Pot. Marijuana. Cannabis. Misunderstood Motives.

I have had a regular argument over the years with a family member about both the recreational use of pot and the use of pot and derived materials from pot. Many of the claims promoted by this family member surround its use in cancer. In fact, this person follows a group on Facebook called “Cannabis Cures Cancer.” Being a regular listener to scientifically-based podcasts, I was skeptical of the dramatic claims being made, as they seemed to be mostly anecdotal in origin. However, I thought I’d take a fresh look at the information to see where the science stands on cannabis.

In comparison to other treatments, the amount of information available discussing the science on this topic took a bit more digging. There are some preliminary studies for a wide variety of conditions, but no large scale studies or anything that would be close to market. To start, I looked over the information presented to me by this family member, which was a link to the National Cancer Institute at the NIH. I use the NIH website to find basic health information about medications I am taking, or to find out about treatments for minor injuries or illnesses, and find it to be a fairly trustworthy source.

However, this link makes me reevaluate that stance. Without any differentiation other than the web address, the entire topic falls under the umbrella of the NIH’s CAM (complimentary and alternative medicine) research. The only way to tell it falls here is in the web address itself; there is no disclosure on the page as such. The Science-Based Medicine blog does a great job covering why the NIH should not be promoting CAM. The problem I have lies with the lack of disclosure. The information in the article itself isn’t inaccurate, although the way it is written can be misleading.

One of the articles I did have in my stash of information is a recent blog from the Skeptical Raptor blog. This post does a great job summarizing the information being claimed about actually curing cancer. It actually uses published medical information, even linking to the abstracts in the NIH database. The article also addresses the above NIH National Cancer Institute page. Although some of the research into cannabis is interesting, it hasn’t progressed much beyond cell cultures and a couple of rat studies. The push-back I received using this article is because the “Skeptical Raptor” worked for the pharmaceutical industry, this is another attempt for “big pharma” to suppress the truth. The raptor does a great job addressing this:

…if cannabis or any of its components actually could show efficacy against any of the 200 or so cancers, Big Pharma would be all over it. Because, they would not be selling joints, they would be distilling the active ingredient, determining the exact dose, determining how to deliver it to the exact cancer site, funding clinical trials, filing documentation with the FDA, then getting it into physician’s hands. This is not an easy process, but it would be a profitable one if it worked. Big Pharma and the National Cancer Institute is looking at everything, and they ignore nothing for potential. If cannabis works (and it might), they are all over it. Big Pharma is providing a lot of the funding for it.

And he is right. A cure for cancer would be highly profitable. If it is one thing the conspiracy theorists and skeptics can agree on, it is that corporations are driven by profits. Making money in and of itself is not a sign of bad motives.

Expanding on the thought of “big pharma” doing nothing to hurt their profits by coming up with new drugs is absolutely ludicrous. Compounds by the thousands are in various stages of testing. It would be impractical to test them all with equal vigor. The ones with more promise of efficacy must be tested first. One could argue that perhaps this is the suppression of “big pharma,” trying to put more profitable drugs in front of the line. This is true. But guess which drugs are the most profitable…the ones that offer the best treatment.

The charity organization Cancer Research UK has a fantastic explanation of the status of cannabis as a medicine, as well as some great basic education on how science works to improve nature in the field of medicine. They give excellent examples of the naturalistic fallacy, and yet show how nature can serve as inspiration for better medicines. They explain the classic example of aspirin:

Aspirin is another old drug, first discovered in the form of salicylic acid in white willow bark. But this naturally-occurring chemical causes severe stomach irritation, which led to the German company Bayer developing an alternative version – acetylsalicylic acid – which was kinder to the tummy. Aspirin is now arguably one of the most successful drugs of all time, and is still being investigated for its potential in preventing or even treating cancer.

Something from nature used in medicine, improved by science, and is a perfect example of how that process works.

Cancer Research UK starts the section on nature with a nice concise statement on why it is dangerous or not good medicine to treat serious diseases with homemade treatments from natural sources:

There’s no doubt that the natural world is a treasure trove of biologically useful compounds. But whole plants or other organisms are a complex mix of hundreds of chemicals (not all of which may be beneficial) and contains low or variable levels of active ingredients. This makes it difficult to give accurate doses and runs the risk of toxic side effects.

This is not to say that natural sources of medicines do not exist. David Kroll, a Institute for Science in Medicine Fellow, actually works for the National Institute of Cancer. He is researching a natural compound (milk thistle) as a possible cancer cure. He serves on the NCI’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine Physician’s Data Query Editorial Board — the very place the cannabis article I mentioned earlier resides. Dr. Kroll explains why it is important to do proper research on natural compounds before they are used as treatments:

When plant medicines were all we had, underdosing and overdosing were common because we had not yet achieved the scientific skills or knowledge to effectively isolate known quantities of physiologically-active constituents.

Today’s herbalists and purveyors of alternative medicines will frequently argue that 1) whole herbs possess a synergy that is missing when one isolates and uses pure constituents, or that 2) the mixture is safer than pure compounds because one compound can reduce the side effects of another without compromising its therapeutic efficacy. In the former case, synergy has actually be described in the scientific literature but the cases are extremely rare.

This is my biggest concern when anyone is convinced by claims that a person can purify a plant extract at home, and then be used to treat a large list of illnesses – that the dosing is not controlled and the efficacy is not well-tested.

In regards to the science of cannabis as a treatment, the studies on the cancer fighting properties are mixed. In some types of cancers, application of THC (the cannabinoid in marijuana that gives the high) seemed to suppress the growth of cancer cells. In some cases, it even increased the immune system response to the cancer. However, in other types of cancer, the THC actually accelerated tumor growth and suppressed the immune system response. This is the reason I react when I see people making the blanket statement that “[this substance] cures cancer.” In this case, preliminary evidence shows cannabinoids may hold some promise in the treatment of certain types of cancer. However, it could actually be harmful in the treatment of certain other cancers. The research is far from complete.

A very common way to defend these type of treatments among those who don’t trust “big pharma” is the use of anecdotes. One story that was passed along was one of Kristina Marie. All of the information on her condition and treatment comes from her video blog she  keeps, where she talks about treating her cancer with cannabis oil. She says her cancer is a Cancer Astrocytoma grade 2 – also known as a grade II glioma. However, gliomas are still not well understood. In fact, there are known cases of spontaneous regression of these types of cancer. Harriet Hall writes more about this at SBM, including covering the scenario of what to do when conventional treatments fail. This is a difficult question. I don’t blame Kristina for trying something… anything to extend her life. But without knowing the details of other treatments she is getting concurrently or if this is a case where the tumor is regressing on its own, her single anecdote is not proof that homemade cannabis oil is a cancer cure.

Cannabis has other possible uses. Studies show possible uses in treating spasticity in MS and as an analgesic in the use of arthritis. Other studies have not been able to repeat the results, but that can happen at times during early study of new pharmaceuticals.  The other key component is these studies use derived forms of cannabinoids, and not homemade oil, and therefore the compound it both pure and precise in its dose. Cannabinoid based drugs have been sold since the 1980s. One was the premier drug for battling nausea, but has since been surpassed by drugs that work better with less side effects. Because cannabinoid chemicals and receptors are so prolific in our bodies, it seems continuing research to find new cannabinoid compounds and uses is justified. If the results can be repeated on a larger scale, perhaps new cannabinoid drugs will make their way to market.

As in the case of aspirin, the real research can often be found to be inspired by natural ingredients. Compounds, inspired by the naturally occurring one,  are made to better target the receptors the natural ingredient reaches, thus increasing the effectiveness, and possibly reducing the cost and side-effects. Some of these synthetic cannabinoids also show promise, but the studies are very preliminary and small-scale.

On cannabis, the information leads me to conclude there are some interesting scientific possibilities in using cannabinoids as a treatment for a variety of diseases and the symptoms. The number of receptors in our body would indicate they play some role in our every day biology. However, the attempts so far to find a blockbuster breakthrough on any particular disease using cannabinoids has failed. The human trials are either small and uncontrolled or have results that are not repeated in other studies. In vitro and and mouse studies also show promise, but the positive results are highly dependent on the target, mode of delivery, and dose. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that hemp oil itself is not a cure for cancer, nor a “safe” alternative to traditional medicine. Let’s use science to find the best medicines possible, not just the ones we all hope will work.

In the title I placed the phrase “misunderstood motives.” I think perhaps people, including my family, can sometimes misunderstand my motivation for posting articles that temper the grand claims being made by their posts. I do so because I have a drive to help people better understand the scientific process. It was one of my motivations to return to school for my graduate degree. I also have a concern that those who read the grand claims of a miracle cure may turn to these treatments and cause themselves harm. The problem with miracle cures is they do not control for dose, they do not have any safety check for possible interactions with other medications, and the cures could turn out to be a huge waste of time and money that could be used for proven treatments. My motive in understanding the science and sharing it comes from something Dr. Steven Novella has said on more than one occasion: “Science is a process in which we make closer and closer estimations of the truth.” Science is not perfect, and it cannot claim to be the absolute truth. However, science is the closest we can get to the truth — and that is what motivates me.

About Eric Hall

My day job is teaching physics at the University of Minnesota, Rochester. I write about physics, other sciences, politics, education, and whatever else interests or concerns me. I am always working to be rational and reasonable, and I am always willing to improve my knowledge and change my mind when presented with new evidence.
This entry was posted in Alternative Medicine, Health, New Age and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

138 Responses to Pot. Marijuana. Cannabis. Misunderstood Motives.

  1. Volteric says:

    Excellent article and expresses my thoughts after spending a good amount of research on this issue. My only addition is that while I agree that “Big Pharma” has financial motivation to pursue Cannabinoids as medicine they are largely prevented by law in doing so since its is considered a Controlled Substance. I may be wrong in my understanding but it would explain why there are so few controlled human studies. GW Pharmaceuticals has developed a whole plant extract used medically and have produced some controlled studies for its use in MS spasticity, for example. The biggest challenge I see is that while there are some controlled studies on humans there aren’t enough on one particular illness/condition/disease with one precise and standardized dose, etc. The most that can be said is that what we know thus far shows promise and that research should be cleared to study that promise.

    • Eric Hall says:

      The politics of marijuana and the related plant hemp are interesting. Based on what I read, it isn’t any more difficult to get permission to grow these plants for testing by reputable companies than any other controlled substance. That being said, there is a whole separate discussion on controlled substances and evidence as to whether or not prohibition is the best way to control those substances.

      Hemp, for example, is illegal to grow for the most part in the US. Canada grows it, and North Dakota allows licensing of farmers to grow hemp. Everything I have read points to it being an excellent replacement for cotton because it uses less water, fertilizer, and other resources. But it is still controlled by the US government, and North Dakota has had to battle the DEA over the growing of this plant, which does not contain enough of the cannabinoids which would cause the high.

      We should study all of these possibilities more for sure. But it is an interesting conundrum. A significant number of people don’t understand the process of science. If you don’t fund their “miracle drug,” then they mistrust science and don’t want to fund any science. So we are caught in a trap – by prioritizing what we study, we put in danger that very funding because support goes away when you don’t fund low priority ideas. Get enough people with low priority ideas voting on science funding, they may choose not to fund any science because theirs didn’t get funding. It requires a shift in how we teach and view science, and put our trust in those experts to properly prioritize the science.

      • Volteric says:

        It is my understanding that only NIDA can provide the Cannabis and that’s if they approve the study which I have read is no easy task.

        What is amusing is that our Government on the one hand claims it has no/zero medicinal utility and yet had a patent on Cannabinoids claiming its medical value as a neuroprotectant and antioxidant. While this is outside the scope of your article I do find this fact bewildering.

        I agree that not every claim should be pursued but I do think there is enough promise around Cannabis that warrants proper investigation and human studies. That is has been used as a medicine longer than it hasn’t doesn’t prove it’s effective medicine but that’s it’s no longer used as medicine for political reasons not scientific ones is bothersome.

      • Volteric says:

        As I alluded to earlier here is a PUBMED paper on the plausible mechanisms involved with the Endocannabinoid System and why Cannabis might be potentially therapeutic to a varieties of issues…

        Endocannabinoids in nervous system health and disease: the big picture in a nutshell


        • Eric Hall says:

          It is interesting – and I think proves the assertion that cannabis research being suppressed by the government is false. 15,000+ research articles found in 2012 would say there is extensive research. Also good the article focuses on areas of plausibility. I am glad the research exists – and should continue in the correct scientific manner.

          • Volteric says:

            The research on HUMANS is sparse. Thus more is needed. My argument is based on researchers who have been stonewalled by NIDA. I didn’t make that up.

          • Volteric says:

            It will be interesting to see if they can get funding and approval to conduct human trials…


          • Eric Hall says:

            I also think this supports my theory (which I would say is scientific) – the researchers are studying a specific compound on a specific cancer in a controlled manner. I have no problem with that and in fact is how the science should be done. I agree it is hard to study, because it would be unethical to treat aggressive cancer with an unproven compound only. So it becomes hard to say what effect the compound would have by itself.

          • Volteric says:

            I agree, in that, if a measured compound is extracted, isolated or even synethized from Cannabis and has been proven unto itself to be efficacious to treat said condition(s) that is the best approach. It would be interesting if human trials concluded that “growiing your own medicine” was effective in treating xyz conditions. I have no moral or political restrictions/objections to this but again I would like sound, evidence based reasons supporting this.

          • The claim that research isn’t possible or suppressed is usually by American citizens and often claims are then made about how many papers show it is effective as a medicine. If a multinational drug company wanted to research it is perfectly possible to do it in another country. However they clearly do research it in any ca. It is also researched by universities and other institutions other than drug companies.
            Human studies will be carried out when the correct process has gone through to demonstrate safety and efficacy ,animal studies, limited human studies and then more extensive human studies. You can’t jump to perform human studies simply because you would like it to happen and often the case to be used to justify the recreational legalisation on the basis that an extract has a proven medicinal use.

          • Volteric says:

            Come again? Not exactly sure what your argument is but if a university or anybody who wants to research Cannabis needs to get approval from NIDA and/or the DEA. Its a controlked substance if you recall. NIDA has been clear they exist to show the harms of drug use not their therapeutic potentials. Many of the studies are outside the US or are done with synthetics and/or a particluar compound (E.g. Cannabidiol) or are meta-analyses. Those studies that have been done clearly defy the notion that Cannabis has NO medicinal benefits. In fact they show promising benefits that warrant further clinical studies that the Federal government should allow, namely the science should trump the politics on this issue.

          • mdmurray says:

            My point is that that your assumptions are again USA based. If researchers in Switzerland or the UK want to research into cannabis extracts they do not need approval from the NIDA and/or the DEA and therefore any associated political aims are irrelevant. If Pfizer or any other country struggled with carrying out research in the US it would simply move it elsewhere. So while it may be the case in the US it does not impede world wide research into cannabis extracts.

            It is a controlled substance in most countries but the associated political baggage of American politics doesn’t apply. However it is no more controlled that research into botulism or opiates.
            As a consequence research happens quite freely across the world as is backed up by the fact that tens of thousands of papers have been produced.
            Unfortunately it has been shown to have very limited effects in clinical practice. Sativex shows minimal perceived benefits in MS, cannabis in MS showed no actual benefits but patients felt better. Extracts as an anti emetic it is less efficacious than other medications. As a pain killer likewise . There has only been one trial in humans as the calculated dose of CHB was so high and couldn’t penetrate the blood brain barrier that it was directly infused into the brain of ten patients with gliomas. It was demonstrated to be safe and all the patients died. Being unsuccessful is not the same as not being carried out. I would doubt that many negative results get the same attention as positive ones.

          • Volteric says:

            I think we are in agreement about your first point. I’m actually quite surprised by you second points. The studies done by GW Pharma show ample evidence that Sativex shows significant relief for MS spasticity. It has been shown to be effective with neuropathic pain relief and appetite stimulant for cancer and HIV patients. Sativex is hung up in Phase 3 trials (human trials) with the FDA since 2005 whereas its legal to use in over 20 countries. My main point is that Cannabis research is and had been impeded by our Federal Government and her agencies and think this is hindering well designed human studies that could allow the science to determine if in fact all the anecdotes have merit or not. Again, I think the studies so far clearly show that there are medical benefits that need to be confirmed or laid to rest.

          • Volteric says:

            For whatever it’s worth Dr. Gupta, who was opposed to medical cannabis, has changed his mind based on the available evidence and has a documentary airing on CNN this Sunday…

            “In a commentary on cnn.com this morning, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta endorsed medical marijuana — and apologized for not doing so sooner:
            Reading… papers [about medical marijuana] five years ago, it was hard to make a case for… medicinal marijuana. I… wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled “Why I would Vote No on Pot.”

            … I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis…

            I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof… Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have “no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.”

            They didn’t have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works…

            We have been terribly and systematically misled [about marijuana] for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.

            Gupta’s documentary “WEED” will run on CNN this Sunday at 8:00pm EST.”

          • mdmurray says:

            Sativex® had appeared to be ineffective in a previous regulatory application and it
            was suggested that this was due to the study populations comprising of MS patients
            who had advanced disease and were treatment resistant.11,12,17 In response to this
            the pivotal short-term study supporting the approved indication was designed to
            assess the benefit of continued treatment in patients who achieved an initial
            response to treatment. 9,14,15 The results of this study, involving patients who had
            failed to respond to previous anti-spasticity therapy, are not yet published and data
            is derived from conference abstracts 14,15 and the recent MHRA public assessment
            report. 9 The results demonstrate that those patients who achieved a response in the
            first four weeks of treatment continued to derive benefit from further treatment. There
            is clear evidence of a positive benefit of Sativex® compared with placebo on the
            patient reported NRS spasticity score although it is not clear what degree of change
            this might correspond to in practice. It was also apparent from the double-blind
            phase of this study that more than half of treatment-resistant MS patients would not
            be expected to demonstrate the minimum accepted response to Sativex®. Later
            stages of the study still demonstrated a considerable placebo effect, perhaps
            underlining the variable nature of the condition and its symptoms.
            Robust evidence of long-term efficacy is limited to a small (n = 36) placebocontrolled
            withdrawal study in which the primary endpoint of time to treatment failure
            was significantly in favour of Sativex®. Many of the secondary endpoints of this
            study did not demonstrate a statistical difference between treatments, and eleven
            out of 18 Sativex® patients either withdrew from the study or were classed as
            treatment failures. 16
            There are no known comparisons of Sativex® with other active treatments for spasticity.

            In short the first manufacturer study did show what it needed to and it made some other ones that ticked the boxes.

            The bottom line in the world wide evidence for the long term safety of a drug is based on eighteen people – eleven of whom stopped taking it and most of them couldnt show any benefit.
            Cannabis extracts have some analgeisc effect so it would be expected that a drug company would look to see if it is has a place in the market. However if the same medicine was used at an equivalent cost of $7000 a year per patient I would suspect not.

            As for Dr Gupta – what its worth – not a lot would be an accurate . He jumps from the legal status addiction potential and mysterious ” other countries and small labs” – if he was in an educated country he would be crucified for such shabby journalism. This is popularist nonsense. Disagreeing with the classification doesnt make it a proven useful medication . Making comments like ” its the only thing that works” is puerile and only opinion.
            Quite simply a rational mind would have to ask what evidence? If it is there is must have been missed by the Institute of Medicine – as there recent report stated that there was no evidence of effectiveness or any clinical trials demonstrating superiority or safety. The House of lords report in the UK ran to over 400 pages and stated that there was nothing more than anecdotal evidence and that smoking was an unreliable was of drug delivery.
            As for what its worth the head of the American psychiatry said ” This is the twenty first century. We really need something a bit more scientific than smoking dried up plants and claiming it treats everything”

          • mdmurray says:

            A total of 572 patients were enrolled in the single-blind phase to identify initial
            responders to Sativex®. At the end of this phase (i.e. after four weeks of active
            treatment including dose titration) 272 patients (48%) were identified as initial
            responders, of whom 241 (42%) entered the randomised phase for treatment to
            either continue with Sativex® (n = 124) or switch to placebo (n = 117). Twenty-nine
            subjects withdrew from treatment before randomisation due to adverse effects.
            During the randomised phase patients were not permitted to adjust the dose
            obtained during the preceding single-blind phase. The mean change in NRS
            spasticity score was significantly in favour of Sativex® with a change of -0.04
            compared with +0.81 in placebo patients, a between group difference of 0.84, 95%CI
            0.40 to 1.29, p = 0.0002. It is not clear what the overall change in NRS spasticity
            score was from the start of therapy at the single-blind phase baseline to the end of
            the randomised phase (16 weeks) as the single-blind baseline NRS spasticity score
            is not reported.

            So the actual number of patients using Sativex in the biggest study in the world was less than 100 and this was comparing it to placebo. Hardly overwhelming . The other issue was as with previous MS trials in that people knew they were taking an active ingredient and the added placebo effect of wanting it to work comes into play. In the other MS study people said they felt better but had no measurable increase in function.

            This argument typifies the fact that mixing of reasons for legislation for recreational cannabis use. Dr Gupta offers opinion and uses his influence. Peter Forbes and several Facebook billionaires are buying legislation as they can corrupt the democratic process by buying influence and lobbying.Sadly self appointed ” experts” like Paul Armento of Norml continue to exagerarrate the ” cannabis as a cancer cure” fallacy yet when questioned he doesnt understand basic pharmacological principles.

          • Volteric says:

            Sanjay Gupta: Only 6 Percent Of Marijuana Research Considers Medical Benefits
            It’s impressive researchers have managed to conduct even that many studies.


      • Volteric says:

        Eric, another pertinent article:

        Why It’s So Hard For Scientists To Study Medical Marijuana

        “To do clinical research with marijuana, you need a DEA license, and you need to get your study approved by the FDA. When it comes to actually obtaining research-grade marijuana, though, you have to go through the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a process that has proved problematic for some researchers determined to study the potential medical benefits of pot.”


    • Volteric says:

      For anyone interested, here is a meta-study on human studies with Cannabis…


      As I mentioned from the outset my concern is that while there are some controlled studies on humans there aren’t enough on one particular illness/condition/disease with one precise and standardized dose, etc.

  2. Craig Good says:

    Excellent post. I’ve long been skeptical of claims about “medical marijuana” since it’s hard to picture that this is the one drug whose safe, effective method of delivery is to set it on fire and inhale the fumes. As you point out, there may be ingredients there with valid medical effects, but that doesn’t mean smoking it is really the best way to get them.

    • Volteric says:

      I agree Craig that combusting and inhaling wouldn’t be the healthiest mode of administration. One can eat the material, use it in an oralmucosal spray under the tongue or vaporize it and still get most if not more of the active ingredients compare to smoking it.

    • Volteric says:

      Also, one of the Doctors involved with human studies with Cannabis on cancer subjects. Dr. Donald Abrams cautions against using the term CURED. Cured of cancer is to be cancer free for 5 years and rightly points out no studies have been conducted long enough to demonstrate 5 years of remission. With that said to claim Cannabis cures cancer is false. Again while it shows promise that it should be well researched to claim it CURES cancer has not been objectively demonstrated.

    • Eric Hall says:

      The smoking method has some of the highest variability on dose, as well as carries its own cancer risk.

      • Justin Nnoix says:

        this is also a specious argument as smoking is only one way to ingest it.
        You can eat it, you can vaporize, you can even use it topically, so the smoking argument is just a tired played out, seemingly debunked approach.
        plus, in the end, we all die, if i choose to smoke something along the way, who the hell is anyone to tell me i’m wrong when i have caused no harm or injury to anyone or anything.


        • Eric Hall says:

          There is a much different argument to be made for legalization to allow people to use it as a personal choice and convincing people it will prevent cancer. There are specific arguments made that SMOKING marijuana will PREVENT or CURE cancer, which is simply not true. I say smoking is a highly suspicious way to ingest something as a medicine, because smoking implies incomplete combustion. This means the dose inhaled is not controlled and highly variable. Incomplete combustion also produces large particulates, which no matter the substance is not good to have go into your lungs. There is no logical fallacy there, it is simply stating the facts of smoking (any substance, not just pot). This is why medications are not normally delivered this way. In any other case (ingestion, suppository, absorption through the skin, inhalation of vapor), the dose is well studied. Meaning a specific amount of active ingredient is delivered, and the mode of absorption has a known small range of active ingredient entering the bloodstream.

          So – much like I said, if cannabinoids do have any type of beneficial effect, then we should be able to extract those ingredients and deliver the proper amount to the bloodstream in a controlled manner – and not by smoking.

          • thomas says:

            That’s where you are wrong. We are i the infancy of beginning to understand all the medical benefits cannabis provides. Your statement about lung cancer from smoking cannabis is untrue and you have nothing to back it up either. In 2006, Pulmonologist Donald Tashkin who was the NIDA’s guy on the function of cannabis in the lungs, set out to prove once and for all smoking cannabis caused lung cancer. Tashkin and his team at the University of California examined more than 1200 cases of lung, head, neck and esophageal cancer patients and compared them to more than 1000 healthy control subjects. Their work was overseen by one of the world’s top experts on case-controlled methodology.

            After the data was processed and adjusted for factors such as alcohol or cigarette use, age, and family history, the scientists were amazed(and some were appalled) to find smoking cannabis DID NOT CAUSE LUNG CANCER. Not only that, but the data suggested that it actually inhibited the formation and growth of cancer cells. According to the study, chronic, long-term smokers of cannabis reduced their likelihood of developing lung cancer by as much as 37% when compared with nonsmokers.

            So just because its not the “traditional” method of ingesting cannabis doesn’t mean its not legit. You and everyone else who seem to think that there is no way better than the old way need to get off your high horse and wake up. Your western arrogance is blinding you. NO we should not extract anything from the plant and let Big Pharma make their hack version of it. Cannabis is perfect the way it is. Its not just one thing in it like the CBDs or the THC that are working alone. Its the combination of all of them in their natural state either eaten or smoked. There isn’t any specific ingredient acting alone.

            The only thing you have right in your rambling is that stating cannabis cures ALL cancer is a false blanket statement. It has only been proven to work on certain types of cancer. You wanna a blanket cure for cancer than stop eating all the nutritionally void crap that everyone dose containing GMOs, refined sugars, processed ingredients. Stop eating fast food and start eating more fruits and vegetables.

            You wanna know the reason why Big Pharma wont publicly recognize these studies? It because they make more money making people sick with chemo and then pumping them with their synthetic meds, effectively trapping them in a Big Pharma dependent cycle. Its not ludicrous to believe. Its ludicrous to be in the state of denial you are because you can’t except that the people running things are crooked and DO NOT HAVE OUR BEST INTERESTS IN MIND. Why would they cure us and leave it at that? Once everyone is cure how will they make money? Wake up and see the game for what it is and not what you would like it to be. Acknowledging the legitimacy of cannabis would upset everything including the oil and synthetics industry. Because once cannabis is legal, so to will hemp be legal and that plant is FULL of uses that are sustainable and eco-friendly.

            If we are to use cannabis to its full potential, then just smoke it, vape it, or eat it the way its intended to be used. Its not for us to decide what part of it works best, isolate it, make it stronger, and put a price on it. Mother nature doesn’t need the arrogance of people like you thinking they can improve on here design. Cancer is the result of going against the natural order of things like our diet. We weren’t meant to be fast food consuming pigs, sitting around watching TV all day.

            SO instead of wasting more time and money isolating active components of cannabis and trying to quantify and dose everything, we should be figuring at which strains work best for what and in which manner of administration works best for what. You wanna measure how much CBDs and THC is in a given strain that’s cool. The more we know the better. But stop trying to enhance and modify the plant. It doesn’t need it. That’s why the crap like Marinol doesn’t work, its only on part of the whole.

          • mdmurray17 says:

            This is classical misinformed ranting irrational garbage.
            Cannabis smoke is carcinogenic to cell cultures. it contains more carcinogenic chemicals that cigarette smoke, is smoked without filters, burns at higher temperatures and held in for longer. Only an idiot would make a claim that humans aren’t meant to eat fast food but in order to survive they needed to inhale carcinogen full addictive burning plant smoke.
            A recent study from New Zealand estimate the lung cancer risk to be approximately double. A meta analysis showed most studies to ” prove ” the link are too small or too bias to be useful. People don’t reveal how much they take for how often and a pro cannabis area like California is likely to be even more bias in their expose of their drug habit. However several other studies have showed an association with testicular cancer and bladder cancer.
            Most people who are rational and of some modicum of intelligence anticipate that cannabis causes cancer and there will be continued evidence and it will continue to be denied by drug addicts who want it to think it is actually a harmless medicine with no side effects.
            As for in our infancy – there is no proven medical benefit to medical cannabis and the notion is a false one and the notion that you can smoke an addictive intoxicant with many side effects as effective medicine is just idiotic.
            The rest of the world knows this is simply an excuse not to get arrested in a country with over zealous criminal justice system and a cheap way of forgetting about medical problems in a country with the recognised worst health care system in the developed world

  3. Robrob says:

    The arguments for cannabis use are generally self serving. Proponents for smoking (no other medicine is smoked) a plant (no other whole plant is a medicine) claim it cures/helps a multitude of ills. Replace the word “cannabis” in their claims with “New Improved XR-29!” and it sounds no different than any other quack pseudo-science panacea claiming to sure anything and everything no matter how diverse.

    • Volteric says:

      Generally I agree Rob. It bothers me that so many extraordinary claims are made about Cannabis, but this may have to do with how exocannabinoids interact with receptor sites in the Endocannabinoid System. This system apparently modulates a number of things like appetite, pain, mood, etc. Again, this isn’t proof but I do think it merits further study. In other words I don’t think it would be an exercise in futility. As I mentioned, Cannabis in whole plant tincture form (non-smoked) was used extensively/medically from around 1840-1941 in the US. It wasn’t removed from the Pharmacopoeia for scientific or medical reasons, but rather political ones. I have yet to read one research paper at the time it was outlawed citing Cannabis as being harmful, ineffective or pseudo-medicine. In fact the AMA was opposed to it’s outlawing and the claims that it was addictive, violence inducing or potentially fatal. I find it disturbing that was deemed dangeorous and not medicine by Polticians/Moralists, not Doctors/Scientists.

      • Eric Hall says:

        Not that it is reason to ban a substance, but the long-term effects are pretty well known. This includes lung cancer in repeated use, as well as problems with concentration and mood from long-term use. Certainly a legal substance, alcohol, can have long-term negative effects with heavy use. I don’t imagine my couple glasses of wine a month will make a huge difference in my health, as I can’t imagine someone who smokes an occasional joint will have a much greater chance of those long-term issues. However, you are making a logical fallacy to say that because it was once used as medicine, it automatically is good medicine. We used to bleed people too, and we know now that is not helpful. If your claim is that it should be decriminalized, I agree with you on a freedom and cost basis. Trying to defend it as beneficial for the user, that to me is not a valid point as the science does not bear that out.

        • Volteric says:

          Eric, I am not nor did I make the claim that because it was once medicine it is good medicine. Go back and read what I wrote. I was very careful to point out that there was no scientific or medical reason given for it being outlawed in 1937.

          My claim is that there are good reasons to pursue conducting controlled human studies to confirm its medicinal uses.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Sorry – I thought that was the point you were trying to make. It is a pretty common fallacy, so I read into that a little far. It is still important to stress to other readers not to make that connection, but I redact my statement that you were making that point.

          • Volteric says:

            Thank you Eric. I always appreciate being understood and completely understand why you thought I might be advocating that position.

          • Volteric says:

            Eric, I was thinking about your statement that its well known that long term use causes lung cancer. It seems peculiar to me that on the one hand you think there is not enough controlled human studies to confirm its medical utility but you seem to think that long term use leads to lung cancer. On what basis? If there isn’t enough controlled human studies how can we know of its health hazards? Seems to me like a double standard. I thought we dont have enough human studies to make objective claims?

            From what I’ve read cohort studies following smokers, smokers plus Cannabis and non-smokers, Cannabis smokers had less cancer to no cancer compared to smokers and non smokers. I wonder why that is? This is not proof that Cannabis is an anti cancer agent but wouldn’t you agree that it merits further research?

          • Eric Hall says:

            The problem with trying to link marijuana smoke alone to lung cancer is when we study ANYTHING long-term it becomes difficult to control the confounding factors. It is common for those that smoke marijuana to also smoke tobacco. Also, many of the studies are self-reporting studies, because you wouldn’t force people to smoke something that is possibly harmful and illegal in most places. This means to make the connection requires other information.

            That information comes from the biological studies. There is a meta-study that I look to in order to reach the conclusion smoking marijuana increases the chance of lung cancer. http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=410634 – the key part here for me is the biological plausibility. I can’t think of an instance where breathing in more particulates than what is in the background doesn’t increase the chance of problems with the lungs, including cancer. When people work in environments of high dust, areas with lots of smog, and on and on…all lead to more problems with asthma, emphysema, cancer, etc… Thus purposely taking in extra particulate matter has high biological plausibility in causing problems with the lungs.

            So while various studies of survey data haven’t shown a strong correlation, people self-reporting a more or less illegal activity is not a highly reliable method for determining the connection. Interestingly, newer studies which are more careful with control groups do show an increased chance of lung cancer (http://www.ersj.org.uk/content/31/2/280.short). Most newer studies are better at separating out levels of use – where low, occasional use seems to have little effect on cancer rate and lung function, higher use (usually meaning nearly every day use) led to an elevated risk of several cancers and a decrease in lung function. Based on the biological plausibility, this makes sense because the constituents of tobacco implicated in causing damage is similar to pot. Just as 1 or 2 cigarettes a month is not going to change your risks in a measurable way, 1 or 2 joints a month won’t either. But every day is a much different story.

          • Volteric says:

            It seems consistent to say that because the research is limited and controls are not well established that it’s inconclusive to say one way or another if marijuana cause cancer. No, you take a meta-study of cohort studies and say the is biological suggestions that say. Which I take as “common sense says that if you ingesting tars, carcinogens, etc it seems plausible one would get cancer” That’s what is fascinating in that it appears marijuana smokers appears to have lesser account of lung cancer than smokers and non- smokers of tobacco. It may very be that the biological effects of THC and CBD may inhibit cancer. That’s what the preclinical research suggests so why not conduct and fund well designed studies with proper controls, etc? I don’t see this a chasing some pet herbal CAM fantasy. I think there are plausible mechanisms at play that warrant proper research, but as I said it appears that NIDA supports studies that support the negative aspects of marijuana. All I am saying is that politics need to step aside and let science determine this matter.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Your statements hover near the idea of government conspiracy + a confirmation bias that you want marijuana to be made legal. I may be misunderstanding your motive, and even if that isn’t your motive, it carries a similar tone. The political implications are far different than the science. I have never smoked pot, nor cigarettes for that matter. However, I still feel making personal use of pot a crime to have very little impact on use, and the time and money wasted on putting users in jail is better used elsewhere. Marijuana enforcement is also highly uneven across the US. Finally, I think political pressure plus (IMO) a growing libertarian movement will lead to a controlled legalization nationwide similar to alcohol. There is political pressure to keep recreational use of pot illegal, but it isn’t a cover-up of some miracle drug.

            That being said, the scientific process would never allow a controlled study where people smoked pot on a regimented basis. It would be unethical to “force” people to stick to a dosing schedule when we know there is some threshold when the chance of cancer increases. I think you may be misunderstanding some of the studies. Looking at the newer (2008) studies, you will see they better differentiate levels of use, as well as separate non-users, non-tobacco users, and a “both user.” Those studies show that anything above occasional use does contribute to increases in cancer risk. It appears (from my research) that lung cancer risk specifically does not go up in the marijuana only groups until a heavier use is reached.

            The claim that marijuana use lowers cancer risk has not been repeated in other studies. Biological studies (using various cannabinoids found in pot) on lung tissue actually shows the cancer being more aggressive because of a suppression of the immune response. This again is why it would not be ethical to do a well controlled trial on humans. These results indicate a danger in doing so.

            Based on everything I read, the most promising results for cancer fighting agents are the ones inspired by natural cannabinoids. This is often the case with “natural” medicines – we can usually use the structure as inspiration for something better (Aspirin). The other issue with smoking versus purified drugs is smoking gives a highly variable dose each time. Even if some compound in pot smoke is preventing cancer, we would find a way to isolate it and deliver it in a controlled manner to benefit everyone. Smoking is not a good delivery method, and even if it was the greatest drug in the world, we would isolate the correct component(s) and deliver them in a better way.

          • Volteric says:

            (Sorry for the typos. Not easy writing on an iphone. Also not sure if I am replying to the right thread.)


            Really? I have tried very hard not to and maintain the same spirit as you in being highly skeptical of the claims made around this subject. My motive is pretty simple and straight forward: Cannabis should be further investigated for it’s medicinal value. Why do I think this? The peer reviewed research so far shows some promise. Note: I didn’t say that all claims have been validated.


            I want it to be legal along with all drugs not for medical reasons but rather reasons derived from my libertarian values. I am not marshaling scientific evidence to support that motive. I don’t think safety or medical utility presupposes the reasons it should be legal.

            My argument here I think has been fairly consistent: I think more research with proper controls should be funded to uncover whether or not Cannabis has medicinal utility. Whether that is allowing consenting folks to smoke it, ingest it, vaporize it or spray it sublingually I don’t think the Government or Government agencies should prevent that research and I am under the impression, based on my study, that there are some serious hindrances allowing for this research. Is that conspiratorial? Maybe. But not in the sense you seem to think. As I mentioned, Cannabis was long considered a medicine by doctors from 1840-1937. I also mentioned that I wasn’t aware of any research offered at the time of it’s prohibition that demonstrated scientific and medical reasons for this prohibition. They were political reasons. I would think that we’d both agree that politics should never trump evidence/science, right? Where is the science that demonstrated that what doctors considered medicine actually isn’t?


            As I mentioned elsewhere, GW Pharma has created a oralmucosal spray that delivers the cannabinoids without smoking the plant and their human studies appear promising specifically for MS Spasticity, as an example. This is a for profit, big pharma company with financial motivation.

            Moreover, one can eat it or vaporize Cannabis reducing something like 95% of tar, carcinogens, carbon monoxide and still get all the cannabinoids so the argument that smoking it isn’t a good delivery method or that we don’t smoke our medicine is a dead point.

            As for the studies, I’m sure I don’t understand them, but I find it peculiar that you continue to say that while we don’t have the right controls or enough human studies you cite one to confirm your view that its causes lung cancer. I don’t think that is consistent. It’s not consistent to say we don’t have enough human studies and then cite a meta-study and to say that it causes cancer. You could say, what I am saying: Studies suggest XYZ but we need better controls and more research.

          • Eric Hall says:

            The meta study went beyond the survey type studies that are used to make the claim of smoking pot reduces cancer risk. It looked at those in part, but also looked at biological effects of smoking pot. I should be more clear on the conclusion of lung cancer, as they admit he data never followed people long enough to be definitive. Here is what the study states:

            Observational studies of subjects with marijuana exposure failed to demonstrate significant associations between marijuana smoking and lung cancer after adjusting for tobacco use. The primary methodologic deficiencies noted include selection bias, small sample size, limited generalizability, overall young participant age precluding sufficient lag time for lung cancer outcome identification, and lack of adjustment for tobacco smoking.

            Conclusion Given the prevalence of marijuana smoking and studies predominantly supporting biological plausibility of an association of marijuana smoking with lung cancer on the basis of molecular, cellular, and histopathologic findings, physicians should advise patients regarding potential adverse health outcomes until further rigorous studies are performed that permit definitive conclusions.

            However, if one reads deeper in the study, here are some other interesting findings:

            “These studies demonstrate that alveolar macrophages from marijuana smokers had less tumoricidal ability, increased likelihood of DNA damage, lower glutathione levels (enhanced oxidative stress), and a dose-dependent relationship between THC and reactive oxygen species when compared with nonsmokers.”

            “This literature supports the conclusion that marijuana smokers were more likely to have basal, goblet, and squamous cell hyperplasia; stratification; cell disorganization; nuclear variation; an increased nuclear-cytoplasmic ratio; basement membrane thickening; squamous cell metaplasia; mitotic figures; abnormal expression of a proliferation marker, Ki-67; and increased epidermal growth factor receptor compared with nonsmokers.”

            “Given this biological plausibility for the enhanced risk of lung cancer associated with marijuana, the observational studies reported thus far may have failed to find such an association owing to methodologic limitations. Most studies defined marijuana exposure dichotomously, precluding determination of relevant threshold effects or dose-response relationships. Limitations of the studies reviewed overall include the following: selection bias, small sample sizes, lack of adjustment for tobacco smoking, lack of blinding, inconsistent measurement of marijuana exposure, lack of standardized surveillance of lung cancer diagnosis, young age of study participants, and concerns regarding generalizibility owing to the use of similar cohort in 9 (47.4%) of 19 of the reviewed studies.”

            The authors did a good job here noting that while all signs point to a cancer risk, they couldn’t find one from the observational data. However, the studies they looked at didn’t show a lower rate, but that is not mentioned in the study because that wasn’t the focus of the study.

            My claim here is it would be unethical to do a controlled trial of smoking pot as a cancer prevention, based on the evidence. I would even go so far as to say it is not a valid method to study. Other studies on pure cannabinoids do show some promise, but I don’t think there is any evidence for continuing to study pot smoking for any positive effects. In fact, doing so only hurts the political cause of making it legal – as well as being bad science.

            While perhaps the government should “get out of the way” of medical research, we also have to be aware of ethics and the safety of people. I don’t think giving anyone complete autonomy to test anything they want on “consenting” people is a good idea. Can someone not trained in biology, medicine, etc give proper consent if they don’t understand the implications or the previous science? That is a huge concern. And in the particular case of smoking marijuana, I think it would be unethical based on the evidence thus far to allow people to smoke it based on a prevention hypothesis. It might be a different story when looking at cancer patients with low 5-year survival rates, or other diseases where the survival rate is low. In this case, the likelihood they would develop lung cancer before dying from their other condition is low, so perhaps a study on nausea or pain control might make sense – but even there purified version given orally, via a spray or pill, or via IV should get the compounds where they need to be just as well – and in a much more controlled manner.

          • Volteric says:

            My bad, I wasn’t trying to say that any and all studies make sense or should be conducted. The thrust of my point is that proper controlled studies should not be prevented for political reasons.

            Overall, I think we are in agreement that it should be legal and that further well controlled studies are warranted.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Certainly we agree on that. I am often told I am a bad libertarian – and I probably am :) – I don’t think getting government completely out is a good idea. However, I think we can agree that pot should not be illegal. By decriminalizing it, that would certainly reduce the regulation on testing.

        • kris moffatt says:

          sorry buddy, but if it weren’t for the fact that I ingest marijuana both by inhalation and orally, I wouldn’t be able to concentrate or keep focused on any task at hand, and I would be extremely “moody”. I am an epileptic that has had a dozen different meds pushed on me by my GP in the past, with no relief from my condition whatsoever…they actually caused more problems. I’ve been med-free for a little over a year now, ingesting nothing but marijuana, and my quality of life has never been better.

          • Eric Hall says:

            I have no doubt that your anecdote is true. However, anecdote is not science. It gives a possible direction for study, but it doesn’t “prove” anything. I am sure there are people that could treat their pain by extracting opium from poppy plants as well, but we instead have a laboratory extract the ingredients which give the desired effect, and put them in a pill with a precise dose so that it is effective – there is neither too much or too little taken. In your case, we don’t have any idea if you are simply experiencing a placebo effect – perhaps being relaxed is enough to relieve your symptoms, and the act of smoking is relaxing. I don’t doubt your story, but we have no way to know if the pot is actually what is doing it.

            It also makes sense that something in marijuana would offer relief from symptoms of some conditions that effect the brain. Our body naturally makes cannabinoids, as there are receptors in the brain controlled by these chemicals. If there is something causing the brain not to make enough (damage, genetic, etc) – then replacing those chemicals to a level the brain needs is warranted. But here again, you are not getting a consistent dose. Thus if the justification is pot helps people with these conditions, then we should continue the study on extracting chemicals from the plant, and perhaps modifying them slightly to work better. Smoking it is a very inconsistent delivery method, and the smoking of it appears to have some pretty negative effects.

            Also important to note – this is not curing anything in your instance. It is simply controlling the symptoms. I mentioned in the article that drugs have been created from cannabis for decades. I am sure it will continue to be a source of drugs which have plausibility – helping those with brain conditions, controlling pain, etc. Unless a case is severe (like it sounds like perhaps yours is), I don’t think any relief or benefit derived from smoking pot long-term outweighs many of the risks.

    • Russell G. says:

      This is pretty much what I was going to say. While I support decriminalization, I’ve long been suspicious of the claims that cannabis helps literally dozens of health conditions, and/or doesn’t have its own side effects.
      Great article.

    • Justin Nnoix says:

      lol, love your use of a logical fallacy here on skeptoid. very charming.

      no other medication is smoked. and that means exactly what??? nothing.
      some medications are taken anally.
      guess what, you can take marijuana anally too if you’re so inclined and willing to extract it correctly.

      • Eric Hall says:

        See my reply above – smoking does not give a controlled dose. Extraction at home does not give a controlled, measured dose of sctive ingredients either. If you are trying to use it as a way to control cancer, these methods could deliver too little or too much ingredient – which could be dangerous on many levels.

  4. volteric says:

    Here are a couple cohort studies which I found to be highly counterintuitive:



  5. This has been a most enjoyable discourse. .. All science-y. If I may sum things up, it would seem that this debate of marihuana –bad versus marihuana-good continues since the science is fairly unclear. As mentioned above, the inhalation of particulates can’t be good for you and should be avoided if possible. But It appears that smoking marihuana does carry some risks but surprisingly mild, especially when compared to smoking tobacco.

    Volteric’s articles are interesting too. As far as cancer goes…that too may be debatable:

    I emphatically agree that if there truly were some miracle cancer curing or preventative agent in marihuana the evil geniuses$ of Big Pharma would have figured it out by now. Bear in mind that there are many places in the world that regularly use cannabis regularly for years/centuries. Big Pharma could probably do research overseas.

    Marinol (dronabinol) is a legal and prescribed drug in the US. It’s basically THC. It is prescribed for nausea and anorexia/cachexia due to illness (AIDS, certain cancers and even chronic pain) to give the patients the munchies. I can see why this is not popular since smoking a substance is the quickest way to get THC into your system. Medical marihuana users say that they can titrate the dose to proper efficacy but I presume they can easily “over-titrate” too.

    On the sociological (non-science-y) issues I am ambivalent, though I’m not sure that we need another readily available intoxicant. Legalizing it would create more users. From personal experience, I can indirectly thank pot for getting me into medical school. That is, in college I quickly discovered that it made me really mellow and reduced my anxiety and ambition. I assume that this happens to others. So, my smarter competitors were probably culled from the herd. An interesting study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22776465………Thanks dope! I’ve told my children that I don’t smoke pot because I like it.

    I also found the Schaffer report surprisingly even handed and downplaying the threat of Marihuana.
    The Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse
    Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding
    Commissioned by President Richard M. Nixon, March, 1972

    (Read section V. “A Final Comment”)

  6. Bill says:

    They used to blow smoke up your ass to cure something or other…..In many ways I think they still do.

  7. Jeff says:

    No offense, but this post rambles aimlessly, and at times doesn’t seem to make sense. In addition, skimming through the comments to see if other readers had a similar experience, I was surprised to see a collection of equally long-winded, hollow posts.
    Sorry, maybe I’m just tired and cranky…

  8. Anonymous says:

    There are more than a few indications here that cannabis could be dangerous and studies ‘need to be done’ to find out a safe dose or method of delivery etc, but I don’t really understand why. I’ve never, not once in my entire life, heard of a person being harmed by cannabis. I’ve never heard of an overdose of cannabis, so what is all this talk about the ‘dangers’?

    If anyone has an example of someone harming themselves with cannabis, short of stabbing themselves through the chest with the stalk, please respond because it would no doubt make an awesome pub story.

    • Eric Hall says:

      Single use or occasional use of marijuana is very unlikely to cause harm in and of itself – but like any drug, including alcohol, causes an altered state which can be harmful. Because of how marijuana works in the brain, it would be difficult to overdose, but an overdose is not the only possible negative outcome.

      My concern is regular use of marijuana, especially when being sold as a quack cure. I targeted the cancer claims in this article, but there are other claims made as well. The link between cancer and pot is unclear in either direction. While it shows promise in treating certain cancers, it can accelerate the growth of other cancers. The meta study I linked in the comments didn’t go so far to conclude smoking increases the risk of cancer, but was very clear that all of the signs are there. They didn’t want to make a firm conclusion because the studies available simply weren’t long enough to make a definitive conclusion.

      Long-term use of marijuana does have pretty clear effects. Memory and ability to concentrate in regular, long-term users is pretty clear in many studies. There is also a pretty clear link between long-term use and infertility in men. Short-term, it can cause anxiety – which can be a serious condition. The impairment (like alcohol) can lead to poor decision making which can lead to indirect harm. While occasional use of small amounts of alcohol is very unlikely to cause harm, more regular use can be harmful. Tobacco as well – one cigar a month is not likely to raise the risk much of cancer, but one every day will. This is the same with pot – an occasional joint is not the problem, it is regular use. If someone tells you to smoke pot every day to prevent cancer, it really is just a bunch of smoke.

      • i have smoked large amounts daily for over 35 years i dont smoke neat tobacco never have i am completely compus mentus, i dont nor never have cared about others opinions, the main reason people have adverse side effects is due largely to the stigma attached to the plant, for almost 100 years now each generation has been force fed propaganda concerning the effects and harms this plant does, i am aware only of the benefits of this wonderful plant, as for whether it cures cancer or not, of course it does, why else would they suppress and slander, other than of course the oil industry, the textile industry, the paper industry, all of these contributed to the reason why cannabis was made the enemy of the people, they will continue to hold back the progression of this plant as they dont want a cure they want patients , patients equal revenue a cure does not especially if you can grow it yourself

        • mdmurray says:

          Oh for Gods sake….220 types of cancer – approximately four stages in most and guess what cannabis cures them all every time…with any dose or duration and this is ” hidden ” not because its crap …but because of the global conspiracy etc etc…and you think you are unaffected by cannabis……oh dear…..It would make you wonder why anypne who smokes cannabis isnt immortal?

  9. Charles Cavanaugh says:

    Doctors assist patients to cure or manage their illnesses. Doctors don’t base their guidance to healing on studies. They don’t have time. So, if a doctor becomes familiar with the benefits of judicious vaporization or ingestion of essential cannabis oils and sees that it helps the patient then he/she will prescribe it if the law allows. I get relief from neuropathic pain and nausea on a daily basis by using high CBD strains in small vaporized dosages. It is not smoked and is not very intoxicating. This is the state of the art for cannabis therapy. In small doses, it does not cure but it allows me to sleep, increases my thirst for water, reduces pain and inflammation. All this being said, I have a voracious appetite for the science behind cannabis particularly the endocannabinoid system. Just look at Pubmed and the work of Dr. Abrams for a start. For cancer therapy, cannabis is exclusively orally ingested in massive doses using the essential oil for several months. Afterwards, the patient must continue small maintenance doses.

    • Eric Hall says:

      The methods used by doctors is based on science. I don’t think my doctor would prescribe chemotherapy for a sprained knee.

      I have looked at the science – this article outlines some of it. So far, the benefits are limited. And a blanket statement that it will cure all cancer is irresponsible and dangerous.

      • Volteric says:

        I don’t recall Charles or Dr. Abrams proclaiming that it CURES cancer. In fact, Dr. Abrams is quite adamant that the term CURE not be used at all.

        You state the “benefits are limited?” I’m curious, based on your research, what those benefits are?

        Also, I am curious if you had a chance to look further in to why there are so many restrictions and roadblocks for scientists actually doing proper clinical studies on Cannabis in the US and what you found out/think about it?

      • Sean says:

        What an idiot you are to discuss the limited benefits of cannibas when no ever discusses the limited benefits of chemotherapy. The last study I looked at puts the failure rate of chemotherapy at 97%. So 3% of the people will benefit from chemo while a much higher percentage will create a more resistant cancer or a different cancer altogether from the chemo. Put me in the marijuana line please. The odds are much better.

        • But those are two different things. Marijuana is a palliative therapy, not intended as a treatment. Chemotherapy is intended to kill the tumor, and is correspondingly harsh on the rest of the body. We all wish we had better treatments.

          Be aware that there are hundreds of cancers. Some are curable, some are incurable, many are treatable and survival rates have skyrocketed in recent decades. There are many, many different treatments for all these loosely related diseases. I don’t know what 97% failure rate you read, or how objective that source was, or what the chemotherapy was, or what that cancer was, but you should understand that one number cannot encompass the entirety of a very complicated medical field.

          By saying “give me marijuana instead of chemotherapy” you’re asking for pain relief while allowing the cancer to continue spreading. Instead you should ask for both, as do many patients.

        • Volteric says:

          Simmer down there Sean. No need to be name calling. I’m interested in your findings. Can you please share where you found the chemo-failure rate of 97% and explain why you think Cannabis has a better success rate with Cancer and the evidence that supports this?

  10. thomas says:

    @ mdmurray17

    You obviously have a vendetta against cannabis judging by your bias response. Nowhere, in that incoherent rambling you are trying to pass as a complete thought, did you make a legitimate argument against the medical benefits of cannabis. First of all, nowhere did I say that in order to survive you must smoke cannabis. Its not for everyone, whether it be recreational or medicinal. Of course anytime you cause combustion of a material, you get carcinogens. That’s just basic science.

    Burning at higher temperatures? You don’t need to burn it any higher than the same standard bic lighter you would use to light a cigarette.

    Its been proven also that you do’t need to hold it in at all after the initial inhale. Any educated cannabis smoker knows this. Its just an old habit that wasn’t fully understood, now proven to be unnecessary. The only part you got right is that the only thing it accomplishes by holding it in, is the prolong lung exposure to the carcinogens you re so worried about. But i’ll get to them soon.

    I’m not an idiot, I take the time to read about the things I’m interested in from both sides, in order to make an educated assessment. It has been already proven that cigarette smoke contains far more carcinogens due to the additives found in those filtered sticks of death. Tobacco naturally grown is actually known to be medicinal in its own rite. Furthermore, even though carcinogens are being inhaled when cannabis is smoked, studies have proved that the active molecules such as the THC and CBDs inhibit the carcinogens.

    As for your New Zealand study, it was based on only 14 cases, and has never been replicated in large-scale population case-control studies. Here is a link to the evidence http://norml.org/news/2008/02/06/norml-responds-to-latest-marijuana-and-lung-cancer-fears-widely-reported-new-zealand-study-bases-its-findings-on-only-14-cases. Worth mentioning is the fact that you don’t have to smoke it, you can vape it, thus eliminating the combustion and carcinogens. Or you can eat it!

    The next part of your garbage rambling is nothing but you showing your negative bias against a group of people you truly know nothing about.

    Your statement on cannabis causing testicular cancer is false. While there was a study, it found only a weak link between the two, and said they need more studies to prove it. http://www.cannabisculture.com/news/media-hysterics-about-supposed-cancer-link-nothing-new.

    As for your claim to bladder cancer, the studies actually have shown that it lowers your risk of getting bladder cancer. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/13/marijuana-bladder-cancer_n_3267486.html. Though there are studies saying the opposite, again they state it warrants studying and its not solid proof. There were only 77 people in the study and of those only 6 said they only smoked cannabis and not cigarettes. Again its a weak link. http://norml.org/component/zoo/category/cannabis-smoke-and-cancer-assessing-the-risk

    We are in the infancy of understanding what the effects of cannabis are medicinal and not. There are proven medicinal uses for it, the FDA just refuses to recognize them, and the government continues to make it hard to study the plant. Just as psilocybin mushrooms have been proven to alleviate a nasty form of headaches called cluster headaches. Look them up. Again the FDA won’t recognize this cause its a scheduled psychedelic mushroom.

    Our body even produces its of cannabinoids within. We have a system in our body called the Endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a group of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors that are involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory; it mediates the psychoactive effects of cannabis.

    What needs to happen at the very least is decriminalization across the board, so that more studies can be done to really fine tune our understanding of cannabis. I will go onto say that like anything moderation is key. To much of anything can become negative. Even water. I’m a daily cannabis user, but only when i get home from work and only in moderation. Functional or not IMO nothing can be gained from going throughout life constantly stoned. It if anything diminishes the high and builds a tolerance. Not to mention I feel you need to have moments of clarity in life to really enjoy it.

  11. warren says:

    More profits in treatment and death then a cure idiot.The govt doesnt have to pay out in social security to dead people. They work together murder for PROFITS. In a real Free country I can do as an adult what I want so fuck you. Freedom remember Commis ! wake up 911 was staged. Boston also.

  12. Sorry but you’re reasoning is flawed from a very early stage. The reason big pharmaceutical companies are so vehement in their denials of thc having positive effects is because people can make their own extractions and the big companies stand to lose BILLIONS upon BILLIONS.

    Maybe some day soon there will actually be a significant amount of money put into properly examining, researching, testing and producing new medicines derived from thc.

    • I’m interested in learning more about this. Can you give any examples of big pharmaceutical companies denying the benefits of THC? (They sell it as a prescription drug, Marinol, so this would surprise me.)

      • Volteric says:

        Hi Brian,

        Glad you’ve weighed in. The fact is a pharmaceutical company, namely GW Pharmaceuticals, do NOT deny the benefits of whole plant Cannabis extracts (these contain dosed amounts of THC and CBD) Their product, Sativex is legal and prescribed in many countries excluding the U.S.

        Marinol is not THC technically, it is a synthetic form of THC. The irony is that it is a Schedule 3 drug according to the Controlled Substances Act, but Cannabis in all forms is a Schedule 1 drug along with LSD. It is considered more dangerous than Cocaine (a Schedule 2) meaning that our Federal Government deems it highly dangerous with NO medical application whatsoever. What I’m wondering is how a synthetic form of THC is legal and have medical value but the plant it is derived from not? Again, Sativex is WHOLE PLANT extract. All that means is they have extracted all the THC, CBD, and Cannabidinoids from the plant material which many people can do themselves incidentally.

        As an aside, the problem many cite with synthetic THC (Marinol) is that it it not as effective as the whole plant. Most think this is because THC by itself may not be as effective as THC with the Cannabidiol (CBD) and the other Cannabinoids.

        Moreover, how is it that our Government has a patent on cannabinoids specifically for their medical application and yet also have them classified as having no medical value?

        Brian, what are your thoughts about Cannabis having medical value and why hasn’t Science Based Medicine and other Skeptics weighing in more on this clearly front and center issue?

    • Magnanamous Dinoflagellate, says:

      Damien, your post is flawed. It cant be argued to or repudiated in that form without dealing with multiple conflations.,

      Can you repost so we can actually discuss your claims without your conflations?

      • Lets get a little bit of a reality check. In order for companies to lose “billions and billions” they would have to lose practically all their entire profit from presumably no longer making selling anything of any kind as everyone would be self medicating successfully with a generic inhaled / consumed addictive intoxicating plant. |This is just childish.
        As for its a ” whole plant extract” – of course it is – you cant possibly extract something from anything other than the whole plant. Orange juice is extracted from whole oranges that doesnt mean orange juice contains every part of a whole orange.
        Sativex is a metered aerosol delivery system containing THC and CHB in a ration of 2-1 with alcohol and peppermint oil . Trying to claim that his is exactly the same as the contents of inhaled or eaten cannabis again is just completely wrong..
        As for companies “denying the benefits” ….companies as you hay have notice produce drugs of a known amount of active ingredients, they test it and show it is effective, the side effects and what is the safe level to take for what condition. This hasnt been shown convincingly for cannabis extracts. Being pharmacologically active is not the same as being a properly defined medicine or equivalent to saying take as much as you want in any method you like as often as you like and that will be exactly the same. This frankly is how stupid the argument is equating smoking cannabis with an actual medicine is.

        • Magnanamous Dinoflagellate, says:

          Michael, I hope you have many children to pass on that level of critical thinking! Society needs it.

          One wonders what the level self interest is in the posts you counter. Lets hope they dont rue it in decades to come.

        • Volteric says:

          Michael, you said, “Trying to claim that his is exactly the same as the contents of inhaled or eaten cannabis again is just completely wrong.”

          I’m wasn’t trying to claim that a whole plant extract is the same as inhaled or injested. I was trying to demonstrate that it is different than synthetic THC (Marinol)

          I’m not clear why you think the clinical studies around Sativex don’t demonstrate efficacy for some indications or why you think no studies thus far show that Cannabis is an effective medicine for certain indications whether it’s an extract, synthetic, smoked, injested or vaporized.

          Do you at least agree that studies thus far warrant further studies or are you convinced that Cannabis has no medical value?

          • There are only a few studies pulished to my knowledge regarding Sativex all from the manufacturer. One was a safety study and one a larger clinical trial. A third was a longer follow up study on the long term use. It involved 30 patients over half of whom stopped taking it. And in short the long term safety for a drug having world wide distribution is based on the experience of 14 patient who took it for longer than four month. Half of people dont have any effect at all and those that do showed effects after four weeks. In most the result was not significant and in the biggest studies
            Here is a summary of the trial evidence from the Drug and Theraputics Bulletin
            But the review said the trial data on which the success of Sativex is based are limited.

            “Overall, the trials, on which the drug’s approval was based, did show a small difference in the numbers of patients in whom symptoms abated compared with those taking a dummy (placebo) preparation, it said.

            But in many of these studies, Sativex was used for relatively short periods – from six weeks to four months. And none included an active ingredient with which the effects of Sativex could be compared.

            Two of the trials included doses that exceeded the 12 daily sprays for which the preparation is licensed, it said, and one trial did not have sufficient numbers of participants to validate the results.

            A third trial, which was properly designed, and did have sufficient numbers of participants, did not find any significant difference in symptom relief between those who took Sativex and those who did not, it said. ”
            Sativex is being used in chronic pain trials. Does it have an effect on pain – yes but is it better or with an acceptable side effect profile? is it cost effective?

            With regard to cannabis been shown as an effective medicine – there are none. There are dozens of papers demonstrating its pharmacological effect. Most of these are lab studies or volunteer studies for example in small numbers of cannabis users showing decreased pain perception to laboratory controlled painful stimuli. It is often compared to placebo.The oft quoted AIDS related wasting – I mean is this seriously a significant problem? However again it asks questions like ” do you feel better?” and often compared to effectively nothing.Testimonials are not proof. Numbers are often tiny. Trials are often for a specific response and often for incredibly short periods of time. Many of the trials are produced in somewhat dubious origins.

            People using something as a medicine is not proof. Having a pharmacological action is not proof . “What about glaucoma?” Yes it reduces intraocular pressure but guess what people are stoned. Why not just use eye drops or surgery? it is safer and has miniscule long term side effects.

            it is not me that thinks there is no proof. The International Organization for Medicine , the American College of Psychiatrists, the British Medical Association to name a few and a separate House of Lords review in 2002 concluded that there is no future for whole cannabis as a medicine. it is not complicated. It is an addictive substance of abuse which intoxicates and has a huge range of side effects as well as the hazards of smoking which is the main method of consumption. Most methods of using it do not have a reliable, predictable amount of drug given. Trials are difficult as most people know what they are taking and often enjoy it and will say they feel better but have no subjective improvement. There are increasing hazards being recognised such as stroke , memory impairment structural brain changes, mental illness and IQ reduction. Quite simply if it had the side effects and risks without the high I doubt people would be campaigning or promoting its use as a medicine.

            Marinol may be licenced but it is simply not sued very often as the side effect profile is too great for it to be clinically relevant and is not superior to any other drug.

            The notion that cannabis has not been researched world wide because of American restrictions is simply nonsense . It has been studied for years all over the world but the same problems remain. it will never be a safe superior efficaous medicine with an acceptable side effect profile. It has simply been taken over in a Kings new clothes crusade by pro drug campaigners in response largely to the American political and legal system.
            It doesnt work and most medical people around the world are simply shaking their heads and wondering where this came from.
            If i was bed ridden with MS would I use it? Very probably. But for escapism – not because it was an effective medicine


          • warren says:

            what causes cancer ??. you don’t here that end of it either. Think gas and chemicals in our air, water and food may cause it. who owns these corps ?? now do you get it ??

          • Volteric says:

            Jesus, Michael, I’m wondering if your standards for “scientifically vetted” is even reasonable. Granted, I’m not advocating irresponsible behavior based on tenuous studies. It sincerely appears that there are specific indications where Cannabis is efficacious, safer and more cost effective. The medical profession thought so until it was politically prohibited. I have found zero record or evidence that Cannabis was prohibited because the science demonstrates that it was no longer medicine. Would you happen have any evidence along these lines?

          • They are not my standards – they are the standards for allowing drugs to be used . Being safe and effective are hardly extraordinary demands on a drug being used. Drugs that are introduced now are subject to testing and monitoring and are not infrequently withdrawn if shown to be harmful as their efficacy is demonstrated before they can be introduced. Computerisation and modern study and communication techniques are a little more advanced to allow medicines and plant extracts to be studies and if they are shown to be effective the information would be out there. Unless of course you subscribe to the massive conspiracy of every doctor/ hospital/ university /drug company who all hide the “truth” nonsense
            Mercury was used in medicine until the 1960s. it was a medicine. it was not withdrawn because it wasnt a medicine but because it was unsafe and more effective safer medications were available.

            Cannabis was used in the 1800’s largely as there were no injectable medicine and nothing much else. Chlorform is still an anaesthetic agent but it causes liver failure – rarely but much more commonly than modern agents so it isnt used.. Cocaine was frequently used until something better came along. They are all still medicines in the definition of they were used to treat medical conditions. However they are not as safe as other medicines have a range of side effects and in the case of cannabis is addictive and the amount of drug given cannot be quantified. However in answer to your question is there any evidence to show that they are no longer medicine then no clearly. However trying to use the criteria for use as being “once a medicine always a medicine” rather than the criteria of ” is it safe and effective or is there anything better?” is somewhat juvenile and hardly a safe basis for the mass introduction of legalised cannabis use under the guise of its a cancer curing panacea for every condition under the sun.
            Im afraid your thoughts that ” it sincerely appears” are simply that – an emotive unproven wishful thought.
            I would rather have a little evidence rather than some bloke (sincerely) thinks its really great.

          • Volteric says:


            I do recall I was the one pointing out the fallacy that Big Pharma has nothing to gain with Cannabis by showing that a Pharma company stands a lot to gain, namely GW Pharma.


            Think you’re being somewhat of a dick here. My argument was not “once a medicine always a medicine.” I reject that notion and don’t buy it. I asked you to provide evidence that the medical community deemed it not a medicine or any scientific reasons that is was unsafe, ineffective and/or cost prohibitive. You’ve offered none because it wasn’t prohibited for scientific reasons, but rather political reasons. If I’m wrong about that show me.


            Thanks for giving me the benefit of your doubt. I say “sincerely” not as wishful thinking but as a measured response to the 100 plus research papers on Cannabis I have read on PUBMED. What better place would you advise me in consulting in formulating my opinion?


            I agree that the dosing being highly variable is a problem, but I don’t agree the problem of addiction outweighs its risk/benefits. As far as I can tell the research shows it to be about as addictive as caffeine and far less toxic and addictive as Oxycontin. If Cannabis reduces pain enough that someone can either use less Oxy and none at all I’d say that the risk/benefits are in favor of Cannabis being tolerable side effects.

          • I know it might be difficult but try and keep the discussion cordial.

            Again you are asking for the impossible. There are no papers . It was banned in the US in around 1906 – Im not sure what scientific papers you would be expecting from that time to show it was an effective treatment for anything. Quite simply validated proof of pretty much anything and modern statistical methods of analysis did not exist to prove anything so what you are asking for is nonsense.
            When it was banned doctors were not up in arms nor did they demand it to be available as a medicine because it it wasnt used for anything useful. it had simply been around. Medicines were limited but it was hardly in demand for AIDS related wasting , HIV peripheral neuritis or post chemotherapy nausea.
            Morphine was also restricted but made available as it had an effect and was a useful drug. The same with cocaine. However they were both marketed as a treatment for virtually anything in order to be sold. It was then restricted to specific indications.
            Cannabis was primarily banned because of its abuse potential.

            Regarding the 100 Pubmed papers I see I stole your thunder and hence your grievance. Practically all the papers are – as previously stated – tiny numbers, not controlled , not randomised, not statistically significant, treating conditions of little relevance , show non superiority, unacceptable side effect profiles, lab studies, volunteer studies and will not be long term. This doesnt make them invalid studies per say and may give interesting conclusions to do further studies but are a million miles from extrapolating your own conclusions that you think smoking cannabis is more effective than oral opiates. Changing the goal posts in terms of what constitutes proof cannot be done to your own personal discretion.

            The short answer is – as both the International Organization of Medicine and the House of Lords in the UK in two reports over a decade looking at all papers and evidence available. each have stated there is nothing more than anecdotal evidence- ie none- in terms of proof that it is effective as a medicine.

            Here is a brief summary –
            MS – subjectively felt better – no actual improvement – no slowing of disease.
            Glaucoma – superseded/ clinical effect but utterly impractical in reality .
            Epilepsy – no proof.
            Cancer – some extracts kill cells others promote growth , some evidence of resistance , several clinical observations of an association with cancer. No clinical trials of cannabis or cannabis oil as an effective medicine. ( One trial in Spain in 10 patients with terminal gliomas with direct injection to proof safety – all patients died)
            Post op nausea -superseded/ side effect profile not tolerated.
            Pain- less effective than panadol and significantly more side effects.
            Spasticity – extract – responsive in 50% after four weeks and minimal change.
            HIV wasting – no statistically significant controlled evidence.

            Everything under the sun has been quoted to have an effect like Alzheimers – however in the real world giving dementing patients cannabis (cigarettes) might just have a few unintended consequences.

            In short it is ineffective as a medicine. Not liking the answer and demanding proof of papers of your own choosing still doesnt make it a medicine. Nor does it provide evidence that it is effective.

            Im glad you agree that dosing is a problem as the dose of a medicine is usually fundamental in most pharmacology. No other medicine would be treated or promoted with a “take as much as you need.”

            As for addiction caffeine has more addiction potential but lets get a little real here. You have completely missed out on the side effect profile. Most people didnt tolerate even extracts for the sedative and CNS effects. Caffeine is somewhat less problematic and doesnt usually render you unable to drive , function or likely to crash your car nor do many people seek treatment for their caffeine addiction, drop out of school or significantly interfere with their function. Not everyone with an illness wants to sit at home, is responsibility free and eat snacks.

            In terms of formulating your opinion I would read any of the significant reports above. Now either they are making things up as part of the global conspiracy or the evidence doesnt exist. Why not read them then decide?

          • Volteric says:

            You said, “Again you are asking for the impossible. There are no papers” Here is the transcript from the 1937 US Congress Hearings: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DL8GLDS Nowhere in it is Cannabis deemed as you say, “Cannabis was primarily banned because of its abuse potential.” It is my understanding that in addition to political reasons it fell out of favor due to inconsistent dosing. What support do YOU have for your claim since you also claim, “There are no papers?”

            You said, “This doesnt make them invalid studies per say and may give interesting conclusions to do further studies but are a million miles from extrapolating your own conclusions that you think smoking cannabis is more effective than oral opiates. Changing the goal posts in terms of what constitutes proof cannot be done to your own personal discretion.”

            1) I didn’t claim that cannabis is more effective than opiates. I said that if Cannabis reduces pain where a patient can forego opiates or reduce their intake that is a good.

            2) I agree with you that these studies show promise and my argument is that it warrants further well controlled human studies. Agree or disagree?

            You said, “In terms of formulating your opinion I would read any of the significant reports above. Now either they are making things up as part of the global conspiracy or the evidence doesnt exist. Why not read them then decide?

            That’s the challenge I am having. I’m not an expert. I am doing my due diligence by reading the peer reviewed research. For every report you throw up there are 2 more that conclude differently. Here is a list of clinical studies: http://www.cannabis-med.org/studies/study.php My problem with them is that there are to many studies on to many indications. I’d like to see more research done on one indication.

            Lastly, you said, “In short it is ineffective as a medicine.”

            This is the crux of our disagreement, I believe: I think the studies have demonstrated enough promise that warrant further studies. You seem to be saying 2 conflicting claims: 1) There are not enough studies to claim it medicine and 2) There are enough studies to conclude “…it is ineffective as a medicine.” Which is it?

          • warren says:

            Volteric, why bother with this dick, just move on and use your energy to a positive force to legalize it. I have proof, studies and living people to prove many cures and treatments, NON TOXIC like Pharmas. He will not research or follow up on his comments. It would take months for me to sit here and explain and provide info, I started 8 years ago when my dad was poisoned by a doctor with my dad consent because he was brainwashed. When I asked her about Cannabis for him I was told she cant talk about it, with a look of you know too !!!!
            He is whats wrong with aMErica today. it about freedom and human rights. you have proven your point enough.

          • warren says:

            aMEricans are brainwashed and stupid !! Cannabis is very useful. its been around 7000+ years and is very important to the body, as is other vegetables we eat. this is all BS… research ! not just one sources (not just from the us its about money here) or shut the fuck up. hemp was used for many product that had no drug use, why is it illegal ? all BS

          • warren says:

            People lets be honest for once!! in a REAL Free country we would not have to discuss this (cannabis is legal in North Korea if you think we are Free here). This is about control and greed = murder for profits. I am poverty today but made a great living until the few sold my industry out to Slave Labor China and funding a commi military, China. That is treason on me and others. Now the aMErican (all about Me not We anymore) people know this but still buy commi products, povertize an aMErican family and then BITCH about paying taxes for the poor while giving more loopholes to the Wealthy in control. We have a educational SYSTEM fake ! and a tv PROGRAMMING brainwashing,all run by the same small group of people that are wealthy from family money and because of swindling and payoffs, not because they are smart or special. An aMErican dies every 19 Minute do to PROPERLY prescribed and administered prescription drugs. For every 1 Oxycontin user there are 8 illegal users. who is the drug dealers in aMErica? Chemo therapy is marked up by Dr’s at a rate up to 10,000% for a poison not a cure and people give up homes and their life to be treated. I can go on and on of how fake we are as a nation.!!!!! murder for profits ( and stuff or junk that gives us a fake felling of being successful) its that simple !! we have lost our way but act like we are still great, not even close.
            PS for Ignorant and stupid people look up Endocannabanoid system and cannabis , we and most living beings have this system. We are lied to for profits. I know my dad would have lived longer or still be alive if he had cannabis instead of chemo ( i know it will work and cant afford ins after paying for 30 years). I will go to where I can treat myself with cannabis if I ever get cancer. People to blame : Govt, Banks, Ins Co., Medical Ind, Food Ind, Mass Media, infrastructure water, elec, services..all the same corps and career people running it.. trick and treat !! Idiot aMErica … fake wars also for oil profits and defense contracts and we are still losing. 911 staged, Boston staged. clear as blue skies to us few not brainwashed. Govt shut down lol just another Slap in our faces. We spend the most on research and make the least progress on cannabis cure, sounds controlled to me. cannabis in natural form is 5x more effective then synthetic, but we cant use the natural form F you its all BS !!!!

  13. Justin Nnoix says:

    one thing i am noticing is the insistence on only discussing smoking cannabis.

    problem is. MANY people despise smoking cannabis. Vaporizers are lovely devices and have gotten me away from smoking the one thing i have managed to find in this life that keeps my pain at bay. Of course my ten years of going to the doctor every month and dozens of pills tried might only be anecdote to some, it’s a fact for me. I use a high quality vaporizer that works on a hybrid conduct/convection method so as to avoid the nasty habit of initiating combustion with the sloppy cheaper conduction methods, as the material is directly on the heating source and not moving it will be much more prone to combustion, whereas with my vaporizer the weed is put inside of a glass tube and then placed in a heating chamber. most of the surface area is protected aside from the bottom but i’ve not once had an issue of combustion in two years of use. the nasty gross brown stuff has stopped being coughed up and my migraines are far far less frequent and intense. unfortunately for some people ingesting cannabis is the only thing keeping them from hanging themselves because their pain and agony is too intense. What people who are privileged enough to not have a lifetime of pure agony as a worthless cripple everyone despises and secretly wishes would die and stop draining their tax dollars is, that cannabis only helps pain for an hour or two. IMO, that is the biggest drawback, not wagging our fingers at people for smoking when the other option is a fuc$#ng bullet in the brain.
    lets not forget. we don’t even need to inhale cannabis, it can be cooked into food quite easily.

    • warren says:

      No one or Govt should tell you what works.It has been proven it does work for many conditions treatment and cure.. look up Endocabbinoid system. Have you tried cannabutter? you can make the it strong or weak and will last longer then smoking. screw the commis

      • Governments take advice from the relevant authorities. it has not been proven to work and you are simply making meaningless statements like ” cannabis is five times stronger than synthetic cannabis” –
        As for the “commies” im not sure if you noticed that the cold war ended a number of years ago and previous communist states are now some of the largest capitalist systems in the world.
        However as you are simply rambling there is not much point replying further

        • warren says:

          China is not a slave labor country? Really? factories? we don’t fund their military ? you must watch Fox News. were you in the military ? 10 years in a 3rd world country? how pathetic. Its for oil and defense contract profits. you know bush and dick will always fuck you. great job on 911.
          Relevant authorities ? you mean the 400 wealthiest aMEricans that have more wealth then the bottom 150 millions wealth combined. Plus the 535 scumbags that walked out,with pay, on us ? and the ones who caused it ,not me nor others.

          Yes Dr’s from other countries proved this with way less research funds. we are not smart nor care about life more then money anymore. did you research the Endocannabiniod system ? Almost all living beings have this system.

          You have been brainwashed. you are a dick !! what is Freedom to you? people can make their own decisions. don’t protect me from me its UN-american!!!
          This is how I talk bluntly, not sugar coated. I wont waste anymore of my time . I have researched this for years and talked with people involved legally. 19 states and counting. you will learn, move to Iraq its free now !

        • warren says:

          By the way my dad was poisoned several years ago with chemo. I asked the Dr about cannabis, She said “I CANT TALK ABOUT THAT !!” Not it is a hoax or does not work. lies for profits !!

    • The main issue is not the delivery method and I dont think it has been a major point of discussion. However the same facts remain. You cannot predict the dose , the lack of evidence still exists, the side effects still exist and the addiction potential still exists..
      Im afraid hysterical claims about chronic pain driving people to the brink of suicide only to be prevented by being continually intoxicated is simply emotive and unprovable.
      If I said that the only thing that helped my headache was a topless Swedish massage or being driven in an Ferrari that would not constitute evidence.
      The elephant in the room is the fact that just occasionally and bear with me people will claim to have conditions which are often undiagnosable and claim that the only thing that helps is their drug of choice by a convenient coincidence.
      There is quite a strong correlation between symptom resolution in litigation cases and resolution of that litigation.

      • Volteric says:

        I generally agree with your point here, but I think it raises something interesting in this discussion namely the medical worth of euphoria.

        When you say, “f I said that the only thing that helped my headache was a topless Swedish massage or being driven in an Ferrari that would not constitute evidence”

        It most certainly constitutes evidence. These activities helped your headache. What more evidence do *YOU* need to continue doing them? Now, you cannot claim that it is objectively true that topless massage and Ferrari’s cure headaches. That would need to be vetted out through proper controlled studies. If I told you that 1000’s of people claim that driving in Ferraris reduces headaches and because so we should look further into this claim to either confirm it or debunk it what is so disagreeable? I’d go further and say the evidence is far more powerful that Cannabis can be effective medicine over fast Ferraris.

        Let’s assume that Cannabis is not effective medicine and that all that really is going on is a “high” or euphoria that seems to alleviate or distract people from pain. Is there not utility in this? I think there is. In fact, allow me to divulge something personal in that I have wrestled with depression/sadness and I have been prescribed all kinds of legal drugs that passed FDA approval. Not one of them has been as effective as Cannabis and not one of them had better side effect profiles. So I experience some slight stokes of well being. Isn’t that the definition of anti-depressant? If it’s not promoting a sense of well being than I don’t know what to say. I’m not claiming that because it works for me that makes it so objectively. I am saying that there is medical utility to euphoria and I am saying that the studies we do have warrant further confirmation or debunking. I do NOT see this issue in the same way as other Complimentary and Alternative Medicines. I do think this issue is somewhere in the middle and that there has been enough research to warrant truly subjecting it to well controlled human studies.

  14. Anonymous says:

    lets have a little look at the 100 or so papers on a website called cannabis medicine.
    In 2012 – it has recorded 16 papers presumably world wide. Of these 9 were stated to use cannabis. In actual fact only seven used or refered to cannabis and the other three used sativex.
    Of the seven , three were individual case reports and one was a survery of self reporting which is not scientifically verifiable which leaves four studies. Three studies totalled 50 patients and all against placebo. 30 patients in the MS trial felt better but no improvement in function. 13 patients in IBS trial was an open stdy and were aware of what they were taking.
    The danger of even this website is that even assuming for selection bias as negative papers may have been excluded let alone that many negative papers are not published in the first place that an entire year of world wide evidence adds up to three papers, 50 patients and all placebo controlled. None with long term follow up. In contrast one of the studies for a thrombolytic agent in heart attacks looked at 100,000 people world wide. A study comparing different types of fluid in shock looked at 8000 in Austrailia and New Zealand.
    I hold the conclusions of the House of Lords report. Whole cannabis will never be a useful medicine. Studies are often bias either by the investigators or the patients as they know what they are taking. Smoked or even other means of cannabis consumption to not deliver a reliable known amount of drug which is essential. The side effects are disabling for most patients there is potential for abuse and for addiction. Many of the conditions it is being used for have no definitive means of diagnosis and therefor even more potential for occult drug use.
    Extracts of cannabis may have therapeutic use and are undergoing testing currently but to manufacture drugs safely and prove their effeciveness takes time.
    The repeated problem is that there are companies that want to produce effective drugs from extracts to make money which is fine if they work. However this if this happened then there would be many pro cannabis promoters who would simply use it to claim – as already happens with Sativex – that cannabis is exactly the same and therefor should be legalised . It is used in many places under the guise of “medical Cannabis” which the majority of doctors and those not involved in selling it simply dispute the very notion of. Most of this however is in the US where many people do not have health care and there are disproportionate drug penalties so smoking dried plants instead of a universal healthcare becomes commonplace and avoids arrest if a registered cannabis user.

    As with the crux of the argument the studies have demonstrated in very small studies that it has a pharmacological effect usually compared to placebo – repeatedly. There are new studies coming out all the time as there is enough billionaire funded promotion to develop a few papers. Pro pot users want to show it is effective for something. However if it was would this change their stance as surely it cant be a simple harmless recreational drug with no hazards or it is a medicine for a specific indication. There are endless claims regarding is cancer curing properties which dont exist and at least five papers pointing towards a causitive association.
    The references I have made are two concise works which review all the evidence – they are not a bias website picking bits they like and even then failing to come up with anything substantial. In short there are a number of studies regarding cannabis and it has not been shown to be effective as a medicine in any case. However the important issue is that it is not safe , not a guarenteed amount of drug delivered, have an unacceptable side effect profile, high abuse potential and the side effects of smoking for those that consume that way and a 10% incidence of dependence so in short it is a dead duck before you even start.
    I disagree therefor that cannabis smoked or otherwise will ever be a safe or effective medicine so I think human trials are pointless. With regard to the comments about cannabis I was being generous and general and should of course highlighted that it would be cannabis extracts as I have said earlier cannabis simply doesnt have the criteria to be a useful treatment.
    If we were talking about the effect that alcohol had on intraocular pressure or cancer cells it would simply appear quite rightly ridiculous the notion of giving a known substance of abuse without considering the long term or practical implications of using it as a “medicine”.
    With regard to cannabis and opiates then a mono aspect of opiate reduction is only one side. Claerly a reduction in potential harm from one drug would be good but not at the expense of drug interactions or other harms added in let alone abuse potential. In the real world would thing have a habit of not working out quite the way it is intended – the law of unintended consequences.
    If you want truly to educate yourself move to either of the reports I have mentioned. Publsihing on cannabis is trendy and topical but the strenght of the studies even getting to print is clearly lacking and not a single condition has been shown to be an effective treatment.

    As for the reasons for banning its sale the legilsation seems to go back as far as 1860’s

    Further regulation of cannabis followed in Massachusetts (1911), New York (1914), and Maine (1914). In New York, reform legislation began under the Towns-Boylan Act, which targeted all “habit-forming drugs”, restricted their sale, prohibited refills in order to prevent habituation, prohibited sale to people with a habit, and prohibited doctors who were themselves habituated from selling them.[13] Shortly after, several amendments were passed by the New York Board of Health, including adding cannabis to the list of habit-forming drugs.[14]

    A New York Times article noted on the cannabis amendment:

    The inclusion of Cannabis indica among the drugs to be sold only on prescription is common sense. Devotees of hashish are now hardly numerous here enough to count, but they are likely to increase as other narcotics become harder to obtain.

    So presumably it had a little to do with the abuse of the drug.

    • Volteric says:

      So the House Of Lords study of 1998? That is the study you find overwhelming convincing that Canbabidiol has no medical value? This study? http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/studies/hlords/15101.htm

      Have you read the Shaffer Commission, La Guardia Report, IOM report?

      I will read the House of Lords, if you’ll read those. They can be found in the site in the link above.

      • Anonymous says:

        I have looked at the other reports you mentioned but they seem primarily concerned with the reclassification of cannabis. The LaGuardia report was published in 1944. The Shaffer report was published in 1972. Both provide no evidence that cannabis is an effective medicine.
        The report in 1972 recommended dissuasion for cannabis use. In 1976 cannabis was legalised in California and there was an increased use and increase incidence of cannabis related road traffic accidents. Indeed the House of lords report recommended the reclassification of cannabis in the UK.

        House of lords -1999
        “However we recognise the dangers of smoking, and we do not envisage smoking being used to administer any medicine eventually licensed”

        “We recommend trials are carried out in MS and chronic pain”.

        Seven trials have been carried out in MS using either smoked cannabis or canabis extracts. Noen have shown any benefit other than the patients feeling better. There was not unsurprisingly an increased unsteadiness in balance and impaired psychomotor function.

        MS Society statement 2013

        Studies completed thus far have not provided convincing evidence that marijuana or its derivatives provide substantiated benefits for symptoms of MS.

        Si in short in the intervening 14 years since its publication trials have been carried out and no effect has been shown.

        Regarding the notion of the “medical cannabis user ” here is a summary of the evidence. Not unsurprisingly it is largely used as a substance of abuse under the guise of medcine to circumvent prosecution

        the average user of smoked “medical” marijuana has no chronic illness and is a
        white male in his mid thirties with a history of alcohol and drug abuse
        The vast majority of recommendations for marijuana as medicine are not based on medical necessity an accurate or complete diagnosis, or consideration of appropriate alternative treatments; and few of those seeking a recommendation for medical marijuana have cancer,HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, or multiple sclerosis
        in one state that permits the use of medical marijuana only 3% of users reported having cancer and less than 1% reported having HIV/AIDS as the basis for seeking marijuana.
        marijuana use has been found to be higher,particularly among juveniles,instates with medical marijuana laws;

        A past evaluation by several Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), concluded that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use. There are alternative FDA-approved medications in existence for treatment of many of the proposed uses of smoked marijuana.

        Health Council of the Netherlands

        In order to assess the efficacy of marijuana and cannabinoids, the committee studied literature published during the past 25 years. Based on those findings, the committee concluded that there was insufficient evidence to justify the medical use of marijuana.

        British Medical Association

        Research on the clinical indications for medical prescription of cannabinoids should be undertaken. For all indications listed below (antiemetics, pain, epilepsy, glaucoma, asthma, immunological effects, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and other spastic disorders) further research is required to establish suitable methods of administration, optimal dosage regimens, and routes of administration. A central registry should be kept of patients prescribed cannabinoids so that the effects can be followed up over the long term.

        National Institutes of Health

        For at least some potential indications, marijuana looks promising enough to recommend that new controlled studies be done. The indications in which varying levels of interest were expressed are the following: appetite stimulation and wasting, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, neurological and movement disorders, analgesia, [and] glaucoma. Until studies are done using scientifically acceptable clinical trial design and subjected to appropriate statistical analysis, the question concerning the therapeutic utility of marijuana will likely remain largely undetermined.

        THC and smoked marijuana are considerably less effective than currently available therapies to treat acute nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy,

        World Health Organization
        There is no evidence that cannabis is an effective medicine but research into cannabis extracts may yield potential novel therapies

        No trials with THC or smoked cannabis have ever been trialed against 5HT3 antagonists.
        This is probably because it would be unlikely to provide significant benefit over the current accepted combination therapy.

        in 2003 and 2007 the IOM reiterated its statement that the “evidence was largely unchanged and no new research has demonstrated the efficacy or safety of cannabis as a medicine”

        The IOM report concludes that cannabis only provides symptom relief – pain spasticity nausea weight gain. It simply has not been shown to be superior or effective. The only patients it was suggested for were terminally ill in whom longer term safety issues were not a concern. However this is a recommendation and not evidence and most of these statements are long dated and do not take into account better routine care or newer therapies.

        So in short there have been recommendations for trials . Many of these trials have been carried out. There is no evidence it is a superior safer of more effective medicine. The evidence of “medical cannabis use” is that is is simply covert drug use and the exposure to children is increased.
        Many of the new hazards of cannabis exposure and smoking were not recognised at the time many of these reports were written like the association on mental illness, growing evidence for cancer , incidence of heart attacks and strokes in younger patients, reduction in IQ.

        These along with many other hazards of potential abuse are not countered by the notion of home made symptom relief based on a pretense that this has nothing to do with people wanting to legalise drug use.

        While I tend to keep away from tabloid or home made websites this presents a good summary of evidence.


        • Volteric says:

          Michael, you said, “I hold the conclusions of the House of Lords report. Whole cannabis will never be a useful medicine” But the conclusions of the report was “…we have received enough anecdotal evidence to convince us that cannabis almost certainly does have genuine medical applications”

          Do you agree with that conclusion or not? It doesn’t sound like your conclusion is the same as theirs, namely you stated, “Whole cannabis will never be a useful medicine” The report said “We therefore recommend that clinical trials of cannabis…”

          Do you think of Cannabis like you do all CARM? Why or why not?

          • mdmurray says:

            Regarding “alternative” treatments – some work and some dont – i just think the term is misused. It is a bit like the term “near miss” – a near miss is a collision and the term should be near collision.
            Acupuncture works for certain conditions. it can be tested against sham acupuncture. It has a physiological basis and has been subjected to trials. Reki has not . Cannabis oil has not. Black salve pastes have not.

        • Volteric says:

          Also, I would appreciate if you’d address my point about “well being” as having medical utility or not?

          • mdmurray says:

            With regard to your individual opinion of whether getting high has any basis for the treatment of a medical condition then I would have to say it would be unproven. While the mind can have significant impact on disease outcome in general terms I think specifying an event in particular especially when connect with drug use which has significant associations with mental health issues and depression would seem an unlikely course of action and more than a “therapeutic drinking session 2 would have any more validity.
            As for the term “complimentary and alternative medicine” I’m with Richard Dawkins on this . It is a misleading and inaccurate term. Either a treatment works and is effective or it doesn’t . It is either “medicine” in the broadest sense or it is ineffective in which case it isn’t.
            Homeopathy has been subjected to countless trials of effectiveness and has been shown to be ineffective. It doenst work. It isn’t a complimentary therapy it is just a waste of time. Dr Edzard Ersnt has spent a huge amount of time researching and looking for any evidence as was in fact a practioner of “ complimentary therapies” previously. He also describes quite accurately the “cult of alternative medicine” – people who simply refuse regardless of science or evidence that what they support doesn’t work and there is no evidence. They usually aggressively attack anyone who disputes this and the term “ ignorant” is usually banded with regularity. There is often personal attacks and an attempt to discredit any evidence, discuss semantics rather than provide any evidence to back up their claims.
            Regarding the House of lords report, I have re read it again. It contains several I feel contradictory statements . It says there is no evidence to support that cannabis is…or is not a medicine” but on the basis of anecdotal evidence of its use trials should be carried out. Now either you can view the glass as half full ro half empty depending on your view point but there was no evidence that cannabis is an effective medicine. It then discussed the criteria by the Royal Pharmacological Society by which a substance would described as a medicine. Cannabis would seem to fall well out of this criteria. It did state that smoking was not likely to be licenced as no other effective drug in the world is smoked and that the future lay in extracts. It did offer some compassion to MS suffers claiming it helped but n the UK there have been virtually no prosecutions regarding cases of this type.
            Professor Pertwee who is the head of the international cannabis in medicine group presumably has been working along with everyone else in the field for the last 14 years and don’t seem to have come up with a great deal even if the rather selective cannabis science is anything to go by. There is of course at the moment a campaign to get negative results published which may put into context the extend of positive results. If in one year three trials totally fifty patients are positive there may be many more which are neutral or negative which people do not publish but this is of course speculative in degree of order other than the fact we know people don’t publish negative results.
            However in summary I have quoted sources from at least a dozen organisations which either don’t agree that cannabis is a medicine or who have looked at all information available and declared that cannabis has not been proven to be an effective medicine.
            In short there isn’t any.

          • Volteric says:

            You said, “As for the term “complimentary and alternative medicine” I’m with Richard Dawkins on this . It is a misleading and inaccurate term.”

            I agree and do NOT buy the claims of those that promote CAM. There is science-based medicine and everything else. I read and follow Science Based Medicine closely. My claim is that Cannabinoids appear to have therapeutic application on the Endocannibinoid System and that the studies so far warrant better designed and controlled studies to confirm or debunk this. You seem resolute and contradictory. On one hand you claim there is enough studies and associations to deem it ineffective medicine and yet also claim that the studies so far are not well designed and controlled. Make up your mind.

            For every study you produce I can offer you 2 more peer reviewed papers that contradict you. For every association claims Cannabis is not medicine. I can offer you medical associations that do see a role for Cannabis as medicine.

            You said, “Regarding the House of lords report, I have re read it again. It contains several I feel contradictory statements . It says there is no evidence to support that cannabis is…or is not a medicine” but on the basis of anecdotal evidence of its use trials should be carried out. Now either you can view the glass as half full ro half empty depending on your view point but there was no evidence that cannabis is an effective medicine”

            I just simply read and understood the report seconding what I’m claiming, namely further studies based on the weight of the anecdotes is warranted. And it’s not just anecdotes. There are hundreds of pre-clinical and animal studies seeking to understand how exogenous cannabinoids act as pharmacological agents. None of these prove it’s medicine, but it does garner the proper attention to subject Cannabis to unfettered and unbiased studies, which I believe you and I agree are needed. So what is our disagreement? Cannabis shows itself to be something more than most if not all other CAMs. If well-controlled, randomized studies prove that Cannabis is not medicine than I would change my opinion based on the evidence instantly, but I don’t think I’m hearing that from you. You seem to think that there is enough evidence based on poorly designed studies that it is NOT medicine NOR even potential medicine.

            Lastly, you said, “With regard to your individual opinion of whether getting high has any basis for the treatment of a medical condition then I would have to say it would be unproven.”

            It’s unproven that a sense of well-being is not useful to those in pain or those with depression? It most certainly is “proven” to those individuals that identify a reduction in pain, a distraction from pain or a more noticeable and desirable feeling of well being over pain and/or depression. If you mean it is unproven objectively, I’ve been agreeing with that point from the outset. So I’m not seeing how you are actually addressing my point at all. Now if you are saying that, “Yes, I can see how euphoria has medical utility but my concern is that it may lend itself to addiction/dependency/etc and I would agree that would be a concern, but we clearly have that problem with legal prescription painkillers now. And while painkillers can and do kill 19 people a day, Cannabis, eaten, smoked, vaporized or in pill form has killed NOBODY. So while I am not proclaiming that Cannabis is a pharmaceutical panacea I am stating that in some cases it is the safer alternative.

      • Crude marijuana has been rejected for medicinal use by many prominent national health organizations, including the American Medical Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, American Glaucoma Society, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Cancer Society, National Eye Institute, National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke and most importantly the Federal Food and Drug Administration

    • Volteric says:

      So the House of Lords report concludes similarly as I do…


      Medical use of cannabis: recommendations

      8.1 We recognise that, in all the evidence we have received, there is not enough rigorous scientific evidence to prove conclusively that cannabis itself has, or indeed has not, medical value of any kind.

      8.2 Nevertheless we have received enough anecdotal evidence (see above, paragraphs 5.4, 20-22, 27-30) to convince us that cannabis almost certainly does have genuine medical applications, especially in treating the painful muscular spasms and other symptoms of MS and in the control of other forms of pain.

      8.3 We therefore recommend that clinical trials of cannabis for the treatment of MS and chronic pain should be mounted as a matter of urgency. We warmly welcome the fact that, in the course of our inquiry, both Dr Geoffrey Guy of GW Pharmaceuticals, and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s working group under Sir William Asscher, have set off down this route (paragraphs 5.44-48). We welcome the Asscher group’s intention to compare the effects of a standardised preparation of natural cannabis with those of the one synthetic cannabinoid already available, dronabinol, on the basis of the same dose level of THC.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I am not sure if you are understanding this fully. There is a significant difference between cannabis and cannabis extracts. They are not the same. Therefore they are two separate issues. You seem to be claiming that there is evidence that raw cannabis is a useful medicine when virtually every organisation rejects this, the administration is inadequate and uncontrolled and the vast majority of users have no specified need and have a history of drug abuse.
    Even the relatively liberal Californian Medical Society statement does not make any claims to the evidence that raw cannabis is a useful or proven drug.

    “Therefore, CSAM views “medical marijuana” as a flawed concept
    for multiple reasons.
    1. Administering any medication via drawing hot smoke into the lungs is inherently unhealthy
    2. While use of vaporizers, sprays and tinctures solve
    problems inherent in smoking, treatment of illness
    without standardized dose or content of the medication remain a safety issue
    3. If the public wants to legalize marijuana, there is no reason to force physicians to be gatekeepers in a manner that enables liberal access to marijuana but generally fails to uphold accepted standards of practice for
    Recommending a potentially addicting medication/ drug.”

    If you have other examples of other groups who feel that medical cannabis is a proven efficient safe treatment I would love to see it.
    It would exclude however virtually every major medical organisation, the World Health Organisation and several governments.

    It is not a question of the numbers it is a question of who they are , who they represent and the clout they carry. Made up internet organisations like the American medical cannabis association only exist in cyberspace but if you show an organisation larger than the American medical association or the WHO that has prove it works I look forward to it.

    I will copy the statement above

    “Crude marijuana has been rejected for medicinal use by many prominent national health organizations, including the American Medical Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, American Glaucoma Society, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Cancer Society, National Eye Institute, National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke and most importantly the Federal Food and Drug Administration”

    Regarding whole cannabis as a medicine. You seem to want it to be proven to be an effective medicine. As far as I can see it would only be used for symptomatic relief for spasticity, pain, glaucoma nausea and appetite stimulation.
    Well designed clinical trials for cannabis in MS has been carried out and it had no effect. Several times. It is ineffective. There is a limit to the number of times the same study can be repeated before accepting the results.
    The MS society says it doesn’t work. Presumably this is not because they want people to suffer and not because they have hidden results.
    Glaucoma – it is rejected by the Glaucoma association. Why? Because it simply is not practical to substitute smoking cannabis four hourly with the hazards and side effects compared to twice daily drops or once off surgery.

    Nausea and vomiting. Trials have been shown it is better than placebo. Repeatedly. However in these trials the side effects (psychomotor and sedative predominantly) made it unpleasant made it unacceptable for the majority of patients. Even if it was compared to newer drugs or newer combination of drugs the side effects of whole cannabis don’t go away. This is not to do with bias but a reality check. There is also the potential of abuse or ” on going nausea”. People will claim it is the only thing that helps their symptoms which you cant prove in a particular demographic group. it is also extremely hard to inject because of its lipid solubility. This means that it would either have to be smoked or vaporised or taken orally. It starts from a difficult place form the off as it cannot be injected and therefore the potential onset of action is going to be slower

    HIV wasting. This is exceptionally rare in clinical practice and with the advent of potent anti viral therapy largely unrequired. Whole cannabis is immunosuppressant and concern was raised regarding the use of an immunosuppressant drug in immunosuppressed patients. It did increase appetite but no more than alternatives.

    Pain. It is a mild pain killer. This has been proven repeatedly. it is well established. it is not useful for post operative pain. It is not strong enough to be an opiate alternative. It doesn’t last long enough and has a range of side effects but in short in the majority of cases simply doesn’t work well enough .

    Again I would refer to the criteria of the Royal Pharmacological Society as to what makes a medicine. It is not simply people want it to be in spite of evidence or it has pharmacological effects
    It needs to be proven to be effective, it needs to be safe, it needs long term safety and a known quantity of the drug needs to be administered at a time. You admission that this is a problem with dosing is incredibly underwhelming when it is absolutely crucial to the point of fact.

    It is a little like saying digoxin at 125 microg in sinus rhythm in stable heart failure reduces admission rates in heart failure and taking that to mean that its a useful medicine , comes from fox gloves flowers so people should be able to eat as many fox gloves if they want. Crude cannabis is a huge range of variable compounds and quantities depending on how long it is inhaled or

    The papers you have produced so far are from the one website. In one year you are looking at less than one “study” per continent and fifty people. As for showing it doesn’t work I’m not sure that would be the intention as you would not get ethical approval to carry out a study with the aim to prove something doesn’t work. Therefore studies can only be carried out not to discredit but to prove – if it did not prove what you wanted then it would be unlikely you would publish.

    Cannabis and cannabinoids are studies all over the world in an unfettered fashion. It is a myth to believe that the US is the only country in the world or indeed that research there is significantly impeded. Even if it was there are plenty of other places for research to be conducted and so far it has been pretty empty handed. Enough to convince most major organisations – obviously other than the ones you will provide- that raw cannabis is not a useful medicine.
    Even beyond that if it were the problems still remain of uncertain dosing no long term safety. a huge range of side effects , addiction and abuse. The case again detailed earlier is that over 95% of medical cannabis users have no proven medical condition which justifies its use and are a 30 year old white male with a history of drug abuse. This is not the demographic of a disease entity – this is a social differentiation. And legalising use even for “medical ” reasons increases exposure to children. These are all realities – that is proven facts.

    As for deaths from cannabis you are quite wrong. In the House of Lords report there were three deaths recorded. However another article highlighted the problems with proving death from cannabis. If a patient dies from a heart rhythm disturbance there will be no physical signs and the exact cause would be a convincing estimate. In the recent study of stroke in patients under forty associated with cannabis abuse – a relatively recently described clinical condition- if the patient died would that be from cannabis causing the stroke or just the stroke?

    If they crash their car or commit suicide or become unconscious and aspirate or are killed by someone psychotic from cannabis or their house is set on fire does this still mean that cannabis has killed “nobody”? There is increasing evidence and none to the contrary that cannabis is carcinogenic. If someone dies of cancer is it cannabis related cancer in the same way as it is a smoking related cancer?

    Opiates are legally prescribed – the side effects and dangers were also down played by the manufacturers and promoted through advertising. The result is a disaster in North America. However it would be likely the same would apply to underplaying of risks by any promotion as indeed does happen by pro legislation organisations.
    Trying to extrapolate that it is “safe” and “less harmful” is not possible – it cannot be both. It is addictive, immunosuppressant, intoxicating, addictive ,brain changing, associated with mental illness, infertility and chronic lung disease. Hardly harmless and is simply wishful thinking to think people will swop one addictive harmful drug for another when many people abuse both.

    Your opinion that “cannabis shows itself to be something more than other Cams..” is again opinion. Most other “CAMS” are usually harmless if not utterly ineffective. There are virtually none which are smoked or are addictive or shown to cause significant health problems. A few have been demonstrated to work like massage for certain conditions and acupuncture.
    So you are right to say it is different but utterly wrong to suggest it is better – if it was better it could have proven effectiveness and have minimal risks – it has neither.

    As for the clinical relevance of “euphoria” this is simply your own opinionated nonsense. You seem to think that the only way to happiness is by encouraging drug use is quite simply idiotic based on nothing more than your own ramblings. The fact that ” you are stating…” based on what? I have stated facts not unsubstantiated opinion. Try starting with some objective aims. People come off medication. They have less illness. They live longer. Again another fact is that it is known that regular cannabis users live shorter lives. Hardly a benefit of a useful medicine.

    As far as I am aware I have not said anything about medicines derived from cannabis in general terms.
    I have commented that Sativex is of limited effectiveness and that most studies were unconvincing and long term follow up was based on 14 patients. The synthetic cannabis derivatives are not much use clinically because of the side effects and lack of superiority to other drugs.
    As the system was only discovered a few years ago and much more remains to be investigated obviously there may be treatments that arise from such research. No one I know is against proper effective medicine regardless of the source of the drug. Im sure gila monster saliva doesn’t appeal to most people but it is a source of medicine. However pre clinical trials and animal studies cannot be extrapolated to “cannabis is a useful proven medicine because one extract in rat changes intracellular ribsome synthesis by 20%”

    But again I look forward to the groups who can demonstrate raw cannabis is a useful drug and papers which demonstrate this.

    • Volteric says:

      Comes Now Epidiolex™ (FDA approves IND studies of CBD)

      By Fred Gardner October 22, 2013

      In response to urgent need expressed by parents of children with intractable epilepsy, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is allowing Investigational New Drug studies of purified CBD (cannabidiol) as an anti-seizure medication. The “new drug” is being provided to physician-investigators by GW Pharmaceuticals, which has named its CBD product “Epidiolex™.”

      To date FDA has approved intermediate-sized INDs sponsored by Orrin Devinsky, MD, at the NYU School of Medicine, and Roberta Cilio, MD, PhD, at UCSF —each set up to follow 25 patients using Epidiolex™ as a treatment for pediatric epilepsy— plus two individual INDs by Cilio. More INDs await FDA approval. [Style note: the jargon calls for dropping the word “study” after IND, just as the word “proposal” gets dropped when researchers speak of “writing a grant.”] Devinsky and Cilio both made presentations at a conference on “Cannabidiols: potential use in epilepsy and other neurological disorders,” held at NYU October 4.

      GW chairman Geoffrey Guy, MD, says, “In the coming months, if the FDA is comfortable about how things are going, there will be a number of senior epileptologists in major university centers throughout the U.S., each treating a couple of dozen patients with various epilepsies.”

      Each physician-sponsored, intermediate-sized IND can enroll additional patients, with FDA approval. Given the level of need and the efficiency of the concerned parents’ network, it’s possible that in the year ahead, hundreds of children with various severe forms of epilepsy will be enrolled in INDs and being treated with GW’s Epidiolex™.

      GW is the British company that got government approval in 1998 to develop cannabis-based plant extracts. Their flagship product is Sativex, a highly defined extract containing an approximately 50-50 mix of CBD and THC that has been approved by regulators in the UK and more than 20 other countries for treating pain and spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis. Unlike Sativex, which is formulated for spraying under the tongue, Epidiolex™ is a viscous liquid that comes in a bottle with a syringe dropper. It consists of more than 98 percent CBD, trace quantities of some other cannabinoids, and zero THC. “Our definition of pure,” says Guy, “is no THC.” The company will provide two strengths to the physician-investigators: 25 milligrams per milliliter, and 100mg/ml.

      In recent years, GW tested several CBD formulations in animals and provided small amounts to investigators who had initiated preclinical studies in various countries. Ben Whalley and colleagues at the Center for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics, University of Reading, using mouse models of epilepsy, established safety and showed that CBD and another cannabinoid, CBDV, exert anti-seizure and anti-inflammatory effects. This research came to the attention of families in the US who had loved ones with epilepsy.

      In late 2012 some American parents began contacting GW in hopes of obtaining CBD. They asked if GW could provide CBD to the physicians treating their children under the FDA’s “Expanded Access” IND program. GW, which had been working closely with the FDA in connection with Sativex, looked into the IND option and decided it was practical.

      “Expanded Access”

      The FDA’s informal so-called “compassionate” IND program that made federally-grown cannabis available to a fortunate few in the late 1970s and early ‘80s had been given structure in 1997 when Congress passed the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act. The FDA then developed regulations covering IND studies for unapproved drugs. These were revised over the years, and in August 2009 FDA issued its “final rule” on “Expanded Access to Investigational Drugs for Treatment Use.” The summary states:

      “Under the final rule, expanded access to investigational drugs for treatment use is available to individual patients, including emergencies; intermediate-size patient populations; and larger populations under a treatment protocol or treatment investigational new drug application (IND). The final rule is intended to improve access to investigational drugs for patients with serious or immediately life-threatening diseases or conditions who lack other therapeutic options and who may benefit from such therapies.”

      The regulations spell out criteria for INDs. The would-be investigator must submit, among other things:

      “Chemistry, manufacturing, and controls information adequate to ensure proper identification, quality, purity, and strength of the investigational drug.”

      In other words, FDA wants to see a highly standardized, tested, Good-Manufacturing-Practices medication —which Epidiolex™ is. The herb provided by NIDA to the four surviving beneficiaries of the old informal program would not be approved as a treatment under the current FDA regs.

      Another IND requirement is:

      “Pharmacology and toxicology information adequate to conclude that the drug is reasonably safe at the dose and duration proposed for the treatment use.”

      When GW was approached by the parents of epilepsy patients in late 2012, the company already possessed extensive preclinical data —five-and-a-half years’ worth— establishing the safety of its CBD product, as well as information the FDA would require concerning its chemistry, manufacturing, controls, pharmacology, and toxicology. The company agreed to provide purified CBD and the requisite data for a single patient IND.

      Soon after the first IND got underway, an extremely favorable response was reported. Your correspondent asked about the patient’s age and gender, the level of seizure reduction, and the name of the doctor providing treatment. Guy responded:

      “All these patients remain anonymous and it will be the responsibility of the physician to maintain confidentiality. As a general point, all treatments are and will be for those children and some adults who remain drug-resistant despite having tried a range of standard anti-epilepsy medications. Such drug resistance may be lack of seizure control or intolerable side effects or a combination of both. The frequency of seizures will range from many tens a day to a few per week. Therefore if benefit is to be noted it becomes apparent with days or weeks.

      “One has to be mindful that in such patients there is often an initial ‘honeymoon effect’ when changing to any new drug. What the physicians will want to see is a sustained response over many months, perhaps with withdrawal of other anti-epileptic medicines —at which time it would not be unreasonable to expect to see case reports appearing in the medical literature.”

      In early 2013 GW and NYU School of Medicine arranged a meeting in New York of epilepsy specialists interested in conducting clinical research with purified CBD in the United States. Encouraged by the response to CBD treatment by the initial patient, these doctors wanted to sponsor INDs at their various institutions. “We agreed to provide them with CBD so that they could treat their most needy cases,” says Guy.

      The term “epilepsy” applies to more than 40 different seizure disorders, some with specific causes, others more general. Guy expects the physician-sponsored INDs to yield “understanding and experience in what cannabidiol does in these different children groups, what benefit we can see, and how the results can best be measured.”

      The primary purpose of a physician-sponsored IND is treatment of the patient, not research regarding effectiveness. But if investigators see signals of effectiveness —say, reduced seizures in a number of patients— it might expedite FDA approval of a “Treatment IND” by GW, otherwise known as a phase 3 clinical trial.

      Will doctors throughout the U.S. be called on to submit INDs on behalf of pediatric epilepsy patients whose families want access to Epidiolex™? Interested doctors should direct inquiries to GW’s Associate Medical Director at medicaldirector@gwpharm.com. The manufacturer has an obvious interest in confirming the doctor’s expertise and assuring that patients treated with Epidiolex will be properly selected and monitored. If the would-be investigator has an affiliation with a medical center, he or she would have to get the approval of an Institutional Review. Then s/he would need to get DEA and the corresponding state agency to license their “site” (office) for dispensing of Epidiolex. They would also need to get an import license.

      O’Shaughnessy’s asked Guy why GW hadn’t publicized the anti-seizure effects of CBD back in January, when the initial patient responded so favorably —leaving it to Sanjay Gupta, MD, to break the news in August. Guy replied,

      “We’re in the business of developing medicines, not headlines. If we had made a big splash about the initial findings, someone in the scientific community would ask, ‘What have you got?’ And we’d say, ‘Well, we’ve got one or two children.’ That wouldn’t be enough evidence to impress them.

      “We wanted to make sure that the pediatric epileptologists were comfortable with the approach being taken and that the FDA would go with it. We’ve been very busy in the US this past year, but we’ve kept our heads down. In the months ahead you’ll see a manifestation of all that work. Then it’s a matter over the next year or two of generating sufficient data of appropriate quality and scope to be able to move towards getting approval.”

      Guy expects the physician-sponsored INDs to yield “understanding and experience in what cannabidiol does in these different children groups, what benefit we can see, and how the results can best be measured.”

      According to Guy, CBD is exerting “not just an anti-seizure effect. It’s anti-inflammatory, neuro-modulatory, and has been shown in animals to counter neonatal hypoxic ischemia [oxygen starvation during delivery] —an important problem you see after seizures in these children.

      ‘You’ve got an underlying inflammatory process which is massively exaggerated by excitotoxcity after each seizure, which is setting up the next seizure in a way. It’s not enough to treat just the seizures without treating the underlying inflammatory encephalitis and the hypoxic ischemia and the damage to neuroplasticity. Children’s brains are very plastic and can usually work around issues, but if you’re having continuing seizures and continuing inflammation, that ability will be dampened. We’re hoping from the preclinical work that cannabidiol will address a number of these different issues, not just one.”

      If CBD turns out to be merely equal to conventional medications prescribed for epilepsy (rather than more effective), it may well be superior in terms of side effects. There is evidence that conventional anti-consulvants are detrimental to cognition and longterm development, whereas CBD is likely to prove benign.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is just terrible tabloid propaganda . I have quoted a more professional and intelligent assessment below.

        “When patients, children or otherwise, are faced with bad situations and no good treatment they, or their parents, look ‘out of the box’ to find one,” said David M. Labiner, MD, a neurologist with the University of Arizona and director of the Arizona Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, in Tucson.

        “Medical marijuana is one of those things being utilized now,” he told Medscape Medical News.
        Dr. David M. Labiner

        He added, however, that despite the anecdotal reports, the bigger picture in terms of clinical evidence of efficacy, or, importantly, long-term safety on such treatments is lackluster at best. “There is limited high-quality evidence about the efficacy and virtually no data about the safety of using marijuana or cannabinoids,” he said.

        Medical marijuana is currently legal in 18 states and the District of Columbia, and in some states the approval explicitly includes treatment for epilepsy.

        But a 2012 Cochrane review of all published randomized controlled trials involving the treatment of marijuana or one of marijuana’s constituents in people with epilepsy concluded that “no reliable conclusions can be drawn at present regarding the efficacy of cannabinoids as a treatment for epilepsy.

        This is simply a terrible tabloid piece of propganda by a pro legislating website . Look for a little minute objectively at the last statement

        “If CBD turns out to be merely equal to conventional medications prescribed for epilepsy (rather than more effective), it may well be superior in terms of side effects. There is evidence that conventional anti-consulvants are detrimental to cognition and longterm development, whereas CBD is likely to prove benign.”

        So in reality a Cochrane review of all the evidence so far states that there is essentially no evidence it works at the moment. This is a drug which hasnt even been trialled yet and already these propagandists are proclaiming by going from ” If” to “may well” to “likely to prove benign”
        Based on what??? These are simply a collection of statements based on a drug being effective , being approved then beingused for twenty years or so and comparisons made with other conventional treatments to show conclusively that it is more effective and safer.
        The flip side is that it ” may not ” work,, may be ” ineffective” and “may” cause impairment to the developing brain

        Here is a statement from the American Academy of Paediatrics

        “Even the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) favors the pursuit of a better understanding of the potential benefits of medical marijuana, but, with the same concerns of operating in an unregulated environment in mind, the academy opposes laws legalizing medical marijuana.

        “The AAP strongly supports more cannabinoid research to better understand both how these substances can be used therapeutically as well as their potential side effects — which we may well be underestimating,” said Sharon Levy, MD, MPH, director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Children’s Hospital Boston and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts.
        Dr. Sharon Levy

        “[But] the AAP does not support ‘medical marijuana’ laws as they circumvent regulations put in place to protect patients, and children are a particularly vulnerable population,” Dr. Levy told Medscape Medical News.

        While noting that the reports on children finding seizure control from cannabinoids are “quite compelling,” Dr. Levy emphasized that medical marijuana as a policy misleads the public on the level of research behind the endorsement.

        “It implies, incorrectly, that marijuana is an established medication and opens the doors to people and parents ‘experimenting’ with it for all kinds of conditions.”

        And when it comes to experimenting with drugs to be used particularly on children, the practice is best left to experts in highly controlled conditions, she added.

        “I fully support the parents who are trying to advocate for something they believe will be helpful for their children. But let’s do it the right way — the same way we develop all other medications. We are bound to make mistakes when we try and take short cuts.”

        I dont think anyone is against the development of effective medicines. Most medical organizations who favour ” medical cannabis”their statements are all approaching 20 years old and mainly they support the investigation of potential therapies while acknowledging the shortcomings as in the American Association of Physicians that it has a short effect, a narrow therapeutic index, a high potential for abuse and addiction and a very unacceptable side effect profile and should be used for a limited number of specified conditions under strict control. And this is a group in “favour ” of it…..

        • Volteric says:

          The FDA is approving a study around pure CBD and epilepsy because apparently enough andecdotal evidence warrants taking a closer look.

          My position is no different and hasn’t changed, namely there are good grounds for better well designed, controlled studies with humans. Is there anything in that sentence you disagree with?

          • Eric Hall says:

            I believe that is what I was advocating as well. I don’t really get why some people don’t see that.

          • Volteric says:

            Hi Eric, Then we are agreed!

            What I’m not getting is whether Micheal is saying 1) there are enough studies to proclaim boldly that Cannabis is NOT medicine or that 2) NOT enough well designed human studies exist to say one way or another. Which is it? In any case, my position remains the same, namely that there is enough pre-clinical, animal and human research that show enough promise that further well controlled studies are warranted. Notice I am saying that the science needs to vet out whether Cannabis is medicine not politics. I think the current science shows promise but that further research is needed. Not sure what is disagreeable with this?

          • Anonymous says:

            The point is the fact it is not clear what you are advocating. Studies of extracts of cannabis are on going. This is not in dispute. There are around 350 studies into cannabis extracts in the US registered at the moment, This happens with little impediment. So far there has been virtually nothing on cannabis extracts shown to be of tested clinical relevance. However as there are hundreds of potential applications test on extracts are on going. There is little intelligent opposition to the search for real medicines.
            There are two synthetic cannabinoid analogues which are clinically unimportant and generally non superior and little used. Studies may in time show useful extracts for certain clinical applications. Sativex is of little clinical use, with only 30% of patients showing a minimal response and 14 patients being the total for long term follow up safety.

            However repeatedly you either intentionally or because you dont understand that this is NOT the same as whole cannabis.

            Whole cannabis is a separate issue. In the report in 1998 the House of Lords decreed that there was neither evidence for or against it being a medicine. and trials should take place. Trials in the intervening 15 years have taken place. They have proven that cannabis is not a useful medication for MS, post operative nausea, spasticity , glaucoma and post operative pain. Is there anything in this that you do not agree with?

            Virtually every major medical institution disputes the notion of ” medical” cannabis as it has no proven benefit and has not undergone the same standards of safety and proof that other medicines require. Is there anything that you disagree with there?

            The Australian government , Dutch government, World health Organization, Institute of Medicine, British Medical Association and the Cochrane Group to name a few have reviewed all evidence for cannabis and found there is no evidence that it is a useful ,safe or superior medicine,

            However the main point is that ” medical” cannabis is allowed in twenty states in the US – one with a specific indication for epilepsy – and a number of other countries around the world – as a medicine. NOT as a potential therapy but as a treatment now.

            The fact is this is patently wrong. It should not be sold as a treatment when there is no proof it works and while half wits jibber on about potential treatments.

            The majority of “medical” cannabis users are 30 – 40 year old white males with a history of drug abuse and no indication for using it.Do you dispute this fact?

            In the last fifteen years mor eis known about the harms in terms of structural brain damage, development of psychological and psychaitric illness, chronic lung disease , infertility, reduction in IQ, memory impairment and increasing evidence of its cancer causing potential.

            On the basis of this to advocate whole cannabis as a medicine is patently stupid and would not be acceptable if it were any other medicine. Do you agree with this statement?

            If the drug in question was alcohol and it was going to have to be taken on a four hourly basis, had a narrow therapeutic index, an addiction potential a range of unacceptable side effects for working or performance, caused cancer , brain changes and memory loss with no evidence for its effectiveness people would simply laugh and reject it as a treatment. Unless of course they were alcohol abusers and wanted an excuse to abuse it more easily.

            This is the rational behind this patently stupid false argument.

  16. jackj says:

    I stopped reading this article when you used the word “POT” because you already made up your mind.

    • Eric Hall says:

      Why not evaluate the evidence presented instead of using a preconceived notion of my mind being made up.

      In fact, can you tell me what my mind is settled on?

      • gymgoki says:

        Dear Mr. Eric “magical herb hater” Hall,
        Your dismissive word “Pot” deeply offends me. From here on please use one of the following:
        * Weed
        * Wacky Tobacky
        * Reefer
        * Grass
        * Dope
        * Ganja
        * Mary Jane
        * Hash
        * Herb
        * Aunt Mary
        * Skunk
        * Boom
        * Chronic
        * Cheeba
        * Blunt
        * Ashes
        * Atshitshi
        * Baby Bhang
        * Bammy
        * Blanket
        * Bo-Bo
        * Bobo Bush
        * Bomber
        * Boom
        * Broccoli
        * Cripple
        * Dagga
        * Dinkie Dow
        * Ding
        * Dona Juana (or Juanita)
        * Flower, Flower Tops
        * Ganja
        * Gasper
        * Giggle Smoke
        * Good Giggles
        * Good Butt
        * Hot Stick
        * Jay
        * Jolly Green
        * Joy Smoke, Joy Stick
        * Roach

    • I stopped reading your comment when you said “I stopped reading this article when” because you already made up your mind.

  17. Eric Hall says:

    There have been a few comments lately of people trying to lead specifically to places to buy the oil . I just want to note I will not post those. It shouldn’t be hard to find them if you really want to find those resources, but I am not going to allow promotion of outright sales on the blog. We can discuss my post and the comments – and as always I do not censor dissenting takes on what I found. But I will not post promotional material.

  18. I never knew cannabis oil was indeed wonderful and very effective in treating cancer’ if not for the government and their so called rules in regulating cannabis my Dad would have still been alive. thanks to the newly policy for legalizing cannabis in my state i would have still lost my son to kidney cancer, i was really touched and surprised when i watch lots of documentary on how cannabis oil had helped lot of people whom their family members never thought they could make it after undergoing several ”Chemo” from the dept of my heart i must say a word of appreciation to Mr. Rick Simpson for the timely intervention in the life of my son suffering from Kidney Cancer. as i am writing this testimony on this Blog my Son is so strong and healthy in spite he hasn’t completed the total Dosage’ for your cannabis and medical consultation try and get in touched with him through his email: (ricksimpsonoil02@gmail.com ) so he can enlightened you more.

  19. Waylon says:

    If everyone who commented on here, especially “Anonymous” were to be intellectually honest, the default answer to whether cannabis shows medical potential, would be, inconclusive. There have not been enough people studied, for a long enough period of time, to really determine the effectiveness of cannabis and its compounds, or what the real risks are. When I see people claim that cannabis use is unsafe, I think they are ignoring the gradient of risks involved with taking any drugs, whether legal or not. In terms of lethal dosage, cannabis in its cured, flower form, would be considered very safe, if you look at how much a person would have to consume to make it lethal. What is the lethal dosage for aspirin? For me, weighing 170 lbs, it’s about 31 grams. What is the lethal dosage of cannabis? For me, it would be about 50 lbs, or about 250,000 times a normal dose. A lethal dose of cannabis flowers whether smoked or eaten would be physically unattainable.

    Has a causal relationship been established between cannabis use and getting cancer? No, not like how we understand tobacco use’s causal relationship with cancer. Has a causal relationship been established between strokes and cannabis? No, there has not. Has cannabis been proven to cause damage to internal organs when ingested regularly? No. When people claim cannabis causes brain damage, can they prove what part of the brain is damaged and in what way? It doesn’t seem so. I’ve read about the changes that may occur in the orbitofrontal cortex and an increase in connectivity between different parts of the brain, but I’ve looked and seen nothing about actual damage done to the brain. Just changes. And those changes aren’t even understood fully and don’t seem to indicate damage. http://www.brainhealth.utdallas.edu/blog_page/study-shows-marijuanas-long-term-effects-on-the-brain
    It seems to me that the apparent risks of cannabis use are using it before the brain fully develops, but even then, the risks are unknown or inconclusive, just like most research seems to conclude. To me, if one is to claim a risk of using a drug, they should have substantial evidence to support that claim.

    One point that I have not seen anyone talk about yet, is the diversity of strains of cannabis. When one group of researchers in one country are studying their marijuana, and other groups study theirs, they aren’t studying the same plant. Marijuana isn’t just one single uniform plant with a fixed set of characteristics. It’s a very diverse species of plant, with a wide variety of appearances, colors, bud growth patterns, cannabinoid compositions and ratios, and potencies. I can only imagine what researchers are working with. If what they are doing their research with isn’t good quality or is of lower concentrations of cannabinoids, one can’t rightfully claim to have objective conclusions about the entirety of the species and it’s effects. I feel it’s misleading to come to conclusions about the effects of marijuana, when only a few varieties are even being tested. Some strains are very effective at treating nausea, while others are very effective at elevating mood and lower anxiety. Some strains increase anxiety, some cause bad dry mouth, some help you sleep, some help with pain, while others don’t. To get any kind of real research done on the effects of marijuana on humans, whether it’s assessing risks, or determining health benefits, we need to understand the what makes these strains so different from one another. A lot of those differences are found in the ratios of cannabinoids. How those ratios affect our bodies is where research should be headed.

    • Waylon your statement is very true. Even deeper than speciation individual plants will vary widely in content based on growth and other factors. Like all good drugs it needs to broken down in the research separated out/tested concentrated and properly dosed. Direct consumption of medicinal plants doesn’t work well. That is why we still don’t give people willow bark to chew on for a fever. The dose is far to variable. If you want cannabis to be a medical treatment there is much more research to be done. Simply using it a a disassociative, like it is now, is just avoiding the real question. Claiming an undetectable variation in the plant is the secret to effectiveness is nonscientific and pointless. The drug equivalent of saying “god did it.” The medicinal version of special pleading.

      • Volteric says:

        And it appears some of the taxes generated in Colorado ($8 million) for example are being used for new research on Cannabis’ efficacy with PTSD, cancer, MS, etc. The concern here is how well designed the studies are as well as being able to use consistent dosing with consistent Cannabinoid profiles. I am elated that science can take front and center on this issues. I’m tired of all the inconsistent information bandied about with Pot. Would really like to know the objective facts rather than propaganda.

      • Eric Hall says:

        In fact, there is a drug that came out of research on cannabis just recently – http://skeptoid.com/blog/2014/06/28/is-big-pharma-ignoring-marijuana/

        • Thanks Eric I had taken a look at that when you did your post. A promising initial study, still just a small sample size and a relatively rare seizure disorder. 27 subjects is interesting I would want to see a great deal of replication. This is exactly the type of stuff that needs to happen. Still not ready to call it a seizure treatment though.

          • Volteric says:

            You may not be ready to call it that but thousands of folks with MS do in fact report relief. Not that anecdotal evidence is the evidence we’re seeking but 22 countries already consider GW Pharma’s whole plant extract as medicine. Why it’s been in Phase 3 trials with FDA since forever is hard to understand.

          • What does relief mean Vol? Relief from what?
            Overall most of the anecdotal benefits are for pain relief. Yet as far as we know is not a pain medicine. It is a dissociative like ketamine. Sure if you take some mescaline you may feel better for while but that is not a treatment. Worse like all drugs you develop tolerance requiring higher and higher doses, making it very much like opiates a pain dead end. Like morphine development it may be a beginning of a treatment not the end story. Stopping at anecdote and using it because people like it may deny an more effective solution. In my opinion focusing on whole plant extract is no different than handing someone a bottle of jack daniels saying here feel better. It will work but what are you really doing. I do agree that there has been an issue in research because of it’s recreational use, and it’s pointless outlaw status.

          • Volteric says:

            As far as we know 1000’s claim they use Cannabis to relieve pain symptoms. Whether that is objectively the case we shall soon see with more research. Cannabis does not kill the cells that produce dopamine like all other illicit drugs and thus dependency and tolerance with Cannabis has been likened to caffeine withdrawal. When I get back I’m happy to share some of that research if you’d like.

          • Sure happy to look at it, but your statement about tolerance is not accurate. Opiates have a huge dependence and tolerance issue and they do not kill cells of any kind. They induce a hypersensitive state in the opiate receptors that results cravings, altered mood and thought patterns as well as physical issues. Your body adapts to cannaboid receptor induction it is not a stretch to say that prolonged regular use results in tolerance. Likening it to caffeine is not a promising thought either. Most research shows that after a short time of caffeine use you body adapts and really you are just negating the withdrawl fatigue when you take it in. That is not a good analogy for efficacy.

          • Volteric says:

            Hi Stephen, My caffeine analogy was not an attempt at demonstrating Cannabis’ efficacy with pain. I said that Cannabis dependency/withdrawal has been rated as being on par/close to caffeine: http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/addictive_properties#sthash.RvqX9iFF.dpbs.

            Also, to clarify: Thousands of people treat themselves with Cannabis for pain relief. This does NOT prove efficacy. It simply proves that thousands of people claim they get enough pain relief from Cannabis that they continue to use it for the purpose of pain relief. Is that evidence? Yes and no. It means that there is something there worth investigating and researching, wouldn’t you agree? In any case and for whatever it’s worth: I most clearly receive a noticeable reduction in pain so whether or not the research proves it’s efficacy I experience it’s efficacy or at the very least the illusion of it’s efficacy. It’d be nice to see what the science ultimately says. Should the science demonstrate that the risks outweigh the benefits I’ll change my mind and use. For now, it’s a judgement call.

            On a side note: It’s frustraing becasue Cannabis is thee most used drug on the planet and 1000’s of studies exist on PUBMED so some say that it is the most researched drug ever while others say not enough of the right studies have been conducted. I think it’s probably somewhere in the middle in that it’s fairly obvious that there is medical application, the problem is we’re not sure exactly what conditions, why and what dose, for how long and in what delivery method, etc. I think it’s rather clear that this bioactive plant has medical properties-I’m just wanting to which exactly and why. Way too many panacea claims being made about it (cures cancer?) but since it’s going mainstream and legal I think serious research is warranted!

          • Thanks Vol I agree research needs to be done. My point about caffeine is that people become severely dependent upon caffeine with time or suffer from regular fatigue, headache and insomnia issues. Don’t minimize caffeine dependency. Opiate withdrawal is in uncomfortable but not dangerous like barbiturates. Painting caffeine as benign is in fact no comment upon dependency.
            Millions self treat them selves with useless and non-sensical treatments. Glucosamine, homeopathy, acupuncture, rekei the list goes on. Devoted followers and ancolytes all abound to trumpet the effectivness. Cannaboids do have a physiologic effect but again many many unknowns.
            We agree that more research needs to be done, and it use and perception as a recreational drug is a barrier.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *