Monday, January 19, 2009

The Potholes Ahead: Obama's Call to Action

So much energy is buzzing about the DC Metropolitan area this week in preparation for Barack Obama's Inauguration. Thousands upon thousands of people are descending upon the Capitol with hopes and dreams for a better future. President-Elect Obama has captured the true essence of America and is urging every citizen to respond to his call-to-action for public service.

This year, so many medical patients in Maryland will need help being heard in the media, in the courtrooms, and on the legislative floor. What research we currently do have indicates that cannabis has healing properties for patients dealing with cancer, muscular dystrophy, and HIV/AIDS, and is often more effective than prescribed medications currently available in states that have unfriendly medical marijuana laws. Medical treatment is a private issue that should be between a patient and his or her medical physician.

Log on now to Change.Gov to speak out about this important drug policy issue.

Some patients have doctors recommending medical marijuana, but they have what may come as a surprising diagnosis: PTSD. In the Fall of 2007, Esquire Magazine published an article discussing treatments for Iraqi Veterans returning home from war with torturous dreams, memories, and other incomprehensible trauma symptoms. If medical marijuana has been shown to help soldiers in their recovery process, we are really emerging into a new understanding of the Marijuana plant, and its crucial role for humanity at so many levels.

Its an encouraging time to pursue this issue with full force. Obama himself spoke out in 2004 for Marijuana Decriminalization in this YouTube Video.

Cancer patients, HIV patients, and Iraqi Veterans alike all need your help this year. Make Americans for Safe Access one way you reach out to answer Obama's call for public service. Doctors, nurses, patients, lawmakers and soldiers who support Medical Marijuana need your help to create a stronger voice in this world. In 2009, join us in calling for better research, better laws, and greater protection for Medical Marijuana patients.


In Service,
Bethany Moore, and the whole MD-ASA campaign team

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Call To Action: Pardon Me!

Meet us tomorrow, January 14th, 2009, Washington DC!

PARDON ME! A Campaign For Medical Marijuana Amnesty.

Join us in Demanding Equal Justice for Guilty Republicans And Pardons for Medical Marijuana Patients and Providers.

Meet 12:00noon in Freedom Plaza to mobilize for a day of action at various locations in Washington DC.

For more information call 202-286-5586 or visit http://www.smoke-in.org

Sponsored By Cures not Wars & The Fourth Of July Hemp Coalition

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why Marinol Cannot Substitute for Marijuana

It is often said that there is no reason to permit the use of natural marijuana by patients because they can instead use Marinol. The argument goes that Marinol is marijuana in pill form. It is not. Marinol is a synthetic copy of the delta9-THC molecule. Natural marijuana contains a number of active ingredients, or cannabinoids, not just THC. One of the major cannabinoids that marijuana contains, but Marinol does not, is cannabidiol, or CBD.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive ingredient of marijuana. On the Counterpunch website Weekend Edition of December 22/23, 2007, Fred Gardner’s review of studies on CBD credited it with being an anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant, anti-psychotic, anti-oxidant and an immune system modulator with neuro-protective properties. In Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, vol. 30 no.3 Sao Paulo, Sept. 2008 (English translation) Antonio Waldo Zuardi of the Dept. of Neurology at Universidade de Sao Paulo reviewed many studies and concluded that CBD has a beneficial effect on several conditions. He listed Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, other inflammatory diseases, nausea and cancer. Since Marinol does not contain CBD, or any cannabinoids other than THC, there is no reason to believe it will be helpful to a patient suffering from any of these disorders. Natural marijuana will be helpful for these ailments, as many patients have discovered.

Oral administration of Marinol creates two problems. When taken orally, Marinol is transformed into several metabolites. One is 11-hydroxy-THC, which is considered to be much more psychoactive than delta9-THC. It is produced in far greater amounts when taken orally than when marijuana is smoked or vaporized and inhaled. Furthermore, the synthetic THC in Marinol is absorbed unevenly in the gastro-intestinal tract. Given the uneven absorption rate and the increased psychoactivity of 11-hydroxy-THC, a patient may find a dosage that is perfectly adequate on one day will, on another day, leave him or her dysfunctional due to an unpleasantly powerful high that lasts for hours. On a third day, that very same dose may prove to be inadequate, having little effect at all. By contrast, smoked or vaporized marijuana can be inhaled one small hit at a time only until the desired effect is achieved.

Marinol is also more expensive than marijuana. A likely monthly cost for most marijuana patients is between $75.00 and $300.00. Marinol often costs a patient between $200.00 and $800.00 monthly, with many reports of patients spending over $1,000.00 per month.

Marijuana is cheaper, more consistent and dependable in its effects on the user. Most importantly, unlike Marinol, it contains all the cannabinoids that are helpful for a much larger number of conditions than Marinol is. Natural marijuana really is necessary for many patients and Marinol should not be passed off as an acceptable substitute.

-- contributed by ASA guest blogger T. Dubb

Thanks T. Dubb for the critical insight! This is just one piece of the puzzle out of many, which our friends, neighbors, and LEGISLATORS need to be educated on so that Maryland can move forward in protecting medical patients...

Thoughtfully Yours,

The Maryland Chapter of Americans for Safe Access

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

ASA in 2009!

On behalf of the Maryland chapter of Americans for Safe Access, Happy New Year! In 2009, we look forward to stepping up our activism in the community even more! Recently, we attended a high school activism fair in Bethesda and received tremendous support from everyone we spoke to. One thing we are most pleased by is the knowledge that many students already have about medical marijuana and drug policy, which is so energizing and inspiring to us! To kick off the New Year with a busy calendar, here are some of the events we are looking forward to in the month of January:

This Thursday, January 8th, we will be attending a public forum being held by The Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Advisory Council of Montgomery County (AODAAC). We are currently coordinating with patients that use medical cannabis to testify about their fears, concerns, and experiences. The forum is being held from 7:00pm – 9:00pm in MC Council Office Building (COB) at 100 Maryland Ave, Rockville, MD 20850. This is a perfect venue to show that there is strong constituent support for Medical Cannabis, and a golden opportunity to speak directly to the Montgomery County Government. The council holds this annual forum to hear the public’s suggestions and concerns regarding the county government’s efforts. This forum is open to the public and the Advisory Council welcomes visitors. Members of MOCO-ASA will provide talking points and facilitate speaker preparation. Please contact md4safeaccess@gmail.com or 415-283-7404 to register to speak and to request any special accommodations. We need the Council to hear patients' suggestions and concerns regarding their therapeutic use of cannabis, so join us now and help shape Maryland medical cannabis law!

Also, we invite you to come speak with us at the Volunteer Fair at the Montgomery County Volunteer Center on Monday, January 19th from 1:00pm to 3:30pm. The Volunteer Fair is where individuals can learn about ongoing volunteer opportunities in Montgomery County. Service projects will include making Valentine’s Day cards for the Orphans Foundation, decorating bookmarks and cards for children with cancer and other terminal illnesses, packing snow day baskets for county-wide Meals on Wheels programs, learning how to register as a bone marrow donor, and attending sessions by the Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County. The event is easily accessed by White Flint Metro at 5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda (corner of Rockville Pike and Marinelli Rd, across from the Metro).

Thank you for your continued support of ASA’s mission in the New Year. Let this be the year that real ‘change’ rings loud and clear!

Watchfully Yours,

Bethany Moore and the MD ASA Team