Your Weekly Cannabis Reader
Despite making these erroneous claims, prohibitionists have not been able to produce proof that cannabis use is detrimental to a young person’s intelligence. The closest prohibitionists have come to backing claims have been statistical anomalies that are neither consistent nor replicated.
Pro-cannabis health professionals have long suspected cannabis had no negative impact on intelligence. What better way to confirm the theory than to find sets of twins who make the study twice as useful.
A large longitudinal study determined that the link between cannabis use and a declining I.Q. is not causational. Interestingly, the amount of cannabis consumed made far less difference than whether it was consumed at all. While the researchers were unable to make conclusions, they postulate that the family-wide environment is responsible for the I.Q. changes among the adolescents they studied. The full study can be found here and is worth reading.
Basically, cannabinoids are maintenance workers. These maintenance workers seem to slow down decline caused by aging. Cannabinoids help keep your brain sharp, build and repair new cells, and clean out the excess gunk.
As we get older, our brains and bodies begin to show signs of all of the wear and tear caused by our diet, lifestyles, and our environment. In fact, many patients with neurodegenerative brain diseases have an excess buildup of certain neurotoxins, which cause brain cells to die.
Due to cannabis’ anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it’s a fantastic neuroprotectant. CBD is actually a more powerful antioxidant than both vitamin C and vitamin E, so it’s no surprise that cannabis is showing potential as a treatment for diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lou Gherig’s, and multiple sclerosis.
“Among men, active cannabis significantly decreased pain sensitivity relative to inactive cannabis”, states the study. “In women, active cannabis failed to decrease pain sensitivity relative to inactive. Active cannabis increased pain tolerance in both men women immediately after smoking).”
The study concludes; “These results indicate that in cannabis smokers, men exhibit greater cannabis-induced analgesia relative to women.”
While only a small study, this shows that cannabis is not a one-size-fits-all medicine. There are many factors that go into how our bodies respond to cannabis and we still have a lot to learn about those processes. If you’re a woman using cannabis for pain relief, please comment on how it works for you.
Those states also have taken a more liberal approach to marijuana research. Since 2000, California has spent $8.7 million on state-sanctioned medical marijuana trials, with researchers from the UC system declaring that multiple clinical trials had found that pot shows strong promise as a pain reliever for a range of conditions, including nerve damage from HIV, strokes and diabetes. Researchers in another federally approved California study said marijuana showed effectiveness as a companion drug to reduce dependence on opioid prescription pain relievers.
It’s too soon to tell how this will play out, but the more research into cannabis the better. We know that it has amazing medical potential, but as the above study on the difference in pain relief between men and women shows, we have a lot to learn about how to effectively use this medicine.
For the most part, however, the physicians vowing to stay away from medical marijuana appear to be only doing so because her or she fears the wrath of the federal government. That’s because even with half the states in the nation giving the green light to a comprehensive medical marijuana program, Uncle Sam refuses to consider the herb as having any medicinal benefit. In fact, just last week, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration blew an opportunity to downgrade the Schedule I classification of the herb to a ranking that no longer suggests it is as dangerous as heroin. But because of the agency’s failure to come through, a lot of doctors are still concerned that their involvement in medical marijuana may eventually lead to career smashing run-in with drug agents. And since there is no real clarity over when the Feds might deem it necessary to start kicking down doors, many doctors just do not feel the reward is worth the risk.
No one should ever have to choose between effectively treating a patient and keeping their job. While more and more states are recognizing the validity of medical marijuana, the fact that it’s still illegal at the federal level leaves doctors exposed to huge risks. While the DEA seems interested in opening the door to meaningful research, we still need drastic reforms at the federal level to protect patients, doctors, growers, and manufacturers.
The Marijuana Policy Project’s State Policies Director Karen O’Keefe said the national organization was opposed to medical marijuana tax bills, but supports a tax on recreational use.
“We’re already concerned that medical cannabis in California is subject to sales taxes and local taxes,” she said. “There should not be an additional tax levied on the backs of patients.”
While he did support the tiered tax structure of Wood’s bill, Gieringer of California NORML said his organization opposes any taxation of medical cannabis. He said that too much taxation would result in patients relying on the black market to buy their medicine.
Taxing medical marijuana places an undue burden on patients who are already forced to pay for their medicine out-of-pocket — insurance does not cover cannabis. Cannabis products and cultivation will both be taxed under Proposition 64; while taxing recreational users of cannabis is entirely reasonable, medical patients need safe access to affordable medicine.
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