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Cannabis Shows Promise As Treatment For Swine Flu

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Cannabis could alleviate many of the symptoms and harmful effects of the H5N1 bird flu and H1N1 swine flu viruses, according to a report from Cannabis Science, an emerging pharmaceutical cannabis company based in San Francisco. The timing could not be better for New York, which has the largest number of confirmed cases of swine flu in the United States, and where identical medical marijuana bills have been introduced in the Assembly and Senate for the first time.

According to Cannabis Science president and CEO Steven W. Kubby, his company's whole-cannabis lozenges have anti-inflammatory properties that may present an effective and non-toxic treatment for minimizing the symptoms and harm from influenza infections.

"Our lozenges appear to down-regulate the body's excessive inflammatory response to the influenza virus, which could reduce the deadly consequences of an infection into something that is more like a common cold," says Kubby. "Because of my cancer and diminished auto-immune functions, even common influenza is a deadly threat, and I've had incredible symptomatic relief with the lozenge."

Before reaching for their rolling papers, however, patients should keep in mind that smoke may make aggravate rather than relieve the symptoms.

Dr. Robert J. Melamede, a researcher and past Chairman of the Biology Department at the University of Colorado Springs, who also serves as chief science officer for Cannabis Science, cautions, "Smoked marijuana will not effectively prevent the excessive inflammatory response, despite delivering the beneficial pharmacological agents, due to the irritating, pro-inflammatory nature of smoke. In fact, I believe it will make things worse and should be avoided by infected individuals."

New York City and New York State are stockpiling Tamiflu, the conventional treatment for swine flu, but that drug is known to have severe side effects. Furthermore, influenza viruses are known rapidly mutate, which rendered Tamiflu ineffective against the most common flu strains this winter.

Kubby adds, "If a swine or bird flu pandemic emerges — and everyone seems to think that it is just a matter of when, not if — there is simply no time for the usual bureaucratic process. With emergency government approval, we can legally access the huge supply of medical cannabis available in California to produce millions of life saving doses within a relatively short period of time."

Fortunately, New York has a real chance of enacting a medical marijuana bill this year. The Assembly bill, A. 7542, has 50 sponsors and was passed by the Health Committee yesterday. The Senate version, S. 4041-A, currently has 15 sponsors.

The annual New York Marijuana March will take place this Saturday, May 2, starting at 11:00 a.m. at Washington Square Park and proceeding to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. With a potential swine flu pandemic stirring popular concern, medical marijuana activists may find their moment has finally arrived.

Source: Cannabis shows promise as treatment for swine flu - New York Libertarian | Examiner.com
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