Pubdate: Thu, 01 Dec 2005
Source: Oaksterdam News (CA)
Copyright: 2005 Oaksterdam News, redistributed by MAP by permission
Warning: Please contact  before using clippings from this 
source. Thank You.
Author: Chris Conrad
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


A prestigious gathering of scientists and researchers met in September in 
Leiden, The Netherlands, where the International Association for Cannabis 
as Medicine biennial conference heard first-hand reports of tumor reducing 
effects and other benefits of marijuana and cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids are compounds found in the cannabis plant. Endocannabinoids 
are naturally occuring compounds in the human body that are similar in 
structure and effect to those in cannabis.

Much of the funding for the research projects was funded by government 
agencies such as NIDA and were designed to look for harmful effects rather 
than health benefits, which skewed the information somewhat. Nonetheless, 
significant benefits and relatively few harms were revealed. In fact, the 
marijuana smokers in general appeared pretty normal when compared to the 
rest of society, based on the reports that were given.

Not all research presented was government approved. Mark Gibson reported on 
his work with Canna-Biz Chocolate, which he and his wife produce and 
provide  to a number of multiple sclerosis sufferers in the UK. They 
monitor their patients and saw significant alleviation of symptoms. Shortly 
thereafter, police came in and arrested them, shut the service down, took 
away their medicine and charged the couple with trafficking. Mark faces 
prison for his work. A court trial is planned for next year.

Jorg Fachner compared topographic EEG brain mapping changes of cannabis 
induced and sound-trance induced altered state of consciousness.

Tumors reduced by cannabinoid

Research on the tumor reducing effects of cannabinoids were one of the most 
exciting pieces of new information brought forth. The research, backed up 
with photos and measurements, showed that rats with large, induced tumors 
clearly benefited from application of cannabis derivatives, and not merely 
as an adjunct to chemotherapy. Researchers from Hebrew University, 
Jerusalem, Israel, including Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, credited as the 
discoverer of the THC molecule, led an international team investigating the 
use of cannabinoids to treat cancer. Dubbed HU-331, 
cannabidiol-hydroxyquinone was produced from cannabidiol and used to treat 
tumors in vitro and in vivo, meaning both in petri dishes and also on 
living mice.

"HU-331 shows very high effectivity against human cancer cell lines 
in-vitro and also against in-vivo tumor grafts in nude mice. At 35 days 
after cancer cell injection, the tumors in the treated group were half the 
size of the tumors in the controls," they reported. HU-331 inhibited T-cell 
lymphoma cell growth more than known anticancer drugs, including 
doxorubicin, mitoxantrone and etoposide. HU-331 proved much less toxic than 
doxorubicin, mitoxantrone and etoposide.

Promising review of Sativex

Researchers from GW Pharmaceuticals reported on the company's work with 
natural, broad spectrum inhaled cannabis extract. The medication, already 
available in Canada, utilizes patented technology to ingest and regulate 
the dose without smoking by using a device similar to the asthma inhaler.

Their research concluded that the plant-based medicinal extract 
Sativex  produced significant improvements in a  subjective measure of 
spasticity which were  maintained on long-term treatment with no evidence 
of tolerance.

California research

Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather presented a paper developed with fellow California 
physicians Tod Mikuriya and David Bearman on the "Clinical improvement and 
reduction of immunosuppressive drug therapy in cannabis treated patients 
with Crohn's disease." They reported that "The Crohn's patients encountered 
by these physicians have been treated with a variety of conventional 
pharmacological therapies including steroids, other immunomodulators and a 
number of biologic therapies, including anti tumor necrosis factor." Smoked 
cannabis was found to be more effective in relieving symptoms than were the 

Dr. Donald Abrams reported favorably on smoked cannabis therapy for 
hiv-related painful peripheral neuropathy: results of a randomized, 
placebo-controlled clinical trial. Dale Gieringer, PhD, gave an update on 
the growth of cannabis medicine in the US: practice and usage in a 
semi-legal regime.

Field trip to official gardens

Marco van de Velde discussed "Two years of experience with legal production 
and distribution of medicinal cannabis in the Netherlands," and 
participants had an opportunity to take a field trip to the official, 
government licensed cannabis nursery of Bedrocan.