Pubdate: Sun, 20 May 2007
Source: Winona Daily News (MN)
Copyright: 2007 Winona Daily News
Author: Gary Storck


Pharmacist Stan Gierhan's letter indicates a need for some continuing
education to update his knowledge of cannabis and cannabinoids.

Marinol is not identical to medical marijuana. It's a synthetic form
of THC, the most psychoactive of 60 or so cannabinoids found in whole
cannabis. For example, the cannabinoid CBD, or cannabidiol, is known
for its beneficial effects in treating multiple sclerosis, and it is
also a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Currently, the only
way for United States MS patients to access CBD is by medicating with
whole cannabis. CBD is not present in Marinol, but it is present along
with THC in Sativex, a cannabis spray developed in Britain and
available in Canada and the European Union to treat multiple sclerosis.

Health care professionals who want to learn about the latest
developments in the science of medical cannabis and earn continuing
education units should mark their calendars for April 4-5, 2008, and
plan to attend the fifth National Clinical Conference on Cannabis
Therapeutics at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, Calif.

The conference is presented by the group Patients Out of Time, whose
Web site proclaims, "This cutting-edge conference will bring
replicated science-based research to clinicians, patients,
legislators, the press and the public."

Geoffrey Guy, founder of GW Pharmaceuticals, which developed Sativex,
is a past attendee and presenter, along with many of the leading
experts in this field. Video of presentations from prior conferences
is available online via the group's Web site at

While time may have run out for this session's medical marijuana bill,
it will be back next session. For some Minnesota patients, that will
be too late. In the meantime, those attempting to influence public
opinion, like Gierhan, a pharmacist, ought to make every effort to get
all the facts before making it easier for cowardly legislators to
stand in the way of their fellow citizens' quality of life while
facing serious illness.

Gary Storck, Madison, Wis.

Storck is the co-founder of Is My Medicine Legal YET? He is also a
member of Patients Out of Time. 
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