Pubdate: Thu, 06 Apr 2006
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Kevin Connor, Toronto Sun
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)
Bookmark: (Chronic Pain)


'Isn't About Fun, It's About Function'

Sara Lee Irwin smokes pot to help her cope with her bone cancer and 
is waiting for the day when there are alternative therapeutic 
marijuana options so she doesn't have to light-up to help with the 
pain and severe nausea.

Mainstream drugs used to manage Irwin's pain had several side effects 
so she needs marijuana, but would prefer not to smoke.

"I'm a working mother and walk with a cane. (Marijuana) has improved 
my life," said Irwin, a federally licensed medical marijuana patient. 
"This isn't about fun, it's about function."

Enter Moses Znaimer, chairman of Cannasat Therapeutics and former City TV guru.

For the last two years, his local drug company has raised $6.5 
million to work on alternative marijuana delivery methods to relieve 
pain without smoking.

"We are researching ways to get it into the blood system in a more 
elegant fashion than smoking. We believe these new medicines will 
have significant potential," Znaimer said.

"Cannasat is a pioneering effort into the therapeutic applications of 
marijuana. The time has come to let Canadians know that Canada is at 
the forefront of research into cannabis and access to the medicines 
derived from it."

There is currently a marijuana pill, but it can take up to two hours 
to get into a patient's system.

Znaimer said pharmaceuticals use poppies -- which can produce opium 
- -- to make drugs like codeine and it's time to drop the marijuana taboo.

Canada is one of three countries that legally grow medical marijuana, 
said Alan Young, a law professor at the University of Toronto.

"Sick people can gain vibrancy and quality of life (with medical 
marijuana)," Young said.

It is expected to be five years before any new therapeutic marijuana 
options hit the market.

Cannasat holds a minority stake in Prairie Plant Systems, the 
country's only legal medical marijuana grower and distributor, which 
operates under the auspices of Health Canada.

The company is also launching an education campaign to tell Canadians 
who suffer from diseases, including Multiple Sclerosis, HIV-AIDS and 
arthritis, that they may qualify for medical marijuana.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman