The US National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Drug Abuse have provided $1 million to study how cannabis interacts with drugs that help AIDS patients.
San Francisco physician Dr Donald Abrams is leading the study into how marijuana interacts with protease inhibitors. Protease inhibitors help strengthen immune function and also delay onset of AIDS symptoms, but they tend to cause anorexia, nausea and vomiting. There is also concern about how protease inhibitors interact with other drugs.
“Some will get a 3.95 percent THC government-rolled marijuana cigarette,” Abrams explains. “Others will get Marinol, the synthetic THC derivative. Others will get a Marinol placebo.”
? Dr Abrams seeks HIV positive patients for his study. If you are using protease inhibitors, call (415) 502-5705.
Robert Gorter, a professor at the University of California, is studying orally administered cannabis extracts. He has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to perform a clinical trial, and is also organizing an investigation of patients in Germany and the Netherlands. “Various cannabinoids in the plant appear to work in a little symphony,” observed Gorter.
A German pharmacy has begun offering locally made synthetic THC for sale at a quarter the price of that imported from the US.
The Bock Pharmacy in Frankfurt manufactures the THC on their premises, in cooperation with a company called THC Pharm. They start with industrial hemp, from which the cannabidiol (CBD) is extracted, and then converted to THC in the laboratory.
Ultimately, THC Pharm hopes to deliver their product to all German pharmacies. It is currently available as a sesame-oil solution packed in gelatin capsules, and also as an alcohol solution.
? Bock-Pharmacy: tel 49-69-970-6370; email [email protected]
Oklahoma man Will Foster has spent almost two years in jail despite unanimous approval from the state’s parole board to release him. In 1997 a jury sentenced Foster to 93 years in jail for growing 25 square feet of medical marijuana. An appeals court judge reduced Foster’s sentence to 20 years. Foster uses marijuana to ease the intense pain of rheumatoid arthritis.
This past February the New England Journal of Medicine published a study which found no link between marijuana use by pregnant women and miscarriages. The study did find strong links between miscarriage and use of both tobacco cocaine.
In mid-December the New Zealand government’s Health Committee completed its report into the mental health effects of cannabis. The Committee acknowledged that “the negative mental health impact of cannabis appears to have been overstated,” and that although there may be some “subtle cognitive impairment” among certain hard-core users, “cannabis should be viewed as a lesser threat to cognitive functioning than alcohol.”
The Israeli Health Ministry has established a committee to define the medical conditions under which doctors will be permitted to prescribe marijuana. Currently, medicinal marijuana may only be given by special permit, with the herb coming from that seized by police.
“We want to establish the general guidelines and the optimum mechanism to provide marijuana to those who need it,” says Boaz Lev, the ministry’s deputy director for medical affairs. “We don’t want people to have to break the law to get treatment.”
Pot-friendly Mayor Brian Taylor of Grand Forks, BC, stirred up controversy once more this January, when he announced that he’d like to see his city producing marijuana for medical use by cannabis buyers’ clubs. Taylor explained that the city of 4100 people has hundreds of pot growers, who are experts at organic outdoor growing.