“When the substances involved may also include potentially forbidden substances resembling THC, which are subject to regulatory scheduling, the barriers to research become greater still. One may wonder, however, how much additional time might have been required to discover the Endo-cannabinoid System (ECS) were not cannabis there to lead the way. Despite its seeming ubiquity, and obvious importance as a homeostatic regulator of human physiology, the ECS topic receives short shrift in contemporary medical education, if mentioned at all. This educational deficit, born perhaps of lingering prejudice towards a plant called cannabis, must surely end soon, as it is contrary and detrimental to potential significant contributions to public health.”
So, it’s not just an intellectual pursuit. I want to fight these forces of evil, because that is what they are. I want you to join me in that fight. I want to share, in this book, my weapons – the weapons I’ve learned from the enemy.
What’s my most powerful weapon? What’s the weapon that can finally win? It’s not a gun or a bomb. It’s the science of systems. It’s seeing and really understanding how things are connected. And it’s also seeing all the traps and distractions that are put in your way. Here’s the best part. Once you learn this science – once enough people understand it – we can create an army that will win the war. Which is the first thing they don’t want you to know!
To distract you, to keep you feeling small and helpless, what they want to do is indoctrinate you. They want to “convert” you because, as Marx said, “Religion is the opiate of the people.”
After working for nearly forty years in substance and drug abuse treatment and prevention programs, Dr. David Bearman has a few questions, including: “Why should the government stand in the way of an individual to take responsibility for their health?” And, “Why should cannabis be in a separate category from other herbal remedies?” Dr. Bearman believes that “it is clear to all but the most scientifically illiterate that cannabis and cannabinoids are medicine.”
A pioneer in free and community clinic activities, Dr. Bearman is one of the leading physicians in the U.S. in the field of medical cannabis. His decades of work in substance abuse treatment and prevention qualify him as an expert, not only in conventional treatment and prevention, but in the therapeutic use of cannabis as well.
In his essay, The Tipping Point, this Santa Barbara physician and surgeon asks another, intriguing question, “Are we finally nearing the end to a long pointless war of hysteria?” Bearman continues, “We may have finally reached a tipping point in this long war on our sanity,” and cites several indicators that the war against cannabis might soon be over:
In December, 2005, the FDA finally approved phase III clinical studies for tincture of cannabis, to be conducted by GW Pharmaceuticals
Two of the most ferocious former federal drug warriors, Congressman Bob Barr and Dr. Andrea Barthwell, Deputy Drug Czar under President George W. Bush, have seen the light and switched sides, now working as spokespeople for the Marijuana Policy Project and GW Pharmaceuticals, respectively.
The Hinchey – Rohrbacher Amendment continues to slowly gain support, and that support is expected to increase dramatically in the near future.
In June 2001, Professor Lyle Craker applied to the DEA for a license to grow and study cannabis at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. The DEA has ignored a ruling in the case to approve his license.
Growing numbers of U.S. physicians are openly supporting medical cannabis.
Dr. Bearman believes that these indicators are undeniable proof of Americans’ collective change of mind about the worth of cannabis as medicine, and that the real issues raised by medical cannabis are Constitutional and philosophical.
Bearman and other informed observers believe that, with the great interest shown by the pharmaceutical industry in the development of new cannabis-based drugs and synthetic cannabinoids, we will benefit from a better understanding of brain chemistry, and that different strains of condition-specific cannabis will continue to be developed, along with similar synthetics, making the future of medicinal cannabis look promising indeed.
Political controversy over medical marijuana is widespread in the United States, but clinical studies conducted abroad over
the past forty-some years have revealed that marijuana, or cannabis, does indeed appear to have potent therapeutic qualities.
Widely regarded as one of the world’s experts on cannabinoid-based medicine, and a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, Ph.D., Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, along with his colleagues, has been researching what he calls “cannabinoid chemistry” over these past four decades, making many notable contributions to the field. Dr. Mechoulam has written countless scientific papers on his cannabinoid research results, as well as a review of his group’s early studies, the book Cannabinoids as Therapeutic Agents.
Dr. Mechoulam has been awarded many honors for his groundbreaking work, including the highest national scientific prize in Israel-the Israel Prize. He is a past-president of the International Cannabinoid Research Society. Those who know Dr. Mechoulam describe him as mentally vigorous, generous and kind.
In 1964 Dr. Mechoulam and his associates identified and synthesized THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), creating an entire new line of medical research. Twenty-eight years later, in 1992, working with Drs. William Devane and Lumir Hanus, Dr. Mechoulam identified the brain’s natural version of THC, or endocannabinoid. The doctors named this natural THC “anandamide,” from the Sanskrit, ananda, which is translated as “eternal bliss” or “supreme joy.”
Research has revealed that the brain contains many cannabinoid neurotransmitters and receptors. The 1964 discovery of THC led to the eventual discovery of the endocannabinoid system in the brain. Further research conducted by Dr. Mechoulam, working with Dr. Lumir Hanus and Dr. Shimon Ben-Shabat, has led to the detection of an additional endocannabinoid with the tongue-twisting name 2-arachidonylglycerol, or 2-AG. As a result of this work, understanding of cannabinoid systems has advanced significantly.
Endocannabinoids are part of the brain’s reward system, helping with the reduction of pain, regulation of emotions, consolidation of memory and the synchronization of movement. Interestingly, cannabinoid receptors outnumber all other receptors in the brain; the endocannabinoid system is active in nearly every other physiological system that has been studied. Therefore, Dr. Mechoulam has concluded that the endocannabinoid system is crucial to communication with and functions of many other bodily systems.
Pharmaceutical companies in the UK and France are researching and developing many new cannabis-based medicines. Carefully conducted trials have shown not only pain-relieving action and growth-retardation in tumors, but efficacy in treating multiple sclerosis and seizure disorders and a host of other medical conditions.
Over just the past few years the pace of cannabinoid research has been steadily increasing. Quite promising are new drugs currently being developed that both activate and deactivate cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Pain management, neuroprotective treatment for head trauma and stroke, and appetite regulation are just a few of the applications now being studied.
Most recently, one of the synthetic compounds (HU-211) from Dr. Mechoulam’s lab has completed phase 2 clinical trials against head trauma with evidence of a neuroprotective effect. The pace of cannabinoid research has certainly been accelerating over the past few years, and Dr. Mechoulam thinks these new drugs are just the tip of the iceberg.
Learn more about Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and his outstanding accomplishments for medical cannabis patients. See David Jay Brown’s full
report on his interview with Dr. Mechoulam, on which this article is based, at http://mavericksofthemind.com/dr-raphael-mechoulam.