Senator Kennedy encourages DEA to provide Medical Marijuana for research
June 11, 2008, 10:53 am — Updated: 11:23 am --> Medical Marijuana Links By John Tierney
We’ve been discussing the presidential candidates’ positions on medical marijuana. Here are a couple of other interesting reports on the subject:
1. The impact of federal raids on medical marijuana providers is illustrated in a video at Reason.com narrated by Drew Carey. It tells the story of Owen Beck, a high-school student in California who lost a leg to cancer and got a prescription for medical marijuana to deal with the pain and the effects of chemotherapy. He and his parents said it worked better than anything else — until his medicine was seized in a raid by federal agents on the medical marijuana dispensary in Morro Bay.
The dispensary was legal according to California law (the mayor of Morro Bay had attended the opening ribbon-cutting ceremony). But its owner, Charlie Lynch, was arrested and charged with violating federal law. Because he had clients under age 21, like Owen Beck, he could be sentenced to as long as 100 years in prison. His trial is scheduled to begin in July.
2. Cannabinoids, the active ingredient in marijuana, show promise in treating the brain tumors known as gliomas (which have been in the news because of Senator Edward Kennedy’s condition). After finding that cannabinoids kill tumor cells in animals, researchers demonstrated their safety in humans by injecting them directly into brain tumors. One of the experimenters, Manuel Guzman of Complutense University in Spain, concludes:
“Of interest, cannabinoids seem to be selective antitumoral compounds as they can kill tumor cells without significantly affecting the viability of their non-transformed counterparts. . . . The fair safety profile of THC, together with its possible growth-inhibiting action on tumor cells, may set the basis for future trials aimed at evaluating the potential antitumoral activity of cannabinoids.”
You can read Dr. Guzman’s review of the evidence here. And you can read more about cannabinoids and cancer in an op-ed in the Providence Journal by Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates the legalization of medical marijuana.
“This is an exciting area of research,” Mr. Mirken writes, “but one that has been needlessly — and perhaps lethally — slowed down by the U.S. government’s slavish devotion to anti-marijuana dogma.” As I reported, the Drug Enforcement Administration has been resisting efforts to provide researchers with medical marijuana despite being prodded by an adminstrative law judge and being pressured over the past several years by members of Congress (including, coincidentally, Mr. Kennedy).