- Published on 28 October 2012
- Written by David Borden, DRCNET
The news cycle is awash with polls and news about the close race for president. But the most important votes happening next month may be historic initiatives to legalize and regulate marijuana -- and these are also going to be close.
You can help these and other initiatives we're supporting, and I hope that between now and Election Day you'll be able to. First, we have partnered with FireDogLake and the "Just Say Now" campaign to do phonebanking in support of the initiatives, currently Colorado's Amendment 64 and Oregon's Measure 80. Visit http://fdl.platform.webstrong.com/dna/network/groups/ to open an account -- select StoptheDrugWar.org as your "group," if you're willing to help us in that way -- and make phone calls for legalization! There are two options for Colorado, by the way -- one of them general, the other for women to call other women voters in the state.
There are other state initiatives that need your support, including marijuana legalization in Washington, medical marijuana in Arkansas and Montana and Massachusetts, and an important initiative in California to reform the state's draconian "three-strikes" law. Please visit our Election 2012 Resource Page at http://stopthedrugwar.org/election2012 for links to the campaign web sites where you can find volunteer information; the audio recording of our 9/27/12 teleconference with representatives of the legalization initiatives; and a link to our full election coverage archive page, where you can find feature stories we've published in Drug War Chronicle on almost all of these initiatives, Phil's weekly "Initiative Watch" feature, and more.
- Published on 13 July 2012
- Written by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
Orlando, FL: The use of cannabis is not associated with "enduring negative effects" on the cognitive skills in moderate to heavy marijuana consumers, according to a meta-analysis to be published in the journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.
A pair of researchers from the University of Central Florida, Department of Psychology reviewed various, peer-reviewed studies assessing whether cannabis use is associated with lasting adverse residual effects on cognition. They reported that cannabis chronic consumption may be associated with "small but significant" effects on neurocognitive skills for limited periods of time lasting beyond the immediate hours of intoxication. By contrast, authors found "no evidence of lasting effects on cognitive performance due to cannabis use" in subjects whose abstention period was at least 25 days.
Researchers concluded: "As hypothesized, the meta-analysis conducted on studies evaluating users after at least 25 days of abstention found no residual effects on cognitive performance. ... These results fail to support the idea that heavy cannabis use may result in long-term, persistent effects on neuropsychological functioning."
Clinical trial data published in 2011 in the journal Addiction similarly reported "no significant differences associated with cannabis consumption" on various measures of memory and intelligence in over 2,000 self-identified marijuana consumers and non-users over an eight-year period. Authors of the study concluded, "[T]he adverse impacts of cannabis use on cognitive functions either appear to be related to pre-existing factors or are reversible in this community cohort even after potentially extended periods of use."
- Published on 02 July 2012
- Written by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
The present classification of cannabis and its organic compounds as schedule I prohibited substances under federal law is scientifically indefensible, according to a just published review in The Open Neurology Journal.
Investigators with the University of California at San Diego and the University of California, Davis reviewed the results of several recent clinical trials assessing the safety and efficacy of inhaled or vaporized cannabis. They concluded:
Evidence is accumulating that cannabinoids may be useful medicine for certain indications. Control of nausea and vomiting and the promotion of weight gain in chronic inanition are already licensed uses of oral THC (dronabinol capsules). Recent research indicates that cannabis may also be effective in the treatment of painful peripheral neuropathy and muscle spasticity from conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Other indications have been proposed, but adequate clinical trials have not been conducted.
The classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug as well as the continuing controversy as to whether or not cannabis is of medical value are obstacles to medical progress in this area. Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking. It is true cannabis has some abuse potential, but its profile more closely resembles drugs in Schedule III (where codeine and dronabinol are listed). The continuing conflict between scientific evidence and political ideology will hopefully be reconciled in a judicious manner.
The lead author of the review, Dr. Igor Grant, is the director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. In recent years, the CMCR has conducted various FDA-approved gold standard clinical trials evaluating inhaled cannabis as a therapeutic agent. The results of several of those trials are summarized here.
Under federal law, schedule I controlled substances are defined as possessing ³a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision. Heroin and Methaqualone (Quaaludes) are examples of other Schedule I substances.
In 2011, the Obama administration via the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) formally denied a nine-year-old administrative petition filed by NORML and a coalition of public interest organizations calling on the agency to initiate hearings to reassess the present classification of marijuana as a schedule I controlled substance without any accepted medical use in treatment. In her denial of the petition, DEA administrator Michele Leonhart alleged: [T]here are no adequate and well-controlled studies proving (marijuana) efficacy; the drug is not accepted by qualified experts. At this time, the known risks of marijuana use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy.
Last month, Ms. Leonhart testified before Congress that she believed that heroin and marijuana posed similar threats to the public¹s health because, in her opinion, all illegal drugs are bad.
Coalition advocates are presently appealing the DEA's denial of their petition in federal court.