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Feb-18-2010 02:13printcomments

'Gold Standard' Studies Show Inhaled Marijuana Is Medically Safe And Effective

Another big step forward in medical marijuana research.

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(WASHINTON D.C.) - The results of a series of randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials assessing the efficacy of inhaled marijuana consistently show that cannabis holds therapeutic value comparable to conventional medications, according to the findings of a 24-page report issued Wednesday to the California state legislature by the California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR).

Four of the five placebo-controlled trials demonstrated that marijuana significantly alleviated neuropathy, a difficult to treat type of pain resulting from nerve damage.

“There is good evidence now that cannabinoids (the active compounds in the marijuana plant) may be either an adjunct or a first-line treatment for … neuropathy,” said Dr. Igor Grant, Director of the CMCR, at a news conference at the state Capitol. He added that the efficacy of smoked marijuana was “very consistent,” and that its pain-relieving effects were “comparable to the better existing treatments” presently available by prescription.

A fifth study showed that smoked cannabis reduced the spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. A separate study conducted by the CMCR established that the vaporization of cannabis – a process that heats the substance to a temperature where active cannabinoid vapors form, but below the point of combustion – is a “safe and effective” delivery mode for patients who desire the rapid onset of action associated with inhalation while avoiding the respiratory risks of smoking.

Two additional clinical trials remain ongoing.

The CMCR program was founded in 2000 following an $8.7 million appropriation from the California state legislature. The studies are some of the first placebo-controlled clinical trials to assess the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis as a medicine to take place in over two decades.

Placebo-controlled clinical crossover trials are considered to be the ‘gold standard’ method for assessing the efficacy of drugs under the US FDA-approval process.

“These scientists created an unparalleled program of systematic research, focused on science-based answers rather than political or social beliefs,” said former California Senator John Vasconcellos, who sponsored the legislation in 1999 to launch the CMCR. Vasconcellos called the studies’ design “state of art,” and suggested that the CMCR’s findings “ought to settle the issue” of whether or not medical marijuana is a safe and effective medical treatment for patients.

“This (report) confirms all of the anecdotal evidence – how lives have been saved and pain has been eased,” said California Democrat Senator Mark Leno at the press conference. “Now we have the science to prove it.”

Full text of the CMCR’s report to the California legislature is available at online at:

Paul Armentano is the Deputy Director for NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

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greengift February 20, 2010 1:05 am (Pacific time)

It's all about the green and by that I mean money. Private insurance and the drugs companies pay lobbyists to keep natural cures illegal. God gave us this gift no man or government has the rite to deny us. Genesis 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. Genesis 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. P.S. Please don't use corporate religious reinterpretations on this either. You never need a spiritual leader(priest pastor etc.) to tell you what God meant. Just open your heart and mind the false leaders want you to be sheep. God did not create you as sheep but in his image.

Jeff Kaye~ February 18, 2010 11:38 am (Pacific time)

And not a moment too soon. Now we have the (figurative) ammunition to demand that the DEA and all other law enforcement entities stand down, and that this non-toxic, safe herbal remedy be taken off the ridiculous "Schedule I" where it's languished for decades due to corrupt politicians' back-room shady deals with those who stand to lose the most; not in any particular order: Big Pharma, Alcohol, Tobacco, the Prison-Industrial Complex, Petro-Chemical concerns and their army of lobbyists in Washington, DC. Let the green rush (of jobs) begin! Time for some real economic recovery, which is just a by-product of easing the suffering of millions of Americans, and finally setting a worthy example to the world. We needn't take time to gloat -- tempting as that may be -- that can only be counterproductive... We can all profit from this long-overdue science-based good news all around. Prison guards can switch from guarding innocent users of safe herbal medicine to growing it FOR them. The list of jobs potentially created by lifting the ban on this incredibly beneficial plant in all its forms is almost infinite. I hope the President has the presence of mind to get this out post-haste to NIDA, ONDCP, FDA, and every other alphabet soup useless bureaucracy that has stood in the way of progress on this medical research front. Thank you (former) Senator Vasconcellos, for the prescience and persistence in getting this ball rolling in 1999, and to Senator Mark Leno for simply stating the obvious -- that we now have the science to prove cannabis' medical efficacy, previously only officially recognized as anecdotal.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.