the evidence of potential benefits, Joseph Grabarz, who heads
the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union, said he is skeptical about the
possibility for any change in policy.

``This hysteria around the quote-unquote war on drugs has led to a
philosophy that's unbelievable,'' Grabarz said. ``The federal government and
politicians refuse to open their eyes to what the reality is.''

Information from an Associated Press report was included in this story
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Government Study Labels Marijuana A Useful Medicine (A characteristically
misleading New York Times version of yesterday's news about the release of
the long-awaited Institute of Medicine report asserts the IOM scientists
found marijuana smoke to be "toxic," meaning it kills, something demonstrably
false, rather than "risky," the latter term reflecting only on the current
state of the science - which the government apparently will continue to
suppress.)

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 04:46:03 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: MMJ: NYT: Government Study Labels Marijuana A Useful
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Various Newshawks
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Mar 1999
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Forum: http://forums.nytimes.com/comment/
Author: Sheryl Gay Stolberg

GOVERNMENT STUDY LABELS MARIJUANA A USEFUL MEDICINE

WASHINGTON -- The active ingredients in marijuana appear to be useful for
treating pain, nausea and the severe weight loss associated with AIDS,
according to a new study commissioned by the Government that is inflaming
the contentious debate over whether doctors should be permitted to
prescribe the drug.

The report, the most comprehensive analysis to date of the medical
literature about marijuana, said there was no evidence that giving the drug
to sick people would increase illicit use in the general population. Nor is
marijuana a "gateway drug" that prompts patients to use harder drugs like
cocaine and heroin, the study said.

The authors of the study, a panel of 11 independent experts at the
Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences,
cautioned that the benefits of smoking marijuana were limited because the
smoke itself was so toxic. Yet they recommended that the drug be given, on
a short-term basis under close supervision, to patients who did not respond
to other therapies.

The release of the delicately worded report, at a morning news conference
here, prompted a flurry of political maneuvering. Proponents of state
initiatives to legalize marijuana for medical purposes seized upon the
findings as long-awaited evidence that it had therapeutic value. They
called on the Clinton Administration, and in particular Gen. Barry R.
McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which
requested the study, to ease its steadfast opposition to the initiatives.

"This report has proved McCaffrey wrong," said Chuck Thomas, a spokesman
for the Marijuana Policy Project, a nonprofit organization in Washington
that lobbies for the legalization of medical marijuana. "We never said
marijuana was a panacea and a be-all or end-all. What we have said is there
are some patients who don't respond to existing medications, and this
report confirms that."

But the study is unlikely to change the Administration's position. The
Department of Health and Human Services, which is already financing some
research involving medical marijuana, issued a written statement noting
simply that it would continue to finance the work. And General McCaffrey,
speaking in a telephone interview from Los Angeles, said, "This study seems
to suggest that there is little future in smoked marijuana." General
McCaffrey politely praised the analysis as a "superb piece of work" and
said he would take the recommendations under advisement. But he said there
was "enormous confusion in law enforcement" about how to handle the issue,
and added, "We've got people with mischievous agendas at work."

While the study's authors said they had been surprised to discover "an
explosion of new scientific knowledge about how the active components of
marijuana affect the body," they added pointedly that the future of
marijuana as a medicine did not lie in smoking it.

Marijuana smoke, they said, is even more toxic than tobacco smoke, and can
cause cancer, lung damage and complications during pregnancy.

The true benefits of marijuana, the experts said, would only be realized
when alternative methods, like capsules, patches and bronchial inhalers,
were developed to deliver its active components, called cannabinoids, to
the body without the harmful effects of smoke.

So far there is only one cannabinoid-based drug on the market, Marinol,
manufactured by Unimed of Somerville, N.J.

It comes in pill form and was approved in May 1985 by the Food and Drug
Administration for nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, as
well as for anorexia and weight loss associated with AIDS. Some patients
have complained that Marinol is more expensive than marijuana and that they
do not feel its effects as quickly.

The researchers recommended that the Government pay for research that would
speed the development of more cannabinoid drugs, and were particularly keen
on the promise of inhalers. But, recognizing that such methods might take
years to perfect, they also recommended that people who did not respond to
other therapy be permitted to smoke marijuana in the interim.

"Marijuana should only be smoked in circumstances where the long-term risks
are not of great concern, such as for terminally ill patients or those with
debilitating symptoms that do not respond to approved medications," said
Dr. John A. Benson Jr., former dean of the Oregon Health Sciences
University School of Medicine and one of the study's two lead authors.
"Even in these cases, smoking should be limited to carefully controlled
situations."

Dr. Benson and his co-author, Dr. Stanley J. Watson Jr. of the Mental
Health Research Institute of the University of Michigan, announced their
findings in a stately wood-paneled lecture hall at the Institute of
Medicine here. As the scientists spoke, a handful of people sat in the
audience, wearing fire-engine red T-shirts with white block lettering that
blared: "Medical Marijuana Patient."

Among them was Jim Hardin, a 48-year-old Virginia man who testified before
the panel and whose story was among several personal anecdotes included in
the report. Hardin suffers from Hepatitis C, a disease that is destroying
his liver, and uses a wheelchair. He said smoking marijuana helped him cope
with the intense nausea and rapid weight loss the disease has caused.

"I lost 95 pounds," Hardin said. "I tried everything: 35 different pills.
Finally, doctors told me to go to Europe and try marijuana." He did just
that, in November 1997, visiting the Netherlands, where a doctor prescribed
one to two grams of marijuana per day. Now, Hardin said, he obtains the
drug "from a network of care providers that are willing to grow a safe and
clean cannabis."

Also in the audience was Joyce Nalepka of America Cares, a parents'
anti-drug group based in Maryland that has criticized efforts to legalize
marijuana for medical use.

"I'm concerned about the message we are sending," Ms. Nalepka said. "Kids
interpret things differently than adults. What they're going to hear is,
'Marijuana is good for something.'"

The report contained some surprising findings. It concluded that, despite
popular belief, marijuana was not useful in treating glaucoma. While the
drug can reduce some of the eye pressure associated with glaucoma, the
effects were short-lived, the report found, and did not outweigh the
long-term hazards of using the drug.

In addition, the study found that there was little evidence for marijuana's
potential in treating movement disorders like Parkinson's disease or
Huntington's disease, but that it was effective in combating the muscle
spasms associated with multiple sclerosis.

So far, voters in seven states -- California, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado,
Nevada, Oregon and Washington -- have approved initiatives intended to make
marijuana legal for medical purposes. But doctors are often afraid to write
prescriptions because the Federal Government has threatened to prosecute
them, and patients often have difficulty obtaining the drug, in part
because the Government has moved to shut the marijuana buyers' clubs that
had been distributing it. In the District of Columbia the November ballot
contained a proposal to legalize medical marijuana, but Congress prevented
the vote from being counted.

***

From: "ralph sherrow" (ralphkat@hotmail.com)
To: ralphkat@hotmail.com
Subject: We've been had, again.
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 09:47:20 PST

We waited for this IOM report, knowing what it must say & expecting the
government to do the right thing. Well, we've been had, again. It
doesn't matter how patient we are or how compassionate we are, this
government of ours is so corrupt its ridiculous. They say listen to
science & when science speaks they quickly find more rhetoric to back
their position. In the mean time, we patiently wait, because that's all
we can do. And what do we get for waiting? It works, but smoking it
"can" be dangerous. "Can" be dangerous? What the fuck is that? Living
"can" be dangerous. Anything "can" be dangerous. Getting in your car
"can" be dangerous. Eating at a strange restaurant "can" be dangerous.
But I'll tell you one thing, Living under a tyrannical government "IS"
dangerous, to patients & to all living things. We were disigned to live
as free men & the government we choose overrides every single thing we
want to do. It doesn't matter what it is, if we want it then it's a
no-show for our government. I wonder what the founding fathers would say
about this "oppressive" government?

This government is the most disingeuous piece of shit that mankind has
ever come up with. Woe is us.

Ralph
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Panel Sees Value In Medical Marijuana (A different New York Times version)

Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 12:00:01 -0800
From: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org (MAPNews)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US: MMJ: Panel Sees Value In Medical Marijuana
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Reply-To: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/
Newshawk: Richard Lake (rlake@mapinc.org)
Pubdate: Thu, 18 Mar 1999
Source: (1) Charlotte Observer (NC)
Source: (2) Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
Copyright: (1) 1999 The Charlotte Observer
Copyright: (2) 1999 Lexington Herald-Leader
Contact: (1) opinion@charlotte.com
Contact: (2) hledit@lex.infi.net
Website: (1) http://www.charlotte.com/observer/
Website: (2) http://www.kentuckyconnect.com/heraldleader/
Forum: (2) http://krwebx.infi.net/webxmulti/cgi-bin/WebX?lexingtn
Author: SHERYL GAY STOLBERG New York Times

PANEL SEES VALUE IN MEDICAL MARIJUANA

WASHINGTON -- The active ingredients in marijuana appear to be useful
for treating pain, nausea and the severe weight loss associated with
AIDS, according to a new study commissioned by the government.

The report, the most comprehensive analysis to date of the medical
literature about marijuana, said there was no evidence that giving the
drug to sick people would increase illicit use in the general population.

Nor is marijuana a ``gateway drug'' that prompts patients to use
harder drugs like cocaine and heroin, the study said.

The study's authors, a panel of 11 independent experts at the
Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences,
cautioned that the benefits of smoking marijuana were limited because
the smoke was so toxic.

Yet at the same time, they recommended that the drug be given, on a
short-term basis under close supervision, to patients who did not
respond to other therapies.

The release of the delicately worded report, at a news conference,
prompted a flurry of political maneuvering.

Proponents of state initiatives to legalize marijuana for medical
purposes seized upon the findings as long-awaited evidence that it had
therapeutic value.

They called on the Clinton administration, and in particular Gen.
Barry McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control
Policy, to ease its opposition to the initiatives. McCaffrey's office
requested the study.

``This report has proved McCaffrey wrong,'' said Chuck Thomas, a
spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, a nonprofit organization
in Washington that lobbies for the legalization of medical marijuana.
``We never said marijuana was a panacea and a be all or end all. What
we have said is there are some patients who don't respond to existing
medications, and this report confirms that.''

But the study is unlikely to change the administration's position. The
Department of Health and Human Services, which is already financing
some research involving medical marijuana, issued a written statement
noting simply that it would continue to fund the work.

And McCaffrey, in Los Angeles, said, ``This study seems to suggest
that there is little future in smoked marijuana.''

McCaffrey praised the analysis and said he would take the
recommendations under advisement. But he said there was ``enormous
confusion in law enforcement'' about how to handle the issue, adding,
``We've got people with mischievous agendas at work.''

While the study's authors said they had been surprised to discover
``an explosion of new scientific knowledge about how the active
components of marijuana affect the body,'' they added pointedly that
the future of marijuana as a medicine does not lie in smoking it. The
smoke, they said, is even more toxic than tobacco smoke, and can cause
cancer, lung damage and complications during pregnancy.

The true benefits of marijuana, the experts said, would only be
realized when alternative methods, like capsules, patches and
bronchial inhalers, were developed to deliver its active components,
called cannabinoids, without the harmful effects of smoke.

So far, there is only one cannabinoid-based drug on the market,
Marinol. It comes in pill form and was approved in May 1985 by the
Food and Drug Administration for nausea and vomiting associated with
chemotherapy, as well as for anorexia and weight loss associated with
AIDS. Some patients have complained that Marinol is more expensive
than marijuana and it doesn't work as quickly.

The researchers recommended that the government pay for research that
would speed up the development of more cannabinoid drugs, and were
particularly keen on the promise of inhalers. But, recognizing that
such methods might take years to perfect, they also recommended that
people who did not respond to other therapy be permitted to smoke
marijuana in the interim.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

[End]

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