Patients Out of Time would like to call attention to the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience held in New Orleans in October 1997. On the 27th of October a press conference was called to announce that this group had concluded that cannabis used as a therapeutic substance was a great aid in the elimination or control of pain in humans.
New research shows that substances similar to or derived from marijuana, known as cannabinoids, could benefit the more than 97 mi11ion Americans who experience some form of pain each year. In the past, the majority of evidence suggesting that cannabinoids could crush pain without causing a loss of touch was anecdotal. Now careful studies are showing that cannabinoids not only act as an analgesic but further, controls an enhanced sensitivity to pain which often accompanies tissue injury and inflammation and is called hyperalgesia.
"The results suggest that marijuana-like drugs may be useful as an adjuvant in combination with other therapies for treating certain types of pain," says Ian Meng of the University of California at San Francisco. Another researcher, Kenneth Hargreaves did work at the University of Minnesota on hyperalgesia. Collectively the research shows that the cannabinoid administered at the site of injury works locally to produce analgesia with limited side effects," says Hargreaves.
There are now 43 professional health care and support organizations calling on the federal government to end the medical marijuana prohibition. Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, spokesperson for the Virginia Nurses Association on this subject and co-founder of Patients Out of Time commented that these recent research findings are "further validation that the clinical experience of patients, doctors and nurses with therapeutic Cannabis as a remedy for some ailments, are not whimsy or politically based, but rather a successful medical treatment."
The federal government's meanspirited attacks on those who are arguing for a lifting of medical marijuana prohibition by charging them with deception and hidden agendas appear to be as vacuous as the claims made by this administration that marijuana is the "reefer madness" described by the prohibitionists of the 1930's. We would hope that a sensitive and compassionate public would realize that basing the marijuana prohibition on lies and faulty science initiated 60 years ago has run its course. Placing therapeutic Cannabis under the control of the health care community, instead of leaving it under the law enforcement bureaucracy for 60 more years of prohibition, will solve this national demonstration of intolerance.